Mason Crosby came up big this time. Evan Siegle/packers.com
Week 6 saw some trends continue (the Rams remain undefeated) and some come to an end (the Falcons slide, maybe). We also saw a quarterback duel between a hot upstart and the grizzled G.O.A.T. Enough of the fluff, let’s get to the substance:
-The aforementioned quarterback duel was between the Chief’s Pat Mahomes and Pats’ Tom Brady. Brady’s side won 43-40 on a game winning field goal as time expired. Mahomes had 352 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Brady had 340 yards and a touchdown. Mahomes held up when most thought he would for sure crumble under the pressure of going against Brady and Bill Belichek.
-Chargers fourth year running back Melvin Gordon is having a good season. He had 150 yards on 20 touches and three touchdowns (all rushing) in Sunday’s 38-14 win over the Browns. He’s currently third in the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. The Chargers are 4-2 and look like a contender partially due to Gordon’s breakout season.
-Jets’ rookie quarterback Sam Darnold outdueled his Colts counterpart Andrew Luck en route to his team’s 42-34 win. But this spot is reserved for the guys that often get overlooked unless they screw up. Jets’ kicker Jason Meyers made an NFL record seven field goals! Kickers deserve more love than what they normally get. Here’s to you, Jason Meyers.
-The Jags dropped to 3-3 on the season after losing 40-7 to the Cowboys. They’ve gone from chic Super Bowl favorite, to in danger of not even making the playoffs. Their offense was so bad, they never reached the red zone. That vaunted defense gave up over 200 yards rushing. Trouble is brewing.
-Panthers rookie receiver DJ Moore’s two fumbles may have cost his team the game. Both led to Redskin scores in the 23-17 loss. The first came on a punt return that set up the Skins’ first touchdown. The second set up a field goal that gave the Skins a commanding 17-0 lead five minutes before halftime. Turnovers are one thing. But turnovers that lead to points are a killer.
-This portion of “The Bad” is brought to you by the Rams. Sure they won 23-20 over the Broncos, but the bad comes from all of us who lost because they allowed the Broncos a backdoor cover via a late touchdown. -7.5 was a safe bet, especially with them up 23-13 with about three minutes left…until it wasn’t. Stupid Rams.
-The Titans managed only 106 yards of offense against the Ravens in their 21-0 loss. When you look at the per play average (40 plays run), they averaged only 2.65 yards per play. The worst stat of all: they didn’t commit a single turnover! This was the kind of performance not even family members could stand to watch.
-The Bucs’ defense has been so putrid, they fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Their defense ranks last or near the bottom in several key defensive categories. Deserved? Maybe. But that offense has taken a step back as well. This won’t fix their defensive woes.
-The league lost one of the greatest owners, philanthropists, and one of the greatest people in Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Allen, 65, died from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The Seahawks have enjoyed their best success since Allen purchased them in 1997, including 12 playoff appearances, three Super Bowls and one Super Bowl victory. He will be truly missed.
Earlier, I gave Jets kicker Jason Meyers some love. On Monday Night Football, Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby went 4 for 4 including the game winner as time expired. After missing four field goals and an extra point last week, this was poetic justice. This kind of stuff makes the league so much fun to watch. Week after week, you never truly know what you’re going to get.
As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.
Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).
Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.
But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.
Cristian Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. He acknowledged that some of his struggles last year could be attributed to some extra weight he was carrying around in addition to the already-documented mechanical flaws he had.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 22, 2024
In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.
Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.
The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.