The state of football in Los Angeles; The coldest Jets commentary of all; Brady’s surprising stat: Just another week in the NFL. We’ll give you all the 2018 NFL news you can handle in under three minutes (Disclaimer: you can stay longer than three minutes. Time is relative). Here’s the best—or worst—of the NFL from Week 10.
Would A Rams-Chargers Super Bowl Make LA Love Football?
Is Los Angeles finally becoming a pro football town again?
Well, as it pertains to the Rams and the Chargers, one out of two ain’t bad for a city that greeted the return of the NFL with a collective yawn in 2016. The Rams are one of the glamour teams in the NFL this season, with a whiz kid coach, a young star quarterback, and a high-octane offense. And finally, fans are warming up to them, with home attendance breaking the 70,000 mark in the cavernous L.A. Coliseum the last three home games. The Rams just now seem to be winning over their new city. The Chargers? Well…
At 7-2 they’re a compelling story, with four straight wins, all on the road (including one in London), which is quite appropriate given their status as the orphans of the league. Some fans from San Diego, the Chargers’ former home, even make their lingering anger known by going to games in the opposing team’s colors, or in an extreme case, renting a plane that flies over the stadium with messages for owner Dean Spanos like: “Chargers: Only Team With 16 Away Games. Thanks Dean.”
Yet the Chargers might just become a sentimental favorite nationally, as long-time quarterback Philip Rivers is having perhaps his best-ever season at age 36, with a shot to finally get to his first Super Bowl. In fact, an all-L.A. Super Bowl, which would be played in Atlanta, is very much in play this season.
Assuming that millions of undeclared Los Angelenos (yes that's the correct word) would suddenly take an interest if that matchup came to pass, how would they decide to root? Perhaps they’d look to guidance from another sport. As in: who’s LeBron got?
The State Of The Jets, As Summed Up By…A Zebra?
The quote of the week comes from a referee. Yes, a referee.
Because for all the yelling and screaming that erupted in New York from the Jets’ hideous 41-10 loss to the lowly Bills, with the entire city seemingly calling for coach Todd Bowles to be fired, nothing captured the moment quite like an actual call on the field.
Naturally, it went against the Jets, nullifying a 15-yard run by RB Elijah McGuire in the second quarter. Not because of one holding penalty. Not because of two holding penalties…
“There are multiple fouls on the play, all by the offense,” the referee announced. Pause.
“Holding, No. 10, is declined.” Pause.
“Holding, No. 68, is also declined.” Dramatic pause (or so it seemed).
“Holding, No. 86 is accepted.”
All that missing was a rimshot.
The Indefensible QB Decision Of The Week
Jon Gruden insisted it was his fault, a poor play call that left Derek Carr with no choice but to fire the ball into the dirt on 4th and 5 at the Chargers’ 19-yard line, essentially ending the game with his Raiders down 14 with 4:13 left in the game.
But really there’s no letting Carr off the hook.
Do something, Derek. Scramble, buy some time, anything. Video of the play showed a second receiver in the middle of the field who was at least semi-open. Toss it up for grabs at that point, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Except another game, of course.
Any wonder the Raiders are 1-8?
Betting Big On The Patriots And Paying For It
So you were sure the Patriots would take care of business against the Titans, and that cost you a few bucks, right?
Well, you weren’t alone. The Las Vegas Journal Review, reported that the Vegas sports books had a big day, largely because the public bet heavily on the Patriots and the Eagles.
And talk about a bad beat: a noted Las Vegas oddsmaker told of a bettor who played a $10,000 six-team, money-line parlay, meaning the teams needed to win their games, with no point spreads involved.
The guy had the Chiefs, Saints, Rams, Chargers, and Packers, who all won. And the Patriots. The payoff would have been $33,000.
Gronk, Where Art Thou?
The shocking stat of the week comes courtesy of ESPN, which noted that Tom Brady, is dead last this season in its ranking of quarterbacks against the blitz. Brady has thrown only one TD pass in the last three games, and clearly misses the oft-injured Rob Gronkowski, who didn’t play for the third time in the last four games.
Meanwhile, the 34-10 loss to the Titans was the second this season to a coach with ties to the Patriots: first Matt Patricia of the Lions and now Mike Vrabel.
Is that a coincidence? ESPN analyst and former Colts’ center Jeff Saturday thought not, saying he saw Vrabel employ the same defense with the Titans that Bill Belichick regularly used to throttle Peyton Manning.
To which Brady might reply: Where’s Gronk when I need him?
Another Chapter in the Book of Eli
Eli Manning’s flaws are well-documented these days, but he has always been at his best in crunch time, as evidenced by his two Super Bowl MVP.
And even with the walls closing in on him, his team at 1-7 and his starting job and career perhaps on the line Monday night against the 49ers, Manning showed he still had a little bit of his old magic, directing the Giants on a 75-yard TD drive in the final minutes to pull out a 27-23 win.
“For all of Eli’s ups and downs,” Hasselbeck said, “he sees things in two-minute drive situations, probably as well as anybody. The game slows down for him in those situations.”
If only, at age 37, it would speed up for him the other 58 minutes.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int'l games excluded.