Week 6 Column

This was a great weekend of football. A lot of great games, not really any terrible ones discounting this MNF game that’s on in the background. I think the best part of it was that the Panthers had a bye so there wasn’t a lot of added stress, haha. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting excited in hope that the Panthers will surprise me with a win but a whole Sunday of watching games for fun was great. There’s a lot of stuff I want to talk about this week so this column will be kind of lengthy.

Big topic going around yesterday was the few big hits being dealt out around the league. Most talked about was Dunta Robinson crushing DeSean Jackson over the middle which at first I thought was pretty vicious. After watching it a few teams, I feel that it’s a legal hit since Robinson led with his shoulder but it’s still a huge hit on a defenseless receiver, which is technically against the rules. The hit is pretty borderline so it’s kind of tough to make a judgment call on it. I don’t think Robinson should be fined or suspended for it since he was already flagged for it and he wasn’t attempting to maim Jackson. I actually thought that Brandon Merriweather’ s helmet to helmet hit on Todd Heap was A LOT worse. Merriweather lowered his head and charged right into Heap, which was completely unnecessary considering the ball had already gone off his hands. There was also James Harrison running wild on Josh Cribbs and Mohammad Massaquoi.

I felt the Cribbs hit was a lot more dirty than the Massaquoi one since Harrison lowered the crown of his helmet and lunged head first into Cribbs despite the fact that Lamar Woodley already had him wrapped up. The hit on Massaquoi was similar to Robinson’s only it’s a little more brutal since Harrison left his feet and lunged at Massaquoi. If anything, Harrison should be fined for that Cribbs hit since it was a lot more dirty. Merriweather should probably receive a nice fine, too. Robinson…I’m not so sure about because it’s debatable if it’s dirty or not. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL takes the NHL route and punishes Robinson based on the result of the play and not the actual hit.

What troubles me the most about these kinds of hits is that they can all be avoided. I used to play football for a couple years and played safety on defense. We were taught by our coaches to lead with our shoulder, wrap up the ball carrier and look at what you hit. Nowadays it seems that everyone is going for the “BIG PUNISHING HIT” like John Lynch or Brian Dawkins always deliver. I enjoy those as much as the next guy but delivering those hits every damn time is poor fundamentals and dangerous to both the ball carrier and the defender himself. Robinson gave HIMSELF a concussion with that hit on Jackson. I think Adam Archuleta did the same thing years ago. I’m not trying to “pussify” the game but I think something needs to be done so that they can keep the physical play in the game while getting dangerous hits like this out of the game.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, let’s talk about some actual football now! Eagles and Falcons are making me eat crow for what I said about both teams last week. I said that the Eagles would get exposed this week since I claimed the Falcons as the best team in the NFC. Guess what, the Falcons got embarrassed by Philly. Kevin Kolb played the best game I’ve ever seen him play. His deep ball looked amazing and he was utilizing all of his receivers well. Jeremy Maclin is turning into be a quite a deep threat with his speed. Granted, Atlanta’s weakest point has always been their secondary but it was a very impressive victory for the Eagles. I was close to crowning them as the best NFC East team but I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon just yet. Same goes for the Giants. They’ve both been good but a collapse can happen soon for the latter. There’s also the Redskins and the Cowboys.

Speaking of the Cowboys, I heard Keyshawn Johnson call them “the Raiders of the Southwest” on NFL Countdown tonight. That’s a little harsh but they’ve been a goddamn sideshow the past few weeks. I’ve been waiting for them to turn things on but it just hasn’t happen because they keep beating themselves. That’s exactly what happened against the Vikings. They outplayed them, outgained them and could have won but penalties and stupid mental mistakes killed them again. Along with an awful interception from Tony Romo. I’m starting to buy into the whole theory that the Cowboys are incapable of being fixed no matter what. They have the talent and have been hyped to win the division every year now but their season ends in the most embarrassing, typical fashion possible. I’m not saying their season is over now but 1-4 is a tough hole to get out of.  We’ll see how this goes from here.

The game I payed the most attention to yesterday was the Ravens/Pats on CBS and I seriously hope this is the last time I get stuck listening to Nantz/Simms for awhile. Aside from that, it was a great game that ended in usual Ravens fashion. I don’t know why but every time the Ravens play a tough opponent, they drift into conservative mode whenever they have a lead instead of building on it. Flacco was playing pretty well and hitting his targets for the first three quarters, then the 4th quarter hit and the Ravens had a 10 point lead. Every single play after that was short dump offs and runs up the middle with Ray Rice. I get that they were trying to run the clock out but the Pats were stopping him dead in his tracks and they failed to mix up the playcalling even just a little bit.

Cam Cameron doesn’t deserve the full blame for the loss because the defense didn’t pick up on all of the adjustments New England made to pick apart their defense. Brady was taking huge advantage of the 5 yard gap the corners were leaving by throwing short passes and slowly chipping away until they got into scoring range. Flacco seemed to panic a bit in OT too. The Pats were playing good coverage but Flacco didn’t even try to take a shot downfield in overtime despite getting the ball three times. I always hear about how he’s “unflappable” but he sure as hell didn’t look like it in the later stages of this game. Brady’s short passes were actually working and he used them to set up longer plays (i.e. that stretch route to Gronkowski in the 4th quarter and the long pass to Deon Branch) and won the game because of that. Bottom line is the Patriots were playing to win and the Ravens were playing not to lose and you can not do that in overtime.

In obvious news, the Packers need a running game. Brandon Jackson’s had one good game but other than that, he’s not getting the job done. A lot of fans are complaining that they didn’t trade for Marshawn Lynch but I think that Ted Thompson will make a trade sooner or later. Maybe they can find someone out of nowhere like the Redskins did with Ryan Torain. I love running backs like him, Peyton Hillis, Jonathan Stewart and Michael Turner. They’re big, have a lot of power and are surprisingly fast and are welcome on any team of mine.

Some other notes and observations about yesterday’s games:

– There were A LOT of weak pass interference calls. It’s getting ridiculous now.

– Jets defense did it again. I guess holding Kyle Orton to under 300 yards is an accomplishment with how the Broncos run their offense. It’s too bad they’ll be known as the defense that allowed Tim Tebow’s first TD, though.

– There are some cases when an amazing receiver can make an awful QB look good. See Calvin Johnson & Drew Stanton. 222 yards and 146 of them were from Megatron.

– Despite all of the other things that went wrong for the Browns yesterday, Colt McCoy did pretty decent.

– Rams sacked Philip Rivers 6 times. Getting Marcus McNiel back really helped their o-line!

– I guess the Seahawks wont lose all their games on the road. I didn’t expect the Bears offense to look that bad even with their line woes.

Best Team Performance: Eagles

Hey, I can admit when I’m wrong. Way to make me eat my words, Philly.

Runners Up: Saints, Patriots, Steelers

Top 5 Offensive Players of the Week:

1. Kevin Kolb 23-29 326 yds 3 TD, INT

Can’t ask for a better outing aside from the INT.

2. Jeremy Maclin 7 rec 159 yds 2 TD

see above.

3. Andre Johnson 8 rec 138 yds TD

Still the best receiver in the league right now.

4. Greg Jennings 6 rec 133 yds TD

He came up huge for Green Bay when he needed to but it just wasn’t enough.

5. Drew Brees 21-32 263 yds 3 TD, INT

A more “Drew Brees-like” performance from him after a couple rough weeks.

Runners Up: Chad Henne, Pierre Garcon, Matt Schaub, Steven Jackson, Chris Ivory, Frank Gore, Peyton Manning, Matt Cassel, Dwayne Bowe, Ahmad Bradshaw, Calvin Johnson, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Williams

Defensive Player of the Week: Lawrence Timmons 11 tackles 2 sacks, INT

Him, Harrison and Polamalu remain the reasons why the Steelers D is the best in the league.

Runners Up: EJ Henderson, Jarrod Mayo, Haloti Ngata, Roman Harper, London Fletcher, Jarrod Powers, Jordan Babineaux

Worst Team Performance: Jaguars

Was going to go to the Raiders but I just witnessed that pathetic display of football the Jags just showcased on national TV. That looked more like the team I called the worst in the NFL a few weeks ago.

Worst Offensive Player: Jason Campbell 8-21 83 yds 2 INT

This looked more like the Jason Campbell I’m used to seeing not the one who tore it up last week. I do not understand the Raiders or any of their QBs.

Dishonorable Mentions:  Jahvid Best, Miles Austin, Cadillac Williams, Matt Forte

Surprise of the Week: Mike Williams 10 rec 123 yds

Targeted 15 times in the game too. Somewhere, Matt Millen and Steve Mariucci are yelling “WHERE THE HELL WAS THIS SIX YEARS AGO YOU FUCKING BUM?”

Runners up: Rams beating the Chargers, Derrick Ward being useful again.

Game of the Week: Chiefs-Texans

How fun was to watch was this? The Chiefs and Texans are two of the most exciting offenses in the league right now and they both put on a show yesterday. Also helps that the Texans have a below average defense so Haley could be more open with his plays. We got to see that Matt Cassel actually be good for the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe redeem himself. Then the Texans made another awesome comeback led by Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Of course, Arian Foster had a couple TDs so fantasy football players had a blast watching this too. Of course, I was stupid enough to leave Thomas Jones on the bench thinking Charles would get more carries. Oops. Game was only made better because Gus Johnson was calling it.

Runners Up: Dolphins-Packers, Colts-Redskins, Ravens-Pats

Worst Game of the Week: Raiders-49ers

Nice to see the Niners finally win but it wasn’t nice to see two teams suck for an entire half in the rain. Then SF finally turned it on again and Oakland didn’t even try to get back into the game. Thankfully only the Bay Area had to witness this.

Idiot of the Week: Dez Bryant/Miles Austin

The whole damn Cowboys team could fall into this after that Vikings game, really. Apparently they didn’t learn their lesson from the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty last week that they decided to do it again. Or did they only think that falling down during the celebration was against the rules and leap-frogging was okay? Either way, Miles should have known better than that. Then he negated that 76 yard TD because he pushed off on the Vikings corner (which he didn’t really need to do). Bryant gets a mention here for running 15-20 seconds off the clock with that awful punt return at the end of the game and getting no progress from it. Let it go in the end zone or out of bounds. Oh, and the end of that game was priceless. Thanks to the Cowboys I will be stuck seeing the Vikings on Fox for the next few weeks. Awesome.

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