Tag:Dez Bryant
Posted on: January 9, 2011 5:44 pm
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Thanks for interviewing, Ray Sherman. See ya!

Dallas WR coach Ray Sherman will not be returning next season (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Ray Sherman has had an up and down 2011 so far.

The Cowboys WR coach interviewed for Dallas’ open head coaching spot - which wasn’t really open at all, because it was going to be Jason Garrett’s gig all along – and apparently, he was impressive. And just because he was, for all intents and purposes, a Rooney Rule candidate, he probably was hoping he would have a chance to win Garrett’s old gig as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.

Apparently, that’s not going to happen. And oh yeah, he’s not going to have a job with the Cowboys either.

That’s according to ESPN Dallas’ Calvin Watkins who writes Sherman is Garrett’s first coaching casualty.

Although Sherman was well-respected by coaches and players, this sorta sounds like a case where Garrett wants to bring in his own coaches as opposed to working with the ones hired by Wade Phillips.

Plus, Sherman was known as the buffer between players like Terrell Owens and Garrett. So, when Owens wanted to bitch about Garrett’s offense, he’d complain to Sherman, who then would try to calm down the volatile receiver. Watkins also writes, “Sherman also created 'Keepin' it Real' Thursdays where the wide receivers could vent about what was troubling them.”

Maybe that bond with the players was seen by Garrett as a weakness or as non-authoritarian or something that would undermine his position as head coach.

But considering Sherman had strong relationships with current Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, this move might not sit so well with some of Dallas’ best offensive players.

Sherman, meanwhile, talked to Josina Anderson of Fox 31 Sports in Denver. Here’s the statement he gave her.

"My contract with the Dallas Cowboys is expiring at the end of the season. I appreciate the opportunity that the Cowboys have given me. I was able to coach a great group of receivers who now have a tremendous foundation, giving them the ability to continue to excel for years to come in the NFL."

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:20 pm
 

Cowboys place Dez Bryant on IR

Posted by Will Brinson

The Cowboys officially ended Dez Bryant's season on Wednesday, placing the rising star on injured reserve, and picked up Keith Cummings off of the Jets practice squad, the team announced.

It was believed that Bryant's season would be over following he broke his ankle Sunday while returning a kick in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys win over the Colts.

"That sets us back," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at the time. "That sets us back. I really feel bad for him, but it really sets us back."

Bryant struggled to stay healthy during his rookie season, but when he was on the field, he produced, developing a rapport with Jon Kitna and scoring six touchdowns to go along with 45 receptions and 561 receiving yards in 12 games (two started).

He also returned 12 kickoffs for 293 yards (24.4 per) and 15 punts for 215 yards (14.3 per) and two touchdowns.

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Posted on: December 5, 2010 7:34 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2010 11:44 pm
 

Dez Bryant fractures ankle, season likely over

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Although the Cowboys, under interim coach Jason Garrett (and for that matter, QB Jon Kitna), continue to impress, beating the Colts on the road 38-35 in overtime today, they suffered a big loss when rookie WR Dez Bryant broke his ankle.

This injury, which occurred on a kick return in the fourth quarter, obviously will mark the end of his rookie season.

He finishes his freshman season with 44 catches, 547 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. He also averaged 14.3 yards per punt with two returns for scores.

Not bad for a guy who refuses to carry other people’s shoulder pads.

UPDATE (11:42 p.m.):
According to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, Bryant will undergo ankle surgery Monday morning.

"That sets us back," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Archer. "That sets us back. I really feel bad for him, but it really sets us back."

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Posted on: December 2, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 3:31 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.2.10 emotional blowups are OK

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit and Will Brinson

Some Browns news for you: cornerback Joe Haden was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. And former Bucs safety Sabby Piscitelli has now joined the team.

Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer counts down prospective candidates for Andrew Luck's services (read: does he like Charlotte enough to leave Stanford?)


Speaking of awesome places to play football, Bills first-rounder C.J. Spiller is loving that tropical Buffalo weather.


Jason Garrett, Jon Kitna defend Dez Bryant's sideline blowup.


Can you believe we’ve come to care so much about Derek Anderson this week?


It was finally discovered why Panthers high-priced cornerback Chris Gamble was benched this past Sunday: teammates say he missed practice.


Chad Ochocinco and Darren Sharper have been exchanging barbs via Twitter. It’s a an argument over #whichstarhasbeenlessrelevantthisse
ason.


Some believe Chad Henne is getting more comfortable in Miami.


Forget LeBron facing Cleveland. How about Woodhead facing New York!?!

The Giants got some good news about injured wideouts Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. Neither will play against the Redskins this week, but both are very hopeful for Week 14 against the Vikings.


Click here if you’re interested in reading up on the Chargers ownership and possible relocation issues. The AEG rumors are interesting…you have to think AEG would know how to get a stadium built, right?


The Seahawks are retiring future Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones’ number 71 this Sunday.


The Bucs thought about filling their void at safety with cornerback/slot ace Ronde Barber, but they ultimately decided against it.


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Posted on: November 22, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.22.10: Week 11 boxscore tidbits

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Did you notice the Giants only had 208 yards of total offense against the Eagles Sunday night?

Justin Tuck had three sacks and was phenomenal in containment outside and against the run.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis racked up 96 yards on 21 carries against the Colts.

Donald Brown had 68 yards on 17 carries, but 36 of those yards came on one good run. Brown was his usual ineffective self for most of the night. J. Mayo (US Presswire)

Jerod Mayo led the Patriots with 15 tackles, though fellow inside linebacker Gary Guyton stood out more. Guyton had nine tackles.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 21/34, 316 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Fred Jackson and Cedric Benson both rushed for over 115 yards.

For the second week in a row, the Bills won and Lee Evans caught just two passes. (Not trying to suggest there’s a correlation between the two.) Steve Johnson has become Buffalo’s No. 1 wideout. He had eight catches for 137 yards and three scores against the Bengals.

For the second straight week, Felix Jones gave the Cowboys 51 yards on the ground. That is his second highest rushing output of the season.

Jahvid Best, who is battling a bad foot, had just two yards on three carries. Or maybe it was three yards on two carries. Anyway, he was a non-factor.

Dez Bryant averaged minus-two yards per catch on all of his non-touchdown receptions Sunday.

Very rarely does a DT lead his team in tackles. That’s what Ndamukong Suh did for the Lions (eight stops).

Before leaving with a re-aggravated groin injury, Clinton Portis looked fresh on five carries (32 yards).

Pilloried all week for poor route running, Redskins wideout Joey Galloway caught three passes for 32 yards. That was three more than Randy Moss caught, by the way.

Titans rookie Marc Mariani recorded his second touchdown return of the season (87 yards on a punt).

It came predominantly in garbage time, but Derek Anderson was 25/46 for 295 yards and a touchdown. And Matt Cassel, who raised the bar for garbage time excellence last week, was a sturdy 15/24 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.

Dwayne Bowe caught two touchdowns, giving him a Chiefs record six-straight games with a touchdown. Bowe is on pace for 1,100 yards and 18 TD’s.

Adrian Wilson led the Cardinals with seven tackles after struggling a week ago.

Thanks to the big deficit, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson got only 14 carries Sunday (72 yards). That was only two more carries than the Packers gave Dimitri Nance (37 yards).

Sidney Rice’s debut: three catches, 56 yards.

Clay Matthews added another sack to his records (league-high 11.5 on the season). He also had two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback.

LaDainian Tomlinson still looks fresh. He only managed 36 yards on 12 carries, but he turned in 71 yards on seven receptions.

Joel Dreessen could wind up keeping the starting tight end job even once Owen Daniels is healthy. Dreessen, who is a slightly better blocker than Daniels, caught four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.

With RT Damien Woody out, the Texans got three sacks (two from Mario Williams) and seven hits on Mark Sanchez.

Pittsburgh held Oakland to 61 yards rushing, which is par for the course for the Steelers this season.

Jason Campbell was 7/19 for 70 yards and a pick before getting benched in the second half. Bruce Gradkowski finished 13/24 for 98 yards and a pick.

Rashard Mendenhall’s 59 yards rushing were just four more yards than Ben Roethlisberger had on the ground.

James Harrison had two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback (one of which drew a ridiculous roughing the passer flag)…and those numbers still don’t describe the depth of his impact Sunday.

Joe Flacco had his first 300-yard passing game of the season against the Panthers.

Ray Lewis got his 30th career interception (and took it to the house).

The Jaguars won despite six turnovers (four from David Garrard).

Peyton Hillis was held to 48 yards on 21 carries, though he produced 95 yards on six receptions.

The Jaguars sacked Colt McCoy six times. Six sacks used to be a half-season for Jacksonville.

Interesting: Michael Turner got 28 carries for Atlanta (131 yards) and Jason Snelling got just one.

Who needs Pierre Thomas? Chris Ivory turned in99 yards on 23 carries for the Saints.

Brandon Stokley, Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu all had at least five catches and 75 yards for the Seahawks.

The 49ers generated only 71 yards on the ground against Tampa Bay’s bottom-feeder run defense. Forty five of those yards came from Troy Smith scrambles.

Mike Williams, barely 48 hours removed from a DUI arrest, caught all three passes thrown his way. Williams finished with 54 yards and a touchdown.

Patrick Willis stamped his ticket to Hawaii: two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two QB hits and a team-high 13 tackles.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: November 17, 2010 8:51 am
 

Hot Routes 11.17.10: Where the Lions surprise you

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • It just feels like the Detroit Lions are better than their record, right? Well, that might actually be the case -- Michael David Smith writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Lions have the worst record in NFL history for a team with a positive point differential. They're currently at +13 and 2-7 -- the second worst team in NFL history with a positive point differential were the 1971 Bengals, who finished 4-10. And yes, this correlates to the fact that the Lions are covering machines (8-1 on the year against the spread) and should correlate to greater success next year.
  • Nick Eatman, our Cowboys Rapid Reporter and DallasCowboys.com staff writer, makes the claim that Dez Bryant is the best player on the Cowboys. Frankly, it's a perfectly reasonable argument. Which is a scary thought for the NFC East in terms of the years to come.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 7:46 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.15.10: Week 10 boxscore tidbits



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-With his concussion suffered early during the Sunday night game, the streak of consecutive games made with at least one catch ended for Steelers WR Hines Ward. It ends at 186, the third-best streak in NFL history.

-Ravens K Billy Cundiff blasted three touchbacks Sunday. That gives him 25 on the season (a 58.1 percent success rate on his kickoffs), the top mark in the NFL. He’s already destroyed the club record (15 by Matt Stovall in 2007).

-Cowboys WR Dez Bryant had three catches for 104 yards, the most he’s ever produced in his career. Since Jon Kitna replaced the injured Tony Romo at QB four games ago, Bryant has 23 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

-Seahawks WR Mike Williams had 11 catches for a career-high 145 yards in Seattle’s win against the Cardinals. He did it with a broken finger suffered in practice four days earlier.

-Chiefs QB Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards, the second-highest single-game total in Kansas City history (Elvis Grbac had 504 yards in 2000). The Chiefs still lost.

-For the first time since 1941, two brothers are NFL punters at the same time. Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt faced Denver’s Britton Colquitt on Sunday, and Dustin’s average (43.3 yards) beat Britton’s average (41.0). The Chiefs still lost.

-When Manny Pacquiao destroyed Antonio Margarito in a unanimous decision in Dallas on Saturday, it was his second win of the year at Cowboys Stadium (he beat Joshua Clottey there in March). The Cowboys, meanwhile, have only one win at home this season.

-Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns in helping beat the Steelers. Which was a marked improvement over last week when he dropped passes, muffed up a kickoff return and fumbled deep in Browns territory to help hand Cleveland the win.

-Of the 50 passes tossed by Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, more than half (27) were targeted for either Roddy White or Michael Jenkins.

-From 2007-09, Bengals RB Cedric Benson combined for only three fumbles. This season alone, he’s got three.

-For the first time this season, Jets RB Shonn Greene outgained LaDainian Tomlinson on the ground. Greene had 72 yards on 20 carries, while Tomlinson carried the ball 18 times for 57 yards.

-The Jets dominated the time of possession vs. Cleveland (47:08 to 27:36) but needed until the very end of overtime to squeak out the win.

-Since his big coming-out party in Week 2 (17 carries, nine catches, 232 total yards, three TDs), Lions rookie RB Jahvid Best hasn’t scored a TD and has gained more than 50 yards on the ground just one time. On Sunday, he had 17 carries for 35 yards.

-Even with four players throwing the ball Sunday (Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen and Brandon Marshall) the final passing stats for Miami were pretty good. The four combined to complete 24 of 37 passes for 323 yards, two touchdowns, one INT and a passer rating of 99.3.

-This is a stat that will make Pete Prisco gnash his teeth. In the past two games, Jaguars QB David Garrard has completed 41 of 52 passes for 602 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Two weeks ago, his passer rating was 157.8. On Sunday, it was 134.1.

-Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two scores. Much of that production, though, came in garbage time when the game was already lost.

-Mike Goodson became the first Panthers RB to rush for at least 100 yards this season. Not Jonathan Stewart, not DeAngelo Williams. Mike Goodson.

-Buccaneers RB LaGarrette Blount has only played in six games this season. In his past four, he’s rushed 65 times for 329 yards and three touchdowns.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: November 15, 2010 1:41 am
Edited on: November 15, 2010 1:04 pm
 

10 stories that deserve your attention Week 10

Posted by Will Brinson & Josh Katzowitz

1. Garrett does Dallas

Perhaps the weirdest thing about a really weird Week 10 in the NFL was the Dallas Cowboys' not just winning, but flat-out dominating the New York Giants en route to a 33-20 thrashing of the team everyone thought was the NFC's best just a week ago.

But what could have possibly changed in just one week to take the Cowboys from the definitive punchline of the 2010 season and turn them into a dangerous spoiler machine?

"The difference is the freakish disasters that have defined our season didn't happen tonight for us," Jon Kitna said afterwards.

Well, yes, there's that. But where's the Jason Garrett love?!?!? After all, if he can do this in just one week, imagine what he could do in a whole year with a gigantic contract! (At least that's the argument he's likely pushing to Jerry Jones for the rest of this week.)

Garrett clearly makes the Cowboys a better team right now than Wade Phillips did -- simply based on effort alone -- but whether or not he's the long-term answer as a coach for Jones' organization is going to require more than just four quarters of impressive play from the Cowboys.

But Cowboys fans probably shouldn't bask in the glow of a dominating win against a division opponent -- continued success in a lost season will make Garrett all but a lock for the full-time job in 2011, and that would be a shame, particularly with so many excellent coaching candidates out there after the season.

One thing's for sure, though: whoever coaches Dallas next year and beyond is going to have a very special talent in Dez Bryant. The rookie wideout, whose play this year has to make Jones feel less horrible for passing on Randy Moss so many years ago, continued to light up the stat sheet against the Giants. (WB)

2. Dolphins QBs get tossed into the blender

Entering Sunday’s game, the Dolphins knew exactly where they wanted to go with their quarterbacks. Coaches had determined they needed to replace starter Chad Henne with backup Chad Pennington, and though this couldn’t have been easy for Henne, he took his demotion with class and professionalism.

That lasted all of two plays before Pennington dislocated his shoulder and left the game with a ton of money in hand (not the same hand that’s connected to the shoulder he just dislocated. The other hand, obviously). That’s because he got a $3.25 million bonus to play those two snaps (it was an escalator in his contract that had to do with him playing as the starting quarterback), so hey, good for him.

Next up was Henne, who soon left with a knee injury.

That leaves the Dolphins with one healthy quarterback, Tyler Thigpen. All we’ve heard since he was elevated to starter is how unorthodox of a signal-caller he is but, at the same time, how effective he can be. Apparently, he burns the Dolphins first team defense in practice all the time while running the scout team. Apparently, he’s innovative and, if he can limit his mistakes, he could be a real force. That said, 24 hours ago, he was nothing better than a third-string quarterback.

And to be fair, for all of Thigpen’s attributes, he’s 1-10 all time as an NFL starter.

Miami now will have to shop for at least one other quarterback to back up Thigpen, and the Dolphins probably will add two this week. JaMarcus Russell is apparently one option, as is Sean Canfield, Tom Brandsteter, Todd Bouman, Jeff George, Vinny Testaverde, and hell, I don’t know, Randall Cunningham (only Russell, Canfield, Brandsteter and Bouman are legit, by the way). (JK)

3. Do NOT make the Patriots angry



The debate surrounding the Patriots over the past week was "trap game v. crumbling dynasty." Could the Patriots really be looking that far past a former assistant on Bill Belichick's staff in Eric Mangini? Could Randy Moss have been more important than we thought to Tom Brady's success?

Yes and no are the answers to those questions -- and we can all justifiably hop back on the Pats bandwagon after they dismantled the Steelers on Sunday night behind a monster Brady performance that saw him throw for 350 yards, three touchdowns and rush for another. (Interestingly, all three were to rookie Rob Gronkowski and this was Brady's first game over 300 yards this season.)

Belichick may plan well (22-2 after a bye) and New England may never lose back-to-back games (23-3 following a loss), but not many people saw this coming, even if it was in Pittsburgh, where Brady's consistently ripped owned the Steelers franchise and stomped on the collective heart of the fanbase every time he gets a chance (6-1 against them for his career).

This isn't to say that there shouldn't be any hesitation to crown the Pats the best team in the NFL, because there should be. Their defense is still really young (though it's maturing), and there absolutely questions about the offense, but, really, what you should worry about is not playing them when they're angry. "

And if you saw Brady screaming at his offensive lineman, crunching forward for three yards, slamming the ball once he got in the end zone or referring to the game as "emotional" at least 30 times afterwards, you know the Pats played and practiced angry this week. (WB)

4. What else can go wrong in Minnesota?

Wait, wait, don’t answer that. If there is an answer to that, we don’t want to know the answer.

And we’re not even talking about Percy Harvin’s migraines and Sidney Rice’s hip and Bernard Berrian’s groin and John Sullivan’s calf and Adrian Peterson’s ineffectiveness Sunday and … so on and so on.

We’re talking about how Brett Favre somehow came up with another injury he can fight through (he told ESPN that he’s been having shoulder pains that might be related to biceps surgery he had in 2008) and how he threw three interceptions Sunday to go with a fumble and a QB passer rating of 44.5. Not coincidentally, Minnesota lost 27-13 to Chicago to fall to 3-6 on the season.

But obviously, Favre still thinks his squad can make the playoffs. Right, Brett?

"If I had to gauge today I would say no," he said. "I'm not writing us off. But guys are in that locker room as we did right after the game [saying], 'We've got to find a way to turn it around' – all the cliches that go with it, as you would expect. 'We've got to pick it up. We've got to find a way to win.' And I say yes to all of those.

"Can this team make the playoffs? Yes, I'll say yes to that. Will we make the playoffs? I have no idea. No idea. And for anyone in our locker room to think beyond next week, or really beyond today ... we will be watching the playoffs. That's probably a better guess than us making the playoffs. And that's just being honest."

The truth does, in fact, hurt. Whether Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was being completely honest about coach Brad Childress’ continued employment – he told ESPN that he wasn’t considering getting rid of Childress – we’ll just have to wait and see. But you can’t like the sour attitude that continues to waft through Childress’ locker room. Honest or not. (JK)

5. The AFC West just got wilder

The Oakland Raiders cruised into their bye with a three-game winning streak, but it was reasonable to think the Kansas City Chiefs could put some distance in the AFC West standings thanks to a matchup against the defensively incompetent Broncos.

Then a funny thing happened -- Denver watched how the Raiders beat KC the week before, stacked the box early against Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, and blew out Todd Haley's squad early and often. Late too, for that matter; Josh McDaniels' decision to keep his starters in the whole game didn't exactly sit well with Haley, who refused to shake hands after the game.

What was the long-term outcome of this game? Well, for starters, the AFC West is wide open now. Oakland and KC are both 5-4 and in first, but looming LARGE are the San Diego Chargers at 4-5 and just one game back.

The Bolts are even more terrifying for that division because by the time the second set of divisional games get underway, they'll be in possession of a fully-loaded weapon, as Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson and Legandu Naanee all (should) return sooner than later. 

What might be most weird about this is, given that all eight divisions are completely up in the air at this point, the Chargers might once again represent the team most likely to run away with their division. If they can win their remaining four games against AFC West foes (home-and-home against Denver, home game against Kansas City, home against Oakland), there's a pretty good chance they close the season 6-1 and cruise to another title.  (WB)

6. What else can we say about Palmer?

He’s not just average at this point in his career. He’s worse than average. Carson Palmer showed that again in the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Colts. His stats actually don’t look too bad (31 of 42 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions). But Palmer, as he’s been the past two seasons, is sometimes so inaccurate, it actually feels like a joke. Surely, he can’t be that off. He must be joshing us.

Yet, he threw another pick-6 Sunday, and against a Colts defense missing most of its key players, he simply wasn’t good enough. He’s also not getting enough help from his teammates, particularly Terrell Owens, who seems to quit on a route at least once a game. Too far out of his reach – which, to be fair, happens quite a bit with Palmer – and Owens doesn’t bother going after it or knocking it away from the defender who’s usually ready to make the interception.

Palmer apparently had a pain-killing injection put into his shoulder before the game – the same shoulder that caused him to miss practice Wednesday and Thursday – and it seems clear Palmer isn’t healthy. Perhaps, he hasn’t been healthy in quite a while. Those are the whispers that follow him around, and though he’s always quick to deny that he has long-lasting pain, that could explain why he’s fallen so far from being an elite quarterback to being one that has dropped below the average line. (JK)

7. When playing not to win works



Pretty sure I'll feel like a jerk suggesting this, but the Browns should have played for the tie on Sunday. And yeah, maybe Herm Edwards won't agree, but when Cleveland dialed up a pass on first down with 1:35 remaining in overtime, and Colt McCoy missed Ben Watson, it ended up costing the Browns the game (and, no joke, a chance to at least get back near the playoff race) because they left the Jets 24 seconds on the clock after a punt to their own 37-yard line.

Now, McCoy had already led an amazing drive to close out regulation, so it's fine putting the game in his hands. But in that situation, you really can't play "just to win," because the risk-reward of having to march 60 yards just to have a shot at a game-winning field goal doesn't pan out. Run the ball with Peyton Hillis twice, and maybe play action on third down. Otherwise you end up losing just like the Browns did. (WB)

8. There's a new Smith in town

When we talked to 49ers LB Takeo Spikes recently about his team, he brought up, with no prompting, how quickly the team had taken a liking to QB Troy Smith.

"Just with Troy’s presence," Spikes said. "He’s a guy who’s not only confident in his abilities but he makes everybody feel confident about themselves and what he’s about to do when we step on the field."

You could really see that against the Rams. Smith threw for 356 yards and a TD on just 17 completions, and as the game entered the second half, he looked completely in control and command. This is not how he looked when he was in Baltimore. Maybe it’s something in that San Francisco air. Or maybe it’s the Rice-A-Roni. (JK)

9. Bills get off the schneid

The Bills have been so close on so many different occasions.

They kept New England in sight before falling 38-30 in Week 3. And after taking their bye in Week 6, the heartbreaks really began to pile up.

In Week 7, the Bills gained 505 yards and scored four touchdowns – and took a 24-10 lead against Baltimore, no less – but the game turned for good in overtime when Ravens LB Ray Lewis lifted up Buffalo Te Shane Nelson (not unlike Patrick Swayze hoisting Jennifer Grey into the air) and stripped the ball away. Four plays later, Baltimore kicked the game-winning field goal.

In Week 8, Buffalo forced overtime AGAIN, and AGAIN, the opponent crushed the Bills souls in the final period. Early in overtime, Bills K Rian Lindell actually kicked the 53-yarder that would have given the Bills the win, but Chiefs coach Todd Haley had called timeout just before the snap. On the retry, Lindell hit the upright and it was no good.

And last week, not even a trip to Toronto could change the Bills fortunes. Despite Buffalo leading 19-14 in the fourth quarter, the Bills allowed (of all people) Bears QB Jay Cutler to throw the go-ahead TD pass with 6:41 to go. The Bears could not respond and fell 22-19.

But Sunday … ah, Sunday. A blessed, glorious victory.

So, Buffalo, how did it feel beating the Lions 14-12? This Associated Press lede should tell you the story:

Elated and relieved, guard Eric Wood could not contain himself as he skipped toward the Buffalo Bills’ locker room door.

“Holy cow! We won a game!” Wood yelled, his voice echoing in the tunnel at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

So, yeah, it felt pretty good. Buffalo can thank RB Fred Jackson, who rushed for a season-high 133 yards and scored both touchdowns. And despite the fact Lions QB Shaun Hill led a furious comeback in the final minutes, the Bills defense cracked down during the two-point conversion and Hill was forced to throw it out of the back of the end zone.

Here’s hoping the Bills enjoy this victory. Lords knows they’ve earned it. (JK)

10. Quick Hitters:

****We had two overtime games this week. In an unbelievable upset, CBS’ Gus Johnson wasn’t calling either game. His game actually was decided on a last-second Hail Mary, which allowed him to be at his best while not having to put any extra (unpaid) time into his shift.

****As a result of the Bills winning, the Panthers look like they're in prime position for the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. It'll be the first time in franchise history Carolina selects first overall -- the closest they came was No. 2 in 2003, which netted them Julius Peppers instead of David Carr. That worked out okay.

****The Lions are 8-1 this season! Against the spread. Which is actually pretty impressive and probably indicative that they're better than their record indicates. So, that's something, right?

****Amazingly, the 49ers had three of their touchdowns called back because of penalties. And they were impressive touchdowns, too. Unfortunately, they’ve gone to that almost-touchdown heaven in the sky, never to be seen or heard from again.

****Speaking of San Francisco, the team was 0-for-11 on third-down conversions until Rams S O.J. Atogwe was called for pass interference in overtime. Two plays later, the 49ers kicked the game-winning field goal. Who said you have to convert third downs to win?

****Shonn Greene was expected to get more carries this week and he did, making the most out of the 20 times he toted the rock (his second-highest total of the season) and giving a good indication that the's prepping to turn into more of a workhorse for the Jets.

****Know what's weird? People just refuse to talk about the Atlanta Falcons as the best team in the NFL. Even though they have a record to match. That is all.

****Mario Manningham and Ramses Barden looked sharp in the loss to the Cowboys, just proving how deep and talented that WR corps of the Giants is -- if Steve Smith misses significant time, it's obviously problematic, but New York can still score.

****Randy Moss said he had a "bad" day/game in his debut for the Titans. And he's correct, but it was odd that he didn't try and blame someone else, merely pointing out he'd do what was necessary in order to help the team win. But that's usually what he does after his first week in a new location. If this keeps up and the Titans aren't winning, things could change. Quickly.

****Pete Carroll's playcalling is so freaking bizarre. It's one thing that the Seahawks simply can't run the ball without Russell Okung healthy (they can't), but it's another to be chunking the ball left and right across the field with little-to-no time remaining. Oh, and his decision to QB sneak in the red zone resulted in a broken bone for Matt Hasselbeck. It's really going criminally underrated because they're having some success this year. 

****Brandon Marshall's temper flared up again Sunday, as he got upset after making a catch and threw the ball into the stands, drawing a penalty. Given that he might be catching passes from JaMarcus Russell soon (no, no seriously), there's a pretty good chance we could be seeing an epic meltdown at some point. 
 
 
 
 
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