Tag:Devin Hester
Posted on: December 20, 2010 10:49 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2010 12:09 am
 

Hester sets NFL record (UPDATED)

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

All game long tonight, Vikings P Chris Kluwe did all he could to avoid punting the ball to Bears WR Devin Hester. Every time Kluwe kicked the ball, he aimed it out of bounds so Hester couldn’t get his paws on the ball.

Kluwe had good reason to worry.

After nearly taking the second half opening kickoff all the way for the touchdown, Hester took a line drive Kluwe punt early in the third quarter and ran it in for the 64-yard score, breaking the NFL record for kick/punt return TDs with the 14th of his career.

UPDATED (12:06 a.m.): Hester on the record-breaking return: "The return felt great. It's a big load off my back – not only mine but my teamates. My teamates wanted it as badly as I did."

Hester went out of his way to thank the 10 teammates who blocked for him, and then in a nice scene, Hester got emotional - he nearly broke down in tears - when talking about the rest of his teammates and how much they meant to him.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: November 29, 2010 4:37 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.29.10 Sunday box score tidbits

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Mike Tolbert had 26 carries for 103 yards.

Chargers inside linebacker Kevin Burnett has been one of the most pleasantly surprising players of 2010. He led the team with 10 tackles Sunday night.

Matt Ryan threw just four incompletions against the Packers Sunday.

Greg Jennings continued his dominance with 119 yards on five catches. Jennings averaged 36.6 yards per outing the first five games; he’s averaged 106.5 in the past six games. (One factor has been increased opportunities resulting from the absence of Jermichael Finley.)

The Steelers ran 83 plays against the Steelers, seemingly all of them coming on the first drive.

The Steelers also had over 100 yards in penalties for a second straight week.

Hines Ward had 107 yards receiving. Fred Jackson led the Bills with 105.

Donte Whitner had 18 tackles for the Bills. That speaks well for the safety and poorly for the front seven’s run defense.

Another strong outing for Peyton Hillis: 26 carries, 131 yards against the Panthers. Oh, and three touchdowns. Hillis has 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. If 131 yards rushing aren’t enough, how about the 63 yards Hillis added through the air?

Abram Elam, a safety, led the Browns with two tackles for a loss AND two sacks Sunday.

The Jaguars rushed for 207 yards against the Giants, with more than 140 of them coming in the first half. Maurice Jones-Drew had a career-high fourth-straight 100-yard game. Backup Rashad Jennings (seven carries, 53 yards) continues to look better each week.

Brandon Jacobs got 14 carries (87 yards). Ahmad Bradshaw got nine (49 yards).

Giants wide receivers caught a total of five passes Sunday.

Despite being without Adrian Peterson most of the day, the Vikings outrushed the Redskins 137-29.

Toby Gerhardt had 76 yards on 22 carries. In a startling display of consistency, Gerhardt’s longest carry was just six yards.

Jared Allen recorded a sack and three tackles for a loss. He has 5.5 sacks his last three games after getting just one sack his first seven. (A few of his 5.5 sacks have been cheap, though.)

The Titans had just nine first downs at Houston, two of them coming from Texan penalties.

Randy Moss got his first, second and third catch as a Viking, though even listing them one at a time like that doesn’t make the total sound at all substantial.

Arian Foster: 30 carries,143 yards; nine receptions, 75 yards.

Miami Dolphins: 82 plays. Oakland Raiders: 45. What does this tell us? Oakland’s run defense still isn’t good. (Dolphins had 186 yards on the ground.)

Worth mentioning is that the Raiders run offense doesn’t appear to be very good, either. The Raiders ran the ball 12 times for 16 yards. Darren McFadden was stifled for the second week in a row.

The rushing disparity in Oakland almost pales to that in Seattle. The Chiefs: 270 yards on the ground. The Seahawks: 20. The Chiefs had the ball for more than 41 minutes.

Fantasy owners, take note: Seahawks wideout Ben Obomanu was impressive for a second straight week. The willowy fifth-year pro had 159 yards on five receptions.

Michael Vick’s 333 yards passing marked his second 300-yard game this season and just the fourth of his career. The Bears held Vick to 44 yards on nine runs.

The Bears’ top three wideouts, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Johnny Knox, all went for over 55 yards receiving.

The people calling for Josh McDaniels’ head can’t use the Jay Cutler trade as part of their argument. Kyle Orton threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns against the Rams. Clearly, offense is not the problem in Denver.

Joe Flacco continues to quietly post big numbers. He had 289 yards through the air against the Bucs, with two touchdowns and only one pick (the Aqib Talib interception between the knees).

Bucs rookie DT Gerald McCoy had two sacks and two tackles for a loss.




Combed through all the box scores to bring you any nuggets that may have fallen through the cracks. Enjoy.

No need to read the Colts-Chargers box score too closely – only one stat stands out: Chargers zero turnovers, Colts five.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 6:23 pm
 

Strolling the Sideline: Epic 'passing' numbers

Posted by Will Brinson



There are eight divisions in football. You probably know that.

What you might not know is that there are 13 teams in first place right now. 13! That's the first time in NFL history that this many teams have been in first place six weeks into the year.

Want more proof that there's parity in the NFL? For only the second time in history, there are 21 teams with a .500 or better record -- which is bananas, frankly.

Not to mention Cincinnati and Minnesota at 2-3 and we have the three cellar dwellers of the AFC West kicking it at 2-4. (Granted, they're not within "striking distance" of .500, but they're just two games back of first place.)

All of that is to say, there are only four teams that you can reasonably say are finished six weeks into the year -- the Panthers, the Bills, the Browns and the Lions.

Even Detroit's got a shot given how topsy-turvy that division looks.

Of course, this isn't playing out with just shoddy football -- 51 games this year have been decided by eight points or less, which is equal to the third highest number through seven weeks since 1994.

Factor in that only two games this week have spreads of more than 10 points (nine games are your standard "three-pointers"), and it's pretty obvious that, right now, we have some of the most even-field-football going on in a long time.

Make sure to enjoy it.

****
Remember how the Atlanta Falcons gave up some big plays to the Eagles? Well, that's part of their "thing" -- they have a talented defense but one that's young and it can burn them if teams take shots downfield.

That could be problematic in Week 7, considering that Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco rank second and fourth, respectively, in active players with receptions of 40-plus yards.

****
Enjoy a good shootout? Like watching fantasy players pile up points? Then you should probably check out the Jaguars-Chiefs game. Jacksonville tops the league with eight 40-yard-plus passes allowed and give up an obscene 8.8 yards per pass to opponents, not to mention 263.7 yards per game in the air. KC's not that much better, having given up five 40-plus bombs and 249.4 yards per game through the air so far this season.

Of course, they haven't played Trent Edwards and/or Todd Bouman all year, though.

****


Neither the Jaguars or the Chiefs are so bad against the pass that they're on pace to "top" the most passing yards allowed per game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, a distinction held by the 1995 Atlanta Falcons, who coughed up an average of 283.8 yards per game. The Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks are all currently "better" (it's actually worse, but it's Friday, and we're feeling generous). Out of the three, clearly the Texans look the worst, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.9 percent of their passes for 306.2 yards per game so far, with a QB rating of 106.3, 8.2 yards per completion and 14 total TDs to four interceptions. Things are very, very bad. We'll talk about whether they can keep it up next week, as they're on bye now.

But the Redskins and Seahawks are both playing, so it's worth questioning whether or not they can give up enough yardage to stay on pace. The Seahawks get Max Hall and the Cardinals, so it doesn't seem likely that they'll cough up 290 yards -- this is the same Cards team that upset the defending champs without scoring an offensive touchdown last week.

****
The Redskins get the Bears, who despite running a Mike Martz high-flying passing offense, are mediocre as mess this season, ranking 22nd in the league in passing yards per game at 192.8; Jay Cutler, as you may know, has been sacked approximately 342 times so far (okay, "only" 27), and he's thrown six touchdowns against three picks.

In short, it doesn't seem likely that either team will be close to the Texans after this week -- even if you tack on 50 yards t the Bears and Cardinals respective averages (because, you see, they're going against poor passing defenses) the Redskins end the week with 290.26 yards allowed per game and the Seahawks fall all the way to 276.10 per game.

If either one plays well, or Max Hall and Jay Cutler act like Max Hall and Jay Cutler, the Texans could be far and away up top for an amazingly "productive" season against the pass. 

****
The Chargers are the top team in the NFL in terms of offensive and defensive yardage, and yet, have a losing record.

Is raw yardage an impossibly silly statistic to use in terms of gauging the best team in the NFL? Absolutely, although it's not usually indicative of a team that's 2-4.

In 2009, the Saints (Super Bowl champions) were the top offensive yardage team, while the Jets were the top defensive yardage team. In 2008, it was the Saints and Steelers (Super Bowl champions). In 2007, it was the Patriots (Super Bowl participants) and Steelers. In … well, you get where I'm going here, right?

Andy and I discussed the rarity of this in our podcast, but just how abnormal is it? Michael David Smith notes at the Wall St. Journal that only eight teams since the 1970 merger have ever led both offensive and defensive yardage in a week. Although out of those eight, several led multiple weeks, for a total of 18 weeks, but we're talking all-time great teams here, with the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots in the mix.

****
Amazingly, Brett Favre doesn't already (by himself) hold a longevity record -- he and John Elway are currently tied for most games started in one stadium, with 118, which, by the way, is an absolutely bananas number when you consider that free agency exists, teams only play half their games at home and how hard it is to get even 16 straight starts.

Anyway, Elway obviously has all 118 of his at Mile High Stadium -- Favre, as you might have guessed, has started 118 at Lambeau Field.

All complaints about the drama surrounding Favre aside, it's still incredibly ironic/amazing that he'll break that record as a Minnesota Viking.

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Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:31 am
 

Hot Routes: Could Devin Hester play quarterback?


Posted by Will Brinson 

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) .
  • Todd Collins is starting and Caleb Hanie is the backup for the Bears on Sunday, but they also have a super-secret "emergency" plan, and will list someone as a third quarterback in the event that both those guys are sucked into the concussion vacuum that is the Bears' offensive line. "I'll just say without going into that and giving away too much more about our game plan, we have a guy in mind, maybe a couple of guys in mind, if we get down to No. 3," Lovie Smith said. So who is it, you wonder?  Apparently either Devin Hester or Matt Forte, which is actually way scarier than Collins or Hanie -- either/or would play the wildcat the entire game
  • Could Aaron Hernandez lead the Pats in the receiving the rest of the way? Sure -- Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston notes that only 36 percent of the Patriots snaps this season have been in "pure three- or four-receiver packages," whereas they ran nearly 56 percent in those sets last year. In other words, the team was moving towards utilizing their young tight ends even before trading Moss.
  • What one word would you use to describe Danny Amendola? (Note: please don't say "Welker.") Because the rest of the Rams would say stuff like "fiesty," "electric," "quick," "tenacious," and "energetic." David Eckstein is a huge fan, duh.
  • It's 2010 and athletes announce stuff on Twitter, so it should be no surprise that Chad Hall dropped his promotion off the Eagles practice squad vis-a-vis social media.
Posted on: September 28, 2010 12:19 am
 

Packers-Bears reaction

Chicago pulled out a victory to get to 3-0 on the season. Chicago WR R. Davis celebrates after the game (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Before the season began, I was pretty sure Chicago was overrated. I had never been impressed with the consistency of QB Jay Cutler. I didn’t think RB Matt Forte could be effective. I was weary about offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The defense would be fine – actually, I expected it to be very good – but I didn’t think the offense could keep the team in games.

Through three games – all Bears victories, including a less-than-impressive win in the season-opener against Detroit – there are still plenty of questions for the offense. But then again, the defense has been very good, and Cutler has done well enough to lead Chicago to the top of the NFC North division.

“It’s fun,” Cutler told ESPN’s Suzy Kolber after the game. “That’s all you can ask for. The defense did a great job. We still felt the whole game we were killing ourselves. But we came up big at the end of the night.”

OK, let’s talk about the real reason Chicago won or – more appropriately – how the Packers lost this game.

Green Bay outgained Chicago 379-298, but the Packers blew it for themselves. They tied a club record that had stood since 1945 with 17 penalties for 152 yards. Many of them, especially late in the game, were undisciplined and, frankly, stupid. Frank Zombo had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cutler that wiped out an interception. There was the bad personal foul penalty by Nick Collins, and there was a horrendous pass interference by Morgan Burnett to give Bears possession deep in Packers territory.

If Burnett’s pass interference was horrendous, the play of Green Bay’s special teams was atrocious. Bears returner Devin Hester ran back a punt return for a touchdown and should have had another (speaking of which, why in the hell are you kicking to him in the first place?). Bears DE Julius Peppers blocked a Mason Crosby FG attempt. Green Bay got nothing with their return game. And let’s not even get into that last-second kickoff return of desperation that featured about 15 forward passes (the flags were gone, and after the officials would finish throwing their hats, they were going to have to start throwing their whistles).

“You can’t play football like that,” Mike McCarthy said in the postgame presser when asked about the penalties.

That’s true, Mike. But let’s not let the coaching staff off the hook here. After James Jones’ fumble with a little more than 2 minutes to play gave the Bears possession near mid-field, for some reason – even though it should have been abundantly clear to whoever was speaking in McCarthy’s ear that the call was good – McCarthy threw the challenge flag.

It was pretty obvious after looking at one replay that the fumble recovery was legit. Yet McCarthy challenged and lost a timeout. It helped his squad lose the game (hey, at least the Packers would have had more time after Robbie Gould's field goal).

This was a game Green Bay should have won. This was a game the Bears should have lost.

And you know what? I still think Chicago is overrated.

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 10:20 pm
 

Three things about CHI-GB first half

Green Bay has been pressuring J. Cutler in the first half (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Three things I noticed from the first half of the Green Bay-Chicago game:

1. No running game means no problem for Packers: John Kuhn has rushed four times for 11 yards; Brandon Jackson has rushed three times for minus-three yards. But when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is on his game, it doesn’t seem to make a big difference. Besides, Kuhn and Jackson have been relatively effective in the pass game, and Green Bay is doing a pretty decent job of moving the ball. Would Ryan Grant make this team better? Almost assuredly. But without him, the team might be OK, too.

2.The Bears OL can’t stop the Packers pass rush: Even though Green Bay, at times, was rushing one defensive lineman, the Packers still managed to sack Chicago QB Jay Cutler three times. But it’s not only the sacks. It seems the Bears are barely managing to give their QB any time to throw on any snap.

3.Bears still in it after looking bad: As mediocre as the Bears have looked this game – they’ve been outgained 180-159 in total offense (I actually thought it was much worse than that) – they’re still right in it. A bad line drive punt by Tim Masthay to Devin Hester, who made a nice return, and a long pass from Cutler to Johnny Knox set up a nine-yard TD pass from Cutler to Greg Olsen late in the second quarter. That makes it 10-7 heading into the halftime, though it should be much worse for Bears.

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Posted on: September 13, 2010 2:35 am
Edited on: September 13, 2010 2:38 am
 

10 Sunday stories that deserve your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. The Bears are who we thought they were

For months we’ve been saying that Mike Martz’s system won’t work in Chicago. You can’t ask those mediocre receivers to run slow-developing routes – they just won’t get open consistently, we said. You can’t expect that putrid offensive line to sustain blocks in pass protection long enough for Cutler to take regular seven-stop drops, we said. And Cutler – oh jeez – you can’t ask Cutler to read the entire the field and take chances without making costly mistakes, it’s just not in his DNA (we said). J. Cutler (US Presswire)

Well, after one game, it appears that we were…exactly right.

Sure, Chicago beat Detroit. But teams have beaten Detroit 30 times in just the past two years alone. And had Matthew Stafford not been knocked out prior to halftime, the outcome probably would have been different (the Lions, led by Shaun Hill, scored zero points in the second half). And let’s not forget the controversial Calvin Johnson call at the end.

But all that’s actually beside the point. When the Bears watch the film on Monday, they’ll see an offensive line that gave up four sacks and put Cutler under continuous duress. (Heck, Lions journeyman defensive end Turk McBride – Turk McBride, for crying out loud! – looked like an All-Pro going up against Frank Omiyale in this game.) That same offensive line also failed to help its running backs punch in a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter on four consecutive goal-to-go situations from the one-yard line.

One shudders to think what the Cowboys front seven will do to this group next week…

2. Safety first (if you’re a fan of moronic decisions)

How much disdain must Chan Gailey have for his passing offense to make the ridiculous decision that he made late against the Miami Dolphins? Trailing by three and facing fourth-and-10 on their own one-yard line with under 2:00 to play and two timeouts, the Bills opted not to try to pick up the first down, but instead, to take a safety.

On the surface, taking a safety always seems smart. The reason for this is because it’s such an unconventional move that there’s no way it could ever be as dumb as it sounds (if you explained the concept of taking a safety to someone who never watches football, at some point you’d hear yourself say “and now we’re going to give the other team two points.” Give them two points? What? Why?) In this case, the move was as dumb as it sounds.

The Bills gained nothing in field position by taking the safety because, instead of playing for a field goal (which would mean reaching the 30-yard-line or so), they now had to play for a touchdown (which, Bills fans might not remember these days, would mean reaching the goal-line). Buffalo gave up all their timeouts just to get the ball back with 36 seconds to go at their own 20-yard-line (and had the Dolphins gotten a better punt on the play, the Bills could very well have ended up right back on their goal-line again).

By taking the safety, the Bills were essentially hoping for – nay, planning for – a miracle. Evidently Gailey thought it would take an even bigger miracle for Trent Edwards and those no-name receivers (no-names save for Lee Evans, that is) to gain 10 yards. If you have that little faith in your passing game, you’re officially screwed.

3. Patriots D looks sharp

This was one of those games where the boxscore lies. The boxscore says that Chad Ochocinco caught 12 passes for 159 yards. It says Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 53 yards. (Batman and Robin? More like ROBIN and batman.) The stars may have put up good numbers, but the truth is, the Patriots secondary outplayed the Bengals’ receivers – especially early on, when Cincy wasn’t throwing out of desperation and the Patriots weren’t protecting a huge lead.

New starting defensive backs Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung were both outstanding. McCourty, the first-round rookie corner whom some are saying is already the best defensive back on the roster, stifled Owens on several deep balls in the first half. Chung led the team with 16 tackles, many of them vicious hits.

Phil Simms made an excellent point about this young Patriots defense: it’s faster. A lot faster. The Patriots have prioritized speed in recent drafts (except for the selection of linebacker Brandon Spikes, who had to have a sex tape leaked in order to make people forget about something even more embarrassing: his 40-time). On Sunday, that speed translated into more big plays.

Note: In a follow-up to that last parenthetical jab at Spikes, it’s only fair to mention that the second-round rookie was very solid in his starting debut at inside linebacker.

4. Devin Hester no longer a star return artist

Back in 2006 and 2007 when we said Devin Hester had already had a legendary career’s worth of touchdown returns, we didn’t mean Hester should call it a career for touchdown returns. But do you realize Hester has not returned a punt for a score in three years?

Sunday was a sobering example of how far Hester has fallen (by the way, his fall ironically coincides with his promotion to a starting receiver role). Six times, the Lions punted from backed up in their own end zone. On the day, Hester had five punt return opportunities – most of them on line-drive balls he caught in the middle of the field. His total return yards? 17. Three years ago, in a game like this, he would have had 17 touchdowns (don’t worry about the math – he would have found a way; Hester was supernatural back then.)

There’s no reason Hester can’t recapture his magic – he’s only 27. But seriously, what’s going on here?

5. Running backs relevant…sorta

It’s a passing league these days. Bu, like all you misguided fantasy players who don’t realize that your fantasy football scoring system is flawed, we’re going to give the running backs some love.
A. Foster (US Presswire)
For the youngsters, it will have to be tough love. The two electrifyingly speedy first-round rookie runners who were supposed to transform their respective offenses failed to get the wheels turning Sunday. C.J. Spiller ran the ball seven times for six yards against the Dolphins. The only part of Spiller that looked truly fast was his mind, which seemed to be spinning out of control at times. He was unusually hesitant on contact.

In Detroit (and can you believe we’ve now fit three Lions-Bears bits in this entire piece?) Jahvid Best got 14 carries but amassed only 20 yards. At least Best found the end zone two times.

No need to worry about either young runner at this point – it’s only one week, after all. They’ll get better.

On to the love…

There’s especially no need to worry about the runners in the AFC South. Maurice Jones-Drew gained a hearty 98 yards on 23 carries against the Broncos. Facing a speedy but diminutive Colts run defense that has decided it will be porous again this year, Arian Foster, I think, became the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher in 2010. (By the way, Colts fans, no need to worry about your team’s run D– last time the Colts were this bad was 2006, when their SUPER BOWL CHAMPION defense ranked 32nd against the run.) Finally, in Tennessee, Chris Johnson posted 142 yards on 27 carries, which, unfortunately, means he’s behind pace for his ridiculous goal of 2,500 yards rushing on the season.

Most important of all, the teams of these three  running backs all won, creating a huge log-jam atop the AFC South.

6. A star is born

There is a new star in the broadcasting world, and his name is Jim Mora Jr. Thank God Jim Mora Sr.’s son never lead the Seahawks to the PLAYOFFS?! Now we get to listen to Mora call games with Dick Stockton and Charles Davis on Fox each week.

Mora made his television debut in the Falcons-Steelers game. He was extremely intelligent and, for a man ostensibly looking to get back into coaching, he was shockingly blunt. Mora’s best line came during a rant about his friend Bruce Arians calling a pass late in the fourth quarter on second-and-five before the two minute warning. “That play-call was a tragedy”, More said. If you get a chance, tune into a Mora game. You’ll be enlightened and entertained.

7. Redskins don’t win…Cowboys lose

The nice thing about fumbling away seven points on a meaningless play to end the first half is that it is such a huge mistake that no other mistake you make can possibly feel that bad. No matter what, as mistakes go, you simply can’t top that one. Though credit the Cowboys for trying. Specifically, credit Alex Barron. The former first-round pick showed everyone why he landed in Dallas in the first place. Barron wracked up multiple penalties in the second half, including the game-loser on the final play. After the clock struck 0:00, Cris Colinsworth cleverly shared a “get well soon” wish for Marc Colombo.
T. Romo (US Presswire)
It’s too bad we’re highlighting Barron’s mistakes because the man was not utterly awful the entire game. Of course, the Cowboys clearly didn’t trust their makeshift front five to begin with. Virtually every pass Tony Romo threw came off a three-step drop. There was a litany of one-step drop throws (until the final two minutes, some people probably wondered if Dez Bryant actually knew how to run routes, as the Cowboys kept throwing smoke screens to the first-round wideout).

Dallas’ offensive line issues will get fixed once Kyle Kosier and Marc Colombo are healthy. By the way, all this relates well to our next topic (a bonus topic!)…

7.BONUS. Does preseason matters after all?

Probably not. But it’s worth noting that there were three offenses that looked awful in the preseason: Dallas, Carolina and Chicago. Well, the games count now, but these units still stink. The Dallas offense scored seven points in Week 1. The Carolina offense had five turnovers. The Chicago offense had four turnovers and scored only 19 points against a rebuilding Detroit defense. This isn’t enough evidence to overturn the beloved “preseason doesn’t mean a darn thing” axiom, but the continued struggles of these teams are worth pointing out (which we’re doing here).

8. Lightning strikes, so don’t play football?

The Jaguars-Broncos game was delayed 30 minutes during the third quarter because of lightning. This prompted me to send the following email Greg Aiello, head of the NFL’s public relations department:

Hi Greg, we're going to pose this question in our NFL Facts and Rumors Blog, but thought we'd pose it to you guys first: Why does the NFL stop games because of lightning? All we ever hear is that the odds of getting struck by lightning are about the same as the odds of winning the lottery. So why pause a game because of it? Most of the 70,000 fans in attendance can't leave a stadium and get to safe cover that quickly anyway. Is it really worth the major inconvenience? 

(This email was sent after midnight eastern time, so if the league does have a response, it will come after this is published. We’ll throw it up if they send a response.)

9. Problem in Indy?

This is the perfect game for us media folk to blow way out of proportion. The Colts always beat the Texans…until now. The Colts can’t lose when Peyton Manning is on fire…until now. The Texans fit the description of a team on the rise. Etc.

We must be careful not to get carried away about this outcome. But we also must ask the appropriate alarmist question: is Indy’s offensive line a problem? Left tackle Charlie Johnson wound up playing in this game (he’d been out for about a month with a foot injury), but it didn’t matter. Mario Williams dominated far more than his stats (four tackles, one sack) suggest.

And how about this: did you ever in a million years think Peyton Manning would post 40 completions for 433 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a LOSING effort? What the heck do we make of that?

10. Derek Anderson-Larry Fitzgerald woes

So I decided on Sunday around 6:30 ET to write about how Derek Anderson and Larry Fitzgerald were not on the same page – or not even in the same book, for that matter. Obviously, Fitzgerald’s game-winning 21-yard touchdown reception put a dent in that angle. But not a big enough dent to obliterate it.

I still say the Cardinals have a problem with their passing game. Fitzgerald doesn’t trust Anderson right now – nor should he. Anderson’s accuracy issues were evident several times Sunday. Twelve of the 15 passes thrown Fitzgerald’s way fell incomplete. Fitzgerald’s body language reeked of frustration. And all this was against a hapless Rams secondary.

It’s no surprise the Cardinals begged Kurt Warner to come out of retirement a few days ago.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 12:07 am
 

Bears making a mistake at wide receiver

Posted by Andy Benoit

Brad Briggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears depth chart is listing Devin Hester and Johnny Knox as the starting wide receivers. This comes as no surprise. D. Hester (US Presswire)

It is worth noting, however, that when Mike Martz first joined the Bears coaching staff, he said that Hester was better equipped to be a No. 3 receiver and work out of the slot. Head coach Lovie Smith quickly vetoed that, saying, basically, that it’s important the Bears involve their most explosive weapon as much as possible. Smith’s position obviously hasn’t wavered.

Popular as Hester is, Knox is the more intriguing of the two. His speed and startling change-of-direction quickness should make him a fantastic fit in Martz’s downfield-oriented offense. Knox, a fifth-round pick a year ago, isn’t a true No. 1 at this point, but expect that to change by Halloween or sooner.

Those who follow the Bears closely continue to be perplexed by the limitations placed on wideout Devin Aromashodu. The 26-year-old journeyman is fast enough to stretch the field and acrobatically plays beyond his 6’2” size when the ball’s in the air.

Yet, Aromashodu, who has played well the past few days with Hester nursing a groin injury, remains stuck on the second string. At least he’s finally ahead of plodding possession receiver Earl Bennett. Bears Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain says that because Bennett has battled injuries for much of the offseason, he’ll likely end up competing with last year’s third-round pick, Juaquin Iglesias, for the No. 4 job.

One other note regarding Chicago’s depth chart: veteran Roberto Garza appears to be moving to left guard. In Garza’s place at right guard is former tight end Lance Louis. This means that Josh Beekman is a second-stringer (a scenario Bears coaches have ostensibly been wanting for a while now).

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com