Is this how it’s going to be? Ben Roethlisberger has just put the finishing touches on the greatest two game streak any quarterback has ever had. The only player to throw 6 touchdowns in back to back games and the first to throw 6 touchdowns twice in a season since Y.A. Tittle.
The Steelers usually fare poorly when Roethlisberger has to throw that much, but they’ve won both of these games, have moved into second place in the AFC North, and still have two cracks at division leading Cincinnati, who have got to be a bit unnerved at what they’re seeing in their rear-view mirror.
Is this how black and blue Pittsburgh gets it groove back? This could be the strangest development of all.
This Week’s Sucked And Won
Austin Davis, QB (STL). Great win over the Niners, but it belonged to the defense that had 8 sacks and a crucial fumble recovery. Davis went 13-24 for 105 yards, threw two picks and had a passer rating of 44.6.
Who your backup quarterback is says a lot about what your evaluation of your own team was at the beginning of the season. Why is Dallas being caught flat footed with Brandon Weeden at QB? Because they never believed they’d be this competitive. Why does Philadelphia, by contrast, have relatively reliable Mark Sanchez to step in? Because they figured all along they’d be in the playoff hunt.
Shocking realization of the week
The best quarterback in the NFL is whoever is playing the Jets. New York has given up 24 touchdowns and only managed 1 interception through 9 games.
Currently flying under the radar: the Miami Dolphins. They have the third ranked defense in the NFL and the third-best scoring defense to boot. But the real revelation may be quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who started the season so-so, throwing 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in his first five games, but has gone for 6 TD’s and just one pick in the Dolphins last 3, all wins.
This Week’s Great But Lost
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR (NYG). 8 catches for 156 yards? Keep an eye on this rookie, he’s the next big thing.
Not to keep harping on just how well the Cardinals are playing, but not only was their one loss against Denver, it came in a game where Drew Stanton started at quarterback, got hurt, and got replaced by rookie Logan Thomas. That’s how well.
Thursday Pick: Cleveland (+7) @Cincinnati (5 Dimes)
I’m not convinced the Bengals are for real. Not at all. They obviously have Baltimore’s number, and they will probably win this game (the rivalry here favors the home team rather significantly), but I don’t see them winning big, not by a long shot. The Browns two division losses were by 3 and 2 points respectively. I think the same thing happens here, and it wouldn’t shock me if Cleveland beats the Bengals outright. While I’m not going to play it, the over/under is just 44.5 here, and I like the over a bit. I’m staying away because it’s two teams on short rest and a division rivalry game and those can produce weird low scoring results sometimes.
Cincinnati Bengals 27 Cleveland Browns 24
“Penalties, dumb blocks, dumb techniques. dumb schemes, played like shit.” – 49ers LT Joe Staley, listing what the team’s offensive line did wrong in its loss to the Rams.
“Am I going to go in the tank and go out in the second half and say, ‘OK, they got us,’ or am I, for lack of a better term, going to man up and go out and fight and try to win the football game?” – Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr, on facing down the Seattle defense.
“Having been 1-7 before, 7-1, it feels a lot better.” – Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.
“It was like a video game out there. Guys were scoring touchdowns left and right. It was amazing to see.” – Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons, on getting to watch the Steelers on offense.
“I just want to keep that ball and just go to sleep with it tonight.” – Browns undrafted rookie WR Taylor Gabriel, on catching a game winning on touchdown.
“It bothers me. We had a lead. We got down. We came back to get the lead. We let them drive 80 yards to take the lead. We go back down to score and take the lead. We go down to take the lead, and they come back again. Very, very, very sickening.” – Washington coach Jay Gruden. He’s not happy.
“I don’t usually stink, but I stunk today.” – Broncos QB Peyton Manning. I think he was being a little hard on himself.
“Anyone looking at your record doesn’t care about how close you were to winning. Nobody cares how many points you’ve lost by. When you’re in close games, you have to find ways to win.” – Texans OT Duane Brown, on Houston’s fans being upset with the team’s loss to Philadelphia.
“Y’all saw it. Awful.” – Chargers OT King Dunlap, on San Diego’s 37-0 loss to Miami.
“We thought that it would take until the end of the season to raise the necessary funds. It took 5 days.” – press release from FireJohnIdzik.com, which has raised enough money to rent a billboard outside Metlife Stadium. I’m guessing it will say something about firing Jets GM John Idzik.