An interesting day to say the least. Some horrible teams playing horribly, some great teams shellacking other teams.
--The Arizona Cardinals, who were utterly embarrassed the past two weeks by stalwarts St. Louis and San Francisco, crushed the Denver Broncos by 30 points. Having not scored an offensive touchdown in the last two weeks, the Cardinals scored put up 43 points. As bad as the Broncos seemed, I thought they were better than Arizona; plus the last two interim coaches got their teams off to fantastic starts. Instead, the Broncos turned the ball over six times and showed themselves to be the worst team in the AFC.
--Sticking with that game, Jay Feely had one of the most amazing kicking games I've ever seen. He kicked 5 field goals, including two in the 40-yard range and one of 50+, and added four extra points. Oh, but wait, he also ran for a 5-yard touchdown, giving him the third-highest fantasy score of the week in standard leagues, at 29.5 points.
--The NFC West remains eminently winnable as the two division leaders (the Seahawks and Rams) both lost. San Francisco, at 5-8, is still very much alive in the division. Meanwhile, the Packers and Buccaneers are both on the outside looking in, despite 8-5 records. Such is life in the NFC West.
--The NFC West isn't the only place where horrible football is being played; the Washington Redskins also had quite the mishap in their game against the Buccaneers. First, Graham Gano missed both a 24 and a 35-yard field goal. Then, after they scored on 4th down with 10 seconds left to get within a point, the Redskins watched the hike sail off the holder's hands and past everybody on the extra point. As the ball rolled back toward the opposite end zone, it reminded me of a more devastating failed extra point: John Carney's miss for the Saints many years ago. Of course, it was certainly not the Redskins' most embarrassing special teams play in the last year. Remember this?
--While many teams put their worst foot forward, two showed their prowess. The Patriots went into Chicago in a blinding snowstorm, shrugged it off, and went into halftime with a 33-0 lead. That included a 59-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half, which underscores both the confidence the Patriots have and a total defensive lapse by the Bears. When it was all said and done, the Patriots had outscored the Bears and Jets, whose combined records are 18-6, 81-10.
In the meantime, the Chargers, in their typical bipolar nature, shellacked the Chiefs. It was a breezy 31-0 victory that featured a defense which held the Chiefs to 67 yards of offense, to 0-of-11 on third downs, and just 1.6 yards per play. Like the Patriots, they also held the ball for two-thirds of the game.
--The level of QB play on this Sunday was, on a whole, atrocious. The list of terrible performances can't be counted on one hand. Some, namely Chad Henne (5-18 for 55 yards, 5 sacks), Drew Stanton (10-22 for 117 yards, 2 interceptions) and John Skelton (15-37 for 146 yards), managed to find themselves in the win column in spite of themselves, but the rest were not so lucky. Kyle Orton, who was a revelation early in the year, threw up a second straight disaster, going 19-41 for 166 yards and 3 picks against the lowly Cardinals. Carson Palmer, another veteran, made it all too easy on the Steelers when his own defense was playing so well, as two of his three interceptions went for touchdowns. Jay Cutler predictably put on a turnover clinic in the snowy Chicago conditions, with 2 interceptions and a lost fumble, along with 12 completions in 26 attempts.
The usual culprit was also at it, as Jake Delhomme didn't crack 100 yards passing and threw yet another interception. Jimmy Clausen, who replaced Delhomme in Carolina, did a great impression, passing for just over 100 yards, taking 5 sacks, and throwing an interception. Mark Sanchez played perhaps even worse than last Monday, going 17-44 with 216 yards, a pick, six sacks, and a fumble lost. And then there was Brodie Croyle, who avoided turnovers, but managed only 11 net yards passing with 7 completions on 17 attempts.
And I didn't even have to mention Matt Hasselbeck, who threw the most interceptions yesterday (4). If your team has a good quarterback, be grateful.
--Last, but certainly not least, the Metrodome literally collapsed yesterday. The video is--there's no better word for it--awesome. I suppose that's what happens when 18 inches of snow fall on an inflatable building.
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