Man, what a week of football. It started off with some of the best football you'll see with a slew of great 1:00 games on Sunday and ended with one of the worst displays of football you'll see in a Monday Night Snoozer in the Prime Time NFC East Game of the Week.
What We Learned
- Matthew Stafford was well-deserving of the #1 pick. He's a star in the making if he can stay healthy. Having Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to doesn't hurt either.
- After watching the Eagles in the preseason, it was pretty obvious they were going to have trouble stopping the run. Three games in, they are still having troubles and NFL.com writers are asking if Nnamdi Asomugha is a bust.
- Darren McFadden is an absolute beast. If he stays healthy this year, the Raiders will have a shot at finishing at least in second place in a weak AFC West.
- Wade Phillips may have been an uninspiring head coach in Dallas, but he's whipped the Texans league-worst defense into shape and now they're playing some solid ball (except in the 4th quarter against Drew Brees this week, but Brees is one of the best QBs in the league, he tore up Green Bay in Week 1 too).
- Getting rid of Brad Childress hasn't solved Minnesota's play-calling woes. They have outscored opponents 54-7 in the first half and been outscored 67-6 in the second half. Adrian Peterson had 12 first half carries on the way to the Vikings running up a 20-0 lead. In the second half, when they were trying to protect their lead, he had only 5 carries.
- Buffalo didn't get a whole lot of pressure on Brady, but their D-line did an excellent job of getting their hands up and tipping passes. The story of the game was Brady's 4 INTs, but none of them were actually thrown right to Bills players, most of them were tipped balls. Great defensive gameplan.
- Tampa finally getting over the hump and racking up a signature win. Granted, the NFL isn't the NCAA so "signature wins" don't mean much, but for an up-and-coming team that went through the rebuilding process, it's good to see them improving.
- Watching Victor Cruz run around through the Eagles secondary.
- The development of Ryan Fitzpatrick from a scrub journeyman quarterback to a guy who is having a great year for the Bills. Hard work certainly paid off, and Fitzpatrick is proof that work ethic can get you a long way in this league.
- Evgeni Malkin's twitter account. This is just full of awesome. And Russian. But the English tweets are amazing.
- Matt Cassel throwing the ball right to the Chargers D-line on the last drive of the game. The Chiefs gave a spirited effort to come back and have a chance at the end, but Cassel threw the ball right to the guy.
- Pretty much everything that happened Monday Night. It was just sloppy, bad football. Neither team looked very good at all.
- Atlanta jumping offsides on 4th and 1. Nothing is certain that they would've stopped Tampa on the play, but you at least want to see their defense have a chance to make a play.
- The Steelers offensive tackles against Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
- With the AFC North playing the NFC West this year, football fans on the West Coast are going to have to suffer through seeing both the Bengals and Browns play against their teams.
Off the Schneid
The Panthers had lost 4 consecutive games dating back to last season. Cam Newton threw for a boatload of yards in the first two games, but the Panthers still lost. He didn't have as good of a game statistically, but he didn't throw any interceptions for the first time this season, and the Panthers got off the schneid.
Greg Lloyd "I Wasn't Hired For My Disposition" Badass of the Week Award
For those of you that follow high school football here in Western Pennsylvania, you probably heard that Hopewell running back Rushel Shell broke the WPIAL record for career rushing yards. Four games into his senior year, Shell now has 7,718 yards in his career. He is within 1309 yards of the state rushing record. With 5 games to go in the regular season, Shell would need to average 262 yards per game to break the mark before the end of the regular season. However, the Hopewell Vikings are currently undefeated and tied for first place in the Parkway Conference, meaning there is a very good chance Shell and the Vikings will reach the playoffs, giving him more games to chase down the mark. Shell has 952 yards so far this year, averaging 238 per game. He would need 6 more games at this pace to break the state record. As an added bonus, Shell recently said that his college decision was down to two schools: Alabama and the University of Pittsburgh.
Bob Smizik "Douchebag of the Week" Award
For those of you who have followed the blog for a while or follow us on Twitter, you know we've had our issues with Mike Vukovcan, who is the Sports Producer for KDKA and producer of the #1 Cochran Sports Showdown. We first took exception with Vuk back in July when, after news about the James Harrison article broke, he tweeted that he wished the Steelers would cut Harrison. We got into a bit of a tiff with him and Gerry Dulac then, which we detailed in this post.
Now, there are two kinds of people on the internet. There are people who say or do stupid things, and there are people who remember the stupid things that other people say or do and point it out to them. Most of the time, we fall into the first category. But every now and again we get the opportunity to be part of the second. Of course, after James Harrison made the biggest defensive play of the year, we couldn't help but reminding Vuk and Dulac about what they had said over the summer.
Now, Vuk took exception to this and decided to respond. Let's just say he didn't do himself any favors.
Um....did this guy even watch the game?
But it wasn't enough for Vuk to just blatantly ignore what actually happened in the game, he had to take it a step further and go the Fox News route - calling his opponents names and saying he never said something that he actually said.
Clown...tough guy...haha okay Mike, if we're at the point of name-calling then so be it. But in the mean time, I took the opportunity to remind him exactly what he had said:
So, according to MikeVukFoxNews, yesterday (September 26) he adamantly stated (backed up by full-out Glenn Beck-style name-calling) he said "I never said they should cut [Harrison]." But in reality, on July 13 he said actually said he "wish[ed] the Steelers would take a stance and get rid of [Harrison]." Correct me if I'm wrong, but short of giving Harrison a Vito Corelone-esque offer he couldn't refuse, the only way to "get rid" of him would have been to cut him. If only we were so lucky that MikeVukFoxNews could shed some light on his thought process.
Oh wait...he did? Awesome.
This makes even less sense than his previous assertion that he didn't say something that he actually did. So he said "get rid of" in his July 13 tweet. If, according to this tweet, he meant "cut" in that instance, then he was wishing the Steelers would cut Harrison, which he claims he never said and that I'm being a "tough guy" for putting words in his mouth. This doesn't make any sense, unless, like I said, MVFN was expecting the Steelers to bring in Luca Brasi to "get rid of" Harrison.
Here's the lesson folks: never say anything on the internet you don't want someone else throwing back in your face when you're wrong.
As an addendum to the longest ever Smizik Award, we have an early candidate for next week:
I've gone on record saying DK is the best sports writer in this city right now, and I have yet to actually read the article since it won't post until tomorrow.
But here is what I do know. Woodley has 1.5 sacks and 11 tackles through 3 games (which is pretty consistent production for how he has played in his career thus far...through 3 games in 2010 he had 11 tackles and 2 sacks, through 3 games in 2009 he had 3 tackles and 0 sacks and through 3 games in 2008 he had 9 tackles and 2 sacks). Woodley is one of two Steelers in the entire history of the franchise to have 10+ sacks in 3 consecutive seasons (James Harrison is the other), so if his production is consistent again this year, I'm not going to complain about that. Timmons is leading the team in tackles and is 25th in the league in tackles. Considering the Steelers defense has only been on the field for 170 plays this season (5th fewest in the league), Timmons league ranking in tackles doesn't concern me yet. He's leading the team, so I'm not really sure how you can say he hasn't shown up to play.