Tag:Kansas City Chiefs
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:47 pm
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149-week Miami Hurricanes touchdown streak ends

Posted by Will Brinson

We touched on this during Sorting the Sunday Pile Monday morning (surely it's in your early-week rotation by now, right?!?), but in order to keep an improbable streak rolling on Sunday, Miami Hurricanes alumni in the NFL needed a touchdown from an even more improbable source: Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

Plenty of people scored for New England in their rout of Kansas City, but none of them were ex-Canes, and the streak of consecutive touchdowns by a former Miami Hurricanes in the NFL ended at 149 weeks on Monday night.

Bill Belichick, as we somewhat jokingly predicted this morning, had a chance to give Wilfork the rock from the one-yard line right at the two-minute warning.

But he bailed on that chance -- though he still ran up the score, which somehow didn't get Todd Haley incensed at midfield -- and the streak ends.

The most interesting aspect of this, to us, is that Kellen Winslow did catch a touchdown pass, but was called for pushing off of Sam Shields, who's also a former Cane.

Given the recent troubles for Miami's program, it seems pretty unlikely that this feat -- more than eight years in the making -- will ever be repeated.

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Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 5:40 pm
 

Chiefs place Matt Cassel on injured reserve

Posted by Will Brinson

Last Monday, we noted that Kansas City lost quarterback Matt Cassel to a hand injury that required surgery and would likely knock him out for the season.

Cassel's injury appears to have done just that, as prior to Monday night's game in New England, the Chiefs placed the quarterback on injured reserve Monday afternoon, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Tyler Palko was expected to start for the "foreseeable future" anyway, but now it looks like the Chiefs will ride out the former Pittsburgh Panther (and Steeler) for the entire season, unless they decide to sign an additional veteran.

Interestingly, as my colleague Dan Marino notes in the Monday night preview below, Palko is the reason Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco transferred from Pitt to Delaware. Ergo, he must be capable.

As Brian McIntyre of Mac's Football Blog notes, the Chiefs now have $37.5 million in total cash sitting on Injured Reserve.

Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry going down for the season will do that to you.


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Posted on: November 15, 2011 7:36 pm
 

Pick-Six Podcast: Will Tebow option keep working?

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

We're less than 24 hours away from the -- surprisingly -- heavily-hyped matchup between the Jets and ... the Broncos? (Apparently the Jets are frustrated they lost to New England and now taking their smack-talking out on Denver.)

So we break down whether or not the option will continue to work for Tebow against Rex Ryan and the Gang Green.

Our good friend Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk also joins the show to discuss whether or not the Lions are in trouble when it comes to a playoff berth and how much we should read into the Patriots improvement on defense.

We also break down the injury-riddled Monday that just went down, debate whether or not Michael Vick should start this week, and discuss whether or not Matt Leinart and Tyler Palko can save the Texans and Chiefs, respectively.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: November 15, 2011 9:30 am
Edited on: November 15, 2011 9:32 am
 

Tracking Tebow, Week 10: Just win, Timmy

We're Tracking Tebow … because it's impossible not to watch. 

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We'll sometimes joke about a particularly appalling quarterback performance setting offenses back a 100 years (it usually happens anytime Rex Grossman plays). But the Broncos' Sunday gameplan for Tim Tebow, the glorified running back who occasionally is asked to throw the ball, was right out of Fred Flinstone's high school playbook.

Of Denver's 64 offensive snaps, Tebow threw the ball eight times. He completed two passes, and ended the day with 69 passing yards. A week after Denver unveiled the read-option against a flummoxed Raiders defense, they followed the same strategy against the Chiefs. The difference: Kansas City didn't seem surprised that Tebow would, you know, run the ball. In fact, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel prepared his players well for it; the read-option didn't yield much in the running game. It was the conventional hand-off-to-the-running-backs play-calling that caused Kansas City all sorts of problems.

Recapping Week 10

Not counting Tebow's nine rushes for 43 yards, Denver averaged 4.3 yards per carry with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno early (they left with injuries in the first half) and Lance Ball late. And this includes the final two series of the game -- all Ball runs -- as the Broncos ran out the clock.

As for the historical significance of what happened Sunday, consider this (via ESPN): the Broncos had never won a game with two or fewer completions, and no NFL team in the last quarter-century had accomplished that other than in a Week 5 2009 win for the Browns, when Derek Anderson went 2 of 17 against the somehow-more-hapless Bills.

In that game, Cleveland ran the ball 50 times and squeaked out a 6-3 victory. For an idea of just how bad it was, Captain Checkdown Trent Edwards was the most prolific passer on the day, going 16 of 31 for 152 yards.

The Broncos, meanwhile, are 4-5 and just one game back of the division-leading Raiders. The question going forward, of course, is can Denver win with the "run, run, then run some more" game plans.


Against the Chiefs, Tebow's passing opportunities were limited. He didn't attempt a throw in the first half, maxed out with five attempts in the second quarter, added two more in the third and was 1 for 1 with a 56-yard touchdown pass in the final quarter. His misses weren't nearly as off the mark as they have been in recent weeks. Two early deep throws should've been caught, another was woefully underthrown, and his running back dropped a short pass in the second half. Tebow's worst throw of the afternoon was on 3rd and 4, when the ball traveled approximately 2.5 yards in the air before short-hopping his intended target. In that sense, Tebow improved, though probably not nearly enough to be considered anything other than a fullback with a pretty good arm.

But, hey, style points don't matter. And Tebow is 3-1. It's hard to believe, yes, but it's the truth. Welcome to the AFC West, everybody!


                                                   Play by Play



(Note: Below are the plays -- both running and passing -- involving Tebow. You can view the entire play-by-play breakdown here)




                                                        Quotes



"After a while, you come to the realization that Ernie Els' golf swing is different than Lee Trevino's, but it's what they're comfortable with, they both work, and they both win.'' - Broncos head coach John Fox

"I thought they had a terrific plan, and it just took us too long to figure out how to get the run stopped, whoever was running it, whether it was the quarterback or the backs or the receivers," - Chiefs coach Todd Haley (By the way: this is why Haley will probably be looking for work in January)

"If you don't have to throw it as much, I guess you're probably winning, but eight times? Never heard of that." - Broncos CB Champ Bailey on Tebow's 2-for-8 afternoon. When asked the last time he played in a game in which his team passed the ball eight times, Bailey said "never."

“This is very frustrating because you’re in a good position. Leading up into the game, you’ve got a good scheme against a guy like Tebow. There’s no one to blame. It’s just us as a unit. We didn’t pull it through. … They just outexecuted us. That’s all that happened. Can’t say they wanted it more. I mean, I don’t know what happened, man.” - Chiefs CB Javier Arenas

"At this rate, I would say yes. Now, who knows? But he's running the offense well, and he's not turning it over.'' - Fox responding to SI's Peter King on if Tebow as the starter for the rest of the season.


                                                   Audio-Visual



Here are the moving-pictures recap of the Broncos' win over the Chiefs:


Tim Tebow hit Eric Decker on a 56-yard touchdown pass, one of his only two completions in the game, helping the Denver Broncos to a 17-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. CBS Sports' Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker have the recap.

Here's a rare glimpse of the Broncos' aerial assault. Rarer still, a Tebow completion:


Because you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.


                                                   Eye on Tebow



Tebow (15) gets past Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Glenn Dorsey (72) to score a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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Posted on: November 14, 2011 4:37 pm
 

Cassel needs surgery, Tyler Palko Chiefs starter

Posted by Will Brinson

The 2011 season's been quite the rollercoaster for the Chiefs. But after back-to-back losses to the Dolphins and Broncos, things are going to get worse, as Matt Cassel has a "significant" hand injury, will need surgery and could miss the rest of the year.

That means it's Shane Falco Tyler Palko time in Kansas City -- Todd Haley confirmed the news.

"We feel good about Tyler, or he wouldn’t be our No. 2," Haley said, per our via our Chiefs Rapid Reporter Bob Gretz. "I have belief in Tyler. He has a great understanding of how our offense works and his role in it."

Haley also indicated that Cassel, who injured his hand in the fourth quarter while being sacked by Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller, could end up on injured reserve, depending on how surgery went.

Week 10 Wrapup

"It’s possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s an absolute," Haley said Monday.

The only absolute is that Palko's starting, and Haley said he would do so "for the foreseeable future." Palko went undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2007, but was signed by the Saints. Since then he's bounced in and out of the NFL before landing with the Chiefs over the past two years.

Palko's completed nine of 13 passing attempts over the past two years, including five of seven in replacement duty for Cassel on Sunday.

And now he'll get an interesting little trial by fire as the Chiefs play the Patriots, the Steelers, the Bears, the Jets and the Packers over the next five weeks.


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Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:41 am
 

Tebow gets Taiwanese animation treatment, again

Posted by Will Brinson

You know you've made it big when you get your own meme. But you've made it huge when you get the Taiwanese animation treatment. Tim Tebow's there.

When the folks at Next Media Animation decided to do a second video on Tebow in the past month, though, it puts him into "full-blown internet superstar" territory. Or something.

The most likely explanation is that they got a ton of views on their last Tebow video (spearing a Dolphin with a trident will also do that) and decided to fire another one (forgetting that he plays on Thursday, and not Sunday).

I was going to pass on posting it, but watching animated Chiefs players get struck down by lightning bolts is just too fun not to share.



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Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:55 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 10:18 am
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 10

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 10 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.


1. Houston We Don't Have a Problem

"Who's the best team in the AFC?" -- that's a question I got asked a couple of times on the radio this past week, and I pointed out each time that we shouldn't be sleeping on the Texans. Following their 37-9 pimp-slapping of the Bucs in Tampa, I doubt I'll be the only one saying that this week.

Yes, they play in one of the NFL's worst divisions and, yes, they have a ridiculously cake schedule this year. No, Matt Schaub is not "elite." Yes, the Ravens have beaten them this year.

I don't expect people to stop using those arguments to knock down the Texans. That's fine -- but people need to realize that Houston is as complete a team as there is in the NFL.

They can run: Arian Foster and Ben Tate are the most dangerous backfield combo in the NFL, Derrick Ward's a nice third option and their offensive line is criminally underrated. (All three guys scored Sunday against the Buccaneers.) They can pass: pan Matt Schaub all you want, but he's thrown just three picks in the six games since losing Andre Johnson, and when Johnson returns after the bye he'll only get better.  They play defense: after ranking 30th in total yards allowed in 2010, the Texans find themselves as the stingiest defensive team in football through 10 weeks of the 2011 season.

The Texans rank third in the NFL with 14 interceptions. That's one more than they had in all of 2010. And their point differential (107) currently tops the league.

Heading into Week 10 the Texans were the only team to rank in the top 10 of Football Outsiders efficiency metrics on offense, defense and special teams. The Steelers could join them in that distinction after this week, but thanks to an absolutely dominant game in Tampa Bay, there's zero chance the Texans will see their stock fall.

Look, it's perfectly OK to expect the Texans to figure out a way not to make the playoffs. It's what they do. But it's not like they're working on some fluky formula here. Their offense won't slow down, particularly with Johnson returning, and their defense, despite losing Mario Williams, really appears to be gelling.

And because the division's so terrible, there's a distinct chance the Texans clinch their first AFC South title before Christmas.


2. The Only Stat That Matters ...

If I told you that Tim Tebow would go two of eight passing on Sunday while Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno left the game early with an injury, you'd assume that a) the Chiefs rolled the Broncos and b) Tebow got benched. You would not assume what actually happened, which is that the Broncos beat Kansas City 17-9 to hand the Chiefs their second-straight inexplicable victory.

And what's weirder, that Tebow was 0-fer at halftime, missing on all five of his passing attempts? Or that he only attempted three more passes in the second half? Or that his second completion was a straight-up NFL throw that resulted in a 56-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker?

Or maybe that Broncos coach John Fox was clearly overjoyed to beat a division rival with an offensive gameplan that probably caused the NFL's marketing arm to set fire to the highlight reel within 15 minutes of the final whistle.

"It's just a mindset. It's a low-risk offense. It's not an indictment on Tim Tebow or whoever our quarterback is," Fox said. "It's just whatever is working for us. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. We tried to possess the ball and keep our defense fresh."

That sounds kind of ridiculous, and I guess it is. But we're talking about John Fox here -- he's not exactly an offensive innovator, much less someone who cares in the slightest how many passing attempts his quarterback has, particularly if the team wins.

But hey, there's a precedent for this kind of game -- it's the 27th quarterback time since the merger that a team's won a game despite having a quarterback who completed two or less passes on eight or more attempts. The parameters are weird, and the list is weirder, especially because several of the quarterbacks weren't the only guy to take snaps for their team. Most interesting (to me) are a pair of names on the list with Tebow: Kyle Orton ... and John Elway.

Tebow's not the same quarterback as the man in charge of his future, but he's now 3-1 since taking over as the Broncos starting quarterback. He's improving, Denver's figuring out how to design offensive schemes around his specific skillset, and they're turning what looked like a lost season into an interesting little run in a weak AFC West.

3. Texas Is Big Enough for Two Teams

It really is nuts how much the NFL playoff picture can change in a matter of weeks. Or days. Or hours -- the Cowboys entered Sunday morning two games back of the Giants for the NFC East lead with the potentially resurgent Eagles hot on their heels. Less than 12 hours later, after a 44-7 whipping of Buffalo? Dallas is one game back of the Giants, the Eagles look done, and it's like the Cowboys season was never in jeopardy.

"We needed a game like this," Jason Witten said. "This needs to be the foundation of what lies ahead for this team."

"A game like this" equates to what might be the best game of Tony Romo's career. The oft-maligned quarterback was 23 of 26 for 270 yards and three touchdowns, and the only reason his numbers were suppressed is Dallas 28-7 halftime lead. Romo attempted just seven passes in the second half and set the Cowboys franchise record for completion percentage, hitting 88.5 percent of his passes.

Could it be a coincidence that Romo got rid of his flak jacket for the first time since his broken ribs in Week 2? Maybe. But over the course of the next few weeks, it probably won't look like it, because the Cowboys go to Washington, play Miami and travel to Arizona before hosting the Giants on December 11.

Given that the Giants play the Eagles, the Saints and the Packers in that same time frame, don't be surprised if we're approaching that Week 14 matchup throwing out terms like "division-leading Cowboys" and "darkhorse MVP candidate Romo."

Things change, because this is the NFL. But watching the Cowboys bounce back over the past two weeks, and knowing that Romo's now 17-2 in November (his .895 winning percentage in the month is the highest of any quarterback in the Super Bowl era), it's hard not to think they're getting hot at the right time.

4. Bold But Bad

Mike Smith's decision to go for it on a fourth-and-inches on his own 29-yard line in overtime will be analyzed a lot over the next seven days, because it giftwrapped a 26-23 victory for New Orleans Sunday. And, most importantly, it put the Falcons way behind the eight ball for a shot at the NFC South title, as they're now two games back of the Saints.

Atlanta's still in decent position for a wild card berth, and I'm OK with the call Smith made, even if, like my man Pete Prisco, I probably wouldn't have made the call. (This is hindsight creeping in -- I hated it at the time.) The Saints are terrible against the run (a league-worst 5.2 yards per carry allowed), handing the ball to Drew Brees in overtime is the football equivalent of suicide, and Michael Turner is the perfect back for that situation.

My beef is with the playcall, which was precisely the same play that Atlanta used on fourth and one with six minutes left in the third quarter. Witness what the Saints defense looked like then:



Obviously New Orleans is playing to stop the run, but they're not selling out. They got no penetration, and they're certainly wary of the possibility that Matt Ryan could roll out, or that Turner could cut outside to try and pick up the first down.

The second time around, in overtime, that wasn't the case.



As you'll recall, Gregg Williams called a timeout right before Atlanta broke the huddle not in punt formation for this second try. Do you think he might have pointed several Saints defenders in the direction of where Michael Turner might be running with the ball?

Judging by the relative positions of said Saints defenders in the two pictures above, that seems like a pretty reasonable assumption.

And I understand that Turner's a bowling ball and that the Falcons have Smith's back on this and they appreciate his confidence in them picking up a half-yard or less in such a situation.

But knowing that you showed Williams this exact same play less than an hour ago, you have to be more creative with the playcall, especially when there's a division title on the line.

5. Deja Vu All Over Again

After the Patriots lost to the Giants in Week 9, there was a weird feeling of deja vu. You should have that same feeling right now, because after New England pummeled the Jets 37-16 in New York, every single "the Patriots are dead" column from the past week is totally pointless.

Making the premature eulogizing of the Patriots even more irritating is the similarity between 2010 and 2011.

Last year, the Patriots lost their second game of the season when the Browns shocked them 34-14 in Week 9 in Cleveland. The loss of Randy Moss meant that the Patriots couldn't get vertical and ergo/therefore/henceforth the Pats were dead men walking. Naturally, Tom Brady waltzed into Pittsburgh on November 14, went 30 for 43 for 350 yards and hit Rob Gronkowski for three touchdowns.

On Sunday (Week 10! November 13!) Brady waltzed into the New Meadowlands and carved up Rex Ryan's defense, going 26 of 39 for 329 yards and hitting Gronkowski for two touchdowns.

In case you forgot, Brady closed out last year in pretty good fashion -- he didn't throw an interception for the rest of the year, the Pats didn't lose another game and finished 14-2, and Brady became the first-ever unanimous MVP winner in NFL history.

My point is this: though the Patriots defense might stink, Tom Brady is still on the roster. It's not as if the defense in 2010 was all that good; they finished 25th overall in the NFL last year. But the Pats went 14-2 because Brady played at an unholy level with essentially the same offensive personnel he's got now.

In other words, Expecting the Patriots to lose three-straight games -- they haven't since 2002! -- was about as smart as writing off Belichick and Brady after what went down last season.


6. Run This Man!

I planned on taking screenshots of all the commenters who ripped me for picking Seattle to upset Baltimore and posting them here. But there were too many of them. And they were all too vulgar.

Plus, I'm sure everyone who called me names will be back to apologize later anyway.

But really, should we be surprised at this point when the Ravens fail to win after refusing to utilize Ray Rice, clearly the best offensive weapon on their team?

No, no we should not.

Week - Opponent
Rice Carries
Rice Rushing Yards
Points Scored
Result
1 - Steelers
19 107 35 W
2 - Titans
13 43 13 L
3 - Rams
9 81 37 W
4 - Jets
25 66 34 W
6 - Texans
23 101 29 W
7 - Jaguars
8 28 7 L
8 - Cardinals
18 63 30 W
9 - Steelers
18 43 23 W
10 - Seahawks
5 27 17 L

Rice's usage and subsequent success (or lack thereof) isn't a direct correlation with the win-loss record of the Ravens. He's had nine carries in a game (against the Rams) where the Ravens absolutely rolled.

But two games above really stand out in terms of similarity -- the loss to the Seahawks and Jaguars. Both were on the road, both were against teams that aren't even remotely considered on the Ravens level and both featured Rice inexplicably getting less than 10 rushing attempts.

The Ravens were behind for much of each game, but never were they in full-on blowout territory, and the downside of running the ball is really only losing a couple of seconds of game time and actually getting the defense to respect the natural balance that the Ravens offense should feature.

It's doesn't seem that hard to figure out that the Ravens are 1-3 when their best player on offense rushes the ball less than 15 times in a game. And yet somehow Cam Cameron can't do it.

7. Red Rocket

Alright, I give up: Andy Dalton, despite losing to Pittsburgh 24-17 on Sunday, deserves to be the leader for Rookie of the Year right now.

This might sound weird considering he's coming of a loss, he threw a game-ending interception (his second in the fourth quarter Sunday) and my blatant homerism deep respect for Cam Newton.

But it was ridiculously impressive that Cincy took the Steelers best shot early in the game and then rallied back to get within a touchdown, despite losing their other studly rookie A.J. Green after he hyperextended his knee.

Oh, it also doesn't help that Newton absolutely laid an egg on Sunday, failing to score a touchdown in a football game for what he said might be the first time in his life. I haven't seen any confirmation of this, but I also have no trouble believing it.

Back to Dalton and the Bengals though: if Green's injury is substantial, I don't think the Bengals make the playoffs (they currently project as the sixth seed) because not only are the Ravens and the Steelers better, but the Ravens might actually try against Cincy.

And if Newton bounces back over the next few weeks, and the Bengals lose their last three games against the Steelers and Ravens, it's going to be tough for voters to hit Dalton up.

But if he improves from the growing pains he suffered against the Steelers, he might end up stealing the award after all. And, you know, a playoff berth.

8. Andy Reid's Hot Pants

Before the season, we penciled in the Week 10 Cardinals-Eagles matchup with the idea that Kevin Kolb would lead a revived Arizona squad into Philly with a chance for redemption against the team that cast him off for Michael Vick. Instead, Kolb couldn't play Sunday, so John Skelton started and ... the Eagles still lost, 21-17.

With that L, let's just go ahead and bury the Eagles 2011 season. Instead of debating whether 9-7 is possible, let's discuss whether or not Andy Reid should be fired if the Eagles miss the playoffs.

I, unequivocally, say he should not be fired. He's got issues with his roster construction, his clock management and his balance on offense, but there's a reason why he's the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.

Additionally, this is a lockout year, and teams were supposed to struggle to adapt under circumstances. "Bringing in a bunch of new faces" is one such circumstance where there's a built-in excuse.

And perhaps the best reason to hold onto Reid: he's Michael Vick's guy, and Michael Vick just got paid $100 million. That's not to say Vick couldn't play for another coach and succeed, but Reid's mentored him on and -- perhaps more importantly -- off the field. He's turned Vick from an ex-con into a franchise quarterback.

Vick's taken a step back this season, but if Philly can beef up its offensive line and address some of the defensive issues, there's no reason why Reid can't just can Juan Castillo in sacrificial lamb fashion and come back next year, regardless of how this season plays out.

9. What the Helu?

Would the Redskins beat the Colts if they played today? Wilson and I talked about that on the podcast (I assume you hit play above and are listening now but just haven't gotten that far yet), and, um, I'm not sure?

Indy's terrible, but Washington is just depressing -- the latest feather in Mike Shanahan's cap is a 20-9 loss to Miami that not only gave Shanny his first-ever five-game losing streak, but also handed the Dolphins their first win at Sun Life Stadium in 364 days.

The saddest part of the Redskins failure on Sunday isn't even that Rex Grossman gives them a better chance to win than John Beck. That's just the truth, even if it's cringe-worthy. Although apparently Shanahan doesn't know that? Or he does? Or ... you tell me:

"We’re going to make decisions that we think gives us the best chance to win," Shanahan said about the decision to go with Grossman. "Then before the game we decided to go in another direction."

I know what he's saying (I think), but it's kind of awesome that this quote, taken out of context, sounds like "Beck gives us the best chance to win, that's why we started him. But on Sunday we changed our minds."

Anyway, the saddest part is that Roy Helu broke Art Monk's single-game receptions record last week and he was inexplicably benched Sunday in favor of Ryan Torain.

"Well, I wanted to give Ryan a chance, see what he can do," Shanahan said of the decision. "[The Dolphins] are a very good defensive team."

Again, I don't know what that means or how it's sound logic for benching Helu.

Whatever, an obviously motivated Torain carried the ball 10 times for 20 yards. Helu still managed to end the day as Washington's leading rusher, though, as he carried the ball six times for 41 yards in the second half.

This logical result would have stemmed from an illogical decision, but there's nothing justifiably rational about the Redskins right now.

10. Bear With Me Here

First of all, allow me to congratulate my colleague Matt Norlander, who not only got engaged Sunday, but got a win for his precious Bears (an awkward 37-13 slaughtering of Detroit) and a Devin Hester touchdown return.

And second of all, allow me to say I'm sorry for thinking the Bears stink. Because they don't. I can't justify saying that if I'm going to tout the Texans as the top team in the AFC; after all, the Bears play a complete brand of football. They're great on defense, they generate turnovers, they can run the ball on offense and, needless to say, their special teams are pretty good.

Now there's still room for an implosion here. Lord knows they were 2-3, couldn't protect Jay Cutler and looked like a lost team only a few weeks ago. But just like 2010, Mike Martz realized just how true the old equation of "seven-step drops + passing every down = quarterback injuries" really is and Chicago currently projects as the final NFC wild card.

The Bears getting ready to run the not-so-scary AFC West gauntlet, playing San Diego, Oakland, Kansas City and Denver over their next four games. No, that portion of the schedule could not come at a better time, and if you think that running a cover-2 against a read-option offense and having Brian Urlacher shadow Tebow depending on what side of the line he runs off won't be fun, well, you clearly don't enjoy pain.

With Seattle and Minnesota also on the sked -- only Green Bay is really scary -- and Detroit having to play the Packers twice over the rest of the schedule, Chicago could somehow easily weasel their way to 11-5. Again.

Muffed Punts

Leftovers from Sunday's action...
... For the third time in his career, Reggie Bush scored multiple rushing touchdowns.
... The NFL West went undefeated on Sunday for the first time since division realignment. According to my buddy RJ Bell of PreGame.com, a $100 bet on that happening would've paid out $8,400. So, yeah, everyone saw it coming.
... Tebow's the only quarterback in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass and rush for 25 yards in each of his first seven starts.
... Drew Brees passed Brett Favre for the second-longest streak of consecutive games (37) with a touchdown pass.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

This is unfortunate for Ray Lewis:

Hot Seat Tracker

  • Todd Haley -- Welcome back, sir! We missed you. How can one manage to not prepare for the read-option after watching another division opponent look totally unprepared for it and lose?
  • Mike Shanahan -- He's the one who thought Grossman and Beck were a winning combination.
  • Juan Castillo -- It's either him or Andy Reid right?
  • Jim Caldwell -- If Caldwell doesn't get canned, I'm convinced no one does.

Chasing Andrew Luck

Colts (1/4): Everyone else in the NFL has two wins, and the only game Indy might even reasonably come close to winning is their Week 16 matchup against the Jaguars. We can almost call this off.
Redskins (3/1): My darkhorse! I think they'll lose out, but I just don't buy the idea of Indy winning one game, much less three.
Vikings (4/1): They play the Packers Monday and get the Lions and Bears again.
Dolphins (5/1): That whole Stephen Ross in a leopard-skin bikini thing is working out well.
Panthers (6/1): Tough schedule coming down the pipe ... and they play the Colts!
Rams (7/1): NFC West schedule and they're starting to fight a little.

MVP Watch

Aaron Rodgers will most likely extend his season-long virtuoso performance on Monday night and further give us reason to pick him as MVP. But just in case he falters, I've got my eye on a few guys who could get hot and supplant him in the second half, via what we talked about above: Brady, Foster and Romo. Brady, well, duh, he's good. And he sure wasn't a unanimous MVP winner after Week 9 (or Week 10) in 2010. So it could happen. Foster's playing as well as any running back in the NFL right now; if the Texans win out and clinch the top spot in the AFC, people will talk about it. And if Romo can blow up over the next two months and get the Cowboys a division title, well, weirder things have happened.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 4:10 pm
 

Darren McFadden out for Raiders Thursday night

Posted by Will Brinson

Darren McFadden hasn't played for the Raiders in several weeks. And it was originally thought he missed last Sunday's loss to Denver in order to ensure his availability for Thursday night's game in San Diego.

However, McFadden has been ruled out for the game, according to Paul Guiterez of CSN Bay Area who says the team's "confirmed the star running back will not be active for Thursday night's game."

This seems like the logical conclusion because, as our Raiders Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore notes, McFadden won't get a single practice snap before the Chargers game if he was to play.

Losing McFadden against a division rival would, quite obviously, be a tremendous blow for Oakland. But running the ball wasn't the problem for Oakland last Sunday (Michael Bush rolled for 96 yards on 19 carries).

Oakland's issue was stopping the run. And it might be easier for the Raiders since they won't have to deal with the unexpected aspect of stopping the read option featuring Tim Tebow, but if the defense plays as well as it did against Denver, Oakland won't stand a chance against San Diego.

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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