Two months into the NFL season, everything we know is wrong
What were we thinking?
Just two months ago, at the start of the NFL season, these things seemed like reasonable possibilities:
•The Dallas Cowboys would be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. (They have yet to win a game there.)
Donovan McNabb was born again with the Washington Redskins. (He was benched in favor of Rex Grossman at the end of Sunday’s loss at Detroit.)
One more season with Brett Favre would do the trick for the thisclose Minnesota Vikings. (They are 2-5, and Favre now has a sore chin to go with his bum ankle.)
The New York Jets didn’t have enough footballs for all those offensive playmakers. (With an extra week to prepare, and playing at home, they were shut out Sunday for the first time since 2006.)
The state of Missouri would be the state of misery. (The Show-Me State can show off the 5-2 Chiefs and 4-4 Rams.)
The Rams, who posted a 20-10 home victory over Carolina on Sunday, have already surpassed their combined victory total (three) of the previous two seasons.
“I felt very comfortable out there today, probably the most comfortable I’ve felt,” said No. 1 pick Sam Bradford, who had his first triple-digit passer rating at 112.4. “I think the game is really slowing down for me.”
The season has to be moving in slow motion for the Cowboys too — like one of those nightmares that just won’t end. They didn’t just lose to Jacksonville, a six-point underdog coming off consecutive defeats, but were humiliated, 35-17.
The buzzards are circling over Valley Ranch, and everyone is wondering if Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is going to stand by his vow not to fire Coach Wade Phillips during the season.
“I’m embarrassed. Of course, I am,” Jones told reporters. “And, to every fan, I should have and do take the ultimate, ultimate responsibility. I do. That’s the way we’re structured. That’s the way I run it. There’s no question that I have the plan and executing it to have the best players and the best coaching that we can have. I’m dumbfounded that we are 1-7.”
Jones got a game ahead of himself — the Cowboys are actually 1-6 — or maybe was just bracing for a loss next Sunday at Green Bay.
The Packers are impressive, after all. Despite all their injuries, they beat the Jets on the road.
“It felt embarrassing to be shut out at home,” Jets tackle Damien Woody said. “Our personnel and our coaching staff is too good for us to be shut out at home.”
He’s right. The Jets are better than they looked and were riding a five-game winning streak. They were gambling like a winless team, though, going for it three times on fourth down (they were 0 for 3), including a failed fake punt on fourth and 18 from their 20.
“I wish we could play it again, do it over,” Jets Coach Rex Ryan said of the game. “But there are no do-overs in this league.”
You want a mulligan, Rex? How about all of us who made those preseason predictions?
Favre still in play
Two small fractures in his left ankle didn’t prevent Favre from extending his NFL record for consecutive starts to a remarkable 292 games. He couldn’t finish against New England, however, because of a shot he took from Myron Pryor that opened a gash on his chin, a wound that took 10 stitches to close.
It doesn’t appear to be an injury that will keep the Vikings quarterback from playing against Arizona on Sunday.
Although Coach Brad Childress said Favre “got a little woozy, which doesn’t happen to him very often,” the quarterback seemed pretty normal when talking to reporters after the 28-18 loss.
“I think I’m fine,” Favre said. “No one knows my body like me. There’s plenty of times I should have been knocked out but I wasn’t. So I think I’ll be all right.”
For the first time in two seasons, the Oakland Raiders have put together consecutive victories — and in very convincing fashion. The last two weeks they have outscored Denver and Seattle by a combined 92-17.
It’s the first time since their Super Bowl year of 2002 that the Raiders (4-4) have not had a losing record at this point of the season.
Oakland’s defense was especially impressive in Sunday’s 33-3 win over the Seahawks, who were limited to 162 yards and didn’t get a first down until 27 minutes in. Losing Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to an ankle injury could be costly for Oakland, though.
No Buc passing
Pretty brash last week of Tampa Bay Coach Raheem Morris to say his is the best team in the NFC, especially after a one-point victory over the Rams. He looked a little less crazy Sunday, with Josh Freeman slinging that 53-yard bomb to Arrelious Benn, and LeGarrette Blount bounding over a would-be tackler like an Olympic hurdler to tear off a long run.
That was a timely victory by San Diego over Tennessee, which was riding a three-game winning streak. The Chargers had lost three in a row.
San Diego has won eight in a row against the Titans and is the only NFL team Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher hasn’t beaten.