Heading into the season, I predicted that the Seahawks would hit the Week 9 bye with a 6-2 record. I didn’t make any sweeping predictions about which teams would beat us, just that we would be 6-2 at the bye.
Despite a rougher-than-expected start to the season, getting to the bye with a 6-2 record is still possible. Yes, it’s a mountain of a hill to climb, but ...
Over on ESPN+, Jeremy Fowler picked Seattle v. San Francisco as his upset of the week, saying (in part):
Seattle is too good to fall to 1-3. ... Pete Carroll typically finds a way to rally his defense after a few rough outings. The offense has fallen flat in the past two first halves, so adjustments will be made.
Homerism aside, and ignoring the fact that it’s the second halves where Seattle has fallen flat ... he’s not wrong. Seattle’s issues are largely self-imposed thus far and it is entirely possible that they could course correct their entire season before 1:05pm (PST) on October 3rd.
Four days later, the Hawks host the Rams at Lumen Field. In primetime. Seattle’s got at least a puncher’s chance in that one.
Before you laugh ... Russell Wilson is 9-1 on Thursday Night Football.
If Seattle is 3-2 come next Friday ... look out!
With some FTR optimism buoying us, let’s dive into this week’s thoughts.
Hats off to John P. Gilbert - dude was 13-3 with his picks in Week 3. Brandon and I were a very respectable 11-5, but JPG’s performance pushed him into the lead.
Meanwhile, last week’s winner had his magic 8-ball betray him and now sits at the bottom of the standings. Admittedly, I do like having a better record than the guy that brought me aboard this here site.
As a group, our performance is improving each week - we hit on 54.5% of our picks Week 1, bumped that to 62.5% in Week 2, and improved to a full 2/3rds in Week 3. At this rate we should be perfect by the Seahawks’ bye week.
I actually make 3 picks for each game each week: Straight-up (which we share here on Field Gulls), Against the Spread, and Over/Under.
Week 1 and 2 were coinflips (24-24 and 25-23). Week 3 though ... if I could finish 30-18 every week, I might actually consider making bets with real money once in a while.
As a bonus, I’m still “alive” in the Field Gulls Survivor Series as well. Woohoo!
Note: I picked the Bengals this week and, although they gave me a scare, that means I - and 15 others - advance to Week 5. The other 107(?) players that are still alive in the Field Gulls group have to wait until Sunday (or Monday?) to see if they join us.
Mid-week last week, I started working on a standalone piece about the Seahawks upcoming game against the Vikings. After several hours of research and number-crunching, I opted to scrap the article. But I saved one part of it ...
If you ever want to share a really good example of the ridiculousness of the NFL’s “random” drug tests, Kirk Cousins might very well be the poster boy.
* 6:45 AM, the day after signing his first franchise tag with Washington ... at his in-law’s house ... with a leaky beaker (wow! - awkward and messy);
* At the drug-tester’s home in 2015; they talked about Corvettes while collecting the sample (no official word on whether the tester held the cup)
* At his grandmother’s townhome in 2013 (Nana’s house? That’s just wrong.)
Note: As far as Google knows, Kirk Cousins has never taken a “random” drug test at his home address. (you gotta “love” the NFL)
Yes, that’s right, the part of my work that I couldn’t bring myself to throw out was the bit about Kirk Cousins’ “Pee-Time Adventures.”
Jason Myers has gotten a few shout-outs from me since I started my writing gig here on Field Gulls; usually because he had a franchise-record streak of 30-some consecutive field goals. Sadly, that streak ended at 37-straight when he missed a 44-yard attempt against the Vikings last Sunday.
Bummer! He was seven shy of the NFL record.
That’s okay though because (a) He can start another streak against the 49ers on Sunday; and (b) This thought isn’t really about Jason’s miss.
This thought is actually about the fact that I was so focused on the streak that our kicker had that I was completely oblivious to the fact that he wasn’t the only one who had an active streak of 30+ field goals.
Kudos to anyone who knows who the other two kickers are before you read their names in this here thought ...
Before I reveal them though, here is the complete list of kickers with longer streaks than the one that Myers just ended:
- Adam Vinatiera: 44, with Indianapolis (2015-2016)
- Mike Vanderjagt: 42, with Indianapolis (2002-2004)
- Gary Anderson: 40, with San Francisco and Minnesota (1997-1998)
That means Myers has the 4th-longest streak of all-time.
Which is incredibly impressive.
And Gano’s streak is still active.
Needless to say, I’ll be keeping an eye on those two gentlemen.
At least until they miss a kick.
Speaking of field goals ....
Why is that significant?
Well, the score was 17-16, Detroit, when the ball left his foot, and 19-17, Baltimore after the ball bounced up and through the goal posts for the W.
And the ball left his foot at the Ravens’ 44-yard line which makes it the longest field goal in NFL history, topping Matt Prater’s 2013 record by 2 yards.
For good measure, here’s the reverse angle of the kick:
Now that we know the new NFL record for longest field goal is 66 yards, let’s sit back and enjoy watching what happened when Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury decided to send out his kicker to try a 68-yard field goal just before halftime down in Jacksonville.
Spoiler Alert: It was the Jaguars that Tweeted about this play.
On the one hand, I kind of want to thank Kliff Kingsbury for providing a wonderful clip that I can use to make fun of his (incredibly poor) coaching decisions.
On the other hand, I can kind of understand the decision ...
- His kicker is Matt Prater would had held the record for the NFL’s longest field goal since December 8th, 2013.
- His team was playing the Jaguars (who may not get their first W until the day after Christmas, when they play the Jets).
- Prater’s 64-yard kick in 2013 split the uprights at Mile High Stadium; Sunday’s game was at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.
- Denver, Colorado has an elevation “advantage” of roughly 5,222.73 feet over Jacksonville, Florida. For fans of the metric system, that’s 1,591.89 meters.
- Prater’s record kick took place 2,849 days prior; methinks he probably lost some leg strength between those 2 kicks.
Add it all up and you reach the almost-inescapable conclusion that Kliff Kingsbury is an idiot. Either that or he just flat-out didn’t think there was any way that Urban Meyer’s Jaguars could pull off a victory against his Cardinals - even IF Prater missed the kick (which he did) and Jacksonville took it to they house (which they did).
Note: Arizona outscored Jacksonville 24-6 in the second half and won by 12 points. That doesn’t mean that Kingsbury isn’t an idiot though; it just means the Jaguars weren’t ready to collect a W.
Let’s stick with the field goal theme for a minute.
Setting: Sunday Night Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
Situation: The Rams lead 14-7, just before halftime, but TB12 and the Bucs have driven from their 25 to the Rams’ 37 in a mere 48 seconds. It’s 3rd and 8 with 3 seconds on the clock and the Bucs are lined up to kick a field goal that could cut the Rams’ lead to 4.
Bucs kicker Ryan Succop sends the ball into the warm, fall air (inside SoFi Stadium), and ...
SEAN MCVAY GOES WILD !!!
Honestly, I want to condemn him for his excessive celebration because ... FTR.
I want to remind him that having been at the helm of the Rams for 4+ years, he’s “been here a time or two” and he should maybe think about acting like it.
How can you not like his exuberance?
Dude seriously reminds me of a younger Pete Carroll (energy-wise) and that means that I can’t completely hate him. I can (and do), however, hate the fact that he coaches the Rams. Ugh!
Put him on almost any other team though and I’d probably follow him on Twitter and listen to some of his press conferences when I was bored.
But ... sigh ... FTR.
Piggybacking on that previous thought (and the associated Tweet with the video of McVay’s attention-grabbing over-exuberance) ... Did you catch the stat that they mentioned (and displayed on the screen) during that clip?
The Rams are 39-0 under Sean McVay when leading at the half.
Well, they were 39-0. That stat was shown before they beat the Bucs. Now, they are 40-0 when leading at the half since S.MV arrived in 2017.
Note to Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, et al.
Do not let the Rams have the lead heading into halftime next Thursday! Everything depends on this.
Note to the broadcast crew for the TB-LA game
Cool stat, pretty graphic, appreciate the insight. Watch this ....
After beating Tampa Bay on SNF, Sean McVay's Rams are now 40-0 when leading at halftime.— Frank T. Raines (@Frank_T_Raines) September 30, 2021
That's impressive, but it means that they are only 9-24 when tied or trailing at the break.
Wanna beat the Rams? Kick their ass in the first half!
Note to Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, et al.
DO NOT LET THE RAMS HAVE THE LEAD HEADING INTO HALFTIME NEXT THURSDAY! EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON THIS.
Have you been paying attention to the Player of the Week awards? Yeah, me either. I mean, no Seahawks were claiming the honors so what did I care?
Then I saw this ...
Cardinals have three NFC Players of the Week in three games.— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 29, 2021
Week 1: Chandler Jones
Week 2: Kyler Murray
Week 3: Byron Murphy
That. Is. Impressive.
And, honestly, it is extremely well-deserved.
(Chandler) Jones made his return to the field a triumphant one, racking up a career-high five sacks with two forced fumbles, six quarterback hits and four tackles for loss.
(Kyler) Murray was once more an offensive dynamo in the Cardinals’ 34-33 victory against the Minnesota Vikings. He completed 29 of 36 attempts (80.6%) for 400 yards, three touchdowns and a 117.6 rating, while adding 31 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Four total touchdowns and another big win for the Cards.
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy took an interception 29 yards for six points and on his way to NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Murphy’s pick-six was one of two interceptions for the corner in the Cardinals’ 31-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and he also had four tackles.
It doesn’t end there though.
Rams QB Matthew Stafford brought home the Offensive PotW award for his performance in Week 1. And again in Week 3.
Note: During his 12 years in Detroit, Matt-Staff won the award exactly one time - Week 11, 2009. He’s topped that in a mere 3 weeks with the Rams.
How about one more?
San Francisco Punter Mitch Wishnowsky hauled in the ST award for his efforts in Week 2.
For those keeping score at home, here’s the NFC West tally so far:
- Arizona: 3
- FTR: 2
- SF: 1
- Seattle: 0
Because I’m a little behind schedule this week ...
I get to include the Player of the month awards in this thought too.
- NFC: Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs, and SF Punter Mitch Wishnowsky
- AFC: Raiders QB Derek Carr, Broncos LB Von Miller, and Jaguars WR/ST Jamal Agnew
Oh ... and there’s also this:
NFL Players of the Month: Russell Wilson, Trevon Diggs have been superb in September (Pro Football Network, 9-30-2021)
The Seahawks may very well be 1-2 to start the season, but the blame cannot really be laid at the feet of Russell Wilson. The Seahawks QB has earned himself a spot amongst our Players of the Month with his all-around performance.
Wilson’s 73.3% completion rate ranks seventh, his 8.1% touchdown rate ranks fourth, and he leads the position in yards per attempt at 10.4. He has all of these numbers despite an 8.5% sack rate, which ranks as the sixth-highest among QBs with three starts. Through all of that, he has not yet thrown a single interception.
The also gave Bobby Wagner a Player of the Month award - in the Linebacker category.
Linebacker: Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle Seahawks~44 tackles, 26 solo tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 3 QB hits, and 1 pass defensed
I knew I liked PFN for a reason.
Here is an amazing, MIND-BLOWING story ... that is also completely unsurprising.
Because of who it’s about.
Former FTR QB Jared Goff has a career record of 45 wins and 33 losses, including a 3-3 record in the playoffs.
With Sean McVay as his coach, Goff was 45-23. Without McVay, he is 0-10. That includes an 0-7 mark in L.A. with Jeff Fisher, and an 0-3 mark since being traded to the Lions.
The Lions play the Bears in Chicago on Sunday and the Chicago faithful are expecting the Bears to improve to 2-2. If so, Goff will fall to 0-11 without S.MV.
Per a BearsWire article, Goff has faced the Bears 3 times.
Amongst the things they had to say:
In his first two meetings against the Bears, (Goff) didn’t throw a single touchdown pass and turned the football over five times in the air. His passer rating was 33.9 in those two games. If he would have incompleted all 62 passes he threw against Chicago in both games, his passer rating would have been better.
Overall, in three meetings against the Bears, (Goff) has two passing touchdowns, five interceptions, and 573 passing yards with just a 56.4 passer rating.
For what it’s worth, I expect the Lions to beat the Bears this week.
You know who I do not expect to win this week?
Any of the rookie QBs.
Through the first 3 weeks of the 2021 season, the rookie QBs compiled a record of 1-10 and the one W in there was courtesy of 2 rookie QBs facing each other in Week 2 (Mac Jones vs. Zach Wilson); someone had to win that game (unless they tied).
Against non-fellow-rookie-QBs, the rookie QBs were 0-9 through 3 weeks and they fell to 0-10 when the Bengals overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Jaguars last night.
That second number will be increasing on Sunday; the first one ... probably not.
A quick look at the games this week:
- T-Law and the Jaguars traveled to Cincinnati and ... lost their 19th consecutive game
- Z-Wil and the Jets should get run over by Derrick Henry and the Titans
- T-Lance and the Niners are gonna lose to us (duh!)
- Justin-Fields-of-Dreams is out of luck because I already said the Lions are beating the Bears this week (see the last line in Thought #9, above)
- Mc-J is going against the G.O.A.T who just so happens to be returning to his former home for the first time (and with a far better supporting cast than Jones has)
- D-Mil and the Texans are Googling the term “abattoir” on their flight to Buffalo (cuz that’s what Highmark Stadium is gonna be on Sunday)
More reasons to believe the rookie QBs are gonna have a rough go of things in Week 4 include ...
Their Week 3 stat lines (courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com):
- Lawrence: 22-of-34 (64.7%) for 219 yards with 1 TD, 2 INTs, and a passer rating of 68.1
- Wilson: 19-of-35 (54.3%) for 160 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, rating of 42.6
- Lance: no passes, but he had a 1-yard touchdown run
- Fields: 6-of-20 (30%) for 68 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, rating of 41.2
- Jones: 30-of-51 (58.8%) for 270 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs, rating of 55.2
- Mills: 19-of-28 (67.9%) for 168 1 TD, 0 INTs, rating of 95.5
Note: The 3rd round pick making his first start had the best stat line of the week in Week 3. I find that both amusing and concerning.
And this ...
Rookie quarterbacks off to an ugly start (NBC Sports / ProFootballTalk, 9-27-2021)
Among the 34 quarterbacks who have attempted at least 35 passes this season, Mills, Wilson, Lawrence and Fields are the Bottom 4 in completion percentage. Fields has been sacked on 23.9 percent of his dropbacks, by far the most in the NFL this season, while Wilson has been sacked on 12.5 percent, the second-most. Fields is also last in the NFL in yards per pass, while Wilson and Lawrence are tied for the league lead with seven interceptions.
I could go on (and on and on and on), but I’m trying to be nice.
Long story short, the rookie QBs are struggling.
Tom Brady returns to New England this week, with the Buccaneers taking on the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Everywhere you look (on the internet), there are stories about how TB12 entering Gillette Stadium and lining up on the Visitors side of the field for the first time is going to be WILD. During the pregame and during the game itself, we are going to hear story after story about Brady and Belichick and what happened and why it happened and how it happened and ....
I. Do. Not. Care.
Honestly, were it not for one simple, and historical, storyline, I would probably watch “Free Guy” instead of SNF this week.
But ... damn it! Brady is gonna get his storybook moment at the sacred arena that housed his greatness for 20 years. And it is that moment that will get me to tune in.
Brady entered the 2021 season with 79,204 passing yards. He needed 1,154 yards to catch Brees; 1,155 to pass.
He threw for 379 yards against Dallas in the first game of the year (literally, the first game of the year). He collected another 276 yards against Atlanta in Week 2 and then dropped 432 passing yards on the Rams.
As a result, he will stroll into Gillette Stadium on Sunday, needing a mere 68 yards to sit atop the career passing yards list all by his lonesome.
With a little luck, maybe he’ll pass Brees in the first quarter. If so, I can watch him make history and have time to watch “Free Guy.”
Back in mid-July, I wrote an article about the Manning brothers coming to Monday Night Football in an alternate broadcast.
I was ... skeptical. Intrigued, but skeptical.
I “might” have dubbed it “The Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show.”
There is a not-insignificant chance that I might still be referring to it as The Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show ... both online and off. Except that my tone has maybe changed a little bit when I refer to it that way.
Amusingly, after writing that July article, I completely forgot about it.
Week 1, I watched the “regular” MNF broadcast with what’s-his-name and what’s-his-name and whoever-else-they’ve-got ... with the sound turned almost all the way down.
And The Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show was so far removed from my consciousness that I didn’t even think about it until a day or two after the game ... when I saw “highlights” mentioned in one of my newsfeeds, decided to check it out, and ... didn’t completely hate what I saw.
Curious to see if there was more to the show than just the hand-picked highlights, I made a mental note to watch it during Week 2’s Monday Night game.
And then completely forgot about it.
Fortunately, someone mentioned it on the Week 2 MNF Field Gulls game thread.
I switched over, watched the second half that way, and ... I didn’t hate it.
Now, to be clear, I would not, not, not, not, NOT want to watch the “alternate broadcast” if the Seahawks were playing - at least not live. But for teams I don’t really care about (i.e. the other 31) ... sure, why not?
I made a mental note to watch the entire MNF game that way in Week 3 and ...
Yep, completely forgot about it.
Fortunately, YouTube TV reminded me when I turned on my smart TV on Monday night.
Thank you, technology!
It. Was. Fun.
A bit flawed, sure, but ... overall ... it was a lot better than I expected.
I’m not going to share highlights though.
And the clip is 15 minutes long so ... you’ve been warned.
For me, the best part was Eli Manning dancing (that clip went viral) and him ending that bit by saying, ““These hips don’t lie. I’m like Shakira.”
Peyton was cracking up.
And so was I.
I also liked when Chris Long referred to Eli as a “lawn deer” (because he was so immobile).
And, although it’s not in the NFL-sanctioned highlights reel (same link - FYI), there was a moment that will forever live in infamy. It was an instant classic and one that will never disappear courtesy of the internet and the wonder that is social media.
I am NOT going to share the link, but you can find it via Google with almost zero effort. Just type “Eli Manning Double Bird” ...
In his defense, a 9-year-old Eagles fan taught him that gesture when he visited Philadelphia during his playing days.
Unfortunately, the Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show also delivered some bad news.
Some really, really bad news.
At the end of the Week 3 broadcast, Peyton and Eli said that they were taking a few weeks off and that they’d be back for the Week 7 game between the Seahawks and the Saints.
I hit the rewind button to make sure I’d heard that right.
Yes, they said that.
What. The. ????? Three weeks into this thing, and they’re already taking time off? Who ever heard of such a thing?!!?!?!
They can’t do that!
No, no, no, no, no NOOOOO !!!!
I mean, I do not want to have to watch the regular MNF broadcast for the next 3 weeks. Well, 4 weeks actually, because I’m not going to watch the Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show when the Seahawks are playing.
That actually kind of sucks.
Dare I say, I’m actually gonna miss them.
Which is something I honestly never expected I would think, let alone write, when I wrote the piece about the Manning Bros. MNF Variety Show in July.
So kudos to them for that.
A programming note
Taking a cue from the Manning brothers ...
12 Thoughts is taking a break.
A short break.
There are 2 reasons for this; one logistical, the other personal.
The logistical reason is that it’s a short week.
Process-wise, I typically take a day or two after the Sunday games to re-watch the Hawks game, catch up on what happened around the league, and jot down a couple dozen ideas for 12 Thoughts.
Note: Those first two pieces (re-watch and catch up) are a process I’ve used for years; the Thoughts piece is obviously a new wrinkle since this is my first Seahawks season with a writing gig.
I usually start writing 12 Thoughts on Tuesday and finish it on Wednesday and then start shifting my attention to the upcoming game.
As mentioned, next week is a short week which means that the “upcoming” game is on Thursday.
And it’s against the FTRs.
Given that combination, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be shifting my attention to the upcoming game about 3 hours after Sunday’s game in Santa Clara concludes.
Now, under “normal” circumstances, I would probably try to squeeze out a 12 Thoughts piece anyway, because I like 12 Thoughts and I don’t mind not sleeping.
THIS WEEK (i.e. this upcoming week) is going to be far from normal.
Because of the “personal” reason I mentioned.
On February 13th, 2019, a corporate position that I had helped create from scratch and had held for a number of years “disappeared” - now you see it, now you don’t. At the time, I was confident that I could go “next door” to Microsoft or “across the bridge” to Amazon. I spent a couple weeks in “vacation” mode then polished up my resume and started sending it out.
That was right before COVID turned the world upside down.
This isn’t a woe-is-me story though.
COVID affected everyone.
Me and mine were mostly fine. Finances were tight. My 401k got liquidated. But we kept the lights on and a roof over our heads and no one we know died.
Quite the opposite in fact.
Having time on my hands, I accepted a writing gig with a pretty cool site.
On August 28th I applied for a contract position that I am exceptionally well-suited for but which might not have even been on my radar pre-COVID because ...
It’s in San Francisco.
And, while this might come as a huge surprise ...
FTR has zero interest in living or working in Santa Clara Adjacent.
Fortunately, in the “new” world that COVID has wrought, the position I accepted was envisioned as being REMOTE.
And that I can do.
My first day in my new role is Monday.
I am not leaving FG. (As if!)
But there is absolutely no way that I’m going to try to put together a long article on a short week when I’m starting a new job.
Thank you Peyton and Eli for showing me that it’s okay to take time off in the middle of the season.