NFL Week 7

Ben DiNucci in the Big D.

Jim Rome
October 26, 2020 - 9:48 am
Ben DiNucci

USA Today

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The Dallas Cowboys had a really rough week last week. Arizona went into their house and embarrassed them, one player told Jane Slater that the coaching staff is “totally unprepared. They don’t teach. They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.” Another told her “they just aren’t good at their jobs.”

So just six games into his time as Cowboys head coach, after taking a year off and hunkering down in that barn preparing for just this opportunity, Mike McCarthy was already having to defend and justify himself. But… they were still in first place in the division and had the ultimate get-right game coming up against the 1-5 Washington Football Team. Winning is the ultimate deodorant and the Dallas was heading to Washington to slather themselves in Brut.

Except something happened. Washington was waiting for them with a two-by-four. And Dallas got wrecked. Everything that could go wrong, did. Starting with a safety.

Washington ran on them.

And they threw on them.

It was 22-3 at halftime and didn’t get much better in the second half. Losing by 28 at home to a good Cardinals team was bad, losing 25-3 to a 1-win Washington is so much worse.

Dallas put up 142 yards. For the game. The entire game. They weren’t even competitive. Andy Dalton was knocked out of the game with a brutal hit and McCarthy was pissed that none of his teammates really did anything about it. Don’t get this twisted: Dalton was playing like crap even before that dirty shot he took to his head; which is really unusual to me: yes, his offensive sucks. Yes, it’s a COVID season. But if this guy really wanted to prove he still had something in the tank; and was looking for another big payday, how the hell he can be so unprepared and play so badly when he did get the opportunity. That makes no sense to me. All of that in front of him, and the guy couldn’t be playing any worse, knockout shot aside. 

As for the choking Cowboys…They’ve gone from being in first place in the division and still having a good look at a playoff spot to getting humiliated in back to back weeks and maybe even looking at having Ben DiNucci as their starter on Sunday night in Philly.  Counting on Dalton to save their season is one thing, counting on DiNucci to do it is another: that division is bad, but it’s not THAT bad. They better get themselves another Q.B. because they’re not going anywhere with DiNucci and Dalton. 

The crazy thing about the Cowboys season is that they’ve actually won two games. And one of those was that insane win over the Falcons when Atlanta did whatever the hell they were doing with that onside kick.

And you’ve got to give Atlanta credit, right when think there is no other embarrassing ways to choke away a win, the Falcons dig deep, man down, choke and raise the bar yet again. And that’s what happened yesterday against the Lions. This time, they lost a game by SCORING! Only these Falcons could pull that off: think of the biggest chokers in that league: none of them can consistently lose games the way the Falcons do: they’re one of one in that regard. Just look at yesterday: Atlanta was down 16-14 with 1:12 left and the ball on the Detroit 10. It was first down, so the obvious plan would be, eat clock, get into the middle of the field, and take the chip shot field goal, and get the hell off the field with the dub.  That was obvious to anyone watching, with a half brain. Anyone except the Falcons, of course:

That is just an amazing play all the way around. Only one Detroit player even tried to tackle Todd Gurley. They were happy to let him run into the end zone so they could get the ball back and he said he was planning to kneel down, but he couldn’t.

I’ve never seen a player work that hard to not score, and still score, the way Todd Gurley did. And I’ve never seen an opposing team celebrate someone scoring the way the Lions were.

After the game, Gurley said he was “mad as hell” that he didn’t go down. Like, how hard is it to fall down?

He was pissed: "I should have went down…I shouldn't have scored." And he capped that off with a G-D blast.

Incredibly, not only was no dagger, that touchdown actually gave the Lions life: that Falcons T.D. didn’t finish the Lions, it kept them in the game! The Falcons were up by six, but Detroit was still going to have to drive 75 yards in 64 seconds with no timeouts to win it. And the 2020 Falcons being the most 2020 team ever, let them do just that.  Playing that matador defense, they got the hell out of the way, let the Lions go right down the field and found yet another way to implode, man down and choke away a sure dub.  Congratulations, Alanda (insert). Never, ever change. And I know you won’t. Because that’s in your DNA; that’s who you are.. If anything bad can happen to the Falcons, it will. Trust that. That even leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I have nothing to do with y’all. I just know I have to get that taste out my mouth. And I’ll do that by sharing this clip from the Seattle-Arizona game, which might just be the best play of the 2020 season.

That is DK Metcalf chasing down Budda Baker. And that is one of the most ridiculous plays you will ever see. For reference, Budda Baker is fast as hell. It’s just that Metcalf was faster. According to Next Gen Stats, Baker’s top speed on that return was 21.27 miles per hour. That’s flying. Unfortunately for him, Metcalf’s top speed was 22.64 miles per hour.

That is absurd. When Baker started his return, Metcalf took off after him like the T-1000. The arm pump action on that run was so fierce, it was comical. The fact that he tried to catch him is impressive, the fact that he did catch him is mind-blowing.

And that is no disrespect to Baker who made a hell of a play and had a hell of a run. He was just chased down by a cyborg in a Seahawks jersey.

But the Cardinals had the last laugh, because they got the win in overtime. And that was one hell of a statement by Arizona. Beating up the Cowboys in their house in primetime. Coming back from down 20-7, and down 34-24 with less than seven minutes to go against the undefeated Seahawks is totally different. That was a statement by Kyler, Kliff, and the fellas. The Cards are legit; and they’re legit in the NFL’s toughest division. 

And Seattle’s loss last night meant there’s only one undefeated team left in the NFL: the Pittsburgh Steelers. And it’s time you all started talking about them like a legit Super Bowl contender. Because they are 6-0 for the first time since 1978.

There have been a lot of really good Steeler teams in the last four decades. When you are doing something that no Steeler team has done since 1978, you are doing work. And this crew works. They get after you on defense and they made a statement on offense by winning the toss on the road against undefeated Tennessee, taking the ball to start the game, and then going on a nine-minute, 18-second drive ending with a touchdown.

The defense forced a three and out, the offense got the ball back, and scored again. Bam. Like that, they were up 14-0 on Tennessee in Tennessee. As Mike Tomlin said afterwards “that was five-star ball.”

That was. And that five-star ball had them up 24-7 on the road.

But you knew the Titans weren’t going away quietly. And they didn’t. After Pittsburgh went up 27-7 early in the third, Tennessee ripped off 17 straight and had a chance to tie it.

That is brutal for Tennessee, who has somethings they have to clean up, but a great win for Pittsburgh. The Steelers are undefeated and heading to 5-1 Baltimore on Sunday. That will be one hell of a game.

Speaking of one hell of a game, how about the Battle of Ohio? And how about how Baker Mayfield and the Browns started out their game against the Bengals? I’ll give you a hint: it could not have gone worse.

On Cleveland’s first possession, on Baker’s first pass, this happened.

 

An interception and Odell Beckham getting injured. That is a complete disaster. And it didn’t get much better when Cincinnati scored three plays later. Or when Cleveland punted quickly on their next possession. Or when Baker started the game 0 for 5 with that pick.

And then it changed. Just like you knew it would. I’ve been telling you, this Browns team is built different. You’re not keeping them down. And you’re not keeping Baker down. He started the game 0 for 5 with a pick and then ripped off 21 straight completions.

You know what, that performance was so dominant, I don’t have time to play all the completions and all the touchdowns. Just know that there were a ton of them. He was picking apart the defense and doing everything right.

As he said after the game, he was beating himself up about the Beckham injury. But “To go into halftime and see him, and I told him I love him, and he said, ‘Go be great.’ That was what he left me with to open up the second half. That was something I continued to remember throughout the second half.”

Odell told him to go be great and that's exactly what Baker did. 21 straight completions. And the only thing that ended the streak was a spike to stop the clock. And right after that, he threw this bit of perfection to win the game.

That was magic. Pure witchcraft from Baker Mayfield and the Browns. And notice what we're talking about - Baker going for the win. They weren't settling for the field goal to tie the game. Just go out and win the damn thing.

You want to clown them, or criticize them, go right ahead. You want to say they only beat the Bengals. I’m going to say scoreboard, look up at it. And standings, look at them too. Because the Cleveland Freaking Browns are 5-2 and I couldn’t be more proud. They went on the road, got off to a bad start, rallied, and found a way to win when it mattered most.  

No phrase is more pointless than “if the season ended right now,” but if the season ended right now, the Cleveland Browns, I mean, America’s Team, would be in the playoffs. Admit it, you dopes couldn’t wait to rush up in here and kill America’s quarterback and America’s team. But you couldn’t. Because Baker wouldn’t let you. Just like he wouldn’t let his team lose. 5 T.D.’s after start the game 0-5 and losing his best weapon. Man’s game, Baker. Much respect. And as always, Baker and I both accept your apologies.