- QB Kyle Allen 19/26 for 261 yards, 4 TDs, fumble, 144.4 passer rating @ARI
Kyle Allen is an undrafted quarterback who has spent most of his career on practice squads. Last Sunday, he got to live his dream: balling in the NFL. Arizona is weak competition but it doesn’t diminish this man’s performance to me. It doesn’t mean Kyle Allen’s the next superstar but it was his day.
2. WR Keenan Allen 13 receptions for 183 yards, 2 TDs vs. HOU
The Los Angeles is desperate for a second receiving option. Until then, Keenan Allen is balling. The Rivers-Keenan connection is alive and well.
3. QB Daniel Jones 23/36 for 336, 2 TDs, 2 fumbles, 112.7 passer rating, 4 carries for 28 yards, 2 TDs @TB
An 18-point comeback is the perfect start to a career. Daniel Jones still wasn’t worth 7th overall but you could see the team playing with a new energy with Jones at the helm.
4. LB Shaquil Barrett 6 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles vs. NYG
Barrett had three sacks the previous week. 7 sacks in two weeks is outstanding. Tampa Bay might finally have a pass rusher.
5. WR Mike Evans 8 receptions for 190 yards, 3 TDs vs. NYG
Evans narrowly edges out Russell Wilson and Cooper Kupp for the five spot. Evans was a constant torture to the Giants and had it not been for a missed kick, Evans, not Jones, would have walked out the hero.
Worst of the Worst
5. Jets offense
I’m not certain but I think the Jets defense has outscored their offense. Can we officially declare Gase the heretic he is?
4. Arizona outscored 17-0 in final stages, drop to Carolina and Kyle Allen.
Can we declare Kliff the false prophet that he is now? That offense is awful. We were told Kyler was the solution. Turns out Kyler isn’t a miracle man, just an uber-talented athlete.
3. Titans allow nine sacks, drop 20-7 at home vs. Jags
Tennessee looked like a complete mess. It’s time for the Mariota Era to end.
2. Browns game management
With three timeouts, the ball inside the ten and 40 seconds on the clock, Cleveland was down seven and in a golden position to tie the game.
Pass play, incomplete.
With the clock not running, there’s no reason to not call a timeout. Strategize, make the perfect play call. Kitchens didn’t. In fact, he didn’t until after three straight incompletions. On fourth down, a missed blocking assignment sealed their fate. There’s no denying it: Kitchens lost Cleveland the game and spoiled an otherwise strong performance from the Browns.
- Steelers force five takeaways, lose anyway @SF
It takes a special team to lose despite a flurry of bounces going their way. Pittsburgh is that team.
Five takeaways. Six points.
That summed up the Steelers on Sunday. Five takeaways from the defense, four of them coming on the 49ers first four possessions. San Fran was giving Pittsburgh the ball practically the whole first half. Randy Fichtner is a real dumb guy though and Mike Tomlin isn’t much better. The Steelers continued to run their offense from shotgun rather than utilize a running attack that has helped them develop young quarterbacks in the past. Through one half, Rudolph was averaging three yards per pass attempt.
Impressive. Most impressive.
The Steelers coaching staff also has an obsession with running five-wide with a receiving core that is not equipped for such a task. Behind JuJu, they have James Washington, an inconsistent deep threat, rookie Diontae Johnson (struggles with drops), Donte Moncrief (only drops), stereotypical slot receiver Ryan Switzer and special teamer Johnny Holton. Does that sound like a group that should be on the field the majority of the time?
The Steelers staff is also very rigid and stubborn in their ways even as everyone else watches them run their head into brick walls for an entire afternoon. Normally, there would be consequences for such incompetence but not in Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, you can score 16 first half points in three games, average barely two minutes of possession per drive (#3andOut) and have a third-down percentage under 30 and still have your job.
The offensive line looked discombobulated most of the afternoon (whether the departure of line guru Munchak or another year on the tires, who knows) and the defense, minus the turnovers that were handed to them (which was most of them), was mediocre. I will note Minkah Fitzpatrick was responsible for two takeaways in his first game in the black and gold.
And for the third straight post game presser, Tomlin suggested a general lack of unpreparedness was the culprit, summarizing that San Fran was better prepared and was ready to take advantage of their opportunities.
At some point, someone needs to ask, “Why is your team regularly unprepared?” Because that’s Tomlin’s job. The coach’s job is to get his team prepared and if he’s going to keep peddling that as a reason for defeat, it’s only fair to question why that is.
Pittsburgh is a bottom-five team after this performance with a bottom-five offense, a coordinator that refuses to change, a head coach that seems generally unflappable regarding incompetence and a defensive coordinator who can’t define the word adapt.
At this point, six wins seems like a stretch, meaning the first they traded to Miami may likely become a top-ten pick. I still like the Fitzpatrick trade personally because of the team’s general inability to evaluate and/or progress defensive backs but that’s about the only thing to like in Steeler land.
Game of the Week: Vikings@Bears
The NFC North is the league’s toughest division this year with the NFC West not far behind. Minnesota and Chicago have two top-five defenses and Dalvin Cook, with maybe the exception of Christian McCaffrey, has been the league’s best back. Give me this all night long.
Week 3 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)
Last week: 12-4 (!), 27-21 season, 3-0 high confidence
Green Bay with three strong wins and Philly can’t stop the slow starts. Philly isn’t getting much from their pass rush either. Rodgers without pressure spells bad news. My pick: GB -4.5
This is my least favorite pick of the week. I’ve changed my mind on this one two or three times. In the end, going to take Atlanta and hate myself when Dan Quinn’s team underperforms again. If they do, it’s time for a change. My pick: ATL -4.5
One of my rules is don’t swallow points in rivalry games. Hard for me to follow that rule when Josh Allen is the quarterback for one team and Brady is for the other. I love the Bills defense but can they hold the Patriots under 20? I don’t think so and I don’t have confidence Buffalo scores more than 20 against the best secondary in football. My pick: NE -7.5
Don’t swallow points in rivalry games but the gap between these two teams is so large. I get the better coach, defense, quarterback and home team. Too much to pass up. My pick: BAL -6.5
I love Detroit this week. Stafford and Kerryon are starting for me in fantasy. Lions also have a serviceable front seven on defense but I think their injuries at corner end up hurting them. It’s gonna be close but I think Mahomes covers. My pick: KC -6.5
Indianapolis’ offensive line vs. a defense that doesn’t know what a pass rush is. Better coach, too. My pick: IND -6.5
Trap game for LA, could actually see Miami beating the spread but I’ll believe it when it happens. My pick: LAC +16.5
If McLaurin plays, I’ll take the Redskins. If he doesn’t, give me the Giants. I truly think he’s the difference. My pick: NYG -3.5
Houston just played well on the road against the Chargers. A home win against a team down a quarterback shouldn’t be too much to hope for. My pick: HOU -4.5
The Rams were 2.5 point favorites on the road against the Browns. The Bucs and the Browns are basically the same team so the Rams, with the standard home field value of three points, should be -5.5. For whatever reason, ESPN is giving the Bucs an extra four points. Given the Rams performance against Cleveland, too many points. My pick: TB +9.5
Don’t swallow points in rivalry games. This is the game I probably should swallow the points. Arizona is awful but I’m gonna take Kliff’s Kowardice. Already hating myself. My pick: ARI +4.5
My game of the week features two top-five defenses against two bad quarterbacks in Trubisky and Cousins. Counting on Dalvin Cook to break one run. Don’t swallow points in rivalry games. My pick: MIN +2.5
Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew was fabulous against Tennessee. I expect regression and Fournette can’t run behind a bad scheme. On the other hand, Jacksonville’s defense vs. Joe Flacco is a rather large red flag, one too large to ignore. The Broncos haven’t forced a turnover or recorded a sack yet. I’ll take the points. In a week with a lot of tough spreads, the Jags are my high confidence pick this week. My pick: JAC +3.5
The market is overreacting to the Saints performance last week. The Cowboys defense handled New Orleans last year with Drew Brees. This would be a tough game for New Orleans with Brees. I just think it’s gonna be too much without him. My pick: DAL -2.5
The Steelers offense can’t move the ball while Andy Dalton has been serviceable at least. Given the Steelers hit rock bottom last week, I expect a better performance this week but certainly not a five-point win. I actually have Cincinnati winning outright. Don’t swallow points in rivalry games. My pick: CIN +4.5