Pumping the brakes on the Vikings, Seattle's imbalance and misery in Jacksonville
This week the NFL delivered a lot of thrilling games and as usual, plenty of disappointing performances -- including the Vikings capsizing in Chicago on Monday night. Let’s start this look at the week’s worst right there.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY SportsMatt Kartozian
The Minnesota Vikings offense hits rock bottom
I hope the Vikings have more 2017 first-round picks laying around because they may need one to replace Sam Bradford. If he’s under siege all season like he was against the Bears on Monday night he’s going to get killed. Bradford was sacked five times on 37 dropbacks and faced near-constant pressure in what never amounted to a pocket, more like a kitten mitten.
Did you watch that affront to football on Thursday night? The Jaguars gave a nearly effortless performance while struggling QB Blake Bortles stunk up the joint so badly that it’s quite surprising that backup Chad Henne didn’t make an appearance. But it wasn’t just Bortles and his broken mechanics -- the defense got smashed too as the Titans mounted a 27-0 halftime lead. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson got the axe, so we’ll see if the team now responds.
Reinhold MatayUSA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Raiders get flagged for all the penalties
The Raiders set a new NFL record for penalties accepted on Sunday with 23 (!!!), nearly coming up one short when the Buccaneers declined a Gabe Jackson holding penalty late to keep them tied for the record at 22 But these Raiders would NOT be denied as wideout Seth Roberts committed an illegal block on the very next play, which the Bucs did accept. Somehow the Raiders are already 5-0 on the road this season.
Jason O. WatsonGetty Images
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a game in which their opponent set an NFL record for penalties
The Raiders did everything but beg the Bucs to win this football game as those 23 accepted penalties amounted to 200 penalty yards, including absurdities like a 12-men-on-the-field penalty on a 3rd-and-1 to gift the Bucs a conversion in the red zone late in the game. Tampa gained four first downs due to Raiders penalties on that touchdown drive alone. There’s plenty of blame to go around in Tampa on both sides of the ball and on the sideline.
Joe RobbinsGetty Images
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman gets beat then suggests a ref should be punished
Norman did a decent job for most of the game in London against the Bengals, spending much of his time covering A.J. Green. That said, Norman dropped two would-be interceptions and allowed Green five catches for 76 yards on 11 targets, according to Pro Football Focus.
Norman also got flagged for five penalties (three accepted), prompting an outburst at the postgame news conference that is guaranteed to get him fined. “Who is 88?” Norman said, referring to field judge Brad Freeman’s number. “I just got to know. Who is official 88? He sucked. Just got to be honest with you. I’m going to be straightforward. He was terrible and I feel he like should be reprimanded. I feel like some of the plays that was going on out there ... it was terrible.” Norman needs to focus on doing his job, which is not managing the officials.
Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.AP
The Arizona Cardinals, collectively
This team is nearing a full-fledged tailspin after getting ramrodded by the Carolina Panthers in what was supposed to be a “revenge game” for the Cards after their dismal NFC Championship showing in January when Carson Palmer turned the ball over six times. The Cardinals left the East coast more injured than they were already: Left tackle Jared Veldheer tore his triceps and is out for the season, Larry Fitzgerald suffered a low ankle sprain and safety Tyrann Mathieu injured his shoulder and will be forced out of action for 3-6 weeks.
Jeremy BrevardUSA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles offense, particularly the pass catchers
Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz completed 32 of his 43 passes against the Cowboys for 202 yards a depressingly small 4.7 yards per attempt. Of those 11 incompletions, six resulted from dropped passes. We don’t know if Wentz can hit a deep ball because he never attempts any. It’s gotten to the point where fans are wondering if Terrell Owens is available. He is.
Tim HeitmanTim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts’ offensive line
A week after the Colts O-Line showed improvement and kept Luck upright, the franchise passer went down six times (not all of those were on the line) as a previously struggling Kansas City Chiefs pass rush routinely found a way into get up in Luck’s grill. It wasn’t a good game for Luck either, but the line remains a weakness (that defense, too, but that’s another story).
Getty ImagesGetty Images
The oddsmakers who set the line on the Patriots under a touchdown
Sports books took a beating on the Patriots once again on Sunday as New England moved to 7-1 against the spread this season with a 41-25 shellacking of Buffalo. The Patriots moved between 6 and 6.5-point favorites over the Bills with oddsmakers reluctant to move to 7 (more on that here), where they would have drawn action on the Bills, and the books paid for it dearly. Oddsmakers should be grateful for the Patriots Week 9 bye so they can recalibrate and lick their wounds.
- The Boston GlobeBoston Globe via Getty Images
The Seattle Seahawks defense cannot also play offense
The first half went OK for Seattle according to the scoreboard (14-13 lead) but games are played on the field where the Seahawks’ prized defense spent 45 plays on the field while the offense accounted for just 19. This comes after the Seahawks D emptied the tank in a 6-6 tie against the Cardinals. The defense scored six in the first half on a fumble return touchdown by Earl Thomas and the offense mounted a quick four-play scoring drive, but otherwise the offense went nowhere and the defense got thoroughly taxed again.