From the Jets to the Vikings, struggling offenses were the story in Week 11
Happy Holidays to the Reception Perception fam! Unfortunately, Week 11 was plagued with poor offensive performances but rest assured Matt Harmon and James Koh pepper this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show with lots of laughs.
New York Jets offense crashes and burns
The Jets vs Patriots game on Sunday was some kind of something, wasn’t it? If you’re a RedZone watcher you likely missed most of that game. Neither offense was able to catch any kind of spark but ultimately a punt return for a touchdown gave the win to the Patriots.
When asked post-game if he felt he let the defense down, Jets QB Zach Wilson said “No.” In a game where he completed 9 passes out of 22 attempts. The Jets had more punts (10) than completed passes all while holding the Patriots to 3 points until the last-minute special teams stumble.
When the guys recorded this episode no one knew that Zach Wilson would be benched early on November 23rd, although Saleh had declined to commit to Wilson going forward on Monday morning.
James caught some flack for denouncing Wilson while the Jets were winning, but now that he’s taken two losses to the Patriots, everyone is saying what James has been preaching and he’s got some words for the haters.
If you’re a Jets fan or someone that rosters Jets’ offensive weapons, you’ll want to give this episode a listen for a little Mike White optimism. He’s not a world-beater but lucky for us the Mike LaFleur offense doesn’t require him to be.
White should be able to maintain this offense while the very good Jets defense continues doing what they’ve been doing all season. The offensive line is injured and getting someone like White behind them instead of statue-esque Joe Flacco should benefit the offense as a whole.
The Minnesota Vikings got got
The Dallas Cowboys absolutely brought it against the Vikings on Sunday. Or, as Matt puts it: “They were on Kirk’s ass immediately.” There was also a Paxton Lynch shout-out, which frankly hurt my feelings as a Broncos fan but I digress.
Micah Parsons had a great game versus the Vikings on Sunday, but the whole Dallas defense played well. Minnesota’s offensive line hasn’t been great in terms of pass protection this season, but things took a turn for the worse when their best offensive lineman, second-year Christian Darrisaw, had to leave the game after entering the concussion protocol.
James mentioned that the way to beat the Cowboys’ defense is by running the ball, that’s their weakest point. Dalvin Cook had 11 rushes for 72 yards and averaged 6.2 yards a carry but the Vikings got down so big so fast that they couldn’t lean on the run and it was their unraveling.
Minnesota wasn’t able to adjust and Matt suggests that any offense being led by Kirk Cousins might struggle to adjust mid-game like that.
Dak Prescott: Box score vs. the eye test
The guys talked about this last week but James still doesn’t think Dak Prescott is playing to his best ability. The box score looks great for Prescott in Week 11 but he was aided by the big catch-and-run by Tony Pollard.
Matt thinks there might be some push-and-pull right now between Prescott and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. Moore found his play-calling footing when second-string QB Cooper Rush was under center. One of Prescott’s best attributes is his pre-snap awareness, identifying defenses, and finding mismatches.
Moore will have to find an equilibrium between letting Dak be Dak and still working in some of the simple plays that were so efficient for the Cowboys earlier this season.
James reiterates that he doesn’t think Prescott is playing badly per se, but the two agree the offense feels like it’s got some “meat left on the bone,” (an accidental Thanksgiving pun? I’m here for it.)
There are some concerns that the Cowboys are lacking playmakers. CeeDee Lamb has been great but behind him are Noah Brown and Michael Gallup. It’s worth remembering Gallup is still getting going after tearing his ACL back in January.
Pollard has taken a step up in the pass-catching game and James thinks Gallup will continue to work into the offensive scheme as he becomes more comfortable in games post-injury. James is even so bold as to say that Gallup has a breakout game coming. Maybe we’ll be treated to it while we lounge on Thursday.
Chargers vs. Chiefs: A reminder that Mahomes is in a class of his own
The Chargers versus Chiefs games always deliver a stellar game of football. But what’s the difference between these two offenses?
The guys focus first on the Chargers offense that took a step towards stability when Keenan Allen was back in Week 11, albeit banged up still. The Chargers “got a guy that can get open” back in the lineup, according to Matt.
Matt says that everyone on the Chargers’ offense was having to play a peg (if not more) above their skill level. I mean hell, DeAndre Carter who is a return specialist, was being asked to run Keenan Allen routes.
Josh Palmer had to step up when Mike Williams went down and then Williams returned for a short stint in Week 11 before leaving the game injured again. James wants to know what Matt thinks about the overall offense if Mike Williams misses time again.
Matt is adamant that the most important pass-catcher is Allen, he opens up that offense when he’s on the field even when he’s hobbled. Will Josh Palmer continue to produce? On that, Matt thinks he’s fine as a third option in the passing attack but he’s “just a guy.”
Disclaimer: This is not a fantasy football question. James asked Matt if he’d rather have Darius Slayton or Josh Palmer on his offense and Matt leans Slayton.
Now, let’s pivot to the Chiefs. Travis Kelce is carrying that passing attack on his back. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes together form some kind of all-powerful magician. It’s kind of insane what they’ve been able to do.
Kansas City just manufactures yards. They were incredibly efficient while running out of 13-personnel. It was a tight end conveyer belt on Sunday night, but Kelce continues to be the pass-catcher that the offense cycles through.
James wonders if we’ve ever seen anything like this. A tight end being the funnel to a high-powered offense? It’s certainly something.
This season has been a poignant reminder that while Josh Allen and Justin Herbert are great quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes sets the pace. Matt calls him The Terminator. When the Chiefs got the ball back with over a minute left there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mahomes would get it done.
He’s in a tier all his own, doesn’t matter who he is throwing to.
Speaking of who he is throwing to, the Chiefs didn’t utilize Kadarius Toney the way a lot of people thought he would be in this game before leaving with an injury. Travis Kelce led the team in targets but rookie Skyy Moore got involved this week, much to the pleasure of dynasty fans.
WR Justin Watson, who runs just an insane amount of routes week-in and week-out was involved, as were TEs Noah Gray and Jody Fortson. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling continues to see a smattering of targets.
If Mahomes took a step back this season, no one would have blamed him for that. In his first season without Tyreek Hill and the Chiefs did nothing to replace that talent level that was out the door.
In a season where it feels like NFL offenses took a collective step back, Mahomes continues to produce with his island of misfit pass-catchers.
End of Lamar Jackson’s “elite” era, and … the Panthers
This was undoubtedly the funniest segment of this week’s episode. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but I have to laugh to keep from crying. Although it’s delivered as a joke, James asked Matt if he thinks Lamar Jackson’s days as an elite fantasy asset are over and by the end, it becomes less of a joke and more of a serious question.
Jackson’s EPA took a dive after Rashod Bateman exited the season due to injury. Right now, his No. 1 outside receiver is Demarcus Robinson, a wideout that was previously cut by the Raiders. Oh, by the way, James called Robinson as a sleeper heading into Week 11, be sure you’re catching his articles every week on ReceptionPerception.com.
Jackson has played well, considering his environment but he’s missing playmakers and this is without even diving into the running back room which has its own onslaught of injuries.
Ultimately, all of this leads to Matt showing concern that Jackson’s rest-of-season may not meet the “elite” production expectation we set.
The Panthers, on the other hand. Woof. After this recording, we learned that the Panthers would name Sam Darnold as the Week 12 starter. Which is good news, I suppose, since when James asked Matt: “Is there any upside to this offense with Baker Mayfield?” he didn’t even get Mayfield’s full name out before Matt gave a confident “Nope.”