By Jaboner Jackson 8:45 pm | Reading tea leaves for stock picks is entertaining but hindsight is always 20/20. Today, offense in the NFL came back down to earth as defensives utilized bye weeks and tendencies seen on game tape through the first few weeks to put the brakes on 400-yard passing performances. Bad teams like the St. Louis Rams continued to stink it up while elite teams like the Green Bay Packers continued to roll. It’s time to look backwards.
Jacoby Ford broke another kickoff return for a touchdown today, taking one to the house for 101 yards. The second-year player has now taken 4 returns to the end zone in his short career, which puts him in the same arena as Devin Hester as the best kickoff return guys in the business. At least on kickoff returns, speed kills.
Darren McFadden does his best damage over the left side of the Raiders offensive line and pulled out another touchdown today over said side.
Don’t be surprised by punter Shane Lechler’s touchdown pass today to Kevin Boss on a fake field goal. Lechler was a quarterback in high school. During Terrell Pryor’s suspension, Lechler was the Raider’s official number three quarterback.
Jason Campbell is out indefinitely with a fractured right collarbone. Our research assistant will have her injury report out later tonight or tomorrow morning and review this injury with our medical expert, Dr. Hassan A. Riaz. I’ll also be catching the Monday Night Football game with Dr. Riaz tomorrow so I’ll ask about the injury as well but it’s likely that Campbell is out for the year. I have always felt that Carson Palmer was the best quarterback choice for the Raiders and now with Campbell’s injury, the rumors are already circulating. Of course the rumors are only conjecture but Palmer on the Raiders sure makes sense on paper.
Even so, Palmer likely won’t be in Oakland since Mike Brown has held to his belief that Palmer should honor his contract or retire. Nonetheless, it is time to trade Palmer. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are clearly the new nucleus of the Bengal’s offense. Dalton put up 264 yards on 25 for 32 passing while Green brought down his 4th touchdown of the season on a mini-Megatron fade route to the corner of the end zone. The Bengals aren’t as good as their 4-2 record but they’re well on their way to becoming a respectable team for years to come.
The Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz brouhaha at midfield after the 49ers victory was amusing to watch and will surely get a lot of airtime this week but isn’t that big of a deal. The two Jims were both too emotional but it’s okay because life is a bunch of emotions. Nonetheless, I much prefer the Pete Carroll-Harbaugh conversation from 2009 after Stanford kicked the living heck out of the Trojans.
Unfortunately, the stellar play of the Niners defense was overshadowed by the Two Jims. The Niners front seven is an elite bunch, spearheaded by Patrick Willis, who racked up 5 tackles and kept everyone squarely in their gaps to shut down the Lions’ running game. The front seven also sacked Matthew Stafford 5 times today, which was all of the reason why Stafford put up an unimpressive 56% completion percentage today. But even in a subpar game, Stafford still put up 293 yards, 2 touchdowns, and delivered the ball to Calvin Johnson 7 times for 113 yards.
Every week I say the same thing and every week it’s true—I don’t do Power Rankings but it’s worth noting that the Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers are 6-0 and playing excellent football on both sides of the ball.
Both the Bills and Giants are now 4-2 after Week 6 but the Giants are clearly the better 4-2 team, and not just because they beat the Bills today, but because they have real talent on both sides of the ball. I’ve always considered Eli Manning as a legitimate second-tier quarterback, someone who is good enough to get you to the playoffs any given year. He has some horrendous games throughout the course of a season but even in these bloodbaths, his team still has a chance to pull out the victory. Furthermore, the Giants continue to have a formidable front-four. The Giants got 3 sacks today on Fitzpatrick despite most of the offense taking place out of the the shotgun and three-step drop.
Just like that, the Atlanta Falcons remembered what had brought them success for the past two years—the running game. Despite a deliberate attempt to reinvent the offense into a pass-first one, the team continues to perform best when Michael Turner does well. And today he did exceptionally well, running for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns on an old school 27 carries.
Even though Cam Newton has been making headlines with his poised play and big yardage games, his team is only 1-5. Coach Ron Rivera will continue to develop Newton this season by putting the passing game first. So don’t expect great things form either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart.
Sexy Rexy had another Sexy Rexy game today, putting up 4 interceptions. But expect him to start next week. Sexy Rexy is who Sexy Rexy is—up and down and up and down. Mike Shanahan knows this.
Is there anyone quicker in the backfield on a consistent basis than Lesean McCoy?
How is that Blaine Gabbert looks so bad while Andy Dalton looks so…decent? It’s because of the systems in which they play. In the case of Dalton, the offense is perfectly tailored to his limitations. It’s a quick strike west coast offense with a run-first mentality. Oh wait…the Jaguars have a run-first mentality with Maurice Jones-Drew as well.
I cannot confirm or deny the rumor that Troy Polamalu was talking to Rock Mayock on his cell phone while on the sidelines today. I cannot confirm or deny that Rock Mayock was asking him about the best taco trucks in Los Angeles.
The Ravens have the best defense in football. Opposing quarterbacks always have to locate two players, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, and they have to do this while Haloti Ngata is pushing the pocket. On three levels of defense, the Ravens have three superstars, and no other team can say the same.
Arian Foster needs more touches for the Texans. He’s a special running back who can handle a large part of the offense. With Andre Johnson out indefinitely, teams will stack safeties in the box, but Foster is capable of playing through the extra man. The Texans will not do well unless Foster gets 22 carries a game.
The Cowboys-Patriots game was the perfect example of how offense gets tamed by history. At this point in the season, both teams’ defenses had ample game tape on the other team’s offense. And it showed. Both offenses and quarterbacks had to work harder for completions and yards. It’s always around Week 6 that defense becomes a factor again in the NFL.
Repeat after me: it is okay to have a man crush on Tom Brady. Brady nailed another final drive touchdown today with a completion to Aaron Hernandez, who is a remarkable route runner for a tight end of his size, even on a bum knee.
Wherefore art thou, Chad Ochocinco? Ochocinco played only 7 snaps and was shut out of the passing game with zero receptions.
The injury on the sideline to Sean Payton demonstrates exactly how violent a game professional football can be. Payton has an MCL tear and a tibia fracture and will get surgery tomorrow. In a first for the FOOTBALLPHDS, I’ll chat up Dr. Riaz tomorrow about a coaching injury.
Every week, Josh Freeman looks physically bigger and more intimidating. He’s been haphazard this year but is still a special young quarterback with an immense drive to win.
Devin Hester is a return guy. Period. Although he plays wide receiver on television, he will always be a special teams guy. The receiver experiment has never worked out and never will. Thankfully, he’s the best return guy in the NFL.