Posted: Monday October 9, 2006 10:08AM; Updated: Monday October 9, 2006 7:38PM
The Awards Section
Donovan McNabb lit up the Cowboys for 354 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Offensive Player of the Week
Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia. It's a sign of greatness -- and, as you may know, I've not often called McNabb a great player -- to be at your best when the pressure is the highest. That's what McNabb was in the Eagles' win over Dallas, completing 18 of 33 for a huge 354 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. McNabb is seldom very quotable, and when we spoke after the game, he was his typical all-for-one, one-for-all self. Very Jeter-esque. But in this case, very deserved. "The thing about this win,'' he said, "is that it's one of those games where, truly, everyone contributed.'' He was right. McNabb, though, contributed the most. Helped by ...
Defensive Player of the Week
Lito Sheppard, CB, Philadelphia. It's not fair, most Mondays, to give players from the same team the offensive and defensive player awards. I was set to give the defensive honor to Julius Peppers, who is the best defensive player in football right now and who played great again against Cleveland. "I'm not sure your guy isn't Lito Sheppard,'' said my trusted stat adviser and NFL conscience at NBC, Elliott Kalb. "Look at this stat line,'' he said Sunday night. We looked. Eight tackles, two interceptions, seven passes defensed. "Seven passes defensed!'' we said in unison. Never, ever, have I seen a corner have such a productive day batting passes away. And to make this all the more amazing, Sheppard hadn't played since the first quarter of the first game of the year because of a bum ankle. Like McNabb, Sheppard picked the perfect time to play one of the best games of his life.
Special Teams Players of the Week
Ernie Sims, LB, Detroit. Memo to all high school special-teams coaches: Get a video clip, somehow, of the play Sims made in punt coverage at Minnesota early in the second quarter. He broke through Vikings defenders near the line, sprinted downfield, then separated Mewelde Moore from the ball. Then he jumped on the returner and the ball. Minnesota ball, but a great special-teams play by a rookie finally earning his signing bonus in Detroit.
Gerald Sensabaugh, SS, Jacksonville. With the Jags up 14-0 and going for the kill three plays into the second quarter against the Jets, Sensabaugh broke through against the solid punt team of Jets special-teams coach Mike Westhoff and blocked the Ben Graham kick. The Jags recovered at the New York eight and scored a killer touchdown three plays later.
Coach of the Week
Jim Schwartz, defensive coordinator, Tennessee. Schwartz, like all the Titans coaches, has been under fire for the awful first month of the Tennessee season. But he was on his game Sunday, the ninth time he's coordinated a Tennessee defense against Peyton Manning. For the first six series of the game, covering 37 minutes, the Colts were kept scoreless by a combination of Schwartz-orchestrated defenses that featured excellent disguises by safeties Lamont Thompson and Chris Hope.
The safeties played a cover-two look most often, staying about 12 yards from the line of scrimmage and not moving till the ball was snapped, preventing Manning from getting a good pre-snap read. The result: Indy got nothing until midway into the third quarter. "I told 'em at halftime not to celebrate because we hadn't won anything yet,'' Schwartz said by phone afterward. "We made a lot of plays today, but it wasn't quite enough.''
Goat of the Week
Randy Moss, WR, Oakland. Talk about a guy who looks like he's mailing it in. Nine days before the trading deadline, Moss, playing in a game he should have dominated, was sent up the seam against the 49ers in the second quarter and was throwna very catchable pass on a post route. Moss had beaten the safety by a good four yards, and in came this sure touchdown ... and he dropped it. He almost dropped the ball he caught for his 100th career touchdown later in the quarter, saving the 22-yard score by securing it between his knees. "Moss is still in the league?'' Troy Aikman said sarcastically on FOX. Nice dig.
Quote of the Week I
"We've gotten away from the run. That's the stupidest [expletive] thing. I thought we play to win the game. You sit back and you wait and you say, 'This is where my opportunity comes. This is where we're going to wear them down.' It's like we do the opposite, trying to give the game away.'' --Edgerrin James, the disgruntled Cardinals running back, upset that Arizona, with a three-point second-half lead, ran five consecutive pass plays. As they say in Seattle, trouble is brewing.
Quote of the Week II
"We saw the worst of what happened, but you have no idea what happened before that during the first 50 plays. There may have been some cheap shots before that. He got caught. He needs to be smarter than that. Usually you don't get your payback like that. You usually have to wait for a few plays, then you take your shot. You wait for seven more plays, then you take another shot. You wait and wait until you get your opening, then you go for the soft tissue.'' -- Former offensive lineman Kevin Gogan, on his NBX.com podcast "The Trainwreck,'' on how Albert Haynesworth should have taken out his frustrations on Andre Gurode instead of stomping him on a play that would obviously be caught on tape.
I've heard this many times, in many locker rooms. Revenge is best served cold -- and away from the cameras that catch so much.
Quote of the Week III
"I think everything possible was done in my best interests throughout the whole procedure. I never felt like I was in danger. It's hard for an athlete to ever say you're in danger because we think we can play through anything. At the same time, throughout the game I told Dr. Diaco, 'I feel OK. I feel like I can play,' and that's all there really is to it. It's a tough position for him, too. You guys have to realize that. Here I am telling him I can play and that I feel OK. What's somebody [a doctor] supposed to do?'' -- Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms, absolving the Buccaneers' medical staff of blame for his continuing to play while he was bleeding internally after apparently suffering a ruptured spleen early in the Bucs' Week 3 game.
Stat of the Week
When Michael Strahan sacked Mark Brunell early in the second quarter on Sunday, it was Strahan's first sack in 26 quarters.
Stat of the Week II
Reggie Bush's first NFL touchdown came on his 100th NFL touch.
Stat of the Week III
The Eagles have had a different receiver lead them in receptions in all five games this year. The latest, Hank Baskett, was acquired in that mega-deal with Minnesota for wideout Billy McMullen in July.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
The rookie defensive back for the Chicago Bears, Danieal Manning, pronounces his first name "Danielle.''
Factoid of the Week That Would Certainly Interest Only Me
I ordered a Sirius desktop radio a couple of weeks ago. Had to call to check on the delivery status Thursday. I was put on hold to wait for the next Sirius attendant, so I put my phone on speaker. My phone has a digital time readout, as most do.
When the Sirius person picked up, the timer read 16:55. A long time to be on hold, certainly, but now we'd find out where the radio was, at least.
"Sir, I'll have to transfer you to the department that can help you,'' Ms. Sirius said.
On hold again. When the second Ms. Sirius picked up, the time read 1:01:06. I'd been on hold for the proper person for 61 minutes.
Not a good way to run a business, Sirius. Aren't you making millions off Howard Stern? Can't you add a couple more operators?
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
File this under bizarre, and frightening, travel note of the millennium:
On Saturday, on my way into the NBC studios for some halftime work during the Notre Dame game, I was driving on Ninth Avenue near 45th Street when I looked out the window and saw a man on a motorcycle. Riding down the street, the man had his right hand on his handlebar and his left hand ON HIS CELL PHONE, PHONE PRESSED TO HIS HELMETLESS LEFT EAR, TALKING AS HE RODE. A tad dangerous, sir, don't you think?