Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Week 4 Open Game Discussion

Here's the thread for open discussion of all Week 4 NFL's games, starting on Thursday night with the Bears at the Packers, then going all day Sunday, and ending with Washington at Kansas City on Monday Night Football.


by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 8:57pm

I'm following the game stream. Does Chicago look as bad as the stream suggests? 2 quick fumbles does NOT fill me with confidence.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:17pm

The game's actually on CBS this week. Is TNF going to be broadcast for the rest of the year now or what? I think I can stream it with Amazon Prime, if the next one isn't on regular TV.

by Jerry :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 7:19am

Next 4 on CBS. Bills-Jets on 11/2 NFL Network only. Next 5 (which skip Thanksgiving) on NBC. (The broadcast games show Amazon Prime, but NFLN-only doesn't.)

That's it for Thursdays. The end-of-season Saturday games are on NFL Network, and Steelers-Texans Christmas Day is on NBC. And all that's from nfl.com.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:22pm

I'm extremely doubtful that whatever value the Bears are getting from playing Mike Glennon is worth more than letting Trubisky gain experience and learn on the job. I have trouble believing that Truby now is really *that* much worse than Glennon anyway. If he was, they shouldn't have drafted him so high.

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:27pm

But what about *something something intangibles* and *something something best chance to win* and *something something John Fox is totally a good coach you guys*?

I agree with you, but I kinda don't want Trubs to get in simply because he graduated from my dad's high school and guess who's gonna have to listen to him brag about how Trubisky was good in high school and made it to the pros?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 7:37am

So with your dad, it's an Al Bundy by proxy situation?

When's the last time that a rookie sitting behind a veteran turned out to look like a good idea. The last one I remember is Carson Palmer sitting his rookie year behind Jon Kitna with the 2003 Bengals (everyone correct me if I'm wrong). But Kitna at least provided competent quarterback play, and the Bengals finished with a non-losing record for the first time in years. And note that I say "looked like a good idea", because that Bengals team was good enough that I think it would have been a decent environment for a rookie to play in (unlike say, the 2002 Texans, or the 2009 Lions).

The Bears aren't good, but they're not totally irredeemable. They have a pretty good offensive line. Glennon had plenty of time to throw on most dropbacks, it's just that he either didn't know where to throw the ball, or he couldn't get the ball to where he wanted to throw it. Trubisky certainly can't be worse than that, right?

by Ivarsson.se :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 8:17am

"When's the last time that a rookie sitting behind a veteran turned out to look like a good idea."

Well, there's that other starting quarterback in the TNF game that sat as a rookie (2005-2007).

Then again that was behind a first-ballot HoF:er. If you change the statement to "behind an obvious stop-gap veteran", i don't know.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:26am

Yes, indeed meant to exclude teams that had an entrenched starter.

by BJR :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:49pm

The only rationale I can come up with Glennon continuing to start (or indeed starting to begin with) is so that Fox and his staff have an additional card to play when results are going badly. If they'd started Trubisky in week 1 they'd be toast by mid-season when they were 1-7. This way they can at least maintain fan interest in a dismal season by inserting him at some stage, and, who knows, if they then luck into a handful of wins then they might generate some optimism and cling onto their jobs for a while longer.

by mathesond :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:56pm

Would Donovan McNabb count? He sat behind Pederson for around 1/2 a season before starting.

by Travis :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 3:42pm

Eli Manning sat behind Kurt Warner (who was new to the Giants, 33 years old, and no longer on a Hall of Fame path) for half a season before starting.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 4:25pm

Good call. If I'm remembering correctly, Warner got benched after a losing streak which left the Giants at 5-4. Manning went on to struggle (to put it nicely) in his rookie season, and the Giant finished like 6-10. The NFC was very weak that year, so they probably would have made the playoffs if they left Warner in. Not sure what the right move for the long term would have been.

by herewegobrownie... :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 8:45pm

Besides the obvious situation of Drew Bledsoe's backup in New England - although that falls under "entrenched starter" - Roethlisberger also was also behind Charlie Batch through 1 1/2 regular season games in 2004.

by runaway robot :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:09pm

Ben was behind Tommy Maddox in 2004, until Maddox got hurt against the Ravens. Thanks, Ravens!

by Jerry :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 6:43am

Batch went on IR in preseason. The lack of a search for another veteran backup was my first clue that the Steelers really thought they had something in Roethlisberger.

by runaway robot :: Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:57am

Didn't know that. Was overseas when I came across a comment by Parcells that the Steelers rookie QB looked good.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 4:28pm

I had totally forgotten about that. I had always assumed McNabb started right away.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 4:05am

Didn't #1 pick Jared Goff sit for the first 10 games or so only last year?

Talking of 2004, Phillip Rivers sat out the entire year behind Drew Brees. Believe Rivers was late to sign which gave Brees another opportunity and he started playing decent ball.

Likewise 2007 #1 pick Jamarcus Russell didn't start until very late in the season, again because he was late to sign. Think it was almost the end of training camp.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:44pm

Rivers sat two years behind Brees. They only expected to keep Brees for one year and let him go. Then Brees had his breakout year so they franchised him for one year.

by ALauff :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:23am

In complete agreement. If there's any silver lining to last night for a Bears fan (which I, unfortunately, am), it's that Trubisky *has* to be much closer to playing meaningful snaps in the near future. John Fox is irrelevant because he will be gone after this year...right? RIGHT??!

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:28pm

I don't know if it's time to play Trubisky or not, but I think any comparison between Glennon and Trubisky is totally irrelevant. The only factor that matters to me is what is best for Trubisky. The Bears are not, and were not ever, going to the playoffs this year. I recognize that Glennon looking bad inevitably forces the Bears' hand, but as a fan I don't want it to.

To put it another way, if the Bears were 4-0 and Glennon was the top QB in the NFL, I would still say that they should start Trubisky the minute he's ready; it's just that the discussion would be about trying to flip Glennon for a draft pick instead of benching him.

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 9:58pm

Anybody know how long it typically takes for thunderstorms to move through Wisconsin?

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:10pm

And we're back after about 40 minutes. Nevermind.

by ChrisLong :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:23pm

The rate of injuries to Packers players is completely ridiculous right now.

by EnderCN :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:18pm

Happens every season. Even the year they won the super bowl everyone was hurt. Someone can post the stats from the missed game list or whatever to me but that doesn't capture the fact that half the team is playing hurt every single game. I have followed multiple sports for 30+ years now and I've never seen a team that was plagued by injuries the way this Packers team has been during the Rodgers era. It also seems to be injury stacks every year, where they are down to practice squad guys or guys off the street at some point. If they had somehow stayed healthy he would have 2 or 3 super bowl rings instead of 1.

by EnderCN :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:19pm

double post

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:34pm

Man, a lot of injuries for the Packers thus far.

EDIT: Sorry Chris, didn't realize you had commented the same thing between when I started my comment and when I posted it.

by ChrisLong :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:08pm

That's ok! It bore repeating.

by deus01 :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:26pm

Man. I don't know what Glennon is doing unless he has a lot of money on the Packers.

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 10:33pm

If you were Mike Glennon, wouldn't you have a lot of money on the Packers?

by Cythammer :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:17pm

Romo really is much better than anyone else commentating on games. He does a solid job of educating and explaining things that the average viewer won't know. The sad part is that he's really not that amazing or anything. What he does should be par for the course, but everyone else is just terrible to the point of being worthless.

by EnderCN :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:21pm

I don't know if he is better but at least he is honest. When someone does something completely wrong he points it out and most of the guys don't do that.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:48pm

I'm loving Romo right now. Now we all have to hope they don't manage all the spontaneity out of him.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:21pm

Tony Romo is a fantastic announcer. Makes me sad Jay Cutler unretired, if he could have been half this good...

How is it so hard to find ex-players this articulate? I can't wait until Belichick retires, and it doesn't matter what the networks have to pay to get him into the booth, it's worth it. Same goes for Peyton Manning. I hope he just wants to take a year or two off before getting into announcing

by xydux :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:30pm

Not sure that Peyton would be that good. Seems to me he'd not want to say anything too controversial so he wouldn't call players out like Romo does. I actually wouldn't be surprised if Manning wasn't another Simms–albeit possibly more articulate and better able to explain the modern game.

Cutler, on the other hand, might be excellent. THAT I want to see.

by LyleNM :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:53am

How is it so hard to find ex-players this articulate? I can't wait until Belichick retires, and it doesn't matter what the networks have to pay to get him into the booth, it's worth it.

What, exactly, about Belichick has given you an indication that he is articulate enough for the booth? Mumble, mumble, Cincinnati, mumble?

by Dan Slotman :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:11pm

How about this? Belichick is great at talking about football. https://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/josh-mcdaniels-drew-up-chris-hogan...

by xydux :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 6:07pm

Also, Football Outsiders did that article where they talked to him about the 86 Giants, and he seemed plenty articulate. The thing about Belichick is if you ask him questions with obvious answers or that are unrelated to football, you get stonewalled. You ask him questions that pry deeper into the game or that don't have obvious answers, he'll talk for a long time.

Now guess which type of questions you're more likely to hear in a press conference.

I'm not sure Belichick would be good in a conventional booth setup, but it would be at the very least interesting to hear how he'd call a game. Beyond that, he'd probably be amazing at post-game analysis.

by LyleNM :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 6:43pm

OK, I would buy having him in the studio in either a pre-game or post-game (or even midweek) type setting. Bill Polian provides some interesting insights in that fashion. I can't really see him having the spontaneity required for the play-by-play booth but I'm willing to be proven wrong.

by herewegobrownie... :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 1:21am

"How is it so hard to find ex-players this articulate?"

In Bernie Kosar's case, too many - and badly handled - concussions, on top of too much drinking, painkillers, etc.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:29pm

Good grief that was an ugly hit. I hope the NFL suspends him for at least a game so he can think about what he did.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:31pm

I'm stunned Trevathan wasn't ejected.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:31pm

Ah, the NFL, where a blatantly unnecessary and filthy hit like that won't get you ejected, but 2 taunting penalties will.

He should have been ejected and he should be suspended at least a game if not more. You can clearly see on the replay that he targeted Adams' head on a play that you could argue was going to have the whistle blown before Trevathan made a tackle anyway. This wasn't an unfortunate case of a defender hitting a receiver in the head because he ducked at the last second, or a guy laying out to make a touchdown-saving play; as Romo said at the time, it's a guy who's frustrated that he and his defense are playing like dog turds so he's going to try to injure an opponent.

by batbatt :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:31pm

How come is that Bears player still in the game after that?

by Guest789 :: Thu, 09/28/2017 - 11:56pm

Tbh I'm having a hard time enjoying the game after that hit on Adams. Doesn't feel like a 35-7 win. How Trevathan is still in the game is beyond me, he'd better have a big fine and suspension coming. Shit like that ends careers.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:18am

The spammerbot in comment 23 got lucky with the context here. Took me longer than usual to even realize it was spam

by N8- :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:08am

According WI Statue 940.19 He could be charged with a felony. This is no joke. "Whoever causes great bodily harm to another by an act done with intent to cause great bodily harm to that person or another is guilty of a Class E felony."

Let the lawyers argue intent in court, but he ought to be charged with battery.

I'm all for "let them play" but that was absolutely outside the spirit of any sportsmanship. A terrible representation for the NFL. If the NFL has ANY serious intentions about player safety, concussions and CTE; their reaction to this crap will give an indication.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 2:39pm

I don't know, though...I think it's a potentially dangerous path to go down to start charging players with crimes for hits that occur on the playing field (unless it's something wildly disconnected from the game, like a baseball player hitting another player with a bat during a brawl or something like that).

I think the NFL should come down very hard on Trevathan for the hit, and that he should have been ejected (and last night's officials should be penalized for not doing so). There's such a thin line between an unnecessary hit like Trevathan's and a equally brutal and dangerous play that might have zero malicious intent on the part of the player.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 12:02am

I agree with you that legal prosecution is a dangerous path. Other than a Todd Bertuzzi–Steve Moore-like incident, I don't know how you can do this in sports.

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 3:27pm

As far as actual criminal convictions are concerned, there have been several instances of this in soccer. This Guardian article covers a few, but I believe the most famous is still Scotland international Duncan Ferguson headbutting opponent John McStay during a league game. Ferguson was sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

What links most of the cases in soccer is that the violent action was outwith the usual boundaries of the game -- that is, they were not challenges for the ball, of the type common to the sport. For an equivalent in the NFL, you'd probably have to see a player injured by a deliberate, violent act outside normal play, such as a quarterback viciously blindsided while walking back to the huddle, or a deliberate attempt to cause injury in a pile. Trevathan's hit, brutal as it was, was inarguably a part of the on-field action governed by the normal course of the rules of the sport.

Civil cases, of course, are a different matter.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 3:46pm

I hadn't seen the Ferguson incident until now, but here's the video for reference. I have no problem with Ferguson getting a three month sentence for that as it appears to be done with intent to injure which differentiates it from Travathan's hit.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 5:07pm

Do you really want to start that?

I can think of three states where a dirty look from Rodgers would suddenly result in a felony arrest.

They might hang him in Michigan.

by Theo :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 4:14pm

Call me crazy, but I'm the one who's wondering why it was a penalty at all.
He was still trying to move forward and he had the ball.
The ref called it "a hit to the head on a runner" (or something close to that) the word "defenseless" wasn't used - so I wonder what the penalty was.
The guy was in possession of the ball, that means you're fair game except facemask or tripping.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 5:30pm

You could see Trevathan was leading with his helmet with no intention of tackling on one of the replays. There wasn't any attempt to tackle. The just-announced two game suspension is justified, though I don't think it should be longer.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 09/30/2017 - 5:37pm

Here's the video from the broadcast if you still don't think he led with his helmet

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:05am

That late game TD drive by the Bears will probably look great in DVOA. But taking 8 minutes in the 4th quarter to close the gap to 35-14 is pretty meaningless.

by Cythammer :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:07am

If it's predictive of future success, as such drives apparently are, then it should be included.

by xydux :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:11am

Hey, it's predictive of future success under John Fox. That's good enough, right?

by xydux :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:06am

Howard with the late game garbage time fantasy points.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:13am

I'm only still watching the 4th quarter of a blowout because I want to hear what Romo has to say. It's paid off too with a couple of good laughs. Can't wait for Oakland and Denver Sunday!

by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 6:01am

Romo really is excellent. He made watching that game enjoyable, when it really shouldn't have been, and he and Nance work well together.

I know I'll be a minority, but I think Trevaithan should get four games for that. Lose a quarter of the season and it will help not only in reminding the players not to do it, but it will keep teams from spending money on players that make it a habit.

by MarkV :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 9:42am

I strongly disagree on Romo being excellent. He had some moments of greatness, but he is also super awkward and still needs to learn how to phrase himself.

For example, he went on a tangent about never revealing rib injuries because you will get targetted for them. Then the Packers announce it is a rib injury. He was made a fool. When he has more experience, hopefully he would rephrase that comment to talk about how rib injuries are painful, they linger, and they make a player easy to target, so players want to conceal them. Same content, better presentation.

Similarly, some of his play predicting was just awful. Predicting "run" from a heavy set on second and 1 at the 5 doesn't add to the broadcast. He had a lot of those predictions. He ALSO had some amazing predictions and pre-snap analysis that greatly increased the value of the broadcast. I think he needs to focus on decreasing the number of banal comments, and to work better with Nantz.

All that said, he is still probably the best color guy out there - which should just be an indictment of how awful color commentary is right now.

by Mike B. In Va :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:51am

All that said, he is still probably the best color guy out there - which should just be an indictment of how awful color commentary is right now.

I agree with your points, but this is the strongest one - so on that sliding scale, Romo is excellent. ;) Seriously, other than Collinsworth (who is probably the best experienced color guy currently), who else is even in his neighborhood? Certainly not Aikman.

by BJR :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 12:32pm

Realise it is not cool, but I like Gruden. Yes he is OTT, and I can totally see how some might find him grating, but I find his enthusiasm infectious. He clearly takes the job seriously.and tries to educate the viewer. It's the guys who have clearly stopped putting in any effort, so constantly just spout cliches that grate with me (e.g. Aikman, Simms).

by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 1:26pm

you cant inform the viewer when you make it out like anyone who makes a play is the greatest who ever lived.

The standard is the standard!

by xydux :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 6:12pm

In a vacuum, I can see how someone could be extremely complimentary and still do decent analysis. I don't listen to commentators much anyway, but Gruden does have moments when he's informative.

by Al Hirt Hologram :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 5:54pm

As a feminist I never thought I'd say this:

Romo may be better than Beyoncé.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:49pm

I realize this is an NFL commenting thread, but I wanted to share this. I saw a call tonight during USC@Wash St that I hadn't seen before. USC QB Sam Darnold hands off to the RB. RB flips the ball back to Darnold for an attempted flea flicker. Wash St reads it all the way and Darnold runs out of the pocket and ends up throwing it away. The ball harmlessly goes beyond the line-of-scrimmage. No big deal, right?

Darnold was called for intentional grounding. It turns out once the ball is handed off, you no longer are eligible to be outside of the pocket and throw the ball away. I'm guessing this is also true for halfback option passes. Don't know if the rule is the same for NFL games.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:58pm

Wondered the same thing when it happened, don't think I'd ever seen it called before

by milo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:33am

Sean Payton. Boy f'n genius. Two screens in a row that don't fool anyone.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:36am

Don't think the Saints have ever been the same since his suspension. I guess the owner is waiting for Brees to retire before getting rid of Payton.

by milo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:03am

Benson is senile. For real. Old age.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:07am

Is it still Tom Benson? Remember the days when he used to do the Benson Boogie with his umbrella ...

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:33am

Geez - Dolphins-Saints is dull. It's almost halftime and it's only taken about an hour of real time but it feels like it's been a week.

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:53am

Trying to watch the Dolphins - Saints game, but I started a game of civilization to keep me busy.
With the communication being out, the poor execution on the field and the amount of penalties - a UK amateur level football game can be smoother than this.

Even the commentators, who should be selling the game call it 'an awful half of football'.
It's to the point it's actually funny.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:12am

The BBC interviewed commentator Charles Davis before the game. Never heard him before but I liked him and the commentary has been fresh. Better than listening to all the standard duos.

by milo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:02am

12 years Payton and Brees have been together. I've seen freshmen HS quarterbacks with a better 2 minute drill.

by joe football :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:07am

Time for another season of FO slack gameday chat! For people who are already in, just go to https://kotakuites.slack.com/messages/fo/details/. For anyone that wants to join a star-studded cast of their favorite FO posters for gameday chat, just email me at gamadict@gmail.com and you will receive an invite

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:09am

Watching montage of all the past London games and it occurs to me that last time Saints DC Dennis Allen was here, was his last game as Raiders HC. Got sacked in the bye week after the Dolphins hammered them 38-14.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:43am

Yea, he got fired while he was still 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, if I remember correctly. A blogger at CBS dubbed the flight home as the "Dennis Allen Memorial Plane Ride", to use whenever a coach on the hot seat loses his London Game.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:12pm

Is there anything more emasculating to an NFL offense, than being shut out by the Saints?

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:18pm

Perhaps the only comparable thing is to be the best running back of your generation, sign with a team that has a great QB and hardly ever get on the field. 4 yds on 4 attempts today.

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:22pm

even when they're running out the clock at the end of the game they get in Kamara.
I wonder if Peterson is even warmed up right now.
There will be an injury here and there so he'll see the field later in the season - so he's either washed up or they are saving him for late season/playoffs.

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:42pm

Geico "referee in a restaurant" commercial for the "John Mellencamp Must Die" for worst commercial, please.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 6:06pm

I normally enjoy Geico commercials, even the ones with the gecko. But the ref one is just annoying. It's not remotely funny or clever. An early favorite for the JM Must Die award.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:51pm

How bad are the Chargers to lose to the Dolphins, who put up 6 points against the freaking Jets and were shut out today.

by herewegobrownie... :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 8:48pm

We'll see how the Bolts' "revenge game" against the Browns goes.

CLE seems to be backsliding after the close loss against PIT week 1, and the Jets game no longer seems like a win at all after seeming guaranteed a few weeks ago.

by Tim R :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 12:57pm

Would be nice for london to get a decent game at least once

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:16pm

I went to Saints-Chargers in 2008 - that ended up something like 38-33. It was enjoyable.

It seems to be like TNF - good London games are a rarity.

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 1:27pm

Watching the Steelers game: I don't think Pittsburgh trusts Ben to make throws against this defense. So far everything he's thrown has been a shovel pass or a screen, with the exception of two plays: A comeback route on 3rd and 25 that got 15 yards, and a play in their own end where he held the ball a bit too long and got sacked. It got to the point where I (correctly) called that Pittsburgh would run out of shotgun on second down twice.

Maybe they'll unleash him later, but at the moment I'd expect the Steelers gameplan to be filled with screens, shovel passes, crossing routes, and dumpoffs.

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:05pm

Baltimore's offense is putrid.

by bobrulz :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:54pm

I wonder when they're going to realize that Flacco is the biggest problem with this team? When his contract runs out?

by agauntpanda :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:24pm

Deshaun Watson appears to be pretty good

by vrao81 :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:42pm

Flacco is following up his jewel last week with another stinker.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:53pm

The Jets apparently have 208 rushing yards on just 13 rushes. It's tough to have that many yards on 13 completions, much less rushes.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:04pm

Runs of 75- and 69- yards (the 75 yarder was a fluke, but atrocious nonetheless). Torn between being disgusted at losing to a team that's tanking, and picturing the Jags offense with Lamar Jackson slinging it (don't think we'll lose enough to get Darnold or Rosen). If the Colts can pull off an upset, 4 way tie at 2-2 in AFC South

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 2:57pm

Steelers Ravens - the announcers are going on if Brown was down or not. But the challenge was if it was a completed pass or not. Given that you have to maintain possession going down, which Brown didn't - it's an interception. This whole idea went over the announcers' heads.
And Flacco being Flacco - messes this up. Wow.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:00pm

Luck hasn't completely abandoned the Lions. Vikings have fumbled twice, and Lions recovered both. And Vikings defenders have dropped two interceptions.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:02pm

Did the Jaguars forget how to play run defense? And did the Titans forget how to play defense, period ?

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:08pm

Credit where it's due, Aaron mentioned the Jags were 1st against the pass and 32nd against the run in this week's dvoa article (between that, the call on the Rams being playoff contenders, and the Jets being lousy at tanking, a pretty good run for footballoutsiders)

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:32pm

So, I flipped over to Cowboys-Rams on the other channel. Gotta say, it's weird to see an offensive line playing well and the offenses being able to take advantage of this.

by drillz :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:33pm

one moment robbie anderson is doing the lok-at-me dance at the 10 yard line, the next myles jack is doing the look-at-me dance in the endzone J-E-T-S JETS, JETS, JETS

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:41pm

In case there was any doubt, the Pats' D is still awful.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:49pm

Also, Brady is still good.

by aces4me :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:37pm

I'm not sure awful begins to describe the depth of putrid defensive play we have witnessed for 4 weeks. It isnt that odd for a Pats defense to start slow. To see no improvement over 4 weeks is singular.

by SFC B :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:49pm

I just noticed the score. What happened in TEN-HOU?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:52pm

Heard Mariota got injured.

by DEW :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:56pm

Threw a couple of picks, too, and the defense didn't show up, so they were down 30-14 at halftime.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:10pm

it was already way out-of-hand by then. Houston was just dialed in, and the Titans had by far their worst game

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 6:35pm

Titans defense just completely unable to cope with Watson, both in terms of his ability to hurt them directly and the way he opens up the running game with options and so on.

Also might have been a good idea to at least attempt to cover Hopkins at some point.

by DEW :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 3:51pm

Sigh. Being a Dolphins fan during the years of the Brady Patriots has been an exercise in misery for the last 18 years as it is, but now it seems like they're turning every single game into a kid's football book, where the Evil Rivals jump out to a big lead before the Heroic Protagonist leads the Destined Comeback for the Last-Second Triumphant Victory.

Seriously, it's annoying enough that they virtually always win, but every single game is virtually a scripted narrative now. The only real question seems to be, do the Panthers 3-and-out and the Pats win 33-30, or the Panthers get a field goal and the Pats win 36-33?

by DEW :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:04pm

...Legitimately did not see that finish coming (especially that Belichek did not call time outs when the Pats had three left and the Panthers were settling for the long field goal; I'd count on Brady with 40 seconds to get into FG range any day).

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:06pm

He wanted to save one to ice Gano ;-)

by morganja :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:08pm

The Patriots are stumbling, the door is open for the Dolphins, but they preferred to make a political statement instead of taking the best quarterback available. That's how you get shut out by the Saint's defense.

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:05pm

You're leading 2 scores, you have the ball with less than 4 minutes remaining. Let's not give the ball to any of our backup runningbacks, let's run the wheels off Bell so he'll be worn out when the playoffs start. Steelers logic.

by oaktoon :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:09pm

With Falcons and Pats losing at home, and Cowboys in danger of doing same, if Chiefs are #1, who is #2? We don't have a clue...


Did I miss anyone?

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 7:14pm

Not that difficult -- Steelers or Broncos. Steelers are already #2, so obvious choice.

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 7:29pm

And Lion sets fire to all of Pittsburgh!

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:15pm

Hmmm, I think the Rams made the same mistake the Texans made last week by not going for the first down there. The kick the FG to go up 5, and now the Cowboys can win with a TD.

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:22pm

I was about to ask whether everyone would give L.A. **** for making the same decision Houston did last week. I suspect that if they end up winning, there will be far less outrage.

I would've gone for it there and kicked last week, but I still suspect that there will be less complaining about that call, simply because it didn't come against Belichick and Brady.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:39pm

Scoring a TD isn't that easy. A lot more pressure on the offense when they need a TD.

(And the Rams won. But I said same thing last week.)

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:23pm

Not a fan of that final pass to Elliott. I don't like negative ALEX passes when you need to convert, and that right there wasn't even close to the first down line.

by blan :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:37pm

Hey morganja, since you're always complaining about penalties going in favor of the Patriots:

Carolina 1 penalty, Patriots 7 penalties

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:46pm

A couple of those were ridiculous. The last flag was for defensive holding in the secondary on a running play. Looked like the WR was just blocking. Gave the Panthers their last 1st down and 5 crucial yards for the FG.

Boger is the same ref who made the only call of "pushing a teammate" on the Pats a few years ago to help the Jets win a game. Not that it wasn't a penalty but

a) that's the only time that particular penalty was enforced in the history of the NFL
b) the refs called it because the Jets told them to look for it
c) the refs let the Jets get away with exactly the same violation earlier in the game.

Bad officiating usually manifests itself in the calls that aren't made.

Having said all that, the Pats' D was legitimately awful today. Any talk of repeating in New England should be dispensed with. They've already lost two home games and they have a lot of very good offenses left on the schedule. Who is going to cover Mike Evans on Thursday?

by morganja :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:13pm

I was shocked that they called it relatively evenly in Gillette Stadium. The defensive hold was totally legitimate. You just can't grab the receiver's head with both hands, run play or not. The 'incomplete pass' was a strange, strange call, overturned when the refs realized the rule is two feet down in bounds in the NFL.

I knew they were in trouble when the refs actually called the offensive interference that the Patriots regularly get away with. They let several of them go at first, probably with warnings, but they persisted...

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:28pm

"I was shocked that they called it relatively evenly in Gillette Stadium."

Well that's one way to call a 7-1 penalty difference.

Kinda shows bias, though.

"The defensive hold was totally legitimate. You just can't grab the receiver's head with both hands, run play or not."

This is where I wonder about your vision. But it wouldn't be the first time.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:28pm

One could also see the penalty difference as the chickens coming home to roost. Like not having enough talent to get the obvious biased calls.

The Pat homer excuse knows no limits.

by morganja :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 1:11pm

You didn't see the two hands grabbing the helmet? Not surprised.

The refs tried to let both teams play, but the Patriots committed so many clear and obvious penalties. They just didn't let all of them slide, because Patriots, as they often do.

Check out Gronk's first catch, he pushes off, stiff-arm fully extended. I suspect they got a warning after that....but persisted.

The interception came after Byrd was molested down the entire field. The Patriots caught a huge break on that one.

And you just can't continue to jam your hands into a receiver's helmet right in front of a ref.

It was telling what the Patriot players said after the game. It is how they are coached, but usually the refs let it slide. They're usually right, if you have a Patriot uniform on.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:16pm

I thought they had the 32nd ranked schedule? Heard a lot about how ridiculous it was to say that preseason evaluations of schedule strength were meaningless.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:47pm

There are a lot of teams that might be considered weaker (Saints, Bucs) that have strong offenses. The Pats also have games left against Oakland, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. Throw in a road game in Denver and those are four three offenses that should cruise past this defense as well as a defense in Denver that will help any offense.

You know the Steelers and Falcons will be motivated for some payback.

And none of this even considers the divisional opponents, who are tough in good years.

There is a lesson about rating "strength of schedule" before you have any idea how good the teams will be.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:17pm


by NoraDaddy :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:38pm

Are the Eagles playing at home? I swear the LA crowd is cheering more for the Eagles than the Chargers.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:47pm

Los Angeles is a terrible football city. The NFL forgot that.

by bobrulz :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:51pm

It doesn't help that the Chargers don't have much of an established fanbase in LA. Not to mention I think the Chargers lost a lot of fans with the move.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 5:17pm

The FAA didn't.

by t.d. :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:21pm

If the Rams keep playing like they have, it'll be a good barometer for whether this was a big mistake. Young, exciting team that was built up from not-much in their back yard, they should be drawing by the end of the season

by D2K :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:41pm

I'm still not entirely sold on the Rams this season. They played their first 3 games in California and this last game was against a Dallas team that inevitably were going to regress.

With that said, you can only play who is on the schedule and the offense is absolutely night and day better than they were for Jeff fishers entirety. They have a tough test next week against Seattle.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 4:50pm

Not often you can say this, but the key play in Jets-Jags might've been a punt. The Jets completely flipped field position in OT with a 70-yard punt (and a short added penalty) that put Jacksonville at their own 3, resulting in a three-and-out and a winning field goal for New York.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 5:15pm

As it says in the FO Almanac, the Jets can't even tank properly!

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 7:22pm

I'm sure there are still some who think that losing to JAX at home is too embarrassing to allow.

by ChrisS :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:06am

The penalty on Posluszny was pretty important, and justified. Watching the play I thought the flag was going to be for a blind side block made on Posluszny, but it was for his reaction to it. Was that not a blind-side block? " a “blindside” block when the path of the offensive blocker is toward or parallel to his own end line."

by Theo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 5:58pm

I see the Barber brothers in the booth... which makes me wonder, has anyone ever found the necktie a good clothing accessory?
I hate wearing them as it chokes my neck - so I don't, I don't know anyone who likes wearing them and I don't know one person who thinks someone else should wear them. I honestly wonder why anyone would wear them. It even looks silly too.

by alljack :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 1:13pm

Neckties are social conventions used to signal acceptance of group norms. Suburban lawns and caps worn backwards are other examples.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:29pm

Neckties are not social conventions, they're conservative social conventions, meant to convey higher status. Group norms for construction workers are not the same as those for basketball players or Wall Street playahs.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 3:39pm

I eventually got used to ties before I retired. I also avoided ties with boring patterns, which meant Ralph Marlin art ties (Monet's Water Lillies, Van Gogh sunflowers, that Seurat at the Chicago Art Institute), Jerry Garcia weirdness, map backgrounds, and thrift shop paisley finds. I figured if I needed to wear them, I'd at least do it my own way.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/04/2017 - 4:57am

I wore ties every working day of the 90s - that's banking for you.

Then we went to casual dress which was a bit less restrictive in that you didn't have to wear a business suit. But men were still expected to wear a shirt and trousers. So I went with Hawaiian shirts!

I worked for a different organisation in the 2010s and went back to business wear. I dug out all my ties from the 90s which were by now completely unfashionable but therefore gave me a somewhat unique array. Eventually that organisation went to business casual but I still wore a tie.

by vrao81 :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 7:13pm

Chargers lose their third game by three or fewer points.

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 8:18pm

The Rams have the #1 scoring offense in the NFL after four weeks. The Patriots have allowed more points on defense than any other NFL team. We have definitely entered an alternate reality.

by Cythammer :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 9:17pm

One way to express the weirdness of the first four weeks: the team that had chatter about going 16-0 has the same record as the team some thought might go 0-16.

by xydux :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:09pm

Top scoring units at halftime on Sunday night:

Colts offense (two touchdown drives)
Seahawks defense (TD return)
Seahawks offense (field goal drive)
Colts defense (safety)


(I'm not a Seattle fan but their offensive line play is absolutely horrid, enough so that I'm glad I'm not watching the game. If the line is actually playing decently and something else is going right for them, I'm an idiot, but I feel pretty confident blindly assigning blame to the o-line.)

by justanothersteve :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:16pm

Seattle needs a line because Russell Wilson is an excellent QB, not Superman. He deserves better than the turnstile collection being paid to block for him.

by ChrisLong :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:17pm

Top-10 ranking of Super Bowl favorites (taking into account injuries, strength of schedule, efficiency, subjective bias towards the Packers, etc.):

1. Kansas City (Most glaring weakness: Alex Smith)
2. Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger)
3. Atlanta (inability to stop the run)
4. Green Bay (pass rush)
5. Denver (Trevor Siemian)
6. Philly (secondary)
7. New England (dumpster fire defense)
8. LA Rams (lack of reliable weapons outside of Todd Gurley)
9. Detroit (Pass protection)
10. Houston (Deshaun Watson's volatility)

by D2K :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:13pm

I am certainly bias but it's hard for me to look at that list, even though it is your subjective list, and not see Buffalo. They've beaten "your" #3 and #5 teams. Atlanta on the road and Denver by two scores.

They've allowed 1 passing touchdown on the season and only 19 points total in the second half of games. This team seems for real this year.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 9:30am

Totally agree. Buffalo needs to be on the list, after a back to back wins against expected contenders.

by jtr :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 9:41am

We've seen this movie before. Every couple of years Buffalo gets of to an unexpectedly hot start and then fades into irrelevancy.

2008: 5-1 en route to 7-9
2011: 5-2 en route to 6-10
2016: 4-2 en route to 7-9

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:19pm

In retrospect, maybe Buffalo should've been on there, but jtr's thought process was mine as well. But their defense looks very good, if they can keep up average offense then they'll make the playoffs.

by Cogitus :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 4:23pm

I do think they got relatively lucky to beat the Falcons on the road as well, with Jones and Sanu getting injured, which led to below-replacement level receivers dropping balls and having them deflect into the hands of Bills defenders, plus a fluky/bad call Matt Ryan fumble that got returned for a TD, which awfully looked like a forward pass.

If they had Watkins they're for sure a top-ten team, but that 3-pt output vs the Panthers and the fact Mike Tolbert continues to get carries scares me. The defense is legitimately top five already though, and if that continues at the least very the Bills are surprisingly competitive and super annoying for other top teams to play this year. I think they are most likely to sneak in to a AFC wild-card spot so top 12 team seems right to me.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:24pm

I have no idea how these rankings are worked out, but the idea that the Packers pass rush pushes them ahead of Denver seems ludricous.

by Eddo :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:40pm

I'm 99% sure his parentheticals are the weaknesses of the teams (see the one he has for the Chiefs at #1).

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 8:22am

I'd love to have my team's weakness be Roethlisberger. That's like complaining about being too rich and good-looking.

Detroit's weakness, besides non-existent front-7 depth, is run blocking, not pass blocking. They've actually pass-blocked adequately for the last few years, but absolutely cannot win at the point of attack on rushes. It's a line that only works when it's moving backwards.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 9:13am

They do have a weakness in pass-blocking, and his name is Greg Robinson. On the other side, Wagner had been excellent through the first three games, but yesterday Daniele Hunter made him his bitch. The result was that Stafford got sacked six times and had his worst game in two years (he was lucky to not have 3 or 4 INTS)

by ChrisLong :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:25pm

Roethlisberger has not been as good as previous years this season (5th in VOA but he's played a mediocre schedule) but you're right on most teams he wouldn't be a weakness. If he picks up his play then the Steelers are clear Super Bowl favorites.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 9:19am

For the Rams, Watkins, Woods, and Kupp are a credible group of receivers. They keep giving Gurley touches because it's effective. If they have a weakness, it's been run defense.

Edit: Another weakness is their bizarre mismatched uniforms. Is it too much trouble to change your helmet and jersey colors at the same time?

by Tim R :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:06am

Saw an interesting stat yesterday that Gurley faced 6 or less in the box on 16 of 23 carries. Don't know if thats standard for the cowboys or not but the last time i can remember opponents respecting the rams passing game was 2006.

by RickD :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:33pm

Should Carroll throw the red flag here? Looks like a TD, certainly. Shame that officials force Seahawks to use a challenge flag here.

If the Seahawks had a normal O-line, I'd say take the ball inside the 1 and assume you'll score.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:02pm

Seahawks just found an excuse to cut Eddie Lacy, who would never be mistaken for Beast Mode, despite his bulk.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:28am

Can we call Eddie Lacy "Bulk Mode"?

by Anger...rising :: Mon, 10/02/2017 - 1:52am

Feast Mode. C'mon.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:33pm