Football Today -- The Cowboys prove they are not the new Patriots9:21 AM Mon, Sep 29, 2008 | Permalink
Email this author | Email this entry
The day started with that notorious Patriot hater, ESPN's Tom Jackson, stating that the Dallas Cowboys could go down as the best offensive football team in the history of the NFL. It ended with the Cowboys as just another 3-1 team, after a 26-24 loss at home to the Washington Redskins, and with the clear idea that there will be no dominant team in the regular season, like the Pats were last year. Terrell Owens, who had seven catches, complained about not getting the ball enough after the game. Dallas coaches, on the other hand, were reportedly hinting that they tried too hard to get Owens involved -- at the expense of establishing a running game -- after Owens had one of his worst statistical games ever in the Cowboys' Week 3 victory at Green Bay. (Dallas Morning News)
The result was a statement for the Redskins, and also for the idle New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champions who are finally being recognized as the team to beat in the league's toughest division. It also demonstrated the folly of Jackson's assertion about the Cowboys offense. To illustrate the point: through four games last year, the Patriots had scored 148 points and got over 30 points in each game; the Cowboys are at 120 through the first four games and have gotten over 30 just once.
SO LONG SCOTT: Speaking of the 30 point barrier, the St. Louis Rams entered rare territory yesterday when they lost to the undefeated Buffalo Bills, 31-14. For St. Louis, it was the seventh consecutive game -- dating back to last season -- in which they had surrendered at least 30 points, setting a new NFL record (the Denver Broncos of the AFL also allowed 30-plus points on seven consecutive occasions). So it is no surprise this morning that Rams coach Scott Linehan has apparently been fired. It is a surprise, I would say, that the replacement will be defensive coordinator (and former Saints head coach) Jim Haslett. (ESPN)
TICKET TO RESPECTABILITY: On the Fox pregame show, Jimmy Johnson gave the Detroit Lions some unsolicited advice for making their franchise relevant again, and for putting the Matt Millen era permanently in the rear-view mirror: Hire Scott Pioli away from the Patriots. You have to wonder, though, why Pioli would ever want to go to Detroit.
INSPIRED EFFORT: A day after burying his 3-month-old son, Tryson, Tampa Bay kicker Matt Bryant connected on a late field goal that put the Bucs ahead to stay against the Packers. (ESPN) "Today was his day," Bryant said. "It was all about him for me. I talked with him personally in my head throughout the game. I just want to remind him that he's my baby boy and he's with me all the time." Tom Curran of NBC Sports, describing the go-ahead 24-yard kick, wrote that "If there was ever a time for Justice to peek over her blindfold and tip the scales in one direction or another, this was it."
BACK ON BRETT'S SIDE: They love you when you do well. Many of the same New York media members who were wondering less than a week ago if signing Brett Favre would turn out to be a big blunder for the Jets were singing a different tune this morning, following New York's 56-point effort at home against the Arizona Cardinals. (N.Y. Post) Favre threw for six touchdowns, the most he has thrown in his illustrious career, and tongues were wagging about the velocity that Favre put into some of his throws.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE: Three of Favre's touchdown tosses went to wide receiver Laveranues Coles, who said after the game that he had pleaded with his coaches to get the ball more in the Cardinals game. (Newark Star-Ledger)
FINE PROBABLY ON THE WAY: While Favre was enjoying a day in the sun, defensive back Eric Smith drew attention for a nasty, helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked out Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin. (ESPN)
EVERYTHING FALLS APART: The season started so well for Favre's former team, the Green Bay Packers, but the Pack face some serious questions today as their injuries continue to pile up. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) The Pack had seven players leave yesterday's game in Tampa: quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered what appeared to be a dislocated right shoulder; linebacker A.J. Hawk, who suffered a groin pull that could be serious; defensive end Cullen Jenkins (shoulder), safety Nick Collins (back) and defensive end Jason Hunter (hamstring).
WAITING IN THE WINGS: If Rodgers can't play next week, it will be rookie Matt Flynn getting the start for the Pack. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
STAND AND DELIVER: That's what the Chicago Bears defense -- which gave up late leads in Weeks 2 and 3 -- did against the Philadelphia Eagles last night. Protecting a 24-20 lead late in the fourth quarter, Chicago stopped Correll Buckhalter's fourth-and-goal run from the one-yard line, taking advantage of some unimaginative play-calling by the Eagles coaches. (Chicago Tribune)
A 'WHAT THE HELL?' MOMENT: That's how the Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald describes Lane Kiffin's decision to let Sebastian Janikowski attempt a 76-yard field goal against San Diego.
NOT THE SAME: Titans rookie running back Chris Johnson had some big plays in his team's victory over Minnesota, but Vikings defensive players insist that he is not the next Adrian Peterson. (ESPN) But while Peterson labors for a team that is 1-3, Johnson has helped Tennessee to its first 4-0 start, so whom would you rather be?
THE BEST IS YET TO COME: The Titans' defense forced four turnovers on Sunday, and has now forced 12 of them in four games, yet defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz says his unit is not playing its best football yet. (CBS Sportsline)
WHO IS THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN? The Browns won their first game yesterday despite a mediocre, 138-yard passing performance by quarterback Derek Anderson. But Anderson remained in the game the entire way, leading CBS Sportsline's Greg Doyel to speculate that "Brady Quinn must really suck." Browns head coach Romeo Crennel indicated that he considered yanking Anderson in the second half, but it looks like Anderson will remain the starter in the immediate future. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
A FAMILIAR LINE: Donte' Stallworth missed yet another game with his quad injury -- suffered during warmups before the Browns' season opener. Cleveland has a bye next week, and head coach Crennel is hopeful that Stallworth will make his Browns debut in Week 6. (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)
RISING BACK TO THE TOP? With Jake Delhomme off to his best start ever and Steve Smith back from suspension, the Carolina Panthers, who took care of the Atlanta Falcons in methodical fashion yesterday, are looking like legitimate contenders in the NFC. (Yahoo Sports!) Wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, a member of the 2003 Super Bowl team who is back after a stint with Chicago, says "It almost feels like we're picking up where we left off."
SCARY TIMES FOR BRONCOS RECEIVER: Denver's Clifford Russell was released from the hospital after being carried from the Broncos-Chiefs game following a neck injury on a kick return. (ESPN)
HALFTIME ENTERTAINMENT: As revealed at halftime of last night's Bears-Eagles game, it will be Bruce Springsteen anchoring the Super Bowl halftime show this season, thus continuing a trend of safe, elderly acts (Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty) that have dominated the show since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction a few years back.