Tag Archives: NFL

The Bears are done!

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 If only for a second, everything seemed to align in the proper place, spelling a Bears postseason appaearance — the New York Giants were beating the Vikings and Oakland was pulling out a surprising win in Tampa against the Buccaneers.

But it all fell apart, as the Bears seem to do in the fourth quarter of so many games– today was no exception.

The Bears were on a role before facing this Texans team, though it did not come in the conventions sense. Sudden special teams plays and defemsive anomolies have saved the Bears in tough spots all season. There was no such event late in the Houston game, especially since a first down offsides penalty on the last Houston possession of the game put the Texans in position for an easy first down conversion, which they converted. The Bears wouldn’t recover from the costly blunder, and their season has come to an end against a team destined for vacation regardless of the games final.

While they stopped the run early, Andre Johnson took advantage of the absence of free safety Mike Brown’s and caught 10 balls. His success set up the run game which ultimately spelled the end for the Bears. The Texans two offensive phases, and an inept Bears offensive attack, became too much for the Bears to carry. The defense wilted in the latter stages of the game, surrendering big runs to Steve Slaton on successive offensive downs.

What hurt the Bears most, though, was the erie circumstances that led rookie running back Matt Forte to leave the game. The running back was having a stellar game but didn’t see much of the second half. In fact, he missed the entire fourth quarter. At no point was he more missed than a third down, goaline play where Adrian Peterson went in for the td and was immediately stopped at the one-yard line by one defender. Forte would have punched it in, no question.

All successful endings for the Bears hinged on a Sunday win, they simply couldn’t deliver.

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Stint with Jets may spell an end to Farve’s career

SPORT NFL FOOTBALLAn so the drama that is the never ending career of Bret Farve continues…

“I think the ending physical, or whatever, that every player goes through after the last game will king of maybe shed some light on some things,” Farve said. ” So we’ll see.”

Typical Farve, always leave them wanting more.

“During the course of the year, there were numerous times where I’d been asked about my shoulder and it had been hit a couple of times,” the 39-year-old QB said. “I don’t know. I mean, just knowing my body, there may be something, but there’s no test yet to reveal anything.”

That’s it Bret, reel them in.

“I’m sure if we MRI’d it enough we’d probably find something,” Farve went on to say.

Another barrage of Farve comments in which he detailed his lingering doubt has fueled further debate about the hoary quarterback. A questionable right shoulder has many wondering whether Farve will return for another with the Jets.

Once heralded by the NY media as a steal, Farve’s stay with the Jets has turned out to be less than impressive. He heard constant talk of Chad Pennnington’s success in Miami as his team faltered at this season’s end, opening the perverbial playoff window and A.F.C. East title for their conference foes, the Dolphins. A 8-3 start to the season sent a furvor of praise toward Farve and his head coach, Eric Mangini. Now there is doubt whether either of them will be in New Jersey next season.

The questions regarding Farve’s future help rehash a summer where I couldn’t escape Bret Farve. I couldn’t turn on sports talk radio or watch sportscenter without hearing every ESPN personality utter the name BRET FARVE! Who could blame them, though. The master of deception had just finished his tearful retirement speech. 

The speech ultimately led the Green Bay Packers to choose to part ways with the old gun-slinger, opting for a young, capable passer in Aaron Rodgers. Neither has had a great season, but Farve seemed to be the right choice at the mid-season mark. His team now seems destined for sandy beaches as they take on a playoff-less vacation, and we all seem destined for a summer that will run rampant with Farve speculation.

As Farve does, he made sure to leave some loose ends. “Do I see myself playing here next year,” Farve asked, searching within himself. “I didn’t see myself playing here this time last year. There’s some things that obviously the team probably needs to think about as far as next year’s concerned and some things I need to think about and some things we need to discuss amongst ourselves.”

The further Farve got into his press conference, the more he began to sound as if he was giving a concession speech.

“It’s been a great career,” he said. “This year was a gamble, you could say, a risk, whatever you want to call it. I can honestly say I’m thankful I was given the opportunity here. It’s been a lot of fun. It been good and bad as far as our seasn has gone, but I’m glad I came here.

“I made the right decision.”

Hopefully you’ll make the right decision at the end of this year, Farve. Sail off into the sunset the way you should have last season. Don’t stay around too long, don’t become a struggling shell of yourself, causing fans to forget the energy and enthusiasim you once played with. Do yourself–and us– a favor and concede as a pro-bowl quarterback with his reputation still intact.

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Forte surpasses Sayers’ rookie record for total yards

81181360JD026_KANSAS_CITY_CWho saw Matt Forte coming? Who knew he’d be this good, so soon? None of the questions that marked Forte’s meteoric rise matter now, only the numbers. And those numbers cement Forte’s rookie season as overwhelmingly successful.

In fact, he was so successful that he surpassed Gale Sayers on the Chicago Bears rookie total yards list with two games left on the schedule. Forte gained 1,476 total yards, eclipsing Sayers’ Bears rookie record of 1,374 total yards, which he established in a 14-game schedule in 1965. Forte rushed for 1108 yards, and caught 59 balls for 431 yards receiving.

As a rookie, he helped anchor a Bears’ offense that was expected to land at the bottom of the NFL’s chain movers, its tumultuous locker room  had much to do with those perception. As did a laughable off-season quarterback controversy and an overpaid running back who couldn’t stay out of legal trouble. No one outside of Chicago had a glimmer of hope for the Chicago Bears season — Forte changed that.

He improved with every game, and displayed his play-making ability in his first showing of the NFL season when he rushed for 132 yards against the Indianapolis Colts in a 29-13 win. He followed that performance up with 92 yards in a 17-20 loss at Carolina and 89 yards rushing in a close 24-27 loss to Tampa, averaging 101 yards in his first three games as a pro.

While his teammates didn’t fully show up in the two loses, Forte had arrived. From there on he was a constant threat to make the big play, forever showing up in crucial moments. The ascension of Kyle Orton as a formidable big-league quarterback only enhanced Forte’s looks, as teams put less defenders in the box, opening holes for the rookie.

In seasons past, the Bears have left fans with a sour taste in their mouth. The end of every season leaves onlookers wondering “what if?” At 8-6, with a short chance of making the playoffs if they win out against Green Bay and Houston, this year may be different. If so, it’ll be thanks to one hell of a rookie running back who has performed well beyond his years for the entirety of the 2008 NFL season.

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Raiders show why NFL need guaranteed contracts

lg_davis_all-01A mad maestro like Raiders Owner Al Davis can do whatever he wants in the National Football League, and the right to release players at any moment is exactly why.

The Raiders recent fiasco illustrates why players need to have guaranteed contracts. Davis decided he needed to free up some cap space and started cutting players. He examined on-field performances based on his own warped expectations and fired cornerback Dante Hall, one of few prizes on Oakland’s horrible 2-6 team.

There are obvious reasons why the old man released the young star, all $72 million of those reasons caused Hall’s demise. He was released Wednesday and was paid $8 million to play in eight games.

To make matters worse, the Raiders gave up a second round draft pick for Hall, who was improving on the field. Several other players, including wide receiver Javon Walker who signed a hefty $11 million signing bonus from the Raiders and was paid a $1 million base salary.

This would never happen in the NBA, or any other league. Then again, no owner would be as dysfunctional as Davis in any other league.

The fact that he’s a long-time fixture who was once sane is the only reason his antics are allowed. He already staged a classless war with former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, who is still seeking payment from the team after Davis said he was firing Kiffin with cause in order to keep from paying him. This simply adds to injury, the Raiders’ players and fans injury.

Players were baffled by the decision.

“I’ve never been in a situation where you cut one of the best players,” said safety Gibril Wilson. “That’s strange to me. It’s almost like we’re throwing in the towel.”

Davis’ dumb moves proved that he needs to hand it up, and that NFL owners have far too much leverage on players.

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Quinn finally gets his shot in Cleveland

43178641Everyone felt sorry for Brady Quinn, a projected top pick in the 2007 NFL draft, when he fell to No. 22 and sat in the green room of Radio City Music Hall as player after player had their name called.

They didn’t know the ascension of a relative unknown in quarterback Derek Anderson would prolong that wait for another season, with an unlikely performance that propelled the Browns to the playoffs — not to mention every Monday Night Football game of the 2007-08 season.

But Quinn will finally get his shot against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

A lackluster performance by Anderson and all the skilled position players around him have resulted in him being sent to the bench. Highly touted wide receiver Braylon Edwards leads the league in dropped passes, including a 50-yard pass on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. And tight end Kellen Winslow also hasn’t been up to par with his 2007 performance where he caught 82 passes.

Fans have called for Quinn, and Browns head coach Romeo Crennel appeased. But, I’m not sure Quinn will make much of a difference on a team with failing receivers, a lacking running game and well below average defense.

He also has a short week where he’ll practice only once before he performs against the Broncos, who are not one the best defensive teams in the league, but my expectations for him are still short.

I don’t see Quinn or the team doing much Sunday, or the rest of the season for that matter. But, as always, we’ll figure this mess in Cleveland out on Sunday.

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Orton injury may signal Bears down spiral

340x_featureOK, so the Chicago Tribune has reported that Kyle Orton has no tear, but will be out for three to four weeks, leaving the revolving quarterback door open for, you guessed it, Rex Grossman.

I thought I had escaped the far reaches of agony that Grossman inflicted on fans, and his own team, in the 2006 Super Bowl XLI against the Colts while fumbling away the championship under a downpour in the Orange Bowl. All the while, Lovie Smith continued to utter those dreaded four words: “Rex is our quarterback.”

I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen Lovie have to defend the decision to play the bum that is “Rexy.” Now, the default quarterback may ruin what has been a somewhat mediocre team, but a team that happens to have an NFC North at 5-3.

Shades of the old Rex were on display Sunday as he went 9-19 and threw for 58 yards and a touchdown. What was more telling than the touchdown, were the many tipped balls and ultimate interception Grossman threw. He’ll now face the NFL’s best defense in 8-0 Tennessee — good luck.

Worst of all, this injury hurts the Bears’ and Orton’s progression. Just as he seemed to grasp what it takes to be successful at the quarterback position, averaging 294.6 yards passing over the last three games — he’s out.

Orton finished late-game drives and even carried the Bears’ staple defense this season on several occasions, something Rex could never do.

The next three to four weeks will not be easy, either. A showdown with 8-0 Tennessee looms on the coming Sunday. The Titans feature an old school defense-first team, with a running game containing speed in Chris Johnson and strength LenDale White. Green Bay and a possible win in St. Louis awaits the Bears in the subsequent weeks. If Orton is out for the full four weeks, a tough game with Minnesota is next on the schedule.

Hopefully, Orton will return before the slated three or four weeks, and salvage whatever parts of the season Grossman hasn’t already destroyed.

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Culpepper back in NFL picture

Dante Culpepper signed a two-year deal with the lowly Detroit Lions only months after proclaiming his retirement.

Culpepper said he was retiring in September after only being offered one-year deals, but thought better of his decision while watching the many faltering quarterbacks across the NFL. Not too many teams quarterback play was worse than the Lions team that just provided Culpepper a new home. Detroit currently ranks 22nd in the league in passing (191.6), and 28th (16.3).

As comical as the statement sounds, the Lions posed as a formidable offense in the early stages of 2007 season — no matter how brief it was — while going 3-1 in their first four games.  John Kitna, who is currently on injured reserve with a back injury for the Lions, was in his second year with the team at that point, and playing as well as anyone can play while sporting a Detroit jersey on Sunday.

Dan Orlovsky (I know what you’re thinking, who?) currently graces the top of the Lions’ depth chart at quarterback. To Orlovsky’s credit, he’s been sacked 10 times in six games and still shows up every week. But that’s about all he’s done.

Given their current quarterback situation, the Lions could definitely use Culpepper under center. While he has a surgically repaired knee, and isn’t exactly the Culpepper of old as indicated in lackluster stops at Oakland and Miami proceeding his retirement, he’s better than Kitna or Orlovsky on one leg.

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