Be careful who you scapegoat.
I was scratching my head when Dallas benched backup QB Brandon Weeden in favor of recently signed Matt Cassel. True, Weeden hadn’t won any games in relief of Tony Romo (unless you count finishing off the Eagles in the fourth quarter), but the losses hardly seemed to be Weeden’s fault. In fact, he had played much better than I (or a lot of people, I suspect) would have guessed.
Enter Cassel, who put up worse numbers in a winnable matchup with the Giants than Weeden had put up in any previous start with the possible exception of the blowout loss to New England which, let’s face it, wasn’t going to be a win no matter who was under center.
Need more convincing? Cassel threw more picks against the Giants (3) than Weeden has thrown all season. This was the wrong solution to the Cowboys’ problem.
This Week’s Sucked And Won
New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell: Just call this guy “Hands of Stone” because LaFell was targeted eight times but caught only two passes Sunday against the New York Jets. Additionally, despite only being “credited” with three drops, LaFell clearly should have caught at least seven of the eight balls thrown his way.
If you think the key to the Seahawks’ potential resurgence is the kind of tough defense that has characterized the team during their peak, then maybe Michael Bennett’s performance this week is a good start. Bennett notched 3.5 sacks against the 49ers, leading Seattle’s defense to a suffocating performance that saw San Francisco held to just three points.
Shocking realization of the week
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill now owns the NFL record for consecutive completions at 25 (seven to end last week, 18 to start in their most recent game against Houston).
The jury of course is still out, but so far it looks as though both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are working out just fine as NFL quarterbacks. Both have put up respectable numbers thus far. The one problem, common to rookies of course, is turnovers. Mariota has coughed it up 10 times in five games while Winston has turned it over nine times in six games.
Mariota is the more fumble-prone quarterback while Winston has thrown more picks. Not to fear, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times, both Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning handed out interceptions like party favors as rookies yet both went on to have Hall of Fame careers.
This Week’s Great But Lost
Philadelphia Eagles CB Nolan Carroll II: When did you think you’d ever see an Eagles defensive back getting props, but Carroll came to play Sunday night, leading his team in tackles and intercepting Cam Newton.
This week’s Catch of the Day came courtesy of the Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper, who took a five-yard out route to the house, hurdling a downed blocker and would be tackler and then capping off the 52 yard touchdown with an ankle breaking cutback. Just one of many future highlights for this electrifying rookie wideout.
Thursday Pick: Miami (+7.5) @New England (Westgate Superbook)
I know the Dolphins are hot right now and that I’ve been surfing the over-reach on Patriots’ lines for the last couple of games, but the last time Miami went to New England and was within single digits was 2011. The last time the Dolphins won a game in New England was 2008. That’s some pretty heavy trends to ignore. Add in the trend that the better team in the Thursday night game tends to win more convincingly than usual and I am siding with New England on this one.
New England Patriots 28, Miami Dolphins 19
N-F-Yell: The Best nfl quotes for week 7
“Something ain’t right in San Francisco.”
-Former 49ers WR Kassim Osgood, offering the preceding tweet after San Francisco’s 20-3 loss to Seattle on Thursday.
“It was great to have all those fans out there supporting us.”
-Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, on the hordes of silver and black Oakland supporters in the stands in San Diego on Sunday.
“The offense won the game today.”
-Tampa Bay DT Gerald McCoy. Tampa’s offense scored 30 points in the team’s 31-30 loss to Washington.
“It’s nerve wracking as a receiver because your quarterback is on the ground so much. You keep getting hit like that, one of these times he’s not going to get up.”
-Lions WR Golden Tate, on Matt Stafford taking seven sacks against the Vikings.
“I hope people haven’t given up on me.”
-Browns backup QB Johnny Manziel, who finds himself once again in the crosshairs of the NFL disciplinary machine.
“I had to be him on the scout team and it works. You wouldn’t think it works, but it works amazing.”
-Chiefs RB Charcandrick West, on copying the Steelers’ LeVeon Bell’s ultra-patient running style.
“It’s really bad football.”
-Colts QB Andrew Luck, on the variety of mistakes he and the Colts made in losing to the Saints.
“My ass should be walking back to New York.”
-Jets WR Brandon Marshall, who dropped a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Jets loss to the Patriots.