Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 14 Open Game Discussion

The biggest games of the week are Philadelphia-Dallas and Minnesota-Seattle, where the Cowboys and Seahawks can all but clinch playoff berths with wins, but could be in rough shape with losses, while the Eagles and Vikings are both fighting for their lives. Other games with playoff implications include the Jags and Titans on Thursday night, and Colts-Texans, Ravens-Chiefs, Patriots-Dolphins, and Rams-Bears contests on Sunday. Use this thread to discuss them all.


153 comments, Last at 13 Dec 2018, 5:55am

1 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Wow, that was a terrible job by the Titans punt returner. Obviously he muffed the punt, but by the time he picked up the ball he was still outside of the endzone. He just needed to head up field or, failing that, simply avoid going backwards. It's not like there was any upside to retreating into his endzone either.

2 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

The Jags somehow manage to have a drive go 8:20 and still result in no points. However, they are now in position where they could easily get another safety. Has a team ever had 4 points before?

8 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Apparently Derrick Henry hadn't had a run longer than 16 yards this season before that play.

EDIT: And right now, in the third quarter, he's averaging more than 16 yards a play on 8 attempts.

19 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Jacksonville should clean house entirely. It would be hard to create a more pathetic offense, less suited to the modern NFL than they showcased last night. Persisting through 5 years of Bortles, including taking his 5th year option; expending countless resources on running backs creating a 'smashmouth' identity leading to stat lines like Fournette 14 carries for 36 yards. Embarrassing.

22 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

The irony is smashmouth can work. Tennessee does it!

But so does Dallas, and LA, and Baltimore, and occasionally New England.

It's really helpful to have either a running QB (Dallas, Tennessee, Baltimore, but also Bortles!) or a really good pocket passer (LA, NE). Cody Kessler is neither. I don't think I saw him throw a pass that was both inbounds and beyond the line of scrimmage.

Shit, I can do that.

25 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Tennessee is currently ranked #26 in offensive DVOA. Dallas is ranked #23. This is not a good advert for 'smashmouth'.

LA & NE sometimes go run heavy because their ultra-efficient pass games creates hugely favorable defensive fronts to run against.

A bad QB will of course cripple any offense. But Jacksonville's strategy was to hide their bad QB by relentlessly running the ball, which is frankly absurd.

30 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Tennessee isn't really a smashmouth team, not anymore, the problem is Mariota's been dealing with injuries, inaccuracy, and a weak interior offensive line. Lafleur wants to run to set up the play action game, but it hasn't been working, and the Titans' best games offensively have been ones where Mariota can throw it around.

27 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Jags seem to be needing a coach like Coughlin. OC isn't worth much...DC apparently hasn't
even mentioned to DB's, how they should communicate (3 of the past 4 weeks they just made
numerous HUGE mistakes in this regard)....only time they really excelled is Fournette's 40 time when he sprinted across field to get into a fight. HC is a off. line coach at talks like a SB team but plays like last in their div., which they are. Alot of smack talk but very little to show by these mental midgits. They've excelled at one thing this year, and that is mental mistakes + penalities....they've done great in that aspect. Difference 'tween a team like this & a team like
NE is Grand Canyon width. They had a good year but basically mediocrity enshrined.

33 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Personally I like him (Marrone) but......point is, *right now* they need a coach like Coughlin
as they are all big/trash talkers, and Coughlin won't put up wi/that & will make
them play to their abilities (plus less penalties). I'll give him this....main % of $'s spent on
team is Defense point is, put them up against NE (man for man)...Jags are
MUCH more talented, yet they aren't cohesive, are plain ole stupid wi/mental errors
(penalities/blown assignments in DB recently ...'n I mean BLOWN (WR's are like
15 yds open!)) so they might want to draft differently. The *talented* yet,
IAAM "its all about me" players like: Fournette/Jalen Ramsey/Harrison (new safety)/Dante
Fowler(traded but was a nickel head & chest thumpin fool when he made one play per
game yet got crushed the other times).......well, they seem to have drafted the cockiest team in NFL
and yes, they have talent but coaching is a talent as well...when they won, it was tolerated, but
they are making same mistakes over & over AND OVER its melt down time &
players need to be coached...NE can do it, why can't Jax?

28 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Just from the highlights, that looked like a 2017 Giants level of effort from the Jags defense. For those who watched the whole game, did it look like a team that had quit? Or am I reading too much into a few big highlights against an exhausted D on a late-season Thursday night game?

34 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

I don't think so....I think they miss their onfield coach (ex-MLB Posluszny)..he
was slow afoot but he kept D mentally in line...Miles Jack is fast but def coach on the field isn't
his forte....I've seen all the games....the best example of Jags is...against Buffalo...punt
happens, Buff guy signals fair catch (at 5yd line like an idjit)....Jags player (per replay)
looks RIGHT at him when he signals fair catch...the proceeds to deck him wi/tackle...
in next few minutes...huge gain, holding call (not even NEAR the play nor needed)...then
harrison gets a personal foul call (another big mistake) mental fortitude...and
of course, then the fight....guy (Fornette) runs 60 yds across field (from sideline) to
fight....I mean, they are multi millionaires but can't think..lost game by 3.

Don't think it was effort, its just ineptitude mentally & thats drafting/coaching to
some degree also.

38 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Ravens/Chiefs and Rams/Bears are both fascinating matchups today (both scheduled to be played in freezing conditions) which could illuminate just how much impact defense can have in the NFL in 2018.

39 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

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41 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Is there something on the Green Bay sideline that saps head coaches of their intelligence? Joe Philbin has used, and lost, both of his challenges before 90 seconds of game time has elapsed. I would argue that the first call was so egregious that he shouldn’t have even had to challenge (how is it a catch when the ball is moving in his arms all the way to the ground and then pops out?), and it definitely should’ve been overturned, but still.

40 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Packers have challenged two plays - lost both - in the first 1:23 of the game.

I think the first should have been overturned, but the second probably didn't have compelling evidence.

48 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

He wouldn't know the offense either and is a half decade removed from being a good QB. The actual possibly decent QB who is available is Sam Bradford. Of course, the Redskins season is simply lost at this point, so whatever they do at QB doesn't really matter. It was a miracle they were ever 6-3, but in their current state they would need a superstar QB to be competitive.

47 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Saints losing to the Bucs by 11 at the half. This makes me wish New Orleans had pulled out the Dallas game. Then we could be facing the bizarre prospect of a team being undefeated except for being swept by a bad, under .500 opponent.

49 Re: Week 14 Open Game Discussion

Josh Allen has 321 rushing yards over the last 2.5 games. That's apparently a record for a QB over a three game span, breaking a record held by (no surprise) Michael Vick. Pretty amazing.