| Sunday Salutes
Week 8 Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
Drew Bennett (TEN) - Strained calf
David Carr (HOU) - Sprained ankle
Jeff Garcia (SF) - Ankle injury
Brian Westbrook (PHI) - Ankle injury
Tim Couch (CLE) - Sprained right thumb
Oh just keep it in your pocket this time
In the second quarter of the Ravens-Broncos game, Todd Heap
caught an 11-yard touchdown from Kyle Boller that ended with
Heap losing the ball when he hit the ground. The play was
challenged by Mike Shanahan and reversed, taking away the
touchdown and considering it an incomplete. Two plays later,
Heap caught a seven yard pass to the one yard line but it
was called back due to a false start.
In the third quarter, Heap was blasted as he tried to catch
a pass and it was so obvious that he caught it that Brian
Billick challenged the call. After further review, it was
still an incomplete. If statistical averages mean anything,
Heap is now in line for getting a favorable challenge. Then
again, perhaps a catchable pass would be even better.
The 100 yard Symphony
Randy Moss caught seven passes for 125 yards and two ridiculously
easy-looking touchdowns against the Giants. Torry Holt had
seven receptions for 174 yards and two scores as well. Moss
is now the gridiron equivalent of Amadeus Mozart - brilliant
in his field, beautiful in his work even if the person has
been grating during his childhood. Holt is developing into
an NFL version of Ludwig van Beethoven that just improves
with age and never hits a sour note any more.
The duo have been on their "A" game this season
and more than a little entertaining to the fantasy world.
Then again, perhaps we can all appreciate the poetry in motion
a little more on Sunday when Sunday's opening act was Michael
Irvin interviewing Warren Sapp.
Amending previous reports
As we discussed a few weeks ago, players that are listed
as questionable on the injury report were turning in career
best games. There is a change to that now - apparently being
listed as probable as in the case of William Green actually
means "out" and in the case of Corey Dillon, until
all players arrive safely to the parking lot of the Paul Brown
Stadium in Cincinnati you cannot consider them as a starter.
Dillon was in a car wreck on the way to the stadium and was
held out of the game. After his comments about wanting to
be traded last week, we are still awaiting word to see if
the police report lists the event as Automobile vs. Common
Hey coach, I think I am ready now
Marshall Faulk was ready to play as the #3 emergency running
back yesterday in the Rams-Steelers game. As he watched, undrafted
rookie Arlen Harris only gained 2.7 yards per carry but that
racked up fairly well on his 34 carries - a new Rams rushing
record. Oh yes, and he shared a mirror day with Priest Holmes
(83 yards rushing) as both had three touchdowns.
Of course Faulk and Holmes were both top five picks in most
leagues last summer whereas Arlen Harris joins Domanick Davis
in providing waiver wire hounds with a week they can crow
"oh yeah, I knew that was going to happen".
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
|| 4 FG, 2 XP
Huddle Fantasy Points = 117
Huddle Fantasy Points = 26
It's amazing what a few million doesn't buy these days
In the four full games that Emmitt Smith had as a Cardinal
he gained a total of 218 yards and had a rushing average of
3.3 yards per carry. In the two full games for Marcel Shipp,
he has gained a total of 277 yards and is averaging 5.7 yards
per carry. It all begs the question - who will Arizona bring
in next year for Shipp to yet again replace?
Gimme #83... no make it #88... how about #85?
The Eagle's fullback Jon Ritchie only has nine catches for
45 yards this season and only twice has he had more than one
reception in a game. However, Ritchie now has two receiving
touchdowns which makes him the team leader for such and twice
as many as the #2 touchdown receiver of Duce Staley (1). In
fact, since the McNabb has only thrown three scores this entire
season, Ritchie should consider rewriting his contract to
give him incentives for leading the team in receiving scores
or at least grab a new player number that better reflects
There are guys on the line of scrimmage, split out away from
the tackles and tight ends. No one yet knows who they are
or why their jerseys keep showing up in the laundry.
On the plus side it really hurts their hands
During the first seven weeks of the 2003 NFL season, the
special teams have been taking a beating. Dante Hall is setting
team records and tying all-time NFL records. The Giants have
lost two games thanks to their inept special teams. The Bucs
lost a game when their field goals could not get beyond the
line of scrimmage. The one area that has been almost acceptable
has been with the actual punters (AKA the last guy to dive
at Dante Hall).
Up until this week, there had been 1029 punts in the NFL
over the span of seven weeks. Special teams are now under
a microscope and as a result, there had only been five blocked
punts in the first seven weeks. There were only 22 blocked
punts in all of last season - about 1 per week. So what happens?
Yesterday there was not one blocked punt. There were FIVE
of them. The Giants, Panthers, Jets, 49ers and Chiefs all
managed to let the one guy through that caused that wonderful
double WHAP sound on the punt. Five times the average in one
week. Not to worry though - there were only two field goals
blocked this week and that was just under twice the average.
Sunday's Couch Commentary
29, MIN 17
would have guessed that the Vikes unbeaten streak would
end when the Giants suddenly discovered the endzone? While
Moss is still boss, the MIN secondary apparently never
did return from their bye week.
|TEN 30, JAX 17
||You know it is Halloween week when
Eddie George shows up as a running back and scores twice
while league passing leader Steve McNair only throws for
187 yards and never rushes. The Titans string of five
consecutive games with 30 or more points ends next week
only because they are on a bye.
24, CIN 27
week continues with the Bengals logging CONSECUTIVE WINS
and are still only one game back in the AFC North. Here's
a hint - cover Chad Johnson on every play. And no, it
does not matter if they are on their own side of the field.
Seahawks in need of refreshing their Mili-Vanilla offense.
|DET 16, CHI 24
||Yes, they were on the road for the
20th time and by now all the opponent needs is Brock Forsey
and Justin Gage. The other best players in the game were
Dustin Lyman and Bobby Wade. We should all be terrified
of this if only we could understand it. The box score
reads like a college rugby team showed up and still won
by 8 points. By this point, Mariucci's Halloween has gone
on for seven weeks and he would be better off staying
at home and getting egged.
6, BAL 26
was going to post a link to a scary picture of Kanell
throwing a pass but could not find one that did have Raven
defenders obscuring the shot of Danny. If you thought
Denver's affection for Plummer seemed odd, picture Shannon
Sharpe and Rod Smith now begging Jake Plummer to heal.
|DAL 0, TB 16
||Well. At least this time when Parcells
discusses the ways in which the Cowboys stink he will
mean it. Except this time it may take a lot longer to
be comprehensive. Probably was a lot more fun to play
against the Lions last week than it was to be Lionesque
this week (Hmm... Hands off "Lionesque" until
I can register the trademark). 17 people were injured
in the stampede when someone shouted "last guy in
the Jet has to sit next to Bill".
33, PIT 21
you can ignore Marc Bulger, Arlen Harris, Torry Holt and
three interceptions by Tommy Maddox, the switch to Jerome
Bettis was a big success. It had been three weeks since
a Steeler rusher had visited the lands of 41+ yards rushing.
Pittsburgh now looks up at the entire division in the
standings. For Halloween, Plaxico gets to be the invisible
man and while Cowher stands out on the street and wonders
why the car just won't start. Oh! There it goes!.. Nope.
Died again. Everybody help push it to the next house.
|CLE 3, NE 9
If Butch Davis was to ever get a case of laryngitis,
man - this would be a great week. Kobe Bryant may look
forward to press conferences more than Davis right now.
Since the Browns are inept on offense, have no quarterback
and are starting James Jackson once again, it is like
Butch Davis has gone full circle. With only one field
goal to show for the trip to New England, he almost
had the circle on the scoreboard too. Browns reach their
bye week just in time to enroll in the resume' writing
class at Cleveland Community College.
17, PHI 24
flea-flicker to Santana Moss was a treat. Curtis Martin
gaining 110 yards rushing was like getting a full-sized
Snickers bar in your bag. The trick is not to give Correll
Buckhalter the best game of his career or allowing McNabb
to actually move his arm quickly and cause the football
to be propelled through the air to another Eagle player
(Ritchie) who is running into the endzone. In some areas,
this is considered a "pass" or even a "touchdown
pass" but in Philly it just seems downright magical.
|HOU 21, IND 30
||At some point the Texans must learn
that having an actual rushing game is really cool and
all, but so far it has just added up to two losses. Just
because they found the hammer does not make everything
a nail now. And when the punter gains more rushing yards
(12) than Stacey Mack (7), it pretty much signals that
the last run of the Opportunity Express just left the
station without the Mackster.
5, KC 38
drug problem in America could be solved by placing the
KC defense at all borders. When Bledsoe tired of throwing
three completions to the secondary, Alex Van Pelt came
in and was a perfect 4 of 4 passing with two of those
actually being to members of his own team. Travis Henry
gained 87 of his 124 yards rushing in the second half
because most teams actually throw the ball when they are
trailing by 23+ points. Then again, both teams were trying
to run out the clock the entire second half.
In true Halloween fashion, there is not one but two teams
that qualify as the GOTW. We have a trick and a treat.
The Treat : Carolina 23, New Orleans 20 OT
At the half, the Saints led 17-10 after a seventeen point
explosion in the second quarter. These were the visiting Panthers,
the team with a lofty 5-1 record going against the 3-4 Saints
who were fresh off a thrilling trounce over the Falcons.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff in the third quarter
and drove the field but stalled at the Saints 11-yard line
and had to settle for a field goal making the score 13-17.
After a long series of punts, punctuated by one Aaron Brooks
interception at the CAR 22-yard line (doh), the Panthers took
over on their own 42-yard line with six minutes left to play.
After seven plays, the Panthers allowed Stephen Davis to
take the one yard plunge for the 20-17 lead with only 3:41
remaining to play.
The Saints get the ball on their own 31-yard line and then
instead of rolling over and dying like we all have come to
expect, they drive the field using McAllister runs and Brooks
incompletions until they stall out on the CAR 25-yard line
where they kick the tying field goal, 20-20! With only 30
seconds remaining, Carolina lets the clock run out for an
On the coin flip, the Saints win (tails) and Brooks shows
actual emotion and fire in the way he demands to receive the
kick. Can it be happening? Michael Lewis returns the kick
all the way to the CAR 46-yard line! Can it be happening?
Deuce runs for three yards, then Brooks gains two more. On
third and five, McAllister gains four yards. On fourth and
one at the Panthers 37-yard line, the Saints must choose -
go for the first down or attempt a 54 yard field goal knowing
a miss gives up good field position to the Panthers.
Instead, they use the third option - let McAllister get tripped
up by Julius Peppers in the backfield and fumble the ball
away. Oh yes, it is happening all right.
Carolina wastes no time in feeding Stephen "I'm tired
but what the heck" Davis the ball three times and he
gains 43 yards. Kasay kicks the field goal and the Panthers
get the treat - another win, in overtime on the road. That
makes for the hat trick - the last three road games for the
Panthers have all been overtime games that they have won by
a field goal. What a treat!
The Trick: San Francisco 13, Arizona 16 OT
The 49ers would have been better served last week to not
have ventured out from their own neighborhood. It was a tricky
weekend for them indeed. It all started with a standard Garcia
touchdown run for the lead at 7-0 in the first quarter. Nothing
unusual. I mean - it is against the Cardinals.
But then the snap on the extra point is bobbled and ends
up as an incomplete "Yikes! Here - catch it" pass
to Jed Weaver. So it is really only 6-0.
The Cardinals then go against the fifth ranked rushing defense
in the NFL and on the next drive, Marcel Shipp gains 50 of
the seventy yards to the goal line where Jeff Blake imitates
Garcia and he too scores a touchdown only their holder actually
held it. The Cards took a 7-6 lead.
The 49ers took off on the next drive for the eventual score
and - there it goes. Garcia to Owens for 37 yards! The score
is now - no wait! Play is challenged and reversed into an
incompletion. Huh? When Owen Pochman (and do not commit the
name to memory) lines up the 45-yard field goal, he sends
it wide right. This is no way to start the blowout. They just
beat the Bucs for goodness sakes!
The rest of the quarter is dotted with stalled drives and
one Blake interception. Finally on the last drive of the first
half, the Cards reach the SF 35-yard line and Tim Duncan (don't
commit that one to memory either) nails a 53 yard field goal
for a 10-6 lead.
Problem here is also that Garcia gets his ankle turned on
their final drive in the first half so Tim Rattay plays in
the third quarter. They go three and out to open and the Cardinals
go back to Shipp and reach the SF 23-yard line before missing
a field goal. Tim Duncan proves ineffective inside the 36-yard
The 49ers get the ball back and have gone to letting Kevan
Barlow not gain yards while Rattay does not complete passes.
They go to punt and WHAP - it gets blocked! Cardinals take
over at the SF 11-yard line. What kind of blow out is this
After reaching the two yard line, the Cardinals opt to not
press their luck and kick a field goal for a 13-6 lead.
After trading series of punts, the 49ers reach their own
25-yard line and throw a 13 yard pass to Jed Weaver who then
fumbles it - oh no! But an inadvertent whistle allows the
49ers to keep the ball - whew! The next play Barlow celebrates
this by fumbling the ball away on the SF 39-yard line.
This is not right. Marcel Shipp gains 20 yards on five consecutive
runs until Tim Duncan trots on the field to miss a 37 yard
field goal. What sort of range is that? Only very short or
very long field goals? Oh yes - Cardinals.
Garcia is back in the game and brings the 49ers from their
own 27-yard line down to the Arizona 4-yard line where he
attempts to rush in his second score. What's up with that?
Terrell Owens cannot be pleased. Garcia gets sandwiched at
the one yard line and the ball pops out into the hands of
OT Kwame Harris who scores a touchdown. Talk about a treat!
Owen Pochman makes the extra point to tie. Double treat!
Then the Cards end up punting and the 49ers drive the field
for a 35 yard field goal that Pochman misses wide right. He
is consistent at least.
The Cardinals take over at their own 25-yard line with only
2:25 left to play and Jeff Blake drives the field all the
way to the SF 32-yard line where on the last play Tim Duncan
can miss a 50 yard field goal. This guy has no range now.
We're going into overtime! Does anyone want to win this game?
Is there a kicker in the house?
On the overtime kickoff, Owen Pochman decides to remove any
shred of doubt regarding his employment status by pulling
the kickoff out of bounds and giving Arizona the ball at their
40 yard line, thereby driving his popularity just below that
of Gray Davis.
The Cardinals drive the field in nine plays to the SF 22-yard
line where Tim Duncan - hold your breath and cross your fingers
- is good! The Cardinals beat the 49ers 16-13!
It was another whacky week in the NFL where too often little
made sense and guys like Arlen Harris became stars while Minny
fell from grace. The Chiefs are perfect and Bill Parcells
is not the messiah. The Lions lose on the road, the Browns
can't score, the Steelers cannot win and the Bengals are on
a win streak.
It just gets weirder all the time and it is not even half
over for this season.
Have a great Halloween week and if Tim Duncan and Owen Pochman
show up to your door with bags, be kind.
Now get back to work...