Tonight’s game between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys marks a quarter of the 2012 NFL season will be in the books. Last year we had twists and turns that could be blamed on the lockout where this one doesn’t have a scapegoat. Alright maybe it does with the replacement officials yet in hindsight they only affected one game. Aside from the Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Monday Night tilt, there were bad calls on both teams to even things out. Yet the regular officials were back yesterday and made a call that surprised me and will be the last we’ll say about the referees for awhile.
Taken from The Chancellor of Football’s Facebook page: In yesterdays Jets v 49ers game, Santonio Holmes injures his knee, drops the football and turned it over to San Francisco. In Super Bowl XXII, Denver was up 10-0 on the Washington Redskins when Doug Williams dropped back, injured his knee, drops the football as he is writhing in pain just like Holmes. He hadn’t been touched down and Rulon Jones recovered the ball. The explanation THEN was Doug Williams “gave himself up (injury) therefore the ball was dead” Huh? The Denver Broncos would have had the football at the Washington 22 with a chance to go up 17-0. A turning point of a game that NEVER got talked about. So either the Broncos got cheated in Super Bowl XXII Dennis Smith Karl Mecklenburg Eric V. Lockett or they screwed up yesterday. Which is it!?!?!?!?
The point maybe moot with the 49ers handing the Jets one of their worse home loss in years but we are here to hand out report cards.
Receiving an “A” grade:
Atlanta Falcons – On course for a possible trip to the NFC Championship Game or beyond. Matt Stafford trapped on his own 1 with :59 left and down 28-27 hits Roddy White for 59 yards. He completed 3 passes and moves the team 70 yards and they win 30-28. Could be a team of destiny with a win like that. An absolute championship building block.
Minnesota Vikings- Christian Ponder has yet to throw an interception and this team is not beating itself. Yesterday’s 20-13 win over Detroit was the Vikings first divisional win in 2 years. By moving to 3-1 with a head to head victory on Detroit gives them a 3 game lead over the Lions. As time goes on and Adrian Peterson gets comfortable with his recovered knee…look out.
Houston Texans- Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster are powering the only team in the AFC South. J.J. Watt and the defense has played solidly yet this team hasn’t played anyone yet. We’ll know if they stay on the “A” list when they take on the Baltimore Ravens in week 7. That’s the team that eliminated them last year.
Arizona Cardinals -Surprisingly this team has become a defense first football team. They had a signature win over the New England Patriots in Foxboro two weeks ago. They have won in spite of their offense sputtering in 3 games and rotating quarterbacks in Skelton and Kevin Kolb. Right now they are 4-0 and playing strong football. Patrick Peterson is about to become the cover corner and is blossoming into a great player.
San Francisco 49ers – Last week when they lost to the Vikings everyone wanted to attribute it to jetlag. Maybe the Vikings are that good and surprised San Fran. Yet Harbaugh’s bunch exposed the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to start the season off right. Yesterday’s 34-0 destruction of the New York Jets showed how physically imposing this team is. They are rushing the football with authority and playing thunderous team defense. They will definitely be there in the end.
Receiving a “B” grade:
Baltimore Ravens – This team should be on the “A” list but were undone by Joe Flacco’s 4 for 16 2nd half performance in the 24-23 loss to the Eagles. The defense has played lights out football with Haloti Gnata, the best defensive lineman in the NFL, and Ray Lewis still playing at a high level. Ray Rice is still running the football hard and has 317 yards rushing on the young season. Flacco is still checking the ball down too much to Rice and if he doesn’t improve on this they won’t make it to an “A”.
Philadelphia Eagles – Michael Vick has had a rough first quarter yet he did march them to a winning score with a minute to go against Cleveland. As an encore, he brought the Eagles back last night against the world champion Giants. What has been lost in this great start is how the defense has been playing. Everyone besides Namedi Asoumgha… What has happened to him?? Right now they are 3-1 and as the Cardinals keep winning, that one loss doesn’t seem like such an upset.
Chicago Bears – Last night showed how a team can play when they are hitting on all cylinders. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are making progress. You saw how Devin Hester can be freed with defensive attention on Marshall. Once the team is totally in an offensive rhythm once Matt Forte is at 100%, you can see how Hester can become the Bears answer to Minnesota’s Percy Harvin. On defense, it was pointed out that the Bears are playing fundamental 4-3 defense without any gimmicks. Solid pass rush, strong linebacker play and Charles “Peanut” Tillman has been the most consistent corner over the last 5 years. All they have to do is get Cutler to have a good game once they face the Packers. They’re records keep going as they are and they won’t have to worry about Green Bay. A serious NFC darkhorse in Chicago.
New England Patriots – Early on they had some protection issues and were going away from Wes Welker. With yesterday’s blistering 45 point second half in their 52-28 win in Buffalo, they may have righted the ship. In doing so, the Patriots had two 100 yard rushers in Stevan Ridley (137 yards) and Brandon Bolden (137 yards) and should bode well the rest of the season. Even though they are 2-2 on the season, they lost to 4-0 Arizona and 3-1 Baltimore. Brady can get hot and now that they have awakened from their early season slumber the Patriots will be off and running from this point forward. Next up they host the Denver Broncos. Tom Brady v. Peyton Manning. You don’t think Brady will be up for this one?? Another 40 point outing awaits…
San Diego Chargers – Just making this list by virtue of their record are the 3-1 Chargers. In reality they are the best of the weaker teams and have a weak schedule to thank. The Titans, Raiders, and Chiefs have a combined record of 3-9. When they lined up against the Falcons, they couldn’t stay on the field and were crushed 27-3. Their offense is ranked 24th in the NFL and will need to remain turnover free to keep this up.
Cincinnati Bengals – On a 3 game winning streak, this is the surprise team of the early season in the AFC. Right now Andy Dalton has connected on 67.5% of his passes and 8 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. Cincy is playing wide open football and are ranked 10th in all of football. Do they have the ability to run the football with muscle when they need it?? They were exposed in that 44-13 opening day loss to Baltimore for lacking that. They have to develop some strong running game to combat all of their division rivals.
Receiving a “C” grade:
New York Giants – Eli Manning has been saving this team all season and nearly pulled out another game last night against the Eagles. So if Manning didn’t throw for more than 250 yards and 25 fourth quarter points, where would the Giants be?? Where is their pass rush?? They have had a few injuries and they still need to run the football with authority. They need to make Andre Brown (5.2 yards per carry) the running back the rest of the season. Ahmad Bradshaw is not an every down running back.
Denver Broncos – Every thought has been on Peyton Manning and will the Broncos make it to the Super Bowl. At 2-2 with a trip to Foxboro coming up, this game is when we find out about this team. They beat the hapless Raiders and an undermanned Steelers defense. Yet against teams with real Super Bowl aspirations, they are 0-2 and face the defending AFC Champions. They beat this Patriot team then talk to the Chancellor.
Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III has made this team one to be reckoned with. Not only have they been competitive, they are 10 points away from being 4-0. Right now they are feeling the loss of Bryan Orakpo on defense. However after several years of solid defense, this team is transitioning into an offensive team that can run the football and rest their defense. With 8 rushing touchdowns to go along with 69.4% completion percentage, 1,070 yards and 4 touchdowns, Griffin will be more dangerous as defenses tire.
Seattle Seahawks – Everyone is upset that a bad call gave them a victory over the Green Bay Packers but a truth was overlooked by the finish. This team has been playing defense as though Buddy Ryan is coaching them. They sacked Aaron Rodgers 8 times in that game and almost knocked him from the game. The Seahawks are ranked #2 in total defense and the defense held the mediocre Cowboys to just 7 points when they came to visit. So keep in mind in home games, they have only given up an average of 9.5 points per game. This is a growing trend. Once the offense with Rookie QB Wilson can get some consistency in the passing game, this team will move into the “B” category.
Well these are the teams that have made the grade. So if you don’t see your team here, they have to return with a signed report card from their parents. Either they are going in the wrong direction or flat-out don’t grade above a “D” or an “F”. It is what it is… so they better crack open the books and get their game-plan together. Report cards are always tough elixirs for some to take. Remember this isn’t about cheering for a team, this is about assessing their performance.
[Dallas Cowboys] – Listen…not only do they not get a passing grade but everything that was discussed by The Chancellor before was evident last night. https://taylorblitztimes.com/2012/05/26/the-chancellor-weighs-in-on-jerry-jones-comments-on-cowboys-super-bowl-window-closing/ This team does not have a player at any position aside from DeMarcus Ware that is either the best at his position or a player other teams would replace their player for one that plays for the Cowboys. They’re just not that good. Seattle and Chicago both manhandled them in their two losses and they were sporadic in a lackluster 17-9 win over Tampa. They were fired up for game 1 against the Giants, which now looks like a fluke win. Now they’re season gets tough with four of the next five on the road in Baltimore, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Carolina. Who are they better than of that bunch?? Come on now Cowboy fans…
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