Tampa Bay Sports Day

Favorite Five – Week 6

HONORABLE MENTION:  RAIDERS’ SECRET WEAPON ON KICKOFF COVERAGE? PIGEON POWER!

If they weren’t so embarrassed as 14-point favorites losing to the lowly Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles might consider protesting their loss in Oakland since the Raiders weren’t flagged for having 12 men… well, make that the usual 11 men… and one pigeon… on kickoff coverage in the fourth quarter. So, the Eagles not only lose one to bad team they should have beaten easily, but a fellow winged creature turns on them. You just can’t make it up. Really, you can’t. Here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2msmYpNXic

#5:  SCHUAB MAKES SURE BENGALS CAN’T STEAL ANOTHER ONE

All five of the Cincinnati Bengals’ games this season had gone down to the wire this season, and the Bengals had pulled four of them out of the fire, including three in the final 22 seconds, for wins. Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub made sure that wouldn’t happen again. Schaub passed the Texans from a 17-14 halftime deficit to a 28-17 lead with a pair of third quarter touchdowns, as the Houston defense then held on to win by the same score. Schaub finished a great day completing 28 of 40 passes for 392 yards, while throwing 4 touchdowns and just one interception.

#4:  EDDIE GIVES DENVER TEAMMATES HIS ROYAL TREAMENT

He did it so well the first time, Eddie Royal provided an encore a quarter later. After a 93-yard kickoff return gave Denver a 7-3 first-quarter lead, Royal returned a punt 71 yards a quarter later, to put Denver up 17-10 in San Diego, making him the 11th player in NFL history and the first Bronco ever to return both a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the same game. The Chargers would regain the lead, 20-17, on what else, a kick return –- a 77-yard punt return by Darren Sproles with 1:03 left in the half. But, Kyle Orton’s two second-half touchdowns keyed a 34-23 comeback win to keep the surprising Broncos undefeated at 6-0.

#3:  CARDS STYMIE SEAHAWKS IN SEATTLE

Last week, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made the number 5 spot on this list for his great performance at home against Jacksonville. A week later, he’s on the list for helping the Arizona Cardinals defense make themselves feel at home in Seattle. After averaging 29.3 points per game at home (in three previous home games), Seattle was held to just three points in an easy 27-3 Arizona rout. The  Cardinals held the Seahawks to just 7 first downs all game, while allowing only 128 total yards, including just 14 rushing yards on 11 carries, and 114 passing yards, and forcing two turnovers (a fumble and an interception). A week after directing a 41-0 win over the Jaguars, Hasselbeck was limited to just 10 of 29 for 112 yards.

#2:  FEELIN’ BREESY IN THE BIG EASY

True, the New York Giants’ secondary was depleted by injuries, but New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees was very impressive, going 23 of 30 for 369 yards, 4 touchdowns and no turnovers in a 48-27 thrashing of the G-Men in the Big Easy. Brees did pretty much whatever he wanted to do against the Giants’ ineffective two-deep zone, leading New Orleans to 34 points and 315 yards by halftime against a New York unit that came to The Superdome ranked easily as the NFL’s top defense. After directing a game-opening 15-play touchdown drive, Brees completed all six of his passes on a 6-play, 80 yard touchdown drive on the Saints’ next possession, en route to a near-perfect 17 of 20 for 247 yards and 3 TD’s by halftime. Brees made it look effortless, like a kid quarterback playing touch football in the street, all day long.

#1:  BRADY’S SNOWY, RECORD-SETTING SECOND QUARTER

Whether or not the Tennessee Titans, as it seems, have simply quit on the season, and whether the weather –- as in early season snow in October in Foxborough — had a lot to do with it, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was about as good as any passer could be on Sunday. Check out THIS stat line: 29-34, 380, 6 TD, 0 INT, 152.8 passer rating. Now consider that Brady didn’t even play the final 25 minutes of the game. As close to flawless as his overall performance was, that’s not the reason alone that the Patriots’ superstar earned the top spot for the Week 6 Favorite Five. No, it was because of a different five –- as in establishing a new NFL record for touchdown passes in a single quarter. Yes, five times in the second quarter, in the snow, no less, Brady threw a pass that a Patriot receiver took to the end zone for a score: first, a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Randy Moss; back to Moss 57 seconds later on a 28-yard score; 2:39 after that, a 38-yard TD pass to running back Kevin Faulk; 4:27 later, a 30-yard strike to wide receiver Wes Welker; and finally, 1:41 later, a 5-yard touchdown toss, again, to Welker. A 35-0 quarter and a 45-0 Patriots halftime lead… wait, that’s worth repeating, since it now marks the biggest halftime lead in NFL history! … FORTY-FIVE TO NOTHING… AT HALFTIME! The game ended as a FIFTY-NINE TO NOTHING Patriots’ beatdown of the Titans. Amazing. This isn’t a college football mismatch on the schedule! THAT’S where you see 45-0 at the half and a 59-0 final (which tied the largest margin of victory since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970; the Los Angeles Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons by the same score in 1976 … You just NEVER see a blowout to this degree in the NFL. In fact, you have to go back to 1920, when a team like the Rochester Jeffersons beat a squad called Fort Porter 66-0 to have seen a whopping worse than this. Just incredible. Even more so since the Titans were 13-3 last year. From that, to 0-6 and a 59-0 loss. Wow. Here are some other impressive facts and figures on the Pats’ utter dominance… Brady’s 6 TD’s tied his own Patriots’ record… New England possessed the ball for 18 more minutes, an even 39 minutes to Tennessee’s 21… After a missed field goal on their first possession of the game, the Patriots scored on their next nine. They scored a touchdown followed by a field goal in the first quarter, and then scored touchdowns on all seven times they had the ball in the middle two quarters. In the fourth quarter, New England lost the ball on downs at the Tennessee 6 and on its last drive, at the Titans’ 41 after going a 4-yard rush and three kneel-downs by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. So yes, it was 59-0, and it still could have been much worse… Now, here’s the real amazing thing about Brady’s performance (as if a 5-touchdown quarter wasn’t enough). Even in a game that was so lopsided, the Titans actually matched the Patriots in one of the most key statistical categories: each team rushed the ball for 193 yards (Tennessee on 36 rushes, New England on 30 carries); and the Titans had 6 rushing first downs to the Patriots’ 9. The difference though, which helped to account for a Patriots’ club record 619 total yards, was the in the passing game, led by Brady: New England had 21 passing first down to just one for Tennessee, while the Patriots outgained the Titans 426 to -7 (no, that’s not a typo with an extra character, that’s a MINUS 7 passing yards for Tennessee). Just one more number from this game that’s hard to believe.