Let’s talk marquee matchups first before inevitably talking about the return of the Patriots. I know; I was amazed too. There were a couple outstanding matchups in the early games including 3 undefeated teams and another team that is good, but not carrying a record to match its ability. You know what time it is? Is it Favre love-fest time? It won’t be here, but I am willing to guarantee ESPN gives him ample coverage.
Brett Favre will inevitably be hailed as a god for leading Minnesota back from the grave, but the fact is that Minnesota almost blew that game and was lucky to come away with a win. They got their big lead, sat back and chilled like they were on a boat on Lake Minnetonka. Baltimore deserves credit for fighting back and doing everything they could to win, but in the end it was all about Steven Hauschka doing his best Scott Norwood impression, but pushing it wide left.
This game was a coming out party for a two different groups, let’s introduce the party guests.
Baltimore’s Defense– Came out as really not very good. They are old and missing Rex Ryan a lot right about now. Adrian Peterson rushed for 143 yards and Brett Favre threw for 278 and 3 TDs. R.I.P. Ravens D, quoth McWeeny, Nevermore.
Two Orders of Rice- Sidney and Ray had big days, with Ray having the bigger effort in the loss. 10 carries, 77 yards, 2 TDs, 10 catches, 117 yards receiving. That is 194 total yards on 20 touches. 10 yards a touch? To quote Randy Moss: Straight Cash Homie. In case you haven’t noticed, he has been having a great year so far, but there is nothing quite like 200 yards of total offense to show it off. Sidney had himself a day as well. How does 6 catches for 176 yards sound? As called on this site, Baltimore has been skating on reputation for the first quarter of the season and it is officially 100% over when Sidney Rice does you like Kanye at the MTV Awards.
It is hard to really get a read on what the result of this game is considering how Minnesota tried to give the game away and Baltimore, after a phenomenal comeback, managed to shoot themselves in the foot. They might just be the best 3-3 team of the last decade and maybe more. Now that it is all said and done, the only thing that really matters is that the Vikings are 6-0 and the Ravens are 3-3 even though they looked pretty even to me.
“I guess that’s why I’m here and I can’t come back home, and guess when I heard that, when I was back home.”
Eli’s mind was probably running these lines from Kanye in Homecoming when he was sidelined. His trip back to the Big Easy probably could have gone better seeing as how the hometown Saints just won by 3 touchdowns, but that is just my guess. It was so bad he did not even finish the game. Did we really learn anything about either of these teams? The Saints D is not bad, but nothing extraordinary, the Giants faced their first test of the season and failed, and Drew Brees is really good. The only thing we might have learned is that the Giants failed their first test, which had you, read my picks for this week; you would have been able to guess already. I may not have picked a blowout, but in a first real test on the road in an environment like that, any team is bound to struggle.
The biggest question that remains for me is if the Saints can do this in the cold in the playoffs. The problem with big pass heavy spread-like offenses is that when the games matter more, the offense is harder to run. The Colts won their Super Bowl because they were able to run the ball with authority and got to play the AFC Championship Game indoors. If they can do that, they will be a legitimate contender, but will everyone please hold off on crowning them? Ask Dennis Green about crowning them if you don’t believe me. Thanks.
Dear Mr. Belichick, we will not be showing up today. Do with our remains as you please. –Sincerely, the Tennessee Titans
Mother of God. What did Jeff Fisher ever do to you, Bill Belichick? Did he insult your hoodie? Say that you were personable? Profess his love for Eric Mangini? I really do not have anything against running up the score in a professional game because both teams are made up of paid professionals, but how in the name of God did Tennessee just give up 45 points in the first half. Tom Brady was a quiet 24-28 for 345 yards and 5 TDs. In the first half. Go ahead and think about that. That is equivalent to a passer rating of about 5 bazillion and even that is a little bit low. JaMarcus Russell has gone weeks without numbers that good. I am writing this at half time and there is no question in my mind that Kerry Collins is done as the starting quarterback. He was 1-8 for 15 yards and 2 turnovers and finished 2-12 for -7 yards and 2 turnovers. Did I miss something? I thought JaMarcus Russell still played for the Raiders; I didn’t know he dressed up like Kerry Collins and started against the Pats. Meanwhile, the entire New England area is having flashbacks to the 16-0 year and dumping tea in the harbor in excitement. 1 if by land, 2 if by sea, and 3 if by Tom Brady’s right arm. Looks like 3 to me. As much as the Colts fan inside me would like to call this performance and aberration and write off New England’s title chances, I know exactly what a guy hitting his groove looks like since Peyton did it last year about this time after recovering from surgery and hitting his rhythm. The rest of the league should be afraid right now, but not overly reverent as there are still plenty of holes in the defense. All I can say is wow.
Funniest thing of the entire day is that Vince Young was 0-2 with an interception and had a WAY better day than Kerry Collins who finished 2-12 for -7 yards with 2 fumbles and an interception. Expect Vince Young to start from here on out.
For those of you wondering about his final stat line it was 29-34 for 380 yards and 6 TDs and he was pulled after 4 minutes of the 2nd half. That is more touchdowns than incompletions.
Just to make sure you fully understand how bad the Tennessee secondary is, Brian Hoyer went 9-11 for 52 yards. That isn’t amazing, but fairly efficient.
The Black Hole Strikes Again
It is easy to make jokes about the Black Hole. The only thing that sucks worse than the Raiders is a Black Hole. I know it is easy to say that the Black Hole of Oakland Alameda County Coliseum is where the hopes of Raiders fans go to die, both literally and figuratively, but not on this day. The Philadelphia Eagles came to town and inexplicably lost to the Raiders. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone even writing that the Raiders beat them. The Eagles have always been letdown prone, but this is beyond comprehension. They really just sucked today; that is all there is to it. Congrats Oakland, savor it while you can because we all know it will not last.
Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 14– What did you expect?
Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 21– Props to TB for hanging in there, none for Carolina for letting them.
KC 14, Washington 6– Someone had to win.
Jacksonville 23, St. Louis 20 F/OT– They did their best to lose it. Jacksonville scored a TD to go up 3 with 41 seconds left and let the Rams get all the way to the 9 yard line before escaping in overtime.
Detroit 0, Green Bay 26– Did you almost forget it was the Lions? No Calvin Johnson either.
Houston 28, Cincinnati 17– Their run of close games ends to an up and down team they caught on an up day.
Arizona 27, Seattle 3– Seattle’s banged up offensive line made this a really one-sided game.
Chicago 14, Atlanta 21– Close the whole game, and Chicago blew some chances, but this really was not much of a watch, Two very evenly matched teams and penalties ultimately killed the Bears.