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Archive for September 22nd, 2008

NFL Notes Week 3

Week 3 in the NFL was another wild one, with two overtime games and a couple last second wins.  There was actually some defense played, which is nice, and one Manning magic drive was a game winner and another was just a footnote after the Jags drove the field in about a minute and kicked the game winning TD.  Anyway, on to the thoughts.

  • I guess I’ll start with the game I’m most familiar with, Tampa at the Bears.  I thought the game was over when the Bears came back from being down 14-6 to take a 17-14 lead.  The Bucs running game was virtually nonexistent, Griese and the receivers were not hooking up and the Bucs had several bad turnovers.  Before you could blink, it was 24-14 with 6 minutes left.  The Bucs drove the field and got a field goal, a very tired defense got the ball back to the offense and they drove the field and scored a TD to tie the game.  In OT, the Bears had the Bucs pinned at their own 6 and seemingly had them stopped on 3rd down but Tillman got a 15 yard personal foul penalty to extend the drive.  Tampa went back into hurry up offense and got down to the 3 before kicking a field goal.  The Bears defeated Tampa in OT 2 years ago so this time, turnabout was fair play.
  • Griese passed 67 times in the win, completing 38 of them.  He was by far most effective in the hurry up, accounting for all the scoring.
  • The game was marred by fighting that started on the first possession of the game.  Donald Penn and Tillman got into it and there were a couple of skirmishes later, finally ending with Tillman’s really costly one in overtime.  On review, Tampa’s Trueblood started it, but as we saw in the first quarter when Tampa got the flag, it’s the second guy who gets punished most of the time.  Very costly move by Tillman.
  • Pittsburgh needed 2 scores at the of the game to win but they chose to go for the touchdown on 4th and 10 instead of kicking the field goal and trying to get the ball back.  There have been some really crappy coaching decisions this year, you’d think after seeing the Browns stupidly go for 3 when they needed 7 that Tomlin and co would no better but no.  Philly got the win in a surprising defensive battle, 15-6.  Westbrook went out with an injury, but they think it was just an ankle strain I guess so he should be back soon.
  • Today we got two examples of that old Manning magic, one by Peyton, one by Eli.  I used to say “In Manning I trust” when making my Colts picks, it looks like I really need to start putting it toward the Giants as well.  They had to rally to go into OT against the Bengals but Manning found Plaxico in OT and led the team to another field goal.  The champs are 3-0 and looking good so far.
  • Big brother Peyton managed to bring his team back from being down 20-14 to take the lead 21-20 with less than two minutes left.  Unfortunately for him, Gerrard worked some of his own magic and the Jags drove the field and got their first win with a field goal with 8 seconds remaining.  Still, Peyton is amazing to watch in those moments and you know if he’d have had a minute, we probably would have had a different ending.
  • The Colts D got gashed by the Jags running game.  Oh what a difference that defense is without Bob Sanders on the field.  I think we’ll see some more struggles from them.
  • The Jags weren’t the only predicted playoff team to get their first win today, Minnesota finally chalked one up in the win column.  Gus Frerotte was the answer at QB, at least for one day.  They finally scored a passing touchdown, so that’s an improvement right?
  • Denver, the team without a defense, went to 3-0 today by holding off the Saints 34-32.  The Saints are defensively challenged as well so this one must have been a fun one.  I didn’t get to see it so I can’t tell you much, but until Denver gets better on the defensive side of the ball I won’t expect much of them.
  • Ahhh Martin Gramatica missed a 43 yarder with less than 2 minutes to go and Denver was able to hang on that way.  Not overly impressive, but I’m glad that Martin is back to doing what he was doing his later years in Tampa.  At least this time he helped us with a miss, I’ll take it.
  • Well, welcome to the NFL Matt Cassel.  Miami kicked the crap out of NE at their own house today.  The NE defense had been rather stout up til today, but today Ronnie Brown ran for 4 TD’s and threw for another.  I still think NE could go to the playoffs but they’ve got to play better on defense.
  • I am not that surprised that Miami got the win, even with Brady behind center Miami usually plays them tough.
  • The 0-16 dream remains alive for another week.  The Rams, Chiefs, Bengals, Browns and Lions all checked in with losses, with only the Bengals showing a bit of heart today.  They’ll be in the win column sooner than the other three I imagine.
  • First coach fired after Al Davis gets rid of Lane Kiffin, probably this week?  I’m still going with Linehan in St. Louis, but any of the 5 winless could go first, though I bet the Browns won’t can Crennel.
  • A quick word about Cleveland though, really?  The Ravens?  Talk about folding under expectations.  I don’t see them coming back from this.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Bills, Titans, Broncos & Giants are all 3-0.  I don’t think I would have picked any of these teams to be the front runners going into the season, but there you have it.  Maybe the Giants, but I really did think they were more of a fluke.
  • The Bills continue to impress, especially Trent Edwards.  The kid is cool under pressure and drove them to yet another last second win.  Right now they’re my money pick to win the AFC East, mark it down.
  • Matt Ryan must have been thrilled to get away from Tampa and hit yet another team without a defense.  Could playing 2 of your first 3 games against the Lions and Chiefs be the best way to enter the NFL?  I say yes.  I also say, don’t get too excited, Atlanta, cause the 2 teams you’re tied with in your division do know how to play defense.  Enjoy the cupcakes while you can!
  • And Green Bay comes a little bit back to earth.  Aaron Rodgers has had a couple glorious weeks but the reality is that Dallas is just a better team.  GB’s fine, they’ll take their division but I don’t expect them to make much noise in the playoffs when all is said and done.
  • Only two catches for TO on Sunday night, though he opened things up for the rest of the Boys.  Miles Austin anyone?  Still, he apparently didn’t talk to the press after the game, I’d lay money that he was irritated not to shine on a big stage.

Going into the Monday night game I’m 9-5, so we’ll be above .500 for another week.  This thrills me because the early scores were not promising today and I was sure I was going to turn in an all time low.  See you next week for whatever craziness week 4 holds.

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