Tag Archives: drew brees

Tim Sports Report for 2018 NFL Week 3

Top 5

  1. Browns win, Baker shines.

It has happened. The Cleveland Browns have won a football game. The Meme Fountain will likely continue, however. They are the Browns. Baker outplayed Darnold. Have to squeeze that in here.

2. QB Drew Brees 39/49 for 396, 3 TDs, 120.7 rating, 3 carries for 7, 2 TDs @ATL

Mr. Brees and Mr. Ryan had quite the gun show on Sunday but Brees gets the edge for a spin move past two defenders and dive into the end zone.

3. QB Matt Ryan 26/35 for 374, 5 TDs, 148.1 rating vs NO

A near perfect passer rating with five touchdowns and the Falcons still lose. Usually, this is where someone would say, “The offense needs to be better” but in this case, I don’t think it can be. You can only hide your problems for so long.

4. RB Christian McCaffrey 28 carries for 184, 2 receptions for 10 vs. CIN

Always gonna give a running back a shoutout when they explode on the stat sheet. McCaffrey is one of my favorite emerging stars. Dual-threat and has a chance to survive in this league long-term.

5. RB Alvin Kamara 16 carries for 66, 15 receptions for 124 @ATL

Speaking of dual-threats, another great performance from a back. The 2017 running back class has a chance to be one of the best ever.

Worst of the Worst

5. The Lions streak is over.

Kerryon Johnson ran for a hundred yards. Lions hadn’t done that in 70 games. Sad to see it go.

4. Defense, anyone?

Some really high scoring games thus far. At least we had Titans beating the Jags 9-6!

3. Sam Bradford started another football game and predictably cost his team the game.

Four turnovers on four consecutive possessions. Bravo!

2. Vikings blow game against Buffalo. Were favored by 17 points.

A complete stunner. Vikings defense didn’t show up and the Bills defensive line is the strength of the team. Still hard to believe this happened.

  1. Jets knock Tyrod Taylor out of game, spawn Age of Baker, lose to Browns.

Hue Jackson is a very stubborn and very stupid man. The Jets were going to win this game. The Browns offense was anemic. It had been since the beginning and still Hue had not made a change. All the Jets had to do was not knock Tyrod out of the game and of course that’s exactly what the Jets did because they’re the Jets. Sam Darnold did not look threatening though that might speak more to the Browns defense than Darnold. Baker had quite the debut.

Steelers Recap

The Steelers beat Fitzmagic but earn no brownie points from me due to letting them own the second half and come roaring back into the game. All those takeaways and they still almost lost. The Steelers window is closing but I don’t know if anyone knew how fast it was coming until now. Gotta take Pittsburgh at home against the Ravens purely because it’s a divisional game at home. It’s a win they need.

Game of the Week: Vikings @ Rams

Vikings got upset by the Bills. I expect them to come pissed off into Los Angeles and make a statement. An upset win against McVay would mean a lot. Zimmer. McVay. Thursday Night. Yes, please. I’ve got the Vikings.

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Matt Ryan and the Quarterback Conundrum

“You need a great franchise quarterback to win a championship” might be the most popular fallacy in professional sports. It is paraded by media pundits, analysts, broadcasters and fans alike. The position is likely the most worshipped in the arena of athletics and not by a close margin either. Quarterbacks are automatically leaders of their team regardless of overall performance or character and all victories and defeats are brought to their doorstep. In exchange for this undeserved attention, franchises throw bank vaults at them, which is not sound financial strategy. Franchises are hamstrung by disastrous quarterback contracts regularly, a problem that they themselves are responsible for manifesting. We saw a new one occur this summer.

The Falcons signed 33-year-old Matt Ryan to a five-year deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $30 million, including $100 million guaranteed. A reminder that the current salary cap number for teams is 177. Starting in his age 35 season, Ryan will have a cap hit above $30 million for the final four seasons of the deal, meaning Ryan will take up a penny under 17% of the team’s finances.

To give that type of money to a player that isn’t even the most valuable athlete on his own offense is financially irresponsible. Matt Ryan is the Andy Dalton of the NFC but with more talent. Dalton will never win an MVP award or have the ceiling that Ryan has, but it’s also true that Ryan, like Dalton, has made a career of chucking the football to a top-five receiver. Colin Cowherd did a segment on this last year. Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton had virtually the same season in 2017, the season after Matt Ryan led an air strike on NFL defenses. Look at the stats comparison if you remove Ryan’s MVP season:

In nine seasons (minus MVP), Ryan averages 7.29 yards per attempt, 64% completion, 24.7 touchdowns,13.2 interceptions and a passer rating of 90.5.

In seven seasons, Dalton averages 7.21 yards per attempt, 62.8% completion, 23.9 touchdowns, 13.3 interceptions and a passer rating of 88.7.

Eerily similar numbers, eh?ill

I’m a Matt Ryan fan myself and follow Atlanta but this is a contract that will hamstring the franchise from reaching another chance at a championship. Investing that much into one player simply isn’t smart business.

If we take a look at 2017 cap hits, we’ll find that 13 of the top 20 highest cap hits belonged to quarterbacks. Of those 13, take a guess how many made the playoffs. 13 is nearly half the league and we’re probably talking about the best guys at their position. If quarterback is truly the most valued position, it’s probably high. At least seven, right?

Four. The answer is four.

  1. Joe Flacco tops the list at $24.5 million and threw for barely 3,000 yards, only 18 TDs to 13 INTs, and had a yards per attempt average of 5.72 (32nd).
  2. Carson Palmer. Arizona paid 37-year-old Carson Palmer $17.5 million ($24 million cap hit) to play six and a half games and produce old man numbers during them. *Vomits off stage
  3. Kirk Cousins performs at an above-average level (over 4,000 yards, 27/13 TD/INT) on yet another franchise tag ($23.9) and the Redskins go nowhere.
  4. Matt Ryan ($23.75) makes the playoffs with a rich Atlanta roster before they implode on their final play of the divisional round against the Eagles. If you’re just now reading, Ryan is rewarded with the richest contract in NFL history.
  5. Aaron Rodgers ($20.3) predictably breaks after getting slammed to the turf repeatedly with no offensive line help. Packers have no team past Rodgers and detonate.
  6. Ryan Tannehill ($20.3) considers himself a doctor and decides not to get surgery on a knee injury following the 2016 season. He promptly tears it before the 2017 preseason. Rest in peace, Miami. Hopefully you can find a better quarterba-Jay Cutler?!
  7. Cam Newton ($20.16) continues his trend of attending the playoffs every other year. He ends the regular season with a completion percentage of 59.1 and 22 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. Not exactly super, though he did run for 754 on a 5.4 clip.
  8. Poor Eli. ($19.7) Young Eli’s receiving core is murdered and Eli is left throwing the ball for the remainder of the year to chicklets Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Left tackle Ereck Flowers impersonates a chew toy and his coach becomes a dark hole sucking all kinds of garbage into the orifice on his face. 3-13.
  9. The Colts front office is still dealing with the repercussions of not protecting their franchise quarterback who took them from winless to 11-5 in his rookie year. Cheer up, Indy. Maybe Andrew Luck ($19.4) will throw a football again this decade. *chatter off-screen. Wait, he threw a football?! He played in a preseason game?! Indy, you might be back in business!
  10. Drew Brees ($19) throws for a little over 4,300 yards, his fewest in over a decade, and only 23 touchdowns, his fewest since 2003. Sean Payton finally figures out that putting a defense on the field might be a formula for success. And look! They found running backs, too! What an insane carriage of ideas. Too bad about the Minneapolis Miracle, huh?
  11. Big Ben ($18.2) spends the first half of the season looking like he just came out of a nursing home, completing a smidge over 61% and throwing 10 touchdowns to nine picks in his first eight games. Ben gets his act together for the second half, the Steelers go 13-3 and then go full Steelers and blow a playoff game to Jacksonville in which they give up 45 points to Blake freaking Bortles. Ben, to his credit, threw for 469 yards and five tuddies in that game.
  12. Rivers ($18) finishes second in the league in passing (4,515 yards) and throws 28 touchdowns to 10 picks. However, the Chargers can’t find anyone who can kick a field goal at the beginning of the season, losing them two games in the final seconds. They also started 0-4 to miss out on a playoff spot. It’s 2018 and Philip Rivers has twice as many kids as he does playoff wins in his 14-year career.
  13. Sam Bradford? Oh, Jesus, seriously? Yup, the china doll of the NFL had an $18 million cap hit. Say what you will about Bradford, he gets paid an enormous amount of money to spend time on injured reserve every year. Don’t worry, the Cardinals didn’t learn a damn thing from Palmer. They gave Bradford $20 million to spend a year on their IR.

If you look further, you’ll find only six of the top 20 highest cap hits for quarterbacks made the playoffs. Those other seven names?

  1. Alex Smith ($16.9) has a career year only for Kansas City to go full Kansas City in the playoffs and blow an 18-point lead in yet another home playoff game.
  2. The first year of Matt Stafford’s megadeal only brings a $16.5 cap hit, but with Detroit still not knowing what a running back is, the Lions predictably miss the playoffs again. Cheer up, Detroit. This season Stafford’s cap hit jumps to $26.5.
  3. After an MVP-caliber season, Derek Carr ($15.7) returns from injury to play average football, throwing for just under 3,500 and a touchdown-interception split of 22/13. Next season, his cap hit jumps to $25.
  4. The Cincinnati front office learns you need an offensive line to play football. Andy Dalton ($15.7) gets sandwiched all season and the Bengals look to be worse than Cleveland this upcoming campaign. The Bengals could cut Dalton and start McCarron, oh wait.
  5. Russell Wilson ($14.6) is a one-man offense behind an offensive line that’s still garbage and a defense that is losing cohesiveness. Our franchise quarterback looks far less important when his defense can’t stop DeShaun Watson from turning them into a fajita. Seattle will spend the offseason dismantling the Legion of Boom. At least they drafted a lineman…in the fifth.
  6. Mike Glennon (man, this one didn’t age well, huh?) takes his $14 million cap hit behind and sits it on the bench behind novice Mitchell Trubisky. Money well spent!
  7. Tom Brady ($14.0) does Tom Brady things, wins MVP, takes team to Super Bowl. Give that man all the money.

If you look at production, you could argue most quarterbacks weren’t even the best player on their own team this past season. The list of signal callers who were is rather short:

Rivers, Smith (this one is debatable given Hunt led league in rushing), Brady, Stafford, Wilson, Wentz, Cousins. Only three (Smith, Brady, Wentz) made the playoffs.

A team built around a quarterback is not a guaranteed victory for front offices, even if that quarterback delivers in effectiveness. Rivers has been an above average quarterback nearly his entire career and has only four playoff wins to show for it. Teams seem to forget that building around said quarterback is vital and if you devote too much of your deposit box to them, it’s difficult to do that.

Other teams simply don’t build for some reason. The idea Aaron Rodgers has made only one Super Bowl is inexcusable. Maybe if Green Bay could’ve looked at a stat sheet years ago and realized defensive coordinator Dom Capers was disastrous in big games and the running game was dwindling, they could have changed that. Instead, Cheeseheads are left watching Green Bay get ousted too early in the playoffs or seeing how incompetent their coaching staff/team really is when Rodgers is taken out of the picture. Green Bay is an example of what goes wrong when you get a franchise quarterback and then don’t do anything of substance after that. A team this fully reliant on one player is doomed for failure (See Indy, and God bless Detroit if Stafford ever misses a season.)

At this point, Green Bay and Detroit are carbon copies of each other. Green Bay has seen its death grip on the NFC North slip away to a more complete roster in Minnesota. Rodgers will get an extension and stay in Green Bay (called it) and then Matt and Aaron will try to throw their teams to victory single-handedly for the remainder of their careers while Minnesota finally discovers the formula to playoff success and makes an appearance in a Super Bowl. Giving Kirk Cousins a fully-guaranteed contract is risky but a necessary signing if the Vikings want to get over the hump. Also, the team isn’t putting its entire body weight on Cousins’ shoulders and has shown it can win with a backup quarterback and runner on the field for a majority of a campaign. Imagine the level of lethality this team can reach with a healthy Cousins and Dalvin Cook. Also, Cousins contract is only three years, so if the signing doesn’t go as planned, Minnesota can move on to another option without putting their piggy bank in a vice grip.

Football is a team sport, not a quarterback one. Complete teams win championships, not quarterbacks. That is not to say a team can’t win a championship with a great quarterback. Great quarterbacks have been winning titles for a while but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a plethora of examples where they did it by themselves. The great John Elway couldn’t win one without Terrell Davis’ help. Dan Marino went on a historic passing tear in his sophomore season, won MVP and took his team to a Super Bowl before getting pounced on by the 49ers dyansty. He never got to another one.

It’s actually far easier to find a team who carried a quarterback to a Super Bowl: 2015 Broncos, 2006 Steelers, 2003 Bucs and let’s not forget about Trent Dilfer and the 2000 Ravens.

Teams predicated on quarterback success often falter in big moments because it’s difficult for one man to do it all. Look at the Colts with Andrew Luck. Drafted first overall by a winless team, he took Indy to 11-5 and a wild-card game. The next season, he advanced them to the divisional round and the year after that to the AFC Championship game, one of the most impressive starts to a career in quite a while. He was given a massive extension, which he had earned and which was the right move for the franchise. Problem is, during all these playoff runs, Indy management had done little to build the team around Luck. In 2013, they drafted defensive end Bjoern Warner, a bust. In general, the entire class was a robust failure. In 2015, they reached for receiver Philip Dorsett, a receiver that didn’t play out his rookie deal with Indy he was so unwanted. Their second choice, cornerback D’Joun Smith, played a total of five game for the Colts. At one point, general manager Ryan Grigson blamed Andrew Luck’s extension for his inability to put together a competent defense.

This claim was complete nonsense. These were their defensive rankings, beginning during Luck’s rookie year:

Yards/Pass/Rush/PPG

2012 26th 21st 29th 21st

2013 20th 13th 26th 9th

2014 11th 12th 17th 16th

2015 26th 24th 25th 25th

2016 30th 27th 25th 22nd

 

You’ll notice the year they were passable, in 2014, is the year they made it to the AFC Championship game, once again, on the shoulder of one Andrew Luck. Without Luck, we’ve seen what the Colts are: garbage. Quarterbacks hide a team’s flaws. They don’t cure them.

Drew Brees has had a similar problem with the Saints. A player of his caliber should have made it to more than one Super Bowl by now.

Look at those defensive rankings!

Yards/Pass/Rush/PPG

’06 11th 3rd 23rd 13th<—-Nice start!

’07 26th 30th 13th 25th<–Straight to garbage, huh?

’08 23rd 23rd 17th 26th<–Not trying anymore?

’09 25th 26th 21st 20th<–We have Brees! What is defense?

’10 4th 4th 16th 7th<——Got to be a Super Bowl here, right? No? It was the ’09 season?

’11 24th 30th 12th 13th<–Nice PPG! Lose to a better defense in the 49ers.

’12 32nd 31st 32nd 31st<-Here’s where it gets a lot of fun.

’13 4th 2nd 19th 4th<—–Good defensive year lost due to running into Legion of Boom.

’14 31st 25th 29th 28th<–Back to not trying again, I see.

’15 31st 31st 31st 32nd<–Sean Payton is a great coach!

’16 27th 32nd 14th 31st<-Why run on this team when we can throw them into oblivion?

’17 17th 15th 16th 10th<-Minneapolis Miracle time!

Imagine what the Saints’ reputation would be if Drew Brees didn’t throw for 4,500 nearly every year during his time in New Orleans. Remove Brees from Louisiana and Payton doesn’t have a job in three years, maybe less, and Saints fans’ only respite is watching who they pick with their top-five slot in the draft. People aren’t kidding when they call Brees the heart of New Orleans. If he wasn’t there, New Orleans would be a corpse.

 

Sadly, Rodgers, Luck and Brees have seen their careers mostly wasted to this point. Rodgers and Brees are likely going to visit Canton and yet they both have only one Lombardi. Luck still has time to change his fortunes if he can ever get his shoulder to operate again. I’m rooting for it, even if the Colts franchise clearly doesn’t deserve him.

Stafford also belongs on this list. Not a Hall of Fame talent, but a gunslinger who has deserved better. Detroit wasted the prime years of Stafford to Calvin, including taking one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game into a winless season and so much turmoil that Megatron would rather not play football than continue to play in Motor City. The last time the Lions were tenth or better in rushing, Barry Sanders was playing football. Let’s see how the Lions have done since then.

’98 10th<—–Man, that Barry dude is so good. Hope he never retires. *Immediately retires

’99 28th<—–It will take us some time to recover from the loss of Barry.

’00 20th<—–See, improvement! We’re gonna be fine.

’01 28th<—–Oh, God. 2-14. Hope this doesn’t happen again any time soon.

’02 29th<—–We’re gonna be fine. Joey Harrington is the future!

’03 32nd<—-Man, we’ve spent four of five years in the bottom five in rushing. Starting to miss Barry, now. Receiver Charles Rogers at number two will help us though!

’04 19th<—–Roy Williams looks like an elite receiver. Kevin Jones is the savior of Detroit!

’05 26th<—–It’s just a sophomore slump for Kevin. He’ll be fine.

’06 32nd<—-Oh geez, we need some help. How about Brian Calhoun! *tears ACL, ends career

’07 31st<—–Look, we’ve gone from 3-13 to 7-9. We’re on the verge of greatness!

’08 30th<—–Oh, God. A winless season. Where did it go wrong? We better get Calvin some help. He looks pissed.

’09 24th<—–Matt Stafford is a generational talent. Stafford to Calvin is gonna be one of the greatest connections in pro football history.

’10 23rd<—–Suh is a tank and Jahvid Best is a phenom. The days of not having a running game are finally behind us.

’11 29th<—–We made the playoffs for the first time since Barry! We got Mikel Leshoure! We are bound for great-(demolished by New Orleans).

’12 23rd<—–10-6 to 4-12 was quite a fall but Ryan Broyles is the best receiver college football has ever seen. We’ll finally have another option for Matt!

’13 17th<—–Reggie Bush is gonna become the GOAT for us. This is the team to break the streak!

’14 28th<—–We haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. We’re finally gonna (Cowboys crush Motor City dreams 24-20).

’15 32nd<—-Last in rushing again? Geez, starting to think this might be the problem. Oh, no. We made Calvin quit, too?

’16 30th<—-We got Nebraska star Ameer Abdullah! The streak will finally… *placed on season-ending IR.

’17 32nd<— *flips table, exits stage left

12 times in the bottom five in the last 20 seasons and seven times in the bottom three in the last 15. Gross mismanagement, plain and simple.

 

Build around your team. There’s more to the game then quarterbacks.

Teams with quarterbacks on their rookie deals are the easiest to manage because they don’t have the money invested in their signal caller. Look at the Eagles. Wentz had a cap hit of a little over $6 million in 2017 and was my MVP for the season. In addition to the incredible value they got from his performance, they allocated their savings in the trenches and now have a top-five offensive and defensive line.

Dak Prescott’s entire rookie deal will cost the Cowboys less than $3 million, savings they’ve invested in Tyron Smith, Zack Martin and Travis Frederick. Extensions for these three stalwarts wouldn’t have been possible if Dak had Jimmy Garoppolo’s 2018 cap hit of $37 million.

And let’s say, for sake of argument, that Dak ends up being average over the course of his deal. (In 2017, Dak threw for 3,324 and a 88.6 rating (16th), regressing from a rookie year that made him a candidate for offensive player of the year.) It still would be a win for the organization because they now have three regular All-Pro players locked on their roster.

Deshaun Watson has a cap hit of $6 million and if he performs like he did during his unfortunately short rookie year, the team will have a serious shot at a playoff run by the end of his rookie contract.

This is how you build a football team. You want to be the 49ers and go mad spending on an unproven commodity? Be my guest. You’re gonna have a hard time building a roster. Yes, that quarterback might bring you out of the swamps of depression but one player will have a hard time pulling you out of the quicksands of mediocrity. You want $30 million quarterbacks? Go for it. Just know history and the numbers aren’t on your side.

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Tim Sports Report for 2016 NFL Week 1

Top 5

  1. WR A.J. Green 12 receptions for 180 yards, TD vs. NYJ

2. RB DeAngelo Williams 26 carries for 143 yards, 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 28 yards vs. WAS

Becomes oldest RB (33) with 100 rushing yards and 2 rushing TDs in a game since Jerome Bettis in 2005.

3. RB Spencer Ware 11 carries for 70 yards, TD, 7 receptions for 129 yards vs. SD

4. RB C.J. Anderson 20 carries for 92 yards, TD, 4 receptions for 47 yards, TD vs. CAR

5. QB Drew Brees 28/42 for 423 yards, 4 TDs, Fmb, 131.3 passer rating vs. OAK

Worst of the Worst

5. Terrance Williams blows it, choosing to stay in the field of play rather than get out-of-bounds and stop the clock, essentially losing Dallas the game singlehandedly.

4. Chargers blow 24-3 lead to Chiefs.

3. Redskins put Josh Norman on the opposite side of Antonio Brown, let Brown rip them for 8 receptions for 126 yards, 2 TDs. There’s no logical explanation for this.

2. Cam headhunting. I didn’t get to watch all of the NFL opener but I saw all the hits by Friday. Once again, the NFL demonstrates a lack of empathy.

  1. Cardinals fail to beat Patriots without Brady AND Gronk AND at home

Steelers Recap

The Steelers looked sluggish early but Ben began to connect with his younger stars and the defense showed up, surrendering only three third down conversions in the contest. Meanwhile, DeAngelo Williams had one of the best performances of the week, once again defying time and making the argument that Pittsburgh doesn’t need LeVeon Bell’s irresponsibility, knee injuries and salary cap hit. The offensive line again made the debate that it deserves top-ten praise and Antonio Brown once again proved he can’t be ignored. At the end of the game, it was more of the same.

The Bengals come to Heinz Field on Sunday. After surrendering seven sacks on Sunday against the Jets and failing to get the run game going, Dalton was forced to air it out to Green, who proved to be Cincinnati’s savior and the week’s greatest performer, buying real estate on Revis Island. It’s likely Green will have another big day against Pittsburgh but if the Steelers are able to cancel everything else the Bengals have going on offense, it’s likely the Steelers offense will be able to outscore them. I’ll take Pittsburgh at home.

Game of the Week: Bengals @ Steelers

All of this to say, it’s my game of the week. I had the Panthers-Broncos game pegged for week one and I doubt this AFC North battle will disappoint.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 17

Top 5

1. QB Geno Smith 20/25 for 358 yards, 3 TDs, Fmb, 158.3 QBR vs. MIA

2. WR Eric Decker 10 receptions for 221 yards, TD vs. MIA

3. RB Lamar Miller 19 carries for 178 yards, TD vs. NYJ

4. WR Michael Floyd 8 receptions for 153 yards, 2 TDs vs. SF

5. RB Frank Gore 25 carries for 144 yards vs. ARI

Worst of the Worst

1. Peyton Manning caused a lot of people to lose in the fantasy playoffs, including me. His last few games have been truly dreadful, so dreadful that I would not be surprised if the Broncos are upset in the playoffs. Here are some stats to think about:

In Dec: 77/121 for 990 yards, 63.6% completion, 3 TDs, 6 INTs, 76.8 QBR.

In losses: 127/204 for 1,441 yards, 62.3% completion, 7 TDs, 9 INTs, 76.4 QBR.

There is a strong correlation between those two stat lines. Just something to think about if you decide to bet on the Broncos.

2. Bucs drop 20-7 halftime lead vs. NO, grab number one pick in draft

3. QB Drew Brees 24/38 for 281 yards, TD, 3 INTs, 61.4 QBR vs. TB

4. QB Philip Rivers 20/34 for 291 yards, 2 INTs, 7 sacks, Fmb, 62.3 QBR

5. Eagles block Giants punt, Giants return for 73-yard TD, called back for holding

To conclude the NFL regular season, here’s the top five performers from each of the main stat categories.

Passing

1. Drew Brees, NO: 4,952

1. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT: 4,952

3. Andrew Luck, IND: 4,761

4. Peyton Manning, DEN: 4,727

5. Matt Ryan, ATL: 4,694

Rushing

1. DeMarco Murray, DAL: 1,845

2. Le’Veon Bell, PIT: 1,361

3. LeSean McCoy, PHI: 1,319

4. Marshawn Lynch, SEA: 1,306

5. Justin Forsett, BAL: 1,266

Receiving

1. Antonio Brown, PIT: 1,698

2. Demaryius Thomas, DEN: 1,619

3. Julio Jones, ATL: 1,593

4. Jordy Nelson, GB: 1,519

5. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN: 1,404

Tackles

1. Luke Kuechly, CAR: 153

2. DeAndre Levy, DET: 151

3. Lavonte David, TB: 146

4. Curtis Lofton, NO: 145

5. Paul Worrilow, ATL: 143

Sacks

1. Justin Houston, KC: 22.0

2. J.J. Watt, HOU: 20.5

3. Elvis Dumervil, BAL: 17.0

4. Connor Barwin, PHI: 14.5

4. Mario Williams, BUF: 14.5

Interceptions

1. Glover Quin, DET: 7

2. Tashaun Gipson, CLE: 6

3. Harrison Smith, MIN: 5

3. Brent Grimes, MIA: 5

3. Bruce Carter, DAL: 5

Next, how my division previews matched up with this season’s results. Some were on point (Broncos 12-4, Dolphins 8-8, Colts 11-5, Rams 6-10) and some, I don’t know what I was thinking (Titans 6-10, Bears 10-6, Redskins 8-8, Buccaneers 9-7).

AFC North            AFC West              AFC East              AFC South

4 Bengals 10-6    1 Broncos 12-4      3 Patriots 10-6   2 Colts 11-5

6 Steelers 8-8     Chiefs 8-8              5 Dolphins 8-8    Titans 6-10

Ravens 8-8          Chargers 8-8         Jets 6-10              Texans 5-11

Browns 5-1          Raiders 5-11          Bills 5-11               Jaguars 4-12

NFC North           NFC West              NFC East              NFC South

3 Packers 11-5     1 Seahawks 13-3   4 Eagles 8-8       2 Saints 11-5

5 Bears 10-6        6 49ers 10-6         Redskins 8-8   Buccaneers 9-7

Lions 6-10           Cardinals 7-9        Cowboys 5-11     Falcons 7-9

Vikings 4-12        Rams 6-10             Giants 3-13        Panthers 6-10

Here’s what they were:

AFC North            AFC West                AFC East             AFC South

3 Steelers 11-5     2 Broncos 12-4      1 Patriots 12-4     4 Colts 11-5

5 Bengals 10-5-1     Chiefs 9-7            Bills 9-7                Texans 9-7

6 Ravens 10-6         Chargers 9-7        Dolphins 8-8       Jaguars 3-13

Browns 7-9              Raiders 3-13        Jets 4-12               Titans 2-14

NFC North           NFC West                 NFC East             NFC South

2 Packers 12-4     1 Seahawks 12-4     3 Cowboys 12-4   4 Panthers 7-8-1

6 Lions 11-5          5 Cardinals 11-5      Eagles 10-6           Saints 7-9

Vikings 7-9           49ers 8-8                 Giants 6-10            Falcons 6-10

Redskins 4-12      Rams 6-10               Redskins 4-12       Bucs 2-14

Finally, my predictions for the wild-card round.

5 Cardinals (11-5) @ 4 (7-8-1) Panthers

The Arizona Cardinals, despite their injury-riddled quarterback position, managed a 11-5 record. Since Palmer’s season-ending injury in week 10, the team went 3-4, including 0-2 under third-stringer Ryan Lindley. The Cardinals have not scored 20 points since losing Palmer and their rushing attack has dwindled after losing running back Andre Ellington. Their secondary, which highlights Antonio Cromartie and Patrick Peterson, has been awful, allowing 260 yards in the air (29th).

On the other side, Ron Rivera saved his job. After losing six consecutive games and dropping to 3-8-1, the Panthers won their final four games to clinch the NFC South title. Cam Newton’s inconsistency as well the Panthers lack of depth at receiver plagued the team about as much as I thought it would and it’s important to note the last four wins came against struggling teams.

Despite the Cardinals lackluster aerial coverage, the Panthers weak receiving core that relies far too heavily on rookie Kelvin Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen most likely won’t be able to take advantage. It’s the Panthers 7th-best rushing attack versus the Cardinals 13th-ranked defensive front. I’m simply not willing to put my faith in Cam Newton and I think Arians will coach his team to victory.

6 Ravens (10-6) @ 3 Steelers (11-5)

The Ravens have not been themselves as of late and nearly missed the wild-card spot. The Steelers, on the other hand, truly dazzled. Ben Roethlisberger had the best statistcal year of his career, Antonio Brown led the league in receptions and total receiving yards and Le’Veon Bell turned the Steelers rushing attack into a real threat after being towards the bottom last year. However, Le’Veon Bell injured his knee in the team’s season finale and will miss today’s game. Despite that, Flacco’s poor play in December and Justin Forsett’s apparent disappearance make me believe the Steelers will pull out the win.

5 Bengals (10-5-1) @ 4 Colts (11-5)

If I’ve learned anything from this NFL season, it is that coordinators, not coaches, are more responsible for on-field performance.

Last year, Cincinnati was third in total yards allowed, behind only Seattle and Carolina and fifth against the pass (209.0), the run (96.5) and points allowed per game (19.1).

This year, the Bengals were 22nd in yards allowed, 20th against the pass (243.0) and the rush (116.3) and 12th in points allowed (21.5).

Keep in mind that the Bengals added a lot of depth this past offseason and it leaves you scratching your head. What happened?

Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer left, that’s what happened. Zimmer was the key to the Bengals defense and with him gone, they struggled mightily. Guess who was ahead of the Bengals in nearly every defensive stat category? Zimmer’s Vikings, who struggled against the run (25th) but outpaced the Bengals against the pass (7th) and in total yards (14th) and points (11th). The Bengals just aren’t the same team and if it wasn’t for the emergence of LSU rookie Jeremy Hill, the Bengals would not have made the playoffs, even with an easy schedule.

The Colts, my preseason Super Bowl pick, had the record I predicted but struggled in December, including a disastrous defeat against the Cowboys. The running game is still ineffective and I don’t think it’s because of the personnel. The Colts are just not a running team and never have been. Edgerrin James was the last overachieving running back they had, a decade ago. Getting Trent Richardson for a first-rounder was a bargain, but you have to put him in a system where he has a chance to succeed.

Andrew Luck hasn’t been himself of late, but the entire Bengals team hasn’t been themselves all year. Also considering A.J. Green’s doubtful status for Sunday’s contest and that the Bengals have never won a road playoff game, I’m feeling Luck-y.

6 Lions (11-5) @ 3 Cowboys (12-4)

I hate the Dallas Cowboys. With that said, bravo guys.

Easily the biggest surprise of the season, at least for me, the Dallas Cowboys went from having one of the worst defenses in NFL history ever to a middle-of-the-road group that was 15th in points allowed (22.0). Plagued by injuries up to this year, not only did DeMarco Murray play the full season, he set some records. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark 12 times and scored at least once in 11 games! A truly incredible year, especially considering he faced the NFC West, rushing for triple digits in three of the four contests. A dominant running back is exactly what the Cowboys needed because Romo can’t shoulder the offense every game and that showed this year. Aikman had Emmitt and Romo needed someone. Too bad it took forever for Jerry Jones to find one.

The Lions under Jim Caldwell, a former coordinator, became a new team this year as their defensive line of first-round picks finally played to expectation and became the best rushing defense in the league. Their mediocre secondary is sustainable due to the constant pressure on the quarterback. Their rushing game is falling apart as the Lions are seeing Reggie Bush become a non-factor in the NFL. Bush had 76 carries this year. Stafford had more than half that (43). Joique Bell has taken over the starting role and has shown promise but a better offensive line is required if this team is to be balanced. The Lions’ December play was also questionable. After throttling the Buccaneers, the Lions squeaked past the Vikings with a two-point win and beat the Bears by 6. The defense allowed only 14 points in both match-ups and yet they still barely won. The offense has to show up now because the defense can’t play much better than it’s playing now.

This is the game to watch this week and as much as I hate the Cowboys, they’re the more balanced team. I’ll be rooting for them to choke in crunch time though.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 15

Top 5

1. WR Odell Beckham, Jr. 12 receptions for 143 yards, 3 TDs, Fmb vs. WAS

2. WR Dez Bryant 6 receptions for 114 yards, 3 TDs vs. PHI

3. RB Jeremy Hill 25 carries for 148 yards, 2 TDs vs. CLE

4. RB DeMarco Murray 31 carries for 81 yards, 2 TDs vs. PHI

5. QB Drew Brees 29/36 for 375 yards, 3 TDs, 137.8 QBR vs. CHI

Worst of the Worst

1. QB Tom Savage fumbles on handoff to Foster on first NFL play

2. Eagles fail to catch opening kickoff, Cowboys recover

3. QB Johnny Manziel 10/18 for 80 yards, 2 INTs, 27.3 QBR vs. CIN

4. QB Aaron Rodgers 17/42 for 185 yards, 2 INTs, 34.3 QBR vs. BUF

5. QB Colin Kaepernick 11/19 for 141 yards, 6 sacks, 81.2 QBR vs. SEA

Steelers Recap

Honestly, I don’t have much to say here. I didn’t watch a whole lot of the game but the Steelers got the win off another fine performance from Ben, who’s second in the league in passing yards. They’ve got Kansas City at home today and if they win, they clinch a playoff spot and keep in mind the AFC North is still up for grabs. Let’s go Steelers!

Game of the Week: Broncos @ Bengals

The only other game I was considering choosing her was Colts @ Cowboys, but I’m going with the Monday Night game because the last few weeks these teams have struggled. The Broncos have struggled because Peyton Manning hasn’t been himself recently. I should know. He tanked in the playoffs and my team lost because of it. The Bengals have struggled all year, as the Bengals defense that was one of the best in the league last year has disappeared after the departing of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who went to coach the Vikings. The Bengals defense hasn’t been the same since then. While the Broncos have clinched the AFC West, it’s crucial they put up a solid performance against a solid team to give themselves some confidence going into the final week of the regular season. The same goes for the Bengals, who are on the verge of losing control of the AFC North with the Steelers and Ravens close behind. I’m taking the Broncos because Cincinnati’s defense has just fallen so far this year.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 13

Top 5

1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 19/27 for 358 yards, 6 TDs, 147.5 QBR vs. TEN

2. WR DeAndre Hopkins 9 receptions for 238 yards, 2 TDs vs. TEN

3. RB Le’Veon Bell 21 carries for 95 yards, TD, 8 receptions for 159 yards vs. NO

4. WR Calvin Johnson 11 receptions for 146 yards, 2 TDs vs. CHI

Set record as fastest receiver to 10,000 yards in just his 115th game.

5. QB Drew Brees 19/27 for 257 yards, 5 TDs, 140.0 QBR vs. PIT

Worst of the Worst

1. Raiders demolished 52-0, commit five turnovers vs. STL

2. Giants allow two fumble returns for touchdowns, lose to Jaguars after 21-0 lead.

3. The Bears on Thanksgiving. They have one of the best running backs in the NFL and they handed him the ball five times for six yards. Nearly every other play was a screen pass because of their poor pass protection and Cutler struggled to complete a pass he had to throw more than five yards.

4. Panthers allow two blocked punts returned for touchdowns vs. MIN

5. QB Colin Kaepernick 16/29 for 121 yards, 2 INTs, 36.7 QBR vs. SEA

Steelers Recap

When I saw fantasy guru Matthew Berry had Drew Brees on his hate list for last Sunday’s game, I chuckled to myself. This year hasn’t been Brees’ best year and he hasn’t put up the stats we’re using to seeing from him, but the hate list? The Pittsburgh Steelers are exceeding the expectations I had for them in my pre-season review but they still lost to the Buccaneers and the Jets, two of the worst teams in the NFL. Had they won those games, a playoff spot would almost be a certainty. Instead, they faltered in two easily winnable games and now are on the outside looking in. Berry was also putting his faith in the Steelers secondary, which by this point, has been given photo credit for a team picture posted next to the word “inconsistent” in this year’s Webster’s dictionary. Some of the defense is too young and inexperienced to be able to make the big plays required of them and some are too seasoned to compete at the level they were once capable of. I picked the Steelers to win a game they should have won, yet I wasn’t surprised they lost. They have struggled against aerial teams this year and in past years and will continue to struggle until they start drafting a corner or safety in the first round of the draft.

William Gay is the team’s best corner despite the hate Steelers’ fans give him. Ike Taylor is done in Pittsburgh at the end of the year. Cortez Allen is not worth half the five-year, $26 million contract we signed him to in September. Brice McCain has been probably the worst of the bunch aside from a pick-six against Jacksonville, consistently getting beat short and down-field again and again. Shamarko Thomas has potential but is struggling to adapt to the Steelers scheme, leaving undrafted free agent Antwon Blake as our only other true corner. Blake has made some great plays on special teams and in pass coverage and I would be very surprised if he isn’t moved up the depth chart at the start of next season.

The fact I’m already talking about next season is the attitude I have towards the Steelers right now. I’m still a huge fan and have hope for a playoff spot but I’m more disappointed in the fact that they lost to Tampa Bay and New York then I am impressed that they beat the Texans, Colts and Ravens in back-to-back-to-back weeks. True playoff contenders don’t lose to Josh McCown/Mike Glennon and Geno Smith. The team has a lot of potential, they just keep falling short of coming out the other side of the tunnel.

The Steelers have won three of their last five games in Cincinnati but the team always struggles in the jungle. Ben has averaged 242 yards passing during that stretch. The Steelers haven’t won a game in Cincinnati where they scored less than 20 points since 2004 when they won 19-14, so if the offense doesn’t come to play, don’t expect a win. Ben had probably his worst performance of the season last week against the Saints and whether that is because of an injured hand or not doesn’t make any difference. I got to take the Bengals at home.

Game of the Week: Seahawks @ Eagles

The Eagles defense is terrible, but is it worse than the Seahawks offense? And can Mark Sanchez lead his team past a Seahawks defense that’s back on track? Should be a thriller, but if it’s a blowout, it’s probably a Seahawks win. I refuse to put my faith in a USC quarterback in tough games.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 5

Top 5

1. Patriots dominate the Bengals 43-17 and Tom Brady surpasses 50,000 yards. The Patriots outgained the Bengals 505-320 in total yards, 220 of those on the ground. New England also allowed zero third down conversions the whole game. A superb performance just one week after their 41-14 loss to Kansas City sparked criticism.

2. Browns rally from 25-point deficit to stun Titans at home. It was the largest comeback in league history by a road team.

3. WR Demaryius Thomas 8 receptions for 226 yards (franchise record), 2 TDs vs. ARI

4. Broncos’ record-setting game. The Broncos had their best offensive output in franchise history (568 yards) against two of the best cornerbacks in the game, Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie. Peyton Manning set a career-high with 479 yards and threw his 500th touchdown pass, joining Brett Favre in the elite club. Finally, Wes Welker’s seven receptions moved him past Rod Smith for the most catches by an undrafted player (854).

5. RB Arian Foster 23 carries for 157 yards, 2 TDs vs. DAL

Worst of the Worst

1. Jets obliterated by the Chargers 31-0. QB Geno Smith was benched at halftime. New York didn’t make it past the 50-yard line until 7:35 left in the fourth quarter, which was only thanks to a 33-yard pass interference call. They had only four first downs through three quarters. At the game’s conclusion, the Jets had run 54 plays for 151 total yards (2.8 yards per play), committed 12 penalties for 94 yards and two turnovers, and gone 1/12 on third down.

2. Bears blow 14-point lead, commit four second half turnovers in loss to Carolina. The Bears have been outscored 34-3 in the second half the last two weeks.

3. QB Christian Ponder 22/44 for 222 yards, 2 INTs, 6 sacks, 95.8 QBR vs. GB

4. QB Drew Brees 35/57 for 371 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 70.1 QBR vs. TB

5. Someone shoots laser pointer in Bills’ field goal holder’s eyes during field goal try. Come on, man!

Steelers Recap

The Steelers beat Jacksonville 17-9, a score that was much closer than it should have been. A late interception for a touchdown solidified the win, but the fact the win needed to be solidified in the fourth quarter is not encouraging. Props to ESPN for trying to give the Steelers more credit than they deserved.

As the recap says, “Pittsburgh’s defense looked somewhat suspect in the first four games, giving up 350 yards and 25 points a game.”

That sounds a lot more than suspect to me. Sounds like criminal negligence.

“The Jaguars finished with 243 yards and were 3 of 12 on third-down conversions.”

When you’re complimenting a team’s defense for throttling the Jaguars, you know you’re desperate for results.

“Jacksonville’s defensive effort was more surprising. The Jaguars had been gouged in every game this season, giving up an average of 451 yards and 38 points in the first four weeks.”

I don’t like stats that average things because it doesn’t account for outlier performances. Jacksonville forced three first half turnovers and led 17-0 at halftime against the Eagles in week one. I would also mention that the Jaguars had the misfortune of playing Indianapolis and San Diego in back-to-back weeks, two prolific pass offenses.

What all that comes down to is that the Steelers are trending down and need a decisive win. In Cleveland, they’ll have the opportunity. Let’s go Steelers.

Game of the Week: Cowboys @ Seahawks

I hate picking the same teams each week for Game of the Week, but the Cowboys-Seahawks matchup looks like the game to watch in week 6, with the Packers @ Dolphins matchup being a close second. I’ve got a lot of upsets picked this week, including the Dolphins, the Bills at home vs. the Patriots, the Jaguars on the road against Tennessee, the Bears in Atlanta, and the Redskins in Arizona. Not in that list? The Cowboys in Seattle. Tony Romo is overrated and as good as DeMarco Murray is, I think this is the week he struggles.

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Tim Sports Report for 2014 NFL Week 3

Top 5

1. RB Rashad Jennings 34 carries for 176 yards, TD vs. HOU

2. WR Julio Jones 9 receptions for 161 yards, 2 TDs vs. TB

3. QB Matt Ryan 21/24 for 286 yards, 3 TDs, 155.9 QBR vs. TB

4. WR Jeremy Maclin 8 receptions for 154 yards, TD vs. WAS

5. WR Pierre Garcon 11 receptions for 138 yards, TD vs. PHI

Worst of the Worst

1. The TB/ATL game in general. Nine turnovers between the two teams. Tampa Bay gave up two defensive/special teams touchdowns, committed 11 penalties for 110 yards, went 3/13 on 3rd down and were outgained 488-217 in total yards.

2. The Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden scored the game-tying touchdown against the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter only to have it called back by a holding call. The next play, the Patriots intercepted the ball to secure the victory. It was the Raiders 15th-straight loss in the Eastern time zone.

3. QB Matt Stafford 22/34 for 246 yards, 2 INTs, Fmb, 61.6 QBR vs. GB

4. QB Chad Henne 4/7 for 33 yards in first half vs. IND

5. QB Jake Locker 17/34 for 185 yards, 2 INTs, 41.9 QBR vs. CIN

Steelers Recap

On ESPN’s Pigskin Pick’em, the Panthers were an 83% favorite against the Steelers Sunday night. The Steelers must not have read reports as they did not beat one of the best defenses in the NFL, but dominated them for a full sixty minutes. The Steelers had 264 rushing yards, the most under Tomlin at the helm. RBs Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both eclipsed 100 yards, the first time two Steelers running backs accomplished the feat since October 26, 1986. The Steelers also had more rushing yards than passing, 264 vs. 190. The last time the Steelers had more rushing yards than passing was in a game against the Buccaneers on September 26, 2010 (201 to 186). The Steelers currently lead the league in rushing (163.3 per game) after landing in the bottom five just one year ago.

The bad news is the injuries the Steelers suffered during their throttling of the Panthers. First round pick Ryan Shazier suffered a knee sprain and is set to miss a few weeks. 2013 first round pick Jarvis Jones has been placed on the injured reserve list after dislocating his wrist, meaning Jones will not be available to play for at least eight weeks. To round up an already painful injury list, starting cornerback Ike Taylor broke his right forearm, meaning the 13-year veteran is most likely done for the season. Sean Spence is set to fill in for Shazier and Arthur Moats will slide into Jones’ spot. The Steelers coaxed James Harrison out of retirement and Harrison is expected to fill in as a backup. If there are any positives to take out of the situation, it’s that the Steelers looked superb against a stacked defense last week and that if there was a time for the Steelers to suffer injuries, it would be now. The Steelers’ next four games are their easiest workload of the year, facing Tampa Bay at home and then traveling on the road to Jacksonville and Cleveland before returning to Heinz Field to face the Texans. With all that said, the Buccaneers looked egregious on Thursday night against the Falcons and while the extra few days to get the team back on track should help, I’m confident the Steelers will keep pace in the division and go to 3-1.

Game of the Week: NO @ DAL

Philadelphia @ San Francisco is a close second, but I got to give the edge to this Sunday night match-up because these two teams have been so underachieving so far this year. The Saints have maintained a sixth-place rushing attack, which is impressive considering their backs and while the Saints have a top-five aerial attack, Brees has not been the dynamic player we are used to seeing. Rob Ryan’s defense has also flip-flopped performance-wise (29th against the pass in a pass-heavy division). The Saints lost to Cleveland. That sums up their season so far. On the other side, Dallas is just as bad if not worse. The defense is set to make another record for most yards allowed and Romo is lucky to have the league’s leading rusher right now in DeMarco Murray because he’s looked like an amateur. I’ll take the Saints even though they’re on the road.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 14

Top 5

1. QB Jason Campbell 29/44 for 391, 3 TDs, 116.3 QBR vs. NE

2. QB Josh McCown 27/36 for 348 yards, 4 TDs, 141.9 QBR vs. DAL

3. RB LeSean McCoy 29 carries for 217 yards, 2 TDs vs. DET

Set franchise record for single-game rushing

4. QB Drew Brees 30/42 for 313 yards, 4 TDs, 124.4 QBR vs. CAR

5. WR Marques Colston 9 receptions for 125 yards, 2 TDs vs. CAR

Worst of the Worst

1. QB E.J. Manuel 18/33 for 184 yards, 4 INTs, 7 sacks, 31.2 QBR vs. TB

2. Lions fumble 7 times, lose 3, allow 28 4th quarter points to lose to Eagles

3. Patriots win after bad pass interference call, onside kick recovery vs. CLE

4. QB Joe Flacco 28/50 for 245 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 64.2 QBR vs. MIN

5. Redskins destroyed at home 45-10 vs. KC

Steelers Recap

The Steelers had one of the best comeback wins in the history of the franchise…only to have it taken away because Antonio Brown had stepped out of balance short of the endzone. I’m not going to lie, everyone on my dorm floor was screaming their lungs out and running up and down the hall, only to return to our rooms to see the replay. I felt like part of my soul died on that play, it was such a tragedy. That play, to an extent, was a visual representation of the Steelers’ season this year. There have been huge wins against the Ravens and Lions, and then there have been the huge disappointments, against the Raiders and the Vikings, and overall, it feels like we missed our chances by that much. The AFC is weak right now, and the fact that we were even in the conversation for a playoff spot is a testament not to how lucky we are, although some credit could go to that, but to how well our team battled adversity this year. After starting 0-4, plenty of my friends said the Steelers would go 4-12, but I refused to believe it. My Pittsburgh pride stood strong and while not entirely objective, I felt it was unfair to count them out just yet. We went 5-2 afterwards, beating the Ravens and Lions at home, despite disappointing losses to the Raiders and Patriots. This has not been the best season for the Steelers, but I’m proud of them for not giving up when the door of future opportunity was teasing them to do so.

Two tough losses against the Ravens and now the Dolphins has the Steelers on the backs of their heels and three must-win games up ahead. The Bengals in Pittsburgh is possible, but I don’t see it happening. Andy Dalton finally got back on the horse this past week against the Colts after struggling in his past couple games and the Bengals defense is still top-10 if not higher. I’m going to have to pick the Bengals in this one, but you can bet I’ll be rooting for the Burgh all day.

Game of the Week: Ravens @ Lions

The Ravens are fighting for the wild-card spot while the Lions try to hold off the Bears for the NFC North title. The Lions looked terrible in Philly, although I think that is partly because their passing attack was hampered by the Hoth-like weather. The Ravens, however, have no excuse for their pitiful performance against the Vikings, one that required a last second touchdown to win. Flacco has looked terrible this year after signing his lucrative contract. Rice hasn’t been much better, so I’ll take the Lions yet again in my game of the week.

 

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Tim Sports Report for 2013 NFL Week 10

Top 5

1. Saints set record for most first downs in a game (40), hold Cowboys to 0/9 on third down and 193 total yards, get 625 themselves including 245 rushing vs. DAL

2. WR Tavon Austin 2 receptions for 138 yards, 2 TDs and a punt return touchdown vs. IND

3. CIN LB Vincent Rey 15 tackles, 10 solo, 3 sacks and an interception vs. BAL

4. QB Drew Brees 34/41 for 392 yards, 4 TDs, 139.0 QBR vs. DAL

5. WR Demaryius Thomas 7 receptions for 108 yards, 3 TDs vs. SD

Worst of the Worst

1. Colts go 2/12 on third down, commit five turnovers, get 18 yards rushing, and allow two defensive/special teams TDs vs. STL

2. Ravens S James Ihedigbo tips hail mary ball to A.J. Green for last second TD to force overtime

3. Dolphins get two yards rushing vs. TB

4. QB Colin Kaepernick 11/22 for 91 yards, INT, six sacks, 42.0 QBR vs. CAR

5. QB Tony Romo 10/24 for 128 yards, TD, 72.9 QBR vs. NO

Steelers Recap

The Steelers beat the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday  23-10. The Burgh held the Bills to 95 yards rushing on the game, limiting the tandem of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to 78 yards. Pittsburgh held Buffalo to 3/14 on third down and went 8/17 themselves. However, the team was 2/5 in the redzone, which kept the Bills in the game when it easily could have been 35-10. The Steelers face the Lions this upcoming Sunday, a team that leads the NFC North at 6-3. One of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in football in Stafford and Megatron will give the Steelers secondary plenty of work. Reggie Bush is a more than capable runningback and I just don’t see how the Steelers can win this game and that’s without mentioning the matchup of the stellar Lions D-line against the patch-worked Steelers O-line.

Game of the Week: Patriots @ Panthers

Last week, I picked the Cowboys and Saints as the game of the week but the game was overshadowed by the defensive showdown between the Panthers and 49ers. The Panthers went on to win the game and they’re on a five-game winning streak. This Monday Night matchup will show if the Panthers are playoff-bound or not. I’m not sure who to pick in this one yet. It could go either way.

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