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🏈Rams and Chargers Not On Par With Dodgers', Lakers' Championship Performances

November 02, 2020
SOURCE: JAYSEN VINLOVE/USA TODAY
SOURCE: JAYSEN VINLOVE/USA TODAY

The GIST: We might need to bask in the glory of the Lakers and Dodgers for a while longer, because the Rams and Chargers did not play championship-worthy football yesterday.

Rammed by the Fins: Daylight saving time may have ended yesterday, but to the Rams’ dismay, Tua Time just started. The Rams couldn’t overcome a second-quarter onslaught from the Miami Dolphins and lost 28–17. Sigh.

  • Defensive tackle Aaron Donald gave the Dolphin rookie QB a "welcome to the league" moment in the first quarter that seemed like it should have set the tone for the Rams, but that wasn’t the case. In actuality, QB Jared Goff couldn’t withstand the pressure from the Dolphins’ defense and had four turnovers.
     
  • The Rams really need next week’s bye to rest and refocus, because after that, their opponent is the Seattle Seahawks. Gulp.

Charging the wrong direction: Another week, another heartbreak. The Chargers let the Denver Broncos win the game with literally no time left and squandered, you guessed it, another double-digit lead. We’re tired of this and the players know it.

  • The bright side? QB Justin Herbert continues to shine in his stellar rookie season, but he needs help from the rest of the Bolts to break this disturbing trend against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

🏈Recap: Week 8 in the NFL

November 02, 2020
SOURCE: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS/TWITTER
SOURCE: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS/TWITTER

The GIST: The NFL’s Week 8 wraps up today, and in a 17-week, 16-game season, that puts us right around the midpoint. Guess it’s time for a midterm report card.

Who’s passing?: As the top American Football Conference (AFC) team and the only undefeated team in the league, the Pittsburgh Steelers get a big A+ from us. If the postseason started today, the Steelers would have a first round bye, which is extra surprising seeing as they haven’t made the playoffs in two years.

  • Outside of signing Antonio Brown, the National Football Conference’s (NFC) Tampa Bay Buccaneers deserve straight As. They haven’t made the postseason since 2007, but are now one of the best teams in the league, largely thanks to new quarterback (QB) Tom Brady. We’ll bet all of our Halloween candy they’ll dominate the one-win New York Giants tonight at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • Meanwhile, the NFC West is heading for the honor roll. The division that includes the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks and last year’s Super Bowl runners-up, the San Francisco 49ers, is the only one in the league that doesn’t have a team with a losing record, making it extra competitive. B+ for the division.

And who’s failing?: Don’t let head coach Bill Belichick hear, but the New England Patriots are...bad. With a tight 24–21 loss to the Buffalo Bills yesterday, the former dynasty is on a four-game losing skid for the first time since 2002 (the same year The Bachelor debuted!). No letter grade, just...needs improvement.

  • The NFC East continues their reign as the worst division in football. None of the division’s four teams have a winning record, with most of their wins coming against each other. We’re giving the teams and the division an F.

What happened yesterday?: So many great plays. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Steelers may be doing so well because of their new secret weapon: Canadian rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool, who scored this game-winning touchdown (TD) to beat the Ravens 28–24. Who knew Canadians could run that fast?
  • Miami Dolphins rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa (pronounced TWO-A TUNG-O-VAI-LOA) made his first NFL start, threw his first NFL TD pass, won his first NFL game and showed up looking like this. Into it.
  • The Chicago Bears lost to the New Orleans Saints (probably karma for this BS), but they won the TD highlight reel with this helmet catch from Allen Robinson. Now that’s using your head!

🏈Giants to Face Bucs on Monday Night Football

November 02, 2020
SOURCE: EVAN PINKUS/AP PHOTO
SOURCE: EVAN PINKUS/AP PHOTO

The GIST: Who doesn’t love back-to-back days of New York football? As we look forward to the Giants hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight (despite Giants left guard Will Hernandez testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week), we’re trying to forget the Jets’ 35–9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday.

It’s on: This matchup is nothing new for the Giants, who have beaten the Bucs seven of the last eight times they’ve played, most recently featuring quarterback Daniel Jones’ stand-out debut last year. But this year will be different, with legendary QB Tom Brady spearheading an offense which has looked extremely dangerous lately.

Not over it: On defense, the Bucs have weapons on all sides, including former Giants linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, who leads Tampa Bay with 5.5 sacks. Pierre-Paul was in New York for eight seasons before the defensive all-star was traded to the Bucs in a generally regarded bad move in 2018.

  • The trade was made for better draft picks in an effort to aid the Giants’ rebuild, but with the season Pierre-Paul is having, we’re sure the Giants still wish he was on their side of the line of scrimmage tonight. Needless to say, Pierre-Paul will want to use tonight’s game to make a point.
  • While the Bucs definitely aren’t perfect, the Giants will need to play a pretty perfect game to capture their second win. Hopefully with the retro-fits to inspire him, Jones can channel his former self and rise above the struggles the Giants have faced all season.
🏈

Pats Are 2-5

November 02, 2020
SOURCE: BARRY CHIN/THE BOSTON GLOBE
SOURCE: BARRY CHIN/THE BOSTON GLOBE

The GIST: Yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope for the shorthanded Patriots to pull off the win against the Buffalo Bills. Instead, the Pats fell further into the abyss with a 2-5 record and a fourth-straight loss. Does 2020 feel like The Twilight Zone or is it just us?

🏈What happened?: Superman looked like he would power the Pats to victory, but alas, with 31 seconds left, QB Cam Newton fumbled the ball on a potential game-winning drive, in an otherwise much-improved showing.The worst part? With this loss, the Pats are basically out of playoff contention. 2020 doing 2020 things.

Sigh. You mentioned shorthanded?: The Pats were operating without cornerback (CB) Stephon Gilmore and wide receivers (WRs) Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry, meaning other players had to step up. CB J.C. Jackson grabbed an interception, while WR Jakobi Meyers and running back Damien Harris provided big contributions on offense. So all things considered, the team fared okay against the AFC East-leading Bills.

⚽️Any good news?: Well, not Pats-related. But across the pond, self-proclaimed “amateur Masshole” Sam Mewis (of the quick-witted humor we mentioned earlier) scored a beautiful goal to help her Manchester City squad win the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. The “Tower of Powerstrikes heads again.

🏈Eagles Win Over Cowboys

November 02, 2020
SOURCE: KATE FRESE/PHILLYVOICE
SOURCE: KATE FRESE/PHILLYVOICE

The GIST: After an underwhelming first half, the Eagles turned it around to secure the 23–9 win over the Dallas Cowboys last night. Let’s fly.

Slow but steady: After nearly three quarters of turnovers leading to field goals, the Eagles finally broke through when QB Carson Wentz’s favorite wide receiver (WR) Travis Fulgham snagged a TD pass to give the Birds the lead. That touchdown shifted the game’s momentum; thanks to the Eagles’ defensive pressure, a Dallas fumble turned into another Philly touchdown, and the Birds were able to hold the Cowboys from there.

  • The Eagles’ third win secured their spot on top of the NFC East for at least another week and gave fans hope that the Birds will be able to execute in critical games. Finally.

Hold it down: Although this game was less than thrilling, the Eagles’ defense consistently showed up to control the Cowboys’ offense. Defensive end Brandon Graham played lights-out, adding another stand-out game in his 11th season with Philadelphia. With an unstable offense, it’s a relief to see the defense improving and holding steady.

What comes next: The Eagles should *knock on wood* keep this momentum rolling as they head into a bye week and then a game against the very beatable New York Giants. Playoffs, is that you?