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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston is back in the win column

McCullers Jr. spins a gem as Astros get a much-needed win over Giants

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

After getting swept by the A's in Oakland to end a road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Astros returned to Houston to try and get back on track. To do so, they'd need a win against the Giants on Monday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 6, Giants 4.

Record: 7-9, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Logan Webb (1-1, 2.81 ERA).

Houston builds up an early lead

The early goings of Monday's game went very similar to the last time Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound. He would have a terrific first three innings while his offense gave him an early lead. The first run came in the bottom of the second, with Yuli Gurriel reaching base on a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa.

Correa would take part in a four-run inning in the third, as Houston would score two on a two-RBI ground-rule double by Michael Brantley, another on an error, then Correa's second RBI of the night, a groundout to bring in a run and make it 5-0. Unlike the last start in Arizona, where the roof opened and McCullers Jr. fell apart in the fourth, he was able to make quick work of his opponent for a 1-2-3 frame. As he kept recording scoreless innings, Martin Maldonado added another run to the lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-0.

McCullers Jr. takes a no-hitter into the seventh

While the Astros were building their lead, McCullers Jr. was spinning a gem on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, which came on a hit-by-pitch. He entered the seventh with a no-hitter in progress, but the Giants would get their first hit of the night to end the no-hit bid.

Regardless, the start was precisely what McCullers Jr. needed to restore his confidence after the disastrous inning he had in his last appearance. He would go on to complete the seventh inning before Houston would go to the bullpen with the large lead in the eighth. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 0 HR, 1 HPB.

Houston gets back in the win column despite more struggles by Josh James

Josh James entered out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth but allowed the first run of the night for San Francisco via a solo home run with one out to make it 6-1. He would complete the inning and then return for the top of the ninth. He would have another rocky inning, issuing a leadoff walk before a single and double would make it a four-run game at 6-2, still with no outs in the inning and runners on second and third, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Dusty Baker would bring in his current closer, Ryan Pressly, to try and finish the game, now in a save situation. Pressly would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-RBI single to make it 6-4, but would eventually get the final out to get Houston the much-needed win. With the victory, the Astros moved back into second place in the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Tuesday at 8:10 PM Central. The Giants, working with a fluid rotation, have not yet fully decided on their starter, while the Astros will get another start from Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) who will look to repeat the success of his five-inning, no-run start in Arizona last week.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome