Posted on: December 17, 2010 9:21 am
Posted by Andy Benoit
Back in the summer, who would have ever imagined that the Jaguars-Colts Week 15 matchup would essentially be for the AFC South title? The Jaguars have overachieved in 2010 and the Colts have been stricken with injuries. At this critical juncture, both teams still control their own destiny.
The Colts defense, no matter who it puts on the field, will be fast. Colts president Bill Polian has a specific mold of player he looks for when drafting, and that mold begins and ends with speed. (In between is character, versatility within a position and football IQ.) Indy’s D excels on the fast Lucas Oil Field surface.
The Jaguars obviously want to pound the ball with Maurice Jones-Drew. The 5’7” bowling ball comes into the game having rushed for over 100 yards in six straight contests. And everyone knows that the way to attack the Colts front seven is to run right at it (especially if the Colts can’t rely on strong safety Bob Sanders flying into the box).
But this is still the NFL; at some point, the Jaguars will have to throw. The concern is, they’ll be relying on David Garrard. The ninth-year veteran has a sterling 93.2 quarterback rating this season (20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions), but that is largely a product of orchestrating a conservative passing attack.
Jacksonville’s passing attack is conservative by necessity, not choice. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is a creative pass-first coach who has had to reshape his persona. Reason being, Garrard is a good scrambler, but he’s not necessarily lethal outside the pocket. He has a mediocre arm that prevents him from making great improvisational plays. Because Garrard lacks ideal instincts, Koetter is forced to call a lot of plays that are similar to what he might call with a first-or second-year quarterback.
Much of Jacksonville’s pass game is predicated on play action. This is partly a function of the Jags being a run-first team, but it’s more a function of Koetter feeling obligated to simplify Garrard’s reads. The very nature of play-action and rollout passes cut the field in half and define the read for a quarterback. If the quarterback’s first look isn’t there, there’s usually a second look and then an option to run. With a star pocket passer, there’d be a second look, followed by a third and fourth look. That’s why, at the end of the day, pocket passers put more pressure on a defense.
Indy’s defensive speed can make it difficult to run play action. Yes, the faster Colts could take themselves further out of position by biting on a Garrard fake. But they can also get back in position much quicker. And because Jacksonville receivers Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas don’t necessarily have dynamic raw playmaking abilities, many of Jacksonville’s big plays are slow developing (drag routes, comeback routes, etc.) Slow developing plays against a speedy defense? Not ideal.
What’s more, the Jaguars will likely need to keep an extra tight end in to block, as right tackle Jordan Black has little to no chance at containing Colts defensive end Robert Mathis one-on-one. That means one less tight end for Garrard to lean on. In the past, when the Jags offensive line has struggled, Koetter has sacrificed tight end Marcedes Lewis. But Lewis has become too valuable as a receiver to leave in as a blocker.
In short, we’re talking about a Jaguars passing offense that will simply be one step behind the Colts passing defense. Thus, if it’s even possible, the Jags will have to rely on Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings even more than usual.
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Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:30 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 2:05 am
Posted by Will Brinson
FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- You could forgive Wayne Weaver for having more on his mind than labor negotiations these days. After all, the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the verge of a historical moment, having a shot to win the AFC South for the first time (though they do own two AFC Central titles) in Indianapolis this weekend.
That's not to say Weaver isn't concerned about the labor issue. Obviously, he is. But his eyes lit up when asked about how the Jaguars -- and their fans -- have responded to the challenges they've faced in 2010.
"This group of men are one of the best groups we've had in my 17 years of ownership of the team," Weaver told CBSSports.com following the owners' meetings. "They're working hard and playing together as a team. They're focused, they've got great leadership with guys like Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, Daryl Smith -- I could go on and on and on listing them.
"We're coming together as a team at the right time and we know we have to take one game at a time to use the old cliche and this game coming up is really important. We know we have to go and win."
Of course, the players aren't the only ones who have responded in a big way throughout 2010 -- the city of Jacksonville and the fans have done an absolutely outstanding job of supporting a team that, at one point, appeared dead in the water. (That point was the Monday night loss to Tennessee for those wondering.)
Instead of giving up on what might have been a lost season, they rallied and made sure to remind the NFL-watching world that Jacksonville, despite the complaints of some, is an NFL city thru-and-thru, by selling out every single home game in 2010.
"Well, think about this -- we blacked out seven of our eight games last year and we haven't blacked out a game and we've already sold out our Washington game," Weaver told CBSSports.com. "So we're not going to black out any of our home games this year.
"The community has really stepped up. They've been great 12th man fans and I couldn't be more proud of the way the city, our mayor, our city leadership have stepped up, because it couldn't have happened without all of that coming together."
The fans won't have a chance to fill up the stadium Sunday, but the Washington game, if the Jaguars play the Colts as close or closer than they always do, could be a pretty nice little reason for Weaver, the fans and the city to celebrate an already fantastic season.
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Posted on: December 15, 2010 12:18 am
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
It’s getting to be about that time.
The time when we really can crack down on the best teams in the NFL and really figure out which squads are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Preseason favorites (like, ahem, the Jets) have begun to show cracks in the foundation, while other teams – in this case, it’s just one team, really – have begun pulling away.
Three weeks left in the regular season, so we should have a pretty good indication of which team is going to do what once it makes the playoffs (if it, in fact, makes the playoffs at all). Without further ado, here’s your guide to which squad will be spending February in Dallas.
10. Jaguars: Why they will: Why the hell not? I mean, they won’t really. But RB Maurice Jones-Drew is fun to watch, and QB David Garrard has played great football lately. Jacksonville is just a fun underdog to watch. Why they won’t: I’m not even sure they’re good enough to get to the playoffs.
9. Chargers: Why they will: QB Philip Rivers is still having a fantastic season and is still an MVP candidate. Plus, San Diego is the No. 1 defense in the NFL (you can look it up!). Why they won’t: They simply haven’t played well for most of this season. Losses that look like this: 27-20 to the Seahawks; 35-27 and 28-13 to the Raiders; 20-17 to the Rams.
8. Bears: Why they will: They’ve surpassed many people’s expectations for the season while dragging coach Lovie Smith off the hot seat, so why can’t the surprises continue? I mean, if Jay Cutler can play fairly well on a consistent basis, anything can happen. Why they won’t: The offense isn’t good enough, and the defense isn’t good enough to overcome one of (statistically) the worst offenses in the league.
7. Ravens: Why they will: They’ve got plenty of talent at the WR position, and much of the time, QB Joe Flacco can even get his receivers the ball. Plus, there’s always Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis. Why they won’t: Did you see the way the defense collapsed Monday vs. the Texans? That’s unlike the Baltimore defense we’re accustomed to seeing every season. That secondary struggles, as well.
6. Giants: Why they will: The Giants offense, though beat up in the WR corps, still picks up the yards. Once they figured out their roles, the running back duo of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw has been outstanding. Why they won’t: For one, Eli Manning doesn’t have very many healthy receivers. For two, the team won’t stop turning the ball over to its opponents.
5. Eagles: Why they will: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson can lead this team anywhere. The proof lies in the league-leading 402 yards of offense Philadelphia produces per game. Why they won’t: Some injuries on defense – CB Asante Samuel, LB Stewart Bradley and DE Brandon Graham – certainly don’t help. Plus, it seems like Vick would have to play perfect all the way through, doesn’t it?
4. Steelers: Why they will: The Steelers played well without QB Ben Roethlisberger, and now with him in there – even though he’s less than 100 percent – they’re nearly unbeatable. Plus, you know, Troy Polamalu. They don’t win ‘em pretty, but they win ‘em anyway. Why they won’t: The offensive line isn’t very good. Like, not very good at all.
3. Saints: Why they will: New Orleans has played progressively better as the season has neared its end. Even if the Saints can’t catch the Falcons in the NFC South, the wild card should be there for the taking, and hopefully for them, they would catch one of the NFC West teams on the road. Why they won’t: They’re not as good as they were last year.
2. Falcons: Why they will: They have the quarterback, they have the running back, they have the receivers, they have the TE and they have the coaching (and a pretty decent defense). There’s a lot to like about this Atlanta squad. Why they won’t: Not a ton of guys on the team have been on teams that have made deep playoff runs. Unlike, say, the New Orleans Saints.
1. Patriots: Why they will: It’s obvious. Rewatch their last two games – destructions of the Jets and the Bears. Why they won’t: Can Tom Brady really keep up this unbelievable pace? Isn’t the young – and, at times, ineffective – secondary eventually going to get the team in trouble? Especially if the Patriots face somebody like Philip Rivers or Drew Brees?
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Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Asante Samuel, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Graham, Brandon Jacobs, Chicago Bears, David Garrard, DeSean Jackson, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, LeSean McCoy, Lovie Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Vick, Michael Vick, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Philip Rivers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Lewis, San Diego Chagers, Stewart Bradley, Terrell Suggs, Tom Brady, Top Ten, Troy Polamalu
Posted on: December 13, 2010 4:34 pm
Thanks to a 64-yard reception, Bucs rookie wideout Arrelious Benn had his first 100-yard game as a pro (122, to be exact). In fact, Benn’s previous high was 53 yards.
The Packers were 2/12 on third down and 0/1 in the red zone at Detroit.
Though no player had more than 51 yards rushing for Detroit, the Lions still racked up 190 yards on the ground.
Hines Ward had his best outing since Week 7, catching eight passes for 115 yards against Cincinnati.
In addition to an interception returned for a touchdown, LaMarr Woodley had two sacks and two tackles for a loss.
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis had four catches for an important 57 yards. He also scored his career-high ninth touchdown.
Pretty simple what happened in San Francisco: Niners zero turnovers, Seahawks five.
Brian Westbrook had 87 yards on six receptions.
The Patriots recorded 27 first downs at Chicago.
Dolphins punter Brandon Fields had 10 punts for 564 yards.
Brodie Croyle probably isn’t the answer: Kansas City finished the game with 19 total yards passing.
Antoine Cason took over as the punt returner for San Diego. He averaged 15.2 yards per return with a long of 42.
Tags: Antoine Cason, Arizona Cardinals, Arrelious Benn, Brandon Fields, Brian Westbrook, Brodie Croyle, Buffalo Bills, Chad Henne, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Darren McFadden, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Jay Feely, Kansas City Chiefs, LaMarr Woodley, Malcom Jenkins, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Turner, Miles Austin, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashad Jennings, Roy Williams, Ryan Torain, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins
Posted on: December 13, 2010 2:25 am
Edited on: December 13, 2010 4:41 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit
Want more Week 14 review? Hit up our podcast
For the second week in a row, the New England Patriots took center stage on the NFL’s headline game of the week and gave viewers an entire second half of garbage time. The garbage time is almost worth it, though, because watching the Patriots obliterate opponents in the first half has become like watching Picasso paint, Sinatra sing or Rosie O’Donnell eat. New England’s latest masterpiece took place at Soldier Field, where the Patriots were the only people who refused to be bothered by a little frozen rain. (You could almost hear the Bears saying down on the sidelines, “Hey what the hell? I thought we agreed beforehand that the weather was going to have a significant impact on this game!)
Tom Brady, the unquestioned MVP of 2010, has 19 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over his last eight games. Thanks in part to the frost-bitten fingers of the Bears linebackers, Brady has thrown 268 passes without an interception (18 behind Bernie Kosar’s all-time record). The last time Brady was this brilliant (2007), opponents at least knew where he wanted to go with the football (Randy Moss over the top; Wes Welker underneath). There’s no figuring out THIS version of Brady. A great illustration of this would be Deion Branch’s improbable 59-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half. Yes, that play was aided by the Bears’ coverage mistake, but Brady lulled the Bears into that mistake.
None of New England’s receivers or running backs would be surefire starters on a typical NFL team (not even slot master Wes Welker). But Brady has made viable weapons out of all of them. You already knew that, though. We all know that the Patriots are versatile and balanced. What we didn’t know is that a “versatile and balanced” formula can yield five straight games of 30 points-plus.
Even more surprising is that the Patriot defense has been nearly as dominant as the offense recently. The Pats have allowed just 10 points over their last two games. This season, the lineup has consisted of Vince Wilfork at nose tackle, Jerod Mayo at inside linebacker, Devin McCourty at cornerback and a mixture of players rotating at the other eight positions. The “fluidity” of the lineup made for ugly inconsistency at times early this season. But now Bill Belichick has broken-in his rookies and found niches for all his ancillary players. The Patriots rank near the bottom against the pass and on third down, but they also lead the AFC with 20 interceptions. Consider this proof that the best way to hide your weaknesses defensively is to play with a lead (something this club knows how to do).
***Raise your hand if you had Andre Whitworth, Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley in the touchdown pool for the Bengals-Steelers game.
***Did you see the way Dick LeBeau censured Polamalu after the safety inexplicably tried to pitch the ball back on his second interception? How many assistant coaches would grab a superstar by the pads like that and read him the riot act? And how many superstars would go up to that coach afterwards for an apology hug? It’s a special culture in Pittsburgh.
***I realize the Lions’ surprising win over the Packers probably deserves more than an afterthought mention in the quick hits like this, but really, what is there to say? I watched a majority of this game and I can tell you, in all honesty, nothing happened. Well, there was the Aaron Rodgers injury, of course. But we’ll be talking about that all week anyway. As far as everything else goes, this was a game in which neither team converted a third down until midway through the third quarter. The Packers lost because of unfortunate first half turnovers
***The Bucs front seven looked disinterested in run defense in the first quarter. Unable to shed blocks, the Bucs surrendered 121 yards to Ryan Torain (the most rushing yards in an NFL first quarter since Tiki Barber against the Raiders in 2005). Torain had just 51 yards the rest of the game, though.
***Somehow, the Redskins actually got more out of Albert Haynesworth this Sunday than they got in any other game since Halloween.
***The Saints got Pierre Thomas back after his nine-week absence with a left ankle injury. (Thomas had 39 yards on 12 carries against the Rams.) This team is rolling. Reggie Bush is once again healthy and in top form. Gregg Williams’ defense has been extra effective with safety blitzes in recent weeks. On Sunday, bourgeoning free safety Malcom Jenkins intercepted Sam Bradford (who, for a lot of this game, was rattled by New Orleans’ pass-rush) and returned it 96 yards for a game-swinging interception touchdown late in the first half. How is it that no one is really buzzing about the 10-3 defending World Champions?
***Good idea to paint the lines red on Chicago’s snowy field.
***The Chargers rediscovered their rushing attack Sunday (big time). Mike Tolbert had 66 yards on 16 carries. That was one more yard than rookie Ryan Mathews had on the same number of attempts. Darren Sproles, who came into the game with only 36 rushing attempts, produced 53 yards on six carries.
***Sean Smith is a somewhat limited cornerback in terms of fluidity and physicality, but he was tremendous Sunday. Smith was credited with four pass breakups, though it felt more like 12.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Arizona Cardinals, Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills, Cameron Wake, Carson Palmer, Chad Henne, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, DeSean Jackson, Detroit Lions, Don Muhlbach, Donovan McNabb, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Delhomme, Jason Campbell, Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Chiefs, LaDainian Tomlinson, LeSean McCoy, Malcom Jenkins, Mark Sanchez, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Vick, Mike Tolbert, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pierre Thomas, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Jennings, Reggie Bush, Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Sean Smith, Seattle Seahawks, Shonn Greene, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terrell Owens, Tom Brady, Washington Redskins
Posted on: December 9, 2010 12:43 am
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
This week, seemingly everybody is proclaiming Patriots QB Tom Brady as the player who should be named MVP – including his former teammate, Troy Brown, who I talked to for this week’s Five Questions (or more) segment. After watching Brady dissect the Jets on Monday, that’s hard to argue.
But we’ve still got four weeks of regular-season NFL football, so Brady can’t be named the Most Valuable Players quite yet (I think that’s actually in the rules). That said, there are a number of players who have done quite a bit to help their respective teams this season that also must be in the conversation for MVP. What happens, after all, if Brady throws 10 interceptions in the final four games and the Patriots go 0-4 in that stretch?
Thus, this Top Ten With a Twist pays homage to those who are having hellaciously good years for teams good and bad and could creep into a voter’s conscience (assuming he/she doesn’t simply write Brady’s name in every possible space on the ballot). I’m not saying most of these guys should win; I’m just saying they should be considered.
10. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears: In his first season in Chicago, the defense, ranked as the third-best in the NFL, is a huge reason why the Bears are 9-3, lead the NFC North and own the second-best record in the conference (tied with the Saints). He’s recorded seven sacks and a very strong six passes defended and he’s forced three fumbles. You could also make a case for Brian Urlacher in this spot.
9. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: So many other quarterbacks have made big headlines this season – some for good reasons (we’ll get into those candidates later) and some for bad reasons (ahem, Brett Favre) – and it seems like Brees has been slightly ignored. That’s also because he isn’t the top quarterback in his division at this point and because the Saints are in danger of not winning the NFC South (more on the Falcons below). But the fact is that Brees is statistically the most-accurate quarterback in the league, and the Saints are 9-3 with a chance to return to the Super Bowl. That’s not too shabby.
8. Clay Matthews, LB, Packers: Remember how amazingly fast Matthews started the season, recording six sacks in the first two games? Well, he’s slowed considerably since then, and even Miami’s Cameron Wake has surpassed him for the league lead (Wake has 12 sack to Matthews’ 11.5). Matthews only has one sack in the past three games, but he’s still got a good shot at defensive player of the year (along with Julius Peppers, Steelers LB James Harrison, Eagles DE Trent Cole and Bills NT Kyle Williams), and he’s still having one heck of a year.
7. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 5.9 yards per rush and finished 2009 with 1,120 yards and seven TDs, Kansas City rewarded him by going out and getting (gulp!) a legitimate RB in Thomas Jones. In his first two games of the season, Charles averaged 11 carries and 70.5 yards per contest, leaving some of us to wonder what was going on in Kansas City. But Charles has been awesome for the resurgent 8-4 Chiefs, averaging a ridiculous 6.2 yards per carry while gaining 1,137 yards.
6. James Harrison, LB, Steelers: You’d be forgiven if, the other day when Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was defending Harrison in another laborious discussion about fines, you would have scoffed when Tomlin said Harrison was having an MVP-type season. But look at the plays he’s made and the numbers he’s produced. Harrison is third among linebackers with 10 sacks, he’s defended six passes and produced two interceptions, and he’s forced six fumbles, best among LBs. And he does it for a top-five defense which could help the Steelers to a deep postseason run. He's the MVP of NFL fines, but he might be the MVP overall as well.
5. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: You’ve got Matthews on defense, and now you’ve got Rodgers as the catalyst for an offense ranked in the top-10, despite a dreadful running game. Rodgers has been so impressive (a 65.4 completion percentage, 3,243 yards, 23 TDs and nine INTs) without the benefit of Ryan Grant and having to play with very little support in Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn (they rank 30th and 50th in rushing in the league, respectively). His MVP candidacy obviously will ride on whether he can get Green Bay into the playoffs.
4. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: A week ago, I might have picked Rivers a little bit higher, but he’s coming off a bad, bad home loss to the Raiders that dropped San Diego two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Not that Rivers played poorly, because he wasn’t bad. But it’s tough to get excited about a QB leading a 6-6 squad who very well could miss the playoffs, even if he is the guy who’s led his team to all six of those wins.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: What would you say if I told you that Jones-Drew has rushed for at least 100 yards in his past five games and helped Jacksonville win four of its past five to take over first place in the AFC South? Would you say that man would be an MVP candidate? I would.
2. Michael Vick, QB, Eagles: Yes, he’s missed three games because of injury, but other than that, Vick is, bar none, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and he’s having a career season in a year in which he wasn’t supposed to be the starter (you might have forgotten about a guy named Kevin Kolb). He could, throughout his career, always change the game’s dynamic with his running ability (and he’s got 467 rushing yards, a 6.3 average and six scores this season), but he’s showcased his arm this year as well (63.8 completion percentage, 2,243 yards, 15 TDs, two INTs). He is absolutely a complete quarterback and absolutely an MVP candidate.
1. Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: The “Matty Ice” moniker has already worn thin – unlike the “Pocket Hercules” nickname for Jones-Drew – but there’s no question that it’s reflective of his playing ability. Even when he doesn’t play altogether well – an example would be last week in Tampa Bay – he still somehow finds a way to lead Atlanta to a win. At this point, the Falcons are the best team in the NFC, and Ryan is the biggest reason for that. If Brady falls off in the last month of the year, my vote at this point would go to Ryan.
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Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Brandon Jackson, Brett Favre, Brian Urlacher, Cameron Wake, Clay Matthews, Drew Brees, Jamaal Charles, James Harrison, John Kuhn, Julius Peppers, Kevin Kolb, Kyle Williams, Matt Ryan, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Vick, Mike Tomlin, Philip Rivers, Thomas Jones, Tom Brady, Top Ten, Trent Cole
Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:30 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Week 13's almost wrapped up and, man-oh-man has the NFL playoff picture not gotten one iota clearer -- only one division (the AFC West of all places) is separated by more than one game at the top, and because the NFL decided to lock in on divisional games towards the end of the season, the rest of the way is only spicier, which means tons of fantastic questions to answer in this week's podcast.
Has Peyton Manning become human? Could anyone outside of Biff Tannen predicted the Raiders beatdown of the Chargers? Why did the Chiefs and Broncos struggle to score points? How freaking good was that Baltimore-Pittsburgh game and how could anyone hate it? Is Matt Ryan emerging as an MVP candidate? Are the Bengals the most embarrassing team in the NFL? What's up with the trend of heavy rushing games going around right now? Is Maurice Jones-Drew the best running back in the AFC now? And why does the stupid NFC West get its playoff spot?
Andy and I answer all those questions (plus, much, much more) below -- just hit the play button below and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.
If you can't view the podcast, click here to download .
Posted on: December 6, 2010 4:19 am
Posted by Andy Benoit
Don’t mean to pull a Stevie Johnson and go all caps on you here, but LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS!!! Look how many games these past two weeks have been decided by teams that have utterly DOMINATED on the ground. We’re not talking about teams merely establishing the run and controlling tempo – we’re talking about teams outrushing opponents by 125, 180, even 200-plus yards!
**The Bucs-Falcons game was a good one, too. Matt Ryan was his usual cool self late. Josh Freeman continued to flash star potential. And the Bucs as a whole, though once again coming up short against a plus-.500 team, proved that they’re not a fluke. Tampa Bay has improved in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
**The early window games were slim pickings. It was the kind of schedule where I chose what game to watch on my main TV based on what uniforms I thought would look best on the field together. I picked Packers-Niners….only to discover that Green Bay was busting out some hideous blue and brown throwbacks.
**Would you believe that Jeff Fisher’s Titans led the league in presnap penalties coming into Sunday?
**And would you believe that the Saints’ stud right guard, Jahri Evans, leads the league with eight holding penalties?
**Didn’t mention Knowshon Moreno in the Broncos-Chiefs write up above. The second-year running back had by far his best game as a pro (161 yards on 23 carries). His juke moves had the exaggerated effectiveness of the juke moves on the Madden video game from about six or seven years ago.
**I didn’t like Drew Stanton’s touchdown dance. I didn’t like the dance itself (hope it’s okay to say this: it wasn’t a dance designed for white guys) and I didn’t like that he even did it. Quarterbacks pump their fist or spike the ball out of raw emotion all the time (see Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger). But none of them dance. It’s just not kosher – especially when you’re a second-round bust who is serving as a third-stringer on a two-win team.
**Cameron Wake had a big sack on Jake Delhomme late in Miami’s heartbreaking loss against Cleveland. Unfortunately for Wake and the Dolphins, the problem with sacking Delhomme is that it’s the only way to ensure that he doesn’t throw an interception.
**Going back to the Falcons-Bucs game real quick: hopefully for Brent Grimes people were watching this one, because if they were, the athletic and highly underrated Falcons cornerback probably punched his ticket to Hawaii.
**How’s this for salt in the Cardinals fans’ wound: Kurt Warner was in the broadcast booth for the St. Louis-Arizona game.
Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Albert Haynesworth, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Brandon Jacobs, Brent Grimes, Brett Favre, Buffalo Bills, Cameron Wake, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Darren McFadden, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Drew Stanton, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jamaal Charles, Joe Flacco, Josh McDaniels, Kansas City Chiefs, Knowshon Moreno, Matt Cassel, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami Dolphins, Michael Bush, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Pat Sims, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tarvaris Jackson, Tennessee Titans, Terrell Suggs, Todd Haley, Troy Smith, Washington Redskins