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The End Zone - Week 6


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The End Zone

Welcome one and all to Week 6 of everyone’s favourite NFL round-up newsletter The End Zone. This week I will look at the Miami-Tampa Bay game, the week’s results and news regarding the hospitalisation of Rams Head Coach Mike Martz. Of course Jets Talkin’ and a preview of next week’s action are included, but we will get things started with the week 6 results.


Week 6 Round Up

The action got under way with the Chicago Bears (2-3) gaining a 28-3 victory over the Minnesota Vikings (1-4), followed closely by the Baltimore Ravens (2-3) scoring a 16-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns (2-3). The Bengals (5-1) got right back on the winning road as they earned a 31-23 victory over the Titans (2-4), as did the Buccaneers (5-1) with a 27-13 victory over the Dolphins (2-3). Jacksonville (4-2) continue to impress as they pulled off a 23-17 overtime victory over Pittsburgh (3-2), whilst Atlanta (4-2) seem to be getting back into their stride with a close 34-31 victory over New Orleans (2-4), and the powerful offence of Kansas City (3-2) pushed to a 28-21 victory over Washington (3-2).


Carolina (4-2) scraped a 21-20 victory over Detroit (2-3), the Cowboys (4-2) fared slightly better as they beat the Giants (3-2) with a field goal in overtime to win 16-13. San Diego (3-3) evened up their season record with a 27-14 victory over Oakland (1-4), whilst a powerful rushing offence from the Jets (2-4) failed to overcome the Bills (3-3) in a 17-27 encounter. To complete the Sunday games New England (3-3) continued their average start to the season with a 28-20 loss to Denver (5-1), and Seattle (4-2) demolished the still winless Texans (0-5) by 42 points to 10. Monday night saw the Indianapolis Colts (6-0) maintain their unbeaten run with a 45-28 victory over the St Louis Rams (2-4).


Game Feature

Many eyes were on the game in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers took on the Dolphins, with the main reason being the return of running back Ricky Williams for Miami. After a one year retirement and a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Williams returned to give hope to the fans of Miami. Of course, no-one outside of the Dolphins team knew whether he could still do it, as many fans and critics were sceptical after his year out. Speaking of running backs, the Buccaneers were without rookie Cadillac Williams after he suffered a leg injury a couple of weeks ago.


Brian Griese led the Buccaneers on to the field for the opening possession of the game, and went 3 of 5 for 29 yards, accompanied by 33 rushing yards from Pittman. This speedy gain pushed Tampa to the Miami 7, from where Griese hit Galloway with a short pass for a touchdown. The point after gave the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead from just under 6 minutes of play. The Dolphins looked to rebound quickly, and they went straight fro Williams as Frerotte hit him for a 1-yard reception. Ricky then rushed for 4 yards before Chambers rushed for 19 yards to the Tampa 34. Two plays later Chambers looked to have scored a touchdown with a 34 yard run, but the play was nullified due to a holding penalty and a field goal was settled for. Mare put the ball between the uprights to reduce the deficit to 7-3. Tampa’s offence then retook the field and made quick progress downfield. However a false start penalty and two incomplete passes held them at the Miami 18, from where Bryant hit a 34-yard field goal to increase the Buccaneers lead to 7. The Dolphins had enough time to fall to a three and out before the quarter finished.


Tampa didn’t start the second quarter off well though as a three and out was all they could manage before punting the ball. Miami suffered a 10-yard holding penalty on their drive, but were able to recover thanks to a 15 yard facemask call on the defence a few plays later. However they couldn’t capitalise and were forced to punt from the Tampa 35. Griese and the Buccs couldn’t overcome a 10 yard holding call on their return to the field and suffered yet another 3 and out, however they were boosted by the fact that Miami did exactly the same on their resulting possession. Griese managed to complete three passes for 24 yards on the Tampa drive before being taken out of the game with a sprained knee, but again the Dolphins defence halted them and forced a punt. Three and outs then followed for both teams as the half came to a close.


The much-hyped return of Ricky Williams had been a cop-out of sorts so far, and the Dolphins were hoping eh would get them moving in the second half. However it was Frerotte and his three completions for 42 yards that allowed Miami to get within scoring range. Mare had a tough task with a 53 yard field goal attempt, but he put it through the uprights to make the score 10-6 in Tampa’s favour. Simms, the Tampa second string QB, came into the game and went 6 of 8 for 59 yards as the Buccaneers moved forward. However he then failed to complete his next two passes and a 32 yard field goal was kicked by Bryant to return the lead to 7 at 13-6. A three and out followed for Miami, but Tampa did not suffer the same fate. On their third play Pittman powered forward to rush for 57 yards and a touchdown, to which the point after was added to put the score at 20-6. The game looked to be falling away from the Dolphins, and it became no more apparent than on their following drive. Frerotte was sacked for a 7 yard loss on their third play, fumbling the ball in the process. Allen recovered the ball at the Miami 33 and returned it for a touchdown, giving Tampa a 27-6 lead.


The Dolphins got the play back under way in the final quarter, and after recovering a fumble they moved to the Tampa 5 in a 4th and 1 situation. Being so far behind they had to go for it, but Ricky Williams came up inches short, and the ball was turned over on downs. But this time it was the Buccaneers who had trouble, as on their second play the ball was fumbled and recovered by Miami, with Crowder recovering it at the Tampa 8. From there Brown ran the ball in for a touchdown, making it 27-13 with ten minutes still to play. Tampa were content to rush the ball and run the clock down, but were forced to punt after 6 plays, luckily for them Miami fumbled again and turned the ball straight back over. Things were not going well for the Dolphins, but at least they were able to force three and outs on the Buccaneers next two possessions, the only problem being that Miami were forced into one in-between those drives. With just under 2 minutes left Miami regained possession, and within a minute they had progressed to the Tampa 24 thanks to the passing of Frerotte. But it was his passing that then let the team down as he threw three incompletions as the game ended.


So Tampa Bay return to winning ways after suffering their first and only loss of the season last week. The Buccaneers are doing extremely well, whilst Miami have improved on last year but not by much. They need to sort out their offence if any hopes of postseason action are to be fulfilled, although given their performances so far this year I wouldn’t hold my breath. Even the return of Ricky Williams didn’t seem to help the team much at all.


An Update on Mike

Fans and players around the NFL were concerned this past week when St Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz had to step back from his duties due to a bacterial infection next to his heart. The 54-year old announced last week that he would miss two practices whilst he was being tested for endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the lining of the heart or a heart valve. His condition worsened and he was put on antibiotics, but Mike has now been admitted to hospital so that his treatment can continue. The condition affects 10,000 to 20,000 Americans every year, and in some cases it requires open heart surgery. Mike was originally hospitalised on September 30th with what was thought to be a sinus infection, and then coached two days later in the 44-24 loss to the Giants. He was on the sideline for the game against the Seahawks in week 5, but afterwards Martz stated he “wished I had stayed at home”.

The official statement from the St Louis Rams came on October 10th and was as follows: “Head coach Mike Martz advised us today that after he met with his consulting physician, his physical condition has worsened and he will be readmitted to the hospital later this afternoon. As a result of his condition, he will be unable to perform his head coaching responsibilities for an indefinite period of time. After consulting with Mike, we have all agreed that assistant head coach Joe Vitt will be the interim head coach of the Rams during Mike’s absence”. Martz has been a coach with the Rams for 6 seasons, and has a record of 56-36 including the postseason, with the Rams missing the playoffs just once during his tenure. From The End Zone I hope Mike returns to full strength soon.


Mike’s temporary replacement is Joe Vitt, a man who has coached in the NFL for 27 years, although never as a head coach. He has worked in the strength and conditioning departments for the Seahawks and Baltimore Colts before coaching Seattle’s defensive backs from 1983-1991. He moved on to the Los Angeles rams as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach in 1992 and stayed there until 1994. Vitt then took over linebacker duties with the Eagles from 1995-1998 before going to Green Bay as defensive backs coach in 1999. From 2000 until 2003 Joe coached linebackers for the Chiefs before taking up his current position with the Rams last year.

At the moment there are two questions surrounding the St Louis Rams, the first is if Mike will recover and if so how long will it be, and the second is whether Vitt will be able to handle the head coaching duties now placed upon his shoulders. The answers to both questions are simply this, only time will tell.


Jets Talkin’

Welcome to Jets Talkin’, your very own bias view on all things Green and White in New York. Before I look at this week’s divisional encounter with the Bills, I thought I would bring Jets fans some good news concerning week 5’s victory over Tampa Bay. One of our defensive tackles, Dewayne Robertson, was named as the AFC Defensive player of the week for his dominant performance against the Buccaneers. Robertson registered 9 tackles on the day, including a career high 2 sacks, and all but 2 of his tackles were within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, with 5 on or behind it. He was an integral part of the Jets defence that failed to give up a touchdown and held the Buccaneers to a paltry 2 of 14 when it came to third down conversions. This was Dewayne’s first career Player of the Week distinction, but two other Jets were nominated alongside him. Second year linebacker Jonathan Vilma was nominated after recording 14 tackles and forcing a fumble, whilst veteran cornerback Ty Law was nominated after registering 10 tackles and an interception which set up a Jets score.


However that was last week, and this week we had a very important and tough match against AFC East rivals Buffalo. Vinny again started, going 12 of 26 for 161 yards, but the player of the game was Mr Consistency Curtis Martin, who opened up on the Bills and registered his first 100 yard rushing game of the season. On 18 carries C-Mart notched up 148 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough as Buffalo held on to an early lead and came away with a 27-17 victory. The Jets pick up their fourth loss of the season, with next week looking to be another tough game as we face the surging Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. Maybe we will get lucky eh? One bad thing going into the game on Monday is that we have lost 6-time pro-bowler Kevin Mawae for the rest of the season. The veteran centre tore his left tricep and will be having surgery next week. Its yet another injury blow for us, with Chad, Fiedler and Blaylock all currently lost for the year. Maybe it won’t be so bad eh? See you next week in the Green and White of Jets Talkin’.


Week 7 Preview

The four teams with byes this week are Carolina, Jacksonville, New England and Tampa Bay, but there is still a lot of action left to come. Detroit travel to Cleveland, Green Bay face off against rivals Minnesota, the Colts take on the Texans, and Ricky Williams leads Miami into a home encounter against Kansas City. Joe Vitt gets another chance to pick up his first victory as a head coach as the Rams host the Saints, elsewhere we have the rolling Bengals facing off against the Steelers, the Eagles hosting the Chargers and San Francisco taking on Washington. The Dallas Cowboys will be on the road as they take on the Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore takes on Chicago, Oakland host Buffalo and the Giants host the Broncos. The Arizona Cardinals will host the Tennessee Titans to finish off the Sunday games whilst on Monday night we will see the Atlanta Falcons host the struggling New York Jets.


Wrap Up

Another week of superb NFL action has come to a close, and things are still pretty tight in most of the divisions. Congratulations to Indianapolis on maintaining their unbeaten record, if I was a betting man I would lay a few quid on seeing those guys in the big one come February. However you can’t count out New England just yet, as although they have a 3-3 record, they got a big boost with the news that linebacker Tedy Bruschi is cleared to practice. He will add some strength and confidence to their injury-hit defence, and differences will be noticed. Over in the NFC Tampa Bay lead the pack, but are now being closely hounded by Atlanta, Carolina and Dallas, all of whom will be looking to get into the playoffs this year. Next week will include the usual features such as the game feature and the results round-up, but a new feature will also be making an appearance. I will leave you all to guess what that will be. The pass has been thrown; will you catch it next week, in The End Zone?

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Watched the Colts/Rams game live on Five, and I was shocked at how dominating the Rams were in the opening five minutes. 17-0, thanks to good running from Steven Jackson and some shocking catching from Dominic Rhodes. But when Bulger went out with his injured shoulder, the whole game changed, and the Colts ran wild. Manning was particularly impressive, he's like a machine with his accuracy. It was the first full live game I'd seen, and I was surprised that it moved as quickly as it did.


As for my Steelers, Tommy Maddox was absoultely abysmal. It just goes show how important Roethlisberger is to the side, because Maddox couldn't throw a damn thing. Somehow I wasn't surprised that it was a poor throw that gave Mathis the chance for the overtime touchdown.


I sympathise with the Saints for the obvious problems they're going through, but I had to laugh when Deuce McAllister was revealed to be out for the season. How much bad luck can one side have?

Edited by Chris2K
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Watched the Colts/Rams game live on Five, and I was shocked at how dominating the Rams were in the opening five minutes. 17-0, thanks to good running from Steven Jackson and some shocking catching from Dominic Rhodes. But when Bulger went out with his injured shoulder, the whole game changed, and the Colts ran wild. Manning was particularly impressive, he's like a machine with his accuracy. It was the first full live game I'd seen, and I was surprised that it moved as quickly as it did.


As for my Steelers, Tommy Maddox was absoultely abysmal. It just goes show how important Roethlisberger is to the side, because Maddox couldn't throw a damn thing. Somehow I wasn't surprised that it was a poor throw that gave Mathis the chance for the overtime touchdown.

So you decided on a team? Great stuff, but why the Steelers? ;) Big Ben was a big reason why the team did so well last year, and they will struggle without him this year if he isnt fit come sunday.

I was following the game on the net at work, and i was shocked to see the Rams move out to such an early lead. But you can never rule out the Colts, they have been on fire this season and the offence is really clicking over the past couple of weeks. As i said in the newsletter, i would not be surprised on seeing them at the Superbowl this season.

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