FMQB Has some Big News! In case nobody has noticed yet, I’ll see if you can figure it out and let you know later in the blog. It was kind of a weird week of games last Sunday with unheard of rules and lackluster games. The lineup didn’t look great, but there always seems to be some good games that surprise people. But not this week. Only 2 (maybe 3) games ended up being truly worth watching. Ironically each game involved 4th quarter comebacks by more than 10 (of which only 1 team completed the comeback).
Don’t Call it a Comeback:
The first comeback of the day was the Steelers vs. Vikings game. The Vikings dominated all day, and for an 0-4 team, was looking pretty sharp. But the Steelers held the Vikings scoreless for the last 20 minutes of the game while their offense scored 10. Making it to a 1st and Goal situation, the Vikings defense held, forced a fumble and won.
The Second comeback could also be considered a major meltdown. The Texans were beating the undefeated Seahawks 20-3 at halftime, and would go on to not score in the 2nd half and lose the game. The Texans were up 20-6 with 7 minutes remaining before the Seahawks finally scored their first TD. Then with 2:40 left in the game, Schaub was heaving up a prayer that got picked off by Richard Sherman (now to be referred to as “Shoeless Sherman” since he outran the Texans with only one shoe). First off, why are the Texans throwing in that situation? Even if the Seahawks have timeouts, your D has stopped them all day! Instead the game was quickly tied up and Houston would go on to lose in OT.
The Third comeback happened in the Sunday Night game, where it was 30-13 with 6 minutes left. Normally the game is over, but I stayed up to watch the end just to get some extra football in for the week. Boy was I glad I did! Atlanta scored 10 quick points, got an onside kick, and held the Patriots to give the Falcons one last shot. They made it within 10 yards AGAIN, but lost 30-23 in another thriller.
For the Record
For the Record, I like the new “For the Record” segment of FMQB for some reason. Maybe because it’s a Passive Aggressive way to explain my point. Anywho, FOR THE RECORD, the Vikings have scored 24, 27, 27, and 34 points, and only won 1 of those games. People who say it’s Ponder’s fault may need to take a look at the Defense first. The Defense let in 2 game sealing 4th Quarter last minute TD’s, and were about to do the same against Pittsburgh before they stepped up.
Worried about the Pack
This is one team that is a surprise to me this year, as they have started 1-2 for a second straight year. They have a tough schedule ahead as well, as I count 6 or 7 losses that could easily happen. Could the Pack end up below .500? We’ll find out.
FMQB’s Big News:
For those of you who were so entranced by my writing so far, we don’t blame you. So to get everybody on the same page, I will announce the big news. This is Friday Morning Quarterback’s first post on an official website! There will be a lot of changes (and trust me, everything is still under construction), but I plan on having this be more than just a blog, more than a once a week ordeal. So pass along the news to any football friends! There’s a new Facebook page, so please “Like” FMQB there. Also sign up to get email alerts to posts, anything you want to become a part of FMQB’s inner circle. Even more exciting, there is a new logo coming soon! So I may have to ditch the one I created in Microsoft Paint 3 years ago…Welcome to the new site!
Stat of the Week:
Houston had 4 scoring drives in the game, all of which happened in the 2nd quarter
Stat of the Week #2:
Same as last week, but Peyton Manning is projected to throw 64 TD’s this year
Stat of the Week #3:
The past 2 Super Bowl MVP’s have thrown the Most and Third-Most Interceptions this year.
Stat of the Week #4:
Only 1 QB who has started all 4 games has 0 interceptions.
Stat of the Week #5:
Alex Smith has a higher passer rating than Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Eli Manning; who have all combined for 8 Super Bowl victories. In fact, the QB’s above him have only won 3 Super Bowls.
Stat of the Week #6:
The only QB with a perfect passer rating is Tavaris Jackson…Yes, that Tavaris Jackson. He plays for the Seahawks, is 7 for 8 with a TD pass. I didn’t even realize he had playing time.
Stolen Stat of the Week #7:
On Manning’s final 4 TD drives of the day, Denver never ran a 3rd down play.
Stat of the Week #8:
To show the disparity of QB’s in the league, Peyton Manning has 16 TD’s, 0 INT’s, while Blaine Gabbert has 0 TD’s and 5 INTS.
Stolen Stat of the Week #9:
The Chiefs have let up 41 points in 4 games, the Eagles let up 42 points in 3 quarters this past Sunday
The dreadful looking AFC East (Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Patriots) has surprised this year, with no team being below .500. The stronger looking NFC East (Redskins, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles) has no team above .500.
Like a Shooting Star:
I feel really bad for Matt Flynn. Granted I wasn’t around for the Todd Marinovich era, but I have never seen a QB’s potential start at nothing, explode, and then fizzle out quicker than Matt Flynn (ok I exaggerate, Jamarcus Russell). Keep in mind that a year and a half ago, he was a career backup. Then he had 1 good game, ok, one outstanding game! I still remember the duel between him and Matthew Stafford. Matt Flynn broke Packer records that day, with 6 TD’s and I don’t even know how many yards. He was the Free Agent to sign that offseason, and Seattle got him and paid big for him. He lost his starting spot to Russell Wilson, never seeing the field last year. When the Raiders picked him up this year, it looked very promising. But once again he lost his starting job to Terrell Pryor. With Pryor hurt, Flynn got his first chance to start since 3 teams ago. Well to say his performance was lackluster would be a complement to his performance. Not only is Pryor back from his injury, but the Raiders dropped him from 2nd string to 3rd string. Maybe Flynn should have wished upon the shooting star that he was; coming from nothing, a big flash, and then gone.
What Happened to the Falcons this year?
The Falcons are 1-3 this year, and you could argue they have to go 9-3 just to make the playoffs from here on out. The Falcons’ main problem is the lack of ability to finish. Since being the #1 seed last year, they have gone 1-4 with 3 of those losses coming with 1st and Goal appearances, with the inability to get it in the endzone under that pressure. If I was Mike Smith, I would do nothing but practice my redzone offense, otherwise it will be an early exit this year.
Rule that Baffled FMQB:
While watching the Seattle game, Houston boomed a punt 2 yards into the Seahawks endzone. Golden Tate caught the ball, but for some reason took it out of the endzone and sprinted up the field. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever seen this, and thought the refs blew a ruling so much that I had to look up the actual rule. I swear back in the day, if you caught a punt, but your heel hit the goal line, it was an immediate touchback. Also, if the ball rolls into the endzone, it’s an immediate touchback (i.e. when the kicking team is trying to down it). Maybe the reason I didn’t know about it is that every returner is told to let it go if it’s past the 5 yard line. But interesting rule nevertheless.
2nd Rule that Baffled FMQB:
I also saw a rule that even the announcers and players had never seen before. Naturally, I was watching the Rams vs. 49ers game last Thursday night, when I saw another odd punt rule. The Rams were pinned deep and went 3 and out. They were forced to punt the ball with only about 8 seconds left before halftime. The returner fair caught the ball at the 49ers 39 yard line. In trots the FIELD GOAL TEAM! What?!?! In normal field goal rules, this would actually be an 78 yard try (beating the record by 15 yards). Apparently deep in the confines of the old school rule-book lays a rule saying if you Fair Catch a punt, you have the option of a Free Kick at that point. Of course NFL punts are long enough that we never see this option, but the coach who knew this rule is a genius. Unlike a Field Goal, the kicker got a running start at the ball, and the Rams had to line up 10 yards away from ball (it looked exactly like a kickoff). Officially, it was a 71 yard attempt. The kicker came up short and the Rams had a chance to return it. But there are plenty of kickers who would be able to make this kick. Very interesting twist to the game.
Replay going out
I was also surprised at a ruling in the Patriots Falcons game. Up 30-13, Belichick challenged a play where it looked like the receiver didn’t have control going out of bounds. The refs were under the hood for several minutes before coming back and saying that Replay wasn’t working, the call would stand, and no timeout would be charged. Belichick was visibly upset (which was odd at the time since they were up by 17 with less than 5 minutes left). But nobody thought he was stupid after the Falcons almost won it in the end. But anyway, I’m surprised at this rule. Many times challenges are game deciding plays, and that’s seriously the answer if Replay doesn’t work?!?! This could decide games! I still don’t get why there isn’t a room full of NFL officials who view the 20 angles the TV audience sees, and just makes the ruling remotely. I feel like this should change.
Thank You Cleveland!
Where did the Browns come from this year?!?! Granted, they’re only 5 games into the season, but they are 3-2 and winning the division. They seemed to be selling the season off after starting 0-2, but they have won 3 straight since the Richardson trade, and seem to have found a good QB in Brian Hoyer. Hoyer beat the Bengals which was an impressive win. Even when he went out, Weeden came in and seemed to be back on track. Cleveland could be a sleeper team this year.
Remember the Titans:
Another team I feel bad about is Tennessee. They started the season so strong at 3-1, but Jake Locker went down with the rare “overnight hospital stay because of hip” injury. Fitzpatrick is a very capable QB, in fact probably one of the stronger backups in the league. Locker’s been playing good this year, not that he’s that strong or established, but it will be hard to get over that loss for 4-6 weeks.
Best Name Change Ever:
San Francisco’s Donte Whitner was fined a whopping $21,000 for a hit last week on a Rams receiver. Instead of complaining to the media about it, he realized if you can’t fight ‘em, join ‘em! He has officially sent in paperwork to drop the “W” on his name, changing it from “Whitner” to “Hitner.” This is awesome and idiotic at the same time! We all know it will be changed back to Whitner within a year (prediction time), just like Chad Ochocinco lasted just a few years, but I can’t wait to see it on his jersey this year. While the government is shutdown, I hope everybody realizes that their tax money is being used to pay for the legal filing of his name. On a side note, Hitner sounds awful close to a famous leader that he probably doesn’t want to be associated with.
Q: Who will pick up Josh Freeman after he was released?
A: This is a very good question, and I see a few teams willing to pick him up, but mostly due to injury and not Freeman’s talent. My top teams are the Bills (Kolb is done), Jets (Sanchez is done but won’t admit it), or the Titans. The Titans are a bit of a stretch, as Fitzpatrick is very capable of leading the team in Locker’s absence, but unsure of who is behind Fitz. The Packers were also famously on the market for a backup QB this offseason, but I see them as even more of a stretch. Either way, Freeman would come in as a backup, if not 3rd string QB. I would have like to throw the Jaguars in there, but for some reason their GM is refusing to admit that Gabbert is the problem.