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Defending your ranking

Colts, Eagles stay near top by stressing defense

Posted: Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:12PM; Updated: Wednesday October 5, 2005 12:12PM
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So I was watching Cardinals-49ers on the tape, and behind it on the TV was the movie Village of the Damned. I found myself flipping from the game to the movie to see what was happening. You know the way those spooky kids get their eyes to light up? I began to try it, and I think I must have popped a vein, because the next thing I knew, the Niners were up 14-0, and they had gained about two yards of offense.

I still have to catch up with the rest of this game, so I'm warning you that part of the rankings might be a little weak. "Every part is weak," says a clever but vicious person nearby whose name escapes me.

NFL Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
1 1 You don't score as quickly, you give your defense more rest, you have a better chance of ultimate success. When I was beat man on the Jets, do you know what we were all writing during their Super Bowl season of 1968? Where have Namath's touchdown passes gone? "They're too dense to realize that I'm trying to get this team a championship," Namath said.
2 6 When they were down to the Chiefs, 17-0, Brian Dawkins said, "They're not scoring any more points on our defense." Right then I said, "That's my No. 2 team."
3 3 Coming off the bye, I like them in San Diego, even though my trap instincts say beware the favored Chargers. I don't think San Diego has the defensive front seven to stand up to the pounding Pittsburgh will inflict.
4 4 Atta boy, Jon. Run your horse into the ground. Run him when he's wounded, when he's limping. Well, gosh, he begged me to send him back in, was how the coach described one of Cadillac's more inspirational early performances. And what happens, Brother Gruden, if someone begs you to please discontinue two-a-days in camp or meetings?
5 5 The guy for whom I'm really happy is Warrick Dunn, who's been a favorite of mine for years. Courage, talent, incredible moves, spirit ... the guy is leading all starting running backs with a 5.6-yard per carry average. Couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.
6 11 This is my kind of record: Most touchdown passes ever caught by a 300-pounder in a game, two by Dwayne Carswell, breaking the Fridge's old record by one.
7 7 I'm very impressed by the fact that Carson Palmer's rating has been 100 or better in each of his last seven games, but what really gets me is the fact they've allowed just 38 points. That's the fewest for the first four games in the franchise's 38-year history. "Wait 'til they play somebody," a little voice is whispering. Please shut up, OK? Let's enjoy this while we can.
8 14 The last contest was a tough, bitter, hard fought affair against the Seahawks, and do you know how many penalties were assessed on the Skins? Two for 10 yards. This is what is known as discipline, and I don't mean the kind you see at 2 a.m. on TV with the leather and the spikes.
9 17 Yes, quite possibly they should be higher. Patriots fans certainly might believe that. First, let's see how they do against the Steelers, OK?
10 10 They go into Buffalo as three-point dogs. Someone setting the price must think this is December.
11 2 Oh, they tried getting a pass rush going, but it just wasn't working. Drew Brees stood tall in the pocket, set his feet and delivered. Bloop! Another dagger in the heart. I put a stopwatch on his 28-yard touchdown pass to Reche Caldwell in the right corner. It took 3.66 seconds until he let go of the ball. No secondary can hold its coverage that long, let alone one as torn up as the Patriots try to get by with.
12 8 Has the Matt Jones bubble burst before it's even bubbled? You know, the 6-foot-6, 242-pound rookie who runs in the 4.3s and works his Slash magic all over the field? The Broncos were all ready for the Matt Jones bag of tricks ... his reverse, his option pass, etc. And on one long pass from Byron Leftwich, the word is that Jones, ssshhhh, short-armed the ball. And it was intercepted. They say that he doesn't work hard enough, either. So why am I being so tough on a rookie? Only because he reminds me so much of myself at that age.
13 13 Note to Panthers. It is not against the law to try to bring pressure on a lively quarterback who's working behind a banged up line. More on this topic tomorrow.
14 9 Mike Holmgren describes Bobby Engram as "the heart and soul of my team." So tell me, please, why he sat on the bench for three years behind a Good Time Charley such as Koren Robinson?
15 18 Yes, they could be higher. They probably should be higher, but once about five years ago, I was accused, in a very vicious manner, of having a strong pro-New York bias and I've never gotten over it. I'll tell you this, Giants. Have yourselves a good bye week and I'll do better by you in the next rankings.
16 12 Somewhere during the second-half slaughter that was taking place against Philly, I heard Troy Aikman, or maybe it was Joe Buck, say that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was so upset with his guys that he wasn't even going to talk to them anymore. Well, I figured, now they've got a chance. Too late, though. His early advice had taken too strong a hold.