13) Raiders 16, Browns 14:
— Interim head coach against an acting head coach; strange times we live in.
— Carlson kicked 48-yard FG at 0:00 for the win.
— Raiders outgained Cleveland 328-236.
— Longest play for Raiders: 19 yards, they were minus-2 in turnovers.
— Cleveland trailed 10-0 at halftime.
— Browns took 14-13 lead with 3:45 left, after an 80-yard drive.
— Chubb ran ball 23 times for 91 yards and a TD.
— Browns were down eight starters because of COVID.
12) Vikings 17, Bears 9:
— Vikings were +2 in turnovers, ran ball for 132 yards.
— Cook carried ball 28 times for 89 yards.
— Minnesota has been outscored 112-28 in last 2:00 of each half.
— Just 2nd win for Vikings in last seven series games.
— Bears lost seven of their last nine games.
— Five trips to red zone, nine points. Not good.
— Bears’ only TD was on last play of game, garbage time.
— Chicago outgained the Vikings, 370-193.
11) Why are football coaches becoming game management nitwits?
Sunday in Detroit, down 10-0 with 2:05 left in first half, 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Arizona goes for the touchdown instead of the easy field goal. Why?
To paraphrase my high school Chemistry teacher, it was nonsensical. You need 10 points, which is 7+3. Take the three points and move on- they had a whole second half to get the TD. When you just answer “analytics” anytime someone doubts your approach to game management, you lose your credibility.
When you try/fail on a 2-point conversion or 4th down gamble, it deflates your momentum, something analytics people fail to grasp. This isn’t Strat-O-Matic or fantasy football; the human element can’t be quantified. Sometimes doing old school stuff is the right thing to do.
10) Detroit Lions are a bad team, but they’ve been fun to watch, partially because their coach is, how can I say this……unpredictable. Detroit kicked FG in first quarter Sunday to take 3-0 lead, and they try an onside kick…….in the first quarter.
Against the Rams earlier this season, Detroit ran two fake punts and also recovered an onside kick- two of those happened in the first 5:00 of the game. Very unusual.
No way Dan Campbell uses analytics, he follows his gut. Lions play hard for him, but if they ever improve and become a contender, I wonder if he’ll continue his sometimes-bizarre tactics.
9) Baltimore Ravens lost their last three games by total of four points, going for two points twice in last minute, when a PAT would’ve tied either game. Coach Harbaugh says injuries on their defense are the reason why they didn’t play for overtime, but Baltimore has a great kicker, maybe the best kicker ever. Going to overtime doesn’t seem like such a bad option.
8) Ravens backup QB Tyler Huntley has played well in relief of the injured Lamar Jackson; someone on the Interweb posted this interesting question:
If Huntley continues to play well, would Baltimore shop Jackson for a boatload of high draft picks, before he breaks the bank with his next contract?
Jackson has a 37-12 regular season record as a starter, 1-3 in playoffs, with Baltimore scoring only 13.5 ppg in those four playoff games. 37-12 is hard to walk away from, but if Jackson does not play well in the playoffs this year, or doesn’t even make the playoffs, what will they do?
Could be an interesting decision for the Ravens’ brass this winter.
7) Colts led New England 17-0 at halftime Saturday night; it was the first time in last 100 games that the Patriots didn’t score in the first half.
6) Tampa Bay got shut out Sunday night, first time since 2006 a Brady-led team was shut out. Back in 2006, Patriots lost 21-0 to Miami, a Dolphin team coached by……..Nick Saban.
5) Sounds like Denver QB Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) won’t play this week, meaning backup Drew Lock (8-10 as an NFL starter) will get the start in Las Vegas.
4) There are 32 college basketball teams on COVID pause, which could mean down the road, we’ll see some scheduling on the fly, with teams scheduling games to improve their rankings with hastily-out together non-conference games. Could be interesting.
3) I spent good part of last weekend binge-watching the old TV series Las Vegas, which ran from 2003-08; I didn’t even know it existed until I stumbled upon it during the pandemic; they had lot of good guest stars, some weird story lines. Not sure why the E! Channel doesn’t have this show in their normal rotation.
One recurring theme watching this show; if you’re a guy who isn’t a) rich or b) really good looking or c) both (the preferable option), never talk to a woman in Las Vegas.
2) In normal times, I like to go Las Vegas for Christmas week, and Tuesday would’ve been my day to fly there, had I gone this year. As it turns out, the Rams are playing Tuesday night; it would’ve been tight whether I could’ve gotten checked in at the hotel before kickoff.
Few years ago, same thing happened with the A’s playing in a one-game Wild Card playoff; by the time I got to my room, A’s were down a couple runs and the trip was off a to bad start, so guess it worked out well that I’m not traveling Tuesday.
1) With four NFL games Monday/Tuesday, all after dark, three of them in Cleveland, Chicago and Philadelphia, have to credit the hardy fans who bundled up to sit outdoors for 3-4 hours to root their team on.
Myself, I’m not very tough; sitting here in my living room with a blanket on my legs, flipping channels between games while I surf the web. Can’t freakin’ stand cold weather.