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Week 10 Wrap-Up

Green Bay Packers 34, Minnesota Vikings 0:
The Vikings always play the Packers close. Make that "played." I thought Minnesota would shut down the Packers' rushing attack, forcing Brett Favre to move the chains on his own in a close victory. Well, Ryan Grant scored on a 30-yard run on Green Bay's opening possession, while Favre had just 28 yards on 5-of-9 passing.

How in the world did the Vikings beat the Chargers? How did San Diego allow Adrian Peterson to rush for 296 yards with the rotation of Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger under center?

Speaking of Bollinger, during a poker game I had on Friday night - I finished second, losing heads up on an Ace-6 to a guy with 7-9 who was hitting every single flop - I told my friend John, a Jets fan, that Brooks Bollinger was starting for the Vikings this weekend. John laughed, claiming that Bollinger was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. I defended Bollinger, citing all of his backdoor covers. I'm pretty sure that at that moment, John thought I belonged in a mental institution with Scott Linehan and Dennis Green.

Well, I feel like an idiot. At halftime of the Packers-Vikings contest, Bollinger was 3-of-6 for a whopping seven yards. I put my faith in him, and this is how he repaid me? Bollinger has disgraced his entire family, and unborn children and grandchildren. He should just go into hiding into some forest hut for the rest of his life.

Congratulations to Brett Favre, who joined Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with more than 60,000 passing yards. Favre is 1,105 yards away from eclipsing Marino. Rumor has it that Marino will celebrate with Favre over a 4 p.m. dinner, a game of Bingo and a Matlock marathon.

Atlanta Falcons 20, Carolina Panthers 13:
I'm shocked the Falcons won this game because they seemed like they were doing everything in their power to lose. Near the end of the first half, Laurent Robinson fumbled the ball after a first-down reception, which was returned for a touchdown by Ken Lucas, evening the score at 7-7. A few minutes later, the Panthers' stagnant offense was allowed to enter the red zone, thanks to a 15-yard Jonathan Babineaux facemask penalty. Carolina kicked a field goal, taking a 10-7 advantage into the locker room. This isn't a rare phenomenon. Besides numerous drops by the wide outs, something else that comes to mind is the 67 penalty yards DeAngelo Hall racked up on a single drive the first time these two squads clashed this year.

In the wake of Atlanta's surprising victory, the Panthers are now 0-4 at home. They've lost to the Falcons, Colts (understandable), Buccaneers (also understandable) and Texans. Wow. How do you lose to both Atlanta and Houston as a host?

One way is surrendering 20 points to Joey Harrington. Another is being way too predictable on offense. The Panthers, starting a hobbled 44-year-old quarterback, ran the ball the first three plays of the game, which led to a punt. How about some play-action? Apparently Carolina has never heard of this tactic.

Buffalo Bills 13, Miami Dolphins 10:
This is just a hunch, but I don't think the Dolphins were intimidated by J.P. Losman's girly-man voice. Losman had no completions until the 8:23 mark of the second quarter. At that point, the Dolphins challenged the catch and it was overturned. Losman had to wait until 5:49 was remaining in the period for his first completion.

At least Losman eventually got going. Miami's offense sucked so much I actually correctly predicted a safety. My dad called me to find out the scores of all the football games - he was dragged to someone's birthday party - and I told him the Dolphins were up 3-0, but were on their own 2-yard line, so Buffalo was probably going to get a safety. Three minutes later, 3-2. I called it. Sweet.

Pittsburgh Steelers 31, Cleveland Browns 28:
I want to say the Browns played extremely well and proved that they are one of the elite teams in the NFL in their 31-28 loss to Pittsburgh, but I think the Steelers just had a horrible game. On Pittsburgh's first defensive drive, the stop unit allowed conversions on 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-9 and 3rd-and-5. I think it was just gassed after a short work week and a double-revenge victory over an archrival. The Steelers are just too good to allow 21 points in a half. But give them credit - the Browns couldn't muster a first down in the second half until the final drive of the contest.

During the first 40 minutes or so of this contest, I was wondering what happened to Pittsburgh's offense. The Steelers couldn't move the chains at all against the Browns until the middle of the third quarter. This is exactly why I thought Pittsburgh just simply played a poor game; Cleveland's defense isn't any good, as it surrendered 30 to Seattle last week.

Jacksonville Jaguars 28, Tennessee Titans 13:
Jacksonville's defense was completely embarrassed the first week of the season when it yielded 282 rushing yards to Tennessee. The Saints put up about a million points against them last Sunday. So, with that in mind, it was refreshing to see that the Jaguars showed some character in their rematch with the Titans. In fact, they surrendered only 10 yards on the ground to LenDale White and Chris Henry. If I were a Jacksonville fan, I'd want to know why my team doesn't exert this same effort every single week.

Everyone wants to know why the Titans can't score consistently. Well, let's try to figure this out. On the final drive of the first half, in which Tennessee kicked a field goal, Vince Young repeatedly went to Justin Gage, Eric Moulds and Brandon Jones. Yeah, that's a group of winners. I don't get it - if you draft a quarterback third overall, wouldn't you want to surround him with competent wide outs, and not guys who wouldn't make half the teams in the NFL? The Eagles are similarly puzzling. It's almost as if the respective general managers want to prove they made a great draft pick, by having their signal callers succeed without any potent weapons.

Congratulations to Fred Taylor, who became the 21st player in NFL history to eclipse 10,000 career rushing yards.

Denver Broncos 27, Kansas City Chiefs 11:
Last year, it took Herman Edwards, ummm... actually, he never benched Trent Green, even when he was like 0-for-505,202 for negative-503 yards in the playoffs. Edwards, living up to his conservative nature, took way too long to replace Damon Huard with Brodie Croyle. Following the first drive of the third quarter, Huard was 6-of-15 for 83 yards and two picks against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Huard fumbled on the next drive, and the ball was returned by Nate Webster for a touchdown. At that point, Edwards finally decided to bench Huard. Croyle finished the game 17-of-30, 162 yards and a pick.

If you tuned into ESPN at all this week, you must have heard Matt Berry deliver his "party like it's 2003" joke about a billion times, referring to Priest Holmes' expected resurgence versus the league's worst run defense. To be fair, I also expected a big game out of Holmes. Well, it's 2007, and Holmes is officially a few weeks away from being put out to pasture. He had just 65 rushing yards on 20 carries.

St. Louis Rams 37, New Orleans Saints 29:
The Rams converted a 3rd-and-17 in the second quarter. How were they able to do that? A Marc Bulger completion to Torry Holt, who was being covered by Jason David. The next time the Saints should consider signing a cornerback, who, I don't know, actually has experience playing in a similar scheme, and not a cover-2 system.

Ever experience deja vu? Well, get ready. The Rams converted a 3rd-and-15 in the third quarter. How were they able to do that? A MarcBulger completion to Torry Holt, who was being covered by Jason David. The next time the Saints should consider signing a cornerback, who, I don't know, actually has experience playing in a similar scheme, and not a cover-2 system.

Ready for even more deja vu? Just kidding - as far as I could tell, Jason David only had two screw-ups on Sunday, which is probably a season low for him. Instead, I'd like to say farewell to my Survivor run. I had the Saints. They didn't show up. Thanks a lot. However, I didn't really have any other options. I don't take divisional matchups, so I was stuck between New Orleans, San Diego and Arizona. Given those choices, I would have taken the same team again.

Philadelphia Eagles 33, Washington Redskins 25:
Washington's receivers had no touchdown receptions the entire year. Someone on the team had two Sunday. It wasn't Santana Moss. It wasn't Antwaan Randle El either. It wasn't even Brandon Lloyd, who was undoubtedly blowing off the game by smoking with some beach bums in his van right outside of his high school. James Thrash had the pair of scores, of all people. Is there any doubt the Redskins will be using one of their first few selections on a wide out this April?

Joe Gibbs is a great coach, but I don't get some of his decisions sometimes. After scoring a touchdown, making the margin 12-7 with three minutes remaining in the second quarter, Gibbs elected to go for a 2-point conversion. Remember, this was in the first half. I thought it was pretty dumb; with a 12-7 lead, two field goals beat you.

Another puzzling decision: Clinton Portis had a great game on Sunday; he ran for 137 yards. However, the Redskins, confronted with a 3rd-and-1 in Eagles territory, called a play for fullback Mike Sellars, who couldn't do anything but belly-flop onto Philadelphia's defensive line, gaining nothing on the "run."

I can't believe the Eagles beat the Redskins. I thought they were done after not showing up against Dallas last week and hearing their quarterback throw his entire team under the bus. They showed some character by winning at Washington.

Can Philly make the playoffs? Well, assuming they lose to New England, they can only afford to lose one more game the entire year. But I guess anything's possible; with Garrett and Brittany Reid behind bars, there's not much of a chance any of Reid's kids get arrested anytime soon.

Cincinnati Bengals 21, Baltimore Ravens 7:
Steve McNair is one of the five worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL. I'd even take Joey Harrington over him at this point. Sure, Harrington likes caviar and plays jingles on the piano, but he can do more on the football field than take sacks, fumble the ball away, throw picks and toss five-yard dump-off passes to Willis McGahee.

I'm now convinced that Brian Billick's football IQ rivals that of Bill Callahan, Dave Wannstedt and Art Shell. The self-proclaimed offensive genius challenged a 9-yard completion from Carson Palmer to Chad Johnson. Doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world, but consider that Baltimore was already whistled for a 5-yard defensive hold on the same play. Billick won the challenge, but only gained four yards out of it because of that penalty. Thanks for wasting everyone's time and disrupting the flow of the game, Brian.

A very amusing play occurred on Cincinnati's first scoring drive of the second half. Antonio Chatman was dancing around Baltimore's 5-yard line, trying to find a crease to run through on a third-and-goal. He was stopped when Bengals guard Bobbie Williams, attempting to make a block, leveled him and flattened him into the ground, nearly causing him to fumble.

Chicago Bears 17, Oakland Raiders 6:
How did the Raiders lose this game? More importantly, how did they not cover? They were up 6-3 with three minutes remaining in regulation, and their defense completely bottled up Rex Grossman, who replaced an injured Brian Griese in the second quarter. I honestly feel cheated here.

The Raiders had two potential game-tying drives with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The first drive featured three consecutive Josh McCown incompletions. On the next possession, the Raiders, who had 1:40 and one timeout to work with, saw McCown fumble the ball away on the first snap, recovered by the Bears on Oakland's 3-yard line.

When will we see JaMarcus Russell? I better not hear another week of people saying he's not ready. And McCown is ready? Give me a break. Let the kid play and learn from his mistakes his first year. If he can't recover from a bad rookie season, he'll never be a good quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals 31, Detroit Lions 21:
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Mike Martz was abducted by aliens and replaced by a clone because Detroit actually ran the football for a change. Well, our favorite, crazy, egotistical mad scientist is back! The Lions' running backs had just six carries at Arizona, gaining negative-3 yards. I missed Martz so much!

As you all know, I had the Cardinals as my November Pick of the Month. I was going berserk when Detroit was leading 7-0 and 7-3 in the first half. In fact, I was so furious with Arizona's early offensive production, I scripted all of its mistakes, drive-by-drive. Here are my notes:

  • Drive One: Kurt Warner threw an interception at midfield, returned by Kennoy Kennedy deep into Cardinals territory, setting up Detroit's first touchdown of the afternoon. Warner was sent into the locker room for arthritis medication.
  • Drive Two: Levi Brown was whistled for a false start on 3rd-and-1. Anquan Boldin later was called for an illegal block above the waist (whatever the hell that is), wiping out a first down on Detroit's 40, placing his team in 3rd-and-10 at midfield.
  • Drive Three: The Cardinals used Marcel Shipp instead of Edgerrin James near the goal line. They had to settle for a field goal after Shipp was capsized twice.
  • Drive Five: I missed Drive Four because I was writing something. The Cardinals opened their fifth possession with an off-tackle run by third-string back J.J. Arrington, once again keeping their top runner on the bench.

    The Cardinals also lost three fumbles in the second half. I have no idea how they won by double digits, but I'll take it.

    Dallas Cowboys 31, New York Giants 20:
    With this loss, Eli Manning is now 8-17 in Week 10 and beyond. It looks like the Giants are well on their way to beginning their late-season swoon. Their six-game winning streak was a complete mirage; they beat the Falcons, Dolphins, 49ers, Jets, Redskins and Eagles. They couldn't get to Tony Romo, who completely out-classed Manning (two picks, one fumble).

    As a reminder, something I opined in September was that Manning looks like he doesn't enjoy playing football and would rather be stocking shelves at a local Wal-Mart. Well, he was responsible for three crucial delay-of-game penalties Sunday. I'm telling you; he was struggling and losing for the first time in seven weeks, so he was undoubtedly thinking about his dream job.

    But Manning wasn't the only one responsible for penalties. His team was whistled for two holding penalties that nullified touchdowns. Tom Coughlin was rumored to whacking those players with nine irons in the locker room following the contest.

    San Diego Chargers 23, Indianapolis Colts 21:
    Where do I start? First of all, the Chargers gave 200 percent against the emotionally drained Colts, and nearly blew a 23-0 lead in Dennis Green fashion. If San Diego lost, I would have went on a rant about how the Chargers beat the Colts two years ago with Marty Schottenheimer and Drew Brees.

    How do you let go of a 14-2 coach and a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback? It doesn't make sense to me. Norv Turner looks lost, goes away from LaDainian Tomlinson at inopportune moments, challenges the most obvious calls of all time, and has his players confused and out of position. Rivers, meanwhile, looks nervous, throws into triple coverage like there's no tomorrow, and has become the king of costly turnovers.

    Now, when the Chargers were leading 23-0, I wrote that Manning's struggles against great 3-4 defenses is exactly why I thought San Diego would have knocked him out of the playoffs last year, and Pittsburgh will give him serious trouble in the postseason this winter. Manning somehow threw six interceptions, marking the first time he had four or more picks since the Jim Mora "Playoff!?" game. This is awesome. I made fun of Mora yesterday because Syracuse's coach looks like him. Now, I got to mention Mora's meltdown again. This is much better than winning some stupid Survivor pool!


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