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Nfl News And Notes

#1
Bengals - Ryan Fitzpatrick has absolutely no ability to throw downfield; nothing but dinks and dunks out of this offense. The entire passing game is nothing but glorified handoffs to their wide receivers, little four-yard out patterns and five-yard slants. Fitzpatrick threw 19 passes in the first half, gaining 100 yards on barely five yards per attempt. Not exactly explosive offense kind of numbers. In fact, the Bengals rank dead last in the NFL by a wide margin in yards per offensive play. Still, at least Fitzpatrick is completing these passes after a month in the starting lineup, and they are very difficult to defend when thrown accurately. Great continuity on the offensive line helps as the same five guys have started at the same five positions all year. Cinci seems loose and relaxed, a team playing with nothing to lose which is never a bad thing from any underdog.


Bills - The Bills turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter
in their loss at Miami last week. Here, in the first quarter, they put the ball on the turf twice, losing one of the fumbles, and then watched the Jets return an interception 92 yards for a touchdown. Ball control is a staple of the Dick Jauron era. This team simply isn’t good enough to overcome these types of mistakes. They were then stuffed on fourth and short, running an amazing 27 consecutive offensive plays without scoring a point. The Bills red zone defense has been nothing short of outstanding all year, a team that gives up yardage but stiffens repeatedly in the red zone. Their red zone offense, however, is another story entirely, particularly on a day where the running game was simply non-existent.



Browns - Three straight games without an offensive turnover heading into this game, but that didn’t last long against the Ravens. No wonder the Browns have looked so good in recent weeks – when you never turn the ball over, the offense tends to put up pretty good numbers. This secondary continues to be a problem area, getting burned repeatedly. It really does all come down to the defensive line. When Shawn Rogers is playing like a man on a mission, he puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks on nearly every play. Today, Rogers showed little of the fire he had last week at Jacksonville and without any other defender capable of putting pressure on the quarterback, it wasn’t pretty for the stop unit.


Chiefs - This is a completely different team with Tyler Thigpen at quarterback. Wildcat formations, reverses, Thigpen catching long touchdown passes downfield. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that I just saw four quarters of creativity from a Chan Gailey
offense. This is another very bad team playing like they had absolutely nothing to lose. Their 250 yards of offense in the first half against a pretty good Bucs’ defense is extremely impressive from an offense that ranks 31st in the NFL in yards per offensive play. The offense is showing elements of the spread attacks that have proliferated in college football over the last five years. Of course, no lead is safe with this sorry group of rookie cornerbacks, as evidenced by their late game meltdown here

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Jaguars - Last week, this defense had no sacks and created no turnovers. This week, we saw Rashaun Mathis drop a sure interception,
and once again, they got very little from their pass rush, unable to put any sort of consistent pressure on the opposing
quarterback. That’s why they allowed five consecutive third down conversions to open the game – many of them third and long situations – as the Bengals marched down the field for touchdowns on each of their first two drives. The pressure on Jacksonville seems to be palpable, a team weighted down by the enormity of their own expectations.


Jets - This team continues to outperform their abilities, going 23 minutes without a first down in the first half, yet still leading by six. The offense certainly doesn’t seem very pretty or functional, based largely on Brett Favre’s ability to create something out of nothing, fitting his passes into very tight spaces. We’re seeing a steady diet of short passes, with Favre getting rid of the ball very quickly. But Kris Jenkins continues to play like a man among boys at defensive tackle, the pre-eminent run stuffer in the NFL this year, carrying the Jets defense on his broad shoulders.


Ravens - Ten different Baltimore defenders have notched at least one sack this year, tied for the most in the NFL. Seven different defenders have at least one interception, and six have forced a fumble. Even with three starters out with injuries in the secondary,
this defense made big plays all day against the Browns. Joe Flacco is getting better and better every week, the class of this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks. We’re seeing some downfield passing out of this offense now, something that Baltimore wasn’t doing a month ago. Mark Clayton caught a long bomb for a touchdown, and on the very next drive, Flacco took another long shot down field to his ‘big play’ receiver – the same receiver that hadn’t caught a single touchdown pass since 2006. The coaching staff clearly demonstrated their confidence level with Flacco by running a no-huddle offense throughout the second half, trailing on the road.


Titans - This secondary is filled with ‘no-names’ – lower round draft choices, unsung veteran free agents, yet they are playing like the best secondary in the NFL. When did Cortland Finnegan become an emerging superstar? How did Chris Hope suddenly develop into one of the NFL’s best safeties? Coaching has to be at least some part of this equation -- let’s give some credit to unheralded
defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The entire Titans offensive philosophy revolves around rushing the football effectively,
and once again, they did a stellar job controlling the line of scrimmage and opening up running lanes for LenDale White and Chris Johnson, the best ‘thunder and lightning’ RB duo in the NFL this year. With only four sacks
 

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