Monday, September 13, 2010
Week 1 NFL round up
I was in a bad mood before. I didn't get to watch any of the games. Then I had a crappy day. Then I saw the scores. I don't believe it. It's recap time: Browns 14 @ Buccaneers 17 -- It's not often that you pick the Buccaneers and it pays off so I'm pretty ecstatic about this one. Well, as much as you can be over a Buc's/ Browns game. Delhomme lived up to form throwing two interceptions, one of which could be considered to have directly lead to a TD as Ronde Barber showed off his 35 year old legs on a return that fell just short of the end zone. Delhomme finished 20/37 for 227 yards and a TD in addition to those two picks. Bucs' QB Josh Freeman finished 17/28 for 182 yards and 2 TDs plus an interception. Cadillac Williams also helped the Bucs' offense with 22 caries for 75 yards and a score. Browns TE Evan Moore led all receivers with 3 catches for 87 yards. Defensively the Browns were led in tackles by DB T.J. Ward who posted 7 plus 3 assists and a forced fumble. Corner Mike Adams gets an honourable mention for his 5 tackles, 2 assists and an INT while LB Marcus Benard gets the same for his 1.5 sacks. The Bucs' were led by LB Barrett Ruud who had 7 tackles, an assist and a forced fumble while LB Geno Hayes did almost the same but without the forced fumble. Dolphins 15 @ Bills 10 -- I was almost there with the Bills. What makes this a truly bad result is that the Bills looked shocking from the video I've seen. Truly shocking. I'm talking blocking ineptitude (both pass and run) of unbelievable proportions. I would have hung my head in shame if I was a junior high line coach who had sent those men onto the field in that condition. So for the Dolphins to only win by 5 is not good. That is not the performance of a team that will challenge for the AFC East. The improvement had better be rapid and significant to off set such a shambolic display. Chad Henne finished 21/34 for 182 yards. And another thing. The organised media (as opposed to me being unorganised/unofficial) seem to be falling over themselves to talk up Brandon Marshall. 8 catches for 53 yards, including a drop despite being wide open is not the performance you expect from a man on his salary. And another thing (again). Given the quality of the 'Phins backs and how well they played, why give Henne 34 throws? Why tempt fate in such a tight game? Did they learn nothing from their loss to New Orleans last year? On the Bills side, Trent Edwards went 18/34 for 139 yards and a TD. But what about C.J. Spiller, your first round draft pick at RB? Seven carries? What the hell was the point? To be fair though, watching the way the Bills line blocked, it was a miracle that Marshawn Lynch was able to break the 15 yard run that proved to be the Bills longest of the day. Three sacks from the Dolphins D helped, including one from Koa Misi (watch list). Drayton Florence led the Bills in tackles with 9 plus an assist and credit to Bills LB Paul Posluszny for his 6 tackles, 2 assists and a sack. Bengals 24 @ Patriots 38 -- Don't let the score belittle how much of a game this was. The Patriots may have raced to an early first half lead, but the Bengals fought back. Subtract the pick six and the returned kick off (two things that happen infrequently and very randomly to teams) and you have a tied game. Take away Wes Welkers TD catch that never crossed the goal line and you have a Cincy win. This is what frustrates me sometimes about pundits. Ok, you've gotta cover kick offs better than that and you can't blame the Patriots for returning an interception to the end zone. But before checking out the highlights etc, I was led to believe by various game reports that this was some kind of domination show, that the Patriots first wiped the floor with the Bengals then dipped them in the bucket to have another go. That was not the case. Brady finished 25/35 for 258 yards and 3 TDs. Welker led the Pat's receivers with 8 catches for 64 yards and 2 TDs & Fred Taylor led the Pat's backs with 14 carries for 71 yards. Carson Palmer led the chase with 34/50 for 345 yards, 2 TDs and an 1 INT; an indication that the Pats defense had just as many holes in it as the Bengals. I also noticed that nobody was prepared to give Chad Ochocinco the credit he rightly deserves for his 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD. And this is before we even get to Jordan Shipley (watch list). Now yes I know Welker came back from a bad injury and yes he scored two (?) TDs (the first was off a 4 yard screen play that just wasn't covered by enough defenders). But do we really have to fill pages with effusive praise for him when Shipley went 82 yards off just 5 catches? I've already mentioned Ochocino as well. Where was his praise? Hidden under a thick wad of Patriot loving I'm afraid. Defensively there were a few standouts, which kind of defeats the point of being a stand out. For the Bengals it was LBs Keith Rivers and Dhani Jones with 7 tackles each and 3 & 2 assists respectively. The Patriots were led by DB Pat Chung with 12 tackles and 4 assists, followed by LB Jerod Mayo (8 tackles, 4 assists) and corner Darius Butler (8 tackles). Colts 24 @ Texans 34 -- I hate the Panthers because they always do the opposite of what I predict they will. This week however they actually did what I thought they would while the Texans defy me once more. I now hate the Texans more than the Panthers! But oddly I kind of like the Texans as well. I've always believed that if you give a good back 30 carries, he should be able to rustle up 250 yards of offense. The Texans went some way to proving that. They also proved that throwing the ball 50 times versus running it 40 times does not necessarily mean the passing team will win, which is good because it will annoy the hell out of football statisticians. And finally, they beat the Colts, so what's not to like about that. Peyton Manning went 40/57 for 433 yards and 3 TDs, which is still bloody impressive. Joseph Addai was granted just 10 carries by the Sheriff. Matt Schaub by comparison looked flat with 9/17 for 107 yards, a TD and an INT. But Texans running back Arian Foster stole the day, with 33 carries for 231 yards and 3 TDs. Not that you'd know that if you were watching the NFL.com version of the games highlights, which included Peyton Manning, more Peyton Manning, more Peyton Manning, and just 38 seconds of the game changing Foster. Defensively I should point out first that Bob Sanders decided to get himself injured and potentially put on the scrap heap for another year. Antoine Bethea ably stepped up with 8 tackles and 5 assists. DE Robert Mathis finished with 5 tackles and a sack. For the Texans it was LB Zac Diles leading the way (9 tackles, 3 assists) followed by LB DeMeco Ryans (8 tackles, 2 assists) and Safety Bernard Pollard (8 tackles, 1 assist). Broncos 17 @ Jaguars 24 -- Once again the heavens opened and did everything they could to try and stop people from being put through another Jacksonville game, but alas the show went on and my pick went up in smoke. David Garrard finished with 16/21 for 170 yards and 3 TDs, while Maurice Jones-Drew carried the ball 23 times for 98 yards (also a mention for Rashad Jennings who got his obligatory 4 carries in for 26 yards). Kyle Orton on the other hand was slinging it out, finishing 21/33 for 295 yards, a TD and an INT. Credit to Brandon Llyod for his 5 catches for 117 yards. LB D.J. Williams led the Broncos D with 9 tackles and 2 assists. LB Daryl Smith was the Jaguars stand out with 5 tackles, 2 assists, an INT and a Forced Fumble. Noteworthy as well was rookie DE Tyson Alualu (watch list) who registered a sack and Aaron Kampman who bagged 1.5 sacks. Falcons 9 @ Steelers 15 (OT) -- A boring exchange of field goals that must have left Atlanta fans wishing they'd got tickets to some other game, any other game. Even a Browns game. In the end it was an ok day for the quarterbacks. Matt Ryan finished 27/44 for 252 yards and an INT. Dennis Dixon went 18/26 for 236 yards and an INT himself. On the ground though Michael Turners 19 carries for 42 yards were not a match for Rashard Mendenhalls 22 carries, 120 yards and a game winning TD scamper in overtime. Defensively the very impressive LB Curtis Lofton led the Falcons (8 tackles, 3 assists and a sack). Keep your eyes out for Lofton this season. He was backed up by Safety Erik Coleman (7 tackles, 2 assists) and LB Sean Weatherspoon (watch list) (7 tackles, 1 assist). For the Steelers it was DB Bryant McFadden who led the way with 12 tackles and 2 assists. LBs Lawrence Timmons (9 tackles, 2 assists) and James Harrison (4 tackles, 5 assists and a sack) followed. Raiders 13 @ Titans 38 -- The Raiders were smoked by the team who I think (no Chris, don't do it) may possibly have (Chris... don't do it) the best shot (you know it never works out) at going to the Super Bowl for the AFC (Ahhh.. he did it) and may even (no... not that as well) go on (don't!!) and win the big one itself (now you've cursed them. A**clown). Vince Young finished with 13/17 for 154 yards and 2 TDs, but it was Chris Johnson who stole the show again for the Titans with 27 carries for 142 yards and 2 TDs. Jason Campbell could manage just 22/37 for 180 yards, a TD and an INT. More to the point, if Campbell keeps taking shots like he did in this game then he's going to be spending a lot of time sitting on the bench watching games with broken joints. The Raiders hardly had what I would call a stand out, though Kamerion Wimbley did ok with 4 tackles, an assist, a sack and a Forced Fumble. The Titans D cooked up 4 sacks with one being claimed by MLB Will Witherspoon (6 tackles and a sack). Watch for Witherspoon this year. Like Lofton in Atlanta he will be the glue that binds this defense. Safety Michael Griffin will be the child in the corner drinking the glue and going on a rampage collecting 10 tackles and 2 assists. Panthers 18 @ Giants 31 -- I don't hate the Panthers anymore. I cant. They did exactly what I expected they would. They believed all the hyperbole dumped on Matt Moore last year after having one good game (including numerous comments of the "he looked like a pro bowler" variety). Please explain then the 14/33 for 182 yards, one TD and 3 INTs against a defense not renowned for its ability to shut down the pass last year. Manning did better finishing 20/30 for 263 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. Credit (and in this case blame) where it is due though, at least two of the Giants interceptions I've seen were caused by butter fingered receivers. Nice to see Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs put together 32 carries for a combined 120 yards and a TD. Two Panthers defensive standouts; LB Dan Connor (10 tackles, 3 assists, 1 sack) and James Anderson LB (7 tackles, 2 assists, and an INT). Safety Charles Godfrey gets an honourable mention for his 5 tackles, assist and 2 INTs. For the Giants the defensive highlights are; Antrel Rolle (7 tackles and an assist), Osi Umenyiora (4 tackles, 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) and Mathias Kiwanuka (3 tackles, 1 assist, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble). Lions 14 @ Bears 19 -- This was a legit pick ruined by another of the more stupid rules in the NFL. The Lions left it late, but that catch by Calvin Johnson was good. I don't give a crap about all this "possession through the act of going to the ground" etc. He was on the ground. He had it plain and simple. As he gets up to turn away the ball clips the ground and comes loose. Now what happened to the ground not being able to cause a fumble? Anyway, Matthew Stafford took a big hit from Julius Peppers and will now sit for at least three weeks. Jahvid Best led the Lions on the ground with 14 carries for 20 yards and 2 TDs. Shame that such a talented young kid is not getting the work load he deserves. That's a problem Bears RB Matt Forte doesn't share. Only 17 carries on the ground for 50 yards, but 7 catches produced 151 yards and 2 TDs as the Bears finally found a way to get him the ball without being ploughed over immediately thanks to the Bears suspect O-line. I was surprised to see the Lions create 4 sacks on defense! Without doubt their leader was Kyle Vanden Bosch (10 tackles, 1 assist) supported by Safety Louis Delmas (8 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and Tackle Corey Williams (5 tackles, 1 sack). For the Bears it was Linebackers Lance Briggs (9 tackles, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble) and Brian Urlacher (who I didn't think was going to play; 8 tackles and a sack). Cardinals 17 @ Rams 13 -- Ahhh, again denied by the smallest of margins. Can I just thank the NFL Network once more for their judicious use of time by failing to include the Rams near fumble return for a TD in the highlight package. I guess they were finding more room for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady clips elsewhere in the show. And while I'm at it, the extended highlights featuring the radio commentary from the teams commentators is much better/more fun to watch than the crappy game day highlights. Anyway, back to the game. So you have a rookie QB and you want to nurture the kid, build him and his confidence up slowly right? Well in that case, try not having him throw 55 times in a game. 33 completions is good. 253 yards is good. The TD pass is good (literally). 3 INTs is BAD!! Mark Clayton looks like a peach of a trade for the Rams, costing them a 7th round pick to Baltimore. Clayton finished with 10 catches for 119 yards. Steve Breaston was the star of the show though. The Cardinals WR caught 7 passes for 132 yards (Derek Anderson; 22/41 for 297 yards, 1 TD) and was also the man who came roaring back down the field to strip the ball after a fumble that was nearly returned by Clifton Ryan for a TD. Great all round game. Defensively for the Rams credit goes to Safety O.J. Atogwe (8 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and Linebacker Larry Grant (4 tackles, 2 forced fumbles). For the Cardinals it was corner Greg Toler leading the team in tackles (13 tackles(!!) and a forced fumble) & LB Paris Lenon (7 tackles, 1 assist). Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson may have only clocked 2 tackles, but a sack and two forced fumbles is impressive once more from the Cardinals most under rated defender. Packers 27 @ Eagles 20 -- One mans loss is another mans gain. In this case lots of men lost (to injury) and others gained. Prime among them was Michael Vick, who walked on for the second half after Kevin Kolb went down with a concussion... and promptly blew away those in attendance with some mazy, speedy runs and some beautifully crisp passes. 16/24 for 175 yards and a TD, but he'll be remembered most looking back at this game for his 11 carries for 103 yards. Aaron Rodgers wasn't quite as athletic producing 9 yards off 5 carries, but he did throw 19/31 for 188 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. For the Eagles D it was Trent Cole who predictably topped the charts with 6 tackles and a sack, but look out at the DE spot for Juqua Parker! Parker had 8 sacks last year, only to find out that he had potentially lost his spot to Brandon Graham. That is until Parker went out and produced two sacks against Green Bay last night. LB Clay Matthews stormed for the Packers D with 7 tackles, 2 sacks (of 5 Green Bay sacks on the night) and a forced fumble. 49ers 6 @ Seahawks 31 -- As a 49ers fan I type this with an almost tear in the eye. As an analyst (of sorts) I type this in just utter disbelief. What in the name of god happened? Matt Hasselbeck went 18/23 for 170 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. Alex Smith went 26/45 for 225 yards and 2 INTs. The question that immediately crops up is why is Alex Smith throwing 45 passes. Lay aside my natural bias to the run and just think about it for a second; Mike Singletary has always said he wanted to run the football and play good defense. The Texans ran the ball and played good defense against the Colts (well... they ran the ball at least). The Titans ran the ball and played great defense. The 49ers ran the ball 19 times and played horrible defense. Chris Johnson had 27 carries. Arian Foster had 33. Frank Gore had 17. That is not what I expected out of the 49ers. What was the point in using two first round picks on Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati who both really come alive in the running game, only to not bother running it? Defensively for the 49ers it was Patrick Willis, surprise, surprise, who led the team in tackles with 10. But then on a defense that tackled that badly, it wasn't hard. Seahawks standouts (of sorts) were; Safety Jordan Babineaux (5 tackles, 2 assists, and an INT) & LB Lofa Tatupu (5 tackles, 3 assists). Cowboys 7 @ Redskins 13 -- What the hell? How do you lose to the Redskins! McNabb went 15/32 for 171 yards. Romo put up 31/47 for 282 yards and a TD. That's good numbers from Tony. But what's this? Just 21 carries for the three headed monster that is the Cowboys backfield (95 yards)? And how does Marion Barber get more carries than Tashard Choice? Even Clinton Portis nearly racked up as many carries alone for the Redskins (18 for 63 yards). A truly woeful game, but a bright spot for the Cowboys was the play of their receivers; Miles Austin, Roy Williams & Dez Bryant all looking comfortable going up for catches. And the Cowboys cant really complain about the last second TD wiped off the board. It's just a pity that more holding calls aren't made (and I see at least 5 or 6 holds like that go uncalled, per game, every game). Safety Alan Ball stood out for the Cowboys with 6 tackles and a forced fumble, while LB DeMarcus Ware left the game with an injury after posting 6 tackles and a sack. The Redskins had some serious D going on, with 4 players posting 7 or more tackles. Safety LaRon Landry led in tackles with 13 and 3 assists. LB Rocky McIntosh clocked 8 tackles, 2 assists and a sack, DeAngelo Hall finished with 7 tackles, an assist and a forced fumble (which he then returned 32 yards for the sole Redskins TD), and finally London Fletcher rounds off the group with 7 tackles and 4 assists. Right, that's all of Sundays games in the bag then. Pick wise for this week I am now officially 4-10. I blame this solely on the Texans... because I can. I'll be back probably tomorrow to round up all of Monday Nights action. Till then, Have a great day everyone.