Back At The Top
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about the 2021 NFL season, it’s that you have to expect the unexpected. Like for instance seeing the Cincinnati Bengals become one of the more consistent teams in the league. Sure, after their Week 7 win against Baltimore they proceeded to lay an egg in consecutive weeks to the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. Their bye week came at the perfect time as they have now won two straight against Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. Both wins coming in overwhelming fashion. This franchise has had five straight seasons of no playoffs. Before that they were in the playoffs for five straight seasons albeit they were all Wild Card losses. Their success proves what we have been saying all along about them; keep QB Joe Burrow upright and it will all work out.
No Longer Soaring, But Falling Fast
This is in no way to suggest that QB Russell Wilson is done. Far from it. This to me is more of a microcosm of the Seahawks franchise. See the attached screenshot.
Keep in mind he has started every game of his career until this season when he suffered a broken finger. Since he’s been their quarterback they have only missed the playoffs one time and that was with a 9-7 record. He will undoubtedly be one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. However, he will probably be finishing his career somewhere else. The running joke of Seattle is that they haven’t had a competent offensive line since their back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. To be fair Wilson is an elusive quarterback and does take chances especially early on in his career, but being sacked 45+ times in his last 3 seasons before 2021 is just ridiculous. Head coach Pete Carroll’s time is running out in Seattle. Everyone sees it. The ‘Legion of Boom’ defense is what put them on the map and then the reigns were handed off to Wilson when everyone wanted to get paid. Yet Carroll and the front office didn’t invest in protecting their number one asset. Trading for an aging left tackle in Duane Brown a few years ago was a start, but this unit has been ineffective at protecting Russell and creating holes for the running game. It also doesn’t help when your best running back Chris Carson isn’t healthy either. The point of all of this is to say that this downfall was predictable. And to make matters worse their first round pick for 2022 belongs to the New York Jets because of the Jamal Adams trade. Good move there.
The Honeymoon Is Over
When he proclaimed that he was ‘back’ when scoring a rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, folks were nodding in agreement and that this would be a fantastic reunion of sorts. QB Cam Newton coming back to the Carolina Panthers after a not-so happy ending after the 2019 injury plagued season for him. Here’s the thing; I had my doubts about him from the way he was playing in college. He was in a run-heavy offense at Auburn and the NFL was quickly becoming a pass-happy league. It did end up working for Cam as the head coach at the time, Ron Rivera catered an offensive staff that rewrote how a run-heavy offense would work in the pass-happy league. Fast forward to after their awful performance in Super Bowl 50 and things fell fast. Carolina made the playoffs only one more time in 2017 and Cam was no where near the MVP of 2015. To be fair he did take a beating in the run-heavy offense, but that was his style in college as well. He was never known to be an accurate passer, but that shoulder injury he suffered at the end of his first run in Carolina really did him in. He has started the last two games for the Panthers and while his first start was good against Washington, the team did lose in the end. This last start against Miami was a doozy though; 5 of 21 passing for 92 yards and 2 interceptions. It would have been a good story if Carolina had turned their fortunes around with him coming back, but it was a fools hope. The 2015 NFL MVP isn’t returning to form.