Ok, an amazing day of football. First off I'd like to re lost on September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. A lot of people gave their lives that day because of a senseless attack on our country. The one thing that I remember on that day is that everyone was brought together because of that event. It didn't matter about the color or status that day. In some ways I wish we could go back to that. It was great watching the out pouring of emotion that the NFL put on display as they showed the pre-games across the country.
Now, back to football. Let me caution you before you go any further, there were lots of surprises this week. Some more painful than others. Let's take a look.
Atlanta @ Chicago - Wow!! I'm not sure how much better the Bears can play. Let me start first with PAY THE MAN (note to the Bears about Forte, about $17M guaranteed). Forte (16 carries for 68 yards, 5 recs for 90 yards, 1 TD) had a monster day and showed how he is going to be an important piece to this offense over the rest of his time in Chicago. Next item, this is the Jay Cutler (22 of 32 for 312, 2 TDs, 1 INT) that the Bears thought they got when they cut that $50M+ deal. Cutler looked great out there today. He hit 8 different receivers and was in total control out there. The down side is that he did get sacked 4 times and got hit on several plays. The defense was lights out with Urlacher not only making a great pick against Ryan, but he also returned a fumble for a TD. Henry Melton was in the Falcons' backfield so much I thought he would have been better off with a Falcon's jersey on. The Falcons looked beat when they started the game and it got worse from there. They get Mike Vick next week, so they better get ready now. Inquisitive Mind 1 - 1 for the week.
Cincinnati @ Cleveland - Chalk this one up to good living or something. Andy Dalton was knocked out of this game and Bruce Gradgowski came in to help the Bengals get a win that I'm not sure many people thought would happen. The Bengals depended on the ground game of Cedric Benson (25 car for 121 yards, 1 TD) and let their QBs manage the game. The Browns had a chance to win this game with a Cribbs return for a touchdown and he was tackled by his own guy. Then the Colts had a chance with great field position and they blew it. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Inquisitive Mind 1 - 2 for the week.
Buffalo @ Kansas City - I aologize to you Mr. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick (17 of 28 for 208 yards, 4 TDs) led his Bills team to a blow out against the Chiefs. Fred Jackson led the Bills with 112 yards and the Bills defense got after the Chiefs (2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT). I didn't see this one coming and it seems as though neither did KC. Matt Cassel had a terrible game, they were able to run the ball (18 carries for 108 yards, 6 yard avg), but their time of possession for the game was about 22 minutes, and the fans let the Chiefs know how they felt as the stadium was close to empty in the 4th quarter. This was truly a butt whuppin. Inquisitive Mind 1 - 3 for the week.
Philadelphia @ St. Louis - This game started like the Eagles were planning on just showing up for the playoffs and were going to skip the rest of the games. The Eagles got behind because of a Steven Jackson romp, but then the ship righted itself. The Eagles exploded for 14 points and never really looked back. Yes, Vick (14 of 32 for 187 yards, 2 TDs, 10 carries for 98 yards, 1 TD) had a good game and so did McCoy (15 carries for 122 yards, 1 TD, 2 recs, 15 yards, 1 TD), but finally the Eagles defense woke up and made this into a blowout of sorts. I will say that I'm a little more than nervous because Vick can't keep taking these hits and he definitely can't be one of the highest ground gainers for your team if you want him to make it through his $100M deal. Philly, you gotta work on that offensive line. This was a costly game for the Rams as they lost 3 players to injury: Sam Bradford hurt his hand but x-rays came back negative but his hand is still sore. Steven Jackson left the game with a quad injury (didn't he have that injury last year too) and Danny Amendola is probably out for the year with a dislocated elbow. Inquisitive Mind 2 – 3 for the week.
Detroit @ Tampa Bay – Great game and it ended up being as competitive as I thought it would. Matt Stafford made one mistake (really wasn’t his, it was a tipped ball) in this game and Aquib Talib took it back for a TD, but that was it. He was almost perfect for the remainder of the day. The Lions ran the ball enough to be dangerous (35 carries for 126 yards, 3.6 average), Megatron (Calvin Johnson, 6 recs for 88 yards, 2 TDs) had a great day, and the Bucs couldn’t overcome the tough day that Josh Freeman (28 of 43 for 259 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 2 fumbles) had. The Lions look like they are on the way up. I might even go out on a limb and say that the Lions are going to make the playoffs. Watch out now!!!! The Bucs couldn’t get it going on the ground that was one of the reasons that Freeman was successful last year. Fix it Bucs, fix it soon. Inquisitive Mind 3 – 3 for the week.
Tennessee @ Jacksonville – Del Rio stuck to his guns and maybe his guns were right. The Jags host the Titans and win this game with Luke McCown (17 of 24 for 175 yards) having a decent game. He was able to manage the game and they depended on Maurice Jones-Drew (24 carries for 97 yards, 1 TD) to do the heavy lifting. Add to that a very tough defense and you get a win in a very ugly game. The Titans came into this game with a healthy Hasselbeck and recently paid Chris Johnson (9 carries for 24 yards, 6 recs, 25 yards), but were not able to put it all together. With that said Kenny Britt (5 recs, 136 yards, 2 TDs) and Hasselbeck have become BFFs in just one game. This is one the Titans let slip away and you could see how desperate Hasselbeck was as he went for it all at the end of the game instead of going for something a little shorter. Inquisitive Mind 3 – 4 for the week.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore – Whew, I guess I should have said a ‘can of a$$ whoopin’ when I said that the Ravens were going to open their playbook up. The Ravens caused 7 turnovers, and Joe Flacco (17 of 29, 224 yards, 3 TDs) looked like the guy that the Ravens have wanted for the past few years. The Ravens exercised the demons of not beating the Steelers lately (more importantly last year in the playoffs), but the way they did it made you scared. The old men, Lewis (7 tackles, 1 FF, 1 INT) and Reed (6 tackles, 1 FF, 2 INTs) had picks, and if you can watch ESPN and see the hit that Ngata (4 tackles, 1 FF, 2 fumble recoveries) put on Mendenhall, you’ll shiver for a second or two. The Steelers looked bad that’s it. It is one game in a long season, so I expect the Steelers to bounce back and I pray for the team they play next week. Inquisitive Mind 4 – 4 for the week.
Indianapolis @ Houston – How do you pay back a team that has pretty much owned you since you became a part of their division? Well, if you saw this game, this is how you do it. The Texans destroyed the Colts in Houston that just didn’t feel right. Schaub (17 of 24 for 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and team pretty much did what they wanted as Ben Tate (24 carries for 116 yards, 1 TD) did his part and the Houston defense sealed the deal. I did say that Mario Williams (2 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 1 FF) would have a big game and he looked pretty damn good in that new defense. This just in, if you hire Wade Phillips for anything other than a defense coordinator position, you should be fired. He’s pretty good at that, don’t make him a head coach, just give him the DC job. No, Manning didn’t play in this game but honestly the Colts have more problems than just the offense. Andre Johnson (7 recs, 95 yards, 1 TD) said it best, ‘we still played against their #1 defense and they couldn’t stop us’. Nuff said. Did I mention that Foster didn’t play? Inquisitive Mind 5 – 4 for the week.
New York Giants @ Washington – Rex Grossman (I’ll have to write something specifically about him later, hopefully to settle and argument). Every dog has his day. Grossman (21 of 34 for 305 yards, 2 TDs) outplayed the younger Manning (18 of 32 for 268 yards, 1 INT) to help his team win their first home game of the 2011-12 season. The Giants didn’t look good at all with the exception of Hakeem Nicks (7 recs, 122 yards). I’m sure Tom Coughlin is somewhere red faced over his team’s performance. This was an ugly game unless you are a Redskins fan. No, I’m not sold that the Redskins can win the NFC East, but they took a great step today with this win. Inquisitive Mind 5 – 5 for the week.
Seattle @ San Francisco – Thank you Tedd Ginn Jr. (102 yard kick return, 55 yard punt return, 2 TDs) and the 49ers defense. I almost added Alex Smith (15 of 20 for 124 yards) to that list, and I guess I can include his name because he didn’t lose the game for the 49ers. This 49ers team is going to have to win games with their special teams and their defense because I don’t have the confidence Alex Smith to help this team in a shoot out. Seattle looked horrible with Tavaris Jackson (21 of 37 for 197 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 3 fumbles, 2 lost) at the helm and I’m sorry, I’m not sure he should be starting. We don’t have to worry about the Seahawks duplicating the run they had last year. Inquisitive Mind 6 – 5 for the week.
Minnesota @ San Diego – At least the Vikings started the game off the right way with Percy Harvin returning the opening kick for a TD, but after that it got bad. Donovan McNabb (7 of 15 for 39 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) said that he didn’t feel like he had anything to prove and he showed us with his performance. The Vikings defense kept this close for a minute and then the Chargers finally were able to wear on them. Philip Rivers (33 of 48 for 335 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) struggled in this game, along with the rest of the Chargers, and this game was a lot harder than I think many thought it would be. Mike Tolbert (12 carries, 35 yards, 1 TD, 9 recs, 58 yards, 2 TDs) is making Ryan Mathews (12 carries, 45 yards, 3 recs, 73 yards) look expendable even though he left the game with a knee injury late in this game. I thought that McNabb would be better with AP (16 carries, 98 yards) behind him, but it looks like McNabb is on his way out of the league. The Chargers won the game but lost Luis Castillo and Nate Kaeding to knee injuries with Kaeding’s a possible torn ACL. Inquisitive Mind 7 – 5 for the week.
Carolina @ Arizona - The start of the Cam Newton (24 of 37 for 422 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 8 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD) era in Carolina and ladies and gentlemen, it’s looking goooood. Cam Newton played the best game for a rookie since a QB from Indianapolis did it as a rookie (Peyton Manning). Normally the best thing for a rookie QB is to get him a good running game but in this case, Newton just needed to find the diminutive Steve Smith (8 recs, 178 yards, 2 TDs). Kevin Kolb (18 of 27 for 309 yards, 2 TDs) played pretty well in his first official outing for the Cardinals and this Cardinals team showed that they may be a team to watch for the rest of the year. Good games by Wells (18 carries, 90 yards, 1 TD), Doucet (3 recs, 105 yards, 1 TD) and Fitz (3 rec, 63 yards). The Panthers lost this game, but I think they found their future. Inquisitive Mind 8 – 5 for the week.
Dallas @ New York Jets – (I have to laugh for a little bit on this one before I write). You mean to tell me that the Cowboys have this game all sewn up, my pick of the Jets is looking terrible and then Tony Romo (23 of 36 for 342 yards, 2 TDs, 1 (bad) INT) makes me look like a genius in the last minutes. All I have to say is look out for the questions about Tony Romo and his ability to get into trouble late in games. Did I say that the Cowboys had this game sewn up? The cowboys are thin at the DB position and they seemed to all fall in this game. In the end it was LT (5 carries for 16 yards, 6 recs, 73 yards) getting it done for the Jets along with a few big time catches by Plaxico (4 recs, 72 yards, 1 TD). Dez Bryant (3 recs, 71 yards, 1 TD) looked like he was going to be unstoppable at the beginning of the game but he had some cramps or injured something and became nothing more than a decoy. As I start to think about it, maybe Witten (6 recs, 110 yards) and Romo do talk about how to get Witten all of the catches, maybe TO was right? This is one the Cowboys let slip away because the Jets didn’t play their best football but came away with a win. Inquisitive Mind 9 – 5 for the week.
New England @ Miami - If I told you that Chad Henne would have the following stat line: 30 of 49 for 416 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 7 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD; how many of you would have thought I pulled up some of his old high school film? or how many of you would have thought that this was done on Playstation? Henne had a career game where he looked pretty dayum good. The flip side is that he was playing the Patriots and Tom Brady also had a career game: 32 of 48 for 517 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT. This was a shootout and unfortunately the Dolphins were on the wrong end of it. Wes Welker (8 recs, 160 yards, 2 TDs) had a great night aided by a record setting 99 (and 1/2) yard reception for a TD and both Pats tight ends (13 recs, 189 yards, 2 TDs) had great games. Maybe the Pats don't need a deep threat. More interestingly is that Chad Ochocinco (1 rec, 14 yards) was invisible and his body language showed it. Let's see if this experiment blows up on the Pats. For the Dolphins, Brandon Marshall had a game and should have had more if he and Henne would have been able to hook up a few more times. This was a tough game for the Dolphins to lose, but if they can build on this, they might scare some people this year. Inquisitive Mind 10 - 5 for the week.
Oakland @ Denver - This was the brutal game with the animosity that the Steelers/Ravens game should have been. The two teams combined for 25 penalties for over 200 yards. Denver turned the ball over 3 times (2 fumbles lost, 1 INT) and with Moreno (8 carries, 29 yards) and Bailey hurt, they weren't able to pull this one out. Sebastian Janikowski (record tying 63 yard field goal to win the game) and Darren McFadden (22 carries, 150 yards) led the Raiders to this win. The defensive line played well and got 5 sacks on Orton (24 of 46 for 304 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble lost). The Raiders looked like a team that is figuring out 'how' to win these types of games and they may make some noise this year. Not sure if they make the playoffs, but I think they'll be close. Inquisitive Mind 11 - 5 for the week.
Ok, this was a good week. I'm trying to get the perfect week, but 11-5 isn't bad and when you look at the ESPN guys, I'm looking pretty good. Check back next week and let's do it all over again.