By: Shawn Davis
Sunday featured some fun games that had my laptop on overload. I tried to watch so many games at the same time that I gave myself a slight headache but I didn’t care! I love football. I’m going to get detailed on a few games and share a word (or four) on those that are deserving of few words. Let’s jump right in:
San Francisco 25 @ Detroit 19:
GAME OF THE WEEK!
There is nothing else that can be said for both of these teams. Perennial doormats over the last decade, the 49ers and Lions are primed to be formidable the rest of this year – and in the future. Frank Gore had 15 carries for 141 yards with a touchdown, and came up as big as any offensive player this week. He ran tough, broke a few tackles and looked absolutely fresh as the game wore on (a concern entering this season as he was recovering from a fractured hip).
Defensively, the 49ers made it their business to limit Calvin Johnson and even though he had 7 catches for 113yds, he didn’t hurt them in the 4th quarter. This also was the first game that Johnson was held without a touchdown catch. Matthew Stafford and Alex Smith dueled in the last frame but Smith drove his team down the field and closed it with a slant to Delanie Walker for the td. What else beat the Lions? They cannot run the ball…at all. Their offensive balance is off-kilter because they can only hurt teams if the ball is in the air whereas the 49ers can beat you both ways.
San Francisco is a talented team – and has been for years – but the difference is the coach. Jim Harbaugh took the same roster that Mike Singletary had the last two years and made them into powerful squad; ditto for Schwartz with the Lions so it’s got to be great for their fan bases.
Next week: SF (5-1) on bye; Det (5-1) hosts Atlanta (3-3)
New Orleans 20 @ Tampa Bay 26:
Let’s go back ONE week: The nation was “out” on the Buccaneers because they went to San Fran and got blasted off the field. Josh Freeman was being criticized for playing unbalanced and Raheem Morris was questioned as a coach. ONE week ago, people! How would they respond at home versus the Saints?
For one, they forced the razor-sharp Drew Brees into three interceptions – with the last one being a throw I’m not sure ANYONE should have made…like ever. He rolled to the right and looked at a few options (none safe) and just pump-faked before throwing it right into the hands of Buccaneer linebacker Quincy Black. I have no idea what he was thinking as he had Robert Meachem ALONE on the left side of the end zone. Ugh!
Freeman responded this week with 303yds and 2tds in a great turnaround game from last weeks’ debacle in San Francisco. Doubters still out there? There’s no way to please everyone. Hey Saints, don’t feel too bad because you play the Colts next week while Tampa is off to the UK.
Next week: NO (4-2) hosts Indy (0-6); TB (4-2) hosts Chi (3-3) at Wembley Stadium
Dallas 16 @ New England 20:
So the Patriots were forced to play a game where they didn’t get up on a team early, Brady threw two gifts to the defense, and couldn’t impose themselves so they had to fold, right? No. They still have Tom Brady driving down the field to win the game and that about sums it up.
Cowboys? What’s the term…oh, always a bridesmaid!
Next week: Dal (2-3) hosts Stl (0-5); NE (5-1) on bye
Buffalo 24 @ NY Giants 27:
As I said last week, I’m in a pick league where you just choose the winners every week (no spreads) and I went with Buffalo because the Giants cost me a win last week. What happens? The Giants take a win from me…ugh. I’m trying to win my league and the G-Men just knocked me back a few spots because they decided to play football. Thank you Ahmad Bradshaw (going over 100yds rushing with 3tds) for scaring me the entire game. At least Fred Jackson put up another outstanding effort with 121yds on 16 carries and a td to scare the Giants. Would mainstream media please give this guy a look?
Remember last week? The Giants played like the ball was smeared in feces (and lit on fire) against the Seahawks of all teams, but came around and knock off the Bills in a game I needed. To hell with real life, man, I want to win the title. Like I matter? Anyway, the game was back-and-forth and Fitzpatrick had a chance to walk out the victor but severely under-threw Stevie Johnson which led to an interception. I get being aggressive but the game was tied and they were driving so why go for the jugular on that play when there were four minutes on the clock? Both teams walk away 4-2 and I still don’t know how to rate either of them. I won’t.
Next week: Buf (4-2) on bye; NYG (4-2) on bye
Philadelphia 20 @ Washington 13:
Rex Grossman lit it up! Line: 9/22 for 143yds and 4ints. Let the quarterback controversy begin, baby? Get me John Beck! I’m on fumes here because this game wasn’t interesting. Why does Michael Vick insist on scaring the hell out of his fan base? He takes TOO MANY hits. Oh yeah, Philly breathed some life into their season, right?
Next week: Philly (2-4) on bye; Wash (3-2) @ Car (1-5)
Jacksonville 13 @ Pittsburgh 17:
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 200yds and a td while Rashard Mendenhall looked like a rookie, rushing for 146yds and a td. The Steelers jumped out early, shifting to cruise control, while the Jags clawed back into it…only to lose again.
Next week: Jac (1-5) hosts Bal (4-1); Pitt (4-2) @ Ari (1-4)
St. Louis 3 @ Green Bay 24:
The Rams let the Packers beat them like that because they’re looking at their draft position and they want to dictate what other teams will have to do. Also, they’re making sure the Packers are running the right routes and are keeping in shape. Good news? They acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Broncos.
Next week: Stl (0-5) @ Dal (2-3); GB (6-0) @ Minn (1-5)
Houston 14 @ Baltimore 29:
When Joe Flacco is on his game, the Ravens are a title contender because they defend and control the clock with superback, Ray Rice. Flacco didn’t pass for a td but he played well (20/33 for 305yds with an average completion of 9.2yds, meaning he kept the offense moving).
The Texans were without their top-two players: Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. Even with them, the Ravens still make me a winner in my pick league. Yeah, man!
Do you hear that? Open your ears as the Texans are diving; don’t fret as the AFC South is so bad they will probably win it with eight victories.
Next week: Hou (3-3) @ Ten (3-2); Bal (4-1) @ Jac (1-5)
Minnesota 10 @ Chicago 39:
Devin Hester had a 98yd kickoff return after burning the Vikings for a 48ydtd catch for the opening score of the night. Stop kicking to Hester! He’s the best return man ever and tied for second most returns of all time with 17; quickly closing in on the 19 that Deion Sanders has. That record may fall this year.
Do you see how crisp the Bears look when they don’t send their receivers on elaborate passing routes? Cutler made great short throws and his targets were able to make plays after the catch. Someone must have abducted Mike Martz because he’ll revert back to his “Greatest Show on Turf” play selection next week (Can someone tell him that Warner, Faulk, Bruce and Holt aren’t on the roster?) and continue to decimate whatever ceiling the Bears have. As for the Vikings, well sorry Donovan, it’s Ponder time.
Next week: Minn (1-5) hosts GB (6-0); Chi (3-3) @ TB (4-2) in London
Cleveland 17 @ Oak 24:
Why does Colt McCoy have to throw the ball 45 times!? He completed only 21 and, yes, he did have 2tds but where is the balance? Peyton Hillis has fallen victim to the Madden Cover Curse as he’s been hurt and ineffective when he’s been on the field.
Jason Campbell has a fractured collarbone and ESPN, the AP, and Sports Illustrated are reporting that the Raiders are close to freeing Carson Palmer from prison (well, the Bengals).
Next week: Cle (2-3) hosts Sea (2-3); Oak (4-2) hosts KC (2-3)
Indy 17 @ Cinn 27:
As well as Cam Newton has played, his counterpart Andy Dalton has actually won 4 games! Read that one more time. For a team that has been horrendously (I was going for another word but I’ll be PG on this) inept, it’s quite a headline. The Bengals tough it out and rookies, Dalton and Green play beyond their years; help may be coming in the way of extra draft picks if they do trade Palmer to the Raiders as this morning’s reports suggest. Note: Palmer officially traded to Oakland for two draft picks: a 2012 first-round choice and a conditional first rounder in 2013 (or a second-round pick).
Colts fans? Be scared if they earn the right to draft Andrew Luck…while Manning is still on the roster. They’ve been playing better with Painter and I think they’ll get a win (or three) after the Saints beat them up.
Next week: Indy (0-6) @ NO (4-2); Cinn (4-2) on bye
Car 17 @ Atl 31:
I like that Cam Newton is playing like a veteran but it would be good if the Panthers opt for more balance on offense. They have two stud running backs in Williams and Stewart and it baffles me that both haven’t had a major contribution in the same contest. Newton has showed a high level of control of the playbook but they need to take some air out of their attack.
The nation was ready to bury the Falcons after the Packers loss last week (they beat everyone so it’s no indictment to lose to GB) but they got back on track by featuring Michael Turner to the tune of 139yds and 2tds.
Next week: Car (1-5) hosts Wash (3-2); Atl (3-3) @ Det (5-1)
Mia 6 @ NYJ 24:
Tough game to watch in the first half; I mean I considered listening to a few podcasts because I almost fell asleep twice. There’s not really much to highlight here. Revis mugged Brandon Marshall for a 100yd interception return for a td and got away with it. The Jets saved their season…I guess. The Dolphins are playing for Luck.
Next week: Mia (0-5) hosts Den (1-4); NYJ (3-3) host SD (4-1)
Photo: Devin Hester; espn.go.com