12’s the Magic Number

Now for the other stories of Week 2

The specter of Johnny Manziel. One scout at Manziel’s absolutely ridiculous game against Nick Saban’s Alabama defense Saturday told me Sunday: “It’s like [wrestler] Ric Flair once said: ‘You may not like this, but you better learn to love it.’ ‘’ Manziel put up 562 yards of total offense, treating the ‘Bama secondary like it was Montclair State’s (464 yards passing, 98 rushing). Manziel, in his third year of eligibility at Texas A&M, could declare for the 2014 draft if he wants to come out, which seems likely. (He can also stay in and play the 2014 college season, and 2015 as well.) But Manziel, to many teams right now, would be undraftable because they’re scared of his mood swings and off-field questions. But it only takes one team out of 32 to fall for him. And some team will, unless he self-destructs between today and draft day.

The MMQB’s Greg A. Bedard was in College Station Saturday, and he’ll report the Manziel story for us tomorrow. I can’t wait to read what he thinks of the kid, and what the pro football men in his rolodex think. As I said on NBC Sunday night, Browns assistant GM Ray Farmer scouted the game. Hmmmmmm. Johnny Dawg Pound!

Johnny Football couldn't beat Alabama again, but he still put up big numbers in the loss.
Johnny Football couldn’t beat Alabama again, but he still put up big numbers in the loss. (Mike Stone/Reuters)

The AFC rocks. The NFC East does not. Most of us think the NFC’s a better conference, right? It’s not acting like it. The AFC was 4-0 in cross-conference games Sunday. The NFC East went 0-4, three of the losses coming to the supposedly weak AFC West: Denver over the Giants, San Diego over the Eagles, and Kansas City over Dallas.

My surprise team of the first eighth of the season? Miami (2-0). All the attention in the offseason went to the big-money free agents Miami signed, and rightfully so. In the 24-20 win over the Colts and Andrew Luck Sunday, inside ‘backers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler combined for 26 tackles, and Wheeler had a key sack of Luck; wideout Mike Wallace, the formerly unhappy one, had nine catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. But remember the pass-rush stars of Week 1—which we covered in The MMQB Friday. Cameron Wake and Jared Odrick have been Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside so far, and they’ll be a tough afternoon for anyone to block. And did you notice Ryan Tannehill bested Luck Sunday? Miami has a schedule edge now, having played its first two on the road. Now we’ll see if the Dolphins are ready for prime time. They host Atlanta Sunday, go to New Orleans for a Week 4 Monday-nighter, and return home to face Baltimore. We’ll know by Sunday night of Week 5 if Miami will contend to steal the division from a weakened New England.

Alex Smith hasn't committed a turnover yet this year, as the Chiefs have already matched their 2012 win total.
Alex Smith hasn’t committed a turnover yet this year, as the Chiefs have already matched their 2012 win total. (Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Andy Reid is 2-0 too … and he returns to the scene of his prime Thursday night. “Listen, you know me,’’ he said over the phone from Arrowhead Sunday after the 17-16 win over Dallas. “I haven’t thought about that stuff. I don’t get caught up in it. All I know is it’s a short week and we’ve got to get ready to play on the road in a hurry.” Uh, come on. You’re returning to the place you coached 14 years. Thursday night. Prime time. E-A-G-L-E-S! EAGLES! Sound familiar? When we spoke, Reid didn’t know the result of the Chargers-Eagles game, and when I told him San Diego won, he said, “Chargers won? Wow!’’ Reid might have an ideal team to coach. In the two wins, Kansas City hasn’t turned the ball over, and quarterback Alex Smith has been the efficient West Coast guy Reid thought he was buying for two second-round picks last spring. “I love Alex,’’ Reid said. “He’s a competitor. The best. He’s doing so well in this offense so fast it’s amazing. Today, I gave him a handful—actually more than a handful—of plays to call. I said, ‘Hey, you take it. You call it.’ ‘’ We’ll see how the honeymoon looks Thursday night in the sweet-and-sour city Reid coached for so long.

Good for Mike McCoy, who thinks before he snaps. So the Chargers had a 21-point lead with 21 minutes to play Monday night and blew it, losing 31-28 to Houston. Same old Norvy Chargers, right? “I went back and watched the tape,’’ McCoy said Sunday from Philadelphia. “I tortured myself. I went back and forth over the plays we called, wondering what we should have done. In this business, you know every time a play doesn’t work, you say, ‘I should have called something else.’ And after I examined all those plays down the stretch, you know what? I wouldn’t change a single one. I have faith in my coaches and what we called. We just had to play better, and that’s what I told my team.” On Sunday, reclamation project Eddie Royal scored his third, fourth and fifth touchdowns of the season (Eddie Royal—he still plays?), Philip Rivers threw for 419 yards, and San Diego, on a short week, stunned the Eagles 33-30. Heck of a job preparing his team by McCoy.

The anatomy of a win. In Buffalo, coach Doug Marrone told E.J. Manuel at the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter, with Carolina up three and driving for an insurance field goal, that he was going to burn all three timeouts. “You’ll get the ball back, down six, with about 1:40 to go, and you’ll have to go the length of the field with no timeouts, okay?’’ Marrone told Manuel. His rookie quarterback was fine with that. There was 1:38 left, actually, when the quarterback got the ball at his 20. Manuel dinked and dunked five of seven passes, got lucky when Luke Kuechly was called for pass interference on a Carolina interception, scrambled for nine yards to the Carolina 2-yard line … and then, with two seconds left at the Carolina 2, Marrone told Manuel he was either going to get a heavy blitz or heavy coverage and had to be ready for either. “He was telling me to calm down,’’ Marrone said. Here came the heavy rush. Two Carolina defenders messed up the coverage on Stevie Johnson, leaving him wide open. Touchdown. Buffalo wins, 24-23.

***

You need to read these books.

Two books come out this week that will be well worth your while.

The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football (Doubleday), by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian. “It’s the best work I’ve ever done,’’  noted reporter Keteyian said Sunday. The reporting on the Nick Saban-to-Alabama move after the 2006 NFL season is terrific. Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, Benedict and Keteyian report, first offered Steve Spurrier the head-coaching job, but he said Spurrier said he was “too dug in’’ at South Carolina. Spurrier told Moore to go after Saban. (Wonder if Spurrier regrets that now?) Saban, then with the Dolphins, was ripe for the taking, which he denied vehemently then. But coaches often deny truths vehemently until the bitter end. The authors say Saban got to dread the Dolphins job. “Saban told a friend in Miami he felt as if he were going to work in a factory every day; he missed the camaraderie of college coaching.” It was clear to Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga that Saban wanted to take the Alabama job, and he said to Saban finally, “Nick, if that’s what you want, I want you to do it.” The best chapter in the book, I thought, was Chapter 9, “The Janitor,” about the “Unseen, unsung heroes of college football,’’ the directors of football operations who have to clean up every mess in some messy programs. As well as do all the minutiae that make college programs go. It’s a very good read.

nate-jackson-book-cover360Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile (Harper), by Nate Jackson. Who, by the way, is one hell of a writer. Jackson and Chris Kluwe could both win big awards, and probably will, with their books this year. Jackson, who played tight end in the NFL for six years, skewers the pomp of the NFL (and Eric Mangini, big time), says the NFL would be smart to make marijuana legal (for pain-relieving reasons), and writes of his own experimentation with HGH to recover from the end of a pain-scarred Denver tenure. He wrote about that in an excerpt we ran on The MMQB Friday.

Re his HGH experience, Jackson writes how he injected himself to get ready for a trial with the San Diego Chargers after being released by Denver: “I reach out to a connection I made a year earlier and acquire a supply of human growth hormone, HGH. The drugs come in the mail in a package stuffed with dry ice. I half expect to see the feds storm out of the bushes, guns blazing, as I pull the box off my front porch. But no feds. Just me and another needle. It comes with very little guidance as to the quantity and regularity of the shot. I have a conversation with my supplier and he tells me how to do it. Other than that I’m on my own. I will tell no one what I’m doing. I go to the store and buy syringes and start injecting it in my stomach immediately. I am paranoid about every aspect of this decision. I’ve never used performance-enhancing drugs. Haven’t ever even seen them. I take pride in my natural ability and I don’t want to taint it. I don’t want to test the karmic winds. But I also don’t want to taste the death of my football dreams, not like this. I pack up my Denali and head over the Rocky Mountains, the vials of HGH stuffed in an ice-filled cooler.’’ Rarely have we ever gotten such a real view of life on the edge of an NFL roster. Rarely? Never.

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412 comments
GAML
GAML

The article is about the Seahawks and the 12th man an most of the replies are about lame teams with dismal performances. 

RickGiberson
RickGiberson

Redskins should change their name to the Hogs,  Have a pig in a tux for a logo with a monocle in his eye  and a top hat!

BlaineWest
BlaineWest

Green Bay only at 12 in the Fine Fifteen? You might want to check the alcohol content of some of that brew you enjoy sipping Peter!

bryanflyn
bryanflyn

Peter,  go ahead and catch up with Breaking Bad - it's worth it.  I challenge you to watch the first episode (pilot), they're all on Netflix,  you'll be hooked!

jleland42
jleland42

Check the history; a team Peter King didn't mention in his MMQB will win the Super Bowl this year. It's a lock.

bulltorch
bulltorch

this whole breaking the record is not as impressive.. because the record they had broken was not contrived... it was actually during a game... where seattle's was them planning to yell at the top of their lungs....

lmb2171
lmb2171

what happened to the mailbag?  I haven't seen it the last 1 or 2 weeks.  Did it go away?  Get renamed?  

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

Can someone on Twitter ask Peter King to do some research and come back to us on the epilepsy issue.

I note the Mailbag is for Tw@tter users only which is a shame because I refuse to use that when I am on Facebook already!

JustinRitzel
JustinRitzel

Yeah the Packers ranking is a real head scratcher here. I think Peter is basing his rankings a little too much on a given team's record and not on actual play. Sure, they are 1-1, which is not as good as some other teams. But in their loss they went toe to toe with the defending NFC champs, and in their win they throttled a team from last year. Not to mention, they have the best QB in football right now, and the #1 offense after two weeks.You would think that garners a little more respect. 

Redtheidiot
Redtheidiot

Peter, how about an explanation from the league why the officials didn't call illegal formation on the last play of CHI-MN game.  Not that it will help but at least I would like to hear it.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

Mr. King:  Here is the answer to your dilemma regarding taking offense at the team named Redskins.  It's simple.  Just substitute "Pig" for "Red" and call them the Pigskins.  It works well for this team with the Hogs in their cheering section and "pigskin" being a connotation for a football.  I doubt if the entire porcine community will be offended although they may raise a stink from time to time.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

A few things, regarding the Wisky - AZ State game, you are correct in pointing out the problems at the end of the game.  But you said QB Stave downed the ball thinking he was positioning it for a last second FG but did it so quickly that the officials weren't sure what happened.  Wrong, Mr. King.  When Stave knelt and put the ball on the turf the whistle immediately sounded by the ref making it a dead ball.  The official closest to the ball just looked at the AZ State DL laying on the ball with his finger up his butt.  It should have been a delay of game penalty on AZ State.  I think Stave should have handed the ball to the closest official (as Coach Arians preached to his players in the MMQB story) but the real error is by the referee not taking control of the situation immediately.  

I tried to watch the replay on your page but got a black screen with the message:  "...this video has been terminated due to multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement."  What's up with that?

Kudos on the tribute to Todd Helton - the great Rockie and Peyton Manning's punter at Tennessee.

Non- kudos to you listing the Packers at #12 and also making James Jones an offensive player on the week he did have a fine game)  but not putting Aaron Rodgers in that spot is a fail on your part. 


BY
BY

Horrible reason for picking Greg Schiano as goat of the week, horrible. Ever seen a punt blocked/bad snap/return for a td? If he makes the FG then Brees needs a td. Those are the breaks and no coach, not even the sainted one (Bill Belichick) can predict them. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever read in this column.

doowopdave
doowopdave

Your rankings are a complete joke. The Packers nearly beat last year's NFC champs in San Francisco to open the season, absolutely crushed last year's NFC East champs yesterday, and you have them ranked 12? The 49ers barely get past the Packers in week 1, get clobbered by Seattle last night, and you rank them 3rd? You either haven't watched the last 2 Packer games or you are a complete idiot to think there are currently 11 other teams playing better ball than the Packers right now. I agree with your 1-3 rankings and would put the Packers 4.

UNDEJS30
UNDEJS30

I know I am echoing some other posters in saying this, but what is Peter King smoking DROPPING the Packers 6 spots after one of the most dominating offensive performances in NFL HISTORY??  Let's briefly review the season up to this point.  The Packers lose a thriller of a game, ON THE ROAD, to the defending NFC champions while missing two starters in the secondary who happen to be their top safety and top slot CB (Hmmm...wonder how Boldin and V.Davis were so dominant in the slot??)  Even with that obstacle, it was a game that went down to the wire, with GB leading halfway through the 4th quarter.  The Packers bounce back the next week by sprinting out to a 31-0 lead against 2012 playoff team Washington midway through the 3rd quarter before coasting the rest of the way. En route to this blowout, they become the first team in NFL HISTORY to have a 450 yard passer and 125 yard rusher in the SAME game...the QB (Rodgers) becomes only the second player in NFL HISTORY (along with Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle in 1962) to throw for at least 475 yards and 4 TD's without a pick. The Packers are one of the oldest teams in the NFL with a history that goes back over 90 years, and Rodgers ties the record for most yards in franchise history (and this game actually mattered unlike the previous 480 yard game with nothing at stake).  They also have a 100 yard rusher for the first time in 44 games, snapping the longest streak in the NFL for that (and it wasn't close).  With ALL these developments in clear view, and considering how SF only dropped to #3 in the rankings after getting THROTTLED in a non-competitive game to their arch rival, HOW can you justify dropping Green Bay ONE spot (let alone 6???)  How can you say 11 teams in the league are better than the team who just put on one of the most impressive offensive displays in league history?  You can't say the defense justifies the drop in the rankings, because the defense had given up 0 points midway through the 3rd quarter and were holding their end of the bargain....this just shows the list has NO thought  put into it.  It is just someone claiming to be an "expert" throwing garbage against the wall at random while not actually watching the games of the teams he attempts to rank.

On a related note, I LOVE James Jones, he is a great WR....but how is he the offensive player of the week over Rodgers?  Jones did not score a TD and he fumbled the ball into the endzone, costing the Packers a TD while giving the Skins the ball on the 20.  Rodgers, meanwhile, was breaking records and played flawlessly.  Tell me again how Jones is the offensive player of the week?  That makes no sense...Jordy Nelson had 2 TD's, Cobb had 9 catches, over 100 yards, and a TD...and Starks broke the 44 game streak while averaging over 6 yards per carry and scoring a TD of his own....Again, it is nonsense.  Rodgers didn't even get a mention for his historic feats beyond briefly pointing out his two game averages so far this year. Pick it up, Mr. King.  I usually enjoy reading your work, but this week's column really has shaken my trust and confidence in your credibility.  I'm not saying GB should be #1, but no reasonable person would drop them 6 spots after the performance they had.

FrankStrazzulla
FrankStrazzulla

dont know which Seattle crowd is tougher: the Seahawks or Sounders?  Imagine if you imported the end-zone fans at the Soundsrs to the Seahawks?

ianlinross
ianlinross

I think Manziel is a throw-back. Kind of a Bobby Lane type of player. He's young, famous, a competitor, and he's going to enjoy himself. And he's not going to do things the NCAA's way. If he matures and grows into a well-rounded player, he's going to win somebody a Super Bowl. 

In the meantime, I hope somebody gives him Brett Favre's number for special counselling.

MatthewCortina
MatthewCortina

Green Bay throttles Washington and drops from 6 to 12? I get RG3 is struggling but you can only play who you play. Houston struggling two weeks in a row, Miami at 4??, San Diego?!, Cincinatti could be 0-2 after tonight! All ahead of GB in these polls. I'm not saying they're #1 but jeez...

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

As for Manziel, people are giving him too much automatic, sole credit for what MIKE EVANS actually made possible for him against Bama.

Evans was the real star of the Aggie offense last Saturday.  The Bama DBs absolutely could not cover him AT ALL, and it allowed Manziel to pad his stats after those two game-changing picks he threw (those interceptions are basically why the Aggies lost).

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

So how are you feeling about picking the Pats for the Super Bowl (again) this year, King?

Still scratching my head over that one.  Mystifying how you believed a team that relies on an offense which lost Welker and Hernandez, and will subsequently rely on rookie starters and a notoriously injury prone #1 receiver replacement in their absence, will somehow be *better* than last year's team.

I used to argue against your perceived Patriots bias, but after that preseason prediction, I'm having to reevaluate you.

Hawk29
Hawk29

@bulltorch actually if you they had been reading the decibels during Beastmodes run, or when Romo fumbled in the play offs that  the record was broken then.  Also, it had to be spontaneous and they couldn't put on the board to make noise now, which is why the official record didn't happen until the 3rd quarter. 

Adrian4
Adrian4

@bulltorch Actually this was far more organic than the previous record. That was done at a soccer game in Turkey where the crowd was specifically told when to yell at the top of their lungs. I was at the Seahawks game, there was never any written or audio announcement in the stadium about the record. The 136.6 decibels just came on a regular defensive play.

djs425
djs425

@bulltorch actually it was contrived but even if it wasnt, it still counts. Tell Guinness what their criteria is though. I'm sure they'll laugh at you

Mike26
Mike26

@JustinRitzel The Packers are the bestest team ever all the time and should always be #1.

nyjets011269
nyjets011269

@BY Totally agree.  A kicker should be able to nail a 47 yard FG.  

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@doowopdave So they lost one and won one, they're 1-1. Was that your point? Or was it that they have lost two in a row to the same team that was just clobbered by someone else?

Mike26
Mike26

@doowopdave The Packers are the bestest team ever and should always be #1.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@UNDEJS30 There are fewer things as pathetic as someone getting so bent out of shape by a few spots on someone's 'Top 15" list that they write a book about it. Lame. Get over it. Green Bay may have had a good game, but they scare no one.

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

@UNDEJS30 excellent comments. Let him and the other so called experts under rate us, we can have the last laugh when we beat the Media darling Peyton Manning and the Broncos in NYC.

patsfan94
patsfan94

@leehwgoc No, their defense giving up 10 yards a play was why the Aggies lost.

gbgentleman
gbgentleman

@Redtheidiot @Shane Mac Currently the Redskins should keep the name...I mean I'm be ashamed (and blushing red) if I played as badly as they did in the last couple of weeks.

benseattle
benseattle

@Redtheidiot @Shane Mac  

Excellent post.  If you like fact-free, don't-bother-with-reason, skip-the-cogent-arguement mindlessness demonstrated here.  THIS topic is why "Washington Redkins" isn't immediately banned and if not, then does that make the New York Niggers okay with you and the rest of the NFL?

FrankStrazzulla
FrankStrazzulla

@Redtheidiot @FrankStrazzulla have you ever watched a Sounders game?  they average 45,000 per game and have had recent sellout crowds....in other words, please know what you are talking about before shooting off your mouth!

adamnicholls183
adamnicholls183

I agree as of today, but one has to support his team until the bitter end

Hawk29
Hawk29

@evileyefleagle Boeing was headquartered in Seattle since World War 2, but about a decade ago they moved to Chicago.  They still employ more people in the state of Washington than any where else, so while their office is in Chicago now because of the tax breaks, we still take pride in Boeing as a major employer.

evileyefleagle
evileyefleagle

I looked up Boeing.  They're listed as a Chicago firm.

I also looked up Lombardi and World Series Trophies.  Seattle's not listed.

benseattle
benseattle

@Joebuckster @FrankStrazzulla @Redtheidiot  

Man, do I love a public display of ignorance.  If you need to find Seattle, just look up Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Weyerhaeuser and Boeing.  When you're bored (or "starved") head to the symphony, ballet, Bumbershoot or Hempfest.  Try the Mariners (better yet, don't.) 

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@FrankStrazzulla @Redtheidiot Soccer sucks, that's why he doesn't know (or care) what you are talking about. Just like the rest of us. Seattle is just starved for entertainment, obviously. Where is Seattle again, by the way??

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