A Tale of Two Primetimes:
The first primetime game was easily one of the better ones of the season between Denver and Indianapolis. Not only was Peyton Manning returning to Indy for the first time, but it was 2 strong teams and 1 undefeated record. First off, loved seeing the tribute to Manning before the game. It looked like Peyton truly stopped to enjoy the moment, the fans were great to him, and it almost made you want to cry. And then the most hyped regular season game that you can remember started. Overall great game. Surprised that Indy was able to play very strong defense against Manning for the 2 middle quarters, which led them to a 19 point lead going into the 4th. Even with Manning struggling, you felt that the crowd was nervous, because only Manning could pull off this comeback. And he almost did! Denver pulled within 6 points with 7 minutes left. Even with an interception, and then a long drive with no points because of a fumble, Denver still had a chance. If that’s what it seriously takes to beat Denver, then the rest of the league is in trouble.
The second primetime game had to average out the excitement created from the night before, because this was by far the worst game I have ever seen (except maybe that hurricane game in Miami where I think the Steelers won 3-0?). The Giants looked completely inept, dropping 3 sure TD’s in the endzone. The revived Peyton Hillis was by far the best player on the field, and that’s truly saying something since he averaged 2.0 yards per carry! I’ll discuss Freeman soon, but that was the worst performance I’ve ever seen from a QB, hands down. The Vikings failed to score on offense, in fact only getting past the 50 yard line twice. All the Giants had to do was put 10 guys in the box to stop Peterson, because there was no way that Freeman was going to beat them with his arm.
For the Record:
I picked the Chiefs to make it to the playoffs this year, and as the surprise of the year. But I am still utterly shocked that we are saying “The Chiefs are the last unbeaten team in the league!”
I touched on it earlier, and if I were to label his performance with one word, “atrocious” doesn’t even explain how bad this night was. Freeman had 16 overthrows…SIXTEEN!!! If he were to overthrow a pass every single throw, it would take him 5 possessions to make it to the amount of time he overthrew receivers. That’s a third of a game! Freeman also had the lowest completion percentage for a QB who threw for 50+ passes in over 7 years. As someone who now semi-roots for the Vikings, that was an embarrassment on national TV, which leads me to my next point…
Finagling the Injury Report
Have you ever seen a team who’s QB gets injured at just the right time as much as it has happened to the Vikings this year? After Week 3, Ponder was 0-3 with only 2 TD’s versus 7 turnovers. But he finished the game to all of a sudden have a “rib injury” in the middle of the week, elevating Cassel to start (leading to their only win). This week, Freeman played one of the all time stinkers on National TV, and the Vikings were the laughing stock of ESPN after the game. Frasier announced on Tuesday that Freeman would start on Sunday (another Nationally televised primetime game). But all of a sudden, one day later, he has concussion symptoms. How the heck does that happen?!?! First of all, that should have been discussed DURING the game, if not on Tuesday. But I smell a conspiracy. At least Ponder gets one more chance to fight for his job! On a side note, remember back in the day when Tom Brady was Questionable for every game? Their ploy was so that other teams weren’t sure who to scheme against. It’s almost like this is the Vikings strategy, except even the Vikings don’t know who’s playing!
Week of Injuries
It seems there are a lot of weeks that teams escape without major injuries (or at least not to star players), well this definitely wasn’t one of those weeks. The Rams’ season is essentially over after Sam Bradford tore his ACL after having a surprisingly successful start. Colts WR Reggie Wayne did the same, and is out for the year. Disappointing because he could really help his team in the playoffs, and he doesn’t have too many shots left in him. Foles got hurt essentially ending his hostile takeover of the Eagles QB job, Brian Cushing broke his leg and tore his knee up, and Bears QB Jay Cutler is out for several weeks as well. A lot of big names out that could define the season for their teams.
Week of Sweet Plays!
There were a trio of awesome plays from this weekend that are worth mentioning. First, Calvin Johnson had a crazy catch. Not that it was that great, but there were 3 defenders covering him deep, THREE! And Stafford threw it up anyway. Johnson was able to outjump all 3 and come down with the ball. Crazy idea to throw to him but it worked!
Next, on Sunday night, the first Colts TD. They were on the 11 yard line, and WR Heyward Bey starts running in motion. Luck snaps the ball and Heyward Bey starts running like it’s going to be a reverse. Instead he stops, cuts, and runs back to the same side he came from. The defense switched on the motion, but failed to switch back, leaving Heyward Bey wide open for the score. I had never seen this play run before, very cool!
The 3rd play was a defensive gem on Monday night. Eli Manning steps back, and a near perfect pocket forms around him, albeit his left guard is a bit close to him, but still holding Jared Allen off. All of a sudden, Eli pulls the ball down, starts looking towards the sideline, and doesn’t know what to do until he falls down. WHAT?!?! We take a look at the replay, and Jared Allen reaches around the guard, grabs a fistful of Eli’s jersey, and starts falling to the ground pulling Eli with him! It was kind of a weak sack for Manning to take, but totally epic from Allen’s standpoint.
Favre, Tebow, I want Anybody!
As most readers know, FMQB is a diehard Rams fan, and have stuck with them through a lot of rough seasons. This year seemed like we were improving again, with a chance to hit .500. But Sunday was devastating when Sam Bradford tore his ACL and is out for the season. Our backup is Kellen Clemens, who should be working for Waste Management because he’s garbage. Absolutely horrible! He played games for us 2 years ago when Bradford was out 6 games, and it was just bad. Clemens has 7 TD’s versus 21 turnovers. At this point, our season is definitely over, but it would be fun to at least stay competitive. On Monday, the Rams were rumored to be going after Tim Tebow (I know I jumped off the bandwagon, but this excited me). They then worked out Matt Leinart, David Carr, Brady Quinn, and John Skelton. Luckily, the Rams signed who I wanted out of the 4 in Quinn. Crazy news that they contacted Brett Favre to see if the 44 year old wanted to return. I think I would have been all for that too, but believe it or not, the 1 thing I wanted the most was to trade a late pick to the Vikes for Christian Ponder…yes, I’m still on that kick. By the way, be ready for another Monday Night bad QB-fest.
Stat of the Week:
Other than the Colts, the entire AFC South has lost 3 games or more in a row
Stat of the Week #2:
The Broncos scored their least amount of points on Sunday, with 33…
Stat of the Week #3:
Points-wise, the Bears are 2nd in offense, and 30th in defense
Stat of the Week #4:
In the same amount of games, the Broncos have scored almost 4 times as many points as the Jaguars
Stat of the Week #5:
The Eagles are 0-3 at home, but 3-1 on the road
Stat of the Week #6:
The top 2 defenses in the league are Kansas City and Carolina, go figure
Stat of the Week #7:
Miami started off the season 3-0, and have since gone 0-3
How is it a Controversial Call if the Rule is Correct?
Unique situation at the end of the Jets vs. Patriots game. Tie game in overtime, and the Jets come in to kick a very long field goal. It was short, but there was a penalty called on the Patriots. A player clearly pushes his teammate to try to get though and block the kick. Jets get another shot at it 15 yards closer which ends up winning the game, causing quite an aftermath. First off, Bill Belichick immediately proclaims that the rule is wrong, and it was called wrong on the field (in typical pouting fashion I’m sure). I swear this has been a rule in college for centuries, I remember a similar call WAY back in the day between 2 North Dakota teams (obscure, I know), but it was the same ruling. Second of all, this is the correct rule, although the NFL officially added it in the offseason. For once, Belichick got out-coached. Apparently him and his coaches were telling players to do this move on kicks…Genius alert: Supposedly the Jets were aware that Patriots players should be calling a penalty, so they tipped off the refs during the game to watch for the penalty. That won them the game, very nice!
Monkey Off your Back:
Well, not quite in Steve Young fashion, but Andrew Luck truly proved himself Sunday night. He said all the right things before the game, but it’s got to be tough to see the quarterback that your city worshiped for 15 years come back to town; especially bringing in an undefeated team. Luck did a great job on and off the field with this situation, and earned that win.
Fan Sign Quote of the Week:
“When you’re done with Luck, we’ll take him too” Denver fan in Indy
Quote of the Week #2:
If I see him in the street, I’m gonna bust him in the f-ing mouth” Steve Smith
Quote of the Week #3:
This has been a terrible quarter, both teams are just BAD! MNF announcer Mike Tirico
Quote of the Week #4:
“You just spent three hours of your life doing that and now you can’t get it back. We’re all in this together. Let’s do this. Vikings Giants highlights…” SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt
Quote of the Week #5:
“I see Josh Freeman attended the Christian Ponder Overthrow Academy” FMQB in the 1st Quarter
FMQB Reader Help:
FMQB is making his first trip to Vegas this weekend! Planning on putting a couple of bets down for the Super Bowl, but will take reader suggestions on who to go for. Looking for more of a dark horse, rather than the obvious Broncos bet. Comment on the blog, Facebook or Twitter, with your reasoning, and you’ll get something special at the end of the season if you’re right!