Some observations of this past weekend’s games…
Corey who? The Dillon-less Bengals knock off the Seahawks
So, Corey Dillon tells the world that he wants to be traded last week preferably to Dallas mind you (heads up, Tuna!). Then on the way to Paul Brown Stadium to play a home game against the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks, Dillon gets into a fender-bender. Luckily, no one was injured in the crash but Dillon was placed on the inactive list as he was clearly shaken up when he spoke with head coach Marvin Lewis informing him of the incident. What happens with the Bengals running game, you ask? Fill-in Rudi Johnson rushes for 101 yards including a TD in a 27-24 upset victory over the Seahawks. Coincidence? Maybe. But the fact that this Bengals team is coming together as they start to believe more of what head coach Marvin Lewis has the say, the less they need a distraction such as Corey Dillon. The defense is making big plays (five turnovers against Seattle) and Kitna is utilizing his weapons well. With the Bengals sitting at 3-4 only one game behind division-leading Baltimore, Cincy has already surpassed their total number of wins from all of last year when they finished at 2-14. Expect that win total to continue to rise thanks in large part to Marvin Lewis, not their “superstar” Corey Dillon.
And then there was one….undefeated team that is
George O’Leary must have been busy updating his resume’ during the week, as the Vikings defense clearly was not ready to stop the likes of the Giants passing game. The G-Men were finally able to produce some points after marching up and down the field on yet another opponent thanks to Ike Hilliard’s two scores and a Tiki Barber 2-yard TD run which was set up by a big 46-yard completion to Jeremy Shockey which turned out to be the game winner. The Vikes did take the lead mid-way through the 3rd quarter as Culpepper found Randy Moss (who else?) for his 2nd touchdown of the day (no backward laterals to speak of though). But it was Culpepper’s interception with a little more than five minutes to play that setup the final score by the Giants and put the game out of reach 29-17. The Vikings have to now look ahead and face Green Bay next Sunday night who are coming off a bye week and then three of their following four games are road games. That 6-1 record that had Mike Tice and George O’Leary doing interviews for anyone that would listen (I think I saw them on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” this week), could easily take a downward turn into a 7-4 mark with people wondering where it all went wrong. Buckle up Vikes fans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Eddie George uses Daylight Savings to turn his clock back three years
Just when you think Eddie George has entered the downside of his career, he rattles off two touchdowns on the ground and carries the Titans to their third straight and sixth overall win on Sunday defeating the Jaguars 30-17. The Titans did exactly what you are supposed to do on the road which is control the clock and keep the crowd out of the game. The Titans won the time of possession by almost 2 to 1 and once you add the three INTs thrown by Byron Leftwich in the mix you get a big Titans win. Tennessee heads into their bye week trailing the AFC South division-leading Colts by a half a game. The Titans will go from being huge Dolphins fans next week (Miami plays the Colts) to wanting to destroy the Dolphins (Tennessee’s week ten opponent). Despite the mixed emotions of the Titan players, one thing is for sure: If Eddie George builds on his 88-yard, two TD performance against the Jags and McNair continues to play like the league M.V.P., the Titans will be tough to beat in the second half of the season as they play five out their last eight games at the friendly confines of The Coliseum.
When is Marc Bulger getting his Chunky soup commercial?
There’s a reason why you don’t hear about a QB controversy in St. Louis anymore. No, Kurt Warner is not injured. No, Marshall Faulk isn’t leading the offense in both rushing and receiving. It’s Marc Bulger that is leading the Rams back atop the NFC West as they defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh this past Sunday 33-21 to tie Seattle at 5-2 for first place. Bulger threw for a season-high 375 yards in Pittsburgh and even though he threw for only one TD, it was Bulger who was responsible for moving the ball downfield allowing Arlen Harris (who?) to rush for 3 TDs. The four turnovers caused by the Rams defense didn’t hurt either. With Marshall Faulk on the mend and returning to his starting role soon (he was the emergency running back against the Steelers), the Rams are loading up for a strong second half. Head coach Mike Martz’s toughest job isn’t filling the running back position or finding a way to give both Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce both enough opportunities to make plays, it’s finding a way to keep Brenda Warner off the airwaves talking trade for her hubby.
Some other passing thoughts….
The Cowboys had a reality check this week as they were shutout by the Bucs in Tampa 16-0. Don’t go buying your Super Bowl tickets just yet Cowboys fans.
The Eagles have quietly won two in a row and are now only a game behind the aforementioned Cowboys for first place in the NFC East.
The Pats won again this week in the ugliest game of the week, 9-3. I think the only time the Browns made it past the 50-yard line before the third quarter was when they headed into the locker room at halftime.
How funny was it that all coins that were used by the referees in coin-tosses across the league had the heads side painted red to avoid any confusion. Apparently, the refs at the Pats-Browns game got a chuckle out of the players before the game in reference to last week’s Pats-Dolphins overtime craziness.
The ’72 Dolphins are starting to watch the Chiefs very closely right now. Not only are they 8-0 heading into their bye week next week, but they won in convincing fashion on Sunday night over a Buffalo team that had pundits predicting a Super Bowl appearance after their 2-0 start.
Is there a better offense-defense duo on the same team than Jamal Lewis and Ray Lewis right now?
After San Francisco kicker Own Pochman missed a 35-yard field goal in the 4th quarter of the Niners-Cardinals game (his second miss of the day), he was met by no other than T.O. himself. Did Owens really think barking at his kicker was going to get him fired up? It may help him be motivated to find a job. Pochman was released the next day. Ouch!
Until next week…