By HCR Staff | Dec. 3, 2018
Here are five key observations from Week 13 in the NFL:
• We said much earlier this season, after looking at our initial Game Control Index statistics, that the Seattle Seahawks appeared to be a better team than their record at the time. It’s proving to be the case. Aside from the stellar play of quarterback Russell Wilson, the most valuable Seahawk this year probably is new offensive line coach Mike Solari. Solari has taken the Seahawks offensive line unit and made it one of the best, if not the best, run blocking units in the league.
• Well, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen’s statistics on Sunday don’t look very, um, rosey, but he displayed tremendous grit in the Cardinals’ win at Lambeau Field over the Packers. As a Southern California native who played at UCLA, Rosen hasn’t had much experience playing in the kind of weather conditions he faced in Green Bay on Sunday. Nevertheless, Rosen showed a lot of toughness and competitiveness in the Cardinals’ victory.
• NFL football obviously is an emotional game and one of momentum. Here at HCR, we believe that handling emotional momentum is an underrated aspect of any head coach’s job. Basically, if you have the momentum, do whatever you can to keep it; if you don’t have it, do whatever you can to cause it to go your way. In Sunday’s Lions loss versus the Rams, Detroit rookie head coach Matt Patricia broke this rule. His defense was playing a stellar game against arguably the game’s most potent offense. In the second half, the Lions had closed to within 13 6 and they had the Rams in a vulnerable spot. On the ensuing kickoff, however, Patricia inexplicably decided to try an onside kick. With the new rules changes this year, the percentage of successful onside kicks has plummeted. Patricia went ahead anyway, but the attempt failed miserably. The Rams were given a short field, and they immediately took advantage with a field goal to increase their lead to 10 points. That decision clouded the rest of the game for the Lions, and they were never able to draw even.
• The Kansas City Chiefs obviously still have plenty of weapons to remain a dangerous team in the playoffs despite the release of running back Kareem Hunt, but we detected some of limitations for them in their game against the Oakland Raiders. There is no question the Chiefs running game will lose some explosiveness, and this could result in quarterback Patrick Mahomes taking more running risks. This will be something to monitor as we enter into the final games of the regular season.
• The NFL is a copycat league, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen several examples this season of teams running some version of the “Philly Special” – when QB Nick Foles caught a TD pass from TE Trey Burton in Super Bowl LII. Head coaches around the league are getting more creative. We saw four unorthodox touchdowns on Sunday – three in the Bears-Giants game alone. The first came when Bears DT Akiem Nicks did his best Refrigerator Perry impersonation and scored on a 1-yard run. Later in the game, WR Odell Beckham Jr. threw a touchdown pass (his second of the season), and then Bears RB Tarik Cohen threw a game-tying TD pass on the last play of regulation. In the Rams-Lions game, Detroit OT Taylor Decker caught a TD pass as a tackle eligible.