Football Outsiders
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Week 2 Open Discussion

Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Week 2 kicks off on Thursday night as Joe Burrow and the Bengals travel to Cleveland in search of their first win. Other notable contests include the L.A. Rams at Philadelphia, the Chiefs at the Chargers, and the Ravens at the Texans. The Patriots travel to Seattle on Sunday night, while Monday will see the Las Vegas Raiders open Allegiant Stadium when they host the New Orleans Saints. Use this thread to discuss them all. 


149 comments, Last at 22 Sep 2020, 12:31pm

3 First half, knee-jerk…

First half, knee-jerk impressions of both QBs:

Burrow - nothing spectacular, but evidence of the talent on display: progressing through reads, and nice touch on his TD pass. But it’s going to be a long hard season for him if he keeps getting hit at this rate.

Mayfield - you do notice the zip and accuracy on his passes, what made him the top prospect. But still it all looks rather frenetic. Pleasingly it looks like the Browns coaches are embracing his tendency to roll out of the pocket at any opportunity. And he’s throwing to a lot of open men; this Cincinnati defense is bad. 

4 I'm impressed with Burrows'…

I'm impressed with Burrows' poise.  He looked comfortable in his first NFL game, and he looks comfortable out there today, too.  

Mayfield's itchy feet would hurt him against a better D, but Cincy's struggling to remember they need to cover all of the Browns' eligible receivers, not just some of them (see Hunt TD); trying to also scheme against Mayfield's tendencies is likely a step too far.

7 I might even go a bit better…

I might even go a bit better than that on Burrow. It might be (relatively) low expectations, but I was somewhat skeptical of how well he would do when his offensive talent wasn't overwhelming relative to the defense. Turns out he handles it pretty darn well. He hasn't made a bad decision that I've seen, and his throws are all right on the money - that one to AJ Green on the sideline was just nuts. Dare I say, Manning-esque.

I'm half inclined to say "Ok, we know he doesn't stink, take him out and put him in some kind of stasis chamber until next season so he doesn't get killed before you can overhaul that terrible, terrible offensive line." Because, even though he seems to move in the pocket and gets the ball out well enough, he's going to get broken before too long.

As I type that, he gets strip sacked and just demolished by two defensive linemen. It looked like the responsible tackle went the completely wrong way off the snap, and only later realized someone ought to block one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. They're going to David Carr him by the bye week at this rate.

Mayfield... man, I don't know. Literally the first play I saw was that rollout bomb that he launched about 40 yards right on the money with a flick of the wrist. Almost immediately after was that rollout... thing... where he ran backwards 10 yards and intentionally grounded it for no apparent reason. Not great that he's doing stuff like that in his 3rd year, but he's the one guy who's somehow had worse NFL coaching than Darnold (although Burrow may like a word), so he gets a tentative pass; still it's not a great sign. He's definitely way, way better on rollouts, but I worry that that's because he just doesn't see the field well from the pocket, and goes hunting for a better view. When he can get one, he's pretty good, but better defenses are going to keep him bottled up if he can't beat them from the pocket, and I've still not seen much evidence that he can.

17 Mayfield

He’s still got a good chance to succeed because he’s accurate, but indeed, he must find a way to function from the pocket. I do have hope that this coaching staff are at least competent, and are going to play to his strengths. A really solid offensive line would help matters, obviously, and the Browns have (belatedly) invested there, so there is hope.


32 I've always liked Baker, but…

In reply to by BJR

I've always liked Baker, but I must admit I'm a little worried about him.  He seems to run hot and cold.  Maybe with enough experience, and with an offense tailored to his skill set, he'll get more consistent.  On the other hand he's in his third year, so maybe hot-and-cold is just what he's always going to be.  I still like him as a team leader who plays with passion and who is capable of going on insane hot streaks.  You could do a lot worse at QB.

Burrow looks like he's going to be a superstar.  If he can survive, that is.  He's taking a lot of hits.

As a Browns fan, I was glad to get a win but I'm afraid there won't be many of them this year.  The defense looks incredibly bad.  I realize that injuries are a large part of the reason for that, but hey, whatever the excuse is, the reality is that the Browns' defense is awful right now, and by the time it gets healthy the team could be in such a deep hole that it won't matter.

5 Chubb being Chubb.It will…

Chubb being Chubb between the 5's...still not quite there at the goallines.

It will be interesting to see if they are willing to invest in an extension or at least a franchise tag, given they already gave Kareem Hunt a modest one, and given the coming cap uncertainty.  He was a high 2nd rounder, so not eligible for the 5th year option.

It would hurt to let him walk, but are they comfortable that his game will age like Willis McGahee/Frank Gore and not Todd Gurley?

10 Bengals make it a 5 point…

Bengals make it a 5 point game, but their atrocious run defense lets kareem hunt run wild and he gets a td.

11 Tremendously clutch garbage…

Tremendously clutch garbage TD drive by Jeaux Burreaux. Congrats on covering your first NFL spread, rookie!!

12 Bad non-call on a DPI…

Bad non-call on a DPI against Green in the endzone in the final minute.  DB knocks down Green's right hand well before the ball gets there.  Ended up not mattering as Bengals get a TD on the next play and don't recover the onside kick, but I hate that the NFL isn't using replay to get the calls right.

13 Man, was that some brutal…

Man, was that some brutal defense by the Bengals. Over 200 yards rushing, 3 TDs, no fumbles. Cleveland's last TD drive- 6 plays, 75 yards, all rushes- was like watching my Northwestern Wildcats against the Buckeyes. The offensive line performance wasn't much better. 4.0 yards per play for the Bengals, vs 7.5 for the Browns! They could easily have lost by 3 scores.

What did y'all think of Burrow? His average pass went about 5 yards past the line of scrimmage, but he made a few really nice throws, especially his first and last throws, without any interceptions, despite being frequently under siege, with no running game whereof to speak. Not too bad for his 2nd start, right?

16 Burrow

Burrow hung in there tremendously well. He was still making plays late in the 4th quarter after sustaining quite a beating, and didn’t make any terrible mistakes. Impressive. Of course, he never threw the ball downfield, so there was nothing to really make you go ‘wow’ (though that was mostly because he never had time). Again, it’s extremely worrying for his safety and development if his average game is going to follow that script; constantly chasing the game because of his terrible defense, behind a porous offensive line. 

Typical of the Browns to turn what should have been a blowout victory into a close game. 

14 What I learned: the Ravens…

What I learned: the Ravens are better than the Bengals. 

what I suspect: the Browns are a good bad team. They have some talent, but the d has issues. If they get up, the run offense and a possibly mediocre passsing game will let them beat other bad teams. If they get down, or really need to get a stop, they are toast. 

what I learned about the Bengals: 0 explosion on Offense, Run D is almost as bad as last year. 

what I suspect about the Bengals:   Burrow is limited. I think, since he is older, he put on his 2 nd year pro muscle last year (hence the breakout sr. year). I mean, compare Lamar Jackson last year, with his last year of college, in strength and speed. Now do the same with Burrow. I fear burrow already is what he will be. He’ll get more skilled, maybe slightly faster /effective reads. But there won’t be an explosion later or next year. I think the same was true of Baker. There has been no athletic growth. And with the bad bengal line, he may develop happy feet. He took some licks tonight. Pity him if he plays Washington FC or the Rams. 

18 "or really need to get a…

"or really need to get a stop, they are toast. "


I still think the Browns D has some upside; they were missing about half of their defense tonight.

Olivier Vernon is made of glass and is probably not part of the team future, but if Greedy Williams can ever stay healthy consistently and if Delpit comes back decently next year, the LSU North crew will be fearsome.

19 What worries me is that the…

What worries me is that the Bengals had no one who could get separation, and a rookie still completed 30+ passes and put up 30 points, albeit in dink and dunk mode. Sure, most teams aren’t the Chiefs or Ravens with at least one outside receiver with stretch the field speed, but the GOOD teams all have that. 

I mean, isn’t this what Mineshew would do? What would AZ, or heaven forefend KC do?

25 Annihilate them. Plus, KC's…

Annihilate them. Plus, KC's dink-and-dunks come with lots of YAC, something Cincy doesn't really have, either.

Burrow actually played pretty well, even with the Browns clearly scheming to remove Green as an option most of the time. That line is terrible, though.

23 I fear burrow already is…

I fear burrow already is what he will be.

The best player on the Bengals roster?

Seriously, he was the only guy on the field wearing tiger stripes who seemed to know what professional football looked like.

26 I think you are mistaking…

I think you are mistaking the game slowing down for athletic growth.  I really doubt Jackson's athletic ability increased from his rookie year to his sophomore NFL year, unless he put on some pounds so he could better take a hit.  What happened with Jackson is he uses his legs better while throwing; in college he barely moved his legs, and now he shifts on his legs more during the followthrough.  It's probably why his accuracy is better now than at Louisville, and it was an easy fix for a good coaching staff.  Baker's issues have nothing to do with his athletic ability; he still moves around the pocket too much, like he did at Oklahoma.  The difference is that he is in the NFL right now and doesn't have Orlando Brown protecting him.  If the relative youth mattered that much, then Darnold should be tearing up the league, and he looks worse than Burrow or Mayfield right now.

36 Lamar DID put on some pounds year 1 to 2

@mehllageman56 –

Lamar said he DID put on some poundage from year one to year two, to better take a hit.  His offseason QB coach Josh Harris told reporters that Lamar told him, "Them boys are big!"  :-)

Does not seem to have added noticeable weight this past offseason.  Maybe a little – his arms look jacked.  But his focus was different this offseason.  Same coach said that this year, he was mostly working on "Tom Brady stuff".

And let me just add right here: wow, I love Lamar SO much.

37 I am mostly going on other…

I am mostly going on other sports. Peak speed in track is early to mid 20s, peak strength is usually early to mid 30s. Football impedes that with an unholy beating, so late 20s RB are over the hill due to wear and tear. I have little doubt that Lamar, Mahomes, Murray are stronger and, in Lamars case, faster than when then were in college. I am not convinced that is true of Burrow. Baker may be stronger, but he doesn’t look as quick. At this point, time is killing Big Ben who looks much slower, but he has been injured, and accrued a lot of hits. 

where burrow worries me is how short his passes are. The are fairly accurate, so that is great. But his skills position targets don’t have the talent or speed separation that his LSU team did. I worry he is McCarron, in that the overwhelming talent around him overstated his ability to stand out. To be sure, Mahomes in Cincy wouldn’t be winning a super bowl this year, so I may be overly negative. I just don’t see the upside everybody seems to assume is there. 

39 I don't mean this in a nasty…

I don't mean this in a nasty way, but did you watch Burrow play at LSU? Genuinely curious, not trying to insult. The tape is not even remotely close to a nothing like AJ McCarron, having watched every game of both. Burrow is hands down the single best QB prospect I have ever seen, and it's not even close. Personally I thought that if Burrow did not improve one tiny little bit from College to the NFL, he would still be a top 20 QB, maybe higher. The accuracy, the pocket presence, the ability to throw on the move, read defenses quickly and correctly. The guy has it all. 

EDIT: Actually it is close, because Burrow is something of a one year wonder, whereas the next best QB prospect, Trevor Lawrence, already has two slightly less spectacular years. However, after that it's not close.

I think his passes are short because Zac Taylor doesn't want to get his young QB killed behind a terrible offensive line. Getting the ball out quick can minimize his hits. He can throw deep no problem. I'm not kidding when I say that last year Burrow was a top 20 QB in the NFL, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's a top 5 QB by the end of this season. However, most people would never know because of who he's passing to and who he's passing behind. It's safe to say, if he has a decent statistical year in Cincy 2020 you're looking at a first ballot HOFer, and a guy who will be in the conversation for greatest of all time.

I'm usually very conservative with my projections, but I will happily let this comment stand the test of time.

20 Everyone seems to be bagging…

Everyone seems to be bagging on Burrow for not throwing downfield, but can you blame him?  He and his coaches seem to be aware that the Bengals do not have a functional offensive line.  Even with the quick passes, Burrow was still getting clobbered.  I was actually impressed with him under the circumstances.  Sure, he wasn’t rookie DeShaun Watson or anything, but he was accurate, didn’t make any terrible decisions, And never looked panicked.  If Cincinnati can avoid David Carr’ing him and getting some talent around him, I think he’ll be really good.

22 main impressions were Burrow…

main impressions were Burrow looks good, Baker was much better than he's looked in a while (but the pick came on the only play I can remember him having any pressure on), and wow, that Chargers offense must be gruesome to only put up 16 on the Bengals.  AJ also looked kinda washed

24 I think the Chargers are bad…

I think the Chargers are bad, but I think teams breaking in new lines / new QBs are going to have less predictive weeks 1 this year than in most years.

We saw that in spades in college, unless you really thought BYU was 52 points better than Navy, on the road.

27 I'll be honest, I haven't…

I'll be honest, I haven't watched a snap of cfb this season, and probably won't until October.  Agreed that breaking in new lines is going to be a mess this year, regardless.  Still, Cleveland's line looked much better than last year, and I thought they were playing a new scheme/several new starters (though not in week one).  Still, think I'd feel better about Burrow than Mayfield, long-term, even after very little game action (assuming they don't get him killed this year), he's already going through progressions and calm under extreme duress

29 “that Chargers offense must…

“that Chargers offense must be gruesome to only put up 16 on the Bengals.”

Tyrod Taylor.   He was last seeing being bad with the 2018 Browns and lost his job to rookie Baker Mayfield.  Sure, he doesn’t throw interceptions, which is why conservative coaches love him, but he doesn’t really move the ball, either (aside from an occasional bomb here and there), and takes way too many sacks.

30 Yes. I suppose this season…

Yes. I suppose this season more than others there could be some justification for not immediately tossing in a rookie QB week 1. But still, as a coaching staff what are you trying to achieve drafting a QB in the top ten, then leaving him on the bench behind Tyrod Taylor? I suspect the actual answer is: to give yourself a card to play when the team starts losing games. 

28 Zac Taylor

Can someone please tell me why Zac Taylor is so obsessed with Giovanni Bernard?  Mixon, even with essentially zero blocking, looked poised to bust one in the first half.  He was breaking ankles and shrugging defenders off of him like it was child's play.  Then the 2 minute drill at the end of the 1st half starts and its all Gio. He's not a better blocker, he's not a better receiver, he's not a better runner. Why, if you MUST get the ball down the field, do you want your worse, slower player in there? And well then everyone saw the 2nd half haha. What happened to Taylor's "I'm going to use Mixon more like I did the 2nd half of last year." ????? I'm still scratching my head.

31 I agree with Troy Aikman…

I agree with Troy Aikman.

That "can't block back to your own end line" rule is pretty stupid. The guy was trying to join the tackle and the other guy (tretter I think) tried to block him away from it. 

If you're going to play defense, you just have to know where the blockers are. Because if you're chasing a carrier, then all of a sudden different rules apply as if you were to be head on on the runner.

Yes, these are hard and dangerous blocks. Yeah. And? They need to be made to gain yards.

33 Didn't watch or follow the…

Didn't watch or follow the game, but I see that Burrow passed 61 times, was sacked three times, and ran it seven times. That's an insane 71 touches in just a single game. Incredible that a team is already relying so much on a guy playing his second game. It's reminiscent of Titans-Ravens last season where I believe Lamar set a record by touching the ball more than 80 times.

34 You can't really fault the…

You can't really fault the Bengals staff (not that I'm implying you were). That was clearly their best option in terms of trying to win the game, and they were still in with a chance well into the 4th quarter. Maybe as the season wears on, and the Bengals' 'prospects' are dead, they need to look at managing Burrow's workload/exposure in such circumstances. But doing so in week 2 would be fairly unpalatable. 

40 The Bengals drafted this kid…

The Bengals drafted this kid hoping he'll be the face of the franchise for the next decade and a half.  Everything they do for the next two years should be focusing on making that come true.  



This sort of Shanahan - RG3 sort of short term decision making is a big part of why these shitty teams stay shitty. 

35 Is it just me, or is AJ…

Is it just me, or is AJ Green toast? Guy didn't  look very impressive last night. Had trouble getting separation and looked slow.

42 This is, I believe, the…

This is, I believe, the first time the Packers have officially led the Lions in a game since 2017.

43 Before last week Josh Allen…

Before last week Josh Allen had never even reached 300 yards passing in a game. Now he has 249 at the half against Miami.

44 Steelers are lucky to only…

Steelers are lucky to only give up 3 points after coming out sloppy in the second half.  The defense in the red zone is really stepping up though.

I'm still left with a bad taste in my mouth that they didn't go for it on 4th and 2 from the Denver 3 late in the first half...  had they scored on that series it would still be a two-touchdown lead.

45 The Falcons should have the…

The Falcons should have the play of the day. Out of a wildcat WR Russell Gage throws a perfect deep pass to Julio Jones... Who just straight up drops it. I can't recall seeing such a good pass from a non-QB.

46 Where will this 49ers win…

On top of all of the other injury-filled games today, where will this 49ers win rank on most-Pyrrhic-of-all-time?  Yikes.

One of the only key players staying healthy is...Jordan Reed?!

47 The team everyone thought…

The team everyone thought was headed to the first pick in the draft has a shot to go to 2-0. Jags are getting the ball down by only 7.

48 Uncharacteristic brain fart…

Uncharacteristic brain fart by Stafford (was not helped by Amendola's passive receiving) gives up a pick-6 from his own 5 yard line. Now 31-14 Packers, having been 3-14 Lions at one point. And the Packers might even have more were it not for some uncharacteristic drops and penalties. Detroit looks bad bad bad, especially on defense.

The Lions were pinned on their own 5 in large part due to a tremendously stupid penalty by the returner, who signaled fair catch then abandoned it to block somebody, incurring a personal foul. That's just bad coaching.

49 After that crazy fourth…

After that crazy fourth quarter rally last week the Bears are threatening to do the reverse this week. A 14-point lead has dwindled to 7 and the Giants have the ball in the redzone. Chicago had a pick-six a few plays ago but pass interference was called.

50 Steelers with a nice 4th…

Steelers with a nice 4th down conversion by not overdramatizing it, leading to a classic Roethlisberger rollout TD pass.  More of this please.

51 Jags trailed by 13 in the…

Jags trailed by 13 in the 4th but now will have the ball in a tie game with a chance to drive for the win. Meanwhile Carolina has a chance to tie after trailing TB 21-0. A lot of crazy games today.

52 Crazy sequence just now. …

Crazy sequence just now.  Denver punter bobbles the snap in the end zone, looks like he's trying to save the play with a forward pass instead of punting, gets hit and manages to get the ball past the end line to give up a safety but prevent a fumble TD.  Diontae Johnson reverses direction threeish times when receiving the free kick, setting up nice field position for the Steelers, then Benny Snell coughs up a fumble on the first play from scrimmage.  First down Denver now down by 12.

53 The Lions are completely…

The Lions are completely incapable of defending the run or the pass. Patricia apparently defends his defensive bona fides by pointing to the fact that he was officially the DC when Malcolm Butler made that good play, once, five years ago.

I thought that long Aaron Jones run felt like their longest rush TD in forever. Turns out it is indeed their longest since 2004.

62 That game was Rod Marinelli…

That game was Rod Marinelli bad.  Patricia keeps trying to run a scheme that he doesn't have the personnel for.  On the other hand, his defenses in New England mostly underacheived even when they had good personnel.

The Lions offense was missing Golloday and two offensive line starters (they couldn't even score in garbage time like Minnesota did), but their defense is so horrific it really doesn't matter.  The Packers could have score in the 50's if they wanted to.

79 Hard to judge the overall…

Hard to judge the overall level of talent in Detroit with the injuries today, but lord are they poorly-coached. I don't think Patricia had any other calls on his sheet than "play man coverage and hold." When the Packers weren't just running up the middle for more than 7 yards per attempt, Rodgers was just going into empty, sitting in the pocket and waiting for the first receiver to get open.

55 McCafferty now out, and…

McCafferty now out, and Saquon injury may be an ACL tear.


Did Roger slip a layer of cement underneath everyone's turf overnight? Heavens.

57 The Giants attempt to drive…

The Giants attempt to drive for a game-winning TD down 4 after the Bears miss a FG falls just short. Time expires as a pass attempt from the 10 is broken up. Not a very impressive performance from Chicago though.

58 Titans get a game-sealing…

Titans get a game-sealing interception

Fournette rumbles 46 yards for a game sealing TD

Dolphins score 17 straight points and take the lead over the bills. 

Eagles losing, but surprisingly have given up no sacks. 

60 After a Denver drive where…

After a Denver drive where the Steelers had terrible, drive-sustaining penalties, a terrible challenge, and getting gouged for yards consistently, Terrell Edmunds gets a huge sack on 4th and 2 setting the Steelers up to fight for a second series against Denver's three timeouts inside of two minutes.  Then James Connor on second down runs it to the Denver 10.  This is an emotional rollercoaster, despair to joy and worry that they're still going to mess it up somehow...

61 After a few unremarkable…

After a few unremarkable carries, AJ Dillon just trucks the entire Detroit defense for an 11 yard game-sealing run. Rashan Gary also had 1.5 sacks, late. It's a bad opponent, but the Packers roster looks very deep.

63 Just tuned into Bills…

Just tuned into Bills-Dolphins in time to see: Josh Allen deftly evade a sack to make an incredible deep throw (with a fantastic catch by Diggs); Allen ineptly read the field, miss an open receiver, and take a 14 yard sack; Allen deftly evade another sack to hit a receiver in the end zone to retake the lead (with a fantastic catch by Gabriel Davis).

This team is fun as hell for anyone who doesn't particularly care about the outcome of their games.

66 Parity schmarity

Assuming the Bills hold on here, then if the Ravens win later, all of the 1-0 teams will have defeated the 0-1 teams in games between them. I'm less inclined to believe that Buffalo, Chicago and the Steelers are furreal, and more open to the suggestion that Miami, the Giants and Matt Patricia are awful.

67 Dallas recovers an onside…

Dallas recovers an onside kick and are now in prime position to win the game. Plenty of time left and the deficit is just two. Frustrating to watch for a Cowboys hater...

74 yep

As far as I can tell, since the merger there'd only been nine games where a team went onto lose after leading by 20 or more points at the end of the first quarter. But no lead is too great for a Dan Quinn defense to blow.

77 the defense

In reply to by ammek

and apparently awful special teams....

70 On the onside recovery the…

On the onside recovery the Atlanta players acted as if the rule against touching within ten yards applied to them, and not just the Cowboys... An absolutely terrible play.

71 Ugh, the Cowboys pull of the…

Ugh, the Cowboys pull of the incredible miracle comeback. I think they are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs because the Giants and Football Team are definitely terrible and the Eagles appear to be bad as well.

75 disappointment

Yes the main disappointment for me is that someone in the NFC East is now guaranteed to win at least four games this season. The prospect of a 3-13 playoff team was too gorgeous for words.

76 Rams - Eagles

Well I watched the Rams-Eagles game. 37-19 score that was a little more lopsided than the play. Actually, maybe it was perfectly indicative of the play. 21-3 at one point and the Eagles get a long drive for a TD late in the second, then Cooper Kupp does the most irritating play in football where he fields a punt that he shouldn't have only to fumble at the Rams 15 yard line. 21-16 at the half. After that the Iggles threatened to tie it up down 24-16, but then Wentz throws an awful pass into Darius Williams, and the game is basically over after the Rams march down and get a TD.

As far as individual players are concerned, it was both a Goffian and Wentzian performance by the two. Goff looked ultra sharp early in the game, before missing about 4 throws in the third quarter, then returning to his ultra sharp ways. Wentz had a whole bunch of weirdly bad throws mixed in all through the day. 

I mean, I'm a rams fan, but there's just not that much interesting in a game where the win was assured with 3:30 to go, even before Wentz's second interception.

80 I missed the TD drive…

I missed the TD drive watching the end of ATL/DAL but he's been spraying the ball all over the place since then, which if I remember correctly was kind of the book on him coming out of college.

84 Herbert is running, throwing…

Herbert is running, throwing passes/handing off to Austin Ekeler (who's a beast today) to move the Chargers.  Airmails the ball over an open Keenan Allen in the endzone, then throws a nice 20 yard TD pass on 3rd and long.

Tyrod Taylor is basically a lesser Alex Smith, so maybe a high variance QB like Herbert is the Chargers' only chance for an upset.

85 Well, that was a very nice…

Well, that was a very nice toss by Herbert on TD #2 there. I thought they were nuts for making this the national game in the late window with Ravens/Texans going on at the same time but we've got a ballgame.

83 Chargers

They're dazzling me with their playing, as promised in the song.

88 And they are kindly giving…

In reply to by NRG

And they are kindly giving us an extra drive or two. 

Herbert looks impressive, one dumb throw but a lot of good stuff too. KC defence looks porous though.

90 That was a ridiculous…

That was a ridiculous exhibition of kicking at the end there. 53,58,58 I know two didn’t count in the record books but still...

91 Wilson starting out hot

If not for Olsen blowing an easy catch and it turning into a freak pick 6, he'd be perfect.


Ejected.... wow. They’re serious about getting rid of dirty, dangerous play.

Nasty head-hunting. I guess he thought a few penalty yards was a good price for a chance to knock a receiver out of the game. He’ll know better... next week.

97 Wilson now 14/15

with his one incompletion a catchable pass that Olsen bumbled.


That puts him at 45/50 to start the season.  Amazing.

100 Just another reminder

He's only the second QB in NFL history to pass for 30,000 yards and rush for 4,000, the first being Steve Young.

And Wilson has still not received   A.  Single.  MVP.  Vote.

102 He should've won last year,…

He should've won last year, honestly, or at least gotten votes, given that PM15 missed games and Lamar had more talent around him/one-and-done.

I get that the Ravens/Seahawks game essentially decided the vote, but it shouldn't have cost Wilson every single vote.

137 Wilson suffers from the…

Wilson suffers from the inertia of the era where the defense dragged their offense to championships, but also the modern reality that they sure do hand the ball off a lot for a team with an MVP QB.

Jackson took over a moribund team that was slogging along un subprime Ravens territory -- good, but not great D paired with bad, but not terrible offense. They suddenly looked like juggernauts when he entered the lineup, so the comparison was obvious. Wilson quietly improved while his defense quietly regressed, so on net the Seahawks looked like the same old Seahawks.

We saw some of this in NE with the defense quietly carrying Brady for a few years, but saw it in his early prime, where observers hadn't noticed the Pats had become an offense-first team.

141 After the Seahawks game is when Lamar went on his tear

MVP voters didn't throw over Russ for losing vs the Ravens.  Lamar built his MVP case over the second half of the season.  After the Baltimore-Seattle game, over his final 8 games Lamar threw for almost 1500 yds with 25 TDs & 1 INT, and rushed for 630 yds with 4 TDs.  And his team marched undefeated thru a gantlet that included Pats-Texans-Rams-Niners-Bills. 

I get that it seems wrong for Wilson never to have tallied a single vote in the MVP races.  But 2019 is not a year when injustice was done.  

Glancing at his black-type seasons on PFR, maybe 2015 and 2017 would have been good chances for him to log a vote.  Led the league in passer rating one of those years, in TD passes the other.  I also think Russ might have logged more votes – er, any votes – if Seattle had won the division more often.  His impressive stat seasons don't line up with Seattle's division titles, which probably hurts his narrative with MVP voters in a given season.  This could be a year where both things come together.

(A propos of nothing, but looking at Russ' black-type seasons, I notice he co-led in Sacks Taken last year.  That's an undiscussed hole in Wilson's game: he takes a lot of sacks.  Seems to have cut that down slightly.)


144 Nah, people bring up his…

Nah, people bring up his sack rate all the time. If we are talking underrated weaknesses, I would mention the holding calls his OL gets called for due to Wilson's erratic scrambling in the pocket.

But yes, last night Wilson actually threw it away when he was about to be sacked in the pocket on two occasions. He's good at throwing it out of bounds outside of the pocket, but often he holds it too long in the pocket.

101 Thank god for three wildcard teams

As a fan of the rams I have to say that I am thrilled there is a third wildcard team this year, not just because the rams would have made it last year, but because all four NFC West teams are arguably better than all four NFC East teams. I know that there will probably be a team that pulls it together and manages to have a decent record, but would anyone here take any of the:


over any of the: 


at this point? I would honestly rate all four of the NFC West teams ahead of all four of the NFC East teams. Luckily, they are playing each other this year, so we get a much better idea how accurate that statement is.

109 That's an... oddly strong…

That's an... oddly strong take.

The Cowboys outplayed the Rams in LA, losing due to bad luck in high leverage situations (if you don't believe me, ask DVOA); against Atlanta, they were by far the better team, with the hole they had to dig out of being mostly fumble luck. They're way better than -2 PD.

I don't see the anything to move the preseason prior that they are better than any NFC West team save the Seahawks (they certainly are not now that Carroll is letting Russ cook).

122 First of all, the Rams…

First of all, the Rams clearly outplayed the Cowboys, and the final score didn't come close to showing that. A missed 31 yard field goal and an "interception" caused by Goff being facemasked were necessary to make it even a 3 point victory. The TOP advantage of about 10 minutes was a more accurate reflection of the game. 

Secondly, on what planet would you have the Cowboys as being better than the 49ers before the season? After their injuries it's still implausible, before them absolutely absurd.

132 Dallas is a pretender.

I was in Big D over the weekend and mentioned to a Cowboys fan at a Taqueria how the NFC Least will be theirs for the taking and it would be an indictment of McCarthy if they don't win 10 games in such a poor division.

He said the Cowboys would have a better record than my Cards to which I replied that the Cardinals would run and pass all over their horrible D.

No response back.  Apparently, Cowboys fans think that a defense routinely giving up 30+ points is going to take them places.

I would take any of the NFC teams, save the 49ers, over the Cowboys right now...

I also noticed very little buzz about my Cards cleaning out Rivera's no-name bunch.  If Murray is this dynamic in year two, his ceiling is higher than RW's or LJ's.  I already think he's better than D. Watson.

Cowboy's fans been eating too much of that Tex-Mex and have forgotten what "real" Mexican food tastes like!


142 So is...

... a lack of of a sense of humor and PC gone awry.

I'm Hispanic and can speak on such things as the difference between "Tex-Mex" and authentic Mexican food.

Don't try to virtue signal with me.

148 Bigotry about cuisine?…

Bigotry about cuisine?

People say all the time that an "authentic" national cuisine is better than the Americanized version of it.  We hear that about American "Chinese food", American "Italian food", American "Indian food", etc.  I'd hesitate before slapping the "bigot" label on someone who makes the same claim about Mexican food.

I mean, unless you really like Tex-Mex.  And who could blame you, really?



114 It was specifically TD…

It was specifically TD throws to wide receivers. It is true, I just checked, they only allowed 4 last year - and 4 tonight (plus 1 to the RB). It's a little fluky, they allowed plenty of TD catches to TEs (and of course the distinction is somewhat arbitrary), but yeah, only 4 TD catches by WRs against the Pats last year.

119 this is correct

but even the total number of TDs vs. the Pats's D was absurdly low until the Ravens' game last year.  They gave up a total of 13 passing TDs over the entire season,  but IIRC, most of them were in the last quarter of the season.

108 well

the NFL and the network has to be happy with this game....

111 Classic

In reply to by scraps

Amazing finish no matter how this play goes.

110 It's felt like the Seahawks…

It's felt like the Seahawks were quite a bit better all game, at least to me. I don't know how they've let it get away from them. The defense is just dissolving these last few drives. They should have just run it on that third and one... and maybe on the fourth and one anyway.

115 It feels like a better…

It feels like a better result would have been to fail on 4th down rather than punt.  If they failed on a 4th down attempt, and New England scores a touchdown, there likely would have been some time left on the clock for Seattle to at least get a field goal.  But Seattle punted, so NE's drive took the rest of the time of the game, and Seattle would have lost if Cam scores a TD on the last play.

Either way, Seattle has to stop NE.  The last 5-10 yards are the hardest, so might as well give them a shorter field so Seattle has a chance to score again.  In either case if NE fails, the game is likely over.

123 Seattle hurt themselves with…

Seattle hurt themselves with all their penalties, especially the false starts; I feel that Wilson trying to either draw the opponent offsides or gain information about the defense isn't worth it given how jumpy his OL has always been. And  Carson shouldn't have slid at the end, as it looks like he could've picked up the first down, and the two-minute warning was going to stop the clock anyway.

As for New England, they had some bewildering playcalls: run on 3rd and 4 (Newton would pick up the resulting 4th down, on the play where Diggs was ejected), Newton run on 3rd and 9, jet sweep-like pass on 3rd and 8, and toss play on 3rd and 4. Seattle was getting no pressure all day, so I don't know why they didn't have Cam just sitting back in the pocket on those plays. I noted that Cam only had one pass on third down last game, and once again they didn't pass enough on third down here.

139 "I don't know why they didn…

"I don't know why they didn't have Cam just sitting back in the pocket on those plays"

Lack of comfort in the passing attack, I'd say.  NE didn't open up the offense until they absolutely had to.  It's week 2, and they seemed to run variations on a similar play multiple times (see the interception where the CB knew what was coming, and the final play ofthe game).

NE needs a variant on "let Cam cook".  I doubt it'll take them 8 years to get there, but presumably it'll take a few weeks more to build up their playbook with all the new personnel. 

133 Hawk's flaws.

They have no pass-rush.  Like, none, whatsoever.

That secondary is going to be tested against the Cards and Rams.  I don't see them holding up over a whole game, especially with what the Card's bring talent-wise.

I'm not sold on the Rams yet, but I know they can score.  I'm more interested to see division play begin.

Definitely not buying the Belichick Chowderheads as being real.  This was their first test and they received a gift TD, still lost by 5, should have been more.

Regarding Seattle, I was watching those long bombs connect and it's amazing how the accuracy on the long throws is such a weapon.  According to the stats, Kyler Murray was much more accurate on long throws last year, but it feels like every long throw RW makes is a completion.

116 Spotting NE 6 helps well as losing 2 safeties.

Lino Hill did make the play to save game though. 

129 Lano Hill and

LJ Collier combined to make the stop, I thought.

Collier was pretty good in Seattle’s two starts.  Very hopeful after a disappointing (to understate it) rookie year.

117 not a win, but encouraging

The Pats' offense is well ahead of where I thought it would be right now.  I'd say it's clearly better than last year's offense already.

The flip side is that the defense is worse than I'd wish for, even with so many people out or gone.  The run D is soft and as for the pass D....Gilmore  was shown up for the second tie in three regular season games when we was assigned  solo coverage of a large, physical WR.  Vs.. Miami it was Devante Parker, today it was D.K. Metcalf.  The only thing I can say is that Gilmore's coverage on the long TD pass was actually very good.  It was a perfect pass by Wilson.  Some of the later TD passes were just embarrassing.  I think the last two were on thoroughly blown coverages.  

Even with all that, the Pats had a chance to win the game at the end, and it's hard to be upset about that.  The blocking that had been so good on the previous similar  plays wasn't there at all on the final play.  Just gotta credit the Seahawks.

Given that it was only Cam's second start with the Pats, I'm feeling reasonably positive about where the team is at.  


134 The honest truth...

The Bills are a much better team all around and the Pats will be playing for second place all year long.  

I'm not sure what you could have expected with a new QB and depleted defense.  You can coach players, but you can't teach talent.

I predicted a .500 club, but perhaps Belichick can coach a few more wins above that.  They're not contenders and more like spoilers.

As offenses key on the run and force Newton to throw, you'll see regression.  He's not the same player he was, Tier 2 QB at this point.

Watching the game, I felt that Seattle could have broken the game open by being more aggressive in some circumstances.  Carroll holds them back with his conservative play-calling.  

149 Cam looked great as they…

Cam looked great as they opened up the playbook;  combine week one's running with week two's passing and they're going to be a nightmare to prepare for.  As for the defense, Russ is going to do that to a lot of opponents.  Pats look significantly scarier than last year's team

135 Division play.

You don't measure a contender by a .mediocre club in a different conference but by division play.

That front four against Zona or those baby Rams would struggle.  If you're a Seattle fan, you should be more worried about trying to contain Murray because he's probably the best running QB in the league now, arguably with LJ.

If you think winning shootouts is how you're going to win the West, I'm not buying it.

How are you guarding Hopkins, Kirk, Fitz when they go full spread?  

Then you have Murray who may take off.

I'll take the Cards' offense over Seattle's if we're talking about a shootout. On Defense, the Cards can actually bring pressure and have the best sack master in the division.

The backend is too bad, either.  Maybe not as good as Seattle's but the Cards aren't giving up 30 points per game like Seattle.

140 You don't measure a…

In reply to by DIVISION

You don't measure a contender by a .mediocre club in a different conference but by division play.

You seem to be unfamiliar with the NFC East, the AFC South, and historically the AFC East.

143 NFC West.

The NFC Least?  The Cowboys will win that division by default.

The AFC east is basically the Bills, then the Patriots and everyone else.

AFC South.  The Titans and who else?


124 shrug

The defensive line was fine against the run, and that’s what they needed this game.

They will get better, I think.  They’re still learning how to play together. We’ll see.  2 - 0 is nice.

130 Carroll prefers to run a four man rush.

In reply to by scraps

We knew going into the season that they lacked a pass rush.  Once the secondary got injured and they pulled back Adams, then Irvin was out, the front four were on their own and Cam had all day.

120 That SEA-NE game was all…

That SEA-NE game was all right.  I didn't like SEA's odds of holding NE off after that final punt, and really didn't like their odds of making a stop on that final play of the game, but heck of a goal line play.

I was surprised at how well SEA's run game was working, and how much trouble NE was having at the run.  Thought NE's OL would push SEA's DL around, but they sure didn't.

Heck of a game by Wilson.  Poor adjustment by Belichick, I thought, playing conservatively with that 4th-and-1 on their side of the field in Q3.  Game was tilting to SEA with the way Wilson was playing and their success on the ground.  I thought giving up the ball was a mistake at the time, and with the quick SEA TD strike after they got the ball the punt didn't work out in practice, either.  Still, NE had a chance to win it at the end, despite some conservatism along the way, in a game when I thought SEA was the better team.  

127 Seattle was probably the…

Seattle was probably the better team given the playcalls that both sides had, but New England ran it way too much on a day when their run game was horrible outside of Cam and he was slicing up Seattle's secondary. It's not like Cam would've been hit a lot had they thrown more, given that he was barely touched all game.

136 Here.

I don't think Belichick trusted cam to throw that much, honestly.

He's not that accurate and Belichick preferred the conservative game to minimize mistakes.

Take away the gift TD and the game isn't as close as it seems.

If Seattle was going to do anything in the division, this game was a barometer.

They have major flaws on defense, but they will battle Arizona for the West.  


128 3rd and 1 Seattle throwing...

Seattle lost that play on the bad snap.

RW threw the ball to the only receiver on the side of the field the snap turned him to.

145 Raiders and Saints tied at…

Raiders and Saints tied at halftime, 17-17. Just like we all expected right? It's not been any sort of fluke, either; the Raiders consistently have receivers open and Carr is hitting them. At some point in the 2nd quarter, he even seemed to realize that there are sometimes open receivers further than 5 yards downfield. That could be dangerous, if it sticks.

Brees looked great on a touchdown drive, then followed it up with a bad pick. He was interfered with as he threw so it sailed right to the LB sitting in zone, but I'm not sure that was a great decision even if he'd been able to throw cleanly.

Near the end of the half, Carr took a short (and frankly, kind of dumb) scramble and slid late for about 4 yards. One of the Saints defenders dove at him from behind (at like 7:30) - legal, since the slide was late - and hit Carr in the head with his forearm. On replays, it looked like he may have intentionally raised his arm to hit the head.

It's hard to say for sure I guess, since in real time it was very fast, maybe he was trying to hit the shoulder - but if that were the intent, he wouldn't have had enough force behind it to do much of anything, and if he were just trying to tag him down, he would have used his hand... Regardless, the officiating expert (Pereira? Forgot who's on which network) said it should be a penalty because hitting head is still illegal on a feet-first slide. It may not have mattered much in terms of the outcome of the drive, but Carr was pretty upset and seemed a little out of sorts (whether from the hit or being riled up) over the next couple of plays, culminating with a badly thrown fade leading to a FG. Wouldn't be surprised if the Saints defender were fined later this week.

146 Raiders managed to fumble…

Raiders managed to fumble twice at the goal line and not lose it, which seems impossible. Scored on 4th down on a slick play action rollout and are now ahead.