I did not catch most of the NFL action this on Sunday due to visiting my newborn nephew in Chapel Hill who currently is the size of a football, but I did see a few games and watched the Monday night debacle last night in the Pink Taco. Some thoughts on the action after the break.
Less Than Jake
That is what the Panthers got in terms of effort from their quarterback on Sunday, but luckily it came against the Oakland Raiders and Carolina got the win 17-6. Catfish already chronicled the putridity of Delhomme's performance, but use any cliché you want, the Panthers are 7-2. Once Jake gets back to the east coast and has some of that Bojangles' chicken, he will be right as rain. The Panthers defense is back to its NFC Championship form of a few years ago, forcing turnovers and pressuring the QB. You either have to look at this as great teams can win even though they struggle and have a bad day or the Panthers got a pass because they were playing an awful team. I'm usually a pessimist but in this case I'm leaning on the former.
Short week shenanigans
The rivalry between Bill Belichick and former assistant Eric Mangini will come to renew again this Thursday and the network you probably don't have. For the first time since the playoffs a few years ago there are serious season implications in the match-up. Both teams are tied for the AFC East division lead after New England beat Buffalo 20-10 and the Jets blew out the Rams 47-3. The Patriots got the better of New York in the first meeting but it was by no means a runaway. The Jets who had struggled with inferior competition (Oakland, KC) ran over the Rams as the good feelings Haslett brought in with his two-game win streak has evaporated. The Patriots defense stifled the Bills as they continue to slide back into their usual position at the bottom of the division. Whoever wins the game this Thursday does not automatically get the division, especially with Miami playing well, but they get a big advantage. The game should be a hard-hitting affair as neither coach is willing to hug it out...or are they?
I'm with the Herm
Well, first let's get this out of the way:
Secondly, I don't see why people are getting on Herm Edwards for going for two at the end of this game. He thought he had a good play dialed up and what is the big difference between 2-7 and 1-8, a few draft positions? The Chargers won the game 20-19 after failed two point conversion, in which KC quarterback Tyler Thigpen was forced to throw the ball into coverage. The Chiefs' tying touchdown was the result of a questionable pass interference call on Clinton Hart. It what I guess was a make-up call for the officials, they let Hart molest Tony Gonzalez on the 2 point try. I don't know if that evens up the previous call, but it was absolutely ridiculous for the refs not to throw a flag on that 2 point attempt.
We wanna crown the Cardinals
In a crazy Monday night game that had just about everything, the Cardinals stopped the 49ers on the 2 yard line to preserve a 29-24 win. San Fran should get a lot of credit for coming out and playing the way they did after the debacle that took place in Mike Singletary's first game as the interim head coach. There was even a great moment that he shared with Vernon Davis after Davis caught a TD pass right before halftime. Of course Vernon had to get an unsportsmanlike penalty on that one but there were still hugs all around. There was also lots of bad officiating to go around. I doubt that these officials will be getting gold stars. Flags being picked up for the wrong reasons after a blown call occured about a tipped ball, one of Antrel Rolle's INTs called back for an offside that the replay showed was questionable if not non-existent, and some bad holding calls to boot. The big moment came for Singletary and the 49er coaching staff in the final moments when a play was called for a quick hand-off to Michael Robinson on what they thought would be the goal-line. But the replay from the play before showed Frank Gore tripped and fell back at the 2 and half. At that moment, something should have been done to prevent that play from being run. The San Francisco sideline should have run out screaming for Shaun Hill to spike the ball, instead Singletary just shrugged and thought maybe the play would work. It didn't and Robinson got stuffed. Perhaps the play should have been called after the refs spotted the ball and if it was, why would Mike Martz call that play? Either way, the Cardinals now have a 4 game margin over the other bad teams in the NFC West. Now they have to find out how to continue to find ways to win, and limit their mistakes before the playoffs arive.