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Tag:Tony Romo
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:50 pm
 

Keep an Eye on: Week 10's finer analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Jets vs. Patriots

The recipe for stopping New England’s offense has been discovered: press-man coverage. The Cowboys pressed the Patriots receivers off-and-on back in Week 6. The Steelers did it all game in Week 8. So did the Giants in Week 9. New England scored 16, 17 and 20 in those three games.

Think the Jets might be ale to execute press-man coverage? (Ask the Bills receivers whose white uniforms had practically turned light green by the end of last week’s game.) When these teams met back in Week 5, Darrelle Revis shadowed Wes Welker, though not the entire game. Welker caught a few balls during the breathers away from Revis, including a 73-yarder that gave him a misleading five-catch, 124-yard stat line.

After that game teams may have realized that with Welker bottled up, the Patriots are just another methodical east-west passing team. New England’s offense has no downfield weapon to preoccupy defenses about getting burned over the top. Deion Branch is quick but not fast. Aaron Hernandez, if he regains his pre-Week 3 knee injury form, is fleet for a tight end but not someone who can blaze 40 yards outside the numbers. Ditto for Rob Gronkowski.

There is that Chad Ochocinco guy. He and Brady have not been on the same page all season (Brady actually missed an open Ocho for a would-be touchdown last week; Ocho couldn’t get mad because he owed Brady for other mistakes). The disappointing but charismatic ex-Bengal may actually be the deciding piece in this game. Someone has to step up and be a downfield threat. The last person aslow underneath offense wants to face is Rex Ryan; he knows how to use his safeties as blitzers.



Cowboys vs. Bills
The Cowboys can forget about the fragile Felix Jones becoming their next franchise running back. When Jones returns from his ankle injury (hopefully sometime before his next scheduled injury in December), he’ll be backing up DeMarco Murray. The third-round rookie from Oklahoma State is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and looks like the real deal. It was difficult to assess him after his 253-yard outbreak against St. Louis because, as Murray himself will admit, a truck could have driven through the holes Dallas’ offensive line opened up that game.


But last week Murray registered 139 yards against a quietly impressive Seattle run defense that’s allowing just 3.4 yards per carry (tied for second best in the NFL). He has a unique ability to generate downhill momentum immediately upon hitting his accelerator.

Because of this, Murray can explode to holes before linebackers can identify them or, more often, he can increase his tempo upon reaching those linebackers, which makes him extremely hard to tackle.

For the Bills (and all defenses), the key to stopping Murray will be penetration. Murray has the ability to go left and right, but he has to stop and restart in order to do so. You can’t let him go north and south.

It hurts that Buffalo’s best defensive lineman, Kyle Williams, just went on injured reserve. He was a penetration extraordinaire who would have changed the complexion of this matchup. Marcell Dareus has been impressive since relocating to nose tackle, but the Bills are now thin on the edges and may start waffling again between 3-4 and 4-3 concepts if forced to make another personnel adjustment.

Seahawks vs. Ravens
It’s a classic trap game for the Ravens. Coming off a big primetime win against their archrival, they must fly across the country for an unceremonious bout with a 2-6 team from another conference. And it’s not an awful 2-6 team, either. OK, maybe the offense is awful. Or at least as uninspiring as an Andy Reid press conference. But the defense isn’t bad.

Last week’s stumble at Dallas aside, Seattle’s defense can stop the run. The defensive line has a strong rotation of high-energy players who have the strength to win in a phone booth (end Red Bryant has been the most impressive in this sense). Middle linebacker David Hawthorne reads and pursues well enough, and outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill can both play with physicality on the edge.

On the back end, young safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are still learning to play with consistency (both mentally and physically). Both, however, offer some playmaking prowess versus in the box or downhill. Cornerback Brandon Browner is a bit stiff but has rare 6’3”, 221-pound-size that he’s just starting to learn to apply at the line of scrimmage. Richard Sherman has, for the most part, been able to back up his bizarre cockiness ever since injuries propelled him into the starting lineup.

Lastly, Seattle has a clear-cut Pro Bowler (their only Pro Bowler, in fact) in end Chris Clemons. He’s fast off the edge (like any quality pass-rusher) and also has a strong suppleness that makes him viable in all facets against the run.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 10 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Tebow voted 'most overrated' by NFL players

Romo can't compete with Tebow when it comes to being overrated. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Finally, some good news for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who three or four times a season gives his detractors ammunition in their never-ending crusade to convince the rest of us that he's an overhyped choker. The Sporting News interviewed 11 NFL players from 31 teams and asked a simple question: Who's the most overrated player in the NFL?

It wasn't Romo.

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow won the honors, although just barely. He received 22 votes, just one more than -- wait for it -- Romo. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was third. Of the 17 players to receive at least two votes, seven were quarterbacks.

1. Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow—22
2. Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo—21
3. New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez—9
4. Detroit Lions DT Ndamukong Suh—6
5. Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson—5
6. New England Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco—5
7. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady—3
8. Arizona Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb—3
9. San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers—3
10. Arizona Cardinals DL Darnell Dockett—2

The rest: Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew—2, Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall—2, New York Giants QB Eli Manning—2, Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall—2, New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis—2, New York Jets LB Bart Scott—2, Chicago Bears LB Brian Urlacher—2. 

(Note: Jason Hill voted for Revis … twice, right?)

The Sporting News asked a few players for some context on the leading vote-getters. Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton echoed many of the sentiments we hear from Romo's critics.

“I just think he’s in a position where he has the spotlight," he said. "I don’t think he’s really done anything to be in the spotlight. But being a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, you’re going to have that. I don’t think he does enough to be considered one of the elite (quarterbacks) in the NFL.”

Knight's teammate, Jeremy Mincey, had similar thoughts about Sanchez.

"Everybody talks about Sanchez, but I just don’t see what everybody is talking about. Maybe it’s the (New York) market that he’s in."

We would include the quotes from two anonymous players on Tebow but why? You can do the Mad Libs yourself: "He's not an NFL quarterback, he's a fullback. Not only his he inaccurate, he has a week arm. The media saturation is unbearable. We hate Tebowing with a passion." So on and so forth... 

Upside: Tebow is first at something.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Report: Austin out 2-4 weeks, Dez done on punts?

Posted by Will Brinson

Dallas rolled over Seattle 23-13 on Sunday, but everything wasn't all roses for the Cowboys, as wide receiver Miles Austin suffered a(nother) hamstring injury. Austin injured his left hamstring in Week 2 and hurt the right one during the third quarter on Sunday.

According to a report from Fox Sports Southwest's Matt Mosely, Austin will miss two to four weeks with the hamstring injury, which sounds about right given Austin's not-quite-optimistic comments on Sunday.

"I don’t know which [injury] is worse," Austin said via our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman. "This one hurts pretty bad, but it’s higher on my leg. Hopefully it’s just a strain and I can get back soon."

Austin's struggled with the injury this year, and has just 28 catches and 403 receiving yards in six games, though he does have four touchdowns. On the heels of two-straight years playing all 16 games and topping 1,000 yards in each season, that has to be considered a disappointment for Dallas and Austin.

Week 9 Review

More disappointing will be if Austin misses the high end of the reported timeline; it'll mean Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant have to step up in a big way.

Which may mean that Bryant stops returning kicks for Dallas -- Jerry Jones expressed concern that Bryant, who's also dealt with injuries this year, expressed concern with Dez returning punts for Dallas while the depth chart was so thinned out.

"I'm still concerned when we had him back there about his injury, especially now that Miles may be, or may not be, out a couple of games," Jones said, via FSS. "I don't know."

Just like the last time Jones spoke up about in-game Cowboys decision-making, Jason Garrett would be wise to heed the words of his boss. Of course, if Austin misses multiple games with the hamstring injury, it probably shouldn't require to make a common-sense point like that anyway.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our 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 31, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: October 31, 2011 11:47 am
 

Coming off the bye, Eagles pound the Cowboys

J. Maclin and Philadelphia looked fantastic against Dallas (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Andy Reid was 12-0 in his career coming off the bye week -- and it seems impossible to believe he wasn’t doing something special during his team’s time off. He was asked about it this week, but he always discards the notion that he was doing anything out of the ordinary.

“You know, I get asked that every year, and I don’t think there’s any secret,” Reid said earlier this week. “You just do what you do. We’re going to practice just like we did last week and the week before that, and so on. So I don’t know if there’s any secret to it.”

But obviously, after the Eagles dominated the Cowboys 34-7 Sunday night, Reid is doing something right. Lost this season, among Vince Young’s Dream Team comment and the team’s 1-4 start, is that Reid is still a fine football man. Even if he’s never taken the team to the Super Bowl title, he’s one of the better coaches in the league.

The fans in Philadelphia want to see their team go all the way, and the Eagles have been so close so many times. With Philadelphia’s early-season failure this year, it was easy to hoist much of the blame on Reid, because he has such tight control over the roster and because many of the team’s offseason decisiosn seemed to clunk on arrival. But during their last two games, you’ve seen how good this team can be, how well they can play.

I don’t know what Reid did during the bye week, but his team looked like NFC title contenders Sunday night. LeSean McCoy dominated the Cowboys No. 1 rush defense, accumulating 185 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. The offensive line opened up enormous holes. Tight end Brent Celek made his triumphant return to the spotlight by catching seven passes for 94 yards and a score. And Michael Vick, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns while rushing seven times for 50, looked absolutely awesome. In all, the Eagles gained 518 total yards, the most ever against a Cowboys squad.

“The biggest thing is to get everybody healthy off the bye week and to stay focused,” McCoy told NBC after the game. “With the losses, we weren’t focused with the turnovers and letting guys run for yards. So many things were going wrong. Coach talked about focus, to take care of your job and not worry about the next man.”

Remember a few weeks ago when everybody was bashing Reid for hiring former offensive line coach Juan Castilllo and the team’s installation of the Wide 9 defensive scheme? Well, it seemed to work wonders tonight, keeping Tony Romo from doing much of anything and rendering Dez Bryant and Jason Witten irrelevant.

The team looked fast and fit and refreshed, and the Cowboys never had a chance. If Reid has a secret about how to prepare his team during a bye week, he’s obviously not going to share it. But at 13-0, it’d be surprising if he didn’t know exactly what that secret is.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Advice for Tony Romo

Romo

Posted by Josh Katzowitz


When your wife is pregnant, the “letting friends and family know” phase is an interesting line to walk. Most likely, you tell your parents and siblings first -- maybe eight weeks in. Then, maybe a month later, you slowly begin to tell close friends. Word eventually begins to leak out. Then, you make the Facebook announcement and EVERYBODY knows the news.

When my wife was pregnant, though, under no circumstances was I allowed to tell an entire auditorium full of high school students that she was expecting. Luckily, Candice Crawford, Romo’s pregnant wife, has no such rules for her husband (though, watch her reaction in the video below. It’s iffy, at best). So, on Wednesday, when Romo spoke to students at Cedar Hill High School, he let slip that he was an expectant father.

Tony and Candice Romo are Pregnant: MyFoxDFW.com



Now, the news is out there, and yes, Tony Romo will be a father. With that, here is some unsolicited advice for the man whose life is about to change big-time. Because if Romo is about to learn one truth about being a dad, it’s that people don’t mind letting loose suggestions about how to parent your kid, whether that advice is wanted or not.

10. Breathe a sigh of relief: First off, Mazel Tov and congratulations and all that. Second of all, give thanks to the heavens that your wife is not having multiples. I’m sure Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning would be happy to tell you that raising twins is tough, especially in the first six months. After that, it gets easier, and while twins are a wonderful gift, I imagine Palmer and Manning would recommend having a singleton instead.

9. Take the baby class: As one of his buddies in the above video noted, Romo has probably never changed a diaper. Though he’s this big-time star quarterback and, on some weeks, he’s the toast of Dallas, his wife will ask him -- nay, force him -- to change diapers at some point. There’s just no way around it. And while it can be inconvenient to go to the weekly baby classes (or birthing classes or whatever), there’s no doubt he’ll learn something. Babies aren’t necessarily as complicated as the weekly Cowboys game plan, but that doesn’t mean you should cram it all in the last minute. Simply put, you have to prepare for game day.

8. Move to the suburbs: This might be a disappointing piece of news for Romo, but when you have kids, you have to move away from the hip area of town where you live and move out to the suburbs so your kids can go to the “good public schools.” Plus, once you’re a parent, you find out you’re more likely to be dining at the local Red Robin with your children rather than at the ultra-cool restaurant downtown. We know Romo isn’t adverse to going out on the town, but if you’ve got kids, you learn to sacrifice. Um, actually, never mind on this advice. Romo makes enough money to send his kid to private school. So, scratch this one. He can live wherever he wants.

7. Sleep-train the baby: The first few months of the child’s life, it won’t really matter what you do. Your baby will be up multiple times a night wanting food, and it’ll cry to make its wishes known. But at some point, you need to get your baby in the habit of falling asleep and staying asleep. The wife and I used this book, and it worked wonderfully well. Use whatever method you like to sleep-train, buRomot know that it’s imperative to do so, because if the baby is not asleep, the parents aren’t asleep. And I imagine it’s tough to perform well on Sundays if you’re working on only a few hours of shut-eye.

6. Discard the hat: You know that hat that Romo loves to wear (if not, check out the photo right here)? It’s probably time for that bad boy to go. And if he can’t bear to part with it, at least, cut down on the usage (last yaer, it seemed we got to see it every week at the postgame pressers). After all, there will be plenty of silly, tiny hats on the tops of the heads of Romo namesakes in the next few years. Tony should try to cut down on his own contributions.

5. Get the damn vaccinations: This might come off as high and mighty and pretentious, but I don’t care. Listen to your pediatricians and their scientifically-backed statistics about when to vaccinate your kids and why they’re so important. Don’t listen to Jenny McCarthy and her bone-headed analysis linking vaccinations to potential autism cases. The research for that link has been completely discredited. Get the kid vaccinated and make a contribution to society.

4. Cut food into small pieces: When the baby is old enough to sit in a high-chair and learns to feed him/herself, Romo has to remember to cut the food into tiny pieces for the baby to swallow. After all, there’s only room enough in the family for one choker (I kid, I kid).

3. Have the “drugs are bad, mmkay“ talk as soon as possible: Though Romo benefited from the Cowboys decision before the 2004 season to release quarterback Quincy Carter because of substance abuse issues, Romo should make sure his offspring know the dangers of drug abuse as soon as possible. You certainly don’t want the drugs to derail your life, and with a rich daddy who's constantly under criticism and fan supervision, the availability and temptation to get involved could be greater. Otherwise, the child might have to appear on “Celebrity Rehab,” a fate no man or woman deserves.
 
2. Don’t hire the super-hot nanny: It didn’t work for Turk on “Scrubs” and it didn’t work for Joey on “Friends.” It's not going to work for Romo either (he should also make sure the nanny can’t fly using an umbrella).

1. If in the delivery room, just watch: We all know Romo has had a history of, um, fumbling the snap. Maybe he should leave the actual delivery of his kid to someone else (like, I don't know, a doctro) and just take pictures of the momentous occasion and/or try not to pass out during the childbirth.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:08 pm
 

Tony Romo's wife Candice Crawford is pregnant

Posted by Will Brinson

Tony Romo, by virtue of being the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, is always in the news. His bachelor party was a huge deal, his wedding drew headlines, and now we'll all likely spend time wondering what he'll name his first-born child.

Because, as he told a group of kids at Cedar Hill High School on Wednesday, his wife Candice Crawford is pregnant.

"I got one on the way," Romo said. "My wife's pregnant."

Oddly, in the video of Romo talking to the high schoolers (you can watch here), he was asked if he "has any kids." When he said no, the auditorium broke out into cheers. And then it did again when he told them he was an expecting father.

The baby, per the Dallas Morning News, is due in March, which is just about a month after the Super Bowl.

If there's one thing we know about Cowboys fans, it's that they're guaranteed to figure out a way to discuss this as a factor for Romo during the 2011 season.

Say Dallas doesn't make the playoffs, well, it's blatantly because Romo couldn't focus thanks to his upcoming baby. If Romo wins big, it'll be because of the baby.

That's how it's worked with his love life, and it's how it'll work for his progeny too.

Which is a shame, because this is an exciting time for the couple -- hopefully they'll get a little bit of privacy despite dealing with life under one of the most intense spotlights in all of sports. Our heartfelt congratulations go out to the expecting parents.

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Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:53 pm
 

Eye on Football NFL experts chat: 1 pm Wednesday

Posted by Will Brinson

The midway point of the NFL is nearly upon us (or at least close) and it's time to start separating the contenders and the pretenders. Oh, and guessing who will sign Terrell Owens.

Does your team qualify for any and/or all of those things? Would you want your squad inking T.O.? Join Mike Freeman, Clark Judge, Pete Prisco, Josh Katzowitz, Ryan Wilson and myself Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET to discuss.

We'll also chat about whether Chris Johnson can get things going against defensively incapable Colts, if the Steelers can keep their strong roll going against a team in the Patriots that's had their number recently and everything Week 8 related.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com