Former 5 Questions alum Eddie Griffin reminding you that offense is key
by Ryan Meehan
Week eight of the 2014 NFL season started with your usual televised display of Peyton Manning proving that he is the best in the world at what he does. I’ll address that in a second, but first I’d like to talk about the Steelers and Patriots both putting up scores north of fifty. There’s this old adage that states that “defense wins championships”, and it’s just that: Old. In today’s NFL, it must be understood that the quarterback is protected at all costs. This in turn would ensure that the league is headed in the direction of offense, and smart coaches like Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick know that. That’s why they are fielding teams where scoring is paramount, and Sunday was a perfect example of that. It also proved to be true in several other match-ups, so let’s take a look at what went down in week eight.
Broncos 35, Chargers 21
I told you the point total on the over was a lock, and I was right. I could have never predicted that the officiating would be this bad. I’m a Peyton Manning supporter. I know his playoff record is a tad undesirable, and he’d probably tell you that himself. If he broke into my apartment to steal a cup of milk and the police came and caught him doing it, they’d probably let him off because everybody with authority seems to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. The refs were giving him calls in this one that were ridiculous, and in one case ripped a turnover from the Chargers that changed the momentum of this game. Don’t get me wrong I love me some Denver Broncos, they’re a bacon cheeseburger with a fucking birthday candle in it. But it would be dishonest of me to sit here and say that they don’t get the Michael Jordan treatment when it comes to the officiating. San Diego is still a great team, this is just a really hard part of their schedule.
Lions 22, Falcons 21
The Detroit Lions are turning into the comeback kids. They were losing this game 21-0 and it appeared as if they weren’t going to return to American soil with a win. And just like last week’s game against the Saints, they began to create situations where they were in great shape to come back and win. Now they’re 6-2, and the Golden Tate signing is looking like the front office move of the year. As for the Falcons, this has to be demoralizing. Mike Smith has gone from the NFC Championship game just twenty one months back to a guy whose job will for sure be toast when this season is over. The poor overall play within the NFC South is the only thing that’s saved his sorry ass, and one of the reasons he still has a job is because even if the team plane was on fire with everybody in it Chris Berman and Tom Jackson would remind you that “with a couple of wins they could still be in this thing”.
Bills 43, Jets 23
I don’t know why I picked the Jets to win this one. I guess I thought that they had lost so many close games at home, and since Buffalo isn’t exactly the world’s biggest threat that maybe they’d pull it off. But I forgot one very important fact: Geno Smith is not an NFL quarterback. He just isn’t. Michael Vick might not be at this point in his career either, but it’s not like the Jets have a whole lot of other options here. They’re one drunken golf carting accident from having Eric Decker take snaps, and although nobody wants to see that you have to admit it would be a whole hell of a lot more interesting than the product that they are currently putting out on the field. Their general manager John Idzik has got to be one of the most incompetent dweebs since Rick Moranis’ character in “Honey, I shrunk the Kids”. He’s got no business being the GM of any football team, and the Rex Ryan experiment seems like it’s taking decades to complete. The Bills are in much better shape than I give them credit for: They’re 3-1 on the road, headed into a bye week, and only giving up 80 yards per game on the ground. That being said, they still have to play the Packers, Patriots, Broncos, and the Chiefs when they get back to it so I’m not by any means penciling them in for a ten win season.
Bengals 27, Ravens 24
For whatever reason, Cincinnati seems to have Baltimore’s number. This completed a season series sweep for the Bengals, and it came against a Ravens team that was on roll up until this point. It wasn’t working for Flacco in the air, so the Ravens had to completely rely on their running game. In the end, 294 yards just didn’t cut it and Baltimore ended up with their boners poking out of their boxers. I wasn’t enamored by Andy Dalton’s numbers (the most unattractive being 0 TD passes and 1 interception) but he did run for two touchdowns by himself, so you have to respect that. I feel weird about this because I’ve made my position clear on how I don’t like ties, and that tie is the one game that separates these two teams in the standings. And the Bengals basically lost that game, so I’m still saying that it’s unfortunate because at the moment the Ravens deserve to win this division. I’m hoping they pull away and can make it happen.
Seahawks 13, Panthers 9
This was hilarious
The Seahawks needed this one bad, as they would have been stuck with a three game losing streak if they couldn’t pull through. As much as I like Seattle as a team, I’m starting to question whether or not Russell Wilson is going to transition into a guy who can throw for 300 yards a game. Right now he’s barely throwing for two hundred, and at times the Seahawks look very flat despite having a ton of offensive weapons at their disposal. That’s not to say they still can’t be successful, obviously last year proved that their defense made it happen for everybody that was on payroll. But they had to pull this game out of their ass against a team that was 2 for ten on third down. There’s no way in the world that can be healthy. I don’t really have a lot to say about Carolina…They’re under .500 but every one of their losses have come against teams that are playoff contenders. And you know what’s messed up? They’re still in first place.
Patriots 51, Bears 23
Shit got real this week on Jay Cutler when former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said on a radio show this week that in so many words the only thing elite about Cutler was his salary. On Sunday, Urlacher’s words would prove to be right as Silent Jay sucked a high hard one against the league’s best pass defense. This game was very indicative of the problems that are supposedly going on inside that locker room when the press isn’t in there. I think that sometimes you can get away with having guys who don’t get along with each other, but if those guys are all important position players and none of them seem to get along with the quarterback you can very easily become a 3-5 team. And that’s exactly where the Bears are right now, with not a lot of hope that things are going to get better. They did beat San Francisco on the road in comeback fashion, but their only other wins are against the Falcons and Jets. This is a bad football team that somehow is still in the top ten in passing. New England looks very, very good. I can’t say a single negative thing about them right now, and they look poised to make a serious Super Bowl run.
Texans 30, Titans 16
You’re probably going to want to get your eyes checked after reading this, but the Texans didn’t turn the ball over in this game. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t fumble either, but hardly put up numbers worthy of copying and pasting here. The Titans only ran 56 plays and didn’t even hold the ball for 25 minutes. They had 36 rushing yards, and no matter who starts at QB Tennessee’s never going to succeed if they depend on throwing the football that much. It’s amazing that Houston is .500, as it seems they are much worse than that. But they did come through big time here, which should be excellent preparation for when they get stomped by the Philadelphia Eagles next week. Watching AFC South games is like staring at a brick wall and waiting for it to crack. Pakistan is more likely to elect a woman president that I am to walk into work and say “Hey, did you see that Texans-Titans game last night? Unreal…”.
Dolphins 27, Jaguars 13
Not much of a surprise here, it’s not like we expected Jacksonville to go on an absolute rampage and win four in a row after finally getting it together against the Browns last week. The Dolphins are a relatively quiet 4-3 team who does not receive the attention they deserve because New England hogs it all in the East. They deserve props, and I have to say Tannehill is becoming more of an NFL quarterback than a lot of people expected out of him even though Sunday it didn’t show. They’re fourth in the league in rushing, and when they are struggling throwing the ball they can make up for it my resting that facet of their offense. It’s eerily strange that they are fighting with the Bills for what could end up being the final Wild Card spot, because most people don’t feel as if they can trust either of those two teams at the moment.
Chiefs 34, Rams 7
What appeared to originally be a trap game for Kansas City turned out to be absolute torture for the Rams at home. St. Louis only amassed 200 yards in this contest, and the Chiefs once again refuse to go away without a fight. Alex Smith was 24 for 28, and Kansas City finally got over that 30 point hump. The Rams were sloppy, something that’s not surprising when you consider that they are under the lead of an extremely young quarterback. I don’t really have a lot to say about this one.
Vikings 19, Buccaneers 13 (OT)
This game went into overtime? Holy Lord…could you imagine watching that? Could you even fathom a world where you sat through sixty minutes of this game and it still wasn’t decided. There is a bit of controversy surrounding this game as the Buccaneers cheerleaders were accused of distracting the Vikings during a timeout, but if anything I would make the argument that it was actually the players distracting the crowd from enjoying what was probably the more credible entertainment source of the two.
Cardinals 24, Eagles 20
Can we start talking about the Cardinals now? Is 6-1 a good enough record for them to acquire just a fragment of our national airtime? Their only loss is to the Broncos, and I guess it’s just not enough for the national sports media that they’ve beaten San Francisco, San Diego, and now Philly. Look, they lost Patrick Peterson in this game and that sucks. But at the same time, if there’s any team in the league that can hack an injury like that it’s Arizona and this season is proof. We’re going to learn a lot about what they are made of here in the weeks to come, as they face Dallas next week and still face Seattle twice before the end of the season. But aside from the Chiefs every other game on that schedule is winnable, and they shouldn’t have anything to be afraid of. Either way, the John Brown catch that put the Cardinals ahead in this one was the play of the year hands down. The Eagles came within two steps of pulling this one off, but I have to wonder about Chip Kelly’s swollen balls letting Nick Foles throw the ball sixty-two times in this one. There’s still a lot of holes in that defense, and as we saw Sunday afternoon those holes lead to vulnerability to give up huge passing plays. And props to Jeremy Maclin, who got his tail kicked in this game, still made some huge catches, and had himself a career day.
Browns 23, Raiders 13
If you’re wondering what the future holds for illiteracy, look no further…
Oakland may not win a single game all year. They definitely won’t win another game the next month, because here’s what’s on deck for them: They head to Seattle next week, then return only to realize Denver is in town. Then they go to San Diego before coming home to face the red hot Chiefs. There’s a small possibility they might win the following week against the Rams, but then they play the 49ers, the Chiefs again at Arrowhead, Buffalo, and then close the season out in Denver who will likely be playing for home field throughout the playoffs. Al Davis must be annoying the shit out of Jesus, because how do you even get this deep into being on the universe’s bad side? Were these people bankrolling Michael Vick’s dog-fighting operation? Was the Wal-Mart employee who hit the limo Tracy Morgan and Ardie Fuqua were in wearing a Raiders coat? But more importantly how the hell did Derek Carr throw for 328 yards on 34 completions, yet the Raiders only walked away from that mess with only one touchdown? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not high on Cleveland either. Not only did they lose to Jacksonville last week, but they were awful on third down in this game and couldn’t even muster up forty yards rushing. I kept desperately searching for something positive to say about this game, but I just can’t find anything. Yikes.
Steelers 51, Colts 34
I know lately I haven’t been too kind to Ben Roethlisberger, and in my defense he has blown games to Cleveland and Tampa. But it’s hard to argue with 522 yards and six touchdowns. The guy was an absolute killing machine and he’s starting to make weapons out of guys whose potential probably wouldn’t be maximized on other teams. (Think of how disappointed Antonio Brown would be right now if he played for the Titans. I rest my case…) I think I know what happened to the Colts here: After shutting out the Bengals last week at Lucas Oil Stadium, that defense really started to believe that they were as good as people like myself were touting them to be. But the reality is this is still a unit that gave up 28 points to the Texans, and although they are much improved giving up 51 points against Pittsburgh certainly was a wake-up call to the rest of the AFC that this team can be beaten soundly. This is what I want to know: If the Colts’ defense is giving up those kind of numbers to the Steelers, what are they going to divisional playoff weekend when New England rolls through putting up the kind of scores they’ve been cranking out lately? The answer is simple: They are going to lose. I’m interested to see how Pittsburgh plays the rest of the year, but I still have questions about their stamina.
Saints 44, Packers 23
I knew this game would be a high scoring affair, but I didn’t expect the outcome to be like this. The Packers looked great at the start of this one, but Rodgers tweaked a hamstring shortly thereafter and Green Bay never really recovered. I suppose this was kind of a “shotgun wedding” scenario for New Orleans, who would have fallen to 2-5 had they blown this game at home. A lot of this victory can be attributed to Saints running back Mark Ingram, who had 172 yards on 24 carries. The Packers will have a week off to nurse their injuries (and holy shit do they need it) and then they should be back in business. I see a lot of similar defensive problems when I look at the Eagles and Packers side by side, so it will be interesting to see how both teams attempt to fix these issues. If the Saints lose to the Panthers next week, this ends up being a meaningless game.
Cris Collinsworth bonehead Comment of the Week:
During this game Cris Collinsworth suggested that the NFL should “just go ahead and put a team in London so they can get the NFL for 8 games a year”, further advancing my argument that Cris Collinsworth should be working at Walgreen’s instead of in the broadcast booth.
Redskins 20, Cowboys 17
Remember how everybody began freaking out on social media the second Tony Romo went down? I have another overreaction to add to that pile. I think Colt McCoy should start even if Griffin is healthy. I know it sounds crazy, and I know it was just two games – but that kid stepped onto the biggest stage in the world and owned the moment. Plus Griffin is just going to get hurt again, so what difference does it make? The Redskins aren’t making the playoffs. Both of those guys have made it very evident that they have huge balls and they want to run the football like they don’t have a tomorrow, but I honestly think that if one of them has a future it’s McCoy. He ran the pace of that game, and even when Romo was in and healthy it was all Colt. I say keep the kid in. Dallas’ defense has a few weak spots, but they should be fine. I was disappointed in a lot of the social media posts I read after Romo left with a back injury because like him or not, he’s tough as hell. He takes some really serious shots and will be every bit ready for Arizona next week. OK, time for bed…
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