The Weekend That Was In Football
This past weekend in the NFL was a week of upsets. In college football....not so much. To put a cap on all of the NFL shenanigans, the Houston Texans defeated the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati last night. The Texans are now 4-5 and are in contention to win the atrocity of the division they play in. The Bengals, although supremely talented, exhibited a few of the offensive flaws that have doomed them in past years.
Social media was buzzing in the first quarter as Hue Jackson threw out his myriad of wacky formations as he likes to do. Jackson, like any good west coast offense disciple, scripts his first 15 plays, and he does it well. However, once the game gets into the 2nd and 3rd quarter, the Bengals run a pretty basic set of plays. A well coached defense that is locked in, will sift through all of the hijinks and settle in and shut down the Bengals by playing fundamentally sound defense, which is what the Texans did.
Andy Dalton has been much improved this year. However, he still has trouble with interior pressure up the middle and struggles when he cannot step into his throws. Mentally, he is far better than he has been in years past, but when he gets pressured, he still makes some bad decisions.
Are the Cardinals really good or are the Seahawks just a run of the mill team? Who knows. But, the Seahawks looked awful and Bruce Arians had his way with Seattle defensive coordinator Chris Richard. Richard found a weakness in the 3rd and 4th quarter with Arizona's protection against interior linebacker blitzes. However, once the Cardinals sorted that blitz out, Richard was out of bullets and was unable to conjure up a scheme that layered itself off of that blitz. In turn, the Cardinals settled in and drove down for the eventual game winning score.
In college football, Nick Saban and Alabama once again easily defeated Mississippi State. Bama has not lost to MSU since 2007 and has only allowed MSU to score in double digits in two of those eight victories. Nick Saban is a disciple of Bill Belichick, and operates on the same principles. Both coaches believe in finding the best thing an offense does, and taking it away. This week, it was Dak Prescott for Mississippi State, last week it was Fourtnette for LSU. When an offense is a one trick pony, Alabama typically have little trouble with them. I think Alabama has the defense to once again play for the National Title, but I wonder about their quarterback. Jake Coker, far worse than Andy Dalton ever has, makes terrible decisions under pressure. He ends up throwing off his back foot, wildly, and into coverage. He lacks the maturity to take a sack. In big games, that could be Alabama's undoing.
In the Pac 12, Arizona beat Utah, WSU beat UCLA and Oregon beat Stanford. Once I figure out this conference, I will let you know.