Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley made his highly anticipated return to the state of Georgia on Sunday.
Unfortunately, the pseudo homecoming for Gurley was short-lived as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter abandoned Gurley in the second half of Sunday’s 38-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
“When you’re down a couple you’re just thinking of possessions — getting a score, getting another. It would have been nice to continue into that space into the fourth quarter. But as the game went, in terms of carries and staying in it, that wasn’t how we could play at that time.”
Using Todd Gurley as just a running back is where Dirk Koetter and Dan Quinn made their first mistake. You don’t sign Todd Gurley because he can the run the football. You sign Gurley because, when healthy, he is the most complete running back in the NFL and gives an offense the upper hand in the cat and mouse game taking place.
Todd Gurley is the ultimate mismatch in football and the Atlanta Falcons failed to take advantage of that.
During his career, Todd Gurley’s teams are 10-2 when he has at least 45 receiving yards in the game. When he has 60 or more receiving yards in the game, his teams are 6-1. When he has 20 or more carries, his teams are 19-6 and when he has 20 carries and five receptions in a game, his teams have never lost.
Using him in the passing game is the ultimate reward and biggest benefit of having him on your roster. Did you see how the Seahawks built their lead Sunday? They used Chris Carson and Greg Olsen early in the short-yardage passing game to open up the field in the second half to explode offensively.
There is zero reasons that Chris Carson had a bigger effect on the game than Todd Gurley and just shows the lack of foresight, inability to adjust a garbage game plan, and that he doesn’t truly understand how to use the weapons at his disposal.
Koetter really is in the mindset of using his receivers to catch the ball, his tight ends to block and his running backs to run. Yet, he has the best array of weapons across the league and has receivers that can run the ball, tight ends that can make plays all over the field, and three different running backs that can help open up the passing game.
Sure, there are plenty of reasons that you can sit there and be happy with 500 yards of offense but when you have just 25 points as a result and no turnovers that killed drives it should send signals to everyone that your offensive coordinator has no idea how to drive a Ferrari out of first gear.
Todd Gurley has to be used to more than he is and the Atlanta Falcons have to take advantage of his skill set before they flush another year of an elite offense down the toilet.
2020 Chicago Bears: Week 3 report card vs. Atlanta Falcons
Positional grading breakdown as Nick Foles steps in for the Chicago Bears
It looks like the only way the Chicago Bears can win this season is to make a dramatic comeback in a game. In Week 3, the Bears (3-0) fought back from a 16-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons by the score of 30-26. But of all three of their victories in the early part of this year, this win was probably the most memorable.
Offensively, Chicago managed to accumulate 437 total yards. However, their 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter didn’t come until a surprising quarterback change was made. Chicago’s third-down efficiency (26 percent) was a matter of concern for the majority of the contest, as well as the decline of the production in the running game.
As for the defense, they continued to display their bend-but-don’t-break attitude that gave the team a fighting chance to come away with the win. Big plays were made by both the pass rush and the secondary during crucial points of the game. Unfortunately, that didn’t keep them from shooting themselves in the foot by committing penalties that helped put the Bears in a hole.
With the combination of another win and having a new face at quarterback, the Bears could be at the start of a major turnaround that could further catapult their undefeated start to the 2020 NFL season. Once again, this game wasn’t pretty from start to finish, but it is yet another win that will keep them at the top of the NFC North. Let’s take a look at Chicago’s grades for their Week 3 win over the Dirty Birds.
Colts: Jonathan Taylor taking on entire Jets defense with punishing run is amazing
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor took on the entire Jets defense in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
Fans in Indianapolis who were hoping for the Colts offense to put on a show at home against a sorry Jets team were probably left wanting more when the game clock showed zeroes in the fourth quarter.
That’s not to say the group didn’t perform well. Given how much the defense was dominating — it returned two interceptions for touchdowns — they simply weren’t asked to do much. Philip Rivers dropped back to pass just 21 times, which was more than enough time for him to throw his 400th career touchdown.
The same can be said for the running game, which totaled 29 carries after logging 36 in Week 2 against Minnesota. In a game in which Indianapolis won by nearly 30 points, head coach Frank Reich’s side won the time of possession battle by less than a minute.
Therefore, the highlight plays from the offense were few and far between. However, if we had to pick our favorite, it would definitely be Jonathan Taylor’s powerful run at the start of the third quarter when he simply refused to be tackled.
Talk about a complete run. Taylor showcased exceptional patience before hitting the gaping hole his offense line created for him and seemed to cap the effort off with an incredible jump cut at the first-down marker. However, the former Wisconsin star‘s sheer determination to not go down saw him carry a jumble of Jets defenders an extra five or so yards before he was tackled.
It’s punishing runs like this that prove he deserves touches when Indianapolis is faced with short-yardage situations, even though backup Jordan Wilkins has a bigger frame. Look no further than his touchdown run on fourth-and-goal halfway through the third quarter that put the game to bed.
Through the first three games of his NFL career, Taylor has proven to be every bit worth a 2020 second-round pick, taking 48 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns, while adding nine receptions for 79 yards as a receiver out of the backfield.
Taylor has had a handful of eye-opening runs thus far in the young season, but this one against the Jets oozed a different level of physicality and determination than the others, making it not only the most impressive, but our clear favorite as well.
Chiefs roster battle behind Travis Kelce was much ado about nothing
It turns out the roster battle for spots behind Travis Kelce was all for nothing.
Throughout the offseason, one of the key roster battles that seemed to be up for grabs for the Kansas City Chiefs came at tight end, at the spots directly behind perennial Pro Bowler Travis Kelce. Certainly the starter’s job wasn’t in jeopardy, but every slot behind Kelce was up for grabs and the offensive potential involved seemed interesting.
Fast forward at least two weeks into the regular season and any attention paid at all to the position(s) feels like too much. No tight end has received a single target other than Kelce, and the players believed to be the primary contenders for the role haven’t even played a single snap—despite being healthy.
Two games is a small sample size, and the narrative on all of this is easily changed, but it’s interesting to look back and see the hopes or desires placed on the signing of Ricky Seals-Jones to a one-year contract. Coming into this year, Seals-Jones had averaged 20 catches for 257 yards and just under 3 touchdowns. However, he’d also shown considerable improvement in his catch rate just last season with the Browns.
With the presence of Deon Yelder for another year in the offense and Seals-Jones as the new import, the promise of another pass-catching tight end on the roster was intriguing. Whether Seals-Jones was going to provide another red zone target or Yelder was going to grow into the role, it felt like an exciting offensive wrinkle was added.
Little did anyone know that every facet of those hopes would misplaced. First, Nick Keizer, a practice squad carryover from 2019 signed away from the Baltimore Ravens ended up winning the role of TE2 over everyone else. Even then, Mahomes hasn’t looked at Keizer even once for a pass.
All of this could change, of course. A breakout game for Keizer, an active game for Yelder, a promotion from Seals-Jones—any of them are possible and could erase this conversation entirely. However, at this point it’s interesting to note that the Chiefs are already overwhelmed with enough mouths to feed and that all the interest given in the competition behind Kelce was basically much ado about nothing.
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