Monday Musings: Chris Johnson back to his old ways
Chris Johnson ran all over the Bills on Sunday and other observations.
--- Isn't it funny how good Titans running back Chris Johnson can look when he actually has some holes to run through? Johnson has been getting lit up as much as any player in the NFL because of his slow start. But he ran for 195 yards and two scores against the Bills on Sunday to help the Titans get a 35-34 victory. Johnson had an 83-yard touchdown run and averaged 10.3 per carry. That's why he's special. He has that home-run speed. When he gets room, Johnson is still one of the league's most dangerous backs.
--- The Malcolm Jenkins tackle on Vincent Jackson is a great effort play, but how does Jackson allow that to happen? He can't get caught from behind. When Jenkins did pull him down at the 1 after an 83-yard catch, it still looked like the Bucs would score to tie the game at 28. But the Saints held. Why? Bad play calling. Why are the Bucs so insistent on running LeGarrette Blount in short-yardage situations? Yes, he's a big back. But it takes him forever to get his feet moving. Blount ran it three consecutive times from the 1 for a loss of one, a gain of one and no gain. On fourth down, Josh Freeman tried to roll out and was dumped for a loss. Why not roll out Freeman on first down? Jenkins saved the day with his tackle of Jackson, but the Bucs helped with their absurd four downs of play calling after it.
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--- Bills defensive end Mario Williams has 2 1/2 sacks this season. Not quite what the Bills had hoped for when they made him the $100-million man.
--- I have to say I disagree with Boomer Esiason's assessment of Josh Freeman, portraying him as a guy who doesn't work hard enough. That's the exact opposite of everything I've been told about Freeman. I hear he's a film junkie, and he was the guy who organized the Bucs' offseason workouts during the lockout. Freeman has been on fire the past two weeks. He threw for 420 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints.
--- The Saints need to use Joe Morgan's speed more outside. He had a 48-yard catch for a touchdown against the Bucs. Speed backs defenses off, and the Saints don't have a lot of it.
--- Remember all that talk about Aaron Rodgers and slump? In the past two games, Rodgers is 54-of-74 for 680 yards, nine touchdowns and no interceptions. He was 30-for-37 for 342 and three scores Sunday against the Rams. The guy is in the zone again, which is why Green Bay again is a major threat to win it all.
--- Maybe Adrian Peterson is back to his old ways. Peterson sure looked like the pre-ACL Peterson against the Cardinals, running for 153 yards on 23 carries for the Vikings. Minnesota won on a day that Christian Ponder threw for 58 yards and was picked twice. Unreal.
--- Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was 28-of-41 for 328 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots, yet some people are still calling for Tim Tebow to play because he lost a fumble in overtime? Please.
--- The more I watch Brandon Weeden play, the more I like. I was wrong about that pick. I think the Browns have their long-term quarterback. He is a tough kid, too. Josh Gordon looks good, too, catching it.
--- Trent Richardson had eight carries for eight yards in the first half against the Colts for the Browns. Then he didn't carry it in the second half. Still think he's worth the draft pick? Meanwhile, undrafted Vick Ballard ran for 84 yards for the Colts.
--- I didn't like the decision by Rams coach Jeff Fisher to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 14, trailing 10-3. Why not take a field goal there and gain some momentum at home? Sam Bradford threw an incomplete pass, and the Rams ended up with no points.
--- If center Phil Costa is down for a while for the Cowboys, that's a huge hit. Costa was coming off his best game against the Ravens a week ago. But he went down in the second quarter Sunday against the Panthers. The Cowboys averaged just 2.7 per rush against the Panthers.
--- Losing tight end Fred Davis is a big blow for the Redskins. He was a security blanket of sorts for Robert Griffin III. They did bring back Chris Cooley, but there is a reason they cut him and he stayed on the street.
--- DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 12 carries and 39 yards for Carolina. Where is the bang for that buck? Maybe that's why general manager Marty Hurney was let go Monday. PS: Hurney, a former sportswriter, was always a class act.
--- In the weekly why-did-they-draft him note: Mark Ingram ran seven times for 21 yards for the Saints against Tampa Bay.
--- Terrell Suggs: Amazing.
Plus the Eagles' formula for winning late, the AFC playoff mish mash and a budding young Vikings...
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The Vikings' coach addresses the team's cloudy quarterback situation after their eighth win...
Green Bay could have brought in a veteran quarterback but decided to stick with Hundley