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Week 10 Judgements: Garrett earns right to go for Cowboys gig

by | CBSSports.com Senior Writer
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1. I'm not sure if Dallas' victory tells us more about Jason Garrett as a head coach or Wade Phillips. All I know is that a team without a pulse the past two weeks suddenly became the team it was supposed to be. Jason Garrett doesn't deserve a pat on the back; he deserves a fair shot at next year's job.

2. Now that they've made a change at head coach I'll tell you where the Cowboys should go next -- placekicker. David Buehler misses too many kicks -- botching a field goal, extra point and kickoff Sunday -- and you can't win with a kicker you can't trust.

3. Tell me which blew first -- the generator at the New Meadowlands or Tom Coughlin.

4. Two of the weekend's biggest winners were teams that didn't play. That would be Oakland and San Diego, and here's why: With Kansas City's loss, Oakland ... Oakland/ ... is in first place in the AFC West, and the Chargers are a game behind. Suddenly, that Dec. 5 Oakland at San Diego game looms big, and advantage, San Diego. The Bolts won their last 18 in December.

5. There's a lot to like about Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy, but here's what you admire most: In successive games against New Orleans, New England and the New York Jets he had no interceptions. "Quote me on this," Jets linebacker David Harris said. "They have a quarterback. I'm glad I'm not in the AFC North right now. [The Browns] have had a quarterback problem for a long time, but right now they have a legit guy in their quarterback. He is playing with a lot of confidence and playing lights-out football. Watch out. Whoever is playing him next [and that would be Jacksonville], get ready and buckle up."

6. Joe Montana. Steve Young. Jeff Garcia. Troy Smith? Yep, the big plays are back at quarterback in San Francisco, with Smith making them -- and thank you, St. Louis. The 49ers allow five sacks, go 0 for 11 on third down and take 14 penalties for 165 yards ... and they win. That says as much about Smith's "leadership" -- a hot topic in the Bay Area last week involving another Smith (Alex) -- as it does the Rams' inability to win on the road. St. Louis hasn't produced a division road victory since November 2007.

7. Remind me again why Jacksonville can't win with David Garrard.

8. For the moment, the Jets are unconcerned about kicker Nick Folk, who missed three field goals for the first time in his career, and that has a lot to do with Cleveland Stadium. "That field was like quicksand," special teams coordinator Mike Westoff said. Maybe, but Folk is beginning to look like the kicker who played himself out of Dallas a year ago, and that's not good.

9. I can't say enough about the job that Miami's Vontae Davis did on Randy Moss ... and I'm not talking about just Sunday; I mean this season. In two games vs. Davis, including one when he was with New England, Moss had one catch for 26 yards. Take a bow, Vontae. You earned it.

10. Yeah, sure, Terrell Owens is having a nice season, but there's something I can't get out of my head: Over his last two seasons, Owens' teams are 8-17. OK, so he's not to blame, but tell me why he makes a club better ... because he doesn't.

11. Poor Joe Haden. The Browns rookie cornerback makes a third-down interception in overtime that seems to finish the New York Jets, then gets criticized by the Jets for it afterward. The reason: If Haden just batted down the ball, the Jets would have had to punt -- and not only would that have run the clock; the Browns probably would've had better field position than their own 3. "An interception at the 3?" the Jets' Harris said. "That's better than a punt."

12. And that, folks, is why I never understood why Kansas City gave up on Tyler Thigpen.

13. Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway may have found a new profession. He spoke to the Broncos before Sunday's game, and "hit things right on the head with some of the things he said," safety Brian Dawkins said. He must have. The team that hemorrhaged 59 points three weeks ago just put up 49. Yo, John, got a minute for Carolina next weekend?

14. Listen to Brett Favre after Minnesota's latest loss, and you get the feeling the worst is yet to come in Eden Prairie. Green Bay is next up for the Vikes, and how appropriate that it may be the last meaningful game for Favre. Minnesota must run the table to make the playoffs, but after Sunday's dismal performance I'm ready to call the coroner.

15. That win makes Tom Brady 6-1 (including the playoffs) vs. Pittsburgh, with 14 touchdown passes and three interceptions -- which is why the Steelers better hope Sunday's game was not a preview of the AFC Championship Game.

Five things I like

1. Denver stripping D.J. Williams of his captaincy for the rest of the season. After a season where there's been more wrong than right, coach Josh McDaniels hit this one out of the park. Captains should be examples for others to follow, and the example here was set by the Broncos' head coach.

2. Mike Thomas' hands. Nope, Mike Thomas' reactions. Either way, it's a Hail Mary that could wind up saving a job for Jack Del Rio, who was on everyone's endangered list prior to this season. "We definitely lucked out on that one," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "Mike Thomas was in the right place at the right time." The same could be said of Del Rio.

3. Cleveland's Lawrence Vickers as a Pro-Bowl fullback. Watch his devastating block of linebacker Bart Scott on Peyton Hillis' touchdown run, and you'll understand why.

4. Brady's sideline outburst at teammates after New England failed to convert a second-quarter third down. Brady's a winner, and he doesn't suffer failure easily -- especially when it's others doing the failing. I like a quarterback who knows how to lead, and that quarterback is Tom Brady.

5. Jerricho Cotchery's diving third-down catch in overtime. Believe it or not, Cotchery pulled his groin before the catch. Honest. "That might've been the gutsiest play I've seen in a long time," coach Rex Ryan said. "He pulls his groin ... then catches the football. It wasn't that he caught if first, then pull his groin; he pulled his groin, then he goes and makes an unbelievable catch."

Five things I don't

1. Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck walking out of the locker room with his wrist in a cast. Coach Pete Carroll said Hasselbeck has a crack in the wrist but believes it is "manageable," which presumably means he can play next weekend. Carroll better hope so. The Seahawks go nowhere without him.

2. Cleveland's play-calling on its last series. It's first-and-10 at the Browns 3, and you have a rookie quarterback and just over a minute left in overtime to go 97 yards. So why throw on first down? I would've run Peyton Hillis, make the Jets take their last time out and go from there. The Browns thought they had a play open over the middle with tight end Ben Watson, but McCoy missed him -- which meant the clock stopped, the Jets were alive ... and I think you know the rest of the story.

3. Another season-ending setback for Chad Pennington. It's his fourth shoulder injury, and I'm afraid that's it for Pennington's career. Too bad, too. He's a classy guy, as well as a smart, accurate and successful quarterback.

4. St. Louis allowing the 49ers to go from third-and-32 on their go-ahead scoring drive to fourth-and-18 to a first down. Yeah, Frank Gore deserves credit for making critical catches, but, c'mon, guys -- third-and-32? Somewhere Steve Spagnuolo is seething.

5. Tampa Bay's pass rush. The Bucs have just eight sacks this season, with six of them against Carolina. Not good.

Just asking but ...

 Who wins the AFC West?

 What happens first: an Emmy for "Snooki" or a Detroit Lions' road victory?

 Who's next at left guard for the Giants?

 What's wrong with Cleveland's Eric Wright?

 What happened to Pittsburgh's defense?

Significant numbers

3. Mario Haggan sacks vs. Kansas City

5. Second-half carries for Chris Johnson

7. Rookie starters for Tampa Bay Sunday

8. Straight regular-season road wins for Jets

25. Consecutive Lions' road losses

7-0. Peyton Manning vs. Cincinnati

16-6. Denver after byes

My top five

1. New England
2. Atlanta
3. N.Y. Jets
4. Baltimore
5. Pittsburgh

My bottom five

32. Carolina
31. Buffalo
30. Detroit
29. Cincinnati
28. Dallas

Next weekend's best three games

Oakland at Pittsburgh ... Ah, yes, it's a '70's block party.

Indianapolis at New England ... Wouldn't be November without them.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia ... Who wants to be first in the NFC East?

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