The Raiders and Browns shock the world. The officials rob Miami. And we have so many coaching blunders to chew on.
We break it down, SCHEIN 9 style.
1. Grounded Eagle
Kevin Kolb and the Eagles had a chance to write history. It was all rather simple. The Eagles follow up an excellent win against the Falcons with a win in Tennessee. Kevin Kolb once again throws for 300 yards with a quarterback rating of over 100. The Eagles beat a good, well-coached Titans team on the road. The Eagles make a huge statement by going to 5-2. Kolb holds off a healthy Michael Vick as the Eagles soar into the bye week. Nobody is talking about Vick if Kolb shows up and plays like he did against San Fran and Atlanta.
Something happened on the way to the perfect plan for Kolb, Andy Reid and the Eagles. Kolb lost his job. Reid lost his mojo and continued to flip-flop gunslingers. And the Eagles lost more than just a big game, with the Redskins and Giants picking up wins in Week 7.
Did you watch Kolb and the Eagles on Sunday? You just expected so much better. Kolb had no zip on the fastball, resembling Phil Niekro more than Bob Gibson. His passes fluttered and were terribly inaccurate; 26 of 48 with two picks and 231 yards is unacceptable. Philly jumped out to a 19-10 lead and Kolb couldn’t put his foot on the Titans collective throats. It was Kolb’s moment and he blew it. It was his chance to remind the NFL world and Reid why they traded Donovan McNabb in the first place. Instead, Kolb collapsed and couldn’t rescue his defense that couldn’t figure out Kenny Britt, and Reid promptly wasted no time naming Vick his starter in Week 9.
My guy Kolb, who I’ve said should be the guy in Philly, was just horrendous. I can’t even try to defend him after his inept play in a gigantic spot. I can’t rant and rave about Kolb over Vick any more. Kolb lost it. I am on record saying the Eagles are better with Kolb, citing his accuracy, leadership, and rapport with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. Kiss it all good-bye. The goodwill is gone.
The Titans scored a whopping, unfathomable 17 points off of Kolb turnovers. Kolb threw a couple of ill-advised picks. He fumbled and it led to a Titans field goal. The fumble came at 27-19 Titans, a perfect time for a statement drive, a "score to keep your job" kind of drive and keep the Eagles flying high. Instead, it represented the epitome of a disaster. And for good measure, Cortland Finnegan took a Kolb pick to the house on the final play of the game, a fitting end to an embarrassing, career-defining day.
The Phillies had just lost in the NLCS. Philly was looking for another hero. I hope he gets another chance. But succumbing in that spot, Kolb is now the distant No. 2 for Andy Reid.
2. Pop and sizzle
Fifty-nine points on the road in an NFL game against a division rival!
This was a legit "holy cow" moment for Oakland. I’ve never seen a bad team dominate like this! Darren McFadden scored four touchdowns and reminded everyone why he was supposed to be a star when the running back was drafted.
It was a sensational job by Tom Cable getting his team to bounce back after the Niners dud.
I want to give proper credit before …
3. Amateur hour
I would’ve been critical of the Broncos if they lost at home 17-13 to the Raiders.
They gave up 59 freakin’ points in one of the most gruesome losses ever. It was 24-0 in the first quarter! The Broncos looked like they quit on McDaniels.
And what have we learned about McDaniels as a coach and executive? The Broncos are 4-13 in their last 17 under McDaniels. How does Pat Bowlen sleep at night knowing he canned Mike Shanahan for McDaniels? The Denver Post ran a poll on Monday that said 83 percent of fans want McDaniels out. He botched the Jay Cutler relationship, decided he couldn’t live with Brandon Marshall, feuded with Mike Nolan and the cagey defensive coordinator rightly left in a huff. Maybe, and I stress maybe, you can get away with this if you win, but 59 points to the hated Raiders who were coming off of a loss to the Niners?
These are fireable offenses. Denver needs a new general manager and coach at the end of the year. The last-place Broncos have been spiraling since McDaniels took over. They are now in an unprecedented low phase. McDaniels spent his postgame apologizing to everyone, from ownership to the fans. Bowlen should apologize for hiring him.
4. Can’t make it up
The Patriots gain 38 total yards in the first half and lead the Chargers 13-3 at the break. Why? Because San Diego predictably committed four turnovers.
Bill Belichick makes a major coaching blunder (more on that in a bit) giving San Diego a chance to win. And of course, because they seemingly lead the league in both special-teams gaffes and penalties in a big spot, the Chargers jump on a 45 yard field-goal attempt. Kris Brown, signed off the scrap heap to replace the injured Nate Kaeding, predictably clanks the kick off the goal post.
San Diego is 2-5. I wrote before Week 2 this smells like the year the Chargers miss the playoffs after a slow start. It smells, all right.
There’s no other way to phrase it. The Dolphins were absolutely robbed. Gene Steratore and his crew should be embarrassed. Ben Roethlisberger fumbled and Miami recovered on 3rd and goal. That’s what I saw. That’s what you saw. So how do you miss it? How do you call touchdown on the field? How do you say that you don’t know who recovered the ball when a Miami player handed it to you?
The botched call let Pittsburgh have a shot to kick a go-ahead field goal. They did. This can end up costing Miami a playoff spot.
Yes, I know, the Dolphins had other chances to score touchdowns and they settled for field goals. But they made the play in the big spot and didn’t get rewarded for it. That’s awful.
Calvin Johnson caught a touchdown in Week 1. Miami recovered a fumble in Week 7. Nothing can convince me otherwise.
6. Backseat coaching
Hey Brad Childress: Challenge a touchdown if the ball is being bobbled. Go for the end zone at the end of the first half if you employ Randy Moss and are going to kick off to start the third quarter.
Hey Bill Belichick: Don’t go for it on a 4th and 1 at midfield. Did you learn from the Indy game? You are better than that. It nearly cost the Patriots. And it would’ve if the Chargers weren’t the Chargers.
Hey Marvin Lewis: You don’t go for two before you absolutely have to!
7. My guys
DeAngelo Hall: Four picks against Jay Cutler on Sunday.
Roddy White: It’s a bizarre year handicapping the MVP race. Nobody is truly standing out. White should be in the conversation as the best player on the best team in the NFC.
Mike Williams: What a story in Seattle. As Matt Hasselbeck told me on Monday, "He’s hungry and willing to work. I just really like him." Williams had another dominant game for the first-place Seahawks. Think about what a bust he was in Detroit. I thought he was going to be a star. Williams is thriving playing for his old USC coach Pete Carroll once again.
Scott Fujita: The former Saints linebacker was jubilant when we talked on Sirius NFL Radio on Monday. Fujita had 11 tackles, plus a sack and a pick in his return to New Orleans. The Saints miss his leadership and play on defense.
David Bowens: The Browns graybeard had a stunning two picks of Drew Brees, returning them both for scores. That’s simply amazing.
8. My goats
Sean Payton: I said the Saints wouldn’t have a Super Bowl hangover. I was wrong.
Drew Brees: Never in a million years did I think the star quarterback was capable of tossing four picks against the lowly Browns.
Mike Singletary: I could throw a dart on the street and find a better head coach. Singletary is the single worst coach in the NFL. There are at least 20 assistants off the top of my head I’d rather employ as my lead man.
Brett Favre: I know, I know. He’s hurt. He was also awful on Sunday night. I don’t blame Childress for stating the truth in the postgame. Everything Childress said was fact.
Jay Cutler: So not only does he throw four picks to DeAngelo Hall but postgame he says he would throw at him again. Bears football, everyone!
9. Three nuggets of wisdom
• I told you preseason the Cowboys wouldn’t make the playoffs. Now, after Monday’s debacle and with Tony Romo’s broken collarbone (feel terrible for Romo), the few remaining believers have all hope zapped. Enjoy hosting the Super Bowl, Jerry Jones.
• Kenny Britt got in trouble last week. Then he went out and scored three touchdowns in a gigantic win against the Eagles. I hope he learned his lesson. Britt is a good kid who is misguided at times. On the field, he is an incredible talent. I hope it clicks and he listens to Jeff Fisher and Mike Heimerdinger.
• That was a huge Packers win on Sunday night. What an incredible effort by Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga and the Green Bay offensive line keeping Aaron Rodgers upright. They will need a replica Sunday to beat the Jets.