Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Browns’

NFL Week 4: Playoff odds and replacement refs

Thursday, September 27th, 2012


Five. That’s the number of teams since 1990 that have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3. It’s been 21 years with only 5 success stories. Not good for fans of the New Orleans Saints or Cleveland Browns. Saints fans have to be extremely disappointed with the start to their season, especially considering that the Super Bowl is in New Orleans this year. So the trend may continue that no team has both played in the Super Bowl and acted as the host city in the same year. I guess Sean Payton really was earning his paycheck! Good news for fans is that those are the only two teams without a win this season, so fans of the other 30 teams have been able to celebrate at least one notch in the “W” column.

Parity. The flip side of this coin is that there are only 3 teams that remain undefeated. 75% of teams who started the season 3-0 have gone on to make the playoffs. Fans of the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, and Houston Texans have to be pleased with those odds. We’re only three weeks into the season, so no one is eliminated yet, but the numbers don’t lie. There are 27 teams with 1 or 2 wins, which supports the notion that parity is alive and well in the NFL.

On a separate note, it’s good to see the referees and the league have settled their differences. As a die hard fan, I would watch the NFL regardless of who the refs the game, but living in a household with a Packer fan has been borderline unbearable this week…

Help! I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is assisted by an unidentified NFL official after being tackled in the second half by the Washington Redskins defense during their NFL football game in Landover, Maryland October 10, 2010. Rogers suffered a head concussion on his last pass of the game and will have to be medically cleared before his next start against the Miami Dolphins on October 17. Photo taken October 10.  REUTERS/Larry Downing  (UNITED STATES)

Every year it seems like the NFL has a new injury situation to deal with. Last year, it was turf toe. This year, it is clearly the concussion. Some players get their “bell rung” and bounce right back, while others, like the Chicago Bears Hunter Hillenmeyer, are lost for the season. In light of last weekend’s games, when more than a half dozen players went out with concussions, the NFL (sometimes nicknamed “No Fun League”) levied heavy fines for helmet to helmet contact. James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers was fined a whopping $75,000 for a hit to Cleveland Browns receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. As a result, Harrison even went as far as to contemplate retirement, and was excused from practice on Wednesday. The Atlanta Falcons cornerback, Dunta Robinson, had the most replayed hit of the weekend, laying out the Philadelphia Eagles star wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Both Robinson and Jackson may potentially miss time due to the violent collision. Going forward, the NFL has vowed to suspend players for violent contact hits and helmet to helmet collisions. Baltimore Ravens all pro Ray Lewis, has even expressed concern that the NFL game will be “diluted very quickly.”

Players keep getting bigger, stronger, and faster, but there haven’t been any improvements to the helmet or other protective equipment to offset these things. This year, the NFL roled out new policies surrounding concussions to better protect the injured player. Now, a player with a concussion must pass a series of tests and be cleared by two separate physicians in order to be cleared to play again.

The question the NFL has to ask itself is whether concussions are here to stay, or the game needs to change in order to avoid some of these injuries. This is a mess the NFL has created by glorifying the big hit. The media plays a part in it too, by highlighting these hits on TV replays. Let’s face the fact that part of the attraction to the NFL is the violence. If they somehow remove that from the equation, I fear the league may lose some stars and some appeal.

Little Things and The Playoffs

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Little Things from the NFL’s 2009 Season:

88 players in the NFL had at least one carry of 25 yards or more, including New York Jets punter Steve Weatherford. Not among the 88: Philadelphia Eagles RB Brian Westbrook and Indianapolis Colts RB Joseph Addai.

Eight RB’s finished with at least 1250 rushing yards, including the St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson, who was 2nd in the NFL in rushing yards despite being on a 1-15 team.

Two Carolina Panthers RB’s, DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart rushed for at least 1100 yards.

Jerome Harrison of the Cleveland Browns averaged 143 yards rushing in the four games in which he carried the ball more than 16 times, including 286 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

Adrian Peterson finished 5th in the league in rushing yards with 1383, despite only topping 100 yards in a game three times during the season.

Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans topped 2000 yards rushing on the year; he is only the 6th RB in NFL history to do so.

Johnson averaged 5.6 yards per rushing attempt on the season. Jamaal Charles averaged 5.9.

LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson both averaged 3.3 yards per attempt.

Reggie Wayne caught 100 passes on the year. 73 of them were for first downs.

The Top 21 players in the NFL in receiving yards include three tight ends: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten. All 21 had at least 11 receptions of 20 yards or more, except Wes Welker, who led the league in catches, 123, and was second in yards, 1348. He had eight plays for more than 20 yards.

The Blind Side book/movie subject Michael Oher, rookie RT for the Baltimore Ravens, had the fewest yards receiving in the NFL in 2009 with -8.

Oakland Raiders rookie WR Darius Heyward-Bey, 7th pick overall, played in 11 games, caught 9 passes for 124 yards and scored one TD.

San Francisco 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree, 10th pick overall, held out until after Week 5, then played in 11 games, caught 48 passes for 625 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Austin Collie, 4th round pick of the Colts, and Percy Harvin, 1st round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, led all rookie WR’s in receptions with 60. Harvin and New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks led rookies in receiving yards with 790.

Ten QB’s threw for over 4000 yards this season. Seven of them are in the playoffs. Kurt Warner, the 8th playoff QB, threw for 3753 yards.

41 QB’s completed at least one pass of more than 45 yards. Kurt Warner did not.

155 players in the NFL caught a pass of at least 35 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did not.

14 QB’s threw at least 500 passes. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler led them (and all other QB’s) in interceptions with 26. Peyton Manning was 2nd with 16. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers had the fewest at 7.

Jon Ryan, punter of the Seattle Seahawks, completed the longest pass by a non-QB, 42 yards. He finished the year with a 118.8 QB rating.

The Cleveland Browns won four games in a row after going 1-11 in their first twelve.

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost five games in a row after winning five in a row.

The Denver Broncos won six in a row to start the year and lost four in a row to end the year to finish 8-8.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints started the season 14-0 and 13-0, respectively. The Colts lost their last two and the Saints lost their last three.

The San Diego Chargers started the year 2-3 and then won their last 11.

The Tennessee Titans went 0-6 to start the year. They went 8-2 after that to finish 8-8.

BLACK MONDAY

Coaches are cleaning out their lockers today. So far Jim Zorn, who was for all intent and purposes relieved of his duties with the Washington Redskins somewhere around Week 6 or so, and the remainder of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff and have been told their services are no longer needed, wanted, or welcomed.

There is talk that Wade Phillips needs to win a playoff game to keep his job. Apparently an 11-5 season, the third playoff seed, a home playoff game, and a shutout to win the division in the season’s last game is not enough in Dallas to feel any sense of job security.

The expectations are different for Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. In Houston, Gary Kubiak will retain his position after the organizations first winning season, going 9-7 and being a loss by either the Ravens or Jets on the season’s final day away from making the playoffs. Plus Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson led the league in yards at their respective positions.

The Carolina Panthers are keeping John Fox around… maybe? Because in Carolina, a winning season every other year is good enough. I think it is probably safe to say though that the John Fox-Jake Delhomme duo has reached its end. Delhomme threw for 8 TD’s and was picked off 18 times on the season, while backup Matt Moore started the last five games for the Panthers and threw for 8 TD’s and only 1 interception.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about Raheem Morris losing his job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay was horrible, but Morris is a first year coach brought in to turn around a terrible team. You have to give the guy more than a year or two to do his job – unless of course you have Bill Cowher, his chin, and his mustache on the radar.

Maybe one case where it makes sense to fire a first year coach is in Oakland, where ironically nothing makes sense. Tom Cable allegedly hit a co-worker. That behavior is generally frowned upon. And Al Davis is Al Davis, so he may bring in a shuffleboard buddy of his who won a fantasy football league last season to coach the team.

PLAYOFFS

The Dallas Cowboys threw a donut at the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East. With a win, the Eagles would have had a first round bye and a home playoff game. With the loss, they’ll travel to Dallas and play the Cowboys again this weekend. Donovan McNabb to DeSean Jackson and Tony Romo to Miles Austin are two of the more dangerous big play QB to WR combos in the league.

And speaking dangerous QB to WR combos, Chad Ochocinco/Johnson would like me to mention his and Carson Palmer’s names right now, but if I’m playing the Cincinnati Bengals I’m more concerned about Cedric Benson. Maybe the New York Jets backed into a playoff spot and maybe they didn’t, but Mark Sanchez is in the post-season and will do a very nice job of handing the ball off until he is absolutely required to throw it. Thomas Jones, get ready to see nine guys in the box against Cincinnati this weekend. Jets fans can mail cards to the Colts and Bengals thanking them for mailing it in in Weeks 16 and 17.

Following Philly/Dallas and New York/Cincy, the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers will square off in the third rematch of a Week 17 game this weekend. The Packers rolled over the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and did most of the rolling over all by themselves. There are some health concerns for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie, Anquan Boldin, and Charles Woodson going into this game.

Baltimore travels to New England to play the Wes Welker-less Patriots. Welker tore up most of the _CL’s in his knee on Sunday. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Ray Lewis and company will look to put to rest Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the Pats. Should that happen, the media will surely spark up the “Has Belichick lost it?” debate. For that reason alone, I’ll root for the Pats.

Brett Favre may or may not be on a tractor in Kiln, Mississippi this week. The Vikings can thank the Cowboys for beating the Eagles and getting them a first round bye. Favre loved Sidney Rice this season to the tune of 1312 yards and 8 TD’s. I don’t know what that tune sounds like, but it works for the Minnesota offense.

The New Orleans Saints are also waiting around for somebody to play football against. Drew Brees and his band of guys who can run fast and catch the ball will not have won in nearly a month when they take the field next.

The Colts are planning a really intense bye week in Indy. Somewhere Jim Caldwell is sitting with no expression on his face. The San Diego Chargers are taking it easy in a sunnier place where Philip Rivers can frolic on the beach and wait around for somebody to fly west to play a game.

THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC

The Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in OT at Fenway Park in the NHL’s 2010 Winter Classic. Check out all our Winter Classic gear in this week’s items of the week!

Week 9: When Fungus is Acceptable

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Hiding in Plain Sight

Last week Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers played 34 minutes and recorded 0 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 assists. He managed two steals and two personal fouls and without those you may not have even know he was there.

Michael Wilbon made a brief argument on PTI that Fisher is a guy who does the “other things” to help his team win. I’m sure he was moving the ball, screening, playing some defense, and being a leader and a nice guy, but in 34 minutes you think he would pass it to a guy who would make a shot or he would accidentally run into a rebound. Fisher was just hiding in plain sight, not contributing anything noticeable.

Flashback to 2006:

*Comedy Central airs the last new Chapelle’s Show on July 23rd. Borat opens the first weekend of November at the top of the box office. The confluence of these two events that happened just 3+ months apart created a venn diagram overlap in pop culture relevance where it became virtually impossible to escape people quoting Chapelle/Borat, especially if you were in college at the time. Chapelle was on safari and done with the show, but new episodes aired with many re-runs of the old ones and three and a half months was not long enough for some people to beat those jokes to death. And then Borat happens. So the quote wheel keeps spinning for the frequent repeaters out there.

*The Chicago Bears are going 13-3 on their way to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at QB.

*Terrell Owens leads the NFL in touchdown receptions and has 1,180 yards receiving.
*Michael Vick throws for 2,474 yards and runs for 1,039 yards and combines for 22 TD’s.
*Larry Johnson is second in the league in rushing and rushing TD’s, with 1,789 yards and 17 TD’s. He also added 410 receiving yards and 2 receiving TD’s.

Now those three fantasy football studs are hiding in plain sight. Vick is out of jail and on the bench. TO is in Buffalo not doing a whole lot and Larry Johnson has been cut by the Chiefs for vomiting his thoughts on Twitter.

Many professional athletes and celebrities and people not famous have not yet evolved the filter between the brain and the fingertips. And it is not their fault. Evolution takes time and social networking is relatively new. The brain to mouth filter was not even fully evolved in many and now they are under stress to develop a second filter on the fly to protect themselves from their thoughts escaping through their fingertips to Twitter and the world. Maybe we should cut all these athletes who type stupid stuff a break because evolving that kind of ability will take generations.

Ups, Downs, and Laterals

Of course sports are cyclical and players begin to decline once they’ve reached a certain age, but TO, Vick, and Johnson seem to still have enough ability to offer a team something productive. Instead they are just being hidden in plain sight by their own specific circumstances.

While individual players find a way to hide in plain sight, it is very difficult for teams to hide team weaknesses. And at the half-way point of the NFL season, with the playoff picture forming, those weaknesses are apparent to everyone.

Three – maybe four – of the divisions are all but mathematically clinched. It would take a melt down of New York Mets proportion for the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, or Minnesota Vikings not to win their division.

The Colts and Saints both remain undefeated after getting challenged hard by the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers. A missed FG by Kris Brown of the Texans prevented Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and DeMeco Ryans from taking a shot at Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and company in overtime. The Colts have played two tight games in a row.

The Panthers were marching, nearing FG range, down three with less than three minutes to go in the 4th quarter when Jake Delhomme fumbled and New Orleans recovered. Three and out for the Saints, followed by a DeAngelo Williams fumble returned for a TD by New Orleans on Carolina’s ensuing possession put the Saints up 10 with 2:00 to go and there’s your ball game.

The Vikings sat the week out on a bye and still gained ground in the division with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers losing. No word yet on any team boating excursions during the week off. Had there been some sort of team building exercise, I’m sure Twitter would have been a flutter. Maybe Brad Childress would have been in a drag. You never know.

The Saints have played three close games in a row which they won by one-possession scores. The Colts have played two close games in a row, winning the two by a combined seven points. The Vikings are a missed FG and a Brett Favre to Greg Lewis 32-yard TD with 0:00 on the clock away from being 5-3. There is no NFL team this season that is going to march over every opponent they play. Even the teams with the best records have won fugly a time or two and escaped with a win.

The New England Patriots not winning the AFC East would not be a Mets-type collapse, but probably more of a Minnesota Twins sneaking up on the Detroit Tigers sort of let down. It might be possible for them to get caught all season long, but nobody will believe it can happen. Tom Brady is connecting with Randy Moss like it is 2007 and they have a linebacker who is in his forties in Junior Seau.

The Show

Remember in Bull Durham when Crash Davis tells Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh that he needs to get new shower shoes?

“You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”

I think the same goes for bad mustaches and facial hair that looks more neglected than grown. At 6-0, it is something to joke about, but now with two Bronco losses in a row, it may be time for Kyle Orton to think classy. He’s had it off and on throughout his career, but it might be time go now.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are sitting on top of the AFC North in a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals after beating the Denver Broncos on Monday night. The Bengals are coming off a win over the Baltimore Ravens. Cedric Benson rushed for over 100 yards for the second time this season against the Ravens. Maybe that vaulted Ravens-Ray Lewis-D that earned Trent Dilfer a ring is finally showing its age. Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward hooked up for two TD’s last night in their win over the Broncos.

The Dallas Cowboys went to the Philadelphia Eagles and took away a big win that, coupled with the San Diego Chargers victory over the New York Giants, puts the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East.

Tony Romo has 9 TD’s and only 1 interception during his team’s four game winning streak. Miles Austin continues to be a big play guy, catching only one pass but for a 49 yard TD.

Philip Rivers took the Chargers down the field and threw a TD pass to Vincent Jackson with 0:21 on the clock to give San Diego a one point win. Eli Manning was 25-33 for 215 yards and 2 TD’s, but the Giants were flagged for over 100 yards in penalties which will stop any team from gaining momentum in any direction.

The bye week for the Giants this week is sorely needed. DeMarcus Ware is salivating at the opportunity to play the Green Bay Packers and their O-Line this week. And the Eagles have to fly all way across the country to San Diego, which, for the sake of the entire city of Philly, I hope goes better than their trip to Oakland did.

The New York Jets come off their bye for a Week 10 match up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who beat the Kansas City Chiefs last week. The Jets and Jags are both 4-4 with neither team having a realistic shot at winning their division, so this game is huge for both teams in the scope of Wild Card spots. Maurice Jones-Drew leads the NFL with 11 rushing TD’s.

Matt Cassel stuck it to all Dwayne Bowe fantasy owners by throwing 2 TD passes to Chris Chambers, who had been on the Chiefs for about eight seconds.

Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals went to Soldier Field and inspired the crowd to boo loudly the home team Chicago Bears. Tommie Harris went ahead with a punch to the face of a Cardinal O-lineman to get ejected four plays into the game. We like your enthusiasm there Tommy, we just need you to direct it in a more positive way. Warner and Jay Cutler both had big statistical games, but the Bears could not overcome 89 yards of penalties and or their inability to convert on third down.

The Packers were probably hurt most by their Week 9 performance, losing to first time starter rookie Josh Freeman and the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron Rodgers was bludgeoned again and the defense did not do much in the way of stopping a bad offense. Two weeks ago Minnesota, at 6-1, was coming into Lambeau Field to play a 4-2 Packers team. A Packer win gives both teams two losses and sets up the Pack up to tie the division at Tampa Bay with Minnesota on a bye. Instead, the cheese falls to 4-4 in an ugly way. Three of their four wins are against one-win teams: Lions, Browns, Rams.

Speaking of the Lions, Browns, and Rams… the Browns and Rams were spared by being on a bye, but the Lions suffered another loss. So did the Washington Redskins.

Calvin Johnson returned to the line up for the Lions and they played the Seattle Seahawks tough, but could not find a way to win it, in part because rookie Matthew Stafford had five learning opportunities in which the ball went the other way on him. Matt Hasselbeck spread the ball around. Six Seahawks had five or more catches. T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught his only TD pass.

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Redskins to move to 5-3 and put themselves in a nice position for a Wild Card birth. Michael Turner had a huge game, 166 yards and 2 TD’s and Matt Ryan hooked up with Tony Gonzalez for a TD. Clinton Portis left the game and with him took Washington’s only hope.

The Tennessee Titans won their second game in a row and handed the San Francisco 49ers their fourth loss in a row. Vince Young is 2-0 as a starter and Chris Johnson leads the NFL in rushing yards.
The Niners have lost their last three games by one possession scores. Next week Mike Singletary squares off against his old team, the Chicago Bears, in what will be a critical game for each team’s drive for the post-season.

To Week 10:

Thursday night games begin with the Bears and 49ers.
The Bengals and Steelers play to break the tie for the AFC North lead.
The Patriots go to Indy for an always fun game to watch.
And either the Chiefs or the Raiders will win because they play each other.

The New York Yankees 2009 World Series Championship is still only less than a week old and there is plenty of World Series gear here for you to commemorate #27.

The item of the week this week is some real NFL sideline apparel to help you get ready for cold weather.

NFL Week 8: 10-Favre

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Usain Bolt adopted a cheetah named Lightning Bolt.

Stephen Colbert and Colbert Nation are sponsoring the U.S. speedskating team in the Vancouver Olympics.

A golfer tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Manu Ginobili pulled a flying bat out of the air during a basketball game. (I once accidentally pulled a live bat out of a washing machine. I thought it was a sock stuck to the wall of the inside of the machine. It screeched and spreads its wings. I threw it, said swear words, and ran upstairs. I don’t love flying bats.)

The three daughters of OJ Simpson’s lawyer are all over reality TV and gossip mags and marrying Lamar Odom and getting dumped by Reggie Bush.

The NFL and FOX devoted one camera to a single player for an entire football game on Sunday.

Stephon Marbury got ejected from a Knicks game… from the first row of paid seats where he was a spectator.

Nothing should surprise us in sports anymore – not Michael Vick, not Tim Donaghy (that one was almost predictable), not Tom Cable, or the Denver Broncos or Tennessee Titans, not Andre Agassi, and not even Syracuse WR Mike Williams quitting on his team this week. Stud college WR’s named Mike Williams do not have a good track record.

It shouldn’t surprise us that Brett Favre was booed mercilessly for most of the game in his return to Green Bay, where for 16 years the good people there put cheering for Favre on the same level as feeding their kids, going to church, and Old Milwaukee. I was a Viking fan living in Wisconsin for 14 years. I witnessed Favre becoming an icon, a legend, and seemingly a best friend to Packer fans. And while the treatment Favre got at Lambeau Field on Sunday should not have surprised me, it did. I didn’t expect a standing O or anything close to it, but I didn’t expect non-stop booing.

It’s about the same as a dude who dates a girl for a long time, then she decides to break up with him and he gets a bummed out, but when she wants to go back to him, he refuses and then hates her with more vigor than he ever loved her and when he sees her at the grocery store, he just boos at her through the produce section and all the way to the deli, down the cereal aisle and right up to the check-out counter where he encounters her new guy who is taller, better looking, makes more money, and was the same dude who struck him out in a high school playoff game to end his baseball career. And then when the girl and her new guy walk out to the parking lot, the dude is standing there with a sign that reads, “Legends Don’t Wear Purple.”

It’s about like that.

It seems to me that the same things that endeared Favre to Green Bay fans are the things for which they now boo him. He is human; he is flawed. They loved him for his energy and passion and for speaking uncensored early in his career. They loved his unorthodox play and didn’t mind his vices at all. He was like them, like us; he could have been your neighbor. But the flaw they couldn’t accept was the man’s inability to decide when to retire from the only thing he has ever done. He reached a level in the minds and hearts of Packer fans where the humanness of him transcended into something other than human and they expected him to be perfect. They forgot that he’s human. He is just like them, but they wanted him to be something better.

Then he went to a division, border, and bitter rival, which doesn’t help anything except the Viking offense.

And now he has found Sidney Rice and made him 6th in the league in receiving yards.

The Vikings improved to 7-1 on the season, including a Green Bay sweep, on which ESPN dedicated roughly 1,793 hours (and counting) of programming.

Chris Berman loves Brett Favre. He loves Favre more than Kanye loves Kanye.

Aaron Rodgers has taken 31 sacks this year through 7 games, thanks in great part to Jared Allen. Ten quarterbacks last year took over 30 sacks all season long, including Rodgers who took 34. Rodgers is a good quarterback. He can run and throw and he’s a smart guy. He can make every throw you need him to make except the one out of bounds to avoid taking a sack. And now he has two sprains to nurse.

Jared Allen has a great sack dance. As much as I didn’t like Gilbert Brown, he did too.

My brother works a job in Wisconsin where he uses two-way radios daily. He is a Viking fan living in Wisconsin and working with mostly Packer fans. When he confirms that he has understood a radio communication, in stead of saying “10-4”, he says “10-Favre”. One guy he works with has taken to responding to that with “12-Rodgers” – which is hilarious because it makes no sense at all.

Anyway.

The New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts are the last of the undefeated. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are playing about as well as you can. The Saints receivers – Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, specifically – made some ridiculous catches last night in their win over the Atlanta Falcons. Jason Elam was struggling with the kicking last night and had he been on, it may have been more interesting than it was at the end of the game. Both Pierre Thomas and Michael Turner looked really good.

Manning and Brees are at the top of the NFL QB class right now, but Matt Ryan will be there one day soon, along with Joe Flacco, who led the Baltimore Ravens in a beat down of the previously undefeated Denver Broncos.

The Chicago Bears chewed up and spit out the Cleveland Browns. Derek Anderson has thrown 9 interceptions and has the same number of passing TD’s as he does rushing TD’s: 2. Not great. The Browns scored a TD… then missed the extra point. Not great. Eric Mangini, in response to a question about why he didn’t replace Anderson with Brady Quinn earlier, said, “I thought we actually moved the ball at times earlier.” Anderson was 6-17 for 76 yards, 0 TD, and 2 INT. Not great. They had 191 yards of offense and were 1-11 on third down. I’m not sure when Mangini thought they were moving the ball well.

The Dallas Cowboys routed the Seattle Seahawks. The Eagles spanked the New York Giants and now the NFC East has three five win teams. Dallas goes to Philly for Sunday Night Football this week. Big game with a couple of big play guys in Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson. The Giants play host to the San Diego Chargers, who had the good fortune of playing the Oakland Raiders last week.

I am begging Eli Manning to get things on track because I need Steve Smith to be an awesome fantasy WR for me and he hasn’t scored or cracked 100 yards in three weeks.

The St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans got their first wins of the year. Steven Jackson got his first rushing TD of the season on Sunday. He is second in the NFL in rushing with 784 yards and has only 1 TD. The Rams aren’t good, but they were playing the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

The Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, who I just cannot figure out at all. The Jags very nearly beat Indy in Week 1 and then beat Houston in Week 3. They beat Tennessee by 20 in Week 4 and then lost 41-0 against Seattle. They were favored by 9.5 points the very next week and managed a 3 point win over the then winless Rams and then this week they lose to the Titans by 17. No idea.

Vince Young played well, completing 15 of 18 passes. He did not have to do too much though because Chris Johnson ran for 228 yards and 2 TD’s. Maurice Jones-Drew had 177 yards on 8 carries in that game.

Ted Ginn, Jr is a guy I can’t really figure out either. Every once in a while he makes a big play – or two in one quarter like he did on Sunday – but he also does a lot of things that make you scratch your head (for non-Miami fans) and throw bricks at windows (for Miami fans). Rex Ryan and Bart Scott were not exactly gracious after the New York Jets defeat at the hands of the best football team with the best talent and the best of everything else in America, the Miami Dolphins.

Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers. Your QB’s: Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme

One of them is going to turn the ball over six times. Who is it going to be? Delhomme, right? Wrong.

Not a good game for Kurt Warner. Warner is a really good guy. This has been well documented. And good guys are often generous and more than willing to share, so maybe Warner took sympathy on the struggling Panthers and decided to share the ball with them. It’s easy to hold Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin to 89 yards combined when Warner is being so generous.

If the playoffs started today, the Houston Texans would be a wild-card team. They beat the Buffalo Bills by three scores on Sunday. Two big things from that game: 1) Owen Daniels is done for the year with a knee (again, thank you Al Michaels) and 2) Terrell Owens was seen in the end zone with the ball in his hands for an alleged touchdown. It’s been a rare sight this year.

NFL leaders in receiving TD’s:
Vernon Davis, 7
Visanthe Shiancoe (and four others), 6.
Owen Daniels (and three others), 5.

Next Week: The Tampa Bay Bucs try to get their first win when Green Bay comes to town.

Quick World Series note on this NFL post: FOX gave the player of the game thing to Cliff Lee last night. Lee pitched pretty well but it was a mostly unremarkable performance. He gave up 5 ER over 7 IP, meanwhile Chase Utley hit 2 HR’s. I think FOX was more concerned with integrating movie previews into their broadcast than they were getting that one right. The Phillies go to New York now for Game 6. Pedro vs Andy Pettitte on three days rest. It should be a great. My wife cannot wait for it to be over so she can get her FOX TV shows back.

NFL Week 7: A Review

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Another week is in the books as we rapidly approach the season’s halfway mark. Meanwhile, Michael Crabtree’s wondering where all the time went.
Let’s start with the shocker of the week…sorry Bears fans.
 

Chicago Bears v Cincinnati Bengals

Chicago Bears v. Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve been saying the Bears are overrated all along and the Bengals’ season start is no fluke but…WHOA! Before you could say “Al Afalava,” it was 31-0. Carson Palmer (Five TDs – four in the first half) played USC quarterback to the Bears’ directional school secondary all game. But (his words, not mine) Bears coach Lovie Smith claimed they, “gained some momentum with a field goal” to end the half. A 45-10 loss later, and Lovie was still waiting for old ‘mo to kick in. Speaking of “kicking in” – how about the CedBen show. Cedric Benson entered this game in hopes of demoralizing his former team. 37 carries and 189 yards sounds pretty demoralizing to me. Fortunately for Chicago’s defense, the offense was equally offensive. Matt Forte still can’t run. And Jay Cutler, fresh of a contract extension – how soon is too soon – threw three interceptions and was eventually removed from the game. Fortunately, maybe Chicago radio will get off the “Super Bowl-bound Bears” bandwagon. They may soon be hopping onto a different kind of wagon.

Let’s move on to the (pitifully) non-shockers of the week…

San Diego Chargers v. Kansas City Chiefs

Instead of talking about San Diego’s 37-7 laugher, let’s discuss what transpired following the game. Chiefs’ running back Larry Johnson, having managing a mere 49 yards on 16 carries against one of the league’s worst run defenses, was mad. So did he express his frustration to his teammates? No. Did he discuss his anger with his coaches? Nope. So he must have voiced his displeasure to the media following the game, right? Wrong again. Affectionately known as “Grandmama,” LJ went all new-technology on us and tweeted away. He threw repeated jabs at head coach Todd Hailey, saying he had no coaching credentials or, more eloquently, “Nuthn,” and used gay slurs on several occasions to boot. He should be safe though. No one pays any attention to Twitter .

Green Bay Packers v. Cleveland Browns and New York Jets v. Oakland Raiders

Why did I group these together? Do I really have to explain? The Packers and Jets beat the pathetic Browns and Raiders a combined 69-3. Aaron Rodgers (246 yards and three TDs) torched Cleveland’s secondary and Thomas Jones (121 yards and one TD) and Shonn Green (144 yards and two TDs after Leon Washington’s season-ending injury) ran around, over and through the Raiders. But I’d like to discuss the fates of two miserable quarterbacks. There are 32 NFL teams and 35 quarterbacks that qualify in the QB rating category. Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell and Cleveland’s Derek Anderson rank 34th and 35th, respectively. Seventeen other quarterbacks in the NFL have a higher rating than these two – combined! Anderson stole millions from his team after one, seemingly illogical, good season. Russell just simply stole millions from his team. And he doesn’t even seem to care how bad he is. But don’t expect any drastic changes in Oakland – not while Al Davis is still alive.

Indianapolis Colts v. St. Louis Rams

At least the Rams are trying. Unfortunately, when you face Peyton Manning, trying won’t cut it. Manning threw three more touchdowns (but snapped his consecutive 300-yards passing streak to begin a season – gasp!) as the Colts rolled 42-6. Manning leads the league in passer rating and surpassed another milestone – passing Warren Moon for fourth on the career completion list.

New England Patriots v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

God Save the Queen? More like God save the Buccaneers – who lost a home game 35-7 to New England…in England. Pats safety Brandon Meriweather returned Josh Johnson’s pass for six on the game’s fifth play and Tom Brady threw three touchdowns. New England has now won their last two games 94-7. Yes, that was against the winless Titans and still winless Bucs. But tell me you don’t fear Tom Brady right now…look me in the eyes…I thought so.

Carolina Panthers v. Buffalo Bills

Another installment of the NFL’s “pillow fight” featured Buffalo’s 20-9 victory over Carolina. Despite totaling just 167 yards Sunday, the Bills somehow won by double digits. How, you ask? Jake Delhomme’s league leading 11th, 12th and 13th interceptions didn’t hurt. Nor did a 4th quarter fumbled punt. Don’t worry Panthers fans; John Fox will “evaluate” the quarterback position this week. Wonder what his findings will determine. In related news, I have evaluated the TO experiment in Buffalo…and my findings are disturbing. Seven games, 18 catches, 242 yards, one touchdown – and seven drops. Not exactly Miles Austin-esque.
 
Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys v. Atlanta Falcons

Speaking of Miles Awesome…err…Austin, the former undrafted rookie from Monmouth didn’t match his 250 receiving yards in his starting debut, but I think another six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns will do. His rapidly developing chemistry with fellow undrafted rookie Tony Romo showed in their 37-21 statement victory over the Falcons. Much maligned for most of the season, the Cowboys are tied in the loss column with the once super-New York Giants. Following another turnover-free Romo day, the emergence of Austin and the return of a Cowboys pass rush, led by a very wealthy DeMarcus Ware, that sacked Matt Ryan four times (after only twice all season previously) – the Cowboys may have finally found their swagger.

Philadelphia Eagles v. Washington Redskins

First off, enough with the Sherman Lewis bingo jokes. Yes, the newly-appointed Redskins offensive coordinator was calling out numbers at a senior home last week. But that’s like making fun of you grandfather. Not cool. Nor is what Daniel Snyder has done with this team. Jim Zorn still can’t coach. Jason Campbell still can’t lead. And the Redskins still can’t do anything right– including snapping the ball to the quarterback without throwing it off their own behind. Meanwhile, despite only three touches, DeSean Jackson led Philly in both rushing and receiving thanks to a 67-yard TD run and 57-yard TD pass. But four Redskins turnovers only resulted in a 27-17 Eagles victory, so who knows how different they really are from the team that lost to Oakland. We’ll find out next week when they welcome Eli Manning and…

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants

New York Giants v. Arizona Cardinals

…the New York Giants. Dare I say I’ve been right about them all season? After questioning their 5-0 record thanks to a cupcake schedule, (a factor almost every “expert” seemed to overlook) the Giants have lost two straight – and looked bad. As a Cowboys fan, I don’t know if there is any expression I enjoy more then Eli Manning’s “Oops…I did it again” look. But even Eli made Britney look good after throwing three interceptions in a 24-17 defeat. Arizona’s defense is making as many plays as their offense and the Cardinals have finally shaken off that Super Bowl hangover.

And now a three-part story on the exciting games of week 7.

San Francisco 49ers v. Houston Texans

With a 21-0 halftime lead, Houston seemingly had this one wrapped up. Enter Alex Smith. The former no. 1 overall pick replaced Shaun Hill and came within a possession of leading what was once “his team”, before falling 24-21. An interception on their last drive’s fourth down shouldn’t overshadow Smith’s three TD passes – all to Vernon Davis. Did it just take him this long to “get it”? We’ll find out this week after Mike Singletary tabbed him as the team’s starter. I can’t forget to mention Crabtree’s debut. Five catches for 56 yards – for those of you scoring at home.

New Orleans Saints v. Miami Dolphins

It was the sexy upset pick of the week. And with a 24-3 second quarter Miami lead, it seemed like John Q. Public had dominated Vegas once again (not that I would condone such a thing – stay in school kids). But then Ted Ginn Jr. forgot how to catch and Drew Brees remembered how to throw, and the Saints scored 22 unanswered in the fourth quarter to win 46-34. New Orleans, now the lone unbeaten in the NFC, has proven it can score on anybody. Let’s just say they may find themselves back in Miami soon and it won’t – or shouldn’t – be on the links or at the salsa bar.

Minnesota Vikings v. Pittsburgh Steelers

For the sake of time – and the fact that I’m over 1500 words – let’s skip to the game’s final seven minutes. Down 13-10, Brett Favre held the ball loosely – like he always does – and Steelers’ Brett Keisel stripped Favre and watched as LaMarr Woodley, and his convoy of blockers, rumbled 77 yards for a score. Percy Harvin then took the following kickoff up the sideline and broke a menacing Jeff Reed tackle attempt, mind you, for a touchdown. Still down 20-17 in the final minutes, and fresh off Adrian Peterson trucking over William Gay – you have to see it – Favre threw a simple screen pass to Chester Taylor. But Taylor let the ball slip through his hands and fall into Keyaron Fox’s lap. Eighty-two yards the other way later and Pittsburgh had knocked Minnesota from the ranks of the unbeaten, 27-17.

Thus concludes another riveting, and yet depressing for many, NFL week. Until next time…