What an interesting weekend it was around the NFL. The one thing that stood out to me more then anything was the QB play this weekend. We are getting to the point in the NFL season where teams are starting to click and you can see certain teams breaking away from the pack, in both good and bad ways.
As always lets start in the state of New York.
San Francisco 49ers @ NY Jets – This game has to go down as every Jets fans nightmare. When I looked at the Jets schedule before the season started, I chalked this game up to a loss. In the back of my mind I thought, maybe there is an upset in the making because the Niners have to travel to the East coast and play a 1pm game. Then after the devastating loss of Darrell Revis last weekend I figured the Jets didn’t have a chance.
The end result was a 49ers shutout. The thing that people really aren’t talking about, is that for 3 three quarters the Jets really did have a chance. The Niners were missing opportunities all day but the Jets didn’t take advantage of any of them. As a matter of fact, they started giving the Niners a whole bunch of opportunities, and finally come the 4th quarter the Niners took full advantage of them.
This game consisted of two quarterbacks who are both writing different stories for themselves. Alex Smith was nothing more then a game manager. He was 12 of 21 passing for 143 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. With the score being 34-0 you would think he dominated the Jets defense. That wasn’t the case, and if you watched the game you know he had many chances to. Kyle Wilson got the starting job over Darrell Revis and the Niners threw at him early and often. Wilson was atrocious! He got burnt by different Niners receivers on almost every single play, and then to make matters worse he trash talked every wide receiver that didn’t make a play on a bad pass from Alex Smith. Wilson is lucky they didn’t make a play because it could’ve been 6 points every time he was so bad.
Now on the Jets side of the ball you have Mark Sanchez. I am never one to really stick up for Mark Sanchez. He has been abysmal for three straight weeks now, but I will say this…no quarterback in the league has less weapons on offense then Mark Sanchez has. This is a direct reflect on the General Manager. Sure, there are teams in the league without star wide receivers, but those teams usually have a good running back. The Jets, who claim they are “ground and pound” have the worst running game in the NFL. The offensive line seems to get them no push. Yes, the Jets have Santonio Holmes who is a top 10 wide receiver in this league. (Don’t believe me, then look up his statistics. He was having a very nice season before the injury he suffered this week). Besides Holmes, there is zero at wide receiver. The tight end has been out since the first quarter in week one. It looks like a disaster. That being said, Mark Sanchez also looks like a disaster. Turnovers galore, he throws behind, in front, above and below his receivers. That gets noticed more then the fact he doesn’t have talent around him, because a good quarterback can make anyone look like a good receiver.
Where’s Tim Tebow? For a while I was questioning why Tim Tebow wasn’t in the game during a blowout in the fourth quarter and here is the conclusion I came up with. First off it seems like the Jets are trying to hold off whatever wildcat packages they have for some week 14 spoiler game. People say, why is Sanchez playing in the 4th quarter of a meaningless game, risking injury? Here’s the thing, the Jets are not sold on Sanchez being their franchise guy, but they are smart enough to know Tebow is not the answer. If things keep up Tebow will certainly get his time to come and prove that.
If Sanchez gets hurt in this game and Tebow has to come in and replace him, so be it. But, if Tebow just replaces Sanchez and does well, maybe drives down field scores a touchdown or two, now suddenly the Jets have a real quarterback controversy, because the fans and the media will be clamoring for Tebow to start in week 5. At the same time if the Niners see Tebow in the game they figure the Jets have thrown in the towel so they start putting in their defensive subs and Tebow probably does well against them. The average fan doesn’t notice this, because touchdowns and points rule all. Therefore Sanchez stays in the game and the Jets stand by him going into next week against a better defense and a tougher in the Houston Texans on Monday night football. A field goal would be a small victory.
Despite the loss the Jets are still 2-2 on the season and own possession of first place in the AFC East because their two wins were division games…go figure.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles – What a great game. The offense for both teams was nearly non existent in the first half, but they matched each other toe for toe in the second half. Eli Manning didn’t have Hakeem Nicks and still managed 309 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Michael Vick on the other side passed for 241 and a touchdown while also rushing for 49 yards. The Eagles have 3 three wins this season, combined by a total of 4 points. It’s remarkable when you think about it, but it also shows they’re one bad play away from possibly losing all these games.
The Giants on the other hand hold a 2-2 record and though that ties them for 2nd place in the division they’re technically in last place because they are 0-2 in division games this season. The Giants may have the best team in the division but they play in one of the toughest divisions where none of those opponents are going to take them lightly. The division games mean more then anything and they will need to win at least three of their final 4 division games this season. They’ve proven they can do it. Both losses have been close. This game may have been decided by an Ramseys Barden offensive pass interference that was accurately called by the “real refs”…welcome back!
New England @ Buffalo – I’ve noticed with the Buffalo Bills, that when things get bad for them, they get bad real quick. Once again their defense looked awful, blowing a 21-7 lead. The Bills have played two division games this season and in those two games they’ve given up a total of 100 points! No help from franchise quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has sub superpowers and morphs into Ryan “Pickpatrick”. The Patriots are the better team, and they have lots of weapons, they can be beaten. One of the keys to beating the Patriots is keeping possession of the football which also leads to keeping Tom Brady off the field. Four interceptions and two fumbles usually won’t beat anyone, and it certainly won’t beat the Patriots.
Quarterback play around the league:
Here are some players who really impressed me this week.
Matt Ryan (ATL) – Granted he was playing an awful pass defense in the Carolina Panthers, he had his fourth straight monster game, throwing for 369 yards, 3 touchdowns and one interception. He’s making the 4-0 Falcons look like serious contenders.
Peyton Manning (DEN) – Everyone was waiting for Peyton’s coming out party, and here it was against the Oakland Raiders. 30 of 38 passing for 338 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. If this game was even close he would’ve had more. Welcome back Peyton.
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) – Despite the loss, Tannehill threw for 431 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against a Cardinals defense that has had everyone in the league talking. Tannehill has no problems airing it out, and he’s starting to show the Dolphins may have a bright future with him.
Joe Flacco – (BAL) – 356, a touchdown and a pick. If he keeps putting up numbers like this, the Ravens will be scary good.
Drew Brees (NO) – 446 passing, three touchdowns no picks and Aaron Rogers (GB) – 319, 4 touchdowns, one pick. These guys should be role models for any QB coming into the NFL. They’re true professionals, and their head to head match-ups always live up to the hype.
RGIII (WAS) – Man this guy is fun to watch. After looking like the Redskins were going to blow a 21-6 lead and lose to the Bucs, RGIII looked cool as a cucumber and drove right down field on the Bucs defense, getting his team in field goal range to win the game. He’s only a rookie but already looks like one of those players that will give his opponents fits for years to come.
And here are some quarterbacks who didn’t impress me…
Matthew Stafford (DET) – We know Stafford is accurate, but we also know he can throw deep. So why is starting the game 10 of 12 passing for 103 yards? Does he forget he has Calvin Johnson on his team? Stafford didn’t throw a TD this week, and only has 3 so far on the season through 4 games. He had 41 touchdown passes last season. The Lions are 1-3, their defense has already been shaky. Stafford needs to lead them like he did last season.
Tony Romo (DAL) – Oh boy did bad Tony show up on Monday night football or what? It was so bad he was benched for Kyle Orton in the 4th quarter after throwing his 5th interception of the game. The Cowboys are a very talented team, but will only take them as far as Tony takes them. He needs to be better.
Russell Wilson (SEA) – Only 160 yards passing with 3 interceptions thrown against the Rams. Though he is a rookie, that kind of play is unacceptable. The refs gave him the win against the Packers, he could’ve at least made it look like he was worthy of something by beating the Rams.
Brian C. Smith