Ten Things I Think I Think about last night's memorable games:
1. I think the Jets are in big trouble on offense. Big trouble. That wasn't a franchise quarterback on the field for the Jets in the 10-9 loss to Baltimore; that was a liability. The worrisome thing for the Jets, to me, is that Mark Sanchez has to be shaken by the game last night, and now the staff has a short week to get him ready to face the dominant team in the division, New England.
2. I think Don Banks had it precisely right in his story this morning on SI.com, that the score might have been 10-9, Baltimore, but it didn't feel anywhere near that close.
3. I think if I'm Dustin Keller, I'm going to Receiving Basics 101 this week. He's the last-minute goat from the evening at the Meadowlands. Are you kidding me?
Recapping: Fourth-and-10, Jets' 31, Jets down 10-9, 41 seconds left, last gasp. Sanchez threw an out route to Keller near the right sideline, and instead of diving or reaching for the orange marker at the sideline, he stepped out of bounds a foot in front of it. You've got to do anything to get to that marker -- dive, stick the football out, anything.
I heard the Jets' radio replay of the play this morning on our Sirius Radio show. "Dustin Keller was wide open and stepped out of bounds a foot shy of the first down!'' said Jets play-by-play man Bob Wischusen, incredulously. That's how I feel watching the replay this morning -- incredulous.
4. I think it's amazing the Jets couldn't/didn't expose the weak point of the Ravens -- their secondary -- all night. Longest pass play of the game for New York: 13 yards. Just another worrisome thing about the Sanchize.
5. I think the Ravens are one heck of a team -- with a very strong organization to back them up. How about secretly moving Marshal Yanda from guard to right tackle? How about the impact play of Tom Zbikowski, whom all the other teams found holes in before the 2008 draft? How about defensive coordinator Greg Mattison getting Rex Ryan-like pressure on the passer all night?
6. I think the Chiefs are very happy they didn't have a chance to let Darren Sproles break the bank in free agency. Because Dexter McCluster is a lot cheaper -- and five years younger. McCluster's 94-yard punt return for a touchdown was immediate Sproles-type impact.
7. I think the recent drafts of the Chiefs -- pre- and post-Pioli -- paid off big last night. Four No. 1 draft choices (Derrick Johnson, Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson) were the top four tacklers in the 21-14 upset of the Chargers -- 12 tackles and six, six, six, respectively. As much as we've criticized the regime of Carl Peterson and Bill Kuharich, they should get some credit for the great play of Johnson and Dorsey last night.
8. I think Philip Rivers has to work on his anger issues on the field. He often looked like a 9-year-old on national TV. That angrily-kicking-the-football stuff doesn't help you win games.
9. I think you're all wishing you took Jamaal Charles a round earlier in your fantasy drafts, aren't you? Eleven carries, 92 yards, 100 yards from scrimmage, one touchdown. There will be more than 12 touches in the future for this poor man's Chris Johnson.
10. I think the NFL could do worse things than thinking about two or three of those Monday-night doubleheaders. ESPN should consider pushing for that in the next TV contract.
Now onto your e-mail:
• BLAME THE TEAM, NOT ALEX BARRON. "While Alex Barron is obviously a goat for the Cowboys' loss, this was a team loss. You went into great detail about the end-of-the-first-half debacle for the 'Boys and this being a team blunder. But doesn't some responsibility for Barron's play lie with the coaches? Why didn't the coaches provide some sort of help for Barron on Brian Orakpo (who absolutely lit up the right side of the Cowboys O-line)? Especially on the last play of the game -- as a second-year player, you knew that Orakpo would have plenty of energy for one last push. With time no longer an issue and Romo's escape artist ability, surely having [Jason] Witten chip block Orakpo and then leak to the end zone was a viable option. All Barron's fault or just more of the disorganized Cowboys led by soon-to-be-former head coach Wade Philips?''-- Greg Fuhrman, Fort Collins, Colo.
Agreed. Barron should have some help on that play. That's the coaches' fault. But when your first move is to reach up and grab a guy by the neck on the crucial snap of the game -- that's Barron's fault.
• THIS ACTUALLY IS NOT A DUMB IDEA. "In all honesty, if I were Bill Polian, I would simply deactivate Bob Sanders for the rest of the regular season and save him for the playoffs. Highly unorthodox, obviously, but so is a player who is as dynamic as Sanders being hurt more often than he is healthy. He literally is never OK, let alone 100 percent. As the Colts have demonstrated the ability time and again to navigate the regular season and secure good playoff seeding without 21, why not just save him for when the games mean the most?''-- Khary Louis, Brooklyn, N.Y.
I keep trying to think of reasons why this is a stupid idea. And I have come to the conclusion that I can't. It's at least an interesting idea to think about and discuss internally as an organization.
• WHAT A CONCEPT! MMQB-TV. "Peter, loved the video of how you produce MMQB. I think each MMQB should include a video portion. Take a paragraph or two of your column and just talk to us, dude. Go for it.''-- Frank Jones, Westborough, Mass.
Thanks. Now that SI.com has the idea from you, I'm sure I'll be hearing about it. We'll see.
• THE TEXANS SHOULD BE HIGH AS KITES. "First, I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid just yet, but Houston talk radio has the Texans winning the division and finally bringing a playoff victory to a city that has been starved of one. Do you believe the Texans have what it takes this year? Second, regarding the Cowboys starting the most penalized tackle in the league, is there any chance they could sign Patriots holdout Logan Mankins? From what I understand, he's not signing any time soon, and is no longer under contract.''-- Chad, Houston
The Patriots aren't trading Mankins -- I don't think, at least not until the mid-October trading deadline. Re: the Texans, they have a very manageable schedule pre-bye (at Washington, Dallas, at Oakland, Giants, Kansas City) and then 13 days to prepare for the second game against the Colts. They won't have any excuses about the schedule, that's for sure.
• TOUGH NIGHT FOR DALLAS. "I'm a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan, but Sunday was hard to watch. I did actually end up switching channels for a little bit. So what's up with the Cowboys?''-- Aren, Omaha
A little overrated entering the season, hurting on the offensive line, and the coaches didn't have a good day Sunday. I'll tell you one thing: I have no idea what kind of game plan entering any Dallas game has Felix Jones running the ball eight times. That has to increase.
• THE BETTIS CANDIDACY. "The NFL just released its list of HOF candidates. Jerome Bettis is up against a couple other stellar running backs, including Curtis Martin, who has more yards than Bettis. Do you think Bettis will be a first-round inductee or do you think he will have to wait like Cris Carter, who should have been inducted by now?''-- Luca Covi, Bridgeville, Pa.
Good question. The problem for Bettis will be that he'll be up against two other backs with deserving resumes -- Marshall Faulk and Martin. That will work against all three; it could be that the 44 voters will deem one of them better than the other two, and vote one of them in, then address some of the other offensive guys, like Shannon Sharpe or Carter, as you say. It's way too early to predict what will happen on election day.