Tuesday Morning Double-Back

Did you see what I saw Sunday night? Did you see the Colts steal that game from the Broncos? What else did you see? Let me tell you what I saw…

No Fins No!

This was the worst loss of 2013 for my Fins so far, inexplicably losing in the worst possible way, but most expected; a Tannehill turnover caused by weak offensive line play. Something has to change up front, and soon, or this team that quickly went from 3-0 to 3-3 is going to end up in the same situation they were in last year; good, but not good enough.

What We Learned On Sunday

Football hurts people.

We all knew that already, but for whatever reasons, the Football Gods deemed week seven to be the week of bumps, bruises, muscle pulls and ligament tears. A particularly scary moment occurred in Green Bay, when TE Jermichael Finley took a vicious hit to the head and lie motionless on the field until he was carted off. He spent last night in an ICU unit in a local hospital, but all indications are that he should be fine and that the hospitalization was simply precaution. Still, nothing quite represents the true danger these men put themselves in as when something like this happens. Luckily, this one looked worse than it was.

One that looked as bad as it was? Brian Cushing’s sickening knee-twisting, leg-breaking, season-ending injury in Kansas City. As someone who has suffered a serious knee injury, watching them take place always causes a phantom wave of pain to shoot through the reconstructed joint. Cushing may never return from this, and even if he does, the odds of him being the same player are not good.

While the Rams went about tanking their season, Sam Bradford ended up tearing his ACL while trying to scramble for a few extra yards towards the sideline. Another season ended, and we here at Kevbo Industries wish him a quick and speedy recovery…and also wish everyone talking about the QB dilemma in St. Louis would stop making a big deal out of it. This team was going nowhere with Bradford, and would be in the same hole with Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees behind center.

The Bears are going to struggle going forward, with Jay Cutler projected to miss the next month with a groin injury, and All-Pro LB Lance Briggs for at least a month with a bum shoulder. Looking back at my pick (Bears winning and scoring 40 in the process), I pat myself on the back for being half-right…and pat the Redskins on their collective backs for pulling out a close one against a good team, however banged up they may have been.

The Bengals pulled off a great road win in Detroit, but paid a high cost when Leon Hall, their #1 CB, was lost for the season. Recent reports dictate that the team will look in-house for guys to step up, and 2nd year corner Dre Kirkpatrick is the most likely candidate to fill Hall’s shoes. A tall order, but he’s got the raw ability for the Bengals to overcome the situation.

The AFC North is a mixed bag at this point. The Ravens, despite playing solid defense, seem to be a completely different team after their Superbowl run last year. Losing to the Steelers, who seemed dead in the water before winning a week prior, is about the worst thing that Baltimore fans can endure. If they keep playing the way they are, they’ll have to look forward to enduring a losing season.

Keep winning, 49ers…you know why. My money is on you for a return to the Superbowl, and you’re playing consistently solid football. Keep it up.

What We Learned On Sunday Night

Where to start?

For me, and I think anyone else who watched the game at home can agree, the Broncos were two plays from pulling the game out. The first came when Eric Decker caught a sideline pass and dove into the endzone, in one fluid motion, losing control of the ball only after he had crossed the plane and landed out of bounds. The call on the field was an incomplete pass, and for some bizarre reason, Decker didn’t appear to fight the call or motion towards his sideline for a challenge flag. A huge, huge mistake, as the play most likely would have been overturned.

Later, when the Broncos were driving towards making it a one-score game, they inexplicably handed off to fumble-happy Ronnie Hilman on a straight run up the gut, where he proceeded to…fumble. The referees seemed to waste no time in calling it a turnover, but if you were watching the game and the replays, it was clear as crystal that Hilman reached out, grabbed the ball and tucked it under his chest, which would have instantly made him down by contact before a Colts defender pulled the ball back out.

With all the drama surrounding Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis, these plays seemed to get lost in the mix. I’m not trying to take anything from the Colts, mind you; they played an absolutely stellar game, particularly defensively, against the best offense in football. Robert Mathis was a man on a mission, and his sack-fumble on Manning seemed to cause the QB some distress as the game went on, as he didn’t have the same zip on his passes as he did earlier in the game.

In the end, it was a huge win for the Colts, and a loss that the Broncos should be able to take in stride going forward. These are two teams bound for the playoffs, and hopefully for us football fans, they’ll meet again before the season is finished.

Oh, and Reggie Wayne is out for the year with a torn ACL. Football Gods are cruel, cruel deities.

What We Learned On Monday

I’m not sure we learned much, beyond the fact that the Giants won’t go 0-16. I suppose you have to give credit to Eli Manning, who avoided throwing an interception for the first game this year. I’ll give more credit to Jon Beason, the ex-Panther who has managed to inject new life into the lifeless Giants defense.

For Minnesota, the Josh Freeman project got off to a very rocky start, but you almost can’t point any fingers at this point. He’s two weeks into the Vikings program, and has proven in the past he can be a solid QB. The consistency has to be there, and with a Vikings team playing poor football despite essentially lining up the same team that fought their way into the playoffs last year, it won’t be a surprise if Freeman doesn’t pan out in Minnesota.

It’s The Numbers, Stupid (Part 1)

It’s a little hard to believe, but each of Denver’s top wideouts has over 40 catches after seven games. There’s a very real possibility that the 2013 Denver Broncos will produce the first team in league history with three wideouts with 100 or more catches.

What Are You Doing, Bill Belichick?

All the controversy over the “push heard round the world” that gave the Jets another attempt to kick (and make) the game-winning field goal on Sunday lands on the HC’s lap, and for the first time in a very long time, the words “I was wrong” actually came out of his mouth. Needless to say, the Patriots were outplayed for most of the game, but there is honestly no excuse for allowing what happened to happen if your the Hoodie. This rule, which was instated just this year, was actually demonstrated by NFL officials to each team before the season started. I guess Belichick was off that day.

It’s the Numbers, Stupid (Part 2)

Nick Foles threw for a grand total of 80 yards during Sunday’s matchup with the rival Cowboys. He was taken out of the game in the 4th with a concussion, but…80 yards. In three quarters.

What Are You Doing, Nndamukong Suh?

Another apparent clean week…but hold on, last week’s “apparent” clean week was wiped out when the league fined him for a rough hit on Browns QB Brandon Weeden. I’ve seen the replay, and it was obviously to me that Suh’s intent was to simply blast Weeden. I can understand the mindset, but this Suh watch is basically just a for-fun witch hunt, so we have to dock him a week for it. Sorry, big guy.

Weekly Awards

QB Of The Week: Andrew Luck. The amount of pressure could have, and would have, broken lesser men, but the Colts answer to the “Do we pay Peyton after his injury?” question answered an even more vital question on Sunday night: “Is Andrew Luck a franchise QB?” It’s about time we give him the designation.

RB Of The Week: Roy Helu. Mixing time with Alfred Morris and increased designed runs for RGIII, Helu managed to punch in three scores and was the unforseen X factor that ultimately won the Redskins the game. Special mention to Matt Forte, who I knew was going to cause some havoc this week, but his efforts were canceled out by the loss.

WR Of The Week: Steve Smith. His touchdown turned the tide helped Carolina pull away from the Rams, but he gets my vote this week for his comments regarding St. Louis cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/carolina-panthers/0ap2000000266826/Steve-Smith-not-a-fan-of-Janoris-Jenkins

Offensive Line Of The Week: New York Giants. A completely decimated front five kept Eli Manning upright against a decent group of pass rushers, and managed to keep him from throwing any forced interceptions. I understand the Vikings front four have been underachieving most of the year, but this matchup had “bad news” written all over it, and the Giants proved me wrong.

Defensive Performance Of The Week: Dallas Cowboys. All week, pundits and experts (myself included) predicted the Eagles to pick apart the banged up Cowboys defense. The Eagles scored a grand total of three points. That’s all that needs to be said.

Goat Of The Week: Tyson Clabo. The Dolphins right tackle absolutely whiffed on Buffalo DE Mario Williams, allowing a sack-fumble that set the Bills up to win the game. For an offensive lineman, there cannot possibly be a more embarrassing and demoralizing thing you can do.

Coaching Performance of the Week: Chuck Pagano. With his owner making some foolish comments, and all the attention on the seemingly unstoppable Peyton Manning coming home to reclaim the stadium he essentially built, Pagano kept his troops in line and their attention focused on making sure all of the outside hoopla didn’t get in between the Colts and the biggest win of their season so far.

What’s Next?

Well, the Dolphins are playing the Patriots. I actually would have preferred to face a New England team fresh off a hard-fought win, but knowing them, they’re going to be absolutely in the zone after losing a divisional game. I’m holding my breath this week.

Many NFL writers claimed that week 7 was pretty stale for good matchups, but next week looks even worse. The one game that really strikes me as intriguing? Cowboys at Detroit. Calvin, Dez, Romo, Stafford and the potential for about 90 combined points…which will end up being a 10-6 defensive battle.

To be fair, the Giants and Eagles always make for an enjoyable game, despite both team’s struggles so far. It’ll be interesting to see if Peyton Manning can score more than seven touchdowns against one of the worst secondaries I can remember seeing in Washington…who’ll be without starting safety Brandon Merriweather due to a two-game suspension just levied by the league.

Final Thoughts

Oh yeah, there was a game on Thursday night, in case nobody noticed. The Seahawks played against a high school team masquerading as the Arizona Cardinals. It wasn’t pretty.

With a fresh set of power rankings coming up after next week, my football thoughts right now are on what’s changed in the last few weeks…and to be honest, I don’t see much that has. The Falcons and Texans, two teams we all had pegged for the postseason, are most likely out of contention already. The Giants stink despite their win over the equally bad Vikings, the Bengals are outclassing the NFC North, the Patriots are the Patriots, and the Broncos are still going to steamroll most teams they face going forward.

But how ’bout them Chiefs?

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