NFL 2021: The Week 2 thread

What a weird week. The Packers, Bills, Ravens and Titans lost. The Chiefs almost lost but didn't because the Browns punter panicked. The Texans won by 16! The Eagles won by 28!! Chandler Jones had 5!!! sacks. Matt Stafford looked great as a Ram (156.1 passer rating). Tom Brady threw the ball 50 damn times.

The biggest surprise of the week was obviously the Saints' 38-3 beatdown of the Packers in which Jameis Winston threw for 148 yards and 5 TDs, something which apparently had never happened before. (No, not the Saints winning or Jameis throwing a TD pass; I mean no QB had ever thrown 5 TDs on less than 150 passing yards before Sunday afternoon.)

Weirder still, the Saints a year ago beat a good team by the same 38-3 score. That team was ... the Tampa Bay Bucs. Whatever happened to them?

Also, this happened:

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/s9IStxn6ZMj3zDntS6/giphy.gif)

Don't panic, in other words. Week 1 is always weird.

STATS OF THE WEEK

* AFC West and NFC West teams are all 1-0, which apparently is the first time this has happened since the AFL/NFL merger in 1970. (No source; just something I think I saw.)

* Packers are the first team in the DVOA era (ie since 1983) to finish a season first in offensive DVOA and start the next season dead last in offensive DVOA.

* Here are the Raiders' five first-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020 (source):

= DE Clelin Ferrell (healthy scratch on Sun)
= CB Damon Arnette (the Raiders' No. 4 cornerback)
= S Johnathan Abram (PFF's worst-graded safety last year)
= WR Henry Ruggs (2 catches last night, 26 in 2020)
= RB Josh Jacobs (he's OK, I guess)

That's some terrible drafting.

GIF OF THE WEEK

IMAGE(https://media.giphy.com/media/zpuuauYo0cgVTyUzE5/giphy.gif)

Poor Baker. The Browns (and Mayfield) actually looked pretty good! Shame that someone had to lose that game, but it's never going to be Mahomes, apparently.

PANTHERS PLAY OF THE WEEK

You'll have to hit this Twitter link to see it, but that is 585 pounds of DT Derrick Brown and DE Yetor Gross-Matos squashing Zach Wilson flat. I didn't think D-linemen were allowed to do that these days, but Wilson was four quarters into his first game, so I guess the refs just missed it. WELCOME TO THE NFL ROOK!

Zach Wilson also looks like he's only 14 years old. I'm a little bothered by that.

POWER RANKINGS

Let's go with ESPN this week.

Top 5: Chiefs and Bucs remain 1-2. Seahawks jump five spots to No. 3. Then Rams at 4 (up one) and Bills at 5 (down 2).

Biggest riser: Saints (+10 to No. 9) (see? I told you they might be good)

Biggest fallers: Titans (-9 to No. 18), Packers (-7 to No. 11), Vikings (-7 to No. 25)

WEEK 2 SCHEDULE

Not a lot of games I'm excited about, to be honest, except for Sunday night. Lots of get-right games for teams that lost in Week 1.

Thursday: Giants at WFT (NFL Network, boo)

Sunday early: Patriots at Jets, Broncos at Jaguars, Bills at Dolphins, 49ers at Eagles, Rams at Colts, Raiders at Steelers, Bengals at Bears, Texans at Browns, Saints at Panthers.

Sunday late: Vikings at Cardinals, Falcons at Bucs, Titans at Seahawks, Cowboys at Chargers; Boys-Bolts will be the national game because Nantz & Romo will be there.

... game maps aren't out yet (they'll be posted here Wed).

Sunday night: Chiefs at Ravens

Monday night: Lions at Packers

Also Monday night: The MNF Manning Megacast will be back for Weeks 2 and 3, according to the interwebs. Those two dorks are scheduled to do 10 games total this season. Watch 'em on ESPN2 (if you're old and have cable) and ESPN+ (if you have ESPN's streaming package, which honestly is worth it for some of the non-NFL programming).

OK, that's it. Somebody say something so this isn't awkward.

Tuesday? WTF?

Enix wrote:

OK, that's it. Somebody say something so this isn't awkward.

All four NFC West teams are currently in the top 6 of DVOA at Football Outsiders.

I'm sticking with my prediction of the NFC West winner being only an 11-win team that beats 2nd place by tiebreaker.

Also, it's never a good look when someone that's supposed to be in charge is ducking press conferences. That was a staple of the previous White House admin, and now it's come to Jacksonville:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/7e053od.png)

Teddy gonna be 2-0

Stele wrote:

Tuesday? WTF?

Upon further review, I'm thinking Wednesday next week. Still feels like we're still talking about last week and not this upcoming week.

After reflection, I am glad the Browns have finally returned to the form of my youth (being a good team that finds stupid and heartbreaking ways to lose) and less the team of the last 20 years (you know, the dumpster fire).

And this week we get well against the Texans, who could become the most improbable 2-0 team in history.

Jameis Winston has never had a good game before, so his performance against a team taking a historically bad dump on the field clearly says all those problems are fixed.

Oh, good, Vikings get a late game, so no Bucs on the teevee for me. If only I had a way to find other options for viewing . . .

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Oh, good, Vikings get a late game, so no Bucs on the teevee for me. If only I had a way to find other options for viewing . . .

You've said that before, and I've pointed to my go-to option before...

not actually week 2 material (I thought we were doing a single thread so I don't have to click as many times?), but the raiders lost their kicker:

“No one could find” Daniel Carlson when Raiders wanted to kick FG in OT

TUESDAY TRADITION

You have set yourself up for failure and I love it.

*Legion* wrote:
staygold wrote:

Ravens receivers channeling N'Keal Harry and the Patriots 2020 receiving corpse had Lamar holding onto the ball for WAY too long. Bet Jonathan Ogden would've allowed 5 pressures when your QB is holding it for 4-5s every play

Lamar's time-to-throw this week was indeed very long: 3.04 seconds, second slowest in the league behind only Baker's 3.09. So you're right that that's definitely a factor in the strain on Stanley and the rest of the line.

You've pointed the finger at the WRs, and I wonder how much of it is on them, how much is on Lamar (is he missing opportunities on quick reads?), and how much is on the playcalling (are they not giving him any quick reads?). Always hard to see much useful about routes and coverages from the broadcast TV angle.

Whatever the root issues are, they gotta get the ball out of Lamar's hands faster than that. Hollywood needs to be a terror on some short throw + YAC yards concepts, but his YAC was some of the worst this week, at minus-2.6 YAC Above/Below Expectation. (Watkins, on the other hand, was 7th best in this metric this week).

Bringing this over from prior thread. It's almost certainly a mix of both Greg Roman, Lamar and the receivers.

This season is likely gonna be a bunch of losses early on (in part due to injuries) followed by Roman's firing after which they'll rip off a few wins.

I mean, they extended Mark Andrews for the next decade but can't seem to get him the ball anymore.

Emmes wrote:

not actually week 2 material (I thought we were doing a single thread so I don't have to click as many times?)

When week 1 went up all bets were off. Tradition stands, individual threads.

Well, better that than the testicles of Nicki Minaj's cousin's friend.

Emmes wrote:

not actually week 2 material (I thought we were doing a single thread so I don't have to click as many times?),

Same. RIP season thread.

Maybe next year.

Hopefully the extra week this season will break someone. Season, playoff, and off-season threads only for 2022!

*Legion* wrote:
MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Oh, good, Vikings get a late game, so no Bucs on the teevee for me. If only I had a way to find other options for viewing . . .

You've said that before, and I've pointed to my go-to option before...

Perhaps post it again, as I can't remember what it was.

garion333 wrote:

TUESDAY TRADITION

You have set yourself up for failure and I love it.

That's a recurring theme in my life. I mean, look at who I root for!

Speaking of failure, a lot of Panthers Twitter was aghast last night at this stat from ESPN: Team pass block win rate.

Panthers were dead last this week at 20 percent. (Conversely, the Jets were No. 1 at 80 percent in team pass rush win rate.)

Best I understand it (here's the explainer), that stat means that on only 20 percent of Carolina's pass plays (excluding screens) all the pass blockers were able to hold their blocks for 2.5 seconds or longer. On 80 percent of pass plays, then, at least one Panthers blocker failed to keep his guy blocked for 2.5 seconds.

Butbutbut Darnold was good on Sunday! He was only sacked once! And pressured ~10 times! That stat is crap! The rest of Panthers Twitter was chest-beating over the obvious confirmation bias. What a fan base!

I'll say the stat is indicative and misleading at the same time. Most of Darnold's throws were short (10 yards or fewer; I wish I could find his pass graphic but can't at the moment). In other words, it didn't matter that the O-line wasn't holding their blocks because the ball came out quick.

A perfect example was the 50+ TD pass to Robby Anderson. The RG whiffed on his block (that's a pass rush loss right there), CMC picked up the defender (football gods be praised), Darnold made a nifty slide to his left and found Anderson wiiiiide open downfield.

So a pass rush loss isn't necessarily a disaster. But it probably helps explain why Darnold was 0-for-6 on his 10-to-19 yard throws. Guy had someone in his face every time he held onto the ball for 2 or more seconds.

Looking at various power rankings, I could see this ending up a very "have and have-nots" year. I think all of Minnesota, Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York Giants, New York Jets, Jacksonville, Houston, and Detroit ending up with 6 wins or fewer.

For comparison last year there were 5 teams with 5 or fewer wins.

The only thing likely saving a Minnesota or Chicago is Detroit is bundled with their bad so it'd almost be impossible for all three teams to end up with under 6 wins given they all play each other twice.

Urban Meyer disappointing me again: "No chance" he goes after the USC job, according to him.

I still expect this whole thing doesn't last beyond 2021.

EDIT: Also, Mike Tanier's description of the week 1 Jags in his Walkthrough column this week is almost precisely what I could have imagined months ago when the Jags hired this scrub regime.

If only there was some evidence that maybe, just maybe, hiring coaches directly from college is a bad idea, and experienced NFL offensive or defensive coordinators have a much higher likelihood of turning into actually good NFL head coaches, like an easily-google-able list of coaches hired directly from the college ranks to NFL head coach:

Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers 5-11
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals 13-18-1
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans 52-48
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles 26-21
Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills 15-17
Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-21
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers 44-19-1
Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons 3-10
Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins 15-17
Steve Spurrier, Washington Football Team 12-20
Butch Davis, Cleveland Browns 24-35

The only ones with a winning record are Harbaugh (who genuinely did well), Chip Kelly (started well, had an epic flameout), and Bill O'Brien (who had loads of prior NFL experience and have I mentioned epic flameouts).

*Legion* wrote:

Urban Meyer disappointing me again: "No chance" he goes after the USC job, according to him.

I still expect this whole thing doesn't last beyond 2021.

EDIT: Also, Mike Tanier's description of the week 1 Jags in his Walkthrough column this week is almost precisely what I could have imagined months ago when the Jags hired this scrub regime.

Tanier is probably right: WTF is Pope Urban doing on the Jags if the offense is basically Brian Schottenheimer with a slight touch of Pope Urban?

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

The only ones with a winning record are Harbaugh (who genuinely did well), Chip Kelly (started well, had an epic flameout), and Bill O'Brien (who had loads of prior NFL experience and have I mentioned epic flameouts).

I still don't think Harbaugh even really counts, IMO. He was an NFL QB for 14 years, immediately became an NFL QB coach after retirement, then coached college for 6 years before returning to the NFL. At least at the time he joined the 49ers, he had still spent much more time around NFL football than the college game.

Yeah Spurrier played NFL football in the '70s, but he was in the college game for over 2 decades before trying NFL coaching.

garion333 wrote:

Tanier is probably right: WTF is Pope Urban doing on the Jags if the offense is basically Brian Schottenheimer with a slight touch of Pope Urban?

Yeah, that was one of the lines that stuck out to me. What exactly is Urban's value add?

Chip Kelly came into the NFL to try and apply Chip Kelly football to the NFL game. Say what you want about how it fared, but nobody had to ask what the point was.

Then again, Urban Meyer football might best be defined as "commit league violations", and he's definitely ahead of the curve there.

The Jags did see the dollar amount Ohio State's paying out after Meyer's time there, right?

Isn't that Meyer's reputation though? His success is based entirely on hiring really good coordinators and position coaches that recruit ridiculously well (and beat their wives). He's not so much of a coach, just a CEO.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

If only there was some evidence that maybe, just maybe, hiring coaches directly from college is a bad idea, and experienced NFL offensive or defensive coordinators have a much higher likelihood of turning into actually good NFL head coaches, like an easily-google-able list of coaches hired directly from the college ranks to NFL head coach:

Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers 5-11
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals 13-18-1
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans 52-48
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles 26-21
Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills 15-17
Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11-21
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers 44-19-1
Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons 3-10
Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins 15-17
Steve Spurrier, Washington Football Team 12-20
Butch Davis, Cleveland Browns 24-35

The only ones with a winning record are Harbaugh (who genuinely did well), Chip Kelly (started well, had an epic flameout), and Bill O'Brien (who had loads of prior NFL experience and have I mentioned epic flameouts).

I'm curious though, how much is this just a "signal from the noise" situation. If you took every coach out of the Belichick tree or the Reid tree I'm guessing you'd get the same results. (As of November 2020 the Belichick tree was 208-296-1, couldn't find the definitive Reid tree stat but looked to be right around 0.500 or so). Is the lesson here college coaches are bad, or head coaching in general is incredibly tough and in a league with generally lots of turnover there's just a myriad of BAD and a very small handful of GREAT.

staygold wrote:

Is the lesson here college coaches are bad, or head coaching in general is incredibly tough and in a league with generally lots of turnover there's just a myriad of BAD and a very small handful of GREAT.

I'd say it's the latter.

Belichick's win percentage is right around 67%, which is best among active coaches of any decent tenure and up there (but behind) some of the greats (Lombardi, Madden, Halas, Shula).

Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton, Andy Reid, John Harbaugh, Bruce Arians, Pete Carroll and Mike McCarthy (!) are at 60-65 percent.

And then there's the rest of the league -- about 20-some other coaches, some good, some bad, most of them just mediocre (50% winning percentage, give or take). Looks like a lot of these former college HCs fall into that muddled middle.

NFL parity league where everything trends towards .500.

I like new threads btw. Helps me forget what happened last week and it's also more healthy than actually trying to erase my brain.

jowner wrote:

Helps me forget what happened last week

Can't imagine why that would appeal to you this week in particular...

I'm excited for Belichek's % to tank with no Brady around. I wonder how long he'll lose before calling it quits.