Valiant Attempt Sir Thad:
The Bills have had a rough season so far with injuries, especially at the quarterback position. With EJ Manuel’s injury, and Kolb out for the season with a concussion, the Bills had to sign Thad Lewis from their practice squad. This is usually a recipe for disaster, especially against a playoff team, but Lewis rose to the occasion, throwing two 4th quarter touchdowns to take the game into overtime. The Bills may have lost, but Lewis had a surprisingly good game, completing 60% of his throws and zero INTs.
The Patriots didn’t win, the Saints lost it:
Game of the day was definitely the squeeker between the Patriots and undefeated Saints. The Pats were up by 6 late in the 4th quarter, until Brees threw a bomb to whoever Kenny Stills is for a TD. I’m still baffled with what happened next, and let me paint the picture why. The Patriots would get the ball back with 3:29 in the game, down by 1 with 2 timeouts. Should be plenty of time for a game winning drive. But the Pats got more than 1 chance, they even got more than 2 chances, somehow with 3:29 left in the game, the Saints had the ball twice and the Patriots 3 times! It is inexplicable that the Saints can’t run that time off the clock with 5 possessions! Back to 3:29, the Patriots went 4 and out. Saints run twice, throw (incomplete, stops the clock) and kick a field goal to go up by 4. The Patriots then throw an INT right away (all Saints coaches start celebrating, keep this in mind). Saints then go 3 and out, but at least they’re running it! Pats get the ball with 1:13 with no timeouts and 70 yards to go. This also shouldn’t be possible, yet Brady drives the field with a shot at the endzone. With 5 seconds left, somehow Kenbrell Thompkins gets behind the defender in the endzone (the only place he can go) for the touch down. For a different angle of it, click here. Keep in mind, if Saints had run it on that play 2 series ago instead of pass, the Pats wouldn’t have that 5 seconds. The reason for the huge Saints turnaround is coaching, but coaching lost them this game and their chance to stay undefeated.
Why it Pays to be Great:
On Sunday, Andy Dalton had a pretty sweet TD pass. Normally shovel passes are a 2 or 3 yard ordeal, but Dalton was under pressure and shoveled it to Giovani Bernard who was 10 yards up the field. This super long shovel pass ended up going in for a TD. On the flipside, Browns Brandon Weeden got wrapped up, and threw a left handed shovel pass as far as he could (which ended up being about 5 yards) right into the hands of a defender. This basically demolished the Browns’ comeback hopes, and was one of those plays where you want to take a sack.
Texans Fall from Greatness:
The Texans started off 2-0, and have since lost 4 in a row. Matt Schaub got hurt on one of the final drives of the game, and TJ Yates threw a Pick 6 (the 5th game in a row the Texans have done that). The Texans are dang lucky the Jaguars in their division, otherwise they’d be in last place. Haven’t heard anything about Schaub’s status, but this could be a convenient exit for him. Or at least an excuse why the team will be in rough shape the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Case Keenum (3rd String) has been named the starter for Sunday against Kansas City, good luck…
No Such thing as a Moral Victory…Except this week:
I think Jacksonville should truly be proud of their effort on Sunday against the best team in the league. They scored only 51 points their first 5 games, but scored almost half of that in this one game. They were also the laughing stock of the league, with people still betting on the Broncos to cover the 28 point spread. Instead they only lost by 2 TD’s. This was the Jaguars’ Super Bowl this year, and they showed up.
Stolen Stat of the Week:
The Chiefs have more sacks through week 6, than they did all last year
Stolen Stat #2:
At one point, Oakland faced a 4th and 48. It was 1st down at the 50 yard line. The plays went as followed: Holding (-10 yards), Sack (-12 yards), Delay of Game (-5 yards), Sack (-11 yards). The 46 yard Punt (which is pretty decent) didn’t even make it to the Raiders’ first down sticks.
Stat of the Week #3:
Calvin Johnson set the all-time record for receiving yards in a season last year. This year he is 42nd in the league for yards.
Stat of the Week #4:
The entire AFC South is on a losing streak of 1 or more
Stat of the Week #5:
The NFC East could be won by a 3-3 team, in the NFC West 3-3 is in last place
Stat of the Week #6:
In terms of points allowed, the Broncos are in 26th in the league, yet still 6-0. Carolina is in 2nd place in this category, but is only 2-3.
Stat of the Week #7:
Peyton Manning is in 1st place for TD passes this year (obviously), and has 8 more than the QB in 2nd place.
Some FMQB Strategy:
It’s easy to say you’ll do something different in hindsight, but there were a couple coaching decisions this past week that I voiced my disagreement as they were happening. Let me paint the scenario of two 4th down tries, and make your own decisions.
1st Scenario: This comes from the Patriots Saints game (which I briefly discussed earlier). There’s 2:46 left in the game, Patriots have the ball on their own 24 yard line, losing by 1, with 2 timeouts (and the 2 minute warning). The Patriots throw a 4 yard gain on 1st down, and then 2 incomplete passes to make it 4th and 6. Belichick decided to go for it in this situation, and big surprise, it was an incomplete pass, turnover on downs. There are 3 reasons why I didn’t like this call. First, he has plenty of clock to work with. If they punt and then stop the Saints on defense, they get the ball back with roughly 1:50 and no timeouts (only down a FG). Second, is the current score and field position. If you don’t get it, the Saints are in easy FG range (which is what happened), changing the comeback to needing a FG to needing a TD. That’s an extra 30 tough yards the Pats would need. Third, the Patriots just went 3 and out, they didn’t even have a drive starting. If they had made a few first downs and then had this situation, it would be different, but they immediately stalled. If it takes you 3 plays to gain 4 yards, why do you think you can get 6 yards in 1 final play? The Patriots are dang lucky they got the win, but punt here, and they only needed a FG on that final drive, not a TD.
2nd Scenario: This comes from Monday night’s Colts Chargers contest. There’s 3:17 left in the game, Colts down by 7. It’s 4th and 2 at their own 17 yard line, and the Colts have all 3 timeouts left. Pagano decides to punt the ball, and the Colts would get the ball back with hardly any time and now down by 10. Although the Colts were probably worse off in this situation (field position, score, etc), I flipped my reasoning for this call, but it was a totally different situation in this case. First of all, the Chargers had already had the ball for almost 40 minutes of the game, showing that the Colts D wasn’t going to stop the Chargers. Second, you only have 2 yards to go. It’s definitely a manageable down. If they punt from there, the Chargers don’t have that far to go to get into FG range (which they did), and if you don’t get it they’re in FG range anyway. So why not go for it here?
One coach proved me wrong (but it was lucky), and the other one we’ll never know.
For the Record:
For the record, the Jaguars held the Broncos to their lowest offensive output of the season
Thursday Time Travel:
Last Thursday, FMQB literally had to blink, and make sure we were in 2013 when watching the Giants game. About the only plus side to the Toaster Strudels that night was the return of Brandon Jacobs. He’s basically been out of the league for almost 2 years, but the 31 year old had 106 yards and 2 TD’s. None of these were long runs either, each time it took 2 or 3 defenders to bring him down. He looked like the RB who stole Tiki Barber’s job back in the day.
Vikings New Era
As FMQB reported earlier, Josh Freeman is officially the starter for Monday night’s contest. The buzz in Minnesota claims that no matter what, Freeman starts the rest of the season. I’m still going to stick to my guns that Ponder is a better QB and knows the offense better than Freeman. I feel like it’s a mistake, and my prediction is that the Giants will not be winless after Monday. The one thing I do agree with is the fact that since the Vikings paid him (and they have zero shot at the playoffs), they almost have to play him the rest of the year and then re-evaluate. I just think Ponder is worth 1 more win than Freeman is right now.
Go Home Peyton:
Easily the storyline of the week is Peyton Manning making his first trip back to Indianapolis with a new team. It’s his chance to show the team that straight up released him that it was a big mistake! In all actuality, it’s pretty tough to pass up Andrew Luck with a 35 year old QB, but at least Manning can have some fun with it. And I hope he does, with a huge offensive output. Props to Colts owner Jim Irsay doing a big tribute to Manning before the game, but I don’t like his tweets and information leaking before this matchup. It will take more than Luck for the Colts to win this game (ha, see what I did there?) Look for the Broncos to remain undefeated.
Bob Costas Rant:
I’ve been trying to keep the rants to a minimum, but need to get this one out. I’m sick of Bob Costas using his position in sports as a platform for his political ideals. Last year, he wasted 5 minutes of a halftime show to talk about his position on gun control. Last week, he did the same thing, using his time to talk about the controversial “Redskins” name. First off, I promise all FMQB readers that I will not use my blog for my political beliefs, because this is my true belief. You may have an opinion about something, but don’t force that opinion on me. I turned on the football game for a reason, to WATCH FOOTBALL! If I had wanted to listen to people debate the issues, I would have turned it away from NBC to Fox News or CNN. But I didn’t do that, did I! Yet Costas feels like it’s his prerogative to tell football fans what needs to be done in politics. If Costas has a problem with it, he should tell Congress, not football fans. My problem with the whole thing isn’t with the issues at all (it’s totally fine if those are issues), it’s the way Costas goes about addressing them.
Quote of the Week:
“The Rams have a legitimate shot at winning this week” FMQB (when it was 0-0 in the 1st quarter)
Highly Offensive Quote of the Week (from work):
“If anybody else is on baby watch, AP now has 7 kids!” Nate
“Well, technically it’s only 6” Beau
Quote of the Week #3:
I never viewed it as replacing Peyton. I just viewed it as an opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL. “It just so happens one of the greatest of all time was here before me.” Andrew Luck
Reader Question (Expanded)
FFMQB asks “What team is the biggest surprise this year?”
A) The easy answer for this is the Chiefs, so I won’t take that route. My biggest surprise other than KC is Detroit. They were in last place in the division last year, but are leading the division this year (including a head to head win over Chicago). The Lions have rode Reggie Bush’s explosiveness to these wins, showing they have other options to go to than just Calvin Johnson. They also have a ridiculously easy schedule the rest of the way, and have 6 home games left.
A2) The biggest disappointment this year is easily the Falcons. They were 1 win away from the Super Bowl last year, but have gone 1-5 since. Three of those losses came down to the final play at the goal line, so it could be a much different story. Instead, Julio Jones is out for the year, and Steven Jackson has also missed significant time.
Games of the Week:
Denver at Indianapolis (First trip back to Indianapolis for Manning): Broncos 38, Colts 27
Dallas at Philadelphia (Good rivalry, could have playoff implications as the winner takes the lead in the division): Cowboys 31, Eagles 27
Cincinnati at Detroit (Two 4-2 teams go at it. Plus for some reason the Bengals have been in a ton of close games this year): Cincinnati 20, Lions 24
Literally no reason to start Ponder. We know his ceiling, it’s a 5-11 type season with him. With Freeman, he will take his chances. If he is a bust, we go 3-13 and have a great 1st round pick to spend on one of these “can’t miss QBs”. If he somehow pans out, we go 6-10/7-9, still miss the playoffs, but now have a QB of the future (read: Still below average QB who put up subpar numbers at Kansas St and only had 1 good year in the NFL yet got paid like he’s an all-star).