I aspire for these weekly NFL posts to be as glorious and as sublime as this catch. I mean, look at it! It's a modern-day Renaissance painting, of a mortal soaring beyond gravity's pull and plucking a miracle out of the heavens.
As you probably guessed, this won't be one of those weeks.
STOCK UP/STOCK DOWN
Stock up: Kyler Murray, everyone's shiny-new-penny pick for MVP because Patrick Mahomes was off last week. Murray's an exciting player, sort of a Brees-sized version of Lamar Jackson (but Murray is a better passer; discuss!). I watched that Hail Murray live, and it was absolutely amazing. Speaking of, Peter King's FMIA takes a deep-dive into that play.
Stock down: Seattle Seahawks, who can't play D and now all of a sudden can't play offense, either. I love watching Russell Wilson play, but he was miserable Sunday. Maybe it was the Rams, who are looking like a pretty decent bet to win the NFC because Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey are pretty good. Or maybe Wilson was just pressing because the Seahawks are down to their eight-string RB and Ramsey was on DK Metcalf like last year's jacket before we all put on the Covid 19. Or maybe Russ is just cooked. Whatever it is, it makes me sad.
Stock up: Big plays, and boy howdy were there a bunch this week. Tampa's Ronald Jones ripped off a 98-yard TD run against the Panthers. (Baldy breaks it down here.) Cordarrelle Patterson of the Bears ran back a kick 104 yards for a TD. Carolina's Trenton Cannon returned a kickoff 98 yards but somehow didn't score (because Carolina is cursed). And Keelan Cole of the Jags scored on a 91-yard punt return. Wheeee!
Stock down: Drew Brees. I still can't believe the Saints trotted him out there Sunday with three broken ribs. I'm the last guy to defend that finger-licking midget, but he could have gotten literally killed out there. He's lucky he's home with just five broken ribs and a punctured lung and not in an ICU somewhere. Meanwhile, I agree 100 percent with this take: "I have been hearing (praise for Hill) for too long, and I want it to stop. I want Hill to take every snap for the Saints for the next few games just so that we can all stop being forced to talk and think about his hypothetical abilities."
Stock up: Running out of bounds to seal the win. Apparently it's not a University of Georgia tradition to score when you don't mean to. In any case, Nick Chubb apparently learned from Todd Gurley's dumb example. I'll never get tired of watching this replay:
Stock down: Running out of bounds so your team doesn't cover the spread. Those big Vegas hotels didn't just grow in the desert all by themselves. They were watered with the money of suckers who bet on the Browns.
Stock down: Voting for Comeback Player of the Year. The fact that Alex Smith is walking, much less playing football, is a miracle of sorts and maybe a good reason to give him the award everyone has already decided to give him. But he plays for a sh!t team and a sh!t owner, and he has more INTs (3) than TD passes (1) and wins (0) combined in the three games he has played. Ben Roethlisberger is the Washington Football Team of QBs, but his throwing arm nearly fell off last season, and the dude is balling out this year.
Stock up: Classic uniforms, Dolphins vs Chargers edition. I was a huuuuge Miami fan growing up, and the Dolphins rolled out Sunday with the white-on-white throwbacks that I loved as a kid. (The aqua-on-white was kind of the big game party uniform; white over white meant business.) The Chargers have always had a strong uniform game, and they looked great on Sunday, too. But lost in the haze of jersey nostalgia was the fact that the Dolphins and Chargers played one of the best games -- no lie -- in NFL history.
This was the divisional round of the 1981 season. The pre-Dan Marino Dolphins (led by a 23-year-old David Woodley, who took Miami to a Super Bowl the next season) and the pre-Killer Bs defense were up against a terrifying Air Coryell Chargers team led by Dan Fouts, who threw for an NFL-record-at-the-time 4,802 yards that season to Charlie Joyner and Kellen Winslow. The Chargers went up 24-0 in the first quarter. Woodley was benched after throwing one pick and getting sacked three times. His replacement: career backup Don Strock, a graduate of that cradle of QBs, Virginia Tech. And then the Dolphins started scoring. Miami was down 24-10 with 6 seconds left in the half, and then this happened:
I still get chills when I see that play. And (spoiler alert!) I'm still heartbroken that the Dolphins lost this. Here's the NFL Films version of the game. It's a classic.
We had one this week: Bucs 46, Panthers 23.
STAT OF THE WEEK NO. 1
Before Ronald Jones ran for a 98-yard TD because Carolina can't play g*ddamn defense, only three NFL players had done that previously. Those three: Tony Dorsett (who scored from 99 yards), Ahman Green and Derrick Henry (just two years ago).
The Dorsett run was ridiculous:
STAT OF THE WEEK NO. 2
Until the Vikings won one of the worst MNF games in recent memory, Kirk Cousins was a historically bad and all-time worst 0-9 on Monday night. Other winless QBs: Joe Namath and Archie Manning, who were both 0-6 on Monday night.
WEEK 11 SCHEDULE
(and your coverage maps, as usual)
Thursday: Cardinals at Seahawks (Fox, NFL, Amazon). Yes, please!
Sunday early: CIN-WFT, ATL-NO, PIT-JAX, NE-HOU, PHI-CLE, DET-CAR and TEN-BAL.
... Boy, that's a lousy bunch of games. I'll be watching the Panthers, of course, but probably not if Teddy isn't playing. (His backups are PJ Walker or Will Grier, depending on whether Matt Rhule wears the black smock or the blue smock.) The rest of y'all? Titans-Ravens.
Sunday late: Packers-Colts is clearly the best of a bad bunch, which is why it's game of the week.
... Also: Jets-Chargers, Dolphins-Broncos (which might be entertaining), Cowboys-Vikings
Sunday night: Chiefs-Raiders. This'll be fun.
Monday night: Rams-Bucs. Another good game.
Byes: Niners, New York Football Giants, , Bills