Much has been made of Odell Beckham being “back” after his monstrous 8-catch, 222-yard, 2-touchdown afternoon against the Ravens. Beckham had two long touchdowns in the 4th quarter propelling the Giants to victory. He made another funny with the kicking net! The triple jump celebration!
But dig deeper, folks: In the first half, largely matched up against Baltimore’s star CB, Jimmy Smith, Odell Beckham had one catch for six yards. Then, Smith suffered a concussion. Facing backup Will Davis, Beckham went to work. A 3rd round pick in 2013, he’s already on his 2nd team. And appearing in the 19th game of his career, he got lit up.
On Beckham’s game-winning TD pass, he beat Tavon Young on the slant route, and then Young – a rookie, banged into his teammate, and Beckham was off to the races.
Next up for Beckham: Trumaine Johnson of the Rams.
Some people have been pro-Dak Prescott for a few weeks now, and the doubters have run out of arguments. First, it was, “he’s got to beat Cincinnati!”
Then it was, “Dak better beat Green Bay.”
Any questions? Prescott broke the record for most passes to start a career without an interception (Tom Brady at 162 was the old mark), and then was picked off in the 3rd quarter. He threw 177 passes before his first interception.
His final stats vs Green Bay: 18-of-27 for 247 yards, 9.1 yards per attempt, and three TDs. For the season, he’s 2nd among all QBs in Total QBR (behind Matt Ryan), and 5th in passer rating.
The only question now is when Jerry Jones announces Dak is the starter in two weeks against the Eagles. The Cowboys have a bye week next, so expect the savvy owner to milk the entire controversy for headlines for at least 10 days.
AJAYI GOT HIS JOB BACK
Perhaps the most surprising result of the NFL season so far was Dolphins 30, Steelers 15. Miami running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-yarder in the final minute to seal the win.
Ajayi, a 2nd-year pro from Boise State, opened the season as #2 on the running back depth chart behind Arian Foster. Shockingly, Ajayi was inactive for the season opener, left behind. His prospects appeared bleak.
But Foster got hurt again, rookie Kenyan Drake isn’t ready, and Ajayi looks like he’s going to get a chance to be The Guy the rest of the way.
POROUS PANTHERS DEFENSE
Last December, when the Panthers were on their way to a 15-1 record and trip to the Super Bowl, they survived a shootout with the Saints, 41-38.
The Panthers kept the Saints in the game with three turnovers, but New Orleans moved the ball well offensively: 334 yards, 5.8 yards per play, but Cam Newton threw a TD in the final 65 seconds to secure the victory.
But contrast that result with what happened Sunday and yikes, the Panthers defense is a train wreck: 523 yards allowed, 7.4 yards per play, and a staggering 9.2 yards per pass permitted to Drew Brees.
At some point, the Panthers are going to have to admit: We screwed up by not paying Josh Norman. Maybe not this year, but if they can’t find a lockdown corner next year …
The Eagles were the talk of the NFL after the 3-0 start, but since the bye week, they’ve been terrible in one area: Penalties. Here’s their week-by-week breakdown of penalties:
7 penalties, 46 yards
7 penalties, 60 yards
10 penalties, 99 yards
14 penalties, 111 yards
13 penalties, 114 yards
The majority of them have come on the defensive side – the Eagles are 4th in defensive penalties (49 for 404 yards).
I don’t want anyone to freak out, but the Eagles are 31st in giveaways with only two turnovers so far. There’s no chance that continues.
FINALLY, THE CENTURY MARK
Frank Gore rushed for 106 yards in the Colts 26-23 overtime loss to the Texans Sunday night, and here’s why it was so important: It’s the first time in the last 56 games (nearly four seasons) that a Colts running back has gone over the century mark.
Vick Ballard did it in 2012.
The problem is that when the Colts needed to churn out yards on the ground, they couldn’t. The offensive line was poor again, giving up a key sack in overtime and unable to give Andrew Luck time to mount a game-winning drive in the final minute. The Colts, at 2-4, look like they’re headed toward an offseason of cleaning house.
OUT OF NOWHERE, A CAREER YEAR
With JJ Watt sidelined for the season, the defensive player of the year award is wide open, but the clear leader at this point is one of the best stories in the NFL: Buffalo Bills undrafted linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. He’s 33, and on his sixth team.
Alexander – who did spend seven seasons with the Redskins, once making the Pro Bowl – leads the NFL with eight sacks, and he’s also got three forced fumbles (tied for tops in the NFL). The crazy part? The reason he’s playing is because Buffalo’s 1st round draft pick, Shaq Lawson, is hurt.