Football Outsiders
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Week 7 Open Discussion

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The week's NFL action commences Thursday night the Giants (1-5) at the Eagles (1-4-1). Remember, nobody is forcing you to watch. 

The biggest game on Sunday sees Pittsburgh (5-0) visit Tennessee (5-0). Also on Sunday: Carolina (3-3) at New Orleans (3-2); Dallas (2-4) at Washington (1-5) in a critical NFC East game; and Tampa Bay (4-2) at Las Vegas (3-2), maybe. The Sunday night game is now Seattle (5-0) at Arizona (4-2). The only Monday game (for now) sees Chicago (5-1) travel to L.A. to play the Rams (4-2). Use this thread to discuss them all. 

Comments

187 comments, Last at 27 Oct 2020, 10:46am

2 The Cards tend to beat up on the Seahawks...

..every year, so I think if anything that time change hurts Seattle.

Maybe their defense will actually show up?

I predicted 25-20 Cards if Seattle can actually cover in the secondary.  If Hopkins has a day, it could be something like the Dallas game.  About the only thing Seattle's defense CAN do is play the run.

We'll see.

 

3 Quick Eagles/Giants line.

It's in Philly and they can actually score against good teams, so I fully expect this thing to be 28-13 Eagles or something similar.

With that vaunted tie on their record, they'll leapfrog Dallas for the division lead!

 

4 mistake-prone

Both teams are just making silly mistakes.  Carson Wentz has been making some very dodgy decisions, and just threw away a scoring chance with a pick in the end zone. 

Giants seem to want to establish a deep passing game.  Golden Tate had a very nice TD catch on a long pass.  Other than that play, Giants' offense hasn't been able to do much. 

5 Just tuned in part way…

Just tuned in part way through Q2.  Have seen one Giants drive, culminating in my favourite type of INT, off of Engram's hand (singular), followed by an Eagles drive culminating in an INT in the end zone, and my overriding impression is ... how are these two guys starting QBs in the NFL?

In the Giants drive, Jones threw multiple times to guys who were behind the LOS and completely covered, and I couldn't figure out what he was seeing.  In the Eagles drive, Wentz looked like he was possessed by the spirit of Wild Fitzpatrick (the even more reckless twin of regular Fitzpatrick), running for his life (of course) but then flinging the ball into the craziest places where a Giants pick 6 seemed like a far more likely outcome than a positive gain for PHI.

I don't know what Q1 was like, but Q2 so far has been a clinic in how not to play QB in the pros.

EDIT: Wentz' play in Q4 was a lot better than he looked in Q2 and Q3.  Jones also looked better in H2 than he did in Q2, though that was a low bar to get over.

6 Here are the drive results…

Here are the drive results in Q2:

INT

INT

Punt

Punt

Fumble

Missed 29 yard FG

Kneel out the half

 

Thursday night football!!

 

7 Daniel Jones falls down

Jones hits a big hole at his own 20 and has an open path...runs through the secondary and nobody can catch him.  But when he hits the Eagles' 30, he starts staggering and falls down at the 10 without any Eagle touching him.

Joe Buck keep saying he "tripped".  But he didn't trip.  He staggered and fell.  Looked like he was winded and ran out of energy.  Probably hasn't run 100 yards at top speed in a long time.  

Giants fail to score in 3 downs but get a TD 4 plays later, after Eagles bail them out with a 3rd down penalty.

8 Jones just broke off an 88…

Jones just broke off an 88 yard TD run ... except he tripped over the PHI 25 yard line and stumbled and was touched down around the 8 yard line.

And the only thing that surprised me was that NYG got the TD anyway ... thanks mostly to a 3rd down DPI in the end zone.

This also marred the Q3 drive chart which started the half:

Punt

Punt 

Punt

Punt

TD (!) 

9 With Joe Buck doing the…

With Joe Buck doing the World Series and the NFL game Fox had on Monday, this is the fifth of eight straight days in which I'll be watching one of his broadcasts. I usually keep the sound turned down, but even so, I wish he weren't so hard working.

10 PHI goes for it on 4th and…

PHI goes for it on 4th and goal from the 3 and fail (announcers think there's an uncalled DPI on the play; I'm not so sure but we don't get much for a replay so maybe, but it looked like a good no call at the time to me).

NYG then launch one of the most painful, bumbling 97 yard drives for a TD I can ever remember seeing, highlighted by a 3rd down conversion at the PHI 7 that was actually stopped short but marked wrong; Pederson threw the challenge flag but too slow and the review wasn't allowed.

12 This probably won't matter,…

This probably won't matter, but horrible call by the refs on a PHI 2 point PAT attempt.  Wentz fumbles the ball and there's a clear recovery by a NYG player who has a chance to return it for 2 points for the Giants.  But the refs whistle the play dead claiming Wentz was down.  Except not only was he not down, he wasn't even going down at the time he fumbled, he was on his feet running for the goal when the ball's knocked clean out of his hands.

I'm not sure the guy who recovered the fumble would have been fast enough to run it back before being caught from behind, but its disappointing he didn't get the chance to try.  Had he scored, a 5 poiint NYG lead would have been a 7 point lead.

21 Funny, but the only reason I came here

Was because I read the play by play and noticed the refs called penalties on the Gts at critical downs keeping philly drives alive in the fourth.  

It was so bad I wondered, having not seen the game, if I would come here and read the refs stole the game from NY.

Kinda sounds like some zebras had money on this one.

29 The refs were just bad…

The refs were just bad overall. The missed 2-point fumble, wildly inconsistent on pass interference, weird illegal formation penalty early (it's super-rare to have those early on, refs typically issue warnings since what each ref considers valid is so variable).

The end-zone pass to Butler was as blatant pass interference as you can get, and missing that one was very bad considering it was freaking 4th and goal. Even Giants fans' recaps of the game were like "yeah, that should've been PI."

Missed really obvious PIs like that drive me nuts because there's always a chance the QB intentionally threw it in that direction to get the flag, which is a perfectly valid reaction.

13 DeSean Jackson just had his…

DeSean Jackson just had his knee hurt by some idiot hitting him while he's already on the ground after already being tackled by a helmet to the head hit on a punt return (which he probably should have fair caught, but still).  That's two dirty hits in a single play and a guy just back from injury is injured again.  Not a good look for NYG.

20 Brutal

Absolutely brutal given how it was his first game back from injury. Looked bad, wonder if thats it for his career, its a shame how injuries really derailed one of the most electrifying players the league has seen. 

15 This was back in the first…

This was back in the first quarter - their first drive, in fact - but it should not go un-noted that the Giants got penalized for a designed pick that yielded a 2 yard completion on 3rd and 3.

24 They should have traded that…

They should have traded that play to PHI for a fifth round draft pick.  Lord knows PHI needs better options for two yard plays than what they were running on 2-PAT attempts last night.  At least there's a chance the refs don't throw a flag on the pick, and the chance has to be better than the odds of success on whatever that was they were doing with Hurts under centre on their last failed effort.

Also, I think you've underestimated Judge's strategic acumen.  He was trying to set up a makeable 4th down for his team, not trying to take a chance on going for the first down all in one play.

16 Kelce, perhaps sensing his…

Kelce, perhaps sensing his team's apparent self-defeating insistence on calling exclusively a throw his QB can't make, gets an incredibly blatant facemask penalty to take them out of "fade range." Wentz immediately follows it up with a beautiful, normal throw to Scott for the TD. Remarkable catch by Scott, with the defender draped over him; I saw him bobble it live but on replay it's clear he gets control before he lands in the endzone. A strange 2pt attempt fails, but on the ensuing drive they strip Jones and recover it for the win.

18 Strange in this situation…

Strange in this situation referring to the alignment and play call, rather than the decision to go for 2 up 1.

Yes, excellent veteran play by Kelce, moving PHI back to the 18 from the 3, thereby forcing Pederson to call plays from the normal playbook, which the prior two drives had demonstrated NYG could not defend, rather than from their goal line playbook, which NYG was defending fairly well.

19 Yeah going for 2 was the…

Yeah going for 2 was the right call of course. The formation had the tackles split wide, I guess to try to create extra running lanes for Hurts, but of course when Hurts got bottled up and tried to throw instead, one of them had wandered too far "downfield". I have a hard time believing that was the most effective play they had for that situation, but maybe they figured the Giants probably wouldn't be able to advance it even into FG range and wanted to try out something "creative"...

40 i hear you.

But for me, it’s also fodder for wondering maybe it’s so important that in future forward-thinking teams will come up with many more good plays....

44 I don't know if it's lack of…

In reply to by scraps

I don't know if it's lack of originality or lack of *time*. Doesn't make sense to dedicate tons of time to goal line plays if it costs you efficiency in normal plays.

47 well, that's the issue, really.

I don't know just how valuable those plays are.  Maybe I think those plays are more valuable than you think they are.  But I really don't know, of course.  I look forward to the researchers and coaches exploring, because it is different now, and I think we are only at the start of figuring this out.

22 I was off by a TD...

..but still called it.  Philly seems to thrive off pressure.

Eagles lead the NFC Least.

25 Off by a TD

I think you mean to say that you (correctly) guessed that the better team(by a little bit) won--although you were off on the point spread by 14 points. 

In other news, meteorologists predicted correctly that the sun would rise in the east between 5:30 am and 6:30 am, but that you might not see it then, depending on what time you woke up, how many trees are in your yard, the weather conditions where you live, etc.

27 By a TD...

In reply to by Joseph

...means that I gave the Eagles way too much credit by about a TD.  Subtract those points and add to the Giants, there you go.

I felt 99% sure they'd win, but nothing like how it turned out.

The Giants are getting better, but still don't understand how to close out games.

Philly is banged up and Wentz can still make a few great throws per game sprinkled in with his horrible decisions and average play.  At this point, I don't know how good Wentz is or will ever be.

In other news, people who possess Master's and Doctorate degrees tend to make more money....

Maybe you should consider higher ed?

 

 

34 "Philly is banged up and…

In reply to by DIVISION

"Philly is banged up and Wentz can still make a few great throws per game sprinkled in with his horrible decisions and average play.  At this point, I don't know how good Wentz is or will ever be."

Wentz really, really isn't playing much different than he ever has. Interior pressure absolutely destroys his mechanics and footwork (which aren't good to begin with) and he constantly attempts to extend plays even when he shouldn't.

Most people read this and they would think "oh, he's making excuses for Wentz, he's clearly not as good as he was," but I'm actually saying he was never as good as people thought he was. 

26 Desean Jackson and other injuries

I just want to point out that the Eagles just got D-Jax back after forever, then they send him out to return a punt and the Giants' special teams commits two personal fouls on him in the space of 4 seconds, spraining his ankle. Seriously, how are the Eagles' injuries this bad?

28 At this point...

...who cares about anyone in the NFC Least?

They're all horrible, just different levels of ineptitude mixed with injuries.

DeSean Jackson is not enough of a factor to matter at this point.  Philly is going to win that division in spite of how bad they are.

It is amusing watching the media fawn over the Cowboys' dysfunction, though.  Being a Cards fan living in Texas is great.  

36 yeah

I mean, people who take their team's accomplishments as their own are kind of sad, especially educated people, who you would think would have accomplishments of their own to feel good about.  But when they take a team's accomplishments as their own, and the team's accomplishments are sad, that's just.... well, at least the ghost of Terry Metcalf glows gratefully a little.

41 DIVISION. I didn't want to…

DIVISION. I didn't want to say this to you earlier, but I think you need to hear this.

As a fan of the Rams, a team that had quite possibly the worst 5 year stretch ever, I've been through some dark times as a fan. It's been hard times. I can't lie, and say that sometimes I wish my team hadn't been the Packers, or the Bears, or, god forbid, even the Seahawks.

I have never once been jealous of Cardinals fans. In fact, if the Rams lose to Arizona I don't think I've ever even been particularly mad. It's like losing a playfight against your little brother. Despite being in the NFC West, I don't even consider the Cards divisional rivals with the rams, emotionally if not intellectually.

I was genuinely shocked when I looked up the wikipedia page on the Cards while writing this comment. "Since winning the championship in 1947, the team suffered many losing seasons, and currently holds the longest active championship drought of North American sports at 72 consecutive seasons." Shocked because the Cards feel like an expansion team from the early 2000's, with no history or point, other than to play football in Arizona. Not shocked that they have the record for longest time without a championship, because if they've been around forever, it must be a legacy of constant mediocrity.

The Arizona Cardinals are right up there with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the most unimportant and uninteresting NFL franchises. If the Arizona Cardinals moved next year to be the Portland Rush, or something, zero fucks would be given by 99% of the people, even the ones interested in football. 

People care about them about as much as people care about your degree. 

I guess what I'm saying is, telling fans of a different team, in this case NFC East teams, that "nobody cares about their teams," is poor form in the best of situations. As a cards fan, it's laughable.

42 For those curious, the…

For those curious, the Cardinals legacy of mediocrity is statistically amazing. 

In 100 years of football they have made the playoffs 10 times.

The franchise regular season record is 558-763-41. A winning percentage of 42.47%, counting ties as a half win.

Their postseason record is 7-9. 43.75%, although it's sadder that in literally 100 years of football they have played just 16 postseason games.

They won an "NFL Championship," once, back in 1947. They have never won a superbowl. 

They have won their division a grand total of seven times in 100 years. 1947, '48, '74, '75, 2008, '09, and '15. 

They have one conference championship, 2008.

They have never won the conference in the regular season.

They hold the distinction of being the only NFL franchise to have never lost a home game in the postseason, being 5-0, which is the most hilarious "participation trophy," type award that I have ever heard of. 

But subjectively, the Cards are such a non-team, that I was cheering hard for them against the Steelers in the '08 Superbowl. Me, a fan of a "divisional rival," was cheering hard for the Cards, because I like Kurt Warner, but also because I dislike the Cards less than I dislike the Steelers. That bears repeating.

I, a fan of a different NFC West team, dislike the Steelers, a random AFC team, more than I dislike the Cards.

45 You're actually being too…

You're actually being too nice. By *any* measure, the Cardinals are the oldest professional football organization. The. Oldest. There is no other organization that comes *close* to their lack of success, and the Cards would have to be good for *decades* to shed that.

150 But it's even better than…

But it's even better than that, because have they ever been truly awful? They've never been an excellent football team in the superbowl era, but have they ever had like a 5 year string of 15 wins like the Rams?

What I'm getting at is this is a franchise that seems to win between 6-8 games every single year. It isn't even like there's this break from mediocrity in either direction.

The cardinals are just kind of... there.

157 They had some stretches of…

They had some stretches of just wretched futility -- Handler and Stydahar were awful. Handler was 1-19 on his own and 3-15 as a co-coach. Stydahar started 17-7, won a title with the Rams, and then went 3-21-1 as the demon collected on his fee, 3-20-1 with the Cardinals.

From 2002-2006 they were 25-55, going 5-11 +/- 1 every year. 5-11 is around where they usually bottom out. They usually top out around .500. They've broken .700 6 times in 100 years. They've outscored their opponents 32 times.

Their current projection of 11.5-5.5, +130 would be their 4th or 5th best season ever. In comparison, that would be somewhere between 3rd and 5th for the Jaguars. Arizona had been playing for 75 years before the Jaguars existed.

168 It somehow gets better. In…

It somehow gets better. In the Superbowl era they have never won fewer than 3 games, but they have also won 12 or more games precisely one time, 2015 under Arians, where they were still the second seed. The other ~50 seasons are all between 3-13 and 11-5, and a casual glance at them sees tons of 5 win, 6 win, 8 win seasons. 

They are low variance and bad. An unwatchable combination. The definition of mediocrity.

To echo what was said above, about how they would need to be good for decades to reverse their reputation, the best three year stretch ever for the Cardinals was under Arians, when they went 34-12, and actually managed to only make the playoffs twice, missing out with their 10-6 team in 2013. Their playoff record at that time was 1-2, making it to one conference championship game where they were blown out.

That I, a fan of the Rams, still think of them as a "meh" organization, that just sort of exists, despite their best three year stretch happening in recent memory is amazing. 

182 Almost like they had the…

Almost like they had the Jeff Fi7-9er run the Rams had, in much greater mass, without Jeff Fi7-9er.

I really think Kyler will make them consistently "relevant" and "cared about," to go with the original topic, though.

43 4th and short

Washington is stopped 1 foot short of the end zone.  Riverboat Ron, predictably, goes for the TD on 4th down.  But, hey, their O-line is weak and they get stopped by Dallas. 

On the ensuing drive, on 3rd down, Landon Collins strips the ball from Dalton, it bounces backwards into the end zone and the WTFs get a safety.

Lesson: even if you don't get the TD on 4th and short, there's an advantage in having the other team's offense start so close to the end zone.

49 That’s the part of the…

In reply to by RickD

That’s the part of the argument that finally seems to be sinking in. As long as your defense isn’t terrible, you should get the ball back in good field position even without a turnover. 

54 "As long as your defense isn…

"As long as your defense isn’t terrible, you should get the ball back in good field position even without a turnover."

Clearly doesn't apply to the Lions.  They went for 4th and goal at about the 2, and Adrian Peterson gets stuffed.  The Falcons then proceed to drive 98 yards for a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.  For the record, I still like the decision, but really frustrating to root for a team with a terrible defense.

51 Titans are making…

Titans are making frustration errors now, like Vaccharo tackling Connor out of bounds and getting an unnecessary roughness for it.  If they want to get back in this game they have to get out of their headspace first.

53 Titans have made the mental…

Titans have made the mental adjustments.  A long TD pass, now an INT on a high tipped pass.  Unfortunately Tannehill doesn't do anything with the short field and Gostkowski cuts the deficit to 10.

58 This TEN team is a tough out…

This TEN team is a tough out, and making last year's AFC Championship appearance look less and less like an improbable run.  It's now PIT 27 TEN 24 with 10 minutes left in Q4, and a game that looked comfortable for PIT is now a dog fight.

48 It’s becoming pretty obvious…

It’s becoming pretty obvious at this point how much Prescott meant to the Cowboys offense. 
 

While I of course have the natural dislike of the Cowboys that a fan of any other (non-NFC East) team should have, it still sucks to see football  talent injured and/or wasted. 

50 Caught myself wondering when…

Caught myself wondering when the Texans were going to get DeAndre Hopkins more involved... then I remembered.

The Packers offense has been taking out last week's frustrations on the Houston defense. Rodgers has been basically unstoppable despite Jones, Bakhtiari and Lazard all being out, and Jamal Williams already has his second-most yards in a game this season and it's only halftime. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Texans' defense isn't quite as good as the Bucs'.

Deshaun Watson has actually gone almost tit-for-tat with Rodgers in completions and yardage - this Packers defense isn't quite as good, either - but between a few ill-timed miscues and the Packers' pass rush being somewhat more effective, they have no points to show for it. And it looked like he may have injured his knee scrambling on their last real possession; he walked off without assistance but was being looked at on the sideline. It doesn't appear to be serious, thankfully, but it's especially worrying when he's had a serious knee injury before.

52 Clockmeister Mike Vrabel…

Clockmeister Mike Vrabel just felt the need to call a timeout in the 3rd quarter.  Titans are feeling the desperation but did finally get a stop on 3rd down.

55 The Cowboys are just…

The Cowboys are just shockingly bad. The Dak Prescott injury is going to end up being the excuse for the bad season (ignoring the still very real possibility they will win the division), but the team is still a disaster even accounting for that injury.

What's incredible is the way they've fallen short of expectations in each and every game. I believe they are 0-6 against the line. The last two weeks have been particularly bad. Mike McCarthy is looking like an awful hire and a significant downgrade from Jason Garrett.

60 What you're seeing in DAL is…

What you're seeing in DAL is what HOU would look like, too, if Watson wasn't on the field.

PS Hate seeing Dalton hurt on a dirty play.  NYG had a few dirty plays in the Thursday game, too.  What is it with bad NFC East teams playing recklessly with other players' careers?  

117 The NYG/PHI thing is like…

The NYG/PHI thing is like eternal. Philly *fans* hate Dallas, but Philly *players* hate the Giants (and vice versa). It's really weird, because it's been going on all my life, but it's definitely there. Their games are *always* chippy.

66 Prescott has been from…

Prescott has been from consistently excellent during his career. He had great stats his rookie year but that was probably a fluke. The next two years he wasn't great. I think he was 22nd in DVOA or something like that in his third year. Last year was the first really excellent season of his career. This year by DVOA he was back to mediocrity, albeit in a small sample size.

He has certainly had tons of offensive talent around him the past few years. Good receivers and a RB who is at least supposedly one of the best in the league.

97 The Cowboys offense was very…

The Cowboys offense was very productive this year with Dak in the lineup, but he committed a ton of turnovers. Those are obviously his fault but it was also probably at least slightly fluky in a small sample size - just a factor that makes it a little more complicated to evaluate him beyond "well he's only 13th in DVOA..." I mean, they're lost without him.

56 Minkah Fitzpatrick gets…

Minkah Fitzpatrick gets dinged for holding on what would otherwise have been a 4th down stop at the goal line, and Derrick Henry punches it in on the next play.  What started out looking like a Steelers blowout is now a 3 point game.

62 New Orleans finishes an…

New Orleans finishes an impressive 12 of 14 on third down, including the game-clinching one at the end of the game. Really bad sack for Bridgewater on third down on the previous drive, turning a potential game-tying 57-yard field goal into a 65-yard one.

63 CBS is suddenly having…

CBS is suddenly having serious technical difficulties with the Steelers-Titans game.  Apparently nothing serious, but I still get flashbacks of the 1989 world series every time that happens.

As soon as the broadcast returns, Diontae Johnson goes down hurt after a nice conversion of a 3rd and 6.

64 With the lead cut to 3 and…

With the lead cut to 3 and starting with bad field position, the Steelers have been doing a very nice job of bleeding out the clock. Sustaining a long drive, staying in bounds.  Vrabel takes the Titans' second time out with 2:45 left, with a third down to stop...

65 Deep in TEN territory, down…

Deep in TEN territory, down 3 with 2:30 or so remaining in the game, TEN stops PIT just short on 3rd down, and there's a 10-yard penalty against PIT on the play.

Rather than giving PIT a 4th-and-inches, Vrabel takes the penalty, making it 3rd-and-13.

On the play, Roethslisberger throws an INT in the end zone.

Could not have worked out better for TEN, but it's an interesting decision point on whether to take that penalty or not.

74 Wow, the Texans scored late…

Wow, the Texans scored late to make it 35-20 then actually recovered the onside kick. Wasn't a goofy slow-roll gimmick either, kicker lined up like he was going to kick it to the side then just pushed it straight down the field - he wasn't able to recover but the Packers whiiffed catching the bouncing ball, and after some madness it ended up in Texan hands. Not good special teams play by the receiving team, but the general spread-the-receiving-team-and-pray approach looks to me to be somewhat more viable going forward than the spinning top thing.

On the very next play, the Texans receiver catches the ball then gets hit and fumbles - an odd one, shooting way up in the air, not unlike an onside kick of yore - and Adrian Amos comes down with it. That's ballgame.

It was basically a blowout throughout, but good on the Texans for at least making it slightly interesting near the end. Watson's knee seems fine, thankfully. Having Hopkins would've helped, obviously, but the o-line was the big problem on offense; the Packers were consistently able to get pressure on Watson, and David Johnson wasn't able to do much on the ground. And the defense is a dumpster fire. Whoever the next GM is will have their work cut out for them.

75 Crazy ending in Atlanta. …

Crazy ending in Atlanta.  The Falcons just had to kneel and then kick the winning FG with no time left.  Instead, Todd Gurley accidentally (really) scores a TD with 64 seconds left.  Of course, Stafford then takes the Lions down the field and scores a TD.  But wait...Danny Amendola gets flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct celebrating the TD.  Prater is backed up for a 48 yard extra point for the win and nails it.  But wait...penalty flag.....on the Falcons, game over.  Lions win 23-22.

79 Tough play for Gurley. …

Tough play for Gurley.  Looked to me like he was trying to go down, but was bounced into the end zone by the DET defender.

Patricia's defense is at its best when helping the opposition to score!

77 Some pretty wild finishes. I…

Some pretty wild finishes. I had to switch back and forth between Lions-Falcons and Steelers-Titans. I didn't see the Todd Gurley scoring by mistake play live... But now seeing it in postgame highlights, yes, that's exactly what happened. Wow. You still should be able to trust your defense to close the game out in that situation, though. It's not Detroit had been dominant on offense. They had only one TD before that last drive.

78 Honestly, Stafford was doing…

Honestly, Stafford was doing whatever he wanted the whole game.  It was just that Darrell Bevell was hamstringing his own offense with a steady diet of ineffective Adrian Peterson runs into the teeth of the #8 DVOA run defense.  

82 Looking at the box score, it…

Looking at the box score, it appears as thought Atlanta returned the compliment with a succession of useless Todd Gurley carries. You really do wonder sometimes whether good, experienced QBs such as Stafford and Ryan could call better games themselves. 

80 Another crazy finish,…

Another crazy finish, Mayfield tosses his 5td with 11 seconds left to sweep the Bengals. 

84 So, when do we begin…

So, when do we begin questioning Belichick's decision to run Brady out of town and (eventually) replace him with the corpse of Cam Newton? *ducks*

85 Maybe we begin wondering if…

Maybe we begin wondering if Brady stays strong through the whole season. Last season he collapsed in the second half of the year. Even so, he's 43. I don't think you can criticize moving on from a QB that old. What I would question more is the Cam Newton part of the equation.

88 Branch Rickey's saying...

Branch Rickey's saying "trade a player a year early rather than a year too late," may underlie what Belichick was thinking.  Even if Brady has something left, perhaps it was time to move toward the future rather than trying to eke out one last season that might result in a spot in the extended playoffs, but would be exceedingly unlikely to go beyond that.  However, I don't follow the Patriots and cannot speak to their plans (or the rumors and speculations about their plans that I'm sure fill up the comments section of their fan websites.)

93 Yes, my post was mostly…

Yes, my post was mostly tongue-in-cheek. There's a long way to run this season. 

I do, however, think that Brady's 'collapse' last year is somewhat overstated. He declined, but I don't believe Brady was the main issue on that offense (which is being borne out by theirs and his current performance).

Signing Cam Newton to a veteran minimum contract was fine, but he probably shouldn't have been the best/only option. But overall, the offense looks bereft. There's no doubt Patriots have done a poor job of developing skill position talent in recent seasons. 

86 If you want to question…

If you want to question Belichick's football genius label, you can start with his decision to look at this year's available WR candidates in the draft and pass on all of them.

Newton looks terrible, but I'm not convinced Brady would look much better.  I'm not sure how Belichick thought his team could compete in the modern NFL while fielding this group of receivers.

101 No need to duck. I don’t…

No need to duck.

I don’t think of Belichick as “running Brady out of town”. And I think only the most mindless fans (or talk radio types drumming up controversy) think of it that way. The issue was that keeping Brady at “market rates” was going to be too expensive, leading to losing several key defensive free agents, for example.

All through his time as coach/GM, Belichick has usually answered players who say “I am worth a lot more than you are offering me” with “Enjoy your new job. Keep us in mind if you decide to switch teams again.”

No one expected the 2020 Patriots offense without Brady to be as good as it was in 2019, which was kinda average anyway. The hope was always that the freed cap space would allow the defense and special teams to be good, and that that would be enough to give them a chance to make the playoffs while their offensive talent developed.

That doesn’t seem to be happening. But it has nothing to do with Brady leaving the team.

156 See my comment about…

See my comment about mindless fans and talk show types stirring up controversy. (Not you, but the gossip you refer too.) It’s what talk show hosts are paid to do. You should not take it seriously.

Drafting Jimmy G was insurance against Brady’s injury or expected decline. As is often the case with insurance, you’re better off when it doesn’t turn out to have been necessary. In this case, that’s a Super Bowl Win better off.

Some people point to Belichick’s fulsome praise of Jimmy G as some sort of dig against Brady or complaint against Kraft. That’s nonsense. Belichick seldom says anything bad about players who are leaving, and certainly not about players he trades. As a result, he has a reputation with other teams as being an honest dealer, and with players as a coach who won’t backstab you on your way out the door. (Unlike some coaches, who let their egos get the better of them.)

90 I was thinking the Chargers…

I was thinking the Chargers would stomp the Jags, and it looked that way at first when they went up 16-0 early in the 2nd quarter (missed extra point), but the Jacksonville turned things around in a big way and it's only 16-14 at the half (Jags went 1/2 on 2-pt conversions). The Chargers' pass rush has been great (4 sacks already) but the entire defense has had issues tackling, and Minshew's nevertheless managed to hit a few big completions when his line gives him a second to breathe.

On the other side, Herbert looks really talented, but the connection with the receivers is still a bit "off" - he should've had a pick right at the end of the half, on a deep ball that it looked like the receiver broke his route off from early. He seems to have a knack for throwing it where the defense ain't, so to speak, so he doesn't commit too many turnovers, but he's clearly in love with his own arm and has sailed a number of makeable passes about 10 yards out of bounds. He's a pretty good QB already but he's got a lot of rough edges to polish up to be a great one - understandable, for a rookie - but I really believe he could be one.

As I write that, the Chargers offense goes 3 and out on the first drive of the 2nd half, then the Jags block the punt, recover cleanly, and run it in for the score. This o-line is just terrible, even on special teams plays.

91 Herbert leads a long drive…

Herbert leads a drive featuring a couple of his signature "holy shit!" plays, including an impeccably placed long ball for the TD to Virgil Green. Green makes a sadly amazing play to catch the ball in bounds near the sideline despite his ankle getting horribly twisted in the process; he limped off with assistance, but then had a couple of people carry him to the cart.

92 Minshew responds with a…

Minshew responds with a lightning-fast long drive to retake the lead - and hit the 2pt conversion to go up 7. We've got a QB duel in LA.

UPDATE: Herbert almost literally immediately responds with a 70-yard TD bomb, and we're tied with 2 mins left in the 3rd. This is turning into a heck of a game, despite the teams having only 2 wins between them coming in.

95 Oh man, on a kickoff return,…

Oh man, on a kickoff return, Dede Westbrook suffered a knee injury that is apparently "too graphic" to show - and they showed a few replays of that Virgil Green one a few minutes ago, and that one was horrible. Cart on the field.

96 Herbert will miss a few…

Herbert will miss a few throws and make some questionable decisions, but man - for a rookie who was thrust into the starting lineup unexpectedly and wouldn't have gotten many #1 reps in camp or had time to mentally prepare, he has had a ton of juice so far this year. I really didn't think highly of him in college but he already seems like one of the better true rookie QBs of recent memory.

104 Atlanta ending reminds me of Mad Magazine (sigh)

So when the Falcons have to score to win a game, they can’t, and when they have to not score to win a game, they can’t do that either.

It reminds me of Mad in its 1970s heyday (yes), its satire of the terrible movie The Towering Inferno.  (I think they called it The Towering Sterno.)  The Paul Newman character in the movie was the architect who designed the titular disastrous building, and was supposed to be down on his luck and career.  Mad captured this beautifully in a panel in which two associates rushed up to Newman to deliver two pieces of news, something like this to my recollection:

*  “Sir, we’ve just heard that the office buIdling you designed in Detroit is starting to lean over!”

*  “Sir, now we’re hearing that the replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa you build last year is starting to straighten up!”

 

105 Hell of an effort by DK…

Hell of an effort by DK Metcalf chasing down an interception return inside the 10 yard line. Saved 7 points because the Cards went for it and failed on 4th and goal. 

106 Amazing play by DK Metcalf…

Amazing play by DK Metcalf to catch Budda Baker who picked off a terrible throw by Russell Wilson.  That's a 90+ yd pick six but Metcalf makes up more than a ten yard lead by Baker to drag him down.

Seahawks hold the Cards on 4th and goal. 

Huge play by Metcalf.

114 how long

has it been since Seattle scored 27 points in the first half?  (I'm probably forgetting a first half in the last year....)

118 I keep hearing that the…

I keep hearing that the Seahawks have no pass rush, then I see Kyler Murray barely escaping a sack in his own end zone.

121 I've been watching baseball…

I've been watching baseball as much as football this evening, but it seems like Seattle has been dominating most of this game. But suddenly the Cards will have the ball with a chance to drive for a tie or the lead.

123 Ref with a close, clear,…

Ref with a close, clear, unobstructed view (correctly) called that Lockett catch a touchdown, but "after discussion on the field" they took it off the board. *thinking emoji*

They get it right on challenge, but they shouldn't have had to challenge it.

131 DVOA has Arizona in 10th,…

DVOA has Arizona in 10th, but it's hard not to see this as a big surprise. The Cardinals are 4-2 but have made it to four wins largely by beating up terrible teams like Football Team, the Jets, and the Cowboys.

 

Of course, as I type this the kick is missed, so never mind...

153 “The Cardinals are 4-2 but…

“The Cardinals are 4-2 but have made it to four wins largely by beating up terrible teams like Football Team, the Jets, and the Cowboys.”

You could say the same thing about the Seahawks.  It’s even worse because at least Arizona blows out the bad teams it plays.  The Seahawks barely squeaked out home wins against terrible Cowboys and Vikings teams.  And now that 5 point win against the Patriots doesn’t seem so impressive anymore.  Seattle’s most impressive win is probably the 31-23 road win against the Miami Fitzpatricks.

In addition to winning this game, the Cardinals beat the 49ers on the road, before the Niners got wrecked with all this injuries.

160 Baby Joey...

For comparison, the Hawks got in to a shootout with Dallas.

The Cards blew out Dallas with Murray completing 9 passes.

I called this game early, but I didn't have Arizona beating Seattle in a shootout type game.  I said 25-22.

Thankfully, my Cards defense is much better than Seattle's...

Sacked Wilson and had a few picks as well.

Seattle is going nowhere unless they pick up another safety and pass rusher in FA.  They won't even get out of the West.

If you think what the Cards did was interesting.  Wait until McVeigh and Shanahan scheme up to exploit that defense!

I predict more losses for Seattle in division...

The Media is hyping up RW for MVP, but it was Murray who had a better game.

 

137 Pretty bad decision making…

Pretty bad decision making to settling for a 41-yard kick... Brings back bad memories of the Jets settling for a FG from 40+ yards out in a Divisional Round against the 15-1 Steelers in 2004, when a made kick would have won them the game.

140 Plus, the announcers kept…

Plus, the announcers kept talking about how the Seahawks defense was gassed.  They likely wouldn't have been able to stop them from getting a touchdown.  And at the very least, if you are going to do that, down it a few times to take time off the clock, to get the tie if it is missed.  It may end up that way anyway now.

142 I don't understand passing…

I don't understand passing to the endzone on that third down play at all... Unless Kingsbury is really lacking faith in his kicker.

 

Maybe that lack of faith makes sense, seeing as how it takes a deflection off the goalpost to win the game.

143 Wilson throws an int, cards…

Wilson throws an int, cards kick the game winning FG

You know, there was some Cards bashing in this thread, maybe it fired up the team ;)