New England rushed a whopping 62% on first down last week. That ranks them first in the league after week 1, with the next closest team being LA Rams at 48%. The Pats had 42 total rushing attempts and just 19 pass attempts (69% running, nice).
This flies in the face of most anal ytic pundits. They claim that failed runs stall drives more often than failed passes, especially when those failed runs come on first down and the defense gets to pin their ears back.
But Belichick puts zero stock in their studies. He doesn’t care, and it usually works out for him. He knows of the two key variables that throws wrenches into the nerd-speak.
One, obviously, is the fact that running well makes it easier to hold leads. Take time off the clock, rest the defense, etc.
The other is the X factor you get when activating a QB as a run threat. Forcing the LBs to key on an extra player and having RB lead blockers will flip the script in trench battles.
When Cam is healthy, he’s one of those rare QBs that can throw (run?) the analytics playbook off the table. He had 15 rushes for 75 yards compared to 15 total pass completions. He also had double the amount of rushing yards that most anyone else in the game had (Miles Gaskin had the next most with 9/40 for Miami). He looked vintage on Sunday.
Well, kind of vintage. He wasn’t quite as explosive as his 2015 days, and he might have just benefited from the Dolphins horrid rush defense. The Miami Herald put out a fairly hilarious article on this after the game.
The Fins invested hundreds of millions into defense during free agency, but most of that was allocated to secondary and pass rushers. They had 11 draft picks, but only used one on a run defender – Bama DT Raekwon Davis in the 2nd round.
So was this an opponent-based scheme by Belichick, or is this how the Pats are gonna go all season? We’ll have to wait and see. The upside with Belichick’s brain and Cam’s legs seems limitless, but there is a huge downside – health.
Norv Turner tried to turn the Panthers scheme into more short-passing based and less QB running to protect Cam. But Cam didn’t want to do that, so they stayed the course. The result? Cam got killed.
By the end of Cam’s tenure in Charlotte, he had to be pulled for hail marys, All or Nothing doc footage showed him looking completely fucked, and he was shot putting throws left and right (and up and down) all over the field…
Shoulder = SHOT
But he’s had some rest now and is 100% fresh. Maybe it holds up for a whole season. If he was on any other team, I might even be cheering for that to happen.
Everyone is whining about the college football slate today, saying it’s boring and there’s only one ranked game etc. First of all, see above. Second of all, that ranked game involves The U. So as far as I’m concerned, today is going to be awesome.
Tulane -6.5 vs Navy
Two words – triple option. Navy’s got the classic scheme; Tulane’s got the spread. Old school vs new school in football tactics that you’ll never see in the NFL.
Tulane -6.5 is the obvious play here. We’re on the up-and-up and should be in semi contention for the AAC this year. The new QB is a redshirt senior transfer from Southern Miss, Keon Howard. He’s pretty sick.
They struggled for a bit last week at South Alabama, but were lights out the entire 4th quarter in a comeback. It was probably just a case of rust and covid-practice-anxiety, as South Alabama had already played their first game a week earlier.
Speaking of covid-practice-anxiety, Navy had the worst training camp in all of NCAA. They didn’t have any spring or summer workouts, and the practices they managed to have were entirely non-contact.
Last Monday on ESPN, they got murdered 55-3 by the Mormons at BYU. Oof. They’ll get better by end of season, but it’s gonna take some time.
#17 Miami +1.5 at #18 Louisville
This will be on during the Stanley Cup Finals so it will be intermission watch only for me, but I’m still pretty stoked. It is a quasi play-in game for the ACC championship vs Clemson.
The U has a stout defense as normal under Manny Diaz, but now they have themselves a King at QB. D’eriq King. I wrote about him last year when he was at Houston and saw his last game for the Cougars at Tulane. He’s fucking good.
One of the best Texas high school quarterbacks ever and has done nothing but make plays in the college ranks. Miami is the perfect home for him. For a good read on him, check out ESPN’s compelling feature from preseason.
All of his plays last week vs UAB are here. A little bit of jitters to work out, but very good overall.
Louisville on the other hand I don’t know much about. If they still had Bobby Petrino, I would be scared. But they don’t, so I’m not.
North Texas +14.5 vs SMU
I wrote about these two Dallas area teams in my week 1 betting picks. I was hyped for both of them going into the season, but SMU eking out a win vs Texas State was unimpressive to say the least. UNT looked good though. Take them with the two touchdowns in points at home.
Next up for America’s Team this week is the Falcons, but my time on this Earth hasn’t seen any notable games between us.
There was the Chaz Green game a couple years ago when Jason Garrett had no clue what to do without Tyron Smith, but who cares about that.
There was also a pretty close SNF game back in 2012, but it’s not really that interesting. Just your standard run-of-the-mill Romo ‘almost beating but not actually beating a top team’ game.
Instead, we’re gonna flash back to an era before my time – the 1980 Divisional Round ‘Duel in Dixie’ that my elders rave about to this day.
The reason we’re highlighting this game? Because it was one of the best performances of this man.
Some fucking bullshit. Iconic receiver for the most iconic franchise in the league. You can’t write the history of the NFL without him. FIRST TEAM ALL DECADE!
Ridiculous. Anybody involved in letting this atrocity happen should hang themselves. Fuck the east coast media.
Anyway, this ‘Duel in Dixie’ must’ve been epic to live through. Danny White led a 14 point 4th quarter comeback to win and advance us to the conference championship.
I know it’s always been easy to mount playoff comebacks against the Falcons, but this one is still damn impressive. Super jealous of my elders who lived in the 80s and enjoyed a full decade with a quarterback who kept his cool in big games.
I’ve seen enough of this one to easily conclude that Danny White is at worst the 3rd best quarterback in Cowboys history.
Drew Pearson on the other hand – top tier icon. Holy cow he was a beast, especially in clutch time. These may not be his famous Hail Marys, but they were still some pretty damn sweet (and historic) touchdowns. Both came in the final five minutes…
Those hands man! Incredible catch.
What. A. Body. That safety knocked himself out and Pearson didn’t even budge.
It’s astonishing that he isn’t in the Hall of Fame. Fortunately, the senior committee has grown tired of the media’s garbage and stepped up to save America’s icon.
The wildest play of this game occurred in the 3-and-out defensive stand that we needed in between those two touchdowns. On 3rd and 3, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones jumps offside and takes himself way out of position.
But it actually put him in perfect position to blow up the lead blocker and get us the ball back. Lucky as hell, but awesome.
PPS – Danny White Punts
This is Danny White punting. Pretty cool. I wonder if he was skilled enough to handle other special teams duties, like catching and holding a routine field goal to not fuck up the entire season. The world may never know.
As much as I hate getting screwed over by a pussy ass flop, I have to admit that Jalen Ramsey is an all time GREAT. He is worth every cent of that $100M deal and it showed on Sunday night.
He not only has a physical edge over every single receiver in the league, but he’s also leagues above the rest in the mental game. Listen to his immediate reaction after presumably getting beat on that sensational Dak to Gallup pass…
“Thank you. Thank you. Yeeeaaaahhh!!” Immediately after the play ends. 100% swagger. We haven’t seen a CB this brash since the days of his fellow FSU alum Neon Deion Sanders.
Unlike PrimeTime though, Jalen Ramsey has a hit stick…
Jesus what an incredible play. Goooood lord.
It’s reminiscent of a play from 15 years ago that haunts my dreams to this day. The culprit? The late, great Sean Taylor. So here is an impromptu Flashback Friday post to commemorate.
Monday Night Football of Week 2 in 2005. The Triplets were inducted to the Ring of Honor at halftime. It was looking to be a great night for Cowboy nation, with our boys holding down a 13-0 lead that was much more dominant than the scoreline indicated.
Four minute drill for the skins. 35 year old Mark Brunell scrambles for 25 yards, and then throws 40 yard TD bomb to Santana Moss. 13-7.
Skins get a stop, and then first play after getting the ball back it’s another Brunell to Moss TD bomb, this time for 70 yards. 13-14. Oh fuucckk.
But we get a kick return past midfield and should have an easy field goal drive to bail ourselves out and save Triplet night.
Unfortunately, Sean Taylor was having none of that. (3 minute mark of the vid)
We lost. It cost us the playoffs (and we were good that year). It also revived Joe Gibbs’s career on the spot and the skins got good again until, you know, RIP in peace.
Whole video recapping the ending is worth a 5min watch if you hate the Cowboys. You’re welcome.
Spursdays are back this year with Tottenham in the Europa league. Yesterday, they played a Bulgarian team (Lokomotiv Plovdiv) that they have some mutual history with in the form of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov.
This dude played for Tottenham before my time (2006), but fans on the internet adore him. I looked up some highlights and I have to concur.
Tottenham fans weren’t the only ones to adore him. Five years before arriving there, Lokomotiv Plovdiv’s owner had his heart set on signing the kid. It was dangerous for Berbatov though, because Plovdiv’s owner was part of the Bulgarian mob and had him kidnapped.
in a remarkable story that would not look out of place in a Hollywood thriller, the youngster was kidnapped by the Bulgarian mafia. The man behind the kidnapping was Georgi Iliev, the owner of Bulgarian side Lokomotiv Plovdiv. His motivation was simple – intimidate the youngster, whose talents were quite apparent, into joining his club. Though Berbatov’s father resolved the situation, the younger felt he had been, even at this early stage, banished from Bulgaria.
What the hell, man?
That owner is dead now, but it appears the team is still dirty as fuck. They took a 1-0 lead on us in the 70th minute (which would have been scary as hell if fans were allowed in), but blew it away ten minutes later with two red cards at the same time.
Or shall I say, spat it away?
The first was an intentional handball for the tying PK. The second occurred right before the PK took place, when one of their players spit in the face of crybaby Tanguy Ndombele.
Spitting in the face? What the fuck? That’s messed up enough in normal times, but in covid times? Damn that’s dark.
Spurs have had enough trouble with covid as it is, apparently not having any real preseason practices because all our players caught the rona. And now these Bulgars are trying to make the outbreak worse. Fuck that.
At least we won though. Crybaby Tanguy did something good for once and scored the winner. Sweet
Overall a brutal start to the season for Spurs. No preseason, 0-1 loss to Everton, and now barely scraping by against these Bulgars. Not a good look and not living up to any hype from the the All or Nothing doc.
Am I worried though? Hahaha. Fuck no. I feel like a Cavs fan in 2014. This franchise is saved!
This is how easy it was to beat the trash ass Vegass Golden Knights in five.
What a trash hockey team they have out in that lame ass, fake ass city in the desert. Can’t believe how easy it was to beat such a stupid, arrogant bunch of overrated pricks.
It’s like they forgot that the reason their roster exists is because nobody else wanted to keep them. And that their division was easy as hell and they ran through a tissue paper schedule all season long.
Why were they so damn cocky? Whatever. Back to their families they go.
The Lightning took an extra game and some OTs to finish off the Islanders, so we start the Cup on Saturday with four days of rest. HUGE for Dobby. Huge for all the other players too after going through 21 games over 42 days.
So how did game 5 go down?
The Knights fought as nobly as they could to stay alive, but we started dominating the second the 3rd period started. Literally. Almost tied it ten seconds in and then they got this lucky-as-fuck break to make it 2-0.
Didn’t matter. Our captain had other plans…
And then our new wonder kid stepped up to the plate and did what he was born to do – score big time playoff goals…
Joel Fuckin Kiviranta. The best JFK to ever come through Dallas. I LOVE this fucking Fin!
It went to OT, Vegass committed a stupid delay of game penalty early on because they’re not cut out for this shit. And then our badass Russian rookie stepped up to do his thing…
My god I love my Russkis so much. Top three plays of the series are…
(1) any save by Dobby. (2) Radulov’s OT banger to win game 3. (3) Sweet sweet Denis’s OT slapper to win us the Campbell trophy.
Last weekend, the Marlins started the mega 7 game series against the phillies to essentially decide a playoff spot, and it was a beatdown of 5 games to 2.
Hahahaha, what a fucking joke the phillies are. So nice to be cheering for another team with a philly division rival. What a trash organization and trash city.
Bryce Harper’s annual salary – $26M. Marlins total payroll – $31M. God what a sick rebuild year this has become. It’s not just a rebuild year; it’s a PLAYOFF rebuild year.
Let’s see how these wins came down…
Thu 9/10: 7-6
Marlins looked tired until the phillies trash bullpen got in the game and we got to work. Starling Marte, the best trade deadline get in all of MLB, hit a three run double to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 9th, we stole third against the shitty catcher that we traded to philly last year (JT Realmuto). That runner was batted in by Jorge Alfaro, the supposedly failed catcher prospect that we got back from philly to replace Realmuto.
Oh the sweet irony. It was the third straight game that Alfaro batted in 2 RBIs.
Fri 9/11: 5-3
This was the second game of a doubleheader and it was a bullpen game, which made things easy because philly’s bullpen sucks so much.
Lewis Brinson, the much hyped prospect from the Yelich trade and presumed bust, got a homer to start things off. He’s actually been having a huge month and looks like he doesn’t suck anymore. Fast as fuck centerfielder stud, here we come…
And again, the game winning RBI went to Alfaro on this infield hit.
It was the fourth straight game that Alfaro batted in 2 RBIs.
Sun 9/13: 2-1
Sixto clock Sunday. Easy money! Man that Realmuto trade was so awesome for us.
What a fucking start for this kid. Can’t wait for everyone to see him in the playoffs.
Not a great start for America’s Team, but we would’ve won if not for that cowardly flop by Jalen Ramsey or if the fans hadn’t whined PI reviews away. I’m not worried by the loss.
Also, the Rams are good again. I was leaning on them at +6000 and that definitely should’ve been a full bet. They dropped to +2200 overnight and that’s still a play. They’re also a pick em at Philly on Sunday and that’s a lock.
McVay’s o-line is healthy again and he’s got that RPO scheme rolling like the new age triple option – so simple, yet so diverse and dangerous. 60% time of possession, including a devastating nine minute, 17 play drive in the first quarter.
Still, the Cowboys found a way to enter halftime with a lead and nearly managed to end the game with a win if it weren’t for that cowardly flop. We did have some issues yes, but the two minute drills nearly made up for them.
Great teams find ways to win after playing poorly, and the Cowboys almost did that against a good Rams team. I’m not panicking yet, especially considering the circumstances of a brand new coach with no preseason or offseason.
McCarthy’s first game certainly didn’t win anyone over, but it’s way too early to judge him. Nothing to complain about on that front yet.
The most controversial coaching decision was the late 4th and 3 attempt. It fell a yard short and failed, but NFL fans these days will blindly laud all 4th down attempts as good decisions so McCarthy is not getting heat for it.
Aggressiveness is good, obviously, but this was the wrong decision. If it was 4th and 1, maybe 4th and 2, I’m okay with it. Otherwise, just tie the game and guarantee us to be within one possession of the lead max til the end.
Losing like this is still way better than how we lost with the last coach… I won’t complain.
After a further deep dive into the game, here are the main takeaways…
1. Blake Jarwin Tore His ACL and Fucked Us
Jarwin looked pretty great for almost two quarters until he tore his ACL without contact. God damnit what a shitty Week 1 blow.
Our replacement, Dalton Schultz, was in way over his head. The 4th and 3 failure was technically on him for not getting enough depth on his pick route. He was likely being overcautious because, on his first series after replacing Jarwin, he had a terrible OPI that negated a badass slip screen touchdown by Zeke.
On a screen pass, man? Come oonnnnn. Definitely not the type of mental mistake we should expect from a Stanford alum ‘lunch pail’ guy.
In fact, the 4th and 3 would’ve never happened to begin with if he doesn’t have this awful drop two plays earlier.
Hopefully we can chalk this up as a preseason game for him and see some better results with starter reps. He did have a sick conversion on 3rd and 10, making a play that Witten hasn’t been capable of finishing for years.
That’s a good sign at least.
2. We Need La’el Back ASAP
We started UDFA rookie Terence Steele at right tackle. It was surprising considering we had just signed a decent swing tackle in Cam Erving, but Erving got injured himself on a field goal play anyway. Jesus Christ.
At least the offense stayed functional, unlike what happened under the previous regime with o-line injuries, but that Rams front made for a brutal mismatch. By the end of the game, LA was basically overloading the entire left side because they knew Steele couldn’t block 1v1.
You can’t fault a UDFA rookie for not being good in Week 1. The fact that he didn’t completely fall apart is somewhat commendable.
Instead, the scorn should be directed at whatever fuckhead driver cut off La’el Collins during training camp and caused his injury. Whoever that person is should be outed and banished from the state of Texas. We need Collins back on the field ASAP.
3. Connor Williams Sucks So Much
According to PFF, our worst lineman was not Steele, but rather Connor Williams. He graded out at 49.5 overall with a pass blocking rating of 27.2, (half that of Steele’s).
What a fucking awful second round draft pick. He sucks so fucking much.
4. Skill Position Players Looked Sick
Zeke had a good game (and so did Tony Pollard). The overall scheme didn’t look much different from last year, but we were definitely activating the backs in the passing game more. In the first half especially, it was a big time red zone multiplier.
The second TD was called back because of the Schultz OPI, but still those are some badass scores by Zeke. He had some slick as hell runs too, and you can tell that he’s gonna destroy lesser defenses this year. Feed him!
No complaints on the WR front either. Cooper had 10 catches, Ceedee looked sick, and Gallup had an outstanding game that would be getting a lot of noise if it weren’t for that flop. Man that catch against Ramsey was so awesome.
Most importantly, Gallup didn’t have any drops. He dropped an absurd 10% of his passes last year and still went 80 yards per game. His hands were amazing in college and his rookie year, so we’re hoping last season was an outlier. So far, so good. He’s breaking out this year.
5. Dak Was Decent
Dak was alright. No turnovers, a sick TD run (pretty much), good two minute drills, but a couple of bad 3rd down mistakes in the second half.
The first was losing field goal range after a terrible sack (although more fault goes to sorry ass turnstile Connor Williams). The second was a piss poor throw on what should’ve been a routine conversion for Cooper. Both cost us points.
6. LVE Is the New Lofa Tatupu, Probably
Vander Esch broke his collarbone and is out 6-8 weeks. The neck injuries are piling up and he’s looking more and more like the next Lofa Tatupu. That blows.
Next to him in the lineup, Jaylon Smith had a decent but not dominant game. He’s being paid to be dominant. Need better.
7. Keep Cranking up the Earl Thomas Talk
Our pass D was weak as fuck down the middle, with slot men and tight ends running all day. I don’t care what kind of chemistry issues he may have… If our safety play doesn’t step up, I want ET coming home.
That question about how Aldon Smith’s five year layoff would affect his production? Turns out the answer is NONE AT ALL. Holy fuck what a find.
This means Everson Griffen and Randy Gregory will be BACKUPS to two of the most dominant ends in football. We won’t be lacking for pass rush this year.
9. Trevon Diggs Is Gonna Be Awesome
Keep in mind that Trevon Diggs is a natural receiver with only 1.5 years of prior CB experience at Bama. Once his instincts develop just a tiny bit more, he’s gonna be a star.
There were three plays in particular that stood out where he was an inch away from changing the game.
The first was a perfectly thrown deep pass where he went for a pick instead of deflection. The second was a perfectly thrown short ball that he nearly blanketed. The third was an insane one-handed interception (almost).
He also had a BIG TIME tackle on the most important defensive play of the game. Run support like this from a CB is such an asset.
10. Legatron, Cmoonnnn
Lastly, special teams. Legatron drilled a short field goal but missed a 54 yarder. I know its a long distance, but what the hell man? Where was this kicking in the dome?
Free agent kickers always have the risk of being damaged goods, but if the Rams thought this dude was better than Legatron then I’m confident they misevaluated.
These loud misses are gonna be hilarious this year.
Tampa Bay replaced the goat-in-training with the goat-in-passing, and lo and behold the results didn’t change at all. Two picks by Brady, one went back for six, and now people finally want to talk about positions other than QB on the Bucs. Shocking.
Turns out it’s pretty difficult to carry a team with trash defense, trash o-line, trash running game, and a trash kicking game. The latter is especially funny to me, as I cannot count the number of times that horrid kicking cost Jameis Winston a win.
When Ryan Succop had a kick blocked in the 2nd quarter, FOX decided to show this graphic…
Ooohhhh now you wanna talk about it? Not when the Bucs spent a 2nd round pick on the worst kicker in NFL history? Not even the last time Brady played the Bucs himself, when this happened?
Hmm okay interesting.
I know that it’s a unique year and especially challenging for offenses with new coaches and QBs etc. We’re not gonna overreact to Week 1, but I don’t see things getting better for Brady in Tampa. The Bucs pass blocking was ranked 20th this week according to PFF, while the Pats were at 2nd. Those fall in line with recent season-long trends. Good luck to Brady the rest of the way.
Don’t get me wrong. I still think he’s good. He can still drop dimes…
But the Bucs have been proving for years that it takes more than a generational QB talent to right that ship.
He should’ve been less arrogant. He should’ve evaluated his options better, and should’ve realized that the MSM myth of the Bucs being talented was just driven by the anti-Jameis agenda.
He should’ve made San Fran happen, but he didn’t. Bill Belichick is now firmly in the drivers seat in the race for last laugh.
Here’s the picks, in case you wanted to see again…
So let me get this straight… The Bucks murdered the celtics last year, and then the Heat murdered the Bucks this year. And somehow, by the reverse transitive property of NBA fan logic, the Heat are not favored to beat the celtics this year.
By no means am I a hardcore NBA connoisseur, but it’s easy enough to figure out after watching a bit and I’ve watched enough Heat to know they’re going to The Finals.
Coach Spo is the best. Give me Pat Riley’s handpicked prodigy who tamed Lebron’s selfish ass over that chode Brad Stevens. This isn’t the Final Four. Well, it is a final four, but not one Brad Stevens has had a lick of success in.
Unlike the diva route of old times, Coach Spo has an arsenal more like a modern day version of the 2004 Pistons. Deep, unselfish, and hard working Three and/or D players all over the court.
The best Three man is Tyler Herro, who only plays for cool teams like Kentucky and Miami because he’s a born winner. The best D man is Bam Adebayo, who also played for Kentucky.
The closest player to a star on the Heat is Jimmy ‘All Business’ Buckets Butler. He’s gonna have that chode Brad Stevens wishing he was back on the Butler sideline in no time.
The coolest thing about Jimmy Butler, besides the fact that he hated every team he played at before Miami, is that he didn’t let his wife and baby into the bubble.
Guarantee you every player with a family is jealous of him right now. He’s just a man that gets it.
On the flip side we have Boston, who I know nothing about. Why should I? They haven’t played in any games worth watching and according to my scoreboard gleaning, they haven’t been good enough to care about at all.
They scraped it out in seven against a ‘meh’ Toronto team. Sweet. The Heat are undefeated in regulation, and just ritually executed the two time MVP.
Are you telling me it’s all ‘matchup based’, NBA fans? Hahahah. They just slaughtered the best analytics team ever.
The only question is who Coach Spo will be up against next round. Does he get a duel against his former diva? Or will we actually have a matchup that isn’t vomit-inducing for the second year in a row? I’m cool with either one tbh.