>Tuesday Lunch: Week 3 – Fortune Favors the BOLDin

Posted: September 28, 2010 in nfl
Tags: ,

>By Will Robinson
Another week in the books, another TSL NFL post. Let’s get to it!

Not-So-Quick-Hit Thoughtsimages
· I’ve given up on the 49ers. They have looked horrendous. The entire franchise is in disarray now, firing their offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Their talented defense has underperformed, the offense is still too dependent on Frank Gore, and Alex Smith is Alex Smith. On the other hand, Kansas City has looked pretty good so far. Granted, their opponents have a combined record of 1-8, but they have looked very solid thus far. The Chiefs is giving San Diego a run for their money for the AFC West, already up two games.
· The Vikings notched their first win of the year with the best course of action: giving Adrian Peterson the ball. He had a great performance, rushing for 160 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries. Jahvid Best only had 7 carries and had his game cut short due to turf toe. Brett Favre still looked old, but they didn’t ask him to do as much with his small amount of targets. Solid win to get back on track.
· Things we know from the Patriots/Bills games: New England can put up points, and they can also allow them. My AFC Championship pick is looking worse and worse with New England’s defensive performance and Pittsburgh sheer dominance.
· That was an ugly kick by Garrett Hartley. In fact, ugly is probably too nice of a word. Despite that, props to Atlanta for coming into New Orleans beating the Saints. They destroyed the time of possession battle (45:50-27:15). So far, Atlanta’s only loss came against a very strong Steelers team. The Dirty Birds have things working for them so far, unlike New Orleans. One team is clearly going up, and another is a confused entity.
· The Titans returned to their winning ways, en route to defeating the mistake-prone Giants, 29-10. Vince Young only threw 16 passes, and completed 12 of them and committed no turnovers. Chris Johnson had over 125 rushing yards and 2 TDs. The Giants were penalized 11 times, including five personal fouls. The Tennessee defense prevented Eli Manning from adding a touchdown to his season stats, and picked him off three times. They should be tested next week, as they host the pass-happy Denver Broncos. New York does not get off easy: they play Chicago in the Meadowlands on Sunday night.
· To everyone who had Charlie Batch throwing 3 TDs, leading to a Pittsburgh evisceration of the previously undefeated Buccaneers, I applaud you. Batch threw two 40+-yard touchdown bombs to WR Mike Wallace, who took advantage of an inexperienced Cody Grimm. Rashard Mendenhall ran for 143 yards and a TD, leading the run game to 200+ yards. The defense was dominant once again, allowing 13 points, and bringing their season total to 33 points in three games. I am afraid to see how this team plays once they get “Slim” Ben Roethlisberger back from his suspension.
· Cincinnati won ugly against a terrible Carolina team. Benson had a poor game rushing, but scored both of Cincy’s touchdowns. This is probably the one game I do not want to talk about, so I won’t waste my time.
· You’re late to the party, but we’ll still welcome you back to relevancy Joe Flacco! After I trashed his performance the week previous, he handled the Browns, as a good QB should have. He established a good rapport with new WR Anquan Boldin, with all three of his touchdowns and more than half of his passing yards through Boldin. Peyton Hillis filled in very nicely for Jerome Harrison, rushing for 144 yards and a score. There may be a running back controversy brewing up in Cleveland, which would be nice because there has been no major news out of Cleveland in a while.
· Clutch, important, must-win game for Dallas. They did what they had to do to stop the embarrassment and criticism that was coming in. Roy Williams had a great performance (what?), and the high-octane Texans offense was significantly slowed by the Dallas defense, and the injury of Andre Johnson. Houston ran the ball very well (5.6 YPC as a team, 22 carries), but hurt themselves with three turnovers. I expect them to bounce back strong against Oakland next week. Also, I think Dallas is on the right track to do some damage this season.
· Come on, Denver! Learn to run the ball! That’s how you beat Indy! More on this game later, but I’m not surprised Peyton Manning had a dominant performance, leading his team to a win.
· Congratulations on your first NFL win, Sam Bradford! Bradford led the recently aimless Rams to their first win of the year, against the Redskins. He also won without his best player, Steven Jackson, for most of the game (left in the 2nd quarter). Washington held the lead once this game, going up 16-14 in the 3rd quarter. The Rams may rack up some wins this year (like 2-4 more).
· Newsflash: Michael Vick is BACK! Vick led another dominant performance against a subpar Jacksonville team, but he was phenomenal. Vick posted a 119.2 QB rating, 291 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, and a rushing one. Even though he has only played one half of football against a tough team, he should get his first test next week going up against the Redskins. I am very excited that Vick is back, as he is easily one of the most entertaining players of all time. As many other have stated, he has calmed down and matured as a quarterback, not using his legs unless he absolutely has to. He is now a pocket pass first, rusher second. They have five primetime games this year (SF, Wash, NYG, Hou, Dal) that should all be good matchups, as well as playing Indy. I’m excited to see if he can keep his play up.
· Just like Hartley, Sebastian Janikowski choked and missed a field goal that would have given the Raiders a win. Darren McFadden had a very good day, and the Raiders posted better stats, but the game came down to Janikowski’s missed field goals.
· Seattle’s win was too solid against San Diego. Leon Washington’s two return TDs were great to watch, and Rivers’ almost-comeback was great in itself too. Seattle could win the division with a sub-.500 record, which would be disappointing. But the way the other NFC West teams are playing make this plausible.
· I think I was wrong about the Jets. Their offense has done very well the last two weeks, and their defense has held up. Mark Sanchez looks great (minus the Baltimore game) this season, posting two consecutive 200+ yds, 3 TD performances in a row. If he can keep this up, the Jets could be one of the most dangerous teams in the league (if they are not there yet).
· Despite losing Monday night, I still think Green Bay has to be the favorite in the NFC North. Cutler was good but not great last night, getting lucky on a couple throws that should have been picked off. Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, played very well. His only interception was a throwaway Hail Mary to end the first half. Neither team ran the ball well, and Green Bay out-passed the Bears. They got unlucky that James Jones didn’t hold onto the ball near the end of the game.
Most Impressive Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers travelled to Tampa with their new starting quarterback, Charlie Batch. Many people (yours truly included) picked the Steelers to go 2-2, 1-3 with Ben Roethlisberger out of the lineup. This team has proven me wrong. Their defense looks otherworldly. Troy Polamalu really makes an indescribably difference when he is healthy. Pitt could be 4-0 by the team Big Ben is eligible to play, which is a scary thought.
Honorable Mention: Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets
Most Impressive Offensive Player: Michael Vick
Already discussed Mike Vick earlier.
Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers, Kyle Orton, Adrian Peterson, Austin Collie, Anquan Boldin
Most Impressive Defensive Player: DeMarcus Ware
Ware showed on Sunday that he is still one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL. Ware sacked Matt Schaub three times against Houston and two tackles for loss. Ware didn’t hit Jay Cutler in week 2 and only sacked McNabb once at the beginning of the year. The Dallas pass rush since to be going up instead of down, and as they enter their bye, they more time to better it.
Honorable Mention: Tamba Hali, Trent Cole
Most Unimpressive Team: San Francisco 49ers
Like I said earlier, I give up. Please don’t make me talk about the Niners ever again! I beg you!
Dishonorable Mention: New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots (beat Buffalo by one score!)
Most Unimpressive Player: Carson Palmer
Please, somebody, ANBODY, put Carson Palmer out of his misery. Yes, Cincinnati did win, but Palmer was atrocious. He completed almost fewer than 50% of his passes, threw 1 TD on a check down to Cedric Benson, and threw 2 interceptions. His average yards per attempt was 5.3, a very poor number. Just leave us alone Carson!
Dishonorable Mention: Clay Matthews (only because he didn’t get a sack, I thought he still played well).
Denver Complaint of the Week
Kyle Orton had a fantastic game against the Colts, throwing for more than 475 yards; however, the run game was atrocious. Just utterly awful. Granted, Knowshon Moreno was hurt, but there is no excuse for being stuffed three times from the one-yard line. Inexcusable. Denver is currently 30th in the NFL in rushing yards. The red zone offense was… wait, was there any red zone offense last week? Five trips to the red zone, no touchdowns. I almost vomited every time they were in the Colts’ 20. This needs to change in order for them to have any success win-wise this season.
Best Game per Time Slot of Week 4 (Excluding Sunday/Monday night, obviously)
10:00 AM PDT
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
I am very excited for this game; however, I will not be able to watch it. The Ravens’ offense will be the best they will face up to this point in the season. I will be interested to see if they can cause trouble for Flacco and Ray Rice. Baltimore will need to shut down Mendenhall and force Batch to beat them through the air. Great matchup.
1:00-1:15 PM PDT
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
As I mentioned earlier, this will be Michael Vick’s first test against a good defense. Even though Washington had trouble stopping the Rams, they are more talented than the Lions or the Jaguars. Donovan McNabb makes his comeback to Philly, the home of his first franchise. I think Vick continues what he has been doing this year, and cements his role as the starting QB for the relatively near future (this season). Shanahan will already be in hot water if the Skins cannot pull out a win here, and I don’t think they can.
Best Game of Week 4
Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
Most Interesting Game of Week 4
Washington vs. Philadelphia
Most One Sided Game of Week 4
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
I expect a Buffalo/GB type result here, especially without Best, but I think the Lions put up more points.
Bounce Back Performances of Week 4
They go to Oakland next week, and even if Andre Johnson isn’t 100%, I like the Texans offense to handle this game.
San Diego
The Chargers travelled to Seattle and lost last week. Fortunately, they host Arizona at home this upcoming week, and there have been no indications that Arizona is any good.
Down to Earth Performance of Week 4
Darren McFadden
Even though McFadden has been a revelation this year, and Houston’s defense has been suspect, the Texans’ run defense has been solid. McFadden may still do well, but not nearly as well as he has been the previous games in the season.
Bold Predictions of Week 4
· The Saints only beat Carolina by 10.
· Joe Flacco throws more TDs for Pittsburgh than Baltimore.
· The Patriots defense does something this week.
Thank you all for reading again, have a good week!


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