The widening of the chasm between the upper echelons of the NFL — the Eagles, the Steelers, the Patriots, the Rams and, perhaps, the Saints — and the dregs of the league actually slowed a tiny bit in week 10. That isn’t nearly enough to stop the snark, though.
Consider yourselves warned.
Countdown List of the Week: Three Thoughts I’m Positive Players or Coaches Had This Week, Approximated In Terrible 18th-Century English
3) Cowboys backup left tackle Chaz Green:
“Why, yes, I declareth I have seen this #*@% more than five times over on this day.”
2) Broncos head coach Vance Joseph:
“I say, Mr. Osweiler, why dost thou insist upon throwing thy football where your teammates could only hope to reach within the wildest of their dreams?”
1) Everyone in Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium
“The evidence is irrefutable, my inebriated friends: you can clearly see that unclad man on the field is as cold as George Costanza in a swimming pool.”
Meme Tweets of the Week
The savagery is real. The girlfriend? #NotSoMuch.
I feel bad about posting this, I really do. It’s not about the NFL, it’s dragging a poor kid through the mud yet again for a years-old mistake, and it’s probably just mean. But...still...you gotta snark while the snarkin’ is good, and it’s not going to get a whole lot better than this. Let’s face it: it’s not like I’m raising any journalistic bars with this column.
Joe Mixon would approve. #IsThisIdentityTheft?
Same helmet...same facemask...same dreads...same arm sleeve...yeah, I’m almost convinced. Now, put Shaquill Griffin up against Deandre Hopkins. If he gets beat like a rented mule, we’ll know Griffin is doing all he can to be like his mentor.
Still more accurate than Jay Cutler, though. #ButWhoIsnt?
Brock Osweiler was aiming for Emmanuel Sanders and...well...this was, by far, his most accurate throw of the night.
Winless Teams Watch
Cleveland, you rotten apple of my eye! You’ve persevered through the toughest of challenges, squaring off against an equally inept San Francisco 49ers squad that might lose to some of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League’s better teams. Alas, you have overcome, oh Factory of Sadness, and have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory yet again while your foes vanquished the most lethargic professional sports team in the history of competition, those gentle Giants of New York!
You, Browns, should take pride in your accomplishment: you now have the advantage, and are sure to win the opportunity to inexplicably refuse to claim, yet again, the most prized thrower in collegiate sports! Yes, Cleveland, you have earned the right to say, “no, Sam of Darnold, we do not wish to have your quality services polluting our ineptitude, for we are the Best Losers in the Land!”
Deep Stats of the Week
I’ve been digging into defensive numbers around the league, and I’ve found a few interesting details that highlight the interplay between offense, defense and time of possession. It’s revealed some really cool details.
- The Broncos have the sixth-most efficient defense when it comes to yards given up per minute of opponents’ time of possession, giving up just 12.26 yards per minute. However, they have the worst points per minute in the entire league, at 0.93. This indicates the offense is repeatedly turning the ball over — and, checking the numbers, that proves to be true. Denver has a whopping 22 turnovers through nine games, good for a -14 ratio.
- The Patriots are winning by — surprise — keeping the ball out of their opponents’ hands. They have the ninth-worst points per minute, at 0.75. Conversely, they have the best yards per point ratios in the entire league, at 16.28, meaning their opponents constantly face long drives. This shows they simply aren’t turning the ball over much. It’s not hard to move the ball against them — they have the worst yards per play and and one of the worst plays per point in the league. But facing 75-yard drives all the time isn’t conducive to winning.
- The Steelers’ defense actually is that good. They trail only Jacksonville in plays per point, and only the Jaguars and the Chargers in points per minute. Despite the Steelers’ relative offensive woes this season, they still keep the ball out of the defense’s hands: Pittsburgh is fourth-best in time of possession against.
These all help to highlight how important it is for an offense to hold on to the ball as much as possible.
- How Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has not had a season-long suspension by now is beyond me.
- The fact that Giants head coach Ben McAdoo still has the support of the team’s owners might be the best evidence yet as to why the Giants are floundering. They are terrible, and no one in charge seems to notice. This team is so bad, in fact, that they violate the laws of physics on a weekly basis: they both suck and blow at the same time.
- Tight end Martellus Bennett pulled one over on the NFL front office, the Packers and 30 other NFL teams. Ten days ago, he was demanding the Packers let him have season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Two days after the team cut him, he was a full practice participant for the New England Patriots. The only people who don’t see something shady going down here are Patriots fans and NFL executives.
I’m adding this section this week, because I’m drinking a fine double IPA from Moat Mountain Brewing Company (New Hampshire) called Call It A Day! Double IPA. This section will appear henceforth whenever a particularly good brew cleanses my palate. Why? Because...beer!
It’s easy to forget when we pay hundreds of dollars for a jersey, or thousands for season tickets, that players have lives off the field, just like we do. We analyze, we cajole, we cheer, we heckle, and a good number of them probably read the criticisms and even take them to heart.
So, it’s important to remember these are human beings doing a job most of us couldn’t dream of doing, and often laying bare their personal lives against their own desires.
Such is the case of the San Francisco 49ers’ Marquis Goodwin, who played at the highest level possible and was a huge catalyst for his team’s first win of the season — and just mere hours after his child, who was born very premature Sunday morning, passed away.
We, as fans, might remember the game for his 83-yard touchdown. He will never be able to forget it as the day he and his wife had to say goodbye to a child they hardly even got to see alive, and will never get to see grow up. Goodwin stood tall and did his job like a consummate professional at a time when he would have been universally excused from all his duties by anyone with a pulse, and all so some people could have a few hours of entertainment.
The Houston Astros won the World Series less than two months after their city was decimated by a flood. Marquis Goodwin won his team a game while carrying the weight of his own son’s death. People do amazing things in the face of the worst kinds of adversity. But, in the end, let’s not forget to see the cold hard truth: sports are merely for entertainment, and the players are people, just like you and me.