Earlier this season, the Rams beat the Niners 41-39 in a Thursday Night Football game that I did not see because I was out of the country. However, I have to imagine that it was a fun game to watch – – unless you are an aspiring NFL Defensive Coordinator in which case you probably hid under your couch sometime in the third quarter. Then, as part of my “catching up” process, I found this statistical tidbit:
- Since 1940, only 40 teams have scored 39 points or more in an NFL game and lost that game.
- On average, that only happens about once every other year.
Some of the previous instances where a team offense had a highly proficient day but the team still came away with a loss due to a complete no-show by the defensive unit include:
- In 1963, the Raiders beat the Oilers 52-49. The Oilers held the record for the most points scored in a losing effort for 52 years. Then …
- In 2015, the Saints beat the Giants by the same 52-49 score. Now the Oilers – repositioned at the Titans – share the honor with the Giants for most points scored while still managing to lose a game.
- In 2004, the Bengals beat the Browns 58-48 indicating that both teams probably decided to give up tackling for Lent in 2004. [Yes, I know. Lent does not occur during football season. Work with me here…]
- In 1966 and in the highest scoring NFL game ever, the Skins beat the Giants 72-41.
In this context, the Niners’ defensive debacle from a few weeks ago appears merely to be awful but not historically awful.
Here is another semi-interesting statistical tidbit related to sports in Cleveland:
- In 2017, the Cleveland Indians won 22 consecutive MLB games.
- From 2012 until today, the Cleveland Browns have won a total of 20 NFL games.
As of this morning, there are 5 teams in the NFL that have opened the season with records of 0-3. I was wondering if any of them had a significant chance of “turning things around” and getting themselves into the “playoff hunt”. Let’s look at them in alphabetical order:
- Cincy: The Bengals are 31st in the league in yards per game, dead last in the league in points per game (11.0) and 30th in the league in 3rd down conversion percentage. The Bengals’ defense ranks 7th in the league in yards per game allowed. So, maybe they can “right the ship” …?
- Cleveland: The Browns are 15th in the league in yards per game on offense and 11th in the league in yards per game allowed on defense. That does not sound like a team in a “playoff hunt” but it sounds better than an 0-3 record.
- LA Chargers: They only score 16 points per game and rank 28th in the NFL running the ball. The overall defense looks good statistically – – except that they allow opponents to run for 146.7 yards per game. No wonder they don’t score a lot; the offense is on the sidelines a lot.
- NY Giants: The team just does not score points; they rank 31st in the league in points per game (12.3). The defense ranks 16th in the league today but the way the offense is playing the defense is on the field way too much. The team has some talent on defense, but they cannot run the ball and have difficulty protecting the QB.
- San Francisco: Sorry, I cannot see this team doing much of anything other than losing most of their games for the rest of 2017.
As noted below, the Browns and the Bengals play one another this week so one of them will leave the ranks of the winless by Sunday night – – unless the game is a tie…
For those who are into questions of “Where is he now?”, I read that Trent Richardson just signed on with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. The Roughriders are 6-6 so far this year and have 6 games left in the regular season. Given the strength of the Western Division of the CFL as compared to the Eastern Division, they will have to scramble for a playoff slot.
Here are brief comments on a quartet of college football games this weekend:
- Clemson at VA Tech: The line is Clemson -7. Clemson is a big step up in terms of class of opponent for the Hokies but home field advantage in Blacksburg is a big deal.
- Miss St. at Auburn: The line is Auburn -9. State is tough in Starkville and not-so-tough on the road; Auburn is anything but a model of consistency. Venue call…
- Miami at Duke: The line is Miami – 7; Duke is +225 on the money line. I think Duke has a shot to win this one outright.
- USC at Wash St.: The line is USC – 6.5. Two very good QBs on display here. This game should be close all the way.
To maintain the symmetry of the universe, here are brief comments on a quartet of NFL games this weekend:
- Raiders at Broncos: The line is Denver – 2.5. Two good teams meet in the best game on the dance card for the weekend. Looks like a venue call to me…
- Giants at Bucs: The line is Tampa – 3. The Bucs stunk it out last week; the Giants have stunk all season long. Get out the air freshener. Bucs send Giants record to 0-4…
- Titans at Texans: The line is Titans – 2.5. Important game for AFC South race, this should be a low-scoring/defensive game. The Total Line is 44; I don’t see where a 45th point would come from…
- Bengals at Browns: The line is Bengals -3. This is the first round of the “Battle for Ohio”. If you are going to root for a tie so neither team gets a win, you might as well also root for a scoreless tie. It would be a fitting result…
Finally, earlier this year, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times had this comment about a Seattle Mariners’ game:
“The Mariners committed five errors in one inning?
“Everybody knows there’s no I in team, but who knew there were five E’s in Seattle?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports ………