The Real NFLers of New Jersey: Week 10
The East Coast is starting to get back to normal, while the NFL world is anything but. A tie? Really? A Giant November collapse, no more undefeated teams, two backup QBs thrust into action after two concussions sideline two starters on two different ends of the United States AT THE SAME TIME. As Big Sean would say, “Oh God!”
The Bears right now are saying “Oh Sh*t!” as memories of last season dance in their heads like a bad dream. Memories of a 7-3 start that turned into an 8-8 final record all because Jay Cutler broke his thumb. Granted, the Bears are much better prepared with backup QB Jason Campbell then they ever were with the totally stoppable tandem of Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown, but still, I am sure tensions are high in the Windy City.
Much like they are in New York City as both teams are hemorrhaging in November. Give the Bengals credit, but not too much. As I am sure Hanie and McCown could have scored if given the field position Dalton was handed yesterday by Eli Manning.
Speaking of backup QBs…the 49ers and the Eagles got a taste of what their lives would be like without their QB1s and I would have to say that the sun is shining brighter in San Francisco, but that Foles is not half bad. I would never wish for Mark Sanchez to get hurt, but I am curious how Tebow would do if given the ball in the second half of a game that is winnable (or at least tieable).
Anyway, let us not waste anymore time. There was a lot of noise from a lot of the Garden State’s finest yesterday.
This Plainfield, NJ native has made noise before, but yesterday he made a case to be more involved in the Bills passing attack. He saw an opportunity with Stevie Johnson limited by a knee injury and he nailed his audition. He had the same number of receptions as Johnson, a little less yardage (6 catches for 74 yards), but come the red zone Fitzpatrick was eyeing Jones and he came up big with a TD. Look for him to be more involved and for defenses to start recognizing the Bills have a legit WR2 that they need to keep an eye on while bracketing Stevie Johnson.
Unfortunately, for Donald’s Bills, they were very much aware that Devin McCourty was lining up on the opposite side from Fitzpatrick. McCourty is a game changer and in this case a game stopper. Early in the fourth quarter, he had a force fumble at the goal line to stop a Bills drive without a score. As if that was not enough, on the final drive of the game, at a point when a Bills TD would have won the game for them, an errant pass into the end zone from Ryan Fitzpatrick ends up going directly into the hands of McCourty. He kneels for a touchback and ends the game in a Patriots win. The Patriots passing defense may give up chunks of yardage, but with McCourty they get turnovers when they need them.
We all know Flacco is up and down. However, when he is up he is scary. Against an Oakland Raiders defense that nearly beat an undefeated Atlanta Falcons team (that honor of course went to the Saints yesterday), Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns and even scored a 4th TD on the ground. I hope Flacco is feeling like GI Joe after that game because he is going to need to be at his best over the next three weeks with two games against Pittsburgh broken up only by a Chargers game.
Staying in the AFC North, the Bengals thrashing of the Giants showcased a lot of good play (a lot of one-sided good play). Although his statistics were not otherworldly, Sanu finally made some progress in the Bengals passing attack. He had 4 catches for 47 yards setting personal bests for both categories and caught his first professional TD. He has now thrown one and caught one. As I said, they are not incredible numbers, but if you look at some of those catches you can tell he is ready for more. He is a big target who showed a lot of athleticism yesterday. The Bengals need a guy on the other side to take pressure off of A.J. Green and they have a roster full of slot receivers. The position is Sanu’s for the taking if he can put together more solid games like this. The Bengals, and opposing defenses, will be forced to take notice.
While watching the Bears-Texans game with my uncle and father, my uncle posed a question to both of us. He asked, “What happened to that big guy from Wayne that the Bears used to have?” I asked if he was talking about Greg Olsen the former Bear and current Panther. He said yes and continued to say how the Bears could really use him right now. I chuckled when the announcers of the Bears game made a similar statement when current Bears tight end Kellen Davis dropped a pass (after fumbling earlier in the game). I wondered if the Bears staff was asking the same question given the ineffective Bears offense yesterday and the amazing game Olsen had against Denver. Olsen caught 9 passes for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns yesterday. That is wide receiver (or Gronkowski) territory. Although the Panthers are slumping, Olsen is on track to have the most single season receiving yards of his career. His highest right now is 612. That was the same year he caught a career high 8 touchdowns. And he was on the Bears. Just sayin’.
For now I will leave you with an NFL Meme that was too good not to share:
Credit: Max Silberman