Morning After Week 6

Rookie Report: Jack of all trades

Week 6: Sunday Stud

Infirmary report: Week 6

TJ's Take on Week 6 in the NFL

Mort: NFL's Week 5 top-five lists

Chris Mortensen Archive
Huge comeback tops Week 6 lists

Oct. 14
Editor's Note: Chris Mortensen offers his usual array of NFL top-five lists to summarize Week 6.

Even though it's clear that football is America's most popular sport, I've always held the opinion there are some things about baseball that are exclusive and cherished. One of them is the lack of a clock in major-league baseball games. Teams get 27 outs in regulation before a nine-inning game is finished. You can trail 10-0 in the top of the ninth inning, but you get to keep swinging the bats until the final out, no matter how long it takes. Because of that, I've witnessed some extraordinary comebacks on the baseball diamond (which is why I generally abhor the "mercy" rule in amateur baseball because it encourages a give-up mentality).

So I'm marveling a bit at some of the comebacks we've witnessed in the past two weeks. The Colts' Week 5 Monday-night comeback against the Bucs tops 'em all. But even Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs overcame a 31-14 deficit at the end of the third quarter to beat the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, it made me realize that something is different.

I think it's simple, and I'm specifically reminded of a conversation or two that I've had with coaches this season. They are scared of injuries and diluted rosters.

"Almost every team in the league is putting a player or players [on the field] that places the team at risk," one coach said. "You just hope the other team doesn't have the strength to overexpose your player. And when you have injuries during the season or in-game, you might as well be playing with nine players because that's what it feels like. Most of the guys you replace [the injured] player with are either too young or too average to hold up."

Then there are coaches like Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, who somehow get it done with whatever hand they're dealt.

Anyway, it keeps you watching, unless it's the Atlanta Falcons playing the St. Louis Rams without QB Michael Vick.

Before I tell you about my post-Week 6 Super Bowl picks, let me say I don't have the conviction that the Chiefs are the best team in football. But they do have a look of destiny for now. Therefore, it's the Chiefs vs. the Bucs, with all apologies to the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

The Week 6 top-five lists:

Best Games
1. Chiefs 40, Packers 34 (OT) - For almost three quarters, the Packers looked like the best team in football. But playing the Chiefs must feel like walking on eggshells and the Pack cracked.
2. Cowboys 23, Eagles 21 - Funny thing about it, when the Eagles went up 21-20 you knew Parcells had a plan.
3. Panthers 23, Colts 20 (OT) - Big plays by big players, big turnover, big replays and the Panthers pull a stunner again on the road.
4. Seahawks 20, 49ers 19 - You knew that botched PAT would haunt the 49ers, who made a wonderful second half comeback only to leave with broken hearts.
5. Broncos 17, Steelers 14 - The Steelers may have played their best game of the season on defense, except for a big drop by safety Brent Alexander.

Most Impressive in Victory
1. Panthers 23, Colts 20 (OT) - They were on the road, on AstroTurf for the first time, and the NFL's leading rusher, Stephen Davis, was sidelined by injury. That's impressive.
2. Chiefs 40, Packers 34 (OT) - And Dante Hall was kept out of the end zone.
3. Bucs 35, Redskins 13 - What the Bucs did to the Redskins in the second half had Super Bowl champions written all over 'em.
4. Rams 36, Falcons 0 - As the offensive line and RB Lamar Gordon get comfortable, it makes this Rams team pretty scare for foes..
5a. Titans 38, Texans 17 - So now if the Titans can't run you over, they'll pass you by.
5b. Jets 30, Bills 3 - With their best offensive player (Chad Pennington) and defensive player (John Abraham) out, the Jets embarrassed the Bills..
5c. Patriots 17, Giants 6 - The Patriots had one first down and seven yards passing in the first half and still led 10-3. Somehow that's very impressive.

Best Performance: Quarterback
1. Steve McNair, Titans - Let's get one thing straight. For the past two or three years, McNair has always been in the discussion among the league's best quarterbacks. His 421 yards passing was a career high.
2. Trent Green, Chiefs - Until Sunday, he had been somewhat of a disappointment. But 400 yards and four TDs will put a good taste in his mouth.
3. Brad Johnson, Bucs - Maybe it's Johnson, who threw four TDs, who gets most snubbed in the "best quarterback" talk.
4. Peyton Manning, Colts - It was in defeat, but even an outstanding Panthers' defense had to be impressed by Manning's 91-yard drive in the final minutes to send the game in OT.
5a. Brett Favre, Packers - Except for one costly, game-turning tipped ball for an interception, Favre showed the Chiefs why he is a real-time legend.
5c. Marc Bulger - I'm checking to see if Bulger was throwing versus air Monday night.

Poor Performance: Quarterback
1. Drew Bledsoe, Bills - I know he didn't have Eric Moulds , but Bledsoe was basically awful as the Bills posted a measly field goal in their 30-3 loss to the Jets.
2. Donovan McNabb, Eagles - Can we just please officially say it: McNabb is in a slump. He looked pretty weak Sunday in Dallas.
3. Doug Johnson, Falcons - I'm pretty sure his performance Monday Night demoralized his team on a night he had decent protection and open receivers.
4. Tommy Maddox, Steelers - It's getting difficult to watch Maddox struggle at QB as he did once again in defeat to the Broncos.
5. Kerry Collins, Panthers - So he threw for 314 yards, he also threw four interceptions and never got his team in the end zone.

Best Performance: Receivers
1. Derrick Mason, Titans - He caught six balls and almost averaged 30 yards per catch for three TDs. Top that.
2. Marvin Harrison, Colts - Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, the former Colts' great, used to be one of my favorite players when I was growing up. When Harrison caught eight more passes for 119 yards against the Panthers, that gives him 9,387 yards in his career. Berry is now the Colts' No. 2 all-time receiver.
3. Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs - Jeremy Shockey should take notice. Gonzalez had 121 yards on four catches and is becoming a force again as the NFL's best tight end.
4. Torry Holt, Rams - Isaac Bruce found all the holes in the Falcons secondary, but Holt definitely has emerged as go-to guy.
5. Corey Bradford, Texans - He caught five for 127 yards on David Carr's most productive passing day (371 yards) as a pro.

Best Performance: Running back
1. DeShaun Foster, Panthers - This is where the numbers (16-for-85 yards) don't tell the whole story. Foster came off the bench for injured Stephen Davis and carried four times for 26 yards in OT to set up the Panthers' winning FG.
2. William Green, Browns - For all those people wondering about Green in the first month, remember this about the running game -- patience. Green is on a little roll, this time for 145 yards in 26 carries.
3. Ahman Green, Packers - It's tough to honor a back whose fumble all but lost the game, but Green had 139 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards on a combined 32 touches.
4. Jamal Lewis, Ravens - Since we're not sure if anybody was in the stands or watching on TV, it must be documented that Lewis did break the 100-yard barrier (21-for-134) again in Arizona. Actually, it was very impressive considering the Cardinals stacked eight and nine men in the box.
5. Kevin Faulk, Patriots - Like Foster for Carolina, Faulk lifted the Patriots in the second half with 87 yards on 14 carries.

Best Plays
1. Randal Williams' heads-up TD return of a poorly executed onside kick by the Eagles to open the game gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.
2. Trent Green to Eddie Kennison for 51 yards. It was a simple but perfectly executed double-move by Kennison that ended overtime?a terrific call, as well, by Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders.
3. Ed Reed's blocked punt and return for a Baltimore TD. Find the ball and you'll find Reed.
4. Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne for 25 yards that allowed the Colts to tie the Panthers, sending the game into overtime.
5. Derrick Brooks' 44-yard interception return for a TD that made the Bucs' second-half domination of the Redskins complete. What took him so long?

Best Moves
1. Cowboys specials teams coach Bruce DeHaven gave Randal Williams the "heads-up" for an game-opening kick. It was Williams who turned it into a TD.
2. Titans coach Jeff Fisher sent backup Billy Volek onto the field to take the final snap in Nashville, allowing those great Titans fans to salute a great quarterback, Steve McNair, on his personal best day.
3. Patriots QB Tom Brady hustled the offense to the ball for a quick sneak right after David Patten's 39-yard reception near the sidelines, thus keeping the Giants from using the time to decide whether to ask for a replay. Kudos to Pats O-coordinator Charlie Weis for always practicing the play.
4. The Browns fooled the Raiders with a fake field goal in which punter Phil Dawson ran 14 yards to set up Cleveland's only TD in the third quarter. See, if it works, it's brilliant..
5. Herm Edwards, Jets coach, benched DE John Abraham for his DUI arrest, at a time when the Jets needed a win. That's courage, and it sent a great message because Abraham is the team's best defensive player.

Defensive Notables
1. Simeon Rice had four sacks for the Bucs vs. Chris Samuels and anybody else who halfheartedly tried to block him.
2. Adewale Ogunleye and Jason Taylor, Dolphins DBs, combined for four sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, two pass deflections and a forced interception as they welcomed the Jags' Byron Leftwich to the real NFL world.
3. Jerome Woods' 79-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Chiefs their biggest fourth-quarter play against the Packers. Then he knocked the ball loose from Ahman Green in OT to help set up the game-winning play for KC.
4. Patriots DL Richard Seymour blew up the Giants as Belichick returned to a 3-4 front. Seymour had two deflections that resulted in interceptions as well as a sack.
5. Cowboys S Roy Williams - he's everywhere, and Sunday he and Dexter Coakley caused Donovan McNabb to fumble as La'Roi Glover recovered to cinch the big victory.

Special Citation
1. Packers P Josh Bidwell did what real professional players haven't been able to do ? he made two desperate tackles that stopped KC's Dante Hall from possibly scoring Sunday. As we did with Hall a week ago, we honor Bidwell as the only mention

Best Games: Week 7
1. Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers - This will be very interesting as Air McNair takes on one of the unbeatens.
2. Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings - If the Vikings win this one, will you believe?
3. New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins - Both teams are winning "ugly," if there is such a thing, but it's a big AFC East matchup.
4. Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams - This is a great test to see if the Packers have any chance of winning on turf in Minnesota on Nov. 2.
5. Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants - I wouldn't want to wake up in the city of the loser of this one.

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories

     

ESPN.com: HELP | ADVERTISER INFO | CONTACT US | TOOLS | SITE MAP

Copyright ©2002 ESPN Internet Ventures. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and Safety Information are applicable to this site. Click here for a list of employment opportunities at ESPN.com.