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Best of NFL Week 6: Quarterback controversy in Miami?

WEEI
October 15, 2018 - 12:17 pm
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By John Anderson

Here’s everything you need to know about Week 6 in the NFL.

BYE WEEKS: Saints, Lions

Eagles 34, Giants 13 - Is Ben McAdoo the modern-day Napoleon?

(Warning: absurd historical metaphor incoming) Aside from looking like completely ludicrous humans, Ben McAdoo and the 19th century leader of France seem to have lived parallel lives. Both were ousted by their enemies for being a bit radical. A few months into his exile on Elba, Napoleon’s ex-wife died. A few months into McAdoo’s exile his ex-QB’s arm died. The only difference at play is Eli’s arm died last season and McAdoo was the only one willing to admit Eli is what’s holding the team back. That seems to be the current narrative among the NFL media (minus the Napoleon bit) but that doesn’t change how abysmal the Giants’ offensive line play has been. The Nate Solder signing is looking worse and worse with each passing game and even Will Hernandez, the Giants’ 2nd-round pick who many consider “good” had his struggles in this game. Eli hasn’t been great, but when Kyle Lauletta inevitably plays later this season it’s not like the offensive line will suddenly offer Secret Service-level protection.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 29 - Winston’s two turnovers are the difference

Julio Jones is on pace for about a million receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Jones can catch the ball anywhere on the field except the endzone. Luckily the Falcons have Mo Sanu and Calvin Ridley to use in either 10 x 53.33 yard grid on each end of the field, but even that trio doesn’t match what the Buccaneers have on their offense. Unfortunately for the Bucs, they also have Jameis Winston, whose ceiling is about the same Ryan Fitzpatrick’s except...except nothing. Winston threw 400 yards and four TDs but those two turnovers ended up being the difference in this game. The “Matt Ryan is overrated” crowd has been mum since the season opener as Ryan has thrown for 14 TDs and two INTs on the season, including three TDs and no picks in this game. With two high-powered offenses up against two city-appointed lawyer-style defenses it was up to the QBs to perform mistake-free given the slim margin for error. One did, one didn’t.

Redskins 23, Panthers 17 - Panthers stay in unhealthy relationship with the run game just a bit too long

This juxtaposes Mike McCarthy’s philosophy of abandoning the run game if the Packers rush for less than five yards on any given play-- as if the run game abandoned him as a child. Norv Turner refused to give up on the run well into the 4th quarter, which lines up with the fact that coming into this week, Christian McCaffrey lead the league in yards gained via power-style runs. In this game those plays simply did not work. When the time came for the Panthers to push the ball down the field in an attempt to win the game, Cam Newton repeatedly sailed the ball over his receivers’ heads. Alex Smith certainly didn’t reinvent the forward pass in this game, but he and Adrian Peterson did enough for the Redskins to hold on and win this game.

Seahawks 27, Raiders 3 - Seahawks are really run-first

Seattle’s run-first offense is paying off as Chris Carson and Mike Davis not only are gashing defenses but they’re setting up Russell Wilson and the pass game in addition to keeping Wilson from getting killed like he did last season. Fantasy experts said this week to trade Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett as Seattle’s pass game takes a back seat, but it’s simply become safer and more efficient. On the Raiders’ side, their offensive line play has reached the point of no return. The interior is comprised of the same guys who were all Pro-Bowlers just two years ago, but rookies Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker have been disasters at the tackle spots. The Raiders are quickly going down the rabbit hole of not being able to afford critical pieces because of their QB’s contract, and it may prompt the team to move on from Derek Carr sooner rather than later.

Take solace, Raiders fans, as DE Bruce Irvin is taking a glass-half-full approach to this trainwreck. Postgame, Irvin said the following: “We lost, but I’ve got a beautiful wife I get to go home to, boy. I’m going to try to make some babies, man.”

Jets 42, Colts 34 - Colts’ defense can’t defend the middle of the field

Full disclosure: I had money on this game and thus the rest of this paragraph is being written in a heightened, emotional state. 99% of the millions reading this will immediately question how any sane human could place money on this Colts team. To that I say I am far from a sane human. As an insane human, the logic at play is that these teams are similar talent-wise, one has Andrew Luck, one has a mistake-prone, rookie QB, and the Colts actually have some decent pass-rushers in Jabaal Sheard and Margus Hunt. Problem: Margus Hunt sat out with an injury. Also problematic: Literally all Sam Darnold did this whole game was pop up and hit a receiver somewhere in the 5-15 yard range and between the numbers quick enough that the Colts’ pass rush didn’t matter, then let Jason Myers kick a field goal (of which Myers hit SEVEN). The Colts could not defend the middle of the field and it was excruciating to watch, given me eating this week was dependent on the outcome of this game. So I am sad to announce this will be my final piece on WEEI.com as I’ll likely starve by next weekend. To wrap here, Andrew Luck only threw one pick that I’ve 100% objectively decided was actually his fault. The picks that weren’t on Luck were very much the difference, as the Colts only ended up losing this one by eight.

Vikings 27, Cardinals 17 - Vikings win the O-Line Toilet Bowl

The Cardinals stuck around in this game much longer than anyone expected due to the constant pressure from Chandler Jones and even Markus Golden on Kirk Cousins. A strip sack and an interception of Cousins lead to some points for Arizona but ultimately the Vikings’ defense did worse to Josh Rosen than what Arizona’s D did to Cousins. What changed for the Vikings that didn’t for the Cardinals was Minnesota’s run game being resurrected like Mariah Carey every year on December 1st. Latavius Murray rumbled to 155 yards behind Minnesota’s offensive line, which help to set up the pass game even though Arizona’s pass rush continued to generate decent pressure on Cousins in the second half. On the other hand, Arizona’s offensive line remained the dormant February through October version of Mariah Carey as little help was offered up as Josh Rosen and David Johnson were thrown to the wolves.

Steelers 28, Bengals 21 - Le’Veon Bell on Twitter: “damn james *muscle emoji*”

The more I listen to other commentators the more I value what Tony Romo has to say. He’s the only commentator that doesn’t say something everyone already knows or something that’s flat-out incorrect. After Antonio Brown’s game-winning TD catch, which accounts for one-third of his total yardage in the game, Dan Fouts proclaimed the Bengals have gotten absolutely no pressure on Big Ben, who in turn has had, “all day to find his number one receiver.” Just because a QB goes a whole game without getting sacked doesn’t mean there was no pressure, as the Bengals had quite a few pass-rushes that go down in the advanced stats community as “pressures” or “hurries.” In addition, aside from the game-winner Brown only caught the ball four times for 74 yards out of Roethlisberger’s 32 completions. So not only did the Bengals get pressure, but Roethlisberger struggled to find Brown most of the day. The real culprit was the mockery the Bengals’ backend made of open field tackling, as Vance McDonald, JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner at times seemed to waltz by Bengals defenders without breaking a sweat. The Steelers enter their bye week a half-game behind the Bengals in the AFC North, with Le’Veon Bell allegedly returning soon. Post game, Ben Roethlisberger said this would be James Conner’s last game. It was a heck of a run for Conner, no pun intended, but with Bell coming back Conner will reclaim his spot on the bench and play zero more snaps for the Steelers this season.

Chargers 38,  Browns 14 - Chargers are contending and no one seems to notice

It’s 2018 and beating the Browns provokes a take like that.

It’s similar to the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run last season in the NHL. When there’s an astronomically high amount of hype about a team and it doesn’t pay off immediately, we just kind of move on. The Chargers got off to a slow start again, but this time around they’ve seemingly addressed the issues before going 0-4. Melvin Gordon took this game over starting after he tipped a pass that was picked off by Christian Kirksey, going on to rush for 132 yards and three TDs. Desmond King, the Ringo Starr of an LA secondary that includes Casey Hayward, Derwin James and Trevor Williams, had two picks and played lights out in coverage. Sitting at 4-2, the Chargers are slated to get Joey Bosa back from injury after their bye week coming up in Week 8. The Browns have a very underrated offensive line, given that it’s pretty good and people assume it stinks since its the Browns, so the pressure the Chargers managed to get on Baker Mayfield all game sans Bosa is very notable going forward.

Texans 20, Bills 13 - Nate Peterman plays the hits

This isn’t even a joke: according Buffalo Rumblings, when the score was 13-13 Nate Peterman told the coaching staff, “I got this.” Dead serious. He then proceeded to dust off his what the city of Houston now refers to as “The Charity” (not to be confused with JJ Watt’s post-Harvey efforts) and throw not only the interception that gave the Texans a 20-13 lead but also the ensuing interception on the next drive that clinched the win for the Texans. After all, the best defense is playing against a incompetent offense. I’ve harped on this the past few weeks, but the Bills’ offense continues to overshadow how great their defense is, especially how well Buffalo’s weakside linebacker Matt Milano has played this season.

Peterman entered the game because Josh Allen went down with an injury. The alleged Peterman quote will surely overshadow the other alleged quote Bills receiver Kelvin Benjamin dropped to Allen pregame after Allen asked Benjamin if he wanted to work on routes during pregame warmup: “No.”

Dolphins 31, Bears 28 - QB controversy in Miami?

That’s a joke but you’ll probably hear it said un-ironically at some point this week, as Brock Osweiler’s three TD, 380 yard performance will surely trick some folks. The Heist, as Mike Lombardi refers to Osweiler, was thrust into Miami’s starting lineup, much to the horror of the same fans who regularly have to abandon their homes during ‘cane season. Osweiler leaned on his skill players, getting the ball to Jakeem Grant, Albert Wilson and Frank Gore and letting them do the rest. Aside from Kyle Fuller continuing his dominant play, Chicago’s secondary was horrible in this game and Miami’s O-line somehow domesticated Chicago’s front seven. A wacky overtime period that involved Gore doing his 22-year old in a 35-year old’s body thing down to the one-yard line, Kenyan Drake fumbling, and Cody Parkey missing the game-winner for Chicago eventually led to Jason “Colonel” Sanders hitting the game-winning field goal for Miami, who advance to 4-2 while Chicago falls to also 4-2.

Rams 23, Broncos 20 - QB controversy in Denver?

This one is kind of a joke but Case Keenum was being checked for a concussion and emerged to a stadium in an uproar over Chad Kelly taking a knee before halftime. Now, every Keenum overthrow or malpractice from the pocket is going to lead to the Swag Kelly question being asked, as the Swag Hourglass has officially been flipped. Vance Joseph could be inclined to pull the plug on Keenum and see if Kelly can save his job-- Rapsheet reports that the Broncos are, “monitoring,” Joseph, which is a bizarre report in itself as it paints a picture of John Elway bugging Joseph’s home and checking Joseph’s browser history while the rest of us monitor Elway’s QB and offensive line evaluation skills. Keenum couldn’t get much going all day but Denver’s defense, despite letting up Todd Gurley’s best career performance, was able to get a ton of pressure on Jared Goff. Notably, 5th overall pick Bradley Chubb recorded two sacks and Shane Ray reminded everyone he exists. If Denver hopes to make a push for a wild card spot this pass rush performance is good news, as LA has the highest graded offensive line according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics and the AFC West features a few “how not to play offensive line” type of offensive lines.

Ravens 21, Titans 0 - Ravens sack Marcus Mariota 11 times

Speaking of offensive lines, the Titans are supposed have a good one. It’s hard to believe seeing the above statline, but it’s true. 11 sacks. One more sack than total completions thrown by Marcus Mariota this game. The Titans offense and the prospect of Matt LaFleur coming over after a year under Sean McVay has just not panned out thus far in the season, and my preseason prediction of the Titans winning 11-13 games and making the AFC title game is looking rough. Holding the Ravens’ offense to 21 points and a running back like Alex Collins to 2.8 yards per carry is at the least a sign that if their offense picks up the slack the Titans will be in games, but for now they’re still adjusting to a new offense.

Cowboys 40, Jaguars 7 - Who’s a better QB: Blake Bortles or Conor McGregor?

Jerry Jones invited Conor McGregor to this game as an honorary guest of Jones’ rich guy boys club, continuing Jones’ streak of welcoming criminals into his facility with open arms. Sirhan Sirhan is actually scheduled to attend the Titans-Cowboys matchup at Jerry World in a few weeks. There’s a slight chance RFK’s assassin could’ve slimmed the deficit in this one, as Bortles put forth a vintage Bortles performance as Blake couldn’t complete passes down the field and was unable aid in the Jaguars’ helplessness. Zeke Elliot had his way with the Jacksonville defense, and Cole Beasley caught nine passes for 101 yards and two TDs all while being shadowed by AJ Bouye. This game is being compared to last year’s Jaguars-49ers game, but they’re different in that Jacksonville’s defense actually performed poorly as whole as opposed to the gift-wrapped shortfields and out-scheming done by Kyle Shanahan that day last December.

Patriots 43, Chiefs 40 (SNF) - Last possession wins

The key to this win for the Patriots was long drives and keeping the Chiefs’ offense off the field. The Patriots pounded Sony Michel en route to a 36:09 time of possession mark. Bill Belichick gave Mahomes looks he wasn’t ready for and although Mahomes struggled early on and threw two bad picks, keeping the KC offense off the field proved vital as the Mahomes-to-Hill pipeline has once again shown it can strike anytime from anywhere. Even kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired was crucial for the Patriots, as any amount of time left for the Chiefs offense is dangerous (as the Cowboys found out the hard way last season).

MNF: 49ers @ Packers; 8:15pm (ESPN & Westwood One)

John Andersen is an award-winning NFL journalist and has written books on Steve Slaton and Quinn Sypniewski, maybe. You can follow John on Twitter @_JohnAndersen.

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