Almanac NFL: The 2023 Lomas Brown Cup – Week Nine

 

Greetings Tipsters

There was some great football played this weekend, several games had a significant bearing on how this season will pan out.

 

Kansas City Chiefs 21 v Miami Dolphins 14
Played in Frankfurt, Dolphins went scoreless in first half, Chiefs scoreless in second. Dolphins still haven’t beaten anyone worthwhile, Mike’s super tricky O is great against teams who ain’t good enough to figure it out but not against the Serious Contenders brandishing cluey DCs and smart players.

 

Baltimore Ravens 37 v Seattle Seahawks 3
Seahawks had a week atop the NFC West, then went to Baltimore and got crushed. Ravens looking great, will take the Division and possibly top seed in the AFC after Week 18 – unless… Lamar is in career form but has had a bad habit of getting injured late in the season.

 

Philadelphia Eagles 28 v Dallas Cowboys 23
Game of the year, a tremendous Divisional contest decided by inches, that mostly went against the Cowboys in the last minute. A great team, some top quality players, can’t even blame McCarthy’s playcalling this time. But Eagles now 8/1, tho facing a tough six weeks; Cowboys 5/3 with an easier schedule. Another wildcard and one and done for Dallas? Eagles looked superbly assured all day.

 

Cincinatti Bengals 24 v Buffalo Bills 18
Bills never looked like winning, made the usual stupid mistakes at critical moments, as we’ve come to expect. Joe is back in the groove and laying passes exactly where he wants them, and the Bengals are digging it.

 

49ers, Jaguars, Lions had the bye. This week, the Eagles rule the NFC, 49ers, Cowboys, Lions nipping at their heels in hope. Ravens the form team in AFC, or maybe Chiefs – O is a bit wobbly, but the D is great – then Bengals, maybe Jaguars & Dolphins, fuggedabout Bills. Ravens v Eagles for the Superbowl.

 

Scoring has declined this season, passing is less effective, the good teams all have solid running games. There have been nine rookie quarterbacks start games this season, likely ten next week when the Giants throw a highschool kid in cos their starter and backup are both injured, and lot of rookies or sophomores will have an unfortunate effect on points on the board.

CJ Stroud continues to set rookie QB records. The #2 pick threw 470 yards and five touchdowns, with the game on the line and 46 seconds left, he marched the Texans 75 yards and nailed the touchdown pass. He’s 22 and playing with the composure of a 28 yr old. At his post-game press conference he didn’t dwell on his game, but spoke about US justice and his dad in prison, “I’ve been praying for him a lot” and “the whole criminal justice system is corrupt.” This kid is fantastic, but the story of the week is…

Josh Dobbs has been with five teams in the last twelve months. Recruited in 2017, his first start was last season with the terrible Titans. He started this year with Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray, their quarter-billion-dollar quarterback was recovering from an ACL tear. A lousy team, one win, but they played plucky and scared a few much better teams. Josh played well, good on his legs, not a bad passer.

With Kyler on his way back, Cards traded Josh at the deadline to Minnesota Vikings, who’d lost the much loved Kirk Cousins to a ripped Achilles. He flew into Minneapolis on Wednesday morning. Sunday, the backup gets injured in the first quarter, he takes his first practice snaps on the sideline, then hits the field. Two grievious errors, then starts to find his rhythm. A passing touchdown. A rushing touchdown. Then, in the last minute, Josh, the unheralded journeyman backup, takes the O down the field for a last minute game-winning touchdown.

Kevin O’Connell, young, handsome, lean-jawed Vikings coach, was telling Josh the plays over the headset, he had seconds to pass it on to the players he barely knew – and he led them to a 31-28 win over Atlanta Falcons. Kev said he’d never known anything like it. American Football, at the professional level, is an incredibly complex and detailed game, especially for a quarterback. Josh wrote one of my alltime favourite sports tales on Sunday.

While some lazy overpaid columnists have writ “he’s a literal rocket scientist!”, fact is he majored in aerospace engineering with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, which seems the right field of study for a quarterback. It raises the question of ‘intangibles’, an essential quality in quarterbacks that cannot be measured.

When a quarterback goes into the huddle, he’s talking to the centre, the tackles and guards, 320lb men who are willing to get belted so that he can bet the ball away – if they trust him, if he has their confidence. Not every quarterback has that quality, it can be visible, retired linemen have admitted to letting a hit go through.

Josh spoke to his O-line for the first time in the first quarter. They did their job, they trusted him, and I can only wonder what sort of man he must be to give them that confidence.

 

Cheers Tipsters

 

PS – Cardinals started Clayton Tune, a fifth round rookie, at QB and totalled 58 yards Offence.

 

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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

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