The disappearance of the Jaguars’ defensive dominance and their composure last week against the 49ers needs to be proven to be an exception.
A win not only gives the Saints the NFC South, it gives them 12 wins in 14 games after an 0-2 start, one that seems a million years ago. This is also Alvin Kamara’s last bid for offensive rookie of the year and Marshon Lattimore’s last for defensive rookie of the year, which should mean GM Mickey Loomis should be making a bid for a raise. There are a lot of candidates for 2017’s most disappointing team, but the Buccaneers’ case is very strong.
The Jimmy G Factor is tangling up playoff scenarios, draft positioning and, yes, game-picking. After last week’s Jimmy Garoppolo-led spanking of the Jaguars and their top-rated defense, the Rams cannot rest easy. However, the 49ers’ defense will have to somehow wrestle into submission Todd Gurley, in his final run at building his MVP argument. His gaining 211 yards rushing and receiving is possible; if he does, he moves into the top 10 all-time for a single season.
A tune-up against a Titans team that has lots to play for, but is fading down the stretch, would help. Playoffs or not, the offseason should be devoted to fixing what went wrong with Marcus Mariota in his third season. With a berth at stake, DeMarco Murray’s availability with a sprained knee will be crucial.
Right from the jump, Thomas was ready to fire from distances we’ve become accustomed to watching him drain shots from. He took 12 shots (tied for second-most on the team) and eight of those were threes.
He seemed to know his role already, firing up a large portion of the shots when he was playing with the reserves, and using screens from Kevin Love and LeBron James to get clean looks with the starters. He was comfortable enough to pick up a technical foul just minutes into his return, arguing about a non-call.
Thomas was a distributor too, racking up three assists �� and a few hockey assists �� to two turnovers, already having a feel for where his teammates would be. He proved he has chemistry with Dwyane Wade already, and had a pair of unreal passes to the cutting shooting guard.