Well it goes without saying that the NFL weekend was an eventful one. We saw the two unbeaten teams in the Indianapolis Colts (13-0) and New Orleans Saints (13-0) both remain unbeaten. And in all certainty both teams have now garnered the respective # 1 seeded berths, in the AFC and NFC.
And with the NFL as such, being such a finicky spectacle with regard to team performances on a week to week basis. It’s hard to what to make of the malaise , when one sees teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’d appear that for both of these teams their season now seems to be spiraling out of control. As defending Superbowl champions, Mike Tomlin’s team has all but thrown in the towel. And for Jerry Jones and his traveling circus of highly overrated and overpaid stars, this is just appears to be an ordinary ‘routine December’. Wherein, losing for the Cowboys seems to have become a customary habit. For both teams their losses on Sunday were as inexplicable as their somewhat mediocre performances on the field of play. No excuses can hide the fact that both of these teams have been thoroughly disappointing this season. Never mind the fact for Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett ,this may well prove to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ in terms of the sheer ineptitude of their team’s display. If you can’t ‘punch the ball in for a score’ of a touchdown from the one yard line. Then what the hell are you actually good for to begin with ?
There may well be the thought out there that other teams have performed just as poorly as both the Cowboys and Steelers, if not more so. But in reality, the expectations were high for both teams and the thought process was that they were the presumptive favorites to win their respective divisions(NFC East and AFC North) this season and garner a playoff berth. But that does in many ways now look to be though not impossible but in all likelihood something of a more difficult task , made more so, by these losses.
The Cowboys’ 20-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, if anything would suggest that the Cowboys’ resplendent monstrosity while it looks good on appearance. The unfortunate thing for the franchise and its fans , is that the team that plays within the stadium has a ‘yellow streak across its back’ that is a mile wide and a mile deep, in terms of its depth. There’s no leadership on the team and when faced with any form of adversity. It has shown that it doesn’t possess the resolve or temperament to deal with it adequately. And whether or not this comes down to the coaching of Wade Phillips and his coaching staff is the question that one also needs to be asking. At the same time , if the alleged Pro Bowl stars on this team such as Tony Romo, Marion Barber , Jason Witten , DeMarcus Ware and Roy Williams can’t be held accountable for their own play. One could surmise that this Cowboys team is ‘more style over substance’ ? It’s not as if either, Jones or Phillips are prepared to come out and be openly critical of the players to begin with for their overall lack of effort ! It’d give credence to the fact that they’re soft as a team as well as an organization !
Ben Roethlisberger (#7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is about to be tackled by the Cleveland Browns’ Matt Roth (#53) during an NFL game played Cleveland Browns’ Stadium, Cleveland ,Ohio. The Browns would go on to defeat their AFC North divisional rival 13-6. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Gregory Shamus …..
For Mike Tomlin this has to be a troubling aspect as to the unevenness of the Steelers’ play throughout the season. With the loss of Troy Polamalu , one could suggest that as a team they become a shell of themselves. With Polamalu, on the field of play, they become a fiercely staunch and more competitive team. However, the real problem for this Steeler’s team may well be the very fact that they’ve gone away from what they’re said to do best ? And that’s to ‘run the ball’ relentlessly down the throats of their opponents. It certainly hasn’t helped either that the team’s quarterback , Ben Roethlisberger , at times looks as if he has these momentary lapses in concentration and his play becomes errant and very erratic. And with there now being rumors of dissension within the locker room between a number of the players. One has to wonder whether or not Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff still controls the reins of the team ?
The Steelers’ loss on Sunday to the much maligned Cleveland Browns 13-6 would suggest that the team either just didn’t come to play or that they had their minds elsewhere. And for coach, Eric Mangini’s, Cleveland Browns , this win might suggest that finally, there’s some resolve after-all behind this team. On the other hand this season for the Steelers has proven to be one of missed opportunities , poor play and seemingly players who just don’t seem to have the wherewithall to put forth an even more strenuous effort for their fans. Tomlin for his part has been critical of his players but nowhere near enough when it really matters the most. And who’d would have thought that a Pittsburgh Steelers’ team would be so thoroughly outplayed by a divisional rival in almost every facet of a game to such an extent ? ‘Soft’ as a word might just about now sum up the Pittsburgh Steelers as a team. If nothing else, from my own observations of this game , I wouldn’t describe them as being tough , far from it !
Here within the Tampa Bay area, come the NFL football season ,everything revolves around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-12). Now while I’m not a fan of the team , I do take an interest as to what goes on locally concerning the franchise. And while the team and organization continues to struggle both on and off the field. The conventional thinking concerning the Buccaneers, is that the organization will right itself over the course of time. Coach, Raheem Morris and his young and inexperienced team has shown that they’ve still have a long way to go before there’s any semblance of competitiveness and resolve shown by them as a cohesive unit. Many of the team’s struggles have come down the fact that they’ve entrusted their future to a very young and inexperienced quarterback, in Josh Freeman. And while there are those that say the player will grow and mature into his role as NFL quarterback and a leader of this team. Let’s just say that the evidence of that , has yet to be put forth. With each week, comes a new set of inexplicable plays and errors committed from the player. And while one can’t solely apportion blame on Freeman , alone. As this has to been a collective effort as to the poor play all around by the Buccaneers as a team. They’ve been unable to ‘run the ball’, ‘pass the ball’ or even ‘defend the run’ or ‘the pass’. And it’d be remiss to say that the players on the defensive unit can actually tackle. If anything they possess the athleticism in that aspect of coterie of female impersonators when it comes to the aggressiveness shown by this Raheem Morris’ coached unit. One wonders what the likes of RuPaul might think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ?
Sunday in front of a national tv audience, the nation once again got to see the Buccaneers at their very best , in terms of sheer mediocrity on the field of play. In a home game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers did their leveled best to remind everyone now why it is that they’re now viewed as the worst franchise in the entire NFL. Their opponents were the Rex Ryan coached New York Jets , who happened to have backup quarterback, Kellen Clemmons at the helm of the team for the game. Starting quarterback , Matt Sanchez , was unable to play due to injury. One would’ve thought that might have made the Buccaneers’ objective somewhat easier ? But to their credit they found ways to seemingly play with their customary aplomb. And that was to make themselves look absolutely ridiculous in every aspect of their on the field performance.
Courtesy of The Tampa Bay Tribune
By Roy Cummings of The Tampa Bay Tribune
Tampa, Fl,. – Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman took the blame on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 26-3 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, but on Monday the blame shifted to the coaching staff.
“We were not ready to play and that’s on us as coaches,” Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. “We had no explosive plays, we had no third-down conversions, we just didn’t’ get anything going.”
The question now, is how can the Bucs get things going in the final three games of the season. Part of the answer, Morris said, is scaling things back for Freeman.
“We’ve got to calm him down a little bit,” Morris said. “We’ve got to establish our offensive identity as far as the run, get him some easy completions, get him back to his hard-core play-action passes.
“You know, we talked about it, talked about it as a staff. We asked ourselves, ‘When do you give him too much? When do you stop giving him too much?’ And we kind of found out. So, now we have to reel him in a little bit.
“You don’t want to overdo it and put him in remedial classes, but at the same time you want to take a little pressure off the young man and put it back on the coaches and the guys around him so he can get going faster, like when he started.”
Freeman started strong, beating the Packers in his first start. Since then, though, he has mixed good starts with bad and is coming off two clunkers. In the past two games, Freeman has thrown eight interceptions.
His passer rating against the Jets was 12.1, the worst of his six starts
The Buccaneers’ resultant 26-3 loss to the Jets had many of the home crowd fans leaving the stadium long before the game had even reached the third quarter. And if that’s not a sign as to how mediocre the team’s day was about to come. Then their game stats certainly mirrored that very fact. (First downs totals 6, third down efficiency 0/14 0%, fourth down efficiency 1/3 33 1/3 %, total rushing 56 yards, total yards offense 124 yds, quarterback sacked 3 times, Freeman’s qb rating 12.1 %) And no that wasn’t a misprint concerning Freeman’s rating for the game. His completion rate of 14/33 for 93 yards and being sacked three times leads us to believe that the learning curve for the young rookie is still an immense one. But then again, the Buccaneers ought to be consider themselves thankful that it is Freeman that they have at the helm of this team, instead of the Oakland Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell. The latter of whom has the propensity of playing as if the playbook of the Raiders’ something akin to applied calculus in terms of its difficulty. As simple as Raiders’ coach, Tom Cable has made it for the player. Russell’s cognitive skills just doesn’t seem to be able the grasp those simple concepts.
One may well argue that there have been other teams that have proven to be far more disappointing this season. I for one am of the opinion that the Cowboys and Steelers may well be atop of the list for a number of NFL fans around the league in terms of their overall season. What are your thoughts on the matter ? And by all means do take time to participate in the poll shown within this piece. As always thanks for the continued support shown !
Pittsburgh Steelers 6-13 Cleveland Browns
New Orleans Saint 26-23 Atlanta Falcons
Detroit Lions 3-48 Baltimore Ravens
Green Bay Packers 21-14 Chicago Bears
Denver Broncos 16-28 Indianapolis Colts
Buffalo Bills 16-10 Kansas City Chiefs
Carolina Panthers 10-20 New England Patriots
New York Jets 26-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cincinnati Bengals 10-30 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 14-10 Jacksonville Jaguars
Seattle Seahawks 7-34 Houston Texans
St Louis Rams 7-47 Tennessee Titans
Washington Redskins 34-13 Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers 20-17 Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles 45-38 New York Giants
Passing (Qualified* | All) Rk Player Team Pos Comp Att Pct Att/G Yds Avg Yds/G TD Int 1st 1st% Lng 20+ 40+ Sck Rate
1 Peyton Manning IND QB 342 502 68.1 38.6 3,905 7.8 300.4 29 14 204 40.6 80T 50 7 10 98.9
2 Drew Brees NO QB 302 432 69.9 33.2 3,832 8.9 294.8 32 10 180 41.7 75T 55 11 15 112.3
3 Tom Brady NE QB 320 490 65.3 37.7 3,830 7.8 294.6 23 11 183 37.3 81T 37 11 15 95.4
4 Matt Schaub HOU QB 324 473 68.5 36.4 3,814 8.1 293.4 24 13 183 38.7 72T 47 12 23 98.2
5 Philip Rivers SD QB 263 406 64.8 31.2 3,583 8.8 275.6 22 7 175 43.1 81T 51 12 22 103.7
6 Aaron Rodgers GB QB 291 444 65.5 34.2 3,579 8.1 275.3 25 7 161 36.3 74T 44 13 47 102.5
7 Tony Romo DAL QB 276 444 62.2 34.2 3,574 8.0 274.9 22 7 160 36.0 80T 49 14 28 97.4
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 273 400 68.3 33.3 3,346 8.4 278.8 19 11 160 40.0 57 43 10 38 98.2
9 Brett Favre MIN QB 295 433 68.1 33.3 3,341 7.7 257.0 27 6 171 39.5 63 41 10 27 106.0
10 Eli Manning NYG QB 252 417 60.4 32.1 3,316 8.0 255.1 23 11 147 35.3 74T 49 11 21 93.0
11 Joe Flacco BAL QB 270 426 63.4 32.8 3,111 7.3 239.3 15 11 157 36.9 72T 37 8 26 86.3
12 Jay Cutler CHI QB 284 457 62.1 35.2 3,023 6.6 232.5 19 22 135 29.5 71 43 5 29 75.2
Freeman and Russell sit at the bottom of the NFL’s quarterback statistical charts in terms of their performances throughout this season. The 12.1 quarterback rating posted by Freeman in the game against the New York Jets, was the lowest such stat posted by an NFL quarterback this season.