16 thoughts on “2021-2022 NFL Week 4

  1. Seahawks-49ers

    The Seahawks are kinda horrid, offensively and defensively. I’m not sure what the problem is, but they don’t look good. If they continue to play at this level, they have almost no shot of going far in the playoffs.

    Yes, they won, but Trey Lance played a lot, because Jimmy G got hurt. Lance didn’t look good, and if he has to play a lot and continues to play like he did, the Niners won’t win many games.

    Back to the Hawks. Offensively, they look very vanilla–similar to last year in my view. I’m wondering if they aren’t able to add more plays of Waldron’s offense, for whatever reason. Russ doesn’t really look that good (although the play where he spun away from the pass rusher to a throw a TD was vintage Russ).

    Rams-Cardinals

    I’ve been one of those who believed Stafford would make the Rams a lot better. However, the thing that stood out to me in this game was Stafford’s inaccuracy. The issue might be just not being on the same page withe receivers, but whatever it is, too many passes were off the mark. I think this is a big reason they lost the game.

    The Cardinals wore down the Rams defense. The last drive felt like 10 runs in a row. (I don’t know if it was 10, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t pass at all.)

    Raiders-Chargers

    I thought the Raiders defense looked good, especially the pass rush. This is the best defense I’ve seen from them since…I really can’t remember.

    Still the Raiders offense couldn’t do squat. not for the first half. (In the boneheaded play watch, Carr had a ball stripped. I think that was the only play that would fall in that category.)

    Steelers-Packers

    Two observations:

    Roethlisberger throws like a broken down man. Interestingly, it’s not the power so much as the inaccuracy.

    Second observation: I think Rodgers is winning the battle in terms of offensive identity. The Packers offense seem to look like the McCarthy version more often than the LaFleur version.

    Cowboys-Panthers

    The Cowboys look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. I think I might put them in the tier 1 category.

    Panthers didn’t really play bad either.

  2. Jags, Bengals:

    You can see that Trevor Lawrence has skills in spades. He moves great and has an awesome arm. Yeah he has made some horrible mistakes this year, but I’ll be surprised if he isn’t going to be great. On the other side, Burrow looks mediocre in terms of talent as compared to Lawrence. However, Burrow has everything to be a star. He has confidence, good to great feet in and out of the pocket, and he’s looks extremely poised. If Lawrence is Elway in terms of talent, Burrow is Montana.

    Cards, Rams:
    The Rams just made too many errors. I didn’t think Stafford looked as bad as Reid said, but he was awful in the red zone, which makes his bad passes stand out. I heard he was one of the most accurate passers in the first three weeks, so I would say this was a blip. I thought the Rams looked pretty good between the 20’s though. The Cards are a good team, but not one of the top tier teams, in my opinion. I did think the Card’s secondary looked good in this one. I’m not sure if that has to do with how good they are, or the Ram’s receivers being slightly overrated at least at this point. Robert Woods may finally be done.

    Raiders, Chargers:
    The Raiders defense did play well in spurts, but man their offense was horrible. A few first downs in the first half could have changed the outcome of this game. I thought the Chargers ability to run the ball especially late was the final nail for the Raiders. Carr didn’t look great in this one.

    I saw a lot of highlights of the Cowboy game, but didn’t get to watch the actual game. There are a lot of comparisons between this year’s team and Dak’s rookie year in 2016. How they are running the ball may be the same, but I believe the 2016 team was lead by the o-line. This team is lead by Dak and maybe his receivers. This year’s o-line especially inside with Williams and Biadasz are average at best. But teams are reluctant to stack the box against the Cowboys because of passing game.

    1. I heard he was one of the most accurate passers in the first three weeks,…

      This surprises me–because I think his inaccuracy has stood out, although to be clear, the problem may not be on him solely. He and the WRs just might not be on the same page. When I think of the most accurate QBs, Stafford’s name doesn’t come to mind, but he hasn’t really had serious accuracy issues, either–not in the past several years. But so far, his inaccuracy stands out.

      The Cards are a good team, but not one of the top tier teams, in my opinion. I did think the Card’s secondary looked good in this one.

      I’m kinda iffy on them, too, but I’m not sure why that is. I just need to watch them a bit more.

      You don’t think Stafford just missed too many times…Actually, it’s not the amount, but the type of throws–I recall he missed on 2-3 explosive plays.

      Carr didn’t look great in this one.

      I get down on Carr, but it seemed like the entire offense was struggling.

      This team is lead by Dak and maybe his receivers.

      Yep–but that’s why the 2016 team wouldn’t come to mind. The latter was run-first, the 2021 version is a pass first offense. So far the 2021 defense looks better than the 2016 version.

      1. I’m guessing you would prefer the 2016 Dallas offense over this years then? You would prefer to have a dominant run game and a game managing QB than a good run game with a great QB?

    2. Yes, I would prefer the 2016 offense–wouldn’t you? For me, I’d prefer a run-based offense with a dominant run game and a game managing QB–as long as the QB could make a handful to critical throws in key situations. Ultimately, I prefer a great QB with in a really good run-based offense–e.g., Russell Wilson in the Titans offense.

      1. I like that a o-line can dominate a game. Basically it’s I know what I’m going to do, you know what I’m going to do and it doesn’t matter. That’s the 2016 version. But the other side of the coin is this year’s team can beat you throwing or running. I didn’t think it was completely wise to abandon the run against Tampa Bay, but it’s good to know that they “could” have won that game throwing it.

        In your example Russell Wilson is more than a game manager. I would definitely prefer that. That’s what Dallas has been showing in the last three victories, that they will win the game on the ground with Dak not hitting the 250 yard mark in any of those games.

      2. I probably wasn’t clear when comparing the 2016 and 2021 Cowboys. I think if you take out the Bucs game this year, the stats of how much they run versus pass and the total yards gained doing each is probably similar. What is not similar is why the Cowboys is able to run the ball. In 2016 it is mostly the o-line, I’m guessing in 2021 it’s mostly the threat of the passing game. Carolina started playing a lot of two high on early downs. Maybe they always play that style, but if you know you are going to get gashed on the ground, you would think teams wouldn’t be in that formation.

      3. In 2016 it is mostly the o-line, I’m guessing in 2021 it’s mostly the threat of the passing game.

        Not just the OL, but the nature of the offense–a commitment to running the ball as a well to set up the passing game; whereas, as you say, in 2021, the pass sets up the run.

        I probably mentioned this before, but in the 80s, when I started hearing about the pass setting up the run, I thought–Why not? That should work as well as the run setting up the pass. But over time, it seemed like this approach could work in the regular season, but not so well in the post-season. Do you not have that impression as well?

        I don’t know what the current running stats are for the Cowboys. It may be good, but if it is, I tend to think those stats are misleading. That is, they’re likely not as good at running as the stats suggest. I think a big part of this is the willingness to run the ball as well. Also, can they run well when the passing game isn’t a real threat? If the run game is really ineffective in those situations, that suggests the running game isn’t as good as the stats suggest.

        And I think this type of offense has that problem I recently addressed–i.e., an offense unwilling to run over and over again. They will likely face a really good defense that can stymie their passing attack. Will the Cowboys run a lot in that case? And will they be able to run effectively? I would be iffy on both.

        1. It’s hard to say, Dallas seem pretty committed to the run with the exception of the Bucs game, but that is because the Chargers and Eagles did not stop the run at all. I thought overall the Panthers did a decent job stopping the run in the first half, but was gashed in the second half. Dallas rushing stats in the last three games are 198, 160, and 245.

          I tend to agree with you that Dallas’ running game is not as good as their stats. Their o-line weaknesses seem glaring at times. That’s why I assume it’s based on the number of defenders in the box or defense’s playing a light box. I will admit that Dallas seems to be scheming up some run plays as well, instead of just running the same play over and over. And if my assumption is correct, I do not think Dallas can run this well against a heavy box, which they could in 2016.

          At this point though, I think teams will have to try to stop the run over the pass. Dallas has just been running over opponents. That being said though, I’m not 100% sure Dallas will be dedicated to the run if teams are able to stop their passing game. I get the feeling like those New England teams that would run a lot for a game, if their back is against the wall, that New England team would result to passing, and I think this Cowboy teams would as well. Despite the dominance on the ground the last three weeks, I tend to think that Dallas offense’s bread and butter (at least to themselves) is their passing game.

    3. Their offense is based on the passing game. Kellen Moore has always struck me as someone firmly rooted in a pass-first mentality. One thing I would add: These type of offenses can put up good running numbers. Part of the reason is that the defenses may be focused on stopping the pass. Also, if the rush attempts are low, this can make the run numbers make the run game seem better than they are.

      But I don’t know if the Cowboys offense doesn’t have the personnel to be a good running team. I tend to think it has more to do with the philosophy of the coaches.

      (By the way, I think they should have never paid Elliot if they were going to make this shift.)

      1. When you say “put up good running numbers”, you mean like average per attempt. I agree with that. But Dallas is second in the league in rushing this year and if they didn’t run the ball just 18 times (including 4 QB runs) against Tampa Bay they would probably be first. They are behind Cleveland and above Baltimore and Tennessee. That doesn’t mean I disagree with you. I too think Dallas is a pass-first team. This is just to say though, they are willing to run it, too.

        I think Dallas o-line is good. I think PFF has Martin and Smith in the top five in terms of o-linemen this year thus far, but the rest of the guys are probably slightly below or average at best. And Zeke still is very good, so I agree they can be a good running team, but I was just comparing them to what they had in 2016 and it’s not that close.

    4. When you say “put up good running numbers”, you mean like average per attempt. I agree with that.

      Yeah, but I think something like total rushing yards can be misleading as well.

      This is just to say though, they are willing to run it, too.

      Are they willing to run it enough–to what the situation calls for? In the 1990 Super Bowl between the Bills and Giants, I think the Bills actually put up significant rushing numbers. My sense is that I think they still didn’t run enough, given the Giants’ defensive approach. (This is another example of how stats can be misleading.) McCarthy and Moore strike me as coaches who wouldn’t be willing to run a lot, even if the situation calls for this. (The same is true with the situation in Seattle.)

      …so I agree they can be a good running team, but I was just comparing them to what they had in 2016 and it’s not that close.

      Yeah I agree. The 2016 team had significantly better personnel, with regard to being a good run-based offense. (Having Witten gives them an advantage as well.)

  3. Cowboys, Panthers:
    I watched the replay of the game on the NFL network. I thought both defenses played okay in the first half despite the 14-13 score. Darnold played really well especially running the ball and the Panthers did an okay job stopping the run sans a few long ones. The second half was a completely different story. Dallas put more pressure on Darnold and showed 7-8 guys on the line of scrimmage and they kept changing who would rush and who would drop out. That seem to confused Darnold and he was pretty awful in the second half. That and the Carolina’s defense inability to stop the run in the second half was the difference in the game. Dallas was pretty awful themselves in the fourth giving Carolina a chance.

  4. On a side note, you guys know I prefer a run-first offense and don’t care for pass-first, pass-heavy offenses. But the comments I’ve heard about Brandon Staley’s defense has made me more annoyed by the pass-first approach. The comment is that Staley’s defense basically focuses on stopping the pass, to the point where they’ll allow a lot of successful runs. This is the type of defense that I want an offense to run over. The thing is, a lot of offenses don’t seem willing or able to do this. (And the Seahawks are such an offense!) For this reason, Staley’s approach makes sense. The next time you guys watch an offense (but not the Titans, Vikings, Browns, Ravens, 49ers) watch how often they run frequently. My impression is that many offense will run once or twice, and even if they have success, they’ll quickly move back to passing. I find this frustrating and annoying.

    My feeling is that offenses have to be willing to run, run, run–not a lot of the times, but they have to be willing to do this. (Chiefs actually did this in the latter part of the game against the Eagles. The Eagles were in the game for a long time, but this helped seal their defeat.) Offenses should run on 3rd and 4 or 5 more often, too. Again, not a lot, but more than they do now.

    (I think Brian Schottenheimer is a limited OC, but he was committed to the run at least, and he valued a physical run game. I really miss that about the Seahawks offense.)

    1. I utterly agree that a team should be willing to run on 3rd and 4 or 3rd and 5. If the other team believes you can and will, your play calling choices are nearly endless, and you can exploit the D in whatever way you spent all week preparing.

      So for me “balance” in the run- and pass-game is more about when and how you run, so that on 3rd and 5, the opponent really doesn’t know what you’re going to do, and you’re confident you can run it.

    2. If the other team believes you can and will, your play calling choices are nearly endless,…

      I’d add the caveat that the run game, overall, has to be a threat. If the run game is ineffective and not a factor prior to those 3rd down situations, running on 3rd and 3-5 likely won’t lead to the results you’re talking about.

      So for me “balance” in the run- and pass-game is more about when and how you run, so that on 3rd and 5, the opponent really doesn’t know what you’re going to do, and you’re confident you can run it.

      I think there is a bit more to a balanced attack, but this touches on key parts of it.

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