Monday Morning Realist Week 6

By Akiem Bailum, host of The Real Sports Talk’s “10 Minutes on the Clock” Show
Twitter: @Li495Akiem


All’s Well That Ends Well




The Atlanta Falcons’ home game vs. the Oakland Raiders had no business being competitive. This is one of those games where you look at the matchup on paper & simply decided by how many touchdowns the Dirty Birds will win.


The Oakland Raiders’ defensive line had Matt Ryan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Matty Ice threw for 3 interceptions, had only 1 TD, and was sacked once. He did throw 24/37 for 249 yards, but there are some who say his average-at-best performance today put his MVP candidacy in jeopardy. I’m not so sure about that since it’s only Week 6.


The score was 13-7 by halftime. One statistic that stands out was how the Raiders outrushed the Falcons 149-45 with a three-headed running monster of Darren McFadden, Darius Heyward-Bey, and Mike Goodson.


One late drive in the 4th quarter resulted in a Raiders’ touchdown courtesy of Darren McFadden from the 2-yard line. The score was tied at 20 with 40 seconds left in regulation.


But, as the 2008 Bears and this year’s Panthers will tell you—when you give the Atlanta Falcons 40 seconds, you might as well be giving them 40 minutes.


It may not have been the long bomb to Roddy White that we’re used to seeing, but Ryan did engineer a series of short passes down field with receivers making good use of the sidelines to get out of bounds and stop the clock.


One Matt Bryant 53 yard field goal later, the Falcons beat the Raiders 23-20. Atlanta is now 6-0 for the first time in their history. The Raiders are now 1-4.


While the Falcons are undefeated, they haven’t looked like the dominant team they were in Week 1 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. Teams are starting to figure them out. Atlanta is a pass-first team, so they may want to try to utilize Michael Turner more. They also have to do a better job at stopping the run. This is the 3rd consecutive game where they’ve been outgained on the ground. They were also outrushed in that 40-24 rout of Kansas City, but KC is a run-first offense. Not Atlanta.


As for the Raiders, why did the game get away from them, ultimately? It would be in typical Raider fashion with penalties. 14 flags were thrown in the game with the Silver & Black committing 12 of the fouls. It cost them 110 yards. Standard protocol in Raider Nation.


A word to the wise for teams with leads on the Falcons in the 4th quarter, though—make sure it’s with only 1 second left in the quarter (and the game). Week 7 is a bye week for Atlanta while Oakland returns to the Black Hole to play Jacksonville.


High on Premium Jet Fuel




The Indianapolis Colts traveled to the Meadowlands to play the New York Jets after an emotional Week 5 victory over the Green Bay Packers. That victory was won on the backs of Reggie Wayne and rookie quarterback Andrew Luck.


Between that victory & the on-field and off-field issues that the New York Jets have had, one would think the Colts would continue that momentum into Jersey.


It didn’t happen & it was a textbook example of the phrase “Any Given Sunday”. While Mark Sanchez only threw for 85 yards, that didn’t matter because the Jets’ offensive attack was centered on the ground. The Jets out-rushed the Pats by a ratio of around 6 to 1. Shonn Greene alone had 161 of their 252 yards on the ground.


The Colts were well-known during the Peyton Manning years of having a liability of poor tackling & not being able to stop the run. This game had to bring back flashbacks of those years. Apparently, the more things change, the more they remain the same in the Hoosier State.


All 3 scores for the Colts came via Adam Vinatieri field goals. Andrew Luck had 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 4 turnovers overall for Indianapolis.


Yes, there was even a Tim Tebow sighting. That one highlight may get more play on ESPN than anything from the baseball League Championship Series if I know ESPN the way I think I do.


The Jets are now 3-3. Indy falls to 2-3. The Colts will return to Indianapolis to play the Cleveland Browns in Week 7. New York gets New England in Foxboro.


Making a Duck Out of An Eagle
^An old Q102 Philadelphia radio diss liner at a competitor back in the early 90’s for those that may not know.



Another Eagles game results in another day where Michael Vick commits multiple turnovers. 3 of them for the team as it turned out.


Turnovers or no turnovers, the game should’ve been won with 5 minutes & change left in the 4th quarter. The Eagles were leading the Detroit Lions 23-13. The game should’ve been over. Philly’s defense played great in the first half of the game as well as throughout the 3rd quarter. The Lions executed perfect clock management at the end of the quarter first from a Nate Burleson TD to make the game 23-20 and then with a field goal from Jason Hanson with 3 seconds left to go.


In overtime, the Eagles won the toss & decided to receive. Their first drive wasn’t much of one as they lost 21 yards to give Detroit the ball.
Collegiate-based overtime rules and all, the Lions scored a game winning field goal from Hanson to give them the victory and move to 2-3. The Eagles are now 3-3.


Another Eagles loss also gives fans more of an opportunity to question the play calling of Andy Reid. While LeSean “Shady” McCoy only rushed for 22 yards on 14 carries, Michael Vick had a better running day than McCoy did. According to Eagles fans, that’s part of the problem. The offensive line can also be seen as at fault.


What this game came down to was simply that one team played until there was nothing left in the 4th quarter & the other didn’t. That’s what allowed the Lions to come back late & later win it in overtime.


In Week 7, the Lions shall play their division rival Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football—already Chicago’s 2nd MNF’er of the year. The Eagles have a bye—which Vick said in his post game press conference, could be good for the team so they could, possibly, “find themselves” as it would be.


The 12th Man Beats #12




Much was made (possibly too much) about how the New England Patriots offense would have issues going into Seattle as CenturyLink Field is known for having one of the loudest stadia in the NFL. I don’t pay attention ever when pundits mention the phrase “crowd noise”. In my opinion, the talk of crowd noise affecting offenses is bigger noise than the crowd noise itself.


Nonetheless, the Pats Week 6 matchup was vs. the Seahawks in Seattle. Both teams were coming off wins the previous week. New England vs. Peyton Manning & Denver in Foxboro and Seattle going to Carolina and engaging in a defensive struggle with the Panthers.


In a way, this week the Eagles and Pats can both relate to each other. Both lost leads late in the 4th quarter. The Eagles’ lead was 10. New England’s was 14 & they were facing a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson—who was sacked 2 times by New England’s D.


Brady has many receiving targets on that team as we know. Among them would be Wes Welker who had 10 receptions for 138 yards and a TD.


But, sometimes, it’s not how you start but how you finish. Brady has been known for engineering 4th quarter drives late. This time, it was Russell Wilson’s 4th quarter. Two TD passes to Braylon Edwards and Sidney Rice in the 4th quarter would give Seattle the 24-23 lead. Jason Jones, Marcus Trufant, and Seattle’s defense would stop the Pats late and display why they’re one of the Top 5 defenses in the NFL.


The Patriots are now 3-3 while the Seahawks are 4-2 in an uber-competitive NFC West that features 4 of the top defenses in football. Meanwhile, the Dolphins and Bills won their games as well. The entire AFC East at this point in the season is logjammed at 3-3. Meaning fans of all 4 teams are claiming first place, and reserving “last” for their rivals.


Winning, But At What Price?




Of course, the Baltimore Ravens’ bread and butter has been defense ever since the year 2000. They’ve slowly, but surely, transitioned into more of an offensively-minded club around Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. Their transition to offense may have taken too fast a turn before they know it.


In recent years, their defense has been criticized for being too old. Others defended it saying that they’re experienced. It’s a common theme in sports. You’re experienced when you have a lot of years on you and you do well. You’re old when you have a lot of years on you and the age shows.


The Ravens’ rush defense in the past two games now has given up 200+ rushing yards each to the Chiefs and now to the Cowboys. Teams don’t win many games when that happens. It’s also in stark juxtaposition to where the rush defense was prior to the last two weeks.


Baltimore hasn’t had its bye yet, so they’ve played the full slate of games so far. Their bye is in Week 8. They allowed 129 rushing yards vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. They allowed 111 rushing yards to the Philadelphia Eagles who are being heavily criticized for not running the ball enough. 77 vs. the Pats (who NEVER run the ball as long as #12 is anchoring the offense) & 43 vs. the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.


The strangest thing about it was that they won both games. What bailed out Baltimore today was a Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return—just shy of the longest in NFL history.  Joe Flacco would throw for 236 & only 1 touchdown. Tony Romo for the Cowboys had 2 TDs, 1 interception, and 261 passing yards.


Unfortunately, for Baltimore and their fans, the game came at a price. In addition to raised concerns over their run defense, there’s concern that Lardarius Webb may have torn his ACL, Ray Lewis may have injured his triceps, and Haloti Ngata may have injured his MCL. The Lewis & Webb injuries are feared to be season ending.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that these injuries would be devastating for an offense that’s already banged up enough. It’d also be a shame if after Lewis’ injury, he announces after the season that he retires from the NFL. No future Football Hall of Famer like Ray Lewis should leave the league with an injury.



2011 Called, They Want Their Team Back


They love their football deep in the heart of Texas. The Cowboys are “America’s Team” and the rising Houston Texans are emerging as potential contenders for a Super Bowl. They were undefeated coming into their Sunday Night matchup vs. the Green Bay Packers.


Emphasis on “were”.


Most saw the game as a continuation of the defensive difficulties the Packers have experienced as of late. These included blowing a 21-3 halftime lead last week in Indianapolis that gave the Colts their 2nd victory on the season.


What was supposed to be a competitive game wasn’t competitive. Aaron Rodgers clearly had enough. They thrashed the Houston Texans at The Power Plant (what I call Reliant Stadium) by a score 42-24.


Rodgers doesn’t have that Discount Double Check on him for nothing. 3 touchdowns to Jordy Nelson alone in addition to 3 more for a grand total for 6 in the game. The NFL record is 7 & he tied the all time Packer record that was set by—not Bart Starr or Brett Favre…but Matt Flynn?


Huh, Come Again?


Flynn threw 6 TDs just last year in Week 17 when the Packers defeated the Detroit Lions 45-41. This was when they had the best record in the league & resting most of their starters so they can be healthy for the playoffs—a strategy that didn’t pan out well for the Pack last year.


As for the Texans, this was rare. This is supposed to be the #1 rated defense in the league & the Packers looked like their old selves from last year. It also was in their heads as the Packers continued to tack on points on points on points. The Texans played horrible and undisciplined defense tonight. There were 3 penalties during the game on Houston that really cost them a chance at getting back in the game.


The one that was called for leaping of all things (Peyton Manning can tell you all about that one) allowed for a 21-17 lead to become 28-17. It looked like the Texans would stop Green Bay and make them settle for a Mason Crosby field goal. Instead, they continued to score & score & score.


The one bright spot for the Texans’ defense tonight was J.J. Watt. Both sacks on Rodgers tonight were courtesy of JJ Watt who is now being referred to in H-Town as “JJ Swatt”. Also, Andre Johnson made a bit of history by eclipsing 10,000 receiving yards for his career. Larry Fitzgerald also did it in Week 6 for the Cardinals, but he’s getting added recognition for doing so before the age of 30.


Other than that, it was all cheese tonight. The Texans’ D was clearly lactose intolerant.


It is Houston’s first loss of the year and they’re no longer undefeated at 5-1. The lone unbeaten team left is the Atlanta Falcons and they seem to be showing signs that their first loss may be on the horizon too.


Green Bay will now travel to St. Louis to play the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Texans get to stay in Houston as they will play likely short-handed Ravens @ Reliant.


Stay with the Real Sports Talk for the best in NFL coverage including our weekly recap show—The NFL Final Score!

Posted on October 15, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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