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Chargers’ Defense Owns Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is a 10-time Pro Bowl quarterback and three-time NFL MVP. One doesn’t accumulate such accolades without performing extremely well against opponents throughout a career. However, for whatever reason, Peyton Manning seems to struggle against the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers beat the Colts 36-14 on Sunday night, bringing both teams’ record to 6-5 on the season. San Diego’s defense put on a show, intercepting Peyton Manning four times, twice for touchdowns. In fact, Manning is 4-5 in his career against the Chargers with 16 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. In terms of recent history, Peyton is 1-4 against the Chargers since 2007 with 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. There aren’t many teams that have success against Peyton, but San Diego is one of them.

Here is a look at Manning’s career numbers against the team his brother spurned in 2004:

    2010 reg. season L 36-14, Manning 285yds, 2/4
    2008 reg. season W 23-20, Manning 255yds, 2/1
    2008 playoffs L 23-17 (OT), Manning 310yds, 1/0
    2007 reg. season L 23-21, Manning 328yds 2/6
    2007 playoffs L 28-24, Manning 402yds 3/2
    2005 reg. season L 26-17, Manning 336yds 1/2
    2004 reg. season W 34-31 (OT), Manning 383yds 2/1
    1999 reg. season W 27-19, Manning 404yds, 2/1
    1998 reg. season W 17-12, Manning 137yds, 1/1

Shall we call it a case of Eli Karma? Works for me.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jay Cutler Likes Chicago Bears Being an Under the Radar Team

Aside from the Chargers and Falcons, the Chicago Bears had the biggest win of the weekend. The Bears beat the Philadelphia Eagles — a team many considered the best in the NFC — 31-26 on Sunday. Jay Cutler threw for four touchdowns, the defense sacked Mike Vick four times, and forced him to throw his first interception since 2006. Chicago is now leading the NFC North and quietly tied for the second best record in the NFC.

Maybe it’s the low-scoring offense that’s kept this team out of the consciousness for most fans and media members, but that doesn’t seem to bother Jay Cutler. The quarterback told Alex Flanagan of NBC Sports that the Bears “want to fly under the radar. We’re not worried about anybody else.” He added “We don’t want a target on our back. The more we win, people are going to take notice.”

Here’s a video of the report in case you’re interested:

Cutler is exactly right — being under the radar and not talked about as one of the top teams is a good spot to be in for Chicago, but the win over Philly has boosted them into extreme relevancy in the NFL. People have been forced to take notice of the Bears who have one of the top defenses in the league. With games against the Jets and Packers to end the season, they need to rack up the wins now.

Michael Vick Throws First Interception Since 2006

It looks as though Sunday is a day of firsts across the NFL.  Aaron Rodgers lost his first fumble of the year during the early games in what would turn out to be a 20-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.  Michael Vick had a streak going that was slightly more impressive, and that too has come to an end.  Vick threw his first interception of the season against Chicago — a pass that was tipped in the red zone by the Bears defense.  Because he missed time while he was in prison, it also happened to be Vick’s first pick in four years.

So during what has turned into an MVP-caliber season for Vick, he has shown us that he’s capable of making a mistake — one that technically wasn’t even his fault because a Chicago defender made a great play to get up and deflect the pass.

Meanwhile, the Bears are ahead of the Eagles 21-13 at the half and Jay Cutler looks like he actually has a clue.  He’s completed only seven passes, but three of them have gone for touchdowns and he — brace yourself — has yet to throw an interception.  Don’t worry, a long 30 minutes of football is still looming.

UPDATE: Jay Cutler threw four touchdown passes and the Bears won 31-26.

Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson Ejected After Fight (Video)

The Houston Texans put a good old fashioned whooping on the Tennessee Titans in Houston on Sunday, but that won’t be the biggest story of the day.  Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson were both ejected from the game following a brawl unlike any other we’ve seen this year in the NFL.  For a few seconds it looked like a UFC fight.  Finnegan is known for being a dirty player — something he’s proud of — and apparently managed to get under Johnson’s skin to the point where both players’ helmets ended up flying and punches were exchanged.  Johnson definitely got the best of Finnegan.  Check out the Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan fight video, courtesy of YouTube user poontogen:

Now, the question becomes what will the punishment be. Roger Goodell is certainly not going to appreciate this incident, and hefty fines are a guarantee. Suspensions aren’t out of the question, either. It’s getting down to the wire in fantasy leagues, and I’d definitely be worried if I had Johnson on my team and was fighting for a playoff spot.  Thanks to Twitter users JenKay1988 and onealty for the pics.

With Colt McCoy Out, Jake Delhomme is Being Jake Delhomme

Colt McCoy was unable to go for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday due to a high ankle sprain.  Naturally that was bad news for the Browns, who have been playing inspired football since McCoy took over Week 6.  The Browns’ signal calling duties have now been turned back over to Jake Delhomme, and we all know what that means.  That’s right, the Browns have given the Carolina Panthers a chance to pick up their second victory of the season.

If not for Peyton Hillis running like his usual self — an absolute beast — and scoring three touchdowns in the first half, the Panthers would be in control of the game.  Instead, Cleveland is hanging on to a 21-20 lead late in the third quarter.  That lead was once 21-7 before two field goals and a pick-six brought the score to where it currently stands.  Just Jake being Jake.  As a matter of fact, his first two passes of the second half were completions to the Panthers.

Delhomme’s stat line at the moment: 15 for 25 for 169 yards and two interceptions — against arguably the worst team in football.  One has to wonder where it all went wrong for the Panthers’ former hero.

Packers Commit First Turnover Since Week 7 on Aaron Rodgers Fumble

One of the reasons the Green Bay Packers have been so successful as of late is their ability to protect the football.  After not committing a single turnover since their week 10 win over the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers picked a bad time to put an end to the streak.  He committed a fumble on a quarterback sneak attempt from the Falcons’ 1-yard line, which Atlanta recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

The fumble was also Rodgers first of the year, so he was more than due.  It had to happen eventually, it’s just unfortunate that it was at such a crucial point in the game against their toughest opponent of the year.  The fumble nixed an 84-yard Packers’ drive, and Matt Ryan and company turned it into seven points with an 80-yard drive of their own.

The game is currently tied 10-10 in the second quarter.  For the record, Rodgers scored the game-tying touchdown on a quarterback draw.  So far, it’s been the type of hard-hitting affair we all expected from a battle of the NFC’s elite.

NFL Fines Denver Broncos $100K After Steve Scarnecchia Videotaped 49ers

As if the 3-7 record wasn’t embarrassing enough for the Denver Broncos, now we know they lose even when they cheat. Broncos video man Steve Scarnecchia was being investigated for filming a San Francisco 49ers practice the week the teams were in London preparing for their matchup. The Niners won 24-16 despite being recorded by the Broncos. Now we have learned that both the Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels have been fined $50,000 for the incident, and Scarnecchia has been fired.

Denver head coach Josh McDaniels says he did not watch any of the film after Scarnecchia offered to show it to him. Scarnecchia really took all the blame for the incident, saying he filmed San Francisco completely on his own. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is meeting with Scarnecchia about a potential ban from the league as a repeat violator (he was also a member of the Patriots spygate crew).

McDaniels was fined for not immediately reporting the incident to the league. He claims he did not watch the tape but he also didn’t report it immediately. Does that make any sense? I’m guessing this incident had a lot to do with what Chiefs coach Todd Haley said to him after not shaking his hand. “There’s a lot of **** being talked about you” sure makes a lot more sense now. I don’t know how McDaniels can claim innocence in the matter, and I don’t know how they haven’t performed better employing practices like that.