Football IQ also says if what you're doing has been figured out, change tactics. Early in the season, the Chiefs' defense was surprising offenses with eight-man fronts and aggressive press corners. Nobody is surprised now. In its past two games, Kansas City has allowed 790 passing yards. The press corners are being torched, including on a 77-yard completion on which Demaryius Thomas just blew past press corner Marcus Cooper, who never so much as touched him. Pressing backfires if receivers run right past. Time for Kansas City to change tactics.
Sweet 'N' Sour Play: City of Tampa leading 3-0, Carolina lined up on the Buccaneers' 16 with flanker Brandon LaFell left, plus tight end Greg Olsen and a wide receiver forming a stack right. Olsen came in motion until he formed a stack left with LaFell, who ran uncovered for a touchdown catch. Sweet.
At the snap, a Bucs corner and linebacker were pointing and arguing about who should cover whom. The combo move is so common in the NFL that, by December, defenses should not be confused about how to react. At the snap, rookie Johnathan Banks, the confused corner, simply covered no one, standing like a piece of topiary. Sour.
Sweet 'N' Sour Play II: Trailing Cleveland 28-25, Jacksonville faced third-and-9 on the Browns' 20 with 45 seconds remaining. Cecil Shorts, of Division III Mount Union, ran a stop-and-go; Chad Henne pump-faked; cornerback Joe Haden bit; touchdown. And the Jags have followed an 0-8 streak with a 3-1 streak. Sweet. Sour was that Haden bit on the short fake and no safety was in sight deep, though Jax was already in field-goal range and nearly certain to try for the end zone.
Josh Gordon of the Browns had 626 receiving yards in his first seven games, and has 623 receiving yards in his past three contests. The Browns were 4-3 with Gordon receiving passes at a normal pace, and are 0-3 with Gordon at a record-setting pace.
TMQ News: Next week is my bye week. On Dec. 17, TMQ returns and will be on the case through that Super Bowl thing you might have heard about.
Preposterous Punt Watch: Trailing 7-0 at Baltimore, Pittsburgh punted on fourth-and-6 from the Ravens' 37. Later, trailing 10-0, the Steelers punted on fourth-and-1 from their 31. Pittsburgh went on to lose by two points, dropping the team to 5-7 and close to elimination.
Had Steelers coach Mike Tomlin kept his offense on the field instead of launching these Preposterous Punts, the outcome might have been different. But Tomlin is a traditionalist coach, and traditionalists punt on fourth down. Also, earlier in the contest, Tomlin gambled with a fake field goal, which failed. If a coin flip come ups tails five straight times, this tells nothing about the sixth flip. But it's human nature to think otherwise.
Black Friday Becomes Black Thursday: "Most lamentable day, most woeful day. Never was seen so black a day as this." That's Shakespeare, a line that for several years seemed to pertain to Black Friday, and in 2013 moved over to Thanksgiving Day itself.