This Week’s Episode:
“The Curse of Parity (a.k.a, ‘Fuck it, every team in the League is just going to finish 8-8, aren’t they?’)”
A quarter of our way through the 2017 season and the Chiefs remain the sole unbeaten team in pro football. Despite getting sacked four times, KC QB Alex Smith was nonetheless able to complete 27 passes for 293 yards and one TD in his team’s 29-20 Monday night win over the Redskins, while Kareem Hunt’s stellar rookie season continued with a 21-carry, 101-yards-rushing day – albeit, without getting any whiffs of the end zone.
Running back Todd Gurley had a monster game against the Cowboys last Sunday. In the Rams’ 35-30 victory, Gurley rushed for 121 yards on 23 carries – that, on top of the 94 yards and one end zone visit he chalked up as a receiver. And yes, Jared Goff was quite solid, too, going 21 for 36 for 255 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Le’Veon Bell ran the shit out of the ball in the Steelers’ 26-9 win over Baltimore. Pittsburgh’s top back finished the game with 144 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries, along with another 42 receiving yards on four catches. And the Steelers’ D certainly made Joe Flacco’s life miserable, hitting him after the throw seven times and sacking his ass four times for a cumulative loss of 29 yards.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Lions did manage to best the Vikings 14-7 in a Whoopi Goldberg-ugly NFC North throwdown. Going 19 for 31, Matt Stafford managed to rack up 209 yards and no scores in the outing, and while he didn’t toss any interceptions, he did get sacked by Minnesota defenders six times for a combined yardage loss of negative 55, in addition to getting walloped after the pass eight times. All I can say is get that motherfucker some Goody’s headache powder – with an O-line that weak, the poor bastard’s going to need as much of it as he can legally stockpile.
Give the Broncos’ run game all the credit for their 16-10 win over the Raiders. Their running back corps (led by C.J. Anderson, who finished the game with 95 yards) topped out at 143, while their defense limited Oakland to a downright retarded 24 rushing yards on the day. Still Trevor Siemian looked shaky as fuck at quarterback; he completed the game 16 for 26 for 179 yards on just one TD pass and got sacked by Raiders’ defenders four times for a net 24 yard loss.
Aaron Rodgers and pals steamrolled NFC North adversaries Chicago last Thursday night, pounding the Bears 35-14 at Lambeau. Rodgers finished the game with four touchdown passes, ultimately collecting 179 yards on 18 passes. Oh, and if you’re wondering if Jordy Nelson is “back,” per se? I think his two-touchdown, 75-yards-receiving day answers that little enigma, don’t it?
The difference maker for Buffalo in their 23-17 upset road win against Atlanta was definitely Tre’Davious White’s 52 yard fumble return for a TD in the third quarter. And while the Falcons did manage to make it a 17-17 game with seven minutes left in the fourth, two back-to-back (and unanswered) 55-yard-plus field goals from Stephen Hauschka (remember that name for when he goes wide right in the Super Bowl) gave the Bills all the padding they needed. By the way, the Bills currently have pole position in the AFC East, marking the first time the Patriots have been out of first place this late in the season since … I don’t know, a long time, I guess.
Despite outyarding the Bills passing and running the ball, Buffalo nonetheless managed to, by and large, keep the Falcons out of the end zone in the team’s 23-17 home loss over the weekend. Granted, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu both exited the game pretty early, so that might also explain the Falcons’ defeat, too. Or maybe it was Matt Ryan’s two interceptions, and especially that fumble he gave up that allowed Buffalo’s defense to put an easy six points on the scoreboard. You know – maybe they’re all factors, now that I think about it.
|Buffalo Bills fans, seen here being totally oblivious to the colossal, heartbreaking failures that inevitably await them at season’s end.|
The bad news for Philadelphia is that, in their narrow 26-24 win against the Chargers, they let Philip Rivers lob the pigskin for an absurd 347 yards. But on the plus side? Philadelphia pretty much jammed the ball down L.A.’s esophagus, outgaining them on the ground by an equally preposterous margin of 214-to-58. I’ll just let LaGarrette Blount’s 68 yard run here sum up the game for you.
It only took them 13 years, but the Panthers FINALLY exacted revenge for their Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to the Patriots. Cam Newton looked buck wild in Carolina’s 33-30 victory against New England, going 22 for 29 throwing the ball for 316 yards and three touchdowns (and one interception) PLUS running the ball for another 44 yards and an additional trip to the end zone. That officially gives Cam Newton 50 rushing touchdowns as a pro football player, which he celebrated by doing a Black Power salute and insulting a female reporter.
It was a close one, but the Bucs nonetheless managed to beat the Giants 25-23. Jameis Winston went 22 for 38 in the outing, finishing the contest with 332 yards and three passing touchdowns. Also performing well for Tampa Bay was receiver Cameron Brate (four catches, 80 yards, one TD) and running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who finished the game with 83 yards on 16 carries.
The one-off, one-on theory I posited in last week’s rankings proved meritorious on Sunday, as the Jags – semi inexplicably – dropped a 23-20 OT loss to the Jets. Alas, even if Blake Bortles’ 140 yard, 1 TD and 1 INT day wasn’t that impressive, you have to give props to Leonard Fournette, who racked up 86 rushing yards on 24 carries in the losing effort. That, in addition to the extra 59 yards and solo TD he pulled in as a receiver.
With Marcus Mariota exiting the game early, Deshaun Watson went fucking Super Saiyan against the Titans. In Houston’s commanding 57-14 victory, the first-year QB racked up 283 yards of aerial offense and FOUR touchdown passes, in addition to the 24 yards and extra score he collected scrambling. And defensively, Houston pretty much widened the Titans’ metaphorical sphincter to its maximum elasticity, with their D holding Tennessee to a meager 109 yards passing and just 86 running the ball.
In their 46-18 win over Indianapolis, the Seahawks recorded two turnovers, and both of them resulted in defensive touchdowns – a 28-yard pick six for Justin Coleman and a 21-yard fumble return for Bobby Wagner. Still, Russell Wilson’s play is woefully inconsistent. His 21 for 26, 295-yard, two touchdown day is undoubtedly impressive, but by that same token, you really have to scratch your head watching him lob two interceptions, eat three sacks AND give up a safety in one game.
Fun fact: the New Orleans Saints are the only team in the League without any turnovers so far this season. Of course, that little stat held true in London over the weekend, as the Saints drubbed the Dolphins 20-0. Despite being older than dirt, Drew Brees is still getting it done in the air: he wrapped up Sunday’s contest with 268 yards and two passing touchdowns on the day.
Well, looks like Derek Carr is going to be in the shop for two to six weeks. He experienced a transverse process fracture in his back in the Raiders’ 16-10 loss against the Broncos, which means E.J. Manuel (who finished the game 11 for 17 for 106 yards and a game-costing INT) will be leading the team until at least the big Thursday night game against the Chiefs on Oct. 19. The question now is, if E.J. Manuel gets on a hot streak, will the second-richest quarterback in the League be guaranteed a spot as starter? (Oh, and as always, you can relive last Sunday’s game, as it happened – in my head – anytime you want at this little link right here.)
|It’s a little known rule, but according to NFL bylaws, all biracial quarterbacks MUST have really, really dumb looking haircuts to play in the League.|
In a 14-7 in-division loss to the Lions, Case Keenum racked up 219 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions on 16 completions. Even worse, the Vikes’ top running back, rookie Dalvin Cook, got carted off the field with a season-ending injury. If it wasn’t for this team’s super-underrated defense – which sacked Matt Stafford half a dozen times last Sunday – I’d be hitting the “abandon ship” button right about now …
Kirk Cousins put in a good showing in the Skins’ 29-20 loss to the Chiefs last Monday night. He went 14 for 24 for 220 yards and two touchdown passes, with top receiver Vernon Davis hauling in two catches for 89 yards on the day. Former Raiders QB turned wideout Terrelle Pryor also had a solid showing, finishing the contest with 70 yards and one touchdown on three catches.
Tom Brady went 32 for 45 in the Patriots’ 33-30 home loss to the Panthers Sunday, finishing the game with 307 yards and two touchdown passes. The team’s defensive woes continued, as Cam Newton lit ’em up for more than 300 yards in the air, while Carolina’s potent rushing attack outyarded New England by a 140-to-80 margin.
Unfortunately, Dak Prescott’s three touchdown passes weren’t enough to give the Cowboys the edge in Sunday’s 35-30 loss to the Rams. Fantasy footballers, however were probably quite pleased by Ezekiel Elliott’s performance; at the final horn, he had 85 yards and one rushing TD, plus another 54 yards and another trip to the end zone as a receiver.
Don’t look now, but after a disastrous 0-2 start, the Jets have won back-to-back games and now find themselves TIED with the Patriots for second-place in the AFC East. In New York’s 23-20 overtime win against Jacksonville, Josh McCown went 22 for 31 for 224 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, with Robby Anderson leading the Jets receiving corps with 59 yards on three catches. But the really impressive thing about the Jets over the weekend was their run game: in particular, back Bilal Powell, who recorded an astounding 153 yards and one rushing TD on 21 carries.
The Cardinals’ 18-15 overtime win over San Fran was every bit as thrilling as it sounds – which means it wasn’t, by any stretch. Not that anybody really cares, but Carson Palmer’s old ass is still putting up some impressive numbers; in Arizona’s victory, he went 33 for 51 for 357 yards. Of course, he also got sacked SIX TIMES for a net loss of 40 yards, so yeah, make of that what you will concerning the quality of this team’s offensive line.
In a 26-9 loss to the Steelers, Joe Flacco went 31 for 49 on pass attempts, with 235 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Despite back Alex Collins (82 yards, nine carries) and receiver Mike Wallace (55 yards, one TD, six receptions) having relatively decent days, you’ve got to wonder what happened to this squad, which after a hot 2-0 start, has now gotten drubbed in successive weeks. Which, naturally, begs the question: is the team going to reverse course this weekend, or will their showdown against the Raiders on Sunday make it three throttlings in a row?
Bad news, Titans fans – following Tennessee’s 57-14 butthole pounding at the hands of Houston, starting QB Marcus Mariota is out indefinitely with some sort of hamstring injury. The Titans’ front office, in all their infinite wisdom, turned to BRANDON GODDAMN WEEDEN as an emergency replacement – a player that wasn’t even good enough to quarterback the fuckin’ Cleveland Browns. The good news, I suppose, is that it’s probably not too late to get a refund on your season tickets, though.
|Further proof that Cleveland’s defense is so bad, they couldn’t catch AIDS doing needle drugs with Magic Johnson.|
For one week, at least, Andy Dalton was Andy Dalton again. In Cincinnati’s blistering 31-7 win over Cleveland, the Red Rifle went 25 for 30 for 286 yards and four passing touchdowns, with receivers Tyler Kroft, Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green all hauling in at least one TD pass and finishing the game with a minimum of 60 yards receiving. And in perhaps the most hilarious stat of the weekend, Dalton was the top rusher for both teams, collecting nine more yards than the Browns’ Isaiah “I Support Cop Killing” Crowell, despite having three fewer rushing attempts.
Was it jet lag? Tainted seafood? Too much confusion over converting yards into centimeters (you know, ’cause England uses that fruity-assed metric system and whatnot?) For whatever reason, the Fins’ latest trip to Wembley resulted in a 20-0 blowout loss to the Saints, and yet another round of calls for Miami to bench Jay Cutler in favor of anybody who isn’t named Jay Cutler. Sigh – if only Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a member of the Fidel Castro Fan Club, he might have a job lined up for himself in South Beach.
No, Mike Glennon did not look too hot in the Bears’ 35-14 loss to the Packers. He finished the game 21 for 33 for 218 yards and a 1-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio. But more troubling for the Bears’ faithful? Jordan Howard’s (relatively) underwhelming play – an unimpressive 53 yards on 18 carries.
There are not a lot of positives to take away from the Colts’ brutal 46-18 prime time loss against the Seahawks last Sunday. Jacoby “Whisker Biscuit” Brissett was held to just 157 yards passing, which you can scale down to 139 once you factor in the yardage lost to the three times he got sacked. And Indy’s run game looked even worse, recording 98 yards on the ground while allowing Seattle to chalk up 194 yards plus two rushing touchdowns.
I know, I know, I’m turning into a broken record, but the Chargers really are the best winless team in pro football. That’s evident by the team’s 26-24 loss to the Eagles, in which Philip Rivers collected two touchdowns and 347 yards worth of aerial offense. But then again, this is a team that’s 0-4 for a reason – and one of those reasons is the team’s atrocious (in)ability to run the ball, in tandem with their defense’s almost special needs-like inability to stop the run.
The 49ers are still without a win following their 18-15 overtime loss to the Cardinals Sunday. Brian Hoyer went 24 for 49 in the loss, collecting 234 yards, no touchdowns and one interception on the day. Meanwhile, Carlos Hyde concluded the contest with 68 yards on 16 carries, and fuck, is it hard to think of anything else noteworthy to say about trash heap of a team’s “performance.”
Well, what can we say – the G-Men just can’t catch a break. While the Giants made it close over the weekend, they still lost a 25-23 heartbreaker to the Bucs, which is especially morale crushing because the Giants had a two-point lead with about three minutes left in the game. Alas, Nick Folk’s 34-yard field goal as time expired was a chip shot, and as such, the misery doth continue for Big Blue. So, uh, anybody want to take bets on how long before the front office announces a new head coach?
Well, just when you think the Browns have hit the bottom of the septic tank, they go out there and lose 31-7 to the formerly winless Bengals. DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan combined for 170 passing yards, while the entire Cleveland backfield could only muster up 45 yards on the ground. We’ll see if the team’s luck improves against the perplexingly hot Jets this Sunday, but if they fall to 0-5? Shit, this might just be the first team in NFL history to get relegated back down to NCAA status, a’la the way they do shit over in the Premier League in England.