THREE OBSERVATIONS FROM TWO OF UTAHS “LOCAL” NFL TEAMS AND THEN SOME
Many people claim that Utah doesn’t have an NFL team, and if they want to be negative then that’s their business. I’m here to tell you that Utah has three NFL teams, which simple math would tell you is even better. The Beehive state has locations within that are closest to three different NFL stadiums. Spots like Blanding and Monticello are closest to State Farm stadium in Glendale, Arizona, home of the Cardinals. The Uintah’s would be best served headed to Mile High to watch the Broncos as their closest destination. For most of the state though, the quickest trip to an NFL game lies at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for a Raiders game. Utah doesn’t have a team, but it has plenty of rooting interest and I’m here to breakdown three things from some of the NFL’s week 4 docket featuring the Raiders and Broncos.
The formula here is pretty simple, I look at three things listed below and tell you what they are from each game. Use this demonstration below as a reference point if you get lost. Just remember, something cool, something not, and a stat or observation.
- SOMETHING THAT WAS COOL
- SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT COOL
- WEIRD OR UNIQUE STAT/OBSERVATION
DENVER (1-3) AT CHICAGO (0-4) /// BRONCOS WIN 31-28
- Sean Payton getting his sleeves chopped off mid game because he had no air flow through the wrist. The sleeves remained on the sideline as a reminder of the sacrifices required to find success in the NFL. Just as Payton destroyed a jacket that has to be 85 dollars on the Denver team store, his team also sacrificed their egos to rally from 28-7 down. In all seriousness the Broncos 21-point comeback was a sight to behold because no team has seen more offensively incompetent than Denver so it was fun to see. They had a 3.5 percent chance to win that game with 4:18 in the 3rd. Defying odds is always cool, and even cooler if you’re a team like Denver.
- The Bears got a winless, rudderless Broncos team coming off a 50-point loss for a chance to turn around their winless, rudderless season. They also had a career day from their potential franchise QB in Justin Fields. Fields had 28 completions, 335 yards, and 4 passing touchdowns which were all firsts for the former Buckeye. Chicago even led 28-7 late in the Third. These three things would lead one to believe the Bears finally came out on the winning side. Somehow, someway Chicago did what only the Bears can do and lost on their quarterback’s career day. The Bears have now dropped 14 straight dating back to last year, a franchise record.
- Marvin Mims is a legit threat out in Mile High. He has only been targeted 11 times, but every time the ball has ended up in his hands, something special has happened. 9 receptions, 242 yards and a TD for 6.21 yards per route run per PFF Broncos.
MIAMI (3-1) AT BUFFALO (3-1) /// BILLS WIN 48-20
- The NFL is truly a week-to-week league, none the more evident than by Miami nearly making history, to being reminded that they may not be the best in their division let alone the NFL. As amazing as Buffalo was in the Bills win, the first half of the game teased fans with the potential of being an instant classic. This AFC East tilt witnessed a Buffalo 75-yard touchdown drive, followed by a Miami 77-yard touchdown drive, answered by a Buffalo 80-yard march to the endzone, and finally capped off with a Dolphins 70-yard Touchdown journey. Buffalo would go on to score a touchdown on 4 of their first 5 drives, whereas Miami would fizzle out with 3 punts and a fumble after their hot start. Regardless of the outcome, this was the most electric game on TV for at least an hour.
- Tre’Davious White tearing his Achilles. Buffalo loves this guy, and do does the coaching staff, evident by the pained expressions and teary eyes from Sean McDermott and Mitch Morse in the post-game presser. Enough said.
- After dropping a messy week 1 division game to gang green in New York, the Bills have responded. According to PFF, Josh Allen has responded with the best completion percentage in the league, 812 passing yards, more touchdowns than anyone with ten and Buffalo has outscored opponents 123-33 in three weeks’ time. The former Wyoming gunslinger had more touchdown than incompletions, 5 to 4, in the win. Three of which went to Stefon Diggs, meaning the Bills main pieces seem to be just fine.
BALTIMORE (3-1) AT CLEVELAND (2-2) /// RAVENS WIN 28-3
- Roquan Smith had some bold words pertaining to the Browns this week. Coming off a home loss to Indianapolis, he claimed that he and the Ravens would beat “their tails in front of their wife and kids.” Roquan was not kidding. An unnecessary and questionable comment became a prophecy of things to pass as the Ravens held the Browns to 2.3 yards per play which is under 12 yards every five plays. Yes, the Browns were without Deshaun Watson, but it may not have mattered much as the Ravens tallied 4 sacks, 3 interceptions and only gave up a field goal to their division rival. Like Babe Ruth calling his shot, Roquan knew Baltimore was going to leave Sunday with a solid grip over the AFC North.
- Speaking of those Interceptions, this game featured the best two defenses in the NFL when it came to slowing up opponent’s air attacks. Per, Kevin Oestreicher Cleveland was allowing only 3.5 yards per pass and Baltimore was 4.3. With rookie, Dorian Thompson-Robinson getting the nod in Cleveland, the Ravens had no issue continuing this trend. UCLA’s preseason darling was welcomed to the big leagues with an opportunity to air it out, attempting 36 passes on the day. The issue was, he only found his man 19 times for 121 yards, and those aforementioned three interceptions. The math tells me that DTR and Cleveland averaged 3.4 yards per attempt in the loss, which makes any football game difficult to watch.
- The Ravens seemed to have been the only good team in the AFC North on Sunday as Baltimore netted 28 points. The Steelers, Browns, and Bengal’s combined for 12 points. Baltimore was the only team to find the endzone.
TAMPA BAY (3-1) AT NEW ORLEANS (2-2) /// BUCCANEERS WIN 26-9
- Tampa Bay being good in the post Brady era is an unexpected treat. The Bucs are 3-1 and in the driver’s seat to win one of the worst divisions in football in the NFC South. A lot of it has to do with the reemergence of Baker Mayfield. He went from a spunky fireball in week one to a polished game directing QB in week 4. Mayfield was 25 of 32 for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns. His 16.9 QB rating was impressive against the team many pegged to win the division. Mayfield would tell Kevin Grandheer that this is only the 2nd time in my pro career that I’ve had a coaching staff that lets me play to my full potential.” If that is the case, its certainly shown. Also, Utah State’s Devin Thompkins had a touchdown and a front flip!
- Pete Carmichael is the current offensive coordinator in the Bayou, and it may not be for long. No play demonstrates this better than the Saints bringing in Swiss army knife, Taysom Hill, at Quarterback and flanking him with current starting QB Derek Carr. This wouldn’t be a major issue if New Orleans was thinking double pass or something, but instead Carmichael dialed up a reversal that involved Carr getting the handoff himself, before taking two steps and handing it off again to Alvin Kamara. Let’s just say the Buccaneers defense did not bite on Carr keeping the rock and ripped down Kamara for a loss. You can’t bring in another Running back to at least make it a bit more believable?
- Alvin Kamara returned from his three-game suspension and filled up the stat sheet in the Saints loss. A full stat sheet can still feel empty, and Kamara certainly proved it. Field Yates noted that Kamara had 13 catches, which is good, for 33 yards, which is not good. Per Yates, that is the fewest receiving yards by a player with at least 13 catches in a game in history. The previous record was 71 yards. That’s a large fall off.
LAS VEGAS (1-3) AT LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-2) /// CHARGERS WIN 24-17
- Justin Herbert is a weird Quarterback. Good enough to get paid, fun enough to watch, but often forgotten in this era of gunslingers when it comes to overall achievements. Herbert’s brilliance once again shone through. While protecting a 7-point lead from his own 9-yard line on 3rd and ten, Herbert uncorked a precise strike to Joshua Palmer 51 yards down the field. That play ended a Vegas team who had no way of stopping the clock and the once 0-2 Chargers would go .500 for the first time this year. Making it all the more impressive was the fact that He did it with a broken finger. It was his non-throwing hand, but still, give the guy credit.
- Aiden O’Connell Is likely a name you’ve heard little off unless you’re a diehard Raider fan or love you some Purdue Boilermaker football. With Jimmy Garoppolo sitting this one out due to a concussion, O’Connell got the start over forever Veteran backup Brian Hoyer. Aiden had some shaky moments, threw an interception and please don’t look at his QBR, but ultimately led a team with a chance to win on the road in an AFC West game. That’s worth something. When Raiders head Coach, Josh McDaniels, was asked about the 4th round picks first start, he said that “playing quarterback in our league starts with taking care of the football.” This seemed to be a shot at O’Connell’s interception on 1st and goal to Asante Samuel Jr late in the 4th. That’s all well and good, but the comment came off like a thick finger pointed in someone else’s direction. McDaniels wasn’t about to take any fault here, and yes turnovers are bad, but Josh, Jimmy G leads the NFL in interceptions with six, and he missed a game even. Aiden only has one. Chargers coach Brandon Staley also needs to be mentioned here for telling Samuel to slide down with 2:33 on the clock instead of housing what seemed to be a clear pick six. He’s lucky Herbert and Palmer bailed him out because he’s been dangerously close to unemployed the last two weeks.
- Khalil Mack played in the silver and black from 2014-2017 and although he never suited up in sin city, its still pretty apparent he cherishes playing his former team. Mack had six sacks and 2 forced fumbles in a terrorizing performance at home to lead the bolts defense forward. If Mack keeps looking like this, the Chargers will be barking behind Kansas City in the AFC West in no time at all.