Football Outsiders
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Week 9 Open Discussion

Drew Brees
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The week kicks off with Green Bay (5-2) visiting San Francisco (4-4) in a game that is apparently going to be played, although a number of 49ers players (including most of their wide receivers) will miss the game for COVID-related reasons.

Notable Sunday contests include Chicago (5-3) at Tennessee (5-2), Baltimore (5-2) at Indianapolis (5-2), Seattle (6-1) at Buffalo (6-2), and Miami (4-3) at Arizona (5-2). The Sunday night game -- New Orleans (5-2) at Tampa Bay (6-2) -- is a big one. The Monday night game -- New England (2-5) at the Jets (0-8) -- is not. 

Use this thread to discuss them all.

Comments

92 comments, Last at 10 Nov 2020, 9:57am

2 49ers down their QB, top 3…

49ers down their QB, top 3 RBs, 5 of 6 WRs, TE, LT. If they're at all competitive, Kyle Shanahan should get a prize

3 I'm not a betting man... but…

I'm not a betting man... but if I were...... I'd be pretty tempted to lay good money on the Niners for the upset. Memo to analysts: being forced to run more against this team doesn't put San Francisco at a disadvantage...

4 Kremer pointed out that the…

Kremer pointed out that the Niners attempted as many passes in the first quarter than they did in the entire NFCCG (with their starting QB to boot). It worked reasonably well - big gain on a busted coverage, would've had a TD if the receiver didn't have butterfingers - until Mullens lofted a wobbly duck right into a DB's arms, but that'll happen when you've got 3rd stringers in there. Considering the consistent success they've had on the ground, especially pitches both left and right, I wonder if Shanahan might have overthought this.

7 Yeah they're not gashing the…

Yeah they're not gashing the Packers right now but they've been able to get to the edge. Surprised Shanahan hasn't been more patient/more willing to go back to the well, although with Alexander out he may not have any truly bad options from a playcalling perspective.

5 Both Packers touchdowns…

Both Packers touchdowns benefit from questionable calls on pass interference. The first one is a go to Adams where he holds the CB off with one arm and then pushes with the second hand too to create separation at the catch point. No flag. The second one is set up by a 3rd down DPI call to set them up with 1st & goal at the 1 - Adams runs straight into the DB on the sluggo, they both put their hands on each other, and then the ball goes way over Adams's head as Adams pushes off to try to get some separation. I would've called OPI on the first and nothing on the second, refs call 'em the other way and that's 14 points.

9 As a fan of offensive…

As a fan of offensive football (and a Packers fan), I think what Adams did on the touchdown was extremely skilled - he didn't use his arms to push the CB away so much as he kind of used him as a counterweight for body control/positioning. But as someone who would like the game to be a little more fair to defenses... we should probably treat that kind of move as OPI.

19 Yeah I would agree that…

Yeah I would agree that Jackson didn't really push off the defender in that case either. I think he got popped with the flag because he came to a complete stop and changed direction - even if it's ambiguous, it just looks more like something happened. Not unlike how offensive linemen get called for holding for taking a defender to the ground on plays where their hand placement is the same as every other play.

6 This matchup could be better...

Niners playing their 2nd string for the most part and Green Bay is still struggling to blow them out.

Not impressed at all with what Green Bay is showing here.  

Part of it is their pathetic players in the skill positions outside of Adams.  They're just not beating any of the good playoff contenders with what they have now.  Should have upgraded at WR and RB.

 

10 Is poster drunk? Tema has A…

Is poster drunk? Tema has A. Jones one of top running backs in league. J. Williams and Ervin and Dillon very good complementary  runnigng backs. No need to upgrade at Rb. Who woudl even be considered better than Jones and also bbe acquirable? Cook? No way Vikes trading him to Pacmers. McCaffery injured rigjt now. Maybe Mixon but he would cost a 2nd or 3rd. Paclers not trading a day 2 pick for a guy who wouod be a backup. Frank Gore? No. 

 

As for wideout? Yes, could have, should have tradedfor w. Fuller or some other guy

12 What do you want? 7 drives,…

What do you want? 7 drives, 4 TD, 1 FG. PATHETIC!

Their #1 RB is doing fine. Their 2nd and 3rd string RB are out. This is an offense that uses multiple backs a lot, so that matters. Two second stringers starting on the o line, make that three in the second half after injury.

No one argues the wide receiver issues. MVS only had two TD because the 9'ers injuries have allowed him to not have to run routes that involve anything beyond speed or not going out the back of the end zone. He can catch in those situations. Keep in mind he is also WR3. WR2 has been out several weeks with an injury too.

No one has claimed the team has any kind of defense. They started the game with CB1 and CB3. They have played the whole second half with CB3 and CB5.   

Part of the issue is that if you don't watch it a lot the LeFluer offense is deceiving. There are a lot of designed plays to backs and tight ends. Lots of motion, lots of things that set up future plays. That's why MVS could get wide open on a no cut route. That's why Adams ends up in single coverage, ever. That's why they score on drive after drive after drive without any flash.

11 This game is now 31-3 and…

This game is now 31-3 and competing with last weeks eagles cowboys game for one of the worst of the year (unless you're a packers fan).

18 Nah, not even close.  At…

Nah, not even close.  At least one team last night displayed a basic level of competence (and watching Rodgers and Adams ball out was entertaining, even though I'm not a Packer fan).  In contrast, last Sunday night I was wishing for both teams to be shot into the sun.

21 Funny after the fact

To see the whining about flags and how unimpressive the Packers were on their way to a 34-3 lead before garbage time took over.

NFC doesn't really change much with this game. TB is still the class. But they could easily lose out on home field (and a bye if there still is one) to any of NO, SEA and GB... Bears have the inverse problem of the Seahawks, which in this day and age should cost them more games so unless they can sweep GB in the two late season games they wont win the division. And assuming East winner, GB+CHI, TB+NO, and SEA-- in a 7 team playoff LAR and ARIZ probably fight over final spot. In an 8 team version, it will be both with DET still lurking as a possibility.

Does home field matter? Is the bye a problem if it becomes a 2 week bye given COVID? Who would the real favorite be come January? And can any of these teams beat KC or PITT in a SB? 

23 Does home field matter?

Will there even be home field, or will NFL copy the NBA, NHL, MLB, PLL, etc COVID playoffs, and bubble all of the playoff teams in some TBD location?

24 Colts/Ravens

End of Q1 and I really like what I am seeing from the Colts O so far today.  I would HATE to face that Reich offense if I was a D player.  So many moving parts and he has these undrafted guys I never heard of getting 8-12-17 yards.  Sheesh.

25 They ARE missing Marlon Mack…

In reply to by Bobman

They ARE missing Marlon Mack, though--the holes are there, close quickly, and Jordan WIlkins/J Taylor seem to not quite step up promptly and only get two yards.

Ravens just seem discombobulated in all phases. I assume they'll tighten things up.

26 BAL-IND had been all Colts…

BAL-IND had been all Colts until Jonathan Taylor got stripped fighting for a first down; Ravens recovered and took it to the house to tie it 7-7. Rough break for him, as he fought valiantly for those yards and was almost down before it came out. I guess he should have just gone down a yard earlier, but I was impressed with the spirit.

And I have to say, maybe this is just me being salty, but: why is it the Packers are the contender everyone is obsessed with getting more and better receivers for, when the Ravens are running out Marquise Brown (who'd be the 3rd WR on most other contenders, including GB) and some lucky fans chosen at random before every game? There's been some "What's wrong with Lamar Jackson?" grousing lately, and all I can say is, look outside the hashes on any given down.

27 I had to LOL at Philip…

I had to LOL at Philip Rivers pulling a reverse Daniel Jones, as he tripped on his own feet trying to backpedal getting into position to tackle the Ravens defender, who then promptly leaps over him (looked like a Cheetah leaping over a capsized turtle) and runs the rest of the way for the TD.  

34 Capsized turtle is a…

Capsized turtle is a fantastic description of Rivers there. I know he's really competitive but everyone is probably better off if he takes himself out of the play when the defense is running it back.

29 QBs tackling

QBs attempting to tackle is generally ugly/comical.  I like when they are so pissed and know they may be the final defender against a pick six, that I generally cheer when I see a competent QB tackle.  But the risks are probably not worth it. 

I'd rather see them just try to slow the guy down rather than initiate contact.  But Yeah, Phil falling backwards was pretty classic.

Colts D footspeed is pretty scary--the front 4 is playing beautifully and the LB speed great in support.

EDIT:  Phil Simms just said the same thing, so.... let me re-think it.

RIP Alex Trebek.

30 Balt INT

"Falling on your ass" = football move?

Yikes. I thought the WR did a great job playing DB at the last moment there.

31 Is Al Riveron still doing…

In reply to by Bobman

Is Al Riveron still doing all the reviews? Because Al Riveron is the only way that was a catch. What a terrible pass by Rivers, though.

32 Philip Rivers deep passes

Hey long-time Charger fans, has he always thrown downfield as if every play is a hail mary?  It looks like every one is just a prayer and most are high and off-target.  Might be the Balt pass rush forcing him to alter what he wants to do (or his strange mechanics), but I haven't seen a single pass beyond 15 yards that looks like it was intended to go anyplace specific.   Gives me the willies.  

33 I can sympathize with the…

I can sympathize with the Bears because I know they were affected by COVID this week, but they look like a poorly-coached high school offense today. Every time red zone cuts in they're fumbling the snap, botching motions and shifts, and getting called for false start. I'm sure it's not easy, but a lot of teams have had to deal with these issues this year and none that I've seen have looked so incompetent so far.

35 Matt Rhule knows his team…

Matt Rhule knows his team has no chance if they give the ball back to the Chiefs, so he went for a 4th and 14 in no mans land.  Amazing effort by Bridgewater to convert on a QB scramble.  Eventually leads to a TD, and the Panthers are impressively hanging in the game.

36 What an incredible play,…

What an incredible play, Bridgewater launching himself like a misile and daring the defenders to stop him. When he started to scramble I thought there was no chance in hell he would make it.

37 Looks like Buffalo has…

Looks like Buffalo has gotten a couple of big sacks bringing out those mug fronts that Seattle had trouble with a few weeks ago against Arizona.

38 Panthers using tons of clock…

Panthers using tons of clock down 2 scores. They get the ball with 7:40 left, down 9. Their TD drive takes them down past the 2 minute warning. They were huddling up after every play and usually letting the play clock go under 10 seconds.

39 Seahawks Come Crashing Down

1) They ain't going anywhere in the playoffs with that defense;

2) i think we can shelve the Wilson for MVP talk for a bit... Rodgers/Cook/Mahomes/even Brady are all in the discussion

3) Maybe the NFC is simply not that good

45 And yet everyone took away bonus points

from Wilson for years because he had a great defense, while using my exact same argument to justify voting for someone else.

 

Most passing yards allowed per game since 1978 (and I’ll assume all time):

8) 2013 Eagles 289.8
7) 2012 Saints 292.6
6) 2011 Patriots 293.9
5) 2012 Buccaneers 297.4
4) 2015 Giants 298.9
3) 2011 Packers 299.8
...
2) 2020 Falcons 311.6
...
...
1) 2020 Seahawks 365.7!!

— Mitch Moss (@MitchMossRadio) November 8, 2020

 

The hypocrisy and double standard constantly applied to Wilson is head scratchingly bewildering.

61 QBs are de-facto the most…

QBs are de-facto the most valuable player on a team, just due to the nature of the position. If you are a top-ten QB, you are the MVP of your team without question. So the way I like to make this judgement (subjective as it is), is to just compare top QBs by imagining they switched teams with each other. How do you think each would do? I think Wilson would do better in all these switches (Brees, Mahomes, Brady, Murray, etc.). Rodgers gives me a little bit of hesitation this season, but I'm still enough in the tank for Wilson to give him a slight edge. Mind you, I still think Mahomes is amazing, but imagine if Wilson were running that offense under Reid/Bienemy...

Another supporting point for my case for Wilson (which will never end) is that I think he is at least 75% responsible for Metcalf turning into the beast he has become. Not in the sense that a great QB always makes receivers better, but due to working with him personally to get him into the mindset needed to be a top player in the NFL.

63 That first point is a hard…

That first point is a hard sell, since each team's system is specifically designed for their own QB. Of course prime Brady or Manning wouldn't work with what the Seahawks did. I don't like that way of looking at things. Maybe it could tell you who the most flexible QB is, but not necessarily the MVP.

60 This game actually weirdly…

This game actually weirdly gives me a lot of hope that the Seahawks do have a real chance in the playoffs.

On offense, we had 4 turnovers and still scored 34 points. First INT was on a fourth-down prayer where Wilson had no other option. Second INT was a brilliant defensive play and would otherwise likely have been a conversion on 3rd and 25. Both plays are ones you have to attempt when trying to come back like that. Both fumbles were on plays that Wilson did not see the defender coming and got a little unlucky. With average fumble luck and just a single turnover on Buffalo's part, we could have won this game. This is all with 3rd string running backs and some offensive line problems resulting in massive pressure on Wilson throughout the game. This offense is scary as hell and could even be better by the end of the season.

On defense, the DL actually played decently. Dunlap is exactly who we needed. Our LBs were hot-and-cold, but they are very good overall. Having Adams back at safety was huge. The CBs were a complete disaster, often comically so, so even though we got a tons of sacks, those were just temporary setbacks to Buffalo's unrelenting passing attack. Dunbar was playing injured the whole game and Griffin was greatly missed (he may not be Sherman, but he is a good CB and would have been able to at least occasionally make some plays). I do think that normally we would have gotten a turnover or two with the times we got to Allen, but to his credit he never forced a stupid throw and never had trouble with ball security.

So, why am I so optimistic? The defense has the potential to get healthy and more cohesive throughout the season. They should definitely be able to go from terrible to bad, and have a decent shot at being below-average. The offense (barring critical injuries, of course) will be somewhere between very good and best in the league. If the offense and defense both reach their potential, the Seahawks can definitely win the SB (I'd say maybe a 15%-20% chance in that case). In the more likely situation that one of them doesn't, they will still scare the hell out of anyone they play and could still win a SB by just getting lucky at the right times (maybe a 5%-10% chance). If the offense ends up just very good and the defense only ends up at bad, it's hard to see how we get to the SB, let alone win it (2%-3% chance). All of this also assumes special teams keeps playing well.

Those scenarios all seem like a reason for optimism to me. Any season with a double digits chance to win a SB (by the time the playoffs start) is excellent, and that seems like a real possibility. Now, if the next couple of games go like this one, then yeah, that's going to start denting my optimism.

 

43 Miami makes 56 yd feigl goal…

Miami makes 56 yd feigl goal. Leads arizons 24-17 at halftimr

 

 

Chargers wearing dark unifprms todsy with darker bolt pn helmet. Think it is good look for couple gakes per season 

44 Dallas has surprisingly lead…

Dallas has surprisingly lead Pittsburgh throughout the game, now have a slim 4 point lead.

Meanwhile its a shootout in Arizona. 

46 Dallas has absolutely…

Dallas has absolutely creamed Pittsburgh on special teams today: Pittsburgh is  0-2 on XP kicks, 0-1 on 2pt attempts; almost missed a FG but for a false start that pushed the FG back to 59 yards but was made; a Cowboys punt return and kickoff return each deep into Steelers territory.  The Steelers have had to come up big on defense and hold Dallas to mostly FGs, plus two INTs.  This game has been a big stressor on my middle aged Yinzer heart.

47 Another patented Brady pass…

Another patented Brady pass to no one. I think it's safe to say that wasn't just a quirk of the Pats' offense all those years. He doesn't get flagged, but I've seen a number of guys flagged on passes closer to someone than that.

The Bucs' offense has done almost literally nothing so far: four drives, four 3-and-outs. Brady's 3/10. I assume they'll get something going soon, but the only success they've had on either side of the ball is forcing a fumble at the goal line; they're at risk of getting buried early.

UPDATE: The Bucs' get their first first down, 5 minutes into the second quarter, and it's immediately followed by an interception. It's not all on Brady - his pass got batted not once but twice before landing in a DL's arms - but it's that kind of day. Saints punch it in in short order and it's 28-0. And maybe more than the score, the fact that they've been getting trucked by Taysom Hill (as a passer, rusher, and receiver) says this one's already over.

51 Rock...Paper...Scissors....Seahawks

NO beats TB twice

TB whips GB

GB beats NO in Superdome (no Thomas)

SEA??

NFC a quandary--and Rams/Bears/Cardinals/Panthers/Lions/49ers all losing ground too...

I'll tell you the darkhorse team if they can get to playoffs:

VIKINGS

58 Still think it's realistic…

Still think it's realistic that PIT ends up *at least* 17-2, and as much as I hate to say it, 19-0 could happen with their schedule. 

They would then end up in the 85 Bears/72 Dolphins/etc conversation by default and by record, but not necessarily by merit.

 

66 Push.

I would take KC over the Steelers because Mahomes seems to get that one extra possession he needs to edge out wins, even in games they should lose (San Diego/Carolina).

I realize the Steelers weren't motivated to play Dallas, so can't really gauge them on that.  

Until I see a team consistently shutdown Mahomes and limit his possessions, I can't pick against them.

The Titans and Niners of last year had the best shot.

This year, it's looking like the Ravens or Steelers.

Out of the NFC, any number of teams could make it to the SB.  As strange as it seems, I like New Orleans more than Tampa Bay.  Green Bay has huge flaws on defense.  Arizona is too much of an unknown with Kyler and Kingsbury in year two.  Seattle doesn't have a defense.  The Rams are too one-dimensional. The NFC East is not worthy of the playoffs.  

I hate to say it, but barring injury, it does look like Mahomes is going for that elusive back-to-back which means more State Farm commercials in tow...

 

 

67 It is a quandary (NFC).

However, I think you can eliminate a few teams at the halfway point:

  1. Seattle - By now it's evident that their defensive problems are personnel in nature, not schematic.  They've been exposed twice now against good teams and lost both of those game.  The Bills game in particular is glaring because it's known that Buffalo's defense is not much better than Seattle's.  The Hawks' inability to protect Wilson is also a problem going forward.  He got drilled several times and that probably contributed to his poor game.  2 INT/2 Stripsacks.  I don't see them even getting out of the NFC West.  They can get a WC but I can't see them winning the division.  
  2. Green Bay - Their defense isn't good enough to overcome bad starts against the good teams.  Getting pounded by the Vikings on the ground was a surprise.  If you can't stop the run and the other team is telling you they're going to run, how can you be a contender?  Rodgers is still good enough to overcome a mediocre defense, but the Packers' D is not good.
  3. Minnesota - It's way too late to think playoffs after the rough start.  I think Zimmer is focused on keeping his job moreso than a deep playoff run.  I don't see Cousins as a foundational QB, and apparently I'm not alone.  If only this team had played with any urgency earlier in the year.  
  4. Chicago - They don't have an offense like Seattle doesn't have a defense.  They're the inverse of Seattle.  
  5. Carolina - They were never a contender.  Good enough to be a spoiler, though.  
  6. Detroit - Read above.

 

I predict the NFC will come down to four teams:  New Orleans, Tampa, Arizona and L.A. 

Division winners, WC's etc will determine how it shakes out, of course.  From what I've seen these teams are the most balanced, even with their inherent flaws.

 

54 TB played H1 tonight pretty…

TB played H1 tonight pretty much the same way they played NYG last week.  Brees is taking a bit more advantage of that than Jones was able to, but TB's effort looks similar.

It's only halfway through the season and there's a ton of talent on TB, so I wouldn't write them off, even if nothing changes in H2.  But this has been an ugly stretch.

62 The problem TB (team and QB …

The problem TB (team and QB ;) ) might have is if there is something in the way the Giants played them so strong despite that has been picked up on by other teams. For all his strengths as a coach Arians is not known for the chameleon like ability to adjust the style of his team from game to game that Brady benefited from (and was capable of playing well alongside) from BB in NE. 
 

The Giants threatened to blow Tampa Bay away last week, and the Saints did this week. If there are common traits other teams can learn from the game film things could get a lot tougher for the Bucs in the second half of the season. 

68 Arians.

Being an Arizona fan and having seen Arians up close for several years, I can tell you that he's not progressive or innovative in terms of adjusting in-game or for different opponents.

He's basically a guy that rolls the ball out there and says "No risk it, no biscuit" and let's the big dogs eat.

Unfortunately, that's not going to work long-term.  Not when teams game plan to stop your deep throws.  It hurt him in Arizona at the end.  Even with a HOF QB like Brady, you're seeing cracks.  Unless he adjusts, you're going to see good teams exploit the predictability of his offense.  

Psychologically, Bruce is also very laid back for the most part and I wonder if that transfers down to the team.  It's no wonder that Brady has to scream at some guys on the sideline.  Arians isn't going to do it.

55 That crash you hear

The crash you hear is Tampa Bay DVOA falling from sky.  I guess we are back to no great teams this year, but a lot of very good teams.

65 Overreactions or Reality?

For all those people who seemed shocked that the Hawks were blown out by the Bills, I simply can't understand why you'd expect a bottom 3 NFL defense to hold up against a QB who is mobile and capable of throwing for huge chunk plays.  I called the Bills win earlier in the week, but I didn't think it would be a blowout.

The Hawks added a couple of late scores on to what was a true indication of what their defense is, at least against good teams.  They are now 0-2 against teams that are "good" and 6-0 against everyone else.  I see this as a personnel problem, not a schematic one, so unless they can replace their whole backend, nothing will change going forward.

I see them losing to the Rams and Cards in successive weeks.

Anyone who watched that game who was "amazed" is not giving Josh Allen and the Bills enough credit and overvaluing Russell Wilson.  Statistically, the Seahawks are the worst defensive team in the NFL.  Russell Wilson is not enough to overcome that against the better teams.  

The NFC West is not going to have any pity on the Hawks.  The Rams, coming off a bye, will be throwing and throwing often.  

69 So one of those "everyone…

So one of those "everyone else" teams that Sea is 6-0 against, just beat AZ because the Cards kicker didn't have the leg to get a potentially game tying 49 yd FG attempt to the uprights.  It is one thing to miss left or right, but to fall short from that range??  I think it is a little early to start planning any NFC West post season scenarios.  SF is all injured, LA, SEA, & AZ are flawed, they all may make the playoffs, but will likely show the rest of the league how to beat each other, as the season plays out.

70 NE may win this game but...

Allowing 20 points to the J-E-T-S in a half??  Amazing that Joe (Montana) Flacco looks like he did in 2012 playoff run and passed Joe Montana in passing yards in this half.

82 Since you mentioned Montana…

Since you mentioned Montana...I was looking for someplace to stick this, because it's pretty amazing:

Career INTs at the time of their 100th TD pass

Elway - 95

Eli M. - 75

Peyton M. - 69

Favre - 65

Brees - 63

Montana - 54

Brady - 53

Marino - 44

Rivers - 43

Rodgers - 34

and then...wait for it...

Mahomes - 19

88 Era-adjust. Elway's career…

Era-adjust. Elway's career started so long ago he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts.

Up until the end of the 1980s, a good QB was 1:1 TD:INT, a great one was 2:1, and an MVP was 3:1.

Mahomes is currently 25:1. He's very good, but he's not putting that number up if you teleport him into 1985 and that year's officiating and play environment.

You can see the change across Elway and Montana's careers -- their late-career ratios are *much* better than their early career ratios. It's really Marino who stands out. He was a decade ahead of his time.

73 In NE-NYJ, a couple of…

In NE-NYJ, a couple of things can be said that haven't been said in a long, long time: Flacco looks great, and it's been all Jets so far.

I guess I haven't seen the Pats play in awhile, because I'm kind of shocked at how bad they look. DBs mixing up coverage duties, an offensive line that can't block, a QB who makes questionable decisions... yikes.

Newton's box score passing numbers are quite good but they are very misleading: just go to the play-by-play and count all the "Cam Newton pass short middle". I don't think he's even once looked to throw downfield to anyone not near the hashes. Those up-the-middle throws are open frequently, because the defense is the Jets', but not enough to sustain drives (after the first, anyway). UPDATE well it worked again on the first drive of the second half - which took most of the entire 3rd quarter - so... maybe it would work against the Jets, if their defense could stop Joe Frickin' Flacco at all.

I remember reading a week or two ago that Newton defended some bad decision (maybe taking a sack near the end of the game?) by saying he was "thinking", and it seems clear today that he is very slow reading the defense, to the point that he basically doesn't have time to look at anything but what's directly in front of him after the snap. Given all that, I have to wonder if he's still feeling the effects of COVID, which are known to include lingering cognitive "cloudiness." I hope not, but man, he does not look right (and it's a different "does not look right" than early last season, when he was clearly trying to play through a serious foot injury).

And while I'm speculating semi-baselessly, I also note that Bill Belichick's previous worst season was the year the Browns' impending move to Baltimore became official. I wonder if his cold and detail-oriented style is relatively unsuited to times of external crisis (not remotely implying that moving a football team is anywhere near as significant as what we're dealing with now, only that they are both off-field factors that are weighing on the team's minds). I don't usually pay attention to these things so maybe I'm totally off-base, but just glancing through the standings, it looks like the teams with the best records generally have coaches with reputations for friendly relations with the players (Tomlin, Reid, Carroll, McDermott I think?). Not sure if there's anything to that (and of course, there's a chicken-v-egg relationship between on-field success and a coach's popularity with the players), but it's something I just thought of tonight.

80 I think I'd attribute it…

I think I'd attribute it more to a shortened training camp and fewer in season practices (I think for about 2 weeks NE got very few practices in due to Covid outbreaks, and Newton even fewer).  I wouldn't be surprised if Belichick's style is more impacted by that than some coaches.  And I suspect for the offense this is compounded by Newton coming in and trying to learn part of the new system (parts have clearly been adapted to be familiar to him).

Also, NE's receiving corps sucks.  Meyers and Bird actually got some separation a few times today, because, well, Jets, but that's rare.  Mostly Newton's options are throw it to a guy who couldn't shake his man coverage, or dump it off to an RB and hope for YAC.  There's only so much you can scheme when you have no one capable of beating their man 1-on-1. 

89 And while I'm speculating…

And while I'm speculating semi-baselessly, I also note that Bill Belichick's previous worst season was the year the Browns' impending move to Baltimore became official. I wonder if his cold and detail-oriented style is relatively unsuited to times of external crisis (not remotely implying that moving a football team is anywhere near as significant as what we're dealing with now, only that they are both off-field factors that are weighing on the team's minds).

Interesting. They were also sort of terrible early in the 9/11 season.

74 Well the pats come back and…

Well the pats come back and win, 30-27, scoring the final 13 points of the game. Lack of offense and bad int by Flacco dooms the jets. Luckily, they are still in the running for Lawrence.

75 LOL JETSNot sure what else…

LOL JETS

Not sure what else can be said.

Not sure I've ever seen a team make a 2-score comeback playing pure ball-control offense before.

Could have been prettier, but all credit to Newton, Belichick, and the Pats for pulling that W off.

91 https://www.youtube.com…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNzXhhU9zTw

The final drive is a marvel of brutal, clogged-artery, smashmouth offense, where MSU took 22 (!) plays and 9 minutes to go 82 for a TD in the last 30 seconds. They ran 17 times. Their longest play was 16 yards, and they converted four 3rd downs and one 4th down. The TD was scored on a no-receiver jumbo where the RB broke four tackles to score from the 1.

The entire game featured one explosive play.

76 And the Jets win ...

..  27-30!  They keep the lead in the Tank for Trevor derby.

Related funny aside:   I don't remember who it was, but on one of the shows on the Sirius XM fantasy channel last week, the commentators were discussing whether the Jaguars should play Mike Glennon or Jake Luton, given Gardner Minshew's injury.  One of the hosts said that Glennon was a known quantity and that given the Jets' performance, the Jaguars "can't afford even one more win.  They have to plan Glennon." 

77 I was a Jets fan growing up

My aunt and uncle used to give me Jets tickets all the time.  I guess they didn't love me.  Glad I moved to Baltimore over 40 years ago, I could never watch this every week, every year, every decade.

86 With recency bias, people…

With recency bias, people act like the Jets are perennial bottom feeders like the Lions or Browns 2.0, but they’ve actually had a fair amount of success (mid 80s, Parcells era...and the tenures of Herm Edwards and Rex Ryan were better than people remember).  The problem is that the Jets’ bad seasons are memorable, tragicomic spectacles.  Still, I would trade the last 20 years of the Jets with the last 20 years of the Lions in an instant.

81 He almost pulled off the…

He almost pulled off the upset against the perennial Super Bowl champs.  He was within one drive of forcing OT.  That was Gase's squad's best performance all year.

Plus, didn't you hear the commentators telling a national audience about how great the atmosphere is in the Jets' locker room, how upbeat they all are, how hard they're working?  Confirmation for everything Gase himself said just a few weeks ago.  Clearly the man knows what he's talking about.

83 If the Jets had won, then…

If the Jets had won, then Gase would get fired.  Really, you need to realize the game within the game here.  Besides, nobody's losing their job until Woody Johnson loses his (in the United Kingdom, not as owner).  Obviously Chris Johnson will let Woody be the bad guy.

79 Pats looked terrible

Pats looked terrible for 3 quarters, especially on defense, but still had a chance because the Jets are the Jets.  

Flacco's pick is inexcusable.  Yes, he'd had success against the Pats' secondary, esp. vs. JC Jackson, who was having a terrible night, but there was no reason to keep going to that well.  Even though they looked shoddy tonight, we kind of new they were better than that.

The front seven, OTOH, is a bunch of no-names who were having a lot of trouble stopping the run.  

What can the Pats take from this?

- Cam looked better, but he still doesn't look comfortable.

- Damien Harris and  Jakobi Meyers both look they should have jobs for quite some time

- the O-line played well

- the defense is nowhere near the level it was last season.  

Beating the Jets with a last-second FG isn't a sign that this is a playoff team.  This isn't a playoff  team. 

I do hope they gave the Ravens a good effort next week.  But they just do not match up well vs. Baltimore.  They'll probably get pushed all over the place.  

90 I also find it amusing that…

I also find it amusing that no media commentator -- and there are plenty of former quarterbacks in that group -- understand why Belichick did not call for a timeout after Newton's keeper on the final drive.  If you call that time-out, you have to throw the ball to the sidelines and hope that a team that's been fucking up all year doesn't fuck it up and either gift an INT, or not get out of bounds.

Assuming you trust your quarterback can successfully line up and spike the ball in 20 seconds or whatever it was, you want the time out to take the big chunk of yardage in the middle of the field.  Great clock management, and the general opinion (in the immediate aftermath of the game, anyway) was that Belichick fucked it up and got lucky.