Laveranues Coles makes more blood and guts catches in the course of a game than any receiver I've seen this year. Chad Pennington hangs in and faces the blitz longer than almost any other QB. Their defense plays with passion. So where do the six losses come from? Youth and immaturity, which happens to be my own problem.
The 49ers out-toughed them, which seems to happen to the Hawks more often than the reverse. And is Matt Hasselbeck nursing an injury we don't know about? Something is wrong there. Give me another couple of months and I'll crack this case.
Their Cardinals game was classic trap formula. Before the official line came out, I made Denver a 6 1/2 point favorite over the Cardinals. The opening spread was two. What, I say there, Broncos less than a field goal over the desert rats? I'm never off by that many points. The warning light is flashing. Trap! Trap! This is the contest on which to send it all in -- on Arizona, naturally. So Denver wins by 17. Makes absolutely no sense at all. Can they perhaps replay the thing?
In that freak-stat affair against the Jags, in which they scored TDs on three long defensive returns, they had 98 total offensive yards and 24 points. This comes out to a ratio of 4.1 yards per point, the lowest I've ever heard of. All e-mailers with time on their hands please send me examples of lower ones.
Strength of arm is a serious factor in their choice of a QB to draft. Thus J.P. Losman had the muscle to zip the ball through major league gusts against Miami, as that great northern wind called The Hawk bit deeply. "J.P. has that mentality that he can throw it through a hurricane," quarterback coach Turk Schonert said.
It's weird, isn't it? After half the season drifted away they decided to play like Super Bowl champs. I don't blame Billy Cowher if he wants to pack it all in and pursue a career as a hair stylist or wine steward or whatever.
Does Eli have the leeway to audible out of a bad situation? I wonder how good he is at this, if indeed, he has free reign. Why did he run Tiki Barber into the heart of the Eagles' defense so often Sunday, or even directly into a blitz that Philly took no pains to hide? He could have gotten the guy killed. On the other side of the ball, the way the Eagles' front three chewed up the Giant defense, the way Jeff Garcia found so many open receivers ... it just makes you wonder how well this team prepares for big games.
Much has been made of the two TDs T.O. caught on DeAngelo Hall, but Hall at least gave him a battle. The real problem Saturday night was at the other corner, where Allen Rossum was thrown at six times and gave up six completions, for 105 yards.
It's funny, the Chiefs are a pretty decent team, and they certainly know how to play the Chargers, but watching that game Sunday night, there was no point at which I thought KC was really in it. I never felt that Larry Johnson would get enough done to cause any problems. Most of all, I felt that Trent Green looked old and worn down, as Jeff Garcia did when he was with Cleveland and Detroit.
I'm sure that Joey Harrington is feeling mighty low about his 5-for-17 day in Buffalo, and the only consolation I can offer is that he joins a long list of QBs who perished when the Hawk was flying. I once kept a list of statistical disasters on high wind days in Buffalo. Such notables as Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino and many more suffered days as bad or worse than what Harrington went through.