The Highs, and Very Low Lows, of Week 9

Fine Fifteen

1. Kansas City (9-0). Tweeted this Saturday night and brought out the venom, but hey, facts are facts. When the Chiefs faced opening-day third-string Buffalo quarterback Jeff Tuel Sunday in Orchard Park (Matt Flynn would have been my choice), it was the fifth week in a row that K.C.’s defense went against a quarterback who in training camp was a backup. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell and Tuel. Credit to the winners: They can only play who’s put in front of them. But after next week’s bye, the first three foes will change that dynamic. Kansas City faces Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning coming out of the break—in a 15-day span.

2. Indianapolis (6-2). Any doubt left that the Colts made the right pick in the 2012 first round?

3. San Francisco (6-2). Looks like Michael Crabtree (Achilles rehab) will miss one or two more games, then be back for the stretch run. Not bad for a team that’s scored 31 or more five games in a row.

4. Denver (7-1). Godspeed, John Fox.

5. New England (7-2). Good news: Four straight games of 27 points or more on offense. Bad news: Three of the last four foes have scored 27 or more on what was supposed to be a much improved defense. Shows how much New England misses Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Aqib Talib. But scoring 55 on the Steelers, and eclipsing 600 offensive yards, vaults the Pats.

6. Seattle (8-1). I have no idea what to think of this team. In the span of six days, the Seahawks play two teams with a combined record this morning of 3-14. They need a last-play stop to win one game, and a 21-point comeback to beat the other in overtime. I’m not big on style-point wins, but let’s be real here.

7. Green Bay (5-2). You’ve got to like the signs for the Pack tonight at Lambeau. Green Bay’s held three of the last four foes under 20, and Josh McCown’s playing in place of the groin-torn Jay Cutler.

8. New Orleans (6-2). Rob Ryan’s 0-5 against his brother. I’ve got a feeling that’s the least of the Saints’ thoughts this morning. Sean Payton’s got to figure out how to protect Drew Brees better when he comes up against good pass-rush teams like the Niners and Seahawks.

9. Cincinnati (6-3). A leaky line, receiver drops, the loss of Geno Atkins for the year. All in all, Thursday night’s 22-20 overtime loss to Miami was as bad a regular-season loss for all reasons as the Bengals have had in recent years.

10. Detroit (5-3). If I’m Matthew Stafford, I’m not sure I’d have wanted my bye coming off the high of last Sunday. Two outdoor tests await: at Bears, at Steelers.

Talk Back

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in Tuesday's mailbag.

11. Carolina (5-3). Imagine, six weeks ago, seeing the Panthers handle Atlanta with ease and thinking: That’s absolutely what I expected. Football is a funny game. Panthers are at the Niners and hosting the Patriots in the next two weeks. Now it’s getting serious.

12. Dallas (5-4). Tony Romo led a winning drive inside of three minutes. I mean, I’m just saying.

13. Chicago (4-3). Rusty Bears. Chicago’s played one game in the last 24 days entering tonight’s tilt at Green Bay.

14. New York Jets (5-4). Win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win. They’re here because of the last two wins: over the Patriots and Saints, with a defense that terrorized Brady and Brees.

15. Philadelphia (4-5). Eagles at home: 0-4. Eagles on road: 4-1. Chip Kelly must be thrilled he’s taking the team to Green Bay next week.

The Award Section

Replacing injured starters, Nick Foles (top left) and Jason Campbell (top right) led their teams to wins. Cameron Wake's overtime sack (bottom left) led to a walkoff safety Thursday night, while Chris Ivory's hard running sparked the Jets against his former team. (Ben Margot/AP :: David Richard/AP :: Wilfredo Lee/AP :: Bill Kostroun/AP)
Replacing injured starters, Nick Foles (top left) and Jason Campbell (top right) led their teams to wins. Cameron Wake’s overtime sack (bottom left) resulted in a walkoff safety Thursday night, while Chris Ivory’s hard running sparked the Jets against his former team. (Ben Margot/AP :: David Richard/AP :: Wilfredo Lee/AP :: Bill Kostroun/AP)

Offensive Players of the Week

Nick Foles, quarterback, Philadelphia. The NFL’s been around 94 seasons, and only six players had ever thrown a league-record seven touchdown passes in a game before. Foles became No. 7 on Sunday in a 49-20 win at Oakland. (Peyton Manning did it in Week 1, and it hadn’t been done for the previous 43 years.) Foles’ line: 22 of 28—amazing: more touchdown passes than incompletions—for 406 yards, with the seven TDs and no interceptions.

Mike James, running back, Tampa Bay. Drafted in the sixth round last April by the Bucs after a part-time starting career at the University of Miami, James, in his seventh NFL game, had the best day of any back in football Sunday: 28 carries, 158 yards, 5.6 yards per rush … in Seattle, against a team that had been respectable in run defense. By quarters: 37, 45, 58, 16, and two yards rushing in OT. But it was James’ touchdown pass—the play of the day in the NFL, in my opinion—that made him a lock here. He threw a Tebow-esque two-yard jump-pass touchdown to Tom Crabtree to give the Bucs a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.

Chris Ivory, running back, New York Jets. Against his old mates, Ivory moved the chains for four quarters and made a shaky game by Geno Smith tolerable. His 18-carry, 139-yard, one-touchdown performance was vital in the Jets’ 26-20 stunner over New Orleans.

Jason Campbell, quarterback, Cleveland. The numbers were nice—23 of 35, 262 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions—but it’s significant for two reasons. One: The Browns were 0-11 against the Joe Flacco Ravens entering Sunday, and much of that was due to the abysmal state of Cleveland quarterbacking over the last six years. In all ways, Campbell outplayed Flacco. Two: He did it all with either bruised or broken ribs. “He was hurting out there and kept fighting and made some big plays and big-time throws,’’ said coach Rob Chudzinski. You can say that again.

Defensive Players of the Week

Lawrence Guy, defensive end, San Diego. Normally, if you’ve been waived three times by age 23, you might be thinking, “Time to find another line of work.” Not Guy. Cut once by Green Bay and twice by Indianapolis, all in the last 15 months, Guy was signed by the Chargers 26 days ago to provide roster depth at defensive end. He did more than that on Sunday at Washington. In a scoreless game in the first quarter, he blocked a chip-shot 25-yard field goal attempt. A few minutes later, with Robert Griffin III pinned at his 1-yard line, Guy batted a Griffin pass up in the air, and defensive tackle Sean Lissemore intercepted it for a touchdown. Memo to Guy from Charger brass: You don’t have to worry about being cut this year.

Cameron Wake, defensive end, Miami. A knee sprain had limited Wake to 28 snaps a game, on average, in the Dolphins’ first seven games. Thursday night he played 69. The 69th was one of the great plays of a starry career. As Andy Dalton faded to pass near his own goal line midway through overtime in a 20-20 game, Wake overpowered right guard Kevin Zeitler and burst through the guard-center “A” gap. Dalton had no chance. Safety. “That’s why I love playing this game. It’s you, it’s a guy across from you and there’s the goal, quarterback, ball, whatever it may be,’’ Wake said after the game. “Every play, the guy across from you is saying, I’m better than you. I’m going to beat you. And every play I’m saying the same thing. There’s no in-between in football. You either get the job done or you don’t.” This time, he won. And for the game, Wake had three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Mike Scifres, punter, San Diego. No contest. Not close. First two punts of the day at Washington dropped at the 1-yard line, one downed and the next coffin-cornered. A beautiful display by Scifres. For the day, Scifres had four punts for a 40-yard average. But when two of them die at the 1, you’ve had a good day.

Coach of the Week

Mike Shula, offensive coordinator, Carolina. Shula’s taken his share of shots since walking in the door at Carolina with Cam Newton in 2011. But his teaching and patience have paid off in the past four weeks. Carolina won its fourth straight game and scored in the 30s for the fourth straight game in burying Atlanta 34-10. In the 16 quarters of the winning streak, Newton’s thrown two interceptions. Both came Sunday, but the Panthers are good enough to survive a couple of errors now.

Goat of the Week

Sean Payton, coach, New Orleans. Eight minutes to play, Saints down two scores (26-17) to the Jets, 3rd-and-1 at the New York 36-yard line. Third down: incomplete pass to the fullback. Fourth down: an end-around to the third-string tight end, Josh Hill. Loss of eight. Jets take over on downs. There are times to shock the world with cute. This was not one of them.

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442 comments
JPW74
JPW74

Feel sorry for Cardinals fans?  They have two World Series championships in the last decade.  Shut.  Up.  

jimmybb25
jimmybb25

Peter love reading your column but had to chuckle at your defense of Ortiz. Given that you've excoriated Lance Armstrong in the past, it might be worth remembering, Lance never failed a drug test either.

If you're not "cheating" in today's sports world, you're probably not very good. And if you don't believe that, you're probably not looking too hard.

bayman
bayman

How can a Buffalo touchdown be described as 'decisive' when the team loses by 10 points?

Mikerw00
Mikerw00

Peter,

I greatly enjoy your weekly column as a source of insight with good humor, plus a good beer recommendation or two. Having said that you need to become a realist when it comes to PEDs. Every professional sport is rife with them, full stop. MLBs testing program is way to lenient. If every olympic athlete has to "pee in the bottle" anytime, anywhere, and certainly after a win why don't professional athletes in the US have to do the same?

While circumstantial what Ortiz did is a statistically extremely low event. He not only shattered performance records at an advanced age, but also broke his own trends. This is extremely unlikely without PEDs. And, unfortunately, one has to suspect he took them.

As others have pointed out the "I never tested positive" excuse means nothing whatsoever.

We either want our athletes to compete clean, which means a truly rigorous testing program, or we don't. To this point MLB doesn't what to take it seriously (nor for that matter does the NFL, NBA, PGA (which I am told by those with a basis to know has the highest usage rate), etc.

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

Every week I'm slightly shocked at the number of people who seem to hate Peter King but keep reading his column, and keep commenting and throwing criticism at him.


If you, in the past, haven't liked what he said, and you don't like what he said this week.... why not just make a choice to NOT READ MMQB?!

porsche356
porsche356

You should be a NFL GM. You seem to know everything. 

Your team  probably would never lose a game

Hektor
Hektor

Once again Peter King is so far out to lunch he's at dinner. 

"Half N____r" ... "I will kill you." ...

Says Peter King: "But Incognito’s humor can have a very sharp edge."

Yeah. That's real humorous. The first choice of "humor" will get you killed in some places, and the second one can also get you killed in some places. 

"Sharp edged humor." Get a clue King.

Frotoon
Frotoon

Peter King has gone to the dark side of political correctness. Every time a coach gets hurt, King elevates it to the most important story of the day. Of course King is also rolling around in the Martin/bullying story. Peter King spends too much time positioning himself as some sort of liberal moral voice than he does analyzing football.

jj55
jj55

Love it! Peter King, Official Liberal Democrat of the NFL, editorializes against hard work. Let's create a Federal Agency to protect coaches from themselves.

Rexal Parshapswich
Rexal Parshapswich

Come on Peter. Really? Defending Ortiz with the "never failed test" argument. Marianne Jones never failed a test, Lance Armstrong never failed a test. And they weren't 38-year old power hitters.

Smoke = fire.

decredico
decredico

peter,  you have always been a horrible writer and now you are really making some impressive strides in being a horrible human being as well


guthrie2912
guthrie2912

I don't feel sorry for martin at all, sure it's wrong to be a racially insensitive bully like incognito but i'm sure that type of behavior is comman in nfl, just like it is everywhere else, i've been working as a cook 15 years with people of every race and gender and have heard the most racist things you could imagine mostly in jest, and people would laugh it off because you got to get paid and there adults and have a sense of humor, martin could have handled this in house but he broke  a sacred code and that is this even if you hate your brothers in arms/co=workers, you man up and work along side them because that what being an adult and a part of a team is about.

Martin saying he was scared what ingonito would do makes him look even weaker, i'm 140 pounds soaking wet but my whole life when someone tried to bully me i'd mouth off, if the hit me i'd hit back,etc..., that's what a man does, not go crying to mommy and daddy and goodell , it makes me sick, nobody is going to want this guy on there team after this, he's to weak minded,

As for incogonito, he's a decent guard and if he can chill out a bit i would like my colts to pick him up next year, but martin shouldn't be in the league where real men play I wouldn't want him as a colt even with the stanford connection.

George
George

Seahens exPOSED again!  At HOME, no less.

Tampa Bay just might be the second-worst team in the league - certainly in the bottom 5 - and they gave the hens all they could handle.

From what I can see, the first time Seattle goes on the road in January, it'll be one and DONE.

Afiba
Afiba

From my probability course:  If the Chiefs really had only a 50% chance of winning each game, that means that there is 1 chance out of 512 = 0.19% of them winning 9 in a row.  Looks like blind luck as an explanation doesn't go too far.  As for the easy schedule, maybe, but Denver has the exact same schedule except for 2 games.  And many of their opponents would be over 500 if they hadn't lost to both the Chiefs and the Broncos.  The Chiefs finishing at the bottom last year only influences two games on their schedule.

Afiba
Afiba

Calling all Chiefs bashers.  Here's a good article for you to read from Lyle Graversen:
http://arrowheadaddict.com/2013/11/04/chiefs-won-anyway/
A quote from the article:  «Nobody in KC is arguing that KC is playing perfect. What KC fans are trying to get people to understand is that finding a way to win even when everything doesn’t go perfectly is a more valuable trait to have than being able to fill up a stat sheet.»
And nobody can say the Chiefs haven't been finding ways to win!  But of course the East Coast media dandies love to talk stats, stats, stats, as that's how they can earn their living.  But don't forget  the most important stat of all:  the "W"'s.  It's the only one that really counts.

The Chiefs run will end someday, maybe soon.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  It's great to see a team having fun and really, truly playing together and giving it their all.  

ianlinross
ianlinross

If Incognito ran for public office, I think he'd punch a baby in the face.

jhymas25
jhymas25

The Chiefs have had an easy schedule, but credit must be given for taking care of business. Sometimes even winning the games you're supposed to win is difficult but they have done that so far. Also, this happens quite often. A last place teams take advantage of an easy schedule to make the playoffs. It is what the Colts did last year. The Chiefs are just being scrutinized more because they have still not lost a game. Anyways, I don't see them having the firepower to hang with the Broncos so I think they'll be lucky to split the games against them. On top of that they have the Chargers (2x) and Colts in the second half. We'll get to see how good they are in those five games. 

Seattle's offense will get better, I don't think that's a worry. I do think the defense is a worry. In the last two weeks they've given up 400+ yards rushing at 5.4 yards per attempt. That is troubling IMO. However, I think ranking them sixth is too low. 

unit5139
unit5139

it's the Redskins, not the Shanahans. And Sally Jenkins is a weenie. Thank you for reading. :)

BY
BY

I get that it is not the Chief's fault that they have this schedule (although it kind of is because they were so crappy last year with the NFL's weighted schedule) but being 9-0 does not make them the best team, not by a looooooooooong shot. On a neutral field the 49ers, Packers, Seahawks, Broncos, to name a few, all kick their a$$.

GregAtkin
GregAtkin

Chiefs will lose their first playoff game. 

mahaloluinoa
mahaloluinoa

@JahliSuwaghaman I only read to see if I can guess which of PK's moronic nuggets will be deservedly mocked on KSK.  Enhances the experience.

Mike N
Mike N

@jj55

Still pissed that Sara Palin didn't win the Vice Presidency?

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@Rexal Parshapswich I agree that "never failed a test" is no longer a valid "he never used" argument, but I think that Armstrong, toward the end when he was still winning, was the equivalent of a 53-year-old, one-armed power hitter taking the home run derby.

decredico
decredico

@guthrie2912 you know we can read that, right?  thanks for taking the time to show you are just as big a dope as peter king

Merv
Merv

@guthrie2912    You know that Martin went to Coach Philbin last Spring and talked it over with him.  Philbin evidently called in Incognito and told him what Martin said and let it go at that.  It got worse rather than better (see tweets in April) and Philbin never bothered to follow through.  A serious lapse I think

Merv
Merv

@George Yet Seattle still leads the NFC by two wins.  Funny how that works

Merv
Merv

@Afiba That would fit Seattle perfectly also.  How many Ws next to your name is how the score is kept.

George
George

@Afiba The Chiefs have earned their status as #1 and should remain so until they prove otherwise.

And besides - it's a no-brainer - the Denver game(s) will determine who's the boss.  Two weeks from now, it's "put up or shut up time"  and that's the way it ought to be.

Jon8
Jon8

@BY 

Until that happens, unbeaten means best! 

guthrie2912
guthrie2912

Read it or don't it makes no diff to me, it must have made an impression since you took time to write a snarky reply so I guess my job is done here.

guthrie2912
guthrie2912

@sterculius65 @guthrie2912 I never said I was a tough guy , just that martin was to weak to stand up for himself and is to weak mentally to play in the league , I don't hide from anyone and don't avoid physical confrontation , my address is 2032 W maryland st Apt H evansville indiana 47712, it's been a while but fighting gives you a rush that I like, and standing up for yourself is always good.

guthrie2912
guthrie2912

@Merv @guthrie2912 Maybe i'm old fashioned but I have a code, and by even going to the coach he broke it he should have went to ritchie and said it wasn't cool and if not then maybe fight him or go to coach , from what I heard martin was to scared to do anything from fear of ingognito and that is just weak.

guthrie2912
guthrie2912

@rslai76 @guthrie2912 True everyone is wired differently, It's not in my blood to avoid confrontation just like my dad and his dad and probably dating back to scotland my family are drinkers and fighters, I just can't understand someone who would give up potentially millions of dollars because he can't stand up for himself. Sure fighting is dumb but it's also kinda fun call me crazy.

George
George

@Merv @George On the road in January, they will be exPOSED and eliminated.

Take it to the bank.

Merv
Merv

@guthrie2912 @Merv   I think the kind of fight it would have taken would have gotten them both hurt and maybe dragged in another player or two.  That could have gotten them both fired or maybe just Martin.  Plus, bullies tend to be cowardly when faced up to so you could have expected anything once he turned his back.

Jon8
Jon8

@blynder @Jon8 @GregAtkin 

Are you his agent? If he intended to say, I hope the Chiefs lose their first Playoff game, he would have said so!



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