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Tunnel Vision - Week 8
By David M. Dorey
October 20, 2003
 
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Aaron Brooks 352 3
Jake Delhomme 362 2
Jon Kitna 274 3
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 221 1
Shaun Alexander 122 2
Travis Henry 180 2
Wide Receivers Catch TD
Terrell Owens 152 1
Steve Smith 151 1
Travis Taylor 138 2
Tight Ends Catch TD
Todd Heap 129 0
Randy McMichael 102 0
Shannon Sharpe 79 0
Placekickers XP FG
Steve Christi 2 4
Gary Anderson 3 4
Shayne Graham 2 4
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Philadelphia 1 3 2
Minnesota 1 5 3
Tennessee 1 4 4

Week 7 Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

Nothing too terrible here unless you saw Beuerlein's finger.

Ladell Betts (WAS) - Forearm bruise
Patrick Ramsey (WAS) - Bruised hand
Desmond Clark (CHI) - Sprained toe
Adrian Peterson (CHI) - Sprained ankle
Donte Stallworth (NO) - Strained quadriceps
Steve Beuerlein (DEN) - Dislocated finger
Lamar Gordon (STL) - Sprained ankle

I just pretended they were Arizona State

Kyle Boller had his career best game yesterday with 302 yards passing and two touchdowns. To put that into perspective, consider that he had roughly as much - 391 yards and two touchdowns - over the course of his four previous games combined.

Boller now has his first 300 yard game as a pro. With any luck, perhaps soon he will fill in the gap since he has never thrown for yardage between 152 yards and 302 yards. In other news, Travis Taylor is averaging about 50 yards a game this season. That's one game with 138 yards and four others that total 107 yards.

Hmmm... one of these games is not like the others...

Be there in two minutes

For those attending the Saints game in Atlanta, loitering at the concession booth with that cute cashier did not cause you to miss any game changing plays. With the game only a minute old, Warrick Dunn ripped off a 69 yard run up the middle for a touchdown. Then within one more minute of clock time, Aaron Brooks hit Donte' Stallworth with a "we can do that too" touchdown pass of exactly 69 yards as well.

By the time you sat down, the score was back to a tie. The only thing you might have missed was that Stallworth never had any more catches in the game and Dunn only gained 13 more rushing yards in the remaining 58 minutes of play.

Big... Low... Big... Low... Low

The Cowboys have risen to a lofty 5-1 record thanks in no small part to their new version of the "Big 3" - Joey Galloway, Antonio Bryant and Terry Glenn. They are the best receiving trio according to some studio analysts and almost as vital as the original Aikman, Irvin and Smith triplets according to all commentators who, coincidentally, were in the original group.

How do they determine which becomes the hot player each game? Tracking them proves to be akin to those intelligence tests where you must discern the pattern of a set of numbers. So far there are only two keys that are indisputable.

1. Terry Glenn has gained the following fantasy points in order for the past six games: 0, 11, 0, 16, 4 and 19. So next week he has to be low again at Tampa Bay and then turn in a 24+ point effort against Washington. Thank me later.

2. There is no rhyme or reason on the other two and if you started Galloway (zero catches) yesterday, it may have hurt but he just taking the new Terry Glenn path. Maybe next week.

Stop - in the name of love (flip) before you break my heart... Doh.

If any one play deserved a soundtrack, the Randy Moss "lateral" to Moe Williams is first in line. On the final play of the first half, Daunte Culpepper heaved a standard 60 yard "last play" bomb to Randy Moss down on the ten yard line which turned into a hook-and-ladder play when Moss lateralled it to Williams who caught it in stride for a touchdown. In hoping to get at least extra difficulty points, Moss was turned around and just chunked it backwards over his right shoulder.

When HC Mike Shanahan was stopped on the way to the lockerroom before halftime, he was asked if the play was a damaging one to the psyche of his players to which he responded "it was just a touchdown". He could have added that Beuerlein's finger was "just a scrape really" and that his previous decision to only carry two quarterbacks on the roster earlier this year was "just a slight miscalculation".

Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Kyle Boller 302 2 QB Donovan McNabb 64 0
RB Domanick Davis 199 0 RB Stephen Davis 29 0
RB Arlen Harris 79 1 RB Eddie George 51 0
WR Travis Taylor 138 2 WR Keyshawn Johnson 4 0
WR Terry Glenn 75 3 WR Joey Galloway 0 0
WR Eddie Berlin 50 1 WR David Boston 10 0
PK Steve Christie 4 FG, 2 XP PK Martin Gramatica

1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 134

Huddle Fantasy Points = 12

Okay, so we never thought to practice against that

In the Seattle game, Chris Chandler engineered a fourth quarter drive that culminated with a one yard Stanley Pritchett touchdown run to make the score 15-17. Needing a two point conversion, Chandler started to roll to the right and saw the rushers coming in. He started to go to the left, but he saw more rushers coming in (this is Chicago blocking, after all). So he did the unthinkable and ran the ball in for the conversion, getting bashed at the goal line but managing to cross it.

He ran the ball in, tied the game and then just walked back to the sideline with no help. The often-hurt quarterback showed no signs of being injured on his run but did say that from now on he would stick with just handing the ball off to Jamal Anderson or throwing to Terance Mathis.

Sunday's Couch Commentary

SD 26, CLE 20 Browns did not get off the Couch in time to win and the Chargers are the final team to get into the "W" column for the season. Tomlinson only accounted for 76% of all Charger yardage and 55% of all Charger plays. Maybe they should have thought about using him earlier than this?
BAL 26, CIN 34 Sort of hard to think what is stranger - that the Ravens actually do have a passing game or that 300 yards and two scores by Boller are not enough to make the Ravens be competitive. No wait - I got it. It must be that the Bengals won and are only one game out of the AFC North lead, behind the team that they just beat.
TEN 37, CAR 17 Sort of hard to think what is stranger - that the Panthers actually do have a passing game or that 362 yards and two scores by Delhomme are not enough to make the Panthers be competitive. No wait - I got it. It still must be that the Bengals won and are only one game out of the AFC North lead, behind the team that they just beat.
NO 45, ATL 17 Yeah, thanks there Kurt. Okay - who else we got? Anyone? Anyone at all? High school quarterback maybe? Anyone have a paper route when they were a kid?
GB 24, STL 34 Tectumaphobia (tek-tum-a-fobia), n. An unnatural fear of roofs which is incurable in the great North where they actually need them the worst. (When a 245 pound fullback can run 76 yards for a touchdown, it is a sign that the defense has already left the field).
WAS 7, BUF 24 We all told Stevie Spurrier that if he was too rough with his toy Ramsey, that it would end up broken and he would have to be content to just play with his Johnson. Now he gets to spend the next two weeks preparing to go to Dallas where they evidently not only take care of things, they even recycle trash into treasure.
DEN 20, MIN 28 On the plus side, the entire Denver secondary will now be on TV whenever they show NFL highlight films for 2003. On the downside, the way the Broncos are going through quarterbacks the next John Elway may actually end up being John Elway.
NE 19, MIA 13 This is what happens when Wannstedt uses the offseason to read "Homefield - Advantages and Benefits" written by a guy who lives in Cleveland. He must have missed the chapter about "if you are not going to score, then at least cover deep".
DAL 38, DET 7 Parcells spent the postgame interview discussing how the Cowboys are really not that good, that there is much to fix and there were many breakdowns that were inexcusable. Actually, Mariucci did the same thing but everyone believed him. The fumble return for a score by Detroit was nifty, but the game plan needs to insert some offensive scoring at some point during the next 38 points their opponent scores.
NYJ 19, HOU 14 This is exactly why Las Vegas bookies always disrespect the Texans. Because they want to make money. Once again the AFC East standings are determined each week using a bingo ball dispenser. And - you won... and you won too!... and you lost - sorry Fins..
CHI 17, SEA 24 Losing their starting quarterback, running back and wideout has apparently made the Bears almost competitive. Now just add them back into the mix, one at a time, until we figure out where the problem was. Marty, you are first, okay then Anthony and then Kordell. Hmm... Now call me crazy but...
TB 7, SF 24 In case you have not gotten over 2002 yet, this was the game that Tampa Bay won 34-6 last year. Facing a great defense, Owens went nuts for 152 yards but only managed 36 yards last week against Seattle. The best way to not lose much money betting on the 49ers is to bet both sides equally.

Game-O-The-Week

Winner: Philadelphia 14, NY Giants 10

There were several notable games on Sunday. The Chargers finally got a win in Cleveland where homefield means nothing. Two of the worst quarterbacks in the league (Boller and Delhomme) both turned in 300+ yard games. New England broke a six year jinx in Miami because Olindo Mare cannot kick field goals when they need it most. The Jets nip the Texans and Randy Moss does his best Meadowlark Lemon impression but in the end, the game of the week was not about yards and scores, it was about the Eagles and Giants.

Home was not a kind place this week since more visitors than home teams won, but in New York against the struggling Eagles, the G-Men had a distinct advantage. More than anything, the advantage was that Donovan McNabb cannot even look good compared to Kyle Boller anymore.

By halftime, the Giants were behind 7-3 but had only themselves to blame. The Eagles had only one scoring drive that was aided by a 41 yard pass interference call and a freak 25 yard completion to L.J. Smith. Brian Westbrook had scored on a six yard run around right end. The touchdown was the fourth consecutive game for Westbrook to score, something that had not been done in Philadelphia since Ricky Watters did it seven years ago.

In the first half, the Giants had two drives that ended at the PHI 39-yard line and 37-yard line but elected to punt instead of kicking a field goal since the Giants go through kickers so quickly that they had no idea if Brett Conway was good from 50+ yards.

The Giants also reached the Eagle 28-yard line before losing a fumble. Their final drive in the first half started thanks to an interception on the PHI 29-yard line and when they failed to get a first down, they let Conway boot a 39 yard field goal. Even punters can do that.

At halftime, McNabb had completed seven of 16 passes for 54 yards and Brian Westbrook had ran for 64 yards on nine carries. In the rest of the game - two full quarters - the Eagles had only five offensive series. They totaled one first down and 24 yards, They never reached farther than their own 44 yard line and only once worked beyond their own 29-yard line. You just cannot win like that. That is just 18 plays in the second half with a net of less than 2 yards per play.

Conversely, the Giants took the opening kickoff for seven plays before punting. When they got the ball back on their own 38-yard line, they drove the field in 12 plays and scored a touchdown to take the lead 10-7.

After a six play drive fizzled out, they punted and then got the ball back on their own 37-yard line. In 11 plays, they drove back down the field for 58 yards to the PHI 5-yard line where on third down and five to go, Kerry Collins gets hit by a blitzing linebacker and fumbles the ball away. Philly recovers and dodges a bullet. Starting at their own 10 yard-line, the Eagles put together the best drive of the half and reach their own 29-yard line before having to punt. Only 4:23 remains and there is no offense to use even if the Eagles had four hours and 23 minutes.

The Giants decide to use Dorsey Levens on three consecutive plays since he does not fumble like Tiki Barber. Actually, he does not run like him either since he only gains nine yards and the Giants punt with just under three minutes.

The Eagles get the ball with 2:50 left on the clock and McNabb throws an incomplete. Then Westbrook gains nothing. Then at the two minute warning, McNabb gets sacked on his own 19-yard line. They punt the ball away knowing the game is over.

After three more Dorsey Levens runs that cover a total of a one yard loss, there is only 1:39 left of this excruciating non-drama to conclude. The Eagles have all their players on the line except for Westbrook and one blocker. He fields it on the PHI 16-yard line after a bounce and suddenly breaks through the line of blockers on the left sideline. A Giant player looks like he has the angle on him around midfield but goes high instead of low and Westbrook continues his tight rope run almost untouched to the endzone! He scores! In one punt return, he covers over three times as much ground as the offense could in the last six series and puts the Eagles up by four points in a game that they could not get offensive yardage even if they rode on a diesel tractor.

The Giants squander their final minute with one pass to Toomer and Shockey and three incompletions. The final one of fourth and four being a pass batted away by Bobby Taylor who is finally back from injury.

The Eagles win, the Giants lose and the game proves a terrible point once again in New York. Special teams are important and you have to score when you get close. Take away the two Westbrook scores and the Eagles were shut out with only 128 yards of offense and almost all that came in the first half.

But games are not about first downs, yardage and offensive fireworks regardless of what the fantasy world wants to see. Like in real life, the only thing that matters is the scoreboard and everything else is just filler for the sports page.

You'd think the Giants would learn that by now. Back in 1978, the Giants were about to win a game against the Eagles when Joe Pisarcik fumbled the handoff to Larry Csonka and an Eagle cornerback named Herman Edwards scooped up the ball and ran it in for the 19-17 win as time was running out.

25 years later, Herman Edwards won again on the road down in Houston and the Giants lost another game they should have won handily.

It's the Silver Anniversary for never leaving the stadium early.

Cheers.

Now get back to work...