The Eagles bye week this week provided a good break from watching my team fumble the early part of their season away. It also gave me plenty of time to check in on some other teams and games. Here is what I saw this week:
Steelers: After their defence allowed the Bengals to march down the field in the first quarter for a TD, they almost completely shut down Cincy the rest of the way. Taylor kept AJ Green in check, the d-line and strong linebacker play shut down the run, and the overall group held Dalton to just over 100 yards passing. The Steelers run game dominated and is showing that the strength of this team’s much maligned offensive line is their ability to run block. In the first half, the Steelers overcame dropped passes (including one for a TD), a dropped interception and four penalties on kick returns that resulted in a loss of more than 100 yards of field position. It wasn’t the prettiest win, but a divisional win on the road doesn’t have to be pretty.
Ravens: The Ravens were dismantled by Houston. Baltimore struggles on the road, and their defence looks to be one of the bottom 5 or 6 in the league. They offered up almost no resistance in the last three quarters. With an offence that has been up and down, I’m not sure how strong this team is. With a road-heavy second half schedule, the Ravens are vulnerable to being caught for the division lead. Certainly, they don’t look like a Super Bowl contender, especially if they have to play playoff games on the road.
Jacksonville: I only watched part of their game against the Raiders because of a scheduling quirk that left only two late afternoon games for my enjoyment. Once they lost MJD and Gabbert to injuries, their offence produced nothing. This team has no depth and no play makers. Every time I feel sad for myself for being an Eagles fan, I remind myself that the fans of Jacksonville have it far worse than me.
Patriots – Jets: The Pats defence made the Jets anemic offence look good. Their front four can’t get any pressure on the QB and their secondary can’t cover. As they bump into strong offensive teams, the Pats offence is going to have to make up the difference. Against the Jets, that offence wasn’t clicking like in previous weeks as the Jets had success in stopping them on 3rd down. That probably had more to do with a Jets team that still has talent on D than anything that will affect the Pats long term.
Seattle – San Francisco: The Thursday night game was a physical throw-back type game. Watching the 49ers run the ball in the second half on one of the top ranked defences was a sight to behold. This game wasn’t as close as the 13-6 score would indicate as Alex Smith did his best to keep it close with a couple of interceptions, including one in the end zone. Puzzling to me was the Seahawks clock management at the end of the game. They didn’t get into a hurry up offence and likely cost themselves a chance at an extra possession in the 4th quarter as they took their time driving the ball. Who knows if they would have scored on an extra possession (or if they would have gotten the ball back), but to take away that chance was poor in game management by the coaching staff.