It took seven weeks, but we have separation. Three Lucky Losers have broken from the field, and each seems determined to make the worst of this season.
The question, of course, is: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the baddest of them all? Based on what I saw last weekend it's Indianapolis. The Colts were so egregious I heard Baltimore refused to take them back ... even after Indianapolis agreed to accept the Orioles and Ravens' offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in return.
The Colts were more tangled than Curtis Painter's 'do, so dreadful you almost forget what happened in Miami ... and I'm not talking about Tim Tebow. I'm talking about the never-say-breathe Dolphins. What a brutal loss, and let's hear it for Tony Sparano. He blew a 15-point lead in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter, and that takes imagination. Call it Commitment to Pestilence.
Then there's St. Louis. Once I thought the Rams were better than their record. Now I believe Bill Parcells when he says you are what your record says you are. Translation: The Rams stink. This is one team that won't draft Luck, nor should it. If the Rams have the first pick they should auction it off to the highest bidder in return for a gazillion draft picks -- turning them into wide receivers and offensive linemen -- as well as directions to the nearest end zone.
5. Minnesota -- After watching Christian Ponder operate against Green Bay I have one question: What took so long to get him in the lineup? I don't care what Donovan McNabb's study habits were or if he was late to meetings or what his footwork looked like. With him, the Vikings were on life support; with Ponder, they at least have a pulse. OK, so I was wrong about McNabb. I thought he'd have a big season. I also thought the Rams would win the NFC West, and the earth was flat. Now you know why I consult a Ouija board. Anyway, if Minnesota is going to keep the Vikings out of Los Angeles it better give people a reason to go to games. With Ponder, it has. Onward, Christian soldiers.
Next loss: at Carolina. The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a Defense with 10,000 Holes, and, sorry, I don't get it. Leslie Frazier is the head coach, and he knows defense. At least he should. Forget about fixing the quarterback. You did that. How about plugging this defense so Cam Newton won't use it as his next launching pad?
4. Arizona: Hand out the life preservers. The S.S. Minnow is taking on water and starting to sink. Not only have the Cards lost their last five; they play four of their next five games on the road. So what? So they lost their last 10 there. This isn't a football season. It's the Bataan Death March. Quarterback Kevin Kolb was supposed to make these guys competitive, but he's struggling and so are his teammates. Beanie Wells is hurt. The offensive line is struggling. The defense can't stop a cold. I feel for Ken Whisenhunt. The guy's a terrific coach, and the natives are restless. Patience, people. Maybe you don't get Andrew Luck, but have you checked out Landry Jones?
Next loss: at Baltimore. This time the Ravens promise to include Ray Rice in the game plan.
3. Indianapolis: Remember when these guys were competitive? Now they get blown out by 55 points on national television, which tells you one thing: They know what they're playing for, and what they're playing for is Andrew Luck. I saw them against New Orleans, and they reminded me of the Dallas Cowboys in last year's beatdown in Green Bay. Not good. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Coaching. All go to the back of the class. Now there are rumors about Jim Caldwell's job security, and puh-leeze. A man's got to do what a man's got to do, and what Jim Caldwell must do is steer the Titantic to the bottom of the Atlantic. All I can say is: Thank goodness Jim Tressel finally was cleared to navigate. Remember, If you're going to stink ... or sink ... this is the year to do it.
Next loss: at Tennessee. The good news: The Titans just surrendered 41 points at home. The bad: The Colts just surrendered 62 on the road.
2. Miami : So the Dolphins were in the wrong defense for Tim Tebow's two-point conversion. I have no problem with that. In fact, I'd like to congratulate Mike Nolan, Tony Sparano and the rest of the Miami coaching staff for responding on such short notice. It's not often you get to blow a sure win, but isn't that what it's all about now? I mean, why sacrifice draft position for a meaningless victory? Basically, it comes down to this: Whom do you want more -- Tebow or Luck. I mean, do you really want to beat Tebow so badly that you blow your chances for Luck? Of course, not. You go for the silver, and Miami did. People aks when Sparano gets fired, but let's be honest: Why fire the guy who could bring you a franchise quarterback?
Next loss: at the New York Giants. Look at it this way, Miami: Neither Tim Tebow nor Urban Meyer will be in the building.
1. St. Louis: Scratch that Christmas layaway. Someone must give offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels a GPS system now so he can find the end zone. Over the past four games the Rams produced 27 points, never scoring more than 10 in each nor more than 7 in three. Pathetic. There's more life in downtown St. Louis on a Tuesday night than there is in this offense. What's so disturbing is for all the megabucks the Rams invested in their offensive line they're getting little or no return. If I'm Sam Bradford, I hope for a long, slow recovery from my sprained ankle. If I'm the Rams, however, I'm hiring Tony LaRussa once baseball is over to serve as a consultant. If he can put the Cardinals in the Series maybe he can put these guys in the end zone.
Next loss: New Orleans. Rewind the videotape to last weekend's Indianapolis-New Orleans game. Check, please.