Monday, September 17, 2007


Best win
Browns 51 - Bengals 45
Absolutely ridiculous game. The Browns offense looks from hunger one week, and the next they hang half a hundred on one of the favorites in the AFC. Jamal Lewis looked his old, decisive self going off for 7.7 yards per carry, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow looked explosive, and Derek Anderson has reigned in the starting job at least until the bye week. Great news for the team, who won't feel a need to start Brady Quinn before he's ready. Winslow had microfracture surgery two years, Oden should go to his doctor. The Bengals defense didn't look great last week either, the six turnovers notwithstanding. They don't seem to be missing Chris Henry that much; the bigger loss was Chris Perry. Rudi Johnson needs someone to share the carries before they wear him out.
Game ball: Jamal Lewis. 28 carries, 215 yards, (most by a Browns back since Jim Brown in 1963) 1 TD
Goat: Leon Hall. Burned for at least 3 TDs, carried by Cribbs during his 85 yd KO return, and ate one nasty JLew stiff arm

Worst loss
Buccaneers 31 - Saints 14
The Saints drop to 0-2 and show that the preseason continues to be completely meaningless. Bush's lofty draft status makes Sean Payton feed him the ball, but Deuce McAllister has only 23 touches in two games - the fewest he has last year in a two game span was 25 surrounding the bye. The Saints need a third WR, or rather a second to push Devery Henderson (0 catches) to third. Great job of Garcia hitting his receivers in stride and poor tackling and positioning by the Saints secondary. The receiver drafted before Joey Galloway in 1994 was Michael Westbrook, the one after was J.J. Stokes. Coincidentally, Westbrook was the bouncer at the club Galloway went to after the win, Stokes the bathroom attendant. Cadillac Williams scored his first TD since week 3 last year. The Bucs averaged an eye popping 15.2 yards a completion and 24.3 yards a catch.
Game ball: Joey Galloway. 4 catches, 135 yards, 2 TDs
Goat: David Patten. Didn't tackle Cato June after giving up on a pattern and allowing a pick, 2 receptions on 7 passes thrown his way (although he took one for 58 yards, when it was 28-0)

Worst win
Ravens 20 - Jets 13
After going up three scores to start the 4th quarter, the Ravens passed 5 out of the next 9 plays, picking up one first down and running about four minutes off the clock in two drives. Ravens DE Trevor Pryce broke his wrist and figures to miss 3-5 weeks, a huge loss although the Ravens have a soft schedule over that span. Baltimore had 11 penalties this week, 10 last week. The Ravens' young offensive line looked much better at home, as Boller went virtually untouched. Boller looked as calm in the red zone as I've ever seen him, and I've seen virtually every snap he's ever taken. No controversy yet but if McNair struggles there will be. Kellen Clemens looked terrific against the NFLs best defense and has probably touched off a quarterback controversy in New York. First rounder Darrelle Revis looked much better after being torched by Moss last week. I haven't heard how bad Justin Miller was hurt but that would be a huge loss to their special teams, but not their defense. The Jets and the Saints are the only teams in the league without a sack.
Game ball: Marshall Yanda. In his first start, the rookie out of Iowa held Shaun Ellis to 3 tackles and no pressures, and opened holes for McGahee on the right side
Goat: Justin McCareins had two huge drops on the last drive, both looked to be because he didn't want to be hit

Best Loss
Jaguars 13 - Falcons 7
The Falcons' young defense will keep them in games if their offense would give them anything. But Joey Harrington is just a caretaker, Warrick Dunn is just keeping the tread on Jerious Norwood's tires until they can compete, and Roddy White is showing he belongs in this league. David Garrard looks like the right decision at QB, and it looks like this team plugged the holes in their rush defense, (82 rushing yards allowed) but they've got to put away teams like the Falcons earlier if they want to be a playoff team in the AFC. 11 penalties by the Jags (4 last week).
Game ball: Mike Peterson. 7 tackles, 2 sacks
Goat: Matt Prater was 0 for 2, missing field goals from 43 and 26, the difference in the game

Best story in win
49ers 17 - Rams 16
Frank Gore's mom passed away last Wednesday, but he played huge carrying the Niners to 2-0, against 2 divisional opponents by a total of 3 points. Brian Baldinger noted he "would have wanted his mother to play." Alex Smith hasn't looked great this season, but is it him or his lack of receivers? Rams 1st rounder Adam Carriker has been invisible after a huge preseason. Stephen Jackson has looked invisible after no preseason. The Rams are 0-2 after 2 home games against NFC opponents.
Game ball: Frank Gore. 20 carries, 81 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches, 4 yards
Goat: Dante Hall. 3 punt returns for 8 yards, 3 kickoff returns for 54 yards, huge 4th quarter muff with 10 minutes left that set up game winning field goal

Best story in loss
Steelers 26 - Bills 3
As more and more positive developments surround Kevin Everett's recovery, the Bills didn't look ready to play the Steelers, who look dominant after two weeks. Looking at their schedule, the Bills could easily start 0-12. Ashton Youboty looked capable in his first start, but whoever he covered probably made fun of his name. The Steelers look like a complete team after two blowout victories, against a Bills team that should have beat Denver and a Browns team that did beat Cincinnati. LaMarr Woodley is in the mix for defensive ROY.
Game ball: Willie Parker. 23 carries, 126 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches, 7 yards
Goat: Lee Evans. 2 catches, 17 yards, thrown to 7 times, 3 penalties for 40 yards

Best surprise 2-0 team in the AFC
Texans 34 - Panthers 21
After the Texans fell behind 14-0 to Steve Smith, you figured Houston was about to get throttled on the road. Not so fast, my friend. Andre Johnson answered with two scores of his own, but then left with a sprained PCL in the 4th quarter after the game was well in hand. Amobi Okoye, invisible and criticized in the preseason, had two sacks. I thought their Ahman Green singing was ludicrous but he's been key. If you haven't seen Steve Smith's 3rd TD you need to; it was Barry Sandersesque. How does the Panthers D line not register a sack against the Texans? Because Matt Schaub might have the quickest release in the NFL.
Game ball: Andre Johnson. 7 catches, 120 yards, 2 TDs
Goat: Nick Goings. 5 kickoff returns, 101 yards, fumbled kickoff early in the third quarter, leading to second Texans TD in 17 seconds.

Best surprise 2-0 team in the NFC
Packers 35 - Giants 13
The Packers wore out the Giants yesterday to move to 2-0 at home against 2 NFC East teams. Favre set the most underrated record in sports, most wins by a QB, with 149. Anytime you pass Marino (147) and Elway (148) at anything it's noteworthy. (Tarkenton is now 4th, Unitas 5th) But this team is more than just Favre. They've got a number of guys on defense who would start almost anywhere, most notable Aaron Kampman, who had 15.5 sacks last year. If the Giants lose next week at Washington they might as well shut it down for the season. They've got injuries all over, Coughlin has zero chance of being the coach next year, and it was a flawed team to begin with. They were reportedly trying to trade for a new left tackle two weeks ago!
Game ball: Brett Favre. 29 for 38, 286 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int, 2 kneel downs
Goat: Jeremy Shockey. Foolish spike to draw an unsportmanlike when it was 7-7. I think he wants to be a star more than he wants to be an elite tight end.

Worst 2-0 team in the AFC
Broncos 23 - Raiders 20
The Broncos have won two straight games on walkoff field goals. It appeared that the Raiders won on a 52 yard overtime field goal until referees granted a Shanahan timeout; Janikowski missed the next attempt. Travis Henry leads the NFL in rushing, Javon Walker leads in catches and is sixth in receiving yards. Champ Bailey and Dre Bly both had picks, and compared to the Lions secondary the Raiders played last week you can appreciate their dominance. Lamont Jordan is back after a subpar 2006. An optimist would be happy with the Raiders play this year; they've been competitive and probably weren't going to compete for the playoffs anyway. But it's hard to lose two straight games like they've lost.
Game ball: Champ Bailey. 4 tackles (3 on running plays), 1 Int, no catches allowed
Goat: Sebastian Janikowski. Million dollar leg, two cent head

Worst 2-0 team in the NFC
Lions 20 - Vikings 17
The Lions have won two nail biters against teams with no passing games, perfect matchups for Detroit's shoddy secondary. Jon Kitna is a gamer; he suffers a concussion, begs his way back in the game, and then catches his own pass and gets hit like Cap Rooney in Any Given Sunday on the game winning drive. Calvin Johnson is on pace for 64 catches, 1048 yards, and 16 TDs. Detroit managed 359 yards against a good defense. Adrian Peterson didn't look as dominant as last week, but still managed over 100 total yards. He was the #7 pick, just like Troy Williamson, who disappears for months at a time. Travaris Jackson was brutal with four picks.
Game ball: Jon Kitna. 22 for 33, 245 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int, 3 carries, 13 yards, 1 catch, 9 yards
Goat: Travaris Jackson. 17 for 33, 166 yards, 4 Ints, 5 carries, 15 yards, 1 TD

Most glaring weakness
Colts 22 - Titans 20
Someone needs to get Vince Young some help. Brandon Jones had a huge drop with 15 seconds left on 3rd down, and Tennessee running backs had a total of one catch in a battle for 1st place (tied with the Texans) in the AFC South, which I dubbed a month ago the best division in football. Chris Brown came back to reality with 34 rushing yards on 12 carries, as LenDale White led the team with 64 yards on 15 carries. Roydell Williams had a nice game. Is Bob Sanders the frontrunner for Defensive MVP? The Titans had about half as many rushing yards as they had last week. Addai is going to finish the season as the number one fantasy player, which is why I told people to draft him as high as 3rd (behind LT and Jackson).
Game ball: Bob Sanders. 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Goat: Brandon Jones. Big drop, although he had a decent game otherwise with 5 catches, 57 yards

Best coaching
Arizona 23 - Seattle 20
After the Cardinals blew a 17-0 lead, they must have had flashbacks to numerous times when they just couldn't finish off opponents. But they put together a five minute drive after Seattle went ahead in the 4th quarter and Darnell Dockett recovered a huge fumbled snap after the two minute warning. Leinart was much improved over last week, and Edgerrin James has holes to run through. Lofa Tatupu was the best player on the field with 12 tackles and a pick. Deion Branch had a huge game, but I suspect they forced him the ball after having zero catches last week.
Game ball: Neil Rackers. 3/4 on field goals, including a game tying 52 yarder with 4:44 left and missing a 53 yarder, 2/2 on extra points, 4 touchbacks, 2 kick returns allowed. 1 was because an unnecessary roughness penalty made him kick off from the 15, the other was a squib with no time left and Seattle lateraled, still stopped at their 25
Goat: Matt Hasselbeck. 22 of 36, 281 yards, 1 TD, 2 carries, 6 yards, 1 big fumble

Best team in the AFC
Patriots 38 - Chargers 14
One day the Patriots are supposedly distracted, taking shots from the team they held on to beat on the playoffs, the Chargers looking to go 2-0 against Super Bowl favorites. The next the Chargers have to answer questions about why their superstar is last in the NFL in yards per carry. If the Patriots play like they did last night, no one in the NFL can beat them. Rosevelt Colvin has gotten better every year since a broken leg sidelined him in 2003. Randy Moss could be on his way to a historic season after missing not only the preseason but basically all of training camp. The Chargers offensive line, Pro Bowler Marcus McNeil in particular, look nowhere near the unit they were last year. Rivers clearly isn't getting the same time to throw, and Tomlinson isn't seeing the same holes.
Game ball: Rosevelt Colvin. 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 Int
Goat: Marcus McNeil. Owned by Colvin, failed to get the push for a crucial first down on 3rd and 1.

Best Team in the NFC
Cowboys 37 - Dolphins 20
It's easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback, so to speak, but the Cowboys should have locked Romo up during the offseason. Now they may have to franchise him, for which they would have to blow up the team. Marion Barber, III 89 yards on 14 carries; Julius Jones 32 yards on 15 carries. I know a lot of teams like to have two backs split carries, but Barber is a better runner, receiver, and blocker and Jones. Corner Anthony Henry seems to be feast or famine every week. This week was feast. Trent Green's play has dropped off each of the last 3 years. They don't need to rush John Beck, but I think they need to give Cleo Lemon a look. I was wrong about Ronnie Brown, I thought he'd turn in a decent year but he's on pace for 500 yards for the season on 3.0 yards per carry.
Game ball: Anthony Henry. 2 tackles, 2 Int, 2 catches allowed, 1 onside recovery
Goat: Trent Green. 23 of 40, 287 yards, 2 TDs, 4 Ints, 5 carries, 9 yards

Worst team in the NFL
Bears 20 - Chiefs 10
If you drafted Larry Johnson on your fantasy team, my condolences. They know this is going to be a rebuilding year in Kansas City, so in hindsight maybe they should have traded Johnson for whatever they could get, which was reportedly a 1st round pick from the Packers. It's so hard to watch Rex Grossman, because every snap is an adventure. Benson went over 100 after being shut down last week. Chicago is trying to work Devin Hester into the passing game but he was held without a catch.
Game ball: Devin Hester. 5 punt returns, 143 yards, 1 TD, 2 kickoff returns, 29 yards, 1 TD nullified by penalty
Goat: Dustin Colquitt. 8 punts for 346 yards, good 43.3 average, but gave Hester 5 returns

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