(Tony Romo photos courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Here’s why Dallas could have a shot without Tony Romo: The NFC East. It stinks. Everyone else is a combined 1-5. Here’s why it may not: Brandon Weeden. He’s 5-16 as a starter. It’s one thing to lose Dez Bryant for two months. But subtract your two best playmakers on offense, and what do you have? We’re about to find out. The Cowboys are 6-9 without Romo since he became the starter in 2006, and two of their next three games are vs. undefeated opponents – Atlanta and New England – where Dallas is vulnerable: Home.
2. The sad reality for Philadelphia is that in six of eight quarters the Eagles have been an embarrassment. With Romo’s injury, the NFC East is wide open – and opportunity is there. But it’s hard to see Philadelphia making headway with an offense that can’t manage more than a first-half field goal, a quarterback who looks confused and an offensive line that has more holes than the Jersey Turnpike. Philly fans, I feel your pain. Sunday’s game was a disgrace.
3. A year ago, DeMarco Murray had 285 yards rushing the first two weeks. This year he has 11. Anyone wondering how good the Cowboys’ offensive line is … or how bad the Eagles’ is … can start there.
4. I guess we found out how much the Ravens miss Terrell Suggs. Derek Carr just shredded them for 351 yards passing, with three touchdowns and one sack. Plus, the Raiders – who piled up 448 yards – were 9 of 14 on third downs. None of that happens with Suggs in the lineup.
5. Well, that settles it. Green Bay is the team to beat in the NFC, even without Jordy Nelson. Two games into the season, the Packers already are three up on defending NFC champion Seattle (thanks to the tiebreaker).
6. Eli Manning, report to the principal’s office. It’s bad enough to have a strip sack at the Atlanta 9 when you have receiver wide open in the end zone. But taking a delay of game on a third-and-7 with just over three minutes to go? After that meltdown last week? You gotta be kidding. You’re supposed to be the team leader, Eli. So act like one. Smarten up. Now.
7. Congratulations, Tom Coughlin. Your Giants are the first team to blow double-digit leads in consecutive games to begin a season.
8. Then there’s Tom Brady. There is nobody … nobody … I trust more down the stretch, and his game-clinching series Sunday is why. With a five-point lead and over four minutes to go, Brady made quick, smart throws; hit four of four passes – including one for 29 yards — and, presto! just like that, it’s another New England victory.
9. For the record, that makes Brady 24-3 vs. Buffalo and 12-4 vs. Rex Ryan defenses.
10. Oh, yeah, and then there’s this: Rex is 1-8 in his last nine games vs. Brady, and in six of those Brady has a passer rating of 100.7 or better.
11. First the good news, Seattle: Your next two opponents are winless (Chicago and Detroit), and you play them at home. Now the bad: Four of the following five opponents haven’t lost (Cincinnati, Carolina, Dallas and Arizona).
12. Scratch the Seahawks, Eagles, Giants, Saints, Ravens, Bears, Texans and Lions from Lombardi Trophy consideration. Only three of the 49 Super Bowl winners started 0-2.
13. And that, people, is why I don’t trust Miami or Ryan Tannehill.
14. So the Bengals are 2-0. They were 3-0 a year ago. Wake me up when they win a game in January.
15. Good for Oakland and Derek Carr. The NFL needs the Raiders back on the map … even if it’s for one week. For the Raiders to be a factor, of course, they’re going to have to clean up a defense that looks more like an open window.
16. What in the world happened to New Orleans? I know it’s early, but it’s not too soon to stick a fork in the Saints. They stink. And, oh, by the way, it may be time to put Sean Payton on the clock, too.
17. Now you understand why Jacksonville wanted Jason Myers, not Josh Scobee.
18. I don’t know if Drew Brees has a shoulder injury or not. What I do know is he’s not the same. Forget Peyton Manning. Brees is falling farther faster.
19. When is a home-field advantage a disadvantage? When it’s New Orleans. That’s six straight the Saints lost there.
20. Houston doesn’t have a quarterback controversy. It has a quarterback problem.
21. Sorry, Merril, but this week it’s Advantage, Johnny Manziel.
22. Memo to Jim Tomsula: Maybe you should spend more time on Red Zone offense this week.
23. That noise? It’s the thundering herd of fantasy-football owners rushing to pick up Matt Jones.
24. Yeah, Adrian Peterson put up big numbers, but he also put down two fumbles inside the Detroit 10. Lucky for him, the second – at the goal line – was erased by a Lions’ penalty.
25. Welcome back, Larry Fitzgerald. He had more TDs (3) Sunday than he had all of last season.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAME
(Antonio Brown photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Steelers)
Cleveland WR Travis Benjamin. Instead of Johnny Football, maybe we should pay attention to this guy. All he’s done is produce touchdowns of 50, 54, 60 and 78 yards.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Now you know why he’s called “Matty Ice.” He rallied Atlanta for a come-from-behind victory by hitting four of five passes on the Falcons’ game-winning drive, including a 38-yarder to Julio Jones that set up the decisive TD.
Oakland QB Derek Carr. That might have been more than just a victory. It might have been a defining moment for an improved second-year quarterback.
Pittsburgh RB DeAngelo Williams. He was signed as an insurance policy for Le’Veon Bell. But he’s more than that. In two games he’s rushed for 204 yards, averaged 5 yards a carry and scored three times. No wonder Ben Roethlisberger says Williams won’t be shelved when Bell returns from suspension this week.
Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown. That’s an NFL-record 13 straight games with seven or more catches. “He’s awesome. I don’t know what else to say,” said Ben Roethlisberger after Brown on Sunday produced 195 yards in catches. Frankly, I don’t, either.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAME
(Eli Manning photo courtesy of the New York Giants)
N.Y. Giants QB Eli Manning. Is it too much to ask the guy to understand clock management at this stage of his career?
Chicago cornerback Kyle Fuller. He was benched in the second half after getting burned for a Larry Fitzgerald TD and committing a bad pass-interference penalty on John Brown in a lopsided loss to Arizona.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. That’s two straight weeks where opponents went through his two-minute defense – to quote Tom Coughlin – “like a hot knife through butter,” and two straight weeks where opponents put up 400-plus yards. The Giants should be 2-0. They’re 0-2.
Philadelphia RB DeMarco Murray – In 13 carries against his ex-teammates he had 2 yards. Two. I know, Philadelphia’s offensive line is awful, but 11 yards rushing in two games? Please.
Baltimore DT Tim Jernigan. Talk about a stupid penalty. That roughing-the-passer call in the last minute wasn’t even close. Nope, it was downright dumb.
THIS WEEK’S CANTON NOMINEE
New England quarterback Tom Brady. There was a lot of tough talk out of Buffalo last week, but this is a quarterback who’s 24-3 vs. Buffalo. Best not to poke the hornets’ nest, people. The guy has seven TDs and no interceptions this year.
“It’s my fault we talk too much. That’s why we lost.” – Rex Ryan on Buffalo’s loss.
0 — Aaron Rodgers interceptions in his last 18 home games
1 – Philadelphia first-half first downs
8 – Sacks of Tyrod Taylor
10 – Arizona defensive TDs for Arizona since Bruce Arians took over
10 — Straight Dallas road victories
18 — Dallas Cowboys’ penalties
18-4 — Arians vs. non-division opponents
25 – Penalties in Pats-Bills game
122.6 – Ben Roethlisberger’s season passer rating
466 – Tom Brady passing yards, second most in his career