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Random Shots - Week 14

A Twisted Look at The NFL Every Week And All That Goes With It

Hi Folks,

Here's what happens when you sit an NFL Junkie down in front of
multiple big screens with Sunday Ticket and fresh batteries in the
remote.

A Twisted Look at The NFL Every Week And All That Goes With It

By Joe Bryant

I said the other day that Adam Jones in Tennessee hasn't played well
enough to earn a nick name like Pacman. How is he allowed to use "P.
Jones" on the back of his jersey? And why is the NFL listing his
official name as Pacman?
Someone call Rod Smart and tell him he can go back to the He Hate Me.
I know Jeff Fisher carries some pull as the league lets him mock the
injury report every week but what is going on here?

Sage Rosenfels. Yeah we saw that coming.

It drives me nuts when people throw out the "every time he runs for
100 yards, the team wins" stat as if all you have to do to win is run
the ball for 100 yards. I believe that rushing for 100 yards is a
byproduct of winning more than a cause. But either way, the numbers
for Pittsburgh are pretty compelling. They are 22-0 over the last two
seasons when they rush for 100 yards and 0-6 when they're held under
100 yards rushing. Sunday, they were held under 100 yards for the
third straight game and the fifth time this season. The Pittsburgh
Steelers. Yikes.

Earth, Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Earth.

I wrote last week about PGA pro Fred Funk and how he had to wear the
pink skirt during the Skins game as punishment for being out driven by
Annika Sorenstam. As I said, he got the last laugh taking home some
$925,000. Turns out he donated a big chunk of the money to a fund to
help a local teenager, Jerry Townsend, that was paralyzed from a
football accident. The full story and pictures are here

The Saints claim they had 34,411 in paid attendance Sunday. I hear
that is actually the amount of tickets that were distributed. And it
looked to me like about half that many actually showed up. I totally
understand why as that area's been rocked. But as much as I hate to
say it, I'm afraid we may be seeing the end of the NFL in that area.

Think the talk about allowing Monday Night Football some flexibility
in scheduling will pick up steam after the debacle in Philadelphia? In
August, Seahawks at Eagles looked like a great matchup. And check out
what's coming up:  New Orleans at Atlanta, Green Bay at Baltimore, and
New England at the New York Jets.

Looking at just the stats, you might think that the Seahawks  Eagles
game was pretty close. Neither team had a QB throw for more than 100
yards. Neither team had a running back rush for over 50 yards or a
wide receiver total more than 50 yards receiving. I guess that's why
you have to look at more than just the stats...

Did I hear that right that Seattle has the longest streak in the NFL
of not winning a playoff game? I bet that changes this year.

Peyton Manning threw a total of 17 passes Sunday. And just five passes
in the second half. This just in  that team is scary good.

And yeah, I still don't think they run the table. But I'll be honest,
I hope they do. That cork popping thing Chris Berman does every year
when the last undefeated team loses is annoying.

Indianapolis has more coaches throwing out desperate moves than I can
ever remember seeing. Bill Cowher with the onside kick to open the
second half comes to mind. Sunday, Jeff Fisher went for it on fourth
down five times. He was successful once.

I've ripped on the celebrities in the NFL Network's Fantasy League but
Guy Torry saying Lincoln Kennedy was looking sort of "Shrekish" was
pretty funny.

I can't believe it's true but the hot rumor Wednesday afternoon out of
Detroit was that there would be no beer sales in Ford Field for the
Lions' final home game. I've no idea what they're hoping to accomplish
there outside of losing a ton of money. If they're trying to keep
people calmed down, I'm not sure denying Lion Fan his beer will have
the desired effect.

I wonder how many fans were old enough to understand Hines Ward was
doing the Ickey Shuffle?

The Oakland Raiders were not called for a penalty Sunday. That is
news. The last time that happened? 1971.

Think my BlackeyedJoe.com All Name Team Captain Rock Cartwright
doesn't have break away skills? His first three runs Sunday were for
52, 28 and 25 yards.

How can Steven Jackson be so good and produce so little? I seriously
don't get that one. When I figure it out, I'm going to start working
on Jamal Lewis.

Did you catch Jon Voight as Pope John Paul II on TV? Voight's a fine
actor but I just could not get over the mental hurdle of the Pope as
Angelina Jolie's dad...

I'm not sure I could take it if I were a big Texans fan. That was a
brutal loss Sunday.

If you're an NFL GM knowing you've got to oversee your team for the
next 10 years, would you rather take the 8 year veteran Peyton Manning
or the 3rd year guy in Carson Palmer knowing you should have a few
more available years from Palmer? What's interesting is that even
though Manning stayed in college for his Senior year, he's only three
years older than Palmer. I didn't know that.

Note on Manning:  Even going all the way back to high school, Peyton
Manning has never been 12-0.

I love Shaun Alexander but he struggled early Monday night. On the
Seahawks' first drive, he posted these carries:
SEA RB Alexander 12 yard rush to the 1
SEA RB Alexander minus 5 yard rush to the 6
SEA RB Alexander minus 2 yard rush to the 5
SEA RB Alexander minus 6 yard rush to the 11 (Hasselbeck to Engram TD)

This year's Jets and Eagles illustrate one of the truths of football.
You must have a quarterback to win. Chicago is illustrating part B of
that truth: If you don't have a quarterback, you'd better bring an All
World defense and a strong running game to the table. Teams like
Minnesota and Tampa Bay are giving us part C:  Spend wisely on a good
to great backup QB.

After fifteen minutes Sunday, Buffalo WR Lee Evans was on pace to
score 12 touchdowns in the game.

I went off last week on the BCS. Thanks for all the emails agreeing
and disagreeing. The more I've thought about it, I believe I've
uncovered what has me so frustrated.

The BCS is better than what we had. It's set up to give us #1 vs. #2
which was no guarantee before. I'm good with that. But it still sucks.
It just sucks less than it used to. That's hard for me to get excited
about. But the killer is that they are sitting on something that could
be so great. It's like sitting at the best table at Morton's
Steakhouse and knowing they have all those great steaks in the kitchen
but all you get is a shrimp cocktail. You can see those steaks and you
can smell them and you know how good it'd be if you could just have
one but what you get is four shrimp. They're nice shrimp. But it could
be so much better. So please excuse me if I'm pissed about my friggin
shrimp cocktail...

One more reason to keep your head up:  Miami's Chris Chambers opened
the game with a fumble on the opening drive as he turned the ball over
to Buffalo. Twenty six targets and 238 yards later, he caught the game
winning touchdown with six seconds on the clock.

So much for averages. Denver gave up more yards to Larry Johnson in
just the fourth quarter than they'd been giving up to teams for an
entire game. Pay very close attention here. It looks to me like Kansas
City entered the season with two of the top four running backs in the
league.

Funniest TD celebration of the day belonged to Kansas City's Samie
Parker. He caught a 20 yard touchdown from Trent Green then posed for
cameras hamming it up with the crowd. The only problem was that the
Chiefs had committed an illegal motion penalty before the play and
Denver wasn't even defending the play.

An hour before game time Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger was looking very
shaky as he told ESPN that his thumb was bothering him and that he was
going to "try" to play. Talking to my partner David Dodds, we were
discussing how the injury would affect Roethlisberger and his
receivers. The worry of course was that he wouldn't be able to finish
the game if his thumb were to be hit. As we backed him down on the
projections, Dodds said, "Now he'll probably throw for 300 yards..." We
were wrong. It was 386 yards. That was good for about 800 emails...

The Jets can at least take solace in that they're kicking butt in the
kickoff return yardage category. Of course that's a bittersweet
achievement as it means they've had a lot more opportunities to rack
up yards returning kickoffs.

Very quietly, Tampa's Cadillac Williams (who unlike Adam Jones, is
playing well enough now to earn his nickname) has come back to the
form we saw early in the year. What's scary is that he's strongest at
the end of the game.

How many people four weeks ago seriously thought the Steelers would be
perilously close to missing the playoffs?

Even Mike Tice is starting to smile in Minnesota. Talking about his
playing career as a tight end this week he said, "It took me fourteen
years to catch 100 balls. I was a prolific receiver."

Peyton Manning is the guy that gets the spotlight but the Colts are
rolling in large part due to Edgerrin James. Check out this series
from Sunday:

1-10-IND32 (5:37) Manning pass to James to IND 39 for 7 yards
2-3-IND39 (5:06) James right guard to IND 44 for 5 yards
1-10-IND44 (4:27) James right tackle to TEN 48 for 8 yards
2-2-TEN48 (3:45) James right guard to TEN 43 for 5 yards
1-10-TEN43 (3:07) Manning pass to James to TEN 33 for 10 yards
1-10-TEN33 (2:24) James up the middle to TEN 29 for 4 yards
PENALTY on TEN-Haynesworth, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at TEN 29.
1-10-TEN23 (2:09) James left end pushed ob at TEN 2 for 21 yards (Tank
Williams).
1-2-TEN2 (1:36) James left guard for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

There is still an awful lot of football to be played, but do not
underestimate the value of Cincinnati's win Sunday. Huge.

Do any of you Mike Vick owners worry just a little bit that he's
Kordell Stewart with more talent? Even just a little? I'm just
askin'...

I don't know who makes the call on the Giants wearing the red jerseys
but they need to stop.

What's the more dangerous curse? Cover of the Madden video game or
being drafted in the first round by Cleveland?

Great, now I've got to get used to spelling Marques Tuiasosopo on a
regular basis.

I know it's sacrilege to talk about it, but at some point does Aaron
Rodgers start to see playing time in Green Bay over Brett Favre? If it
were me, I think I'd play it like this:  Favre starts every game he's
on my team for as long as he wants. But at this point in the season,
I'd give serious consideration to inserting Rodgers into the game for
some 4th quarter work in games where the Packers were trailing by 10
points or more.

I hope Koren Robinson can stay out of trouble. He looks like he's
having fun out there.

I'm stoked the Bears are doing well. I really like saying Adewale
Ogunleye. He's my new Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.

I love it with Football weather in full force. Watching Seattle at
Philadelphia in December while sitting by a crackling fire is pretty
high up on there on my list.

Along that line, I hope I never have to pay what I'd be willing to pay
for High Definition TV and Sunday Ticket.

The Bengals' T.J. Houshmandzadeh drew a stark contrast to Chad Johnson
Sunday. Johnson has the ability to be entertaining while he talks
trash. He leaves the opponent with a smile. Houshmandzadeh on the
other hand, was shining his shoes with a Steelers' Terrible Towel and
rubbing Pittsburgh's nose in it. People don't forget that kind of
thing.

Head NFL Ref Guru Mike Pereira's explanation for why the refs aren't
calling the horse collar tackle sounded pretty hollow. They shouldn't
have the rule if they're not going to enforce it. I think they're
waiting for Roy Williams to break someone's leg again. And he will do
that again.

I'm thinking this will be a good offseason to be an aspiring NFL head coach.

Hard Luck Awards for Week 13

MIN RB Bennett 5 yard rush to the 5 (Johnson to Bennett TD)
MIN DEF / DB Williams 75 yard interception TD nullified by penalty
MIA QB Rosenfels 13 yard pass to WR Chambers to the 5 (Williams TD)
MIA QB Rosenfels 2 yard rush to the 4 (Rosenfels to Chambers TD)
GB QB Favre 6 yard pass to the WR Driver to the 2 (Gado TD)
SF QB Smith 31 yard pass to RB Gore to the 2 (Hicks TD)
WAS QB Brunell 7 yard pass to TE Cooley to the 2 (Portis TD)
WAS RB Cartwright 3 yard rush to the 5
WAS RB Cartwright 1 yard rush to the 4 (Brunell to Cooley TD)
NE QB Brady 6 yard pass to WR Brown to the 1 (Dillon TD)
DEN QB Plummer 9 yard TD rush reversed (Anderson TD)
KC QB Green 7 yard TD pass to WR Kennison nullified by penalty (Tynes FG)
NYG QB Manning 9 yard pass to RB Barber to the 1 (Jacobs TD)
SD RB Neal 2 yard rush to the 5
SD QB Brees 3 yard pass to RB Neal to the 2 (Turner TD)
SD QB Brees 13 yard pass to WR Parker to the 4
SD RB Tomlinson 3 yard rush to the 1
SD RB Tomlinson rush for no gain from the 1 (Brees to Parker TD)
PIT QB Roethlisberger 21 yard pass to TE Miller to the 4 (Bettis TD)
CIN RB Johnson 4 yard rush to the 5
CIN RB Johnson 4 yard rush to the 1 (Palmer to Kelly TD)
CIN ST / WR Perry 94 yard kick return to the 3 (R. Johnson TD)
SEA RB Alexander 12 yard rush to the 1
SEA RB Alexander minus 5 yard rush to the 6
SEA RB Alexander minus 2 yard rush to the 5
SEA RB Alexander minus 6 yard rush to the 11 (Hasselbeck to Engram TD)
SEA DEF / DB Boulware pass interception returned to the 2 (Alexander TD)
SEA QB Hasselbeck 42 yard pass to WR Hackett to the 3 (Alexander TD)


This one is a "good luck" for Antonio Gates and Drew Brees owners and
I guess a "hard luck" for anyone playing against them: SD QB Brees 6
yard pass to TE Gates ruled incomplete. Challenged and reversed to a
TD.

Sometimes it's better to just not know...

Thanks for playing along. I hope you have a gas with whatever you're
doing in your life. Here's to Football.

Joe


If you've got a Random Shot of your own, shoot me an email at
Bryant@footballguys.com  Thanks to Bill Farrell, Mel Mersberg, Mike
Spike and Craig Riveland for the help on this one.


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