Audibles at the Line: Week 8
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.
Arizona Cardinals 9 at New Orleans Saints 31
Scott Spratt: After an overthrow 20 yards down the field on his first attempt, Drew Brees has been on target with four straight passes, all completions to Michael Thomas, Latavius Murray, and twice to Josh Hill. Hasn't really showcased the arm strength, but he's looking comfortable and healthy after missing more than a month with a thumb injury.
Move over Sean Payton, because on the Cardinals' second play on offense, Kliff Kingsbury has Kyler Murray hand off to Chase Edmonds, who then pitches it back to Murray for a flea flicker! Murray easily completes the pass for 47 yards to Charles Clay.
Brees peaked at eight straight completions before missing for the second time on a pass. Yeah, he's back.
Haason Reddick hit Brees as he threw a pass. The ball fluttered into the ground, and refs allowed the Cardinals to recover the ball as a fumble and return it as a touchdown. They ruled it that on the field, too, and are reviewing it. It was pretty clearly a pass, so it'll come back. And I find myself vacillating from my original opinion that refs should always let plays go to prevent killing a game-changing play before it can happen. I feel like the refereeing may have swung too far the other way where refs are now afraid to make calls in some situations, which just adds more annoying delays for replays.
Wow, an offensive hold erases an incredible Drew Brees touchdown pass, rolling away from pressure to his left and with time expiring in the first half. Meanwhile, the Saints were out of timeouts, so the penalty by rule ended the half with the Saints only winning 10-6 and not up 17-6. Could prove big since the Cardinals offense has been able to move the ball effectively against the Saints defense but stalled out twice in the red zone.
Patrick Peterson, back from a six-game suspension, intercepts an overthrown pass from Drew Brees. Peterson hasn't exactly limited Michael Thomas today -- Thomas has nine catches for 100 yards -- but the Cardinals defense that was No. 26 in DVOA against the pass entering today has held Brees out of the end zone today, halfway through the third quarter.
After being held to field goals on a pair of first-half red zone possessions that ended in field goals, the Cardinals throw an incompletion on a third-and-1 and then fail to gain a yard while running on fourth-and-1 from their own 30-yard line. The Saints take over with a very short field.
Vince Verhei: The Cardinals, without Patrick Peterson, had some of the NFL's worst cornerbacks. Well, Peterson returned last week, and just got his first interception of the year, as Brees overthrows a deep ball to a double-covered Zach Line. Everything about that play was weird, but everything about this game is weird. Saints are crushing the Cardinals in yards and first downs, but they can't get points, and the lead is still just 10-6 here in the third.
Last week, Chase Edmonds had three touchdown runs of 20-plus yards. This week, the Saints have held him to a total of 7 yards on six carries. The last of those carries was a stuff on fourth-and-1 in Arizona territory. It was a very non-Air Raid play, just a straight handoff and dive up the middle, with no use of Kyler Murray's athleticism. Saints capitalize on the short field with a 15-yard Latavius Murray touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead.
Scott Spratt: Chase Edmonds just limped off the field, and with David Johnson still injured and inactive, Zach Zenner is in for the Cardinals. Zenner played for the Saints last week before he was released. I had just assumed the Cardinals signed him for game-planning purposes.
New York Jets 15 at Jacksonville Jaguars 29
Bryan Knowles: Leonard Fournette can't buy a touchdown this year. Coming into today, he had 918 yards from scrimmage, third-most in the league, yet had only found the end zone once. He opens up the game with a 66-yard run up the middle but is tackled just short yet again. The Jags get the touchdown a couple of plays later, but it goes to Keelan Cole. Fournette fantasy owners continue to steam. A missed extra point makes it 6-0 Jags.
Dave Bernreuther: Continuing with Bryan's "Fournette can't buy a touchdown" theme, first-and-goal from about the 1, and Fournette first runs into a wall and has his momentum negated mere inches shy of the line, then takes a poorly blocked pitch and loses yards. A lot of yards. And is removed from the field on third down, just in time for Gardner Beowulf Moustache Minshew the II to scramble right, look foolish, nearly fall down, then sidearm a laser to the pylon to DJ baby Chark Jr for the clinching (ish) score.
That was fun to watch, but even more fun to type.
Seattle Seahawks 27 at Atlanta Falcons 20
Carl Yedor: Center Justin Britt goes down with what looks like a left knee injury on Seattle's opening drive right as they get into scoring territory, and the drive stalls, leading to a Jason Myers field goal. Britt's no superstar, but they'll be replacing him with Joey Hunt, who is still a step down. If Seattle's offense takes a hit here due to the loss of Britt, that could be a big problem moving forward.
Scott Spratt: I recently heard Kevin Clark of The Ringer suggest, half-jokingly but definitely half-seriously, that Russell Wilson has lived through so much pass pressure in the first seven-plus years of his career that he has 10,000-hour mastered it and simply isn't bothered by it at this point. Anyone have an opinion on that? I feel like he has always done well with it, but there are so few passers who have been able to stay healthy and overcome bad pass blocking for so many years.
Carl Yedor: I think part of the 10,000-hour thing is that Wilson invites some (definitely not all) of it with his tendency to hunt for big plays. There have been some years (like the first half of 2015 and all of 2017) where he has been running for his life on pretty much every snap, but that hasn't always been the case. It's a minor miracle that he has never missed a game, especially given all the injuries he battled through in 2016 while still playing.
Aaron Schatz: I believe this offseason in the article on quarterbacks and pass pressure, we looked at the idea that quarterbacks who face more pressure regularly might be better against pressure, especially those quarterbacks such as Wilson and Deshaun Watson who tend to create pressure with their own styles. So that sort of fits your idea about Wilson and how much experience he has facing heavy pressure.
Scott Spratt: Yeah, I think I pitched the idea that maybe the Texans should let their offensive line stay a weakness since Deshaun Watson is mobile and has experienced Wilson-like stellar numbers against pressure. But then Andrew Luck retired and disabused that idea for me and Bill O'Brien, who traded multiple first-round picks for Laremy Tunsil. Wilson may be the only example of this kind of player in this kind of circumstance we ever get.
Carl Yedor: Agreed. And even then, Seattle started investing more in the offensive line after that 2016 season where Wilson was hurt and played through it. In 2017, they spent a second-round pick on a lineman in Ethan Pocic, signed Luke Joeckel to a decent-sized one-year deal (I want to say it was about $8 million even though he was Luke Joeckel), extended Justin Britt, and traded for Duane Brown at midseason. The 2016 offensive line disaster was partly a function of letting left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy walk while replacing them with Bradley Sowell and rookie Germain Ifedi, respectively. Sowell actually went down with an injury at one point, which led us to George Fant, starting left tackle. So after 2016, Seattle stopped making a conscious choice to go cheap at offensive line, even though they haven't necessarily been good since then.
Vince Verhei: Let us not forget that Seattle had a bunch of terrible offensive lines under Tom Cable, and as soon as Cable was fired, the line got a lot better. It's not a coincidence. Seahawks lead 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, though the Falcons have a fourth down in scoring range and will likely tie the game on the first play of the second. Biggest story so far is who's out today -- Justin Britt for the Seahawks, Matt Ryan for the Falcons, and most of the fans in Atlanta. This big giant shiny almost-brand-new stadium (I didn't even know the roof opened until today) is virtually empty, and the few people who are there seem to be cheering for the Seahawks. Interesting finish to Seattle's second drive. They had a third-and-1 just shy of the 50, and Chris Carson was stuffed for no gain. However, Hunt was called for a hold, and Atlanta accepted the penalty rather than give Seattle a chance at a fourth-and-1. It worked -- David Moore failed to get two feet down on a sideline catch, and Seattle punted. And I was wrong -- Matt Bryant misses from 51, and it's still 3-0 Seattle. Seahawks snap the ball on second-and-goal and the Falcons defense just ... stands there. Nobody moves. DK Metcalf saunters into the end zone uncovered and Wilson has one of the easiest touchdowns of his career. The Falcons are very, very bad at football, and I don't see how this coaching staff returns in 2020.
Bryan Knowles: Atlanta's fourth-down decisions. On fourth-and-1 from Seattle's 33, they attempt a field goal. On fourth-and-1 from their own 34, they go for it (and convert). I look forward to hearing the explanation for their fourth-down strategy, and whether or not it involves the phrase "dart board."
Scott Spratt: Or maybe it's "draft board," Bryan?
Carl Yedor: I wouldn't be surprised if Dan Quinn's fourth-down decisions might boil down to him internalizing that punting on fourth-and-1 is bad in general but not being able to resist the allure of points.
Vince Verhei: The Falcons follow that fourth-down conversion with an OPI call on Julio Jones, a timeout to avoid delay-of-game on first-and-20, and an interception thrown right to Mychal Kendricks. Seahawks rumble all over the Atlanta defense and Chris Carson adds a short touchdown to make it 17-0. Seattle has gained 117 yards on 17 rushes; Atlanta has gained 12 on seven. Seahawks lead 24-0 at halftime. Wilson and Tyler Lockett have made some amazing throws and catches to beat tight coverage, but the bigger issue for Atlanta is that they keep losing track of the giant Metcalf. He gets way behind Blidi Wreh-Wilson for what should be a long touchdown, but Wilson's pass hangs in the air forever, and Metcalf is unable to get both feet down in the end zone (he may have also lost the ball as he went to the ground). No matter -- a few Lockett catches and Carson runs later, and Metcalf is all alone in the middle of the field on a play-action pass for the score. With no timeouts, Falcons are able to move into position for a Hail Mary, but Jadeveon Clowney chases Schaub down and knocks the ball out for a sack. They have been creative with Clowney today -- edge rushing, pass coverage, and at least once, lining him up at inside linebacker and letting him freelance his blitz route.
Bryan Knowles: About the only thing that has gone wrong for the Seahawks today is that Britt injury; Rapoport is reporting it looks like a season-ending knee injury. Trade deadline is Tuesday, and the Seahawks might suddenly be in the market.
Vince Verhei: Well, the Falcons dominated that third quarter. The defense forced a pair of three-and-outs. The offense had a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive (Brian Hill taking a pitch 23 yards for the score) and a 10-play, 34-yard field goal drive, and they just got a first down near midfield on the last play of the quarter. Most of those yards were gained by Julio Jones, plus some very effective screens. Seahawks lead 24-11, but they're definitely fortunate that Matt Bryant missed both of his 50-plus-yard tries in the first half.
Carl Yedor: Fortunate turn of events for the Seahawks as they recover a Devonta Freeman fumble inside the 5 and drive for a field goal. Still technically a two-score game at 27-11, but Atlanta isn't quite out of it yet.
Vince Verhei: The key to Seattle's last field goal drive was that it lasted 11 plays and killed more than six minutes of clock. The Seahawks then went true prevent on Atlanta's next drive, and though the Falcons converted in the red zone with a Schaub touchdown pass to Austin Hooper, it took them 13 plays and nearly three minutes to do it. When the ensuing two-pointer failed, it left them still down by ten points with just over three minutes remaining, and this one's over barring a catastrophe.
Falcons kick a field goal on second down to save time for the touchdown they will also need, so good on them there, but they fail to recover the onside kick and that's that. Seahawks win 27-20.
I hope you all started the Falcons in your fantasy leagues. Schaub finished with more than 450 yards, Julio more than 150, Hooper 60-plus and a touchdown.
New York Giants 26 at Detroit Lions 31
Scott Spratt: After rookie running back Ty Johnson was named the starter and took one carry for no gain, he has ceded five straight carries to former Packers back Tra Carson. I'm not sure if that was a bait-and-switch kind of plan or if Johnson was hurt, but this could have some big fantasy football implications.
Bryan Knowles: The Lions and Giants have traded awful, no-good, very-bad turnovers in the first quarter of this one. On the Lions' first drive, Stafford threw a lollipop into double-coverage, with Janoris Jenkins coming down with one of the easier interceptions of the season; he was practically playing centerfield there. Not to be outdone, Daniel Jones ended up throwing a backward pass while being tackled three players later, which was scooped up for a touchdown by the Lions' defense. In general, though, Stafford has looked pretty sharp today; he just hit Marvin Hall on a perfectly thrown deep ball for a 50-yard score. Make it 14-0 Lions early.
Scott Spratt: A friend of mine who is a Lions fan pointed out to me that the 50-yard Marvin Hall touchdown put him over 200 yards on the season on just five catches. Amazing. I'm just seeing that the Dolphins' Kenyan Drake didn't travel with the team for their Monday night game against the Steelers. He isn't hurt, so this seems like a clear indication he is going to be traded before Tuesday's deadline. Perhaps he'll end up as the primary Lions back?
Philadelphia Eagles 31 at Buffalo Bills 13
Dave Bernreuther: 50-mph wind gusts have made the passing game something of an adventure today. That might be advantage Buffalo, because they're already used to their passing game being an adventure with Josh Allen behind center. No deep passes for either team through the first quarter; it's just too risky at this point in time.
The short passing game, however, is working, and it feels like Buffalo has done a better job adjusting so far. Allen is 6-for-8 -- just for 42 yards, mind you, but they are moving the ball. Short passes to John Brown, screens to Devin Singletary, and plenty of Frank Gore on the ground so far has been a recipe for success; they take a 7-3 lead as the second quarter begins.
Aaron Schatz: The wind is swirling and heavy in Buffalo today. A lot of running the ball by both teams, and Philadelphia's two biggest plays so far were swing passes to Miles Sanders that gained a combined 40 yards. Buffalo's touchdown was to a wide-open Cole Beasley in a hole in the zone coverage.
If I'm one of the punt returners in Buffalo today, I'm not even touching the ball on a punt return. That thing is bouncing all over the place because of the wind.
Dave Bernreuther: I walk in, look up, and on the first play I see, Josh Allen turns the ball over. Seems about right. That is just the break the struggling Eagles need, now starting a drive in the red zone.
Aaron Schatz: Bills run QB power on third-and-2, center Mitch Morse trips while pulling, and Josh Allen gets the ball punched out by Brandon Graham, his second fumble of the day and the first one recovered by the Eagles. Then it's a couple of runs up the middle by Miles Sanders, a QB sneak (on third-and-1), and an 8-yard scramble by Wentz, and then Dallas Goedert beats Jordan Poyer on a slant for the touchdown. Eagles line up to go for two, so each team takes a timeout, but the Eagles stick by it and Miles Sanders runs it in. 11-7 Eagles as we go to halftime.
Bryan Knowles: We have finally seen a few deep shots in the second quarter, but it's the Eagles' defense that comes up with the biggest play of the game so far. Brandon Graham's strip sack sets up the Eagles just outside the red zone, and five plays later, Wentz finds Goedert in the end zone for the score. 11-7, Eagles after the two-point conversion.
Vince Verhei: Any special reason the Eagles went for two and the four-point lead at the end of the first half? Is it the wind? A kicker injury? Or just playing aggressive?
Aaron Schatz: I think a combination of playing aggressive and the thought that the swirling winds may make field goals and extra points harder to hit.
Bryan Knowles: No injury, so I think it's a combination of the wind and Doug Pederson being itchy on the sideline. The Bills did miss a field goal as the half ended, albeit a 50-plus-yarder, so perhaps the two-point math is even more favorable than usual today.
Aaron Schatz: Miles Sanders started off the second half with a 65-yard touchdown run down the left sideline and then Jake Elliott doinked the extra point off the left upright so turns out the two-point conversion evens things out to 17-7.
Bryan Knowles: And, if there are swirling winds, why not take it out of the equation entirely? Miles Sanders takes a handoff, Micah Hyde takes a terrible angle, and he's off. Sixty-five yards to paydirt, as the Eagles take a ... 17-7 lead.
Elliott missed the PAT, so add in another point to that two-point conversion discussion.
Aaron Schatz: Devin Singletary then took a little swing pass 28 yards to the house, and the Eagles blocked the extra point. Conversions have certainly been an adventure in this game. 17-13 Eagles.
Bryan Knowles: Nice response drive by the Bills, converting a third-and-14, a third-and-8, and a third-and-13 on one drive, each time with a 20-plus-yard reception. One of them was a legit deep shot by Allen to John Brown on the sideline, but the others were just a short curl and flare to a receiver in plenty of space. The Eagles were playing way off, and both Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary made them pay.
And Hauschka misses the extra point, too, so it's 17-13 Bills. Stop kicking extra points! It's too windy!
Aaron Schatz: Singletary had wide open field in front of him on that swing pass because the Eagles blitzed six and nobody covered him at all.
Bryan Knowles: We're marching up and down the field in Buffalo! This time, Boston Scott slams his way into the end zone from 4 yards out.
I don't know if the winds have calmed down per se, but both quarterbacks are now beginning to trust their guys through the air. Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery on a 38-yard sideline route to move the ball into Buffalo territory. Both defenses were playing really well in the first half; we've now had four of the last five drives end up in the end zone, with the one exception running out of time in the first half. 24-13, Eagles.
Aaron Schatz: Wow, the Eagles just called a QB draw on third-and-10, and converted with it.
Bryan Knowles: This game should be just about over. The Eagles just drove 83 yards in 14 plays, basically all just running the ball down the Bills' throat. Plenty of Jordan Howard, a couple of big Wentz draws/scrambles, draining half of the fourth quarter and finishing off with a touchdown to make it 31-13. Three-score game with 6:12 left to play, so I think we can pencil in the second loss for the Bills. Big win for the Eagles, after a week of sniping and bickering through the media. That should keep things a little quieter in Philly this week.
The Bills will be 5-2, with all their wins coming against teams ranked 26th in DVOA or lower. You play who you play, but that's a soft record.
Aaron Schatz: Eagles probably ice the game with a 14-play, 83-yard drive to make it 31-13. Converted three third downs. Really nice pass from Wentz to Zach Ertz got them down to the 3, then Jordan Howard runs it in. Some good running plays although I think that the announcers are slightly overstating how much the Eagles are dominating the Bills at the line of scrimmage. Howard had eight carries for 34 yards on that drive. Yes, there was a 20-yard run, but also three stuffs at the line of scrimmage. Wentz scrambling for 13 yards and the QB draw that converted third-and-10 are not really the usual kind of running plays that demonstrate an offense asserting their will over the front seven.
Cincinnati Bengals 10 "at" Los Angeles Rams (London) 24
Bryan Knowles: Cincinnati's running game is, by far, the worst in the league this season, with a -42.0% DVOA coming into the day. So of course they're up to 81 yards on the ground midway through the second quarter. Andy Dalton can't seem to miss -- though his passes have been dinks and dunks, and he has 11 completions for just 89 yards -- and the Bengals are tied 10-10 with the Rams in London. Looking good for Cover Watch, as the Bengals were, what, 13-point underdogs?
The Rams, man. Heck, Los Angeles football in general.
An actual, factual double-reverse pass for a score for the Rams! Give 'em the old razzle dazzle, Sean McVay.
Cooper Kupp is going off. Five catches, 166 yards and a touchdown, and the first half's not over yet.
DOUBLE REVERSE FLEA FLICKER ALERT
-- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) 27 octobre 2019
Vince Verhei: And now it's 17-10, L.A. Rams run a reverse flea flicker, and for all that chicanery, Cooper Kupp is open for a modest gain, 15 yards or so. But B.W. Webb slips while closing in for the tackle. Just tripped up by the turf monster -- Kupp hadn't even caught the ball yet, let alone made a cut. But with Webb on the grass, Kupp was unobstructed, taking off down the sideline for a long touchdown.
Scott Spratt: Interestingly, the Bengals entered today's game as the No. 28 ranked DVOA defense against No. 1 receivers, No. 30 ranked DVOA defense against No. 2 receivers, and No. 6 DVOA defense against other receivers (subscription required). I know losing Brandin Cooks changes that equation, but it has surprised me to see the Rams having some tunnel vision for Cooper Kupp this year. I guess if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
Bryan Knowles: Bad news for anyone who had Cincinnati -13.5. The Bengals, down 14, opted to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 6, and threw it short of the end zone. Complete pass, but the Rams swarm and stop Morgan before he can get into the end zone. Absolutely the right decision to go for it late in the fourth quarter, but you gotta throw it into the end zone there. Rams will likely hold on to cover, just.
Dave Bernreuther: Glad I wasn't the only one to notice that, Bryan. That whole "I once had a cup of coffee with McVay" hiring strategy is working out splendidly for the Bengals. Simply marvelous play design/calling on that one for Zac Taylor.
I don't know about the rest of you guys but I'm super psyched about the pending 0-14 Tua Bowl coming up in December.
Bryan Knowles: Backdoor cover! Backdoor cover! Cover Watch lives! Vegas will not burn down tonight!
Aaron Schatz: Actually, the touchdown was apparently reversed by the officials, so the Rams cover. Alas.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 at Tennessee Titans 27
Bryan Knowles: We may have a new winner for "worst play of the year." Facing a third-and-goal from the four, the Buccaneers run a draw to Dare Ogunbowale. But, after the handoff, the motion man slams into Ogunbowale in the backfield, tackling him. I'm not sure how the man in motion crashes into a running back on a delayed handoff; the timing wouldn't seem to work out at all. But hey, the Buccaneers are innovating on offense.
Vince Verhei: Video of that Bucs play:
-- Kyle Seeley (@ItsKyleSeeley) 27 octobre 2019
Bryan Knowles: Oh no, we have a ref show. The Titans had a fake field goal attempt to make it a seven-point lead, but the Buccaneers sniffed it out and slammed the ball carrier. He fumbled and the Buccaneers scooped it and scored -- but the refs missed the fumble and blew the whistle. They can't overturn it, either; it's an early whistle so the play is just dead. The Buccaneers need to win this game to stay anywhere near the contention, and the referees just blew it.
Aaron Schatz: Devin White absolutely clotheslined punter (and holder) Brett Kern on that play. Jameis Winston scrambles for 9 yards on third-and-10, setting up fourth-and-1 right after the two-minute warning. Handoff to Peyton Barber, and Jurrell Casey and Kenny Vaccaro stuff it for the Titans. They'll win and go to 4-4.
Bryan Knowles: Wrapping up that (fake) field goal, the Buccaneers do move the ball into Titans territory, but are stuffed on a fourth-and-1 at the Titans 32. The Bucs have one more timeout, so it's not quite over, but it looks like the refs did screw the Bucs out of this one, dropping them to 2-5 and out of contention. They have a real beef this week.
Tom Gower: Titans win 27-23. This week's Choose Your Own Adventure game story options include:
1. This and every other year's favorite storyline, the NFL's crisis in officiating, with the Bucs losing a potential go-ahead touchdown when Titans punter/holder Brett Kern was ruled not to have fumbled on a (failed) fake field goal with under 4 minutes to play.
2. Another episode of Strategic Decisions With Mike Vrabel, with that field goal fake coming after Ryan Tannehill bluffed going for it on fourth-and-2 and the Titans holding a 27-23 lead.
3. Another episode of Jameis Winston, Human Turnover Machine costing the Bucs a game. The Titans' first two touchdowns came on drives starting in goal-to-go after bad Winston turnovers, his first lost fumble (of two) when an ill-timed shotgun snap went off his facemask and his first interception (of two) on a pass that was probably intended for Chris Godwin, I guess, because there's nobody else it could have been intended for?
I guess he was throwing to Godwin and just badly overthrew him but this is quite an image of the last Jameis Winston INT.
(Next Gen Stats) pic.twitter.com/CD0I074qnw
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 27, 2019
4. "No risk it, no biscuit" Bruce Arians punting twice on fourth-and-1 holding on to a narrow lead in the second half, including from the Titans 43, necessitating the late fourth down go-for-it.
5. Mike Evans beasting against Titans backup cornerback LeShaun Sims, but not just him, with 198 yards and twp touchdowns.
6. A Titans offense that sustained almost nothing (six first downs on their other 10 non-kneeldown possessions) coming up with scoring drives after starting at their own 10 and 8 on consecutive second-half possessions while trailing (the first featuring 37 yards in penalties on Bucs cornerback Carlton Davis on consecutive plays).
7. The Bucs coming away with two field goals in goal-to-go situations.
8. A non-existent Bucs running game, with Peyton Barber, Dare Ogunbowale, and Ronald Jones combining for 53 yards on 22 carries, forcing Jameis to carry the load.
9. The Titans remaining undefeated under Mike Vrabel when scoring more than 21 points.
10. Big games by Titans tight ends Jonnu Smith (six catches for 78 yards) and Anthony Firkser (3-43), making up for a Titans pass game that did not feature big games by Corey Davis and A.J. Brown (notwithstanding his winning touchdown against Davis).
11. One of the finest "LOL Bucs" moments you'll see, with Ogunbowale running into the jet sweep player on third-and-goal.
Los Angeles Chargers 17 at Chicago Bears 16
Bryan Knowles: The Bears are booed off the field, leading 9-7, and the offense deserves every bit of it. They had a first-and-goal from the 4 with 46 seconds left and two timeouts remaining. They ran five plays, including two from the 1-yard line, and couldn't get into the end zone. They ran on second-and-goal from the 1 with 25 seconds left and no timeouts remaining, were stuffed, and were forced to spike the ball to salvage a 19-yard field goal. So they have 19-, 22-, and 25-yard field goals going into halftime. The Bears have run 11 plays inside the Chargers 10-yard line, eight inside their 5. They have no touchdowns. I'd boo, too.
Fire everyone on the Bears. It's windy. The Bears are down 17-16. Their kicker has already missed a field goal today. They have the ball, set up for a 40-yard field goal with 43 seconds left on the clock, and a timeout remaining. Rather than try to get closer and set up a chip-shot, they just kneel it out, and go for the medium-length field goal -- kickers are great nowadays, right? Just settle for the long shot and be happy.
No, of course Eddy Pineiro misses, and the Bears lose. And they deserve to.
Andrew Potter: The Bears kicking game versus the Chargers kicking game deserves its own Queen soundtrack.
In the end, there can be only one.
For once, the Chargers win on a fourth-quarter field goal debacle.
Vince Verhei: BWAHAHAHAHA!!
Chicago's entire offseason was defined by an overreaction to missed field goals, and yet Matt Nagy still seems completely oblivious to the idea that sometimes kickers just miss.
Matt Nagy on why he had Mitchell Trubisky take a knee before the missed field goal: Didn't want to lose yards or fumble. pic.twitter.com/HYfFylFXMD
-- Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) 27 octobre 2019
More Nagy. He's outright saying he doesn't trust his quarterback in clutch situations. This is going shockingly badly.
Yes. This was his response: "Throw the football right then and there? What happens if you take a sack or there's a fumble?" https://t.co/e8dNbi49HX
-- Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) 27 octobre 2019
Denver Broncos 13 at Indianapolis Colts 15
Dave Bernreuther: Not much to love about a game where your team is down a touchdown at home to Joe Flacco while wearing stupid pajama-looking uniforms, but the play design on a third-and-1 play to convert for the Colts just now was really nice. Simple, but effective. Showing a heavy look to gain a yard, Brissett ran a convincing fake to Marlon Mack up the middle before pivoting to toss a quick one to Jack Doyle, who I believe lined up in the backfield, and had nothing but grass in front of him as everyone piled in on the run action. Absolutely nothing fancy or special about it, but it often seems like play-action calls in those cases try to be chunk plays instead of easy conversions. This one was as easy as they come.
Two conversions in a row to Doyle, then a roughing the passer, and one play later Marlon Mack waltzes into the end zone to make this one a lot less upsetting.
Ah, the good old Flacco special...
Courtland Sutton runs right by Rock Ya-Sin, with outside leverage, and Flacco underthrows him by a good 5 yards and to the inside. This is quite a feat when it's only about 10 yards down the field instead of the deeper throws he used to collect on. But because Ya-Sin was looking away, Sutton's attempt to slow down and come back to the ball mean it's interference, and the Broncos get a free first down as a direct result of quarterback incompetence.
They actually just called a DPI after a challenge!
Cody Sensabaugh clearly interfered with T.Y. Hilton on a third down, but that has never been much of an indicator that it was worth the challenge flag. Shockingly, the crew overturns it, and the Colts' drive continues ... from their own 16, which is not exactly high-percentage territory, but when trailing by a point (due to a doinked extra point from Vinatieri, his fourth of the season... must be because the roof is open) with four minutes to play, you can't exactly complain.
Of course, they promptly gain 2 yards in the next three plays, and will now be punting back to the Broncos with 3:51 left. Luckily, they still have three timeouts, Rigoberto Sanchez has a ridiculous leg, and the opposing quarterback is Joe Flacco, who has a knack for throwing 4-yard passes on third-and-16 (this did happen two drives ago, I just didn't mention it). 13-13 would be a far, far better situation than trailing 13-12, but this is not THAT uphill a climb for the Colts. Yet.
Scott Spratt: Haha, from his own 10-yard line, Jacoby Brissett somehow avoids a sack and possible safety from an unblocked Von Miller and finds T.Y. Hilton for a massive gain. Adam Vinatieri may well have to kick a field goal to win this for the Colts.
The Colts got really complacent here as soon as they got in field goal range. The odds Vinatieri makes this can't be good.
In my face. He drains it from 51 yards.
Dave Bernreuther: For all the clever play designs Frank Reich is willing to call, on third down inside a minute, they run Mack up the middle and LOSE yards to make the Vinatieri field goal attempt harder.
He's still Adam Vinatieri, though. So he hits it, and the Colts will win without covering. What an ugly game, but a win is a win.
Vinatieri has always been money from 55-plus in that dome. He used to routinely hit 60 yarders in warmups, though 58 seemed to be his limit for reliable accuracy down the middle. Today, with the roof open, he somehow knuckleballed an extra point, but good with no doubt about it from both 55 and 51, and the Colts will keep their division lead.
Just for good measure, as the clock wound down, Joe Flacco just got eaten alive from behind by rookie Ben Banogu in hilarious fashion. That play may well have been the play of the game.
Bryan Knowles: Joe Flacco was not holding anything back after the game.
Here's Joe Flacco's full quote on the lack of aggressiveness today. pic.twitter.com/sVuFZzFymm
-- Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) 27 octobre 2019
Dave Bernreuther: Worth linking to this clip too if we haven't already:
The catch. pic.twitter.com/LxEpYwtVY1
-- Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) 27 octobre 2019
I missed the sack escape in real-time. That's a holy crap/lucky moment in itself, but man, that throw...
There are plays that Jacoby Brissett misses. And there are sacks that he takes that he shouldn't. But the dropoff from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett is not that great at all. That's an Andrew Luck-level throw on the move right there.
Vince Verhei: We now have multiple Broncos players on the record questioning the team's decision-making.
Phillip Lindsay echoed that: "We should've been able to get the 5 yards & run the clock out. We're asking a lot of the defense, and we need to do better. Joe's right -- we have to be more aggressive, and when that's coming from your quarterback, that's saying something." #Broncos https://t.co/kvKLNNbQO4
-- Kyle Newman (@KyleNewmanDP) 27 octobre 2019
Carolina Panthers 13 at San Francisco 49ers 51
Scott Spratt: It took less than six minutes for Emmanuel Sanders to score his first touchdown as a 49er. Not a ton of resistance from the Panthers' defense on the 49ers' opening touchdown drive.
Bryan Knowles: Emmanuel Sanders makes an instant impact for the 49ers with two receptions, including a score, on the 49ers' opening possession. Sanders may not have been the 49ers' first choice (word is they were battling with the Patriots to get Mohamed Sanu), but did San Francisco ever need a top receiver to help their offense.
Scott Spratt: Luke Kuechly makes a great play to run with George Kittle on a slant and pick off a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo.
Derrik Klassen: Luke Kuechly interception! Looked like George Kittle was trying to run a short crosser and Kuechly undercut it. Pretty careless interception from Jimmy Garoppolo, but also just a ridiculous play by Kuechly in terms of recognition and closing speed. 49ers lead 7-0 with the Panthers offense now set up in 49ers territory.
Well, that's two drives in a row now where San Francisco's defensive line has gotten to Kyle Allen to end a drive. Eventually one of these is going to be a strip-sack, if Allen's priors are any indication.
Scott Spratt: How many touchdowns has George Kittle had called back by a teammate's penalty this year? At least four now, right?
Bryan Knowles: Just three -- two against Tampa Bay, and one today, if I recall correctly. The 49ers have now had five called back in total, but they have spread them around. This one was a legit foul; Deebo Samuel was blocking downfield from pretty much the snap. The 49ers score on the next play with Tevin Coleman, so no harm, no foul, unless you have Kittle in fantasy. Doing him dirty on National Tight End Appreciation Day, and after I've sent out all those cards and watched the parade and everything.
Derrik Klassen: This Panthers offense is not one that wants to play from behind. Unfortunately for them, the 49ers are now up 21-3 via a Tevin Coleman touchdown following an interception of Kyle Allen. It's early, I know, but I don't like Carolina's chances to dig out of an 18-point hole versus anyone, much less this 49ers squad.
Bryan Knowles: Kyle Allen had started his career with 159 pass attempts without an interception, and he was creeping up on Dak Prescott's record to start a career. That's over now; Emmanuel Mosley grabbed one off of him to set up the 49ers deep in Carolina territory. Three plays later, Tevin Coleman is in the end zone to make it a 21-3 game as they're jumping all over the Panthers. They're just running misdirection after misdirection against what is a very, very, VERY good Panthers defense, and Carolina has yet to respond.
Aaron Schatz: Did the 49ers abort an extra point, or did they actually fake an extra point and try a two-point conversion up 27-3?
Scott Spratt: Haha, I don't know, even I stopped watching that one.
Bryan Knowles: It was a bad snap. Notable that the 49ers are on their fourth long snapper of the year, as Kyle Nelson comes back from suspension.
The San Francisco 49ers have sacked Kyle Allen six times ... it's only halftime.
First-half notes: Tevin Coleman has three touchdowns already, so I hope you picked the right back in 49ers Running Back Roulette. Shades of the '90s Broncos, with Kyle being a chip off of Mike Shanahan's old block.
Six first-half sacks for the 49ers defense, including three for Nick Bosa. That's 46 yards lost in sacks alone, and the Panthers are at 55 net passing yards at the half. If the 49ers hold them under 100, they'll be the first team to do that in four straight weeks since the 1978 passing rule changes.
The Panthers have 76 total yards. Christian McCaffrey has 59 of them, including 24 on a play when he was matched up in coverage by Bosa (bad idea). The rest of the team is getting zip, zero, zilch. It's astonishing.
Scott Spratt: Panthers linebacker Bruce Irvin makes a great move to get inside leverage and sacks Jimmy Garoppolo for a safety. Panthers still down 22 points, but they have a little bit of life.
And Christian McCaffrey breaks free for a 40-yard touchdown. After he converts a two-point conversion, the Panthers cut the lead to 27-13.
Dave Bernreuther: SCORIGAMI ALERT:
Bruce Irvin takes Handsome Jimmy down in the end zone to make it 27-5. Everyone join me in rooting for there to be no more points scored in this game.
Oh. Nevermind. Nice jinx, Dave ... McCaffrey takes it in from midfield, and it's 27-11 and a two-point conversion coming. 27-22 is now our only hope.
Bryan Knowles: Punters are people, too. Michael Palardy's beautiful punt, bouncing out of bounds at the 2, set up the Panthers safety, and the ensuing safety kick set up a 40-yard CMC touchdown and two-point conversion. That punt set up 10 points!
Scott Spratt: The Panthers' pre-game split of the No. 3 DVOA pass defense and No. 30 DVOA run defense is definitely holding true in this game. The 49ers have more rushing yards, (171) than passing yards (156) and have three rushing touchdowns. They are back up by three scores, 34-13.
Dave Bernreuther: I get that it's fourth-and-8, but you're down by four scores in the fourth quarter and you're at midfield. Why are you punting?
Bryan Knowles: The Panthers finish with exactly 100 net passing yards, thanks to the 49ers' seven sacks for 58 yards. They were marched backwards over and over again, as the offensive line just collapsed under pressure.
That's now four straight games where the 49ers have held their opponents to 100 net pass yards or fewer. Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Case Keenum, and now Kyle Allen have failed to get anything going through the air. This hasn't happened since the passing rules were loosed up in '78; the last teams to do it were the Falcons (Jim Plunkett-Greg Landry-Archie Manning-Randy Hedberg) and the 49ers (Steve Bartkowski-Bobby Douglass-Pat Haden-Archie Manning) over the same four weeks in November 1977. Heck, the first game in each streak were against each other -- the '70s were a very, very different time. But the 49ers are making opposing offenses relive it week in and week out.
The last team to do it in five straight games were the '73 Patriots, so you're up next, Kyler Murray.
Cleveland Browns 13 at New England Patriots 27
Vince Verhei: Just to make things clear, this game pits the defense that has a nigh-unprecedented number of interceptions ... against the quarterback who leads the league in interceptions ... in a monsoon. Oh boy.
Aaron Schatz: Patriots running well early, 38 yards on seven carries for Sony Michel, despite starting a backup at right guard with Shaq Mason out. Brady also dropped it in the bucket on a beautiful 33-yard bomb to Philip Dorsett, and he converted fourth-and-7 to Julian Edelman over the middle. But things stall at the goal line, Brady almost throws a pick (diving drop by Denzel Ward) and they bring on the field goal unit. 3-0 Patriots.
Dave Bernreuther: As always, the Patriots eschew conventional "wisdom" by throwing it all over the place in the bad weather. And unsurprisingly, they march right down the field against the Browns, stalling at the goal line for a field goal following a pass that Tom Brady threw directly to Denzel Ward, who let it bounce off of his chest. Ninety-five percent of the nation groans collectively.
Aaron Schatz: That was off Ward's hands more than his chest. He did have to dive for the ball to try to pick it off.
Dave Bernreuther: True, It almost looked like an attempted throwaway, more so than an attempt to hit his receiver. It was pretty poor either way, though. Naturally, on the next drive, the Patriots defense -- which of course needs all the help it can get -- scores a touchdown on a Nick Chubb fumble that was caused by Joel Bitonio kicking it out of his grasp in the backfield.
Vince Verhei: Cleveland's first four plays are all passes. Fifth play, they hand off to Nick Chubb ... who has the ball kicked out of his hands by his own lineman, and Dont'a Hightower scoops and scores. The Patriots defense has scored more touchdowns than it has allowed this season. It is Week 8.
Bryan Knowles: Someone get Nick Chubb some Stickum! His second carry of the game was much better than the first; a 45-yard gain where he just ran right through the Pats defense ... but he fumbled just before the goal line, and New England recovers.
Vince Verhei: Not just his second fumble in the game, his second fumble in Cleveland's last two snaps. Not ideal.
Dave Bernreuther: Nick Chubb breaks a long run on his very next touch, is inside the 10f ... and fumbles again. And Patriots fall on it again.
The Patriots have been really unlucky so far this year on defense, so this seems fair.
This would annoy me, except that the Browns do sort of deserve it, and also, I took the week off from DFS so I'm not going to get tilted by all the people rewarded for the chalky move of riding the Pats D.
On another note ... remember when the rest of the world conceded the title to the Patriots because they had both Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown, and we all thought we might see Dorsett get cut? Yeah ... no. Suddenly he's looking like a focal point of their offense. The Colts gave up on him because they didn't love his effort. Talk about a maturation ... he might only just be getting started, too. As a Colts fan, I'd still make the trade again, knowing what we know now, but damn. Where was this in Indianapolis?
Bryan Knowles: Three turnovers on three consecutive plays for Cleveland. Oh my god.
Vince Verhei: Make it turnovers on THREE straight plays for Cleveland. They try a SHOVeLL pass, but Mayfield throws it between two targets and into Lawrence Guy's facemask for the pick.
Aaron Schatz: Baker Mayfield just threw an interception on a SHOVeLL pass. (Forgive me for forgetting how we capitalize that acronym) For those who aren't regular readers of FO, that means one of those little tap passes that's actually a running play, a slight forward pass on a jet sweep. And Mayfield flipped it right to Lawrence Guy instead of Jarvis Landry. Patriots score on a pass to Julian Edelman on the second play of their drive, now 17-0.
Vince Verhei: May as well link to the SHOVeLL piece from last year and the clip of the Guy interception.
-- New England Patriots (@Patriots) 27 octobre 2019
Dave Bernreuther: Cleveland might as well just pack up and go home at halftime. After three straight plays with turnovers, they punt, then after forcing a Patriots punt, they fumble that too ... for once, though, they recover it themselves, and are over midfield already.
But it's 17-0 in the rain and you're in New England, where they just showed a graphic about Brady being 118-18. You've got a rookie coach, a second-year quarterback who's regressing, and a team that looks to have already packed it in after the second of the three turnovers. The primary goal now might just be "don't get anyone hurt." And if Freddie Kitchens gets his charges to play hard and make this one competitive, well, I will be very impressed with him for the first time this season.
My reverse jinx powers are uncanny. As soon as I type a snarky pessimistic email, Mayfield hits Demetrious Harris for a score, and the Browns have life.
Vince Verhei: Touchdown Browns! Demetrius Harris gets isolated one-one-one against Dont'a Hightower and beats him on a corner route for a score from just outside the red zone. That breaks a 71-0 scoring streak for New England.
Aaron Schatz: Patriots eschew a 42-yard field goal to go for it on fourth-and-4. It looks like they've converted with a 4-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu. I love the way that the Stephen Gostkowski injury has led Bill Belichick to suddenly become much more aggressive on fourth downs.
Dave Bernreuther: Surely the conditions have played a role too. He's not about to make the same mistakes that we saw in Buffalo and Chicago in the early slot.
I'm not sure what the Browns saw there, but the Patriots rushed to the line to help encourage them to waste a challenge on a fairly obvious first down completion to Sanu. I get that there was a change of possession at stake there, but there wasn't even a 2% chance that they were going to overturn that one, even with the excellent tackle.
Aaron Schatz: Halftime, this is the worst the Patriots defense has played all season. The problem is primarily softness in the middle of the defense that's letting Nick Chubb get a lot of solid runs. The Pats have allowed 6.5 yards per play, although that's 4.9 yards per play if you take out the one 44-yard run by Chubb. They also got lucky to recover both Chubb fumbles. The passing game has mostly been controlled by the Patriots. The touchdown to Demetrius Harris was the only pass over 15 yards. On offense, you clearly see the effect of the Patriots now being down to three backup linemen. There have been a number of plays where Brady just doesn't have time to let the play develop and throws the ball away. The Patriots really need to get Isaiah Wynn back. I assume Shaq Mason's injury is a short-term issue since they were working him out and he almost played today. (The third backup is Ted Karras for David Andrews, obviously Andrews isn't coming back this year.)
Vince Verhei: Well, don't look now, but the Browns are making a game of this. They take the second-half kickoff and mix runs and passes to drive into the red zone. A third-down sack limits them to a field goal try, but the kick is good, and they cut the lead to 17-10.
Honestly, you take the turnovers away and they have pretty clearly outplayed New England so far today. Too bad you can't just take turnovers away.
Aaron Schatz: Patriots come back. Joe Thuney, one of the two remaining healthy starting offensive linemen, had the key blocks on both the James White 59-yard screen pass on third-and-10 and then a subsequent 9-yard screen by Rex Burkhead on second-and-10. After a Michel conversion on third-and-1, Tom Brady has all the time in the world with a three-man rush, slides left, finds a crossing Julian Edelman. And now we're at 24-10 Patriots.
Dave Bernreuther: The Jack Doyle conversion I mentioned in the Colts game gets bumped to second place in easy productive passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage, as on third-and-10 the Pats dial up the perfect screen play to James White, who rumbles for what felt like two full minutes before finally being brought down. Tom Brady just got credit for 59 yards passing on a -12-yard ALEX play.
Two plays later, they run more or less the reverse of that, tossing another -12 ALEX to Rex Burkhead that turns second-and-10 to third-and-1, and just like that, Edelman is in the end zone, and the Cleveland threat is quickly snuffed out.
Vince Verhei: It really was a beautiful drive. Offensive tackles getting beat around the edge? Wide receivers failing to come down with catchable balls on the outside? We'll kill both those birds with the stone of running back screens, which is something New England has done as well as anyone over the last two decades. So many offensive coordinators just beat their head against the wall trying to force plays that aren't working. The Patriots diagnose what the defense is doing and adjust their strategy accordingly.
Andrew Potter: Anybody know what possessed the Browns to bring out the punt team on fourth-and-11, take a false start penalty, then bring the offense back out for fourth-and-16?
Vince Verhei: Browns, down 27-10 in the fourth quarter, send the punt team out on the field on fourth-and-11. Then Freddie Kitchens decides to go for it, so he instructs the punt team to take a penalty, so the offense can try a fourth-and-16. This really happened. Baker Mayfield is sacked on the play.
Next snap, Tom Brady is sacked. Why is Tom Brady taking sacks with a 17-point lead and six minutes left in the game?
Aaron Schatz: Apparently, the Browns sideline told CBS that Kitchens told his players to make a false start because he wanted to go for it but didn't want to call a timeout to get his offense back onto the field. That seems sub-optimal if you really want to convert the fourth down.
Odell Beckham just caught a 31-yarder in garbage time but before that, Stephon Gilmore had held him to four catches for 21 yards.
Oakland Raiders 24 at Houston Texans 27
Vince Verhei: Deshaun Watson threw a half-dozen touchdowns to Hunter Renfrow in their one season together at Clemson. He just saw Renfrow score again, but he probably wasn't very happy about it.
-- Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) 27 octobre 2019
Bryan Knowles: We haven't spent much time on this one, despite it being the one competitive game here in the late window. Josh Jacobs is having a darn good first half, up to 51 yards on eight carries. Carr just hit Darren Waller on a nice little flip for a touchdown to make it 14-7 Raiders.
I have a feeling we'll be watching this one a bit closer in the second half, as the defensive flexing happens elsewhere.
I'm pretty sure Jon Gruden thinks that he can win challenges through the sheer force of anger. He just challenged an OPI that wasn't going to be overturned even if the league actually overturned pass interference calls this year, and had some very interesting language for the officials both before and after the review.
Rivers McCown: J.J. Watt is hurt. Lonnie Johnson is hurt. The Raiders are running outside with aplomb. The Texans offense is out of sorts and feels way too safe.
It's a recipe for a halftime lead for Oakland.
Bryan Knowles: Houston's defensive injuries are really putting them behind the eight-ball now. Carr just hit Tyrell Williams for a 46-yarder to stretch the lead to 21-13. The AFC South in general has been on a winning streak, with the Titans, Colts, and Jaguars going 4-0 over the last two weeks. If Houston can't get it together, they'll be 0-2 over that time period, and the AFC South will be a heck of a race.
Watching Deshaun Watson play is fun. I don't know how you defend him when he's running, throwing, and throwing on the run as well as he's doing today.
The Texans score to open up the fourth quarter on one of those plays where Raiders defenders had to choose between covering the flat route or stopping Watson from running, and there's no correct answer there. Interestingly, they do not opt to go for two, instead kicking the extra point to make it a 21-20 deficit. A very conservative play call by O'Brien
Vince Verhei: Trailing 21-13 on the first play of the fourth, Deshaun Watson rolls out and finds Darren Fells for the 4-yard touchdown. And then the Texans ... kick the extra point? What? So they're still down 21-20. I thought there must have been a penalty or something that pushed them back, but no, they just opted to kick. I understand you don't want to chase points early, but it's the fourth quarter! How likely is it that the single point turns out any better than a failed two-point try?
Aaron Schatz: I ran a PFR query to see when was the latest that a team tried an extra point down two in the fourth quarter. It looks like there are three times since 2000 that a team tried an extra point down two later than the Texans just did.
Derrik Klassen: Derek Carr just about threw a pick-six on a speed out. Dylan Cole got it in his hands, but let it slip through and hit the turf. The pick-six would have given Houston a lead, but alas. Oakland kicks the field goal and goes up 24-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Bryan Knowles: Despite both starting tackles being out, the Texans march back down the field. Deshaun Watson is amazing -- he should have been sacked, but escapes and finds Darren Fells in the end zone for six!
He's slow to get up, though -- he might have gotten kicked in the face, and is in quite a bit of pain. Either way, the Texans are taking the lead.
Vince Verhei: Oh, my god, Watson's ability to escape one sack and throw a go-ahead touchdown pass with a defender draped around his ankles. Breathtaking, and really makes you question that in-the-grasp-call he got against Indy the other week. He even adjusted his facemask mid-scramble like classic Michael Vick.
But now he is down after the play. Please, Football Gods, let him be OK.
Deshaun Watson is just ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/oJHctXYKLF
-- Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) 27 octobre 2019
Green Bay Packers 31 at Kansas City Chiefs 24
Aaron Schatz: Matt Moore is not so bad. Just fought off pressure to connect with a wide-open Travis Kelce for a 29-yard touchdown. Andy Reid has a good history of winning games with his backups. Remember A.J. Feeley?
Scott Spratt: So what you're saying, Aaron, is that Patrick Mahomes is a system quarterback?
Aaron Schatz: Well, Mahomes is special, but he's also playing in a nice system with a lot of really explosive talent around him. Now, Moore gets the benefit of that talent. Just tossed it behind the line of scrimmage to Mecole Hardman and Hardman put on the afterburners and turned it into a 30-yard touchdown to tie the game.
Bryan Knowles: Well, we all know Andy Reid's clock management is terrible, and it reared its head again for Green Bay at the end of the first half. Wait, Reid coaches the Chiefs? Huh. Because the Packers' last minute on offense was Reidian in its clock management. At least 15 seconds were lost to a communication snafu; at least 10 more were wasted when Rodgers scrambled for an extra 3 yards rather than go down and call a time-out. They go into halftime with a timeout and a 14-17 deficit.
Obviously, the Chiefs are not as good without Patrick Mahomes -- this is the kind of hard-hitting analysis you've come to expect from Football Outsiders -- but I think the absolute panic some fans had, and the Vegas line indicated, was an overreaction. As Aaron pointed out, there's still a lot of talent on this offense, and with an actual week to practice with them, Moore has been serviceable. Not much Moore than that, but that seems to be Moore than enough tonight. Full credit to the Chiefs for playing this well despite the injuries on both sides of the ball; that's the hallmark of a well-coached team.
Rodgers has not exactly been on full form tonight. That pass to Bashaud Breeland should have been picked, and Jimmy Graham has been open deep at least twice; Rodgers missed him both times. I'd call him a little bit flustered; nothing that can't be fixed at halftime, but more than you would expect going in. I'd still say advantage Packers, despite the halftime deficit, but I'm glad this game has been more competitive than some feared.
Aaron Schatz: I don't know if the Vegas line is an overreaction at Packers by 5.5. An overreaction would have been, say, Packers by double digits.
Bryan Knowles: "Overreaction" might be harsh, but the line opened as KC -3.5 before Mahomes' injury last Thursday. A nine-point swing is, at the least, fairly dramatic.
You cannot convince me Aaron Rodgers was trying to hit Williams on that pass. No way.
To put a little more context for Monday morning here, the Packers got the ball back on a gift LeSean McCoy fumble, putting the Packers into the red zone within a couple of plays. And then Aaron Rodgers did this.
NO WORDS, AARON RODGERS
-- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) 28 octobre 2019
Chiefs come back to tie it up on a 10-play drive, featuring a lot of the Packers rushing four and dropping back into zone coverages. I don't know why the Packers aren't bringing more pressure to try to make Moore uncomfortable.
On third-and-goal from the 8, Moore lofts a pass into the end zone that is nearly intercepted. It looked like the Chiefs dodged a bullet and would just kick a field goal, but a fairly soft (if correct) illegal use of hands penalty gives them a fresh set of downs, and Damien Williams scores from the 3. Tie ball game, and an entertaining one.
Aaron Jones on a linebacker is a mismatch, and Rodgers is hitting it over and over and over again. Six receptions for Jones for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns; he's leading the game in every receiving stat there is. Just scampered 67 yards for the go-ahead score as we go back-and-forth here.
Aaron Schatz: The Chiefs are known for their track stars, but I'm impressed tonight -- well, every time he plays -- by Travis Kelce's physical ability to stay upright and make sure he gets past the first-down marker.
In the end, the Chiefs defense just looks exhausted. With all the injuries, they don't have anybody to substitute, and they're getting pushed around as the Packers run out the clock. The Chiefs should have gone for it on fourth-and-3 from their own 40 rather than punting and trusting their exhausted defense.
Bryan Knowles: You hate to see the last offensive play for a team be a punt, especially one near midfield.
Tom Gower: Packers completely wore out the Chiefs with Aaron Jones in man coverage. When Jones was out, they struggled to move the ball. When he came back, they started moving the ball again. Davante Adams will be back to beat man coverage sooner or later, like next week. Andy Reid gave it his best shot with Matt Moore, but his old bete noire of in-game decision-making -- notably punting on fourth-and-3 at the 40 and not getting the ball back -- ensured they would not prevail.