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NFL Week 7 observations

Todd Gurley is a beast. Photo by Rams/Facebook

Week 7 of NFL action was like a football buffet. You had some blowouts, some tightly played games, a few duds, and even a couple “whoops” that cost teams games. Here are my observations from week seven:

The Good

-Rams Running back Todd Gurley continues his march towards an MVP season. He tallied three more touchdowns in yet another blowout (39-10 over the 49ers). He has 14 touchdowns on the season and is on pace to break the single season record of 31 held by LaDainian Tomlinson.

-The Panthers were down 17-0 towards the end of the third quarter to the struggling defending champions the Eagles. Cam Newton knew his Panthers team couldn’t fall to 3-3 so he proceeded to march his team down the field for three fourth quarter scores to pull out a 21-17 win. Oh, and the Panthers defense held the Eagles to only 70 yards during that stretch.

-Vikings receiver Adam Thielen had nine catches on 10 targets for 110 yards and a touchdown in their 37-17 win over the Jets. He continues to prove he’s one of the better receivers in the game after being an undrafted free agent in 2013. He was a second team All-Pro last year and is making his case for another All-Pro team this year.

The Bad

-The Broncos bullied the woeful Cardinals 45-10 on Thursday Night Football. The worst part of this game: my dumb ass left the Broncos defense on the bench in fantasy football so I missed out on 33 points. Only reason it’s not in the “Ugly” is I still won my matchup.

-The Bengals were outgained by 312 yards in their 45-10 loss to the steamrolling Chiefs. The Bengals were 4-2 entering the game and needed to prove themselves against the Chiefs but laid an ostrich-sized egg. Instead of taking a controlling lead in the AFC North, they’ve now fallen to second place and failed to take advantage of the Ravens unfortunate loss.

-The Bears had a great shot at beating the Patriots Sunday and failed losing 38-31. Early in the second quarter, they held a 17-7 lead after two Patriot fumbles they recovered and appeared to have control of the game. True to form, the Pats went on a 31-14 run the rest of the way and stopped the Bears Hail Mary attempt to tie the game on the one yard line. That’s a sucky way to lose.

The Ugly

-Titans coach Mike Vrabel decided to go for the two point conversion and the win, instead of kicking the extra point for the tie and almost guaranteed overtime. Yes, 31 seconds is plenty of time for weird things to happen, but so is a 10 minute overtime period. This is the new leader in the clubhouse for “Idiot Decision of the Year” award in coach’s category.

-Dereck Anderson started for the Bills two weeks after signing with them off his sofa at home. He threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, but will start next week despite his four turnover performance in their 37-5 loss to the Colts. Yes, Nathan Peterman is that bad.

-Now 10 of the 32 first round selections of the 2015 draft have been traded or released. Former Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper was the 10th one when the Cowboys desperately gave up next year’s first rounder for a guy who’s steadily declined since his rookie year. Teams don’t often give up on first rounders that easily. Takes a special kind of suck to be traded or cut three years after being so highly thought of.

How was that buffet? Pretty good variety right? The only thing with a buffet is that I tend to over-eat and go home with “the itis.” As I was getting sleepy with “the itis”, the only thing that could help me sleep was the Rockets sorry asses. Hopefully next week will be just as good a buffet as this week was. Somebody get me a heartburn pill please. My reflux is acting up. Ate too much.

 

History works against the Texans way of doing things

Should the Texans have pulled a Titans?

Houstontexans.com

The Texans are unlikely to fire Bill O'Brien. Any defense of O'Brien has included the fact the Texans made it to the divisional round of the playoffs. Something he had previously accomplished with Brock Osweiler and barely accomplished this season with Deshaun Watson.

It isn't unheard of for a coach to have been fired after making it to the playoffs though. Rare, but not unheard of in the NFL.

Here are the examples of teams moving on from coaches right after a playoff appearance or even a playoff win and how they fared with their new head coach.

2001 - Tampa Bay fires Tony Dungy for Jon Gruden

We all know how this one turned out!

Dungy had seen back-to-back wild card playoff appearances end just one game into the postseason. The Buccaneers got smoked in both those games scoring just 12 points in the two games. Each year they also had a team go further in the playoffs from their division.

Tampa Bay fired Tony Dungy and later traded for John Gruden. It was a hefty price to pay (2 first round picks, 2 second round picks, and $8 million) but they won the Super Bowl in Gruden's first year.

It worked out great for them. It worked out great for Tony Dungy too. He went to Indianapolis and won a Super Bowl a few years later with the Colts and Peyton Manning.

2006 - San Diego fires Marty Schottenheimer for Norv Turner

I loved Marty Schottenheimer. I, like most, knew his playoff disappointment was too much for the Chargers to stomach. It was only his second appearance in the playoffs for San Diego and the Chargers were the best team in the NFL. They promptly lost their first playoff game to a hot Patriots team.

Norv Turner would take over and though the offense wasn't as good, they went a round further and if Philip Rivers wasn't hurt they might have ousted the Patriots and won the Super Bowl. Turner would never reach the conference championship again losing in the divisional round the following year and the wild card round the year after that. Turner would coach three more seasons where he wouldn't make a playoff apperance before being fired. Marty Schottenheimer would never coach in the NFL again after San Diego fired him.

It almost worked out perfect in the very first year for the Chargers.

2017 - Tennessee fires Mike Mularkey for Mike Vrabel

This one has to sting the most for Texans fans.

It was a joke Mike Mularkey was hired after a 2-7 stint in 2015 as the interim head coach but he rattled off a 9-7 record the following year. The Titans lost three of their last four in 2017 but made the playoffs. Miraculously, they went to Kansas City and beat the Chiefs.

Mike Mularkey was going to save his job.

Then the Patriots smacked them down and Mularkey was fired a couple of days later.

"We've done a lot of good things here over the past two years. I just felt like we needed to go a different direction and maximize the skill sets of the players."

Those are the words of Titans general manager Jon Robinson.

Now, think about those words as Deshaun Watson had a worse statistical year in 2019 than the previous year. Same for DeAndre Hopkins. In fact, the whole offense was worse statistically finishing 14th in points a year after finishing 11th. The team was deeper on offense. The offensive line was better. Deshaun Watson had a healthy offseason.

And the Texans regressed.

The Titans, thanks to Mike Vrabel maximizing his players, are playing in the AFC Championship this weekend with a former Texans coach.

History is against O'Brien

Every Super Bowl winning coach since 2000 played in a conference championship game before their fourth year withn their team with the exception of Tom Coughlin and Pete Carrol. Each won the Super Bowl in year four coaching their respective teams. Coughlin won the Super Bowl in year four with the Giants but he of course took Jacksonville to an AFC title game in year two of his stint there. Heck, even the Super Bowl losing head coaches in that same time frame had almost all played in a conference championship before year four.

O'Brien is entering year seven as the Texans head coach.

All three of these situations worked out nearly immediately for these teams. The Texans will not have that option. Will O'Brien even be in trouble for year eight if he replicates this past season? Would he even be in danger of losing any sort of power if he took a small step back.

Despite history working against him and evidence showing there can be big success after medium and small success, it might not be in the cards for the Texans. We could be in the decade of O'Brien unless he truly is special and unique or unless the Texans take a page out of their hated rivals' book.

What do you make of this? Should the Texans have pulled a Titans and moved on from O'Brien despite his 2019 campaign?

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