Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Week 8 Open Discussion Thread

Drew Brees
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

With a pair of division leaders (Cowboys and Ravens) on byes, Week 8 is a pretty dreary lineup. We start and end with a pair of snoozers as Washington (1-6) plays at Minnesota (5-2) on Thursday night, then Miami (0-6) plays at Pittsburgh (2-4) on Monday. Only three games on Sunday feature two teams at .500 or better: Carolina (4-2) at San Francisco (6-0), Oakland (3-3) at Houston (4-3), and the real main event of the weekend, Green Bay (6-1) at Kansas City (5-2). Use this thread to discuss them all.

UPDATE: I missed one! There is a fourth game on Sunday where neither team has a losing record: Arizona (3-3-1) will take on New Orleans (6-1) in Drew Brees' return from a thumb injury. 


150 comments, Last at 29 Oct 2019, 1:51pm

1 For all that the cliché is…

For all that the cliché is overused, this is the rare ACTUAL revenge game for a player. Kirk Cousins has plenty of legit beef against Washington. Here's hoping he throws for 800 yards and 9 touchdowns against them tonight. It's still way less than they deserve.

2 What beef does he have?  Not…

What beef does he have?  Not to claim Snyder and company are wonderful people and did it for Cousin's good, but you can argue that they ended up pumping up his salary with the franchise tag.  If they'd given him a single contract up front for the same time period I'm guessing it would have been for less total money.  He bet on himself and hit it big.  Not saying he should be thankful to them, it was just a negotiation.  He won, Washington lost, good for him.  But that's different than the claim, say, of a player that got bad medical advice from the team doctor.  Now that would be an actual revenge game.

10 Well there's the petty stuff…

Well there's the petty stuff like Bruce Allen repeatedly calling him "Kurt" in what Allen presumably thought was a cutting insult.

Then there's the more serious stuff like the team trying to smear him in the media as "another greedy athlete" for turning down their "generous" contract extension offer, that included a whopping $100,000/year raise in exchange for giving the team 5 extra years of contractual control. The offer was insulting by itself, but the smear campaign on top of it...

19 It just doesn’t sound…

It just doesn’t sound seriously revenge worthy.  None of that stuff hurt his market value in any way.

it’s really just that Snyder and Allen are easy to hate.  Which I get.  Totally sympathetic to any Washington fans that have to suffer through this.

4 Either MINN is

Much worse than I thought or WAS is not near as bad as I thought.

5 Since ditching Gruden the…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Since ditching Gruden the Redskins have won a game (although a 1-point win against Miami is far from impressive) and now hung tough for six quarters against two of highest rated teams by DVOA in the 49ers and Vikings.

14 Washington is a legit NFL…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Washington is a legit NFL team. They're not good, obviously, but Scot Mclaughlin helped build them a solid core of players. They're closer to "below average" than "terrible" IMO (purely subjective, I haven't looked at their DVOA). 

Honestly it's crazy to think about how good this team could be if it weren't for Snyder and Allen. Imagine if they had Cousins, Trent Williams, Kendall Fuller, DJ Swearinger, whoever they could have signed with the money they gave Alex Smith, and so on… 

16 they really need better QB play

They could have kept Cousins, but of course Cousins was a Shanahan guy, so they didn't really like him that much.

Keenum is a stopgap.  McCoy is a backup.  Haskins still isn't ready, as we saw tonight.  Though, to be fair, Keenum probably had more bad plays.  His fumble was terrible.  He seems to have no pocket awareness.

Keenum is so bad right now I don't think it would hurt much to just use Haskins for the last eight games.  Get him in rhythm with McLaurin.  


43 Poor Execution versus Appropriate Game Plan

In reply to by Raiderfan

I'm a new (but eager to learn!) fan of the NFL based in the Twin Cities.

I was wondering whether more sophisticated viewers saw the Vikings' performance on Thursday night as poor (largely based on their inability to score actual touchdowns against a weak defense) or as the triumph of a strong game plan (playing conservatively to avoid injuries; being confident of what it would take to ultimately win; keeping novel plays secret for tougher opponents; etc.).

My initial impression was more like the former . . . but I'm wondering if there was more going on than met my untrained eye.

58 Offense played fine except…

Offense played fine except for inside the 10. Defense was somewhat soft in the 1st half, better in the 2nd against a bad qb. It's nice that every field goal isn't a tightrope act, like it has been since about 2012.

They were fine. They'll have to be much better against better teams.

7 dubious timeout by callahan

At the start of the Viking drive.

Save it until it's obvious that it'll be useful. If the idea was to save clock for a potential Redskin drive, that was a very bad idea.

12 Thought it was a little…

Thought it was a little questionable for MIN to go for it on 4th down at their own 30 or so, in a 1 possession game, but put it down to them assuming the WAS offense literally could not do anything with Haskins under center. They were right!

That pass was somehow both way overthrown and right through the guy's hands. Woof. Real pretty spiral though!

15 Seems like a terrible…

Seems like a terrible decision to me in a game you are already leading and are 16.5-point favorites in. If Haskins can't do anything, punt the ball and make them go 70 yards. A short field might be the only way Washington could get the TD they need to have a chance. Going for it on 4th down in your own half is a David strategy. When you are the Goliath you want to minimize risk.

18 I really didn't get it…

I really didn't get it either. I guess the logic is that (MIN defense >> WAS offense) by such a degree that going for it was essentially a win whether they converted or not, but it was well within FG range already, so it was practically handing them 3 points unless they got the turnover (which they did, but no one can count on that on any given possession), and making it much more likely to give up the TD like you say. 

I'm actually guessing it was some sort of mind game, either to psych up the offense ("they believe in us!") or psych out their WAS counterparts ("they think so little of us they'll hand us the ball and a short field :("). But I can't see how any advantage from that outweighs the risk of giving them an easy score in a close game, especially since their offense wasn't exactly torching the WAS D.

17 very bad decision

It's a decision they can get away with because of the opponent, but it's a bad habit to think that way.  

They got lucky that Haskins gave it right back to them.  A better offense would have scored pretty easily.  

I wonder if their punter was injured.  Buck and Aikman talked after the game about how this was the first time in a long time the Vikings hadn't punted all game long.  (That's really less of an accomplishment when you consider where they gave up the ball on downs.)

31 Colquitt was in the game....

as the holder on all the kicks.  Now obviously you could have an injury that would limit punting but not holding, but he wasn't out fwiw.

I do agree I would have punted there, but don't think it was entirely horrible.   I would have preferred a different playcall, they went right into the strength of the washington defense.   Even if you were going up the middle I would prefer Cook to be the one doing it, he could get a yard even if there was no hole.   Given their past I was half expecting a handoff to Ham but don't think he was in the formation.

Anyone have the win% analysis for this decision?   I know its probably skewed by Keenum being out.  

at any rate, Minnesota didn't get any style points, but probably felt they didn't have to.   Some of those field goals were forced by sacks, but at least one other one (the one with the flags) they clearly decided to not let Cousins try to convert, just playing it safe.  

I don't think Cousins threw a single ball into the end zone this game.   The DVOA will be interesting, opponent adjustments are going to hurt the vikings as are the red zone failures, but I think DVOA is fonder of things like that 8 minute drive than some of the big play strikes they had been racking up the previous weeks.

22 Going for it on 4th & 1 is…

Going for it on 4th & 1 is usually the right call. If you can probably retain possession then it's usually worth trying to do that, rather than giving it up for 40 yards of field position.

This was a worse than usual situation to go for it, but I think still the right call.

23 Vikings offense was pretty…

Vikings offense was pretty bad inside the 10 yard line, and the defense continues the trend of taking the 1st half off. Nice, for the 1st time in several years, to not be seeing every field goal attempt and PAT as a nailbiter. Teams can get a lot better or worse in the 2nd half of the season, but half the battle is being healthy, and they are in decent shape in that regard, which has not been the case for them,after 8 games, in about 5 years.

Adrian Peterson can still be a pretty valuable player, in the right setting. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get 2500 more rushing yards before he is done, maybe even approaching 4000 more. By all reports he really needs the money, so I could see him hanging around as long as someone is willing to pay him the veteran minimum.

33 I can't see this defence…

I can't see this defence holding up well against a good offence. They play 3 in the next 4 games. Fortunately none of those 3 have much of a defence and the offence can be very good. Wouldn't be surprised to see more Det type games coming up for the Vikings.

What the heck happened to Rhodes. Teams are just targeting him every game now, and he's either beaten badly or taking a penalty. He looks slower to me. Not a Waynes fan either, he stays tight to guys most the time and tackles well, but man it's frustrating to watch him just grab receivers as the ball gets near and never turn his head around. He literally commits a PI on every deep ball, just a question of it being called or not. 

35 My guess is that chronic…

My guess is that chronic ankle and hamstring issues have robbed Rhodes of his ability to change directions and angles at the speed he was able to do so when he was among the top 5 or 10 corners in the league. It doesn't take much of a decline to make a huge difference, especially if you relied more on sheer athleticism as opposed to perfect technique. It will be interesting to look at snap counts going forward. Hughes seems to be improving each week.

25 I didn't watch the game but…

I didn't watch the game but did Haskins really play the entire 2nd half in a game they lost by 2 scores and only attempt 5 passes?

29 they were usually within one score

At this point, the Redskins are almost always better off using a run-heavy mix when Haskins is at QB.  Keep in mind that Haskins only threw 5 passes, but 1 of the 5 was intercepted.  

The Vikings hit a FG to expand their lead to 10 points on their first drive of the 2nd half, but the Redskins responded with a FG on their next drive.  And this was in the 3rd quarter.  No need to panic then.

The Vikings didn't score again until 4:24 was left in the game.  So I wouldn't say that being too conservative with the play-calling was the problem.  There were a lot of problems with the offense, but they relate more to the basic competence.  Aside from McLaurin and whatever is left of AP, that offense just doesn't have much talent.  And the QB play just isn't there.

Their offense was far better just three years ago when they had Cousins throwing to DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.  But for some reason they didn't keep any of those guys.  And then there's the Trent Williams debacle...



34 No to overreact, but I can…

No to overreact, but I can see why Gruden the Younger was pissed when Allen drafted Haskins. Who knows, he might be great some day, but the guy just can't function in a NFL offense at this time, which is no help to a coach who has no remaining room for error.

30 Watching the game, it didn't…

Watching the game, it didn't seem nearly that extreme. For one thing, the Vikings didn't go up by two scores for good until midway through the fourth quarter. For another, Haskins was also sacked twice, so he had seven dropbacks total. Finally, the Vikings controlled the ball for most of the second half.

Let's see: The Skins got the second-half kickoff and went run-pass-pass-punt.

Next possession: pass-run-run-pass (sack)-pass-field goal.

Next possession: run-pass (interception).

Next possession: run-run-pass (sack)-punt.

Then they took over again with 26 seconds left.

So it doesn't look like they were babying Haskins to any extreme degree. They tried to pass more than they tried to run.

32 Thursday Night Football

Despite several years' worth of Thursday night football, I still never remember until Friday morning. And I still don't care that I missed the game.

37 Haskins

I'd just like to say, while it is too early to definitively call this, I said that Haskins is the worst college QB I have ever watched get drafted in the first round*. He had a very inaccurate arm in college, and did not make up for this with overwhelming power, running ability, or anything else. I have said this before and I'll say it again, I literally could not tell you what Haskins even does well, going by the college tape, and he very clearly misses throws often and badly.

Well, thus far he's the exact same player. Only now he's not surrounded by an overwhelming talent advantage as he was at Ohio State. If anything, he has a bottom quartile offense around him. I do not forecast anything good coming out of Haskins, and I can see why Gruden was pissed that he got drafted with the 15th pick. I can also see why the Redskins scouts did not want Haskins. I had him a whole lot closer to undraftable than top half of the first round.

*What I saw from Winston was actually worse, but everyone said he was much better the previous year, so there's that. Sort of fits with Winston being the most inconsistent QB in the league.

38 Haskins going in the first…

In reply to by theTDC

Haskins going in the first round while Gardner Minshew goes in the 6th round makes clear that no one has the slightest idea what they are doing when it comes to evaluating QBs. Right now it looks like Haskins is years away from being where Minshew is already.

39 Minshew went from being a…

Minshew went from being a mediocre part-time starting QB at a smaller school to another effective-despite-his-physical-limitations QB in a Mike Leach offense. Mock drafts consistently had him as a lower round pick. His scouting report from shows this: 


  • Scouts say teammates rallied around him despite being in Pullman just one year
  • Enthusiastic and energetic on the field
  • Gives safeties very little time to diagnose where he's going with the ball
  • Works rapidly through progressions and can get the ball out quickly
  • Excellent poise from pocket and doesn't slide around unnecessarily
  • Weaponizes pump fake as a tool to manipulate defenders
  • Natural feel for timing as a passer
  • Works around arm limitations by throwing early and with great placement
  • Accuracy and ball placement is remarkably consistent
  • Owns the back-shoulder throw and can wear out cornerbacks with it
  • Drops perfectly thrown balls into deep buckets with rare accuracy and touch
  • Unfazed by additional rushers and willing to stand in and deliver


  • Below-average height for an NFL quarterback
  • High number of batted passes with more likely to come in the pros
  • Benefitted from scheme that allowed an abundance of one-on-ones
  • Scouts are concerned by perceived lack of arm strength
  • Awful game against Washington after dominating lesser defenses in conference
  • Very little stride-and-drive in his release
  • Intermediate and deep throws require additional air
  • Nose of the ball will drop some on drive throws
  • Appears to lack some confidence with touch throws over linebackers in zone
  • Defaults to the short read on high/low looks
  • Unlikely to run away from closing rushers

129 He's not...although he could…

He's not...although he could well become one.  He's incredibly inconsistent with his arm right now.


On the other hand, there's only maybe 20 NFL-caliber passers in the NFL, so he's definitely starting material out of the box.

132 The thing is, he already…

The thing is, he already rates in the (good) top-20 of just about any passing metric you can think of (not for nothing, ahead of every QB drafted before him in 2018). He may or may not be a superstar, but I think it's safe to say he at least meets some base level of NFL-caliber competence, purely as a passer. This was the guy they* wanted to make into a running back or receiver (and not, say, Josh Allen)?

126 Well, ahem, I mean... I…

Well, ahem, I mean... called Haskins out as a bust before he was even drafted. 

Anyway, I decided to look up Gardner Minshew's college tape. I found only two videos.

1) Washington St. vs Iowa St

2) East Carolina vs Memphis

Going on a throw by throw basis, his arms pretty accurate, not nearly the best I have seen, but good. Arm strength is actually better than I was expecting, in that "wouldn't be painfully out of place on an NFL field" way. He also displays some pocket awareness and maneuverability, with some scrambling, that I can see someone mistaking for Johnny Manziel-esque behaviour. 

It is truly impossible to have my opinion of Minshew not coloured by the knowledge that he's succeeded thus far in the NFL. If I had to try to give my honest impression, I can understand both why he was a sixth round pick as well as why he has succeeded thus far. There are some really beautiful throws in that tape (eg. ~7 min mark in second video, two throws back to back), and his pocket movement has shown itself to be appropriate as opposed to unstructured. 

The best college QB I have done even my (amateur) scouting on is Baker Mayfield. Comparing Minshew's tape vs Mayfield's, Minshew is just nowhere near as good. So if some team said that they wanted Minshew a first round pick I would probably say that's too high. I can honestly say that I would not have given Minshew even a 20% chance of being a quality starter in the NFL. Decent backup, sure, but not a starter.

So I guess I missed on Minshew as well.

40 The Jets managed to lose…

The Jets managed to lose yardage on three straight drives going into the half (and that's not counting a kneeldown to end the half).

41 The FantASStic Four

When the Broncos are all healthy, their TE corps could have the nickname the Fant-Ass-tic Four (for Noah Fant and Jake Butt) (and I'm hoping they have four TEs on the roster or it's not as good)

42 Maybe this is just recency…

Maybe this is just recency bias speaking, but this might be the worst Bears offense I've ever seen. And I've been here long enough to remember Rick Mirer as a starter.

45 Colts penalties

Anybody watching DEN at IND please help a guy "watching" online. Looks like DEN has 6 1st downs via penalty. Indy has 8 penalties for 89 yards and Rock Ya-Sin has racked up two DPI and 2 D-holding for a total of about 70 yards... what the hell is going on?

I love that the physical rookie is getting PT and thought he had been playing well, but he seems like a liability at this point.

47 Eagles-Bills technically isn…

Eagles-Bills technically isn't between above-.500 teams, but I have to believe the Eagles are better than average despite their record. The game has been pretty close but the Eagles have looked like the better team throughout, and have slowly but steadily built a lead. Conditions are bad so neither team can throw well; both teams have had success running but the Eagles are much better there.

That the poor throwing conditions mitigate the Eagles' weakness in the secondary has a lot to do with it, I suppose. But I will say that their pass rush has looked effective (infinitely better than against the Packers a few weeks ago); whether that's due to improved play on their part or poor play by the Bills I'm not sure. Josh Allen hasn't looked amazing but he's (mostly) avoided the rush, made some nice throws and generally looked competent, at least - and he's quite the runner too, of course (it's still remarkable to me how fast he is for his size, he had some runs where the defenders really weren't closing on him from behind even though he's got about a foot and 50 lbs on some of them.. I wonder what his SPEED SCORE is). But he's been careless with the ball, two fumbles, one lost; it's not the whole difference but it's basically 7 out of the 18 points between them.

48 Unless the Bears miss a FG…

Unless the Bears miss a FG or the Chargers force a turnover, LA is going to lose another game by less than a yard. They came up just short on a third down play and the ensuing Chicago drive has put the Bears in place to win.

50 Well, whatta ya know, the…

Well, whatta ya know, the Bears miss the FG. In a battle between teams who were among the top teams last year but are falling way below expectations, the Chargers save their season for now. 3-5 is a bad record but the AFC is weak so they still have a chance.

51 I was about to post a snarky…

I was about to post a snarky comment about the announcers' discussion that the Bills' always being down by double-figures knocks their best laid plans awry, but you know what, they are 5-1 (well, 5-2 all but officially), despite reportedly being down 10+ at some point in 5 or 6 of those. That's actually kind of amazing - and unsustainable - and I wonder that the all-time best record in such games is.

53 Broncos look like they could…

Broncos look like they could lose another in the last minute thanks to freaky plays and odd calls. A few plays after good play by Brissett turned an almost safety in a big gain, the Colts just got 15 yards for a 'horse collar' tackle that didn't grab inside the jersey, or grab the nameplate, or pull down backwards... First glance the tackle looked dodgy, but in replay I couldn't see any horse collar points of emphasis (if they've changed the rule again, please let me know ;) ).

Colts then go massively conservative and going for a long FG to win.

56 I'm starting to think that…

I'm starting to think that this season is karmic payback for the getting a SuperBowl with zombie Peyton at QB. I mean that team had a brilliant defense, but they also had their fair share or more of those bits of luck/inspiration/bounce at big moments. Whereas this year's Bronco are a barely average team that seems to have almost all those things going the other way.

Hopefully Risner isn't badly hurt and Lock can come back for the second half of the season so they can at least see if he might have something worth looking at for longer as a QB. Hard to imagine he can be less inspiring than Flacco at this point.

54 That was truly special by…

That was truly special by Flacco on the last play. You've got to throw deep when you have that chance, there might be a flag.


57 Yikes...everyone thought…

Yikes...everyone thought running the ball would be the Browns' only chance this game.


Not to mention that Bitonio has been as much Mr. Dependable as Chubb, and they *both* flubbed that one.

60 I do think Kyle Allen has…

I do think Kyle Allen has some sort of NFL future, but he's just about hitting that point in his career where opposing defenses will game-plan with him in mind specifically, and this defense happens to be possibly the best in the NFL. His offense has managed about 40 net yards, and he's been sacked 3 times and thrown a pick, with about 5 minutes left in the 2nd.

Although as I type that he hits a really pretty pass for about 20 yards. Dude can throw with pace, touch, and accuracy. I don't know if he's a superstar, but he can and should be someone's starting QB next year.

61 Three turnovers already for…

Three turnovers already for the Patriots defense. I still don't think they can keep up this level of play all season, but there's no sign of a letdown yet.

62 The Panthers' defense is not…

The Panthers' defense is not what it used to be. SF has 4 TDs in the 1st half, and are shredding them both through the air and on the ground.

63 Nick Bosa has 3 sacks…

Nick Bosa has 3 sacks already and looks more or less unstoppable. Allen is not helping matters by sprinting straight backwards when he sees him coming.

64 Wow. Just seen Joe Flacco…

Wow. Just seen Joe Flacco absolutely blasting his own coaches in his post-match press conference for not playing aggressively enough at the end of the game.

65 That seems pretty rich from…

That seems pretty rich from the QB who wouldn't throw past the line of scrimmage, and consistently drops back so far he outruns his pocket (yes, his LT is part-turnstile, but dropping back so far the OT has no angle to work with doesn't help). Have to see the all-22 footage to see if no-one was going deep, but Flacco seems to have been pretty reluctant to throw anywhere and especially deep all too often.

Thanks BJR, I'll have to look up the press conference.

67 I didn't see the game so…

I didn't see the game so cannot comment on Flacco's play. His comments just appeared on the Red Zone channel. I genuinely don't think I've ever seen a player call out his coaches so openly, and all the more amazing that it comes from Joe Flacco, who always comes across so placidly. 

72 It seems he was specifically…

It seems he was specifically criticizing the decision to run the ball on a third and five inside the Titans territory on the Broncos' last possession. They were one short pass away from icing the game. I think he's clearly right. Passing is much more likely to pick up the first in that situation.

73 I think that once you take…

I think that once you take into account that your QB is a washed up Joe Flacco, there's a pretty good case that he's not. 

Flacco has never been particularly good at the medium-to-short timing stuff. He's worse now.

75 You'd have to have a…

You'd have to have a dominant running game and an incredibly bad passing offense for it to be more likely you pick up a third and five on the ground rather than the air. It's the NFL. Passing is king. Denver ran because they were playing very conservatively and were more interested in making the Colts burn a timeout than sealing the game.

78 Joe Flacco: -20.2% dvoa, …

Joe Flacco: -20.2% dvoa, -140 dyar. 
den passing offense : -17% DVOA

den rushing offense : -2.7%


Denver does have a very bad passing offence, and an average rushing game, and the sort of plays you run in 3rd and 5 are literally the thing that Joe Flacco is worst at. 

yes, in a normal situation this is a bad decision. But Joe Flacco is awful at this. 

66 What an utterly bone-headed…

What an utterly bone-headed challenge by the Browns. The spot looked good in real time, and the very first replay confirmed Sanu clearly had forward progress at the marker.

What is the thought process there? We have to look like we are doing something/being pro-active? Ridiculous.

71 "Other than that, Mrs…

"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?!"

Although, seriously, they had settled down a bit after the initial turnover-fest.

Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams making a big impact their comeback, as well..

74 Apparently some of the…

Apparently some of the mascots are wearing costumes for Halloween. The Texans' longhorn mascot (no idea what it's actually named) is dressed as Spiderman. Very weird. One costume on top of another costume.

77 Nick Bosa is having an…

Nick Bosa is having an incredible game, as are all the 49ers in general. Pretty crazy turnaround for this team to turn into a Super Bowl contender from 4-12 with only two primary additions (Bosa and Garropollo, who has only been average) and both their starting tackles injured. Shanahan is proving his worth as head coach and playcaller with this season, along with the Falcons complete demise.

80 I did forget about Ford,…

I did forget about Ford, yeah. That pass rush ability they have now just totally altered the defense from dumpster fire to elite, which is crazy. I'm happy for that team, I like rooting for Sherman, play designs are awesome, would love to see Garropollo stick it to Brady in the SB.

81 Crazy play by DeShaun Watson…

Crazy play by DeShaun Watson. He miraculously escapes a defender and throws a TD. Afterwards he stays down. On replay, it appears he was kicked in the eye. He might've thrown that TD with the use of only one eye.

82 The Browns really haven't…

The Browns really haven't helped themselves at times today, but those last couple of OPI calls against them were ticky-tack to say the least.

83 The Confusing Coaching Award…

The Confusing Coaching Award for this week is already taken by Kitchens.

Down 17, 6 minutes to go, 4th and 11, punt formation, apparently they take an intentional penalty to not waste a timeout.

4th and 16, they send out the offense for a long developing play where Mayfield got swarmed by the linemen and got off the field limping.

84 Field Goal?

I understand that Cleveland needs three scores but at 4th and 6, you have a reasonable chance of making the first. Instead, FG and you still need two TDs.
And the onside kick goes out of bounds.

127 I think the FG was the right…

In reply to by RobotBoy

I think the FG was the right call.  To pull of the miracle, you'll need to conserve as much time as possible.  In that situation, kick the FG as soon as it's in range.

85 From Nagy's press conference…

From Nagy's press conference, his reasons why he didn't try to run the ball to make a 41-yard kick easier for his kicker:

  • fumble
  • if the other team knows you're running it, only 3 or 4 yards

88 It appears

that Nagy is really of the belief that they lost the playoff game because the kicker missed. Not that he botched the last 40 seconds on the clock and failed to make the kickers job easier. 

95 Just saw a brief clip on the…

Just saw a brief clip on the late game.

My initial impression is that that's a coach who's never taking a team deep in the playoffs.  Maybe he's a good enough co-ordinator to win some games in the regular season with a talented team, but that sort of inflexibility and blindness to your own weaknesses is unlikely to be restricted to this particular issue.  It's more likely a general characteristic that'll cap how much success his teams can have.

130 Honestly, I am hard pressed…

Honestly, I am hard pressed to think that Nagy is responsible in any positive way for the team going 12-4 last year. I think the greatness of the defense coupled with really good injury luck camouflaged his shortcomings. I think he flat-out stinks as a playcaller and he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. He certainly doesn't appear to be maximizing Trubisky's talents, although I also don't think Trubisky is ever going to be good no matter who coaches him.

I had to laugh at the missed 41-yard field goal to try to salvage a win from a game they deserved to lose, but of course now I have to listen to people saying "Mitch did his job and put them in a position to win," as if Mitch is blameless for all of the plays they ran in the red zone and failed to score TDs earlier in the game. I don't know if Pineiro is any good as a kicker (nor do I really have confidence that any of us can say if a kicker is good or not, based on the tiny sample size of kicks he makes and misses in games), but he is the least of the Bears' problems right now.

87 NFL executives must be…

NFL executives must be gnashing their teeth that Mahomes is injured for this matchup. Maybe their spirits will be lifted by the fact this game will still probably blow the World Series game's ratings out of the water.

92 I'm disappointed even though…

I'm disappointed even though I'm a Packers fan. I watched a couple KC games earlier this year and was amazed. Mahomes is like mid-90's Favre without the bonehead mistakes. Mahomes is going to rewrite the records books. 

89 I loved that TD "pass" from…

I loved that TD "pass" from Rodgers to Jones. You never saw plays like that with McCarthy. Both HBs in. One goes in motion then comes back for a shovel pass. That's all new. Yes, AR can play in this offense.

Also, really stupid challenge by Reid. It was quickly obvious that Kumerow's catch was going to be too close to call at best.

96 Hands to the face giveth,…

Hands to the face giveth, hands to the face taketh away: Ogbah had a pretty obvious one on Rodgers on that sack that wasn't called.

97 The refs missed a blow to…

The refs missed a blow to the head of Rodgers on the third down play that ended the drive. It was incidental, so in a way I'm glad it wasn't called. I hate those incidental penalties when they interfere with the game.

98 Turned off the GB-KC game…

Turned off the GB-KC game after 1Q thinking it was going to be a blowout, then tuned back in to see KC ahead 17-14. NOT the game I was expecting.

Just saw GB do a flea flicker that somehow turned into a Rodgers sack. How often does that happen?

100 Goodness gracious, that…

Goodness gracious, that Rodgers-Williams TD. Incredible throw backpedaling with a guy in his face, I thought he was just throwing it away; incredible catch getting both feet down in bounds, by a RB no less.

107 I'd say it's a bit of both…

I'd say it's a bit of both. Rodgers for aiming it into the corner of the endzone and with enough arc to give the RB a chance to make a great play along with Williams making that great catch. 

105 And McCoy scores, courtesy…

And McCoy scores, courtesy of Bahktiari pointing out to refs the importance of calling hands to the face penalties.

106 Oh man, Packers had a huge…

Oh man, Packers had a huge stop on 3rd down and Chiefs were sending in the FG unit, except Tramon Williams had a (brief but) blatant hands-to-the-face on the complete other side of the field from the action. Auto 1st, Chiefs punch it in on the next play, tie game in the 4th.

111 Cowardly punt.

5:30 left in the game, down by 7 at home, 4th and 3. GB has been tearing it up on offense. Why are you punting?!!!

ETA: Now they take a timeout on 2nd an inches with about 2:50 left. Am I wrong in thinking that's basically a waste of a timeout because of the high probability of converting? You let them run the play at 2:10, and probably convert at 2:03 left on the clock. Then you call a timeout as soon as the whistle blows, and let the 2-minute warning be an extra timeout for you. Assuming you stop them afterwards (and you have to assume you do), you basically get one extra timeout on your next possession, probably around the 30 yard line.

114 On the other hand, giving…

In reply to by Independent George

On the other hand, giving them a short field isn't terribly conducive to winning either, especially since IIRC the Packers would've started on the outskirts of field goal range already. That was a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation if I ever saw one.

118 Especially when your offense…

Especially when your offense has been successful for most of the night. It's one thing if they'd been struggling, or if it had been a defensive game - but they were moving the ball well.

119 That  Chiefs' defense really…

That  Chiefs' defense really combines being soft with nonathleticism. Reid is a great coach, but he's gotta understand that Spagnulo is trying to get it done with flashing lights and ringing bells, in an effort to conceal how many guys really can't play. Anything that might keep them off the field needs strong considetation




123 I'm still not really…

I'm still not really convinced punting wasn't the right call. A sophisticated win probability calculation needs to include time left on the clock, field position, and the odds that the Packers' offense scores again if the Chiefs convert and tie, but the gist of it is that their defense had to prevent the Packers from gaining two first downs via runs and short passes (since their primary objective was to bleed the clock, and 3 runs = 2 mins, they do that twice and get a new set of downs they can kneel it out). The Packers have one of the better defenses in the NFL this year, and despite their reputation, the Chiefs' have a middle-of-the-road one (although one that's abysmal against the run). I have a hard time seeing converting 4th and 3 as realistically more likely than preventing 2 firsts on the ground (although that KC run-D DVOA is really, really bad...). Even if they're more likely than not to convert, call it 56% for convenience, their odds of stopping 3 runs short of a 1st only have to be better than about 25% for the punt to pay off.

112 I swear, Collinsworth…

I swear, Collinsworth decides what he is going to say before the ball is snapped, based on who is involved. You're watching a replay in slo-mo, and Collinsworth is describing something at odds with what is on the screen.

Oh, well, wife fell asleep. Hello, mute button.

122 I think most people watching…

I think most people watching the game knew he should not only have tried to convert 4th and 3, but they should have let everyone know they were going for it before they snapped in on 3rd down.

I think Andy Reid is really one of the best coaches in the game today, but he has some real deficiencies when it comes to clock management and playcalling in high leverage situations. It's unfortunate that those are the most visible aspects of being a Head Coach, and therefore the very thing that people judge him on while ignoring the other 98% of the job (which he excels at), but it can't help but drive you nuts sometimes. Hell, Reid is literally the only coach I can think of that has proven consistently great at what might be the hardest thing to do in football: identify and develop QB talent. But his terrible clock management has been notorious since his Philly days. 

121 We need to talk about Freddie Kittens

Down multiple Tds, and the browns take an intentional D.O.G. penalty from punt formation, then go for it on fourth an infinity.

The Pats have 300 wins under belichick and shit like this is 1/2 of it.

How are these coaches worse than Madden's autopilot?

124 "Freddie Kittens" - love it…

"Freddie Kittens" - love it

I didn't see the game today unfortunately ("un"?), but that sounds either galaxy-brained or just plain indecisive. I said it after that draw play on 4th and whatever a few weeks ago, and I say it again: whoever is calling plays should not be calling plays.

I guess Kitchens hasn't been a total disaster (well... he's better than Hue Jackson, at least) but he is not good, Mayfield's either regressed or been exposed, and they've wasted the most favorable set of intra-conference circumstances they were ever going to get. Realistically, they need to try again with a new coach next season (although realistically, they're going to waste at least one more year with him), meaning that barring some sort of McVay-Goff magical connection with Coach 4, they still won't have a real read on whether Mayfield is the answer when it's time to talk extension.

Kitchens, Koetter... don't hire a guy to be the coach just because your 1st year QB likes him. Just don't.

150 300 Wins

The 300 is Belichick's total as a head coach, so it includes his time in Cleveland, fyi.

Looks like his regular season wins are 36 w/ the Browns, and 233 with the Pats.  Plus another 31 playoff wins.  I believe 1 of those is with the Browns (over the Pats in 2004/5).


125 Halfway through the season,…

Halfway through the season, there is exactly one division where every team has a positive point differential. Can you guess which one? Hint: it's the only one where no team has a losing record.

The AFC South, of course! A solid group of teams from top to bottom, just like we all predicted.

131 I haven't watched the…

I haven't watched the Lolphins play this year, other than a few minutes of the Pats game. I'm not sure what I'm looking for tonight, other than to be entertained. Said entertainment can, of course, take many forms. I see Drake's been traded, so presumably Fitzpatrick will throw even more often. Or at least, drop back to throw.

I'm a bit disappointed the Steelers aren't deeper into their QB depth chart. Getting to play their second-stringer seems anti-climatic compared to watching their third-stringer or - even better! - their fourth-stringer take on the Lolphins' D (not that I'd wish an injury on Devlin Hodges, or prolonged recovery on Mason Rudolph).

EDIT: Thought(?) experiment: building on the Scramble for the Ball guys' article, if their opposition was forced to start their emergency QB for all their remaining games, how many games would Miami be expected to win over the remainder of the season?

133 I was given to understand…

I was given to understand that Mason Rudolph was decent. This might be the worst performance I've seen by a QB this year. Criminy. FitzMagic could win this.

134 LOL

Looks like the 0-6 team is wearing black and gold.

135 That was an unexpected score…

That was an unexpected score to see upon turning this game on late in the first. Miami has been better since returning to Fitzpatrick. They almost beat the Redskins after inserting him and were competitive with the Bills last week.

144 "Mostly the TE's fault" is…

"Mostly the TE's fault" is wonderfully understated.  Fitzpatrick (Ryan) put the ball right in his TE's chest and O'Leary bounced it straight up in the air with both hands like a volleyball setter.



137 I just turned on MNF. I was…

I just turned on MNF. I was shocked when I saw the score. Of course, it was just in time for the Dolphins to remember they were the Dolphins and promptly give up a long TD which started as a 10 yard pass.

141 Until you realize the plan…

Until you realize the plan they have for turning everything around doesn't include meaningless wins this year.  Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they have two games against the Jets and a game against the Bengals left.  Of course, beating Pittsburgh helps them in that they have the Steelers' first round pick next year.

138 Dolphins bring an all-out…

Dolphins bring an all-out blitz on 3rd and 22, leaving them with 3 DBs against 4 receivers; Johnson takes it 45 yards through some of the openest field you'll ever see for the score. I'm still laughing.

142 It helped the Dolphins for…

It helped the Dolphins for Fitzpatrick to pick that pass off. They weren't going to get a punt that good.

143 Steve Young pointed out over…

Steve Young pointed out over halftime that Rudolph is good at throws to the sideline but bad at throws over the middle (that wide-open slant on the blitz notwithstanding). We've really seen that this game, he's made some really nice throws to the sidelines (including an outstanding pitch-and-catch that was called back for OPI involving a booth review, because that's a thing we do now) but over the middle he's often behind, resulting in incompletes and intercept-able balls.

That strikes me as possibly a rust or timing issue, which might improve with health and experience, but if it's a known issue for him from before, I'd be more concerned.

UPDATE: Literally seconds after I post that he hits an excellent timing route over the middle. Although the receiver was moving downfield - I wonder if he's better at judging motion toward-away than side-to-side (which might be an issue in terms of his viability as a starter).

145 This is my first time…

This is my first time watching Miami. They are really bad at tackling. I stopped counting missed tackles. It seems the Steelers are gaining 9 to 10 yards every other play.

146 Lol, Tessitore got real…

Lol, Tessitore got real heated that we don't have "microchips" and "laser grids" during that interminable review.

I'm still a little skeptical that the technology as it exists in 2019 is sufficient for real use (will it really still be accurate to within a fraction of an inch after a hundred plays' worth of hits and falls, in the rain? Because it needs to be), but that day can't come quickly enough, at least for spotting the ball and identifying first/touch downs.

148 Impressions: 1. The Dolphins…

1. The Dolphins played hard. That speaks well to Flores and his coaching staff.
2. Fitzpatrick may indeed be the "perfect QB" for this team, as he asserted. There's no quit in him, and he's showing the rest of the team how a professional plays, regardless of the circumstances.
3. Booger's right to emphasize that wacky all out blitz at the end of H1 that allowed the Steelers to convert a 3rd-and-20 to an instant TD. It changed Rudolph's confidence level and the course of the game.
4. The Miami receiving corps wasn't as bad as they looked for the bit of the Pats game I saw, but the TEs were pretty much useless (especially the tall one, Gesecki or something?).
5. The Miami OL is about as porous as the Pats right now, except these seem to be Miami's A-team, rather than injury replacements (Dolphins fans can correct me if I'm wrong).
6. Miami's DL isn't too bad. Their secondary's got some weak links. Their LB corps … do they have LBs? It seemed like when Pitt ran the ball either Connor was tackled by a DE or else he was tackled by a safety 10+ yards down the field. Someone else mentioned the missed tackles. There were a fair few of those, mostly in the space between the DL and the safeties, where typically NFL teams deploy LBs, but Miami was employing matadors (the ones with capes only, not the ones with spears).