What have we learned - Week 3
My beloved Penn Staters continued to roll on Saturday, beating up on hapless Temple 45-3. The voters finally figured out that, even though they haven't played anyone good, they're still better than Ohio State, who struggled against Troy, of all teams. The SEC continued to look good, as Georgia pounded Arizona State in Tempe, Florida dominated Tennessee, and LSU came back to beat Auburn. The only game that was really impressive was Georgia's, because they went 2000 miles (the first time, amazingly, they had played a non-conference road game that wasn't Georgia Tech, Clemson, or South Carolina since 1972, I think, when they played Tulane, and the first time they had been to the West since 1960) to play a desperate Sun Devil team that choked away a win the week before. The Pac-9 looked lousy, with the aforementioned ASU loss, Oregon going down to Boise State at home (with their third quarterback, sure, but still), UCLA getting hammered at home by Arizona (another Pac-9 team, sure, but the Bruins should defend their turf!), and Washington State defending the honor of the conference by hammering ... Division 1-AA Portland State (yay, Vikings!). It's ugly out here in the West, unless you look at BYU, which just posted its second straight shutout by scores of 59-0 and 44-0 (this past week, the opponent was Wyoming, but consecutive shutouts is nothing to sneeze at!). Notre Dame got completely dominated, which is always nice to see (after they beat Michigan, some people were saying they'd win 10 games, which shows how dazzled by the golden helmets some people are; and did everyone hear that Mike Golic's son was arrested over the weekend for underage drinking?), and Wake Forest beat Florida State, which means Joe Paterno passed Bobby Bowden on the all-time Division 1-A coaching win list. Yay, JoePa!
Onward to the professional ranks!
Philadelphia 15, Pittsburgh 6. McNabb got hurt as well, and with him, you can never tell how it's going to affect him. He's looked so good in the first two weeks and early in this game, but if his chest muscle continues to bother him, the Eagles are in trouble because Andy Reid refuses to take any pressure off of him and run the ball more. Stupid Andy Reid! Anyway, the Eagles defense was so freakin' good yesterday that if the Eagles manage 10 points a game, they might win 12 this year. Of course, it would be nice if they could sync up their offense and defense one of these years, but that's just the way it is, I guess. The Steelers, inexplicably, abandoned the run early on for no good reason. Philly was stopping it, but they should have run more to take some pressure off Roethlisberger. It was a silly game plan, but I guess that's why I don't make millions of dollars coaching NFL games!
DeSean Jackson update! 1 rush for 1 yard, late in the game on an end-around, and he ran out of bounds when the Eagles were trying to kill the clock (stay in bounds, DeSean!); 5 catches for 40 yards; 2 punt returns for 11 yards. No bone-headed plays - yippee! Season so far: 1 rush for 1 yard; 17 catches for 256 yards, 12 punt returns for 120 yards. Not bad for the rook!
Turnovers: Steelers 3, Eagles 3. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, with each team scoring 6 points off the turnovers. The Steelers' TOs felt more significant, though.
Atlanta 38, Kansas City 14. I had no interest in watching this game, and the first time I turned it on was when it was 24-0, Falcons, so it wasn't like it became interesting (like a lot of games that went down to the wire). I do know the Chiefs' QB, Tyler Thigpen, was at one point 1-for-10 for -1 yards. Yeah, that's not going to get it done. KC continues to make the case for worst team in the league. Unfortunately, they don't play the Rams this season, so they can't settle it on the field!
Turnovers: Chiefs 3, Falcons 1. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 1-0.
Buffalo 24, Oakland 23. So Lane Kiffin might be fired anytime as Oakland's head coach. Okay. The Raiders took a 16-7 lead and allowed a 96-yard touchdown drive, which made the score 16-14. After JaMarcus Russell threw a beautiful pass into coverage and the receiver (the immortal Johnnie Lee Higgins) took it 84 yards for a touchdown to make it 23-14 with a little over 6 minutes left, the Bills went 69 yards in 2 minutes for a touchdown, then went 46 yards in 2 minutes for the game-winning field goal. Isn't that on the defense, which is coached by Rob Ryan? The same Rob Ryan that Lane Kiffin wanted to fire this summer? The Raiders are a joke. Trent Edwards looks really good, by the way. Sure, it's early, but the Bills are 3-0 and look solid.
Turnovers: Bills 3, Raiders 1. Turnovers = loss? No, because the Bills were fortunate enough to be playing the Raiders! 1-1.
Tampa 27, Chicago 24. I thought Da Bears' strength was on defense. That same defense had a 10-point lead with a little over 6 minutes to go and allowed the Buccaneers a 12- and 11-play drive for the tying points. Good job, Chicago! Plus, the game-tying touchdown came on a pass, in the middle of a stretch where Tampa threw something like 22 straight times. You just might want to defend the pass, Chicago! Brian Griese throwing 67 passes just isn't smart, but I guess it worked. I only watched the very end of this game, so I don't know how Da Bears played earlier in the game, but if their defense is getting torched like this and their offense isn't very good, it could be a long season on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Turnovers: Buccaneers 4, Da Bears 2. Turnovers = loss? I guess not. Chicago had the ball eight minutes longer, proving that this was one weird game. 1-2.
Minnesota 20, Carolina 10. In the weird NFL, a team like the Panthers can look very good the first two weeks and then play poorly in the third week, while a team can replace its quarterback and suddenly look like a playoff contender. Man, it's a strange league. I doubt if Gus Frerotte is the answer for the Vikings at QB, because he's just not that good, but the team got a shot of adrenaline from him and a good effort by the defense to beat an overrated Carolina team. From what I saw of it, this was an ugly game. So many games this weekend were better, so let's not dwell on this one, okay?
Turnovers: Panthers 2, Vikings 1. Turnovers = loss? One of the Carolina turnovers was returned for a touchdown, so I'd say yes. 2-2.
Miami 38, New England 13. The greatest game of the weekend had to be the Dolphins' beat-down of the Cheaters. Miami, incidentally, was the last team to beat New England in the regular season. I watched a good deal of this game because I loved it so much, and it was fairly stunning how slow the Cheaters looked on defense. I know that Miami threw that awesome single-wing at them, but Belicheat never adjusted, plus Ronnie Brown just ran past the D. Plus, on his second touchdown he blasted through Ellis Hobbs at the goal line, which was wonderful. And how about those classy New England fans, streaming out of the stadium in the fourth quarter before their team's 21-game winning streak actually ended? Good move, Cheaters fans! Your team has no class, and neither do you!
Turnovers: Cheaters 2, Dolphins 0. Turnovers = loss? Looks that way. 3-2.
New York Giants 26, Cincinnati 23. Late in the game, when the Bengals were driving down the field, down by three, I begged them to go for the throat. Throw the damned ball in the damned end zone, Carson! You know that Eli will win it in overtime! YOU KNOW IT!!!!!! They had 3rd-and-1 at the 14 - an easy field goal - with 12 second left and a time-out. They threw it short for 3 measly yards and took their last time-out, sending on the field goal unit. Dear Lord. If you're going to throw a wussy pass like that, why are you even playing? The field goal is probably a gimme from the 14 (it's a 31-yarder, and if your kicker can't hit that, he should be fired), so chuck it into the end zone, for crying out loud! The Bengals did get the ball in OT, but I don't think anyone thought they would win that game after the fourth quarter. Stupid Cincinnati. At least they showed some moxie.
Turnovers: Bengals 0, Giants 0. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Tennessee 31, Houston 12. Here's another game I watched a little bit of, but it became clear that the Titans were kicking the crap out of the Texans and it wasn't going to change, so I didn't watch anymore. Matt Schaub is not the guy for Houston, apparently.
Turnovers: Texans 3, Titans 2. Turnovers = loss? Both teams had 2 until the very end, when Courtland Finnegan (greatest NFL name this year?) picked off a Texan pass with a minute left and Houston behind 24-12, but the stats don't lie! 4-2.
Washington 24, Arizona 17. Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals' coach, is defending his decision to punt the ball back to Washington on a short 4th down at midfield with a little less than 3 minutes left. It's not convincing. Whisenhunt has been a bit of a gambler during his tenure in the Basin, and he has a very good offense, and his defense really wasn't playing all that well. Of course, Washington never gave up the ball and the Cardinals lost a chance for a big win on the road. How must Washington feel? They're a pretty decent team but they play in a division where they're probably the worst team. That must suck.
Turnovers: Cardinals 2, Washington 0. Turnovers = loss? The two turnovers led to 10 points, and the Cardinals lost by 7. You do the math! 5-2.
San Francisco 31, Detroit 13. I don't think you could have paid me to watch this game. I think I saw two minutes of it. Detroit is absolutely awful. It's just sad.
Turnovers: Lions 2, 49ers 0. Turnovers = loss? Let's say yes. 6-2.
Seattle 37, St. Louis 13. I'm not going to talk about the game, because it was ugly early, but the Rams managed to run a few plays inside the 20, so that's a win, right? Today Marc Bulger was benched in favor of Trent Green. A friend of mine is a huge fan of Bulger, and he's peeved about the benching. I'd like to know if Steven Jackson, who gained slightly less than 3 yards per carry, is going to be benched. He's lousy. I'd like to know if the offensive line, which gives Bulger no time to throw, is going to be benched. I'd like to know if the defense, which looks as if it doesn't even want to be in the stadium (I saw some of this game, but I'm basing this on the first game, where the players looked like they wanted to leave the field against the Eagles), is going to be benched. Scott Linehan is desperate, I know, because he's going to get fired soon, so if he makes a change, at least he can claim he's doing something. But maybe this is a blessing in disguise for Bulger. He won't get a concussion sitting on the bench, and maybe the Rams will trade him to a good team. He's a good quarterback who is not getting any chance on a horrible team. Of course, he did sign an extension with St. Louis, so I don't feel too bad for him. But still.
Turnovers: Rams 2, Seahawks 1. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 7-2.
Denver 34, New Orleans 32. The Broncos can't be a very good 3-0 team, can they? I mean, their defense is getting torched, and the offense can't keep this up, right? They got lucky two weeks in a row, as they were offside on the play before Martin Gramatica missed the field goal that would have given the Saints the lead but it wasn't called. I mean, they're fun to watch, but they can't keep it up! Of course, the Saints made some odd play calls, especially at the end of the first half when they had the ball inside the 5 and couldn't score, but they still kept up with Denver. I don't really care if Denver is any good, because their games are fun to watch!
Turnovers: Broncos 2, Saints 1. Turnovers = loss? No, because Mike Shanahan has apparently sold his soul to Satan! 7-3.
Jacksonville 23, Indianapolis 21. I watched some of the end of this game, and when the Jaguars took it down late and didn't try to score a touchdown, instead settling for a field goal to go ahead 20-14, I thought they were in serious trouble. Well, they were for a bit, but it turned out the Colts wanted the game just a bit less than the Jags did, because they let them drive right down the field for the game-winning FG. Jacksonville dominated this game, and if you haven't seen Fred Taylor's run in which 8 Colts try to bring him down and fail, it's worth checking out. The Colts are in a bit of trouble, and it has nothing to do with Manning being "rusty." Bob Sanders is down, they can't stop the run, and I knew the loss of Jeff Saturday would hurt them. O-line play is key, people!
Turnovers: Colts 2, Jaguars 1. Turnovers = loss? Yep. 8-3.
Baltimore 28, Cleveland 10. I didn't watch any of this game. It was 10-7 at the half, and I figured I'd check it out in the second half, but then, suddenly, it was 28-10, and I had no reason to check in. Derek Anderson's job is in jeopardy, which is a shame, as he hails from Scappoose, Oregon, so naturally I root for him. Oh well. At least Brady Quinn, hero of gay men everywhere, will soon be starting!
Turnovers: Browns 3, Ravens 2. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 9-3.
Dallas 27, Green Bay 16. Some people are praising Terrell Owens because he ran down the field blocking for Felix Jones on the running back's 60-yard touchdown run. If you look at the tape, though, Owens is standing around at the point of attack, and Jones breaks free despite that. Then Owens decides to run downfield for a rather meaningless block, as Jones had already outrun the defense. I don't like Owens, I'll admit, but I don't care if people want to praise him. Just praise him for something he actually does well, not a play where he stands around until he decides to get on the highlight reel when it no longer matters. Sheesh.
Turnovers: Cowboys 2, Packers 1. Turnovers = loss? Damn, the Cowboys keep overcoming their turnovers. That has to catch up to them eventually! 9-4.
San Diego 48, New York Jets 29. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!! Oh, R. C. Favre. It's so good to see you.
Turnovers: Favres 4, Chargers 1. Turnovers = loss? Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! 10-4.
Let's break down the turnover stats!
Washington: 1 turnover, +5 margin, 2-1 record.
Green Bay: 2 turnovers, +4 margin, 2-1 record.
Pittsburgh: 4 turnovers, +4 margin, 2-1 record.
Tennessee: 5 turnovers, +3 margin, 3-0 record.
Arizona: 2 turnovers, +3 margin, 2-1 record.
San Diego: 3 turnovers, +3 margin, 1-2 record.
Atlanta: 3 turnovers, +2 margin, 2-1 record.
Miami: 1 turnover, +2 margin, 1-2 record.
Chicago: 4 turnovers, +2 margin, 1-2 record.
Buffalo: 4 turnovers, +1 margin, 3-0 record.
Baltimore: 4 turnovers, +1 margin, 2-0 record.
Philadelphia: 4 turnovers, +1 margin, 2-1 record.
Minnesota: 3 turnovers, +1 margin, 1-2 record.
Oakland: 4 turnovers, +1 margin, 1-2 record.
New York Giants: 1 turnover, +0 margin, 3-0 record.
Denver: 3 turnovers, +0 margin, 3-0 record.
Carolina: 4 turnovers, +0 margin, 2-1 record.
San Francisco: 6 turnovers, -1 margin, 2-1 record.
Tampa: 6 turnovers, -1 margin, 2-1 record.
New Orleans: 5 turnovers, -1 margin, 1-2 record.
Jacksonville: 6 turnovers, -1 margin, 1-2 record.
Cincinnati: 4 turnovers, -1 margin, 0-3 record.
Kansas City: 6 turnovers, -1 margin, 0-3 record.
New England: 4 turnovers, -2 margin, 2-1 record.
St. Louis: 3 turnovers, -2 margin, 0-3 record.
Cleveland: 5 turnovers, -2 margin, 0-3 record.
Dallas: 5 turnovers, -3 margin, 3-0 record.
Indianapolis: 5 turnovers, -3 margin, 1-2 record.
Seattle: 6 turnovers, -3 margin, 1-2 record.
Houston: 6 turnovers, -3 margin, 0-2 record.
New York Jets: 6 turnovers, -4 margin, 1-2 record.
Detroit: 6 turnovers, -5 margin, 0-3 record.
Fun stuff! The NFC East, by the way, has lost only two games - both within the division. That's hard core!