1) Before Miami Dolphins’ running back Jay Ajayi exploded for 204 rushing yards on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, his previous career high was 48. I know the ‘Fins just beat a less than 100% Steeler team, but if Ajayi can become a legitimate featured back for them, then Ryan Tannehill may start to come around.
The best way to help a struggling passing game is to get the running game going and Tannehill had season bests of 75% completion percentage and 97.4 passer rating against Pittsburgh.
2) Speaking of the Steelers, with Ben Roethlisberger undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus, I would expect them to alter their gameplan while he misses time. I’d expect an even heavier dose of Le'Veon Bell and a bump in carries for DeAngelo Williams to help quarterback Landry Jones.
Big Ben may only miss a few weeks, so if their defense can pick up some slack, they should stay on top in the AFC North.
3) Are the Dallas Cowboys really going to go back to Tony Romo once he’s cleared to play? Dak Prescott is on a historic run to open his career and the Cowboys are 5-1, on top of the NFC East. Romo’s return is 2 or 3 weeks away and Dallas owner Jerry Jones chimed in after their latest win, "There's nothing I'd rather do, than go into the last half of the season with a ready-to-go Tony Romo and a winning Dak Prescott. I dream of being able to make that decision."
Which begs the question; Why is it his decision? Sure he owns the team, but shouldn’t playing time be doled out by the head coach?
4) Tom Brady isn’t the only “older” quarterback still playing at the top of his game. The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, at 37 years old, is still slinging the ball as good as ever. He just torched the Carolina defense for 465 yards and 4 TDs.
Brees plans to play longer than 2 more years and if he stays relatively healthy, he’ll easily pass Brett Favre and Peyton Manning to become the all time NFL leader in passing yards before he retires.
5) The end of the Atlanta Falcons vs Seattle Seahawks game was a bit controversial with Atlanta’s Julio Jones seemingly interfered with.
The NFL's review rules ruined the week's best game
The NFL *must* make late-game pass interference reviewable to avoid messes like the end of Atlanta Falcons- Seattle Seahawks.Posted by SB Nation on Monday, October 17, 2016
Jones took the missed call in stride saying, "Before I took off, he grabbed my right side and spun me around before I jumped up," Jones said. "It was just a missed call. It's over with. It's done. We're onto the next one."
Atlanta may have lost, but going toe to toe with the Seahawks shows that this team may be a player come playoff time.
6) At first glance this hit looks really cheap; Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict going low on New England’s Martellus Bennett with the football no where in sight.
Was Vontaze Burfict trying to injure Martellus Bennett? pic.twitter.com/EP04i58OtF— Dan Worthington (@danWorthington) October 17, 2016
But when you look at the whole clip...
Video: On Vontaze Burfict low hit on Martellus Bennett, Tom Brady pump faked to Bennett. (Via CBS broadcast) pic.twitter.com/Nbyyz2xb14— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 17, 2016
You’ll see Brady pump fake it to Bennett, causing Burfict to attack Bennett low. He apologized to Bennett after the play, so this one may look worse than it really is, but with Burfict’s history, it does seem kind of shady.
7) At what point will someone lose their job in Indianapolis?
Head coach Chuck Pagano seems to always be on the hot seat and general manager Ryan Grigson’s seat is just as warm. They have problems on defense and franchise QB Andrew Luck has been sacked a league leading 23 times in 6 games. They don’t seem to have the personnel or offensive scheme to protect him.
8) Yesterday in my Snap Counts, Stats and More article I talked about how putrid the Bears’ offense is. Well, thanks to the ineptitude of the New York Jets, Chicago is no longer dead last in scoring in the NFL!
How bad does it have to get if you turn to Geno Smith at QB, then again, what does that team have to lose. They may as well see if Smith can live up to some of the potential that made him the 39th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.
9) Last week the San Diego Chargers were being talked up from a national perspective as a team that keeps finding ways to lose, Philip Rivers was even caught calling his team the Bad News Bears.
But they went out and handled their business on Thursday Night Football (while wearing some sweet Color Rush unis btw) and defeated the Denver Broncos.
The Chicago Bears on the other hand...
Bears have quietly tied San Diego with 3 blown 4Q leads this season.— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) October 17, 2016
The latest is the Bears allowing the Jacksonville Jaguars to score 17 4th quarter points in their 17-16 victory.
The Bears are the real Bad News Bears.
10) I’ll double dip this week on the Scott Kacsmar Bears’ nuggets.
Brian Hoyer led all QBs with 12 failed completions in Week 6.— Scott Kacsmar (@FO_ScottKacsmar) October 17, 2016
(Note: not a positive thing https://t.co/Q7uk5g7qDv)
This is just some further ammunition to show just how much Brian Hoyer dinks and dunks. The ‘Failed Completions’ stat from Football Outsiders “are any complete passes that fail to gain 45 percent of needed yards on first down; 60 percent on second down; or 100 percent on third or fourth down.”
So those irritating 3rd down pass plays that occurred against the Jags that fell just shy of the sticks have a name.
Hoyer is really just doing what the defense dictates he do. Chicago’s gameplan with him under center includes a lot of short stuff, so Hoyer is just taking it as it comes. I’d like to see some more schemed deep crossing routes off play action or a few more strikes down the seams, just to keep defenses honest.
While Hoyer doesn’t have the arm strength of Jay Cutler, he’s not exactly Matt Cassell either. Chicago should try and scheme a few more deep shots into the gameplan each week, because with the way the Bears are playing these last few games, defenses are just playing off and keeping a shell over the top. With no danger of the deep ball, defenses just want to keep the play in front of them and attack receivers when the ball is thrown.
What are some of your thoughts on the NFL this week?