Saturday Observations

I had arguably my worst beat of the year in the first game with the Jets getting six against the Texans. They lost by seven after their normally reliable kicker missed two PATs, and that’s not counting the tack-on FG the Texans got when the Jets turned it over on downs with just enough time left.

I was also going against Ka’imi (un)Fairbairn, who made five FGs, scoring 27 points against me in one semifinal, and Elijah McGuire, who didn’t play well, but scored the go-ahead TD and caught a meaningless pass on the game’s penultimate play to give him 15 PPR points. I stayed up late to watch the game in real time and sorely regretted it.

I caught the edited version of Broncos-Browns the next morning, and that turned out better. I had no serious fantasy stock in it, but the Browns plus three came through at least.

• As a Giants fan happy they drafted Saquon Barkley, I’ve mocked Sam Darnold a lot this year, but he looked awfully promising against the Texans. He moved well, threw accurately, stayed poised, made mostly good decisions, didn’t rush things. His numbers (253 yards, two TDs, no picks, three sacks, 6.7 YPA) were modest, but there’s plenty of justifiable hope for the Jets. Darnold also ran for 35 yards.

• Elijah McGuire scored, but he had only 42 yards on 18 carries and lost a fumble. He also caught three passes for 29 yards. Trenton Cannon didn’t fare much better – seven carries for 13 and three catches for 24.

• Robby Anderson (11-7-96-1) is finally the player we all drafted, only 14 weeks too late. I’d like to see the Jets target him deep more often as he runs a 4.33 40. Tight end Chris Herndon (4-3-53) was the only other receiver of note.

• Deshaun Watson is a wizard on scramble plays, throwing a beautiful TD to DeAndre Hopkins on a play where he seemed dead to rights. But he takes way too many sacks, and unlike Cam Newton, is far easier to bring down when linemen get their hands on him. Still Watson had 294 yards (10.5 YPA), two TDs and no picks, while leading the team with 26 rushing yards.

• Lamar Miller had eight yards before getting hurt, and Alfred Blue managed only six yards on nine carries.

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• Hopkins (11-10-170-2) put up a monster performance despite hurting his ankle late, but apparently the injury isn’t serious. Demaryius Thomas (8-6-59) chipped in as did DeAndre Carter (3-2-55.)

• In one of the more bizarre sequences, the Jets ran for a first down on 3rd-and-1, but it was marked short, when replay clearly showed Trenton Cannon got past the line to gain on replay. But the Jets tried to hurry it up and catch the Texans off guard on 4th-and-1, so they didn’t challenge. Texans coach Bill O’Brien saw what they were trying to do, so he called timeout to get his defense set. That gave Todd Bowles plenty of time to see that he had already made the first down and challenge the spot, but for God knows what reason he didn’t. Essentially, Bowles should have challenged immediately, O’Brien foolishly made it extra easy for him and Bowles still didn’t do it! Fortunately for Bowles, the Jets converted anyway on a short throw, but the coaches were like two broke people fighting to pay a restaurant check.

• Baker Mayfield looked shaky for much of the game, overthrowing receivers, throwing into coverage, tossing a pick and fumbling. He had only 188 yards (6.1 YPA), two TDs and two sacks. Maybe I’m just brainwashed from the hype, but he still looks poised to me, doesn’t seem to let mistakes bother him and moves well for a QB who’s not a huge scrambler.

• Jarvis Landry (8-3-37) has no business being an outside receiver. He doesn’t separate, and he’s not big enough to win jump balls. Antonio Callaway (7-5-35-1) and Breshard Perriman (2-1-31-1) scored the TDs.

• Nick Chubb struggled for much of the game before breaking a 40-yard run late. He’s a stout 5-11, 227 and has enough speed to get loose. Duke Johnson also got involved – four carries for 28 yards and a 5-4-25 line as a receiver.

• Gregg Williams called timeout at the worst possible time, right before the Broncos jumped offsides, something that would have sealed the game on fourth and one late in the fourth quarter. The Browns went for it anyway and got stuffed. I wasn’t against going for the win then and there instead of kicking the field goal to go up four, though. You allow the FG to beat you, but if you get one yard the game is over.

• Case Keenum (257 yards, 5.4 YPA, no TDs, two picks, two sacks) didn’t play well, but he lacks playmakers and wasn’t in good downs and distances with Phillip Lindsay (14 carries for 24 yards) getting shut down.

• Tim Patrick (8-5-65) led the team in receiving, DaeSean Hamilton (12-7-46) did very little with a ton of targets and Matt LaCosse (6-4-43) and Courtland Sutton (6-5-42) contributed in a dink and dunk capacity. Lindsay (6-4-20) at least caught some passes.