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Week 10 NFL Thoughts; Sauce Gardner Edition


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NFL Thoughts
      • I am hoping that the injury to Josh Allen’s elbow is nothing major. The league is much more fun with him playing.
      • The Chiefs remind me of The Freeze in Atlanta. ‘The Freeze’ races people around the warning track at Braves games.  He lets them get a huge head start before running them down and passing them easily.
      • I am glad I don’t work for Jim Irsay.
      • Is your favorite team 5-4 or better? They would be in first place in the NFC South.
      • I’m not sure there has ever been so much competition for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Kenneth Walker has the edge at this point, but there are at least six viable candidates in the mix, including Garrett Wilson of the Jets. Wilson is a bit of a longshot at this point, but things can and will change over the second half of the season.
      • Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is the clear favorite at the halfway mark for Defensive Rookie of the Year and may be the best rookie of this class overall.
      • There are few things in the world working as hard as Odell Beckham’s phone right now.
      • I am happy for Geno Smith. Some guys need a few years before they find their stride.  Smith has definitely done that this season in Seattle.
      • If the season ended today, the New York Jets would be the AFC’s five seed in the playoffs.
      • It’s not too early to start calculating the magic number for the Minnesota Vikings to clinch the woeful NFC North.
      • I had a nightmare where Justin Fields figured things out and turned into the 2010 version of Michael Vick.
      • The Buccaneers are 4-5 but they would still be the NFC’s fourth seed in the playoffs because they are on top in the NFC South. I think Rob Gronkowski just started stretching out.
      • The New York Jets are going to be a very good bad-weather team, and I am here for it.
    • The eight African American Indianapolis Colts coaches are probably very excited about Jeff Saturday coming in from ESPN to take over.
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via The Athletic - Bills All-22 review...I wasn't able to post the screenprints..This is the JJ sack of Allen and how sauce is the reason for it..

How Sauce Gardner prevented a game-changing Bills play

Even with all of their offensive struggles, the Bills had an incredible opportunity to get a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Had they been successful, it would have put all the pressure on the Zach Wilson-led Jets at the end of the game. Tied at 17, the Bills had a first-and-10 at the 50-yard-line with only 9:07 remaining. They had already moved the ball 23 yards and gotten two first downs during the drive to put them on the doorstep of field goal range. They went to a play call that has worked quite well in the past. It was a play that went for a touchdown last season in New Orleans. And if it weren’t for Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner making one of the most under-the-radar plays of the game, the Bills might have left MetLife Stadium with a 7-1 record.

(NFL Game Pass)

Gabe Davis (circled at the bottom of the formation) is lined up tight to the formation with Jake Kumerow, a noted run-blocking receiver that the Bills bring in for that exact purpose, lined up on the other side. On first-and-10, Davis being close in, Kumerow on the field, and Allen under center all gave big signs of a run to Devin Singletary being on the way. Gardner (also circled) is lined up over Davis.

(NFL Game Pass)

Just after the snap, Allen extended his arm and the ball toward Singletary while Davis crashed down to block Jets edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. Gardner kept his eyes in the backfield and after a brief backpedal, the visual cues led him to plant his back foot in the ground and slightly push up the field.

(NFL Game Pass)

At the mesh point, Davis is still engaged on the block and Gardner creeps even closer but still remained a healthy distance away just in case — especially with how little the Bills had actually run the ball in the second half.

(NFL Game Pass)

Davis released his block and began to accelerate toward the open space. With Gardner creeping three yards closer than where he started, it gave Davis an incredible opportunity to find that open space on first down with only a deep free safety to beat that was already shading to the opposite side of the field.

(NFL Game Pass)

Gardner knew Davis was his responsibility, and as Davis approached his top speed, Gardner had tiny margin for error. He planted both feet in the ground to try and get back in the play. Against most cornerbacks, Davis usually breaks open for a ton of separation and a big play.

(NFL Game Pass)

This image is the most impressive from Gardner, who went from having his momentum go one way to shifting his weight, planting his feet and exploding through his legs in the opposite direction to keep Davis from immediately popping open. At this point of the play, Allen was at the optimal point to throw the ball to Davis, even with a pass rusher approaching. But Gardner’s ability to give the appearance of Davis covered up prevented Allen from letting the ball fly.

(NFL Game Pass)

It was already too late as Davis began to get a little separation from Gardner. At that point, Johnson had closed the gap to Allen and the quarterback tried to evade the sack by running wide and no longer had the opportunity to throw the ball the way he would have wanted to at Davis. The closing speed of Johnson secured the sack, a 4-yard-loss and a second-and-14 in the last quarter.

If it weren’t for Gardner’s unbelievable talent and reaction, Davis probably would have gotten the ball to at least the 30-yard line for a first down and at least put the Bills in field goal range. And if Davis could have made the free safety miss, as he has been prone to do to defenders sometimes, the Bills could have been up by a touchdown. Instead, the Bills crumbled on the next two plays and were forced to punt, allowing the Jets to run both the ball and the clock enroute to the go-ahead and game-winning field goal.

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