Week 2: Crazy Wins for Ravens, Cardinals, and Titans

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
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 Lions 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.

Los Angeles Rams 27 at Indianapolis Colts 24

Bryan Knowles: In pregame news, the Rams have been forced to stay at a different hotel than they normally do in Indianapolis. Due to the pandemic, Gen Con—the largest tabletop gaming convention in North America—moved from its traditional August date to this weekend, and they did it before the schedule was released. That booked up all the local hotels, and the Rams were forced to scramble for alternatives at the last minute.

Now, I have never made it down to Indy for the combine, but I have gone to Gen Con, which is held right next door to Lucas Oil. In fact, I was there on the day the Colts had a preseason game scheduled, and let me tell you, the clash of cultures as all the Colts fans walked by us geeks and nerds filing out of the convention center was something to behold. There was a lot of scoffing at all the goons dressed up as their favorite characters, their faces painted strange colors and shouting battle cries. Man, football fans are so weird.

In other news, Eric Fisher has apparently received a potion of greater healing and will make his debut today at left tackle. He may not play the entire game—Julién Davenport, who will start on the right side, will occasionally spell Fisher throughout the game as he gets his stamina back up. I can't remember another situation off the top of my head where a team intentionally flipped a player back and forth on the line. I know the positions aren't that different, but I would imagine being asked to do double-duty like that makes prepping for the game that much more difficult.

Bryan Knowles: Fisher may be back, but the Colts offensive line has not been playing up to its billing so far this season. The Colts take their opening drive all the way down to the 1-yard line, but Jonathan Taylor gets stuffed slamming into the middle of the line on three straight plays. Fourth-and-goal at the 1, the Colts decide to go for it (yay!), but Carson Wentz takes a 9-yard sack (boo!). One of the benefits of going for it on fourth-and-goal is the great field position even if you fail. That doesn't hold up so much when you take a 9-yard sack.

Bryan Knowles: It takes eight plays for the Rams to march 90 yards back down the field and get on the board first. The touchdown was interesting—Cooper Kupp lined up as a running back and ran a seam route, and no Colts defender picked him up coming out of the backfield. Easy pitch-and-catch for the score and a 7-0 Rams lead.

Vince Verhei: Rams lead 7-0 at the end of the first. No incomplete passes in this game, so the quarter flew by.

Just adding a little detail to what was previously reported: the Colts were stuffed on three straight runs up the gut from the 1-yard line. (Maybe Aaron Donald can play run defense after all!) Fourth down, they hurry to the line and try a play fake, but the Rams have everyone covered, William Floyd pays no heed to the running back, and Carson Wentz has no escapability.

Then on the Rams touchdown drive, it's not just that Matthew Stanford went 5-for-5, but all five of those completions gained at least 13 yards and a first down. He needs to play at an MVP level to justify his trade. Through five quarters, so far, so good.

Derrik Klassen: That Cooper Kupp touchdown catch out of the backfield was even cooler than I thought at first glance. Getting him at running back is pretty awesome by itself, but the Rams still had Darrell Henderson on the field split out as the outside receiver to the trips side. Looks like a standard personnel bunch to the defense coming out of the huddle, only for the Rams to line up in a way that doesn't make any conventional sense. Really cool stuff out of Sean McVay.

Vince Verhei: Welp, let's not give Stafford his trophy yet. After pressure forces a thrown-away incompletion on first down, he drops back on second-and-10, and from a clean pocket he airmails a pass 5 yards over Cooper Kupp's head. Khari Willis reels in the interception.

Announcers are saying a pass-rusher got a hand up to tip this, but even in close-up replays that was not at all clear to me.

Not to worry, Rams fans, because Carson Wentz is allergic to the end zone. On third-and-goal, he just threw what may go down as the worst pick of the season. Video coming as soon as I can get it. You'll want a stiff drink for this one.

Aaron Schatz: I didn't know it was possible to throw an interception on a shovel pass, but apparently Carson Wentz can do it.

Vince Verhei: Rams up 10-6 at halftime of a weird game. The score sounds like something of defensive slugfest, but the offenses have mostly dominated—Rams are averaging 6.8 yards per play, Colts a respectable 5.6—but both teams (especially the Colts) are making bad red zone mistakes. Possessions are also at a premium; the Colts only had four possessions in the first half; the Rams only had three.

Bryan Knowles: The Rams pick up the second half right where they left off, with Cooper Kupp just running free. Stafford hits him on a screen, and Kupp just hits a second gear and weaves his way 40 yards upfield; he's up to six catches for 106 yards already. Perhaps a bit wary of the Rams passing attack, the Colts play soft, only for the Rams to run five straight times, with Darrell Henderson eventually capping the drive off with a score. The Rams might be really good, you guys.

17-6 Rams early in the third quarter.

Derrik Klassen: Through the first half and change, Carson Wentz looks like the median version of himself. Taking a lot of time in the pocket and taking some sacks, got away with a ballsy deep pass earlier that was underthrown a bit, and has been competent but not great in the quick game. Not bad, but making things a bit turbulent. The "interception" on a shovel pass was pretty bad, but Indianapolis' offensive line has looked disastrous inside the 5 all game, so I'm willing to believe the offense's struggles down in that area are not totally on Wentz. Still struggling to see how Wentz fights back into this game, currently down 17-6 trying to outgun a Rams offense that looks better than the scoreboard suggests.

Vince Verhei: For the third time today, Colts have a goal-to-go situation. There's some pushing and shoving after a play, and Rams linebacker Kenny Young gets a 15-yard penalty and an ejection for making contact with an official. However! Zach Pascal is then flagged for taunting for celebrating the penalty. They say it's not offsetting, that they're going to enforce both penalties, but the Colts still end up with first-and-goal at about the 10. Apparently taunting is only a 5-yard penalty? Regardless, pressure gets to Wentz on first and second down, but third-and-goal he finds Pascal for the touchdown. Jack Doyle picks up the two-point conversion and the Colts cut the lead to 17-14.

Bryan Knowles: We should also note that Wentz nearly threw his second shovel-pass interception of the day on that drive, Vince! Still, it was his best drive in a Colts uniform so far...

Derrik Klassen: And right on cue after my last update, the Colts string together a long drive for a touchdown pass to Zach Pascal (who suddenly looks like the NFL's leading touchdown-catcher), while the Rams take a sack on first down of the ensuing drive and punt to give the Colts great field position. 17-14 with a good chance for Indy to at least tie things up.

Vince Verhei: Well, the Rams are melting down. Since scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, they have gone three-and-out three straight times. Worse, on the third of those punts, the snap hits an upback and ricochets into the end zone, where the Colts recover for a touchdown. Indianapolis now leads 21-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Bryan Knowles: Stafford hasn't looked quite the same since hurting his thumb, and the Rams go three-and-out. It's OK; they'll just punt it away...

… but the snap on the punt hits the gunner and goes spiraling off to the side; the Colts recover and score a touchdown! 21-17 Colts on one of the more bizarre plays you'll see.

Bryan Knowles: The Rams certainly didn't wait long to respond! In the time it took for a touchdown review in Philly, the Rams race down the field for another score of their own. Have a day, Cooper Kupp; up to 160 yards and two scores as the Rams re-take a 24-21 lead early in the fourth.

Vince Verhei: Well that didn't last long. Cooper Kupp gets open down the left sideline for a gain of 44, then scores a 10-yard touchdown on the next play to put L.A. back up 24-21. Kupp is now up to an 8-160-2 statline and there are still 12 minutes to go.

Darrell Henderson has gone to the locker room, so for the time being it's Sony Michel at running back for the Rams.

Scott Spratt: I don't know if it was his foot with the previous injury, but Carson Wentz's foot got stuck for a second on an Aaron Donald sack. He's getting looked at on the sidelines after Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a field goal on the next play.

Vince Verhei: The teams have traded field goals, the Rams just went up 27-24 with 2:23 to go (41 rushing yards for Michel on that drive), and it's Jacob Eason making his regular-season debut at quarterback for Indy.

Bryan Knowles: ... and Eason's debut starts with an incomplete pass and an interception. Somewhat less than ideal.

Vince Verhei: That Eason pick realistically ended things. Rams ran three times to kill clock and punted, and the Colts' lateral play failed, and that was that.

Really a mixed bag for L.A. They played really sloppy at times and benefitted from a bevy of Colts mistakes. But credit to them for rallying after the Colts went ahead and finishing the game.

New Orleans Saints 7 at Carolina Panthers 26

Scott Spratt: The Saints have beaten NFC South opponents 10 straight times in the regular season—including Tampa Bay twice last year—but they headed to Carolina today without at least eight coaches in COVID protocols and without Marcus Davenport or Marshon Lattimore. And they didn't look great defensively on Carolina's first offensive series. Sam Darnold hit Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Zylstra for a pair of big plays and went the full field for a touchdown in just three minutes.

Andrew Potter: Without regular center Erik McCoy, the Saints offensive line is off to a rough start too. Opening drive, they already have two false starts, one sack allowed, and one quarterback hit that resulted in a (soft, but correct) roughing penalty. Only that roughing call prevented the Saints from going three-and-out, and they eventually punted on fourth-and-11 after the false starts.

J.P. Acosta: Hey Aaron, how often has a team been on the good side of Any Given Sunday one week, then on the bad side the next week? Because the Saints are trending in that direction…

Andrew Potter: Two-minute warning before halftime in Carolina. The Saints have had the ball three times and run nine plays. Total dominance by the Panthers defense. Sam Darnold's second touchdown pass of the day, this time to D.J. Moore, just made it 17-0. Panthers offense has been effective, if not quite dominant, but their defense is lights out.

Scott Spratt: Sam Darnold just threw his second touchdown pass, this one to DJ Moore, to extend the Panthers' lead to 17-0 with 1:55 left in the first half. The lack of coaches is an easy excuse for the Saints, but the Panthers have outplayed them in the trenches, which is a definite surprise after what the Saints did to the Packers last week. The Panthers have outgained the Saints 252 yards to 34.

Aaron Schatz: J.P., I would have to look through the archives, but it definitely has happened.

By the transitive property of football, I think that Sam Darnold has now stolen Aaron Rodgers' MVP award.

J.P. Acosta: I'm so here for NFL MVP Sam Darnold.

Scott Spratt: I actually think Christian McCaffrey would win a hypothetical Carolina MVP. And he might be the last running back who ever would.

Andrew Potter: First play following that score, Jameis Winston holds onto the ball until Morgan Fox gets a hand on him, then flings the ball left-handed into the back of Terron Armstead's head. Easy intentional grounding call, and the Saints look set to just kneel out a very, very poor first half.

Andrew Potter: … or maybe not, as Winston hits a bomb to Lil'Jordan Humphrey for their first non-penalty first down of the game.

Scott Spratt: Jameis Winston is back folks!

Cale Clinton: For someone who lauded the post-Brees era Saints, this is a tough showing for New Orleans. They don't have nearly the same control that they had against the Packers in Week 1. New Orleans held onto the ball for so long against Green Bay; their first three drives went for 15 plays, nine plays, and 15 plays. Today, their first three drives have been three plays, three plays, and five plays. Their longest drive of the day (six plays) was just ended by a brutal Jameis Winston interception into triple-coverage. Not exactly in line with his status as one of the league's most accurate and most risk-averse quarterbacks in Week 1.

Andrew Potter: Some of the Jameis comments are a little harsh on what was essentially a Hail Mary heave 40 yards downfield on third-and-10 with like 20 seconds left in the half. The bigger story is the Panthers pass rush absolutely destroying the Saints pass protection on basically every play. It's going to be a long second half if that continues.

J.P. Acosta: I remember saying on the Thursday stream that Brian Burns could have a DPOY year. I never lost faith.

Andrew Potter: The scary part is that it's not really Burns being dominant, it's the combination of him, Morgan Fox, and Haason Reddick.

Vince Verhei: Guys, I'm starting to think that I may have underestimated this Panthers team.

J.P. Acosta: Guys, I think the Panthers defense might be legit. They opened up the second half with a three-and-out, but they have so much speed at every level, and they play with an edge

Scott Spratt: Panthers! Texans! Thursday Night Football! Which team will be the first to 3-0?

Scott Spratt: The Saints may have some life after Carl Granderson blocked Zane Gonzalez's attempted 50-yard field goal. They'll start their second drive of the second half in Panthers territory after a decent scoop and return.

Scott Spratt: Nope, the Panthers just sacked Winston on a fourth down to get the ball back. It was their third sack of the day so far.

Scott Spratt: If you thought Carson Wentz's shovel-pass interception was bad, Sam Darnold did this one up 17-0 late in the third quarter.

Andrew Potter: Jameis Winston finally got the Saints on the board with a scramble touchdown following that inept Darnold interception, but they haven't looked like parlaying that into an actual comeback. A Saints fourth-down incompletion deep in their own territory just let the Panthers kick an easy field goal to go up 26-7. That would have ended the game as a contest even without another Winston deep-ball interception, this time to Jaycee Horn, on the ensuing drive.

I was very high on the Panthers defense coming into this season. They looked every inch the finished article today. They dominated at the line, locked things down in coverage, and pursued relentlessly. The only Saints points came on a 20-yard drive following an offensive screwup. The offense wasn't quite as dominant, but it was good enough. If they can get both units to play at this level consistently, they'll be a very dangerous spoiler, though still a couple of levels below an actual contender.

Denver Broncos 23 at Jacksonville Jaguars 13

J.P. Acosta: Imagine what not having illegal procedure penalties can do? The Jaguars score on the opening drive, Trevor Lawrence to Marvin Jones. Offense looks more balanced.

J.P. Acosta: End of one in Duval, Jaguars are up 7-3. However, Jaguars defensive back CJ Henderson was pulled from the game. He's not in the tent—something to watch.

Scott Spratt: CJ Henderson underwhelmed as a rookie in 2020 with 8.6 yards allowed per target, 61st of 79 regular cornerbacks. But Urban Meyer sounded really positive on his development this preseason.

It would be pretty shocking if the team benched Henderson this early in the second game this year.

J.P. Acosta: Henderson is back in at cornerback, not sure what pulling him was for.

J.P. Acosta: Anchored by a big 33-yard completion, the Broncos get a touchdown on the board to make it 10-7 Denver with 1:54 left in the half.

J.P. Acosta: Trevor Lawrence is leading this two-minute drive really well. Just picked up a fourth-and-5 using his legs, and the Jaguars are in field goal range. However, Josh Lambo missed a long field goal earlier in the game.

Cale Clinton: Yeah … Josh Lambo missed his second field goal of the game and the Broncos will go into half up 10-7.

J.P. Acosta: CJ Henderson NOT on the field with the starters to start the second half. The Broncos then hit a big pass play at Henderson's backup Chris Claybrooks.

J.P. Acosta: Denver goes up 17-7 after a Teddy Bridgewater-to-Noah Fant touchdown. Damien Wilson is being roasted in pass coverage.

J.P. Acosta: Trevor Lawrence throws his first interception of the day to Kareem Jackson. He was trying to hit Luke Farrell but Farrell kept moving and Lawrence thought he would sit in the zone.

J.P. Acosta: Trevor Lawrence throws his second interception of the day on a tightly contested pick by Pat Surtain II.

J.P. Acosta: Jamal Agnew scores on a 102-yard kickoff return touchdown, the first kick return touchdown for Jacksonville since 2016. Denver leads 23-13.

J.P. Acosta: The Broncos handle Jacksonville 23-13. The Jaguars offense looks lifeless, and a lot of it is "help us Trevor."

Buffalo Bills 35 at Miami Dolphins 0

Scott Spratt: Oh no, Tua Tagovailoa is walking gingerly off the field after taking a shot to the ribs on his last pass. Looks like we may see Jacoby Brissett in this game.

New England Patriots 25 at New York Jets 6

Cale Clinton: One drive in and already a lot to report from this one. Jets end up on the wrong end of a tough call early. Mac Jones' first pass of the game was complete to Kendrick Bourne, but the Jets managed to pry the ball loose before Bourne went down. Robert Saleh attempts to challenge the call of a completed pass, but the refs had blown the play dead due to forward progress, making the play unreviewable. Marcus Maye salvaged the drive later on by sacking Mac Jones on third-and-4, with New England electing to punt on fourth-and-14 from the Jets 40.

Marcus Maye was everywhere on that first drive. He was in on that forced not-a-fumble along with Bryce Hall. On the sack, Maye exploited Trent Brown's fill-in, Yasir Durant, and practically came in untouched.

And as I type this, Zach Wilson's first pass in MetLife Stadium is intercepted! J.C Jackson tips the pass up into the air, then Devin McCourty taps it back to Jackson as he's falling to complete the turnover. Team effort!

Aaron Schatz: Patriots take a 3-0 lead after an interception by J.C. Jackson, off a tip by ... also J.C. Jackson. Zach Wilson threw a little behind his guy, who was easily covered by Jackson. Not a good throw. The Jets are doing a good job of bottling up the New England offense. They aren't blitzing Mac Jones, just sitting back and playing coverage. Pats are play-actioning and trying to get the ball downfield but the downfield guy is never open so it's just dumpoff after dumpoff. On the first drive, Jones took a terrible sack on third down that knocked the Pats out of field goal range although that may have been entirely caused by a blown block by the replacement right tackle Yasir Durant.

Aaron Schatz: Two possessions, two Zach Wilson interceptions. Wilson threw the ball too high, through the hands of a leaping Corey Davis and into the arms of Adrian Phillips. You can argue that Davis should have caught it, but still ... that throw was off.

Cale Clinton: Josh McDaniels just drew up a fun one on that Patriots touchdown drive. Mac Jones hands it off to James White running to the right side. White threw it back to Jones, who hit a wide-open Jonnu Smith for a 14-yard gain.

Kind of like an outside zone flea flicker.

Cale Clinton: The Patriots' offensive line just got blown up as bad as I have seen in quite a while. Mac Jones was sacked and stripped by John Franklin-Myers, then sacked again on third down by Sheldon Rankins. Jones has been sacked three times in this first half.

For a team with two costly turnovers early, the Jets are really sticking around. New York has already racked up some considerable yardage on the ground off Tevin Coleman and Michael Carter ... aaaand Zach Wilson has thrown his THIRD pick of the afternoon.

Scott Spratt: Zach Wilson is looking like a possible Loser League MVP this week, Bryan.

Aaron Schatz: Patriots intercept Zach Wilson a fourth time, I don't even know who he was throwing to. Did Corey Davis run the wrong route? Then Damien Harris comes in on second-and-1 and breaks at least five tackles plus pushes a pile into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. I don't know, does pushing tacklers into the end zone count as extra blown tackles? Great block on the run by right tackle Justin Herron, who has replaced the struggling Yasir Durant ... it looked like Herron was hurt right after coming in at the end of the first half, but he's back.

Right now the best thing the Jets have going for them is their running game, so the sooner the Patriots can take that away with a big lead, the better. Nick Folks honks the extra point so it is 19-3 Patriots.

Cale Clinton: That's FOUR for Zach Wilson, and this interception may have been the most egregious. There wasn't a single green jersey in frame when CBS replayed it. That set up a 26-yard touchdown run by Damien Harris that would have made Marshawn Lynch blush. Harris could have gone down at maybe four different points during that run, but he ended up carrying a gaggle of Jets jerseys into the end zone with him. Nick Folk missed the extra point. 19-3 Patriots.

Aaron Schatz: I felt better about Mac Jones after last week's close loss than I do after this week's big win. They have got to be stretching the field for him more than this. So many dumpoffs, with Patriots receivers just not getting open deep against a bad Jets secondary. There was one sweet seam pass to a wide-open Hunter Henry, but that was an exception. The other problem for the Patriots was run defense. Their run fits weren't good and they were getting pushed around by the Jets' offensive line—really impressive performance by a unit that I considered a weakness going into this game. Pass defense was very good, despite the bonus yards that Wilson added up in garbage time. The four picks were generally not great defensive plays, mostly handed to them by Wilson, but you do have to have good ball skills to hold onto those passes when the quarterback throws them to you. The first pick which Jackson batted up in the air, and then McCourty batted back to Jackson, that was pretty sweet.

Cale Clinton: Nothing of note has happened in a while. With Nick Folk putting New England up 25-6, I'll try to put a bow on this one.

Bill Belichick maintains his impressive record against rookie quarterbacks, moving to 22-6 since the 2000 season and 14-0 at home. New England didn't throw much deception at Zach Wilson defensively. The Patriots were able to generate pressure consistently while just rushing three or four. They were able to bring Wilson down four times but were consistently able to drive him out of the pocket into throws on the run. Last week, Wilson showed shades of Johnny Manziel against Alabama the way he was able to evade pressure and still find someone downhill. This week, Wilson forced it into heavily covered areas and paid the price. Mekhi Becton is sorely needed on this line.

Mac Jones looked fine today. He did what he was asked to do, throwing 22-for-30 for 186 yards. No touchdowns, no major mistakes, and beyond getting sacked twice on one set of downs, he wasn't pressured terribly. I thought he'd do more against a vulnerable Jets secondary, but the real strength come on the ground. New England averaged 4.2 yards per carry on the backs of Damien Harris and James White. It's surprising seeing White get action in the run game, but even more surprising to see the longest-tenured skill position player for New England also lead the team in receptions. Either that doesn't bode well for all the additions the Patriots made this offseason, or it shows just how deep their roster of talent is.

Cincinnati Bengals 17 at Chicago Bears 20

J.P. Acosta: The Bears defense is harassing Joe Burrow right now. Multiple stunts and twists just messing the Bengals offensive line up.

Scott Spratt: I wonder if we all were thrown off the scent of the Bears being decent in Week 1 because of how scary-good the Rams might be.

Bryan Knowles: Andy Dalton came up gimpy out of bounds after a scramble, and Justin Fields is in the game. Not a great day for quarterback injuries so far!

Scott Spratt: That might depend on whether you're talking to a Bears fan or not, Bryan.

J.P. Acosta: Andy Dalton is BACK in the game. Fields was in for one drive, but Dalton comes back again.

J.P. Acosta: Now Dalton is going back to the locker room, he took a huge hit on a sack. Justin Fields will go in for the Bears next offensive drive

Bryan Knowles: Hold off on that Zach Wilson Loser League coronation—Joe Burrow has just thrown three interceptions on three consecutive pass attempts and is charging strong...

Bryan Knowles: I'm not sure the Bears should be using Justin Fields as a straight dropback passer at this point, especially not in a game where he has come in unexpectedly without getting first-team snaps in practice. Fields is 5-for-12 with a pretty ugly interception in relief of Dalton.

San Francisco 49ers 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 11

Scott Spratt: Jalen Reagor just caught a long touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 9-0, but I'm pretty sure he stepped out of bounds en route such that this one will be called back.

Cale Clinton: I have been very impressed by Jalen Hurts' deep-passing ability the last two years. Hurts has done it a few times in this one, but MAN that last pass to Quez Watkins was perfectly placed in the basket. Ended up being good for 91 yards.

Aaron Schatz: Here's San Francisco keeping the Philly Special well-covered to prevent a fourth-down conversion by the Eagles.

Bryan Knowles: I shall explain the first 28 minutes of this game as such:

  • The 49ers offense was stuck in neutral. They went three-and-out on their first three drives, something that had never happened in the Kyle Shanahan era. Part of this was being very concerned about Philadelphia's pass rush; they barely attempted anything deep for the first quarter, and only began opening things up late.
  • The Eagles offense is "Jalen Hurts does amazing things," which began to pick up in the second quarter. Hurts' deep shot, which we have already linked, was a hell of a throw, and quiets down a lot of people worried that his efficient day last week was a YAC-induced mirage.
  • Josh Norman is not the answer in the 49ers' secondary. He got the start today but has already been flagged for two PI calls. Demmodore Lenoir has played well, but in general, the 49ers' secondary is an issue.
  • Not an issue: the 49ers special teams. They blocked a field goal, downed a punt inside the 1, and have basically been forcing Philly to march up and down the field.

Add it all up, and the Eagles should have a significant lead—I'd say 17-0 or thereabouts. But tough defense on the 49ers' side of the field and the botched Philly Special kept the Eagles out of the end zone all half. The Phailed Philly Special gave the 49ers the ball on their own 3-yard line with 4:20 left, and San Francisco managed to drain the rest of the half on a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by Yet Another Deebo Samuel YAC+ Special. Jimmy Garoppolo hits Jauan Jennings in the end zone to give the 49ers a rather shocking 7-3 lead at the end of the first half.

The Eagles are going to be kicking themselves for missed opportunities; they should not be trailing at this point, and now they have to stage a comeback.

Carl Yedor: Bit of a slow one here in Philly, but there have been a few explosive plays sprinkled in that have added some measure of excitement. San Francisco scored a touchdown to take the lead after a 40-yard gain from Deebo Samuel, and the Eagles have had a few chances to score that were foiled due to a lack of execution on high-leverage downs, with a blocked field goal and a fourth-down stop at the goal line. 49ers lead at half 7-3.

Bryan Knowles: The 49ers' quarterback scrambles in for a touchdown. I am, of course, talking about Scramblin' Jimmy G, as the 49ers take a 13-3 lead after a 15-play, 92-yard drive.

The 49ers now have two 90-plus-yard touchdown drives in this game, the first time they have managed that since the 2015 season opener against Minnesota. I have always said that Kyle Shanahan might be nearly as good of an offensive mind as Jim Tomsula.

Game's not over yet, but Philadelphia probably needs points right now in order to stay in this one.

Bryan Knowles: The 49ers force a quick punt and try to drain some clock, but three separate running backs (Elijah Mitchell, Trey Sermon, and JaMycal Hasty) all get hurt. San Francisco does manage to kick a field goal to go up 14 points with five minutes left in the game, but Philly mounts a comeback, and it's all Jalen Hurts. Hurts picked up 27 yards on a scramble to his right, and then got 15 more tacked on from a late hit by Jimmie Ward out of bounds. A few plays later, Hurts scrambles in for the touchdown, making it an eight-point game...

... and Philadelphia, analytics darlings, decide to go for two! It works, the Eagles are now down 17-11 with four minutes left, and we have a ballgame in Philly.

Houston Texans 21 at Cleveland Browns 31

Bryan Knowles: And now, Baker Mayfield is coming off hurt! Starters falling like flies around the league.

Bryan Knowles: So, how did we all miss Tyrod Taylor, NFL MVP? He hasn't missed a beat after his great performance in Week 1, going 10-for-11 for 125 yards and a touchdown pass, and he just added a 15-yard touchdown scramble for another score. I was not expecting the Tyrod Taylor Revenge Game to be a thing; but now Houston has the better quarterback in this game if Case Keenum has to go the rest of the way for Cleveland...

Tom Gower: Early in the second quarter of a 7-7 game, the Texans faced third-and-15 at the Browns 38-yard line. Tyrod Taylor completed a pass to Brandin Cooks, who was able to run to the Browns 49, setting up a fourth-and-2. The Browns' Takk McKinley was flagged for offside on the play. David Culley now faced a decision: accept the penalty and go for it on third-and-10 from his own 43, or decline the penalty and accept fourth-and-2. He chose to decline the penalty, and facing fourth-and-2 from the Browns 49, sent out the punt team. They then punted 49 yards into the end zone for a touchback. This decision was perhaps 30 real-time minutes ago as I write this email, and I'm still attempting to process it.

Bryan Knowles: Why is Davis Mills in for the Texans? I haven't heard anything about an injury, and Taylor was playing well. He didn't go in for a painkilling shot, did he?

J.P. Acosta: Davis Mills starts the second half at quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is injured. Has there ever been a quarterback as cursed as Taylor?

Scott Spratt: Tell me Tyrod Taylor didn't try to get a pain-killing injection at halftime!

Aaron Schatz: Taylor announced with a hamstring injury.

Tom Gower: 14-14 game at the half. The Texans have mostly played well in run defense and haven't been getting pushed around the same way Kansas City was last week. That has forced the Browns to play a little differently than they might want to, with some mixed results. Baker Mayfield, who got banged up at one point but didn't miss any time, has been solid but not great, I'd say.

I'll let Rivers cover the Texans side of things in more detail later, but the big news came on the opening drive of the second half, when Davis Mills trotted into the huddle instead of Tyrod Taylor. We soon learned that Taylor had been declared out with a hamstring injury. It looked like he might have tweaked something on a "well, if nobody's going to cover me..." scramble for a touchdown but returned to the game without significant limitation after that. It's going to be real interesting to watch the Texans play with rookie Davis Mills, who doesn't have the same experience or nearly the same mobility.

Bryan Knowles: We dump on screens so much because they're such low-percentage plays. So I suppose it's only fair that we point out when they work a treat, as Demetric Felton takes a little screen 30 yards into the end zone, complete with some spins and jukes. Not bad for a guy's first NFL reception!

21-14 Browns, midway through the third.

Rivers McCown: I think it's fitting that comments end for this game the way that they do, with everyone saying Davis Mills came in and that's just about all that happened. Because that was just about all that happened. The Browns run game got going and the Texans defense wasn't all that good and stopped forcing turnovers, but in the end that all paled in comparison to the dropoff from Taylor to Mills. I wouldn't read about some other franchise's third-round rookie quarterback struggling, but hey, maybe you're a sadist.

Las Vegas Raiders 26 at Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Bryan Knowles: The clocks hit 0:00 here with the Raiders winning 26-17.

So, at the conclusion of the early window of games, the NFC and AFC Wests are a combined 12-0. The rest of the league is a combined 13-26.

Minnesota Vikings 33 at Arizona Cardinals 34

Scott Spratt: The Cardinals entered this week with the No. 2 defense by DVOA after their dominant performance against the Titans last week. Well, after one pass this week, that rating could take a hit. The team forgot to hand off coverage on third Vikings receiver K.J. Osborn, and 64 yards later, it's 7-0 Vikings.

Bryan Knowles: Kyler Murray is going to lead the league in "touchdown passes thrown after facing the wrong way at some point during the play." 7-7, midway through the first.

Scott Spratt: Move over Tony Romo, Aqib Talib just predicted Kyler Murray would throw a pass in the end zone on a third-and-10 from the Vikings' 15-yard line. A little scrambling in the pocket later, Murray hit DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown to tie this game at 7-7 just over 10 minutes into the game.

Scott Spratt: The not-often-seen double-doink completion to blocking specialist Maxx Williams. I'm guessing not the intended target.

Scott Spratt: I thought the Vikings had major offensive line problems, but they have created some college-sized holes for Dalvin Cook so far today. Maybe we're in for a repeat of last season when they finished first in adjusted line yards (5.07) but 31st in offensive pressure rate (31.4% per Sports Info Solutions).

Cook has 10 carries and 86 yards at the two-minute warning in the first half.

Vince Verhei: Just when you thought Kyler Murray couldn't get any more fun, he scrambles for a touchdown and strikes the Baby Yoda zen pose in the end zone:

(I don't know how long Baby Yoda has been a thing for Murray, but Chandler Jones called him that earlier this week after Murray made fun of Jones' physique.)

Scott Spratt: Yikes, I announcer-cursed Cook in a major way. He just got stuffed on a third-and-1 and is currently down injured on the field.

Bryan Knowles: Gus Johnson calling Kyler Murray seems like something we should get every week for the rest of time.

Vince Verhei: Agreed, and that's another turn-your-back-to-the-defense touchdown for Murray.

Scott Spratt: Dalvin Cook is back in the game on the subsequent series.

J.P. Acosta: Matt Prater nails a 62-YARD FIELD GOAL to put the Cardinals up 24-23 at half.

Vince Verhei: Even the kickers are making plays today! Greg Joseph puts Minnesota ahead with a 52-yarder, but Matt Prater goes full "hold my beer" mode and drills a 62-yarder at the second-half gun! Cards lead 24-23 at halftime; Joseph's missed extra point is the difference in the game. But I'm done with analysis—I'm just going to enjoy the fireworks here. This could be a regular thing now as Kliff Kingsbury has turned the Cardinals into a Big 12 team.

Bryan Knowles: It's 31-30 Arizona with 9:11 left in the third quarter. They're on pace to put up 102 points in the desert. I am enjoying some Big 12 football today.

J.P. Acosta: Kyler Murray completes an insane pass against a zero blitz like he did last week to convert on fourth-and-5. The Cardinals are in the red zone down two with 5:25 left in the game.

Vince Verhei: In the second half, Murray has thrown a pick-six to Nick Vigil, a touchdown to A.J. Green, a red zone interception to Xavier Woods, and that nutty deep ball to Christian Kirk. They settle for the field goal but that's still a 34-33 lead with 4:25 to go.

Bryan Knowles: The Vikings drive for a much more sensible game-winning field goal, with Cousins driving Minnesota 58 yards on their last drive. Greg Joseph comes out for the 37-yarder ... and misses it. The Cardinals survive, 34-33.

Vince Verhei: Just to complete the Kyler Murray experience today, on the Cardinals' last drive he ran out of bounds on first down to save Minnesota a timeout, then took a sack on second down, forcing a punt two plays later. He really was hot or cold all day with no in between.

But it doesn't matter. Vikings trailed by one because Joseph missed an extra point in the first half, and they lost because he missed a 37-yard field goal at the end.

Tennessee Titans 33 at Seattle Seahawks 30

Vince Verhei: They forecast a downpour, but the sun is shining in Seattle at kickoff. But bad news for Tennessee: Taylor Lewan was unable to get through warmups and is a late scratch for today.

Vince Verhei: We're tied 3-3 at the end of the first. Seahawks have 85 yards of offense, 51 of them on one long ball to Tyler Lockett (who beat former Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald on the play). Otherwise Russell Wilson has not looked sharp, missing a few throws, including an open Lockett in the end zone on third down.

Seahawks defense, meanwhile, has struggled to get off the field on third downs, giving up three conversions (including one on a penalty) on the Titans' field goal drive. Still waiting for Derrick Henry to make an impact this season: he's currently at six carries for 9 yards.

Vince Verhei: Not a good day for Tre Flowers. Earlier he was beaten by A.J. Brown for what could have been a big gain, but Brown dropped the ball (may have been intimidated by a hit from Quandre Diggs, may also have lost the ball in the sun). Now he gives up a 51-yarder to Julio Jones. That leads to Tennessee getting a first-and-goal, but a forward motion penalty moves them back, and Bobby Wagner gets free on a blitz to sack Tannehill and force a field goal try. Titans take a 6-3 lead.

J.P. Acosta: Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett is one of the most deadly combinations in football. Wilson hit Lockett for a 60-yard bomb to give the Seahawks a 10-6 lead. Elijah Molden missed a tackle after the catch.

Vince Verhei: Seattle's game plan today has largely consisted of failed wide receiver screens, sacks, and penalties, so it's nice to see them go back to the "screw it, just go deep to Lockett" strategy again.

J.P. Acosta: A series of unfortunate events for Tennessee. Rodger Saffold goes down with an injury, then on the next play Ryan Tannehill fumbles on a strip-sack and the Seahawks recover. Chris Carson takes it in two plays later to make it 17-6.

Vince Verhei: That was Alton Robinson beating Lewan's backup Ty Sambrailo for the sack-fumble. That's Tannehill's third fumble in six quarters; he hasn't had more than six in a year since 2016.

Scott Spratt: That surprises me to hear, Vince. Ryan Tannehill had 11.3% and 9.8% sack rates in 2018 and 2019. But I guess the former was his last year in Miami that ended early with injury and the latter was his first year in Tennessee when he didn't become the starter until Week 7.

Still, yikes for Tannehill's early career. He took 58, 46, and 45 sacks in his second, third, and fourth years in the Adam Gase days in Miami. That's a recipe for nine or more fumbles per season. And it definitely bodes poorly for this year if the Titans keep falling behind by multiple scores and forcing a pass-heavy game script.

Vince Verhei: The Seahawks cannot cover Julio Jones—he's over 100 yards in the second quarter—but apparently the referees can. This was called a touchdown on the field, but overruled by replay review as incomplete because his heel was out of bounds. I'm stunned—looked plainly like a touchdown to me, let alone being definitive enough to overrule the on-field call. Titans settle for yet another field goal and a 17-9 score.

Bryan Knowles: Seattle Twitter was getting furious over Pete Carroll not calling a timeout at any point when the Titans were driving for that field goal, but it ends up not hurting them. They get the ball back with 1:05 left and take 48 seconds to go down the field as Tennessee has apparently decided covering people is optional today. It's not just the big Lockett catch from earlier in the game; they entirely lost Freddie Swain and decided that Alex Collins didn't need to be accounted for in the running game, resulting in a pair of chunk plays with no one with 10 yards of the Seattle player.

Chris Carson punches it in with 17 seconds left, and the Titans need to get to the locker room and regroup down 24-9. Painful minute or so of game time after the Jones touchdown was overturned.

Vince Verhei: Seattle snapped the ball eight times (seven official plays, one more wiped out by penalty) in those 48 seconds without calling timeout. Good NFL offenses moves FAST, man.

So Seattle leads 24-9 at halftime. The second half ends with Nick Bellore destroying Chester Rogers on a meaningless kickoff return. Not a good half for either team's return game—both teams have started drives deep in their own territory after kickoffs.

Vince Verhei: Derrick Henry is not dead yet! After being held to 30-some rushing yards in the first half, he has 25 on an 80-yard touchdown drive to open the second half, including a nifty 9-yard touchdown run where he looked bottled up for a loss but bounced to the outside and across the goal line. Titans force a punt and have another nice drive going, but pressure forces Tannehill to throw incomplete on third down, and Randy Bullock misses a 44-yard field goal. Seahawks not doing much, but still clinging to a 24-16 lead as the fourth quarter begins.

Bryan Knowles: Well, NOW they're doing much, as for at least the second time today, the Titans decide just not to cover Freddie Swain. This time, it's a 68-yard touchdown as Swain just runs past everybody. Two different defensive backs passed Swain off to empty space, and it's now 30-16, Seattle, and Tennessee is looking toast-adjacent.

Vince Verhei: Remember when we projected Tennessee to have the worst defense in the league? We may have gone too easy on them.

J.P. Acosta: It's hard to get worse than where they were at last year, but this is bad.

Bryan Knowles: And now TENNESSEE strikes back with the quick-fire offense, as this late-game window goes absolutely nuts. Derrick Henry rumbles off left end for 60 yards and a score, and now it's 30-23, Seattle. That missed extra point after the Swain touchdown is now looming large, with 12:17 left to go.

This is exhausting!

Vince Verhei: But there's fourth-quarter Derrick Henry with a 60-yard touchdown run and we're back to a one-score game. These afternoon games are all nuts.

Bryan Knowles: Accepting all responses for why the Titans decided to not have Derrick Henry on the field on fourth-and-2. I'm not saying necessarily slam him into the line, but how can you not even have that threat out there?

Seahawks get a big fourth-down stop and the ball back.

Vince Verhei: This game is messing with my emotions. A.J. Brown has a step on D.J. Reed for what would be a long tying touchdown, but Tannehill's pass is a few inches overthrown. Reed pops up and flexes—and gets a 5-yard taunting penalty. This just makes Seattle's defense more angry, and they promptly stuff Henry for no gain and get a sack of Tannehill (by former Titans lineman Al Woods). Third-and-long, Tannehill hits Julio to set up a fourth-and-2. Of course they go for it, but Henry is on the sideline. Tannehill takes a shotgun snap but pressure forces an incompletion again. Seahawks take over, but they have shown zero ability to sit on a lead and kill clock today, and there's still more than five minutes left.

Vince Verhei: Sure enough, Seattle goes three-and-out. They then choose the odd defensive strategy of "surrender all the 8-yard completions the opposition wants." Just short curls to Henry and Jeremy McNichols, all the way down the field, until Henry runs into the end zone with 29 seconds left. Titans kick the extra point and we are tied at 30. Seahawks need one more lightning-strike drive to avoid overtime.

Bryan Knowles: Derrick Henry scores with 29 seconds left, and Bullock kicks the extra point to tie us at 30. The missed extra point comes back to haunt the Seahawks.

Two strategic notes here, though. The Titans used a timeout rather than letting 10 seconds run off the clock, so Russell Wilson gets the ball with 29 seconds, not 19. That might come into play. Also: anyone here like the idea of going for two here, rather than settling for the tie?

Vince Verhei: Do not like the idea of going for two. If you get it, you force Wilson to try for a field goal to beat you. By kicking for one, you're way more likely to at least go to overtime.

Aaron Schatz:

Scott Spratt: In support of the EdjSports tweet, Derrick Henry has taken 11 career carries from exactly 2 yards from the end zone. He has only scored on two of them (one a touchdown, one a two-point conversion).

Scott Spratt: The Titans have dropped six passes so far today. That would have tied Ryan Tannehill for the second-most in a passing game in 2020. But poor Drew Lock saw nine drops in a game in Week 16 last year.

Bryan Knowles: The Seahawks' first overtime drive goes nowhere. I'm not entirely convinced Russell Wilson wasn't sacked in the end zone for a walkoff safety, though it looks like the refs called forward progress at about the 6-inch line.

Bryan Knowles: To sum up: The Seahawks were winning 30-16. They miss an extra point, keeping their lead at 14 points. The Titans score two straight touchdowns to tie the game, and win the overtime coin toss. Seattle then finally stiffens up and forces a punt, only to go backwards on offense and have to punt the ball right back, allowing the Titans to kick a field goal.

I am VERY curious to see Seattle's Post-Game Win Expectancy on this one.

Vince Verhei: If you're going to call that in the grasp, I don't see how it's not a safety. But it doesn't matter, because the Titans take over in Seattle territory and quickly get a field goal and win.

Just too much inconsistency from Seattle on offense. They averaged 7.6 yards per play, which is good, but they also went 4-for-12 on third downs and had four three-and-outs. After the broken-coverage Swaim touchdown, Seattle's last four drives produced four punts, one first down, and a total of only 43 yards—27 of them on the meaningless last play of regulation.

But I can't get over Seattle's defensive scheme on the drive that forced overtime. They went to a prevent defense with a one-score lead and four minutes to go. Henry's career-high coming into the day was four catches, but he had three on that drive alone, and McNichols had four. That's seven running back catches for 51 yards on one drive! For god's sake, put somebody in the middle of the field! It finished as a real monster day for Henry—182 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, plus a half-dozen catches for 55 more yards.

Oh well, on to next week, when the Seahawks face the Vikings and Dalvin...

Oh no.

Tom Gower: When the Titans had that horrible 1:15 to finish the first half, going from what looked like it would be a 17-13 deficit to going into halftime down 24-9, I thought the game was over. The Seahawks had gotten a couple of big pass plays on their first two scoring drives, cashed in on a short field after a turnover, and then sliced up the Titans in an incredibly efficient one-minute drill. The Titans got the second-half kickoff and scored and got a stop, but missed a field goal and then Wilson found Freddie Swain on a completely blown coverage for a 68-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to restore the two-touchdown lead. But then Myers missed the extra point to keep it at 14 points, and Derrick Henry went 60 yards on the second Titans play to take the game back to seven points.

And then what had been happening mattered—the Seahawks had been getting yards in massive chunks, but outside of the one-minute drill had not been gaining yards consistently. I'll run the numbers later, but I don't think they were impressive on a down-to-down basis. They finished the game with just two drives with multiple first downs, and the one not in the final minute of the first half ended with Pete punting on fourth-and-3 near midfield after Chris Carson was stuffed on third-and-2. And a Titans offense that had sustained drives kept having more sustained drives. They got stopped in field goal range on the aforementioned fourth-and-2 without Derrick Henry on the field. No problem, Seattle couldn't convert a third down, so just drive the field again. Tie game, overtime, the sack that was nearly a safety, and their only good starting field position of the game cashed into a winning field goal. An unexpected win, the first extra-divisional AFC South win of the season after five defeats, and first NFC West defeat of the season.

Dallas Cowboys 20 at Los Angeles Chargers 17

Bryan Knowles: The Cowboys march down the field for an opening-drive touchdown. That's the first time they have been able to say that since Week 14 of 2019; it has been a little bit. It included an odd fourth-down conversion where the Chargers were flagged for pass interference. The "interference" in this case was the defender just standing there as the receiver ran into him; looked almost like a pick play gone wrong more than anything else. Given new life, the Cowboys finished their march to the end zone, with Tony Pollard running in for the score to the frustration of Zeke Elliott fantasy managers everywhere.

7-0 Cowboys here in the first.

Aaron Schatz: Cowboys and Chargers trade picks. Trevon Diggs had an awesome play undercutting an over route to take the ball away from Keenan Allen. Then on the Dallas drive, Dak Prescott overthrows CeeDee Lamb right into the arms of Asante Samuel Jr. Cowboys offensive strategy today is clearly to run the ball with heavy sets against the Chargers' preferred two-deep looks. It helps that Michael Gallup is hurt so they can feel better about going two-tight end instead of three-wide receiver.

Scott Spratt: Justin Herbert's throw was pretty much on target and a fast throw, so Trevon Diggs did an amazing job to undercut it for a pick. Prescott's was more of a mystery. I think he was aiming for CeeDee Lamb, but if so, the throw was close to 10 yards too far downfield and right at Asante Samuel, Jr.

As predicted by me, this is a defensive struggle early, haha.

Aaron Schatz: The Cowboys go up 14-3 and here are the four runs on that drive:

  • Pollard right tackle for 16
  • Pollard right tackle for 6
  • Lamb (!) right tackle for 13
  • Elliott right tackle for a 5-yard touchdown.

Zack Martin for the win at right guard. Terrence Steele pushing guys around at right tackle too.

Bryan Knowles: The Cowboys' offensive plan seems to run in streaks. Three straight plays to Tony Pollard earn 34 yards, and then three straight plays to CeeDee Lamb get 36 more. And then it's Zeke Elliot's chance to steal a touchdown from Pollard, punching it in to give the Cowboys a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Lamb plays are worth noting; he lined up at tailback on one of them and took an inside zone for 13 yards. Dallas finding creative ways to get the ball in Lamb's hands and it's fun to watch! The crowd seems to agree, which is concerning as the game is in Los Angeles.

Bryan Knowles: Good defensive strategy: force a lot of long down-and-distance situations. The Chargers found themselves in third-and-11 and third-and 13 on their last drive. Bad defensive strategy: let your opponents convert said long down and distances, as the Chargers march 75 yards in 10 plays. Even worse defensive strategy: don't cover Mike Williams, with a couple big catches on the drive, including a 12-yard touchdown after a hell of a leap and stretch.

And then the Chargers steal a timeout. The touchdown made it 14-9 and Dallas trots their field goal block unit onto the field. The Chargers, however, decide to go for the two-point conversion, confusing the Cowboys and forcing them to burn a timeout. It doesn't help, either, as Austin Ekeler scores to make the score 14-11 Dallas midway through the second. Losing a timeout like that isn't a huge deal in the first half, but it's a free bonus for Los Angeles on a play they converted anyway.

Aaron Schatz: Chargers had nine penalties for 79 yards in the first half of this game and they just had an ineligible man downfield for their first penalty of the second half, cancelling a great 31-yard completion to Mike Williams. Lots of offensive penalties too. Defensive penalties often mean close play that goes over the line. Offensive penalties are often just mistakes.

Aaron Schatz: Chargers with more penalties. Just had a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open Donald Parham called back by a somewhat iffy holding on Jared Cook at the line of scrimmage. Cook did have his hands inside the defensive player's pads, but it's not like he tackled him to the ground. Justin Herbert is making some phenomenal throws today but the penalties are getting in the way.

Aaron Schatz: Big interception by Herbert! Throws behind Jalen Guyton and right into the hands of Damontae Kazee in the end zone. Ball might have been intended for Keenan Allen, who fell down making a cut. Take a long, successful Chargers drive and toss it in the garbage can. Still 14-14.

Aaron Schatz: It looked like the Chargers had a 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead, but what do you know, another penalty. Beautiful 30-yard pass to Keenan Allen stuck the Chargers at the Dallas 2, and on the next pass Herbert slants it over to Jared Cook, but the Chargers get called for an illegal shift. Then on the next play, very strange, the Cowboys' pass rush moves Herbert way back and he throws it away as he's falling to the ground ... and the officials declare that his forward progress was stopped (!!) and thus he lost 18 yards. I mean, I would understand an intentional grounding call there, but not the idea that he was in the grasp, that's just weird. Chargers got some of the yardage back on the next play but ended up having to kick a field goal. So we are at 17-17 with 3:54 left.

Bryan Knowles: Yet another touchdown is taken off the board for the Chargers as a Keenan Allen score is brought back for illegal formation. The Chargers have 12 penalties, and it feels like a full third of them took points off the board.

Then Herbert gets called for one of the softer in-the-grasp sacks you'll ever see, though it probably was at least intentional grounding. Los Angeles has to settle for a field goal, and we're tied at 17.

Aaron Schatz: Crazy bad game clock management by Dallas, with one timeout left they run the ball on second-and-7 and 33 seconds left and ... then ... just let the clock run down. They could have run multiple plays trying to get closer. Instead they settle for a 56-yard field goal. Now the Chargers ice the kicker...

Aaron Schatz: And Mike McCarthy gets away with it! Greg Zuerlein puts it through for a 20-17 Cowboys win!

Bryan Knowles: Stopped clock, twice a day, and all that. And THAT'S how the Western divisions pick up their first loss of the year.

Scott Spratt: With all the offseason Brandon Staley intrigue, I had forgotten that the Chargers always lose like that.

J.P. Acosta: The Chargers find new ways to lose.

Atlanta Falcons 25 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48

Bryan Knowles: Wellity wellity wellity, don't look now, but the Falcons, who were steamrolled off the field a week ago, have pulled to within one score. It's 28-25, Buccaneers, with 1:45 left in the third quarter, as Atlanta has scored twice in the third quarter to stay within touch. Cordarrelle Patterson has 10 touches for 71 yards and a couple of scores, which is his biggest day since 2017. Full credit to the Falcons for scraping themselves off the pavement from last week. They have made some strange choices strategically, and it hasn't always looked pretty, but they're actually keeping things interesting.

Scott Spratt: Tom Brady threw his fifth touchdown of the day, and then Matt Ryan threw a pick-six three plays later. Suddenly it's 41-25 and this one is over with less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Kansas City Chiefs 35 at Baltimore Ravens 36

Bryan Knowles: Well this one escalated quickly. A play after Lamar Jackson misses a big connection deep down field to Hollywood Brown, Tyrann Mathieu picks Jackson off and returns it for six. More blame on that pick is probably on Sammy Watkins than Jackson, but still, an ugly start for a team that really can't afford an ugly start.

Aaron Schatz: Historically, the Ravens blitz constantly, which is one of the reasons Patrick Mahomes carves them up. DON'T BLITZ MAHOMES. Tonight, the Ravens are playing totally un-Ravens-like, the way that every other team plays the Chiefs: two high safeties, zone coverage, invite them to run the ball, let them complete short passes.

J.P. Acosta: Do you think that could just be out of necessity? Because they have no healthy defensive backs that they can leave on islands.

Aaron Schatz: Well, Marlon Humphrey still could, I think. But that definitely might be the reason they're playing this way.

Carl Yedor: We can't allow ourselves to become numb to Mahomes. Maybe we shouldn't go over the top with praise every week to avoid annoying everyone on the planet by the end of the year, but he is such a special, special talent. He makes the excellent seem ordinary essentially whenever he isn't running for his life.

Scott Spratt: That graphic was presumably meant to extoll Lamar Jackson's rushing virtues, but wow Jamaal Charles got to 3,000 rushing yards on fewer than 500 carries?

Scott Spratt: With most teams, I would think they missed their opportunity to beat a good opponent when they forced a pair of interceptions in the first half and converted one into a pick-six and yet still were just tied 14-14 with 3:21 left in the half. But I guess those rules just don't apply to the Chiefs. The Ravens could continue to run for 7.7 yards per carry and that may not even be enough at home in Baltimore.

Vince Verhei: Actually, Scott (and anyone else too young to remember the brilliance of Jamaal Charles), not even 500. At the end of his fourth season, Charles had 3,027 yards on 499 carries, a 6.1-yard average. He was the man.

Scott Spratt: I watched Charles play, Vince. I watched Priest Holmes play. I just wouldn't have assumed any running back could sustain 6.0 yards per carry for more than one season of carries.

Bryan Knowles: The Chiefs had the Ravens on a first-and-25 at their own 21 with 40 seconds left and one timeout remaining. It turned into a field goal. That's bad situational football from the Chiefs; gotta make some tackles inbounds at some point.

I think being down just four points is pretty much a best-case scenario for two pretty ugly interceptions exceptionally early; I'm impressed Baltimore is still keeping in touch here. The Chiefs' issues with their front seven will come back to bite them at some point, you would imagine.

Bryan Knowles: A reminder that last year, Patrick Mahomes had a -2.1% DVOA under pressure, the ninth-highest DVOA we have ever recorded. In 2019, he was at -0.5%. In 2018, he was at 7.6%. Mahomes is pretty good under pressure!

So, after sitting back for most of the first half, Baltimore comes out in the second half, blitzing. Mahomes absorbs the pressure and hits Byron Pringle for a 40-yard touchdown. I'm not saying never rush Mahomes, but you have gotta time your shots right, and that was not timed right.

Scott Spratt: I'm not entirely sure why Lamar Jackson jumped on this touchdown pass to Hollywood Brown, but it was pretty sick.

28-24 Chiefs leading with 9:30 left in the third quarter.

J.P. Acosta: Didn't you know? Jumping on passes makes them 10x cooler. That's advanced analytics.

Carl Yedor: I hope Travis Kelce gets the rumblin', tumblin', stumblin' treatment from Chris Berman when that touchdown shows up in a highlight package. Never seemed like he was running that fast (he is a tight end, after all), but he evaded every defender that got near him and finished the play with six points. Kansas City leads 35-24 halfway through the third quarter.

Vince Verhei: The dots on Kelce's touchdown may be the most fun dots I have ever seen.

J.P. Acosta: 71 is in the wrong number bracket to be making plays like that in space.

Aaron Schatz: Patrick Mahomes just threw an interception in September! On a bad decision where he tried to do too much, throwing the ball while he was going to the ground on a sack. He's human!

Bryan Knowles: I think it's more likely that Patrick Mahomes was secretly replaced with a body double than that he's capable of making mistakes, but either way, boy howdy did the Ravens need a big defensive play.

Scott Spratt: Ineligible man downfield on a two-point conversion? How is that even possible?

Aaron Schatz: You can't be more than 1 yard downfield on a passing play. The two-point conversion takes place from the 2. So if the offensive lineman is in the end zone ... ta da, that's ineligible downfield.

Tom Gower: Can we get an EdjSports ruling on the Ravens decision to still go for two at 35-30 after the 5-yard penalty?

Aaron Schatz: The EdjSports model had Baltimore going for two as +1.5% win probability, even from the 7-yard line.

Scott Spratt: If you are the Ravens here, how long would you ideally take to score a touchdown? They probably can't drain all 10 minutes, right? But if you take it to four or five minutes, you may never get the ball back. The Chiefs can really get in your head.

Bryan Knowles: Well, ideally, yes, drain all 10 minutes. But absent that, I'd want to score as quickly as possible. There may well be three or four more touchdowns in this one, at the pace these teams are going.

Scott Spratt: I think the Ravens are taking too long to score.

Scott Spratt: Now that the Chiefs get the ball back down one with 3:14, should the Ravens just bring eight every play? The best thing that can happen is a turnover, but the second best thing is an immediate score so the Ravens have time to answer.

Aaron Schatz: Looks like the Ravens are doing the opposite. They're sticking with the regular pass rush and the coverage, and the Chiefs move the ball downfield easily anyway. They're going to very likely set up for the game-winning field goal as time expires.

Scott Spratt: Harrison Butker missed six extra-point attempts last year. Maybe the Ravens think their best chance is a missed kick?

Scott Spratt: Or a fumble!!

Bryan Knowles: Or, you know, a forced fumble!

Game's not over yet, as the Chiefs have all three timeouts, but wow.

Bryan Knowles: The Ravens go for it on fourth-and-1, because kicking the ball back to Mahomes is a recipe for disaster. And they get it! And they win!

What a football game.

Scott Spratt: Circling back, that Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble was horrific.

Oweh wasn't even on the ball side. He just poked a hand in.

J.P. Acosta: Odafe Oweh has had a wonderful game, and seals it with a forced fumble

Scott Spratt: The Ravens finished the game at 6.1 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles-esque.


108 comments, Last at 28 Sep 2021, 1:46pm

#1 by BJR // Sep 20, 2021 - 6:30am

The in-the-grasp call on Wilson looked like bullshit to me watching live. Granted I haven’t been back and studied it, but you wonder about the refs willingness to end the game on a safety/grounding penalty in front of a raucous Seattle crowd. Fortunately Tennessee won anyway.

Derrick Henry really does seem to buck the trend when it comes to running back effectiveness. I was tearing my hair out when he had 20 carries for 60-some yards, with Tannehill going at 10 YPA, and the Titans trailing by double digits. But they kept on running him, and he did indeed seem to wear the down the defence late in the game. Efficient or not, he is an incredible player. 

Points: 0

#32 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:58pm

I was thinking about that while my Cards won a one point game in which they didn't cover the spread.

The Seattle game looked "rigged" to me.  I know it's far-fetched to say that referrees deliberately made calls to sway the game, that is what I saw, though.

The TD catch by Julio Jones they negated was called a TD on the field and there's wasn't clear evidence to overturn.  That was questionable.  

What should have been a game-ending safety of Wilson was called down at the 1 yard line?  It was as clear a safety as you'll ever see.  The play ended in the end zone, almost 2 yards in.  


Points: 0

#82 by LyleNM // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:31pm

Doesn't matter where the play ended. Only thing that matters is forward progress while being tackled. Replay I saw pretty clearly showed Wilson hold the ball in front of the goal line while in contact with the defender.

Not that it made much difference.

Points: 0

#2 by Raiderfan // Sep 20, 2021 - 7:33am

No coverage at all of Raiders beating Steelers on the road, and MVP Carr torching the “best defense in the NFL”.

Points: 0

#9 by ChrisLong // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:02am

In reply to by Raiderfan

I watched big chunks of that game and I thought the Raiders looked very good. Carr making great decisions all day

Points: 0

#15 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:51am

Carr's just quietly been a very good quarterback for years, and with Ruggs hitting year 2, I totally thought there was a ton of potential there.

On a recent FO Podcast, Mike Tanier called them "the most boring team in the NFL," and I was just totally confused. Carr's basically been a top-10 QB his entire career! His (non-rookie) worst year was Gruden's "tank year" where they shed talent like crazy. I mean, jeez, if you exclude the tank year, from 2015+ Carr has more total DYAR than Aaron Rodgers right now!

Don't get why people are so down on the Raiders. Solid offense, lot of talent at defensive line and a ludicrously young secondary. Heck, if Arnette had worked out they'd likely have a secondary entirely on rookie contracts. Plus long-term they're crazy flexible and really the only big issue they have is that Carr's gonna get expensive real soon. Will be curious to see what happens there.

Points: 0

#43 by ClavisRa // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:33pm

Tanier is a poor observer of football and has lazy takes that are just for entertainment not analysis.

Points: 0

#52 by bravehoptoad // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:48pm

I wouldn't say he's poor.  He can be quite sharp.  He will sometimes ignore reality for the sake of a good punchline, though. 

I'll take that any day.  As sports-writing weaknesses go, that's a tiny one. 

Points: 0

#78 by Eddo // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:09pm

I've been disappointed in Tanier since he re-joined FO earlier this year.  It seems like he has some pre-formed opinions that he hammers non-stop, which is the kind of thing he would so effectively skewer in "mainstream" writers ten years ago.

Points: 0

#87 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 20, 2021 - 6:31pm

As have I. 


He writes well, but there's almost nothing of substance anymore - it's recycled tropes and hot takes, and tired one liners. 

Points: 0

#35 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:07pm

In reply to by Raiderfan

I was surprised and beating the Steelers bodes well for the Grudens of Las Vegas.

If the defense can hold up, they'll be right there and have a chance to win the division.

The Chiefs are in for regression.  Their defense looks like 2018 version and they can't stop the run.


Points: 0

#56 by serutan // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:17pm

I'm not sold on the Raiders yet - Beating a team with a shambling corpse for a QB to me doesn't bode much other than saying they're not terrible.   I'd lump them in with most teams in that it would be best to hold off until Week 4 or 5 before attempting to decide how good/bad they are.

Points: 0

#74 by Raiderfan // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:53pm

Buffalo couldn’t do it, and they seem to be many people’s darling.

Points: 0

#91 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 7:52pm

In reply to by Raiderfan

Las Vegas Raiders 26 at Pittsburgh Steelers 17

Bryan Knowles: The clocks hit 0:00 here with the Raiders winning 26-17.

So, at the conclusion of the early window of games, the NFC and AFC Wests are a combined 12-0. The rest of the league is a combined 13-26.

Hmm, the league is 25-26, the quality of play is getting worse, overall a below .500 league, my math skills have not gotten worse, there must be an error here.

Points: 0

#3 by andrew // Sep 20, 2021 - 7:36am

the clash of cultures 

That happens every year in Atlanta labor day weekend with Dragon Con (a con that includes just about everything geeky under the sun and is the absolute Cosplay mecca ) takes place in 5 of the largest hotels in downtown Atlanta ( Marriott Marquis, Hyatt, Hilton, Westin, Sheraton along with Americasmart) at the same time ad the Chik-fil-A kickoff classic which is one of two major college football games to start the year.   All the nearby hotels also sell out but the football game does get a block of rooms in those hotels reserved as well and the hotel bars (especially the Marriott) results in a massive mix of the two (especially since Dragon Con is a 24/7 event with a lot of partying, one of its nicknames is "Nerdi Gras").

(I have gone to Dragon Con every year since 2004, except this year I skipped because readons).


Points: 0

#55 by Bobman // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:14pm

Nerdi Gras is now my favorite term of all time.

Okay, back to football....

Points: 0

#4 by Will Allen // Sep 20, 2021 - 7:50am

Been way too busy to watch more than a few minutes of any games the last couple weeks (pandemic society has changed my life in some fundamental ways), but three weeks ago I said the Vikings odds of getting to the over on projected wins would be hugely improved if thev were to get some luck on kicking performance, for the 1st time in about a decade.

Oh, well.

Points: 0

#5 by RickD // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:10am

The ending in Baltimore made me feel better as a Pats' fan.  Eerily similar to how the Pats lost to the Dolphins Week 1.  Chiefs driving for the go-ahead FG, in field goal range, just burning clock, and they fumble.  Still, they can get the ball back if they can just stop the Ravens from getting a 1st down...but they can't.  

Points: 0

#10 by andrew // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:28am

That's also how the Viking lost week 1 (albeit in ovettime). At least the chiefs and dolphins won't have to worry about losing due to a short FG miss 

Points: 0

#6 by RickD // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:13am

Well, aside from outliers like the Jets and Jaguars.  The Ravens win over the Chiefs made it so all the major contenders are 1-1.  (Sorry, Raiders and Broncos, but you're not going to win the division.)

Points: 0

#12 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:07am

I mean, OK, I can get the Broncos, they played the friggin' Giants and Jaguars. But the Raiders at this point have 2 absolutely solid wins. Why in the world are they being so discounted? I don't get it.

Yeah, they're playing a bit over their heads at the moment, it's unlikely that Carr can maintain the level he's going at, but pushing ~8 ANY/A isn't crazy at all and they'd likely still be a contender for the division. Why in the world wouldn't the Raiders have a shot at literally being 8-0 going into the game with the Chiefs? 

I always thought the Raiders had an outside shot at the division, depending on the Chiefs defense, and now they've got a leg up on the Chiefs with BAL/PIT out of the way and no losses. Basically if the Raiders end up splitting with the Chiefs like last year, I don't see how they're not contending. I think it'll basically all come down to the KC/LV series as well as the LV/CLE game. Plus maybe the Denver/Dallas games, but I could see Dallas and Denver giving the Chiefs fits as well.

Points: 0

#37 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:10pm

I said during the off-season that the Chiefs would regress and not even make it to the AFCG this year.

So far, their lack of depth and defensive shortcomings are proving me right.

They have been living dangerously since the Superbowl loss.

Even in pre-season, I saw tendencies with them that were troubling.  The Cards shut them down pretty well while the first team was out there.  

Cleveland, Baltimore or Buffalo will come out of the AFC.  Even Las Vegas is a darkhorse.


Points: 0

#45 by AFCNFCBowl // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:36pm

Since then, they've beaten CAR by 2, LV by 4, TB by 3, DEN by 6, MIA by 6, NO by 3, ATL by 3, CLE by 5, been embarrassed in the Super Bowl, probably lose to CLE week 1 if not for a bad snap on a punt, and lost to BAL week 2.

Their defense is not good at all. Think of it: of all the AFC contenders (BAL, BUF, CLE, DEN, KC, LV, LAC, MIA, NE, PIT, TEN) the Chiefs are probably the worst defensively of all of them.

Points: 0

#41 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:20pm

Because the Chiefs are better.  

Better teams don't always win. Schedule differences got amplified a bit with a 17-game season, since there's an additional "parity-enforcing" game. Game differences between Raiders and Chiefs are Dolphins, Colts, Bears instead of Bills, Titans, Packers. I could easily see the Raiders picking up a game on the Chiefs from that set alone. Now couple it with the fact that the Raiders are already ahead of the Chiefs with a common opponent, and even if the Chiefs are the better team, that week 14 game looms really large.

The Raiders just kept pace with the Ravens, who kept pace with the Chiefs. They're much closer to the Chiefs than you're giving credit.

Points: 0

#66 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:10pm

Judging by record after two games is absurd.  There were 6 coin flip games this week that could have gone either way and I am not even counting SF-PHIL or CHI-CIN even though the scores were close.  The Raiders game last week was a total coin flip.  The Ravens now have two coin flip games.

DVOA is much better than record as it makes for a large sample size of plays.  However, even though DVOA will tell us more than record at this point, it is still too small a sample size at this point in the season to make sweeping judgments, especially without adjusting for opponents rankings.  

When complimenting DVOA I assume that it is preferred protocol to use proper spelling and correct grammar.

Maybe I am required to mention that record is a subjective ranking system and is way worse than DVOA? 


Points: 0

#79 by Eddo // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:14pm

I'm with you on "worse than DVOA", but record is not subjective.  There are some very strict rules for judging something to be a win or a loss, and a team's record does not vary based on the observer or analyst.

Points: 0

#16 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:53am

Does this indicate parity, mediocrity, or just random chance, though?

Points: 0

#27 by RickD // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:24pm

Also inconsistency.  

Trying to model this in my head...I think if all teams were playing at the same level, such that every game was a 50-50 coin flip, then the expected number of 1-1 teams would be 8/16.  I think that variation between team levels should only make that number go down, if opponents were randomly selected.


Points: 0

#46 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:40pm

Yup. Totally random (no skill) would give you a 25/50/25 split on 0-2/1-1/2-0 on average. Totally skill (no luck) would give you an even split (33/33/33) on average. Some combination of luck/skill gives you numbers in between.

Fitting the observed NFL win distribution to some fraction luck, some fraction skill is one way to get to the "games are about ~50% luck, 50% skill" conclusion.

Points: 0

#7 by AFCNFCBowl // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:37am

In the past 2 seasons, 0-1 teams beat 1-0 teams in Week 2 once. (IND over TEN 2019)

This year, SIX 0-1 teams beat 1-0 teams.

Points: 0

#8 by Will Allen // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:39am

I do wonder if there are sample sizes large enough to give some confidence that there are head coaches or special teams coaches who are good at either picking kickers or improving their performance.

Points: 0

#19 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 11:35am

I'll never forget one of the rare times Joe Gibbs was broadcasting a game and dropped this gem. He basically said teams will often cycle through kickers, especially young kickers who struggled badly because it takes a number of years and experience for them to settle down and get their sea legs under them.

It made me think of Steven Hauschka. I wonder if Ravens fans will remember him, but he missed something like 20 kicks in a row (sure go ahead and verify that if you want), and got released. I thought he'd never see the field again but lo and behold, he ended up with a 13 year career across a number of different teams and had vastly improved.

Points: 0

#62 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:42pm

Tucker makes that kick 99 of 100 in the dome, previously Stover a mere 98 of 100.  Not having a good FG kicker in Baltimore is like Burger King running out of burgers.  Now Harbaugh goes for so many 4th downs that Tucker is the 4th and long FG kicker plus the end of half and end of game kicker, still a tremendous value.  He will no longer have any of the Graham Gano, Thursday night games.  Tucker did kick 6 FG's in an 18-16 win in Detroit in 2013.  You can bet that will not happen next Sunday when the Ravens visit the Lions.

Points: 0

#103 by KaosTheory // Sep 21, 2021 - 7:05pm

How many other coaches play for a 61-yard game winning field goal and win?! That had to hurt for Lions fan.


And yeah, it’s amazing how good Baltimore kickers have been. Aside from a brief interlude between Stover (IMO one of the best kickers ever) and Tucker (even better) the Ravens have been above average in that facet of the game for a quarter century. That is nuts. Meanwhile, those poor Vikings…  

Points: 0

#108 by JimZipCode // Sep 28, 2021 - 1:46pm

It made me think of Steven Hauschka. I wonder if Ravens fans will remember him, but he missed something like 20 kicks in a row (sure go ahead and verify that if you want), and got released.

Absolutely remember Hauschka.  Stover begat Hauschka begat Cundiff begat Tucker.

Hauschka shared kicking duties in Stover's last season – Hauschka was the "long" guy and did kickoffs; Stover handled the shorter FGs – and then took over when Stover retired that offseason.  Many Ravens fans were skeptical when the head coach with the spec-teams background dared to name a replacement for the beloved Stover.  Then Hauschka missed a couple FGs and an XP.  My impression at the time was that he was talented, but just a little too young for the job.  Unseasoned.

Ravens cut him and picked up Cundiff.  That ended in tragedy in the 2011 AFC champship game.  Ravens were looking for another kicker in the '11-12 offseason.  There's a great piece in The Athletic about how their spec-teams coach Jerry Rosburg "discovered" Tucker:

Harbaugh, years later, said that at the end of that training camp, the coaches were split about which kicker to go into the season with, Cundiff or the rookie Tucker.  Harbs said he unilaterally decided.  (That's a slightly bigger deal than it seems.  Harbs is a huge consensus builder guy.)

Anyway: I was pleased when Hauschka latched on with a team and went on to a long-term career.  As I remember, Baltimore fans were on him, basically for not being Stover.  Unfair. 

Points: 0

#11 by johonny // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:46am

Miami's offense is stunningly bad. 2019 bad at this point. While the players are taking most of the heat, it's pretty clear the two-headed offensive coordinator system has left zero players knowing their actual blocking assignment on any given play. That's on the coaching staff. Their players might not be the most talented, but there's no reason 8 on 5 leads to a free rusher time and time again. The Bills currently own the series. The rematch is not anything I'm looking forward to watching. With Tua expected to miss significant time, 2021 might just have become a wasted season. Flores better scour the coaching ranks for a good OC next off-season. Fans are tired of the 32 best oline in the league. Miami will win more games this year because they play many teams with flaws as well, but you can't get to the playoffs without a coordinated offense. At this point, it's just sad to watch. 

Points: 0

#14 by James-London // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:36am

In reply to by johonny

100% agree. Yesterday was brutal. If Brissett isn't mobile the Bills have a double-digit sack total-I lost count of the number of times he had to make an unblocked rusher miss before he hit his drop. In particular, Miami was completely unable to pick up any type of wide rush (corner blitz, or a DE/LB coming from outside).  Throw in some inexcuseable drops and a couple of fumbles and you get whatever yesterday was, and I don't see how it gets better quickly.

The real shame is the D played pretty well. One poorly defended run (untouched up the gut) for the 1st TD, and a scramble drill touchdown on the Bills second drive aside, the D made it hard for Buffalo-at least until the point where the game was obviously over.

Points: 0

#36 by Carolina // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:09pm

In reply to by johonny

Wouldn't the oline problems be more on the oline coach?

I hated Miami's two first round picks this year because they should have Sewell or Slater with the 6th and the best available guard or center with the 18th pick.


Points: 0

#13 by BaconAndWaffles // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:31am

Bryan Knowles: Kyler Murray is going to lead the league in "touchdown passes thrown after facing the wrong way at some point during the play." 7-7, midway through the first.

I spent more time than I am willing to admit trying to come up with a cool acronym for these Kyler plays.The closest I got was BADAS -BAck to Defense Adjusted Success. Kyler most definitely will lead the league in "attempts".

Points: 0

#44 by dbostedo // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:35pm

Maybe that could be Back At Defense Adjusted Success Score?

Points: 0

#18 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 11:30am

Maybe this comment would be better for quick reads, but Zack Wilson stat line at one point was something like sub 50 percent completion, under 150 yards, 4 ints and 3 sacks. Basically he's the worst starting quarterback in football at this moment.

The prominent jets fans on Twitter were aghast at the results.

The point of this is more...what does this portend for his future? How much can you read into a two game sample? 


Points: 0

#22 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:17pm


The point of this is more...what does this portend for his future?

Sam Darnold, ANY/A, 2018-2021: 5.24, 5.50, 4.16, 7.62.

Pretty sure it portends that the Jets are still the Jets.

Points: 0

#26 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:22pm

I thought about that too. How Sam Darnold is looking like a completely different, if a bit overrated by conventional stats, player in Carolina than in New York. And Carolina is hardly a team with Bucs or Chiefs level receivers. 

I'm curious to see if that lasts with Sam Darnold, but its been an interesting data point thus far. 

Points: 0

#69 by Bobman // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:42pm

As a life-long Colts fan who happened to live in/around NYC for 31 years, I could kiss you for this.

Every Monday in elementary, middle, and high school, all I'd hear was yammering about Jets Jets Jets.  That's positive yammering about Mark Gastineau, Richard Todd, Freeman MacNeil, etc. and their HOF chances....  It's a wonder I didn't do something drastic.

Points: 0

#40 by theTDC // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:17pm

PFF gave Wilson the highest single season grade ever, I believe. Maybe it was just the highest single season college grade amongst the draft class, with Burrow being higher. In any case, it always struck me as being kind of a red flag. He was merely average before, then has this huge season? Burrow was the same way, and he appears to be on his way to working out, but it’s still worrisome.

Can’t judge after two games, and I thought he did make some very special throws, but I can’t help but think that he could well be the next Darnold. A talented QB wasted by the jets only to become successful elsewhere. Trey Lance and Mac Jones get fantastic coaches and decent situations. Trevor Lawrence is the most talented. You gotta worry about Fields and Wilson.

Points: 0

#48 by Tracy // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:00pm

I remember that after a couple of games during their rookie seasons, Ryan Leaf looked better than Peyton Manning. Trevor Lawrence finished his day yesterday at 42.5%, 118 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack. I think for both Lawrence and Wilson, it means they're rookies playing on teams who were bad last year and look bad again at the start of this year. I think it's less important that they look bad in September than whether they show improved decision making as the season progresses.


Points: 0

#49 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:04pm

That's probably correct. What worries me is that this is probably the worst two games of any rookie I can remember, possibly of any QB.

Points: 0

#53 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:57pm

 What worries me is that this is probably the worst two games of any rookie I can remember,

Alex Smith's first two starts: 17/39, 166 yards, 5 INT, 0 TD, 10 sacks.

Got a long way to go before you get to some of the worst guys.

Points: 0

#61 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:33pm

I'm too lazy to look up the actual games, but famously Eli Manning, Alex Smith, and Jared Goff were terrible - historically awful - their first seasons.

I guess it's slightly notable that none of those guys were really amazing, Hall-of-Fame types (give or take an Eli "ringz!" argument, which I emphatically do not want to have right now). But they're all fine QBs who succeeded on solid teams (which may be the bigger problem...).

One Hall-of-Famer who was pretty stinky his first few games was Aaron Rodgers, but those were relief appearances spread across a few seasons so I'm not sure how much it "counts". But awfulness to excellence isn't unprecedented.

(For the record, I never got the hype around Wilson, specifically, so I'm not actually expecting much - but I also thought Rodgers was gonna suck, so take that for what it's worth.)

Points: 0

#64 by Pat // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:57pm

but famously Eli Manning

This is a false trope that keeps popping up: Manning wasn't good his first year, but he wasn't "terrible". I mean, he looks bad in retrospect... but that was 2004. Those were the years of "oh, God, Bears QB" (the Bears do not have a QB on the DVOA list because none of them broke 200 passes), disasters in Miami, Washington, and Atlanta saying "eff it, just let Vick run." Manning was, like kindof "cute" bad in comparison. But even if you look at rookies in general, Manning doesn't stick out too much.

Among successes, Stafford was worse (in recent history - there are much worse examples farther back, like McNabb), for instance, and if you compare him to failures Manning's definitely on the high end of that.

Smith and Goff, now you're talking history.

-25.4%, -88.6%, -74.8%. One of these is not like the others...


Points: 0

#63 by BJR // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:47pm

The Patriots and Panthers could end up being two of the top defences this year. Carolina completely shutting down the Saints yesterday was eye-opening. And Belichick still loves nothing more than embarrassing the Jets; I'm sure he was 100% out to prove a point to their new HC/QB combo. These Wilson performances might not end up looking so horrible come season end. 

Points: 0

#83 by RobotBoy // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:37pm

While I'd love nothing better than for Belichick's Boys to have a top-ranked D, they're are some worrying issues.

1. The Jets consistently ran over the NE's revamped d-line. And the Jets run game is hardly the 1948 '49ers. The Pats also missed tackles at every level.

2. With Gilmore out, the Pats have questionable secondary depth. Let's see what happens when they face even an average QB.

3. NE's pass rush consistently played poor contain on Wilson, and it looked like he could have taken off for big gains pretty much any time.

It's early of course. I'll put defensive front struggles down to all the new personnel. And poor tackling is pretty much the norm these days early in the season due to the limited number of full-contact practices.

Points: 0

#20 by Ben // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:08pm

Being part of the GenCon crowd mentioned at the beginning of the article, I didn’t see the Colts game (the culture clash comment is right on. GenCon was occurring literally across the street from the stadium) Does anyone have a good explanation as to why the Colts o-line has  looked so atrocious in the first two games? 

I guess you can use the excuses of starting a backup/turnstile at LT in week 1 and that Aaron Donald is a freakish human being who is very good at football for yesterday. The O-line was expected to be a top 5 unit. I could understand if they looked middling due to those things. However, they’ve looked bottom 5 so far. No run game and crappy pass protection. 

Combine that with a defense that also looks bottom 5 instead of top half as projected (yes it was the Seahawks and Rams, but since the Colts have decided that both a pass rush and covering WRs are optional, I don’t see things improving) and Wentz potentially missing time (Jacob Eason is far from a good QB at this point, and quite possibly will never be one) and I guess Colts fans can at least look forward to hopefully drafting a franchise QB, LT, or pass-rusher next April. 

Points: 0

#24 by jedmarshall // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:19pm

I think the defense is my biggest disappointment.  I was not a fan of the Wentz acquisition, but he's been...fine.  The shovel pass was awful and I am not particularly fond of throwing the ball randomly while about to be sacked, but he is not the reason they are 0-2.

OL has been horrible and the defense has been non-existent especially in the passing game.  Wentz is running for his life on every play and they have absolutely no pass rush.  Leonard and Willis in particular have performed much under their levels from last year.

I did not have high hopes for this season (outside of just being in a bad division), but the ways they are failing are definitely not the reasons I thought they would fail.

Points: 0

#25 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:19pm

I made this comment on the live gameday thread.

The colts o line was bad, but it wasn't a complete trainwreck all game. It had a very Dr. Jameis, Mr.Winston feel to it. In particular, its issues manifested quite badly in the red zone in particular, when the run game and pass protection broke down almost immediately. Its kind of why I was so happy with Wentz this game - he saved the Colts on so many plays avoiding pressure and finding a receiver. Even his pick had an element of bad blocking too it. They managed to get deep into the red zone three times and came away with 3 pts. 

The Rams also exploited one mismatch over and over. Aaron Donald unblockable machine, was sent against the Colts weakest pass blocker, their backup right tackle who got toasted repeatedly. No real shame in that, but it illustrated the perils of trying to be a good o line - all it takes is one bad blocker to destroy the whole line. 

Depending on your expectations, I think the Colts played about as well as you can expect given a team that was likely to regress this year + a QB coming off a horrendous season + lets be honest, a team that is light on elite players at premium spots. They aren't good enough to be anything above ok this year. 

Points: 0

#75 by Bobman // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:01pm

I only saw the first half because my son's HS band was playing the Seahawks game and I had to leave for that game TWO HOURS EARLY according to my wife... But my impression of the OL's goal to go problems was touched on by a very good Jonathan Vilma in the booth (the past two weeks, I thought he was quite good--slipped into some needles cliches in the second half last week):  when you get down to goal to go, they don't do much pass rushing or pass coverage--the D can crowd the rush lanes.  This is not rocket science, and the Colts' OC has to adjust for this--I mean every team faces this issue.  But the Rams played it particularly well.  I was hoping for a false start that would give Indy five yards of breathing room.  When Taylor had that beautiful 10-12 yard run that stopped at the 1 YL I thought they were doomed, and they were. (my preferred play call there, which the Ravens used with Jackson last night, would be to go I formation, fake your stud RB up the gut, and sprint the QB to the pylon.  Rivers could not do that, but Wentz can (or could before his ankle injury).

Wentz is (ahem, was?) mobile enough to keep a D honest, and their receivers did pretty well against a very good D, but that short yardage stuff they really owned the past few years fell apart without all their starters on OL, and the backups have to step up (duh, though stepping up against Donald might be too much to ask) and the OC/OL coaches have to game-plan around that, because a clever 10-year-old could have predicted it.  I blame the coaches for that until otherwise proven wrong.  They knew their players going in, they knew the opponents. They somehow through what worked on 3rd and 4 at midfield would be the same for 3rd and goal at the 1?  In what world?

Did the Rams move Donald around? That's what I would do.  (A handful of years ago I griped about this regarding one son's HS football play calling--he was the best DL on the team by far, but only 190 lbs. When he went against a really good RT who weighed 300+ and was headed to a D-1 college, he was generally neutralized, and his idiot coaches didn't think to move him around.  His teammates floundered, he floundered.  If player X on the OL is going to win his battle no matter what, move your best D player elsewhere to take advantage of a possible hole there.)  In this case, moving Donald, Watt, Bosa, Buckner to another spot on the DL a handful of plays each game should wreak havoc with the OL. Like changing your snap counts--keeps them out of rhythm.

Points: 0

#21 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:13pm

I'm not particularly sure what the Patriots are doing at RT. Herron isn't a good player by any means, but Durant seems to be a complete and utter turnstile, and seems to be getting the lions share of the playtime. 



Either way, if Brown isn't back soon this is going to be a major issue. 

Points: 0

#29 by RickD // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:28pm

I think the plan is to expect Brown to return soon.  He's reportedly day-to-day.

There isn't a lot of depth there.  That's a problem if Wynn or Brown has to miss significant time. 

Points: 0

#28 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:24pm

This may come off as controversial, but I haven't see a big difference in Matthew Stafford the quarterback on the Rams vs Matthew Stafford on the Lions.

What I have seen is a big difference in his circumstances with respect to the following. 1) His protection in LA is miles above the typical protection he got in Detroit. When Stafford has ( and trusts his) protection; you get a lot of the things you like out of him. And 2) His defense and special teams are not putting him in holes from jump. 


Points: 0

#30 by RickD // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:30pm

Certainly he benefits from moving to a team with a much stronger roster.  And he's an upgrade from Goff.  

Points: 0

#33 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:04pm

I'm not sure what you expected, Slot Hooker.

Stafford is an upgrade over Goff, but he's not a game-changer like a Wilson or Murray in that division.  He's the third best QB.

He might look better because he has blocking, a running game and some weapons.

We'll see how good he looks against the Cards in Week 4.

Points: 0

#34 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:06pm

I was genuinely curious to see if he'd look astonishingly different(better). For example, we saw Tannehill the last two years see his value transformed from journeyman backup to stealth all pro. And early sample size suggests Sam Darnold is going through a transformation of his own.


Points: 0

#51 by Spanosian Magn… // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:12pm

Oh he's exactly the same guy. I don't know why anyone would expect a transformation at age 33/season 13. And I'm not sure, if given a clean pocket, he's actually better than Jared Goff - but he doesn't completely implode when pressured. Acquiring him was more about shoring up a critical weakness than improving a strength, and so far so good on that count.

Points: 0

#60 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:30pm

By 33, we know what Stafford is.  Above average, but he's not going to carry a team.  He, at one time had a HOF receiver and several other complementary pieces and still couldn't do much in Detroit.  Granted, they always had bad defenses, so I understand.

I'm just not expecting much from Stafford except competent QB play whereas Goff was below average.

I think L.A. lack of depth will bite them this year at some point, whether it's Donald or Ramsey.  Was watching PFF's podcast and they referred to the Rams as a "stars and scrubs" team.

Points: 0

#31 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 12:49pm

Don't know what to make of this Cardinals defense.  Dominate a good team in Tennessee and then lay an absolute egg in the home opener against a Vikings team that will be fighting to stay out of the cellar in their own division.  

Their O-line had major problems and I was shocked Watt or Jones didn't get to Cousins all day long.  

Murray did Murray things, both good and bad so not so worried about him.

The Defense needs work because Minnesota isn't even close to what we'll see in division.

I lost $50 because the Cards eeked out a 1 point win...

No more betting on this team until I see some consistency.



Points: 0

#38 by bravehoptoad // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:12pm

Who laid a curse on the 49ers? 

Last week, they lost their RB1 (Mostert) for the season.  This week, in the span of five minutes, they lost their RB2 (Mitchell), RB3 (Hasty) and RB4 (Sermon).  They had to go with a special teamer in the backfield, one they signed earlier this week.

Is this team ever again going to approach something like average injury luck?  What the gosh darned ding dang dash blast the blankety heck?

Points: 0

#42 by nat // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:31pm

What the gosh darned ding dang dash blast the blankety heck?

Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Think of the children!

Points: 0

#47 by MJK // Sep 20, 2021 - 1:42pm

There's so much talk about how Shanahan can manufacture effective RBs out of anything, the Football Gods decided to put him to the test.

Do not call down the wrath of the Football Gods.  

Points: 0

#54 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:03pm

Interesting that neither Le'Veon Bell nor Todd Gurley have been mentioned.

Points: 0

#58 by DIVISION // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:27pm

I already see the Niners are being the worst in the division.  They have no depth now.  None.

They also have the worst QB in the division, by quite a bit.

The only thing holding that team together is Shanahan's schemes.  I don't like their offense or defense in terms of play-makers.  


Points: 0

#70 by bravehoptoad // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:44pm

Depending on where you look, they have plenty of depth.  Their third-string D-Line could start for some teams.  Their safety and linebacker depth, both good at the moment. 

RBs?  CBs?  They're signing people off the street. 

Points: 0

#59 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:27pm

I want a study done with regards to the uselessness of running backs.  Now we have a larger sample size than just the Ravens for this season of an entire scrap heap RB situation. 

How is Barkley working out as the number 2 pick in the draft?

How did Sony Michel work out for NE as a first round pick?

How is Dobbins working out for the Ravens as a second round pick?  Did anyone notice him missing last night?

How is Zeke Elliott's extension working out for the Cowboys? 


Points: 0

#65 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:58pm

You'll probably come off as a hater, but I'm also on team running backs absolutely don't matter unless they bring serious value in the pass game.

I believe rushing production is almost 90% the offensive line and 10% the running back, and even that 10% is some percentage points smaller when it comes to the overall totality of the game. Frankly as long as you have a running back that's not fumbling the ball, I don't think you're missing much. 

One of my crazier theories that I long still believe... Darren sproles was a scarier running back than anyone since Marshall faulk and LT.


Points: 0

#71 by jedmarshall // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:49pm

"Darren sproles was a scarier running back than anyone since Marshall faulk and LT"

This Colts fan approves this comment.  May be team specific.  

Points: 0

#72 by bravehoptoad // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:51pm

Isn't that a super easy hypothesis to test?  If you're right on the 90/10 split between O-Line and RB, then all the running backs for any given offense would be with 10% DVOA of each other, right?  At least, true of teams where the RBs aren't stylistically that different.  Every team where that's the case, one check in favor of your idea.  Every team where not, one check against.

This particular team, the 49ers, I want to say that Mostert looks like much the best back.  2019 would back me up on that, but 2020 not so much. 

Points: 0

#77 by Raiderfan // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:08pm

I am not so sure it can be calculated that cleanly.  Game script, opponent, injuries to other members of the offense (line, receiving threats, …)  can all vary from game to game, so the opportunities one back had may be different from another.

Points: 0

#89 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 20, 2021 - 6:41pm

That's making the enormous assumption that DVOA measures both line play and RB play well, and manages to separate them from quarterback play, WR play, and game planning, and has tiny error bars doing that. 



Which is crazy sauce. 

Points: 0

#90 by bravehoptoad // Sep 20, 2021 - 7:15pm

It's easier than that because you don't need accuracy, just precision.  After all, you're not trying to evaluate how effective the RBs were, just how effective they were compared to each other.  You just need conditions such that the biggest difference between the two sets is the RB, so that any issues about RB DVOA being mingled with QB play & WR play & game planning all cancel out. 

Given the same o-line, same QB, same WRs, same OC calling similar game plans, how big does that sample size need to be?

Points: 0

#73 by BJR // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:52pm

As I mentioned earlier, Derrick Henry is the only RB I look at (currently) that I could confidently say is better than almost any of his peers at running the ball. There were no big holes for him yesterday, and I don't think the scheme creates much for him; he spent most of it slamming into Seattle's stout front for 3ypc. But by the 4th quarter and overtime he had worn them down and was having consistent success. 

Now you could argue that this in turn leads Tennessee to overuse him and is of overall detriment to their offensive efficiency, but that is a different matter.

Points: 0

#76 by theslothook // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:01pm

I think if Derrick Henry can put together another great season this year, that would probably make him a borderline hall of famer by standards of today. I have an article I am planning to post looking at the survival curves of running backs over time(spoiler, it is indeed harder to stay as an active rusher in todays environment than in the past). He looks like an outlier. I can't really think of another pure rusher who moves the needle such that his loss would have huge ripple effects over the offense. 

Points: 0

#88 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 6:33pm

His efficiency was tremendous, no one that I would rather have on 3rd and 2 to gain those two yards.  He hardly caught any passes after early success in his career.  He was not a bruising back, yet could be counted on to gain those tough yards in addition to getting some breakaway runs.  He had three different 1000 yard seasons in his career in which he had 1 fumble per season.

I agree, rushing production is about the offensive line, the Raven's 3 headed monstrosity that they call running backs will be just fine.  On Freeman's 31 yard run last night you could tell as soon as he had the ball that all was clear, I expected him to score a TD.  Another not fast runner, Gus Edwards had a number of break away runs last year as he went untouched for 20 yards.

Pass blocking and pass catching is what it is all about in today's game.  I'll give Derrick Henry an exception to the rule, but yet consider him very over rated.

As far as fumbling goes AP is a huge fumbler, and I seriously downgrade him because of it.  Williams fumbled last night which could have cost the Ravens the game.  Edwards-Helaire fumbled last night, and it did cause the Chiefs the game. Oh that fumble luck, it was all Ravens last night, something that is forgotten in the foolish media narrative when analyzing this game.

I forgot to add Edwards-Helaire to my list, how is that working out for the Chiefs as a first round pick?  Maybe an offensive lineman would have been a better pick, or some defensive player.

Points: 0

#99 by BJR // Sep 21, 2021 - 8:27am

I'm not going to argue against Smith who, the record shows, is clearly one of the greatest of all times. But he undoubtedly had some stellar blocking to help him along the way.

With certain teams/schemes it is indeed clear; any 'replacement level' RB could be slotted in and counted on to produce at a solid level. Standing next to Lamar Jackson in the backfield? Duh, sure there are going to be holes for you. I fully expect the Baltimore and San Francisco running games to hum along just fine this season (unless the O-Line/QB gets injured) and I'm astonished at the number of mainstream analysts that don't seem to yet grasp this. 

With Henry, as I've noted above, I think we can agree he is an outstanding talent running the football, for which he deserves recognition (possibly HOF recognition when all is said and done). If I needed a current RB to pick up 1 yard for my life, there is no question it would be him. In that sense he is not over-rated, but in the sense of how much he impacts games/seasons, I agree he probably is. 


Points: 0

#50 by TomC // Sep 20, 2021 - 2:09pm


1. Bryan Knowles: I'm not sure the Bears should be using Justin Fields as a straight dropback passer at this point, especially not in a game where he has come in unexpectedly without getting first-team snaps in practice. Fields is 5-for-12 with a pretty ugly interception in relief of Dalton.

Anyone still trying to argue that Matt Nagy is a good offensive coach needs to read this. Yes, they had the entire preseason + 2 weeks to game plan for when Fields became the regular QB, and when it happened they stayed with the exact playbook they had for Andy Dalton. I can never bring myself to root for my team to lose, but the Bears are going to waste Fields's career if they don't get rid of Nagy.

2. Demetric Felton is much more logical and efficient than his older brother Deimperial.

Points: 0

#81 by Duke // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:23pm

...is that I think the problem goes higher than Nagy.

I am a bit of a Nagy apologist, because I irrationally attach myself to any Bears coach who is willing to throw the ball more than 12 times a game. But even I will admit that Nagy is not really helping things.

But, I think that the bigger issue is Pace and how he's constructed this team (and is likely to continue constructing it should he stay on). It's a flawed roster with a lot of holes, and if the coach is bad, well, Pace hired that coach.

I don't know why I'm like this--it's not like saying "Nagy needs to go" implies "Pace should stay"--but any time I see someone yell about Nagy, my immediate instinct is to yell about Pace. I guess I'm just worried that they could fire Nagy, bring in another Dick Jauron/John Fox type, and say "look, fixed it".

Points: 0

#84 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:45pm

Although that's from a Packers fans perspective. 

When are the Bears gonna say enough is enough with Pace. He's now gone through all the QB options and bungled all of them. Drafting (and trading up while doing so!) Trubisky, trading for a veteran QB Foles (now QB3 on the team because they re-structured his contract to be uncuttable!) and signing one in FA in Dalton (was always a bad idea!) and that's before even mentioning the weird hyper fixation story on trading up (again!) for a RB (!!) in Montgomery, among other bad moves. 

Fields is by far his best move (albeit still some risk in trading up for him, but well worth it in the end) and they still put him in such a poor situation (Dalton taking his reps, Dalton being signed making them have to cut guys like Kyle Fuller, etc.)

Points: 0

#86 by TomC // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:52pm

it's not like saying "Nagy needs to go" implies "Pace should stay"

True, but your point is taken. In fact, I am 100% on board with dumping Pace, and I will be careful to make that clear in the future when I am yelling about Nagy.

Points: 0

#57 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 3:26pm

The highest ranked Raven's player this week per PFF was Alejandro Villanueva.  So that is one big failed jumping to conclusions by me, he immediately loses his spot on Ellis Island as the statue next to Lady Liberty, and takes over for Ronnie Stanley who is not ready to play (my correct jump to conclusion).

The Raven's offensive line as a whole which was pitiful in the Raiders game, was excellent last night.

Points: 0

#67 by TomC // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:28pm

True for the other team as well. I had an eye on Orlando Brown, Jr. for a good chunk of the game, and he was perfectly cromulent. I guess going one-on-one with Myles Garrett can make anyone look awful for a day.

Points: 0

#68 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 4:34pm

Is there any way to get a more detailed version of EDJ sports GWC regarding coaching decisions (other than top 5 and bottom 5 of the week)?  The Raven's going for a 2 point conversion from the 7 yard line is the first time that I have ever disagreed with Harbaugh making an aggressive move.  I just did not see the value of getting that extra point vs the virtually automatic Tucker PAT with such a low probability of conversion on the two point try.  I was wondering what EDJ Sports thought of this choice?

That is just one decision, each week has a number of decisions in games that I watch in which I wonder what the EDJ Sports model says about the decision.  

Points: 0

#80 by Eddo // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:20pm

Wasn't that on their final touchdown?  Regardless of relative odds of success, the extra point shouldn't have moved the needle in terms of win percentage at all.

Without the extra point, they were up 1.  With the extra point, up 2.  The extra point would only protect against the scenario where the Kansas City offense doesn't score, but does record a safety when Baltimore is back on offense.  That seems like a one-in-several-thousand scenario, at most.

Points: 0

#85 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 5:51pm

With the extra point they were down 4, with a 2 down 3, with 0 points down 5.  It was the second to last TD.

Points: 0

#92 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:31pm

Like we said last night moving from 5 to 4 does almost literally nothing. Moving to 3 allows them to kick a FG, if need be, and tie. And as you saw, failing and still being down 5...does nothing and they still win! It wasn't a big deal. Actually only would've been IF they would've kicked.

Points: 0

#93 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 8:58pm

By missing the two, the Ravens scored a TD to go up by 1.  Forced to go for two here, they failed, allowing KC to set up for the game WINNING FG, not the game tying FG had the Ravens kicked two extra points.  This of course until Edwards-Helaire fumbled.  You go for 2 at the two yard line, but once you have the penalty, the two is too low percentage.

Points: 0

#95 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:31pm

Everything I said was...factual? 

The percentage of converting doesn't matter. Like Spa said, whether it's the 2, 7 or 50 yard line, they go for it because being down 4 instead of 5 is no different. The rest of the what happened wasn't guaranteed. They didn't know if they'd get another TD. A FG is much more likely and what they have to bet on.

Feel like they explained it well on the broadcast for everyone. Makes no sense to cut it from needing a TD, period, at 5 vs...still needing a TD at 4! Cutting it to 3 allows them to just get in FG range (with Justin freakin Tucker). A XP, with a 5 yard penalty, + a future TD they would NEED, + that XP isn't is absolutely not guaranteed and is a lot to ask for in 14 minutes. 

You think being "forced" into converting one 2 point is harder than absolutely forced into a TOUCHDOWN? 

Points: 0

#96 by jheidelberg // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:39pm

The percentage of converting does matter.  Being down 4 is different than being down 5.  They explained it well on the broadcast?   Just like they explained that punting is better than going for 4th and 1?    Why would I listen to them?   I will see broadcast tape tomorrow as I was at the game so I will listen to that incorrect commentary.

Points: 0

#97 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 20, 2021 - 10:51pm

How is it different? They're still forced to get a TD instead of a FG. You think that's easier than just a FG? The penalty affects the XP as well as the 2pt conversion, you know that.

Just because they don't explain one thing well doesn't mean everything they explain is bad. 

Points: 0

#98 by jheidelberg // Sep 21, 2021 - 1:07am

I will not discuss the point any further after this, however, if I were still a sales manager as I was earlier in my career, I would likely hire you since you do not give up.  Tenacity will help you win selling flawed products, just like you are trying to win selling what I believe to be a flawed argument.  Realize I said what I believe to be, this is hardly a certainty, unlike Harbaugh going for 4th and 1 at the end of the game vs punting, that was clearly the correct decision.

The same goes if I am a partner in a law firm.  I would need lawyers that can win despite having a difficult case.  You win if this is a job interview.

If EDJ sports would like to run this using their model, I would love to see what the results would be regarding GWC starting with the Ravens down 5, kicking the extra point from the 7 vs going for two.  Of course the loser of our argument can then argue the assumptions made in the EDJ Sports model to come up with the results.

First off we did not say that may last night that moving from 5 points down to 4 does literally nothing, you said that, maybe Al Michaels and or Chris Collinsworth said it also, I did not see the broadcast, but I will tomorrow night.

I am not going for a 4th and 7 here, which is approximately a 30% success rate, but at 4th and goal more likely a 25% success rate.  I would however go for the two point conversion from the 2 yard line, on that point we agree.  You do not see the value of the one point and that is fine, that is your position.

You stated that the penalty affects the chances of making the extra point.  That is true, Justin Tucker is 98.9 percent on extra points in his career and 86 of 89 on FG from 30-39 yards (96.6%).  So lets move that 98.9 down towards 96.6.


Therefore I agree to disagree, clearly you do not, so our common ground will simply be that the Ravens should go for the two point conversion from the two yard line and indeed there is less of a chance of Tucker making the extra point from the 7 than the 2, no matter how small the difference.

There are so many scenarios, there was still the possibility of the Ravens getting stop, FG, stop, FG in which case there is no difference at all between going for two and kicking an extra point.

Using the sample size of 1, you saw exactly the danger of going for two.  This left the door open for KC to win instead of go to OT with a FG on the last drive.  The same door would be open if Tucker missed 1 of 2 extra points, very, very unlikely, but must be accounted for in the scenario.  We must also account for the following:  The pick 2 on an interception return, or the kick 2, the blocked kick being returned for two points.  We must also account for the possibility in either scenario of a tie, what is the value of a tie vs a win as compared with the value of a tie vs a loss for the Ravens?

All this, to lead up to my punch line, I have tried to leave no stone unturned, hopefully we can leave some stones un-thrown.



Points: 0

#100 by ImNewAroundThe… // Sep 21, 2021 - 8:44am

Going for it in their own territory was more obvious than going for 2 down 5? Yeah, I feel like you're on an island with that take.

I think seeing the game showed that it was the correct decision. You're suggesting they were more likely to hit the XP (with a 5 yard penalty), get FORCED (you used this word) to get a TD  (NOTHING less) and hit another XP (which is also not 100%, not even for Tucker). All while holding KC to 0 in that time span (which is also not a given). That's just not likely.

You're going down a rabbit hole of uncertainties and unlikelys that it some how bites them when in reality they have to just cut it to a FG lead instead of staying at NEEDING a TD, (and a) full stop of a KC offense.

Others can jump in but it seemed obvious they should still go for two and not allow a measly 5 yard penalty stop them, as if they're an awful offense or something while they're at it. They were 18/34 on 2pt conversions since 2018. It was the right move, but even the right move doesn't come without risk. The alternative was just riskier here.

Points: 0

#101 by jheidelberg // Sep 21, 2021 - 10:00am

Now think of all the years you tried to
Find someone to satisfy you
I might be as crazy as you say
If I'm crazy then it's true
That it's all because of you
And you wouldn't want me any other way

You may be right
I may be crazy
Oh, but it just may be a lunatic you're looking for
It's too late to fight
It's too late to change me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

You may be right
I may be crazy
Hey, but It just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Turn out the light
Oh, don't try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
You may be right

You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right
You may be wrong but you may be right

Points: 0

#94 by Raiderjoe // Sep 20, 2021 - 9:05pm

Raiders 2-0. Should end up in qst by end of season

 Denver Broncos on upswing now. Will beat Jets to go to 3-0 but Raiders not worried.  Denver will split with Kansas City.


Los Angeles Chathers not playing good so far. Beta Washingtons when the Washingtons starting quarterback left eith hip thing. Backup came into game. Not easy to do



Pitt fans all goofy afwtr Week 1 but got their medicine Week 2 when Las Vegas Raiders come to town and win even with head coach not in basement. 


Speakifn of commercials  , multiple tiems saw commercials of new crpapy CBS sitcom called "Ghosts." Seems liek new humans who are alive maybe just moved into a house and it has ghosts in it

 The ghosts are all sort of dopey anf trying to be cool and stuff.  It seems liek they are maybe annoying but not scary to the alive people. Then there is a boy scout ghost with an arrow in his head and guy from 1770s with wig and soem other dumb crap. 

Show woudk be much better if was called "Sasquatches" and had real sasquatches in ti . Like these humans buy house and move in and find sasquatch family decided to move in tooo.  Really who would say no? Not easy to tell a family of sasquatches to take a hike.. These would be real sasquatches too not soem moronic one like in "Harry & The Hendersons." This woudl be a real fmaily loooking to make nest in basement (almost like a Browns head coach gettt ing warm during playoff game vs Steelers), hunt for foxes and squirrels and fish. And then ravage through pantry for snacks

Ifsitcom, then show would have all corny jokes in it and things that might make you think about life and getting alon egwithothers and other hippie dippie crap in sitcoms.  Better woudl be ifguy in house is vigilante and he trains male sasquatch to join him on killls of assorted losers liek drug dealers and guys who liek soccer

Points: 0

#102 by horn // Sep 21, 2021 - 1:46pm

'Cale Clinton: I have been very impressed by Jalen Hurts' deep-passing ability the last two years. Hurts has done it a few times in this one...'

What the what? 2-8 passing > 15 yds downfield, couldn't possibly have done it 'a few times' in this game. He missed both Devonta and Reagor on wide open deep shots by 1: waiting too long, 2: badly underthrowing them. 

0 long passes this week. Back to his career 52% comp% in this one. 

Points: 0

#107 by nath // Sep 25, 2021 - 9:09am

One of my favorite Jamaal Charles stats: He made All-Pro in a year he didn't even lead his team in carries.


Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support the Writers
Support Football Outsiders' independent media. Use promo code WRITERS to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip the team of writers.