Some Quick Thoughts on Week Five
Chop blocks: I agree with Clay Matthews — the chop blocking I saw this weekend was troubling. Brian Cushing was injured, maybe for the season, a block from the side, right on or below the knee, by Jets Guard Matt Slauson. It was clearly an illegal play. Ironically, while not illegal, it was the Houston Texans guards I saw going low, from the side, on defenders they were not engaged with. In fact, that is how just defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson got hurt when he had to leave the game. Any of these so called “zone blocking” scheme teams are prone to these low blocks on defensive players they are not engaged with. I saw low blocks by the Broncos as well against Patriots. Not sure how much can be done about it within the current rules but it’s one that will continue to put defensive players are risk.
Rookie Kickers: I don’t think I have seen a year when you had three such unbelievably good rookie kickers in Matt Blair of Minnesota, Billy Hunter in Baltimore, and Greg Zuerlein with Rams. And the Rams have a great rookie punter as well in Johnny Hekker. Makes me wish the Patriots had one now that Gostkowski has a case of the misses.
GAMES I WATCHED
New England over Denver, 31-21
Coming into this game I really wondered how we’d fare against a team with a good offense and defense. Thankfully, the Patriots look back in some semblance of top form, at least on offense. I love the balance attack with the running and passing game going. Not being so one dimensional on offense will serve the team well going throughout the season. The defense also played reasonably good, opportunistic football.
MVP: Stevan Ridley, RB
Baltimore over Kansas City, 9-6
It was awfully painful to watch the Chiefs utterly self-destruct against the Ravens. The Chiefs pretty much outplayed the Ravens the entire game except turnovers. And the turnovers just killed the Chiefs chances of winning. And I am sorry but Matt Cassel has played terribly this year. I hated to see him get hurt and think that fans that cheered that should be ashamed. But, it is time to give Quinn a chance to see what he can do, although if his past performances are any indication, he probably won’t do much better. It’s a shame too because there is talent this team otherwise. The Cheifs beat themselves in this game and handed the Ravens a win.
MVP: Ray Rice, RB
St. Louis over Arizona, 17-3
Exposed. That is what Arizona was on Thursday night. Not so much their defense, although even that unit has seen it’s better games, but th offense was just awful. But it has been all year long, the defense just kept bailing them out, until Thursday night’s loss to the Rams. The Cardinals offensive line is embarassing. It seems defensive ends have career days against them every week. They can’t run the ball. And while I don’t think Kolb has much chance back there, even when he does he doesn’t always do much with it. I feel sorry for Larry Fitzgerald who I think is the first or second most talented reciever in the league (along with Charles Johnson of Detroit). He has a bad quarterback coupled with a bad offensive line.
I frankly I am not a big beleiver in the Rams or Sam Bradford, which is surely and unpopular stance. I love Danny Amendola though, and it’s too bad he got hurt this year again and will be out for a while.
Chris Long just schooled the Cardinals tackles.
MVP: Chris Long, DE
New Orleans over San Diego, 31-24
Fair or not, I just can’t root against the Saints after the bounty scandal, not this year at least. But I like San Diego even less so this game left me wanting both teams to loose, although I probably leaned a little toward the Saints. The Saints and Drew Brees got the offense rolling late in this one and never looked back, as Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas consecutive game with a touchdown pass record at 48.
Given the weakness of the AFC West, at least until Denver starts winning some games against good teams, San Diego might be in the drivers seat. It will be interesting to see how that race plays out this year.
MVP: Drew Brees, QB
Houston over New York Jets, 23-17
The New York Jets played well enough to win this game. But they made mistake after mistake after mistake, espeically on offensive, leaving them no chance to beat a good team. And it was not all Mark Sanchez’s fault. It was just a sloppy, mistake prone offensive game. It was also rather poor blocking by the offensive line as well. Only Nick Mangold is any good. D’Brickshaw Ferguson has always been wildly overrated.
The defensive backs played really well containing the Oilers passing game with the exception of a few gaffs, but the defensive line and linebackers were just mauled by the Texans offensive line. They gave us some really big runs to Arian Foster. But they hung in and kept them to field goals instead of touchdowns enough to give their offense a chance. Their offense just didn’t take advantage of it.
I don’t think the Jets are as forlorn as many, but this could be a tough year for them.
MVP: J.J. Watt, DE
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants [200 yds rushing]
Defensive Player: J. J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans
Offensive Lineman: Eric Winston, T, Kansas City Chiefs
Special Teams: Johnny Hekker, P. St. Louis Rams
Rookie of the Week: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts