Posted: Monday September 18, 2006 10:38AM; Updated: Monday September 18, 2006 2:03PM
LaDainian Tomlinson (21) and Philip Rivers relax on the bench during the Chargers' 40-7 win over the Titans.
John W. McDonough/SI
6. I think if the Redskins don't get Jason Campbell ready to play -- even with a scaled-down version of their complex Al Saunders offense -- they can kiss this season goodbye. And while we're on the Redskins, I don't care if ClintonPortis' shoulder was hurting badly on Sunday. That was a game he had to play. He should have played. And I think he wanted to play. Joe Gibbs should have treated this game like the playoff-type thing it was instead of the second game of the season and suited up Portis.
7. I think a San Diego-Chicago Super Bowl is looking mighty enticing. Madison Avenue will love the aw-shucks Philip Rivers.
8. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. Two enlightening stories in TheNew York Times on Sunday: PeteThamel's story on the difficult pro adjustment of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (Thamel knows him well, obviously, from the college football beat) and KarenCrouse's piece on Mangini. Thamel quotes Smith's former coach Urban Meyer as saying the kid needs to know everything about an offense before he'll play well. "Until he understands it, he's nonfunctional,'' Meyer said. Crouse reports that Mangini, conscience-stricken about being away from his kids so much, reads them bedtime stories by videophone from the Jets' complex. Good stuff.
b. Buffalo's defense might be the real thing. The Bills were all over Daunte Culpepper.
c. Brian Westbrook is just indispensable. Did you see how he juked and outran Carlos Emmons -- who is not a turtle -- to the corner to score Philly's first touchdown?
d. Strangest play of the week: Damon Huard throws a pass, it's batted back at him, he catches it, he runs forward, he fumbles it, he loses the fumble.
e. Chester Taylor, 24 carries for 113 yards. He was a battering ram on that winning overtime drive for the Vikes.
f. Larry Johnson might have better moves than all but five or six backs in football, and for a power back, that's really saying something.
g. Kansas City's grit was impressive in Denver.
h. As was HermEdwards' clothing. The man could be a male model in that Chiefs garb.
i. Ho-hum. Carson Palmer throws for 352. Peyton Manning throws for 400.
8a. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 2:
a. Are you kidding me, David Akers? You're brawling with the Giants' bench? Wake up and smell the common sense, buddy.
b. When is the Giants' defense going to start playing like Giants? The O gives the D a 7-0 lead, then the Eagles go 92 yards in 11 plays.
c. Is it possible to be worse than awful? If so, Aaron Brooks is. Raiders, down 6-0 in the first and trying gamely to stay in the game at Baltimore, hand Ravens a short field when Brooks fumbles for the second time, and it leads to a field goal.
d. Chris Simms is in deep trouble, from the looks of it. In the first half against Atlanta, his confidence looked shot.
e. Jake Plummer. What is wrong with that offense? Eight quarters, no touchdown passes.
f. Two-game totals for Mario Williams: four tackles, one assist, zero sacks.
g. Home teams: 15-16 so far.
h. Tampa Bay has three points in eight quarters.
i. Mark Brunell used to be elusive. Now he's Drew Bledsoe.
9. I think there is a God, and he is watching over Mike McGuire, our staff sergeant from St. Louis serving in Iraq and piloting a platoon charged with finding and disarming Improvised Explosive Devices. His most recent e-mail to me the other day: "I am not a real religious man, but someone is looking out for me. We found an IED the other day and began to block off the area so it could be blown up in place when all of the sudden we began to take small arms fire (AK-47), which is not a big deal. That does not affect me, and we've taken a lot of it, but what did hit home was when the AIF (anti-Iraq forces) began to throw indirect fire (mortars) at us. They came raining down on us just like in the movies. The first round went right by my shoulder. It was so close I felt the breeze as it went by me and hit the ground. The blast blew me forward and luckily caused no serious damage to me or my guys. One of my squad leaders with me, Staff Sgt. Fraser, did take shrapnel to the head but his helmet saved him and he ONLY got a class-three concussion. I don't know what class three is, but he was so out of it after it hit him that he could not walk. I have never experienced anything like that. We also got ambushed by 10 or 15 insurgents firing at us. We did get some kills and a number of enemy captures. I like when we capture them. They look so terrified. Anyway all the guys are fine and show a lot of courage. This week we captured six insurgents and killed at least one and I think more, and brought in two vehicles that were used as mobile mortar teams against us. And we found a total of six IEDs. It was a great week but a crazy one. I know my platoon has been very lucky and they take it well with the close calls and all. I have three guys in my platoon now who have been put in for the Purple Heart. Anyway, onto the fun stuff. How about Kurt Warner???? 300 yards, three touchdowns, what a game! I was out on a 12-hour mission and stayed up until 3 a.m. here to watch it. And the Rams beat Denver (OH YES!) and Steven Jackson rushed for 100-plus yards. We don't lose when we rush for 100 a game. And Jim Haslett is going to change the Rams -- should be fun to watch. Well this week was enjoyable for work and football. Take care, Mike.'' Anyone else have goose bumps?
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. No matter what the Royals are paying Buddy Bell to manage that mess, it's not enough.
b. Why do big schools keep falling into Mid-American Conference traps in September? I don't get the lure. Maybe it's the two-for-one tradeoff (I play you two road games, you give me one home game) but it's pretty darned bruising to a team's bowl chances. Akron travels to North Carolina State and steals one, and now Kansas loses at Toledo.
c. Good luck to Nestor Aparicio, the imaginative Baltimore talk-show host and entrepreneur, who is trying something, anything, to change the culture of losing around the Baltimore Orioles. He's encouraging fans at Thursday's Orioles game to walk out in the third inning of the game, a protest he hopes owner Peter Angelos takes note of. "It's the biggest challenge I've ever taken on,'' Aparicio said, "but I think saving the Orioles in Baltimore is important.''
d. Coffeenerdness: The best thing about working at NBC? Simple. At 3 in the afternoon Sunday, when we all are yelling at the TV at one of the nine games we're watching, one of the staffers says, "Anyone want anything from Starbucks?'' I shoot up like I was in the bottom of a loaded cannon. "Triple grande hazelnut latte!'' I say. See how simple my life is?
Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Tony Kornheiser
I've got a feeling on this game that doesn't make a lot of sense, considering how good the Steelers are on the road, how they'll probably get Ben Roethlisberger back tonight, are 8-0 since early last December and the Jags are injury-ravaged. The Jags have played the Steelers tough lately. Last 12 quarters, plus one overtime period: Jacksonville 62, Pittsburgh 59. Jack Del Rio tries to be Mr. Time of Possession tonight. Get Maurice Jones-Drew involved early and often, Jack. That little spitfire would work well against the risk-taking Steelers D. Jacksonville, 18-17.