No matter how much film study, analysis and preparation you do the final scores on Sunday will surprise, even shock you more often than not. It’s the reason why they actually play the games. So while the film doesn’t reflect what I anticipated I still have words. “The Film Says…” finally makes its triumphant return to couchpotatogm.com.
Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
- Jared Goff 22 for 28, 292 yards and 3 TDs may never live up to the billing of a first overall selection. But I certainly hope he does. Not just because I pegged him as the superior QB in the 2016 NFL Draft Class but also because so many that were indifferent or “believed” in Goff wrote him off after seven starts during the dumpster fire that was the Los Angeles Rams’ 2016 season. How anyone could reasonably expect Goff to have a modicum of success in the cesspool that Jeff Fisher had created is beyond me. Last year’s coaching staff had one, I repeat ONE collective year of experience coaching quarterbacks. There was simply NO offensive know-how on the coaching staff, a dearth of talent at the skill positions, a swinging gate of an offensive line and a team that had packed it in amiss all of last season’s turmoil. He needs to speed up the process a bit, is too casual in his drop and he needs to consistently climb the pocket rather than fading away. But he was accurate, decisive and made a number of professional caliber, exceptional throws into tight windows downfield.
- Bit of a Jeykll & Hyde performance from Brian Hoyer, 23 for 37, 332 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT (pick six) but certainly an improvement on his effort in Week 2.
- I love playing Fantasy Football but I am peeved when “Fantasy Heads” can’t separate Fantasy and Reality. So Todd Gurley had his first 100-yard performance since his rookie season in 2015. Last season was an effort in futility and through his 1st two seasons in the NFL you’d have no idea Gurley is a quality receiving threat out of the backfield because he was routinely replaced by RB Benny Cunningham on passing downs and utilized sparingly in an anemic passing game, lacking quality receiving threats; for no apparent reason. Were some of Gurley’s struggles last season self-inflicted? Certainly. But he was being labeled a bust in the traditional sense (as in he wasn’t a good football player) primarily because he wasn’t providing fantasy owners the return on their investment they had anticipated. Gurley didn’t just stop being good at football. Again, the circumstances were not conducive to success. Fast forward through the 2017 offseason and through three weeks of the 2017 Regular Season he’s tied for the league lead in touchdowns (6). Go figure.
- I love Sammy Watkins (6/106/2). Health + Quality QB Play and this guy will recapture the hearts of the Fantasy Heads. Watkins is and has always been good at football.
- It’s good to be home Robert Woods (6/108).
- Pierre Garcon can play for my team (7/142); relentless, tough, underrated, and miles of Corazon.
- The Rams have some work to do defensively particularly as they transition to an odd man front but I expect them to improve their run fits as they garner more experience in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system.
- PAY. AARON. DONALD.
- I’m a fan of the young core the Niners have in their front seven. Too bad Reuben Foster is on the mend but DeForest Buckner has Calais Campbell tendencies. I believe his future is very bright.
Oakland Raiders at Washington Redskins
- Kirk Cousins lit the beleaguered Raiders defense up to the tune of 25 for 30, 365 yards and 3 TDs. It was pitch and catch, a clinic of sorts… But! However! Cousins is as streaky as they come and while he has put enough “good” film together to bamboozle an unwitting NFL Franchise (San Francisco 49ers) which will pay him obscene amounts of cash he will ultimately revert into the decent quarterback that he is.
- Not Derek Carr’s finest hour, 19 for 31, 118 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs. From the first snap (INT) it had the feel of a long, arduous and disappointing outing and so it came to pass. I’ll chalk this up to as a blip on the radar though. Carr is legit, the offensive line (4 sacks allowed) is legit, charge it to the game.
- I thought it was going to be a Beast Mode kinda night (6/18). I was wrong. I was wrong all weekend.
- A good friend of mine, “Coop” is a Florida State fan through and through and the biggest E.J. Manuel fan other than perhaps E.J.’s mom (this is not about Manuel). He once quip that FSU would have won a National Championship if RB Chris Thompson were healthy during Manuel’s tenure to which I have always disagreed. Thompson was an explosive back, with rare speed and an extensive injury history and I couldn’t imagine he would be enough of a difference-maker for FSU to win a National Title with Manuel under-center. Seeing Thompson healthy (6 receptions, 150 yards receiving and a TD) over the last year and a half I have a new found appreciation for his skill-set. He will not, cannot be a three-down back in the NFL but maybe “Coop” was on to something. The dynamic Thompson brings to Washington’s offense is the ability to take an extended handoff (short pass) the distance has really helped mitigate the losses of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to this point. I believe a key component to having a consistent offense is the presence of a player or players that can score from anywhere on the field and Thompson is that player for Washington.
- If the Raiders could get another three-to-four defenders to play consistently like Khalil Mack (9 tackles, 1 sack, 3 QB Hits) and safety Karl Joseph they may have a respectable defense. The flashes from CB David Amerson, and linebackers Bruce Irvin and Cory James aren’t enough.
- I’m not sure what exactly happened to OLB Preston Smith in 2016 (4.5 sacks). Perhaps a sophomore slump but he seems to have re-captured the pass rushing prowess he demonstrated during his rookie season (8.0 sacks) particularly during the second-half of the season. Through three weeks in 2017 Smith has 3.0 sacks registering a sack in each game. With Smith and the perpetually underrated and underappreciated Ryan Kerrigan (4 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFLs) providing that edge rush the Washington pass rush has to be respected.
- The Zach Brown (10 tackles, 1 TFL) signing is a nice touch in Washington.
Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals
- The Dallas Cowboys don’t have the personnel (experience) too match up against decent receiving corps. Carson Palmer went 29 for 48, had 325 yards and 2 TDs in this contest as he picked apart a young Cowboys secondary. If not for the herculean effort from defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and abysmal offensive line play by the Cardinals this one would likely ended in a different result and could have gotten ugly.
- Exhibit A as to the struggles of the Dallas Cowboy secondary… Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald appears to be a “shoe-in” first ballot Hall of Famer despite being a receiver because the media loves him although his play on the field is plenty justification. He isn’t the player he once was but he turned back the clock against Dallas’ over-matched cornerbacks to the tune of 13/149/1 which will likely go down as Fitz’s best game of the season. It wasn’t until Dallas placed their best defensive back, safety, Byron Jones on Fitzgerald late in the contest did Dallas stop the bleeding.
- Dak Prescott looked uncomfortable in the first half, bailing a clean pocket prematurely on numerous occasions as well as demonstrating some inaccuracy and hesitance in his decision-making; unwilling to challenge the Cardinals press-man coverage, but in the second half he used his athleticism, rolling right to extend plays and delivered some strikes deep down field which the Cowboys offense has lacked to this point this season. His final line of 13 for 18, 183 yards and 3 TDs (1 rush TD) isn’t overly impressive but we saw a much more confident and effective Prescott, the one reminiscent of his 2016 rookie season in this contest, for the first time this season.
- I know I’m in the minority on this but I believe 2016, Ezekiel Elliott’s historic rookie campaign will be the best he has as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. That doesn’t mean he won’t have great rushing efforts (season-long) with the star on his helmet but teams are really gearing up to stop him and the losses of OT Doug Free (retirement) and OG Ronald Leary (free agency) were substantial. I watched the Cowboys offensive line of the 90s and while they were bigger than everyone else, and grittier than the more recent versions of the Dallas O-line they weren’t as talented nor as athletic. Jay Novacek wasn’t exactly the run blocker Jason Witten is either. Dallas simply doesn’t have enough explosiveness on the perimeter to force the opposition from selling-out to stop the run and I don’t see that changing unless Dallas drafts more speed on the outside. Elliott finished with a 22/80/1 line in which he demonstrated his trademark one-cut, power through contact running style. A solid performance in a vacuum. However, 30 of those rushing yards came on a run fit in which S/CB Tyrann Mathieu inexplicably tried to tackle Elliott (40 lbs. heavier) around his head which should have been a tackle for no gain. That’s 21/50/1 for all intents and purposes. I can hear the “hater” rhetoric as I type this stanza but I have watched Dallas’ offensive line dominate the line of scrimmage particularly in the running game the past three seasons to the tune of two different backs leading the NFL in rushing and a broken-down Darren McFadden finishing 4th in the league in rushing in only three quarters of a season worth of starts. This current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line simply isn’t on the same level and the “fastest adapting organism on the planet is an NFL Defense” – Warren Sapp.
- Dez Bryant (2/12/1) got the Pat Pete treatment. While the run after the catch TD was impressive with an assist from the offensive line, Peterson was in zone coverage on that play. Dallas’ receivers do not consistently separate against competent defensive backs. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan is going to have to do a better job scheming Dez open because while we all know what he can do in the 50/50 jump ball scenario it is his under-appreciated run after catch skills that lends itself to higher percentage throws.
- Chandler Jones (3 tackles, 1 sack, TFLs, and 2 QB Hits) is a stud.
- I mentioned Demarcus Lawrence earlier… He put on a clinic (5 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFLs and 6 QB Hits). Matched up against right tackle Jared Veldheer who in the not to distance past was a quality left tackle; Lawrence made him look silly, a fish out of water. It was worse than Ereck Flowers and Greg Robinson two Mondays ago. Yep… that bad. Especially for a guy that actually has good film. Lawrence’s play kept Dallas in the game for about 2 ½ quarters until the offense finally came alive.
- Maliek Collins (2 sacks) with the assist.
- I love Bruce Arians’ offense. Is it antiquated? Maybe. But five and seven step drops from under-center are a thing of beauty to me. What I don’t like is not chipping, adjusting your protections to address the ONE guy wrecking your offensive line. Lawrence doesn’t move around… he lined up at left end virtually the entire contest. Adjust! Chip, keep a running back in, do something to stop the bleeding.
- If only Bortles played all of his games in the U.K. (4 TDs?!?).
- 2014 marked the last time Joe Flacco looked like a decent quarterback. He’s been a liability ever since.
- If the Steelers want to win games they need to feature Le’Veon. The organization needs to put that holdout behind them.
- You know how to win football games with Mike Glennon as your quarterback? Get Jordan Howard (23/138/2) on track.
- Lions won the turnover battle 3-0 and scored a non-offensive touchdown and still came up short. Cardiac Stafford just ran out of time.
- Frankly I’m not surprised that the NFL’s top receiving duo thru three weeks is Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. What does surprise me is how the “playoff bound” Bucs allowed themselves to get torched by the likes of Case Keenum (25 for 33, 369 yards and 3 TDs).
- Deshaun Watson is GAME. But Tom Brady is the GOAT.
- You call him “Jay Train”. I call him “Feast or Famine”. 11 carries; 16 rushing yards.
- I have two words for the New York Giants… Wayne. Gallman.
- The Saints ran the football (27) almost as many times as they threw it (29) and they won a football game. Go figure.
- Never been a big Cam Newton (0 TDs, 3 INTs) fan because he hasn’t mastered the finer points of the playing the quarterback position. His physical prowess is what makes him effective and clearly isn’t healthy, therefore, the struggles are to be expected.
- The Panthers best wide receiver is running back Christian McCaffrey (9 rec. for 101 yards).
- The Seahawks are currently allowing 5.3 yards per carry a game. Worst in the NFL. No bueno.
- Too much A-A-Ron (28 for 42, 313 yards and 3 TDs). Not enough Joe Mixon…
- Kareem Hunt (17/172/1) fantasy owners building alters in reverence of the young man.Phillip Rivers (20 for 40, 237 yards and 3 INTs) must be better. Better yet more Melvin Gordon (17/79/1) less Phillip Rivers.
- Really like the Chargers collective on both sides of the ball. They are missing a few key pieces primarily to injury. But they have to learn how to win, how to finish. Too often they do just enough to lose.