Proof there’s Parity in the NFL:
Get a load of this! The following teams have the lead or a share of the lead in their respective divisions. Redskins, Lions, 49ers, Cardinals, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Texans, Raiders, and Broncos. 9 of these teams had the top 13 picks in the NFL draft (meaning they were the worst of the worst last year). I understand there’s parity, but seriously it’s like the whole bottom of the barrel has flipped this year!
If the playoffs were to start today:
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Diego and Indianapolis would be out. Detroit and Washington would be the #1 and #2 seeds in the NFC. AFC is even crazier, Patriots and Jets are a given, but the rest of the lineup would be Bengals, Texans, Raiders, and Bills!
NFL Players are tough guys:
Last week I made fun of Tony Romo, saying he is a habitual choker, a chain choker, has a choking habit (insert other “smoking” quips here). On the third play of the game he broke a rib and punctured a lung and was forced to leave. After being questionable to come back (an in-game questionable status basically means we’ll see you next week), he came back into the game, took hits, and threw for over 300 yards after breaking his rib and puncturing a lung! You can’t cast, splint, or bandage ribs, you have to let them heal on their own. I’ll give you props Romo, that was a very tough performance. Supposedly Candlestick was so loud that his teammates couldn’t hear him in the huddle. When asked to speak up, he simply said “I can’t.” You, Mr. Romo, are gutsy, and get my “Tough Guy” of the week award.
I just heard this story from Week 1, but it’s worth mentioning it here. Let me set the scene, Saints vs. Packers, need to drive 80 yards in 66 seconds for the win, remember? On the third play of this drive, Brees connects with Marques Colston down the middle for 21 yards. On this play, Colston breaks his collarbone. Remember, time is of the essence here. Colston lays for a second but realizes that if they need to cart him off, there will be a 10 second runoff for an injury (with no timeouts), basically closing out the game. Colston gets up and hobbles back to the line cradling his arm to avoid any movement. Instead of spiking the ball, Brees throws another quick pass down the middle, Colston even runs a route! He gathers himself again, back to the line of scrimmage for the spike. Afterwards trainers meet him on the field to help keep his arms motionless. Talk about courage and guts to get up after a broken collarbone, and then run 2 plays after that! He gets my “Tough Guy” of the week award for that performance.
NFL Players are tough guys with concussions:
I have brought this point up many times in sports conversations, but it needs to be out there for everybody to hear. Although I am not a doctor (I know, hard to believe), I will never understand the differences in concussions among sports. Mainly, football concussions vs. Justin Morneau vs. Sidney Crosby. The 1st baseman for the Twins was kneed in the head while sliding into 2nd base in July of 2010, he was out for nearly a year with recurring concussion symptoms. This past January, Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion after being checked into the boards. He was out the rest of the season and entire postseason, unable to come back even with 3 months of time off. This summer he started skating again only to start having headaches, and by September he still isn’t cleared for contact. What’s the NFL equivalent? The NFL was forced to make a rule that any player who experienced a suspected concussion could not return the same GAME! (No Allen Iverson, we’re not talking about practice, we’re talkin bout the game). The SAME GAME! We’re not talking about months of rehab, or even a week off, NFL players try to return to the same game! There was the time that Brett Favre had a concussion and wanted to go back in for one more play, And ended up throwing a TD on that play! Legend has it he went to the sidelines and told the coaches he didn’t remember what happened, they told him he just threw a touchdown. I also remember watching that game, the way I remember it was that before letting him back in, Mike Sherman asked Favre how many fingers he was holding up, Favre replied “Four” but Sherman only had two up. But once again, that just may be the legend of Brett Favre J.
Some NFL players are pansies:
I was utterly appalled when watching MNF this week to see not one, but TWO Giants players fake injuries after the same play in order to get substitutions in on defense. Sam Bradford was running the Rams offense like a machine using a no huddle and quick snap. Literally every play, the Giants weren’t ready on defense. Players were caught halfway to the sideline trying to substitute, one play even had 3 guys with their back to the ball. The Rams get down to the 7 yard line, after the ball is set, suddenly 2 Giants players fall down and are motionless (that is, until one of them realized their teammate had the same idea and miraculously recovered). I normally don’t call players out, they’re doing their best to play the game, but I’m not afraid to say that you guys are cheaters. Another wise columnist uses these words, but I’m not afraid to steal it here. Oh ye mortals, trifle not with the Football Gods. Watch the Gods smite the Giants and miss the playoffs again, just because these two angered the Gods.
Stat of the Week #1:
People say the preseason doesn’t matter while I contend it does. Detroit has the highest scoring offense in the league with 75 points in 2 games. Detroit also had the highest scoring offense in the preseason.
Stat of the Week #2:
Counting the preseason, Detroit is on an 10 game winning streak! Didn’t they just go 0-16 three years ago?
Stat of the Week #3:
Detroit has the #2 Defense in the league regarding points allowed, who is number 1? Houston!
Stat of the Week #4:
Seattle and Kansas City were 2 playoff teams a year ago. Seattle has scored 17 points in 2 games, while the Chiefs have scored 10. If they COMBINED their scoring, they’d still be 30th in the league for offensive points. Every other team in the league has scored at least 17 points in one game (except the Rams).
Stat of the Week #5:
Carolina is #2 in total offensive yards, #7 in total defensive yards allowed, and is still 0-2.
Stat of the Week #6:
The players in 18th, 19th, and 20th place in the league for scoring is Gronkowski, Gostkowski, and Janikowski.
Stat of the Week #7:
The NFL set records for the most amount of passing yards in a week (Week 1) and the 9th highest scoring week in NFL history in Week 2 (no thanks to the Jaguars, Seahawks, or Chiefs). So much for the lockout causing rust.
Quote of the Week:
While at a Sports bar watching the games, I overheard somebody say “I think Jay Cutler may actually die behind that offensive line.” What was the answer from last week’s Over/Under? Times Cutler was sacked vs. Brees TD’s, 6 sacks vs. 3 TD’s. Cutler has already been sacked 11 times this season. I may agree with you sir. The record for being sacked in one season is held by David Carr (76 times). Cutler is on pace for 88 sacks! This was also against Atlanta and New Orleans, teams not known for their defenses. Obscure Playmakers reference, but I can’t help think about McConnell’s quote that said “for every sack, it erases a month off your life.” I doubt that’s a true statement, but it makes you think.
Houston Running Backs:
It is my contention that the Texans of today are the Broncos of 10 years ago. Remember when Denver could plug in any no-name RB into their system, and hands down they’d gain 1000 yards? (Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Olandis Gary, etc.). How does Arian Foster come in last year and lead the league in rushing, now that he’s hurt the ball goes to Ben Tate. Ben Tate is 10 yards away from leading the league in rushing. Before last year I had never heard of Arian Foster, before this year I had never heard of Ben Tate. Head Coach Gary Kubiak doesn’t get the props he deserves, but he was the Offensive Coordinator for Denver during those years, and head coach for Houston.
Cam Newton sighting:
I am taking this with a grain of salt, but Newton looked very impressive again this week. I actually had the pleasure of watching this game in its entirety. The only caveat, his 3 INT’s and the fact that he apparently can’t win a game in the redzone (he’s botched his last 3 shots at it, Packers, Cardinals, and National Championship game, Auburn had to kick a FG to seal the deal also). Otherwise Newton made crisp throws, and for the most part good decisions. His receivers ran simple routes that somehow had them wide open in GB’s secondary (which I will touch on in a bit). Newton was relied on heavily again, throwing 48 times and rushing 10, he still managed to complete 61% of his passes. Newton has 854 yards passing in his first 2 games, but has also been asked to throw it 83 times. That is a lot for a rookie QB! And yet the Panthers are 0-2. The only reason for that many yards is that fact that the Panthers are scrambling to score at the end of games, being down by only a TD. But let me throw this out there, with as impressive Newton is, he also leads the league in INT’s right now. So before anybody crowns him the next Warren Moon, make sure to take his success with a grain of salt and heed the advice of Michael Vick to “look at the scoreboard.”
Not sold on the Packers secondary:
Green Bay is in dead last in the league when it comes to passing defensive yards allowed. Sure they’ve played against Drew Brees and God’s gift to man Cam, but they’ve let up a whopping 800 yards in 2 games! Analysts proclaim that the Packers have a killer D, and that Charles Woodson and Nick Collins rule the secondary. Well Collins is out for the year now, but they haven’t looked that great with him anyway. If the Packers had let up 808 yards instead of 800, we’re scratching our heads that the Champs are 0-2. They’ve barely won their two games. Cam Newton put on a clinic this last weekend, besides the interceptions, nearly every completion was for 15 yards and the WR had his man beat by 2 steps. Watch for this to be a problem for them in the future.
And Huskers fans screamed “NNOOOOOO!!!”:
For nearly a year and a half, Broncos fans everywhere have been begging for a chance to see Tim Tebow play. So this week John Fox gave them their wish as Tebow came in to play….Wide Receiver?!?! Granted, it was only three plays, and it was only to block for two runs and be a decoy on a pass. But please, and I will admit I am begging you, PLEASE, don’t make this a habit with Tebow. As FMQB mentioned 2 weeks ago, Huskers fans remember their Heisman winning QB Eric Crouch get drafted by the Rams as a WR, only to play for a year and a half into obscurity (once again, I sincerely apologize). What ever happened to Marcus Vick? Signed by the Dolphins as a WR, now isn’t in the league. There are two position switches that have worked in the NFL the last decade, Mike Furrey from Safety to WR (he was top 2 in the league regarding receptions for a couple years), and Devin Hester from Cornerback to Wide Receiver. Otherwise, nada. And no, I don’t mean LB Mike Vrabel catching 10 TD’s, RB LaDainian Tomlinson throwing 7 TD’s, or QB Drew Brees’ 6 Receptions for 38 yards and a TD! Nor do I mean the weekly carousel of Jim Kleinsasser changing from a fullback to a tight end. I mean full on position changes, they just don’t work. Don’t make the same mistake Denver! That goes for you too Oakland, keep Pryor a QB or you just wasted a draft pick.
Which Heisman was better?:
My only thoughts after watching Cam Newton continue to throw the ball to Charles Woodson, was that this Heisman vs. Heisman matchup was awesome. Which Heisman would win? Was this the first time that one Heisman winner was throwing to another (even if on accident)? Only two WR’s have won the Heisman, it legitimately could be the first time! Cam Newton was impressive, somehow putting up even more yards than his Week 1 breakout. But so was Charles Woodson. The beginning of the game, I watched him get burned for 3 straight plays. Woodson looked frustrated trying to chase down Steve Smith, and it looked like Woodson had lost a step. But oh how fast those thoughts faded after watching him pick off 2 passes, and recover a fumble. Surprised at how a 13 year difference in age (Woodson won his Heisman in 1997, Newton in 2010) could still produce that battle!
Week 3 Games to Watch:
Redskins at Cowboys
Packers at Bears
Patriots at Bills
Houston at New Orleans
A Plea for Flex Scheduling:
Indianapolis is scheduled for 5 primetime games this year. The Lions have 1, and the Bills have zero. With Manning out and other teams having surprising seasons, there needs to be more flex scheduling besides just the last 7 weeks of Sunday Night Football. I’m just saying that Pittsburgh vs Indy next week is going to be over after the 1st quarter, and New England vs Indy in Week 13 won’t be pretty either.
I’m jumping on the Wagon the Bills are Circling:
When it comes to the NFL, I definitely have a sense of schadenfreude in regards to some teams. To me it’s amusing to see Bill Belichick clam up and give 2 word responses under his breath to reporters after suffering a playoff loss. It was funny to see the Lions go 0-16, even though afterwards I felt bad. Seeing the Seahawks blame the refs for losing Super Bowl XL was amusing. But I can’t help but feel bad for Bills fans. They have the only distinction of the only team to make it to 4 Super Bowls in a row. That’s is very impressive, and yet the only thing they’ll be remembered for is the fact they lost them all! I remember laughing when I was 5 years old when my dad told me that B-I-L-L-S stood for “Boy I Love Losing Superbowls.” I can’t help but root for the Bills this year. Now I heard one analyst say that Ryan Fitzpatrick would be rewarded with a monster contract, let’s not get too carried away people, it’s only week 2. I saw Fitzpatrick in person in 2005. He was supposed to be the savior for the Rams when Marc Bulger got injured, yet we were still in playoff contention. Fitzy had 1 good game against the Texans, and then went on to lose the rest of the season. He reportedly has the unique distinction of scoring the highest EVER on the Wonderlic test though (the NFL’s version of an IQ test), and he is also the only player from Harvard in the league right now. Maybe he can use those smarts to negotiate a new deal. Otherwise let’s not crown him until he takes the Bills to the playoffs for the first time since the Clinton administration.
Sour Note of the Week #1:
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles tore his ACL and is out for the season after being tackled into the Lions mascot. This brings up shades of memories of when the Titans mascot ran over Adrian McPherson’s foot on a golf cart and ended his NFL career. There are 3 things in life that are inherently funny regardless of the situation: Monkeys, Mascots, and Vomit. I had trouble writing this post without snickering. On a related note, I may prove that you can literally die laughing if I ever experience the trifecta of watching the Phoenix Suns Gorilla throw up.
Sour Note of the Week #2:
I am recanting my theory that the Instant Replay of all TD’s was a good idea. The reason? It isn’t working. While watching the Saints game, Darren Sproles clearly stepped out of bounds at the 2 yd line. It was not challenged because apparently the buzzer to the refs weren’t working. Bears D vs. Saints who couldn’t get into the endzone in Week 1 could have very well changed the outcome of this game. The Bills game was flat out ridiculous. Mike Carey came onto the field 10 MINUTES after the game was over to announce that the call stood. Had they reversed the call there, the NFL would have looked like a pretty bad goat.
Ouch Factor of the Week:
The NFL is known for providing a few gruesome injuries that are not for the faint of heart. There was Theismann’s career ending knee injury with LT immediately motioning towards the sidelines for trainers. Don Beebe for the Bills literally bouncing off his head. Anquan Boldin getting into a helmet sandwich with two Jets a few years ago, which fractured his sinus cavity and almost made a bewildered Kurt Warner to retire after seeing him laying motionless with his T-Rex arms. Obscure sure, but there was Steve Beuerline’s injury with the Broncos (the Moss behind the head lateral for a score at the end of the half game) where he was awkwardly tackled on his hand and came up with his pinky pointed at a 90 degree angle. But Sunday night made me cringe the most. Matt Ryan got rid of the ball but was taken down in traffic. Replay’s show him doing what I can only describe as a combination between a 1st base stretch, a goalie butterfly save, and a cheerleader doing the splits. My first instinct was to laugh when I saw his beat red face, teeth clenched, and grabbing his groin. But after viewing the replays of being tackled into the splits, I have to say that’s right up there with the worst of the worst!
If the NFL was like the WWE:
If I could choose the outcomes of games like professional wrestling does, I would totally influence the season so we saw a Bills vs. Lions Super Bowl. The story behind that would be awesome!
Next week, I will discuss why the most scrutinized #1 overall draft pick has turned out to be a fantastic decision.