Unless the 49ers, within a week, forget how to play football, lose every game the rest of the season and finagle a deal with the Dolphins, Chiefs or Colts, that whole “Andrew Luck to the Niners” prediction is out of the window. Somehow, Jim Harbaugh has San Francisco playing some of the best football in the league while doing it all with Alex Smith under center. This Sunday, San Fran took their 4-1 record to Motown to face the sudden darlings of the NFL in the Detroit Lions. On paper, one would think Detroit walked away with a W. Stafford threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, Megatron just did normal Megatron things (7 catches, 113 yards) and the Niners had 15 penalties. In reality, however, Stafford was hounded all day, his running game was nonexistent – hence the 50 pass attempts – and Frank Gore, who may very well be the fastest slow player in the league, had 141 huge yards including a 55 yard touchdown that revived San Francisco when they were down 10-0.
So yes, Detroit’s 25-19 loss ends their nine game winning streak. And yes, this win means the Niners have won five of their first six games for the first time since 1998. But all anyone appears to be talking about is what happened after the game. Harbaugh, obviously excited for his team’s win, shook hands with Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and slapped him on the back when they met on the field following the game. Schwartz took offense to the aggressiveness by running right up to the Niners’ rookie coach causing teams to rush to the defense of their respective boss.
No punches were thrown, but expect The Hand of Goodell to deliver the usual fines sometime this week with each coach probably giving an official statement saying something about how they embarrassed themselves, the organization, the league and all that other PR-created jazz. The whole situation is more funny than anything; a true testament to how ego-driven the sport can be at times and why America loves football. And with each quote from Harbaugh, he finds himself moving up the ladder in my personal favorite NFL personalities. Good to know that college brashness still running through his veins.
“It fires me up a lot,” Harbaugh said. “If that offends you or anybody else, then so be it.”
See what I mean? Here’s to San Francisco and Detroit somehow meeting in the playoffs.
It screams of exaggeration when a Week 6 game is deemed a “must win.” However, for the Philadelphia
Heat Eagles, that’s exactly what it was. Listen, 1-4 is already a big enough hole to dig yourself out of; dropping to 1-5 and players are already beginning to plan offseason vacations. Philly’s tombstone was even being engraved in the media all week. Now, with an ugly, yet entertaining 20-13 victory over division rival Washington, we know these two things.
1. Vick is one tough son of a bitch. Buddy takes some serious lumps out there and keeps on getting back up. But good Lord almighty, could you or could you not cut the fear of Philly fans with a butter knife once Vince Young came in for one play and threw a pick? The 2006 Rose Bowl feels like forever ago.
2. Finally, the real Rex Grossman made his presence felt. We all knew Grossman’s awfully spectacular game was coming, it was only a matter of when. Four interceptions later and the John Beck era is in full swing. At least until he throws three picks and the quarterback controversy in Washington hits Def-Con 1. What’ll be a fine example of entertaining management is if Beck and Grossman both merit clipboard status. If that happens, I’ll watch each Skins game, mute their offensive series and play the Harlem Globetrotters theme music. Yet and still though, you know really what sucks for Skins fans? Their defense actually looks impressive this year.
— Aaron Rodgers is scary good and the guy probably hasn’t even hit his stride yet. The Pack remain the NFL’s lone unbeaten behind another day at the office (17/28 for 310 yards and 3 TD’s) for the man who is making a case to have his own street named after him. That’s never happened before in Green Bay, right?
— The Boss may be gone, but his Raiders continue to play some inspired football. Of equal importance, Darren McFadden continues to piss me off. Why? Because I was one pick away in my fantasy draft from selecting him and he’s already half way to 1,000 yards. Oakland upended the Browns 24-17 (highlighted by the always entertaining fake punt TD pass!), but the most damaging news is Jason Campbell’s broken collarbone. And here’s an honest question: who knew Kyle Boller was still in the league? Well, Raider faithful, he’s the man who now has the keys to the car. That also means we’re officially one play closer to the Terrelle Pryor reign of terror (can be taken two ways). Week 10 on Sunday night vs. San Diego seems like an excellent date for a debut.
— The AFC South is completely up for grabs. Houston looks great one week and horrible the next. And now with Mario Williams gone for the season and Andre Johnson for who knows how long, the Titans could mess around and involuntarily walk away division champs. How disheartening would that be for Texans fans? Baltimore put H-Town out of their misery while AFC North rival Pittsburgh defeated Jacksonville. Indy still remains a front runner in the “Suck For Luck” sweepstakes with a ten point loss to Cincy. For consolation prizes, however, Dallas Clark had an impressive touchdown grab. Peyton would’ve gift wrapped it for him though.
— The Giants walked away victorious in a thriller versus the Bills. And if you had either Fred Jackson (me) or Ahmad Bradshaw on your fantasy team, you slept like a baby last night. The G-Men sit atop the NFC East by their lonesome. All that remains now is their classic late season meltdown. Speaking of that division, Tom Brady Tom Brady’d the Cowboys as he made a late fourth quarter drive look easier than pouring milk in cereal. Even with Rob Ryan’s downright inspiring defensive impact on a below average secondary, Dallas’ ability to get in their own away is outright amazing at times.
— In keeping up with the rough Sunday for coaches theme, the Saints not only took the L to Tampa Bay. Head coach Sean Payton will undergo surgery today to repair a MCL tear and fractured tibia he suffered after a sideline collision in the first half conjuring memories of Joe Paterno circa 2006.
— It’s about time for Donovan McNabb to call it a career.
— The Cam Newton Tour continued this week in Atlanta. Of course Carolina lost, but what’s more important is Cam’s dancing tribute to Deion Sanders. Where are all the “Cam-can’t-play-in-the-NFL” preachers now? Don’t all stand up at once. Yes, that means you, Merril Hoge and Todd McShay.