(Photos courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard says he’s not “concerned” with his defense. Well, he should be. Big time. The Seahawks just blew another fourth-quarter lead, and that’s the fourth time that happened this year. And it could be five if officials hadn’t blown the call in a narrow defeat of Detroit. Like that game, this one happened in Seattle, with Cam Newton – who lost his only three starts vs. the Seahawks – leading Carolina on four 80-yard scoring drives. You heard me: Four, with the game-winning series clinched by a touchdown with 32 seconds left. Kris Richard, you should be concerned. Your defense has been outscored 33-3 in the fourth quarter and overtime of the last two games and is wheezing down the stretch. Compare that to the 2014 Seahawks, who didn’t allow a point … not one point … the last six regular-season games, and you have more than a concern, Kris Richard. You have a problem.
2. Well, that does it. Make Carolina the second-best team in the NFC, with a chance to change that Nov. 8 when the Panthers play Green Bay in Charlotte.
3. That is no misprint. Six weeks into the season, the Oakland Raiders are in second place in the AFC West … with a 2-3 record.
4. The Denver Broncos were yelling, “6-0, baby,” as they filed into the locker room Sunday, and I get it. They’re in rarefied air. More importantly, six games into the season they’re three-and-half games in front of the AFC West field. But enjoy it while you can, guys. Because of the league’s undefeated teams, Denver is the most vulnerable. Reason: The Broncos can’t run, and they win in spite of their quarterback. So now the question: If Peyton Manning is this inaccurate in October, what happens when December and January roll around? For the record, Manning has two touchdown passes and seven interceptions his last three games, and his offense has one TD in its last 32 offensive possessions. Not good.
5. Aside from 6-0 and the NFL’s best defense, here’s what you have to like about Denver: Four of its six wins are on the road. Only the 1989 49ers had more road victories through the first six games.
6. Yeah, I heard Dean Blandino’s explanation of Golden Tate’s “touchdown catch,” too, and, I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. The NFL should put Ted Wells on this case. Better yet, let’s get it right. Put Judge Richard Berman on it. Let’s face it, people, the NFL has no idea what a catch is, and Blandino’s explanation is proof. Anyone who watched that could tell you it was an interception, but … nooooooooo … let’s decipher whether he was a runner and in possession of the ball. Puh-leeze. It’s clear nobody has an idea what a catch is anymore, so I have a solution: Have the referee hold the coin he keeps for kickoffs and flip it every time there’s a play like this. There’s as much chance he’ll get it right then as there is now.
7. You have to feel for Philip Rivers. He doesn’t have a running game. He doesn’t have an offensive line. And his best receiver, Keenan Allen, bowed out in the second half Sunday. In fact, by the end of the game, the Bolts were missing eight starters, including Allen and three offensive linemen. Yet Rivers refused to go away, setting franchise records galore while throwing for 503 yards, and … and … and … losing, the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 yards and no interceptions and not win. Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in today’s game … and has been for years … but until or unless he goes deep into the playoffs most of America won’t know it.
8. My guess: Tom Brady wasn’t happy with that victory. Uh, Tom Brady Sr., that is. He wanted his son to put 60 on Indy. He didn’t.
9. Welcome back, Jimmy Graham. Oh, yeah, and nice to see you again, too, Megatron.
10. Best-kept secret about the Cincinnati Bengals’ success: Their offensive line. Andy Dalton hasn’t been sacked in four of his six starts this year
11. It won’t be long before we know what to make of the 4-1 Jets. They go to Foxborough next Sunday.
12. That does more than make Pittsburgh 2-1 without Ben Roethlisberger. It makes the Steelers a factor again. Reason: They not only beat a good Arizona team; they hung the season’s first road defeat on the Cards with a third-string quarterback. Sound familiar? It should. The Steelers were 3-1 in 2010 with backups Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon while Roethlisberger served a suspension.
13. On second thought, Michael Vick, take your time coming back.
14. Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt called Olivier Vernon’s low hit on Marcus Mariota “B.S. football,” but I’ll give Vernon the benefit of the doubt. Ndamukong Suh? Never. But Vernon? Yes.
15. Guess that means we won’t be hearing from Sammy Watkins this week.
16. Bad enough that San Diego rookie Melvin Gordon isn’t putting up the yards. But he’ll find himself nailed to the bench — as he was Sunday — if he doesn’t take care of the ball. He has three fumbles the past two weeks.
17. Here’s why Washington won’t be a playoff threat: The Redskins don’t win on the road. They’re 0-3 there, with Kirk Cousins throwing 3 TDs and 6 interceptions there.
18. The good news for San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick? That’s his second straight solid game. The bad? Seattle is up next, and he’s 1-4 vs. the Seahawks, with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. Of course, that’s before the “Legion of Doom” became the “Legion of Gloom.”
19. Miracles are possible, and what happened in Michigan this weekend is proof: Michigan State beat Michigan on a last-second blocked punt, and the Lions won.
20. Suggestion for Houston’s opponents: Double DeAndre Hopkins. This isn’t rocket science. Make someone else beat you.
21. Someone asked me what I thought of San Diego’s Mike McCoy as a head coach. Well, as Bill Parcells once said, you are what your record says you are. McCoy’s record is 20-18, including 11-11 the past season-and-a-half. So, the answer is … nothing special.
22. After all this time, you’d think Indianapolis would have an answer for LeGarrette Blount. And you’d think wrong.
23. When is more really less? Well, take a look at our Week 6 games: Four quarterbacks threw 50 or more times, and three more threw 44 or more passes. Result: All but one — Peyton Manning, with 48 attempts — lost.
24. I’m adding Miami’s Dan Campbell to my Coach-of-the-Year ballot. In one game he did what Joe Philbin could not this season — namely, get a pulse from the Dolphins.
25. Peyton Manning lost his first six games vs. New England. Andrew Luck has lost his first five. So, I guess that means, as Peyton’s successor, Luck is right on schedule.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAME
(Cameron Wake photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins)
Miami DE Cameron Wake. The Dolphins had one sack prior to Sunday. He had four against the Titans … in the first half.
Detroit QB Matt Stafford. He throws for 405 yards and four touchdowns in the Lions’ first victory … and, just as important, he silences his critics for at least a week.
Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton. He has eight TD passes in his last two games vs. Rex Ryan-coached defenses. Better yet, he’s put up a passer rating of 115.9 or higher in five of his six starts this season.
Cleveland TE Gary Barnidge. He has five touchdown catches his last four games.
Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins. That’s four straight games with 100-plus yards and two straight with 10 or more catches. Surprised? Don’t be. He’s been targeted an astonishing 89 times this year.
Washington CB Bashaud Breeland. He’s the only player in the last 20 years with an interception, forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in one half.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAME
Referee Jerome Boger. He misses an obvious safety when he fails to recognize that a holding call occurred in the end zone. A week ago, the NFL suspended line judge Rob Vernatchi for letting 18 seconds tick off the clock. So what’s Boger’s penalty? I don’t know, either, but this I do: He’s going to have to report to the principal’s office.
Baltimore CB Shareece Wright. First, the 49ers cut him. Then they burn him. Tough week for Shareece.
Seattle defensive coordinator Kris Richard. There’s a reason Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman were jawing at each other after that game-winning touchdown. This Seahawks’ defense can’t make a critical fourth-quarter stop, and, apparently, Richard never heard of Greg Olsen. The Seahawks never covered him.
Buffalo coach Rex Ryan. That’s 50 penalties in four home games, and when Rex wonders why his Bills lost their last three at The Ralph he can start there.
Cleveland QB Josh McCown. Not only does he throw a pick-six, but he takes two sacks on the same series in overtime after an interception of Peyton Manning set the Browns up, first-and-10, at the Denver 39.
Indianapolis special teams coach Tom McMahon. What in the world was that? I’ll tell you what: A bad idea. After the onside kick failed, you should’ve just junked the gimmicks. Instead, what seemed like a trap to catch the unsuspecting Patriots turned into a game changer.
THIS WEEK’S CANTON NOMINEE
(Cam Newton photo courtesy of the Carolina Panthers)
Carolina QB Cam Newton. He not only completed 11 of his last 12 passes, he won his first game in four starts against Seattle … in Seattle, no less … and launched Carolina to a 5-0 start. Make no mistake, people, these guys are for real.
SUNDAY’S HALL-OF-FAME QUOTE
“It was like he was Ben’s little brother.” – Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell on QB Landry Jones.
4 – Straight Brandon Marshall 100-yard receiving games
4 — Aqib Talib interception returns for touchdowns since joining Denver in 2013
6 – Darrelle Revis takeaways this season
7 — Blake Bortles’ touchdown passes the past two weeks
27 — Times Cam Newton has a rushing TD and passing TD in the same game
65 – Philip Rivers’ attempts vs. Green Bay
72.5 – Peyton Manning’s passer rating this season
149.3 – Landry Jones’ passer rating
166 — Calvin Johnson yards receiving