Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened in the Sunday afternoon games of week 6 …
Things that made me dizzy
Steelers Punch That Browns O-Line in the Face: Over and over. And again and again and again. Then they gave them a swirlie, a wedgie and the dreaded rear admiral. My point is that what the Steelers defense did to the Browns from the front borders on obscenity, and if it got worse the FCC should step in.
Bears D supplies the Splash Plays Chicago Needs: One of their three takeaways was a gift from Mike Davis on a fumble in the open field – less a strip and more Davis forgetting he was holding a football. But in Carolina, the defense had two pickaxes and four bags of Teddy Bridgewater, harassing them all day. The 5-1 record feels a bit more realistic when the defense has a day like that (although it still doesn’t feel real because the offense is so bad).
Derrick Henry Saves Christmas: Ryan Tannehill was an excellent match in that Titans offense, creating a wonderful game tying, but the quarterback also nearly ruined it with his two giveaways on Sunday. It was Henry who won this game. There was the 94-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. And the fact that the Titans beat Henry in the wildcat on a third-and-goal out of 5 in extra time tells you a lot about what they think about their run and their quarterback.
Todd Bowles just ate Aaron Rodgers’ soul: That’s the first time this season that Rodgers seemed hesitant, and it was on Sunday for most of the day.
Carlton Davis came to play: Football, in particular. He was questionable, but in the end, the Bucs No. 1 corner made it and made the difference, especially by forcing Aaron Rodgers’ second interception in the second quarter.
Jamel Dean is also coming: He had a rough rookie campaign and no one is shy about bullying him, but he held out against Chicago two Thursdays ago, and after Sunday he gets to tell his grandkids that he had a pick-six from Aaron Rodgers. Although I don’t think he has any grandchildren yet.
Joe Judge is on the board !: Good for him, and now there’s no need to call on the roster to run gasers at 3am tonight.
Brady to Gronk is back, apparently: They also let it go to the field, at a cost of five catches, 78 yards, and a TD.
Julio Jones plays football again: Eight catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns in his return to lineup when the Falcons jumped on the Vikings early. The game below is crazy, from the Matt Ryan he will-or-not-he on the scrimmage to rookie CB Jeff Gladney’s dubious decision to try out roller skating for the first time in his life at an NFL game, but Julio armed linebacker Eric Smith and staying within limits while doing so is reminiscent of the good old days.
Philip Rivers Rallies: It was the junior ranger kit, but after last week’s meltdown in Cleveland (which had a lot to do with the absence of LT Anthony Castonzo, who was back on Sunday), it was good to see the Colts climb back from a 21 -0. shortage to avoid calamity against the Bengals on Sunday. Rivers finished 29-for-44 for 371, 3 TD’s and an INT.
Bud Dupree becomes a wealthy man: He had two sacks and two tackles for loss, causing rookie LT Jedrick Wills to attend school repeatedly. Dupree also had a play where he chased Austin Hooper on a second and long chase and took him out from behind – just one of those surprisingly violent tackles. But back to the original point: Dupree will get a chance to call this off-season his own price if he keeps this up, and there’s no reason to think he won’t.
Tua is perfect !: 2-for-2, for 10 yards (and the dolphins’ only third-down conversion) in cleanup duty.
Dolphins put down a third, lose turnover: And win with 24 points.
Daniel Jones’ First TD Pass Since St. Swithin’s Day: The heat he’s taken off this year is largely unfounded – he’s made progress and it’s reasonable he could establish himself as a franchise QB before his rookie deal ends. But it was nice to see Abracadaniel make a four-game TD-less streak by putting a touchdown in the first quarter against Darius Slayton.
Brandon McManus gets two-thirds of the way to the number of the beast: The Broncos eventually needed his six-for-six on field goals. (I’m also not sure how statistically a kicker would become 6-6-6. Maybe 6-for-66? Or 6-for-6 with a 66-year-old?)
Carson Wentz: Tell anyone waiting for a Superman / They should try to hold on as best they can / He didn’t drop them, forget them or anything / It’s just too heavy for a Superman to lift. (Another absurd performance by Wentz against a defense that his unit severely outwitted. The Eagles were a two-point conversion from forcing extra time against Baltimore.)
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Just one of those days for Aaron Rodgers: He played great on schedule this year, but the Bucs warmed him up like no other in the first four games of the season. Other than that, he just missed a few throws. The pick-six was thrown late and the other interception was just the defense knocking out his number 1 receiver. As weird as it is to see Rodgers so exhausted, you’ll probably be fine.
Baker Mayfield on Third Downs: Why yes, I wrote about this in Football Things. The Browns attack works on early downs with a combination of zone-rushing attack and play-action boot stuff, on which Mayfield enters those wide-open spaces. This offense – and Mayfield, in particular – has issues in obvious passing situations (and you could point to the rib injury or the excellence of the Steelers defense, but it’s been a problem all year long). Mayfield’s moves in a traditional pocket – gliding to find throwing strips, the subtle moves that make Drew Brees Drew Brees, for example – aren’t nearly as sharp as they should be for a six-foot quarterback. You can’t point out that field vision is a problem for an undersized quarterback without being told you love Brock Osweiler, but field vision is an obvious problem with Mayfield, who utterly hopelessly deciphered the blurry cover after both interceptions against the Steelers . . During their four-game winning streak, Cleveland took advantage of early takeaways that created big leads; they didn’t understand that in Pittsburgh. They were 1-for-9 at third base while Mayfield was in the line-up. With the investment they’ve made in the supporting cast, Mayfield can’t be such a limited quarterback. We’re good as long as we get three take-aways is not a formula for beating good opponents.
Cam is back (but no better than ever): Anytime you lose as a 10 point home favorite, it’s worrying. But the fact that Josh McDaniels felt the need to resort to multiple gadget games in the fourth quarter is especially concerning. The Patriots don’t plan to play from behind often, but they didn’t seem able to do so on Sunday.
Kirk Cousins starts bad and stays bad: Cousins made some brutal mistakes against the Falcons early on, and the Vikings just aren’t really equipped to play from behind.
The Return of Drew Lock: It was good to see him again! And expectations had to be reasonable for a trip to Foxboro. But he certainly made things unnecessarily interesting in a game the Broncos comfortably led.
Like, Everything About the Jaguars: But don’t worry, there is a lot of good young talent out there that will bloom in a few years, just in time to be alienated by the front office, then franchise-tagged and traded for Day 2 picks.
The jets and dolphins won’t change a thing, thanks: The teams went 3-for-26 on the third downs together. When my 8 year old noticed that there were fans in the stands, she asked why. I told her because Florida let in some fans during the pandemic. She said, “No, I mean, why would anyone want to go to a Jets game.”
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Moments we will tell our grandchildren about
Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Rodgers talk to each other: Several times. Suh shot Rodgers cheaply in the second quarter – or at least shot late, it wasn’t that big a hit and probably won’t make the compilation of Suh’s greatest hits. At the end of the first half, this Suh bag was like … a very bigger man pushing a smaller, but still big man to the ground. I have no idea what they said to each other which makes this whole blurb very anti-climactic:
Gronk scores first touchdown since December 2018: And just throw the ball on the ground? What … what the hell was that party?
Matthew Stafford as Kent Tekulve: To be clear, I’m not really dating myself because even I’m too young to have seen Kent Tekulve. But I know he pitched like that. Did I screw up the joke? Was there even a joke that could be screwed up in the first place? Anyway, neat throw.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside is on the board: We give him a lot of bullshit around these parts, but this is a big buzz on the downfield block, and then he’ll be rewarded with the awkward recovery in the end zone. Good for him.
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What we’ll talk about this week
Yes, the Eagles will be fine: Sunday wasn’t pretty, but they were also overmanned by that Ravens defense. The Eagles are back-to-back through the Steelers-Ravens at a time when their attack is still making its way. The Cowboys aren’t going anywhere with the NFC East, and Philly is getting Giants-Cowboys-Giants on the way. Give them a 72% chance of winning the division.
I’m fine with Romeo Crennel Going for Two: The Texans had taken a seven-run lead and tried to expand it to nine. If they had it, the game would be over. They didn’t, and the Titans were able to tie it with a touchdown plus PAT at the end of the regulations (instead of having to go for two). The way the Texans had their way with a tired Titans defense, I thought it was cool. So Coach Crennel has that for him.
It will be a thing at some point in the next low season: But are the Browns exercising Baker Mayfield’s fifth year option? My guess is yes – the bigger question is the long-term commitment after that.
Gregg Williams makes the least controversial comments ever: The Jets’ defense is bad indeed. But did people think the crime ranked last in each major category? was not put the defense in difficult spots?
This is what the Bucs look like when not flagged for 1,000 penalties: Five hundred of those were sham sentences, like what happened two Thursdays ago when officials took over in Chicago. Just keep them away from Alex Kemp’s crew.
Whoever had the Bucs No. 3 in Power Rankings this week must be very smart: And probably handsome too, with an enchanting musk. (Just ignore who was number 1.)
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