NFL Week 4 Review: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

Return of the refs

Who ever would have thought refs would be applauded?

Finally, the much awaited return of official referees arrived. Fans had to endure 3 weeks of replacement refs’ horrendous officiating: extra timeouts, free touchdowns, excessive defensive pass interference calls, phantom holding calls, etc– the list goes on. Fortunately, for fans’ sake, the Packers served as martyrs protecting the games’ integrity. Fans greeted regular officials with an explosion of cheers and a generous standing ovation upon returning during Thursday night’s football game. Final outcome: Better officiating, although not by much.

Last week: flat line, this week: Hartline and Tannehill revived in a Dolphins’ loss

Diving for every yard: The difference between 250 and 253.

Who is Brian Hartline? Since I’m sure you don’t know, he is the Miami Dolphins receiver that absolutely exploded in week 4. Hartline snagged 12 receptions for a Dolphins record of 253 yards and a touchdown. Yes, 253 yards, and that wasn’t a typo. In weeks 1-3 Hartline totaled 202 yards and no TDs, so he more than doubled his season’s production. If he’s available in your fantasy league, pick him up! He might be the perfect addition to fit your flex position until we’re sure he can produce consistently.

Hartline helped springboard his QB, Ryan Tannehill, to a record-setting day in his young, rookie career. Tannehill accrued 431 passing yards, although the effort came in a tough, overtime loss to ball hawking Arizona Cardinals. The confidence Tannehill gained will be helpful going forward, although he threw twice as many interceptions as TDs (2-1). Final Score: Cardinals 24, Dolphins 21.

Patriots go Buffalo hunting

Everybody’s involved.

New England appeared doomed by stagnant offense as the Buffalo Bills took a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter. It seemed like they would lose to another middling team and drop to 1-3 for the season. Then, they mounted up, grabbed their muskets and went Buffalo hunting. New England abused Jacksonville’s defense, running off 42 unanswered points. If any team struggles to play offense, they should watch this game’s tape. Players contributed from all positions. Two running backs, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley, rushed for over 100 yards and combined for 3 TDs. Wide receiver, Welker, and tight end, Gronkowski, also added 100 yard games. It looked like a practice scrimmage at game speed because tackles weren’t made. Buffalo’s lackluster players insinuated a quitter’s mentality,which just may have led to New England finding their mojo. Final Score: New England 52, Bills 28

The bad & Ugly Combined:

Oh no! Romo

#47’s Reaction insinuates this was one of the housed interceptions.

The only people not saying “oh no” when Romo recklessly flung the ball was Chicago’s defense, who eagerly awaited every opportunity. Romo threw 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 INTs, tying the most in his career. Although Romo sported a Cowboys uniform, he was the Bears’ best player. Two of his interceptions were housed. Dallas scored 18 points, so Chicago technically needed one offensive touchdown to win. Romo’s questionable decision-making unraveled any chance Dallas had of winning. Usually Tony “No Show” has the patience to wait and save his awful games for playoff stretches, but why wait? Why not come out and stink it up on Monday Night Football when everybody is watching? Final Score: Cowboys 18, Romo and the Bears 34.

Grounded Jets couldn’t take flight

Another grounded “Jet” that couldn’t fly.

Have you ever gotten a “whuppin” for doing something you weren’t supposed to? Apparently the Jets are familiar with this feeling. Jets were created to fly, but their parents, the 49ers, grounded them and never allowed them to take flight. Was this great defense, or bad offense? Good defense leads to bad offense, so let’s assume both took place. Bottom line, New York couldn’t muster a single point – Zero, zilch, nada! After all, they only generated 145 yards of total offense, so at best they were in scoring position one time. One more week of this and the New York Fans will be chanting “TEBOW, TEBOW, TEBOW!” The prodigal return of the Jesus Quarterback is inevitable. Final Score: Jets 0, 49ers 34

Once again, the Raiders

That expression says it all.

I’m kinda tired of the Raiders landing here every week. One week after giving them praise, I’m back to blasting them again. Whats wrong in Oakland? Who’s to blame for their lack of competing? Injuries can’t excuse playing this poorly. The Denver Broncos hadn’t scored a first quarter TD this season until playing Oakland, who relinquished 10 first quarter points. Oakland lacked everything necessary to compete: confidence, tenacity and energy. Denver limited star running back, Darren McFadden (Run DMC), to 34 yards on 13 carries. Simple math confirms that’s less than three yards per carry. McFadden is supposed to break or allude tackles, not make tackles. Oakland’s sloppy arm tackling allows opponents to stretch five yard plays to 25+ yards. Big play threats always loom. The coaching staff must assume onus for this. We know they aren’t supposed to make tackles, but they are responsible for coaching discipline and fundamental principles like wrapping up. I have more to say, but I’m sure they will give me an opportunity to do so next week, so I’ll close with a quote from Carson Palmer, “It was nothing more than a good, old-fashioned butt-whupping.” Final Score: Raiders 6, Broncos 37.

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NFL Week 3 Review: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

Win now, cry later

An emotional Torrey Smith celebrating TD

Torrey Smith’s emotionally infused play lifted his team to victory. After an early morning call informed Smith that his 19-year-old brother, Tevin, had been killed in a motorcycle accident, Torrey opted to stick with the team for Sunday Night Football against the Patriots. Tears rolled down Smith’s face early in the game as football didn’t distract him from his brother’s death. Instead, Smith managed to channel that emotion into fierce football play. Smith grabbed everything that was thrown his direction: snatching six receptions, 120 yards and two TDs, contributing to Baltimore edging New England with a game winning field goal. Final Score: Ravens 31, Patriots 30.

Jamaal Charles shows that once again the Saints ain’t play defense

sAint tackling me!

If you didn’t notice Jamaal Charles’ name has an extra “A,” why, because he’s just that awesome. Last season Charles injured his ACL in week one and sat out the entire season. A slow start had many Charles supporters questioning if he could manifest the potential displayed in previous seasons because he’s struggled to find rhythm totaling 90 yards on 24 carries in the first two weeks of this season. Right when people began to write him off, Charles taxed the Saints’ atrocious run defense for 233 yards and a TD. There isn’t a need for statistical backing to illustrate how terrible the Saints have been, but to make it quick: 2 Quarterbacks, not running backs, achieved career-high rushing yardage this year vs. the Saints, and they’ve given up over 100 points in three weeks. Final Score: Chiefs 27, Saints 24.

80 yards to victory

Shorts stretching to break the plane

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been one of the NFL’s doormats in recent years, but this wasn’t the case on Sunday. Andrew Luck had just led the Colts down the field for a Vinatieri field goal that seemingly doomed Jacksonville to a fate they’re all too familiar with– losing. Everybody believed the Jags would lose except for quarterback Blaine Gabbert who said, “I told the guys going out onto the field, We’re going to win. Right here, right now.” The following play Gabbert connected with Cecil Shorts III on an 80-yard TD catch and run that sealed the game. Final Score: Jaguars 22, Colts 17.

Raider’s steal one from Steelers

Janikowski celebrating game winning FG

Last week I jokingly stated that the disorganized Raiders risked compiling an 0-16 record. This week, I have no problem eating those words. It appeared that my prophecy might remain on track, but Oakland dug deep, took a page from Pittsburg’s book, and racked off 13 unanswered fourth quarter points to seize the game as time expired. Beating the Steelers, one of the NFL’s elite teams, might be exactly what Oakland needed to separate from their losing ways and jumpstart their season, especially since Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Final Score: Raiders 34, Steelers 31.

The Bad & Ugly Combined:

Its official, the replacement officials are terrible

Ref on left: touchback. Ref on right: touchdown

Week after week the replacement refs’ terrible calls catastrophically affect the outcome of games. This week has been no different. There’s an array of available examples to illustrate this point, but none will cause more upheaval than the last second jump ball of the Seahawks-Packers game. First, the officials missed Golden Tate’s blatant offensive pass interference when he pushed Sam Shields down. Secondly, it’s clear that the Packers defender possessed the ball before what some believed was a simultaneous catch. Tate, the receiver on the play, appeared to have only one hand/arm on the ball as the defender came to the ground. One official signaled touchdown, and another signaled touchback. Green Bay had this game taken from them, and before the lockout ends, the playoff picture will be greatly skewed. If the referee lockout doesn’t end this week, don’t be surprised when the replacement refs appear on the “ugly” list next week. Final Score: Seahawks 14, Packers 12.

Eagles’ offensive line has been defenses best friend

Need i say more?

Mike Vick has possibly been criticized more than any player in the NFL this year, but it’s becoming clear that more of his criticism should be shared with a few teammates. Vick’s offensive line refuses to give him time to drop back and survey the field before a defender breaks through and threatens to bruise his ribs again. It’s incomprehensible how the same linemen can zone block and create holes for a running back, but can’t give their quarterback more than 2 seconds before he’s forced to break containment, or is simply knocked on his ass. Their lack of protection ensure it’s only a matter of time before Vick sustains another injury from hanging in the pocket and getting blasted by a 300-pound lineman. Final Score: Cardinals 27, Eagles 6.

Superman Cam encounters kryptonite coated Giants

Sideline behavior

Dejected, frustrated and battered; what do these words have in common other than ending with –ed? They’re all adjectives to describe Cam Newton’s sideline demeanor/composure as he helplessly watched New York’s bench players, Ramses Barden and Andre Brown, dismantle his defense. Yet, each time Cam took the field, disaster struck. The Giants arguably have the best defensive line in football, and their relentless pressure forced Cam to throw three INTs. If Cam is Superman, then the Giants’ defense is an oversized barrel of kryptonite. Final Score: Giants 36, Panthers 7.

This poll was a no brainer

NFL Week 2 Review: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:

Gigantic trio

Dancing on the defense.

Following a turnover ridden first half, The Giants offense exploded with an outpour of epic proportions. Tampa Bay frustrated Eli Manning into three first half interceptions, which translated into an 11-point halftime lead. Then, magic took place. Manning passed for 295 yards and 3 TDs, in the second half alone, which represented a portion of his career-high 510 passing yards. Victor Cruz torched Tampa Bay for 11 receptions, 179 yards and a TD, and Hakeem Nicks’ sure hands hauled in 10 catches, 199 yards and a TD. Overall, New York amassed 604 total yards, which can’t bode well for Tampa Bay’s team defense stats. The Giants’ wide receivers literally danced all over the Bucs’ defense as Cruz displayed his signature Salsa, after grabbing an 80-yard bomb. Final Score: Giants 41, Buccaneers 34.

Green Bay’s “bar-Bear-ic” defense

Tramon Williams #38, Clay Matthews #52

Last week Chicago scored 41 points, but that was against an invisible Colts defense, not the Green Bay Packers. A stingy Packers defense frustrated Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler, to no end sacking him seven times (hit many more), and forcing four interceptions. Linebacker Clay Mattews had 3.5 sacks, and cornerback Tramon Williams was responsible for two INTs. Cutler’s body language was obviously negative, and he barked at a teammate for missing blocks. Regardless, the Bears only generated 168 yards of total offense as the Pack’ swarmed to the ball all night. In fact, the Bears didn’t score their first TD until the fourth quarter when the Packers had clearly secured the game. Final score: Packers 23, Bears 10

The Bad:

New Orleans’ broken levee defense

Newton: Saints (s)Aint play no defense

New Orleans’ defense has been extremely porous this season conceding 75 points and 924 yards of total offense in two games. One week after tying a franchise low, 10 yards to Tampa Bay, the Carolina Panthers poured in 219 rushing yards against a permeable Saints defense. Quarterback Cam Newton rushed for a career-high 71 yards on 13 attempts complemented by 148 yards from the remaining rushing core: mainly DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Even if the Saints revived the bounty system they had going last season, it wouldn’t be enough to spark their problematic defense. Bigger problems loom if the 0-2 Saints can’t defeat mediocre teams (Redskins and Panthers), because the offensively potent Falcons appear ready to take the NFC South division title. Final Score: Panthers 35, Saints 27.

Patriots lose to clipped, winged Cardinals

Gostkowski lays in agony, Cards celebrate

I’d like to say that the Cardinals beat the Patriots, but that simply isn’t true because the Patriots beat themselves. The Cardinals literally fumbled a win into New England’s possession, and the Pats’ couldn’t capitalize. Ryan Williams fumbled at the Cardinals 30-yard line, and Vince Wilfork recovered, which put the Pats’ in instant scoring position. The Pats’ gained six yards setting up a 42-yard field goal after a TD was called back for holding. Stephen Gostkowski, shanked the kick so far left that it completely missed the retention net. Despite the Patriot’s sloppy play, they could have, and should have, beat the low flying Cardinals operating under their backup quarterback. Final Score: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18.

The Ugly:

The Raiders…enough said

Bush eludes Raider’s tackler

The Raiders managed to avoid the “ugly” list last week because they were apart of Monday Night Football, but this week they weren’t so lucky. Oakland alone has been responsible for at least 50% of head-scratching moments this season. An atrocious special team, nonexistent offense and pervious defense have pretty much ensured that the Raiders have the potential of going 0-16 this year, especially since their offense relies very heavily on an injury riddled Darren McFadden. Let’s look at the facts. Miami, yes the Dolphins, out rushed Oakland 263-23 led by Reggie Bush’s 172 yards accumulated by a combination of shifty moves and poor tackling. Secondly, the Raiders managed to convert a menial 1-12 on third down conversions. Lastly, they didn’t force any turnovers. The first turnover they might force is one of their head coach’s job. At this rate, they might make the ugly list every week.

Josh Morgan’s literally throws away chance to win

New definition of “throwing the game”

Josh Morgan made a boneheaded decision late in the fourth quarter of the Redskins-Rams game by throwing the ball at an opposing player. As Washington was driving down the field attempting to tie or take the lead, Morgan caught a pass and valiantly attempted to fight his way out of bounds on third down. After rising from the tackle, Cortland Finnegan, whose reputation as a dirty player precedes him, shoved Morgan’s helmet. Morgan, emotional and frustrated, retaliated by throwing the football at Finnegan prompting a 15-yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty, which moved the ensuing 37-yard field goal attempt to 62 yards. Cundiff missed the kick, as expected. It’s shameful that a reckless disregard may have caused the Redskins their first loss of the season. Final score: Rams 31, Redskins 28.