Defeated in Steeltown- Its about time something slowed down that Brett Favre love train. I mean seriously, I don’t think anyone has expected him to play as well as he has this year, but do we really want to keep feeding that beast? We all know what this offseason is going to entail so why contribute to the inevitable, ya know? If this Vikings squad was going to make any more of a march towards an undefeated regular season, than my Sunday morning ritual (which is really no different than my 3-S routine on any other day of the week) would have included a fourth S. Self induced vomiting. The Steelers came to play with their usual “step yo game up” versus a legit opponent attitude and locked down the Vikings on pretty much all fronts. Sure, the Ole Gunslinger had a comfortable 334 yards passing on 33 completions but the Steelers were able to keep him out of the endzone. Most importantly, they were able to limit running back Adrian Peterson to just 69 yards on the ground while taking advantage of two very opportunistic turnovers that were taken to the house. All in all it was a recipe that worked as Pittsburgh looks to reassert itself atop the AFC North after a slow start to the year.
Cedric the Entertainer- Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson’s playing career was left for dead after three seasons in Chicago that probably had the same production equivalencies as a two year old trying to walk before it could crawl. Through his stint in the Windy City, he never eclipsed the 700 yard rushing mark, never garnered more than 4.1 yards per carry, never played all 16 games, and most importantly, was never able to win over his teammates and coaches (most of which probably was his own doing). Compound that with two alcohol related arrests in a 5-week period and suddenly the former 4th overall draft pick found himself on the scrap heap after the Bears released him before the 2008 season began. The Bengals swooped and since signing with Cincinnati during the early parts of last season, Benson has been both resurrected and vindicated. Two weeks after breaking the Ravens 40 game streak of not having allowed a 100-yard rusher (he rushed for 120 yards in a week 5 victory), Benson and the Bengals squared off against his former team. Not only did the team make Jay Cutler and company look like a pack of girl scouts pretending to know how to play football, but Benson laid out his Windy City demons with a stout 37-carry, 189 yard, 1 TD showcase that easily became his career best performance. Through the first seven weeks Benson is the NFL’s leading rusher and a huge reason for much of the Bengals offensive success.
Desert Storm- I find it almost laughable at how many people were writing off the Arizona Cardinals before they even played a down of football this season. Everyone was pointing to a Super Bowl loser slump, or an aging Kurt Warner or a team that simply caught fire in the playoffs last season as excuses in not believe they could repeat in a NFC West division that is far from over powering. Hopefully after a very impressive showing against the Giants on national television, those doubters will turn into believers once more. They still offer one of the most explosive offenses in the league and an exciting and incredibly athletic defense that remains vastly underrated. All that being said, I find myself wondering if they really were able to learn certain intangibles from last season’s run…as most good teams do. They have had one of the better home field advantages in the league over the past couple of seasons, but their inability to have consistent success on the road has held them back from making the step to the NFL’s next tier of teams to be reckoned with. Well on the contrary, this season has seen the team get off to a slow start at home with a 1-2 record (a trend that I assure you will reverse as the season carries on, already as many losses at home as all of last year) while also forcing the issue with an undefeated road record of 3-0 after gaining only 3 wins away from home all of last year. The latter I feel will not be a reversing trend. Sure, the team still has a long way to go before laying claim to continued postseason success but the lack of run they were getting before the season began was almost completely unwarranted. If they can keep showing this much poise on the road than...in the words of Kurt Warner…”Thank You Jeeeeeeeebus!.”
Speed round: 70 words or less
The good, the bad and the badder- The Jets, Packers, Chargers, Colts and Patriots all won their games by a combined score of 183-23 versus their opposition this weekend. All five played teams with 2 wins or less.
The strangest variation of a dude with two first names is…- Miles Austin? Oh yea. Not much to say here. Dallas is 2-0 since he took over as starter and he has accumulated 16 catches, 421 yards and 4 touchdowns the past two weeks. Pretty impressive.
Jake Del-Go-Homme- The Panthers have undoubtedly been one of the most disappointing teams of the season. Jake Delhomme is 99.9% of the reason why. Delhomme has thrown for as many or more picks then touchdowns in every single game this year. Season totals? 4 TD’s and 13 INT’s. The Panthers just gave him a contract extension because? Awkward silence.
Plays of the Week- This weeks version features Desean Jackson, who may have now over taken Titans running back Chris Johnson as the most exciting player to watch in the NFL and a beautiful catch by Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, in what was probably the teams lone highlight versus the Chargers.