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Tag:Detroit Lions
Posted on: November 3, 2011 4:25 pm
 

Lions fans don't want to see or hear Nickelback

Nickelback (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While we all can have our own tastes in music and individually decide whether certain groups should be playing at certain halftime shows*, I think we all can agree on one indisputable fact.

Nickelback should never be allowed to play anything anywhere.

*For instance, I ripped the selection of the Black Eyed Peas to play the halftime of last season’s Super Bowl, and in turn, I was ripped in the comments section.

And that’s exactly why a dude named Dennis Guttman has put together an online petition that begs asks the Lions to not employ the Canadian rock band to play the halftime show of the Nov. 24 Thanksgiving game against the Packers.

In the petition, Guttman writes, “Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback?!?!?! Does anyone even like Nickelback? Is this some sort of ploy to get people to leave their seats during halftime to spend money on alcoholic beverages and concessions? This is completely unfair to those of us who purchased tickets to the game. At least the people watching at home can mute their TVs.”

Or as another signer put it, “I don't want to be sitting around with my family and have to listen to even more annoying people.”

And really, how fair is this selection to Lions fans? For heaven's sake, they're still getting over the loss of the Booty Lounge. Haven't these people suffered enough?!?

Really, the only thing that could make the Nickelback selection somewhat palatable is if the band brought in Slash to play guitar. Or maybe not. Even using him in what turned out to be an underwhelming cameo, the Black Eyed Peas still managed to ruin halftime at the Super Bowl.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Suh, Goodell make up during meeting

SuhPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Ndamukong Suh had his meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, and he’s taken to his Facebook page to tell you all about it.

It seems to have gone very well indeed.

"I am very appreciative of the opportunity to sit and speak with the Commissioner and his staff to clarify a few questions about my play, and the game in general,” Suh wrote. “I have gained a better understanding how I need to play the game to help my team win.

“I look forward to the rest of the season and the doing everything we can to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Detroit."

Suh has been characterized as a dirty player (probably because he’s seemingly always trying to rip off the other quarterback’s face), and he’s been hit hard by fines -- which is why he asked to meet with Roger Goodell. He wanted to get clarification on why his style of play has led to so many personal fouls and fines. Now, apparently he’s got it.

“We appreciate that Ndamukong Suh, Coach (Jim) Schwartz, and team president Tom Lewand took the time to meet with us today,” Goodell said in a statement. “Ndamukong plays the game with great skill and passion and is a major reason for the Lions’ success this year. We reviewed video showing that he has clearly made the adjustments to play consistently within the rules so that he can continue to help the team. We commend Ndamukong’s leadership in taking the initiative to schedule today’s meeting.”

Glad to see Suh and the NFL are, once again, BFFs. Opposing quarterbacks can only hope those good feelings last.

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Posted on: November 1, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL Awards: Week 8



Posted by Will Brinson



Every week, our NFL experts will hand out the Eye on Football hardware to the best of the best from the NFL week that was.

Week 8 NFL Awards
Expert Offense Defense STeams Coach
Freeman  McCoy Houston Peterson  Reid
Judge Jackson  Dareus Peterson Tomlin
Prisco  McCoy  Long Peterson Spags
Brinson  McCoy  Long Peterson Spags
Katzowitz Jackson Taylor Peterson Frazier
Wilson  McCoy Woodley Peterson Spags
Week 8's in the books and we're (almost/kind of) halfway home in the 2011 NFL season. Let's get to the hardware.

LeSean McCoy might have stayed in the game too long -- he was carrying the rock with the Eagles up a lot of points -- but it worked out for him here, as he nudged out the Rams Steven Jackson for our Eye on Offense Award, thanks to 185 rushing yards.

Chris Long clotheslined his way to the Eye on Defense Award, thanks to a trifecta of sacks against Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a stunning upset.

Long's coach Steve Spagnuolo was rewarded as well, as his gameplan against New Orleans, despite being horribly overmatched, resulted in the least predictable win of the NFL season thus far.

And rookie Patrick Peterson, though his team lost, picked up the Eye on Special Teams Award for his beasty 82-yard touchdown return.

Leave your votes in the comments below or scream angrily at us on Twitter @EyeOnNFL.

Eye on Offense Award
Mike Freeman Clark Judge
LeSean McCoy LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
The Cowboys allegedly had the top-ranked rushing defense. Then McCoy got a hold of it on Sunday night and by the time he was done with it left totally humiliated. McCoy had 30 carries for 185 yards and two scores. It was stunning to watch. The offensive line play, the play calling, the cutback running. The Cowboys are still licking their wounds.
Steven JacksonSteven Jackson, RB, Rams
First, he tells teammates what it will take to beat New Orleans. Then he demonstrates it, running for 159 yards and scoring twice in a stunning upset. Jackson is a terrific player on a not-so-terrific team, and it's games like this where we're reminded just how good the guy can be.
Pete Prisco Will Brinson
LeSean McCoy LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
He rushed for 185 yards on 30 carries and scored two touchdown in the Eagles' rout of the Cowboys. His 6.2 per-rush average is what really impresses me. McCoy is having an Offensive Player of the Year type of season.
LeSean McCoyLeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
McCoy took advantage of a brilliant gameplan by Andy Reid (let Dallas' rushers get upfield and then cut Shady loose) for a career day, and he's now the only player in the NFL to score a TD in every game, after rolling for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Katzowitz Ryan Wilson
Steven JacksonSteven Jackson, RB, Rams
He was such a big part of getting the Rams off the schneid, I’d be foolish not to recognize him. From recovering teammates’ fumbles to rushing for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, Jackson did it all. He caught passes, he gained yards, he yelled at teammates. And most impressively, he helped lead St. Louis to a huge win against the Saints without the contributions of Sam Bradford
LeSean McCoy LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
The combination of the Eagles bye week, a renewed focus on the running game and Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan flapping his gums created a perfect storm that took the shape of Shady McCoy. Eight weeks into the season and the Eagles finally look like … the Dream Team. Maybe Andy Reid should serious consideration to, you know, committing to the running game.
Eye on Defense Award
Freeman Judge
Chris HoustonChris Houston, CB, Lions
Did his part to end the phony quarterback candicacy of Tim Tebow with a 100-yard interception return for a score. Houston did not "Tebow" which was good. No need to rub it in.
Marcel Dareus Marcel Dareus, DT, Bills
Now you know why the Bills took this guy with the third pick. It was a no-brainer. They wanted someone to plug the middle of the league's worst run defense, and Dareus is that someone. He had two-and-a-half sacks and three quarterbacks hits in Buffalo's rout of Washington, the first time Mike Shanahan has been shut out in the NFL.
Prisco Brinson
Chris LongChris Long, DE, Rams
He had three sacks against the Saints and spent the day in the backfield. Long is a relentless player who plays hard all the time, and that showed up against the Saints. He's getting better every year.
Chris LongChris Long, DE, Rams
Howie's kid was the cog in a Rams defense that quite unexpectedly shocked the world in their beatdown of the Saints, piling up three sacks on Drew Brees, including a third clothesline-like blow that's as brutal a sack as I've seen in a while.
Katzowitz Wilson
Ike Taylor Ike Taylor, CB, Steelers
There were others around the league with more impressive games. Guys who had big sack totals, those who mocked  the opposing quarterback. But Taylor was such a huge key in shutting down New England’s Wes Welker in the Steelers win. Welker was limited to six catches for 39 yards, his lowest output since Week 16 of last year, and Taylor was to blame.
LaMarr Woodley LaMarr Woodley, LB, Steelers
He only played two and a half quarters, but in that time he managed to harass Tom Brady into plenty of hurried throws, many of which were off target, and not more than 10 yards downfield. Woodley also had two sacks, giving him nine for the year, a total made even more impressive given that he had just 1.5 sacks through the first month of the season.
Eye on Special Teams Award
Freeman Judge
Patrick PetersonPatrick Peterson, WR/KR, Cardinals
An 82-yard punt return was one of several keys that sparked the biggest comeback in Baltimore Ravens history. If it wasn't for Peterson, Joe Flacco might still be getting booed. (Yes, I'm being a smartass.)
Patrick Peterson Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
For the second time this season he returns a punt for a touchdown, and while it wasn't enough to beat Baltimore it was enough to make the game interesting. Peterson is a special talent, with some regarding him as the best player in this year's draft. Peterson will be a premier cornerback. For now, he's a premier return specialist.
Prisco Brinson
Patrick PetersonPatrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
He returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown against the Ravens, giving Arizona a 24-3 lead. They didn't hold on, but he still gets this award.
Patrick PetersonPatrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
Peterson became just the third rookie in NFL history to return two kicks of 80+ yards in a single season (Devin Hester and Craig Yeast are the others) with his ridiculous 82-yard TD return against the Ravens. A standout rookie in a fabulous rookie class.
Katzowitz Wilson
Patrick Peterson Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
Those who watched Peterson take a Ravens punt return back 82 yards for the touchdown won’t soon forget how easy the rookie first-round draft pick made it look. He looked so smooth, accelerating up the middle of the field and breaking five Baltimore tackles, that it was enough for me to award him this honor on the strength of just one play.
Patrick Peterson Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, Cardinals
He's still developing as a CB, but his ability on special teams is what makes him so dangerous. He shed five would-be tacklers on his touchdown return against the Ravens, and these weren't whiffed tackles. These were Ravens players who went from Peterson's shoulder pads, to his waste to his knees before ending up on the turf wondering what happened. It's too bad Peterson can't play quarterback, too.
Eye on Coaching Award
Freeman Judge
Andy ReidAndy Reid, HC, Eagles
Moved to 13-0 after bye weeks. Think about that for a moment. Here's a bye week. There's Andy Reid. Bye week + Reid = Win. There is no bigger guarantee in the NFL other than the Dolphins losing.

Mike Munchak Mike Tomlin, Steelers
He found a way to beat arch-nemesis New England ... er Tom Brady ... by remaining patient with his offensive game plan, controlling the clock and keeping Brady off the field. On defense, the Steelers were in man-to-man defense 70 percent of the time, bottling up Brady's receivers at the line, before unleashing the attack dogs on third down. Perfect.
Prisco Brinson
Steve SpagnuoloSteve Spagnuolo, HC, Rams
His team was 14-point dogs to the Saints on a day they were playing without their starting quarterback. So what happens? They dominate the game. They ran it, played good defense, and pulled off the upset for their first victory of the season. Who else can ever be mentioned here?   
Steve SpagnuoloSteve Spagnuolo, HC, Rams
There was zero chance the Rams were winning this game, against the high-scoring Saints and without quarterback Sam Bradford. But Spags designed a defensive attack that smothered Drew Brees, and he was smart enough to hand the ball to an inspired running back in Steven Jackson.
Katzowitz Wilson
Jim Schwartz Leslie Frazier, HC, Vikings
Just for the simple fact that Frazier recognized that Christian Ponder would provide a spark to his teamand replaced Donovan McNabb with Ponder as the starting quarterback. Sure, Mike Shanahan can tell you it wasn’t an unprecedented decision, but after beating the Panthers, it seemed like it came at the perfect time.
Steve Spagnuolo Steve Spagnuolo, HC, Rams
The man beat Drew Brees and one of the league's best offenses with a defense that is without its top four cornerbacks. And the Rams' offense was led not by Sam Bradford by by A.J. Feeley. In fact, we should name the award after Spagnuolo.


Posted on: November 1, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 6:50 am
 

Esiason: there's 'no respect for Tebow as the QB'

Esiason: "I don’t believe that Tim Tebow knows what he’s doing on the football field." (AP)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There is no middle ground with Tim Tebow. Everybody agrees that he's a great person with an impressive college resume, but with each start, it's also evident that he's not an NFL quarterback. Not yet and maybe never. After a dreadful effort against the Lions on Sunday, the media scrutiny has intensified (turns out, it's possible). The latest to weigh in: Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, who works as an analyst for CBS' The NFL Today and also hosts a radio show on WFAN.

“(Starting Tebow) is a bad move for two reasons,” Esiason said Monday, via CBS New York (listen to the audio here). “One is, I don’t believe that Tim Tebow knows what he’s doing on the football field. … Number two, those hits that are coming his way are coming with authority. Meaning that players are out to get him.”

Esiason, who before the season was critical of Tebow's prospects as an NFL quarterback, said that Tebow Mania may have unwittingly made him a target.

Tebowing
“The mocking by the Detroit Lions and all the talk after the game and all that other stuff leads me to believe that people are after him,” he said.

“In all the years that I’ve covered and played in professional football, I have never seen a team like the Detroit Lions do what they did last week,” Esiason said. “It just means that there’s no respect for Tim Tebow as the quarterback. And they want to make sure that when they play him, they want to show that to the world that Tim Tebow can not play in this league at this position.”

Esiason's not wrong. After the game, an unnamed Lions player told Yahoo.com's Michael Silver that Tebow was a joke.

“Can you believe No. 15 [Tebow]? Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’”

And ESPN analyst Merril Hoge, one of Tebow's biggest critics, echoed many of the sentiments Esiason brought up.

"And watching last week's tape, the thing that was most disturbing was his ability to not understand where the ball has to go. His [lack of] awareness is mind-boggling to me," Hoge said Monday.


Tebow gets Tebow'ned by Lions LB Stephen Tulloch.

Back in August, when John Fox named Kyle Orton the Broncos' starter and said that Tebow had a long way to go, Esiason told USA Today what many people were thinking.

"He can't play. He can't throw. … I'm not here to insult him. The reality is he was a great college football player, maybe the greatest college football player of his time. But he's not an NFL quarterback right now. Just because he's God-fearing, and a great person off the field, and was a winner with the team that had the best athletes in college football, doesn't mean his game is going to translate to the NFL."

Through two and a half games, Esiason's been proven right. Tebow is a great human being and a Heisman Trophy winner. But he's not a competent NFL quarterback. Maybe that changes, but for now, he looks lost. And things don't look to get any easier; the Broncos head to Oakland on Sunday and Fox said Tebow will be his starter. Beyond that? Who knows.


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Posted on: October 31, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 8: The train has derailed



Posted by Ryan Wilson

When we started Tracking Tebow back in August, we'd figure it would be something to pass the time during the preseason, before Tim Tebow took his place on the bench next to BradyQuinn and behind Kyle Orton. We made this leap based on head coach John Fox saying that Orton was his starter and Tebow wasn't ready.

Five weeks later and everything changed. Actually, all that seemed to change is that Fox caved to public pressure to give Tebow a shot. Admittedly, Orton had been awful, and Denver had nothing to lose by throwing Tebow out there, but it still made Fox look indecisive and out of sorts, not exactly attributes you want in a coach, much less one in his first year in the job.

Tebowing

But there's also this: Fox inherited this roster from Josh McDaniels, who so mismanaged the Broncos' personnel situation that it could set them back for years. Of all McDaniels' decisions, the worst may have been shipping Jay Cutler to Chicago for Orton and picks, and then trading up in the 2010 draft to take Tebow (honorable mention: trading Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn). Fox has three quarterbacks on the roster, none that he likes, and with the season already lost, he's going to see what he's got (though we suspect he already knows).

Clearly, Orton has shown that he can be a competent NFL quarterback, but his contract is up after season. After he stumbled through the first month of the season, Fox gave Tebow an opportunity on the off chance that Tebow might redefine what it means to win ugly. The finishes against the Chargers and the Dolphins only exacerbated Tebow Mania. But against the Lions Sunday, Tebow, as the Denver Post described him afterward, looked like "the worst quarterback" in the league. That may not be what you want to hear if you're the Broncos ... but it's not far from the truth, either.

Does Tebow deserve all the criticism coming his way? No, of course not. Just like he didn't deserve the over-the-top praise he got after the Dolphins' win. But here's the thing: like it or not, he's the face of the Broncos, at least for now. Part of the deal when you become an NFL starting quarterback is that the media scrutiny can be intense. The payoff: do well, lead your team to the playoffs, and everybody loves you. The downside: pretty much what Tebow is going through now.


We watched every snap Tebow took Sunday and while the opponents change, the results remain the same. Namely: Tebow continues to struggle with identifying coverages, going through his progressions, and getting the ball out of his hands on time. Couple that with average arm strength, poor mechanics and inaccuracy issues, and you get a lot of bad football. His line against Detroit: 18 of 39 for 172 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, and 10 rushes for 63 yards. Denver lost, 45-10, and it was somehow more of a blowout than the final indicates.

In a week, we've gone from "Tebow: the Winner!" to "Tebow: What the What?!" Who knows how this story ends, but there will be plenty of time for that. For now, here's a play-by-play look at Tebow's performance against the Lions.


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: You can view the play-by-play breakdown spreadsheet here)




                                                        Quotes



“Can you believe No. 15 (Tebow)? Come on – that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on – that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’” - Anonymous Lions defender to Yahoo.com's Michael Silver

"It's too early to say. I haven't even had a shower yet, let alone looked at that tape. But we'll look at it and make changes where we see they are needed. We've definitely got to get better." - Coach John Fox when asked if Tebow would remain Denver's starting QB

"I think there are a few things (Tebow) can get better (at). The majority you can't correct. We've documented his accuracy, his elongated motion. … And watching last week's tape, the thing that was most disturbing was his ability to not understand where the ball has to go. His (lack of) awareness is mind-boggling to me. … The accuracy, that's not going to change. When you have the pocket, and you have the ability to get rid of the football, but you're unaware of where the ball's going to go, that disturbs me more (than the other issues)." - ESPN analyst and Tebow critic, Merril Hoge

"I like Tebow but that was pathetic. That wasn't a resemblance of an NFL quarterback. It's not all on him -- no running game, no blocking, no nothing (but) Detroit's defense isn't that darn good to put up numbers like that. That was crazy." - NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders.


                                                   Audio-Visual



Here's a sullen Tebow after the game:


The Detroit Lions (6-2) sacked Tim Tebow seven times and turned his two turnovers into touchdowns as they snapped a two-game skid with a 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

A week ago Tebowing was cute (Tim was for it!). Now … not so much:


Tebow gets Tebow'ned by Lions LB Stephen Tulloch.


                                                   Action Shots



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RSS Feed.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:13 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 4:29 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 8

Posted by Will Brinson



Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 8 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.



1. Denver Gets Tebowned
The past week was full of far too much talk about Tim Tebow, leader of men, winner of games and erstwhile quarterback-at-large. The Broncos quarterback even got his own meme -- Tebowing. And call me crazy, but I don't think any of this attention and chatter and one-knee posing sat to well with the Detroit Lions, who rolled into Mile High Stadium on Sunday and delivered a 45-10 beatdown on the Flying Tebows.

But it wasn't enough for Detroit, coming off two-straight losses with their playoff-contender status potentially wobbling, to simply sack Tebow seven times and limit him to 172 passing yards and 63 rushing yards, most of which was well after the Lions victory was in hand.

No, they made things personal, mocking Tebow's pose several times through the course of the game. First there was Stephen Tulloch Tebowing directly behind Tebow immediately after sacking Tebow.



It was a marvelous moment of meme-worthy irony that would make Xzibit proud. But it didn't end there. Tight end Tony Scheffler caught a pass from Matthew Stafford and busted out Tebow's "celebration" too.

Of course, the Lions aren't saying they were coming after Tebow -- after the game Tulloch said that "it's just fun, no disrespect" meant with his celebration, and that he even told Tebow as much. Tulloch had an even better point, though, when he was asked about all the hype that surrounds the former Florida Gator.

"It’s not his fault; it’s the media that gives him that hype," Tulloch said.

This is true, and it's really the most important thing to mention when talking about Tebow right now, because the debate as to whether or not he's good isn't a debate -- it's one-sided argument with some people using intangible and inconsequential analysis to try and support Tebow under center.

Tebow's failure to be a good quarterback isn't on him. I mean, ultimately, it is him that decides whether or not he succeeds, of course. But the only reason people are up in arms about his shortcomings as a quarterback is that too much is made out of whether not he can be a quarterback.

We saw this same thing happen with Cam Newton, who was the talk of every single NFL conversation during an offseason that featured furious debate about whether or not he could succeed. Now he's succeeding and Cam -- in terms of loud, screaming media scrutiny -- is on the backburner.

Yes, that's right. Cam's success made him less of a focus for the media. There's no one forcing themselves to doubt his ego and character in the face of folks who trump his athleticism and win-loss record. In short, it's the complete opposite of Tebow, who's continued lack of statistical -- if not empirical -- success still manages to generate a substantial amount of debate in the media.

Which is pretty unfortunate for him.

2. Steeling the AFC
For the first few weeks of the season, a lot was made of the Pittsburgh Steelers and their crumbling dynasty and "old" defense. As it turns out, Phil Simms was spot-on when he told Warren Sapp that his comments were a "tremendous over reaction." And if Sapp didn't believe Simms in Week 2, he should certainly believe him after Pittsburgh shredded New England 25-17.

The score doesn't tell the full story of this game, either, because the Steelers were certainly more than eight points better than the Patriots on Sunday. They held the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game (their time of possession, 39:22, dwarfed the Patriots 20:38) and out-Pats-ed the Pats, as Ben Roethlisberger utilized all of his available options and a ball-control passing attack to keep the rock out of Tom Brady's hands.

Pittsburgh was dominant on defense too, even if the Steelers looked a little less devastating when LaMarr Woodley left with a hamstring injury that could keep him out against the Ravens on Sunday night in Week 9. Brady was fairly efficient, completing 24 of his 35 passes, but he only managed 198 yards, good for 8.25 yards per completion, more than five yards off his season average of 13.5.

So who's the best team in the AFC now? Well, it's not the Ravens at the moment. Even with Brady under center it's hard to give the Pats the nod with their secondary so depleted. And I'm not quite ready to shove all my chips in the center of Chan Gailey's table. Pittsburgh, though, if they can stay healthy on defense, showed Sunday exactly why they're probably the best bet to repeat their success in 2010.

3. Nine Times? Nine Times
It's pretty hard to believe that since Mike Shanahan became offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Raiders in 1985, he was never shut out by an opposing defense until October of 2011 against Buffalo ... in Toronto. (Can you imagine if he went back in time and told 1985 Mike Shanahan that? I'd definitely pay upwards of $5,000 for a YouTube of 85 Shanny's reaction.)

Then again, it's unfathomable that the Redskins head coach would come into the 2011 season expecting the duo of John Beck and Rex Grossman to lead Washington to the promised land. Because it's not happening. We talked about it last week and the story's still the same -- Beck and Grossman aren't going to get it done, but there's not a whole lot Washington can do to change that right now.

As Pete Prisco wrote Sunday from Toronto, the Bills no-name roster continuing to impress with All-Pro performances is the real story. But, really, again, how on Earth did Shanahan think that he'd end up winning this year with Grossman and Beck? And how can anyone be optimistic about Beck after he's thrown up stinkbombs against the Panthers and Bills who just aren't that good on defense?

Buffalo sacked him nine times on Sunday, and as Ed Rooney will tell you, that's too many.

I follow a lot of Redskins fans on Twitter (and also a lot of Bears fans, but I didn't realize that until they started getting all Fake Jay Cutler on me during the Panthers game), and it was borderline depressing to follow the game through that virtual medium on Sunday.

It's pretty clear that the quarterback situation is the direct result of this year's hopelessness amongst the D.C. faithful -- and can you blame them? When the option of benching your best quarterback is technically benching your backup so you can go back to starting Rex Grossman, you have a serious problem on your hands.

Unfortunately for Shanahan, neither the Colts or the Dolphins are going to trade him that top-overall pick. So here's hoping Matt Barkley really is good.

4. All Hyped Up
All season long, everyone's based the Eagles for their "Dream Team" nickname that was entirely inapplicable. So it seems only fair, after watching Philadelphia dismember Dallas 34-7 on Sunday night, to give credit where credit's due.

For starters, kudos to Andy Reid for clearly outcoaching Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan and running his record after a bye week to a ridiculous 13-0. Props to Michael Vick, who looked comfortable all night long en route to an incredibly efficient 21/28, 279 passing yard night. It probably didn't hurt him much that LeSean McCoy piled up 185 yards on 30 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

Of course, it probably didn't hurt him to get left tackle Jason Peters back on the field. Or for Philly to have an early 14-point lead, forcing Dallas to chase Vick and giving McCoy a ridiculous amount of space to get his joystick-like moves on.

This is precisely what the Eagles imagined for their team when the season began -- an athletic, big-play offense that's capable of exploding to the end zone at any moment and a defense that eliminates the opponent's passing game.

Considering that 68 of Reid's career wins (and one tie!) have come after Halloween over the course of his career, it's not crazy to think that the Eagles -- at 3-4 and now tied for both second and last place in the NFC East -- could end up winning the division.

5. Rams Over Saints
For the Rams sake, it seems like it might be smart to trot Tony LaRussa and the World Series champion Cardinals out to every home game.

But it was the Cards appearance, not LaRussa's wardrobe, at the Edward Jones Dome that inspired the Rams to rise up and knock off the Saints in a 31-21 shocker on Sunday.

"I think the Cardinals being here was great for the city," running back Steven Jackson said. "Whoever showed up today, regardless if the place was empty, today was the day.

"We came out with a mindset we were going to fight."

Because of the particular circumstances leading up to this game -- Sam Bradford out, Saints coming a 62-point outing, Rams being terrible, Al Harris being older than Rafael Furcal (no, really, it's true) -- there was zero reason to think St. Louis could cover the two-touchdown spread, much less win.

But Jackson was inspired, piling up 159 yards on 25 bruising carries. And the Rams defense was even better, limiting Brees from the start and sacking him six times. (Although I wouldn't be opposed to crediting them with just five sacks since Chris Long's third sack probably qualifies more as something you'd see in the WWE ring.)

There's no reason to get carried away and expect the Rams to start making a run in the NFC West, but take a look at their schedule. They've played some really tough teams to get to 1-6 and the schedule gets really, really, really easy from here on out, matchups against San Francisco, Cincy and Pittsburgh notwithstanding.

Or they could stop playing football and just sell tickets to see LaRussa try on Sam Bradford jerseys. I'd be fine with that too.

6. Bengals emerge
Ryan Wilson and I said before the season that the Bengals, by virtue of a puff-pastry-filled early-season schedule, could start out hot and win a few more games than anyone expected. They've done just that after a dominant 34-12 win in Seattle on Sunday moved them to 5-2.

Everyone is surprised ... except the Bengals. Naturally.

"To the people on the outside, they may be surprised and what not," cornerback Leon Hall said. "Every season we come in expecting to win. Just hopefully, we've got some big games coming up, so we execute in those games."

Hall's speaking to the widely-held belief that the Bengals will fade with  Baltimore and Pittsburgh showing up on the sked twice each in the second half of the season. That might be presumptuous, though, because this Bengals team is quietly becoming legit.

Beating the Seahawks doesn't exactly make them the Super Bowl favorites or anything, but their success is coming with a pretty simple formula that's been forgotten in this day of high-scoring NFL games: defense.

Lest you forget, the Jets made the AFC Championship game two years ago with a rookie quarterback, a stout running game and the best defense in the NFL. The Bengals aren't as good on the ground as the Jets (or even close really) and not as good on defense, but Andy Dalton's better than Mark Sanchez and A.J. Green's better than any of the receiving options the Jets had then.

Cincinnati's top-five defense will get a couple bigger tests soon in the form of the Steelers, the Ravens and a game against the Texans, but the Bengals also get the Titans, the Browns, the Rams and the Cardinals the rest of the way home.

Which means there's actually a decent chance they get to double-digit victories and one of the more shocking playoff berths we've seen in a while.

7. Ponder Wins the Weinke Bowl
The differences in Cam Newton and Christian Ponder are pretty obvious right? Their physical stature, their style of play, their respective hype coming out of college, their expectations once they were drafted ... all very different.

But they have one common thread -- they were both tutored by Chris Weinke, former Florida State and Carolina Panthers quarterback.

Ponder won their first matchup 24-21, thanks to a 31-yard honk by Olindo Mare at the end of regulation field goal that was setup by a penalty-flag honk on a holding call against Steve Smith after Cam Newton scrambled for a first down.

"I got a few texts saying already in the HD it didn't look too bad," Smith said of the official's call. "For a 70-year-old man gimping down the field, I guess that's what he saw."

Hilarious. And also probably a statement that will get Smith some kind of fine. From my vantage point, it was surprising, but not entirely unjustifiable to nail Smith with the yellow flag on the play. It shouldn't have mattered though, because as Newton pointed out after the game, the Panthers didn't do enough earlier in the game to take advantage of a game they should have won.

Once again, the problem really became that they can't stop anyone who resembles a physical running back. Adrian Peterson, who led the Vikings with 86 rushing yards and 76 receiving yards, is the definition of a physical running back, and he had his way with the Panthers defense, who let the Vikings convert seven of their 14 first downs (the Panthers came into the game ranking 29th in the NFL, allowing opponents to convert 45.5 percent of their third downs).

And when you can't stop the other team's offense and your own offense stalls out for several consecutive drives in the second half, it makes winning games hard. Newton was brilliant again, and even though the Panthers are losing, fans aren't exactly getting upset at it. The future is bright.

It's bright in Minnesota too, and it kind of makes you wonder what took Leslie Frazier so long to hand Ponder the reigns. Maybe he should have called Weinke and gotten his opinion first.

8. Fast Learners
Speaking of common threads, how about six of the top seven players in the 2011 NFL Draft coming from the SEC and making an immediate impact on the NFL as rookies?

Newton (Auburn), Marcel Dareus (Alabama), A.J. Green (Georgia), Patrick Peterson (LSU) and Julio Jones (Alabama) all hail from college football's best conference and all have put a serious footprint on the league through eight weeks. Hell, on Sunday, Newton threw three touchdowns, Dareus had 2.5 sacks, Green caught a(nother) touchdown, and Peterson returned a(nother) punt 82 yards.

To take it a step further, and move away from the SEC, it looks like this year's first-round rookies are going to be a pretty damn good crop. Ponder's clearly an upgrade for Minnesota, Ryan Kerrigan's been tremendous in Washington, Robert Quinn's coming on strong for St. Louis, J.J. Watt's a day-one starter for Houston, Aldon Smith is wrecking shop for San Francisco ... and so on and so forth.

It's early -- like eight weeks early -- but it's hard to find a slam-dunk bust in the top 10 of the draft like we've seen seen the past few years. We'll know more by season's end, but the point being is that it's an incredibly impressive performance by this rookie class on such short notice.

Or maybe the lesson is to just avoid drafting for need and grab anyone who played in the SEC.

9. Needing a New Nickname
Chris Johnson is often called "CJ2K" as an homage to his 2,006 yards rushing in 2009. His performance in 2011, coming off a contract dispute, is an insult to the letter K. And perhaps the number 2.

Certainly, it's insulting to Titans fans who had to watch him grind out 34 yards on 14 carries in Tennessee's 27-10 win over Indy Sunday.

Oh and speaking of insults, what's worse for Johnson? That Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said Johnson reminds him of Hassy's old Seattle teammate Shaun Alexander, or that Mike Munchak is having him split carries with Javon Ringer?

"The running game hasn't been where we wanted it to be all year, so I guess they just trying new things," Johnson said.

I mean, does this guy care? Because it always seemed like he might care -- there are certain guys in sports that seem as if once they get paid, they're going to reduce the amount of effort they put forth. We saw this with Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins; everyone except Dan Snyder saw his lack of effort coming.

But Johnson always seemed motivated by people who questioned his ability to be a full-time NFL running back. Maybe he's still motivated and just isn't in game shape yet, but his refusal to take accountability for a holdout followed by a monster contract followed by what is easily the worst season by a running back in the NFL this year is disappointing to say the least.

10. Upset Sunday Gets Upset
The Rams taking down the Saints is obviously a big deal. Perhaps the biggest, considering the Rams were two-touchdown dogs at home. But the early goings of Sunday's action had a lot of potential for upsets, with the Ravens losing big to the Cardinals and the Giants struggling against the winless Dolphins.

Both New York and Baltimore came back to win, but the inconsistency they've both shown against mediocre teams this year is terrifying for their fans. The Ravens looked like they might lose to the Cardinal and Jaguars in less than seven days and the Giants aren't that far removed from getting beat by the Seahawks in their home stadium.

And there's one thing they have in common: inconsistent quarterback play.

Both Joe Flacco and Eli Manning are elite-level talents with big arms. Both guys are capable of great performances. But both guys are equally capable of shooting their teams out of games.

Ken Wisenhunt and Tony Sparano deserve credit for getting their undermanned squads ready to play. Particularly Sparano, since I refuse to believe that this scene didn't unfold in the Dolphins locker room before the game Sunday:



(Yeah that's right, I'm only one Teen Wolf reference away from the trifecta.)

Anyway, the point is that Manning and Flacco scare me. As Clark Judge noted, Manning's been great at times this year, but he's absolutely capable of doing what he did against the Seahawks and tossing three picks. Flacco's more concerning, of course, because he's shown zero consistency this season, and has tended to play down to the opposition (Tennessee, Jacksonville, Arizona are all good examples).

The upside of being inconsistent and talented, though, is that you can make big throws. And both guys did that late on Sunday to help their team win. They just need to show up with more regularity if they expect either squad to make it a deep run this year.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Reggie Bush recorded his second career 100-yard rushing game Sunday. Both of them came against the Giants.
... LeSean McCoy is now the only NFL player to score a touchdown in every game this season.
... Teams coming off a bye this week were 5-1. So much for that theory about being at a disadvantage.
... The Bills are the eighth team in NFL history to start a season 4-0 at home a year after starting the season 0-4 at home.
... Calvin Johnson joins Randy Moss (2007, Pats) as the only players since 1970 to record 11 touchdown catches in their first eight games of the season.
... Five times a team's come back from 20 points to win this year -- most in NFL history.
... Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan are the only quarterbacks with five 250-yard passing games in their rookie season.
... Drew Brees somehow kept his TD streak alive and now has a touchdown pass in 35 consecutive games. Johnny Unitas has the record at 47.
... Patrick Peterson joined Devin Hester and Craig Yeast as the only rookies with more than one 80+ yard return touchdown in a season

Worth 1,000 Words



Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Isane of the Week
"No one is "Tanking the season"...that's absurd conspiracy theory mumblings...Suck4Luck doesn't exist n Indy"

Suck for Luck counts as a pop-culture reference right? Whatever, at this point Colts fans want the team to finish dead last right?

GIF O' THE WEEK
I could watch fat men lateraling the football for hours.



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Tony Sparano -- Great effort from Miami, but they came up short. Again.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- Tough to see that comeback by the Ravens and not get discouraged.
  • Norv Turner -- Unless he wins on Monday.
  • Mike Shanahan -- That 4-12 thing looks more realistic than it did last week doesn't it?
  • Jim Caldwell -- Charley Casserly said he's locked but I dunno.
Chasing Andrew Luck
Colts (-600): They're clearly the NFL's worst team in 2011 ...
Dolphins (-500): But they're in a harder division.
Cardinals (-300): Season. Unraveling.
Rams (-250): Hope!

MVP Watch
Aaron Rodgers somehow picked up some more space on his bye week -- Tom Brady's poor performance separates the Packers quarterback even further. Once again, though, we need to mention Fred Jackson as a viable MVP candidate (though he won't get votes). LeSean McCoy could get some run if the Eagles really get hot.
Posted on: October 30, 2011 6:41 pm
 

NFL: Suh meeting 'in the works' for a while

Posted by Will Brinson



Earlier Sunday, we mentioned that Ndamukong Suh requested a meeting with the league office (you can read all about in our GameDay Pulse, which is really where you should be kicking it every Sunday).

Even though we believed Suh simply wanted to make sure he and the league were on the same page insofar as on-field behavior and the resulting discipline goes, it was still a little odd. So it's nice to get some clarification from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

"Commissioner Goodell and his staff have had many meetings with players, both individually and in groups," Aiello said in an email to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. "This particular meeting (on Tuesday during the Lions’ bye week) has been in the works for several weeks and grew out of Commissioner Goodell’s respect for Ndamukong Suh and Ndamukong’s desire to gain a deeper understanding of NFL rules and policies.

"Ndamukong reached out more than a month ago to the Commissioner, who offered him the opportunity to meet with the football operations football people that are responsible for enforcing the rules. Tuesday’s meeting will include Ray Anderson, Merton Hanks, Carl Johnson and former Competition Committee co-chair and current NFL Football Operations consultant Jeff Fisher. The Commissioner also invited Ndamukong to bring a Lions coach to the meeting. Ndamukong has spoken previously to both independent appeals officers for on-field discipline, Art Shell and Ted Cottrell."

Honestly, this is a smart move by Suh, because he's found himself on the wrong end of things when it comes to fines and public opinion -- many folks believe Suh's a dirty player, regardless of what he says.

Suh wants to make sure he knows exactly where the league's line is drawn when it comes to fine-able offenses, and that's a good thing to avoid perception becoming reality.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Lions claim Chris Harris off waivers

Chris Harris faced the Lions in Week 6. On Friday, he joined them. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Thursday morning, the Bears released safety Chris Harris. A day later, he's been claimed off waivers by the Lions, according to his agent Albert Elias.

Incidentally, it was Harris' performance against Detroit in Week 6 that led to his benching. After sitting out the Vikings game, he was back on the field last Sunday in London, when Chicago beat Tampa Bay.

In Detroit, Louis Delmas and Amari Spievey will remain the starting safeties, but Harris will add depth to a secondary that lost Erik Coleman to injured reserve earlier this month, and Vince Fuller met the same fate Friday afternoon.

Harris, who led the Bears with five interceptions last season, hasn't been as productive this season and that, in part, led to his release.

“It’s the body of work,” Chicago head coach Lovie Smith said, via the Chicago Sun-Times, “and just not one thing. Then it’s just a gut feeling, as a head football coach. I felt like we needed to go in a different direction. …

“We don’t all of a sudden wake up one morning and just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go this direction.’ It’s a pattern,” Smith said, “and I feel good about the decision we had to make. It is a business and, for us, it’s about production. We felt like we had some other options that we felt pretty good about, at the safety position.”

To Harris' credit, he took it all in stride, spending much of Thursday accepting well-wishes from the Twitterverse, and even he managed to get off quite possibly the best job-related tweet ever. (Upside: at least Harris wasn't stealing boxes.)


If you don't get the reference, then shame on you -- and here's a handy video clip (naughty language alert).

By claiming Harris on waivers, the Lions assume the remaining $644,000 on his contract this year. And in case you're wondering, the Lions face the Bears on November 13. 


Tim Tebow was impressive last week in his first start which led to an overtime win. Can the Broncos repeat as they prepare to take on Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions this week? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com