2009 NFL Review: Week Five

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2009 NFL Review: Week Five

Cowboys WR Miles Austin is Week Five’s Game Ball winner for his monumental effort in the Cowboys’ OT win over the Chiefs.

The second quarter of the 2009 NFL season began in Week Five, and the league seems to be a clear case of the “Have’s” and the “Have Nots.”  After five weeks of NFL play, there are five undefeated teams (New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, and Denver Broncos)—the most undefeated clubs through the first five weeks of a season in NFL history. 

There are also four winless teams after five weeks (St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers).  Fortunately, the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns got off the “schnide” and can now call themselves winners after two close wins.

The Browns, “fueled” by the return of RB Jamal Lewis, won 6-3 over the terrible Buffalo Bills, and the Panthers further pushed Washington Redskins head coach Jim Zorn closer to the door with a 20-17 win. 

Overall, I am going to designate Week Five in the National Football League as “Blowout Week”.  There were six games of the 14 games played that were decided by 19 points or more.  Going into the weekend, everyone feared that the Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Colts, and Pittsburgh Steelers would dominate as they took on the NFL’s bottom-rung teams—two combined wins between their opponents. 

True to form, the Giants (blew out the Oakland Raiders 44-7), Eagles (dominated the Bucs 34-14), Colts (marched through the Titans 31-9) and Vikings (tore apart the Rams 38-10) easily disposed of their opponents. 

You can also throw-in other unexpected bludgeonings, by Seattle Seahawks (beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 41-0) and Atlanta Falcons (lopsided win over the home team Niners 45-10).

Luckily for viewers, the NFL did also have its fair share of close games including two overtime thrillers.  Surprisingly, two teams that were involved in close games were the Cowboys and Steelers.  Both came away with wins, but clearly they each played down to their respective home team competition too lightly (Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions).  

The Dallas Cowboys continued their inconsistent ways as it took a monumental effort from receiver Miles Austin (see Game Balls) and quarterback Tony Romo to comeback in a game where they trailed the lowly Chiefs by a score of 10-3 at halftime. 

Finally, Dallas’s wake-up call came and the Cowboys hit some big plays to get the game to overtime and finally put the Chiefs away 26-20. Conversely, the Steelers let Daunte Culpepper and the Lions hang around for a while due to an interception return for a touchdown then finally putting them away late in the fourth quarter winning by a score 28-20.

The game of the week was the Broncos, led by “Belichick Jr.” head coach Josh McDaniels, beating his former team, the New England Patriots, by a score of 20-17 in overtime.  The Broncos drove 58 yards on the first series of overtime—never looked back after winning the coin flip—to set up Matt Prater’s 41-yard winning field goal. 

With former Eagles pro bowl safety Brian Dawkins leading the way, as usual, the new-look Broncos were led by their defense, which has allowed just 43 points this season (8.6 per game).  The Broncos defense held the Patriots’ explosive offense scoreless in the second half and Pats Pro Bowl receiver Randy Moss to just 36 receiving yards. 

On offense, RB Knowshon Moreno made his first career start rushing 21 times for 88 yards, but the Broncos went more to the air against a Patriots secondary that was having problems in coverage.  The Broncos rolled-up 321 yards through the air—compared to just 209 passing yards for New England—and rallied for a big come-from-behind win that realistically showed that they are a team to be reckoned with. 

 

Some Lloyd’s Leftovers for this week before we go to the awards are:

The Wildcat was loose on Monday night — Running out of multiple formations including the Wildcat, Miami Dolphins’ running back combination, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams were nearly unstoppable in a physical 31-27 win over the NY Jets.

Brown scored a pair of touchdowns, including the two-yard game-winner out of the Wildcat, while rushing for 74 yards. Williams had 138 scrimmage yards, the big game coming on a 59-yard reception. 

The Dolphins piled-up 151 rushing yards and converted nine of 14 third-down chances.  We even got to see rookie quarterback Pat White come in and move the chains on a third-down run.

NFL Trade Deadline is approaching – Tuesday Oct. 20 is the NFL Trade Deadline and for the first time in a while, there is some “buzz” around the date.  Already the NFL saw the trade of former Browns receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets and there could be more. 

Watch for the names Bills WR Terrell Owens, Eagles WR Kevin Curtis, Titans QB Vince Young, Chiefs DT Glenn Dorsey, Browns QB Brady Quinn, and Chargers LB Shawn Merriman to possibly be changing teams around the deadline. 

Of course, I never hold my breath around the trade deadline, as former deals like former Niners QB Tim Rattay going the Tampa Bay Bucs for a future sixth round pick at the 2005 deadline are usually the norm.

The NFL is now a passing league – Through Week Five, teams with 300-yard passers had a combined record of 23-8 (.742).  Which is the highest winning percentage of teams with 300-yard passers over the first five weeks of a season (since 1970). 

The 23 combined wins are already the most in NFL history through the first five weeks of a season.  Perennial 300-yard passer Colts QB Peyton Manning did it again this week as he hit the magic mark in a win over the Titans—has won 5-of-5 this year in 300-yard passing games.

Manning’s final passing numbers were 36 of 44 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Well it was a win — Browns QB Derek Anderson completed just two passes in 17 attempts for 23 yards in his team’s 6-3 ugly win over the Bills.  Anderson’s 11.8 completion percentage is the second-worst since the NFL-AFL merger for a winning quarterback with at least 15 pass attempts—also had a passer rating of 15.

The Browns and Bills combined for the lowest scoring game of the season (nine points), besting the 9-7 result between the Redskins and Rams in Week Two.

And the Bills have lost 12 of their last 15 games.  What an ugly game, but at least Anderson “showed” that the Browns didn’t need disgruntled receiver Braylon Edwards...not.

 

Game Balls

Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin – Who needs T.O anyway!!! The big physical receiver from tiny Monmouth College (NJ) had 10 catches for a team-record 250 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 26-20 overtime victory at Kansas City. Austin saved the Cowboys’ hides with a 60-yard tackle-breaking game-winning TD reception in overtime.

Austin became the 10th player in NFL history to record at least 10 catches, 250 yards and two touchdowns in a game. However QB Tony Romo’s new favorite target was the first player with those stats to score a game-winner in OT.

 

Honorable Mention

Philadelphia Eagles rookie WR Jeremy Maclin – Better stop double-teaming DeSean Jackson, and Kevin Curtis maybe seeing more of the bench.  In his first NFL start, Maclin was electric.  The 2009 first rounder had six catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 33-14 win over Tampa Bay.

Maclin was able to get deep twice for returning QB Donovan McNabb as he recorded touchdown receptions of 51 and 40 yards (firsts of his NFL career). Maclin is the fifth rookie since 1970 to have his first two career receiving touchdowns go for at least 40 yards and occur in the same game.

Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner – The veteran passer threw for 302 yards in the Cardinals’ 28-21 victory over Houston Texans.

Warner’s efforts marked his 50th career 300-yard passing performance, which is the fifth-most in NFL history. Warner has now passed for 300 yards in 50 of 113 games (44.2 percent), which is the fastest quarterback to reach 50 300-yard games, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino (176 games). 

Warner also hit another milestone as he has now passed for 13,255 yards in his Cardinals’ career, which combined with his 14,447 yards with the St. Louis Rams.  Makes Warner join Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton as the only players to pass for at least 13,000 yards with two different teams.

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White – The 2008 Pro Bowl receiver had eight catches for a team-record 210 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons’ 45-10 win at San Francisco. White’s big day, along Austin’s effort, marks the second time in NFL history that two receivers each recorded at least 200 receiving yards and two TD catches on the same day (Kansas City’s Stephone Paige and Houston’s Drew Hill, Dec. 22, 1985).

Cincinnati Bengals RB Cedric Benson – The former Bears runner rushed 27 times for 120 yards and one touchdown in the Bengals’ 17–14 win over the Baltimore Ravens.  Benson became the first running back in 40 games to rush for at least 100 yards against the Ravens.

Other Honorees: New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw (rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries in the Giants’ easy win over the Raiders); Denver WR Eddie Royal (10 catches for 90 yards in the Broncos’ overtime victory over the Patriots. Royal, who now has 109 receptions in 20 career games, became the third wide receiver in NFL history to reach 100 catches in 20 or fewer games, joining Arizona’s Anquan Boldin (16 games) and former New England wide receiver Terry Glenn (20)).

Baltimore safety Ed Reed (52-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Bengals, which was the 12th return TD of his career); Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck (threw four touchdowns completing 18 of 30 passes for 241 yards in the Seahawks’ 41 – 0 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars).

Cardinals CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (had a pick-six interception return and was a big part of the Cardinals’ game-saving goal-line stand); Colts WR Austin Collie (The rookie from BYU caught eight passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts win over the Titans); Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers (two sacks and a huge safety in Carolina’s first win).

 

Lloyd’s Lackey

The Oakland Raiders – Is there a team worse than the Raiders after their 44-7 humiliating loss to the New York Giants? To answer my own question...“NO.”  I am still trying to figure out how the Raiders ever won a game over the Chiefs earlier this year.  The Giants scored a touchdown on each of their first four possessions for a 28-0 lead only minutes into the second quarter.

In his brief appearance, Manning was 8-of-10 for 173 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to backup quarterback David Carr. The Giants ended the game with 483 yards of offense compared to only 124 total yards for the Raiders.  Al Davis’ boys were unable to get the ball moving on the ground or in the air. 

Their rushing total was just 60 yards on 25 carries for an average of only 2.4 per carry against a Giants’ defense that allowed 5.5 yards per carry in their first four games.  QB JaMarcus Russell continued to struggle as he finished with only 100 yards passing—the former first player selected in the 2007 NFL Draft was 1-of-6 to his wide receivers. 

“I expected more out of us,” Raiders head coach Tom Cable said. “We just did not deliver today.” — Amen, Coach. And I didn’t want to mention it...but I will.  The Napa Valley Police and the NFL still might penalize Cable for his alleged punch against assistant coach Randy Hanson.

 

Dishonorable Mention

San Francisco 49ers CB Dre’ Bly – I guess he was trying to pay tribute to Deion Sanders.  But Bly’s decision to showboat as he was returning a great interception he made against the Falcons proved to be costly. The Niners corner had the ball stripped during his showboating attempt and head coach Mike Singletary was livid.  Of course, later, Bly apologized but the damage was already done.

Patriots safety Brandon Merriweather – At a point when the Pats needed a stop late in the game, Merriweather took a dumb taunting penalty.  In the fourth quarter, Broncos WR Eddie Royal was hit in the back by Merriweather on an incompletion and the official right behind the play immediately threw his flag for pass interference.

Then Merriweather made matters worse by getting up and pumping his fist while standing over Royal, thus garnering an additional15 yards for taunting.

Rams WR Donnie Avery – In a game that was well over, Avery decided to do a stupid dance after scoring a 27-yard touchdown in the Rams’ 38-10 loss to the Vikings.  Here see for yourself this unneeded display of non-team football.

 

Week Five Games 

Bengals (4-1) over Ravens (3-2), 17-14

Broncos (5-0) over Patriots (3-2), 20-17

Browns (1-4) over Bills (1-4), 6-3

Cardinals (2-2) over Texans (2-3), 28-21

Colts (5-0) over Titans (0-5), 31-9

Cowboys (3-2) over Chiefs (0-5), 26-20

Eagles (3-1) over Buccaneers (0-5), 33-14

Falcons (3-1) over 49ers (3-2), 45-10

Giants (5-0) over Raiders (1-4), 44-7

Panthers (1-3) over Redskins (2-3), 20-17

Seahawks (2-3) over Jaguars (2-3), 41-0

Steelers (3-2) over Lions (1-4), 28-20

Vikings (5-0) over Rams (0-5), 38-10

Mon: Dolphins (2-3) over Jets (3-2), 31-27

Byes: Bears (3-1), Chargers (2-2), Packers (2-2), Saints (4-0)

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award -winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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