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.
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…
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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…