By Paul Gotham
Down to the wire
Indianapolis and New Orleans took different paths, but both remain undefeated. The Saints had to “hang on, hang on, hang on,” while Indy was able to “look out, look out, look out.”
Uncharacteristically, the Saints turned over the ball four times to the St. Louis Rams, but as it has been all season, the Saints found a way. Courtney Roby returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. From there, the Saints held on for dear life. Fortunately for the denizens of Cajun country, the Rams forgot to practice clock management prior to the game – squandering a chance to win as time expired.
Saints head coach, Sean Payton, will have to turn his attention to the recent injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Jabari Greer was sidelined with a groin injury, and Tracy Porter limped off with a possible ACL injury.
On the other hand, the Colts woke up the echoes of cliches past and ‘grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat.’ This week’s most debatable coaching call made for great drama as Peyton Manning led the Colts to two touchdowns in the game’s final 3:00 for a 35-34 triumph. Belichick and the Pats went for it on 4th and 2 inside their own 30. The Colts D held, and the rest is highlight material.
Critics are slamming Belichick for the decision. Yeah, “anything goes in love and war. Yes, anything goes.” When a guy wins three Super Bowl titles in one decade, he earns the benefit of the doubt. Thing is, the game never should have been that close. New England had two turnovers inside the Colt ten yard line. Belichick went for the win, on the road in the tenth week of the season. Something tells me Tom Brady and the Pats will recover.
The Football Night in America crew reported that they timed Randy Moss running 40 yards in less than four seconds. I’m not sure I trust their stop watch. 40 yards in less than four seconds? 10 yards in less than a second?
Ladies and gentlemen – the leaders of the AFC North
No need to adjust your set at home. The Cincinnati Bengals have ascended to heights the Queen City hasn’t known for a couple of decades. With a defense to shake the last drop of ketchup from a bottle of Heinz 57, the Bengals have swept the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati’s D has given up one touchdown in the last two weeks – a span where they downed the Ravens, 17-7 and yesterday, the Steelers, 18-12. Cincinnati held the Super Bowl Champion’s offense, which was number one in the league, to a third down efficiency of 3 /15.
Street Fighting Man
Could anyone blame Aaron Rodgers if he lobbied for the Green Bay Packers to implement the Wildcat into their offense. After last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, Rodgers had been sacked a total of 37 times for the first half of the season. You read that right. The Packer QB kissed the turf 37 times in the first eight games. Multiply that over a 16-game campaign, and the Packers would have an infamous record.
“And what can a poor boy do?”
Yesterday, Rodgers threw one touchdown and ran for another as the Pack downed the Cowpokes, 17-7. Rodgers completed 25-36 for 189 yards.
Tin men, scare crows, and lions
Any chance of the Buffalo Bills salvaging some semblance of a respectable season ended yesterday. Deadlocked at 17 after three quarters, the Bills looked good. Then, Tennessee scored 24 unanswered. Mount T.O. exploded. And the Bills fans have to be wondering about this organization. Other than Jarius Byrd, who intercepted a pass for the fifth game in a row, the Bills have few positives. The only thing missing from yesterday’s game was the yellow brick road because the Bills had no heart, no courage, and yeah, you guessed it, very little brains.
Tennessee is now 3-0 with Vince Young under center. In the 21st century NFL given to ‘spread’ offenses, the Titans have turned to the ‘option.’ Chris Johnson gained 132 yards on the ground and 100 through the air.
NFL fans scratched their heads as the Denver Broncos sprinted to a record of 6-0. Three consecutive losses – including yesterday’s to the Washington Redskins, 27-17 – have fans wondering if we have “seen the real Broncos at last.” Denver’s losses coupled with San Diego’s four game win streak has knotted the AFC West. Next weekend’s tilt in Denver should be interesting.
Blinded by the light?
What started 3-0 has now turned into 4-5. In September, Rex Ryan looked like a genius, and Mark Sanchez a prodigy. The New York Jets toppled Houston, New England, and Tennessee. The view from above must have been too much because lately the Jets look “cut loose like a deuce.”
Josh Scobee kicked a field goal as time expired, and Jacksonville downed New York, 24-22.
Maurice Jones-Drew took one for the team. Instead of scoring a touchdown, the Jaguar running back opted to kill clock and took a knee. Jones-Drew went to the turf at the two-yard line keeping the clock in motion and the jet offense on the sideline.
Baltimore at Cleveland. Browns’ coach, Eric Mangini, tapped Brady Quinn for the start tonight. Did I hear someone say lamb to the slaughter? That’s great ‘Mangenius’. Give the kid the ball against Baltimore who is coming off a loss. You couldn’t wait a week when you guys play the Lions?