There were games this week that didn’t involve the Kansas City Chiefs playing the New England Patriots. I promise, there really were. The thing is, that game was great for a myriad of reasons so we’re going to talk about it a lot. Okay? Okay.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
Dak Prescott had a great game for the Cowboys, looking more like his Romo-ousting rookie self rather than the pudding he was last year. So too did New York Jets kicker Jason Meyers, who put up 24 points with his naughty right foot, but kickers aren’t sexy so it’s Tyreek Hill who gets the nod.
Hill had his best game since week one, putting up 142 yards and three touchdowns as the Chiefs were narrowly beaten in a shootout by the Pats. But it wasn’t just what he did, it’s how he did it and earned his wide receiver chops as he went.
A few weeks ago, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey called Hill out hard for being a Pro Bowl kick returner; he may have been playing as a receiver, but he wasn’t there for that. Essentially, the always gobby Ramsey was telling Hill to know his role, get in his lane, and put his seatbelt on.
Against the Patriots, Hill looked every bit a proper NFL wide receiver. He caught balls deep, made adjustments as Mahomes scrambled, and blended it all with his run-away speed. Not even the legendary Devin Hester could fully transition from return specialist to full blown wide receiver, so if Hill can continue to grow then the world is his oyster and he can take any damn lane he wants.
Every time the Raiders take to the field they look more and more ridiculous for giving John Gruden a ten year contract. Since he traded away our lord and saviour, Khalil Mack, the Raiders had looked worse and worse until they bottomed out against the Seahawks in London’s first tepid offering of the year. Raiders fans will say that it’s a rebuild, they’ve got the oldest squad in the league so they’re cycling through to younger players over a few seasons, but right now they’re regressing, about to relocate, and lost. That is not the worst thing to come out of London this week, though.
Again, we had another blowout game. Next time around we have the LA Chargers, a team who are the very definition of mediocre, take on the Tennessee Titans, a team who were shut out this week and are so inept they’re starting a quarterback who can’t feel his throwing hand. After that we get the Eagles and Jags, which might be somewhat competitive if Blake Bortles remembers to pack his shred of talent.
The NFL loves London because Wembley sells out for games like this when they wouldn’t at home. The LA Chargers can’t even fill their tiny, temporary home and are barely averaging 25,000 people a week. If they keep sending games of this quality, though, then you have to wonder how long London’s goodwill will last.
Of course, a cynic would suggest that the NFL is sending garbage games because they’re trying to transition us away from exhibition games and prepare us for a life of monogamy with the Jaguars…
Todd Gurley II, LA Rams
Todd Gurley II is clearly upset that other players are trying to steal the best in show ribbon and wanted to dish out a reminder that he grows the largest autumnal gourds in town. He ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams were pushed by the Denver Broncos. There were more interesting candidates for this slot, but he got the most points so what do you want me to do?
If it were up to me I’d give Tyreek Hill another nod, as his three touchdown performance has all but sewn up a win for me this week. Thanks, Tyreek.
Breeland Speaks, Kansas City Chiefs
There were plenty of bad players this week, and Speaks wasn’t the worst overall. I could mention how the Denver quarterback situation has deteriorated to where Case Keenum’s biggest cheer of the night was when he was taken out of the game for a concussion test. But if Speaks was making a cake, he accidently used cat litter instead of flour and, yeah, the icing might be really nice, Breeland, but nobody wants your cat toilet cake.
At the four yard line in a shootout game, Speaks rushed the backfield and got his hands on Tom Brady. Then, to the astonishment of everyone, he let him go and watched on as 41-year old Brady dived into the end zone. Speaks said after the game that he thought Brady had thrown the ball and was scared of getting a needless penalty. It’s a fair point, as nobody expected Brady to scramble on his knees held together with hopes, dreams, and spackle, but run he did. In a shootout game, it made all the difference.
Now eat your cake, Breeland.
Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark made the Oakland Raiders O-line his personal plaything at Wembley as he got to David Carr for 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. Add into this three tackles and an assist, and he was a big part in making Raider Nation sad.
Still, though, Khalil Mack is this week’s winner of the Khalil Mack Award for Being Khalil Mack. It was an admittedly quiet week for Mack, as he only managed two tackles as the Bears were knocked off by the Miami Dolphins in overtime. He wins the award, though, for managing to do even that in the face of one of the NFL’s rarest and most shocking sights: Brock Osweiler having a good game.
Return of the Mahomes
I understand why they flexed the LA Rams @ 49ers off of Sunday Night Football; the 49ers have all their good players out with busted knees and are just trying to get the number one draft pick without making their mounting losses look too conspicuous. But to replace it with this? We could have had Redskins @ Cowboys, or Bears @ Patriots, but no. We’re stuck with this.
Fine. You want a prediction, Jack? I’ll be asleep by the end of the third quarter and the Chiefs will pull away by the fourth. The Bengals are decent and will get a few scores up, but despite being beaten by the Patriots the Chiefs have got a more dynamic offense compared to the Bengals’ plan of “Hey Andy, lob it up to AJ would ya?”