A star is done. A star is born. And upset specials and wild stories all over the league!
Our weekly Scheiners, Schein 9 style
1. Pack it in, Palmer
Someone needs to write this. I never thought it was going to be me. I usually get accused by readers, listeners, viewers and family and friends of being a Carson Palmer apologist. I cannot do it any longer. The Carson Palmer era needs to end in Cincinnati.
I love Carson Palmer. I respect Carson Palmer. I’ve called him the human jugs machine. Those days are over. Palmer was, at best, a pedestrian quarterback last season. It was pooh-poohed and ignored by many, including me, for a variety of what seemed like good reasons. The Bengals won the AFC North. They swept though the division. And you figured that Palmer’s decline last year, whether you mention the stats or simply watched him play, was a result of a combination of events. Palmer was coming off of an injury riddled 2008. He lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh, he didn’t have a pass catching tight end and the offense ran through Cedric Benson.
But then 2010 started, and the shaky, cringe-inducing play continued. Palmer had nothing working in the first half against New England and Cincy got blown out. He didn’t throw a touchdown against Baltimore in a controversial Cincinnati win against the Ravens, fueled by a multiple questionable calls. Palmer threw two picks against the pathetic Panthers, which prompted us to mention his anemic play in our column. And he looked flat-out lost against a terrible Panther defense. And then Palmer then lost to the Browns, getting sacked four times.
That’s all a really telling body of work. And it all crashed down on Sunday. Palmer gift wrapped a game for the Tampa Bay Bucs by throwing three miserable-looking picks. Palmer played like Jake Delhomme, yet again.
It was his second pick, with less than three minutes to go and the Bengals up 21-14, that was the most grotesque, the most damning statement on the quality of the Bengals quarterback.
Cincy had the ball at its own 38-yard line. It was a third-and-13. NFL on FOX analyst Brian Billick turned to play-by-play man Thom Brennaman and called for Marvin Lewis to get conservative and run a draw. Cincinnati’s defense is strong. Palmer’s been weak. There was great logic behind Billick’s stand. But Marvin Lewis and the Bengals are still living in the past, thinking Palmer is a star that can move the chains at a crucial point. Palmer threw an errant pass that was easily picked off by Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib.
It sucked the life out of the home crowd. Palmer and Lewis looked exacerbated. Josh Freeman took over at midfield and the Bucs tied the game on a pretty touchdown strike to Mike Williams, out-grappling a couple of Bengals defenders. Tie ballgame.
And to make matters worse, the Bengals got the ball back with 1:21 to go and Palmer, predictably, tossed another pick. Could Chad Ochocinco have caught the pass? Perhaps he could’ve. But it was another poorly thrown ball in a big moment and yet another mistake by the quarterback.
And earlier in the game, Palmer threw a ball right to young Cody Grimm who returned it for a pick 6. It was a dreadful read.
Do the math. Benson ran for 144 yards. Then Mike Zimmer’s defense didn’t give up the score to Grimm. Cincy should’ve beaten an inferior team at home. But they didn’t and they couldn’t because, I am sorry to say, they don’t have a good quarterback.
It was a great run for Palmer. It was too bad he was saddled with a sideshow clown as his wingman in Ochocinco, who was more interested in reality shows, Twitter, name changes, touchdown celebrations and being anywhere but Cincinnati during the crucial offseason programs.
Sadly, for the great Bengals fans, you cannot bench Palmer. His brother, Jordan, is the backup and he can’t play. How Cincy didn’t address the backup quarterback position is beyond comprehension. Cincy needs to be in the quarterback business in a major way next offseason. I’m talking first round draft pick or big-ticket free agent.
Chad needs to go. Marvin is a prime candidate to leave on his own accord when his deal is up.
But there’s no debating anymore that Cincinnati needs a new QB. You cannot win a title with Carson Palmer. Heck – you can’t beat the Bucs and Browns.
2. Pop and Sizzle
This was the best, most entertaining week of the year. I couldn’t just focus on one storyline or team here.
• Fantastic win for the Raiders over nemesis San Diego! They do it on offense in come back fashion. They do it early on special teams. Oakland does it late with Michael Huff causing a Philip Rivers fumble on what had all the making of a final game winning San Diego drive. Congrats to the Raiders and their fans. That was amazing and a long time coming! The Raiders aren’t that bad. Hope you saw Cosmic Schein this past week for the upset special!
• Max Hall gets the win for the Cards in a stunning upset over the Saints?? I’ve seen it all. Hall showed amazing toughness and grit. What a great story, with the undrafted free agent starting and winning in Week 5 against the world champs! Kerry Rhodes and the Cards’ defense did a phenomenal job against the New Orleans offense. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sealed the deal with a pick of Drew Brees to ice it.
• At this very moment, the Baltimore Ravens are the best team in football. Ray Rice dominated a Denver defense that shut down Chris Johnson. You can no longer stack the box against Baltimore. Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and company are too good.
• An excellent come-from-behind win for the ‘Skins against the Packers. Donovan McNabb was great. Santana Moss made key catches. And the Redskins’ defense came up with key stands early and key turnovers late and in overtime (thank you LaRon Landry) against the great Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This was impressive stuff.
• You want impressive? How about the total team domination by the Giants to win on the road in Houston? I never imagined the Giants pitching the perfect game on the road against a good team. The Giants cleaned up in every phase. Arian Foster couldn’t run. Matt Schaub couldn’t throw. And Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks had a field day!
• My Lions!! Detroit needed an old fashioned laugher for its first win of the year. And don’t minimize it. The Rams were hot the last 2 weeks. Shaun Hill and the passing attack were great. The defense frustrated a seemingly unflappable Sam Bradford. Stefan Logan suffocated the Rams with a 105 yard kickoff return, tied for the 6th longest return in NFL history.
3. Amateur Hour
The Cowboys got a new lease on life after beating the Texans and watching the rest of the division finish the first quarter at 2-2. And Dallas comes out of the gate for the second quarter with an egg. I will keep saying it – Wade Phillips and the Dallas offensive line will hold the Boys back. Keep e-mailing me. Keep posting comments under the column. I read it all. Once again – The Cowboys are the worst team in the NFC East.
4. Can’t make it up
The San Diego special teams are horrific. You cannot get two punts blocked by the Raiders in the same game! The defense let a backup quarterback in Jason Campbell drive down the field late. And the offensive line (thanks, A.J. Smith) continues to get manhandled. This is how you lose to the Raiders for the first time since 2003. This is why Norv Turner and A.J. deserve to be greatly criticized.
5. Backseat Coaching
Gosh, I really like Todd Haley. I want him and his staff running my team. Haley might win coach of the year when it is all said and done. And the Chiefs were so close to pulling off the upset special in Indy. But why start the game with an onside kick? Risk/reward, giving Peyton Manning a short field, was not in your favor. The Colts kicked a field goal with the short field position.
And yes, I know you have to score touchdowns, in theory, to beat the Colts. But in the first quarter when it is fourth-and-2 from the 10-yard line, you don’t go for it. You put the points on the board.
These were two legit first-guess blunders.
Your Chiefs proved they can hang with the “elite” without gimmicks or panic button decisions.
6. My guys
LeSean McCoy – What cracked rib? That was a tough performance on Sunday night.
Donovan McNabb – With absolutely no running game to speak of, his left tackle hurt, and a subpar group of receivers around him, McNabb led the ‘Skins to a comeback win against the Packers. He made big throws in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
Max Hall – MAX HALL!!!
Josh Freeman – The Bucs quarterback is showing he has a knack.
Jason Campbell – The Raiders backup looked steady in engineering the go-ahead drive.
7. My goats
The Bills – Donte Whitner is right. The Bills are the “laughingstock” of the league.
Dwayne Bowe – Following a Peyton Manning pick, he dropped a sure-fire touchdown at the 3:38 mark of the third quarter. When you are playing the Colts, this cannot happen. And for good measure, he dropped a pass on the next play. K.C. settled for a field goal on the drive and lost the game.
John Fox – What the heck was that on Sunday? 0-5 seals the deal on the inevitable. Fox is a goner at the end of the year.
Kareem Jackson – We choose the rookie to represent the Texans’ predictably awful pass defense. But this is really bad, even by the low standard the Texans have set this season.
Vinny Cerrato – No, this isn’t left over from last year. Bruce Allen cut Devin Thomas this weekend, another classic Cerrato bust.
@AdamSchein Is there one team in the NFC that you can confidently say would make the playoffs in the AFC? NYJ, Balt, NE, Ptt, Indy…
AFC is clearly the superior conference. The well-coached, opportunistic 4-1 Falcons are the best in the NFC, for the moment.
9. Three nuggets of wisdom…
• Alex Smith made a stupid play, giving up the ball when pressured by Brandon Graham, leading to an Eagles defensive touchdown. The crowd is chanting for David Carr. The crowd is booing Smith louder than I’ve heard a fan base yell in quite some time. And Mike Singletary is chewing him out. So what does Smith do? He comes back in on the next series and throws a touchdown. And then he leads the Niners to another touchdown! Smith is not a great quarterback, but has toughness. He hasn’t played well and will be part of a housecleaning in the offseason, but he isn’t the true problem in San Fran.
• Every time you think Jeff Fisher’s defense has lost talent, they amaze by getting to the quarterback. That’s a thunderous road win against the Cowboys.
• Imagine this concept: The Packers won the coin toss in overtime and didn’t win the game! Washington had to play a little defense first! And yet we are going to have different overtime rules in the playoffs because of a foolish overreaction in the offseason. That’s asinine.