Donovan McNabb Benched for Rex Grossman Late in Loss to Lions

For the second year in a row, the Detroit Lions beat the Washington Redskins. If you didn’t watch the game but saw the 37-25 final, it was much closer than that score suggests. The Skins had taken the lead 25-20 midway through the 4th quarter on a kickoff return for a touchdown by rookie Brandon Banks. They missed the two-point conversion but the defense forced a Detroit punt. Washington had the ball up 25-20 with 5:21 left and a chance to run off some time or add to their lead. Instead, Donovan McNabb threw an interception on 2nd and 10 giving Detroit the ball at the 37.

The Lions capitalized on the interception with Matt Stafford hitting Calvin Johnson for the pair’s third touchdown of the game giving them a 28-25 lead (they converted the two-pointer). With 3:18 left, Washington had the ball and couldn’t manage a first down. McNabb was sacked on 4th and 10 at his 20 giving the Lions great field position to go up 31-25.

The Redskins had 1:45 to try and drive for the game-tying score. Much to the surprise of everyone not named Mike Shanahan, the Redskins sent backup quarterback Rex Grossman out for the final drive. Grossman, who hadn’t thrown a pass all season, succumbed to the same pressure that got after McNabb. He was sacked on his first play, lost the ball, and Ndamukong Suh picked it up and returned it for a touchdown sealing the win.

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Jets Offense Stale in Loss to Packers

With the way the Jets have played defense under Rex Ryan, you have to assume New York has the edge in that phase of the game regardless of whom they play.  That was far from the case on Sunday when Mark Sanchez and company lost to the Green Bay Packers, 9-0.

Green Bay’s defense was dominant at the New Meadowlands on Sunday.  The Packers’ D was able to force three turnovers on a day when their offense scored no touchdowns, but protected the football.  Green Bay also benefited from a Jets offense that couldn’t do anything from the opening kickoff through the final whistle.

When New York tried throw it, the Packers defensive backs were there to make a play on the ball.  Mark Sanchez threw two interceptions and looked flustered for the better part of the game.  When Rex Ryan decided to go away from Sanchez and into the wildcat, Brad Smith lost a fumble.  Ryan even opted to try a fake punt early in the game deep in his own territory and came up short.  The Jets defense bailed the offense out by holding the Packers to a field goal, but it didn’t matter on a day when New York couldn’t put a point in the board.

Sunday’s game in New Jersey was a perfect example of how a defense can only take a team so far.  Nine points should never be enough to win a game, but New York’s offense allowed it to be.

Carson Palmer Throws Costly Late Game Interception Against Dolphins

The more Cincinnati Bengals games I watch, the more I realize Carson Palmer just isn’t what he used to be.  A former Pro Bowler and top-5 quarterback in the NFL, Palmer has had a lot of trouble protecting the football over the past few seasons.  More specifically, he has never appeared to be the same Carson since he tore his ACL during the playoffs back in 2006.

Palmer’s seventh interception of the 2010 season was a costly one.  The Bengals found themselves trailing the Dolphins 22-14 late in the game Sunday afternoon, but still had a chance to send the game to overtime.  They even got some help from Miami when a roughing the passer call put Cincinnati into Dolphins territory.  Just when it appeared the Bengals had a shot to drive the field and at least give themselves a chance to tie with a touchdown and a two-point conversion, Palmer threw the ball right into the hands of Miami defensive back Sean Smith.  It was the first pick of Smith’s career.

If you add in Terrell Owens’ lucky touchdown catch that should have been an interception, you get a tough day from the Bengals’ leader.  With Chad Ochocinco and T.O., Palmer has plenty of talent to throw to and just hasn’t been able to get it done.  The Bengals now find themselves in a hole with a 2-5 record, and for once we can say a lot of the blame rests on their quarterback’s shoulders.

Jon Kitna a Disappointment Against Jags

The word “disappointment” pretty much sums up the Dallas Cowboys‘ 2010 season to this point, so I guess you could say Jon Kitna is just trying to fit in with his teammates.  As we all know, Tony Romo suffered a broken collarbone last weekend and is going to miss significant time, if not the remainder of the season.  That leaves the Cowboys’ starting quarterback duties to Kitna, who started his first game for Dallas Sunday against the Jaguars.

Barring a miraculous comeback in Texas, it’s safe to say Kitna failed his first test of the season.  On paper, it appeared Kitna was drawing a good opponent for his first start of the year in the Jaguars.  As I’m writing this, the Jaguars are dominating the Cowboys in the fourth quarter, 28-3.  Kitna has thrown three interceptions and (obviously) no touchdowns.

However, it’s important to point out that two of the passes were deflected by his own players — one through the hands of Miles Austin and the other tipped by Felix Jones.  The tipped balls prove that Kitna hasn’t really been given much to work with.  Dallas is a team that came into the year with high expectations and is staring a 1-6 record directly in the face.  They’ve clearly called it a season and are done concentrating.  Kitna might as well join the club.

Terrell Owens Gets Lucky With His Second TD Catch of the Day (Video)

Terrell Owens has been one of the fantasy surprises of 2010.  After getting off to a slow start, T.O. has caught 26 passes for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last three games.  Most of us expected Chad Ochocinco to be the top option at receiver for the Bengals, but T.O. has been a monster and clearly Carson Palmer’s favorite option.

When things are going well, they’re going well.  T.O. already has two touchdown catches against the Dolphins today, but one of them was as lucky a catch as you can have.  His second touchdown catch was a 37-yarder that should have been easily picked off by Miami defensive back Chris Clemons.  Instead, Clemons bobbled the ball and flipped it right into the hands of Owens as he was going to the ground trying to corral it.  T.O. calmly trotted into the end zone.  You can see video of T.O.’s lucky touchdown catch here.

Better to be lucky than good, right?

NFL Orthopedist Says Brett Favre is Milking His Ankle Injury

This happened on Tuesday, so forgive me if you’ve already seen it.  This is the first I’ve heard of it, so I had to make sure everyone gets a good laugh out of it.  As we all know, Brett Favre is battling an ankle injury.  Chatter about his consecutive games played streak coming to an end this weekend in New England has been swirling about, although we all know there’s about a .00000001 percent chance Favre doesn’t start the game.

Favre has two fractures in his left ankle and had a noticeable limp at the end of Minnesota’s game against the Packers on Sunday (even more noticeable when he threw an interception to blow the game).  He’s already made reference to the fractures during at least one press conference, making sure we know he has huge stones and is good for something other than sexually harassing people.

SI’s Peter King spoke with a top NFL orthopedist earlier in the week, who basically said Favre is milking the injuries by telling people they’re fractures and leaving it at that.  The orthopedist calls one of the injuries — a stress fracture near Favre’s ankle — a “glorified ankle sprain” that can easily be shielded and medicated before a game.  He said the other — which is a fracture near the heel — isn’t compromising any critical structure and can also be treated with an injection.

Not that we didn’t already think Favre was a drama queen, but it’s nice to hear it from a professional other than his agent.  People with no medical background might think a fracture means it’s close to completely breaking, which clearly isn’t the case here.  Come Sunday, Favre will go through the same process hundreds of other players across the league will be going through before the game — getting treated so they can play through pain.  He’ll just be the only one trying to convince us he’s one tough Mississippi som’ bitch.

Jim Haslett: Albert Haynesworth in 3-4 Defense is Square Peg in Round Hole

One of the biggest stories this off-season was Albert Haynesworth’s refusal to appear at off-season activities for the Washington Redskins. The team had paid him a $21 million bonus but Albert was reluctant to participate because he didn’t feel like the team’s switch to a 3-4 defense fit him well. After embarrassing Haynesworth with conditioning drills, the defensive tackle is finally playing with the team and guess what? They’ve admitted the 3-4 defense is not a good fit for him!

“Trying to get him to do the 3-4 stuff was trying to get a square peg into a round hole. We were trying to force the issue,” [defensive coordinator Jim] Haslett said. “Obviously, it hasn’t worked out the way we would like. I still think he can do it, ’cause he’s a good athlete and he is athletic and tough enough to do it. I think he just needs more time doing it. … The good coaches in the league are smart enough to know that you try to get a guy to fit the system, but there’s no reason why you can’t change the system to fit the guy.”

I never agreed with the way Haynesworth handled his business — if he wanted to play in a different system, he shouldn’t have cashed his bonus check. Once he cashed the check, he should have joined the team in workouts and been a model teammate. Still, the Redskins were hurting themselves by dicking Albert around and not using him during games. The big man had a monster game against the Bears this past weekend and is a difference-maker. They’re only hurting themselves by not playing him or getting the defense to fit him better. Now that he’s on the field consistently, Washington is much more of a defensive threat.