I have a rare Sunday off (from play by play) so I'm watching as much football as I can here at the station. As I'm writing this, the Colts-Pats game is 13-7 Indy in the third. It's close but so far not as riveting as expected. Peyton Manning just threw a bad interception. He is human after all. There were plenty of noteable performances today:
--Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson has wrapped up the rookie of the year award. He sliced and diced the Chargers for an NFL record 296 yards rushing. He's he first rookie to top 200 yards in two different games. And he has 8 games to go.
--Earlier in that game, Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a score. It's the longest return in NFL history.
--The Detroit Lions are 6-2 after hammering Denver 44-7. Now, no one's laughing at Jon Kitna's prediction of winning ten games. That's the impact Mike Martz has--he instills a confidence, a swagger and even arrogance in his players. The Rams believed they could stroll into any stadium and win during those Greatest Show days. They never considered losing an option. I'm not giving Martz ALL the credit for what's going on in Motown but his impact is undeniable.
--Green Bay is 7-1 after winning at Kansas City. The Pack have won 11 of 12 dating back to last year. They're not great, just solid. And they can rush the passer. Defensive Ends Aaron Kampmann and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila have combined for 15.5 sacks in 8 games. The Rams have 12 sacks as a team in 8 games.
--The NFC West is brutal. At this time, Seattle is leading Cleveland 21-16 but San Fran and Arizona both lost. So the Rams are 0-8, the 49ers are 2-6 and the Cardinals are 3-5. Seattle can get to 5-3 with a win but they're a shell of their former selves. Not only is the division not better as most of us expected, it's actually worse than ever.
--Two teams that have little offense and poor quarterback play, the Chiefs and Bills, are 4-4. And that's what makes you sick about the Rams' 0-8 record. Other teams win with warts. Why not the Rams? Injuries have been too significant to expect a winning record but the Rams could be 3-5 or 2-6 at worse.
--The New Orleans Saints are rolling just in time for the Rams' visit. After starting 0-4, the Saints have won four straight. Drew Brees threw for 445 yards today. In his last four games, he's thrown 11 touchdown passes and only one interception. The Saints put up 41 points on a tough, stingy Jacksonville defense today. Oh boy.
Here's one non-NFL related item. Kudos to Mizzou A-D Mike Alden for not caving to pressure when some Tigers fans wanted Gary Pinkel's scalp. Not only did he stand by his coach, he gave him an extension. Gary Pinkel is unconventional at times like Tony Larussa. But also like Larussa, he wins. It takes time to turn around a program as screwed up as Mizzou's was. He had his team winning and going to bowl games a few years ago. Now, he's got his team in a legit Big 12 championship race and BCS bowl contention. The guy's a winner. If you spend any time with him, you realize it.