Obviously the big storyline from week six is the numerous head-to-head collisions that prompted the NFL to say they would crack down on these hits with suspensions and even in game ejections. While the defensive players have complained loudly about this, of the hits in question I felt none of them were legal hits. It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out the rest of the season and into the future.
After week six my top teams in this order are: New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, and Baltimore Ravens. Interesting, no NFC teams there.
GAMES I WATCHED
New England Patriots over Baltimore Ravens, 23-20 (OT)
This week the New England Patriots welcomed back a familiar face, wide receiver Deion Branch who was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX. Much was made the past few weeks about the departure of Randy Moss to Minnesota and how the Patriots would fare without his deep threat capabilities. The Patriots’ offense was clearly somewhat different. I don’t think I saw one deep throw to loosen up the defense, which you always saw at least a few game with Moss in the lineup. Instead New England used a shorter passing game that mostly worked.
Baltimore got up early on the New England aided by a few penalties and shaky play by New England’s rookie cornerbacks. But in the second half New England’s defense played much better, allowing the offense to tie the game and get to overtime. Deion Branch seemed to pick up right where he left off five years ago before leaving New England for Seattle. I was somewhat surprised he was so much part of the game plan after only about two weeks with the team.
Having watched the game with Baltimore Ravens fans the silence at the end of the game was golden.
MVP: Deion Branch, WR
Minnesota Vikings over Dallas Cowboys, 24-21
Dallas is one of those teams that people either love them or hate them and I have always been a Dallas hater, especially with the obnoxious Jerry Jones as the owner. I love seeing this team at 1-5.
I feel a bit sorry for Wade Philips though. I think he is a solid defensive coordinator and has always seemed a bit out of depth at a head coach. But he is not a in a good position in Dallas as it has become somewhat clear he doesn’t really control the team, Jerry Jones does. And Jason Garrett. I find it ironic the so called head coach in waiting is really as much a part of the problem with this talented but dysfunctional offense. The Cowboys’ defense, run by Philips, has played reasonably well although they certainly have had problems with their defensive backfield. But it’s a terrible offensive line, mistakes by Romo, and a generally undisciplined offensive team that is the reason for the Cowboys’ predicament.
This game was decided by two Romo interceptions and kickoff return in the second half by Percy Harvin that ended up being the score that decided the game. The turnovers stopped decent Dallas drives and the special teams score was critical for a struggling Minnesota offense.
It is great seeing Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson playing at such a high level after suffering a gruesome broken femur last year. In fact, he is having a career year. While Harvin’s kickoff return for a touchdown was a key play in the game, Henderson’s two interceptions were critical in stopping the Dallas offense.
MVP: E.J. Henderson, LB
Indianapolis Colts over Washington Redskins, 27-24
The Redskins are a greatly improved team this year under Mike Shanahan but they basically gave this game away to the Colts. Cornerback Carlos Rogers dropped two would be interceptions that were right in his hands in the first half that would have given the Redskins great field position and may have turned the game in their favor. When you don’t take advantage of uncharacteristic mistakes by Peyton Manning, that usually spells doom.
On the flip side, the Redskins moved the ball reasonably well but the bad McNabb showed up too often with inaccurate passes and two interceptions. This allowed the struggling Colts to escape with a win.
Pierre Garcon certainly showed up for the game. His unbelievable one handed grab with his off hand twisting in the air was the play of the week in the NFL.
MVP: Pierre Garcon, WR
Tennessee Titans over Jacksonville Jaguars, 30-3
I find all NFL games intrinsically interesting regardless of the score but I have to admit, by the middle of the third quarter I was utterly bored with this game. The Jacksonville Jaguars embarrassed themselves on Monday Night Football in front of their home fans. They didn’t even seem to show up for the game. It’s hard to say how good Tennessee was or wasn’t in this game since they had a group of patsies in front of them that didn’t compete.
It’s also easy to see why Tennessee has kept the veteran quarterback Kerry Collins on the roster. Vince Young was injured early in the game and Collins came out and gave a proficient, professional performance.
MVP: Kerry Collins, QB
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints
Defensive Player: E.J. Henderson, LB, Minnesota Vikings
Offensive Lineman: Jeff Saturday, C, Indianapolis Colts
Special Teams: Percy Harvin, KR/WR, Minnesota Vikings
Rookie of the Week: Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints