Because of family obligations I was only able to watch large parts of Sunday’s afternoon games, but did get to see the entirety of the Sunday and Monday night games. That is also why I am posting this so late in the week. So here we go with week four observations.
While Brett Farve had a great game, Jets fans shouldn’t get too giddy with excitement. With Kurt Warner turning the ball over six times, the Jets should and did blow out the Cardinals. Warner is well known for a being a bit sloppy with the ball and turns the ball over a lot. If he wants to keep his starting job he better hang on to the ball.
Rashard Mendenhall’s (RB, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rookie from Illinois) career sure got off to a rocky start. Instead of splitting carries or at least getting a lot of carries, he rode the bench behind Willie Parker. And when he finally gets a chance to start he gets injured and is out for the season. Not an auspicious start to a career.
Chris Samuels, the Washington Redskins’ long time left tackle seems to be getting old. He is slower off the ball than I’ve ever seen him. Nevertheless, he’s still one of the better tackles in the league.
Dallas lost! And Terrell Owens whines. Love it.
GAMES I WATCHED
Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Green Bay Packers, 30-21 (saw large parts of game)
Tampa Bay is a better team than I gave them credit for at the beginning of the year, and Green Bay may not be as good as I thought. Tampa Bay continues to have one of the top defenses in the league, and from what I have seen it is a championship caliber defense. Brian Griese and the rest of the offense are decent, but the team really thrived in this game on the defense side of the ball. Both quarterbacks threw three interceptions but Tampa Bay was able to overcome their turnovers.
Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers hurt his shoulder in this game and if he is out for any length of time the Packers could be in real trouble. They are already banged up at defensive back so their offense has to produce points to win. Too bad for Rodgers because he is already known for being a bit fragile and constantly being injured is one thing that could make him NOT the quarterback of the future for the Packers. So far he has been solid, if not spectacular, and it’s hard not to root for him
MVP: Derrick Brooks, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington Redskins over Dallas Cowboys, 26-24 (saw large parts of game)
Congratulations Jim Zorn! I thought that Dallas would simply run over the Redskins in this match-up. I guess that shows how much I know. Zorn called an excellent game with a very balanced attack and the Redskins ran the ball a lot in the second half, eating up huge chunks of yards, and more importantly, time off the clock. While the passing game was the typical West Coast offensive short, dinky passes, it worked, and worked well. It’s amazing seeing the difference between the Redskins in preseason and the first game of the season against the Giants where the offense looked inept, at best. Now they seem to be a well oiled machine with Campbell, Clinton Portis, and Santana Moss all playing in top form. Dallas is who we thought they were, a team with a potentially high scoring offense, a weak defense, but also a team prone to big let downs. Overall, the Skins simply outplayed Dallas, but Dallas is going to be a force to be reckoned with all year long, assuming Terrible TO doesn’t start ripping the team apart.
And finally, Chris Horton, FS, looks like he may be the defensive rookie of the year. Another solid game from him.
MVP: Jason Campbell, QB, Washington Redskins
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles, 24-20
Chicago’s defense certainly looks to be back to championship form. They were awesome in this game, which turned on a goal line stand that saw Philadelphia try to run the ball and get stopped four straight times. The offense did just enough to win the game, despite a couple of turnovers. Kyle Orton is finally being given a chance to be more than a game manager and he seems to be coming through strongly. Even though he had a couple of picks one definitely wasn’t his fault. And I really like the rookie running back Matt Forte. Philadelphia is a solid team but the lack of strong receivers, their rookie phenol DeSean Jackson being the goat of the game for stupid plays (again!), and an injured Brian Westbrook, it was all too much to overcome against the Bears defense. The Eagles are lucky the Cowboys lost because they need time to get healthy.
MVP: Alex Brown, DE, Chicago Bears (for 4th down goal line tackle)
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens, 23-20 OT
This game was another defensive slugfest. The Ravens, from what I have seen, have the best defense in the league (although I haven’t seen the Titans play yet). This is another team that has a phenomenal defense but a mediocre offense with an injured starting running back in Willis McGahee, weak receivers, and a rookie quarterback. But the Ravens defense is as good as I’ve seen them since their Super Bowl run. Ray Lewis, even at his age, continues to make plays all over the field, they have a solid defensive line, and Ed Reed, FS, is simply a game changing playmaker.
And let’s also give some love to the Pittsburgh defense. They were also phenomenal.
MVP: James Harrison, LB, Pittsburgh
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: Brett Farve, Quarterback, New York Jets
Defensive Player: James Harrison, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Offensive Lineman: Andre Gurode, C, Dallas Cowboys
Special Teams: Matt Bryant, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rookie of the Week: Chris Horton, FS, Washington Redskins