Jets Shock the Bills; Buccaneers Stay Alive

New York Jets CB Ahmad Gardner
New York Jets CB Ahmad Gardner
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 9 - This Week 9 edition of Walkthrough covers every single game from NFL Sunday, including:

  • Tom Brady lulling the Rams—and the world—to sleep before his latest feat of fourth-quarter magic;
  • The Tennessee Titans giving the Kansas City Chiefs much more than they bargained for on Sunday night;
  • The Green Bay Packers pioneering new methods of self-immolation against the Detroit Lions;
  • The New England Patriots embarrassing yet another young quarterback and his dysfunctional team;

and much more!

Let's go straight to the action, starting at the Meadowlands.

Game Spotlight: New York Jets 20, Buffalo Bills 17

What Happened: The Bills overlooked the Jets.

More accurately, the Bills tried so hard to deliver an early-round knockout that they kept the Jets in the game.

Josh Allen threw a pair of inexplicable interceptions as part of an over-aggressive game plan. Zach Wilson handed off to Michael Carter and James Robinson; scrambled; avoided mistakes (mostly); and distributed short passes against a defense that kept blitzing straight into his protection. Throw in a missed field goal and some tough luck on bouncing-ball plays and you get the formula for a classic Bills upset.

What it Means: The Bills are now 0-2 in the AFC East and 4-2 in the conference. They are positioning themselves to lose opportunities for home playoff games and a first-round bye, and they are doing it with sloppy, Chiefs-style losses. The Bills can beat wild-card-tier opponents such as the Jets just by executing properly instead of trying to secure an MVP award for Allen or turning every Sunday into a "statement." Not every play needs to be a 40-yard dime or a strip-six, fellas.

The Jets successfully protected Wilson from himself for another week; Wilson executed the sort of game plan a team draws up for a third-string rookie. The Jets are coming dangerously close to talking themselves into Wilson, not just for 2022 (fine, this is a fun little run) but beyond (potentially cataclysmic for a team that keeps improving everywhere else).

A four-turnover Wilson meltdown might be cleansing and beneficial in the long run. If only there was some opponent with a long-established track record—reinforced just two weeks ago—of doing such a thing to Jets quarterbacks.

What's Next: The Jets face the Patriots again in two weeks, after their bye.

The Bills host the Vikings in Week 10 in what (giggle) could be billed as (snicker) a Super Bowl preview (falls to the floor and hyperventilates with paroxysms of laughter).

Walkthrough Breaks Down Every Single One of Sunday's Games

Don't get used to this, dear reader. It was only possible because six teams were on bye, the Eagles played on Thursday night, and Philly bars were so quiet and empty for some unknown reason on Sunday that Walkthrough had unprecedented control over the televisions.

New England Patriots 26, Indianapolis Colts 3

Every fan who has ever fallen in love with the preseason fourth-quarter run-around rando quarterback and insisted that he's better than the starter should be forced to watch Sam Ehlinger for three hours, if the Geneva Convention allows such torture.

Ehlinger could not find an open receiver if you gave him a tricorder. His arm makes Tua Tagovailoa look like Josh Allen. He runs just well enough to fool you into thinking that the read-option might work. (It won't.) He's Taysom Hill, but puny and a step slower.

At one point in the second quarter Frank Reich schemed up an early-down play-action floater to the running back as a "let's get a confidence-boosting completion" play. Ehlinger overthrew it. The Colts averaged 1.9 yards per offensive play on Sunday, their lowest figure since 1977, according to the television broadcast. They would have been better off with Matt Ryan just falling forward like a felled redwood for 6 feet per pop than Ehlinger.

Reich and Chris Ballard are clearly involved in some spiteful little power struggle at quarterback, and both are willing to lose their jobs if it means sabotaging the other. Yes, this is how NFL decision-makers (even "good guys" such as Ballard and Reich) actually think when things go pear-shaped. And no, the Colts are not "tanking on purpose." They're creating an atmosphere so depressing that quality young players are going to want out.

The Patriots excel at beating up on utterly dysfunctional opponents such as the Colts, and they have a knack for somehow facing eight of them per year.

Kansas City Chiefs 20, Tennessee Titans 17 (OT)

It's Daylight Savings Time and Walkthrough is getting sleepy. So take it away, ESPN's Stephen Holder!

It's hard to take the Titans seriously as anything more than a worn-down late-model edition of the Titans we have been watching since 2018. They'll win the AFC South by a mile, then get clobbered by the first AFC opponent they face that doesn't beat themselves. Still, it was fun to watch them out-fundamental the Chiefs for three quarters. Malik Willis remains unready to do anything but win games by running the read-option against the Texans, but at least he's getting some non-disastrous (until overtime, anyway) game experience.

The Chiefs nearly endured a repeat of their Week 3 loss to the Colts: they lost the line of scrimmage battles, outsmarted themselves a few times, and nearly lost to a team playing hide-the-quarterback. Patrick Mahomes got them out of trouble with a few magic tricks, and Willis ran out of plays he knew how to execute midway through the second quarter. The Chiefs won't be so lucky next time, but they averted a catastrophe.

Anyway, the proper takeaway from a Sunday when the Bills lost, the Chiefs survived a scare, the NFC's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen aged another five years, and every team in the league looked vulnerable is clearly that THE EAGLES ARE A FRAUD THEIR SCHEDULE IS SOFT THEY'RE GONNA BE EXPOSED BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Seattle Seahawks 31, Arizona Cardinals 21

The Seahawks are like one of those Pac-12 teams that West Coast college football fans swear is awesome and could lick Georgia given a chance. Then Walkthrough watches them and thinks, they're fine and fun to watch, but come the hell on.

We want to climb aboard the Geno Smith Love Train. We really do. But when we see highlights such as this, we don't see precision touch passing, but a junk-baller on a hot streak who is going to be in trouble once he stops getting called strikes while painting the corners:

Like many successful NFC teams during the Brady/Rodgers/Stafford apocalypse, the Seahawks are winning because they are better than disaster artists such as the Cardinals, who swan-dove into self-parody on Sunday with a premium assortment of their signature aborted snaps, defensive lapses, low-protein micro-passes, randomized play-calling, and second-half sacks. The Seahawks have the makings of a team that would get smoked by a true contender, but there aren't many of those in the 2022 NFL. The Seahawks won't face one until they visit the Chiefs on Christmas Eve, though next week's European adventure against a still-stout Buccaneers defense should at least stress-test the tolerances of the Geno-led offense.

As the NFC continues down its topsy-turvy path, some spunky surprise contender is bound to fall off the playoff chase. With their win over the Giants in Week 8 and a solid victory on a Sunday when the Falcons couldn't beat an opponent with 0.5 wide receivers, the Seahawks are positioning themselves to not be that team. For now, that's as good as they have to be.

Miami Dolphins 35, Chicago Bears 32

Everything Walkthrough wrote about the Dolphins last week remains true, right down to the sustainability of the "underthrown deep ball" tactic. Newcomer Jeff Wilson (79 total yards, one receiving touchdown) adds an effective jab to their all-haymaker offense.

The Dolphins did go 0-of-2 on fourth-and-short, with a pair of ugly incompletions to Durham Smythe. Mike McDaniel should try not to overthink things on fourth down: hand off if the safeties are deep, take some YOLO shot to Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle if they crowd the line, and never ever ever scheme specifically for Durham Smythe.

Justin Fields ran for 178 yards and a touchdown, keeping the Bears in the game with his legs. What little passing game the Bears have is exclusively set up by his rushing threat. A quarterback that runs as effectively as Fields (408 yards in four games is Randall Cunningham-level stuff) deserves a better supporting cast.

Speaking of which: Chase Claypool caught 12-yard and 1-yard passes and rushed for 4 yards. Look for him to nearly double that production as he's integrated more fully into the Bears "system."

Detroit Lions 15, Green Bay Packers 9

Anyone who self-destructs as creatively and ritualistically as the Packers did on Sunday is clearly crying out for help. Back-to-back goal-line interceptions in the first half? A 1-of-4 fourth-down conversion rate? Someone please take the Packers into a quiet room and ask them what's really wrong.

One thing currently wrong with the Packers: Romeo Doubs and Rashan Gary left Sunday's game with injuries and did not return. Doubs' absence does not explain or justify the David Bahktiari goal-line pass, but it did precipitate it: with Randall Cobb also out, the Packers have a weaker receiving corps than even the Bears. Gary is one of the leaders of the Packers' Not As Great As the Preseason Hype Defense; the Packers cannot afford any losses on that side of the ball. Check midweek injury reports and your favorite hip-hop artists' social networking timeline, then gauge your Packers pessimism appropriately.

For their part, the Lions did an outstanding job of not interfering with the Packers' elaborate feat of autoerotic asphyxiation.

Los Angeles Chargers 20, Atlanta Falcons 17

On the one hand, this was the gutsy win that those of us who think Justin Herbert (the Twitter Teflon Kid) might be a smidge overrated needed to see. Playing without Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Chargers could not move the football until Herbert completed a 25-yard pass to Josh Palmer near his own end zone to spark a 83-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter and get the Chargers into the game.

Herbert later set up the game-winning field goal with another strike to Palmer after a Chargers drive into scoring position was interrupted by some vintage Falconing:

So yes: resilient stuff from a battered quarterback with almost no one to throw to and an offensive line full of rookies and pipkins.

On the other hand, beating the Falcons at the last second is like getting an A in gym class: it just proves that you showed up and tried a bit, and it should not be celebrated as too great an accomplishment.

Minnesota Vikings 20, Washington Commanders 17

All the negative things folks say about the Philadelphia Eagles—they're an above-average-at-best team coasting against a mid-major schedule, for instance—are actually true of the Vikings. Most folks know this, of course, but pointing out that the Vikings are still the Vikings doesn't exactly drive engagement.

The Commanders took a 17-7 lead and nearly broke the game open with a pick-six, but defender Benjamin St. Juste was flagged for pass interference on the interception. After the Vikings drove for a field goal a few plays later, Taylor "Fire High" Heinicke overthrew Logan Thomas (these Walkthrough nicknames reveal truths) for a Harrison Smith interception to set up a Dalvin Cook touchdown. The Vikings then got to run seven plays inside the Commanders' 6-yard line to munch the clock with 2:35 to play, taking points off the board at one point when the Commanders were flagged for unnecessary roughness on Greg Joseph's first (successful) game-winning field goal attempt.

The Vikings visit the Bills next week, host the Cowboys in two weeks, and face the Patriots on Thanksgiving in a traditional holiday Kirk Cousins Prime Time Humiliation Showcase. That slate of games should correct the Vikings' course after two months where it felt like they played the Colts every week.

Cincinnati Bengals 42, Carolina Panthers 21

Joe Mixon single-handedly won tens of thousands of fantasy weeks, the Bengals beat an opponent just trying to stay comfortable until January, and the P.J. Walker phenomenon ended the same way it did in 2020 and 2021, with Walker proving he's a big, fast USFL quarterback.

Walker is now eligible for the Tyler Thigpen Tape-Nerd Obsession Hall of Fame. Brett Rypien remains the frontrunner to be the next Walker, though keep your eye on Skylar Thompson and Sam Howell.

Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Las Vegas Raiders 20

The Raiders blew their third 17-plus-point lead of the season, which should not be possible. Their second-half time of possession was 10 minutes and 55 seconds. This was the early game Walkthrough paid the least attention to; every time we looked up in the second half, Trevor Lawrence and Christian Kirk were converting on third-and-medium.

If Nathaniel Hackett blew three 17-point leads he'd already be working at a Colorado Bed Bath & Beyond after weeks of merciless roasting. But we all assume Josh McDaniels knows what he's doing as a head coach because he used to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

The Jaguars have found their level: better than the Raiders, not as good as the Broncos, not really relevant in 2022.

And we saved the worst for last.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16, Los Angeles Rams 13

What Happened: Two absolutely dreadful teams played a gruesome football game, and the lords of television forced us all to watch it because those teams used to be good and have famous quarterbacks. It looked like the most expensive JV game in human history, or a Thursday nighter from mid-October. Anemic offenses, dropped passes, 23 total failed third-down conversions, dreadful late-game Rams clock management and play calling: this game had it all.

The dreadful team with Tom Brady won thanks to a last-minute touchdown drive after 59 minutes of creaky incompetence, sentencing the world to another month of Brady's not really washed up because he doesn't look like my foggy memories of Peyton Manning throwing absolutely nothing but pick-sixes in 2015 conversations.

What it Means: The Buccaneers and Rams are terrible and should both be irrelevant, but the Bucs will make the playoffs because their toughest division foe is the freakin' Falcons.

With little else to talk about, let's check in with the ol' Tom Brady Regret Index!

  • Brady has now beaten two teams (Cowboys and Falcons) with an even or better record for 600 Brady Bucks.
  • He has beaten two teams with losing records for 400 Brady Bucks
  • He has lost to two teams with winning records for -500 Brady Bucks
  • He has lost to three teams with losing records for -1,500 Brady Bucks
  • His Buccaneers have scored 28-plus points once for 100 Brady Bucks
  • They have scored 10 points or fewer twice for -100 Brady Bucks.
  • He has been sacked 14 times for -1,400 Brady Bucks.

That puts Brady and -3,400, counting the -1,000 he started the season with. That's some intense regret! But that final Bucs touchdown drive was worth an 800-point swing in Brady's favor! Imagine how much regret he would be suffering if the Rams had mustered a single fourth-quarter first down.

Seriously, the Rams and Bucs need to get flexed out of spotlight television windows as often as possible for the rest of the season.

What's Next: The Bucs face a tough test against the Seahawks, but of course it's in Germany at 6:30 a.m. Seattle time. The Rams host the Cardinals in a game that should be banned from all airwaves.

Walkthrough Awards

Lots and lots to get to!

Defender of the Week

Matt Judon recorded three sacks against the Colts. Josh Uche also recorded three sacks for the Patriots, but Judon shares an award with no one.

Judon was also flagged for roughing the passer in the first quarter in what amounted to a "don't hurt the sad puppy" call, and the first positive Colts offensive play of the game—a 12-yard pass on third down midway through the second quarter—got nullified because Braden Smith tried to block Judon by his neck.

Offensive Line of the Week

Joe Mixon rushed for 153 yards, four touchdowns, and a bajillion fantasy points. The Bengals took the Panthers out of the game before halftime. Let's hear it for Jonah Williams, Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, and La'el Collins. Are they finally coming together the way the Bengals hoped they would? Let's see the Bengals line play well against a real team first!

Honorable mention goes to the Jets offensive line: Duane Brown, Laken Tomlinson, Connor McGovern, Nate Herbig, and Cedric Ogbuehi. The Bills threw everything they had at this cobbled-together unit in an effort to spark some Zach Wilson hilarity, but the Jets line held the Bills to two sacks while the Jets hammered out 174 rushing yards.

Special Teamer of the Week

Should it go to Jonathan Jones for this sweet blocked punt which took away what little will to live the Colts had left?

Or should it go to Bobby Wagner for his hop, skip, and a blocked field goal?

Hmm, Wagner's a future Hall of Famer, his play was cooler, and the game he was in was closer. But Jones also had a pick-six, so he deserves to walk away with something this week.

How about this: Wagner gets Special Teamer of the Week, while Jones gets the first-and-only Walkthrough All-Purpose Contribution of the Week award.

The Colts are so terrible they actually make the rest of us work harder.

Buccaneers punter Jake Camarda also earns honorable mention for averaging 59.5 yards per punt on six punts, pinning the Rams at the 9-, 19-, 11-, and 11-yard lines on four of the kicks.

Burn This Play!

You knew Aidan Hutchinson's interception of Aaron Rodgers' goal-line airball to left tackle David Bahktiari was coming, right?

The design of the play is not horrendous. Bakhtiari does get wide open, and Rodgers would have delivered a better pass if backup guard Zach Tom had not whiffed blocking the Lions defensive tackle. This would be a fun little play on second down, or leading 17-3, or when trying to manufacture a touchdown pass for an inexperienced quarterback or cross up a superior defense.

Throwing to a left tackle on fourth down in a tie game when you have a Hall of Fame quarterback and are facing one of the NFL's worst defenses is the football equivalent of aneurysm.

Honorable mention goes to this Jets reverse. The play design is awesome! But perhaps the rookie wide receiver should be discouraged from pump faking multiple times.

Yep, that play was executed by the winning team.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Chiefs defenders Leo Chenal (54), Willie Gay (50), Nick Bolton (32), Derrick Nnandi (91), and Juan Thornhill (22) all spun around, ricocheted off one another, and ended up on the turf during this Chigoziem Okonkwo catch-and-run. Outstanding execution, fellas!

Rando of the Week

DANGER, DANGER ZACH WILSON. Runner-up Rando of the Week is the camera dude in the gray long-sleeve shirt and cap—who looks a little like Matthew Stafford's schlubby cousin—tasked with reeling in the overhead FOX television camera after it went full SKYNET during Jets-Bills.

But the real Rando of the week is this individual, who speaks for many disgruntled Packers fans.

For those of you who don't keep track of such things, Lil Wayne is a receiver the New Orleans Saints signed to their practice squad to replace Lil'Jordan Humphrey. Per Adam Schefter, the Packers tried and failed to trade a first-round pick for Lil Wayne before the trade deadline. That may be why he is so mad. Everyone else has stopped caring about the Packers. Quite possibly including the Packers.


130 comments, Last at 10 Nov 2022, 10:11am

#1 by macizdyn // Nov 07, 2022 - 5:13am

Packers - Lions score is backwards. Thought I was accidentally using ayahuasca. Scared me to death. :-)

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#90 by macizdyn // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:27pm

It was sitting next to the chamomile in the cabinet. Wife got confused. Happens I guess. Need to educate her...

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#2 by Led // Nov 07, 2022 - 5:25am

The Bills recovered both of Allen's fumbles.  Both teams fumbled twice, and the Bills recovered three of them.

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#22 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:29am

Their defense played great, and the offense controlled the ball. They won. It wasn't a spectacular offensive game plan, but they executed.

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#49 by Led // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:50am

I'd disagree about the quality of the offensive game plan, but otherwise I agree.  A good team beat a great team, which is something that happens pretty regularly in the NFL.  Any given Sunday, and all that.  That's why it's weird for Mike to reach for reasons the Jets got lucky.  As I pointed out, fumble luck favored Buffalo slightly.  The missed FG was a 57 yarder in the rain -- a miss was as likely as a make.  And Allen's "inexplicable" interceptions were at least partially explained by the NYJ playing good defense and fooling him.   

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#80 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:10pm

Allen tossed worse ints last week. He's a great qb who still tosses more stupid ints than they typical great qb, which likely means that, at this point, he is a slightly overrated great qb. When he vomits up a bad one, that's just what he still is at this point, and not indicative of any especially good luck for the Bills' opponent.

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#109 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 6:11pm

The first was stupid. The second was Gabe Davis turning the wrong way. Unfortunately, the second was way more damaging.

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#47 by mehllageman56 // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:44am

Tanier doesn't give the Jets any sort of credit (a little bit like the mainstream media), but the rest of the site doesn't seem to have that problem.  Part of the reason that Tanier won't give the Jets any sort of credit is that destroys his anti-Patriots agenda.

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#57 by colonialbob // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:17pm

I think it's simpler than that - Tanier tends to focus on QBs/offenses, and the Jets are inarguably not good at either of those. The defense and special teams are good enough that they're a good team, but good D / good ST / bad QB is always going to get mocked around here, especially when the QB has other mockable things about him. 

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#60 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:27pm

The Sanchez/Ryan Jets were actually a decent team, but they were still a joke.

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#3 by PackerPete // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:03am

Note to Matt Lafleur: Aaron Jones is a better short yardage back than Dillon. Jones hits the line harder and has the ability to make one quick cut in a confined area. Another game where the Packers' best offensive weapon, Jones, mostly stood on the sidelines.

Rodgers' helmet deflection pick came on an RPO. An end zone camera shot showed the Packers O line had the entire right side walled off and moving forward. Dillon  could have run that in. Rodgers pulled the ball out to throw into tight coverage over the middle. 

The Bahktiari tackle eligible pic was another underthrow by Rodgers. Sammy Watkins caught one horizontal pass and gained nine yards; on the other two throws to Watkins, Rodgers and Watkins were so out of sync the passes were miles away from Watkins.

The offensive strategy looks like a shell of the motion heavy, Rodgers under center offense of Lafleur's first two years. We're back to Rodgers in the shotgun running the play clock down to 1 second every play, no motion, no one open. That's how the Mike McCarthy era ended: bland, predictable offense without the WR talent to win one on one. Rodgers has few easy throws, but he's apparently the person clamoring for this system.

$50 million for this QB play this year and another $50 million next year, where the talent prospects don't look much better. Tough spot for Packer brass. 


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#4 by Joey-Harringto… // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:23am

“For their part, the Lions did an outstanding job of not interfering with the Packers' elaborate feat of autoerotic asphyxiation.”

Oh it wasn’t for lack of trying.  

Jared Goff played the 4th quarter like Johnny Manziel on peyote.  And on the final drive, instead of recovering two (yes, TWO) Packers game-losing fumbles, Lions defenders swept them out of bounds.

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#13 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:57am

My wife rolled her eyes when I told her to watch the Packers convert the 4th-2 at midfield on some hilarious moonball to a warm body, who then fumbled. I told her to watch the Lions would fail to recover it.

I'm a wizard.

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#5 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:25am

The Bills yesterday were a perfect example of what injuries do - if you remove enough Pro Bowl players from a defense, they stop being able to execute at a high level. The run defense from the first couple of weeks is either sitting on the bench or on IR. That said, Selah's team had a good game plan and executed it well. I wouldn't expect it to work in the rematch.

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#18 by condor654 // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:32am

Becton, Breece Hall, AVT, Fant, Corey Davis we’re all out too. Nobody healthy right now

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#24 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:31am

My point being that if you remove four Pro-Bowl caliber players from the defense you can't expect the same performance, so the O needs to step it up. They didn't.

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#20 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:02am

Mike hammers the Bills for going for the killshot early, but that's what this team is built to do. Allen, Diggs, and Davis go out there and stack points early, and our smaller (and now less experienced) defense has easier reads and doesn't have to face a run threat. When Allen starts making bad plays and teams hang around, all our faults are in sharp relief.

Honestly, the guy we seem to be missing more than anyone on D is Cole Beasley. Without him, Allen does not seem to trust anyone in the short game, to the point that he was overlooking open Knox and Shakir to force passes downfield. Knox especially is a bizarre omission, since he is in the athletic receiving TE mold (albeit not nearly as good) as Shockey and Winslow that Dorsey himself leaned on as a QB.

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#25 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:33am

He seemed to overlook anything short after that first INT, unless the guy was WIDE open. The Jets did something with coverages that the Bills failed to adjust for (or Allen failed to understand), and it was clear Allen didn't trust the underneath stuff.

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#70 by JS // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:27pm

Good post. It seems pretty clear, at least, that the way to beat Buffalo is to run the ball a lot, even if you're down early. Tennessee might be a tough matchup for them . . . 

Allen has now played a couple very poor games this season. Is he getting Aaron Rodgers' Disease - thinking he's so athletic and awesome that he doesn't need good form on his throws, or doesn't need to find an open receiver, or make the safe play? That kind of thing works a lot when you're super gifted, which is why Rodgers still does it - he is going to the HOF, and deservedly - but it's dangerous. Rodgers' margin for error is narrowing as he ages, and Allen just learned how to throw a couple years ago, so he might need a reality check. Meanwhile, Brady, robotic and limited as he is in terms of playmaking ability, still (mostly) throws a good ball at 45 and rarely does anything outright stupid or decide to go YOLO.

I think this points out something about QB play that is easy to overlook. It should be easy to appreciate that a guy like Rodgers or Allen at their best are more valuable than a guy like Brady, because they can be extremely accurate and also avoid trouble in the pocket and even break off big runs, and also make throws others can't with their extremely strong arms. But because they can do those things, they also have to learn to manage those possibilities. (Insert "with great power comes great responsibility" joke here) Moreover, it is exactly the fact that these abilities give them more options in some situations, that makes them more likely not to learn good decision-making and self-discipline. In a tight situation, balancing a choice between doing a difficult thing that almost nobody else would even try to do with a more pedestrian option, is going to be difficult. Making the wrong decision in that case is understandable. The problem comes when that sort of issue starts to infect more regular plays, like Rodgers back-footing throws for no reason, for instance.

I think Allen's throwing form is not so ingrained that he is immune to terrible throws, and the hero-ball approach will inevitably create both, yes, heroism, and more than a commensurate amount of failure. I think the coaching staff (which might be equally guilty here) needs to sit down with Allen and tell him he's going to be considered a great QB either way, but actually winning is probably going to involve more discipline.

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#74 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:48pm

Meanwhile, Brady, robotic and limited as he is in terms of playmaking ability, still (mostly) throws a good ball at 45 and rarely does anything outright stupid or decide to go YOLO.

Brady has been able to afford roboticism and a lack of need-based playmaking because he spent 14 years throwing to Moss and/or Gronkowski and had an above-average to great offensive line for most of his career. And in the years he didn't have those, he was primarily asked to not lose the game for the defense.

He looked awfully pedestrian this year when he's been missing acceptable guard play.

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#76 by JS // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:54pm

Well sure, but that doesn't address my point at all. Brady never was going to be good, or bad, at making crazy plays because he never had the ability. Which could only have helped him become a good decision-maker - his choices were limited. Not a slam against him at all.

Imagine Rodgers at 45. What an absolute mess he'd be.

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#77 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:59pm

I'm curious what would have happened had you switched Rodgers and Brady this year.

I'm not sure Brady is any better on that team than Rodgers has been, but I suspect Rodgers looks a lot better on the Bucs than on the Pack.

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#82 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:33pm

I just don't know how you do that. I mean, Brady asked for a fair amount for this year but I can't really figure out how much you'd want to call it. If you could somehow get Rodgers on the Bucs without shoving a truckload of money at him? Yeah, maybe. But then he wouldn't be Rodgers. And if he was that guy I think he would've done fine on the Packers, too.

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#108 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 07, 2022 - 5:48pm

Good post. It seems pretty clear, at least, that the way to beat Buffalo is to run the ball a lot, even if you're down early. Tennessee might be a tough matchup for them . . . 

Not sure if you're teasing, but the Tennessee game from Week 2 is the perfect example.

Buffalo's first 5 drives: Touchdown, Downs on TENs side of the field, Field Goal, Touchdown, Touchdown. By the middle of the 3rd, it was already 24-7, and Buffalo was able to tee off on Tannehill, snagged some INTs, and the Titans threw up the white flag and benched their starters for the 4th. The Bills defense only needed to bottle Henry for two quarters, long enough for the offense to do work.

The rest of your post is dead on.

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#114 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:20pm

-GB last week

Seems like KC is similar in that regards and they just beat TN.

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#121 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 08, 2022 - 9:01am

GB kept up with Buffalo, but also tried to play their typical way against Detroit and crapped the bed.

Maybe they should just run.

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#123 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 08, 2022 - 11:44am

>lost by 10

"but also tried to play their typical way against Detroit and crapped the bed."

>lost by 6


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#125 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 08, 2022 - 3:59pm

You, with a straight face, argued Detroit and Buffalo were comparably good.

You probably shouldn't show your face in public again.

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#126 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 08, 2022 - 5:12pm

You DEFINITELY should stop showing your face everywhere, not just public. 

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#6 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:27am


The Bills host the Vikings in Week 10 in what (giggle) could be billed as (snicker) a Super Bowl preview (falls to the floor and hyperventilates with paroxysms of laughter).


Will the coin land on the edge during the toss? 

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#7 by BJR // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:37am

The Vikings aren’t exciting anybody as a contender, but they would have won much more comfortably yesterday had the refs flagged obvious interference on Jefferson in the end zone at the end of the first half on a ball that then became an interception, and had the hapless back judge not collided with Harrison Smith on a prayer ball from Heinicke that should have been intercepted, but somehow became a 50 yard TD. 

Titans/Chiefs was compelling viewing, and all credit to Vrabel, his staff and his defense for making it so. But ultimately it’s virtually impossible to beat good opposition without a passing game. Dudes like Tannehill get a lot of stick for being overpaid, but quite simply he (or any other middling QB) wins that game. 

Rams/Bucs was always going to be sloppy and ugly because neither team can block (especially each other). It’s hard to see any scope for improvement in either case. Brady isn’t playing badly at all, but he’s no longer the man to get it done behind this O-line and truly terrible run game. Kinda sucks for him going out in this way, not that anybody will sympathise.


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#58 by BigRichie // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:17pm

Unless he comes back next year and makes it worse.

If you don't retire while you can still play, the only possible other outcome is their retiring you after you've proven you can no longer play.

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#89 by Bill Walshs Ho… // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:20pm

Bill Walsh's philosophy was it was better to get ride of a guy a year too early than a year too late.  I don't think that idea has been universally adopted. 

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#105 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:55pm

Both are the same negative consequence. But of course they don't know when either is anyway. 

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#107 by BigRichie // Nov 07, 2022 - 5:45pm

I don't recall Bill Walsh ever saying that. Source?

(NFL teams don't wheel-and-deal the way baseball teams do)

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#115 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:22pm

I was just commenting on how it's such silly post hoc phrase.

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#117 by BigRichie // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:09pm

I was actually asking Bill Walsh his source for Bill Walsh saying that.

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#119 by BJR // Nov 08, 2022 - 6:10am

The point is, he can still play. He's 3rd in passing DYAR right now. But the Bucs running game is abysmal (31st in DVOA before this week). Specifically their interior offensive line is a shambles. In the past Brady might have been able to overcome that, and he still is to a large degree, but it's a big ask to do it week after week at this stage of his career. 

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#130 by Noahrk // Nov 10, 2022 - 10:11am

Someone explained last week if you ignore interceptions Brady would be in the twenties in DVOA. In other words, he's been elite at not turning the ball over, but he's also not been able to move the team well. When a player is really good at something but really bad at another, any single metric will be misleading.

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#73 by JoelBarlow // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:47pm

Vrabel actually didn't get much out of the Titans at all last night. They had one first down in the second half and kicked one FG off of a fluke interception. With three first downs they might have actually won the game. Did they have any plan for doing anything with Willis? It's week whatever and this is his second start. The treated him like he was the punter emergency QB. 

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#8 by jmaron // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:39am

Tanier might be right about the Vikings, I suspect he is, but I don't know jack about the likely outcome of their season and either does he. I've enjoyed the season and the positive atmosphere of the GM and Coach is very refreshing.

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#44 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:27am

I think the Vikings are catnip to analytics-minded folks who like to snicker at the traditional talking heads whose analysis begins and ends with, "it's a win". Skip bayless's whole career revolved around milking that narrative to its fullest.

The Vikings, like the Giants, have had almost every game be a nail biter. The wins obscure the fact that they could easily be on the wrong side of these and the whole narrative flips. You'd like to think the professional brain trusts of teams would take sober analysis on what they've seen thus far, but I doubt it. 

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#52 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:59am

You still keep those wins, whether or not they were lucky. And you can luck your way to a title, and it counts as much as cakewalking to one.

I'm reminded of Ohio State in 2002, when the prevailing wisdom was they couldn't keep squeaking their way to an undefeated season. They kept squeaking their way to an undefeated season.


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#83 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:36pm

Change about 6-10 random events that have nothing to do with coaching or even player performance, and the Vikings are 1-7, or 2-6, instead of 7-1, and there would be zero talk of a positive atmosphere afforded by the new GM and coach.

I was fine with the changes made; Zimmer and Spielman despised each other, I suspect, and neither was obviously great at their job, so why not get rid of both? Their biggest failing over their past  two seasons was bad luck, however, and if the current regime is so incompetent as to have crappy luck over the next 32 games, all the thoughts about a positive atmosphere will amount to no more than the value of Les Steckel's obstacle course, in the legendary season of suck that was 1984.


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#9 by andrew // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:03am

Clearly the problem in Green Bay is they are missing Nathaniel Hackett's offensive mind.

Also, the Rams are missing Kevin O'Connell.

And no way the Bills overlook the Jets with Brian Daboll there.

As for the Patriots and not having McDaniels....


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#26 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:35am

The Bills overlooked Jax last year with Daboll there, and damn near overlooked the Jets, too. I like Daboll, but he's not all-powerful.

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#92 by reddwarf // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:33pm

It amazes that the GB offense of the last two years has disappeared in Denver AND Green Bay.  Both teams are stuck on offense "in the shotgun running the play clock down to 1 second every play, no motion, no one open", as Packer Pete put it.  Utterly bizarre.

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#95 by JonesJon // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:46pm

In reply to by reddwarf

Meanwhile Getsy scrapping a lot of the GB concepts and copying the Ravens offense has turned Chicago into one of the best offenses in football in the last month

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#11 by joshuacbennett // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:12am

Bears-Dolphins was a case study for why time of possession doesn’t matter. If the other team can score at will and you can’t, it doesn’t matter how tired their defense is. It’s still a shootout where you have the weaker weapon. 

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#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:03am

I'm not sure that specific game is a good example of the concept, because you seem mislead by "Bears" on the label.

Yards were almost dead-even and the Bears led in first downs. EPS says the offenses were a wash. It suggests it came down to punting performance and penalties.

The Jets/Bills was almost exactly the same dynamic, except the running team won.
KC/TEN was weird, because the passing team bossed time of possession.


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#17 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:32am

The whole "run/pass time of possession" thing is overblown because outside of late-half timing, the time difference between a running play and passing play on average isn't much, once you account for the length of the play. Incompletions are relatively rare now.

The reason why it appears to be that is because running plays are on average shorter, so if you run more, drives tend to have more plays. With KC/TEN, the passing team had a billion plays (twice as many as the Titans), and it was an utter miracle the running team wasn't forced to start passing.

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#27 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:37am

When the running team *was* forced to start passing, it was, ahem, ugly. Certainly much uglier than Pickett's second start.

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#40 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:17am

I mean, it was ugly overall: the Titans had three real drives, and two of them had a 40+ yard play. Everything else was basically a faceplant. Really poor conversion overall for the Chiefs (two short field goals plus a missed field goal).

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#43 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:27am

Willis throwing in OT was hilariously bad, but the Chiefs weren't doing especially well, either, I agree. Some of that was on the Titans D, who played way over their heads, but KC has issues where they become mortal and beatable.

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#15 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:26am

If the other team's offense is more consistent than yours, then controlling the time of possession and limiting the total number of drives both teams get is your only hope.  Or do you somehow think the Bears would have pulled that game out yesterday if only Miami's offense had been on the field longer and the time of possession was closer to 50:50?

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#19 by Scott P. // Nov 07, 2022 - 9:43am

The usual argument made by TOP fans is that the team with the greater TOP is generally the better team, and a good team ought to try to maximize TOP.


Counterexamples, however, are numerous. Super Bowl XXV being one of the more notorious

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#29 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:39am

In this case, TOP was part of the strategy for the lesser team, and it worked. It's kind of ironic this same philosophy is what the Bills (and KC) are facing again.

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#35 by Scott P. // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:02am

It didn't really 'work' -- the Giants had double the Bills' TOP, and it came down to a last-second field goal. TOP fans tend to think that dominating TOP = dominating the game.


And by DVOA, the Giants were the better team that year.

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#37 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:12am

The Giants were missing their starting QB and RB from that higher DVOA team, and the Bills had just beaten the crap out of the #2 DVOA team in the AFCCG.

The way the Bills were playing at that point, if the Giants didn't play keep away and gave them more chances, they'd have hit one (or two) for a TD and that game would have been over. It almost didn't work thanks to Reed dropping an almost-certain touchdown pass anyway, but it *did* work out for them.

I agree, though, that in general TOP is overrated.

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#103 by Otis Taylor89 // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:31pm

Look at SB LI - there is no way Pats come back down 28-3 if ATLs D isn’t completely spent due to TOP.

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#21 by TomC // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:04am

Speaking of which: Chase Claypool caught 12-yard and 1-yard passes and rushed for 4 yards. Look for him to nearly double that production as he's integrated more fully into the Bears "system."

Claypool also went deep multiple times, drawing a 28-yard DPI on the first drive and getting mugged with no call on 3rd and 10 on the final drive (which would have put the Bears at Miami's 20 with 1:30 to go).

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#33 by Steve in WI // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:48am

Yeah, I had forgotten about the first DPI but obviously the egregious no-call on the final drive was unforgettable. I'm not saying Claypool is going to be great but I thought he had a reasonably good game for being acquired midweek, and I don't see a reason for snark about what he might look like later in the season.

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#23 by Sportszilla // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:31am

Mike, I'd be curious to know why you think the Seahawks are significantly worse than this site's metrics show them to be.

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#48 by mehllageman56 // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:47am

It's obvious.  Their quarterback used to play fo the Jets; therefore, any success he has is a mirage.

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#59 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:22pm

I don't know if its a mirage, but if we're being honest, we should be skeptical until he does it for another year. Nothing against Geno, but we have seen other QBs put together a remarkable 1 year out of nowhere campaign and then proceed to be completely unplayable thereafter. So while it seems unprecendented what he's doing, it isn't and the track record is checkered to say the least.

That said, I certainly hope it works out for him as the league needs stories like this. 

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#87 by Steve in WI // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:09pm

I think there are two different questions re: Geno Smith. 1) Has he figured something out and will be able to play at this level for however long the rest of his career is? 2) Is he playing legitimately well this year/are the 2022 Seahawks legitimately good? I would agree with you that there is a lot of risk involved in believing the answer to question 1 is "yes" (I wouldn't want to be the Seahawks trying to determine what kind of contract to offer him right now), but it sure is starting to look like this might be a special year for him and by extension the Seahawks.

He has made me wonder how many other so-called failed QBs might have had a year like this in them if they'd ever had a similar chance, and also how much the awkward situation this puts the Seahawks in contributes to teams not taking chances on guys like him. In other words, as a GM it's a safer path to stick with conventional wisdom and focus on replacing your QB with high draft picks; even though they mostly fail and you will eventually get fired if you don't find a QB, you'll get at least a couple bites at the apple and probably multiple years of job security with each one as long as you don't make a really boneheaded pick. Whereas Smith being a success on a cheap one year deal has a lot more pitfalls - what if you sign him to a big money deal and this year was a fluke? What if you let him walk and he's a top 5 QB on another team next season? It just supports my theory that most GMs are way more concerned with self-preservation than actually having the best chance of winning.

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#91 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:32pm

There are three schools of thought:

  1. He might be Rich Gannon
  2. He might be Alex Smith
  3. He might be Case Keenum

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#96 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:50pm

I think the GM got exceedingly lucky that Geno is playing like this. I don't believe for a second that he saw something the rest of the league didn't. So that implies the decision to go with Geno/Lock was not made for the sake of job preservation I don't think. However, part and parcel of going with Geno Smith types is the hope that you get lucky. However small it is, there is a chance maybe it happens. 

By contrast, there is Chris Ballard. I think he, correctly, adduced that its more likely to save his job trading and going with Matt Ryan/Carson Wentz than it is to give someone like Geno a try. And while Matt Ryan in decline gives you a higher floor theoretically, a Geno smith upside is even less likely than Geno Smith's himself. 

Its great to wonder what the alternative decisions would have been if Ballard had more job security, but since owners are mostly like Jim Irsay; that's simply not in the cards for most people. In fact, FO Almanac's post on the Seahawks by Vince Verhei, you get the sense that the ownership is largely absent in terms of football so that's maybe why this GM was allowed to go for a Geno/Drew Lock move. 

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#100 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:03pm

I think the GM got exceedingly lucky that Geno is playing like this.

They got extremely lucky with Wilson, too. He was their plan B at the time as well.

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#99 by BigRichie // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:57pm

I was a computer programmer, and 99% of my colleagues were way more concerned with self-preservation than anything else having to do with their job/profession/corporation/ethical issues/ etcetcetc.

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#66 by Ten Drink Drunk // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:59pm

It's important to drape ourselves in the comfortable blanket of our offseason narratives when it gets chilly outside. Geno is a bad QB therefore Seahawks bad! The NFL hivemind has declared Geno bad even though no one has seen him start for an extended period for the better part of a decade. Everyone knows people can't grow, change or improve over the course of 10 years. Now that most of the NFL media has latched onto the Geno Smith redemption arc it seems "Geno not actually good" is the trendy contrarian hot-take.  

If there was going to be a Geno collapse it sure seems that horrid pick-6 would've been the start of it, but Geno came back and led two great touchdown drives. Geno can play! The Seahawks aren't a perfect team by any means, but I'll continue to day-dream about Seattle dismissing Philly from the NFC playoffs for now.


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#78 by Sportszilla // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:59pm

And Mike has leaned VERY heavily into the (admittedly fair over the last few years) idea that Pete Carroll and John Schneider were bad, in addition to the "Geno Bad" narrative, so it does feel like he's unwilling to admit he might have been wrong about this one.

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#111 by Tamerlane // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:24pm

We are long past the point of casually invoking old takes on Pete, John and Geno in 2022.  No further evidence is needed to judge this transitional year.  Setting the bar at beating the Eagles or whoever is a non-subtle and preposterous moving of goalposts.  They are #5 in your signature team rankings.  I suspect they will drop a bit by year's end but make the playoffs, lose somewhere along the way, but take solace that even brighter days are on the horizon.

The team does not have to win the Super Bowl to have utterly demolished preseason expectations and to have proven itself to have a well run organization - maximizing its underestimated talent pool.  From #9 DVOA last year to #5 this, with the biggest improvement being in... you guessed it, quarterbacking.  Seattle still carries the heavy burden of $50m in dead cap (due to intelligent long term moves) but will enter next season with top 5 draft capital and top 5 available salary cap.  Oh my when will the other shoe drop!

It's time for the remaining few holdouts to check their priors and eat crow.  Otherwise they really are in Truther territory - pretending the Seahawks would be 'exposed' if they lost to the Chiefs, and that Let Russ Cook is still a viable thing if they could only find a good coach.  What is the point of the sophisticated metrics on this site after all if they are to be hand waived with the 'eye test' whenever they interfere with a good preseason narrative?

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#118 by Tamerlane // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:34pm

The problem isn't so much priors as clinging to them long after they've been discredited by the evidence.  (I have no genius take other than Brady and Bill no doubt made each other more successful at the time, not unlike Russ and Pete, but one must update priors with new evidence post-separation.)

My problem is suggesting a Geno pick-six game as a 'gotcha' moment (despite a two score victory), or suggesting there are arbitrary inflection-point games when a team is 'exposed', that should dictate evaluation of quarterbacks and teams rather than this site's perfectly credible cumulative, season-long, opponent-adjusted metrics.  (Or were Mahomes and the Chiefs already exposed against the Colts? Or yesterday?)

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#120 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 08, 2022 - 8:59am

It's interesting because most people here, even, had given up on Justin Fields. Well, that may have been premature. Maybe those that watched him clung to those priors because...there's a lot of time left? Should we just throw 8 other years of Geno because of 9 games? Should we throw away the 5 star recruit and 3 years of Fields college after 11 starts? Will the shoe drop for either? IDK feels like it might for the 32 yo more so than then the 23 yo. 

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#124 by mehllageman56 // Nov 08, 2022 - 1:57pm

It's really only 2 years and 5 starts.  He was backing up Eli, Rivers and Russ, actual franchise guys, so him not getting a start over them (except for once, that led to a fan revolt) does not mean that much.

Agree that Fields' shelf life is potentially a lot longer (Geno could only continue like this for 4-5 years at most), but the Geno Smith situation just tells me patience and good coaching is key; Geno needed to mature, and have a good situation.  Maybe he can recover from a bad turnover now because he has a good coach in Carroll (not taking anything away from Rex as a defensive schemer, but while Carroll is excitable, he also seems to have his players' backs more).  The final takeaway should be, that it's too early to write off any of the QBs from last year's draft.

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#127 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 08, 2022 - 5:24pm

I mean the fact that no one gave him a franchise sized contract like...Seattle did for Matt Flynn, is telling. Along with losing out to Fitztragic et al.

It can show patience can be key but you also have to determine how much that's worth going forward. He's no longer under a rookie contract and I guarantee he won't be this cheap next year. 

The final takeaway should be, that it's too early to write off any of the QBs from last year's draft.

I agree. Priors...shouldn't be given up on them yet! Tougher to say with Geno since, not to be that guy, but he's still <.500 as a starter, 10 years in. And since he's that far in, SHOULD Seattle extend him RIGHT NOW? Risk pissing him off with a tag? That's tough thinking that far ahead but they have to with each passing week. 

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#128 by mehllageman56 // Nov 09, 2022 - 2:26am

The Seahawks waived Smith a couple of years ago at the end of preseason, and had a private agreement that he'd come back, so they could keep someone on the roster.  He told reporters other teams were interested, but he liked Seattle so did right by them, and they've done right by him now.  I doubt he's going anywhere, or that this offseason will have a ton of drama for Geno or Seattle.  He knows how bad it can be elsewhere.  I hope he's enjoying the season so far, I am.

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#129 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 09, 2022 - 9:09am

Beware of the Tannehill ceiling of late career breakouts. Might top out earlier then you want. Unless the objective is to just keep their jobs. 

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#28 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:38am

The Bucs Rams synopsis undersells the real culprit from that game, the Rams offense. Outside of two horrible blown coverages, the Rams had one drive they executed for a field goal but otherwise did nothing all game and especially in the second half.

I remarked late in the game that Todd Bowles' fg to cut the deficit to 4 was potentially a sound strategy; he just needed to more fgs to win. And the reason that strategy was sound was because it counted on the Rams going ice cold on offense drive after drive, which they did!!

None of this is entirely unpredictable. They have 0 receiving options outside of Kupp. Their interior line struggled badly and Stafford continues to be enamored with side armed passes even though it has a success percentage in the teens.

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#30 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:42am

The Rams meltdown against the Bucs highlights something I've often wondered. If your conventional defense has been working all day, should you really swap to playing soft zones just because time dictates you should?

The Bucs could not get anything going when the Rams played them straight up. But of course, late in the game the Rams gave the Bucs huge cushions which they happily took advantage of when they weren't dropping passes.

Brady is still OK, but pressure now ruins his accuracy and he can't really move around anymore either. The real reason he hasn't looked worse is that the Bucs have usually kept the game close on defense. Incredibly though, he somehow looks less washed than Aaron Rodgers.

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#31 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:47am

Rodgers just looks like he doesn't care and just wants it to be over. You see this look on perpetually bad teams a lot, but it's kind of surprising to see it in his case.

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#34 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:53am

If this is really what Rodgers is now; basically an unplayably bad QB, they are stuck. They will have multiple first rounders thanks to the Adams trade, but the contract becomes the kind of albatross that completely hamstrings your future. You can't even trade him because that would instantly torpedo you into the cap grave. 

Much like Denver, even if it really is age related decline that's the culprit, they still have no choice but to gear everything around Rodgers to make him the best version he can be.

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#41 by Tyler S // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:18am

They don't have multiple first rounders in 2023. The Adams trade was for Vegas' first and second rounders in 22, which turned into Quay Walker and one of the picks they used to move up to draft Christian Watson. Of course, this only makes their future timeline even bleaker unless Rodgers turns things around or Love turns into a franchise QB 

Points: 0

#46 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:30am

You can't even trade him because that would instantly torpedo you into the cap grave. 

Not sure what you mean here. It would be a significant cap hit to the team that acquires him. Not to the Packers.

The best-case scenario for the Packers to move on from Rodgers is him retiring, because it forfeits his ~$60M guaranteed salary and leaves them with a $16M hit in '23 and $24M hit in '24, neither of which are "cap grave" level hits. Retiring generates around $16M cap space in '23, and the $24M dead hit in '24 is under 10% of the cap. It's negligible.

The next-base case is trading Rodgers. He's very difficult to trade because of that $60M guaranteed, but the Packers could eat around $16M of that with a net-zero change in cap status for '23, which would still mean a team would need to pay him $44M, and if he wants to play, he has no reason to reduce that amount.

For a team that acquires him, though, it's definitely not unworkable, since the option bonus instantly prorates. $58M in '23 and $50M in '24 is obviously high, but keep in mind '25s cap should be somewhere in the 270+ range.

(details on this were first covered at OTC in a post there)

Points: 0

#53 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:01pm

The Rams meltdown against the Bucs highlights something I've often wondered. If your conventional defense has been working all day, should you really swap to playing soft zones just because time dictates you should?

There are counter-examples for both tactics.

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#56 by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:08pm

Brady was a checkdown artist yesterday because that's what the Rams gave him; 36/58 for 280 yards.  The Rams played two deep coverage the entire game, including what had to be one of the singly-most damning defensive playcalls I have ever seen; the Bucs have a 3rd and 2 from the Rams 3 yard line . . . and the Rams had two deep safeties.  In the end zone.

And it worked, Fournette ran into Aaron Donald and fell down.  But deep safeties?  On the 3?  Ooof.

Points: 0

#32 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 10:48am

DVOA says there are no great teams and anecdotally that feels true. Another way to say it is, there are no teams who take care of business the way we'd expect.

If the Bills really had the gravitas of a typical Patriots team of the past, they wouldn't lose to a team like the Jets, injuries be damned. The Chiefs sure as shit should not be in a nail biter at home to a team that did everything it could to hide it's QB on the road.

Right now, outside of Philly, there just isn't a team out there you feel comfortable will win and win easily even against a cream puff opponent.  That's probably a direct function of offense being down across the board.

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#36 by Scott P. // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:03am

Eh, even the dynasty Pats would drop one or two intra-divisional games each year.

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#79 by SandyRiver // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:03pm

In 2004 the 12-1 Pats lost to the 2-11 'Phins, in Miami (of course).

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#85 by MJK // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:09pm

In reply to by SandyRiver

Yeah, *weird* stuff happens to the Pats in Miami.  

Here's the Superbowl-winning 2018 Pats team in Miami:

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#102 by dmstorm22 // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:29pm

The 2018 Pats also lost badly to the Lions, and were smashed by the Titans. They were just a weird team overall that was nowhere near the impressive nature of the later Brady Super Bowl teams.

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#106 by SandyRiver // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:58pm

After losing at Miami in week 14, they fell to the Steelers then next week to fall to 9-5.  They won their final 2 games and earned the 2nd seed bye thanks to beating the Texans (also 11-5) in week 1.  That year's Pats were another good-not-great team that got hot late in the season and thru the playoffs.
(And I think you meant the 'earlier' Brady SB teams.)

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#50 by mehllageman56 // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:52am

The Jets were ranked 9th in DVOA coming off the loss to the Pats.  This isn't as big an upset everyone thinks it is, except for Vegas-- because Vegas is for suckers.

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#51 by mehllageman56 // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:56am

Forgive me, they were 11th.  Still, it isn't the biggest upset in the world according to DVOA.

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#55 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:05pm

In 2018, the Patricia Lions (6-10) utterly annihilated a Pats team that would win the Super Bowl.

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#39 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:15am

There's not much interesting left to say about the Colts. To be the worst offense in a down year for Offense is not great Bob. But it's just sad to watch and unlike other bad teams, there really isn't a fun rookie defender to root for. 

I've defended the Reich Ballard regime, which even including this season has been on the whole I think pretty good. But it's moot to debate them further as they are almost assuredly going to be gone by seasons end.

The Colts are now in an interesting position in this regard. Depending on who they hire and who they draft, a prolonged multi year journey into the awfulness awaits them as a very likely outcome. Here I am thinking about the post Newton era Panthers and the post Garrard era Jaguars; teams that were clearly second and maybe third level contenders who eventually got old and staid and had to embark on a rebuild. Of course the promise of a shiny rebuild often gets you Matt Rhule and Blaine Gabbert.

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#54 by TomC // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:05pm

The fact that Ballard won the finger-pointing game is interesting. Won't make the team any better, but it's guaranteed to generate a very long Extra Points thread.

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#88 by Ben // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:18pm

I agree. I think Colts are in for a number of bad years. They just don’t have a foundational piece on offense to build around (while I think Taylor is very good, I think the Titans have proven you can’t truly build around a RB these days). 

Which is too bad, because I think the defense is reasonably solid. Not dominate by any means, but more then adequate if the Colts had a quality offense. 

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#42 by serutan // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:23am

The Bills host the Vikings in Week 10 in what (giggle) could be billed as (snicker) a Super Bowl preview (falls to the floor and hyperventilates with paroxysms of laughter).

   I get the reasoning behind this, but the way this season has been going these words may come back to haunt you.


All the negative things folks say about the Philadelphia Eagles—they're an above-average-at-best team coasting against a mid-major schedule, for instance

  The Eagles (and NFC East in general) do have soft schedules.  IMO the correct conclusion from this is "The Eagles are good but exactly how good cannot yet be determined, probably not until the playoffs.".

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#45 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 11:30am

I'm not sure even the Eagles winning the super bowl will tell us much about how great this team is relative to other teams in other seasons. 

I mentioned this above, but anecdotally it feels like there are no great teams this year and in my mind I can't remember a season this weak overall since I've been watching. The 08 season comes closest.

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#62 by colonialbob // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:40pm

Currently the Eagles lead the league with a 32.7 DVOA. Over the last ten years:

higher: 2019 (2 teams), 2018 (1), 2015 (2), 2014 (1), 2013 (1), 2012 (1)

within a point: 2021, 2020, 2017

lower: 2016

To some extent this is arguably just bad timing - if we compared to Buffalo's week 8 DVOA of 36, then 2019, 2014, & 2012 drop to within a point, and 2021, 2020, & 2017 all drop to the lower category.

So basically I'd argue this is actually not too far out of line from the last decade to this point in the season. Obviously this is all adjusted to league average, and I know scoring is down so you can make the argument that the baseline is down overall so the DVOA numbers aren't directly comparable, but I'm inclined to believe this is mostly just narrative over reality. I mean, a few weeks ago everybody was talking about how Buffalo and KC were two great teams slugging it out and couldn't wait to see them again in January.

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#64 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:47pm

 so you can make the argument that the baseline is down overall so the DVOA numbers aren't directly comparable

This is the argument I would make. I've flirted with various theories about how to do a proper DVOA style era adjusted system. Simple systems might do a baseline using a 5 year moving average. One of the one's I favor would be some kind of trend adjusted DVOA system segmented by quantiles. 

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#69 by vrao81 // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:26pm

I wonder if this is the year a team becomes red hot at the end of the season and marches through the playoffs and to a SB win? A la 2005 Steelers or 2012 Ravens?

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#61 by big10freak // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:29pm

Aaron Jones left the game on crutches but supposedly will play next week which Packer fans presume will be another game of Matt and 12 figuring out how not to give him the ball


Far worse for Rashan Gary.  Out for the season with a torn ACL.  Terrible news for the young man


Doubs status still uncertain.  He also left the game on crutches.  

Yesterday was unfun



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#67 by big10freak // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:16pm

High ankle sprain.  Out 6 weeks or so 

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#65 by big10freak // Nov 07, 2022 - 12:49pm

I will put it the folks here.  The staunchest supporters of A Rodgers state he isn’t playing to his usual standard because he doesn’t trust the guys at receiver.  Which comes from 12 directly.   Says he doesn’t have a guy he trusts right now  And has said so all season 

I have many decades of football watching/listening/learning.  I confess I don’t recall a qb making this claim on an ongoing basis.  I have heard qbs use trust on an individual play.  As in I didn’t trust this to happen or in many cases I TRUSTED my guy to make a play


12’s predecessors from Favre to Dickey to Starr threw to whomever.  They made do.  

Do others have different memories of qbs of any team saying regularly  they cannot play well because they don’t trust the guys who are playing receiver?   

I am looking forward to the responses and learning some history 

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#68 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:22pm

12’s predecessors from Favre to Dickey to Starr threw to whomever.  They made do.  

Do others have different memories of qbs of any team saying regularly  they cannot play well because they don’t trust the guys who are playing receiver?   

Favre never saw a bad pass in his life. Which is partially why he threw so many INTs.

I have absolutely seen QBs who clearly did not trust most/all of their receivers. Generally they did not openly state this.

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#71 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:38pm

Generally they also, y'know... worked with said receivers to try to build trust.

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#84 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:53pm

What? Openly declaring, to as wide an audience as possible,that you don't trust your inexperienced coworkers, is suboptimal for building the trust you presumably wish to develop? You're just jealous that Rodgers was given a chance to host the game show preferred by all the smartypants! 


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#86 by Pat // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:09pm

Also telling your star wide receiver that you're not sure if you're going to continue playing just might be detrimental to him willing to stick around.

edit: also a good place to mention that the Packers have zero ability to prevent Rodgers from showing up and getting $59M from them next year.

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#93 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:33pm

edit: also a good place to mention that the Packers have zero ability to prevent Rodgers from showing up and getting $59M from them next year.

Pedant: zero legal ability to prevent him from showing up.

Lake Michigan is both large and deep.

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#97 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:51pm

So Aaron should have good excuse ready when Brian Gutekunst invites him for a day of fishing? 

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#101 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2022 - 4:05pm

It's free ayahuasca. What other choice does he have?

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#112 by serutan // Nov 07, 2022 - 7:57pm

Lake Michigan is both large and deep.


   And if you don't have a boat, human DNA cannot be distinguished from pig DNA in pig feces.

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#72 by PirateFreedom // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:40pm

I've never seen another QB complain openly about his receivers.

e.g. the years the Pats had underwhelming receivers I never, ever saw Brady call them out.

He did eventually get fed up and go to Tampa where they had Evans, Godwin et al.

I've seen a lot over the 40 years I've been watching the NFL, but I missed a whole hell of a lot more so there might be other examples of Rodgering receivers but I can't believe it is common.

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#75 by johonny // Nov 07, 2022 - 1:52pm

Chubb wasn’t much of a factor as Miami's defense still looked bad and their kicker is having a poor year. The team's future is less about Tua and more about turning the defense around. 

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#81 by Sethtcoleman3 // Nov 07, 2022 - 2:21pm

I think this is the most critical I've seen anyone of what Geno and the Seahawks are doing. Are you actually watching the game or just trying to nit-pick? Not saying Geno makes a perfect throw 100% of the time, but that throw to DK was an excellent example of throwing his receiver open, since the defender was in the passing lane in front of DK. You obviously have a love-affair with Mahomes and Allen, which both made plenty of errant throws on Sunday and both looked beatable against inferior teams.

Re: Seahawks would get smoked by a true contender (Chiefs)

What about the Chiefs performance Sunday night looked so unbeatable like a true contender? Aren't the Seahawks rated higher than KC in DVOA? If the Titans had even a serviceable QB they would have won that game. Chiefs and Seahawks both beat the Chargers, Chiefs by 3 at home, Seahawks by 14 on the road, without DK Metcalf for most of the game. Are the Chiefs better, probably yes on paper. But I don't think the gap is as wide as you seem to think.

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#94 by big10freak // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:37pm

I do think this season has been a pretty damning indictment of GB’s coaching staff.  Before the rash of injuries there was and remains talent on the roster.  But the sloppy play, the repeated mishaps of game/time management and being weekly outwitted by staffs not known for impressive gameplanning both to begin games and halftime adjustments is just so obviously coaching malpractice.  

As an onlooker one wearies of asking “WTH are they doing with their time?”

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#98 by Tom Tulpa // Nov 07, 2022 - 3:52pm

"...the Packer's' elaborate feat of autoerotic asphyxiation".

You sir, are a poet. Well played. Well played, indeed.

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#113 by TomC // Nov 07, 2022 - 8:04pm

Mike, your burner account worked better as RaiderJoe.

(I'm kidding, I swear. And "Goff Clap" deserves its own golf clap.)

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