Things are beginning to snowball in the NFL. The Titans can’t buy a touchdown, much less a win. The Redskins are spiraling out of control. Tom Brady found his TD stroke, six times. The Saints keep winning. Brett Favre can’t lose. And Mark Sanchez just threw another interception. All in a day for the National Football League.
What an ugly week in the NFL. When I look back at the 13 games on Sunday, only the Ravens/Vikings game would I consider a good football game. Sure, there were a handful of other games that were tightly contested, but they were generally pretty ugly. I would put today’s games in the following categories:
Is it over yet?: Browns/Steelers, Lions/Packers, Cardinals/Seahawks
It may have been close, but I did the dishes instead: Chiefs/Redskins, Panthers/Buccaneers
Don’t show your face for a week: Eagles/Raiders, Titans/Patriots, Giants/Saints
Overtime drama with less excitement than the WNBA Playoffs: Bills/Jets, Rams/Jaguars
Settling for the girl with no teeth for fear of being alone: Texans/Bengals, Bears/Falcons
What’s this? A football game?: Ravens/Vikings
There are weeks in the NFL that are just strange. As mentioned above, this week would qualify because of all the poor play. If you have an elephant stomp on all that coal, you’ll find four very shiny diamonds. Quarterbacks, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Matt Schaub were unbelievable. Between the four of them, they combined for close to 1,500 yards, 17 TDs and only one interception. There were 33 quarterbacks that played on Sunday. The 29 others threw for a total of 20 TDs and 31 interceptions. That is amazing.
Speaking of amazing, the Browns/Steelers game epitomized pitiful football (Ok, maybe the Eagles take the cake today). Everyone knew how horrible Browns QB Derek Anderson was last week. Apparently, so did the Browns. The Browns ran a total of 14 plays throughout their first three possessions. Of those 14 plays, WR Joshua Cribbs played QB for 8 of them. On the third drive, he quarterbacked 6 of the team’s 7 plays. His stats: 0/2 0 yards and one interception. Anderson’s stats: 0/3 for 0 yards BUT 0 interceptions. The Browns are hopeless.
Later in the same game, there was a series of 12 consecutive plays in the 3rd quarter that saw the ball change possession via a turnover 5 times. It started with an interception thrown by Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. Four plays after that, Browns QB Derek Anderson fumbled the ball away. Two plays later, Steelers RB Willie Parker put the ball on the ground and the Browns recovered. Only four plays after Parker’s fumble, Anderson gave the ball back to the Steelers via another fumble. On the very next play, Steeler’s RB Rashard Mendenhall fumbled the ball. The Browns recovered. Twelve plays, 5 turnovers, less than 5 minutes of game time elapsed. Awesome. Call now to purchase your NFL Week 6 commemorative DVD. Hurry! If you call now, we’ll include a paper bag to place over your head! Call now, while supplies last!
The Carolina Panthers game winning drive was an impressive demonstration of how to close a game. The score was tied 21-21 with just under nine minutes to go. The Panthers drove 81 yards on a 16 play drive that chewed up eight minutes of the game clock. The most impressive aspect of the drive? Of those 16 plays, only one, ONE!, was a passing play. When you can close out a game by running over your opponent, you should win a lot of football games. I mentioned a few weeks ago that the Panthers need to find their running game and Steve Smith to return to their 2008 form. They got a little closer today. The formidable running back duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart returned today as each ran for over 100 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers defense, led by the resurgent Julius Peppers, is also finding its groove. The Saints are virtually uncatchable, but the Panthers could make some noise in the Wildcard if they stick to that winning formula; running game+Steve Smith+solid defense = victory.
That was impressive…
- Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw can dance. He broke Saints DB, Darren Sharper’s ankles on a 2nd quarter run.
- Jets RB Thomas Jones doesn’t get the publicity, but he’s one of the better backs in the NFL. He ran for over 200 yards today against a solid defense.
- Awesome one handed grabs by Packers WR Donald Driver (DB holding his other arm) and Texans TE Owen Daniels
- The Cardinals walked into Seattle and whipped the Seahawks for 60 minutes
- Steelers WR Hines Ward is still terrorizing defenses. I’m not sure how, but he’s first in the NFL in receiving yards.
- Browns KR/RB/WR/QB, Joshua Cribbs’ 98 yard kickoff return for a TD. He is a talented player and the most electrifying special teamer in the league.
- Saints QB Drew Brees completed 15 consectuive completions against the vaunted Giants defense
- The Texans, and especially Matt Schaub’s, ball fake on a 3rd quarter TD pass to WR Jacoby Jones
- Maurice Jones-Drew running over, through, and around another NFL defense
- SNOW!!! In mid-October nonetheless
- Brett Favre isn’t playing like an old man, at all. He bounced right up after getting laid-out by Ravens MLB Ray Lewis.
- Saints first half offense: 315 yards, 34 points, 12.4 yards/pass
- Patriots first half offense: 451 yards, 45 points, scored TD on 8/10 possessions
- Time of possession differential in the Lions/Packers contest: Packers 40:48, Lions 19:12
- You thought Drew Brees was good, Tom Brady threw 5 TDs in one quarter. In the snow.
- The Carolina Panthers found their running game: 267 rushing yards and a 5.6 per rush average.
- Rams DE Leonard Little’s interception returned for a TD.
- Joe Flacco completed a first down pass with 300+ pound DT Kevin Williams draped all over his back
- Ray Rice’s fourth quarter effort as he kept giving the Ravens opportunities to win. He reminds me of Brian Westbrook in the golden years; 77 rushing yards, 2 TD, 117 receiving yards, 10 receptions.
- The bottom feeders of the AFC West giving it to the NFC East this weekend.
Not so much…
- The Eagles tackling, or lack thereof, on Raiders TE Zach Miller’s 86 yard TD reception. I think Eagles LB Jeremiah Trotter still has Miller’s imprint on his chest.
- Bears RB Matt Forte fumbled on two consecutive plays inside the Falcons three yard line. He lost the second fumble.
- Tennessee Titan quarterbacks went 2/14 for -7 yards today. They also threw 2 interceptions and fumbled 3 times.
- Packers inability to score touchdowns.
- Everyone always talks about how much Matt Ryan plays like Peyton Manning. Ryan’s performance on Sunday night was not Peyton Manning-esque.
- David Akers missed two very makeable field goals. His misfires ultimately cost the Eagles the game.
- The Eagles had zero, ZERO total rushing yards in the first half.
- Giants RB Brandon Jacobs challenging Saints DT Remi Ayodele to a boxing match when the Giants were down 24 in the 4th quarter.
- Seattle Seahawks were down 14-0 before their offense even touched the ball.
- A lot of Eagles material here this week. Eagles offense after their first three drives; 11 plays, 9 total yards, 2 punts, missed FG, 2 sacks. Unfortunately, it never got much better.
- Texans RB Steve Slaton fumbling in the red zone in the 4th quarter as the Texans were looking to close out the Bengals…
- …Two plays later, Bengals TE J.P. Foschi fumbled it right back.
- Eli Manning looked like Eli Manning of the old days. He was afraid to get hit, rarely stepped up in the pocket, and made several poor decisions.
- The Giants and Ravens, whom boast their respective defenses, were down 14-0 early in the first quarter. By day’s end, they surrendered 81 combined points.
- NO GUS JOHNSON TODAY. I felt empty.
- Panthers CB Dante Wesley laying the wood on defenseless Buccaneer punt returner, Clifton Smith. The worst part was that Wesley acted as if he did nothing wrong.
- Washington Redskins. Offensive stats at 2 Minute Warning of the first half: 53 total yards, 1 fumble, 8:09 time of possession, 1/6 on third downs. The Nationals would outscore the Redskins right now.
- At what point do the Tennessee Titans just bring up the players from their triple and double A affiliates. They couldn’t do any worse than the Titan’s current players.
- The Bills/Jets game. Too many things to list, but that game was not pretty. Must mention the Jets threw 6 interceptions.
- Jay Cutler on Sunday Night Football, 0-2 this season with 6 interceptions.
Take that man to Chic-Fil-A
QB Tom Brady: 29/34 380 YDS, 6 TD
RB DeAngelo Williams: 30 Carries, 152 YDS, 2 TD
WR Wes Welker: 10 Rec, 150 YDS, 2 TD
WR Randy Moss: 8 Rec, 129 YDS, 3 TD
TE Owen Daniels: 7 Rec, 78 YDS, 2 TD
D Raiders: 9 Points Allowed, 6 Sacks, 283 YDS Allowed, 2/16 3rd Down Conversions
Probably should have stayed in bed
QB Mark Sanchez: 10/29 119 YDS, 5 INT
RB Matt Forte: 15 Carries, 23 YDS, 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)
WR Nate Washington: 1 Rec, -22 YDS, 0 TD
WR Steve Smith (Car.): 1 Rec 4 YDS, 0 TD
TE Daniel Coats & J.P. Foschi (Bengals): Combined 5 Rec, 38 YDS, 0 TD, 2 Fumbles (One each)
D Titans: 619 YDS Allowed, Surrendered 59 Points (45 in first half) Giants get off the hook, barely
I could be wrong, but I didn’t see Albert Haynesworth on the ground this week. Congratulations, Albert.
The Panthers won, but seriously, how hard is it to get the ball to Steve Smith?
If you’re playing the Vikings, somebody might want to pay attention to TE Visanthe Shiancoe inside the red zone. He’s Brett Favre’s newest version of Bubba Franks or Mark Chmura down there.
Jeremiah Trotter could tell you the last name of every skill position player on the Raiders offense. At some point throughout the game he was chasing each one of them. Did you notice that he was the one who over-committed on the critical third down conversion in the 4th quarter?
NFC South Quarterbacks hate Panthers linebacker Jon Beason. Since he called out teammate, Julius Peppers, Peppers has responded with the following over the last two games; 12 tackles, 5 for a loss, 4 sacks, and one forced fumble. Look out.
Vikings WR Sydney Rice is turning into a force in the NFL. He makes plays and isn’t afraid to go after the ball…
…this just in, Brett Favre likes his chances with Rice going one-on-one. If you didn’t get the game, CBS announcers Greg Gumble and Dan Dierdorf said this 386 times on Sunday.
The Bears need to solve that running game of theirs. Matt Forte has been downright bad. The lack of a running game is what is causing all the red zone turnover problems for the Bears. If a defense knows you can’t run in the red zone, you’ll have a lot of trouble scoring touchdowns.
The NFC East did a heck of a job of embarrassing themselves today. The Giants got smoked, the Eagles and Redskins looked terrible, and the Cowboys still employ Wade Phillips.
Points come in bunches in the latter part of some games. Through 51 minutes, the Rams and Jaguars scored a total of 16 points. In the final 15 minutes, the two teams combined for 27 points. Likewise, the Ravens and Vikings totaled 30 points in the first 49 minutes. In the final 11 minutes, the two teams put up 34 points.
Was that not the slowest spin move ever? You know which one I’m referring to. Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell trying to juke CB Sheldon Brown on a QB scramble. It was similar to watching Pat Burrell steal a base. It was that slow.
By the way, Giants LB, Antonio Pierce purposely insulted the Raiders after last week’s game. There is no doubt in my mind. He knew it would rile them up and make the Eagles day miserable. I’m sure he didn’t expect them to lose, but it worked.
It’s the little things that matter. I clapped loudly when Chiefs special teamer/WR Terrance Copper pinned the Redskins at their own three yard line late in the 4th quarter of a tie game. It was a great play to keep the ball out of the end zone.
The Giants and Ravens did not come out sharp this week. The Ravens picked themselves off the mat and almost pulled out an improbable win. The Giants, on the other hand, are still sniffing smelling salts.
This makes zero sense to me; Clinton Portis runs 78 yards to get the Redskins to the Chiefs 10 yard line. The Redskins then throw the ball the next three plays, all fell incomplete. Why not give the ball to your best offensive weapon there? If he’s gassed, give it to Ladell Betts. Your running game is your best option.
Big Losses Today: Bengals DE Antwan Odom and Seahawks LB Lofa Tatupu are out for the year. Jets DT Kris Jenkins is likely down for the year as well.
Eli Manning and the Giants offense just cut the Saints lead to 10. The Giants defense responded by allowing Brees and Co. to go on a 5 play, 61 yard, touchdown drive that was aided by 40 yards of Giant penalties.
I don’t understand why road underdogs leave points on the field. I understand that for most of those teams, their season is essentially over. However, carelessly going for it on fourth down is irresponsible. It simply confirms to your team that your season is over. Even though you won’t make the playoffs, you still want to prepare your team to play every week like it is a critical game and develop that mentality. Passing up field goals does not facilitate such development.
The Ravens defense is struggling. They’re in the bottom half of the league in nearly every statistical category.
Ok, Donovan, so we’re clear: Overtimes can end in a tie and you only have three timeouts per half. No, no, no, don’t get frustrated. Everyone struggles with these concepts. You’re making progress. You’ll get it soon enough.
It’s gotten so bad for Jim Zorn that I can’t even make fun of him this week. He does it for me.
I hate those SPRINT commercials.