Chops316 Monday Morning Quarterback: 2019 Week 10
The tenth Sunday of the 2019 NFL season is in the books so here are the different thoughts and opinions I have on various things I witnessed this past weekend. WOW! Some big upsets this week and a bunch of well played, competitive games. A great weekend of NFL action. Then my Cowboys crapped out against the Vikings on the heels of the University of Minnesota beating my Nittany Lions. Congrats Minnesota, you are now my least favorite state! Thank God we finally got some new Rick & Morty or I might have become depressed.
Just remember I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and I'm extremely biased. Feel free to agree or disagree about anything mentioned here. All comments are welcome.
Maybe Jerry paid the wrong guy
Good grief. The Cowboys got off to one of their all-to-familiar slow starts, came back to take the lead in the 3rd quarter, then let Dalvin Cook gash them up and down the field to drop a 28-24 heartbreaker to the Vikings. I really need to start drinking again.
Both teams had the same game plan on defense: stop the running game and force the QB to make plays. The Cowboys plan worked for a while, but RB Dalvin Cook was too good to be held down all night. The Vikings plan worked to perfection, Zeke Elliott couldn’t do squat the entire game, 20 carries for 47 yards. Blecch.
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has a well-earned reputation for stinking it up on prime time, but he played pretty well Sunday night: 23/32, 220 yards, 2 TDs. His two TD passes (both to TE Kyle Rudolph) were excellent passes made under pressure. He played a smart game. No risky throws and when the Dallas defense put the heat on he dumped the ball off to Cook. Cook responded by gaining 86 yards on seven catches.
The Cowboys did a good job of containing Cook on the ground for nearly three quarters, but by the fourth quarter he started ripping off some good runs to keep the chains moving. His final rushing stats weren’t bad: 26 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD.
The Cowboys never got their running game going, but tried all night even though the Vikings constantly loaded the box. I often bitch Dallas gives up on the running game too quick, but they should have moved on early in this one.
The offensive load fell on the shoulders of QB Dak Prescott and after a rough 1st quarter he played great: 28/46, 397 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT. His turnover came on the Hail Mary attempt that ended the game. His favorite targets Amari Cooper (11 catches, 147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (6 catches, 106 yards, 1 TD) both made a number of great catches.
Zeke finally looked like himself last week against the Giants, but he laid an egg in this game. The Vikings did load the box on him, but superstar RBs have to find a way to get their yards anyway. Cook eventually did, Elliott didn’t. Zeke needs to find his fire if he intends to earn the big dollars Jerry Jones gave him.
The Vikings improved to 7-3 to remain a game behind the Packers in the NFC North. Really a game and half behind since currently Green Bay owns the tie-breaker. Still they are in an excellent position to grab a Wild Card spot.
The Cowboys drop to 5-4 and a tie with the Eagles for the NFC East Division. Dallas currently has the tie-breaker, but man they don’t look like a playoff team. Then again neither do the Eagles and one of them has to win the division thanks to the Giants & Redskins sucking so bad.
The Game of the Week
When was the last time we had a game this big on Monday Night? Ever since the NFL realized ESPN blackmails cable companies by using football to charge excessive fees the league hands them any old slate of crap knowing the network has to pay up for it. That’s why the big games are now scheduled for Sunday Night, the NFL charges NBC a premium for the best games while forcing ESPN to pay big bucks for the leftovers.
Yet ESPN got lucky this year because nobody saw the 49ers burning through the first half of the schedule undefeated. So we got an old fashioned big time matchup between the 8-0 49ers and the 7-2 Seattle Seahawks. Even better the game lived up to the hype as the Seahawks needed every single second of overtime to beat the Niners 27-24.
The last undefeated team of the season has been dethroned but I guess those old farts from the 1972 Dolphins will have to wait to tomorrow to pop the corks. I’m sure most of them were already in bed by time this game kicked off.
The Niners grabbed an early 10-0 lead, but the veteran Seattle squad used three turnovers to score 21 points to take the lead heading into the 4th quarter. The Niners defense decided that payback is a bitch and forced a Seattle turnover that was recovered for a TD to get back in the game. After that each team traded scores until Niners rookie K Chase MacLaughlin (signed just last week) tied the game with a field goal with one second on the clock. Overtime!
The Seahawks won the toss and drove right down the field. They looked poised for a big victory when QB Russell Wilson threw an INT in the red zone. Whoops. Wilson is the veteran, he isn’t supposed to make that mistake.
San Francisco drove into Seattle territory and sent the regulation time hero MacLaughlin out to kick a game winning OT field goal from 47 yards. And he shanked it bad. From hero to goat in about 20 minutes, the life of a NFL kicker can be cruel.
The teams traded possessions after that until Wilson used his legs for a big 21 yard scramble to help set up a potential game winning kick for his K Jason Myers. Myers nailed it as time expired and the Seahawks got the big W.
San Francisco hung in their despite playing without their #1 receiving threat in TE George Kittle and losing WR Emmanuel Sanders to injury in the first half. But their loss really tightens up the battle for the #1 seed in the NFC. 49ers fall to 8-1, Seattle is right behind them in the NFC West 8-2, while the 8-2 Packers and 7-2 Saints are also lurking. The Niners still have to play all three of those teams so we are in for some very interesting games ahead.
Upset of the Week
Last week I wondered how the Packers offense disappeared against the Chargers. I’m at an even greater loss this week to explain how the awful Falcons could march into the Superdome and shut down the Saints offense. Yet they did as the 28th ranked defense of Atlanta dominated Drew Brees and Co. in a 26-9 victory.
The Saints were a huge 14 point favorite and it was easy to see why. They had a healthy Drew Brees playing at home coming off their bye week against a Falcons team whose been getting smacked around by everybody. Atlanta was exactly what their 1-7 record said they were. Crap.
That’s why they play the game. Atlanta uncharacteristically (damn that’s a big word) ran the ball with success to control the clock and keep Brees off the field. The Falcons ran for 143 yards on 34 carries, way above their average of 69 rushing yards per game.
When the Saints did get the ball the Falcons defense harassed Brees all afternoon, sacking him 6 times. Despite that the Saints only rushed the ball 11 times (for 52 yards). Why didn’t they try running more to take the pressure of off Brees? New Orleans didn’t help their own cause with 12 penalties either.
Atlanta is now 2-7 and will have to settle for playing spoiler for the rest of the year. New Orleans falls to 7-2 and have to be asking themselves what in the hell happened after failing to score even one TD at home. Division games can be crazy because the teams know each other so well. That’s why I love them, you can normally throw the records out the window.
Upset of the Week II
Wow that Patrick Mahomes is one helluva of QB. After missing only two games with a dislocated kneecap he torched the Titans for 446 yards and three TDs. Amazing. Unfortunately for the Chiefs he can’t play defense as the Titans spit in the face of Mahome’s heroics by pulling off a 35-32 upset win in Tennessee.
The Titans didn’t need rocket science to figure this one out. They looked at the stats and saw the Chiefs were 31st in the league in run defense. So they decided to run the ball. Good idea! I love it when teams use common sense.
RB Derrick Henry ran over the KC defense: 23 carries, 188 yards, 2 TDs. QB Ryan Tannehill picked his spots to nab another 37 yards on three carries. He also used his limited pass attempts wisely: 13/19, 181 yards, 2 TDs. The Titans defense couldn’t stop Mahomes from making big plays (nobody has figured it out yet), but their offense went toe to toe with him. When the game was on the line CB Joshua Kalu made the play of the game by blocking KC’s last second FG attempt to tie the game.
The Titans improved to 5-5 and are still alive in the AFC South. Are they headed to another 9-7 finish for the 4th consecutive season? Who knows, I can’t figure this team out They win games they should lose and lose games they should win. They are getting more consistent play at QB since Tannehill took over for Mariota so maybe that is something they can build on.
The Chiefs fall to 6-4 and suddenly have the 5-4 Raiders breathing down their neck in the AFC West. Wow. Still can’t figure out why they didn’t improve their defense in the offseason.
Upset of the Week III
Remember when Fitzmagic was a thing in Tampa Bay last year? Well that fad has been replaced by an all new Fitzmagic II in Pittsburgh as Minkah Fiztpatrick and the Steelers defense bullied the Rams 17-12. And by bullied I mean the Steelers flat out kicked the Rams’ ass.
The Rams defense did what they could, scoring a TD on a fumble return and adding another two points with a safety. Unfortunately for them the Rams offense could only muster a lousy field goal. QB Jared Goff (22/41, 243 yards, 2 INTs) was battered all day and #1 WR Cooper Kupp was shut out.
The Steelers defense scored their own TD when safety Minkah Fitzpatrick recovered a fumble and ran it 43 yards into the endzone. Fitzpatrick sealed the win with a late INT on a pass tipped by CB Joe Haden. That’s two weeks in a row Fitzpatrick returned a turnover for a TD and the Steelers trade for him may be the most important one any team made at the deadline.
The Steelers couldn’t run the ball but QB Mason Rudolph (22/38, 242 yards, 1 TD) made enough plays for the Pittsburgh offense to score a TD and a FG. WR James Washington had something of a career day for him: 6 catches, 90 yards, 1 TD. Yea, has career hasn’t been too exciting so far.
The Rams fell to 5-4 and look nothing like the team that went to the Super Bowl last season. They are quickly falling way behind in the NFC West. The Rams need to get their shit together quick if they want to nab a Wild Card spot in the tough NFC.
The Steelers improved to 5-4 after their disastrous 0-3 start. It’s doubtful they could catch the Ravens in the AFC North (and by doubtful I mean impossible outside of a plane crash or other tragedy) but their Wild Card hopes are still alive in the hot mess known as the AFC. Lots of very winnable games left on their schedule.
Around the League
For the past several seasons the Packers relied on the magic arm of QB Aaron Rodgers to bail them out of trouble to win. That hasn’t been the case very often with the 2019 Packers. Green Bay used its running game and defense to beat the Panthers 24-16 at snowy Lambeau Field. That’s what makes this team dangerous.
Rodgers had a rather ho-hum game for himself (17/29, 233 yards) because RBs Aaron Jones (13 carries, 93 yards, 3 TDs) and Jamaal Williams (13 carries, 63 yards) shouldered the load for him. It has been a long, long time since the Packers featured a balanced offense. The 8-2 Packers travel to San Francisco next week in a game that has heavy playoff implications.
The battle for New Jersey bragging rights (what an honor ha) went to the Jets, as they shook off the embarrassment of losing to the Dolphins to beat the Giants 34-27. I knew the Giants secondary was bad, but my God they made Sam Darnold look like a legitimate NFL QB: 19/30, 230 yards, 1 TD.
Giants QB Daniel Jones certainly looked like the better player when throwing the ball (26/40, 308 yards, 4 TDs) but he sure doesn’t know how to hang on to the Duke. His 3 fumbles were the difference in the game, giving him a NFL leading 9 fumbles lost on the season. Woof. Give the Jets defense credit for building a stonewall in front of RB Saquon Barkley. He gained one (one!) yard rushing on 13 carries.
As expected the Ravens absolutely crushed the awful Bengals 49-13. In fact the Baltimore offense could have stayed home, their defense outscored the Bengals 14-13.
Lamar Jackson added volumes to his MVP candidacy with another exceptional performance: 15/17, 233 yards, 3 TDs passing and seven carries for 65 yards 1 TD rushing. He makes it look easy:
Hey the Browns finally won another game! Of course they needed Bills K Stephen Hauschka to miss two FG attempts to squeak out a 19-16 victory over Buffalo at home, but still a win is a win.
The Bills running defense is falling apart and the Browns took full advantage using RBs Nick Chubb (20 carries, 116 yards) and Kareem Hunt (4 carries, 30 yards) to drive the ball downfield. The much maligned QB Baker Mayfield played well (26/38, 238 yards 2 TDs) and led the Browns to a game clinching come-from-behind TD drive late in the 4th quarter. Of course that drive wouldn’t have been needed if the Browns had managed to score a TD in the first half after getting seven (!) chances from the Buffalo one-yard line and coming up empty.
Despite the fact that QB Jacoby Brissett was ruled out, the Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Colts as an 11 point favorite over the tanking Dolphins. Oh boy Vegas, you really screwed the pooch on this won as the Dolphins beat the Colts 16-12.
Actually backup QB Brian Hoyer did more to beat his own team than the Dolphin did. His three INTs set up the Dolphins for 10 points and killed any momentum the team created on offense. The Colts have lost two straight games to fall to 5-4. If Brissett doesn’t return in a hurry their season is going to unravel fast.
Two straight wins Miami? You get an F- for tanking. Kiss the #1 pick in the 2020 draft goodbye, no way in hell the Bengals are winning two games. Even the #2 pick is in jeopardy as the Deadskins only have one win, although they still have two games left with the Jersey Boys so maybe they can eke out another win.
The doctors refused to let QB Matthew Stafford play so the Lions had to face the Bears in Chicago using a backup QB who initially tried to make the NFL as a wide receiver. And the Bears barely won 20-13. I don’t know if that says more about the determination of the Lions players or the general lack quality the Bears have displayed this season.
Whew that was a lot of excitement this week. Let me know your thoughts on Week 10.