2009 NFL Season: Week 3 – A Look Back

Let’s get to it.

1) New York Jets 24, Tennessee Titans 17.  The Jets are 3-0 and looking good.  The Titans are 0-3 and looking like they have no answers.  I wrote last week that Kerry Collins was on the verge of getting exposed.  He was.  Collins finished this close game with 13 consecutive incompletions.  Totals for the game: 15 of 37, 170 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 41.5.  It is not unfair to say that Kerry Collins cost the Titans this victory.  Mark Sanchez is playing beyond his years.  He is due for a comeuppance, but by the time it happens, the Jets may have locked up a playoff bid.  Undefeated with wins over the Patriots and Titans – this is a 2009 playoff team.  Book it.

2) New York Giants 24, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0. The Buccaneers are in trouble.  I remember telling my wife that Raheem Morris doesn’t have that steely glare of Mike Tomlin.  He’s still looking like a deer in the headlights.  That’s to be expected at this stage.  Still, if the Bucs are going to compete this year, they need to actually attack their opponents.  They need to take shots down the field.  They need to run pass routes beyond the marker.  They need to play through the loss of Jeff Faine.  The Giants, meanwhile, are a well-oiled machine and they’re gearing up for the Super Bowl.  This is the best team, on both sides of the ball, in the league — and they have plenty of room for improvement.

3) Cincinnati Bengals 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20. It pains me to write this — but I saw it coming.  Last week, I was concerned about the ability of the Steelers to score in the red zone, and their ability to get stops on defense late.  On Sunday, they were stopped on their first drive of the game at the 1 yard line and settled for 3.  In the first quarter, the Steel Curtain defense gave up two length of the field drives for touchdowns.  Statistically, the Steelers were vastly superior to the Bengals.  That means very little.  What matters is that the Bengals, for 2 consecutive weeks, have done what it takes to win.  The Bengals are better because Carson Palmer is healthy.  They’ve held serve against the Steelers.  The next task is to get some wins in the conference.

4) Minnesota Vikings 27, San Francisco 49ers 24. Wow.  What a finish.  Memo to Mike Singletary:  I know you believe in conservative offense, sound defense and ball security.  That’s all well and good, but when you have the ball with less than 2 minutes left, you have to figure out a way to get a first down.  The Niners battled mightily without Frank Gore.  The Vikings, though, showed why they’re going to be a tough out.  I hope that the 49ers show some mental toughness and bounce back from this tough loss.  I hope the Vikings don’t let it go to their heads.  After all, if Greg Lewis caught like that all the time, Philadelphia would have beaten Arizona in the NFC Championship game last season.  “If Brett Favre was our quarterback, we’d be undefeated.” – T.O.

5) New England Patriots 26, Atlanta Falcons 10. I said last week that the biggest injury you might not hear about was the Falcons loss of DT Peria Jerry.  Yesterday, Fred Taylor ( On Friday, I thought it might be Faulk) ran for over 100 yards and scored a TD for the Pats.  (On Sunday morning, I thought it would be Taylor.  I picked up Fred off waivers yesterday morning.  20 points later, I’m still undefeated.)  New England didn’t throw 47 times for only the second time in its last five games.  Two things: 1) Don’t let the Patriots rushing attack vs. Atlanta fool you.  Atlanta surrendered 144 yards to the Panthers in Week 2.  The Patriots are who the Bills and Jets think they are – not who the Falcons think they are.  2) Matt Ryan is not the second coming of Tom Brady.  He’s the first coming of Matt Ryan.  The Falcons will be fine after they make a few adjustments.  The Patriots will continue to have to prove their mettle against teams like Baltimore where there will be no rushing yards for Freddie T or Sammie or Laurence or BenJarvis or anyone else.

6) Baltimore Ravens 34, Cleveland Browns 3. I guess Mangini can’t prove himself until the Patriots come to town.  They’re not on the ’09 schedule.  Too bad.   Baltimore is rolling and Derrick Mason is still magical.  The Ravens had better get their defense together because the Patriots are on their schedule.

7) Philadelphia Eagles 34, Kansas City Chiefs 14. Am I the only person not in a rush to see Donovan McNabb or Michael Vick get reps at QB?  Probably.  I picked up Kevin Kolb during the week (with Hasselbeck out and Leftwich facing the Giants), and he’s paid off nicely.  I like what he brings to the table.  300 yards, 3 td’s, and no turnovers.  I can’t complain.  Based on what I’ve read about the Chiefs and the scope of their rebuilding project, I wouldn’t expect them to be competitive until very late in the season.  If Haley knows what he’s doing, they’ll come out on fire next year – but this year is going to be painful.  Nothing to prove here for Philly.

8) Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Houston Texans 24. The Jags won the Schizophrenia Bowl.  Most people expected the score of this game to be reversed, but the Jags found a way.  Just when you think its safe to throw Jack Del Rio under the bus and consider re-vamping this team, they pull one of these.  Next week, they’ll probably lose handily and be inept on both sides of the ball.  The Texans will probably beat the ’85 Bears next week.  Fumbling in the end zone is seldom a good thing.  If you didn’t know, Matt Schaub has some serious receiving options after Andre Johnson: Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones and Owen Daniels are all solid.  Each scored a touchdown yesterday as Johnson was locked in a pitched duel with my favorite NFL corner, Rashean Mathis.

9) Denver Broncos 23, Oakland Raiders 3. 12 of 21 for 61 yards.  That doesn’t work anywhere: not in college, high school or Pop Warner.  The Raiders and JaMarcus Russell have to do better.   I can’t wait until the Raiders sign Michael Crabtree.  “What?”  “Never mind.  Who the hell is Darrius Heyward-Bey?”

10) Green Bay Packers 36, St. Louis Rams 17. Are the Rams showing signs of life?  Does it matter?  Not really.  You can’t take much from a game like this.  Maybe Aaron Rodgers has worked some things out; maybe he still needs to work on them.  To quote Rasheed Wallace: “Both teams played hard.  Both teams played hard.”   Ready or not, here come the Minnesota Vikings.  Places everyone.

11) Chicago Bears 25, Seattle Seahawks 19. I wonder if Seattle pulls this out with Hasselbeck.  I like Seneca Wallace, but he is the number 2.  I don’t like Julius Jones and probably never will, but he deserves credit for that splendid touchdown catch and run.  Chicago looks like a contender.  Cutler and Johnny Knox have a thing going on.

12) New Orleans Saints 27, Buffalo Bills 7. Last week, I wrote that I’d be watching this game to see how Moose Johnson’s insight into the Bills was standing up.  Looks like the Moose was right on.  He thinks the Bills are less than enthusiastic in their play.  I was concerned that they would get embarrassed.  They showed up, certainly, but they did get smoked.  While the defense get Brees under wraps, they made concessions to the run game and paid dearly.  Still, they were close enough that some support from the offense would have been big.  Terrell Owens watched a brilliant streak of 185 games with a catch go down in flames.  With only 5 games separating him from former Colt WR Marvin Harrison, it’s safe to say that T.O. is pissed about this one.  Buffalo is not going to win games in which Terrell Owens is shut out by mediocre defenses.

13) San Diego Chargers 23, Miami Dolphins 13. If Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown played on a team with a strong-armed QB, it would be a wrap.  The Dolphins runners are simply bruising.  In the end, though, it won’t matter much.  The Dolphins are locked in a classic case of over-reach.  In 2008, they played a 4th place schedule and rode the wave of rejuvenation (and an easier schedule) to first place.  In 2009, it’s time to pay the piper.  First place schedule, first class limitations.  I think we’ll know a lot more about San Diego after next week’s game in Pittsburgh.  Both teams are struggling in the red zone.  Early take: Pitt 18, San Diego 12 (all field goals).

14) Detroit Lions 19,  Washington Redskins 14. I have to see this game before I say too much.  All I know is that Detroit expected to win and Washington probably wanted to lose.  I wrote last week that this team had pride issues.  The barely beat the Rams and now have lost to the Lions.  Antwaan Randle-El is thinking, “I cannot believe I left Pittsburgh for this.  Then again, I cannot believe they paid me like this to come here.  This is great.”  The Redskins have scored 23 total points vs. the Rams and Lions.  If your head coach is an offensive genius, something has to give.  I recognize that the Rams and Lions have hired defensive genius’ of their own, but Zorn’s gotta step it up.

Note:  For my money, Zorn is the guy who has to get this going.  He’s the one that was in Seattle when they were haltingly mediocre (even during much of Holmgren’s tenure).  Campbell’s never been a star in the NFL, but I’ve seen him dominate elite competition — at Auburn.  I’ve never seen Zorn do that in the NFL as a player, assistant or head coach.

15) Indianapolis Colts 31, Arizona Cardinals 10. The Colts flat out whooped and embarrassed the Arizona Cardinals last night.  Arizona has some problems.  Ken Whisenhunt cannot trust “Beanie” Wells with the ball.  He doesn’t really trust Tim Hightower with the ball.  The Cardinals cannot run with confidence because everyone is waiting for the next fumble.  On defense, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie was driven to school by the Peyton Manning Bus Service of Greater Phoenix.  DRC better stop reading the papers (about himself) and peeking in the backfield and biting on pump fakes, or some other QBs are going to get the idea that he’s no more than a glorified Rod Hood.  Did you see Pierre Garcon run right by DRC?  Whooosh!! The Cardinals don’t look too tough right now.  They bulk of their problems, though, are on offense.

More on these games after watching the video.

16 comments

  1. New England did what I said they needed to do — run the freakin’ ball. Fred Taylor still has some life in him and eventhough the Falcons primarily sent 4 pass rushers, the offensive line did a good job in protecting Brady. There is still no chemistry between Brady and Galloway, as they just didn’t look in sync with each other. I guess Wes Welker can’t get back soon enough for Pats fans. The Pats did a great job of limiting Turner, Roddy White and Gonzalez (Did Tony Gonzalez have a catch?).

    I honestly thought the Jets would lose to the Titans. Rex Ryan has his team believing that they can win. Their confidence must be through the roof. The Titans on the other hand are in toruble. Will their be cries of “We want Vince!” in Nashville?

    I have to endure yet ANOTHER week of just how great Brett Favre is. The 49ers should be 3-0 but it is what it is.

    The Steelers lose another game because their offense can’t put their opponents away early and their defense can’t get it done in the 4th QTR. Limus Sweed drops ANOTHER TD, Tyrone Carter is out of position on a Cedric Benson TD and James Farrior can’t make a tackle on 4th and 10. That game should’ve been a blowout but the Bengals hung around and got the win. Mike Wallace is going to be a star for the black & gold.

    Maurice Jones-Drew is a beast. Dude ran wild and did wonders for my fantasy squad. (lol)

    Why does Jim Zorn still have a job? I was actually rooting for the Lions in this one. Zorn needs to bounce — plain and simple.

    The Browns are bad…..really bad.

    The Chiefs are bad…..really bad.

    The Rams are bad….really…..you get the point.

    Wow….T.O. did not have a catch. Well, it doesn’t surprise me since Trent Edwards refuse to throw the ball downfield.

    I thought that MV7 would play more than he did, especially being at home. Kolb had another pretty good outing. I think McChunky comes back next week. What will Andy Reid do about his QB situation?

    Tampa Bay had only 86 total yards!!! Is the Giants defense that good or is Tampa’s offense that bad?

  2. It’s easier to cut and past the comments. I just read your stuff over at SOMM, LOL.

    I didn’t get to watch the games much yesterday. I’ll do it during the week. Didn’t know Sweed dropped a TD. Was that early or late?

    Gonzalez had only 1 catch. I’m curious to see how the Pats covered Roddy White. I’m guessing Bodden said, “Lemme at him!!” but maybe there was more to it than that.

    Santonio Holmes had only 1 catch and seemed to be disinterested on all the plays I saw. Wonder what’s up with that. Leon Hall is nice (and he did go to Michigan), but he ain’t THAT nice. He must have been talking big stuff to SH after the game yesterday.

  3. Did you notice that Mendenhall barely played? Also, on the final kickoff (with about 12 seconds remaining — instead of gathering up the ball and going down as fast as possible to allow Ben 2 passes, Mendenhall and Logan frittered away all the time. 1 pass from 70 yards (way short – is the shoulder still sore??) and missed the chance to get in field goal range. Very surprising.

  4. TO was wide open on one streak route, and Edwards just missed him. Flat out missed him. I can’t stand how everybody keeps saying it’s only a matter of time before TO blows up. It’s tiring.

  5. I saw that play. One thing that Moose Johnson noted last week during the Bills-Bucs game was that Trent Edwards was actually throwing the ball differently to T.O. than he was to Lee Evans. At the time, he was putting more air under balls to Owens and allowing him to either run under the ball or have a fighting chance with a defender.

    That pass might as well have been like the one he’d been throwing to Lee Evans. The ball was too flat and it sailed high. I think there are some things that should be kept in mind — for all of Fred Jackson’s success, he’s the backup. Marshawn Lynch is the guy. He hasn’t played a down. The Bills lost their starting tight end last week.

    And, the Bills offensive coordinator was fired at the end of the preseason. This is only Alex Van Pelt’s 3rd game. So, once again Owens finds himself in the interesting position of having a great deal more football knowledge than his coaches. It was the same thing in Dallas. The Bills are a work in progress. They need a tight end. They need Lynch. They need to get the ball to T.O. early and often and they need to do that so that teams will lay off of Lee Evans.

    If the Bills can take 3-5 deep shots with Evans every game, they’re going to win. Those shots won’t be available unless they start by feeding T.O. and Marshawn. If they eat, everyone eats. If they starve, the team gets embarrassed.

  6. I didn’t hear a reason why Mendenhall barely played. I thought it was weird that he got almost no burn, even though I can understand why with Willie Parker running so well. I thought it would have been better for the team to run a bit of that change up the running back to wear the Bengals down. I was thinking those laterals probably came down from the Special Teams coach for an attempt to break one. It would have been a good idea if it worked. Logan made a cut back to the inside when he could have gotten more if he’d have just kept running for the outside.

  7. Phil Simms interviewed Mike Tomlin during the week and said the coach offered that RM needed to “develop a sense of urgency.”

    Mendenhall has to get back to running like the guy who torched USC in the Rose Bowl. I would like for him to be our goal line runner. He’s not huge, but he has enough weight and body lean to score in the red zone. That’s our biggest problem right now — even bigger than the absence of Polamalu.

    Teams that can go for 375 yards (as the Steelers have done 2x) should be scoring 30 points. They’re not doing that. They’re leaving 10-15 points on the field each week. If they don’t start converting on 3rd and short and in the RZ, they’re simply not going to win many games this season.

    Just one quick question:

    If you have 9 or 10 guys standing at the snap (ostensibly to disguise a blitz), but bring the same 4 guys every play (Harrison, Woodley, Keisel and Smith), what’s the point? The Steelers never forced Palmer to rush down the stretch and it cost them. Palmer’s great when he has time. And, he’s considerably less than great when he’s under the gun.

    The lesson of Week 2 was lost. On Cutler’s TD pass, William Gay started to blitz, then stopped – but never made it into coverage. If he had dropped, he’d have been right in front of Johnny Knox. If he’d kept coming, he very likely deflects the pass or forces Cutler to bring the ball down.

    Finally, Farrior seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He was in every play, but he was late, late, and late. He missed tackles, lost position, and was manipulated. Not good. Not used to seeing that. Time to fine tune some things. Maybe he’s trying to do a little of what Troy does until he comes back. He’s gotta go back to being good old James %@^^!! Farrior!!

  8. T3,

    The Sweed drop was late (early 4th QTR, if i’m not mistaken). He actually caught the ball and went down to the ground. When his elbow hit the ground, the ball came out. He needs to learn how to secure the ball.

    Tomlin said Mendenhall didn’t play because of his attention to detail. Therefore, he was on punishment. I wonder what’s up with that?

    Ben also underthrew Wallace on a deep pass. Wallace had about 3-4 steps on the defender and had to slow up to get the ball. Perhaps that shoulder could be an issue.

  9. “If you have 9 or 10 guys standing at the snap (ostensibly to disguise a blitz), but bring the same 4 guys every play (Harrison, Woodley, Keisel and Smith), what’s the point? The Steelers never forced Palmer to rush down the stretch and it cost them. Palmer’s great when he has time. And, he’s considerably less than great when he’s under the gun.”

    I noticed the same thing. I think they were trying to disguise the fact that their DBs (aside from Ike Taylor) aren’t as good as they thought they would be, hence the reason why they were playing 7-10 yards off of the WRs.

    Also, the Cedric Benson TD does not happen if Polamalu is playing. Tyrone Carter (playing hurt again) was late to cut Benson off on the right side.

  10. That was my, “WTF!!!” moment right there. A long rushing TD vs. the Steelers is like an eclipse.

    Damn if Ike could catch!!!!

    Ok, would you rather than Revis or Timmons right now? I wrote about that last week and I really wish the Jets hadn’t moved up to snatch him. I don’t know if the Steelers would have taken him anyway, but if we had him and Ike, it would be a wrap. I’d be good with Foote, Revis and Taylor over Timmons, Gay and Taylor.

  11. I’d rather for us to have taken Revis. It would be no passing on us if we had those two on the corners. We could send Polamalu or Taylor on more blitzes. QBs would really fear playing against that “D”.

  12. Sproles is going to give us FITS on Sunday night. I never worried about him as long as Troy was on the field. I have these pics of him spinning Ed Reed around like a top. Scary stuff.

  13. With the question about the Steelers corners, they haven’t had a great corner since Rod Woodson and (Carnell Lake) left. They’ve managed fine without great ones. Pressure is the most important thing for the Steelers defense to work properly. It would help if the corners that the Steelers have could catch, though. Could someone please check out Ike Taylor’s eyesight the way that they did Dewayne Washington’s when he kept dropping interceptions! Maybe we can get a Temple3 investigation as to if the Steelers lack of good corners is because they don’t put a high emphasis on their corners, or the ones that they draft just aren’t exceptional. 🙂

    I was thinking about the possibility of Sproles running wild on the Steelers, also. The way the defense is playing, he could reek havoc on them.

  14. I could crank out a separate post on the DBs of recent vintage. I think the “investment” angle is probably most accurate. When they go high (Deon Figures, Chad Scott, Colclough and McFadden), they get guys with decent size who can definitely tackle. I would be hard pressed to name a “pure cover corner” on their roster at any point in time. I think Taylor and McFadden are the best of the bunch since Woodson and company.

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