7 – The number of first downs amassed by the Miami Dolphins en route to an ugly win over the New York Jets. How bad are the Jets to lose to a team that moved the chains just seven times and recorded 168 yards?
10 – Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford was sacked 10 times by the Minnesota Vikings defense. Not surprisingly, the Lions fell by a 24-9 count to the Vikings who have taken control of the NFC North.
19 – I think the Miami Dolphins need to just defer the coin toss to the second half. Know why? Because they have gone 19 games without scoring a touchdown on their opening drive.
76 – It seems like I am writing weekly that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed over 70% of his passes. He did it again. Newton completed a season-best 76 percent of his passes in a 42-28 win over the Bucs. Newton is playing as well as he did during his MVP season, completing 66 percent of his passes. During this current three-game winning streak, Newton has 6 TDs and 0 INTs.
76.9 – The previously slumping Atlanta Falcons converted on close to 77% of their third down conversion attempts during an easy 38-14 upset victory over the Washington Redskins. Third down conversions, an underrated stat for NFL quarterbacks.
As The Bell Rings
Although it is far from a given, it is expected that Le’Veon Bell will finally report to the Pittsburgh Steelers sometime before next Tuesday. If he does, there are a number of ways the story will continue. I am going to lay out some possibilities. What do you think will occur?
No matter how it goes, the return will not be a comfortable experience. The Steelers offensive line has trashed Bell for leaving the team high and dry. Head coach Mike Tomlin has not spoken very highly of Bell’s decision either. Everyone in Pittsburgh seems to voice that James Conner, Bell’s replacement, has been more productive as Bell. It will all start next week for Bell. He needs to report by Nov. 13 in order to accrue an NFL season, which is important because Bell wants to get one year closer to free agency. I just do not see how the Steelers will gain by his return as long as Conner stays healthy.
First and foremost, there’s no telling whether Bell will be physically ready. No one seems to know what level of conditioning he’s been putting himself through during the holdout. Even if he’s in peak condition, he’ll need time to get to a place where he’s ready to touch the ball 20 times per game. He could suffer an injury if he rushes back into action when he’s not physically ready. And I would not put it past Bell to fake an injury to keep himself out. He has already made it clear that he could care less about the 2018 Steelers. Knowing this, the Steelers may not know that they can trust him to give full effort on every play. Bell might be running to protect himself and get to the offseason.
Thus far, I have given you the worst case scenario. Bell could return to the Steelers in the next week in perfect shape and an apology prepared for his teammates and coaches. He could keep his mouth shut and regain football physique over the coming weeks while happily splitting carries with Connor before taking a bigger role heading into the postseason.
It’s not impossible. But it also doesn’t really fit Bell’s modus operandi.