Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the Line: Week 2

Julio Jones
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

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 emails 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 Seahawks 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 19 at Tennessee Titans 17

Bryan Knowles: Uh, so, the opening pyro kind of fell over, and the Titans' field is on fire. There may be a small delay in getting this one started.

Scott Spratt: It's a real barn burner early, Bryan.

Offensive tackle David Quessenberry with a receiving touchdown. First lineman score of the year I think?

Bryan Knowles: The Colts get a touchdown, helped by a 55-yard rush by Jordan Wilkins. But! They miss the extra point, so Tennessee is just down two.

Adam Vinatieri may be washed. He has missed two extra points today, on top of his nightmare day from Week 1.

Aaron Schatz: The Titans, down 19-17, need to come back. They throw to Tajae Sharpe on third-and-10 and he catches it at the sticks, then for some reason reverses to try to gain more yardage and gets tackled. So fourth-and-1 that should have been a first down. And that becomes fourth-and-6 when Mariota somehow can't get the play off in time and is flagged for delay of game. So the Titans punt with 3:38 left, losing by two. Yuck.

I love you Frank Reich. Reich not only goes for it on fourth-and-1 on his own 35, up 19-17 with 2:23 go, but he calls a quarterback sneak ... and it's good!

Bryan Knowles: Frank Reich, playing for the win. Deep in Tennessee territory, hanging on to a two-point lead, the Colts go for it on fourth-and-inches. The Jacoby Brissett sneak works, and Tennessee's way behind the eight-ball now.

Tom Gower: I'll write up Titans-Colts later, after I stop wanting to throw things.

(Time passes.)

What's the best way to recap this game, to give a high-level overview or a blow-by-blow account of how it all went down?

The Colts won, 19-17. Adam Vinatieri missed two extra points, giving the Titans a chance for a last-minute field goal drive to come away with the win. But Cairo Santos, after missing a 45-yarder earlier, did not get a chance for redemption as the Titans would end up spiking the ball twice in the same set of downs. When Marcus Mariota's pass for A.J. Brown fell incomplete on fourth down, that was it.

This was a pretty stereotypically AFC South contest, with all that implies. Both offenses executed only inconsistently, in stretches, and neither displayed much natural explosiveness. There were three plays of 20 yards or more in the game: one mega-pass interference penalty on Titans corner Adoree Jackson, a 25-yard Mariota completion to Corey Davis to set up the Titans' second touchdown, and a 55-yard run by Marlon Mack backup Jordan Wilkins to set up what turned out to be the winning touchdown. After their first regular season loss when going +2 in turnover margin since 1998 last week, the Colts returned the favor to the Titans this week, who had not lost a game at +2 or better since 2002. Offensive tackle David Quessenberry, playing as an extra offensive lineman in a goal-line package, had the Titans' first touchdown.

The easiest high-level takeaways are about the quarterbacks. Jacoby Brissett is capable of making competent plays, but takes too long to do almost everything. Even with the much-improved offensive line, he needs things to go well and his first read to be open to succeed. While reasonably accurate, he lacks elite placement. The result is that there probably were, like the Chargers game, deep shots that he didn't attempt that a more aggressive quarterback would have (as was the case in 2017). Mariota has the same exasperating qualities he displayed at times at Oregon and has had his whole time in the NFL. The most illustrative play may have been I believe the third-and-5 (a huge trouble spot, largely because the Titans spent almost all of the day in third-and-long) before Santos' missed field goal: Mariota didn't see anything open, looked to scramble, realized Darius Leonard was spying on him, and went down for a 7-yard sack, turning a 38-yard attempt into that 45-yarder. Or perhaps it was the final 67 seconds with no timeouts, when he kept throwing to the middle of the field and short of the first-down marker. I'm sure the Colts were guarding the sideline and deeper throws. I'm sure that wouldn't always have dissuaded a more situationally aggressive quarterback.

Overall, I came away feeling worse about both teams, and specifically that Tennessee missed a big opportunity to show that the same collection of players, coached by the same people, was not the same team we saw last year that they spent all offseason talking about going "good to great" with.

Arizona Cardinals 17 at Baltimore Ravens 23

Scott Spratt: Lamar Jackson has already connected with Marquise Brown three times on their opening drive, including a beautiful sideline catch where Brown showed great foot control to stay in bounds. Very easy touchdown drive that went the full length of the field. Jackson looked very crisp with his throws.

Aaron Schatz: Kliff Kingsbury kicked a field goal on fourth-and-1 from the Baltimore 4. This follows on all the short field goals last week. Kingsbury runs an offense that analytics people love, but apparently he doesn't listen to any analytics people when it comes to win probability analysis.

Bryan Knowles: David Johnson leaves the game with a wrist injury. That's the injury that cost him nearly all of 2017. Currently questionable to return.

The Cardinals decided to go for a fourth-and-1 from the Ravens' 46 and Kyler Murray converts it with a run ... except Kingsbury called a timeout before the play. Very Detroit-esque from last week against them.

Scott Spratt: They end up converting anyway on a quick slant to Damiere Byrd.

David Johnson is back for Arizona, fortunately.

Bryan Knowles: You'll never guess who settled for a field goal in the red zone again!

Aaron Schatz: Kingsbury settled for a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 5, and Baltimore was called for too many men on the field. So Kingsbury gets another chance with fourth-and-goal and about 2 1/2 to go, and ... kicks a field goal. That's four short field goals in two games.

Scott Spratt: In Kingsbury's semi-defense, here are the Cardinals' offensive plays from inside the Ravens' 10 today:

  • Incomplete pass
  • False start
  • Incomplete pass
  • 4-yard completion
  • Incomplete pass
  • Incomplete pass

Do they have more than nine points if they go for those three fourth downs? I say no.

Bryan Knowles: From Football Perspective: since the goalposts were moved in 1974, the Cardinals are the first team to attempt three field goals inside the 5-yard line while trailing. Kliff Kingsbury IS revolutionizing the NFL!

It's the fourth quarter, so it's time for the Cardinals to score touchdowns. Some nifty Kyler Murray throws -- helped by some shoddy Baltimore coverage, mind you -- and we now have a 20-17 game.

Man, he's inconsistent, but I am seeing what people saw in Murray. He's now up over 300 passing yards again; first rookie to do that in his first two starts since Cam Newton.

Scott Spratt: Jon Harbaugh is challenging the lack of a pass interference. This will make or break the game for the Ravens because the Cardinals will otherwise have three and a half minutes to lead a game-winning drive, down six.

Third-and-11, Lamar Jackson drops a beautiful touch pass maybe 40 yards in the air into the hands of Marquise Brown. Conversion with less than three minutes left. Maybe the game-winning play.

San Francisco 49ers 41 at Cincinnati Bengals 17

Bryan Knowles: Jimmy Garoppolo looked a little awkward in the 49ers' Week 1 win, so it made sense that Kyle Shanahan would scheme up some easy passes to help get him into more of a groove. The Bengals were more than happy to oblige, opting not to cover Marquise Goodwin on a 38-yard easy pitch-and-catch touchdown. The 49ers, much obliging, returned the favor by opting not to cover Tyler Boyd in any way, shape, or form, and the Bengals cash in a few plays later. 7-7 game early.

Garoppolo's knee wasn't really tested too much against Tampa Bay; he stayed in the pocket most of the time. Today, however, some good coverage (at times) has forced Jimmy G to pull the ball down and run. The good news there is that he hasn't been hesitant or overly cautious, as you might expect after tearing his ACL on a similar play last year. A nice little eight-play, 84-yard drive -- including the Bengals biting really, really hard on a Raheem Mostert screen -- and the 49ers retake the lead.

After all this offseason of us wondering how the 49ers were going to use their overcrowded running back room -- Jerrick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, etc. -- the 49ers just scored thanks to a 32-yard miracle run by former UDFA Matt Breida when he should have been caught behind the line, and then practice squadder Jeff Wilson's touchdown run. Stop paying running backs, ya dinguses.

I was really impressed with Zac Taylor's offense last week. Not so much this week. Last week, they were super-creative on offense in a way we really hadn't seen since Marvin Lewis came to town. This week, it's the same old Bengals, with Andy Dalton making the same kind of mistakes he always has. I'll be very interested in seeing what Taylor brings out of halftime, because this offense really needs a spark.

It isn't helping that Nick Bosa is beating Andre Smith left, right, and center. In fact, the first two levels of the 49ers' defense look worlds better than they did last year. It's just Dalton and Jameis Winston, so don't crown anyone yet, and the back end is still a liability (what few good plays the Bengals' offense has had has mostly been on deep shots to barely covered receivers), but you don't get the same death by a thousand papercuts that the 49ers suffered a year ago, with opposing offenses just throttling them with short play after short play.

The 49ers march down the field after the second-half kickoff and now have a 31-10 lead, which seems insurmountable considering how Cincinnati has played. Where is that pass rush?

The 2015-2018 49ers would not have won a couple of road games to start their season, even against somewhat iffy opposition.

Derrik Klassen:: Between this week and last week vs. Seattle, I'm actually sort of impressed by Zac Taylor's offense. They just don't have the dudes up front to make it work right now and Andy Dalton is, well ... I don't need to go any further. We all knew this was a Year 0 for Taylor, so the best you could hope for was that he proved himself a capable offensive mind. I think he has done a fine job of that so far.

Los Angeles Chargers 10 at Detroit Lions 13

Bryan Knowles: Melvin who? Austin Ekeler just scored his fourth touchdown of the season. We're less than five quarters into the year.

Undefeated Detroit bounces back from their first deficit of the year. The Lions' offensive line is giving Matthew Stafford more time than he had last week, and they respond with a nice touchdown drive, ending with a Kerryon Johnson touchdown. Of course, they biff the extra point, thus kind of killing my "first deficit" joke. Good job, Lions.

Scott Spratt: Mike Williams jumped and hung in the air for a good three seconds to make an amazing catch.

Bryan Knowles: The Chargers have successfully transferred their special teams hex to their opponents. Adam Vinatieri and Matt Prater are multiple-time Pro Bowl kickers, and now have missed five combined kicks against the Chargers. Banking all that special teams luck up for one season seems to be a wise strategy!

Less facetiously, Detroit has seen drive after drive stall out, and is a little lucky to be down just 10-6 at the half. A couple of huge plays have set up both of Los Angeles' scores -- that's the same thing they struggled with against Arizona that led to the Week 1 tie. They don't seem a million miles away from being competitive, but something just isn't clicking right for them.

Scott Spratt: Austin Ekeler tries to leap over the line for the 1-yard touchdown, but he fumbles, and Detroit recovers. Melvin Gordon regaining leverage!

Whoever made the call about the Chargers losing their bad special teams juju ... not so much. They've now missed a pair of field goals without their normal starter Badgley.

Bryan Knowles: They also had two touchdowns called back the drive BEFORE, so yes. Mea culpa. Never underestimate the Chargers' ability to be cursed.

Lions being more aggressive in the fourth quarter this week -- uh, being down might have something to do with that -- picking up a crucial fourth-and-1 from the Chargers' 35-yard line. Very next play, Stafford hits Kenny Golladay, who makes a great catch, diving forward into the end zone. Perfectly placed ball, great effort, and the Lions take a 13-10 lead with seven minutes left in the game.

Detroit might just stay lossless! After an awkward delay of game, Philip Rivers is picked off in the end zone! 13-10 Detroit lead, with the ball. Chargers have their timeouts left, so it's not game over, but WOW, you can not throw that ball into double-coverage in field goal range, Phil.

Seattle Seahawks 28 at Pittsburgh Steelers 26

Scott Spratt: Looks like the Seahawks are having some early troubles with the Blitzburgh Steelers. Three early sacks for Russell Wilson.

Vince Verhei: No score after one quarter as the defensive fronts are dominating. More punts than first downs so far. Pittsburgh has just one first down, and just missed another when Ben Roethlisberger overthrew an open Johnny Holton on a deep crosser. Seattle has a few first downs on superhero plays by Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Chris Carson, but has given most of that yardage back in sacks and penalties. Steelers have the ball just outside the red zone as the second quarter starts after T.J. Watt forced a Carson fumble. Steelers actually scored on the return, but it was called back on a totally unnecessary block in the back foul.

Between Carson's fumble and a DPI on Michael Kendricks that turned a third down into first-and-goal at the 1, the Seahawks basically handed the Steelers the game's first touchdown on a silver platter. Worse, Pete Carroll challenged the DPI, even though it looked obvious to me and pretty much everyone else. James Conner carried it in from there.

But the Steelers can make bonehead plays too. Seahawks kick a 45-yard field goal on fourth-and-1, but it's wiped out by an unnecessary roughness foul on Daniel McCullers that gives Seattle a first down. Next play, Russell Wilson hits Will Dissly on a seam route touchdown to tie the game at seven. Bad news for Seattle is there are still eight minutes left in the half and they are already out of timeouts.

Steelers lead 10-7 at halftime. They were in the middle of their best drive of the game when Roethlisberger took a hit on the arm, and their downfield passing game disappeared. A few screens and handoffs later, they kicked their field goal and Roethlisberger left for the locker room, though he did return to the sideline before the half ended.

Seahawks got a bad bounce on a kickoff and started their last drive at the two-minute warning, out of timeouts, inside their own 10. (Rashad Penny had a chance to start at the 35 if he had stepped out of bounds, then grabbed the bouncing ball. Somebody needs to teach him that rule.) They quickly moved into Pittsburgh territory, but then a run, some short completions in bounds, and D.K. Metcalf penalties turfed the drive. They salvaged a field goal attempt, but Jason Myers was wide from 58.

A frustrating half for Seattle. They lead in first downs 12 to seven and have nearly doubled Pittsburgh's production in total yardage, but they trail on the scoreboard.

Carl Yedor: Seattle's run play that gave them a first down at the Pittsburgh 36 ended with 1:20 on the clock. An injury to D.J. Fluker caused a ten-second runoff and led to the bumbling series of events that almost cost Seattle a field goal attempt, as Vince alluded to. Not great clock management there. It would have been helpful for Seattle to still have a timeout there instead of using it on the DPI challenge earlier in the half.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks go three-and-out to open the second half, and Mason Rudolph comes out to quarterback the Steelers with Roethlisberger still on the sideline.

Bryan Knowles: Mason Rudolph in at quarterback! I saw Ben Roethlisberger shaking his hand from time to time, but missed exactly what happened -- anyone know? And, of course, the Steelers just traded away Josh Dobbs.

Vince Verhei: Roethlisberger hurt his throwing arm on a pass on Pittsburgh's last drive of the first half.

Rudolph's first pass is an incompletion on a screen pass the Seahawks blew up. His second pass hits Donte Moncrief in the hands, but it's Donte Moncrief, so it's tipped into the air for Bradley McDougald to intercept.

Seahawks follow up with a go-ahead touchdown produced mostly by tight ends -- Nick Vannett with a big third-down conversion, then Dissly with his second touchdown of the day. Seahawks have used a lot of two-tight end sets today, more than I remember them using in a while.

Carl Yedor: Broadcasters were unclear on what exactly happened to Roethlisberger, but Rudolph delivered a nice ball to Donte Moncrief on third down. Unfortunately for Rudolph, Moncrief missed the catch pretty bizarrely, resulting in a tipped pick to Bradley McDougald. Seattle turns that interception into another touchdown to tight end Will Dissly running down the seam. Both of Seattle's scores have come from the deeper red zone to Dissly running the seam.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks now up 21-13 at the end of three. Rudolph hit a big completion to Smith-Schuster on a flea flicker -- the ugliest flea flicker you ever saw, but it was enough to fool Lano Hill and let Smith-Schuster get behind him. That set up a field goal. Almost everything else Rudolph has thrown has been right around the line of scrimmage.

Following that field goal, Seahawks responded by spreading the field and needling the Steelers with a thousand short seam throws. Tyler Lockett had one catch last week; he already has a career-high eight this week. They get a third-and-short in field goal range, and Penny takes a zone read, bounces it outside, and jets into the end zone, with Wilson throwing some of his trademark "I won't hit you but I'll get in your way" downfield blocks. Yes, this means the Seahawks, for at least one drive, used the pass to set up the run, and I am not sure what to do with myself right now.

Game's not over yet. Rudolph gets Pittsburgh into the end zone with some big third-down plays -- a scramble for a conversion, then a touchdown on a throw where Seattle had a screen totally snuffed out, but Rudolph didn't panic, scrambled to keep the play alive, then sidearmed a pass to Vance McDonald through traffic, letting McDonald ramble for the score. Hill gets an interception on the two-point conversion so Seattle still leads, but score is 21-19 now.

We have a DPI reversal in Pittsburgh! Wilson lobs a pass to Lockett in double-coverage and there's all sorts of contact, but it's ruled incomplete. (Bud Dupree also got away with a helmet shot on Wilson on the play.) Seahawks are about to run on third-and-20, but decide to challenge the play instead, Carroll's third time challenging DPI in two games ... and he wins! It's a big gain for Seattle. Then Wilson finds Metcalf on the go route down the left sideline, and Metcalf bobbles the ball in the end zone, but reels it in for the score. Seahawks now up 28-19 with less than nine minutes to go.

Carl Yedor: After some initial jitters settling in, Mason Rudolph has looked pretty competent replacing Roethlisberger. Given how Rudolph has been playing today as well as Andy Dalton last week (especially contrasted against Dalton's performance against the 49ers), the Seattle defense that we thought would be iffy has been just that. Seattle forces a punt after getting some pressure on Rudolph, but the concern about the Seattle defense has certainly been justified.

And then Seattle fumbles on its first play of the ensuing drive, giving the Steelers the ball inside the Seattle five-yard line, pending review.

Somewhat surprising given that it came from Carroll (but I think it was mathematically sound), but Seattle has third-and-long just on the Pittsburgh side of the field. Wilson scrambles and comes up just short, bringing up fourth-and-1 from the outer edge of Jason Myers' field goal range right at the two-minute warning. Rather than being conservative and taking the field goal attempt, Seattle goes for it with a Chris Carson handoff up the middle, which he converts. Seattle then kneels out the clock and the Seahawks eke out a 28-26 win.

Vince Verhei: Seahawks have a fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 32 at the two-minute warning. They turn down the 50-ish-yard field goal try and give it to Carson, who powers forward for the conversion to end the game.

I'll run the numbers later when I have more time, but every time the Seahawks had the ball and a one-score lead in the second half, they went pass-wacky. Might be a one-game fluke. Might be a sign that they're ready to lead on their big-money quarterback.

Seahawks have played like hot rotten garbage for big stretches of two games in a row now, and they have still won both games. A good sign, assuming they eventually stop playing like hot rotten garbage. As for the Steelers, they're now 0-2, and Roethlisberger has yet to throw a touchdown and he may be hurt. Not good.

Aaron Schatz: Based on EdjSports model, Seattle's decision to run was worth 20.4% GWC compared to a field goal.

Vince Verhei: If I'm counting things right, counting plays that were wiped out by penalties, the Seahawks had the following plays with the lead in the second half:

  • 10 passes
  • 11 handoffs
  • 3 scrambles
  • 3 kneeldowns

Dallas Cowboys 31 at Washington Redskins 21

Scott Spratt: Dak Prescott intercepted on a deflected pass. I think it would be really helpful if we could split normal interceptions and receiver-deflected interceptions into separate stats in the box score. We shouldn't have to wait for game charting for that one.

New England Patriots 43 at Miami Dolphins 0

Aaron Schatz: Dolphins carries so far: 1, 3, 2, 0, -1, 1. The Miami offensive line is bad.

Halftime, and the New England blowout predicted by many (and by a -19 line) has not come to fruition. One problem has been special teams, as Stephen Gostkowski has missed a field goal and an extra point. Another issue is the offensive line, with Marcus Cannon out at right tackle and then Isaiah Wynn leaving the game at left tackle, leaving Marshall Newhouse (yuck), just picked up, as the left tackle with preseason trade pickup Korey Cunningham at right tackle. The run-blocking has still been strong, but the pass-blocking has had some issues. Some hurried throws, although only one sack. Word before the game was that the Patriots wanted to heavily target Antonio Brown to build up his confidence in the offense. For the most part he's only playing in the three-receiver sets but yeah, they're feeding him; he's up to four catches and just snagged a 20-yard touchdown up the seam to make the score 13-0. Antonio Brown on former Pats practice squad cornerback Jomal Wiltz is a mismatch. And on replay it looks like Brown may have shoved Wiltz and gotten away with an OPI. The Pats defense has been very strong today. As I noted earlier, Dolphins can get nothing on the ground except for a 9-yard gain on a third-and-10 draw.

Scott Spratt: Kalen Ballage ducks under a screen pass? If that doesn't summarize how the Dolphins' season is going, then the interception on the next play does.

Aaron Schatz: A couple of clear miscommunications between Brady and Brown on the Patriots' first drive of the second half. They're clearly not fully in sync yet. Great play by Eric Rowe to slap away an underthrown pass to Brown and prevent a touchdown. Then Miami's drive starts with a sack and then ends with a -16 ALEX pass on third-and-14. Not that Ryan Fitpatrick didn't have receivers downfield, but they were all covered. Patriots coverage on defense has been excellent these first two weeks.

Ryan Fitpatrick seals the game for the Patriots with two straight pick-sixes. Second one was not his fault, bobbled by Kalen Ballage right into Jamie Collins' hands.

Miami puts Josh Rosen in the game, down 37-0. He is immediately sacked.

Andrew Potter:In a team full of players who probably shouldn't be playing at this level, Kalen Ballage has stood out as exceptionally terrible today.

Minnesota Vikings 16 at Green Bay Packers 21

Scott Spratt: Kirk Cousins scrambles for a first down and fumbles, but the Vikings recover. I believe the next play, he is strip-sacked and the Packers recover. Maybe the Packers defense really is good.

Bryan Knowles: Oh, what is Kirk Cousins DOING. Needing a touchdown, down 16-21, Cousins throws into double-coverage into the end zone. Ruled an interception on the field; it's being reviewed, but I think it sticks.

Buffalo Bills 28 at New York Giants 14

Bryan Knowles: After the Giants' 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game, they have gained 1 offensive yard. Bold of them to use all their good offensive plays at one time.

Since then, the Bills have scored twice, first on a Josh Allen sweep (Yes! Much safer than the usual scrambles; use his athleticism on a safe, protected play like that!) and a Devin Singletary scamper to take a 14-7 lead.

Dave Bernreuther: I'm going to be mostly quiet today but did feel that it was fair that I pop in here to say that through one half, I have nothing bad at all to say about Josh Allen. I am not sure what this says about Allen, the Giants, or Dak prescott just yet, but thus far, he has looked like an NFL quarterback, which is noteworthy given how much fun I have had with him.

So of course, as I write this, we get a nice comedy-of-errors type play. It started with Allen leaving the pocket, but in this case he hung in for the appropriate amount of time. Lorenzo Carter got him first by the collar and then shoulder too, and Allen threw the ball away to the right sideline while being pulled down and hit with a glancing blow to the head that would have been a penalty if it was someone more famous. He was out of the pocket and being hauled down, but it was inaccurate and short, so he was flagged for grounding. The officials then racked on a personal foul against Cory Ford for "hitting" Carter, who gave a dive worthy of a minor in the NHL, an Oscar, and an award for interpretive dance.

That really has nothing to do with Allen or even the game at all, which the Bills are dominating because the Giants are terrible ... I just thought it was hilariously poorly officiated three times on the same play. Sean McDermott appeared to agree with me.

Scott Spratt: Cody Latimer is going into the injury tent. The Giants need to trade for David Quessenberry because they're almost out of wide receivers.

Jacksonville Jaguars 12 at Houston Texans 13

Carl Yedor: Going 0-2 often gets brought up as a very bad omen for teams' playoff hopes, and justifiably so given that since division realignment in 2002, teams that started 0-2 have made the playoffs just 11.4% of the time. Teams that started with both games on the road were at 22.2%, teams with one road game were at 10.5%, and the eight teams that lost both games at home have never made it. These samples are too small to show a statistically significant difference (the two-road game population is only 18 teams), but it makes some intuitive sense that teams that played multiple road games would have a better chance.

One area that did show a difference was in point differential. The average point differential through two games of teams that made the playoffs was -15.9, compared to -24.7 for the teams that did not make the playoffs (this did show a statistically significant difference). So if you go 0-2, you had better hope that those games were close.

This year, Bucs-Panthers, Jags-Texans, Bears-Broncos, and Browns-Jets are Week 2 matchups between 0-1 teams. Carolina already has lost two home games, and the Dolphins and Jets both have the opportunity to start 0-2 at home as well.

Bryan Knowles: Tempers boiling over in Jacksonville -- Doug Marrone has to be pulled away from Jalen Ramsey, as the two get all up in one another's face. It's Week 2 in a 3-0 deficit, guys; there'll be plenty of time later in the season to be upset about how bad the Jags are.

Rivers McCown: Very sack-prone half from both teams, taking a lot of points away. I expected a lot of scoring, so Vegas is smarter than me. Gardner Minshew is drowning in blitzes.

Bill O'Brien had the ball at midfield after the two-minute warning. He went to halftime with two timeouts. He kicked a field goal at the Jacksonville 4 with two seconds left.

You hate to see it.

Bryan Knowles: Laremy Tunsil is limping off the field. Houston has had enough issues with protection today with a healthy Tunsil! Considering how much Houston had to pay to get him, they had better hope he has, like, a rock in his shoe or something.

Scott Spratt: Big League Minshew leads an incredible fourth-quarter touchdown drive which featured a fourth-and-10 scrambling conversion, but they fail to punch in the two-point conversion and come up a point short.

Bryan Knowles: AFC South with the gutsy calls today!

The Jaguars score what would be a tying touchdown, but forget tying -- they go for two and the win!

And they fail! Houston holds on to a one-point lead with 30 seconds left!

Scott Spratt: Actually, I think Leonard Fournette had that! Being reviewed.

Ugh, they rule Fournette short. I think he was there.

Dave Bernreuther: I'm a Colts fan and I think Doug Marrone is a buffoon. But I LOVE that they just went for two and the win after a last-minute drive led by the Mississippi Moustache that finished with a beautiful touch pass for a touchdown.

Consider me a fan of Gardner Minshew the not actually Second, quarterback of the Jacksonville Shaguars.

Rivers McCown: A Minshew fumble deep in his own territory gave the Texans the ball close enough to punch it in. The offense was mostly unimpressive outside of Carlos Hyde.

The Jaguars got the would-be tying drive on a lot off-coverage and some big Gardner Minshew scrambles outside of the pocket.

Houston has to feel real lucky to win that game. Bit of a warning sign to me that they had as much go their way as they did on defense and still only won by about an inch.

Kansas City Chiefs 28 at Oakland Raiders 10

Bryan Knowles: On the last ever game on a dirt infield (please, let it be the last ever game on a dirt infield, NFL), the Raiders have jumped to a 10-0 lead over the Chiefs. That Kansas City defense looks just about as good as we saw a year ago. Tyrell Williams was WIDE open in the end zone.

Scott Spratt: Another challenged non-call pass interference in the Raiders-Chiefs game, another call stands. Have any of those challenges worked so far? It seems like the NFL doesn't want plays changed to pass interference.

Vince Verhei: Seattle had one earlier today! It was a huge play in the game!

Bryan Knowles: Five seconds late. The Chiefs score a touchdown five seconds into the second quarter, but that means they were shut out in the first quarter. They had scored in the first quarter in 22 consecutive games, tying a record with the Packers.

That 10-0 Raiders lead was fun while it lasted. Patrick Mahomes was pressing a little in the first quarter, but as his hurt ankle has warmed up, so has the Chiefs offense. 21-10, as Kansas City seems able to do whatever they want against the Raiders' D. All Chiefs in the second quarter; two 95-yard touchdown drives. You think that would mean they had the ball all quarter long, but no; that last drive took less than two minutes! Mahomes remains special.

Vince Verhei: And now 28-10. Mahomes is already over 300 yards with four touchdowns -- all of them from outside the red zone. It's amazing how they have looked so clunky at times today, and it's as if Mahomes says don't worry guys, I'll just throw a touchdown from here. Guy in the bar pointed out this is like watching Kansas City play Vanderbilt, and he's not wrong.

Carl Yedor: I think Romo summed it up pretty well when he said "The Chiefs are playing Madden, and we're all watching the NFL."

Vince Verhei: Chiefs just punted. Fire Reid.

Apparently the second half was the first scoreless half in the history of the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry. Kind of amazing considering that second quarter. Mahomes almost had his longest touchdown yet, but it was called back on a holding foul.

New Orleans Saints 9 at Los Angeles Rams 27

Bryan Knowles: Drew Brees is getting his wrist wrapped up. Teddy Bridgewater is in.

Vince Verhei: Rams lead 3-0 after a Brandin Cooks deep ball sets up a field goal. Looked like Jared Goff had overthrown him, but Cooks made a great play to run the ball down and make a fingertip grab. The big news, though, is that Aaron Donald got pressure and swatted Drew Brees in the hand. Brees is now sidelined with a taped thumb and Teddy Bridgewater is in at quarterback for the Saints.

Aaron Schatz: Donald is dominating the game early on. Not only the pressure that led to the Brees injury, but he just drew a hold that wiped out a 15-yard screen to Josh Hill.

Rivers McCown: All these years, Teddy Bridgewater has been waiting to watch his drive get sabotaged by like four separate silly flags in downfield blocking to get to third-and-28.


I didn't see what happened, but he was jogging into the bowels of the stadium with a cameraman chasing after him like a war correspondent chasing a deposed dictator.

And now Austin Blythe is carted off with an ankle injury. Rams have not had an offensive lineman miss a start since Sean McVay was hired, so this could be huge.

Very next snap, Trey Hendrickson beats Rob Havenstein around the edge to swat the ball out of Goff's hand. Cam Jordan recovers and returns it for a long touchdown, but the refs rule it incomplete. Saints are challenging the play though.

Yup. Saints win the challenge and get the ball ... but the touchdown doesn't count, because the whistle had blown, and it's a first down in their own red zone instead. Yes, a bad call went against New Orleans again.

Aaron Schatz: Major screwup by the officials in the Rams-Saints game. Fumble by Jared Goff, recovered by Cameron Jordan, he's got a clear path to run it all the way back for a strip-six, except the officials have been blowing the whistle calling it an incomplete pass. And even though it is reversed on replay ... once the officials blow the whistle, the play is dead. The runback never happened. Saints get the ball at their own 13 and effectively lose 87 yards based on a mistaken whistle.

Aaron Donald is back in the game.

Bryan Knowles: Man, I know it's coincidence, but that's three games in a row with a major officiating blunder hurting the Saints.

Vince Verhei: Add a midfield stuff on fourth-and-1 to the Rams' run defense resume today.

Bryan Knowles: So, Drew Brees is out. The fumble recovery touchdown got unfairly reversed. Brees had an unlucky interception with the ball ripped out of Jared Cook's hands. They've rushed 12 times for 19 yards. And they're only down 6-3? Major kudos to the Saints' defense for keeping them in this one.

Vince Verhei: It has felt all day like the defense that wore down first would lose today, and apparently that was the Saints. Rams have scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives -- one on nine plays and 75 yards, the other five plays and 26 yards after a good punt return by Jojo Natson. Rams now lead 20-6 in a game that has been much uglier than I would have guessed coming in.

Bryan Knowles: All of a sudden we have points -- and lots of 'em! The Rams score touchdowns on back-to-back drives, turning what had been a tight 6-6 game into a 20-6 lead. New Orleans needs to answer right now, though opening with a holding penalty is somewhat less than ideal.

Aaron Schatz: That first Rams touchdown was a 75-yard drive where Goff found everyone once -- Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Gerald Everett. The second touchdown drive was much shorter, only 26 yards, since the Saints went three-and-out in between with two sacks and then JoJo Natson had a 32-yard punt return.

Vince Verhei: Saints get a field goal to to keep their faint hopes alive ... and then Cooper Kupp snuffs that flame, taking a quick slant from the slot and breaking I think five tackles to score a 67-yard touchdown. They're reviewing the play -- that fifth tackle may have actually put him down at the 1 -- but at this point the difference seems academic.

Aaron Schatz: Wow, Rams just probably iced the game with a 67-yard touchdown reception by Cooper Kupp where he caught a short slant, stiff-armed Marshon Lattimore, broke tackles from Lattimore and Marcus Williams when they kind of ran into each other, then Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods combined to block away P.J. Williams, and Kupp's still going around the 30, and then he broke an arm tackle when Eli Apple took the wrong angle, and dragged A.J. Klein into the end zone. Hell of a play.

Oh, nuts. Sixty-six yard reception. Kupp's knee was down at the 1.

Bryan Knowles: My fantasy teams are very annoyed Kupp couldn't get that last yard. Cut 'im.

Chicago Bears 16 at Denver Broncos 14

Rivers McCown: Neither of these teams can do anything but play-action bootleg dumpoffs and underneath throws while they run to nowhere. Garrett Bolles has three holding penalties at halftime.

The Bears are ahead 6-3 at half because *chuckles* they have a couple of solid field goals from Eddy Pineiro.

Vince Verhei: Joe Flacco being 14-of-18 for under 100 yards is like peak Joe Flacco.

Bryan Knowles: If he keeps up that 6.9 yards per completion total, it would be Flacco's worst total ever in a home game; he had 7.0 yards per completion back in 2013 against the Bengals.

The Bears finally found some offense that works: run the ball with your wideouts. Cordarrelle Patterson had a 46-yard end around, followed by a Tyler Gabriel 14-yard scamper to set up first-and-goal. It took them three David Montgomery plunges from the 1, but finally someone here finds the end zone. 13-3 lead for Chicago, and I don't trust Denver to find the end zone themselves.

Oh, Joe Flacco. The Broncos had their best drive of the day, going 74 yards and getting into the red zone. And then Flacco just floats one over the head of Emmanuel Sanders, right into the arms of Kyle Fuller in the end zone. We've seen a number of quarterbacks throw the game away in the end zone today (Rivers, Cousins...) but Flacco's may well take the cake. Just under five minutes left, which is enough time for the Broncos to get the ball back, but they were right THERE. 13-6 Bears.

Vince Verhei: Down seven points in the fourth quarter, the Broncos go 74 yards in 16 plays. Drive ends in this sequence:

  • First-and-goal: Lindsay run for no gain.
  • Second-and-goal: Failed Flacco completion (drink!)
  • Third-and-goal: Flacco overthrows Emmanuel Sanders, Kyle Fuller gets the interception. Game's not over-over yet, but the Bears are now in serious control.

One of the announcers just said Mitchell Trubisky had been "very efficient" today. At the time he said this, Trubisky had thrown 22 passes and gained less than 100 yards.

Bryan Knowles: Denver marches down the field, and Flacco somewhat redeems himself with a nice little toss to Emmanuel Sanders in the back corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

They line up to go for two and the win ... but they can't snap the damn ball. Delay of game. So they're forced into an extra-long extra point, which they miss...

BUT Chicago is OFFSIDES as Buster Skrine falls over the line of scrimmage and I hate both teams in this so much aaaargh.

Denver lines BACK in the two-point conversion, and they nail it. Wow.

Aaron Schatz: Broncos get gutsy, second team to try for two to win the game at the end today ... but they get a delay of game. Rather than try a 7-yard two-point conversion, they bring in McManus for the extra point. AND HE MISSES IT. Oh, but the defense was offside. So now ... the Broncos are going for two again. And the ball is on ... the 1 again? Is that right?

And they make a quick out to Emmanuel Sanders, and it's good! Broncos 14-13.

Vince Verhei: It takes 12 plays and a pair of fourth-down conversions to go 62 yards, but the Broncos finally get their touchdown, a Flacco-to-Sanders pass in the corner of the end zone. They're going to go for two and spare us overtime, but a delay of game moves them 5 yards back and they kick.

But they miss!

But Chicago is offsides and the ball is back at the 2!

And Flacco hits Sanders on a quick out for the conversion and a 14-13 lead!

Trubisky is left with 31 seconds and one timeout to be more efficient than ever.

Aaron Schatz: From Football Zebras:

This seems like a terrible rule to me.

After the delay of game, Broncos would have had two-point conversion from the 7. So wouldn't the offsides on Skrine be half the distance to the goal, and the two-point conversion should be from the 3 1/2, not from the 1?

Tom Gower: Nope, the NFL rule is insane. After a penalty on an XP, you have the option to enforce the spot at the 2 and go for two. This is, as I said, completely insane and a rare instance of incompetent consideration of possible situations from the normally quite good NFL rulebook. But it's the rule, at least for now, and was correctly applied.

Now can we talk about the Bradley Chubb roughing the passer penalty on the Bears' game-winning drive?

Aaron Schatz: So much I didn't like about the end of the Broncos-Bears game, including that I don't think Allen Robinson actually caught the ball at the end with enough time to call a timeout.

Bryan Knowles: Ooooh, man. The Broncos should have this one, but a roughing the passing penalty pushes the Bears 15 yards upfield. Three incomplete Trubisky passes and an illegal substitution penalty later, the Bears covert a fourth-and-15, getting a timeout with just one second on the clock (after review), and Eddy Pineiro nails a 53-yarder to win the game. This was the dumbest final 30 seconds of a game I've seen in quite some time.

Aaron Schatz: Kevin Cole made a good point online about both the Jaguars-Texans game and the Broncos-Bears game. It may not have made sense to go for two and the win because there were still 30 seconds on the clock. It makes sense if there's no time left. But if there's still time left, and you take the lead, you force the other team to try to move the ball downfield and maybe they actually do get into field goal range and kick the field goal and beat you. Which Chicago did. Whereas if the game had been 13-13 there, the Bears probably kneel on the ball and just go to overtime. So the equation is basically, which of these two is larger:

1) Chance of two-pt conversion MINUS chance of opposing team coming back for a field goal


2) Chance of extra point * chance of winning in overtime. My guess is that the probability of No. 2 is larger.

Bryan Knowles: I agree with Cole in a vacuum, though I would say that counting on A) Trubisky to manage to lead a 30-second field goal drive and B) Flacco to be able to lead the Broncos back into scoring range in overtime are low enough that I could agree with going for two here.

Vince Verhei: It may have been ugly and fortunate, but that is a monster win for Chicago. I know it's only Week 2, but falling two games behind Green Bay, down in the tiebreaker (not to mention Minnesota and Detroit looking formidable), would have been a steep uphill climb. Now they're right in the thick of things.

Philadelphia Eagles 20 at Atlanta Falcons 24

Scott Spratt: Al Michaels casually mentioned that Evander Holyfield is in the crowd. I hope he isn't cheering for the Falcons because his son Elijah is on their rival Panthers' practice squad.

Aaron Schatz: Matt Ryan has his receivers beat Ronald Darby on consecutive plays deep and he overthrows Calvin Ridley and then Justin Hardy. So Matt Bryant has a 50-yard field goal blocked. Still 3-3 with 7:42 left in the second quarter.

Falcons finally got one. Ridley beats Darby again in quarters coverage, and Ryan gets him for a 34-yard touchdown. 10-3 Falcons.

Tom Gower: Carson Wentz had a really spotty stretch, seeming to throw the ball right to Falcons a couple of times. I don't know how much of that is the pass-catcher injuries with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert out of action, but I don't think all of it. Maybe he just took a hard hit, but this is rough to watch.

Rivers McCown: What is it about the Falcons and Eagles where they can't play good offense against each other, only against the rest of the league?

Bryan Knowles: Josh McCown, throwing passes in 2019. What a world.

Tom Gower: McCown is in the game because, after my earlier note on Wentz, he went to the medical tent.

Aaron Schatz: Maybe that spotty stretch for Wentz was because he was hurt.

Rivers McCown: In case you were wondering (I was) -- Luke McCown retired and has not attempted a comeback yet.

Bryan Knowles: Alright, halftime, with the Falcons sitting on a 10-6 lead. We obviously don't know the exact details of the Wentz situation, but he is clearly not right, and hasn't been since he took the shot from Deion Jones. Maybe they can find something for him at halftime, but I'd give strong consideration for sitting him down, if he's in too much discomfort to play better than he currently is.

Would the last Eagle standing please turn out the lights? Man, a ton of injuries tonight-- Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson all hurt, Wentz has been in and out, Dallas Goedert is out at the moment. They might be reduced to a Mack Hollins-focused passing attack before tonight is over.

Rivers McCown: They ran a graphic of offensive injuries and didn't even have room for Jason Kelce getting cleared from concussion protocol. And then Corey Clement's new injury wasn't listed because it just happened.

Bryan Knowles: Two Atlanta drives in a row have now ended in interceptions. The first was thrown behind Mohamed Sanu, though Sanu tipping it probably led directly to the interception rather than just an ugly incomplete pass. That resulted in a Philly touchdown, though they failed the two-point conversion when the refs ruled Wentz gave himself up diving for the end zone. The second interception was just a terrible pass by Matt Ryan in the end zone.

Ryan already has five interceptions this year; he had seven all of last year. He's trying to keep Philly in this one as we go into the fourth quarter 17-12.

Aaron Schatz: We need to say something about the rule that Carson Wentz was "giving himself up" by diving for the two-point conversion, which is definitely the letter of the rule and also completely illogical on a two-point conversion.

Bryan Knowles: It doesn't make sense on a two-point conversion, but the rule, in general, makes sense as a bone thrown to defenders. With refs willing to throw flags if tacklers look at a quarterback harshly, calling the quarterback dead as soon as he touches the ground makes a lot of sense, rather than force defenders to decide whether or not they should hit a quarterback sliding forward on their stomach and risk a 15-yard flag, or let them get a couple of extra yards from momentum before touching them down.

Aaron Schatz: Well, Carson Wentz has had a magical fourth quarter. That throw to Mack Hollins as he fell to his knees, then two straight QB sneaks to score the go-ahead touchdown.

Jim Schwartz ran one too many zero blitzes. The Falcons saw it coming on fourth-and-3, called a wide receiver screen, and once Julio Jones got past his initial cover guy there was nobody back deep to catch up with him.

Bryan Knowles: Fourth-and-3, and not only do the Falcons decide to go for it (not necessarily a given, although I'm fairly sure it was the right call), Julio Jones takes a short little screen 53 yards to the house.

Good lord, Jake Matthews buried the cornerback, and Philly never had a chance to catch Julio.

Rivers McCown: This really turned into an entertaining barnburner after looking like it'd be terrible for the first two quarters

And hey, here's Nelson Agholor dropping a wide-open walk-in touchdown!

Aaron Schatz: And now Agholor catches the ball 44 yards downfield on fourth-and-14 because the Falcons were paying attention to the sticks and let Agholor get behind everyone.

And on fourth-and-8, Zach Ertz catches it about a half-yard short of the line to gain, and it looks like the Falcons are going to win this game despite a valiant effort by the Eagles.

Tom Gower: Falcons win 24-20 after that stop. What should we take away from this game? That was an ugly first half? The injury-struck Eagles did a terrific job of responding under pressure, even if their final comeback effort fell short? Philadelphia still has problems in the secondary that may or may not just be about Ronald Darby and having a guy who loves to sit back in four-man rush blitz again and again to cover for it? Julio Jones is, yes, still awesome? That was much more fun and more interesting than last Sunday's game? I don't know.

Carl Yedor: The game-winning wide receiver screen looked like a last-second check at the line by Ryan when he saw the blitz coming. Great read under time pressure from him as the play clock was winding down.


75 comments, Last at 18 Sep 2019, 2:47pm

1 "Undefeated Detroit bounces…

"Undefeated Detroit bounces back from their first deficit of the year."

Lions had a deficit last week too, the Cards scored first in overtime before tying it back up.

2 Interesting math...

“Halftime, and the New England blowout predicted by many (and by a -19 line) has not come to fruition.”

They were up 13-0, and thus on pace to win by 26. That seems to be more than consistent with a -19 line.

4 Subjective Feel

It's interesting - watching that game it didn't have the same subjective feel in the first half of inevitability that typically accompanies a massive blowout. Yes the Pat's were up 13-0, but the offense was clearly inefficient - having missed a FG, punted, and missed an extra point on the last three meaningful drives of the half. Subjectively the Pats were clearly having trouble with there blocking schemes at various points (mostly in pass, but definitely also in run), and the Fins had a few early glimmers of hope on offense to make it appear that they might eventually find there feet (e.g. the 9-yard draw play on 3rd and 10 on the second drive, Fitz 3/4 for 33 yds on the first drive). Obviously that's not how it went, but I also thought this might not turn into a blowout. 

I think what gave this game a different feel is that it was primarily a defensive blowout - the real indication of how this game was going to go was there in that the Pats dominated the LOS while on defense in a way you don't see that often in the NFL. I think it's fair at this point to begin to have faith that the Pats defense can continue to do that in a game after the way they've played the last half-dozen games.

5 I'm surprised the Pats Defense

In reply to by sbond101

Isn't noted as clearly the best defense in the league. They have the best secondary in the NFL (including a 2nd round pick who was great in the preseason who can't even make the active roster), a really good, deep LB group and they have a ton of experience on all levels., plus the results in the last several games of last year and the first few of this year. Yeah, KC lit them up for a ton of points in the 2nd half of the AFCCG, but several of those plays were fluky and they completely shut them down in the 1st half. I don't think people realize how much Jonathan Jones getting hurt in the 2017 playoffs really hurt their defense and probably killed their chance at 3 SB wins in a row.

9 Who are these Fins receivers??

In reply to by sbond101

I tuned into a stretch of the second half of the Pats-Fins game with the type of morbid curiousity normally reserved for watching train wrecks.

It didn't matter whether it was Fitzpatrick or Rosen under centre, the Miami receivers reacted as if rabid porcupines were being thrown at them.

I hope somebody makes a video montage of the Miami receiving corps' day.  It could be used for future tanking exercise training.

13 LOL

If Brian Flores accidentally wins a game this year, you wonder if Ross fires him. I get a giggle that the Pats kept Brady in late in the game. I'm assuming that leaving Brady in for one last late 4th TD was because Belichick was/is disgusted with what Miami is doing. I mean, Flores is almost certainly going to get fired if not at the end of this year, then in 2020. As for me, I went to the beach and watched the highlights (there were none). I don't think anyone should watch more than the 4 minute NFL mashups of Miami games the rest of the season. I hope the Fitzpatrick to Cowboys trade talks are real. There's nothing more entertaining than trading your best player to next weeks opponent...

17 Brady in the late 4th

In reply to by johonny

Apparently the mantra for the Pats leading into the contest was "PLAYING FOR 60 MINUTES" (after the lateral disaster of last year), so it made sense to have your QB1 on the field until the end with conservative playcalling (which in one case turned out in a screen pass with 6 Patriots entering the endzone untouched).

18 I assume Miami had 11 men on…

I assume Miami had 11 men on the field that play, but if so, I'm not sure where they were.  It was called a screen play, but mostly it was "here have the ball and a bunch of blockers you don't need".

If they weren't already relatively close to the end zone, the Pats RB (Michel?  White?) would have been impeded by the big men in front of him.  As it was, a leisurely stroll did the trick.

26 Did it? In a week that…

Did it?

In a week that Roethlisberger and Brees suffered troubling injuries, that Wentz got banged up, and a week after Mahomes hurt himself after Foles got injured, maybe you don't need Brady on the field in a game you're already up 36.

There's making a point and then there's being stupid for its own sake.

30 Even stupity has reasons

Brady:  I'm invincible and I have legacy records I want to stack.  Also, I don't want some other QB doing to me what I did to Bledsoe.

Belichick: The game's already won, so if he gets hurt, I'll get the other guy ready to start next game and I'll finally have a chance to win a Super Bowl with someone else as my QB.


Yup, it was stupid.  Has always been stupid the way Brady hogs playing minutes at the end of blowouts.  Even smart people can be stupid.

63 Brady in late in blowouts

So it looks as if this blowout thing could be a trend for the Pats this year.  What did his playing time look like in 2007?  It's gratuitous and a little risky, but as noted above, if TB can't protect himself by now (by throwing it away or finding the 4th option), nobody can.  

Colts fans will probably agree that no sweeter sound was heard in 2004 than "Sorgi Time."  People tend to forget that Jim Sorgi played the equivalent of more than two games that season (right around ten quarters, mostly late in the season)--one reason the whole comparative records thing is silly.  Manning had a reputation as a rep hog in practice and one presumes that would carry over in games as well, so I assume it was Dungy's or Tom Moore's call.  Not sure how his big year in Denver played out regarding late-game subbing, but by that point he was aging and it would have been smart on even more levels than it was in Indy nine years earlier. 

I'd sit my star QB, but then again, I'm not the coach and BB is.  And maybe with all the star QBs falling this year already, BB will play his hand differently in coming weeks. The guy is nothing if not adaptable.

71 Brady has almost never come…

Brady has almost never come out at any point. 

BB has said a bunch of times that - especially early in the season - full speed interactions with the line, wrs, etc is too valuable to give up just because a game is over. 


And with the reductions in full contact practice, it's getting more valuable. 

39 Last Drive

It was good for one of my fantasy teams, but I did not understand why Brady was still in there and still throwing.  I thought BB liked Flores.  

And I think it's a BB decision, which almost certainly has nothing to do with anyone's legacy.

41 Most of those.guys have one…

Most of those.guys have one thing in common : they're way more likely to try to make something happen on a play that isn't working. Brady is way more likely to throw the ball away early - which means he's way less likely to take awkward hits. 

43 It's complicated

I think there are a few layers here - It's obvious that BB is great at delivering messages to his team about the importance of playing 60 minutes and suffocating the last 3% out of the win probability on any given day. BB has also made repeated comments to the effect of "the only way to get better at football is to play football, and there's risk to that". You can see the fruit of this approach in that BB's teams are consistently mentally tough and continue to play when your say down 28-3 in a big game as opposed to quitting. Is there a cost in terms of injury risk - of course. Weighing the two is what you pay coaches to do. Equally players believing that there body is too important to be sacrificed in pursuit of winning football games is definitely a bad message for an NFL coach to pass on to his team, it leads to "business decisions" on the field (you saw a bit of that with Gronk in his career) - it's hard to turn that off when it really does matter.

Many on sites like this and in parts of the media will say something to the effect of "these are grown a** men, they don't need to live out lessons" - I would suggest to you that anyone who says the rank-and-file NFL player has the psychological profile not to need repeated object lessons doesn't follow the NFL news wire - a certain newly acquired Pats receiver being exhibit A. I think it's definitely true that if BB didn't have the stature that he does there would be a huge pile of media criticizing him for it, but I think that's a reflection of how much coaches are unfairly criticized for efforts at coaching (as opposed to just not optimizing a 4th down choice). I think this area of coaching is a set of hard choices that are not easily subject to the cold light of analysis - analytics-focused fans need to stop pretending otherwise.

10 Special Teams not = Offense

The missed field goal and extra point are not signs of an inefficient offense.

In four drives, they had a punt, two TDs, and a 41 yard drive leading to a field goal attempt from the 30 yard line. Normally, that's 17 points, and almost always at least 14. 

That's not "clearly inefficient". That's 3.25 points per drive, 47 yards per drive, 0 turnovers, and a DSR of .875, all of which would match or beat the best offense from last year.

At most you can say "we thought they would do better". I'd have agreed with that. But the betting odds probably would not have.

3 Cousins

The second Cousins pick was really awful. That drive they had run every play but one and ripped off good chunks of yardage consistently. They had the Packers defense gassed, why you don't continue the run I don't know, guess I'm not opposed to throwing to keep them off balance but you cannot make that throw, just chuck it out and you still probably can run it in or kick the FG if not.

Vikings left points on the field all day, from that, the missed FG, missed XP after Diggs removed his helmet on his TD... the one I can't blame them for is the review and OPI call on the other would be Diggs score, in real time it was nothing and nothing that isnt ignored routinely, that is every day offensive play design. I can't believe they went to slow mo scrutiny for that and not on a dozen other scores around the league, but this came from New York apparently, just appalling.

6 The Lions Lion'ed, but the…

The Lions Lion'ed, but the Chargers Charger'ed harder, and lost a game they were mostly in control of. Another reason they lost is the total no-show by Ingram and Bosa on pass rush....1 QB hit and 0 sacks. Against a backup left tackle, too.

On another note, Ekeler is so good. Even though it would suck to waste a 1st round draft pick from a few years ago, the Chargers would be wise to let Melvin Gordon sit the whole year and let some other team overpay him.

22 If Gordon sits out the whole…

If Gordon sits out the whole year, isn't his contract tolled? That's what I don't get about his holdout - the only way to reach unrestricted free agency is to play. I'm guessing he'll show up week 10 to get credit for the year.

27 Lions-Chargers games are so…

Lions-Chargers games are so fascinating because it's dueling curses, and mostly a question of which team's demon is more powerful.

Accordingly, of course the Cubs-Indians WS went to an extra-innings game 7, with a rain delay, where one team blew a series lead and the other team blew a game 7 lead. There was only a winner at all because baseball doesn't allow for ties. The only wrinkle that didn't happen was the game being halted for a rain out and finished the next day.

29 It's not just Ekeler - the…

It's not just Ekeler - the Chargers' third-string (now second-string) back, Justin Jackson, is averaging nearly nine yards a carry. Unless someone gets hurt, it's hard to see them giving Gordon a new contract.

7 The XP penalty

The XP penalty enforcement happened in CHI@DEN seems to me perfectly reasonable, once you accept the fact that there is a movable LOS depending on they play you call (which is the real "absurdity" in this case).

16 I am sure it accords with…

In reply to by Yu Narukami

I am sure it accords with the literal rule, but disagree with the logic. Why should the offense get the benefit of switching between 2 LoSs to eradicate the penalty?

As I understand it, the rule as written means that if you had 4 personal foul penalties on the offense (backing them up to their own 38), followed by offsides on the defense, they could then attempt the 2-pointer from the 1. How can that be right?

Surely fairer and more logical to enforce the penalty from where the 2-point LoS would have been on the previous play (normally the 2, but in this case the 7)?

31 Yes, exactly.  There's…

Yes, exactly.  There's nothing about having a movable LOS that requires that the spot of enforcement be reset when the team switches options (other than that the rule stupidly is written that way).  You simply have all penalties apply to both LOSs.

So on the first penalty the 2/15 becomes the 7/20.  Then after the defensive penalty it becomes the 3.5/15.

Likewise in your example, 2/15 would eventually become 62/75 (i.e. own-38/own-25) and after the offsides it would become 57/70 (i.e. own-43/own-30).

34 Not at all. It was the…

Not at all. It was the available LoS for the 2-point try, which is what you are now attempting.

A better question would be "Why does a penalty which affected the LoS for the previous suddenly now disappear"?

49 Enforcing the half the…

Enforcing the half the distance to the goal rule is just as illogical.  It makes the 5 yard offensive penalty worse than the 5 yard defense penalty.  Consistent with normal play, but the 2 point attempt is not a normal play.

I think the best option would be to just walk off the 5 yards.  Offense lost 5 yards on a penalty, defense gave 5 yards, everything offsets and the 2 pt attempt proceeds normally from the 2.  It would work in other situations that would have really stunk for Chicago.  Say Denver made the original attempt but was penalized for holding.  Then Chicago jumps offside.  By the current rule it seems that once again Denver would have gotten a 2 pt attempt from the 1, which is just silly.

Basically on the 2 pt attempt enforce the "half the distance to the goal" rule ONLY when already inside the 2.  Other than that, walk things off normally.

And don't get me started on roughing the passer calls in that game (might as well give the QB a touch flag and let the rest play if those were roughing), or how a possible tiny fraction of a second with the clock at 0 somehow allowed a kick.  Neither team really deserved to win, but that last 30 seconds was simply absurd.

8 Packers played well overall…

Packers played well overall yesterday, I thought. The offense was more effective than against Chicago and the defense still played very well. I’ll take 56 plays of really good defense and 4 big plays, because those big plays aren’t as repeatable and definitely had some flukiness to them. Pressure was good all day and so was the coverage.

Offense is still a work in progress but steamrolled a good defense right out of the gate, and that was enough to win.

11 I don't know if the DPI…

I don't know if the DPI challenge Seattle won was actually DPI, but I'm pretty sure it would have been called 0 out of 100 times in the prior 99 years of NFL football. Thanks replay?

38 Interesting reaction

My first thought seeing it was - "well, there is the play this rule is designed to get right". If they didn't throw the flag after that challenge I don't understand why this rule would existing. The defender clearly impeded the receiver's attempt at a catch well before the ball was in the vicinity, without even a token effort to actually play the ball.

With these current rules we have seen and will continue to see a more PI calls added to the game than removed from it. Which is a shame, but in super slo-mo nearly every play looks like there is plausible PI - so I very rarely see that being overturned. I'm not sure if that outcome is better for the game overall. But, in this instance, it allowed the correct call to be made.

57 I wonder if the fact that…

I wonder if the fact that the refs missed a super-obvious 100% helmet-to-helmet roughing call on the play (and I'm sure they knew as they went to the replay that they had missed it, but aren't allowed to call it on review) influenced the DPI review.

I do think it was PI by the letter of the rule, but if there's normally some bias against calling a long PI on review, they might have thought "well, this time we can err on the side of calling a borderline one" if that seemed like the "less bad" option compared to letting the Pittsburgh defender get away with head-hunting Wilson after the throw.

I don't know if the refs actually think this way, but I know I was hoping for Carroll to challenge just to give them a chance for a make up call.

58 I wonder if the fact that…

I wonder if the fact that the refs missed a super-obvious 100% helmet-to-helmet roughing call on the play (and I'm sure they knew as they went to the replay that they had missed it, but aren't allowed to call it on review) influenced the DPI review.

I do think it was PI by the letter of the rule, but if there's normally some bias against calling a long PI on review, they might have thought "well, this time we can err on the side of calling a borderline one" if that seemed like the "less bad" option compared to letting the Pittsburgh defender get away with head-hunting Wilson after the throw.

I don't know if the refs actually think this way, but I know I was hoping for Carroll to challenge just to give them a chance for a make up call.

12 Fangio's decision

I definitely agree that Fangio's decision to go for 2 was wrong, and I disagree with (I think) Vince that the situation argued in favor of it. The Bears D was utterly gassed, and the Denver D was not, so I would guess OT was 60-70% for Denver.

OTOH, the Bears being gassed also increased the success probability of the 2 pointer, so maybe it's a wash.

And yes, the rtp call on Chubb was awful, but it was consistent with how the rest of the game was called, including an rtp and an unnecessary roughness on two textbook clean hits.

73 Yeah, I had the same thought…

Yeah, I had the same thought at the time. Add in the feeble Bears offense, and I think the Broncos had a very high probability of winning the game in OT. (And an extremely low probability of the Bears winning the toss and marching down the field to score a clinching TD).

I would have been willing to bet a very large sum of money against the Bears winning the game after the 2-point conversion was successful, though. Good thing they seem to have found a big-legged kicker, because they don't look like they'll be scoring many touchdowns this season.

14 Eagles Offense

One problem with the Eagles offense, in addition to all the injuries to their wide receivers, is that they keep trying to make Miles Sanders their featured back, and he keeps being awful. Through two games, he's carried 21 times for 53 yards.

Hey, Jay Ajayi is still unemployed.

45 Yeah, he's been unimpressive

In reply to by Boots Day

He wants to take everything outside instead of taking the three yards in front of him, which usually fails, and/or creates a holding penalty. Howard isn't explosive, but is a better player.

53 C'mon - Howard had 8 carries…

C'mon - Howard had 8 carries for 18 yards yesterday, Sanders had 10 for 28. They were virtually indistinguishable. The problem wasn't the running back. There wasn't anything there for either of them.

This isn't surprising, considering with Goedert, Jackson, and Jeffery out the entire offense was just in shambles. There really wasn't anything they could adjust to. What looks were they going to give that Atlanta might think "ooh, they might pass out of this formation"? I mean, they had a 320-pound OL doing the things that a 250-pound pass-catching tight end is supposed to do.

I don't know how you evaluate the Eagles offense that game at all. I don't blame anyone for that train wreck.

69 Thanks for the pedantry

But I was evaluating based on seeing both play; in Howard's case, many times. Not on results of one game. I could be wrong about Sanders, but after seeing him twice now, he seems to dance around behind the line too much.

75 You've only got 2 games for…

You've only got 2 games for Sanders. The first was his first NFL game, ever, and the second one was pretty much throwaway since the offense was so limited that the entire defense knew exactly when a run was coming. It's way too early to compare them, and especially if they're more comfortable with Sanders in pass protection, it's fine that he's getting the bulk of the touches right now.

15 Ballage Duck

Not sure why he is getting so roasted for this.

The ball is thrown way way high-and-behind him - to catch it he would have had to have stopped, turned, and extended backwards. That's not at all where you put the ball on a RB pass - he would've expected it to be in his slowly-advancing path, ready to gain YAC.

In the split-second he has to pick it up, I can well understand why he would see the trajectory of that throw (high and behind) as being not aimed at him but somebody wider and in the flat, and would instinctively duck so as to be sure not to get in the way (in fact it was so far behind and high I don't think it would've hit even his head).

20 It was also a way better…

In reply to by LondonMonarch

It was also a way better play on his part than a later throw, where he bounced the ball over to Collins.

Mostly, I think, it was emblematic of the Miami day.  Sometimes the meme is funnier than the truth.

23 I'm with you - I distinctly…

In reply to by LondonMonarch

I'm with you - I distinctly remember yelling at the TV and waving my hands around when the announcers were berating him. 

Most likely result IMO of him trying to catch that ball is batting it up in the air with a high likelyhood of a pick.

Also, I don't remember Jamie Collins being so aware of where the ball is. 


40 Collins 2.0

I'm definitely a fan of Jamie Collins 2.0; The guy was always an unbelievable athlete, and made some great plays on the ball. If losing on the browns for a few years has cured the discipline problems and he can play consistent football I think he has a chance to have an unbelievable year.

19 Payton and the Saints Being Jobbed

I was surprised by their relatively accepting reaction to this.

The DPI non-call in the playoff was egregious, but it was at least a judgment call of sorts. The officials had to make a call, one way or the other. Here their rules tell them NOT to make the call but to let the play continue, and they simply refused to follow their own established practice and guidance.

In this position, where the officials have not simply made a misjudgment but have actually breached their own rules about how to officiate the game (and thus have no leg to stand on about "judgment calls" or "interpretation") I don't know why a coach wouldn't just walk out on the field and refuse to allow his players to continue until he had a clear answer as to WHY the officials blew it dead?

24 Ideally, the coach needs to…

Ideally, the coach needs to react in a way that gives his team the best chance of going on to win the game.

It sucks that another call like this goes against the Saints, in another Rams-Saints game no less, but presumably Payton recognizes it's a human error, and not some plot against his team.

He looked pretty upset on the sidelines to me, but you have to get those emotions in check and focus on the game, which was still in doubt at the time.

28 Ideally, the coach needs to…

Ideally, the coach needs to react in a way that gives his team the best chance of going on to win the game.

That's true, but kind of my point. Certainly in some sports like soccer the strategic play here is that you want to make as much fuss as possible, so that the referees are very aware how much they have wronged you and tilted the balance of the game - the aim being to make sure that ensuing close calls in your favour.

36 RE: Payton and the Saints being jobbed

Ironically, the Saints once benefitted from a very similar play in the 2011 Wild Card game against Detroit.

Trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter, Brees was strip-sacked and the Lions returned it for a TD, but the play had been blown dead.

The Lions ended up getting the ball at their own 40 and punted.


Of course, they ended up losing 45-28 so it probably didn't matter.

21 "Halftime, and the New…

"Halftime, and the New England blowout predicted by many (and by a -19 line) has not come to fruition."

This statement did not age well.

33 Vikings/Packers game was great

Boy is Cook amazing. The feet, the speed and has the ability to hunker down and bullrush defenders. Just wow.

Thought the Packers coverage throughout the game was really good. Either Cousins had to put stuff in a tight window or the Vikes receiver was making a really good catch.

Not a newsflash but Harrison Smith is so, so good.

The backup Packers were really helping out yesterday. Adams on d, Fackrell,. Pressing the pocket and holding the edge when needed.

Green Bay has a fine punter. Scott continues to do good work.

The league announced it was emphasizing OPI coming into the season. OPI has been called at a high rate. The Vikes non-TD due to OPI the player was blocking in the end zone on a pass into the end zone. I know this stuff has been happening for years but since the league is trying to pull back why the complaining when it's pretty clear this was an infraction?

35 I know everyone at FO…

I know everyone at FO expected Josh Allen to be a comically epic bust (heck, I did too) but it's pretty clear that he's a starting-quality QB. The arm-talent and athleticism are enough to make up for the YOLO decision making and occasional WTF throw that ends up in a different zipcode from the receiver. He also looks a lot more comfortable with actual offensive linemen in front of him and real receivers to throw to as rather than the houseplants and kitchen utensils the Bills had out there last season.

And hey - the guy has a winning record (7-6) in games he's started and did not get injured and replaced with Nathan Peterman, so maybe don't be so surprised when you catch a bit of a game and he doesn't completely suck

42 I'm starting to think that…

I'm starting to think that drafting one of these guys is worse than drafting an outright bust - because you end up spending a decade capped at about 9-10 wins - never good enough to be a significant playoff threat, and never bad enough to reboot. 

44 I did some research a while…

I did some research a while back, and found that record was positively correlated with likelihood of both getting over .500 and making the playoffs in the next five years. It was far, far better to be 6-10 than 2-14.

47 Agreed

Without having done mathematical analysis my observation agrees with this (case in point how the Chiefs got good). Football isn't primarily a game of drafting the best cost-controlled talent in order to maximize on field results - it's about convincing young men who are set for life that they should sacrifice there time, health and in many cases there future earning potential to do what's best for the team so the team can win. Fostering that behavior year after year to get the absolute best out of that random 4th round draft pick that in the right enviroment turns into your starting left guard. I don't know any better way of doing that then selling the opportunity to play in playoff games or even better win superbowls. This is a big part of what has lead to the "winners ball" effect, especially in the AFC that keeps the same teams at the top despite drafting late repeatedly and having there rosters raided in free agency. Obviously there are other factors (summed mostly organization competence); but a lot of those factors are difficult to form in an environment where there's constant churn in the organization from all the losing.

54 I am so glad to hear someone explicitly say this

In reply to by sbond101

This right here is the most irritating thing I see ignored again and again. Player who chooses to play for less money on team x "to try to win a superbowl" is a very real thing that happens all the time. Playing for the Patriots gives you a chance to win a superbowl, playing for the Dolphins gives you a paycheck, and nothing else. 

Those are extreme examples, with Dolphins players desperate for a way out, and Antonio Brown finding a way to worm his way in, but a lesser version is true for a lot of different things. As a rams fan I can tell you that nobody was signing up to play for Fisher on the cheaps. Hell, the Rams struggled to get even mediocre players in FA. In contrast, just this last off season, both Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle turned down higher offers elsewhere to play for the Rams. That didn't happen even in McVay's first off season. Hopefully this is the sort of thing that continues to happen going forward.

It also shows why the strategy of "don't resign your promising young QB, instead just throw him away and try to get a new one on a rookie deal" is such a laughable idea. Yeah, let's not resign (Mahomes/Goff/Wentz/Prescott/Mayfield) and roll the dice with some rando we get in the draft. Maybe endure a few years with a warm body back there, but for rookie minimum. That totally won't destroy our ability to recruit talent in free agency, as we get the reputation of a team that's unserious about winning in the short term. 

Note: this assumes that you have reason to believe that said QB is actually good. eg. not Winston.

59 I attribute the Broncos…

I attribute the Broncos recent super bowl to this effect, not overall organizational competence (which has been pretty questionable ever since Elway has been GM). Peyton Manning was there; therefore the team was a super bowl contender, therefore a fun place to play. Most of their marquee free agents said something of the sort, upon signing.

48 Which makes this year's…

Which makes this year's Miami approach (and also Oakland's) interesting.

In a salary cap league, having good rookies on below market deals is a huge benefit, especially when the rookie is a QB.  The idea that we will "tank and purge" does maximize the number of early career players the team will be able to field in a couple of year.

The flip side, I think, is that the other way you get talent is by having veteran players willing to choose your team over other destinations.  That has to be part of what helps good teams stay good, while bad teams stay bad.

I'm not sure there's a huge cumulative advantage to drafting 4th, say, versus drafting 14th.  The "sure thing generational talent" is already drafted by that point (assuming there ever is such a thing except in hindsight) and the talent level after that seem so tightly clustered that I'm not sure how much benefit it is to finish 4-14 (oops, 4-12, excuse my CFL-ishness) versus 6-10.

So basically, I'm not sure drafting early is really that big a deal, unless you luck out and get a  franchise QB (which I assume Miami is aiming for) or franchise changing edge rusher.  But having a lot of draft picks concentrated together over a couple of years could be a big deal, as long as you don't make your location completely unattractive to veteran players.


74 Plus with QB salaries being…

Plus with QB salaries being what they are, you also have to pay them almost as much as you'd pay a Mahomes or a Rodgers once they're through their rookie contract. If you could sign a middling QB for $10M/year and devote the rest of your resources to other positions, that would be one thing.

51 Allen’s ceiling

it would be the most ironic outcome that Allen would turn out to be a simply mid level QB after everyone assumed he was the hugest boom or bust QB to come out predraft. But that seems to be the case, as he really does look exactly like Cam Newton out there—-gives enough value with athleticism and arm strength to be credible, but too inaccurate and occasionally sloppy to ever reach Mahones/Rodgers levels of elite QB play.

as a Bills fan, I’ll gladly take this and it’s far better than I ever expected. I think he even has the potential to clean some of his decision-making up and be better than a Cutler, for example, but I’ll take that as his floor for now

52 Jay Cutler was a pretty good…

Jay Cutler was a pretty good QB. It's not fair to put him in the same tier as Fitzpatrick, who has only ever had one decent season (with the Jets a few years ago) and one good season (last year with the Bucs, when he was 6th in DVOA).

50 In my dream last night, Joe…

In my dream last night, Joe Flacco announced he was going back to college to finish his career, a la top soccer players playing out their twilight years in the MLS. I thought "that makes sense, he'd probably be really good in college!"

IRL Flacco wasn't that bad, but he wasn't good either, and there's not real hope he will improve.

64 Peak Flacco was better than…

Peak Flacco was better than his stats.  He was poised and tough, and like Rocky he always gave you a puncher's chance to win.  Some QBs have a thing where one INT turns into three in the blink of an eye – Romo had that rep early, perhaps unfairly; and I guess Kirk Cousins has something similar now – but Flacco hardly ever compounded mistakes.  You would enter the 4th Q with a chance to win, pretty much every week.  This was circa 2010-12.    

This is just one Ravens fan's hot take: but I think the West Coast Offense of Kubiak in 2014, ruined Joe.  It's disguised a little because the Ravens played the NFC West that season (historically bad pass defenses); but if you filter out NFC games and look only at Flacco's stats vs AFC teams over his career, the yards-per-attempt tell the story.  In six seasons before Kubiak arrived, only twice was Flacco below 7 yds-per-attempt.  (And one of those seasons, 2013, their O-line was devastated with injuries.)  In the five seasons beginning with Kubiak's arrival, Joe never touched 7 ypa again; and only once was he over 6.6.  Kubiak turned Flacco into Captain Checkdown, the least productive dink-&-dunk Robo-QB in the league.

The Ravens stayed with classic old WCO coordinators post-Kubiak: Trestman & Mornihnweg.  Same results.  Flacco was better under whatever the prior system was (with Cam Cameron).

The knee and back injuries didn't help either.  Nor did the lack of offensive skill talent.  But I think the scheme brought out the worst in Flacco.

But Peak Flacco was a pretty good player.  Streaky.  But as far as hot streaks go, that 2012 postseason run was pretty damn good.


65 It seems bizarre to conclude…

It seems bizarre to conclude that Kubiak ruined Flacco when it was the only season of his entire career where he finished any better than 15th in passing DVOA (he was 8th in 2014).

You've certainly watched him more than I have, but I think the credit is backwards - outside of the magic Super Bowl run in 2012, it was mainly that a well-coached and well-managed team helped an average QB stay in more games and pull a few more wins out than he otherwise would have. It's kind of in keeping with the mis-impression that Flacco was an effective deep passer - he was never actually a particularly productive or efficient deep passer during his career. If you look at net yards/attempt (which accounts for yards lost to sacks) or ANY/A (adding TDs and INTs into the mix), 2014 was also Flacco's best year by a decent margin.

At least he was never the type who would lose winnable games with bad decisions or throws a la Jay Cutler, which again goes a long way with a well-coached team that usually has decent defense and special teams.

70 Nah man: 2014 NFC West

I take your point that a well-run team helped an avg QB get more wins than he otherwise would've.  Very possible.

But the 2014 stats are fooling you.  Flacco may have finished 8th in passing DVOA that season.  But he played four games against the NFC South that year, and they were historically bad pass defenses.  In those four games Joltin Joe completed 71% of his passes for 10.5ypa with 11 TDs & 2 INTs, for a passer rating of 131.5.  DVOA is supposed to adjust for strength-of-opponent, but the adjustment was insufficient.

If you look at Joe's statistics for the 12-game seasons over his career where he played only AFC teams, the truth will emerge: that season was a below-avg one for him.

Of course there was a perfect storm of factors: it's a little hot-take-ish for me to hang it on Kubiak.  Flacco was 27 the year he won the SB; predictable that he would start to decline.  The knee and back injuries effected him.  The Ravens personnel wasn't so great in those post-SB years.  But the short passing / checkdown game was a factor too.

55 The Iggles lost

because Clement fumbled the h2 kickoff gifting Falcs a TD, and Agholor dropped an easy TD in the final two minutes. That's 14 points in a 4-pt loss before you get to Ertz stopping a foot and turning around before the 1st down marker on 4th down. Run past the marker next time, c'mon!

Agholor whined about not getting touches last week and blows the game. Then blames the lights. UFB.

61 Nobody schemes receivers…

Nobody schemes receivers WIDE open like Kyle Shanahan. Perhaps the Bengals defense is simply awful, but they were taken to the woodshed from first minute until last. It was impressive; I’m interested to see how far this offence can go because it’s mostly no-name (to the average fan) players.

Echo what the contributor said about the Bengals offence. There were some nicely designed plays by Zac Taylor. They have some receiver talent, and Dalton is still ok. Unfortunately the offensive line will continue hamstring them.

62 Cousins

I am ready to be done with Cousins. All the critiques of him were dead on. Saw one fun stat: Vikings averaged 7 yards per play. Packers 4.9. In the last 10 years only 13 times has a team that averaged 7+ yards lost to a team that averaged less than 5.

3 of those 13 teams that lost were quarterbacked by Kirk Cousins.

Despite his throwing ability... and that one Diggs td was gorgeous.... I can't help but have a quick thought that the Vikings could have won that game with Keenum, at half the cost. Or Bridgewater. Maybe even the corpse of Bradford. Heck I would take my chances with Sloter.

I know, even if he were cut today he still is 30ishM on the cap next year. So you can't cut him. I just don't want him doing Cousins soulcrushing things anymore.

66 The funny thing is that…

In reply to by andrew

The funny thing is that Cousins' stat line could have looked so much worse: despite averaging 7.2 yards per attempt on 32 pass attempts, only 6 of those went for first downs. Remove the 49 yard TD to Diggs that went through the defender's hands and the slightly-broken 61 yard gainer to Beebe, that's 4 first downs on his other 30 pass attempts at 4 yards a clip. He arguably had a much worse day than Trubisky against this same defense the week before.