It was a good weekend to start with zero or one win.
Entering the week, nine teams had no more than one victory. Five of them won in week six: the 49ers, Saints, Texans and Dolphins all got their second wins of the season, and the Lions finally got rid of their goose egg in the wins column. Most impressive of all was Miami, who found themselves coachless on Monday and winning by 28 six days later.
Give me the scrappy underdog over the elite offense any day.
I love a prolific offense. They are fun to watch. But when push comes to shove, I want the underdogs with little chance to win who show a lot of grit. I want the team that has to find unexpected ways to win. Sure, I'll take Ben Roethlisberger and 40 points over all else, but I'll take a pissed-off defense and a written-off quarterback over Bruce Arians' win-cute style, no matter what odds Vegas is giving. And it's not just in Pittsburgh. The Dolphins, as I already mentioned, didn't even have a coach, let alone a game plan, six days before they utterly destroyed the Titans. Okay, that's no large feat, but how about Colin Kaepernick thoroughly outplaying Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco? Or a much-maligned Drew Brees and crew putting the previously undefeated Falcons to bed early? Underdogs are still dogs. And dogs bite when cornered.
It was a tough week to be in the AFC South. But most weeks are.
Aside from Andrew Luck's record against his own division, there isn't much positive to talk about in the AFC South. Outside the division, Luck is now 20-20 in his career. The rest of the division is that much worse. In fact, not one of the four teams -- the Colts, Texans, Jaguars and Titans -- has scored more points than they have given up. Their collective points differential this season is an absurdly awful -128. The next-worst is the AFC West at -37. You'd think the defenses aren't even on the field. I'm thinking that strategy may be an improvement.
If you need 592 words (Rule 8, Article 3) to define what constitutes a catch, you can't define what constitutes a catch.
The Bears would be the latest team to agree with me.
Almost everyone who has ever watched a football game can tell you if a catch is a catch. Everyone, that is, except the folks who make the NFL rules and the folks who enforce them. It used to be simple: if you had possession of the ball with two feet down in-bounds, it was a catch. Then, suddenly, you had to make a "football move" -- ten bucks to anyone who can define that in a way that would stand up in a court of law. Now you have to maintain possession going to the ground, or it's incomplete. So, let's make this simple:
- It is a catch if you secure the ball and get two feet down.
- If you complete number one and are shoved or dragged to the ground by a player of the opposite team and the ball pops out, it's a catch and a tackle. You are down.
- If you complete number one and fall to the ground without being acted upon by a player of the opposite team and the ball pops out, it's a fumble.
- The rules are applied the same, no matter where you are on the field.