Tag Archives: Khalil Mack

Los Angeles Rams vs. Chicago Bears, 12-9-18: In-game report

Chicago used a physical defense and excellent special teams play to defeat the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.  The Bears topped the Rams, 15-6, and are on the doorstep of winning the NFC North.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in- game report:

Tarik Cohen

The Sunday night showdown was largely about the defensive efforts of the respective teams but running back Tarik Cohen left his mark on the contest. Head coach Matt Nagy is as creative a playcaller as there is in the NFL, he follows his mentor, Andy Reid’s philosophy of getting your best players the ball in space.  Cohen can make plays in the passing game, the running game and through his return ability. Cohen (5’6 179) is one of the smaller players in the league but he is built well and has very strong legs. The back isn’t afraid to lower his shoulders and run behind his pads and between tackles. Coupled with his acceleration, Cohen is a hard cover. His running back mate, Jordan Howard, runs most of the power running plays between the tackles but Cohen can run the same concepts but at a lower rate. The former North Carolina A&T running back makes his money on the outside and in space.  The Bears running back finished with 111 all-purpose yards, and the team as a whole put up 336. 

Bears defense 

A mark of a good defense is the ability to make the opposing offense uncomfortable and force them to find new ways to score. Chicago forced Rams quarterback Jared Goff to throw four interceptions and held Los Angeles to 214 yards of total offense. The pocket was rarely clean for Goff, who was sacked three times and when it was clean, he rushed throws and made errant reads.  Chicago didn’t do much better than the Rams offensively (294 total yards) but the Bears have the type of defense that can carry its football team. Khalil Mack stirs the drink but the Bears possess playmakers at all three levels of the defense. 

Rams play calling 

The Rams rank in the top five in scoring per game, passing yards per game and rushing yards per game but looked ordinary against the Bears.  Sean McVay is a Coach of the Year candidate and the honor is warranted but his play calling was suspect on Sunday night.   The Rams best player offensively, Todd Gurley, carried the ball just 11 times and he finished with just three receptions despite being targeted seven times in the passing game. The passing numbers aside, Gurley should’ve seen more touches in the running game.  On 2nd and 15 to start the third quarter, McVay opted for a shotgun set when his team was on its own five-yard line.  Bears defensive lineman Eddie Goldman capitalized and sacked Goff for a safety. 

“Really, consistently over and over I continue to put our players in bad spots,” McVay said during the postgame press conference. “Certainly a humbling night, but it’s one you get a chance to look at yourself critically, find a way to get better and move forward accordingly and that’s exactly what we’re going to do and that’s all I know how to do.  And I have to be better for our football team.  This loss is on me.  I didn’t do a nearly good enough job for us today.  I trust we will respond the right way.” 

The Rams coach accepted blame for the loss. Look for Los Angeles to establish the running game early in their next game against the Eagles. 

Oakland Raiders vs. San Francisco 49ers, 11-1-18: In-Game Report

A battle of the Bay Area featured two of the worst teams in the NFL. However, San Francisco thoroughly dominated its area rivals on Thursday Night Football, winning 34-3. DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in game report:

Nick Mullens 

Undrafted second-year quarterbacks don’t usually complete 16-of-22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in their first career start.  But thanks to a poor defense and an excellent game plan, Mullens was aided in his debut. Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s first 15 script of play calls allowed his quarterback to get comfortable through the use of bootlegs, screens and power running.  The 49ers scored their first touchdown of the game with a play action pass from Mullens to wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who ran wide open over the middle.  Mullens’ teammates said his ability to perform on the primetime Thursday night stage didn’t surprise them.

“It was cool that he didn’t change under the big lights and these circumstances,” cornerback Richard Sherman said, during a postgame press conference according to ESPN.  “We’re not really surprised. We’ve seen him do it in practice. He plays with a lot of confidence.”

Mullens executed the game plan to perfection and might see additional playing time as the team’s primary backup, thanks to a strong performance. 

George Kittle

Mullens looked to tight end George Kittle whenever he needed a big play.  Kittle finished with four catches on four targets for 108 yards and one touchdown.  The second-year tight end made an impressive one-handed grab over the middle on 2nd and 12 and sprinted for a 71-yard gain to open the third quarter.  On the season, Kittle has caught 41 passes for 692 yards and three touchdowns.  As the 49ers cycle through quarterbacks, Kittle has remained a constant at tight end and his production hasn’t slipped no matter who has been behind center. 

Raiders miscues 

The 49ers had their way with the Raiders but Oakland committed more than their fair share of mental mistakes.  On offense, Derek Carr was harassed all evening due to a  shuffling offensive line because of injuries. The Raiders gave up eight sacks and as a team totaled just 242 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Raiders were penalized for having too many men on the field in the second half, left receivers wide open on bootlegs and couldn’t set the edge to prevent long runs.  Oakland traded away young talent in Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack and it looks like their eyes are on the future. The Raiders might not win many games in 2018 thanks to a lack of talent but that doesn’t excuse the mental errors that plagued both sides of the ball against the 49ers.