Early in the pre-season, I supposed that running back Le’Veon Bell should probably land with a team and eventually get enough touches to be vaguely useful to a fantasy team. Last year, Bell landed on the Chiefs under the architect named Andy Reid, who despises having a single running back carry the load of the team. This year, Bell waited until the end of the pre-season to sign with a team, waiting for the inevitable injuries to strike before mesmerizing a team with his abs and confusing them enough to allow him to take the field. And on the night where the Ravens could set a record for consecutive games with 100 rushing yards, the Ravens made it into the third quarter with 18 rushes and about 60 yards to show for it. Bell, for whatever he was worth, remained on the practice squad…and Adam Schefter reported that the Ravens were fielding trade inquiries for their RBs. Was this game a showcase for the RBs on the squad? Were they protecting Le’Veon Bell? Am I falling into the Kerryon Johnson trap? To be honest, I care nothing of Le’Veon Bell and you probably don’t either. But what else am I going to write about tonight? Lamar Jackson looking human? Honestly, even against the Colts, Jackson’s stat line was still mouth-watering, as his passing game has taken a step forward this year to a nice 270 passing yards per game, which is far more sustainable than 100 QB yards rushing per game. As the Raven said, pa-rap-a-rap rapping at my door: “More Lamar.” (make sure you say it with a mouth full of chips so it kind of sounds like Nevermore.
Here’s what else I saw in Monday Night Football, where the Birds fought the Horses:
Jonathan Taylor: I’m always put off when people say, “George McPlimpinbottom is a bad running back because all of his yards came on one play” and then they look at Najee Harris’ 3.9 yards per attempt and 87 dump passes and shout, “That’s the future of my NFL!” I don’t have any empirical evidence but I think Jon Gruden would defend the 30 attempt, 75 yard rusher and ignore the explosive back. Or maybe he’d just write a racist e-mail about it. ENYWHEY. DT’s beau Jonathan Taylor (sorry to break the news Mrs. DT) had one of those McPlimppinbottom-esque explosive receptions on the night where he traversed the field like Shakleton minus getting stuck in the ice. He added another TD on the ground and now you’re all happy you didn’t give up on him after week 2, right? Also, “Colts leading receiver Jonathan Taylor” has a nice ring to it, eh?
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2021
Carson Wentz: It’s amazing what the threat of Jacob Eason can do to a man, right? Wentz spent the first part of the season hobbling around the field with bad ankles to the point that everybody said backup signal-caller and part-time lighthouse keeper Jacob Eason was going to spend time handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor. AND THEN WENTZ WENT REVENGE MODE. After topping the 300-yard mark with a
massive pass interference completely accurate deep pass to Michael Pittman, Wentz finished the night in the top 6 QBs on the week in yardage. It certainly helps when 30% of those yards came from a short pass to JT and that Pittman bomb, which was really more the work of Pittman than Wentz. Assuming Wentz’ ankles don’t cave, he’ll be a good streamer to finish out the year, especially given that our usual favorite streamer Derek Carr will be working for a new head coach next week.
MICHAEL PITTMAN JR. #ForTheShoe
— NFL (@NFL) October 12, 2021
Marlon Mack: Led the Horses in rushing yards going into the final minutes. Has Jonathan Taylor become Nyheim Hines? Has Nyheim Hines become John Travolta in Face/Off? We’ve been hearing for weeks that Marlon Mack is on the trade block, and we’re probably seeing him showcasing right now. I haven’t showcased on a Monday night since my 20s, but hey, those were the days, right?
Ty’Son Williams: My 8-year old can throw a ball farther than Williams gained yards from scrimmage on Monday night. He was a hot pickup in week 1 but if you’re still holding on, it’s time to reinvest.
Sammy Watkins: Out targeted by Devin Duvernay, which is probably par for the course. Watkins is a notorious early-season monster, and hopefully his down game on Monday was caused by an increased reliance on the Ravens pass game. Wait, does that make sense? LJax throws more and that hurts Sammy? What is this, an episode of Black Mirror? Speaking of, here’s my pitch for Black Mirror: LJax drafts you and then follows you around at the office shouting at you every time you minimize your work windows, load an incognito window, and search “New Taylor Swift Album.”
Lamar Jackson: I’m not gonna lie: I submitted the first version of this article with 6 minutes left in the game and the Colts looking like they had it locked down. What can I say? Rum and scary movies on Netflix had my number. And before you dare question where my loyalties lie, I’m gonna let you know right now that I will take Bermuda’s finest and the creators of the Conjuring before any NFL game. OK, maybe not the Vikings/Packers, but you get the idea. LJax finished out the game with 440 yards in the air as the Ravens abandoned their historic run streak. But that’s OK because LJax went and set a record for most yards (400+) with an 85%+ pass completion rate. Like, he’s really good at throwing, but the Ravens’ offensive coordinator seemed to forget that from 2020-2021. Or, at least until this week. Maybe, the tilt that’s going to win people their championships this year, is the realization that Lamar doesn’t have to run 100 yards every week. And Marquise Brown — known by his nickname “Bollywood” for his love of Mumbai cinema — would become one of the biggest benefactors from that shift because he was drafted as a WR 3. After putting up 120+ yards and 2 TDs tonight, he’s showing the potential for WR1 production through the rest of the season.
Back in action Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS! pic.twitter.com/42SyPE7qKG
OK friends, get ready for the week 5.5 content deluge! Let’s do icebreakers with the other writers and ask them what their favorite flavor of frogurt is. Have an awesome week!