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In-season, I’m pumping out content faster than editing can keep up with. I don’t want to hold the recaps for hours waiting on perfection. We will correct errors after the fact, but for now – forgive any of my gaffes. I dictate some of my notes, and the computer software or Siri interpretation can be comical. I try to correct them all before publishing it, but I miss it sometimes…in the 50,000+ words I pen each week during the season (not including all the emails). I’m moving fast, and want to get the product out there ASAP at 98% ‘good’…vs. big delays trying to get to 99.9% craftsmanship. So here you go…
Did anyone think this would turn out differently than a 20+ butt kicking? Vegas went -16.5 and that wasn’t enough for the Rams. Actually, I thought the Rams would put up more of a confusing fight for Seattle considering a new coach with the unchartered play calling tendencies. The Rams came out looking better than Seattle for about 5-10 minutes, and then the Rams telegraphed their 4th down thoughts by telling people all week they’d ‘go for it’ if on the other side of the field, which I agree with, but I wouldn’t announce it to the world like an idiot…and so Seattle was ready and stuffed them and stole the momentum and went on to manhandle the Rams the rest of the game.
Seattle holds the lead for the #2 seed. If they win out it’s theirs. They play two of the worst teams in the NFL ahead – home with Arizona and at the 49ers. Arizona will probably put up a fight for a quarter or so, but then get wrecked by Seattle. The NFC #2 seed should be Seattle’s as they go on towards a collision course to meet Dallas in the NFC finals.
The most interesting thing about the Rams will be who their new coach is. I’m guessing Mike Shanahan, but that’s just a throwaway prediction with no real insight. I don’t think it will be Jon Gruden.
I will also add that my biggest notes from this live watch were on Jared Goff…the nightmare that was Goff in this game. I re-watched the game from his perspective and will end on that. First, some other items of note…
— This game was a perfect example why I’ve gone Tyler Lockett (7-130-1/8 targets) loco this week. From dead and buried most of the season to WR1? Am I crazy?
First, you’ve seen what he’s done the last three weeks?
19.8 FF PPG (24.8 PPR) on 5 rec. (6 targets) for 63 yards, 1 rush for 75 yards and a TD = Week 13 vs. CAR
5.6 FF PPG ( 9.6 PPR) on 4 rec. (6 targets) for 41 yards, 2 rush for 15 yards = Week 14 vs. GB
19.0 FF PPG (26.0 PPR) on 7 rec. (8 targets) for 130 yards and 1 TD, 0 rush = Week 15 vs. LAR
14.8 FF PPG (18.8 PPR) on 4.0 rec. (6.7 targets) for 78.0 rec. yards and 0.33 TD, 30.0 rushing yards and 0.33 TDs per game = Lockett’s averages the last 3 games.
The targets are rising. He’s getting carries again. The numbers above do not include him heating up as a return man. Lockett appears fully healed and ready to reclaim what he was building last season – a true WR2 threat with WR1 upside. He’s Tyreek Hill, but a step slower and 10x the wide receiver experience.
I said ‘this was the perfect example (this game)‘ for Lockett earlier. Why? Seattle attacked the Rams with Lockett because Rams shutdown corner Trumaine Johnson went on Doug Baldwin. Mike Jordan, 9th string corner, manned the not-Baldwin guy a lot. Thus, 130 yards from Lockett.
Week 16, Patrick Peterson SHOULD be on Doug Baldwin. Like he was on Brandin Cooks last week. When Peterson switched off of Cooks…that’s when Cooks went nuts with a few huge plays. Lockett and Cooks are nearly the same things. Lockett is almost a lock for a 50+ yard play or two because the Cardinals cannot cover anyone if Peterson is not on them.
Lockett’s a threat for 4-6 catches for 100+ yards with half or more coming one play…a long TD…a carry…and 2-6 returns. You wish you were that confident with Tyreek Hill this week. You hope that’s what Ted Ginn gives you.
If you buy my theory – Lockett is a WR1 upside. WR2 worse case. I’m not telling you to bet on something magical – Lockett has already shown this ability before last season…and the last three games.
If Peterson goes onto Lockett…we’re all screwed!!
— What to do with Jimmy Graham (1-31-0/2 targets)?
Unless you have Kelce-Olsen-Rudolph-Ertz-Eifert…and Brate…you can’t consider benching Graham for Green-Ebron-Witten-Henry-Bennett et al. You just can’t.
The last two weeks were a nightmare and cost many of us a title shot. Not only by have the one catch week (again), but last week forcing us to make different decisions coming out of this dud on a Thursday night.
It’s still Jimmy Graham. It would be the ‘it’s Brandin Cooks‘ logic.
This is a terrible matchup because Arizona has been awesome holding down tight ends this season. The Graham target trend the last two weeks is a nightmare. If you got the top 5-6 TEs, use them over him. Otherwise, you’ll have to suck it up. I think.
I really believe Jimmy Graham will be traded or released next year (because of payroll). A trade where he agrees to sign a long-term deal is the likely move – gives him control over his destination and Seattle can do whatever it’s doing…choosing Darrell Bevell over one of the greatest TEs to ever play in NFL history. Makes sense.
— I’m using Todd Gurley (14-38-0, 1-(2)-0/4 targets) with some confidence this week, even if false hope. The 49ers are devastated with injury. They are working on becoming one of the worst statistical run defenses of the past X amount of years. If there was ever a game this year for Gurley – it’s this one.
— Thomas Rawls (21-34-0, 2-5-0/2 targets) also killed many title hopes with this masterpiece with 1.6 yards per carry. The two games prior Rawls posted 5.6 ypc against a good Packers run defense and 7.1 ypc against Carolina’s top run defense. I think this game was just a blip. He’s getting 15-20+ carries this week unless a quick blowout…we’ll see if it means numbers versus a dead Cardinals team.
— OK, Jared Goff (13-25 for 135 yards, 0 TD/0 INT)…
My live watch notes, I was ready to proclaim Goff a doomed bust and apologize for ever liking him as a QB prospect.
Watching it live on Thursday, Goff looked ridiculous. Sure, there was that long TD drop by a backup WR early in the game, but did you see Goff miss a wide-open Brian Quick on a short TD pass? It was stupid. At the end of the game, it looked like Goff was just throwing passes with no rhyme or reason. Every other pass looked like he had no ability to throw a spiral. Everything was a wounded duck.
I spent a few days thinking how I was going to word this. From highly/top-graded QB on College Football Metrics to a guy I’m going to now claim is a bust. I’ve never had that happen. Was I losing it? Do I need to reinvent myself?
I was fully ready to fall on the sword. I was going to re-watch this game for more detail on confirming my falling out with Goff. That’s the thing about a live watch in the moment and then a time-consuming re-watch study. This is what you pay me to do.
I’m not saying Goff was actually ‘good’ not ‘bad’ in this game or has my full trust/endorsement. I’m getting a bit skittish. However, this game was not as bad as most football analysts perceive from the live watch.
I’m going to offer three positives or ‘changes of heart’ after re-watching…
1: There really were a lot of drops in the 1st quarter+. That 50+ yard connect with Mike Thomas that he flat dropped…devastating. Goff was hitting guys all over. Making the right decisions, but his guys were brutal. In another world, Goff has 100+ yards passing and is rolling with confidence after the 1st quarter.
2: I thought Goff was throwing terrible looking spirals/passes too much. He was. However, the final 2.5 quarters was a Seattle jailbreak party. Goff was constantly throwing under duress. During the live watch, I just thought Goff was a ‘stupid idiot’ noodle-armed QB. On the re-watch…I actually gained more respect for his resolve in the muddiest of pockets.
3: Much of the second half, watching it live, I thought Goff was just throwing blind deep balls with no rhyme or reason. He was overthrowing them as well. On the re-watch, I get what he was doing. He had guys open in a tight window and Goff damn near fit it in. It was the right call/idea a lot of the time. Goff just didn’t have all the time he wanted to set and throw, I suspect.
After the live watch: Goff is awful and I made a huge mistake.
After the re-watch: I bet this is what Tom Brady would have looked like as a rookie thrown into playing with Cleveland Browns with Hue Jackson as his coach.