NFL '11 Dread News - Week 5
No, it was not a crucial, early season test for a couple of teams hoping to make the playoffs. But hey, this is a sports blog featuring dreadlocks; and that makes the game between the Bengals and Jaguars the most meaningful matchup of the week. Teammates for three seasons from 2007-09, Reggie Nelson and Rashean Mathis, a couple of DBs with dreads among the very best in the league, were on the same field for the first time since the Jaguars traded Nelson to Cincinnati just before the start of last season. Neither of them did much to help their teams win this game.
The Bengals came away with the victory 30-20 on a windy day at Jacksonville. They won mostly because their offense came through when it had to. All three TDs scored by the Bengals offense came on 3rd down plays. The Jaguars, on the other hand, did not get the job done on the big plays, twice failing to convert on 3rd and goal in the 1st half and settling for FGs of 19 and 20 yards. As for Nelson and Mathis, Nelson had 3 tackles (3-0) and Mathis had 1 (1-0). And, as fate would have it, both gave up touchdowns. Rashean got beat by rookie WR A.J. Green on a corner route for a 37-yard TD catch (photo below), a bitter pill for the Jags' defense to swallow because it came on 3rd and 17. That tied the game at 7 as both teams scored on their opening drive.
I can't be certain that Nelson was at fault on the Jaguars' go-ahead TD in the 4th quarter because I don't know what coverage the Bengals were in. But it sure looked like his fault. On 2nd and 14 on the third play after the Bengals had just taken the lead for the first time in the game 16-13, CB Leon Hall, playing the short zone on the right side of the defense, dropped coverage on WR Jason Hill when Hill ran a deep route, expecting the safety (Nelson) to be there to pick up the coverage deep. But Reggie was nowhere to be found (it looked like he moved forward to cover a receiver running a shorter route) and Hill was wide open and made the catch for an easy 74-yard TD, putting the Jaguars in front 20-16. The Bengals went three and out on their next series but began the next series after that at the JAC 23-yard line with 5:14 to go following a 22-yard punt by Matt Turk (his last punt for the Jaguars - he was cut a couple of days later). Seven plays later RB Bernard Scott scored the game winning TD on a 2-yard run and was so excited about it that he threw the ball into the seats (trying, he said later, to get it to members of his family) and drew a $5,000 fine. Scott finished with 20 yards on 6 rushes and figures to get even more action when starter Cedric Benson's imminent suspension goes into effect. The Jaguars' last chance drive ended when a shotgun snap sailed past QB Blaine Gabbert on 3rd and 1 and was recovered by the Bengals with 1:13 remaining.
Mathis started the game with his dreads completely loose. But he had to put a band around them at halftime because the wind was blowing them all over the place. I mean, there was one play in the 2nd quarter where all of his dreads blew in front of his shoulders, giving everyone the rare chance to clearly see the number and name on the back of his jersey. Nelson (photo below), as always, had a band around his dreads right next to his helmet, but you could hardly tell. His dreads are so long now that they go down to the bottom of the #20 on the back of his jersey. It has been reported that Nelson has been playing some decent football for the Bengals. Hopefully he will continue to do so. But it's too bad that he fell out of favor with the Jags because it sure was a blast seeing Mathis and him in the same secondary.
As I was watching the "Short Cuts" replays of some of the games on Directv, I noticed that in the Arizona-Minnesota game, Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was often lined up against Vikings OT Phil Loadholt. And in San Francisco, Buccaneers G Davin Joseph frequently drew the assignment to block 49ers DE Ray McDonald. That put the thought in my head that I should do ranking of the best dreads among NFL linemen. The lists will have to be a top 5 ranking because there aren't enough players for a top 10. In previous seasons, Dockett would have been near the top of the list. But just before this season began, he went out and pulled a Devin Hester, cutting off all the dreads on the sides of his head (photo below). Unlike Hester though, he didn't clump his remaining dreads together, so it doesn't look that bad (I guess). But I can't rank it in the top 5.
BEST D-LINEMAN DREADS
- Adrian Clayborn - Buccaners
- Ricardo Mathews - Colts
- Tony McDaniel - Dolphins
- Tyson Jackson - Chiefs
- Antwan Applewhite - Panthers
BEST O-LINEMAN DREADS
- Davin Joseph - Buccaneers
- Lance Louis - Bears
- James Carpenter - Seahawks
- Jermey Parnell - Cowboys
- Oniel Cousins - Browns
Just a couple of other things. I'd love to include Nevin McCaskill's name on the O-line list. His dreads would challenge Joseph's for the top spot. But he just can't make anybody's team. He seems to be with a different team in training camp each year, but he never makes the final roster. Yo Nevin, you try the Bears yet? ..... Last week I mentioned that the Steelers had cut OT Chris Scott. Well, they signed him to the practice squad the next day, so he may yet have a career in Pittsburgh.
Welcome back to the house .... Vikings CB Cedric Griffin. I did not know that Griffin was bringing back his dreads - until he attempted to stop Cardinals RB Beanie Wells in the 2nd quarter on Sunday. Griffin thought he would put a hard hit on Wells, but Wells turned the tables, knocking him to the ground and going on to gain a few more yards. The collision sent Griffin's helmet and skull cap flying and revealed his almost brand new beginner dreads (photo below). Griffin had dreads his first three seasons in the league (2006-08) but has been without them the last two.
Elsewhere ..... Vikings WR Devin Aromashodu had a big play for the 2nd week in a row, a 60-yard catch and run on 1st and 20 in the 3rd quarter that set up a FG in the Vikings' 34-10 victory. Aromashodu's only other reception on the day was a 21-yarder in the 1st quarter that also came on a scoring drive. More on DA a little later ..... Bears S Brandon Meriweather has already played his way out of the starting lineup. His second poor performance in a row included his failure to tackle WR Calvin Johnson on what became a 73-yard TD catch (photo below) in the 2nd quarter of a game won by the Lions 24-13 .....
..... Falcons rookie WR Julio Jones had to leave Sunday night's game against Green Bay due to a hamstring injury during the 3rd quarter. While in college at Alabama, Jones was known for being able to play well despite being injured. But the fact that he didn't even try to run on it after the play was over indicates to me that this is a serious injury, so I'm not expecting to seem him on the field anytime soon ..... And finally, 49ers S Dashon Goldson had 4 tackles (4-0) on Sunday, and Buccaneers WR Mike Williams will not soon forget one of them. Goldson absolutely nailed Williams with a clean shot just after Williams made a catch, hitting him so hard that he fumbled (photo below) on a play during the 3rd quarter. I have to apologize to the 49ers. I thought they were going to be the worst team in the league this year; but a 4-1 record certainly says otherwise.
WEEK 5 DG
1. On the first play from scrimmage at Charlotte, Saints CB Patrick Robinson gets his 2nd INT of the season at the Panthers' 31-yard line and heads for the end zone as intended receiver Steve Smith chases him .....
2. ..... but Robinson's forward progress comes to an abrupt halt at the 10-yard line when he tried to stiff-arm RB DeAngelo Williams and Williams responded by grabbing his facemask and driving him out of bounds. The Saints scored a TD three plays late to take an early lead.
3. DeAngelo Williams finally arrives in the house past CB Jabari Greer (#33) and S Malcolm Jenkins at the end of a highlight reel 69-yard run, pulling Panthers to within 17-13 late in 2nd quarter. Panthers lost another close one 30-27, but Williams made the dread stars list for the first time this season.
4. Seahawks WR Sidney Rice is tripped up by Giants CB Corey Webster after making his 1st reception of the day, good for 16 yards on 2nd and 6 on Seattle's opening possession of the game. Seahawks got the TD four plays later to take a 7-0 lead. Rice finished with just 4 catches for 38 yards.
5. S Earl Thomas goes up to get his 1st INT of the season, picking off a pass intended for WR Hakeem Nicks at the SEA 42-yard line late in 2nd quarter - one of 5 turnovers by the Giants. Thomas also had a FR in the game along with 5 tackles (4-1) as Seahawks picked up a road win 36-25.
6. Packers rookie RB Alex Green eludes Falcons CB Brent Grimes as he runs after the catch for a 6-yard gain to the ATL 15-yard line on 3rd and 2 on the final play before the 2-minute warning in 1st half. Packers settled for a FG to close within 14-6 then outscored Falcons 19-0 in 2nd half to win 25-14 and improve to 5-0.
7. Colts CB Terrence Johnson can't get Chiefs WR Steve Breaston out of bounds as Breaston hits the pylon for a 16-yard TD catch to pull Chiefs to within 24-14 late in 2nd quarter at Indianapolis. Johnson finished with 5 tackles (4-1), including 1 TFL.
8. RB Thomas Jones gains some rushing yards for Chiefs with LB Philip Wheeler in pursuit during 2nd half. Wheeler had 4 tackles (0-4) but Colts blew 17-0 lead and lost to KC 28-24 to fall to 0-5.
9. On 3rd and goal from the 3-yard line midway through 2nd quarter, Jaguars RB Deji Karim goes down as he makes the catch at the 2, and Bengals S Reggie Nelson makes sure he stays down for one of his 3 tackles (3-0) in the game. Jags kicked a FG on the next play and led 13-7. Karim finished with 4 yards rushing, 3 catches for 27 yards, and 2 kickoff returns for 58 yards.
10. On the first play after the 2-minute warning in 2nd half, RB Bernard Scott takes it to the house for the game-winning 2-yard TD run on 3rd and goal, putting Bengals ahead 23-20. Bengals added a defensive score on the final play of the game to make the final score 30-20.
- DeAngelo Williams - Panthers - 9 carries for 115 yards rushing, including 69-yard TD in tough 30-27 home loss to Saints
- Marshawn Lynch - Seahawks - 98 yards and 1 TD rushing on 12 carries, and 4 receptions for 33 yards in 36-25 road win over Giants
HOUSE OF DREAD
The Week 5 HOD is the end zone at Gillette Stadium, as 3 TDs were scored by players with dreads in New England's 30-21 victory over the N.Y. Jets. Patriots RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a pair of 3-yard TD runs, and Patriots WR Deion Branch had a 2-yard TD reception. It's the second week in a row that the Patriots' game wins the award.
OTHER WEEK 5 TDs: Roddy White, DeAngelo Williams, David Johnson, Chris Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Bernard Scott
WEEK 5 INTs: Patrick Robinson, Sherrod Martin, Earl Thomas
Even his bad plays helped the team ..... BenJarvus Green-Ellis was tackled for a 1-yard loss on 3rd and 1 late in 4th quarter (his only negative yardage run in 27 carries). But he got the ball from the hashmark to the center of the field, making it a bit easier to kick a FG on the next play, a FG that put the Patriots ahead 30-21 with 1:02 to go and put the Jets away. Green-Ellis rushed for 59 yards on that game-clinching drive and finished with a career high 136 yards rushing and 2 TD. He also had a 13-yard reception.
Rashean Mathis has made it a habit of scoring TDs vs. the Steelers. You don't think he would do it again? I hope the Bears win (at home vs. Vikings); but it would serve them right, and I would love it, if Devin Aromashodu has a big night against them. Also returning 'home' is Al Harris as Rams play at Packers. Lions go for 6-0 at home against 4-1 49ers. And I'm predicting the Panthers-Falcons game will be the house of dread winner.
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