NFL Week 6 Breakdown
Monday, October 18, 2010 | Author: Mad Typist
Welcome to 10 Easy Ways to Lose a Football Game - the week 6 edition.

1. Fail to make the easy interception. Yes, good for the Redskins defense for forcing 3 fumbles. But the defensive backs were simply terrible last night, dropping not 1, not 2, but 3 INTs. The first drop by Carlos Rodgers (who has the worst hands in football) would have given the Redskins the ball at midfield. Instead, Manning converted the first down on the next play, and then proceeded to lead the first of many time consuming, point producing drives that ended making the difference in this game.

2. Play undisciplined. The Cowboys could have beaten the Minnesota Vikings, but yet again were undone by penalties and stupid turnovers. Yes, I know the celebration penalty is stupid, but since the Cowboys' Marc Columbo got that called on him last week (a penalty which ended up largely costing them the game), you'd think that the Cowboys would have been smart enough to avoid any sort of activity post touchdown that might draw a yellow flag (spoiler: they weren't). The Cowboys had 11 penalties called on them yesterday. To me, that reeks of a team lacking in discipline.

3. Play poorly on special teams. The San Diego Chargers have one of the elite QBs in the league, and they're ranked #1 in both total offense and defense. Unfortunately, they also have given up 4 TDs on special teams, had 9 fumbles, several blocked punts (one of which resulted in a safety) and pretty much been eaten up by the opposition. Makes you wonder just what they were thinking when they let special teams ace Kassim Osgood go.

4. Suffer too many injuries. Last year, it was the Atlanta Falcons who were the highly touted team that seemed unable to overcome injuries to key players. This year, it's the Green Bay Packers, who seem to have lost half their key starters to some kind of injury this season.

5. Have a rookie QB start his first game against the Steelers defense. Honestly, Colt McCoy showed a lot of promise in the loss to Pittsburgh, so that's good news for the Cleveland Browns. But they still lost because QBs forced to start before they've had time to sit and learn usually don't have what it takes to beat a halfway decent team. Again, McCoy showed a lot of promise, but the original plan had been to "red shirt" him a year behind veteran QBs so he had time to fully absorb the game.

6. Allow your QB to get hit too much. Poor Jay Cutler was sacked 9 times against NY two weeks ago, before he was finally knocked out of the game with a concussion. You'd think that Mike Martz would have come up with a way to fix the protection scheme in the two weeks since. However, it was more of the same this week, as Cutler returned to start, only to suffer through another 6 sacks against the Seahawks. At this point, Chicago is going to lose a lot more games, especially since Cutler will only be MORE prone to panicked throws (leading to INTs) the more he gets hit over the course of the season.

7. Fail to pressure the QB. #6 points out that you will lose if your QB gets hit too much, but the inverse is also true - if you DON'T hit the opposing QB, he is able to just sit comfortably in the pocket and wait for one of his receivers to eventually get open. This applies both to the Redskins last night (yet again, Peyton Manning's pristine white jersey doesn't need to washed at all after the game) and the Atlanta Falcons, who only managed to get to Kevin Kolb once the entire game. Kolb played lights out against Atlanta, which handicapped what they were able to do offensively, as they were forced into passing most of the game due to the early points deficit.

8. Be a team from California. Really, that's the only explanation I have for the poor performances this year of the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers. The only reason one of them won yesterday was because they were playing one of the others (in this case, San Fran triumphed in a dreadfully boring 17-9 game).

9. Fail to consistently run the ball. Matt Forte has had some amazing games this year, but he's also had several dreadful rushing games this year. Part of his gaudy stats in the wins were due to catching short passes out of the backfield, but when forced to be a traditional run attack, the Bears are woefully inconsistent. I've harped on the Broncos lack of a running game as well, and yet again it took inserting Tim Tebow to finally get a decent run and score from the run attack. The Broncos' backs are poor runners, and suffer from injury to boot. Expect to see more Tebow as the year progresses.

10. Play against better teams. Yes, it sounds simple, but it's true. Sometimes teams benefit from a weak early schedule and seem better than they actually are (see: the 2008 Buffalo Bills, who got out to a 5-1 start against terrible teams). This year, it seems like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were who were thought they were - a young team with some talent that still needs to grow more before they can run with the big boys in the league. They started strong, but against weak opponents like the Bengals, Panthers and Browns, but against the Saints and Steelers, it wasn't even close.

Studs of the week. Don't look now, but there's another QB controversy in Philly. Kevin Kolb was brilliant this week (23/29, 326 yds, 3 TDs). Matt Schaub (25/33, 305 yds, 2 TDs) brought his team back in the 4th quarter with a great comeback. They may not be well known among NFL fans yet, but if Chris Ivory (15 rushes, 158 yds) and Ryan Torain (20 rushes, 100 yds, 2 TDs) have a few more weeks like this one, they will be.

Duds of the week. This week the duds are the players who took what looked like really cheap shots at an opposing player. Brandon Merriweather may be getting hit with a suspension this week for a nasty hit where he clearly launches his head into Todd Heap's head. When Bill Bellicheck, your own coach, is upset enough about that hit to bench you, you know that it's not kosher. Similarly, James Harrison knocked out not one, but TWO opposing players from the Browns. Look at the tape - you'll see that Harrison is clearly leading with his head, his arms pinned down at his sides, because he has no intention of attempting to wrap up a tackle. He just wants to hurt someone. He's admitted as much in the press. He won't get suspended, but he sure deserves to be.

Teams I like this week. Kudos to the NY Jets, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for showing why they're the teams to fear this season. Can't say there's an NFC team playing nearly as steady as these three contenders. New England may be a little up-and-down sometimes, but they can beat any team in the league on the right day.

Teams I don't like this week. Pretty much anyone who got called out above qualifies this week, though special anti-kudos must go out to the Dallas Cowboys for yet again failing to wrap up a game they had well in hand.
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