As the NFL season nears the halfway point for most teams, what are some of the things that we have learned?
Never count out any team. Denver was picked to go nowhere before the season, and now they’re 6-0. For that matter, don’t count out a young coach either. Josh McDaniels, 33, is the fourth coach since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to win his first six games as a head coach.
Take back comments about Brett Favre. Most everyone felt that Brett Favre should have stayed retired. But the 40-year-old veteran has made Minnesota one of the top teams in the NFC. Going into Week 7, Favre led the NFC with a 69.7 completion percentage, was tied for third in the NFL with 12 touchdown passes and ranked third in passer rating at 109.5. He’s also provided the Vikings with the leadership they sorely needed at quarterback.
Tennessee’s a flop. The Titans had the best record in the NFL last season at 13-3, but they’re 0-6 now, and seem to be getting worse after that awful outing at New England.
Jets aren’t so great. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has quieted down somewhat after some early-season boasting. The Jets started 3-0, but lost their next three games going into Week 7.
Saints appear to be for real. Drew Brees is piling up great stats and the defense is a force for once. But we’ll wait just a little longer on a team that in 2006 went 5-5 after starting 5-1 and went 15-17 the past two seasons.
- Best Coverage by a Bird: A pigeon lined up with the Oakland Raiders on a kickoff against Philadelphia in Week 6 and flew downfield in stride with the Raiders players. The bird offered containment on the left side, and with the Eagles return man wrapped up, the pigeon relaxed and munched on something in the grass.
- Blockbuster Blocks: In the same game the pigeon played in, Louis Murphy blocked one Philadelphia defender, got up, sprinted downfield 40 yards and blocked another opponent during an 86-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by the Raiders Zach Miller. The second-quarter score gave Oakland a 7-3 lead en route to a 13-9 win and was the game’s only TD.
- Most TDs in a Quarter: New England’s Tom Brady, who set an NFL record with five TD passes in the second quarter of the Patriots 59-0 rout over Tennessee on Oct. 18.
- Fast Eddie: Denver return man Eddie Royal became the first Broncos player to return a kickoff and punt return for touchdowns when he did it against San Diego on Oct. 19. Royal had a 93-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard punt return for scores. He is the 11th player to return a kickoff and punt for TDs.
- Goon: Carolina safety Dante Wesley, for his shoulder and elbow-to-the-head shot on Tampa Bay punt returner Clifton Smith, who was left unconscious for nearly a minute in a Week 6 contest. Smith, who suffered a concussion, was helped off the field a few minutes later.
Did You Know?
New England’s 45-0 lead over Tennessee in Week 6 was the biggest at halftime in NFL history.
Here are the 12-largest contracts for NFL quarterbacks, and the year the contracts expire
- Carson Palmer, Bengals, $119.75 million, 9 years (2013).
- Donovan McNabb, Eagles, $115 million, 12 years (2013).
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, $102 million, 8 years (2015).
- Peyton Manning, Colts, $98 million, 6 years (2014).
- Eli Manning, Giants, $97.5 million, 6 years (2014).
- Philip Rivers, Chargers, $92 million, 6 years (2014).
- Tony Romo, Cowboys, $67.4 million, 6 years (2012).
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers, $65 million, 6 years (2013).
- Marc Bulger, Rams, $65 million, 6 years (2012).
- Matt Cassel, Chiefs, $63 million, 6 years (2013).
- JaMarcus Russell, Raiders, $61 million, 6 years (2012).
- Tom Brady, Patriots, $60 million, 6 years (2010).
“This offense is better than six points by 100 percent, and that is on me.” – Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn, after losing 14-6 to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. The team removed him from play-calling responsibilities after the game.
Green Bay signed running back Ahman Green last week to replace injured third-down back DeShawn Wynn. Green played for the Packers from 2000-06 and set a team record with 1,883 yards rushing in 2003. Green left for Houston as a free agent in 2007, but was limited by a knee injury and was cut in February…Pittsburgh kicker Jeff Reed was cited on Oct. 18 for simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness after allegedly scuffling with Pittsburgh police officers outside a bar near Heinz Field following the Steelers win over Cleveland. Reed, who kicked two field goals in the game, later apologized to his teammates… Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler signed a two-year extension that will keep him a Bear until 2013 and make him $30 million richer. Cutler will make about $50 million over five years.
Copyright © 2009 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.