Random Shots

  Posted 11/5 by Joe Bryant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Hi Folks,

We do a lot of really insightful, thoughtful and serious features here at Footballguys with some very smart people thinking deeply for you. This is not one of those features.

This is a few pages of me downloading my goofy and dysfunctional mental hard drive that gets stuffed with way too many random items from 40 hours of watching and re-watching (God Bless TiVO) football every weekend. It's the only way I keep relatively sane. Here's hoping it has a tiny bit of value for you. Let's go.

Random Shots

Here's what happens when you sit an NFL Junkie down in front of multiple big screens with Sunday Ticket and fresh batteries in the remote.

A Twisted Look at The NFL And All That Goes With It

First things first. Congratulations to President Elect Barack Obama. I thought Senator John McCain had some outstanding words Tuesday night when he said, "These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him (Obama) tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

"I urge all Americans ... I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited."

My one word political commentary on the end of this endless season of campaigning and on wishing our next President success in leading our country: Amen.

Now to Football.

How bad was it for Steven Jackson and the Rams Sunday? Marc Bulger was the leading rusher. With 32 yards.

It was worse for Oakland though. At half time they trailed 24-0 and had been out gained 309 yards to minus 2. At the end of the game, the Falcons had controlled the ball for 45:15 out of the 60 minutes of game time.

Sebastian Janikowski had a quiet afternoon. He entire day consisted of one kickoff. He wins the effort exerted to game check dollars award for the day.

Here's a question you don't think about every day. On the Raiders' last possession, the team went for it on 4th and 17. That's a pretty desperate down and distance, right? JaMarcus Russell was blitzed and threw the ball away. On 4th and 17, is throwing the ball away really a viable option? I guess it is. Just seems like you try to make something happen no matter what in that situation. But then again, I'm not sure I've spent much time wondering about that scenario...

Given the relatively good weather conditions, there was absolutely no excuse for the field conditions in Chicago. Terrible.

The big question entering the Cowboys game was how long of a leash QB Brad Johnson was on. Backup Brooks Bollinger looked ready to enter the game several times in the first half. But each time he was put back down on the bench. Bollinger finally got into the game in the second half and threw an interception with his first pass. He was much better on his second pass. Throwing it for a 12 yard loss but at least it was caught by a Dallas player. Things have moved quickly for the Cowboys.

I don't pull against players so this isn't really a knock on Jeremy Shockey but I love seeing TE Kevin Boss excel in New York.

Great example of the Fantasy Football - Real Football disconnect: Denver QB Jay Cutler played horribly with three ugly interceptions. At one point in the game, he was 1 for 6 for 5 yards and 2 interceptions. But by the end of the day, he managed two TDs and over 300 yards. Good for his Fantasy Owners. Bad for Mike Shanahan. I'm not sure I've ever said those words before.

In case you're keeping score at home, Denver WR Peyton Hillis was the most productive player on the team. That's right.

Miami WR Greg Camarillo announced his presence at this level Sunday. 16 targets netting 11 receptions for 111 yards. Nice.

The Patriots just don't look right. And it's not simply the Tom Brady absence. Coach Bill Belichick blew a challenge in the 3rd quarter as he thought the Colts had 12 men on the field. They didn't. Then New England burned a time out because of confusion at the line. Then Belichick used his final time-out as he ran out on the field to call time as the Patriots were trying to convert a 4th and 1. They made it but the time-out had been called prior to the play and New England wound up settling for a field goal. They just seem off.

The Bengals wore their orange jerseys and white pants Sunday. They are 5-1 since 2004 in games in which they wore the orange jerseys and white pants.

The rest of the breakdown: Orange jerseys and black pants, 3-0; black and black, 6-5; white and black, 7-9; black and white, 9-14; white and white, 5-9. Because I know you guys need to know this stuff...

And since this was their first win of the year, I'd vote for keeping the Orange - White combo.

I know I've been a little negative lately on the commercials ripping on the Apple dweeb (which judging by the avalanche of like minded e-mail I've received on that one - you guys are with me) and the Sony HD Cameras / Televisions. How about a positive thought? My favorite spot on right now is the Nike commercial with LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu. You've seen it too with the progression of LT from baby to adult on the left and the same for Polamalu on the right and then they crash into each other in the middle as NFL players. Simple but great.

I really like Cris Carter. Sunday, he hit the nail on the head talking about player attitudes and the wisdom of rewarding a guy like Plaxico Burress with a contract extension. Carter said, "Money makes you a bigger... whatever you are." Some wisdom in that.

Unfortunately, ESPN followed the Carter segment up with an over dramatic MTV video clichéd thing of Ray Lewis as the boxer warrior in the ring. It was a perfect example of what ESPN could be and what they actually are.

Kurt Warner entered Sunday's game with a 20-4 record in the St. Louis dome. Not surprisingly, he left town with a 21-4 record in the St. Louis dome.

Edgerrin James has to be bummed in Arizona with Tim Hightower taking over. James didn't just lose some carries to Hightower Sunday - he didn't even see the field. But he seemed to be taking it with class. The camera panned over to James after Hightower reeled off a long TD and James was smiling widely.

Brett Favre didn't pull any punches in the press conference. "I didn't throw any touchdown passes. At least not to us". That's a lot funnier after a win.

Cris Collinsworth had this gem Sunday night, "And Chris Jenkins. As we like to call them in the locker room, ‘A bad dude'."

Really, Cris? Is that what you locker room guys really call them?

On a less awkward note, Al Michaels said the players in New England call running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis "Law Firm". That's pretty funny.

Jacksonville's Jerry Porter was the intended target for the crucial two point conversion at the end of the game. The game is on the line and the best you can come up with is a pass to Jerry Porter?

Seattle's Seneca Wallace opened the game with a 90 yard TD on the first play from scrimmage. Then totaled 79 more passing yards for the rest of the game. Ouch.

Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb had the opposite day. He started off with a fumble on his first play and then was 0 for 7 before completing a pass. He went off from there.

Sometimes it's those not so glamorous but necessary general manager type decisions that make a difference. One of the bigger decisions these guys make is filling the backup QB spots. Dallas has shown one way to do it. Pittsburgh has shown another. With Ben Roethlisberger injured Monday night, Byron Leftwich took over and never looked back leading the team on two touchdown drives.

"We all know Ben's the guy," Leftwich said. "Ben's the quarterback of this football team, and I know I was going to be there in case something happened. Something happened today."

For the first time in franchise history, Washington chose to wear the burgundy jerseys and pants together. The Redskins have been doing this a long time. And they've been pretty darn successful. Is it really time to start trying new uniform combos here?

Former Patriot and now Indianapolis kicker Adam Vinatieri was cool but he clearly enjoyed playing well against his old team. "I've got all the respect and admiration for that team," said Vinatieri, who left New England as a free agent after the 2005 season. "I've still got a lot of good friends over there. I guess that's why it's that much sweeter when you have an opportunity to play well and help your current team beat your former team. I'm pretty happy about that."

Meet the new Colts punt returner: Marvin Harrison.

Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans caught a touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb Sunday. "Linemen don't catch many touchdowns," said backup tight end Brent Celek, another unlikely Eagles star in a 26-7 win over Seattle on Sunday. "I was afraid that he'd throw the ball at me rather than spiking it."

How bad was it for Seattle? Jon Ryan punted on 11 consecutive possessions. Seven of those were three and outs.

You think Eli Manning liked the matchup Steve Smith was in on this series?

1-10-DAL 12 (1:20) Manning pass incomplete short right to Smith.
2-10-DAL 12 (1:16) Manning pass short left to Smith pushed ob at DAL 5 for 7 yards
3-3-DAL 5 (:52) Manning pass short right to Smith for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

With Sunday's victory, the Falcons surpassed last years total win total. That has to feel good starting November.

Miami linebacker Joey Porter didn't mind laying down the talk after handling Denver WR Brandon Marshall. "I didn't get inside his head, we just were talkin'. He got in his own head. He was done," Porter said. "He's one of those soft receivers, where he has to have the ball all the time. If he don't get it, he's going to mope and cry. He did it to himself."

Ravens kicker Matt Stover and Browns kicker Phil Dawson attended Lake Highlands high school in Dallas. That's pretty solid.

Jaguars DT John Henderson and Bengals guard Andrew Whitworth were both ejected for fighting. That a way, fellas.

I ripped Cedric Benson as much as anyone this summer (Mostly because I wanted him out of the way so Matt Forte could shine). But I'm happy for him to see the guy doing well for the Bengals. Who knows how long it'll last before another "incident" but it'll be fun until then.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh gave an impassioned talk to the team before Sunday's game. "We're 0-8, but I think we're a good 0-8 team, if that's possible," Houshmandzadeh said. "I was just telling them: Are we going to the playoffs? Probably not. But we're all men and play with pride. Basically, play with pride and let's try to make this thing look somewhat respectable."

Week 9 Hard Luck Awards

Last week was a tough one for the Hard Luck Awards. Luck swings back more our way this week as we had a much lighter slate for Week 9.

  • NYJ RB Washington 4 yard rush to the 2 (Feely FG)
  • CHI RB Forte 3 yard rush to the 5 (Orton TD)
  • CHI RB McKie 5 yard rush to the 1 (Grossman TD)
  • PIT QB Roethlisberger 14 yard pass to WR Ward to the 1 (Roethlisberger TD)
  • PIT QB Leftwich 7 yard pass to RB Moore to the 1 (Parker TD)
  • PIT RB Moore 2 yard rush to the 5 (Leftwich to Holmes TD)
  • PHI QB McNabb 26 yard pass to WR Curtis to the 1 (McNabb to Herremans TD)
  • PHI QB McNabb 5 yard pass to TE Schobel to the 2
  • PHI QB McNabb pass to RB Westbrook for minus 3 yards to the 7 (Akers FG)
  • MIA QB Pennington 13 yard pass to WR Ginn to the 5
  • MIA RB Brown rush for no gain from the 5 (Carpenter FG)
  • MIA QB Pennington 23 yard pass to RB Williams to the 2 (Brown TD)
  • GB RB Grant 5 yard rush to the 5 (Crosby FG)
  • GB RB Grant 4 yard rush to the 5 (Rodgers to Driver TD)
  • TEN RB Johnson 3 yard rush to the 4
  • TEN RB Johnson rush for no gain from the 4 (Bironas FG)
  • BAL RB Rice 18 yard rush to the 2 (McClain TD)
  • BAL RB McClain 2 yard rush to the 1
  • BAL RB McClain rush for minus 2 yards to the 4 (Stover FG)
  • JAC QB Garrard 21 yard pass to TE Lewis so the 3
  • JAC RB Jones-Drew rush for no gain from the 3 (Scobee FG)
  • JAC QB Garrard 5 yard rush to the 1
  • JAC QB Garrard rush for no gain from the 1 (Jones-Drew TD)

Sometimes it's better to just not know...

That'll do it for this week, Folks. Thanks to Footballguy Keith Overton for the help on this one. If you've got a Random Shot of your own, shoot me an e-mail at bryant@footballguys.com.

Thanks for playing along. I hope you have a gas with whatever you're doing in your life. Here's to Football.