Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

HurtJ.J.jpg

» The Truth Behind Rising Injury Rates

Zachary O. Binney tries to explain the rise in NFL injury rates over the past decade. Are players getting hurt more often? Or are teams doing a better job of diagnosing and reporting injuries?

11 Oct 2017

Scramble for the Ball: Quarterback Driven

by Bryan Knowles and Andrew Potter

Andrew: Hello, and welcome to the ... we're kind of in the lull between Week 5 and Week 6 here, aren't we? Can we say it's Week 6 already? It's our fifth column of the regular season though. These are the kinds of tough, hard-hitting questions we like to ask ourselves on a cold October afternoon.

Bryan: Fifth column? Aaron, Vince, we promise we're not undermining the site from within.

Andrew: Speak for yourself! You don't get early access to edit everybody's Audibles comments. This has been, well, an up-and-down season so far. Last week was very, very up. This week, not so much -- as one glance at the league's injured reserve transactions will tell you.

Bryan: Or one glance at the quarterback table in Quick Reads will tell you. The Football Outsiders era has been rather fortunate with the sheer number of high-quality quarterbacks dotting the league. But we may be beginning to see the end of Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Carson Palmer. Peyton Manning's retired. Tony Romo's the best new color commentator in years, citation needed. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are in their late 30s and early 40s.

Andrew: I'm finally with you on the decline of Philip Rivers too. It's one of life's horrible ironies that this is the first season in years in which most of the rest of the Chargers offense has been healthy, and it's the year the powder blue quarterback's arm finally went Norwegian.

Bryan: I mean, Manning, Roethlisberger, and Rivers have been in the league since 2004 -- that's a good, long run. But at some point, superstars have to be replaced. We are seeing some promising young talent come into the league -- Dak Prescott, of course, was amazing last season, and Jared Goff might have the biggest year-to-year improvement we've seen at the position in a long, long time. Deshaun Watson's off to a hot start, Mitchell Trubisky looked at least somewhat competent on Monday night … no, it doesn't look like any of them are the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady yet, but Manning and Brady didn't look like the next Joe Montana or Dan Marino in their first few seasons.

Andrew: I'd guess Joe Montana didn't quite look like he would be in the conversation for best ever in 1979 either, otherwise he would have made more than one appearance for the 2-12 49ers. We are seeing a bit of a changing of the guard, however. Just two short years ago, something like 28 of the league's 32 teams had either an established franchise quarterback or a young player they hoped would become the face of the franchise. Now, at least 12 teams, rightly or wrongly, have serious short- or medium-term question marks at the position either due to age, young players failing to pan out, or simply being Cleveland. We have an infusion of young talent, certainly; Kirk Cousins' current team is one of the question marks, but Cousins will wind up somewhere; and some of those teams (for instance, Buffalo) maybe already have the answer in situ, but we're not suddenly about to find another 15 quality starters.

Bryan: Sounds like we need every available body from the ranks of the NCAA to help fill these voids! Like, say, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson, perhaps?

Andrew: Precisely! Which is why it was more than a little incongruous to hear former Colts and Panthers GM Bill Polian pass ... less than flattering comment on Jackson on ESPN radio a few short weeks ago. Polian, for those who missed it, opined thus: "I don't think that Lamar, the Louisville kid's in that discussion, in fact there's a question that he may be, he might be a receiver."

That's an opinion that more than one other commentator shares. Surely there's no chance, in a league which might be this starved for quarterbacks just next season, that Jackson doesn't end up taking snaps under center and throwing passes for somebody.

Bryan: Polian was specifically concerned about Jackson's girth; at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Jackson would be too small for an NFL quarterback. Just like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Derek Carr.

Andrew: As we all know, the optimal height for a quarterback is 6-foot-6 or taller, like Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, and last week's Scramble ragdoll, Mike Glennon.

Bryan: Now, that's not to say that switching positions isn't something that can be successful in the NFL, mind you. Antwaan Randle El made a successful switch from quarterback to receiver for the Steelers. Freddie Solomon was very good for both Miami and San Francisco, essentially defining the slot receiver role in the West Coast Offense. Brian Mitchell went from quarterback to return specialist, and ended second behind only Jerry Rice in all-purpose yards.

Andrew: You might have heard somewhere that Julian Edelman was an option quarterback at Kent State. Randall Cobb was a quarterback as a freshman at Kentucky, before switching to receiver as a sophomore. Terrelle Pryor is another example, but I wouldn't say necessarily a great one; it took Pryor a long time to establish himself as anything other than a gadget quarterback.

Bryan Most of these examples have something in common with Jackson; I just can't quite put my finger on it.

Andrew: Speed? Acceleration? "Athleticism?"

Bryan: Let's just say that 30 years ago, Cam Newton would have been converted to running back long before he could have talked about passing routes.

Andrew: To me, the question here isn't "can Lamar Jackson make the transition to wide receiver?" He is, by all accounts, a phenomenal athlete and football player. Instead, I'd be asking "should he?" This article provides a handy list of players who made the switch between college and the NFL. It is slightly out of date, having been compiled in 2015 when Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall abruptly switched to cornerback in the first practice for the Senior Bowl. That said, the only other player who would probably now be included is Terrelle Pryor, and Pryor did actually start his professional career as a quarterback. (Marshall himself was not drafted, and appeared in 21 games for the Jaguars and Jets across the 2015 and 2016 seasons, mainly on special teams. He is currently a free agent. Like many things in football, this usually does not work out.)

Julian Edelman is the obvious best-case outcome. Edelman landed in the perfect situation, parlayed his outstanding special teams performance into a contract, worked his way up the depth chart, and became the most important receiver on one of the most successful offenses in history. Yes, I think Edelman has been more important to the 2012-16 Patriots than any other individual wide receiver.

Bryan: It's not the craziest thing we've suggested in Scramble this year, at the very least. But for every Edelman or Randle El, you have a Brad Smith or a Josh Cribbs -- maybe a season or two of interesting play, and probably a better career than they would have had as a quarterback in the NFL, but nothing really to write home about. Let's face it -- it's hard enough to make it in the NFL without having to learn an entirely new position. You have to be pretty sure about your inability to make it at the position you've been practicing and playing for years to risk making the switch.

Andrew: For some of these guys too, playing quarterback was never a realistic possibility. Edelman and Randle El were option quarterbacks, not dropback passers. There's a big enough jump for spread or pro-style quarterbacks transitioning to the professional game, never mind for some of those college guys who are barely playing the same position. That's not true of Jackson, and even if he's Tim Tebow, there's still a case to be made for him trying to succeed at his established position before he ever considers any alternative.

Bryan: Jackson's biggest weaknesses -- going through progressions and working on his touch -- strike me as things he could pick up if he's fortunate enough to be paired with a solid veteran quarterback. While it's certainly no longer the style to have a highly-drafted rookie sit behind a veteran, having an experienced quarterback on the roster can serve as an extra quarterback coach, helping smooth out the rough edges in a rookie's game.

Andrew: Or, this being Scramble, we could take that one step beyond. Maybe instead of Jackson having to transition to a new position, we could instead move other quarterbacks to new positions, surrounding him with a supporting cast of top-notch established professionals to ease his transition into the big league. What do you think, could we see Jackson thriving in an offense with Cam Newton beside him in the backfield, helping to make his reads at the line?

Bryan: I think it's a fantastic idea. Who better to help a quarterback than every other quarterback?

Frankly, I think Cam Newton could switch to running back today and still be a starter on a playoff-caliber team. Would he be one of the best running backs in the NFL? No, probably not. But I don't think we'd look at Newton as a weakness on a team with real postseason potential. He's not a scrambling quarterback; he's a designed running quarterback.

Andrew: Sure, but could Cam Newton juke Brian Urlacher out of his shoes in the open field? Though that said, we can't rely on Tom Brady carrying the ball when clearly his true value is found as a blocker. Clearly, Tom Brady is our all-quarterback center.

Bryan: Plus, Brady's got to be good at identifying defenses and shifting protection, right? If we can't beat opposing pass rushers with power, we can beat them with brains.

Andrew: At wide receiver, well, there's just no getting past the grit and determination shown by Jay Cutler when he split wide for the Dolphins at Wembley. This is the kind of route-running from which dreams are made.

Bryan: Well, he has to be joined out there by the most athletic piece of pre-snap motion I've ever seen. Matt Ryan's bold and innovative "falling down" technique is sure to leave opposing cornerbacks scratching their heads -- or, at least, doubled over with laughter.

Andrew: So those are our two outside guys. We can put Drew Brees in the slot. His career receiving line of 7-of-8 for 73 yards and a touchdown would be a terrific single-game tally, keeping those chains moving in critical situations.

Bryan: I mean, if we really had to do this for real, I'd stick Tyrod Taylor and Russell Wilson at receiver because they're among the most athletic quarterbacks in the league, and we can't have three starting running backs. I might go with Andrew Luck as my third receiver because he has Odell Beckham-esque moves. I'm not sure Brees can physically move downfield anymore.

Andrew: You could have high school tight end Blake Bortles as your real tight end, if you really wanted, but I think he would be much more valuable at tackle. Nobody identifies pass rushers and linebackers quite like ol' Blake. Of course, Bortles usually identifies them as they intercept his passes, but that's valuable experience he can pass on to our rookie signal-caller.

Bryan: Maybe this is really the tragedy of Blake Bortles. He didn't really want to be a quarterback. Maybe he always dreamed of being an NFL caliber tight end, with his name in lights next to Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. Maybe if coaches hadn't meddled with his game early on, Bortles would be well on his way to a Hall of Fame career as a pass catcher and blocker. Damn you, Sammy Gibson, former head coach of the Oviedo Lions Pop Warner football team! Daaaaamn yoooooooou!

Andrew: In keeping with the theme of Bortles, Mark Sanchez has been up close and personal with some of the best guards in the league, and there's just no substitute for that kind of experience at this level. He would be far more valuable to our squad than he ever was as a passer for the Eagles and Cowboys.

Bryan: Of course, the most important position on the offensive line is left tackle. That has the extremely difficult role of protecting a quarterback's blind side; without that, your quarterback is going to end up on his keister more often than not. That's why left tackles are the highest paid players on the offensive line. Higher paid players are, theoretically, better than their lesser-paid counterparts. Therefore, it's logical that Matthew Stafford, the highest paid player in football, would be best suited at left tackle. LOGIC.

Andrew: That leaves left guard, primarily lined up against the space eaters of the world. Only one name could possibly be up to the task of controlling and corralling the league's biggest, meanest interior defensive linemen. Yes, it's time for yet another Kevin Hogan wrestling spoof!

Bryan: Ah wait, we forgot tight end, because we moved Bortles to tackle. Well, that's easy. Who has the tightest end in football? Brock Osweiler. I mean, rowr.

Andrew: You ... umm…

Bryan: Football's for everyone, Andrew.

Andrew:

Bryan: I read the ESPN Body issue for the articles, I swear.

Andrew: You have forced me to choose every word of my eventual response extremely cautiously.

At least he gives us a tall option over the middle of the field. And we're running a modern offense, so we don't need a fullback. We can just stick a defensive lineman in on running downs, like all the cool teams do.

Bryan: Perfect! This lineup would give Lamar Jackson the best possible chance of success in the NFL. With this much intelligence and arm strength on the field, we have a 16-0 caliber squad, I think. At least, I'm pretty sure this one is unstoppable, and the comments section won't be able to find a better one, don't you?

Andrew: Of course, what we all truly hope is that Jackson can find success quarterbacking a real NFL offense with nary another quarterback in sight, becoming one of the league's next generation of stars to replace our current crop of fading gas giants.

Bryan: Yes, if there was ever a year to duplicate the success of the '83 or '04 quarterback draft classes, this is it. Otherwise, we face an eternity of Matt Cassel taking on Jay Cutler.

Andrew: Truly, a fate worse than Dolphins fandom.

Loser League Update

Quarterback: Sam Bradford shouldn't have been behind center on Monday night. Not only did he look not fully healthy coming in, but he reportedly re-aggravated his knee injury when he got hit. That's one way to treat your starting quarterback, I suppose. In limited action, he put up 1 Loser League point, and who knows when we'll next see him on the field.

Running Back: We have a tie! Carlos Hyde is still not at 100 percent with a hip injury, and struggled to get anything going against Indianapolis. Eddie Lacy doesn't have an excuse like that to explain why he could only manage 19 rushing yards against a fairly bad Rams run defense. Either way, they both end up with just 1 point.

Wide Receiver: Goose Egg Squad Roll Call! Sammy Watkins was entirely shut down, with no receptions on four targets. Stefon Diggs, Zay Jones, and Markus Wheaton each managed to catch a pass, but were held to less than 10 yards. Jones was targeted seven times, too -- what's the definition of insanity again?

Kicker: It's not Nick Folk! Folk was one of five kickers to have negative points, along with Zane Gonzalez, Cody Parkey and Phil Dawson. But while missing three field goals is bad, missing two extra points is worse. Mason Crosby, come on down! You played a major part in giving Dallas-Green Bay it's fantastic finish, and you earn -5 points for your Loser League squad.

Check your team's score and the overall leaderboard here!

Awards

Keep Choppin' Wood: If you don't want to read about another monumental Buccaneers kicking screwup, look away now.

Still here? Good. In this year's Almanac, we wrote the following about the Buccaneers kicking situation:

Remember that Seahawks-Cardinals overtime tie with what seemed like a dozen implausibly missed field goals? Buccaneers fans have witnessed kicking that bad throughout most of the past two years. Last year's second-round pick Roberto Aguayo was the worst kicker in the league at converting field goals and extra points, but his value was somehow still more than two points "higher" than 2015's Connor Barth-Kyle Brindza catastrophe ... Veteran Nick Folk was signed as competition over the summer; whether that's more worrying for Folk's prospects or Aguayo's remains to be seen.

Somehow, it managed to work out badly for both. Aguayo didn't make it out of the preseason before being cut twice by different teams -- the Bears claimed him on waivers from Tampa Bay, only to cut him again a week or so later. This week's KCW winner Nick Folk at least managed to get his salary guaranteed; Folk made it to the opening-day roster before flaming out in spectacular fashion, with his 0-for-3 on field goals -- including a 31-yarder! -- against the Patriots the final straw for the Buccaneers coaching staff. Folk, who was only 6-of-11 this season, has been placed on injured reserve with a minor injury designation, guaranteeing that the Buccaneers release him as soon as he is healthy. Former Bucs kicker Patrick Murray has since been brought back in, because when a team has a kicking history as rich as the Buccaneers, it only makes sense to delve into the well of former glories.

Herm Edwards Award for Playing to Win The Game: We lamented two weeks ago when an ill-timed false start denied John Fox the opportunity to win this award. Discard the sackcloth and rinse off the ashes, for our wailing is no more! Fox made up for it and then some on Monday Night. First, there was this glorious fake punt touchdown to Benny Cunningham:

Later, with the Bears scoring a touchdown to pull within five points, they dug deep into their bag of tricks for this delectably sweet reverse option pitch.

That might well be our favorite play of the year so far, and even the excellent Vikings defense had no answer. On a night when his quarterback looked every bit a rookie in his first professional start, Fox almost made up for it with not one but two of the most exciting plays of his entire 38-year coaching career.

John Fox Todd Bowles Award for Conservatism: Conservatism versus aggressiveness is an age-old debate, particularly when teams get to fourth down. In some situations, erring on the side of conservatism is understandable, if not necessarily desirable. Fourth-and-3 on the opponents' side of the field, trailing 27-17 in the fourth quarter, is not one of those situations. After Jack Del Rio had his Raiders punt the ball from exactly that situation, Baltimore took a 13-play, six-minute drive 54 yards for a field goal, and the Raiders ended up facing another fourth-down call, this time fourth-and-20, now down 14 points instead of 10. They failed to convert on yet another conservative call, this time a short pass to Cordarrelle Patterson, and the Ravens were left to kneel out the clock. Maybe when Derek Carr gets back, Jack of the River will rediscover his riverboat ways.

Jeff Fisher Award for Confusing Coaching: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers beat the Cowboys thanks to a touchdown pass with just 16 seconds left in the game. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to one of the best in the game and call it a day. If only there had been a way to run those last 16 seconds off the clock…

Oh, wait, there was! Credit the Cowboys for burning nearly 10 minutes on their go-ahead touchdown drive, but on second-and-2 from the 11 yard line and 1:24 left in the game, Jason Garrett called for a fade to Dez Bryant in the corner of the end zone. Zwuh? The play calling throughout the drive was obviously intended to drain the clock as much as possible: nine runs, five short passes of 5 yards or less, one completion of 7 yards, and one deep shot when there was still six minutes left on the clock. Why, then, throw a fade? You've still got 84 seconds to burn, and you're running really well (4.7 yards per attempt!) against a below-average running defense. Why throw a pass that's only completed 33 percent of the time when you're trying to run clock? Yes, you need to score a touchdown at some point, but it makes much more sense, both at the time and in hindsight, to either run the ball or throw a high-percentage passing play. Like they were doing, you know, on the rest of the drive. It just might have eaten up those 16 precious seconds, and the Cowboys might have a winning record today.

'Blatant Homerism' Fantasy Player of the Week: If you walked out of the Indianapolis-San Francisco game, you not only missed out on one of the most tightly fought games this week but also a big fantasy performance from Brian Hoyer. After doing roughly nothing until late in the fourth quarter, Hoyer led back-to-back touchdown drives, ending up with 353 yards, two touchdowns and about 22 fantasy points -- not bad for someone who almost certainly was sitting on the waiver wire this week. It was the most passing yards Hoyer had thrown for since the last> time he faced the Colts, back in 2016. In fact, he has now thrown for 300 yards or more against the Colts in three consecutive games. Maybe start all your quarterbacks who are playing the Colts from here on out.

Blake Bortles Garbage-Time Performer of the Week: The Philadelphia-Arizona game got out of hand quickly in the second half, going from a 21-7 halftime lead to a 34-7 blowout by the end of regulation. This required the Cardinals to throw a lot to try to catch up, and J.J. Nelson was the primary recipient. After halftime, he caught all three passes thrown his way for 61 yards. He quite nearly scored a touchdown, too, but it was overturned into a fumble outside of the end zone. Hey, when most of the games are close, you're going to have an underwhelming Bortles award winner. It happens. Someone'll get blown out next week, I'm sure.

'Comfort in Sadness' Stat of the Week: Despite being heavy favorites at home against a Jaguars squad doing its utmost to conceal its flawed quarterback, the Steelers were blown out by 21 points. Fourteen of those points came on interception returns, and another seven on a single 90-yard run by Leonard Fournette. Ben Roethlisberger has not been his old self all year, and Le'Veon Bell has taken a month to get started after missing the preseason. Martavis Bryant is back, but JuJu Smith-Schuster is currently seeing more snaps. Even with the lack of cohesion around him though, Antonio Brown is still Antonio Brown. Brown piled up 157 yards on 10 receptions against the Jaguars, more than holding his own against Jacksonville's talented cornerback tandem, and now leads the league with 545 receiving yards. Defeats against two teams who were not expected to contend for the playoffs this year have overcome the goodwill of a 2-0 division record, but even with Roethlisberger misfiring Brown is pretty close to uncoverable.

Game-Changing Play of the Week: All of the most significant plays of the week came in the Packers-Cowboys game; a battle between two playoff contenders that comes down to the wire will do that for you. Everyone has talked Aaron Rodgers' game-winning comeback to death, but let's remember that it probably doesn't happen without this play early in the fourth quarter:

On the Cowboys' very next drive, we saw their ability to drain huge chunks off the clock, so let's pretend, for a moment, that this interception never happened, and they ran the same sort of clock-killing touchdown drive as they did in reality. That would have given them a 31-22 lead with about 40 seconds left in the game, and we'd be talking here today about how Mason Crosby's extra points cost the Packers a chance at a game-winning touchdown drive. Instead, Terrance Williams couldn't catch a pass that hit him in the hands, and Damarious Randall was right there to play opportunist. Dak Prescott has now equaled his interception total from a year ago, but this one was pretty clearly not his fault.

Three-Eyed Raven Lock of the Week

All picks are made without reference to FO's Premium picks, while all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing.

Andrew:Atlanta (minus-11) versus Miami. Lines like this are always perilous, because even when a top team plays a bottom-feeder there are so many variables that go into the final score. This Dolphins offense, though, with Jay Cutler at quarterback, looks at least as likely to go the full Fitzpatrick and throw multiple points to the other team as it is to take advantage of softer coverages in garbage time. If the Falcons are acutely aware that there is no such thing as a safe lead in the current NFL, the Dolphins may be the sole true exception to that rule: against Miami as currently constituted, no lead is ever at risk.

Bryan: I'm going to regret this. New York Jets (plus-10) versus New England. It is scary, scary, scary to pick the Jets for anything, but they do actually have a winning record. They're at home. They're against a New England team that is not the New England team we've been expecting. I am NOT saying that the Jets are going to win this game -- good lord, no. But so far, the Patriots' defense has been ... terrible. Really, really terrible. And Tom Brady is hurt, though it's the kind of hurt that would have had you listed as "probable" on the injury report when that was still a thing. I'm taking the risk of driving right into a Bill Belichick Wrath Storm, but if the Patriots are truly only above average -- or even, dare we say it, below average -- this feels like something the Jets could do. Maybe the Pats should try sticking Brady at center.

Records to date:
Andrew: 3-1
Bryan: 2-2

Football Outsiders doesn't answer fantasy questions on Twitter, so if you don't have a Premium subscription and access to the 24-hour Fantasy Answering Service, the Scramble mailbag is one way to get a Football Outsiders answer to your fantasy questions! Email us with fantasy questions, award suggestions, crazy videos, outlandish conspiracy theories, alternative positions for unathletic 6-foot-6 statues, and other assorted flotsam and jetsam at scramble@footballoutsiders.com.

Posted by: Bryan Knowles on 11 Oct 2017

11 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2017, 3:49pm by Bright Blue Shorts

Comments

1
by LyleNM :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 12:29pm

Really surprised you didn't go with Deandre Hopkins as the Garbage Time performer of the week. I shut the game off about 5-6 minutes left and Hopkins only had 6 pts from his TD and my fantasy team down 7. I check in an hour later and I find I'm up by 10 because Hopkins scores 2 TDs and 50-something yards. Practically an all-time garbage time performance.

3
by Bryan Knowles :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:28pm

Part of it is the difficult with defining what garbage time actually is. The Chiefs-Texans game ~did~ finish as a one-score game, though it was a meaningless touchdown at the end by Houston that made it so.

It just feels like they were closer to making something happening later in the game than, say, Arizona or Pittsburgh were.

If that second touchdown had made it, say, a 10-point final margin, I probably would have gone with Hopkins.

2
by joe football :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:21pm

A converted QB is emblematic of why Lamar's stock isn't improving very much this year. Bonnafon is a guy who was maybe a good QB but is terrible at ball carrying/catching yet they feed him a lot. Presumably he was a very highly touted guy at some point who they feel obligated to keep on the field. The rest of their skill players aren't quite as bad but they've had a ton of drops and it's killing their results/lamar's stats

Stay strong Lamar

4
by jtr :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 1:45pm

Uh, guys, Mark Sanchez can't run into his own ass. You have to put him at LEFT guard, so he can run into the right guard's ass when he pulls on a power run.

5
by mathesond :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 2:11pm

Well, if anyone can run into their own ass, I'm sure Sanchez is the guy.

6
by Jim C. :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 5:42pm

Meanwhile, there are some people in Baltimore who need to read "Scramble for the Ball" more carefully:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-axe-throwing-20171011-story.h...

7
by xydux :: Wed, 10/11/2017 - 6:20pm

(Because I wanted to do this again.)

This week's award goes to none other than the San Francisco 49ers. Coming into this weekend, the Colts were viewed as a poorly-coached team with not much in the way of talent outside of Andrew Luck–who has been out all year with injuries brought on by having to be pretty much the only talented player on the Colts. (Colts fans will, I'm sure, be able to point me to other talented players on the roster, but I'm not a Colts fan. The best I have is T. Y. Hilton.) The Colts proceeded to prove this impression of them correct, as they let a two-touchdown fourth-quarter lead slip away. Unfortunately, the 49ers defense proceeded to be pretty much unable to stop the Colts offense in overtime, and when their offense couldn't get the ball into scoring position after a timely interception, the Colts were able to drive for a field goal with very little time left.

The Colts were who they thought we were...and the 49ers let 'em off the hook.

(Also nominated: Pittsburgh Steelers.)

8
by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 10/12/2017 - 3:17pm

The Bucs have had four kickers in the last three years. Ignoring Connor Barth in 2015 (who didn’t suck), those kickers are Kyle Brindza, Roberto Aguayo, and Nick Folk. Combined, those three are 62.9 % on FG attempts, and 82.3% on XP attempts. The NFL average in 2016 was 84.2% of FG attempts, and 93.6% on XP attempts.

9
by PatsFan :: Thu, 10/12/2017 - 5:30pm

I don't think you'll regret NYJ +10. I wouldn't even take it as a given that NE will win the game outright, though it is more likely than not that they will.

10
by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 10/12/2017 - 6:37pm

Just...taking the Jets! For any reason, at any score! It's been a long time since that's felt comfortable.