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Another week in the NFL is behind us and we can all look back at my week one reactions and evaluate. The refs are still terrible, the Ravens will not go 16-0, and thankfully the Bills will not go winless for the entire year. Manning may still be the greatest ever even though he threw three interceptions in the first quarter against Atlanta Monday night and the 49ers didn’t disappoint at all. Robert Griffin III came back down to earth a little bit but he is still my early candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Now, that brings me to this past week. There were some interesting things that happened for sure, and this is why I love the NFL. Who would have thought the Cardinals would beat the Patriots in New England. Who would have thought the Bills would dominate the Chiefs, considering how poorly they played against the Jets. Miami dominated the Raiders; who many people think could win the AFC West this year. As someone once said, “That’s why they play the game.”
Knee-jerk reaction # 1: The end is near based on the officiating situation in the league. With the game winding down and Baltimore leading 23-17, Vick and the Eagles were close to scoring a go-ahead touchdown. Vick dropped back to pass and as he did he got blindsided by a Ravens’ defender. As he was in the process of being sacked, he threw the ball forward about 5 yards. The officials called the play a fumble and awarded the ball to the Ravens. After booth review, it was determined that his hand was moving forward and it was an incomplete forward pass. As I’m watching this, I’m wondering about the intentional grounding that should have been called. Vick was still in the tackle box and there wasn’t an Eagle receiver within five yards of the play. Never-the-less, it wasn’t called and the Eagles scored a touchdown and won the game. Could this be the first time the replacement officials have dictated the outcome of the game? We don’t know nor will we ever know because we don’t know what would have transpired after the penalty. Once again, though, we must get rid of the replacement officials.
Knee-jerk reaction # 2: Eli Manning proved again that he may be the best clutch quarterback in the NFL. Manning and the Giants, who lost at home to Dallas in week one, were booed off the field at the end of the first half Sunday. Manning had thrown three first half interceptions to the Buccaneers as the Giants trailed 24-13 at home. The score was 27-16 after three quarters, and that’s when Eli took over. He proceeded to lead the Giants to 25 fourth quarter points as they went on to beat Tampa Bay 41-34. Besides the three interceptions, Manning passed for 510 yards on 31 of 51 attempts. He also had three touchdown passes on the day.
Knee-jerk reaction # 3: Luck is somehow on the sideline when Philadelphia plays. That’s the only way to explain what’s happened the past two weeks. In case you haven’t been keeping up, they needed a touchdown late to beat Cleveland in week one and needed more heroics (along with questionable officiating – Knee jerk reaction #1) to beat the Ravens on Sunday. What’s more impressive, though, is that they have committed nine turnovers in those two games and somehow managed to win both of them. If this team can figure out how to control the ball, they may be dangerous. Watch out.
Knee-jerk reaction # 4: C. J. Spiller is on pace to be the league MVP. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buffalo running back is the first player since Jim Brown to average at least 10 yards per carry through the first two games (minimum 25 attempts). That’s impressive when you think about it. After Fred Jackson went down with an injury in week one, Spiller went off for 169 yards rushing against the Jets and then another 123 against the Chiefs. Keep producing like that and the Bills won’t miss Jackson while he’s gone.
Knee-jerk reaction # 5: The Cowboys are “back”. After an impressive win on the road against the Super Bowl Champion Giants in week one, the Boys laid an egg against the Seahawks. This is what has driven fans crazy about this team for a while now. They are so inconsistent. They will have a huge win only to follow it up with a head-scratcher the next week. Many thought they had turned the corner when they impressively beat the Giants. Many thought this was a new team that would not be hounded by mistakes from the past. They had gotten rid of the cornerbacks that had caused so many problems in the past and now they have a new running back to carry the load. This could be Romo’s year to shine and take this team to the next level. So, how do they follow up opening night in New York? They get beat by the Seahawks in Seattle. Not just beat, either; they got manhandled. This is not the type of game that gets fans excited to watch.
Knee-jerk reaction #6: The 49ers are still going to win the Super Bowl. Barring some huge injury, this team is built for the long haul. I’m sure they’ll run into some type of hurdle they’ll have to get over but this might be the most complete team in the NFL right now. They have an amazing defense that is designed to shut you down, and now they have an offense that can put some points up on the board. This team went into Green Bay and beat the mighty Packers and then took on a Detroit team, who many think will be a Wild Card team at worst, and beat them pretty convincingly on Sunday night. My Super Bowl prediction may change several times over the course of the season, but for right now I have to stay with the 49ers.