Some observations of this past weekend’s games…
Stephen Davis or DeShaun Foster…six of one
Despite not having the services of Stephen Davis for most of the second half, Davis left in the third quarter of Sunday’s Colts-Panthers game with an arm injury, the Panthers are one of only three teams still undefeated after week six. Seeing Davis leave the game must have been good news for the Colts, right? One would think so. A healthy DeShaun Foster had other ideas. Foster posted 85 yards including two powerful runs in overtime to set up John Kasay’s game-winning 47 yard field goal to keep the Panthers perfect winning 23-20. The Colts offense posted some solid numbers in defeat. Marvin Harrison posted 119 yards on eight catches but was held without a TD after taking a vicious hit at the one-yard line. Peyton Manning threw for 293 yards including a big chunk of the 91-yard drive in the final three minutes of regulation but he never got a chance to touch the ball in OT. Things don’t get much easier for Carolina as they face another solid AFC South team next week in the Titans. If the Panthers make it 6-0, you can write their name in the ’03 playoff picture in ink.
Josh Bidwell should play cornerback for Green Bay
Without Green Bay’s punter Josh Bidwell, the Packers-Chiefs game would have never even gone into overtime. Bidwell was the last man to beat on a Dante Hall punt return which would have made it five straight games with a kick return for a TD for Hall, but it was not meant to be. Instead, the Chiefs got a little extra out of the passing game to take out the Packers at Lambeau Field, 40-34. After the Packers blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt in overtime, the Packers took over looking to move the ball with their stud RB Ahman Green. The only problem was two plays later, Green coughed up the ball which was recovered by the Chiefs. The Chiefs ran Priest Holmes nine straight times to start overtime (wouldn’t you?!). In fact their first pass attempt after the nine straight runs, was almost picked off and returned for a Green Bay touchdown. But on their first play after recovering the fumble, Trent Green found a streaking Eddie Kennison down the sidelines for a game-winning 51 yards touchdown. Green finished the day with 400 yards passing with three TDs. The Chiefs also got Tony Gonzalez involved in the action as Gonzo brought down four catches for 121 yards including a 26-yard TD catch. The Chiefs are downright scary if the passing game can produce like they did this week against the Pack. Maybe there is something to Dick Vermeil’s three-year plan afterall.
Just LOSE baby! The Silver and black are black and blue in ’03
This is not the Raiders team I remember last year. If it was the Raiders of last year, once they scored on their first possession of the Browns-Raiders game, the game would have been over. Gannon would have continued to pick apart the Browns secondary and if the secondary was getting stingy, Gannon would have simply adjusted to the short passing game and Charlie Garner along with Doug Jolley would have combined for 150+ yards receiving with at least two scores. Garner did finish Sunday’s game with nine catches for 51 yards, but the Raiders of this year did not score again as they dropped their second straight game, 13-7 and sit at 2-4, a full four games behind the AFC West leading Chiefs. The Raiders are playing so lousy right now, they committed 19 penalties in the game for 128 yards including penalties on five straight plays. Last year’s Raiders team would have overcome the penalties by causing turnovers on defense and marching down the field as if the defense was standing still. This year, the only marching that is taking place is Raider Nation heading for the gates. With the division-leading and undefeated Chiefs heading to Oakland to face Raider Nation next week on Monday night, the question is which Raider team will show up? If it’s last year’s team, it should be a fun game to watch. If it’s the ’03 version of the Silver and Black, Raider fans will be early for work Tuesday morning since they’ll get plenty of sleep Monday night.
The 7th time is the charm for Dallas
The Eagles headed into Dallas on Sunday having beaten the Cowboys in six straight games and tried to start the game off with an onsides kick as they did three years ago in Dallas. That was then, this is now. Back then, head coach Dave Campo looked stunned after the initial play and his team never recovered. Bill Parcells had his suspicions confirmed on Sunday and after Dallas backup WR Randal Williams returned the onsides kick 37 yards for the TD, the Cowboys led 7-0 with only three seconds gone off the clock. Watching the sidelines after the return, you could see the special teams coach of the Cowboys Bruce DeHaven head to Parcells to give him a high-five. In other words, thanks for that one coach. The rest of the game was nip and tuck, with Philly having one last shot after a solid 41-yard kick return by James Thrash with 1:11 remaining in the game. But McNabb fumbled on fourth down which was recovered by La’Roi Glover to give the Boys the win after running out the clock. The opening play set the tone, but it was the Dallas defense that kept the Eagles in check sending Philly to 2-3. The Cowboys have now won four straight and sit atop the NFC East at 4-1. In case you were wondering, the last time the Cowboys started the season 4-1 was ’95. Oh yeah, Dallas won the Super Bowl that year.
Some other passing thoughts….
To think the Raiders had 19 penalties on Sunday and Bill Romanowski didn’t play.
For those of you that missed it, Jaguars punter Chris Hanson was lost for the season after cutting his leg with an ax that was in the Jaguars locker room that head coach Jack Del Rio was using for inspiration to “keep chopping wood”. The question isn’t why is there an ax in the locker room, but who let the punter play with the big boys toys, anyway? Keep the kickers in the corner playing with the tinker toys and no one will get hurt.
Steve McNair is on fire right now. He threw for 421 yards this past week on 18 completions. For the mathematically challenged, that’s an average of 23.4 yards per catch. Next week he faces the undefeated Panthers. Don’t even think about sitting Air McNair.
How do you know things are going your way? When your opponent turns the ball over twice in it’s first three plays. That’s exactly what the Giants did this past week against the Patriots. Five turnovers in all gave the Patriots their second straight win and they are now 4-2 despite missing nine starters from their opening day roster. The big test for the Pats comes this week in Miami.
Fantasy RB Flash: Marcel Shipp: 61 yards rushing, 5 catches for 47 yards receiving. Go get him if you can.
Don’t look now, but the Jets sacked Bledsoe seven times and thrashed the Bills 30-3 (who have quickly fallen from grace). That means the Chargers are the only winless team left in the NFL after they sat out last week on a bye. Watch your step Cleveland. You got the bolts next.
Another useless fact: only three playoff teams from last year have a winning record after week six (Tampa Bay 3-2, Indianapolis 5-1, Tennessee 4-2).
Until next week…