Patriots Lose It All in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Raiders ER Chandler Jones
Las Vegas Raiders ER Chandler Jones
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 15 - In this chaotic neutral edition of Monday Walkthrough…

  • Tom Brady fumbles the torch, and Joe Burrow picks it up;
  • Trevor Lawrence hands the Dallas Cowboys a very Cowboys-style loss;
  • Even the Detroit Lions prove to be more deserving of nice things than the New York Jets;
  • Justin Fields nearly goes John Wick on the Philadelphia Eagles;

and much more.

But first…

The Dumbest New England Patriots Story Ever Told

Shall we start with Burn This Play! this week and then work backwards?

Yes, we shall.

Thirty years from now, when NFL historians look back and try to pinpoint the exact moment the Bill Belichick era in New England had run its course, they will point to Rhamondre Stevenson-to-Jakobi Meyers-to-Chandler Jones to give the Las Vegas Raiders a 30-24 victory which dropped the Patriots to 7-7 and clouded their wild-card future.

That was the moment the Patriots lost the last of their credibility as once-and-future champions.

Before that historic blunder, the Sin City Synaptic Failure, the Patriots were well on their way to manufacturing yet another unlikely victory in a season full of them. Their offense had converted only one first down entering their final drive. Mac Jones had thrown for just 65 yards midway through the fourth quarter. But the Patriots chipped away at the Raiders' 17-3 halftime lead because that's what the Patriots do, while getting chipped away at is what the Raiders do.

A pick-six. Some gash runs. Some Nick Folk field goals. The Patriots lack even a fraction of the talent they possessed in their glory years, but common sense and fundamental football were always on their side.

Midway through the third quarter, the Raiders started a drive at their own 9-yard line due to a kickoff penalty. The Patriots defense forced a quick three-and-out with a sack. The Patriots got the ball at midfield after a punt, mustered a first down on another Raiders penalty, then kicked a 54-yard field goal to cut the Raiders lead to 17-16. It was a vintage 2022 Patriots series: milking field position, playing stout defense, forcing the opponent to out-mistake them, taking what points were available. It's how the Patriots beat the Jets twice. It's how they hammered out blowouts against the Lions and Browns despite a feeble passing attack. The ability to wring victories out of a damp sponge over the last two years had been the last proud vestige of The Patriots Way.

The Patriots took a 24-17 lead late in the fourth quarter. The Raiders looked ready to wither away on a three-and-out, but the Patriots couldn't kill the clock. The Raiders got the ball one last time and converted a fourth-and-10 just after the two-minute warning. They mounted a drive. Derek Carr found Keelan Cole in the corner of the end zone for an improbable game-tying touchdown with 37 seconds left. Cole's second foot appear to be out-of-bounds by one or two little piggies, but the refs let the play stand.

No problem. Overtime is the right time for tight defense and game management. All the Patriots would need against their snakebit opponent was a field goal and a stop or a stop and a field goal. The one thing they could not afford? Something recklessly stupid and out of character.

OK, mistakes happen. The Patriots lost to the Dolphins on a bizarre last-second pitch-a-doodle play back in 2018, with Rob Gronkowski making a guest cameo at deep safety.

But this was different. That Dolphins play was just a series of missed tackles, not an attempt to go rogue and play rugby at the final gun. Also: no Brady. No Gronk. And, tellingly, no Belichick after the game, not until reporters had already grilled Meyers (who admitted that the laterals were not the play which was called), Jones (who "took responsibility" for getting stiff-armed into the earth's mantle by Chandler Jones) and others.

Belichick eventually faced the press and muttered his displeasure. He also took a dig at Jones, stating that the Patriots didn't attempt a Hail Mary from their own 45-yard line because Jones "couldn't throw that far." Wow. Way to take "buck stops here" accountability, coach. But Belichick stopped doing that when he started blaming the salary cap for the team's losses in 2020. And it sure looks like the offensive coaching has gotten a little loosey-goosey, what with there not being a true coordinator and all.

The Patriots are still a potential playoff team. Just about everyone in the AFC is. As of the fourth quarter on Sunday, it was even possible to picture them upsetting a vulnerable opponent such as the Titans on the road, then throwing a scare into the Bills/Bengals/Chiefs simply through determination, mystique, and smart football.

Determination? Maybe the Patriots still got that. Smart football? Not really, not all that consistently, not against top-caliber competition and not when it matters most.

And mystique? After the Laugher in Las Vegas, the mystique is never coming back, baby.

Game Spotlights

There's a ton of them this week, so let's get rolling.

Cincinnati Bengals 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23

What Happened: The Buccaneers cruised out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead. Their defense looked Super Bowl-worthy. Tom Brady looked relatively spry. The Bengals appeared to be backsliding into some of their early-season mistakes and problems.

And then halftime arrived, Brady discovered that he's fresh out of youth serum and the Bengals remembered that the future of the NFL now belongs to the Burrow generation.

Brady fumbled twice (one of them a botched exchange) and threw two interceptions in the second half. Gio Bernard mishandled a fake-punt snap. Burrow threw four touchdowns to four different receivers. The Bengals also took advantage of some Buccaneers penalties, including a defensive holding call which negated a 23-yard Burrow sack.

Brady beautified the final score with a meaningless fourth-quarter touchdown; he does that a lot these days. But by the end, it was clear that while both teams were playoff bound, only one of them belongs.

What it Means: The Panthers and Falcons obligingly lost in Week 15 so Lord Brady could maintain his feudal claim to a playoff berth. But gosh, the Buccaneers stink. They are two unlikely fourth-quarter rallies against awful Saints and Rams teams from being 2-10 since their 2-0 start. And Brady's going to explode into a cloud of dust and rage when forced to face the 49ers/Cowboys/Eagles defenses. He's a hollowed-out oak tree.

The Bengals remain in the Bills/Chiefs AFC Super Bowl tier. Then there's a big gap. Then there are the Dolphins and Ravens. Then there is a smaller but still significant gap. Then there's nothing but the cheese that sticks to the pizza box.

What's Next: The Bengals host Monty Belichick's Flying Circus on Saturday afternoon.

The Buccaneers visit the Cardinals on Christmas night. It's the schedule-maker's gift to Brady, whose self esteem could use a boost. Watch Die Hard instead.

New York Giants 20, Washington Commanders 12

What Happened: The Giants took a 14-3 first half lead on a Kayvon Thibodeaux strip-sack touchdown and an 18-play, 97-yard touchdown drive.

The Commanders' second-half comeback bid appeared to fall short when Tyler Heinicke fumbled away a chance to cut the New York lead after a 61-yard strike to Jahan Dotson, and then Saquon Barkley led the Giants on a clock-munching drive that ended in a Graham Gano field goal. But Heinicke drove the Commanders to the 1-yard line in the final minutes with the help of a long Antonio Gibson kickoff return.

An apparent Brian Robinson touchdown was nullified by an illegal formation penalty, and the refs "let 'em play" despite lots of defensive contact on Heinicke's final fourth-down pass into the end zone.

What it Means: The Giants are a likely playoff team. The Commanders probably are not. And both teams are excruciating to watch. Seriously: every game is like a glorified Pinstripe Bowl. Go Lions and Seahawks.

What's Next: The NFL has announced that the Giants and Commanders will play every week for the rest of the year as punishment for humanity's sins.

No, that's not true. The Giants will travel to Minnesota in Week 16 for a possible wild-card preview. The Commanders head for elimination in San Francisco.

Detroit Lions 20, New York Jets 17

What Happened: The Jets defense shut the Lions down. Zach Wilson produced enough highlight-reel throws to open receivers to fool the box-score scouters into thinking he played well. But the Lions won thanks to an early punt-return touchdown, a fourth-quarter fourth-and-1 catch-and-rumble by tight end Brock Wright, the shaky inconsistency of the Jets offense, and a delightfully chaotic series in which Wilson converted fourth-and-18 to Elijah Moore with one second on the clock, only for Greg Zuerlein to miss a 58-yard field goal.

What It Means: Dear Jets,

  • Elevate Chris Streveler from the practice squad.
  • Install a rudimentary Wildcat package. There's probably an old Tim Tebow playbook lying around somewhere.
  • Rotate Streveler with Wilson or White or Joe Flacco or whoever.
  • Manufacture about three more points per game.
  • Reach playoffs.
  • Sign ANY competent starter next year.

You're Welcome,

What's Next: The Lions' playoff surge continues with a visit to the Panthers. The Jets playoff collapse continues on Thursday as they host the Jaguars in Trevor Lawrence vs. Zach Wilson: Just Kidding, Stop the Fight, No Mas.

Jacksonville Jaguars 40, Dallas Cowboys 34 (OT)

What Happened: The Cowboys rolled out to a 27-10 lead but then went completely flat on both sides of the ball, which was on brand. Trevor Lawrence became incandescent and sparked a rally: also on brand. Much-maligned Zay Jones caught six passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns, which was very, VERY off-brand.

An early fumble by Travis Etienne (on brand) and a late one by Lawrence (also on brand) propelled the game into overtime, when Dak Prescott threw his second interception of the game, which was as on-brand as the Budweiser Clydesdales. Yes, the ball was tipped, but Rayshawn Jenkins' game-winning touchdown return still counts, and Prescott now has two interceptions in four of his last six games.

What It Means: Those of us who strive to be analytical and semi-objective keep noting that these Cowboys appear to be more reliable and less self-destructive than other models which have rolled off their assembly line over the last 25 years or so. And the Cowboys keep jumping up and down and squealing "Not true! We can't wait to go belly-up in a playoff game! We tried to do it against the Texans! Imagine what we'll pull off if we face the 49ers!"

The Jaguars would be much more interesting—and dangerous—than the Titans in the playoffs.

What's Next: The Cowboys try to salvage their hopes of an NFC East crown and first-round bye as they host the Eagles on Christmas Eve night.

Lawrence will give Zach Wilson a cookie on Thursday, tell him everything's gonna be OK, then do everything he can to dash the Jets' playoff hopes.

Philadelphia Eagles 25, Chicago Bears 20

What Happened: Justin Fields tried to single-handedly defeat the Eagles with nothing but sploosh highlights and some fumble luck. He would have gotten away with it, too, except that Jalen Hurts shook off two early interceptions to throw for 315 yards and rush for three touchdowns, while Fields received a complete lack of support from anyone else on offense.

What it Means: The Eagles have a three-game lead in the NFC East with three games to play.

Fields is special, but he lost guard Teven Jenkins and receiver Equanimeous St. Brown to first-quarter injuries and spent the rest of Sunday afternoon with no receivers or protection whatsoever. Fields also suffered what looked like a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter but finished the game. This is how bad organizations ruin quarterbacks.

What's Next: The Eagles can clinch the NFC East on Christmas Eve against the Cowboys. The Bears should just take the rest of the year off, but they will subject Fields to the Bills instead.

Kansas City Chiefs 28, Houston Texans 24

What Happened: The Texans dragged the all-too-willing Chiefs down to their level by baffling them with a two-quarterback rotation and taking advantage of a pair of Chiefs fumbles and two missed field goals. But Patrick Mahomes went 36-of-41 to keep the Chiefs from beating themselves, Davis Mills squirted an overtime fumble to William Gay, and Jerick McKinnon restored order on the next play with his second touchdown of the game.

What It Means: In Star Trek: The Next Generation, there was an alien race of minor villains called the Pakleds who lacked the intelligence for space travel (or much else) but managed to steal ships and technology by acting so helpless that the Federation would let its guard down while helping them. They were essentially an entire species of Fredo Corleones on indica gummies.

The Texans are the Pakleds: utterly moronic, but so helpless (especially after a rash of injuries) that opponents appear to have trouble even game-planning against them. The Chiefs, like the Cowboys and Eagles, nearly stumbled over a team so feeble that's it is impossible to not look past them on the schedule.

The Pakled episode of TNG was memorably odd but meaningless midseason filler for an otherwise great series. Texans games fill the same role for legitimate contenders.

What's Next: The Chiefs host the Seahawks and Broncos over the next two weeks as they jockey their way toward a first-round bye. The Texans try to kidnap LeVar Burton and force him to be their head coach.

New Orleans Saints 21, Atlanta Falcons 13

What Happened: Desmond Ridder's debut as a starter was spoiled by the fact that he plays for the Falcons. The Saints took an early 14-0 lead and then played keepaway.

What it Means: Ridder went 13-of-26 for 97 yards and had an apparent interception overturned. He looked smooth, athletic, and methodical, but the Falcons have no receivers except Drake London, who fumbled away a fourth-quarter reception.

The only real Ridder takeaways from Sunday are that he didn't look overmatched at all and that he's the starter by default for the rest of the season because Marcus Mariota has locked himself in his bedroom to write moody poetry.

What's Next: It is honestly impossible to care.

Saturday Takeaways

Lightning whip-around takes from two exciting Saturday games, and also Ravens-Browns.

Baltimore Ravens

At least Justin Tucker got his one bad game per presidential term out of the way; Tucker's previous bad game came against the Bills in the 2020 playoffs, which indeed (barely) took place during the last presidential term. (That's NOT an excuse to talk politics, dear commenters.)

Tucker should be automatic again for the playoffs, and Lamar Jackson will be back for Christmas, but the Ravens boned another fourth-and-1 conversion near the goal line, so we all know how they will lose in the playoffs.

The Ravens should sign Jacoby Brissett as Jackson's backup and fourth-and-short specialist in 2023.

Buffalo Bills

Every time Josh Allen produces a miraculous highlight touchdown (like his throw to James Cook just before halftime on Saturday), the entire Bills organization snorts a fat rail of invincibility powder and spends about one quarter trying to punch a hole in the galaxy instead of methodically playing sound football to seal a win. Several opponents have come back or nearly come back as a result of Bills headrushes. If the Bills give the Bengals half as many late-game opportunities in Week 17 as they gave the Dolphins, they will get a rude (but perhaps necessary) pre-playoffs wake-up call.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns run defense is spinach dip, their passing attack is just an appendage of their running game, and announcers keep talking about Deshaun Watson "getting comfortable" and "playing back into shape" as if all of polite society isn't rooting for a lightning bolt to strike him in the crotch.

We need this team out of the playoff picture, pronto. You're supposed to be a genius, Bill Belichick. You're supposed to be seven Hall of Famers stacked atop each other and wielding a vorpal sword, Justin Herbert. You're supposed to be … something, New York Jets. Do your jobs people.

Indianapolis Colts

No franchise has done more to needlessly humiliate itself in 2022 than the Colts.

Miami Dolphins

An 0-3 road trip told us all we need to know about the Dolphins as a Super Bowl contender. It probably told us a few things about Tua Tagovailoa's ceiling as well. Tua's Saturday night performance looks much better on the stat sheet and highlight reel than it looked when his passes were fluttering hither and yon (and the Dolphins running game was shouldering much of the offensive burden) during the game itself.

Minnesota Vikings

Biggest Comeback Ever was your Super Bowl, Vikings fans.

Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw both left Saturday's epic comeback with potentially devastating injuries, but both returned, with Darrisaw merely battling cramps. No one wants to see great players get hurt, but all the near-miss catastrophes make it look like the Vikings are only getting through this season by constantly reloading their auto-saves.

Week 15 Awards

Time to hand out some trophies!

Defender of the Week

Rookie edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux produced a strip-sack touchdown of Taylor Heinicke to give the Giants an early lead as well as several tackles for losses against the Commanders.

Honorable mention: Justin Simmons intercepted two passes in the Broncos' 24-15 victory over the Cardinals. The second interception set up a short touchdown which put the game out of reach.

Check out A.J. Green's body language after that second interception for a succinct summary of how the Cardinals season has gone:

Offensive Line of the Week

The Jaguars lost both right tackle Jawaan Taylor and left tackle Cam Robinson to injuries at various points during Sunday's 40-34 victory over the Cowboys. Yet they still managed to rush for 192 yards and hold the nasty Cowboys pass rush to one sack. So let's hear it for Robinson, Taylor, Tyler Shatley, Luke Fortner, Brandon Scherff, and backup tackle Walker Little!

Special Teamer of the Week

Punt returner Kalif Raymond's 47-yard first-quarter touchdown gave the Lions a lead they would cling to until late in the fourth quarter.

Raymond's return came after the Lions had been stuffed at the goal line on fourth down but forced a quick Jets three-and-out. It was a fine example of why going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line is generally a great idea. Especially if you are facing a quarterback like Zach Wilson. Though not necessarily if you are the Ravens and play every fourth-and-1 under some Wanda Maximoff probability-melting curse.

Burn This Play!

We've done that.

Burn This (Defensive) Play!

Jalen Hurts runs a lot. Hurts is a danger to run from empty backfield shotgun formations. In fact, Walkthrough looked it up: Hurts had run by design (not a scramble) 11 times for 83 yards from empty-backfield shotgun formations. It's an easy-to-anticipate tendency, especially on a windy day. So it would be really dumb to send your lone safety on a go-for-broke blitz, completely vacating the middle of the field so Hurts can, uh-oh…

Do you know who is second in designed runs from an empty backfield and shotgun? Justin Fields, of course. Do you think the Bears tried that blitz out on Fields once or twice in practice to see what would happen? Probably not.

Best Supporting Actor in Someone Else's Highlight

Carl Cheffers and his crew deserves mention for chatting about their post-game dinner plans while Willie Gay hops up and down with a recovered fumble in his hand.

The ball is over there, stripes.

Ed Ingram also deserves mention for reminding us that, no matter their record or knack for shocking comebacks, the Vikings are an awkward comedy improv troupe.

But let's celebrate Justin Fields' effort against the Eagles by giving BSASEH to South Jersey's own Haason Reddick for coming soooo close to a sack:

Reddick had actually strip-sacked Fields on the previous play, but the Bears recovered. In short, Fields needs and deserves some help, folks.

Rando of the Week

We found the culprit in the great Saturday night snowball-throwing incident in Buffalo:

Yep, that's the little menace who threw every single snowball onto the field and almost cost the Bills a 15-yard penalty!

Actually, he's probably the only person in Highmark Stadium who didn't throw a snowball on Saturday night, because mom said no. And that's his supervillain origin story.

Speaking of supervillains, the DC Cinematic Universe has recast Captain Cold for Flashpoint!

Eat your heart out, Wentworth Miller.

But neither The Slushball Kid nor Steve Smith-as-Zooropa-era-Bono can seize Rando of the Week away from this kinky couple of Lions fans:

Penei Sewell vs. the Very Naughty Edge Rusher cosplay is not Walkthrough's yum. But that dude in the background in the Braxton Berrios jersey appears to be totally into watching.


161 comments, Last at 21 Dec 2022, 1:21pm

#1 by mansteel // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:56am

I guess it's not really a BSAISEH play, but the Giants' Richie James deserves mention for catching a 6-yard pass on 2nd and 15, looking at the yard marker on the sideline, and emphatically signalling First Down! Uh, dude...wrong yard marker.

Points: 6

#2 by jonsilver // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:08am

The problem with referencing the incredibly brilliant and hilarious Pythons in referring to the leader in the clubhouse for Burn this Play of the 21st Century is that hilarious certainly applies to yesterday's fiasco, but brilliant? Now what incredibly stupid comedy act (with a side dish of arrogance) was or is hilarious? I'm sure fans of The Three Stooges, Dumb and Dumber and The Jerk will want to cast their votes, but I've always found it hard to laugh at people playing anyone dumber than say Ed Norton. Laughs for fake stupidity don't seem to me to be really earned.

Points: 0

#48 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:46pm

If the Buttfumble got the Benny Hill treatment, that play deserves it.  But you could also just use the announcing from the Cal Bears lateral, but change the ending to "THE BAND IS NOT ON THE FIELD!  THE TOUCHDOWN WILL COUNT!"  Sorry, I got excited there for a second; we have a play that permanently stains a team, and it isn't the Jets this time.

And yeah, the Jets are idiots for how that game ended.  And no, they don't have the cap room to sign/trade for a competent starter.  No one in the AFC East has cap room next year.  Maybe they can resign Mike White.  Maybe.

Points: 1

#74 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:05pm

Z. Wilson had such an odd performance.  He looked like Josh Allen on desperation 3rd/4th and longs (I was couldn't believe my eyes when he completed that last 4th and 18), but then looked like Nathan Peterman when trying to run a normal offense.

Points: 1

#84 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:29pm

That reminds me of Herbert in the Raiders game last year -- useless on downs 1-3, then pulled the rabbit from the hat every 4th down.

Points: 0

#106 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:40pm

Sorry, I got excited there for a second; we have a play that permanently stains a team, and it isn't the Jets this time.

Does Miami have one? Buffalo has the Onside Kick Touchdown vs. New York a few years ago:

Fortunately no one was watching that game. But since the rules have changed, that will forever be the only kicking team onside kick TD and the fastest scoring play in NFL history.

Points: 1

#108 by Travis // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:00pm

Does Miami have one?

The Dolphins have the Garo Yepremian blocked kick turned fumble-6, but it just made their undefeated season look a little worse.

Fortunately no one was watching that game. But since the rules have changed, that will forever be the only kicking team onside kick TD and the fastest scoring play in NFL history.

Not the only one - there have been 8 others (plus one in the AAFC).

Points: 1

#109 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:03pm

That Bills one needs to be remembered.  I love watching the replay: "What are the Bills doing?", and "That was worse than Mariah Carey in Times Square last night."

Not sure if the Dolphins actually have one of those.  They did blow a 30-7 lead in game to the Jets, but no absurd plays in that one.  

Points: 0

#113 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:21pm

Does Miami have one?

Points: 0

#5 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 8:44am

"but all the near-miss catastrophes make it look like the Vikings are only getting through this season by constantly reloading their auto-saves."

The way I finally beat Jedi: Fallen Order is the perfect metaphor for how the Vikings won the NFC North this year.

Points: 0

#163 by Moridin // Dec 21, 2022 - 1:20am

Save scumming their way to victory, until someone turns on hardcore mode before the match starts

Points: 0

#6 by anthonytwotimes // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:26am

Has there ever been a group of receivers that were less talented than what the Bears trotted onto the field than yesterday?

Pringle, Webster, Pettis?

Points: 3

#7 by StuffedWhiteRabbit // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:32am

It’s gonna go a long way before you get worse groups of receivers than the 2009-2011 St Louis Rams. 

Points: 2

#127 by horn // Dec 19, 2022 - 7:48pm

The 2000 Eagles would like a word: Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, Luther Broughton and rookie Todd Stinkston. Their top 2 WRs caught less than 50% of their targets from the #2 in MVP voting McNabb. 

TE Chad Lewis was far and away the best pass-catcher. 

This is followed by the murderer's row of 2001: Washed up James Thrash, Stinkston and #1 pick FredEx Mitchell! [and 4th rounder Na Brown!!] 126 catches combined out of 285 completions.

TE Chad Lewis...etc.

The 2002 version added a washed-up Antonio Freeman. 

3 years of going to the playoffs, 2 to the NFCC game and not a single good WR on the entire roster. Cost them a Super Bowl as the D ranked 4/2/2 over that time frame and a great running game with Westbrook/Duce/McNabb.

Points: 0

#8 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:33am

The early 2021 Lions would like a word: Tyrell Williams, Kalif Raymond, Quintez Cephus (St. Brown didn't really get on the field until the second half of the season).

Points: 0

#9 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:52am

It's gonna be hilarious when they draft defense first...again.

Points: 2

#26 by TomC // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:22am

The thing is, it would be simultaneously tragically hilarious and completely defensible (no pun intended). They need an entirely new defensive line, and if Will Anderson is available how do they refuse?

Points: 3

#90 by ImNewAroundThe… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:47pm

I'd just look at chase young and do everything to trade back. 

Points: 1

#30 by JonesJon // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:38am

They need defensive line help way more than WR help at this point. 

Points: 1

#50 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:49pm

If a team doesn't draft a quarterback early, I don't know how you pass on Jalen Carter or Will Anderson.  Although Todd McShay is doing his best to let Carter drop to a halfway decent team.

Points: 1

#31 by JonesJon // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:42am

In 2017 the Bears top 3 WRs were Kendall Wright, Josh Bellamy, and Dontrelle Inman. So yes, it has somehow been worse

Points: 0

#87 by JSap // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:40pm

In a late-season game against Washington in 2019, due to injuries the only Eagles WR's that had snaps in the game were Greg Ward, Robert Davis and JJ Arcega-Whiteside (combined career: 106 rec, 1075 yrds, 11 tds; compared to the three you mention: 143, 1962, 20) and they actually won the game!  To be fair, they had Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, who did most of the work that day, but it was definitely the worst WR crew for a game I can remember.

Points: 1

#114 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:21pm

Buffalo in 2017

Zay Jones, Deonte Thompson, Jordan Matthews, Andre Holmes. Adding Kelvin Benjamin at the deadline was considered a massive upgrade, but we still did not have a single wideout catch 30 passes or break 450 yards.

Points: 0

#123 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:54pm

Making Zay Jones appear to be a competent receiver is further evidence that Trevor Lawrence is awesome.

Points: 2

#128 by horn // Dec 19, 2022 - 7:49pm

Not even close both Zay and Jordan were/are very competent WRs. 

Points: 0

#137 by Mike B. In Va // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:20pm

Zay was not the slightest bit competent at that point, and I think Jordan played 3 games, maybe 4. So the rest of the group was pretty bad. Wasn't Ray Ray McCloud in that group, too?

Points: 0

#139 by IlluminatusUIUC // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:43pm

Zay posted the 3rd worst catch rate in the league that year, and Matthews was completely broken already.

Points: 0

#147 by Steve in WI // Dec 20, 2022 - 12:36pm

I don't know, but the really astounding thing is that the top 4 receivers on the depth chart were out - Mooney, Claypool, St Brown, and Harry. Any team down their top 4 receivers would be in trouble, but when the top 4 receivers are already arguably the worst top 4 in the league, now you're talking about guys who wouldn't even be on most rosters.

Although as I've often had the opportunity to ponder with respect to the offensive line, I guess you could argue that the worse the starter is, the more likely that the backup is about the same. I mean, it's not like St Brown and Harry have demonstrated that they are better quality than end-of-the-bench guys.

Points: 0

#149 by Eddo // Dec 20, 2022 - 2:21pm

I had minimal hope for St. Brown, but I've been somewhat impressed.  I think he could have a spot as a rotational guy on a good offense.  But otherwise, totally agree.  The WR corps needs some serious investment.

Points: 1

#10 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:54am

Hey, the Vikings defense played better than I expected! They only gave up 1 td, and only 13 total points on drives that started outside of field goal range! Nope, this was a game where the offense and special teams tried to hand the Saturdays a insurmountable first half lead, but the indefatigable Jeffs were not to be discouraged, and managed to steal a defeat! Really was one of the better performances by the Vikings defense, even considering the stalwart opposition.

On a more sober note, Jefferson is still early in his career, but he might be as good a route runner I've ever seen. He offers no hints to opposing dbs, and even good ones end up making wild-assed guesses, and when they have an unlucky guessing game, they are made to look silly. If he stays healthy and motivated, he might be able to play into his mid to late 30s, since he's not dependent on ungodly speed, and so far he has't shown himself to be the stereotypical wide receiver nutjob.


Points: 3

#12 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:20am

The Colts offense sucks. It's flat horrendous and I wouldn't be surprised if they are now leapfrogged at the bottom of the DVOA cellar by the laughable but still punchier Texans. I don't think the Vikings defense deserves any credit. I don't give anyone on the Vikings offense other than JJ credit. That victory was entirely because the team they faced are back to being the Dolts.

I came into this week pretty numb to the Colts, or so I thought. This was already a bad football team turned caricature weeks ago when Irsay incredulously defended the Saturday hire by appealing to the Colts historic win loss record as some kind of proof of his football acumen. And yet, this loss somehow, despite being meaningless in the abstract, was still a punch in the gut. Because it signified that the Colts were no longer set to be a transient bad team, but instead, had butted their way into the clown car with the Jets and Lions of the world. Those franchises where butt fumbles and running out of your own end zone are merely shrugged off as par for the course. So sad.

People are positively tickled by that final play from Ne, mostly because It was so out of character for them. If This had been one of those teams I mentioned above. Everyone would have shrugged and laughed rather than been slack jawed into incredibility

Points: 4

#14 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:27am

I say to thee, verily, the contest between the offense of the Saturdays, and the defense of the Purple Norsemen, is an Awesome and Terrible sight to behold!

Points: 0

#20 by Kaepernicus // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:48am

I feel really bad for Buckner and Gilmore after watching that. They put in classic dominant performances in the first half and just got gassed because of the incompetence of their offense and the OC's second half play calling. It reeked of a coaching staff that had no clue what the true strength of their roster is. When you are on a team that bad you literally run every single first and second down for the rest of the game and throw quick game passes on third and pray for a broken tackle. They had a 5 play drive in the 4th quarter that took up 24 seconds. They had three 3 and outs in the second half that took 65 seconds or less. All they had to do is turn in a series of 2 minute 3 and outs and they win that game in regulation. That was the worst coaching performance I have ever seen. The saddest thing about the Colts is they actually have a good defense that looks like it could move back into the top 10 next year with Leonard back.

Points: 0

#23 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:57am

It was hilarious, and if I had known at the time that Reich was due another 27 million, it would have been moreso.

Points: 1

#55 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:04pm

" Because it signified that the Colts were no longer set to be a transient bad team, but instead, had butted their way into the clown car with the Jets and Lions of the world. Those franchises where butt fumbles and running out of your own end zone are merely shrugged off as par for the course. So sad."

The Colts may be set to be a longterm trainwreck, but one game or play doesn't determine that.  The original Miracle in the Meadowlands was a disaster at the level of that Patriots play yesterday.  Yet the Giants won a Super Bowl within a decade, and made the playoffs three years later, because the Maras hired competent people.  Which is what Irsay needs to do.  To be optimistic, he's hired competent people before.  I am actually less optimistic about the Patriots in the near future; Belichick is clearly losing it, but if Kraft decides to replace him, I have no confidence at all that he makes the right choice.  Because Kraft has clearly also lost it since his wife passed away, and his two sons are not great owner material.

Also don't agree that everyone would have shrugged if the Lions or Jets "pulled" that play off.  They would have piled on.  I guess I should be glad the Patriots tanked their season the same day Saleh forgot how time outs worked, so Saleh loses a little heat.

Points: 2

#60 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:15pm

Jim Irsay sent 27 million up a chimney, for the cannot be delayed opportunity to have a high school coach be in charge of an NFL roster. It's not guaranteed that he'll eff up most of his next big hiring decisions, but that's the way to bet.

Points: 2

#65 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:26pm

Good point, perhaps he's lost it as well.  Just pointing out he wasn't a disaster artist before, so there is hope, until he hires someone.

Points: 0

#66 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:32pm

I have less than 0 confidence in Irsay as an owner. I fully expect late career Al Davis level Tyranny to be the status quo from now on. Dark days ahead for this franchise.

Points: 0

#67 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:37pm

Look, it took zero acumen to hire Bill Polian in 1998, and it was from that no-brainer that all the subsequent success flowed. After Polian lost his fastball (it happens to everybody), it's been one disaster after another, with ruination of generational talent Andrew Luck leading the charge. Could Irsay get lucky again? Sure, but it's pretty unlikely.

Points: 1

#75 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:06pm

I've defended Irsay in the past, notably for giving the front office a chance to execute a vision before eventually pulling the plug. It can lead to some bad decisions like hanging onto Grigson for too long, but It also ensures you don't have a poisonous culture the way the Browns had/have. 

But, I fully believe the reason the Colts are in this situation is entirely on Irsay. I doubt very much that Frank Reich or Chris Ballard were too dumb to know that the QB carousel decisions were untenable. Even they know at some level it's a completely unsustainable team building model. And yet, they did it anyways. The only reason you do that is because the guy who signs the paychecks thinks he's smarter than everyone else and gives you a defacto mandate. 

This theory of mine was confirmed when I heard Jim Irsay proudly telling anyone who'd listen that the Colts 4th best winning percentage since the year 2000 was at least in part due to erudite ownership. Not even the specter of this being some drug infused hubris could calm down my nerves. 

I hope it's not true but I think the Colts are facing a very real Raiders style descent into prolonged irrelevance.


Thank God I got to see them win the super bowl. Otherwise it would be very hard to remain a fan

Points: 0

#82 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:21pm

Look, I have no idea if Reich had become so untenable that firing him in-season was the best move. I think it pretty unlikely, but it's possible. I know for a fact that not hiring one of the two former HCs on the staff to be interim, so you could instead hire a high school coach, is just purely arrogant stupidity. It's sad that clueless, talent-free, heirs have total control of businesses that people are so emotionally invested in.

Points: 1

#111 by BigRichie // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:13pm

Well, in this particular case the "clueless, talent-free" heir is light-years better than the drunken father who bequeathed him the team. As their respective records show.

(yes, lowest of low bars)

Points: 0

#124 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 6:37pm

Robert Irsay's drunkenness was among his least offensive qualities. It can't  be reiterated often enough that money Irsay used to buy the Colts was in good measure stolen from the citizens of Cook County, IL.

Points: 0

#101 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:16pm

I'm morbidly fascinated by the cycle of team relevance, but short of having Packers style crazy luck/skill there doesn't seem to be much way of avoiding the downswings. It's painful for the fans when you come off an upswing. 


The Saturday hire was silly but I'm not going totally bury Irsay unless he retains the guy after the seasons. Doesn't really matter who is coach for the rest of this one, so having a guy who keeps players happy makes sense. 

Points: 1

#102 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:26pm

I mostly don't think ownership matters. Mostly. There are some rare exceptions and I worry Irsay is becoming / has become one

Points: 0

#17 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:34am

Hey, the Jeffs started pretty well!

The ending, not so much. 

Points: 0

#129 by horn // Dec 19, 2022 - 7:52pm

JJ is certified awesome and a better WR, but I'd say Devonta might be an even better route-runner.

Best one ever, ainec, was Largent. Slowest guy out there, short, and always open always in the Pro Bowl voted 1/2nd team All-Pro 5x.

Points: 0

#140 by BigRichie // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:31pm

I saw Largent play his entire career. Only reason to think he was the slowest guy out there was the hue of his skin.

Points: 0

#146 by apocalipstick // Dec 20, 2022 - 12:26pm

Yeah, when you could outrun Louis Wright to the house, you weren't dragging ass.

Points: 0

#11 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:17am

Oh, and I read yesterday that Frank Reich was going to be paid 27 million more dollars  by lil' Jimmy Irsay between now and the end of the 2025 season. Say what you want about Robert's boy, but he ain't a cheapskate.

Points: 2

#13 by Kaepernicus // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:25am

The Texans as Pakleds is easily your greatest moment of the 2022 season Mike. Using Fredo to describe them for non-Trek fans was a chef's kiss moment. I feel like we deserve a unique Trek related analogy every week for each team. Right now the only other really good one I can think of is the dynasty Patriots as the Borg with Bill as the Borg queen and Brady as Locutus. The Vikings are the standard weak foe that needs a lot of plot armor to stay relevant and pull out nonsensical victories to maintain the threat. Maybe the Vikings are the Maquis? Kirk is the Eddington of villains seems about right.

Points: 2

#15 by herewegobrowni… // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:31am

'Announcers keep talking about Watson "getting comfortable" and "playing back into game shape" as if all of polite society'

Uh, their in-game treatment is literally the exact same way that Roethlisberger and Ray Lewis were handled. This was not some sort of special treatment. 

Meanwhile Reddit's NFL board is burying/deleting any Browns highlights/positives at the expense of the rest of the team (they did devote a hundreds-of-positive-replies "lowlight" to the safety on Chubb 2 weeks ago, though.)

Points: 2

#16 by johonny12 // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:32am

Miami must win their two remaining home dates to have any hope at the playoffs. If they don't . . . Tua is back no matter what, right?  


Miami needs to find a Tight end. The Bills Knox made play after play, while Miami's big men simply aren't good enough playing in an offense designed for tight ends. There is no way Gesiki can be back at his price. He's mostly invisible.

Points: 0

#33 by BigRichie // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:53am

(the Miami offense is "designed for tight ends"?!?!? Dude!)

Points: 0

#18 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:39am

What I enjoyed most about the debacle in Vegas was Matt Jones looking like a two year old who is yet potty-trained, taking a dump in front of 75,000 people, with his "tackling form" on Chandler Jones. If Darth doesn't conclude he needs a better athlete at qb, and that it is foolish to think you're gonna get lucky again with that type of guy, well, maybe his Dark Powers are receding.

Points: -3

#19 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:45am

I'm not really going to blame Mac Jones tackling form on a play he was never supposed to have been involved in anyway, where a dumbass WR just heaves the ball in the direction of the ill-tempered DE standing next to him.

Even if he had somehow slowed Chandler Jones by acting as some form of anchor, the next four nearest players were also Raiders. It would have taken a miracle for the Raiders not to have scored.

Points: 5

#21 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:52am

Oh, I know, but it did add some visual comedy to an already absurdly comedic outcome. Only wish the over/under had been at 52, instead of 45.

Points: 1

#22 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 10:56am

Poor Mac Jones watching the play come at him was like a cowboy taking a crap in the scrub, suddenly hearing a stampede coming his way.

Points: 1

#24 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:01am

Between that and the Jeff-o-Rama in Minneapolis, it was one of the funniest NFL weekends in recent memory!

Points: 0

#34 by coltsandrew // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:54am

It makes the Patriots-Colts rivalry that dominated the two previous decades feel like something that happened last century.

Points: 0

#57 by TheIdealGrassLaw // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:08pm

If I didn't know better I would assume both teams had moved, changed names, and these were the two expansion teams that replaced them.  Like how this is now Cleveland 3 and Baltimore 2 or whatever.

Points: 0

#62 by Pat // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:22pm

I mean... not really. Keep in mind that in order for both the Patriots and Colts to lose as hilariously as they did, they have to be in a position to win in the first place.

Really the only reason it looks as bad as it does is because for all their faults and goofball decisions, both the teams still are borderline relevant. Which is a big accomplishment. It's just laughable because of what they were - but they're absolutely not "expansion Cleveland" bad.

Points: 1

#73 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:01pm

In two separate games, both the Colts and the Patriots managed to finally do something way more humorous than this.

Points: 1

#85 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:31pm

If ol' Danny-boy had only disappeared  up the tunnel, never to return, I'd be an advocate for his  induction to the Hall of Fame. As it is, if Allen ever does get selected, I hope he has the good taste to ask Orvlosky to introduce him.

Points: 1

#100 by Joey-Harringto… // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:09pm

"if Allen ever does get selected, I hope he has the good taste to ask Orvlosky to introduce him."

Where do I sign the petition?

Points: 0

#103 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:32pm

Since the place is so often a joke anyways (if Jimmy Irsay had cheated on the salary cap, and thus won a couple more Super Bowls,  would he be a stronger candidate than Chuck Howeley?), they really should take a more ecumenical aporoach to the "Fame"part of Hall of Fame, and build an entire wing dedicated to the most idiotic episodes in league history, both on and off the field. The Vikings could have at least two exhibits in the latter category, with the fax accepting the Herschel Walker trade, and the collection of adult toys used on the infamous S.S. Sex Cruise! Bring the entire family!

Points: 0

#105 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:39pm

I hate to bury the guy, but there was also Jim Marshall's fumble return.

Points: 1

#107 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:54pm

Oh, that's definitely in, perhaps in the  "Even great players do stupid shit!' exhibit.

Points: 0

#115 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:22pm

Can we include Ray Lewis's white suit in that exhibit?

Points: 0

#110 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:12pm

Geno Smith did the same thing in preseason in his rookie year, running in terror from Mark Herzlich.

Points: 0

#117 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:22pm

Given what happened to him, that was probably prescient.

Points: 0

#25 by Cythammer // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:21am

The decision by Jakobi Meyers to lateral the ball might be one of the worst decisions ever in any sport. I'm out of the country and was asleep when the game happened. Seeing a headline that the Raiders had won the game on a botched lateral, and then seeing that the score was 30-24, I couldn't imagine what had happened... Under what scenario would you be lateraling the ball in a tie game? Watching the play cleared up nothing. Just an incredibly stupid play.

Points: 2

#28 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:30am

Maybe, maybe if it was OT and you needed a win to make the playoffs.

Points: 1

#112 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:16pm

It's not even the worst decision a person in the Patriots organization makes in a given week. 

Continuing to allow Patricia and Judge into the building is much worse. The Patriots are really, really, poorly coached right now - and this stuff is a symptom

Points: -1

#119 by Pat // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:26pm

Patricia and Judge were beginning-of-the-year mistakes. At this point, replacing them is not really going to fix anything. It's not like you've got another training camp period to magically install a new offense. As a counter to myself, it does help from a morale standpoint to know that people are being held accountable, so there's that.

To be clear, as an Eagles fan I've literally seen nearly this exact same scenario play out with Reid hiring Juan Castillo as a DC. Which everyone lambasted him for. And yes, it didn't work out, but, uh, it sure as hell didn't indicate that Reid has lost his touch or anything. In '12 (when literally everything else imploded) Reid brought in Todd Bowles to help and then eventually Bowles took over as DC.

I mean, I completely agree with you that they're not well coached, but that's an offseason fix. It's a transition year, the transition went poorly, you watch and see how he does in the offseason.

Points: 2

#160 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 7:53pm

Firing them right now won't make the team materially worse, and will make it clear that BB's 30 years of talking about accountability isn't bullshit. 

It will also help salvage the relationship with the 2nd year first round pick quarterback who has made it very clear that he's receiving absolutely no actual coaching, and will allow them to bring in someone who actually knows something about offensive lines. 


Replacing Patricia isn't about making things better for this year - it's not about winning games - it's about stopping the damage. The mismanagement, and blaming players in the press is burning bridges. 


We're way past "shitty offensive coordinator" here - long term damage is being done. 

Points: 0

#27 by TomC // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:26am

I was screaming at the Bears' coaching staff about the BTDP winner, but I have to admit Moose Johnston made a good point when he noted that Brisker almost certainly blitzed the wrong gap. The one he chose already had two Bears in it, and if he'd chosen correctly, he would have at least had the opportunity to be Mac-Jones'ed by Hurts, and it wouldn't have been a walk-in TD.

Points: 1

#37 by BigRichie // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:59am

A run blitz covers all gaps. A pass blitz, you want to outnumber the blocker(s) in a single gap so you get through.

Nearly all color men actually understand very little about NFL football other than the specific position they played.

Points: 1

#53 by Pat // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:51pm

No, he literally rushed the wrong gap, which he confirmed afterwards. The problem was that with Philly going 5 wide (so no traditional tight end) the landmark for "strong side/weak side" is harder, and he just effed it up. In other words, he mirrored the play: the defensive line were playing strong-side to their left, and he was playing strong-side to their right.

"We were in zero [coverage]. I told [DeAndre Houston-Carson] to go take the tight end. I didn't really locate the tight end. Wherever the tight end is, I got to go opposite of that and opposite of the nose."

You can see this pretty easily because Brisker runs straight into a defensive lineman, which, uh, will never happen if a play's run correctly. Pass blitzes are designed to *open* gaps, not pointlessly stuff them full of people. So for instance you'll see two guys beside each other rush a gap across the face of their defender to get them to turn away from the gap that the blitzer is headed towards.

Points: 4

#83 by BSK // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:29pm

Looking at the play in slow motion, this does appear to be what happened.  You have to give it to the Bears... they brought six rushers against a 5-man protection scheme and somehow ended up with EVERYONE blocked up.  Brisker actually manages to knock his own man over and then engages with Kelce directly, leaving both completely out of the play.  Impressive!

Points: 0

#91 by Pat // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:48pm

Brisker's mistake obviously blew the entire play up, but they weren't in a great shape to begin with: Brisker was still like, 5 yards away when the ball was snapped, so Hurts would've had a lot of time seeing him rush directly at him, and a one-on-one with Hurts vs a touchdown isn't great to begin with. And I'm pretty sure that was a called draw since none of the receivers are showing any interest whatsoever.

So by default the play would've been "hey mr. 200 pound safety do you mind tackling a guy who's both bigger and faster than you? Oh, and if you screw up, it's a touchdown, so, uh, don't screw up." Brisker's screwup made it a Burn That Play candidate, but even by default it wasn't great.

Points: 0

#32 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:44am

I thought the tale of two halves in the TB Cincy had more substance to it than TB turned it over a gazillion times.

In reality, TB had a lot of success throwing quickly, with lots of short and intermediate passes on Brady's first read. I didn't watch the all 22 so I can't say what Cincy did, but the second half they took away those reads and Brady had to hold it a few seconds longer and the pass pro broke down. You could surmise that Brady's age explains it, but I think it goes further. PFF has said practically everyone on the Bucs offense has graded worse and that's not an accident. When your QB gets worse, everyone looks worse.

I mentioned this elsewhere, Brady's decline hasn't been Manningesque; it's not like his arm has fall n apart and he can't take hits anymore. If anything, his mental processing has slowed considerably from the tremendous heights it was once. It's equivalent to someone like Vick or RG3 losing leg speed

Points: 1

#35 by Kaepernicus // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:55am

I noticed this against the 49ers too. I think he knows it is gone too. This feels like a farewell tour. People were floating the idea of him coming to SF for one last ride and I honestly don't want it to happen. Seeing Shanahan weave all of the bootleg stuff back into his game plan since Purdy took over has been a joy to watch. If they bring in Brady all of that goes out the window. It seemed like Tom was treating that SF game like an audition with all the family and pageantry he invited. Against the Bengals it seemed like a last ride in the first half against the new Joe Cool. The second half he looked tired and his teammates fell apart. Out of respect for Tom and hatred for the Cowboys I would love to see him win the South with an 8-9 record and knock off Dallas with a classic comeback before getting eviscerated by the Eagles in round 2 and calling it a career. He needs to hang them up and slide into that Fox job he has waiting for him.

Points: -2

#40 by BigRichie // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:08pm

Guy just threw away his family in order to turn in this wonderful season. Tom is never 'retiring'. If some good-ish team wants to make him their starter next season - or any following season - Tom will come in.

What I could see happening is Tom 'retiring coughcough', then he waits for whichever contender loses their starting QB midway through the season without an established backup QB in place. (which in these salary cap days is many good teams)

Points: 1

#43 by Kaepernicus // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:23pm

Honestly you are probably right. He's probably just one of those guys who can't stop until he is forced to. 50 year old Tom Brady will be the starting QB and owner of the New Jersey Generals in the USFL or something. Maybe it will end Lance Armstrong style with some investigative journalist discovering this giant PED conspiracy that he was in the middle of with his sketchy personal trainer and unnatural career longevity. I think my post was more of a wish than a prediction.

Points: 1

#46 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:41pm

Ya' never know all that happened between two people in a failed marriage, but I would think it pretty normal for any of the offspring of Tom and Giselle to one day say, to Dear Old Dad, " Hey, A-hole? You mean to tell me that you decided to make yourself and mom part-time parents, so you could run around in knickers for another season or two, after your 44th birthday?"

Points: 1

#49 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:48pm

It's not the first kid he's walked out on...

Points: -1

#63 by Stendhal1 // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:22pm

Or as I’ve taken to calling him, Tom Brady has a Peter Pan complex.

Points: -1

#159 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 4:14pm

He's absolutely that kind of guy. He's not going to stop playing until he can't get a job anywhere. His entire identity is football, and trying to be better than everyone else at it - and as his skills decline, he's going to go harder and harder. 

This is a guy who has won 7 superbowls, and aside from Vinateri, everyone who won 4+ retired last century - and still gets upset about the round he was drafted in. He's almost unquestionably the greatest player of the modern football era - and still thinks he's disrespected and is still trying to prove himself. 

He's not rational - he's pathological. 

Points: 0

#56 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:07pm

Looking forward to the shell of Tom Brady signing with the Jets for cheap in a couple of years, and getting everyone fired.  Destroying his hated rival one last time.

Points: 2

#38 by apocalipstick // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:59am

Or as if Brady has other thoughts occupying mental space.

Points: 0

#41 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:15pm

Manning losing arm strength was the root cause, but the symptom was the timing on his passes being off.

As he started to lose accuracy and/or take longer to get a pass to the target (both more launch time due to greater effort and more time in flight), his routes started to miss their timing. He then started to second-guess his trained instincts and held the ball longer as he was no longer confident he could hit a route he used to be able to hit. Then he started throwing late and/or getting hit, which was the cliff.

By his return at the end of the season/playoffs, he had somewhat compensated for his altered timing and had a better idea of what he could hit and when he needed to throw to do so. But his available route tree and distance was a lot smaller/finer. The turnovers dropped, though.

Points: 0

#36 by JonesJon // Dec 19, 2022 - 11:56am

The only real Ridder takeaways from Sunday are that he didn't look overmatched at all

Well...he did just give himself up and run out of bounds with no time on the clock to end the game which is the type of mistake you rarely even see in college. 

Points: 2

#39 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:05pm

The Patriots seem to be reverting to their historical pre-Belichick level. 

Points: -1

#42 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:21pm

The Tecmo Bowl-era Patriots happened, but it's also a franchise that went to three title games, and in the six pre-Belichick years went to the playoffs four times with a SB appearance. You've made a title game under four different coaches.

The pre-Belichick Pats sort of resemble the Vikings or the Bills or the Rams -- it didn't win many rings, but was still sort of good for most of their existence.

Points: 1

#61 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:16pm

Good comps.  The wern't the worst teams but probably in the lower half. I wondered if they might become one of those generally competent franchises that cycles up and down (GB, Pitt, even the Cowboys despite recent events, Denver and Oakland also but not good recently) but it seems teams can't really fight fate. 

Points: 0

#68 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:46pm

The Vikings have the 7th best regular season all-time winning % among NFL teams. Since the merger, it might be higher, since that would exclude their expansion team era.

Points: 0

#72 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:00pm

Yeah, that's kinda their thing.

Points: 0

#77 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:09pm

Well, a franchise doesn't have, over it's 60-plus years, the 7th best record of 32 teams, without periods of sustained excellence, and definitely mostly being in the top half of the league. Ya' can't be the undisputed champs of heartbreak without being mostly pretty good!

Points: 4

#86 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:39pm

You could do the Cardinals/Bengals things where you punctuate prolonged periods of ineptitude with brief bouts of painfully-close calls.

\They've thrice led SBs in the last 90 seconds.

Points: 0

#99 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:07pm

Better than the Patriots who were never even close in their pre-relevance phase. (They lost two title games by 36+ points) and wern't really close in 1997 either. 

Points: -2

#44 by mrh // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:32pm

What is the record for most flags thrown, picked up, and no penalty called?  There were three in the KC-HOU game - all late in the game if memory serves.  It's as if the crew realized that the spread was covered and so no more penalties were needed to keep the game close.

Points: 0

#45 by big10freak // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:39pm

Any explanation as to why Greg Gumbel kept calling Mitch Trubisky Sam Darnold?   He did that 5-6 times in the game.   

Points: 1

#54 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:58pm

Makes me hanker for the glory days of NFL announcing, when Howard would puke 9 Chivas on the rocks, all over Dandy Don's cowboy boots, between the 3rd and 4th quarter. The game today has been sissified!

Points: 1

#52 by big10freak // Dec 19, 2022 - 12:51pm

The lengths that Nantz and Romo went to in order to not openly criticize Brady was embarrassing.  

Points: 0

#58 by Akim // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:10pm

The Fredo reference was a bad misreading of Fredo; he's not acting helpless, he is helpless.  And in fact, he acts competent, insisting he smart and can do stuff, because he resents that everyone recognizes his helplessness.

The Lavar Burton reference, however, was solid gold.

Points: 1

#59 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:14pm

"Penei Sewell vs. the Very Naughty Edge Rusher cosplay is not Walkthrough's yum. But that dude in the background in the Braxton Berrios jersey appears to be totally into watching."

That's because he's asking himself if the Jets should sign the guy.  They've used like ten guys this year.

Points: 1

#70 by TomC // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:49pm

We need Ben's opinion on this, but as I see it: 1) he gets way too high way too early; 2) his "punch" is really a "weak reach out and try to grab"; and 3) his feet stay parallel to the LOS even after it's clear it's a pure speed rush, which I presume she knows he's vulnerable to because she's his wife.

All in all, sounds like a perfect fit for Gang Green.

Points: 3

#64 by TheIdealGrassLaw // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:23pm

The degree to which that final Patriots drive was destined for failure is mind blowing.

Under 35 seconds, 2 TOs, ball on 25.

If you run a bunch of short passes AND complete all of them AND get out of bounds, you MIGHT get a chance for a 50+ yarder with a kicker that is objectively bad from 50+.  But the risk on these tight window passes to the sideline into double coverage because the defense KNOWS you won't push the ball downfield, is that someone jumps it and it's a pick six.

Then you add in... a running play up the middle.  Which is essentially what the defense wants you to do. 8 yards and burn a TO.  Da eff?

Realistically, with those play calls, the most likely score was a defensive one.  Maybe not that way, but somehow.

We are told that the issue is that Matt Patricia was a defensive coordinator asked to move to the offensive side of the ball.  I'm looking back at all his time as DC, and wondering if there was a worse DC, in totality, and that maybe, just maybe, the guy is wretched at coaching football?  Like there's DCs that had individually worse seasons for 1-3 years but those guys all get fired.  He turned in a series of 12 "on the whole" below average DC seasons, was bad as HC in DET, and is now at the helm of an offense that has massively regressed with largely the same cast of players.

And the local sports media is reporting that there are no plans to move on from BB / Patricia.  They're going to run this unwatchable product back.

Points: 0

#79 by KnotMe // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:13pm

Moving on from Belichick would be stupid. He's not blameless, but he's still a good coach. The team probably has NFCS level talent overall, so they seem to be overperforming a bit and regressing. 

Hiring a better GM would help. (BB is probably average to a bit above and someone to inject some common sense would help). The Patricia experiment was beyond stupid, although I think Belichick got tired of his coordinators getting hired away.  That backfired pretty big however. 

Not sure why they didn't give Frank Reich a 1 year contract as OC.  Maybe he just wanted to rest or thought he could get a new HC gig immediately. 

Points: 2

#81 by theslothook // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:19pm

Agreed. The offense has been a disaster but Belichick has once again far exceeded his talent level. Moving on from him would be patently silly.

Points: 1

#104 by TheIdealGrassLaw // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:36pm

Bill is GM, so he's also the reason they have whatever talent they have.  And that same talent at most offensive positions went 10-7 last year, with Mac Jones ranking #13 in DVOA.  Your second year Quarterback's second year leap has been a leap off a cliff.

They still have Kendrick Bourne who was #1 in DVOA last year.  But they refuse to use him because he's unwilling to get on Patricia's good side.  

You want to know what every promising Patriots drive has looked like this year?  Here it is:

R. Steveson 7 carries for 40 yards, Mac Jones 8 passes for 32 yards

1st and goal at the 3

False start

Screen that gets blown up


Massive sack that gets the QB "shaken up" (e.g. a suspiciously undiagnosed concussion)

43 yard field goal attempt on "4th and goal"

You can bank on this every week.

This is not a well coached team.  Loads of penalties, failure to understand situational football, and atrocious play calling.  Bill USED TO BE GOOD - he was far more aggressive than the average coach at a time when coaches in general were far to conservative.  But that is past tense.  Everyone else has caught up.

"Getting tired of having your coordinators hired away" doesn't mean you should hire bad ones.

Points: 0

#130 by RickD // Dec 19, 2022 - 8:03pm

Belichick relies on a team to help with the draft.  This has been an organizational change since the N'Keal Harry debacle.

"so he's also the reason they have whatever talent they have"

He's not running the draft like a tyrant. Even with the Mac Jones pick he ran it past everybody.

Jon Robinson was very good in his tenure with the Pats.  Maybe he could be brought back in some capacity.

Belichick cannot do the draft alone.  It's been better when somebody like Pioli or Robinson had a high degree of respect and could push back on some of Belichick's draft thinking.



Points: 1

#143 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 9:18am

"Moving on from Belichick would be stupid"

It's not stupid at all, if he's tied his fate to Patricia - and the way he's talking, it sounds like he has. He'll be 71 before the draft, so there's not a lot of seasons left for him, and it's not exactly unknown for 70+ year old men to be stubborn, and make poor decisions to spite perceived slights. I hope they shoot Patricia into the sun the day after the season ends, but I'm not going to be all that surprised if he's back next year and BB is still chalking it up to "execution issues" like he has been all season. 


The Patriots have an elite defense, and decent special teams (that will probably get better given their history) - and none of that matters because their offense is profoundly bad, and is getting worse.


Almost everyone on the offensive side of the ball looks worse than last year - they've gone from a good offense to a bad one that makes a ton of mistakes, is sloppy, has bad fundamentals, etc. No amount of good defensive coaching matters at this point. Nothing is more important than the evaluation and development of Mac Jones right now - and they have completely blown that this year. 

Points: 0

#88 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:45pm

The best thing you can say about Matt Patricia was

  1. He didn't show up drunk and naked at a drive-through

The next-best thing you can say is

  1. He didn't immediately make the Pats defense worse.

But he somehow got a HC job despite finishing 31st on defense for a Belichick team, who could scrape median NFL performance from a high-school linebacker.

About the only role on a football team where Patricia's incompetence isn't dangerous is an an owner.

Points: 2

#95 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:53pm

Is it better to be drunk, or sober, when going through a drive-through naked?

Points: 3

#122 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:29pm

"He didn't immediately make the Pats defense worse."

This time I guess? 

Their defense was middle third of the league prior to him getting the job, very bottom of the league the entire time he was DC, and then top 10 the year after he left (and since). 

The biggest problem with Matt Patricia is Bill Belichick seems to both trust him, and be unable to see that he's terrible at his job. 

Points: 4

#133 by RickD // Dec 19, 2022 - 8:34pm

The "best thing" you can say about Matt Patricia is that his defense won two Super Bowls.  His defense stopped the Seahawks when they were the defending champs.  And they shut out the Falcons in the second half of that game.

Yes, they had a terrible day vs. Philly a year later, and Patricia needs to own that, too. 

Points: 0

#69 by JoelBarlow // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:46pm

nothing matters but I think Mariota's partner had a kid and that's why he was away

Points: 0

#71 by big10freak // Dec 19, 2022 - 1:53pm

Do want to acknowledge the rest of the Bengals offense compensating for the repeated Mixon carries that accomplished very little.  


Also, Cincy had several defensive starters out yesterday but once they had their sea legs throttled the Bucs offense 

Points: 0

#78 by miqewalsh // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:12pm

“Brady's going to explode into a cloud of dust and rage when forced to face the 49ers/Cowboys/Eagles defenses”

Brady already did that against the 49ers last week.  But, like the nosferatu he has become, he reconstituted himself just in time to get staked by the Bengals.

Points: 0

#89 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:46pm

By the end of the Hammer cycle, Chris Lee's Dracula was trying to kill the world with a biological attack so he could stop coming back.

Sadly, Brady has no Peter Cushing.

Points: 0

#116 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:22pm

As the website Bad Movie Report claimed, the Dracula in that movie decided to rest in the most dangerous place he possibly could; the basement had a fully working sprinkler system to go with the chained up vampire brides, the property had picket fences everywhere so humans could easily pry a would-be stake off, and rose bushes complete with thorns that made the Prince of Darkness bleed while decaying from everything else.

Points: 0

#120 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:26pm

Not rose bushes -- hawthorns.

\Yes, related to roses. But you have to go through apples and pears to get there.
\\As it turns out, wild apple trees have thorns

Points: 1

#92 by Will Allen // Dec 19, 2022 - 2:51pm

I do think Shanahan could definitely win a Super Bowl with Taylor Heinicke, but Heinicke has likely played too well at this point to end up in San Francisco. Heinicke seems such a natural fit for the Shanny offense that it makes me wonder if Shanahan ever did an intensive evaluation of him, when he could be obtained for nothing.

Points: 0

#98 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 3:01pm

Heinicke seems such a natural fit for the Shanny offense

What's the biggest lead he's blown?

Points: 1

#118 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:23pm

" The Patriots lack even a fraction of the talent they possessed in their glory years, but common sense and fundamental football were always on their side."

It's literally the opposite of this. They've got quite a bit of talent, but they're the worst coached team in the league by a very wide margin right now. Turning a good Defensive Coordinator into an OC isn't a great idea - but Patricia wasn't even that - he was the worst DC the Patriots had during a 20+ year period. He's a guy who somehow managed to get a head coaching job with significant personnel control without ever having any sort of positive outcomes in his career. 

Their fundamentals are bad, they're sloppy, their offensive line is in shambles, and it seems very clear that Matt Patricia doesn't understand why you run specific types of plays (like screens) - how they affect coverage and pass rush, and what you use them to exploit. And they're so ridiculously conservative that they're not going to actually try to score until they're 20 points down. 


Points: 0

#121 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 4:27pm

it seems very clear that Matt Patricia doesn't understand why you run specific types of plays (like screens) - how they affect coverage and pass rush, and what you use them to exploit.

As a Lions fan, can confirm.

Points: 4

#132 by RickD // Dec 19, 2022 - 8:29pm

Their talent is good at many positions other than O-line, where they have a massive depth problem.  Their current starting right tackle is a guy they poached from the Jets' practice squad.  

The have great depth at RB, decent (not great) WRs, one very good TE and one who is seriously overpaid. On defense, the line is good, esp. when Barmore is there, Judon is an all-Pro level  player, Uche is coming alone nicely, and in the secondary Dugger and the Jones brothers look good.  

Their talent problem isn't as severe as some fans would believe.  There is a notable shortage of Pro Bowl-level talent (after Judon, who is there?  Uche? Marcus Jones as a returner? Rhamondre, maybe?)  

I'm looking forward to the offseason reorganization.  At a minimum, somebody else needs to come in and fix the offensive line.  The running joke is that you cannot blame the OC for the bad play on offense, not when the line is playing this poorly.  (The joke is that Patricia isn't technically the OC, but the O-line coach.) 

Points: 1

#142 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 9:06am

There's clearly some issues on the O-Line - but Patricia is doing a terrible job putting them in positions to succeed. At one point earlier in the season I went through and charted out 5 or 6 games of the offense - and at that point they'd thrown once from under center and ran once from shotgun. You can't be that predictable with a bad line. 

It's really difficult to evaluate talent and execution when the defense is screaming out your play call pre-snap. 



I do also wonder how much of the issues with the line have been related to the attempted blocking scheme change. Also, why the hell did they trade Shaq Mason?

Points: 1

#125 by dmb // Dec 19, 2022 - 7:02pm

Bill Belichick: putting the "cred" into the Patriots' "incredibly stupid" play.

Points: -1

#131 by RickD // Dec 19, 2022 - 8:23pm

The thing about the lateral is that it Jakobi Meyers made a stupid decision.  It wasn't the play design.  So people criticizing the coaching need to keep that in mind.  It's legitimate to say "well, the coaches should make it sure that the players don't make crazy laterals."  But I don't think anybody dreamed any NFL player would make a lateral as bad as what Meyers did.  

Belichick haters are having a field day with this and, as always, Tanier is at the front of the line.  Still bitter about 2004, no doubt.  

Tanier could have written this column with a bit more expansion on the Cole "touchdown," yet another failure by NFL officiating.  But that didn't fit the narrative he wants.  He wants to say Belichick is done.  

There are likely to be at least two playoff teams worse than the Patriots: the winners of the AFC South and NFC South, whoever they turn out to be.  In a sense, the real major change for the Patriots over the past three years is that, finally, after two decades of mostly mediocre competition in the division, the AFC East is the deepest division in the NFL. The Bills are Super Bowl favorites and the Dolphins have one of the top three offenses in the league.  There are 3-4 teams in the conference clearly better than the Pats, which is why I'm not having a panic attack over the difference between a 8-6 or 7-7 record at this point.  I care less about the record than how they are playing at a given moment.

The first half yesterday was dreadful.  Their first trip to the red zone was a comedy of errors, with wasted timeouts and missed passing turning 1st and goal from the 2 into only 3 points.

Far worse, and apparently getting less attention, was the special teams screw up that led to the blocked punt and the Raiders' second TD. Why did they snap the ball before everybody was ready?  The exact same mistake Mac Jones made at the goal line, which cost the Pats a TD?!

There are certainly coaching issues going on here.  I find the language of "but Belichick hired these guys and if he doesn't fire them immediately, everything is his fault" less than convincing.  He's had bad assistant coaches before. (most recently Scar's 1-year replacement as O-Line coach who didn't notice Byron Stork tipping the snap in the AFCCG.)  He doesn't fire guys in the middle of the season.   We'll see what happens with Patricia.  I don't like the idea personally, but apparently I'm more willing to cut Belichick some slack than a huge number of vocal Pats' fans.  Ideally, MP will be released in the offseason, replaced by somebody who can get Mac Jones back on track.  The current trajectory of Mac's development is dismal.  And MP is not a QB coach. 

There is definitely a coaching issue here, but it's not exactly what people think it is.  It's not "Matt Patricia doesn't know how to call plays."  If that were the problem, it would be easier to solve.  He's not going to be an elite play caller quickly, but at least that's a problem that could be addressed with experience.

No, the problem seems to be "Matt Patricia is bad at communicating with players."  That's what they said in Detroit, that was the problem with Malcolm Butler and with Kendrick Bourne, and it seems to be the problem with Mac Jones.  This is a personality issue, not a knowledge-base problem.  And it's not going to go away. 

This season has been riddled with mental issues like false starts and blown blocking assignments.  Bad spacing by receivers.  Players generally not having a sense of confidence in the program.  Bad communication.



Points: 1

#134 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:14pm

Good post.  Belichick has gotten the best of Saleh twice this year, and you don't see anyone wanting him fired, only his co-ordinators, and even then only the grungiest Jets fans are going down that road.  I think people are just surprised a Belichick team would commit a foolish play as bad as Meyers to Jones to Jones, but we've lost some perspective.  There was a play like that one this Sunday in the 1998 Jaguars-Jets divisonal playoff game; a Jaguars interception led to a lateral which led to a Keyshawn Johnson fumble recovery.  When the game ended Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin had a laugh about it.  However, social media and desperate newspapers/tv stations pile on and create narratives even with the barest whisper of an issue.  The NY Post called the Jets a clown car before the 2012 season started, even though the Jets had not had a losing season under Rex Ryan yet.  I'm sorry though, I'm in the mood for piling on your favorite team.

Points: 0

#135 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:14pm

The AFC East isn’t even the best division with “East” in the name.

Points: 0

#136 by mehllageman56 // Dec 19, 2022 - 9:20pm

By DVOA it is; the AFC East fits into the top 13, while the Giants and Commanders rank 22nd and 19th respectively.  You are correct that the NFC East has better records, and both divisions played the NFC North, but the AFC East got stuck with the AFC North while the NFC East feasted on the AFC South.

Points: 5

#141 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 9:02am

IMO, the Meyers fumbelateral is a direct result of guys trying to make things happen because they're frustrated and there isn't any real direction coming from the top. IE, Patricia didn't call for it - but Patricia has created an environment where the entire offense is sloppy, undisciplined, and feels hopeless. 

The biggest issue I see at this point is that there doesn't seem to be any distancing going on between BB and Patricia - and that concerns the hell out of me - because it may mean that BB still thinks this is an execution issue, and not a mismanagement issue. 

Points: 0

#144 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 20, 2022 - 9:51am

I can't represent my glee at watching Patricia destroy the team that spawned him, like a boomerang from hell.

He's like Svengali, but stupid. Which is a lot like the real Svengali, really.

Points: 0

#150 by ChrisS // Dec 20, 2022 - 2:27pm

From a management perspective it does not do any good to publicly criticize an employee if a good alternative is not available, so my assumption is that Belichek realizes the problem exists and thinks any possible replacements will not be enough of a benefit to outweigh the disruption caused by the changes

Points: 0

#152 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 20, 2022 - 3:24pm

Sure - but Bill Belichick is publicly criticizing employees - and rather than criticizing an obvious problem - with a coach who isn't an asset - and should be gone next year - he's criticizing players - guys who matter - and who have multi-year contracts - and guys who need to make decisions on whether they're going to be open to new contracts. 

A good manager always puts the blame on management before they publicly put it on individual contributors. Patricia is part of the management structure - and that's where the axe needs to fall - even if its just symbolic. When you come in an criticize individual contributors when it's clear ot them that management isn't putting them in a position to succeed - the results are never good.

BB has spent the last 30 years talking about accountability - and right now he's making it clear that either that's bullshit - or he thinks Patricia isn't a problem - and it's really clear from comments from Mac Jones and a bunch of other players that this is starting to become a locker-room problem. 

Continuing to make statements like "We have to do a better job throwing the ball" and "I think we just need to execute the plays better" are actively harmful - because they're pointing the finger at players (especially the young quarterback who is actively complaining that he's not getting any actual coaching) instead of pointing them where it's needed.

The best thing BB could do right now is chalk the rest of the season up as a loss, blame everything on Patricia, fire his ass - and bring in someone to work on fundamentals. At least that way you'd fix some of the morale issues and fix some of the relationships that have clearly been damaged. Use Patricia as a lightning rod. 

It's telling how many offensive players who were very good last year seem to be borderline nfl players at this point. Trent Brown only gave up 1 sack and 1 penalty over the last 2 years (similar total snaps). He's given up 8 sacks (3rd in the nfl) and been called for 11 penalties (1st) this year. Isaiah Wynn wasn't as good - but he's regressed similarly. Cole Strange looks worse than he did in preseason. Onwenu and Andrews are the only ones who aren't a mess. Mac Jones has obviously regressed - Bourne isn't playing anymore and clearly doesn't want to be here. I can't think of a single player who looks better (Rhamondre looks the same - he's just getting more play time). 

And frankly, the offense is so dysfunctional right now - and there's so much low hanging fruit that I'd be very surprised if you saw much downturn. There are clear issues with the line, and injuries - but play-calling is an enormous issue at this point - and just getting that up to replacement level would make a big positive difference in the offense. I don't think a lot of people on here realize how predictable the Patriots offense has been this year with regard to telegraphing run/pass based on formations, the fact that when they do throw from under center, it's almost always to the runningbacks, the fact that they don't utilize play-action at all, etc.   

Points: 0

#153 by RickD // Dec 20, 2022 - 3:31pm

"Sure - but Bill Belichick is publicly criticizing employees - and rather than criticizing an obvious problem - with a coach who isn't an asset - and should be gone next year - he's criticizing players - guys who matter -""


Are you one of those people who sees "that was too far for a Hail Mary" and says "I can't believe he just criticized Mac Jones's arm strength!"  In a sentence that had neither the guys name, nor blamed the QB position, nor mentioned arm strength.  

Reporters decided that's what he meant.  It's a huge reach to start getting on Belichick's case for publicly criticizing players when that's exactly what he didn't do.  

Belichick didn't even call out Byron Stork for tipping the snap in the AFCCG vs. Denver several years ago.  It's simply something he doesn't do.  It's part of why all of his comments are vague. 

Points: -1

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