NFL Direct Snaps: Vince Young Is Childish, Mark Sanchez Leads Another Comeback
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On this week of Thanksgiving, Vikings fans are giving thanks for owner Zygi Wulf finally pulling the plug on the Brad Childress era.
Jets fans are giving thanks for a smart quarterback who knows how to beat a porous pass offense in the waning seconds of the game.
Bears fans are giving thanks for Julius Peppers, and my fellow Patriots fans and are giving thanks for James Sanders.
Please allow me to elaborate.
Five things that impressed me about week 11
1. Mark Sanchez
To be fair, to the Texans and their fans, I'm looking beyond the fact that Sanchez threw three touchdown passes because anyone could throw three touchdown passes against that pass defense.
What impressed me was the poise and gumption Sanchez displayed on the final drive of the game by delivering a Peyton Manning-esque, hurry-up masterpiece, that cemented these Jets are serious about challenging New England for AFC East supremacy.
The drive was highlighted by a beautiful throw down the sideline to Braylon Edwards that set-up a Santonio Holmes touchdown catch that Sanchez made look easy.
And all of this was done in the final 55 seconds of the game.
Forget the facts that the Jets really should have dominated their last three opponents, and blew a 23-10 lead on Sunday, they know drama as well as TNT.
It also serves any Jet fan right who headed for the exits and missed the final drive. That's what you get for not believing in Mark Sanchez' abilities.
2. Aaron Rodgers
I can see the movie poster for it now;
Favre Bowl IV: Total Domination.
That in a nutshell is basically what Sunday 31-3 Packer barrage of the Vikings was.
It was all spearheaded by Rodger's four touchdown passes, including 3 to Greg Jennings.
In the last two games, Rodgers has completed 75 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Thus, even the most ardent Favre supporter must admit that Green Bay is now officially Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood.
3. Julius Peppers
Peppers was lured to Chicago by a big money contract.
I, for one, questioned it over the summer. To me, Peppers was good, but not that good.
He proved his worth to me and all doubters on Thursday night, physically dominating the hapless Tyler Thigpen for three sacks that terminated drives, and recording six tackles in the Bear's 16-0 win.
His individual play is a big reason why Chicago is a contender not only in the NFC North but also in the entire conference as well.
4. Bryan McCann
No, not the Braves catcher, the Dallas defensive back and special teams player.
He followed up an interception of Eli Manning last week with a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown that swung momentum on the Cowboys side.
Jason Garrett is now 2-0 as Dallas coach, and I still think he is the likely candidate for the job next season.
5. James Sanders
When the Patriots took a 31-14 in the fourth quarter, I had but one thought in my mind.
"Oh no, not again."
The Patriots had a 31-14 lead in the fourth last year against the Colts, and Peyton Manning erased it for a Colts win.
So when the Colts scored 14 unanswered in the fourth quarter, I was expecting the worst.
As Manning methodically drove the team down the field yet again, I couldn't believe what I was watching.
How can a man without his number-two wide receiver, his best tight end, and his two best running backs, be doing this?
I braced myself for another letdown. I just couldn't bear one more after watching the Jets come back and win their game.
But after an under-thrown pass, and a James Sanders interception, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
Close but no cigar Peyton.
Five things that depressed me about week 11
1. Vince Young's behavior
Jeff Fisher strikes me as the type of coach who always looks out for the best interests of his players. Perhaps that's why he's been around so long.
So, I tend to think that Fisher may have sensed that Vince Young's thumb was too injured for him to come back into the game.
Who will be the ultimate loser in the potential Jeff Fisher Vince Young feud?
Instead of respecting the wishes of his well-regarded coach, Young threw a tantrum, throwing his shirt and his shoulder pads into the crowd following the Titans loss to the Redskins Sunday.
Peter King also reported that Young muttered something under his breath about Fisher in the locker room after the game.
I find Young's behavior to be most unprofessional and childish.
If you don't like the coach's decision, you should tell him so in a tactful manner, or take your grievance to the GM or owner, it's that simple.
But Vince Young apparently has no regard for authority, or is the pet of a higher-up in the organization, thus he can get away with his behavior.
The latter option applies here, because according to King, Titans owner Bud Adams still views Young as his franchise quarterback.
The seeds have been sown for the next great NFL soap opera.
I don't think getting rid of Young will be as easy as people like King and NBC's Tony Dungy seem to think it is.
The Titans have thin depth at quarterback with 38-year-old Kerry Collins and virtual unknown Rusty Smith.
While Collins may be the more experienced option, he likely has very little left in the tank, and few people know about Smith abilities to run an offense.
My theory is, Young is due $11.5 million next year, and because of the lack of youth and experience at quarterback, Fisher and Young have to learn to co-exist.
2. Brad Childress.
It was only a matter of time.
After weeks of player and organizational upheaval, the Vikings finally pulled the plug on Brad Childress after four and a half years and a 40-37 record.
The firing may have been permeated by the aforementioned 31-3 loss to the Packers on Sunday.
I can only say two words to new Vikings coach Leslie Frazier.
3. Richard Seymour
When he was with the Patriots, Richard Seymour lead by example.
On Sunday, the example he set by clocking Ben Roethlisberger in the head, was uncharacteristic of him.
While it appeared that Roethlisberger may have said something directed at Seymour, it wasn't worth the $25,000 fine Seymour has to pay to the league office.
4. The Dolphins offense
Poor Tyler Thigpen was harassed all night by the Bears front four, and the running game could only muster 12 yards of total offense.
Things aren't looking good in Miami.
5. Graham Gano
The Redskins kicker missed a 47-yard field goal that was not only short, but also painful to endure given the circumstances.
If Gano had made the kick, there would be no more doubts about Donovan McNabb's ability to run the two-minute offense, and the Redskins would not have to have played overtime against the Lions.
1. Honorable mention in the impressive category goes to Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris for his gutsy decision to start receiver Mike Williams after he was pulled over for a DUI on Friday. It paid big dividends Sunday.
2. Poor Miami, not only do the Dolphins stink, but the Heat are vastly underachieving, and may lose Udonis Haslem for the year.
Not only that, but the Marlins traded slugging second baseman Dan Uggla to the Braves. Oy!
3. I love Albert Pujols, but there shouldn't be a monopoly on any postseason award. Yay for Joey Votto.
4. Way to go Mets, instead of a more qualified candidate on the market like Don Wakamatsu or Bob Melvin, you pick a guy who hasn't managed in the big leagues in 11 years.
5. I think the Yankees made an excellent hire in Larry Rothchild for their new pitching coach.
6. Yankee Stadium looked awfully nice as a football field. Here's hoping more football will be played there soon.
7. I think there are five f's that Thanksgiving stands for: food, faith, family, fat, and football.
8. Finally, a special shout out and thank you to the Rhode Island Alliance for Full Participation.
They were nice enough to have me as a featured speaker and showcase some of my work from his website.
I enjoyed speaking with many of you, and I hope you passed this column along to your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
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