1. I think this is what I liked about Week 10:
a. The Patriots, setting aside one seat permanently on Sunday, Veterans Day, in Gillette Stadium, as a memorial to military service members. "We are all Patriots,'' read a plaque on the end-zone seat. "God bless you. God bless America." Great gesture.
b. Danario Alexander, signed just three weeks ago by Chargers GM A.J. Smith, with a terrific catch-and-run 80-yard touchdown.
c. C.J. Spiller. Never thought he was special before this season, but I do now. He has to be among the league leaders in making defenders miss.
d. Joe Flacco, three touchdowns and 341 passing yards.
e. Paul Kruger, who was in the Oakland backfield quite a bit Sunday, with two sacks and a pick of Carson Palmer.
f. Way to stand up for yourself, Ryan Fitzpatrick, calling Brandon Spikes of the Patriots "sort of a punk,'' and matching Tom Brady aerially.
g. Chris Johnson doing something the Dolphins don't let happen: rushing for 100 (actually 126 yards) against Miami.
h. Tennessee left tackle Michael Roos, with a virtual shutout of one of the best pass-rushing ends in the league, Cameron Wake, in the Titans' rout of the Dolphins.
i. Chris Long and Michael Brockers, for a strong pass rush late in the Rams' tie with San Francisco.
j. How do you not love the way Brandon Marshall's playing?
k. Brandon Carr, for his heads-up pick and touchdown run to clinch the Cowboys' win in Philly.
l. Marshawn Lynch, 27 carries for 124 yards. And we hardly noticed. We take his greatness for granted too much.
m. Ugly-looking throw, Golden Tate. But it sure got the job done. And for that southpaw TD throw, you've now got a perfect passer rating --158.3.
2. I think this is what I didn't like about Week 10:
a. Ten penalties for 115 yards, and the very un-Mularkey-like tantrum from coach Mike Mularkey, in the Jags' 27-10 loss to Indianapolis.
b. You've got to be quicker around the edge protecting Eli Manning, David Diehl.
c. Corey Webster, for getting beat by A.J. Green on Cincinnati's first series of the day, then looking behind him for help, finding none, then slowing up and eventually giving up on the play. Would Webster have caught Green? Probably not. But seeing no help behind him -- even if a mistaken assignment by a safety -- is no excuse for giving up on a play.
d. Not that this was a big factor in losing by 35, but Taiwan Jones, two carries for six yards? Come on, Raiders. Free Taiwan Jones.
e. Speaking of the meaninglessness of big passing numbers, Carson Palmer has thrown for 782 yards in the past two weeks ... and the Raiders have lost to Tampa Bay and Baltimore by a combined 45 points.
f. Eli Manning in his last three games: 55 percent passing, zero touchdowns, four interceptions.
g. Me, for thinking the Dolphins were contenders.
h. If you want to keep that job, Ryan Tannehill, three-pick days when you're getting steamrolled won't help.
i. Rex Ryan standing by Mark Sanchez. Not smart, plus it's boring.
j. Not a smart challenge, at all, by New Orleans, wasting a timeout when Falcons wideout Harry Douglas was clearly down with less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Not smart because the Saints had to know they'd likely need that timeout inside the two-minute warning. Joe Vitt got some very bad advice on that call.
k. Terrible goal-line effort by Michael Turner. I'd much rather see Jacquizz Rodgers try to slither through gaps in a wall than see Turner pound fruitlessly into it.
l. Hard to blame Jason Campbell for everything in the shoddy second half of play by the Bears, especially when he hasn't practiced much, if at all, with the first unit this season. But to rely on him to do anything but mop up ... dangerous.
3. I think Pittsburgh receiver Emmanuel Sanders deserved his $15,000 fine for faking an injury and thus allowing the Steelers a clock-stoppage in Week 7 against Cincinnati. That's as clear a phony injury as I've ever seen in football. It was a professional wrestling flopperoo.
I also think, however, Sanders should get the $15,000 rebated to him by the coach or player who told him to go down. Sanders is in the third year of his rookie contract, making $540,000 this year. That comes out to $31,765 per week. So following orders to fall down was a pretty big tariff for Sanders.
4. I think Chris Ivory's a better back than Mark Ingram. That just goes to show you what a quirky thing running back prospecting is. The Saints got Ivory as an undrafted free agent out of Division II Tiffin (Ohio) College. The Saints traded a 2012 first-round pick to draft Ingram late in the first round in 2011.
5. I think Bud Adams could pass for Tony Robbins.
6. I think when Carolina owner Jerry Richardson issues a statement saying he is devoted to the Carolinas without saying he categorically wouldn't move to Los Angeles, you know it's a leverage play to get public money to rehab his stadium. Responding to Adam Schefter's report that L.A. leaders have been sniffing around the Panthers to make a move west, Richardson said: "It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Panthers. Nothing has changed. As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas." See? Nothing in there even approximating: "I will not move this team."
7. I think I have absolutely no problem with a player missing a football game for the birth of his child. Good for you, Charles Tillman. (Even though he said Thursday he would play Sunday, then attend the birth of his child on Monday.)
8. I think I loved those TV shots of Julio Jones arguing with Falcons trainers to go back into Saints-Falcons game after injuring his ankle. He did go back in -- and caught a bomb.
9. I think of all the thoughtless, careless plays I saw Sunday -- and Eli Manning's desperation tipped interception in the third quarter at Cincinnati is in the ballpark here, as is Philip Rivers' brainlock interception brought back for a score in Tampa -- Cam Newton's interception thrown into blanket coverage while falling, returned for a touchdown by the Broncos' Tony Carter, takes the cake. Looked like a desperate rookie in a fourth preseason game, sending up a prayer to try to make the team. Those are the types of throws that must make Panthers coaches tear their hair out.
10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:
a. RIP, Darrell Royal, a heck of a good football coach and very fun to listen to. My favorite Royal quote: "Trends are bunk. Only angry people win football games."
b. How great is it that Texas, on its first play from scrimmage Saturday, lined up in Royal's beloved wishbone?
c. Wow: Someone is making "Chuck on three. One-two-three CHUCK!!!" T-shirts. That's great.
d. I learned a lot from NBC's Chuck Todd watching election stuff last week, including the future of how the American population shift may change presidential voting patterns in what have been consistent Republican strongholds. "In 2016,'' Todd said, "you're going to see Georgia, you're going to see Texas and you're going to see Arizona possibly in play because that's where the Hispanic population has been booming." In 2008, he said, 71 percent of the voters in Florida were white; in 2012, it was 66 percent.
e. What's disheartening about the political process in America is that, after an election, there's far too few voices who mean it when they say, "Let's compromise and do what's best for America,'' and far too many who say, "OK, what do we have to do to win in 2016?''
f. Congrats on earning your second term in Congress, Jon Runyan.
g. Amazing that the best left tackle-pass rusher matchup for years in the NFL was Jon Runyan versus Michael Strahan, and now one is making laws in the halls of Congress and the other is the next Regis Philbin. And the couple of times I've caught Strahan, I think: This guy was made to do this.
h. Maybe this basketball-on-aircraft-carriers-on-the-East-Coast-at-night idea isn't such a hot one.
i. Thank you, Chuck Klosterman, the New York Times' ethicist, for weighing in on Lance Armstrong Sunday thusly: "All we can do is work with the accepted reality: Armstrong helped the lives of many cancer victims by being the most talented cheater within a sport where cheating is rampant. Now, does that positive conclusion 'offset' the unethical exploits that allowed it to occur? I would say it does not. And I say this because they are too interdependent to isolate and judge. There is no right or wrong way to feel about Armstrong, but however you feel should be based on the totality of his career. Everything has to matter.'' An excellent take.
j. How on God's green earth was ESPN so wrong on the Bernie Fine story?
k. Sprint, do not run, to see Argo. How many movies, when you know the basic outcome before you walk in the theater, cause you to sit on the edge of your seat and want to pace nervously mid-plot? This one did. Ben Affleck, superb. John Goodman, wonderful. A fantastic history lesson for us all.
l. Dan Patrick on the omnipresence of John Goodman: "He's in every movie there is. He's the white Samuel L. Jackson."
m. Coffeenerdness: Illy espresso shots are more consistent than Starbucks. Study that, Seattle.
n. Beernerdness: A minor Allagash White quibble, seeing that it's hard for me to denigrate the beer I love: If you say stores in Manhattan sell your beer in bottles, they should really sell them. Maybe it's just too good to keep on the shelves, I don't know. But it's not where it's supposed to be, which causes me great heartache.
They wrote an insightful story in the New York Times for political junkies (and political doofuses like me) on how the presidential election turned. I never considered the first debate to be the thing that changed the election, but it sounds like it did, for both sides.
Now for the game: Pittsburgh 33, Kansas City 10. Maybe the Chiefs rise up, tired of being laughingstocks. Maybe Matt Cassel says, "My last prime time game as a Chief, and if I'm going to get any team out there interested in me for 2013, I'd better look better than Kyle Boller.'' Maybe Justin Houston and Tamba Hali box Ben Roethlisberger's ears a few times and get him off his game.
Maybe, but I doubt it.
Feel like taking a night off from the NFL? There's always that Family Feud marathon on the Game Show Network tonight.
A Rams-Niners tie.
Thought it would be boring. Not!
Line up right, Gibson.
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