As I prepared to consume seven plus hours of NFL football on Sunday afternoon I made a horrible discovery. The schedule makers frontloaded the schedule with eight 1 o’clock games and two 4 o’clock games. One of those late afternoon games was Jaguars-Raiders, so realistically there was only one late game of casual watching interest. I can’t wait to see the numbers for CBS during the 4-8pm window. I’m sure they’re going to be astronomical.
So back to those eight early games, I live in the NY market so I was getting Redskins-Giants in HD, fantastic because I was highly intrigued by the RG3 playing in his first NFC East game storyline. On my smaller TV I streamed Ravens-Texans a game I couldn’t wait to see, but I should have known it was going to be a blowout after Peter King kept saying that it could potentially be the game of the year. There should be a cultural rule against saying that before a game takes place because it will never live up to the hype. Sorry for sounding peeved, I’m letting out my frustration for missing a big chunk of football last week, but my girlfriend would have thrown my football threw both of my TV’s if I backed out of our apple picking adventure.
Anyways I don’t have a hooked up man cave and I have a bar 5 minutes from me that has Sunday Ticket, but the people who go there to watch the games make the experience unbearable. So I had to stream the other six games on my computer. I had to touch into remote clicking levels that I didn’t know I possessed, but I made it through the day and I’m ready if you are to dive into some headlines from Sunday:
The Legend Of Black Jesus & His Disciples Grows. In his first game against a division rival Robert Griffin the 3rd and Alfred Morris gave the defending Super Bowl champs everything they could possibly handle and then some. On Washington’s initial drive of the game, the gameplan was simple: pound the ball down the Giants’ throats. On that drive, Alfred Morris laid the groundwork for a Josh Morgan 35 yard touchdown reception on a simple slant route, but it was nullified by an illegal shift penalty on Fred Davis.
Before I get into specific plays and why the Redskins lost this game (hint it rhymes with the word offense) I have to go full RG3 love fest mode on all of ya; what a game plan by Mike and Kyle Shanahan! Instead of forcing their offensive philosophies on the rookie from Baylor, they’ve adapted an offense that Griffin clearly feels comfortable playing in. What’s even more impressive about RG3 is the confidence he has while exiting the huddle. During the week of preparation leading up to the game on Sunday, or Monday, every team installs a gameplan that they think will give them the best chance to win a game, but that gameplan becomes useless if the quarterback doesn’t execute (see week 7 stats for Flacco, Joe).
On Sunday it wasn’t just the execution by Griffin that left me thinking “this kid is going to be the league’s next phenom”, it was his heads up playmaking ability that can’t be taught. Look no further than the 4th and 10 from his own 23 with 2:07 left in the game, Griffin takes the snap from the shotgun, rolls to his left and stops so quickly that Jason Pierre-Paul, who was in pursuit of Griffin, couldn’t turn quickly enough to get an angle on the rookie quarterback. RG3 planted and fired a 19 yard strike to tight end Logan Paulsen. Three plays later, he threw a 30 yard rainbow to Santana Moss to take a three point lead with under two minutes remaining.
If only Griffin had the magical power to run the last 1:30 off of the clock, or possess the ability to play safety. See the Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride appeared to be calling some questionable plays down the stretch:
7:10 left in the 4th, ball on NYG 29, a short 5 yard pass intended for Hakeem Nicks was intercepted by Rob Jackson. Clearly Jackson knew what play was coming when Eli audibled because he dropped right back into the area where the throw was going when Manning dropped back. The ‘Skins scored a field goal on the turnover.
3:15, ball on the NYG 38, 3rd and 1. Manning tries to hit Nicks on a touch back shoulder throw that winds up incomplete. After Ahmad Bradshaw appeared to be fired up about not getting enough carries during the game this play call was awfully strange. Griffin would hit Moss for the go ahead touchdown on the next drive.
Gilbride kept trying to hit the worst passing defense in the league over the top for the knockout blow, but like the wild card contender that the Redskins are, they kept punching back until finally Victor Cruz blew past Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams for a 70 yard game winning touchdown.
If you’re a Redskins fan you can point your finger at the four second half turnovers (including two from Griffin), but just enjoy the fact that your beloved red and gold have the most exciting quarterback in the entire NFL and it’s only his first season.
Does Anyone Know If The Patriots Are Good? Typically after seven weeks of a season there is some type of consensus as to what a team’s identity is. This years’ Patriots have quickly, no pun intended, become recognized for their Chip Kelly like one word no huddle offense, but after two weeks of blowing double digit fourth quarter leads to inferior opponents it’s time to wonder if these Patriots are just a slightly above average team playing in a weak conference.
After Sidney Rice blew by two rookie defenders last week en route to the 52 yard game winning touchdown, Mark Sanchez followed that blueprint for 328 yards including a 10 yard strike to Dustin Keller to bring the Jets back into the game. Jeremy Kerley had a career high 7 catches for 120 yards.
With just over two minutes left, Devin McCourtey fumbled the kickoff after the Jets kicked the game tying field goal. The Jets recovered and the apocalypse that Bill Simmons predicted on Friday almost came true, but Tom Brady saved the day, even after he recklessly almost threw the game away to Antonio Cromartie in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots have been outscored 34-6 in the 4th quarter in their last three games.
When the Patriots take the momentum of a game and hold onto it, they can be a devastating force of nature, but when one part of the cog slows down the entire machine falls apart. Bill Bellichek’s narrowly avoided a disastrous week of torture from the infuriated head coach. I would love to be a part of the film session on Monday when Bellichek breaks out the Billistrator and yells at all of the players who made mistakes (Brandon Lloyd should be first up on that list).
The Ravens Hooked In Houston. The phrase overreaction Monday was meant to exist only for the day after first two Sundays of the season, but it has become a season long trend in the sports media. Expect to hear all about the reassessment of the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow on national radio.
Now let’s take a step back before we jump to conclusions about the Ravens. They had just lost their emotional leader in Ray Lewis and their best secondary player in Lardrius Webb (he hadn’t given up a touchdown in two years). To top it off the ball hawk Ed Reed made it known that he’s been playing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Now they did a Halloween miracle by getting the reigning defensive player of the year back, but even though Terrell Suggs amazingly suited up just five months after partially tearing his Achilles tendon he couldn’t help Joe Flacco on the other side of the ball. This was a statement game for the Texans defense after being embarrassed at home by the Packers last week.
Someone needs to find out if J.J Watt worked with Dikembe Mutombo in the offseason. In the second quarter Watt deflected his ninth pass of the season, unfortunately for Flacco the ball didn’t fall harmlessly to the ground, it went right into the waiting arms of cornerback Jonathan Joseph who returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens never recovered.
Obviously injuries are part of the season and how a team adjusts to their missing pieces ultimately define a season, so if the Ravens are going to live up to the lofty offseason expectations Joe Flacco is going to have to play like the elite quarterback that he says he is. On Sunday he was poor throughout and that’s being generous. After the first drive of the game in which he completed three of five passes, he would complete just two of his next ten passes with one of them being the interception by Joseph. Flacco’s throws were either consistently getting tipped or knocked down at the line of scrimmage or they were wildly missed guided throws. This stat didn’t help either: Ray Rice 9 carries for 42 yards and 5 receptions for 12 yards.
Nine carries!? Cam Cameron will have some explaining to do.
What We Learned This Week
1.) We learned that this is taking over the NFL:
You down with JPP?
2.) We learned that just because you’re dating Samantha Steele doesn’t mean you’re an elite quarterback. Sure Christian Ponder is in the upper class of QB WAG (wives or girlfriends), but good ol’ karma got the smug second year quarterback on Sunday. Ponder finished the day 8-17 for a Mark Sanchez like 58 yards and a touchdown/two picks. Hopefully after the game he prayed to the Purple Jesus for carrying the Vikings to a victory.
3.) We learned that after every Panthers loss Cam Newton is going to talk to the media as if he were at a funeral. After a hard fought game against the Cowboys, Scam gave reporters the same tired “I don’t like what’s going on here” shtick. Instead of giving us his library voice speech after a game how about he just says I’m going to do a better job next week and when I do we’ll have a better chance to win. Charles Barkley needs to give his fellow Auburn alumni a phone call this week.
4.) We learned that if you sat Chris Johnson in your fantasy league you probably punched some object around 1:45 today. In the first quarter of the Titans-Bills game CJ2K ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns. At one point he was projected to run for over 400 yards and eight touchdowns. After he ran wild two weeks ago I told my friend who owns him in my fantasy league that it was just an anomaly, another brilliant prediction on my behalf. CJ finished the day with 195 yards on 18 carries and those two touchdowns.
5.) We learned that Drew Brees is going to have to give an MVP performance every week if the Saints want to have a winning record this season… Wait did we already know that? Whoops, let me try that again:
5b.) We learned that Drew Brees is going to have to almost break the record for yards in a game every week if the Saints are going fight for a winning record and possibly a wild card birth. Brees threw for 300 yards in THE FIRST HALF and appeared to be on his way to threaten Norm Van Brocklin’s 62 year record of 554 yards in a single game.
Brees ended up with a modest 377 yards and four touchdowns (all of the touchdowns were in the first half as well), but more importantly the Saints won their second straight game.
5c.) We learned that the Saints still possess a swiss cheese defense as they gave up 420 (FOUR HUNDERED AND TWENTY) yards to Josh Freeman.
6.) We learned that Aaron Rodgers could be the second repeat MVP of this century. Matt Ryan is the current favorite, but the Falcons are bound to lose some games coming up (look no further than next week in Philly), but more importantly Rodgers has morphed overnight into the flamethrowing 2011 version of himself. In his last two games A-Rod has completed 73 percent of his passes for 680 yards with a Geno Smith like 9/0 TD-INT ratio. The 42 yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Randall Cobb was nothing short of masterful.
7.) We learned that Josh Gordon needs to invest in whatever the illegal substance that the Chargers receivers are rumored to have used. Gordon dropped a 50+ yard touchdown pass that his Gordon on his hands in stride. I know that phrase I could have caught that one is used in situations where the average athletic person definitely could not come down with a catch, but I really think I would have caught that ball for a touchdown. Sign me up Browns!
Highlight Of The Day:
Who I Like On Monday Nite
Bears 24 Lions 21
I think that the Lions are beginning to get their act together, but the it’s hard to pick against the Bears at home in prime time. This game could get out of hand if the Bears’ defense continues to take the football away, but I think Stafford will find a way to get the ball to other people who aren’t named Calvin Johnson just enough to keep this one close.
You know what time it is!
Let’s Go No Huddle
- If you bring in Tim Tebow shouldn’t he be on the field as much as possible? I don’t care if he lines up as a fullback, a tight end, or as a tackle that’s an eligible receiver, the guy is the best playmaker on a team that you know doesn’t have too many healthy playmakers right now.
- Seriously how good was that Joe Morgan catch?
- I’m not sure if it was as good as the hustle play by Malcom Jenkins to stop a 98 yard Vincent Jackson touchdown from happening.
- Last time Chris Johnson had 100+ yards and two touchdowns: week 13 last year in.. BUFFALO!
- In terms of fantasy football, AJ Green is a legitimate threat to contend for top receiver.
- Green is matchup proof at this point.
- Andrew Luck has more rushing touchdowns than: Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Jamaal Charles, Marshawn Lynch, and LeSean McCoy.
- Did Leslie Frazer just want Ponder to keep get sacked in the second half so the clock would keep running?
- Will Dez Bryant have a game where he doesn’t drop a big third down catch?
- I flipped on the Raiders-Jaguars game right before Janikowski made the game winning field goal in overtime.
- It was the only part of the game I watched.
- It was the only part of the game that should have been watched.
- I disagree with Peter King.
- The Bucs’ cream sickle uniforms aren’t the ugliest in sports.
- The multi colored Marti Gras New Orleans Hornets jersey are.
- If Michael Vick ran the same game plan as Robert Griffin did on Sunday how many times would Vick have turned the ball over?
- I think the number would have been around five.
- After reading the Sports Illustrated story on Vikings punter Chris Kluwe he’s become one of my new favorite players.
- He’s a must follow on twitter.
- Arian Foster 42 games played, 43 touchdowns.
- Chris Givens is becoming a big play threat for the Rams.
- He’s had a 50 yard catch in four straight games.
- It’s a shame Christian Ponder laid an egg today because it robbed me of watching Patrick Peterson vs Percy Harvin.
- Can the NFL replace the Pro Bowl with a bunch of competitions?
- I would pay to watch a receiver square off with a cornerback and have the quarterback picked by a spinning wheel.
SAVE MY FANTASY SEASON MATT STAFFORD!!