The OCHO: Week 3
An MMQB-esque column
This season I’m running out a MMQB style column where I look at eight things that happened in Sunday’s games. I will break it down into four surprises, and four things that were absolutely expected. Let’s get right to it.
Surprise number one: Justin Tucker can sing opera
Justin Tucker making a field goal isn’t a surprise, so that does not go here. But did you know he is a great singer? I sure didn’t. Anyway, unless you live under the NFL equivalent of a rock (What’s left of the Pontiac Silverdome?), you have already seen Justin Tucker make a beyond incredible 66 yard field goal to win the game over the hapless, luckless Lions (Which is more dead today, Pontiac, the Silverdome or the Lions… discuss). Lots to say here so lets go to bullet points.
Given the game situation, length and pressure (he missed a kick earlier), this was the greatest field goal in history and probably will be for a long, long time.
This wasn’t just the longest field goal ever, it was at what is essentially sea level. Most other kicks of this length have come in Denver, a mile above sea level.
He changes his mechanics to make it (look how wide he lines up and the crow hop he takes, which is sort of like a pitcher changing his entire delivery to throw the last pitch of a perfect game.
He was already probably the best kicker ever BEFORE this kick, given his historic accuracy.
The previous record holder for longest kick (Matt Prater) also had a kick attempt yesterday from 68! yards that would have been the record, except it was short AND RETURNED FOR A TOUCHDOWN.
The record holder before Prater was Tom Dempsey and this will require a SUB bullet points section.
Tom Dempsey had HALF of a kicking foot.
He set the record in 1970 and it wasn’t broken for 30 years.
He set the record kicking from his own 37 because back then the field goal posts were at the front of the end zone and IN PLAY.
Field goal mechanics were completely different and he ran straight at the ball, unlike modern kicking.
That kick was in New Orleans, which means it was BELOW SEA LEVEL. HOLY. SHIT.
Surprise thing two: The Dolphins aren’t the worst team in the NFL, but stupidest is still up for grabs
Week 3 saw the Dolphins rebound from their horrific worst-game-of-the-season-for-any-team showing against the Bills to put up a really good fight against a solid Raiders team that is going to have a really wild path to 8-8-1 this year. The Dolphins lost at the end of overtime, but maybe they win in regulation if the don’t throw the only completed pass for a safety IN NFL HISTORY. The NFL is really, really old. How old you ask? Last year was the 100th anniversary. While records on completed passes for safeties do not go back that far, there has never been one in recorded history, and it’s doubtful that any team has ever done anything so stupid prior to recording stats. While the play call was absolutely terrible, special credit has to go to the players. Jacoby Brissett overthrows the ball, so Jaylen Waddle has to jump before he can run, ruining any momentum. The only person blocking on that side is Mike Gesicki, a notoriously bad blocker who does nothing. Waddle shows no awareness catching a ball he should definitely not have caught. He also moves no closer to the ball. The also ran the same screen option on the other side on this play, much closer to the QB, and it was open. Just an incredibly poor job by everyone. Oh, and those two points cost the Dolphins the game. Also, Jaylen Waddle, quite possibly the fastest player EVER, caught 12 passes in this game for 60 yards (and -2 points). That is the fewest yards ever by a WR on that many catches. It boggles the mind. Worst episode ever. 0 stars.
Surprise thing three: The Bears coaches were… right?
The Bears coaches insisted over and over that Justin Fields was not ready to play football (despite drafting him, conceivably, to do so), and they were right! He wasn’t good yesterday (of course, other than Justin Herbert, none of the young QBs were), and the Bears got shellacked by the Browns. Fields got sacked 9!!! times, mostly on third down. So he was probably holding the ball too long, or not picking up the blitzes or something right? Actually, the Bears just decided not to protect him. Over the VAST majority of the plays, the Bears ran a five man protection (the BEAR minimum… I’ll see myself out). Despite clear evidence this was not working (so clear that third-string and noted non-savant QB Nick Foles noticed) the Bears chose not to change this, not to run a bunch of quick read options and not to stop throwing their young QB to the wolves. This all begs the question: did they want him to do poorly so they could be right? That sounds insane, but why else would you refuse to help your young QB like that? Matt Nagy doesn’t need to fired, he needs to be put in that store room where they put the Ark of The Covenant and kept away from future generations of quarterbacks so their skin doesn’t melt off.
Surprise thing four: A terrible Jameis mistake didn’t lead to an INT.
The Saints won easily (does this mean they are the team from week 1?) in New England. That didn’t stop Jameis Winston from making a stupid falling over throw into the center of the end zone though. Somehow, his wide receiver outmuscled the DB and secured a touchdown. The outcome doesn’t make it any less stupid, however, and it’s a sure sign that Jameis still has a ways to go. Don’t believe me? Look at Sean Payton’s face. THIS WAS AFTER THE SAINTS SCORED A TOUCHDOWN. I swear Jameis is going to kill Payton before his time with the Saints is over. His face looks exactly like my dad’s after I jumped off that the top of that slide with an umbrella that I thought would function as a parachute because I saw Mary Poppins do it. Well, just like that Mary Poppins stuff was a bunch of horseshit, so too was Jameis if he thought that was going to get overlooked here by Payton. I don’t even want to hear the words Payton is going to use in that Tuesday film session.
Expected thing one: Ben Roethlisberger’s next stop isn’t another team, it’s going to be The Pines at Mount Lebanon 1537 Washington Road, Pittsburgh PA 15228
If it wasn’t someone as utterly unlikable as Ben Roethlisberger, this play would be entering the realm of truly sad athletes hanging on, like Joe Namath with the Rams, Thurman Thomas with the Dolphins, or Johnny Unitas with the Chargers. Ben Roethlisberger is totally done and he is going to be the last one to figure it out. Here, he clearly needs the assistance of a walker with tennis balls on the bottom to move in the pocket, as a small clump of grass trips him. The Steelers offense is hopeless, and his sad stumbles, terrible INTs, throw up for grab deep balls and pathetic mid week excuses/blame shifting are torture for the fans that spent decades supporting him and trying to forget his awful off field behavior. At least those other players stunk it up for different teams so their fans could remember the good years.
Expected thing two: New Jersey football is absolutely awful
The Giants and the Jets both suffered awful losses yesterday. The Giants lost to a Falcons team that had been giving up 40 points a game so far, and looked totally overmatched. Meanwhile the Jets were awarded no points, and may God have mercy on their souls. Imagine not having NFL Redzone or Sunday Ticket and living in NYC/New Jersey. You have basically no choice but to watch these two every Sunday. What a nightmare. I’m genuinely not sure which team is more poorly run. The Giants with egomaniacs Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge in charge (who have spent most of the last 4 or so years telling everyone how smart they are) or this new Jets regime that picked a QB and put him on a team with no line or skill players and a defensive minded coach. I am going to ask the Episcopal church I visited on Sunday to add Zach Wilson to their prayer list along with the 400 other people they prayed for on Sunday. And may the Lord place a hedge of protection around everyone that has to watch those games next week with an EMP strike or something.
Expected thing three: The Rams treated yesterday afternoon like it was the Super Bowl
If you read my NFL week 3 preview, you would know that I picked the Rams to win on Sunday because I said they would treat it like an early season Super Bowl, and they 100 percent did. Look at Sean McVay here. I have never seen a coach this animated in September over something good that happened. He looks like he just knocked out Conor McGregor (who doesn’t these days) and united two random belts that don’t mean anything to me, but make him feel really elated. The Rams played like this all day, at the pinnacle of passion and excitement, and it paid dividends with an easy victory over the Super Bowl champs. The Bucs need to get ready, because this is how the rest of their season is going to go. They have a target on their backs. I heard people say they were going undefeated this year, which is pretty funny, since this same team went 11-5 last year with incredible injury luck. It’s gonna be a dogfight for them.
Expected thing four: New York Football is absolutely awesome
The Bills and Josh Allen got off to a slow start to the year in week one against the Steelers, but the slow start is over. The only New York football team pounded the HELL out of the Dolphins and the Washington Football team to remind everyone they are a Super Bowl contender. I will take it a step farther too. Not only do I think they are a contender, right now, I think they are the favorite. They are the best team I have seen play so far. They have a complete offense that is starting to run the ball well finally (they have also faced three defenses that were solid heading into the season). Josh Allen’s usual slow start is over. Their defense is equally adept at stopping the run and the pass. They are the most complete team I have seen, despite the one loss that was mostly due to a blocked punt. The rest of the NFL had better hope for some injuries, because otherwise they are in trouble.