What We Learned in Week #5 in the NFL:
- BA gets his first win as interim Head Coach
- Chiefs players and media attack fans for booing Matt Cassel injury
- Drew Brees breaks Johnny Unitas’ passing td record
- Steelers win in final seconds but lose more starters to injury
In the game of the NFL, there are rarely things that can bring true perspective to players and fans. The situation in Indianapolis with Head Coach Chuck Pagano undergoing treatment for Leukemia that will keep him from the team for a minimum six weeks is one of those things. The Colts, now under former Steelers OC Bruce Arians as interim head coach, rallied a late game comeback to win against the Packers. Does the win for the Colts mean Coach Pagano will have an easier fight against cancer? Of course not. But what it can do is give him something to be happy about. As odd as it is for Steeler fans to see BA get a win as a head coach, it’s a good thing for him, the Colts, and Coach Pagano.
Now after all those warm and fuzzy feelings are gone, things took a different turn in Kansas City where the Chiefs fans have grown very weary of Matt Cassel and his flaws the first four games and were actually leaning towards wanting Brady Quinn to start in his place. Matt Cassel was 9-15 for 92 passing yards and two interceptions and a fumble. In the fourth quarter Cassel was hit and as he was taken off of the field and replaced with Brady Quinn, the crowd appeared to cheer. Apparently this rubbed a Chiefs offensive lineman the wrong way and as he spoke to reporters following the game he described the fans cheers as “sickening”. Queue the World Wide Leader to jump all over the story and make it even worse. Can you tell there’s a rant coming? ESPN’s best former worst quarterback-turned analyst Trent Dilfer said that over the past few years he’s noticed “A dumber fan base football-wise” and I guarantee you if you spend 5 minutes watching or listening to a sports related talk show today 4 of those minutes will be spent on this topic.
I have two words for Mr. Dilfer: F*** you! A dumber fan base? Really? How about how dumber ESPN has gotten over the past few years? You’re generalizing the entire NFL fan base because 70K drunken idiots cheered a quarterback change that happened to have occurred because of an injury. You know what probably happened? Some fans realized that Brady Quinn was coming into the game and started cheering because Cassel has sucked big-time so far this season without even realizing that Cassel most likely had a concussion and it looked like they were cheering his injury and then you wanna know what catches on easy in a football stadium? Cheering. I know it’s a shocker, but occasionally when some fans start cheering, the rest of them tend to join in. I’m not trying to defend the cheering of an injured player by any means. What I’m defending is the NFL fan base, even those dipshits in Baltimore that wear purple and think it looks tough. We’re not idiots, we don’t deserve to be labeled as such by a network that invents their own “news” stories and forces their on-air talent to talk about whatever subject they deem as most popular rather than just plain covering sports. The same network that televises the train wreck that is called First Take is calling me dumb? I don’t think so. If you’re noticed lately, the ESPN personalities have been jumping ship lately because they’d rather not be a part of a network that is losing their integrity by the second for every moment they spent weaving Tebow and other non-stories into their daily productions. So no, cheering an injury isn’t right and I’m sure some of those fans feel bad about what they did, but to vilify them as if they’ve committed some kind of crime against humanity is way out of bounds. You can’t ask the fans to be so invested in your product that we spend our hard earned money on game tickets and swag but rake us over the coals when we’re too invested and behave in a manner in which you don’t like. It seems to me that ESPN’s go to move nowadays is to ask us to consume every second of their NFL coverage, but call us idiots if we don’t agree with everything they’re saying. I’m over it. You can’t have it both ways, we can’t be educated, enlightened fans that tune in to your 24 hour a day coverage of the NFL and consume everything you have to offer but then be beer guzzling neadrathals when we’re not falling inline like sheep. Fans have the right to boo and cheer whatever they want; we’re the ones that drive this league.
Speaking of my favorite four letter network, it seems as though they’ve stopped shoving Philip Rivers down our throats as an “elite” quarterback as of late. Especially when he’s up against quarterbacks like Drew Brees, who broke a 52 year old record held by the one and only Johnny Unitas for throwing a passing touchdown in 48 consecutive games. Drew Brees now holds just about every passing record there is and the Saints got their first win of the season while the Chargers are showing that it’s the AFC West’s turn to be the worst division in football this year. Rivers threw for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns but also coughed the ball up twice, including the last play of the game being a sack/fumble. Who knows if the Saints can build on this momentum and stack some wins together, but it’s still no surprise that they’re struggling considering the coaching situation.
Remember how stoked we were at the fact that the Steelers had zero players on the injury report before this game? Well that feeling flew out of the window on Sunday afternoon about as quickly ad Mike Vick dropped the football. The Steelers returned three of their biggest playmakers in Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu but during the course of the game lost Polamalu again to his reaggrivated calf injury and lost LaMarr Woodley to a hamstring.
Mendenhall provided the spark that the Steelers running game absolutely needed as he ran for 81 yards and a touchdown in his season debut. Ben Roethlisberger was on point again completing 21 of 37 passes for 207 yards and zero turnovers. On the flipside Michael Vick couldn’t stop dropping the football. When asked following the game if he had a fumbling problem Vick responded by saying he’s never had a fumbling problem. Yeah right, and Ron Mexico never tested positive for an STD. The Steelers couldn’t seem to capitalize off of Vick’s turnovers, however, and struggled offensively in the first half. An area in which the Steelers are also having some major issues is penalties. The Steelers ended the game with 9 penalties for 106 yards. As much as Vick was giving up the ball, the Steelers were giving up yards in penalties. Tomlin correlated the penalties with coming off the bye week but with a short work week coming up and a game this Thursday night the Steelers have very little time to recover from the injuries and tighten up to stop giving up yardage to costly penalties.
I’d go ahead and expect both Polamalu and Woodley to be on the sidelines Thursday night. No sense in fooling ourselves into thinking there’s a chance they’ll play. Hopefully their injuries will just require a little bit of rest because the Steelers defense absolutely needs both players to be effective down the stretch. Bring it on Week #6!
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Tags: Big Ben Roethlisberger Bruce Arians Chuck Pagano Drew Brees Espn James Harrison Lamarr Woodley Matt Cassel NFL Philip Rivers Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall Steelers Trent Dilfer Troy Polamalu