A Day of Football
Posted Sep. 19 at 09:10 PM
In week 2, things start to take shape in the NFL. We start to get a slightly better idea of who can play, who got drafted into a hopelessly bad situation, and who shouldn't have let his teammates talk him out of retirement. We saw breakout stars and fantasy stars re-emerging.
And at the end of the afternoon's game, you saw a season's worth of drama in one game that it was just impossible to turn away from. Here's just some of what I saw during a whole lot of football watching yesterday.
At 1:00 p.m. I decide to watch the Dolphins-Vikings kickoff. I consider Browns-Kansas City, because there are some awfully good returners. Percy Harvin gets it out near the 30. Harvin catches 4 passes in Minnesota's first eight plays. Berrian appeared to drop the first ball thrown his way, but a defender got a hand in there. Vikings oddly go for it on fourth down rather than kicking a makeable field goal. Mistake, and you wonder if they'll regret it later. Guess what: they do.
In Dallas, Jay Cutler sacked by two guys. Really clobbered. Play wiped out by offsetting penalties. Next play, Cutler flattened by two defenders again. You wonder if he'll be in for a long day.
Guess what: It's Dallas' defense in for a long day.
Chad Henne had Brandon Marshall for a touchdown, but they're not on the same page. He does throw a touchdown to an uncovered Brian Hartline. Marshall is still the only relevant fantasy player.
Jerome Harrison loses a fumble, good news for all of us who made a desperation play of Peyton Hillis. Matt Cassel makes two errant throws and Kansas City settles for a field goal. Hillis goes on to have a pretty good game, rewarding those who benched C.J. Spiller for him.
Jahvid Best having a huge game. Probably should have drafted him over C.J. Spiller in more than one league. In Green Bay, Packers settling for field goals against Buffalo. That won't continue. (It doesn't.)
Vince Young picked in the end zone. Derek Anderson also picked. Both bad throws by shaky passers. Later, Young is benched. Probably only a matter of time for Anderson, as well.
Back to the Vikings game. Two straight plays to Shiancoe. Throw to Harvin at goal line that he bobbles into defender's hands for an INT. Signs keep coming in that Minnesota's year was last year.
Touchdown grab for Carolina's Steve Smith. Tim Hightower 80-yard touchdown run. He's not fast; some poor angle taken by the Falcons. Wrong week to be facing him.
In Cincinnati, Palmer misses an open Ochocinco. TDs are just slipping away from me left and right. Later, a bizarre roughing the passer call against Palmer. It was a routine hit on the quarterback. Adam formerly known as Pacman Jones had an interception, then got leveled by Anquan Boldin. That was kind of funny.
In Dallas, Dez Bryant scores a punt return touchdown. Convinced the guy will be a star. Later, a short TD pass for Tony Romo after Marion Barber's herculean leaping effort is stopped inches short of the goal line. A play you either love or hate, depending on who you're starting or facing.
In Atlanta, Michael Turner is tearing things up before leaving with a groin injury. Shortly thereafter, Jerious Norwood leaves with an injury. Jason Snelling becomes the Brandon Jackson of this week's waiver wire, going on to catch a short dump off for a touchdown and rush for two more. The Atlanta practice reports become far more interesting this week.
Jay Cutler long completion to Johnny Knox. He can sling it, no question. Spectacular touchdown catch for Devin Hester. I take back some of the mean things I said about him. Like calling him a defensive back rather than a wide receiver, that kind of thing.
Chris Johnson 85-yard touchdown! Wiped out by a holding penalty. Ouch. Johnson goes on to rush for just 34 yards. If you faced him this week, count your lucky stars.
Jahvid Best touchdown reception. Takes a little screen, makes a guy miss and boom. Impressive. Big play waiting to happen. And it's just the start of a huge day for him, and a reminder that if you've got a running back who's getting all the snaps -- goal line, passing situations, what have you -- for a team that might get mixed up in a high-scoring game, don't bench him.
Back in Dallas, Tony Romo interception, second of the day. This one was behind Jason Witten. First one was on target for Miles Austin but he got drilled as he was catching it. Romo finishes with a good day, albeit a loss.
In Minnesota, Vontae Davis makes a big tackle. Celebrates like he just won the Super Bowl. Then goes to one knee and signals for medical personnel to come over; maybe a neck strain of some kind? Kind of amusing.
Brett Favre finally completes a pass to Bernard Berrian, who might have gone for a long touchdown but his momentum as he catches it takes him out of bounds. A few plays later Favre targets Berrian in the end zone and is picked. Not sure he made that bad a throw/decision all last season. Dolphins fumble, Vikings get it back, Adrian Peterson scores. Very fortunate break.
Vince Young bodyslammed by 2 or 3 Steelers. No flag! Unbelievable. I do not understand NFL officiating. I get that they're human and different guys work different games, but c'mon. Quarterback picked up and dumped on his head by two defenders. Isn't that a penalty?
Nice pitch and catch from Rodgers to Brandon Jackson, who'd already caught a touchdown. Then Rodgers runs in a touchdown to put Green Bay up comfortably en route to an easy win. Suicide pool participants are happy. Packers look like the best team, by far, in the NFC North. Guess we'll find out next week when the play Chicago.
Should be a first-down reception by Peterson, but one of the worst spots I've ever seen leaves him short. Vikings then stuffed on 4th and inches, but this time they get a ridiculously favorable spot. Next play, Adrian Peterson hurdles a tackler during a big gainer. He's awesome. Toby Gerhart comes in for a carry. He is not awesome. Favre sacked. He just looks slow.
Calvin Johnson another quiet first half. What. Is up. Targeted and it's intercepted. Oh.
Vince Young benched. Kerry Collins comes in and throws an interception, although he ultimately leads a near comeback. I saw two successful onside kicks on Sunday.
Favre picked for the 3rrd time. Thrown into double coverage, for Berrian. Vincent Jackson trade coming this week. Ronnie Brown fumbles on next play. Bizarre. Somebody has to feel sorry for the Vikings. But they get stuffed at the goal line (another lousy spot on third down, lousy play on fourth), then drop two passes on their final sequence. Ugly, ugly loss.
In Cleveland (I didn't spend much time there and don't regret it), almost a spectacular sideline catch by Mohamed Massaquoi, but he couldn't hang on. Still, kid can play.
Roy Williams loses a fumble. We don't like Roy, no one does, but it sure looked like his forward progress had been stopped about 10 seconds earlier. In fairness, I didn't see every angle, so maybe I missed something.
Back in Cincinnati, Joe Flacco trying to lead a game-winning drive. Not happening. Intercepted, for the fourth time. Game ends. Baltimore's offense through two weeks is not exactly looking like it's been significantly souped up by the addition of Anquan Boldin. Just saying.
In Dallas, there's a missed field goal by David Buehler with a chance to tie the game. Later he makes one, but the damage has been done, and the Cowboys fail on the ensuing onside kick. Buehler can't be missing kicks each week or he'll be out of a job, soon. After the game Jerry Jones given Buehler the vote of confidence. Yeah, that's believable.
Back in Cleveland, Thomas Jones leaps to convert a fourth down. Old man can still get up there. you know how every year some team surprisingly starts out 2-0 and then finishes 4-12? My answer is Kansas City.
In Detroit, LeSean McCoy scores his third touchdown. Bad week to be facing him. Lions make things interesting by scoring 2 TDs and getting a 2-pointer, then recovering an onside kick -- Eagles, like Steelers, need to work on covering those. Final drive fails, announcers rip Shaun Hill for his decision-making. Guys, he's Shaun Hill.
Frequently there are some weak late games (a matchup of bad teams like Oakland-St. Louis, or a blowout like San Diego-Jacksonville). But this week there were a couple of really good ones, so we'll focus on those.
Pats-Jets: Eric Smith gives Welker a blow to the head on an uncatchable ball. Dumb penalty. Rex Ryan's team is starting to stir memories of his father's teams, and not in a good way. Why on earth is BenJarvus Green-Ellis getting so much work? ... Braylon Edwards TD, good job. Taunting penalty afterward, because Edwards apparently can't help but do stupid things even when he's doing good things. ... One-handed touchdown bomb grab for Randy Moss. Pretty throw and catch; he beats Darrelle Revis. No doubt satisfying for him. Revis leaves having aggravated a hamstring injury. ... Jets come back, with Sanchez making all kinds of throws to Dustin Keller. I'm telling you, he's the main guy in this passing game. It's all Jets in the second half, with Tomlinson looking like his younger self, Braylon Edwards being Sanchez's goal-line target (touchdown and two-point conversion), Jets making big plays on defense. Just shows to go you, don't overrate week 1. ... End of the game. Clock stopped on apparent penalty. No, the official went on to explain, his flag was being returned to him, and he dropped it. "The clock operator was mistaken..." That's how things go sometimes.
Washington-Texans: There are bad overtime games, to be sure, but this was an instant classic. And the overtime itself -- which you can bet had Donovan McNabb running around reminding his teammates actually could end in a tie -- was epic. Joel Dreessen made the catch of his life, Mike Shanahan got burned by one of those timeouts right before the snap on a game-winning field goal attempt (that I might add he himself invented, heh), and Matt Schaub threw for 497 yards. Um, hope you didn't trade away Schaub or Andre Johnson after their quiet week 1 games.
Random notes: I'm seeing a whole lot of plays where refs throw flags after players call for one. Maybe they were going to throw them anyway, but maybe not. Either way, it kind of looks bad. Get ready for more asking for flags, since players watching games might be thinking, "Hey! it works."
One more note: During Raiders-Rams, a discussion between me and my 5 year old about the Raiders ensues. Are they pirates? Well, they have the eye patch and the cutlasses, so yeah, sure. But they're not wearing pirate hats. No, they're wearing football helmets. So they're not really pirates. Well, they have to wear helmets, because they'd look silly running around the field wearing pirate hats. Then I start thinking about Nnamdi Asomugha running after wideouts yelling "ARRR!!! Avast! Prepare to be boarded! ARRRRRRRRR!"
Monday, Monday: Lot of fantasy star power in tonight's game. I wonder how many people are up 30 or 40 points, but their opponent has Drew Brees, and they're thinking, well, I should be OK, but you know, it's Drew Brees.
Yeah, me too.
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