THUNDERING BLURB » NFL Recap ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 en hourly 1 NFL Rewind: Week 2 (part 2) Mon, 21 Sep 2009 16:40:47 +0000 admin Redskins 9 Rams 7


Individually, the Redskins put up some decent numbers. Clinton Portis had 88 total yards (79 on the ground, a pair of catches for 9), Chris Cooley had 83 yards receiving and Jason Campbell threw for 242 yards. But overall the offense couldn’t get anything going, especially in the red zone where they went 0-5. Not much more to say about this game which showed that the Redskins have a lot of problems in their offensive scheme than we suspected.


The Rams didn’t look much better as only Steven Jackson had anything resembling a real productive day with 104 yards on the ground. They also involved him in the passing game this week which added four catches and 15 yards to his total.

The only other moment for this offense was a two yard pass from Marc Bulger to Laurent Robinson in the second quarter. Overall though, this is a team still struggling in all areas of the game and you have to wonder if they are looking to reboot the whole team, perhaps with the exception of Jackson.

Bills 33 Buccaneers 20


Coming off a terribly disappointing loss to the Patriots in Week 1, the Bills played determined football on both sides of the ball and jumped out to a 17 point lead early, with quarterback Trent Edwards connecting with Lee Evans for a 32 yard touchdown and Safety Donte Whitner nabbing an interception and returning it 76 yards for a touchdown.

Fred Jackson carved out even more of a permanent space in the backfield with a brilliant 163 performance on the ground, his second game in a row where he had more than 140 total yards. Terrell Owens caught his first touchdown as a Bill in the fourth quarter and totalled three catches for 52 yards. The Bills offense seems to have not missed a beat after firing their offensive coordinator just before the season.


Quarterback Byron Leftwich had a decent game, completing 26 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he turned the ball over twice, including the Whitner pick six I mentioned in the Bills recap. Kellen Winslow continues to play well, catching seven balls for 90 yards and touchdown. Maurice Stovall filled in for injured Antonio Bryant and caught three balls for 80 yards. Carnell Williams had a nice day in the pass game as well, hauling in seven balls for 56 yards and a touchdown.

Unfortunately he and the rest of the backfield stalled out on the ground. Williams had an awful 9 yards on seven carries, while Derrick Ward only had 32 yards and Ernest Graham totalled 16. Part of this was due to falling behind so far so early, but even when the Bucs closed in, the run game could not move the chains.

49ers 23 Seahawks 10


The big story here – from an offensive standpoint, virtually the only story – was Frank Gore’s 246 total yards and two touchdowns. Gore showed both toughness when running between the tackles and big play ability with his long touchdown runs, the first for 79 yards and the second for 80. The rest of the offense was relatively lackluster, but when you have Frank Gore you ride him and that’s what the game-plan is and will continue to be for San Francisco.


Seattle had a rough day. First the defense gets absolutely embarrassed by Frank Gore. Then they lose. And in the process, QB Matt Hasselbeck went down with a rib injury. Seneca Wallace stepped in and did very little more than fill a spot, throwing a touchdown to Julius Jones and an interception to 49er Safety Dashon Goldson.

The interesting ‘watch this guy’ moment of the game was running back/fullback Justin Forsett who played pretty well both on the ground (five carries for 35 yards) and in the receiving game (six catches for 57 yards). We know Edgerrin James and Julius Jones aren’t long term answers. Could Forsett emerge as the main back at some point? Keep him on your radar. Hasselbeck’s x-rays were negative and the ribs are bruised, not cracked. Watch him this week as he could very well miss the next game.

Bears 17 Steelers 14


For the most part Chicago looked far more together against the Steelers than they did Week 1 against the Packers. QB Jay Cutler looked much more confident and settled, throwing 27 completions for 236 yards and two touchdowns, one to emerging threat Johnny Knox and one to tight end Kellen Davis. The tight end we thought would get those touchdowns – Greg Olsen – only had three catches on the day.

Back to Cutler though – he looked much more poised and made far better decisions than in his game against the Packers in Week 1. Cutler worked underneath a lot and took what the Steelers gave him, rather than forcing the ball long. It worked very well. Matt Forte continues too look bad in the run game, gaining only 29 yards on 13 carries for a pretty weak 2.23 yards per carry. On the plus side he caught five balls for 33 yards, but he’s not gaining anything on the ground. Whether this is merely too many defenders in the backfield or Forte having a huge case of sophomore slump is hard to say this early. But he’s not playing well and that’s a huge concern for the Bears.


Last week the Steelers made up for a lackluster run game with an outstanding passing attack. That didn’t happen on Sunday as Ben Roethlisberger didn’t find the same success. Big Ben only totalled 221 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing one interception. He did also run for another touchdown, but he was the only one who could find room to do that. 

Willie Parker, Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore combined for just 99 yards though Mendenhall’s 39 came on just three carries. Wide receivers Santonio Holmes (5-83) and Hines Ward (6-57) both came back down to Earth though they had solid overall games. The Steelers were able to stay in the game though, but in the end, the offensive stalled on two successive drives which were capped by a pair of Jeff Reed misses and ate up too much of the clock to come up empty-handed.

Broncos 27 Browns 6


Kyle Orton may be no Jay Cutler, but he’s also no JaMarcus Russell – he can actually find his wide receivers. And while nobody broke out in a huge way, he moves the chains well enough. Two things of note in this game: first Corell Buckhalter looks good and continues to excel. His 76 yards and a touchdown on nine carries was a great performance and while rookie Knowshon Moreno nearly equaled it (75 yards), CBuck is still playing more effectively. Peyton Hillis was almost nonexistent but did get a touchdown.

The second thing to take away from in this game is the continued poor showing of Eddie Royal. It’s not as if Royal isn’t getting targets – he was thrown to nine times in this game – but he isn’t doing enough to haul those balls in. He only got three catches for 20 yards. Why is he struggling so? It’s hard to say right now, but he needs to get back on the same page as Orton if he is to be effective this season.

Brandon Stokely (5-70) and Jabar Gaffney (3-82) stepped up in his stead but Brandon Marshall continues to do very little, catching only three balls for 34 yards.


Well at least you can say Braylon Edwards had a good game. Edwards’ six catches for 92 yards was about the only bright spot for this team which was stifled on both sides of the ball by an overpowering Broncos team. Even Joshua Cribbs – he of the big play ability – had a miscue, fumbling the ball. Overall nobody looks very good on this team and it doesn’t look like it will get better any time soon.

Ravens 31 Chargers 26


The Chargers were without Defensive Lineman Jamall Williams and the Ravens took advantage of that with a very solid rush attack. Willis McGahee continues to be impressive (and healthy!) gaining 79 yards and scoring twice. McGahee is shaking his injury prone label thus far and seems to be flourishing. Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain were relegated to bystander status, but that didn’t matter for the Ravens especially as Rice added 46 receiving yards. While the pass game wasn’t very impressive, the backs did the job and the Ravens came away with a win.


I bet many fantasy owners thought they had better match-ups than this one and sat Rivers like me. If that’s the case then, like me, you missed a huge game as Rivers threw for 436 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was so good in fact that the two interceptions were barely a blip. Rivers had his team set to win, until Ray Lewis smushed diminutive Darren Sproles on a 4th and 2 to end the game.

Sproles was outstanding filling in for LaDainian Tomlinson, though his damage was caused in the passing attack. Sproles (7-124-1) was one of two Chargers who topped 100 yards, Vincent Jackson and his 141 yards being the other top performance. Both players accounted for a touchdown as well. Sproles is certainly a serviceable replacement for LT. Still, you have to wonder if a healthy Tomlinson might have been strong and big enough to shove past Lewis for the critical first down. 

Giants 33 Cowboys 31


Eli Manning had an outstanding day, throwing for 330 yards and two touchdowns. He was able to find his receivers often and deliver solid throws to them and the receivers stepped up. Steve Smith has played pretty well since entering the league and he had a great day, catching 10 balls for 134 yards while Mario Manningham caught another 10 for 150 yards.

Smith and Manningham were the recipients of Manning’s touchdown throws not to mention nearly all his throws (20 of Manning’s 25 completion went to one of those two receivers).

With the passing game clicking, the ground game fell by the wayside and both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw had sub-par days.


Fresh off a victory they thought answered all the questions about them, theCowboys opened their new home by letting their secondary get blown up by the Giants. As good as Tony Romo looked in Week 1, he looked equally bad Sunday night. His 127 yard, one touchdown to three interception performance was pretty brutal, the only bright spot being Jason Witten’s touchdown.

On the ground it was a different story, as Marion Barber totalled 124 yards and a touchdown and his partner in crime Felix Jones had his own touchdown to go with his 96 yards on just nine carries. Overall the Cowboys stayed close, but like the Redskins in Week 1, they couldn’t seal the deal.

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NFL Rewind Week 2 (part 1) Mon, 21 Sep 2009 16:24:01 +0000 admin Falcons 28 Panthers 20


Matt Ryan continues to play very well in his second season with the Falcons, as he totaled three touchdowns in their victory over the woeful Carolina Panthers. As during Week 1, Ryan found tight end Tony Gonzalez for seven catches, totaling 71 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t ignore last years main target Roddy White, who caught six passes for 53 yards and his own touchdown.

Michael Turner made his own noise, carrying the ball for 105 yards and a touchdown, though it took him a huge amount of carries (28) to do so and he also lost a fumble. The defense played well, forcing two fumbles, sacking Delhomme once and grabbing a key interception in the end zone to seal the game.


For 99% of the game, Jake Delhomme did everything he needed to in order to make Panther fans forget his awful Week 1 performance. Unfortunately it still wasn’t enough and his interception in the end zone just reminded everyone of Week 1 Jake. Still, a massive improvement for Delhomme even though the team couldn’t get the job done. He looked to veteran Steve Smith (8 catches for 131 yards) often, and spread the ball around quite a bit to keep the Falcons from keying on any one player.

On the ground, the Panther continue to move the ball well, if not quite as good as they did in 2008. DeAngelo Williams (79 yards and 1 TD) got most of the work while second year man Jonathan Stewart (65 yards) looked just as good in his spot duty. Unfortunately both running backs coughed the ball up, although only Williams was lost. In the end, though the offense played much better than last year, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Falcons.

Vikings 27 Lions 13


For a half it looked like the wheels had come off the Vikings bandwagon already and you had to worry for the safety of the tons of fans preparing to leap off of it. But the ship righted itself and again – largely on Adrian Peterson’s back and with some great defensive plays, the Vikes came out on top. While Brett Favre did find both rookie Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe for touchdowns, he still has timing issues and his botched hand-off to Adrian Peterson was largely his own fault.

Still, he found Bernard Berrian six times for 46 yards and Sidney Rice three times for 29 yards and even Peterson four times for 24 yards, adding to his 92 on the ground. The Vikings still go as Peterson goes, but slowly and surely Favre is becoming more of the weapon Minnesota was hoping for.


What can you say about the Lions that hasn’t been repeated many times? Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford is still getting hit and hurried way too often. Stafford was sacked twice and picked off twice (by the same player no less) and still looks very much a rookie. But there are moments where he looks better – his accuracy to Calvin Johnson (5 catches for 51 yards and 1 TD) was much improved and though he threw less passes towards Johnson this week (7 down from 13) he made more out of them. He has also started using fellow rookie Brandon Pettigrew, hitting the tight end four times for 40 yards.

Running back Kevin Smith also struggled with the offensive line woes but gained 83 yards on 24 carries. In the end though, the Lions still had no defensive answer for Peterson or the rest of the Vikings offense, and the offense could not keep up.

Bengals 31 Packers 24


The Bengals should have won last week against the Broncos, but couldn’t get their offense going and couldn’t make the big play defensively when they needed to. Today they did both, with big games by Carson Palmer (three touchdowns), Cedric Benson (141 yards) and Chad Ochocinco (91 yards and 1 TD).

Palmer is still struggling overall and really this was all about the defense being able to disrupt Packer QB Aaron Rodgers to the tune of five sacks and numerous hits. Defensive End Antwan Odom owned the Packer offensive line and notched all five sacks himself. Rookie Rey Maualuga continues to make a nice impact as well, getting a pair of forced fumbles in the game.


If you looked at the stats and not the score, you might think the Packers had won. QB Aaron Rodgers completed 21 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown, running back Ryan Grant had 46 yards and a touchdown and Donald Driver caught half a dozen balls for 99 yards and his own score. But looking closer, several things stood out. Greg Jennings had zero catches, disappeared for much of the game and dropped a ball.

Left tackle Chad Clifton went was carted off the field and you could tell the line suffered a bit for it. Overall, it was a disappointing game for the Packers who seemed to take a step back on both sides of the ball after a reasonable nice debut against the Bears. 

Cardinals 31, Jaguars 17


After dropping a game to division rival San Francisco in Week 1, the Cards bounced back hard and landed on top of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The offensive line gave QB Kurt Warner decades to set up and pass – and pass he did, setting a record for single-game completion percentage of 92.3%. He even got an early hook after a very good 243 yard, two touchdown performance.

Running back Tim Hightower continued to contribute, this time on the ground with 15 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Chris Wells looked good as well, shredding the Jags defense for 44 yards on just seven carries. Steve Breaston led the way through the air with five catches for 83 yards, with Anquan Boldin right behind him with more catches (8) but less yards (69). Larry Fitzgerald came away with the aerial touchdown for the trio. When this offense is firing on all cylinders, they are deadly and today the Jags couldn’t touch Warner and found that our first hand. 


Jacksonville did too little too late, coming back in the second half while the Cardinals were already focusing on post-game activities. QB David Garrard had a good stat-line with 282 yards and a pair of touchdowns, hitting Mike Sims-Walker for six catches, 106 yards and a TD. It’s deceptive though when it comes against a defense just trying to keep the clock running in prevent.

Maurice Jones-Drew was relegated to spectator for part of the game and his 13 carries for 66 yards was a disappointment even with 17 yards added from the passing game. 

Raiders 13 Chiefs 10


Oakland almost lost a second close one but managed to lose less than the terrible Chiefs and come away with their first win. QB JaMarcus Russell continues to look generally mediocre though he lead the offense on a nine-play, 69-yard drive in 1:31 which led to a Darren McFadden touchdown which won the game.

McFadden was mostly quiet otherwise with 35 yards on 12 carries as was his partner in the backfield, Michael Bush who only had 35 yards as well. Overall it was a win, but it wasn’t won the Raiders should crow too loudly about. 


Matt Cassel survived his debut with the Chiefs but was roughed up both physically (a pair of sacks and numerous hits) and mentally (two interceptions). He was able to find his top receiver, Dwayne Bowe, for a touchdown and 56 yards, but the score came while all world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was out of the game. He also hit Bobby Wade six time for 72 yards and scrambled for 34 yards as well.

Larry Johnson was able to put together a nice total of 78 yards. Overall though this offense continues to struggle and are due for many hardships against better overall defenses than the Raiders bring to bear. 

Jets 16 Patriots 9


Rookie QB Mark Sanchez may not be tearing up statistical records, but he’s getting the job done. He looks confident and poised in the pocket, even in the face of blitzing linebackers and even when he got knocked down or almost intercepted, the ex-USC Trojan bounced back with a good play.

He had ample help on the ground from both Leon Washington (58 yards) and Thomas Jones (54 yards) and from his wide receiver corps of Jerricho Cotchery (4 catches for 87 yards) and Chansi Stuckey (4 catches for 37 yards) including some key first downs. Dustin Keller also continues to get a ton of love from his rookie passer, including the lone touchdown of the game. The offense isn’t perfect but does what it needs to and is rolling very nicely after two solid games.


After the last minute heroics of last week, it was hard to believe the guy with Brady on his jersey was the same one who played on Monday night. But Jets coach Rex Ryan and his defense took a page from the Giants Super Bowl win playbook and blitzed on every down they could get away with it. Brady hates pressure and Ryan brought the thunder, occasionally with seven players. With that and a great job by Darrelle Revis on Randy Moss, the Pats failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time since December 10th, 2006 against the Miami Dolphins.

Saints 48 Eagles 22


Drew Brees threw for another 300+ yards and three touchdowns, hitting Marques Colston for two scores in a game that at times seemed closer than it really was. After not having one catch in Week 1, Colston totaled eight catches and 98 yards to go with his pair of touchdowns. Both Reggie Bush (33 yards rushing, 42 yards receiving) and Mike Bell (86 yards rushing, 9 receiving) had very good days as well, though Bell left the game late with a knee injury which has since been categorized as a slight sprain.


Amazingly, Drew Bress didn’t throw for the most yards in this game – Kevin Kolb did. But Kolb’s 391 yards and two touchdowns were marred by a trio of interceptions. DeSean Jackson had an outstanding game, reeling four balls for 101 yads and a touchdown while tight end Brent Celek 104 yards.

Unfortunately as the Eagles fell behind early,the run game wasn’t very effective. Brian Westbrook only had 66 total yards and left the game late in the fourth with an ankle sprain which Coach Andy Reid termed not very serious. Westbrook’s status should be watched all week, as should that of Donovan McNabb who still looks like he will miss the Eagles’ Week 3 game. Jackson also suffered a groin strain although he had a similar issue last week and still played.

Texans 34 Titans 31


After the disappointing loss to the Jets in Week 1 where QB Matt Schaub was hit early and often by the Jets, the Texans had a much better game offensively. That may be an understatement of tremendous proportions with Schaub throwing for 357 yards and four touchdowns, two of which found Andre Johnson. Johnson caught ten balls for a total of 149 yards, exploding in production after being stymied by the Jets secondary in Week 1.

Jacoby Jones and tight end Owen Daniels both contributed a touchdown as well with Daniels catching six balls for 72 yards as well. The rushing attack is still lacking punch though, with Steve Slaton running a pedestrian 34 yards on 17 carries. Still, this was an offense which showed us it can be as dynamic as any other when Schaub gets protection and time to throw. 


If I merely told you Chris Johnson had 197 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, I imagine you’d be suitably impressed. It’s an outstanding day, no doubt,. But what if I told you he added nine catches for 87 yards and another touchdown to the total? That’s right, Chris Johnson dropped three touchdowns and 284 total yards on the Texan defense and the Titans are still 0-2.

 The problem is, the game became a shootout and nobody but Johnson stepped up. Nate Washington had a touchdown but only 36 yards. Justin Gage and Kenny Britt fell back to earth after big games in Week 1. LenDale White didn’t do anything of note. So while Johnson had a great individual game, the Titans ended up losing. Defensively this team is out of sorts and while they put some pressure on Schaub, they never sacked him and their secondary was summarily picked apart.


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