Week 15 Open Discussion

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The 15th week of the NFL season brings us a Super Bowl preview and Saturday football.

It kicks off tonight with the L.A. Chargers (4-9) traveling to Las Vegas, hoping to play spoiler to the Raiders (7-6), who are fighting to stay alive in the AFC wild-card hunt.

We've got two games on Saturday: Buffalo (10-3) at Denver (5-8) and San Francisco (5-8) at Green Bay (10-3). Not the most enticing matchups we've ever seen, but hey: it's football! On Saturday!

Sunday brings us a possible Super Bowl preview when Kansas City (12-1) visits New Orleans (10-3). Otherwise ... um ... there's not much going on. That's the only game of the day -- of the weekend, for that matter -- where both teams have winning records. The other Sunday afternoon game with significant playoff implications sees division leaders square off when Seattle (9-4) head to Washington to face the Football Team (6-7). The Sunday night game pits Cleveland (9-4) against the Giants (5-8), while Pittsburgh (11-2) heads to Cincinnati (2-10-1) on Monday night. 

Use this thread to discuss them all.


149 comments, Last at 22 Dec 2020, 7:40am

1 Not relevant, but...

For those curious, Jets are back in the running for worst net points ever. '77 Bucs have the record at -277. Jets are at -210 with three games to go. Those games are against the 9-4 Rams, the 9-4 Browns, and the 6-7 Patriots. They need to lose by a cumulative 67 points. That's 22.34 points per game. I know, it's a tough ask, but if anyone can do it, the Jets can.

I'd give them a 1:1 shot at having a net negative points differential of -255. The Rams under McVay don't really run the score up. Same with the Patriots and that anemic passing attack. The Browns might, but I think the Jets will lose by only about 15 points per game from here on out.

3 I didn’t get a harumph out of that guy

 Anybody else get that reference that Joe Buck made a couple minutes ago during the game?

It was a Mel Brooks line from blazing saddles. 

Awesome.   I told my sons when we first saw the movie that they could never discuss it outside the house or quote it in front of others. At least Buck   didn’t say anything that was risky. 

5 Anthony Lynn clinic on how to lose a game

Kick a FG from 4 yard line.   Punt on 4th and 5 from just outside opponents 40 (net 18 yards), try 46 yard FG on 4th and 3 under 4 minutes left.   If he read Pro Football Outsiders he would know two things, one analytics and two is to keep his awful special teams off the field.  

Meanwhile Raiders have three 4th down conversions. 

6 All great points. And then…

All great points. And then the Chargers do the most Charger thing ever and get sacked on 3rd down to force a long FG. Which of course they miss.

When Harris got tackled returning the interception I thought it might be a good thing, giving them a chance to run out the clock and kick a FG to win it. But Chargers gonna Charger.

7 What a shame

Botched long snapper holder exchange on record long FG attempt of 65 yards by Raiders time expires denying Badgley of Chargers the opportunity to miss 3 FG attempts in the last four minutes of regulation. 

8 Raiders have a chance at a…

Raiders have a chance at a game winning 65 yard FG. But the snap is fumbled. Raiders gonna raider? Headed to OT!

13 Oh, they chargered. …

Oh, they chargered.  Multiple times.  Raiders and referees just kept giving them more opportunities to charger, until eventually they didn't.  And even that play was oh so close to being knocked out of Herbert's hands.

17 No way. The Charger's…

No way. The Charger's management is saying they still have faith in him and his job is safe until the end of the year, but I don't think they intend on keeping him at all.

The Chargers have issues that should be fixable (mostly bad coaching and special teams) and other issues that they have struggled with for a while now (finding good offensive linemen). They have lots of good players though and with good injury luck and a good offseason they could be in line for a 12-4 season next year.

18 At this point, there has to…

At this point, there has to be something in the water for Chargers special teams. Maybe it's just that with 32 teams, eventually one is going to go on a run of unluckiness, and they will finally revert back to the mean next year. 

However, while expecting 12-4 is unrealistic, them being a winning team next year is, I think, a 50-50 proposition if not better. Herbert looks like the real deal. They've had injuries on defence, and are mediocre but not awful anyway. If those special teams do in fact regress to the mean, they could probably have an average team as is, and if Herbert takes another step forwards, I think they're a very likely 6-7th seed in the AFC.

21 A reminder that this…

A reminder that this Chargers coaching staff went into the season with Tyrod Taylor as its starting QB, and it took a crazy set of events to unseat him. I might be tempted to give the benefit of the doubt here, given the unlikely nature of this year's off-season/training camp, but it fits right in with the rest of Anthony Lynn's painfully conservative, team-hindering decision making.

24 Special teams correlations from year to year

When Aaron pointed out during his DVOA column last week how historic the Chargers special teams are, I put in a comment that the Ravens special teams had positive DVOA for 22 of the past 24 years.  Then Vincent Verhei of Football Outsiders replied that the Patriots have had positive special teams DVOA for 25 consecutive years!!!  And since making that comment they have surged to number 1 this year.

During the past 7 years the best Chargers special teams unit was 10th worst in the league (2014).  Since that "peak" they have twice finished worst (2019 and 2020 as I am giving them the title for this year), twice finished second worst, finished 4th worst and 8th worst.

There is certainly a problem here with the Chargers.  Regressing to the Chargers mean of recent times would be becoming the 4th worst special teams unit.  It would be a huge step up from this year's disaster, but other improvements will be needed to play winning football.

I'll always take the young QB, Herbert is currently arguably the biggest wasted talent in the NFL right now.  The Chargers need to right the ship quickly as there appears to be so much potential here.

I was rooting for the Chargers to win the game against the Raiders.  That was 3+ hours of torture.  I can not imagine being a Chargers fan.  I am used to rooting for John Harbaugh and Justin Tucker, not Anthony Lynn and Michael Badgley.  Since coaches don't count against the cap, imagine how little cap space it will take to replace the coach and FG kicker and improve the team.

37 Long forgotten now, but they…

Long forgotten now, but they actually had Younghoe Koo kicking for them in 2017, Anthony Lynn's first year as coach. He missed a game-tying and then a game-winning FG the first two weeks of the season, then was perfect for a couple of weeks, and then got cut. And of course since getting picked up by the Falcons last year, he's been one of the better kickers around.

Obviously that's just one example, but I think it's indicative of both bad coaching and bad, short-sighted decision-making.

More generally, it's weird how bad they've been in close-and-late situations for such an extended period - the last two weeks (arguably) excepted, I guess. Not sure if it's actually been that way since Marlon McCree's fumble, but in my head this is the Curse of McCree.

(And/or consistently mediocre-to-awful coaching and management, which is remarkable since they've gone through several coaches and complete roster turnover in that span, not to mention a relocation and a couple of stadium changes. I wonder what's been consistent that whole time, maybe someone or someones in a position of supreme power in the organization who make consistently poor, short-sighted decisions......................)

15 We've got two games on…

We've got two games on Saturday: Buffalo (10-3) at Denver (5-8) and San Francisco (5-8) at Green Bay (10-3). Not the most enticing matchups we've ever seen, but hey: it's football! On Saturday!

Green Bay is actually hosting Carolina (4-9), which is one of the more fun teams to watch this season, even if the matchup doesn't have the spicy history of Packers-49ers.


The Silver and Black, teaching me again not to get my hopes up ever.

22 Rodgers and 40 TD passes

Aaron Rodgers could hit the 40 TD pass milestone for the season tonight. He would be the only QB in history to do that 3 times. Keep in mind however that only 1 QB in history hit that milestone and then went on to win the S.B. in that same year. That was Kurt Warner and the Rams in '99.

25 Oh those turnovers

3 Buffalo defensive stops on 3 Denver possessions, (one was a missed long FG) 2 Buffalo TD ‘s on two possessions.   And a muffed punt by Buffalo recovered by Denver turns a game that was becoming a total blowout into a 14-7 game.

26 I’m verklempt. Talk amongst…

I’m verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. Here’s a topic:

Is Drew Lock realistically salvageable or should the Broncos move on? Discuss.

49 I think it depends on your…

I think it depends on your definition of salvageable.

Is he worth a starting qb money contract?  No.  Will he develope into someone worth one.  Almost certainly not.


Is he a plausible candidate to outperform his contract over the next two years?  Yes.

Will that be the solution to Denver's problems ?  No.

Denver's problem is not qb play - it's the gm.  It's a gm whose burned 3 2nd round picks in 5 years on run stopping DEs and had none of them develope into starters, and draft 3 3rd round cbs in 4 years and have only one be remotely playable. Who overpays veterans to fill the holes his bad drafting creates, making it so the team doesn't have salary cap space for the great players developed in system to be signed when they are affordable.

QB is a distraction for Denver.  Denver has had a comically large number of mediocre qbs and keeps throwing too many resources at them.  So if I was Denver's GM, id offer Texans two 1s for Watson and see if they budge. Then offer rams a 2 for Goff (again just seeing if there is any interest).  If no trade is available, keep lock draft defense and keep looking



51 Semantics

But I think just like all situations, if a better QB (specifically in the draft) presents it's self when it's your turn, you take them. Trevor Lawrence is one, but certainly he'll be gone. Same situation with Fields. Unfortunately no top 3 pick though.

After that...yall sit 10th (big part in due to Drew Lock not being very good) and maybe that gets QB3? But is QB3 in this draft worth it there? I'm not as high as others are on the rest of the class as of right now. Ask me in a month and Ill have likely changed my mind (and we'll know where Denver is picking exactly).

But it'd probably be smart to draft one sometime this upcoming year as Drew Lock is not an above average QB (except at not taking sacks). Dont leave it to UDFA. Cut Rypien and then have that rookie, Lock and Driskel battle it out. Maybe not the most exciting room, probably worse out there, but be careful trading up as you dont want to Darnold or Trubisky yourself. 

Sidenote: QB DEriq King is a weapon that should be drafted by every team, including Denver, on day 3 without much hesitation. 

60 I think if you are confident…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I think if you are confident in the qb, you should draft him, but almost every team is terrible at figuring out QBs.  Only matt ryan and matt Stafford have been top of draft qbs who ended up being the best in class since peyton went #1.  And in most of these cases, the best qb was drafted low enough that any team could have fairly easily traded into drafting him.  Lawrence probably has the best chance of being the best qb drafted this year, but his chances are still very low.


70 True, that's my point.

Depends on how they value them (I bet Elway is a big Zach Wilson fan). No guarantee your guy doesnt not make it too you in the first place anyway even though the thought process behind it is, he wont make it that far. 

Trading up could get you Lamar...or it could get you Rosen. 

Carson Palmer was the best and first QB in his '03 class. Same with Bradford in his '10 class. Newtown in '11. Winston in '15. Murray in '19 too. Sucks not having a top 3 pick and having a lot of control on whether you get your guy (QB) or trading down. 

When trading up for (any)one you deplete (usually cheap, young) assets that can be used to help them. The draft is hard and trading multiple cheap contracts for 1 more expensive one is dangerous. How do the Bears look now if they sat at 3, watched the 49ers pass on him as all expected at 2, and help Mitch with Kamara, Tedric Thompson, and Fred Warner? Who knows, probably better though. Same goes for the Jets and Darnold theoretically alongside Braden Smith, Dallas Goedert and Rock Ya-Sin. Because maybe the Mitch and Darnold truthers are right (probably not), they just need more help. Too bad they traded up for them and made that harder. 

That's why in any random draft (in the NFL at least) it's almost quantity>"quality". #1 overall is obviously > #200 + #201 but  #2 + #50 > #1 even though they're the same total value on the Jimmy Johnson draft chart, as usually more stabs is better since we just dont know exactly what these guys are in the NFL and are somewhat unknown quantities. 

You gotta be pretty confident in them and even then you can be wrong. 

27 This is only 16th NFL game/verklempt

So I ll consider this the end of his rookie year, and stay the course.

I am more excited about I’m verklempt talk among yourselves and Blazing Saddles references so that I know that others like myself that are not young, spend time having these discussions on this site while watching football.


30 Lock’s pass to Fant for the…

Lock’s pass to Fant for the TD was nice, but I just don’t see a lot to be excited about. 

Though, looking to the other sideline, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when I see Josh Allen thread the needle between two defenders. However, with Allen, it was always “if he could fix his accuracy issues, he’d be a good QB”. I never thought he would, but he seems to have done it. 

With Lock, there isn’t one issue to put your finger on though. It’s more “if he could get better at football, he’d be a good QB”. 

32 I really hate to sound…

I really hate to sound repetitive on this but there is very little to be learned from Josh Allen.  He is a ridiculously talented QB who somehow fell through the cracks of the giant and generally efficient system that identifies top QB prospects early in high school and then proceeds to coach them to be good QBs.

Allen had basically never been instructed on how to throw - he was a pure project.  Lock has been on everyone's radar since he was 15 - if he hasn't figured it out by now it likely isn't going to happen.

28 1st half special teams

Teams combine for two muffed punts, a missed FG and missed extra point and the Chargers are not playing.  

36 What could have been

Panthers 11 points lost on fumble and holding penalty then settle for FG,  and also that the fumble was returned to Carolina territory leading to a GB TD.  I dont think DVOA will be kind to this Packer effort.  But barring a great comeback, its a win.

39 If Carolina gets TD and fails on 2

Its the situation discussed endlessly by the Football Outsiders staff as to why you go for 2 down 21-3 then getting TD.   They would not have taken the FG at the 4 yard line if they knew that the 2 had failed.  

40 Packers have to be…

Packers have to be guaranteed to fire their ST coordinator after the season

41 Looks like the Panthers are…

Looks like the Panthers are abusing the Packers LG (Lucas Patrick) up front on their recent defensive stops. Not sure if they're doing anything other than "employing Derrick Brown" to take advantage, but it's working - and points to an exploitable weakness if he has to keep playing.

Although that last sack wasn't on anybody but Rodgers...

42 1st and 10 with 2:04 left

Would've like to see teams take more shots here. The two minute warnings gonna stop the clock anyway so be aggressive and try to finish the game, coming out of the two min warning on another 1st and 10 if successful. 


And the game ends with the same score they had in last years meeting.

44 I think the idea was that…

I think the idea was that with their timeout and the TMW, they could kick it to the Packers and preserve enough time (with the 3-and-out) for a real drive, whereas if they went for it they'd certainly use the TMW on their own drive and realistically be stuck relying on recovering the onside kick and chucking hail marys, regardless of how they scored. Given how hard it is to recover onside kicks these days, I think it's a defensible call.

45 I think the OP was referring…

I think the OP was referring to the Packers on O. First play before 2 minutes is going to stop the clock anyway, might as well try a pass play. (Not that they had much success passing tonight)

48 Yeah that's what I meant

Sorry if not clear. 4 seconds should be pretty easy when you can always just chuck it deep if nothing is open. 

After that though you can run the clock out. Worked out in the end for the Pack but this isnt the 1st time I've seen a situation like this where they couldve ended the game earlier. 

50 but the play got 7 yards

The problem was the second down and 3 call coming out of the two minute warning-- That's is where a simple pass to the flat probably ends the game...

52 Process over results

7 yard runs arent typical (4.3 ypc). 7 yard passes are though (7.2 ypa)

And passing after the 2 min warning could stop the clock. Or have you lose 14 yards on 3rd and 4.

107 And the Chiefs Saints game

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Provides ANOTHER example. 2:06 1st and 10, Bell 2 yards. Add those up and it's 2 attempts for 9 yards, 4.5 ypc closer to the average run play

47 If Packers Had to Have a Bad Offensive Game

They picked the one and only week they could get away with it. Play like that against TENN next week or any playoff matchup and out you go.... I thought the incessant attempts to find Adams or Jones on the flank for a short catch and release pass got tedious. Obviously Panthers sniffed them out or had players capable of short-circuiting them. LaFleur and Rodgers have to show some more imagination going forward. MVS disappeared... Rodgers was under more pressure than in any game this season other than TB.. A few pretty bad drops. Ugly but necessary win is all I'll say.

53 RE: Dan Bailey and every kicker

Seems like their job is almost solely mental (when it's in the leg strength range) and although Bailey had a rough game last week (and the week before), I think giving him a clean slate the next week is the way to go. Acting as if those days didnt happen and allowing him to take chances (in his range at least) when given the opportunity on things like 4th and longs. Maybe if he misses something like a 39 yarder then you can start going for it when he'd be asked to kick longer (maybe do some fakes if it's not that much longer than the one he missed). But reset that mentality when the next game comes as not to hurt his/their  "confidence". 

56 Seahawks oline looking great today.

WFT's vaunted edge rushers held in check.  Wilson not sacked and only 2 QB hits.  I'm pretty sure that's because the Hawks are running the ball so much and the FT can't pin their ears back and go after the QB. 

80 And from that point forward

In reply to by scraps

It seemed like both teams were trying to outdo the other team in ways to lose.  Frank Gore decided enough is enough and went ahead and won.

118 I'm happy they won a game. …

I'm happy they won a game.  I'm fine with the 2nd pick, because I've watched a lot of Lawrence footage and not been that impressed.  He's inconsistent with his ball placement, and will throw into triple coverage.  Watching Darnold's highlights from today's game, Sam looks more like a pro quarterback than the footage from Trevor's last couple of games.  Maybe it's because I've been burned too many times (I thought Geno Smith was going to be good, as did this site, boy were we wrong).  I'm not impressed with Fields, who has played worse than Lawrence this year.  Zach Wilson has impressed me, but he's not exactly the guy you take first overall.  Again, perhaps I don't trust my judgement, but I see more accuracy from the BYU guy (who plays in cold weather as well) than the other two.  Of course, the left tackle from Oregon is a better prospect than all of them, but maybe the NFL will tell the Jets they need to let Cinci have him so Joe Burrow can stay alive.

61 MIA's WRs without Parker in…

MIA's WRs without Parker in the lineup look a lot like NE's WRs.  That's not a complement. 

Fortunately, MIA stopped trying to throw in H2 and ran all over NE's D-line for an important win.

Lots of questionable decisions by Belichick in Q4.  Kicking to go down 3 instead of trying 4th-and-4ish.  Not kicking the FG before the 2 minute mark to give them a chance to kick off with enough time to get a stop and so not need to recover an onside kick.  And then even worse, not kicking the FG on 4th-and-something inside of 2 minutes when they needed two scores.  

63 Good Coaching or Bad Coaching?

Looking at the splits it seems as if the TB coaching staff is really good at in game adjustments...and really bad at during the week game planning.

69 Saints/Chiefs is borderline…

Saints/Chiefs is borderline unwatchable. So slow. Refs taking forever to make rulings and get calls in. Extremely frustrating. 

76 Weird, but it seems like…

Weird, but it seems like there is always something bizarre that happens on a football field that would perplex even King Solomon.  I kind of geek out over the weird plays.  But, maybe that's just me...

71 Some weird plays today.  How…

Some weird plays today. 

How many times have receiving teams returned an onside kick for a TD, as Dallas did today?

And was the 25-46 Lions loss today Scorigami?


101 Sorry, I can't read. I…

In reply to by LionInAZ

Sorry, I can't read. I thought scraps was implying Brown was the only one in the last two weeks.

73 Very stupid play by Robinson…

Very stupid play by Robinson. Why are you running backwards with less than 20 secs left in the half? Why are you even trying to return the punt?


79 Patriots fall one season short of NFL record

And with today's loss, the Patriots' string of winning seasons comes to an end. The Patriots had a winning record in every season from 2001 to 2019. The Patriots' 19 consecutive winning seasons falls one short of the NFL record of 20 set by the Dallas Cowboys from 1966 - 1985.

87 J-E-T-S!!!!

One of the more improbable results of an improbable season. So aside from the Tank for Trevor implications, for the #1 seed in the NFC now, if KC beats NO, and the Rams beat the Seahawks next week, all the Packers have to do is beat TENN or CHI. Not that either game is a given-- Bears may be fighting for a playoff spot if ARIZ loses to Eagles.

117 If Packers end up in a tie…

If Packers end up in a tie by record with Seattle, they have to have beaten the Bears to win the tiebreak. If they go 12-4 by beating Tenn but not Chi, then they lose tie break to Seattle (based on conference record, I think)

88 Break up the Jets!That's…

Break up the Jets!

That's amazing - and just shameful for the Rams, who had seemed like a strong dark-horse contender in the NFC of late.

Apparently the Jags are now more likely to get the #1 pick. They will both probably lose out, but the Jets' next 2 games (Cleveland, New England) look somewhat more winnable than the Jags' (Bears - fighting for their postseason lives with this little Trubisky-led run, and Indy). Not sure who owns the tiebreaker if they're both 1-15.

UDPATE: KC-NO announcers said Jags have the tiebreaker over the Jets due to easier strength of schedule.

Everyone who said the Jets were gonna Jets their way out of Lawrence, you appear to have been right. Congratulations?

119 The Rams offense depends too…

The Rams offense depends too much on the running game.  The Jets actually defend the run relatively well.  Goff didn't take advantage of the Jets terrible cornerbacks.  Bryce Hall playing (he was out for the first part of the year) probably helped as well.

They also didn't turn the ball over against a formidable defense, and had a blocked punt.  Watching the highlights, it seems the Rams were outplayed but the Jets settling for field goals on short fields almost led to them losing again.


And unsurprisingly Jets homers are now wanting to build around Darnold instead a ...Fields

120 Did you watch Justin Fields…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Did you watch Justin Fields against Indiana?  Would you draft him second?  Personally, I'd go for Zach Wilson or Trask instead. Wilson has started three years, and Trask about 2 and a half.  With Fields it's last year, and whatever this year is for Ohio State (what, 5, 6 games?).  I think the Jets need to draft somebody this year, but starting them right away isn't the best idea; it didn't work for Sanchez or Darnold.  Sitting for a year did work for Pennington and Ken O'Brien.  So why trade off Darnold if all you're going to get is a 4th round pick.  It should depend on the coach they get what they do with Darnold now.

121 And there it is

Ah one game scouting.

Zach Wilson or Trask? Holy cow you're just telling on yourself. Not even gonna touch on how games started is an outdated measurement when Drew Lock is stinking up the place.

95 Brees is just not right. I…

Brees is just not right. I don't know if they'd be winning with Hill or Winston, but they could not be doing worse. I get that it's a bad look to pull him, but leaving him in is a de facto forfeit.

130 QB math

That's just plain cruel... and it took me a moment to figure it out. And then I laughed, of course.

110 Same old lions. Fired their…

Same old lions. Fired their coach but the results are the same. Give up 4 tds to Tannehill and Henry gets 150+ yards.

111 according to a fan at fieldgoals:

Because of the Rams loss this week, if the Seahawks win over the Rams at Seattle next week, they would clinch the division.  It's kind of weird, but that would fit in Pete Carroll's way of winning the division.  All four previous NFC West Division championships in Carroll's coaching were won at home against the Rams:

2010: Seahawks 16 Rams 6 

2013: Seahawks 27 Rams 9 

2014: Seahawks 20 Rams 6 

2016: Seahawks 24 Rams 3 

(I really like the Rams less-than-ten-points scores....)

113 I know people criticize the refs but this call was absurd

Its an impossible job but this really happened today.  After a touchback Mark Andrews catches a pass marked just short of the 35.   The refs call for a measurement and it is a first down.  You NEVER have to measure this after a touchback.  The chains were in the wrong spot.  You know every time that you make or miss by inches its luck.  The chains could be in the wrong place.   

So Jacksonville challenged the spot and the ball was moved further back and it was no first down.  He really did catch the ball further back but Jacksonville was forced to waste a challenge.

125 When you reach the 35

The ball is automatically placed at the 25, thus it should be known exactly where you need to get to in order to get a first down.  The Ravens were given a first down with the ball marked short of the 35.  No measurement is needed as you know exactly the line to gave after a touchback.  It is exactly 10 yards from the 25 yard line, not short of the 35 yard line.

129 Texans announce they're interviewing Jim Caldwell for HC

From the perspective of a Colts fan, oh please, oh please, oh puleeeeze!

He's a fine man, but I'm not sure he's really NFL HC material.  It could have been the "replacing a legend" status in Indy, but I don't think that was the issue in Detroit. I'd love for the Colts to face his teams twice a year.


145 Keep in mind the talent he had in Indy

I am pretty sure most astute Colt fans felt Caldwell was a bit like a harpooner who gets pulled out of his longboat by a whale and is described as having ridden the whale.  Basically he hung on and got where the whale was going.  (He started out as Manning's QB coach--that's helps you get good HC jobs--ask Adam Gase--that you don't necessarily merit.  

I don't recall a lot of specifics from the season, but generally felt like he was holding the team back.  (And Polian shares blame for their final two voluntary losses that may or may not have dulled the team's edge.)  I also don't blame him for losing the SB but they were hurt by several managerial mistakes such as mismanaging Freeney's bad ankle at halftime and not being ready for the (extraordinarily unexpected) onside kick to start the second half.  (Thanks Hank Baskett)  Freeney was still taping up his ankle and missed the whole first series of the second half, resulting in a NO TD.  If I can hang 7 pts on Caldwell at that point, then Manning isn't in desperation mode with four minutes left when he throws the pick-six. They lost by 14.  It's a different game without that first series in the second half (and if Freeney had Steve McNair caliber pain killers in his ankle).

They followed that season with a tepid (for them at that time) 10-6 campaign and then the poop-fest that was 2011 when the Manning injury was handled with hands of stone by everybody.  Yeah, he'll be back next week.  Maybe two weeks.  Or the week after that.  I think he went on IR like week 11 or 12.

He DID win a SB as the OC of the Ravens in that magic year when Joe Flacco went from a tall paperboy to Zeus in a helmet for four weeks, before returning to deliver the daily news and eventually losing his job.  And the the Lions, which you noted above was a tenure beset with administrative woes from above. There, too, he started hot and then faded. 

I'd rather have him on the opposite sideline than my own. 

132 Does the Emperor have no clothes?

It wasn't that long ago that the Steelers were the only undefeated team in the NFL.  Now they are struggling against the Bengals.   

133 Not that he wants advice…

Not that he wants advice from me, but JuJu might reconsider that whole dancing on the logo thing.  The NFL is a good gig.  No  sense making it any shorter than it has to be.

134 Is there statistical…

Is there statistical evidence that the Steelers consistently play down to inferior competition?

Because that's always been the narrative, anecdotally, and today is providing a particularly compelling anecdote...

137 I thought this record was impossible to tie or break

The 1986 New York Jets made the playoffs riding a 5  game losing streak. No one else had ever made the playoffs finishing with such a streak.  They were 10-1 fell to 10-6 and then won a playoff game.  Steelers have a shot.

140 And beat no one else

I assume it would make history to have two 1-15 teams in the same season.   I am wondering even with  a 14 game season in the old days if we ever had two 1-13.  Can we possibly have JAX over Colts, Jets over Rams and Cincinnati over Pittsburgh?

139 Roethlisberger needs some…

Roethlisberger needs some coffee or something. He looks lethargic and has made some dumb mental errors, including missing that LB sitting on the pass route for the pick, and wandering right into the pass-rusher just now.

144 This is rapidly sliding into…

This is rapidly sliding into yet another What Could Have Been year for the Steelers just like when Shazier went down in 2017.  I'm heartsick to go along with regular sick.

146 Steelers apparently only the…

Steelers apparently only the 3rd team to start 11-0 and go on a 3 game losing streak. The 2009 Saints did but that was different, they had the division sewed up early with an inside track on the #1 seed and mostly just tried not to get hurt before cruising to the Super Bowl. The other was... I don't remember anymore, but someone in the '60s I think - who lost their only playoff game that year.

147 Colts vs Steelers next week

OMG, which team do they prepare for?  Will Pittsburgh come out with fire in their eyes and malice in their hearts after a three-game losing streak, or are they toast?

As a Colt fan, I'm much more nervous now than I was four hours ago, when I figured Indy would be a trap game between an easy Cincy win and a tough Browns finale.  Now... grown professionals with injured pride and the means to reassert themselves can be quite formidable.

Then again, if the warmed over corpse of AJ Green can lead the winning team in receiving yardage (89 passing yards total is not much to brag about, I know), anything's possible.

149 Tomlin

Villy was clearly overmatched at left tackle yet neither Tomlin nor Fichter made sure he had any TE help on those last critical throws. Don’t understand the complete lack of adjustments.

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