By: Shawn Davis
In a Monday night affair that was missing style, the Chicago Bears did supply plenty of substance in a game that was one of the most lopsided 13-7 final scores in recent memory. (That should be taken very lightly because my retention skills leave much to be desired.) The game was not pretty in any way but it just seemed like a classic, gritty Bears victory – which it was. Jay Cutler moved them down the field early in the contest to link up with Brandon Marshall on a short touchdown pass and after that it was about Chicago’s defense and Detroit’s lack of continuity on offense.
Charles Tillman (Is anyone as underrated as he is?) played Calvin Johnson man-to-man – he did have safety help – and held Megatron to 3 catches for 34 yards while knocking away a sure touchdown that the receiver had in his hands in the end zone. Tillman doesn’t get the national media respect that other cornerbacks seem to get solely based on past accomplishments. If the Bears keep up their dynamic play on defense – with 21 takeaways thus far – they will get all the attention they can handle.
PIT 24 @ CIN 17: Mike Wallace wanted a new contract from the Steelers this season because he felt he should be paid as one of the top receivers in the league. Okay I’m all for trying to get as much NFL money as you can because once a team feels that you’re done…you find yourself released. He comes out and drops two passes in the first quarter – that were simple plays that he’s used to making.
I’m not going to dive into statistics for this one because it doesn’t match what the game on television showed. It was an exciting division battle in the AFC North with the young brother looking up at big bro who always seems to smirk when the younger sibling sticks his chest out. I like that the Steelers have finally won on the road…and that they host the Bengals in Week 16.
JAC 23 @ OAK 26 (OT): Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert both got injured and were in street clothes, early. The Jaguars blew a lead and lost; I don’t have anything more.
NYJ 26 @ NE 29 (OT): It is a direct credit to Mark Sanchez that the Jets almost pulled this one out. In a game that most had the Patriots winning by double-digits, Sanchez played above the talent level of his offensive unit and handed his team a 26-23 lead before New England tied the game with a field goal to force overtime. He passed for 328 yards with one touchdown (and an interception) while the Patriots were still trying to cover the major holes in their porous pass defense.
Had Jeremy Kerley (7 receptions for 120 yards) and Dustin Keller (7 receptions; 93 yards) not stood up to help Sanchez where else would aid come from? I’m beginning to respect him more because he’s fighting on the field despite the fact that his front-office ignores that he needs weapons.
NO 35 @ TB 28: Boy, do the Saints scratch and claw for wins. I wish that out-of-bounds rule wasn’t valid if the receiver is pushed out-of-bounds like Mike Williams was by Saints corner Patrick Robinson. Nonetheless it was a great game to watch and I’m anticipating a shootout when the Saints go to Denver next week.
GB 30 @ STL 20: This was a game that I was extremely interested in; why? Well I’ll tell you: One, I needed to see how the Packers would look after dismantling the Texans last week. You know, because there are times a team can look GREAT one week and play above the planet – and then return to the atmosphere the next game? This had that potential. Secondly, I wanted to see how the Rams would compete on defense with Aaron Rodgers’ offensive unit that seems to be rejuvenated.
Boy, oh boy, did we get an answer to that…
Over the last two games, Rodgers is a 73-percent passer with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions. I’ve said it all year: If their defense can hold – harder with Charles Woodson out, injured, for the month with a collarbone injury – they’ll make a push in that division and frighten most teams in the NFC playoffs because it’s hard to keep pace with their offensive attack.
I like Sam Bradford, I really do, but don’t you think Jeff Fisher sees highlights of Robert Griffin every week and wonders what he would look like in a Rams jersey?
WSH 23 @ NYG 27: There are two plays that made this game: Robert Griffin’s mad scramble/completion on fourth down to keep his team alive (that lead to his touchdown pass to Santana Moss) and the Eli Manning-Victor Cruz game-winning play. Whew!
ARI 14 @ MIN 21: Three in a row in the loss column for the Cardinals out there; that offensive line would get every quarterback in the league killed. Keep it up, Cards. Maybe being the man under center for that franchise isn’t as cushy as it should be.
As for the Vikings…what else can you say? I don’t think Adrian Peterson is of this planet with 23 carries, 153 yards and a vintage touchdown run while wearing Cardinals defenders all over his body.
CLE 13 @ IND 17: Brandon Weeden has passed for two touchdowns in three straight games and I really like the way he’s playing under center. He gets knocked for being a 29-year-old rookie but that’s ageist; he’s not part of the problem in Cleveland. Wouldn’t it make sense for the new front-office group to acquire the guy some real receiving threats?
Andrew Luck continues to prove he’s more than the classic lead-footed, pocket passer by rushing for 2 more touchdowns; I love his complete game.
BAL 13 @ HOU 43: I nominate the Houston Texans for the team that “Gets No Respect” award. Seriously! After performing like the league’s top squad from the opening week of the season, they were viewed to be exposed last week after the whipping they took from the Packers in prime time. How did they respond?
By turning around and putting the hurt on another early season darling, one which seems to be a bit overrated now. Baltimore escaped last week when Dallas couldn’t close them out; Houston never let them off the hook. By gaining 420 yards total yards (239 passing/181 rushing) they continued exposing the gaping holes present in the Ravens’ once dominant defense.
DAL 19 @ CAR 14: So Cam Newton misses Jonathan Stewart for a sure touchdown and throws an ugly interception in the red zone as well. Next? At the press conference after the game he deflects a bit of blame on the struggles of his team at everyone else so I guess there aren’t mirrors in the dressing room. Carolina, firing your general manager is not the cure-all for what’s wrong with the on-the-field product.
TEN 35 @ BUF 34: Fantasy owners rejoice! Chris Johnson’s corpse was reanimated and he repaid the procedure by finishing the day with an 18 carry, 195 yard, two touchdown outing that had other fantasy owners screaming because they didn’t play him this week. He’s the top headline but something else has gone under the radar as the analysts talk about this contest. What is that?
How great the Houston Texans are looking by allowing Mario Williams to walk out the door without matching the offer that he ultimately signed with the Buffalo Bills. People will begin to believe in Johnson’s output if he strings together a few more games against defensive fronts that actually want to compete. Did I hurt anyone’s feelings there in upstate New York?
SEA 6 @ SF 13: When did this game take place?