The Final Four: Chiefs, Rams, and Also-Rans

Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones & Friends
Kansas City Chiefs DT Chris Jones & Friends
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional - Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs have practically been playing a different sport over the last three years. Most of the time they dominate that sport. Occasionally, they beat themselves in it. But until Josh Allen and the Bills faced them on Sunday, no team had figured out how to play by the Chiefs' rules. Yet the Chiefs still won.

The Los Angeles Rams, who have played some of the best and a little of the worst football of the 2021 playoffs, are dangerously overdependent on their stars-n-scrubs roster model. They expect a handful of players to shoulder the burden of victory: Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, Jalen Ramsey, Odell Beckham, Andrew Whitworth (when healthy), and Von Miller, plus semi-stars such as Van Jefferson, Leonard Floyd, Eric Weddle, Taylor Rapp (when healthy), Rob Havenstein … wait a minute. This isn't a "stars-n-scrubs" roster. It's your typical everyday championship-caliber roster!

The San Francisco 49ers, who excel at all things within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage but are helpless beyond, received some help on Saturday from an unlikely ally: an often unstoppable but usually hazardously unpleasant force of nature. We're talking about the Wisconsin winter, not Aaron Rodgers: he's full of hot air.

The Cincinnati Bengals are led by a lovable, unflappable young sharpshooter who is lethal in clutch situations. That young man's name is Evan McPherson.

The NFL's Final Four is set, and it looks like a pair of mismatches. Yes, the Bengals beat the Chiefs in the regular season. Yes, the 49ers swept the Rams. But the Chiefs opened as 6.5-point favorites over the Bengals after Sunday's win over Buffalo: after all, they beat the Bills as Allen was evolving into a legendary Pokemon, while the Bengals could barely keep Joe Burrow upright against the Titans. The Rams are more modest 3.5-point favorites against the 49ers, but based on the way each team has performed in the postseason, the 49ers need a nearly perfect game to win next week, while the Rams merely need to eliminate about half of their mistakes.

So here we go: two relative Goliaths, two Davids who already put their best slingshot-to-the-forehead plays on film, two matchups that have Walkthrough heavily leaning towards chalk. We're already licking our chops for a wild Chiefs-Rams Super Bowl in Los Angeles, where one of the teams might enjoy a homefield advantage, conceivably the Rams. The next few segments will explain why.

Kansas City Chiefs

How the Kansas City Chiefs Got Here: They won one of the greatest games in NFL history: a 42-36 overtime victory that defies encapsulation.

What to Love About the Chiefs: It's one thing to be a Raiders or Broncos fan and loathe your team's historic rival. But otherwise, if you don't enjoy the Chiefs' style of play, maybe NFL football isn't the spectator event for you. Might we suggest opera, crime procedurals, or curling?

What to Hate About the Chiefs: For every four moments of transcendent brilliance, the Chiefs do one thing that looks like it's a reenactment of something that happened during a kindergarten recess. The Chiefs are a Super Bowl team as long as they keep up that 4:1 ratio. When it reaches 3:1, they're vulnerable.

What We Learned About the Chiefs on Sunday: Give Patrick Mahomes 13 seconds and a three-point deficit (and all three timeouts), and he will complete passes to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for 44 yards and still have three seconds left for a 49-yard Harrison Butker field goal. That's valuable and terrifying new information.

Bottom Line: We all remember what the Bengals did to the Chiefs in Week 17. That was the Bengals operating at absolute peak capacity. We may not have even seen the Chiefs' peak capacity yet: even Sunday's win featured a variety of unforced errors (missed extra point, funky third-and-short call, defender slipping in coverage on fourth-and-long) that could have ended the game early. It's easy to stack up a bunch of qualifiers and hypotheticals to support the possibility of another Bengals upset in the rematch. The argument for the Chiefs boils down to: they're better.

Cincinnati Bengals

How the Bengals Got Here: The Titans used Joe Burrow like a piñata. Heck, Burrow took a hit from a defender after the Bengals called a timeout at one point on Saturday. Yet Burrow kept on ticking; Jessie Bates, Mike Hilton, and Tre Flowers each recorded interceptions; Evan McPherson drilled four field goals; and the Bengals did just enough in all three phases to beat—let's say it together one last time to cheese off Titans fans—the weakest No. 1 seed in playoff history.

What to Love About the Bengals: Burrow combines Tom Brady's frosty-ninja on-field presence and Peyton Manning's aw-shucks off-field persona with the relatable charm of a video game character that dies a hundred times before finally figuring out the combo move that takes down the level boss. Ja'Marr Chase: also fun.

What to Hate About the Bengals: Zac Taylor's game plans, executed with the help of the Bengals' coffee filter of an offensive line, border upon reckless endangerment.

What We Learned About the Bengals on Saturday: McPherson has gone 8-for-8 on field goals through two playoff games. His last miss was a meaningless 50-yarder in the fourth quarter of the Ravens blowout in Week 16. He went 9-of-11 from 50-plus yards in the regular season and 2-for-2 from that range on Saturday. His regular-season resume is full of game-winning kicks and afternoons (like the Broncos win, or Saturday) where he provided much of the Bengals' scoring.

"Clutch kicking" is not really a thing, nor is long-range accuracy all that reliable. But UN-clutch kicking and the inability to drill 50-yarders can be very real, especially for a rookie. McPherson has proven that he's at least as capable of making important field goals as any veteran kicker left in the playoff field.

Bottom Line: The Bengals faced the third-easiest regular-season schedule in the NFL, then beat a Raiders team that did not belong in the playoffs before squeaking past the Titans in a game that Burrow was lucky to survive. This is not a sustainable path to success. Burrow-to-Chase is the only thing "Super Bowl" about the Bengals, and while that combo was enough to stage an upset of the Chiefs in the regular season, the Bengals will need a lot more next Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers

How the 49ers Got Here: The Packers overwhelmed the 49ers for the first 10 minutes of Saturday night's game, declared Mission Accomplished, then grew cold, bored, and distracted. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead then took over in the trenches, George Kittle and Deebo Samuel provided an eyedropper's worth of offense, and the 49ers stuck around until the Packers special teams' regularly scheduled catastrophic malfunction.

The 49ers' 13-10 victory did not win any style points, but road wins in single-digit temperatures are about perseverance, not artistry.

What to Love About the 49ers: The pass rush. The YAC. Kyle Shanahan's game plans through the first three quarters.

What to Hate About the 49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo trying to throw a frozen football with a bad thumb. Garoppolo trying to throw a normal football with a normal thumb. Shanahan's game management in the fourth quarter when the 28-3 flashbacks start.

What We Learned About the 49ers on Saturday: Armstead was the unsung hero of the 49ers' 2019 Super Bowl defensive line: a versatile defender who combines the best attributes of a 3-technique tackle and a complementary edge rusher but is often overshadowed by Bosa and others. Armstead slid all over the line this season but has settled in at left tackle next to D.J. Jones, typically with Bosa on his outside shoulder. The result: Armstead has registered 5.5 sacks in the Rams, Cowboys, and Packers victories.

Also: if we didn't see Trey Lance when Garoppolo was bumbling around on Saturday night and the 49ers couldn't convert crucial short-yardage runs, we won't be seeing Lance at all this postseason unless Garoppolo falls down a mine shaft.

Bottom Line: A team with a great pass rush, a serviceable ball-control offense, and little else can win the Super Bowl if lots of things break their way, but it's a steep uphill climb. The 49ers are already midway through that climb and have had many things break their way against a pair of self-destructive playoff opponents. Now they face an opponent they have beaten six straight times, most recently three weeks ago, but which looks superior on paper and has played (mostly) better football in the postseason. It's hard to beat a team three times in the same season, harder still to win four straight must-win road games, and hardest of all to win while trying to hide your own quarterback's limitations. For all their accomplishments this year, the 49ers look like a team that's about to have a lot of streaks broken next week.

Los Angeles Rams

How the Rams Got Here: The Rams took a commanding lead against the Buccaneers, then did everything they could to succumb to Tom Brady's 28-3 (27-3 in Florida, due to lower tax rates) juju. The Rams fumbled at the 1-yard line. A snap whizzed past Matthew Stafford's face at 90 mph after a Brady strip-sack. Matt Gay missed a 46-yard field goal short. Jalen Ramsey gave up a 55-yard touchdown bomb to Mike Evans when the Bucs were out of timeouts. The Rams fumbled again within inches of a game-clinching first down. But just as Brady finished drawing the pentagram which would teleport the game into overtime, Cooper Kupp got open behind the Bucs defense for a pair of deep Stafford passes to set up a Gay chip shot to seal a wild 30-27 win.

What to Love About the Rams: They play the early-2000s arcade version of NFL Blitz every week.

What to Hate About the Rams: Does anyone really hate the Rams? Most folks are probably indifferent about the Rams. Especially Rams fans: the team started trying to make it harder for 49ers fans to purchase tickets to the NFC Championship Game before Sunday's game even started.

Maybe they should ship some tickets to St. Louis. The box would probably return postage due, and also on fire.

What We Learned About the Rams on Sunday:

  • Joseph Noteboom isn't a Hall of Fame-caliber left tackle like Andrew Whitworth, but he proved once again to be a capable replacement against one of the fiercest pass rushes in the NFL.
  • Third-year safety Nick Scott, who intercepted a Brady pass before halftime and broke up another pass late in the game, is a solid dime defender and adequate fill-in for Taylor Rapp, who could be back next week.
  • The Rams could not run the ball at all on Sunday, and Cam Akers fumbled in two inexcusable situations. Darrell Henderson was designated for return from the IR on Friday; his availability could make a difference against the 49ers.
  • Crowd noise appeared to be a factor for the Rams, particularly in the second half. Maybe limiting ticket sales outside of greater Los Angeles isn't such a bad idea after all.

Bottom Line: Set aside the fumbles and passed-ball snaps and the Rams played outstanding football over the last six-and-a-half days. Of course, turnovers and negative plays still count, but the 49ers have committed their own brace of blunders. The Rams allowed the 49ers to come back on them in Week 18, but perhaps they exorcised their late-game collapse demons in the waning seconds on Sunday. The Rams look like worthy Super Bowl adversaries for the Chiefs (or, heck, the Bengals), right down to their self-destructive tendencies.

The Rams opened -3.5 against the 49ers. If you like the Rams, you might want to get your wager in before the sharps arrive.

The Eliminati

Let's take one last look at the five teams that were eliminated since Walkthrough's wrap-up of last weekend.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills are set to be one of the two best teams in the AFC for years to come. They'll reach a Super Bowl or two once they get better at leveraging all the tiny advantages that forced them to go on the road in the second round of the playoffs and kept them playing from behind on Sunday. Losing executive Joe Schoen (now the Giants general manager) and possibly offensive coordinator Brian Daboll might cause a little brain drain, but that should not be a problem. In fact, Josh Allen might benefit from a new playcaller who doesn't worry and loves the bomb. Peyton Manning's Colts and Ben Roethlisberger's Steelers lost a few playoff games a little like Sunday's Bills loss earlier in the 21st century. Eventually, those teams ended up getting a shot or two.

Green Bay Packers: Now begins another winter of Aaron Rodgers' discontent. The melancholy philosopher king, who reportedly experienced brief pangs of contentment a few weeks ago, is once again disappointed with the mere mortals he's forced to share our humble planet with and is clearly gearing up for another rip-roaring offseason melodrama. The Packers organization also cannot be all that thrilled that Archduke Surlybottom delivered just as many pseudoscientific socio-political diatribes as touchdown drives this weekend.

Cutting Rodgers free is an unappealing option for the Packers, but so is ceding even more de facto decision-making power to a preternaturally peevish individual who keeps making it obvious that he's roughly half as smart as he thinks he is. So long as Rodgers broods in his tower, it would be missing the point to quibble about what the organization should do about Robert Tonyan or who they should draft.

Rooting for this franchise and this individual cannot be very much fun anymore, in large part because fans are left rooting for either this franchise OR this individual.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers assembled a dream team in 2020, won a Super Bowl, kept the dream team together, won 13 regular-season games, won their first playoff game, and nearly perpetrated a historic comeback in the second. That's some fair return-on-investment. The rent is now coming due as players such as Chris Godwin, Jason Pierre-Paul, Rob Gronkowski, and Ndamukong Suh approach free agency and Tom Brady retirement murmurs grow louder. The Bucs will fall from Super Bowl contention; the only question is how far and how fast. There's no question whatsoever that the ride was worth it.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans are always one player away from the Super Bowl, but that player keeps changing every year. They need an impact tight end to play the old Hunter Henry/Delanie Walker role and/or a real No. 3 receiver so Rando Whotheheck-Ishe isn't getting targeted with the game on the line. They could also use an upgrade over offensive coordinator Todd "Ask Madden" Downing. Worst of all, Derrick Henry's inability to pick up two-point or fourth-down short-yardage conversions is almost inevitably a preview of what's to come.

The Titans are tight against the cap and lack a second-round pick due to the Julio Jones trade, so reinforcements will be hard to come by. This is what it looks like when a team spends too many resources on winning a division, not the Super Bowl. The good news is that, based on the news from the carousel (Josh McCown could be coaching both the Texans and Jaguars in a few weeks), the Titans at least they should keep winning that division for the next few years.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are improving every year: better DVOA, better record. It's hard to get too excited about their development, however, when the team keeps falling apart like a balsa wood go-kart late in the year. Slow, shaky development doesn't really cut it in the modern NFL, because important veterans can get old and younger players more expensive to retain while the team inches up the ladder. Chandler Jones, Zach Ertz, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, and punter Andy Lee headline a lengthy free-agent class for the Cardinals, who must soon begin beard-stroking about Kyler Murray's first big-guy contract.

Owner Michael Bidwill is reportedly miffed at Kliff Kingsbury, but has not yet reached "miffed enough to admit a mistake." To be fair, Kingsbury has probably earned one more chance. But next year's Cardinals will probably feature fewer big-name mercenaries. If they start out slowly, Vance Joseph will be coaching the them by Thanksgiving.

Walkthrough Divisional Round Awards

Lotta 49ers walked away with hardware this weekend.

Defender of the Week
Arik Armstead wrests this award from 49ers teammate Nick Bosa. Both recorded two sacks, but Armstead's occurred in the fourth quarter: one to force the Packers to settle for a field goal in the red zone, the other one play before that fateful blocked punt.

Offensive Line of the Week
Do we have to give this award this week? None of the offensive lines played all that well. The Chiefs line of Orlando Brown, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, and Andrew Wylie win by default because the Chiefs scored 42 points against a great defense. Patrick Mahomes spent much of the evening running for his life, but the Chiefs did block very well on screens, and they were flagged for just one penalty the entire game.

Special Teamer of the Week
Jordan Willis and Jimmie Ward share this award, Ward for blocking Mason Crosby's field goal before halftime, Willis for his game-changing blocked punt that Talanoa Hufanga retrieved for a touchdown.

A quick note: Packers special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton will almost certainly be fired for his work this season. A Joe Rogan podcast episode speculating that Drayton is a lizard person involved in an elaborate point-shaving and kitten-eating scheme would be taking things much too far, but is unfortunately also likely.

Burn This Play!
Who is No. 81 for the Chiefs, why is he the trigger man for an option on third-and-1, and why is he not Patrick Mahomes?

Watch Mahomes' body language while watching the play from the far left of the formation. "Yeah, we just made things unnecessarily harder on ourselves."

Hey, Kyle Shanahan: you may be the NFL's most creative designer of running-game concepts. You have a variety of potential short-yardage weapons, from George Kittle to Kyle Juszczyk to backup quarterback Trey Lance. And all that talk about you needing the Heimlich in the fourth quarter of every big game is just narrative, right? So show us what you've got for the Packers on fourth-and-short in the fourth quarter!

Ummm, is that Trent Williams as a motion H-back, crossing the formation to block nobody? Where's Juszczyk? Where's Lance? Where's Deebo Samuel, who could at least threaten the backside defense with jet sweep motion or something?

The worst part of this play is how out of sync the 49ers looked getting their personnel group onto the field and getting everyone to the line. If Shanahan wanted to run something goofy with a left tackle in motion, he should have used his first timeout. If the goal was to preserve timeouts and catch the Packers off guard, a simple sneak made more sense than that flustercuck.

It's hard to get excited about the 49ers when Shanahan keeps doing dumb stuff in the fourth quarter but getting bailed out by the opponent.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Taunting Penalty
This is what Detroit Lions alumni reunions look like:

It's a wonder Calvin Johnson didn't paratroop onto the field and start pointing at both of them. Anyway, Matthew Stafford earns this week's award both for his blink-if-you-miss-it judo kick after Ndamukong Suh lands next to him and his golly-gee body language once he saw Suh launching into WWE heel interview mode.

Of course, playing things cool can be taken too far:

Von Miller earns honorable mention for what technically should have been called roughing the passer but which absolutely should NOT have been a 15-yard taunting foul against the greatest player in NFL history for jawing after getting hit in the jaw:

Eh, consider that karma for two decades of Brady Calls. And Miller's hit gave us Fat Lip Brady, which may turn out to be Brady's final meme-worthy on-field image. Tune in next season when Aaron Rodgers punches himself in the lip in an effort to appear more sympathetic.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight
Eric Weddle's late hit on Mike Evans in the fourth quarter was Shawn Hochuli's Macbeth dagger soliloquy, his chance to finally prove that he's as worthy of the spotlight as Sir Laurence Olivier or Ed Hochuli. Here he is Hochu-splaining that the penalty is a dead-ball foul (who knew?), so the Rams would take position because of the fourth-down incompletion:

The BSASEH award goes, of course, to Leonard Fournette for his hands-on-hips, side-eyed, WTF body language at the end of Hochuli's dramatic monologue. Fournette should be photoshopped into every Hochuli explanation of one of his officiating fever-dreams from now until the referees are replaced by androids.

Comments

151 comments, Last at 28 Jan 2022, 11:30am

1 Stafford kick

“Matthew Stafford earns this week's award both for his blink-if-you-miss-it judo kick after Ndamukong Suh lands next to him and his golly-gee body language once he saw Suh launching into WWE heel interview mode.”

Maybe Stafford was getting symbolic revenge for Matt Schaub in a show of quarterback solidarity.

18 Stafford and Suh played…

In reply to by Joey-Harringto…

Stafford and Suh played together for five years. Do you think he doesn't know how to wind him up and what his games are?

27 I think "judo kick" is…

In reply to by Joey-Harringto…

I think "judo kick" is significantly overstating what happened. Stafford went down and his legs flailed while he tried to regain control. I certainly couldn't tell from that angle whether it was intentional or not

2 Pain in Buffalo

We had the Super Bowl in our sights, but t'was not to be. The pain is intense. But a little Dr. Strangelove reference brought the first smile since the bitter defeat, so thanks!

3 Pain

In reply to by swami

I already had Wide Right and Home Run Throwback in my playoff browser history. I most certainly did not need this latest painful page to finish loading. 

4 Mikes wrote up of Rodgers is…

Mikes wrote up of Rodgers is embarrassing but predictable. He calls him “half as smart as he thinks he is” yet comes to this conclusion off of his stance on one vaccine and his discontent for his teams management. I’d hate to be under the judgement of someone so perfect and so smart like tanier 

5 three points after the first drive

Rodgers' combination of arrogance and ignorance is symptomatic of the gaping maw of ignorance in this country that has led to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths. One doesn't have to be perfect to see how destructive Rodgers' selfishness is.  

102 Mass Formstion Psychosis

When you wake up and finally see what's really causing the deaths in this country, you'll feel pretty stupid about that totally Cabal brainwashed comment. People like you have to just stop it already. Get off of MSNBC snd stop helping the Globalists kill us all. 

109 Failure of Americans to…

Failure of Americans to embrace self-sacrifice and do what needs to be done for the good of the nation.

Did it in WWII, why not now? The triumph of economic libertarianism, screw everyone else for personal gain.

119 Because this is a stats…

Because this is a stats centered site, I'm going to violate the prime directive, to humbly suggest people put on their nerd-stat hat when thinking about this extremely emotional subject. Examine death rates from those countries around the world where we can have confidence in the data (however, even this is fraught with categorization of "death from covid"), with EXTREMELY different public policies and public responses, like the U.S., Sweden, France, Norway, U.K., Germany, etc. Then look at things that we know affect odds of death by covid, like vaccination rate, average age, obesity rate, % of people in congregant care settings, % of multigenerational  households, climate resulting in people congregating indoors, etc.. You then start to understand how complex this catastrophe is, and how likely one is to be wrong by using a single factorial explanation of the death rate in the U.S..

6 I know this one virologist. …

I know this one virologist.  He's a "freethinker" who spent his time researching 200 pages of "how-to-play-quarterback" articles of the internet.  He printed them out and sent them to the NFL.  He's been able to prove that every professional football team, every coach, has been playing the QB position completely wrong.  

Aaron Rodgers got his hands on a copy.  He totally recognizes one of his own, so he's going to be changing his entire game based on this virologist's football internet research.

37 Is he, though? While there…

Is he, though? While there is ample evidence that Rodgers is better at playing quarterback than all but a small handful of people who have ever tried to play quarterback, I'm unaware of the existence of evidence that exists that would be useful to draw conclusions about Rodgers' competence relative to Tanier in any of: roster construction, contract negotiation, talent evaluation or football tactics.

17 I know this one virologist. …

I know this one virologist.  He's a "freethinker" who spent his time researching 200 pages of "how-to-play-quarterback" articles of the internet.  He printed them out and sent them to the NFL.  He's been able to prove that every professional football team, every coach, has been playing the QB position completely wrong.  

You just described analytics.

7 Rodgers

Look, Rodgers wanted more input in how the team was run this season. They were one and done (at home!) in the playoffs. His desire for more control is arrogant. His failure to deliver even a single playoff win indicates that his input was, at best, not helpful and, at worst, actively harmful. It seems like Mike's characterization is accurate.

9 Misleading statement to…

In reply to by coltsandrew

Misleading statement to claim no playoff wins when they had a bye and the top record in the league to earn it. He wanted things his way, didn’t get it, tried his best, they failed, now he gets condemned for it by Monday morning quarterbacks. That’s all fine though. Critique his play on the field not his antics off 

12 OK

His play on the field kind of sucked. He had a wide-open Lazard on his last throw and decided to hero-ball a throw in the direction of a double-covered Davante Adams. He led his team to an opening-drive touchdown and then proceeded to put up a mighty three points at home, plus a blocked field-goal attempt that was the result of a busted coverage that helped pad his stats for this game.

50 People harping on Rodgers…

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

People harping on Rodgers for missing the open guy are missing some serious context. I have watched Prescott, Stafford, and Rodgers miss a bunch of open guys the last 3 weeks after getting physically brutalized for 4 quarters. I think getting beaten up like that rattles even the greatest QBs. I have seen Brady do the same against the Giants twice. I watched it happen to Mahomes last year against TB. A dominant pass rush is still the best way to disrupt an elite QB. After Q1 Rodgers was getting punished on every drop back and having to evade sacks to create anything. Bosa and Armstead were shoving their linemen straight into his lap from the inside and outside.

29 Huh?

Misleading statement to claim no playoff wins when they had a bye and the top record in the league to earn it.

True statement is claimed to be "misleading" because...why?

You want the Packers to get credit for a victory over the Bye Week?

They lost a home game against the #6 seed.  It was their first playoff game.  Thus...no playoff wins.  Not this year.

32  You want the Packers to…

In reply to by RickD

You want the Packers to get credit for a victory over the Bye Week?

Well, I think the Packers had a harder time against Bye Week than the Chiefs did against the Steelers.

67 Many true statements are…

In reply to by RickD

Many true statements are misleading, that’s why they aren’t called lies instead. It is also factually correct to state the 2007 giants won twice as many playoff games as the 2007 patriots. It is also misleading if you use that statement to paint the giants as the better football team.

121 Yes, Ivermectin is an anti…

Yes, Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic that can be used in humans (won a Nobel Prize for its use in treatment of roundworm parasites).  It has some in-vitro antiviral activity.  That's a true statement, but it's also misleading, because it requires such high serum concentration to achieve this in-vivo that it becomes toxic. 

That's even before you get to the fact that the one meta-analysis showing clinical effectiveness that its proponents keep pointing to had some major methodological flaws (and two of the studies in it have since found to be fraudelent, leading to its withdrawal).  And three recent randomized controlled trials (and one in the pre-print phase) with much more robust methodology have had negative results. 

I could go on for paragraphs, but this a football site, so I'll just say that if people want to take Ivermectin, then go ahead, whatever.  Placebo effects are real (there's a reason control groups in studies get a placebo). 

123 It's true that Ivermectin…

It's true that Ivermectin comes in two forms: one used by humans, and one made for horses as a dewormer, not meant for humans. It's also true people were buying and consuming the latter instead of the former.

20 And were the kicking game…

In reply to by coltsandrew

And were the kicking game merely terrible rather than historically inept, he'd be in the NFCCG.

Pittsburgh needs to get Rodgers in the worst way. Mike Tomlin is truly excellent at managing personalities and keeping the locker room level -- no mean feat given the island of misfit toys that is his roster and the expectations in Pittsburgh. How many players have been fine in Pittsburgh and suddenly become moronic headcases the second they left? All of them?

Tomlin is quietly HOF-caliber at keeping the peace and keeping laundry inside the house. Rodgers needs that, and Tomlin needs Rodgers.

23 That would only work if…

That would only work if Rodgers respected Tomlin. 

Mike Tomlin has been actively pro-vaccine, preaching the benefit of it to the Steeler's players (https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/06/21/mike-tomlin-has-his-players-on-board-with-the-vaccine-giving-the-steelers-an-edge-in-2021/). 

It seems unlikely to me that Rodger would be able to respect Tomlin enough to listen to him, considering how strongly Rodgers seems to feel about this issue.

 

66 I am not disagreeing with…

I am not disagreeing with you, but if you don’t respect Tomlin who do you respect?

Sometimes you have to look in the mirror to see the problem.  I am not going to psychoanalyze Rodgers, but the Steelers are instant SB contenders with Rodgers in my opinion.

If they can work something out they need to do so ASAP.  
 

30 next Steeler QB

I agree Rodgers might have too big of an ego to play in Pittsburgh.  I am interested to see who they draw in the QB sweepstakes, figuring Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson or the other leading candidates.  Seems to be the best possible landing spot for a free agent QB.  Unless Brady retires. (I don't think he will.)

77 Pittsburgh getting Rodgers…

Pittsburgh getting Rodgers would be the worst way. Replacing a 40 year old QB with a 38/39 year old QB is at best a 1 year rental. No thanks. The chaos of integrating him would disrupt years of team cap, development, and progress for maybe an improvement in offense. Personally I'm hopeful the next QB for the Steelers will be under 30, under 25 even better.

The Steelers are already one year into their rebuild. The offense will improve, independent of QB because of the number of rookies advancing into their 2nd year. The O-line will improve by seasoning and talent additions. The D will show a new look with a new coordinator. As long as I'm not the QB, I expect them to be competitive. A little luck, playoffs and who knows. That's a better year than bringing the circus to town.

86 23?

I'm trying to figure out how you got 23 other guys.

10 other starters on offense plus 11 on defense = 21.  Who are the other two?  The placekicker and the punter?

90 A year with nothing at QB…

A year with nothing at QB

But getting Rodgers at QB will kill your chances for at least two years after he's gone, unless I'm seriously mistaken about his contract demands, and he's not going to be there more than 4 years (he's certainly not Brady in terms of health).

The only way they were ever not going to end up wasting a year of the other guys on the team is if they draft the second (third?) coming of Benmac Roethlisjones.

All that being said:

The Steelers specifically are actually lined up somewhat nicely for a one-year run with Rent-A-MVP, because they've got a fair amount of space in 2022 to absorb demands and they basically don't have a team in 2023, so they have a ton of flexibility. The 2023 Steelers currently consists of TJ Watt, Cameron Hayward, Joe Schobert, and draft picks. But that'd be a huge gamble, obviously.

93 Even adding Rodgers or…

Even adding Rodgers or Wilson won't provide the "QB of the future." It doesn't necessarily mean SB favorite either. The price is a good question. That price has to include the comp to their current clubs, assuming a trade, which will limit their future competitiveness as well as a continuation of high QB salary which will limit their ability to address other issues. There are few teams who have 5 year future starters under center now. I have not looked at how many teams are spending lots of $$'s and wasting it vs spending few (1st contract level) $'s and wasting them. The Steelers aren't in a playoff drought to have to make desperate moves. 

101 Gather ye rosebuds....

Super Bowl windows are short and precious.  With their talent at WR and defensive front 7, I would push the chips all in on a run for 2-3 years with Rodgers or Wilson.  While the Steelers are a very well run organization with sound drafting & player development, they can try for a middling QB and end up with WC flirtations for a few years, go after a stud QB to go guns hot for the SB, or bottom out to get the best possible draft QB and pray you drafted well.  Apart from Ben, how many good QBs have the Steelers drafted or acquired in the past 30 years?

107 So Rodgers would be going -…

So Rodgers would be going - voluntarily - from one of the best offensive lines in football with an elite LT and multiple 2nd round talent, to one of the worst ones with... um... "plucky rookies"?

Or is Pittsburgh somehow replacing their OL and half their starting secondary along with picking up Rodgers? From the Magic Football Starter Store, apparently? And all this is gonna come together for a 2-3 year run, because throwing together half a team in free agency always works out.

Pittsburgh's a prime candidate to draft a QB, but I can't see them signing one. I mean, that'd be one hell of a sales job.

125 Were you watching the same team as I was?

With their talent at WR and defensive front 7

Per this website's stats, the two best Steelers' WRs (with >=50 targets) ranked 57th and 59th, and their number 3 WR was literally the worst WR with >= 50 targets (per DYAR) this season.  (Smith-Schuster is talented but missed most of the season due to injury, and he's not under contract for next season.)

Their talent at defensive front 7 is basically talent at defensive front 2 (Watt and Heyward); Highsmith has potential to be above-average, but everyone else at DL/LB has basically been replacement level (Alualu and Tuitt missed most/all of the season due to injury and there's no guarantee of their return or future performance).

126 Also the talent at Watt and…

Also the talent at Watt and Heyward isn't really an advantage, it's a choice. They're totally paying for those guys. Watt's the highest paid DE in the league. Heyward's probably a bit underpaid, but the combination of the two of them is probably spot on for their value. It's actually not like Donald and the Rams where he's probably still underpaid and an advantage even being the highest-paid in the league.

Claypool/Johnson/Freiermuth are totally solid rookie talent receiving, so that is a bit of an advantage, but... that's pretty much all they've got on offense. They'd have to flat buy an offensive line.

In order to be a Super Bowl contender next year, it'd probably be one of the biggest free agent spending sprees in history even before the QB! And, I mean, they could do it, they've got the cash, but man, that'd make the Eagles "Dream Team" thing look laughable. Although it'd be an amazing sales job if they did it - obviously the players have to agree to go there.

131 I'm not arguing it would be…

I'm not arguing it would be the wisest choice for Rodgers to go to Pittsburgh; that would be to stay in GB likely but no one here seems to believe Rodgers will behave rationally.  My viewpoint was from the Steelers perspective.  They are at the proverbial fork in the road; bet the farm on trying to get Rodgers or Wilson (I'm assuming Watson won't be playing) or starting aiming for a top 5 pick.  Mason Rudolph won't be leading them to the SB, much less playoffs, so don't try to pretend you're going to build around him. 

135 My viewpoint was from the…

My viewpoint was from the Steelers perspective.

The Steelers are not remotely dumb enough as an organization to think that it makes any sense for them to try to get Rodgers or Wilson there. I mean, obviously they'll look into it, it's almost disrespectful not to. But, I mean, it's the same thing as when Peyton Manning hit free agency. The Browns weren't factoring that into their plans.

137 From what little I have read…

From what little I have read, the Steelers have no interest in pursuing any "big gun" QBs, so it would seem the Steelers front office is in line with your view.  While I think it would take a helluva sales pitch to land Wilson (likely their best bet if they were to pursue a big name given their porous OL), a close friend of mine is hoping they go after Carr.  Course, he's also a rabid Steelers fan and is dreading a full teardown & rebuild. 

146 Carr's a much better option…

Carr's a much better option than Wilson or Rodgers. Much less risk, much more total team upside given his age, considering even if you take 2-3 years to have a solid OL (well... and the rest of the team) he'd only be in his early 30s. Wilson being 3 years older's a big deal considering the type of player Russ is.

Short term it'd be worse, obviously.

84 This was a rebuild year???

The Steelers can either go all in with Wilson or Rodgers, hoping for a 1-2 SB window or start the full blown rebuild now.  Starting Ben this year is not year one of a rebuild.  By the time they find a NFL quality QB, many other talented guys will be well past their prime.

91 By the time they find a NFL…

By the time they find a NFL quality QB, many other talented guys will be well past their prime.

They literally have no one except Watt, Tuitt, Schobert, and draft picks under contract past next year. They're not exactly a team primed for long-term success at the moment - they're a team designed to pivot.

96 I think this has been year 1…

I think this has been year 1 of the rebuild. They changed 4 starters on the O line (the remaining one was injured early), a new running back, a new tight  end. The receivers stayed the same, and they were all under 25. They have the cap space to keep those they want and can add through both the draft and free agency. The O will improve (no where to go but up when you are the bottom.)  The D also has some contracts to sign but should be able to keep those they want. Add a couple of pieces, and it should get back to better than average.

They are more than one brick short of a load. Just adding a stud QB on a one year rental won't be worth the price. Give a fair shot to what they have, draft a QB without overreaching, and sign the best street free agent to compete with the other 3. 

This was year one of a rebuild. 

108 Yeah, I agree. They're not…

Yeah, I agree.

They're not as good in terms of cap space as people make it out to be - they don't have that many spots to fill for next year, but they've got like, the entire team for the next year. So you can't be dumb, you don't want to burn cash and then watch half the talent walk.

They're not going to be good next year, but there's definitely a path to be relevant again by 2024, and who knows, possibly plucky in '23 and maybe annoying in '22.

95 Chaos of integrating him? The chaos is for opponents defenses

One thing that you can be confident of is that the Steelers are a competent organization and will make a smooth transition to the future, whatever that future holds.

I'll admit that having a QB that can throw a pass more than 7 yards will be a big adjustment for the Steelers.  This will force the offensive line to block for more than 2 seconds and force their receivers to run real routes, not just try to break a tackle to make a 3 yard pass into a 7 yard gain.  You could not possibly have forgotten the dynamic offense of the loaded gun for an arm Roethlisberger. I can still see that wind up on 3rd and long in a tie game in the playoffs against Baltimore that resulted in a game winning 70 yard TD for the Steelers.  Don't you want that back, even if for one year? 

If you are going with a 1 year rental, rent the penthouse, the Broncos rented on the middle floor with Bridgewater and got middle of the road results.  The Colts traded a first and third round pick for Carson Wentz to also have a middle of the road offense with Jonathan Taylor no less.  Rodgers is a great bridge to the future, the team would be moving from a 9-7-1 base, and even at their low DVOA, they will move way up.  Tomlin is the master of getting team record overperformance with his sorry ass QB's over the last 3 years, the Steelers immediately become AFC North favorites with Rodgers.  

Look at FO's numbers year by year for Rodgers.  Consistency, greatness, not tailing off as of yet.  Just the complete package.  

I know that the Steelers are a great organization and will make a smooth transition.  When you do not play the desperation draft QB game and you have a great organization, you end up with Mahomes, Jackson, or Mac Jones performance, not the mess of JAX, NYJ, CHI.

Clearly PIT belongs in the KC, BAL, NE club not the desperate bottom feeders, nor the middle of the pack QB hunters of recent years, DEN and IND.

104 You gotta be insane

Lol you think there's a second marshmallow?

It's one thing to think the price might be too much but you're crazy if you think a second marshmallow is just around the corner and more likely than Rodgers helping your offense. 

Also lol @ rebuild. IF you think being .500 starts a "rebuild" you got a warped definition. Not that it matters. You have a decent roster but no QB. Waiting to find/develop one...you'll find those pieces slip by the time that QB is ready. 

10 Leave Aaron Alone!

How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Aaron after all he has been through!

He lost to the 49ers, he got Covid. He won two MVPs.

His team turned out to be losers, they blew it, and now the woke mob is trying to cancel him. All you people care about is readers and making money off of him.

He's a HUMAN! What you don't realize is that Aaron is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him.

He hasn't performed in the playoffs in years. He wants to give you all the Rodgers Rate but all you people want is MORE! MORE! MORE!

Leave HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even performed for you BASTARDS! LEAVE AARON ALONE! Please.

Tanier talked about professionalism and said if Aaron was a professional he would've pulled it off no matter what.

Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time.

Leave Aaron Alone PLEASE!
Leave Aaron Rodgers alone! Right Now! I mean it!

Anyone that has a problem with him, you deal with me, because he is not well right now. Leave him Alone!

98 Speaking about embarrassing…

Speaking about embarrassing and predictable.  The predictability is in leftists simultaneously creaming their pants the moment goulds fg went in.  Its much akin to the moment lebron loses in the playoffs and the right moans in orgasm when the clock reaches 0.  But i guess any type of defending of aaron rodgers at this point is met with this resistance. 

I agree, aaron rodgers 50 iq

Its better to be "funny" online than it is to be correct.

106 I appreciated your comment…

I appreciated your comment and hope you aren't rattled by the sarcastic midwit replies, which are also predictable and embarrassing. I suppose as politics consumes everything even former safe havens like FO must go the way of all flesh and join Deadspin in hell.

114 And yet that isn’t the…

And yet that isn’t the narrative after the kick was good… it was that low iq Rodgers derpp loses big game again. That’s what was predictable because when it comes to Rodgers it isn’t about football, it’s about revenge politics.
 

There was a guy in this thread mentioning Rodgers stance on the covid vaccine being responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. I would assume it is hyperbole but somehow I don’t think that is his intent. It is sad 

122 "There was a guy in this…

"There was a guy in this thread mentioning Rodgers stance on the covid vaccine being responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.:

I'm pretty sure that's not what he said, he just said his stance is "symptomatic of that attitude".  A lot of people feel as he does, he just happens to have a platform to visibly spout off about it, so of course he's going to get the negative attention.

I will say that I think he's a great player on the field, but I dislike him off the field (you can say that about plenty of great players), because, due to his visibility, he's become the embodiment of the attitude that's made my professional life  (I'm a critical care doc) and that of my colleagues (providers, nursing, respiratory therapy, etc) very difficult (or living hell, depending on who you talk to) for the past 8-12 months of the pandemic.  The healthcare system I work for has been running at about 92% of critically ill COVID patients (as in, COVID made them sick, not that they "happened to have" COVID...yes, we have the training and experience to know how to tell the difference!) in our strained and overfilled ICU being unvaccinated.  Their loved ones then act shocked and surprised that this could possibly happen, because someone told them they didn't need to get vaccinated, because if they took Ivermectin, they'd be fine.  Just FYI, I have seen nary a patient end up in the ICU from vaccine side-effects...zero, zip, nada.

As I said in a previous comment, I could go on for paragraphs, but this is a football site, so I'll leave it at that.

128 Thank you for your service…

Thank you for your service—truly—and for responding with grace. I have a family member who is a PA who describes a similar situation in her region. People who work in hospitals right now are far more deserving of attention and acclaim than pro athletes, but since this is America and we're on a sports site... 

Anyone who's read Mike's stuff prior to this season knows his stance on Rodgers hasn't really changed. Where Rodgers was previously an insufferably smug, thin-skinned "fancy boy" (the term of non-endearment my GB fan neighbor calls him by), with Mike's characterization focusing on his obvious and documented interpersonal shortcomings, his new embrace of a WWE-style heel turn that pushes the buttons of his perceived enemies has elicited from Mike a slightly altered approach. Rodgers is now an insufferably smug, thin-skinned guy who's waging his hurt-feelings offensive against the backdrop of a global pandemic. What we're seeing is the unraveling of a narcissistic personality, at the most inappropriate possible time, because the significance of the public health situation renders the outsize needs of Rodgers' ego comical and pathetic by comparison. It makes one reflect on what constant fan worship can do to a fragile mind. At bottom, he couldn't stand being exposed for his deception viz. "immunization," which, judging by his ensuing actions, must have been the last straw. Accountability was never going to happen. The comeuppance has been fully earned, with interest, for many reasons. Congratulations, Aaron, you're getting all the attention you could possibly need for a lifetime. Hope it was worth it.             

129 Thanks for the kind words,…

Thanks for the kind words, they are appreciated.  And I hope your P.A. family member stays safe (both mentally and physically....the former is more difficult than the latter in this situation).

132 Hey, on the silver lining…

Hey, on the silver lining side, my wife, after about 140 tests in the last 2 years, finally tested positive last week, as did I. The silver lining? It amounted to no more than a runny nose. Maybe we can get through this wave, and get back to much more normal life. 

140 I agree with what you have…

I agree with what you have put, but the consequences are never brought up. It’s always “wear a mask” without stating that there are negative consequences of the masks, which is why people have the stances that Aaron Rodgers does. It is very easy to see that the environmental impact of surgical masks outweighs the positive that someone who has already had covid, has no health issues, and has had 3 vaccines of moderna.  There is no reason for this type of individual to wear a mask yet my job has had a mandate to have everyone regardless of vaccine status or covid status to wear an N95 mask or a KN95 mask. It is one area where it is obvious people have no idea what they are talking about. 
 

There are other scenarios like the one that I’m in that showcase that science has it wrong. When you can easily debunk it it will create scenarios where opinions like Rodgers will creep in because people won’t trust the authority giving it to them. 

148 Litterbugs?

Are you putting your mask out your car window as you drive down the road?  If disposed of properly, I am skeptical of any significant environmental effects of wearing masks. 

151 It is very easy to see that…

It is very easy to see that the environmental impact of surgical masks outweighs the positive that someone who has already had covid, has no health issues, and has had 3 vaccines of moderna.

You don't wear the mask for yourself, you wear it to protect the person next to you who hasn't had COVID, has an autoimmune disorder, and can't get the vaccine due to their condition.

142 The antivax discussion…

The antivax discussion usually ends with one of your posts, because what can anyone say to them? That you're lying? That are you absolutely sure you know you're percentages? That you're a -what was it, "global cabal"?- sleeper agent that was planted years in advance on a site that was expected to become huge just waiting for this moment? There are no limits to imagination, for better or worse.

Bigfrogs did have a reply, but it's on a totally different level than where the conversation was heading. So thank you, Joey H., I for one really appreciate your medical posts. They help ground the conversation, since anything anyone else says can be construed as an ignoramus vs ignoramus argument (or a brainwashed vs enlightened, depending on your perspective) and basically be ignored.

 

 

141 All it takes to be confirmed…

All it takes to be confirmed a fool online is for them to not follow cdc guidelines 100% despite there being scenarios where it doesnt make sense to follow them.  Masks cause more destruction to the environment than they will help society from someone who has recovered from covid and has had all 3 vaccine shots.  That person would be considered a fool despite being correct.  Its a weird time we live in where we are letting unhealthy people call that shots on how healthy/young people mortgage their future like that.  But then again, i guess im a fool, so what would i know

143 What is confusing here is…

What is confusing here is that you took a very vocal stance which was apparently far more radical than what you're saying now, which is that you're only anti-mask. I'm not getting into a whole mask debate either for or against, but I think personal mask stances are far less pernicious than personal vaccine stances. So what's all that stuff about leftists and what-not?

145 What did I say that is far…

What did I say that is far more radical than what I’m saying now?

 

Also, you stating I am anti mask is nonsense. I am stating there are circumstances where the cdc guidelines are clearly political drivel, and have given a circumstance to help support my claim. I have worn a mask the whole pandemic and have been mostly in the camp of just put your damn mask on. People are talking about Aaron Rodgers stance being incorrect and harmful, and I am saying the cdc has a stance that is incorrect and harmful. The difference is they don’t get people calling them out and if they do they get slanderously labelled by people like you

147 I don't understand why you…

I don't understand why you wouldn't be anti-mask if you think masks are dangerous. I also don't see why you identify yourself with Rodgers if you're neither antivax nor anti-mask -except they're dangerous? But you're fine with them. But you're not. Anyway, this isn't therapy, I don't need to understand. You do your thing.

149 You are actively not trying…

You are actively not trying to comprehend what i am putting.  I came up with a scenario where they are harmful, that doesnt mean i am anti masks.  I am for seatbelts, but i dont think you should wear a seat belt while you are walking down the street.  Acknowledging this does not make me anti seat belt.  

 

Rodgers scenario he has decided he doesnt need to take the vaccine.  There are many life choices that people make that put a strain on hospitals.  Should we start calling out people with high BMI's and unhealthy weights, they are also a strain on the healthcare system.  Or do we allow people to live their life and deal with the consequences they create for themselves?  Using the same logic that tanier used to call rodgers half as smart as he thinks he is, we could use for anyone who is fat, or smokes, or drinks alcohol.  Its a pretty ridiculous standard to set

150 ‘Should we start calling out…

‘Should we start calling out people with high BMI's and unhealthy weights, they are also a strain on the healthcare system.  Or do we allow people to live their life and deal with the consequences they create for themselves?  Using the same logic that tanier used to call rodgers half as smart as he thinks he is, we could use for anyone who is fat, or smokes, or drinks alcohol.”

Yea that’s not the same…like, at all.  

The smokers, substance abusers, alcoholics, unhealthy eaters, motor cyclers who don’t wear their helmets, ect….they’ve been around for decades, and we’re used to them, and the system has adapted to them.  They tend to come in dribs and drabs.  Now this new wave of people who refuse to take medical advice (but then suddenly decide to run to hospitals for us to take care of them when it catches up with them), are coming in hordes, and threatening to break the healthcare system (the stories in the media of burnout and people leaving the healthcare field because they can’t take it anymore aren’t being blown out of proportion by the media…I’ve witnessed this happening myself).

And then there are the ripple effects on the other people: the cancer patients who’s curative surgeries have to be postponed (in some cases until it’s too late), the critically ill patients who have to be housed in the ER because there are no ICU beds (and get substandard care because ER patient:nurse ratios way higher compare to ICU), the patients who really need to be seen in the ER, but then leave because the wait is too long, only to come back a couple days later in even worse shape.  It’s not quite at the level of a drunk driver’s bad choices harming other people….but it’s’ close…just less direct and less obvious.

As far as calling out those other people….that happens already.  It’s just that they don’t go on podcasts spouting off how their smoking habit or eating Burger King every day for lunch is the right way to go, because they’re an “independent thinker”, and other people should do it, too.

I mean, I’m human, so I get annoyed when I have to roll out of my call room be at 2am to go take care of someone who overdosed on heroin.  And sometimes when a patient with a 2 pack a day smoking habit is distressed when they get diagnosed with lung cancer or end stage emphysema, a part of me (that I’m not proud of) wants to say, “well what did you think was going happen?”  But part my job is to stay non judgemental (and addiction is a totally different issue), so instead I try to show empathy and compassion.  

This is the same way I try to stay non-judgemental at work with someone who gets really ill or dies from COVID, when a safe and free vaccine could have prevented it.  I’m not mad at them, truly.  I’m more angry the the people like Joe Rogan  and others of his ilk, who, for some reason, have an outsized influence on them.

13 Which defense is more likely…

Which defense is more likely to leave Joe Burrow with a leg pointing in the wrong direction, LA or Santa Clara?

\on then other hand, the 49ers are basically the Titans, and the Bengals beat them...

28 https://www.pro-football…

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/202112120cin.htm

It was another of those games where the 49ers tried frantically to give the game away in the 4th quarter, losing a 14-point lead.  Had to win all over again in OT. 

52 Burrow was incredible under…

Burrow was incredible under pressure in that game. The 49ers front 7 is light years better than the Titans and it seems like the Bengals O-line has become worse while the SF pass rush has become better since they played. If Taylor avoid that terrible game plan they had it becomes a much tougher game. Jimmy got sacked 5 times too. I think a SF-CIN SB would be a blast to watch.

35 Strangelove

+1, Mr. Allen.

Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, the wonderful Slim Pickens, George C. Scott ("sure, we might get our hair mussed a little"), James Earl Jones and Peter Sellers playing 3 parts...what a cast! (...and what a script! Kubrick, Terry Southern and Peter George, from his book)

49 The look on George C. Scott…

In reply to by jonsilver

The look on George C. Scott's face, when the discussion turns to what the proper ratio, and make-up, of men to women of prime child bearing age should be, in the post nuclear apocalypse......

15 nor is long-range accuracy…

nor is long-range accuracy all that reliable. 

Except it sort of is. It's harder to notice, because we react by changing the definition of "long-range". (Much like 3pters in the NBA) Even within my memory, 40-45 was long-range and 50+ was desperation. Now 50 is reasonable and it doesn't feel too long until 55. Unreasonably starts at around 59, when that used to be 49. Back in the day, that was probably 39.

Kickers make worse OTs than they used to, though.

16 Fournette should be…

Fournette should be photoshopped into every Hochuli explanation of one of his officiating fever-dreams from now until the referees are replaced by androids.

It will be Reche Caldwell Eyes, for ever and ever.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-rzHcHdYj0tY/U9-vOonrOqI/AAAAAAAAALY/KEmKPZsp7LY/s1600/caldwell+(1).jpg

19 Overtime

How about this to help limit overtime games. Make it a rule that a team MUST go for a 2-point conversion after EVERY TD in the Reg. Season and the playoffs. This would have to result in fewer tie games.

21 That would lower variance,…

In reply to by Bob Smith

That would lower variance, because you lose the possibility of even-odd tiebreakers.

NCAA games that reach the "go for 2" stage tend to last a few rounds before one team converts and the other does not.

22 "the 49ers need a nearly perfect game to win next week..."

i don't know how someone could watch their two postseason games and come to that conclusion. the defense has been near perfect but their offense...not so much. even their most recent win against the rams was far less than perfect. when they did play near perfectly against LAR (week 10), they won by three touchdowns.

34 People are having trouble…

People are having trouble coming to terms with this SF team. We haven't played a clean 4 quarter game since we blew out the Rams and Jaguars by 41 combined points in back to back weeks. If this team puts 4 quarters of good offense together they are going to beat who ever it is against. They have beat 3 straight playoff teams on the road while being very sloppy. That points toward a sleeping giant more than a lucky fraud.

46 ...and not just any playoff…

...and not just any playoff teams, but the Rams, the Cowboys, and the Packers.  If only we could beat the Giants in the next game it would be a near-complete run of all the old bugbears from three, four decades ago. 

53 Right? Why did the Giants…

Right? Why did the Giants have to turn into a dumpster fire so fast after Eli retired? This playoff run has been so cathartic. We are playing the role of my childhood's evil Giants and sending all the great QBs home covered in blood. The fact that hobbled Jimmy is leading the charge while trying really hard to throw the games away is even better.

58 Ah, but you forget one from…

Ah, but you forget one from six-seven decades ago:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHU5SNcg5XQ

(the follow-up was a complete crush of the Jim Brown Browns, 56-14 in the NFL Championship game...)

...and the niners have had no chance to do anything about it since...I knew there was a silver lining to 64 years of futility....

33 Well I hit every single…

Well I hit every single spread pick in the divisional and missed all of the O/U picks. We are also now at 3 straight road games where Jimmy G played like crap on the road and SF won against great teams. He has been obviously worse since the thumb injury. The drops, redzone interception, and awful failed 4th down conversion actually made the 49ers look a lot worse on offense than they actually were. Kittle dropped a 30+ yard explosive play in Q2. Jimmy completely missed a wide open Kittle in the endzone that turned into an interception after doing some houdini level pocket stuff to avoid pressure. Jimmy got lucky on a few pick 6 balls he threw as well which would have made this game a lot different. The GB defense played incredibly well with an amazing game plan. They pretty much shut down our explosive rushing attack. I think we have to start asking historical context questions about how great this SF front 7 has been since week 10. They have 15 sacks in 3 games against 3 of the best offensive lines in the NFL while allowing an average of 75 yards rushing. Since Greenlaw came back against the Rams, Fred Warner has elevated back to his 2020 All-pro play level with his best performance of the year against the Packers. The defensive line is 9 guys deep which is allowing it to get better over the course of games. In 2019 they were top-heavy and would get gassed late leading to that huge collapse against KC in the SB. If they find a way to avoid the Jimmy disaster and ride this defense to a SB ring it will have to jump into the conversation about the greatest front 7's of all time. Just to make fellow NFC West inhabitants a little more frustrated about our insane division, Armstead is the oldest guy in that group at 28. If Whitworth is out on Sunday watch out. SF had 5 sacks with him on the field in the last game. Generally though I just hope everyone in the world just keeps sleeping on SF. I grew up watching the better QB lose every time the 49ers got knocked out of the playoffs, outside of the meetings with MVP Favre, during the dynasty by some grimy NFC East team with a ferocious pass rush, punishing running game, and some gritty underwhelming grinder at QB who rarely made a pro-bowl. It is kind crazy being on the other side this last decade.

As a side note I believe SF has successfully repaid the Packers for everything that happened in the 90's. They ruined three great Steve Young teams and we ruined 3 great Aaron Rodgers teams. The debt has been paid.

This Rams-49ers game is going to be a body bag game and I am psyched. Peak trench warfare with 2 of the best offensive weapons in the NFL on either side. Kupp and Deebo showed up huge late in the game and were key reasons for the teams making it to the NFCCG. I am expecting something like that painful SF-SEA NFCCG from 2013 with another game decided on the last possession. That week 18 game was one of the hardest hitting games I watched all season. This is setting up to be a fascinating super bowl regardless of who goes because of the incredible difference in physicality and style. I am grabbing the SF +3.5 and will hedge it the other way if it somehow gets under 3.

55 The 2 best equipped QBs to…

The 2 best equipped QBs to handle the NFC defenses are the 2 left too. I honestly don't see how Burrow could survive against the Rams or 49ers after seeing how badly the Bengals line was abused by the Titans. He might get sacked 14 times in one game.

54 In 2019 the 49ers D-Line…

In 2019 the 49ers D-Line wasn't top heavy by design, but because practically their entire second string was injured.  Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Damontre Moore, Kentavius Street, and Julian Taylor were all on IR by the time the Superbowl came around.  That's a lot of missing beef.  

This time they have the D-Line backups healthy enough to keep going for four quarters instead of three.  This time it's the CBs and the OL and the QB who are all banged up. 

Shanahan believes that D-Line >> secondary, that run blocking >> pass blocking, and (before they drafted Trey Lance) he was always content with a game-manager QB, so in a way due to injuries this 49ers team has become an exaggerated caricature of his philosophies on both sides of the ball. 

57 That is so true. We probably…

That is so true. We probably win that SB with a healthy DJ Jones. KC, via brilliant strategy from Reid, abused SF with those shotgun runs early and kept the Chiefs in the game for 3 quarters to setup the furious comeback in the 4th quarter. Our secondary is clearly worse this time without all-pro Sherman. But slow footed Sherman was a liability in that game against Hill. We will see what happens. I could make an argument for any of these teams winning a SB for very different reasons on all 4.

42 The 9ers hate is real

"Sure the 49ers have won consecutive road games against the #1 DVOA team and the #1 seed but honestly how can you trust Jimmy Garoppolo he's so trash unlike that Aaron Rogers fellow who played so much better. Or Dak Prescott.  Yeah there's no way they can win in LA because they don't play super great in the 4th quarter unlike the Rams who definitely didn't almost squander a lead or actually squander a lead 3 weeks ago"

 

The 49ers aren't an "also-ran," they're possibly the best team left in the playoffs.  All they do is show that every week with their stifling defense.

48 Most "9ers hate" on this…

Most "9ers hate" on this site is skepticism (or worse) about their QB.  The thought of Jimmy G leading another team to the Super Bowl tends to trigger a "lightning can't strike twice" reaction amongst people who should know that not only can it strike twice, it likely will (unless whatever it struck burned to the ground).

56 This is a problem:  I only…

This is a problem:  I only have time to watch 49ers games, so the only QBs I ever see are a) Jimmy G., or b) the QBs the 49er D-Line has been pounding into the turf.  So, from what I've seen, all QBs look pretty bad.  Why all the fuss about poor Jimmy GQ? 

Except that Colt McCoy.  He's a star.  Don't know how anybody beats him. 

71 Hat Tip

Except that Colt McCoy.  He's a star.  Don't know how anybody beats him.

 

bravo Sir.  Truer words were never spoken.  literal LOL

73 Which is pretty nuts to me…

Which is pretty nuts to me. Jimmy G is not Mark Sanchez, Kerry Collins, or Trent Dilfer. He fits that Phil Simms on the Giants role. Or any of the post-Theisman Washington QBs. He's close to Eli too. There are a ton of Jimmy type QBs that have won SBs. Having a great QB is a fantastic predictor of regular season success and not nearly as good in the playoffs. I think I am starting to understand why DVOA is having a lot more trouble predicting winners in the last 20 years. Tom Brady is an outlier who needs to be removed or capped from the population. If you exclude Tom Brady and his absurdity, the formula for success in the playoffs with an average QB is still clear. Run the ball well, have a great pass rush, don't lose the TO battle, and excel at situational football. The only times I saw the super QB that dominated the regular season go insane in the playoffs all the way to the end of the SB were Montana and Young in 89 and 94. Those SF teams had great defenses too. Kurt Warner is pretty close against the Titans in 99 but that was a close game. Brady on 2 of the greatest offenses ever got shut down by the Giants twice. Playoff football is way less QB dependent than regular season football because of general opponent quality and small samples allowing variance to take over.

74 Jimmy G is not Mark Sanchez,…

Jimmy G is not Mark Sanchez, Kerry Collins, or Trent Dilfer.

This is true. Statistically those were all much better playoff QBs than Garoppolo.

Dilfer is actually a really good comp. Garoppolo is more accurate, but throws fewer TDs and more INTs than Dilfer. What the teams asked them to do was similar. Handsome Jim is basically a mid-80s Bears QB in terms of his playoff performance. He was utterly terrible, but still went 5-1 because his defense and run game were better.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/G/GaroJi00/gamelog/post/
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/D/DilfTr00/gamelog/post/
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/C/CollKe00/gamelog/post/
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SancMa00/gamelog/post/

(Sanchez was actually a decent playoff QB)

80 What's with this magic …

What's with this magic "playoff" endpoint?  The data is right up there in the menu.  Look up Garoppolo's career numbers vs any of those guys.  You don't like numbers?  Put a game like Saints 49ers 2019 on the screen to see what he can do. 

Sadly, the current state of Garoppolo's health has turned him into the QB so many people think he is.

89 What's with this magic …

What's with this magic "playoff" endpoint?

We are currently in the playoffs?

All those other guys could put up numbers, too. Collins wasn't as bad as you think -- he threw for 40,000 yards back in the relative stone age. He had a slew of 4- and 5-td games and a game where he trashed a good team with a HOF QB.

Garoppolo is a decent QB whose game has one or two blinding weaknesses, but it's the sort of weakness that really hurts against good defenses, and those are all that's left.

82 I think you guys are way…

I think you guys are way underselling Jimmy G.

I just looked up the regular season DVOA for every QB who led his team to the SB, since 2000.  (I had to stop somewhere, so I went back to Trent Dilfer since you're using him as a comp).  There were 41 data points.  (Nick Foles would have been the 42nd, but didn't play enough in the regular season to qualify for the DVOA table).  I plotted the data as a cumulative distribution function to get a sense of its shape... it's a skewed S-curve (skewed to the right a bit... the tail of the corresponding PDF is longer to the left, i.e. bad quaterbacks, than to the right, thanks to Peyton's 2015, season, Eli's 2007 season, Dilfer, Grossman, Roethlisberger in 2008, Flacco, Delhomme, etc.)

The worst of the lot was 2015 Peyton Manning, with a -25.8% regular season DVOA.  The best were 2006 Peyton Manning and 2007 Tom Brady, with regular season DVOA's over +50%.  The average regular season DVOA for a SB QB was +19.3, and the median +22.8.

Jimmy Garoppolo's regular season DVOA in 2021 was... wait for it... +17.9%... about the 47th percentile on the CDF. Meaning Jimmy G is pretty much as good as the "average" SB QB over the last 20 years.  His closest comps by regular season DVOA are 2018 Brady, 2013 Wilson, 2011 Eli, 2008 Warner, 2018 Goff, 2014 Brady, and 2002 Gannon, who range from +15.4% to +22.8%.

By comparison, the folks your comparing him to are all much much worse:

2000 Kerry Collins - +13.2%

2000 Trent Dilfer -22.8%

Mark Sanchez (who never went to the SB) -4.4% in 2010 and -1.4% in 2014.
(Those were his two best years by QBR... unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get FO to list DOVA by a QB by year)

Jimmy Garoppolo is a much better QB than any of the guys you are disparagingly comparing him to, and I think you're being affected by recency bias.  Yes, he looked terrible this past weekend, and not great the weekend before, and the Niners won in spite of him.  The same could have been said for Dak Prescott and Aaron Rodgers had either team pulled off the win.  QB's go through rough stretches sometimes.  Any player will occasionally have a bad game, and if two bad games happen in a row, people are quick to form a conclusion that said player is terrible (due to combinations of confirmation bias, recency bias, and many other biases)... when in fact consecutive bad games will just happen due to chance, even for good QB's (and are especially more likely in the playoffs due to the generally improved quality of the opposing defenses).  

On the balance of the season, Jimmy G has played about as well as a typical QB who appears in the SB, so he wouldn't be out of place appearing in one this year.  

 

99 The Dilfer comp is scary

Dilfer is actually a really good comp. Garoppolo is more accurate, but throws fewer TDs and more INTs than Dilfer.

Dilfer played in an era with fewer TD's and more INT's so when we adjust for the era, Garoppolo's TD rate and INT rate are even worse.

Dilfer even threw a pick 6 in the Super Bowl, but the play was called back due to defensive holding.  It was a more creative way of throwing a near pick 6 than any of Garoppolo's bad throws on Saturday.

So now if the 49ers can just play defense like the 2000 Ravens, they become the champs.  I expect Garoppolo to regress to the last 3 season's Garoppolo mean and have a blah game against the Rams, which may be enough to get them to the SB. 

While many FO writers picked a rematch of last year's SB before this season, we may get a rematch of the prior year, KC and SF.

Do you have any Garoppolo comps to Mahomes?  I would love to see those.  They may be relevant on Feb 13.

75 The only times I saw the…

The only times I saw the super QB that dominated the regular season go insane in the playoffs all the way to the end of the SB were Montana and Young in 89 and 94.

You're really DIVISION, aren't you?

64 Handsome Jim was -42 DYAR…

Handsome Jim was -42 DYAR last game, and he was probably fortunate that it was that high. He threw about four passes straight to a DB and was lucky they only caught one of them. Indeed, at no time in the last five quarters has he appeared to be a person who is paid to play football.

The suspicion is that at some point this will catch up with him.

72 Did you *watch* KC carve up…

Did you *watch* KC carve up the #1 DVOA defense yesterday? No one is an "also-ran" at this point, but I doubt Mahomes is any more concerned with their defense than Buffalo's.

81 Ah, but Buffalo actually…

Ah, but Buffalo actually invests in things called "cornerbacks."  San Francisco doesn't need no stinking cornerbacks.  They take whoever's lying on the couch.  Josh Norman?  Dontae Johnson?  Toss 'em a uniform and throw 'em out there!  No, what SF cares about is having a full 10 D-Linemen who could start on most teams in the league.

Chew on that, Mahomes!

60 change the OT rules, for God's sake

We just saw Buffalo and KC shoot it out until time ran out, then the victor was decided on a coin toss. It is asinine, and teams should be given the chance to match unless time has run out on the OT period.

83 They really need to allow…

They really need to allow both teams a chance to score. It would make for such a better product.

Let's say Team A wins the coin toss and starts off with the ball. If A scores, Team B has to either tie on the next drive to keep the game going, or outscore A to win. Otherwise B loses.

For example:

A scores FG and kicks off to B. B must score FG to keep the game going, or wins with a TD. If B doesn't score, they lose.

A scores TD + XP = B must score TD + XP to keep the game going. If B goes for 2 and scores, B wins.

A scores TD + 2PT = B must score TD + 2PT to keep the game going, otherwise B loses.

If A fails to score due to turnover on downs, INT, or fumble then B can win with FG or TD. If B also fails to score, the game continues.

B gets safety or defensive TD = B wins.

B gets a Pick-2 on A's XP/2PT try = B has a 2 point advantage on their next drive, and can win with a TD.

Onside kick recovery by the kicking team wins the game immediately.

During the regular season, end OT after a quarter. This will heavily incentivize ball control, and stop lousy games from going on all night.

What if the coverage is gassed and A and B keep matching each other with TDs? Coach A can decide to go for 2PT, which will force B to also have to get the 2PT to stay alive. Or if A kicks the XP, B can try to win outright by going for 2 on their drive.

Because Team B has an information advantage by going on offense after A, it really incentivizes A to get the 2PT if possible. And if A and B are trading 2PTs, and the 2PT has about a 50% success rate, then we have basically reinvented the coin flip in-game.

Unfortunately I think the NFL prefers their early bedtimes.

92 They really need to allow…

They really need to allow both teams a chance to score. It would make for such a better product.

Or - wait for it, this is revolutionary - maybe make it so that it's not so freaking easy to score a TD after a kickoff.

In the late 1970s/early 1980s, there was essentially no coin flip advantage whatsoever in the NFL. It got worse when they moved the kickoff, and progressively got much worse as offenses started to dominate in the late 2000s/early 2010s.

But, ha, less offense, that's funny.

112 Gee, I thought the problem…

Gee, I thought the problem was that it was too easy to score a FG after a kickoff. Now it's too easy to score a TD?

Get a grip. The Bills had the #1 D and the #1 pass D by DVOA this season. If their D couldn't stop KC from scoring a TD after playing for 60 minutes, they didn't deserve to win.

124 Gee, I thought the problem…

Gee, I thought the problem was that it was too easy to score a FG after a kickoff. Now it's too easy to score a TD?

You might be seeing a trend here, which is the entire problem I'm trying to point out.

Get a grip. The Bills had the #1 D and the #1 pass D by DVOA this season.

DVOA is era-adjusted. Touchdown percentages are not. It's gotten waaaay too easy to score a TD.

94 Rams Tickets

Parking at the stadium for the Rams-Cards WC game was $100, with no other real viable options as there isn't offsite public parking and no public transit to the stadium. So I can't really blame ticket holders for trying to make a bunch of bucks on this game to avoid paying those fees, plus help pay back their PSLs.

115 Parking in the LA area is…

In reply to by BroncFan07

Parking in the LA area is expensive everywhere. If a Rams fan is selling NFC Championship tickets to 49er fans to recoup PSL costs they should lose their PSLs, wouldn't you think?

136 No I don't think they should…

No I don't think they should lose their PSLs. You're not "selling to a 49ers fan." You're posting them on TicketMaster and a person who wants to pay that amount purchases it. 

As far as parking being expensive everywhere in LA, I went to a Lakers game a couple weeks prior to the Rams-Cards. Found parking a few blocks away for $8. Granted, you're talking 20k fans at a Lakers game vs 70k at the Rams game, but the difference is that Staples/Crypto has a lot of different options nearby and the trains run there, too. 

105 49ers 4th and 1 play

The greatest thing about that 49ers 4th and 1 clip is that not only does Trent Williams go in motion and not block anybody, Laken Tomlinson pulls all the way around from LG, ends up in the same place as Williams, and also doesn't block anybody. He's like "OK, I'm here, what do we do now?"

117 "Now has the winter of our…

"Now has the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of Tampa Bay".  Why has no one pondered that Prince Aaron might take the throne of King Brady for the rule of Disneylandia?

Or alternately, you could go with the "sun of York" and plant King Aaron in his wonted realm of the 49ers, supplanting the pretender James the bastard son of Sir Tom and the Dark Lord Belichick.