• I may never see Thomas Jones rush for over 6 yards a carry again in my lifetime, so it’s fitting that the Jets would waste that performance by throwing the ball 38 times against a pass defense that is widely known as the only good thing about the Oakland Raiders. Want to REALLY know how much of a waste that game was? The Brad Smith reverse worked…TWICE. I felt like I was losing my mind up until their pill popping, out of shape kicker beat our pill popping, out of shape QB in overtime. I hate this team so much.
• On the one hand, there’s really no greater joy than watching Kellen Winslow do the “ I WAS OPEN” pose after every single play. If Kellen had his way, he would get 40 targets a game (catching about 9 of them, 7 of which would be JUST shy of where the team needed him to reach), and every time he scored a touchdown a unicorn would die. That said, there’s no excuse for the way the Browns mismanage their personnel. The four shots they had from inside the five with about 5:00 remaining, resulting in two rushes for no gain and two dropped passes, were awful, and at no point did they try to get either Edwards or Winslow involved. Um, Phil Savage, if you’re keeping those two around for their sparkling personalities, you might want to reconsider your strategy.
• I’m not sure what I’m supposed to feel when I read how Cam Cameron got the game ball for the Ravens win over Miami. I mean, he seems like a nice guy and all, but after a 1-15 season, is anyone out there thinking that he got a raw deal? He is solely responsible for the Ted Ginn Jr. travesty. Remember this when the Dolphins are kicking Jon Kitna’s tires next year.
• The thing to notice about the Giants/49ers game is not that the Giants won, or J.T. O’Sullivan’s (that’s where the secretaries go to drink after work!) continued struggles under center (although I must say, being a quarterback in a Mike Martz offense has to take a solid 10 years off of your life). Instead, it’s the Eli Manning stat line of 16/31 for 161 yards. Unless the team can get him back into a manageable stride, Eli’s former self could come back to haunt this team when it counts.
• Yeah, the Vikings are much better off with Gus Frerotte at the helm. That Tarvaris Jackson was wildly inconsistent. Best to stick with a guy that will give you a consistent performance. Just to go crazy though, let’s see what happens if…
Gus Frerotte 2008: 103/180, 1286 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT, 72.6 QB rating.
Tarvaris Jackson 2008: 31/60, 316 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 65.7 QB rating
Oh, and Tarvaris also had 65 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Yep, this was a great idea.
• I’m selling on the Chargers. At 3-4, they still have games against the Saints, the Steelers, the Colts, and the Broncos, all of whom are teams with the kind of balanced pass attacks that have wreaked havoc on the Chargers. It makes me sad that Merriman was this important to this defense, but for whatever reason, he was, and the run game isn’t getting the traction it needs to let this team win shootouts. Norv’s kingdom (and likely several fantasy seasons) for a fixed toe for Tomlinson.
• At the same time, I’m buying the Bills. Trent Edwards is like Zen in the pocket, the total opposite of his predecessor (and I LIKE JP Losman). Every pass is placed exactly where Edwards wants it, most of the time in the exact spot where Lee Evans can make the best use of his speed. With Lynch starting to find some rhythm on the ground (70 yards on the ground with a TD is a big improvement from weeks 2-5), the Bills have to be in consideration for the AFC team to beat.
• Then again, there is THE team to beat, and that’s the Titans. Period. End of discussion. Nobody else is even close. I don’t care if it was against the worst team in football, 317 rushing yards and 4 TD for Chris Johnson and Lendale White is stupid, stupid, stupid. Until someone figures out how to slow them down and win a 10-7 ugly-off, this team will just keep it on the ground.
• Also, if you get the chance, go HERE and take a look at the 1:10 mark to compare Chris Johnson breaking into fifth gear for a TD run, and Lendale White “breaking away” (read: looking like he might have died halfway through) for his TD run. It’s pretty great.
• Love this quote from Jeff Fisher on that run: “Chris is just a step away from going the distance. No one thought LenDale was a step away from going the distance…He must have had a salad for dinner last night.” (SOURCE: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081020/SPORTS01/810200346/1027/sports01) Dick move, Fisher. Lendale White gets tired THINKING about how fast Chris Johnson is…tired and hungry…which is pretty much his response to everything, come to think about it…
• When Seneca Wallace is averaging 3.2 yards per pass, it’s probably time to just line up in the Wildcat and let that be that. The Seahawks should really be taken aside by Roger Goodell and asked if football is where their heart is this year. Flex scheduling can’t kick in soon enough…
• Absolutely nothing interesting to say about the Cincy game, except that Kenny Watson rushed 4 times for 17 yards, which is 4.3 yards per carry, which is more than Cedric Benson or Chris Perry can even combine for in their imaginations. That team is AWFUL.
• Better odds to go 0-16 on the Bengals, or the Lions? Neither team sees a “gimme” opponent for the rest of the year. Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually think Detroit’s offense showed some friskiness on Sunday, and that they could win one against an underperforming Saints team or an inconsistent Panthers squad. Meanwhile, if I’m Marvin Lewis, I’m spending the rest of the season for the week 17 suck-off against the Chiefs.
• Calvin Johnson better get 6-8 targets a game for the rest of the season, Lions. I don’t care if you win another game for the year, but everything needs to be devoted to making sure that Megatron doesn’t underachieve like Roy Williams.
• I also don’t hate Dan Orlovsky. Kid came back from a truly awful week and had his offense, with no defensive support and a line that could probably be replaced by firm hedges, within a TD of beating an underrated Texans squad. Kitna didn’t do that. Ever.
• Calling it now: Jon Kitna will be a Chief in 2009. GET EXCITED CHIEFS FANS!
• So are the Colts dead now? Peyton looks like he’s finally slowing down, the ground game hasn’t been able to get things going on its own, and teams don’t fear the vertical passing game enough to open up the box. 3.2 YPC for the rush game and 12/42 for 229 yards and 2 INT isn’t enough to make up for a very, very, VERY inconsistent defense.
• I like the Packers, and unless Chicago’s defensive backfield improves a lot over the next two weeks, I don’t think there’s any reason for Aaron Rodgers to not spend his first year as a starter on top of the QB heap (rubble?) in the NFC North.
• Game over for the Saints. Bush has been the only reason that team has even hung around. If they can’t get Colston back to form (and really, how can they when he’s still wearing a splint), that leaves a very inconsistent deep passing game with an awful lot to shoulder, particularly with CB Jason “Toast” David helping receivers earn lucrative endorsement deals one week at a time. There’s still hope, but only if these guys can figure out how to take up some clock with a mid-range pass game that has been drastically underperforming.
• And now for the game everyone has been talking about: Stop acting like the Rams aren’t capable of doing what they did on Sunday. Donnie Avery is going to be very, very good (like I said, the prototype for him is Steve Smith…), Torry Holt is old, but not bad yet, and if the offensive line is feeling up to it, Steven Jackson is one of the most versatile, talented backs in the league. Meanwhile, the D-Line is good enough for the secondary to get away with playing just competently (which has been a struggle, yes, but has happened for the past two weeks). In the NFC west, with two games left against division favorite Arizona, is it crazy to think that this team could make a late season surge and become the NFC playoff team nobody wants to see? More interesting still, could the NFC West produce TWO playoff teams?!?!?
• Personally, I think the NFC West could, with the remaining two from the NFC East…neither of which will be the Dallas Cowboys. Unless Romo makes it back to action next week, he’ll be coming back rusty against a Giants team whose defense (with one glaring exception) has been brutal. Cue offensive personalities meltdown in t-minus three weeks (the bye will make for GREAT candid camera drama).
That’s all for this week. We’re back in action now, and should be posting consistently for the rest of the season (sickness + unfortunate professional responsibilities = bad bloggery). Thanks for keeping up, and feel free to fire suggestions to the email below.