Hey, a win is a win is a win. Always. To me, anytime you win, it's beautiful. But don't forget for one minute that there is still much work to be done. There were a lot of mistakes today. Too many penalties, the offense was limited, and the D got no pass rush at all. The good news is that we are now 7-5. All three of the other AFCE teams lost today, tying us with NE, one game back of the first place Je-eehh. Sorry. The first place J-ughgh.. Can't say it. One game back of that Green team. The division got a lot tighter today, and we need to be focused on getting a victory in Toronto next week. A few quick points before the Balls...
- On a day when the pass rush didn't show up, the secondary and LB's played terrific in coverage. Holding Bulger to 149 yards was a big reason why they only put up FG's, and the three INT's didn't hurt either.
- Pennington wasn't bad. 13/23 for 166 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He did enough to get us in position for 3 FG's and the one touchdown run. He even scrambled and picked up a first down with his legs.
- Patrick Cobbs just does everything. He had a couple nice runs for first downs. He made some big blocks (even flooring a LB with a crackback). And he's all over the place on special teams. Typical Parcells guy.
- Joey Thomas stinks. Never would've thought I would miss Jason Allen, but I found myself wanting some JA after Joey's second pass interference on consecutive plays. He got beat like a drum today.
No more delays, let's get to the Balls.
5. The R&R Express - Ronnie and Ricky combined for over 100 yards and a touchdown. They were both very effective between the tackles, and Ricky was even able to break a nice run on a sweep. Why we didn't stick with the run more confused me, because they looked better today than they have in a while. Ricky had 12 carries for 54 yards, and Ronnie added 48 yards on 15 carries and a TD. Not spectacular, but they set the tone for the game, and Ronnie accounted for the only Touchdown in the game on a very strong goalline run. He was stopped, spun out, lunged, and just crossed the line. I really think he needs to get more carries. He looks like the knee injury is a non-issue, he runs hard, and he's the type of guy that gets better as he wears the D down. Feed it to him, please.
4. Yeremiah Bell - It felt like everytime we made a stop on 3rd down, I was saying to myself (and to everyone in the live thread) that Bell made a nice play. He was heavily involved, making plenty of key stops before the reciever could pick up a first down after the catch. He tallied a team leading 7 tackles, tied with Channing Crowder. But the fact that he stepped it up in some big spots all game long puts him in this slot. I think he's a keeper. We need to get to work on a fair contract extension and lock him up.
3. Akin Ayodele - The 5 tackles only tell part of the story. His interception, while it didn't set up any points due to a terrible offensive drive, did halt a St. Louis drive that was heading towards our endzone. He dropped right into the route, and the ball came right at him. Good read by him, and good hands to make the catch. The Rams were driving, and had they scored a TD on that drive, it would've been a very different game.
2. Davone Bess - We were wondering who would step up to replace Camarillo after his season-ending knee injury, and Bess answered the call. He led the team with 6 receptions for 84 yards, and 2 of the 6 catches we're 3rd down conversions. I said it last week, and I'll say it again, the kid will make a living converting 3rd downs. That gets you into heaven. He was targeted often today, and I think he'll step right into Camarillo's shoes and perform well. He's sure-handed and knows how to get open. He also works the underneath routes very well, which plays perfectly into Pennington's style. There was a huge deal made over Mr. Irrelevant starting today, but Bess went UNDRAFTED, and has played a big role on a playoff contender. Where's his ESPN puff piece?
And the Number 1 Gameball goes to.. Dan "DC$" Carpenter - The guy continues to live up to his nickname. He's money. 3 for 3 on FG's, all three from 37 yards or longer. His longest was a 47 yarder that extended our 1-point lead to 4 early in the third quarter. He's also an undrafted FA we picked up after the draft. Once again, I ask, where's his ESPN puff piece? Where's the life story about his journey to the NFL? He also broke a rookie record for consecutive FG's with 11 in a row. On the year he's 16/18, with his only 2 misses coming from over 40. Clutch kicks, long kicks, whatever, the guy is solid.
This Week's Turd Sandwich goes to.. Injuries - Sure, it's probably a cop-out pick, but I'm pretty pissed about the Justin Smiley injury, and still a little peeved over Camarillo's injury last week. The Smiley injury severely hurts our offense, because he was playing very well at the LG spot next to Jake. A broken leg and multiple ankle ligament tears will not be easy to come back from, but he's a special guy and has a tremendous work ethic. The "Who will replace GC?" question was answered somewhat this week with Bess stepping his play up, and now we need to see who will step into Smiley's spot. Andy Alleman, you better get your game in gear, we're going to need you bigtime in the last quarter of the season.
Tough column to write when there are very few standout players, so let me know who I missed or what I got wrong, or just tell me how awesome I am :-)