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  • A.J. Green ejected, Mike Evans should have been, Cam Newton dunks on people and runs a Statue of Liberty play, Rams run it up on Giants, Julio's devastating drop on a day that had a little bit of everything
By Gary Gramling
November 05, 2017

Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened on Sunday afternoon. Get the full Sunday breakdown from Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling on The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast. Subscribe now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning

Things That Made Me Giddy

Statue of Liberty Play! Statue of Liberty Play!: Oh God, yes! Look at that! This should be the only thing anyone is talking about today. Cam executes it to open the second half, Curtis Samuel takes the hand off for 14 yards. More teams should run the Statue of Liberty play. It’s awesome and patriotic.

Dak in the Two-Minute Drill: Everyone forgot about it because of the Tyreek Hill TD that followed, but Prescott facing a third-and-15 at his own 13 then taking the Cowboys 87 yards in four plays—a lot with his arm, a lot thanks to his mobility—was impressive.

Sack Race: Good! A little slow to develop, but excellent work by Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson on the flops. A-minus.

Jay Ajayi, Finally, From Way Downtown: As I mentioned this morning, a year ago he had five runs of 35 yards or more, including three of 50-plus. This year, his season long run was 21 yards until he took it to the house from 46 yards on his fifth carry as an Eagle.

Brandon Brooks Earns a Denny’s Endorsement Deal: Credit where credit’s due: This was some Keystone Cops type of stuff from Brandon Marshall and Bradley Roby on this play, but Brooks gets the double pancake here. (Two pancakes, that’s a thing you can get at Denny’s right?)

Dwight Freeney vs. T.J. Clemmings Was Like Taking Candy From a Baby Who Was Actively Giving Away Candy: Two more sacks for Freeney (though the first wasn’t on a spin move, so I’m only lukewarm on that one). Clemmings, making another start in place of Trent Williams, continues to be overwhelmed in the NFL.

Keanu Neal Will Haunt Jonathan Stewart’s Dreams: Neal ripped it out of Stewart’s hands to end one first-quarter drive, then punched it out to end the next one.

T.Y. Hilton, Off the Milk Carton: Welcome back, T.Y.! One from 45 yards out, another from 80 to lift the Colts in Houston.

Doug Baldwin Toasts Josh Norman on the Release: For what we thought was the winning score.

Falcons: Seven Plays, 92 yards in 2:01: To stay alive in Carolina, making it a 20-17 game at the time. It was all for naught, but this was as impressive a drive as you’ll see.

John Fassel’s Unit Blocks a Punt in His Dad’s Old Office: Good for the Rams special teams coach, whose group is doing some nice work (especially since he got Tavon Austin off of punt returns).

Alvin Kamara is a National Treasure: He is absolutely impossible to tackle at times.

Brandon McManus: Homecoming: It’s what all of Philadelphia was talking about: The Philly native returns home and opens the scoring for the Broncos with a 52-yard make, then adds two more field goals.

Adrian Peterson: A career-high 37 carries in San Francisco. He’s not what the modern running back is supposed to be, so he’s a lost half-step from being out of the NFL. But he’s not there yet. Peterson looked like his vintage self at times on Sunday, a mix of agility and violence that can carry an offense.

Demarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys Pass Rush: I’ve been wondering how they’d fare against a better front five (the slate hasn’t been particularly challenging thus far). They didn’t dominate against the Chiefs like they have against some other opponents, but they were very good, and Lawrence in particular had some easy-looking wins to wreck plays.

Adoree’ Jackson Playing Both Ways: Neat little counter play goes up the gut for 20 yards on the Titans’ first drive. I’ll sign up for anything that will get the ball in Adoree’ Jackson’s hands more often.

The Sam Koch/Chris Moore QB/Receiver Chemistry: Fake punt! Moore runs a stop route down the left sideline and the punter throws him open. (Jealous, John Elway?)


Regrets

Landon Collins Plays Like He Has a Piano on His Back: And the piano is being played by the late Fats Domino (R.I.P. Fats). The Giants safety is a stud, but this was not his day. He looked lost in the open field on that third-and-33 screen TD, then watched helplessly as Sammy Watkins ran past him on a 67-yard walk-in TD.

Blair Walsh: 0-for-3, with misses from 44, 39 and 49. My heart can’t handle another run of Blair Walsh yips.

Jameis Winston’s Lost Season: He tweaked his shoulder, and yet there he was starting s--- with Marshon Lattimore along the Bucs sideline, sparking that brawl. There’s no need to rush him back this time around. The Bucs were done in by the complete lack of a pass rush early in the year, but the struggles have spread to the offense and their year is over. (And if his sideline antics are any indication, maybe have him watch from the booth next time he's forced to sit.)

Matt Ryan Has to Get Rid of the Ball: Play-action on a second-and-1 in the third quarter, Atlanta trailing by 10, Ryan rolled left, held the ball, held the ball, held the ball and then instead of throwing it away ducked and took a sack, setting up third-and-6 instead of third-and-1. (He was sacked on the next play too.) Falcons fans don’t need to be reminded of the post-Julio catch series in Houston last February. This was another case of Ryan taking an unacceptable sack.

Vance Joseph: Year 1: Obviously, the Broncos have issues on the offensive side of the ball. But this was trending toward a must-win situation in Philadelphia, and to have neither side of the ball show up is deeply concerning. They were 3-1 heading into their bye week, and now they’re 0-4 and have been outscored 124-52 since.

The Hits C.J. Beathard Is Absorbing: Give the guy credit. The end is near for his run as the starter in San Francisco, and who knows if he’ll ever get another shot, so he's leaving it all out on the field (or whatever cliché you'd like to throw out). But goodness, he is taking a career’s worth of hits while he’s in there.

Tom Savage: He had them there at the end, but yeesh. The strip sack was a fitting ending in the Texans lost.

Breshad Perriman: In the first half, he turned what should have been a 30-plus-yard gain into an interception. Perriman has seven catches on 27 targets for 54 yards this season (that’s only 2.0 yards per target better than you’ve done this year). I know he’s been behind schedule because of injury, but it feels like this isn’t gonna work.


Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About

Josh Doctson Does What He Is Meant to Do With His Life: The former first-round pick has been too invisible for too long, but the diving catch to set up the winning TD in Seattle was exactly what he was expected to do for Kirk Cousins.

A.J. Green Punches Things Harder Than His Hand: This is a bad idea for so many reasons, and stunning that it was the normally mild-mannered Green doing the punching. (A couple of quality takedowns though.)

Tyreek Hill’s Half-Ending Touchdown (Featuring “Demarcus Robinson Blocks the World”): This is obviously a nifty run and some absurdly passive play in the secondary. But watch on the left, Robinson throwing blocks! He blocked everyone! (You’re telling me he couldn’t start on Seattle’s offensive line?)

Cam Newton Can Go Left: This is a great red-zone play design, but look at that frickin’ pitch! That is fired, on the money, with the left hand.

Third-and-33 Conversion! Third-and-33 Conversion!: And then some. That Sean McVay screen game is for real. Check out Andrew Whitworth and Rodger Saffold getting out (as well as the poor, aforementioned Landon Collins).

Julio’s Drop: This is difficult to watch, and it was devastating considering the time and score. This is a touchdown 999 times out of 1,000.

Does Mike Evans Get Ejected for the Blindside Cheap Shot, or for the Punches He Throws After They Go to the Ground?: Trick question: Neither! (Seriously.)

Cam Newton Dunks on Desmond Trufant, Literally: This is an Any-90s-Player-on-Shawn-Bradley type of look.


What We’ll Be Talking About This Week

The Cowboys Are Exactly Where They Need to Be; Can They Stay There Without Zeke (and Dez)?: Dak Prescott is capable of carrying this offense (he is magnificent on the move and extending plays this season), and the pass rush is now enough for this defense to be more than just a unit that holds on for dear life. But with the Ezekiel Elliott suspension hanging over their heads, and now Dez Bryant battling an ankle injury, the next month (at Atlanta next week, hosting Philadelphia in Week 11) is going to be hairy.

Kirk Cousins: Pay That Man: The last drive to win in Seattle, behind that offensive line, is worth whatever he’s asking for.

Russell Wilson Can Only Do So Much: The Seahawks don’t even run an offense anymore. It’s the equivalent of a basketball coach who just rolls the ball out and tells his point guard to do whatever (and that’s not a criticism of the coaching staff—when you can’t block, can’t run, can’t protect, your options are limited). Sometimes it works. Against Washington, it didn’t. Seattle was fortunate that their defense dominated against a Washington offensive line that featured Morgan Moses and four traffic cones on Sunday. That, plus Wilson's sporadic playmaking, were the only reasons they had a chance to win.

This Rams Won’t Let Up: Granted, the Giants are a mess right now. But there are no gimmies when you have to go across the country for an early start. The Rams' first nine drives in East Rutherford: TD, FG, TD, TD, punt, FG, TD, TD, TD. Tell your loved ones you won’t be available for three hours on Dec. 17, when the Rams visit Seattle.

Mike Shula Opens His Bag of Tricks: The Panthers pulled out all the stops in a key NFC South matchup. They opened the second half with a Statue of Liberty play. Did you read what I just wrote, they ran a Statue of Liberty play! The defense did the rest, but this offense was a ton of fun and had a fast Falcons defense looking panicked at times.

Brawls: A.J. Green's Punishment Probably Done, Mike Evans Has to Be Suspended: The crew in Jacksonville seemed to handle the A.J. Green fight properly (though it seems they were overzealous to toss Jalen Ramsey too). Green is looking at a fine, but I'd be surprised if there was a suspension (especially considering his lack of priors). The crew in New Orleans embarrassed themselves letting Mike Evans continue to play in that game. (And if it was a matter of the seven officials not seeing it, the guys from New York have to be able to help them out.) Evans has to be banned at least a game and it's not even a difficult decision for the NFL. Considering how things are going in Tampa (not to mention Evans' sideline antics in September), maybe a break will do him good.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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