For the last year or so you had Pedro Martinez-like drops in his velocity. Maybe he goes off on a tangent too often about coffee (every week), or he tells us a LITTLE too much about his daughter's soft-ball team...but today was Pedro's rotator cuff tearing. It was Rick Ankiel being unable to throw the ball to the pitcher. This was the last straw.
So we begin:
8. New England (10-4). A 40-7 win would imply all is well in Patland. All is
better. But 230 yards of offense? Against the league's 28th defense? Good thing
the Pats had incredible field position all day.
OR, they scored virtually at will, and because of that field position they didn't need to get a ton of yards. I mean they ran a screen pass untouched for 50 yards and a touchdown. If the football field is 1,000 yards long, that play gets them the full grand.
Mike Wright, DT; Ellis Hobbs, CB, New England. Symbolic picks from a game that
the Patriots needed to get back on some sort of playoff track. Depth makes
the Patriots a team you can never count out. Pro Bowl-caliber nose man Vince
Wilfork was lost indefinitely last week with a sprained ankle, and Wright, an
undrafted free agent from Cincinnati, plugged the middle well against the run.
He blew up a Houston screen when he burst past center Drew Hodgdon and nailed
David Carr for a 13-yard sack. For the game, Wright had five tackles and a
quarterback pressure in addition to his sack. Hobbs had one interception and a
93-yard kickoff return for touchdown. He's playing a solid opposite side corner
to Asante Samuel.
I'm okay with the Mike Wright portion, but Ellis Hobbs has been benched as a corner for the last month. I realize King isn't from here and probably doesn't watch the Patriots and only the Patriots but as a national NFL reporter, you HAVE to know that. Especially if you know you're going to write about it.
1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. The gap narrowed Sunday because Tomlinson
was exquisite and Brees had an off-day. But the standings don't change. I'm not
saying it's impossible they won't change, but I'm still leaning toward Brees on
the basis of many things, one of them being where would the Saints be without
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, San Diego. What can you say? Brilliant.
Utterly brilliant in the win over Kansas City: 25 carries, 199 yards, two
touchdowns. With two games left, he already has 31 touchdowns.
Just stop being a contrarian. LaDanian Tomlinson is THE MVP this year. He set the scoring record as a RB not a Kicker. Thats ridiculous. He's scored 2 TD's in 5 straight games. He's the most dominant player in the league today, and Drew Brees was stymied at home vs the Redskins in a HUGE game. Stop with the contrarian nonsense Peter. Please.
g. Congratulations, Chad Pennington: 29 of 39 for 339 yards against the Vikes.
That was one heck of a job against a good front seven in the Metrodome.
The Vikings can stop the run...at least their YPG is good. Maybe that's because they can't stop the pass any better than a Freshman football team. If the Patriots WR's light you up - you know your pass defense is terrible.
j. Sunday in the desert, Jay Cutler finally looked like the Jay Cutler Denver
Against Arizona. mmmkay?
And I'll end this one with the horrendous statement of the year:
3. I think I have never seen a team that needs a quarterback more than the
Raiders. It's still incredible to me that they passed on Leinart and Cutler to
draft the great Michael Huff. (Note to every scout who ever filled out an
expense account: when you need a quarterback desperately, you never, ever, ever
take a safety instead). And, for the future, let's hope they've learned their
lesson. If Brady Quinn's off the board when the Raiders pick very high in the
first round next April, they absolutely have to take JaMarcus Russell (if the
LSU junior comes out), Ohio State's Troy Smith or Michigan
State's Drew Stanton.