I still don’t think I am ready to talk about the Terp’s game last Saturday, but I will give it a shot. The Terps did exactly what I thought they were past. They came out against an inferior opponent and managed to play worse. There is no excuse for losing to Virginia. Not only did they manage to lose, but they were embarrassed. As far as I am concerned an offense that contains playmakers such as DaRel Scott and Darius Heyward-Bey should never be shutout.
If you get these two guys the ball you should accidentally score at some point. However Maryland only gave the ball to Scott 11 times and failed to get the ball to Heyward-Bey. I will never understand how you do not get the ball to possibly the best WR in the College. Maybe, just maybe, UVA had him covered all over the field and they were never able to throw him the ball. Even if that is the case you could just hand him the ball. He has proven that he can take the end around for a big play. In fact, the week before in Clemson it was the only play that got the ball to Heyward-Bey.
That makes two straight games in which one of the elite WRs in the game has not had a catch.
Something is very wrong with the Maryland offense when the ball is not getting into Heyward-Bey’s hands. I am trying to move past the UVA loss so I will skip talking about firing coaches for now, but one change must be made. Get the ball to DARIUS HEYWARD-BEY, or else! This is the key to Maryland’s season.
The madhouse that is the NFL season continues again. We are past the point where a team that was expected to do poorly but gets a win can be considered a surprise. At this point those teams just have to be considered contenders and the teams that we expected to be better have to be treated like disappointments. So the Redskins beating the Eagles, and the Chargers weekly struggles, cannot be considered surprises anymore.
The NFL still managed to pack in some shock to this weekend. At the top of the list is the Colts crazy comeback over the Texans. As far as I am concerned a team should never lose when they have 17 point lead and only 4 minutes to go in the game. There is no explaining what happened in that game. I can only hope that Sage Rosenfels learned that when you have a big lead you do not need to hurdle people for a first down.
It’s hard to believe it, but Detroit looked way better in a blowout loss to Chicago then they have in a few years, and for one major reason: no Matt Millen in the building. I know it is hard to be a Lions fans but you have to feel better knowing he is gone.
I still have to call the Falcons beating the Packers an upset because, well, it is the Falcons. Am I the only one who remembers how bad they were last season? I knew Michael Turner would make them better, but I didn’t think Matt Ryan would make them better. The other huge turn around from last year is the Miami Dolphins. They have used the “Wildcat” offense to beat the Patriots and Chargers in their past two games. The Patriots and Chargers are no longer the two teams that were in the AFC championship game last year, but it is still two impressive wins for the Dolphins.
The Ravens suffered another tough defeat this week. It is easy to blame the loss on the roughing the passer penalty called on Suggs, but the truth is that the Ravens defense still allowed the Titans offense to drive for the game winning score after the penalty. The Ravens defense is the strength of their team but they are getting a little old, and it just looked like they came up a little empty late in their second hard fought game. Their offense looked good again but Flacco made a few key mistakes. Flacco is starting to gain confidence when he gets out of the pocket, much like Roethlisberger. The problem is that with that confidence comes some mistakes. He gets on the move and thinks he can make some throws that he can’t. It is something that every quarterback goes through and something that I think Flacco will deal with. The faster he learns what he is capable of the better off the Ravens will be. I still think the Ravens are in good shape for right now as long as their D holds up.
In the Sunday night game Pittsburgh managed to pull out a late victory for the 2nd consecutive week. This time the Steelers dominated play for the first half, but the game remained close thanks to a big Jacksonville INT touchdown return by the Jacksonville defense and a pass interference call that set up another Jacksonville TD. Ben Roethlisberger showed yet again that he can make plays at key times even when people are pulling him in three different directions. I don’t know how he manages to keep himself upright long enough to make things happen, but it is entertaining.
Monday night was just one crazy game. This game included a blocked field goal, two punt returns for TDs and a TD with two WRs running into each other. The only thing I can’t understand is why the Vikings would continue to punt the ball to Reggie Bush. Consider this situation in the 2nd half. The Vikings lead the Saints 20-10 late in the 3rd quarter and they punt: Bush scores a TD and it is 20-17. The Vikings get the ball back, go 3 and out, and punt again. This time Bush trips on his way to the endzone and the Saints settle for a field goal 20-20. The Vikings get the ball back and go 3 and out again and they punt. Bush scores again and now it’s 27-20, Saints lead. That makes three straight possessions in which not only did the Vikings fail to get a first down but also turned a 10-point lead into a 7-point deficit, mostly through special teams. Why would you continue to punt to Bush? There is no way they forgot what he could do since there was only a 4 plays in between punts, including the kickoff. The Vikings are lucky that they escaped with a win. Vikings, next time don’t give a guy multiple chances to beat you.
The last thing I wanted to mention this week is roughing the passer. The NFL must do something about this penalty because it is out of control. The refs are completely inconsistent in how they call this penalty. Sometimes players can get away with nailing the QB well after the play because the Officials are no longer looking. Other times it’s the opposite, such as in Jacksonville this past week when James Harrison was flagged for hitting Garrard as the QB released the ball, and Harrison didn’t even drive him to the ground. There are also too many rules to protect the QB, like that one that victimized Suggs against the Titans. Suggs did touch Collins’ head and I understand the rule against hitting QBs, or any other player, in the head. However, I would hardly consider what Suggs did a “blow” to the head. He had his hand up to block the pass and as his hand came down it hit Collins in the head and then shoulder. If Suggs had only hit Collins in the shoulder it would not have been called. There was no chance of injury on the play and it should not have been called.
I urge the NFL to crackdown on the complete lack of consistency in roughing the passer penalty. It is way too costly of a penalty for them to not get it right.