Sunday, September 12, 2010
Another new running feature on The Cycle as I will have a reaction blog post for all the action each week. For Monday night games, I'll try to have a postgame post each week as well (yes, I know my "general" sports blog is increasingly gearing toward the NFL). Let's begin with the most controversial finish of the day.
Detroit/Chicago- We have all seen the play, should Calvin Johnson's touchdown have been ruled incomplete? I was reminded of a pass from last year's opener between Oakland and San Diego when an Oakland receiver had the ball in the end zone, came down and the ball was let go and it was ruled incomplete. You need to hold the ball on your way down for the catch to count. He clearly didn't. Now, like the Tuck Rule, this sucks. If you get your feet down and parts of the body and the ball stays in control, it's a catch, no matter what the ground does. It's one thing if the ball hitting the ground was the natural progression in the catch, but if it's disjointed, it's a catch. The real shame is that Detroit played great defensively as the Bears shot themselves in the foot over and over. Add Matt Stafford's shoulder injury and the Lions continue the hard luck.
Cleveland/Tampa Bay- This was supposed to be an easy Browns victory as the game started quickly ahead 14-3. Jake Delhomme looked good early and they were stopping a terrible Bucs team. However, Browns fans learned why Delhomme sucks and Tampa won 17-14. Not much to say about this one, be glad if you didn't watch it.
Giants/Carolina- This was an interesting one, Matt Moore gave us a Delhommian effort with his INT's and the Panthers couldn't run well. This is about the Giants, who played sloppy, but you saw things that you liked. Eli Manning played terrific, despite 3 INT's, each on drops by Giants receivers. They didn't run well, but Ahmad Bradshaw still broke a big run late. Hakeem Nicks recovered from an early drop to score 3 TDs. The defense, after a mixed 1st half, shut down Carolina in the second half. The only worry is the special teams, particularly the coverage teams.
Miami/Buffalo- This was one that Miami basically had control throughout, despite the close score. One failed assignment scored the Bills lone TD, while the Dolphins just controlled the clock.
Jacksonville/Denver- Another game that wasn't much fun to watch, plus lightning delayed it. The Jags looked good in the second half, scoring on 3 of 4 second half possessions, as David Garrard threw 3 TD's on 16/21 passing. The Broncos lost because they left points off the field late in the 4th.
Tennessee/Oakland- Not much to say except a little bit of Chris Johnson for his fantasy owners, a little Vince Young who feasted against the Raiders and a little bit ineffective offensive play by the Raiders, playing into the Titans hands.
Houston/Indianapolis- The Texans for the past few years have been trendy picks, then they lose Week 1 and struggle all year. This year against their nemesis in the Colts, they ran all over them. Arian Foster is the back to stay, rushing for 231 yards and 3 TD's. His running countered Peyton Manning's godly 40/57 for 433 yards and 3 TD's. Colts also lost Bob Sanders, again, just in time for Manning Bowl II next week.
Atlanta/Pittsburgh- Defensive struggle to put it best, boring game to put it worst. Just a bunch of FG's throughout. Late in the 4th, Matt Ryan throws a terrible INT to Troy Polamalu at his own 30, only to see Jeff Reed miss the winning kick. In OT, Rashad Mendenhall doesn't give the Falcons another chance, taking a 51 yard run to the house. Steelers with this win look like they'll survive Ben Roethlisberger's suspension.
Cincinnati/New England- The story during the game was Wes Welker's impressive return from major knee surgery, scoring 2 TD's. The story after the game was Randy Moss' comments on his contract issue. Honestly, after the game wasn't the time to say this and it seems that whenever any player has something to say, he'll get killed for it. Can't blame him for his frustration on the lack of contract, but there's a time and place for that.
Green Bay/Philadelphia- A tale of two halves. The first half, the Eagles looked awful with Kevin Kolb (and by the way, the Eagles let him and Stewart Bradley play with concussions, maybe Andy Reid had a concussion). In the second half, Michael Vick looked very good against a Packers defense who wasn't prepared to face him and never had a spy for Vick's running ability. He also hit on some passes to rally the Eagles back from 20-3 down to 27-20 late. Once again, Reid's time management (burns his timeouts with 5 minutes left) and playcalling (4th and 1 Wildcat Vick run) cost them. Now, before you say that Vick should start, remember Kevin Kolb is the reason Donovan McNabb is gone. They won't just replace him after a bad half. Vick will only play if Kolb's still hurt. Then he needs to prove he can play good when teams are prepared for him to play QB and force him to become a passer.
San Francisco/Seattle- The Niners handed the Seahawks this game. They dominated the first 25 minutes and only came away with 6 points. After that, it was all Seattle as we saw the Alex Smith who we remember as a bust. The Pete Carroll Era has a booming start and the Niners must be kicking themselves for not trading for McNabb.
Arizona/St. Louis- Sam Bradford's first game was a busy one, going 32/55 for 253 yards and 1 TD with 3 INT's. Derek Anderson isn't making anyone forget about Kurt Warner, but he found a way to win the game, which is the important thing. The Rams are still a ways to go, but I like Bradford, who my mother says "looks 12". The Cardinals, however, should of won easily and kept St. Louis in it with turnovers. They both have things to work on.
Dallas/Washington- The debuts for McNabb and Mike Shanahan wasn't great offensively, but outstanding defensively. Both teams played dumb, but the Cowboys dumb plays stuck out more. For the Redskins, just the bobbled FG try and Trent Williams false start hurt them. Dallas got too many penalties, particularly on RT Alex Barron, which stalled drives. The two plays of the game, with :04 seconds left, the dumbest play call since the screen pass in Super Bowl XVIII as instead of going to halftime, have Tony Romo get it to Tashard Choice and he fumbles, allowing DeAngelo Hall score. Finally, the last play, which Barron's hold of Bryan Orakpo, nullified a Romo-to-Roy Williams (of all people) TD. Sooner of later, Wade Phillips must be fired, though the NFL wants it to be much later.