- Also, Josh McCown becomes the sixth quarterback (in six games...) to hang 300-plus passing yards on the Patriots defense, Austin Seferian-Jenkins's touchdown that was ruled not a touchdown, Steve Sarkisian calling plays from the box and more.
As Gary Gramling tweeted earlier today, Jonathan Jones is taking the reins of The FreakOut for Week 6. Praises or complaints? Tweet at them! And check back next week for more Gramling.
The news of the day, and perhaps of the season, is the loss of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers for what could be the remainder of the season. No one throws the football as well as he does, and no team has a bigger gap at the position between starter and backup than Green Bay. The expectations for these Packers have been Super Bowl or bust, but they cannot get to the Super Bowl with Brett Hundley. The season will be lost.
Unless ... the Packers do something outside the box. The only backup quarterback who could conceivably come to Green Bay and win immediately is Jimmy Garoppolo, but why would Bill Belichick finally trade his stud backup to a team just so that he can meet them in Super Bowl LII? There are two real options: Tony Romo or Colin Kaepernick.
Both men are Wisconsin natives. In Kaepernick’s case, he’s clearly ready to play football again. He is, in my estimation, better than all the backups in the league, so even if he won’t get you to a Super Bowl, he’ll at least give you a better shot than those 32 guys. For Romo, he would get one last opportunity at the postseason success he never got in his first go-round. Maybe he still has that itch and his CBS job will be waiting for him when he returns.
Now to the FreakOut...
Things I like
• The NFL pregame runway to the locker room isn’t as good as the NBA’s (hello, Russell Westbrook), but Deshaun Watson won the week with his Warren Moon Oilers throwback. A nod to a legend while dripping in sauce. Has Watson done anything wrong as a rookie yet?
• To follow that up, Watson threw three touchdowns against the Browns today, which means he now has the most touchdowns in six games of any NFL rookie since the NFC-AFC merger. He’ll probably get a few votes for NFL rookie of the year...
• The Kicking Gods smiling on the Chargers for once. After losing three games by three or fewer points this season, the newest Los Angeles team gets a win with new kicker Nick Novak against a struggling Raiders squad.
• Falcons receiver Marvin Hall caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan one day after being activated from the practice squad. It’s also his first-ever regular season game. I reckon the Dolphins didn’t game plan for him.
• Jets QB Josh McCown hung 354 yards on the Patriots, becoming the sixth quarterback to reach the 300-yard plateau against New England.
• The Pittsburgh defense held the Chiefs to just six yards of total offense in the first half and without a first down until the final 1:40 of the first half. If only that held up in the second half.
• Cam Jordan dunking the ball on the goal post late in the game. The goal post was shaking minutes after the thunderous dunk. SEND IT IN, CAM!
• I can’t wait to see where former 49er NaVorro Bowman lands.
• John Fox is embracing his beard game as fall hits Chicago.
• FOX had one of the best jinxes of the season in the third quarter of the Lions-Saints game. After reminding viewers that New Orleans hadn’t given the ball away once in 290-some plays, the very next play is a Drew Brees interception.
Things I didn’t like
• The Detroit Lions.
• Sam Bradford’s knee(s). Unlike the Browns, the Vikings have gotten the quarterback position right twice in three years but are somehow just as unlucky at the spot.
• I don’t know how Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn’t score a touchdown on that strange fumble into the end zone. The Jets got jobbed there. Whatever the rule is, that’s not the spirit of it.
• The Falcons’ vaunted offense didn’t score a point in the final 35 minutes of the game. Steve Sarkisian decided he would rather call plays in the coaches box than on the sideline, where he had been for the first four games. It may already be time to take the elevator back down.
• Antonio Brown stopping on his second-quarter route on third-and-five that led to a Ben Roethlisberger interception. Big Ben’s gotten beat up this season, but that pick definitely was on his All-Pro receiver.
• I heard the explanation by rules boss Mike Pereira, but I still don’t like the no-call on Anthony Barr’s hit on Rodgers. The ball was out, Barr wrapped up Rodgers and then drove him into the ground. I feel like that usually gets flagged.
• You can’t hold the ball that long in the end zone, Matthew Stafford. Bad things like a fumble recovered for a touchdown will happen.
• Kick the field goal, Andy Reid!
• There are always weird shirts outside of stadiums on gameday but these two are especially strange
• I still find the lighting in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium odd. It’s almost too ... ambient?
• Every single one of the Saints’ 12 batted Stafford passes. Cut up the film and put them on loop.
• The Pride of Wake Forest, Michael Campanaro, taking a punt back 73 yards in the final two minutes to allow the Ravens to knot the game at 24. Before that return, Mitchell Trubisky was set to win a game with five completions and 82 passing yards.
• Jeremy Kerley’s 30-yard catch over my namesake was perfect.
• Golden Tate broke three tackles on his way to his 45-yard touchdown. I could have easily put the Saints’ missed tackling exhibition in ‘Things I Didn’t Like,’ but credit to Tate for flipping into the end zone.
• A.B. made up for his third-down stop, which I discussed above, on his circus 51-yard catch that was sure to be incomplete if not intercepted. Without that touchdown grab, the ball is going back to Alex Smith with a chance to win the game.
• I don’t care that there was holding on the play, Le’Veon Bell’s 25-yard rush in the third quarter broke five tackles and required three additional Chiefs to tackle him was incredible.
• Bryce Callahan’s tip-drill interception of Joe Flacco, and subsequent run-back, had me hype. If he had a little more gas it would have been the best pick-six of the season.
• Adrian Amos’ 90-yard pick-six of Joe Flacco was even better than Callahan’s! Flacco’s pass glanced off Chris Moore’s hands and into Amos’ arms, and he had enough in the tank to house it and put the game out of reach.
• A fantastic play by Lavonte David to force a Larry Fitzgerald fumble, recover it and return it 21 yards for a touchdown to get the Bucs back in a game that they once trailed 31–0.
• I am firmly in the camp that you should taunt the opponent near the goal line when you’re about to score. I know Jamal Agnew’s taunt of the Saints as he neared paydirt cost his team 15 yards, but I think it was a taunt well worth it.
• Kirk Cousins got lucky when his second-quarter interception was reversed upon review. But then he threw a real interception ON THE NEXT PLAY. Woof.
• Alvin Kamara hurdling Darius Slay, while he has barely put his head down, is the best type of hurdling out there.
• Kiko Alonso carrying Taylor Gabriel 20 yards on an incomplete pass will be a GIF I’ll use for many years to come.
Things we’ll still be talking about 24 hours from now
• Is Adrian Peterson back? I’ve been saying all offseason that he’s washed, so I must keep with that narrative. But he looked fantastic in his first snaps away from New Orleans, racking up 134 yards on 26 carries and two scores. And here I thought Arizona was where once-good running backs went to die.
• The Saints did that weird thing again where they kneel before the anthem and stand during it. Its weird because no one knows what it even means. I have my doubts this week’s owners meeting will produce anything positive for those who want to continue drawing attention to our nation’s ills.
• Can Tom Brady win a Super Bowl with this horrific defense? No team in NFL history has allowed six consecutive 300-yard passers and the Patriots just did it. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to get this figured out any time soon.
• We’ve been discussing this, but how sick must Hue Jackson be that the Browns passed on Watson? Watson continued his march toward the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in front of Jackson, who stuck with pitiful Kevin Hogan all day long.
• The man who owns this column wrote last week that Sean McDermott should win Coach of the Year. He is terribly wrong. That award should go to Todd Bowles right now. After plenty of ‘Are the Jets tanking?’ rumors this offseason, he’s won three games and kept today’s game against the Patriots competitive. I will hear no arguments.