By HCR Staff | Nov. 19, 2018
Five key observations from Week 11 in the NFL:
• Last week, we talked about how the three teams that have defeated the New England Patriots this season – the Jaguars, Lions and Titans – all feature head coaches who are very familiar with New England head coach Bill Belichick. After Sunday, we can point to something else those three teams have in common.
In all three of those games, the winning team outplayed the Patriots substantially, and — if you heard the post-game quotes from players involved — they all felt very confident about the rest of their season. Well…
After beating the Patriots, the Jaguars went on to lose the next week at home to the Titans in a dull Affair, 9-6 affair. … After beating the Patriots, the Lions went on to lose the next week on the roads to Dallas 26-24. … And finally, after thrashing the Patriots in Week 10, the Titans were themselves thrashed by the Colts, 38-10.
Moral of the story? Teams get up for the Patriots. But the following week, they don’t experience the same emotional highs or competitive focus.
• The Eagles had 10 days to prepare for their game Sunday in New Orleans, but their game plan against the Saints was abysmally deficient. The Saints deserve most of the credit for a 48-7 win, but it’s baffling that Philadelphia went into this game thinking they could engage in a track meet with the Saints. They simply don’t have the type of offense to do that.
• It is abundantly clear that the Jaguars simply don’t have any confidence in quarterback Blake Bortles. In Sunday’s 20-16 loss to the Steelers, the Jaguars did a good job of staying patient with their running game in building a 16-0 lead, but ultimately, the deficiencies in the passing game showed up. The Jaguars defense played admirably all game long, but simply did not get much help from their offense.
• The Saints won by 41. The Colts won by 28. The other 10 games in Week 11 so far have been decided by a total of 27 points.
• This isn’t an observation from the weekend’s games, but worth noting: Monday marks the 40th anniversary of perhaps the most notorious blooper in NFL history: the Miracle at the Meadowlands. You remember what happened: On Nov. 19, 1978, the Giants just had to run out the clock to seal the victory against the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles. Giants QB Joe Pisarcik botched a handoff attempt to FB Larry Csonka. Eagles CB Herm Edwards scooped up the fumble and dashed into the end zone for the stunning game-winning touchdown.
For such a blooper moment, it really had a profound effect on both franchises. And in some ways, it was a critical moment for the history of several head coaches in the NFL. Consider this:
Dick Vermeil was in his third season as the Eagles head coach, and the team had not been to the playoffs in 17 years. This win helped the Eagles finish 9-7 and earn a wild-card spot. Vermeil’s Eagles would make it to the Super Bowl two years later. Would that have happened if not for this building block?
The game was even more significant in Giants history. The Giants hadn’t been to the playoffs in 15 years, and this fiasco was the last straw. The Mara family cleaned house after the season, though they couldn’t agree on a general manager to rebuild the team. The league, not wanting a dysfunctional franchise in the biggest media market in America, stepped in. Commissioner Pete Rozelle made them hire George Young. Young hired Ray Perkins as his first head coach. Among the assistants on Perkins’ staff was Bill Belichick, who started with the Giants as special teams coordinator. Also on staff was Ernie Adams, who from there would work closely with Belichick in New York, Cleveland and New England.
Perkins initially hired Bill Parcells to be his defensive coordinator in 1979, but Parcells resigned before the season began to take a job outside football. He came back to the NFL a year later, though, and he joined Perkins’ staff in 1981. When Perkins left for Alabama after the 1982 season, Young hired Parcells as his replacement.
The rest, as they say, is history.