The OCHO: Week 7
Surprise Number 1: Scorigami cannot save a terrible weekend of football.
If you are unfamiliar with scorigami, it is a twitter handle devoted to spotting every unique NFL score outcome. Obviously, with every passing week it gets harder and harder to find new scorigamis, but we got one this weekend! Let’s just say getting a safety is a key element to achievement at this point. As for the rest of the final scores… the less said the better. The only close game on Sunday was the Dolphins-Falcons tilt, but sadly, that game was marred by the fact it was being played by the Dolphins and the Falcons. The remaining games were a steady line of blowouts and bad football. The finale, a Sunday night game played in what amounted to a monsoon had it’s peculiarities. While it was fun to watch in the same way it can be fun to watch a child process the word “no”, it’s not really football. It was the comedy of watching people attempt to play football when they shouldn’t that was enjoyable. The slate got so bad, I stopped watching to let my children watch Halloween specials a week early. I don’t want them to think what Sam Darnold, Justin Fields, and the Jets were doing was football either.
Surprise Number 2: What the Hell are the Titans doing?
Continuing with the theme on this weird, awful football weekend, what the Hell happened in Titans-Chiefs? I know what people want to say. That the Titans are good, but I don’t buy that. The Chiefs have never had a worse weekend with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, sure, but the Titans lost to the Jets THREE WEEKS AGO. The exact same Jets team that gave up 54 points to a previously moribund Patriots offense this weekend. This game was so bizarre, Derrick Henry had more TD passes than Patrick Mahomes. I want so badly to say the Titans have it all figured out. With Derrick Henry to lean on, they can control the clock and keep a bad defense (that is improving) off of the field. Except that they LOST TO THE JETS THREE WEEKS AGO. The AFC is quickly shaping up to be a total mystery where any one of 6 teams could go to the Super Bowl, the Ravens, Bills, Titans… and oh my God the Raiders, Bengals and Chargers??? And I didn’t even mention the Chiefs? WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING????
Surprise Number 3: The case for Adam Gase not being an awful coach gains traction.
The above tweet means absolutely nothing. Adam Gase would be willing to listen to Nickelback if you paid him to at this point. Yet, some things happened this weekend to open the door for a conversation that absolutely no one should be having. Was Adam Gase unfairly tarnished as a bad coach? Let’s start with the obvious. He was fired last season because the Jets were terrible. Really terrible. Second pick overall terrible. But they aren’t any better this year, despite getting rid of him. In fact, they might be worse. This weekend they got blown off the field by a very mediocre Patriots team. Their number 2 draft pick that Adam Gase earned for them messed up his knee after playing horribly (again) and it sure looks like the biggest problem the Jets currently have is that they just have bad players. That’s not all though. One of the biggest reasons Gase was fired was his inability to develop Sam Darnold. Darnold seemed to get worse as time went on. Gase was (reasonably) blamed for this. Darnold moved to a new team, and a fresh start this season and… has been the exact same terrible QB he was before. Maybe he is just bad. BUT THAT STILL ISN’T ALL! Gase’s previous job with the Miami Dolphins ended when his team backslid behind a fill-in Jay Cutler into a hopeless rebuild. He was replaced by the fiery Brian Flores, who showed last season that a coach can win in Miami… until this season. Brian Flores has backslid behind fill-in Jacoby Brissett into a 1-6 record, no shot at the playoffs and a likely firing, just like Gase. Maybe it’s not Gase’s fault Miami sucks. Is it possible Adam Gase is a good coach who is just very, very unlucky? No, he still sucks, but at least this means we will probably get to see him take another edible before an introductory press conference.
Surprise Thing 4: The Ravens are never who we thought they were.
I am perpetually mystified by the Ravens, who are literally never who we think they are. Think they are a playoff favorite? Lost to the Raiders. Surely they are not as good as we think. Beat the Chiefs. SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS! Sneak by the Lions. Uh oh… pound the Broncos, Colts, and Chargers. Yes, bye week here we come. Get undressed by the Bengals. Look, I don’t know what to say. The Ravens experience is bewildering to me, an outsider looking in, I can’t imagine what it’s like to try and figure them out as a fan, or even worse as a coach of the team. If they come out of the bye and beat the Vikings by 100 or lose by 20, I wouldn’t be shocked either way. As for the Bengals, Jamarr Chase has changed their entire team. He brings a devastating downfield element they haven’t had since prime AJ Green. It has allowed them to run better, and, ironically, throw less than last year which is keeping Joe Burrow safe. Now, if they can just avoid Bengaling the whole thing…
Expected Thing 1: The Lions lost their Super Bowl
The Lions are a team that is hurting. Obviously they are bad, but it’s not just that. They have been incredibly unlucky, twice losing games they probably should have won. Most casual observers would expect a Super Bowl contender like the Rams to run roughshod over this unlucky, disjointed, and untalented group. There was a catch though. This game was mighty personal to Jared Goff, who was sent packing by the Rams. It was personal for the Lions organization, who granted Matt Stafford his trade out after a decade in football purgatory, and it was personal for Dan Campbell, who is so desperate for a win at this point I assume he feels deeply wronged by other teams modest attempts to beat them. As a result, the Lions went ALL in to get a win. Multiple fake punts and an onside kick before they were losing kind of all in. AND IT WORKED! All three of those things worked! And they still lost by two scores. I can’t imagine how bad it feels to empty your entire bag of tricks, see it all go like you hoped, and still not be close to winning. The agony.
Expected Thing 2: NFL doesn’t give a shit about the truth
The Dolphins have taken a lot of crap from the outside for not coming out to forcibly reject the idea that they would trade for Deshaun Watson. The idea is that not doing this undermines their current QB. While it probably IS a bad idea, and it probably HAS undermined their QB, their real mistake is simply trying to be honest. They probably are considering that trade. On the opposite side of the coin, you have the Panthers, who four days ago gave a strongly worded support for the consistently bad Sam Darnold, now completely going the other way and moving to make a trade after watching the same Sam Darnold get benched for being consistently bad three days later. This is the way most teams work. It’s why coaches dread the “vote of confidence”. It isn’t really a vote of confidence, it’s an acknowledgement that something is going wrong. I fully expect the Panthers to move on from Sam Darnold the very first second something good becomes available, and I am guessing Sam Darnold expects it too. This makes Matt Rhule’s comments all the more ridiculous and laughable. Dude, accept reality and join the rest of us.
Expected Thing 3: The NFL and it’s fans also don’t give a shit about women.
Read the sentence at the top of that tweet again. Now consider what that means. Deshaun Watson is a person who has had accusations ranging from sexual impropriety to full on sexual assault by AT LEAST 23 women. This is not a he said she said. It’s a he said she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she she said. Obviously, there would be consequences right? Well, no, not really. He hasn’t been suspended. He hasn’t lost any money. HE is refusing to play for the Texans, who are allowing it. HE is going to decide where he goes to when MULTIPLE teams try to acquire him and immediately play him. HE is going to keep being paid fully for this new team. So to sum up: Man assaults dozens of women. They provide substantive proof of several of the allegations (including texts FROM WATSON acknowledging the behavior). It has 0 effect on him. He gets to be paid his full salary for refusing to play, he gets to choose his next team, and he gets to move forward like nothing happens. But sure, NFL, keep telling us you care about female fans while the line forms to lovingly embrace Deshaun Watson.
Expected Thing 4: Sadly, the Taylor Heinicke glass slipper has fallen off
The Taylor Heinicke experience, once the feel good story of the start of the season has rapidly tailed off now that teams have tape of him and his tendencies. This Sunday, Heincke either blundered or caught two straight bad breaks getting stuffed on third and fourth down to kill the WTF’s chances at winning in Green Bay. He will likely be replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick in their next matchup, assuming Fitz is healthy. More than that, though, he is likely headed back to backup exile and the WTF will probably pursue a new QB. The thing that truly baffles me though, more than any other thing, is how they have not gotten tied to Deshaun Watson yet. An organization full of sexual predators (including the owner) doesn’t want a sexual predator? How can that possibly be so? If the league and fans already don’t care that the team’s culture was completely rife with this, why would they shy away from Watson? He’s one of them! They should be first in line. And Watson would have so many people to commiserate with. Think of all of the “With the way she was dressed she was asking for it” conversations they could have. I just don’t get it, but that’s how things go for the WTF.