Lance Zierlein's Z-Report

Are the Rams, Chiefs, or Saints the best offense ever? Let's take a look

Drew Brees has a great shot at MVP this year. Michael C Hebert/Saints team site

All we’ve heard about over the last two years is sniping and arguing about the NFL’s television ratings and whether any decline was due to Colin Kaepernick and players kneeling for the national anthem. Granted, it’s calmed down some this season, but you couldn’t go a day without hearing, reading or watching stories and arguments about it.

Through all of that noise, football was busy having three teams quietly building offensive juggernauts the likes we’ve rarely seen in NFL history. The addition of Alvin Kamara to the Saints has given them a next level offense and new age weapon to deploy. The Chiefs combination of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce was already lethal, but it took an “Air Raid” quarterback from Texas Tech to unleash total hell on the rest of the league. The Rams? They are just hoarding offensive talent, and they use the first pick of the 2016 draft to the tune of 35.3 points per game.

College offense comes to the pros

On November 4th, the Saints and Rams combined for 80 points and 970 total yards. To put that in perspective, the Texans and Redskins combined for 44 points and 598 yards this weekend. Of course the Rams and Chiefs weren’t going to be outdone, so they combined for 105 points and 1001 yards in their historic Monday Night Football game. College offenses have infiltrated the NFL and the results are actually very entertaining.

The Saints and Patriots have been running spread offenses for years, but the Rams and Chiefs added legitimate, every-down running backs to the mix to keep their train moving in case the passing game ever goes sideways (which it rarely does). Stringent officiating against defenses along with the addition of RPOs (run-pass-option) and jet sweeps almost makes these three offenses unfair. However, it may surprise you to find out that all three of these explosive offenses are unlikely to end up as the top dog all-time.

Untouchable numbers?

Ask anyone who the greatest NFL offense was and one of the first answers will be “The Greatest Show on Turf” Rams team from 1999-2000, but they averaged 32.8 ppg. The 2007 Patriots were unstoppable until they got to the Super Bowl, and they averaged 36.8 ppg and 295 ypg passing. The winner? Peyton Manning’s 2013 Denver Broncos offense averaged 37.9 ppg, 340 ypg passing and finished with 55 passing touchdowns and 71 total touchdowns.

Now keep in mind that Peyton Manning didn’t have RPOs and jet-sweeps and was a statue in the pocket. He was also coming off a season where he didn’t even play football because of an arm injury, and had a weak arm even before his injury. For as great as these offensive explosions are in 2018, what Peyton Manning and the Broncos did in 2013 will likely never be touched. Oh yeah, they also lost in the Super Bowl just like the 2007 Patriots did. Stats are great, but rings are better. One of the “big three” is going to get the ring this season. There simply isn’t any other team who can keep up with them on the scoreboard.

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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