2020 Football (American, that is)


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Onward we go!

What We Learned From Week 9 of the NFL Season Pt 1 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 8, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Sunday’s Top Performers
Top Passer: Patrick Mahomes

You can make a case for Buffalo QB Josh Allen’s huge day in a win against Seattle - which was probably the best overall game of his career - or New Orleans QB Drew Brees’s total destruction of TBay. Or even Arizona QB Kyler Murray’s eye-popping statistics in a loss to Miami. But it’s not every day a player breaks an NFL record held by Dan Marino. Patrick Mahomes did just that, throwing for 372 yds and the 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st passing TDs of his career.

In 40 career starts, Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs has 101 TD passes, which is four fewer starts than Marino’s previous record, which had stood since 1986. Mahomes has thrown for 300 or more yds 22 times and has been held to fewer than 300 just 18 times.

Top Runner: Dalvin Cook
There have been eight games of 150 or more yds rushing this season, and Cook has three of them. He had 181 in Week 3, 163 in Week 8 and a career-high 206 this week. His latest performance pushed him ahead of Tennessee’s Derrick Henry for the NFL lead in rushing yds despite Cook having played in one fewer game than Henry.

Top Receiver: Tyreek Hill
A few players had more catches than Hill on Sunday, and several had more yds, but Hill’s nine-catch 113-yard day stood out because of his two TDs, both of which came in the fourth quarter of a tight game. The first of the two was a beautiful 28-yarder in which a coverage breakdown by Carolina led to Hill being comically open for the 100th TD pass of Mahomes’s career.

One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games (*Except when it takes more.)

Bills 44, Seahawks 34. Want an idea of how bad Seattle’s defense has been this season? Despite giving up 44 points - the most the team has allowed in Coach Pete Carroll’s 11 seasons with the team - the Seahawks actually performed better than they typically do this year. The 420 total yds they gave up were 40 fewer than they were allowing per game coming in. The seven sacks they had were a season-high.

Seattle’s porous defense may want to ask Russell Wilson if he’s interested in playing both ways, as the QB made a solid tackle of Tre’Davious White that prevented the Bills cornerback from scoring following an interception. Seattle maintains its lead in the NFC West with a 6–2 record, thanks to Arizona losing to Miami, and the LA Rams with a bye week.

While the offensive output was nice, Buffalo was probably just as excited by a defensive performance with five sacks, 11 QB hits and four turnovers forced against the top-scoring offense in the NFL.

It was Buffalo’s first game with 40 or more points since 2018 and gave Josh Allen the second 400-yard passing game of his career. The Bills improved to 7-2, which matches the team’s best nine-game start since 1993.

Ravens 24, Colts 10. An interception can look a lot like an incomplete pass. Colts QB Philip Rivers was quietly livid over a ruling that gave a batted ball away to the Ravens, who then went down the field for a TD. Instead of the Colts leading 10-7 with a chance to score, the Ravens went ahead 14-10 and never looked back.

It was a quiet day for Baltimore’s offense, with just 266 total yds, but Lamar Jackson’s 9-yard TD run in Q4 put the Ravens over 20 points for a 31st consecutive game. The Ravens broke the previous record of 30 they had shared with Denver, which had its streak stretch over the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Steelers 24, Cowboys 19. Pittsburgh is in uncharted territory. The Steelers have never started a season 8-0. Sunday’s win was far from pretty, as Dallas made this look like a football game, leading Pittsburgh right up to 2:19 left in the game. But then Ben Roethlisberger threw two TD passes in quick succession, the second involving TE Eric Ebron hurdling a defender on his way to score. The Steelers scraped by with yet another win and Dallas, despite great improvement from last week, fell to 2-7.

Chiefs 33, Panthers 31. It got way too close for KC’s comfort toward the end of the game, with Carolina’s offense firing on all cylinders thanks to the return of RB Christian McCaffrey who, along with QB Teddy Bridgewater and the do-everything receiver Curtis Samuel, makes Carolina a threat to score in bunches for the rest of the season. In his first action since Week 2, McCaffrey had 151 yds from scrimmage and two TDs for the Panthers in a hard-fought loss to the Chiefs that went right down to 0:0 on the clock. A last second TD was ruled incomplete, dropping Carolina to 3-6.

Saints 38, Buccaneers 3. The Saints’ Taysom Hill continues as a force both as a TE and a trick-play QB. He completed two passes for 48 yds, ran the ball seven times for 54 yds and caught one pass for 21 yds. The Saints scored early, and that eliminated the Bucs running game. All the dominoes fell over to hand the Saints a rout of their division rivals.

The Bucs' only points came from kicker Ryan Succop, who now has the third-most points of any kicker in the league with 74. He has an 89% field goal success rate this season. An injury-ridden OL allowed pressure on QB Brady, one of his few weaknesses since he’s not a mobile passer. Tampa’s D got tired, and the punting sucked. The Bucs made the night memorable by setting an NFL record with only five running plays in a game, breaking the previous record of six. They finished the day with just 8 yds rushing.

Titans 24, Bears 17. After six games, Chicago was 5-1 and looking like a possible playoff team. But after three consecutive losses Chicago is 5-4. The Titans go to 6-2 to keep their first place lead over the Colts – but this Thursday Nite match-up between these two teams gives the Colts a chance for a temporary tie if they win.


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What We Learned From Week 9 of the NFL Season Pt 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 8, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Raiders 31, Chargers 26. LVegas CB Isaiah Johnson broke up two passes in the end zone in the game’s final five seconds, either of which would have won the game for LAC. Afterwards he dedicated his game-ball performance to Ka’Darian Smith, his close friend and former college teammate, who was killed Wednesday in a shooting in Houston. The Raiders improved to 5–3 behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. The Raiders have a porous secondary, but when QB Derek Carr gets them at least 30 points, they’ve won all four of those 2020 games. LAC’s Justin Herbert again showed he has the arm to compete with anyone, so even with a 2–6 record, nobody can deny 2021 looks a lot brighter for LAC.

Dolphins 34, Cardinals 31. Arizona’s Kyler Murray had a more exciting game, but Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa walked away with the win. Tagovailoa looked much improved from last week’s start, throwing for 248 yds and two TDs, with plenty of help from his rapidly ascending team to hold off Murray. Murray passed for 283 yds and three TDs while running for 106 yds and another score.

Vikings 34, Lions 20. It was a hard day for Detroit, as Matthew Stafford was intercepted on consecutive possessions in Q3, then left the game for concussion evaluation in Q4 while his team’s defense was trampled by Minnesota’s offense. Dalvin Cook’s career-high 206 yds rushing put him in the NFL lead in that category and he also leads in total TDs with 13. Cook may not be in the MVP discussion, but he’s the hands-winner in value to the Vikes.

Falcons 34, Broncos 27. Atlanta got a solid win at home, and Matt Ryan had one of the prettier 51-yard bombs for a TD you’ll ever see. But it’s worth noting that Denver QB Drew Lock once against inspired some magic, leading the team to 21 points in Q4, a week after putting up 21 in that Q4 for a come-from-behind win over the Chargers. If only Lock could play like that for the first three quarters, Denver would have a better record than 3–5.

Texans 27, Jaguars 25. Houston is a deeply flawed team, but given a chance to exploit Jacksonville’s porous secondary, Deshaun Watson did not disappoint, throwing a 57-yard catch-and-run TD to Brandin Cooks on his team’s first possession and a 77-yard score to Will Fuller V in the third quarter.

The Jaguars rookie Jake Luton, a sixth-round pick out of Oregon State, was subbing for the injured Gardner Minshew. While he couldn’t pull off the upset of Houston, he did enough to earn another start next week. The second pass of Luton’s pro career went for a 73-yard TD to D.J. Chark, and with the game on the line in the final two minutes, Luton spun and bullied his way to a 13-yard rushing TD that got his team within a 2-point conversion of tying the game (the conversion failed). He threw for 304 yds, making him just the 10th QB in NFL history to throw for 300 or more yds in his first NFL appearance. No word yet on whether Luton can match Minshew as a fashion icon.

Giants 23, Footballers 20. For just the second time in 22 career appearances, QB Daniel Jones did not commit a turnover in a game and improved to 4-0 against Washington. He’s 1-16 against all other teams so far.

Washington’s Alex Smith’s comeback might be real this time. He got another chance on Sunday after an injury to Kyle Allen, and at times he looked like the player who had so much success in SF and KC. He threw for 325 yds - his first 300-yard game since Nov. 4, 2018 - and despite having three interceptions in the loss to the Giants, the Footballers outscored their division rival by 17-13 after the QB switch. With Allen’s injury looking fairly serious, Smith will start next week against Detroit.

Monday Night Football: Patriots 30, Jets 27
Joe Flacco and the rest of the Jets could feel it – their first victory of a brutal season was there for the taking! They had a 10-point lead in Q4 against a struggling New England Patriots team and all the momentum. But just like that...they blew it. And for the first time in franchise history, the Jets are 0-9 after an agonizing defeat Monday night.

Flacco was having a terrific night standing in for the injured Sam Darnold, with the Jets leading 27-17. After a Patriots’ 29-yard field goal with 6:04 left cut the deficit to 27-20, Flacco tried to put the game away. He launched a deep pass downfield for Denzel Mims, but J.C. Jackson intercepted the ill-advised throw. The Patriots took advantage and marched down the field to tie it on Cam Newton’s 1-yard touchdown run.

The Jets then went three-and-out for the first time all game on its next drive, giving the Patriots the ball back with 47 seconds left. And that set up Folk’s winning 51-yard field goal as time expired, sending the Jets into their bye week in disbelief and searching for answers.

Darnold’s future is still unclear, and it’s unknown if he’ll be healthy enough to play in the Jets’ next game against the Chargers Nov. 22. This season was supposed to see Darnold taking the next step in becoming a franchise QB in his third season. Instead, he could end up following Jets HC Adam Gase out the door.

The Jets currently hold the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft next April, which actually would have been put in jeopardy with a win Monday night. While frustrated fans dream about potentially landing Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Jets coaches and players would settle for walking off the field winners at some point.


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Thanks to the wonders of technology, last night I watched the Raiders/Chargers game I had 'taped' on the DVR. Hoo boy, can that Herbert kid throw! Mahomes has a better "touch", but LAC's Herbert reminds me of how John Elway used to throw, when he first came up.

That football comes out of his hands like it was shot from a tank - a tight, superfast spiral that smacks hard into the receiver. The velocity must really sting! He makes some rookie mistakes, but with RB Austin Ekeler running over opposing lineman, LAC's high-powered offense is in good hands with Herbert.

The great Sid Gilman, one of the finest offensive minds in NFL history - the long ball throw? putting a man in motion? those were Gilman's radical ideas - would be proud how Herbert is carrying on Chargers tradition of exciting QBs.

Gilman, btw, was the only one willing to give Bill Walsh a job after Walsh left the Browns and Paul Brown blackballed him. Sid mentored Bill and later advised him to take the Stanford HC job when it was offered. At the time it was considered "the kiss of death" to return to college football after working in the NFL.

But Walsh took the job, was enormously successful, and it was that local success that caught the eye of Eddie deBartolo, then SF Niners owner. You could say that the Niners' five Super Bowl trophies owe a debt to Gilman and the Chargers, who helped refine Walsh's offensive system which he had begun to develop in Cleveland, so long ago.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Lethe200 mentioned John Elway. I loved to watch Elway throw the ball.
It took him a few years to learn not to throw bullet balls, and his problems with following directions.
Once he figured it out, he was unbeatable. There are games that break a teams spirit, as Elway's' destruction of
Cleveland; Cleveland was on the verge of being a super ball team, but Mr. Elway left them crying.

So, what is one to make of the Bills. They will win their decision, but are they a playoff team-don't think so.
Also, the Dolphins and Cardinals, are they for real? The Cardinals are a good club-are the Dolphins better?
What's with Settle losing a game they were supposed to win-a fluke?

Who is Justin Herbert, can't keep track of these guy, plus the darn teams moving to strange places-Las Veges,?

Oh well, wait for Steele's and Ravens second game.
Neither is the best team in football (?), but their the toughest.


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NFL Week 10 Predictions Pt 1 of 2
This week is the gut check for some of 2020’s most exciting teams and players. After a huge win over Seattle the Bills have a tough test against the Cardinals. The Dolphins will try to keep their hot streak going against the Chargers. Joe Burrow of the Bengals gets his first big AFC North test against the undefeated Steelers. The Rams, fresh from their bye, have a chance for a share of the NFC West lead in a matchup with the Seahawks.
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 12, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Sunday’s Best Games

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05 p.m., CBS

Pick: Cardinals
It’s a little unusual to rave about the defensive performance of a team that gave up 34 points, but the Bills (7-2) were up on Seattle by 27-10 in the third quarter last week before easing off on defense and cruising to a 44-34 victory.

Buffalo sacked Russell Wilson five times, hit him another 11 times, pulled down two interceptions and recovered two fumbles.

This week has nearly as difficult a challenge. The Cardinals (5-3) can do considerable damage, thanks to the running and passing of QB Kyler Murray, and would get an enormous boost if RB Kenyan Drake could return from an ankle injury.

With Buffalo’s Josh Allen coming off perhaps the best game of his career, it was no surprise for oddsmakers to predict this would be the highest scoring game of the week. But if Buffalo’s defense can perform near the standard it established last week, the Bills can walk away with a road win to be proud of.

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Rams
What a lovely bye week for the Rams (5-3). They got some rest and watched every other team in the NFC West lose. Now they host the Seahawks (6-2) with a reasonable chance of getting a share of the division lead.

Los Angeles has been more effective running than passing, but Seattle’s secondary is so bad that it makes every offense look terrific — and Jamal Adams, an All-Pro safety acquired by the Seahawks in the off-season to stabilize the team, has been a huge part of the problem. There is every reason to believe the Rams have the advantage in this game, but if Russell Wilson wants to stay in the M.V.P. race, this is the type of game he has to win.

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Pick: Dolphins
The Dolphins (5-3) are the team people thought the Chargers (2-6) might be this season. It’s not that LAC has been particularly bad, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about two wins in eight games. Miami, on the other hand, had low expectations but has been an absolute joy to watch on both sides of the ball, and in its current 4-0 stretch, it has had a combined score of 129-65.

QBs Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa were in the same draft class, and appear on their way to starring in the league for years to come. For now, Tagovailoa’s Dolphins seems far better.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Steelers
Despite being on the Covid-19 reserve list because of a close contact, Ben Roethlisberger is in line to play this week, provided he doesn’t test positive himself. Regardless, he won’t be able to practice all week, which would be a bigger deal if the Steelers (8-0) were facing a defense more competent than that of the Bengals (2-5-1).

If Roethlisberger is at all limited, the Steelers can simply run their way to a win with James Conner. And while QB Joe Burrow has a bright future for Cincinnati, he is likely not ready for Pittsburgh.

Sunday’s Other Games

TBay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

Pick: Buccaneers
The Buccaneers (6-3) are almost certainly not as bad as they looked against New Orleans on Sunday night, but that loss, coming on the heels of a narrow win over the Giants the previous week, has taken a great deal of the shine off Tom Brady’s first season in TBay.

The Buccaneers have picked a poor time to be struggling, as the Panthers (3-6) are rounding into shape. While RB Christian McCaffrey is not expected to play on Sunday because of a shoulder injury, the team adjusted in recent weeks to take advantage of the versatility of Curtis Samuel, who excels as a runner and receiver. Pairing Samuel with WRs Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore makes the Panthers a team to fear, even for a talented young defense like TBay’s.

Baltimore Ravens at NE Patriots, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Pick: Ravens
Both teams are coming off wins, but both wins might not sit all that well. The Ravens (6-2) struggled on offense for much of a victory over Indianapolis, while the Patriots (3-5) needed a furious fourth-quarter comeback to beat the winless Jets. There are degrees of struggle, however, and while Baltimore may have been exposed in recent weeks as being a step or two below KC in the AFC’s pecking order, NE is only a few steps above the worst teams in the NFL

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Pick: Raiders
In their last four games, the Raiders (5-3) beat KC, were blown out by TBay, throttled Cleveland’s high-powered offense and outgunned the Chargers. Not a perfect stretch, but enough to have Las Vegas in line for a playoff spot if the season ended now. The Broncos (3-5) can’t claim the same, but they are at least making things exciting, with 21 points in Q4 in each of the team’s last two games.

To keep up with the Raiders, the Broncos would need to find a way to even out the team’s productivity.
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NFL Week 10 Predictions Pt 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 12, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Browns
Nick Chubb, the star RB of the Browns (5-3), is practicing this week, and if he is able to go, that would be terrible news for the Texans (2-6), who have a comically inept run defense. While Kareem Hunt has talent, and is a great second option to Chubb, Cleveland is far scarier when the offense goes through Chubb.

Cleveland’s running game might become quickly irrelevant, though, if Deshaun Watson and the Texans can get off to a fast start against a mediocre secondary. Watson was able to carve up Jacksonville’s defense last week with long TDs to Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller, and a few of those early in the game could take away the Browns’ primary advantage.

SF 49ers at New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Saints
It appeared as if the exciting Niner RB Raheem Mostert had a chance to come off injured reserve to play in this game, but with the team (4-5) collapsing under a season lost to injuries, a reasonable question became: Why would he do that? A loss to the Saints (6-2) in New Orleans seems all but certain, so the decision to have Mostert sit out this game, giving him a bonus week off thanks to the team’s Week 11 bye, will have him at full strength for a division game against Los Angeles in Week 12.

After watching New Orleans throttle the full-strength Buccaneers on Sunday night, it’s hard to believe oddsmakers didn’t make the point spread in this game even wider.

Jacksonville Jaguars at GBay Packers, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Packers
Remember last year when there was concern that Coach Matt LaFleur’s offense was relying too heavily on RB Aaron Jones and that QB Aaron Rodgers was being minimized? Through eight games, Rodgers is on a pace to make 4,506 yds passing, 48 TDs and just four interceptions, and the Packers (6-2) are averaging 31.6 points a game. This week, Rodgers is facing the Jaguars (1-7), who have the least efficient pass defense in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.

How much damage can Rodgers do, at home, against a team that inept? As much as he wants, probably.

Washington Football Team at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Lions
All it took for QB Alex Smith to get back to starting in the NFL was 17 surgeries on his right leg, the implosion of Dwayne Haskins and a gruesome ankle sprain to Kyle Allen (though one far less complicated than Smith’s). It was an improbable path, but the 36-year-old Smith has fought through adversity in his career and won a lot more than he has lost.

So where does that leave the Footballers (2-6)? Certainly no worse off than they were a week ago, when they lost to the lowly Giants, especially when you consider that Washington outscored NY once the switch was made to Smith after Allen’s injury.

The Lions (3-5) are playing at home, and unlike last week when he was on the Covid-19 reserve list, Matthew Stafford will be able to practice. But Smith’s first start in nearly two years might inspire an upset, or something close to one.

Philadelphia Eagles at Giants, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Eagles
Games between NFC East teams should be entertaining because the talent levels are similar. Instead, they are often mistake-filled disappointments in which both teams find new ways to fail. The Eagles (3-4-1) are leading the division, mostly by default, and the Giants (2-7) hardly seem likely to challenge that unless the league finds a way to add several more games against Washington to their schedule. But while the Eagles can and should win, they rarely cover the betting spread.

Monday’s Matchup

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Pick: Vikings
It’s not that Chicago is inept. The Bears are terrific at defending the run and the pass, but the team’s QB, Nick Foles, is a wild card who can look brilliant and ineffective — often in the same series. That has led to Chicago struggling so much to score that the quality of the team’s defense often becomes irrelevant.

In Coach Mike Zimmer’s six seasons at the helm of the Vikings (3-5), the team has struggled to a 6-19 record in road games against opponents with winning records. So what will it look like when a Minnesota team that can score but can’t defend faces a Chicago one that can defend but can’t score? Probably a bit of a mess.

But the Vikings have the best player on the field in RB Dalvin Cook. No one has scored more TDs this season than Cook. They have played well in five of their last six games. The Bears make it too hard for anyone to believe in them, even at home.

Thursday’s Matchup: Colts 34, Titans 17
E.J. Speed of the Colts blocked a punt attempt by Tennessee’s Trevor Daniel and T.J. Carrie recovered the ball and ran it in for a 6-yard TD.

After Sunday’s disappointing loss to Baltimore, the Colts marched into Tennessee looking to prove that their defense could carry the team to a crucial win. Indianapolis did just that, grabbing a share of the lead in the AFC South with a 34-17 victory over the Titans that was convincing on both sides of the ball.

NYT picked Colts +2 believing that a quiet stretch from Titans QB Ryan Tannehill was coming at an awful time, which proved accurate as Tannehill was limited to just 147 yds passing and one TD. That wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with the Colts who ran for two TDs, passed for another, and got a fourth on a blocked punt return.
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jerry old

redneck, but brainy
How strange to see the Washington Football Club rather than the Redskins.
Perhaps a temporary name would be the Spineless Owners Washington football club or The Shaky NFL bosses present the Washington football club. (Horse-feathers) NFL Boss bow to something that has been in Washington since their inception.
There was no disrespect intended-did they understand that?

Well, Redskins were a stone age people, so maybe they passed their DNA to the Owners and NfL
Yea, they have a legitimate grip; but i also have a legitimate grip-leave my football alone.


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About the only bright spot this year is that Bill O"Bien was an idiot when he was with the Texans and gave the Cardinals Deandre Hopkins for almost nothing. The Cardinals have been a nice diversion to everything else going on this year.



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What We Learned From Week 10 of the NFL Season Part 1 of 2
DeAndre Hopkins pulled down a catch that will live forever, Ronald Jones II ran TBay to victory and Ben Roethlisberger was no worse for the wear after a week of no practice.
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 15, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Sunday’s Top Performers
Top Passer: Ben Roethlisberger.
Pittsburgh’s QB Roethlisberger was idle all week after landing on the Covid-19 reserve list and wasn’t cleared to enter team facilities until Saturday. Lack of practice didn’t matter as he torched Cincinnati’s defense for 333 yds and four TDs. Pittsburgh will look to stretch their win streak to 10-0 next week in Jacksonville.

Top Runner: Ronald Jones II. It is hard to tell by the final score, but this was a closely-contested 17-17 game at halftime, and the second half had a slow start as well. Then Jones’s wild 98-yard run came on the first play of TBay’s second drive of the third quarter, and from there the Buccaneers were off to the races. Needless to say, the 192 yds rushing were a personal best for Jones, who came into the day with a career-high of 113. He had just 9 last week.

Top Receiver: DeAndre Hopkins. You could make a reasonable case that GBay’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a more impressive game overall, considering his 78-yard TD and his average of 37.3 yds a catch. But this column is a Murray-to-Hopkins Hail Mary fan blog and we are not considering other nominees at this time.

A Big Week for Kickers
Detroit’s Matt Prater got most of the attention for a three field-goal game that included a 59-yard game-winner as time expired, but he was far from alone. With one game remaining in Week 10, the league’s kickers have already connected for 11 field goals of 50 or more yds, tying a record set in Week 13 of the 2012 season.

The longest field goal on Sunday belonged to Seattle’s Jason Myers, who hit a 61-yarder in the Seahawks’ loss to Los Angeles. But the best day, beyond Prater’s, belonged to Buffalo’s Tyler Bass who connected on field goals of 54, 55 and 58 yds, setting a new career long on three consecutive kicks.

There have been 71 field goals of at least 50 yds this season, which according to the NFL has already broken the league’s record for the first 10 weeks of the season, which was set in 2017 when there were 67.

One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games *Except when it takes more.
Cardinals 32, Bills 30. Thanks to a Seattle loss to the Rams, the Cardinals now share the division lead in the ultracompetitive NFC West. In the final minute of Q4, Buffalo scored the gut-punch of a TD to take a 30-26 lead. Arizona had the ball back with only 34 seconds to score a winning TD that was 75 yds down the field.

Kyler Murray has been breaking through the sophomore jinx. He methodically worked his team down the field, completing passes of 14, 9 and 9 yds to get to Buffalo’s 43-yard line. With only a few seconds remaining, under terrific pressure Murray launched a Hail Mary into triple-coverage in the end zone. Then DeAndre Hopkins proved Houston made an even worse trade in giving him to the Cards than everyone first thought. Hopkins somehow managed to outjump and outmuscle all three Buffalo defenders for the ball. The remarkable catch is the type of highlight that will be replayed for years, and it gave Arizona a thrilling end for a 32-30 win.

Buccaneers 46, Panthers 23. Tom Brady had more than 300 yds passing for the third time this season - he topped that mark only once in his final 10 games with NE.

Ronald Jones ran for 192 yds on 23 carries. In Q3 he took a handoff at his team’s 2-yard line, sliced right through a pack of Carolina defenders, and raced 98 yds for a TD. It was just the fourth rushing TD of 98 or more yds in NFL history, according to Pro Football Reference. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats database, Jones hit 21.19 miles per hour on the run, gaining 94 more yds than expected on the play - the highest mark in that statistic all season.

Steelers 36, Bengals 10. Pittsburgh’s big day on offense saw Ben Roethlisberger throw for four TDs. Diontae Johnson, a second-year WR, contribute six catches for 116 yds and a TD while rookie sensation Chase Claypool scored two more TDs, bringing his total over his last six games to eight. The Steelers are now 9–0 and were #1 this week in the NFL Power Rankings.

Rams 23, Seahawks 16. Leonard Floyd got three of the Rams’ six sacks and five of the team’s 12 QB hits, helping to make Russell Wilson’s day absolutely miserable.

The Seahawks’ Achilles’ heel all season has been its porous defense, but Seattle can’t blame its defense this week. In a devastating divisional loss to the Rams the offense pulled a disappearing act. Wilson had his worst game of the season with 248 yds passing and two interceptions, while D.K. Metcalf had just two catches on four targets. Seattle has lost three of its last four games, falling into a three-way tie with the Rams and Arizona for the lead in the NFC West. The Seahawks host the Cardinals this Thursday Nov 19th in what will be a crucial game for the NFC West lead.

Giants 27, Eagles 17. It was a throwback game for the Giants, as the team’s defensive front set the tone with three sacks and 13 QB hits, and Daniel Jones went a second consecutive game without committing a turnover. After starting the season 0-5, the Giants have improved from historically awful to merely bad, which in their division could lead to a playoff spot.

Patriots 23, Ravens 17. Rex Burkhead caught TD passes from Cam Newton and Jakobi Meyers, Damien Harris ran for 121 yds and NE held on for an upset that could go a long way to turning around a disappointing season.

Something is not right for Baltimore. The Ravens have lost two of three games since their Week 7 bye and have not looked nearly as explosive on offense. On a rain-soaked field, Baltimore was limited to 115 yds rushing. RB Mark Ingram got just 5 yds in his return from an ankle injury, compounding his bad day by losing track of the snap on a wildcat play in Q3 that resulted in a turnover on downs. It’s too soon to say the league has figured Baltimore out, but this is the closest thing to a slump the Ravens have had in the Lamar Jackson era.


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What We Learned From Week 10 of the NFL Season Part 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 15, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Saints 27, 49ers 13. A huge hit from SF’s Kentavius Street in the second quarter left Saints QB Drew Brees wincing on the field - and resulted in a questionable penalty on Street. Brees was able to fight his way through the pain until halftime, but gave way to Jameis Winston for the second half despite never being officially ruled out with injured ribs.

The Niners injury-riddled D did an amazingly terrific job, but the equally injured offense under QB stand-in Nick Mullens sputtered and sunk. Horrendous special teams play capped a painful loss for SF. They looked good for their first two drives, but then folded under blitzing pressure and turnovers.

Dolphins 29, Chargers 21. Justin Herbert has had a remarkable rookie season, but the Chargers QB was outplayed by Tua Tagovailoa. Herbert’s interception early in Q4 helped gave Miami breathing room needed to stretch its winning streak to five games.

The decision to switch from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tua Tagovailoa at QB raised eyebrows - most notably Fitzpatrick’s - since Miami was playing well and was on the fringe of this year’s playoff hunt. The move was rationalized by most as the right play for the team’s future, but Tagovailoa has changed that narrative by winning the first three starts of his career. In Sunday’s convincing 29-21 win over Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, the team’s defense withstood a late surge from Herbert. Tagovailoa’s statistics haven’t been eye-popping, but getting him much-needed experience while inching closer to a wild-card spot is a case of a team having its cake and eating it too.

Packers 24, Jaguars 20. The Pack goes to 7-2 despite key mistakes, while the Jaguars lost their eighth straight game to fall to 1-8. After an impressive NFL debut last week, Jacksonville’s Jake Luton came back to Earth a bit, passing for just 169 yds with one TD and one interception against a GBay defense that typically makes quite a few mistakes. That didn’t work against Aaron Rodgers, even on a day that was a little slow by his lofty standards. Rodgers had good stats, but the Packers had to come from behind in early Q4 as they were behind 20–17. It looked like he was falling back into his old bad habit of holding onto the ball too long, searching for the big play rather than taking what the defense was generous with anyway.

Browns 10, Texans 7. Cleveland goes to 6–3 while the Texans slump to 2–7. In his first action since Week 4, Browns RB Nick Chubb ran for 126 yds and a TD while Kareem Hunt seemed happy to share the load with 132 yds from scrimmage.

Lions 30, Footballers 27. In his first start in nearly two years following a devastating leg break, Alex Smith threw for 390 yds and rallied his team all the way back from a 24-3 deficit to a 27-27 tie. Then a mistake by his team’s defense handed Detroit the victory.

There were fewer than 10 seconds remaining in a tie game between the Lions and the Footballers when Detroit’s Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass at his own 35-yard line, making OT seem inevitable. But Washington rookie DE Chase Young blew in late and tossed Stafford to the ground, earning a flag for roughing the passer. The 15-yard penalty, plus a 6-yard pass from Stafford to Marvin Jones, got Matt Prater just close enough for a 59-yard field goal as time expired.

That Washington had fought back from a 24-3 deficit to tie the game, only to have it fall apart because of such a ridiculous mistake, will certainly sting - and will undoubtedly be a focus of Washington’s review of the game this week.

Raiders 37, Broncos 12. The Raiders go to 6–3 behind the Chiefs, while Denver falls to 3–6, in third place in the AFC West. It wasn’t the smoothest win for LVegas, but the score could have been even worse for Denver. Carr lost 2 TD passes that should have been caught, one by TE Darren Waller and one by WR Nelson Agholor. The Raiders OL is gaining praise under line coach Tom Gamble, who didn’t seem effective for the Seattle Seahawks but has done a stellar job for LVegas. Despite injuries to their top OLs, Richie Incognito and Trent Brown, QB Carr suffered zero sacks and usually had a clean pocket to throw from.

The Raiders D stepped up, doubling their turnover ratio from a season total of 5 over the first 9 games, by adding another 5 takeaways from Denver in just one game. Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski intercepted a high arching pass from Lock with an upwards leap and then a one-handed juggling catch, worthy of Gronk at his finest. Denver QB Drew Lock was hit often and hard, looking severely beaten up by game’s end.

When asked about a game in which his team’s defense forced five turnovers and RBs Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker combined for 193 yds rushing and four TDs, QB Derek Carr just seemed happy to be there. “It’s kind of awesome,” Carr said in his postgame news conference. “As I get older, I let the young guys do more of the work.”

Monday Night Football: Vikings 19, Bears 13.
A critical division matchup but the Bears fell short. Back on Oct. 18, the Chicago Bears. stood at 5-1, with a switch at QB from Mitch Trubisky to Nick Foles in Week 3 paying off. But since then all has gone wrong. The team has now lost four straight games. With less than a minute to go in Monday’s game, Foles hurt his hip. It’s not a fracture, but he’s listed as day-to-day with a severe hip/glut sprain.

Trubisky had injured his throwing shoulder on a one-play cameo in the loss to the Saints on Nov. 1 and with his history of shoulder issues, is also day-to-day. Undrafted FA Tyler Bray is their only standing QB. In two weeks, Chicago plays a vital Sunday night game against division leader Green Bay. If Foles isn’t back by then, Chicago may be in trouble. Four of their remaining six games are vs divisional rivals.


Senior Member
NFL Week 11 Predictions Pt 1 of 2
There is a lot to like about this week’s schedule. Aaron Rodgers/Packers meet one of the NFL’s most stifling secondaries in the Colts. Tennessee and Baltimore face off in a battle of struggling contenders. KC looks for revenge against LVegas. Kyler Murray/Cardinals vie with Russell Wilson/Seahawks in a battle for the NFC West lead. Pittsburgh tries to get to 10-0 for the first time in franchise history.
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 19, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Sunday’s Best Games

GBay Packers at Indianapolis Colts,
4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Colts
No team has allowed fewer yds per game than the Colts (6-3), who have also allowed the fourth fewest points per game among the NFL’s 32 teams. Indianapolis has limited opposing QBs to a passer rating of 78.9 - the best mark in the league - and has pulled down 11 interceptions.

Strength against strength is always an intriguing matchup, so this game certainly qualifies. Only two teams have averaged more points a game than the Packers, who are enjoying a magical season from their QB. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 26 TDs against just three interceptions, leading to an NFL-leading passer rating of 116.4.

It would be inaccurate to say the Colts’ offense and Packers’ defense are irrelevant in this game, and a few breaks for either of those units could go a long way to deciding the game. But the headliners are clear, and you won’t want to miss any of GBay’s passing downs, no matter how things go.

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Ravens
The Titans (6-3) and the Ravens (6-3) are both hoping to brush off recent failures and get back to being top contenders. Baltimore has lost 2 of 3 games since its bye week and the offense has sputtered to 24 or fewer points in each. Tennessee has lost three of four, with QB Ryan Tannehill having seen the most pronounced downturn of his tenure with the Titans.

Baltimore still has a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. There is little reason to believe that Tennessee’s offense can’t return to a level of productivity that makes its mediocre defense largely irrelevant. But this week’s game will come down to which team can best emerge from its funk. That could go either way, but with the Ravens playing at home, they are the safer bet.

KC Chiefs at LVegas Raiders, 8:20 p.m., NBC
Pick: Chiefs
The last time these teams met, the Raiders (6-3) shocked the Chiefs (8-1) by beating them, 40-32, in KC. It was a classic case of a top-rated team looking past a scrappy challenger. LVegas made its division rival pay dearly for that indifference. The odds that Patrick Mahomes and his fellow Super Bowl champions make the same mistake again are slim.

The Raiders are coming off the most complete win of their season last week against the Broncos. Ideally they might have been a real challenger for KC. But with the bulk of LVegas’ defense being forced to sit out the week of practice because of Covid-19 close contact protocols, slowing down the Chiefs seems like an impossible task.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Steelers
Should anyone expect this to be a good game? No. The Steelers (9-0) are dominating on both sides of the ball, while the Jaguars (1-8) have an inept defense and a rookie QB in Jake Luton who was not even expected to play this season. So why make this one of the best games of the week? Because Pittsburgh stands a good chance of becoming the NFL’s first 10-0 team since 2015. Only 26 teams have begun a season with 10 straight wins. Six went undefeated for the regular season. Five finished with just one loss, nine with two losses and five with three losses. The worst a 10-0 team has ever finished was the 2015 Patriots, who went 12-4.

Thursday’s Matchup
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks,
8:20 p.m., Fox, NFL Network, Prime Video
Pick: Seahawks
The Seahawks (6-3) gave up sole possession of first place in the NFC West with last week’s loss to the Rams. The Cards (6-3) snatched their own share of that lead thanks to DeAndre Hopkins’s unbelievable catch of a Kyler Murray Hail Mary pass in the final seconds of a win over Buffalo. With three teams tied atop the West with 6-3 records, the stakes of this game are high.

Neither team is perfect. Seattle’s defense treats every game like it’s the Pro Bowl (no tackling allowed), and Arizona’s offensive output seems to swing wildly on a weekly basis. But there is no denying that both teams are fun to watch, and this could prove to be one of the week’s prettier games despite being in a Thursday time slot known for providing sloppy play.

The X-factor is which version of Seattle’s offense shows up: the one from the first five games when Russell Wilson appeared to be running away with the MVP Award, or the one from the last few weeks in which Wilson has thrown seven interceptions over four games.

The Seahawks are 4-0 at home but this is the biggest test they’ve gotten there. If Arizona comes in hot, this could be where AZ takes control of the NFC West.


Senior Member
NFL Week 11 Predictions Pt 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 19, 2020 (edited by lethe200)

Sunday’s Other Games

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos,
4:05 p.m., CBS
Pick: Dolphins
RB Salvon Ahmed was the latest Miami player to step up in a season in which the Dolphins are suddenly playoff contenders, and the team seems to get more impressive on a weekly basis. Miami could be even stronger this week if Matt Breida is able to return from a hamstring injury. The Broncos (3-6), after a brief flirtation with relevance, have dropped three of their past four games while allowing an average of 36 points a game in that stretch. Visiting Denver is never easy, but Miami’s surge should continue.

NE Patriots at Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Patriots
The Patriots (4-5) are coming off a shockingly convincing win over Baltimore that has upended the general view that the team is a disaster. Was that a one-off? Is that game, combined with a fairly close win over the Jets the week before, enough to say NE is hot? Even a blowout win in this game wouldn’t answer that question as the Texans (2-7) have beat only lowly Jacksonville.

Deshaun Watson is so good that it’s impossible to rule out a performance in which he drags his teammates kicking and screaming to victory. But that is slightly less likely than Cam Newton and the Patriots grinding out a fairly close win on the road.

Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings, 4:25 p.m., Fox
Pick: Vikings
Andy Dalton has cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol and been taken off the Covid-19 reserve list, and his punishment for that good fortune will be having to start for the Cowboys (2-7). There remains a lingering belief that Dalton, who was at one point a borderline star for Cincinnati, could take advantage of his team’s riches at WR and lead Dallas back to something near mediocrity. And there are few defenses more willing to make a QB look good than the unit for the Vikings (4-5).

Regardless, Minnesota is the better team playing at home. If this game were in Dallas you might expect it to be close, but in Minnesota the Vikings should romp.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Saints
Jameis Winston wins games and loses games, and does it in a way that is fascinating to watch regardless of the result. Winston’s 33-TD, 30-interception season last year in TBay was a thing of legend, and while it’s highly unlikely that the Saints (7-2) will allow him to be anywhere near as reckless with their offense, his presence in place of the injured Drew Brees adds an element of uncertainty to a game against the Falcons (3-6) that would otherwise look like an obvious blowout in favor of New Orleans. A conservative approach that focuses on RB Alvin Kamara is the safe way to handle things. But when has Winston ever been safe?

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Browns
Carson Wentz has never been the same since a knee injury ended his 2017 season early. He wasn’t bad over the last two seasons, but any mention of his name and the MVP award is now a distant memory. This year he has taken a very long step backwards. It wouldn’t be fair to blame everything on Wentz, as injuries and ineptitude have been a total team effort. But Philadelphia’s grip on the NFL’s worst division is loosening, and if the Eagles are caught by the Giants, it would be fairly embarrassing.

The Browns (6-3) would do well to just run the ball all day with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and let their defense take advantage of a few mistakes. Keep the score low and tack on another victory, just as Cleveland did last week against Houston.

Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox
Pick: Panthers
Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater injured a ligament in his knee during last week’s loss to TBay, but currently it appears as if he will be able to start for the Panthers (3-7). That’s welcome news for a team that had been building some momentum heading into last week, and looked great until the game went sideways in the second half. Matthew Stafford is also expected to start for the Lions (4-5) despite having injured the thumb on his throwing hand.

The uncertainty with both QBs makes this a tossup, with the advantage going to whichever team can keep their guy on the field longest.

Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team, 1 p.m., CBS
Pick: Footballers
A pair of No. 1 picks separated by more than a decade of experience, will face off when Joe Burrow and the Bengals (2-6-1) visit Alex Smith and the Footballers (2-7). Burrow clearly has a bright future, and Smith has had a terrific career, but this game may be decided by the health of Bengals RB Joe Mixon. If Cincinnati gets its top runner back, the team’s offense could overwhelm Washington and pick up a win on the road. If the Bengals once again have to rely on Mixon’s backups, things get far more complicated.

Jets at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Pick: Chargers
The Chargers (2-7) have struggled to close out games this season, regardless of how good the offense has occasionally looked. The team has underperformed its preseason expectations. There are plenty of areas for concern, but Joey Bosa was just cleared from concussion protocol today. A win over the Jets (0-9) is overwhelmingly probable, but the Chargers’ late-game troubles make a large point spread risky.

Monday’s Matchup

Los Angeles Rams at TBay Buccaneers,
8:15 p.m., ESPN
Pick: Buccaneers
The Buccaneers (7-3) followed up a 3-point performance against New Orleans by scoring 46 against Carolina. In those games, Ronald Jones II went from three carries for 9 yds to 23 for 192. This year was supposed to be about suffocating defense and offensive consistency. Instead it has been defined by several weeks where the Buccaneers looked unbeatable, and two where they looked truly awful.

The Rams (6-3) don’t have as high a gear as TBay, but they are considerably more consistent. You can reasonably expect Los Angeles to get a fair amount of yds, both through the air and on the ground. LAR's defensive attack must put significant pressure on the opposing team’s QB. The scariest sight in football is Rams DT Aaron Donald with a full head of steam. Will that be enough to beat TBay? Sometimes.
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jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Sports radio-ranked the teams
The bottom four are:
New York Giants
The Washington no name team
Dallas Cowboys

You will note this list includes every team in the NFL-East, this is the first time an entire conference
was labeled crummy, just crummy.


Senior Member
Jerry, even as a long-time NFL fan I just cannot figure the Cowboys out in the Jerry Jones/post-Jimmy Johnson era. They always seem to have a substantial number of good - even great - players, yet they never seem to come together as a cohesive team.

There is always something off-balance, or "not quite right" about their play. And it seems to be getting a little worse every year, not better.

As Dallas isn't in our division I don't see many stories or analyses on them except for the rare occasions they play the Niners.

What is your take on the real reason for their lack of success?


New Member
Jerry, even as a long-time NFL fan I just cannot figure the Cowboys out in the Jerry Jones/post-Jimmy Johnson era. They always seem to have a substantial number of good - even great - players, yet they never seem to come together as a cohesive team.

There is always something off-balance, or "not quite right" about their play. And it seems to be getting a little worse every year, not better.

As Dallas isn't in our division I don't see many stories or analyses on them except for the rare occasions they play the Niners.

What is your take on the real reason for their lack of success?


Senior Member
Interesting read!

The 2020 rookie class is taking the NFL by storm. Here’s what that means for the future.
Washington Post November 21, 2020

(excerpt)....Only three draft classes — 2006, 2007 and 2008 — have overachieved more than this one at the same point of the season.

The early marks are so impressive, in fact, history shows there are likely to be a number of future all-pros and Hall of Famers in this class. Looking back at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 classes shows us the quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends who stood out as rookies got even better over the next few years.

For example, the quarterbacks of the 2006 class as a group scored six points fewer than what we would expect at the position as a whole. That doesn’t sound impressive on first glance, but that performance is much better than you would expect from an average rookie quarterback during his first season. In their second season, those quarterbacks took off, posting six points more than expected, and they increased again the next year to 16 points more than expected. The quarterback class of 2008 saw its average expected points rise from 10 in its first season to 12 in the second to 16 in the third.

...Improving year-over-year is not always a given when you look at an entire position group from a draft class. To put that in perspective, the 2017 quarterback class — which includes reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield — averaged 19 points fewer than expected in its rookie year. That class is averaging six points more than expected in its third season, making those players below-average producers per this metric. In other words, they’re still good quarterbacks; they’re just not seeing their production take off like those from the 2006 and 2008 classes, who started their careers at a higher level.

2020’s rookie quarterbacks show signs of a promising future. Joe Burrow (No. 1 pick) for the Cincinnati Bengals and Justin Herbert (No. 6 pick) for the Los Angeles Chargers are the front-runners for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Burrow, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner at LSU, has completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,485 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Herbert has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,333 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he has added three rushing touchdowns. Also making a splash is Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa. The former Alabama star’s past two games for the Dolphins were solid: He completed 35 of 53 passes for 417 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

As a class — which also includes Ben DiNucci (Dallas Cowboys), Jake Luton (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia Eagles) — this year’s rookie quarterbacks are scoring almost three more points per game than expected. If it holds, that would be the best per-game rate since 2002, the year the league expanded to 32 teams.

Rookie wide receivers have also excelled. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings) is on pace for more than 1,200 yards and is averaging 3.1 yards per route run, the most among wideouts in the league. Burrow and Tee Higgins have improved their chemistry each week and have connected on 40 of 61 targets for 603 yards and four touchdowns. Chase Claypool (Pittsburgh Steelers) has produced a league-high 140.7 passer rating with Ben Roethlisberger; Claypool also has two rushing touchdowns. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers) has established himself as a key cog in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, accounting for a team-high 22 percent of red-zone targets with a whopping 36 percent of targets within five yards of the end zone.

CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys) has declined since Dak Prescott’s injury yet still manages 1.9 yards per route run from the slot, the fourth most among wideouts lining up inside. His nine catches on deep throws (20 yards or more in the air) are tied for the most among all receivers with Jefferson and DK Metcalf. Darnell Mooney of the Chicago Bears is one of three rookies without a dropped pass. And Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos has rebounded from three unfortunate drops in the first two weeks to lead his team in receiving yards (552). Tight end Harrison Bryant (Cleveland Browns) has contributed, too: In nine games, he has three touchdowns and almost six yards per reception after the catch.

This season’s first-year running backs aren’t adding to their teams’ scoring boom like the other positions, but they also aren’t holding them back as much as rookie running backs usually do. For example, this year’s class is scoring six points less per 100 opportunities with the football (rushes plus targets) after accounting for the down, distance and field position of each play. By comparison, rookie running backs cost their teams 11 points per 100 opportunities in 2019.

...Three rookie running backs — D’Andre Swift (Detroit Lions), J.K. Dobbins (Baltimore Ravens) and Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis Colts) —have had a positive impact in terms of expected points added, in at least 50 opportunities with the football. There were none last year. Swift leads all running backs in 2020 with eight expected points added after tallying 606 yards from scrimmage with six total touchdowns in the first 10 weeks.

Other rookie running backs are contributing as well. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is accounting for 61 percent of Kansas City’s rushes on first and second down plus 54 percent of the carries in the red zone. Zack Moss has his name called on a third of Buffalo’s carries in the red zone. Washington’s Antonio Gibson is handling 54 percent of the early-down work and gets a third of the opportunities (rushes plus targets) inside the 5-yard line.

It’s hard to tell which players from this year’s rookie class will be future all-pros, but if history is any guide, we are seeing stars in the making, especially under center.

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
`The Dallas Cowboys exist only because Lamar Hunt (with his millions) established the American Football League.
When Hunt established a team in Dallas, the NFL countered with the Cowboys.

(What a dismal team they were)
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jerry old

redneck, but brainy
Lethe200 mentioned Rookie's that performed well
Poor Joe Burrows injury, I've not seen a rookie QB that could step into the pros and perform at the standard he has.

Turkey Day
1. Texans play somebody-Texans are another team that 'What's wrong with these guys, they have the personnel, but can't win?

2. Cowboys and the no name team: Washington (How strange it is to have a team with only the city where they play,
the Washington Orphans?)
Oh yea, we want to watch two teams that have a combined victory of six games.

3. Yea, we get to see the Ravens and Steelers smash each other again. Old time rock'um, sock'um football.


Senior Member
......Turkey Day
1. Texans play somebody-Texans are another team that 'What's wrong with these guys, they have the personnel, but can't win?

2. Cowboys and the no name team: Washington (How strange it is to have a team with only the city where they play,
the Washington Orphans?)
Jerry, I absolutely LOVE that name - now Washington Orphans is stuck in my mind forever, LOL!

Yes, that was a really tough injury for Burroughs. Chargers QB Herbert will waltz off with Offensive Rookie of the Year award, no doubt. He deserves it, though, his stats are even better than Burroughs.


Turkey Day
1. Texans play somebody-Texans are another team that 'What's wrong with these guys, they have the personnel, but can't win?

They did beat the Patriots this past weekend.
But yeah, the fired coach (Bill O'Brien) gave away good players because he didn't like them .... the team lost their spirit!

jerry old

redneck, but brainy
They did beat the Patriots this past weekend.
But yeah, the fired coach (Bill O'Brien) gave away good players because he didn't like them .... the team lost their spirit!

Bonnie, saw Watt raining hell three weeks ago about the lack-luster efforts of his teammates; you would thing
the amounts of money their making they would not require their bellies rubbed. ('Please try to win today, please.)


Senior Member
Apologies, in my post #145 I misspelled Wash rookie Joe Burrow's name! Mea culpa.....

Bill O'Brien deserved to be fired for all his bonehead moves. It kills me every time I watch the AZ Cardinals on TV and see how amazing WR DeAndre Hopkins is. We have a couple of decent WRs on the Niners but they are nothing compared to Hopkins and Seattle's Metcalf. I would have LOVED to have Hopkins on the Niners team.

If Bill Walsh were still coaching, either Hopkins or Metcalf would be in a position someday to break Jerry Rice's NFL record of 22,895 receiving yards (14.8 yds per catch average). Walsh was a master at getting his TEs and WRs open to gain big yardage after the catch.

Larry Fitzgerald (yes, with the selfsame Cards) is second to Rice with 17,419 yds and 12.3 yd average. It'll be interesting to see if he can hang on for another 5 or 6 yrs and catch Rice.


Senior Member
What We Learned From Week 11 of the NFL Season Pt 1 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 22, 2020 (edited by lethe200, with excerpts added from Washington Post by Adam Kilgore)

The NFC field is just about set. With six weeks left in the season, the entire NFC outside of the harebrained NFC East is effectively playing for playoff seeding or draft position. Every team in the East has three wins, and one of them will win the division and (pause for exceedingly long and deep sigh) host a playoff game.

The other six NFC spots, presuming all 17 weeks are played and the NFL does not add an extra playoff team, are locked up practically, if not mathematically. The Saints, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals will all have at least six wins after this week, and it’s hard to see any other NFC teams cracking that group.

One* Sentence About Sunday’s Games *Except when it takes more.

Steelers 27, Jaguars 3. Jake Luton, a rookie Jacksonville drafted in the sixth round this year, made his third career start in place of the injured Gardner Minshew and turned in one of the worst games you’ll see. Luton completed only 16 of 37 passes for 151 yds. He didn’t throw a TD and was intercepted four times, for a dismal passing mark of 15.5.

Pittsburgh thus became the NFL’s first 10-0 team since 2015. Their rookie WR Chase Claypool caught a 31-yard scoring pass in Q2 - his 10th total TD of the season, now the most in a rookie WR’s first 10 games in the Super Bowl era. The Steelers will try to get to 11-0 when they host the struggling Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

Titans 30, Ravens 24 (overtime). Since their bye week, the Ravens have lost three of four games. Lamar Jackson has been part of the problem with four interceptions in that span - he had only six in 15 starts last season. The Ravens were up 21-10 in Q3 on a Jackson touchdown pass to Mark Andrews. Then the Ravens’ tackling fell apart and they squandered the lead. They received the ball first in overtime, only to go three-and-out.

The Titans marched downfield, and star running back Derrick Henry ran through several Ravens’ arms at the line as he burst for a 29-yard touchdown to win it. The Ravens now find themselves outside the playoff picture at 6-4 and suffering an identity crisis after losing three out of four. Right now they’re reeling, and last year seems awfully long ago.

Colts 34, Packers 31 (overtime). Philip Rivers threw three TD passes and Jonathan Taylor rushed for 90 yds, but Indianapolis was nearly undone by five holding penalties late in Q4 that prevented it from running out the clock. But in OT the defense showed up when it mattered. GBay went into halftime leading by 28-14, but the second half was another story, as Indianapolis scored 17 consecutive points, while the Packers managed just a field goal on five possessions. That field goal was enough to force OT, but on the second play of the OT, Colts’ DeForest Buckner scooped up GBay’s Valdes-Scantling’s fumble. The Colts managed a FG to escape with a 34-31 victory. It keeps Indianapolis on top of the AFC South and dropped GBay to 7-3.

Chiefs 35, Raiders 31. The Raiders came very close to giving the Chiefs their second loss, but Mahomes proved again that the Chiefs’ Two-Minute Drill is more like a 90-second sprint to the end zone. Derek Carr had another excellent game for the Raiders, showing that stability in an offensive system for a good QB – this is his third year in Gruden’s playbook – means as much or more as a strong arm. Carr hit TE Jason Witten for a 2-yard TD pass that gave LVegas a lead with just 1 minute 48 seconds remaining.

But for KC’s Patrick Mahomes, that was more than enough. The Chiefs faced only one third down, on a third and one. Mahomes completed six of the seven passes he threw, to four different receivers. He took his team 75 yds on just seven plays, retaking the lead with a 22-yard TD pass to Travis Kelce.

Mahomes makes mind-blowing plays that often receive little notice because he makes them look easy, when they’re not. In the third quarter, he spun away from a pass rusher who broke free up the middle, darted to his left, threw off the wrong foot, away from his momentum, across his body, over the middle for a first down. NBC’s broadcasters treated the play as if he had pitched a simple square out. Mahomes has inured everyone to his greatness, blinding us to how wide the margin is. He even left 28 seconds on the clock for good measure.

Texans 27, Patriots 20. A loss was bad enough, but NE also presumably lost RB Rex Burkhead for the rest of the season to a knee injury that was severe enough that CBS chose not to show replays of it. The eight-year veteran had six TDs in 10 games and was well on his way to surpassing his career-high of eight.

Saints 24, Falcons 9. Taysom Hill is known more for his versatility than his passing, but he had a nice all-around effort for New Orleans in a win. He came into the day with more career tackles (13) than completions (10). But he got the job done, even if it wasn’t always pretty. Starting in place of the injured Drew Brees, Hill completed 18 of 23 passes for 233 yds, ran for 51 yds in ten carries, scoring two TDs in a 24-9 win. The only blemish was a fumble at the end of a long run. The New Orleans defense starred, sacking Matt Ryan eight times, intercepting him twice and allowing Atlanta to convert just two of its 14 third-down opportunities. Ryan was playing with a taped broken finger, and is probably thinking he should have just sat out this game.

And that’s the reason why the Saints (8–2) will be fine while Brees’ broken ribs heal: it is built foremost on a great defense. The Saints have the best run defense in the NFL, and on Sunday they sacked Matt Ryan eight times while intercepting him twice. Hill doesn’t have to do much other than take care of the ball. The Saints won easily even as Alvin Kamara carried only 13 times and didn’t catch a pass for the first time in his career.


Senior Member
What We Learned From Week 11 of the NFL Season Pt 2 of 2
NY Times by Benjamin Hoffman Nov. 22, 2020 (edited by lethe200, with excerpts added from Washington Post by Adam Kilgore)

Cowboys 31, Vikings 28. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 103 yds and Dallas (3–7) came from behind to take the lead with less than two minutes remaining thanks to Andy Dalton’s third TD pass of the day. Minnesota (4–6) put up 430 total yds, but its defense was once again its undoing.

Broncos 20, Dolphins 13. Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa won his first three starts, validating Coach Brian Flores’s bold move to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick in the middle of a playoff push. But then the Dolphins lost, 20-13, to the middling Denver Broncos (4–6). Tagovailoa played so poorly he was benched early in Q4. He had 11 of 20 passes for only 83 yds passing through three quarters, with one TD while taking six sacks. Denver Coach Vic Fangio is known for exotic schemes and blitzes, and Tagovailoa looked like an uncertain rookie.

Miami back-up Ryan Fitzpatrick provided only a slight upgrade as he completed 12 of 18 attempts for 117 yards and an interception. Miami fell to 6-4, and is now faced with a quarterback controversy, with Flores naming Tagovailoa the starter next week. Miami faces a challenging path back into the crowded AFC playoff picture.

Chargers 34, Jets 28. Gang Green was down by 24-6 at halftime and was struggling to contain QB Justin Herbert, but Coach Adam Gase appeared to take over play-calling duties and the Jets were far more effective in the second half, with three TD drives that each went for more than 70 yds, albeit in a losing cause.

While Gang Green’s young defense brought some juice early in the game, Chargers rookie Herbert once again dominated, throwing for 366 yds and three touchdowns. It was good to see the Jets evaluating some of their young players, but Herbert had his way with them through the air. Keenan Allen also had fun toying with the Jets’ neophytes, as the Chargers wideout finished with 16 catches, 145 yards and one score.

Panthers 20, Lions 0. P.J. Walker was mostly known for being the leading passer in the XFL when that league was shuttered by the pandemic. Subbing in for the injured Teddy Bridgewater, Walker kept Carolina’s offense moving just fine in a 20-0 blowout of Detroit, doing enough damage that his two red zone interceptions could be forgiven.

Detroit’s Matthew Stafford played with an injured thumb on his throwing hand, and he probably should have sat this one out. He was sacked five times and the Lions (4–6) were shutout for the first time in his 159 career starts. It was the first shutout for Carolina’s defense since 2015.

Browns 22, Eagles 17. The Philadelphia Eagles have some big Carson Wentz questions to answer. Wentz continued his year-long spiral in the Eagles’ 22-17 loss, throwing two more interceptions to nudge his league-high total to 14. The first pick he threw was a pick-6. Wentz ranks 32nd out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in adjusted yards per pass attempt, a stat that takes interceptions, sacks and yardage gained into account. He is ranked 31st in passer rating.

The Eagles have to ask themselves why this has happened. How much blame might Coach Doug Pederson deserve for Wentz’s regression? Wentz has not been the same player since OC Frank Reich left after 2017 to become the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach. Philadelphia’s offense frequently lacks coherence and uses personnel in odd ways. Wentz has a dead cap hit of $59 million in 2021, which makes cutting ties with him difficult. But one of the most promising players in the NFL has bottomed out - even though the Eagles still somehow lead the NFC East.

Three consecutive home games for Cleveland have resulted in three ugly games, but the Browns have now walked away with two wins by letting the team’s running game and defense do the bulk of the work in adverse weather conditions. At 7-3, the Browns have their best 10-game start since 1994.

Footballers 20, Bengals 9. Regardless of the Bengals’ poor record, rookie QB Joe Burrow had largely lived up to his hype, throwing for 2,688 yds, trailing only Andrew Luck, Patrick Mahomes and Cam Newton for the most in a QB’s first 10 starts. But his season ended when he was sandwiched between a pair of Washington defenders in Q3. Burrow tweeted - before the game had even finished - that he would see everyone next year, after his left knee injury.

Unfortunately, an MRI showed more damage than anticipated. Burrow has suffered a torn ACL, torn MCL and other structural issues in his knee. He will undergo reconstructive surgery, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready to go in nine months, when the 2021 regular season is getting started.

It was the first win for Washington QB Alex Smith in more than two years following his own devastating leg injury in 2018. Before the cart left the field, Washington’s Dwayne Haskins (No. 7), Chase Young (No. 99) and Terry McLaurin (No. 17) came out to wish him well. All three played with Burrow at Ohio State and Young was selected one pick after him in this year’s draft.