I don’t often watch football with other people, but I made an exception this past weekend - mostly because the Washington Huskies were playing the Oregon Ducks on Saturday and I wanted to share that experience with my oldest son.
Huskies vs. Ducks = Incredible game!
Seahawks vs. Bengals = Incredible game . . . if you add an LY and the word FRUSTRATING.
Seattle had so many chances to win and still managed to disappoint us.
Doubly so given that our Santa Clara rivals fell from the ranks of the undefeated about 20 minutes after Geno Smith’s last “pass” hit the ground well short of its target.
The Seahawks could have been half a game out of first place today . . . instead, they remain a game-and-a-half back.
Thought No. 1
I had picked the Ravens to win though so I didn’t really think anything of it.
I only got two other games in the early slots right.
And not a great day overall.
I did manage to rebound and finished the week 9-6, but there were a TON of “What da _____” moments throughout the day . . . some of which I’ll cover in later thoughts.
Starting with . . .
Thought No. 2
After the Seahawks fell to the Bengals, my son and I switched over to CBS to watch the end of the 49ers game, and . . .
For the first time in his career, Brock Purdy looked like a 7th-round pick.
To be fair, he was playing without LT Trent Williams, RB Christian McCaffrey, and WR Deebo Samuel . . .
Still . . .
Purdy did not look like the world-beater we’ve become accustomed to against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
When the game ended, his stat line read: 12 of 27 (44.4%) for 125 yards (107 net after sacks) with 1 TD, 1 INT, a QBR of 40.1, and a quarterback rating of 55.3.
Unsurprisingly, that’s the worst stat line of Purdy’s young career.
That said, it was not the worst QB stat line of the week.
Thought No. 3
On Thursday night, against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seahawks’ former quarterback posted a stat line that was worse than Purdy’s.
- 13 of 22 (59.1%)
- 95 yards (82 net after subtracting his 4 sacks)
- 1 touchdown vs. 2 interceptions
- QBR of 9.8
- Quarterback rating of 46.6
Less than 100 yards with two interceptions is a special kind of awful.
Social media was, of course, very unkind.
A couple samples:
I have 2 Russell Wilson jerseys for sale! Will trade for a high five and a hershey bar with almonds.— D.Malu (@Malu_Mojo) October 13, 2023
It's time to sit Russell Wilson and let Jarrett Stidham play out the string.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 13, 2023
The first one is funny; the second one is a little harsh - and more than a little complicated since it implies that the poster is fine with the team “tanking” to take one of the top QBs in next year’s draft while also not fully realizing that the Broncos are still on the hook for TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS even if RW3 never plays another down for them.
Me, I’m withholding judgment (despite sharing this thought) because Russell Wilson isn’t he Denver Broncos’ biggest problem. Lord knows, he wasn’t the one that gave up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins or 35 to the Washington Commanders.
And, statistically, it could be argued that he’s having a better season than Seattle’s current quarterback - even with last weeks’ terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day factored in.
- Yards: Russell Wilson = 1,305 | Geno Smith = 1,169
- Average per attempt: both are at 7.1
- Completion percentage: Wilson = 65.9 | Smith = 67.7
- TDs to INTs: Wilson = 12:4 | Smith = 5:3
- QBR: Wilson = 39.8 | Smith = 59.2
- Passer rating: Wilson = 99.0 | Smith = 90.7
Thought No. 4
For basically my entire life, I have despised reading anything aloud.
I made an exception on Sunday afternoon.
Seaside Joe: What needs to be said after Seahawks-Bengals.
If you haven’t read that article, I encourage you to do so - and then I dare you to find anything in it that you can convincingly argue against (I don’t think it’s possible).
From that article:
We’ve seen the pinnacle of the Geno Smith offense. It’s a 31-7 win over a 3-14 Jaguars team. It’s a 48-45 win over a Lions defense that gave up the most yards in the NFL last season. And now we’ve seen the floor.
It’s a 17-13 loss to the Bengals—with six points after the opening drive—and three points with an interception in the last four trips to the red zone.
But I would argue, it’s a floor we’ve seen before.
A pain we’ll see again.
During the course of the article, Seaside Joe (aka Kenneth Arthur) points out that Geno Smith’s first five games last year were really good (75% completion rate, 9 TDs, 2 INTs) and then compares last season’s stats (which include those 5 games + the playoff loss to the Niners) to Geno’s last 18 games (which essentially just replaces the first 5 games from last year with the first 5 games from this year) . . .
To say that the numbers are eye-opening would be an understatement.
Geno Smith’s 2022 season+playoffs (Seahawks record: 9-9):
424-607, 69.9%, 4,535, 32 TD, 12 INT, 7.5 Y/A, 49 sacks, 9 fumbles/5 lost
Geno Smith’s last 18 starts (Seahawks record: 10-8):
417/624, 66.8%, 4,399, 28 TD, 13 INT, 7.04 Y/A, 51 sacks, 8 F/5 Lost
Mid-article, this question is posed:
How is Seattle’s offense in any better hands right now than when Seahawks fans were terrified and dismayed at the prospect of Geno Smith taking over against the Steelers two years ago?
Now, to be fair, an 18-game stat line that includes more than 4,000 yards and a TD-to-INT ratio that’s better than 2-to-1 isn’t a bad stat line.
It’s just not as good as we need it to be.
Thought No. 5
For all the blame that’s being heaped on Geno for Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, I actually put him at No. 3 on my list of players who cost us a win.
No. 1 is DK Metcalf.
His unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Seahawks third possession cost the team 15 yards and gave the Seahawks 2nd and 21 at their own 25. Sure, Geno Smith found Tyler Lockett for a 32-yard gain on the next play, but absent D.K.’s immaturity, Lockett’s catch would have put Seattle on Cincinnati’s 28 instead of their 43 and if the Seahawks hadn’t gained another yard on that drive(which they didn’t; they actually lost a yard over the next 3 plays), they’d have been in field goal range. Instead, they punted on 4th and 11 from the Bengals’ 44.
DK’s much more egregious faux pas was the 4th quarter route that he gave up on which directly led to Geno Smith’s second interception when Geno dared to throw the ball to where Metcalf was supposed to be and instead found only a Cincy DB. Had DK shown ANY pride on that play, the Cincy DB wouldn’t have gained 24 yards on the return and the Bengals wouldn’t have taken over with the ball already in field goal range. Seattle’s D didn’t allow a single yard on the next 3 plays, but the Bengals still extended their lead to 17-13, which turned out to be enough to win the game.
No. 2 is Jake Curhan.
If you watched the game, you know why I blame Jake more than Geno.
If you didn’t, let’s just say that Jake Curhan at 100% is a subpar offensive lineman. At less than 100% - as was the case on Sunday - he’s a certified liability.
Everything that went wrong on Seattle’s final offensive play (and many of the plays before that) can be directly traced to Jake Curhan.
I hope and pray that Pete has seen enough and calls up Jason Peters to play Right Tackle until Abe Lucas is able to return.
Thought No. 6
I don’t give a rip what analytics say . . . eschewing field goals is one of the stupidest coaching decisions there is - especially in close games.
And I tend to have that opinion whether it’s my team or the other team making the boneheaded call.
- On Saturday, just before halftime, Oregon had 4th-and-goal at the Washington 3. They were down four (22-18) and were getting the ball to start the second half. A field goal makes it a 1-point game, gives them momentum, et cetera. Result: Washington stopped them, forced a 3-and-out to start the second half, scored a touchdown, and pushed the lead to 11.
- On Oregon’s next possession, they faced 4th-and-3 from the Washington 8. Again, they passed up the easy points (which would have made it a one-score game). Result: Bo Nix’s pass was incomplete; Washington ball.
- Later in the game, with 6:33 to play and Washington trailing by four (29-33), the Huskies faced 4th-and-goal from the Oregon 1. Like Oregon had done twice previously, Washington opted to go for it. Result: Loss of 1, Oregon ball.
Yes, hindsight is 20-20, but my son was sitting next to me as I pled with the coaches to, “Kick the damn field goal.” Alas, neither one listened to me.
Neither did Pete Carroll.
. . .
Down four, with 2:08 to play, facing 4th-and-goal from the Cincinnati 6, Pete kept the offense on the field. Seattle still had 2 timeouts and the 2-minute warning to work with and I thought they should kick a field goal.
As I told my son, there were 3 possible outcomes in that scenario (technically 4). Here they are, listed from best to worst:
- We go for it, we get the touchdown (and the extra point) to go up 3, and our defense needs to make a stop to seal the win.
- We kick the field goal to cut the lead to 1 then ask our defense to get the ball back so we can kick another field goal to steal the win.
- We go for it, we come up short, our defense needs to force a 3-and-out, and we get the ball back with about a minute left (and no timeouts), needing a touchdown to win. Note: This is basically what happened except that we got the ball back with an “extra” 40 seconds (1:39) because Cincy foolishly threw the ball twice and the clock stops when passes are incomplete.
The fourth option is a variation of No. 3 except we try a field goal with 2:08 left, miss it, and then need a 3-and-out (et cetera).
Thought No. 7
The biggest “What the _____?” moment for me in Week 6 happened in the Eagles-Jets game - and, no, it wasn’t the result (although that was a headscratcher).
On the first play after the 2-minute warning, the Jets intercepted Jalen Hurts (for the third time) and returned the ball to the Eagles 8-yard line.
The Jets trailed the Eagles by 2.
I told my son, “This is going to sound mean, but if I’m Robert Saleh, I’m telling Zach Wilson to take a knee on first down . . . and second down . . . and maybe third down as well . . . so the Eagles are forced to burn their timeouts.”
What I left unsaid was that if the Jets actually ran a play, the Eagles would “Olé” whoever had the ball and let them score so the Eagles’ offense would have as much time as possible (and two timeouts) to try to mount a game-winning drive.
Naturally, that’s exactly what happened - the “let them score” part, anyway . . . the “try to mount a game-winning drive” part, not so much.
Amusingly / painfully, depending on who you were rooting for, it played out in the most mind-boggling way possible . . .
Philly got the ball back, down 6, with 1:46 to play.
The Eagles first 3 plays were incompletion, incompletion, 2-yard completion. Just like that, the Eagles were facing 4th and 8 at their own 27, with 1:16 to play.
The Jets only rushed 3 - although it was more like 2-1/2 since the third guy didn’t seem to be trying to get pressure on Jalen Huts. Wisely, the Jets had a player acting as a spy to keep Hurts from scrambling for a first down.
The Eagles ended up with a receiver on the left sideline, a yard shy of the line to gain, with nothing but green grass in front of him, and the nearest defender was completely out of position to make a play if Hurts had thrown him the ball.
Alas, Hurts never even looked that way.
Instead, needing 8 yards to extend the drive, Hurts went into Hero Mode and launched a Hail Mary . . .
. . . into double (almost triple) coverage.
Jaw, meet floor. Ball, meet ground. Eagles, meet the Loss column. Jets, meet .500 . . . with Zach Wilson as your quarterback.
That, folks, is my candidate for the most mind-boggling play of the day . . .
. . . if not the year.
Thought No. 8
Here’s a fun one for you . . .
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud threw 186 passes over the first five weeks of the season without an interception.
That was 10 more than the previous NFL record for INT-free passes to start a career, which was set by Dak Prescott (who had broken Tom Brady’s record of 162).
Stroud’s streak ended at 191 passes - when he threw an interception and a touchdown pass on the same drive.
Yes, you read that right . . . Stroud threw an interception, but Houston’s offense stayed on the field and scored a touchdown six plays later.
Here’s the interception (and the aftermath of it):
Zack Baun picked off CJ Stroud, then fumbled... Texans recover! lol pic.twitter.com/OjEuFfHTji— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) October 15, 2023
And here’s the touchdown:
Houston went on to win the game by 7.
Thought No. 9
In my opinion, the smartest team in the league is the one that drafts both Michael Penix Jr. and Rome Odunze in the 2024 NFL Draft.
I wouldn’t have said that a year ago, or even two months ago, but I’ve watched three of Washington’s games this year and am convinced that the connection those two players have is something special.
According to Odunze (per this ESPN article), “We kind of have that Spidey sense for one another.”
From that article:
Trailing 33-29 at the Ducks’ 20-yard line, the Huskies approached the line of scrimmage with a playcall in hand.
Penix quickly scoured the defense and liked what he saw. He took a brief look in Odunze’s direction, split out wide left in single coverage.
“He kind of gave me the head nod to do what I needed to do,” Odunze said.
The nod roughly translated to: Forget the route we had dialed up. I love this one-on-one matchup for you. It’s time for you to make a game-winning play.
“He threw it up, gave me a shot, believed in me,” Odunze said.
That faith was rewarded. Odunze came down with back-shoulder pass for the go-ahead score, sending Husky Stadium into a frenzy. When the Ducks’ field goal attempt missed wide right moments later, fans poured on the field to celebrate one of the biggest wins in school history.
ESPN has the UW at No. 3 in their Power Rankings after Week 7.
The much more official Associated Press Top 25 has them at No. 5 (with 2 first-place votes).
The Huskies are also No. 5 in the Coaches Poll.
Thought No. 10
In my Survivor leagues.
As mentioned, I spent most of the weekend watching football with my oldest son. But we went to dinner as Sunday Night Football was getting ready to start and then I drove him home so we were forced to check in on the Giants and the Bills online.
It was 3-nothing Giants the first time we checked.
Six-zip the second time.
It was still 6-nil when I dropped him off at home and since I don’t look at my phone while I’m driving, I didn’t get another update until the beginning of the 4th quarter.
By then, the Bills had scored, but so had the Giants.
I usually try to vary my Survivor picks from league to league but this was a week where one game stood out as an “absolute no-brainer” so I used the same pick in all 5 leagues and, yeah, what had seemed like a safe pick was anything but.
I was more than a little nervous.
Then the Bills scored again and took a 5-point lead, 14-9.
The Giants turned it over on downs after going for it on 4th-and-8 from their own 38 with just under 2 minutes to play.
The Bills ran the ball twice (forcing the Giants to use 2 of their 3 timeouts) but then, inexplicably, decided to throw the ball on third down.
They then compounded that mistake by attempting a 53-yard field goal - which wasn’t a bad decision, except that their kicker shanked it and gave the Giants EXCELLENT field position.
Naturally, because my Survivor lives hung in the balance, the Giants marched down the field and had multiple chances to win it - including an untimed down when the Bills got called for a defensive penalty on a 3rd-and-4 play from the 9 with 4 seconds to play.
On 1st-and-goal from the 1, the Giants channeled their 2014 Seahawks and opted to PASS the ball instead of handing it off to Saquon Barkley.
Did the Bills get away with pass interference on the final play? Probably. But I’m still alive in all of my Survivor leagues so I don’t mind.
Plus, I had picked the Bills to win.
Thought No. 11
For those that can’t get enough football in their lives, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) has you covered.
That’s right, the Olympics are officially adding football to the slate of events at the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
Clarification: They’re adding FLAG Football.
Still, it’s football, and the fact that they’re adding it to the Olympics is AWESOME !!
Of course, they’re also adding cricket, lacrosse, and squash.
Interestingly, it will be the second Olympics with cricket (1900) and the third with lacrosse (1904 and 1908).
Baseball and softball are also back (for the umpteenth time).
Personally, the only one that moves the needle is football - - even if it’s played with flags instead of pads.
12 13 (Taylor’s Version)
The league’s and the media’s obsession with Taylor Swift and her are-they-dating-or-aren’t-they-dating relationship with Travis Kelce reached an epic level Sunday night.
After the Chiefs beat the Broncos on Thursday Night Football, what was the MAIN PHOTO on ESPN’s home page?
Was it a picture of Patrick Mahomes or Travis Kelce or Andy Reid or anyone else that actually participated in the win? No.
Was it a picture of a dejected Russell Wilson, a deflated Sean Payton, or anyone else who had a hand in the Broncos’ loss? Also no.
It was a picture of Taylor Swift and Brittany Mahomes in their suite.
Note: It wasn’t that exact picture, but I didn’t screen-grab it and am limited to photos that we’re approved to use on this site. It was, however, pretty darn close.
Now, as you know (because I’ve overshared before), I am a Swiftie. And, yes, I did change Thought No. 12 to Thought No. 13 because it’s Tay-Tay’s favorite number.
But . . .
I gotta call a party foul on ESPN.
For those that enjoy this series, I have good news.
I had a massive amount of thoughts this week which means that you’re probably / almost certainly going to get a second 12 Thoughts article before we face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
And it’s going to be very optimistic.