Gibberman: Week 10 thoughts and observations
Former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Herman Edwards said “You play to win the game,” a mantra he never followed (I am a salty Jets fan who has deep-rooted resentment towards Edwards-story for another article). In front of the entire nation on Sunday night Bill Belichick abided by that statement. Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th and 2 with 2:08 left in the 4th quarter with the New England Patriots leading the Indianapolis Colts 34-28 will be the most talked about coaching decision of the 2009-10 NFL regular season.
The Colts marched up and down the field against New England in the 4th quarter. The only time they did not score was when Peyton Manning threw an interception. The last Colts drive that cut the lead to a one possession game was for 79 yards in 1 minute and 49 seconds. I have no doubt in my mind if New England punts we get the same result except people with Peyton Manning on their fantasy team would have snagged an extra 50 yards.
“Try to win the game on one play, try to pick it up right there,” said Bill Belichick in his post game presser after the game (another classic Belichick press conference, not one sentence had more than 10 words). I 100% agree with Belichick sending the offense back onto the field on 4th down. The strength of the New England Patriots team is their offense, specifically quarterback Tom Brady and the pass attack. BB trusted them and gave them a chance to win the game. If they pick up those two yards the game is finished. This Pats D is not the dominant defense of the past. I’m sure we will hear experts discussing how this decision shows that Bill does not trust the Pats defense and it could hurt their feelings because he does not believe in them. BB does not care, he felt this was the best chance for the Patriots to win the game and he went for it.
Take a look at this video of the Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s post game presser from NFL.com. The confidence they have in themselves and the offense is one of the main reasons that they are near the top of the AFC every single year.
Let’s hit the week 10 twelve pack:
1. Jim Zorn is going to have some fun these last couple weeks he spends as head coach with the Washington Redskins. He pulled out all the stops against the Denver Broncos Sunday when he faked a FG on 4th and 20. They direct snapped to punter Hunter Smith who tossed a 35 yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Sellers. Since Zorn is getting fired at the end of the year anyway he might as well go out swinging.
2. The Denver Broncos lost the game to the Washington Redskins 27-17 (I would have appreciated if you scored less than 36 ½ points you jerks) and are now tied atop the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts beat an NFC East team for the second straight week with their 31-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chargers and Broncos play each other next week in Denver. After that the Broncos have to play the Giants home, at Kansas City and Indianapolis, home against Oakland, at Philadelphia, and home against Kansas City. Three games against the Chiefs and Raiders-jackpot, Giants and Eagles are toss ups, Colts they get smoked by 20. The Chargers have Kansas City at home, at Cleveland and Dallas, home Cincinnati, at Tennessee, and the Redskins home. Get to play the Chiefs and Browns (jump for joy Chargers fans), Cowboys and Bengals are toss ups, Titans game is a lot harder now then it was three weeks ago, and they should beat the Redskins in Qualcom. Looking at the schedules I go advantage San Diego Chargers.
3. One of my fantasy football teams (I have four add that to my three basketball teams and it is clear that I don’t have a life) has Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, Marquis Colston and Sydney Rice and after this week I am only going to be 5-5. I still haven’t figured it out yet, it is the best fantasy team I have ever put together and I am getting .500 in week ten. Some things just don’t make sense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is going down a path that we have seen many athletes go through before with concussions. Hockey player Eric Lindros, who played right across the street from Westbrook for most of his career, saw a Hall of Fame career go down the tubes because of concussions. I hate to see it end this way, but Head Coach Andy Reid needs to tell Westbrook he is sitting for the rest of the season. In the off-season Brian should seriously consider retiring for the good of his family and himself.
5. When talking about the best teams in the AFC everyone always mentions the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. Make way for the Cincinnati Bengals, who took over sole possession of the AFC North with their 18-12 victory of the Steelers. They out physicaled (I think I just made up my own word) one of the most physical teams in the NFL. They are the most well rounded team in the AFC; good quarterback, great running game, solid offensive line, receivers who can make plays down the field and a hard hitting defense that can stop the run and defend the pass. They are not a team I would want to see in the playoffs.
6. The New Orleans Saints won a sloppy game over the St. Louis Rams 28-23. I mentioned I was worried about the Saints in last week’s column and this week reestablished my belief. New Orleans is heading in the wrong direction, they are playing worse when you want to be slowly improving as you head towards the playoffs where you want to peak.
7. Two big wins for the Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers. Miami snuck past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25-23 and the Panthers upset the Atlanta Falcons 28-19. Both teams rely heavily on their rushing attacks and have two headed monsters that allow them pound the ball down your throat. Panthers 2nd year running back Jonathan Stewart is starting to hit his stride as the compliment to DeAngelo Williams. Dolphins running back Ricky Williams could be asked to carry the load if Ronnie Brown’s injury from Sunday ends up being serious.
8. Darius Heyward-Bey continues to make the Oakland Raiders look even more incompetent (if that is possible) that they passed on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Bey dropped what would have been a fist down deep in Chiefs territory as they were marching down for a potential game winning touchdown. I hope 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary sends Al Davis a gift bag of some sort for letting Crabtree drop into their laps.
9. The Green Bay Packers put themselves back into wild card contention in the NFC with their solid 17-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Charles Woodson had a monster day at cornerback and the Packers secondary shut down Cowboys big play WR Miles Austin – he only had four catches on the day.
10. Let the debate begin. Looking forward to your fantasy football draft next year if you have the #1 pick do you take Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson or Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson? Both backs had two touchdown performances on Sunday and ran for over 100 yards. Johnson tacked on an additional 100 receiving yards also. Gotta love what the Titans are doing since they put Vince Young into the lineup for Kerry Collins.
11. The Arizona Cardinals picked up a 31-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, the game was a must win for the Cards who are now completely in control of the NFC West. Arizona’s offense is starting to click; Beanie Wells give them a legitimate running threat, Anquan Boldin rejoined the party and Kurt Warner is starting to hit his groove. It can be argued that this year’s version of the Arizona Cardinals is better than the team that made it to the Super Bowl last year.
12. Non NFL tid-bit. I watched the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight on Saturday night and it was a quality fight. Pacman is better than I thought, he has a great chin and showed some serious power rocking Cotto for 12 rounds. The guys put on a great show and that is what really matters. Boxing don’t screw it up, you have one job this next year and that is to ensure that Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight each other in 2010. This is one of those rare opportunities that a niche sport has the chance to cross over into the main stream. This fight must happen.
Arizona Cardinals rookie running back Chris “Beanie” Wells had shown flashes throughout the season. On Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks he put it all together. Wells ran for two touchdowns and bulldozed the Seahawks for 85 yards on 16 carries.
Week 11 Look Ahead
This week has playoff implications written all over it.
Miami Dolphins @ Carolina Panthers (Thursday Night)- Winner gets back to .500 and thrusts themselves back into the playoff picture.
San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers- The Packers look to build on their big win against the Dallas Cowboys.
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants- Loser falls to 5-5 and is heading in the wrong directions.
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens- Peyton Manning is licking his chops to face a deteriorating Ravens secondary.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos- Winner has a leg up in the AFC West race.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots- Prediction Pats 72- Jets 3. If I hear one New York Jets player talk any trash leading into this game I am going to puke.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears- The Bears have a week and a half to get ready for a game that if they lose will essentially end their season.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans- Tennessee Titans QB Vince young tries to win his fourth straight start.