The hypocrisy and inconsistency of NFL referees is just amazing. I watch NFL official Czar Mike Pereira defend the officials on a weekly basis to Rich Eisen of the NFL network when questioned on what seem to be ticky tack roughing the passer penalties. His point is that it's ultimately a judgement call and that the league's position is to err on the side of caution for the quarterbacks. And really I have no problem with that philosophy as long as some common sense is used (sadly lacking in the Bucs/Bengals game last week). But if that's the way officials have been told to call the game how do you explain the no-calls on hits taken by Payton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Hasselbeck this week? Manning and Hasselbeck both took not so subtle "woops, I'm falling into your knees and it's not on purpose" hits that the officials ignored. Hasselbeck was injured and Manning was lucky he was not. Earlier Manning had taken a hit that bent him backward by the neck. Now nailing a QB hard is not in itself a penalty; (nor should it be) but watch that Manning hit again. It's ugly. He was pulled backwards by the neck and if that's not roughing the passer I don't know what is. Roethlisberger's actually happened a little bit faster and because he was sandwiched it was tough to see that he took helmet to helmet contact. But he did and it should have been called. I like hard hitting as much as the next football fan. But if your going to protect the most valuable commodity in the game (QB) then be consistent about it.
A few other observations around the league:
Bucs 23/Eagles 21
Great win by Tampa but I don't know that I'm sold on Gradkowski yet. I mean it was Ronde Barber's two picks for TDs and kicker Matt Bryant's 3 field goals that won if for them (holy crap a 62 yarder to win it?). Admittedly, Gradkowski got them in field goal position and he didn't have costly interceptions. And speaking of costly interceptions.....after looking great to start the season, Donovan McNabb has looked pretty average his last two starts. But Brian Westbrook deserves some ice cream after the game he put together (over 200 yards total offense today). When he's on the field the Eagles have some punch in the backfield. If he could keep from getting injured we would be talking about him like we do Ronde Barber's multi-dimensional twin. You know, the one that thinks he should retire after this season. Dork.
Chiefs 30/ Chargers 28
Another long field goal to win a game . This one was 53 yards and at Arrowhead stadium that's pretty amazing. The Chargers got themselves in a hole early but did a nice job of making a comeback. But Kansas City is not a great place to come from behind. I still think the Chiefs are an average team that will probably end up 8-8, but their QB (Huard) is surprising the hell out of me and they certainly shouldn't be taken lightly by anyone. San Diego limps away with more than a loss with the injury of linebacker Shaun Phillips who leads the team in sacks (6). He's out for at least a month and that really hurts. This comes with the news now that Shawne Merriman will be suspended for steroids (dumbass). The Chargers defense is going to be tested in the weeks ahead.
Falcons 41/Steelers 38
Nice game by Vick. We rip him for poor passing performances and so we should praise him for a nice one. As long as he doesn't announce that he's arrived as a passer as he did last season following a good game then we'll let bygones be bygones. But still there has never been any doubt about Vick's arm strength and the tight spirals he throws. If a QB could win games based on dazzle ability, the Falcons would have a stranglehold on the Super Bowl. Today Vick was accurate and the Falcons really did win this one through the air rather than the ground. And despite the Steelers record, they are a good team and before Roethlisberger was knocked out I thought he was playing pretty well. His last 2 games have been complete turnarounds compared to his early season play. I wonder if Ben ever watches "My Name is Earl"? And if so, does he ever wonder what he did to piss off karma?
Raiders 22 / Cards 9
Boy, I'm glad Denny Green helped his team deal with their anger issues this past week. That way now they can move on to their "pathetic loser" issues that loom large. And perhaps he can help Edgerrin James deal with his delusions. "I wasn't prepared for this, man, I really wasn't," James said. Really Edge? You weren't prepared to lose with a team that defines the L word? Don't worry dude, Coach Green will stop by to give you another tour of the stadium. That always cheers you up. He might even give you some cash for you troubles. It worked last time. -------By the way I believe we had a Randy Moss sighting.
Vikings 31 / Seahawks 13
Thank you Minnesota. Now I just hope the Rams can take advantage next week. How about that 95 yard run by Chester Taylor? Pleasantly surprising. You know the Vikes have a tough game against the Patriots next week but after that they play the 49ers, the Packers, the Dolphins, and the Cardinals. It's entirely conceivable that they are 8-3 when they play the Bears on Dec 3. I'm starting to rethink my prediction of Minnesota not making the playoffs. If they beat the teams they should, they could make things interesting.
Broncos 17 / Browns 7
Another great game by the Bronco defense. Another decent game by Bronco running back Tatum Bell (114 yards). Another crappy performance by Jake Plummer (48% completions, 2 Int). Winning sure makes a difference eh? Had the defense not been stellar so far, we would be witnessing the beginning of the Jay Cutler era.
Colts 36 / Redskins 22
As I mentioned earlier, Manning is lucky to come out of this one still standing. If he ever goes down, so do the Colts. It's nice to see the Colt offense really look good again. Harrison and Wayne were great and actually Colt rookie running back Joseph Addai is growing on me (85 yards, 7.7 avg). Maybe he'll become more of an option as the season progresses. They'll need a running game eventually. Unfortunately for the Redskins things are only going to get worse. Their remaining schedule is brutal. They have Dallas, Philly--twice, Tampa (suddenly dangerous), Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, St. Louis and the Giants to finish up. Despite my completely moronic pre-season prediction (division title, NFC championship game) I don't like their chances to pull it together anytime soon.
Jets 31/ Lions 24
Lions WR Mike Furrey and Jets RB Leon Washington had great games.
Yeah, I don't know who the hell these guys are either.
Packers 32/ Dolphins 24
ok I lied. I know Furrey played for the Rams the last two seasons. That just shows you the depth that St. Louis has at WR. --anyway back to this game which comes as relief to the Packer faithful. Favre may have hung em up tonight had he lost to Joey Harrington. Instead he got a nice game from Ahman Green (118 yards) and inspired play by his defense and the Packers send the Dolphins further into their tailspin. Culpepper over Brees. Culpper over Brees. Culpepper over Brees. Sorry Nick Saban. I'm sadistic, what can I say?
Texans 27 /Jags 7
I should have figured that with all the injuries on defense and the bum ankle Leftwich was sporting the Texans would have more than a good shot of winning this game. Look out now, Houston has two wins and Carr has a QB rating over 90. Tennessee is next and Vince Young will be looking to prove something to the team that passed him up.
Bengals 17 / Panthers 14
I almost recorded this game but luckily I set the Tivo for the Atlanta game instead. Wise choice I think. A tough and quality win for the Bengals is nice I'm sure, but Cincy only interests me if they're scoring. I'm kind of shallow that way.
Patriots 28 / Bills 6
This matchup is so predictable it's almost sad. Sad that I don't bet on it every year that is.