Monday, September 24, 2007


America's team
Packers 31 - Chargers 24
How can you not be rooting for the Green Bay Packers? If Green Bay is playing meaningful games in December expect to see them on Sunday Night every week with the flexible schedule. The Packers are 3-0 despite being last in the NFL in rushing with 57 yards a game. 47 pass attempts, 13 rush attempts yesterday. They're in the middle of the road in offense and defense, but they're tied for 5th in the NFL with a +2 turnover margin. Peter King and the ESPN heads are saying the Chargers running more, but Rivers opened up 15 of 15 - maybe they should be rushing less. San Diego is 1-2, but they've lost to two good teams and are in a weak division, there's still plenty of time to right the ship.
Game ball: Brett Favre. 28 of 45, 369 yards, 3 TDs (record tying 420 for career), 2 carries 1 yard
Don't put the loss on: Philip Rivers. 27 of 36, 306 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int, 1 carry, -1 yard

Best win
Eagles 56 - Lion 21
The Eagles dispatched of the flukish 2-0 Lions, going up 35-7 after 20 minutes. Kevin Curtis was getting open, which no Philly receiver has done this year, against the perennially porous Lions secondary. Curtis and Brian Westbrook became the first teammates to score 3 TDs a piece in a half, and Westbrook was two receiving yards from going 100 rushing and receiving in the first half. McNabb turned back the clock a year in the first half, going for over 300 yards and 4 TDs. Am I the only one who kind of liked the throwbacks? The Lions are third in the NFL in offense, 29th in rushing. They're 1st in passing by 44 yards a game, an absurd margin. The Calvin Johnson injury looked innocuous, but anytime you're dealing with a back injury anything could happen.
Game ball: Donovan McNabb. 21 of 26, 381 yards, 4 TDs, 3 carries, 7 yards
Don't put the loss on: Roy Williams. 9 catches, 201 yards, 1 TD

Worst loss
Patriots 38 - Bills 7
What a tough loss for Buffalo: J.P. Losman out at least 2 weeks, Paul Posluszny out for the year. There is no silver lining on this season for the Bills, maybe Glenn Dorsey in the draft. This game wasn't as close as the final score indicated: New England was stopped a yard short of first down and Tom Brady fumbled at the Buffalo 1 yard line. The Pats have scored 38 points in every game, and Randy Moss and Brady are on pace to break every single receiving and passing single season record except most receptions.
Game ball: Tom Brady. 23 of 29, 311 yards, 4 TDs, 1 carry, 2 yards
Don't put the loss on: Brian Moorman. 7 punts, 49.0 yard average, including 75 yarder from own 1, 2 times inside 20, no touchback

Worst win
Panthers 27 - Falcons 20
Jake Delhomme was off to a fantastic start this season with 3 TDs in each of the first two games, but left with an injury to his throwing elbow. Steve Smith was held to 1 catch for 10 yards, but goaded DeAngelo Hall into 67 penalty yards on a game tying 3rd quarter drive. Profootballtalk is reporting that he got beat up in the locker room after the game. The Falcons scored 10 points total their first 2 games, 20 against Carolina. Is it all Morten Anderson? Maybe. Joey Harrington had one the best games of his career, but they need to rush the ball more: 45 passing plays, 19 rushing plays.
Game ball: DeShaun Foster. 20 carries, 122 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch, 13 yards, 1 TD
Don't put the loss on: Roddy White. 7 catches, 127 yards, (on pace for 1264) 1 TD

Best loss
Jets 31 - Dolphins 28
Miami - 424 yards of offense, New York - 256. Miami gave up a kick return TD and a TD with 0:02 left in the first half, otherwise they would have won this game. But Miami isn't going anywhere this year and is probably better served with a top ten pick. Ted Ginn, Jr. had his first catch, and Jason Taylor lined up as a Z receiver, drawing a key PI call in the end zone. I still think Ronnie Brown is an elite back. Chad Pennington is near the bottom of the league in yards per completion, but he's second to Brady in passer rating. Thomas Jones had 110 yards rushing, 109 in his first 2 games. Jerricho Cotchery and Laveraneous Coles are one of the top 5 receiving duos in the league.
Game ball: Leon Washington. 2 kick returns, 111 yards, 1 TD, 7 carries, 18 yards
Don't put the loss on: Ronnie Brown. 23 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD, 6 catches, 99 yards, 1 TD

Best example of karma
Raiders 26 - Browns 24
Best ending of the day: Phil Dawson lines up for the game winner, and Lane Kiffin calls a TO right before he kicks the game winner. The next kick is blocked and the Raiders get in the win column. Cowboys fans have to be happy about the way this turned out. Josh McCown could barely walk, and Culpepper came and was similarly efficient. Lamont Jordan is a good player, in the offseason I was hoping my Ravens would trade for him instead of McGahee. Jamal Lewis and Derek Anderson really came back to Earth in this one. Kamerion Wimbley is a stud; he's the best player on this team by a mile.
Game ball: Lamont Jordan. 29 carries, 121 yards, 1 TD, 2 catches, 32 yards
Don't put the loss on: Kamerion Wimbley. 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Most conservative
Giants 24 - Redskins 17
The Redskins fell apart in the second half, with 30 yards in the first 28 minutes. They went down the field on their last drive, but two bizarre spikes killed their chances, with 0:25 left on their 4th down play. Clinton Portis stayed on the bench for the last series; Ladell Betts is a premier backup but isn't the blocker or receiver that Portis is. The Redskins match up poorly with teams whose Achilles' is their secondary - next up for the Skins are the Lions, another such team. Cornelius Griffin left the game in the 3rd quarter; teams run the ball at will when Griffin is out of the lineup. On the game winning TD, Carlos Rogers has got to make that tackle on Plaxico Burress. The Giants really aren't missing Tiki Barber, or Jacobs for that matter. Derrick Ward has 360 total yards on the year. Say what you will about Eli Manning - he's not affected by the criticism, crucial for playing in New York.
Game ball: Mathias Kiwanuka. 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Don't put the loss on: London Fletcher. 10 tackles, 1 fumble recovery

Least conservative
Jaguars 23 - Broncos 14
The Broncos got stuffed on 4th and 1 down 20-7 late in the third after using their 3rd timeout, then went for it again on 4th and 5 from their own 9 with over four minutes left down 20-14. I would take Jay Cutler over Matt Leinart if I had the choice; I'd take country over Hollywood. Jacksonville gets destroyed by the Titans on the ground, then shuts down Denver (Travis Henry: 11 carries, 35 yards, 1 TD)? Guess they plugged the holes. David Garrard/Byron Leftwich reminds me of Doug Flutie/Rob Johnson from about 8 or 9 years ago. Garrard is a better game manager. Maurice Jones-Drew went way too high in fantasy drafts. He'll be lucky to have half of his 16 TDs from last year this year.
Game ball: David Garrard. 14 of 20, 154 yards, 1 TD, 12 carries, 52 yards
Don't put the loss on: Brandon Marshall. 7 catches, 133 yards

Most quarterbacks
Ravens 26 - Cardinals 23
The Ravens jumped all over Arizona, dominating offense, defense, and special teams, going up 20-3 at the half on huge return from Yamon Figurs. Matt Leinart looked like a deer in headlights against the Ravens defense, and then Kurt Warner comes in and looks automatic. Warner attacked Corey Ivy, starting for a sick Samari Rolle. I've heard rumblings that Rolle might be seriously ill. Antrel Rolle lost his starting job, he had 87 tackles and 1 Int last year. Chris McAlister was on Larry Fitzgerald most of the game, he had 5 catches for 85 yards. Anquan Boldin has 14 catches, 181 yards, 2 TDs. Steve McNair was playing at less than 100%, and left the game when his groin tightened up on him. Kyle Boller (8 of 10, 83 yards) had the game winning drive.
Game ball: Yamon Figurs. 2 punt returns, 75 yards, 1 TD, 2 kick returns, 64 yards
Don't put the loss on: Anquan Boldin. 14 catches, 181 yards, 2 TDs

Biggest complainer
Steelers 37 - 49ers 16
Vernon Davis barked about not getting the ball enough during the week, with 4 catches in the first 2 games. He was targeted early and often Sunday, with 4 catches on 8 passes his way, with 2 drops. Frank Gore has got to get more than 16 touches. Taylor Jacobs scored his 1st TD since November 2, 2003. The Steelers don't play the Ravens until week 9, they've got a great chance to be 7-0 at that point. Willie Parker leads the NFL in rushing. Hines Ward limped off the field in the 3rd quarter; all those flattening blocks he's issued over the years are starting to catch up with him.
Game ball: Willie Parker. 24 carries, 133 yards, 1 catch, 9 yards
Don't put the loss on: Marques Douglas. 8 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 2 tackles for loss

Best point spread
Colts 30 - Texans 24
How about some love for Vegas nailing the 6 point line? The Texans are another team people should be rooting for, but they have an uphill road in the ridiculous AFC South. Ahman Green and Jacoby Jones both left the game with injuries, but Houston managed to stay in it until the end. Two incredible highlight reel plays from this game: the opening kickoff return by Jerome Mathis, where he stopped and started on a dime, and the TD flip by Joseph Addai, who is having a monster fantasy year.
Game ball: Joseph Addai. 22 carries, 72 yards, 2 TDs, 3 catches, 19 yards
Don't put the loss on; DeMeco Ryans. 13 tackles, all short of first downs

Worst quarterback
Dallas 34 - Bears 10
Dallas receivers had about 8 drops, including 2 big ones by Patrick Crayton, who needs to be benched as badly as Rex Grossman. Sam Hurd should start over Crayton, and of course Marion Barber, III over Julius Jones. But besides depth at receiver the Cowboys look like the most complete team in the NFC, especially when Terence Newman comes back. In the meantime, Anthony Henry has 4 picks in 2 games. The Bears are way too reliant on Devin Hester to make a play; it's too easy to take him out of the game. Just don't kick it to him. Grossman now has 33 turnovers in his last 17 games. The rest of the team deserves better.
Game ball: Tony Romo. 22 of 35, 329 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int

Least consistent team
Seahawks 24 - Bengals 21
Week 1 they destroy Tampa, week 2 they lose to the Cardinals, so week 3 they eek out a win against the Bengals? If Matt Hasselbeck ever had some receivers to throw to, he'd have 35 TDs. Deion Branch is a nice player who asked for more catches, but Nate Burleson is way too inconsistent and Bobby Engram can't get any separation. Shaun Alexander shows no effects from last year's foot injury. Carson Palmer looked a little bit off all day. The Bengals could easily be 0-3, but could just as easily be 3-0. Now they host New England next week and will probably drop to 1-3 going into their bye.

Best rookie
Chiefs 13 - Vikings 10
Adrian Peterson went over 100 yards rushing and 150 total yards for the 2nd time in 3 games. Call me crazy, but he's already one of the top five backs in the NFL. Unfortunately, they have nothing at receiver. They should have signed Reche Caldwell to give them a veteran presence. They've got a nice nucleus besides that. Last year's first rounder Chad Greenway had another strong performance with 8 tackles and a fumble recovery. Jared Allen was suspended the first two games after multiple DUIs and had two sacks. He's a free agent this offseason and it will be interesting how pursued he is. Damon Huard will hold onto his job for another week with a solid performance, although he did lose a fumble. Dwayne Bowe has a TD in 2 straight.
Game ball: Jared Allen. 8 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble that was reversed, a forced fumble on the next play
Don't put the loss on: Adrian Peterson. 25 carries, 102 yards, 1 TD, a fumble that was reversed, a fumble on the next play, 3 catches, 48 yards

Boringest game
Buccaneers 24 - Rams 3
Both teams combined for 267 yards passing in a snoozer. What the hell is going on with Mark Bulger? Negative TD/Int ratio, less than 6 yards a pass... St. Louis has got to be rethinking that $30 million signing bonus. Jeff Garcia looks like a bargain, as Gruden's job looks more and more secure. Tampa has the hardest stretch of their schedule coming up: road dates at Carolina and Indy, home versus the Titan, at Detroit, then Jags at home. So we'll know if they're for real next month.
Game ball: Barrett Ruud. 11 tackles, 1 Int
Don't put the loss on: Stephen Jackson. 30 carries, 115 yards, 4 catches, 18 yards

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