Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NFL Thoughts: Week 9

I sure hope this game was a sign of the Pats demise. Wishful thinking on my part. Right now the Colts are just better and for once the Patriots didn't have the weather on their side. New England can fans can relax though. The Patriots will cruise through the second half of their schedule. They play the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets each twice; as well as Tampa Bay and New Orleans. I think they will win 6 of those to finish at the very least 10-6. They will probably face the Colt's again in the playoffs (this time in Indy) and then we'll truly see if Manning and co. can throw the monkey off their backs and beat the hell out of him.....ahem....lets move on.

-I liked that Manning took the underneath routes that he's always had against the Patriots (but usually passed up for riskier deep routes) and was patient. Other than the first series bomb that worked, the longer pass plays were successful after the Colts had set the Pats up perfectly. James wasn't great tonight but he was consistent enough to keep New England honest. This game was probably a let-down for many who had anticipated a closer score but for a Patriot hater it was right up my alley. I want no part of Tom Brady in the 4th quarter and a tight game. I'm kinda chicken that way.

- By the way are there two bigger geeks in the league than Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick? I just watched post-game interviews with both and believe me, if these guys are not in sports, there's not a chance in hell they are scoring a date with the ladies. Belichick just creeps you out...almost like a serial killer (seriously, if this was a guy that lived down your street and one day the cops showed up and pulled up a backyard full of bodies, would you be surprised? Would you say, "oh no it couldn't be him, he's not the type"? Didn't think so) ---and Manning's just....well...goofy. How do you explain goofy? You just know it when you see it. If you saw the "inside/out" interview segment of Manning that was played during the game, you know what I mean. There's nothing goofy about the way he plays though (other than his incessant checks and movement at the line of scrimmage), and he is a coach's dream and a receiver's best friend.

Back to Sunday's games:

San Diego seems like they should be one of the better teams in the league. If that's true why can't they start blowing teams out like they did with the Patriots? There is no way the Jets should have been able to make the game that close. If they can avoid "Marty ball" (play not to lose instead of play to win) which seems to plague them in the 4th quarter of games they might actually be dangerous.

-For the Jets it should be obvious by now that Vinny is not saving their season. I think it was a good move to sign him--but only to give depth to the backup position. Bollinger ought to be playing even if he plays horrible. Which he will. But at least he'll play horrible with a bit more scrappiness.

I think the Falcons are for real. Pretenders usually lose games like this. I love that Vick is upset that enough people (raised hand here) don't give him enough credit for his passing skills. He's going to need that chip on his shoulder to put together a few more days like the one he had against the Fish. Because unless he does it on a consistent basis he's going to keep hearing the jabs about his throwing skills. Speaking of their passing game, the Falcons tight end, Crumpler, makes some great catches doesn't he? He's a huge target and has soft hands. Just don't tell him his butt is big. He hates that.

-Also I heard one of the tv guys say that Falcon's coach Jim Mora had given up that great pre-game ritual of taking a whiff of the smelling salts with his players. He didn't want to give kids the wrong idea. This got me to thinking. Does Jim pull this ritual out at home before important activities? --- "honey, I'm feeling frisky tonight....where's the smelling salts?"

--What can I say about Miami. I like their team, I really do. Decent defense, some nice options on offense, a coach with a cool name....If only they could trade for Brett Favre....wait T.O. already called "dibs" on that didn't he?

I'll join in on the love parade for Vermeil's decision to give the ball to Larry Johnson at the end of the game. I know Schottenheimer, Herm Edwards, and a few other frugal coaches would not have had the guts to make this call.

I turned the channel to this game only once. Joey Harrington was in the process of underthrowing a receiver by 4 yards. The receiver was a only doing a 10 yard route. Nice to see things don't change in Detroit.

-I never thought after last season that Brad Johnson playing QB for the Vikings again would be a good thing. Even had Culpepper not gotten hurt I'm not sure he would have turned his season around. He seems to play well only on even-numbered years.

It doesn't say much for your team when your best player for the season is your kicker. Neil Rackers is 26/26 on field goals. Nice leg. Warner is still auditioning for a part in that little comedy called "washed up and I haven't realized it yet". Mcown should be starting every game from now on so they can evaluate whether they should go after a QB in the draft, trade, or free agency when the season mercifully ends for them.

- The Seahawks are sadly putting my Rams in their rearview mirror with every passing week. Alexander had another big day with 173 yards and he should be getting some MVP love if he and Seattle keep it up. Hasselbeck is avoiding stupid turnovers that have plagued him in the past and their receivers are hanging onto the ball. As Vince Lombardi would say, "what in the hell is going on out here?" I hope they show their old form next week when St. Louis comes to town.

Fred Taylor's career is a big "what if". I feel bad for the guy. He just can't stay healthy. When he has his legs he's a top-tier running back. - The Jags need a little more consistency. Their defense is good and they play hard but hardly ever look great doing it. Then again the Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2000 with the same formula.

Speaking of the Ravens...
Baltimore is happy to have Kyle Boller back next week. Cue the confetti. That tells you a lot about their season doesn't it?

Here's something that should make Cincinnati fans feel good about the future for their team. They are beating bad teams. Not all talented teams do this. They have had a decent team the past couple of years, but they lost quite a few games to teams that weren't very good. They are a year away from seriously threatening for the AFC crown but this is a team on the rise.

Everyone is harping on the Giants for not looking good against San Fran. Washington looked like Super Bowl champs against the 49ers but looked like chumps against the Giants. What does that tell us? Not much. Let's see how the Giants look against the Eagles, Cowboys, and Seahawks before we pronounce them over-rated.

-Besides, other than getting shalacked against the Eagles and Skins, San Francisco has played teams pretty tough. They aren't laying down like some other teams with their level of talent.

Reuben Droughns got into some trouble with the law and then gave some trouble to the Titans (116 yards). Nice game but it's hard to feel good for a guy that just got a DUI. After all, that could be you and your family someday on the other side of the road. He seems like a nice guy though and hopefully won't repeat his mistake. Everyone needs a second chance (sit down T.O. supporters, I said second not 17th).

Don't look now but the Bears are running away with their division. And children shield your eyes, Aaron Brooks is in the building.

I thought the Pack would have a chance in this one without Bettis and Roethlisberger playing for Pittsburgh. -- I'm guessing even with a tough season so far, Brett Favre's not home thinking "we would be undefeated if we only had Terrell Owens."

I think a banged up McNabb is the difference for the Eagles this year. They've been exposed in some other areas but Donovan just doesn't look very healthy or very good.

The Panthers have got some nice headliners in their organization. Steve Smith and his continual dominance at the receiver position ranks just a hair below their cheerleaders who have given new meaning to the phrase, "dirty bathroom". The way the Panthers dominated the Bucs in every part of the game was pretty impressive. When they started 1-2 for the season it seemed all the pre-season hype was a bit overrated. Now it looks like they are headed in the opposite direction of Tampa Bay.

--Where did the Buc's running back Cadillac Williams disappear to? I know he's already had injury problems but either that line isn't opening up holes anymore or he's still hurting. He's got too many moves and too much speed to be bottled up the way he has been. I tell you what though, I know I'm weird this way but I love to see Gruden's mug when he's ticked. I'm not sure which is better comedy; Gruden's "Chucky" face or Bill Cowher's "get near me and you get a logie hocked on you" scowl.


Zachary Geballe said...

Wait a second...you're a Rams fan? I don't know if we can be blog-friends anymore...unless we beat you this week.

Greg said...

"We would be undefeated if we only had Terrell Owens."


David Arnott said...

Re: Pats/Colts... I'm convinced the reason the Pats didn't look so hot against the passing game wasn't because Manning took the underneath routes; it's because they spent the first eight weeks of the season setting up this game. They didn't reveal ANYTHING, going ultra-vanilla in those games. I mean, I was at the Niners game, and SF kept it close into the third quarter even though they were clearly outclassed. That one ended only 28-3. In this game, the weather was fine and a close analysis of the plays would probably show that they broke out a crapload of looks they hadn't used all year.

The Armchair Quarterback said...

Maybe the formations were a bit different, I don't know. But I've watched every Colts game this year and the formula for previous games was pretty true to what they did to the Patriots. Run Edgerrin and hit short to intermediate routes (with a couple of longer ones thrown in). It'll be interesting to see what gameplans both coaches employ if they meet in the playoffs.