Week Five Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
Nothing big here. Looks like conditioning drills may be working.
Emmitt Smith (ARZ) - Sprained shoulder
Derrick Mason (TEN) - Sprained knee
Eric Moulds (BUF) - Pulled groin muscle
Jason Whitten (DAL) - Broken jaw
Matt Bryant (NYG) - Pulled hamstring
| Sunday Salutes
|Minnesota (2 safeties)
|Dallas (2 safeties)
Dante Hall has now scored on returns in a record four consecutive
games. His this-way, that-way, zoom return in the Denver game
not only made him the only returner in the history of the
NFL to score touchdowns in four consecutive games, his four
scores tie him for the record number of touchdowns returns
in a season. One more in the next eleven games and he owns
the season record too.
The Chiefs head to Green Bay next week where the Packers
are already practicing onside kicks and going for it on fourth
Changing jerseys to Hunter Orange
Both the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys recorded
not one but two safeties in their games this weekend. In the
case of Dallas, they were made on consecutive series in the
third quarter with only about three and a half minutes of
clock time between them. No one on the Arizona or Atlanta
offenses are looking forward to film review of the safeties
where someone will ask the cringing question "now which
one was that safety?".
Probable, Questionable, Astronomic, Doubtful
The NFL injury report is always important to review each
week since it contains those players that have a chance of
not playing due to injury. You certainly do not want to squander
an all-important starting roster spot to someone that may
not even be able to play, right? Let's review the players
that appeared on the injury list this week and see if they
played. Remember - Questionable means 50/50 so in theory says
that half the time a player is listed as such he will not
even play. Probable means there is a 25% chance he cannot
||Questionable - Chest
||99 yards, 2 TDs
||Questionable - Foot/Neck
||168 yards, 1 TD
||Probable - Shoulder
||Questionable - ankle
||65 yard interception TD
||Questionable - Chest
||220 yards, 1 TD
||Probable - Back
||81 yards, 2 TDs
||Hospitalized Saturday - Flu
The question is not how are you supposed to know who to play,
it is how can you get your entire starting lineup on the injury
report so you can win?
And the Magic 8-Ball says.... 'Definitely Not'
This was the big "reunion" week in the NFL with
players and coaches returning to their old stadiums. It begged
the question - "Can you go back home again?"
Steve Mariucci - Lost 24-17 to old employer 49ers but in
Detroit terms - eh, not so bad.
Mike Holmgren - Lost 35-13 to Green Bay and yeah, it was bad
Emmitt Smith - Lost 24-7, gained (-1) yards on six carries
This does not bode well for Tony Dungy on Monday night as
he returns to his old haunting grounds. No wait - he does
have the one key element for a win - Edgerrin James is listed
as questionable for the game - whew!
There is no WR in consistency
Thanks to playing on a bad team, or being injured, or just
underperforming the entire season, it seemed safe enough to
bench those game killers on your roster. Let's look at all
receivers with over 90 yards on Sunday compared to what they
did the previous week for comparison.
|> 90 Yards
||181 yards, 2 TDs
||168 yards, 1 TD
||61 yards (but ejected the previous game)
||108 yards, 1 TD
||94 yards, 1 TD
The next time you see someone drunk and babbling in an alley
on a Monday morning, chances are probable that he projects
player performances for a living and by now we all know, "probable"
I suggest when you bench someone, Dr. Livingston...
In the scramble to start your best running backs each week,
the astute fantasy team owner gave the well deserved sit-down
to the following players:
Anthony Thomas - Bears are terrible, no O-line (123 yards)
William Green - Green is terrible, playing in Pittsburgh,
all hope is lost (120 yards)
Antowain Smith - Old news is bad news (103 yards, 1 TD)
Olandis Gary - Beaten out by Bryson on bad team anyway (78
yards, 1 TD)
Rudi Johnson - No name will share with Brandon Bennett (79
yards, 1 TD)
Mike Cloud - No name player coming off suspension to bad team
( 73 yards, 2 TDs)
At least we knew enough to start Ricky Williams (59 yards,
1 TD) and LaDainian Tomlinson (68 yards).
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
|| 4 FG, 1 XP
Huddle Fantasy Points = 115
Huddle Fantasy Points = 23
Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do?
In case you have not put it together yet, there were two
players coming off a four game suspension to play in their
first game last Sunday. Mike Cloud (73 yards, 2 TDs) and Jimmy
Smith (137 yards). David Boston (181 yards, 2 TDs) came off
a one week suspension. Terrell Owens (79 yards, 1 TD) was
not suspended, but he will be next time - MISTER!
Discipline works even for spoiled millionaires playing, effectively,
a school yard game. Apparently, it even works pretty well
in advance of doing anything wrong. The Cowboys are
now 3-1 and lead the NFC East all by themselves because even
the beer vendors are scared of Bill Parcells.
Now if we can just get Kid Rock to get suspended for four
Sunday's Couch Commentary
7, DAL 24
Cowboys start 2003 with a bang while Emmitt leaves the
game with a whimper. When a superstar spends the postgame
interview referring to his daughter's soccer game, maybe
it is time to hang up the Canton cleats and go watch all
her soccer games.
|NO 13, CAR 19
||Like Pollard last week,
Deuce visits the hospital and then turns in a big game.
Saints show a little life in their offense while the Panthers
still have no idea what they have beyond Stephen Davis.
16, BUF 22 OT
Bengals won on the road last week and take the Bills to
OT before losing. These are not the same Bengals. Travis
Henry imitates Eddie George except this version scores
|MIN 39, ATL 26
||I'll see your Peerless
Price and raise you a Randy Moss. Vikings start slow,
get interested and then head off to their bye week with
a slap on the back.
23, NYG 10
realize if they cannot stop the pass, they might as well
go ahead and try to catch the Giants' passes themselves.
Ricky was sticky but the Barber couldn't cut it either.
|TEN 30, NE 38
||The Pats are on Cloud
#21 after gaining 161 total rushing yards and three rushing
touchdowns. Eddie George... ran the ball.... 15 times...
for 35 yards... and had two catches... for 13 yards....
in the loss...
23, KC 24
bookies now must consider the 7 point Hall Factor in assigning
betting lines. The only consistent thing in the NFL is
5'8" and is only on the field a dozen times a game.
Portis doubles everything about Priest Holmes except for
his side of the scoreboard.
|SEA 13, GB 35
||Because Wisconsin was
serious about that "Walrus-Free" State initiative
they voted in a few years back. Favre fails in his quest
to give his old coach a proper gift while Ahman Green
shows what he can do when he is not fumbling with his
21, JAX 27
of the Beatens gives the Gatorade bath to Del Rio. David
Boston basically doubled what the rest of the offense
could do while Fred Taylor matched him. Previously suspended
receivers in this game accounted for over half of the
632 passing yards in the game.
|DET 17, SF 24
||Garcia looked good,
Owens had a touchdown and the Lions only lost by seven
points so basically everyone left a winner.
25, PHI 27
Redskins have played all five 2003 games that were decided
by three points or less. The Eagles have scored more every
week now that they figured out Westbrook in the fourth
quarter = win.
|CLE 33, PIT 13
||The Browns almost score
as much as their three previous games combined in Pittsburgh
without relying on any suspended or injured players. By
relying on their new gameplan (run the ball and throw
completions), Cleveland is now 2-3 and in a tie for the
AFC North. Every week needs a "go figure" game
and this was it. Go figure.
Winner: Oakland 21, Chicago 24
When Chicago can gain their first win of the season by defeating
the AFC Champion, you had to know this was going to be another
odd weekend in the NFL. True - the Raiders had not actually
beaten anyone that had won a game this year, but the Bears
qualified in that group. You know - last week showed that
Gannon was back and the Raiders were slowly getting on track.
Or so we thought.
By halftime, 'yawn', the Raiders led 18-3 because
Sebastian Janikowski could kick four field goals in the second
quarter even though he missed on his only extra point try.
The Raiders could not punch in a touchdown maybe, but they
kept getting really close which was more than the Bears could
claim. When the second quarter ended, Charlie Garner already
had 80 yards and Anthony Thomas only managed 50. Marty Booker
had a freak 48 yard pass play so it was assumed he was done
for the day. Kordell was only 4 of 9 for 71 yards passing
including that 48-yard pass.
The Bears took the opening kickoff and made it to midfield
before Kordell threw his second interception of the day. With
the ball on the CHI 31-yard line, the Raiders followed their
apparent gameplan and after gaining only two yards, they attempted
yet another field goal so that the score would go to 21 and
we would all glance at the box scores thinking that the Raiders
could score three touchdowns. It was blocked!
Then the Bears get the ball back on their own 37-yard line,
drive to the Oakland 42 before punting. First play from scrimmage,
Rich Gannon throws an interception at his own 18-yard line
and the Bears take over already in field goal range. Could
it be the tide is turning?
1st down - False start loses five yards and then A-Train
runs for a one yard loss.
2nd down - Stewart's pass gets tipped and the center Olin
Kreutz wisely grabs if for an 8 yard loss
3rd down - Stewart fortunately throws an incomplete. The Bears
have lost 14 yards in two plays already.
On fourth and 24, Paul Edinger comes on for a 50-yard field
goal attempt and nails it. With the third period ten minutes
past, the Bears draw closer 18-6.
After the Raiders lose four yards on their next series in
this game that offense forgot, the Bears take over on their
own 33-yard line. Chicago gains yards with Anthony Thomas
runs and a Marty Booker pass down to the Oakland 18-yard line
when Kordell fumbles the ball but Stanley Pritchett falls
on it. On second and 11, Kordell throws to Booker AGAIN. Marty
Booker. You remember him from last year? Get this - on third
and 7 from the Oakland 14-yard line, Stewart throws it to
Booker AGAIN! For a TOUCHDOWN! Throw the ball to Booker? Who
With the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bears have
drawn to an 18-13 deficit in something that was coming close
to resembling a game.
After trading punts the next two series, the Raiders drive
down to the Chicago 34-yard line and just when Sebastian Janikowski
is warming up his leg again, Rich Gannon throws another interception
that R.W. McQuarters returns to the Oakland 45-yard line.
There is now about nine minutes left to play in a game that
the Bears trail by only five points.
Kordell rushes for 16 yards and then Anthony Thomas runs
for 20 more all the way to the Oakland 9-yard line. Anthony
Thomas - that Anthony Thomas. On first down he gets tackled
for a one yard gain but on second down, Stanley Pritchett
goes over left guard on a misdirection play and scores an
8-yard touchdown! The Bears lead by one! Kordell Stewart runs
the two point conversion in himself for a three point lead
with only seven minutes left to play.
The Raiders suddenly find themselves trailing in the game
for the first time and the veteran players rise from the bench
to regain the lead. Starting at their own 38-yard line, Gannon
suddenly wakes up and hits Doug Jolley for 11 yards, then
Rice for 12 yards down to the Chicago 39-yard line. On first
down, since the pass is starting to work again, they run Garner
for no gain. On second down, Gannon hits Jolley for two yards.
On third and eight from the Bears 37-yard line needing eight
yards for a first, the Raiders surprise everyone by running
Garner for six yards. Fortunately Sebastian Janikowski lumbers
onto the field and hits a 49-yard field goal, his fifth in
the game, in order to make it appear that Oakland can score
The one missed extra point back in the first quarter allows
the announcers to drone on and on again about the importance
of not missing an extra point but with 3:36 left to play,
the Raiders have tied the game 21-21. The viewing world begins
to make bets how long the Janikowski field goal will be during
overtime that wins the game.
The Bears start out on their own 27-yard line with 3:25 left
to play. Someone notices that Anthony Thomas has already gone
over the 100 yard mark in the game and that, maybe, he would
be a way to keep Kordell from throwing an interception.
Thomas takes first down and runs for two yards. Kordell then
rushes for six more on second down and on third and two at
the two minute mark, Kordell throws a complete to TE Dustin
Lyman for five yards and a first down at the Chicago 40 yard
line. Clock is ticking and it appears the Bears will be able
to keep the Raiders from getting the ball and beating them
Anthony Thomas runs for five yards on first down and then
Kordell throws an incomplete with a minute left. On third
and five from the Chicago 45, he throws to Dez White who only
gains four yards. On fourth and one from midfield with only
45 seconds left, the rational thing is to punt. Be safe -
punt it away so that the Raiders can kick the game winning
field goal in overtime instead of during regulation. But they
don't. Maybe it is the Houston effect still in play and maybe
Dick Jauron just has plans immediately after the game, but
they go for it by having Kordell Stewart lunge over left guard
for the first down!
Midfield and Kordell quickly spikes the ball to kill the
clock with only 22 seconds left. Could something be happening?
On second and 10 from midfield, with only 22 seconds remaining,
Kordell runs for 19 yards all the way to the Oakland 31-yard
line! But wait! A holding call! Oh no - forget it. Why did
we get all excited? Chicago is placed back on their own 40-yard
line with 15 seconds left. It was too good to be true. These
are the Chicago Bears and that is Kordell Stewart and what
were we thinking?
The Bears have one time-out but are about 30 yards away from
a long field goal to win. Offensive holding - pffft.
They were so close. Kordell takes the snap and then, hey -
he threw it to Dez White. And White is still running. He gets
down to the Oakland 31-yard line before getting knocked out
of bounds with only nine seconds left to play. What? Could..
Could it be?
Anthony Thomas goes over right guard for a yard and the Bears
burn their time-out with only five seconds left to play. From
the Oakland 30-yard line. And Paul Edinger comes in and from
48 yards out he kicks it.
True. Field Goal. Bears win! Bears win! Kordell Stewart wins!
I knew it! I knew it all along! Bears win!
It was the perfect ending for the game of the week - a last
second, long field goal by the Bears to give them their first
win and send the Raiders packing with their incredible inability
to score touchdowns or figure out how their offense runs anymore.
On any given Sunday, the Bears really can win, Kordell can
do the right thing. Suspended players can become instant stars
when they return and the only real purpose of an injury report
is to injure everyone else's ability to determine who is going
to play and play very well. On any given Sunday, we can all
learn that you cannot give up on players just because of a
slow start and that just when you write off that running back
he will go off on your bench. And on any given Sunday, professional
football will be thrilling, unpredictable, frustrating and
hope inspiring. On any given Sunday, anything is possible.
Savor it and remember it.
Because today is Monday.
Now get back to work...