Week Four Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
After all the injuries this season, here is a delightfully
short list this week.
Lamar Gordon (ATL) - Injured wrist
Corey Dillon (CIN) - Re-aggravated groin injury
Kris Mangum (CAR) - Sprained ankle
Jim Kleinsasser (MIN) - Abdominal contusion - returned to
| Sunday Salutes
Okay, okay, other than Terrell Owens...
After chronic low scoring the first weeks of the season,
week four finally treated us to the long awaited points explosion,
concluded appropriately with the Colts 55-21 humiliation of
the Saints. Yesterday there were a dozen quarterbacks with
at least two touchdowns and six with at least three touchdowns.
There were nine different runningbacks that exceeded 100 total
yards and they included notables like Brian Westbrook and
Correll Buckhalter. For some reason there were no runningbacks
that had multiple touchdowns, but there were three receivers
that did and that includes Randy Moss (3) and Marvin Harrison
(3). Donovan McNabb was good again! The Eagles used Correll
Gannon was the best quarterback, Tomlinson was the best runningback
and Randy Moss and Marvin Harrison were both so good why bother
with who did more? It was finally a week that saw those high
draft picks pay off (at least more of them) and a weekend
that starts with touchdowns everywhere before the cheese on
your nachos goes cold is a week we needed to see.
Not so easy when they still care, huh - boy wonder?
Thanks to his elbow stitches, Mark Brunell missed the Houston
game and gave Byron Leftwich his first NFL start on Sunday.
He had mopped up in the last two games and completed 11 of
13 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns against no interceptions.
The games were already decided and not all players saw his
performance since they were already preparing to leave.
In Houston against a team that is getting pretty tired of
never being favored in any game, Leftwich did set a franchise
record with a 84-yard touchdown throw to Troy Edwards. Other
than that wonderful throw, Leftwich completed 16 of 35 passes
for 147 yards, no scores, three interceptions and a very badly
timed lost fumble which gave the ball back to Houston. Since
Jacksonville hosts the Chargers next week, Mark Brunell had
better heal up before Leftwich starts to think it is that
Sign #8 that you are not going to get back into the game
Down only 17-7 with the second quarter only 28 seconds from
ending, the Rams had the ball on their own 36 yard line. Since
St. Louis was facing Arizona, Marc Bulger did not just take
a knee to end the half but instead winged the ball to Isaac
Bruce all the way down at the Arizona 5-yard line where it
Dexter Jackson ran back to the 35-yard line before he was
stripped of the ball. Instead of a momentum changing return,
Jackson ended up letting the ball pop out and get recovered
by the Rams.
With only three seconds left, Jeff Wilkins nailed the 53-yard
field goal. Another sign that the Cardinals were not the winning
team came after the game when it was realized that they had
taken their #1 NFL ranking for converting third downs (59%)
and likely damaged it since they never actually converted
one in the game.
Oh for the love of... now who is that one?
There were twenty-six teams that played yesterday which means
there were, at least in theory, 26 primary rushers. In addition
to those 26 primary running backs, there were 45 more backs
that took a handoff yesterday and ten others that had no carries
but at least one catch. What ever happened to the good old
days when Edgerrin James would take every single handoff for
Speaking of the Colts, those fantasy fans who scrambled with
the back-up guessing game all were rewarded with a little
something for the effort. There was Dominic Rhodes (52 yards,
1 TD), Ricky Williams (74 yards, 1 TD) and even James Mungro
(30 yards) just in case you guessed wrong. Fred Taylor only
gave up one carry to FB Marc Edwards and Priest Holmes only
saw Tony Richardson run the ball once as the only two rushers
with minimal sharing. Weren't those the two guys that needed
resting the most?
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
||Ricky Williams (Colts)
|| 2 XP, 3 FG
Huddle Fantasy Points = 121
Huddle Fantasy Points = 26
I practice that. Of course it never actually happens
The Raiders punter Shane Lechler was asked to come out on
fourth and six from the Oakland 26-yard line and earn his
paycheck. The punt, which should be immortalized immediately
to the right when you enter the Punters Hall of Fame that
will never be built, traveled at least fifty yards in the
air and was not fielded by the Charger return man. He decided
to "let it go" since the punt hit the ground and
shot toward the endzone. By the ten yard line it was slowing
but not quite enough to stay out of the endzone. At least
not until the tumbling trajectory hit the nose of the ball
just right on the half yard line and it lazily bounced exactly
parallel to the goal line. That made for a 73 yard punt and
today was much too good to be talking any further about punts.
It all averages out
LaDainian Tomlinson may have been a disappointment to all
those fantasy teams that drafted him with their precious first
pick, but he tried to make it up with 187 rushing yards and
one score, seven receptions for 24 yards and then he also
threw a 21-yard touchdown pass back to Drew Brees. Now if
he could just kick field goals too...
Sunday's Couch Commentary
30, PIT 13
Titans continue their role as the "bad cold"
that the Steelers get every year - you know it is coming,
you can do whatever you want to avoid it and yet it still
lays you out for a week and makes all the fans grab their
tissues. On the plus side, it can only happen once a season
now that they changed divisions.
|SF 7, MIN 35
||Maybe the 49ers should
take this whole week off and just stay home playing Nintendo.
It certainly worked for Randy Moss. The battle of Owens
vs. Moss turned into the Mrs. Erickson's class field trip
to see a real football team. Terrell Owens said ' "Wowser!
I want to do that someday!" just prior to going back
to the bus where he broke all the windows.
17, BAL 10
bad part of the game for the Ravens was not the 140 yard,
no scores and three touchdowns that Boller had. It was
the fact that he was the best QB available. J-Lew is still
a celebrity even if the Priest left town still in the
hunt for the ring.
|CIN 21, CLE 14
||Bengals lose Dillon,
Cleveland dusts off Quincy "Me? Really?" Morgan
and yet Cincy still turns in a win because this sort of
game must happen at least once each week in the NFL. Who
are the real Bengals or Browns? You are not supposed to
23, BUF 13
the Eagles are just a really good road team. McNabb's
back and your dropping of Westbrook last week now looks
like less of a good idea. Don't worry - if you take him
back he'll never do it again.
|NE 17, WAS 20
they can win games without passing well if they just allow
their opponent to throw all the interceptions. Patriots
use six different rushers and eight different receivers
all of which does not add up to even one good fantasy
13, STL 37
Rams held the ball 42 minutes of the game. That's 35 Cardinal
plays to 83 for the Rams. That's another loss for the
Cardinals. A perfect example of this throwback week.
|SD 31, OAK 34 OT
||The Raiders finally
learn the secret of winning again. It takes 45 minutes
of play before their joints loosen up and their iron supplements
kick in. Chargers make it a great game by using stars
like Antonio Gates and Justin Peelle and their secret
weapon is ' ssshhh - LaDainian Tomlinson. Rumors
are that David Boston missed the overtime period because
his mirror was not facing the TV.
3, CAR 23
skunked us twice last year? WHAP! Think you are
still so bad without Vick? WHAP! Well who is your
daddy now? WHAP! WHAP! WHAP! Doh - someone go catch
that Crumpler kid before he gets away.
16, DEN 20
that you cannot ever try to mail in a game against an
inferior opponent these days. Unless, of course, they
are the Lions on the road in which case they'll eventually
screw it up for you. Mooch actually could have won the
game but wanted to save that elusive first Detroit road
win in three years for a little matchup he has in San
Fran next week.(Pssst - cover Terrell)
17, NYJ 6
stops off at the airport to buy a "I LOVE NY"
bumpersticker for his golfcart. Maybe the Cowboys are
not as good as everyone, but they are definitely as good
as they can be. HC Herman Edwards now wears a perpetual
look that says "I sort of wrecked the car again,
|IND 5598, NO 21
||So THAT'S what the "Big
Easy" means. Peyton proved you not only can go home,
but you can also throw six touchdowns for a team record.
Marvin Harrison seeks out sponsors to advertise on the
butt of his pants since that is about all the secondary
Winner: Jacksonville 20, Houston 24
The Raider-Charger tilt was a definite contender as an overtime
game with big scores and yards. San Diego lost one receiver
and suspended the other before the game and yet still made
the Raiders sweat like a sumo wrestler at an iron foundry
before they could steal the win. But in the end, Houston richly
deserves the nod for not only entertaining us, but for giving
us a reminder of why we play games in the first place.
The Texans entered the game 1-2 on the season and still lamenting
the fact that Vegas still always considers them as the underdog.
No matter that they are at home and facing a winless team
that is starting a rookie quarterback who would be throwing
the ball to...well... no one actually. Matthew Hatchette,
J.J. Stokes, Cortez Hankton, Troy Edwards and Jimmy Redmond
couldn't scare a defense with machetes and five hockey masks.
At the half, the Texans led 14-10 and then padded that with
a Kris Brown field goal in the third quarter to make the score
17-10. With the ball on their own 16-yard line, Byron Leftwich
threw an incomplete. Then on second down, he hits Troy Edwards
(yes - that Troy Edwards) at the 31-yard line and Troy does
not stop running until he scores the longest touchdown in
Jaguars' history to tie the game and force a painful smile
from the sidelined Mark Brunell.
Not to be outdone, the Texans take the ball and march down
to the JAX 32-yard line where Kris Brown kicks a field goal
wide right. Jacksonville takes over.
Using a mixture of Fred Taylor, a few passes and RB LaBrandon
Toefield who himself throws two different passes (1-2, 32
yards), Jacksonville finally stalls out at the Houston 2-yard
line and takes the go ahead field goal for a 20-16 lead. Yikes!
This is not going to play in Vegas very well.
After trading a few punts, the Texans are on the march for
the game tying field goal using passes to Andre Johnson and
Jabbar Gaffney down to the JAX 21-yard line. Plenty close
for that game tying field goal and on second and six, the
Houston braintrust decides to copy the Jaguars by having Stacey
Mack enter the game and throw a pass at Andre Johnson. The
problem with this, beyond the fact that all these halfback
passes are getting a bit tedious, is that he threw it to the
CB Jason Craft at the 5-yard line. With only 4:35 left to
play. And the ball is now on the JAX 13-yard line.
Jacksonville just needs to get some first downs and use up
the clock. Fred Taylor runs it for one yard, then Leftwich
throws a pass to Troy Edwards for an 11 yard gain and a first
down. Clock is running and goes below three minutes. Then
Fred Taylor rushes again for three yards. On second down and
seven yards to go, with a clock to kill and Fred "I'm
still healthy" Taylor in the backfield, Jacksonville
decides to pass. But the rush forces Leftwich out of the pocket
and instead of throwing the ball away and killing the clock,
he wisely takes off running and makes it nine yards down the
field before the safety Eric Brown catches up to him and wisely
pops the ball out of his hand which is recovered by Houston's
Matt Stevens at the JAX 28 yard line with only 2:51 left to
On Monday, Leftwich should just loop the Edwards touchdown
catch when he reviews the game film.
Stacey Mack was out of the game by now since he had already
thrown an interception, fumbled the ball away on a run and
then dropped a pitch on the next play. Instead, the rookie
Domanick Davis ran the ball four times and had two catches
to get the Texans down to the JAX 4-yard line with only 29
seconds left to play.
First and ten. Time for a play or two and if that did not
work, the tying field goal.
First down - incomplete to Corey Bradford
Second down - Carr cannot throw and gets tackled at the line
but a defensive offsides is called.
Replay second down with only 20 seconds left. Carr throws
to Andre Johnson but since he is wearing Fernando Bryant on
his back, pass interference is called.
First and goal to go from the one, 16 seconds left to play.
Davis runs it for no gain and Houston calls a time-out with
only 9 seconds remaining as I make a mental note to never
again drink so much Dr. Pepper before the end of a close game.
On third and one, from the one yard line with only six seconds
left to play, Houston does not take the field goal. You know
- kick the field goal on third down. Play it safe - get the
tie - what are they doing?
Carr takes the snap and fires the ball right before getting
hit and it zips past Jabbar Gaffney for an incomplete. The
same Gaffney that has also taken to wearing cornerbacks as
capes and and pass interference is again called. Only two
seconds are left. And then the unthinkable happens. In a league
that has traded leadership for committees and turned head
coaches from military commanders to mere game managers, HC
Dom Capers makes an astounding choice.
Instead of playing to not lose the game, he has the audacity
to try to win it. Outright. Right now. Here. One play.
And with that, David Carr walks to the line, gets under center
and before the defense has the obligatory six seconds to shift
in response to some complicated formation, Carr takes the
snap and leaps over the back of his center, shoving the ball
over the goal line while held high in the air like an offensive
middle finger for Vegas, and playing it safe and anything
else short of playing to win. Here and now. One play. Let's
go. Me or you.
That's all it was ever supposed to be.
Not five yard passes on third and nine. Not take a knee with
forty-five seconds to halftime. Not look for a flag after
every play and cry to the refs. Not play according to the
number of years on your contract. Not drive the field, consume
the clock and kick a field goal so we can start over. Play
the game to win. Play the game to win. Right here. Right now.
Play the game to win.
Now get back to work...