Tag Archive | "Buffalo Bills"

So much for the “losing to a good team on the road” excuse, huh?

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So much for the “losing to a good team on the road” excuse, huh?

Posted on 25 October 2010 by Rex Snider

For me, the challenge in writing a good blog is partly bound in highlighting a specific theme or idea that hasn’t been addressed by other writers. While such originality is usually my mission, it’s not always possible.

But, I still try ….. So, as I walked out of M&T Bank Stadium, upon witnessing the Ravens thoroughly destroy the Buffalo Bills, I envisioned the things we would hear on the radio and see in blogs, come Monday morning.

Heck, I was hearing it as we walked across the Hamburg Street bridge. My wife is not a football visionary. However, she is a passionate Ravens fan. Thus, her ensuing comments were as predictable as the sunset every evening. “You and your buddies said there was no way the Buffalo Bills would hang with the Ravens” ….. “You gonna blame today’s crappy 4th quarter on the opponent being a good team?” ….. “This might’ve been a win, but it’s an embarrassing win” ….. If I would’ve had a rope, I could’ve hanged myself – right there, above the train tracks. It was a better alternative than begging her to “PLEASE SHUT THE HE@# UP,” which is not a good idea with my wife. Trust me, I’ve done it and I’ve paid for it. Besides, she was

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Ed Reed in return versus Bills: “That was just a dream come true”

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Ed Reed in return versus Bills: “That was just a dream come true”

Posted on 24 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

Photo courtesy of Reuters
The Ravens may have given up 506 yards in their 37-34 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills Sunday, but the Ravens coaching staff and fans were thrilled to see All-Pro safety Ed Reed not only back on the field but making an impact in the defensive secondary with several momentum-changing interceptions.

“It was big to have Ed back,”  Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Obviously with the turnovers, Ed Reed back there changes the whole complexion and he made his presence  felt.”

But no one may have been more happy to be back on the field than Ed Reed himself.

“Just getting back out there with the guys, that was it,” Reed said.  “And knowing how the fans were going to be how they were, that was just a dream come true. It was just like being a rookie all over again my first year here.”

It was Reed’s first action since being removed from the PUP-list after having had arthroscopic hip surgery in the off-season.

Ed Reed registered four tackles, intercepted two of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s passes, and forced a fumble early in the game for the Ravens. His turnovers were huge momentum changes in the game for the Ravens, who had to erase two 14-point deficits in Sunday’s victory over the winless Bills.

Reed however did give credit to a Buffalo team

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Stolen from the Bills hotel: Today’s game itinerary

Posted on 24 October 2010 by Drew Forrester

Don’t ask me where I got this.  If I told you, I’d have to shoot you.

Here’s a stolen copy of the travel itinerary for the Bills and their trip to Baltimore.

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Buffalo Bills Game Itinerary – at Baltimore, 10/24/10

Sat., 10/23 — Travel team meets at Buffalo airport at 2:30pm.  All players are asked to bring a copy of their Bible.  In addition, players are encouraged to bring their own crutches to the game.  The club only has 4 sets of crutches.  This one could get ugly.

3pm — Team departs for BWI Airport via USAir #0-5

3:02 pm — Most players look out the window as the plane departs and think to themselves “sure wish they never would of drafted me”.

3:03 pm — Dwan Edwards says to himself, “What the hell was I thinking, signing here?”

3:09 pm — Chan Gailey settles in next to Ryan Fitzpatrick on the plane and tells him “I really believe we can win this game’.

3:11 pm — Gailey leaves the seat next to Fitzpatrick

3:12 pm — Fitzpatrick thinks to himself, “That dude is completely nuts.  We’re gonna get our asses kicked down there in Baltimore.”

4:49 pm — Arrive at BWI Airport

5:45 pm — Travel team arrives at Waterfront Marriott.  Two people are waiting in the lobby for autographs.

7:00 pm — Team meeting in Room 101.  Gailey starts meeting by saying, “Anyone in this room who thinks we can’t win tomorrow should just walk right out that door and jump into the harbor.”

7:02 pm —  19 players get up and ask the coach if he will hold their cell phones so they won’t get ruined in the water.

9:30 pm —  Team bible study.  Gailey leads the opening prayer.

10:30 pm — Curfew.  Lights out.

12:05 am — Four team members are in the Havana Club downtown.  They’re approached by a few football fans who say, “Aren’t you guys with the Bills?  Don’t you have curfew the night before the game?”  One of the players says, “Dude, we’re 0 and 5.  Playing without a hangover hasn’t helped us all season.”

Sun., 10/24 —  Kick off at 1pm.  Team bus leaves at 10:15 am.

9:00 am — Breakfast in Room 111.

9:02 am — Ryan Fitzpatrick says “my stomach doesn’t feel so good”.

9:03 am — Lee Evans leans over to Fred Jackson and says “if he ain’t playin’, neither am I”.

9:09 am — Guy serving coffee in the breakfast room says, “Is Scott Norwood still on your team?” to Chan Gailey

10:15 am — Bus departs for the stadium.

10:25 am — As bus pulls into the parking lot, hundreds of Ravens fans are standing there doubled over in laughter.  Roscoe Parrish says “they must think this is the Orioles team bus pulling in”.

10:45 am — Fitzpatrick goes in the locker room, quietly fills up a cup of water, and throws it up in the toilet to feign vomiting.

10:46 am — Trainer yells in, “Ryan, you OK?”

10:47 am — Trainer goes to Gailey and says, “Coach, Fitzy is throwing up in the bathroom.”

10:48 am — Gailey responds, “F**k him…he’s pulling the old drink-a-cup-of-water-and-act-like-you’re-throwing-up trick.  And even if he is sick, he’s playing.”

11:45 am —  Bills official warm-up begins

11:46 am —  Lee Evans feels a “twinge” in his hamstring.

12:45 pm — Gailey gives the ballboy a note and says, “take this out to the team bus and give it to the driver”.

12:46 pm — Ballboy opens the note to read it:  It says, “Keep the bus warm, Charlie, this one might be over at halftime.”

1:00 pm — Ravens return the opening kick-off 102 yards and lead 7-0.  Gailey mutters to himself, “Can’t win games if you give the other team a 7-0 lead like that.”

1:04 pm — Fitzpatrick’s first pass of the game is picked off by Ed Reed.  He laterals it to Chris Carr who runs it in for a TD and it’s 14-0 Ravens just 1:34 into the game.  Gailey mutters to himself, “Can’t win games if you give the other team a 14-0 lead.”

2:05 pm —  Willis McGahee runs it in from 4 yards out to give Ravens a 24-0 halftime lead.  Gailey opens his halftime speech by saying, “I was impressed with the way we picked up those 2 first downs in the second quarter.”

4:15 pm —  Final whistle blows — Ravens 34 – Bills 6

5:45 pm — Gailey stands up at the front of the plane just before it departs and says, “Well, guys, everyone gets paid today and no one got killed.  I call that a win.”

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It’s time for another Friday Football Frenzy …..

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It’s time for another Friday Football Frenzy …..

Posted on 22 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, its been a very controversial and torn week for Baltimore’s collective football community.

In some very distinct ways, those who discuss, analyze and monitor the Ravens, tend to keep a weekly schedule relatively similar to the team …..

The game occurs on Sunday afternoon. On Monday and Tuesday, we discuss and debate what happened, while also pausing for a collective breath. By Wednesday, we tend to put the game behind us and look toward the next opponent. And, by the time Friday arrives, you’re ready for more football !!!!

The above account is the customary routine for listeners and radio hosts. It’s pretty predictable and many parts of the overall format are planned ahead of time.

However, the last five days have served as one of those unique sets of circumstances. With last Sunday’s frustrating result in New England, anything and everything regarding the “typical process” has been disregarded. Indeed, some situations are hard to stomach …..
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On the heels of seeing Todd Heap’s injury, to watching a double-digit 4th quarter lead simply evaporate and become a loss, anyone who pays attention to the Ravens had plenty to say.

That’s the magic of sports talk radio …..

So, as Thursday rolled around, some of us were still playing the BLAME GAME and others were trying to finally put the loss in the rear view mirror, while focusing on this Sunday’s home matchup.  He we are in late October, and its just the THIRD home game of the season.

This week’s opponent hasn’t helped the collective crowd in overcoming the hangover, has it? This week’s game is not viewed as one of those contests that can bury the previous loss on the schedule; regardless of whether the Ravens dominate or not.

If the Ravens were playing the Steelers in a couple days, the air and atmosphere would be different. Minds and hearts would’ve been focused on Pittsburgh, by Tuesday.

The same can be said for the upcoming game against New Orleans.

But, not this week.

The Buffalo Bills and their 0-5 record are coming to town …..
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I pretty much piled up on the Bills, yesterday. Heck, I bullied them. After all, that’s what we expect when a winless and nearly powerless team comes crawling into Baltimore.

That said, this week’s opponent is from Buffalo and that’s where we’ll direct our attention today. As an added bonus, Sunday’s game will also feature a ceremony recognizing the 2000 Super Bowl Champions. It’s hard to believe a DECADE has passed since that team shared a locker room.

Over the past few days, WNST has devoted a significant amount of time to catching up with former players and reliving some of the most meaningful times in Baltmore’s football history.

We’ve chatted with Hall of Famers, All Pros and contributing members to that very special season.

Today, we’ll continue the conversations with some of this town’s most adored Ravens. This afternoon’s list of guests includes …..

Matt Stover
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Michael McCrary
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Lional Dalton
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In addition to chatting with these former players and reminiscing about our collective memories, we will take a hard look at the Buffalo Bills and the tough season they’ve endured. We’ll also chat with our good friend – the “unsung hero” of WNST, Chris Pika, for a look around the NFL.

Yes, I will also hit Nestor with some questions about the American League Championship Series. He hates the Yankees. I hate the Yankees. You hate the Yankees. And, they’re on the brink of heading home for the winter.

Join us this afternoon, at 2pm. It’s four solid hours of football (and a little bit of baseball) talk. It’s the prime way to kick off an awesome weekend.

It’s the FRIDAY FOOTBALL FRENZY …..
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Edwin Mulitalo has second chance to re-live Ravens Super Bowl in celebration

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Edwin Mulitalo has second chance to re-live Ravens Super Bowl in celebration

Posted on 22 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

Edwin Mulitalo
Former Ravens guard Edwin Mulitalo didn’t have many regrets during his time in Baltimore.

He loved the team, he loved his teammates, and he loved Baltimore. Mulitalo is one of many players from the Super Bowl XXXV team that still continue to entrench themselves in the Baltimore area and community.

But one of his few regrets was in January 2001, when the Ravens reached Tampa and defeated the New York Giants, 34-7 to bring the Ravens their first ever Super Bowl and the first championship to Baltimore in 30 years.

Obviously he wasn’t disappointed with being there. He just kicks himself every day for not living it up in Tampa figuring the event would happen to him again.

During the week leading up to the Super Bowl, Mulitalo-then a second year offensive lineman out of Arizona-said he didn’t take as much time to enjoy the festivities leading up to the game itself, something he told Rex Snider Wednesday that frustrates him to this day.

“I wish I could have soaked it in and enjoyed it more like some of the older guys did like Tony Siragusa and Mike McCrary,” Mulitalo said.

“I looked at them and said, ‘Man, they’re really enjoying this’. I was so uptight as a second-year guy that I was trying to focus.”

Mulitalo is currently residing in Utah and is the offensive line coach at Herriman High School in Utah, and while still following the Ravens, desperately hopes to coach one day at the college level-preferably in Utah for BYU, Weber State, Utah, or Utah State.

“Hopefully I can help one of those teams and move on from there,” the Ravens guard said.

Multialo was of course a key part in the running game that allowed rookie Jamal Lewis to rush for 1,364 and six scores. He along with franchise tackle Jonathan Odgen formed a solid duo on the left side of the Ravens offensive line for years until Mulitalo left to play for Detroit this last two years of his career in 2007-2008.

Mulitalo will be one of close to 35 Ravens

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Seriously ….. Buffalo?

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Seriously ….. Buffalo?

Posted on 21 October 2010 by Rex Snider

When it comes to the landscape of cities serving as homes to America’s elite level of professional sports franchises, I’ve been perplexed by some of the towns that hold such distinctions.

A few such cities or metroplexes are really just a misrepresentation of the TRUE demographic …..

How did the Texas Rangers end up in Arlington? That’s easy, they really serve the greater Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

The same can be said for the New England Patriots, who play in Foxboro, but represent Boston’s fan base. And, lets not forget the Golden State Warriors, who count the basketball lovers of Oakland/San Francisco as their regional hometown supporters.

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Duane Starks ten years after INT return in Super Bowl XXXV: “the longest 49 yards of running ever”

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Duane Starks ten years after INT return in Super Bowl XXXV: “the longest 49 yards of running ever”

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Ryan Chell

On January 28, 2001, former Ravens corner back Duane Starks remembers clearly a particular play that would not only impact his life, but one of an entire city looking for a team to call “World Champions”.

That date of course was the day that the Baltimore Ravens, fresh off a 12-4 regular season and three playoff wins over the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, and the Oakland Raiders, earned the franchise’s first ever Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXV, winning of course by a score of 34-7 over the NFC Champion New York Giants.

It brought the city of Baltimore their first championship since 1983 with the Baltimore Orioles, and its first ever football title since 1970 when the Colts brought home the NFL title in Super Bowl V.

And of course, the play was Starks’ 49-yard interception return in that Super Bowl, one of four touchdowns and interceptions for the Ravens on the night.

This Sunday at halftime versus the Buffalo Bills, the Ravens will honor  30+members of the championship team, including the likes of quarterback Trent Dilfer, safety Rod Woodson, running back Jamal Lewis, and many others.

And while Duane Starks will not be in attendance Sunday, he said he will be their in spirit with his former teammates. He keeps in contact with most of his fellow champions.

“There’s a group of us that stay in touch,” Starks told Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat Wednesday.”I’m always in contact with Lional Dalton, Ray Lewis, Jamie Sharper, and all these guys, even Jermaine Lewis.”

Starks was drafted by the Ravens with the tenth overall pick in the 1998 draft out of Miami, and combined with Raven draft picks in former Hurricanes teammate Ray Lewis, Chris Mcalister, Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, Starks became a pivotal and key component to the best defense in NFL history when it came to points allowed in 2000.

And he not only was big in helping the team reach the Super Bowl, his interception of Giants quarterback Kerry Collins may have put the nail in the coffin for the Giants.

In his four years in Baltimore from 1998-2001, Starks grabbed 21 picks and was also a big run-stuffer from the secondary despite only measuring 5-10, 175 pounds.

In that Super Bowl, Collins would throw several interceptions to the likes of Chris Mcalister, Kim Herring, and Jamie Sharper was desperately trying to get his team back in the hunt after falling behind 10-0 with minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Collins took a three-step drop and immediately threw the ball to Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer. Starks, who had also grabbed a pick in the AFC Championship game against Oakland, stepped in front of the slant pass and took it back 49 yards for a the score, making it 17-0 in favor of Baltimore.

Duane Starks

Starks remembers the moment as clear as day.

“I intercept the ball and the first thing I was like, ‘just catch the ball’,” Starks told Thyrl.  “I caught the ball and after that as I’m running, I’m like ‘Please nobody clip. Nobody clip. No penalties. No penalties.’ It would have been sad to have a penalty there because the play happened so fast.”

“That was the longest 49 yards of running ever.”

Starks looked back as he crossed the Giants goal line to see if there were any flags on the play, but none came down.

Starks’ play not only put the Giants deeper in the hole, it also set off a series of plays that will rarely be seen again in Super Bowl history.

Following Starks’ interception return, the Ravens kicked off to the Giants, and Giants KR Ron Dixon returned it 97 yards for a touchdown.

It was a game now. For at least a few more seconds.

The Giants on the opposing kickoff kicked the ball to former Maryland Terp Jermaine Lewis, who matched Dixon’s return with an 84 yard return of his own.

It was the first time in NFL history that each team returned kickoffs in the Super Bowl, and the first time they had been done back-to-back. It also finished a period of three consecutive plays where a touchdown was scored in a span of just 30 seconds.

The Ravens nearly earned the only shutout in Super Bowl history, but they were able to bring Baltimore a world championship and came home to celebrate on the streets of Baltimore.

Starks, who will be unable to attend Sunday’s festivities due to a previous engagement, said he still calls Baltimore home and will remain in contact with the Ravens for the rest of his life.

‘I’m not going to be able to make it to Baltimore, but I’m always visiting Baltimore and going to the office. I hate that I’m going to miss this glorious occasion.”

Miss the interview with Duane? Check the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault for our interview with the former Ravens corner back and all our other interviews with the Super Bowl team! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Ravens Football!

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Bill Belichick: “We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half” ….

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Bill Belichick: “We played a lot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half” ….

Posted on 20 October 2010 by Rex Snider

Are you still smarting after Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots? Umm …. let me change that …. are you still pissed-off about the Ravens blowing a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter?

Let me assert that I’m not the kinda guy who dwells on things or refuses to build a bridge, while facing the inevitability of getting over unchangeable circumstances.

At some point, you gotta let it go.

Put it in the rear view …..

Toss it in the trash …..

Flush it down the toilet …..

Choose your rightful path of persuasion. Sum it up in a sensible way and face the sobering reality of losing a game. But, for God’s sake, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t dismiss an obvious wound or vulnerability – just to see it reemerge a few weeks later.
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Alas, putting hardship behind us is always productive ….. if we learn from the misgivings and find a way to improve on the things that inhibit success.

That’s all I really ask.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve grown to expect a lot from the Ravens. They’re an organization that expects an awful lot from themselves. In a roundabout way, I guess they’ve rubbed off on me.

And, I think that’s a good thing.

It’s also the exact factor that prohibits me from simply saying “they lost to a very good team on the road …. no big deal.” To hell with that. It’s an excuse, and excuses are for LOSERS.

Something went wrong on Sunday. Steve Bisciotti knows it – did you see his face after the game? And, I have no doubt he’s refusing to buy the old worn out “we lost to a good team” reason.

After all, if that’s really the cuplrit, we can justify upcoming losses in Atlanta and Houston, right? The Falcons are a damn good team; arguably better than the Patriots. Wait, I know ….. that loss will get pinned on the short week and travel to Atlanta, right?

As for the Texans, if the Ravens surrender a two score lead to Tom Brady, Deion Branch and that little running back from THE WIZARD OF OZ, I’m assuming they won’t fare much better against Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.

As I said yesterday, I’m a huge fan of Brady’s success. But, we’re talking about the reincarnation of Deion Branch. Wasn’t he scoreless in Seattle? And, Danny Woodhead needs platform cleats to get on most roller coasters.
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Did they really beat the Ravens on Sunday? Maybe not …..

According to the COACH, Bill Belichick, the Patriots switched things up against Joe Flacco in the 2nd half of the game. During his Monday conversation with the folks at WEEI radio, Belichick uttered those words we’ve heard when teams talk about their gameplans against Joe Flacco.

That’s right, when asked what the Patriots did adjustment-wise, Belichick stated “we played alot more COVER TWO in the 2nd half.” “We knew he (Flacco) was looking inside for the tight end and slot receiver.”

Don’t take my word for it, go HERE and listen to the conversation for yourself. Those very telling words begin at 10:30 of the conversation.

What do we know about Bill Belichick? Aside from being that charismatic, personably-engaging guy, he’s also known for his knack to find the opponent’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. On Sunday, he decided to employ his 2nd half defensive attack in the same way the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts feast upon a Flacco-led offense.

Heck, he admitted it during a Monday phone conversation !!!!

My translation is he saw what the Bengals did to the Ravens, just a short month ago. And, he used the most crucial part of the game to switch up and see if the Ravens young quarterback has improved on past transgressions. That’s TEXTBOOK BELICHICK …..

He attacks and exploits a weakness AFTER halftime, when there are no opportunities to re-collect composure.

This is a PROBLEM.

It’s not tied to playing a very good team on the road. That’s bunk. Every game is its own animal. Every game stands on its own merit. Every game is defined by 60 minutes, in two separate halves, between the sidelines.

Accountability is key, and to simply suggest that it’s no big deal to lose a road game against a very good team, is nothing more than a mechanism for accepting a loss. The Patriots found a way to shutdown the Ravens offense, late in Sunday’s game. They simply did.

And, yes, it’s the very same Patriots team that won a close 38-30 game against the Buffalo Bills in the most recent home contest before the Ravens came calling. You got that? The BUFFALO BILLS SCORED 30 POINTS ON THE SAME FIELD, just a few weeks earlier.
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Perhaps, the underlying message to this blog is DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BILLS, THIS SUNDAY. They’re scrappy, and they’re looking for their first win.

Do I think Buffalo comes to Baltimore and wins, on Sunday? No, but they’re not going to simply walk in and walk out, either.

The greater emphasis of this message is that the smoke continues to get thicker and thicker when it comes to the signals regarding Joe Flacco’s production as a starting quarterback. As much as many of us believe the team needs to let the guy lead the offense, we must also face the prospect that the coaching staff still sees the very vulnerabilities Bill Belichick admittedly exploited in Sunday’s late stages.

I’m always willing to admit the depth (or shallow void) of my football knowledge. That’s why I do what I do …. and Cam Cameron does what he does. I’m an ignorant man, when it comes to such intricate measures.

But, I’m not naive. I don’t simply follow the group or herd, and blowoff a loss to good team, because “it happened on the road.”

Screw that.

Something went wrong, Sunday.

And, if you don’t fix it, it will happen again, and again, and again, and again. It will continue to happen, until it is fixed.

Perhaps, the real difference is the VERY GOOD TEAMS find a way to exploit Joe Flacco’s vulnerabilities. At the same time, the lesser teams don’t find a way.

Look back at the Pittsburgh game …..

Joe Flacco hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the back of the end zone to wrap up the win. But, ask yourself where Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark found themselves on that play. They were blitzing – which left the cornerbacks alone and responsible for the downfield, inside threats. Boom …. touchdown.

That didn’t happen Sunday.

And, Bill Belichick has told us so …..

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

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Blog & Tackle: One-liners on the NFL through Week 3

Posted on 29 September 2010 by Chris Pika

Week 4 is the first week that byes take place in the NFL, so this is a great time to take short stock of each of the clubs through three weeks. And by short, I mean one line on each team — some stats, some observations and some conjecture.

First up, the AFC teams by division. Records are through Week 3:

Anquan Boldin brings in a 27-yard touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns during the 4th quarter at at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on September 26, 2010. Boldin scored three touchdowns in the Ravens 24-17 victory over the Browns. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

AFC East

New York Jets (2-1): Despite crippled Revis Island on defense, brash Jets are only team in AFC East with perfect division record (2-0).

New England Patriots (2-1): QB Tom Brady (8 TD, 109.1 passer rating) is back to form as Patriots have AFC’s highest point total (90) and highest TD total (12) so far.

Miami Dolphins (2-1): Even with deep threat WR Brandon Marshall and RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins have same amount of TDs (5) as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Baltimore.

Buffalo Bills (0-3): Another lost year for Bills, which have scored fourth-least points (47) in AFC and have given up most points (87) on defense in the conference.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0): The question for head coach Mike Tomlin is if the Steelers are 4-0 after a win over Baltimore in Week 4, why change QBs to Ben Roethlisberger?

Cincinnati Bengals (2-1): Bengals, despite record, have struggled on offense as QB Carson Palmer (12th rated AFC passer at 71.3) hasn’t found rhythm with T.O.cho Show.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1): Defense, led by MLB Ray Lewis, continues to carry a team expected to score much more in 2010 (44 points; 2nd-lowest in AFC), despite breakout game by WR Anquan Boldin (3 TDs) last week.

Cleveland Browns (0-3): Browns are led by Peyton … not Manning, but RB Hillis (220 yards, 3 TDs) as Browns gave popular AFC Super Bowl pick Ravens much trouble in Week 3.

AFC South

Houston Texans (2-1): Texans got over the hump of beating the Colts, but Houston is not the best team in state of Texas after bad loss to Cowboys.

Tennessee Titans (2-1): Titans defense has allowed fourth-fewest points in the AFC (42), and the Tennessee offense has RB Chris Johnson (4 TDs), but continuing issues at quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts (2-1): Despite loss to Houston, Colts still have potent passing attack with QB Peyton Manning and are arguably still best club in the AFC.

Jacksonville Jagaurs (1-2): Jaguars have worst scoring differential in AFC (-43), and Jack Del Rio could be the AFC’s first fired coach.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs (3-0): Most surprising number for unbeaten Chiefs is that defense has allowed least points in the AFC (38), and in weak AFC West, KC might have enough to win the division.

San Diego Chargers (1-2): Special teams burned for two scores at Seattle, and Chargers QB Philip Rivers (AFC-high 4 INTs) is missing a suddenly resurgent RB LaDainian Tomlinson, now with the Jets.

Denver Broncos (1-2): Broncos getting decent offensive production from QB Kyle Orton, but overall have a minus point differential (-4; 61 PF, 65 PA).

Oakland Raiders (1-2): High-priced K Sebastian Janikowski could have made Raiders a 2-1 team with made kicks at Arizona, but Raiders need more than 3s (4 TDs, tied for lowest in AFC with JAX) to be competitive in up-for-grabs division.

Now for the NFC:

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1): The Eagles have gone from a transitional season with QB Kevin Kolb to division title hopes with QB Michael Vick, who might be a legit NFL MVP candidate down the road.

Washington Redskins (1-2): Opening victory over Dallas doesn’t look as good after defense was shredded in last two weeks and Cowboys’ struggles.

New York Giants (1-2): A minus-30 scoring differential (55 PF, 85 PA) is third-worst in NFC, and head coach Tom Coughlin is starting to feel the heat.

Dallas Cowboys (1-2): Cowboys avoided 0-3 start in Week 3 with big win over Houston, and Dallas has the personnel to rebound in a wide-open NFC East race.

NFC North

Chicago Bears (3-0): Most unlikely last remaining 3-0 team in NFC gives head coach Lovie Smith some breathing room as O-line tries to keep QB Jay Cutler upright in Mike Martz offensive system.

Green Bay Packers (2-1): Despite mental miscues in Week 3 loss at Chicago, popular Super Bowl XLV NFC pick has plenty of offensive weapons for QB Aaron Rodgers, but need run game to be re-established after Ryan Grant injury.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2): QB Brett Favre looks very old right now, and Vikings best chance to win is to get away from pass-first mindset to get the ball into Adrian Peterson’s hopefully sure hands more often.

Detroit Lions (0-3): Injury to QB Matthew Stafford put dent into head coach Jim Schwartz’s immediate rebuilding plans, and Lions don’t get a break in Week 4 against Packers.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons (2-1): Falcons posted most-impressive win of Week 3 as they marched out of New Orleans with a OT win, and Atlanta has NFC best-tying +31 point differential.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1): AFter 2-0 start, Bucs ran into Steelers’ buzzsaw in Week 3, and Tampa Bay is staring at possible 2-3 record with games vs. Cincinnati and New Orleans after bye week.

New Orleans Saints (2-1): Saints run defense was exposed in loss to Falcons, and defending Super Bowl champs need fast starts in order to avoid same fate against strong run teams going forward.

Carolina Panthers (0-3): Winless Panthers have least TDs in NFC (3), and head coach John Fox may be running out of rope with owner Jerry Richardson.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Head coach Pete Carroll sidestepped Southern California mess and he has put Seattle in early position to make headway in weak NFC West.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1): Despite record, Cards have minus-29 point differential (48 PF, 77 PA) and would be 1-2 if Oakland made a field goal or two in Week 3.

St. Louis Rams (1-2): Rookie QB Sam Bradford will have to grow up in a hurry, but the shame is that the Rams can’t play Washington every week.

San Francisco 49ers (0-3): Head coach Mike Singletary used the next-to-last bullet in his gun after firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye, and the last one might be used by 49ers ownership at end of the season if disappointments continue.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

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Blog & Tackle: Week 1 NFL scoring struggles

Posted on 14 September 2010 by Chris Pika

If you thought the amount of scoring in the NFL’s Week 1 games was less than usual, you were right in a big way. A total of 21 teams scored less than 20 points in the 16 games — that number was the highest total of Week 1 sub-20-point team scoring since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, according to research through Pro-Football-Reference.com.

The 2010 teams under 20 points? Minnesota 9, New Orleans 14, Cleveland 14, Tampa Bay 17, Miami 15, Buffalo 16, Denver 17, Atlanta 9, Pittsburgh 15, Oakland 13, Carolina 18, Detroit 14, Chicago 19, Arizona 17, St. Louis 13, San Francisco 6, Dallas 7, Washington 13, Baltimore 10, New York Jets 9 and San Diego 14. The league, as a whole, averaged just 18.3 points per team in Week 1.

Here are the year-by-year teams scoring 19 points or less in Week 1 from 1970-2009 (via Pro-Football-Reference.com.

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is sacked by Baltimore Ravens Haloti Ngata during the second half in their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, September 13, 2010. The Ravens won the game 10-9. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The 21 teams was a far cry from last season’s Week 1 total of only 14 teams. In the decade of the 2000s, 153 teams scored under the 20-point mark in Week 1, an average of 15.3 per season. Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams and eight divisions in 2002 for 16 opening weekend games, the average was 15.25 per season from 2002-09.

There are a lot of factors at play in why this was the case in this particular opening weekend. Better defenses, weather issues and injuries to key players certainly played a part. But one other factor might also be in play.

The last time most clubs play their starters for an appreciable time in the preseason is Week 3. Most clubs hold out starters or play them very little (one or two series) in the final week in order to look at players fighting for the final spots during the remainder of the game.

It’s almost a bye week for the starters on both sides of the ball, since they will not face live competition for two weeks until the regular season starts. So, when the starters get back on the field in Week 1 of the regular season, the timing is off when it needs to be at its sharpest.

Here are the year-by-year totals of Week 1 teams at or under 19 points in the decade of the 2000s.

Total Teams Scoring 19 Points or Less in Week 1 (2000-09)
2009: 14
2008: 17
2007: 18
2006: 19
2005: 15
2004: 15
2003: 14
2002: 10
2001: 15
2000: 16

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle). For more national NFL stories, please visit my personal site at BlogAndTackle.net.

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