Around the NFL
San Diego Charges running back Ladainian Tomlinson was once a dominant runner, but it looks like his career may be in danger of being over sooner than later.Â Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Terrell Owens may not be too far behind him.Â – Photo by Jeff Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Steelers save their season
A Pittsburgh Steelers loss this past weekend would have meant a 1-3 start for the Super Bowl champions, but for three quarters against the San Diego Chargers it looked like there was not a chance of that happening.
The Steelers jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and led 28-0 in the 3rd quarter. But late game collapses led to the Steelers two losses. In those losses they were outscored 24-0 in the 4th quarter, and they gave up a 20-9 4th quarter lead against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Another late game collapse seemed to be in the makings as the Chargers scored 28 points starting with a late 3rd quarter touchdown. The Chargers were able to pull within 35-28, sending Steelers fans into panic mode. But the Steelers were able to hold on for a 38-28 victory.
If the Steelers continue to struggle to hold onto leads late in games they could be struggling to stay in the playoff race as the season progresses.
The Chargers, on the other hand, have a major problem, which could derail their season. Their running game is simply non-existent. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson has already missed two games due to injury, and when he has been in the lineup he has looked like a washed up running back. He only gained 15 yards against the Steelers.
The Chargers may have ditched the Darren Sproles as a feature running back experiment. Sproles may rack up a lot of all-purpose yards, but he has shown that he is not a 20 carry a game back. He’s just a change of pace/3rd down back.
The Chargers are now sitting 2-2, two games behind the Denver Broncos, who they play on Monday night in two weeks. A loss there could put the Chargers in a hole that they may not be able to get out of.
Broncos may be for real. Cowboys still phonies
The Denver Broncos were called the worst 3-0 team ever after defeating the Bengals, Browns, and Raiders.
The knock on the Dallas Cowboys was that they could not win against a quality opponent.
One of these teams had to step up and prove themselves, and that was the Broncos.
The Broncos have been getting the job done of defense this year, giving up a league low 26 points through four games. The Cowboys scored 10 first quarter points and it looked like the Broncos really were the phony ones, but that is all the Cowboys scored the entire game.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has always put up pretty stats and won when it did not matter, but he is turning out to be horrible in the clutch, or against good defenses.
Rome must have thought that Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey had lost a step, because Romo kept throwing passes his way. That did not work out too well for the Cowboys. Bailey intercepted a pass on the five-yard line when it looked like the Cowboys were going in for a score.
On the final two plays of the game, with seconds to play and the Broncos clinging to a seven-point lead, the Cowboys were inside the Broncos five-yard line with enough time to run two plays. While did Romo throw at Bailey on both of those plays? Bailey knocked down both passes, game over, thanks for coming Dallas, now go home with a 2-2 record while the Broncos celebrate their 4-0 start.
The Cowboys showed again that they couldn’t beat a good team. Their two wins have come against the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 0-3 Carolina Panthers. Their two losses have come against the 4-0 New York Giants and the 4-0 Denver Broncos. As for the Broncos, they still have a lot more to prove. They have the New England Patriots, Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers coming up. Now that’s a brutal schedule.
There was a TO sighting
Wide receiver Terrell Owens caught a pass for the Buffalo Bills this past weekend. Actually, he caught three of them. That’s big news, seeing that his it was the firs time that it has happened since his rookie season in 1996.
Is the problem with the Bills being a bad team, or is it that Owens is getting old and is not the player that he used to be?
It is probably a little bit of both.
This past week Owens caught three passes for 60 yards, but the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins 38-10. Bad team or not, Owens is being paid $6.5 million dollars, so he needs to catch more than three passes over a two week period. He only has 8 receptions on the season.
Weekly JaMarcus Russell update
He still stinks.
This past week Oakland Raiders quarter back JaMarcus Russell completed 36.4 percent of his passes, and that is not even his worst of the year. He had a rating of 48.5, which surprisingly, was his best of the year.
For the season he has completed 39.8 percent of his passes with one touchdown and four interceptions and he has a 42.4 quarterback rating.
Sports radio personality Steve Hartman make have said it best when he said that after Russell signed his huge rookie contract (six years, $61 million), he has pretty much played like he’s already ready to retire from football.
Some fans seem to believe that Russell’s struggles are because of a poor offensive line. Even if the line were not any good, any decent quarterback would be able to put up better numbers than Russell is. That is flat out embarrassing.
Russell may have one less coach to worry about yelling in his ear, because Raiders head coach Tom Cable may be heading to jail for punching breaking an assistant coach’s jaw by punching him in the face during training camp. Now that’s Raider Nation Baby!
This coming week
Only two games on the schedule look really interesting. The Atlanta Falcons at the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots at the Denver Broncos. All four of those teams look like the will be in the playoff hunt late in the season.