The bye week sucks, especially when your team has been slow to start the season. That doesn't mean that there isn't stuff to talk about, though. There was plenty of action in the NFL yesterday, and along with the Big Ten opening weekend, baseball pennant races being decided, and the selling of the Tiger Woods sex tape (allegedly) there's a lot to analyze. So we'll be talking about a lot of games, but with no frontiers. Games Without Frontiers...hmmm, that reminds me of a great Peter Gabriel song, BOOM:
If looks could kill they probably will. Stock Market Report, after the jump.
Blue Chip Stocks:
Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington. There was some speculation that if Brett Favre really, really, retired, that the Vikings would go after McNabb. He didn't, they didn't, and McNabb was inexplicably traded within the division to Washington. McNabb wasn't great, but he was good enough, beating the Eagles and showing why maybe it wasn't the best idea to let him go. Now, Michael Vick is hurt, and Kevin Kolb is...Kevin Kolb. Anything could happen between now and January, but right now this looks like the only Dan Snyder deal that hasn't blown up in his face. Hey, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and again.
Josh Scobee, K, Jacksonville. A 59 yard field goal is impressive. A 59 yard field goal to win a game is even more impressive. But a 59 yard field goal to beat the Colts, who had just come up with yet another clutch TD drive pulled off by Peyton Manning? That's a blue chip stock right there. Jacksonville played a great game, and although their last drive seemed like classic
Les Miles Jack Del Rio ineptitude at times, they got in a position to score. And boy, did Scobee deliver.
Defensive Line, New York Giants. Holy crap, I almost felt sorry for Jay Cutler. But then I remembered two things: Jay Cutler plays for the Bears, and Jay Cutler is a whiny vagina. That said, I hope he isn't hurt; as much as I dislike the Bears and the Packers, I don't wish any of their players to be injured. But it was great to see him get up and have that 'I'm a whiny little bitch' look on his face every time he got drilled. The Giants were relentless all night long, and went a long way to take a lot of luster off of Chicago's 3-0 start.
Big Ten Conference Play Begins. I love pro football, but there's something about the Big Ten opening conference play that stirs the midwest soul, isn't there? Historic programs, trophy games, continuing a legacy that began before our fathers--and their fathers--were born. From Bronko Nagurski and Red Grange to Terrelle Pryor and Denard Robinson, the greatest conference in college football began anew again Saturday, and all is right with the world.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams. How in the world can I put a rookie QB...who plays for the terrible Rams...down as a blue chip stock? Watch him, and you'll understand. Oh, and this just in...the Rams are no longer terrible. I've been loosely following the Rams since I moved here, and Bradford is the real deal. He carries himself like a veteran, consistently places the ball where only his guy can get it, and has that trait few players have--he makes the guys around him better. If he stays healthy, he's going to have a great career, and is a primary reason why the Rams are 2-2 and in first place.
Peyton Manning and Terrell Owens, Future Hall of Famers. Manning and Owens both passed significant milestones on Sunday, albeit in losing efforts. Manning moved to third on the all-time pass yardage list, and Owens became the second all-time receiver in terms of receiving yardage, and moved into fifth all-time in catches, passing Isaac Bruce in both categories. Manning
should will be a first ballot hall of famer, and so should Owens. But if Owens gets in before Cris Carter, I'm shankin' a bitch.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans. Foster seemed to take an early 'take a seat' moment to heart, as he scored two second half TD's to help Houston beat Oakland 31-24. So far, Foster has 537 yards rushing in four games, and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry.
Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers. Rivers to Gates is as deadly a passing combo as there is in the NFL, and they were money again yesterday as the Chargers humiliated the Arizona Cardinals 41-10. Gates caught 7 passes for 144 yards and two TD's as Rivers was 15-20 with nearly 250 yards, and the Cardinals had no answer to the tandem all day. Stunning to see how bad the Cardinals have been in their two losses this season.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, New York Jets. Tomlinson looks reborn in New York, and although I wasn't too upset when he decided to sign with the Jets as opposed to the Vikings, I'm beginning to think that LT would've been a big cure to what currently ails the Vikings passing game right now. I'm glad to see LT find success in New York, but I hope he gets nothing next week against our Beloved Purple.
The NFC West, other than the Rams. Just terrible football being played in the NFC west of the Rockies. The Cardinals can't compete against good teams and have no quarterback, the 'rah rah' atmosphere that Pete Carroll brought to Seattle is fading now that Pete realizes that the teams he plays against are now getting paid as well, and San Francisco is an unmitigated disaster right now.
Buffalo Bills. Okay, so you draft a QB of the future...and then cut him less than three years into it with no backup plan. The only decent offensive weapon you have is RB Marshawn Lynch, so of course, you draft RB CJ Spiller in the first round, with needs at every position. Being a Vikes fan, I feel a special kinship with Bills fans, seeing as how we are the only franchises that have lost four Super Bowls, so I wish them well. I just don't see it happening in my lifetime.
Buy: Roddy White's Strip Fumble. There's effort, and then there's what Roddy White did yesterday. All Nate Clements had to do was fall to the ground after the pick, San Francisco runs out the clock, and they get a big, big win on the road. Instead, Clements tried to house the pick, and as he slowed down to get behind a blocker, Roddy White came from behind and stripped the ball. Falcons get a lease on life, and Matty Ice orchestrates a game winning drive.
Sell: Nate Clements' Situational Awareness. Mike Singletary was one of the smartest football players I have ever watched, and when he was named the head coach of the 49ers, I was mad, because I thought he would've been a great coach for the Vikings. Eh, not so much. If he does preach 'know the situation' to his players, Nate Clements sure isn't listening. Terrible showboat play that cost the 49ers the game.
Buy: St. Louis is on the Rebound: I've already mentioned Sam Bradford, and he has a nucleus of talent with WR Mark Clayton and superduper RB Stephen Jackson. The offensive line isn't as bad as advertised, and the defense is playing better, led by LB James Laurinaitis. They've been comptetitive in every game, and have won a couple games they weren't supposed to. Yesterday, they dominated the Seahawks, and are in first place. As bad as the NFC West is, they could win this division at 7-9. Really, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Sell: Detroit is on the Rebound: At some point, you need to win. When you win a game, I will re-look Detroit as a team on the uptick, but until then, you are still the sad sack Lions, albeit with better coaching and more talent. Am I a little bitter because you could've beat the Packers yesterday, or should've beat the Bears week 1, making the Vikes climb out of an 0-2 hole easier? Why yes, yes I am.
Buy: Tiger Woods sex tape. Somebody allegedly bought it over the weekend. Remember when Tiger was a role model we could all look up to? No? Me neither. The only person with a bigger fall from grace? Fictional presidential candidate Greg Stillson, he of The Dead Zone fame.
Sell: Chicago's Offensive Line: Jeebus, was that brutal. My old line of thinking was that Mike Tice was a great offensive line coach that could cobble together an offensive line that was good enough to keep Jay Cutler upright, Now, I still think Tice is a great o-line coach, but there is absolutely no talent on that line, and they were exposed for the world to see last night. Yikes.
Buy: The Twins Beating the Yankees: Liriano and the Pavstache lead the Twins to the World Series title!! Of course, I also predicted the US would win the Ryder Cup, the 49ers would win the NFC West, and the Gophers would beat USC and go to a bowl game.
Sell: Carolina's Two Minute Drill: Carolina was on a game winning drive, in New Orleans, and then remembered that they were the Carolina Panthers, and Jimmy Clausen is their quarterback. Sack, penalty, game over, thanks for playing. Clausen looked better, but he still has a long ways to go.
So, that's the SMR for the bye week. Feel free to add anything you thought was a gross oversight in the comments.