Tag: Antonio Brown

NFL storylines for Week 3

Most of the talk around the NFL is about the surprise 0-2 teams. It’s still extremely early in the season and many of these squads will turn it around. The Seahawks are already getting Kam Chancellor back from his holdout. In a text to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith he said he has to finish the mission they started two years ago.

It’s a weird time for “cave in” because at 0-2 and with the secondary giving up unusual big plays, you would think he had all the leverage on Seattle. Regardless, they get the Bears and Lions next and should be at 2-2. Jimmy Graham has only been targeted one time each in both first half’s and only twice in Week 2.

For a team who gave up their center, and isn’t running the ball as well as usual, he needs to be more involved.

via USAtoday.com
via USAtoday.com

The Ravens are the most surprising 0-2 team, only because how the lost to Oakland. I predicted the Raiders could be a surprise team and pull some upsets because the new weapons Carr had. But 350 yards? A game-winning drive by Carr to out-duel Flacco?

The Ravens secondary has some real problems and match ups with the Bengals and Steelers looming could spell real trouble.

The Saints era may be coming to an end. Brees doesn’t have the weapons he used to and they still are in salary cap hell. The Lions defense might have taken a step back without Suh and Stafford hasn’t showed the improvement they kept talking about all offseason. The Eagles aren’t is a much trouble as most teams at 0-2. Their offense will get going eventually, if Bradford can start hitting some deeper throws. The running game and Demarco Murrey is their biggest concern.

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The Cowboys have to turn to Brandon Weeden, and that opens the division up for any of the other three teams. The Giants have blown leads in back to back games but a potentially potent passing attack will keep them in the hunt. If Chip Kelly is going to stay off the hot seat, the Eagles have to compete or even win this wide open decision.

Brown’s coach Mike Pettine has named Josh McCown the starter of Johnny Manzeil. I don’t think it will last very long. He got benched multiple times last season and after one or two poor games, the Browns will be forced to go back to Manzeil. He’s looked better than last season, mostly hitting on the deep ball to Travis Benjamin.

via Indystar.com
via Indystar.com

Is the AFC South up for grabs? It’s hard not to think it might not be. The Colts offensive line is in shambles and Pagano’s response to that is Andrew Luck has dealt with it for long enough so he should be better in dealing with it.

(wat?)

That can’t be encouraging for Colts fans but they won’t face defenses as good as Buffalo and the Jets every week. However, this will be the first time in a few years they lose to AFC South teams. The Texans don’t have a quarterback and will probably bench Mallet soon again. The Jaguars showed good flashes verse Miami, especially Allen Robinson making huge plays. The Titans lost to the Browns after a great week one and Mariota didn’t continue his torrid pace.

People are thinking the division winner could be somewhere from 8-8 to 10-6 and it’s hard to disagree with them now.

via SIkids.com
via SIkids.com

Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and Julio Jones look like the most unstoppable players through the first couple of weeks. Brown already has 328 yards and Jones has 22 catches already. Gronk has four scores and all three of these guys may be in line for historic seasons.

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Random thoughts and funny quotes from Week 1

I was pleased to see, as time wound down in the first half of the Jaguars-Panthers game, that second-year QB Blake Bortles gamely led his team to what should have been a game-tying touchdown. But then their rookie kicker missed the new, more difficult, extra point. I guess the “automatic” nature of the old extra point was just ruining every game, as you will no doubt recall.

Remember how games were getting decided by last-second clutch field goals, or two-minute touchdown drives. And never by missed extra points. What the hell, man?!

Thank goodness that now it will be relatively routine to see a game where the touchdowns and field goals are nullified because some poor schlub missed a 22-yard kick for the extra point. Way to go, NFL. Way to solve that terrible problem of games being decided by field goals and touchdowns but not extra points. You sure showed us. Pardon me, now, I have to go throw up. A lot.

Heh, extra points are #1! Yeah? ‘Cause they smell like #2! Haaaaaaaa!

Heh, extra points are #1!
Yeah? ‘Cause they smell like #2! Haaaaaaaa!

This Week’s Sucked And Won:

Broncos offensive line: Denver’s strategy this season is to keep Peyton Manning healthy? Lots of luck. The Broncos surrendered four sacks and their ball carriers averaged less than three yards per carry.

Jameis Winston tied an ignominious record in his NFL debut, becoming only the second quarterback to throw a pick-six in his very first passing attempt. Whose record did he tie? None other than Brett Favre.

Shocking realization of the week:

In the Ravens and Broncos game, each team’s longest play of the day was made on defense. Broncos defender Aqib Talib returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, likewise, returned an interception 24 yards for a score. Neither team produced longer plays than these on offense.

It’s hard to remember an NFL opening day when hardly any rookies made a big splash.  Marcus Mariota had impressive numbers, but it was, after all, against crappy Tampa Bay. Running backs Melvin Gordon and T.J. Yeldon both played capably but produced unspectacular results.

This Week’s Great But Lost:

Antonio Brown: 9 catches, 133 yards, one touchdown. Yeah, the Patriots don’t miss Darrelle Revis… much.

On the flip side of my observation about rookies, there was also no shortage of veteran players who joined new teams and promptly looked quite ordinary.  The Colts got little out of Frank Gore and Andre Johnson and the Eagles got even less than that from DeMarco Murray.  Jeremy Maclin was only average for the Chiefs, as was Michael Crabtree for the Raiders. This just wasn’t a big day for new faces, either young or old.

Thursday Pick:  Denver (+3) @Kansas City (Westgate Superbook)

Anyone watching the Chiefs this past Sunday had to be impressed with the team both on offense and defense. But the Denver Broncos were impressive in a different way.

First off, their defense played ferociously, shutting down a Ravens offense that is a hell of a lot better than the Texans team the Chiefs faced. Second, and more significantly, the Broncos showed a genuine commitment to running the ball, controlling the game, and limiting Peyton Manning’s passing attempts in order to keep him (hopefully) healthy and relatively fresh at the end of the season.

Bottom line, this is a divisional rivalry game that the Broncos have owned since Peyton Manning got to town. Nothing I saw on Sunday is going to have me go against that overwhelming trend.

Prediction

Denver Broncos 26, Kansas City Chiefs 21

NFYell:

“We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets.”
– Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, complaining about the routinely poor quality of the communications system at Foxboro.

“As a number one receiver you have to make number one plays and I didn’t.”
– Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith, stepping up after a tough loss to Denver.

“Sometimes when you are really good, you are a hair from disaster.”
– Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, making absolutely no sense at all and showing that coaching the Lions has now officially caused him to lose his mind.

“It’s my fault at the end of the game. There is nobody else to blame but me. The decision to throw the ball there on third down was not a good decision. It should have been a run, whether we scored or not.”
– Giants coach Tom Coughlin, accepting responsibility for bad decision-making in the closing minutes of the loss to Dallas.

“It’s on me right there, that’s clock management. Obviously just take the sack, take the 40 seconds off the clock. Give them less time. That’s 100% on me, can’t afford to throw it away. Got to sit in there and take the sack.”
– Giants QB Eli Manning, accepting responsibility for bad decision making in the closing minutes of the loss to Dallas.

“I don’t even know if those plays were legal. I haven’t seen that block before.”
– Dolphins DT C.J. Mosley, questioning Washington’s heavy use of cut-blocks in Sunday’s game again Miami.

“We have a coordinator who finally trusts us to run. Something about this staff, no matter what the score, we are going to fight and fight and fight.”
– Bears OG Matt Slauson, on Chicago sticking with the run successfully for an entire game, despite it being in a losing effort.

“That’s what winning football is.”
– Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, correctly assessing the importance of offensive line play.

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Quit Your B*tching: The NFL Playoffs Aren’t Fixed

You’ve seen it by now, again and again and again no doubt.  You’ve probably heard every conceivable argument in favor and against and every piece of analysis there is about whether the Cowboys’ Anthony Hitchens interfered with the Lions’ Brandon Pettigrew late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

And here’s the rub:  It doesn’t matter.

What Hitchens did is called pass interference 99.9% of the time because he didn’t look back for the ball.

Is that a dumb standard?  Probably.

Doesn’t change the fact that it’s used as THE litmus test for pass interference.

And even if this wasn’t pass interference, it was surely defensive holding.  And even if it wasn’t a penalty at all, when’s the last time you saw a flag thrown, a penalty called and announced over the loud speaker and then called off with zero explanation and the game just continue as if it had never happened?

Never, that’s when.

Fact:  this was the most poorly officiated NFL game all season.  Forget the pass interference call, I personally saw 4 offensive holding calls that were missed (3 on Dallas, 1 on Detroit).  The call/non-call play was the single most poorly officiated play all season.  And this is in the playoffs.  This was in the closest playoff game of the weekend.  And the shitty officiating ruined it.  No argument about it.  This game was destroyed by inconsistent and shoddy officiating.

I’ve been hearing since the ‘70s that the NFL playoffs are subject to shaky officiating because they break up their regular season crews for the playoffs.  The result is supposed to be an “all-star team” of officials.  The actual result is more like watching the Pro Bowl.  But don’t expect the NFL to fix it.

According to them, there’s never been anything wrong.

 

This Week’s Sucked And Won

Justin Forsett, RB (BAL).  16 carries for 40 yards (2.5 YPC) plus 1 catch for 7 yards and a fumble.  He’s looked better.

If this week’s playoff games seemed like a bit of a letdown to you, you probably weren’t alone.  The Steelers took the field without LeVeon Bell, the Bengals had to play without AJ Green and don’t even get me started on all the Cardinals who weren’t available for action.

In fact, the God-awful quarterback play Arizona suffered through at the end of the season makes me think that the NFL should change the roster rules for quarterbacks and allow teams to carry 4 QBs exempt from roster restrictions.  That would allow every team to carry both a developmental young player AND a veteran who would be available if both the starter and backup were to get injured in front of him.

What I saw in Carolina this weekend should NEVER represent NFL playoff football.  Never.

 

This Week’s Great But Lost

Antonio Brown, WR (PIT).  9 catches for 117 yards might seem like just another day at the office for the NFL’s receiving leader, but keep in mind that Pittsburgh couldn’t run the ball to save its life this week, putting all of the focus on the passing game.  Brown came through anyway, as if everything was business as usual.

 

What road team has the best chance to win this weekend?

My guess is the one that won last weekend.  The Baltimore Ravens may be playing arguably the NFL’s best team in the New England Patriots, but the Ravens are 2-1 in the playoffs at New England and absolutely will not be intimidated going in.

Then consider the alternatives:  no one goes into Seattle and wins.  No one.

Same deal with Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers plays like a cross between Johnny Unitas and Superman.

But maybe you think Andrew Luck has a chance to beat the guy he replaced.  Well, he tried that the first week of the season and his Colts were down 31-10 before scoring a couple of late TD’s to make it look respectable.

Featured image via Zimbio

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NFL Random Thoughts: Mike Glennon Revived the Bucs

Who’d have thought that the best game of the early slate would be Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh.

Not only was it the most competitive of the 1:00 games, coming down to a last second touchdown by the Buccaneers to seal the upset, but it featured a surprising number of trick plays and big gainers from what are normally a pair of low key offenses.  Oh by the way, whose idea was it to sign Josh McCown instead of giving Mike Glennon a full season to show what he can do?
(more…)

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