NFL season hits halfway point with surprises
Now that November has arrived, several NFL teams are on target to earn a berth in the playoffs, which still is more than two months away. But there are other teams who normally reach those playoffs that are in deep trouble at this halfway point of the season.
The team that has shocked and disappointed NFL fans in our area has to be the Dallas Cowboys, who seem to come up with a different way to create losses this season. Untimely fumbles, interceptions that bounce out of the receivers’ hands, boneheaded penalties at the most inopportune time and stupid plays have produced an almost unbelievable 1-6 record.
Every loss the Cowboys suffered have come when they were favored by at least one touchdown. And to top it off, they have yet to win a game at home in their billion dollar stadium complex.
This has got to make owner Jerry Jones pull out what little hair he has left on his noggin. Instead of predicting how the Cowboys will be the first team to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium, he needs to change his tune and predict when his overpaid and under-achieving team will notch a victory at home.
Sunday the Jacksonville Jaguars came to town reeling from four losses this season by a combined 99 points and were a seven-point underdog to the mighty Pokes. But twice in the first half the benevolent Cowboys had passes bounce right out of the receiver’s hands right to the defensive player which led to a pair of easy touchdowns. Before Dallas knew what was happening they were behind 21-3.
The best thing that happened for local viewers was that the Time Warner cable was out for most of the game, sparing us some of the gory details that led to the 35-17 slaughter. The gift victory gave the Jaguars a 4-4 record going into their bye week which is much better than most fans expected.
In fact there was talk during the pre-game that Head Coach Jack Del Rio’s job might be in jeopardy, but after the game the subject of having a job security problem changed to Cowboys coach Wade Phillips.
Another team playing way under its capabilities is the Minnesota Vikings, who saw its record drop to 2-5 after losing 28-18 to the New England Patriots Sunday. Ageless quarterback Brett Favre was having a decent game until he received a blow to the chin that finished him for the day.
The Vikes’ front office begged Favre to return this fall and put all their trust in the 41-year-old quarterback’s hands. But Minnesota’s offense was ranked 26th in the league going against a Patriots’ secondary that has been subpar all year. Wide receiver Randy Moss argued with Head Coach Brad Childress about why the Vikings didn’t try a field goal just before halftime and was waived Monday by Minnesota.
In the AFC West Division, the standings are exactly opposite the way they were predicted in the preseason. San Diego and Denver are on the bottom of the standings while Kansas City and Oakland are at the top.
The Chiefs are sporting one of the best records in the NFL (5-2), boast one of the stingiest defenses in the league and are among the leaders in rushing offense. Oakland has all of a sudden become a scoring machine, putting up 59 and 33 points in its last two outings.
San Diego is scoring plenty of points, but just makes silly mistakes that cost them victories. The Chargers appear to be playing very similar to the Dallas Cowboys, but did manage to snap their three-game losing streak Sunday by beating Tennessee 33-25.
Although their stingy defense got dented for 33 points by the up-and-coming Oakland Raiders Sunday, the surprising Seattle Seahawks are still in first place in the NFL West Division. And the leading tackler for that Seahawks’ defense is Orange’s Earl Thomas with 30 solo tackles and four interceptions. He had four solo stops and an assist Sunday against the Raiders.
Mike Shanahan benched quarterback Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman in Washington’s 37-25 loss to the lowly Detroit Lions. He explained that McNabb “didn’t seem to have the stamina necessary to run the two-minute offense” after fumbling and having the ball picked up and run back 17 yards for a touchdown by Lions’ rookie Ndamukong Suh for a touchdown.
The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts were tied for first place in the AFC South Division before Monday night’s big game. Quarterback Payton Manning guided the Colts to a 30-17 victory over Houston to take over first place.
New England is leading the AFC East while idle Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied for the top spot in the AFC North Division.
Atlanta and surprising Tampa Bay are deadlocked for first place one game ahead of defending world champion New Orleans in the NFC South while the idle New York Giants sit atop of the NFC East and Green Bay is one-half a game ahead of the idle Chicago Bears in the NFC North Division.
KWICKIES…Before this Korner hits the streets, the San Francisco Giants’ fans will be dancing in the streets after winning their first World Series since 1954 when they were still in New York and downed the Cleveland Indians in four straight games.
Went fishing in Lake Sabine Monday morning with Bob Hood and P.J Morris of Groves before the bad weather hit and were able to land four redfish, eight speckled trout and a nice flounder on the Louisiana shoreline under the birds. We were back to the boat launch before noon as the skies opened up and shortened our day of fishing.
The Baylor Bears moved up three places to No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 College Football Poll on the strength of their 30-22 upset of the Texas Longhorns in Austin Saturday. The top four places remained the same with Oregon, Boise State, Auburn and TCU, Alabama moved up one spot to No. 5, Utah, Wisconsin and Ohio State all moved up two places, Nebraska jumped from No. 14 to No. 9 and Stanford moved up three spots to No. 10. Newcomers to this week’s poll were North Carolina State at No. 23 and Nevada at No. 25. Taking the biggest drops were Michigan State from No. 5 to No. 16, Missouri from No. 7 to No. 14 and Florida State from No. 14 to No. 24.
Congrats to Sunset Grove golfer Steve Toal who had a hole-in-one Wednesday on the Par 3, 143-yard No. 12 hole. He said he used a six-iron because of the strong wind in his face. The ace earned him a $100 check for being a member of the Sunset Grove Men’s Golf Association.
JUST BETWEEN US…A tip of the Korner Kap to West Orange-Stark defensive coordinator Cornel Thompson who was honored during halftime of the Mustang’s 36-8 victory over Silsbee Friday night with a plaque for his 40 years in the coaching profession. On hand were many of Thompson’s former players and making the presentation was his McNeese State baseball coach Hubert Boales. This Korner visited with Boales after the presentation. Although he never coached me at McNeese (he was still coaching at Jasper High back then) Boales did coach me at the McNeese old-timer’s baseball game each year. His favorite phrase back then was “Can you throw one more inning, big guy?”