1. Jeff Fisher simply doesn’t get it.
After starting the season 3-1, the Rams are now 3-4 after losing to the Giants in London on Sunday, 17-10, on a day in which quarterback Case Keenum had 4 interceptions. While at least two and perhaps three of the picks weren’t his fault, that’s not the point.
Fisher is correct when he says, “The quarterback is not the reason, by the way, that we lost three (straight) games. I’m staying with Case.” But that’s not the point, either.
The reality is that aside from swapping picks in the first round to move up from 15th overall to No. 1, the Rams gave the Titans two second-round picks (43rd and 45th overall) and a third-round pick (76th overall) this year, as well as first- and third-round picks in 2017.
And while Fisher insisted, “Jared’s going to play when we feel Jared’s ready. Had we won this game, you wouldn’t have been asking about Jared, which I understand. We didn’t lose this game because of quarterback play today. We lost because of other positions,” that’s also not the point.
Was Dak Prescott “ready” when he became the starter in Dallas? Or Carson Wentz in Philadelphia? Other rookies that have played this season include Cleveland’s Cody Kessler, New England’s Jacoby Brissett and even Seattle undrafted free agent Trevone Boykin. None embarrassed themselves.
The point is that when your team is average, which the Rams are, playing the quarterback you invested so much in gets him the experience he needs to improve and become the quarterback you expect. Whenever Goff gets his opportunity, he won’t truly be ready, which means he should be playing sooner not later.
As former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said on NFL MONDAY QB on CBS Sports Network, “The fact that they want to stay with Case Keenum and not put the first pick of the draft on the field right now really boggles the mind.”
2. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got a little salty Sunday after he came off the bench to replace an injured Geno Smith and helped the Jets beat the Ravens, 24-16. Fitzpatrick completed 9 of 14 passes for 120 yards with a touchdown, no interceptions and a 115.2 passer rating. The most notable number was the zero in the interceptions column. Through seven weeks, Fitzpatrick has an NFL-most 11 interceptions, one more than the Case Keenum of the Rams.
After the game, Fitzpatrick was asked about being benched and the emotions he experienced over the last few days. He said, “That’s the NFL. The biggest thing in this game, in order to last, is to have a belief in yourself. Because when the owner stops believing in you, and the GM stops believing in you, and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s kind of something I’ve had to deal with before, something I’m dealing with now.”
It’s surely possible he was also talking about a roller-coaster offseason in which the Jets played hardball and he didn’t sign until the beginning of training camp.
Fitzpatrick also said Sunday, “I’ve probably played better as an underdog, pissed off. Going forward, yeah, I’ll be pissed off.”
That prompted this comment from Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who said Monday, “If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I’m more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time. This is a show-me game. It’s nothing about belief or non-belief. People get assigned to do jobs and they do them. If I don’t do my job or the (general manager) doesn’t do his job and the quarterback doesn’t do his job and the team doesn’t do (its) job, eventually, they’ll replace us all. It’s a show-me game.”
Asked if the comments take anything away from the victory, Bowles added, “No, it doesn’t take away from that victory. Whatever fuels the fire for a person to play and be competitive, that’s what it is. I know Fitz and I know what he means and I have no problem with him venting his frustrations. Just use it as a positive. If that’s going to cause us to win more ball games to play pissed off, so be it. As a player, I was pissed off at my coaches sometimes, but that’s just part of being an athlete.”
On MONDAY NFL QB, former quarterback Rich Gannon said, “We are all sensitive as quarterbacks. But at the end of the day, his play was deplorable. You can’t lead the league in interceptions and also have the lowest completion percentage in football (57.4) and expect to still be the starter. When he wasn’t throwing to the other team he was missing his own guys. They had no choice. They had to make a change at quarterback.”
On NFL Network, former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson said, “We know at times, he can play really good and he can have a great connection and great chemistry with those wide receivers; but it’s the times when you really need him to be clutch, is when he turns the football over. Until he gets a grip and a grasp on this offense, and stops turning the football over, we’re going to keep seeing the same Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
3. Feeling the blitz. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz usually prefers to rush the passer with just four and refrain from blitzing. But he adjusted the plan and went after Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford on Sunday, blitzing a lot more than usual. The result was 6 sacks on Bradford, three of which were on blitzes.
Said safety Malcolm Jenkins, “The good thing about today is we didn’t do much man blitzing. We did a lot of zone blitzing. So when the pressure did come, now Sam’s throwing into a defense where people are looking at him and have eyes on the football. To zone blitz, you have to have a lot of faith that the pressure will get there. Because they can block it when you run zone pressure. That’s why some people shy away from it. But we did a good job of getting a good push up front and the blitzers got pressure as well.” The Eagles now have 20 sacks and are second in the league in sacks per pass play.
4. Another quarterback for the Browns. When Cody Kessler left Sunday’s loss against Cincinnati with a concussion, rookie Kevin Hogan became the sixth quarterback to play for the Browns in seven games. The last time that happened was with the expansion Buccaneers in 1976, and they finished the season 0-14. Cleveland is now 0-7.
It’s possible Hogan will start Sunday against the Jets, unless Kessler is cleared in time or Josh McCown is deemed ready to play. On Tuesday’s off day, Hogan will be at the team facility working more on the offense. He wasn’t signed by the Browns until September after being released by the Chiefs, who selected him in the fifth round this year.
“I’m confident in myself and my preparation,” Hogan said. “I feel good about my process and putting in the work, studying, watching film, getting reps during and after practice. Obviously, I hope that Cody makes a speedy recovery — he’s our quarterback and we trust him. But I’m going to do everything I can to make sure I’m ready.”
Against the Bengals, he completed 12 of 24 passes for 100 yards with 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 26.4. However, he did rush for 104 yards on 7 carries, including a 28-yard touchdown that is the longest by a quarterback in club history.
He added, “It’s something that I’ve always trusted and something I did a little bit at Stanford. If there was nothing there downfield, then I felt comfortable with my legs that I could get a first down or a big gain. It was nice during the week to rep some of those run plays, and it happened to pay off during the game.”
Of course, the problem is running might get you injured, which head coach Hue Jackson talked about when discussing Kessler and how quarterbacks sometimes have to learn to protect themselves. Jackson said, “You can’t do it. At the end of the day, that is what they are going to learn because if not, you are standing over there next to me or you are in concussion protocol. You just can’t do it. That is hard. It is a hard lesson to learn sometimes. I used to have this thing where quarterbacks just had to say ‘uncle.’ You throw the ball away or you take a sack just because it is the right thing to do for your football team.
“This is not about one individual. This is about your team. If you are not playing, then we are hurting the team. I don’t think Cody was trying to do anything to hurt his football team. He was trying to do everything he could to help his team score. There is a fine line, but right now in the situation that we have been in losing quarterbacks, I think the quarterbacks all have to say to themselves, ‘Hey, look, maybe I need to throw this ball away or go down because it is the best thing for our team right now.’ ”
5-6. The Landry hit.
5. Bills head coach Rex Ryan was outspoken Monday, talking about the hit by Miami wide receiver Jarvis Landry on safety Aaron Williams, knocking him out with head and neck injuries. Landry was penalized, and likely will be fined, but Ryan wonders if that is enough.
He said, “It was totally unnecessary. Did he target, did he launch? Yeah, he did all those; you can check every box you want. Was it a dirty hit? Yeah, it was unnecessary and as I see it, it is unsportsmanlike. There is nothing about that hit that would say any other deal, but I thought the officials got it right. A football play and he came in for a crack block. There was nothing physical about it, I was surprised he did it and absolutely disappointed. You know, now I have a player that is in jeopardy.
“So I don’t understand it. But I think maybe we need to look at our rules a little bit. The college game may have it right. Maybe having a guy that targets or deliberately does something like that maybe the right move is to eject the player from the game and maybe part of another game. That is how college does it. I also like the fact they review it on video. I am not saying for every unnecessary roughness because there are plenty guys trying to block a pass, hit a quarterback in the head or whatever, that is not what I am talking about. A blatant shot like that or others I have seen. Maybe there is a different way of handling it.
“Yeah I was surprised by it, because like I said I have a great deal of respect for that player, very competitive. (Bills wideout) Robert Woods is one of the most physical receivers in the game and he comes down and does the same exact blocks and all that stuff. But I have never once seen Robert target a player.”
Ryan was asked if it makes sense that Landry received a 15-yard penalty, the same as players that excessively celebrate or even Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was penalized 15 yards for taking off his helmet on the field.
Ryan said, “Well no, but I guess that is what I am getting at. The unsportsmanlike we are trying to clean that part of the game up there is no question about it and we should. We don’t need to do that type of stuff. I get it, a lot of kids are watching. I think those are great things. But for things that are blatant things like that, I am not sitting there just because this player did it to one of my players. I am saying in the game, this game is the greatest game in the world because of the players. It is not because of this or that. It is because of our players. To me we ought to protect our players at all costs. If there is a better way of doing it to take 15 yards and take a hit like that, there are many others as we know, and that is how guys get injured. We want to really protect our players, we need to look at things, maybe in the future we will look at things differently.”
Asked whether it helped Landry remained on the field and apologized, Ryan said, “Like I said before he has always been a physical player and a great player; I guess you just have to ask him. They say it is a football play, no, that is not. There is nothing about being physical about that play. Maybe after he did it he realized that. It is a rare group of guys that are able to play in this league. It is a rare fraternity. I don’t think any player wants to take out another player. You want to hit him physically, I guarantee you want to go in and hit that player as physical as you can, you want to hit them as hard as you can, but you want to do it within the confinements of the rules. That way we are protected. I think rules protect our players. That is what they are there. I am sure the kid realized that he made a terrible mistake.”
Said Bills center Eric Wood, “That’s garbage. Who knows if he knows he’s had prior neck injuries, but we’ll see if he gets fined more for that than the guys dancing.”
6. Let’s hear from Landry and the Dolphins …
Landry said, “If I could take that hit back, I would. The guy has a family to feed and this is his livelihood. You never want to see that happen to anybody, especially in this game, this game that we love.”
Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said, “I think it was such a fast play. His job is to come back on that play. His job is to take care of the safety, and that guy showed up really fast. He was coming downhill hard, and he was in a low position. I think, for him to make that hit, he has got to lower his target zone. It’s just like on defense. The rules are set up for players’ safety, and we have to do a better job as far as adjusting. When we put ourselves in that kind of position, you have to understand the situation that we’re going through. I know the way that Jarvis plays, it’s going to be aggressive, it’s going to be intense.
“And for anybody to start thinking (it was a) dirty play and things like that … I’ve been around the guy for less than a year; I haven’t seen that from him. When we coach him up on things, he’s trying to do it the right way. I know things happen really fast in the NFL, but those rules are put in place for a reason. We have to do a better job as far as coaching it and explain to him how he has to go about that play and then we need him to do it right, so we don’t get that kind of situation (and) then you’re avoiding guys getting hurt as well. So, that’s going to be something – moving forward – we have to just do a better job of it.”
Gase said it can be a fine line for players that are aggressive in their approach. He said of Landry, “I’m not going to change the way he plays. I call plays for him early in the game for him to set the tempo. When he goes down in the Pittsburgh game, and we’re first-and-20, and he gets 22 yards and puts his head down and runs three guys over and our entire sideline explodes and it sets the tempo for the game, that’s why he is who he is. The taunting penalty, that’s not what I want. But I need him to play the way he needs to play. We need to be smarter on those things. Between taunting and the post-play activities, we need to be smarter there, because we’re losing yards; but I want him to keep bringing his intensity every week.”
While admitting the play was a penalty, Miami offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said, “The effort, I don’t think it was malicious in any way. You can tell by even right after the hit that he has a concern for the well-being of the opponent. I just think that this thing is a high-aggression thing. You get the adrenaline going. Gosh, you love the effort. We got to lower that target a foot and get under his rib cage without putting any damper on the energy. That’s one of the great challenges of football is getting wide receivers to block. That’s not easy in this league.
“You just love what he has done for us tempo-wise, but we don’t want to hit anyone in the head. We don’t want to get 15-yard penalties, and we just got to lower the target. We can fix that. We can correct that. That’s an easy correction. The hard correction is to get someone who doesn’t want to block to block.”
Concluded special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, “Jarvis is a guy that plays right up to the edge. He plays right up to the line. He’s an emotional player. I think he’s probably gotten to this point in his career because of that. I think it’s probably a blessing and a curse maybe at times. But Jarvis is an emotional guy. I certainly wouldn’t want to change his personality. I love the way Jarvis plays the game. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind having 46 Jarvis Landrys out there with his intensity, his preparation, his enthusiasm.”
7-10. Offensive line play continues to be a problem in many NFL cities …
7. In Baltimore, rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley has missed the last four games, right guard Marshal Yanda has missed the last two and right tackle Rick Wagner has also missed some time. The Ravens got 10 yards rushing from their running backs Sunday.
Said head coach John Harbaugh, “It’s always way better to be healthy and have your best players on the field. We always have confidence that the guys we’re putting out there will get the job done. We have to play with the guys we got. I’m excited to get some guys back, I can tell you that. It’s going to help us a lot.”
8. In Seattle, the Seahawks were already struggling on their line, and then left tackle Bradley Sowell left Sunday night’s game against Arizona with a knee injury. He was replaced by undrafted free-agent rookie George Fant. For Sunday’s game at New Orleans, the Seahawks will consider moving right tackle Garry Gilliam to left tackle and inserting J’Marcus Webb at right tackle.
Sowell’s injury was to his MCL and he will be out a few weeks. As for Fant, head coach Pete Carroll said, “George jumped in there and we’ve been counting on young George to jump up at one of these times. We didn’t know when it was going to be. He did an admirable job for his first time ever and we’ll see how he goes.”
9. In Minnesota, head coach Mike Zimmer called his line “soft” Sunday, and Monday used the words “dumb” and “uncharacteristic” to describe his team’s play against the Eagles. He added, “We’re trying to figure out everything right now. This is a gut-check day. We’re going to change some things up this week.”
Last week, Zimmer was concerned about his team being complacent coming back from their bye with a 5-0 record and had some stuffed animal cats delivered to the team facility. Their throats were slit, and red paint was on the fake fur. In the locker room, there was a sign that said, “Fat Cats Get Slaughtered.”
Sounds like a premonition.
10. Meanwhile, with the trade deadline next Tuesday (Nov. 1), rumors are rampant that Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and 49ers left tackle Joe Staley might be on the trading block. Those teams have a combined record of 1-13.
On Thomas, Browns head coach Hue Jackson said, “We are not going to trade Joe Thomas. Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what we are trying to accomplish here in our future. There are a lot of reports, but that is what they are.”
49ers head coach Chip Kelly said of the Staley speculation, “That’s news to me. No one’s ever talked, had any discussions with me about Joe being traded. We need Joe here. I understand how it comes up because we’re 1-6 and Joe is a veteran player, but it doesn’t matter where you are, there’s going to be speculation no matter what team you are and where you are, who are your older players. It’s kind of the nature of the sport we play.”
Asked if he talked to Staley about the rumors, Kelly said, “No, I did not talk to Joe specifically about it. I don’t make it a habit of talking to our guys about erroneous reports.”
11. From the outhouse to the penthouse …
Miami running back Jay Ajayi was inactive for Week 1 and didn’t make the trip to Seattle when he was upset not to be a starter. Now, he’s on a record-setting tear, and the player that started in Week 1, Arian Foster, retired Monday.
In Sunday’s win against Buffalo, Ajayi rushed for 214 yards on 28 carries, to give him two straight games with at least 200 yards. In the previous week’s win against the Steelers, he rushed 25 times for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns, one a 62-yard run. Sunday, he had a 53-yard run and he now has 535 yards on 84 attempts, an average of 6.4.
Only three other backs in history have two consecutive 200-yard games and two are in the Hall of Fame: O.J. Simpson (1973 and 1976), Earl Campbell (1980) and Ricky Williams (2002).
Left tackle Branden Albert, who missed some time earlier in the season, isn’t surprised by what’s happened. He said, “I always tell people to get their panties out of a bunch, but all of you all laugh at me when I say it. It’s the truth. We’re not trying to toot our horns or nothing, but it’s still early season and I know things (were) looking ugly for us in certain games, but we didn’t have all of our guns in. Now we’ve got everybody healthy and everybody working, and we’ve just got to continue doing our job.”
Said head coach Adam Gase, “I think just two weeks in a row now we’ve had the type of energy, attitude, speed that we’re looking for on Sundays. You didn’t see anybody waver when we were down. You saw a bunch of guys just kept fighting. You saw both sides of the ball trying to encourage each other. They were playing off each other.”
Last week, Ajayi offered to take his offensive line to dinner, but they said not yet.
Said Ajayi, “I just wanted to show some appreciation to those guys. They kind of just told me, ‘It’s not a one hit thing,’ and ‘Let’s do it again.’ And lo and behold, we did it again. Really, we’re kind of just saving (the dinner) I guess for after the season when we can look back on what we’ve accomplished this year and really be able to hang our hat on something. Right now, it’s about just pushing forward and keep building.”
As for Foster, who had just 22 carries for 55 yards this season and had been inactive recently, he released his retirement statement on the Twitter account of Uninterrupted, an athlete website owned by LeBron James: “There comes a time in every athlete’s career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page. I’ve reached that point. It’s hard to write those words because this game has been everything to me.”
12. Jacquizz leads the Bucs. Tampa Bay was playing without running back Doug Martin, who had been expected to play Sunday at San Francisco when the team returned from their bye. But Martin aggravated his hamstring injury, and it was up to Jacquizz Rodgers to come through again. And he did.
A fifth-round pick by the Falcons in 2011, Rodgers’ best season was in 2012 when he rushed for 362 yards and averaged 3.9 per attempt. Sunday against the 49ers, he had 26 rushes for 154 yards, a week after having 30 attempts for 101 yards. He is now at 324 yards for the season and is averaging 4.7 a carry. Rodgers was in camp with the Bears, but was cut Sept. 4 and signed by Tampa Bay Sept. 13.
He said, “When you’ve got guys up front, blocking like they are, finishing through the whistle, it makes my job a lot easier. I’ve been waiting on this moment. For me, I just try to get better and better every week. I try to top my performance from the previous week. That’s my goal.”
13. Vinatieri snags record. It was no surprise when Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri hit his only two field goal attempts Sunday to break Mike Vanderjagt’s all-time record of 42 consecutive field goals. Vinatieri has 43, and the question now is how long the streak will last. Notably, the average field goal length during his streak is 40.0 yards while Vanderjagt’s was 32.7.
Said Colts special teams coordinator, Tom McMahon, “With Adam Vinatieri, he lives in the moment. He’s not going to look at the records (until) later on in life; he’s not going to look at what he’s done in the past. He looks at that play, that moment, what he has to do, where he’s got to put his eyes, where he’s got to put his foot, and it’s that simple. And he makes it that simple, and he does it that way every single time. And those guys are the special guys in this league.”
14. Running on empty. When the subject of the Seattle running game is broached, most of the focus is on the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. However, the biggest loss might be quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson is playing, but knee and ankle injuries have made him a shell of his former self as a runner. In his first four seasons, Wilson rushed for 2,463 yards with 12 touchdowns and an average per attempt of 5.7. Last season, he rushed for 553 yards. His career high was 849 in 2014. This year; not so much. In seven games, Wilson has a mere 33 yards on 22 runs and no touchdowns.
15. Quinn in defense mode. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn gambled in overtime Sunday and lost. The result was a 33-30 loss to San Diego. On fourth-and-1 from his own 45-yard line, Quinn decided to go for the first down despite a third-and-1 play failing. Running back Devonta Freeman was dropped for a 1-yard loss, and six plays later Chargers kicker Josh Lambo was successful on a 42-yard field goal to win the game.
Said Quinn, “I know that you’ve heard hundreds of times that it is a gut call on when to go. I understand that when it’s a good one, it’s a gutsy call. When it’s a bad one, you blew it. I understand that; it comes with the job. What I have learned from the coaches that I worked with and now that I get to call it on my own, we are going to play our style and we are going to play aggressively.
“We had a good look for the play and we didn’t execute it. So, sometimes when you have that fastball, you throw that fastball. We are very good at running that play and we didn’t execute it on that one. We had a missed assignment, where we didn’t get the job done. Free didn’t really have a chance to get going. The linebacker ran through. It’s a play that we are comfortable running, but we didn’t execute at a really critical time for us.”
Meanwhile, for the second consecutive week, Quinn was bothered by a non-call on potential pass interference on wide receiver Julio Jones that would have got them closer than an eventual 58-yard field-goal attempt that kicker Matt Bryant missed at the end of regulation. The previous week, Jones had his arm pulled by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on a play that would have put them in position for a field goal in a game they lost 26-24.
Said Quinn, “He’s a big, physical player and there is a lot of contact that happens near him, but as far as why on certain ones (there is no call), that will be something I will discuss with the league. I don’t have an answer for why there is not more fouls.”
Jones claimed an official told him there was no flag because the ball wasn’t able to be caught even though Jones said he got a hand on it with cornerback Steve Williams pulling on his arm similar to Sherman.
16. Denzel does it. The linebacker that “ran through” to blow up the Falcons’ final play Sunday was Denzel Perryman. He didn’t play against Denver in the team’s previous game because of a shoulder injury, but gutted out 34 of 65 snaps against Atlanta. Not only did he have the tackle on fourth-and-1, but he intercepted a Matt Ryan pass that led to the game-tying field goal in the fourth quarter and had 6 other tackles.
He said after the game, “Right now, with all the adrenaline going on, I don’t feel anything. I’m too happy. But when I get on that plane, I know that I’m going to feel everything. I just sucked it up during the game and gave it all I’ve got.”
On the interception, he said, “I’m surprised I caught the ball. The ball was coming right to me and I was saying to myself, ‘Don’t drop it.’ I should have got more yards. But it feels good to make a big play.”
The run stop came when “I just got nice and low and shot the gap. The lineman couldn’t get his hands on me and I just got Freeman’s leg and hung on.”
Head coach Mike McCoy said of Perryman’s effort, “He knows what he means to this football team. He just didn’t want to come off the field. He came out for a couple plays, felt a little better and went back out there. It’s those type of players that you need when the game is on the line.”
17. Playing in Arizona has been a house of horrors for Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka. During his career, Hauschka has missed a total of 20 field goal attempts and has a success percentage of 86.7, currently fourth-highest in NFL history. However, eight misses have come at University of Phoenix Stadium where he hooked a 28-yard attempt Sunday night that would have won the game in overtime.
Head coach Pete Carroll admitted, “We were aware of it going in. We didn’t talk about it very much because we didn’t want it to happen again.”
It did. In fact, in 43 games at home in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, he has missed eight kicks. His eight misses in Arizona have been in six games.
Concluded Carroll, “For whatever reason, something about the turf there; Calais Campbell and those guys have had a lot of blocks over the years, they’ve done a real nice job. It just has been a place that he has not kicked very well. He’s always come through for us, and we’ll continue to count on him. He’s a great performer and competitor.”
Sunday night, even on one of the kicks he made, his foot hit the turf, but the ball line-drived through the uprights.
18. Being careful with Jamaal. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles had some swelling in his knee last week, and while he was active for Sunday’s game against New Orleans he played just two snaps and had 1 carry for no yards.
Head coach Andy Reid said, “His knee acted up after the last game. It was up and down kind of throughout the week. We were doing OK without him in there and I felt like we could get by with that. Does he want to play? Yeah, he wants to play. We got a long season here, so it seems like there is a rush on it, but when you really look at what’s real, it’s a long season. We’ll need him as we go. I’m trying to be as patient as possible – be smart with it – is really what I’m trying to do. It’s not that one guy is doing better than the other – that has nothing to do with that. We’re not hiding something. There’s no game involved here. I’m just telling you what’s real.
“His leg wasn’t feeling right. He had a little tweak in there. It’s not a big thing. But why, why push it? Where we are at right now, why do that? We’re trying to be smart with him.”
19. Game ball for Andy. Kansas City’s win over the Saints came in Reid’s 300th game as a head coach and was his 176th victory. Afterward, owner Clark Hunt gave him a game ball. Asked what that means to him, Reid said, “Well I appreciate him doing that. I’m not all that big on all that. I’m still waiting for my win total to exceed my weight. That’s going to be a couple more wins.”
20. Talk about delusional. It’s one thing to be supportive of your team and teammates. It’s quite another to be residing in another galaxy. That’s the only explanation for what some of the 49ers players said after Sunday’s home loss to Tampa Bay that dropped their record to 1-6.
Said linebacker Aaron Lynch, “We have the team. We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”
This, mind you, came after allowing the Buccaneers to total 513 yards.
Safety Eric Reid said it’s only minor things that need to be cleaned up. He claimed, “I love this scheme. If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”
21. Speaking of the Bucs. Tampa Bay was helped Sunday by the return of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Head coach Dirk Koetter was effusive in talking about McCoy’s impact on the team’s defense. He said, “I think Gerald gets a bad rap sometimes; people don’t appreciate what he brings to the table. Having coached against him, you’ve got to double-team him or your guards are going to struggle to block him. Your center definitely can’t block him single. He can beat a double team and when he does get singled he’s going to get penetration. He had a sack, caused a fumble – we didn’t get that fumble.
“I said Gerald was going to be on a pitch count; he played 64 plays, I think he took himself out one time. A lot of the players that come back after a three-week absence, they look a little rusty out there and we had a couple guys that were in that category. Gerald did not look rusty, he looked like he was right back in Pro Bowl form. Gerald is one of those unique players that makes the other guys around him better and we were very happy to have him back.”
22. Thursday in doubt for Norman. The Redskins don’t play Thursday, but their plane leaves for London in advance of their game Sunday against the Bengals. That could be problematical for cornerback Josh Norman, who suffered a concussion Sunday and it might be difficult for him to be cleared in time from the concussion protocol to travel.
“We just have to wait and see,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “I think he’ll have to see the doctor again tomorrow (Tuesday) and take the necessary steps and hopefully Thursday will be the last time he sees him and we’ll have to get an answer before obviously we leave Thursday night. Usually Thursday is the time we see him anyway. So hopefully by then we’ll have a good answer. We’ll have to have one by then, without a doubt.”
The Colts were 0-3 on the road entering Sunday’s game at Tennessee and the previous two losses were by three points each including the previous Sunday’s loss in overtime to Houston. After the 34-26 victory against the Titans, quarterback Andrew Luck said, “A locker room after a win, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a more joyful spot in the world. It’s addicting. You wish you weren’t so much of a slave to that feeling, that emotion. But you are. There’s a lot that we still need to clean up. But to find a way to win that game … it’s good to finish it that way.”