Posted: Monday January 15, 2007 8:49AM; Updated: Monday January 15, 2007 7:44PM
Quote of the Week I
NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 123 yards on 23 carries on Sunday.
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
"They showed no class at all. No class. Maybe it comes from their head coach. There you have it.'' -- San Diego running back and NFL MVP LaDainian Tomlinson, on the Patriots' celebration after Kaeding's missed kick.
Quote of the Week II
"I'm not going back to the Giants. Take that to the bank. That story is a total fabrication, I can promise you. I have not inquired about that job, and I can guarantee no intermediary of mine, like [agent] Jimmy [Sexton], inquired for me. Ridiculous. How do these things get started?'' -- Dallas coach Bill Parcells' response to stories on NFL.com and in the Newark Star-Ledger claiming he would be interested in the Giants' GM job.
Quote of the Week III
"Honesty, integrity, loyalty, being fair and honest with people has always been the trademark of what I've done." -- Nick Saban, in an ESPN interview.
The Award Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Deuce McAllister, RB, New Orleans. No Saint has cared as deeply and has anguished as publicly about the plight of the Gulf Coast in the post-Katrina era as this Mississippian. That's why it was fitting that McAllister shined so brightly in the 27-24 win over the Eagles, the second playoff win in franchise history.
He rushed 21 times for 143 yards (a Saints' playoff record) and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 20 yards and another score. In the third quarter, with the Saints trailing 21-13, McAllister scored on a 5-yard run (dragging a pile of eight or 10 bodies from both teams with him) to make it 21-20. Later, on an 11-yard swing pass from Drew Brees,he gave the Saints a lead they'd never relinquish. "Deuce was fantastic tonight and he ran his heart out,'' said coach Sean Payton. "They weren't going to stop him.''
Defensive Player of the Week
Antoine Bethea and Bob Sanders, S, Indianapolis. Fifteen tackles, two passes defended, three quarterback pressures and a huge interception (by Bethea) at the goal line, preventing the Ravens from scoring early. It will be tougher against Brady & Co., but the combo platter of good edge pass-rushing by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis should give this pair of young safeties the chance to be impactful again in the AFC Championship Game.
Special Teams Players of the Week
Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis. No kicker has ever made as much in a calendar year as the $4.48 million in bonus and salary Vinatieri is earning. You know what? The Colts got him cheap. Imagine if you could have a no-doubt, long-range, clutch kicker who literally does not care if he's trying a kick on the fourth day of training camp or in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.
At Baltimore on Saturday, he kicked five field goals totaling 199 yards in distance, and with the exception of the 51-yarder that bounced off the crossbar and skipped through, not a single one was close to being wide or short.
I hate when players are called "sure Hall-of-Famers,'' because there are only about two or three of those, really, every decade. But I will say this: If I'm still on the Hall voting committee when Vinatieri's name comes up, no one will have to convince me of anything. He's got my vote, no matter what he does the rest of his career.
Steve Weatherford, P, New Orleans. What a play Weatherford made, in the face of a rush that surely would have resulted in a blocked punt late in the second quarter of the Saints' win over the Eagles. Instead of getting the punt blocked on fourth-and-13, Weatherford, sidestepped a would-be tackler and ran for 15 yards and a first down. For the game, he booted three punts for a 37-yard net average.
Coach of the Week
Ron Meeks, defensive coordinator, Indianapolis. I subscribe to the Bob Kravitz Theory when it comes to the Colts. Who's Kravitz, you ask? He's the Indianapolis Star columnist who wrote early this season that the Colts are suffering from a terminal case of regular-season boredom. Indy GM Bill Polian pooh-poohed this theory when I spoke to him, as any self-respecting GM would, but the playoff season has provided some good circumstantial evidence. You can't tell me that players who play in the biggest games every January can get up for semi-meaningless games against Houston when the leaves are still on the trees.
Anyway, back to Meeks. He's had to put together a gameplan without his two best run-stuffing defensive tackles from 2005 (Corey Simon and Montae Reagor), and with his run-stuffing safety, Bob Sanders, just back from a knee injury. His defense allowed a league-worst 173 rushing yards per game this year. The Colts are dedicating more safety help to stop the run now, and running more run stunts. And in the 2-0 playoff run, they've allowed a total of 127 rushing yards ... and just 14 points.
Goat of the Week
Steve McNair, QB, Baltimore. "The window of opportunity is closing, and closing fast,'' McNair said after playing terribly in the 15-6 loss to Indianapolis. No kidding. McNair was the man most responsible for the Ravens' playoff exit. He was 18 of 29 for 173, not bad numbers, but he had no touchdowns and threw two interceptions. If you watched the game, you saw that McNair never made a play when a play was really needed, and he threw an interception at the goal line in the first game, resulting in a 10-point swing -- seven points the Ravens didn't get, and three the Colts drove to get.
Whoever Called the Timeout With Two Seconds Left in the Fourth Quarter, Chicago. Are you kidding me? I guess Lovie Smith was thinking, "Maybe they'll punt it and Devin Hester will have a shot to run it back.'' Crazy. Just crazy. In this kind of loony game, the Bears are lucky Hasselbeck didn't have a chance to throw a good Hail Mary.