What a mess.
I’m ditching my day job for the week, and I thought I’d settle in Sunday with beer and burgers to watch the Ravens compete with and possibly beat the Bills. Four days later, it seems no amount of alcohol or sustenance can erase the scenes of fourth-quarter defensive ineptitude most of the division had the misfortune to witness. Kudos to the Bengals for being the lone unit to actually finish a game with a lead.
Ugliness abounds. Here’s some details.
Dolphins 15, Bengals 27
This was a rather boring affair, with the exception of Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa’s stretcher exercises following a rather gruesome concussion. The Bengals still have real concerns over their offensive line and more specifically, their (lack of a) rushing attack, but after Tagovailoa’s exit, they appeared to have little to worry about in this game. Notable defensively was S Vonn Bell’s two interceptions. Otherwise, just another day at the office for Bengals QB Joe Burrow and company.
Bills 23, Ravens 20
Head coach John Harbaugh is hopefully experiencing a pronounced case of deja vu, because Ravens fans certainly are. Harbaugh’s third last-second decision to go for it on 4th and goal (distance be damned) in the last 10 regular season games have resulted in three losses. Harbaugh’s oft-repeated claims of “the analytics” justifying his decision-making are starting to fall on deaf ears after his vaunted offense failed to score any points in the entire second half after somewhat dominating the first. The defense is suspect, yes, especially in the linebacker corp, but not giving them a lead – even a slim one – to defend is squarely on Harbaugh, and has been each time the “analytics” dictate his moves.
Henceforth, this maneuver shall be referred to as “Harbie Disease”.
Browns 20, Falcons 23
Head coach Kevin Stefanski appears to have contracted a case of Harbie Disease (or “The Harbs” for short) in not converting an early 4th and 3 situation. To be fair, the Browns had been relatively successful on fourth down attempts this season prior to Sunday, converting four of six. The turnover on downs, coupled with a shorthanded defense, took down the Browns in humiliating fashion as the Falcons ran the clock into nothingness. A last-ditch interception by QB Jacoby Brissett on the Browns’ final drive sealed the dismal loss.
Jets 24, Steelers 20
The less said about Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky’s swan song as the team’s starter, the better – best to simply mumble about him being inadequate and move on, which is what Steelers fans are eagerly doing. Rookie QB Kenny Pickett added two TDs on the ground and added a degree of excitement to the beleaguered offense, which has had little to cheer about this season. The Jets managed to rally behind returning QB Zach Wilson, allowing the second-year QB a chance to demonstrate his first-round grade in pretty convincing fashion. Win or lose, the Steelers are finally getting a chance to see what direction their franchise will proceed in. Good luck, kid.