Burrow-to-Chase Returns; 49ers' Purdy Predicament

Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase
Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 13 - In this NFL Week 13 edition of Walkthrough:

  • The San Francisco 49ers learn that you don't know what you have really got in Jimmy G. until he's gone;
  • Lamar Jackson discovers the risks of "betting on himself;"
  • The New York Jets meet their worst enemy, and he is again them;
  • A.J. Brown proves that revenge is a dish best served atop a toasted defender;
  • The Commanders and Giants tie, but it's OK, because they're weirdos who are into that sort of thing;

And much more. But first...

Remember the Cincinnati Bengals?

They won the AFC Championship in 2021. They came within a few plays of winning a Super Bowl. But they were written off as a team destined to fall back to the pack in 2022 because they didn't go out and get Russell Wilson or Davante Adams. They just did boring stuff like invest in their offensive line.

Remember when the Bengals started 0-2? Their rebuilt offensive line couldn't get on the same page, and Joe Burrow ran himself into some sacks. So the Bengals were written off. Seriously, what were the chances that four new starters on the offensive line—three of them established veterans—would slowly gain cohesion as the season went on? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Remember when Ja'Marr Chase got injured in Week 8? There was no chance Joe Burrow could win games with just Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd at wide receiver, plus that rebuilt line, plus a solid-up-the-middle no-name defense. It's not like Burrow is Justin Herbert. The smart move when Chase went down in November was to write the Bengals off as nothing more than plucky wild-card wannabes.

We have written the Bengals off so many times that the IRS is sending threatening letters. Sunday brought a very thorough audit:

Game Spotlight: Cincinnati Bengals 27, Kansas City Chiefs 24

What Happened: The Bengals beat the Chiefs for the third time in the 2022 calendar year, earning a spot beside Chiefs and the Bills on the AFC Super Bowl shortlist.

The Bengals took a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter, thanks in part to Ja'Marr Chase's return from injury. (Chase finished with seven catches for 97 yards.) A 14-3 lead against the Chiefs is like a 4-0 lead at the start of an NBA game, however, and the Chiefs led 24-17 after Patrick Mahomes imitated Michael Jordan at the 1987 Slam Dunk Contest on a 3-yard touchdown scramble.

The Bengals remembered that they are the Chiefs' worst nightmare early in the fourth quarter, when Germaine Pratt ripped the ball away from Travis Kelce at the end of a 19-yard completion and Burrow led a touchdown drive built largely out of underneath completions to Samaje Perine and Chris Evans. A Joseph Ossai sack of Mahomes forced a missed Harrison Butker 55-yard field goal attempt on the next drive, and Burrow prevented any late-game acts of Mahomes sorcery with a 14-yard completion to Tee Higgins on third-and-11 just after the two-minute warning.

What it Means: The Bengals entered Sunday's game sixth in DVOA despite missing Chase for a month and playing their first two games of the season as if the offensive line was issued five different playbooks. They are a very, VERY strong Super Bowl contender. Lamar Jackson's injury smooths their path to the AFC North crown, and while the Bengals' upcoming schedule is still difficult, they just passed their toughest test.

The Chiefs are now at a head-to-head tiebreaker disadvantage with both the Bills and Bengals, and they must also cope with bad mojo after three straight high-stakes losses to the Bengals, including the AFC Championship Game. The tiebreaker situation has been a potential problem since the Chiefs lost to the Bills, and mojo isn't real. But the Chiefs just lost a game in which they did everything right: they were balanced offensively, kept Chase from going supernova on them, and did not beat themselves with penalties.

Maybe the Bengals aren't just a "bad matchup" for the Chiefs, but simply a better team.

What's Next: The Bengals host the Browns before their two-game Ghosts of Tom Brady road trip to Tampa Bay and New England. The Chiefs' current three-game road-trip gets much easier as they visit Russell Wilson's half-empty Denver mansion and the crumbling ruins of the Houston Texans.

San Francisco 49ers 33, Miami Dolphins 17

What Happened: What started as a Mike McDaniel homecoming celebration and a showdown between the suspiciously unstoppable Dolphins offense and the 49ers' tried-and-true YAC-'n'-sacks attack turned into a costly battle of injury attrition. And no one defeats the 49ers in a costly battle of injury attrition.

The Dolphins, already without starting tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson, lost Jaylen Waddle early in the game. The 49ers called that injury and raised it when Jimmy Garoppolo left the game with a leg injury. Garoppolo is now out for the year.

Enter 49ers backup … um ... C.J. Beathard? Nick Mullens? Nick Sudfeld? Josh Rosen? Nope: Iowa State legend Brock Purdy.

Purdy couldn't accomplish much, but he didn't need to, because the Dolphins offense produced exactly two meaningful plays: a 74-yard slant-and-go Trent Sherfield touchdown on the first play of the game and a 45-yard Tyreek Hill bomb early in the fourth quarter. Other than those two plays, Tua Tagovailoa and company mustered just 188 yards of offense on 43 plays and went 0-for-7 on third downs.

Tagovailoa, who threw two interceptions (one a tip drill) and fumbled away a fourth-quarter strip-six, left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury.

What It Means: This was supposed to be a winner-take-all battle for Super Bowl legitimacy. With a healthy Garoppolo, the 49ers would have belonged in the same category as the Eagles and Cowboys as true contenders. Let's be kind and include the Vikings too!

Without Garoppolo, however, friend-of-Walkthrough and The Athletic 49ers reporter David Lombardi said it best:

The 49ers are not the 1985 Bears. They are at least one full notch below the Eagles and Cowboys with Purdy at quarterback. (If the 49ers face the Vikings in the playoffs, Purdy will suffer a bizarre midweek hang-gliding accident, forcing Christian McCaffrey to start at quarterback.)

The 49ers brought this predicament on themselves with early-Sunday reports that they may re-sign Garoppolo for next year. If you want to make the almighty laugh, tell him about the 49ers' quarterback plans. But hey, imagine how many games Trey Lance could have won with the Jets in 2023!

As for the Dolphins, playing a little poorly with two backup tackles and Waddle out is acceptable; losing all ability to cope or function offensively is not acceptable. The Dolphins may be dangerous in the playoffs if they get healthier. For now, if you want to root for an AFC team with an explosive offense AND the ability to overcome setbacks, the Bengals are the team you seek.

What's Next: Tua (if healthy) vs. Herbert, the matchup that will finally destroy Twitter once and for all. Also, the Purdy Little Niners host the Buccaneers.

Game Spotlight: Minnesota Vikings 27, New York Jets 22

What Happened: The Jets defense couldn't get off the field on third downs in the first half. Their offense couldn't get in the end zone in the second half. The Vikings, meanwhile, just Vikinged.

The Vikings took a 20-3 lead late in the second quarter on a tip-drill Harrison Smith interception to set up an early score, some gash runs by Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, and a 7-of-11 first-half performance on third downs.

The Jets defense stiffened (or the Vikings offense went predictably flaccid) in the second half, but their offense settled for field goals at the ends of 33- (before halftime), 43-, 72-, and 63-yard drives.

The Jets drove down to the Vikings 1-yard line at the two-minute warning but could not punch it in, with Braxton Berrios failing to complete the catch on fourth down. Their defense gave them the ball back at the Vikings 43-yard line with 1:19 left, but Mike White could not mount a final drive, and his last-ditch fourth-and-10 pass was intercepted.

What It Means: Once again, the Vikings looked ordinary at best yet beat a fellow middleweight. Once again, the Jets played well enough to win but found ways to lose a heartbreaker to a beatable opponent.

Mike White was better than the guy he replaced but still meh: too many deflected passes (a sign of a quarterback staring down his targets), some plays where he didn't see open receivers underneath, not much of a plan in the red zone.

The Jets need to win games in which White plays this way, because that's how he's likely to play down the stretch. Their defense cannot afford to dig a first-half hole by letting Kirk Cousins types scramble for third-and-9 first downs or letting Jalen Reagor (of all people) somehow shake open for 38-yard catches. Coordinator Mike LaFleur needs to dream up new concepts for an offense that's 4-of-14 in the red zone over its last four games. How about a Garrett Wilson/Elijah Moore/Berrios pistol diamond formation near the goal line? It makes more sense than asking any Jets quarterback to read a defense in close quarters.

As for the frustratingly ordinary Vikings, there may well be some intangible but legitimate reason why a team loaded with seasoned veterans such as Cousins, Harrison Smith, Erik Kendricks (14 total tackles) and many others can find ways to seal close victories against opponents such as the Jets who are full of inexperienced up-and-comers. Or perhaps the Vikings keep getting lucky. Neither of those paths to victory are likely to get them all that far in the NFC playoffs, but Vikings fans can enjoy the wins and some righteous indignation at the skeptics (in other words, everyone who is not a Vikings fan) until then.

What's Next: The Vikings Mediocrity Tour 2022 continues with a visit to the Lions followed by a visit from Jeff Saturday's Rollerskate Jam. The Jets Frozen Roadtrip continues with a stop in Buffalo. Brrrrr.

Game Spotlight: Philadelphia Eagles 36, Tennessee Titans 10

What Happened: A.J. Brown exerted absolute dominance over his former team and sent the Titans back to Conference USA where they belong.

Brown (8-119-2, with a third long touchdown called back because of a tippy-toe out of bounds), played as if he was still holding a grudge against the team that traded him instead of signing him to a market-value contract. Fancy that.

Treylon Burks, Brown's rookie replacement, got knocked out of the game with a blow to the head on a first-quarter touchdown, robbing the Titans of their lone hypothetical downfield target. The Eagles overcame a flurry of early-game penalties and replay reversals to take a 21-10 halftime lead. Once the Titans could no longer play mucky-poo turtle-ball, the rout was on.

Derrick Henry rushed for just 30 yards on 11 carries, and the depleted Titans secondary had no answers for Brown or DeVonta Smith (5-102-1). Once the Titans could no longer run on early downs, the weakness of their pass protection and utter lack of speed at wide receiver were exposed, with Ryan Tannehill enduring six sacks.

What It Means: The Titans will once again earn an automatic playoff bid as the AFC Southlandia champions and immediately get exposed by one of the real conference contenders.

Any team with adequate pass protection and swift receivers should steamroll the Titans in the playoffs. The AFC playoffs will feature several true contenders who match that profile.

The Eagles can cross "bad run defense" off their list of worries now that Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Davis (back from injury), and their rotation of about 40 other quality defensive tackles are slowing down Henry/Aaron Jones/Jonathan Taylor types. The Eagles special teams also looked uncharacteristically strong on Sunday, with Britain Covey returning six punts for 105 yards.

That leaves the Eagles without any major recurring weaknesses, folks. If you are still skeptical of them, Walkthrough doesn't know what else to tell you.

What's Next: The Eagles cruise up the New Jersey Turnpike for their first of two meetings with the fit-to-be-tied Giants. The Titans host the obligingly overrated Jaguars.

Game Spotlight: Commanders 20, Giants 20 (OT)

What Happened: Two quasi-contenders who play each game not to lose succeeded in not losing. The football gods took one look at the Giants and Commanders and demanded a tie as a sacrifice to their displeasure.

The Giants were outclassed at wide receiver and in the secondary but manufactured an offense out of Pop Warner concepts. The Commanders took an early lead but could not protect Tyler Heinicke or stop the Daniel Jones-Saquon Barkley option game.

Heinicke delivered his typical slightly-better-than-Wentzian assortment of clutch plays, scattershot-routine throws, and fumbles. The Commanders started four drives inside their own 12-yard line. The Giants took a 20-13 lead on a 20-yard touchdown drive after a fumble and tried to milk it for the final 32 minutes of regulation while attempting one downfield pass per quarter. Heinicke eventually managed to tie the game late in the fourth quarter with a scrambling fourth-and-4 completion to Curtis Samuel and a 28-yard catch-and-run by Jahan Dotson.

Overtime was football purgatory. The Giants took a delay-of-game penalty on fourth-and-3 from the Commanders 45-yard line late in the period and punted. The Commanders rewarded that 1980s NHL road-team strategy by allowing Heinicke to get sacked near his own goal line, giving the Giants the ball back with 28 seconds left. But the football gods would not be denied, and Graham Gano's final 58-yard field goal attempt came up short.

What It Means: This game was a rock-solid argument for eliminating the third wild-card berths. Neither the Giants nor Commanders are remotely playoff-worthy, yet we were forced to sit through this glorified NCAA basketball tournament Wednesday night play-in game as if it meant something. And we will be forced to do it again in two weeks.

What's Next: The Giants host the Eagles and then visit the Commanders. The Commanders take the week off, then host the Giants. If they tie again, they will be forced to merge and become the USFL's All New Baltimore Stars.

Week 13 Awards

Trophies! Get your trophies!

Defender of the Week

Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner put a scare into his former team with two sacks and an interception ripped from running back Tony Jones' hands in a 27-23 Rams loss to the Seahawks.

Walkthrough usually only gives DOW to defenders on winning teams, but Wagner gets extra credit for both lifetime achievements and being the last man standing for the Rams.

Offensive Line of the Week

Josh Jacobs rushed for 144 yards at 5.5 yards per carry. The Los Angeles Chargers were held without a sack. The Las Vegas Raiders offensive line has been playing well lately, so let's hear it for Kolton Miller, Donald Parham, Andre James, Alex Bars, and Jermaine Eluemunor, plus oft-used sixth man Thayer Munford!

The Raiders won 27-20. The Chargers offense sputtered all afternoon. Maybe that will finally stop Twitter from fawning all over one isolated Justin Herbert highlight from a lost-cause situation against a weak opponent…

Nope. This is Walkthrough's life now.

Special Teamer of the Week

Donovan Peoples-Jones' 76-yard punt return touchdown gave the Browns their only points of the first half and helped spark a 27-14 defense-and-special-teams-fueled victory over the depressing Houston Texans.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Sometimes you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug. And sometimes you are Kristian Fulton getting run over by A.J. Brown.

Fulton had to leave the game after trainers picked him out of Brown's cleats. That left undrafted rookie Tre Avery to attempt the hug 'n' hope coverage technique, which is at least a step up from Fulton's World Cup flop technique.

Honorable Mention to Matt Ryan for rolling like a log down a steep hill at the end of Malik Hooker's second-quarter interception in the Sunday night game:

Walkthrough cannot find exact the camera angle, but Ryan can be seen flying sideways like Superman from the old television series across the screen on some replays after getting blocked.

Burn This Play!

When it's fourth-and-inches, a sneak is almost always the best play, though it might be tempting to manufacture an opportunity for someone such as Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, or Tyler Boyd.

Or, as Zac Taylor might say, "It's time for a jet sweep from a tight formation to TRENT TAYLOR."

Carlos Dunlap makes a great play on Taylor, but look at the Chiefs defense on the offensive right: no way the 180-pound punt returner with 20 offensive touches in the last three years picks up a first down.

Rando of the Week

Happy eighth birthday to Vikings superfan Lincoln Gustafson, our Rando of the Week!

You may be wondering, with a great deal of apprehension, where Walkthrough is going for a follow up joke about a lovable tyke. Are you guessing:

a) A tasteful-but-lame Fargo-accent reference? ("Ya, that Gustafson lad is a fine fella, you betcha."

b) A deflection to a different kid and a funnier quarterback? (Aaron Rodgers' eight-year-old superfan is also the World's Cutest Widdle 9/11 Truther!)

c) A Home Alone reference. (Cue Catherine O'Hara: "Kevin??? Oh no, we left him at a VIKINGS GAME!")

d) Something exceedingly dumb like a "skinny white kid" joke.

The answer is d): Gustafson is destined to be Tom Brady's favorite slot receiver in about three years.

Lamar Jackson's Narrow Escape

"Gambling on yourself" is just that: gambling. In Lamar Jackson's case, it's an extreme-stakes, extreme-risk game. Pretending that it's a sure thing doesn't make it a sure thing. And rooting for him to win doesn't change the odds.

Lamar Jackson suffered what appeared to be a significant knee injury in the Baltimore Ravens' 10-9 victory over the sublimely ridiculous Denver Broncos. Per postgame reports, the injury was not nearly as bad as it looked; we'll know more by the time you read this on Monday, but it looks like Jackson may miss a little time, not the rest of the season.

You may recall that Jackson reportedly turned down a market-value franchise-quarterback contract just before the start of the season. Jackson wants a fully guaranteed deal. Some analysts framed Jackson as a working-class hero poised to beat the Ravens and NFL at their own poker game. Walkthrough pointed out that Jackson was risking an awful lot against a stacked deck and felt that those who cheered his gambit on were being really generous with Jackson's future money.

You can read the whole Jackson contract argument in the link above. Walkthrough even presaged the scenario that Jackson may find himself in after Sunday's injury:

Let's say Jackson misses two-and-a-half games this season with a sprained ankle. Let's say his performance also lands somewhere between 2019 and 2020 levels: 2,800 passing yards, 700-plus rushing yards, a winning record as a starter, another playoff loss in which Jackson doesn't quite look like peak [Patrick] Mahomes, [Josh] Allen, or [Russell] Wilson.

Does that really sound like a quarterback a team should make a guaranteed five-year commitment to?

After the hypothetical, non-disastrous, in-character season described above, Eric DeCosta and the Ravens might say, "Sorry, that offer from last September is off the table. We're now thinking three years, $140 million or so, $90 million guaranteed, a fourth void year to spread the bonus out. Whattaya say?"

LOL, "Wilson." We were so young and naive in early September. But that's not the point.

Both Jackson and the Ravens have more immediate concerns right now than Jackson's future contract. The Ravens face four AFC North opponents in their final five games. They can remain in the playoff picture with a few wins. Maybe if Lamar Jackson comes back—but doesn't hurry back—and stays healthy, he can lead a playoff run. Then he enters the offseason as a bottom-of-the-top-10 quarterback coming off two straight injury-marred seasons, and maybe the next time he limps off the field…

Walkthrough is the opposite of a Lamar Jackson-hater. We're not pessimists. We're realists. And we're worried that the $133 million guaranteed that the Ravens offered in August was the offer Jackson could not afford to refuse.

Let's hope Walkthrough is wrong. But on Sunday, we came close to being disastrously correct.


112 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2022, 1:08pm

#1 by eberinson // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:29am

I’d say the Niners would be happy to pay Lamar, guarantee the $ and compete for a Supe next year. 

Points: 1

#5 by HitchikersPie // Dec 05, 2022 - 4:35am

I've been assuming they'll get a cheap Tom Brady rental if they go for anyone

Points: 1

#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:05am

SF would be the perfect team for Brady to Sam Beckett into.

However, Brady's longevity versus the Curse of the 49ers is like the Invincible Object against the Irresistable Force.

\It would also be a hilariously awful coda for Garoppolo.

Points: 2

#18 by Scott P. // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:35am

Ah, yes, the famously cursed 49ers, who haven't won anything or even gotten particularly close.

Points: 1

#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:22am

Not all curses are show-stoppers. Lugh did pretty well for himself even though Areadbhair was cursed.

But the 49ers and the New Jersey teams seem to behave like they play on a cursed burial ground.

\unlikely in the case of the Meadowlands

Points: 0

#83 by JoelBarlow // Dec 05, 2022 - 4:23pm

bad luck is the residue of bad design

you could also say the 49ers were fortunate to still have JG as their QB because they were unable to trade him due to his injury, asking too much etc. and that we was needed and clearly better than Lance was going to be (and then injured after running a high school offense for two games and predictably getting hurt)


but this will be, somehow, another + for the Shanahan is a genius crowd. They were 7-4 - destined for a SB

Points: 1

#32 by BlueStarDude // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:13am

it was sarcasm. how to read that in context as not sarcasm?

Points: 3

#80 by BlueStarDude // Dec 05, 2022 - 3:50pm

thank you. i will now promptly forget this. but thank you. lol.

Points: 0

#99 by TomC // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:17pm

In defense of bravehoptoad, it didn't read like sarcasm. At all. The only way to know to interpret it as sarcasm is to recognize it as a prima facie ridiculous statement for anyone over the age of 30 or who has ever read anything about football history and to know that the poster falls into both of those categories.

Points: 1

#100 by bravehoptoad // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:20pm

Well. I could have been less snarky about it, even if I did think it was literal.

Points: 0

#105 by ahmadrashad // Dec 06, 2022 - 12:07am

Yeah, and there are other apparently serious comments in this very thread to the effect of "TeamX has always been chokers, therefore they will always choke." So I read the 49ers comment as a parody of that, but idk some people here do seem to think that way. 

I guess if the comment quality on the analytics website is not good enough, there's always plebbit - get more upboats there for yer le hot takes. 

Points: 0

#7 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 8:51am

Oh, yeah. They're pretty underleveraged for next year. They've technically only got around like $15M cap space with a bucket-ton of unsigned players, but Kittle, Ward, and Warner could be simple-restructured for like $26M straight up, and that'd make perfectly reasonable fiscal sense. Plus Trent Williams and Bosa's contract situations could be dealt with too.

It'd be a very short-term all in situation though.

Points: 0

#16 by Rufus R. Jones // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:32am

Anything is possible. A lot of teams could free up money if they restructure 5 of their biggest contracts, though. Not sure how likely that would be. Also- don't they still need to find out what they have in Lance at some point?

Points: 0

#19 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:49am

Define "they." The 49ers as a franchise, long-term, invested in Lance and do need an answer there. Shanahan/Lynch however, have one of the best rosters in football and need to finally seal the deal before it starts to break up or their seats get hot. Shanahan has an excellent rep as a coach, which IMO is deserved, but he's also only 1 game over .500 right now.

Points: 0

#21 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:01am

 A lot of teams could free up money if they restructure 5 of their biggest contracts, though.

No, there aren't. That's what "underleveraged" means. There are plenty of teams that already have their largest contracts fully spread out.

Points: 2

#36 by Rufus R. Jones // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:27am

Well, if they can swing it- sure, sign Lamar. The Ravens didn't jump at it, but somebody will. Might as well be the Niners. He won't help their passing game much, if at all, but could be one more weapon in their quest to run their way to a Super Bowl title.

Points: -1

#43 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:49am

Harbaugh's 49ers bring Greg Roman's offense to the NFL, making a Super Bowl starter out of Colin Kaepernick, losing to John Harbaugh. The 49ers fire Harbaugh and Roman. Roman eventually ends up in Baltimore under the other Harbaugh. Roman's offense makes an MVP out of Lamar. Baltimore lets Lamar go and he goes to the 49ers.

Time is a flat circle.

Points: 4

#51 by billprudden // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:41pm

I can only hope to one day see the world through your prophetic eyes.

Points: 1

#58 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:06pm

The 49ers have been primarily a passing offense first all year with Jimmy at QB. Lamar is a really good passer when he has more than Duvernay as his WR1. Lamar would probably be a perfect fit for the offense as KS envisions it given his touch and running ability. I would love to see him as a passer with these targets in this scheme. If the Ravens let him leave it will crater their offense immediately. He is covering up a lot of warts and has been since 2019.

Points: -2

#84 by BigRichie // Dec 05, 2022 - 4:55pm

What in the world Ravens games have you been watching the past 3 years??

Points: 1

#47 by serutan // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:11pm

I’d say the Niners would be happy to pay Lamar, guarantee the $ and compete for a Supe next year.

If the Panthers actually release Baker Mayfield, the Niners might well snap him up for the rest of the season.

Long term, IMO they've got too much invested in Lance to give up on him at this point, so I don't think persuing Lamar is in the cards.

Points: 2

#2 by greybeard // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:59am

If Lamar does not play a few games and Ravens lose them and miss playoffs is not that a great leverage for him to show his value ?-

Points: 1

#3 by Moridin // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:11am

pro and con. Yes, proves value over his backup, but he's already lost some value in his negotiation by having 2 years in a row with injuries that causes missed games, cause the team is also paying for him to potentially miss games.  That said, it's only the last 2 years, not any of his previous years, but the negotiation power being compared is start of year to end of year.

Points: 0

#6 by Shylo // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:04am

Your team won so you can gloat as.much as you want Tanier but I'd like to remind you that words have meanings. A.J. Brown did not take revenge on the Titans, as he had nothing to take revenge for. What he did was double down and rub salt in the wound.

This game really was not about A.J. Brown as much as injuries, roster construction, and poor offensive philosophy coming home to roost.

Points: 0

#8 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 8:58am

A.J. Brown did not take revenge on the Titans, as he had nothing to take revenge for.

Really? Contract negotiations falling apart enough that led to Twitter spats and both sides sniping at the other claiming what they're saying isn't true?

Brown was very clearly pissed off at the way the negotiations were handled, and considering the WR extensions this offseason, his value expectation was probably pretty darn spot on. So... he kinda did. (Now, the fact that he taunted the team rather than management, that's a separate thing)

Points: 2

#17 by Rufus R. Jones // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:34am

The "revenge factor" is neat media talk. But this isn't pro wrestling. He's a good player who played good. 

Points: 0

#22 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:03am

But this isn't pro wrestling. He's a good player who played good. 

He's also a player who was clearly pissed off about the negotiations and flat-out stated after the game that he had this game circled.

It is, in fact, possible for a guy to have extra motivation.

Points: 1

#49 by Rufus R. Jones // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:25pm

I've got nothing against a good story, but it's confirmation bias. He's had similar or better games this year. Was he extra motivated for those games, or was he just a great player (which he is)? 

Points: 0

#52 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:45pm

but it's confirmation bias

I'm not saying that Brown played well because of the motivation. Obviously he's had great games, and obviously he's a great player. I'm saying that to Brown it was a game that he was more motivated for. Because that's what he said. Because he didn't like how the trade was handled. Which is also what he said before.

Wanting to have success at the expense of a team (e.g. you do well, they are harmed by you doing well) that you feel slighted you is (checks dictionary)... revenge.

Points: 1

#54 by serutan // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:56pm

The "revenge factor" is neat media talk. But this isn't pro wrestling. 


It isn't, and you are forgetting Richard Sherman (after leaving Seattle) explicitly stated he signed with the Niners in order to have have an opportunity to get revenge against Seattle.

Points: 1

#59 by Chuckc // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:06pm

Unfortunately, all Sherman did was hurt the 49ers in the playoffs yet again

Points: 1

#91 by Pen // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:48pm

Hmmmm, Sherman hurts the Niners. Wagner goes to the Rams who then have the worst follow up season to a SB championship in NFL history. Wilson goes to Denver and, well, we all know what happened there.

Maybe Carroll has this Westworld thing going on where he makes robot copies of his best players and programs them to seek out and destroy Seattle rival teams.

Points: 1

#109 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 06, 2022 - 1:47pm

He left New England for USC, got them a National Title that was later stripped and left them under a cloud. Arguably he was the first NE sleeper agent. 

Points: 0

#9 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:03am

Your team telling you you aren't worth market rate and trading you off and replacing you is semi-valid spite. Russell Wilson got a revenge game against Seattle based on exactly the same beef, and AJ Brown had never been a pain in the ass of the Wilsonian order.

Tom Brady and Michael Jordan ran for decades based on imagined slights that were nowhere near as significant.

Points: 2

#11 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:10am

Sometimes you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug. And sometimes you are Kristian Fulton getting run over by A.J. Brown.

Holy crap was that OPI (see, I can be fair). Calling that illegal contact's just completely nuts. Vrabel was totally right complaining about that one after the game.

Officiating was utter crap in this game - everything was just called as if the refs were just completely lost, calling the results rather than the process. Collision between Brown & Fulton? Gotta be illegal contact, throw the flag. Ignore the fact of who initiated the contact. Defensive lineman on the ground? Gotta be holding, there's no way the lineman could've just fallen flat on his face by himself. And neither of those freaking challenges should've had to have been used.

Points: 1

#13 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:18am

Holy crap was that OPI (see, I can be fair). Calling that illegal contact's just completely nuts. 

That's been called illegal contact on the defense for 20 years. I would say wrongly, but that's probably a blocking call in basketball, too.

Points: 0

#25 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:22am

That's been called illegal contact on the defense for 20 years.

It really hasn't. It depends on whether the ref (well, any ref) was actually watching the receiver or if he just had him in peripheral. Vrabel had said this was a "thrown together crew" but I'm not sure how true that is (they were mostly together last week as well) - but if they haven't been working together long, it's not surprising. That's the kindof thing that you'd need teamwork between the back/side/field judges.

The NFL doesn't really have a good ruling on this but the NCAA basically does - if there's a collision with no intent to impede (which is what this was) it's not defensive pass interference (or illegal contact). It should be OPI but there's usually an "intent" argument there as well, and some people would say "he didn't intend to blast the guy to the ground." Which is maaaybe arguable, although I'd say it's weak.

CBs are taught the positioning that Fulton has on that play specifically because the receiver will have to avoid the CB on a double move.

(edit: after watching it more closely it might be a bit of a perspective issue: Fulton might've been closing too hard on the WR, so I guess I'll walk back the "holy crap" part. Hard to tell given the angle in the shot.)

Points: 0

#27 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:41am

His difficulty is he's moving into the receiver and (this is important) looking at the receiver and not at the ball. He also tries to tackle Brown (he wraps his arms), which would have been defensive holding if it wasn't illegal contact.

Had he been watching the QB and hit Brown, it's probably legal and a no-call. Or if he'd been two yards closer to the LoS. But he wasn't.

Points: 0

#55 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:57pm

It's the "moving into the receiver" part that's actually important. Doesn't matter where his eyes are if he's more stationary, which is what it looked like at first (but he probably isn't - again, perspective). Prior to the pass being thrown you can't actually be playing the ball, so eyes don't matter there.

It's really intent there that's important. If he's moving to the receiver, he's cutting off his route which is illegal contact. If he's staying more stationary and the receiver drives into him, it's OPI. If they're both kindof headed the same way and they cut opposite and collide, it's neither. I'd lean more towards "neither" but again it's a perspective issue.

Like I said, the NFL rulebook on that portion is pretty crap. Illegal contact isn't "you touched the guy," it's specifically "cannot initiate contact with a receiver who is attempting to evade him." There's specifically an exception for defending or protecting himself against impending contact. To me it's a huge stretch to say Brown was "attempting to evade him," he drove right into him. But the OPI clauses only specifically mention blocking being impermissible before the pass, and that wasn't blocking either. 

Points: 0

#64 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:38pm

The list of things which are pass interference is probably useful in terms of the sort of contact which is allowed within 5 yards but not allowed outside of it. This is also why I think where the DB (and WR) is looking is important --

  1. Cutting off the path of an opponent by making contact with him, without playing the ball;

You can take a charge as a DB, but you have to be conceivably playing the ball.

Points: 0

#72 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 2:19pm

You can take a charge as a DB, but you have to be conceivably playing the ball.

You can't be playing the ball if it's not in the air. Playing the ball means attempting to catch a ball in the air. That's why it's under "when the ball is in the air." The illegal contact rules specifically say "cannot initiate contact" and then carve out an exception for defending one's self from impending contact. Which is what happened here, although (again) perspective can be throwing things off. 

Think about it this way: what if there was a receiver underneath Brown who the DB was trying to change off to cover? Brown's contact would've been a textbook OPI pick. The DB doesn't need to have eyes on the QB. He's got a right to his space and his route.

Points: 1

#74 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 2:40pm

What I'm parsing is "what is not incidental contact" and what would refs consider to be "initiating."

My interpretation is that if you hunker down in a space and watch the ball, a WR hitting you on a route is "incidental". But if you are running with a WR and not watching the ball, and just stop, that would fall into "initiating contact".

I realize this is not DPI. I never said it was.

Points: 0

#75 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 3:04pm

if you hunker down in a space and watch the ball, a WR hitting you on a route is "incidental"

Well, no. If that happens, it's OPI without a doubt.

But if you are running with a WR and not watching the ball, and just stop, that would fall into "initiating contact".

Yeah, obviously. But Brown is the one who changed direction, not the defender. This is why I keep mentioning perspective: at first glance it looks like Fulton's just running with Brown, but I actually think it might be Fulton's closing on him and I'm getting fooled by perspective. It still feels way more like Brown initiated that contact, but it's just hard to tell with that angle.

Points: 0

#112 by BSK // Dec 07, 2022 - 1:08pm

Seems to me the DB gets crossed up on the double move.  You can see him start to rotate his torso while reaching out to grab Brown as he tried to get his feet settled under him to turn back around.  I had to slow it down to see that clearly but even at full speed it looks like he bites on the fake and is running towards where Brown was/was going and impedes Brown on his route, which is now taking him upfield.  Basically, they ran directly into each other, with both guys moving.  But fair or not, the offensive player has the advantage in that scenario so it's going to get called that way every time.

If the defender was flat footed or standing still, maybe it'd be different.  But both guys were running forward towards the same point and the collision impeded Brown in running his route; it didn't impede the defender beyond him getting the brunt of it.  Imagine they passed like ships in the night... the defender would have still ended up way out of position and Brown would have run an unimpeded route.  But because they collided, the defender actually maintained his coverage a beat longer (while they were tangled up).  Had physics worked out differently, Brown ends up on the ground and the call is much more obvious.


Who was trying to do what?  Who was (potentially) stopped from doing that because of the contact?  Brown was trying to run upfield.  The defender was trying to stay close to him.  The contact made Brown's job harder, not the defender (the results notwithstanding).

Points: 0

#12 by BSK // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:11am

Thanks for calling out Football Twitter's obsession with Herbert and, really, so many things Chargers.  Herbert is an undeniable talent.  But, results matter.  And he just isn't getting them.  We could probably put a lot of that on coaching, but Football Twitter also seems obsessed with Staley, or at least was when he was the poster child for 4th down aggressiveness.


At some point, you gotta perform.  The Chargers as a team aren't performing nearly well enough to justify all the fanboy love they get.

Points: 1

#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:19am

The Chargers as a team aren't performing nearly well enough to justify all the fanboy love they get.

And never have.

Never has a franchised so blessed in skill been so untainted by success.

Points: 4

#35 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:24am

I haven't seen any evidence that these Staley teams are better than the Anthony Lynn team from Herbert's rookie year considering how much more talent he has had at his disposal. I think the Chargers are a perfect candidate for a super experienced offensive HC. I honestly think they should go after Frank Reich or Sean Payton. All of the pieces are there for a very good team to emerge with the right staff. Staley has been an abject failure on the defensive side of the ball. When you hire a DC for the head coaching position they have to at least elevate that side of the ball. Look at what Saleh has done in year 2 for the Jets. Look at the difference in talent between those teams, it's closer now than it was but is still not very close. Saleh has coached circles around Staley with terrible QB play most of the time. If LAC can't get an old offensive HC they should throw a ton of money at Ryans from SF. I have watched Ryans adapt to new personnel after injuries better than anything Saleh did while he was there. Ryans would immediately make that defense a top half team in year 1. The Chargers have to make coaching changes this off-season if they want to be serious contenders.

Points: 0

#44 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:05pm

I think the Chargers are a perfect candidate for a super experienced offensive HC.

Why? Gillman, Coryell, and Turner went 1-6 in AFCCGs. The Chargers have been all-offense from the start.

Ross, a defensive-minded coach, was 1-0.

Points: 0

#50 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:30pm

Bring in Ryans and another 49ers offensive cast off. That would be interesting. I think Ryans is going to be a really good HC.

Points: 0

#57 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:00pm

Any Lions fan would have told you that hiring Joe Lombardi as your offense coordinator was bad idea.  He almost got Jim Caldwell fired in 2015 (Caldwell struck first and fired him mid-season, after which the Lions went 6-3 down the stretch), and he appears to be doing the same thing to Brandon Staley.

Points: 2

#65 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:41pm

Generally speaking, you don't want any coaches Detroit didn't want.


Points: 2

#68 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:59pm

SD, GB, and NE can complete a round-robin of who regrets their Lions retread the most.

Points: 2

#15 by Beaver FCA // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:27am

Chiefs did not do everything right.

if kelce doesn’t fumble, chiefs drive the field and take a two possession lead. 

if Butker makes the kick it ties the game. 

so, they did not do everything right. 

the bengals played flawlessly. Yes, they have won three in a row to the chiefs so they warrant the benefit of the doubt but the statement of the chiefs did everything right, that was not correct. 

Points: 4

#23 by HitchikersPie // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:20am

Bengals didn't even play flawlessly, they had 2 dropped picks, a terrible 4th down jets sweep to a no-name special teamer, and a dropped TD from Tyler Boyd.


They should've won by a lot more...

Points: 2

#38 by Rufus R. Jones // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:35am

Seemed to me to be a typical close NFL game. Both teams made mistakes that hurt their cause. Could have gone either way. Reid's decision to attempt a 55 yd FG to tie the game with 3 min left probably was not optimal. Will likely be a good matchup again if they were to meet up in the playoffs.

Points: 2

#20 by johonny12 // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:01am

Seeing a disappointing December game on the road is nothing new to Dolphins fans unfortunately. Armstead is probably the teams MVP at this point. Yes, over Hill and Tua. They clearly are a different team with him on the field. They failed to do anything last week against Houston without him so this defeat was easy to see coming. If Miami doesn't beat the Chargers next week, I don't see a more gimmie game the rest of the season. Even the Packers have come alive. Pray for Armstead's health. 

Points: 0

#28 by Will Allen // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:45am

Mike the White had 57 drop backs, and was sacked once. So much for the Vikings edge rushers leading to a much improved defense. Now, he does get the ball out much faster than the other guy, and he was hit 8 times, so the pass rushers didn't completely take the day off, but I expect Goff to have a very, very, good day in Detroit on Sunday. I have no idea if enough weird stuff will keep happening to allow the Vikings to win another one score game, but if the Lions won by 16+ points, it wouldn't surprise me.

Points: 0

#40 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:37am

Un-pressured Goff is a top 16 QB in the NFL. Pressured Goff does not even crack the top 40. I have watched a lot of Goff over the years. He has all of the physical tools and brains to punish teams when they don't get pressure. If the Vikings can't get home on him they will probably have to score 30+ points to win that game. Goff is the new Andy Dalton. Prime Andy Dalton used to torch bad defenses with the Bengals. I can't wait to watch that game though. As a non-fan these Vikings games have been fantastic entertainment. Gunslinger Kirk has been fun to watch.

Points: 1

#60 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:10pm

"Goff is the new Andy Dalton"

Either that or Kirk/Jimmy G on a worse team. 

Goff is currently third (!) in DYAR, but I bet you would see a stark difference when Amon-Ra was healthy vs. not.

Points: 1

#92 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 6:06pm

He was that high on multiple Rams teams too. It is all about the line though. That Lions line is fantastic. If they keep that group together they could ride with Goff on a good contract and compete once they fix the defense. Goff throws a really good deep ball. He's just so bad under pressure. His performance against the 2019 49ers where he had 48 net passing yards on 20+ attempts was illuminating. He just crumbles under pressure. Jimmy gets stupid under pressure and throws picks/fumbles. Same with Kirk. Those 2 can still operate a functional offense until the inevitable interception/strip sack. When picking crappy outcomes I like the mistakes vs. literally nothing working.

Points: 1

#107 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 06, 2022 - 8:37am

The problem is that keeping a good line together long term is really difficult.  Eventually it gets prohibitively expensive.  Goff is playing at his absolute ceiling right now, but he still does weird stuff like spinning in the pocket and throwing the ball directly to a linebacker (like in the Thanksgiving game).  Goff is fine for now, but if they have an opportunity to roll the dice on an upgrade, they should jump at it.  That Rams pick may provide them with that opportunity.

Points: 0

#45 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:07pm

Let's face it, Game 1 was the platonic ideal of the Lions + 2022 Vikings.

I see no reason to expect differently from Game 2.

Points: 0

#61 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:16pm

Probably the bigger factor for the upcoming game is how much the Lions pass defense has improved lately form horrendous (32nd DVOA) to mediocre (17th).  They're still not great against the run (25th), so might be a big Cook/Mattison game.

Points: 0

#29 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:01am

I was debating this topic with a notable Fo Ravens fan. Lamar suffering an injury and his return to MVP probability likely declining as well does not alter the basic reality of the Ravens situation. They have an expensive asset with 0 contingency on how to replace him.

Everyone knows a boat is a terrible investment, but If you are living on the bayou and all the other roadways are flooded, it's your only recourse left other than swimming against the tide.

I have posed this question dozens of times. At what figure is it the wrong move to pay Lamar everything he wants because they are, "way better with him than without"?





Points: 1

#106 by ursula van meter // Dec 06, 2022 - 12:35am

They have an expensive asset with 0 contingency on how to replace him.

Hmm. What if they trade him? Get among other things like a top 5 or even a top 1 draft pick and draft a QB? Or even do some scouting and draft a QB lower in the draft that they feel good about-like they did with drafting Jackson in 2018 at #32?

Teams always have choices. The worst thing they can do is feel that they have no choice and so wind up spending $5 on the dollar. (Hel-lo Denver. If you look around the table and can't identify the sucker, the sucker is you.) Baltimore was (finally) smart enough to move on from Flacco and his big salary in 2018 and one would imagine that resigning Roquan Smith even to a cutting edge high ILB contract is more doable than getting anywhere close to a fully guaranteed Jackson contract.

Points: 0

#30 by Raiderfan // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:04am

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that after a Sunday that Brady did not play…Tanier had snark for him.  That is not a condo Brady is occupying inside Tanier’s head, that is Buckingham Palace.

Points: -4

#39 by BigRichie // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:36am

How does a supposed Raider fan become the world's biggest Brady fanboy??

Never mind, I know. It's called 'projection'. The Buckingham Palace occupant in your head is Tanier. Really, you don't have to share this obsession with we masses every time Mike tells a joke at some NFL player's expense.

Points: 1

#46 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:08pm

How does a supposed Raider fan become the world's biggest Brady fanboy??

He might be Josh McDaniels.

Points: 6

#71 by Raiderfan // Dec 05, 2022 - 2:15pm

Simple.  When he was a Patriot, I called him not TB12 but TRB12–for Tuck Rule Budchen.  When he left, he was just the oldest player in the league, and still playing very well.  As an old guy myself—I started rooting for the Raiders in 1966–I am very happy to cheer for him.  As far as Tanier goes, I was complimentary of him in one of his recent columns.   I think when he makes less effort to be clever and more effort to write analysis, he does very well.

”share this obsession with we masses every time Mike tells a joke at some NFL player's expense.”

Not hardly.  Occasionally, he is either witty or justified.  But given Brady hadn’t played, and his favorite receiver—white or otherwise—was 6’6 and 265, I found it to be neither.


Points: 0

#73 by bravehoptoad // Dec 05, 2022 - 2:27pm

I do feel that mis-evaluates his own talent at times. He can be more clever than any other football writer, but that's not the big draw as to why I want to read him. 

Points: 1

#104 by LionInAZ // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:42pm

I congratulate you on your laser-focused ability to find the single mention of Tom Brady in this long article.

Points: 1

#31 by Kaepernicus // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:07am

Jimmy G getting hurt is the best case scenario for the Eagles and Cowboys SB hopes. The 49ers defense with Arik Armstead is a completely different animal. CMC has given the 49ers their best check down option in the Shanahan era. His receiving ability has completely changed the team and raised the offense's floor considerably. If Moseley doesn't tear his ACL this is probably in contention as an all-time great defense. One of the most overlooked pieces of the defense has been Drake Jackson the rookie DE from USC. He has been a purely situational pass rusher at this point but has 5 batted passes, 3 sacks, and 3 TFL in a very small amount of snaps. With Armstead back I would expect to see a lot of NASCAR type defensive fronts showing up with Drake/Omenihu/Ebukam mix and matching with Armstead/Bosa to create some insane pass rush formations.

Tua really seemed to get rattled after those 2 sacks Bosa got on him in the 2nd quarter. Fred Warner also stopped a few plays over the middle that the Dolphins were used to getting all year. Seems like the best way to stop the Dolphins is to have 2 of the best coverage LBs in the NFL roaming the middle with an elite pass rusher up front. I can't think of many other teams who have the horses to stop it when you aren't getting home on Tua. At this point Warner seems like a lock for AP1 at LB. He is playing at a Patrick Willis level this year and looks better than he did in 2020. As for DPOY, I don't know how a defensive player could have made a bigger impact than Bosa did yesterday. All 3 sacks ended drives even though the Dolphins were getting the ball out extremely quickly. He's had a sack or better in every single game he has finished this year. He's in the top 3 for TFL again. The last 2 weeks are the first time he has looked full strength since the groin injury that took him out for a game and a half. This defense is good enough to carry the team to the playoffs and maybe steal a win without Jimmy.

Now for the biggest news of the weekend. Jimmy continues his streak of season ending injuries in even years and quickly reminds fans of why we have tried so hard to move on from him. He is just really unlucky. Sad part is he is playing his best football since 2019 while carrying the SF offense with great 3rd down production. 3rd down was the difference yesterday and Purdy was able to at least keep the momentum through the end of the game. Purdy looked good and surprisingly mobile. His pocket awareness is pretty terrible and he tends to roll out vs. step up. That is the biggest difference between him and Lance. Lance was actually decent at pocket movement for such a raw young player. Shanahan will have to lean into roll outs pretty hard because of Purdy's limitations. Purdy is not a normal Mr. Irrelevant. He was a 1st round prospect after his Sophmore year and ISU absolutely collapsed after he and Hall left. I think we could be seeing a poor man's version of what we saw with Justin Herbert and his bad coaching at Oregon. One thing is certain though, there will be a lot more turn overs. Purdy is a gun slinger and plays dangerously. 49ers need him to turn into Heinecke and I think he can do it. Remember he outplayed Sudfeld to get to QB2 in the preseason. Sudfeld is bad, but we gave him a guaranteed contract after 1+ years in the system and Purdy outplayed him by so much that we dumped him because we didn't think Purdy would make it to the PS. With Purdy's mobility he seems like a perfect backup for the Lance era. He also has enough upside to surprise people and actually turn into a low end NFL starter if he can clean up the bad sacks and hero ball.

Points: 0

#34 by Will Allen // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:20am

Not betting on it, but I'm really pulling for the Niners to win with a 3rd string qb. It would be great.


Points: 0

#48 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:16pm

Doable, but they probably need to rename themselves the Redskins first and pray for a strike.

Recall the 1991 Eagles and 1986 Bears -- better defenses than the 1985 Bears -- were done in by going 2-5 and/or losing a playoff game with 3rd-4th string QBs.

Points: 1

#85 by BigRichie // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:02pm

Screw DVOA, no defense was better than the '85 Bears.

Just because DVOA thinks playoff games don't count, doesn't mean any real human should be so stupid.

Points: 0

#88 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:37pm

Saying the 1984 and 1986 Bears were just as good on defense as the 1985 Bears is no slight. But it's hard to beat the 1984 49ers and 1986 Redskins with Steve Fuller and Doug Flutie.

And holy crap the 1991 NFC East.

Points: 1

#93 by Vincent Verhei // Dec 05, 2022 - 6:44pm

Without agreeing or disagreeing, I just wanted to point out that the team DVOA pages DO include playoff games -- either separated on their own, mixed in with the regular season stats. The 1985 Bears defense had a -33.3% DVOA in the regular season, a -75.0% DVOA in the playoffs, and a -39.9% DVOA between the two.

Points: 2

#56 by bravehoptoad // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:59pm

Waddle's injury hurt the Miami offense a lot. A good one-two punch isn't much without the "two"...it just becomes a one punch, which was a lucky thing for the 49ers defense, because at the moment they only have one good CB. That for Miami, combined with trying to stop Bosa et. al. with backup tackles? Just a perfect mess for them.  

I always think of a gunslinger as someone with both a low sense of danger and a big arm. Purdy only has one of those things. If you take the gun away, is he just a slinger? 

I guess we're doomed to find out much more about Brock Purdy. If he starts throwing interceptions the way Nick Mullens did--and that doesn't seem far fetched, considering what a slinger he is--he won't be long for the 49ers. But what are they going to do?

Points: 1

#33 by Will Allen // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:14am

I just don't think  "Hey, our qb is going to run for 750+ yards a season" is a sustaintable model for an NFL offense. I know it's crazy to think 1000 yard qb rushing seasons are sustainable. I want all these guys to get all the money they can, so I hope their agents work to get them to teams where they won't take such beatings. I'm pretty sure the Bears are on the path of ruining their young guy. Ugh, I hate this.

Points: 0

#41 by TomC // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:47am

Actually Sunday's game was a good sign for the "please don't get Fields killed" crew. They called a couple of designed QB runs early, but they were ones where Fields could easily get out of bounds or slide (or outrun everyone for a long TD). I think he only took 2-3 hits (total run + pass) the entire game.  

Points: 2

#63 by johonny12 // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:38pm

It feels like running QBs have a shorter lifetime unless they convert to pocket passers when they get older like Elway. That said, Steve Young demonstrated you can win games while they're healthy. Thus, I don't think we will see running QBs go away any time soon. More and more elite athletes are playing QB and the two threat QB seems highly effective. They probably won't be playing at 40+ like Tom Brady, but if you win a Super Bowl, no one is going to care too much. 

Points: 0

#67 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:49pm

Elway never really stopped running. His age-36 season was about the same as the rest of his career.

Basically true for Gannon and Young, too.

I think the actual curve is that they learn how to pass without scrambling first, and eventually their bodies give out (age 37 seems common). Cunningham stopped running at age-34, but he had a ton of mileage and played on some wretched fields behind wretched lines.

McNabb is really the one guy who stopped running by conscious choice, and that has as much to do with media pressure as anything else. Reid doesn't mind a running QB.

Points: 0

#86 by BigRichie // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:06pm

If you're defining "wretched lines" by how many sacks they gave up, well ... 

Scrambling QBs always make their lines look statistically bad. With Randall Cunningham being the ULTIMATE! in that. Funny how the Seattle O-line got better this year, and Denver's worse.

Points: 1

#87 by BigRichie // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:07pm

Randall also had the longest 'wind up' I ever saw in a QB. Which yet again did his O-lines no favors.

Points: 0

#89 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 5:39pm

Randall made things worse, but his line was a downgrade from the one that just got done murdering Jaworski.


Points: 1

#37 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:28am

Cris Collinsworth sure sounded like he had a drink or two during the game. Who could blame him? He was just dumbfounded why the Colts kept throwing short passes. One of the tip drill ints resulted because a Dallas defender jumped the route perfectly as the Colts had essentially telegraphed that the game plan was going to be short routes.

Ok, but what's the alternative? Colts also lost a game against the Titans with Matt Ryan throwing terrible interceptions down the field which completely tilted the game script such that the Colts were never going to win. 

Maybe right, maybe wrong, but the short, safe stuff at the very least should make the optics of losing more palatable than trying to actually win and losing quite horribly. Of course this being the Colts, they failed at even doing that.

Points: 0

#70 by Ben // Dec 05, 2022 - 2:11pm

The Colts have to throw short though, because the o-line is so terrible. There is no time for long routes to develop. 

That and the Colts WRs aren’t that great anyway. They don’t have anybody that can consistently win one on one. 

So, no #1 WR, no LT, and no QB. Which are the exact same problems they’ve had for the last 2 years. Thanks Ballard. 

Points: 0

#76 by Pat // Dec 05, 2022 - 3:20pm


So, no #1 WR, no LT, and no QB. Which are the exact same problems they’ve had for the last 2 years. Thanks Ballard. 

That's the problem with trading down and loading up on mid-round picks. Works great for acquiring talent at less valuable positions, but those higher value positions go fast in the draft.

Of course, then Ballard went out and signed some of those less valuable positions to record-setting deals, which... kindof blows the whole damn thing up.

Points: 1

#96 by Ben // Dec 05, 2022 - 8:09pm

Yeah, Ballard drives me a bit crazy as a Colts fan. His drafting is… cromulent. In general, I agree with the money ball idea that the draft is a lottery, so the more tickets you have, the better your odds. 

I assume his logic is that quality QBs are so rare that it’s better to try and build a team such that you can win with a “good enough” QB. The thing is, getting 10 good non-QB offensive players is at least as hard as getting a top QB. 

Points: 0

#97 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 8:29pm

My theory is Jim Irsay implicitly or perhaps explicitly told him he expects to keep winning and that a reset at QB was not going to come with any kind of grace period. 

Points: 1

#77 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 3:24pm

The Colts are staring into the abyss. They kind of remind me of a weaker version of the 2008-2010 Jets. Those teams went pretty far into the playoffs, but their foundation was just not sustainable. As the defense began to get worse and worse, the offense never improved until finally McCagnan took a sledgehammer to everything. Thus began a  10 plus year and counting journey into the abyss. 

Points: 0

#79 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2022 - 3:35pm

There aren't many QBs who can prosper for long without blocking and without WRs.

Points: 1

#81 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 4:03pm

I think Matt Ryan is making everyone look a lot worse by virtue of being a dessicated husk. when you can only complete short passes and everyone knows it, it makes everyone's job infinitely harder.

The reason Matt Ryan is still starting is because his backup is even worse. The Texans have learned this by shuffling the deck chairs on the titanic themselves.

Points: 0

#101 by mehllageman56 // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:36pm

Idzik took a sledgehammer to everything, but in the most foolish way possible.  Not only did everyone from the 2014 draft (12 picks) wash out except for Quincy Enumwa, but 6th round pick Ik Enemkpali took out Geno Smith the next year.  Maccagnan actually did not rebuild, but spackled the foundation just so the Jets could barely miss the playoffs in 2015 and then absolutely tank.  Perhaps you can call what the Jets did after that rebuilding, but until Joe Douglas got there it was really shoddy work.

Points: 0

#108 by theslothook // Dec 06, 2022 - 11:28am

Sorry I mixed up Idzik with Maccagnan and misspelled it to boot.

Reading your post got me thinking. How damaging is missing on an entire draft? New England I think missed on a bunch of players the year I think they drafted Ras I Dowling, but of course they had Brady and have Belichick.

The Colts or today's Packers may be a better example where despite HoF QBs, the pain of missing on the draft is still apparent. For bad teams, it becomes crippling.

Points: 0

#42 by TomC // Dec 05, 2022 - 11:49am

The Jets defense stiffened (or the Vikings offense went predictably flaccid) 

No. God no. I do not ever want that mental image.

On the other hand, I'll buy you multiple beers if you get that past the NYTimes editor.

Points: 4

#53 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 12:53pm

So its fun to revisit when I was wrong in my preseason predictions. The two teams I bet big on relatively speaking are one win(one loss) away from conferring. 

The team I nearly bet a lot on was the Bengals, who seemed destined for the sb losers curse. The season the Rams are having is the kind of season I expected from the Bengals. They, in fact, had all of markings of a team that was going to decline. Here's a quick rundown.

1) A sb run out of nowhere? Check.

2) Obvious weaknesses that usually take more than a season to fix? Check

3) Plexiglass Principle? Check Check.

What gave me pause and why I ultimately didn't pull the trigger was Joe Burrow. There was definitely a universe where Burrow himself improved and the declines in the rest of the team would be offset by Burrow's own improvement.

Well, how its played out is interesting. The Bengals have surged from average in rush and pass dvoa a year ago to 6th. and 7th respectively. Meanwhile, the defense has had a similiar improvement, climbing from below average to just outside the top 10. Basically, this team has gotten better in every way from last year.

I think we should probably give credit to the coaching staff. It doesn't seem like this is a one year wonder turnaround from a paper tiger.  

Points: 1

#62 by BlueStarDude // Dec 05, 2022 - 1:32pm

Don't sleep on the importance of the Anthony Brown achilles injury. A lot of people may know him from being on the wrong end of bombs that wind up in highlights, but he has been steady, even very good, for several years now. It's a big step down to last year's second-round pick, and penalty-magnet, Kelvin Joseph—I don't want to be too harsh, so let's just reiterate that it's a really big step down. Dallas has done a good job of building depth—everywhere except corner. With Jourdan Lewis already out for the year, this will be a substantial blow, though it may not show until Xmas Eve.

Points: 0

#82 by JoelBarlow // Dec 05, 2022 - 4:17pm

Mainstream football guy: You just can't say enough about the job Vrabel's doing in Tennessee


Ah yes, going 7-5 in the AFC South really is special 

Points: 0

#110 by ChrisS // Dec 06, 2022 - 3:18pm

Some  idiot on TV said Vrabel was a top 5 coach and I did a spit take. Perhaps he meant top 5 in the AFC South, I can buy into that.

Points: 0

#94 by theslothook // Dec 05, 2022 - 7:04pm

I'll post his here.

I was curious purely for football reasons to watch Cleveland Texans. I was going to share my thoughts but the feedback I was getting is that people don't care to hear about it when the issues at large make the football even less than a footnote.

So I will simply say, if you missed the game you did yourself a favor in more than a few ways.

Points: 1

#111 by ChrisS // Dec 06, 2022 - 3:20pm

I watched for 5 minutes just to hear 'that QB' get booed, it wasn't loud enough

Points: 0

#98 by big10freak // Dec 05, 2022 - 9:09pm

As someone who thought Christian Watson had a chance to be good I am enjoying this late season surge.  Excelling in what is otherwise a cluster(blank) of a season is no small thing 


And Zach Tom with another solid job in an emergency stint.  Two rookies showing promise 

Points: 2

#102 by mehllageman56 // Dec 05, 2022 - 10:38pm

Gave you a point because I liked Tom in the draft as well.

Points: 0

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