NFL Week 8 Bye Report

Just a brutal Week 7 in the NFL. I guess that's what happens when you have an amazing seven home dogs out of 13 games. Five of the seven won outright, three of them capitalizing on catastrophic errors by what were supposed to be three of the league's best teams (Pittsburgh, San Diego, Philadelphia). Those games, combined with Seattle's meltdown (knocking me out of my survivor pool), topped by the St. Louis Cardinals losing Game 2 of the World Series, just destroyed me. It was a tough, tough day.

Keeping all that in mind, here are 10 observations on the week, a splendid bloodbath, and unofficial start to the grueling middle stage of the march to NFL immortality.

1. How again did Seneca Wallace manage to become Seattle's No. 2 QB? Was Tee Martin unavailable?

2. Speaking of great decisions in the Northwest, great job Darrell Jackson. I completely support your move to fall backward untouched when you only needed one more yard to save a drive when you were down 11 in the fourth quarter. Absolutely the right call.

3. So where does Chris Simms play next year? Oakland? Detroit? Miami? Baltimore? Bruce Gradkowski is officially taking over Tampa Bay.

4. If Jacksonville doesn't pull off the upset at Philadelphia this week, expect the David Garrard calls to get significantly louder.

5. Don't worry about Tom Brady. He's doing just fine.

6. In the battle between Marty Schottenheimer and Herman Edwards, is there any surprise the game featured a blown 14-point lead in the
fourth quarter, countered by a botched game-winning drive, countered by a game-winning FG being disallowed on a penalty?

7. Speaking of disallowed FGs, Troy Polamalu's running into the kicker penalty not only disallowed the missed FG (which was then missed again, except by a different kicker), but forced Pittsburgh to use its last timeout, which in turn forced the hurried spike play in FG range with time running out in regulation, which resulted in a 10-second run-off when WR Nate Washington jumped, which resulted in overtime, which Pittsburgh lost.

8. Headline from Monday: "Browns' Baxter tears patellar tendons in both knees." Damn. I mean, damn!

9. Good luck and happy trails to LaVar Arrington (out for season), Matt Lepsis (out for season), Mike Doss (out for season), Robert Ferguson (out for season), Shawne Merriman (suspended four games for accidentally testing positive for steroids), and Maurice Carthon (resigned after accidentally becoming an NFL offensive coordinator).

10. (TIE) How about that coaching job by Dennis Green? The way he stuck up for his staff and turned that offense around was truly inspiring. Any way we can get him to run for Senate?

10. (TIE) Told you John Abraham was getting hurt again.

Only eight teams have yet to enjoy their bye week, with Buffalo, Miami, Detroit, and Washington taking their turns in Week 8. With a combined record of 6-22, a bye for these teams is like a coffee break on the Bataan Death March. There's just not a whole lot that's going to help at this point.


(2-5, 1-3 AFC East, third place)

Overview — Buffalo wide receiver Lee Evans summed it best after the Bills' 28-6 loss to the Patriots: "We had some turnovers down in the red zone, which really hurt drives." Absolute genius. Third in the league in penalties, -7 turnover ratio, 21 sacks allowed. This team is just all-around ugly.

Impact of the Bye — With the Patriots at Minnesota and Jets at Cleveland, there's a semi-decent chance the Bills will pick up a half-game in the standings this week. That would be nice.

Outlook — J.P. Losman continues to make huge mistakes that cost his team games, and the only place the Bills have to turn is Kelly Holcomb. Maybe they can get Drew Bledsoe back from the Cowboys.

Side note: I feel for Bledsoe. I went to a few training camp practices his rookie year. Bill Parcells was all over his ass the entire time. But Bledsoe took it like a man, and helped turn the Patriots into a respectable team for the first time in my life as a football fan. He handled the Tom Brady transition as well as could be expected, and there are a lot of Pats fans who will always hold him in extremely high regard. If this is the end of the road for him (and he's definitely the kind of guy who could walk way and never look back), I wish him nothing but the best. I'm glad the Pats took him instead of Rick Mirer.


(1-6, 0-3 AFC East, last place)

Overview — Joey Harrington's line from Sunday's loss to Green Bay: 33-62, 414 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT. In a game where Joey Freaking Harrington threw for more than twice the yardage as Brett Favre, the Dolphins lost by double-digits at home. They're 1-6. How's that for an overview?

Impact of the Bye — If you asked a guy being beaten to death whether he would like a five-minute break, he'd probably say yes. On a related note, Miami plays at Chicago in Week 9.

Outlook — Who knew when Nick Saban limp-wristed that challenge flag in Pittsburgh that it would ruin the whole season? Oh well, there's always the SEC.


(1-6, 0-3 NFC North, last place)

Overview — On the plus side, Kevin Jones has really turned it around after a rough start, and is leading my fantasy football resurgence. On the down side, they wasted two top-10 draft picks and $30 million on Mike Williams and Charles Rogers, and now feature an offense that relies on Mike Furrey. I'd say that about evens out.

Side note: The two players taken after Williams in 2005 were Marcus Spears (Dallas) and Merriman (San Diego). Some of the players taken after Rogers at No. 2 in 2003: Andre Johnson (No. 3), Byron Leftwich (No. 7), Terrell Suggs (No. 10), Ty Warren (No. 13), Polamalu (No. 16), Willis McGahee (No. 23) and Larry Johnson (No. 27). I'm not saying they should have taken any of those players at No. 2 instead, but trading down and acquiring picks might have worked out better in the long run. (If you ever run into Matt Millen at a bar, maybe you can mention it to him for me. I promise to send flowers to your hospital room and/or funeral.)

Impact of the Bye — Perfect. If the World Series goes to Game 6 or 7, and the Tigers end up winning, the Lions players will all be able to go to the riots on Eight Mile. If the World Series goes to Game 6 or 7, and the Tigers lose, they can all go to the riots on Eight Mile. Couldn't be better timing.

Outlook — They need a massive infusion of talent on the offensive line, followed by a better QB, better No. 2 WR, better No. 3 WR, better TE, better depth across the defense, and a better GM. After that, they'll be golden.


(2-5, 0-2 NFC East, last place)

Overview — By far the best of the dregs at 2-5/1-6, the Redskins are nonetheless in a huge hole and may very well be in the final throes of the Joe Gibbs Traveling Revival Show. Al Saunders hasn't gotten the offense to work on a consistent basis (20th in scoring, 20th in passing yards), and the Gregg Williams defense has generated virtually no pass rush (10 sacks in 7 games), leading to the shredding of the secondary (fourth-worst 239 yards/game). Gee, and I thought they solved that problem when they gave Adam Archuletta and Andre Carter a combined $60 million in the offseason. That Dan Snyder just can't catch a break.

Impact of the ByeSee Miami.

Outlook — The best of these four teams may very well end up with the fewest wins. Their final nine games: Dal, @PHI, @TB, CAR, ATL, PHI, @NO, @STL, NYG. They would have to go 6-3 in those games just to finish 8-8. I'm afraid the playoffs are a bit out of reach for ol' Joe, and I don't see him coming back for year four.

(Here's hoping Snyder gives Jim Tressel $75 million to come coach the 2007-2009 Redskins, then Isiah Thomas in 2010-11, Tom Cruise in 2012, and Joe Theismann for three preseason games in 2013 before finally just taking over coaching duties himself. Man, I wish I was a Redskins fan!)

iMix of the Week

(Available on iTunes)

1. Express Yourself – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
2. At Last – Etta James
3. Party at Ground Zero – Fishbone
4. Time – Blind Melon
5. Blues Music – G. Love & Special Sauce
6. The Ballad of Curtis Loew – Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. I Hate Children – Adolescents
8. Doin' Time (Uptown Dub) – Sublime
9. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
10. Shut ‘Em Down 2002 – Busta Rhymes

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