The official title has been adjusted to Monday Afternoon QB.
by Gimpy (follow him on Twitter – @NFLGimpy )
One of my pet peeves with the media is that they’re so heavily week to week with their coverage. They look exclusively at what just happened, not trends and how they project to the future. In so many words, they have no perspective as to what has actually happened. Sunday was the perfect example.
I’ll use an example to show praise on a player I’ve criticized: Tim Tebow. Well, I actually haven’t criticized Tebow as much as tried to steer people towards giving credit where it is due, which up until this week has been their defense. Anyways, back to the point. Sports writers lack long term perspective. I look at headlines from the Broncos-Patriots game and I see things like “Tebow Comes Up Short,” “Still Believe in Tebow?” and “Give Tebow a Pass.”
Allow me to be blunt: what the heck are you idiots talking about? So because Tebow couldn’t pull off another comeback you start questioning his abilities? This was the first game I watched Tebow where his passing didn’t have a “where in the world are you throwing the ball” streak. He didn’t go 3/16 at one stretch. He completed 11/22 (50%) of his passes and was 10/16 at one point and the incompletions didn’t start until he had to force passes due to being behind. He also had his 2nd best rushing day of the season.
Why do I say we need perspective on Tebow? This is the first time his defense let him down. A lot of people have said that they let him down in the Minnesota game, but Tebow was dreadful the first half of that game and their defense did a phenomenal job keeping the Broncos in the game. They even forced a critical turnover to win that game. Denver’s defense couldn’t stop Tom Brady yesterday (320 yards and 2 scores and a rushing score) or their RBs (123 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Tim Tebow isn’t good enough to beat Tom Brady with his arm. No one will argue that, but that’s exactly what his defense forced him to do.
So what’s the perspective here? Tim Tebow played effectively enough for his team to win. His defense let him down in the game where he looked his best. So why ask “do you still believe in Tebow?” in a game where it wasn’t his fault he lost. The reason is obvious to me, but sadly to sports writers, it isn’t. The reason is you gave Tebow way too much credit for their wins and now when they don’t you suddenly stop believing in him? Even as someone not drinking the Tebow kool aid, I think it’s absurd to take credit away from him because his defense finally let him down. If I’m in a team meeting watching film, I look square at the defense and say “Danny Woodhead might be 100 pounds lighter than most of you soaking wet in full pads, how can you let him run through tackles like that?”
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Let’s put some perspective on the perfect seasons that were lost yesterday: the Packers and Colts. Ok, so the Colts weren’t going to a “perfect” season, but you get the point. What does this win mean for the Colts? Pretty much nothing. They will still pick first overall and all they will get from this win is the pride of being better on paper than the 2008 Detroit Lions. The real perspective is the Tennessee Titans and this loss.
The Titans are still technically in the playoff race but no way do they deserve it. Matt Hasselbeck is coming back down to reality (2 INTs and 5.6 yards per attempt) and Chris Johnson went back to his early season form (15 carries for 55 yards). Oh and those 55 yards, 35 of them came on one carry, meaning he had 14 carries for 20 yards every other time he ran the football. This was against the same Colts D that let Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones of the Chiefs combine for 174 yards on 29 carries. Playoff teams win the games they need to win. When faced with a must win game, the Titans lost to the worst team in the NFL by 2 touchdowns.
I emphasize the phrase “need to win” because the Packers did not “need” to win against the Chiefs. I think the 2011 Packers resemble Elway’s last hurrah with the Broncos much more than the 2007 Patriots. That bodes very well for the Packers because I firmly believe you can’t win a Super Bowl until you’ve been punched in the mouth hard.
That’s what happened to the Broncos after a 13-0 start. The Giants came in and harassed Elway to 3 sacks, an interception, and no touchdowns. That year, the Giants were 5-8 headed into the game with nothing to play for but pride. Sound like the Chiefs?
Rodgers was harassed all day, rarely had time to throw, and ended up getting sacked 4 times, hit 5 other times, and had 5 passes deflected. The Chiefs defense beat him up all day long. So going along with my perspective theme, I remember watching an NFL Network program on the 98 Broncos and something Mark Schlereth was talking about. Whenever the Broncos won (which they did the first 13 games) they were able to practice while wearing a hat instead of a helmet. That’s the perspective Scherleth had: he hated practicing with a helmet on. They lost their perfect season, but they won the Super Bowl easily and convincingly. What should the Packers take from this loss? Your #1 goal is still in sight and while 19-0 might seem special, you just gained very valuable perspective: you aren’t invincible, you can be smacked pretty hard by a team that is inferior on paper.
-Reggie Bush is finally becoming the feature back he was supposed to be. He had 203 yards on the ground yesterday and against the Bills and he has 406 yards over his past 3 putting him at 973 total for the season. His career high before this season? 581. He could double that this season.
-The Seattle Seahawks will be a very, very dangerous team if they get better QB play and a healthy Sidney Rice next season. I’m talking Super Bowl contender good. Their defense is solid, Marshawn Lynch is a punishing runner, and if they simply get an above average passing game (currently 23rd in the NFL in passing yards, 28th in touchdowns), look out NFC. They still have an outside shot at a wild card spot and could be a difficult out, just ask the Saints.
-All John Skelton does is win. My former underpaid player of the week is keeping the Cardinals alive in the wild card race. Their chances are slim, but they do have a chance.
-Matt Stafford is really growing into a franchise QB. A 98 yard game winning drive in a very hostile environment (Oakland)? That’s the kind of stuff you need (and discipline of course!!!) to make the playoffs.
-Some wannabe Peter King said that the Ravens should refund their fans some of their ticket cost for their game against the Colts because both teams stopped trying in the 2nd quarter. This week? Refund the Chargers fans who wanted to see their squad face an NFL team. Hey, Ravens, it’s crunch time, you have the division lead and the tie breaker. You shouldn’t be down 31-7 at the start of the 4th quarter. You desperately need a home playoff game because you suck on the road (3-4 on the road, 7-1 at home).
-I think Tampa is playing to get Raheem Morris fired. You can’t possibly be this bad, can you?
-The 6th spot in the AFC wild card race is getting very interesting. With an embarrassing loss to the Eagles, the Jets only have the 6th spot via tiebreaker (common opponent winning %). The Jets play the New York Giants in a “home game” and then go to Miami, 2 very losable games. The Bengals have a home game against the Cardinals and an away game at Baltimore.
-The Jets-Giants game has more playoff implications than you can possibly imagine. A Giants’ loss (coupled with an Eagles victory over the Cowboys) could mean all 3 NFC East teams are able to win the division in Week 17. A Jets’ loss puts the 6th spot in the AFC up for grabs, including a surging Chargers team no one wants to play.
-Last week I wrote about Julio Jones and what his presence brings to the passing game for the Falcons. His game this week? 5 catches on 6 targets for 85 yards and a touchdown, a 17 yard per catch average. The Falcons torched a very underrated Jaguars defense (5th in yards allowed).
Overpaid/underpaid player of the week
Overpaid: Santonio Holmes, WR New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!! As many of my fellow Eagles fans saw, Holmes played like he bet his mortgage on the Eagles. He fumbled his first catch and it was returned for a touchdown. On the Jets’ next drive, Holmes had a pass inside the Eagles 20 (red zone) hit him square in the hands, bounce off of them, and directly into the opportunistic hands of Asante Samuel. A few players later and it’s 14-0 Eagles off of 2 mistakes by Holmes. Fast forward to the Jets trying to get back into the game and Holmes scores a touchdown. How does he react? 15 yard excessive celebration penalty.
On a quick sidenote, I haven’t read Peter King’s MMQB yet and Holmes may be his goat of the week. If so, I have proof that I tweeted King to make Holmes his goat before his column came out. If that’s the case, I obviously didn’t steal it.
Underpaid: Matt Moore, QB Miami Dolphins. Let’s look at Moore’s stats during their 7 game hot streak (5-2): 62% completion, 196 yards per game, 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. It’s not franchise QB good or anything, but it is better than you’ll see on the Raiders, Seahawks, Jaguars, Bears minus Cutler, Colts, Rams, Vikings, Redskins – you get the point. I spoke a few columns ago about the importance of a good backup QB.
Moore had another solid outing versus a falling Bills squad. 217 yards passing (over 10 yards per attempt), 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Keep it up and he may earn a shot at a starting gig next season.
Week 16 predictions
New Orleans: 34
Drew Brees already broke 2 NFL records last week (11 300+ passing yard games in a season and 7 350+ in one season) and Marino is in his sights after falling just barely short last season (15 yards if I recall correctly, tweet me @NFLGimpy if I’m wrong). Brees is only 304 yards away from the record and I predict he breaks it inr a critical win to keep their hopes of a 1st round bye alive. Atlanta wraps up their wild card bid with an easy W in week 17 over Tampa.
The Eagles, after the Giants loss, put the heat on the Cowboys to win next week or somehow, the Dream Team could win the division.