As we head to the most boring of NFL Sunday’s (Chiefs bye week), let’s check in on the clowns that make up the rest of the division and their race to be eliminated from the playoffs first.
Las Vegas Raiders
|Record vs. Andy Reid:||3-12|
|Current streak vs. Chiefs:||W1|
Sadly the Raiders will not be out of the playoff picture for quite some time, if at all. Somehow, someway, the Raiders offense has created Above Average Derek Carr. He’s less fun than Regular Derek Carr, in that he doesn’t predictably kill successful drives with back-breaking turnovers at the most inopportune times.
But of course Raiders fans are going way overboard about Above Average Derek Carr, saying the stupid things that make Raiders fans unique to our species.
The MVP of what? The NFL? I’ll give him MVP of the Raiders quarterback room. But he’s not close to the MVP on his team and he deserves zero mention when it comes to league MVP.
Against the Chargers: 13-23, 165 yds, 2 TD
And the week before that against Cleveland: 15-24, 111 yds, 1 TD
And these outings are what has Raiders fans clamoring for Carr to be in the conversation for best NFL player.
Derek Carr is 10th in QBR, right behind Ryan Tannehill. In EPA (expected points added) Carr comes in at 11th in the league and 3rd in the AFC West. And if you prefer traditional stats, Carr is 16th in passing yards, 11th in touchdown passes, and 6th in passer rating.
He’s better than Regular Derek Carr, but is nowhere near MVP consideration.
This isn’t to say the Raiders aren’t an improving team, have now become a hard out, and could very well find themselves in the postseason.
The reason the Raiders are decent is because when Carr isn’t on (which is a fair amount of time) Josh Jacobs is there to grind it out for the offense. His 3.7 ypc is a snooze and his longest run of the year is just 16 yards, but he’s third in the NFL in rushing yards.
But before we sound the alarm for the Chiefs upcoming game in Las Vegas and crown the Raiders the wildcard team most likely to make a playoff run, let’s be real. They should have lost to the Chargers, but L.A. Chargered. They also struggled mightily with the Panthers, lost to the Patriots, and were destroyed by the same Bucs team that was just humiliated on Sunday night.
They are a better Raiders team. But that bar is low.
Up next: Hosting the Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers
|Record vs. Andy Reid||3-12|
|Current streak vs. Chiefs||L3|
Speaking of Chargering….
We are running out of descriptors for the relationship the Chargers have with handing their fans nut-crushing losses. If the reality was a screenplay it would be rejected by Hollywood as too unbelievable for audiences.
And our Amazing Kreskin of the week award goes to Bryan, who two Sundays ago successfully predicted that the Chargers, who lost on an incompletion being ruled a touchdown by replay, would top that this Sunday by having replay turn their game-winning touchdown into an incompletion.
The Chargers have now lost six games this season, all of them by one score, and all of them have been lost in different ways.
And all of them shine a light on a coaching staff that is overmatched in game-deciding situations. Especially true in this loss.
Not one, but back-to-back fades with the game on the line.
Beginning at their own 25 with 4:47 on the clock the Chargers methodically moved down the field, taking 12 plays and almost all of the clock to get to the Raiders 4-yard line. And then, against a bad defense that was reeling, the Chargers – instead of attacking all 11 bad defenders and giving their stud rookie quarterback the entire field to choose from – made only one defender have to do his job, and they gave him the end zone boundary to make that job even easier.
The corner the Chargers were picking on is inexperienced, yes. But he also stands 6-foot-2. But really, if even he was 5-10, the fade sucks. Always.
And no, it almost working does not make it better. It’s a horribly uncreative call at the most critical of times, and it’s why we love Andy Reid, and why the Chargers need a new coaching staff.
Another good performance by Justin Herbert was wasted. And the Chargers, who may very well be the second best team in the division, drop another game behind the Chiefs and Raiders and the rest of the AFC playoff hopefuls.
As rough as Chiefs fandom was pre-Patrick Mahomes, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to root for these Chargers. Although one time I was really hungover, excitedly ordered a pizza, but when it arrived it was covered in black olives. It probably feels similar to that… if the olives had then tried to kill me.
Up Next: Visiting the Dolphins
|Record vs. Andy Reid||5-10|
|Current streak vs. Chiefs||L10|
Then there are the clowns in Denver.
And I’m only partially talking about the Broncos. It’s Broncos fans that are the real losers. They just watched their team get pummeled by the Atlanta Falcons, and then immediately began drawing up possible postseason scenarios.
Oh, Zac. Facing off against two wildcard teams is not your ticket into the playoffs. It means you’re playing two teams that will drop you to 3-7. There is absolutely no way that anyone of sound mind and with a modicum of football knowledge could have seen Denver’s last two games and think this team is destined for anything but a top-10 draft pick.
Against the Chargers a week earlier Drew Lock had one of the worst first halves of football you’ve ever seen. Against the pathetic Falcons defense he extended his suckery to a full three quarters of play.
Atlanta’s defense went soft in the fourth quarter (even more than normal) and Lock and the Broncos made it look respectable on the scoreboard. But this was easily Denver’s worst performance of the season, as well as Lock’s.
Broncos fans tend to lean to the stupid, and look at these numbers as some sort of measure of Lock’s ability in crunch time. Our intrepid Broncos beat reporter for the DNVR podcast even gave us a “WOW” because of the above numbers.
I agree in that, “Wow, Drew Lock really sucks when the game is close and everyone is playing their normal defense. And wow, Broncos fans are going to delude themselves into believing that Lock is growing into the position and John Elway found a gem.”
Not all in Broncos orange are so dumb, however. This week on the Rod Smith Show the former Pro Bowl wide receiver said the prevent defenses that were played late by the Chargers and Falcons render Lock’s fourth quarter performance meaningless.
Thank you, Rod. Although I’m still a little chap-assed about Rod’s 122 yards against the Chiefs in 1997 that foretold our first round playoff loss to the Broncos. And the 165 yards he put up against the Chiefs at the of the 1998 season – another Super Bowl year in Denver. Or the 215 yards in two games he went for against the 2003 Priest Holmes all-time touchdown record Chiefs, which included an ugly 45-27 loss in December that foretold yet another 13-3 Chiefs team losing in the first round.
Come to think of it, I still kind of hate Rod Smith for all his many years of torture, and it’s going to take more than one coherent take on Drew Lock to change that.
Maybe a couple of more really terrible performances by Lock will be my soothing balm. Good news is, it’s a certainty they are coming.
He. Is. Not. Good.
I love it so much.
Up Next: Visiting the Raiders