Week 15 Saturday Open Discussion
NFL Week 15 - It's a special Saturday full of NFL action! First, the Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) visit the Minnesota Vikings (10-3). Then the Baltimore Ravens (9-4) visit the Cleveland Browns (5-8). And in the main event, the Miami Dolphins (8-5) visit the Buffalo Bills (10-3). Use this thread to discuss the game. You can also join Football Outsiders writers and readers on the official Football Outsiders Discord server.
76 comments, Last at 18 Dec 2022, 11:03am
#10 by Will Allen // Dec 17, 2022 - 8:38am
If the Colts rack up 450 yards in offense today, without the Vikings being up by 20-plus points, McConnell ought to fire Donatell before Sunday afternoon rolls around. For whatever reason, this bunch is nearly Cottrell-like, in its inability to grasp what they are trying to do on defense. No reason to delay the inevitable.
#20 by Kaepernicus // Dec 17, 2022 - 2:43pm
You have been on point all year about this Vikings team. They are one of the healthiest teams in the NFL and clearly worse than any other playoff team, except maybe the Giants, in the NFC. Seems like SF, DAL, or PHI would be double digit favorites if they meet in the playoffs.
#11 by Sacman // Dec 17, 2022 - 12:42pm
Between the 4 quarterbacks from the Ravens and Browns, Tyler Huntley has the best QBR, completion %, and ALEX rating.
Jacoby Brissett has the best DVOA rating of the 4, and is relegated to the bench. Why? Because the Browns arguably made one of the worst signings in nfl history, imo.
I guess that they have to play him with such a contract.
How the Browns are favored by 3 today is beyond me.
#13 by Paul R // Dec 17, 2022 - 1:48pm
The first quarter of a game is like the opening rounds of a boxing match. Both sides try out different attacks to see what works and what the other guy is doing. As a fan, I don't sweat too much or celebrate too much if one side lands a punch or two in the opening rounds because that's something that will be adjusted for and neutralized later. But the Colts are having one of those freak games where every lucky punch has landed and now the Vikes have a 20-point deficit. So, as a Colts fan, I'm cautiously optimistic.
I've had my eye on Jelani Woods all season. 6'7" rookie TE with good hands. It's nice to see him make a big play.
#18 by Stendhal1 // Dec 17, 2022 - 2:39pm
If only the Vikings had a QB noted for coming back from huge deficits— like, ironically, Frank Reich or Andrew Luck.
Will Allen, you sure called this one long ago. I’m sorry to say that because I was hoping your team would come through for you.
#52 by Moridin // Dec 17, 2022 - 5:56pm
Yeah, if anything it seems more like a FOMBB (blessing). I guess since we've been humble about it the whole time, the 'football gods' have pulled out the stops on keeping the 1 score streak going. Though this was an extreme correction to keep it going.
#21 by Paul R // Dec 17, 2022 - 2:51pm
Twice in the first half, Matt Ryan called time out in the red zone and walked to the sidelines to talk it over. Both times, Coach Saturday took no part in the conversation. Just gave Matt a fist bump and walked away. I guess it makes sense given Saturday's lack of experience as a play caller. I just don't recall ever seeing that before.
#81 by jonsilver // Dec 18, 2022 - 10:52am
Nah...a search on A Wiki of Ice and Fire (https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Main_Page) doesn't find a Raegor Targaryen (you left out the e)...of course, if you meant this as a pure joke, I fell for it....
#29 by Spanosian Magn… // Dec 17, 2022 - 4:08pm
Brutal blown call on the fumble return TD called back. The refs have had a few questionable calls - on either team - but that wasn't even close. The only thing I did wonder slightly was if Sullivan's knee might have been down and contacted when he made the recovery, but 1) though close, I don't think it was, but 2) the call was the offensive runner down by contact I think.
#31 by Spanosian Magn… // Dec 17, 2022 - 4:19pm
Well that was stupid. Colts just wasted a timeout on the 0.01% chance they could get the defense to jump, then go for it anyway, as they should have done in the first place. Because one little wrinkle was that even if the Vikings scored and converted, the Colts had all 3 timeouts to get into FG range. But they just blew that.
The refs give a truly terrible spot on the sneak, apparently ruling that his forward progress was stopped before the second surge put him clearly past the line. Questionable forward progress rulings go around, questionable forward progress rulings come around, I guess.
#36 by Spanosian Magn… // Dec 17, 2022 - 4:25pm
Did Okereke intentionally let Cook score there? Looked like he had him wrapped up then let him go. I'm half inclined to think that might have been intentional, to preserve more time for their own drive since Cook would've been down at the 1 anyway. That would've just let them waste time before scoring anyway.
(For the record, I don't think it's ever wise to intentionally let the other team score, but the way the Colts defense is playing there is a grim sort of logic to it. Although that discounts the way the Colts offense is also playing...)
#61 by Tutenkharnage // Dec 17, 2022 - 7:56pm
It's as if they're a .500 team whose "if only" prayers were all answered in real time.
"If only Justin Jefferson had held on to that ball on fourth-and-18 against the Bills."
"If only Dalvin Cook hadn't been tripped up on the last drive against Indy."
I'm sure gamblers can't wait to wager a large sum of money against this team if/when Dallas or San Francisco come to town.
#60 by Scott P. // Dec 17, 2022 - 7:38pm
This Vikings season is the best counter to the 'if you can't win the Super Bowl, the next-best outcome is getting the #1 pick' crowd. Even if the Vikings don't win it all, this has been an entertaining-as-heck, fun football season, and their fans should absolutely lap this up.
#45 by Spanosian Magn… // Dec 17, 2022 - 5:14pm
Wow, what a game. And congrats to the Vikings! The headline will be the net 33 point comeback, understandably, but it was also 36-7 with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, which is almost as impressive a situation to overcome.
If I'm Jim Irsay, I know it's not really feasible to fire the entire coaching staff and cut the entire roster at this point... but I might try it anyway.
#55 by jmaron // Dec 17, 2022 - 6:23pm
Coming back from 33-0 at the half is crazy, doing it when you start the half with a 3 and out, toss an Int when your backup receiver stops running his route, have a fumble recovery TD missed by refs and a 51 yd punt returned reversed on a face mask, leading to a 65 yd field position loss. You would think every thing would have to go right to even conceive of such a comeback.
In OT before the final FG to win, I turned to my wife and daughter and said "you do realize the greatest comeback in history, rests on the foot of a Vikings kicker". I was very shocked when he made the kick.
#49 by Kaepernicus // Dec 17, 2022 - 5:30pm
Kirk just played the best game of his career. His DVOA/DYAR splits by half are going to be insane. He looked like Zach Wilson in the first half and prime Drew Brees in the second half. He did a lot of it under pressure too. That was a great game for him.
#51 by Moridin // Dec 17, 2022 - 5:51pm
wow, I still can't believe the Vikings Colts game... also, I was half expecting the Vikings would somehow get jobbed on that final penalty (while they were discussing) and the clock would get run off.
That was the most extreme tale of 2 halves I've ever seen. WTH to both teams.
#57 by jmaron // Dec 17, 2022 - 6:31pm
I understand people thinking the Vikings are mediocre at best and just lucky, I think most sensible Viking fans think that as well, but if your team is down 1 score in the 4th quarter to the Vikings in the playoffs, and you tell me you aren't a little worried, you're lying.
#63 by Stendhal1 // Dec 17, 2022 - 8:54pm
It’s now simple for the Clots (miss you raiderjoe) fans. If Irsay hires Saturday as the full time coach after the season, you can kiss the franchise goodbye — there’d be no chance of success. Heck, at this point Jeff might not warrant an interview.
#82 by herewegobrowni… // Dec 18, 2022 - 10:53am
If you're talking about Watson, gotta get used to it if you're watching anyone playing the Browns.
What he did during what appears to be just a stretch from 2020-2021 was awful, but it doesn't seem likely that he screws up again.
#75 by Tutenkharnage // Dec 18, 2022 - 12:34am
They need to draft a new center in April and come up with the next Lindebaum or Humphrey. He can start at guard if needed; Morse gets injured often enough that the rookie will end up at center sooner or later.
#67 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 17, 2022 - 10:45pm
I don't know what it is about McDermott, but man his teams tend to stack mistakes in short bursts. Blown tackles, brainlock penalties, leaving Tyreek untouched at the LOS with no safety coverage, all in the span of like 7 plays.
#68 by herewegobrowni… // Dec 17, 2022 - 11:02pm
First real comment on "the other" undercard:
Watson appears to continue to be trending in the right direction, but still needs to see sacks coming better
4 total missed FG - 2 each from Tucker (!! And not 60+ yarders either) and York. Snow and wind had some effect but still should've all been makeable
Chubb nearly gets to 100 on the ground, unheard of with the current Ravens D.
Ravens able to move the ball with Dobbins, but many turnovers + several failed 4th downs
#74 by Tutenkharnage // Dec 18, 2022 - 12:33am
I think they need a real offensive coordinator. They also need to teach Allen the “wrong” reads for RPOs, because he absolutely sucks at them; he constantly hands off when the end is crashing down the line and keeps it when the end is waiting for him. So maybe teaching the reads to him arse-backward will allow them to finally gain some yards.
#73 by Tutenkharnage // Dec 18, 2022 - 12:31am
I think the flag came out early because that defender or the other one was already getting (rightfully) flagged for illegal contact. When the contact continued as the ball came down, they changed it to pass interference.
#80 by apocalipstick // Dec 18, 2022 - 8:26am
No one practices in snow. There's a reason NFL teams build practice domes.
The DPI is an example of why you should go deep in snow. Miami would have a better chance at creating a big play or DPI with Tyreek Hill running downhill against a DB on a slippery field than they would by asking him to go backward, plant his feet on the slick turf, then go forward. The player who has to change direction on a slippery field is at a marked disadvantage.
#72 by Digger // Dec 18, 2022 - 12:20am
Allen can do things with his arm or with his legs that are just astounding. I don't know how far the Bills can go, but Josh Allen is more than willing to get everyone to climb aboard and go for a thrill ride.