Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Oct 2016

Audibles at the Line: Week 4

compiled by Andrew Potter

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around emails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these emails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. We watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a Steelers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors solely to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

Indianapolis Colts 27 "at" Jacksonville Jaguars 30 (London)

Sterling Xie: Through three drives Indy's receivers are playing as though their body clocks are still set to 10 a.m. That's three drops, including two that would have gained first downs, which doesn't include a catchable pass in the flat Frank Gore couldn't come up with on the second drive.

Jags have had success when they mix up their pass-rush looks, which maybe isn't a huge surprise considering the Colts are starting a pair of rookie backups at right guard and right tackle. A stunt allowed Dante Fowler to create a pick to end the second drive, and a well-disguised blitz with a linebacker and defensive back helped keep Indy out of the end zone on the third drive.

Tom Gower: With rookie backups occupying the right side, the Colts offensive line is currently as bad as people think it is. And through the first quarter, drops have been a total team effort -- the backs with Frank Gore and Josh Ferguson, Dwayne Allen at tight end, and Chester Rogers and I believe T.Y. Hilton as well among the wide receivers. Yes, that's in 14:57 of football.

I thought our AFC South predictions were overall right, that the Jaguars should have been picked last, but that they were much higher variance than the Titans -- more likely to win 10 games or lose 12. Thus far, the latter seems in play.

Rivers McCown: Three things that sum up the beginning of this game:

1) The stunningly high number of dumpoff passes, even late in the down. 

2) As of me typing this ... 9:27 in the second quarter ... the Jaguars have 66 penalty yards to 57 actual yards

3) The lone touchdown so far, Blake Bortles to Allen Robinson, happened because Robinson was essentially uncovered in the end zone on a slant.

Sterling Xie: At the 2:51 mark of the third quarter, we have 118 combined net passing yards and 149 combined net penalty yards. What year have I been transported to (and why is email still a thing)? Personally, I think the highlight of this game came when Wembley played the Law and Order sound after one of the first-half penalties. I also enjoy the British voice CBS brought on to read its sponsors when they come back from commercial. So there's that.

Scott Kacsmar: Dropped passes and poor protection have killed Indy's offense today. I liked the Jaguars going for it on fourth down with a 14-point lead. Helped extend this to a three-score game in a situation where a lot of coaches would have punted to "pin them deep." But really, this game is just an embarrassment to the brand. The Colts are bailing out poor Jacksonville plays with bonehead penalties.

Aaron Schatz: Blown coverage to get Indy back within 3, 30-27. Quarters, and the left corner took a short route instead of following his man Phillip Dorsett deep. I believe that was lauded rookie Jalen Ramsey.

Cian Fahey: Blown coverage was on Tashaun Gipson. Jumped the underneath route in quarters.

Seattle Seahawks 27 at New York Jets 17

Vince Verhei: The Jets ordinarily never use tight ends, but with Eric Decker out today and Jarran Reed out for Seattle, they're relying on a heavy dose of two-tight end and six-lineman formations and running plays, with spread formations and crossing routes on third downs. It's effective on their first drive as they run 13 plays for 62 yards and eat up up 8:33 on the clock. In the red zone, Bilal Powell bobbles a third-down pass, and it's ruled incomplete. Seahawks challenge, thinking it was fumbled, but they lose, and Jets kick a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

Carl Yedor: Russell Wilson hits Doug Baldwin deep for a big gain and Baldwin takes a big shot to the head, immediately heading to the sideline to undergo concussion tests. For all the talk about how the NFL doesn't properly use the concussion protocol, examining Baldwin more closely was the right thing to do, so we should point it out when they actually follow their own rules.

Also worth noting, Fox broadcast pointed out Michael Bennett's shoulder pads are actually kicker pads. I had assumed they were quarterback pads, but either way they're quite small.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks take the lead on a touchdown pass from Wilson to C.J. Spiller, signed off the street just a few days ago. Wilson is 6-of-7 for 115 yards through two drives, with the bag catch from Doug Baldwin and a pair of great receptions by Jimmy Graham.

Richard Sherman is covering Brandon Marshall just about every play. Early edge to Marshall in that matchup, with 41- and 14-yard catches so far. But the Jets' third drive ends in penalty weirdness. Seahawks get the Jets in third-and-forever, but Ryan Fitzpatrick breaks three tackles on one play before throwing a dumpoff pass. However, for the second time in three-and-a-half games, the Seahawks get a third-and-forever stop wiped out by a penalty on Cassius Marsh. Next play, Brian Winters catches Michael Bennett with a late blindside hit. A very dirty play and it was an easy 15-yard flag on the Jets -- and Winters actually injured himself throwing this late blindside hit. This is your Keep Choppin' Wood block of the year. It leads to a Jets punt.

Scott Kacsmar: Russell Wilson is playing too well for someone with a high ankle sprain and MCL sprain. This should do wonders for promoting nanobubbles. The touchdowns by C.J. Spiller and Tanner McEvoy are a reminder that NFL seasons don't quite go as planned, even as early as Week 4. We spend a couple of months on teams for the Almanac, and neither player was ever in consideration for being a factor in Seattle this year.

Vince Verhei: Jets blow coverage and Wilson hits Tanner McEvoy for a 42-yard touchdown to put Seattle up 14-3. Wilson is now 10-of-11 for 191 yards and two scores. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is currently living out a common experience right now: A national observer who only sees the Seahawks in highlights and buys into the "Wilson can only scramble" narrative, and then watches Wilson kill his team from the pocket and learns a harsh lesson in the truth.

Should also mention that Seattle's offensive line is holding its own against the Jets' vaunted big three and may even be winning the battle up front. Germain Ifedi is playing for the first time and playing well, but that's still an even bigger surprise than McEvoy and Spiller getting touchdowns.

Marshall beats Sherman for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 14-10 at halftime. Not counting the end-of-half kneeldown, Seattle has only had the ball three times, the Jets four. Most of that drive was the anti-Seahawks special: dumpoffs to the short middle with plenty of YAC. Not breaking tackles, just a big empty void right behind the defensive tackles. Fitzpatrick is having a good day, mostly thanks to Marshall and those dumpoffs.

At half time, Jets are 5-of-9 on third down. Seahawks are 1-of-2. That is not a typo -- Seahawks have two third-down plays in three drives.

Third quarter was the kind of boring slugfest I expected this game would be. Seahawks had two punts and a field goal. Jets had two punts, and have a second-and-16 on the first play of the fourth. Jets defensive line dominated the Seahawks offensive line like they should there. 

Marshall throws Sherman away for a first-down catch on that second-and-16, but flags hit the turf. Everyone on the stadium is expecting an offensive call, but it's actually on Sherman for initiating contact at the start of the play. Next snap, Jets try that matchup again, but Fitz-Six-Picks rears his ugly head and Sherman comes down with the ball.

So it feels like Seattle is dominating, but after that Sherman pick they're still only up by seven with nearly a full quarter to go. Then they get a great catch by Jimmy Graham for 24 yards, a great catch by Paul Richardson for 27 yards, and a Christine Michael touchdown catch to go up 24-10. Graham is right at 100 yards now, his second straight 100-yard day. Seems like all five of his catches today have been tremendous fingertip- or one-handed grabs.

Earl Thomas gets a tip-drill interception. Seahawks follow with a minus-15-yard field goal drive to ice the game, which is the ultimate summary of this second half. Per PFR, only five drives since 1998 have lost more yardage and still ended in a score.

Jets get a fluke touchdown when Ryan Fitzpatrick is hit on fourth-and-1 and 21 players think it's an incomplete pass, but seventh-round rookie Charone Peake scoops it up and takes it in for a 42-yard touchdown. On the Jets' next drive, though, Fitzpatrick throws short, Marshall goes deep, Sherman gets his second pick, and that's game.

Seahawks now have a bye week, then play Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the Falcons in Week 5. How big does that game look now?

Tennessee Titans 20 at Houston Texans 27

Bryan Knowles: Well, the Texans look worlds away from the team that sputtered against New England last week. Brock Osweiler marched Houston down the field, finding C.J. Fiedorowicz for a 14-yard touchdown. Might say more about the quality of the AFC South than anything else, but that drive looked easy.

Play calling matters. Bill O'Brien's taking over play-calling duties for Houston, and you can see a difference immediately. The tight ends are getting involved, and Osweiler has already hit five different receivers. He only hit six in the entire New England game.

Also, after the Texans had every single problem possible in their kickoff return game last week, Tennessee's first kickoff... sails into the end zone.

Cian Fahey: The Titans are actually mixing up their play designs well today. Formations are spread a bit wider and Marcus Mariota isn't turning his back to the defense to start each play. With that said, the big play to Rishard Matthews that set up their first touchdown was a result of awful play design from the Texans. A three-man rush with two players playing man coverage without specific safety help is foolish.

The Titans-Texans game is incredibly high scoring considering neither offense has looked good. Mariota and Osweiler have both left as many plays on the field as they have made, while both defenses lack discipline in their assignments.

Tom Gower: Last year's Titans at Texans game featured 10 punts in the first half, five by each team. With these two teams coming in averaging just 14 points per game, fewest in the league, I thought we might be in for a repeat performance. Instead, the Texans, with head coach Bill O'Brien calling the plays once again instead of offensive co-ordinator George Godsey, came out firing, as people noted. Their first two drives went for touchdowns, and it didn't seem that difficult. Rather than a repeat of Titans at Texans, it felt like a potential repeat of Texans at Titans 2015, won by Houston 34-6.

Then something strange happened -- the Titans started moving the ball. Delanie Walker was wide open for 24 yards (coverage bust?), and that set up a field goal. Kareem Jackson bit on an out to leave Rishard Matthews open for a 60-yard gain on an out-and-up, and it was 17-10 after DeMarco Murray found the end zone. Marcus Mariota threw a horrible off-balance interception, but Osweiler (who has missed a number of throws after the hot start) immediately returned the favor, and the Titans tied it up on the short field.

Neither quarterback has been good (Osweiler's start excepted), but overall there has been a lot more offense in the game than I expected.

The Titans converted a third-and-long! Quinton Spain false-started on third-and-4, making it third-and-9. But Mariota sat in the pocket and found Matthews in the middle of the field after scrambling for the conversion. The Titans had been 0-for-12 on third-and-long (7-plus yards) the last two weeks, and I don't believe they converted one in the first half either. 20-20 after the ensuing field goal, mid-third quarter.

Cian Fahey: The Titans said they would be during the offseason, but I'm still surprised at just how much they rely on DeMarco Murray. Derrick Henry is most definitely a backup rather than a complement.

Scott Kacsmar: Will Fuller looks as advertised -- big plays, but maybe some bad drops too. All in all, should be a fun player to watch. Brock Osweiler also seems like a good choice for him at quarterback, because he's going to throw some bombs and give his guys chances. Unfortunately, he also throws some bad picks and has not been able to get DeAndre Hopkins involved today. But Fuller's first punt return touchdown has broken a 20-20 tie as the fourth quarter approaches.

Rivers McCown: When I compare what Carson Wentz is doing to my first real view of Marcus Mariota this season, it got me thinking that we play the "______ is developing well" game a lot, but don't really think of the developers all that much. I remember being incredibly impressed with Mariota's first five or so games. He has been developed into a total liability by this coaching staff of castoffs.

Osweiler was horrendous after the hot start. His placement was brutal. And yet ... still not the worst quarterback on the field.

Tom Gower: 27-20 final. Only scoring after the tying field goal drive was Will Fuller's punt return. That adequately conveys the second half's level of offensive execution and consistency after the 20-17 first half. Both quarterbacks were somewhat to very bad most of the game outside Osweiler's early proficiency. This game was for first place in the AFC South. I would write more, but I'm sad enough already.

Buffalo Bills 16 at New England Patriots 0

Aaron Schatz: This is like the cutesy offense Olympics The Bills are really the only team left in the NFL that regularly runs plays with a direct snap to the running back, but the Patriots are going to match them today. I don't know if Jacoby Brissett just can't throw downfield at all with the injured thumb, or if the Pats just want the Bills to think this, but I'm guessing that the Pats won't throw a single pass over 15 yards downfield. If they do, it might be thrown by Julian Edelman instead. By the way, we got our first taste of the Edelmancat offense. It went for 1 yard. Whoop-de-do.

Sterling Xie: Both these offenses rely a lot on misdirection, but it's working a lot better for one offense than the other. Buffalo using a steady diet of play-action and some option looks and the Pats look unusually hesitant on defense. Pats almost had a 90-plus-yard play to Edelman on a rollout on the first play of the game, but Chris Hogan got called for both offensive pass interference and holding to nullify that. Two special teams mistakes from Houston gave New England the margin of error they needed last week with Brissett at quarterback, and it's looking like they'll need those types of breaks again to compete this afternoon.

Aaron Schatz: Amazing stat from ESPN Stats & Info: The last time the Patriots did not get a first down in the first quarter was Week 8 of 2011 against the Steelers.

Also, the Bills just declined a neutral zone infraction on the Pats on third-and-21. They decided to take a 13-yard gain and kick a fourth-and-8 field goal instead of getting a shot at a first down or touchdown on third-and-16. That was weird.

Bryan Knowles: The Patriots have 34 yards of total offense. They have been given 35 yards by Buffalo penalties.

Aaron Schatz: The fact that the Patriots offense can't seem to do anything isn't helped by the fact that the defense is having uncommon tackling problems. LeSean McCoy is particularly shifty today.

OK, so, I guess it turns out Jacoby Brisset CAN throw the ball. With six minutes left in the second quarter he just went deep for the first time, to Martellus Bennett, even though Bennett was legit double-covered with a third guy helping over the top. And Bennett caught it AND then got away from the tacklers for extra yards. This team may have some life in it after all...

... or David Andrews could be caught holding on third-and-1 handoff to LeGarrette Blount. And then Brissett fumbled the ball away trying to scramble for a first down on third-and-11.

I'm wondering if the Patriots' film work on Buffalo consisted of nothing but that Marquise Goodwin deep touchdown against the Jets, over and over again. These zones are SO cushy.

Sterling Xie: Related to that, I wonder how many times Goodwin has beaten Logan Ryan on a slant route today. I suppose it only feels like it has been every other play.

Bryan Knowles: Your historical context: the last time the Patriots didn't score at home was 1993, when Boomer Esiason and the Jets handed Bill Parcells a loss in his first year as New England's head coach.

Aaron Schatz: Another note, if I didn't get to it earlier: Rob Gronkowski has been almost entirely a blocker today. I believe they've thrown to him twice all game. Once was just now on fourth-and-6, which went incomplete, defensed by Aaron Williams. At least the Pats tried desperately to tie the game with two touchdown drives instead of kicking some sort of B.S. "reputation-saving" field goal to prevent a shutout with three minutes left.

Tom Brady returns this week, but this defense will still be here and still needs to play better. More importantly, it needs to play better after next week against teams that are not Cleveland.

Vince Verhei: So the Bills more or less dominate Arizona last week and then shut out the admittedly limited Patriots this week. It makes no sense, but apparently firing Greg Roman has fixed the defense.

Rob Weintraub: I assume Walt Patulski is an FO Madden card candidate after the shutout?

Carolina Panthers 33 at Atlanta Falcons 48

Scott Kacsmar: Carolina's secondary has held up well this season without Josh Norman, but he's missed on a day like today against Julio Jones, who has 152 receiving yards in the first half. I thought Jones wasn't 100 percent healthy, but he is running by corners down the field, and while Matt Ryan has been a little off on the passes, they have hit a pair of bombs already. The pick-six is the only thing keeping this a contest with the Panthers down 17-7.

Bryan Knowles:

Jones now has seven catches and 170 yards receiving in the first half; that would be on pace to break the single-game receiving yards record. Of course, to do that, he'd probably need the Panthers offense to get going, and it has definitely been out of sync today. They're missing Jonathan Stewart; Cameron Artis-Payne and Mike Tolbert have combined for 10 rushing yards to this point.

After Kelvin Benjamin was kept catchless last week, he has been targeted just one time today. I credit Atlanta's defensive scheme more than I blame Carolina's offense for that one, but it feels like the Panthers have to figure out a way to get Benjamin involved if they want to get anything going on offense today. They're only down 17-10, thanks to Kurt Coleman returning an interception for a touchdown, but these do not look anything like the Panthers that went to the Super Bowl last season; not even the early-season Panthers who weren't yet firing on all cylinders.

Vince Verhei: Julio Jones just topped 200 yards. There's still more than 20 minutes to go.

Aaron Schatz: It's almost as if a secondary filled with nothing but rookies and slot corners was a bad idea.

Bryan Knowles: To add injury to Carolina's bad day, Cam Newton has left the game. He took a severe shot to the head trying to score on a two-point conversion. He's in the locker room, being evaluated for a concussion. No quarterback in the league has been hit more than Newton this year, and it's taking it's toll.

However, Derek Anderson is one of the better backups in the league, and he marched the Panthers down and just scored. Panthers, somehow, are within a score.

...And Julio Jones just took one to the house. He's up to 300 yards receiving; sixth most in NFL history with four minutes left to go.

Rob Weintraub: I had Matt Ryan as my "most likely to outperform his projection" and today is the reason why. Just felt like their offensive line improvement would allow him to be more comfortable. Helps when Carolina decides to cover Julio with cap space instead of proven defenders.

Bryan Knowles: The Panthers have opted to try to play tight, press coverage on Julio Jones. It's worked really well, I think.

Cam Newton left and did not return. Jonathan Stewart missed the game. Thomas Davis left the field in the second half and did not return. The Panthers are 1-3, and looking up at a two-game gap in the NFC South. The loss to Denver in the season opener was understandable, but it's time to get very concerned if you're a Carolina fan -- everything seems to be going wrong. They have to get that secondary sorted out right quick, or else it's going to be a long, long season.

Cleveland Browns 20 at Washington Redskins 31

Bryan Knowles: Terrelle Pryor is lining up against Josh Norman, one of the best cornerbacks in football. So far, he has been targeted four times, and caught each and every one, including a touchdown. He hasn't played any quarterback yet today, but apparently, he doesn't need to!

Andrew Potter: Amazingly, Cody Parkey looks considerably more like a NFL kicker now that he has actually practiced with his teammates.

Oakland Raiders 28 at Baltimore Ravens 27

Bryan Knowles: Derek Carr is dinking and dunking his way past Baltimore's fifth-ranked defense. He's 14-for-17 for 91 yards and two touchdowns as I write this, including a nifty little fade to Michael Crabtree for a touchdown. Unlike Super Bowl XLVII, Crabtree caught that one ...

Rob Weintraub: John Harbaugh decides to accept a penalty on third down instead of declining it and forcing a Raiders field goal. Carr completes a pass on third-and-long, then on fourth-and-inches he hard-counts the Ravens into jumping offside.

A couple of plays later Carr zips one to Crabtree for six, and Oakland leads 21-12. Carr placed it not only between defenders but turned Crabtree enough to keep Eric Weddle from either breaking it up or truly lighting up the receiver.

Terrible tackling by the Raiders secondary allows Steve Smith (Sr.) to take an intermediate catch to the house. 21-19 Raiders now.

An immediate fumble by the Raiders because of course. Baltimore right into the end zone, naturally, and the two-pointer makes it 27-21.

The Ravens may find a way yet again. But they taunted on the two-pointer, so Oakland has a chance at decent field position.

There it is -- the Raiders right back down the field. Carr to Crabtree for the third time today. Great throw and sensational route and toe drag by the vet. But there is still 2:12 left in the game -- plenty of time for Baltimore to steal another one.

Bryan Knowles: Crabtree's three-touchdown day is his first in his career so far. In his 20 games with Oakland, Crabtree now has 13 touchdowns. Remember, the 49ers let him go to sign Torrey Smith, who, through his first 19 games in San Francisco, has five touchdowns.

Quarterback play might have something to do with that.

Rob Weintraub: Oakland held on to win when Kamar Aiken let a fourth-down pass carom off his equipment because he didn't snatch the ball with his hands. Fundamentals, baby, fundamentals. Both teams now 3-1.

Dallas Cowboys 24 at San Francisco 49ers 17

Aaron Schatz: The Dallas defense is not good. Really getting pushed around up front by the 49ers' offensive line. Even the wide receiver blocking is good -- Torrey Smith just controlled Morris Claiborne easily to give Carlos Hyde the room for the last yard or two of the touchdown that makes it 14-0 San Francisco.

Bryan Knowles: San Francisco's up 14-0 on Dallas early in the second quarter. The 49ers were 4-for-15 on third downs in Seattle; they're 6-for-6 so far today. Blaine Gabbert has shown some nice touch so far -- this is more like the team that throttled the Rams in Week 1 than the team that floundered at Seattle and Carolina the last two weeks.

The Cowboys benefited from a highly questionable call as they came back to tie the score at 14 before the half. Dak Prescott was wrapped up on a third-and-long, and was being brought to the ground. Safety Jaquiski Tartt came in and hit Prescott after the whistle was blown, apparently -- I didn't hear the whistle live, and it seemed like the Tartt hit was the one that actually brought Prescott down. It kept the Cowboys drive alive, and they scored a touchdown off of it.

Of course, that's not the only reason the Cowboys have come back in this one. They're outgaining the 49ers on offense, but the 49ers' success on third down has kept them in the game, as well. There's a rumor on the Twitters that Chip Kelly's calling a more sophisticated game today, basically running a vanilla scheme against Carolina and Seattle because he knew the team was overmatched. That smells a little bit too much 4D-chess to me when a more simple answer would be "the 49ers aren't as good as Carolina or Seattle." Still, on both sides of the ball, the 49ers have looked like a promising, developing, if still bad, team in their two home games so far.

Scott Kacsmar: The 49ers aren't the greatest litmus test, but I do think Dez Bryant is one of the most valuable No. 1 wide receivers in the league due to the way Dallas has constructed this offense. There is a lot of specialization in this offense. Cole Beasley is the very New England-esque slot receiver. Terrance Williams is the deep threat. Jason Witten is the reliable pass-catching tight end, limited to all the underneath stuff given his age. Lance Dunbar is the receiving back. But Bryant can do everything, and he's really the best red zone receiver in the game not named Rob Gronkowski. When he's not in this offense, it's hard to expect Brice Butler (who does have a touchdown today on a well-thrown ball by Dak Prescott) to replace that part. The other guys can play their roles, but it should be a lot easier to defend without Bryant. Of course, a good offensive line can fuel the running game, and Prescott has been fairly accurate. A tougher opponent would expose this more, but the Cowboys still have a good challenge today due to the fact that the defense still isn't very good in Dallas.

Aaron Schatz: The 49ers finally tried to take a deep shot with Torrey Smith, and Gabbert totally underthrew the pass. Interception for Morris Claiborne, and now the Cowboys get the ball back up 21-17. 10:38 left.

Bryan Knowles: 49ers line up for a crucial fourth down, trailing by 7, after the two-minute warning... and have to use a timeout, because their receivers can't get lined up properly. Then, immediate pressure forces Gabbert to the outside, and he throws the ball short of the sticks. The wasted timeout will cost the 49ers 40 seconds if they DO manage to force a three-and-out.

The Cowboys started off sluggish, but eventually turned everything around. The offensive line, in particular, ended up winning the battle at the line of scrimmage, especially after NaVorro Bowman left with what is being reported as a ruptured Achilles. Ezekiel Elliot ran for 138 yards, gutting through the middle of San Francisco's run defense. That's bad.

The 49ers jumped out to that 14-0 lead, but they are not at all equipped to come back from deficits of any size. They have a depressing lack of talent at the wide receiver position, and Blaine Gabbert is apparently 1-for-11 on throws over 20 yards down field. That's bad.

NaVorro Bowman and DeForest Buckner had to be carted off the field, and Jeremy Kerley left with an injury. Even if any of those aren't as bad as they appear now, the 49ers play again on Thursday, and are likely to be depleted there. That's bad.

San Francisco 49ers football. That's bad.

New Orleans Saints 35 at San Diego Chargers 34

Aaron Schatz: Hey, you know that whole thing we say all the time about defenses being less consistent from year to year than offenses? So, Denver's defense is still pretty good this year, and egads the Saints defense is still horrendous. The Broncos have four Tampa turnovers with 2:00 left in the first half, and I still feel very safe in saying that the suck of the Saints defense has carried over from last year stronger than the greatness of the Broncos defense.

Vince Verhei: Chargers are missing Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates, and King Dunlap. It's not totally inaccurate to say that their second-string offense is beating New Orleans' first-string defense today.

Andrew Potter: Well the Saints are missing starting cornerbacks Delvin Breaux (fractured leg) and P.J. Williams (IR, severe concussion), leaving them yet again playing Sterling Moore, B.W. Webb, and undrafted rookie Ken Crawley, so it's not entirely New Orleans' first-string defense. But injuries happen, and that doesn't explain not covering Hunter Henry on the 20-yard touchdown that got San Diego going today. Jairus Byrd has been benched for Vonn Bell, and the linebacker corps has been completely reshuffled, but it isn't really helping. They've given up another three 20-plus-yard plays, including two for touchdowns, to take them past 20 already for the season, and now conceded at least three touchdowns for the third time in four games with Melvin Gordon's score just before the half.

I really don't know what to make of that second half in San Diego. The Saints are not good, did not play particularly well on either offense or defense, and spent chunks of the second half looking like the quarterback and receivers were having their plays called by different people. And yet, they came back to win from a 13-point deficit with five minutes to go, in large part because the Chargers went the full McCree with the game on the line. Two inexcusable fumbles -- the first by Melvin Gordon and a simply inexplicable second by Travis Benjamin -- gave the Saints the ball in scoring range on consecutive drives, both of which ended in touchdowns. On the second, it looked suspiciously like San Diego let John Kuhn score, which I strongly dislike strategically when you have more than a three-point lead. I'd rather force the opposition to score a touchdown than simply assume they will and make my offense come from behind.

I think -- I think -- this says more about the Chargers than the Saints, because I'm pretty sure the Saints would have lost this game under basically any other set of circumstances.

Los Angeles Rams 17 at Arizona Cardinals 13

Vince Verhei: It's 10-10 at halftime, and Arizona's offense continues to disappoint. They did have a nice two-minute drill ending in a Michael Floyd touchdown at the end of the half, but otherwise it has been an ugly show, with one interception in the end zone (a great leaping grab by Trumaine Johnson), a bunch of other passes that could have been intercepted, one field goal, and a bunch of punts. It has been a weird game plan too. In 40 plays, they have 13 runs, while John Brown has 12 targets. Meanwhile, David Johnson has 58 yards on only nine carries, and Chris Johnson 31 on four. Run more!

At least it's easier to explain how they have given up 10 to the Rams. Brian Quick caught a deep out for what should have been a nice gain of 15 or so, but Marcus Cooper missed a tackle, Tony Jefferson badly overran the play, and Quick had nothing but green turf on his way to the end zone. That's more than a third of their first-half offense on that one play.

Part of this, by the way, might be how the Rams always seem to play better against their division rivals than they do against the rest of the league. We talked in Week 2 about how they have handled Seattle, but from 2012 to 2015 they also went 4-4 against the Cards. 

"Big Plays That Weren't Made" Department: First drive of the second half, Tavon Austin torches Patrick Peterson for what is very nearly a big play down the middle, but he can't quite make the diving fingertip grab. Rams challenged the play, which was a terrible decision the announcers immediately pointed out. Sure enough the review went Arizona's way. Incomplete.

Four plays after Austin's non-catch, Chandler Jones beats Greg Robinson for the sack-fumble-recovery trifecta, and the Cards are in business at midfield. And then five plays after that, Aaron Donald gets his own sack-fumble-recovery. This is definitely an NFC West game. Even the good teams in this division play ugly.

More "Big Plays That Weren't": Case Keenum scrambles for a 27-yard gain inside the 10, but the play is wiped out by a penalty and the Rams end up punting. 

Tom Gower: The Rams didn't just punt after Keenum's scramble inside the 10 was negated by a hold. Following the penalty, it was second-and-18. A false start made it second-and-23. After an incompletion, Keenum did one of his Case Keenum things where he runs backwards to get away from pressure and gets sacked anyway, so the Rams went from first-and-goal to fourth-and-37 and punting from inside their own 40.

Vince Verhei: Thank you Tom for pointing out that Keenum had pulled a Keenum. I mentioned this in Quick Reads many years ago, but Keenum is the king of the mega-sack. Officially that sack lost 14 yards. That would be the fifth time in 19 starts since 2013 that Keenum has lost 14 or more yards on a sack. The only other quarterbacks to do that so frequently: Cam Newton (50 starts), Colin Kaepernick (40), and Geno Smith (29)

Cards respond with a 12-play, 72-yard drive, but they stall in the red zone again and kick a field goal to go up 13-10 on the last play of the third quarter. Biggest play of the drive was a 24-yard catch-and-run by David Johnson. Johnson is now at 81 yards rushing, 41 receiving -- per the announcers, that makes him the first back ever to top 100 yards from scrimmage four times in the season's first four games.

Scott Kacsmar: FOX had a graphic on David Johnson that didn't pass the sniff test. It said he was the first player in NFL history to go over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his team's first four games. According to Pro Football Reference, this is the 57th time that has happened since 1960. I think they meant to say team history, which looks accurate.

Vince Verhei: Rams drive down the field and have a third-and-1 at the Arizona 35. They try a swing pass to Todd Gurley, but Tyrann Mathieu is all over it and pushes Gurley out of bounds for a 4-yard loss. Rams could try a 56-yard game-tying field goal, but opt instead to go for it. Keenum tries a deep corner to Brian Quick, but Patrick Peterson breaks up the pass and it's incomplete. I like the fourth-down call, but seriously question that third-and-1 play against a defense that clearly was sitting on the route.

Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure I've ever heard an announcer as apoplectic about bad coaching challenges as Thom Brenneman is right now on the Rams broadcast. I mean, they were really bad, but you don't normally hear an announcer harping on how bad the bad challenges are. That's Twitter's job.

Vince Verhei: Jeff Fisher challenges another incompletion, and once again the announcers are left wondering what the hell he's seeing, because the ball hit the ground twice before Brian Quick pulled it in.

And yet, Eugene Sims and Aaron Donald sack Carson Palmer on third down to force a punt. (Palmer spent several minutes on the Arizona bench, then walked to the locker room.) Tavon Austin returns the punt 47 yards, and gets a facemask penalty on top of that. And it leads to Quick beating Cooper for a touchdown for the second time today. Bad day for Cooper, who has given up two touchdowns and missed multiple tackles today.

They just announced that Palmer is in concussion protocol. Rams are about to kick off up 17-13 with 2:36 to go, and Drew Stanton will be leading Arizona's offense.

Aaron Schatz: Hidden factor in Cardinals' slow start: they have not replaced Jerraud Powers properly across from Peterson. I mean, the Chiefs were willing to give up Marcus Cooper for a conditional seventh, Brandon Williams isn't ready as a rookie, and I guess they feel Justin Bethel isn't good enough. Cooper blew the tackle on the Britt touchdown and is a clear weak spot for opponents to target.

Vince Verhei: I was thinking that before the season. I let myself get talked into the idea that Tyrann Mathieu would take on a bigger role in that position. Should have stuck to my guns.

Aaron Schatz: I thought Bethel would be the starter and be OK there. Oops.

Vince Verhei: I made this comment on Twitter and will repeat it here: Between this game and Saints-Chargers, these are two great games between four teams that look like they're trying to lose.

Thanks to a facemask penalty, a roughing the passer penalty, and an interception that was overturned on replay, Stanton at least gives the Cardinals a chance at a game-winning Hail Mary -- and he throws to a part of the field with two Cardinals and four Rams, and it goes way over the receivers for an easy interception, and the Cards are two full games behind the Rams and Seahawks.

Tom Gower: Don't blame Stanton on the Hail Mary -- Gregg Williams blitzed, and he had no hope but to just chuck it up and hope his guy got there. Aaron Rodgers can throw it so that he can, even from 35 yards away, but he's Aaron Rodgers and Drew Stanton is not.

Denver Broncos 27 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7

Bryan Knowles: That's two weeks in a row with a weather delay in Tampa. Slightly less exciting a finish this week, though.

Sterling Xie: Some not-quite-postgame-but-hey-it's-in-a-lightning-delay-and-practically-over thoughts from this game:

It's so bizarre to imagine that a team might have been genuinely worried about losing Trevor Siemian, but given his four-touchdown game last week and the nice start he got off to today, the Broncos can't have been happy to see Siemian get carted off with a shoulder injury. It's to his non-throwing shoulder, which likely bodes well for a recovery time, but we'll see if there's any structural damage that forces Paxton Lynch into the lineup for the foreseeable future.

The good news for Denver is that if Lynch does start, I can't imagine the offense will really change. Lynch jumped in to a two-minute drill at the end of the second quarter and led Denver to a field goal, then subsequently led the offense on a couple of long touchdown drives to put this out of reach. The Broncos still used a lot of two-back sets and leaned on the running game plus Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders through the air. Lynch came with a reputation as someone who needed more time to develop, but given how little Denver asks from its quarterback, I'd be surprised if he wasn't at least competent as a starter if Siemian misses time.

From a Tampa perspective, this is now the third straight week of really ugly football after a promising Week 1 win in Atlanta (a strong candidate for this year's opening Sunday "How did that happen?" game given how the two teams have diverged since). I still feel a second-half surge coming given the split in schedule difficulty between the first half and the second half, but this feels like 2015's team except with a worse running game. A few bright stars, lots of roster holes, lots of mistakes, and wildly up-and-down play from Jameis Winston.

Kansas City Chiefs 14 at Pittsburgh Steelers 43

Bryan Knowles: Knile Davis just made a terrible decision, not only to take the kickoff out of the end zone, but to then run parallel to the end zone to try to sneak around the oncoming kickoff coverage team. It didn't work. Instead of getting the ball at the 25, the Chiefs are back on the 2.

Rivers McCown: I went to get some food started and put some wash in and the Chiefs are already down 22? What happened?

Bryan Knowles: Alex Smith interception, Spencer Ware fumble, horrible shanked Chiefs punt, and no defense to speak of.

Tom Gower: If I had to summarize the night in one play, I'm not sure if I would choose (a) Darrius Heyward-Bay catching a touchdown pass when he was ridiculously open on a coverage bust (Collinsworth did his usual fine job of explaining what happened -- the Chiefs were in 3-deep and one of the deep defenders followed the outside receiver's in cut, leaving the deep over guarded by nobody); or (b) Alex Smith blindly throwing a screen pass, trusting Spencer Ware to get there, only to see Cam Hayward tip the ball and Jarvis Jones pick it and return it inside the 5 until Smith could bring him down.

Posted by: Andrew Potter on 03 Oct 2016

110 comments, Last at 02 Oct 2017, 1:02am by haiwon45

Comments

1
by collapsing pocket :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 10:55am

I don't think the Chargers let Kuhn score that final TD. That would imply a level of strategic thinking far beyond the capabilities of McCoy and his staff. I think the more likely explanation is that the Chargers are poor against the run and a 1 yard power plunge against them will have a high success rate.

40
by Vandal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:45pm

They most certainly did.

Watching the replay, the Linebackers T-rex arm away from any blocking or filling gaps, it was hilarious to watch. "Oh god, don't touch the O-Line, it's hot, Hot!"

45
by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:07pm
49
by aces4me :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:29pm

I concur with the T-rex arm comment.

78
by collapsing pocket :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:13pm

Sorry, I don't see it.

There's 1 linebacker, 53 (Perry, 3rd string rookie) who could have potentially made the play in that gap. He tried to blow up the lead blocker who came in motion and couldn't shed in time to make a tackle.

84
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:54pm

#20 just stands in the endzone instead of attacking his gap.

2
by Hang50 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:11am

Is it just me, or has Russell Wilson's throwing motion really changed his he hurt his ankle vs. Miami?

3
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:22am

It definitely changed IN the Miami game when he refused to push off his injured foot. Missed the LA game, against SF he seemed mostly healthy, against the Jets he looked slightly less accurate than usual and a lot less mobile.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

6
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:35am

Slightly less accurate? I remember the one-handed Graham sideline catch that was thrown a bit too wide, but other than that he seemed fine. One thing that did stand out yesterday was his willingness to throw into pretty good coverage. It helped that the Jets DBs generally didn't have their head turned around so it wasn't as risky as it seemed, but the TD to Spiller, the sideline pass to Richardson (I thought this one was going to get intercepted) and another sideline pass to Graham were all thrown into quite small windows.

10
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:46am

RW has always thrown into small windows. Partly, he has possibly the best "drop it in the bucket" accuracy I've ever seen. Usually when QBs throw the high touch passes they lose a lot of their accuracy, also when they throw on the run, neither of those things tend to afflict RW.

When I say RW's accuracy was off a little, he's usually very good going to the sideline behind the line or at the line in such a way as the receiver catches the ball looking at the defense with a head of steam. He has been missing that a little bit since the injury. Hey, it's a 26 yard pass after all.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

12
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:57am

Regarding Wilson's accuracy, I wonder if we were watching the same game. He was just about as locked-in as a quarterback could be. His lob to Graham from deep in his own territory was brilliant, and he followed that up with a perfect deep strike to Baldwin (who somehow held on despite a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit), and a needle-threader to Spiller.

What bad throws do you have in mind? I honestly can't remember him missing an open receiver all game. Even when his receivers were covered, he still put the ball in a position for them to make a play (Richardson, numerous times to Graham). Of all the games, it seems very strange to criticize his accuracy after this gem.

14
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:00pm

I may be focusing too much on one play. He missed Willson splitting two defenders with the type of drop in the bucket throw that is usually routine for him. On the other hand he got belted by DT as he threw it on that play.

WHY DO I GET FREAKING SPAM FILTERED EVERY TIME!!
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

64
by mrwalterisgod :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:13pm

The play to Willson was bang-bang. The pressure was on and he needed just a split second more to loft the ball. He does that and its a touchdown.

But, if that's his worst passing play of yesterday, that's a testament to how brilliant he was, despite having 1/3 of a leg to work with.

9
by RoninX :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:42am

I agree. In the Miami game he couldn't follow through. Since then his "set" (e.g. in the pocket) motion (arm, shoulder) looks completely normal to my eyes. His leg stride looks like it could still be a little shorter on average. But honestly I'm going on feel there because often his legs aren't visible in the TV coverage.

4
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:23am

I watched the 49ers and Cowboys, heard the whistle, and the Tartt hit was STILL the wrong call. And, on the ensuing drive the refs missed a clear defensive holding call on 3rd down that allowed the Cowboys to get the ball back and score the second TD before the half. That really was unfortunate and unfair for the 49ers. Marginal teams like that really can't overcome multiple bad officiating calls where each call is effectively a turnover.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

17
by rrsquid :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:07pm

There was a camera angle, where Tartt was running more or less toward the camera and you can clearly see in the background the ref blowing his whistle for at least 2-3 steps. I couldn't find it online anywhere, but remember it from the broadcast.

21
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:16pm

Dak is also still on his feet fighting for yards. If they are going to be that strict on a forward progress call, which I've never seen them that strict before, then every forward progress whistle is going to result in a 15 yard penalty.

They have never enforced forward progress like that before. It may be true by the letter of the rule, but it is not fair to the player, team, or coaches to enforce a rule one time differently than every other time the rule is enforced.

And spam filter!
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

54
by RoninX :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:54pm

Once the whistle has been blowing for a couple seconds it doesn't matter if the player is still "on his feet fighting for yards." The defender *has* to stop once the whistle blows and that goes doublely when it is a QB. Contact that doesn't draw fouls vs. a running RB WILL draw a flag vs. a QB. This is the NFL we live in these days for better or worse.

I agreed with the call on Tartt live and in replay.

69
by JIPanick :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:24pm

I concur.

102
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 12:31pm

What if the whistle is inaudible?

104
by gomer_rs :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 1:05pm

Part of that is the defenders can generally expect when the whistle will blow. On that play there was no way to anticipate that whistle before Dak went down, the play basically recreated one of the absurdities of the old "in the grasp" rule for QBs.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

5
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:31am

so 1 week apart, with more players injured, the steelers were basically jekyll/hyde against doug p's mentor and a very similar scheme and group of personnell

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

16
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:07pm

Well, they did have Le'Veon in the lineup, so that seemed to make a big difference. But last week they likely just had a bad game in a hornets' nest in Philly. Then they got to play at home and took care of business against an inferior opponent. It happens.

23
by RickD :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:26pm

Yeah, but who would have thought that, of the two, KC would be the inferior opponent while Philly would be the behemoth? KC was #2 in both DVOA and DAVE coming into the game.

31
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:36pm

KC also had to rally from 21 down to beat the Chargers at home. They also lost to Houston. Once opponent adjustments are in, I suspect they'll tumble in those rankings.

65
by mrwalterisgod :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:16pm

KC offense hasn't been very good this year, all things considered. I'm not sure which is bigger indictment, the awfulness of the KC defense last night or Reid/Smith refusing to attempt downfield passes to at least try a comeback when there was still plenty of time and the game not totally out of reach.

7
by Anon Ymous :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:36am

Watching the Indy/Jax game, I told my Patriots-fan son, "be very grateful that you watch a team doesn't make these kinds of silly mistakes.. A few hours later, I remarked, "remember what I said earlier about silly mistakes?...

What an ugly game. Quite literally, you'd have a hard time find a single hand's worth of guys who played well yesterday. Ryan Allen... Bennett.... anyone else?

Thankfully the team has a tendency to bounce back well from these types of defeats and the Brady/Cleveland combo should allow for the continuation of that trend.

25
by RickD :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:30pm

But really, the level of the mistakes was much higher in the Jax/Indy game. The Pats' D was soft in the first half, but they didn't just let receivers run past them, uncovered, down the field like Jax did late in the game. The Jaguar defense in the 4th quarter could serve as a case study for why coaches go into the prevent defense. With a huge lead, all they needed to do was not give up quick TDs. And then they gave up three quick TDs.

The Dolphins revealed a flaw in the Pats' ability to defend short passes and Rex is smart enough to exploit a flaw like that, so that's what we saw in the first half yesterday. Still, if the Pats had had Brady, or even Garoppolo, I don't think 16 points would have been enough for Buffalo to win.

8
by TomC :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:36am

Thoughts on a game I blame no one for not watching:

1) Brian Hoyer had a clean pocket all day, and Jordan Howard regularly had NFL-sized holes to run through. This from an offensive line that was absolutely embarrassed weeks 1 & 2. Apparently removing Ndamokung Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ziggy Ansah from a defensive line (not to mention De'Andre Levy from the LB corps) has some deleterious effect.

2) Don't know how much blame for the red-zone picks goes to Stafford and how much to the WRs, but they just can't happen. Between that and the goal-line failure, Detroit left many more points on the board than the winning margin.

3) The Bears also missed several opportunities to put points on the board and effectively salt the game away. And the punt return that turned game-over into some nervous moments was absolutely inexcusable. There was nobody blocking for the return man (Detroit was rushing 10 to try and block the punt), and he still scored. Didn't even look particularly difficult. Anyway, these are two bad teams right now.

4) Hard to tell anything from one game against a bad defense, but Bears fans certainly didn't see anything from Howard to make them unhappy. I don't like a lot of the draft decisions this regime has made (don't get me started on the Invisible Leonard Floyd, especially after watching Laremy Tunsil on Thursday night), but the strategy of taking an RB in the 4th or 5th every year until you get one you really like strikes me as exactly right for this era of the NFL.

11
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:47am

Has the Jim Bob Offensive Revolution ended, now that there is about a half season of video for defenses to study? I was starting to think that Stafford finally was getting the coaching that could turn him to very talented, very efficient NFL qb. Maybe not.

26
by TomC :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:31pm

Well, Stafford was pretty lights-out until this game, so I wouldn't give up on the Cooternaut just yet. Part of the problem was that they had no running game at all, because Abdullah's backup went out early, and they stupidly tried to pretend Theo Riddick could run between the tackles instead of just going full 2007 Patriots. Then they benched Golden Tate after the first pick, and Eric Ebron got banged up, so the Bears could just concentrate on taking away Jones.

36
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:12pm

Stafford was pretty bad against the Titans in week 2. Maybe we are just getting back to high variance Stafford. These guys are the hardest to figure out.

35
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:08pm

It occurs to me there is probably not a long-running series of pornographic films about a superhero named "The Cooternaut" and I am very sad about that fact.

88
by TomC :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 6:34pm

Yeah, I originally intended that to mean "the juggernaut helmed by Jim Bob Cooter," but it reads more like "the intrepid explorer probing the outer reaches of [never mind I'm stopping now]."

[Edit: the spam filter finally caught something worth catching!]

74
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:52pm

After 3 weeks of basically no pressure, the Bears were really good to Stafford. Do the Lions have the worst offensive line in the league or have the Bears figured something out?

89
by TomC :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 6:36pm

They got some inside pressure, but the OLBs were still basically invisible.

42
by LyleNM :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:53pm

Can we make this the official template for people to use when they come here and whine about how FO ignored their team's game in Audibles?

13
by johonny :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:57am

Ne/Buf Luckily the NFL stuck the Dolphins game on Thursday night sparing me and the team apparently from watching the game. Martellus Bennett is really good and oddly passed along from team to team in the NFL. The Pats seemed comfortable using him over Gronk in the passing game and the results indicated it was the right move at this point. The oddest part of the game was the Pats sort of half-hearted final drive where they didn't call time outs, go hurry up, or just take a knee, but clearly weren't trying too hard to score. I didn't understand why they didn't just take a knee if they weren't exactly going all out. Particularly after a few players went down in that final minute of garbage play. AFC east update 1) Pats lost a game but will gain Brady. 2) the Bill have slid into second. Ryan teams tend to get high and low so I'm not sold they're back yet. 3) The Jets look okay at times in their games, but they're not winning and they're QB throws lots of INTs. 4) Miami is terrible. The rest of the season is about learning if this young head coach can keep the team together and figure out who will be there next season.

19
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:13pm

Bennett weird guy. probavbly why gets passed form team to team. look how quick Gaints got rid of him. they don't; usually like weird people umnelss major talent like o. beckham jr and l. taylor.

97
by BJR :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 10:18pm

Belichick is clearly one of the very few coaches who possesses the leverage with his fans/owner to not make a serious attempt at a comeback in that obviously futile situation. But even then, there might be some reaction if they just started taking knees. Fans have paid for tickets after all.

105
by CaffeineMan :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 4:09pm

"Belichick is clearly one of the very few coaches who possesses the leverage with his fans/owner to not make a serious attempt at a comeback in that obviously futile situation."

Definitely true. My take on this is the same as my take on the "Belichick runs up the score" claim: Padded practice reps are now rare, so if the game is out of reach (either way), he will use the remaining time for practice reps.

Regarding not taking a knee, I won't say Belichick NEVER worries about injuries, but he won't go out of his way to avoid them if he thinks there's something else to be gained.'

15
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:03pm

"Bryan Knowles: Knile Davis just made a terrible decision, not only to take the kickoff out of the end zone, but to then run parallel to the end zone to try to sneak around the oncoming kickoff coverage team. It didn't work. Instead of getting the ball at the 25, the Chiefs are back on the 2."

Knile Davis cost his team 38 yards in field position on the first three kickoffs because he took them all out of the end zone, and each time failed to reach the 25. Why these guys keep doing this is beyond me.

I noticed later Knile Davis wasn't back to return a kick off.

22
by jtr :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:20pm

I have a theory that it's a mistake to have a minor player like Davis return kickoffs. So far this season, Davis has one carry, two receptions, and six kickoff returns. So kickoff returns have been 2/3 of his touches so far this season, and he's likely to have even fewer offensive snaps in the future now that Charles is back. I suspect that when a player gets very few opportunities outside of kickoff returns, it causes him to press especially hard to try to make a big play, even though touchbacks are overwhelmingly the smart play with the new rule. It might be a better idea to use returners who have a more established role on the team, so they won't feel like a big kickoff return is their only way to make a mark.

38
by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:25pm

Now, that IS an interesting theory. Might be something I'll take a look at this offseason when I have a little more time; see if there's any correlation whatsoever.

27
by Andrew Potter :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:32pm

Davis was taken out of the game for a concussion eval, I believe after his third offensive touch. No idea whether he passed the eval.

18
by tjb :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:08pm

Zach Brown has been a monster at ILB for the Bills this season - 2 forced fumbles and 52(!!!) tackles in 4 games and it seems like he is just everywhere on every play (he even ran down Julian Edelman from behind on the long pass that was called back). What happened in Tennessee that they let this guy walk?

53
by Shylo :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:45pm

Massive headcase.

20
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:14pm

afc power rankings
1./ Raiders
2. Steelers 3
Pates
4-6 other twams
7-16 also rans

28
by RickD :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:32pm

Where do the Broncos fit in there? Just curious. 4-6, I presume?

33
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:58pm

oh, forgot about broncios. probably 2. so Pates and Styeelers at 4 and 3

48
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:28pm

Forgot about the team that's been in first place in the AFC West since Week 11... of 2013? Probably just an oversight :-)

55
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:54pm

you might have meant since week 11 of 2011. They've won teh afc west that long

62
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:07pm

to manny sierara nevaddas

71
by BroncFan07 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:38pm

Actually, to start 2013, KC was in first place the first 10 weeks in a row because they started 9-0 while Denver had an early loss. Once Denver beat KC in the first matchup, that year, they've been in first or shared it every week since.

But yes, 5 AFC West titles in a row. This kinda must be what Patriots fans feel like.

77
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:59pm

multiply that number by 3(roughly) and you then experience what the patriots have experienced. The closest analogue would the colts - who owned the division with PM year after year.

100
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 8:46am

Both teams, of course, occupy divisions populated by idiot brigades.

The Jets could finish second in a one-team division.

103
by Rocco :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 12:37pm

What's funny is the Jets/Dolphins/Bills have been bad over the last 15 years but not bad enough to consistently land top-5 picks and make themselves better. They've been middling and mediocre which is the worst thing to be.

106
by _Brian :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 11:39pm

Broncos, on the other hand, have to face real competition each year to win their division. It's not clear which is best for building a competitive team.

Surely the free ride for the Colts didn't help Manning force the owner to build a viable team around him. That may be a longer term issue, though: Elway also had to abandon the Colts to get real support from Bowlen in Denver.

24
by jtr :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:27pm

Going back to week 17 last year, Fitzpatrick has thrown 13 picks in five games. There's just something about playing QB for the Jets that seems to bring out the worst in people.

BTW, one of the ads has been completely breaking the page formatting in Chrome, making things very difficult to read.

29
by RickD :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:33pm

That's why I use adblock.

37
by deus01 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:12pm

uBlock origin is better. It's faster and doesn't sell whitelisting to advertisers. But you can still use the same blocking lists and of course whitelist things yourself that you want to support.

34
by Led :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:00pm

Just as bad as the INTs (but less memorable) are the TDs left on the field because he's so inaccurate down the field. He's had at least a couple in each game. You could make the case that the differences between the Jets/Cinci and Jets/Seattle were that Dalton and Wilson didn't miss when they had their guys open deep and Fitz did.

96
by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 8:50pm

I think the problem is mostly that the team management has no idea what good quarterback play looks like. The only decent prospect they have drafted since Pennington is Geno, and they mishandled him horribly. If they're lucky, Geno will pull a Kirk Cousins, and be solid when he replaces Fitzpatrick. It's reasonable to laugh at that suggestion. Petty looked decent in preseason, but his college career makes it doubtful he'll work out. That they drafted Hackenberg in the second round speaks volumes.
Overall, the Jets history is of either drafting fool's gold at the position (Sanchez, Browning Nagle, Clemens, perhaps you can throw Richard Todd and Geno Smith in there), or getting a franchise quarterback and then destroying him. Namath, Ken O'Brien and Pennington all became ineffective due to injury after playing very well early in their careers. Pennington and Namath were injured in preseason games; the Namath injury was a nasty cheap shot, Pennington got hurt when he played behind a back-up center in the Giants game. Thanks Herm. O'Brien took too many sacks in 85 and 86 due to a faltering offensive line and Walton's system. They've never had a franchise level quarterback and a good head coach together since Namath and Ewbank.

30
by TomC :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:36pm

I watched large chunks of the LA-ARI game (because I am a masochist), and my god are the Rams a frustrating team. That defense is unbelievable, but Keenum is brutal, and Fisher might be worse at his job than Keenum is at his (Brenneman was absolutely right to go nuts over those challenges---they were the worst I've ever seen).

32
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:40pm

Jameis Winston's bad numbers against the Cardinals and Rams were by and large the result of a lot of fluky plays; passes bouncing off Charles Sims and right to DBs, balls knocked out of his hands by his own players, and things like that. Lots of turnovers, but comparably few really bad passes. He made up for that yesterday; Winston was simply awful, and both his early picks by Talib were just simply terrible throws. Add to that the fact that the reason Charles Sims is considered to be a good third-down back is he's excellent in space, and the reason he's not considered an every-down back is he melts at contact and can't power throw the line. Jacquizz Rodgers actually had some success running, but Sims kept getting the ball. Really like Charles Sims for what he is, but he doesn't have the power or more importantly the patience to be a consistent running threat; I feel like the moment he gets the ball he's going full-bore to try to get through the line, and watching Bell run last night and patiently wait for his linemen to give him a hole against KC was showing me everything Sims doesn't do.

Paxton Lynch is going to wind up getting a whole bunch of positive press for playing well in the second half, but Tampa was basically out of linemen at that point. Jacques Smith is a limited speed rush-only DE, but at least can provide some pressure, and he's on IR. Robert Ayers? Out for the game. Within a few minutes, Gerald McCoy went down with a calf injury, and then rookie Noah Spence went out. So, basically, the four people on Tampa's line you might expect to be able to rush the passer at all were all injured, so Paxton Lynch might as well have been wearing a red jersey and throwing in practice for all the pressure he was facing. This is essentially why I didn't buy the "Tampa is a surprise playoff team this year" narrative; the team has plenty of talent, but very little depth. Once the starters go down, there's not a lot there.

That game reminded me of the Rams game in the sense that it was a game Tampa easily could have won, but they were too busy making silly mistakes.

Also, and this will be surprising, Chris Conte is still not good at playing safety.

39
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:26pm

I see the AFC as again being a race for HFA in the playoffs. The Patriots stealing the opener in Arizona may end up being decisive, but looking at remaining schedules of AFC contenders, I guess the Broncos have the least steep path.

I think the NFC is up fpr grabs, and have no idea how to handicap it. If the Seahawks were to get HFA, I'd obviously favor them, but looking at their schedule. I could easily see them having road playoff games.

41
by LyleNM :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:52pm

I think the NFC is up fpr grabs, and have no idea how to handicap it. If the Seahawks were to get HFA, I'd obviously favor them, but looking at their schedule. I could easily see them having road playoff games.

It will probably depend on just how easy Minnesota's and Green Bay's schedules end up being. And whether or not Philadelphia is a legitimate contender for HFA. Arizona and Carolina are probably no longer in the HFA conversation.

46
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:09pm

I just don't know what to make of anything, at this point. As much as I'd like to be hopeful about the Vikings, until a team can show the ability to block somebody occasionally, the example of Denver last year notwithstanding, I just can't have a lot of confidence in them.

I really fear for Sam Shields' career at this point, and if he isn't playing, I don't like the Packer defense nearly as much.

75
by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:54pm

McCarthy was asked about Shields over the weekend. He's still having issues from his latest concussion and it's unknown if he might play next week. They play the Giants at home next Sunday night and I don't like their chances stopping ODB, Cruz, and their rookie WR after seeing the DBs get torched the last couple weeks. It could end up 38-35 or similar.

80
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:19pm

What is it, 4 known concussions now, with lingering effects of this latest one lasting weeks? I hate to say it (and thank goodness that he got to his 2nd contract), but his career really is in peril.

92
by dank067 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 7:29pm

Lingering effects of his concussion last season cost him about a month as well. I think he's essentially only played in two competitive games between these occurrences. Would hate to see his career end this way but given the trajectory he seems to be on I would also feel more than a little queasy seeing him back out on the field...

91
by dank067 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 7:22pm

Still very early in the seasons but probably safe to say that the Packers and Vikings vs. the NFC East look like much better matchups now than they did going into this season. All four East teams look pretty competitive and should be a good game tonight.

GB and MIN do both still get three games against the AFC South though.

73
by johonny :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:42pm

The Pats are going to be a team which this websites system has a hard time with. They seem to be winning on special teams and forcing their opponent into long drives. They had two shaky wins, one blow out win, and one game with little offense. That Cardinal game is suddenly not looking to be as great a win as thought at the time, and giving all those points to the Dolphins is sort of head shaking too. They got 12 games with Brady to catch up with where we think they'll be, but right now you have to think they're going to be rated iffy but not terrible on offense and defense but high in ST.

43
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:55pm

For as good as the Seahawks played, their play calling/clock management was highly questionable at the end of the game. With a chance to go up three scores and take the clock down to around 3:30 (or force the Jets to use timeouts), they threw an incomplete pass on first down and then nearly got sacked out of field range a play later (Hauschka bailed them out with a 53-yarder). Then they inexplicably threw incomplete with under two minutes left, up 10, and the Jets out of timeouts. Why? Just run into the line of scrimmage (or better yet kneel down) and punt. Also, Wilson took the sack when he should have thrown it away and threw it away when he should have taken the sack.

I guess it's less irritating as a fan to have your team be too aggressive as opposed to too conservative, but this type of thing could come back to bite them in a closer game. (Remember the Giants-Cowboys in the opener last year?)

47
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:10pm

I don't see a problem with that at all. If you want to practice throwing in late-game situations where the opponent is expecting you to run three times and punt, what better game to do it than one where the opposing offense has been completely toothless in the second half?

59
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:00pm

Also, the Seahawks now have this on tape so the opposing coaches really can't overplay the line of scrimmage in similar future situations.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

67
by LyleNM :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:18pm

Then they inexplicably threw incomplete with under two minutes left, up 10, and the Jets out of timeouts. Why? Just run into the line of scrimmage (or better yet kneel down) and punt.

Because a first down there quite literally ends the game. (Just kneeldowns.) It wasn't there so throw it away and punt. They still had a 10 point lead so the Jets would have had to score quickly and get an onside kick, anyway. Odds not in the Jets favor....

81
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:31pm

The odds are not in the Jets favor no matter what the Seahawks do in that situation, so that's not really a good justification for any particular call.

It's true that a first down ends the game, but I don't think that reward justifies the risk of an incompletion (and thus 40 more seconds on the clock). And certainly the 10-yards in lost field position from taking a sack isn't worth stopping the clock -- Wilson should have just gone down.

It's possible that with a comfortable lead the Seahawks were just trying things out, but I suspect not. My guess is that this is how they would have played in a closer game, which is a bit disconcerting for fans.

Just last year the Giants had an analogous situation in their opener against the Cowboys where they "went for the win" instead of just running clock (and Eli threw an incompletion instead of taking a sack), and the Cowboys had just enough time to drive down and kick the game winning field goal.

86
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 5:26pm

You really think the play call on the Wilson sack was for Wilson to take a 15-yard sack if no one was open? It looked to me that he simply didn't see the two defenders to his right.

"My guess is that this is how they would have played in a closer game, which is a bit disconcerting for fans."

Was it disconcerting when they did the same thing multiple times while up by only 5 against Carolina in week 1 of 2013, preventing the Panthers from getting the ball back and securing what proved to be the difference between a 1st seed and a 5th seed? Here's the relevant section of the play-by-play (emphasis mine):

1st and 10 at SEA 8 (5:25 - 4th) M.Lynch right end to SEA 3 for -5 yards (L.Kuechly).
2nd and 15 at SEA 3 (4:42 - 4th) R.Wilson pass short left to D.Coleman to SEA 15 for 12 yards (C.Munnerlyn).
3rd and 3 at SEA 15 (4:35 - 4th) R.Wilson pass short middle to D.Baldwin to SEA 28 for 13 yards (C.Godfrey)
1st and 10 at SEA 28 (3:57 - 4th) M.Lynch right guard to SEA 30 for 2 yards (T.Davis; L.Kuechly).
2nd and 8 at SEA 30 (3:51 - 4th) Timeout #2 by CAR at 03:51.
2nd and 8 at SEA 30 (3:51 - 4th) R.Wilson pass short left to G.Tate to SEA 48 for 18 yards (M.Addison).
1st and 10 at SEA 48 (3:07 - 4th) M.Lynch left guard to CAR 47 for 5 yards (J.Beason)
2nd and 5 at CAR 47 (2:24 - 4th) R.Wilson pass short right to D.Coleman to CAR 36 for 11 yards (T.Davis).
1st and 10 at CAR 36 (2:17 - 4th) M.Lynch right tackle to CAR 36 for no gain (L.Kuechly).
2nd and 10 at CAR 36 (2:14 - 4th) Timeout #3 by CAR at 02:14.
2nd and 10 at CAR 36 (2:14 - 4th) M.Lynch up the middle to CAR 22 for 14 yards (D.Moore; G.Hardy)
1st and 10 at CAR 22 (2:00 - 4th) R.Wilson kneels to CAR 23 for -1 yards.
2nd and 11 at CAR 23 (1:19 - 4th) R.Wilson kneels to CAR 24 for -1 yards.
3rd and 12 at CAR 24 (0:40 - 4th) R.Wilson kneels to CAR 25 for -1 yards.

Of course you won't like the result when the pass falls incomplete. But personally I hate the typical run, run, incomplete pass on third-and-long, punt much more, especially without someone as good as Lynch providing the runs.

93
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 8:13pm

I don't think the call was for Wilson to take the sack, I question why they called a play that exposed them to a big sack on the edge of field goal range, when three points would nearly ice the game (they'd be up three scores).

And the example that you cite isn't at all comparable to any situation the Seahawks faced on Sunday. In the Panthers game (great game, by the way, I remember it well), they were only up one score, and they were deep in their own territory. Just because it was smart to be aggressive in that instance (and I think it was), doesn't mean it's smart to be aggressive in all instances. It's all about the situation -- that's my point. Run, run, run, punt is sometimes the right move.

99
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:15pm

"And the example that you cite isn't at all comparable to any situation the Seahawks faced on Sunday. "

It's comparable to your hypothetical situation, when you said My guess is that this is how they would have played in a closer game, which is a bit disconcerting for fans. I watched the three plays you mentioned. Michael completely blew the first play as I mentioned below. I agree that the second play call wasn't good, because Wilson did have quite a deep drop. Graham was entirely at fault for the third play. Even with a little bit of blocking Wilson would have had a completely open Willson, but Graham completely whiffed on his man. As the coaching staff, I certainly would like to know the sort of things that could go wrong on a play like this in a game where the opponent isn't going to score 10 minutes in the next two minutes than a game with a better opponent.

As for run, run, run, punt, I'll point you to the Cincinnati game last year. Seattle's last three drives ended with:

Up 17: run, run, incomplete pass, punt, Cincinnati gets TD.
Up 10: pass, run (first down), run, run, incomplete pass, punt, Cincinnati gets TD.
Up 3: run, run, 0-yard sack, punt, Cincinnati gets tying FG, ends up winning in OT.

So the one time they threw it on first or second down was a good result, and they had great success throwing all day, just like they did against New York. If they had thrown it on first or second down a couple more times and picked up another first down or two, they would've left Cincinnati with no time to make the comeback.

87
by mrwalterisgod :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 6:13pm

"My guess is that this is how they would have played in a closer game, which is a bit disconcerting for fans"

For whatever reason, Seattle struggles to finish games on offense, even when they've put the game away against a lesser opponent (see yesterday).

Other examples of this can be found in the loss to Cinci last year, Carolina home loss last year, and the Minnesota playoff game. In each game, Seattle had the opportunity to run down the clock and finish the game without the defense seeing the field. They did this in none of those games, and were very fortunate to win that playoff game.

As a Seattle fan, this is not a new issue for the Seahawks. What gets lost in the SB 49 loss is Seattle's non-existent 4th quarter offense prior to the final drive. It's as big a reason they lost that game as the horrendous final playcall.

90
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 7:11pm

"For whatever reason, Seattle struggles to finish games on offense, even when they've put the game away against a lesser opponent (see yesterday).

As a Seattle fan, this is not a new issue for the Seahawks."

But it's quite a turnaround from 2012 (and the first game of 2013 as I mentioned above). While the 2012 defense was horrible at holding small 4th-quarter leads (gave up scores to Arizona, Detroit, Miami and Atlanta), their offense was excellent at it.

Against Dallas, up 13: went on a 7.5-minute TD drive, followed by a 6.5-minute clock-chewing drive that ended on downs.

Against Carolina, up 4: wasted 3 minutes on a drive, leaving Carolina down 4 with a minute left and no timeouts. Not that impressive, but considering Carolina had to use two timeouts, it achieved its purpose, given that run-run-incomplete pass-punt would've only wasted 15 seconds.

Against Minnesota, up 7: went on a 5.5-minute FG drive, followed by another 5.5-minute drive that ended the game.

Against NYJ, up 21: went on a 7.5-minute drive that ended the game.
Against Washington, up 10: wasted 3 minutes on a drive while forcing Washington to use all three of its timeouts, leaving them with only a minute left.

94
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 8:24pm

"For whatever reason, Seattle struggles to finish games on offense, even when they've put the game away against a lesser opponent (see yesterday)."

This has happened too many times the past few years, but I don't think it's so much about clock management and play calling as it is lack of execution/unfortunate timing. In the Super Bowl and the Cincinnati game the Seahawks had deep passes down the sideline in the fourth quarter that barely missed (in the Super Bowl Kearse couldn't quite hang on; in the Cincy game Lockett caught it but barely stepped out).

I can't think of a game where they really had to play the clock one way or the other, so I'm not sure if Pete Carroll is good at it or not, which is why I didn't like what I saw on Sunday, even though it really didn't matter to the final outcome.

98
by Perfundle :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 11:05pm

When you're trying to milk the clock you shouldn't be throwing deep to begin with. There's a much bigger risk of the receiver dropping it or stepping out of bounds just like that. Make short safe passes to the outside since the opponent is loading the box thinking run; look at the two passes to the FB Coleman against Carolina that both gained over 10 yards. I don't know what the pass to Tate was, but I'm guessing it was a screen since it said it was a short pass. I just rewatched the end of the Jets game, and the first pass after Thomas' interception was a deep pass to Michael, who inexplicably stopped running his route. I don't really mind the call, because it probably would've been a TD if Michael played it correctly, but it's another example of how deep passes can go wrong (receiver drops, going out of bounds, getting jammed by DBs, route miscommunication).

44
by tsmonk :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 1:57pm

Bryan Knowles: "To add injury to Carolina's bad day, Cam Newton has left the game. He took a severe shot to the head trying to score on a two-point conversion. He's in the locker room, being evaluated for a concussion. No quarterback in the league has been hit more than Newton this year, and it's taking it's toll."

Not exactly getting the whole story here. Cam's getting hit more than anyone because Cam's making really bad decisions.

52
by Joe Pancake :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:41pm

I don't watch enough Panthers to know if it's a habitual thing, but he definitely made a bad decision on the play that knocked him out of the game. Most players go low and plunge into the end zone there, smartly minimizing the chance of a big collision. Newton went high and then to make matters worse, it looked like he slowed up for some reason, and let the Falcons defender get a clean shot him. Rough play. Hopefully he's okay.

70
by gomer_rs :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:27pm

My first impression seeing that play was Cam misread the play, thought he had a very easy score but someone he thought was blocked was actually in the process of coming free. Really stupid for a player to ever jog into the endzone.
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

66
by Bryan Knowles :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:17pm

No, you're right, a sizable portion of Cam's hits are his fault--not all of them, but a decent proportion. Doesn't change the fact that he's getting hit a ton, more than any other quarterback in the league, and, well, that's not good for the Panthers.

72
by tsmonk :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:39pm

Point taken. Me implying it's 100% his decision-making is silly.

50
by MJK :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:35pm

I think playing a team starting an injured Jacoby Brissett had more to do with "fixing" the Bills defense than firing Greg Roman.

51
by MJK :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:40pm

Regarding the Patriots defense...they did look bad, especially in the first half, and especially when trying to tackle McCoy...but they did hold the Bills to 16 points, and that while their offense was doing exactly nothing.

Change just a few fluky things unrelated to the defense...have the officials miss the calls on Hogan and Andrews, have Brandon Bolden catch the TD passs, have the officials actually call the PI on Edelman or the late hit on Brissett that they missed...and all of a sudden, this game looks more like 16-10 or 16-13 going into the 4th quarter. Then maybe we're talking about how the defense did "just enough to win" instead of how it looked bad.

Bottom line...I think the defense will be fine. The team just looked shoddy and ill-prepared across the board. Even special teams, normally a Pats' strength, made some terrible mistakes. Two muffed kicks, a missed FG, and two ill-advised KO returns that set them up in poor position.

58
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:59pm

Ill-prepared seems strange given that they had 10 days to prepare.

Do teams give them an extra time off to recover from the quick succession of a Sunday-Thursday combo?

95
by mehllageman56 :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 8:38pm

Yes they do. Usually it's an advantage, but for the AFC East teams nothing is working normally when it comes to Thursday games. The Jets played dumb with ten days to prepare for KC, the Bills couldn't win on a Thursday with home field advantage against a team they are probably better than, and the Pats did what they did yesterday. The Pats did destroy the Texans on a Thursday night, and the Dolphins did play to form last Thursday, but so far the division has been a little weird so far. Brady will get it back to normal.

56
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:56pm

This season will test just how willing irsay is to eat a loss on the money he foolishly threw at Pagano and Grigson this year. I really wish I could have asked what he was thinking when he did so. It wasn't like he even had to fire Pagano - the contract was up and he could have just not renewed.

60
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:03pm

Maybe Luck has developed deep, hard to uproot, ties to the city of Indianapolis, in the few short years he has lived there, and if so, great for him. If his agent did not at least try to convince Luck to at least consider ways of getting away from the Irsay-Grigson-Pagano mess, that's a bad agent.

61
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:07pm

Irsay tossing out contract extensions to these people just doesn't make sense. It's almost like he's on drugs or something.

63
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:12pm

Nah, he just knows a lot of doctors, and he drives around with a brief case filled with cash because he likes to find bargains at flea markets.

68
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:18pm

All kidding aside, the circumstances surrounding Irsay's arrest a few years ago makes me wonder if he has ever come close to getting himself killed via a fentanyl hot dose, mislabeled as oxycontin, like what appears to have happened to Prince earlier this year. Dangerous way to live.

76
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 3:58pm

Irsay has really been comparably pretty quiet the last few years so he's no longer walking around waving a giant "I AM STONED ON SOMETHING 95% OF THE TIME" sign like he used to, but, based on whatever public behavior he's ever shown, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd just quietly wander off to rehab and get better and then not repeatedly tell everybody about it in inspiring pregame interviews. One of the perils of living in unimaginable wealth (a peril I'd happily face) is the pressure to stop isn't going to come from hitting rock bottom, because you can always bounce off that giant pile of money at the bottom.

85
by Will Allen :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 5:00pm

Yeah, I don't know if one of his conditions of probation included regular urine tests, and if so, how long the regimen was required. If he hasn't been forced into drug testing, I'd be kind of surprised if he has stayed clean.

57
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 2:56pm

This season will test just how willing irsay is to eat a loss on the money he foolishly threw at Pagano and Grigson this year. I really wish I could have asked what he was thinking when he did so. It wasn't like he even had to fire Pagano - the contract was up and he could have just not renewed.

79
by fmtemike :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:18pm

The Jags werent in quarters. They had a single high safety, covering a blitz from the DB over the slot receiver. The safety stayed middle to disguise the blitz, but the inside receiver ran an out--perfect call, by coincidence. Ramsey had the z man on man but let him take the inside where there was no safety help. He looked back at the slot receiver and got burned by his man.If it was Gus's Seattle, Earl Thomas is all over the slot guy and Richard Sherman denies him the inside and makes the QB throw over his shoulder on the sidelines. But this is Jax.

82
by theslothook :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:42pm

I hope Tomlin_is_infallible at least gives some credit to his namesake on this day. If not, then it's a selective, "we won in spite of him, we lost because of him"

83
by LyleNM :: Mon, 10/03/2016 - 4:51pm

Yeah, I wasn't really expecting to be hearing from him this week...

101
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/04/2016 - 8:49am

Outside of a big play on a screen pass that almost was a two yard gain, Bradford missing on a pass that would have at least likely provided 3 more points, and a missed 46 yarder, the Vikings pretty much played their game exactly the way Zimmer wants to do it. They scored the points readily available to them, while their qb avoided significant contact, they played well on special teams, and most importantly, their defense just choked out the opposing offense like a python on a monkey. Eli didn't get any contact largely because the Giants weren't willing to risk running any longer developing plays, and Eli gets it out quick, but the result was that nobody ever got open.

Personnel dictates playcalling, always, and the Vikings have terrific defensive personnel, but Zimmer matches up pretty damned well against any offensive playcaller.

109
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