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#pounditTuesday, October 26, 2021

Football

Mark Sanchez upset Lions fans with comments about Matthew Stafford, Detroit

Mark Sanchez in front of a FOX background

Mark Sanchez and Kevin Kugler were the announcing team for Sunday’s Detroit Lions-Los Angeles Rams, and not everything went smoothly.

During the third quarter of the game, Sanchez tried to clarify a point he made earlier in the telecast about Detroit and Matthew Stafford.

Stafford is in his first season with the Rams after spending the first 12 years of his career playing for the Lions. Sanchez said on the telecast that Stafford had finally found a home in Los Angeles. He called Detroit a small market and described Stafford as “underappreciated” while in Detroit.

Lions fans and media that covers the team did not appreciate the comments.

Late in the third quarter, Sanchez issued a clarification. He said that he meant Stafford was underappreciated by the national media, not the fans.

“I didn’t mean about the fans not appreciating him … because I think the fans and the organization in Detroit knew who they had. It’s more from a national media standpoint … we just kind of overlooked them because of their losing seasons and small market,” Sanchez said in his clarification.

What’s amazing is that even in his attempt to make nice with Detroit fans, he insulted them by calling them “small market.”

Detroit is not at all a small market. It’s a mid-market city with teams in all four major pro sports (Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings). All football fans knew who Stafford was. Most people recognized that it was time for Stafford to move on. There were no hard feelings.

Maybe the problem is Sanchez played at USC in Los Angeles and then for the Jets in New York. Maybe for him, anything less than LA or New York is small market.

If Sanchez had said that Stafford never fully realized his potential at a team or individual level while with Detroit, but he is in the process of doing so in LA, few would have complained. Because that’s effectively what’s happening.

Photo: FOX Sports

Colts, 49ers produce stunning result for sports bettors

Kyle Shanahan talks with the media

The Indianapolis Colts surprised many fans by beating the San Francisco 49ers 30-18 on Sunday night. The two teams played through pouring rain at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. They produced a stunning result for sports bettors in the process.

The total for the game (the amount of combined points the teams were expected to score) opened around 48, depending on the sportsbook. By the time the game was ready to begin, the total was down several points and in the low 40s many places. That is because bettors were expecting fewer points to be scored in the wet conditions.

Guess what? Just like things always seem to go in the NFL, there was a big surprise.

The teams managed to score quite a few points, and the 48-point total in the game hit the “over” for most bets. That was bad news for many bettors.

At Bet MGM, 91 percent of bets on the total were on the under. The Niners-Colts game represented the biggest under bet of the season at Bet MGM, meaning the majority of people lost their bets.

Any time it seems too easy, it never is.

It’s hard to believe a game played in those conditions hit the over, while one particular game on Saturday went under. That’s what makes football so much fun to follow.

Patrick Mahomes’ fiancee Brittany has complaint about his injury

Patrick Mahomes and Brittany Matthews

Patrick Mahomes’ fiancee Brittany Matthews had a complaint surrounding the injury the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback suffered on Sunday.

Mahomes was checked for a concussion after being hit in his head while falling forward on a failed 4th down play in the fourth quarter (video here). Fans were concerned upon seeing Mahomes get hurt. Brittany seemed upset about CBS airing all the slow motion replays of the play.

Matthews retweeted the following tweet shared by Travis Kelce’s girlfriend.

The replays are shown so those who are interested can gain an understanding of how damaging the hit/injury might be. Mahomes has millions of fans and people concerned about his health. Matthews should understand that.

Mahomes left the game after that play and did not return as Chad Henne finished the game at quarterback for KC. Mahomes did pass his concussion tests and said after the game that he feels “fine.”

The Chiefs lost 27-3 to Tennessee and are now 3-4 this season. This really has not been the Chiefs’ year, and they don’t seem to have the answers.

Fletcher Cox goes off on Eagles over defensive scheme

Fletcher Cox

Frustration in the Philadelphia Eagles camp boiled over Sunday after the team’s 33-22 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Veteran defensive lineman Fletcher Cox openly criticized the team’s defensive scheme following the loss. Cox was highly critical of the lack of aggressiveness on defense, adding that while he wasn’t mad at coach Nick Sirianni, he disagreed with the team’s defensive playcalling.

“I don’t get paid to play screens. I get paid to sack the quarterback, play in the backfield, tackle,” Cox said. “In the grand scheme of things, you’ve got to play what’s being called. I’m an aggressive player and that’s how I made my living, playing in the backfield and splitting double teams. I’m not used to double teams just standing on me two, three yards down the field.”

Cox added that his role in the defense has changed under the team’s new coaching staff, and indicated the new scheme does not play to his strengths.

Cox implied that the lack of aggression led to Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s huge day. Carr went 31-of-34 for 323 yards against the Eagles, and Cox blamed those gaudy numbers on a lack of pressure.

It’s hard not to read this as a direct criticism of defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Gannon prefers a conservative defensive scheme with a lot of zone coverage and few blitzes in order to avoid giving up big plays. The Eagles came into Sunday with the second-lowest rate of blitzes per dropback in the league, and also rank in the bottom ten in QB hurries. That approach seemed to work in the first two games of the season, but Philadelphia has given up 28 points or more in four of the last five games.

Cox is a ten-year veteran and a defensive captain, so when he speaks like this it’s notable. He’s been unafraid to be critical of some organizational decisions before, but this is a pretty direct call for change.

Video: What in the world was Carson Wentz thinking on this play?

Carson Wentz throws an interception

Carson Wentz can make some great plays, but he also has a tendency to make some really bad ones too. Unfortunately for the Colts, Wentz committed an ugly blunder on Sunday night during rainy conditions.

Wentz’s Colts were at the San Francisco 4-yard line and trailing 12-7 at the start of the second quarter. They had a second-and-goal situation, and Wentz tried to make a play while being pressured by Joey Bosa. Wentz ended up flipping the ball right to the defense, giving Azeez Al-Shaair an interception.

Maybe Wentz thought he could get the ball to Zach Pascal in the end zone for a touchdown. He grossly overestimated his ability to flip the ball and wound up throwing a shovel pass straight to the defense. That was ugly.

Wentz needs to take better care of the ball for his 2-4 Colts.

Robert Saleh responds to those saying he should yell at his players

Robert Saleh on the sidelines

Robert Saleh responded on Sunday to critics who think he needs to handle some of his players differently.

Saleh is in his first season as the head coach of the New York Jets. His team got smashed 54-13 by the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Some questioned whether Saleh, who isn’t a yeller, might have to start yelling at some of his young players more to get on their cases. The first-year coach said no way.

“If you need someone to yell at you, playing child’s game for a king’s ransom, then you don’t deserve to wear the logo, period,” Saleh said, via Ralph Vacchiano.

That’s a solid response.

Each coach has their own style. Some are vocal and animated. Some remain reserved. Not everyone has to have the same style, and Saleh doesn’t need to yell if he doesn’t think it will benefit the team.

But Saleh does need to figure out how to avoid such embarrassing results on the field. Maybe it was personal for Bill Belichick, who seemed to enjoy the blowout win. The Jets certainly did not enjoy being on the losing end.

Video: Tom Brady shared incredible moment with young fan who beat brain cancer

Tom Brady makes a young fan cry

Tom Brady had a big day Sunday, but it may end up being even more memorable for one young Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.

The Buccaneers scored an easy 38-3 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, with Brady throwing four touchdown passes in the win. After the game, he spotted a young fan in the front row and let the fan keep his game-used hat.

That fan wasn’t chosen at random. During the game, he had been holding up a sign indicating that Brady helped him beat brain cancer. The interaction was enough to drive the young fan to tears.

Brady was asked about the moment after the game, praising the “tough kid” and adding that seeing it puts his football career in perspective.

It’s an awesome gesture from Brady and a moment that kid will never forget. It’s possible the quarterback might have given him more, but some of Brady’s equipment may be spoken for already thanks to another fan interaction.

Bears coaches made Justin Fields look bad with big mistake

Justin Fields

Justin Fields has struggled since taking over as starting quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Much of that is due to him not adapting well to the NFL. But at least one of his errors Sunday doesn’t sound like it was his fault.

Fields threw an interception off a quick snap in Sunday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It looked like Fields was trying to take advantage of the Tampa Bay defense not being set, but the ploy didn’t work when the protection broke down.

The throw looks desperate and forced, and there’s a reason for that. Fields was inaccurately told that the Buccaneers had 12 players on the field, and was taking advantage of what he thought was a free play.

That mistake is on the coaches for giving Fields inaccurate information. The fact that this isn’t the first time does not speak well of Matt Nagy’s staff.

The Bears offense has been so bad this year it’s been criticized by some opponents. No wonder Nagy’s seat seems to be getting hotter with each passing week.

Sean McVay, Jared Goff share hug after Lions-Rams game

Sean McVay gives Jared Goff a hug

Sean McVay and Jared Goff showed no hard feelings between them on Sunday, at least publicly.

McVay’s Los Angeles Rams defeated Goff’s Detroit Lions 28-19 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. on Sunday. The game matched up Goff’s former team against his new team.

Though Detroit kept the game close, the Rams ultimately prevailed.

After the game, McVay located Goff and gave his former quarterback a hug.

That was a nice moment between the men, who both appear to have moved on. McVay certainly has. He now has Matthew Stafford at quarterback and is 6-1. Goff’s Lions remain winless and are now 0-7.

Goff was the No. 1 overall pick by the Rams in 2016. He took them to a Super Bowl but did not quite reach the level at quarterback that McVay was hoping to see. Goff was benched late in his Rams tenure, and he may have felt his coach was bad-mouthing him. Goff was also confused by the Rams trading him to Detroit for Stafford.

There were some bitter feelings after the trade, so it’s nice to see the men put that aside several months later.

Sam Darnold sacked by teammate in funny blooper

Sam Darnold tackled by a teammate

Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers have come crashing down to earth after a 3-0 start to the season. One play against the New York Giants on Sunday showed just how badly things were going for the Panthers.

Carolina was trailing the Giants 5-3 in the third quarter and had a 3rd-and-2. Darnold tried to avoid some pressure from Leonard Williams. Azeez Ojulari came in to help bring Darnold down for a sack. What was funny was seeing Brady Christensen tackling his own quarterback.

Williams and Ojulari shared the sack. But Christensen should have gotten credit with half a sack as well.

Darnold finished 16/25 for 111 yards and an interception in the 25-3 loss. He was benched late for PJ Walker.