FALCON POINTS

Bill O'Brien vs. Bill Belichick: A Tale of the tape, plus a look at why O'Brien and Jason Garrett might have missed their Super Bowl window

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When the Texans hired Bill O'Brien, they hoped they were getting the next Bill Belichick. Of course, every team hopes that, and only one actually did it.

It's no secret O'Brien has struggled in his career against his old boss. He is 0-5 against Belichick, and his teams have been outscored by an average of 30-15.

But let's take a deeper look at how the two Bills match up:

Not much of a comparison

So let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first, looking at both coaches records head to head:

Overall head coaching record

O'Brien 49-42, .538. Belichick: 271-124 .686

Playoff record

O'Brien 1-3, .250. Belichick 31-11, .738

Super Bowl record

O'Brien 0-0, Belichick 6-3.

AFC Championship record

O'Brien 0-0, Belichick 9-4

Now the good news...

Yeah, so OK, we know that isn't fair. But on the bright side, O'Brien's six years with the Texans actually measure up nicely with Belichick's first six years in the league, five with Cleveland.

Overall head coaching record

O'Brien 49-42, .538. Belichick: 41-55 .427

Playoff record

O'Brien 1-3, .250. Belichick 1-1, .500

Belichick was 5-11 in his first year in New England after the stint in Cleveland. The next year he went 11-5 and won his first Super Bowl. He hasn't had a losing season since. That correlates with the Tom Brady era, of course.

So maybe next year is O'Brien's year? Looking at other first time Super Bowl winning coaches, If it was going to happen for O'Brien, it probably already would have.

Something more apt

First, let's compare O'Brien to another prominent coach who has yet to win a Super Bowl:

Overall head coaching record

O'Brien 49-42, .538. Coach X: 83-64, .565

Playoff record

O'Brien 1-3, .250. Coach X; 2-3, .400

No championship game or Super Bowl appearances.

Record vs. Patriots

O'Brien 0-5, Coach X 0-3

"Coach X" is the man who just faced Belichick and the Patriots, Jason Garrett. In his 10th year, his run appears near an end. He is comparable to O'Brien with a few more years in the books. We throw him in because like O'Brien, his Super Bowl window may have passed and his team just lost to these same Patriots.

So what is the point?

Yes, O'Brien - and Garrett - do not match up with Belichick. Who does? But Belichick wasn't Belichick at O'Brien's stage of his career, either. Had he stayed with the Browns, would he have been the same coach? Who knows? Obviously having Brady has a lot to do with his success. And realistically, no one will ever be Belichick. But can O'Brien achieve success at the highest level after six years on the job? Can Garrett in year 10? A deeper look at recent first time Super Bowl winners says no.

Super Bowl winning coaches

Let's go back to 2000 and look at how many years a coach was on the job before winning their first Super Bowl aside from Belichick:

2000, Dick Vermeil, Rams. Vermeil spent seven years in Philadelphia. He reached a Super Bowl in Year five. After a 15 year break he returned with the Rams, had two losing seasons and won it in Year 3. So technically he was in his 10th coaching year when he won his first Super Bowl, but made it to one in year 5.

2001, Brian Billick, Ravens: He won the Super Bowl in his second season.

2003, Jon Gruden, Bucs: Year 1 with Tampa Bay, Year 5 as a head coach (four years in Oakland with one AFC Championship game).

2006, Bill Cowher, Steelers: Won it in his 14th season, but also went to a Super Bowl in year four.

2007, Tony Dungy, Colts: He won it in his 11th season, his fifth in Indianapolis, his second team.

2008, Tom Coughlin, Giants: Won it in year 12, but year four with the Giants, his second team.

2009, Mike Tomlin, Steelers: Won it in Year 2.

2010, Sean Payton, Saints: Won it in Year 4.

2011, Mike McCarthy, Packers: Won in Year 5.

2013, John Harbaugh, Ravens: Won in Year 5.

2014, Pete Carroll, Seahawks: Won in Year 8, but his third team. It was Year 4 with the Seahawks. He also had national championships at USC between gigs, so he is an outlier.

2016, Gary Kubiak, Broncos: Won in Year 9, but first year in Denver.

2018, Doug Pederson, Eagles: Won in Year 2.

The bad news...

Not a single coach with his first team won a Super Bowl after year five without previously making it to a Super Bowl. Cowher did it in 14 years, but had already made it to one. Dungy, Vermeil and Coughlin all won later in their careers, but not with their first teams. Only Dungy and Coughlin won their first Super Bowl more than 10 years into their careers without having been to a Super Bowl and lost before.

However, Dungy made a conference title game in Year 4 (with the Bucs). Coughlin made it in Year 2 and Year 5 in Jacksonville. Cowher had been to five conference championship games, his first in Year 3, in addition to losing the Super Bowl. Vermeil was in Year 5 with the Eagles when they made the Super Bowl.

The bottom line: Only three coaches have won a Super Bowl since 2000 without an appearance in at least a conference championship game in their first five years coaching in the league.

The exceptions?

1) Former Texans coach Kubiak, who had never made a title game before winning his first year in Denver. He inherited a team that had already been to a Super Bowl, however.

2) Carroll, who took a lengthy break to have success at USC before going to the Seahawks. You could argue the Seattle team he inherited was comparable to the Texans team O'Brien took over. Yet Carroll won in Year 4 and made it back in Year 5. You could also argue national championships should count.

3) Then there is that man again, Belichick.

Belichick, although his career started in the early 90s, is the measuring stick for all since. Year 7 was his first title, and he had not led a team to a championship game before. So there's that to hang onto, even though it was his second team.

Of those three? None were in their first NFL coaching jobs, which means O'Brien and Garrett are up against it. In the simplest terms, if you don't make at least a conference title game by year 5, you won't be winning a Super Bowl with that team.

In reality, what O'Brien and Garrett are hoping to achieve simply does not happen at this point in their careers. Neither has reached a conference title game, which means their window is likely closed, unless they can buck history.

The one positive is O'Brien has accomplished more in his first six seasons than Belichick did in his. But at this stage of his Texans career, he is unlikely to ever win the ultimate prize, at least in Houston.

If history is to be believed, time has run out. But at least there is still a chance to beat his old boss for the first time.

Bears 31, Cowboys 24

Cowboys vs Bears: Good, bad and ugly

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In a must win game, the Cowboys did the unthinkable. They lost to a team with a quarterback who may not even be a starter next year. The game on paper didn't look bad, for the Cowboys only lost by seven points. But the game was dominated by the Bears after the Cowboys scored their opening touchdown. This was very similar to their game against Buffalo last Thursday. The Cowboys started hot then faded into obscurity as the game progressed.

The Good

- Ezekiel Elliott was once again the best player on the Cowboys offense. Sure Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup were able to each acquire 6 catches for 83 yards and 109 yards respectively, but most of their receptions came in garbage time when the Bears where playing a prevent defense, Elliot on the other hand was doing his best to carry the Cowboys offensively. He gained 81 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. However, his efforts weren't enough, for the Cowboys offense looked stagnant when Elliott wasn't being fed the ball.

- Just like last week, the Cowboys offense did not get off to a slow start. On their opening drive, the boys looked like they had game planed properly for the Bears' defense, and Dak Prescott was able to march down the field with ease. This lead to a touchdown run by Elliott and gave the Cowboys a quick 7-0 lead. After this drive though it's as if Prescott and the Cowboys couldn't get first downs or convert simple offensive plays. The defense was able to pitch a shutout until garbage time in the 4th quarter.

- The Cowboys' defense was not great either giving up 31 points to the Bears. However, the one Cowboy who could not be blamed on defense was Jaylon Smith. He was second on the team with 8 tackles and had two miraculous stops in the end zone to prevent the bears from scoring a touchdown twice. He has become the leader of the Cowboys defense and plays his heart out every game. He has stepped up the most since Leighton Vander Esh's injury, and Jerry Jones is starting to look like a smart man for giving Smith his extension.

The bad

- Do not let Prescott's numbers fool you. Most of his completions came in the 4th quarter with the Bears playing prevent defense. Prescott looked great in the opening drive, but afterwards looked as though he couldn't quarterback to save his life. Just like last week when the Cowboys played the Bills, Prescott and the Cowboys looked atrocious after their initial score. Prescott went 1-9 after their first touchdown and did not look good until the 4th quarter. Troy Aikman said it best when he exclaimed that Prescott's numbers were "fake stats." His numbers suggest he had a good not great game, but to those who watched the game know Prescott had a Blake Bortles like game in which he didn't accumulate good QB numbers until garbage time. This is three subpar games in a row for Prescott, and if he is not careful, he can kiss that long-term extension good bye.

- Brett Maher wasn't terrible like he was last week, but he wasn't good either. He missed one field goal on Thursday from over 40 yards for the 6th time this season. He is now 1-7 on field goal attempts from 40 yards or more. He has now missed 10 field goals this season total, more than any kicker in the last four years according to FOX Sports. His job security now comes into question, and it's easy to see the Cowboys replace Maher this offseason. The Cowboys have reportedly worked out multiple kickers before this week, so It would also not be surprising if Maher is replaced before the season is over.

- There was only one thing worse than the Cowboys' offense and that was their defense. As previously mentioned, Jaylon Smith was by far the best player on defense, but everyone else was pretty much a no show on defense. They allowed the Bears to score 31 points and Mitch Trubisky looked like a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback for the first time this season. To put some perspective on his performance, Trubisky's QBR was 80.6. He is averaging a QBR around 40 this season, meaning he played twice as good as he was expected to against this Cowboys' defense. In addition to their inability to stop Trubisky, the defense as a whole had an exceptionally hard time tackling all night, which lead to the Bears gaining extra yardage and extra opportunities to score. Injuries to Vander Esh and Jeff Heath have derailed this Cowboys' defense, and their matchups between the Rams and the Eagles don't bode well for this struggling defense.

The Ugly

- Costly penalties killed the Cowboys Thursday night. Xavier Woods got called for holding on Allen Robinson on a 3rd and 9. This would have forced the Bears to kick a long field goal on 4th down, but instead the Bears scored shortly thereafter to go up 24-7. Michael Bennet also got called for an avoidable penalty. On 3rd and 2 in Cowboys' territory he jumped off sides which caused the Bears to get an easy first down. This penalty also resulted in a Bears touchdown. In total, the Cowboys had 6 penalties for 52 yards. That can be blamed on bad coaching and a lack of discipline.

- The ugliest part of the game took place on the sidelines. Jason Garrett didn't look liked he cared that he was losing to the Bears. He looked as though as if he knew this would be his last season with the Cowboys, so he is just going through the motions of his job until his inevitable departure comes to fruition. The Players on the sideline didn't seem emotional affected either, but rather in shock. Michael Bennett's face after the bears scored their third touchdown was pure shock. It's clear the Jason Garrett has lost the locker room, and his players respect.

- Let's face it, the Cowboys don't even look like a playoff contending team. If it wasn't for the fact that they play in a bad division, the Cowboys could have been written off after their loss to the Jets. Time and time again they constantly fall under pressure, and when their games become must win games, they fold like a house of cards. Despite all of the talent this roster has, they have continued to underperform and shot themselves in the foot time and time again. This was a must win game, but for a multitude of reasons the Cowboys just can't seem to win the big game when it matters the most. To quote a famous ESPN personality "They are an accident waiting to happen. What can go wrong will go wrong for the Dallas Cowboys."

Even though the Cowboys have lost three games in a row, they are still in first place in their division due the NFC East being a joke, They look to defend their pity title when they square off against the playoff contending Rams next Sunday in what looks to be a lopsided affair. The Rams have bounced bag since their slow start, and look to claim a Wild Card spot as the season comes to a close. It will be a rematch of the 2019 NFC Divisional Playoff Round matchup, but this Cowboys' team is a lot different for last year's team.

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