Not a lot with the 8-1 Rams. What the Saints did to them within the Superdome on Sunday, the 45-35, six-touchdown, 487-yard beatdown that froze soccer America in its seat … that would not have been enjoyable for anybody who had excessive expectations for the Rams’ protection. And looking back, it’s odd to suppose that the defensive energy strikes the Rams made within the offseason had been universally thought of the ultimate items of the puzzle.
The trade-deadline deal they made had the identical impact, for that matter. Dante Fowler added to the lineup — simply e-book them for Atlanta in February, proper? Even with the Saints sport coming, and the Chiefs sport two weeks after that. Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters added to Aaron Donald, coached by Wade Phillips. Who even knew that many names on that high-octane offense, moreover Jared Goff and Todd Gurley?
The Saints made too lots of their names recognized Sunday. Notably Peters, who received crushed like a drum, then received proven up by Michael Thomas’ Joe Horn homage, then received meme’d as quickly as the sport ended.
— Yahoo Sports activities NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) November 5, 2018
Drew Brees by no means received sacked … which meant Donald, who led the NFL with 10 going into this week, had none, and neither did Suh, Michael Brockers or the aforementioned Fowler. The addition from the Jaguars received a much less flattering point out, in reality: He is the blitzer Mark Ingram flipped over his head.
And whereas the secondary remains to be lacking the injured Talib, they’re lacking any semblance of the Peters they thought they’d traded for.
Even within the context of the rising scores, the principles that hinder defenses and assist quarterbacks, and the final tone that among the many elite the final staff with the ball will win — the Rams’ protection regarded dangerous at the least as usually because the Saints’ offense regarded nice.
Worse than all, although: It wasn’t simply the truth that the Saints are able to doing this to anyone. The Rams have given up at the least 27 factors in 4 of their final six video games — together with final week at house towards the Packers, after they had been spared a possible Aaron Rodgers comeback by the notorious Ty Montgomery kick-return fumble.
There’s nonetheless time for this marquee protection to get its act collectively, particularly if and when Talib returns. However to this point, as a substitute of being the lacking items, they’ve regarded merely like items.
Starting of the top in Baltimore?
It truly is an unsightly and perplexing stat: Since profitable Tremendous Bowl 47 over the 49ers after the 2012 season, the Ravens have gone 44-45 and missed the playoffs 4 instances. That is the mark after Sunday’s loss at house to the Steelers, their third straight defeat, dropping them to 4-5 and placing one other postseason journey in peril.
That sport additionally adopted a morning report on NFL Community that coach John Harbaugh’s job may be in jeopardy if Baltimore misplaced Sunday. This isn’t a franchise that acts capriciously and fires in midseason — or that usually in any respect. Harbaugh is simply the third head coach because the staff moved from Cleveland in 1996, and two of these coaches received Tremendous Bowls. Solely 5 present coaches have longer tenure, and 4 of them (all however, in fact, Marvin Lewis) have received Tremendous Bowls, too.
A training change, even after the season, can be comparatively cataclysmic. Harbaugh didn’t dismiss the report out of hand, however he additionally didn’t give it great credence within the context of his years there.
“I’ve by no means been somebody who’s anxious about protecting a job. It’s at all times been, for me, doing the job,” he mentioned, including, “I really feel actual good about the way in which this staff has been coached for the final 11 years, and for the final variety of weeks we’ve been within the season.”
However after they come again from their bye, the Ravens and Harbaugh have lots of fixing to do to get themselves again within the playoff combine … and himself a 12th 12 months.
An ‘Anybody However Kaepernick’ replace
Colin Kaepernick turned 31 Saturday; it was the second consecutive birthday he has celebrated with no job within the NFL. Now previous the halfway level of this season, and along with his age and the time that’s handed since groups have refused to signal him, the probabilities solely develop that he has performed his final NFL sport.
All of which the NFL appears completely superb residing with. On Sunday, the day after Kaepernick’s birthday, these gamers began at QB in precise regular-season video games: Nathan Peterman (Payments, three interceptions, loss to Bears), Brock Osweiler (Dolphins, 139 yards, win over Jets) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (4 touchdowns, two interceptions, loss to Panthers). Again on Thursday, the 49ers began Nick Mullens, who had one of many nice debut video games in NFL historical past, however who additionally went undrafted in 2017 and was enjoying his first NFL sport ever.
Plus, on Kap’s precise birthday, Sam Bradford — given $15 million assured by the Cardinals final offseason whereas Kaepernick was having circumstances put on merely making an attempt out — was lower after enjoying simply three video games.
Alternatives are uncommon. Some who get them make the perfect of them, and others make the worst of them. NFL groups have merely determined it can by no means give Kaepernick one other one, they usually don’t care what anybody thinks about it.
With that in thoughts: EJ Manuel, former Payments first-round bust who final performed for the Raiders in 2017, has some questions of his personal.
— Stephie Tweets Sports activities 🏈 (@stephietweets) November 5, 2018
Chargers nonetheless can’t kick dangerous habits
This 12 months’s Chargers had seemingly determined to not reside the way in which they did final 12 months, after they began 0-4, completed 9-7 and fell simply wanting the playoffs and the AFC West crown. With their win in Seattle, they moved to 6-2.
They haven’t fairly deserted their outdated methods, although. They misplaced their first two video games final 12 months due to dangerous field-goal kicking, they usually ultimately used 4 kickers all through the season. This season, Caleb Sturgis began off shaky (4 missed additional factors three missed subject targets in 5 video games), missed a pair of video games with an injured quad whereas his alternative was excellent, then returned Sunday … and missed two additional factors and a subject objective.
The Seahawks ended the sport on the Chargers’ 6-yard line, failing from there to attain and get an opportunity to tie the sport and pressure additional time.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was in no temper to expertise a repeat of final season, saying LA must “re-evaluate the entire scenario.”
The Chargers have another loss than the first-place Chiefs do; and their solely losses are the to Chiefs and Rams. This was their third win by eight factors or fewer. In two of them, Sturgis missed at the least one kick.
Jets’ Darnold guess is costing them in brief time period
That is the deal the Jets made for 2018. Their QB choices going into coaching camp had been profession seat-warmer Josh McCown, a wholesome Teddy Bridgewater on the comeback path and the way forward for the franchise, Sam Darnold. They went with Darnold because the starter, and this season and Sunday’s loss in Miami are the rising pains.
Coach Todd Bowles received a grace interval final 12 months when the Jets gutted the roster. There’s no approach he, they usually, may have been anticipated to win this 12 months any greater than they had been final season. Then again, if at 3-6 (with three straight losses) they keep on this course, making a case to maintain Bowles, or basic supervisor Mike Maccagnan, or each, can be powerful.
The Dolphins had been beatable. The Jets’ protection did what it wanted to do towards Osweiler and the remaining … however Darnold and the offense had been atrocious. The pick-six he threw within the fourth quarter was the sport’s solely landing.
Many within the Jets fan base, in fact, have resumed demanding Bowles’ head, however how he could make Darnold mature quicker, particularly with what barely passes for offensive weapons, stays a thriller.
MOCK DRAFT 2018:
Jets enhance cross rush in Spherical 1
Bowles mentioned this after the sport in regards to the season presumably in a downward spiral, and it’s laborious to argue it: “It’s not a ‘spiral’ factor. It was a troublesome loss, we’re gonna return to the drafting board and struggle. Our staff’s collectively, we perceive the place we’re, and we simply gotta get again to work tomorrow.”
That’s the alternative of the way in which the veterans stop on the staff two seasons in the past. The Jets are removed from rivalry, however all issues thought of, they’re much better off than the others within the sub-Patriots AFC East division. One slight drawback, in fact: Their build-up round Darnold within the close to future won’t embrace the three future second-round picks they dealt the Colts to maneuver as much as get Darnold.
They do have the third-round decide they received for buying and selling Bridgewater to the Saints. The scowls over buying and selling Bridgewater and the improved fast outcomes for the longer-term payoff of Darnold have resumed with the Jets’ newest skid. Proper now, it’s too laborious to see the silver lining off within the distance.
The Julio Shutout is over
The Falcons and Julio Jones wanted to lose that albatross round their necks, and eventually, with 3:45 left of their 38-14 blowout win in Washington, they did it: Jones scored his first landing this season, and his first since November of final season.
It wasn’t a red-zone landing, which might have exorcised the demons fully, however the Falcons received two touchdowns and a subject objective of their three journeys to the purple zone Sunday. Between that and Jones lastly moving into the top zone, the nationally televised catastrophe of opening evening in Philadelphia receded additional into the previous. And, recall, that sport adopted the red-zone failures within the playoff loss to the Eagles to finish the earlier season.
All of it hung over their heads all season, even by way of the wave of accidents and the irritating losses. Now they’ve bounced again from their 1-Four begin with three straight wins. They put up their highest level complete of the season (after managing simply 12 within the opener), and Julio is off Landing Watch.