Here are my NFL re-caps, random thoughts, & opinions on week 14 action.
SAN FRANCISCO 24 FINAL
- I don't understand either of these teams. The Cardinals win dominantly over the Vikings; then follow up that win with a no-TD, seven-turnover performance against the 49ers. On the flip side, the 49ers lose to a woeful Seahawks team; then follow that up with a dominant win over a red hot Cardinals team. Can anyone out there explain either one of these teams to me? Anyone? Credit the 49ers to getting back to the formula they had success with earlier in the season; a strong ground game and stingy defense. Frank Gore was the player of the game; hitting 167 yards rushing; his best performance of the year by far.
CLEVELAND 13 FINAL
- The Steelers defense did their job; holding Brady Quinn to just 90 yards passing. But the offense couldn't get in the end zone and gave up EIGHT sacks to a Browns defense that hasn't exactly been lighting it up. This teams playoff hopes are just about dead, and Ben Roethlisberger is going to get killed if that O-line can't learn to do a better job of protecting him. The Superbowl champs have now lost five straight and must face a red hot Packers team this coming week. Good luck guys.
NY Giants 38 FINAL
- The Giants gained well over 500 yards in offense. However, their defense is putrid and their special teams isn't much better. The Eagles receivers were wide open all night. The Giants defense made DeSean Jackson look like Jerry Rice. They couldn't stop anybody. They couldn't pass rush. They couldn't cover anybody. They didn't get close enough to NcNabb to even see what he looks like. The guy had time for a cup of coffee at times. They can't tackle. They can't stop the run. They can't stop the pass. They can't keep the other team out of the end zone. And to add insult to injury was DeSean Jackson's blatant cockiness. The New York Giants embarrassed and disgraced themselves. Even more shocking than the performance of the defense is Tom Coughlin's statement to the press yesterday that he's "confident" in defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. The Giants have given up an average of 32.3 PPG over the last eight games. Even the most devout, homeristic Giants fans must question where Coughlin's confidence in Bill Sheridan comes from.
JACKSONVILLE 10 FINAL
- Credit this victory to a Dolphins defense that doesn't get nearly as much credit as it deserves. They held Maurice Jones-Drew to 59 yards rushing and David Garrard to 139 yards passing. Chad Henne is getting better every week. He hit 17 consecutive passes at one point. Don't count them out of the playoffs or the AFC East title hunt just yet.
NY Jets 26
TAMPA BAY 3 FINAL
- This one got ugly in a hurry, and stayed that way the entire game. Josh Freeman was held to 93 yards passing on 33 attempts, and threw three more INT's. Ouch. The Jets defense dominated this contest from start to finish. The Bucs never had a chance. Thomas Jones had a nice day; finishing with just under 100 yards rushing.
NEW ENGLAND 20 FINAL
- It wasn't pretty, but the Patriots will take it. The offense turned it over three times in this one. Tom Brady had a very average day. Wes Welker was the player of the game; ending the day with 10 receptions for 105 yards. The Panthers simply couldn't get anything going on offense. An early TD by Steve Smith was the sole highlight of the day.
BALTIMORE 48 FINAL
- They're starting to look like the winless Lions from last season. Man, that was horrible. They'd better hope Matthew Stafford doesn't get injured too much going forward. Culpepper couldn't do anything, and Kevin Smith is nothing more that an average RB. Ray Rice absolutely humiliated the Lions defense on his way to 166 rushing yards on just 13 carries. The Lions are sure to draft high again in '10's draft, and would be wise to pick an impact defensive player with their first pick. You just can't play run defense like that and expect to win games.
SAN DIEGO 20
DALLAS 17 FINAL
- Credit this win to the impressive goal line stand the Chargers defense made in the first half. If they let Marion Barber get that TD in the 2nd QTR, the Chargers lose this game. Philip Rivers had another solid day. Tony Romo struggled a bit on 3rd downs. I thought the Cowboys got away from the running game a bit too much in this one. It was working, so why put the game in Romo's hands? The game was tied going into the 4th QTR. I don't get it.
MINNESOTA 30 FINAL
- Credit the Vikings for getting back to their original winning formula - running the ball and playing stingy defense. The game was put more into Adrian Peterson's hands; less into Brett Favre's, which was a smart move. On the flip side, Cedric Benson got his rushing yards (16-96). But, the Bengals are going to need more than 94 yards passing out of Carson Palmer if they expect to win playoff games. The Bengals defense, which had been solid, wore down in this one. That will happen when your offense can't sustain drives.
KANSAS CITY 10 FINAL
- Credit this win for the Bills solely to Matt Cassel. The Bills only managed 86 yards passing. For the Chiefs, Jamaal Charles hit 143 yards rushing; averaging over 7 yards per carry. Matt Cassel had 224 yards passing, but threw 4 INT's; single-handedly wasting a good effort by this Chiefs team. Clearly, the Chiefs need to restructure Cassel's contract, and maybe check to see what Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy are doing for the next ten years.
INDIANAPOLIS 28 FINAL
- Peyton Manning struggled a bit against this solid Broncos defense; completing less than half his passes, but found a way to get it in the end zone 4 times. On the flip side, Brandon Marshall set a single game record for receptions with 21. Kyle Orton outpassed Peyton Manning. But, the Colts defense; perhaps the best defense in the league that no one's talking about, managed to keep the Broncos out of the end zone in the 2nd half. Jim Caldwell's got my vote for coach of the year.
HOUSTON 34 FINAL
- Leave it up to the Texans to play their best football when nothing is on the line. The defense was dominant. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson had probowl-caliber days. Why can't they do this against their division foes? Why does it take a four game losing streak before we see this from the Texans? It may be too little; too late to save Kubiak's job.
GREEN BAY 21
CHICAGO 14 FINAL
- The Packers can thank Ryan Grant for this win. The offense pretty much sputtered after Grant's 62-yard TD run to open the game. On the flip side, the Bears played well enough on defense to pull off the upset, but the 109 yards in penalties and two turnovers were killers. Jay Cutler threw 2 more INT's. Did the Bears make a mistake trusting their future to Jay Cutler?
NEW ORLEANS 26
ATLANTA 23 FINAL
- Yes, the Saints are still undefeated. But, any objective Saints fan has to be worried after this performance. They almost lost this game to a Falcons team that was without its starting QB. Chris Redman put up 303 passing yards. The pass defense is a concern. On the flip side, Drew Brees took what the defense gave him in an unspectacular, but efficient performance. But, the Saints must get more from their running game and pass defense if they are to go all the way to the Superbowl.
OAKLAND 13 FINAL
- Bruce Gradkowski went down to injury early in this one. Once that happened, the Raiders never stood a chance. JaMarcus Russell played like he usually plays - like a player that just wants his paycheck and to be left alone. The defense fell asleep in this one late in the game; giving up 17 unanswered 4th QTR points. The Redskins continue to improve each week. Quentin Ganther had two rishing TD's in his first start for the Redskins. Up next week, a Giants team whose defense will probably make Jason Campbell look like Doug Williams. They can't tackle, can't cover anyone, can't blitz, can't pash rush, can't play bump-n-run, can't stop the run, can't stop the pass....... well, you get the idea.
ST. LOUIS 7
TENNESSEE 47 FINAL
- Vince Young went down to injury early in this one, but it didn't matter. The Rams defense couldn't stop anyone, and the offense turned it over four times. Steven Jackson may ask for a trade is this crap keeps up. Yikes.