Tag Archives: matt ryan

Matt Ryan and the Quarterback Conundrum

“You need a great franchise quarterback to win a championship” might be the most popular fallacy in professional sports. It is paraded by media pundits, analysts, broadcasters and fans alike. The position is likely the most worshipped in the arena of athletics and not by a close margin either. Quarterbacks are automatically leaders of their team regardless of overall performance or character and all victories and defeats are brought to their doorstep. In exchange for this undeserved attention, franchises throw bank vaults at them, which is not sound financial strategy. Franchises are hamstrung by disastrous quarterback contracts regularly, a problem that they themselves are responsible for manifesting. We saw a new one occur this summer.

The Falcons signed 33-year-old Matt Ryan to a five-year deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $30 million, including $100 million guaranteed. A reminder that the current salary cap number for teams is 177. Starting in his age 35 season, Ryan will have a cap hit above $30 million for the final four seasons of the deal, meaning Ryan will take up a penny under 17% of the team’s finances.

To give that type of money to a player that isn’t even the most valuable athlete on his own offense is financially irresponsible. Matt Ryan is the Andy Dalton of the NFC but with more talent. Dalton will never win an MVP award or have the ceiling that Ryan has, but it’s also true that Ryan, like Dalton, has made a career of chucking the football to a top-five receiver. Colin Cowherd did a segment on this last year. Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton had virtually the same season in 2017, the season after Matt Ryan led an air strike on NFL defenses. Look at the stats comparison if you remove Ryan’s MVP season:

In nine seasons (minus MVP), Ryan averages 7.29 yards per attempt, 64% completion, 24.7 touchdowns,13.2 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.5.

In seven seasons, Dalton averages 7.21 yards per attempt, 62.8% completion, 23.9 touchdowns, 13.3 interceptions and a passer rating of 88.7.

Eerily similar numbers, eh?ill

I’m a Matt Ryan fan myself and follow Atlanta but this is a contract that will hamstring the franchise from reaching another chance at a championship. Investing that much into one player simply isn’t smart business.

If we take a look at 2017 cap hits, we’ll find that 13 of the top 20 highest cap hits belonged to quarterbacks. Of those 13, take a guess how many made the playoffs. 13 is nearly half the league and we’re probably talking about the best guys at their position. If quarterback is truly the most valued position, it’s probably high. At least seven, right?

Four. The answer is four.

  1. Joe Flacco tops the list at $24.5 million and threw for barely 3,000 yards, only 18 TDs to 13 INTs, and had a yards per attempt average of 5.72 (32nd).
  2. Carson Palmer. Arizona paid 37-year-old Carson Palmer $17.5 million ($24 million cap hit) to play six and a half games and produce old man numbers during them. *Vomits off stage
  3. Kirk Cousins performs at an above-average level (over 4,000 yards, 27/13 TD/INT) on yet another franchise tag ($23.9) and the Redskins go nowhere.
  4. Matt Ryan ($23.75) makes the playoffs with a rich Atlanta roster before they implode on their final play of the divisional round against the Eagles. If you’re just now reading, Ryan is rewarded with the richest contract in NFL history.
  5. Aaron Rodgers ($20.3) predictably breaks after getting slammed to the turf repeatedly with no offensive line help. Packers have no team past Rodgers and detonate.
  6. Ryan Tannehill ($20.3) considers himself a doctor and decides not to get surgery on a knee injury following the 2016 season. He promptly tears it before the 2017 preseason. Rest in peace, Miami. Hopefully you can find a better quarterba-Jay Cutler?!
  7. Cam Newton ($20.16) continues his trend of attending the playoffs every other year. He ends the regular season with a completion percentage of 59.1 and 22 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. Not exactly super, though he did run for 754 on a 5.4 clip.
  8. Poor Eli. ($19.7) Young Eli’s receiving core is murdered and Eli is left throwing the ball for the remainder of the year to chicklets Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Left tackle Ereck Flowers impersonates a chew toy and his coach becomes a dark hole sucking all kinds of garbage into the orifice on his face. 3-13.
  9. The Colts front office is still dealing with the repercussions of not protecting their franchise quarterback who took them from winless to 11-5 in his rookie year. Cheer up, Indy. Maybe Andrew Luck ($19.4) will throw a football again this decade. *chatter off-screen. Wait, he threw a football?! He played in a preseason game?! Indy, you might be back in business!
  10. Drew Brees ($19) throws for a little over 4,300 yards, his fewest in over a decade, and only 23 touchdowns, his fewest since 2003. Sean Payton finally figures out that putting a defense on the field might be a formula for success. And look! They found running backs, too! What an insane carriage of ideas. Too bad about the Minneapolis Miracle, huh?
  11. Big Ben ($18.2) spends the first half of the season looking like he just came out of a nursing home, completing a smidge over 61% and throwing 10 touchdowns to nine picks in his first eight games. Ben gets his act together for the second half, the Steelers go 13-3 and then go full Steelers and blow a playoff game to Jacksonville in which they give up 45 points to Blake freaking Bortles. Ben, to his credit, threw for 469 yards and five tuddies in that game.
  12. Rivers ($18) finishes second in the league in passing (4,515 yards) and throws 28 touchdowns to 10 picks. However, the Chargers can’t find anyone who can kick a field goal at the beginning of the season, losing them two games in the final seconds. They also started 0-4 to miss out on a playoff spot. It’s 2018 and Philip Rivers has twice as many kids as he does playoff wins in his 14-year career.
  13. Sam Bradford? Oh, Jesus, seriously? Yup, the china doll of the NFL had an $18 million cap hit. Say what you will about Bradford, he gets paid an enormous amount of money to spend time on injured reserve every year. Don’t worry, the Cardinals didn’t learn a damn thing from Palmer. They gave Bradford $20 million to spend a year on their IR.

If you look further, you’ll find only six of the top 20 highest cap hits for quarterbacks made the playoffs. Those other seven names?

  1. Alex Smith ($16.9) has a career year only for Kansas City to go full Kansas City in the playoffs and blow an 18-point lead in yet another home playoff game.
  2. The first year of Matt Stafford’s megadeal only brings a $16.5 cap hit, but with Detroit still not knowing what a running back is, the Lions predictably miss the playoffs again. Cheer up, Detroit. This season Stafford’s cap hit jumps to $26.5.
  3. After an MVP-caliber season, Derek Carr ($15.7) returns from injury to play average football, throwing for just under 3,500 and a touchdown-interception split of 22/13. Next season, his cap hit jumps to $25.
  4. The Cincinnati front office learns you need an offensive line to play football. Andy Dalton ($15.7) gets sandwiched all season and the Bengals look to be worse than Cleveland this upcoming campaign. The Bengals could cut Dalton and start McCarron, oh wait.
  5. Russell Wilson ($14.6) is a one-man offense behind an offensive line that’s still garbage and a defense that is losing cohesiveness. Our franchise quarterback looks far less important when his defense can’t stop DeShaun Watson from turning them into a fajita. Seattle will spend the offseason dismantling the Legion of Boom. At least they drafted a lineman…in the fifth.
  6. Mike Glennon (man, this one didn’t age well, huh?) takes his $14 million cap hit behind and sits it on the bench behind novice Mitchell Trubisky. Money well spent!
  7. Tom Brady ($14.0) does Tom Brady things, wins MVP, takes team to Super Bowl. Give that man all the money.

If you look at production, you could argue most quarterbacks weren’t even the best player on their own team this past season. The list of signal callers who were is rather short:

Rivers, Smith (this one is debatable given Hunt led league in rushing), Brady, Stafford, Wilson, Wentz, Cousins. Only three (Smith, Brady, Wentz) made the playoffs.

A team built around a quarterback is not a guaranteed victory for front offices, even if that quarterback delivers in effectiveness. Rivers has been an above average quarterback nearly his entire career and has only four playoff wins to show for it. Teams seem to forget that building around said quarterback is vital and if you devote too much of your deposit box to them, it’s difficult to do that.

Other teams simply don’t build for some reason. The idea Aaron Rodgers has made only one Super Bowl is inexcusable. Maybe if Green Bay could’ve looked at a stat sheet years ago and realized defensive coordinator Dom Capers was disastrous in big games and the running game was dwindling, they could have changed that. Instead, Cheeseheads are left watching Green Bay get ousted too early in the playoffs or seeing how incompetent their coaching staff/team really is when Rodgers is taken out of the picture. Green Bay is an example of what goes wrong when you get a franchise quarterback and then don’t do anything of substance after that. A team this fully reliant on one player is doomed for failure (See Indy, and God bless Detroit if Stafford ever misses a season.)

At this point, Green Bay and Detroit are carbon copies of each other. Green Bay has seen its death grip on the NFC North slip away to a more complete roster in Minnesota. Rodgers will get an extension and stay in Green Bay (called it) and then Matt and Aaron will try to throw their teams to victory single-handedly for the remainder of their careers while Minnesota finally discovers the formula to playoff success and makes an appearance in a Super Bowl. Giving Kirk Cousins a fully-guaranteed contract is risky but a necessary signing if the Vikings want to get over the hump. Also, the team isn’t putting its entire body weight on Cousins’ shoulders and has shown it can win with a backup quarterback and runner on the field for a majority of a campaign. Imagine the level of lethality this team can reach with a healthy Cousins and Dalvin Cook. Also, Cousins contract is only three years, so if the signing doesn’t go as planned, Minnesota can move on to another option without putting their piggy bank in a vice grip.

Football is a team sport, not a quarterback one. Complete teams win championships, not quarterbacks. That is not to say a team can’t win a championship with a great quarterback. Great quarterbacks have been winning titles for a while but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a plethora of examples where they did it by themselves. The great John Elway couldn’t win one without Terrell Davis’ help. Dan Marino went on a historic passing tear in his sophomore season, won MVP and took his team to a Super Bowl before getting pounced on by the 49ers dyansty. He never got to another one.

It’s actually far easier to find a team who carried a quarterback to a Super Bowl: 2015 Broncos, 2006 Steelers, 2003 Bucs and let’s not forget about Trent Dilfer and the 2000 Ravens.

Teams predicated on quarterback success often falter in big moments because it’s difficult for one man to do it all. Look at the Colts with Andrew Luck. Drafted first overall by a winless team, he took Indy to 11-5 and a wild-card game. The next season, he advanced them to the divisional round and the year after that to the AFC Championship game, one of the most impressive starts to a career in quite a while. He was given a massive extension, which he had earned and which was the right move for the franchise. Problem is, during all these playoff runs, Indy management had done little to build the team around Luck. In 2013, they drafted defensive end Bjoern Warner, a bust. In general, the entire class was a robust failure. In 2015, they reached for receiver Philip Dorsett, a receiver that didn’t play out his rookie deal with Indy he was so unwanted. Their second choice, cornerback D’Joun Smith, played a total of five game for the Colts. At one point, general manager Ryan Grigson blamed Andrew Luck’s extension for his inability to put together a competent defense.

This claim was complete nonsense. These were their defensive rankings, beginning during Luck’s rookie year:

Yards/Pass/Rush/PPG

2012 26th 21st 29th 21st

2013 20th 13th 26th 9th

2014 11th 12th 17th 16th

2015 26th 24th 25th 25th

2016 30th 27th 25th 22nd

 

You’ll notice the year they were passable, in 2014, is the year they made it to the AFC Championship game, once again, on the shoulder of one Andrew Luck. Without Luck, we’ve seen what the Colts are: garbage. Quarterbacks hide a team’s flaws. They don’t cure them.

Drew Brees has had a similar problem with the Saints. A player of his caliber should have made it to more than one Super Bowl by now.

Look at those defensive rankings!

Yards/Pass/Rush/PPG

’06 11th 3rd 23rd 13th<—-Nice start!

’07 26th 30th 13th 25th<–Straight to garbage, huh?

’08 23rd 23rd 17th 26th<–Not trying anymore?

’09 25th 26th 21st 20th<–We have Brees! What is defense?

’10 4th 4th 16th 7th<——Got to be a Super Bowl here, right? No? It was the ’09 season?

’11 24th 30th 12th 13th<–Nice PPG! Lose to a better defense in the 49ers.

’12 32nd 31st 32nd 31st<-Here’s where it gets a lot of fun.

’13 4th 2nd 19th 4th<—–Good defensive year lost due to running into Legion of Boom.

’14 31st 25th 29th 28th<–Back to not trying again, I see.

’15 31st 31st 31st 32nd<–Sean Payton is a great coach!

’16 27th 32nd 14th 31st<-Why run on this team when we can throw them into oblivion?

’17 17th 15th 16th 10th<-Minneapolis Miracle time!

Imagine what the Saints’ reputation would be if Drew Brees didn’t throw for 4,500 nearly every year during his time in New Orleans. Remove Brees from Louisiana and Payton doesn’t have a job in three years, maybe less, and Saints fans’ only respite is watching who they pick with their top-five slot in the draft. People aren’t kidding when they call Brees the heart of New Orleans. If he wasn’t there, New Orleans would be a corpse.

 

Sadly, Rodgers, Luck and Brees have seen their careers mostly wasted to this point. Rodgers and Brees are likely going to visit Canton and yet they both have only one Lombardi. Luck still has time to change his fortunes if he can ever get his shoulder to operate again. I’m rooting for it, even if the Colts franchise clearly doesn’t deserve him.

Stafford also belongs on this list. Not a Hall of Fame talent, but a gunslinger who has deserved better. Detroit wasted the prime years of Stafford to Calvin, including taking one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game into a winless season and so much turmoil that Megatron would rather not play football than continue to play in Motor City. The last time the Lions were tenth or better in rushing, Barry Sanders was playing football. Let’s see how the Lions have done since then.

’98 10th<—–Man, that Barry dude is so good. Hope he never retires. *Immediately retires

’99 28th<—–It will take us some time to recover from the loss of Barry.

’00 20th<—–See, improvement! We’re gonna be fine.

’01 28th<—–Oh, God. 2-14. Hope this doesn’t happen again any time soon.

’02 29th<—–We’re gonna be fine. Joey Harrington is the future!

’03 32nd<—-Man, we’ve spent four of five years in the bottom five in rushing. Starting to miss Barry, now. Receiver Charles Rogers at number two will help us though!

’04 19th<—–Roy Williams looks like an elite receiver. Kevin Jones is the savior of Detroit!

’05 26th<—–It’s just a sophomore slump for Kevin. He’ll be fine.

’06 32nd<—-Oh geez, we need some help. How about Brian Calhoun! *tears ACL, ends career

’07 31st<—–Look, we’ve gone from 3-13 to 7-9. We’re on the verge of greatness!

’08 30th<—–Oh, God. A winless season. Where did it go wrong? We better get Calvin some help. He looks pissed.

’09 24th<—–Matt Stafford is a generational talent. Stafford to Calvin is gonna be one of the greatest connections in pro football history.

’10 23rd<—–Suh is a tank and Jahvid Best is a phenom. The days of not having a running game are finally behind us.

’11 29th<—–We made the playoffs for the first time since Barry! We got Mikel Leshoure! We are bound for great-(demolished by New Orleans).

’12 23rd<—–10-6 to 4-12 was quite a fall but Ryan Broyles is the best receiver college football has ever seen. We’ll finally have another option for Matt!

’13 17th<—–Reggie Bush is gonna become the GOAT for us. This is the team to break the streak!

’14 28th<—–We haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. We’re finally gonna (Cowboys crush Motor City dreams 24-20).

’15 32nd<—-Last in rushing again? Geez, starting to think this might be the problem. Oh, no. We made Calvin quit, too?

’16 30th<—-We got Nebraska star Ameer Abdullah! The streak will finally… *placed on season-ending IR.

’17 32nd<— *flips table, exits stage left

12 times in the bottom five in the last 20 seasons and seven times in the bottom three in the last 15. Gross mismanagement, plain and simple.

 

Build around your team. There’s more to the game then quarterbacks.

Teams with quarterbacks on their rookie deals are the easiest to manage because they don’t have the money invested in their signal caller. Look at the Eagles. Wentz had a cap hit of a little over $6 million in 2017 and was my MVP for the season. In addition to the incredible value they got from his performance, they allocated their savings in the trenches and now have a top-five offensive and defensive line.

Dak Prescott’s entire rookie deal will cost the Cowboys less than $3 million, savings they’ve invested in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick. Extensions for these three stalwarts wouldn’t have been possible if Dak had Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2018 cap hit of $37 million.

And let’s say, for sake of argument, that Dak ends up being average over the course of his deal. (In 2017, Dak threw for 3,324 and a 88.6 rating (16th), regressing from a rookie year that made him a candidate for offensive player of the year.) It still would be a win for the organization because they now have three regular All-Pro players locked on their roster.

Deshaun Watson has a cap hit of $6 million and if he performs like he did during his unfortunately short rookie year, the team will have a serious shot at a playoff run by the end of his rookie contract.

This is how you build a football team. You want to be the 49ers and go mad spending on an unproven commodity? Be my guest. You’re gonna have a hard time building a roster. Yes, that quarterback might bring you out of the swamps of depression but one player will have a hard time pulling you out of the quicksands of mediocrity. You want $30 million quarterbacks? Go for it. Just know history and the numbers aren’t on your side.

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 6

Top 5

  1. RB Jay Ajayi 25 carries for 204 yards, 2 TD vs. PIT

Second Dolphin to run for 200 yards and 2 TDs in a game

2. WR Odell Beckham Jr. 8 receptions for a career-high 222 yards, 2 TDs, Fmb vs. BAL

3. QB Tom Brady 29/35 for 376 yards, 3 TDs, 140.0 passer rating vs. CIN

4. RB LeSean McCoy 19 carries for 140 yards, 3 TDs vs. SF

5. QB Matt Ryan 27/42 for 335 yards, 3 TDs, INT, Fmb, 102.8 passer rating vs. SEA

Worst of the Worst

5. Seven teams with double-digit penalties this week.

4. QB Aaron Rodgers 31/42 for 294 yards, TD, INT, Fmb, 90.8 passer rating vs. DAL

3. Blatant pass interference call missed in ATL vs. SEA

2. Steelers implode again

  1. Carolina drops another, now four straight

Steelers Recap

The Steelers game was another implosion, demonstrating the debacle we saw in Philly was not a one-time occurrence. There are real problems with this team and now with Ben gone for at least two weeks, the future for the Steelers is hazy at best.

Game of the Week: Vikings at Eagles

Two powerhouse defenses is sure to be a fun watch and Philly could very well pull the upset. I’m taking Minnesota but the Eagles have the tools to surprise.

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 4

Top 5

  1. WR Julio Jones 12 receptions for 300 yards, TD vs. CAR

Fourth player in Super Bowl era to have 300 yards receiving in a game.

2. QB Ben Roethlisberger 22/27 for 300 yards, 5 TDs, 152.5 passer rating vs. KC

Sixth quarterback to have five touchdowns in five different games

3. QB Matt Ryan 28/37 for 503 yards, 4 TDs, INT, 142.5 passer rating vs. CAR

4. Bills LB Zach Brown 15 tackles, 13 solo, sack, two forced fumbles vs. NE

5. WR A.J. Green 10 receptions for 173 yards, TD vs. MIA

Worst of the Worst

5. QB Carson Palmer 23/36 for 288 yards, TD, INT, Fmb, 86.3 passer rating vs. LA

4. QB Matthew Stafford 23/6 for 213 yards, 2 INTs, 56.8 QBR vs. CHI

3. Jets D, where are you? 23 vs. CIN, 31 vs. BUF, 24 vs. KC, 27 vs. SEA

2. Quarterbacks knocked out: Newton, Palmer, Siemian

  1. San Diego drops another one. Chargers have led in final two minutes in all three of their losses.

Steelers Recap

It was a week after one of the worst games in Steelers history. The Steelers responded as we expected, or had all the right in the world to expect. Defiantly and confidently. Roethlisberger had one of the best games of his career against a team that had just picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick six times, one of the few teams to ever accomplish that feat. The defense held the Chiefs to 14 points. Cam Heyward had three sacks. The Steelers were back and showed their game in Philly was just that. One game, a memory soon to be lost in the deeper recesses of the team’s minds. Up against the struggling Jets next week, it’s impossible for me not to take Pittsburgh.

Game of the Week: Falcons @ Broncos

The best offense against one of the best defenses. If Siemian starts, I have to give the edge to Denver. If Lynch starts, it gets a whole lot closer. Either way, I’m taking Denver but not confidently. I think this game could go either way.

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Tim Sports Report for 2015 NFL Week 5

Top 5

  1. Cincinnati vs. Seattle game

2. QB Andy Dalton 30/44 for 331 yards, 2 TDs, INT, 95.9 passer rating, 7 rushes for 18 yards, TD vs. SEA

3. RB Thomas Rawls 23 for 169 yards, TD vs. CIN

4. RB Doug Martin 24 carries for 123 yards, 2 TDs, 3 receptions for 35 yards, TD vs. JAC

5. RB Devonta Freeman 27 carries for 153 yards, TD vs. WAS

Worst of the Worst

5. QB Matt Ryan 24/42 for 254 yards, 2 INTs, Fmb, 55.1 passer rating vs. WAS

4. QB Matt Stafford 20/32 for 188 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 50.0 passer rating vs. ARI

3. Seahawks blow 17-point 4th quarter lead vs. CIN. According to Trey Wingo, teams had lost 427 straight games when down at least 17 in the fourth quarter.

2. QB Peyton Manning 22/35 for 266 yards, 2 INTs, 62.3 passer rating vs. OAK

  1. QB Nick Foles 11/30 for 141 yards, TD, 4 INTs, 23.7 passer rating vs. GB

Steelers Recap

The Steelers vs. Chargers game showed us one thing: Le’Veon Bell is the man. Yes, it showed us that Michael Vick needs to retire, that the Steelers offense is nowhere close to the same without Ben and that the defense has been great when all’s said and done, but when you need someone to turn to, Bell should be the go-to guy. A huge win over one of the better quarterbacks in the league, although a depleted Chargers o-line helped a lot.

Game of the Week: Panthers @ Seahawks

This is the game proved which team was for real.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 3

Top 5

1. RB Rashad Jennings 34 carries for 176 yards, TD vs. HOU

2. WR Julio Jones 9 receptions for 161 yards, 2 TDs vs. TB

3. QB Matt Ryan 21/24 for 286 yards, 3 TDs, 155.9 QBR vs. TB

4. WR Jeremy Maclin 8 receptions for 154 yards, TD vs. WAS

5. WR Pierre Garcon 11 receptions for 138 yards, TD vs. PHI

Worst of the Worst

1. The TB/ATL game in general. Nine turnovers between the two teams. Tampa Bay gave up two defensive/special teams touchdowns, committed 11 penalties for 110 yards, went 3/13 on 3rd down and were outgained 488-217 in total yards.

2. The Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden scored the game-tying touchdown against the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter only to have it called back by a holding call. The next play, the Patriots intercepted the ball to secure the victory. It was the Raiders 15th-straight loss in the Eastern time zone.

3. QB Matt Stafford 22/34 for 246 yards, 2 INTs, Fmb, 61.6 QBR vs. GB

4. QB Chad Henne 4/7 for 33 yards in first half vs. IND

5. QB Jake Locker 17/34 for 185 yards, 2 INTs, 41.9 QBR vs. CIN

Steelers Recap

On ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’em, the Panthers were an 83% favorite against the Steelers Sunday night. The Steelers must not have read reports as they did not beat one of the best defenses in the NFL, but dominated them for a full sixty minutes. The Steelers had 264 rushing yards, the most under Tomlin at the helm. RBs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both eclipsed 100 yards, the first time two Steelers running backs accomplished the feat since October 26, 1986. The Steelers also had more rushing yards than passing, 264 vs. 190. The last time the Steelers had more rushing yards than passing was in a game against the Buccaneers on September 26, 2010 (201 to 186). The Steelers currently lead the league in rushing (163.3 per game) after landing in the bottom five just one year ago.

The bad news is the injuries the Steelers suffered during their throttling of the Panthers. First round pick Ryan Shazier suffered a knee sprain and is set to miss a few weeks. 2013 first round pick Jarvis Jones has been placed on the injured reserve list after dislocating his wrist, meaning Jones will not be available to play for at least eight weeks. To round up an already painful injury list, starting cornerback Ike Taylor broke his right forearm, meaning the 13-year veteran is most likely done for the season. Sean Spence is set to fill in for Shazier and Arthur Moats will slide into Jones’ spot. The Steelers coaxed James Harrison out of retirement and Harrison is expected to fill in as a backup. If there are any positives to take out of the situation, it’s that the Steelers looked superb against a stacked defense last week and that if there was a time for the Steelers to suffer injuries, it would be now. The Steelers’ next four games are their easiest workload of the year, facing Tampa Bay at home and then traveling on the road to Jacksonville and Cleveland before returning to Heinz Field to face the Texans. With all that said, the Buccaneers looked egregious on Thursday night against the Falcons and while the extra few days to get the team back on track should help, I’m confident the Steelers will keep pace in the division and go to 3-1.

Game of the Week: NO @ DAL

Philadelphia @ San Francisco is a close second, but I got to give the edge to this Sunday night match-up because these two teams have been so underachieving so far this year. The Saints have maintained a sixth-place rushing attack, which is impressive considering their backs and while the Saints have a top-five aerial attack, Brees has not been the dynamic player we are used to seeing. Rob Ryan’s defense has also flip-flopped performance-wise (29th against the pass in a pass-heavy division). The Saints lost to Cleveland. That sums up their season so far. On the other side, Dallas is just as bad if not worse. The defense is set to make another record for most yards allowed and Romo is lucky to have the league’s leading rusher right now in DeMarco Murray because he’s looked like an amateur. I’ll take the Saints even though they’re on the road.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 1

Top 5

1. QB Matt Ryan 31/43 for (franchise record) 448 yards, 3 TDs, 128.8 QBR vs. NO

2. TE Julius Thomas 7 receptions for 104 yards, 3 TDs vs. IND

3. RB Knowshon Moreno 24 carries for 134 yards, TD vs. NE

4. WR Calvin Johnson 7 receptions for 164 yards, 2 TDs vs. NYG

5. RB Le’Veon Bell 21 carries for 109 yards,  TD, 6 receptions for 88 yards vs. CLE

Worst of the Worst

1. Steelers lead 27-3 at half, then allow 24 unanswered points before winning on a last-second field goal.

2. Eagles limited to 129 yards and Foles commits three turnovers in first half vs. JAC

3. QB Tony Romo 23/37 for 281 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 60.7 QBR vs. SF

4. Jets commit 11 penalties for 105 yards, 2 turnovers and 1/4 in the red zone vs. OAK

5. Raiders held to minute 158 total yards vs. NYJ

Steelers Recap

The Steelers had a stellar first half and more than exceeded my expectations for week one…until the second half started. From that point onward, the Steelers reminded all of its fans why they started 0-4 last year. Undisciplined play, atrocious pass coverage and total negligence on the run defense, they were all present. The Steelers may have won the game, but the fact remains they played a little over half the game, not a full 60 minutes, something that coach Tomlin has had to constantly remind his players to do. In Baltimore tomorrow, Ravens win.

Game of the Week: PHI @ IND

The Eagles were dreadful in the first half of their game against the Jaguars. The Colts, on the other hand, showed some resolve and determination, almost completing a comeback against the Denver Broncos. The Colts look hot and the Eagles, not. Luck leads his team to victory.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 9

Top 5

1. QB Nick Foles 20/28 for 406 yards, 7 TDs, 158.3 QBR vs. OAK

7th QB in NFL history throw 7 TDs in one game, first with perfect rating

2. WR Andre Johnson  8 receptions for 229 yards, 3 TDs vs. IND

3. RB Mike James 28 for 158 yards, touchdown pass vs. SEA

4. WR T.Y. Hilton 7 receptions for 121 yards, 3 TDs vs. HOU

5. RB Zac Stacy 27 for 127 yards, 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 51 yards vs. TEN

Worst of the Worst

1. Bills lose to KC despite out-gaining them.

BUF: 470 KC: 210 BUF had 241 rushing, but 3 turnovers led to 2 defensive touchdowns for KC

2. Steelers allow franchise record 55 points and 610 yards vs. NE

3. Bengals lose in OT on safety vs. MIA

4. QB Andy Dalton 32/53 for 338 yards, 3 INTs, Fmble, 55.4 QBR vs. MIA

5. QB Matt Ryan 20/27 for 219 yards, 3 INTs , 70.4 QBR vs. CAR

Steelers Recap

I was disinterested in this past week’s Steelers game and the biggest reason for that is because the Steelers were being outplayed the whole game. Despite the score being tied at 24 at one point, there had been so many defensive miscues for the Steelers that I truly didn’t understand how they were still in the game. The Patriots were the more dominant team the whole game even though they needed the fourth quarter to pull away. The Patriots were 5/8 in the red zone. The fact that they were in the red zone eight times in one game is embarrassing. Roethlisberger threw for four touchdowns and 400 yards, but had two interceptions and a fumble. The offense overall was prevalent but Dick LeBeau’s defense was atrocious.  I wasn’t surprised the Steelers lost but I was a little surprised the Steelers allowed franchise records in points and yardage, despite facing a Patriots team that is not as good as it was in past years. Tom Brady has struggled without his go-to receivers this year but has still been able to lead his team to victories. You would have thought that with Brady throwing to the likes of Aaron Dobson and an injury-prone Amendola and Gronk they would have struggled at least a little bit, but it looked like Brady had been throwing to these guys for the last ten years. Despite how bad the Steelers played, I’m going to pick them against the Bills this Sunday. The game is at home and I think that E.J. Manuel will struggle in his first game back since October 3. They will be battling one of the best running back duos in the league in Spiller and Jackson, but I believe if the offense can be half as prevalent as it was last week, they will be able to pull out the victory.

Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Saints

Very rarely do I believe the Sunday night game is actually the game of the week, but the Cowboys and Saints match-up will be one to watch.

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 8

Top 5

1. WR Calvin Johnson 14 receptions for 329 yards, TD, Fmble vs. DAL

7 yards short of all-time record for single-game receiving

ties record for 5th game of 200+ yards receiving

2. WR Marvin Jones 8 receptions for 122 yards, 4 TDs vs. NYJ

3. QB Andy Dalton 19/30 for 325 yards, 5 TDs, INT, 125.7 QBR vs. NYJ

4. CB DeAngelo Hall 4 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 pick-6 vs. DEN

5. RB Zac Stacy 26 carries for 134 yards vs. SEA

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Kirk Cousins 5/9 for 48 yards, 2 INTs, 1 pick-6, 31.0 QBR vs. DEN in just 2:18 of playing time

2. Seahawks offense: 7 first downs, 2/11 on third down, 7 sacks, 135 total yards, 80 on a TD pass to Golden Tate vs. STL

3. QB Robert Griffin III 15/30 for 132 yards, TD, 2 INTs, Fmble, 45.4 QBR vs. DEN

4. QB Matt Ryan 34/61 for 301 yards, TD, 4 INTs, 47.2 QBR vs. ARI

5. QB Tom Brady 13/22 for 116 yards, TD, INT, 69.5 QBR vs. MIA

Steelers Recap

The Steelers fell to the Raiders this past Sunday. In the loss they had only 35 yards rushing, while allowing 197 yards rushing for Oakland, Terrelle Pryor’s 93 yard touchdown is the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in NFL history, only adding to the horrible performance. Pittsburgh was 4/15 on third down, and 2/4 in the red zone. Suisham missed two 30 yard field goals, either of which would have tied the game for the Steelers. The Steelers defense played well overall. They had three takeaways, including intercepting Pryor twice. The Raiders had nearly no offense in the 2nd half, gaining only one first down and 35 yards of offense. Ben was forced to throw 45 times, and the lack of a running game definitely hurt. The Steelers did a great job of running the ball against the Ravens but they didn’t give Bell the ball enough to make the offense balanced. This team has got to RUN THE BALL! It doesn’t even have to be that successful, but they have to run the ball and make opposing defenses respect that or they will continue to heavily blitz Ben or drop 8 in coverage. It was one of the worst Steelers game I’ve seen in a while, maybe even worse than last year’s Raiders game. I expect the Steelers to get destroyed in New England.

Game of the Week: Bengals @ Dolphins

The Bengals have looked really good the last two games and the Dolphins are on a losing streak. I took the Bengals, but Dalton struggled and the Phins got the win. I don’t expect to see any better games the rest of the week.

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