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Vikings finally get out of AD's way
Well, the Vikings did the smart thing. They simply gave the ball to their horse, better known as Adrian Peterson. I could do that. Donovan McNabb did that. I even think rookie quarterback Christian Ponder could do that.
But I’m not coaching the Vikings. Leslie Frazier, who has known McNabb from their days in Philadelphia together, wants to stick by his 13-year veteran.
OK, the Vikings beat the Cardinals and it was an easy win because Peterson scored all three of his touchdowns in the first quarter. The game was basically over. Frazier had his defense take it from there and McNabb was a sub-50 percent passer, completing 10 of 21 attempts for 169 yards. The Vikings won because the Cardinals turned over the ball four times.
I love Peterson. A couple games ago, the Vikings should have given him the ball in the second half with a 20-point lead. But they didn’t. I know Brett Favre wanted to play for the Vikings because of Peterson. He knew how much play-action passing would work for him and also that team. Any smart quarterback would think that way.
That’s why I have been arguing on our show for Ponder. Having a great running back like Peterson is the easiest way to get a rookie quarterback acclimated to the pro game. The Vikings didn’t put the game on McNabb’s shoulders Sunday, instead leaning on their ground game.
And the horse delivered. Then Minnesota’s defense took care of the rest, intercepting Kevin Kolb twice and sacking him four times.
Everybody keeps saying Frazier will wait until the bye week to switch to Ponder if he ever does.
I know Eagles coach Andy Reid is hurting these days, but he may have been right about these two quarterbacks whom he traded away.
He traded McNabb, remember, to Washington last year and then Kolb, the guy he thought was better than McNabb, to Arizona this year. Now, he’s stuck with Michael Vick, who had his first four-interception game in Buffalo. I kinda feel bad for Reid and the Eagles, but I picked the Bills to win. And they didn’t let me down.
It's no consolation to the Carolina Panthers that they lost another one. They have lost four of five games now, but I must tip my hat to owner Jerry Richardson and GM Marty Hurney for having the guts to take Cam Newton with the first overall pick.
I was wrong about Newton. I didn’t think his delivery and spread formation background would make him a solid NFL quarterback. But none of that seems to matter with this rookie.
I love how he plays with such poise and a sense of urgency. You can tell Newton has energized this football team. They may have lost four games, but they were in every one of those losses. Even the defense, despite injuries to its two quality linebackers, has been playing hard, believing in Newton and what the offense can do.
After saying all that, this was a great win for the Saints. They beat a division opponent on the road and Drew Brees had another sensational game. He controlled the clock while passing for the winning touchdown in the final minute.
I still like the Saints a lot. Last year, they might have lost this game. But Sean Payton has the offense clicking, especially the running game. He has a three-headed running corps just like he did in 2009 when the Saints won their first Super Bowl.
Back to Newton. The Panthers are eventually going to win. They have a solid offensive line, two very good running backs, two very good tight ends and a very good scheme. They have to fix the defense a little and possibly find another big-play receiver opposite Steve Smith. But outside of that, the Panthers have a very bright future with Newton. It hurt him today when the Saints were able to take Smith away, but he’ll figure it out. He passed for two more touchdowns and ran for another. He’s accounted for 12 of Carolina’s touchdowns thus far.
'A' for Alex
Speaking of quarterbacks, I’m happy for Alex Smith. I know it’s early in the season, but Smith is having fun and winning. He’s waited a long time for his career to turn around and it looks like it’s happening for him in San Francisco.
The 49ers demolished a good Tampa Bay team and now are 4-1.
I have to give much of the credit to rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh because he’s the only important piece this organization added in the off-season. They didn’t make any big free-agency moves. But they did hire Harbaugh and he’s turned the offense around.
He also had confidence in Smith when nobody else in the Bay area did. He still likes to run the ball, but there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s allowed Smith to get out of the pocket and make plays with his feet and that’s what he knows best. I think, with all the confidence they are getting with these wins that the 49ers are going to be hard to catch in the NFC West.
A couple other thoughts …
I didn’t see the Steelers coming back like they did, but I’m glad they did. Ben Roethlisberger had a great day with his second career five-touchdown game. He actually seemed to have some time to throw and was only sacked once.
I’m happy for the Raiders and for Mark Davis. It’s difficult to lose your leader and father one day and then go out and play a game. Al Davis was generous to me and it was great to see his team win under what had to be very difficult circumstances. Watching coach Hue Jackson crying on the sidelines, down on one knee, said it all.
The Giants came back to earth. I didn’t watch much of that game; I thought they would win. But they lost after making too many mistakes. They had committed only four turnovers in the first four games, but had five against the Seahawks.
The Bills were able to run on the Eagles just like every other team has this season. Fred Jackson went for 111 yards and a touchdown, plus he caught six passes for another 85 yards. Did you know that Jackson went to Coe College just like my buddy, Curt Menefee?
I still don’t know if the Bills are a playoff team, but they are playing very opportunistic defense. They now are plus-11 in the turnover ratio department.