Speaking of Trubisky, he did not let up, either. A beautiful, 45-yard touchdown pass to a motoring Tanner Gentry punctuated a strong, 10-of-15 outing for 128 yards and a touchdown. Colleague Marc Sessler posted on Twitter it would be impossible to keep Trubisky from starting by Week 2 — and while the Bears seem intent on allowing Glennon to keep this role, Trubisky is not making it easy. Glennon’s strong Sunday performance was the best possible scenario for the Bears, who want Trubisky to really earn the job and snatch it away from a professional-grade starter.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey was disgusted by a first-half performance that yielded zero points, telling the broadcast team that he was unhappy with the offense, defense and special teams (the Titans had a blocked punt in the first half). The result? Tennessee’s starters stayed in until the fourth quarter. It wasn’t until a 3-yard Derrick Henry touchdown catch that Mularkey pulled them out. After Henry’s touchdown, tackle Taylor Lewan took off his helmet and head-butted it — a gesture caught in slow motion and re-aired on television. It’s clear the score was a weight off their backs after a not-so-good afternoon.
Marcus Mariota is becoming established as a viable franchise quarterback, posting a 68.0 completion rate, 17:3 TD-to-INT ratio and 119.0 passer rating over the past six weeks. Second only to Ezekiel Elliot in the rushing race, DeMarco Murray has recaptured 2014 Offensive Player of the Year form. Delanie Walker is headed for his second straight Pro Bowl selection.
The other side of the ball isn’t without stars of its own. Jurrell Casey remains one of the league’s most disruptive defensive linemen. Brian Orakpo’s 9.0 sacks are just one behind the NFL lead. Rookie safety Kevin Byard is flashing playmaking skills in the secondary.
The situation brings to light an age-old argument from fans of both college and NFL football about breaking down the positional guidelines assigned to numbers. In recent years we’ve had concessions allowing linebackers to wear numbers in the forties, though that was because offensive linemen and defensive linemen gobbled up most of the available digits in their category.
While referees in college seem to manage fine despite defensive linemen wearing No. 1 or quarterbacks wearing No. 98, we’re sure Bill Belichick would find some way to use this to his advantage and confuse the rest of the league. So thanks, Bill.
General manager Jon Robinson did a nice job of surrounding Mariota with professional, experienced talent at the wide receiver position and invested in a high-upside rookie — Tajae Sharpe — to give Mariota someone to grow with.
Mularkey says he is “almost ensuring” that the product will improve over the next few weeks as the Titans (1-3) try to claw into second place in the ho-hum AFC South, though he might have to do better than that to make everyone believe he’s the right man for the job.
Five months after losing starting quarterback Marcus Mariota to a broken leg, backup Matt Cassel has become the latest signal-caller to go down. The veteran suffered a thumb injury on Tuesday and will need a pin inserted in his thumb, keeping him sidelined for about six weeks, coach Mike Mularkey told reporters Wednesday.
Cassel spent last season as the understudy to Mariota until the former Oregon star suffered the leg injury in Week 16, forcing the veteran into action for the last game and a half of the season. At 35 years old Cassel provides decent insurance for Mariota, but the dropoff from there is rather sharp, with the third spot being a battle between former trick-shot star Alex Tanney (who has attempted 14 passes in his career) and recently signed undrafted free agent Tyler Ferguson.
This Rams team is better in almost every facet this season. That includes the team’s ability to play keepaway and hold on to a lead with a strong running game and third-down conversions. Todd Gurley finished with 156 yards from scrimmage on 26 touches, many of which came on a 16-play fourth quarter touchdown drive that took over ten minutes off the clock. The Cardinals only had the ball three times and possessed it for less than seven minutes in the entire second half. The Rams held the ball for 39 minutes in the game overall.
Gurley and the team’s offensive line deserve game balls after this one. Gurley ran hard, breaking tackles and finding room outside the tackles against the nondescript Cardinals defense. Jared Goff, who didn’t need to play particularly well to win easily, had all the time in the world to survey the field to pick up manageable third downs.