| Sunday Salutes
Week 9 Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
Wayne Chrebet (NYJ) - Back bruise
Domanick Davis (HOU) - Strained chest
Chad Morton (WAS) - Sprained ankle
Patrick Ramsey (WAS) - Fractured finger
Marques Tuiasosopo (OAK) - Sprained knee
So, like, we gets keys and everything?!
Though the taxes may be high, the Saints have now gained
all rights, title and interest to the greater Tampa Bay area
by virtue of their most recent takedown of the Buccaneers.
The Saints 17-14 victory comes on the heels of their sweep
of the Buccaneers last season. It was December of 2001 when
Tampa Bay last beat the Saints though they did wedge a world
championship in last year.
So far the Buccaneers have followed the new NFL motto - "never
do the same thing twice". While winning only every other
game is surprising, the amazing part is that Buccaneer ticket
holders have only seen one win all season.
The Eagles kicked off to the Falcons to start their game
and Alan Rossum ran towards the left sideline. Unfortunately,
he did not bring the ball with him even though he was not
touched on the play. As he attempted to change the ball to
his other hand, he fumbled it away and the Eagles found themselves
on the Atlanta 11-yard line with the game only eight seconds
old. The Falcons lost 16-23.
The 49ers received the kickoff from the Rams to start their
game and Cedric Wilson returned the kick 95 yards for a touchdown.
In a sign of what was coming, a block in the back was flagged
on the play but the referees decided it was just too pretty
to call back and picked up the flag. The 49ers won 30-10.
Let's blame Chad
The state of Florida is a hotbed for football fanatics even
if there are problems with voting machines there. The state
currently hosts the world champion Buccaneers, the perennial
AFC East contending Dolphins and even can rely on Jacksonville
for the occasional nice game.
Unfortunately, those three teams are all 1-3 at home this
season. If the South is going to rise again, home would be
a nice place to start. That is one bandwagon that the 0-5
Falcons could stand to join.
In typical fashion for mid-season, the teams favored by odds-makers
went 6-7 yesterday if you ignore the points and just consider
who won. If you consider the point spreads, following Vegas
favorites meant going 4-7-1 on the day. There were only two
games that exceeded 41 total points and if you bet that every
game were to end under the expected points, you would have
gone 10-3 on the day. Hmm... upsets everywhere and no points
to spread around.
Are Survivor Pools supposed to end at mid-season?
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
|| 3 FG, 2 XP
Huddle Fantasy Points = 100
Huddle Fantasy Points = 33
Well if Kyle Boller can do it once
Philadelphia had a nice bit of timing by visiting the Falcons
during the week that head coach Dan Reeves got peeved and
benched his entire starting secondary. Donovan McNabb responded
by throwing his first 300 yard game of the season, ending
with a touchdown and 312 actual "in the air, thrown to
a receiver" yards.
Not only did McNabb manage to gain roughly the same amount
of passing yards that he totaled in the three previous games,
he even threw a touchdown to a wide receiver. Freddie Mitchell
snagged a 37-yard touchdown pass and even added one more catch
for six yards during the passing explosion. James Thrash had
four catches for 69 yards to lead all receivers who were not
rookie tight ends. Add in Todd Pinkston's two catches for
15 yards and it all adds up to exactly the same yardage and
scores for Amani Toomer of the Giants.
Of course it falls well short of Tory Holt on the day, but
wide receivers in Philly - who knew?
Sunday's Couch Commentary
23, MIA 17
see if we understand this. Miami was favored to win the
AFC East when the season started and though they are only
one game back, they have gone 1-3 at home. Ricky Williams
has averaged 60 yards a game for the past five weeks with
a 3.0 yard average during that time. The Colts win even
though Marvin Harrison had only 60 yards receiving (and
half of that was one pass). Evidently Universal Studios
has opened their newest thrill ride in Miami. Visitors
|CAR 10, HOU 14
||Let's see if we understand this
one. Stephen Davis runs for 153 yards and Steve Smith
scores what is now the obligatory touchdown. Domanick
Davis only gains 74 yards and the Texans start Tony Banks
for the first time. So then naturally the Texans win.
Okay, let me start over. Delhomme throws for more than
Banks, and then... 'sigh'
13, DET 23
Raiders now exist to refute the old adage "well -
it cannot get any worse". When Tuiasosopo was injured
(and thankfully for announcers trying to quickly say his
name), Rick Mirer finally had the opportunity to say "you
want me to WHAT?". The Raiders have gone from winning
the AFC Championship last year to getting beaten by the
Lions who, incidentally, now have the same record as the
Raiders. While Steve Mariucci has long ago traded in his
boyish charm for his team-issued wrinkles, there is a
smile in there somewhere this week.
|SD 7, CHI 20
||Anthony Thomas actually lied in
the training room and said his foot was all better just
so he could hop 31 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
When the Chargers have to play their Flutie, they are
playing 'Taps'. When Chris Chandler can rip off an eleven
yard run, it is a sure sign that team speed is not a hallmark
of the defense.
17, BAL 24
the Jaguars go to Baltimore, right. And then they have
more passing yards and more rushing yards and less turnovers
than the Ravens - okay? Now stay with me on this one.
And so like Jamal Lewis only runs for about 68 yards and
does nothing in the game but the Ravens still win even
though the Jaguars did better because, um, because...
I hate when I forget the punchline.
|STL 10, SF 30
||Because the Rams beat the Cardinals
by 24 even though the 49ers lost to them last week by
three points. Just take the inverse of that, multiplied
by a factor of Cedric Wilson and you get the result. The
Rams cannot win on the road through no Faulk of their
own. Terrell Owens is now dedicated to quality instead
of quantity, catching touchdowns on half of his two receptions.
17, TB 14
they are all secretly scared of the pirate ship in the
stadium and fear the sound of the cannons when they go
off. Keyshawn Johnson catches 10 passes for 124 yards.
That alone should tell you that the game was not going
to follow conventional wisdom. When the Saints defense
collects six turnovers and scores once, it is a further
statement that the game is not going to follow the laws
of physics as we know them.
|PIT 16, SEA 23
||Maurice Morris almost matched the
totals of either Alexander or Bettis with one 43 yard
run. Kickers scored 21 of the 39 points in the game and
it was 9-6 heading into the fourth quarter. The Seahawks
rise to one of the least impressive 6-2 records in the
NFL while the Steelers have lost five games in a row.
How many "turn it around" speeches does Cowher
have, anyway? This just in - the Bus is running and it
still stops at every corner.
14, ARZ 17
There are only five teams in the NFL with more home
wins than the Cardinals. There are only five teams in
the NFL with more home wins than the Cardinals. There
are only five teams in the NFL with more home wins than
the Cardinals. There are only five teams in the NFL
with more home wins than the Cardinals...
Sorry. Must have been a flashback to fifth grade during
the penalty phase of "no gambling on school grounds".
Sidenote - that little jerk Tommy Smith is a squealer
and a welch.
|WAS 14, DAL 21
||This would have been the game of
the week if it contained even a shred of drama. Hambrick
fumbles twice and sets up the first Washington score even
though the Redskins cannot even kick an extra point. The
best passes thrown by Carter were of the "falling
and throwing it sort of at someone" variety. Chad
Morton was the kid brother who finally got to play with
the big kids and got hurt just like we told Mom would
happen. Patrick Ramsey now prepares for games by getting
run over by a car, followed by diving into pools with
no water and ending with a massage using a jackhammer.
23, ATL 16
yeah, Michael Vick is just pacing on the sidelines saying
" I want a piece of that!" If the Falcon's substitute
secondary gave up 312 passing yards to McNabb, exactly
how bad were those starters anyway? 138 years later and
Atlanta is still burning.
|GB 30, MIN 27
||There is no running in the house!
I said - no running in the house! HEY - is anyone listening
to me? You there - Ahman - stop that. Don't run away while
I am talking to you! Almost game of the week here. Just
takes all the fun out of the "Bennett is back"
party. Consider that the Vikings bombed the Packers in
Green Bay to open the season so the Packers, who historically
have problems in Minnesota even when the Vikes are terrible,
can pull out a win using Brett Favre and his broken thumb.
This was a fairly brutal week. No comeback wins, almost all
games turn in lower than expected points and underdogs win
all over the place. Miami, Minnesota and Tampa Bay all lose
at home. Ten of the games end with a touchdown or less difference
in the scores and yet no thrilling comebacks? This happens
every year - there is always at least one week where underdogs
do very well and we still have one week left to go where road
teams win a big portion of the games. Now if we could just
figure out which weeks those would be...
Winner: NY Giants 31, NY Jets 28
This is a perfect game of the week in the sense that it represents
the week well. The winner was the visiting team, which was
really at home, and it went into overtime so that the Giants
could defeat the team that it led 28-14 in the fourth quarter.
Don't touch that dial - Just kidding!
It was a big game since it was the first start by Chad Pennington
during the regular season. Evidently losing Lavernues Coles
was not a big deal since by the time the fourth quarter started
Santana Moss already had two touchdowns. Considering that
Coles ended with about 100 yards and two scores less than
Moss yesterday, it sort of makes Pennington look just a little
more critical to the passing equation than we thought.
With only six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Jets
drew to a 21-28 deficit when Pennington found Moss for his
third touchdown of the game. After two touchdowns, most defenses
would try to limit the third. Hard to imagine the secondary
was focusing on Wayne Chrebet or Curtis Conway.
The Giants then find themselves in that nasty little situation
again. With six minutes to go and a seven point lead to protect,
the obvious choice is to run the ball and kill the clock but
who will run it? Tiki "Yo - someone fall on that thing"
Barber or Dorsey "met at the line" Levens? Fumble
or punt? The answer was evidently - "punt".
The Giants reached midfield and had to punt with three minutes
left to play. Collins had moved the ball a little with passes,
Levens had two runs for a total of four yards and finally
Barber had one carry where he gained no yards because as soon
as he reached the line of scrimmage he immediately went into
a fetal position, somehow wrapping his arms and legs around
Pennington moved the Jets from his own 14-yard line to the
Giants nine yard line in 11 plays. On one third and 13, he
threw to Moss for 12 yards but the Giants had a roughing the
passer call. On fourth and one from the Giants 24-yard line,
he connected with Santana Moss for a 15 yard gain. He spiked
the ball on the next play to kill the clock with only 35 seconds
left. He then hit Anthony Becht for the nine yard touchdown
to tie the game. Afterwards, the Giants secondary met on their
sideline and high-fived each other because hey - Moss did
not catch that touchdown, boy!
The Giants let regulation expire when they had the ball since
they have such fond memories of overtime this season.
They win the coin toss and march from their own 34-yard line
to the Jets 21-yard line using mostly Barber rushes. With
the opportunity to win the game on a 38 yard field goal before
them, Brett "The New Guy" Conway pulls it left for
By this point, the fans stick around to see how the Giants
will manage to lose this game. After trading punts, the Jets
reach the Giants 32-yard line where the drive stalls, amazingly,
on a pass to Santana Moss. On fourth down, Doug Brien trots
onto the field and promptly kicks a 51 yard field goal attempt
that is blocked.
The Giants take over at their own 36-yard line and after
two Levens runs for three yards, Collins completes passes
to Barber and Toomer to reach the Jet 22-yard line. Barber
runs two more times for 11 yards and the clock drains all
the way down to 41 seconds left in overtime. The two teams
combined for 36 points in the two previous quarters and now
have almost made it fifteen minutes with nothing but bad field
Finally, mercifully, Brett Conway comes out and nails a 29
yard field goal to win the game. New Yorkers stand up, grab
their coats and mutter "well there is an hour I will
never get back".
It was one of those quirky weekends in the NFL that happens
every season. Little drama, no comebacks. Not only do most
underdogs win, but most of them do so convincingly. It was
a weekend that showed playing at home was a big advantage
unless you had a really good team. Half the teams that played
came off a loss to win or a win to lose. In an era of parity,
yesterday saw the three longest current streaks that played
lose yet again (PIT - 5, OAK - 4 and WAS - 4).
Consider this the "you're not as smart as you think
you are" week. In what should prove to be a nail-biting
season finish in many divisions, this was the screwy calm
before the storm. One step back for many teams now ready for
two steps forward. And we have not lost a coach or big player
for the season. At least not yet.
Now get back to work...