NOTE: This week the NFL Preview show will be on Thursday at 6 PM and next week it will be on Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving weekend.
Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on The Bill Smith Radio Show or the archive of the shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/. On Monday Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss the Browns game and the results of the weekend. On Friday Tony Williams Giants beat writer for Metro New York joins Samantha and me to preview the upcoming games.
The best news of the week was that Texans coach Gary Kubiak was back with the team. He is a good guy and we hope he continues to have good health.
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe was is facing possible drug charges. According to league rules he is exempt from suspension until the legal case is adjudicated.
Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders was lost for the game and perhaps longer with a foot injury.
The end of the Patriots Panther game was another example of bad and gutless officiating in the NFL. After seeing TE Rob Gronkowski tackled in the endzone the official closest to the foul threw a flag. The officials waived it off and ran off the field like a bunch of girls that had shoplifted a sweater.
Having been an official I have a problem with that. The call should have been either pass interference if the ball was catchable (it was only 4 yards from one of the biggest and most athletic receivers in the league) or defensive holding. The prior would put the ball on the 1 with an untimed down. The alternative would have moved the ball 5 yards closer and provided an untimed down. At the very least the officials should have had the guts to explain to the team and the viewers at home why the flag was picked up. That kind of action makes the league look like the games are fixed. That is the one think that can destroy the legitimacy of the league.
ESPN reports that the Dolphins have asked for a delay in the hearing on Richie Incognito’s non-football injury grievance.
Ravens General Manager and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome was taken to the hospital during this week’s game at Chicago. NFL.COM has reported that he is feeling fine and has returned to Baltimore. We wish the Hall of Famer Newsome the best.
Steelers 37 Lions 27 – The Steelers wore the Bumble Bee throw back uniforms which should be called throw up uniforms. The Bees started hot throwing a couple of short passes which Antonio Brown took to the endzone to build a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with the no huddle O. That was something that they had not shown before. The Lions scored 27 second quarter points but did not score again. The key play was a fake field goal attempt by the Lions in the pouring rain that failed. In the 2nd half the Steelers increased the heat on Stafford. Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger ended up 29-43 for 367 yards and 4 TDs without a pick. The Lions defensive line could not get much pressure on Roethlisberger only sacking him once. Lions QB Matt Stafford did not have a good day in the winds of Hines Field. He was only 19 of 46 with 2 TDs and 1 interception. The Lions also lost 2 fumbles. WR Calvin Johnson caught 6 for 179 yards and 2 TDs but did not have a catch in the 2nd half.
Raiders 28 Texans 23 – The Texans are done. Neither their O or D played well. They turned the ball over twice and the offense was so bad they benched Case Keenum (13-24 170-1-1) and brought Pick Six Matt Schaub (12-25-155-0-0) back in. The Texans got an 87 yard TD on a punt return by Keshawn Martin but were -2 in turnovers. Undrafted QB Matt McGloin threw three TDs in his first NFL start. He was 18 for 32 for 197 with the 3 TDs and no interceptions. The Texans took a 17-14 lead into the 3rd quarter but McGloin threw two of his TDs in the quarter. The best the Texans could generate under Schaub was two field goals. The Texans were able to convert only 2 of 16 3rd down attempts.
Bears 23 Ravens 20 OT – The Ravens had a 10-0 lead when the field was cleared for almost 2 hours due to heavy rain and lightening. When the game resumed the Bears tied the game on a field goal and a pick 6 by David Bass. The poor field reduced the pass rush of the Ravens. However, it did not seem to slow down the Bears pass rush. Baltimore QB Joe Flacco threw two picks and 1 TD. He now has thrown 13 of each this season. That combined with the hip injury to Ray Rice are the primary reasons the O has struggled in 2013. Bears 2nd team QB Josh McCown did not. The Ravens got the running game going with RB Rice gaining 131 yards and a 5.2 yard average. He is looking healthier. The Ravens got a field goal to tie the game with 3 seconds left but the Bears kicked a field goal in overtime to win.
Eagles 24 Redskins 16 – Eagles QB Nick Foles took advantage of a Redskin defense that is one of the worst in the league. He threw for nearly 300 yards and led the Eagles to two TDs and ran a third in himself. Under Foles the Eagle O does not come close to running the 80+ plays per game. But unlike QB Mike Vick, Foles does not turn the ball over. He has thrown 16 TDs and has yet to throw a pick. While leading rusher LeSean McCoy was held to 77 yards he did score 2 TDs.
Redskin QB Robert Griffin threw an interception and lost a fumble under a lot of pressure from the Eagle D line. RG3 never looked comfortable and the game was over before the Skins O got started. Not only is he playing behind a patched up line he is without any quality receivers.
Bills 37 Jets 14 – Bills rookie QB E.J. Manuel outdueled Jets rookie Geno Smith to lead the Bills to a win at home. Manuel was 20 of 28 for 242 yards and 2 TDs without an interception. Smith was 8 for 23 for 103 yards and three interceptions without a TD. He also fumbled twice but recovered one. Smith has turned the ball over 20 times this season including 16 interceptions. Smith was replaced by Matt Simms who did throw a TD pass. The Bills jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter mostly from Smith’s turnovers and the Jets never recovered. The Bills defense got 4 sacks and harassed Jet QBs all day.
Saints 23 49ers 20 – The Saints got a little home town officiating. Late in the game the 49ers sacked Brees taking them out of field goal range. But there was a flag for a hit to the head which wiped out the loss and added 15 yards. Replay showed the hit was on the neck. The kick was good which tied the game. As time expired another field goal got the Saints the win.
The Saints D shut down the 49er running game. 49er QB Colin Kaepernick threw two TDs and the defense forced 3 turnovers. He was chased all over the field and got sacked 3 times. The 49er receivers did not get open. The loss puts the team in danger of missing the playoffs. They are now tied with the Cardinals at 6-4. The passing game of the Saints prevailed. QB Drew Brees threw for 300 yards and led the Saints to 2 touchdowns and three field goals for the win. The Saints are a much better team at home than on the road. At 8-2 the Saints need to keep winning to have any chance of catching the Seahawks.
Broncos 27 Chiefs 17 – The flaws of the Chiefs game were exposed against the Broncos. The Chiefs do not have the offense to score enough to overcome a quality team. They had build a 9-0 record against backup QBs on below average teams. The Chief offense had not scored a TD in 6 quarters coming into the game. That is not a formula for a championship. The Broncos are a legitimate threat to go all the way to the Super Bowl ONLY if QB Payton Manning can stay healthy.
Bengals 41 Browns 20 – Four turnovers and two blocked punts did in the Browns chance to win. When your fans give the team a standing ovation for getting a punt off, thing on special teams are bad. For the details of the game check out my Browns Bengals Live Game Notes on http://fryingpansports.com/.
The Steelers will face major cap space issues in part due to the big contract they gave Roethlisberger. They are also getting old and brittle particularly on defense. Look for the team to let some big name (and big salary) older players go including SS Troy Polamalu. A trade of Roethlisberger is not likely because the cap hit would be over 12 million dollars.
Watching Vikings RB Adrian Peterson over the last few weeks I have to believe he is not healthy. He does not have the burst or the jump step he has shown over his career.
With 6 weeks to go in the season it is time to look at those coaches on the hot seat. The two that jump out are Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Both are very much in need of more wins to insure their return next season.
The Vikings, Falcons, Texans and Redskins share the Under-Achiever of the year award and the coaching staffs may be gone next season. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has an excuse due to the bounty that was paid for QB Griffin and the salary cap hit imposed by the NFL. That excuse may not apply to GM Bruce Allen. Both the trade and the errors that resulted in the penalty by the league were decisions made by Allen.
This week’s “Too smart for your own good” award:
Lions Coach Jim Schwartz wins the award for going for a fake field goal in the 4th quarter leading the Steelers by 4. The attempt failed (as most of them do) and the Lions lost the game.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at http://www.merriam-press.com/. Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on http://fryingpansports.com/radio-show/ and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on The Bill Smith Radio Show.
He also edits http://fryingpanpolitics.org/.
To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.