No comeback this time as Bears close out Seahawks

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

September 17, 2018 10:45 PM

Bears bully Seahawks for first win in the Matt Nagy era. Plus, Cards show a winning hand to start a huge National League series in Atlanta. That plus bonus college football notes right now in VSiN City.

NFL: What happened to all the offensive fireworks?! Chicago grinds out MNF win over Seattle

Though the game ended 24-17…it was much more of a grinder through the night than that score suggests. Bears only led 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter before a pick-6 put them up by two touchdowns. Seattle went 99 yards as time ran out to create a misleading box score while making the margin more respectable. 

Chicago (-4) 24, Seattle 17

Yards-per-Play: Seattle 4.3, Chicago 4.3

Total Yardage: Seattle 276, Chicago 270

Third Down Pct: Seattle 38%, Chicago 42%

Turnovers: Seattle 2, Chicago 2

Rushing Yards: Seattle 74, Chicago 85

Passing Stats: Seattle 22-36-1-202, Chicago 25-34-2-185

TD Drive Lengths: Seattle 75-99, Chicago 96-66

Seattle obviously had HORRIBLE stats most of the night if it took 99 late yards just to reach 276 on 4.3 YPP. For the Bears, Mitchell Trubisky threw two interceptions, and could have had a couple more. Seattle’s dealing with some injuries…and is playing like a 6-10 type team out of the gate (getting killed in the stats at Denver looked even worse when the Broncos almost lost to Oakland). Chicago is a lot better than the Packers with Deshone Kizer…but doesn’t look much better than 6-10 caliber themselves. Well…maybe the defense is 9-7 (or 10-6) caliber, while the offense is a work in progress with a quarterback who becomes turnover prone whenever the reigns loosen. Bears yard-per-pass-attempt is lousy in this year’s context with 153 yards on 35 passes in Green Bay, 185 yards on 34 throws Monday night. More yards tonight, but two INTs. 

Chicago moves to 1-1 on the season, with a very winnable game at horrible Arizona on deck. Seattle starts 0-2, with Dallas coming to town for the home opener. The NFC has a bunch of good teams this year. Neither of these two currently look like wildcard threats. Let’s see where our estimate of “market” Power Ratings puts both in Wednesday’s report. We like to let early lines settle before compiling those.  

College Football: Recap of Ohio State-TCU and a stat summary of two top ten upsets

As we mentioned last week, Mondays are just too crowded here in VSiN City to do justice to college football recap analysis. Three games we want to study from last Saturday in today’s report. We’ll start with the most prominent prime time game. 

Ohio State (-12.5) 40, TCU 28

Total Yardage: Ohio State 526, TCU 511

Yards-per-Play: Ohio State 6.6, TCU 6.7

Rushing Yards: Ohio State 182, TCU 203

Passing Stats: Ohio State 24-38-0-344, TCU 24-40-2-308

Third Downs: Ohio State 33%, TCU 47%

Turnovers: Ohio State 0, TCU 3

Length of TD Drives: Ohio State 63-25-75, TCU 84-93-52-75

Last Saturday in the New York Post, we talked about how Ohio State’s vulnerabilities often show up vs. quality. Definitely the case here, with more 500 total yards allowed to TCU on more than 6.5 yards-per-play. TCU probably isn’t the best team in the Big 12. The Buckeyes won by a dozen because they had a fumble return TD and an interception return TD (plus a cheap 25-yard offensive drive). You see above that TCU was competitive (or better) in all the important categories except turnovers. 

This is not a good sign for OSU in terms of the national championship. Alabama’s clearly superior to TCU, and much less likely to hand away free points in a big game. Ohio State’s defense in particular seems vulnerable to speed. May not be an issue in Big 10 play (meaning for a couple of months!). Good test vs. Penn State coming up. 

Still mysteries to be solved in terms of where TCU stands in the big picture. TCU-Oklahoma could be a lot of fun (maybe twice!). Ohio State is very likely the class of the Big 10…but not a team you’ll want to bet in January vs. speed. 

BYU (plus 22) 24, Wisconsin 21

Total Yardage: BYU 311, Wisconsin 394

Yards-per-Play: BYU 6.1, Wisconsin 5.5

Rushing Yards: BYU 191, Wisconsin 204

Passing Stats: BYU 13-23-0-120, Wisconsin 18-28-1-190

Third Downs: BYU 33%, Wisconsin 31%

Turnovers: BYU 0, Wisconsin 2

Length of TD Drives: BYU 75-89-27, Wisconsin 61-65-82

Point spread was high because Wisconsin has such a strong home history vs. non-conference opponents, and because BYU is so ill-prepared to rally from behind with this offense. So, the Cougars decided not to fall way behind! Yes, the upset itself was keyed by a turnover advantage and a cheap touchdown. The point spread cover was never in doubt. And, this upset loss goes on a list of horrible results for the Big 10 this season. 

*Wisconsin lost to BYU as a huge favorite

*Michigan State was upset by Arizona State and barely beat Utah State

*Michigan lost to Notre Dame, looking awful most of the night

*Northwestern was upset by Akron

*Nebraska was upset by Troy (after losing to Colorado)

*Purdue was upset by Eastern Michigan (but covered vs. Missouri of the SEC)

*Penn State had to go overtime to beat Appalachian State (but has crushed since)

Worth filing away come bowl time…and as you evaluate Ohio State from week-to-week. Outside of Arkansas and Tennessee, the SEC is NOT having results like that. SEC went 5-4 ATS outside of league play last week, bringing it to 23-10 ATS this season. Unheralded Vandy outgained Notre Dame 420-380 on 6.0 to 5.1 in yards-per-play…on the same field where Michigan lost.

How many Big Ten "powers" would you make a neutral site favorite to either of these next two SEC foes? 

LSU (plus 10) 22, Auburn 21

Total Yardage: LSU 370, Auburn 328

Yards-per-Play: LSU 4.8, Auburn 5.0

Rushing Yards: LSU 121, Auburn 130

Passing Stats: LSU 15-35-0-249, Auburn 16-28-2-198

Third Downs: LSU 40%, Auburn 33%

Turnovers: LSU 0, Auburn 2

Length of TD Drives: LSU 34-71, Auburn 74-66-55

LSU may have won total yards and third down conversions, but it had trouble driving the field for TDs because of so many incomplete passes. Joe Burrow is a step up from what it had at quarterback…but be careful placing too much credit for this upset on his shoulders.

Though Auburn won and covered vs. Washington, it didn’t really “wow” in front of a home region crowd. Particularly on offense. Second straight disappointment in that sense…at least if you were imagining them as a Final Four dark horse. 

Second great result away from Baton Rouge for Ed Orgeron’s Tigers this season. SEC West is really loaded except for Arkansas, and Ole Miss’s defense. 

Winning bettors study stats! Hope you spend some time each weekend reviewing key college numbers. 

MLB Monday: St. Louis starts vital fortnight with easy win in Atlanta 

Big couple of weeks coming up for the St. Louis Cardinals. They’ve been playing great baseball the past several weeks (though three hiccups vs. the Dodgers last weekend could ultimately deny them a playoff spot). Tonight…the beginning of a three game series on the road against NL East leading Atlanta. This weekend…what needs to be a gift three-game series at home against San Francisco. Next week…six games against the teams currently ahead of them in the AL Central…three vs. Milwaukee, then three at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.

Nice start Monday!

St. Louis (plus 125) 11, Atlanta 6

Total Bases Plus Walks: St. Louis 33, Atlanta 19

Starting Pitchers: Mikolas 5 IP, 2 ER, Foltynewicz 4.2 IP, 6 ER

Bullpen: St. Louis 4 IP, 2 ER, Atlanta 4.1 IP, 5 ER

So much for the expected pitchers’ duel. Big night for the bats. St. Louis moves to 83-68 with the win. Cards don’t pick up any ground on Milwaukee in the NL wildcard race, though. Atlanta falls to 83-67, still well clear of second place in the NL East. 

Only two other early finishers Monday involving pennant race teams…

*Milwaukee (-190) beat Cincinnati 8-0. Brewers move to 86-65, still three games ahead of St. Louis in the wildcard picture. 

*Houston (-155) LOST to Seattle 4-1. Astros fall to 94-56. Can’t lose their focus with Oakland still looming in the rearview mirror in the AL West.  

Back Wednesday for an update of our estimated NFL “market” Power Ratings and a pennant race update. 

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