Baker Mayfield’s beef with Kliff Kingsbury, explained for NFL fans – SB Nation

The Arizona Cardinals hired former Texas Tech head coach (and briefly, USC offensive coordinator) Kliff Kingsbury earlier this week. His offensive resume is impressive, as well as the quarterbacks he’s coached: Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield, and Patrick Mahomes.

He’ll face one of those guys, Mayfield, when his team plays the Cleveland Browns in 2019 — and things could get pretty interesting when that happens. NFL schedules don’t come out until April so we don’t know the exact date of this game just yet.

Let’s just say Mayfield and Kingsbury’s relationship didn’t exactly end on good terms.

In 2013, Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech, and earned the starting job in Tech’s season opener. The Red Raiders beat SMU 41-23 and then went on to win their next four games. On Oct. 5, Mayfield was 5-0 and had thrown almost 1,500 yards when he suffered a leg injury against Kansas.

Then, Kingsbury had to make do without him. The Red Raiders went 2-5 with five straight losses to close out the season. Mayfield came back In November, but has stated that after his injury, he didn’t have much communication with Kingsbury.

“When I got hurt, there was no communication between me and my coach,” Mayfield told ESPN. “When I got healthy, I didn’t know why I wasn’t playing right away. At that time, we were losing a couple games in a row. I was still clueless as to why I wasn’t playing. That was really frustrating for me because I started the first five games and we won. So, I just didn’t really know exactly what he was thinking or what the situation was.”

December of that same year, Mayfield announced he was transferring after stating Texas Tech hadn’t offered him a scholarship for the spring semester. Kingsbury denied that claim.

“I know a lot has come from Baker’s side, but I loved coaching him, loved the chip on his shoulder, cheered for him in every game except one,” Kingsbury said in July 2016. “It’s been fun to see the success he’s had.”

He transferred to Oklahoma, but was held up by Tech:

Mayfield ended up not being able to play at the rival Big 12 school right away:

There are two relevant rules to know here. One is the NCAA’s, and one is the Big 12’s. The NCAA’s says that players who transfer, if they haven’t already graduated, must sit out a year before returning to game action. That “academic year in residence” is a redshirt season, so players get an extra season tacked on at the end of their careers.

But the Big 12 has a rule that if players transfer within the conference, they lose that year of eligibility, in addition to having to sit out the season. That loss of eligibility could be waived by the player’s former school, but Tech denied Mayfield’s request to do that — and also, for a while, to let Oklahoma put Mayfield on scholarship.

Once Tech relented on that point, the NCAA let Oklahoma have an extra scholarship slot for Mayfield as he sat out 2014.

Luckily, the Big 12 made an exception to the one-year loss of eligibility if the player was a walk-on, so Mayfield got an extra year of eligibility. Eventually, he went on to earn the starting job at OU for three seasons, and he flourished, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

Mayfield faced Kingsbury’s Tech team in 2016, in a game that set NCAA record books on fire.

Oklahoma won 66-59 over TTU, and with Mahomes leading Tech’s offense their teams set the all-time Division I single-game yardage record with 1,708.

It wasn’t all friendly for Mayfield in Lubbock, though. They reportedly chanted “Fuck you, Baker!” at him during the game, and these were seen in the student section:

“You’d like to stay above that,” Kingsbury said of the chants directed at Baker. “Obviously emotions come into play, and we love the charged atmosphere, but obviously it’s not what you want to be portraying for our university, in that stadium, for our program.”

In 2017, Mayfield’s Sooners beat Tech 49-27. The two haven’t seen too much of each other, but it looks like the two are friendly when they do:

Mayfield hasn’t said too much about Kingsbury in his NFL days. But he has had a notable beef with another former coach, Hue Jackson.

Mayfield was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns, and led them to a 7-9 season his rookie year after earning the starting job in Week 3. Jackson was fired by the Browns on Oct. 29, and shortly thereafter, he landed a gig on the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff. Let’s just say Mayfield didn’t think too highly of this. When the Browns faced the Bengals in in November, Mayfield didn’t exactly warmly embrace his former head coach:

And after the Browns’ win, Mayfield was asked about the interaction between the two:

“Didn’t feel like talking to him,” Mayfield told reporters. “He was here trying to tell us to play for him. Then he goes to a team we play twice a year. That’s how I feel. We have people we believe in calling the plays now.”

When the Browns beat the Bengals again in December, Mayfield had this epic stare down of Jackson:

The NFL fined Mayfield $10,026 for unsportsmanlike conduct for this gesture:

Mayfield and now permanent Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens played it coy when asked about it:

“He came over and he simply said, ‘Great play call,’’ Kitchens joked. “That’s something in our room that’s an inside deal in our room that’s going to stay in our room. It’s not a big deal.’’

Mayfield, when asked about the gesture on Wednesday, said ‘Oh well, I didn’t so…’’ and trailed off.

“I honestly couldn’t tell you. I don’t know,’’ he said. “We have a lot of stuff within our locker room, within what we have going on in the offense, a lot of inside jokes. Who knows what it was?”

So you don’t know what I’m referring to?

“No, I try and stay off social media, so everything trending that you’re talking about … “

Mayfield’s game vs. Kingsbury might not have as much drama as the ones against Jackson. But it might!

Guess we’ll just have to see when these two meet again to find out!

Rams' Zac Taylor is favorite to land Bengals job –

Cincinnati’s coaching search seems to have zeroed in on its target.

Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor has emerged as the favorite to land the Bengals head coaching job, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Taylor, who still has a playoff game to prepare for, has not been informed he’s the favorite and no negotiations have taken place, but signs point to him, Rapoport added.

The Bengals are committed to not serving as a detriment to any team’s playoff preparation, but they were able to interview Taylor during Los Angeles’ recent bye week. That interview was apparently enough to convince the Bengals they want to pick from the suddenly expansive Sean McVay coaching tree. One source told Rapoport they hope their next coach walks in with a Super Bowl ring but won’t make any moves for a hire until that team is out of the playoffs.

There’s an element of risk when making such a decision before getting a coach in the building or at least his representation on the phone to talk dollars. Indianapolis had an agreement with Josh McDaniels for him to become the Colts’ next head coach last January, but when the Patriots fell in Super Bowl LII, McDaniels developed second thoughts and ended up walking away from the job and a partially hired staff. And there’s also the time lost in attempting to assemble a staff of coordinators and assistants, which is even more important for a first-time head coach.

As for Taylor, he’s another potentially meteoric riser in this unusual coaching cycle that has seen Kliff Kingsbury, Matt LaFleur and Freddie Kitchens all land jobs despite lacking extensive experience as a coordinator. Taylor’s leap would be just as great, if not greater, considering he’s spent the last two seasons with the Rams as a position coach (wide receivers in 2017 and quarterbacks in 2018) and is 35 years old. He has served as an OC in an interim role back in 2015 as part of interim head coach Dan Campbell’s staff in Miami. He then moved to the collegiate ranks to take the same position at the University of Cincinnati.

It would still be an exciting hire for Cincinnati because it’s a head coach not named Marvin Lewis, who parted ways with the Bengals after 16 seasons at the helm. It took Cincinnati a lot to make a change, but Taylor stands to potentially invigorate a franchise that felt stale in recent seasons and still has enough offensive talent to produce some immediate success.

We’ll have to wait until the Rams are eliminated for this hire to actually happen, though, and as the source told Rapoport, hopes inside the Bengals’ headquarters are that that won’t take place until early February.

NFL – Best, worst performers in 2.5-second window for 2018 season, from NFL Next Gen Stats – ESPN

Just two-and-a-half seconds. In the NFL, sometimes that’s all it takes for opportunity to slip away. Whether it’s getting open, beating a blocker or finding a receiver, the first 2.5 seconds can make or break a play.

Why? That’s roughly the average time to pass in the NFL. Sure, the most explosive pass plays come after that cutoff, but that’s only if the quarterback can make those passes unencumbered — or even at all. That there’s no guarantee of that opportunity arising is what makes a quarterback’s ability to complete passes within 2.5 seconds — with a lower ceiling but much higher success rate — very important.

In short, throw in less than 2.5 seconds, and you should have a positive outcome. Disrupt that throw in under 2.5 defensively? Well, same.

Let’s look at our 2018 best and worst performers for the 2.5-second window, with some help from NFL Next Gen Stats, Total QBR and ESPN video tracking analysis.

Bucs to offer head coach position to Arians –

Bruce Arians is a step closer to returning to the sideline after a one-year sabbatical.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to offer their head coaching job to the 66-year-old Arians, per sources informed of the decision.

Rapoport added negotiations on a new contract are likely to being soon, and there is strong mutual interest from both sides.

After previously indicating he’d only be interested in returning to coaching for the Cleveland job, Arians let it be known that the Bucs’ post also intrigued him, given the relationship with general manager Jason Licht.

The future of quarterback Jameis Winston also likely played a role in the Bucs targeting Arians to replace Dirk Koetter. The signal-caller and Arians have a history and a good relationship. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, if Winston can’t improve in Arians’ vertical offense under a proven QB whisperer, it might never happen.

Arians “retired” from the Arizona Cardinals following the 2017 season. Health was among the reasons he stepped away, which will make the length and stipulations of a new deal in Tampa something to track as the sides hammer away in negotiations.

After just one year in a broadcast booth, Arians and his “no risk it, no biscuit” offense is on track to return to the NFL.

Huskies CB Byron Murphy declares for NFL draft, skipping final two seasons of eligibility at UW – Seattle Times

Byron Murphy is the second UW defensive back to leave early since the Rose Bowl, following junior safety Taylor Rapp’s announcement last Wednesday, and he may not be the last.

Adam Jude

The Huskies, as expected, have lost another top defensive back early to the NFL draft.

Washington cornerback Byron Murphy on Monday morning announced he will enter the NFL draft, departing UW with two seasons of eligibility remaining. As a third-year sophomore, Murphy is eligible to enter the 2019 draft.

He is the second Huskies defensive back to leave early since the Rose Bowl, following junior safety Taylor Rapp’s announcement last Wednesday.

Both Murphy and Rapp received second-round grades from the NFL College Advisory Committee. They are the third and fourth defensive backs over the past two years to leave Washington early, following Budda Baker and Sidney Jones in 2017. Baker and Jones were both second-round picks two years ago.

ESPN’s Todd McShay ranks Murphy as the No. 3 cornerback prospect entering the 2019 draft.

Murphy, from Scottsdale, Ariz., was an Associated Press second-team All-American in 2018 and a first-team all-Pac-12 selection. He was the MVP of the Pac-12 championship after he returned an interception 66 yards for the game’s only touchdown, helping the Huskies to a 10-3 victory over Utah last month.

After a redshirt season in 2016, Murphy appeared in 20 games for UW over the past two seasons, all starts, and posted 74 career tackles, seven interceptions, 27 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He missed six games in 2017 because of a broken foot.

Murphy signed with the Huskies in February 2016, and later that year UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said Murphy had the best ball skills of any high-school cornerback he’d ever recruited.

The Huskies will have a new-look defense in 2019. Counting graduations and the early departures of Rapp and Murphy, the Huskies will lose nine regular starters of the Pac-12’s top-ranked defense.

Junior defensive back Myles Bryant could be the 10th. He told The Seattle Times last month that he is weighing whether to depart early for the NFL draft too.

Wild-Card Playoffs Takeaways: The Cruelest End for the Bears, Ravens Offense Solved, Dak Gets It Done – Sports Illustrated

Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened on Sunday afternoon. Get the full Sunday breakdown from Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling on The Monday Morning NFL Podcast. Subscribe to The MMQB Podcasts now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning

Things That Made Me Giddy

Nick Foles Can Do No Wrong: He had a couple of atrocious plays in the first half, and missed a couple throws in the second half. Yet, there he was again in the fourth quarter, making absurd throws while absorbing crushing hit after crushing hit. There’s nothing left to say about it except that he is magic. He is made of magic. There is no other explanation. The Saints should be terrified.

Trubisky’s Big-Time Throw: That’s a Nick Foles moment right there, staring down the gun barrel and connecting with Allen Robinson on a perfectly placed throw against a Cover-2 look. That was the throw of not only his life, but would be the throw of a lot of quarterback’s lives. Absolutely magnificent—I had my doubts about his play this season, but there’s no doubt he delivered in the season’s biggest moment.

Gus Bradley and the Chargers’ Coaching Staff: They got their second shot at the Lamar Jackson Ravens and took full advantage. They had three safeties on the field for most of the day on Sunday rather than using traditional linebackers, putting an emphasis on speed. The Ravens never had a chance in this game. I’ve always thought Bradley deserves another shot as a head coach, and maybe this will put some momentum behind that idea.

The Bears Offensive Line Won the Second Half: And with the Eagles’ pass-rush erased, the Bears started going to double moves to get big plays, and had layups against zone coverages that weren’t built to cover for five seconds. (And yes, it did help that the officials, uh… “let them play,” but that’s football. Or something).

Dak and Jason Garrett Deliver: It was supposed the be the playoff-tested Seahawks rising to the occasion in a close game late. Instead, Dallas thoroughly dominated the fourth quarter of this game (well, until Byron Jones lost his mind on the Seahawks’ final drive).

That Cowboys Answer: After Russell Wilson got Seattle into the end zone for the first time, it seemed momentous in a game with so little offense. But man, the Cowboys answered with stunning ease, a nine-play, 67-yard drive (the last two plays were on the goal line), including a well-designed route combination that opened Amari Cooper up for a 34-yard catch.

Melvin Ingram: It was a mildly disappointing regular season for Ingram (he was good, just not great). He made up for it on Sunday, when he was unblockable in a playoff game.

Pierre Desir: I could be wrong, but I feel Saturday was the first time I really heard a broadcast booth talk about him for more than a sentence. Desir isn’t Revis 2.0—he has plenty of help built into that defense—but he absolutely deserved to in the Comeback Player of the Year discussion. He is a legitimate No. 1 corner in that Colts defense, and he won his battle with DeAndre Hopkins thoroughly on Saturday.

Allen Robinson Catches a Cheater: In Avonte Maddox’s defense, he’s probably not used to having to cover this long, but the Eagles’ pass-rush was non-existent. The Bears got him on three double moves in the second half as Maddox channeled his inner Jalen Mills. One of those double-moves was a 45-yard catch, another was a TD.

Ezekiel Elliott Running and Blocking: He had 169 yards on 30 touches, and he threw a pretty good block on a Dak Prescott draw in the fourth quarter.

Michael Badgley: The approximately 74th kicker the Chargers have used over the pasts two seasons, he delivered some crucial early points in what was shaping up to be a day for defense. His 53-yarder late in the first quarter pushed the lead to 6-0 rather than creating easy field position that the Ravens desperately needed. Badgley finished 5-for-6 on the day (the miss was a bad hold that was blocked), making him possibly the first Chargers kicker to make a postseason field goal ever. Though our researchers will have to check on that.

K.J. Wright’s Ball Skills: Get out of here with your appeals for pass interference—the contact only happens because of the terribly thrown ball.

Neiko Thorpe Putting the ‘Special’ in Special Teams: And his name is an anagram of “hoke pointer.” He batted a punt back into play to be downed at the 2, an 18-yard save and then some considering the Cowboys went nowhere and Dallas punter Chris Jones had a rush a short kick. The Seahawks got the ball on the Dallas 44 and scored nine plays later.

Tarik Cohen in the Return Game: His last kickoff return was a game-changing special teams player making a (shoulda-been) season-saving kick return.

Patrick Onwuasor: His two performances against the Chargers were off the charts. Philip Rivers is going to see him in his nightmares. Philip Rivers has weird dreams.

Jaylon Smith Is Spectacular: Leighton Vander Esch is pretty good too, but Smith’s versatility—spying, blitzing, dropping into coverage—was on full display Saturday night.

The Cowboys Defense Wrecked Seattle Up Front: The Seahawks stuck with the run for too long, but it’s also been a while since they’ve been manhandled like that in the run game.

That Matt Eberflus Defense Playing With a Lead: A three-touchdown lead against a quarterback who couldn’t make plays from the pocket was a layup for this unit.

Cris Collinsworth Grunts: Upon viewing replays of close calls. I don’t care what anyone says, those noises are wonderful.

Frank Reich’s Beard: For some reason it remains a polarizing subject in The MMQB offices. It is legitimately utterly tremendous.


Cody Parkey Off Upright and Crossbar: That was unfair. The kick wasn’t really mishit—I’ve never seen one bounce like that. Trubisky and the offense made the exact plays they had to make on that final drive, also set up by Tarik Cohen making a play on the kick return. No offense to the Eagles, who certainly deserved to win that game, but that ending was too much for the impartial football mind to stomach.

Matt Nagy, You Gotta Use Your Timeouts: With the Eagles lining up for a first-and-goal in a one-possession game, Nagy let them run 40 seconds off the clock. With that clock management, people on Twitter are gonna start calling you the new Andy Reid (and that guy sure can’t coach.)

The Alternate Universe in Which Joe Flacco Came in on Sunday: It’s not like the Chargers are an exotic, multiple defense that customizes their game plan every week. If Flacco came off the bench, the Chargers would go back to the straightforward defense they ran in 15 of their 16 regular-season games, going against a pretty mediocre passing attack that hasn’t practiced together in a couple months. So, let’s say the final score probably would have been around 23-17 Chargers.

A Disappointing Playoff Debut for Deshaun Watson: The hope was that Watson’s national title game experience would lead to something a little bit better than what we saw Saturday. Instead, it was a lowlight reel with his biggest flaw coming out of Clemson—the inability to consistently throw with zip from the pocket—on full display, and it didn’t help that he repeatedly broke himself down when he didn’t have to. Fortunately, Watson has another 12-15 years in Houston to erase this memory.

Dak Prescott’s Red-Zone Interception: You can argue it was wide receiver slipping out against a linebacker, but K.J. Wright is one of the best coverage linebackers in football and Noah Brown is basically a tight end. The play design didn’t fool anyone. It’s Noah Brown. Don’t throw it.

Mitchell Trubisky Is Living Right: I’m sure the guys at Football Outsiders or PFF or someone who is simply less lazy than I am have this, but anecdotally, I can’t think of a quarterback who threw so many dropped interceptions this season. I mean, uncontested interceptions that hit a defender in the hands and/or chest. In the first half on Sunday, Eagles corner Avonte Maddox somehow managed to double-catch one on the sideline, losing a gimme INT. Tre Sullivan had an even easier one in the end zone at the end of the first half.

Really, Eagles Defensive Backs Have to Catch the Easy Ones: There’s not a whole lot else to say about it. This is a game that saw Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith make a great catch on a 50/50 ball. The Eagles dropped two interceptions that were catches NFL DBs should make 100 out of 100 times. One would have set up the Eagles in scoring position. The other would have taken the ball away from the Bears before they kicked a field goal.

The Texans Can’t Cover Dontrelle Inman: Dontrelle Inman is a really good route-runner, but come on. He lit Shareece Wright and Karrem Jackson ablaze in the first half on Saturday.

And Aaron Colvin Was a Healthy Scratch?: Did he run over Romeo Crennel’s dog? What is going on here? On his worst days, Colvin is Houston’s second- or third-best corner. I believe in the Sasquatch, but I can not wrap my head around the concept of Aaron Colvin sitting behind the cornerbacking group the Texans keep running out.

Has Anyone Ever Tweeted a GIF of Steve Carell in The Office: Or how about that new movie Bird Box? Because sometimes I think about doing it, but I feel like it might be too original and creative. (Just kidding, I never think about tweeting.)

The Not Very Big Role of Doug Baldwin: I’m not sure how healthy he was—and I know Seattle’s identity isn’t to throw the ball around—but I’m astounded Brian Schottenheimer wasn’t drooling over Baldwin working against Anthony Brown. It’s 2018, you gotta score some points.

Michael Bennett Gives Up Three Points: I don’t want to sound like a crotchety old man even though all three of those words would probably accurately describe me, but for Bennett, after a third down stop, to throw not one but two open-handed slaps at Kyle Long after the whistle in a January game, daring an official to throw a flag, is unforgivable. The Bears, trailing 3-0 at the time, kept their drive alive and got the tying points.

Lions GM Bob Quinn Got Rid of Some of the Weekend’s Best Players: Matthew Stafford is thrilled to be watching Eric Ebron and Golden Tate scoring key touchdowns in the playoffs. Better find someone good with that third-round pick, BQ!

Kenneth Dixon’s Ball Security: The guy is an underrated talent who’s been held back by injuries, but yeesh, three fumbles (two lost) on 75 touches this season.

Akeem King Losing Contain: The last we saw him, he was shutting down Travis Kelce on Sunday Night Football. He was part of what would kindly be described a mix-up (less charitably, a blown assignment), failing to provide outside contain on Ezekiel Elliott’s 44-yard run at the end of the first half, setting up a Cowboys touchdown. It was an enormous mistake in a game where yards and points were at a premium.

Dalton Schultz Trying to Block Frank Clark: I know he’s just a rookie and all, but Clark almost used Shultz to tackle Ezekiel Elliott for a safety.

The Seahawks’ Gray Pants with Blue Jerseys: I’m not sure why it bothered me so much, but it did. It was the look of a team that was going to wear blue pants to match the shirts, but then maybe pre-game someone BMed before they could make it to the lavatory, so in a show of unity the entire team agreed to change pants. Because they’re close like that.

Sebastian Janikowski’s Hamstring: [Audible sigh] They’re running out of NFL players who are older than me.

Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About

This Throw by Andrew Luck: Splitting the safeties, this was a dagger. Luck rarely leaves throws on the field, and the fact that he can deliver a ball like this is what makes him special.

The Dak QB Draw: It’s disappointing for Seattle to give up that play on a third-and-14. But sometimes a team just blocks in up perfectly, the ballcarrier makes a play, and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

This Foles Interception Is as Bad as it Gets: His first interception was a combination of bad ball placement and a great play by Roquan Smith. But the second one… unless Foles was trying to throw this ball into the stands and lost zip when his arm got scraped, this is an atrocious decision. The best-case scenario is a jump-ball on the back line to Nelson Agholor, which isn’t a very good scenario. The more likely scenario was this:

That Doug Baldwin Catch: On fourth down which, in case you didn’t know, is the last down.

That Deshaun Watson Fourth-Down Throw: The ESPN crew was critical of the call, but the call was fine (and, surely, if an opening for a QB draw had presented itself Watson would have changed the call at the line). Watson had to work around the enormous Margus Hunt with a look-away, but the best receiver on the planet was open for an easy pass-and-catch. That’s just a bad throw.

Catch and Fumble, Replay, All That: I don’t have anything to add about the review of the Anthony Miller catch-and-fumble. Well, except for: (1) That probably is a common-sense rule (if it’s a clear catch and clear fumble without a recovery, play stands as incomplete), and we should all be for common-sense rules even if it’s some creative logic to get there; (2) Amazing announcement from Tony Corrente, which was approximately, “After review. Catch. Play stands because. Uh. Third down”; and (3) Suddenly, the past two weeks, officials are suddenly wetting themselves in their eagerness to blow these borderline plays dead. Can you please say something to them, Al Riveron?

What We’ll Be Talking About This Week

It Can Be Good to Get Your Heart Broken: Russell Wilson’s rookie year, when the Seahawks lost on a last-second field goal in the conference semifinals in Atlanta, I distinctly remember Wilson at the podium after the game talking about how excited he was about next season (spoiler alert: they won the Super Bowl). The Bears have an elite defense that’s coming back whole, and an offense that’s a work-in-progress but shows promise. Once this one is done hurting, there would seem to be very bright days ahead for the Bears.

The Next Evolution of the Lamar Jackson Ravens: That was as ugly as it gets, but something along these lines was bound to happen eventually. An option-heavy scheme is inherently built to out-execute opponents through misdirection, whereas a passing attack designed with the pocket as the launching stresses defenses to cover an amount of space that they sometimes just can’t cover. Considering this was supposed to be a redshirt year for Jackson, this run to the playoffs was gravy. And now the Ravens have a full offseason to evolve this offense (not scrap the whole thing) by beginning to expand the passing game.

Joe Flacco: Have you heard about Joe Flacco? All the kids are talking about him. He’s most likely going to be elsewhere next fall as a bridge guy (Jacksonville? Denver? Washington? Miami?). It was a good run in Baltimore.

Time to Scrap the Onside Kick: It’s a dangerous play, and now purely a desperation play. It’s been in dire need of change for a decade, which means the competition committee should get to it in another eight years or so. The far-too-obvious solution they’ll eventually come to realize: The “kicking” team should get a scrimmage play from their own 35-yard line. If they cross midfield, they retain possession. If they don’t, it’s essentially a turnover on downs.

Anthony Lynn: He won a playoff game in his second season as Chargers head coach. Which is weird, because he’s not a handsome 30-something former quarterbacks coach.

Colts Are a Fascinating Matchup With Kansas City: The Chiefs will rightfully be favored, but Andrew Luck against that atrocious Chiefs defense, and the NFL’s premiere bend-don’t-break defensive unit against Patrick Mahomes, is a tough matchup for the top seed.

Where Does the Bears Offense Go From Here?: It was such an up-and-down year for their young quarterback, and it certainly ended on a high note with that final drive. Matt Nagy has to get together with Trubisky and figure out what he’s going to be comfortable with, because for 70% of this season—including 60% of Sunday’s game—he just seemed out of sorts.

Texans Need to Address the O-Line, but They Really Need to Address the Secondary: Sure, you wish the pass rush had done a little bit more on Saturday, but that Houston secondary can’t cover anyone. And if they’re not going to play Aaron Colvin—did I tell you, I can not believe they don’t play Aaron Colvin—it’s time to rebuild that back end from scratch.

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