Sunday, August 26, 2007

Preseason Week 3- As Real As Preseason Gets

It's common NFL wisdom that Week 3 of the preseason is the one week of the preseason that means anything. Teams play their starters half the game or more, and for the first time we are given somewhat of an on-field indication of how ready or not ready teams are to open the regular season.

We're going to do things a little differently here. During the season, my plan is to do a real-time blog on Sundays, then do divisional updates during the week, and a big preview on Saturday. So I'm gonna test run it this week, since it's preseason for me too. Here's your AFC West recap for Week 3 of the preseason.

WON at Cardinals 33-31
Yes, the Chargers hiring of Norv Turner to coach a team that is expected to at least get to the AFC Championship game this year is certainly a head scratcher, I look at the 506 yards of total offense the Bolts put up WITHOUT LT in this game, and I think maybe freeing the Chargers from the shackles of Martyball isn't all a bad thing. Philip Rivers completed 20 of 29 with 2 TDs, both to Vincent Jackson, whose bones I am so jumping in Fantasy Draft #2 this afternoon. RB/Chaos Maker Darren Sproles has been one of the most impressive players of this preseason, on any team. He had 118 all purpose yards in this game if you count kick returns, 93 and a TD if you don't. Either way, Turner has to find a way to get him the ball 10 times a game once the real season starts.

Save for a WTF on an 80 yard TD pass to a wide open Anquan Boldin, the first team defense did well, as the Chargers led 17-7 at the half. DT Luis Castillo had a sack.

LOST at Browns 16-17
Jay Cutler continued to dazzle us with just how "meh" he can be. He wasn't bad, but he certainly wasn't that good. He led the Broncos to 10 first half points, didn't turn it over, and threw a TD pass to fullback Kyle Johnson. He is very, very OK at this point in his NFL career. The vaunted Broncos running game was in good form though, averaging over 5 yards a carry, and doing so without either starting RB Travis Henry or backup Mike Bell. Third stringer Cecil Sapp started and had 54 yards and a TD, while UFA RB Selvin Young had 91 yards and a TD on 17 carries, and reminding everyone of that movie "Lucky Number Slevin", which I had totally forgotten about.

The Browns aren't known around the league as being an offensive juggernaut, but the Broncos couldn't get their defense off the field in the first half. The Browns had an 11 play, 80 yard TD drive to open the game, and later had a 13 play, 80 yard drive for a field goal. All told, when both teams' first strings were in, the Browns had 3 drives, and 2 of them put points on the board. That's not good for the Broncos.

LOST v. Saints 7-30
It's panic button time! The misguided attempt to pass Brodie Croyle off as an NFL starting quarterback has been scuttled after he took of a 5 of 17 for 45 yards and an INT dump in this game. Damon Huard has now "won" the competition to open the season as the Chiefs QB.

Not as awful as the offense was, but still awful. The Saints first offense went right down the field pretty much every time they had the ball. Drew Brees completed 17 of 19 pass attempts and was in complete control of the Chiefs. The game was scoreless after one quarter though, thanks to a goal line stuffing of Deuce McAllister, which was pretty much the lone highlight of the game for the Chiefs.

WON v. Rams 20-10
Don't look now, but the Silver and Black pwned in this game. I'm starting to think that with the Chiefs looking like the suck really bad, that the Raiders may not be the mortal lock to finish in last place in the AFC West that they've been for the last God knows how many years. The much maligned Raiders offense was a goal line fumble and a missed chip shot field goal away from coming away with points all five times they had the ball in the first half. Lamont Jordan had 90 all purpose yards and a TD in the first half, and Daunte Culpepper threw a TD pass to Ronald Curry.

While the offense looks improved, the defense was already pretty good, and looks like it still is. Granted, the Rams were missing Torry Holt and Steven Jackson, but Marc Bulger was still there, and held to 8 completions in 21 attempts, and the Rams were three and out on two out of their 6 first half drives, and held to 1 first down and no points on 2 others. All that added up to a 17-3 halftime lead for the Raiders.

On another note about the Raiders, last night I played the Raiders at home against the Chargers on Madden 08, All-Pro difficulty, 8 minute quarters. Now keep in mind I am not very good at Madden. Some may even say I suck. As expected, I was down 20-0 in the third quarter. But then all hell broke loose. Culpepper threw a pair of TDs to Doug Gabriel, and I had an INT return for a TD, and the Raiders ended up winning 28-26. Based on this preseason game, and this video game simulation, I predict the Raiders will be the surprise team of 2007. How do you like that?


Patrick N said...

I forgot Raiders picked his ass up. I fucking HATE Madden!!! The only football game I liked was Tecmo Bowl. Bo Jackson, running play, too ez. But check out Ron Mexico's new TOPPS NFL card:

Nick Pomazak said...

I hate Madden too..I keep hearing how realistic it is...but isnt realistic at all...maybe the individual player characteristics are accurate and realistic..but when you put them all together in the context of a football never see plays where offensive linemen just kind of bounce around aimlessly and dont block anyone..and defensive linemen waltz in untouched and sack the qb before he can even hand the ball off..but that happens all the time in Madden..LAME...