Week 6 Recap: Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood
Aaron Rodgers is as hot as Wisconsin cheddar melting on some chili. It was the kind of Sunday performance that said: “Hey league, yeah, I’ve still got it.” I’m not saying his performance was bad before this week–he’d been solid, but after this week we can shut the book on who the NFL’s best player is. Rodgers filed a 338-yard, 6 TD, and 95.8 QBR night on the stat sheet, and no player benefited more than Jordy Nelson (9 Rec, 121 Yds, 3 TDs). More importantly, Green Bay faithful finally got the signature win they’d been seeking. On the flip side, Houston joined a group of seemingly elite teams that suffered heartbreakers or just plain ol’ smackdowns. Throw out the Power Rankings, this league’s been shaken up like a snow globe. But which would-be snowflakes are on the rise, fall, or just struggling to find purpose in the viscous liquid that is this league?
New England Patriots
Snow Globe Status: That Snowflake That’s Going All Over the Place
Like Week 4 in Buffalo, we’ve got a tale of two teams. This one does not have a happy ending for the Pats faithful. The Patriots blew a sizable lead on Sunday afternoon. In the first half, Brady looked like he was up to his normal, annoyingly good play, throwing a long touchdown to Welker, and then a pinpoint fade to the recently reactivated Aaron Hernandez. Business as usual. In the second half, the Pats settled for field goal and could not convert key first downs. Brady threw two interceptions and they watched their lead disappear when the secondary committed the cardinal sin of two-minute drill defense. They let Sidney Rice slip by with 1:18 left on the clock for a 46-yard touchdown. You’ll hear no panic coming from Brady and Co., but their fans are feeling it. They’re asking themselves why they can’t close games like they used to. This is a well-rounded football team, but even balanced teams can shoot themselves in the foot every once in a while. This, too, shall pass Spogo bros.
New York Jets
Snow Globe Status: Taking On Unnecessary Burdens
So the Jets stick it to the Colts, winning in good fashion. Is that enough for Sexy Rexy? Of course not. This one game win
streak has given him the confidence to take to the airwaves to say he wants the Pats to know he thinks the Jets are going to beat them next week, in Foxborough. I get that every coach is going to say they expect to win every week if asked candidly, it’s just the way that Rex does it that gets to me. He pushes it publicly, and historically it has not excited his team in the way he thinks it will. In a volatile season, I feel like the Jets should go about their business and try to work out how win football games consistently. Do they have a shot next week against this Pats team? Sure, but why fuel their fire with kerosene?
Snow Globe Status: Losing Pieces Quickly
The Ravens took gigantic hits to their defense this week. News has come out that star cornerback Lardarius Webb and all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis are out for the season. Webb tore his ACL defending Dez Bryant in the first quarter, and Lewis, after leading the team with 14 tackles, tore his triceps fully late in the game. Webb is a big loss, as he’s their best cover corner, but no one can understate what Lewis means to this team on the field and more so, in the locker room. They’ll need to find crucial leadership in other places… will Joe Flacco please stand up?
San Francisco 49ers
Snow Globe Status: Lacking a Pass Attack, but Compensating
O.K., I went researching on this one and I’ve come to some not so unbelievable conclusions about this 49ers team. In the two losses to the Vikings and Giants, they had 3 turnovers, a 5-minute time of possession deficit, less than 100 yards rushing, and gave up over 140 yards rushing to each team. In their four wins, they’ve had better or equal time-of-possession as their opponent and held them to under 90 yards rushing (most under 80). The blueprint for competing with San Fran is out, and I think most teams will try to replicate it. The problem is, it doesn’t always work. The Bills have the 5th best rushing game in the league, and got stopped for less than 100 yards in week 5 by this defense. If I’m a Niners fan, I’m not too worried about the defense; it’s the offense that needs an overhaul. Smith’s three interceptions are not a fluke, they have no passing game, but the run game is so strong it’s holding this team afloat. In an increasingly more offense-oriented league, the Niners better hope that defense really can win championships.
Snow Globe Status: Felix Baumgartner
For those of you that were so glued to the NFL on Sunday that you don’t know who Felix Baumgartner is, watch this video to educate yourself. The Eagles have to be worried about what’s happening with this team. They are wildly inconsistent on offense and defense, shining one game, crashing the next. As we near the halfway point of the season, its clear that Michael Vick is handing out footballs like the city Philadelphia does cheesesteaks. He has the greasiest hands in the league by far, with 14 turnovers (8 INTs, 6 fumbles). The Eagles have 17 giveaways this year, leading the next worst team by five. At this rate some team is going to have to have eight turnovers in a single game to give this team a run for its money. They also fired their defensive coordinator. Guess who has final decision on all firings? Andy Reid. If this isn’t a sign he’s coaching to keep his job, I don’t know what is. Yup, Felix. Baumgartner.
Snow Globe Status: The Most Exciting Snowflake (if there is such a thing…)
I have an utterly bad case of RGIII fever. This guy went from not knowing where he was after a concussing loss to the
Falcons, to scampering for 76-yard runs, burning the Minnesota defense. RGIII is making this team what it is. He should be taken seriously as an MVP candidate. Also, the dude was born in Japan, how did I not know about this?! Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It’s an island halfway between Taiwan and mainland Japan. The better question might be: why is Japan not going nuts for this guy? Maybe I’m missing something here, but this could be their “Linsanity”. Take that, China!
Snow Globe Status: The Unlucky One That’s Caught in the Igloo
The Dolphins could be 5-1 right now. I hear the whole should, would, could shtick, whatever. Two overtime losses to the Jets and Cards, both games that they probably should have won. A made FG in the Jets game, and this is a 4-2 ball club. With RGIII and Andrew Luck drawing all the attention, I love what I’m seeing out of Ryan Tannehill, and it has nothing to do with his stunning wife. His stats don’t wow, but he makes Brian Hartline look good. You’ve got to be doing a lot right to make Brian Hartline look good. If he had some receivers to back him up, he could be seriously deadly. As a whole, this Miami team just doesn’t go down easily. Since losing in Week 1 to the Texans, the Fins two losses have been by a combined 6 points, both in overtime. Liken this team to a 2002 Ford Taurus. It might not be pretty, sleek, flashy, and may well have some chipped paint, rust, dings, and scratches but it’ll get you from point A to point B.