By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
That does it. No more dumb questions.
Such as? Such as … when does Tony Romo take over for Dak Prescott? Answer: He doesn’t. And he shouldn’t. Not now. Maybe ever.
Bottom line: There is no quarterback controversy in Big D. And there hasn’t been one for weeks. I don’t care that Romo is healthy. The Cowboys are rolling, winning their eighth straight Sunday with a come-from-behind defeat of Pittsburgh. And they’re rolling with a rookie quarterback and running back. So why tinker with a winning hand?
You don’t. I don’t care if the Cowboys lost to Pittsburgh . You just don’t.
So forget about Romo. He is to Dallas what Drew Bledsoe was to New England in 2001 – a veteran quarterback who can help if/when your starter is hurt. But he is not the solution. Not anymore. Not with what’s going on with the Cowboys.
And what’s going on is that Dallas is the best team in the NFC. Yes, Elliott is largely responsible. But so is Prescott. They’re the leading contenders for Offensive Rookie of the Year. They’re contenders for league MVP. And they’re the reason Dallas is a popular choice to go deep in the playoffs for the first time since 1995.
So when does Tony Romo take over for Dak Prescott? To quote Cam Newton … next question.
(Dak Prescott, Tony Romo photos courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
HERE COME THE SEAHAWKS
There is no way of overstating the importance of that Seattle upset in Foxboro. Not only did the Seahawks beat the best team in the league, they won on the road … after a cross-country trip … on a short week … with their opponent coming off a bye … and with a last-minute goal-line stand.
Oh, yeah, they won without their pass best rusher, Michael Bennett, too.
Did they catch a break on that last no-call on Kam Chancellor? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter. They stayed with the Patriots drive for drive. And they made big plays on both sides of the ball when it mattered, beating Tom Brady and New England where they rarely lose — at home.
More important, Russell Wilson finally looked like the quarterback who led the Seahawks to successive Super Bowls in 2013-14 — meaning healthy — and their offensive line opened holes where there were none the first half of the season.
Bottom line: Seattle is back, and pay attention, people. Only one of its remaining opponents (Philadelphia, 5-4) has a winning record, while the rest of the schedule is a combined 16-28-1.
(Richard Sherman photo courtesy of the Seattle Seahawks)
BEWARE KANSAS CITY, TOO
The Chiefs aren’t supposed to be able to overcome 17-point deficits, but that’s exactly what happened Sunday … against the defending NFC champion … and reigning league MVP … and on the road. Put them together and what do you have?
The best team in the AFC West, that’s what.
Yeah, I know the Chiefs lost their best offensive weapon in Jamaal Charles, but so what? They played without him last year and won their last 10 regular-season games. Now they’re on a five-game roll because they have a quarterback who rarely screws up and a defense that forces critical turnovers.
As it did Sunday.
Nope, Alex Smith didn’t win this game. The Chiefs’ defense did, scoring a game-changing touchdown on an interception return before setting up the game-winning field goal on a Marcus Peters forced fumble and recovery with 20 seconds left.
And that’s why I like the Chiefs over Oakland and Denver in the AFC West.
Yes, the Raiders have the more productive quarterback, but they already lost to the Chiefs … in Oakland, no less. Then there’s Denver, with a defense that is rock solid. But their quarterback is not and neither is their running game, and let’s be honest: The Broncos just got lucky, They should have lost in New Orleans.
So give me Kansas City. You want signature victories during a season, and Kansas City just got one. Now they have four of their last seven games at home – including two vs. Denver and Oakland – and the inside track on the division.
(Alex Smith photo courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs)
- Another big winner Sunday: Detroit. The Lions were the only NFC North team that didn’t lose. Reason: They didn’t play. Now they’re tied with Minnesota for first in the division, and you have to like their chances. Reason Number Two: Momentum. They’re the only division team that won in the past two weeks.
- If Denver isn’t considering a change at quarterback it should.
- Best part of Sunday’s Redskins-Vikings game? Halftime. That’s when Washington made former GM Bobby Beathard its 49th member of the Redskins’ Ring of Fame. A well deserved honor, but it took way, way too long to happen.
- I don’t care who wins the NFC South. It won’t win a playoff game.
- You cant fault Sam Bradford for another Minnesota loss. But you can fault him for taking a costly sack with under 40 seconds left. Not only did he lose seven yards; he lost 21 seconds, too. Bradford must be smarter than that.
- Next time you see 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke ask him if he’d like to have Delanie Walker and/or Vernon Davis back.
- Pssst, Mike Tomlin, next time give the extra-point kick a try. You might find it helps you win.
- Jets’ coach Todd Bowles says he doesn’t know who starts next at quarterback, but he has no choice. He must start Bryce Petty. Look, the season is flushed, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t the future. Petty could be. So find out what he can do. You have nothing to lose except another game.
- When you’re evaluating the “genius” of Chip Kelly don’t forget this: He’s the guy who got zilch out of DeMarco Murray and got rid of LeSean McCoy. He’s also 27-29 in the pros, losing 10 of his last 12.
- So now we know where New England is soft: Defense. The Patriots need pass rushers like the Browns need a win.
- Of Dallas kicker Dan Bailey, Fox Sports’ Joe Buck said, “Nobody better in the NFL.” Yes, there is: Justin Tucker.
- Roger Goodell is wrong. The officiating in today’s game stinks. Something … anything … must be done to correct it. So correct it. Go to full-time officials.
- Just a hunch, but Kirk Cousins is going to make a lot of money in the offseason.
- Maybe Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan should try decaf.
- Colin Kaepernick wants change in this country, yet he didn’t vote last week. On anything. What’s wrong with this picture?
- Not sure which was worse for the Bolts – losing a stadium with last week’s vote or losing the season with Sunday’s loss.
- For those keeping score, the Packers have been outscored 59-23 the past two games … in the first half. Worse, Tennessee scored on its first four possessions Sunday – each of which was for 71 yards or more. Dom Capers, report to the principal’s office.
- Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans didn’t stand for the national anthem because Donald Trump was elected president … and says he will continue to sit as long as Trump is in the White House. Attaboy, Mike. The message is clear: Next time you get an election result you don’t like, throw a tantrum and act like act like a child.
- Look at it this way: Maybe Jay Cutler does have a future … in Donald Trump’s administration.
- Meet Cam Newton. He dabs when he’s ahead. He sulks under a towel when he loses. Earth to Cam: Grow up.
WHAT WE LEARNED ….
Blair Walsh should contact a realtor. Now.
Green Bay is still operating on “low energy.”
James Harrison is right. The Steelers’ defense is “quite terrible.”
The best thing about watching Arizona is Larry Fitzgerald.
Behave when Jeff Triplette is your ref. His crew has six ejections this season, one more than the rest of the crews combined.
Seattle just uncovered a weapon in C.J. Prosise.
New England is not bullet-proof at home. That was the first time the Pats lost twice there in one season since 2012.
The value of Kam Chancellor to the Legion of Boom.
… AND WHAT WE DID NOT
Whom to trust in the NFC South.
Why the Rams insist on starting Case Keenum. So they won. Big deal. It was the Jets. And it was the second time they won without scoring a touchdown … which means the second time they won in spite of Keenum.
What’s the next move for the Chargers toward a new stadium.
What happened to the Patriots’ Jabaal Sheard.
When the bleeding stops in Pittsburgh.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF FAMER
Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota. He’s hot and so are the Titans. In fact, if and when you’re looking for someone to press Houston in the AFC South forget Indianapolis and … remember the Titans. Sorry, couldn’t resist. Mariota never was sharper than Sunday when he exploited holes the size of Wisconsin in the Green Bay secondary, throwing for four touchdowns – his sixth consecutive game this season with multiple touchdowns, tying Warren Moon’s franchise record set in 1983. Mariota now has 21 TD passes, the most by a Titans’ quarterback since Steve McNair had 24 in 2003.
SUNDAY’S HALL OF SHAMER
San Diego QB Philip Rivers. He throws a game-winning touchdown with one minute left, which normally is terrific. Except … except this time he threw it to wrong jersey, with Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso’s return clinching the Dolphins’ fourth straight victory. Rivers’ four interceptions Sunday were his most since Oct. 15, 2012 and tied a career high … and say goodnight to the Chargers. They should have won Sunday but did not … and tell me where you’ve heard that before.