Halloween is developing on Saturday, so it won’t be too shocking that the NFL delivered a Week 7 full of mysteries.

The week began and ended with dramatic comeback victories, and within the center, we had a half-hour of sheer chaos at the end of the early-afternoon window on Sunday. Followers of the Bengals and Falcons won’t contemplate blowing late results in be one thing new or inexplicable, however the Browns and Lions followers who benefited won’t know what to do with themselves after heartbreakers truly went their method.

Let’s run by way of the unsolved (or misunderstood) mysteries of Week 7 and attempt to unravel what truly occurred. We’ll begin with the very last thing we noticed: Sunday night’s overtime thriller in the desert:

Soar to a Week 7 thriller:
How did DK Metcalf catch Budda Baker?
How did Todd Gurley forget to fall down?
Why did Daniel Jones fall down untouched?
How did Davante Adams end up wide open?
What is Garett Bolles talking about?
What’s wrong with Cam Newton?

How did a group lastly topple the Seahawks?

One of many few guidelines we have been in a position to rely on this season is that the Seahawks all the time appear to discover a method to come out on prime, no matter how bizarre or unlikely the trail they take to get there. Final yr, the method for them to win shut video games was maddening. They’d bumble round for 2 or three quarters, ask Russell Wilson to bail them out within the fourth, after which declare a slim victory.

It has been completely different in 2020. Wilson has been taking part in at an MVP stage. The protection has not. Regardless of rating twenty sixth in defensive DVOA, although, the protection has give you stops when the sport is on the road. Bobby Wagner got here up with a fourth-and-goal cease to seal the win over the Patriots in Week 2 and a fourth-and-1 cease to increase the sport and hand the ball again to the offense towards the Vikings in Week 5. The Seahawks’ go rush got here up with a pair of three-man pressures to finish the sport towards the Cowboys in Week 3.

The protection did extra of the identical in Sunday night’s 37-34 overtime loss to the Cardinals. Whereas the Cardinals have been in a position to transfer the ball all through the sport, Seattle’s protection got here up with large performs. It stuffed the Cardinals early within the recreation on a goal-to-go collection after DK Metcalf‘s instantly legendary chase-down of Budda Baker. It picked off Kyler Murray within the fourth quarter when the rating was 27-24. After a Seattle landing, the Seahawks stopped the Cardinals on third-and-12 with 3:02 to go and compelled them into an extended area purpose. In time beyond regulation, they held up on third-and-3 with 25 seconds to go and compelled Arizona into one other lengthy area purpose try.

The problem with that method is that it depends upon the offense and particular groups to be almost excellent, they usually weren’t. Wilson threw three interceptions, together with one in time beyond regulation to arrange the Cardinals with a brief area. Seattle had a game-winning landing from Metcalf in time beyond regulation known as again for holding. A leverage penalty on Benson Mayowa on a Cardinals area purpose try gave Arizona a brand new set of downs with three minutes to go, which it then used to attain a landing and pull inside three. (The Patriots’ and Cowboys’ drives have been ones that wanted touchdowns versus area targets as a product of failed two-pointers, missed further factors and safeties from muffed kickoffs.)

ESPN Every day podcast: Bill Barnwell on a wild Week 7

Among the many groups with a transparent and apparent shot at profitable the Tremendous Bowl, none have a extra apparent weak point than the Seahawks do with their go rush. They rank twenty ninth within the league in each sack price and stress price. They appear higher by ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric, however in Week 7, their 20% PRWR was the worst of any group within the league. Pete Carroll’s protection did not sack and even knock down Murray as a passer as soon as throughout 48 dropbacks. By the tip of the sport, the Seattle entrance seven was working on fumes as Murray and Chase Edmonds ran round them. The Cardinals, in the meantime, have been in a position to warmth up Wilson with sim pressures late within the recreation, stopping the MVP favourite from delivering the knockout blow.

Seattle has simply $3.7 million in cap room, however in a yr wherein Wilson is taking part in out of his thoughts, it has a lot to realize from solidifying that go rush. The Seahawks ought to attempt to make a transfer earlier than the Nov. 3 trade deadline, however it’s a place additionally they can attempt to handle as veterans hit the market afterward. Final yr, the Chiefs might need solely claimed Terrell Suggs on waivers to attempt to maintain him away from the Ravens, who have been Suggs’ desired vacation spot. As a substitute, he discovered himself taking part in significant snaps within the Tremendous Bowl for Kansas Metropolis. Common supervisor John Schneider has to search out his Suggs, as a result of with this present protection, Wilson has little margin for error.

It was a quiet recreation from Metcalf, who noticed heavy doses of Patrick Peterson and completed with two catches for 23 yards, however he helped swing seven factors for Seattle with an incredible tackle on Arizona’s star safety. I am going to let the dots break down what occurred right here:

Metcalf additionally has six inches on Baker, so even if he began the play greater than 10 yards away from Baker on the time of the interception, the vast receiver’s lengthy strides allowed him to make up the bottom and convey down Baker yards wanting the tip zone. The Seahawks then stored the Cardinals out of the tip zone on 4 goal-to-go makes an attempt to maintain the rating at 13-7. Baker, who did not have an interception in any of his first 50 professional video games, picked off an Andy Dalton go final week after which almost had a 98-yard pick-six this week. He took the near-miss in stride:

What was Kliff Kingsbury pondering in time beyond regulation?

For many of the recreation on Sunday, the Arizona coach did a reasonably good job together with his recreation administration. He was proper to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line on that post-interception possession, given what number of factors the Cardinals have been doubtless going to want to beat the Seahawks.

Whereas Arizona’s drive down 10 within the fourth quarter wasn’t significantly quick, Kingsbury additionally was proper to take the factors off the board after Mayowa’s penalty to attempt to rating a landing, one thing different coaches would not have achieved. It is true that you simply want a area purpose and a landing to tie the rating in some order, however when you get the ball deep into opposing territory, you need to reap the benefits of that drive to get your landing. The Mayowa name gave the Cardinals the ball contained in the pink zone, and the Cardinals have been proper to make use of that second to go after the landing they wanted.

Kingsbury’s dealing with of the scenario in time beyond regulation, although, left quite a bit to be desired. After the Cardinals obtained an enormous play out of Edmonds and a primary down out of Murray, they’d the ball on Seattle’s 18-yard line with 3:36 to go. Spikes apart, every of their offensive performs for the reason that Mayowa penalty had produced a minimal of 6 yards and a median of 13.5 yards. They have been gashing an exhausted Seahawks protection, and whereas they have been in area purpose vary, they weren’t shut sufficient to actually be in what could be thought-about as chip shot territory. Working extra performs would have included the chance of a turnover, however Arizona additionally may have scored a landing or burned sufficient day off the clock to forestall the Seahawks from having a shot at profitable the sport if Zane Gonzalez missed his attempt.

As a substitute, issues went pear-shaped. Kingsbury apparently known as for Murray to maneuver the ball to the left hashmark, however tight finish Darrell Daniels missed his block on Seahawks security Ryan Neal and Murray misplaced 5 yards. Now, the Cardinals have been going through a 41-yard area purpose versus a 36-yard attempt. Arizona then despatched Gonzalez onto the sphere and had the clock run all the way in which down earlier than frantically calling timeout to keep away from a delay of recreation. Within the course of, they iced Gonzalez, who hit his first try. I am undecided icing the kicker is an actual factor or has a significant impact, however as a substitute of making an attempt to maneuver the ball to select up the misplaced yardage, the Cardinals despatched him again out and noticed their younger kicker miss his would-be recreation winner.

On the ultimate offensive snap of the sport, Kingsbury despatched out a shocking playcall. Arizona had a third-and-3 on the Seattle 30-yard line, which might end in a 48-yard area purpose if the Cardinals did not choose up any yardage. With 25 seconds left within the recreation, it had sufficient time to select up a completion for a primary down, spike to cease the clock, and kick a neater area purpose. As a substitute, Kingsbury’s playcall noticed three receivers run vertical routes, with Murray making an attempt a low-percentage throw on one of many three to Christian Kirk for an incomplete go.

Murray did have Larry Fitzgerald matched up towards a linebacker in Bobby Wagner beneath on an choice route, however it was shocking to see Kingsbury not ship out a higher-percentage go idea to attempt to create a neater area purpose. In the long run, Gonzalez hit the 48-yarder to win an epic recreation. It wasn’t the one back-and-forth battle from this weekend …

How did Todd Gurley neglect to fall down on the purpose line?

The Falcons and Lions each have a behavior of dropping shut video games in crushing vogue, so when the 2 get collectively, the outcomes are normally infuriating. In 2014, the 2 groups performed out one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen in London. In 2017, trailing by 4 factors with 12 seconds left from the Atlanta 1-yard line, the Lions managed to finish a go and nonetheless lose; a display to Golden Tate was dominated a landing, however when Tate was marked a half-yard wanting the purpose line on overview, the ensuing 10-second runoff ended the sport. (If you happen to miss NFL crowds, watch this clip, hearken to the bellowing boos when the decision is reversed, and listen to the referee say “By rule, we’d return to a working clock” as if he concurrently hopes it will placate the Lions followers and is aware of it will make them even madder anyway.)

It should not be a shock that the 2020 matchup produced one other wild ending. Late within the recreation, the Falcons trailed by two factors and confronted a first-and-10 from the Detroit 10-yard line. Since there was just one:12 to go and the Lions have been out of timeouts, not like the Cardinals, the Falcons have been able the place they might kneel twice and kick a chip shot to win. Younghoe Koo would have been making an attempt a 28-yard area purpose, and over the previous decade, kickers have hit from that vary roughly 97% of the time. Koo was additionally kicking indoors and would have had the flexibility to name out his most popular hashmark to Matt Ryan.

As a substitute, only one play after Gurley had fumbled (and recovered his personal fumble), offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter selected at hand the ball to the veteran working again. Gurley broke by way of the road, and when Lions security Will Harris halfheartedly tried to deal with him, Gurley broke the deal with and proceeded toward the end zone. He was about to attain essentially the most damaging landing of his profession. If he had simply gone down on the 1-yard line, the Falcons may have continued to run the clock down and kicked a good simpler area purpose.

If anybody ought to know what to do on this scenario, in fact, it is Gurley. You would possibly argue that an athlete cannot resist the urge to attain a landing and put his group forward when the sport is on the road, however Gurley did simply that twice within the 2018 season. He turned down a touchdown in October to seal up a win over the Packers, after which did it in a more marginal situation later that season against the Lions, to the purpose wherein the Rams truly despatched Gurley again out to attain the landing.

This time, although, Gurley realized that he wanted to fall down one second too late. It was as if Harris’ disinterest in tackling him reminded Gurley that he did not need to rating. Gurley tried to cease himself and maintain the ball out of the tip zone, just for his momentum to hold the ball over the airplane of the purpose line. We have been left with the weird picture of a working again making an attempt to not rating the lead-taking landing whereas the opposing protection celebrated by throwing up the landing image.



Todd Gurley bursts up the center towards the tip zone and tries to cease himself from scoring in an try and run day off the clock, however the ball breaks the airplane of the purpose line for a landing.

To be clear, I do not fault Gurley for scoring. Koetter by no means ought to have given Gurley the ball within the first place. In that Packers recreation two years in the past, the Rams solely wanted to kneel after Gurley’s run to wrap up the sport. On this recreation, the Falcons nonetheless needed to kick a area purpose, which has just a few shifting elements. As soon as the Falcons gave Gurley the ball whereas they have been trailing, they can not count on him to not run the ball in.

I would wish to say what occurred subsequent appeared preordained, however it wasn’t like what occurred subsequent was simple. The Falcons transformed a two-pointer to make it 22-16. The Lions drove downfield with three completions, together with a miraculous catch from Kenny Golladay for 29 yards with three seconds left on the clock. (If you happen to’re a Falcons fan questioning why that catch did not end in a runoff, it is as a result of the choice stood as known as.) Matthew Stafford then hit T.J. Hockenson for an 11-yard landing to tie the rating, just for Danny Amendola to be known as for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play. The Lions have been truly left with a 48-yard further level to win the sport, which Matt Prater hit to seal up a tragic flip of occasions for the Falcons.

Why did Daniel Jones run 80 yards and fall down?

Gurley did not fall down when he needed to. Jones, alternatively, fell down when he needed to remain up. With the Giants trailing 10-7 within the third quarter of the Thursday night game against the Eagles, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett known as for a zone-read idea with Jones and working again Wayne Gallman. The zone-read has been within the NFL for a decade now, and the idea is straightforward. Jones reads the defensive finish on the road of scrimmage as he goes at hand the ball to Gallman. If the tip stays exterior, Gallman will get the soccer. If the tip crashes inside, Jones retains it and runs exterior.

One widespread protection for the zone-read is to do what is called a scrape-exchange, the place the defensive finish crashes inside and a linebacker or security on the second stage exchanges gaps with that defender and scrapes exterior to take the quarterback. My suspicion is that the Eagles have been dealing with the zone-read this manner, however whereas Brandon Graham minimize inside to go after Gallman, security Rodney McLeod … adopted him inside. Suddenly, Jones had daylight, and he ran for a very long time.

After working for about 60 yards and topping out at over 21 mph, although, he tried to achieve for the afterburners to get the remainder of the way in which, solely to search out out that the afterburners weren’t functioning. Jones started to lose stride and finally fell to the bottom untouched. It was a disgrace, too, as I do not suppose he actually wanted to get sooner; we have heard tales of gamers utilizing the enormous screens in the long run zones to see the place gamers are behind them, however as somebody who would not usually run 60 yards untouched, he did not know what number of steps he had on the Philly protection and felt like he wanted an additional gear.

Jones was understandably the topic of punchlines the next day, though that is a bit of harsh. I do not suppose I may run 80 yards with out falling down, and as I noted on Twitter, the ghost who tackled Jones could be the Cowboys’ finest security. No much less of an authority on athletic brilliance than Patrick Mahomes additionally recommended he would struggle to run all the way on a 92-yard keeper for a score. The Giants finally obtained the ball in the long run zone in a while the drive, so Jones’ blunder did not imply all that a lot in the long term.

As a substitute, it has truly distracted from extra significant issues. Jones continues to be a turnover machine, and whereas he wasn’t actually the one responsible for a second-quarter interception, the second-year quarterback continues to wrestle creating any kind of really feel for opposing go stress. His consolation stage within the pocket could be a blessing compared to different quarterbacks who wrestle to maintain their eyes upfield, however he takes too many surprising hits, and people hits result in fumbles. Graham strip-sacked Jones after he held the ball for 3.6 seconds late within the fourth quarter, with Philadelphia recovering to seal its one-point victory.

It is method too early to make any kind of daring proclamations about new Giants coach Joe Choose, however the way in which the Giants misplaced this recreation needs to be disheartening. Choose got here into city this spring as a disciplinarian who preached that the Giants would concentrate on fundamentals and be a blue-collar soccer group.

After the Giants went up 21-10 with a bit of over six minutes to go within the recreation, they appeared to neglect the whole lot Choose had been preaching. They dedicated 5 penalties on protection and added a sixth on particular groups, which had been Choose’s specialty in New England. Cornerback Ryan Lewis by some means obtained beat deep on the primary drive whereas staring into the backfield when the Eagles desperately wanted an enormous play downfield. Evan Engram dropped what would have been a drive-extending go from Jones with 2:14 to go. Choose cannot flip Jones into Mahomes or Kyler Fackrell into Lawrence Taylor, however the 38-year-old has recommended he could make a distinction by getting the Giants to do the little issues proper. With an opportunity to upset a division rival, the Giants did each little factor improper, and that dashed their probabilities much more than Jones’ slip-up.

Early within the season, it seemed just like the Patriots had discovered a cut price at quarterback. A wholesome Newton ran over the Dolphins in Week 1 and produced a massive game against the Seahawks in Week 2, coming inside a yard of beating one of many league’s finest groups. Newton wasn’t fairly as efficient in Week 3 against the Raiders, and after contracting the coronavirus earlier than the following week’s game against the Chiefs, he sat out for 3 weeks.

Since returning to the sphere on Oct. 18 against the Broncos, the previous league MVP has been terrible. In consecutive losses to the Broncos and 49ers, he has gone 26-of-40 for 255 yards with 5 interceptions. His Total QBR over that timeframe is simply 12.5, a determine that solely Joe Flacco did not hit over that very same window. Most of Newton’s manufacturing towards the Broncos got here within the fourth quarter, however he did not even make it to the fourth quarter on Sunday, with Invoice Belichick benching his starter for Jarrett Stidham.

If it is attainable, Newton seems worse than even these numbers would point out. The 31-year-old was making correct passes downfield earlier this season, however he seems completely out of whack over the previous two weeks. He has developed a sudden behavior of one-hopping throws, even on quick passes out into the flat. His completion proportion over expectation hasn’t been horrible — he’s 2.5% under expectation over the previous two weeks — however his passes have been in every single place.

It could be simple to chalk up Newton’s play to a recurrence of an outdated damage and recommend that his surgically repaired shoulder or foot are giving him issues, however neither appears doubtless. He has nonetheless proven zip on a few of his throws when obligatory. The Auburn product’s foot damage prompted him to sail passes a yr in the past, so the issues he is having now are the precise reverse. There have been ideas that Newton might have injured his hand in the Broncos game, and when it comes to his inaccuracy, that kind of damage would take advantage of sense. If his hand actually was injured, although, it appears doubtless that we’d have heard about it by now.

It appears extra believable that Newton is not 100% as he recovers from a debilitating virus. Whereas among the gamers across the league who’ve contracted COVID-19 have been in a position to get previous it whereas remaining asymptomatic or exhibiting solely delicate signs, the virus would not impression each participant the identical method. On Sunday, we heard in regards to the story of Jaguars working again Ryquell Armstead, who was positioned on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist earlier than the season started. Since then, the 23-year-old has been hospitalized twice and handled severe respiratory points. He is now expected to miss the remainder of the season.

It is also truthful to level out that the Patriots actually haven’t got a lot round Newton proper now, particularly after they lose gamers to damage. In opposition to the Broncos, the Pats have been with out one star guard in Shaq Mason. On Sunday, the Pats misplaced their different beginning guard, franchise-tagged Joe Thuney, after 23 snaps. Broad receiver N’Keal Harry was knocked out of the sport after taking successful on a crossing sample, whereas Julian Edelman was a nonfactor and seems to be taking part in at properly lower than 100%. New England’s prime receiver in the intervening time is Damiere Byrd.

On the identical time, even given the problems round him, Newton is just not taking part in properly. The issue is that Belichick would not actually have another. Stidham is 11-of-23 for 124 yards with three picks in two substitute appearances. Brian Hoyer was benched halfway by way of his spot begin towards the Chiefs. Newton has a a lot increased ceiling than both of Belichick’s different choices, which is why the legendary coach mentioned Newton would continue to be his team’s starter. Except Newton can increase his flooring, although, Belichick goes to have loads of time in January to film more sandwich commercials.

Who’s taking part in quarterback for the Cowboys?

It is getting darkish terrible early for the Cowboys, who adopted their 38-10 loss to the Cardinals by losing 25-3 to the Washington Football Team on Sunday. It is simply the second time previously 15 years that they’ve misplaced by 21 factors or extra in consecutive weeks, with the earlier occasion coming when Ezekiel Elliott was suspended in 2017.

Elliott continues to be round, however whereas taking part in behind 4 backup offensive linemen, the franchise runner may muster solely 51 yards from scrimmage on 13 touches. Dallas is as a substitute lacking quarterback Dak Prescott, and when Jon Bostic laid out Andy Dalton with a cheap shot in the third quarter, the Cowboys have been down their veteran backup for the rest of the sport. Bostic’s hit was brutal and uncalled for, however on condition that Dalton was 9-of-19 for 75 yards with an interception earlier than the damage, I do not suppose it value the Cowboys the sport.

Dalton was changed by rookie seventh-round choose Ben DiNucci, who proceeded to fumble twice throughout his first 5 snaps. He combined in a pleasant honey gap completion to Amari Cooper towards Cowl 2 in between the fumble and completed 2-of-3 passing for 39 yards, with Dallas largely preferring at hand the ball to Tony Pollard in what amounted to rubbish time.

If you happen to had not heard of DiNucci earlier than, I am unable to be too offended at you. The 23-year-old began his profession at Pittsburgh, the place he spent a part of his time backing up Nathan Peterman earlier than shifting on to FCS powerhouse James Madison. DiNucci was solely a freshman when he performed behind the previous Payments starter, however even for essentially the most hardened Cowboys hater, “former backup to Nathan Peterman” should evoke some small sense of sympathy for America’s Group.

Seventh-round quarterbacks are virtually all the time developmental varieties who not often play throughout their rookie seasons. Since 2000, solely two quarterbacks chosen within the seventh spherical have began video games of their first season out of college. One is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw eight picks on 135 go makes an attempt for the 2005 Rams. The opposite is John Navarre (Cardinals), who made one profession begin. It could be asking loads of DiNucci to start out with a full complement of offensive items, not to mention with out 4 beginning linemen or his beginning tight finish.

If Dalton is just not in a position to play Sunday towards the Eagles, although, DiNucci might be doing simply that. The one different quarterback on the roster is Garrett Gilbert, who was signed off Cleveland’s observe squad two weeks in the past and has six profession go makes an attempt in six professional seasons. Probably the most skilled quarterback the Cowboys have left who is aware of their scheme is offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who began two video games for Dallas in 2015. The previous Boise State standout may be their most suitable choice in the intervening time.

After Sunday’s 43-16 loss to the Chiefs, Denver’s left deal with was requested in regards to the distinction between his group and the blokes within the different locker room. Bolles responded with the next:

Now, I perceive that Bolles is not going to listen to this query and reply by trashing his personal quarterback. There’s nothing to be gained from being brutally sincere and suggesting that Drew Lock won’t be on a stage with Chiefs backup Chad Henne, not to mention Patrick Mahomes. Denver’s most important offensive weapon left standing is Melvin Gordon, who may be the third-string working again if he have been transplanted onto the Chiefs’ roster.

Leaving the quote apart, this recreation was a mirrored image on how far the Broncos nonetheless should go, and the way they could have wasted time this offseason. They did not usher in a lot competitors for Lock, and whereas the second-year quarterback seemed good for many of the recreation towards the Patriots final week, he threw two interceptions within the fourth quarter and added two extra within the snow on Sunday. The primary one was extra egregious, as he confronted an enormous blitz and threw late off his again foot. His fast out was neither fast nor out, and Daniel Sorensen jumped it for a pick-six. The second throw was off receiver KJ Hamler‘s palms and into Tyrann Mathieu‘s, however it was a go Lock threw behind his receiver.

Common supervisor John Elway additionally signed Gordon to a two-year deal, and he combined in two fumbles whereas scoring a garbage-time landing. The previous Chargers again had the ball knocked out of his palms on a third-and-18 checkdown, then launched the ball over Lock’s head on a flea flicker and into the palms of Frank Clark. Gordon missed final week’s Patriots recreation with strep throat and in addition was cited on DUI charges. He might need been dropping time on this recreation to Phillip Lindsay, who carried the ball 9 instances for 79 yards and seemed just like the far superior again, just for Lindsay to be knocked out of the game with a concussion. It would not be a shock if the Broncos voided Gordon’s $4.5 million assure in 2021 on account of his DUI and his middling on-field play.

Paradoxically, one of many vivid spots for the Broncos on offense has been the play of Bolles. The previous first-round choose had few followers in Denver after committing a staggering 34 holding penalties from 2017 to ’19, 15 greater than every other participant. The Broncos declined Bolles’ fifth-year option and anticipated the Utah product to be in a combat for his job at camp, however when Ja’Wuan James opted out, Bolles was left within the lineup virtually by default.

In what’s now a contract yr, although, he has surged ahead. He has dedicated solely two holding penalties, and whereas that is in a league wherein offensive holding calls are down throughout the board, he has a team-best pass block win rate of 91.6%. Bolles abruptly seems like a attainable constructing block on a group that has had valuable little go proper on offense in 2020. He must maintain this up for some time longer earlier than shedding his outdated tags as an issue, however his efficiency is a reminder that gamers enhance at completely different charges and haven’t got a straightforward cutoff level for fulfillment or failure. His quote, alternatively, is a reminder that gamers aren’t all the time one of the best liars.

Why is Carlos Dunlap promoting his home on Twitter?

A gentle producer for the Bengals over the previous decade, Dunlap’s feud with the group has escalated dramatically. After serving in a three-down position over the primary 4 weeks of the season, he complained publicly when defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo instructed the Florida product that he could be moved to a part-time position for Cincinnati’s Week 5 recreation towards Baltimore. Dunlap performed 46% of the snaps that day, was in for 45% of the snaps towards the Colts final week after which performed simply 22% of the snaps in Sunday’s back-and-forth loss to the Browns.

Dunlap did not take the additional discount in snaps properly. First, he got into an argument with Anarumo on the finish of the sport. After that, he determined to take issues a step additional by placing his home up on the market on Twitter. “~6000 sqft metropolis view with large balcony. 4 bed room. 4.5 lavatory. In probably the greatest faculty districts on the market,” Dunlap wrote in the now-deleted tweet. “Do your market evaluation and make me provide. Severe inquiries solely with proof of funds! Proprietor is keen to promote furnished or unfurnished!”

It would not take a rocket scientist or a soccer author to see that Dunlap desires to be minimize or traded. He won’t get his want. The Bengals are on the hook for Dunlap’s $7.8 million base wage, which has slightly below $4.6 million left with 10 weeks to go within the 2020 marketing campaign. Groups just like the Seahawks want edge rushers, however Dunlap is a dearer choice than different attainable edge commerce candidates on condition that base wage, which could make a commerce troublesome. The Bengals may minimize him, however possession won’t need to reward him for rocking the boat. On condition that risk, it isn’t a shock that Dunlap escalated his complaints earlier than the commerce deadline.

Quietly, one other Bengals stalwart has joined Dunlap within the ranks of the hardly there. Geno Atkins missed the primary 4 video games of the season with a shoulder damage, and within the first two weeks after his comeback, he performed 29% of the defensive snaps. On Sunday, that determine fell to 22%. He’s coming off his worst season as a professional, however the 32-year-old had 39 sacks from 2015 to ’18 and may nonetheless provide one thing as an inside disruptor.

Atkins hasn’t raised the identical kind of fuss as Dunlap, however his contract may be much more troublesome to deal. The Georgia product has $6.5 million in prorated base wage left in 2020. The Bengals would possibly simply find yourself getting a late-round choose to get Atkins off their books, and groups just like the 49ers and Raiders might be concerned about helpful pass-rushing depth.

How did Davante Adams find yourself vast open on a 45-yard landing?

I’m all the time fascinated when a celebrity receiver finally ends up completely uncovered in the course of an enormous recreation. It is simple for us on the skin to surprise why that occurs. Each spotlight of that play goes to incorporate some announcer saying, “How is he that vast open?” I needed to grasp why Adams, who was within the middle of a 196-yard game, was working completely free within the secondary for a 45-yard landing. The reply was extra in regards to the Texans than in regards to the Packers star.

In 2013, earlier than Invoice O’Brien even arrived on the town, the Texans tried to revamp their security place by signing Ed Reed and utilizing a second-round choose on his eventual substitute, South Carolina security D.J. Swearinger. Neither transfer labored. Reed was a catastrophe in seven video games with the Texans earlier than being minimize, whereas Swearinger was minimize after two seasons with the group. The Texans then took cornerback Andre Hal, a seventh-round select of Vanderbilt, and transformed him to free security, the place he began for 3 seasons.

In 2018, they signed Tyrann Mathieu to a one-year, $7 million deal. Shortly thereafter, Hal introduced that he was coping with Hodgkin lymphoma. Whereas he made a full return and served as a 3rd security for the Texans, he retired after the season. Mathieu impressed, however he left for a multiyear take care of the Chiefs, the place he helped them win a Tremendous Bowl. The Texans signed Tashaun Gipson to a three-year, $22 million deal to take Mathieu’s place, however the former Jaguars starter battled by way of again and wrist accidents in his first season and was minimize after the 2019 season.

Whereas the Texans had stuffed one security spot with Justin Reid, they wanted a participant to start out alongside him. Enter Eric Murray, who had excelled on particular groups with the Chiefs earlier than spending a yr with the Browns. Neither the Chiefs nor Browns appeared assured in Murray as a daily security, however O’Brien gave Murray a three-year, $18 million deal to start out. After three video games, O’Brien tried to sign Earl Thomas to take over as free security, solely to spark the reported participant disenchantment that finally led to his beautiful firing one week later. (Murray is nominally a powerful security, however Reid is flexible sufficient to play each free and powerful security and would have doubtless moved to the robust security spot if Thomas did signal.)

Murray has stayed within the lineup and allowed a passer rating of 117.1 in coverage, which means he turns each goal into roughly your typical Russell Wilson go try. As a result of the Texans have not had Gareon Conley, misplaced Bradley Roby to damage, need to attempt 2019 second-rounder Lonnie Johnson Jr. at security and have needed to depend on guys reminiscent of Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines for significant snaps, Murray discovered himself taking part in slot nook for stretches on Sunday.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur unquestionably observed. There have been a few instances early within the recreation wherein the Packers got here out with 11 personnel, break up their tight finish out as a receiver, and noticed Murray come down towards the road of scrimmage as a cornerback. LaFleur obtained Adams aligned towards Murray on a previous third down, however he made the mismatch rely later within the recreation.

On third-and-4 from the Houston 45-yard line, the Packers lined up Adams on the road of scrimmage in a lowered break up, simply to the within of Darrius Shepherd. The Texans responded with Murray throughout from Adams and Gaines throughout from Shepherd. I might be shocked if Aaron Rodgers noticed this and even thought-about going anyplace else with the soccer. Inside a half-second of the snap, it did not matter. Shepherd ran a fast out to attract Gaines to the skin and permit Adams a free launch towards Murray. Inside a half-second, Murray had been erased from the face of the earth:



Aaron Rodgers airs out a go to Davante Adams, who will get into the tip zone for a 45-yard landing.

Adams truly beats Murray twice on the play. He will get so open so shortly that Rodgers’ throw forces the star receiver to decelerate and spin to catch the go. Then, after Murray makes use of that slowdown to catch up, Adams turns his velocity again on and accelerates away from Murray to attain.

Is that this Murray’s fault? It will depend on how lengthy your view is of the scenario. On this play, he doesn’t do something to cease Adams. This might and possibly would have performed out precisely the identical method if the Texans had despatched out 10 males and simply not covered Adams at all. This was primarily a route towards air.

On the identical time, although, why on earth do the Texans have their robust security one-on-one towards probably the greatest receivers in soccer on third down? I can rely the variety of safeties I would need to trot out within the slot towards Adams on third down on one hand with no need all of my fingers. The Texans haven’t got loads of options of their secondary with Roby and Conley out, and the Packers can attempt to dictate mismatches with how they line up their personnel, however loads of good defenses handle to keep away from lining up their worst protection security towards celebrity wideouts on third down. The Texans aren’t able to do this.

Within the large image, although, the truth that Murray is even on this scenario to start with is an organizational failure. Swearinger was drafted 12 picks earlier than Mathieu, who may have turn out to be a franchise cornerstone. Lacking on Swearinger led the Texans to short-term options in free company like Mathieu and Gipson, and buying and selling away draft picks prevented them from including extra gamers to deal with the weakest positional room on their roster. When O’Brien gained personnel energy, he ignored the standard market worth of gamers like Murray and paid a premium for a man who was then overmatched for his new position. All these missteps led to a matchup the place probably the greatest receivers in soccer was working free for an extended landing. Normally, that occurs as a result of a defensive again falls down. This time, it was a company.

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