Hello Niners Nation. I'm a lifetime 49er fan who grew up in Santa Clara before bouncing around the country and ending up in Utah. No polygamy jokes please. I'll be helping with the national coverage from now on, or at least until I get tired of it. As for the action in week 6, if you're a fan of bad, and sometimes downright ugly football, this was the week for you. Sure, their was some great play by Tom Brady and Drew Brees. And my suspicion that God is a Brett Favre fan was supported once again. But for the most part there was just a lot of stinky football. So we'll start with the game that was both the best and the worst of what the NFL has to offer.
As the cold weather came to Foxboro Stadium and the snow started to fall, Tom Brady caught fire and looked like his old self for the first time since his injury. Brady shredded the Titans defense completing 29 of 34 passes for 380 yards and 6 TD's in only 2 1/2 quarters of play. The Patriots set two NFL records with 5 TD's in one quarter and a 45-0 lead at the half. They also set franchise records with 59 points and 619 net yards of offense. But as good as the Patriots were, the Titans were that bad. Kerry Collins completed only 2 of 12 passes for -7 yards and 1 interception. You know you're bad when you get pulled for Vince "coach killer" Young. Jeff Fisher, who's been the Titans head coach since they were in Houston, might be the next to go. Somehow the Titans have managed to go from AFC powerhouse to NFL laughingstock over the off season.
In a game where both teams did everything in their power to lose, it was the Bills who finally walked away with the win in overtime. As quick as the Mark Sanchez bandwagon filled up, people are jumping off just as fast. Sanchaz easily had the worst game of his career, which is saying a lot considering he threw 3 interception just two weeks ago in New Orleans. Of his 29 passes against the Bills, 15 were caught. The problem was that only 10 of those receptions were made be people wearing Jets uniforms. The Bills intercepted Sanchez 5 times, including a costly one in OT, and the Jets as a whole tied a franchise record with 6 interceptions for the game. At least Sanchez can rest well knowing the record for most interceptions thrown by a Jets QB is 6, held by "Broadway" Joe Namath.
In the battle between teams trying to decide who has the worst Indian mascot, the Chiefs pulled off the small upset ending a 9 game losing streak. With a 2-4 record despite being the first team in NFL history to open the season against 6 straight teams without a win, it seems the Redskins are making a habit of helping other teams end their losing streaks. Jason Campbell got the hook at halftime after completing 9 of 16 passes for 89 yards and an interception. But his replacement, 15 year veteran Tod Collins, didn't fair any better completing only 6 of 14 passes for 75 yards. In a game where neither team could find the end zone, the hero ended up being Mr Irrelevant. Ryan "Insert joke about my last name here" Succop, the last player chosen in last years draft, kicked 4 field goals for the Chiefs and was awarded the game ball afterwards.
Steven Jackson called out the Rams about their never ending losing streak. Maurice Jones-Drew called out the Jaguars about not running the ball enough. Both teams appeared to respond but it was the Jaguars, led by Jones-Drew, who got the win. Jones-Drew rushed the ball 33 times for 133 yards and 3 TD's, and David Garrard completed 30 of 43 passes for a career high 335 yards. Tory Holt, who caught 5 passes for 101 yards, was heard mumbling to himself afterwards repeatedly saying, "Thank God I'm not on that team anymore. Thank God I'm not on that team anymore."
The Steelers continued their dominance over the Browns, winning for the 12th consecutive time. Joshua Cribbs returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the Browns and Derek Anderson led them to only their 4th offensive touchdown of the season. But it wasn't enough to stop Big Ben who threw for 417 yards. One note of interest. Late in the 3rd quarter the Browns and Steelers stopped playing football and decided to play a quick game of hot potato. Both teams turned the ball over 2 times a piece in a span of only 1:25. For the game each team turned the ball over 4 times.
Panthers 28, Buccanears 21
Donte Wesely wins the cheap shot of the year award for his cold cocking of the Bucs Clifton Smith. Smith was looking up to catch a punt when Wesely lowered the boom and ran through him at full speed. Two seconds later the ball actually made it to the ground. Wesely seemed surprised when he got ejected from the game so he must have thought Smith caught the ball. The hit cleared both benches and lots of shoving and pushing ensued, but that was it. As for the game, the Bucs forgot that they were supposed to tackle people when they had the ball and Carolina ran all over them. On the game winning drive, the Panthers ran the ball for 15 of the 16 plays. Even when Tampa Bay put 9 men in the box, they couldn't stop them. DeAngelo Williams finished with 152 yards rushing and Jonathan Stewart finished with 110.
What was supposed to be the game of the week, ended up being a Giant dud. That last sentence was for all those headline writers who love their play on words. The Giants defense was non existent as the Saints marched up and down the field at will. Did you catch it? Another play on words. Drew Brees threw for 369 yards and the Saints out rushed the Giants 133-84. I don't know about everyone else, but watching the Giants get blown out made me feel a little better about the 49ers blowout. Even supposed Super Bowl contenders can stink up the place.
I can see the headlines now, "All hail King Farve. Master of heaven and earth and all things pigskin." Seriously, is their a luckier guy in the NFL? The Vikings could easily be 4-2, but instead they're 6-0. Steven Hauschka missed a game winning field goal as time expired and Favre paid absolutely no attention. The entire Vikings sideline is jumping up and down for joy while Favre is over by the bench asking ecstatic teammates, "Did he miss?" While Favre may have won, Flaco had the better game throwing for 385 yards and two touchdowns. Sidney Rice of the Vikings had the best game of his career catching 6 passes for 176 yards.
I can't help but wonder if the 49ers had chosen Aaron Rogers instead of Alex Smith, if Rogers would be as good as he is now? Rogers is getting sacked a ton but he's still leading his team down the field. Even the hapless Lions were able to sack Rogers 4 times in the game. However, it doesn't matter who plays QB for the Lions. With Matthew Stafford's injury Daunte Culpepper got the nod. Remember when he was good? What happened? Culpepper completed only 6 of 14 passes for 48 yards and an interception. After Culpepper hurt his hamstring, Drew Stanton took over. Unfortunately he was just as bad completing 5 of 11 passes of 57 yards and 2 interception. Word is that the Ford family is going to petition Congress for a cash for clunkers type bailout for their clunker football team.
Any 49er fan who watched Matt Schaub tear up the Bengals defense for 392 yards and 4 touchdowns had to be nervous. It was Schaub's 4th 300 yard passing game of the season. The Bengals did take a 17-14 lead in at halftime but they must have forgotten how to play offense when they came back out for the second half. The anemic Bengals totaled only 6 yards of offense in the 3rd quarter on 9 plays. The one bright spot for Cincinnati was that Chad "I have the dumbest last name in the world" Ochocinco caught 5 passes for 103 yards. It was the first time since the last game in 2007 that he broke 100 yards receiving.
Kurt Warner tied Dan Marino for the record of being the fastest to 30,000 yards passing in a career and the Cardinals, once again, looked like the team that made it to the Super Bowl. Of course, they were only playing the Seahawks who have decided to employ their own M.A.S.H. unit. Maybe this wasn't a statement about how good the Cardinals are, but more like how bad the Seahawks stink. Even the "12th Man" was turning on the Seahawks as a scattering of boos could be heard. The win ties the Cardinals for the NFC West lead but the 49ers hold the tie breaker and still have another game with them at Candlestick.
Just how bad did the Eagles play on Sunday? Well they became the first team in three years not to score a touchdown on the Raiders. And this was a game that the Eagles were favored to win by 16.5 points. JaMarcus Russell actually looked halfway decent as he managed a QB rating of 68.2 and threw his second TD of the season to go with his 6 interceptions. But we're all still waiting to see the genius behind the Darrius Heyward-Bey selection. DHB caught 1 pass in the game for -1 yard and now has 3 catches on the season. Meanwhile, Al Davis looked closer to death than ever all done up in his silver and black and everything sagging.
Bears 14, Atlanta 21
On second and goal from the 1, Matt Forte of the Bears decided to give the ball to Atlanta. Atlanta didn't take it, so on 3rd and goal he tried to give it to them again. He even kicked the ball away from him for good measure. Forte, who only had 2 fumbles in his previous 398 carries, fumbled on back to back plays. The Bears out gained Atlanta 373-253, but it was their mistakes that did them in. To go with Forte's fumbles, Jay Cutler threw an interception on the 9 yard line, and Orlando Pace had a false start penelty on 4th and 1 at the 5.