Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today I want to just quickly go over the biggest stories from Week 15 in the NFL. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow. Also, it's a busy time in school, so this may be my last article before I take a Christmas break, so if there's nothing else posted after this Happy Holidays to everyone.
Patriots Controversial Win Over Steelers:
I'm going to have a hard time not being biased in this section because of the hatred I possess towards the Patriots. I'm going to try and keep it short and simple. Everyone watching that game understands that Jesse James caught the football, turned his body up field, and dove across the goal line to win the game. Everyone also should understand, though, that the NFL has spent so much time messing with the definition of a catch, that by rule, technically, James did not catch the football. I've heard people say this is a Dez Bryant situation, so they had to stay consistent with the call. This is not a Dez Bryant situation because Dez was sprinting with the ball, didn't clearly catch it, and THEN make a move towards the endzone. Dez was running, tried to possess the ball in stride and made a move towards the endzone too quickly for me to believe he actually caught it. James very clearly caught the ball, had possession, and then turned his body up field towards the endzone. Unlike Dez, the play was not all one motion, there were two very different portions to the play. The NFL needs to turn back towards common sense in deciphering what is and isn't a catch, and less about confusing phrases that have multiple interpretations. Otherwise, fans and players will continue to be frustrated with the league and its officials.
Quick side note on this play as well--not only does common sense show that he caught the ball, but he crossed the plain (goal line) with the ball, so the part where the ball shifts in James's hands shouldn't even be looked at. The NFL's rules about what goes on in the endzone are also screwed up, so that's something they need to fix (I'll talk about that more on a later date).
Rams Smash Seahawks:
As Colin Cowherd said, "This was not a passing of the baton, this was the Rams yanking it out of Pete Carroll's hands." The Rams thrashed Seattle 42-7 at the Seahawks home field. L.A. looked younger, faster, smarter, more creative, and like a cohesive unit; on the contrary Seattle had players calling each other out on Twitter after the game was over. I liked Seattle coming into this season, but the injuries have proven to be too much to overcome, and the Seahawks are now faced with the question of whether or not they need to rebuild. They clearly can't keep pace with younger teems anymore, and I'm saddened and scared that this year could be the end of the Legion of Boom.
Lets all be honest now, and admit despite widespread predictions for the Jaguars to be good this year, nobody thought they would be THIS good. Their defense is the best in the NFL in my opinion, and the offense has found rhythm, especially since they seem to get the ball around the 35 yard line every time a possession starts. This team could be dangerous in the Playoffs now that it's official, and they're in. They could also be hosting a Playoff game for the first time in about 20 years. This is crazy, as one of the leagues biggest laughing stocks is now looking like a powerhouse.
Dallas's Win Over Raiders:
This was a crazy game to watch, as it was close all of the way to the end. The game was host to a mind boggling moment though, as the referees had to take a folded over piece of paper, slide it in between the ball and first down marker, and judge whether the ball was far enough for the first. The referees gave Dallas what was a crucial first down, but there was a huge reaction across social media, as a sheet of paper pretty much decided the outcome of the game. The game was also important in that it kept Dallas's Playoff hopes alive for another week. These hopes are also getting a boost because of...
Zeke's Upcoming Return:
This week Ezekiel Elliot is returning to the Cowboys from his suspension, and he could provide them a lift as the regular season comes to its close. This is a huge boost for a Cowboys offense that has struggled at times without him.
Aaron Rodgers Shut Down For Season:
Today Aaron Rodgers was shut down for the season, as the Packers placed him on season ending IR. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers took too many hits in that game, which is fair since he was sacked three times and hit seven times. After last night's win for the Falcons on MNF, the Packers were officially eliminated from the Playoffs, so I agree with this move, because the Packers should insure Rodgers is 100% healthy at the start of next season.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Sorry for my absence as of late, I've had a lot of work to do lately. Now that I have some time though, I'm ready to break down some of last week's games and what that means heading into this week and the playoffs. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
Game Spotlight - Jacksonville Jaguars 30 vs. 24 Seattle Seahawks
This was a huge game last week as it increased Jacksonville's chances to make the playoffs to over 90%, and pretty much sealed their chances of winning the division. It also was a statement victory, as the team who was a laughing stock just a year ago beat a perennial contender in the Seahawks.
What Does It Mean This Week?
It means that if Seattle wants to keep its playoff hopes alive, it needs a win this week. They'll be taking on the L.A. Rams at home in a game that could give Seattle the division lead, since Seattle is 8-5 and the Rams are 9-4. This should be a great game, and one that holds huge value in terms of playoff seeding. The Jaguars are taking on the Texans who have been a mess ever since Deshaun Watson went down with a season ending ACL tear. This should be a division win for the Jags, and one that'll put them at 10-4.
What Does It Mean For The Playoffs?
This game pretty much proved that the Jaguars are a playoff caliber team, with a Super Bowl caliber defense. They intercepted Russell Wilson, my MVP pick, three times in that game showing why they are the most feared pass defense in the NFL. For the Seahawks, their loss makes this weeks game against the Rams almost a must win, especially since Aaron Rodgers is returning this week in hopes of leading the Packers back into the playoff picture. If Seattle drops to 8-6 this week, their two straight losses will make it hard to compete for a playoff spot.
Game Spotlight - Philadelphia Eagles 43 @ 35 Los Angeles Rams
This was the game of the week, as it was a battle to the end. It was also a huge story, since Carson Wentz, leading many MVP polls, was lost for the season after tearing his ACL. His backup, Nick Foles, is a decent quarterback but there is a huge drop off between an MVP candidate and someone incapable of starting for a team. The Eagles are a talented team, so it'll be interesting to see if they can continue their success without Wentz.
What Does It Mean This Week?
I've already talked a bit about the Rams playing the Seahawks this week, so I'll just quickly say that I see things in a similar light for L.A. as I do Seattle. One of those two teams is likely to be a wild card team this year, and the winner could hold home field advantages in some playoff matches due to a division title. The Eagles play the dumpster fire New York Giants this week. If they can't win this game, Wentz should win MVP just based on the assumption that he must have been the only one winning this team games.
What Does It Mean For The Playoffs?
The Rams are still right in the thick of things, but it showed they are vulnerable against strong teams. This doesn't bode well for them if opposing defenses find ways to get pressure on Goff and contain Todd Gurley, who accounts for almost 35% on L.A.'s offense. With the Eagles, this is obviously a huge blow. A lot of people are still taking them to come out of the NFC and make the Super Bowl, but I can't believe that unless Nick Foles plays really well. As of right now, I give Philly one playoff victory at most. The loss of Wentz killed their season, in my eyes.
Game Spotlight - Miami Dolphins 27 vs. 20 New England Patriots
I'm a Dolphins fan, so I've been ecstatic all week. I love seeing Tom Brady scream at everyone on the sideline because of his inability to play well in Miami. It makes my heart soar. Anyways, this was a huge game for the AFC playoff race. It has a lot of implications, but I'll talk about that in a second. Specific to this game, the Dolphins exposed a couple things the Patriots did. One, is they didn't allow Brandin Cooks to burn them deep forcing Brady to only throw underneath all game...which is usually what works. Miami consistently kept its linebackers in underneath coverage though, sometimes with underneath safety coverage as well, to contain those dump offs to running backs. That meant Brady was never able to catch the defense sleeping on the deep ball, and he had no success moving the ball with his quick underneath throws. Also, on offense Miami exposed the Patriots secondary with lots of misdirection, motion, and subtle pick plays, which is actually a page out of Bill Belicheat's book. Overall this game was dominated by Miami, and the close score due to garbage time points doesn't do it justice.
What Does It Mean This Week?
This week Miami plays the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, where they sometimes struggle. This is a must win for both teams involved, as they are both fighting for the six seed in the AFC playoffs. Right now Buffalo is in that last spot, but with four other teams right in the mix this is a must win game. The Patriots play the Steelers in what should be the game of the week. Everyone expected this game to be the battle of two teams tied for the one seed in the AFC, but after Miami's win the Pats are one game behind Pittsburgh. That makes this a must win if New England wants to own home field advantage through the playoffs.
What Does It Mean For The Playoffs?
Miami currently sits at 6-7, and is one game out of the playoffs. The teams ahead of them right now either by tiebreaker or a one game better record are the Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, and Bills. The Fins play the Bills, Chiefs, Bills to end the season, all of which are winnable games. If Miami ends 9-7, the Bills would be out of playoff contention, the Chiefs would be at best 9-7 and Miami would own the tiebreaker, the Chargers would at best be 10-6, but in that scenario Miami automatically makes the playoffs, and the Raiders at best would be 9-7, and they would take the six seed. That is the least likely scenario though, so Miami, if they win out, could very well make the playoffs. The Patriots, like I already said, need to win this week if they want to hold the one seed, and if they lose they'll likely head to the postseason without home field advantage. That could be an issue if they need to play in Pittsburgh for the AFC title.
In my opinion, those were the three most important games of this week, since they seriously affected the paths teams need to take to make the playoffs, or get a high seed in the playoffs.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today there is a lot to talk about, so I'm going to try and let everyone know everything going on with Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football. Hopefully I can hit on everything you've been wondering about those two games from this week. Make sure to share this article as it helps TTR grow.
If last night's MNF game wasn't so hectic, this would easily be the game everyone was still talking about. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, who had previously held the best record in the NFL at 10-1. The 24-10 final score doesn't justify my feeling throughout the game, which is that the Eagles were completely outmatched, and subsequently beat down. Seattle's decimated defense, missing two Pro Bowlers in Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, held the Eagles previously number one ranked scoring offense to only 10 points, despite giving up 425 yards. Many people defended Philadelphia for that reason, saying they just couldn't find the end zone and the yards prove this offense is one to fear. I can agree that this one game doesn't define Philly's offense, but it has to be disconcerting. Carson Wentz, an MVP candidate, played poorly against a playoff defense in a playoff environment. This is what the Eagles are going to be seeing this Postseason, so this lackluster performance is not encouraging.
Speaking of MVP candidates, how about Russell Wilson? He easily has my vote, as he has been putting up historic numbers all year long. He accounts for 29 of Seattle's 30 touchdowns, and is accounted for 82% of Seattle's offense. If the season ended today, that percentage would be an NFL record. The numbers don't say it all, by the way. There were a number of plays on Sunday in which Wilson should have been sacked for a huge loss, and yet he turned the play into a large gain. Those plays seem almost routine when Wilson is on the field, and are what make him the clear MVP pick for me.
This style of play has to be concerning for the Seahawks though. They cannot possibly count on Wilson to bail out their average receivers, below average running backs, and garbage offensive line every single game. He has done it throughout the regular season, but at some point in the Playoffs it won't hold up anymore. That brings me to my next point about Seattle and Philly, which is what this game means for them and their Playoff status. Obviously, I don't see either of these teams missing the Postseason, but this game does say a lot about how they should perform in Playoff football. The young Philadelphia team looked overwhelmed by Seattle, and since the Eagles have played mainly poor teams this year this game doesn't look good for their future performances this January. Hopefully this was a wake up call for them. For Seattle this game is great in that their backups have done a great job stepping up on defense, but the offense would keep me up at night. They can't go very far if it's just Russell leading the way.
I don't want to talk much about this games playing, and more about its politics. This, to many, was an atrocity. First, Ryan Shazier, an incredibly talented and well respected linebacker for the Steelers, went down with a horrible injury when making a tackle. He sniffed the play out, ran for the receiver running an underneath route, and when the offensive player shifted Shazier's momentum took the crown of his helmet straight into the hip of the Bengal. He dropped to the ground, reached for his back, and then started flexing his right hand. Shazier couldn't move his legs, was carted off the field, and remains in the hospital. Today, reports have come out saying that he has regained some feeling in his lower half, but this is still scary. Many think that it was a spinal contusion, and that is what's causing this temporary paralyzation.
With head injuries already at the front of everyone's minds due to the physical and dangerous history of the Steelers Bengals rivalry, this emphasized the danger of the NFL. That didn't stop each team from getting in their physical and unnecessary shots though. Late in the game, Ben Roethlisberger threw a quick pass to Leveon Bell, who turned up field to pick up the first down. JuJu Smith Shuster, a slot receiver, layed down a vicious block of Vontez Burfict who was in pursuit of Bell, placing his helmet right underneath the face mask of the linebacker. Then, as Burfict lay motionless of the ground, Shuster stood over Burfict staring down at him for what seemed like an eternity. Burfict is okay, but he had to be taken off of the field of a stretcher.
On that same drive, Antonio Brown caught the game tying touchdown pass in the back of the endzone, but that play was also riddled with extracurricular activity. Safety George Ikola launched himself right into the head of Brown as he jumped up to catch the touchdown. It's incredible Brown doesn't have a concussion.
After the game, when Shuster was giving an apology to Burfict in an interview, Brown can be heard screaming "karma" in the background repeatedly. Brown also said in his interview that the game was filled with karma, and that he would pay Shuster's fine for him, clearly approving of the hit. This was all, obviously, related to when Burfict laid a hit on Brown straight to his head as he was a defenseless receiver running over the middle of the field a couple of years ago in the Playoffs.
All of that from the game was then dismissed as "NFC North" football by Ben Roethlisberger after the game, but it is clearly more than that. This is not the view the NFL wants or needs, as the game was one of violence and scary injuries. Like I said at the beginning, a lot of people found this game to be an atrocity, but I can't bring myself to agree. This is football. The players know what they are signing up for, and they understand each and every game that there will be hits to their head, legal or not, and they will have lasting impacts from that as life goes on. I think that the NFL needs to do more to try and stop this as player safety is obviously a huge priority, but it bothers me that people are acting like all of this was out of the blue. This has been happening for years upon years, it just hasn't been seen on a stage like this before. Just yesterday the NFL suspended Rob Gronkowski for his cheap hit to the head of Tre'Davious White, who is now in the concussion protocol.
That suspension brings me to my last thoughts for today. Gronk was given a one game suspension for a very cheap hit to the head of a defenseless player (if you want more info check out yesterday's article). Today both JuJu and Ikola were given one game suspensions by the league for their hits, but this, for me, just brought up more image questions for the NFL. How is it that JuJu was given the same suspension as Gronkowski when Shuster's hit was not intended to hurt Burfict, and it was a bang-bang play. Gronkowski purposely, after the play, layed out to smash White's head into the ground, while Shuster gave a block that wouldn't be disciplined by any coach in the league. I think Shuster does deserve a game suspension since the NFL needs to further push that there can't be hits to the head, but that means Gronk and Ikola deserve at least two games. If Talib and Crabtree were given two game sentences each for having a fight that injured nobody and had nothing to do with brain trauma, then Gronk and Ikola deserved at least that.
Again, I think that this has to be expected to a certain extent from a game as violent as football, and last night was an extreme showing of those dangers, but there is obviously work the NFL can do to fix that. The biggest thing I think they can do, is to start giving out punishments that actually fit the crimes.
Sorry for how scattered this article is, I just had a lot to talk about and not very much time. I hope I hit on everything about those two games that anyone wanted to hear, even if it was just briefly. Thanks for reading.
Welcome to The Truda Report everybody. Today I just wanted to highlight a couple big stories that came out today in the NFL. Hopefully tomorrow I can get out my game analysis article for Week 13. Make sure to share this as it helps TTR grow.
Giants Shake Things Up: Today the New York Giants made what seems like every fan of their team happy by ending Ben McAdoo's stint as head coach. He went 13-15 over the almost two season long job, going 2-10 this season. The Giants also fired General Manager Jerry Reese, who won two Super Bowls with the team. This move came with some backlash, but I agree with the decision. He had failed for years to put together a respectable offensive line, hindering the offense almost ineffective on multiple occasions. Steve Spagnuolo, the teams defensive coordinator, is taking over as interim head coach to finish the season. Personally, I'm happy for Spagnuolo as he was the defensive coordinator for their Super Bowl winning team in 2007. Hopefully these moves start a successful turnaround for New York.
Rob Gronkowski Suspended: Today the NFL suspended Rob Gronkowski for what Max Kellerman called, "the worst hit I've seen all year." After Tre'Davious White picked off Tom Brady, Gronk ran over to where White was on the ground and dove, elbow first, into the upper back/head area. It was a hard and dirty hit, but Gronkowski wasn't ejected (because Patriots are favored by the referees...not a hunch it's a fact). This suspension will mean that Gronk misses next week's Monday Night Football match up against the Dolphins, who are fighting for their lives right now. After beating Denver this week, if Miami can win at home against the Pats they are back in the Playoff picture, so that should be a hard fought game. The loss of Gronk would be big for the Patriots, so Pats fans should hope his appeal goes through this week. I'll make sure to keep everyone posted.
High School Senior from Connecticut obsessed with sports stats, facts, and management.