It was a feast or famine week in the NFL for most teams in Week 5. Some teams looked great in victory, some looked ugly in victory and some looked truly disastrous in defeat.
I hope you found that Miles Austin and Jeremy Maclin were available when you checked to see if they were on the waiver wire in your fantasy leagues this morning. And I also hope that you are in last place so you can pick one of them up or that the guy who is in last place has already given up and hasn’t checked his team since drafting Matt Forte second overall and starting the year 0-3.
Miles Austin caught a few passes and then ran all over, through, and aroundthe Kansas City Chief defense for 250 yards receiving on Sunday. Covering Austin must not have been high on Mike Vrabel’s to-do list this week when he and a few other Chief veterans took over practice after Head Coach Todd Haley pulled his coaching staff off the field because he was so frustrated with how poorly the team was practicing. Also not high on the Chief to-do list: tackling, taking the proper angle of pursuit, running fast, Gatorade baths for the coach.
Austin and the KC D made Tony Romo’s day. He just had to lob it out there and then sit back and watch his passing yards run down the field to an overtime win. Not a bad way to go. It sure beats trying to jam a ball into Sam Hurd with Champ Bailey covering him in the end zone on the last play of the game.
Haley chose to kick the PAT after Matt Cassel drove his team down the field for a TD with less than a minute remaining. Had he opted to go for 2 and been successful, the story today would have been a) Tom Brady’s former backup rallying his team late in the game and leading to them victory b) Tony Romo is terrible…blah blah blah…The Cowboys are terrible…TO somehow…There’s a huge screen in Dallas…Jerry Jones…Jessica Simpson…Wade Philips. But, Haley kicked it and then lost in OT so now we talk about Austin.
Jeremy Maclin in Philly hauled in 2 TD’s from Donovan McNabb to rack up 142 yards receiving. Missouri Tiger fans cheered on their alum while DeSean Jackson fantasy owners threw tantrums while watching him catch the ball once for a total three feet.
Roddy White had the other big WR game in Sunday’s games, going for 210 yards and 2 TD’s against the San Francisco 49ers, who looked more like the 2-14 2004 Niners than any of the teams from the Joe Montana or Steve Young years. Matt Ryan threw for 329 yards in that game and Michael Turner scored three times. Frank Gore sat out again with an ankle injury, not that it would have mattered had he played. Michael Crabtree is supposed to debut for San Fran in Week 7, after their Week 6 bye.
Do the bad teams in the NFL look worse than usual this season? Maybe that is just a thought that has been rattling around my brain the last few weeks. But it sure was reinforced and highlighted by these six games:
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Bucs
Oakland Raiders at New York Giants
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs
The six favorites (also the six teams who won) had a combined record of 20-5 coming into the weekend and the underdogs (the losers on Sunday) had a combine record of 2-22. The only favored team of those six playing at home was the Giants. After the weekend the winners are 26-5 and the losers are 2-28.
The Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Titans, and Rams could not combine the points they put up to beat the individual efforts of the Vikings, Giants, Atlanta Falcons or Seattle Seahawks. That’s four teams that scored more than the combined effort of those six teams, which was a blistering 35 points.
I would like to say that the Buffalo and Cleveland defenses were just so stout and beat up on each other so hard they held the offenses to a 6-3 final score, but that’s not remotely the case. Derek Anderson played the complete game on Sunday and completed only 2 of his 17 passes… and his team won! That’s about the same as when in pool you have all of your balls left on the table and your opponent scratches on the 8 ball to lose. You didn’t deserve to win, but you did.
2-17! This is the guy to whom Brady Quinn lost his job. When I was checking on my fantasy team Sunday afternoon, I was convinced that that stat must have been a typo or a mistake. No way can an NFL QB in a NFL offense with NFL wide receivers complete only 2 of 17 passes.
Also perplexing was that Oakland only threw the ball 13 times while getting trounced by the Giants 44-7. Coach Tom Cable clearly has more confidence in his right cross than he does in JaMarcus Russell. Keep in mind also that the team was playing without Darren McFadden at running back.
The Minnesota Vikings avoided faltering against a weak team after two back-to-back thrilling weeks. They jumped out to a 14-0 lead on St. Louis in the first half of the first quarter. Adrian Peterson scored twice, Brett Favre threw for a touchdown pass, and Jared Allen recovered two fumbles, returning one for a TD. Favre turned 40 last week and joins some punters and kickers in the 40+ club. Percy Harvin led the Vikings in receiving. Ram WR Donnie Avery scored a TD in the 4th on a pass from Kyle Boller to bring the Rams within 28 points and then celebrated with a solo dance in the end zone. His teammates apparently weren’t up for a TD dance down 28 points. Steven Jackson went for 84 yards on 21 carries but still hasn’t found the end zone yet this season.
Marc Bulger returned late in the game after Boller left with an injury. Bulger’s return to the field and the fact that Boller started again when Bulger was ready to play should create something of a QB controversy in St. Louis. The bigger controversy in St. Louis though is Rush Limbaugh’s bid to buy the Rams. Most shocking about this story is that someone actually wants to buy the St. Louis Rams.
Maybe James Carville and George Stephanopoulos are interested in the Raiders.
Big QB Days
Matt Hasselbeck returned from injury to throw for 4 TD’s in a Seattle Seahawk beat down of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I don’t get the Jags. They nearly beat the Colts in Week 1, then lost to Arizona in Week 2. They beat Houston and Tennessee after that to get to 2-2 and make people think that maybe they could put together a respectable season. Then they didn’t show up at all on Sunday and lost 41-0. Their season is kind of like the acting career of John Cusack. They won a few games, but other than that it’s been ugly. There was Say Anything, Being John Malkovich, and High Fidelity, and then there was everything that happened after that. In case you haven’t seen 20 or 30 previews for it, he is in a disaster movie (pun may or may not be intended) about the world ending in 2012. So don’t sweat not getting the Olympics in 2016, Chicago, they wouldn’t have happened anyway.
Peyton Manning threw for 300+ yards and 3 TD’s as the Colts took advantage of playing the Titans. Over the weekend I heard both Tony Dungy and Ron Jaworksi say that Manning is playing better than he ever has before. That could be scary. Manning’s career is kind of like Will Smith’s. Will Smith makes one movie a year and it’s a huge financial success, even if it is terrible or the ending doesn’t work or the twist in the middle is ridiculous or he looks hideous. Peyton Manning delivers every season – no matter who the cast around him is, who is directing the action or who is writing the script. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are 2nd and 3rd in the NFL in receiving yards and first year coach Jim Caldwell is undefeated thus far.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 3 TD’s against the Rams. Matthew Stafford was out with an injury. Daunte Culpepper threw for 282 yards in his place. Calvin Johnson left the game early with an injury that may or may not have been a knee scrape. Megatron’s status for Sunday against Green Bay is up in the air. Fast Willie Parker was Injured Willie Parker again on Sunday so Rashard Mendenhall did the leg work for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Eli Manning continues to throw Steve Smith’s way. Smith is leading the league in receiving yards and touchdowns. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw shared the ball carrying responsibilities but it was Bradshaw who scored twice and had three times as many yards per carry.
The Arizona Cardinals blew a 21 point halftime lead before Dominique Rogers-Cromartie returned a Matt Schaub interception back for a touchdown and a win near the end of regulation. Schaub threw for 371 yards on the day, including 101 yards and 2 TD’s to Andre Johnson. Kurt Warner also topped 300 yards and connected with his number 1 receiver for 2 TD’s. Larry Fitzgerald had 79 yards, including the TD’s. Steve Slaton and Owen Daniels both topped 90 yards of total offense for Houston and Anquan Boldin had 81 receiving yards for Arizona.
The legend of Chad Henne was born last night as the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 31-27 with 21 fourth quarter points against Rex Ryan’s Gang Green. Henne was 20-26 for 241 yards and 2 TD’s in an offense that is built for travel by truck or train instead of helicopter or airplane. Ted Ginn, Jr accidentally caught a long TD pass for Henne, who made just his second NFL start out of the University of Michigan. Ricky Williams blazed his way to 70 yards receiving and 68 yards rushing. The Dolphin Wildcat O produced 110 yards of offense.
Despite taking the loss, Jet fans have to be a little bit excited about Braylon Edwards and his 64 yards and 1 TD effort after being on the team for about 100 or so hours. Mark Sanchez should benefit from having that threat line up next to him in the coming weeks.
I was sitting with my wife watching a football game a few weeks ago and she was noticing that a lot of guys pat each other on the butt after a play or on the sideline. She found it strange and asked me why. I said I didn’t know, it’s just what guys do on the football field. This is an aspect of the game that goes unquestioned and mostly unnoticed. But what does not go unquestioned or unnoticed is Bill Belichek’s hugging habits after and before games.
Has any man’s hugs or handshakes been more analyzed and scrutinized than Bill Belichick’s? The talking heads on TV and the voices on the radio love talking about how this man hugs other men. First it was Eric Mangini and the hugs or handshakes after games when the Jets played the Patriots. This year it is the hug that Belichick shared with Bronco Head Coach Josh McDaniels before the game and the hug that they did not share after the game.
Is he sincere enough at the traditional mid-field Head Coaches handshake/man hug after every game? Does he blow them off? What kind of hug is it? Who does he hug and who doesn’t he hug?
I have a better question. Who cares? This is the sports equivalent to celebrity tabloids reporting an encounter between two rival heiresses at a Hollywood night club. Apparently both men and women love a good soap opera.
Josh McDaniels has taken over a volatile situation in Denver with a quarterback who looks like he dropped out of Stillwater. He reigned in Brandon Marshall and started the season 5-0 after beating his mentor and the New England Patriots. Tom Brady had a costly and uncharacteristic late game fumble. Randy Moss caught only one ball and it was an interception on a hail mary at the end of the first half.
You saw a lot of retro jerseys during the Week 5 games. This week’s item of the week is a retro look you can have of your own. Sorry, it’s not the Denver Bronco brown and yellow socks.