This week had everything, ugly interceptions, unknown players making their mark and another Tom Brady special. Here are my thoughts on the NFL after week six.
It was another multiple interception game for Eli Manning on Thursday Night. Picks thirteen, fourteen and fifteen fell into the hands of Bears defenders. Eli is getting little help from receivers failing to adjust routes and poor protection but his historic interception rate is still on him.
What has happened to Jason Pierre-Paul? Two seasons ago he recorded sixteen and a half sacks and looked in prime position to become the NFL’s next great defender. Now fighting through back injuries Pierre-Paul has looked a shell of his former self. The Giants pass rush is anaemic, only recording five this year. They need Pierre-Paul back to his 2011 form, but the question arises. Did he already reach his peak?
When the Bills announced that Thad Lewis would be starting in week 6 vs. the Bengals the resounding answer was…who? Lewis answered that question empathically with an impressive performance and three touchdowns that almost pulled out a win for the Bills. The Bills looked done when E.J Manuel went down but Thad Lewis looks like he can keep them in games until Manuel returns.
Oh Brandon, Brandon, Brandon. Trust Brandon Weeden to raise everyone’s hopes with some confident downfield passing, showcasing the Browns weapons offense then bam! In what has to be the front runner for worst interception of the season, Weeden escaped the pocked to his left and flipped the ball underhand into DeAndre Levy’s welcoming arms. Fool me once Brandon, fool me once…
The Packers survived a tight game with the Ravens but at great cost. Wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb left the game with injuries and linebacker Nick Perry broke his foot during the game. With Clay Mathews already sidelined the Packers suddenly look devoid of playmakers on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers is Superman, but he can only do so much with this much bad luck.
The Chiefs abused Terrelle Pryor who finally showed his inexperience on Sunday at Arrowhead throwing three interceptions. The staggering statistic however was that he was sacked ten times. Ten times! That’s double the amount the Giants have for the season. The Chiefs have the most fearsome pass rush in the NFL but the Raiders finally have a Quarterback to be excited about, they might want to try and protect him.
Just as New York was ready to place a shining crown on Geno Smith’s head the rookie reminded us of two things vs. the Steelers. 1) He is still a rookie after throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns 2) The New York Media needs to take a calming breath. You’d have thought they’d have learnt their lesson after anointing Mark “The Sanchise” Sanchez too early.
The Jaguars responded to an entire week of disrespect with a gutsy performance against the undefeated Broncos that will make Head Coach Gus Bradley proud. The Jaguars were within two at halftime, a long cry from the 28 point spread touted by bookmakers. Whilst they still ended the day with a loss they can be heartened by keeping Peyton Manning to his worst performance of the year.
Speaking of which, another interception thrown for Peyton Manning. That’s two in consecutive games. The old guys losing it, the campaign to get Brock Osweiler on the field starts here!
You could just feel it coming. Just over a minute remaining, no timeouts and Tom Brady under center. The Saints were asking for trouble and Tom Terrific gave it to them when the game winning touchdown sailed over a Saints defender into Kenbrell Thompkin’s hands with five seconds remaining. Brady was magnificent, but that’s expected. What wasn’t expected was Sean Payton, the master of aggressive play-calling going so conservative when his offense was in a position to ice the game. He allowed the Patriots back into the game; Payton will rightly receive some heat for this mistake.
Robert Griffin III is looking more and more like himself, highlighted by his scramble for a first down early on against the Cowboys. He showed more burst and ability to make more strenuous cuts on that famous surgically repaired knee of his. He did however look rusty in the passing game. His footwork was inconsistent and his accuracy looked shaky as he missed open receivers down the field. Everyone was so focused on his recovery that they forgot that he is still a young player and missed a lot of practise time that young players sorely need. If his knee and his mind keep progressing the Redskins could catch fire down the stretch.
The Colts put on a poor all around team showing on prime-time Monday night vs. the Chargers. There is talk of Indianapolis being already focused on the return of Peyton Manning next week and that they overlooked the Chargers. Whilst that sounds farfetched to me they certainly looked sluggish. The Colts have been impressive the previous three weeks; however their offensive deficiencies were on display. Their commitment to the run is admirable but what has brought them back late in games is play of Andrew Luck and the no-huddle offense. Maybe offensive co-ordinator Pep Hamilton should let his franchise do what he does best early on in games too. Air it our Pep.
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