Winners and Losers of NFL Week 6
Each week of the 2022 NFL season, we are going to rejoice the electrical performs, examine the colossal blunders, and clarify the inexplicable moments of the newest slate. Welcome to Winners and Losers. Which one are you?
They let Josh Allen play Patrick Mahomes once more and we watched it. Jaws on the ground, hearts in our throats, beers within the air as a result of we saved by accident swinging our arms round reacting to the massive performs—identical to we did in January. They may have Allen play Mahomes once more tomorrow and the day after that, and I’d watch it each time.
In comparison with January’s time beyond regulation thriller, this recreation was comparatively tame. The groups mixed for simply 44 complete factors, thrilling bookmakers throughout the nation after the public bet heavily on the over. BUT STILL: Josh Allen hurdled a man, after which afterward the identical drive, threw a game-winning landing. I can’t consider he’s an actual soccer participant.
This time, there was no reply from the Chiefs. Not like in January, Mahomes didn’t drive for an additional go-ahead landing after Allen’s go-ahead rating. This time, Mahomes threw an interception and the Chiefs misplaced. Buffalo’s standing because the Tremendous Bowl favourite is much more stable.
Nevertheless it’s nonetheless exceptional how evenly matched these two groups led by these two superstars are. On Sunday, the Payments had 318 passing yards, and the Chiefs had 319. Their strikes appear designed to counter one another—Von Miller, the Payments’ huge offseason signing, had two sacks; JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs’ huge offseason acquisition, had a season-high 113 yards and his first Kansas Metropolis landing. The 2 groups have now performed 5 occasions within the final three seasons. In 300 minutes of regulation, the Chiefs have scored 140 factors and the Payments have scored 139. (If we add time beyond regulation, it’s 146-139, however that stat is much less enjoyable.)
I hope these two groups play once more within the playoffs. I hope they play once more in every of the remaining 12 weeks within the common season. I hope Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes play on a discipline that’s a million miles lengthy for eternity. Have them play flag soccer or do a long-throw competitors or wrestle one another and I’ll watch that too. Simply not golf. They tried that and I super did not watch it. I’ve my limits.
Loser: The Previous Guys
We’ve had sufficient false alarms that I most likely shouldn’t even hassle anymore, however right here goes: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, with their seven mixed Tremendous Bowl victories and 7 mixed MVP trophies, are trying moldy on the market.
Sure, these two legends met within the NFC championship recreation for the 2020 season; sure, Rodgers has gained the final two MVP awards; sure, Brady will outlive us all and ultimately stand alone on a burnt Earth, surrounded solely by cockroaches, with no people round to know the greatness of his NFL accomplishments. I do know that these males are immortal legends.
However let’s face the details. The Buccaneers are 3-3. The Packers are 3-3 as effectively—and one in every of their wins got here in opposition to Brady’s Buccaneers. They’re twentieth and 24rd within the NFL in scoring, respectively. Sunday, Brady and Rodgers mixed to throw two touchdowns, and their groups misplaced to the Steelers and Jets.
When the Bucs misplaced to the Packers final month, I blamed Tampa Bay’s decimated receiving corps—they had been with out Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and Julio Jones in that recreation. Once they misplaced to the Chiefs, I blamed Okay.C. QB Patrick Mahomes, who put up 41 factors on Tampa Bay’s protection. What’s the excuse for dropping to the Steelers, who had been 1-4 earlier than Sunday? The Bucs’ receiving corps is wholesome now. The Steelers began Kenny Pickett, then needed to put in Mitchell Trubisky when Pickett suffered a concussion. Brady appeared in charge his offensive line, screaming at them throughout a stoppage in play:
When the Packers misplaced to the Vikings Week 1, it was simply one other unhealthy Week 1 efficiency for Rodgers—he laid an egg final yr, too. Once they misplaced in opposition to the Giants final week in London, you might blame the bizarre journey circumstances. What’s the excuse for dropping to the Jets on Sunday? Or for scoring simply 10 factors—fewer than the Jets allowed in opposition to Skylar Thompson, Pickett/Trubisky, and Jacoby Brissett in earlier video games? Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner celebrated the win by donning a cheesehead; an act that apparently angered a Packers participant sufficient to slap it off his head:
Like I stated, it’s nonetheless comparatively early within the season, and Brady and Rodgers are legends. However that is about as unhealthy as these two gamers have ever began; their groups have been 3-3 by six video games earlier than, nevertheless it hasn’t happened since 2012. The Bucs and Packers every have winnable video games subsequent week, in opposition to the floundering Panthers and the Commanders, respectively, however after what we noticed Sunday, maybe we shouldn’t assume they’ll win these video games. On the very least, we must always make enjoyable of those gamers now—when one in every of them is holding the Lombardi Trophy in 4 months it gained’t be as humorous.
Winner: NEW YOOOOOOOOORK, CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE … And so on. And so on. You Get the Level
New Yorkers have an annoying tendency of pondering that New York–associated issues are extra necessary than issues elsewhere—that even when you don’t dwell in New York, it’s best to perceive jokes concerning the subway, and know why we’re mad at our mayor immediately, and that New York’s nook shops are referred to as bodegas. New Yorkers suppose that individuals watching their favorite teams should have to watch Aaron Judge at-bats, as a result of in fact the big-city baseball man is extra necessary than your small-town hillbilly faculty. Fortunately, the NFL has offered a respite from NYCentrism. New York Metropolis might have two NFL groups, however neither has been good. For the previous 5 years, New York’s two soccer groups were the worst—and most embarrassing—teams in the league.
BUT NOT ANYMORE, BALL BAGS! The Jets and the Giants are every driving three-game win streaks—exceptional for the reason that two groups mixed for eight wins complete within the 2021 season. It’s the primary time each groups have had three-game win streaks in the identical season since 2015, not to mention concurrently.
After beating Aaron Rodgers in London final week, the Giants confronted one other MVP as 5.5-point residence underdogs to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. They might’ve gained by double digits if Saquon Barkley hadn’t slid wanting the top zone to expire the clock. (Recover from it, fantasy managers; you probably have Saquon you’re most likely doing fairly rattling effectively.)
The Jets confronted Rodgers at Lambeau, and had been underdogs by a landing. But they averaged 5.4 yards per rush, blocked a punt and a discipline objective, and had been the primary regular-season staff to carry the Packers underneath 300 yards of offense for the reason that Saints did it in Week 1 of final season. Rookie operating again Breece Corridor had a career-high 116 dashing yards, together with this fantastic thing about a landing run:
The Jets haven’t misplaced since second-year QB Zach Wilson returned from his knee damage; all their losses may be pinned on the questionable determination to have 37-year-old Joe Flacco as their backup QB. For the Giants, Barkley seems just like the dynamic famous person that was promised when he was drafted, and Brian Daboll seems like an distinctive head coach.
And I’ve bought to confess, I’m a little bit bit scared. In spite of everything, I’m a New Yorker, and a Jets fan since 1994. As a result of the Jets have been persistently terrible since I first bought a job writing concerning the NFL in 2012, I’ve been in a position to carve out a profession writing concerning the different 31 soccer groups. The Jets’ constant failures allowed me to suppress my urge to shove New York–associated issues in everyone’s faces. What is going to I do if the Jets are good? Will I turn out to be too obnoxious to put in writing about all the opposite groups? Will I be capable to cowl a Jets playoff recreation with out making life insufferable for my readers? I’m thrilled and terrified by the thrilling new period of New York soccer.
Loser: The Cooper Rush Period
On Sunday Night time Soccer, Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth instructed a cute story about Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush: His spouse needed to attend the Cowboys-Eagles recreation in Philadelphia, and Rush apparently protested—he stated his spouse stated one thing like, “You’re the beginning QB for the Cowboys, in fact I’m going to return to the sport,” and he stated one thing like, “Oh, it’s not that huge a deal, and airplane tickets are costly.” The gist, because the SNF crew instructed it, is that the Rushes aren’t fairly used to the big-time lifetime of an NFL beginning quarterback—however I believe they may have missed the precise story. Possibly Cooper Rush simply didn’t need his spouse to look at him lose his job!
Rush took over because the Cowboys’ starter after Dak Prescott’s Week 1 thumb damage. They misplaced their solely recreation with Prescott at QB; they went 4-0 in Rush’s first 4 begins. They’d additionally gained the one recreation he’d ever began earlier than this yr, making him 5-0 as an NFL beginning QB. Debate reveals had their scorching new matter: Ought to Dallas ditch Dak and persist with their inspiring backup who simply knew learn how to win video games? (I’m not joking: Every debate show did this.)
However Sunday night time’s recreation was in opposition to the Eagles, among the finest move defenses within the NFL: first in yards per try allowed, second in passer fee in opposition to; tied for fourth in sacks, tied for sixth in interceptions. It’s a “inform your loved ones to remain at residence and watch on TV”-type protection. And it confirmed.
Rush had accomplished a minimum of 55 p.c of his passes in all of his begins; Sunday night time, it was 47.3 p.c. He’d averaged a minimum of six yards per try in all of his begins; it was 4.8 yards on Sunday night time. Maybe most significantly, Rush hadn’t thrown an interception coming into Sunday night time’s recreation. He threw three picks in opposition to the Eagles, and it may’ve been extra. The Eagles gained to stay undefeated and in first place within the NFC East; Rush misplaced for the primary time as an NFL starter.
Prescott will most likely be prepared for the Cowboys’ Week 7 recreation in opposition to the Lions—however even when he isn’t, the talk right here is over. Individuals pretended Cooper Rush was an choice for the Cowboys transferring ahead not due to his efficiency, however due to their defense-driven win streak. Now that’s over, and so is the faux-debate. I suppose the commentators overlooked another excuse Mrs. Rush most likely needed to return to Sunday night time’s recreation—deep down inside, the Rushes most likely knew that there wouldn’t be that many possibilities to see him be the Cowboys’ beginning QB.
Winner: Bailey Zappe
Let’s play a recreation! Click on on this picture. Now click on on this picture. Considered one of these males is Michael McCorkle “Mac” Jones, a quarterback for the New England Patriots. The opposite is Bailey Michael Zappe, additionally a quarterback for the New England Patriots. Each of them are youthful-looking white males, clean-shaven with blue eyes and short-cropped brownish-blond hair.
Let’s play one other recreation—however as a substitute of evaluating their faces, let’s evaluate their greatest profession video games. Jones, who has performed 20 profession video games and made the Professional Bowl final yr as a rookie, had his greatest recreation final yr in opposition to the Titans in Week 12 of 2021, going 23-for-32 for 310 yards with two landing passes and no interceptions. Zappe, a rookie fourth-rounder who has performed in simply three video games, primarily matched Jones’s career-best efficiency stat-for-stat on Sunday, going 24-for-34 for 309 yards with two landing passes and no interceptions in a 38-15 win over the Browns.
The Patriots are one in every of three groups that had been pressured to play their third-string QB on Sunday, and it didn’t go effectively for the others. The Dolphins began rookie Skylar Thompson after accidents to Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater; Thompson accomplished simply seven passes for 89 yards earlier than leaving the sport with a thumb damage within the second quarter. He was changed by Bridgewater, who had solely cleared concussion protocol on Saturday. The Panthers began P.J. Walker after an damage final week to Baker Mayfield and with Sam Darnold nonetheless on injured reserve; they didn’t rating any offensive touchdowns on Sunday in a loss to the Rams.
The Patriots, although? They’re thriving. After an ankle damage to Jones and a concussion to Brian Hoyer, they had been right down to Zappe. However Zappe isn’t simply any rookie: He set the FBS document for single-season passing touchdowns and single-season passing yardage in his lone season at Western Kentucky after transferring from Houston Baptist. His lone profitable faculty season and lack of excellent bodily traits meant he fell to Day 3—however he’s proven he can hit open receivers, no downside. The Pats are 2-0 with Zappe as starter, placing up a median of 33.5 factors per recreation.
The Pats have weathered the storm with backups earlier than. (Have you ever heard of “Tom Brady”?) In 2016, they had been additionally right down to their third-stringer within the first month of the season, after Brady’s Deflategate suspension (that basically occurred!) and an damage to Jimmy Garoppolo. To win then, they changed around their whole offense on brief discover to win with Jacoby Brissett. However now? Their offense seems principally the identical with Zappe because it does with Jones.
That Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe have an identical faces is humorous. That their video games are an identical as effectively is a bit unusual. Is it factor that New England’s offense is plug-and-play, so efficient that third-stringers can are available and win video games? Or is it a bit worrisome that their supposed franchise QB seems the identical as their fourth-rounder?
Loser: San Francisco’s Infinite Drive to Nowhere
We used to simply get in our automobile and drive round with out Google Maps or something. Smart drivers would buy street maps of the world the place they had been headed; humble ones would get out of the automobile and ask strangers for instructions. Ultimately, we had been in a position to print out instructions on MapQuest. However some had been nonetheless too proud to ask for instructions. Within the fourth quarter of their upset loss to the Falcons on Sunday, the Niners regarded like a pre-smartphone driver: no instructions, no purpose, simply driving, driving, driving, caught of their methods and caught on the street. Where were they going without ever knowing the way?
The Niners had been 3.5-point street favorites in opposition to the Falcons, however discovered themselves down 14 within the fourth quarter. After a wonderful Atlanta punt, San Francisco bought the ball on their very own 1-yard line with 10 minutes remaining. They wanted factors, and so they wanted them shortly. As a substitute, they took eternally to not rating, embarking on one of many longest, most pointless drives in NFL historical past. Over the course of 8 minutes and eight seconds, the Niners ran 16 performs, not together with three voided on account of penalties. Even when they’d scored, the drive would have been a catastrophe, draining 80 p.c of the remaining clock and leaving them little time to make a comeback. However they didn’t rating— and so they barely bought into the purple zone. They turned the ball over on downs on the Falcons’ 19-yard line. According to Pro Football Reference, it’s the second-longest scoreless fourth-quarter drive by a staff trailing by 14 factors, solely surpassed by a 2010 drive by a Jaguars staff down 27.
It was surprising to see a staff which hypothetically nonetheless had an opportunity to win play with adverse urgency. Of the 16 performs, three had been incomplete Jimmy Garoppolo passes and solely two featured gamers getting out of bounds. That signifies that 11 of the 16 performs resulted in a operating clock, and but the play-by-play signifies the Niners didn’t go no-huddle till the eighth play of the drive, after 5 minutes had come off the clock. In response to TruMedia, solely three of the 16 performs on the drive had been passes past the first-down marker. They ran the ball 5 occasions and Garoppolo threw the ball wanting the sticks eight occasions. It might have been an ideal job in the event that they had been attempting to kill the clock—however they had been those trailing by two scores! The one factor they killed was their likelihood to win the sport.
The drive seems like a abstract of what’s fallacious with the Niners. That they had hoped to have a dynamic offense with Trey Lance, however after his season-ending damage, they reverted again to Garoppolo, who has a weaker arm and fewer playmaking potential. Their offense is constructed round a powerful run recreation and yards after the catch—which left them roughly doomed once they wanted to chase factors late within the recreation. Like a misplaced driver within the days earlier than the web, they didn’t appear to appreciate that the longer they drove, the farther they had been from attending to their vacation spot. They regarded misplaced, and positive sufficient, they misplaced.
Winner: Joe and Ja’Marr
LSU performs in Dying Valley in Baton Rouge, however the Tigers have a knack for producing nice achievements only a bit down the river. Up to now 20 years, there have been 4 nationwide championship video games performed on the Superdome in New Orleans; prior to now 20 years, LSU has reached the nationwide championship recreation 4 occasions. By some stroke of destiny or Louisiana magic, all 4 of the Tigers’ title recreation appearances have been in New Orleans. The newest was in January 2020, when Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase linked up for 221 yards and two touchdowns and accomplished one of many best faculty soccer seasons of all time. I used to be there, and it didn’t feel like a game; it felt like fate.
Sunday, Joe and Ja’Marr made their triumphant return to the Superdome, their first recreation in opposition to the Saints since they had been reunited on the Bengals final season. Burrow confirmed as much as the sport carrying the LSU jersey supposedly worn by Chase in that national title game. New Orleans followers had been… feeling confused.
There’s an insane quantity of individuals carrying Joe Burrow jerseys ready to get into the Superdome.
— Ben Child (@Ben_Baby) October 16, 2022
Fascinating response within the Superdome stands. #Saints followers at one second screaming wildly in anticipation of a potential sack, then quieting as Burrow scrambles into the open discipline, adopted by a type of well mannered applause by quite a lot of followers after he scores.
— Brett Martel (@brettmartel) October 16, 2022
New Orleans constructed a 23-14 lead—nevertheless it was Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase within the Superdome. The Saints might have been extra aggressive than Clemson was almost three years in the past, however they had been simply as doomed. Chase caught two second-half touchdowns, together with this 60-yarder. (The Superdome magic apparently doesn’t apply to all LSU grads—the second man flailing at Chase’s ft is Louisiana legend Tyrann Mathieu.)
They’re Cincinnati Bengals now as a substitute of Bayou Bengals, nevertheless it doesn’t matter: There’s no beating Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase in Louisiana. Fortunately for the Saints, this matchup is barely going to occur as soon as each 4 years or so (and even much less regularly on the Superdome) as a result of the Bengals are within the AFC and the Saints are within the NFC. As a result of clearly, there’s one thing that makes these two unstoppable in that state, in that constructing.
Loser: The Carol-emple Panth-ewls
Final Monday, the Panthers fired Matt Rhule after a dismal 11-27 document over two-plus seasons with the franchise. It’s usually robust to maneuver ahead when groups hearth a coach mid-season, nevertheless it needed to be particularly awkward for the eight gamers on the Panthers roster who performed for Rhule in faculty: two from Baylor and 6 from Temple. Rhule was very fascinated about imprinting his tradition on Carolina—on Sunday, someone leaked a document called “The Way of the Panther,” by which Rhule described the “model” he was attempting to construct—and filling the roster with his guys was a critical part of that process. Certainly, the overwhelming majority of this present Panthers staff was comfortable to be accomplished with Rhule, an overmatched coach with annoying catchphrases—however what about his guys?
Judging from Sunday’s efficiency in opposition to the Rams, they’re not doing so nice. Panthers WR Robbie Anderson, who performed for Rhule at Temple, was noticed sitting away from his staff on the sideline:
Later, Anderson bought into a big argument with wide receivers coach Joe Dailey—notably, not a coach who got here with Rhule from his faculty jobs. Anderson instructed reporters he was mad about being taken out of the game on a third down. Within the second half, interim head coach Steve Wilks determined he was accomplished with Anderson, sending the receiver again to the locker room for the remainder of the sport.
The sport didn’t go effectively for his Temple-to-Carolina teammates, both. P.J. Walker, Anderson’s QB at Temple, bought the beginning on Sunday after an damage to Baker Mayfield final week; Walker had a fully disastrous recreation, going 10-for-16 for 60 yards earlier than leaving with an damage. Miraculously, Walker did not complete any passes more than one yard downfield. His alternative, Jacob Eason, threw for 59 yards on simply 5 passes; it took him only one drive to have as many yards as Walker had all recreation.
Temple alum Matt Ioannidis, a beginning defensive sort out, performed his common function, however down the roster, security Sean Chandler bought no defensive snaps after enjoying 38 snaps the final two weeks. The Panthers are reportedly seeking to commerce Anderson, and it feels unlikely they’ll return to Walker after his dud Sunday—even when Mayfield and Sam Darnold are out, they may as effectively see if they’ve something in Eason.
The plight of Rhule’s leftover chosen ones on the Panthers roster underlines the foolishness of the way Carolina handled this situation. It ought to have been clear forward of the season that the Panthers had been going nowhere with Rhule. In the event that they’d reconfigured within the offseason, they might have had an opportunity in a poor NFC South division that at present has no groups over .500. As a substitute, they’ll spend two-thirds of a season flailing with a roster constructed round their ex-coach’s failed imaginative and prescient. By giving Rhule a 3rd likelihood to attempt to put collectively NFL staff, they wasted this season. I’d mope on the top of the bench too.
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