2008 NFL Week 11 Review
Jets 34, Patriots 31
What am I referring to? The perennial "Brett Favre chokes in a big game" moment. Last year at Dallas, Favre lobbed up passes for grabs. In the subsequent NFC Championship, he tossed a near pick-six. I was expecting something similar in a fight for first place. Kudos to Favre (26-of-33, 258 yards, 2 TDs) for playing smart football. That said, don't think he won't choke on a larger stage.
Though it may not sound like it, I love Favre. He's one of my favorite players. I'd like to see him win another Super Bowl. But the fact remains that since he claimed his first Lombardi Trophy, he's come up small in big moments. And I doubt that has changed simply because he's playing in a different city.
The Patriots couldn't stop the pass. At all. Their disgraceful secondary allowed Brett Favre to fire just seven incompletions and convert 9-of-16 third downs, including a painful third-and-15 in overtime. As a comparison, New England was just 4-of-14 on third downs.
The Patriots simply killed themselves once they crossed into Jets territory. On the first drive of the third quarter, Ben Watson lost the ball on an unforced fumble. On the next possession, center Dan Koppen snapped the ball before Matt Cassel was ready, resulting in a 20-yard loss. When the Patriots retained possession for the third time in the second half, Jabar Gaffney dropped an easy 20-yard catch on third down. And later on, Cassel overthrew a wide-open Randy Moss, who was streaking toward the end zone.
This isn't sour grapes because the Jets probably would have reach the end zone anyway, but I firmly believe that the NFL should repair its overtime system.
Giants 30, Ravens 10
Later, a Ravens interception was nullified by an offsides penalty. At the beginning of the second quarter, Flacco overthrew Ray Rice by about 10 feet on an easy third-and-two. The following play, the Ravens pinned the Giants inside the 5-yard line, but had to re-kick because of a tripping penalty.
These are just some of the examples of how the Ravens screwed up.
Buccaneers 19, Vikings 13
Tampa Bay also advanced to the Vikings' 37-yard line in the first quarter. Unfortunately, they failed on a fourth-and-one, as Warrick Dunn lost a yard. If only they had a quality power back... instead they have the small Dunn and some guy nicknamed Top 10 NFL Running Back (I kid, I kid).
Dolphins 17, Raiders 15
Oakland definitely had a chance to win this game; in fact, it led 15-14 until the final minutes. Given how many mistakes the team made throughout the game, it's a miracle it wasn't blown out (and I guess a Johnnie Lee Higgins kick return was that miracle).
On Miami's opening drive, the Raiders committed two offsides penalties, helping the Dolphins eventually score a touchdown. Later, on a sequence that began on a first-and-goal on Miami's 5-yard line in the second quarter, bust offensive tackle Kwame Harris false started twice, forcing the Raiders into a field goal.
In total, Oakland converted only 2-of-11 third downs. Last week, the team was 2-of-17 on third downs, so I guess 2-of-11 is a major improvement.
Saints 30, Chiefs 20
Colts 33, Texans 27
Thankfully, no. Rosenchoker predictably tossed a pick, down 33-27 late in the fourth quarter. Luckily, the Colts didn't return the ball for a touchdown this time. Amusingly, the man who came up with the interception was Bob Sanders' replacement, Melvin Bullitt.
Packers 37, Bears 3
Meanwhile, Grant had his best game of the year. He tallied 145 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Grant ran well against two stellar run defenses (Tennessee and Minnesota) the past two weeks, so I noted that he was due for a huge performance soon. I just didn't expect him to finally cross the 100-yard barrier against the league's fifth-ranked run defense! Bears fans have to be really disgusted with the performance of their defense.
Bengals 13, Eagles 13
McNabb began the game 1-of-5 for zero yards, as the Eagles mustered just a single yard in the first quarter. McNabb finished with 339 yards and a score, but tossed three interceptions, including two in the red zone at the end of the first half, one of which led to a Bengals touchdown.
McNabb's afternoon could have been a lot worse. He nearly launched three other picks, including one in his own territory in overtime, which would have given the Bengals a sure-fire field goal for the victory.
McNabb has to go. The Eagles need to start Kevin Kolb. McNabb isn't a bad quarterback, by any means, but he's never been able to reach his potential because Andy Reid stuck him in the wrong system. McNabb is not a West Coast quarterback.
Reid, meanwhile, is extremely clueless and overwhelmed in close games, which would explain why he's just 1-8-1 in contests decided by four points or less dating back to the 2006 playoffs. Reid never makes the right choices - he went for it on fourth-and-one, converted, and then decided to kick on fourth-and-one just 10 yards closer, even though he had an easy field goal in both instances - and he's indecisive, which leads to unwarranted timeouts and delay-of-game penalties.
To top it off, many of the Eagles players said after the game that they weren't aware that the contest could end in a tie. How could they not know!? This is just a microcosm of how stupid the Eagles are most of the time.
Reid has to go. The only reason he hasn't been fired yet is because owner Jeffrey Lurie is friends with him, and is content with staying competitive. Winning a Super Bowl apparently is a secondary concern for Lurie. Selling tickets and merchandise always seems to come first.
Panthers 31, Lions 22
Both Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams eclipsed the 100-yard barrier. Stewart had 130 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries, while Williams tallied 120 yards and a pair of scores on 14 rushes.
YO, IDIOT LIONS, START DREW STANTON! YOU NEED TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU NEED TO TAKE A QUARTERBACK IN THE 2009 NFL DRAFT. CULPEPPER SUCKS!!!!!
Can I make that any more clear?
Broncos 24, Falcons 20
Cardinals 26, Seahawks 20
49ers 35, Rams 16
Oh, and can someone explain to Jim Haslett why it's stupid and pointless to kick a pair of field goals down 35-3 and 35-6 in the second quarter? Does he not understand that scoring four touchdowns wouldn't even give him a tie?
Titans 24, Jaguars 14
And in case you're not sure, Tennessee does not have a crappy defense.
Garrard was especially anemic in the fourth quarter; because of his ineptitude and miserable receiving corps, he led the Jaguars to three consecutive three-and-outs. He threw his pick on the subsequent drive.
Steelers 11, Chargers 10
In case you missed this crazy ending, the Steelers hit a game-winning field goal with about 15 seconds remaining to make the score 11-10. I had the Chargers +5 on this site, so I was pretty happy to finish the afternoon with a 7-7 record, which isn't that good, but considering that the Jaguars blew a 14-3 lead and my struggles the past two weeks, I would have gladly taken.
After a kickoff return that went nowhere. The Chargers had one more play. They attempted two backward passes on a semi-hook-and-ladder, but the second throw fell incomplete. Because the pass went backward, Troy Polamalu was able to pick the ball up and score a touchdown for perhaps the worst cover in NFL history. The entire forum was freaking out; check the Live In-Games Thread to see this.
As the players were running off the field, with the score 17-10, someone upstairs called for a review. The official spent what seemed like five minutes in the replay booth. When he finally emerged, he ruled that there was an illegal forward pass. It seemed as though the touchdown would stand, but then he took the touchdown off the board, quelling the anger from San Diego bettors everywhere.
I'm happy about this, but this was the shadiest turn of events I've ever seen. The official spent hours looking at a play that seemed obvious - seriously, the pass in question was backward by about seven yards - and then mysteriously took the touchdown off the board. I'm willing to bet - and I'm dead serious here - that someone from Vegas (or another outfit that had major interest in San Diego covering) told the official to leave the game as an 11-10 final.
So, as I was saying earlier, thank you, Vegas! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
2008 NFL Power Rankings
Week 12 NFL Picks
2009 NFL Mock Draft
2010 NFL Mock Draft
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Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog
2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
Quarterback Rankings - June 25
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Chief Carl Has Lost a Step - Sept. 9
The NFL Cheated the Patriots - Sept. 16
NFL Week 3 Wrap-Up - Sept. 23
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2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
Super Bowl XLII Live Blog - Feb. 3
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