Category Archives: Football

Looking back at the historic 2017 NFL RB draft class

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

All statistics in this article came from Pro Football Reference. You can find more information here.

The 2017 RB class stands out as one of the best RB draft classes of recent memory, and perhaps all time. When you count the amount of Pro Bowl RBs from each draft class in the 2010s, 2017 clearly stands head and shoulders above the rest.

That 2017 RB draft class produced more Pro Bowlers than any other class during the 2010s with 8 players eventually making it. The next closest was the 2015 class, which produced 4 Pro Bowl RBs.

Two RBs were selected in the first 8 picks of the draft, with Leonard Fournette being the 4th overall pick and Christian McCaffrey the 8th overall pick. 

Fournette has been underwhelming, considering the hype he had around him coming out of college. His most significant moment has arguably been his performance during the 2020 playoffs, as his Tampa Bay Bucs would go on to win the Super Bowl that year. This earned him the nickname “Playoff Lenny.”

His playoff stats from 2020 are shown below:

Besides that, Fournette has been inconsistent, injured, or inefficient for most of his NFL career. He has had two separate 1,000 yeard seasons, but Fournette has one of the lowest career yards per carry of the class.

The other RB selected in the first round was Christian McCaffrey at 8th overall. By 2019, he had showed the league why he was worthy of a top-10 pick. He earned first team All-Pro, with eye popping numbers as both a runner and a receiver. His incredible vision, quickness, and decisiveness made him one of the best offensive players in football.

However, his large usage rate and his smaller frame has made him miss quite a bit of time over his career. If he can stay healthy, McCaffrey should be able to remain as one of the top backs in the league for a few more years. Since being traded from the rebuilding Panthers to a playoff contender in the 49ers, he has showed that 2019 season form again.

The second round also saw two RBs selected, Dalvin Cook coming out of FSU, and Joe Mixon from Oklahoma.

Cook was electric from the gun, and broke the Vikings record previously held by Adrian Peterson for rushing yards in a rookie debut. He rushed 22 times for 127 yards in a 29-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

However, the magic couldn’t last and the injury bug struck. Cook went on to tear his ACL after just 4 games his rookie year and a hamstring injury the following year kept him from playing throughout the season. 

By 2019, Cook emerged as one of the best pure runners in the NFL with over 1,100 yards and 13 touchdowns. He improved upon that statline in 2020, finishing only 2nd to Derrick Henry in rushing yards. Since then, Cook has been solid, making 3 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances.

He currently leads this loaded class of RBs in total rushing yards, with 5,993.

Second on that list? The other RB taken in the second round, Joe Mixon. Mixon was graded as a first round talent, but fell to the second round likely due to off the field issues. By 2018, Mixon had emerged as one of the better young RBs in football, with the 4th most rushing yards in the league and the most in the AFC. By 2021, Mixon had earned a bid to his first Pro Bowl after posting over 1,500 total yards and 16 total touchdowns. 2021 capped off a 3 out of 4 year run where Mixon was in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing. 

The 3rd round is where this draft really starts to be great. 3 out of the 4 RBs taken in the third round of this draft have turned into Pro Bowl caliber players. 

67th overall pick Alvin Kamara had the best rookie season of any player that year. He was a big threat in the receiving game for Drew Brees, as well as putting up insanely efficient numbers as a runner, posting a crazy 6.1 yards per carry. It is one of the greatest rookie seasons of all-time, and he went on to win 2017 Rookie of the year. 

Kamara started his career so hot, he made the Pro Bowl in his first five season as an NFL starter and he leads this class of RBs in total touchdowns. 

19 picks later was another rookie sensation, Kareem Hunt. Not only did he lead all rookies in rushing yards in 2017, but he also led the entire NFL, only accomplished by a few before him. Hunt had an amazing two year stretch in Kansas City, before his infamous off the field incident that sort of derailed his career. 

Since then, he’s still been a good back paired along with Nick Chubb in Cleveland but he’s definitely fallen off from his first two years in the NFL

Near the end of the 3rd round, the Steelers drafted local Pittsburgh star, James Conner. He grinded his way to the starting job for the Steelers by his second year in the NFL, and he was solid. He had nearly 1,500 total yards and 13 total touchdowns in his first year as a starter. 

Conner is more of an old school, between the tackles type of runner. His career hasn’t been as explosive as Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt’s but he’s been a consistent short yardage and goal line threat, boasting two double digit touchdown seasons in 2018 and 2021. This helped him earn two Pro Bowl appearances.

Once you get to the 4th round, it’s already Day 3 at the NFL Draft, where the vast majority of these players are backups, special teamers, or players that don’t last long in the NFL. When it comes to the 4th round specifically, 2017’s class is nothing too crazy, but it does have three names that stand out. 

The 119th overall pick was Tarik Cohen, who was never going to be more than a gadget guy because he’s only 5’6”. However, he was a beast for 3 years as the Bears Swiss Army Knife, especially as a return man and a receiver out of the backfield.

He was named 1st team All-Pro in 2018.

15 picks after Cohen, the Packers drafted Jamaal Williams who has always been a short yardage back due to his bruising play-style. He hasn’t exactly been a dominant statistical player in his career. 

In his 6th season, despite only starting 9 games, he led the entire NFL in rushing touchdowns at a whopping 17. This was more than his previous 5 years combined. Everything considered, Williams has been a solid short yardage RB considering his draft position.

9 picks after Williams, came Marlon Mack. Mack developed into the Colt’s main starter in 2018 and 2019, peaking with an 1,000 yard season and 8 touchdowns. Again, this is pretty good value for a 4th round RB pick.

Overall, the 4th round of the 2017 NFL RB class was a great value round for teams, in comparison to other years in the decade. 

Now with the last three rounds of the draft (5-7) as a GM, you are really just trying to hit on at least a rotational player. If you find a gem and get extremely lucky, you’ll find a Pro Bowler. 

109 RBs were drafted in rounds 5-7 from 2010-2019, and just 6 of them have developed into Pro Bowl level players. The best of all these players came in 2017 and that was 5th round selection, Aaron Jones. 

Aaron Jones has become a massive success, first boasting a 1,500 total yard and 19 total touchdown campaign in 2019. He continued his success with three 1,000 yard seasons in four years, along with a Pro Bowl appearance in 2020. 

As it currently stands, his career yards per carry is 5.1, which among backs with at least 750 carries puts him 6th all time with elite company such as Jim Brown.

The best 7th round RB pick of the decade was also in the 2017 draft class. From 2010-2019 39 RBs were selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft and only 2 of them ever became a majority starter for at least a season.

2017’s Chris Carson was a special 7th rounder. In 2018 and 2019 he rushed for at least 1150 yards and 7 touchdowns. His excellent 2019 campaign ranked him in the top 5 in NFL rushing yards, and looking at that year a little closer, you’ll find that 7 of the top 12 rushing yards leaders that year were from the 2017 class.

This year’s most disappointing NFL teams

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

Image taken from:

All stats from this article were from Pro Fooball Reference and Sportrac. You can find more information here and here.

Every year in the NFL, each of the 32 teams has expectations, and their performances fall into three categoried: They perform better than expected, do about as well as predicted, or disappoint. 

However, doing poorly doesn’t just qualify a team as a disappointment. For example, the Bears are one of the worst teams in the NFL, but nobody expected them to be a playoff team in the first place. They traded away a lot of star talent such as Roquan Smith for future draft picks, and Justin Fields looks to be making some promising steps.

Here are three teams that have not lived up to expectations this season.

Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams were fresh off a Super Bowl victory and even though there were key losses such as WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LB Von Miller, they were still expected to be contenders. According to Pro Football Reference, the Rams were tied for the fourth highest Super Bowl odds according to oddsmakers, only to completely collapse with little hope for the future.

In just one year, the Rams offense went from 7th in the league in scoring averaging 27.1 points per game to this year’s abysmal 26th ranked scoring team, averaging a mere 18.7 points per game. Of course, injuries played a critical role, with key posiiton players such as: Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald all missing time. 

But the biggest issue offensively had been the revolving door of offensive lineman. The Rams became the first team in the Super Bowl era to use a different starting five in each of their first nine games. This was on top of an already patchy unit that had lost starting LT Andrew Whitworth to retirement after last year’s Super Bowl run. Matthew Stafford also saw a regression from his previous seasons stats before he got injured.

Defensively, losing Von Miller to free agency was brutal for the Rams. Without a dominant edge rusher opposite Aaron Donald, this unit was average defending the pass, and Jalen Ramsey’s less than stellar play caused him to miss the Pro Bowl for the first time since his rookie season back in 2016. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

According to Pro Football Reference, only three teams had better preseason odds than the Rams to win the Super Bowl. Two of them are very much at the top of their game right now, but another team stands out with the Rams.

As the season started, things looked promising for the Bucs. They jumped out to a 2-0 start, but things fell apart quickly. They then lost five of the next six, and squeaked into the playoffs with a losing record. 

In 2021, they were 2nd in the league in scoring, averaging 30.1 points per game. Fast forward to this season and they are 25th in scoring, averaging 18.4 points per game. If it wasn’t for their solid defense, this team would have been even worse off. So, how did they fall off offensively?

Coaching makes a big difference. In a stunning move, head coach Bruce Arians retired during the 2022 offseason. But the biggest problem was the offensive line. It’s become clear that the loss of key interior personnel has crushed this teams ability to run. 

In 2021, the Bucs possessed 3 Pro Bowlers on their offensive line, OT Tristan Wirfs, OG Ali Marpet, and C Ryan Jensen. Ali Marpet surprisingly retired after last season at the age of 28 and Ryan Jensen tore his ACL in training camp before the season even started. So, take away two Pro Bowlers and throw in a bunch of injuries and what you get is the worst rush offense in the NFL, according to stats on Pro Football Reference. This consequently negatively affects the passing game. 

Because of that, Brady has often looked out of rhythm. Also, with the loss of TE Rob Gronkowski to retirement, it’s clear that this offense lacks any sort of punch. The team as a whole looks flat on a consistent basis. Who would have thought that a regular season matchup between future hall of farmers, Aaron Rodgers and Brady would come up with a score of 14-12 on September 24.

The Bucs were dominated by the Dallas Cowboys 31-14 in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.

Green Bay Packers

In the recent history of the NFC North, the Packers have reigned supreme over the division, winning 8 division titles since 2011, including the last 3 before this season. This year they finished 3rd in the division, which was a surprise considering they were supposed to be one of the best teams in the NFC. They even got beat out by the 9-8 Lions who were supposed to finish near the bottom of the standings. 

Since Matt LeFleur took over in 2019, Green Bay’s defense has ranged from league average, to above average, with their weakest season coming this year, and offensively what made them elite in the past was all the brilliant production with the lack of turnovers. That all changed this season, with QB Aaron Rodgers throwing double digit interceptions for the first time since 2010. 

It was always known that once Davante Adams was traded, this offense was going to be in a bit of a transitional phase, but now it is evident that it was tougher than expected. Not only did Ridgers not play well this season, but the chemistry between him and his young receiving core has perhaps been the biggest obstacle this season. The Packers also have been one of the most penelized teams in the league this season. 

With Rodgers signing a 3-year, 150 million dollar contract ahead of this season, it’s hard to see how the Packers will be competitive in the coming years with the salary cap. According to Sportrac, the Packers are currently projected to be $14 million over the cap for 2023.

Brock Purdy makes historic first NFL career start in week 14

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from:

For the past 4 seasons, Brock Purdy had been the face of the Iowa State Cyclones football program. The quarterback had been a consistent leader on and off the field, and his impressive performances caught the attention of many NFL scouts. 

As a freshman in 2018, Purdy burst onto the scene by leading the Cyclones to an upset win over the then-No. 6 Oklahoma. He finished the season with 2,250 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, earning Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. 

Over the next 3 seasons, Purdy continued to improve and establish himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. He set a school record for passing yards in a season with 3,982 in 2019 and led the Cyclones to 3 straight bowl appearances. 

In his senior season, Purdy threw for 3,188 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading Iowa State to a 7-3 record and a victory over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl. He was named a team captain and earned All-Big 12 honorable mention honors for the second time in his collegiate career. 

As the very last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Brock Purdy inherited the title of Mr. Irrelevent. However, this season has been nothing but relevant for Purdy. After being drafted 262nd in the draft out of Iowa State, Purdy joined the San Francisco 49ers as a 3rd string quarterback behind Trey Lance and Jimmy Garrapolo. 

Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury in week 2, making Jimmy Garrapolo the starter and Purdy the number 1 backup. Then in week 13, Garrapolo suffered a severe ankle injury, ruling him out for the remainder of the regular season. 

Purdy stepped up late in the 1st quarter versus the Dolphins in week 13, completing 29/37 with 210 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Purdy led to 49ers to a 33-17 victory over Miami. 

After his impressive showing, Purdy was set to have his first career NFL start in week 14, against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Purdy’s family bought tickets to this game weeks prior, hoping to see Tom Brady play, not knowing this would be their son’s first career start. And what a start it was. 

Purdy and the 49ers spoiled Tom Brady’s homecoming, beating Tampa Bay 35-7. Purdy threw 16/21, with 185 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 28-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass to RB Christian McCaffrey, and a 32-yard touchdown pass to WR Brandon Aiyuk. Brock Purdy led the 49ers offense to 4 touchdown drives in the 1st half alone. 

Purdy made sure to find NFL legend Tom Brady on the field post-game. “You played great,” Brady said as the two shook hands. “Good job. Good going.” 

Late into the blowout, Purdy was taken out of the game and replaced by former 4th-string QB Josh Johnson. 

Just a day after Purdy’s historic start, news broke regarding his health and current situation. The rookie QB managed to handily defeat Brady and the Bucs, all while playing through an oblique and rib injury. Purdy underwent an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the situation. The QB was listed as day-to-day following testing, suggesting that Purdy avoided serious injury. 

Purdy stated in a press conference that he could have finished the game, despite being taken out, and appears optimistic about his week 15 status. 

“Yeah, I mean, we’ll see how it goes this week,” Purdy said. “I just felt a little tight at the end, just from taking some hits. But honestly, if I needed to play throughout the rest of the game, I definitely would have. So, I’m going to get some treatment on it and will be ready to roll.”

After a quick turnaround, the 49ers played the Seahawks on Thursday Night Football, taking a 21-13 victory. Purdy was cleared to play through his injury, and went 17/26, with 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. With this victory, the 49ers officially clinched the NFC West and secured their spot in the playoffs. 

Now that the NFC West and a spot in the playoffs have been clinched, less pressure currently sits on the 49ers shoulders for the last few games of the season. For Purdy, however, the starting spot is not automatically his going into the playoffs. 

While it is unlikely for veteran QB Jimmy Garrapolo to return in time for the 49ers playoff run, Purdy will need to continue winning in order to secure the starting position in the chance that Garrapolo does return. 

Purdy beat the Commanders 37-20 in week 16, completing 15/22, with 234 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. 

While it seemed as if there wasn’t much change likely in the 49ers playoff scenario, Brock Purdy led San Francisco to yet another victory, this time in overtime against the Raiders in week 17. Combined with a Minnesota Vikings loss to Gren Bay, the 49ers have moved up into the 2nd seed in the NFC. A victory in week 18 will secure the number 2 seed. 

Purdy has played 4 games in the National Football League and is just the 4th rookie quarterback in history to win his first 4 NFL starts. 

San Francisco will finish off the season in week 18 against the Cardinals.

Biggest surprises and disappointments so far in the 2022 NFL season 

By: Abby Altman

Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady struggling for the first time in their lengthy careers, or the New York teams stepping up in ways nobody expected, the 2022 season has been shocking in many ways. 

Here are some of the biggest surprises, and the biggest disappointments, so far in the 2022 NFL season. 

Image taken from:


Geno Smith

After trading away Russell Wilson, the Seahawks new QB has been one of the most shocking performances of the season. So far this season, Smith has a 72.7% completion rate, throwing for 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His overall quarterback rating (QBR) is 64.1. Many fans expected the Seahawks to be one of the worst in the league this season, but Smith has led Seatle to a 7-5 season, looking to try and take a wildcard spot into the playoffs. 

Philadelphia Eagles

After starting the season 8-0, the Eagles are by far one of the best teams in the league. Philadelphia dropped 1 game to the Washington Commanders in week 9, but havent lost since, and lead the NFL with a 11-1 record. The Eagles finished the 2021 season 9-8, taking the last wildcard spot in the NFC. 

Jalen Hurts has been a huge surprise for Philadelphia fans this season. Hurts finished 2021 with a QBR of 54.6. This season, he currently has a QBR of 68.2. Hurts has thrown for more touchdowns this season already than any other, and he still has 6 games left to play. 

New York Jets

In 2021, the Jets finished dead last in the AFC East, with a 4-13 record. Only 4 other teams had an equal or lower record that season. In 2022, the Jets are now 7-5. They are currently sitting in 3rd place in the AFC East, but are competing behind the Dolphins and the Bills. If the playoffs were to start today, the Jets would hold the 7th seed. 

The sudden change in the Jets success comes from an incredible 2022 draft class. With their 1st pick, the Jets drafted Cornerback Ahmed “Sauce” Gardner. Gardner currently leads the league in passes defended with 15 so far this season. Another excellent draft pick was used to select RB Breece Hall from Iowa State. Hall unfortunately tore his ACL in week 7 against the Broncos, but was a key piece to the Jets 5-2 record before he went out for the season. He finished week 7 with 463 rushing yards and 218 receiving yards. 

The Jets currently find themselves in a quarterback controversy, as previous 1st round draft pick Zach Wilson is heavily underperforming, and was benched for Mike White in week 12. White threw for 315 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Bears, and 369 yards, with 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions against the Vikings week 13. As of now, it seems unlikely that Zach Wilson will start in the upcoming weeks. 

New York Giants

The Giants and the Jets are having almost identical seasons so far. Similarly to the Jets, the Giants finished last in the NFC East in 2021, with a record of 4-13. In the offseason, the Giants fired head coach Joe Judge and hired former offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their new head coach. Daboll has been a huge change for the Giants, as the Giants are now 7-4-1, and 3rd in the NFC East, behind the very successful Eagles and Cowboys. 

The surprising performance from Daniel Jones, combined with RB Saquan Barkely’s excellent season is a large piece of the Giants mild success. Barkley is currently 4th in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,055 yards. 

Minnesota Vikings 

With a brand new front office and coaching staff, the Vikings 2022 season was completely up in the air. Many thought the Vikings would go for a complete rebuild and be non-contenders for the foreseeable future. However, the Vikings did a competitive rebuild. They changed some things around and built a new scheme, all while remaining contenders. 

The Vikings finished the 2021 season with an 8-9 record, 2nd in the NFC North. The Vikings missed the playoffs for the 3rd year in a row. In the offseason, the Vikings fired head coach Mike Zimmer as well as general manager Rick Spielman. The new general manager hire, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, hired the Rams former offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell as the new head coach. O’Connell joined the Vikings after winning a Super Bowl with Los Angeles last season. 

The new front office rebuilt Minnesota around an older team, led by several NFL veterans, including Adam Theilen, Patrick Peterson, and Harrison Smith. 

The Vikings are now 10-2 going into week 14, with a massive lead on the NFC North. Minnesota  currently holds the #2 seed in the NFC, behind the Eagles. 

Justin Fields

Since drafting Mitchell Trubisky in 2017, the Chicago Bears have been in a QB drought. In Trubisky’s time in Chicago, the Bears went 33-31, making the playoffs just once, in 2018. 

In 2021, the Bears drafted QB Justin Fields out of Ohio State. Fields has had a slow start, leading the Bears to 6-11 in his first season. While his record is not improving in the slightest, 2022 Justin Fields is a statistical beast, and it proving himself as a solid NFL QB. 

Fields played 12 games in 2021, and finished with 1,870 passing yards. Through 12 games in 2022, Fields has almost identical passing stats, with 1,896 passing yards. The rushing game, however,  is what puts Fields in the surprise category. In 2021, Fields had 420 rushing yards, which was 5th in the NFL for a QB. In 2022, Fields has 905 rushing yards. He has broken multiple records, including his 67 yard touchdown, which is the longest rushing touchdown in franchise history. The previous record was 61 yards, set by Fields 1 week prior.  

Fields is currently 1st in QB rushing yards, and 7th in the NFL in total rushing yards. 


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Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams are easily the biggest disappointment this season, and high on the list for all time. In 2021, the Rams had one of the best offenses in the league, and that led them to a Super Bowl title. Less than a year ago, Matthew Stafford and the Rams hoisted the Lombardi trophy, and now they are 3-9 and last in the NFC West. 

Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp are both on the IR, and the Rams are in absolutely no position to win. In most cases, teams in this position would likely tank for a higher draft pick, but the Rams traded away most of their draft picks in order to build their Super Bowl winning team, and do not have a 1st round pick. 

This is the first losing season for head coach Sean McVay since he was hired in 2017. 

Aaron Rodgers and The Packers

The Packers rarely find themselves on the disappointing list, and when they do it’s typically because Aaron Rodgers didn’t play. This season, that’s simply not the case. Green Bay is currently 5-8 and 3rd in the NFC North. 

Without Davante Adams, it was expected that Rodgers would have trouble finding receivers to connect with, but many fans still expected to see the Packers atop the division. Quite the opposite has happened, however. rookie WR Christian Watson is stepping up in his 1st season, with 8 touchdowns over the last 4 games. 

The Packers however, can’t seem to get things done, and the playoffs seem to be out of reach, even for Aaron Rodgers. Packers fans at Highland Park decline to comment on the team’s situation. 

Russell Wilson

The Seahwaks trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos was a huge move, and Denver gave up a lot in order to obtain Wilson. Before playing a single snap for Denver, Wilson was paid a pretty penny. Much to the entire Broncos organization’s disappointment, he has not lived up to the hype. At all. The Broncos finished 2021 with a 7-10 record, and as of now, their 3-9 record does not seem to be an improvement. 

A quarterback, even one as accomplished as Wilson is expected to struggle in a brand new offense. But, nobody expected Wilson to struggle as much as he has. 

Wilson has made 9 Pro Bowls in his career and made 2 Super Bowl appearances, winning one of them. And yet, regardless of his career achievements, Wilson is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league right now. Wilson is ranked 17th in passing yards, and 28th in touchdowns and QBR. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This past offseason, Tom Brady kept fans on their toes by retiring and then promptly un-retiring, staying in Tampa for at least 1 more season. This has not turned out to be the relief that many Buccaneers fans originally felt. Brady has a QBR of 53.8, which is 18th in the league. He is 4th in passing yards, and 2nd in fewest interceptions thrown, but he has been unsuccessful in leading the Bucs to a winning season. 

The Buccaneers currently lead the NFC South and hold a playoff spot, with a 5-6 record. No team has ever made the playoffs with a losing record, and most NFL fans would be thoroughly disappointed if Tampa Bay makes the playoffs performing like they have been. 

On top of the struggles on the field, Tom Brady’s personal life has overshadowed anything football related. Also, likely impacting his play, Brady has taken more time off than anyone to attend weddings, go on trips, and deal with many family issues. If the Buccaneers want to be contenders again, something big needs to change, and a QB focused on football might be necessary. 

Minnesota Vikings come out on top in the NFL’s game of the year 

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from: @jjettas2 on instagram 

*NOTE: This article was written prior to the game against the Cowboys

Last Sunday’s noon matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills will go down as one of the best regular season games that the NFL has ever seen. Kirk Cousins, also known as “The Noon Nightmare”, led the Vikings to yet another show stopping 4th quarter comeback this week, earning yet another 1 score win. 

“Frauds” and “Pretenders” are just some words that will not be following the Vikings name anymore. 

After a very sloppy 1st half, the Vikings found themselves down by 14 at halftime. 

In the 3rd quarter, the Vikings still did not appear to be playing their best football. Minnesota went almost the entire quarter scoring 0 points, and giving up 3. With 1:48 left in the 3rd quarter, Dalvin Cook rushed for an 81 yard touchdown up the side to make it a 10 point game. 

Going into the 4th quarter down by 10, Kirk Cousins is arguably the 1st QB you’d want on your team. This season, Cousins has led the team to 5 4th quarter comebacks, and is 7-0 in 1 score games. Last season, the Vikings finished 6-8 in 1 score games. 

The 4th quarter was one that will likely not be forgotten for a very long time. 

Minnesota’s defense stepped up big time for this 4th quarter comeback. 

Patrick Peterson showed up with an interception in the end zone on 4th and 2, running it back to the 35 yard line. 

Minnesota’s offense then responded with a long drive capped off with fullback CJ Ham’s first touchdown in 5 years. The touchdown put the Vikings down by 4 with 4:34 left in the game. Kicker Greg Joseph then missed the extra point, putting the Vikings in a position where a field goal would not suffice, and a TD would be necessary to win. 

The defense once again stepped up big, with Harrison Smith breaking up a pass to Stefon Diggs on 4th and 15. 

On the next drive, Cousins was sacked 2 plays in a row, setting up Minnesota with 4th and 18 with 2:14 on the clock. 

At their own 27 yard line, the Vikings were forced to go for it. Cousins sent a pass deep downfield, hitting Justin Jefferson at the Buffalo 40 yard line. 

Jefferson took that opportunity to make one of the best catches ever made. Jefferson jumped up in double coverage, grabbing the ball with 1 hand while fighting off Buffalo’s Cam Lewis, who had 2 hands wrapped around the ball. Jefferson managed to bring in the ball, and transfer it to his other hand without losing control. 

“One of the more remarkable catches I’ve ever seen,” said Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, “He’s such a special, special player. I’m really proud of the way Justin has battled all season long against a lot of different looks and a lot of different coverages.”

This catch was the first of multiple miracles for the Vikings. 

The Vikings drove downfield, and had the ball at 1st and goal at the 3 yard line. Things then went south for Minnesota. 

On 1st down, Cousins was tripped up behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of 5 yards. On 3rd down, Cousins completed a catch to Jefferson, who appeared to break the goal line at first, but was later ruled down at the ½ yard line. 

On 4th and 1, Cousins passed to Cook on the side, who was unable to make the catch. However, offsides by the Bills gave the Vikings a repeat 4th down, where they opted for the QB sneak. 

Cousins was ruled short of the endzone, and the ball was turned over to Buffalo with 44 seconds left in the game. 

The Bills received the ball on the 1 yard line. Unwilling to take the safety and risk a Hail Mary, Buffalo decided to have QB Josh Allen run the ball out of the endzone. Allen, however, fumbled the ball on the snap. This was miracle #2 for Minnesota. 

Erik Kendricks recovered the fumble in the endzone, for a Vikings touchdown. Minnesota took a 3 point lead, with 37 seconds left in the game. 

Buffalo did not forget that they have one of the best offenses in the league. Allen connected with Gabe Davis downfield to set up a 29 yard field goal with 5 seconds remaining. 

The field goal tied the score and sent the game into overtime. 

Minnesota won the coin toss, and although they had an impressive drive downfield, they were unable to get the touchdown. The Vikings settled for a 33 yard field goal by Greg Joseph, and put the defense on the field to win the game. 

Josh Allen and the Bills offense drove downfield, and got into field goal range easily. Josh Allen threw 2 passes into the endzone from the 25 yard line. The first pass, intended for TE Dawson Knox was broken up by Duke Shelly, who joined the Vikings active roster the day before the game. 

The second pass was miracle #3. 

Patrick Peterson made his 2nd interception of the game, picking off Josh Allen in the endzone, and securing the win for Minnesota. 

Bills QB Josh Allen blamed himself for the loss, after multiple turnovers. 

“Losing sucks,” Allen told reporters. “Sucks this way even worse. Horrendous second half. I’ve got to be better. I’ve got to be better … It’s on me. Can’t have that.”

Although coming into this game with a better record than Buffalo, Minnesota was seen as a heavy underdog. The win secured the Vikings as a legit threat in many eyes, and moved Minnesota way up in most rankings. 

Clearly, this win wasn’t an easy one for Minnesota, but not just because of the comeback. The refs were not making good calls, and several of them could have cost Minnesota the game. 

The most important missed call by the refs came late in the 4th quarter, just before Buffalo made the game tying field goal. On a 20 yard pass to Gabe Davis, the refs failed to call for a review on the completion. The catch then set up the field goal leading to overtime. 

The NFL later stated that the catch should have been reviewed, as it was within the final 2 minutes and couldn’t be challenged. The NFL also stated that had it been reviewed, the catch would have been overturned, as Davis did not keep control when he made contact with the ground. 

With 5:27 left in overtime, the refs missed another crucial call. With the Vikings in the red zone, Dalvin Cook rushed up the side, and was tackled for a 3 yard loss. On that play, Buffalo had 12 defensive men on the field. This should have resulted in 1st and 1 for Minnesota, but was instead 2nd and 5. The Vikings were later forced to make a FG. 

While it is unrealistic to expect the refs to notice everything, there were several other missed calls that impacted the game. Minnesota was able to overcome these odds and won the game.

This game extends Minnesota’s win streak to 7, and Buffalo’s losing streak to 2. The Vikings are sitting comfortably atop the NFC North with a significant lead over the 4-6 Packers. 

The Bills, however, fall into 3rd place in the AFC East, behind the Dolphins and the Jets. This comes as a surprise to many, as Buffalo was largely the expected winner of the division. 

Next week Minnesota heads home to host the Dallas Cowboys while Buffalo stays home to host the Browns. 

Fantasy football studs and duds – through week 7

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

Stud: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Saquon came into the season coming off a poor 2021 season that saw him play in only 13 games while injuring his ankle and getting placed into the NFL’s COVID protocol. He averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per carry and only scored 2 touchdowns in 13 regular season games. He also lost his first NFL fumble.

This season he has looked like he’s back into his first two seasons’ form when he had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons. So far, in 2022, he is averaging a career-best 5.1 ypc and 104 rushing yards per game.

His ADP (average draft position) on ESPN this season was 22, as the RB8 overall. Through 7 weeks he has scored 137 fantasy points, good for RB2 on the year, only trailing Chargers RB Austin Ekeler. According to oddsmakers, Barkley is the current favorite to take home the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.

Dud: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor was largely the consensus No.1 pick in most fantasy drafts this season. Coming off a monster year where he was the best player in fantasy, he has disappointed a lot of managers this year. Last year he played in all 17 regular season games, rushing for over 1,800 yards and 18 touchdowns. He scored 369 fantasy points on the year, good for an average of 21.7ppg.

Because of his scarce injury history, and the Colts’ willingness to run the ball, he was considered the consensus No. 1 pick this year. An ankle injury has forced him to miss two weeks this year, but even before that, he was underperforming. He currently sits with 62 fantasy points, as the overall RB31. 

Stud: Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

Josh Jacobs has certainly surprised owners this year, finally breaking out, as he is sitting at RB4 on the year. Throughout his 4-year NFL career, he has been a solid, but not an overly spectacular choice for fantasy managers. Coming into this season there were questions around a timeshare with backup running backs Kenyan Drake, Ameer Abdullah, and rookie Zamir White. Jacobs has proven that he is the superior back and the Raiders with continue to feed him the ball.

Jacobs has been red hot the past 3 weeks, averaging over 30 points per game. Jacobs just became the third player in Raiders franchise history to record 150 scrimmage yards and score a TD in three consecutive games, joining Marcus Allen from 1985, and Clem Daniels from 1966. Jacobs is a locked and loaded RB1 for the rest of the season.

Dud: Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons

I think the whole fantasy community can agree that Pitts is one of the biggest busts that hurts this fantasy season. Coming into the season, he was being thought of and drafted as the TE3 behind only Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce. On average, he was being drafted around the 3rd/4th round turn in 12-team PPR (point per reception) leagues.

After becoming only the second rookie TE ever in NFL history to have a 1,000-yard season, expectations were high. However, it is clear that the Falcons are a run-first team right now and that head coach Arthur Smith does not trust his starting QB, Marcus Mariota, to throw the ball many times per game.

The Falcons are currently 2nd to last in the league in passing yards per game with only 1,062 yards on the year for an average of 152 yards per game. Pitts is borderline droppable at this point except for perhaps deeper leagues, and only because of his uber talent and upside at the weak TE position. 

Musket game review from the student section

By: Ayamei Her

Image taken from: hpsh_football

During the first quarter the Highland Scots weren’t doing too good, the Central Minutemen were up 7 and the Scots were at 0 points.  A lot of the students had hoped that the Scots would soon catch up and win the musket this year, and the Highland student section never failed to cheer on the football team and keep things lively and exciting to keep up the hope that we would catch up to the Minutemen. 

Image taken from: hpsh_football

When the second quarter started, the Scots were still down points and some of the students were losing hope in our team and hoping that the Scots would be able to bounce back and keep our musket.

Halftime came along and students were talking about how they did not know if the football team will be able to keep up with the Minutemen, but the student section didn’t give up on cheering for our team to give them the extra motivation to keep going and win the game.

After halftime, and at the start of 3rd quarter, the Scots were bouncing back and starting to score points, and eventually they started to catch up to the Minutemen.

Halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Scots and the Minutemen were close putting 14-7 on the board. 

Image taken from: hpsh_football

As the student section was cheering the team on, the Scots were doing better and better as the clock was ticking during the fourth quarter. At this point, we were now 17-14 giving us a leg up and giving our students more excitement, and a heavy rush of thrill and adrenaline, hoping that we could keep our score and win this big game.

At the end of the game, when the winning point was scored, the student section was proud with joy and excitement for this is the 4th year in a row that the Highland Scots won the musket game!

NFL concussion protocol

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from:

A concussion can vary from extremely mild to extremely severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, long term effects after a severe concussion can include: memory problems, trouble concentrating, personality and mood changes, and even depression. These symptoms are just some of the reasons why concussions are so dangerous, especially in a game where head on collisions are so common. The NFL concussion protocol was created in 2011, to try and limit severe head trauma for players in the future. 

In week 3 against the Bills, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went down with a hard hit to the head. Tua struggled to stand after the hit, and appeared to have a clear head injury. Tua was adamant, however, that he sustained a back injury. 

The NFL Players Union stated that they would be meeting to discuss the NFL concussion protocol after Tagovailoa returned in the second half to finish the game. 

On Thursday., against the Bengals in week 4, Tagovailoa went down once again after a hard hit to the head. The Dolphins quarterback was carted off the field with signs of what appeared to be severe head trauma. 

“It was a scary moment,” Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel said. “He was evaluated for a concussion and he’s in the concussion protocol. He was at the hospital. I believe he’s about to get discharged.” 

Fans and fellow players all over the league are upset that Tagovailoa was able to return to the game on Sunday, let alone suit up to play on Thursday. 

So, what is the NFL concussion protocol? And is it working? 

The NFL states that a sports related concussion is a “traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces.” 

A hit anywhere that can transmit force to the head can be cause for a player to enter concussion protocol. eg. head, neck, and back. 

There are many employees on the field, such as unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants (UNCs) and athletic trainers. These professionals are stationed along the sidelines, and can advise the team physician to call for a concussion evaluation at any sign of head trauma. 

If called into the concussion protocol, a player will first be examined on the sidelines, and if signs of a concussion are observed, the player will be moved into the locker room for further evaluation. If brought into the locker room, a player cannot return to the game. 

Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins said that his instability last Sunday was caused by a back injury. Tagovailoa passed his concussion test that day and continued to pass further tests in the following days, which is why he was allowed to play on Thursday night.

However, a protocol cannot give all the answers. Watching the injury take place, and the moments that followed, there is some room for common sense to be applied. He had clearly hit his head hard. Tagovailoa had to be held up by his teammates when he could not stand on his own. He even shook his head to attempt to clear it. These are not common signs of a back injury. 

Several NFL players tweeted towards the NFL regarding how the situation with Tagovailoa was handled. 

Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III said “The bottom line regarding Tua is LIFE is bigger than football. Teams should always put the person before the player. Health before competitive advantage. Putting Tua out there isn’t just a player safety issue. It’s a quality of life issue.”

NFL hall of famer Shannon Sharpe says he believes that the Dolphins organization is lying about Tua injuring his back, rather than his head. Sharpe also said that he believes Tua should have never been able to take the field on Thursday. 

The NFL has built one of the largest fan bases in sports, and part of the fan base is built around celebrating hard tackles and big hits. 

This has raised concern that the NFL is more concerned with money and keeping its viewership, rather than the safety of its players. 

While the Dolphins staff assured everyone that proper concussion protocol was followed regarding Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday, there are still lots of angry viewers who want an explanation on why Tua was able to play after sustaining such an injury. 

After a brain trauma, even the slightest hit to the head can cause even more severe issues if it has not yet healed. By allowing Tagovailoa to suit up on Thursday, the Dolphins organization put their QB into a very dangerous position. 

Tagovailoa flew home with the Dolphins following his discharge from the hospital on Thursday and appears to be doing just fine. He will not play in Week 5, but there is no current timeline for his return. 

On Saturday, October 1st, 2 days after Tagovailoa exited the game, the Dolphins UNC was fired after making “several mistakes” regarding Tua’s condition. 

Since Tagovailoa’s injury, the NFL has released a joint statement with the players union regarding upcoming changes to its protocol. 

The NFL and players union discussed the loophole that allows players to stumble and demonstrate gross motor instability to return to the game if a doctor deems the cause to be something other than a head injury. This loophole will be closed from now on, and if a player demonstrates symptoms like these, they will be out for the remainder of the game. 

The new NFL protocol has not been finalized, but there are many new pieces to be discussed within the NFL, the players, the coaches, and doctors around the league. 

In a league such as the NFL, a player is most likely going to push for playing time, regardless of their personal health. Many coaches will also push for their athletes to play, against doctor’s beliefs. This is why it is so important to have a protocol that has the wellbeing and safety of players in mind, rather than viewership and money for the league. 

There are potential issues that can accompany a new protocol. If a player stumbles when getting up after a hard hit, this will likely be deemed as gross motor instability, and cause him to be removed from the game. If a player is, however, unstable due to another injury, the removal from the game could cause issues within organizations. 

It is difficult to find the line between necessary safety precautions in the NFL, and places where it’s just not possible to control how safe a game with full on tackling can be. 

No matter how airtight the concussion protocol is, judgment calls will still need to be made regarding the safety of each and every NFL player. 

Sports schedule for: Oct 10-15

5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Volleyball vs. WashingtonHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:15pm / 8:15pmVolleyball vs. North St. PaulNorth St. Paul High School
TBD Boys Soccer SectionsTBD
TBD Girls Soccer SectionsTBD
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:45pm / 8:15pmVolleyball vs. CentralCentral High School
4:15pm2:45pm / 6:15pmGirls Swimming and Diving vs. CentralHumboldt High School
8:00am7:00am / 2:30pmJV / C-Squad Volleyball TournamentHarding High School
9:00am7:00am / 3:00pmVolleyball TournamentBenilde St. Margaret’s
1:00pm Football vs. North St. PaulHOME

Sports schedule for: Oct 3-8

3:30pm Tennis Sections vs. HardingHOME
4:00pm / 4:00pm 6:00pm Boys Soccer vs. SimleyHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm4:45pm / 8:15pmVolleyball vs. Como ParkComo Park High School
6:00pm4:30pm / 8:00pmJV Football vs. Como ParkComo Park High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm3:30pm / 6:30pm 5:30pm / 8:30pmGirls Soccer vs. CentralCentral High School
4:30pm / 4:30pm  4:30pm3:15pm / 6:00pmBoys Soccer vs. KennedyBloomington Kennedy High School
5:00pm / 7:00pm Girls Soccer vs. South St. PaulHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Volleyball vs. CentralHOME
5:30pm / 5:30pm 7:00pm Volleyball vs. HardingHOME
7:00pm4:00pm / 9:30pmFootball vs. Mound WestonkaMound Westonka High School
10:30am6:45am / 2:00pmCross Country MeetArrowwood Resort – Alexandria
1:00pm Boys Varsity Soccer vs. SouthwestMPLS Southwest  High School