Since I don't have a fancy-pants cable package in order to watch the Browns, I took to Twitter to follow along with my favorite team. In addition to the Browns, I also followed tweets from the NFL. As the action unfolded between the Eagles and Raiders (well, it was the Eagles taking most of the action - the Raiders were too busy trying to RE-act), I had the following dialogue with my husband:
Me: "Nick Foles has seven touchdowns."
Me: "He's the quarterback for the Eagles today."
More silence. Puzzled look.
Me: "Were you thinking of the kicker? Nick Folks?"
Hubby: "I was. But I think it's Nick Folk."
Going into this weekend, you probably thought Philadelphia's quarterback was a kicker or something too. Turns out, it was Nick FOLES (not Folks or Folk), and he tied an NFL record with SEVEN touchdown passes. The Eagles must have been saving up for this offensive performance or something, because the last time they scored an offensive touchdown was Oct. 13. Don't use 'em all at once, boys! Spread 'em out strategically during the season to make sure you have more than your opponents!
Oddly, "He-who-must-not-be-named" threw seven touchdown passes in week one, so for Foles to do it now seems sort of like, "Yeah, been there, done that." Except, it is a pretty big deal to Foles, who had thrown six touchdowns TOTAL in his career prior to Sunday's game. Oakland's D was so torched their legs burned into bacon strips - when that Eagle's offense is clicking, it's firing on all cylinders.
And speaking of clicking, the St. Louis Rams running game finally came together. It only took 9 weeks, but the Rams scored their FIRST rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday. Thank you, rookie Zac Stacy, for ending that embarrassing trend. Seems odd for a Jeff Fisher-coached team to not have scored a rushing touchdown until Sunday. I mean, you'd think they'd even score by dumb luck at this point - a defender could trip on a divot in the field allowing a runner an easy score. Well, even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. Meanwhile, Fisher watched his former team, the Titans, and his former running back, Chris Johnson, rush to victory, thanks in part to Johnson's 150-yard, two touchdown performance. Just like old times! Well, except Fisher was on the wrong sideline.
Also this weekend:
-- Speaking of nuts, I think this guy's got a bunch rolling around inside his head.
The biggest story of the NFL this weekend is the indefinite suspension of Dolphins guard Richie Incognito. Incognito (a name so ridiculously cartoonish that it's hard to take seriously) has been accused of "bullying" by teammate Jonathan Martin, who recently took a leave of absence from the team. The NFL and NFLPA have collected evidence of Incognito using racial slurs and violence directed at Martin, most notably a voice mail containing lots of expletives. (On a side note, I'm not sure why many of the networks needed to show the transcript and actually read it on the air - even hearing the word "expletive" was painful because we can all logically fill in the blanks as to what that's covering.) Fingers are now starting to point all over - at the Dolphins players, coaches and higher ups. Supposedly Martin did go to the coach, but it appears there was not a lot of "t" crossing and "i" dotting to wrap things up, because Martin's issues continued even though coach Joe Philbin claims he thought they'd been properly addressed. In addition, several locker room sources, according to NFL.com, claimed that the team was not aware of Martin's issues. While the NFL and the Dolphins attempt to sort out the facts of the case, one has to wonder if Incognito's playing days are over? Character issues seemed to have followed him everywhere in his career, and if any of these allegations are true, who would want that kind of attitude inside a locker room? Still, as ugly and incriminating as that voice mail was, I think it's a bit unfair that many sports analysts have already played judge, jury and executioner on Incognito. Yeah, it doesn't look good for him, but let's wait for this to play out. This type of claim is uncharted territory for the NFL. Regardless of the fallout, there is one very important point here: There is no place for goonery like this in ANY workplace.
-- Them's the breaks!
The Packers got a tough break Monday night - not only did they lose to division rival Chicago, but they also lost MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury, which has now been determined to be a collarbone break that will cause him to miss some games (early indications are three weeks). Fantasy football owners are scrambling to find a replacement quarterback (although I would not recommend Rodgers' backup Seneca Wallace). On the scary injury front, Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on the field at halftime and was taken to the hospital. Doctors said he'd suffered a mini-stroke. It's unlikely he'll be on the sidelines this weekend, although there's no official time table on Kubiak's return.
-- Your old friend karma might be paying a visit.
New England exercised their strong arm Sunday with a lopsided win over Pittsburgh. Tom Brady looked like the Tom Brady of old, throwing for 432 yards and four touchdowns. With the game well in hand in the fourth quarter, why was Brady still in there, slinging the ball down the field? This isn't the BCS you don't get points for running up the score! Across the country, another blowout was taking place in Oakland, but after Nick "I'm not a kicker" Foles threw seven touchdowns, Eagles coach Chip Kelly called off the dogs and sat Foles for the rest of the game. Bill Belichick's decision to leave Brady is just another chapter in Belichick's "Big Book of Sportsmanship." I often cite the example of Belichick leaving the field without his team a few seconds before the Pats lost the Super Bowl in 2008, but that chump move is the epitome of this really odd sense of entitlement Belichick has for things to always work out in his favor. That's ok, Billy Bear. Karma also has a sense of entitlement and has a way of working out things in her favor too. Expect a visit soon.
Coming up in week 10, there are quite a few intriguing match ups in the NFC including Lions at Bears, Panthers at 49ers and Cowboys at Saints (our Sunday night game). In the AFC, the Broncos, coming off their first loss at Indianapolis, visit San Diego. It will be Denver's first game without head coach John Fox, who recently underwent heart surgery. Jack Del Rio, who you may remember from his nearly-nine-year-stint in sunny Jacksonville, has been named interim head coach. I don't expect much to change for the Broncos, since we all know the one calling all the shots is "He-who-must-not-be-named."
The Browns, Patriots, Chiefs and Jets have byes this week. And no Browns game means a stress-free NFL weekend for me. Yippee!
Until next week, enjoy the games, my friends!