Woz's NFL Notebook: Russell Wilson emerges as the MVP favorite


John Woz, Jr.  | October 15th, 2019

There’s no shortage of talking points from Week 6 of the NFL.  This edition of my notebook features several quarterbacks making the headlines for different reasons. The Los Angeles Chargers stink, Dan Quinn’s seat is hot and the Carolina Panthers pound the ground in London. Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate, and a brilliant San Francisco 49ers performance concludes this edition of Woz’s NFL notebook.

NFL Notebook Two Minute Drill

The Atlanta Falcons lost for the fourth straight game and they look to be heading for a top-three pick in the 2020 draft. The Falcons were trailing the Arizona Cardinals 34-33 with 1:53 on the game clock when Matt Bryant missed the extra point. Sport is cruel. Bryant’s miss could be the final nail in the coffin for the Falcon’s head coach.  Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has got some thinking to do, will he fire Quinn before their Week 9 bye?


Another General Manager under the spotlight is Tom Telesco. It’s been painful following the Bolts in 2019. The Chargers were shut down in the first half for the second straight week. Philip Rivers is playing behind an atrocious offensive line lacking the ability to block or tackle.

Thousands of Pittsburgh Steelers fans traveled to LA to see their third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges win in his first NFL start. The Steelers held Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to a combined total of 32 yards on the ground. Gordon’s return has upset the balance of Philip Rivers‘ offense.  Ekeler’s hot start to the season has faded away, and it’s a situation Ken Whisenhunt needs to address before Week 7.


The Chargers loss is a Segway to a team improving in the AFC West. The Denver Broncos moved to 2-4 after a 16-0 shutout of the Tennessee Titans (2-4). All you need to know about this game is the fact Mike Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill in the third quarter.  Mariota’s struggles continue. His future with the Titans is in the balance after he was 7-18 with 63 yards and two interceptions. Next up for the Titans is the Chargers.

Panthers defeat Bucs as Winston has a ‘What the heck was that?’ moment.

The Carolina Panthers (4-2) defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) 37-26 in London. A strong defensive performance engineered the Panthers win. They got off to the best start after James Bradberry picked Jameis Winston‘s first play from scrimmage. Winston was 30-54 with 400 yards, one touchdown, and five interceptions. Bradberry finished with two picks, taking his total to three on the season.

Buccaneers’ head coach, Bruce Arians had a message for Winston in his post-game interview “Know when to quit on the play.” Arians is renowned for developing his quarterbacks into better players, but the former Cardinals head coach has got his work cut out in Tampa.

The inaugural NFL season in London N1 has been a huge success and the NFL will return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2020.


Kansas City Chiefs aren’t untouchable

The Houston Texans rode into the Arrowhead Stadium and took the spoils after a 31-24 victory over the Chiefs. Bill O’Brien‘s team answered a few questions about their playoff potential with a solid performance. Deshaun Watson hurt the Chiefs in the air and on the ground. Watson was 30-42 with 280 yards and a touchdown, he also ran for two touchdowns. Watson ran for two yards shy of Kansas City’s veteran running back LeSean McCoy.

The Chiefs had less than 21 minutes of possession and their offensive line is feeling the pressure without Eric Fisher at left tackle. The other side of the ball is a concern for the Chiefs because they didn’t register a single sack.  The Kansas defense missed defensive tackle Chris Jones and their linebackers struggled to stop the run.

Tyreek Hill was a positive for the Chiefs, he scored a touchdown in his first game back since the season opener.  The Chiefs’ hot start to the season has turned cold, it means Andy Reid has a lot to do to prepare for a Week 7 trip to Denver.

Wilson is a hot MVP candidate

It’s been fun to watch Wilson this season. His performance in Seattle’s 32-28 win over the Cleveland Browns (2-4) puts him in the record books. The Seahawks have had a great start to the season and Sunday’s win moves them to 5-1. The Browns were 2-3-1 at this stage of the 2018 season.

The 49ers are the real deal

What’s going on with the Los Angeles Rams? Sean McVay’s team is regressing from last season’s Super Bowl appearance. It’s a situation that has benefited Kyle Shanahan’s unbeaten 49ers (5-0). The Rams took a first-quarter lead, but they soon surrendered to the hottest team in the NFC West. The numbers tell a story of a franchise with lots of wrinkles in its playbook. A third-down conversion rate of 0-9 is unacceptable for the defending NFC champions.

The 49ers are competing on both sides of the football. Jared Goff and the Rams offense have been uncharacteristically bad, and they were shutout for three quarters. Goff was 13-24 for 78 yards, which is a meager total for a well-paid franchise quarterback. Nick Bosa and Dee Ford swarmed Goff throughout the game. A persistent 49ers’ pass rush yielded four sacks for a loss of 30 yards. Bosa will continue to grow under Ford’s leadership and experience.

Jimmy Garoppolo was 24-33 with 243 yards and an interception, he also ran for a touchdown. Tight end George Kittle had another monster game with eight receptions for 103 yards. Don’t bet against the 49ers claiming a top-seed in the playoffs.

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