Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday FourCast: Week 11

Through eight weeks, a few constants held true. Through 11 weeks, there’s just one. The Patriots are downright dominant. Anything short of winning the Super Bowl will be a supreme disappointment. As the Patriots continue to solidify their role in history, uncertainty continues to be the superseding undertone among the NFL’s perceived elite. That’s where we start.

#1: What Has Happened in the Steel City?

Two weeks ago, I considered the Steelers to be not only the #2 team in the AFC, but also the second-best team in the NFL. Since that determination, Pittsburgh has forgotten how to do the two things they do best – run and stop the run. Additionally, their special teams coverage has been abysmal. While they only surrendered 163 yards from scrimmage against Cleveland, they gave up 28 points. Since their Monday night demolition of the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers defense has had exactly 3 sacks and 2 takeaways in 120+ minutes of football. Did I mention that not only did Big Ben get sacked seven times but that the Steelers were outgained by the Jets? Suddenly, the Steelers are suffering from a loss of identity.

#2: Carson Palmer is Overrated

While I tolerate the love that Carson Palmer is given by other contributors of this blog, much of that love is unsubstantiated. Playoff Games: One. Playoff victories: Zero. No matter how you bend reality, Carson Palmer is the quarterback of a 3-7 team. You can point to the lack of a defense. You can point to the health of Rudi Johnson and the beleaguered offensive line. You could even point to the ego of Chad Johnson. However, none of those players threw four interceptions yesterday in a must-win situation [and effectively resurrected the flailing career of Antrel Rolle] or lost seven fumbles last season. Despite his impeccable mechanics, Carson Palmer is and will remain overrated until he shows otherwise.

#3: Taking Out At Least Two Birds With One Stone

On Sunday, the Colts struggled to a victory over the depleted Kansas City Chiefs. After missing four straight field goal attempts, future Hall of Famer was in no frame of mind to make anything short of a gimmie. Peyton Manning had come off of his only 6 INT effort … ever and converting on 4th and 1 was not a sure thing. With less than two minutes left, Tony Dungy rolled the dice on 4th down and converted when a field goal was the simpler option. As a result, the makeshift offensive line got the necessary push and Adam Vinatieri may have gotten back on track. If such is the case, then Coach Dungy just took out two birds with one stone.

#4: Maurice Jones-Drew, Football Player

Two weekends ago at New Orleans, Jaguars QB Quinn Gray threw a last-minute interception of a game that was decided shortly before halftime. Did Jones-Drew jog and conserve energy for the following week’s tilt? No. He speared Saints CB Jason Craft and sent a message to the NFL that these Jags would not quit regardless of what the scoreboard dictates.

Up 17-10 yesterday against the 5-4 San Diego Chargers, the diminutive Jones-Drew had one of the memorable plays of the NFL season when he laid out Shawne Merriman. Sure, the play does not help your fantasy team unless you own either David Garrard or Mercedes Lewis. Nevertheless, the play occurred at a key juncture in a close game and turned out to be the decider for the Jags.

1 comment:

Chris Clement said...

Glad to see that the Steelers lost more than the Jets won.

Because in all honesty, it's what happened.

And I LOVED it.

Not many victories in a 2-8 campaign can make you forget just how pathetic your team is.

Yet, beating the Stillers is one of those rare wins (home or away) that always feels good.

Now if we could only avoid losing by a combined 100 to the Cowboys and Patriots.

Yeah, sure.