Despite no fans and preseason of hearing all the ways they would lose, the LA Rams win their home opener in SoFi Stadium
To say that the LA Rams are disrespected by the entire NFL would be a little over the top. To say that the Rams are highly respected would be far too optimistic. You see, the 2020 version of the LA Rams is a bit too complex to describe in ten words or less. Without a quick buzz catch-phrase, national media takes little interest. Perhaps the best impression of the Rams so far tracks one of two ways.
The first is the national impression of the team. That version is a poorly managed team filled with bloated contracts, sub-performing players who are just happy to collect a paycheck and mail it in each week. In their eyes, quarterback Jared Goff is at best a 3000 yard 20 TD 20 INT sort of quarterback who is overpaid and underwhelming. That perspective views the LA Rams as sub-par and the least competitive team in the NFC West.
A better perspective
The second is a more intimate impression. Not a walking-on-water view by any means. Simply one that recognized just how patched together the Rams were a season ago. That voice of reason that anticipated a healthier 2020 offensive line would outperform the patched up 2019 offensive line. The logic that suggested that the team’s addition of run defender Leonard Floyd, return to the lineup of Micah Kiser and a Rams secondary built to complement one another.
There are things to work on. The Rams are not a “finished product” by any means. But the team managed to exercise a huge demon from 2019. It wasn’t losing to the Dallas Cowboys, but rather the way that the team lost last year, that deflated the Rams. it also complicated the team’s 2020 debut. A Cowboys team that ran all over the Rams now faced the same team with questionable inside linebackers. Could the Rams stop the Cowboys runners?
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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