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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
**This was written before MNF. How did it all turnout across FFM nation with the final numbers in from FFM? Tune in to the NO-CAR recap this afternoon. Let’s just say, God is good…
Well…this game about explained Week 15 for many FFM’ers Sunday all in one tight bundle. On paper, this should have been a Rams blowout…and Vegas agreed, a 12+ point spread at times. The Eagles limped into the game without several starting CBs or their main ILB, travelling coast-to-coast, ready to be annihilated…oh, and their starting QB came up with a broken back this week, so complete change of plans on offense on short notice.
What happened in reality is the complete opposite of all the logic going in.
Wunderkind Sean McVay was again outcoached, for the third week in-a-row, and the Rams looked like bumbling idiots and the Eagles played great, inspired football and controlled the game’s pace, eventually pulling to a big lead and holding off the late rally…a rally that was going to put the Rams into the victory after all if their players weren’t so incredibly stupid in their inability to get out of bounds in the most obvious of scenarios to get our of bounds.
I mean…how dumb are the Rams? How dumb is Todd Gurley? We’ll get to that in a moment. MVP my ass. He’s bordering on the most overrated player in football.
As the Rams are down 14, and trying to scramble back into it, and they do…with 6 minutes left, at their own 23, Jared Goff hits Gerald Everett with a pass out in space for what will be a 20-yard gain. Everett catches the pass and has green grass to run upfield to along the sidelines. Everett catches the pass and starts running down the sidelines…and when confronted with tacklers he tries to take them/juke them and as his momentum is about to take him out of bounds (which he absolutely needs to get the clock stopped) he forces himself back into the field of play to dive for an extra yard. Because it was a 20-yard gain, and Everett didn’t take 18 yards and go out of bounds, the entire team had to sprint down to get in position to run a play with the clock running. They did, and in their haste it was all screwed up and the next play/pass was woefully incomplete. They lost 0:20+ seconds and then botched the next play because of Everett.
Now…a one-time event/heat of the moment – I can forgive. At that point, it reminded everyone to make sure all the Rams know to get out of bounds over squeezing an extra yard at this stage. The Rams go on to score a TD, so no big deal. Except…
The Rams get the ball back with 1:08 left, down 30-23 and only 57 yards to go to score (with no timeouts). Time is of the essence. The team needs to move quick and get out of bounds as a priority and get themselves down the field as a priority.
On the second play of this drive, just 45 yards to go to tie/win, Goff zips a pass to Everett – now, Everett is so hyped to get out of bounds he catches the pass and jets straight out of bounds giving up another 3-4-5 easy yards he could have gotten and then gone out of bounds. At that point, I’m thinking Everett is a moron who cannot handle thinking through this moment and they need to get him out of there or he’s going to do something stupid. DING. Next play, other side of the field, toss to Everett short, wide open, tacklers coming, NOW instead of jetting straight to the sidelines, he decides to take on the defenders and heads upfield, he realizes that’s stupid one step in and turns to head to the sidelines and is blown up by the tacklers…in bounds. Instead of having 0:45 left and 39-yards to go…the clock runs, the Rams have to scramble, and it takes 0:15 seconds to get the next play off…Everett’s stupidity cost them the game, I’m thinking at that point. Oh, but someone was about to top that.
The Rams rush to get the play off with 0:30 left, 15 seconds after Everett’s dumb clock/sideline management mistake (his 3rd in the last 5 minutes). Goff fires it to Everett…who…who…who YES gets out of bounds right away to leave 0:20 seconds left and 26 yards to go…still in decent shape. UNTIL…Goff tosses it to Gurley near the side lines flaring out of the backfield – but Gurley weaves away from the sideline and heads upfield and is brought down in bounds. The Rams have to scramble to spike the ball leaving just 0:05 seconds left from 18-yards away.
How many times were the players told to GET OUT OF BOUNDS? How many times did they see Gerald Everett F this up to remind them? And still, your league MVP heads upfield in a spot that it was the last thing that was needed.
Jared Goff will get all the blame from fantasy owners for his egg. He threw for 339 yards, the only QB to throw for 300+ yards this week (so far) and his earlier TD pass reversed because the ballcarrier fell one centimeter from the goal line and then his last chance at a late score, and a possible extension of stats into OT is taken away because Gerald Everett and Todd Gurley blew the game via stupidity. This will be seen as Goff’s (fantasy and NFL) fault as sure as I type this.
I will blame Goff for something – and this may be part of why all the issues of Everett and Gurley. Hey, Jared…would you like to show an ounce of emotion in crisis? Would you like to open your mouth and speak things out loud? As everything is melting down, they give us a camera shot of Goff on the sidelines sitting down on the bench, alone, feeding some pigeons watching the world go by. We’re not rallying the WRs and TEs at this moment? We’re not talking to the O-Line…or listening to what their coach is telling them? Maybe they just didn’t capture him doing that for the TV audience…but that makes every game I’ve ever seen Goff in with that ‘luck’ of not being captured rallying his troops. Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield are often prowling the sidelines or in discussions with someone or near players in most every camera shot I see of them not in the game. Goff reminds me of my shy teenage son…his body language is “I’d rather be reading a book or playing Nintendo Switch.” Not the vibe I want my franchise QB to give off in crisis.
The Rams are now 11-3, on a two-game losing streak, on a three-game offensive sloppiness streak with Goff 1 TD/7 INTs in that span. I don’t think the guy (Goff) who was 26 TDs/6 INTs prior suddenly forgot how to play football…no more than Brees going 2 TDs/2 INTs and less than 200 yards passing per game the last two weeks has (prior to this week). Something is off and it’s happening league wide. Take the offensive fluidity from the Rams…and we have losses/not a Super Bowl team.
LAR should win its last two games and finish 13-3…which feels like a downer. They’ve all but lost home field/#1 seed to the Saints, which means if it comes down to them in the Final Four…advantage Saints.
We haven’t even talked about the Eagles.
The finally rid themselves of 5-6 in 2018 Carson Wentz and put in the real franchise QB Nick Foles…now 2-1 as a starter this season…and Foles just saved the season, potentially. I’d like to believe the Eagles just made up that Wentz has a broken back…just to lie to him to give cover for them to get Foles in to save the day…but that’s probably a bad theory…but I live in a Folesian world, so my perspective is a bit warped from time-to-time.
The Eagles are a game out of the wild card race…and the NFC East title. The Eagles need to win out and Dallas lose out…not likely. Philly for the wild card needs to get to 9-7 and needs help because they don’t have any wins over the other wild card contenders…they lost to Carolina earlier this season. Philly needs a lot of help to get in…and they need to beat HOU this week, because Week 17 at Washington should be fine. I suspect the Eagles will win out but need the Vikings to lose one more game as week…possible at DET and then to the Bears if CHI needs Week 17 for a #2 seed over the Rams – then it’s real possible the Vikings fall and the Eagles…fly.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Of all the angry fantasy proclamations I will make this week…of all the “I’m never gonna do ____ again.” I think my 2019 resolution is – I’m not going to believe Brandin Cooks can be a WR1…and he is not ‘getting there’ by proxy of being in a Rams uniform. Solid WR2…never a WR1 consistently.
We get glimpses…we got glimpses with the Saints, then it never locked in. We got glimpses with the Patriots, but it faded. We got glimpses this year as a Ram and then it died off. Very solid WR2…never a turn to consistent WR1.
Maybe with a year’s more time in the offense with Goff. And…you know what? I’m doing it again. Please stop me.
Here’s the thing…I’m watching guys like Kenny Golladay…or Courtland Sutton…or Allen Robinson, and I’m going ‘wow, look at that’ a lot when they’re in action. I’m never saying that with Cooks anymore. I’m more just spending Rams games going, “Has Cooks been targeted this quarter? What the hell?”
He was ignored the entire 1st quarter this game, then right before the half he gets a flurry of activity and looks like an all-star, and then buh-bye, back to the Invisible Man.
I like him as a bargain WR2…I’m done basing redraft plans on him. I’ll buy him as a WR2 who has WR1 moments because of this offense, but I don’t believe he has more to give than that. He is what he is…he’s good, solid, arguably not as good as Robert Woods for fantasy. Maybe not as good as Cooper Kupp for FF.
Speaking of the Rams’ WRs…Jared Goff is right when he says -- Josh Reynolds (5-70-0/12) would be starting on many other teams. Reynolds is a good-looking WR, who I would put in the Cooks role and trade Cooks, if I were asleep-at-the-beach, the gnarly GM Les Snead…because Cooks is going to cost so much salary cap, but because he costs so much he’s not movable – and it would look stupid to sign him to a big deal and then trade him the next year.
Cooks will only make $15M next season and have $32M of guaranteed money remaining to pay off. Cooks is not going anywhere anytime soon.
-- Why was Wendell Smallwood (10-48-22-9-0/2) a sudden star in this game? Not even a star…just ‘used a lot’. He’s fine but Josh Adams (15-28-1, 0-0-0/1) is where the money is at…but Doug Pederson walked away from it the second game in a row.
God Bless, Pederson…he has a system and he’s sticking to it -- but I hate it for Adams. He should be a lead back not stuck in an RBBC. He’s a franchise back, and he’ll never get the touches he needs/demands…and it will cost him untold money his next contract. A running back for the Eagles is bad business. Agents should steer talented RBs away from Philly during the UDFA period if they have other options.
The way Adams was treated this year, from undrafted to practice squad (and no one claimed him away…but Houston did claim RB Buddy Howell from Miami before opening day rosters), to activated to the main roster only because of injuries to others forcing it, to his performance numbers per touch up with the elites and yet 7 carries last week and a team high (but lowly) 15 carries here – no respect.
I say all that to say – it’s his likely future. I will get suckered into thinking ‘they’ll figure it out and push him’, but they won’t. Doug Pederson is who he is, and why should he change? I just have to process it and stick to it assessing dynasty moves and redrafts next season.
…I swear, if he ever gets a full chance.
It was a good scouting call by me back in February/March, no? You see I’m not crazy, right?
Smallwood was ‘of the moment’ and next week he’s as apt to have 2 carries as 10. This is an Adams-Sproles-led RBBC with Smallwood in the mix as needed.
Next year, it will be an Adams-Boston Scott-led RBBC and the Eagles can go to a Super Bowl on that…if Nick Foles is at QB (FYI, as many Super Bowl wins as Aaron Rodgers…).
-- Gerald Everett (5-46-0/7), the man who single handedly lost the game for his team, had 5 catches and 7 targets and that will be seen as a positive on various fantasy sites – noting him as a clever waiver pickup because his numbers keep ticking higher. I get it, I was that guy last week…kinda. Calling for a good Everett result coming into this game.
Before you take my Everett endorsement last week + the masses coming on-board this week as well – you have to note something from this game. Something only people who were tied to Everett going into the game watch would have picked up on…and, me, the world’s authority on unique football tidbits because I study these games for profiteering…looking for gold where others are just looking only at box scores and snap counts.
Anyone own Everett, and were needing a big game, and found themselves bellyaching ‘why don’t they throw to Everett?’ or ‘where is Everett?’ The whole game (it felt). Your instincts were correct…Everett did not see his first target until 10:35 left in the game with the Rams down 30-13 and frantically trying to comeback in the game. It was then Everett started seeing a bunch of check downs against prevent-ish defenses – and smart of Philly to let him catch passes knowing he doesn’t know home game clocks work.
Everett only mattered when it was an all-pass frenetic comeback effort. He was not a part of the real plan. Before you think he’s on the rise – note that if the Rams took control of this game after halftime, Everett may not have seen a target this game. I would say, based on this game and prior games – he is not on the rise. Beware in Week 16.
-- Todd Gurley (12-48-2, 10-76-0/13) is a very good running back, but it’s not like he’s the world’s greatest football weapon. I wouldn’t base my whole offense around him. The Rams offense had played poorly last week at Chicago and sputtered some against the Lions the week prior. The Rams passing game needed to get their spark back here…and what better time than against a depleted Philly back seven, missing almost all their CBs that mattered.
Instead of attacking right away, here’s where I question Sean McVay, they just handed the ball and dink & dunked the ball to Gurley…seven touches for Gurley on the first 8 plays. Also, eight of their first 10 plays…and 9 of the first 12….and 11 of the first 17…and 13 of the first 21 plays. The Eagles are strong against the run and weak against the pass…and the Rams backed off the passing game and went heavy Gurley.
The all-Gurley event left Cooks-Woods-Reynolds mostly standing around with their thumbs up their butt watching the Gurley show. By the time the Rams decided to pass…it was after Gurley put them into passing situations and the whole thing looked out of sync. By the time they moved away from Gurley and started clicking a bit passing…it was too late.
It was like a heavyweight boxer who has knocked out every one of his opponents deciding to fight for the title by going for technical points and a lot of bobbing and weaving. If the Rams are this California Cool unstoppable air raid…facing a depleted, helpless secondary that just made Dak-Amari look like Montana-Rice the prior week – why did the Rams chose to run heavy and screen heavy with Gurley? The plan got them 13 points in 3+ quarters of play and a 17-point deficit to try to climb out of.
Even worse than too-much-Gurley was when Gurley got hurt (another reason not to keep getting him the ball), they brought in Justin Davis (1-0-0) and John Kelly (2-4-0) to help…and those two are a shining example of how out-to-lunch Les Snead is. This whole offense is centered around the running back and backing up Gurley are two guys that would have a hard time starting in the CFL. How, in this era of overflowing RB talent, could the Rams sit there with a Super Bowl team and the backup to their main weapon is John Kelly (who is terrible)?
Here’s why I changed my Super Bowl pick to NO over LAR (in August) from LAR over NO (in June) to come out of the NFC to win it this summer…
Goff goes down…Sean Mannion doesn’t belong in the NFL.
Gurley goes down…Davis and Kelly are barely NFL players, barely CFL players.
Brees goes down…Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, NFL starter-level talents.
Ingram or Kamara goes down, they have each other but then the Saints nabbed Dwayne Washington, a talent, to have just in case and they had excellent prospect Boston Scott (before Philly stole him).
The reason the Saints will be the #1 seed and defeat the Rams to go win the Super Bowl – Rams GM Les Snead is at the beach, literally and figuratively, and has little clue what he’s doing in talent evaluations (hiring Sean McVay before others did saved his ass)…as the Saints just keep moving players in and out all season trying to upgrade all positions ‘just in case’…the Rams just sit around like Jared Goff with a blank stare at all that is happening. I’ve seen Boston Scott and Tanner McEvoy (not to mention Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall) and a lot of various, interesting prospects go on and off the Saints roster – the Saints are hustling. While Snead is like, “Bro, dude…what? Me worry?”
Snead’s disastrous RB handcuff plan came back to haunt them this game. The Eagles will be awesome with Josh Adams and Boston Scott into the future…and both of them could have stolen for free from practice squads for many weeks into this season but Snead was looking for tasty waves…not tasty RBs. It hurt them this game…it could hurt them in the end.
-- Nick Foles’s (24-31 for 270 yards, 0 TDs/1 INT) was pretty good for a guy who thought he’d never play a game again for Philly and who only found out he was starting Friday night.
His preferred target, this night…Alshon Jeffrey (8-160-0/8)…strange when you consider you theoretically best attack the Rams with the TE, but he went away from Zach Ertz (3-22-0/7) smartly or by his preference.
The first two starts for Foles this season…Ertz went 5-48-0/10 and 11-94-0/13. So, he’s not afraid to go to Ertz, BUT Jeffrey was also out still rehabbing.
Teams are overplaying Ertz because Wentz was overthrowing to him…and Foles likely outsmarted the Rams here. As defenses clamp down on Ertz more, he has 1 TD in his last 5 games and has been held under 40 yards in four of his last 7 games.
-- Eagles DB Rasul Douglas (14 tackles, 1 TFL) is on fire…the last three weeks with him forced into more playing time: 10.0 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.33 INTs per game.
-- Speaking of IDPs on fire…Rams DB John Johnson (14 tackles, 1 PD) was going for Defensive Player of the Year this game. What a performance.
In his last 4 games: 10.8 tackles, 0.50 TFLs, 0.25 INTs, 0.50 PDs
-- Week 16 Outlook…
Philly hosts Houston. Should be mostly a solid/OK matchup for the Philly offense. The Texans defense has decent numbers but aided by a favorable schedule. Hard to know what the Foles offense looks like…and which way the RBBC rolls.
The Rams have a BYE week with Arizona Week 16 – if you made it to Week 16 with Rams assets…this has to be a great output game. If not, I don’t know what…
Snap Counts of Interest:
42 = Higbee
34 = Everett
63 = Gurley
07 = Kelly
04 = Justin Davis
59 = Ertz
39 = Goedert
64 = Jeffrey
63 = Agholor
22 = Tate
05 = Jordan Matthews
24 = Adams
20 = Smallwood
20 = Sproles