NFL Week 4 Notes: 2007
October 2, 2007 1:47 AM
Week 4 notes on the National Football League
1) Outcomes that surprised me: Cleveland Browns over the Baltimore Ravens. Atlanta Falcons over the Houston Texans. Oakland Raiders BIG over the Miami Dolphins (Oakland, don't get too comfy just yet. You beat a mediocre Browns team and an awful Dolphins team. Culpepper, 5 of 12 for 75 yards and 2 TDs and 3 rushing TDs, what kind of screwed up stat line is that?).
2) I started this season by stating to a (Chargers fan) friend that I wasn't very impressed with Norv Turner's history as an NFL head coach. What can I say; I continue to be less than impressed. Why do I have the feeling Schottenheimer would have more than one win after 4 games with this team?
Phillip Rivers is also underwhelming. He tossed 2 interceptions and lost a fumble against a crappy Chiefs team. And that lost fumble was huge, by the way. The Chiefs had previously turned the ball over, giving the Chargers a chance to get back into the game. But instead of leading his team to a game-tying touchdown, Rivers dropped the football on the grass while being sacked and Kansas City returned it for a TD.
The Chargers make too many mistakes, which comes down to either discipline or talent level. I think the talent level proved itself last year (Rivers notwithstanding), which leaves discipline, which comes down to coaching. Which makes perfect sense considering the massive turnover in the coaching staff from last year to now.
The most baffling part is that they were winning the game 16-6 at halftime while riding Tomlinson's 116 rushing yards. In the second half, they handed the ball to Tomlinson 6 times. How does that make sense? I'm no NFL coach, but that one seems pretty obvious to me. No wonder the San Diego crowd was chanting "MAR-TY" during the game.
3) Detroit posted 34 points in the 4th quarter against the Bears. Impressive. In fact, it's an NFL record. But what the hell does that mean for the Bears defense, a unit that was supposed to be dominant? Well, they're certainly not dominant when giving up 34 fucking points in a single quarter.
4) The Patriots continue to crush opponents, I can't wait to see them play Dallas in a couple weeks. Speaking of the Cowboys, they destroyed the Rams and are my #2 team in the league. I like them more than the Colts right now, with Indy coming in at #3. The Packers and Steelers round out the top 5, while Seattle looks like it's making a move in the NFC.
5) Donovan McNabb played a hell of a game Sunday, no? He lost a fumble, threw no touchdowns, and was sacked 12 times while making no meaningful plays for his team. Like I said, maybe if he played EVERY game as if he had something to prove, he wouldn't get the criticism he does. Granted, his offensive line was worse than the Saints', using a matador pass protection scheme. Still, when McNabb makes no plays and generally seems lost on the field, he should expect some criticism.
6) Worst team in the league? St. Louis Rams. In 4 games, they've scored only 39 points. In 3 games, the Saints have scored 38.
7) Brett Favre watch: another week, another win, another NFL record. This is getting repetitive. So repetitive, in fact, that I'm simply copying and pasting these lines from last week. Grandpa pulled off the fourth straight win of the season for the Packers and broke the NFL record for most touchdowns thrown by a QB in NFL history. Congratulations Brett Favre! Keep on winning! The Packers 4-0 record is more remarkable than Favre's personal records at the moment. I mean, breaking those records was only a matter of time for Favre, but being at the top of the NFC defies all expectations.
8) Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner are now sharing time at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Weird. Arizona won the game, and both QBs led the team on touchdown drives, but the difference in the game was a punt returned for a TD. Warner was brought in when the score was only 7-0 in Pittsburgh's favor. Seemed kind of early to yank your starter, unless that was your plan going into the game. I wonder how long that strategy will work? My prediction is not very.
9) Fantasy nook: Son of a bitch! I KNEW playing Kevin Curtis would be a mistake, the guy had one big game, which means absolutely nothing. I should have played Derrick Mason instead. Okay, I'm late to these bandwagons, but if Sammy Morris or Dwayne Bowe are available in your league, you should snap them up.
10) Coaches in the NFL are important. Very important. The best coaches win year after year, or have an off year, then come back and win again. Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, and probably some coaches not named Bill too, say ... Bill Cowher, nope, damn! All Bills. Anyway, Norv Turner has been an entirely mediocre coach and coached mediocre teams for his career. Fans shouldn't be surprised if San Diego turns up mediocre this year (his name's not Bill, for starters).
Wade Phillips left San Diego to coach the Cowboys. Look how that's turning out. I wonder if the Chargers offered him the head coaching job before he left. Inheriting a very good team and keeping them very good is not as easy a task as it seems. Exhibit A: Norv Turner and the Chargers. It makes me appreciate the job guys like Barry Switzer and George Seifert did when taking over good teams and keeping them good.
At this point, Chargers fans and Saints fans are in the same boat. Both sets of fans had high expectations set from last season's success, and this season's media predictions. Both teams were picked by many to advance to the Superbowl this year. It's one thing to endure a season with your team when you know going in they are going to suck. It's another thing to endure a season of sucking when your expectations are so high. It's extremely disappointing. At least in the Chargers case, you could kind of see it coming when Turner was named head coach. With the Saints, it's the same players and coaches from last year, which makes it both baffling and heart-wrenching.
Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!
1) It was a good week for the Saints, they did not record a loss.
2) Saints stat of the week: Have not given up a TD on 21 kickoffs & punts this season.
3) Here's how to keep hope alive, Saints fans. Take a look at who they've lost to, and how much those losses mean in the big picture. Every team's goal is to win their division. To that end, beating your divisional opponents is very important. The Saints have lost one game to the Bucs, and have not yet played Atlanta or Carolina. The Saints can conceivably go 5-1 in their division. Face it, the Falcons and Panthers aren't very scary, so if the Saints can play just "good", that's probably good enough to get 4 wins. The Saints/Buccaneers rivalry has been a good one ever since the NFL realignment created the NFC South. The Saints beat the Bucs twice the year the Bucs won the Superbowl. The Bucs are playing well right now, but it seems entirely possible for the Saints to win their next matchup. And if the Saints take care of their division, good things will happen.
The other 2 Saints losses came to teams not in their division, and not even in their conference! From that perspective, things could be a lot worse. It all starts next week against Carolina, which I consider a must-win game. If the Saints go 0-4, they can forget about the playoffs.