Jay Cutler Is Taking a Beating This Year

Two weeks ago we wrote about Bears quarterback Jay Cutler getting sacked nine times in the first half by the Giants on Sunday Night Football. Cutler left that game with a concussion and missed the team’s following game, a win over the Panthers. He returned on Sunday in week six and found himself in a familiar position — knocked on his butt because of the crappy offensive line and poor protection schemes.

Cutler was sacked six times in a 23-20 loss at home to the Seahawks. He went 17/39 for 290 yards but the team was 0-for-12 on 3rd down conversions, an indication of the pressure Seattle brought. Cutler was brought down three times in the 3rd quarter alone. The first sack resulted in a safety, while the second and third took them out of field goal range. Lawyer Milloy had the third sack of the third quarter and said the team was “licking its chops” after seeing what the Giants did to Cutler.

So how can this be explained? We’ve said all along that Mike Martz’s offensive system leaves the quarterback unprotected, but Jay Cutler is sharing some of the blame: “It’s on me,” Cutler said. “It’s on the offensive line, it’s on the receivers. … I’ve got to get the ball out quicker.”

The Bears have allowed 27 sacks on the season (Cutler’s taken 23 of them), and they lead the NFL in that department. Part of it may be on Jay, but a lot has to do with the offensive line and the scheme. They may have the worst line in the league; they can’t protect Cutler and they’re not running it well either. Yet somehow this team is 4-2 while the Chargers are 2-4.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Tony Romo Throws Game Away Against Vikings, Possibly Season

We’ve defended Tony Romo for quite some time now here at LBS.  Losing is always a team effort, and in the past Romo has had to take the blame for a lot of mishaps that the Cowboys could have avoided as a team.  That goes with the territory of being a quarterback in the NFL.  However, Romo is pretty close to completely losing us after his performance against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The game between Dallas and Minnesota was a classic back-and-forth shootout right down to the wire.  Roy Williams caught a pair of touchdown passes in the first half to lead the Cowboys to a 14-7 edge at halftime, but Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff of the second half 95 yards to tie the score at 14-14.  After an Adrian Peterson rushing touchdown, the Vikings took a 21-14 lead into the final quarter.

Romo did his job in getting the score back to 21-21, thanks to a 31-yard bomb that Dez Bryant exhibited amazing concentration with and reeled in despite bobbling the ball.  Tying the game was no problem for Romo and the Cowboys.  Winning was.

The Cowboys’ defense got the ball back to its offense with 9:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.  That’s when Romo decided to be Romo.  On third down, he threw the ball right into the hands of Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson.  It was a classic rookie-type mistake, with Romo completely looking past the linebackers to an open receiver and not accounting for underneath defenders.  The problem with that is Romo’s not a rookie, and the Cowboys desperately needed a win to avoid running their record to 1-4.

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DeSean Jackson Has a Concussion, Likely Out Week 7

Eagles playmaker DeSean Jackson got injured against the Falcons on Sunday after trying to catch a pass early in the second quarter. Quarterback Kevin Kolb was under pressure and floated a ball towards Jackson in order to avoid being sacked. The pass led Jackson right into Falcons DB Dunta Robinson who drilled DeSean high with a hit. Jackson went down immediately as if he had run into a brick wall at full speed (check out the video at nfl.com). Needless to say, he dropped the ball.

DeSean already was having a huge game until the injury. He had scored on a 31-yard run, a 32-yard pass, and he had 82 all-purpose yards until the hit. With the rushing touchdown, Jackson now has a rushing and receiving touchdown in each of his first three seasons, becoming the first receiver since Jerry Rice to accomplish that feat. The Eagles sure will miss Jackson who was diagnosed with a concussion, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Jackson was concussed in the second half of Philly’s game with the Redskins last year in week 12 and missed the following game. This was one of the hardest hits we’ve seen this year, so it would be a shock if he were healthy in time for next weekend’s game against the Titans.

Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

Tim Tebow Scores First NFL TD (Video)

Tim Tebow has broken seal.  The former Florida Gator legend (understatement) finally found his way into the end zone during the first half of the Broncos game against the Jets.  Tebow came in as part of a goal line set for Denver and was able to turn the corner and find pay dirt to tie the score at 7-7.

Don’t get me wrong, we still don’t think Tebow can run at the NFL level, but I’m sure he’s relieved to finally get on the board after all the hype that’s surrounded his NFL career.  You can watch video of Tim Tebow’s first NFL touchdown here.

If Tebow can somehow work himself into the Broncos offense they could become a bit more dangerous.  Kyle Orton has surprised a lot of people with his quick start to the year and is currently 2nd in the NFL in passing behind Philip Rivers.  With Knowshon Moreno back and an already potent passing attack, opponents would have a tough time figuring out what’s coming their way if Tebow become a part of the Denver attack.

Deion Branch’s Huge Day Leads Patriots to OT Victory Over Ravens

The New England Patriots offense faced a true test in its first game without Randy Moss, having to take on the Baltimore Ravens‘ swarming defense.  There was nothing aesthetically pleasing about it, but the Patriots passed the exam with a 23-20 overtime victory.

The biggest question heading into Sunday’s game was how the Patriots’ offense would look without the deep-threat presence of Moss.  After reacquiring Deion Branch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, fans and analysts wondered how much Branch had left in the tank and whether or not he could pick up where he left off in New England four years ago.  I think it’s safe to say that’s a possibility.

Branch led Patriots receivers with 9 receptions for 98 yards and a score.  More importantly, he caught passes of 23 yards and 10 yards during New England’s game winning drive in overtime.  Not only did Branch come in and help the Patriots right away, he was clearly Tom Brady’s favorite target all afternoon — especially in clutch situations.

Bill Belichick will, of course, be thrilled that his team picked up its biggest win of the season.  However, he may also be relieved that a puzzling coaching decision didn’t come back to bite him in overtime.  As the clock ticked away in regulation, the Patriots found themselves in a situation where they had the ball at the Baltimore 45-yard line with only 0:04 remaining.  Rather than let Stephen Gostkowski attempt a 61-yard field goal with the wind at his back, Belichick opted to let Brady throw a Hail Mary pass and let the game go to overtime.

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Mike Vrabel Back to Catching Touchdown Passes (Video)

One of the things that made Mike Vrabel’s time in New England so special was his ability to have an influence on offense when the Patriots got into their goal line sets.  The linebacker caught eight regular season touchdown passes throughout his tenure for the Patriots.  He also caught two huge touchdowns in Super Bowl play.

The Kansas City Chiefs put together a 15-play drive against the Houston Texans to begin their game on Sunday and the drive was capped off by none other than Vrabel.  Big No. 50 reeled in his first touchdown pass of the season and is part of the reason the Chiefs currently lead the Texans 14-7 on the road in the second half.  Video of the play can be seen here.

We can probably expect more of this in the future with Charlie Weis calling the plays on offense for the Chiefs.  Weis, of course, was the offensive coordinator throughout New England’s Super Bowl years and loved drawing up plays for Vrabel around the goal line.  Meanwhile, Kansas City is looking to once again prove it’s for real against a quality Houston offense in Texas.

Joe Namath: Brett Favre Won’t Make it Through Cowboys Game

Earlier in the week, I wondered whether Brett Favre was faking, or at least exaggerating his elbow injury. While I concluded that he was probably bothered by the elbow (not to mention the nuts) but still exaggerating its effects, count Hall of Famer Joe Namath as one who believes in its legitimacy.

Joe Willie told Adam Schein on Sirius NFL Radio (via Newsday) that he thinks the injury is serious based on what he saw Monday night. Namath added that tendinitis is debilitating, and that rest is the only thing that can help it. He figures Favre would need a painkilling injection to play in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys.

The bold prediction is that he thinks Favre won’t make it through the game: “I think the combination of Dallas knocking him down, and Brett certainly having to throw the ball, is going to be too much for him. … His best interest is to get healthy. Going out there and throwing the ball, the way he throws it, certainly is not the method that you get that thing healthy. I think they’re in a dire situation right now so he is going to try his best to play but I don’t see him being efficient.”

I agree that the situation for Minnesota is dire and that Favre will play, but I think he’ll make it through the entire game. How well he plays is the big question. I think he’ll play alright, but not great, and that the Vikings will lose and drop to 1-4. At that point, the odds Favre misses a game or two down the road go up significantly. I agree with LBS commenter Eric Z when I say this is a story that won’t end well.