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Tunnel Vision - Week 13
By David M. Dorey
November 24, 2003
 
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Matt Hasselbeck 333 5
Anthony Wright 319 4
Tom Brady 368 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Deuce McAllister 232 2
Priest Holmes 191 1
Edgerrin James 147 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Darrell Jackson 146 2
David Boston 139 2
Marcus Robinson 131 4
Tight Ends Yards TD
Boo Williams 110 1
Daniel Graham 53 1
Frank Wycheck 39 2
Placekickers XP FG
David Akers 3 4
Paul Edinger 1 4
Matt Stover 5 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Vikings 2 0 4
Arizona 1 4 5
Detroit 1 3 2

Week 13 Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs

QB Chris Chandler - Sprained shoulder
QB Steve McNair - Strained calf
QB Patrick Ramsey - Jaw and foot injury
RB Warrick Dunn - Leg injury
RB Clinton Portis - Heel bruise
TE Shannon Sharpe - Bruised ribs

Baltimore Stealth Bombers

Marcus Robinson turned in an incredible seven catch, 131 yard performance with a league leading four touchdowns. It was the first time this season any non-quarterback had scored four touchdowns in a single game and it was a career best for Robinson. If you did not see that coming, and not even Robinson did, it was probably because he had only nine catches for 76 yards on the entire year. Over the course of eight games. And never scored this season until yesterday.

Robinson only had two touchdowns in all of last season and only three scores in all of 2001. Robinson was a stealth bomber - no one had him on the radar until the explosion happen and after you run to your waiver wire, you may never see him again.

Woohoo! Are we starting over?

As everyone knows, receivers become less important the deeper into the cold weather that the season gets. All those big passing yards and scores of the early fall give way to more running once the thermometer gets low and the clouds become dark. It happens every season, naturally. Over the past four weeks, we have seen progressively less receivers that catch more than one touchdown in a game. The declining trend for the past month has been 5, 2, 1 and in week 11 there were no receivers with more than one touchdown.

And then came week 12 which by trend should have somehow managed a negative number of wide receivers with multiple touchdowns but it did not happen. Instead, there were a season high six wideouts with multiple touchdowns to include Marcus Robinson (4), Chad Johnson (3), Darrell Jackson (2), David Boston (2), Anquan Boldin (2) and finally Bobby Engram (2). Not bad considering only a total of 22 wideouts caught any touchdowns yesterday.

Of the lucky half dozen, only Engram scored a touchdown the previous week. At least consistency is still consistently not consistent.

Okay - I'm terrified of orange, are you happy now?!?

Tommy Maddox had his worst game of the season in week five when he faced the Cleveland Browns and only managed 11 of 24 for 136 yards and two interceptions. He improved to the point where he had scored in the last four games this season and came off a 327 yard effort against the 49ers. But those orange guys were on the schedule again this week and Maddox walked away only 9 of 24 for 73 yards and one score. Somehow the Steelers still won but the even better news is that Maddox will not have to play them again this season.

And at current rate, maybe never again.

One if by land, two if by Detroit

When the Vikings-Lions game went into the fourth quarter, it was surprisingly still a 7-7 tie. Though the Lions had one of the worst defenses against the pass and were playing on the road where they had lost the last 21 games, the Vikings were unable to put Detroit away. Fortunately, someone read the script in time to let everyone know how it was supposed to end and the Vikings finished with the expected 24-14 victory.

The win was not via Culpepper or Moss or even Bennett. The only reason the Vikings won was that Joey Harrington threw two interceptions in the final two and a half minutes and both were returned for touchdowns. The Vikings could have won 24-7 but since so many of you had made bets on the 10.5 point line, the Lions went ahead and finally scored their second touchdown with only 35 seconds left to play.

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

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Anthony Wright 319 4 QB Daunte Culpepper 196 0
RB Derrick Blaylock 53 1 RB Charlie Garner 54 0
RB Sammy Morris 30 1 RB Troy Hambrick 26 0
WR Marcus Robinson 131 4 WR Hines Ward 13 0
WR Bethel Johnson 65 1 WR Eric Moulds 38 0
WR Kelly Washington 61 1 WR Marvin Harrison 47 0
PK Matt Stover 3 FG, 5 XP PK Mike Vanderjagt

1 FG

Huddle Fantasy Points = 134

Huddle Fantasy Points = 27

The Greatest Win that Never Was

The Texans set the stage for a win of legendary proportion for their franchise (legends being easier when you are only 27 weeks old). After the Patriots had battled back to throw the game into overtime, the Texans won the coin toss and received the ball. On the first play in the extra period, Tony Banks threw an interception that was returned to the Houston 23-yard line. The Texans held them on three plays since New England was content to inch forward for their field goal.

And then it happened. From the Houston 27-yard line, SS Ramon Walker sliced through the line and had the first blocked field goal in the history of the franchise, thereby denying the Patriots the win and giving the Texans the ball. Houston drove to the New England 40-yard line and then stalled. After swapping a couple of punts, Brady drove the Patriots down the field and secured the game winning field goal.

But in Houston, those close losses are getting more exciting all the time.

Wake me when we trail by 24

The Falcons head to Houston this week and the Texans would be well advised to not read too much into that 2-9 record by Atlanta. Lulled to sleep by the sirens of mediocrity, the Giants were dashed on the rocks of humility three weeks ago by those sneaky Falcons. Two weeks ago in New Orleans, the Falcons took a 20-3 lead into halftime before losing 23-20. Yesterday against the mighty 9-2 Titans, before the second quarter started Tennessee had already fallen behind 21-0. They eventually lost 38-31 but made the Titans work for the win.

After seven weeks of complete futility, Atlanta has spent the last three weeks showing that you cannot take anyone lightly in the NFL or they will run up the score. Since the last two teams still came back from huge deficits to win anyway, getting the future opponents to care may still be difficult.

Sunday's Couch Commentary

NE 23, HOU 20
Overtime

Texans were outgained 496 to 182 yards and still almost took the win in overtime. New England complained before the game how all their receivers were hurt and blah-blah-blah. Brady ends up hitting nine different receivers for the most passing yardage of any team this week. If they complain about having no running backs next week, make sure you start Kevin Faulk. Actually, you sort of should have yesterday (188 total yards). Dedric Ward and J.J. Stokes have not unpacked their luggage yet and still turned in more yardage than Andre Johnson, Corey Bradford and Jabar Gaffney.

SF 10, GB 20

The "Rattay must Stay" posters have now fallen in value and the only real positive he did was to throw one touchdown to Owens to shut him up for one more week. Brett Favre still tosses interceptions but when Ahman tallies 27 carries with nary a fumble, those Packers are going to win. 49ers still have no idea what a road win looks like this season and Walker and Ferguson both scored just to bother all the fantasy teams that did not play them (which was basically all fantasy teams by this point).

CAR 20, DAL 24

Just great - NOW what are we supposed to think? Just when you write Carter off he outguns Delhomme 254 to 175 in yards and 2:1 in touchdowns. Hambrick gets a little worse every game but the Cowboys have won their last six home games and hope to extend that streak on Turkey Day with some mahi mahi flown in from Miami. Panthers have to go home after losing their last two road games to face the Eagles.

PIT 13, CLE 6

As proof positive of the home curse for the Brownies, Maddox only throws for 73 yards, Jackson outgains Bettis and the Steelers win even though the Browns creamed them in Pittsburgh. Ward and Burress combined are only worth 29 yards though Burress was the preferred wideout with two catches. At this rate the Ravens and Bengals are running away with the division with 6-5 records. Browns would be better served to call plays in the huddle rather than discussing what the next William Green headline will say.

IND 17, BUF 14

No matter how good Buffalo looks early in the game, you just know that eventually their opponents will end up on top, holding onto their horns and yelling "yee-haw, giddy-up you hippy cow". This week it took about 58 minutes. Next week it will be with a New York accent. The rookie Moorehead lead all Colt receivers with 71 yards and evidently gets around a lot since I have heard him paged in many restaurants and bowling alleys. Seems they are always looking for his sister Anita too. ... wait a minute... sounds like that Simpson boy again.

JAX 10, NYJ 13

All Santana Moss, all the time. At least in the final 26 seconds which against the Jaguars is about all you need. Troy Edwards is thrown on the scrap heap pretty fast now that they Jaguars have Kevin Johnson. Fred Taylor gained 119 yards but required 32 carries to get there and was later heard on the sideline repeating his mantra this season - "Can I get a little help here? Can I get a little help here?"

NO 20, PHI 33

They're gonna bash you with Buckhalter, then stick you with Staley and then whack you with Westbrook. And then McNabb throws a TD just to make you feel worse. Deuce McAllister was the RB to keep two years ago but maybe the Saints should have replaced some other guys too. Donte Stallworth gets a role in "Unbreakable II" but here is a hint - he is NOT the lead.

DET 14, MIN 24

Lions would be better served with the offense practicing tackling drills instead of actual plays. This ended up as the "Chip and Dale" game, with the Lions saying "we cannot win on the road - take a free touchdown" and the Vikings saying "Oh but no, please, break your horrendous road losing streak" and Detroit replying "On no, no, no - I absolutely insist - here. Have another free touchdown." The Detroit Chipmunk's next road game is in Kansas City where they can tie the all-time record of 23 consecutive road losses and end up in an exciting week 15 matchup where the Panthers get to help them set the all-time record of 24. We'll have to wait for the 2004 schedule to see who comes after that. The Minnesota Chipmunks head to St. Louis this week where more free TD's likely await.

STL 30, ARZ 27
Overtime

The Rams break the curse of the desert even though Marc Bulger tried valiantly four times to throw the game away. Holt and Bruce went nuts once again and even Marshall Faulk stopped only when he reached 100 yards. The Anquan Cardinals tried to make a game of it but the other 52 players were unable to get with the program. Eventually Blake will call a time-out when he sees all 11 defensive players covering Boldin, jog to the sideline and tell McGinnis "I think they're on to us now".

CHI 19, DEN 10

Okay, the Broncos committed no turnovers, Portis rushed for 165 yards on only 14 carries and Kordell Stewart had to play and only went 7 of 15 for 47 yards. In Denver. And the Bears won. TRAP! TRAP! TRAP GAME! TRAP! TRAP-TRAP-TRAP. Jake Plummer has lost all memory of Ashley Lelie.

OAK 24, KC 27

It was a standard hard-fought Raiders-Chiefs game where you can throw out all the records, forget all conventional wisdom and disregard all injured players that are missing. And in the end, it is still Rick Mirer. Whew! Thank you Morten. Chiefs open a four game lead in the AFC West with only five left to play. Raiders have to go back home to greet the Broncos who are not happy little horses right now. And it will be a standard hard-fought Raiders-Broncos game where you can throw out all the records, forget all conventional wisdom and disregard all injured players that are missing. And in the end, it is still Rick Mirer. Whew!

CIN 34, SD 27

For two teams that have talked so much about their running game, it all came down to David Boston versus Chad Johnson and three touchdowns always beats two. The whole sharing scenario between Dillon and Rudi is less painful when they can combine for 199 yards. Tell that Palmer kid to cool his jets - we got a real season this time! When Marty talks about having "a good run", he is no longer speaking about Tomlinson. He is talking about himself.

TEN 38, ATL 31

Falcons are feasting on teams starting slowly though they never get to finish the meal. McNair blows out a calf somehow even though no one touched him. It was sort of near where Vick was when he... hurt his.... FIX THE CARPET OR SOMETHING, WILL YA? When the Titans fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter, all they had to do is point at the scoreboard (the "ATL" name, not the actual score that is). Titans come roaring back with Eddie "I'm spry I tell you, spry!" George who gains 115 yards on the ground and Atlanta only wedges a field goal in during the 38 point run by Tennessee.

WAS 23, MIA 24

Allow me to speak the words unspoken, "What in the ^@#%^ was that all about?" Ramsey left the game and will be listed this week as "Questionable: Ramsey (everything)" and Tim Hasselbeck only added to the legendary Hasselbeck quality of Sunday. In Miami where the defense should be best, Canidate suddenly can run, Coles can catch and Hasselbeck looked like the best Redskin QB ever, including the announcing booth. In the end, Fiedler had to save the day by skillfully doing what Griese had been unable to do - give it to Ricky!!! Did someone find the playbook?

Game-O-The-Week

There were several great games this week. Three overtime affairs, big performances around the league, some big upsets, a trap game or two and whole bunch of favored teams sprinting at the end to get their "W". Looking back, how could you not love an overtime game that ends with 85 points scored? Okay, aside from the fact you did not start any of the players?

Winner: Seattle 41, Baltimore 44

Let's set the stage for this frenzied affair.

At the half, no one was surprised too much that the Seahawks had gained a 17-3 lead. Matt Hasselbeck already had 132 yards passing and two touchdowns while Anthony Wright only had completed three passes for a total of 37 yards. That's all - just 37 yards. Jamal Lewis had 40 yards on 11 carries and the game looked like a lost cause since Baltimore could not throw the ball.

And with that, let's pull down the lock-bar on this roller coaster and please - keep your hands inside of the car at all times.

The Ravens took the opening kickoff and thanks to a 43 yard pass to Travis Taylor, reached the Seattle 13 yard line on third down and three. Knowing that this was Lewis territory (as are all other places on the field), the Seahawks were surprised when Marcus Robinson caught his second pass in the game for a touchdown. Realize that Mr. Robinson had only caught two passes once this season - otherwise he had eight games with only one catch in each. And no scores. Lightning strikes - once.

Since the score became 17-10 so suddenly, Matt Hasselbeck wasted no time. He threw once to Darrell Jackson for 19 yards and then hit Koren Robinson with a 38-yard touchdown for a safer 24-10 lead.

On the next series, Anthony Wright starts at his own ten yard line and after one Lewis run, Wright fumbles the ball and recovers it himself for a five yard loss. One incomplete later and they punt, only it shanks and goes out of bounds at the Baltimore 29-yard line.

Seattle does not gain any yards but still kicks a field goal to make the score 27-10. This is easy. Almost not fair. This is sort of like a roller coaster car chugging up that hill slowly with only about 23 minutes left to play. Time to get loopy! Here we go! Hands inside!

Ravens take the kickoff, four plays to midfield and on third and five, Wright hits Marcus Robinson with a 50 yard touchdown. It is his second score! Whee! 27-17!

Seahawks get the ball on their own 20-yard line and on first and ten, Hasselbeck hits Darrell Jackson for his second touchdown in the game on an 80 yard bomb! Oh wow! Whee! 34-17!

Ravens get a good kick return to midfield and after four plays are at the Seattle 25-yard line. On second and ten, Anthony Wright hits Marcus Robinson for another touchdown! I swear! His third one! This loopy stuff never ends! All the change is flying from my pockets and I no longer realize what is up or down anymore. 34-24 and three touchdowns scored in the last three minutes! What? There's more? 38 points in the third quarter and there is still more? Whoa!

The Seahawks take over on their own 46-yard line since special teams coverage is not so special in this game. Hasselbeck is throwing to Engram and handing off to Alexander. When the fourth quarter finally comes, the Seahawks are on the Ravens 5-yard line and on third down, he throws to Bobby Engram again for a touchdown! It is now 41-24. This is no longer a gridiron war, it is a "nuclear winter starts here" event.

Baltimore takes over but tries to throw to Todd Heap. The game slows down. Todd is not meant to be today. Four and out and they punt and the Seahawks reach the Ravens 36-yard line before opting to punt. Already hard to kick a 53 yard field goal and since they are up 41-24, they figure to make it tough on the Ravens.

The Ravens only manage five plays to reach their own 30-yard line and have to punt. But Ken Lucas muffs the punt. He muffs the punt! You idiot, he muffed the punt! Already on the Seattle 35-yard line, first down has Lewis slicing off right tackle for - HE FUMBLES! He fumbles the ball! DOH! Seattle takes over. What a heartbreaker. I cannot take this much longer. Does this ride ever end?

After four plays net a six yard loss, Seattle punts the ball and THEY BLOCKED THE PUNT! OH MY! They blocked the punt! They blocked the - HEY -ED REED HAS IT AND, AND, AND HE SCORES A TOUCHDOWN! For the love of - it's 41-31. I need a break here.

The Seahawks take the kickoff and knowing that they are going to run to kill the clock that is now under six minutes left to play, they throw it to Mili and Robinson with an Alexander dash to reach the Baltimore 31-yard line. On first and ten, Mack strong busts up the middle and NO WAY! HE FUMBLES! What? Ray Lewis recovers? I feel feint again!

With only 4 minutes left and down by ten, the Ravens reach the Seattle 39 yard line with 2:47 left to play and on second and two, Wright is sacked for 16 yards. On third and 18, he gets sacked AGAIN for ten more yards. Hey - it is now the two minute warning, fourth down and 28 yards to go and in the words of Ray Lewis "are you ready to go?" Why yes, I think I am - let's do this thing!

Wright hits Frank Sanders for a 44 yard gain for a first down! Wright hits Lewis for 8 yards. He hits Sanders again for four yards. With only 1:17 left to play, he hits NO WAY! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! ROBINSON FOR A 9-YARD TD!?!?! Oh my, where is my glycerin? Stop this car! I demand - stop it! I cannot take this! Is anyone listening to me?

The Ravens still have time outs and go for the onside kick but Alex Bannister covers it for Seattle. With 1:11 left, Alexander for six yards, time out! Alexander for three yards - time-out! Alexander met at the line on third and one - TIME-OUT! On fourth and one, Hasselbeck dives for that first down and there are bodies crashing and struggling and, and ... and he does not make it. They are giving the ball to Baltimore with 39 seconds left on the Ravens 33-yard line. Can it be?

First down - incomplete to Robinson (like we did not ALL see that coming).
Second down - incomplete to Robinson (bucket does not reach the water in that well anymore) but wait - Marcus Trufant had pass interference of 44 yards! With 25 seconds left, Ravens are on the Seattle 23-yard line. Lewis runs up the middle for seven yards, Wright spikes the ball with four seconds left on the Seattle 16 yard line and Stover trots onto the field to nail a 40 yard field goal to FREAKING TIE THE GAME AS TIME EXPIRES! It's like going on a roller coaster and when it finally pulls into the station - it takes off again!

Seattle wins the toss but after five plays, Hasselbeck is sacked on third down and they punt to the Baltimore 21-yard line. Wright runs for eight yards, Lewis for 14 and then Wright to Taylor reaches midfield. Then Lewis, Lewis, incomplete, Lewis and incomplete finds the Ravens still around midfield with third and 15. Take a guess what happens next.

Marcus Robinson catches a 19 yard pass down to the Seattle 32-yard line. First down.

Lewis, Lewis, Lewis reaches for Seattle 24-yard line where on fourth down, throw the bucket away, train is in the station, cut the power, fat lady is a'singing and Stover is good on a 42 yard field goal for a RAVEN WIN 44-41 IN OVERTIME! RAVENS WIN! AN INCREDIBLE COMEBACK! I'm exhausted. I think I am going to be sick now. "No Mas."

So a thrilling and astounding game ends. Anthony Wright goes from 37 first half yards to 319 yards and four scores in the game. There were 65 points scored after halftime and the Ravens won not by stifling defense or handing off to Jamal Lewis 38 times. They won it because Anthony Wright found Marcus Robinson for more touchdowns than Robinson had caught in two years. When it came down to it, they were ready to go. They were ready to get the job done. They were always down but never beaten. They never gave up. They won.

So here's to you, Mr. Robinson. Heaven holds a place for those who play...

Now get back to work...