Week 7 storylines include Favre-Childress feud, Pittsburgh fumble
Brad Childress second-guessed Brett Favre's decision-making against Packers
Three points about controversial decision in Steelers' win over Dolphins
The Fine 15, MVP Watch, weekly awards and 10 Things I Think I Think
We interrupt an awful lot happening here in Week 7, including the Ben Roethlisberger fumble and give back, to bring you the Stat of the Year, on the heels of Drew Brees and Brett Favre throwing seven interceptions between them to lead their teams to losses Sunday. The World Series hasn't even started yet, and they've already thrown more interceptions, combined, than they did all last year. Their combined numbers:
The Saints and Brees getting shocked by Cleveland at home was already a headline grabber, then the Vikings lost at Green Bay 28-24 (not a shock) and coach Brad Childress openly questioned Favre's decision-making after he threw a silly interception returned for a touchdown by Green Bay linebacker Desmond Bishop. Today will be filled with Favre-versus- Childress prattle, after the head coach questioned his quarterback ("You can't throw it to them,'' Childress said, adding: "You can't give seven points going the other way, not in a game like this''), with the quarterback adding: "I'd agree with that too -- after the fact.'' Zing!
Now, the question today will be whether this is going to turn into an all-out war between Childress and Favre. Maybe, but I doubt it. Each guy is too smart for that. Childress was emotional last night, thinking the refs cost him a touchdown (on the reversed Visanthe Shiancoe touchdown catch) and thinking Favre continues to play like his own man in an offense that cries out for following the script.
My biggest question this week is whether Favre's health will end up being a bigger issue than his decision-making. He looked 61, not 41, at the end of that game last night.
The day started with more reporting about the Favre/Jenn Sterger story and ended with Favre limping like Walter Brennan up the tunnel after a 28-24 Green Bay win over the Vikings, and no doubt questioning why he let those three Vikings buddies convince him to leave the family farm in southern Mississippi two months ago. For this? For 2-4? For an embarrassing game on the Lambeau sod in what is quite likely his last trip there? Read all about it by my buddy Don Banks, who was in the house Sunday night in Green Bay. Meanwhile, here's more news of the day.
The Dolphins aren't pleased. Nor should they be.
Three points about the caterwauling surrounding the Dolphins' 23-22 loss to Pittsburgh:
1. When you start your first two drives of the day at the 22- and 13-yard lines, and you're playing a team with an explosive passing game and a defense that's not going to give you much, and you don't turn those golden chances into touchdowns, you're in trouble. Which Miami was, as it turned out.
2. It's hard to make sense of the replay call by referee Gene Steratore, but as weird a call as it was, I think he made the right decision near the end of the game. When Ben Roethlisberger lunged for a touchdown at the one and fumbled at the goal line, the officials at first ruled that Roethlisberger had crossed the plane of the goal line and scored. Once a touchdown was ruled, they're not going to police the fumble recovery; no need to, because the touchdown supercedes it.
Then, once a replay review was announced, negating the touchdown, unless the crew had seen a clear fumble recovery in the end zone, Steratore was not going to reverse it. And the video of the fumble recovery was not clear. It appeared the Dolphins got it, but the replay was inconclusive. Absent video evidence that the Dolphins had the ball, Steratore ruled the ball came loose from Roethlisberger, but absent evidence that the ball changed hands, gave possession back to Pittsburgh. Looked fishy, to be sure, but what other call could you make?
3. The biggest news to come out of this game? Pittsburgh losing defensive end Aaron Smith to a probable torn left triceps -- and probably losing him for the year. Last year, the double-loss of Smith and Troy Polamalu doomed the Pittsburgh season. This year, Smith and Polamalu were back, playing their usual impactful way, and the Steelers shot off to a 5-1 start, surrendering only 13.7 points per game. They've got to hope backup Nick Eason and young phenom Ziggy Hood can fill the void better than the last couple of times Smith went missing, in 2007 (getting shredded by Jacksonville in the playoffs at home) and last year (losing five in a row down the stretch).