NFL Direct Snaps: Shaun Hill Gives Lions Their Roar; Max Hall Scores Big Upset

Dan PieroniCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2010

This Columbus Day weekend was highly interesting in terms of the NFL.

For the first time in 40 years, there is no undefeated team heading into Week 6.

Quarterbacks did a lot to impress and depress me this week, and possibly the best deep threat the Patriots ever had is gone and replaced by a familiar face.

I also feel terrible for a Boston bartender I had a conversation with on Sunday night.

Want to know more? Read on.


Five Things That Impressed Me About Week 5

1. Shaun Hill

Just getting a win for a team that had two wins in its previous 37 games would be enough to impress me. However, Hill's three touchdown passes and interception-free day sparked a Lions mauling of the Rams. What also impressed me was Hill's ability to spread the ball around amongst his targets in that everyone was involved and had an opportunity to make a impact.

It was probably the best day for the Lions faithful since Matt Millen drove away from team headquarters.


2. Max Hall

The latest quarterback to get an audition to replace rumba king Kurt Warner wasn't flashy. He only threw for a modest 168 yards and no scores, but he was unselfish in helping his team to an upset over the Saints.

What really impressed me, though, is this guy's toughness. He started the season fourth on the depth chart, and when he finally got his chance, he tried to outsmart three New Orleans defenders while scrambling for the end zone. Even though Hall fumbled on the play, alert offensive lineman Levi Brown scooped the ball up and scored anyway.

That kind of grittiness is always admirable, and hopefully Hall will get another chance to impress.


3. LaRon Landry

The Redskin safety currently leads the NFL in tackles and forced a fumble against the Packers. However, his biggest contribution to the Redskins upset was an interception that set up the game-winning field goal. Washington is now tied atop the NFC East thanks in no small part to a guy who seems to have finally found his stride.


4. The Raiders' Special Teams Unit

A blocked punt each by Rock Cartwright and Brandon Myers led to a safety and a touchdown respectively and gave Oakland the momentum it needed to snap a 13-game losing streak to the Chargers. Special teams is always an underrated aspect in this game. As we saw with the Patriots last week, sometimes it is the most important aspect between a win and a loss.


5. Matt Forte

The Bears running back basically ran the offense with two key touchdown runs in the first half behind an underperforming line and a rusty quarterback.


Five Things That Depressed Me About Week 5

1. Brett Favre

And it's not because of what you think it is. I could care less about that. That's for Roger Goodell to handle. It is because Favre's performance was dismal until the later stages of last night's game. Favre's inability to understand he was ineligible on the Vikings' goofy first play from scrimmage kind of set the tone for a bad night.

Although Favre did become the first quarterback to pass for 500 career touchdowns, he also passed Warren Moon for the most career fumbles by a quarterback. Now at 1-3, the Vikings probably wonder if it was a wise idea to twist Favre's arm to get him to come back.


2. Randy Moss' Relationship with the Patriots

Yes, he had the reputation of a prima donna. Yes, he may have been bad for team chemistry. And yes, he was wrong to moan about his contract status. But yes, Randy Moss was everything the Patriots wanted him to be.

I didn't understand the logic behind the trade at first because I found it hard to believe that the Patriots would jettison their best wide receiver for a draft pick, but in hindsight it was a deal that had to be done. Moss clearly wanted to be loved, and the Patriots' team first approach wore thin with him.

Now, the deal doesn't seem as bad because Deion Branch is back. He may not be Moss, but Branch understands the Bill Belichick way and had a great rapport with Tom Brady in the past. Stay tuned—October 31st could be very interesting.


3. The Bills and the Panthers

These two teams are so pathetic that I wouldn't be surprised if a game between them ended in a scoreless tie.


4. The Dallas Cowboys

The team that almost everyone who watches football thought would run away with the NFC East gained 511 yards of total offense yet still lost the game largely because of the 133 yards of penalties they accumulated. Add to that the fact that Tony Romo was intercepted three times, and the Cowboys were up the creek without a paddle.

It was enough to render Jerry Jones speechless, and anytime that happens, it's never good for the coach. Watch your back, Wade Phillips.


5. Todd Haley

The Chiefs coach was a bad gambler on Sunday. It's never a good idea to call for an onside kick to start a game. It's also not a good idea to have your kicker try a long field goal when you're down 10 late in the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, the Chiefs were burned on both plays and thus became the last of the unbeaten teams to fall.


Idle Thoughts

1. I went out to Boston to see an old friend Sunday night. At a bar near Fenway, I met a nice bartender from Cincinnati who had already seen his beloved Bengals lose that day and told me he'd give anything to see his Reds win one game. Sorry buddy—keep the faith though.

2. I think I've finally understood the Twins. They're built to beat the teams in their division but not the rest of the league.

3. Congratulations Roy Halladay—that was some performance.

4. I not a big college football guy, but I must say I was riveted by the South Carolina-Alabama game on Saturday. Congratulations to them too.

5. So Ryan Seacrest wants his own cable network now? Why don't we just give Flo from Progressive her own too since they're both constantly on TV?

6. Dear ESPN The Magazine: If I wanted to see naked pictures of athletes, I'd buy Playboy. Stick to sports reporting please.

7. Godspeed Bobby Cox. It'll be hard to get used to someone else in the Braves dugout, but you had nothing else to prove.


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