We all know the 49ers are only 1-5, but they're hardly the only team playing well below preseason expectations. The Cowboys are 1-4, the Chargers are 2-4, and the Vikings and Bengals are both 2-3. Meanwhile, the Chiefs, Bears, Seahawks, and Giants are all leading their divisions, while the Rams and Buccaneers are just 1/2 game out. About the only thing that could surprise more is if I suddenly found out this is all in my head and my body is in some sort of Matrix-like cocoon. That and to find out diet Dr Pepper really does taste more like real Dr Pepper.
Cowboys 21, Vikings 24
The Fox television network would never make a game between two 1-3 teams the game of the week. That is unless one of those teams has Brett Favre and the other is "America's Team". In the battle to decide who's the bigger underachieving team, the Cowboys came out the winner, or loser, depending on how you look at it. Randy Moss, playing in his first game back in the Metrodome as a Viking, finished with 5 catches for 55 yards. But Vikings coach, Brad Childress, and Favre credit his inspiring halftime speach for sparking the Vikings to victory. The proof of his inspiring words is Percy Harvin returning the kickoff to start the second half 95 yards for a TD. I'm sure Harvin was only planing on returning it to the 25 or 30 yard line, but after hearing Moss he probably said to himself, "Dang! I might as well take it all the way to the house!" And how are the now 1-4 Cowboys feeling? Roy Willians put it best when he said, "Are we a 1-4 football team? No, but yes. We're undefeated in these losses." He then held up a monkey and said, "If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit. Here, look at the monkey. Look at the silly monkey!"
Chargers 17, Rams 20
We're six weeks into the 2010 NFL season and the Rams have a better record than the Chargers. In other news, the housing market has never been better, the economy has never been stronger, and unicorn meat tastes like bubblegum. What kind of bizzaro world are we living on? The Rams took a 17-3 halftime lead and were then able to do just enough to hold on for the win. Rams RB, Steven Jackson, rushed for 109 yards and a TD, while the Rams defense put constant pressure on Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. Rivers was sacked 7 times and the Rams defense made another 9 tackles for a loss. Considering the Chargers ran 61 offensive plays, that means 26% of them turned into a loss. Not really the point of the game. "We can't keep saying what we are, 'but we're doing this,'" Rivers said. "What we are is 2-4 and making mistakes that allow us to be 2-4." Thank you for not using the "Chewbacca defense".
The rest of week 6 after the jump.
The Packers lost for the second straight week in OT which means they get to go into the uber-hyped match up next week against the Vikings as a slightly underachieving team themselves. Maybe they can name the game "Lowered Expectations Bowl II". Dolphins QB, Chad Henne, found WR Brandon Marshall early and often in the game, completing 10 of his passes to Marshall for 127 yards. Of course, a big reason why Marshall had such a huge game was because the Packers decided to put Tramon Williams on Marshall instead of Charles Woodson. How'd that work out for you coach McCarthy? "I was shocked," said Marshall. "I was shocked that [Woodson] wasn't following me often. When you get that opportunity, you've got to go all in." So take heart 49er fans. You're not the only ones that have to endure questionable coaching decisions.
Seahawks 23, Bears 20
The Bears O-line must not like Jay Cutler very much. Two weeks ago they allowed Cutler to be sacked 9 times and take 10 more QB hits against the Giants. He was hit around so much, he had to miss last weeks game. Well he was back this week and the hit parade just kept on coming. The Seahawks sacked Cutler 6 times and got to him another 9 times for QB hits. He was so rattled, he only completed 44% of his passes. On the other side of the ball, the Bears couldn't get any sort of pressure on Matt Hasselbeck who threw for 242 yards and a TD, mostly to his new favorite receiver, Mike Williams. Yes, the same Mike Willimas from USC that was a colossal bust in Detriot. He caught 10 passes for 123 yards. It was a statement game for both the Seahawks and their head coach, Pete Carroll. At least that's what cherubic faced Mike Sando over at ESPN thinks. Personally, I never trust anyone who looks considerably younger than they really are.
Leading 20-10 in the 4th, the Ravens thought they had this game won. They certainly looked better than the Patiots at that point. But it's not enough to look better than the other team for only 3 quarters. With Randy Moss now back with the Vikings, Tom Brady went to his new go to receiver, who is his old go to receiver, Deon Branch. In his first game back with the Patriots, Branch caught 9 passes, with 7 of them coming in the 4th quarter and OT, including a 5 yard TD to close the gap to 20-17. "Tom and I have been away for four years and I honestly don't feel we missed a beat," Branch said. After the game, a frustrated Ray Lewis told reporters they win 80% of the games when they play like they did on Sunday. I'm also told that condoms work 99% of the time but that doesn't help anyone who finds out their girlfriend is pregnant.
Lions 20, Giants 28
For everyone who's a fan of a football team that's been struggling for several years, they at least know it could be worse. They could be a Lions fan. That is, of course, everyone but Lions fans. This was the Lions 24th straight loss on the road which ties an NFL record. Anyone want to guess which team they share the record with? Turns out, it's themselves from 2001-2003, as if it could have been anyone else . Shaun Hill, who was only starting because of an injury to Matthew Stafford, broke his arm in the first half, which meant one time franchise savior, and now 3rd string QB, Drew Stanton took over. Wow! That hurt just writing it. In spite of all that, the Lions still had a chance to win this game late but a Nate Burleson fumbled all but did them in. "This game resembled our first four when we started 0-4," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "Till the end we were a play away. There were some really good things but there were things that caused us to be on the wrong side of the score." I'm starting to see a common theme among our losing teams.
James Harrison proved once again why he is widely considered the dirtiest player in the NFL. Harrison laid down two devastating head shots that caused both Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi to leave the game early when the Steelers were only up 7-3. "We can't and won't tolerate what we saw Sunday," the league's executive vice president of football operations, Ray Anderson, said on Monday. Wow! That sure is one long job title. It was also the first game of the season for Ben Roethlisberger who threw for 257 yards and 3 touchdowns. He said he was nervous about receiving a chilly reception from the fans, but other than around 20 protesters outside, the 65,168 fans inside gave Roethlisberger a loud standing ovation. I guess after watching 4 weeks of mediocre play at the QB position, Steelers fans would loudly cheer Caligula if he could effectively lead their offense. It was also the first game for Browns rookie Colt McCoy, who looked alright for it being his first NFL start and in a hostile environment. McCoy threw for 281 yards and 1 TD, but also had 2 interceptions. But those numbers are more impressive when you consider McCoy was missing two of his offensive weapons because they were taken out by the head hunting skills of Harrison. And I was under the mistaken assumption that the NFL was trying to cut down on concussions.
Do you sometimes look at teams with two great QBs and wonder why we can't get even one? Kevin Kolb, playing for and injured Michael Vick, who only got the starting job in the first place because of an injury to Kolb, completed 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards and a 133.6 QB rating. Does this mean Kolb will remain the starter once Vick is healthy again? It must really stink to have that problem. The Eagles jumped out to a 21-0 lead and the Falcons were never able to even make it close. In fact, the game should have been an even bigger blowout than it was. Eagles kicker, David Akers, missed 3 field goals and a Kolb interception just before half led to the Falcons first score of the game. But the real story of the game is DeSean Jackson. Jackson scored two ealy touchdowns, one on a 31 yard run and another on a 34 yard reception, but he had to leave the game in the 2nd quarter after being knocked out by Dunta Robinson, who was also knocked out on the play. Jackson was one of several players to receive head injuries on Sunday. So what can the NFL do to cut back on these situations? Here's an idea. How about enforcing the defenseless receiver rule. If a lineman breaths on a QB funny, he gets called for roughing the passer. But you can blast a receiver with your helmet while he's looking the other way for the ball and nothing happens. I know football is a violent game, but there's a difference between playing a game and really trying to hurt someone.
Saints31, Bucaneers 6
The Saints came into this game with a 3-2 record, while the Bucs where actually ahead of them in the standings with a 3-1 record. But on Sunday it was obvious who was the contender, and who was the pretender. Drew Brees threw for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, while little known Saints rookie RB, Chris Ivory, carried the ball 15 times for a very impressive 158 yards. What's even more impressive is that his longest run of the day was only 33 yards, so it's not like he had an 80 yard run to pad the stats. Brees said of Ivory's day, "Obviously, he had a huge day." Obviously. And if you're wondering who Ivory is, he was an undrafted rookie out of Divisions II Tiffin. Where? So, if he was undrafted, that means the 49ers could have had him. No! CHRIS IVORY WAS OUR FUTURE! What did you say? That joke's been played out? No! It's played out only once I say it's been played out.
Chiefs 31, Texans 35
The Chiefs RB duo of Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combined to carry the ball 35 times for 193 yards. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel threw for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Even Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel caught a 2 yard pass for the Chiefs first TD, the 10th of his career. Not to mention, the Chiefs didn't turn the ball over even once during the game. So why did they lose? Because after taking a 21-7 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, the previously staunch Chiefs defense decided thay didn't need to play anymore. The Texans scored touchdowns on their final four possessions, including the go ahead TD with only :28 left to play, to give the Texans their first lead of the game at. "We're obviously just not there yet," Chiefs coach Todd Haley said. "We have a lot of guys in deep, deep pain and that's why I'm encouraged." I hear you coach. Nothing makes me happy either than to see grown men on the brink of tears.
If there's one thing I hate, it's when people blame the refs for a loss. And I truly do love just about everything else in life. I even love people who club baby seals. I say, that serves them right for being so cute. No one gets upset when someone kills a rat. But I digress. With the Broncos leading 20-17, the Jets were facing a 4th and 6, at midfield, with time running out. Mark Sanchez threw a pass to Santonio Holms, but the ball fell incomplete. The fans at INVESCO Field at Mile High (One other thing I hate is the stupid naming of stadiums after sponsors) started to go crazy thinking the Broncos had won, until they saw the yellow flag on the field. Denver Safety, Renaldo Hill, was flagged for pass interference, and LaDainian Tomlinson scored from 2 yards out on the next play to take the lead. It was a close call. "It could be debated," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "But we don't care, we'll take it." But here's the thing. That wasn't the only play of the game. If the Broncos had been able to put up more than 3 points off the 3 Jets turnovers, that P.I. penalty wouldn't have even mattered. But it's so much easier to blame someone else.
The Colts had 294 yards on offense by halftime but only led 17-7 because of two missed field goals by Adam Vinatieri. The Colts then fumbled the ball three times in the second half and the Redskins turned those turnovers into 13 points to keep the game interesting. Ultimately, this game wasn't decided until the very end, but that's normal for the Redskins who seem to have every one of their games go down to the last play. This one only ended after Aaron Francisco made an unbelievably athletic one handed interception with only 24 seconds left to play. Peyton Manning threw for 307 yards, the 60th 300 yard game of his career, and Joseph Addai carried the ball 17 times for 128 yards. Once again the Colts found a way to win in spite of sloppy play that is far from their usual dominant play over the last few years. Will the SB losers curse really strike again this year? I'm not saying...I'm just saying...
Raiders 9, 49ers 17
So this is what it feels like to win.