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BigChiefFan
12-05-2005, 08:58 PM
Week 13 Judgements: K.C. D-line turns it up; Big Ben a big hurt
Dec. 5, 2005
By Clark Judge
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Clark your opinion!





1. The Kansas City Chiefs invested all those millions in their defense for days like Sunday. It wasn't just that the Chiefs D held up against Denver; it was that it stopped the Broncos when they absolutely, positively had to have a first down. I'm talking about that fourth-and-1 with just over two minutes left. The Broncos tried hammering Mike Anderson into the middle of the Chiefs' defensive line, and he gained two feet. Two feet does not equal one yard. Game, set, match: Kansas City. Gunther Cunningham was right: This defense is better than it was a year ago. Way better.


Ben Roethlisberger hasn't been his efficient self, throwing seven picks in his last four starts. (Getty Images)
2. Finally, Carolina has found something that was holding it back: a running game. Introducing DeShaun Foster, the team's first 100-yard back since Nick Goings ran for 127 on Dec. 26, 2004. Now the question: Can Foster stay healthy?

3. The Pittsburgh Steelers are in trouble and, yes, you can trace it to Ben Roethlisberger -- and maybe, just maybe, that injured thumb. All I know is Roethlisberger's strength is not making mistakes, and he proved it the first six games when he threw just two interceptions. But look what happened his last two starts: He has five, including three against the Bengals. Two of them were in Pittsburgh territory and led to Cincinnati touchdowns. Sure, you can say the Steelers defense should be better than the 80 points it's bled the last three weeks, but this is a team that doesn't allow for mistakes by its offense -- and, lately, that's not happening. In Roethlisberger's first four starts this season he had no interceptions; in his last four he has seven. Pittsburgh may be the AFC team that yields to streaking San Diego for the playoffs, though keep this in mind: If the two are tied the Steelers hold the advantage in a tiebreaker because of a 24-22 defeat of the Chargers earlier this year.

4. It's not the Raiders defense that will wind up getting Norv Turner fired; it's their offense. The Raiders made off-season headlines by hiring Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan, and where did it get them? Nowhere. Sunday's loss to San Diego marked the eighth time this season the Raiders failed to score more than 20 points. They lost six of them.

5. The next great defensive force in this league is Giants' end Osi Umenyiora. He not only has 11 sacks, including one on Sunday, but he ran down the Cowboys' Julius Jones from behind -- stopping Dallas from making a critical fourth-quarter first down. The guy is fast. He's strong. He's quick. And he can play the run and the pass. In fact, the Giants had him in occasional pass coverage Sunday.

6. Look for Ricky Williams to gain late-season support for comeback player of the year.

7. Poor San Francisco. It could've had Matt Leinart with the first pick of this year's NFL Draft; instead, he stayed in school, and the 49ers wound up with Alex Smith as their quarterback of the future. In three starts Smith has eight interceptions, six fumbles and no wins.

8. The St. Louis Rams will not have Joe Vitt or Mike Martz as their head coach next year. Look for them to hire a college head coach or defensive coordinator from the pros. Martz, who bowed out this year with a heart infection, notified the club he would honor the last year of his contract, even if he doesn't get an extension. But that won't happen. The Rams believe Martz is too disruptive and already are considering successors.

9. This is why people I trust think Jacksonville has a chance to beat the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday: 1) Because the Jags beat them two of the last four times they met; 2) because the Jags play them tough, with none of the past four games decided by more than seven points; and 3) because the Jags held Peyton Manning to a career-low 122 yards passing in the second game of this season, a 10-3 Indy win.

10. It's time to call FEMA in on the Detroit Lions. These guys are a mess, and, no, firing Steve Mariucci didn't solve a thing. The Lions had 223 yards in offense, their second worst performance of the season, and reached the end zone once for the third consecutive week. When president Matt Millen jettisoned Mariucci he said it was time to "develop our younger players," but, apparently, interim coach Dick Jauron didn't get the memo. He started quarterback Jeff Garcia, who, at 35, can't be considered one of the Lions' "younger players." Let's see how long that lasts.

11. If you're the New York Jets you have a dilemma. Do you draft Reggie Bush or his USC teammate Leinart? The Jets should have a chance at either, primarily because there is no worse team out there now. Not Houston. Not San Francisco. Nobody. The Jets simply can't score, and, yes, I blame the quarterbacks. The club has two passing touchdowns in its last 10 starts. Yuck. So they finish 2-14. Now what do they do: Bush or Leinart? I know it all depends on the status of Chad Pennington, but does anyone really believe he can return from two rotator-cuff injuries in the same year? Let's say that's a no. Do you figure you can win with Jay Fiedler and draft Bush, or do you draft Leinart and look for your future running back another year? Your move, Herman Edwards.

12. Did Boomer Esiason really say he wouldn't be surprised if Mike Tice were named coach of the year? Yo, Boomer, there's an undefeated team out there, and let me introduce you to Tony Dungy. Tice isn't even coach of his division; Chicago's Lovie Smith is.

13. If you're Jim Haslett why would you want to return as head coach of the New Orleans Saints? No one can guarantee where you play next year. You're now dressing at a high-school baseball field, with your front office moved to a city water works building. The NFL wants you to stay in Louisiana, but Baton Rouge -- mentioned as a possible site -- isn't interested (see Sunday's crowd of 34,411), and your owner insists he wants to go to Texas. Yeah, that sounds like the way to build a winning program to me.

Halfcan
12-05-2005, 09:06 PM
Great thread.