The Buffalo Bills and RAS

Buffalo Bills RAS

Welcome back, Buffalo Bills fans. In the next part of this RAS series, we take a look at Buffalo’s front office and their connections with their draft classes. For those that do not know RAS stands for Relative Athletic Score. It is a system put together by Kent Lee Platte. He assigns scores to each combine test and then combines them to get a 0-10 score that shows how athletic that player is relative to other players at his position.

Historical data has shown that this does effect a players potential, the more athletic a player the higher their potential to reach that elite level of play. You can find his site here: http://ras.football The Bills current GM is Brandon Beane who has been in place since May of 2017, which means the 2018-2021 drafts have been his. Now that is over with lets get to the analysis.

Quarterbacks: A Future MVP Candidate?

Beane has drafted only two quarterbacks in his time. Josh Allen in 2018 and Jake Fromm in 2020. The RAS scores from these two could not be more different. Allen scored a 9.67 and Fromm scored a 1.96. There are not many similarities between the two. Both are 220 or over, and That’s about it. This is something that seems to follow teams across the league. RAS does not seem to be all that important for most teams.

Running backs:

Since 2018 Beane and the Buffalo Bills have drafted only two running backs. Devin Singletary in 2019 and Zack Moss in 2020. The average RAS score for the two of them is 2.31. Which is interesting, because teams generally like their running backs to be at least decent athletes. Some similarities are that both are under 5’10 and both are over 200 pounds.

Both oddly have almost the same 40 times at 4.65 and 4.66. Same thing with their 10 yard splits with a 1.67 and 1.64. So it seems they do not care too much about athleticism with their running backs, although its a small sample size with only two guys.

Wide Receivers:

The Buffalo Bills have drafted five receivers since 2018. Austin Proehl and Ray-Ray McCloud in 2018, Isaiah Hodgins and Gabe Davis in 2020, and Marquez Stevenson in 2021. Looking at their average RAS score what comes out is a 5.45. None of them scored over a 7.56. Only two of them even scored a 6 or above (Davis and Hodgins).

With the Bills draft history it seems Beane prefers two different type of receivers either guys that are 5’9-5’10 like Proehl, McCloud and Stevenson or those that are 6’2+ in Davis and Hodgins. The three smaller receivers all seem to have good agility in common. 40 times range for 4.53-4.48 so they all have about average speed. Their explosion grade are average to below average. These tests are not prioritized by them.

Now when it comes to Hodgins and Davis besides both being 6’2+ they are both over 210. Both scored good in explosion and good with their 10 yard splits. Agility grades vary between the two, so that seems to be not a priority when it comes to bigger receivers for them.

Tight ends:

In his time Beane has drafted only two tight ends. Tommy Sweeney and Dawson Knox in 2019. Sweeney had a RAS score of 5.93 and Knox with a 9.25. Both are 6’4 250-255. Sweeney was pretty average across the board in testing, Knox meanwhile showed really well in explosion and speed testing, but average agility. Speed and explosion seem to be testing that they key in on.

Offensive line:

The Buffalo Bills have drafted five offensive linemen since 2018. Three guards and two tackles. Wyatt Teller in 2018, Cody Ford in 2019, and Tommy Doyle, Jack Anderson and Spencer Brown in 2021. The average RAS score for all of them is a very athletic 8.72 with only one of them scoring under an 8.

This seems to be a position that they highly value athleticism. As for the two tackles very similar athletic profiles. Both are 6’8 and 310+. They both had RAS scores of 9.9+. Both had very good bench scores for how long their arms are. They both have elite scores in explosion, speed and agility. It seems they really like tall super athletic tackles.

With the three guards all three are 6’4-6’5 and 314+. Their average RAS score is a solid 7.9. So they like their guards to have at least solid explosion numbers. All three have vertical jumps of 28.5+ with a broad jump of 8’08” at least. With their speed grades they are pretty average across the board. Their agility scores vary from average to poor. It seems the Bills do not prioritize agility testing with their guards. Arm length also varies with the shortest being 31 7/8″ and the longest being 36 3/4″

Defensive line:

Since 2018 the Buffalo Bills have only drafted two defensive linemen: Harrison Phillips (2018) and Ed Oliver (2019). Their average RAS score is a exceptional 8.99. They are 6’2-6’3. Their weights though vary with Oliver being 287 and Phillips at 307, so not much to connect there. Both did score high on bench press with Oliver being the lowest with 32 reps. So that might be something to keep an eye on. Both did score high on vert with a score of 32″ or better.

Now with speed they are on almost complete opposite ends. Phillips does have at least an average score on his 10-yard split, so that might be something that the Bills prioritize over 40 speed. Both did score very high in agility though, so that seems to be testing that Beane looks to when it comes to DL.

Edge:

In regards to edge players, the Buffalo Bills have drafted four since 2018: Darryl Johnson (2019), AJ Epenesa (2020), and Gregory Rousseau and Carlos Basham (2021). Their average RAS score is a 6.96. The guy that brings that score down the most is Epenesa with a weak 4.07 which is below average. If you remove his score you get a 7.96, so for the most part they like their edge defenders to be athletic.

Three of the four are 6’5 or taller, also three of the four are 266 or heavier. So it seems they like guys that are taller and a little bit on the heavier side. Oddly enough none of them were able to put up more than 21 reps on the bench. Arm length does not seem to be something they find important, the lengths vary from 32 7/8″ to 34 1/2″. They do not seem to value broad jump, three of the four had jumps under 9’9″ or less. Three of the four though had vertical jumps of at least 32″.

When it comes to speed scores three of the four had 40 times of 4.8 or faster with two of them running sub 4.7. Three of the four had good to great agility scores. Some guys scored well on one test and poor on another. So it seems they just like guys who are taller/bigger and are at least above average overall athletes.

Linebacker:

Now with linebacker Brandon Beane has only drafted two since 2018. Tremaine Edmunds in 2018 and Vosean Joseph. These two ended up on completely different ends of the spectrum. Joseph’s RAS score was a paltry .22, and Edmunds was an elite 9.74.

Neither scored high on the broad jump and Edmunds didn’t do the vertical jump. So it seems they may not prioritize that testing. Joseph did not do any speed testing and Edmunds did not do any agility testing. So outside of that there isn’t much data to go off.

Defensive backs:

Brandon Beane has drafted six defensive backs in his time as the GM of the Buffalo Bills: four corners and two safeties. Their average RAS score is a mediocre 5.94. Two of the guys drafted really bring that average down. Jaquan Johnson with a 3.46 and Dane Jackson with a 4.44, all the rest scored a 6.29 or higher.

Now in regards to the corners. All of them are either 5’11 or 6’0, so they seem to like average to above average height in their corners. The lightest was Jackson at 187, with the heaviest being Siran Neal at 206. So it can be said they prefer their corners in the 190ish+ range.

When it comes to explosive testing they vary from poor to elite so I would not put too much stock in this testing mattering for the Bills front office. We can say thought that they do not prioritize agility testing, all of their testing ranges from poor to about average. Speed testing does not seem to be a priority either with three of the guys running 4.53, 4.57, 4.56, and the fourth running just a 4.5 flat.

With the safeties as far as size goes it does not seem they value big body types, with Johnson being 5’10 190 and Damar Hamlin being 6’0 7/8ths 200. Both did put up 18 reps on the bench press. Both scored pretty average with explosion testing with 9’10” and a 10’1″ broad jumps and 33″ and 35″ vertical jumps. Johnson had a poor 40 time of 4.69 and Hamlin a average 4.6. Also interesting is both had identical 20-yard splits of 2.69. Both also scored average composite agility scores.

Final Thoughts

The Bills are kind of hard to pin point with athletic testing and RAS scores. They are kind of in the middle with most of the players they have drafted. With running backs you can say athleticism isn’t a high priority with their front office. As to wide receivers they seem to have two different types, slot sized guys and tall vertical type receivers.

When it comes to offensive and defensive line they have a preference for highly athletic players. With your edge players they like guys who are taller 265+ and relatively agile. Defensive backs they are kind of all over the place. Beane seems to like guys that are between 5’11-6’1 and 190+. Outside of that they do not seem to prioritize any athletic testing.

Week 6 Preview – Know Thy Enemy: Buffalo Bills

Know Thy Enemy: Buffalo Bills
Photo Credit: Donald Page / tennesseetitans.com

The Tennessee Titans host the current class of the AFC on primetime television, a Buffalo Bills team that absolutely dominated the disappointing Chiefs last week. Buffalo will be out to avenge last season’s blowout defeat to the Titans where Josh Norman was eviscerated into nothingness by Derrick Henry. The league’s top-ranked offense and defense currently reside in western New York led by perennial MVP candidate Josh Allen. Can the Titans muster enough Henry to keep their horrifically abysmal and devastatingly dire defense from getting blown out?  

Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 4-1 (1-0 AFC East)

Points scored: 172

PPG: 18.5

Points allowed: 115

PPGa: 34.4

Average yards per rush: 4.5

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.7

Average rush yards per game: 140.4

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 78.4

Rushing TDs: for, 1 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 270.0

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 173.4

Passing TDs: 12 for, against

Pass Completion Rate: 63%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 76%

Top Rusher: Devin Singletary (55 attempts for 284 yards and one touchdown)

Leading Receiver: Stefon Diggs (28 receptions for 374 yards and one touchdown)

Leading Tackler: Tremaine Edmunds (30 tackles, two tackles for loss, two passes defended, and one interception)

Key Additions: EDGE Gregory Rousseau (rookie), EDGE Boogie Basham (rookie), OT Spencer Brown (rookie), OL Ike Boettger, OL Bobby Hart, WR Emmanuel Sanders, LB A.J. Klein, LB Tyler Matakevich, TE Kahale Warring, QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Matt Breida

Key Losses: WR Marquez Stevenson (IR), TE Bug Howard, EDGE Bryan Cox, Jr, OL Forrest Lamp, OL Jamil Douglas

Series History

Tennessee leads the series against the Buffalo Bills 29-19-0

Tennessee Call Out, Ball Out

Team mentality

The whole footballing world is discounting the Titans’ ability to even stay remotely close to the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Can Tennessee circle the wagons and pull off the upset over notorious #BillsMafia? Both coordinators will need to call the game of their lives for the Titans to have a chance. Can the rest of the team help supplement the ever omnipresent Derrick Henry? Mike Vrabel is known for rallying the troops and pulling off upset. Can he pull a rabbit out of the hat at home? Tennessee must play within themselves and not fall into the hype trying to be something they’re not. 

Ball Control

Ride the King to win the time of possession game. The Titans defense as currently constituted couldn’t stop a minor nosebleed, much less the league’s top offense. A Josh Allen on the sidelines is a Josh Allen that can’t hurt you. Todd Downing is one of the lower tier offensive coordinators so he can’t be lulled into trying to go score for score with the powerful Bills offense. Shorten the game by pounding the ball against a terrifying defense if you can.  

Offensive line = fix it

Ryan Tannehill can’t throw the ball from his back unlike one Patrick Mahomes (probably). The offensive line has been horrendous in pass protection when healthy as it is. As it were, guard Rodger Saffold is dealing with one injury or another at any point during a game. Taylor Lewan fluctuates from indifferent to repulsively abhorrent, battling his way back from an ACL injury last year. Nate Davis has regressed badly. Don’t get me started on the right tackle situation. 

Caleb Farley

Welcome the big leagues, son. Now go cover one of the best receivers in the league in your first start. The former first round selection is likely getting the start due to emerging star corner Kristian Fulton out due to injury. Much will be expected of the former Hokies defensive back. I’m just not sure that he can deliver against Stefon Diggs along with Janoris Jenkins is now a slow rabbit. 

Keys to a Buffalo Bills Victory

Keep on Keeping On

Josh Allen probably is the favorite for the MVP at this point in the season. He’s coming off a team wide destruction of the perennial AFC favorite Chiefs. The Bills are looking like the class of the whole league. Tennessee, meanwhile, is decidedly not a team like that. While no team is a walkover, the Bills severely outclass the Titans from top to bottom. They should have no difficulty in dominating Tennessee on the road where Nashville related demons need to be exorcised. They can’t even use the trap game excuse as a freshly beaten in London by a fantastically bad Jaguars team, Dolphins are on next week’s docket. Defenestrate the Titans from the finicky clutches of the AFC contender’s club and move on. 

A hearty feast on Derrick Henry

Stop the transcendent beast that is Derrick Henry and you’ve won the game in essence. Tannehill, given all of his offensive line and receiver issues, poses no threat to steal the game on his own. A top gear Henry is a tough assignment for any defense, but the Bills have the firepower to match him at every level. 

Revenge of the…Herd?

The Titans thoroughly outclassed the Bills last season at Nissan Stadium. Buffalo will be out to avenge that Tuesday night loss (due to COVID). A loss that included the eternal soul removal of Josh Norman afflicted upon him by one Derrick Henry. Can the top team in the league keep the positive momentum going in the land of honky tonks and bachelorette parties? 

Injury Report

What are the odds?

Caesars has the Bills as 5.5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53.5. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Jaguars at +205.

BetMGM has the Bills as 5,5 point favorites at -110 while the Titans are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53.5. The money line is the Bills at -250 and the Titans at +200.

Wynnbet has the Bills as six-point favorites at -105 while the Titans are +115 dogs. The over/under has been set at 53 even. The money line is the Bills at -240 and the Titans +200.

Prediction

BUFFALO BILLS 49

Tennessee Titans 21

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Previous KTE Editions

KTE: Jacksonville Jaguars

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

KTE: New York Jets

Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 Review: Allen Rains TDs in Stormy Kansas City

Bills vs Chiefs
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

How about these Buffalo Bills!?! Everyone had this Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup circled on their calendars, and it delivered in a BIG way. Josh Allen vs Patrick Mahomes: Round 3 was a statement game for Buffalo. Allen played his best game of the season, scoring 4 touchdowns in a rainstorm to lead the Bills to a 38-20 victory.

The defense proved that they could be just as good against Mahomes as against their previous weaker opponents. There was no stopping Buffalo on Sunday night despite an hour-long weather delay and some downright awful officiating. Super Bowls aren’t won in October, but this game put the Bills in the driver’s seat to be the 1 seed in the AFC.

Key Takeaways from Bills vs Chiefs

The Good

Josh Allen

Allen finally met the moment and delivered an incredible performance in Kansas City. He marched down the field and scored a rushing touchdown on the first drive, then added 3 more through the air. He completed 15 passes for 315 yards, along with 8 rushes for 61 yards, excluding kneel-downs.

Despite the wind and rain, Allen was deadly with the deep ball. He had a perfect passer rating on throws more than 20 yards downfield, going 5/6 for 213 yards and touchdowns to Emmanuel Sanders and Dawon Knox. His 61-yarder to Stefon Diggs should have been a touchdown, too, but Diggs lost track of the safety and got caught celebrating.

His rushing output was vital to keep the offense moving. Of his 8 carries, 5 resulted in a first down or touchdown. When Josh Allen plays at this level, the Bills are unstoppable.

Dawson Knox

Dawson freaking Knox. The Bills drafted Knox as a long-term athletic project out of Ole Miss back in 2019. He showed flashes over his first two years but had a lot of growing pains too. Now he is the team’s leading touchdown scorer and one of Josh Allen’s favorite targets. He is one of the best athletes in the league at tight end and showed that on his 53-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

Knox’s breakout is the biggest driver of the Bills’ offensive success this season. His presence prevents defenses from loading up on coverage players as Pittsburgh did. Keeping him on the field allows the run game and pass protection to flourish and maintains the threat of explosive pass offense.

Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders has been an absolute stud on the field this season. He has 329 yards and 4 touchdowns so far. His ability to uncover in the intermediate range is a perfect match for Allen’s biggest area of strength. Most importantly with Sanders, his maturity and experience has lifted the Bills locker room. The team was able to stay level-headed through the early lead and uncomfortable weather delay. Sanders was surely a big part of that mental strength.

Defense

This was a thoroughly dominant performance from the whole defensive unit. The Bills held the Chiefs to their lowest scoring output this season — without their best player, Matt Milano — and forced 4 turnovers. Patrick Mahomes completed 33 passes but only gained 272 yards through the air. Star weapons Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce could not make an impact for the majority of the game.

Jerry Hughes had 9 pressures, and rookie Greg Rousseau was a force in the run and pass game. Rousseau had a pivotal red-zone interception in which he used his length to tip a Mahomes pass to himself. Jordan Poyer tallied two pass breakups, and Micah Hyde intercepted a Tyreek Hill drop which he returned for a touchdown.

Newly-extended Taron Johnson led the team with 12 tackles and had a pass breakup as well. AJ Klein and Siran Neal filled in for Milano and performed admirably. The Bills didn’t blitz Mahomes once but still generated pressure and kept Mahomes flustered. This season, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has been on an absolute tear, and Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 is just his latest masterpiece.

The Bad

Special Teams

Punter Matt Haack has been on the wrong side of average this season. He had one good punt but failed to flip the field in his other opportunities. Isaiah McKenzie fumbled a return attempt but luckily was able to jump back on the ball. The coverage unit allowed over 30 yards per return on kickoffs. Kicker Tyler Bass was a bright spot, but the unit was otherwise disappointing.

Missed Opportunities

Nothing came back to bite us, but the Bills left some points on the board early. After their first touchdown drive, the kick coverage unit forced a turnover. The offense took over in field goal range but moved backward and ultimately had to punt. Later in the first half, Stefon Diggs lost sight of the defender and got tackled celebrating on his deep reception. The offense stalled and kicked a field goal. Those are the kind of missed opportunities that usually lead to a loss against the Chiefs.

The Ugly

Weather

Buffalo has played back-to-back games in the pouring rain. They faced an hour-long rain delay in the Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 matchup on Sunday night. Nobody can control the weather, but the Bills can control if their stadium has a dome. Bad weather is an equalizer, so it’s not an advantage when we are the better team.

Officiating

The refs in this game thought they were the stars of the night. In total, this game saw 17 accepted penalties for 158 yards. The flags disproportionately hurt the Bills on Sunday night. There were multiple phantom holding penalties on our offensive line and defensive backs.

More egregious holds were routinely ignored when committed by Kansas City. Ed Oliver was called for roughing the passer on a critical fourth-down stop by the defense, but he was pushed by a Chiefs’ lineman directly into the legs of Mahomes. The Chiefs used the gift to score a touchdown on that drive. The officials called a hold on Mitch Morse on a Josh Allen first down run when they were trying to create a dagger drive to put the game out of reach. Video replay showed that Morse was not even engaged with any defenders on the play.

Everyone will point to a roughing the passer on Frank Clark the following play that negated a Josh Allen interception. He picked up Allen and drove him to the ground with all his body weight. It’s the correct call of a dumb rule, and if you want to nitpick that call, you have to acknowledge that the previous incorrect holding is the only reason that play ever happened.

What’s Next?

The Bills head to Nashville to take on the 3-2 Titans on Monday Night Football next week. The extra rest will be valuable after the emotional, extended Bills vs Chiefs Week 5 game. The Titans have been pretty disappointing this year, even dropping a game to the Jets. The Bills should take care of business without too much trouble, but they certainly won’t overlook this game.

Check back in later this week for the preview. Go Bills!

One Last Note

Some fans are starting to question how quiet Cole Beasley has been on the field the past two weeks. He also deactivated his Twitter after Sunday night which only increased the speculation. There is no reason to read into these things. Buffalo is all about catering the game plan to the opponent. The opportunities haven’t been there for Beasley lately, but he is still a valuable asset and his number will be called many more times this season.

As for Twitter, Beasley said last year that getting rid of social media allowed him to focus on the game and elevate his play. He has been hyper-focused on the vaccine issue and was frequently voicing his opinion on Twitter and fighting with people in the comments. He likely deactivated so that he can avoid the distraction and refocus on football. No need to panic just yet.

Once again, Go Bills!

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Taron Johnson Buffalo Bills Sign 3-Year Extension

Taron Johnson Buffalo Bills
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

The Buffalo Bills announced that slot CB Taron Johnson signed a 3-year $24-million contract extension. His deal includes $14-million in guarantees and keeps him with the team through the 2024 season. Johnson was set to be a free agent this offseason when his rookie contract finished. The Buffalo Bills prevented that by making Taron Johnson one of the top paid players at his position.

Buffalo drafted Johnson out of Weber State in the 4th round of the 2018 draft. He claimed the starting slot job early in his rookie season and has held the job ever since. Johnson has consistently been one of the best slot corners in the league throughout his young career.

He became a fan favorite in the back half of the 2020 season when he returned an interception for touchdown to jumpstart the Bills victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Johnson then had a 101-yard pick-six to seal the Bills’ victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the 2020 divisional round.

He ranks 3rd on the team in tackles and 2nd in passes defensed since the start of last season. Johnson has played 74% of defensive snaps for the Bills so far this season. His PFF slot coverage grade this season is 77.7 which ranks 5th in the league among qualified defenders.

This extension continues a Bills trend of locking up their home grown talent with Matt Milano and Josh Allen also signing extensions this year. Fellow 2018 draft picks Tremaine Edmunds and Siran Neal could be the next Bills to receive extensions over the coming months and offseason.

NFL Power Rankings: 7 Up, 7 Down – Good Quads like Saquon

The first quarter of the 2021 NFL season is in the books! Time sure goes by fast when we’re having fun. Which seven most burning topics of the who, what, why, and the how of week four stood out? Which teams have some work to do as we exit the first quadrant of 2021? Let’s take a look at some NFL Power rankings and answer the question: Who had a good quads like Saquon Barkley?

Up

1. Matty Ice can still flash the fastball 

Our NFL power rankings begin in Atlanta. The old aging warhorse showed he’s plenty capable of uncorking the heater on occasion, as he did on Sunday. He was great against a dominant WFT front and showed some life just yet, including a beautiful whistling dart to Kyle Pitts. Add in four scoring tosses (three to sudden WR1 / RB1 Cordarrelle Patterson) and a hilarious, spritely gallop to extend a must-have late drive.

While he won’t be the Matt Ryan of old any longer, he still has a bit left in the tank to unleash performances like the one on Sunday. It’s quite unfortunate that his defensive teammates can’t stop Falconing so often. Next up for the Falcons, a date across the pond with the one-win Jets. 

2. Kyler Murray is always fun

What else can we say about the kid at this point? He’s on a rampage even against the best of defenses. Murray is easily the frontrunner for MVP as we exit the first quadrant of the 2021 season. The electric playmaker is proving all the doubters wrong every week. Defensive coordinators are just flabbergasted and torn asunder trying to scheme against him. Murray has the potential to be the fully evolved and weaponized Michael Vick in an offense that fits him perfectly. 

3. The Dallas buddy cop show is back on the air

Dak continues to round back into pre-injury form and for the first time in a long while, we had a dominant Zeke performance Sunday (against the top-ranked run defense, no less). If the offensive line can somewhat keep Dak and Zeke going to match their suddenly performing defense, Dallas might be an NFC contender. The NFC East has habitually shown that any competent team could win it. Is America’s Team truly back? Time will only tell. 

4. Justin Fields sans Matt Nagy calling plays 

Much to the chagrin of fantasy owners who picked up the Lions’ defense, Justin Fields had a nice rebound game after last week’s disaster. The difference? Matt Nagy not calling the plays and being a bemused bystander/delegator. OC Bill Lazor took over the play-calling duties and the difference in Fields was night and day. If Nagy can just stick to being maddeningly furtive and nonsensical during press conferences and avoid the headset, the Bears can do something. It’s only the Lions but baby steps, people, baby steps. Up next for Fields and co are the hapless Raiders defense who Justin Herbert dissected with ease on Monday night.

5. Sam Darnold revivalist movement

Speaking of young quarterbacks trying to redeem themselves, enter Sam Darnold. OC Joe Brady certainly has begun to rebuild Darnold after his Jets tenure was so rocky. It only has been four weeks but the signs of a Darnold revival are there. Many people were skeptical of him being able to play the position but he has proved that he’s more than capable early on. He has been the first passer in team history to throw for 300 yards or more in three straight games. Who leads the entire league in rushing touchdowns? Not Derrick Henry. Darnold does. The young buck could be on his way to stardom if this keeps up.  

6. The Diggs holiday family football games must be INTENSE

Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs has ascended to the ranks as one of the best corners in the game this season. Receiver brother Stefon was one of the best receivers already. Trevon has had an impressive start to 2021, snagging five interceptions and shutting opposing receivers down. Stefon continues to be the focal point for the Bills offense. Just how crazy are the holiday backyard games in the Diggs household? We need the All-22 footage right now! Could we see the brothers go up against one another on a sunny day in Los Angeles in the month of February? 

7. Russ Cooking to 💯 wins

Bonus Ups: Chris Jones really tried that bounce pass off the Referee + Hunter Renfrow is Vegas DB1

First up, we have Chris Jones trying to imitate LeBron’s self alley-oop dunk with the ref acting like the glass on the way to the failed fumble recovery. *Insert at least he tried Bart Simpson cake meme*

Next, Hunter Renfrow makes an astute observation of the incoming Chargers fake punt and destroys the receiver

Down

1. A bad day at the office for the Texans offense

If players and teams are rising in the NFL power rankings, others must be falling. We all knew that there would be bad days for the hapless Texans but Sunday was a horrifying example of what happens when a vastly superior team shows up. Davis Mills had a massive “welcome to the NFL, rookie” game, throwing four interceptions en-route to a Bills 40-0 rout.

Three straight losses for Houston and a date against a smarting Patriots squad looking for a rebound. Somehow, some way the Texans are in second place in the AFC South. 

2. Mike Vrabel and Sean Payton

Both of these coaches deserve to lose their parking spots for their abject failures in leading their teams to painful defeats against vastly inferior opponents. Vrabel had no excuse in particular against the previously winless Jets. Payton even less so with them blowing a lead in the fourth quarter, allowing for a walkoff TD to young Saquon Barkley.

It’s time for both men to make changes. The Saints need to scrap the two quarterback thing and stick with Jameis Winston for good or bad. Tennessee needs to let DC Shane Bowen go and move Jim Schwartz into a full time role. 

3. Big Ben is what he is

The end has come for a once-proud, aging star quarterback, and Father Time waits for absolutely no one when he arrives. The mind may still be willing but the body just isn’t responsive at this point in his career. Roethlisberger tried his best to hang on to what little gifts he has left but he should retire at the end of the season to save face for himself and the organization.

The offensive line issues are aplenty but Ben is sadly beyond the pale. He should get ready for the Hall of Fame enshrinement in 2026 instead of giving it another go in 2022. 

4. Jared Goff and Detroit had a Jared Goof type of day

How’s the Lions season going, you ask? Well, it’s going kind of like this:

5. Bill Belichick and late game management

Speaking of questionable late game management, we enter into evidence Bill Belichick’s mystifying decision to attempt a 56 yard field goal on fourth and short. If he opts to go for it, either way the game is likely over at that point. In a year that more and more teams are going for it on fourth down in plus territory, he opts against it.

The Patriots don’t convert, Thomas Brady has to drive down the field on an absolutely rain blasted soaked pitch and he looked shaky at points in the game. If they do get it, they can continue to milk the clock for a closer attempt on the very same slick surface. Did Belichick outsmart himself trying to teach the old man a lesson? 

6. Jimmy G as the 49ers starter 

We may have witnessed the end of the Jimmy Garoppolo regime by the Bay through no fault of his own. He injured his calf during Sunday’s contest and Trey Lance had to step in for a cameo appearance. The kid wasn’t half bad, tossing two touchdowns to no interceptions.

Calf injuries, like most soft tissue injuries are notoriously finicky so it will be interesting to see if Jimmy G can go next Sunday or the rookie stepping in for a start. Garoppolo has been nothing but a consummate professional dealing with the notoriety of being “Mr. Right Now” while assisting Lance in his development. 

7. Captain Kirk vs. The Baker

Let’s just say that it won’t go down as the preeminent quarterback duel of our lifetimes any time soon. Both passers were, to put it mildly, not up to expectations on Sunday. Sorry, Kirk and Baker, absolutely no one progressively liked that. Not even opposing defensive coordinators. The Vikings did win an enthralling 14-7 stare-down, however. Perhaps it is best that the tape gets burned before everyone’s retinas are pervasively damaged from watching that horror show. Minnesota hosts the Lions while the Browns travel to Los Angeles to face rising superstar QB Justin Herbert next.  

Previous 7 Up, 7 Downs

Opening Overreactions

A Perceptive Repeat

So Nice, Do it Thrice