Not the best of Sundays. A horrifying number of blowouts today, capped of course by that ridiculous Pats/Skins game. In addition, a ton of less than inspiring games - like Cleveland/St. Louis. And here in the Bay Area, we had to watch the Raiders lose a snoozer followed by the 49ers getting destroyed. Sweet.
Anyway, on to what we learned.
1. The Patriots are ultimately going to get someone injured at the rate they're going. I'm not going to get into the "did they run up the score" question. Because they did, no question. Running a pump and go when you're up by 38 in the 4th quarter and then later going for it on 4th down is running up the score. But you know what, the Skins could have played better defense as well. But the better question to ask here is why did Belichick leave his starters in so long and risk getting them injured? Michael David Smith at the Fanhouse alluded to this and he's right. Imagine Brady getting hit in the knees in the 4th when the Pats are up by 38. Man, Belichick would be hung by Pats fans. The fact is that the Pats really should take their first-string guys out when they're blowing someone out - not to be nice - but to prevent them from getting injured. Either on freak plays or on not so freak plays when some opposing player decides to take a cheap shot.
2. John Kitna is smarter than an awful lot of us. Kitna said the Lions would get 10 wins this year, they're now half way there. I'm still not 100% sure they'll get there, but I didn't see them winning more than six games this year, so what the hell do I know? Besides, they've beaten the Bucs and Bears in back to back games. The truth is that they play in what is quickly becoming a pretty weak division. And I say that because if anyone thinks Green Bay is going to keep winning with no running game as it gets colder out - forget it. Color me impressed Mr. Kitna.
3. Brian Griese is still a pretty bad QB. I always believed that the Bears had to make a change from Rex, but I was never really excited by Griese. And for good reason. Nothing like throwing 4 picks against the Lions, 3 of them in the end zone. Yikes. The fact is the Bears have no one really to play QB, they're defense isn't nearly as good as it was last year, and Cedric Benson sucks. He's horrible. The Bears will become yet another Super Bowl loser not to make the playoffs the following year.
4. St. Louis and Miami, I like your chances of going 0-16. Both these teams lost close games on Sunday, but whatever, they still lost. Also St. Louis lost Steven Jackson yet again and Miami is quickly becoming the Isiah Thomas Knicks of the NFL. What's even better is that these teams don't play each other, so both could go 0-16. That's probably pretty unlikely, but if I had to bet on one of them to do it, it'd be Miami.
5. It's officially time to revoke Mangenius's nickname. He'll now only be known as Mangini. He's about the only person in the world who wanted to stick with Pennington these last few weeks and needless to say, it hasn't worked out so well. And losing to the Bills, well, that SHOULD be the final nail in the coffin for Pennington. As we said last week Mangini, your season is over, might as well see what Clemens can give you.
6. The Chargers look like they're back. Basically stealing Chambers from the Dolphins was absolutely huge. It just can't be stressed enough how great a deal that was for the Chargers. That gives them a very legit receiver to take some of the defensive pressure off of Gates, and man did it work on Sunday. This team looks primed for a big time run and in all likelyhood we'll look back at that Chambers deal and say that's when things came together for this team.
7. Even though Norv's a bad coach, he's a great O-coordinator. And man, oh man do we miss him in SF. Our 49ers are abysmal on offense right now and it's easy to see why. Every week teams stuff 8 or 9 guys in the box against the 49ers to stop Gore and dare whoever's at QB to beat them. That's it. And it's working really well. The simple fact is that the only difference between this year's offense and last year's offense is Norv. Same QB, same RB, same TE, same O-line. Different O-coordinator. It's hard to say it's anything else.
8. I don't expect England to start liking our football anytime soon after Sunday's game. The Giants and Dolphins combined for 187 passing yards, 7 fumbles, and two missed field goals. Yes it was played in the rain and on a slicker than normal surface, but seriously, if Goodell wants to attract more fans he better provide a better game for them.
9. The Jags/Bucs was the best game of the day. I watched it, and yet I still can't figure out how Quinn Gray wound up being on the winning team. I know it was defense, but still, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that Quinn Gray helped lead the Jags to victory, while Alex Smith is totally inept.
10. Tom Brady is no longer the best dressed man in America. That hat he wore in the post game interview - bizarre and horrible.