For the first time in 50 years the Cowboys have fired their head coach mid season. Wade Phillips was put out to pasture just eight games into what was supposed to be a promising season. And a week after Jerry Jones said Phillips would remain head coach for the rest of the season. The thumping the Cowboys took for the third straight week must have changed his mind. The reigns will now be taken by Jason Garrett, the architect of the NFL’s 31<sup>st</sup> ranked rushing offense. While Phillips may be partly to blame, there is plenty of blame to share with the entire organization. Don’t expect a quick fix just because Philips is gone; this team is in disarray from top to bottom. Everyone knows the Cowboys need a no nonsense coach and the same names are being tossed around by all the talking heads. Nothing though, will matter much as long as Jerry and his giant ego remain in the way. The Cowboys will improve tremendously the day he realizes to step away and let a general manager and a head coach do their jobs.
Enough about the Cowboys. There was plenty of other headline grabbing games and plays in week nine. The so called best team in the league got beat by a perennial bottom dweller. While one New York team was nearly embarrassed the other was doing the embarrassing on the other side of the country. Week nine also introduced a few new players to the nation and some well known players take their shot at a new position.
The Bucs showed some guts when they traveled to Atlanta. In a back and forth game it came down to the final minutes and a goal line stand. On fourth-and-one from the Falcons two the Bucs decided to run it. It didn’t work as LaGarrett Blount was punched in the mouth for no gain. Atlanta now leads the NFC South by themselves, but Tampa is on their way up.
I don’t often give credit to this guy, when it’s deserved however I do. #4 threw for 446 yards in the Vikings overtime victory against the Cardinals. It was his career best and just the second time in 286 starts that he threw for 400 yards. His 36 completions were also his career best. Way to go #4 at least you didn’t get carted off the field this week and let the media go bananas all week wondering if you were going to start next week.
The Browns had their biggest win since; since they beat the super bowl champs 2 weeks ago. New England went into Cleveland on top of the world and looking to role the pitiful Browns. Mangini had a different plan for his former boss. Some chicanery and a relentless dose of power running was way too much for the Patriots young defense. The Browns’ defense with their different fronts and looks reduced Tom Terrific to a mere average quarterback. If you didn’t know who Peyton Hillis was before the game he made sure you know him now. Hillis was running like a man possessed. He ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns. I think Cleveland made out on the trade when they sent Brady Quinn to Denver for this guy, just another stellar move by Coach Josh. How’s Brady doing this year Coach?
The lone highlight for the Patriots was Wes Welker’s successful extra point.
The Lions nearly pulled off a huge upset this past week against the Jets. If it wasn’t for a complete breakdown they just might have won. A horrible play call in the fourth quarter and a late hit out of bounds allowed Sanchize to stay close and force overtime. The Jets were only down three points late in regulation because of my favorite play of the season. Jason Hanson, the Lions kicker, was hurt earlier when he was roughed up on a field goal attempt. So the backup kicker/defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh replaced him for an extra point try. He was unsuccessful, but he looked great. Suh actually won the backup kicker job in training camp and would probably be playing in the English Premier League if he wasn’t so massive.
Looking forward to next week when the Ryan twins go head to head as the Jets travel to Cleveland.
Another player you may not have heard of before last week’s games is the Oakland Raider’s Jacoby Ford a rookie out of Clemson. Ford lifted the Raiders over the Chiefs in what could be described as a chippy contest. The most impressive part of the Raiders’ victory was their 15 penalties. It’s pretty tough to get flagged 15 times in today’s NFL.
It was a scary moment in the Colts and Eagles game when Austin Collie took a shot to the head. A flag was thrown on the play which enabled the Colts to continue a drive. The response by the Eagles’ defense seemed a little inappropriate while Collie lied on the turf obviously unconscious. Several minutes passed as the receiver lay motionless and some Eagles’ players looked as if they were ready to fight the refs for throwing the flag. The Refs had to do something in that instance. There was no malicious intent in the hit and it didn’t deserve a penalty, the refs are just taking orders from upstairs. The problems wasn’t in the penalty, it was in the reaction by the Eagles.
The Bills lost for the third straight week by three points. So now it’s official, the Bills stink in the US and Canada.
The Giants didn’t knock another quarterback out this week, but might as well have. In Charlie Whitehurst’s first NFL start he went 12 for 23 and 113 yards. He did throw a touchdown though in garbage time. The Giants are looking pretty good.
That’s it kids. Talk to ya next week. Sorry for all the stats.