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It's the defense.

More on that later. First, what's worse than losing against Detroit? Why, losing against the team that lost to Detroit, of course. That's what the Bucs did yesterday.

Tennessee seems to have taken the throw-back fad way too far, choosing to incarnate the last Houston Oilers teams (I say the last because for a while the Oilers were a great team). Kyle Orton in Denver continues to be lucky in his wide receivers, who are developing the ability to catch his awful throws. Dallas has to be pondering a trade for Tony Romo, which would be unfair to the curiosly inconsistent QB. The Giants ahd too much trouble holding the Chiefs down (where Cassel continues to prove a single player cannot turn around any team). The Jets and Sanchez lost for the first time.

And today is the Favre vs Green bay grudge match. Except journeyman QB Favre may just show up with his team du jour along for the match (unlike, say, Mike Ditka who'd show up alone --see the old "Da Berz" sketches on SNL).

So, Pittsburgh overcame all of its offensive troubles. the line performed as they should, even if they allowed three sacks. Rashard mendenhall proved himself a good enough RB. Big Ben showed he has learned a lot in the NFL and could perhaps be a better than average QB with a knack for extending the play. More important the offense scored TDs when it should.

So how did a 28-0 game turn to a 35-28 game? One Chargers TD was a result of a poor decision by the rookie punt returner to return a punt when there was no need to do so. But the other three are squarely the defense's fault. Now, I don't ask for a defense that shuts out the opposition every time, but only for one that can protect a big lead so the game isn't decided in the 4th quarter.

One can't even argue the defense was tired, as the offense kept the ball for a solid 40 minutes, giving the defense plenty of bench time. So either Dick Lebeau is finally feeling his years (though you'd think Tomlin would notive) or Troy Polamalu was a great deal more important to the New Steel Curtain than I thought (or the defense is sleeping in its laurels). We'll know soon, as Polamalu will probably return before mid-season. In the meantime, I worry about the game at Detroit. Sure, the Lions are still a crummy team, but underestimating the rival is a deadly mistake (ask the Dolphins when they played the then expansion Texans).

Now, had the game ended as it should ahve, with the Steelers winning 35 to 10 or 14, I'd have held on to hope that Pittsburgh could go for the 7th Lombardi trophy. As it is, I'm not giving up hope, but I'm prepared to do so.

Oh, it may be a good idea to trade Willie Parker. I like him and he's a good RB, but he seems to spend more time injured than playing. I don't think it's his fault he gets injured, but no team can afford a fragile RB. Better to develop Mendenhall and acquire a backup fast. Neither of them can hold a candle to The Bus, not to mention Franco Harris, but they can keep the tradition of the Steelers runnign game alive.

Whether that tradition ought to be kept is another matter. With Ward and Holmes, plus now Wallace as WRs, and with Miller and Spaeth as TEs, Pittsburgh has great potential for an airborne team. But teams that rely on the passing game alone tend to do poorly post-season (see the Broncos, the Dolphins, the Air Coriel(SP?) Chargers). The msot successful teams have a good running game and a decent to good passing game (see the Broncos in the late 90s, the Steelers, the Greatest Show on Turf, even the 90s Cowboys).

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How bout dem Broncos?! :D

I was so proud to be wearing my Champ Bailey jersey at yesterday's game. Not only was he a key ingredient to the win, but I just love a good defense! That was probably the best NFL game I've ever been to. Right up there with an Oiler/Steeler game I attended in 1993. I am hoarse today and think I'm half deaf, but it was a BLAST! 4-0, baby!

We've got the Pats next week. I don't know if we can pull that off, but if our defense plays well again, we can at least make it a bit harder for them to beat us.

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How bout dem Broncos?! :D

According to the spanish-language analysts in Fox Sports, the Broncos should finish 4-12. Now, before you get righteously furious, I also think that's an exaggeration on their part.

The Broncos are doing better than expected, but then the expectations were for a Detroit-like season with a chance of scattered wins. What with a new coach and new QB and all, it wasn't unreasonable to expect a "rebuilding" season.

I think they're playing well and winning convincingly. If they beat the Pats, most of the rest of the world will think the same. If they lose to the Pats, you'll hear 4-12 a lot more often.

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Can we finally consider the Orton/Cutler trade a huge win for the Broncos, or do we have to wait to see how the draft picks pan out?

I think it was a huge win for the Bears. Replacing the head coach was probably the win for the Broncos. Orton has done well, but mostly he has the advantage of very good receivers, some of his throws wer just plain terrible. Cutler in Chicago is doing a great deal better than Orton in Denver The defense, though, has improved a lot.

IMO Denver took Orton because they had no good backup, while Orton was a known quantity with some regular season experience.

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Yeah, Orton is no star and won't carry us, that's for sure. I'm just hoping for more great defense all season with an improving offense. I think the new coach is working out well, and will continue to do so, improving along the way. It's been fun anyway. :D

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How bout dem Broncos?! :D

Congratulations. B) Just shows you that on any given Sunday anything can happen, even to the unbelievably good Cowboys. I can't stress that enough: U*N*B*E*L*I*E*V*A*B*L*Y good. The broncos did well.

D'kian may have a break down of the game, but I'm going to ignore it.

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Congratulations. :D Just shows you that on any given Sunday anything can happen, even to the unbelievably good Cowboys. I can't stress that enough: U*N*B*E*L*I*E*V*A*B*L*Y good. The broncos did well.

Oh, I quite agree.

The Cowboys spend the better part of three hours trying to shoot themselves in the foot, but only succeeded once or twice. That is unbelievable

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I'll cut through the suspense: Favre did show up at the game with all his team.

He established a new NFL record, the only QB to defeat every other team in the League. As record go this one is somewhat meaningless. A lot of it depends on factors beyond a player's control, such as scheduling. Other long-lasting Qbs retired when the League held less teams, too. But it will probably go up on the NFL's top ten records that won't ever be broken.

Speaking of which, Favre owns one such record: most consecutive starts by a QB. It will be very hard for that record to go down, as Favre has never missed a start, not one, and that includes several games he played with a broken thumb.

The game was quite good and the Packers never stood a chance, not against the Vikes' defense. Favre did ok, but the way the defense played they'd have won with one of the really bad Steeler QBs of the 80s and 90s like Bubby Brister or David Woodley.

This was also the first game I saw in which a head coach challenged a play that would give points to the other team if eh won the challenge. Rodgers fumbled near the goal line and Minnesota recovered. The challenge was Rodgers actually was down inside the end zone before the ball came loose, ergo a safety and two points for the Vikes. This makes sense, as they woululd likely have scored a TD or, almost certainly, a field goal. Either way 2 points are less bad than three or seven points. But it sounds weird.

The return match is on Nov. 1st in Lambeau Field. Too abd. It should ahve been in december when it's colder, but that's scheduling for you.

Next week the Steelers should walk all over the Lions (I wonder if Bettis will be at the game; he is from Detroit). The Chief have a chance for their first victory when they host Dallas. The Broncos will face a make or break game against the Pats (if they lose and wind up 15-1, pundits won't even annoint them playoff contenders until very late in the season).

On other League news I'm hearing rumors the Jacksonville Jags are pondering a move to another city. That's nto a bad idea, but the Cards can tell them it's about winning, not novelty. One possibility is LA, which has gone a very long time without an NFL team. Me, I'd look for a more suitable location. One that will impose hardship on the visiting team, and one with a more favorable business cliamte. Vegas, for example, or any large market that has never had an NFL franchise.

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The game was quite good and the Packers never stood a chance, not against the Vikes' defense. Favre did ok, but the way the defense played they'd have won with one of the really bad Steeler QBs of the 80s and 90s like Bubby Brister or David Woodley.

Hyperbole. The game could have been tied if Lee didn't drop a pass in the end zone at the end of the first half. Plus, the packers had two chances to grab exceptionally well-placed on-side kicks in the fourth quarter (something they actually succeeded in doing against Cincinnati). The packers had lots of chances; they blew them. And Favre did well, not just ok. You have to remember how much freedom the coaches give him to throw on any given play. His ability to read defenses is the reason all of his throws look so easy to make. When he has the best running back in the game, he doesn't have to make the wild throws he's famous for.

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I'll cut through the suspense: Favre did show up at the game with all his team.

He established a new NFL record, the only QB to defeat every other team in the League. As record go this one is somewhat meaningless. A lot of it depends on factors beyond a player's control, such as scheduling. Other long-lasting Qbs retired when the League held less teams, too. But it will probably go up on the NFL's top ten records that won't ever be broken.

I don't think it's meaningless. :D It means he stuck around long enough, played enough games, and played well enough to have beaten very team in the league! That's impressive! He also has the streak for playing the longest without missing a game. Don't recall how long, but it's over ten years, I believe. That is impressive for a QB, considering how they are vulnerable to the big hit and everyone is gunning for them.

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Hyperbole.

Possibly. truth is I can't get excited about wither the Packers or the vikings, and I don't much care for Favre (as a person). So I kept web surfing and watching a House M.D. rerun through parts of the first half.

The packers had lots of chances; they blew them.

And this is why I stand by my statement: any team that blows so many chances doesn't stand a chance (wow, that's really bad grammar)

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I don't think it's meaningless. :D It means he stuck around long enough, played enough games, and played well enough to have beaten very team in the league! That's impressive! He also has the streak for playing the longest without missing a game.

The streak record is impressive, especially qhen you consider, as I mentioned previously, he played some games with a broken thumb in his throwing hand.

But beating every other team is partly an artifact of scheduling and luck. Most winning QBs end their careers in the same team they started in (with many exceptions, sure). And as I also said many ended their careers at a time when there were less teams (I recall when there were 26 teams).

Consider, too, whether players in other positions have beaten every team in the League. I've no info on that.

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Possibly. truth is I can't get excited about wither the Packers or the vikings, and I don't much care for Favre (as a person). So I kept web surfing and watching a House M.D. rerun through parts of the first half.

I heard House treated phantom limb-pain with a mirror. Ramachandran 1, NFC North 0.

On a different note, the complete failure of the Packers offensive line should have served to highlight how bad Rodger's pocket awareness is. Instead, everyone seems to be laying all eight of Rodger's sacks on the group. I guess not everyone can deal with pressure like Rothlisberger. Ah, Rodgers is still young I guess. We'll see if he moves as well after 80 sacks at the end of the season, 'cause that's what he's on track for 80. Seriously. I think he's been sacked 20 times already. There are running backs who don't get tackled that often.

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On a different note, the complete failure of the Packers offensive line should have served to highlight how bad Rodger's pocket awareness is. Instead, everyone seems to be laying all eight of Rodger's sacks on the group. I guess not everyone can deal with pressure like Rothlisberger.

It's the line, because not even Roethlisberger can deal with the pressure like Roethlisberger :P Seriously. He was sacked way too much last year, because he had a lousy O line.

But I wasn't paying much attention (those casual games are very addictive). If he gets sacked after half a day of looking downfield and fake-pumping, then he does have a problem other than the O line. Otherwise, well, it's always easier, and cheaper, to get new line men than a new QB.

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Oh, I wouldn't want a new QB. I actually think Rodgers is very good - he just hasn't learned to deal with pressure yet, which is bad news when the O-line has been decaying for 4 years. I'd like someone to teach him to slip toward and past the pressure (like Rothlisberger does) instead of backpedaling into a sack and out of field goal range. If he evades the initial pressure to escape the pocket, and nobody is open for 3 seconds or so, and someone is blocking his lane to throw it safely out of bounds, then and only then is he allowed to take a sack.

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Oh, I wouldn't want a new QB. I actually think Rodgers is very good - he just hasn't learned to deal with pressure yet, which is bad news when the O-line has been decaying for 4 years.

You know, all football discussions eventually get down to the line. The question is why has the line been decaying for so long? I mean, sure a QB ought to know how to deal with pressure, because even the best line won't keep all blitzes out (and given time all O lines ultimately fail; warhead always defeats armor). But it shoulnd't be a crucial skill. Marino dealt with pressure by throwing quickly. Fran Tarkenton must have outrun half the Leagues RBs for years, only he ran sideways and behind the line.

I'd like someone to teach him to slip toward and past the pressure (like Rothlisberger does) instead of backpedaling into a sack and out of field goal range.

I should think that's one reason teams have a QB coach and regular practice sessions. Maybe they should hire Fran Tarkenton. They need QB balance with the Vikings anyway B)

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I'd never advocate hiring a turn-coat. I just can't stand being reminded of that purple, backstabbing traitor... Ryan Longwell. <_<

Who?

Fact is there's little team loyalty in the NFL. I value loyalty very much, but I value fairness more. Given that free agency is widespread, teams can't expect loyalty from their players. Naturally every player will try to get a better deal if he's not satisfied with his current team.

The same goes for coaches.

These days owners have to know how to keep both if they want a lasting dynasty.

Oh, well. the thread is pretty much dead until Sunday.

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Well, Kansas City blew its chance to win a game. They did well enough, even forcing the game into overtime, but they coulnd't defeat the Cowboys. Better luck next time. On the other hand, the teams wore retro uniforms, with KC sporting the old Texans logo. Remember that was the franchise that launched the old AFL and changed the NFL to what we know today.

The Broncos proved they're a better team than anyone gave them credit for. The pundits will still wander about it, but they have to recognize they beat New England (the die-hard pundits will say the Pats are in decline; they may actually be, you kind of notice when Brady hits a receiver on the shin). I think the team in the low-lying city (merely a mile above sea level) has a fair chance to reach the AFC Championship.

The Titans aren't coming apart, they've come and gone already. It's sad. I had hoped to see Kerry Collins beat the Giants at the Superbowl, but that's no longer likely to happen. Look for a change in QB, which won't help one bit.

Today the Jets meet the Dolphins. Dividional games are usually close, and this may be the Fins' last chance to straighten up their season.

Next week the Saints meet the Giants. I expect the New Orleans team will lose in memomarble fashion. The Steelers go against Cleveland, I expect a massacre.

Oh, right, the Steelers beat the Lions. The comentators on Fox Sports Latinamerica tried to make it seem as though Pittsburgh slipped and let a lead vanish again, but really it was never in any danger. Sure, they should have scored in the 4th just to put the game away, or eaten a large bite off the clock, but, really, with a defense that provides 3 consecutive sacks there's no need. That 4th down and nearly half the field to go was a tomstone for Detroit.

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The Broncos proved they're a better team than anyone gave them credit for. The pundits will still wander about it, but they have to recognize they beat New England (the die-hard pundits will say the Pats are in decline; they may actually be, you kind of notice when Brady hits a receiver on the shin). I think the team in the low-lying city (merely a mile above sea level) has a fair chance to reach the AFC Championship.

Next week the Saints meet the Giants. I expect the New Orleans team will lose in memomarble fashion. The Steelers go against Cleveland, I expect a massacre.

I agree with the die-hard pundits: New England is in decline. However, it did excite me to see Denver's coach get so excited after his win. Either way, it's getting closer and closer for the undefeated teams to start solidifying their positions for playoff births, and Denver is right on track. It seems like this season is going by at a quick pace.

I can't wait for the Giant's/Saint's game. I think it will be the first test for both teams. However, I'm certain the Big Blue Wrecking Crew will be victorious. I'm starting to warm up to the idea of giving Payton that raise. :D

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I agree with the die-hard pundits: New England is in decline.

Could be. Could be only that Brady's having a bad year. Could be the Broncos' defense is good enough to rattle the Pats more than usual.

However, it did excite me to see Denver's coach get so excited after his win.

It is nice to see the protegee beat the mentor. Of course that only shows how good the mentor was.

Either way, it's getting closer and closer for the undefeated teams to start solidifying their positions for playoff births, and Denver is right on track. It seems like this season is going by at a quick pace.

All seasons go by too quickly. Face it, the NFL season is very short. It's so short (how short is it?) --thank you. It's so short every single damn game counts. First you can't really tell from a few game show good a team is. Then before mid-season (fast approaching, only three to five weeks away) you can eliminate a few from serious contention, but you still don't know much about the rest. That akes the closing weeks exciting (I predict the Bengals will splatter next to the Browns where they belong).

As for playoff births, there was only one such event, sort of: The Tmmacualte Reception. All the rest are berths :P

Whatever, Denver is on track. Of course it helps they have the Raiders (what a team looks like after it declines), the Chiefs (ditto, except the Chiefs have been stuck there a while) and the inconstant Chargers in their division.

I can't wait for the Giant's/Saint's game. I think it will be the first test for both teams. However, I'm certain the Big Blue Wrecking Crew will be victorious.

Possibly. The Saints won't win a Conference championship, much less a Superbowl, until they change their name to something else. I mean, what kind of name is "Saints" for a football team? Maybe if they were owned by Ned Flanders, and even then he'd admit to being corny. The problem is what to call them. The New Orleans Jazz is ridiculous, though it fits, and little else from the region befits a football team. Maybe the New Orleans Gators.

Anyway, until they figure it out, they'll keep failing. Sometimes they'll get close. They may even win a playoff game or two, but that's it. They are like a living self-fulfilling prophecy: The New Orleans Ain'ts :D

Of course the ultimate in bad names are the Cleveland Browns. Naming the team after a color only works if the color is red. Would you take the Vikes seriously if they were named Minnesota Purple? Of course not. But Brown is also such a boring, pedestrian color. The only worse choice would ahve been the Cleveland Beiges.

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The Broncos proved they're a better team than anyone gave them credit for. The pundits will still wander about it, but they have to recognize they beat New England (the die-hard pundits will say the Pats are in decline; they may actually be, you kind of notice when Brady hits a receiver on the shin). I think the team in the low-lying city (merely a mile above sea level) has a fair chance to reach the AFC Championship.

They're surprising the hell out of everyone here in Denver, but we're having fun, so we're going along with it. :D

Titans aren't coming apart, they've come and gone already. It's sad.

Ha ha! I love it! I never did like Bud Adams (or his nasty-looking hair piece), even when I was a die-hard Oiler fan!

I agree with the die-hard pundits: New England is in decline. However, it did excite me to see Denver's coach get so excited after his win.

I agree that the Pats are declining and yes, it was fun to watch McDaniels celebrate his big win. I thought it was also nice to see how many Patriots players, coaches and staff members came over to hug him and talk to him after the game. He is obviously respected and missed over there.

And after all the Cutler and Marshall vs. McDaniels drama and uncertainty pre-preseason, I think it's safe to say Denver is falling in love with its new coach. Hell, after a 5-0 start, who wouldn't? :P

Pittsburgh next week on Monday night. I can't wait!

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