Friday, November 26, 2010

Turducken is Tasty

Three games down from week 12, so let's take a look: New England 45 @ Detroit Lions 24: Credit to the Lions, they hung in there. At one point they held an 11-point lead. But this is still the Lions we're talking about and so the inevitable softness on the back end came through. The reality is that guys like Wes Welker and Deion Branch will eventually expose any weak links, and in this case a huge one appeared; Alphonso Smith. Smith was what might be described as "epically bad". Watching Branch take him to school was simultaneously hilarious and painful to watch ("Hilariful"? "Painious"?). Branch finished with just 3 catches, but for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tom Brady was 21/27 for 341 yards and 4 TDs. Wes Welker caught 8 of those passes for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. And to round off the juggernaut, BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran 12 times for 59 yards and 2 TDs. It was -- quite simply -- a dominating performance on offense. On defense, rookie corner Devin McCourty came up with 2 interceptions and LB Jerod Mayo lead the Pat's D with 8 tackles. For the Lions it started with such promise. A touchdown pass by Shaun Hill (27/46, 285 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT's) to Calvin Johnson (4 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD) was followed by a 1 yard TD leap from RB Maurice Morris (9 carries, 55 yards, 2 TD's). But from there the Lions fizzled out. Morris picked up his second TD in the third quarter, but that was no match for the Patriots 5 second half scores. Rookie DT Ndamukong Suh came up with another sack for his season tally, but the rest of the Lions defense just melted away along with Suh as the game wore on. It's a frustrating thing watching the Lions. They make progress slowly and surely, then seem to slide back down again when they hit a great team like the Patriots. Better luck next year? New Orleans Saints 30 @ Dallas Cowboys 27: This is what I was talking about with the Saints last season. They blew a 17 point lead and were dead in the water with 3:03 on the clock. John Kitna hit Roy Williams for a first down. "Just get as far as you can..." Cowboys fans were thinking "... then slide when the defense closes in. For Gods sake Roy, please slide..... ah f**k it!". He opted instead to make a go for the end zone. At around the 10 yard mark, Malcom Jenkins came up from behind and stripped the football away. The Saints now drove the field and Drew Brees found Lance Moore for the touchdown that sealed the game. The Cowboys did get the ball back and put themselves in position for a 59-yard attempt, but the odds are not good from such a distance. Thus the Saints escaped from the jaws of defeat once more thanks to a bone headed play from their opponents. If Williams took a knee and the Cowboys milked that clock before taking a field goal then it would be all done. But yet again the Saints defied the laws of common sense football and slipped through the thinnest of cracks to victory. I hate the Saints. Drew Brees was 23/39 for 352 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Meanwhile all the pre-game hype about the return of Reggie Bush turned out to be just that as Bush caught one pass for 12 yards, ran once for one yard, and fumbled on a punt return that was then recovered by the Cowboys. Instead it was Chris Ivory who made the biggest impact among the backs, taking 7 carries for 38 yards and 2 TD's. For the Cowboys, John Kitna finished 30/42, for 313 yards and 1 INT. On the ground, despite having three players rush for touchdowns, the Dallas run game was decidedly weak. Miles Austins 60 yard scamper for a touchdown on an end around play put him top of the rushing charts. Neither defense covered itself in glory, though Saints DE Will Smith is notable for his sack, forced fumble, and interception. Probably the most interesting stat though is the Cowboys seven fumbles, even though they only lost two. Talk about butter fingers..... Cincinnati Bengals 10 @ New York Jets 26: Bah ha ha ha ha haaa!! That's what I think of this year when I see the Bengals play. It is truly entering the realms of tragic comedy. Carson Palmer was 17/38 for a mere 135 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT's. The ground game faltered, with Cedric Benson gaining just 41 yards (longest; 14) on 18 carries. Even though rookie Carlos Dunlap finally started to pay back his salary with two sacks, the Bengals defense was generally not very good. Which is lucky for the Jets. They're not a bad team, per se. But they're certainly not the Super Bowl team we keep hearing about from Jets fans/Rex Ryan. Mark Sanchez was 16/28 for 166 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He does not look like a Super Bowl QB right now, which is frustrating in a sense because I've seen Sanchez work some real magic on the field at times. Just... inconsistent. Star of the show? WR Brad Smith, who ran 53 yards for a TD, then later returned a kick off 89 yards for another. Credit to Jets running backs Shonne Greene (18 carries, 70 yards) and LaDanian Tomlinson (13 carries, 49 yards) for playing their part in the win. But it was really all about the Bengals. Their lack of O-line play. The terrible play at quarterback from Carson Palmer. But most critically, the major step backwards their defense has taken since last year. It's little wonder they're now 2-9 compared to the Jets 9-2 (oddly enough, this was a stat shared by the 2-9 Lions and the 9-2 Patriots). So, three games gone. I'm 2-1 pick wise to start week 12. I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of my selections for the coming week, but till then, spread the love around (just not to the Saints) and... Have a great day everyone.

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