If last week’s version of this article was all about the called back touchdown, this week's article is all about bad coaching.
This is different, because called back touchdowns may not be repeated, but bad coaching may persist the entire season. In this circumstance, we should take the possible repetition of these things that didn’t happen into account.
With that in mind, here are three things (and a bonus fourth!) that didn’t happen:
What didn’t happen: Arizona scoring more points and beating Baltimore
So far, Kliff Kingsbury is like the Oatmeal-Raisin cookie of coaches.
From a distance he looks amazing - innovating a spread out, analytics driven, aggressive offense.
When you take a bite - he kicks three 20 yard field goals.
Now, it is suboptimal to not play aggressive on the road against a good offense, but it is unconscionable to be within the five three times against an offense that put up 59 last week and kick three field goals.
Had Arizona gone for it all three times, the numbers say that they could expect to score twice (something that is borne out when you look at their 2-point conversion successes the first two weeks of the season).
But, even if they were to only be successful once, they still would have come away with a similar number of points (7 vs. 9) and then would subsequently have had Baltimore pinned back by their own end zone twice; something that has proven to lead to scoring opportunities via short fields.
Given the final score, the Cardinals missed a golden opportunity to go into Baltimore and win a game that few had them pegged to win, and in the process we have to hope they learned something.
In reality, though, this is a concerning trend that we have seen where the Cardinals offense marches up and down the field, but doesn’t put up points. Kyler Murray has thrown for 349 and 307 yards in his two starts, and the Cardinals have only three touchdowns to show for it.
For a team with promise and potential, they are being held back by a coach unable to realize his own.
What didn’t happen: The Texans starting the season 0-2 with 2 last second losses.
Since this a gambling site, here is a best bet for you: Bill O’Brien as first coach fired.
Once again, O’Brien showed ineptitude managing the clock when, at the end of the first half, he allowed the clock to wind down while sitting on ALL THREE TIMEOUTS. The clock went all the way to 15 seconds before one got called, and the Texans ended up kicking a field goal from the Jag’s 4 yard line as time expired in the first half.
After the game, he said that kicking the field goal was the “plan”. To clarify, he is saying that this was the “plan” instead of scoring more points by trying to get a touchdown. It is one thing to make a mistake, it is another to double down on that mistake and show you have learned nothing.
The only reason his firing isn’t a sure thing, though, is because Doug Marrone and Jacksonville made an equally baffling call.
After correctly identifying the going for two to win the game was the best bet (above 50% whereas overtime probably favors Houston), Jacksonville made the most confounding call of the game: Running it right up the gut.
This is not about the fact that Jacksonville ran the ball, but the fact that they employed little misdirection, no formational diversity, and that Houston was lined up to plug the gaps. The play was doomed from the start, and although Leonard Fournette almost drove through a defender to the goal line, it showed a lack of creativity on Jacksonville's part.
I’m not going to spend my time harping on Doug Marrone, though, because Jacksonville played above itself the game and Houston, who was meant to be a playoff team and who has spent their cap like a Super Bowl contender, deserve to be 0-2 because of their coach.
Moving forward, we can have faith in the talent of the Houston offense, the potential of its roster, but we need to temper our expectations for its on field performance and ability to win games.
That is unless we are betting O’Brien for first coach fired, then we’ll be getting exactly what we expect.
What didn’t happen: The Eagles beating the Falcons
Full disclosure I only half watched the beginning of this game while at a birthday party. It has led me to introduce new legislation that all Sunday birthdays that fall between September and January be moved to Saturday. It has Bipartisan support.
But in spite of not having full attention to start, this game gave me plenty to talk about just from the fourth quarter.
In a game where Josh McCown threw five passes and Carson Wentz completed multiple passes with Falcon’s draped all over him, the Eagles entered the final few minutes of the game with a three point lead. A gritty, tough win was within their grasp (and one of my best bets was on the cusp of delivering).
Even more so, though, they had the Falcons up against the wall on 4th and 3 from midfield.
The play they called in this situation to lock up the game and ensure victory? An all out blitz that left Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones both one on one on the same side. Even if you didn’t see it, the result should not surprise you: screen to Julio, he makes one man miss, gets a block, touchdown.
It is not unfair to say that this was bad enough to warrant the loss, but Philly got the ball back and had a chance to win.
After what appeared to be a potential touchdown or at least large gain went right through the hands of Nelson Agholor, he had a second chance to redeem himself, catching a fourth down bomb from Carson Wentz that brought the Eagles into the red zone.
With time, a short field, and four downs, the Eagles proceeded to take two shots to the end zone and throw a check down, leaving them again with fourth and eight (this could be 1,000 words in its own sense, but what happens next overshadows it).
Needing eight yards to extend the game and get another four cracks at the end zone, the Eagles ran… a seven yard button hook to Zach Ertz.
The play calls on defense and offense were infuriating, and they overshadowed a weak performance by Matt Ryan and a potential 0-2 start for the Eagles.
Something to remember moving forward, especially for two teams who plan to be in the playoff hunt.
BONUS What didn’t happen: The Chargers cruising against Detroit
I promise the article will not turn into a list of called back touchdowns, but this game should not only have been a Chargers win, but potentially a Chargers blowout.
After having a Justin Jackson score called back, The Chargers overcame and managed to get the ball to the one yard line where Austin Ekeler jumped to the end zone only to lose control of the ball. At that point, the score was 10-6.
Instead of being 17-6 with a Charger’s run game dominating the ground, the score stayed 10-6 and allowed the Lions to drive down for a TD.
At 13-10, and with the Chargers driving into field goal range, Phillip Rivers inexplicably launched a ball into double coverage, turning it over and costing his team a chance at overtime.
Had the initial touchdown been scored, the game could have been easily controlled by the Chargers. Had Rivers played it safe, the Chargers would have had a good shot in overtime. Instead, they leave town 1-1 heading to face a Texans team who is an equally as disappointing and desperate 1-1.