| || The Buzz || What it means |
| || Pat Yasinskas of The Charlotte Observer writes that Carolina head coach George Seifert's halftime wish Sunday came true. Finally, there was intensity, focus, emotion and all the other things Seifert had asked of his team. It came about two hours too late. Anger flowed and veterans stepped forward with strong words, but only after Dallas defeated the Panthers 16-13 in overtime. || "We just totally lost it and self-destructed," Seifert said. "It wasn't anything they were doing necessarily. It was all our error." Added safety Eugene Robinson: "I'm telling you, man, you would kill to have this type of talent. But potential doesn't mean a hill of beans. You've got to want it. You've got to really flat-out want it, and I don't sense that we want it."
| || Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune warns before everyone starts assigning all of the blame for Tampa Bay's slide to the offense, remember this: Though it has done so in rather ragged fashion the past two weeks, the offense has done all the defense ever asked. It has produced the 17 points a game Bucs defenders long have said they needed to ensure victory. || Some of the blame can be tied to the fact that in their last 66 minutes of football -- a span in which the offense has produced its requisite 17 points -- Tampa Bay's defense and special teams have missed 17 tackles. Fifteen of those misses occurred in Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Redskins. |
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsbugh Post-Gazette notes Steelers quarterback Kent Graham's right hip looks as if it has been beaten with hammers, stuck with knives and painted by Andy Warhol. The colors are what might be seen on a trip through the Laurel Highlands in two weeks. Think fall foliage. They examined Graham's right hip again Monday and tried to drain some more blood from it, without success.
|Graham said he felt better and predicted he will be back on the field when the Steelers resume practice Wednesday. Head coach Bill Cowher headed off any QB controversy when he said Graham would remain the starter, after Kordell Stewart brought home a victory, 24-13 against Jacksonville. It was the Steelers' first win of the season and only the second in their past 12 games. |
| || Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald writes that the Buffalo mail arrives for Thurman Thomas echoing the same troubling theme. Watch yourself when you come back to Buffalo, it reads, because you never know how far some crazy fan might carry this rivalry between the Dolphins and Bills. "I kept the letters, and I've taken them seriously," Thomas says of the threats. || The rivalry between the Dolphins and Bills is packed with tension, dripping with emotion and often borders on over-the-top violence. Thomas joining the Dolphins this offseason after spending a dozen years with the Bills has only heightened the feel of the archrivalry. "I can deal with people threatening me," Thomas said, "but my wife shouldn't have to deal with that." |
| || Matt Winkeljohn of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wants you to imagine Dan Reeves' hands wrapped around a buzzer, flesh gripping metal. He ponders question after question, but no matter his response he gets shocked. In talking about a team ranked next to last in the NFL in both offense and defense, every answer is wrong. The Falcons are 2-3, but the nature of their losses -- 42-14 at Denver, 41-20 against the Rams and 38-10 Sunday night at Philadelphia -- has tempered any vision of a turnaround that could lead to a postseason berth.
|| Offensive ineptitude has left the defense on the field too often. Atlanta has converted just 17 of 65 third downs for 26.2 percent, last in the NFL. The pass defense, saddled by an erratic rush, is giving up too many big plays. Special teams have been alternately great and terrible. The most intriguing question is whether the blame should be placed on the players or the preparation. "I think it is our inconsistency in so many areas," Reeves said. "The effort is there, but not the execution." |