| Sunday Salutes
Week 10 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs
Charlie Garner (OAK) - Strained lower back
Marvin Harrison (IND) - Strained hamstring
Shawn Jefferson (DET) - Sprained knee
Jeremy Shockey (NYG) - Sprained knee
Kyle Boller (BAL) - Sprained knee
Low Expectations Redefined
During the St. Louis - Baltimore contest, Ray Lewis was "miked
up" for the game and was heard delivering those sweet
words every offense wants to hear - "just don't give
up any points". While it is nice to have a defense as
good as the Ravens, most NFL teams want their offense to aim
a little higher than "don't give away any points".
Unfortunately, after seven sacks, four lost fumbles and three
interceptions by the offense (including one fumble return
for a touchdown), perhaps he should have gone with "just
take a knee".
Well, can I at least get a saddle then?
The Bengals defeated the Texans 34-27 without the services
of Corey Dillon who was held out of the game in order to allow
his groin to heal even more. Dillon has complained about the
playing surface in Cincinnati and the previous week it was
a concern that he should not play in Arizona where the field
was too chewed up. By this point, the only place he seems
safe to play him is in Madden Football 2003.
Apparently Rudi Johnson has not experienced the same problems
as Dillon on those surfaces since he carried the ball 77 times
in the past two games. This week his 43 carries were the second
highest in NFL history. In case you have not considered the
waiver wire as fruitful in the past, Johnson has now carried
more times in the past two games (77) than Dillon has this
entire season (69). Dillon will be back in the picture this
week, it's just that no one remembers why.
Attack of the Little People
The NFL has long been the home to society's gargantuan class.
The prototypical anything is over six feet high, can bench
press a domestic car and weighs almost that much.
Yesterday we were reminded that bigger is not always better
and if you want an upset, rely on the team munchkin.
The Panthers defeated the Buccaneers yesterday and Steve
Smith (5'9") keeps catching touchdowns.
The Chargers finally benched Drew Brees and went with Doug
Flutie (5'10") so that he could run for two touchdowns
and pass for two as well in their win.
The Falcons went to New York for their expected butt whooping
and left as the whoopee thanks in no small part (pun intended)
to Warrick Dunn (5'9") who ran for 178 yards and a touchdown.
The Jets managed a comeback win over the Raiders thanks to
the most productive receiverin the NFL on Sunday - Santana
Moss (5'10") who gained 146 yards and one touchdown.
His score came on a 65 yard pass. Actually it was about a
10 yard pass but when Charles Woodson tried to sling him to
the ground, Moss kept his balance and was actually propelled
for the remaining 55 yards. The little ones do not throw down
Maybe Plaxico Burress (6'5") needs to start crouching
down when he goes out for a pass?
Umm.. This is about me, isn't it?
In week nine, the Raiders lost to the Lions and Rick Mirer
was forced to replace the injured Marques Tuiasosopo. Against
one of the worst secondaries in the league, Mirer only completed
15 of 28 passes for 125 yards and two interceptions. He was
trying to pass to two certain Hall of Fame receivers and Jerry
Porter at the time. He was evidently considered more of a
liability than an asset going into this week's matchup with
the Vikings. Mirer found himself doing the opposite of the
He handed off instead of passing the ball. In fact, Mirer
handed off 23 times before he ever attempted a pass (incomplete).
The Raiders eventually were forced to throw the ball and while
Mirer did end with one touchdown and 186 yards passing, the
run to pass ratio for the game was 52-25 or roughly 2:1. The
Raiders are becoming very unpredictable now, all except for
that scoreboard thing.
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
|| 4 FG
Huddle Fantasy Points = 120
Huddle Fantasy Points = 25
There's no place like not here
The Giants are now 1-4 at home and come off a domination
by the Atlanta Falcons (just when I thought I would never
write that again). Preseason favorites to win their division
have not fared well where the heart is supposed to be this
year. The Giants (1-4), Pittsburgh (2-3), Oakland (2-2), Philadelphia
(2-2) Green Bay (2-2) and Tampa Bay (1-3) have not exactly
been delighting season ticket holders.
Shame too, since yesterday was one of those statistical oddities
where the home team won 11 of 13 games. Even the Jaguars had
their first home win as a member of the AFC South. But don't
get used to it - each season always has one week a year that
the visitors win about 9 or 10 of the games and it has not
Everybody hold hands, ready? 1... 2... 3... jump!
Starting yesterday there were three teams in the NFL that
were 1-7 on the season. The Jaguars (vs. 7-1 Colts), the Falcons
(vs. 4-4 Giants) and San Diego (vs. 6-2 Vikings). All three
teams won and two of them defeated divisional leaders.
Does no one want the first pick in the draft?
Sunday's Couch Commentary
20, KC 41
Priest and Gonzo had big games but when Green throws a
couple of scores to his wideouts, who can beat this crew?
KC has CIN, OAK and SD up next and this whole unbeaten
thing is probably not over quite yet.
|IND 23, JAX 28
||So this is what the Colts are like
without Marvin Harrison. Evidently it is not something
worth doing twice. Sure, it was Homecoming week all over
the NFL, but 7-1 losing the 1-7 team? In their own division?
10, DET 12
The Lions beat the Bears and yet had a total ground
game of 20 carries for 17 yards. Reggie Swinton's one
run for nine yards was more than Shawn Bryson gained
in ten carries. And now Detroit is on a two game winning
streak and hoih 8OUWER8 T 8 WER8 G8YER (call 911- I'm
having convulsionss90ihqw[e8 h 08ywer[g8ye rgw0 e98yrg
|HOU 27, CIN 34
||This is why we love football. There
were 315 yards gained by Rudi Johnson and Domanick Davis
in the game. No wait - this is why we love the waiver
wire. Knock knock - who's there? NOT DILLON OR MACK
24, CAR 27
would have been GOTW, but the last time they played already
was a few weeks back. Panthers entered the game without
Stephen Davis and with only Steve Smith as a weapon that
had been working lately. Ricky Proehl's 66-yard TD bomb
was a big factor but inevitably it was Steve Smith yet
again scoring the winning points. Smith now regularly
supplies the winning margin and when he does not kick
defenders, it usually is his own team winning.
|BUF 6, DAL 10
||When tight end Dan Campbell scores
the only touchdown in the game, you know that the Cowboys
defense will be keeping the lofty ranking again this week
while their offense continues to slide downward. Eric
Moulds led all receivers on both teams with only 32 yards
receiving. Drew Bledsoe still doesn't like Parcells and
yet millions of Texans are adding him to their Christmas
card list this year.
7, TEN 31
only had two touchdowns before losing interest in the
game and the fastest way to make Ricky Williams a non-factor
is to intercept his quarterback three times. Okay, that
and not allow him to gain yardage just like almost all
opponents have done lately. Rumors are that Flipper is
suing the team for defamation of character.
|ARZ 15, PIT 28
||Maybe the Steelers still cannot
run and maybe their secondary cannot stop anyone and maybe
Plaxico Burress can never be another Chris Doering, but
having the Cardinals as a visitor will cure what ails
you. Considering the Steelers go to SF next week it may
be a temporary cure, but so is drinking more alcohol to
combat a hangover. And both feel pretty good at the time.
27, NYG 7
last - final proof that we are in the Matrix and Agent
Smith has one wicked sense of humor. There were so many
reasons why the Giants should have won the game that it
should have been obvious that they wouldn't. Falcons win
by only completing nine passes for 65 yards in the entire
game and Kittner only had five yards rushing. Heck - Vick
could probably have done that a month ago. The G-men begrudgingly
accept the Doofus Torch from the Raiders who carried it
all last week.
|MIN 28, SD 42
||So let me get this straight
- that whole perfect six weeks to open the season was
just a very long fluke and the Vikings really do have
the same defense from last season? It's like finding out
your wife's swelling stomach isn't a baby, it's just too
many Baby Ruths. Doh - you had me going there, girl! You
got me good! You sorry little...
27, OAK 24
was almost GOTW but the Jets were just there last week.
Raiders could not win but gave their fans a solid three
quarters worth of thinking that they could. Do those fans
wear black face paint and black clothes so no one can
see them cry? First order of business on Monday for Oakland
- teaching the secondary to not throw receivers toward
the goalline. Just tackle them.
|BAL 22, STL 33
||.Bulger remains perfect at home
no thanks to 110 yards passing with two interceptions.
Marshall Faulk finally returned to the playing field and
only gained 48 yards on 20 carries. But when the Ravens
lose four fumbles and three interceptions, you just cannot
help but win. Chris Redman replaced the injured Kyle Boller
in the game and helped make Boller look good again if
only by comparison.
Once again we had no last minute wins this week but the Jets
and Raiders were kind enough to go into overtime where the
favored team won anyway. The team that ended a four game losing
streak qualified more this week.
Winner: Seattle 20, Washington 27
When Maurice Morris muffed the opening kickoff and gave the
ball to the Redskins on the Seattle 18-yard line it made people
think that this game would be different. When Washington settled
for a field goal because five plays inside the 10-yard line
failed to score a touchdown, it erased that notion.
The next two Seahawk possessions resulted in two touchdowns
but by the time the second quarter was over, the score was
knotted at 17-17. What no one knew was that Steve Spurrier
had relinquished the play calling to the offensive coordinator,
Hue Jackson. After four consecutive losses, Spurrier admitted
- what was the worst thing that could happen? Besides, since
it moved the coordinator from the booth down to the field
it would give one more person to hide behind in case fans
started throwing bottles or batteries.
By the end of the third quarter, both teams had attempted
a field goal but while John Hall made his 34-yard kick, Josh
Brown was short on his 49 yarder. Washington held a tenuous
20-17 lead that was erased on the first Seahawk drive in the
fourth quarter when Brown managed a 48-yard field goal.
The Redskins promptly responded by going three and out which
was followed by the Seahawks doing the same. When Washington
took over for what would be their final drive, there was 7:10
left on the clock.
After the first three plays, the Redskins found themselves
with a fourth and inches from their own 25-yard line. Most
teams would punt, especially considering that over six minutes
remained in the game but most teams are not on a four game
losing streak. Spurrier made that call himself - go for it.
If it failed, the Seahawks would already be well in field
goal reach and would be perfectly positioned for a series
of clock-chewing runs that might score a touchdown. But Rock
Cartwright gained two yards instead and gave the Redskins
a fresh set of downs.
Washington mixed two more Rock Cartwright runs, three passes
and a couple of Canidate rushes to reach the Seattle 10-yard
line with only two minutes left in the game. It was third
down with five yards to go and all the Redskins needed to
do is run the ball, eat up a little more time, and then kick
the field goal for the lead. But this is the team that has
not seen good things late in a game. This is a team that went
for it on fourth down on their own 25-yard line in a tied
When the play began, Rod Gardner dropped backwards instead
of running forward and Patrick Ramsey threw it back to him
on an apparent receiver screen. As the entire defense shifted
to the right, they somehow missed Trung Canidate running very
much by himself near the goal line over near the right sideline.
Gardner stopped, faced back towards Canidate and let loose
with more of a lob than pass that Canidate easily caught for
the ridiculously easy looking score.
With less than two minutes left, Matt Hasselbeck brought
the Seahawks from his own 35-yard line to the Washington 35
before throwing an interception with only 39 seconds left
to play. Game over. Redskins win.
It was a sorely needed win for a team that had gone a month
without seeing one. It was yet another stamp of "who
are these guys anyway?" for the Seahawks who fall back
into a tie with the Rams for the NFC West. It all happened
because the offensive genius named Steve Spurrier decided
to allow his coordinator to call the plays and when the game
situation called for a safe punt, he decided his team could
gain a few inches no matter where on the field it was. When
the practical thing was to set up a field goal, Spurrier once
again made the call - trick play.
None of that would have happened if the fourth and inches
had failed. The move would have been viewed as so dumb that
if it led to the Redskins loss it would be considered the
play that killed Spurrier. But he believed in his team and
let them do the same. And when it came down to a third down
play on the ten yard line, instead of a safe run and a kick,
he elected to pass on a risky trick play.
It was a great ending to a game that signaled the theme for
the week - home teams win and little remains the same. Peyton
Manning had big numbers and lost. Marc Bulger had terrible
numbers and won. The three worst teams in the league all find
victory by beating the Giants, Colts and Vikings. Of the 26
teams that played yesterday, only the Cowboys, Chiefs, Titans
and Lions won for a consecutive week. There were several upsets
and as the Giants and Vikings and Jaguars showed, you cannot
always predict future performance based on numbers from the
past. The only thing you can rely on is that the NFL will
continue to amuse, befuddle and surprise.
Oh yes, and no one remembers the guys that punt on fourth
Now get back to work...