1. Julian Edelman spent some time on Reddit doing an "Ask Me Anything" question and answers session. Here are some of the highlights:
q) Can Rob Gronkowski read?
a) He can read coverages.
q) Do you ever miss being a quarterback?
q) How hard is it to resist falling in love with Tom Brady?
a) What do you mean resist? Bromance in full effect.
q) Why don't you do any touchdown dances?
a) I celebrate with my teammates.
q) What is one thing about Bill Belichick that the average fan wouldn't know?
a) He does smile.
He has a few great responses and he's very savvy with his pop culture. Go check it out.
2. Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has pushed Patriots running back Dion Lewis aside with his tremendous stretch of performances. He has 695 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns on 109 touches over his past four games. He's averaging nearly 175 yards per game and over two scores. That's crazy talk. He's also been super consistent, picking up between 149 and 197 yards and at least one score in each appearance.
Lewis might be able to keep pace if the Patriots didn't keep blowing out the competition, forcing their surprise running back to the sideline for the second half. He has 418 yards from scrimmage on 59 touches through four games, which projects to a similar output if Lewis had the same volume. But Freeman deserves to be a household name. Maybe Lewis will get to shine against the Colts.
3. Speaking of getting players touches, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins is looking for 10 targets a game. The Bills traded up to snag Watkins in the 2014 draft, even though they could have selected Odell Beckham Jr. if they had stayed in their original slot. They could have possibly selected Mike Evans, too, had they stayed and the Buccaneers taken Watkins.
But according to a Ty Dunne story at Buffalo News, Watkins and his agent "tried to pull some strings" to get Watkins his targets. "You're making me look bad and you're making yourself look bad," Watkins explained. "Why not make both of us look good?"
Watkins has been active for three games this season and received 3 targets against the Colts in the opener and 2 in the week 3 match-up against the Dolphins. Watkins season high of 8 targets came against the Patriots, but it should be noted that two of Tyrod Taylor's interceptions came on poor throws in the receiver's direction.
I understand Watkins' frustration. He was selected in hopes that he could bring a DeAndre Hopkins type influence to the offense, but instead he's alongside Aaron Dobson in targets per game. That's not hyperbole; in three games Watkins has 13 targets and Dobson has 12. That's not the expected usage for a player that cost a future first round pick to acquire.
But also, as the article explains, Watkins is continuously injured. Like Dobson. He's been unable to build a reliable rapport with his quarterback. Like Dobson. He seems to have a bright future one week, and then completely disappear in the next. Like Dobson.
Basically, the Bills traded away a fourth round pick and a future first rounder to move up to select Aaron Dobson.
For the record, Dobson has more receptions (9 to 7) and yards (101 to 99) on fewer targets (12 to 13) than Watkins this season.
4. A good stat from Kevin Negandhi of ESPN highlighted that teams are 1-427 over the past five seasons when they build up a 17-point fourth quarter lead. That one loss happened this past week when the Cincinnati Bengals came back to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in overtime. The Patriots almost let one slip away against the Bills, but it just goes to show that the idea of "running up the score" is dumb and that the team in the lead should never let up until the team that's losing waives the white flag and starts putting in back-ups of their own.
5. The fact also highlights that the Seahawks are in serious trouble. Tony Dungy noted that the Seahawks are a admittedly blown call against the Lions from losing four 4th quarter leads and sitting at 1-4 and basically out of the playoff hunt. The Seahawks still have two games against a really good Cardinals team, they play the Steelers, and they host an undefeated Panthers team this Sunday.
This is clearly the most flaws Seahawks team in the past few seasons and it highlights how difficult it can be to have an extended run of success. While Seattle struggles to find talent to fit their scheme (and they apparently decided not to field an offensive line this season), and injuries to Marshawn Lynch and the holdout of Kam Chancellor have changed the top heavy aspect of the Seattle roster, the Patriots continue to plug along.
Why? How? Roster flexibility is huge. The fact that the Patriots aren't married to any specific offensive or defensive scheme allows the playcalling to ebb and flow according to player availability. Bill Belichick's willingness and ability to acquire talented players and modify the game strategies to best fit their skill sets also lets the Patriots remain competitive in the salary cap era.
Can you imagine if Belichick was unwilling to move away from his 3-4 defense? Or if the offense couldn't find a way to make the two tight end system successful? Players win the game, but coaches and general managers are integral to a team's long term success.
6. Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams "wanted to wear pink all season to honor his mother who lost her battle with breast cancer." The NFL rejected the request per the league's uniform policy. Williams has been dying his dreadlocks pink to circumvent the rules.
In response to the league's stance on uniform alteration, Williams will be paying for 53 mammogram tests in the Pittsburgh area, the number a tribute to the age his mother passed away. While there are plenty of issues surrounding mammograms that lead to an over-diagnosis of breast cancer, the fact that Williams will be paying for those already in hospital care will hopefully be more impactful than the NFL's contributions.
You go, Williams. Keep it up.