NFL Week 7 Column

It was a good football weekend for me. Panthers got their first win, I had a winning record with my picks and there were some entertaining games. Keep in mind, entertaining doesn’t mean good. Take the Monday Night Football game I just watched, it looked like it was going to be a shootout and then it turned into a complete route in the Giants favor. All of it had to do with Tony Romo being knocked out of the game and breaking his collar bone. Looks like I got off the Cowboys bandwagon just in time. That’s now 5 QB’s the Giants have KO’d this season. It’s safe to say that this isn’t the Cowboys year at all and I’m going to be surprised if Wade Phillips even lasts through the season. I’m still not completely sold on the Giants, though. Yeah, the defense is great and so is the offense but they turn the ball over way too much. They kept giving Dallas chances to get back into the game for the entire second half. Giants-Redskins games should be interesting.

Another example of an entertaining but not necessarily “good” game was “the comedy of errors” which was the Redskins vs. Bears. 9 combined turnovers between both teams and the Redskins were a delay of game penalty away from making it 10 and losing the game. Donovan McNabb’s first interception was one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in my life. Instead of taking the sack, he tries to throw it over a safety that’s charging right at him and it’s batted into the air and returned for a pick six. On the other end is Jay Cutler returning to last season’s form and throwing 4 interceptions TO THE SAME CORNER. Cutler deserves most of the blame for them, too. First pick was weakly thrown to Devin Hester and DeAngelo Hall made a nice play to jump the route. Second one was mostly a great play by Hall, third one was completely Cutler’s fault since it was thrown off target but Johnny Knox ran his route poorly, as well. Final one was just awfully overthrown. Starting to look like the Bears we expected to see, right? They’ve had one good game and the rest has been more of the same from them. Albert Haynesworth completely destroyed their offensive line, which I guess is saying a lot given the amount of effort he’s shown this year.

Let’s get to the actual good games now, the Bills-Ravens was surprisingly great and I was kind of hoping the Bills would pull it out since I know how sweet that first win feels now, haha. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked amazing in the first half and so did the rest of the Bills offense but then they slowly turned into the Bills we all know, which was kind of disheartening. Hard to win when you turn the ball over 4 times no matter how good you play. A lot of Ravens fans here are feeling shamed because they “almost lost to the Bills” when they should feel good that their team made a great comeback to earn that win. The defense was embarrassed in the first half and they made up for it in the 2nd by forcing those four turnovers and letting Flacco and the offense get them back into the game and eventually take the lead. Ed Reed made a huge impact in his first game back. Baltimore’s D has missed him so.

Steelers are still winning the North thanks to a very controversial call at the end of the Dolphins game. I’ve watched the replay of that countless times and I can only ask one thing; How in the world can the refs not determine the Dolphins had the football? Do they not have the same views that we do? I will say, though that it’s the right call if they couldn’t determine that Miami did indeed recover the fumble. What likely caused them trouble is the fact that the play was initially ruled a touchdown and the ball was dead when it came out of Roethlisberger’s hands across the goal line, thus there was no need for a scramble for the ball. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a stupid rule but technically that’s the right call. What bums me out is that there was a 95% chance the Dolphins recovered that fumble.

However, to say “the Steelers cheated their way to another win” is pretty out of line, in my opinion. Miami had plenty of chances to have the upper hand in that game and they had to settle for 5 field goals that and they still had 2:36 to work with to take the lead and couldn’t do it. Plus, if the Dolphins were rewarded the ball on that play, the Steelers still had all their timeouts left and could have forced the Dolphins to a three & out. Could the Dolphins have done the opposite and won the game? Absolutely. They have a right to be frustrated with the loss but putting the blame on that call isn’t the right thing to do. I will say that it proves the incompetence of NFL officials. Oh, and James Harrison’s little pregame stunt was incredibly stupid “I WILL RESPECT NFL RULES. I WILL NOT HIT ILLEGALLY. PLEASE GIVE ME ATTENTION AND REDUCE MY FINE!” Shut the hell up, please.

Another game that proved that was the largely hyped Vikings-Packers game where 4 TD’s were ruled incorrectly on the field and one of them looked to be incorrect after replay. How the back judge couldn’t see that Harvin only had one foot in bounds on the Vikings last chance TD when he was standing right next to him was pretty scary. NFC North is still up for grabs but this a very important win for the Packers if they want to win the division. The Vikings also looked impressive at times but I don’t know how much longer they can live with Brett Favre’s turnovers and well Brett Favre in general. They are turning into a circus.

Oh, and the Bucs are 4-2. Didn’t see that coming at all but I’m still going to hold off on them because the Rams were the most impressive win they’ve had this year. I do like their defense, though. I’ll say that. They could sneak their way into the playoff picture with the cakewalk schedule the NFC South drew this season, though.

Still more I want to address but I’m going to do a feature tomorrow where I’ll touch on some other subjects. For now, let’s go to my top performers.

Best Team Performance: Raiders

It’s weird putting the Raiders in this category but anytime you put 59 points you are pretty much a lock for this position unless someone else scores more. The Raiders looked unstoppable against the Broncos and Darren McFadden put on a show offensively. Him running the ball well puts a lot less pressure on Jason Campbell, which is what they need. More evidence of how I don’t know what to predict with the AFC West this season.

Runners Up: Chiefs

Top 5 Offensive Players of the Week

1. Darren McFadden 16 car. 165 yds 3TD, 2 rec. 31 yds TD

Like I said, he put on a show. Finally showing all of that potential we know he had. A funny thing from this game? Darrius Heyward-Bey was held without a catch.

2. Kenny Britt 7 rec. 225 yds 3 TD

No one on the Eagles could cover him. At all. Granted, the Eagles secondary isn’t great but it’s good for the Titans that Kerry Collins found deep threat to go to. He reminded me a lot of DeSean Jackson with some of the passes he was hauling in and the speed he showcased.

3. Roddy White 11 rec. 201 yds 2 TD

Made a statement before the game where he said that he would prove to be the best receiver on the field in that game and he was. That was with Ochocinco, Shipley and TO having good days, too. White’s having a fantastic season and he keeps adding to it with this game. What I was wondering while watching the game was why the Bengals had Adam Jones covering him instead of Leon Hall.

4. Thomas Jones 20 car 125 yds TD

The Chiefs have a real threat in the back-field with him and Jamaal Charles, who also had a solid game.

5. Carson Palmer 36-50 412 yds 3 TD

The Bengals lost but it’s definitely wasn’t Palmer’s fault. He was on for the whole game and led a great comeback effort. He’s actually had a few really good games this year but he needs to stay a little more consistent. A game like this is definitely a good sign, though.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Moore, David Gettis, Ben Roethlisberger, Jordan Shipley, Percy Harvin, Michael Turner, Lee Evans, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Steve Johnson, Hines Ward

Defensive Player of the Week: DeAngelo Hall 7 tackles, 4 INTs

Hard not to give it to him with the four interceptions and he made some good efforts to get those picks on a couple of them. Living up to his contract’s value and the Redskins secondary is looking a lot better than it used to be.  Even if it was Cutler who threw the picks.

Honorable Mentions: Ray Lewis, Chris Clemons, David Bowens, Charles Tillman, Scott Fujita

Worst Team Performance: Bears

Welcome back to this part of the column, Chicago. Took you 6 turnovers to do it this time and 5 of those came on consecutive drives. Good lord.

Dishonorable Mentions: Cardinals, Cowboys, Eagles

Worst Offensive Performance: Chargers running backs 38 yards on 19 attempts

You know Ryan Mathews? Their LT replacement? He had 15 of them on 8 carries. Mike Tolbert had a goal line touchdown but I wonder why he didn’t get more than 2 carries. I have to think some of San Diego’s struggles have to stem from this struggling running game. Mathews is struggling and Tolbert was looking great early in the year but they kind of stopped using him now. Hmm. Then again, Mathews isn’t going to have impressive stats when the team runs the ball only 19 times per game. Either way, they need to fix this if they want to win games. As good as Rivers is, he can’t do it by himself.

Surprise of the Week: Browns destroying the Saints

and doing it on the road, nonetheless. This was a game where pretty much everything went wrong for the Saints. Drew Brees threw 3 picks in the first half, one of which was to former teammate Scott Fujita. David Bowens also returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He was only known for his play on special teams before yesterday’s game. I think my favorite thing from this game was watching punter Cody Hodges run for 63 yards on a fake punt. Browns continue their tradition of beating the former Super Bowl champs for the third year in a row.

Game of the Week: Bengals-Falcons

What a wild game this was. Both QB’s had great days and the Bengals had a great comeback in the 3rd quarter to make things interesting but the Falcons pulled it out in the end. Like I said earlier, Roddy White proved to be the best receiver on the field but Ochocinco and Shipley also had 100+ yard games and TO had a solid game himself. Falcons won because Michael Turner could get it done on the ground while Cedric Benson coughed up a fumble at the worst time possible.

Runners up: Vikings-Packers, Bills-Ravens, Patriots-Chargers

Worst Game of the Week: Cardinals-Seahawks

This game shows how bad of a division the NFC West is. The Seahawks have the best record in the division and were 1/7 in the red zone and settled for 5 field goals in the process. To make things worse, the Cardinals couldn’t take advantage of any of the Seahawks mistakes and proceeded to hand the ball back to them in comical fashion. Look at Andre Roberts muffed punt to see what I mean. They also quickly pulled the plug on Max Hall after he showcased a beautiful 4/16 36 yds INT, FUMBL stat line in the first half. Just when they thought he was “the answer.” Derek Anderson wasn’t much better as if that should surprise anyone. What a mess this division is. The good news for the Seahawks is Marshawn Lynch had a sort-of productive day on the ground. Offense needs to get better, though.

Idiot(s) of the Week: Richard Goodman and Jacob Hester

I don’t know how the same mental mistakes occur in the same game. Both players had forgotten that the play isn’t over until it’s whistled dead and that led to two fumbles. Goodman made a nice catch, fell and then dropped the ball. He then walked away from it, ignoring the fact that there wasn’t a whistle and a Patriots defender scooped it up and took it the other way. Hester let a Philip Rivers lateral slip through his hands and then walked away from the play because he thought it was a forward pass despite it being BEHIND the line of scrimmage. This led to the Patriots picking up another fumble and returning it inside the 10. They are luck the Chargers defense came through when it had to or this game would have been over fast. Speaking of which, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking picking against the Patriots for this game.

Dishonorable Mentions: NFL officials, Andre Roberts, Geoff Carpenter, James “I WILL RESPECT NFL RULES” Harrison


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