by Ryan Meehan
So last week’s wrapups weren’t exactly some of the most cheerful material I’ve churned out in recent years, but the league was looking kind of rough up until Week Three. This week turned out to be a lot more fun, and had a Super Bowl rematch to boot. So since everyone is now in great spirits, let’s take a look at what went down in week three.
Falcons 56, Buccaneers 14
Tampa Bay did not attend this football game. The two touchdowns they scored in this no-so-contest were scored well after the Falcons started pulling starters. But let’s be honest…Did we really think that Lovie Smith and his hokey Tampa Two Step defense was going to work in 2014? I suppose it doesn’t help when you spend so much time fumbling that your defense should just pitch a tent on the field, but it would appear like Matt Ryan is back on track here. When you think about it, they did only lose to a killer Bengals team that is still undefeated, so with the Saints showing overall signs of weakness it wouldn’t surprise me if they can sneak out of this division as soon as everybody realizes Carolina can’t score enough points to be a late season threat.
Devin Hester finally beat Deion Sanders’ return touchdown record, and I have a buddy who’s a Packers fan that made a point that a lot of Hester’s returns have came on plays where there were obvious holds that the officials missed. That may be the case, but it still doesn’t diminish the achievement. Plus you can call holding on pretty much any play, not just the ones from scrimmage. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons can keep up the high scoring affair next week…who do they play? Oh, the Vikings? Yeah, look for Atlanta to advance to 3-1.
Chargers 22, Bills 10
This wasn’t that shocking to me. I knew the Bills were toy and that going into this game at home with a 2-0 record was going to seriously distort the public’s perception of their capabilities. Since San Diego is a west coast team that doesn’t have a huge national following, it’s very difficult to see that they are one of the best teams in the NFL right now. Their running game struggled a little bit as Donald Brown took 31 carries to get to a measly 62 yards, but as long as Rivers can average 250 yards in the air they should be fine. Their ability to manage the game kind of makes you wonder how the hell they haven’t been able to sneak into the Super Bowl the past ten years, a decade span that has somehow seen Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers represent the AFC in that game three times and win it twice. Life is very confusing sometimes.
Ravens 23, Browns 21
Dammit. I really wanted Cleveland to win this game, and they came very close. But as the saying goes, “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. And numbers sometimes do lie, because Brian Hoyer had a passer rating of forty seven points higher than Flacco did in this one. Also, a team like the Browns has to get Miles Austin the ball more than six times in a game when their stud receiver is out because he doesn’t know how to buy a container of Reddi-Clean at his local record store. I want to believe in the Browns, but games like this are why I can’t. On the bright side, I had this one 23-22 Ravens, so I was only one point off there.
Bengals 33, Titans 7
Memo to everyone who will have to play the Bengals this year: Shit will get real for you that week. With the Patriots lacking in some areas, and Denver always facing the uncertainty that comes with Peyton Manning’s questionable postseason record Cincinnati is starting to look like they could really make a break at it this season. And if not make a break at it, at least win that first playoff win that Andy Dalton is searching for. Their defense picked off Jake Locker twice, impressive for a team ranked 27th against the pass. The Bengals could very easily win twelve or thirteen games here because the end of their schedule is pathetic, but after their bye week (which is right now) they play New England in Foxboro on Sunday Night Football, Carolina the week after that, and then the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. However that does give them a chance to prove to the world that they’re for real, because if they win two out of those three games I can’t really understand how they wouldn’t be considered a Super Bowl contender. Gingers unite!
Cowboys 34, Rams 31
I really have to hand it to the Cowboys, it’s no small feat to come back from 21 down on the road and win. But you have to wonder about that pick Romo threw early, and something about them still seems like they could be classified as “untrustable”. It breaks my heart the Cowboys are 2-1, not just because I loathe all things Dallas but I really don’t think they deserve to be. As for the Rams, having a rookie quarterback can result in blowing a 21 point lead at home but it still isn’t an excuse because these are supposed to be professionals.
Lions 19, Packers 7
The razor thin roster of the Green Bay Packers is starting to really show signs that they may be disastrously close to a .500 season. Their offensive line is awful, and I don’t care who you have back there if he doesn’t have time to throw it won’t matter. Since I’m trying to stay positive with what I can take away from games I don’t have much interest in, I’d like to talk about Reggie Bush for a second. There has been a whole bunch of former USC players that (for whatever reason) don’t find a lot of success when they enter the NFL. While Bush’s career has not exactly been Hall of Fame Caliber, you have to admit he’s really hung in there. He’s spent a lot of time on the bench during long offensive sequences, but he’s never gave him up and he’s running like a champ this year. He was just three short feet away from having a hundred all purpose yards on the day, and has really stuck around in a big way.
Giants 30, Texans 17
The Giants are now in the win column with a surprisingly commanding win over the Texans. Maybe Houston wasn’t as good as we had all been thinking anyway: The Giants offensive line was able to hold off JJ Watt, and New York did score the first seventeen points of the game. But to be fair, maybe the Giants aren’t this good either…I can’t see Rashad Jennings rushing for 176 yards again this season, and they were 4 for 12 on third down which is hardly playoff material. I guess my point is: We could see the polar opposite of these two teams next week, and this game will appear to quite meaningless.
Colts 44, Jaguars 17
Last week I said that the New York Giants were the worst team in the NFL, but I’m going back on that. Jacksonville now has that honor, and I know that for sure because they let the Colts open their freezer, shit into their chocolate ice cream, and then put the lid back on like nothing happened. Andrew Luck finally had the game Peter King was so desperately hoping he had, and the Colts are only a game out of first now that Houston lost. I’m out of Jaguars jokes by this point in my writing career, it’s more sad now than anything else and outside seeing Bortels out on the field for the first time there really isn’t much to discuss here. The fake spike is not nearly as lame as the haters of the fake spike would like you to believer: If you fall for it, you should be embarrassed. But at this point, that’s the only way Jacksonville will be able to get in the end zone anyway.
Saints 20, Vikings 9
This is the first of two games that I expected to see more from the home team as far as making a statement goes. The Saints should have been able to blow the doors off of the Vikings. They were mad as hell after losing their first two games, playing their home opener in a game where a guy who’s a perennial MVP candidate (and for the record, that team’s only solid player) was out of the game for hitting his kid in the gonads with a tree branch. AND they injured starter Matt Cassell, and would be rewarded by the pleasure of facing Teddy Bridgewater. Sure the defense played well, but am I supposed to believe that the Vikes’ defense is good enough to hold Fantasy Football Jesus to twenty points inside of the Superdome? Something about the Saints doesn’t smell right…I can’t quite put my finger on it, but they aren’t producing like they should. And given all of the offseason hoopla with regards to what position Jimmy Graham would be listed at as if it matters other than the zeroes at the end of his paycheck, I can’t really pinpoint where things are going wrong with them.
Patriots 16, Raiders 9
And this is the second. A 16 point spread looks bad when you only put up 16 points, and Vegas will never expect a team to be completely shutout. If the Patriots were looking to get out of this game with as little damage as possible, success was had. If they were trying to make a statement here and show the rest of the AFC they mean business by blowing out a sorry team like Oakland, they failed miserably. Although I still like this Carr kid the Raiders are sticking to, he didn’t throw for a touchdown this week, and you have to wonder if management would rather have his hands on the clipboard and start Matt Schaub. I say they should keep him in (it’s not like they have anything to lose, they aren’t going to the playoffs anyway…) that way he will know what it’s like to get pounded for an entire NFL season. Speaking of guys who got pounded…
Eagles 37, Redskins 34
Philly almost let this game get away from them, and I think that if there is any question about what they are up to this year it has to be: Why is their defense playing so poorly in the first half of home games? Between Washington and Jacksonville, The Eagles have given up a total of 37 points in the first half. But that might just be okay…What I’m about to say is almost as close to sacrilege as a Giants fan can get – I really hope the Eagles win the Super Bowl. I say that because Nick Foles is really starting to turn me into a fan of his. He was absolutely beaten to a pulp and stayed in there and finished the game. That shot Baker took on him was one of the shadiest hits I’ve seen in a while, so I’m sure that plenty of football traditionalists who are reading this will call me a sissy for sympathizing with Foles. Here are two reasons why they are wrong: First, like it or not the NFL does have to protect the quarterback. It’s a quarterback driven league, and quarterbacks sell jerseys. Sure, fat guys are buying jerseys of your resident Defensive End but those guys are going to buy jerseys and tickets regardless. Second, that was an ejectable hit. It was totally uncalled for, and it was in the back as well. Long story short, Foles is tough as hell and the Eagles are now 3-0. Your move, Romo.
Cardinals 23, 49ers 14
When are people going to wise up and see that the Cardinals are for real? They’ve been without their starting quarterback for half of a month, and it’s been no big deal to them. They’ve now beaten the 49ers – the team who came within a pass of making it to a Super Bowl they would have easily won, as well as the Chargers who were the hottest team coming out of last year’s postseason that didn’t come from a state that just legalized weed. And remember how I said last week that the 49ers seemed shaky? Did you feel that same way in the second half of this one? The 49ers are cocky for all the wrong reasons and lack discipline in the most crucial places.
Seahawks 26, Broncos 20 (OT)
The end of this game was really a sight to behold, and I’m not much of a sight beholder. The last twenty minutes were crazy, and even though he didn’t win you’ve got to hand it to Peyton Manning for hanging in there and tying the game up by tossing that TD pass to Jacob Tamme. Although, this has to be rough for Manning because when you think about it if anybody doesn’t want to hear about so-called moral victories it’s him. Denver is still going to be good, but once again Seattle’s secondary is just so quick and your options become limited in a nanosecond.
Chiefs 34, Dolphins 15
This I did not see coming, but Miami is becoming a team that has no identity at all. Tannehill was awful, as he went 21 for 45…Wait, what the fuck are the Miami Dolphins doing making him throw the ball 45 times anyway? This may have had something to do with the fact that the Chiefs won this game…They are still staring up at the Chargers, whom they won’t catch this year. It would be very difficult to expect either one of these teams to make the postseason.
Steelers 37, Panthers 19
Steelers RB LeGarrette Blount rushed for 118 yards and 1 TD on 10 carries, and Cam Newton looked like absolute shit. I have to give Pittsburgh credit here, but from the box score I can tell that there’s no long ball left in Big Ben’s arm. The Steelers are to be commended here, but not too heavily. Carolina was super overrated heading into this contest and gave up a total of 265 yards on the ground. This is a far cry from the Ron Rivera defense that was praised so highly when they snuck into the playoffs last year. Here are two more teams we won’t have to hear about down the stretch. Plus, everybody in Carolina’s backfield got injured in this game anyway.
Bears 29, Jets 17
I debate whether this was important. I know I bag on the Bears a lot, but neither one of these teams produced impressive offense in the second half. I have to give Cutler credit though: He’s making it hard for people to hate him. They can be disappointed in him, but if he keeps pulling wins like this out of his ass they don’t have a whole lot of complaining to do. Well, In September at least. The Jets are 1-2 because Bill Parcells always said you’re only as good as your record.
Sad Note of the Week
Former Titans kicker Rob Bironas was killed in a car crash early Sunday morning. He was the NFL record holder for most field goals in a game and very well liked by other NFL players around the league during his career. Our hearts go out to the family of a guy who you can truly say “They don’t make ’em like that anymore”. Rest in Peace Rob.
This week in Reckless Stupidity
Michael Vick came out this week and said that Roger Goddell should not be fired. I’m going to keep this short: We can go ahead and stop talking to Michael Vick. He’s not playing. He exists in a league where Chad Henne should get more press coverage than he does. And why is this shocking? Of course he supports the guy who virtually let him get off scot free and enter the league like it was no big deal. He’s going to support Goddell in any scandal that the NFL faces from this point forward, but that doesn’t mean it’s news and I should have to read about it.
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