Each week, national NFL writer Mark Maske will provide his ranking of the league’s 32 teams. This week, Philadelphia and New England flip spots in the rankings, as the Eagles move up and the Patriots drop after two weeks on top. Dallas was the week’s big mover, jumping from No. 11 to sixth after a strong showing against Kansas City.
The Browns blocked one would-be game-tying field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and Chargers kicker Josh Lambo pushed another wide right as time expired, giving the previously 0-14 Browns their first victory of the season, 20-17. The win prevents Cleveland — a city that has enjoyed the recent successes of MLB’s Indians and NBA’s Cavaliers — from joining the Detroit Lions in NFL infamy as the only teams to go winless over a 16-game scheduled. Still, this doesn’t mean the Browns are, you know, good.
The win did come at a cost, the win now puts the San Francisco Niners in position to receive the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL draft should both teams finish with just one victory this season.
This isn’t a new idea. My colleague, Pete Prisco, has been talking about this for a while now. During Bortles’ hot streak to begin December — when he completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 903 yards, seven touchdowns, no picks, and a 128.6 passer rating over a three-game stretch — Prisco noticed the Jaguars were letting him throw on early downs.
That’s not what happened against the Bills. Of their 11 offensive drives (not including their final kneel-down series), the Jaguars began with a running play seven times and a passing play four times. Of the four times they started with a passing play, twice they eventually scored — one touchdown and one field goal. Remember, they only scored 10 points all game long.
“Did we do the wrong thing with the Chargers? It’s probably way too early to say that,” a high-ranking executive with one NFL team said. “Let’s see how it plays out. Let’s see how they both do when they get into the new stadium. But I guess it does make you start to think a little bit.”