The Steelers let Detroit hang around. For a team that has been so successful in recent years, it’s very curious to me that Pitt seems to have so much trouble closing opponents out. They jump out to big leads fairly often, but don’t close games out well. The Packers of 1996 were especially good at that – blowing out the teams that they should have blown out. A few weeks ago, when Pitt was playing Cincy I believe, I took Cincy because I reasoned that Pitt can’t continue to win in the ugly way they win. I wonder if this will be a year the ugliness of their games will catch up with them – especially with Cincy and Balt crowding the top of the division.
Daunte Culpepper looked pretty bad yesterday. I know he led Detroit on some drives and had a couple nice completions, but those sacks at the end of the game were ridiculous. Only one of them was one of those where he didn’t have much of a chance to do anything. The other two it seemed like he saw the defenders coming, panicked, and then ran backwards in what looked like an effort to simply lose yardage. Any agility the guy used to have is gone.
Peyton Manning is passing as well as I’ve seen a QB pass for a long time. Brother Steve and I have ripped on Manning in the past (mostly for whining and generally not being the kind of guy you want to root for), but in fairness to him, he is really an incredible QB. Chris Collinsworth was very accurate himself when pointing out just how accurately Manning was passing the ball. We’ve talked about Manning’s apparent inability to consistently throw a spiral, but I’m starting to realize that it may not have to be a thing of beauty to be effective – like Jim Furyk or Arnold Palmer golfing. Peyton Manning is very, very good.
Why would Houston hand the ball off to the slow-motion RB Chris Brown 2x (!) when the game was on the line with less than a minute to go at the goal-line? Just doesn’t make sense. I could see maybe calling a more imaginative-type play for him to try to catch the defense off guard, but not 2 obvious run plays (the last one was ridiculous as Brown moved toward the pile so slowly and predictably it was as if Gary Kubiak had $400,000 on his team not covering the spread). If I were the Texans’ coach, I would have gone to ONLY one of three players: Owen Daniels (who was having a very productive game), Andre Johnson (arguably the best WR in the NFL) or Steve Slaton, a guy Gary Kubiak seems to have forgotten about this year – and, a guy who proved effective last year getting into the end zone.
Cincy is for real. These guys are really good. Balt is a quality team and Cincy didn’t blink and simply made the plays they had to make to win.
Denver coach Josh McDaniels went nuts after the game jumping up and down. Wow, what a turnaround it’s been for him to go from feeling the hate from Bronco fans who didn’t like how he handled things over the off-season to being 5-0 after besting his mentor.
Buffalo is very bad. Not sure why I ever thought Trent Edwards would be decent. Ugly.
Even though Seneca Wallace is often regarded around the NFL as a quality back-up, the guy’s winning percentage cannot be good. He may have talent and may in fact do some things well, but he rarely leads the team to victories. He is the opposite of someone like Shaun Hill – Hill doesn’t do much of anything yet wins pretty consistently.
Even though the Rams/Vikings game wasn’t even close, it did make me aware of something interesting: I’m not sure the Vikings defense is that good. Hear me out. Teams have been able to move the ball quite easily against the Vikings the first few weeks of this season. Steven Jackson didn’t have a huge game, but somehow, the Rams were able to at least get the ball into the Vike’s red zone on a good number of occasions (before turning the ball over each time in pathetic fashion). Keep an eye on that MN defense – moving the ball on them this year may prove easier than last year which could ultimately swing back to put pressure on one Brett Favre. (Some statistical support for those who need it: the MN defense is ranked #14 in yards allowed this year – not great for what had recently been a suffocating defense.
Atlanta is really, really well coached. I think Mike Smith may be a real star in this league for a while. When that team executes a game plan like they clearly did yesterday against a quality opponent on the road, it points to the coach and his staff’s ability to prepare the guys.
Speaking of coaches, it’s time for Jax to move on. Whenever a team plays as inconsistently as this team does under Jack Del Rio, I think it’s a sign that a coach is losing (or has lost) some of his players. The inconsistency suggests that the team does have the talent to compete, but that there is tension within…or something. I just get the sense that “Of the River” is the kind of coach who is not respected by the whole locker room.
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Andy – a good friend of mine who is a (sigh) Vikings fan is very worried about their defense. He thinks it will break soon. So you are suffering from Packer fan optimism. But I just validated you with citation to a Vikings fan – so you’ve got all kinds of other problems.