2010 NFL Season: Week 12 in Review

The season is winding down and the significant games for this week are in the books.  Tonite, the San Francisco 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals.  The game may well prove to be very entertaining (Remember last year’s tilt in San Francisco?), but both of these outfits have proven unfit for the rigors of this season.  Big winners this week: the New England Patriots who have found a way to get deep without deep speed; the San Diego Chargers who are serving notice that they are a team to be reckoned with — until the playoffs start; the Chicago Bears who provided a template for beating the high-flying Eagles; the Atlanta Falcons who showed that in the Dirty South, they have just enough to take all comers; and the “Survivors” — Pittsburgh and Baltimore — who were probably peeking around their Week 12 opponents, and thinking about health insurance for Week 13.

Chargers, Chargers Everywhere!

A few random thoughts:

  • As great as Peyton Manning has been in his career, he cannot like living THE LIFE OF MCNABB right now.  Without Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, and Ryan Lilja, Manning is experiencing life on the other side.  He still has Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon and others, but this is his first taste in years of getting hammered — with no hope of relief.  Manning, unlike McNabb is not able to make plays with his feet — and it shows.  He’s giving up interceptions for touchdowns.  He isn’t choosing to throw the ball at the feet of his receivers to avoid turnovers.  He’s taking big risks and losing.  Fortunately for Manning and the Colts, they’ve lost 2 games in a row, but moved ahead of Jacksonville in the playoff hunt.
  • In 5 of his last 7 games, Manning has averaged less than 6 yards per pass attempt.  That’s awful.  You cannot win in today’s NFL doing that.  During that span, the Colts are 4-3, with one of those wins coming by 6 points over the Bengals who were “fueled” by Carson Palmer’s 3 INTs.  Manning has thrown 10 picks over the frame — and had two games with no touchdown passes.
  • The national media is articulate, understanding, and acutely accusatory in their analysis of Peyton Manning’s present condition.  Commentators are able to identify injured players at skill positions and along the offensive line.  Many have become Maddenesque with their ability to break down offensive line play (Exhibit A: former wide receiver Cris Collinsworth; Exhibit B: Yahoo.com’s Shut Down Corner column).  THE LIFE OF MCNABB, however, is not about making excuses.  It’s about making plays…even when playing with guys like James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Hank Baskett, and Freddie Mitchell.  It’s about figuring a way to move the ball on the ground even when your running backs all weigh 180 pounds soaking wet and the last tackle they broke was made by a toddler on the living room floor.  The Colts may make the playoffs, but I suspect Peyton Manning may need what Jay Cutler needed last year if he is to right this ship, right now.

What Can This Brown Do For You?

  • The Atlanta Falcons are in the driver’s seat to stay indoors for the post-season.  I’m not so convinced they can win outdoors.  After yesterday, they may not need to prove it.  They do deserve credit for beating the Packers and the Ravens in consecutive weeks.
  • The Packers are in a precarious position.  They have two winnable games vs. the 49ers and Lions.  After that, it’s New England in Foxboro and two home games vs. the New York Giants and Chicago Bears.  The Packers have the talent to win each of these games.  The question is whether or not they will have the focus, health and offensive balance to survive.  (Tickets for that Flame Throwing Contest between Brady and Rodgers are going to be hard to come by.  Early over/under?  88 points!!)
  • The Saints look like the best indoor team in the NFC and the Bears look like the toughest outdoor team.  Julius Peppers and Tommie Harris give the Bears a formidable inside-outside duo.  NFL offenses should be sending roses to the Commissioner for rules that allow them to sniff the end zone.  The Bears have solid players and great schemes on defense.  With Cutler protecting the ball, they’ll be a tough out — if they get in.  The Packers, Vikings, Patriots, and Jets will all weigh in on that question.
  • How fortunate were the Steelers to escape from Buffalo with a win yesterday?
  • How unfortunate were the Redskins to have that touchdown overturned for an illegal block?
  • If the Chiefs are this good on the ground and Dwayne Bowe is this good in the air, can’t these guys beat the San Diego Chargers again?? Even in San Diego??
  • I wonder what that Lions DB was thinking when he let Deion Branch run down the sideline all by his lonesome.  “Gee, those are really nice jerseys…Just let me see the back.”

Branching Out: Deion and his Dust

  • I wonder if Peyton will get benched the next time Indy plays the Chargers.
  • Crazy Season Stats:
    • Brandon Marshall has 1 touchdown reception this season.
    • Donovan McNabb has fumbled 7 times.  Washington has recovered every single time.
    • Jay Cutler has been sacked as many times as Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, and Jon Kitna — combined.
    • Pittsburgh Steelers cast-off Stefan Logan leads the NFL in kick return average and total yards.  His replacement ranks 18th.
    • Terrell Owens ranks third in receiving yards in the NFL.  Imagine if he was playing with a solid QB.
    • Miles Austin (5), Larry Fitzgerald (5), and Andre Johnson (5) have combined to score one more touchdown than Dwayne Bowe (14).
  • How much credit does Todd Haley deserve for getting Dwayne Bowe to unleash his inner Anquan Boldin?

Bowe: 13 touchdowns in 7 weeks

  • Don’t you wish you had an inner Anquan Boldin?  Or an inner Andre Johnson?
  • I get that the Eagles crushed the Redskins, but I could only be so impressed by that victory.  Washington insists on running a 3-4 defense with 4-3 personnel.  If Eli Manning hadn’t thrown away the game last week, the Miracle Eagles would be 6-5, in second place and working feverishly to make the playoffs.
  • Donovan McNabb led the Eagles to a win over the Bears last year.  Those Eagles ran 30 times for 157 yards.  The problem with these Eagles continues to be the youth of the wide receivers (okay, really, the immaturity of DeSean Jackson) and the unwillingness of coach Andy Reid to run the rock in decisive moments of football games.  If you think these Eagles are winning the Super Bowl, I’ve got some land to sell you in Leavenworth.
  • Michael Vick may very well be the very, very, very best passer in this league, but it will come to nothing until the game plan changes to support the entire team.  No rushes, no rings.
  • The Chargers sucked me in last year (after years of being a faithful poo-poo’er of all things baby blue).  They’ll never get me again.  Even last night’s win will not sway me.  Not even a little bit!
  • The Jets finish the season @ New England, Miami, @ Pittsburgh, @ Chicago, Buffalo.  They could go 5-0 or 0-5.  I wouldn’t be surprised either way.  That amply demonstrates the level of parity around the league.  The competitive balance is as good as its ever been.  The Jets are 9-2, lead their division, but are assured of absolutely nothing.
  • The Patriots get the Jets, Packers and Dolphins at home down the stretch.  New England won on the road at Pittsburgh and San Diego — and beat Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Indianapolis at home.  Nice resume — but like the Jets…it means nothing, and Tom Brady knows it, too.
  • The new NFL schedule is going to pay huge dividends over these last 5 weeks.  Most teams still have 3 division games remaining — and all will face a division rival in Week 17.  The last two months of the season will take on the feel of playoff football.  Win now or stay home.

3 comments

  1. Good work. I thought about you when i watched the clips of Vick getting creamed. Reid will not run the ball, no matter what. And Ditto on Manning. It’s freaking uncanny how the song changes.

  2. Good stuff…..as usual.

    “No rushes, no rings”. That about sums up the Eagles for the past, what…11 years? When will Andy Reid ever learn.

  3. @ Big Man: Thanks. The good news is that you KNOW the song WILL change — and you know all the lyrics.

    @ GN: Thanks. It makes me wonder what was wrong with Mike Bell. I mean, he was a big part of the Saints Super Bowl march last year. He was their power runner in short yardage situations. I guess he was too banged up to be effective — but why would Cleveland take him for Harrison if that was the case?

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