Biggest Meltdowns of NFL Week 6
Week 6 of the NFL season comes to a close tonight and this weekend had its share of surprises and disappointments. While there weren’t as many obvious meltdowns as in previous weeks, there were still plenty of teams willing to dash the hopes of their loyal fans watching at home. This week, Sad Donovan returns and crams an entire season’s worth of disappointment into three quarters of football, Cam Newton is just good enough to make games close, the Bills get over their rally “fad,” the Cowboys get Romo’d by staying away from Romo, and Jim Schwartz will fight you. People looking sad after the jump!
5. The Chicago Bears were playing possum as elaborate joke on Vikings
All week long, all we heard about was how terrible the Bears offensive line was and how Jay Cutler had no confidence in the plays being called because he was looking for the hit that he knew was coming. Cutler had already been sacked 18 times in the first five games and hit a ton. Pair that with Jared Allen’s league leading 8.5 sacks going into the game and you had a recipe for and upset that many people picked (myself included) and the Vikings could get on a winning streak. Sounds pretty good to me…
But now I think the first five weeks of the season were part of an elaborate ruse to raise the hopes of the struggling Vikings by their rival Bears, only so they could be extra super humiliated when they got dismantled by Jay Cutler and this supposedly inferior offensive line. Instead of the Vikings applying pressure, it was the Bears who were in Minnesota’s backfield all night, getting five sacks (including a safety where Donovan just sat down in the end zone) and bottling up Adrian Peterson for the most part. The only bright spot for Minnesota in this game was Christian Ponder’s appearance in the 4th quarter where he showed excellent mobility and threw some pretty good passes. He didn’t skip a single one to the receivers, which really baffled McNabb.
4. Cam Newton is just good enough to keep things interesting, not enough to win
Cam Newton has been very impressive this season. He has blown past any reasonable expectations for him coming into the season and has erased any possible doubts that he may not be the “real deal.” However, the Panthers are still 1-5 after losing to the Falcons this Sunday, allowing Atlanta to score 17 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. That made the 17-14 lead Carolina had built through the first 3 quarters pretty meaningless. Newton, for his part, had the worst game of his short pro career, completing 21 of 35 for 237 yards, but with no touchdowns and three interceptions, two of them in the endzone. He saved his fantasy owners by rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown, but this is the point of Cam’s career where he is good enough to keep the Panther’s close in games, but not good enough to win any of those games.
3. Bills over all this rallying bally-hoo, decide to try losing late instead
The Bills entered Sunday at 4-1 and tied for first place in the AFC East, but they had to travel to play the Giants and Buffalo is a poor 3-10 on the road under Chan Gailey. The Bills played New York close, pulling tied at 24-24 in the fourth quarter. Then Ryan Fitzpatrick had Buffalo down into field goal range when he took a shot to the endzone where he was intercepted. The Giants took the ball down the field and kicked a field goal with 1:32 to go to beat the Bills 27-24.
The interception was Fitzpatrick’s second of the day, but more surprisingly (and disappointing for one Bills Defense fantasy owner) was that the Bills failed to get any turnovers. Eli Manning was coming off a 3-interception game against the Seattle Seahawks and the Bills had 12 interceptions on the year and were +11 in turnover ratio. All signs pointed towards a bad day for Big Blue, but the Bills failed to capitalize, even when a sure interception bounced off cornerback Drayton Florence’s hands at the end of the game which would have prevented the Giants from kicking the go-ahead field goal. And as one fantasy football owner was quoted as it bounced away and the Bills defense faltered, “GAAAHHHHHH.”
2. Cowboys get Romo’d even while keeping the ball away from Romo
The Cowboys came off a bye week hoping to contain the Patriots offense, who had been held under 30 points all season, and avoid any big mistakes (looking at you, Tony) to come out of Foxboro with a win. Well, they accomplished one of those two, at least. The Cowboys kicked a field goal to take a 16-13 win with just over two minutes to go only to watch Tom Brady drive down the field and throw a touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez with only 22 seconds left to give the Patriots a 20-16 victory.
Tony Romo, surprisingly, was not to blame for this loss, at least not directly. He only threw one interception, and it was in the first half, while throwing for a touchdown and 317 yards. However, in the second half, the Cowboys took an overly conservative approach when they got near the red zone, forcing them to kick two field goals rather than score touchdowns. In two trips to the red zone in the second half, the Cowboys called four running plays and two passing plays, neither passing play going into the end zone. The Cowboys seemed to shut down the explosive aspect of their offense out of fear of the big mistake. This approach opened the door for Brady to rally the Pats, sending the Cowboys to 2-3 and third place in the NFC East. In short, Jason Garrett’s fear of getting Romo’d totally Romo’d the Cowboys.
1. Lions finally lose, hold fireworks show after game anyways
The Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers came into Sunday at a combined 9-1, surprisingly. The Lions, one of two remaining undefeated teams, had combined explosive plays on offense with a physical style of defense to get them out to a fast start, while the 49ers, through some form of magic, have made Alex Smith look competent. San Francisco’s defense held up against the Lions offense, keeping Calvin Johnson out of the end zone for the entire game for the first time this season, and Alex Smith hit Delanie Walker on 4th and goal for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning touchdown with 1:51 to go. While Detroit’s inability to move the ball when it mattered was somewhat shocking, it took a back seat to what happened after the game.
As the clock expired, San Francisco coach Jim Harbuagh enthusiastically hooped and hollered his way across the field for the post-game handshake with Detroit coach Jim Schwartz. Harbaugh grabbed Schwartz’s hand, slapped him on the back, and skipped away to find more people to celebrate with. Schwartz took exception to getting pushed and having Harbaugh use an expletive at him, allegedly, so he chased his counterpart down to have a civilized discussion about post-game decorum in the NFL…by bumping him, getting in his face, and having to be separated from Harbaugh by players and team personnel. Harbaugh explained the incident was his fault because he “shook his hand too hard,” and winning the week’s “Sarcastic Quotes” contest. Big week for him. This should do wonders to create a budding rivalry between two young, talented teams who are both led by passionate, fiery coaches. Here’s hoping they get to see each other again in the playoffs.