Monday, September 14, 2009

No T.O.? No Problem for Cowboys

All the questions about how the Cowboys passing game would fare without Terrell Owens were answered, at least for one week, by their receiving corps in Sunday's 34-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Quarterback Tony Romo passed for a career-high 353 yards and three touchdowns while completing 16 of his 27 passes. He completed passes to six different receivers Three of his touchdown passes went for more than 40 yards.

"They are playmakers, and we knew that going in," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said. "But until you do it, the naysayers are going to say: 'Hey. You don't have this or that.' But I think we do."

(Continue to NFC 'Easter)

Jets Defense Slams Texans

Now that's defense.

In the recent past, you couldn't really blame the Jets' defense for their problems. But it was still frustrating to watch the bend, don't break style, where they'd give up huge chunks of yardage until they finally clamped down.

Sunday, in the Jets' 24-7 win over Houston, was everything you'd want to see out of a defense - it was the 'clamp-down' version of the defense over the entire game.

Instead of rare instances of pressure there was a player in Matt Schaub's face almost every play (by my calculation six of the seven plays on the Texans' first drive featured Schaub getting hit). The one bad stretch the defense had came in the second quarter, when Steve Slaton started to carve them up...but a timely hit on the ball resulted in a fumble and a turnover, and the Jets never looked back.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

No Offense Dooms Dolphins

It was a loss that was reminiscent of the way the Dolphins started 2008: No offense and sloppy play.

The Dolphins' 19-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons was also the continuation of a preseason trend.

Miami (0-1) could not run the football, rushing for just 96 yards on the day.

The team also struggled through the air, as Chad Pennington completed 21-of-29 passes, but for just 176 yards, one TD and one INT.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

NFL's Week 1 Served Cold

Because we know you come here to "satisfy your appetite for attitude," each week the staff at the Grill Room will put together a Monday Menu featuring the finest opinion from the demons of deadline -- sports writers and columnists in every NFL city.

Our menu of choice cuts will offer you spicy perspective on Sunday's winning and losing teams.

If you want baloney and cheese, turn on ESPN and skedaddle. But if you're brave enough to read the writing on the wall, pull up a chair and dig in, while we crack open the morning paper.

In the Grill Room, we still love the newspaper business, even if it hates itself.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Will AFC Be Superior Again?

Yesterday I broke down the NFC, and now that I am inside the Georgia Dome about 90 minutes from kickoff between the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, I'll have to be a little faster with my AFC breakdown.

So without any further delay:

The easy path to take with the AFC East is to anoint the New England Patriots as the kings of the division and perhaps even the conference again with Tom Brady back on the saddle. Not so fast my friends.

(Continue to NFL Guru)

Stay or Go? Say Something, LeBron

Staying or going, I wish LeBron James would say.

Those words will be pulling at James, as they did last season, deep into the coming NBA season like a tugboat. He keeps evading questions about what his intentions are as if he were Osama bin Laden.

James had a chance to put the question to bed last month when he premiered his film at a convention in Tampa. He didn’t.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

In Gus, Auburn Trusts

It’s still early and the competition is nowhere close to being among the elite of college football, but still the Auburn Tigers’ offense has been crazy good in their first two games.

How good? Well, Auburn has surpassed 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back games for the first time since 1970.

The Tigers’ 589 yards in their 49-24 blowout of Mississippi State Saturday night eclipsed the 556 they chalked up in their season-opening 37-13 rout of Louisiana Tech.

"It was pretty amazing," said Auburn “Wildcat” quarterback Kodi Burns after the Tigers’ runaway victory against Mississippi State. "It was fun."

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

USF Win Reveals More Weaknesses

When a team aspires to win the Big East football title, as the University of South Florida does, you take advantage of what are considered "lesser" teams on your football schedule.

You take those "lesser" teams to task, score early and often, pin them down defensively and generally make mince-meat out of them.

That's what Tennessee did to Western Kentucky last week, in a 63-7 Orange landslide.

USF had its shot at the Hilltoppers Saturday night in Bowling Green with terribly unimpressive results.

Sure USF came out with a 35-14 win. Sure Matt Grothe emerged as the new record holder for Big East total offensive yardage. Sure the Bulls are 2-0.

But at the same time, this victory showed more weaknesses than strengths.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

Islanders Given Lighthouse Mandates

In possibly her best move yet, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray gave Islanders owner Charles Wang a list of mandates regarding the Lighthouse situation.

Last Friday, she sent him a letter saying she does not care for the October 3rd deadline, which Wang set. "As is always the case in town board decision-making, getting it done right is more important than getting it done fast," Murray told Newsday.

(Continue to Thin Ice)

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Unbelievable as it was to see, Serena Williams *did* do and say all those outrageously bad things that ended her US Open match with Kim Clijsters, and nothing about it being a terrible foot fault call or the subsequent penalty point that ended things can overcome my dismay about the situation. For someone who is almost always a rock mentally and physically to go off in as public a display as Serena did is kind of unthinkable, close to that moment that Woody Hayes belted a Clemson football player for intercepting a pass that sealed a loss for Ohio State many years ago.

That long ago event is still stuck in my memory banks, and I have a feeling Serena's abusive acts are going to stay with me quite a while too. Soooo out of character, because the Williams sisters have done an exceptional job of being quality competitors and people. Whether you give their father credit for putting steel into them that allowed extreme calm or awareness so they wouldn't be overtly controversial, resulting in careers relatively free of finger pointing, they've weathered some career ups and downs. At one point it seemed they would totally dominate the sport with their speed and power, but they've always been diplomatic at all points. That Serena was obtuse and somewhat evasive during the post match press conference, I am just flat out stunned about the whole affair.

(Continue to Baseline Shorks)
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