Its this simple. 15 who deserve props; 7 who got lucky; and one absolute “zero”. Don’t forget; no Ravens on this list; they get their own list Tuesday.
1. The New York Giants
I am really struggling to figure out how this team is this good. They were 35-14 winners over the Cowboys Sunday; and it frankly wasn’t even that close. They made it look easy, too. No receiver had more than 34 yards on the day; and Eli Manning threw for just 147 yards. They absolutely overwhelmed Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger; and are in a very good place in the league’s best division.
2. Pat White
This guy was destined to be a Heisman Trophy winner at some point in his career; but it is not going to happen. He was destined to take West Virginia back to a national championship game; but that is not going to happen either. But trailing Uconn in Hartford and seeing Big East power shifting to the Huskies; White manned up; threw for a TD and ran for another in helping the Mountaineers move to 3-0 in the Big East. And in the process, he just so happened to reach 4,000 career rushing yards and 5,000 career passing yards.
3. Anthony Gonzalez
It wasn’t a sparkling performance for the Colts Sunday night; but when they needed it; Anthony Gonzalez made two big TD catches to help the Colts beat the Patriots 18-15. The Colts were desperate for the win; as they are just about out of the race for the AFC South title (Tennessee is running away with that particular crown), and a loss would have left them 2 games out in the AFC Wild Card race.
4. Tim Tebow
Think about this: in just his junior season; Tim Tebow has now rushed for more touchdowns in his career than Emmitt Smith did when he was at Florida (Tebow has 39, Smith had 36). He had 5 total touchdowns Saturday in Florida’s 49-10 pasting of Georgia; which successfully washed away the taste of their ‘07 loss to the Bulldogs. And just as a note; he also has 51 career passing touchdowns.
5. Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls
Apparently Bear Grylls is the youngest Brit to have ever climbed Mt. Everest (he was 23 at the time). He is also the only man I have ever seen remove a sheep’s heart from its body and then eat it raw. I guess there was some controversy with this show because his “survival” situations may have been staged; but I don’t much care. The guy is an absolute maniac; and his show on Discovery is EXTREMELY entertaining on those nights when Appalachian State-Wofford just isn’t cutting it.
6. Devan James
His 99 yards and a touchdown aren’t the most overwhelming stats the Morgan State running back has piled up this season. But his running was crucial for the Bears; who had to kick a late field goal to hold off a pesky Florida A&M team 13-10 in Tallahassee to remain just a game off the pace in the MEAC. And with the 99 yards; James has now gone over 1,000 for the season. Do you think he might have been inspired by seeing Chad Simpson play on Monday night football last week? Or maybe the fact that Vinsanthe Shiancoe has caught multiple touchdowns this season? He could join them on Sundays in the future.
7. Girls who dressed up as Sarah Palin and ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE Sarah Palin
Every girl who made the decision to go as Sarah Palin for Halloween knew that they were being a bit less than creative; as the VP candidate was easily the most popular costume choice of the year. I’m not normally a fan of the already popular Halloween costumes; but Governor Palin is sexy; so I was in favor of seeing girls dress up as her this year. For those girls who went with the Palin costume and pulled it off; thank you! You made Halloween more enjoyable for all of us.
8. The Jets’ secondary
There’s a logjam at the top of the AFC East, and it is because the defensive backfield of the Jets prevented the Bills from getting things going. The Bills were driving at the end of the first quarter with a 7-6 lead when Trent Edwards was intercepted by Abram Elam and returned 92 yards for a touchdown. And when the Bills were trying to put together a last ditch effort at the end of the 4th quarter; it was Darrelle Revis who intercepted Edwards in the endzone to finish things off. Revis also added a sack on the day.
9. Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree
If you want to snap a 5 game losing streak against a school that often treats you as their little brother; having your quarterback throw for 474 yards might be a help. It might be even more helpful if those last 28 yards come on a TD pass to your All-American wide receiver with just :01 to play to give your team a 39-33 victory. I looked at a friend of mine with 1:30 to play and said; “Texas gave them too much time.” He bet me a Chinese lunch the ‘Horns would hang on. Needless to say; I’ll be enjoying some orange chicken in the future. Texas Tech isn’t just a gimmick offense anymore; they’re a national championship contender……but they have a tough schedule ahead of them.
10. Chris Paul
I believe David Steele said Friday that his NBA Championship series pick was Cleveland-New Orleans. We can only hope for such an entertaining series; and the chance to watch Chris Paul work in the national spotlight. His crossover is the best in the game right now; and he was back at Saturday night against LeBron’s Cavs; going for 24 points and 15 assists as the Hornets won 104-92. Since acquiring James Posey; the Hornets have not lost a game…..3-0 in the regular season after an undefeated preseason.
11. Matt Ryan
If it weren’t for this guy, Joe Flacco might be a frontrunner for rookie of the year. Ryan continues to lead the Falcons to wins, and to contention in the NFC South. Ryan threw for another 220 yards and 2 TD’s Sunday as Atlanta beat Oakland 24-0; and Ryan has the Falcons just a game out of first place in the division.
12. Kurt Warner and Tim Hightower
Warner added another 342 yards and 2 TD’s Sunday as the Arizona Cardinals improved to 5-3 for the first time since……well…….ever (technically, the Cardinals have been above .500 at the season’s halfway point before; but not since they moved to the Valley of the Sun). Warner is a legitimate MVP candidate for a team in a division that is so bad that they might well clinch the title with their 5 wins. Hightower; the rookie RB from Richmond, was inserted into the starting lineup for injured Edgerrin James, and he responded with 109 yards and a TD to beat the Rams 34-13.
13. Dogfish “Punkin” Ale at Ethel & Ramone’s
When my girlfriend told me that her friend was coming to town from the Midwest and we were going to dinner on Halloween, I would be lying if I said I didn’t sigh. But when we picked up another of her friends who was joining us for dinner; I was pleased to find out that we would be dining with the former food critic at The Sun. She found this hipster Cajun spot in Mt. Washington (whose NOLA chicken was sublime); and dinner was topped off by a few Dogfish Pumpkin Ales. Much like Drew likes to enjoy his wine; I happen to enjoy my beer and try to match it up with food. I did not know for sure that a pumpkin spice brew word work so well with a Cajun dish; but it was a perfect fit.
14. David Stinebaugh
Is a bit of a homer pick for me to put a Perry Hall Gator on the list for a 2nd straight week? Absolutely! But it’s my list; and I’ll put my favorite future Terrapin on the list if I choose to! The standout not only caught a TD pass; but he also returned two fumble recoveries for touchdowns as the Gators cruised to a 35-6 win over Catonsville. Stinebaugh now has 9 overall TD’s this season and the Gators appear poised to clinch a playoff spot.
15. Candy Corn and Sweet Potato Pie
After all these years; this is still my go-to. We only had one trick-or-treater here at the “Casa de Glenn”; but I gave him a few Mr. Goodbars and Krackels; as I decided to save the candy corn for myself. When I realized that I could still eat breakfast Sunday morning because it was an hour earlier than I had thought (thank you Daylight Savings Time!), I was grateful for little bit of Sweet Potato Pie and Candy Corn that survived Saturday night’s Halloween Party. As I have said before; I would be willing to work physical labor for Rodney at Dangerously Delicious Pies if he would pay me in Sweet Potato goodness.
Getting lucky were……
1. The Navy Midshipmen
Look, it wasn’t luck that helped them shave Temple’s lead to 7 with less than 3 minutes to play. And to be fair; they were downright unlucky when officials gave Temple a first down with 1:45 to play on a pass that probably should have been ruled incomplete. But with a 40 second play clock and Navy having just one timeout; Temple coach Al Golden COULD have told his QB to take 5-6 seconds off the clock when taking a knee. Had he done that; the Owls could have run all but about 12 seconds off the clock. Golden certainly couldn’t have expected a fumble late; but the 40 second play clock HAS to be your friend in the final 2 minutes. If you haven’t seen the highlights, take a look.
2. Rob Bironas
If the Titans had lost to the Packers in overtime; Rob Bironas would be kicking himself for missing a 47 yard FG at the end of regulation. Instead, the Titans’ pursuit of perfection (are we allowed to talk about that?) is still alive; as Bironas nailed a 41 yarder in the extra frame to make Tennessee 8-0.
3. Dave Wannstedt
With his seat staying nice and warm week in and week out in Pittsburgh; Wannstedt needed a statement win over an improving Notre Dame team to help some Panther fans forget about the underperforming nature the team has had in the Wannstedt era. Wannstedt got his win; but it wasn’t because they did anything particularly right. The Panthers and Irish finished regulation locked in a 24-24 tie; and then both teams sat back and allowed the other to lose the game instead of doing anything to win. Notre Dame finally missed a FG in the 4th overtime; and Pitt converted theirs for the 36-33 win.
4. The Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both teams were EXTREMELY fortunate to avoid embarrassing losses to terrible football teams. The Bears trailed the winless, hapless, and sometimes gutless Lions by ten points in the 2nd half before rallying to get a 27-23 win. The Bucs trailed by as many as 21 points before Jeff Garcia found Antonio Bryant for a TD and Alex Smith for a 2 point conversion to tie things up at the end of regulation; then Matt Bryant hit the game winning field goal in OT to put away the now 1-7 Chiefs 30-27.
5. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Jackets hadn’t beat Florida State since 1975; and it almost didn’t happen again Saturday. Florida State RB Marcus Mims was marching towards the end zone with less than a minute to play; but he was unable to hold on to the football; and Tech’s Rashaad Reid covered it to finish up a 31-28 win. Georgia Tech had lost its last 12 games against the ‘Noles; and were lucky to avoid unlucky number 13. The Maryland Terrapins were also lucky; as they are now alone in first place thanks to FSU’s loss.
6. The Purdue Boilermakers
It was the kind of finish that my friend Jared Zabransky would have been proud of. Tied 42-42; Purdue backup QB Justin Siller found Greg Orton; who pitched to Desmond Tardy for a hook and lateral TD with just :30 to play. The Boilers won 48-42; ending Michigan’s streak of making 33 consecutive bowl games. If you haven’t seen the play; you can see the highlights here.
7. Carl Edwards
I don’t know much about NASCAR: but I remember trying to get to school with my car running on fumes when I was in 11th grade. If I had known then that gas wouldn’t always be $1.09 a gallon; I might have thought it a better investment to use the little money I did have on gas. When Carl Edwards’ team decided not to refuel late; it could have cost him his chance at a Sprint Cup title. Instead, Edwards had enough gas to get home for his 8th win; and he’s still alive in the Chase; just 106 points behind Jimmie Johnson with 2 races to go.
And this week’s absolute zero is……
Those of us who picked Jacksonville to win the Super Bowl
The Jags have officially hit rock bottom. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bengals won’t have to worry about finishing the season winless, as the Jaguars couldn’t finish their furious 4th quarter comeback in a 21-19 loss. How could I have thought that this team would win the Super Bowl???????
Talk to you in the morning.