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NFL morning after: What a crazy Sunday

Ravens' Boldin eludes Cowboys' Carr for a first down in the first half of their NFL football game in Baltimore Reuters

Was it even possible to follow all of the action in the NFL this Sunday?

If you were watching the Lions come from behind and beat the Eagles in overtime, did that make you miss the Cowboys’ failed comeback in Baltimore, where Dallas missed a game-winning field goal as time expired? Maybe you were watching the undefeated Falcons need a 55-yard field goal with one second left to beat a surprisingly game Raiders team. But if you were, did you miss the Dolphins improve to 3-3 with a surprisingly stout defense and a surprisingly effective rookie quarterback in Ryan Tannehill? And if you watched the Browns get their first win of the year, how were you supposed to follow along as the Jets blew out the Colts and made a statement that they’re a serious team, not a circus?

And that’s just some of the early-afternoon action. In the late afternoon games, the other New York team made a statement as the Giants pounded the 49ers. But if you were watching that game, you missed an absolutely amazing sequence of events — Russell Wilson throwing the second of his two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Seahawks over the Patriots, Robert Griffin III running for a 76-yard touchdown to seal the Redskins’ win over the Vikings and Jay Feely missing a 39-yard game-winning field goal, just moments after he had made a 61-yard field goal to force overtime for the Cardinals in a game they’d ultimately lose to the Bills — that all happened almost simultaneously.

This was an amazing Sunday of NFL action, but that’s what we’ve grown accustomed to. Week in and week out, the NFL is the best program on television. The NFL’s drama is more compelling than anything anyone could script. And we’ve still got 11 more regular-season Sundays to go.

Here are my other thoughts on the wild day in the NFL:

What Madden Curse? Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was the cover boy for this year’s Madden video game, but there’s no evidence of any curse. In Sunday’s win over the Eagles, Johnson caught six passes for 135 yards, and he’s now on pace for 1,786 this season — more than 100 yards better than his league-leading total last year. If anyone can kill the Madden Curse, it’s Megatron.

The NFL uniform police are pretty silly. Colts receiver Reggie Wayne wore orange gloves last week because orange is the color used to denote leukemia awareness, and Wayne wanted to honor coach Chuck Pagano, who’s battling leukemia. This week ESPN reported that the NFL told Wayne he couldn’t wear the orange gloves anymore. I realize uniforms are supposed to be, well, uniform, but there’s no reason that during a month when the league is painting everything pink for breast cancer awareness, there’s no reason they couldn’t have allowed Wayne to keep wearing the orange gloves.

Rookie quarterbacks continue to impress. It’s stunning how good these rookie passers are. Seattle’s Russell Wilson had 293 passing yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 133.7 passer rating — the highest passer rating of any quarterback in any game on Sunday afternoon — in a win over New England. Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns as the Browns beat the Bengals. Ryan Tannehill completed 21 of 29 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions as the Dolphins beat the Rams. Robert Griffin III had about as good a running game as you’ll ever see from a quarterback, gaining 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Redskins beat the Vikings. The Colts’ Andrew Luck was the one rookie quarterback who didn’t lead his team to a win this week, but as we discussed last week, he’s already shown plenty of reasons to believe that he’s going to be an excellent quarterback for many years. There was a time when quarterbacks coming out of college needed some time to adjust to the pro game, but that time has passed. These rookie quarterbacks are ready to play, and play well, right now.

Larry Fitzgerald’s amazing career continues. Fitzgerald’s 93 receiving yards put him at 10,045 yards for his career. At 29 years and 44 days old, Fitzgerald has joined Randy Moss as the only receivers to top 10,000 yards before turning 30. What’s really impressive about Fitzgerald, however, is that he has played most of his career with subpar quarterbacks. Other than a few years with Kurt Warner, Fitzgerald has been stuck with the Josh McCowns, Matt Leinarts, Derek Andersons, Kevin Kolbs and John Skeltons of the world. To put up numbers like Fitzgerald while playing with quarterbacks like that is remarkable. It’s also remarkable that Fitzgerald has remained a perfect teammate who never, ever complains that the Cardinals’ quarterbacks aren’t getting the job done.

The Patriots’ pass defense is a mess. After giving up six passing plays of 20 or more yards in Sunday’s loss to Seattle, the Patriots have now given up 33 such passing plays so far this season — by far the most of any team in the NFL. New England’s secondary just isn’t good enough, and if Bill Belichick can’t get it straightened out, I have a hard time seeing New England winning a playoff game against a good quarterback.

The Packers aren’t going down without a fight. The Texans entered Sunday looking like the best team in the league. The Packers took it to them on Sunday night in Houston. Coming off a disappointing loss to the Colts last week, the Packers needed to play their best game of the season. And that’s exactly what they did.

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38 Responses to “NFL morning after: What a crazy Sunday”
  1. CKL says: Oct 15, 2012 8:14 AM

    Also if anyone doubted that the NFC>AFC, that doubt should have been obliterated yesterday.

  2. succulentnipples says: Oct 15, 2012 8:16 AM

    Damn Eagles. WTF?

  3. logicalthinkersays says: Oct 15, 2012 8:31 AM

    The other 31 NFL fanbases woke up today wishing RGIII was their QB.

  4. rushandvanhalen says: Oct 15, 2012 8:31 AM

    Of course no Madden curse for Megatron…the game seems to be more about Ray Lewis.

  5. lucky5936 says: Oct 15, 2012 8:40 AM

    The NFL uniform police are pretty silly. Colts receiver Reggie Wayne wore orange gloves last week because orange is the color used to denote leukemia awareness, and Wayne wanted to honor coach Chuck Pagano, who’s battling leukemia. This week ESPN reported that the NFL told Wayne he couldn’t wear the orange gloves anymore. I realize uniforms are supposed to be, well, uniform, but there’s no reason that during a month when the league is painting everything pink for breast cancer awareness, there’s no reason they couldn’t have allowed Wayne to keep wearing the orange gloves.

    ————————————————
    Apparently, a player can ONLY honor breast cancer? Number one on the top one list of cancer’s that the NFl supports, is it? The NFL front office is a joke!

  6. nokoolaidcowboy says: Oct 15, 2012 8:44 AM

    Sighhh…come on Jerry, just put the damn headset on, grab a clip board and get on the sidelines.

    Let the circus continue…

    [sarcasm]

  7. finsfrontofficeisajoke says: Oct 15, 2012 8:45 AM

    I think Tannehill might be what us dolfans have been waiting nearly 14 years for. I need a couple more solid games out of this kid, and I’m on board. *fingers crossed*

  8. bobnelsonjr says: Oct 15, 2012 8:48 AM

    “What Madden Curse? Lions receiver Calvin Johnson was the cover boy for this year’s Madden video game, but there’s no evidence of any curse.”

    You really want to jinx the guy.

    There is more evidence of a cover curse than some alleged “bounty” program.

  9. em0909153 says: Oct 15, 2012 8:54 AM

    It’s called the Red Zone Channel. Don’t miss a thing.

  10. jimthebuilder27 says: Oct 15, 2012 9:00 AM

    The Yets had one lucky game, and suddenly they’re not a circus?

    Still ain’t won nothing yet! NOTHING!!

  11. EJ says: Oct 15, 2012 9:00 AM

    CKL says:
    Oct 15, 2012 8:14 AM
    Also if anyone doubted that the NFC>AFC, that doubt should have been obliterated yesterday.

    Why? I believe the NFC beat out the AFC this week by 1 game, 4-3 where is this domination?

  12. dannythebisforbeast says: Oct 15, 2012 9:03 AM

    NFL doesn’t make money off orange. The profit is in pink

    And Fitzgerald could have been best receiver of all time if he didn’t sign with cardinals

  13. wcdunkenfield says: Oct 15, 2012 9:27 AM

    My fear, as an Eagle fan, will be that a few years from now when the Eagles come out of their funk (minus one walrus or one qb or both) the Cowboys will also emerge from the depths they are in, the Giants will still be standing there and RG3 will have a few years under his belt.

    Then again, that might be more interesting.

  14. andrewproughcfe says: Oct 15, 2012 9:29 AM

    “New England’s secondary just isn’t good enough, and if Bill Belichick can’t get it straightened out, I have a hard time seeing New England winning a playoff game against a good quarterback.”

    ==========================

    2003 just called – they want their Spy cameras back.

    Has Belichick ever “legitimately” beaten a “good quarterback” in a playoff game?? He hasn’t beaten manning since he quit cheating. Do you consider one win each over Flacco and Rivers as beating “good quarterbacks”? And Flacco had them beat – that was all on Lee Evans dropping a sure TD pass, and Cundiff missing a sure Field Goal.

  15. anon5121 says: Oct 15, 2012 9:30 AM

    What, no mention of the Giants dropping the hammer on the Niners? Is it true Mike Florio said Eli Manning would be irrelevant in the game? Is it also true Kurt Warner said Alex Smith was better than Eli Manning? LOL. Embarrassing all around.

  16. 1uniquename says: Oct 15, 2012 9:42 AM

    I agree that this years Madden Curse is all focused on Ray Lewis who has done more to promate the game than Megatron, including commercials as well as a 3 minute video entry once you boot up the game. Unfortunately the curse continues in a big way and any player who associates themselves with Madden is asking for it, not just for them but their team considering no team with a cover athlete has ever won a super bowl the same year they were on the cover (perhaps Faulk but im not sure). Either way just stay away Tannehill.

  17. fwippel says: Oct 15, 2012 9:44 AM

    Those blasted rookie QBs are messing up my team’s season. The Vikings 0-2 against Luck and RGIII, and 4-0 against the rest of the league.

  18. hoopieguy says: Oct 15, 2012 9:46 AM

    we win out, and the Browns are 11-5 Yeah baby!!
    Yes, I’m freakin kidding. It’s probably the only win we’ll get all year, but it was fun to watch.

  19. RexCanCoach says: Oct 15, 2012 9:55 AM

    You all know that the Jets are going to go in Foxboro and find a way to beat the Patriots next week.

    And that Tebow will have a hand in the victory.

    Because its meant to be.

  20. theashleyguy says: Oct 15, 2012 9:57 AM

    They’re all pretty good, but there’s only one rookie QB with a winning record–Russell Wilson. Seahawks, baby!

  21. FinFan68 says: Oct 15, 2012 10:05 AM

    If you think the Dolphins defense and Tannehill’s play were a surprise then you haven’t been watching them at all. That was actually the defense’s worst statistical performance but they kept the Rams out of the end zone several times. RT has gotten better every week and is poised and in control of the offense every game.

    They had a 3-4 (in a row) play meltdown that gave the Texans a very short field and 21 points in game 1. They blew out the Raiders. They played two tough overtime games against the Jets and undefeated Cardinals and missed game wining field goals at the end of each of those games. The Dolphins are nowhere near as bad as everybody thought. Fans are truly optimistic for the first time in years, Except for the fluke season from Pennington.

  22. borophyll says: Oct 15, 2012 10:09 AM

    Browns should be out of the basement of the power rankings this week, eh guys? No way that Jacksonville and Kansas City are better than Cleveland, and Oakland and Carolina is a toss-up.

  23. thetokyosandblaster says: Oct 15, 2012 10:11 AM

    logicalthinkersays says:
    Oct 15, 2012 8:31 AM
    The other 31 NFL fanbases woke up today wishing RGIII was their QB.

    Nah, I’ll take Rodgers. Thanks, though…

  24. finsphan says: Oct 15, 2012 10:20 AM

    it’s love to have rg3! for my fantasy team, other than that I’m good with the qb development we are getting out of rt17 and I don’t have to worry about him getting blasted on option plays and shortening his career

  25. dutchhmaster says: Oct 15, 2012 10:36 AM

    Tannehill looks like something I’ve never seen out of a rookie quarterback before. I’m being dead serious. Don’t get me wrong — I expect Luck and Griffin to be very good, but what I see from them isn’t necessarily what I’m seeing from RT. Tannehill’s stats aren’t flashy, and he has a good chunk of turnovers (there’s only a few where he deserves majority of the blame). But don’t let statistics fool you. RT has complete command of the offense. His awareness at the LOS is amazing to watch. Yeah, he ran the same offense in college, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is seeing things in NFL defenses and adjusting appropriately. That’s the kind of stuff you want to see out of the elite QB’s in the league. That just makes it even more special to watch a rookie do it.

    Additionally, he looks great in the pocket. He stands tall, steps forward and isn’t afraid to take a hit. Especially when the OL isn’t playing amazing, he still looks unfazed by the pressure. That’s not something that is taught. Some QB’s melt down from consistent pressure, Tannehill doesn’t.

    His best receiver (Hartline) was covered well by Finnegan and held to zero catches. RT did a great job recognizing this (only targeting Hartline twice) and it opened things up for other receivers allowing the ball to be distributed pretty evenly.

    Draft a wide receiver, re-sign Hartline to a reasonable deal and the Dolphins could have a pretty scary offense with two good WR’s running the deep routes and Davone Bess doing what he does in the slot.

  26. smackingfools says: Oct 15, 2012 10:38 AM

    Who’s making fun of Miami and Stephen Ross now?? Haha.

  27. mjkelly77 says: Oct 15, 2012 11:03 AM

    Wow!!! The Redskins’ griffin threw a 76-yard touchdown pass? In the air? What? No. You mean he RAN for the touchdown? Nevermind.

  28. rufustfireflyjr says: Oct 15, 2012 11:09 AM

    lucky5936 says:
    Oct 15, 2012 8:40 AM
    “Apparently, a player can ONLY honor breast cancer? Number one on the top one list of cancer’s that the NFl supports, is it? The NFL front office is a joke!”

    Since the NFL obviously wants to control the message that is sent during THEIR games and not allow players to become walking billboards for any cause that strikes the players’ fancy, they have to be consistent about this, even if it means that, occasionally, a worthy cause doesn’t get promoted.

  29. rufustfireflyjr says: Oct 15, 2012 11:10 AM

    You know, I think that RGIII guy may just work out . . . .

  30. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Oct 15, 2012 11:19 AM

    The NFL doesn’t make any money on orange apparel, only pink apparel. Therefore, no orange apparel allowed.

  31. undraftedstar says: Oct 15, 2012 12:07 PM

    Not being a jerk and I am happy for the dolphins but your only hope of winning your division is when Brady retire..Just being realistic.Im a Skins fan so its no bias here.

  32. steveny5 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:19 PM

    Lets Go Buffalo-o-o!

  33. godzilla111111 says: Oct 15, 2012 12:53 PM

    Enough with the pink already.

    The NFL should promote literacy. What?
    Half the players can’t read at a sixth grade level?
    Hmm.

  34. truetrue85 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:07 PM

    Belichick has been trying to fix the secondary since 2007 and has failed miserably. Asante Samuel took the money in Philly and it all went to crap. The Patriots wont win anything until they stop devoting everything to offense and spend some money on defense. 35 points a game is great… but it means nothing when your defense gives up 36.

  35. bigblu73 says: Oct 15, 2012 1:30 PM

    The pundits wanted to see Wilson benched but are scared to say anything about Lucks Crappy day against the NotYets!! Lol Wilson has now knocked off Romo, Rodgers, Newton, Brady!!! Yet all we read about is Lucks Potential!!!! Biased any???

  36. stanmrak says: Oct 15, 2012 3:25 PM

    This would all be so much more compelling if these games actually counted…

    When you can lose 6, even 7 games during the “regular” season – and still qualify for the Super Bowl, no single game can be called compelling.

  37. mancave001 says: Oct 15, 2012 5:23 PM

    Had the Eagles defensive “coordinator” (used loosely) not altered the scheme with 5:50 left in the 4th quarter, Johnson would have had 3 catches for like 40 yards. They shut him down all day until the inevitable Castillo Collapse happened.

  38. cshearing says: Oct 16, 2012 8:23 AM

    How do you keep track of all of the action? It’s called the NFL Red Zone channel. All you need on a Sunday.

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