By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Assassinator of Falsehood (@colonelcomey)
1. Sam Bradford’s job should be (but isn't) in jeopardy.
Maybe it shouldn’t be our top talking point in an interesting week, but it’s befuddling to us that a former No. 1 overall pick could get a pass for his shoddy play year after year -- and yet no one outside of a few St. Louis folks seem to notice.
Hell, Mark Sanchez got booed off the field in New York for similar play, and he had four playoff wins under his belt.
Bradford has been starting since Day 1, yet only twice in 3+ years has he produced passer ratings of 90+ in consecutive weeks. The top NFL QBs will fail to top that mark only three to four times a year. Bradford has topped 90 11 times in 45 starts. That is extremely bad.
This year, the Rams spent big chips on offense, bringing in Tavon Austin and Jake Long, and as a result … more shoddy play.
Sunday’s numbers were classic Bradford: 28-of-48 for 248, 1 TD, no picks, but also 1-for-13 on third down. His 5.0 YPA was typical of his extreme inability to get the ball downfield (6.3 career YPA, an abysmal number).
He’s a game-manager who doesn’t manage the game, and a No. 1 pick who plays more like a scrappy third-rounder.
And yet, Bradford’s backup is … Kellen Clemens? The Kellen Clemens? In other cities with QBs who have shown nothing, there are Plan Bs all over the place, but the Rams continue to leave all their eggs in Bradford’s basket.
They’re showing their cracks.
2. The Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl.
OK, that’s not a Cold, Hard Football Fact (even if we gave plenty of pre-season reasons why they would). But here’s a fact: the other NFC front-runners are showing major signs of weakness, and if Seattle gets home-field advantage in the playoffs it’s impossible to see them not winning the NFC.
- Green Bay: can’t play D
- San Francisco: need to get it together
- Chicago: have Jay Cutler
- Detroit: are the Lions
- Dallas: are the Cowboys
- Atlanta: banged up, and 1-2
- Washington and New York: are winless
About the only team that looks remotely as good as Seattle is New Orleans, which is also 3-0, and, more importantly, is playing defense this year (12.7 PPG against). But Seattle has allowed two touchdowns in three games against representative cross-section of the league: favorite (San Francisco), mediocre (Carolina), God-awful (Jacksonville).
And, as we’ve mentioned before and will keep mentioning, Russell Wilson? DUDE DOESN’T LOSE.
3. The Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers define mediocrity -- and that makes for fun football.
There are a lot of parallels between these two teams. No one outside of their home markets are interested in them. Neither are very good. Both have quarterbacks with something to prove. Both have head coaches with even more to prove. No one is expecting great things from either.
And so, on Sunday, these incredibly evenly matched mediocre teams played a nice little football game. Last week, the Titans lost on the last play of the game to Houston while San Diego won in similar fashion. Playing each other, it was the most competitive game of the week.
Tennessee controlled the ball all game, but San Diego bent without breaking. They traded scoring, neither team going up my more than seven. Jake Locker, who is as mediocre as they come, came through with a not-so-mediocre touchdown pass to Justin Hunter to win it with 20 seconds left. Yay! Win! Next stop: 8-8.
San Diego, on the other hand, could be 0-3, could be 3-0, probably should be 2-1, but are 1-2.
Boo! Loss! Next stop: 8.8.
It’s no fun being in the middle in the NFL, but at least you have some thrills before you start golfing in January.
4. The Giants and Redskins have looked terrible, the their longterm prognoses are surprisingly good.
It’d be one thing to be 0-3 and looking up at some power teams But instead the Giants and Redskins look up and see the 1-2 Eagles and the mediocre-until-proven otherwise Cowboys at 2-1. If either the Giants or Skins can pull it together and go 9-4 the rest of the way, pencil them in the postseason.
But can they?
The Giants look absolutely horrible -- really, they’ve been worse than even Jacksonville, allowing 36, 41 and 38 points in three weeks while seeing their scoring go from 31 to 23 to 0. At this pace, in Week 8 they’ll lose 50 to minus-20.
But as we’ll note in a feature to come this week on Eli Manning, that’s life as a Giants fan. You’ve got the most bi-polar QB in the game, and the “ups” are more or less a guarantee.
The Redskins, on the other hand, have been just as bad on defense (worse really, allowing 480 yards a game), but are trending the right way on offense as RG III gets his game back together. And this was a team that won its last seven a year ago to make the postseason.
In other words, don’t get too cocky in Dallas. History says it’s going to be an interesting ride.
5. In other news …
Beating the Packers 34-30 was a good win for Cincinnati, becoming the first team ever to be up 14+, then down 16+, and come back to win a game. But 11 turnovers in three games is an alarming number …
... New England’s defense is starting to look an awful lot like the classic era. They allowed 323 yards (a decent amount) but only 3 points in their win over Tampa Bay (107.7 Yards Per Point Allowed on our Bendability Index), and have only allowed three offensive scores this year ...
Life as a Browns fan: your team puts together a scrappy road win (31-27 at Minnesota), and you think “Yeah, but what about the draft order?” …
... The Vikings have to consider trading Jared Allen (contract expires at season’s end). They have other options at DE, and he could net a high pick. At 0-3 in a good division, it’s about over for them …
... Tampa coach Greg Schiano's is taking a lot of heat for not getting behind Josh Freeman, but Freeman is in an absolute tailspin. He’s been bad (sub 80 passer rating) eight weeks in a row now.
He’s 50-50 to get benched for Mike Glennon by Tuesday …
... Matthew Stafford is certainly playing up to his new contract: he’s on pace for 5,440 yards, 32 touchdowns, 11 picks.