Undrafted Saints RB Chris Ivory Is a Player

A memo to Scott Sicko and anyone else who pouted after not being drafted by an NFL team: you can still have plenty of success in the league, quickly. Max Hall became the fastest undrafted player to start at quarterback in a game when he started last weekend against the Saints and won. Another undrafted rookie stood out in the game — Saints running back Chris Ivory, who was already on our radar because of his smooth play.

The undrafted rookie running back truly broke out in week six, leading the league with 158 yards rushing on just 15 carries. Ivory pounded the Buccaneers with bruising runs between the tackles, and he also showed his speed turning the corner on several runs to the outside. Sure it was against Tampa Bay’s defense, but Ivory looked impressive as the Saints churned out their highest rushing total of the season.

158 yard rushing totals don’t just come out of nowhere, but Ivory sure seemed to. So just who is this guy?

Chris Ivory is from Longview, Texas and he played college ball at Washington State. He only played 22 games in three seasons for the Cougars because of injuries and wound up kicked off the team because of his role in a 2009 fight. Ivory then transferred to D-II Tiffin University in Ohio where he played five games before hurting his knee. Despite all the injuries, the Saints gave Ivory a look and signed him to their practice squad. Thanks to Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush injuries, Ivory received an opportunity to play and has been sharing carries with Ladell Betts.
Ivory separated himself with his play on Sunday and has earned a larger role in the Saints offense moving forward, even when the other running backs return from injury. Not bad for an undrafted rookie out of Tiffin.

Chargers Desperately Need Antonio Gates to Play Against New England

What a strange start to the 2010 NFL season it has been.  Who would have thought that week six would feature a match-up between the 1-3 Dallas Cowboys and 1-3 Minnesota Vikings?  No one could have predicted Tony Romo may have thrown the Cowboys season away after a mere five games.  And how about the Chargers?  If someone told you before the season that the Chiefs and Raiders would be ahead of San Diego in the AFC West with less than two-thirds of the season remaining, you’d probably have laughed in their face.

Such is the nature of the National Football League, and the Chargers now must face the reality of a must-win game against one of the better teams in the AFC.  The AFC West isn’t the strongest division so losing this weekend wouldn’t kill San Diego’s chances, but they certainly don’t want to start the season 2-5.  If they’re missing Antonio Gates, they may not have a choice.

One player normally won’t make or break a team’s chances, but Gates is about as close as it gets on that front.  The Chargers have already been without their top wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, who remains a holdout.  Malcom Floyd has filled in admirably in Jackson’s absence, but he suffered a hamstring injury against the Rams on Sunday and isn’t expected to play this weekend.  Legedu Naanee is battling a hamstring injury of his own and was unable to go on against St. Louis.  The Chargers are “hopeful” Gates can suit up against New England with a toe injury, but if he can’t it could be a long day for San Diego.

It’s no secret that the Patriots’ weakest component is their pass defense.  Without Gates, Floyd, and Naanee, it’s tough to imagine a Philip Rivers and the Chargers would be able to exploit that weakness.  If San Diego’s slow start persists and the injury bug starts getting a hold of them, Chargers fans may be headed for the ledge.

Tom Brady in Response to Terrell Suggs: ‘He Had His Chance’

Terrell Suggs and Tom Brady had an interesting exchange during Sunday’s Ravens-Patriots game.  After the game, Suggs had plenty to say about the trash talking session without saying much at all.  The Ravens linebacker said Brady taught him how to “bag a Hollywood actress” and added that the Pats quarterback — who was visibly upset when he didn’t get a roughing the passer call — better “hope he don’t see (the Ravens) again.”

During his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show, Brady stepped out of character just long enough to fire back at Suggs.  When you consider his comments a while back about hating the Jets, you could actually argue Brady has become a bit more animated in the trash talking category.

“He had his chance,” Brady said. “Maybe if he gets another chance (in the playoffs) he can try to back those words up. But he had a chance yesterday. You know, we’ve played guys a lot, and they’ve beat us one time in all the times that I’ve played them. They talk a lot for beating us once in nine years.”

Whether you can stand his Justin Bieber cut or not, Brady’s got a point.  There’s nothing wrong with a little smack talk heading into a game as long as you can back it up.  Even if you don’t back it up, it’s all in good fun.  But talking trash after you just lost?  I’m not a fan of that.  Maybe the Ravens would beat the Patriots in a rematch, but why should New England hope it doesn’t have to see Baltimore again after beating them?  It’s tough to let your play do the talking when you’re fresh off a loss and hoping for a shot at redemption.

Pittsburgh Ninjas Protest Return of Ben Roethlisberger

Steelers fans proved on Sunday that it doesn’t really matter what a player does off the field as long as he’s helping the team win on Sundays. They cheered on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who was returning from a four-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after well-publicized rape allegations emerged. The man who caused the city embarrassment throughout the spring also provided them joy and reasons to cheer yesterday, so much so that it feels like all was forgotten. It’s good to know not everyone has such a short memory.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a “radical marching band” showed up to tailgate at Heinz Field and protest Big Ben’s return. They described themselves as Steelers fans and held signs that said “Don’t Let Big Ben Rape Again” and “Consent is not a game.” Most fans stood by Roethlisberger, countering by saying that no charges were filed. We at LBS maintained that mattered little, suggesting it indicated a potential out of court settlement.

It’s truly amazing and indicative of our society’s mentality when Roethlisberger goes from being an outcast and one of the most hated players in the league to being celebrated in a matter of months. What’s the lesson here? As long as you’re throwing touchdown passes, nothing else matters.

Photo Credit: Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette, 96.1 FM

The Miles Austin-Roy Williams Touchdown Celebration Was Worth the Penalty

The Cowboys blew two 7-point leads on Sunday against the Vikings on the road and saw Tony Romo likely throw away their season. Their first two touchdown passes went to Roy Williams — yes, that Roy Williams — who was pleased to find the end zone for the third straight game. After scoring his first TD to put the Boys up 7-0, he posed towards the crowd and then fellow receiver Miles Austin hurdled him like he was jumping a parking meter.

Keep in mind, Roy is 6’3″, so Austin has some serious hops to vault over the big man. The celebration resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, allowing the Vikings to start at the 45 after the kickoff went out of bounds. Luckily Dallas’ defense forced a three-and-out otherwise they would have had another touchdown celebration penalty to blame for their problems. Now they can just focus on everything else.

The penalty was actually called on Sam Hurd for flashing a Hook ‘em Horns, not Miles Austin.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andy King

Despite Kevin Kolb’s Success, Andy Reid Says Michael Vick Still Eagles’ Starter

When Kevin Kolb had to be removed from the Philadelphia Eagles‘ week one game against the Packers with a concussion, Michael Vick stepped in and gave the Eagles a chance to win.  They came up short in that particular game, but Vick proceeded to tear it up when he was given a chance to start the following two.  Given the level Vick was playing at, there was no way Andy Reid could give Kolb his starting job back when he was cleared to play.

However, these things have a way of working themselves out.  Or do they?  The exact same situation arose again for the Eagles in their week four game against the Redskins, only this time it was Vick with the injury and Kolb filling in for him.  Like Vick, Kolb played effectively but came up just short of a victory.  Also like Vick, Kolb went on to lead the Eagles to wins the following two games.  In a win over the 49ers, Kolb threw for 253 yards and a touchdown with a passer rating of 103.3.  On Sunday, he threw for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns in a dominating 31-17 win over Atlanta, posting a passer rating of 133.6.

With Vick inching closer to being cleared to play, what does Reid do now?  The Eagles are winning with Kolb.  Oh yeah, they were winning with Vick, too.  The Eagles’ quarterback play is a huge reason they’ve been able to win with Kolb.  Oh yeahhh, that was a huge reason they were winning with Vick, too.  Despite Kolb’s success the past two games, Reid insists Vick still has his starting job locked down.

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Terrell Suggs and Tom Brady Mix it Up, Brady Taught Him How to Bag an Actress

The Ravens and Patriots certainly have a history with each other, and their two big meetings last year compelled us to choose their game as the subject of our Prime Time Preview this week. The teams did not disappoint, playing one of the two overtime games on Sunday with the Patriots winning 23-20.

One of the most intense moments of the game came late in the 4th quarter with the Ravens up 20-17. Tom Brady completed a 1st and 25 past downfield despite taking a vicious hit to the midsection from Haloti Ngata. Brady banged his hand against the ground demanding a flag be thrown but he did not get the call. Linebacker Terrell Suggs immediately got in Brady’s face as if to say “You’re lucky you got that off and you’re lucky the refs didn’t protect you this time.”

In last year’s regular season meeting between the teams, Suggs was flagged for roughing the passer despite barely touching Brady. Tom celebrated after the flag was thrown and linebacker Ray Lewis termed the penalty call “embarrassing” after the game. Suggs was happy the Bieber wannabe didn’t get the call this time, but the best part came in his remarks after the game.

When asked after the game what Brady said to him, Suggs answered “He was trying to tell me how to bag a Hollywood actress. He said, ‘If you want to get a Hollywood actress, take my seminar on Saturday.’ …He was going over the Dow and the economy and politics. He doesn’t really talk football that much.”

That was some funny stuff from Suggs, but his real message should not be lost: “[Brady] just better hope he don’t see us again.” It was an awesome game and the Pats had to scramble to pull it out. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens won a rematch.