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Week Four Monday 10-pack

Mark Sanchez,  Haloti Ngata AP

We’ve reached the quarter pole of the NFL season.  I don’t really know what a quarter pole is, and I’m not sure of the specific sport in which a quarter pole is used.  I think it’s horse racing.  It could be car racing.

Or maybe it’s fishing.

Either way, that’s where we are right now.  Every team has completed 25 percent of its schedule, and now the fantasy-football frustrations of the bye weeks begin.  Here are 10 takes from the largest slate of Sunday games that will be played until the last Sunday of the regular season, on January 1.

1.  Big deficit?  Big deal.

In the old (i.e., last year and before) NFL, a 20-point lead almost always translated to a victory.  In the new (i.e., this year) NFL, when a team falls behind by 20 points, the reaction of the players on the losing team apparently is to rub their hands together and say, “We’ve got them right where we want them.”

Last week, two teams clawed their way out of 20-point deficits:  the Lions at the Vikings and the Bills versus the Patriots.  This week, two more teams came back from 20 or more behind:  the Lions at the Cowboys and the 49ers at the Eagles.

It’s not as if the Vikings, Patriots, Cowboys, and Eagles are each constructed like the Oilers of the early ’90s.  (OK, the all-pass, no-defense, weak-running-game Pats are close to being the Oilers of the early ’90s.)  But in this throw-happy NFL, it seems as if teams have lost the formula for holding a 20-point margin when fewer than 30 minutes remain to be played.

For the teams that have pulled off what was once unthinkable, the jury remains out on the long-term value of that extra shot of confidence.  The Bills followed their feat by laying an egg in Cincinnati.  The Lions clawed out of a 20-point hole one week only to see the 20 and raise it by four the next.

Regardless, what we’ve seen this season is great for the game.  What once was enough to get fans to change the channel no longer can be regarded as a done deal.

In other words, it truly ain’t over until it actually is over.

2.  Roughing the passer should be subject to replay review.

During overtime of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, referee Scott Green was so focused on the question of whether Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ arm was moving forward on a fumble that resulted in the game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals that Green didn’t notice a blatant pull of the face mask of Rodgers’ helmet.

During the second quarter of Sunday night’s game between the Jets and Ravens, referee Mike Carey was so focused on the question of whether Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s arm was moving forward on a fumble that resulted in a touchdown that put the Ravens up by 20 that Carey didn’t notice a blatant placement of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata’s helmet into Sanchez’s back.

It shouldn’t have happened that way.  The flag should have been thrown, and the touchdown should have been wiped off the board.  Ngata engaged in a clear violation of the rule against hitting defenseless players with a helmet, even though he didn’t hit Sanchez in the helmet.  (Last year, Steelers linebacker James Harrison was fined $20,000 for a similar — but less forceful — hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees.)

So when the play was being reviewed, why didn’t Carey throw a flag then?  It didn’t happen because whether or not roughing the passer occurred isn’t something that is subject to the replay rules.

That needs to change.  Apart from what should be a stubborn desire to “get it right,” the NFL should have an even keener interest in ensuring that the safety rules are enforced.  Since the question of whether a defensive player hit the quarterback in the helmet or with a helmet isn’t a matter of judgment or discretion, this important aspect of the league’s efforts to protect defenseless players should be added to the litany of passing-game particulars that can be reviewed via replay.

3.  It’s time to bid farewell to McNabb.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier isn’t ready to bench quarterback Donovan McNabb.  Frazier may be resisting because Frazier knows that, if/when McNabb is benched, he’ll also have to be cut.

McNabb won’t want to play second fiddle to a rookie on a rag-tag team.  If Donovan is going to be a backup, he’d rather be a backup on a team that has a chance of playing in January.  Or maybe he simply won’t be able to accept the fact that he’s no longer good enough to be anything more than a backup.

Either way, having McNabb around won’t help the development of Christian Ponder.

And even though plenty of blame can be placed on plenty of people in purple other than McNabb, the reality is that McNabb has led the team to zero wins in four tries — and in each game McNabb has presided over a blown lead.

Though the lead blown on Sunday was never very sizable, he still failed to hold it.  Then, when there was a chance to win the game late, he threw four straight incomplete passes in Kansas City territory.

With the Vikings possibly on track to pick quarterback Andrew Luck, the Vikings need to figure out whether they need him.  And the only way to do that is to figure out whether they want Ponder.

4.  Luck sweepstakes feature a team that doesn’t need a quarterback.

If the 0-3 Colts end up with the first pick in the draft, they may or may not take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.  The presence of the first pick in the 1998 draft, Peyton Manning, will be a major factor in the decision-making process.

If the 0-4 Rams — who are now destined to go 0-7 with upcoming games against the Packers, Cowboys, and Saints — finish in the top spot, they surely wouldn’t take Luck only two years after landing Sam Bradford.

Or would they?  Widely regarded as the best quarterback prospect since Manning (if not even better), a complete meltdown in St. Louis could cause owner Stan Kroenke to re-evaluate every job in the organization.  If Kroenke decides to hire a new head coach and/or G.M., all bets would be off on Bradford, the last of the draft-day lottery jackpot winners.

Of course, Luck has some say on this one.  With another year of eligibility remaining at the college level, he could decide to renew his disability insurance policy and wait one more year before jumping to the next level, if he’s not happy with the prospect of playing for the team that holds the first overall pick in the draft once the 2011 season ends.

5.  League’s concussion procedures continue to cause skepticism.

Time and again, we see a player who apparently has suffered a concussion, but whose injury receives a different label altogether.  Whether it’s neck or head or jaw, teams know that mere utterance of the “c” word knocks a guy out for the entire game.

On Sunday, the Steelers said that linebacker James Harrison suffered an eye injury.  Harrison insists that he didn’t suffer a concussion, claiming that the forehead pad in his helmet hit him in the eye after he made a tackle.

The only problem with this is that the injury appeared to happen on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Texans left tackle Duane Brown, and the video doesn’t show any padding sliding into Harrison’s eye.  And he didn’t make the tackle on the play.

Though it could be a matter of semantics, a football player’s desire to play football — coupled with a team’s reluctance to apply a tentative diagnosis that could shut him down automatically — surely influences the handling of borderline cases.  Mild concussions can’t be diagnosed with an X-ray or any other medical instrument.  It’s a judgment call, and it would be naive to assume that decades of the exercise of medical judgment in a manner that allows football players to play football would go completely out the window, especially in close cases.

As a result, truly independent neurologists should be making the assessment of players who may have concussions, and all doubt should be resolved in favor of keeping the player out, unless and until there is clear evidence that no concussion has been suffered.

Of course, that procedure should apply only during a game.  At some point, a lucid player who is suffering some post-concussion symptoms should be permitted to assume the risk of incurring another concussion.  But in the heat of the battle, any player who possibly has had a concussion should be yanked from the game and prevented from returning without proof that he’s indeed concussion-free.

6.  Cris Carter was right, after all.

When ESPN’s Cris Carter inadvertently omitted Lions receiver Calvin Johnson from an off-the-cuff list of the top five receivers in the NFL and then opted to dig in his heels instead of admitting his error, Carter was right.  Sort of.

Johnson isn’t one of the top five receivers in the NFL.  He’s in the top one.  He’s the best, without question.

In his first three seasons, Johnson’s talents had been obscured by the fact that he was the lone bright among Matt Millen’s cruel joke of a football roster.  But there was no denying his potential, even though the Raiders haven’t received nearly the level of criticism they deserve for passing on the guy who already is better than Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Tim Brown, and every other standout Raiders wideout combined.

Johnson now has four straight two-touchdown games, tying Carter’s record and putting Johnson on pace for 32 in 2011.  And yet he still sees periodic single coverage.

Then again, it may not matter.  Single, double, triple.  It doesn’t matter.  He’s Randy Moss with more meat on his bones and a better attitude.  (Can you imagine how Moss would have pouted and moped and metastasized his way through a 0-16 season?)

Johnson is, simply put, the new standard for NFL receivers.  We all want to witness something historic.  Right now, in Detroit, we are.

7.  Giving thanks for Thanksgiving.

For years, the early game on Thanksgiving has featured the Lions playing at home.  For years, the game has been inconsequential.

This year, it could be the biggest game of the season.

The 4-0 Packers and the 4-0 Lions won’t meet until the fourth Thursday in November.  There’s a chance (slim, but a chance) that they’ll both be 10-0.  Even if they aren’t, there’s a good chance that they’ll both have a lot more wins that losses — and that their pair of holiday games (Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day) will be the difference between the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a wild-card road trip to San Francisco.

Speaking of San Francisco, the Harbaugh family reunion set for Thanksgiving night should be a pretty good game, too.  If only the Dolphins weren’t playing at Dallas, it would be the best tripleheader the NFL has ever seen.

8.  So much for the Romo re-set button.

After Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo led his team back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against the 49ers in Week Two, I said that I wanted to see him do that against an eilte team before I’d declare his late-game demons exorcised.

He got his chance against the Lions.  And what happened was so much worse than failing to deliver in the clutch.

There would have been no need for clutch play at all if Romo hadn’t collapsed under the weight of a 24-point lead.  Even then, he had a chance to save the day, and he didn’t get it done.

Romo surely will have more good days and bad days over the course of the season, but it’s impossible to shake the sense that they’ll win just enough times so that he can deliver defeat when the chips are down in the postseason.

9.  Bengals end a long streak of Buffalo futility.

The last time the Bengals beat the Bills before Sunday, the man who wears No. 14 in Cincinnati was only 14 months old.  Between January 8, 1989 and October 2, 2011, the Bills had beaten the Bengals 10 straight times.

It was the longest streak of futility by one team against another team.

Of course, it only became the longest streak last Sunday.  After the Bills beat the Patriots.

What could be more fitting in this crazy, upside-down season than the Bills beating the Pats for the first time in 16 tries than the Bills then losing to an inferior team that had previously lost 10 straight to Buffalo?

10.  Victor Cruz call was the right one.

Sunday’s most controversial call came in Arizona, site of one of the biggest wins in Giants’ history.  Receiver Victor Cruz fell down, got up, and left the ball behind.

Cardinals defenders, who foolishly failed to touch Cruz while he was down given that he could have gotten up and kept running, recovered the ball.

Though many disagree with the decision (some, like Tony Dungy of Football Night in America, strongly), the rules support the decision that was made.  A play ends when a runner “declares himself down by falling to the ground, or kneeling, and making no effort to advance.”

That’s what Cruz did.  He fell to the ground, and he made no effort to advance.  Play over.

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79 Responses to “Week Four Monday 10-pack”
  1. mrconnors says: Oct 3, 2011 2:30 AM

    Yeah, the weak running game Patriots who only ran for like 190 yards this week. They’re only considered weak because their idiot offensive coordinator is still throwing with 4 minutes left and an 18 point lead.

  2. duncanthecat says: Oct 3, 2011 2:31 AM

    I would add Romo to the list of QB’s to get benched.

  3. revengeofthefilthymcnasty says: Oct 3, 2011 2:32 AM

    Nice work, Mike.

    The 0-7 Rams will sell Andrew Luck for everything they can. God knows the Skins could use the help.

  4. thateric36 says: Oct 3, 2011 3:01 AM

    4 out of 10 relating to the Lions? I’m not mad about it. Times have changed.

  5. contract says: Oct 3, 2011 3:26 AM

    “As a result, truly independent neurologists should be making the assessment of players who may have concussions, and all doubt should be resolved in favor of keeping the player out, unless and until there is clear evidence that no concussion has been suffered.”

    These are grown men making life decisions for themselves. Whether you agree with their decisions or not … where do you get off trying to override their choices?

    Who gets to decide on your behalf?

  6. plum13sec says: Oct 3, 2011 3:38 AM

    Chris Carter is eating his words in the worst way. Calvin Johnson hasnt said a word about it, and is quietly having the best season a WR has had since Moss

  7. judgejuday says: Oct 3, 2011 3:41 AM

    Really? Replay review for roughing the passer?

    No thanks

  8. glisic says: Oct 3, 2011 4:01 AM

    2. Roughing the passer should be subject to replay review.

    ——————————————————–

    NFL should forget about tuck rule, that would make game better and referee’s job easier.

  9. seaner44 says: Oct 3, 2011 4:17 AM

    Ummm. Did someone forget about the Monday nighter?

  10. cavredleg15 says: Oct 3, 2011 4:21 AM

    If Victor Cruz truly gave himself up and wanted to be ruled down. He did it in the clumsiest way ever done by an NFL player.

  11. btwicey says: Oct 3, 2011 4:55 AM

    Agreed. Would be hard to admit for a cards fan though, or any fan if you were playing against that for that matter.

  12. broncobeta says: Oct 3, 2011 5:46 AM

    “…the rules support the decision that was made.”

    See Mike, that’s not the problem. The problem is that it’s up to the ref’s discretion, which 9 times out of 10, is awful.

    There have been plays like this before where the ruling was the exact opposite.

    Mike Pereira, who would know way more than you, said this was a bad call.

  13. demoderbydoug says: Oct 3, 2011 5:55 AM

    There is something all these so called sports writers need to figure out, there is a huge difference between lack of talent and a young team getting use to the NFL.

  14. Moxie says: Oct 3, 2011 6:02 AM

    Dungy and Harrison were dead wrong. In trying to get up, Cruz started back towards the huddle. I cannot believe so many of the so called experts did not see this or cannot correctly interpret the rule.

  15. oriolesvsravens says: Oct 3, 2011 6:05 AM

    I don’t think Ngata could avoid hitting Sanchez with his helmet first. Its hard to line up the perfect hit when you’re that big of a person at that speed. But that Ravens offense? The first play of the game did it for me. An 5 WR set empty backfield passing play near your own endzone? Against the Jets? Who thinks of this stuff!

  16. normswifevera says: Oct 3, 2011 6:16 AM

    Nobody’s talking about this because nobody cared about the game, but during Minny @ KC there was another example of a non-TD being allowed because the review booth didn’t pay attention and the defense wasn’t allowed to challenge.

    The Vikes got a 4th quarter TD from one yard out that wasn’t a TD. The receiver didn’t get both feet in. It’s obvious watching the replay. And the play wasn’t even reviewed, let alone overturned. Meanwhile, KC can’t throw the red flag.

    It didn’t end up impacting the outcome, but this isn’t the first time such a thing has happened this season. If the NFL can’t get it right on their own, they absolutely have to let teams throw the challenge flag in that situation. It’s ridiculous to let a non-TD go on the board because guys in the booth can’t do their jobs.

  17. 1historian says: Oct 3, 2011 6:36 AM

    make this #11 – I don’t care WHAT the reason, pro football players look RIDICULOUS wearing pink shoes, pink hankies, pink towels, pink whatever-have-you.

    But that’s just me

  18. 1historian says: Oct 3, 2011 6:40 AM

    Comment on #9 – the week after beating the Pats the Bills lose to the bengals, for pete’s (or anyone else’s) sake.
    Meanwhile the Pats don’t look THAT good, but they still whip the Raiders in Oakland.

    How a team does the week after a big loss or win says a lot about that team. Buffalo is getting better but they ain’t there yet – not by a long shot.

  19. nokoolaidcowboy says: Oct 3, 2011 6:47 AM

    Regarding the Dallas Cowboys. The real Cowboys fans know what to expect from this team. And we’re NOT the ones posting how glorious they are. We call a spade a spade.

    Blame Romo for being the gun slinger, but he is what he is. The problem is Jason Garrett. He is NOT a HC. He is too soft to get into anyone’s face. Jerry wanted a puppet coach and that is what he got. Garret will never get on Romo for mistakes and when the Defense has it’s miscues, he would never get on Ryan.

    This team needs a HC, an OC and a DC. Until then this will be another season of living week to week.

    Don’t drink the Koolaid, stop living in the past.

  20. stinger22 says: Oct 3, 2011 6:47 AM

    For someone who prides himself for attention to detail, you have done some shoddy fact checking. The Patriots are the #9 ranked rushing offense in the league. So much for a weak running game. However, your reference regarding NE’s no defense is spot on.

  21. bobbyhoying says: Oct 3, 2011 6:50 AM

    It just hit me. Andy Reid is a genius in making Juan Castillo the defensive coordinator. He wants to generate enough losses to have the top pick in the draft. He’ll then trade Vick to Dan Snyder for three first round picks and start Luck next year.

  22. wiley16350 says: Oct 3, 2011 6:58 AM

    Why does the call in the Giants game get so much publicity when it was clearly the right call and the Call in Buffalo that Steve Johnson didn’t make a catch to convert a 3rd down (when he clearly did make the catch) get no publicity? It’s absolutely rediculous. If you want to get on the officials case about something, at least do it on something that was wrong. That call in Buffalo was absolutely horrible and unexplainable.

  23. dude317 says: Oct 3, 2011 6:58 AM

    11. The Eagles “dream time” is a nightmare for Eagles fans, a “dream” for fans of the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys.

  24. dude317 says: Oct 3, 2011 6:59 AM

    Sheesh, too early. “Dream TEAM” not time. Oy.

  25. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 3, 2011 7:05 AM

    no, we don’t need to review qb hits but we do need a running into the passer penalty. getting an automatic first down when blocked or tripped into the qb is ridiculous (ie Pittsburgh yesterday)

  26. cakemixa says: Oct 3, 2011 7:24 AM

    lol 4-0 and using Lions and No. 1 seed in the same thought

  27. VikesPrincess (Lisa) says: Oct 3, 2011 7:25 AM

    I’ve been saying for 2 weeks that McNabb has to be benched. Of course, I’ve been saying since January that McNabb should not be offered the chance to wear purple & gold, but the Vikings’ management doesn’t listen to me.

    Leslie Frazier doesn’t have the guts to make tough decisions. That’s been obvious for a long time – and why I said last season he shouldn’t be offered the head coaching spot.

    The Wilfs are great owners – but they need to make some radical changes, starting with McNabb and Frazier.

  28. billsgotballs says: Oct 3, 2011 7:32 AM

    Fact check:

    The “all-pass, no-defense, weak-running-game Pats”, as you call them are 9th in rushing, averaging 122 yards per game. Defensively, they rank 21st in points allowed per game.

  29. canjura says: Oct 3, 2011 7:35 AM

    Victor Cruz TRIPPED and assumed he was marked down. You have to play until the whistle and Cruz gave up on the play before the whistle. Therefore, that should have been a fumble and the Cardinals should have won that game. And, I’m a Rams fan.

  30. Andre's Johnson says: Oct 3, 2011 7:50 AM

    Great post, Mike.

    It pains me to say that, yeah, I think Calvin Johnson is asserting himself as the most dangerous WR in the game. It also pains me to see Andre Johnson clutching the back of his leg.

    I might disagree with you about the Victor Cruz call, though. It seems to me that he stopped making the effort to advance after he’d already lost the ball.

  31. cardsfann1 says: Oct 3, 2011 7:50 AM

    What about when Plax spiked the ball? They picked the ball up and ran with it. Wrong call.

  32. jigwig13 says: Oct 3, 2011 8:12 AM

    Not a fan of either team but I do agree that the victor cruz call was the right call..he didn’t seem like he was going to get up and run…not sure if he knew thee rule either but u can tell he gave his self up when he was attempting to go to the line before getting tackled..either that or he thought he was touched…never seen that happen before next time hear the whistle first

  33. rocketdogsports says: Oct 3, 2011 8:20 AM

    No more delays for off field review of roughing the passer calls. The flow of the game is disrupted and the game itself lasts longer than a Ken Burns documentary.

  34. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Oct 3, 2011 8:48 AM

    If you want to see a receiver “declare himself down” watch the 58 yard catch by AJ Green. He goes to the ground- and stays on the ground- giving himself up. Cruz stumbled and fell, and immediately got up without the ball.

  35. nickmiller63 says: Oct 3, 2011 8:52 AM

    I realize that the Niners can’t be called “elite.” But can the Lions? Not really. The Niners defense may even be more “elite” than the Lions’, so Romo’s failure against the Lions is even more egregious than you say.

  36. edukator4 says: Oct 3, 2011 8:57 AM

    in my opinion i see no problem with how ngata hit sanchez. yes his helmet hit him first, but he didnt launch himself. when a player remains on his feet a helmet to the torso is not as devastating as one would believe.

    and the nfl will continue to have a problem on their hands when everyone except for qbs and wrs are allowed to get hit in the head by other players. this time it was harrison, but as mentioned a plethora of times, almost every position player close to the line takes helmet to helmet hits all game long.

  37. skins23 says: Oct 3, 2011 8:59 AM

    You could not be more wrong about Cruz, but that doesn’t surprise me because you could not be more wrong about a lot of things.

    How bout those 31st ranked Redskins?

  38. jimmysee says: Oct 3, 2011 9:01 AM

    If the Vikings were to receive the top draft pick (thank you, Donovan) and select Andrew Luck, it would be actually another example of bad management in Minnesota — and another wasted first round draft pick from when the team selected Christian Ponder.

    So what is Ponder, chopped liver?

    Would they be so ready to toss the kid to the curb?

    Aced out of a career by Donovan McNabb and a Vikings team who can’t develop a QB.

    What a tragedy.

    What a joke.

  39. aaronitout says: Oct 3, 2011 9:02 AM

    #10….Cruz clearly let the ball go and started standing up. Yes it looked like he stumbled to the ground but he definitely gave up on the play.

    I do think the rule should be changed to say that a player giving their self up should have to slide feet first or take a knee.

  40. blackbeardk says: Oct 3, 2011 9:27 AM

    Raiders also passed on Adrian Peterson in the same draft to take JaMarcus Russell who was supposed to be like Cam Newton this year…but too much purple drink can result in an early exit from the league…

  41. zn0rseman says: Oct 3, 2011 9:28 AM

    ALL penalties (both called and uncalled) should be reviewable and challengable. Far too many games are being decided by flagrant missed calls and/or horribly bad calls, by refs who don’t even seem to be clear on the rules. (Oddly enough, the same handful of teams keep benefiting from this bad officiating.)

    The only time a penalty should be called (when one wasn’t) or one be taken away (when called) should be when it’s obvious that the ref was clearly wrong.

    Too much is riding on each game, and it’s not right that teams are winning/losing games because the refs are incompetent. If the NFL wanted to get it right, that is what they should do.

    Sadly I don’t think the NFL wants that kind of accuracy in officiating, because otherwise the Steelers and Giants would lose a lot more games.

  42. mvpolamalu says: Oct 3, 2011 9:33 AM

    No cruz

  43. sonvar says: Oct 3, 2011 9:36 AM

    I completely disagree with #10. What happens if the defenders start walking away and Cruz decides to go into the endzone? Clearly he wasn’t down by contact at that point. I agree with aaronitout that the rule should be changed that a player has to slide or take a knee for themselves to be declared giving themself up. Otherwise you’re leaving too much gray area in my mind.

    Bad call by the officials

  44. peytonwantsaflag says: Oct 3, 2011 9:50 AM

    Yea- the Cruz call was the right one until two weeks from now some smart runner falls to the ground and gets up and runs it in for a td when everybody turns his back on him.

    (and don’t try to tell me the refs wouldn’t allow it – these refs? there’s absolutely no continuity game to game anymore)

  45. nebster21 says: Oct 3, 2011 9:50 AM

    #10
    1) It is called like that in the endzone because that is how they call a touch back.
    2) It is called like that when the QB takes the snap and than kneels down.
    3) So anytime a reciever lands on the ground the play should be called over? That would have sucked for Vincent Jackson. The Cardinals may have not touched him to let time run. He was technically never touched down so the play should have gone on. I hope the ref gets a demerit.

  46. cusoman says: Oct 3, 2011 10:14 AM

    Give me a break Jimmysee – you can’t criticize the Vikes for not being able to develop a QB when the fact is they haven’t really had a shot with lack of a true off-season. You can criticize for not giving him the chance yet to learn on the job, but that doesn’t change the fact that the whole picture is part of the development process.

  47. batterychucker says: Oct 3, 2011 10:17 AM

    Another reason that roughing the passer should be reviewed – that crappy call against J.J. Watt when he was literally thrown into Roethlisberger in the end zone and they called it roughing the passer. It was clear on the replays that he fell into Ben and wasn’t trying to tackle him low.

  48. stairwayto7 says: Oct 3, 2011 10:22 AM

    That’s what Cruz did. He fell to the ground, and he made no effort to advance. Play over.
    ———————————————————-Mike, I guess you did nto hear Cruz say he thought he was touched! Eli said we got a break, I though tit was a fumble!
    The refs need to make sure everytome Cruz goes to the ground the play is dead liek COLLEGE! Cruz can not get back up and start running! That call could cost Whisenhunt his job and nothing happens to the refs!

  49. hitdog042 says: Oct 3, 2011 10:22 AM

    cusoman..

    The Bengals had the same off season as the Vikings.

    Dalton is doing fine.

    Excuses.

  50. contraryguy says: Oct 3, 2011 10:31 AM

    9. inferior team, perhaps … but the Bengals had the better defense. PFT will need to get used to hearing that this year, strange as it may sound.

  51. rabidbillsfan says: Oct 3, 2011 10:32 AM

    Here’s something I thought about after watching many “Tuck Rule” style calls yesterday. What if the rule were to state, that the tuck rule only applies as long as the only thing contacted is the ball/arm of the QB by the defender. Which means if, like in Cincy, the QB is in the grasp of the defender and the ball comes out, regardless of arm motion, it should be a fumble. And the play that would actually call for the tuck rule to be enforced, would be the Reed fumble last night. Now their obviously needs to be tweaks and clarifications. Reed hit the ball well before Sanchez started his throwing motion, so that should still be ruled a fumble, but that was the best example of the weekend. And for the “In the Grasp” rule, they should include that the ball would have to make it to or near the line of scrimage for it to be ruled an incomplete pass. To me, that seems easier to call in real-time, and easier to evaluate on a replay. PFT let me know your thoughts! I’m open to criticism.

  52. demons87 says: Oct 3, 2011 10:36 AM

    #6 You say Calvin Johnson is the best WR without question.

    I have a few questions:
    Which receiver has almost twice as many yards and catches at Calvin Johnson.
    Which receiver has produced 29 first downs to Johnson’s 24 catches?
    Which received only has 3 less TDs?

    Wes Welker at 154 yards/game average is the answer.

    You would never consider a goal line running back to be the best in the league, especially if he had only 3 TD more than the a running back with twice as many yards.

    Thinking Calvin Johnson is the best receiver is fine, but don’t disregard Welker when you say he’s the best without question.

  53. southpaw2k says: Oct 3, 2011 10:38 AM

    11. This is going to be a long, painful season for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  54. rabidbillsfan says: Oct 3, 2011 10:42 AM

    Another point. What was up with all the Official on Official over-ruling? If your going to tell me that 1.) There was enough eveidence for an official standing 12-15 yards away to overturn a catch,and 2.) that an offical can throw a flag for interference, and then have it over-ruled by a guy standing 8-12 yards away that can’t see the majority of both the players involved, then you need to have a mental evaluation.There should be only be one person that overrules calls, and thats the head Ref, and the only thing that can allow him to do it is Instant replay. I know reviewing penalties is a sore subject, but Stevie J.s catch was questionable at worst. It shouldn’t have been up to the Bills to challenge that call because of the initial ruling being overturned. This is where the NFL needs to step in and say, “Listen, This is what is a catch and what isn’t, initial calls stand, leave it up to the teams to decide on challenging or not. Last time I checked, Refs carried yellow flags, not red.

  55. Pacific NW Mark says: Oct 3, 2011 10:43 AM

    I too think Donovan’s better playing days are behind him, but what’s he supposed to do, tighten his chinstrap and go out and make tackles on defense? The fact the Vikes can’t keep opponents from mounting second half, double-digit come-from-behind victories can’t be laid solely at McNabb’s feet.

    Someone on this team needs to play defense.

  56. supashug says: Oct 3, 2011 11:08 AM

    Ngatas hit was awesome!

  57. psychoward says: Oct 3, 2011 11:09 AM

    I hear what you’re saying about Harrison, but I thought from the very beginning that he was dealing witha n eye injury. That’s what it looked like when he was on one knee after the play. On the other hand, Arain Foster unsnapped his chin strap, walked slowly to the sidelines while he was shaking his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. Looked like a textbook concussion response to me, but he was back on the field two play later and finished the game. At what point do we start to talk about infringing on the rights of the player to make their own decisions? Retired O-lineman have major knee issues. Most of them long, term. Do we force a guy out of the league if he blows out a knee?

  58. thingamajig says: Oct 3, 2011 11:26 AM

    The Monday 10 Pack is getting to be nothing more than someone (MF) being able to get up on his soapbox and argue everything like an ex lawyer.

  59. nesuperfan says: Oct 3, 2011 11:34 AM

    zn0rseman says:Oct 3, 2011 9:28 AM

    ALL penalties (both called and uncalled) should be reviewable and challengable.
    __________________________________

    And invite 15-hour Raiders games? I could picture this in ONE game, Oakland penalties: 132 for 1575 yards if you had refs reviewing every call.

    You just can’t be review on-field calls like that. The game would just take too long.

  60. The Phantom Stranger says: Oct 3, 2011 11:55 AM

    jimmysee says:
    Oct 3, 2011 9:01 AM
    If the Vikings were to receive the top draft pick (thank you, Donovan) and select Andrew Luck, it would be actually another example of bad management in Minnesota — and another wasted first round draft pick from when the team selected Christian Ponder.

    So what is Ponder, chopped liver?

    Would they be so ready to toss the kid to the curb?

    Aced out of a career by Donovan McNabb and a Vikings team who can’t develop a QB.

    What a tragedy.

    What a joke.
    ____________

    So picking a quarterback in the first round is a wasted draft pick because there’s a chance you might be so bad you could get the first pick in the draft the next year? Planning on having the worst record in the NFL is your idea of good management? The only tragedy and joke around here is you.

  61. pigskinswag says: Oct 3, 2011 12:05 PM

    Tony Romo is quite a talent. No other quarterback in the league can throw passes with both hands around his neck.

  62. jens1038 says: Oct 3, 2011 12:23 PM

    Did I read that right?

    “Calvin Johnson….better than Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch, Tim Brown, and every other standout Raiders wideout combined.”

    That’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard.

    Cliff Branch – 3 Superbowls

    Fred Biletnikoff – 1 Superbowl, HoF

    Tim Brown – 9 straight 1000-yard seasons… and 100 touchdowns. (NFL record 10 consecutive seasons with at least 75 receptions)

    Dave Casper (technically a TE, I know) (2 Superbowls, HoF)

    Do your homework…. there was an NFL before you started writing about it.

  63. Deb says: Oct 3, 2011 12:35 PM

    2. Roughing the passer should be subject to replay review.

    Hate to be hypercritical of Carey, but he might not have called the play correctly even if he’d had the opportunity to review it. During last year’s Colts/Jags game, a flag was inadvertently thrown after a play. Carey announced there was no foul on the play–then ordered the teams to replay the down. The man has been an NFL official for two decades. You do not replay the down when there’s no foul on the play. And Ngata’s helmet hit of Sanchez wasn’t the only action Carey missed last night. He also missed Ed Reed roughing the kicker, which would have been an offsetting penalty to a holding call.

    Carey isn’t the only official screwing up on the field. Games are being decided by bad calls and, the Red Zone review has only made matters worse by robbing coaches of their chance to challenge crucial plays.

    Just as you’ve campaigned for a more intelligent method of Hall of Fame selection, you need to be lobbying for more effective methods of officiating.

  64. stiffarm37 says: Oct 3, 2011 12:48 PM

    Two things:

    – Instead of using replay for EVERYTHING as you seem to be in favor of, I think it’s a better idea to go the other way. Eliminate replay altogether, except for maybe the final 2-5 minutes of the game, so there won’t be a blown call to end and truly decide a game. No matter how much replay you use, there will always be the human factor involved. For instance, trying to determine roughing the passer from a slow-motion instant replay, which is the worst idea you have ever presented. It is still a judgement call, and it DOES open up a can of worms. The whole thing is getting ridiculous and more time is spent now splitting hairs instead of talking about the game.

    – Calvin Johnson is not the bigger, better Randy Moss. Stop it. He looks great, but let’s not get carried away.

  65. ampatsisahypocrite says: Oct 3, 2011 1:04 PM

    11. Joe Flacco still stinks.

  66. axespray says: Oct 3, 2011 1:18 PM

    That Thanksgiving game is gonna be BIG time.

    I know we’ll represent well, the detriot fans will be pumped.

    Been awhile since a Packer/Lion game has had this much on the line….

    Reminds me of the Favre/Sanders days.

  67. cusoman says: Oct 3, 2011 1:36 PM

    hitdog042 says:
    Oct 3, 2011 10:22 AM
    cusoman..

    The Bengals had the same off season as the Vikings.

    Dalton is doing fine.

    —————

    Dalton is also learning on the job, which, if you’ll read my entire comment, was covered by alluding to the fact that the only blame they can have for not giving some development for Ponder is by keeping McNabb in and not letting Ponder have his shots.

    Frazier can definitely be blamed for that and I’m not making any excuses for him there, because I’m of the mind that Ponder needs as many snaps as possible this year so we know what we have in him before the draft as it’s looking the Vikes will have a top 5 draft pick.

  68. purpwalk says: Oct 3, 2011 1:43 PM

    In Luck We Suck

    In God We Trust is on our fiat US currency, and trust and faith is about all you get with a fiat dollar, but a new Vikings’ strategy can offer some real rope-a-dope hope for our future. We’re going to need to lose a lot of games, though, to accomplish our goal, so let’s focus on sucking the rest of the season to be assured of that first draft pick in 2012. This won’t be too hard for us to do because we already really do suck. We just have to keep it going and make it look like we’re really trying to win. Conspiracy theorists are convinced we started this plan long before the season began, and by the time the Vikings start to win again, with Luck, they’ll be in their new stadium in L. A.

    Spread the word, In Luck We Suck.

  69. purpwalk says: Oct 3, 2011 1:43 PM

    Squander Ponder in ‘The Luck Tank’

    Sacrifices have to be made, and we are rolling out our new Squander Ponder effort. Many of us thought Ponder was a reach when we drafted him, and now that we have him we need to try him out and see what he can do for us. But not on the field. Let’s put Ponder over a tank of water and let fans throw balls at a target to dunk him, we’ll call it ‘The Luck Tank’. All proceeds will go towards drafting Andrew Luck next April.

    Tank you for participating.

  70. CKL says: Oct 3, 2011 1:48 PM

    “9. Bengals end a long streak of Buffalo futility.

    What could be more fitting in this crazy, upside-down season than the Bills beating the Pats for the first time in 16 tries than the Bills then losing to an inferior team that had previously lost 10 straight to Buffalo?”
    ______________________________________
    I’m a Pats fan but this was one of the 1 pm games I watched while waiting for my team’s game to air and I don’t agree that Cincy is an inferior team. Buffalo has a hellafied offense and Cincy’s defense kept them in check. I am jealous not only of the Cincy defense but also their tackling ability. I’m a defensive fan at heart and having an average to below average D and run game is what has kept my team from winning a SB since 2004. Cincy has a solid D, a nice run game and Dalton looks to be a gamer who doesn’t get rattled after mistakes. They have a good future I think.

  71. palewook says: Oct 3, 2011 2:14 PM

    #1 d in the nfl, yup thats inferior. censor this for the 3rd time mike, makes this none the less truthful.

  72. palewook says: Oct 3, 2011 2:34 PM

    lol comment 3 removed for mentioning the bengals have the #1 d in the nfl. nice site. got an agenda?

  73. halftermguv says: Oct 3, 2011 4:28 PM

    Ngata’s hit on Sanchez was spearing pure and simple and should have been a personal foul.

  74. diehardcard says: Oct 3, 2011 4:45 PM

    You won’t post my first comment because you know I’m right. Cruz is a rook and thought he was down because his knee hit. He didn’t have some deep fundamental understanding of the NFL rulebook. He had a rookie brainfart and the ref bailed him out. Cut and dry. Just admit it.

  75. ezwriter69 says: Oct 3, 2011 5:28 PM

    Dead wrong on the Cruz call… however you “declare yourself down”, you’re not down until the ref confirms and acknowledges it. Curl into a ball, take a knee and stay there, or flop like a wuss like Cruz did, but you’re still not down until the ref says so, which he didn’t… horrible call.

  76. diehardcard says: Oct 3, 2011 7:26 PM

    Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that Patrick Peterson was the closest Cardinal to Cruz when he went down. Another rookie that forgot that Cruz wasn’t down yet. Kerry Rhodes (a veteran) IMMEDIATELY tackled Cruz AS HE WAS GETTING UP. His knee was still on the ground when Rhodes hit him. Watch the replay. Cruz fell and then started to get up ALL IN THE SAME MOTION. He never stopped. This was clearly a rookie mistake and it should have cost the Giants the game. Arguing otherwise is dishonest.

  77. ktravp says: Oct 3, 2011 8:16 PM

    Once again, the journalistic lemmings are repeating each other and the false mantra of Bengals being an “inferior” team. @palewook and @CKL have it right, the Bengals defense is #1 in the NFL and play very physical up front. Our front 4 were in Buffalo’s backfield all day yesterday. Our special teams won the battle of field position and our offense really came alive in the 2nd half.

    I’m getting tired of analysts who are attributing the Bengals win over the Bills to one “bad call” for Steve Johnson’s reception or saying the Bills are not quite as good as they thought. The Bills fought hard yesterday and have a great offense, but they were beaten all day by a superior defense. In the 2nd half the Bills run defense was getting pummeled by our offensive line and we established the run and started connecting downfield on passes.

    If you disagree, you must have been watching a different game than me. Bengals had 25 first downs and were 41% on 3rd down conversions. Bills had 12 first downs and were a measly 28% on 3rd down conversions. Bills could barely get past the 50 yard line the entire game. We had 458 total yards, they had only 273.

    Last week, everyone was singing the praises of the Bills and their come-from-behind win over the Patriots. Now that the Bills played a top tier defense, many of these football “experts” are needlessly changing their opinion of Buffalo just so they can cling to their bias against the Bengals.

    Who Dey!!

  78. dreno322 says: Oct 4, 2011 9:34 AM

    You can call the Bengals inferior but their defense might punch you in the face! Y’all keep talkin’ Romo, Vick, and the rest of your weekly bla bla bla! There are some under the radar teams that will get there love when it counts! For now, I’ll just say Bengals Defense is #1 BABY! (in the mu$%^&%$ fu%^%…league!

  79. truthserum4u says: Oct 5, 2011 8:38 AM

    Going in a different direction here because I get tired of incorrect information being thrown around.

    During overtime of the first round of the 2009 playoffs, referee Scott Green was so focused on the question of whether Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ arm was moving forward on a fumble that resulted in the game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals that Green didn’t notice a blatant pull of the face mask of Rodgers’ helmet.

    At no point was Rodgers’ facemask pulled, tugged or twisted, which needs to happen in order for it to be a penalty. The defender’s fingers bumped the mask down some. Can’t even say how much it caused Rodgers’ helemt to go down since he started looking down to find the ball at the same time. The league came out afterwards and stated it was NOT a facemask!

    Stop with this already, we had our fill of it two years ago. This point of view was wrong then and is wrong now.

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