Heading into Week 5, I thought that I might actually watch four complete games on Sunday, starting with the terrible matchup in London at 6:30am PST (Jets vs. Falcons) and pushing straight on to and through the marque matchup of Bills vs. Chiefs on Sunday Night Football - an entire day completely consumed by glorious NFL action.
And then Thursday Night Football scrapped that idea because who wants to watch 14 hours of “glorious NFL action” that features teams you don’t really give a rat’s ass about when you’re mourning a pair of losses?
(And F—k The Rams for both of them!)
I’m not going to dwell on “what might have been” right now though (that’s what Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday were for).
Instead, I’m going to share some thoughts with my fellow 12s and get ready for the great unknown that awaits us in Week 6.
The New York Football Giants joined the NFL in 1925. Nine decades later, they were the only team in the league that had never started a game with a black quarterback under center.
That changed on December 3rd, 2017.
I mention this for three reasons:
One. It was Geno Smith who started for the Giants that day.
Two. As of right now, that was his last start.
Three. Geno Smith taking the field as the starting quarterback on December 3rd, 2017 remains the only start in Giants history by a black QB.
Which is interesting.
Note: Geno Smith was 21-of-34 for 212 yards and a TD that day, but the Giants lost to the Raiders, 24-17, thanks in part to Marshawn Lynch’s 51-yard touchdown run 2-1/2 minutes into the game.
Speaking of black quarterbacks ...
The Seattle Seahawks started a black quarterback for the first time in 1997.
Most of you probably know who that was.
For those who don’t, his name is at the end of this thought, but I’ll give you some clues ...
One. Long before he came to Seattle, this particular quarterback got his first start in the NFL while playing with the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) in 1984.
Three. He rocked the old-school #1 Seahawks uni.
That’s right, I’m thinking of and talking about Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
Here’s the amazing thing though ...
Moon played for 4 NFL teams during his 17-year career and he was the first black quarterback to start a game for ALL FOUR OF THEM (!!!).
Remember 2 years ago when Lamar Jackson became only the second player to win the NFL MVP award in a unanimous vote after rushing for 1,206 yards?
Remember how everyone wanted to knock him down by saying that he was all legs and no arm (despite his having led the league in passing touchdowns that year)?
Remember when folks said the league would figure him out and that the Ravens’ Super Bowl window would slam shut the moment that Lamar had to start throwing the ball 30+ times a game?
Seems like he may have put that shit to bed. On Monday Night Football, no less.
Not surprisingly, Lamar Jackson now owns the Ravens’ record for passing yards in a game (and a fair number of other team records, I imagine).
His performance wasn’t the only “noteworthy” one in Week 5 though.
Here are some other things worth mentioning:
TB12: Tom Brady threw for 411 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Dolphins which seems like something he’d probably done before, right? Wrong. It was the first time in his career that he threw for 400+ with at least 5 TDs. Color me surprised.
TD-7: Trevon Diggs intercepted another pass for the Cowboys. That’s 5 straight games with at least one - which makes it the longest streak in the NFL since 1970.
42+: Scoring 42 (or more) points should get you a win, right? Not if you’re Baker Mayfield. For the third time in his young career, his team scored 42+ points and lost. That’s the most in NFL history ... and he still (probably) has a long, long career ahead of him.
SEA-v-GB: The Seahawks haven’t won a game at Lambeau Field since 1999 which is a really long time. But ... When the Packers beat the Bengals on Sunday, it snapped a winless streak in Cincinnati that went back to Week 3 of the 1998 season.
Note: Turnabout seems like fair play to me come Week 10.
Up by 2-scores: The Buffalo Bills’ last 11 wins have all been by double-digits which makes it the longest streak in the NFL since the 1998-1999 seasons.
Last team standing: The Arizona Cardinals are the last unbeaten team in the NFL. At 5-0, they’ve matched their longest win streak since 2015 ... when they won a team-record nine straight games.
At 2-3, Seattle currently trails the Cardinals by 3 games.
Adding to the shock-factor, is the fact that the Seahawks 3 losses have come at the hands of the Titans, the Vikings, and the Rams - in that order.
The Cardinals beat those 3 teams ... in that order. Week 1, 38-13 over the Titans; Week 2, 34-33 over the Vikings; Week 4, 37-20 over the Rams. They also added a 31-19 win over the Jaguars (Week 3); and then topped the 49ers on Sunday, 17-10.
Things may get at least a little bit harder for the Red Birds from here though.
Week 6 sees them playing the Browns ... in Cleveland.
Houston serves as a speed bump in Week 7.
Then the Cardinals host the Packers on Thursday Night Football in Week 8.
They follow that with a Week 9 rematch with the division-rival 49ers in Santa Clara Adjacent.
Note: Having paused my mourning long enough to watch some of the FTN @ FTC game on Sunday, my money would probably be on San Francisco the next time around.
Bottom line: I don’t see the Cardinals matching the franchise-record 9-game win streak from 2015.
In fact ...
I can see a scenario where Seattle could close the gap with Arizona before their Week 11 tilt at Lumen Field. If so, perhaps first place in the NFC West could be in play ... ???
Not saying that will happen, just pointing out that it might be possible.
Assuming Geno Smith can hold serve and Seattle’s defense figures some shit out in the next few weeks.
Speaking of Seattle’s defense ...
How about that decision to move D.J. Reed to his natural f—king position?
- Week 1-3: LCB: 16 targets, 10 catches allowed, 101 yards, 2 TDs, 120.1 passer-rating-against
- Week 4: RCB: 3 targets, 1 catch, 8 yards, 42.4 passer-rating-against
- Week 5: RCB: 9 targets, 4 catches, 53 yards, 1 pass-breakup, 63.7 passer-rating-against
It ain’t all sunshine, roses, and unicorns though ...
Here are the CB #s opposite D.J. Reed:
- Tre Flowers, Weeks 1-3: 16 targets, 14 catches allowed, 208 yards, 1 TD, 1 pass-breakup, 139.6 passer-rating-against
- Sidney Jones, Weeks 4-5: 14 targets, 11 catches, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 1 pass-breakup, 158.3passer-rating-against
On the surface of it, YIKES! to Sidney Jones having surrendered 270 yards in 2 games with a “perfect” passer-rating allowed.
YIKES! again when you realize that he’s allowing an average of 24.5 yards per catch.
And YIKES! a third time when you hear that he gave up 170 of those yards against the 49ers and “only” 100 against the Rams.
The 76-yard “busted coverage” play against the Niners got “charged” to him. Ditto the 68-yard completion to DeSean Jackson on 3rd-and-10 last Thursday. That’s 144 of the 270 yards on 2 “correctable” plays.
Minus those 2 plays, Jones was 6-of-8 for 94 yards and a TD versus the Niners (his first start for the Seahawks) and 3-of-4 for 32 yards against the Rams.
I can live with that.
Especially with D.J. Reed playing on the right side and Tre Flowers
riding the bench RELEASED.
Last year, Tyler Lockett had a team-record 100 receptions on 132 targets for 1,054 yards while D.K. Metcalf had 83 receptions on 129 targets for a team-record 1,303 yards. Both men hauled in 10 TDs.
Combined, they accounted for 183 receptions on 261 targets for 2,357 yards with 20 TDs and were rightly considered one of the best WR duos in the league.
Where are they through the first 5 games of this season?
- Lockett: 25-of-35 for 390 yards with 3 TDs
- Metcalf: 25-of-38 for 383 yards with 5 TDs
Helluva 1-2 punch, no?
Here’s what their current projections are (keeping in mind that there is one “extra” game this years):
- Lockett: 85-of-119 for 1,326 yards with 10 TDs
- Metcalf: 85-of-129 for 1,302 yards with 17 TDs
- Combined: 170-of-248 for 2,628 yards with 27 TDs
Granted, RW3 is expected to miss the next few games and we have no idea how Geno Smith is going to do in his stead.
That’s part of why I’m sharing this thought though ...
I’m curious where the projections will be when Wilson returns.
Speaking of Geno Smith ...
At 7:39pm on Thursday night, I sent my adult son a pair of texts.
The first one said: Geno Smith is in the game.
The second one said: F-k.
Seattle had the ball on their own 2-yard line, down 9. There was blood in the water and the Rams were ready to feast.
Eight minutes later, I texted my son to tell him that I was “officially retracting” the text that said F—k.
Ten plays, 98 yards ...
When’s the last time we saw the Seahawks do that?
Michael Dickson continues to amaze and, as it turns out, he might be the smartest man in football since even Mike Pereira flubbed the call in real-time when it came to Dickson’s latest exploit: the instant-classic DOUBLE-PUNT.
Note: This play is so bonkers -slash- incredible that it gets THREE Tweets in one Thought.
Let’s start with the Tweet from the NFL’s official account:
Then let’s share the Tweet from NFL Officiating that went out 15 minutes later:
In #LARvsSEA, the punt was blocked and recovered by the kicking team. The punter kicks the ball again from behind the line of scrimmage. This is a legal kick and the result of the play was the ball was ruled down at the 11 yard line. pic.twitter.com/saAYrCKlzp— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) October 8, 2021
Note: The NFL Officiating video is twice as long as the one the NFL originally shared.
Last, but not least, let’s look at the HILARIOUSLY AWESOME 1-minute “breakdown” of the play which, let’s be honest, is a play that we will probably never ever ever see again:
a quick breakdown of the double punt in the Seahawks Rams game pic.twitter.com/YEJ1n7SYgT— Mike Camerlengo (@MCamerlengo) October 8, 2021
Oh, and for those that have been wondering if the original punt block “counts” and/or if Dickson was “credited” with having punted twice on one play, here’s how the NFL Gamebook officially recorded that play:
M.Dickson punts 68 yards to LA 11, Center-T.Ott, downed by SEA-U.Amadi.
You know what I hate about division games? Almost everything.
You know what I like about them? Almost nothing.
But ... I do like that teams play their division opponents twice. Because ________ the Rams.
Venting notwithstanding, let’s circle back to Thought #5 and the idea that the Week 11 matchup at Lumen Field vs. the Cardinals could (maybe, possibly) be for first place in the NFC West ...
And let’s now dash that idea against the rocks by pointing out that ...
Despite the Cardinals’ 5-0 record, the 4-1 Rams are (almost certainly) going to be the bigger obstacle.
Because the Cardinals are like your little brother and you’re proud of him when he does well whereas the Rams are the schoolyard bully who you’d really like to beat the hell out of.
More to the point though, these are the Rams’ next 4 opponents:
- Week 6: at New York Giants
- Week 7: vs. Detroit Lions
- Week 8: at Houston Texans
- Week 9: vs. Tennessee Titans
Let’s assume for the moment that they don’t win all 4 games.
Does anyone think they go 2-and-2 (or worse) against that gauntlet of not-very-good teams?
I mean, yes, they lost to the lowly Jets last year, but let’s not kid ourselves. Odds are they’ll hit Week 10 with at least a 7-2 record.
Week 10 is when we travel to Lambeau Field.
While we’re there freezing our asses off, the FTRs will be in sunny Santa Clara.
The following week, while we’re facing the Cardinals, the Rams will be watching the Sunday games on TV while enjoying their bye.
Heading into Week 12, the very best that Seattle can be is 7-3.
As long as we beat the Cardinals, I feel comfortable predicting that they’ll be 8-3 (or worse) by the time they get to their Week 12 bye.
That makes them “catchable.”
The Rams though ...
Realistically, the best we can hope for is to match them record-wise heading into the final third of the season. And since they won the first head-to-head matchup on Thursday, they’d technically be ahead of us in the standings.
Which makes them the bigger challenge if we want to try to talk ourselves into believing that the NFC West title is still in play.
And, yes, that is exactly what I want to believe right now.
Here’s the good news ...
As easy as the Rams next few games appear to be, the slate after their bye is considerably harder (with one notable exception):
- Week 12: At Green Bay
- Week 13: Home vs. the Jaguars
- Week 14: At Arizona
- Week 15: Home vs. Seattle
- Week 16: At Minnesota
- Week 17: At Baltimore
- Week 18: Home vs. the 49ers
As good as the Rams have looked so far, they could easily finish the year at 11-6. If so, and if we beat them in L.A. ... who knows?
Bottom line: I’m not ruling the Seahawks out just yet.
For the better part of the last 2 years, I have been saying that I would do a happy dance and a Tiger Woods patented fist pump when the Tre Flowers experiment ended in Seattle.
At about 1:45pm on Tuesday afternoon, I did exactly that.
And everyone around me thought I was crazy.
I. Did. Not. Care.
Ian Rapoport is my new patron saint!
The #Seahawks are releasing former starting CB Tre Flowers, source said, a move that he recently requested. An experienced corner with four years of starting experience now available.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 12, 2021
That said ...
I wish Tre Flowers well.
I honestly believe he has the potential to be a decent, maybe even “good,” cornerback in the NFL. Just not in Seattle. Not in Seattle’s scheme. Not with PC and KNJ calling the shots.
Square peg, round hole, Flowers quite simply did not fit - despite having the “Seattle measurables.”
Peace out, Tre. Good luck at your next destination.
Heading into the season, I did not expect Urban Meyer to outlast Jon Gruden.
Even now, I don’t think Meyer should have outlasted Gruden.
To be clear, I do not condone what Gruden did / thought / said / stupidly documented via email, nor do I think the Raiders overreacted by
firing him encouraging him to resign when those reprehensible emails from 2010 to 2018 came to light.
Dude wasn’t an NFL employee at the time though, and he had no obligations or oath of fealty to the league or any of its teams. Nor did he have any commitments to any players, coaches, or staff.
He was an ESPN commentator.
And a former coach who had been traded in 2002 - ironically enough, by the team that just fired him - for two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks, and $8M in cash ... and then promptly beat his former team in the Super Bowl.
It’s a crazy world we live in.
Which is the only way to explain why Urban Meyer managed to outlast Jon Gruden.
Pretty sure Meyer will be the next one to go, though.
We’ll end this edition of 12 Thoughts with a classic chart-topper from 1969 ...
Sing it with me ....
- - - Dedicated to Jon Gruden (fired on Monday), Tre Flowers (released on Tuesday ... but “officially” Wednesday), and Urban Meyer (eying the exit, perhaps as soon as Sunday afternoon).