Uhhh..whatcha doin down there?
IF I CAN BE SERIOUS FOR A MOMENT..THE HURRICANE
If September 11, 2001, was a 10.0 on the Richter scale of events that changed life as we know it, then the deluge that has swallowed New Orleans is a 9.9.
Is it an exaggeration to say that? It doesn’t seem that way.
In 2001, the impact of the event was so sudden, so visible, that it almost made it easier to understand what had happened. I will tell you right now, nobody yet understands what has happened in New Orleans, and how it’s going to impact each and every one of us.
I’m not even going to try to give my thoughts on the destruction of the lives and property of the people of New Orleans, which is unimaginably horrific. I can’t imagine what they are going through so I won’t try to pretend like I can empathize.
But I do know that all the rest of us are going to be very, very angry for the foreseeable future. You are going to be paying 4 dollars a gallon for gas by the end of September. From there it will probably be more. Have fun paying your heating bill this winter too. Can you afford that? I, for one, don’t think I can, and I don’t even have kids.
I, and maybe you, will have very little money, a whole lot of bills to pay, and a whole lot of anger. And all the American flags and bumper magnets in the world aren’t going to make any difference this time. There’s no enemy to rally against, and no heroes to rally behind, just a lot of people looking for relief that won’t come anytime soon.
Buckle up people. This is gonna suck hard.
So I had my fantasy football draft this past weekend. Who did your IP Sports football wonk land on his squad? These guys look to be my starters opening week:
QB- Peyton Manning- My keeper from last season, direct descendent of Jesus.
RB- Rudi Johnson- Rudi was my first round pick, the 8th selection in the draft after keepers. I like guys that get lots of carries for good offenses, hence Rudi.
RB- Brian Westbrook- I agonized between him and Julius Jones, who helped lead me to a championship last year. I better not be wrong.
WR- Tony Gonzalez- Yes, I know he’s a tight end. My league doesn’t require you to have a tight end though, meaning this guy slipped to the 3rd round. I had him last year. I still have wet dreams about him and Larry Johnson making the Raiders defense look sick during our championship weekend last December.
WR- Lavaerneus Coles- I am buying in to his magical connection with Chad Pennington. He better not suck.
WR- Donald Driver- You can’t go wrong with a Green Bay wideout. Can you??
K- John Kasay- Meh, I wanted Mike Nugent, but some boob who already had a kicker took him and left me with Kasay.
D- Philadelphia- It is my belief that a team that is usually ahead will generate more sacks and turnovers. I also believe in weather machines and lizard people.
The rest of my guys are a potpourri of youth and experience. At wideout, I counterbalance Rod Smith with Braylon Edwards, with David Givens thrown in as the token New England wideout I like to keep my teams stocked with. I also snagged Alge Crumpler as insurance against a Gonzalez injury.
I did the handcuff thing at running back and selected Michael Bennett and Mewelde Moore, and also picked up Travis Henry late in the draft in hopes that he will get a majority of Tennessee’s carries once Chris Brown inevitably gets hurt. So that’s my squad, not that you care.
What you should care about is week 3 of the preseason, the week where teams play their starters and gauge where they are heading into the regular season. Who’s got the lowdown on these quasi-regular season games? I do of course!
NFL PRESEASON JOURNAL WEEK 3
FALCONS 23, JAGUARS 7 (Halftime- Falcons 20, Jaguars 7)
The Takeaway- Rub a dub dub, the Falcons ain’t no scrubs.
The game was played in a driving rainstorm, and for a team that plays most of its games indoors, the Falcons adapted well to the muck. They rolled up 176 yards on the ground against a good Jaguar defense. Warrick Dunn broke a key 42 yard run that set up an 18 yard pass from Michael Vick to Michael Jenkins for a first quarter TD. Vick was 5 of 10 for 44 yards. Dunn and TJ Duckett combined for 98 yards on 16 carries. Jenkins had a second touchdown on a 4 yard pass from Matt Schaub near the end of the first half. WR Dez White sprained his knee, and the extent of the injury is not yet known.
The Falcons shut down the running game, but the Jaguars had success thru the air, gaining 287 passing yards on a wet night.
LB Jordan Beck, a 3rd round draft pick who was having a good preseason, was lost for the season. He suffered a ligament tear in his foot returning a late interception. Rookies Jonathan “Baba-Yes” Babineaux and Michael Boley both had sacks. The Peerless Price era in Atlanta has ended, the high priced free agent signed in 2003 was released this week.
Jacksonville has to be excited about the way first round pick Matt Jones has played this preseason. The converted quarterback, now wideout, has shown tremendous ability. He caught a 48 yard pass from Bryon Leftwich that set up a 4 yard LaBrandon Toefield TD run. The touchdown was the first scored by the Jaguars’ first team offense this preseason.
RB Fred Taylor saw his first action of the preseason and said his surgically repaired knee felt good after the game. QB Byron Leftwich played well under adverse conditions, completing 11 of 20 for 179 yards. K Josh Scobee missed his only field goal attempt, but it looks like he has retained the kicking job, as Seth Marler was traded to the Cowboys this week.
The defense is the strength of the Jaguars team. They were pushed around by the Falcons, and the result was a lopsided loss.
Chad Owens, a sixth round WR from Hawaii has beaten out Troy Edwards, a former first round draft pick, for a roster spot. Edwards was the 13th player taken in the 1999 draft. He bounced from the Steelers to the Rams to the Jaguars, and had 50 catches for 533 yards last year. He was released this week, as Owens and Matt Jones have moved ahead of him on the depth chart. This also means that Reggie Williams, something of a first round bust himself last year, was named the starter opposite Jimmy Smith at wide receiver. Edwards was quickly snapped up by Tennessee.
EAGLES 27, BENGALS 17 (Halftime- Eagles 27, Bengals 3)
The Takeaway- McNabb and TO refuse to mate after touchdown play. National media has collective embolism.
The Bengals were not able to get much going offensively. They had a couple of drives where they were able to move the chains, but many more 3 and outs. RB Rudi Johnson was effective, carrying 17 times for 72 yards. TJ Houshmandzadeh led the Bengals with 57 yards on 3 catches.
First round pick David Pollack had a prolonged holdout, but he showed up big time in this game, recording a sack among his 4 tackles. DE Justin Smith also had a sack. OLB Brian Simmons led the team with 3 solo tackles. Donovan McNabb torched the secondary though, and that is reason for concern. Making things worse, safety Kim Herring suffered an injury that will cause him to miss significant time. To replace him, the Bengals signed Ifeanyi Ohalete, who was released by Arizona earlier this week.
The #2 offense had considerably more success than the starters did. Third round WR Chris Henry caught a 36 yard TD pass, while #4 wideout Kevin Walter hooked up with Craig Krenzel for a 41 yard score. The Bengals released former first round pick WR Peter Warrick early this week, with the big games by Henry and Walter likely the final nails in the coffin.
It looks as if Terrell Owens will be an asset to the Eagles rather than a liability, for now. TO caught a 64 yard TD pass from Donovan McNabb on the first play of the game, and caught 5 passes for 131 yards. Much was made of the fact that Owens and McNabb did not celebrate together after the score, but really, what are they supposed to do start frenching each other on the sidelines after scoring a touchdown in a preseason game? McNabb tore up the Bengal defense, completing 14 of 23 attempts for 256 yards and 3 TDs. WR Greg Lewis, who will start opposite Owens this season thanks to Todd Pinkston’s injury, had 4 catches for 72 yards, including a 27 yard touchdown grab right before halftime.
The first team defense played very well. The only hiccup was a 12 play drive that was capped with a 45 yard Bengal field goal. SS Michael Lewis had a sack, as did DE N.D. Kalu. The Eagles threw in the towel on negotiations with DT Cory Simon, and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.
It was a big night for Eagle rookies. Ryan Moats, Westbrook’s backup now that Correll Buckhalter is out for the year, rushed 8 times for 44 yards. Another rookie, WR Reggie Brown, caught an 8 yard TD pass from McNabb. Second round pick Matt McCoy got into the act on the defensive side of the ball, with 3 tackles and a sack.
The NFL’s Version of Matt and Lita
REDSKINS 17, STEELERS 10 (Halftime- Steelers 10, Redskins 10)
The Takeaway- Patrick Ramses saves his job.
This was a strange game for the Steelers. Both of their top running backs, Duce Staley, and Jerome Bettis, are injured and did not play. That meant the Steelers threw the ball almost exclusively in an effort to protect their few remaining healthy running backs. Passing, as you may know, is not the Steelers strong point. Ben Roethlisberger looked awful, completing only 6 of 15 passes for 57 yards, and one interception. With Bettis and Staley both expected to be inactive for the season opener, second year back Willie Parker is now the starter. Parker carried only time in this game, but it was a good one, a 51 yard jaunt. The Steelers did not score an offensive touchdown in this game.
While the offense was banged up, the defense had no excuse for allowing 166 yards on the ground. Even more troubling was the 7.2 yards per pass play the Steelers allowed to the Redskins anemic air attack. The only bright spots were SS Troy Polamalu, who returned an interception for a TD, and LB James Farrior, who had 6 tackles.
TE Matt Kranchick led the Steelers with 41 receiving yards on 2 catches. Verron Haynes led the team in carries with 6, but averaged only 2 yards per.
For the first time this preseason, the Redskins looked like a viable NFL team on offense. Patrick Ramsey started off miserably, having a pass picked off for a TD. He rebounded to hook up with Santana Moss for a 40 yard completion that set up a John Hall field goal, and engineered a drive toward the end of the half that ended in a 4 yard TD pass to Chris Cooley. Clinton Portis ran the ball effectively, averaging 6 yards on 8 carries. David Patten caught 4 passes for 37 yards. The Washington offensive line did not allow a sack against a good Pittsburgh defense.
The Redskins kept the vaunted Steeler running attack in check, holding them to 87 yards on the ground. That stat may be a little misleading though, as the Steelers averaged 5.8 yards per rushing attempt. The defense played a key part in Washington dominating the time of possession. LB Lavar Arrington made his preseason debut and played sparingly.
Backup safety Pierson Prioleau had an interception of Roethlisberger. The Redskins are very deep at running back. Ladell Betts, Nehemiah Broughton, and Rock Cartwright all ran effectively against a staunch run defense.
VIKINGS 19, CHARGERS 16 (Halftime- Vikings 16, Chargers 7)
The Takeway- Chargers scorched in Daunte’s inferno. Cleo Lemon says, “CALL ME NOW!”
The offense looked great on the game’s first series. Drew Brees played catch with Keenan McCardell, and backup RB Michael Turner broke a 17 yard run as the Chargers went 88 yards in 11 plays to a McCardell TD catch. Brees exited after the first quarter, and the offense sputtered under backup Philip Rivers, who completed only 4 of 11 passes.
Daunte Culpepper and the Minnesota passing game torched the Charger secondary, and the Vikings rolled up over 400 yards of total offense in the game. The score could have been a lot uglier had the defense not held the Vikings to field goals on a few trips to the red zone.
Third string QB Cleo Lemon had an impressive game, completing 14 of 19 for 136 yards. Lemon found WR Carl Morris on a late TD pass. TE Duncan Reid led the team with 51 yards on 3 catches. Backup LB’s Shaun Phillips and Marques Harris both had sacks. First round draft choice Shawn Merriman left the game with an injured knee and may not be available for the season opener. Rookie RB Darren Sproles had a pair of long kickoff returns.
Didn’t Daunte Culpepper lose one of the best receivers in the game this offseason? You would never know it from watching this game. Culpepper did whatever he wanted to do against the Chargers D, and completed 12 of 14 for 197 yards. Nate Burleson, the new #1 wideout in Minnesota, had 5 catches for 97 yards. Travis Taylor had 4 receptions for 51 yards. C Matt Birk had hip surgery on August 26 and will miss the season. Birk is a three time Pro Bowler and it’s a huge loss.
The defense looked shaky early in the game, but pulled it together to play a strong game. They did a great job getting the team’s strength, the offense, back on the field. For a stretch in the first half, the Vikings limited the Chargers to only 2 first downs in three drives. First round pick Erasmus James had a sack, as did LB Napoleon Harris, who was acquired in the Moss trade.
RB Adim Echemandu bruised the Chargers for 55 yards and a TD on 14 carries. Seventh overall pick Troy Williamson continued his pattern of making one big catch a game, this time pulling down a 36 yard reception. Some have said his camp performance indicates he is going to be a project, but he has flashed extraordinary ability at times. The Vikings signed RaShard Lee, who was released this week by Buffalo, to add depth to the running back position.
PANTHERS 23, BROWNS 20 (Halftime- Panthers 16, Browns 10)
The Takeaway- Browns play the Panthers pretty even. That’s a bad thing for the Panthers.
The Panthers were unable to convert some great field position into touchdowns early in the game. 2 drives that began in Browns’ territory resulted in field goals. A 30 yard pass from Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith with 8 seconds left in the first half gave the Panthers’ their breakthrough. Deshaun Foster is a bit of a question mark as the Panthers’ starting running back this season, he rushed for 56 yards on 9 carries, but lost a key fumble deep in Panthers territory. FB Brad Hoover led the team with 60 receiving yards.
The defense played well for most of the first half, but began to break down as the first half wore on, and they surrendered at touchdown in the 2 minute drill. DT Kris Jenkins had a big game, with 4 tackles and a sack. MLB Dan Morgan picked off Trent Dilfer. The Cats played without DE Julius Peppers, who is nursing a sore ankle and wants to be ready for the season opener.
The defensive reserves had big games. DT Jordan Carstens had a sack, as did DE Kemp Rasmussen and CB Dante Wesley. RB Jamal Robertson carried 8 times for 47 yards. WR Efrem Hill caught the game winning TD pass from Chris Weinke with 45 seconds remaining.
Green rushed 7 times for 30 yards and a TD, and Droughns had a 34 yard reception. Trent Dilfer was serviceable, completing 15 of 23 for 168 yards and an interception. Dennis Northcutt led all Browns receivers with 58 yards on 4 catches. Braylon Edwards caught 4 balls, but for only 10 yards.
Romeo Crennel’s defense showed a strong bend but don’t break character in this game, holding the Panthers to 3 field goals in 3 drives to start the game. The defense then forced a DeShaun Foster fumble on the Carolina 12 yard line to set up a Phil Dawson field goal. Kenard Lang and Ray Mickens both had sacks. DE Orpheus Roye had 4 tackles.
QB Charlie Frye has been an exciting player this preseason, but was only 3 of 8 for 26 yards in this game. WR Frisman Jackson had 4 catches for 39 yards, and RB Sultan McCullough had a 2 yard TD run, but had a key fumble late in the game that set up Carolina’s winning score.
GIANTS 15, JETS 14 (Halftime- Giants 9, Jets 7)
The Takeaway- Both teams have a lot of reason to burn the game film.
Chad Pennington is supposedly not back in top form yet, as he continues to recover from rotator cuff surgery. The Jets better hope that’s true because he was bad in this game. Chad was 5 of 11 for 36 yards, and was picked off twice, once at the goal line by DE Michael Strahan. The first team offense put up a big goose egg despite Curtis Martin rushing for 59 yards on 13 carries. The enchanted Pennington to Lavaerneus Coles connection produced 0 catches for 0 yards. The Jets totaled a disgusting 109 yards of total offense on the day. The offense allowed 5 sacks.
The offense was bad, but the defense scored 2 touchdowns, falling on 2 fumbles in the end zone. Those fumbles had more to do with the Giants offense being inept with Tim Hasselbeck and Jesse Palmer playing in place of the injured Eli Manning than anything the Jets’ defense did. What the Jets should be concerned with is they allowed 133 yards on the ground against them. 04 Defensive Rookie of the Year Jonathan Vilma had 8 tackles. The Jets will be getting DE John Abraham, who had been a holdout back. Abraham signed a one year tender offer with the team this week. The five turnovers forced by the defense were a saving grace.
As bad as the first offense was, the second offense was even more ineffective. Jay Fiedler and Brooks Bollinger combined to complete 3 of 9 pass attempts, and Derrick Blaylock could muster only 10 yards on 5 carries. DE Bryan Thomas and LB Ryan Myers each scored defensive TD’s, recovering fumbles in the end zone.
K Jay Feely had a monster game, nailing all 5 of his field goal attempts, 2 of them from 50+ yards. The Giants found success running the ball, Tiki Barber led the way with 47 yards on 13 carries. Eli Manning continued to rest his sprained elbow, and Tim Hasselbeck and Jesse Palmer played in his stead with predictably terrible results. Plaxico Burress had 3 catches for 30 yards.
As ugly as this game was, the Giants have to be very pleased with the way the defense played. They smothered a decent Jets offense, allowing barely over 100 yards in total offense. Michael Strahan went nuts, 5 tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble were his totals for one half’s work. Rookie DE Justin Tuck had 2 sacks, and second round CB Corey Webster had an interception.
WR David Tyree continued his strong preseason play, catching 4 passes for 37 yards. RB Derrick Ward had 41 yards on 9 carries. Rookie DB James Butler had a pair of sacks.
PATRIOTS 27, PACKERS 3 (Halftime- Patriots 20, Packers 3)
The Takeaway- The Patriots are great! They draft well! They scout well! People are willing to take pay cuts just to play for them! Now give me my own daily show on ESPN! This is what I call INSIGHT beeyotch!!!!
New England’s offense was what it usually is, coldly efficient. In this game, they averaged 4.6 yards per run, and 4.6 yards per pass. They can beat you either way and that’s what makes them so dangerous. Tom Brady was 12 of 21 for 127 yards, and threw a 12 yard TD pass to David Givens. Corey Dillon rumbled to 70 yards on 14 carries, and scored a pair of touchdowns.
The Patriots held the Packers to a ridiculously low 2.9 yards per pass play. The defensive performance in the first half was nothing short of dominating. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork had a sack, as did CB Asante Samuel. Samuel and CB Randall Gay both picked off Brett Favre. The unit felt challenged after a subpar performance the week before against New Orleans, and responded big time. “Every game is a regular-season game, anywhere, anyplace, any time. It doesn’t matter who, when, where, why, what,” Samuel said after the game.
Second string TE Ben Watson led New England with 49 yards on 6 catches. Kyle Eckel, a rookie RB from Navy, had 33 yards on 4 carries. Rookie DE Mike Wright had a pair of sacks. Rookie QB Matt Cassel has won a roster spot, as indicated by the release earlier this week of Rohan Davey.
As we have seen numerous times in the playoffs, a good defense can befuddle Brett Favre. This was one of those. Favre was picked off twice, completed 9 of 21 attempts, and had a passer rating of 11.9 for the game. Ahman Green averaged a little over 2 yards on 11 carries. The offense is supposed to be the strength of this team, but they were blown off the field in this one. Add this to the 27-7 loss to Buffalo the week before, and Cheeseheads have to be at least a little concerned.
The defense wasn’t that bad, but it didn’t do anything to compensate for the lack of offense either. MLB Nick Barnett had 5 tackles. Kabeer Gbaja Biamila had a sack that forced a fumble, but the Packers didn’t recover it.
Thus far QB Aaron Rodgers has showed why it was so hard to choose between him and Alex Smith for the first overall pick. The reason is that neither of them are that good. Rodgers fumbled the snap on his opening play, then led the Pack to 4 punts and an interception. DT Mike Montgomery, a 6th round pick out of Texas A+M, had a huge game with 6 tackles.
Corey Strikes the Jebediah Springfield Pose
BEARS 16, BILLS 12 (Halftime- Bills 9, Bears 3)
The Takeaway- Chad Hutchinson goes from the penthouse to the outhouse to the crackhouse, all in 3 days.
The Bills had eight drives in the first half. 6 resulted in punts, 1 ended in a a Willis McGahee fumble, and another saw them get the ball the Bears 3 only to march backward 17 yards and settle for a field goal. The offense was terrible. JP Losman was 9 of 18 for 82 yards, and McGahee averaged less than 3 yards on a whopping 21 carries.
This game had the distinction of being the only game I can remember that drove a quarterback all the way from being a starter to being cut 3 days later. The reason being was that the Bills limited Chad Hutchinson to a 3 of 14 performance that included a Nate Clements interception for a TD, and Takeo Spikes intercepting a pass inside the Bears 10 yard line. Sacks were recorded by Lawyer Milloy and London Fletcher. The Bills did not defend the run well, allowing 143 rushing yards to a team that simply could not throw the ball.
ReShard Lee was the odd man out in the scramble for backup running back jobs, and was cut this week. That means Shaud Williams and Lionel Gates will back up McGahee. Backup LB Josh Stamer had 4 tackles and a sack.
As I mentioned earlier, Chad Hutchinson went to work Friday night as the Bears starting QB. By Tuesday he was unemployed. A stat line of 3 for 14, 33 yards, and 2 INTS, plus 60 thousand irate fans will do that to you. The offense is now in the hands of rookie Kyle Orton, a 4th round pick out of Purdue. Orton was 7 of 11, and threw a TD pass to TE Desmond Clark. The real stars of the game on offense were Thomas Jones, who carried 14 times for 94 yards, and Adrian Peterson, who averaged 4.9 yards on 10 carries and scored the game winning touchdown. Perhaps coincidentally, RB Cedric Benson ended his holdout a couple days later.
The Bears have the makings of a special defense. Buffalo could not do anything to move the ball the entire first half, and had only 78 rushing yards on the night despite giving McGahee 21 carries. LB Lance Briggs had 6 tackles and a forced fumble. DE Adewale Ogunleye had 5 tackles and a sack. OLB Hunter Hearst Hillenmeyer had 4 tackles, a sack, and a Pedigree. Then he grabbed the PA mic and talked for 15 minutes about how he is the best linebacker in this business.
It will be interesting to see how short of a leash the Bears keep Orton on. In theory, it seems crazy to start a rookie. In practice, the Bears won 3 games last year with another, much less talented rookie at QB in Craig Krenzel. So it’s really not all that far fetched to think they can win some games if Orton is decent and the defense is as dominating as it has looked this August. The Bears started the preseason with a QB depth chart of Grossman-Hutchinson-Kurt Kittner-Orton. Now it’s Orton-Jeff Blake-Kittner. And if that isn’t enough, now we’ve got some team called the San Antonio Saints. This is the nutziest preseason I’ve ever seen.
RAVENS 21, SAINTS 6 (Halftime- Ravens 14, Saints 6)
The Takeaway- Chester Molests Saints Defense
Chester Taylor played his way onto a lot of fantasy rosters with a 151 yard performance that featured a 50 yard run and a 43 yard TD jaunt. Jamal Lewis will probably be back in the starting lineup for the season opener. He has a bone spur in his foot but says he should be ready for week 1. Kyle Boller sucked pretty hard again. He threw an interception to kill the drive that included Taylor’s 50 yard run, and completed 5 of 11 for 53 yards. His only highlight was a 31 yard TD pass to Clarence Moore. Backup QB Anthony Wright completed 12 of 17 for 87 yards. The Baltimore fans and media are going to start clamoring for Wright very soon if the Ravens don’t win right away this year.
The Ravens D looked vintage in the first half. The Saints have a potent offense, but were forced to punt on their first four possessions. The defense wasn’t dominating, but it was very solid and kept the Saints out of the end zone.
7th round LB Mike Smith (Texas Tech) led the Ravens with 7 tackles, and recorded a sack. Jarvis Johnson took an interception 78 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown.
Well, really, a preseason game or just about anything else that happens on the field doesn’t matter to this team at this point in time. Not when their city has become an uninhabitable Kevin Costner science fiction nightmare in the last 4 days. The Saints will now be refugees this season like most of the other citizens of New Orleans, and will play their “home” games at the Alamodome in San Antonio for the foreseeable future. Nothing close to this has ever happened before, so it’s really impossible to tell what impact this will have on the team. Add that to the likelihood that many of the players may have had their homes damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, and it’s hard to see how football can be on anybody’s minds on this team right now.
On the field, the Saints surrendered 7 yards per carry to a team missing it’s starting running back and without a viable passing game. The lone bright spot was the passing game. The Saints threw the ball effectively against the Ravens. Donte Stallworth caught 4 passes for 71 yards, and Joe Horn had 5 receptions for 63 yards. Duce McAllister had only 9 carries after carrying over 20 times for some reason the week before.
“God I am so intelligent, and witty, and good looking. I really, really like myself.”
CARDINALS 17, RAIDERS 16 (Halftime- Raiders 13, Cardinals 11)
The Takeaway- Oh you mean the game doesn’t end as soon as Randy scores a TD? I thought it did. That’s a problem then.
Dennis Green had hoped to significantly upgrade the running game this season, but as of right now I don’t think he can say he’s gotten the results he was looking for. Rookie RB JJ Arrington has been passable at best. He got 10 carries and averaged 3.1 yards per in this game. Kurt Warner was solid, completing 11 of 18 for 118 yards. He found rookie TE Aaron Golliday for a 22 yard TD in the second quarter. Warner was sacked 3 times in this game, and spent most of the game yelling at his offensive line, threatening them with the wrath of a vengeful God if they did not stop sucking. He also threw a 3rd quarter interception that set up an Oakland field goal. Anquan Boldin led the Cards with 41 receiving yards on 4 catches.
The Cards did an outstanding job pressuring Kerry Collins, but were vulnerable to the deep ball. OLB Karlos Dansby, and ends Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor all had sacks. Okeafor’s sack resulted in a safety. They did allow Collins to throw for 189 yards, including a 40 yard TD hookup with Randy Moss. Cornerbacks Antrelle Rolle and David Macklin combined for 15 tackles. You don’t want your corners making 15 tackles in a game, because chances are they are making those tackles after they got beat on a pass play downfield.
Reserve linebacker Eric Johnson took an interception 35 yards for the winning touchdown. DB Raymond Walls also had a pick.
Randy scored a touchdown! Everybody pull your pants down, crack each others skulls open, and feast on the goo inside!! Alvis Whitted played the role of Nate Burleson and caught 5 passes for 77 yards. Lamont Jordan, a career backup who now for some reason is viewed as the greatest thing since Earl Campbell by the scores of fantasy football wonks, carried 10 times and averaged a staggering 2.3 yards per. No sir, the Raiders still do not have a running game.
The much maligned Raider defense played pretty well in this one. They bottled up the Cardinal running game, and sacked Kurt Warner 3 times. Warren Sapp had one of those sacks, something the Raiders hope to see a lot more of this year than they did last year. LB Grant Irons had an interception.
The Raiders are going to have to put the ole pistol in the mouth if anything happens to Collins this year, because their backup, Marques Tuiasosopo, is no good. He was picked off twice in the second half including one that went back for a touchdown to lose the game. Veteran DT Ed Jasper has made a big impact this preseason, and had another sack.
Randy Enters the Black Hole For the First Time
NINERS 16, TITANS 13 OT (Halftime- Niners 10, Titans 3)
The Takeaway- Alex Smith will be fine, as long as he has some time to learn.
The Norm Chow offense took some steps backward in this game. Against a subpar 49er defense, the Titans did a lot of going backwards, fumbling, and looking sloppy. Steve McNair passed for only 62 yards, lost a fumble, and was intercepted. Chris Brown ran well, though, gliding to 72 yards on 11 carries.
Somebody forgot to tell the Titans that the 49ers have no running game, because the Niners rolled up almost 150 yards rushing on the night. DE Antwan Odom had a good game, with 4 tackles and a sack. OLB Patrick Sirmon led the Titans with 7 tackles.
The offense hummed a lot better under Billy Volek than it did under McNair. Volek hit rookie WR Courtney Roby for a 45 yard TD, and led the team back from a 13-3 deficit to send the game into overtime. Rookie TE Greg Guenther had 7 catches. Backup DE Bo Schobel had 2 sacks. The Titans signed WR Troy Edwards this week. Edwards had been released earlier this week by Jacksonville. Pacman Jones muffed two punts and did not play well at corner either.
QB Tim Rattay, the newly anointed starter, managed the game well in the first half. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 132 yards, but more importantly did not turn the ball over. Rattay did a good job spreading the ball around, splitting completions up pretty evenly between Brandon Lloyd, Arnaz Battle, and Johnny Morton. All was not smiles and sunshine though, the Niners lost 4 fumbles, and allowed 4 sacks.
The defense played a steady, if unremarkable game. The first team defense was pretty soft against the run, but they did a good job shutting down the Titans passing game in the first half.
The star of the game was RB Michael Hicks. He carried 13 times for 92 yards and may have won the backup RB job from rookie Frank Gore, who averaged less than a yard on 11 carries. First overall pick Alex Smith had his best performance of the preseason, although he was playing against reserves instead of starters this time. Smith managed a 14 play, 80 yard drive in overtime which culminated in a game winning 24 yard field goal.
DOLPHINS 17, BUCS 14 (Halftime- Dolphins 7, Bucs 3)
The Takeaway- Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams, former teammates forced to fight to the death. Or play a quarter in an exhibition game I forget which.
Cadillac Williams saw his first extended action in a Bucs uniform, and looked really good. He gained 28 yards on 8 carries. The rest of the offense: not so good. The Bucs couldn’t get anything open downfield, and thus had to go dink and dunk most of the first half. This meant new TE Anthony Becht had 4 catches for 40 yards, but it only translated into 3 points for the A offense.
The Bucs allowed an 8 play, 73 yard TD drive on the first series of the game to a weak offense. This is not indicative of the Tampa defense returning to an elite level. The Dolphins went smashmouth in the first half and the Bucs could not stand up to it. Ronde Barber had an interception.
RB Earnest Graham has showed a lot this preseason. The second year running back carried 14 times for 60 yards and broke a 19 yard TD run. Todd France appears to have won the kicking job, he was 2 for 2 and nailed a 46 yard FG.
All eyes, as usual, were on a Dolphins running back, but this time it wasn’t Ricky Williams. 2nd overall pick Ronnie Brown saw his first extended action of the preseason, and carried 6 times for 20 yards. Ricky bared watching in this game, though. He is regaining his form. He averaged 5.9 yards on 10 carries and scored a first quarter TD. At QB, AJ Feeley outplayed Gus Frerotte in this one. Frerotte completed only 9 of 25 passes. Feeley was 8 of 14 and hooked up with WR Danny Farmer for the game winning TD. Nick Saban still has not named who will start the season opener.
The Dolphins put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and it paid off with 5 sacks. DE Jason Taylor had 2 of them. Junior Seau had a good game, making 5 tackles.
It looks as if David Boston is going to stick. He has had a strong preseason, and made 3 grabs in this game. Rookie DE Matt Roth had an interception.
COWBOYS 21, TEXANS 9 (Halftime- Cowboys 7, Texans 0)
The Takeaway- David Carr, your Tim Couch alarm clock is ticking.
David Carr was awful in this game. If his name were Chad Hutchinson he would have been replaced and released after his performance. He was 7 of 19 for 52 yards, and was picked off twice. It’s time, in their 4th season in the league, for both the Texans and Carr to get good. If those things don’t happen this year, you will see them go in a different direction beginning in 2006. Domanick Davis and rookie Vernand Morency ran the ball very effectively, combining for 94 yards on 19 carries.
The defense didn’t set the world on fire either, allowing 158 rushing yards. OLB Antwan Peek had a sack, but otherwise the defense made absolutely nothing happen.
KR Reggie Swinton provided the only highlight in a dead performance for Houston, taking a kickoff back 101 yards for a touchdown.
Dallas is going to win games with their defense and running game, and to that end the offense played well. They protected the ball well and moved it effectively on the ground. Julius Jones carried 10 times for 50 yards and a TD. Drew Bledsoe was efficient, completing over 60% of his attempts, committing no turnovers, and only taking one sack.
DE/LB Demarcus Ware, a first round pick, has made a huge impact this preseason. He continued that with another sack. Terence Newman and Dat Nguyen had interceptions. The Cowboys new 3-4 defense thoroughly confused David Carr and was smothering against the pass, but they will have to tighten up the run defense, which was substandard in this game.
2nd round LB Kevin Burnett had 4 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. WR Patrick Crayton continues to impress, catching 3 passes for 63 yards. Tony Romo has won the backup QB job, celebrating with a 2 yard TD pass to Quincy Morgan. RFA RB Tyson Thompson carried 13 times for 52 yards and scored a touchdown.
BRONCOS 37, COLTS 24 (Halftime- Colts 17, Broncos 17)
The Takeaway- The Broncos own the Colts..in games that don’t matter.
After a choppy first quarter, the Colts looked like the Colts for the first time all preseason in the second quarter. Peyton Manning found Reggie Wayne for a 27 yard TD, and Marvin Harrison for an 18 yard score. Manning finished his night 18 of 25 for 206 yards and 2 TDs. Wayne led the Colts with 80 receiving yards on 3 catches. The running game was kind of meh. Not bad, not dominating either. Edgerrin James carried 8 times for 33 yards. Colts QBs were sacked 6 times, which is unusual.
The Colts made a huge signing this week in inking former Eagles DT Corey Simon. Simon instantly brings a huge upgrade to the defense. It’s needed too. The Colts gave up a 93 yard TD run in this game, and were trampled for over 200 rushing yards. DT Larry Tripplett had 5 tackles and 2 sacks.
QB Jim Sorgi was sacked 4 times. Reserve RB Ran Carthon led the Colts with 39 yards rushing. Rookie TE Bryan Fletcher had 5 receptions for 47 yards.
The Broncos have to be pleased with the way they shredded the Colts defense. The running game looks to be in its usual A+ form. Mike Anderson broke a 93 yard TD run, ended his day with 159 yards on 13 carries, and 2 TDs. Jake Plummer played pitch and catch with Ashley Lelie, giving Lelie 5 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.
The defense wasn’t too shabby either. DE John Engelberger, who was acquired in a July trade, is having a Pro Bowl preseason (if there were such a thing). He had 3 more sacks, giving him 5 this August. They did not allow Edgerrin James a carry of more than 6 yards, and pressured the Colts QBs the entire game.
RB Maurice Clarett was released this week. Coach Mike Shanahan pretty much admitted in a press conference that it was a mistake to draft him in the third round. Quentin Griffin had 33 yards on 9 carries. With Tatum Bell being named the #2 running back, Griffin and Ron Dayne fill out the Broncos’ deep running back stable.
SEAHAWKS 23, CHIEFS 17 (Halftime- Chiefs 14, Seahawks 10)
The Takeaway- I could’ve sworn Jonathan Quinn was retahded.
Seattle decided to attack the soft Kansas City secondary, and had great success. Matt Hasselbeck was 22 of 33 for 254 yards and 2 TDs. Darrell Jackson was his primary target, catching 7 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. The team lost starting RT Floyd Womack, who will miss 4 weeks of the regular season with a triceps injury.
None to speak of. Trent Green carved up the Hawks at will on the one series he played, and the Chiefs gained over 200 yards on the ground, including 97 on one play. DT Marcus Tubbs had six tackles and a sack.
WR Jerheme Urban caught 4 passes for 66 yards. Joe Jurevicius also had a strong game, catching 3 balls for 40 yards. The Seahawks signed former Bengal WR Peter Warrick this week. Jerome Pathon and Jurevicius were competing for the #3 receiver spot, but this signing apparently represents a vote of no confidence in those two. As long as they don’t ever bring Koren Robinson back they should be OK. God did that guy suck.
The first team offense just ran roughshod. Trent Green played one series and was 6 of 7 for 85 yards and a TD. Larry Johnson broke a 97 yard touchdown run, and had 147 yards on 9 carries. Eddie Kennison caught 4 passes for 66 yards. Priest Holmes had 10 yards on 5 carries. Chris Mortensen says that Priest will get 70% of the carries, and LJ 30% when the season starts.
The Chiefs allowed 356 yards through the air. They took great pains to upgrade the defense this offseason, and giving up 356 passing yards to the Seahawks were not the results they had in mind. They bottled up the run pretty well, allowing only 2.5 yards a carry.
QB Jonathan Quinn, who was out of the league until a couple of weeks ago, completed 11 of 23 attempts for 126 yards. With current #2 Todd Collins in trouble from an off-field altercation, Quinn could find himself as the Chiefs
backup QB. LB Keyaron Fox had 7 tackles.
RAMS 37, LIONS 13 (Halftime- Rams 21, Lions 6)
They’re not the Greatest Show on Turf anymore, but the Rams offense is very dangerous. Stephen Jackson broke out on a Monday Night broadcast, carrying 14 times for 108 yards and a touchdown. Marc Bulger utilized all of the multitude of weapons the Rams have, with Isaac Bruce being the star on this night, pulling in 31 yard TD pass.
The Rams shut down the Detroit running game, and sacked Joey Harrington 3 times.
WR Shaun McDonald is one of the best players you never hear about. He’s the Rams #3 wideout and causes a lot of problems for opposing defenses when the Rams run out of a spread formation. McDonald caught 4 passes for 46 yards. Backup QB Jamie Martin has played well this preseason. He threw an 11 yard touchdown to FB Madison Hedgecock.
This was the first time the Monday Night Football crew came to Detroit in a long, long time. The crowd was amped up, and the Lions responded by dumping all over themselves and having 60,000 fans booing them off the field before leaving in the 3rd quarter. The offense couldn’t control the football enough to keep the defense off the field, which resulted in disaster.
Much has been made of the exciting young cadre of skill position players the Lions have on offense. The defense gave up 453 yards of total offense in this game, and was chiefly responsible for the blowout loss. DE Cory Redding’s 1 Ã‚Â½ sacks were the only bright spot in a dismal performance.
So far, it looks like Jeff Garcia really is as bad as he looked in Cleveland last year. He completed only 2 of 9 passes in this game, and lost a fumble. Reserve LB Donte Curry had 7 stops.
TALLY ME BANANA
So we are now in the waning stages of the preseason, which is perhaps the only place in sports where what matters is truly not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. That said, in case you are wondering, here are your preseason standings:
EAST NORTH SOUTH WEST
Buffalo 2-1 Cleveland 2-1 Jacksonville 2-1 Denver 3-0
NY Jets 2-1 Pittsburgh 2-1 Houston 1-2 San Diego 1-2
New England 2-1 Baltimore 1-2 Tennessee 1-2 Kansas City 0-3
Miami 1-3 Cincinnati 1-2 Indianapolis 0-4 Oakland 0-3
EAST NORTH SOUTH WEST
Dallas 2-1 Chicago 3-1 Atlanta 3-1 Arizona 3-0
NY Giants 2-1 Minnesota 2-1 Carolina 2-1 San Francisco 2-1
Philadelphia 2-1 Green Bay 1-2 New Orleans 1-2 Seattle 2-1
Washington 1-2 Detroit 0-3 Tampa Bay 1-2 St. Louis 2-1
PIMPS UP HOS DOWN
Well that’s it for this week. Do what you can for the hurricane victims. I think at this point the best thing you can do is to donate to relief efforts, with the American Red Cross being a generally safe organization to donate to. We’re all gonna go broke anyway, so you may as well go down in a blaze of giving.
After the giver’s remorse wears off, check out these guys to cheer you up.
Jay Gauss has some interesting info on the chemical in question in the Lance Armstrong doping allegations.
Patrick is the star of this site right now. And I’m not just saying that because I’m going to be on his radio show next week.
Slayer downloads a crapload of college football info into your brain all quick and easy like. Just like in the Matrix.
Patrick says we stole Phillip Ciprotti N.W.O. style. If we’re the N.W.O., that must make me Buff Bagwell.
Steve Price reviews the second Bristol race.
Oli Porter covers the resurgence of English cricket, which coincides with the lack of drama in the EPL
That is IT for this week, and that’s it for the preseason journal. Next week we’ll have real, live, wet, juicy Week 1 matchups to analyze, and it’s gonna rule.