Tuesday, September 14, 2010
How Holmes would have helped Jets
By Russell Baxter
It was an interesting Week 1, one in which defenses appeared to be ahead of offenses and most games came down to a few key plays. All told, 21 of the 32 teams failed to score at least 20 points, seven won games scoring 17 points or fewer, while 11 of the 16 games were decided by seven or fewer points.
The Baltimore Ravens' defense, despite numerous issues in their secondary, was stout in the Monday night win over the New York Jets. The Jets played without one of their main offseason additions, wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who is suspended for the first four games. Including the playoffs, the former Super Bowl MVP has 27 receptions for 520 yards and eight TD in his last seven games against the Ravens dating back to 2007. He’s also scored at least one TD in each of those games.
The New Orleans Saints' offense was a tale of two halves in its win over the Minnesota Vikings, and a reminder that it was a balanced New Orleans team that won Super Bowl XLIV. Sean Payton’s club ran 37 plays in the second half (22 rushes and kneel-downs/15 pass plays) compared to 25 in the first half (3 rushes, 22 pass plays).
That balance was also seen by the Packers (33 run plays, 34 pass plays), Steelers (31 run plays, 29 pass plays), Seahawks (23 run plays, 24 pass plays), Dolphins (36 run plays, 37 pass plays) and Buccaneers (30 run plays, 31 pass plays). All five of those teams also happened to win.
It’s amazing what can change after one week. Last season, the Indianapolis Colts' started 14-0 and went 6-0 within the AFC South. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans finished 9-7, including 1-5 within the division, and were 1-15 all-time against the Colts. So on Sunday, the Texans equaled last year’s division win total, equaled their career win total against Indianapolis and ensured that the Colts would not start 14-0 and unbeaten within the division.
The bad news for the Detroit Lions' is that they lost their 21st straight road game Sunday at Chicago (Detroit owns the record at 24 straight). The good news in the 19-14 loss is that this was just the ninth time in their last 49 games that the Lions held a team below 20 points. Detroit has given up the most yards and most points in the league each of the previous three seasons.
The Seattle Seahawks' wide receivers made nearly every San Francisco 49ers' defensive backs look silly in the team’s 31-6 win. Much of the blame will probably go to QB Alex Smith, but the 49ers inconsistent defense reared its ugly head again. Dating back to last season, San Francisco has allowed 56 points in eight wins and 256 points in nine losses.
Despite their win on Sunday night, the Washington Redskins' offense continued to struggle against the Dallas Cowboys' defense. Washington’s offense has not scored a touchdown against the Cowboys in 15 straight quarters. Of course, defense has been the hallmark of this series as of late as the two teams have combined for 74 points in their last four meetings. Also worth noting is that the Redskins have already won one more game in the division than they did in 2009 (0-6).