Big Ben injury puts Ravens firmly in AFC North driver's seat; mail
In the wake of the Week 10 news:
It's clear the Ravens' rush has had much to do with it, as the Steelers completed just 52 percent of their throws in those games. The Steelers are one game back of the Ravens in the AFC North after 10 weeks, but the advantage in the series will clearly shift to Baltimore without Roethlisberger -- and with Terrell Suggs having returned to the Ravens lineup after his offseason Achilles injury threatened to scuttle his season. The Steelers and Ravens meet twice in the next 19 days, including Sunday at Heinz Field.
With John Abraham providing good pressure and Kroy Biermann adequate pressure, the Falcons clearly tired of putting Edwards on the field and getting nothing in return. Edwards reported to the Falcons in late July 2011, after having knee surgery during the lockout, and never was the player he'd been for the Vikings. On Sunday in New Orleans, he played on but seven passing downs. I got quite a few tweets from fans last night hungrily begging for their team to pursue Edwards. For what, exactly?
In all, Denver held Carolina conversion-less on 12 third-down tries. "Von Miller is just playing out of his mind,'' coach John Fox told me. "If he hadn't gotten hurt last year, he definitely would have shattered the rookie sack record, and he's playing even better this year.'' He has 21.5 sacks in his first 24 pro games.
Miller's had help; Denver's allowed just 289 yards, on average, in beating the Saints, Bengals and Panthers in the last three weeks. With the news that fellow pass rusher Elvis Dumervil (seven sacks, five forced fumbles) has a strained shoulder but not serious damage -- he hurt it Sunday in Charlotte -- Denver should be in good shape down the stretch to pressure the quarterback.
Now for your email:
IT WAS ONLY ABOUT PRODUCTION.
That was exactly my point -- not to judge who is better, but simply to say, "No matter who they put in there, Aaron Rodgers is going to make it work."
I HAVE NO IDEA, BUT I DOUBT IT AFFECTS THEM AT ALL.
Maybe, but I doubt it. The Giants were struggling on offense before Sandy. In the three previous games, Manning was a 58 percent passer with two touchdowns and three picks, and since, his protection has been poor; he was sacked a season-high four times against Cincinnati and pressured an additional nine times. If you're looking for the Giants' problem, I would suggest it starts with the porous line in front of Manning, and then I would look at how Hakeem Nicks seems to be slowed by the Week 2 leg injury he suffered against Tampa Bay.
GOOD POINTS ON COWHER, SORT OF.
So, if I told you that, in his first 89 games as coach, Tomlin would be 61-28, winning 69 percent of his games as a first-time head coach, and I told you he'd get the Steelers to two Super Bowls in his first four seasons, you'd tell me the record isn't good enough? Man. Tough crowd.
VERY GOOD QUESTION.
Good point. There have been a few good ones -- Chicago-Green Bay, Seattle-San Francisco, with New Orleans-Atlanta and Peyton Manning in the Black Hole coming up. But I agree with you. The NFL is trying to capitalize on a nation's love of pro football by putting mostly mediocre matchups on national TV on Thursday. Scott, it will all tell with the ratings. If people don't watch and advertisers don't pay for spots, the NFL will scale back. I also think a factor in the next couple of years will be whether another network or cable channel will bid for a Thursday night package of games, taking it away from NFL Network.
SAINTS VS CHARGERS.
Doesn't matter what city it is, Jim. I judge my rankings on this question: If two teams were to play on a neutral field in Wichita today, which would win? And right now, with the Saints winning four of five, and coming off a win over the league's only unbeaten team, I thought they should be somewhere around 11. Thanks for the kind words.
YOU ARE RIGHT, ROB.
Yes, with a couple of asterisks. First: The first down was at the San Francisco 2, not the 8. And Fisher should have let the clock run down, to be sure. But I think it was smart to take the timeout there, just not when he took it. I'm sure, in retrospect, Fisher wishes he'd have let some time run off the clock before taking that timeout.