2009 NFL Football Season: Week 2


Tom Brady: I don’t know why the press is beating up on Brady so badly after two games. He is coming off a very serious ACL injury and has not played in a year. Of course it is going to take some time to get back to where he was before. Anyone who thought Brady was going to waltz in and be the Brady of old from the first snap is seriously delusional. Peyton Manning had a knee surgery and only missed preseason last year and looked very out of sync at least for the first quarter of the season if not longer. Carson Palmer never played particularly well his first year back after ACL surgery.

The Running Game: For the most part the most successful offensive teams are the teams that are running the ball effectively and utilizing their running backs.

Mark Sanchez: Like Flacco and Ryan last year, Sanchez has started off the season looking like the real deal at quarterback. And what do all three have in common? Good teams around them, and solid defenses. It’s too early to evaluate Matt Stafford.

Jim Zorn: Is a terrible head coach. The Redskins look lost on offense.

Jake Long: I am sick of people saying how good a tackle Jake Long of the Dolphins is. I have not seen anything that overly impresses me about him yet. He’s good, but he’s not great. Maybe he will be. He gave us some sacks and struggled in his first game, and had a lot of help against Dwight Freeney of the Colts on Monday Night. And Freeney is not that good against the run anyway.


New York Jets over New England Patriots, 16-9

The scariest part of the Jets win over the Patriots for Patriots fans is the realization that we should be 0-2. We have no real leaders left on defense and Tom Brady is struggling early in the season, as one would expect coming off a serious knee injury. With a hot Atlanta team coming to Foxborough, mounting injuries, and the tough Baltimore Ravens on the horizon, we could be looking at a 1-3 start if we don’t right the ship.

The Jets talked the talk during the week leading up to this game, and they certainly walked the walk. In fact their defense walked all over the Patriots. The most intensely frustrating part of this game was that the Patriots squandered excellent field position throughout the first half, either settling for field goals or not scoring at all when they had chances on the Jets end of the of the field.

Brady clearly is still working to regain his form after coming off a year long layoff and ACL surgery. His footwork, timing, and accuracy are all off the mark. It doesn’t help that Wes Welker was on the bench, but rookie Julian Edelman did decent job in his place, although he had a few rookie mistakes. Meanwhile Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis shut Randy Moss down all day long, and Brady had no time throw. It was a long, long, day for the offense.

Defensively the Patriots have gone from old to very young, and lack natural leaders on and off the field. Dan Dierdorf, who I usually think is an idiot, said it best. Needing a stop in the second half to get the offense back on the field, Dierdorf said (paraphrased) “no Harrison, Bruschi, Vrabel, Seymour, and now no Jerrod Mayo. There are no real leaders left on this team that you just expect to step up and make a play in situations like this.” And of course the Jets get a first down. The defense didn’t play terribly, but in the second half they made rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez look like a savvy veteran.

Despite all this you can also lay part of the blame for this loss on a horrendous offensive game plan. There is no way in a two close games Brady should be throwing the ball around 50 times a game. That is ridiculous. Even if he were fully healthy the pass happy game plan in these tight games is head scratcher. We have five serviceable running backs, use them! Most of the time we bothered to run the ball against the Jets we mostly had success, but we didn’t stick with it enough. The best way to slow down an aggressive pass rush is a successful running game, play action passes, and screens. I saw none of that on Sunday and I think that cost us the chance to win the game.

The Jets had a very good season last year and tanked toward the end of the season. This year they again look solid. Mark Sanchez so far looks like the real deal at quarterback and their defense looks very stout.

For the Patriots, I am not hitting the panic button yet. I do think that Brady and the offense will find their rhythm as the season progresses and the defense will continue to improve. But we better not fall into a big hole early in the season or we may be chasing the Jets all year for the AFC East title.

And for me the player of the game is Leon Washington. Although his stats don’t look impressive at face value, his kickoff returns consistently gave the Jets good field position and he made some key offensive plays to keep drives alive in the second half (his lost fumble excepted).

MVP: Leon Washington, RB/KR

Baltimore Ravens over San Diego Chargers, 31-26

The San Diego Chargers are another playoff caliber team that should be 0-2. The loss of Jamaal Williams on the defensive line, along with other injuries, really seems to have put the Chargers defense in a tailspin. Despite their solid play the last two weeks, the Ravens are not a high scoring team generally but they mostly had their way with the Chargers.

Like the Patriots, beyond Rivers two interceptions, their biggest problem was scoring in the red zone. You can’t get into the red zone and settle for four field goals and except to win the game. And once again little Darren Sproles was a one man show but it wasn’t enough.

The Ravens, meanwhile, have picked up right where they left off last year. On offense Flacco is playing well and they are utilizing their three running backs, McGahee, Rice, and McClain very effectively (hear that Bill Belichick?). And defense the old veteran Ray Lewis continues to be a disruptive force.

MVP: Ray Lewis, LB

New York Giants over Dallas Cowboys, 33-31

It is funny hearing Eli Manning touted as the second coming by the pundits when Romo gave up three gift interceptions which doomed the Cowboys to losing their home opener in their new gaudy stadium. They say things are bigger in Texas and Romo seems to be the biggest choke artist of them all. Maybe he’ll take Peyton’s spot in that category. Romo has a great deal of potential but he made poor throws and mistakes in the passing game, and tends to do so on the biggest stages.

Don’t get me wrong, the Giants played well and so did Eli Manning. But he Cowboys helped them out quite a bit. The Giants, in fact, are clearly now the team to beat in the NFC East, if not the entire conference. They have an excellent if inconsistent quarterback, a solid running game, and maybe the best all around offensive line in the league. And now they have found two receivers who have stepped up to the plate and had a coming out party of their own in Steve Smith and Mario Manningham who had nearly 300 yards between them. And as usually, the Giants defense has sketchy defensive backs, but their defensive line is one of the best in the league.

MVP: Mario Manningham, WR

Indianapolis Colts over Miami Dolphins, 27-23

This is one of the most bizarre games I have ever seen. Miami holds the ball almost the entire game, running the ball right now the Colts throats, but still lose. Peyton Manning and the Colts had the ball for less than 15 minutes but scored a touchdown on big plays on nearly every possession to win the game. Unbelievable!

On offense Miami did everything right, rushing for 239 yards, using the “Wildcat” formation effectively, and throwing when they needed to. But the defense gave up big plays, and fast, nearly every time the Colts touched the ball. The first play of the game was an 80 yard touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Dallas Clark and they didn’t slow down or get out of rhythm, they just kept doing it when they had the ball. Manning was just brilliant in this game. If you cut Manning open you would probably find wires because he is a machine.

Miami’s defense should be ashamed. As should Miami wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. who dropped a catchable ball at the end of the game that could of won it for Miami. I think Ted Ginn, Jr. is a bust of a first round draft pick at this point. I have seen nothing in his career that has impressed me.

After the game Steve Young said Miami lost because they do not have a big play offense. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard him say. Had Miami scored on big plays that would have likely meant that the Colts just score more points and end up winning anyway. 99.999999 percent of the time a team rushes the ball as well as Miami did, scores touchdowns, and keeps the other team off the field for 45 minutes of the game, they will win. And the best way to beat the Colts is to control the ball, get some points, and keep Manning on the bench, just like Miami did. Few teams are going to win a scoring race with the Colts. It was Miami’s defense that lost this game.

Dallas Clark had 7 catches for 183 yards, including an 80 yard touchdown reception on the first play from scrimmage, but I have to go with Peyton as the MVP because he was just brilliant in this game.

MVP: Peyton Manning, QB


Offensive Player: Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49’ers (207 yards rushing)

Defensive Player: Antwan Odom, DE, Cincinnati (5 sacks)

Offensive Lineman: Jake Grove, C, Miami

Special Teams: Leon Washington, KR, New York Jets

Rookie of the Week: Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

Terrible Terrell Owens Terminated by the Dallas Cowboys; Buffalo Bills Swallow Poison Pill

Something evil or malignant that spreads destructively. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

passionately and relentlessly malevolent : aggressively malicious 2: tending to produce death or deterioration; especially : tending to infiltrate, metastasize, and terminate fatally. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Terrell Owens: A professional football player who is a cancer to a team, selfish to the point of malignancy, ultimately self destructing and possibly fatal to team chemistry.

If there were a hall of fame for jerks in the NFL, Owens would probably be the charter member. He trashed QB Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, and called him gay. Then he completely blew up the Philadelphia Eagles team with his petulant, me first feud with Donovan McNabb and divided the locker room. And now he is mouthing off again about not getting enough catches in Dallas and got into fight with Jason Witten because Witten was getting more touches than he was. ME FIRST, ME SECOND, ME THIRD, Team maybe FOUR — after my money. What a team player!  Doug Baker, February 14, 2009

If pro football’s Father Flanagan — the man who originally thought Tank Johnson was a plus and Adam Jones was a good idea — boots you to the curb, it’s a pretty good sign the negatives outweigh the positives. Mike Wise. The Washington Post (March 6, 2009, Page E01)

Good luck to Trent Edwards. Maybe Terrell Owens will step up now because he knows nobody wants him. But he’s done this before. I feel sorry for Trent Edwards.  Farrah Baker, March 8, 2009

Jerry Jones finally smarted up and performed a surgical procedure on his team by cutting out the cancer that was threatening to tear it apart – Terrell Owens.

The Dallas Cowboys, and Jerry Jones of all people, finally got tired of Terrible T.O. and his team killing tendencies. Terrell Owens is a narcissistic me first, team be damned player who has created turmoil on every franchise he has ever been a part of. And the saddest thing of all, it’s always, always somebody else’s fault. It’s simply not me, he says. This guy needs to look at himself in the mirror and wonder why he has more detractors than fans and why his tenure with a team always ends in controversy and the team simply saying “get out of here, we don’t want you anymore.”

In San Francisco he feuded with Jeff Garcia and called him gay, which I guess is derogatory in the world of professional football. Despicable.

Worse yet, he nearly destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles franchise in his petty, childish dispute with Donovan McNabb. He divided the locker room and literally destroyed the Eagles post-Super Bowl season and likely set them back a year or two to get back on track. What is particularly telling about this is that Donovan McNabb is one of the classiest football players in the league. He has often been unfairly criticized and has always handled it with class. His response to the Rush Limbaugh controversy several years ago, when Limbaugh declaimed on ESPN that he was “given a pass” in criticism because he’s a black quarterback, an asinine statement, was perfectly understated and handled with dignity. That anyone could “feud” with McNabb is beyond me.

And then in Dallas he gets jealous because Jason Witten is getting more balls thrown his way than Mr. Me Owens. From all accounts Witten is a media shy, very well liked, friendly person who was attacked, literally confronted physically, by Terrell Owens. And why? Because Owens was jealous of him getting more attention from Romo on and off the field.

The Buffalo Bills are foolish and just swallowed a poison pill. I watched the Terrell Owens press conference and a few things were very clear in the words he spoke and his body language.

First, he takes no responsibility, and doesn’t even seem to understand why he was cut in Dallas. As is typical with Owens, everything is somebody else’s fault, or somebody else’s problem, not his. This is typical of a narcissistic personality, and I have become convinced this clearly describes Terrell Owens.

Second, despite his smiles, his body language clearly told me he doesn’t really want to be with the Buffalo Bills, a small market team without a lot of pizzazz traditionally. It’s a tough blue collar team in a tough blue collar town. And I quote straight from Owens’ press conference: “This may not be the most ideal place for a lot of people, but I’m the guy. I beat to my own beat sometimes, my own thinking, my own intuition. For me, this is an opportunity. It’s an interesting situation.”

Some may accuse me of reading too much into this statement, but to say about a team you are joining “this may not be the ideal place for a lot of people” is saying a lot about what Owens thinks of his new team. He is simply resigned to his fate, not particularly happy about it.

I do not like the Dallas Cowboys and was thoroughly enjoying the soap opera Terrell Owens was creating there. I was so looking forward to the continued soap opera in 2009. Why did Jerry Jones have to smarten up and ruin all the fun!

Now Buffalo gets to enjoy a slow, malignant cancer which will possibly undermine Trent Edwards’ development and keep the team on the outside looking in.  I guess if selling tickets is and generating buzz is the motive, so be it.  But if Buffalo wants to be a winning team, dumb move.