Article Lineup
Did You Notice? NFL Week 7
Golden NFL Rankings After Week 7
Did You Notice? NCAA Football Week 8
Saints-Panthers Preview with Follow-Up
LSU-South Carolina Lots of if's
Football Short Story The NFL's Space Ship Division
Basketball Short Story Survive and Advance - 7
Baseball Short Story Fall from Grace
New Golden Football Magazine
Did You Notice? NFL Week 7
  • This Week's Crazy Stats Game
    First downs: Bengals 31 Browns 23
    Total plays: Bengals 73 Browns 51
    Total yards: Bengals 468 Browns 398
    Yards per play: Bengals 6.4 Browns 7.8
    Possession: Bengals 32:55 Browns 27:05
    Turnovers: Bengals 2 Browns 1
    Score: Browns 37 Bengals 34
  • Falcons Can't Win for Losing
    Trailing the Lions 16-14, the Falcons started a drive with 3:05 left that moved relentlessly into Detroit territory until they had 1st & Goal at the 10 with 1:12 left. The Lions called their last timeout. Atlanta could now take a knee several times to run down the clock, then use a timeout of their own to send out the field goal unit and win 17-16 as time expired. Instead, in an eerie reenactment of what the Penn State runner did against Indiana the day before, QB Matt Ryan handed to RB Todd Gurley, who ran up the middle through several half-hearted tackles until he tried to hold up several yards from the goal line. But when he finally fell down, the broke the plane of the goal line. The Falcons kicked the point to extend their lead to six - another questionable decision.
    Watch a video of Gurley's run ...
    So Detroit got the ball at their 25 after the touchback with a chance to win. Matthew Stafford alternated completing passes of 13, 22, 11y to the Falcon 11 with spiking the ball to stop the clock. Finally, with three seconds left, Stafford found T.J. Hockenson open in the end zone for the tying touchdown. Matt Prater kicked the winning PAT with 0:00 on the clock. Same question to Atlanta interim coach Raheem Morris as to the Penn State coach: Why didn't you tell your QB to take a knee? Ever hear of "victory formation"? Morris said the plan was for Gurley to get the ball and "let Todd take a knee." Raheem regretted not having Ryan take a knee instead. "I put that on me, 100%."
  • Ex QB vs New QB
    49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo returned to New England's Gillette Stadium for his first game since Bill Belichick traded him to San Francisco in October 2017. The result was a 33-6 thumping of the Patriots - their largest margin of defeat since a 31-0 road loss at Buffalo in 2003. "It was a cool week," said Garoppolo. "Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back ... But it was a fun night. Couldn't imagine it going any better than this." The story is that Belichick had Garoppolo pegged as Tom Brady's successor for the Patriots, but Brady's continued excellent ("and perhaps a nudge from ownership" as one writer put it) forced Bill to trade Garoppolo. All he got in return ws a second-round pick. Making matters worse last Sunday was a poor outing for Brady's successor, Cam Newton. The former Carolina QB completed just nine passes in 15 attempts for 98y. He had no TDs but three INTs for a QBR of 39.7. Garoppolo was 20/25 for 277y with 0 TDs and 2 INTs for a QB of 79.5. Newton's performance in the last two games has raised the question of whether he has a recurrence of the serious shoulder injury he suffered last year.
  • Brady Back in Form
    43-year-old Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady is just a year removed from posting the worst single-season passing grade of his 20-year career (54.5). But he's at 70.5 after seven games this season and an MVP candidate for what he's done with the 5-2 Bucs. And he's done that with a banged-up receiving corps that is about to get a shot of adrenaline from Antonio Brown, who is rated the most valuable WR in the NFL since 2010.
  • Dallas Debacle
    It was already bad enough in Big D when QB Dak Prescott was lost for the season with a broken ankle. Then Sunday backup Andy Dalton suffered a concussion in the Cowboys' 25-3 loss to the Washington Nonames. Dalton, a 10-year veteran, wasn't performing that well before the injury: 9/19, 75y, 0 TD, 1 INT, 36.1 RTG. Rookie Ben DiNucci did better after Andy went down: 2/3, 39y, 0 TD, 0 INT, 109.7 RTG.
    Owner Jerry Jones was asked to comment on a rumored "leadership crisis" within his organization during his weekly appearance on a Dallas sports talk show. He bristled, "Just shut up and let me answer it. No, I gave you the answer. When I go into the locker room, there's no leadership void in my eyes. Now that's your answer. Move on." Jerry calmed down later and apologized. "This certainly isn't my most tactful time, you might say. I'm disappointed for our fans. ... I can't tell you how disappointed I am. There's an old adage. Don't piss an old man off with little money. He'll get you." He also defended new coach Mike McCarthy. "I got my man."
Question of the week: Which former coach turned commentator said, "The Steelers are 6-0 for the first time in 42 years. How do I know that? I was on that last 6-0 team." Answer below.

Intriguing Numbers - NFL Week 7
15 Consecutive games won by the Saints in OctoberCincinnati
2002 Last time the Patriots lost three games in a row
3 Consecutive New England games without a first half touchdown - a first under Bill Belichick
22 TD passes by Russell Wilson in six games this seasons
35 Points scored by the Jaguars and Chargers during Q3 of their game Sunday
42 Average total points the Jaguars and Chargers had scored for entire games before last Sunday
1 Undefeated teams: Steelers after beating fellow 5-0 team, the Titans
1

Winless teams: Jets after losing to the Bills

0 Number of touchdowns and number of punts by the Bills in their 18-10 victory
1978 Last time the Steelers were 6-0; they won the Super Bowl that year 
6 Consecutive games in which Dallas has allowed at least 20 first half points (an NFL record)
2-4-1 Record of the Philadelphia Eagles, who lead the NFC East
21 Consecutive completions by Browns QB Baker Mayfield against Cincinnati after starting 0-for-5; the streak was broken when he spiked the ball to stop the clock
30 Number of Q4 comebacks led by Lions QB Matthew Stafford
0-for-8 Chiefs' third down conversion rate against the Broncos
43 Points Kansas City scored against Denver, a season high
559 Career TD passes by Tom Brady, one more than Drew Brees
Answer to this week's question: Tony Dungy
This week's quiz: Russell Wilson's 22 TD passes in six games tied a record set by whom?
Golden NFL Rankings after 7 Weeks
# Team Avg. Total Win Loss Opp.
Wins
Opp.
Losses
Margin
Value
Last
Week
1 Pittsburgh 16,28 103.75 6 0 17 0 2.20 5
2 Tampa Bay 17.19 120.33 5 2 15 4 2.83 4
3 Kansas City 17.00 119.00 6 1 17 3 1.97 2
4 Baltimore 16.92 101.50 5 1 12 1 2.32 9
5 New Orleans 16.84 101.01 4 2 13 4 0.51 11
6 Tennessee 16.83 101.00 5 1 10 0 1.44 3
7 Cleveland 16.79 117.50 5 2 11 1 0.66 8
8 Los Angeles Rams 16.73 117.14 5 2 13 5 1.39 15
9 Seattle 16.68 100.06 5 1 9 2 0.62 1
10 Chicago 16.65 116.52 5 2 13 4 0.02 6
"Opp. wins" means the total number of wins by the teams the ranked team defeated.
"Opp. losses" means the total number of losses by the teams that defeated the ranked team.

Team that jumped highest amount from last week: Los Angeles Rams (+7)
Team that dropped the furthest: Seattle (-8)

Complete Golden NFL rankings

Division Rankings
Rank Division Average
1 AFC North 16.576
2 NFC West 16.472
3 NFC South 16.204
4 AFC West 16.198
5 NFC North 16.077
6 AFC East 15.756
7 AFC South 15.716
8 NFC East 15.214

Overall: AFC 16.061, NFC 15.992
Did You Notice? NCAA Week 8
  • This Week's Crazy Stats Game
    First downs: Penn State 27 Indiana 18
    Total yards: Penn State 488 Indiana 211
    Passing Yards: Penn State 238 Indiana 170
    Possession: Penn State 40:25 Indiana 19:35
    Turnovers: Penn State 3 Indiana 2
    Score: Indiana 36 Penn State 35
  • Big Ten Starts with Three Upsets
    Who would have believed that the Big Ten's debut would see Indiana beat Penn State, Rutgers beat Michigan State, and Purdue beat Iowa.
  • Go Down! Go Down!
    Trailing Penn State 21-20 with less than two minutes to play, Indiana faced 4th & 21 at their 14. They went for it, but the pass misfired. So the Nittany Lions took over with a chance to seal the victory. On the first snap, the Hoosier defense let RB Devyn Ford score a touchdown to prevent the Lions from running out the clock since the Hoosiers had only one timeout left. Ford looked right and left as he ran up the middle to the five and saw no one near him as if figuring out what IU was doing. Just as he crossed the goal line, he looked to his sideline sheepishly as he realized he screwed up. The extra point made it 28-20 - still a one-score game.
    Given new life, the Hoosiers completed six passes and benefited from face mask and offside penalties. Michael Penix's QB keeper from the one with 0:22 left made it 28-26. Then Penix ran for the two-point conversion to tie the game. State missed a 57y FG as time expired.
    PSU scored a touchdown and kicked the extra point on its overtime possession. Then Penix threw a TD pass from the nine and ran around LE for the two-point conversion, making a spectacular but controversial dive for the pylon that was upheld by video review.
    Penn State Coach James Franklin spoke afterwards about Ford's reluctant touchdown. "We went through that situation on the sideline, and obviously we could have handled it better. What we wanted to do is get as much as you can and get down." But the Twitter-verse asked, Why didn't you just tell your QB to take a knee, coach? Ever hear of "victory formation"? Watch a video of the last minutes of the game ...
  • Quadruple Doink
    Rice completed a 20y TD pass with 0:34 seconds left in regulation to go ahead of Middle Tennessee 34-31. But the Blue Raiders completed passes of 21 and 15y to reach the Rice 30 - close enough to kick the tying field goal. The Raiders got the ball first in overtime but missed a 37y field goal. So the Owls had a chance to win with a field goal. But what happened to Collin Riccitelli's 45y attempt must be seen to be believed. Watch the video ...
    Rice started the second OT by trying a 40y FG that was blocked. MTU then scored a touchdown to win 40-34.
  • Ohio State Coach Apologizes.
    Ryan Day apologized to Nebraska for the Buckeyes offense not taking a knee in the final seconds of the 52-17 win at Ohio Stadium. Leading 45-17 in the final minute, freshman QB Jack Miller ran into the end zone from the two rather than take a knee. "I feel bad about that," Day said. "I had a younger quarterback in the game, and I didn't feel like we had the personnel to take the knee, and I probably should have done that. So I just want to publicly apologize to them, to (coach) Scott (Frost)." Day's "I didn't feel like we had the personnel to take the knee" comment caused a negative reaction. Why does it take special personnel to take a knee?
  • He's No Tua
    Tua Tagovailoa's righthanded younger brother Taulia made his debut as the Maryland QB, but it was nothing to earn him a lei: 14-for-25 for 94y with three INTs in the 43-3 loss - the Terrapins' worst defeat in an opener since 1892, the school's inaugural season.
  • Welcome Back, Coach!
    Greg Schiano coached Rutgers from 2001-2011. After four losing seasons at the school that had one of the worst programs in the FBS, he led the Scarlet Knights to five winning seasons in the next six. His record is bowl games was 5-1. That got him the job as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But after he went 11-21 over two seasons, he was fired. He then was out of coaching for two seasons before becoming assistant head coach at Ohio State. Now Greg is back at Rutgers, which went 37-65 in the intervening eight seasons. His second act started with a bang - a 38-27 victory at Michigan State to snap the Knights' 21-game Big Ten losing streak.
Interesting Numbers from Week 8
1981 Last time an LSU Tiger ran a kickoff back for a TD in Tiger Stadium before Trey Palmer did it Saturday night.
2017 Last time Rutgers won a conference game
33 Years since Indiana defeated a Top Ten team (41 straight losses)
77 Non-offensive touchdowns scored by Alabama in Nick Saban's 14 years as head coach
14-0 Saban's record against Tennessee at Alabama, with the average score being 38-12.
29 Consecutive wins by Alabama over SEC East foes
12 Consecutive games in which Bama RB Najee Harris has a rushing TD.
13 TDs by LSU WR Terrace Marshall in 12 games in 2019.
8 TDs by Marshall in four games in 2020.
26 Consecutive home wins by Clemson
This week's quiz: Which LSU Tiger was the last to return a kickoff for a touchdown in Tiger Stadium in 1981?
  Saints-Panthers Post Mortem

With the signing of WR Antonio Brown, the refurbished Bucs pose even more of a threat to the Saints for the NFC South crown and a playoff berth. And the Saints must go to Tampa November 8.
The Saints have already lost one home game. They cannot afford to lose another. So the division game with Carolina today is a MUST WIN.
Unfortunately, Brees is without his two best wide receivers: Thomas (ankle) and Sanders (COVID). But Sean Payton is outstanding at adapting his game plan to the personnel he has available. WR Tre'Quan Smith and TE Jared Cook must join the ever-reliable Alvin Kamara in taking up the slack.
And having three times as many people in the stands should help some.
Follow-Up
Kamara, who leads the league in offensive yards per game, had 148y Sunday. The surprise was undrafted free-agent WR Marquez Callaway with 8 receptions for 75y. Unfortunately, he got hurt late in the game on yet another tackle from behind in which the tackler fell on the back of his leg.
Tre'Quan Smith had four catches for 54y and Deonte Harris four catches for 46.
The defense held the Panthers to seven points in the second half, including none in Q4. The third down sack of Teddy Bridgewater that forced the 65y FG that barely missed was the play of the game.

LSU-South Carolina Post Mortem

While admitting that I tend to approach LSU games from the pessimistic point of view so that I can be pleasantly surprised when my pessimism proves unfounded, I'm not optimistic about LSU beating South Carolina tonight. So many if's have to happen.

  • If the defense can play much better after two weeks of work because of the postponement of last week's scheduled game with Florida, the Tiger offense won't have to score as many points.
  • If the offense can get the running game going to take the pressure off the freshmen QBs, LSU can control the ball, keep the defense off the field, and have a good chance of winning.
  • If the freshman QBs can hit the receivers on third downs to keep the chains moving and connect on the long pass-and-run explosions that characterized LSU's great 2019 offense, the Tigers can beat the Gamecocks.
  • The Tigers scored 41 against Missouri and lost. But remember that they couldn't score in four tries from the two at the end of the game. Same question to the O-line as to the defense: Have you used these last two weeks to improve?
  • This is when a team needs leaders to step forward and galvanize the team. Last year's leaders are all gone. Has a new set emerged?
  • Final thought: I expect LSU will hold South Carolina to fewer points than the 41 that Missouri scored. But can the offense score enough behind freshmen QBs to win? It would seem the Tigers need a defensive score or a short-field score after the defense creates a turnover. THEY ALSO GOT A SENSATIONAL KICKOFF RETURN TD.

I WANT TO COMMENT ON THE ESPN ANNOUNCERS' VIGOROUS ARGUMENT THAT TJ FINLEY SHOULD BE LSU'S QB GOING FORWARD INSTEAD OF MYLES BRENNAN, STARTING WITH THE GAME AT AUBURN NEXT SATURDAY.

  • Finley had a terrific game - no doubt about it. But South Carolina had no video on him just as LSU had no video on transfer Mississippi State QB K.J. Costello in Week One.
  • TJ had two weeks to prepare for the home game against the Gamecocks. Now he has only one week to get ready for the road game at Auburn.
  • The announcers ignored the great game Brennan had against Missouri on the road. The shocking loss was the fault of the defense, not the offense.
  • TJ is a true freshman. Brennan is a fourth-year junior. Maturity matters, especially in road games.
  • Myles has waited four years for his chance to start when he could have transferred and started elsewhere. Coach Orgeron will undercut the principles that underlie his program if he replaces Myles - assuming he's healthy - with a rookie who had one good game.
 Football Short Story

The NFL's Space Ship Division

In 1956, the Browns and Lions wired some players for sound.

Read the story ...           Read more football short stories from the Golden Archives ...
 Basketball Short Story

Survive and Advance - 7

The Wolfpack finished their incredible run to the NCAA championship.
 Baseball Short Story

Fall from Grace

"Shoeless Joe" Jackson was destined for the Hall of Fame until he succumbed to temptation.

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