Quotes of the Week
“Fantasy owners might not be happy. But we’re sure happy.”
—Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, after Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew were held to a total of 43 receiving yards and no touchdowns Sunday in a 34-24 Lions win.
“I think he’s worth a sixth-round pick.”
—Niners owner Jed York, to SI.com’s Don Banks, after Anquan Boldin’s huge statistical Sunday helped San Francisco beat the Packers. The 49ers acquired Boldin for a sixth-round pick last March.
“Will the Lions cover four-and-a-half tomorrow against Minnesota?’’
—Brent Musburger, during an interview with Lions fan and rapper Eminem during Notre Dame-Michigan Saturday night. Want to define the look of paranoia? Check out Eminem’s face. That uncomfortable Q-and-A will be a case study in Weird Announcing History 101 in broadcast schools for years to come.
“Elway throws seven touchdown passes.”
—The Columbus Dispatch headline Friday over the story about Peyton Manning’s seven-touchdown game.
I especially like the first two sentences of the game story: “Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes, and the Denver Broncos routed the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27 last night. Elway became the sixth player to throw for that many, and the first since Joe Kapp on Sept. 28, 1969.”
From the Podcast
My Week 1 guests on The MMQB Podcast With Peter King: Eli Manning and Matt Ryan, along with Greg Bedard and Andy Benoit of The MMQB. I asked Manning if he’d ever wondered what his career would have been like had he accepted being drafted by the Chargers in 2004, and stayed in San Diego. You’ll recall he and his father, Archie, pressed for a trade before the draft because he didn’t want to play for what he saw as a sinking franchise. Said Manning: “I really haven’t. Just because when I made my decision that this is what I’m going to do, and I felt strongly about everything that I said in the week going into the draft. I said, ‘This is my decision, and I’m going to make it right.’ I’m going to feel strongly about it, and wherever I end up I’m going to work hard and do everything I can and not look back or have second doubts. So, you know, I think you never know what would have happened if I went there.’’
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Imagine suiting up for three teams in three different stadiums in 18 days. Linebacker Adrian Robinson just did it. Check out his winding three-week road:
Aug. 19—Wearing No. 57 for Pittsburgh, Robinson, a linebacker from Temple trying to make the Steelers as an undrafted free-agent, plays 22 snaps on defense in a preseason game against Washington.
Aug. 23—Traded to Philadelphia for running back Felix Jones.
Aug. 29—Wearing No. 49 for Philadelphia, Robinson plays 33 snaps on defense and special teams in a preseason game against the Jets in New Jersey.
Aug. 30—Waived by Philadelphia.
Sept. 1—Claimed by Denver.
Sept. 5—Wearing No. 57 for Denver, Robinson plays 21 plays on special teams at home against Baltimore in the first game of the regular season.
“I had to learn three playbooks really fast,” Robinson said Sunday. “I got to Denver Monday night, then went to the facility Tuesday and met with the special-teams coach to get ready for the game. I still hardly know anyone’s name.” He knows one name, at least. “Peyton Manning came up to me and said, ‘I’m Peyton. Great to have you here.’ That made me feel good.”
The statistical oddity in Peyton Manning’s regular-season games with very big TD numbers:
• In his first 83 games, Manning did not have a game with five or more TD passes.
• In his next 24, he had six such games.
• In his ensuing 117 regular-season games, he had no five-plus TD games.
• In Game 225, he threw seven touchdown passes.
Stat of the Week
No team was as true to its offseason design as the Tennessee Titans Sunday.
It’s likely the Titans cannot play the way they did in Pittsburgh, win 11 games and qualify for the playoffs; you’re not going to face a bumbling offensive team with no running game every week, as the Steelers appeared to be in Week 1. But for one day, the Titans played just as coach Mike Munchak drew it up when he paid big money for one guard in free agency (Andy Levitre), drafted another guard 10th overall (Chance Warmack), signed 225-pound Jets running back Shonn Greene in free agency to back up Chris Johnson and 240-pound back Jackie Battle for insurance, and inserted 247-pound undrafted Army fullback Collin Mooney in the starting lineup.
The percentage of Tennessee running plays in 2012: 39.5 percent (378 of 957 plays).
The percentage of Tennessee running plays Sunday: 66.7 percent (42 of 63 plays).
“I know it’s a scoring league,’’ Mike Munchak said over the phone from Pittsburgh after the Titans’ 16-9 victory. “I know you’ve got teams out there scoring 35, 42 points. But we’re going to build an identity to win playing our way.”
Case in point Sunday: Tennessee trailed 2-0 in the second quarter and took the ball on a short field at the Steeler 49. The Titans ran it 12 of the next 13 plays, the only pass an eight-yard dump from Jake Locker to Delanie Walker after seven straight runs to start the drive. Battle bulled over from three yards out to score just before halftime and give Tennessee a lead it would never give up. “That’s who we are,’’ said Munchak. “But, what I really like about the offense is that we’ve got the kinds of weapons—Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington—that we can use to get in a throwing contest if we have to. Who knows? Maybe next week we’ll have to throw it 40 times to win. That’s okay too.”
That means Locker will have to be better than a 56 percent passer, which he was a year ago. And that could ultimately decide whether the new Tennessee offense can come from behind in the second half when the Titans have to.
One game in 2012, out of 256 regular season games, started with a 2-0 score. Three games Sunday started 2-0.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Now this is something that never happened to me before on an airplane: I had an aisle seat in a three-across row flying home from Denver and the season-opener on JetBlue early Friday morning. The man sitting next to me was asleep when I boarded. He slept the entire way to New York. He didn’t wake up when we landed. I got up and disembarked. He was still asleep. When I was walking off the plane, I looked over at the poor guy in the window seat who didn’t know whether to shake the guy or try to climb over him to get off the plane.
Tweets of the Week
“Tim Garfinkel was the Padres president until July and was replaced by Mike Dee in San Diego. Now Garfinkel replaces Dee in Miami.”
“When Mike Dee got the Dolphins job in 2009, Tom Garfinkel also interviewed and was owner Stephen Ross’s second favorite candidate.”
—@ArmandoSalguero of the Miami Herald, this morning in a double Tweet. Garfinkel will be named CEO of the Dolphins today.
“Lol yoooo Eminem funny as hell right now I’m dying”
—@ReggieBush, watching Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit “interview” the big Lions fan during Notre Dame-Michigan Saturday night.
“@RSherman_25 yo story in sports illustrated was real I respect you a lot… I play QB at #FSU and always was the nerdy athlete #followback’’
—@Jaboowins, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, to Richard Sherman of the Seahawks on July 31. (Yes, it’s not exactly a Tweet of the Week, but I thought it was worthy, given how Winston exploded onto the national scene last week with a 25-of-27 college debut at Pitt.
Back story: The MMQB has retained Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman as a regular columnist for this season, and in his first column, he wrote about growing up in Compton and Watts and being made to study by his education-loving parents. That helped Sherman land at Stanford, and, not by chance, helped him land on our website. We ran that first column on our site and in the magazine, and Winston was among the thousands who got Sherman’s message. “My parents preached academics above all else,” Sherman wrote. “It got to the point where I’d bring home a B in middle school, even in a tough class, and get stern looks, like, That is not acceptable. But our parents always kept us involved in sports, kept us busy. In such a bad neighborhood, they always wanted us doing something constructive.’’
“Yes, our daughters are born in China, speak French, & love Indian & Mexican food. That’s the story of America.”
—@nprscottsimon, the terrific host of Weekend Edition on NPR, Scott Simon, on his mutlicultural family.