Week 2 column

Definitely a lot of improved play this Sunday after the sloppiness in week 1. What caught my eye the most is what’s going on in the AFC North. The Steelers sit at the top of the division at 2-0 after beating the Titans 19-11. They did this despite gaining only 127 yards and not scoring an offensive touchdown. Pittsburgh’s defense was absolutely dominant against Tennessee as they forced 7 turnovers and held Chris Johnson to only 34 yards on the ground. Like I said in my preview, when that defense is healthy they are the best in the league. They used a lot of different blitz packages and disguised coverages to shut down the Titans. They constantly put Troy Polamalu in the box and he was able to sniff out CJ2K and stop him in his tracks. There was another package where they faked liked they were going to blitz but Lamar Woodley dropped into coverage at the last second and got an easy pick from Vince Young.

The real star on Pittsburgh’s defense yesterday was James Harrison. It looks like he’s back to his DPOTY form now. He had two sacks, force two fumbles and recorded 11 tackles. Everyone who has written the Steelers off this season because of their QB issue better think again because this defense is playing on an amazing level.

They do need to fix their offensive issues, though. Getting only 43 passing yards is alarmingly low and they’re down to their 3rd string QB now. It might change once Ben Roethlisberger comes back. They will just need to rely on Mendenhall for now and hope that Charlie Batch can make the plays when he needs to. OC Bruce Arians is more concerned with protecting his QB under a porous o-line than making plays though. Whatever wins games, I guess.

The Bengals beat the Ravens for the 3rd time in a row and made Joe Flacco look like a rookie. Does everything Jim Zorn touches turn to shit or is Flacco really not that good? He used to have a lot of poise and confidence and these last two games he’s been terrible. The interceptions yesterday were especially bad. My favorite was when he threw it into double coverage and it was picked by Pacman Jones. Actually, all four of his picks were with no one in the area. He’s got to be smarter than that. I have to give credit where it’s due though and say that the Bengals defense did an excellent job of blitzing him and not giving the Ravens receivers any room to work with. I can not understand why this team always plays great against AFC North foes but sucks against everyone else. Fun fact; the Ravens D hasn’t given up an offensive TD and probably should be 0-2.

The Dolphins D has been impressive this year, too. That new corps of linebackers they have is phenomenal and their secondary seems to be in better shape than I thought. 3 picks off Favre and one strip sack in the end zone. I still like them to win the AFC East. Their offense has been a disappointment though.

Speaking of disappointments, I was really hoping the Pats would beat the Jets and end their Super Bowl hype. Looks like Rex Ryan’s defense can still get the job done even if Revis is going to be out. At least Schottenheimer finally let Sanchez actually throw the ball down field this time. See, he can be a good QB!

Best Team Performance: Atlanta Falcons

Absolutely steamrolled the Cardinals 41-7 and did it without their star running back. Jason Snelling did a fantastic job filling in for him and picked up 129 yards and 2 TD. Matt Ryan also had a good day as he was 21-32 for 225 yards and 3 TDs.

Worst Team Performance: Tennessee Titans

They made it a close game…but turning the ball over 7 times is just inexcusable.

Offensive Players of the Week

There were a lot of great performances this week so it’s hard to pick just one. I’ll rank the top 5

1. Matt Schaub: 38-52 497 yds, 3TD, INT

So…I take it the Texans are back to their past-first ways? Yeah. Schaub put on a show in the Texans comeback against the Redskins. Here’s hoping he has a performance like that again this season, maybe in the playoffs.

2. Jay Cutler 21-29, 277 yds, 3 TD

What can I say? He was very impressive against the Cowboys, as was the Bears entire offense. It’s almost gotten me believing that he’ll do a lot better in Mike Martz’ system. Look at how he was spreading the ball around and throwing nice quick passes instead of constantly going for the longball.

3. Andre Johnson 12 rec. 158 yds TD

Kevin Walter deserves a mention as well but Andre Johnson’s clutch TD catch on 4th down in the last 10 minutes will be one of the best plays of the year.

4. Jahvid Best 17 car 78 yds 2 TD, 9 rec 154 yds TD

Proving he is well worth the draft pick the Lions traded to get him. Him, Stafford and Calvin Johnson could be a very dangerous trio once the Lions figure everything else out.

5. Donovan McNabb 28-38 426 yds TD

It’s amazing what a change of QB and coaching staff can do for a team. Look at how McNabb was utilizing all of his weapons. When is the last time you saw Joey Galloway look that dangerous? He’s making targets out of guys like him and Anthony Armstrong. It’s too bad he was out-dueld by Matt Schaub.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Snelling, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Darren McFadden, Mike Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Peyton Manning

Defensive Player of the Week: James Harrison

See the part I wrote on the Steelers above. Like I said, he’s starting to look like his 2008 form again.

Worst Offensive Player of the Week:  Joe Flacco

Three words can describe his play this year; Total. Fucking. Garbage. Lucky for him the Ravens defense is playing great. Guess the Ravens are close to being back to their usual selves.

Dishonorable Mentions: David Garrard, Jason Campbell, Entire Titans offense

Game of the Week: Texans vs. Redskins

Was there any other choice? This was such a fun game to watch with the Redskins flying early and the Texans coming back to win it late. Donovan McNabb looked very, very good in this game. As I said earlier, he was making use of almost every receiver on the field. Players like Cooley and Santana Moss are going to be beasts in that system and there were some other players contributing, too. Hell, I didn’t even know Roydell Williams was still in the league until he caught that 35 yard pass. The defense failed them, though even if they were going up against arguably the best offense in the league. I love the fight that the Texans showed, though. Bernard Pollard blocking Gano’s field goal, Andre Johnson’s game tying TD, then them driving in OT to get the win. Hell of a game to watch and Schaub put on a show.

Worst Game of the Week: Chiefs vs. Browns?

There wasn’t a game this week that struck me as awful and NFL.com’s lowest rated game is the Ravens/Bengals and I actually liked watching that.  So, I’m just going to go with this one because it looks like it was dull for most of the time aside from Seneca Wallace’s bomb to Josh Cribbs. He also threw a pick six that was the Chiefs only TD.

Surprise of the Week: Chicago beating Dallas/Dallas falling to 0-2

I really didn’t see the Bears starting off 2-0 even with the Lions on their schedule but they really impressed me today. Cutler even made my top 5 players of the week. Dallas didn’t look that bad but turnovers and failed execution on a lot of opportunities are killing them. Of course, their the Cowboys so this means everything is under the magnifying glass and people are freaking out/celebrating. They’ll get it together soon. They realllllllly need to find a new kicker, though.

Idiot of the week: Brandon Jacobs

This guy has been such a crybaby all season. First he complains about being benched in favor of Ahmad Bradshaw. Fine. It’s understandable to be upset that you’re not the #1 back but he has to realize his limits and that he’s more of a RB in goal line situations now. Plus, he hasn’t looked good at all this year while Bradshaw is a lot more explosive. He wins the Idiot of the Week award for trying to toss his helmet into the bench after being upset with his play. He missed his target by about 10 rows. Yup. His helmet landed in the crows and the Indy fans were reluctant to give it back. Now he wants to be traded. Anyone want a running back with attitude problems, a huge contract and limitations on his play? Anyone?

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