Tuesday, October 13, 2009
FRO's FAVORITE FIVE
Top Five NFL Moments - Week 5
by Jon Wagner, Sr. Writer-At Large, Football Reporters Online
Kyle Orton’s 35-48, 330-yard, 2 TD, 1 INT game, which included Orton’s second 11-yard TD pass to Brandon Marshall of the day, to force overtime, in the Broncos 20-17 big extra session win over New England… Donovan McNabb’s 16 of 21, 264-yard, 3 TD, 0 INT day, posting a 157.2 passer rating, returning from injury in the Eagles’ 33-14 win over Tampa Bay… only to be outdone by Eli Manning’s perfect 158.3 passer rating, as Manning showed his sore heel was healthy, going 8 of 10 for 173 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, while leading two other scoring drives, to put the Giants up 28-0 before being pulled for precautionary reasons before halftime in the Giants’ 44-7 rout over the Raiders.
#5: HASSELBECK BACK IN FORCE
It didn’t matter that Seattle quarterback Matt Hasslebeck was returning from broken ribs, nor that he was missing seven of his starting teammates, including three-fifths of the offensive line that usually protects him, or even that the Jacksonville Jaguars came into town with two-game win streak off a 20-point win. Hasselbeck still dismantled the Jags, throwing four touchdown passes, including 34-yard and 44-yard scores on successive possessions in the second quarter. He finished 18 of 30 for 241 yards, no turnovers, and a 125.1 passer rating, in the Seahawks’ 41-0 rout of Jacksonville.
#4: ANOTHER 300-YARD GAME, ANOTHER COLTS WIN
Peyton Manning has been so consistent this season, the milestones he’s been reaching have come rather quietly, since it’s well… Peyton Manning, and when it’s done by number 18, such achievements are expected as much as Colts’ regular season wins. Indianapolis rolled to its 14th consecutive regular season victory, a 31-9 win at 0-5 Tennessee, behind Manning’s 36-44, 309-yard, 3 TD, 1 INT performance. Ironically, the Colts haven’t lost a regular season games sine a loss to Tennessee last October. Just how good is Manning? Well, imagine you’re an NFL coach with a 14-9 lead on the road, the ball at your on 7, and just :57 left in the half. Most of you would likely opt to run out the clock or play it safe. Not when you have Manning leading your offense. Going a perfect 5-for-5, Manning took the Colts 93 yards in a ridiculous 40 seconds, for a 21-9 Indianapolis halftime lead. Manning has passed for over 300 yards in all five games this season. His first-quarter touchdown, the 343rd of his career, moved him ahead of Fran Tarkenton into sole possession of third place all-time behind only Brett Favre and Dan Marino. Manning also became the third quarterback in NFL history to have 70 games with a passer rating of 100 or better.
#3: FALCONS FLY HIGH IN FRISCO
When you beat a first-place team on the road by five touchdowns, your whole team deserves some recognition. It was supposed to have been a big NFC showdown between Atlanta, a 2009 contender looking to return to the playoffs after earning a wild-card berth last season, and San Francisco, who was only a Favre TD pass with :02 left in a Week 3 loss from being a perfect 4-0. Instead, the Falcons took apart the 49ers early and often, jumping to a 14-0 lead just 8:28 into the game. After allowing San Francisco to pull within 14-10 in the second quarter, Atlanta scored the final 31 points of the game putting it away, 35-14, by halftime en route to a 45-10 rout. Defensively, Atlanta forced three turnovers, had three sacks. Offensively, Matt Ryan threw for 329 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, going 22-32. Ryan’s favorite target, Roddy White, caught 8 passes for 210 yards, including touchdown receptions of 31 and 90 yards, while Michael Turner rushed for 97 yards and 3 TD’s on 22 carries. Very impressive way to follow the loss at New England and a bye.
#2: MILES FROM DALLAS, AUSTIN GOES FOR 250 YARDS
As big favorites, the Cowboys were struggling against the winless Chiefs. So, who bailed them out from being embarrassed in an unexpected overtime game in Kansas City? Undrafted wide receiver Austin Miles, from Monmouth College, making his first career NFL start in place of injured starter Roy Williams, with a huge game. With 10 catches for 250 yards, Austin broke Hall of Famer Bob Hayes’ Cowboys’ franchise record of 246 receiving yards, set nearly 39 years ago. That alone was enough to earn Austin the top spot among FRO’s Favorite Five for Week Five. However, Austin also had the two biggest Cowboy scores of the game: a 59-yard touchdown catch giving Dallas a 20-13 lead with 2:16 left in the fourth quarter, and then winning the game, 26-20, with a 60-yard touchdown catch and run 6:38 into overtime. “It’s a feeling that’s unbelievable,” Austin said. “It’s amazing. I never seen that coming today. I was ready today, but you never expect a huge game like that.” … Side note: Although it was due to both teams wearing their throwbacks, it was great to see the Cowboys in blue jerseys and the Chiefs in red ones, instead of the typical, boring thing we always see with one team wearing white. Let’s see more of that (as long the jersey colors would allow for easily telling the teams apart, of course).
#1: AFC EAST THRILLER ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
There had already been several entertaining national television games on either Sunday or Monday night this season, but the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins played the best of the bunch -- in fact, the game of the season -- thus far. In an absolutely fantastic NFL game, the Jets rallied from a 7-0 deficit to go ahead 13-10 entering a wild fourth quarter which saw five lead changes on five touchdowns -- only the second time in NFL history in which five go-ahead touchdowns were scored in the fouth quarter. But, it wasn’t just that such history took place, but how, in thrilling fashion, with lots of subplots, twists, and great plays. There was the physicality of two longtime division rivals, and the continued maturation of both Mark Sanchez (making some big throws in just his fifth NFL start) and Chad Henne (going 20-26, for 241 yards, 2 TD, and 0 INT in only his second NFL start). There was the chess match of Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes being surprisingly outmatched by Miami’s effective wildcat offense which helped to roll up 151 rushing yards on long, time-consuming drives. There was Braylon Edwards, playing as only the third NFL player since 1970 to start with one team in one week and start with a new team the next, having a good first game, with 5 catches for 64 yards, including his first TD as a Jet on nice catch in the back of the end zone, to tie the score at 7-7 in the first quarter. Later, Edwards made a sensational mid-air, spinning reception, barely getting both feet down inbounds at the Miami 1, setting the Jets up to go ahead 20-17 early in the fourth quarter. Sanchez said of his new receiver, “Braylon was just lights out. I’ve never seen anyone catch the ball like that.” But then, there was the answer to that play on the next drive, on which former Buckeye Ted Ginn caught an over-the-shoulder 53-yard TD pass from the former Wolverine Henne, with three Jets on Ginn’s back, for a 24-20 Dolphin lead. And then, with Miami trailing 27-24, there was one final, methodical, wildcat drive of 70 yards in 13 plays which included two great throws by Henne on consecutive third downs inside the Jets’ 30 within the final two minutes to set up Ronnie Brown’s wildcat, game-winning 2-yard touchdown run with just :06 left, giving the Dolphins a frantic and exhilarating 31-27 victory.
AFC South Wrap Up Week 5
By Rafael Garcia
Sr. Contributing Writer Football Reporters Online
Indianapolis 31 Tennessee 9
Code Blue turned into Code Red in Nashville Sunday night. The game started well for the Titans as they played the Colts close. The crowd was into the game but when they had the chance to swing the momentum their way they kicked a field goal on fourth and one. This was a night that fans were hoping the team would turn things around. What they saw is a team that couldn’t run or pass. This is a team that shows no sign of playing with enthusiasm or determination. They were supposed to control the football with their running game and that never materialized. Chris Johnson finished with 34 yards and LenDale White had 51. With the Colts pulling away they had to abandon the run and switch to the pass. Well that didn’t go any better. Kerry Collins continues his struggles but he is not the only problem. Titan receivers are dropping balls in their hands. They are not finishing routes and still do not have that go to receiver. Rookie Kenny Britt dropped a pass and Collins over and under threw passes too. The defense is a really big mess right now as they are making average quarterbacks look like stars. With Peyton Manning at the table with a carving knife the game went as expected. It’s not like he had a slew of veterans catching his passes. He had the likes of Austin Collie catching eight for 97 yards. There were also names like Donald Brown and Pierre Garcon. We see what is means to have a top tier quarterback who can get the ball to his receivers no matter who they are. The Titan defense has rookies trying to get the job done as well as veterans that can’t at this point. Then there is the argument about Vince Young or Kerry Collins. Head coach Jeff Fisher is still standing by Collins and fans and some media members are starting to ask why. Young finally got some playing time, but if you saw him on the sidelines when he was asked to come in, he looked like he didn’t want to. He looked up at the clock and later said that he was not expecting to come in. Some would say words like that hurt him because you should always be ready to play as the backup. Still you have to wonder when they will decide to play him. Next year he will make almost $15M if he is on the roster. Don’t you think its time to see what your investment can do before you find out too late?
Seattle 41 Jacksonville 0
See, this is the thing about this division after the Colts. You never know what team is going to show up in Nashville, Florida or Texas. Here in this one the Jags showed their low side. Just last week they looked like a playoff team against Tennessee. Ok, it was just the Titans. David Garrard looked nothing like last week and receiver Mike Sims-Walker was a scratch for violation of team policy. Matt Hasselbeck returned for the Seahawks and was fantastic going 18-30 for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He did this with most of his offensive line out and after a hard week of practice. Nate Burleson and T. J. Houshmandzadeh each caught two scoring passes and Nick Reed returned a fumble 79 yards for another touchdown. The Jags looked like they were in shock as they had one three and out after another to open the game. Maurice Jones-Drew had 12 carries for just 34 yards and the Jags were held to 199 yards of total offense. Pretty darn bad for a team that can look so good at times. Garrard finished 18-31 for 188 yards and two fumbles he lost. They had a total of 10 first downs and nine penalties to go with that. At the end of the day you could say they failed in all facets of the game including red-zone opportunities. They now stand at 2-3 and the only thing the other teams are fighting for now is who will end up second behind the Colts.
Arizona 28 Houston 21
This was a game of two halves, and then a fantastic finish. The first half belonged to the Cards as they jumped out to a 21-0 lead behind the arm of Kurt Warner and his two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald. It was beautiful to watch these two quarterbacks as they threw to some of the best receivers in the game. In the second half it was the Texans turn to score and they did when Chris Brown ran in from one in the third to make it 21-7. In the fourth Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson went to work connecting twice from 11 and 17 yards to tie it at 21. Schaub had a huge day going 35-50 for 371 yards and the two scores. Johnson and Owen Daniels each had eight catches for 101 and 94 yards respectively. So it came down to one last big play. Kurt Warner had fizzled in the second half after a huge first but had one last chance. It failed miserably, and Houston got the ball back, but on third and seven, Schaub missed intended receiver Kevin Walter and Arizona’s Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off the pass and high stepped it to the house for the winning score. So as was noted before, the teams in this division don’t show up all the time. The Texans sit at 2-3 and share second place with Jacksonville. Not much competition for the Colts at this time huh?