What a great weekend of football! I can honestly say I don't think I've enjoyed football as much as I did this week. Some great games and some crazy results.
I'm surprised how well the Titans did against the Saints and credit to Jake Locker who nearly came back and one that thing. Washington taking New England to the limit was pretty crazy. The Redskins are a tough team to figure out right now. Some better tackling and they'd be in much better shape going into the final few weeks of the season.
The Cowboys/Giants game on Sunday night was great, but you have to feel a little sorry for Tony Romo for a change. There were plays near the end when it should have been wrapped up, but drops gave New York a way back into it.
Speaking of drops and bad plays, congratulations to Tampa Bay for practially handing that game back over to Jacksonville. That was stinker.
And more drops plagued the Broncos and Tim Tebow this week. At one point Tebow was something like 4/15, despite hitting multiple receivers in the hands. Still, he kept it together and put together some great late/overtime drives, helped by another drop, this time Bears running back Marion Barber coughing it up on a run. The one thing that people over look about Tebow is how rare it is for him to turn the ball over, which avoids putting the defense in tough spots. I think the Broncos should get themselves a sure handed receiver or two as a priority this off season, as everything else seems to be working quite well. A new receivers coach would help too!
And I clap my hands to John Skelton of the Cardinals. I still have no idea how he does it, but does it he does. If you see what I mean? 4-1 in his appearances now with the Cardinals. A lot of people appear surprised by the 49ers loss, but I've trying to say for weeks now that we're basically in the same boat as the Bronocs; great defense, so-so offense. Our receivers are fine, but Alex Smith still struggles. It's basically the opposite offensive problem that the Broncos have.
But really the result of the week had to be the Falcons come back against the Panthers. They were getting slaughtered at one point, until they managed to bring it back from the dead, with a few helpful turnovers from Cam Newton.
And it's with Cam that I want to stay for a while.
If you cast your mind back pre-draft, a lot of the issues people were having with Newton centered around the whole "entertainer and an Icon" type statements that he'd made. A big worry, for me included, was that Newton would become a "me first" person in the NFL, instead of a "we first" person who put the team ahead of his personal gain and fame.
The Superman touchdown celebrations aside, Cam has been very careful this season to avoid anything that would appear, overtly or otherwise, to be selfish or unteamwork(?) like. He's been a good soldier on and off the field for Carolina this year. Until he gave an interview with ESPN that is. I'll link it here, and then again at the end.
Now there's some good and some bad so in the interest of balance we bring up both.
The start is good. When asked about his critics he explains that he doesn't have time to worry about them and that when people say that he can't do something he doesn't care, he'll give it a go anyway. That's all positive and certainly for someone who's been under as much scrutiny as he has, that's exactly the right attitude to assume. It doesn't do him any good to dwell on the negative opinions out there.
But then it starts to go downhill. Lions and safari's aside, Cam in a round about kind of way basically says that the Panthers organisation have a losing attitude. I'm not sure the comments about having to turn it around or leave the house went down well either. I'd imagine though the knife that will stick in the backs of some of his team mates is the comment about "trying to get everyone on my level."
Don't get me wrong, Cam has surpassed my expectations of what he would be capable of in the NFL. He's having a pretty good rookie year. However, I think it's a rather audacious claim to say that he's automatically above the rest of the team in performance. He's thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, and been sacked 30 times now for the loss of 221 yards, along with 5 fumbles. The 13 rushing touchdowns certainly weight heavily back in his favour. But his red zone performance has been lacking, with a completion percentage that drops below 40%
He's still playing well, but to claim you're on a level above everyone else is quite something, especially as it's fairly obvious that the talents of Steve Smith, especially when it comes to catching under thrown jump balls, have had a huge influence on his passing numbers.
He goes on to explain that sometimes he'll see team mates, after they've made a bad play, shake it off and say something like "it's ok, we'll get it the next time", compared to himself where he feels like he's more annoyed with his bad plays, the insinutation being that he cares more.
Well personally I find that hard to buy. I've seen Cam throw picks and take sacks, then walk off the field with a huge smile on his face. That then strikes me as being somewhat hypocritical to accuse others of not caring, or at least not showing that they care, when their quarterback has displayed a similar attribute.
It does end on a good note though, talking about preparation over luck, which is critical to any high level athlete. He at least seems to be well aware of the heavy demands that are expected of a quarterback to prepare for each game.
All in all, some good, some bad. I worry though about that attitude of being the best guy on the team and if everyone else could just lift their game up to his level then everything would be fine. I can't imagine there's many people sitting in that Panthers locker room, especially after Sunday's game where he threw an incredibly silly pick, who would agree that if everyone could just play like Cam then all will be well.
Again, you can watch the interview here, though I warn you that sometimes the picture glitches out, although the audio is usually fine.
Pick wise, first off I just noticed that I labelled my week 14 picks as being week 13. Consistency fail. It was indeed week 14 and I ended up 11-4 for the week, which puts my season tally up to 136-75. I suddenly love picking games again!