Not all bye weeks are created equal. A week off is always helpful, but sometimes they're too early (See: 2015 Season, The) and sometimes they come when you 're a on a roll, stopping all momentum dead in it's tracks. Winners of four straight, on paper it sure looks like we're on a roll, but I can promise you we are decidedly not. This bye week is coming at a wonderful time for this team, and I am very much looking forward to it.
How lame was this game? I suppose it was too much to ask to have another relaxing affair after the gift that was the Falcons game, but this one should have been. Not just because the Chargers STINK either. It's because in the first half we out snapped them 85-3 (numbers approx) and it was a one score game. Two things really get my blood boiling in this world. Not finishing your beer, and leaving points on the board. I held up my end of the bargain on Sunday, I'd like Tom and Co. to start doing the same.
Part of the reason the Chargers were still in striking distance at the end of the game was the missing 6 points due to Stevie G going wide left and wide right. Listen, the guy has been nails this year. And his work in the kick off game is a thing of beauty. And he hit four other field goals yesterday. And it was pretty windy at Gillette. And, and, and, and, and. BUT, I gotta have one of those kicks. I'm not saying he's not allowed to miss ever. It's the multiple misses in one game that can really burn you. You're already pissed about settling for a FG, so when you get nothing it's incredibly deflating for the whole team. It's like places that fuck up my delivery order. I wait an hour (march all the way down the field) and then you bring me the wrong pizza (miss the kick.) The first time? Fuck man, it happens. You do it twice? I'm gonna be forced to lose your number (cut you from the team)
The worst part of this whole game was the opening driving of the second half. I really wanted to come out guns blazing and put this thing away. Cue DIDI ripping the kick off 71 yards to the Chargers 25. Lets go!!!!!! Easy score here and we're not looking back. Then we go three straight incompletions and a Stevie shank. That was the most un-Patriot stretch of football I've seen in a minute. I've said my peace about the kick, but the first down throw to Cooks was inexcusable. No one was covering him, so Tom called an ALERT, quick snapped it, and threw it to the Chef on the line of scrimmage. The idea being just get him the ball so he can run with it since no one is there. It's playing catch. Just throw him the ball. Instead, Tom took the quick snap and fired the ball into the ground. If he threw it two yards shorter they might have called fucking grounding. Horrible, horrible throw.
Speaking of wasted special teams plays, what in the actual FUCK was Travis Benjamin (from!? THE U) doing on that punt return. Sometimes when I'm playing flag football you will see kids trying to do too much out there. Thinking they can go horizontal and out run the entire team. It's amateur hour. This was worse. And don't get it twisted, the other tb12 on the field can return punts.
So I'm a little confused as to why he thought the best plan of attack after muffing that kick was to pick the ball up and run backwards into his own end zone. It was one of those surreal moments where you assume you are wrong, because the reality makes no sense. I was thinking to myself, that's either the correct end zone and he's about to sore a tuddy, or I dont know the rules of football, or I guess maybe someone dared Travis to give us a safety on this play, telling him 'you wont!' Never would have guessed it was door number 3.
I thought the secondary played pretty well, all things considered. Gilmore and Rowe are dead bodies at this point and the Chargers have some weapons that can torch you over the top. Holding Flip Rivers to 17/30 for 212 yards and a tuddy is a stat line I would sign up for every week. Malcolm was roasted by Benjamin on that fourth quarter score that looked like a combination of an embarrassing jam attempt and a coverage miscommunication, which is never good. I thought bad boy Bademosi looked like he was in a great position all night, while also being the victim of another brutal DPI call. I might be off base on Bad's night after I saw this tweet:
I'll let you guess which side of the field Malcolm was playing. But from the eye test alone, I'm more than fine with Bad's game tape.
Last week I demanded David Harris play 25 snaps in the wake of the true king High's torn pec. He didn't quite get there but he was close, playing 21 snaps on D. It could have been more if the Chargers had the ball ever, which they didn't. He had some good pressure on that weird play where Flip fumbled while pump faking, and I saw him in the back field a few times. I'm disappointed that clearly we are still easing him into this. I hoped it was a depth chart issue and not a stamina/learning the system issue. But I'm happy with what he was doing while he was in, and we have to believe those snap totals will be trending up. I guess there were worse ways to spend $5 million after all.
I don't know how many times I have to say it about Cassius Marsh. Him and his stupid cross eye black has been better than I expected while playing waaaaaay more than anyone expected. He has flashed with some big impact plays from week to week, but no one has ever set the edge worse than this fuck wad. That's your number 1 job, BRO. Plenty of people messed up to allow Melvin Gordon to run for an 87 yard tuddy, but watching Marsh get shoved inside by a pulling guard to spring Gordon was the cherry on top of that shit sundae. I know we ask a lot of edge players, it's not a job everyone can do, but usually if you can't be trusted Bill wont even play you. Marsh is getting time. Bill must trust him to some degree. Maybe he shows he can do it in practice. But so far we're good for at least one major break down per game with him, and that's not gonna fly with me. I need NINK out of retirement yesterday, but I'm starting to feel like there's a better chance that I eat more Halloween candy than I hand out (which is a certainty) than me seeing NINK on game days again.
Cannon turned an ankle in the second quarter and didn't return. Waddle was very sturdy on fill in duty. Tommy was sacked three times again, but I've been pleased with this group's effort lately. Scar finally has them comfortable. Hopefully Cannon is in the Malcom Brown category of just get him some rest now and use the bye, and both will be ready to go in week 10.
In other injury news, Hoags took a helmet to the arm on a crushing hit. Live, my friends freaked out. Guaranteeing broken bones at best, possible arm amputation at worst. (Not that funny, actually, after reading about the Zach Miller injury.) I was positive he had a stinger and would be right back on the field. When it cut to him on the bench flexing his shoulder around I declared him fine. But it appears I might have fallen into the Hightower yucking it up on the bench trap again. Because eventually Hoags was taken to the locker room and left in a sling. Rapoport reported that best case is a sprained AC joint. That's what Jimmy G did after Kiko Alonso pile drove him into the turf last year. That kept Jimmy out the next 2 weeks, but it was rumored he was close to going in that week 4 game. Plus that was on his throwing shoulder and he's a QB. If that's the diagnosis for Hoags, I'm confident he can play after the bye. But cross your fingers on that because we would need some major help at WR if he were to be lost for significant time.
Since I'm now thinking about that prospect, I was back to be disappointed with Cookie. The 5 grabs is all I ever ask him for but the 26 yards is brutal. If he mixed in his usual 40 yarder in there and finished with 6 for 60, then I'm so fine. We were running a lot of short routes and they have a lethal pass rush, so maybe the big shots weren't there, but he just seems to vanish. We couldn't move the ball to save our damn lives and I barely heard Cooks name get called. Jules would never let that happen if he was still alive. I want DinDin to rise up in big moments. Haven't seen much of that expect for his MONSTER final drive in the Houston game.
Our pass catching running backs are so fucking money they don't even know it. Sweet Feet led the way in receiving yards for the whole team, going for 85 yards on 5 grabs. And Burk led the team in receptions with 7 for 68. They're such weapons for a QB like Tom and a coordinator like Josh. I know we have that "pony" formation with two running backs, we've used it a few times, but I feel like DIDI is usually involved. I'd love to see a few pony sets with Rexy and Sweet Feet, and Gronk as the lone TE. Try stopping that on third downs with your linebackers covering them.
Heading into the bye with a win, especially when you don't play well, is a huge boost. We played horrible defense at the beginning of the year. We're playing horrible offensively now. The injuries are piling up. It's hard to fight the "its just not our fucking year" feeling. But then again, who am I really worried about?? The fact that this team is 6-2 after all the problems we've had is more surprising than Bran Stark waiting so long to tell Jon who his parents are. Lets rest the fuck up, get the offense clicking, get the D cleaned up, and play our best football moving forward. The season doesn't start until after Thanksgiving, and until further notice I'm #1 seed or bust.
Hey Dwayne Allen, nice 20 snaps and no catches. Go fuck yourself.