The Cleveland Browns won their first game of the season, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals by a final score of 34-24. We'll have more notes about the Browns' performance over the next few days, but for now, here are a few of my thoughts from Week 6 in the National Football League.
- Trouble in Baltimore: How can there be trouble for a 5-1 Baltimore Ravens team? Despite holding a two-game lead in the AFC North, that lead is not going to last after the injuries they have suffered and the type of run defense they are playing. As good as Ed Reed is, Lardarius Webb is the young cornerback they've relied on in pass coverage. Reports are indicating that he tore the ACL in his left knee, which will end his season.
On top of that, LB Ray Lewis suffered what appears to be a right triceps injury. Depending on the results of his MRI, he could end up missing the rest of the season too. DT Haloti Ngata is not at 100 percent either, but he'll keep playing.
The Ravens gave up 214 yards rushing to the Chiefs last week, and they gave up 227 yards rushing to the Cowboys this week. Miraculously, they still ended up winning both games, but the combined margin of victory in both games was just five points. They can't keep winning with that formula, but the problem is that their defense really isn't going to improve much in 2012. They are vulnerable to the rest of the teams in the division, including the Browns.
- Are Things Looking a Little Softer? After the Browns got the monkey off their back -- by getting their first win of the season -- is their upcoming schedule looking a bit...easier? Up next, the Browns will take on the Indianapolis Colts. They have been up and down, but they got blown out by the Jets 35-9 this week on the road. Andrew Luck had his worst game as a pro, and you have to wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that Antonio Cromartie helped keep Reggie Wayne in check for a good portion of the game. Can Joe Haden do the same thing next week?
The Colts also didn't have much of a ground game this week in the absence of Donald Brown, and their rush defense was terrible, yielding 5.7 yards per carry. After that, Cleveland faces a tough San Diego team. Then, they face a banged up Ravens team, the inconsistent Cowboys, the struggling Steelers, and the sometimes laughable Raiders and Chiefs.
- Highlights of the Rookie Quarterbacks: This has to be one of the best rookie quarterback classes ever, right? By that, I'm referring to their play as rookies. Except for Luck, all of the other rookie quarterbacks helped lead their team to victory. We already saw Brandon Weeden's highlights earlier, but let's take a look as his 71-yard bomb again.
With two touchdowns and no interceptions, Ryan Tannehill turned in another solid performance for the Dolphins in a 17-14 win over the Rams. The Dolphins are currently in a four-way tie for first place at 3-3 in the AFC East.
We can't forget about Russell Wilson's comeback against the New England Patriots either, improving the Seahawks to 4-2. Wilson finished with three touchdowns and no interceptions on the day.
And lastly, there is Robert Griffin III. The highlight below speaks for itself. After the Redskins were shut out 9-0 in the first quarter, they ripped off 38 points over the final three quarters. Griffin finished with 3 touchdowns -- 1 through the air, and 2 on the ground. His 76-yard scamper below gave him 138 yards rushing on the day. Unlike Michael Vick, this guy can actually throw the football with accuracy too.
- I actually thought that Brady Quinn might give the Chiefs' offense a lift this week. Boy, was I dead wrong or what.
Brings back some good memories, eh? /sarc
- I saw Jay Feely's 61-yard game-tying field goal, and it was a thing of beauty. That has to be a thrill for a kicker to blast a career long from beyond 60 yards.
As much of a high as that is, how does Feely feel when he misses a 38-yard field goal to win it about a minute (in game clock) later?
Talk about going from an extreme high to an extreme low as a kicker in a short period of time. The Cardinals went on to lose the game in overtime after John Skelton, in for the injured Kevin Kolb, threw a horrible pass over the middle that was picked off and set the Bills up for a chip-shot field goal.
- Last week, the New York Giants had no sacks and two quarterback hits all game against the Browns. This week, the Giants had six sacks and nine quarterback hits against the San Francisco 49ers. Kudos to the Browns' pass protection the past several weeks.
- Here is the craziest/funniest play of the week:
The Buccaneers' punter, Michael Koenen, had his punt blocked. The wise thing to do would be to fall on the football or kick it out of the back of the end zone for the safety. Even if he recovers and rushes out to the one yard line, the Chiefs would basically have a guaranteed seven points instead of two. Instead, Koenen just decides to chuck it...and the Chiefs take it for a pick six. I wonder if that sequence has ever happened in NFL history. No worries, though, as the Bucs still won 38-10.
- The Lions and the Eagles are two messed up teams to try to figure out. At least we've got a cool celebration from Jim Schwartz to figure out who came away with the win:
- As I'm writing this, I just watched Aaron Rodgers toss his sixth touchdown pass of the game against the Houston Texans. I am stunned at how poorly the Texans have played today after their 5-0 start. The good news? They still play in the worst division in football, and will still have a three-game cushion heading into Week 7. Nobody else in that division has a chance to catch them. It's just an off day for the Texans and a great performance by the Packers.
- It helps that Rodgers has receivers who can make catches like this, too:
Speaking of receivers, how about James Jones (the guy making the catch above)? This is a guy who was kind of written off in the Packers offense, and many felt he could've been traded elsewhere. Instead, he has delivered huge with Greg Jennings injured. Over the past three weeks, he has six touchdown receptions.
- I was surprised to see the Giants beat the 49ers as convincingly as they did. I still think the 49ers are a very good team, but the division they play in is playing at a very high level, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The 49ers will play their first division game of the season on Thursday Night Football against the Seahawks. I can't wait to see how that game unfolds.
- Matt Ryan struggled with three interceptions against the Raiders, but the Falcons still rallied to remain the only undefeated team in the league at 6-0. It's easy to win when the opposition has Carson Palmer, a guy who just loves making these type of throws:
Seriously, that was a terrible trade by the Raiders last year. What else is new though, right?
- Seahawks WR Braylon Edwards caught his first touchdown pass today since the 2010 season, when he was a member of the Jets. He appeared to push off on the play, but it wasn't called. I guess it makes up for his Week 1 botch; otherwise, the Seahawks could be 5-1 right now.
- I can't believe Dez Bryant missed the two-point conversion throw from Tony Romo that would've tied the game. I can't believe the Cowboys recovered the onside kick. I can't believe the Cowboys couldn't get another play off with a timeout in their pocket before attempting a field goal. I can't believe the Cowboys missed the game-winning field goal. Actually, I can believe all of those things: that's the up-and-down nature of a Jerry Jones team.
- The Steelers lost on Thursday. Any week that has Cleveland winning and Pittsburgh losing is definitely a "treat." Halloween is just around the corner, so I'll take it.
Feel free to share any of your random Week 6 thoughts.