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14 Sep 2006
This week's rundown features appearances by Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, naked Joe Cullen, and -- unfortunately for Kansas City -- Damon Huard. Find out why that boy is poison.
Posted by: Mike Tanier on 14 Sep 2006
75 comments, Last at
18 Sep 2006, 3:50pm by
That problem is back; clicking on the link just takes you back to this page.
Oh, also: First!
Minor nit to pick: Joey Porter took that Colts helmet in last year's divisional round.
Click on my name for the link.
You don't usually get Civil War references in football columns. Good work.
Perhaps you saw Cruise and his lovely, inexplicably devoted wife
Mike, I don't think Common Law Marriage takes effect quite that quickly. And these two certainly haven't been wed in any Catholic Church or Scientology ceremony.
Some outstanding comendy. Well done.
The Bucs, Panthers, Falcons, and Saints play in the NFC South, not AFC South.
And while I cannot spell "comedy" correctly, I do know that there's absolutely no way the Bucs finish last in the AFC South this year.
"They may even unveil a new Bell Bell Devoe formation to totally baffle opponents. It'll be poison."
Love you guys.
Fun note: I went to Syracuse, and one of my freshman roomates was *adamant* about the fact that BBD went there, too, and apparently had a girl stolen from them by Syracuse (and later, NFL) receiver Rob Moore, leading to the mis-heard lyric:
"Miss her, kiss her, love her, Rob Moore, you're dead"
Moore played at the 'Cuse from 87-90, and "Poison" came out in 90. I was there in '93, and without the interwebs to cooroborate, it was just plausible to be true.
Mike, this article might be your best. Funny throughout.
"Yep, it's the N'Sync Justin Timberlake schedule: bye, Jaguars, bye, bye, bye."
Priceless. Simply priceless.
Great article, although I'm not sure what your picks are on all of them.
The Steelers completely handed the Jagoffs that win last year. Steelers won last visit to Jacksonville in 2005. Cowher's -.500 record (barely at 7-8) stems from late 1990's when the Steelers were in brief decline. Alltel will have equal parts black & gold as teal, ebony & goldenrod -- who'se home field advantage are we talking about?
Brilliant. The Justin Timberlake joke alone is worth the price of the article, if I had had to pay for it.
That said, and far be it from me to agree with a Steelers fan, but I'm confused as to how Alltel is considered a tough stadium to play in. This is the place where they have to put tarps over the seats to avoid a blackout, right? Are there biting sandflies on the field or something?
the Jaguars stunned them in Pittsburgh last season, thanks to some miserable play by Ben Roethlisberger's backups.
Backup. Just one. And he has been rendered irrelevant.
there's no way they can survive in the brutal AFC West with a journeyman quarterback
Accrding to American Heritage, journeyman means "An experienced and competent but undistinguished worker."
It does not mean "well-travelled." It applies to Jon Kitna, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Batch. It does not apply (thusfar) to Damon Huard, though the Chiefs would be better off if it did.
Mike, Mike, Mike ... it's so unfair to the rest of the FO writers that you're apparently already in playoff form...
according to wikipedia:
Journeyman is an album by blues/rock musician Eric Clapton, released in 1989.
so I agree: totally off-base reference.
While we're on the subject of article innaccuracies, can anyone provide a link to an updated NFL rulebook? The copy I have doesn't include 23.5/A-VIII or 420.1/B-LXIX, so i think they might be pulling our leg.
[i]Scott Linehan said after leaning on kicker Jeff Wilkins to provide most all of the scoring against Denver.[/i]
Not just most all, all all.
[i]over/under for Bears games has been 33 or less fewer points 13 times in the last five years[/i]
Is "less fewer" the same as "more," like a double negative?
Alright, I'll stop being a jerk. Damon Huard's played for three different teams, more than Charlie Batch, and even started 5 in 1999. So he's a journeyman backup, but still a journeyman.
Also, I've felt the entire offseason that Washington's lack of defensive depth would be a problem. There is absolutely no reason why Kenny Wright should be starting in 2006, and even less reason why Mike Rumph should see the field at all.
A Civil War reference - footballoutsiders, how I love thee.
12,13 Last year, the Jags kept the score close, allowing the Steeler's backup to decide the game (in OT). The year before, the Steelers won by 1, and narrowly avoided a loss via long FG (after a great series by a young Big Ben to go ahead). In 2002, the Steelers won by 2 at JAX. Not exactly easy wins by PIT.
When were the Steelers in decline? They've had 3 losing seasons in 15 years. Isn't it more appropriate to say that the Steelers got most of their victories against the Jaguars when the Jaguars were in decline?
The "Altel is a tough place to play" comment is more about the heat/humidity/wind coming off of the river more than the fan base. Steeler fans travel well...
Covering the seats is correction of supply/demand in the Jacksonville area. Before the covers, they had (approximately) the 6th largest stadium in the smallest market (if you assume that Milwalkee is in GB's market). Politics demanded the large stadium, for both the FLA-GA game and future bowl games.
Anybody know about Jax's home field advantage in September due to heat/humidity? I have heard lots about Miami's historic HFA in Sept (and corresponding December funk) and assume Jax should have a similar edge (if there is an edge at all). I'd ask the same question about AZ and Houston, but, you know....
Come to think of it, do Buffalo, NE, GB, Pitt, CLE, and Chicago all have HFA due to crappy weather in November and December? I assume that if you're training in heat and humidity all summer you get somewhat used to it, but in the winter, they don't actually practice in zero degree and 40 MPH wind conditions, do they? Wouldn't that lead to all sorts of needless injuries?
Actually, Bobman, you raise good points. Has anyone done a good statistical study of HFA in the NFL, and who benefits most?
And here's another question: is it better, for HFA purposes, to be GB playing on the frozen tundra, or MIN, playing in a noisy dome?
I'm sorry, but the best joke was Glen Quagmire as Mark Chmura. Not only is it incredibly apt, he's freakin' animated! Get Bob Zemeckis to direct and work a little "Roger Rabbit" magic.
Quagmire/Chmura: "Hey there, Lois, when Peter goes to sleep, why dontcha join me and a few fifteen year-olds in the hot tub. Cha-ching!" (followed by some rant about not going to the White House to avoid sullying his moral fiber.)
I suppose the advantage could depend on how you practice. A dome's field and climate give equal advantage to both teams--especially QBs and kickers, with the flipside being the noise, which should disrupt the QB but not the kicker. I know some teams practice with loud noise piped in to simulate a hostile away dome, so maybe that helps level the HFA.
But the elements are unpredictable, and I would assume that swirling winds and slick fields hamper both teams; plus the home team can't really practice in blizard or hurricane conditions (for example). They can just hope that AZ and SD are intimidated by six inches of snow and ice.
My guess is that teams built for their conditions have the advantage: i.e. Indy and StL fast track teams built for indoor turf and foul weather teams might prefer a couple stout lines and RBs over small, speedy receivers. But it's such a cliche I suspect it doesn't really hold water. ATL has a monster running game in a dome (mainly because their QB connects on fewer passes than Quasimodo at a singles bar).
And what happens when strength meets strength: Indy vs StL indoors at either place? Chi and GB? Buff and Pitt? The teams have to be somewhat comparable to measure this, I suspect.
What you need are a slower, more physical team that plays on grass outdoors (JAX for example) and that is good, to play twice a year against a "finesse" speed dome team (like Indy). If only we had a matchup like that twice a year, if only, if only... Hey! I have an idea!
Well, they have played 8 times since the realignment 4 home/away, and Indy has lost to Jax once in Jax and once at home, a 6-2 record with the losses split. Looks like there is no HFA to speak of there.
Maybe the guys in Vegas have some answers.
23: Don't you mean giggity instead of cha-ching?
17, very funny!
Another thing about noisy stadiums is that the noise is specifically directed against the visiting team's offense, whereas, as you point out, the elements affect both teams equally.
At any rate, victories alone would probably not provide a good sample, since it's basically a binary statistic that will always be skewed in favor of the team that would perform better on neutral ground. But I guess you could do something with the difference in a team's DVOA at home vs. on the road, spread over a few seasons to give a big enough sample size to account for the fraction of a season when weather plays a role.
Also, it would seem maybe straightforward enough to measure a team's own HFA, but harder to measure how given teams do on the road in particular locations, since the sample size would be so much smaller.
Does any of that make sense? I'm one of the folks who likes this site 'cause of all the shiny statistics, but I'm not very good at coming up with models myself.
Jacksonville has the best opening day record in the league for a reason (small sample size! + home games in stifling humidity). Empirically, both the Seahawks (opened here last year) and the Cowboys (who did training camp in California) wilted after halftime, allowing the Jaguars to dominate the line and cause turnovers in bunches. Statistically, Pittsburgh is 0-3 in Jacksonville in September. The Steelers travel well but Jags fans see this as a great rivalry with some classic games (two years ago was an amazing contest), and between the crowd and the weather I think the Jags will have an edge.
Plus, of course, if the Steelers win, there will undoubtedly be some officials' decision that everyone will point to as to why the Steelers won. So it's really a no-lose situation for JAX.
Drab blue? While I prefer the Vikings old uniforms, I still think the new ones fall into the spectrum claimed by "purple"...
Won't the heat and humidity aspect of playing in Jax be lessened since the game doesn't start till 8:30?
Bobman, I couldn't agree with you more. freaking hilarious! I also enjoyed Chmura being booed when he they introduced the superbowl 31 team before the game last week. Seriously, how in the world did Ted Thompson think signing Koren Robinson would go over well???
Can we please put an end to the "Dolphins got jobbed on replay" meme? In that game, it was also the case that the refs missed a blatant PI call which led directly to a Steelers punt which led directly to a huge punt return which led directly to the Dolphins first TD. There was also a blatant late hit missed on Batch which was well after his slide. The refs mistakes (which were probably fewer than in an average NFL game) were well balanced, and failing to see a replay flag was probably not the most dispositive mistake (given that on replay it would've been 1st and goal at around the 2, I'd argue the 1st half PI no-call was bigger).
That's the point: there's error. The problem is when the error is on-sided. Unless you think the game should be adjudicated by, say, ROBO-REF.
We have a rivalry with with JAX? Huh. News to me....
Does ROBO-REF always spot the ball at the 1 yard line?
"Maybe Snyder thinks Foxx is really Willie Beamen, a possible successor to Mark Brunell."
If Foxx becomes a quarterback for the Redskins, I bet they promote him above Jason Campbell on the depth chart. Bank it.
ROBO-REF is Ed Hochuli.
But itâ€™s such a cliche I suspect it doesnâ€™t really hold water. ATL has a monster running game in a dome (mainly because their QB connects on fewer passes than Quasimodo at a singles bar).
Bobman, may I use this in discussion with some Falcons fans that I know?
"the steelers are due for a dud"? from this site?
A PI call is a judgement call, so missing one is understandable.
Someone being out of bounds isnt a judgement call.
Smacking your arm across both forearms of a WR, pushing them down, before the ball arrives, is pretty blatantly DPI. Beyond grabbing his arms and pulling them behind his back, I don't know what more a defender could do to actively interfere with the player trying to catch a pass.
Neither play was blown because of judgment calls, both were blown because the ref failed to see something in the play. Moreover, nobody complains that the ref should've seen that Miller was OOB, they complain that they should've seen the challenge flag. All I'm pointing out is that the refs missed calls in both directions. Heck, if the refs made poor judgment calls against the Steelers (DPI, late hit), but just failed to see stuff in the Steelers favor (OOB, challenge flag) then, if anything, that would be evidence that they were biased AGAINST the Steelers.
All I'm saying is the meme that the refs had some significant impact favoring the Steelers in this game is the bunk. The referees mistakes were (surprisingly) evenly balanced, and rather few in number.
While there was one blatant pass interference against the Fins, there was only one penalty called on the Steelers the entire game (I noticed a couple of offensive PIs and holding myself that were missed). So while its possible the Steelers were playing penaltyless football, I think the reality is refs weren't looking very hard given the circumstances (you know, SB winner playing at home for the season opener).
"No kidding, Sherlock" is missing a certain alliterative flair.
Nonetheless, great work as always, MT.
To repeat a huge argument that everyone forgets: saying "they don't get called that often" or "they were only called x times" is not an argument. You can talk about things refs missed, that's fine. You can talk about how things may or may not be one-sided, but you absolutely cannot just say they were only called a few times and say that was because the refs were looking the other way. There are lots of teams who play clean football. There are certain things refs do not call for everyone. But, above all, there are perfectly feasible explanations for why they've been called less; that they are a veteran team, that they are well-coached, that the players themselves understand the importance of clean football.
Otherwise, you're just running around yelling baseless claims and feeding a fire that exists mostly in the minds of people who don't understand who officiating a sport is supposed to work.
I actually thought Aaron's recent article suggested that while some teams to a degree commit fewer penalties than other, the amount of penalties called in a game is largely dependent on the tendencies of a referee and not on the teams in question.
Doesn't everyone know the NFL refs suck by now? It doesn't matter which team, in fact the Jaguars, Steelers, 49ers, Redskins, and Vikings all had to endure horrible calls... and that's just off the top of my head and the games I watched closely.
So what's going to happen this week, the Jaguars who got screwed twice on replay against the Steelers?
Why do people think there is some deep seeded conspiracy to help certain teams.... it's a deep seeded conspiracy to keep the officials from improving.
I complete forgot about the worst call of the week... Trent Green. How can they not even fine the DE?! How can the NFL claim Eddie Kennison can block with such force that he can make a 320+ lb DE violently lower himself to deliver a hit to the QBs knees or head. If that's the case, why didn't Kennison get called for a block in the back? WTF!
And how come ESPN kept replaying Brad Johnson curing in slow-motion? Weren't kids watching? I think I should complain to the FCC...
Great article, Mike. I particularly enjoyed the subtle Vick/herpes reference..."tingle in his pocket"
Some of you people on here really need to get over this Steelers/officials thing. The Superbowl last year was between the Colts and Steelers. Its a shame that half you didn't enjoy it. Maybe if you would have realized before hand just how good the steelers were , then you might have had greater anticipation for the Cotls/steelers matchup.
The Seahawks were the best team in the NFC. But they were not going to beat the Steelers or anyone coming out of the AFC. They were simply the best team in a terrible conference. And the first time they faced a little adversity in the SB , they fell apart as expected.
And as far as the recent Steeler/dolphins matchup, let me say a few things. Number 1 the Dolphins are not on the Steelers level. The Steelers are deep , tested team that has been building for superiority over the past few years. The dolphins are not going to just throw a few free agents together, assemble a new secondary that has had no time to jell, lineup with an old defensive front, and bring in a QB that has never proved that he can function with any kind of success without Moss stretching the Field on the Minnesota turf with his 4.2 speed, and beat a great tested Steeler team.
And finally do you really think Saban wanted another 3 minutes to run off the clock just to see the steelers score a TD anyway? Their Defensive line was dead atthat point. Just like the SB when ben was at goal line, they would have scored anyway.
The Steelers were 15-1 in 2005. They would have been a solid 13-3 last year if Ben doesn't go down. The beat Cincy, Colts, and Broncos on the friggin road. I mean at one point they had won 9 or 10 straight games on the road.And were able to overcome the adversity they faced by losing the QB in the middle of the season. And lets not forget about the Adversity they faced on the road in the Colts game with the officials. Appreciate this Steelers team instead of bitching all the time about trivial stuff.
I'll add that the "flagrant" 'late hit' on Batch was neither flagrant nor, IMO, a late hit. Thomas went off the ground just as Batch starts to slide. He's not going to change direction mid-air, is he?
I don't believe the Dolphins got "jobbed". I do believe the overall quality of the officiating in the NFL could be better.
I have to agree with most people that the Super Bowl was a terrible officiated game. How many holding calls did the refs miss on the Seahawks offensive line? I think there is an article about it on this very site.
"By the letter of the rules, Locklear committed holding 10 times (he was flagged twice). Seattle left tackle Walter Jones should have been called six times. Pittsburgh tackles Marvel Smith and Max Starks should have been called four times each."
And the Stevens catch and fumble. How was that not a fumble?
Plus, of course, if the Steelers win, there will undoubtedly be some officialsâ€™ decision that everyone will point to as to why the Steelers won. So itâ€™s really a no-lose situation for JAX.
:: DGL â€” 9/14/2006 @ 3:02 pm
Can't agree more DGL.
Re "Well people will b*tch anyway":
Really? You honestly think that all of America would come to a consensus on some phantom bad call no matter what? What was the phantom call in last year's BCS Championship game? What was the blown call in the Titans-Rams Super Bowl? What was the phantom call in the Carolina-Chicago playoff game? It's a ridiculous statement to make. You're kidding yourself if you think every football game has at least one really badly blown call. Most games are at least competently reffed and within the human margin of error that we as fans allow. Some games are not. The Super Bowl was not officiated within that margin of error. There were some serious issues and to say otherwise is sticking your head in the sand. You can't change anything post facto, but you can at least understand that most of America believes (rightly) that the game was poorly officiated - no more no less.
Imagine that. Steeler fans up in arms about officiating and lack of respect. They are officially the new Pats fans.
#52: I wouldn't say that Steelers fans are up in arms about officiating; I'd say that they are up in arms about the amount of attention that officiating has gotten relative to the actual play of the teams on the field, and the amount that the perception is that the Steelers only win because the officials hand the games to them.
Including from the FO writers, from whom we expect better.
Will the heat and humidity still be a factor in JAX at time of kick off on Monday Night?
#53. Exactly. 2001/2003 Pats anyone?
you have to be kidding me.
That was entirely, 100% Trent Greens fault. If you want protection from the rule, you have to slide before contact is impending. Trent Green Obviously did not do that.
Listening to people whine about the Refs is so tiring.
First of all, last I checked, the Refs are human. Humans will make mistakes and will have differing interpretations of rules, intentions, an situations. Live with it.
Second, the Refs are not going to catch every penalty committed. They don't have eyes encircling their heads. Just because the TV camerman caught it doesn't mean the Ref did. Remember, there are 7 Refs, but 22 Players (plus the sidelines and endzones and the ball) to watch.
Third, if your team can only win with the Refs not calling the penalties they commit, they aren't good enough to win.
Fourth, Seattle did commit all but one of the penalties they were flagged for in the Super Bowl (the misinterepretation by the Ref of the illegal low block by Hasselbeck during a return). Americans may not want to believe it, but it will never chance what the tape captured and left for posterity to see. Darrell Jackson really was a moron who pushed off in the endzone in front of the Ref prior to catching an apparent TD. The Ref didn't make him push-off. He did it himself. Sean Locklear really did hold on the pass to Jeremy Stevens at the goal line. The Refs didn't make him get beat and run behind his man clinging desperately with both hands around his body.
Its all well and good to talk about blown calls and penalties and the like, and I certainly do it too. But lets not pretend that a couple of penalties are the deciding factor of a game, instead of the performance of the teams in the 120+ non-penalized plays in each game.
Grow up people.
The Refs didn't make Josh Brown miss two field goals. The Refs didn't make Seattle start most of their drives on the wrong side of the 25, and Pittsburgh on the right side of the 35 or 40. The Refs didn't make Seattle not capitalize on Roethelisberger's first inerception.
I actually thought Aaronâ€™s recent article suggested that while some teams to a degree commit fewer penalties than other, the amount of penalties called in a game is largely dependent on the tendencies of a referee and not on the teams in question.
Nono, it's both. In a comment in that thread, Aaron pointed out that if you do a multiple regression (that is, attempting to fit for both effects at once) the team and the refs both affect the number of penalties called. There wasn't really a mention of the strength of either, but I imagine it's probably pretty equal.
I'd really like to see penalty statistics if it's that clear of a correlation, though. Possibly even a referee correction (i.e. normalize to a standard penalizing level).
I don't really see the big deal in there being variation with the refs like others do, incidentally. Baseball players have to learn what each umpire's strike zone is: football players should learn what refs will call and not call.
So if say, a ball boy in a soccer match playfully kicks a ball into the goal after the it has been out of bounds and the ref awards a real goal that counts - it's just human error.
The best is the enemy of the better. We should strive to make sure that the refs do as well as they can and observing other games I can't say that the Super Bowl was even close to that. The Steelers won, woo-hoo but sticking your head in the sand and repeating "The refs are human, blah, blah, nobody's perfect, blah, blah everything's fine" is being ignorant. Nothing should be changed retroactively, but the NFL should admit that mistakes were made and work to improve every call.
I just can't understand why so many people think we shouldn't ever improve the reffing process.
donâ€™t really see the big deal in there being variation with the refs like others do, incidentally. Baseball players have to learn what each umpireâ€™s strike zone is: football players should learn what refs will call and not call.
I'd agree with you if the multiple regression failed. If it was just a case of certain refs calling more or less of a certain penalty, that'd be one thing. But if certain teams consistently get calls for/against them, that's a whole other story (I'm just speaking in general terms here, which is why I purposefully omitted any mention of a specific team).
#56: The slow motion video replay shows clearly that Green started to slide before anyone was near making contact. I have no doubt that Geathers was trying to hurt Green (and many sports writers agree, including Dr. Z today). The Cincy defense is coached that way.
In the BCS game, Vince Young threw a forward lateral with his knee on the ground for a TD. There wasn't even a review of the play.
I disagree that Green was clearly sliding before Geathers went for the hit. This has been debated ad naseum on this site and people's opinions are pretty evenly divided. Based on the indecision around here I don't think that is an obvious poor call by any means.
Anyone who says "the replay shows he clearly slid in time" doesn't really understand slow motion very well, I'd have to say. It can't show timing at all, and it's timing, not distance, that determines whether his slide was legitimate. The intent of the interpretation is that the QB can't use the defender's aggressiveness against him to "earn" a personal foul penalty, which means that the benefit of the doubt is generally going to go to the defender if he doesn't go head-to-head, which Geathers didn't. On the other hand, you can watch on the Hasselbeck hit, where the defender realigns his angle as he dives to line his helmet up on Hasselbeck's noggin. It's useless to say you're sure Geathers was trying to injure Green--a lot of people were sure there were still active WMDs in Iraq in 2003, and we know how that's turned out. You being sure is only a data point on your analytical ability, and nothing else. There's people who are certain on both sides of many fundamental debates, and they can't all be right.
Jags seem to be a fashionable pick this week. The "pundits" are correct -- Steelers streak will end eventually, but not at the hands of Jags. If I remember correctly, the Steelers, notoriously slow starters in Week 1, opened in Jacksonville a number of times when they were divisional foes. Seems like a dated argument for picking Jags.
66. Having the last 3 games decided by 8 points isn't a "dated argument". However, if you pointed out that 3 of the Jag's front 4, and 4 of the front 7 are injured, or the RCB is too drunk to stand, or the crowd will be 80% Steelers, than you have the beginnings of an argument.
(Shouldn't "Move to LA" be actively dissing the Saints or Chargers?)
Okay, if this gets me banned from the site, I totally deserve it. Caught Meagan Cowher on Inside the NFL last night and totally fell in love with her. For my money they could feature her take on every Steelers game.
CONFLCITED PATS FAN
Just as long as you don't post any links to pictures of a nearly naked Meaghan Cowher, I don't think you'll get banned from any site.
Re: Green Hit
It was a dirty play... probably legal but dirty. What happens to Green's knee if he doesn't slide and he takes such a low blow?
I just don't see why the NFL ref on the play didn't throw an illegal block flag... if he says the player was blocked into Green. And I don't see how the NFL can agree with said officials claim.... Eddie Kennison must be a pretty strong dude to manhandle Geathers like that. That was the point I wanted to make.
#64: I'm afraid I have to confess; it is true, I don't "understand" slow motion. I was under the impression that it slowed time down, but since you say that slow motion does not show timing at all, I must have been mistaken.
I don't agree with all of Dr. Z's opinions, but he was right when he pointed out that if Marvin Lewis' defense is going to play on the edge like this, the Bengals had better protect their QB.
70: You were mistaken, slow-motion speeds up everything else, so the tape just seems slower by comparison.
#70, better watch their QB or what? He'll get knocked out of a playoff game by a cheap shot from a Steeler player?
Seriously it was pouring down rain and the real injury to Green (of whom I'm a big fan, go Hoosiers!) was from the way his head hit the ground, unfortunate, and possibly a penalty based on the slide/no slide, but I really don't think it was a cheap shot.
The 49ers looking pretty good keep up next week!!!
Ironically, the 49ers/Rams game was an excellent game and the Bears/Lions a joke as the hapless Lions were completely exposed. Maybe a little less lame humor and a little more thinking next week...
Same can be said of the Pats/Jets game. Two great plays by the Jets in a loss. This ain't Herm's Jets! That's for sure!
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