Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders
Here is What Have We Learned from Week Six of the 2014 NFL Season, thanks to AP Pro 32 for photo & help in this article.
- KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs were such a mess in their season opener against the Tennessee Titans that they were quickly written off, their dramatic turnaround last season considered a fluke. Turns out that conclusion was premature. After steadily improving over the first few weeks of the season, the Chiefs earned a marquee victory Sunday when they rallied for a 23-20 victory in San Diego — not only knocking off one of the NFL’s hottest teams but taking a big step toward the top of the division. Sure, the Denver Broncos remain the team to beat in the AFC West, and the Chiefs are still looking up the standings at the Chargers. But there is suddenly a feeling that the Chiefs can make some noise in the wild-card race, if not for the division title.”I think overall the whole picture is good,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday. “Yeah, it came down to the last drive, but there were a lot of people on both sides of the ball and special teams that put you in a position to be able to do that.”The Chiefs had chances to steal wins in Denver and San Francisco, but struggled in crunch time. They had no such trouble against the Chargers, marching 62 yards in nine plays in the waning minutes to set up a 48-yard, go-ahead field goal by rookie Cairo Santos.
The kick was a little bit wobbly. It looked a little bit funky. But it just managed to skirt inside the upright, helping to end the Chargers’ five-game winning streak.
- ENGLEWOOD, Col. (AP) — No more fun and games for Peyton Manning.OK, it was “hat day” for the Denver Broncos, who didn’t don helmets or pads at practice Tuesday. Still, the new record-holder for most career touchdown passes made it clear he has put his historic Sunday night performance against San Francisco behind him.That’s because Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers (5-2) are making another Thursday night visit to Sports Authority Field.
Manning said he feels fortunate to have taken the fourth quarter off Sunday night after playing just 51 snaps in Denver’s 41-17 win over the 49ers. Last year, he played 95 snaps in a comeback win against Tennessee before the Chargers’ shocking 27-20 win in Denver four nights later. Most of the other offensive starters for the Broncos (5-1) also got a breather thanks to a 32-point lead after three quarters.
“So, you would hope physically that would make a difference in how guys feel,” Manning said. “Now, if you don’t throw the ball accurately or know who to block it doesn’t matter how you feel.”
Rivers said that challenge this year is similar for both teams: “They just played on Sunday night and we’ve got to travel, so it evens out.”
The Chargers were the only team to beat the Broncos in Denver last season. That also was on a Thursday night. Mike McCoy’s game plan and Rivers’ execution thwarted the highest-scoring team in NFL history in a stunning win that propelled San Diego toward a playoff push.
The Chargers stymied the Broncos by keeping Manning on the sideline for nearly 39 minutes that night.
- GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Their quarterback is playing near-perfect football, their offense is stirring memories of the juggernaut it was in 2011 and their much-maligned defense is coming together after some early-season struggles.It’s almost a rite of autumn for the Green Bay Packers —the calendar turns to October, and they start playing well. Packers coach Mike McCarthy thinks he knows why.”You look at the design of our roster and how it’s put together, pretty much with a similar mindset each and every year. There is some development that needs to go on with our football team because of our young players,” McCarthy said Monday, one day after the Packers (5-2) won their fourth consecutive game, a 38-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. “(Then) you start to play some good football.”
That is exactly what McCarthy’s team is now doing in all facets. It starts with Rodgers, who completed 19 of 22 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 154.5 – the second-highest of his career – against the Panthers. Rodgers has completed 55 of 81 passes for 675 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions for a 130.4 passer rating in the Packers’ three victories in October.
He’s gone six games and 192 consecutive passes without throwing an interception, and he enters the team’s final game of the month— and last game before its midseason bye — against New Orleans having thrown 18 touchdown passes against only one interception.
Since Rodgers took over as the starting quarterback in 2008 the Packers are 21-5 in October games and have won 16 of their last 17 October games. While he has played at an elite level for the last several years, he hasn’t been this efficient since his NFL MVP season of 2011 when he threw 20 touchdown passes and two interceptions in the first seven games. The Packers started that season 13-0 and finished 15-1.
That team scored a franchise-record 560 points, the third-most in NFL history behind the 2013 Denver Broncos (606) and 2007 New England Patriots (589). The first test of the month could be in their final October game at New Orleans on Sunday. Although the Saints (2-4) lost at Detroit Sunday, the Packers know they’ll face a challenge at the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome. All four of the Saints’ losses have been on the road (including three by three points or fewer) while they are 2-0 at home this year.
- OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — One week after ringing up 38 points in the first half at Tampa Bay, the Baltimore Ravens took a shutout deep into the fourth quarter against Atlanta.Offense, defense, special teams — at this point, it appears as if the first-place Ravens can rely on any of those units to win.Baltimore (5-2) ranks second in the AFC in scoring, averaging 28 points a game, and has allowed fewer points than any NFL team. Not only that, but Justin Tucker is 14 for 14 on field goal tries inside 50 yards and punter Sam Koch has 10 kicks inside the 20 compared to just two touchbacks.Not too long ago, the Ravens’ identity clearly was defense. Now, it’s a tough call. Baltimore’s next game is a big one: at Cincinnati (3-2-1) on Sunday with first place in the AFC North on the line. The Ravens have won four of five since losing at home to the Bengals in the season opener. Should Baltimore drops this one, Cincinnati will own the first tie-breaker if the teams finish tied atop the division.
“It’s not the last game of the season. It doesn’t have that kind of drama to it, but it is important,” Harbaugh said. “You are in your division, you’re playing a team on the road, a team that’s beaten us once at home already.”
The Ravens, however, look to be improved from that early-September clash.
“I would hope we are. We better be,” Harbaugh said. “We’re seven weeks later down the road.”
Over the past two weeks, Baltimore has outscored the opposition 77-24. Granted, the Buccaneers and Falcons are both struggling, but before that the Ravens beat Carolina 38-10 and Pittsburgh 26-6. There was also a 20-13 loss at Indianapolis, but that compares favorably to Cincinnati’s 27-0 defeat on the road against the Colts on Sunday.
- NFC South once known for good divisional play has for the 2014 Season has been not good at best, the Panthers lead the division at 3-3-1, but at times the Panthers have been flat out dominated at times, the Saints & Falcons only have 2 wins each, the Saints can’t close on the road & the Falcons just can’t win a game at 2-5 & then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come in to play at 1-5, the Bucs have allowed over 200 points so far this season & they have not looked good at all. Also the AFC North have also tormented the NFC South as the NFC South is 1-6-1.
- CINCINNATI (AP) — Coordinator Hue Jackson was going over the Bengals’ many offensive failures with a group of reporters in his office on Monday afternoon when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” Jackson said. The handle jiggled. The door stayed closed.
“It’s locked,” Andy Dalton said from the other side of the door.
So fitting. A day later, the quarterback still couldn’t get anywhere in trying to figure out Cincinnati’s worst overall performance in years. And the defending AFC North champions don’t have much time to get things right. A game that will go a long way in deciding the division title is less than a week away. The Bengals (3-2-1) fell flat and fell behind Baltimore with a 27-0 drubbing in Indianapolis on Sunday. It was the first time they’d been shut out since the final game of the 2009 season, when they got beat 37-0 by the Jets. There was a reason for that one: Cincinnati rested its regulars because it was playing the Jets again the following week in the playoffs. There was no explanation for how this one turned out so badly.
After a 43-17 loss in New England and a deeply disappointing 37-37 tie with Carolina the last two weeks, the Bengals put a lot of effort and focus into getting things right in Indianapolis. Instead, they imploded.
The old Bungles were usually better than that.
An offense that came into the game ranked fifth overall in the NFL failed to get a first down on any of its first eight possessions. The most telling statistic: Cincinnati didn’t even cross midfield until the fourth quarter. The Bengals were missing Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green for the second consecutive week, but the Colts dominated them in every imaginable way. There was no room to run and Dalton had no time to pass. He’d been sacked only twice in the first five games; the Colts sacked him three times and pressured him on virtually every throw.
“I think it is a good wake-up call for everyone on this team,” said Dalton, who was 18 of 38 for 126 yards.
It wasn’t just the offense. The defense got shredded for the third straight game, giving up 506 yards in Indianapolis — the most by a Bengals opponent in seven years. In the past three games, Cincinnati has given up big yards and 107 points.
- LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — If the Chicago Bears are coming apart as a team within the locker room, it’s news to coach Marc Trestman. An emotional postgame locker room scene following Sunday’s 27-14 loss to Miami featured players yelling and wide receiver Brandon Marshall calling the 3-4 start to the season “unacceptable.” That had the Bears coach on Monday calling the situation similar to what he’s seen in numerous other locker room situations.”I think our team is very much together,” Trestman said.Some reports said the relationship between Marshall and quarterback Jay Cutler had been strained, while others said Marshall was yelling at kicker Robbie Gould, among others.
“I told our team after the game in the locker room, just as I’m telling you (the media) is that we have to always be accepting of how people express themselves after a game,” Trestman said. “They’re coming down from a week of working hard and building their emotions and passions for the game. And I’m not reading anymore into it than that, and we have to be accepting and non-judgmental and let it pass.
“That’s the way I’ve handled athletes who get into that state. It’s not the first time, it’s not the first locker room it’s ever happened in. I’m not reading any more into it than that.”
Players backed up Trestman’s assessment. Defensive end Willie Young called it common for his former team, the Detroit Lions, to express themselves in a similar way after games.
“Some guys handle things different, and that’s OK,” added tackle Jermon Bushrod. “But at the end of the day, we have to come together for the common cause.
“We have to stick together more than ever now because we lost another game. We lost another game at home, which is unfortunate.”
The Bears are 3-4 at home, but 0-3 at Soldier Field, and two games behind the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in the NFC North. Trestman sought to sweep the incidents away as the Bears get set for a road game at New England, their last before a bye week.
Following Sunday’s game, Marshall seemed anything but angry at Cutler when asked about the team’s situation by reporters.
“Jay’s a gunslinger, Jay’s our guy, Jay’s our leader,” Marshall said. “Listen, we have to do a better job.
“This is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable. Unacceptable.”
Cutler went 21 for 34 for 190 yards with a touchdown pass, an interception and a lost fumble. The two turnovers led to Miami points. He did target Marshall 10 times, with six catches for 48 yards.