Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 11/14/12
Each week, various members of the Helmet2Helmet forum community — known as Team Ugly (which includes yours truly) — will analyze, criticize, praise, and mock all of the happenings from the prior week of NFL action in their own unique way. Previously: Week 9 | Week 8 | Week 7 | Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 Week 10 is behind us and it was the usual mixture of Good, Bad, and Ugly. If anything, perhaps more teams tried to distinguish themselves (positively or negatively) than the last few weeks. We’ll start at the beginning. Indianapolis looked like a potential playoff team instead of the 2011 version. Moving on to the actual weekend, there were a series of slaughters. Tennessee canned the Dolphins in Miami, Denver mauled the Panthers in Charlotte, and the Ravens was lousy hosts in pummeling the Raiders. In Cincinnati, the Bengals didn’t exactly slaughter the Giants, but they did control the game from start to finish. Call it a humane put down. The same fate became the Jets in Seattle, as the Seahawks made them almost inert. Then there were the more competitive matchups. Tampa nudged the Chargers out of the way, making a case for both why they are a potential playoff team and Norv Turner should be fired. The Pats herded Buffalo into a narrow victory. The Vikings made it known they are not yet done by taming the Lions at home. Dallas ran away in the fourth quarter in Philly to capture a win. In the big games, The Niners played to one of those rare ties against the Rams at home. New Orleans hung in and grabbed a home win against previously undefeated Atlanta, while Houston ground to a rain-soaked win in Chicago in a battle of 7-1s. Pittsburgh closed the week escaping against KC, losing Big Ben for the short term in the process. Rounding the turn toward week 11, we see the Giants lead in the NFCE tightening up, same for Chicago’s advantage over Green Bay. Atlanta sees Tampa creeping up in the NFCS, while the Niners own a game and a half advantage over Seattle in the West. On the AFC ledger, the Pats are looking like the best of the East, Baltimore and Pittsburgh will slug it out over the next few weeks, Houston is getting a surprising chase from Indy in the South and Denver is slowly pulling away in the West. Week 11 has some early potential yawners and some possible competitive games from teams not exactly chasing greatness. The picks of the litter start with the late Sunday games. Indy visits New England, while no longer Brady vs. Manning, it is a battle of 6-3 teams. Denver hosts San Diego, which could be the Chargers last gasp. The Ravens visit the Steelers Sunday night, in a battle for the AFCN lead. Monday offers up the Bears at San Francisco. But before we move on, here is a last look at Week 10. Good Houston Texans – With ugly conditions in Chicago — a nasty mix of rain and wind — the Texans won on the heels of a strong defense, which forced four turnovers. Of course, it helped that Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game in the first half, but it didn’t mean Houston had to prevail the way they did. Arian Foster scored the only TD of the game and finished with 102 rushing yards, an impressive feat against a very stingy Chicago D. At 8-1, the Texans are by far the class of the AFC and have to be considered early Super Bowl favorites. Coach Gary Kubiak has the team playing relatively error-free football and the offense clicking at a high level, while defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has molded the defense into a top-notch unit. They should have no problems dismantling the Jaguars in Week 11. New Orleans Saints – It may be a down year for the Saints, but they mustered up one of their classic performances, knocking off the last of the undefeateds. The Falcons led the box score in offense, but the game was decided on the arm of Drew Brees (298 yards, 3 TDs) and the two-headed rushing attack of Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram. Whodathunkit….the Saints running the ball! This will probably go down as THE game for them in the 2012 season, regardless of how the rest of the year turns out. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks needed a win to keep pace with the Niners in the NFC West, and got just that in a 28-7 rout of the Jets. Although the game started a little slowly for Seattle, they eventually wore down a dismal New York squad with hard-nosed defense and, of course, the prevalent attack of Marshawn Lynch. The D shut out the Jets’ offense and Lynch, despite a nondescript first half, went his usual beastmode to the tune of 151 total yards and a touchdown. The coup de grace came in the fourth quarter, when the Hawks formally put the game away with a little trickery — a TD pass from Golden Tate to Sidney Rice. Good teams find ways to defeat bad teams; the Seahawks made light of that example on Sunday. Tampa Bay Bucs – In surprising fashion, TB showed up for the game against Princess Rivers and friends. The Chargers had a lead going into the half, things like blocking a punt can really light a fire under a team. Tampa was apparently very fired up by that return, and went on to do most of the scoring in the 4th quarter. They stayed on top of the turnover battle, and even took one of Rivers’ two completions to Bucks back for a TD. The offense was perhaps still a little vanilla, but the defense and special teams showed up to play, and brought the game home. Bad New York Giants – Losing in Cincinnati is not an automatic qualifier to Bad or Ugly. Losing in Cincinnati and not being competitive is, if you are a division leader. The Giants took dead aim at their feet in this one. New York turned the ball over four times, resulting in 14 Bengal points and a squandered opportunity inside the Cincy 30. It started from the opening kickoff, when Cincy promptly drove down the field for their first TD. After the Giants countered with a three and out, they screwed up a 61 yard punt that would have put the Bengals inside their own 15. with a penalty for running out of bounds. The replayed punt was returned 68 yards to the New York 11. Game, set, and match. Two weeks ago, New York was on the verge of putting the NFCE away early. Now they are struggling just to not look like the Keystone Kops. Philadelphia Eagles – In what was probably just a bad week for quarterback health around the league, Vick went down early in the first half of the game against Dallas, and while Foles did help the Eagles pick up another TD while trying to keep everything from falling apart at the seams, They just couldn’t do enough. The defense had done a decent job keeping Dallas from running away with it on offense, and the game was tied going into the fourth quarter, which is where the wheels fell off. Dallas put up three incredulous TDs from a punt return, interception, and a fumble return, in that order. There’s no situation where you play exceptionally well when you lose your starting quarterback, and it’s rather another to check out early. Ugly Carolina Panthers – For the record, the Panthers were not Ugly for the entire 60-minutes. They actually played a decent 10 or 11 opening minutes, which found them up 7-0. Alas, then the, well, it hit the fan. While the defense allowed the Broncs to tie it up by going 59 yards in 5 plays, they were the least of the problems. Carolina’s TD drive featured 6 plays, only one from the shotgun formation. They spent almost the entire rest of the game in the shotgun. Denver seemed almost confused by their running a “normal” formation, so abandoning it was a stroke of genius. Meanwhile, the Panthers gave up a punt return TD, a pick six, and a safety to allow Denver to extend their 10-7 lead to 29-7 over the next two quarters. Add seven sacks yielded by a porous (or just poor) offensive line and you get the idea. This team was just plain Ugly on a lot of fronts. Miami Dolphins — Sometimes teams just have letdown games, but the Dolphins’ effort — or lack thereof — was absolutely abysmal. One week after thoroughly embarrassing the division rival Jets, Miami failed to get off the bus versus a bad Titans team. Reggie Bush had arguably the worst game of his Dolphins tenure, Ryan Tannehill failed to get anything going through the air (while throwing three picks) and a normally stout defense let the struggling Chris Johnson run wild. The Fins converted only two first downs, committed seven penalties, lost the time of possession battle and were held to 54 yards on the ground. With performances like that, you’re not going to win too many games, no matter the level of competition. They remain in the hunt for a wildcard spot, though their margin for error has decreased significantly. New York Jets – Buahahahaha! Tebow was 3/3! Who’d have thought? He was also their second top rusher… let’s all be surprised. That goofy-looking fullback in disguise still couldn’t save the Jets from what I have to assume was a truly embarrassing defeat. The Seahawks have improved their offense some, and their D has been playing well for quite some time, but to only be able to score ONE touchdown because of a fumble? That’s just luck — and it seems that both sides were turning the ball over enough that it was inevitable that someone took one back. Unfortunately, with no ability to score on offense (even with football Jesus on their side…) they lost not only hope and dignity, but also the ball game. While playing in Seattle is no easy task, they do get paid for this. And to sit around and let Russell Wilson step on your toes (and even let Golden Tate throw a TD!) takes a special degree of “stopped giving a damn” from the defense that isn’t usually seen on a team coached by a Ryan. Usually it’s the offense with that level of apathy. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders apparently did not understand a couple of things this week. First, the phrase “a point a minute” offense is just a phrase. Nobody really means an opposing offense actually scoring upwards of 60 points. Second, nobody, whether literal or not, nobody ever applies that phrase to the Baltimore Ravens. This was no accident since the Raiders were consistent, giving up 27 in the first half and 28 in the second. Oddly, Oakland actually outgained the Ravens by games end, but 10 penalties and a trio of turnovers did not help. The defense gave up too many big plays and special teams contributed by surrendering a 105 yard kickoff return. This was a somewhat competitive game 5 minutes into the third quarter (34-17), but a muffed punt opened the flood gates. Honors Calvin Johnson – We already know what Johnson is capable of and the incredible level of talent he possesses. With that being said, Megatron put on an absolute show against the Vikings, hauling in 12 passes for 207 yards and a score, all the while battling a nagging knee injury. Adrian Peterson – The guy is just a medical marvel. A.D. ran for 171 yards, putting him over the 1K mark. At 1,128 yards, he remains the league’s leading rusher, just months after suffering a devastating knee injury. There’s no disputing who the NFL’s best back is. Dishonors Reggie Bush – Following the Dolphins’ blowout loss to the Titans, Bush apologized to the fans for what they had witnessed. And, in his case, for good reason. He finished with 21 rushing yards on four carries, one reception, and a fumble that led to a first-half benching from coach Joe Philbin. To say it wasn’t his day would be an understatement. Blaine Gabbert – He just doesn’t appear capable of playing at this level. Granted, he’s surrounded by a leaky offensive line, a group of unknown receivers and, with Maurice Jones-Drew out, no running attack. However, Gabbert’s pick six, in which he locked onto his target and delivered a wounded duck pass, typified his career to this point. (Photo credit: David Grunfeld, The Times-Picayune)
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