Super Bowl XLIV Preview: Colts-Saints

Head Coach Sean Payton leads the underdog New Orleans Saints against the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV

The 2009 NFL season themed, “Own the Moment”, will climax  with Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida as the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints take center stage in the biggest game in sports. The catchy Don King-esque box office selling theme for Super Bowl XLIV should be “History Book vs. Storybook”. 

The Colts have been one of the NFL’s cornerstone teams since their Batimore heyday with NFL legend quarterback Johnny Unitas in the late 1950’s.  In fact Unitas, who led the Colts to victory in the 1958 NFL Championship Game – some call it the Greatest Game Ever – definitely has passed his  winnning ways along to current Colts’ certain Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who already has led his team to a Super Bowl win back in 2006.  While the Colts have usually been a winning franchise — second Super Bowl in four years and their fourth trip in franchise history — the Saints have always been the NFL’s version of the heartbreak kids – only a 4-6 postseason record in an over 40-year franchise history.  Many years since their inception in 1967 have ended in disappointment for the folks in the Bayou – only ten winning seasons in franchise history. 

There was the brown paper bag wearing years back in the early 1980’s and Peyton’s father, Archie, also took a beating as the Saints starting quarterback during their struggling years (1971-1982).  But the Saints have perservered and now the city known for Mardi Gras is ready to put the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina behind it by the Saints bringing home a Super Bowl title in their team’s first trip to the Big Dance. “There’s no fan base that deserves a championship more than New Orleans and the ‘Who Dat’ nation,” said Brees.  “Just the bond that we have with them is special.  They give us strength.  They give us motivation.  We want to do it for them.” However former Saint Archie Manning will still root on his son’s Colts.  The former Ole Miss legend and Saints first overall pick in 1971 said of the upcoming Super Bowl match-up, “I’m pulling for the Colts 100 percent, it’s not even close”

“Super Bowl Sunday” is America’s unofficial holiday filled with fellowship, trash talk, and of course eating.  Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the Colts and Saints locking horns this Sunday.  Even my 80-year old plus grandmother, who usually is not in front of the television on Sunday’s watching NFL gridiron action, will be attending a Super Bowl party.  She and almost 200 hundred million other folks will be watching this Sunday as the upstart Saints led by former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush take on the Colts and the NFL’s best pitchman, Peyton Manning.  It will be interesting to see if Super Bowl XLIV ends the ‘09 season with a bang or a blowout, which seems to have happened way too much in Super Bowl history.  One of the bigger storylines is that Manning will also be facing the team he grew-up rooting for, the Saints.

No matter how the Super Bowl ends, the 2009 NFL Season will be remembered for explosive offenses and will most likely be themed “The Year of the Quarterback”.   This season, 10 quarterbacks each passed for at least 4,000 yards, which is the most in a single season in NFL history – Texans’ Matt Schaub (4,770), Colts’ Peyton Manning (4,500), Cowboys’ Tony Romo (4,483), Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (4,434), Patriots’ Tom Brady (4,398), Saints’ Drew Brees (4,388), Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (4,328), Chargers’ Philip Rivers (4,254), Vikings’ Brett Favre (4,202) and NY Giants’ Eli Manning (4,021).  The previous record was seven in 2007.  Also twelve quarterbacks passed for at least 25 touchdowns this year, which is the most in a single season in NFL history – Brees (34), Favre (33), P. Manning (33), Rodgers (30), Schaub (29), Brady (28), Rivers (28), Bears’ Jay Culter (27), E. Manning (27), Roethlisberger (26), Romo (26) and Cardinals’ Kurt Warner (26). The previous record was 10 in 2007. 

Not surprisingly two of the quarterbacks who are both great leaders and can really fling-it, Manning and the Saints‘Drew Brees, will meet in Super Bowl XLIV.  Colts head coach Caldwell said of his on the field leader, “Peyton had just an outstanding game. He’s one of those guys that can adjust to different situations. … A real champion.”  Both teams, who seemed to be on a collision course earlier this season — combined 27-0 starts — showed their mettle by turning back extraordinary efforts by the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings in their respective Championship Games to earn tickets to the NFL’s biggest stage.  For a long time this year’s Super Bowl match-up seemed predestined as both of these teams remained undefeated teams through 14 weeks – first time two 13-0 teams in NFL history –  and an 18-0 undefeated showdown seemed very possible.  Of course any talk of the “Perfection” Bowl ended with the Saints losing to the Cowboys in Week 15 and the Colts choosing to “rest” their players in a Week 16 loss to the NY Jets. “Everything that’s happened previously, you can throw out the window,” said Caldwell.  The outstanding rookie head coach added, “Those records don’t matter.  All that matters is what happens from here on, and we know that we’re facing a solid team.” 

Though the match-up will be sans the undefeated part, many people’s intrigue around the Colts-Saints big game should be maximized by the NFL’s first No. 1 Seed battle since 1993 (Buffalo vs. Dallas in Super Bowl XXVIII).  Of course, the two aforementioned marquee quarterbacks taking the field for America’s Game, doesn’t hurt either.  This season, Manning became the NFL’s only 4-time MVP while Brees threw more regular season touchdowns (34) than anyone else in the league.  Offensive fireworks are sure to fly in Super Bowl XLIV as both teams can put up points while their defenses are not known to be the stoutest — Colts ranked 18th in defense and the Saints finished 25th

All the hype around the Super Bowl will be at a fever pitch once Carrie Underwood belts out the national anthem.  The pressure for some players can be suffocating.  But the key for both teams will be focusing on their precious opportunity to win a Super Bowl and forgetting everything else that has transpired in the past 20 weeks leading up to the big game.  As for on the field, don’t forget about our usual playoff tenants of Strong Quarterback Play (i.e. Taking Care of the Football), Good Attacking Defense, a Balanced Offensive Attack based first in the Run, Sound Special Teams Play, Limiting Penalties/Turnovers, and just plain “Want-to” all factorin in on who wins this Sunday.

Before we move-on to our preview, in a very odd side note, my crystal ball for the 2008 season said the Colts over the Saints in the Super Bowl.  Of course I am a year late and my picks for this year, the Steelers and NYGiants,  are nowhere to be found.  But no matter, who cares who predicted this match-up all the way back during training camp in July as Super Bowl XLIV should provide some fireworks.

To everyone, I want to wish you a  Happy Super Bowl Sunday !!!

Lloyd’s Leftovers for Super Bowl XLIV

Not much Trash Talking at this Super Bowl – With the mutual respect between the Colts and Saints there has not been the obligatory player trash talking. Remember in Super Bowl XL how then Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens made some comments about Steelers that got the dander up of then Steelers linebacker Joey Porter.  This time both teams were complimentary and guarded during media day interviews. 

NFL Television numbers support that the league is more popular than ever – Expect a huge contingent of NFL fans and fringe viewers to be watching  this Sunday. There is no doubt,  that the 2009 NFL season kept fans glued to their televisions.  Across America, fans  tuned into NFL games in the largest numbers in two decades.  According to Nielsen Media Research, the average 2009 regular-season game was watched by 16.6 million viewers – up 2 million viewers per game from last year and the NFL’s highest viewership average since 1990 (16.7 million).

Caldwell trying to make history – If Caldwell wins, he will become the 3rd rookie head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl win.  He also would become the third African American head coach to lead his team to victory in football’s biggest game – would join Tony Dungy (Super Bowl XLI) and Mike Tomlin (Super Bowl XLIII).

Watch for everyone’s favorite Super Bowl Ads – Every year one of the bigger events of the Super Bowl is watching the ads.  It was feared with the economy going south that not many companies would be buying time.  I heard CBS will be charging  $3 million or more for a 30-second commercial.

Game Notes and Prediction

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (15-3) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (16-2) (Sunday February 7th, CBS, 6:25 PM ET)      

Broadcast Team: Jim Nance and Phil Simms

The AFC #1 seeded Indianapolis Colts and the NFC #1 seeded New Orleans Saints will square off in Super Bowl XLIV in South Florida.  The road for these two teams was similar (both started the regular season 13-0), but also different.  The Colts won the AFC Championship by dominating the scrappy New York Jets in a 30-17 win.  While the Saints won the NFC Championship in an overtime thriller 31-28 over the Minnesota Vikings when little known kicker Garrett Hartley connected on a 40-yard game-winning field goal. 

The AFC Champion Colts even though they have made it to their second Super Bowl in four years still have something to prove to themselves and their fanbase.  Don’t forget that the Colts still want to prove that they were right in “resting” key players down the stretch of the regular season in order to be prepared for the playoffs.  Colts President Jim Irsay said before resting players at the end of the regular season, “We’d love to get to 16-0. But the biggest focus is going to be on being prepared for that first playoff game.” The AFC’s No. 1 seed chose to not chase the perfect 1972 Dolphins (NFL’s only undefeated Super Bowl winner) in order to chase a Super Bowl victory.

If the Colts are to succeed and shutup their very disgruntled fan base, Manning (regular season stats: 393-571, 4500 yards – 2nd in NFL, 33 TDs (first in AFC), 16 INTs, and a 99.9 QB rating) will need to protect the football and make some plays down the field to his multitude of weapons including Pro Bowl WR Reggie Wayne, TE Dallas Clark, and emerging youngesters Pierre Garcon – the pride of Haiti had 11 catches for 151 yards and 1 TD  in the AFC Championship Game — and Austin Collie.  Even as good as Manning and his offensive passing weapons are, the Colts must find a running game with RB’s Joseph Addai and Donald Brown to keep the Saints from pinning their ears back on every play.  New Orleans will have their hands full as they will be missing pass rusher Charles Grant, who is on I/R, but expect veteran safety Darren Sharper (9 INTs) to spearhead New Orleans’ defensive effort.  

I am sure Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ will have something up his sleeve to rattle Manning (+ 11 in turnover ratio, placing them 3rd in the NFL) and the Colts high flying offense.  But they better be careful as the 4-time MVP is known to dissect a blitz-happy team, just ask the New York Jets (five different targets throughout the AFC Championship).

On defense, the Colts may have to rely on D-lineman Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock to apply pressure as Pro Bowl DE Dwight Freeney (13.5 sacks) is very iffy with a much-reported about ankle injury.  The Saints are very explosive and scored over 500 points this season (510), so they want to make the Colts’ defense chase them.  The Saints also ranked No. 1 in the NFL with an average of 403.8 yards per game.

Brees (17 of 31 for 197 yards and three TDs in NFC Championship Game win) will have many weapons at his disposal (WR Marques Colston, RB Mike Bell, TE Jeremy Shockey, and others), but you know Saints head coach Sean Payton wants the ball in jitterbug running back Reggie Bush’s hands.  The former Heisman winner has really picked it up this postseason and look for Colts playmaking linebacker Gary Bracket and safety Antoine Bethea (4 INTs in 2009) to keep an eye on him at all times.  Look for Payton to slowdown Mathis and Freeney by using his three-headed backfield monster of Bell, Bush, and Pierre Thomas.

LV’s Pick: Now that all of the hype and talk around Super Bowl XLIV is almost finished, our attentions can turn to Sun Life Stadium in South Florida.  The Colts have been installed as a 6-point favorite, but I truly believe that the youthful Saints will make this a game.  In this battle of marquee quarterbacks, I still believe that the team that runs the ball more effectively and causes turnovers will win.  The Saints have really picked it up since losing their last three games of the regular season, but they have also been a little sloppy.  Expect the veteran laden Colts to play smart and opportunistically, especially Manning.  The Colts win their second championship this decade and Manning will add to his already Hall of Fame resume — Colts 27, Saints 20 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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The Colts resting Manning & Company in their first loss sends the wrong message

The decision by Colts’ management including head coach Jim Caldwell to “rest” players in the team’s first loss of the season sent the wrong message

The champagne corks popped in South Florida on Sunday, but the 1972 Dolphins’ celebration of perfection had to be a hollow one this year.  Sure the Indianapolis Colts (14-1) lost for the first time this season to the New York Jets by a score of 29-15. But “C’MON MAN”, the “real” Colts, namely quarterback Peyton Manning, left Sunday’s game in the 3rd quarter.  Sure the Colts had staked their second stringers to a 15-10 lead, but from the time when Manning & Company took a seat on the bench — 5:36 left in the third quarter — Indy was outscored 19-0. 

Colts’ backup quarterback Curtis Painter was awful, to say the least, as he produced putrid numbers of 4/11 passing for 44 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception in an effort that made most Colts fans long for former quarterback Jack Trudeau.  The former Purdue signal caller’s biggest play of the game, a fumble recovery for a touchdown by the Jets, came immediately after Colts’ fans realized Manning was done for the game and serenaded the young quarterback with boos.  Painter was hit by NY Jets linebacker Calvin Pace and lost the ball, with Marques Douglas recovering and scoring. A 2-point conversion pass from NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez to TE Dustin Keller made the score 18-15 and New York never relinquished the lead.

After the game, Manning as he always does said all of the right things.  The soon to be 4-time NFL MVP said, “Until any player in here is the head coach, you follow orders and you follow them with all of your heart. That’s what we’ve done as players. We follow order”.   Okay Peyton we get it that Colts owner Jim Irsay, GM Bill Polian, and rookie head coach Jim Caldwell had all agreed that it would be better for the veteran laden team to rest rather than go for the NFL’s second 16-0 regular season.  But you have to think the Colts players, by their competitive nature, wanted to show the world that they were just as good if not better than the 1972 Dolphins or 2007 New England Patriots (finished 18-1 after a perfect 16-0 regular season).  The  Colts’ management decision robbed everyone from NFL historians to Colts fans to Caldwell’s players.

The Colts were so close after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in dramatic fashion that they should have “Gone For It” in their two remaining games against the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills (combined record of 13-17).  Rest is overrated in the National Football League as “momentum” is omnipotent going into the playoffs.  History has shown that resting for the playoffs after attaining the #1 seed and securing home field advantage in the postseason doesn’t guarantee success in the playoffs.  Since 1990 only 17 of 36 number one seeds in the playoffs have made it to the Super Bowl with only 8 of those teams winning it all.  The last time two No. 1 seeds faced-off was in 1993 for Super Bowl XXVIII with Buffalo vs. Dallas. 

The Colts were already riding an NFL-record 23 game regular season win streak and by not letting Manning, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and any other Colts’ player that was rested on Sunday not go for perfection is a travesty.  The NFL has been around for 90 years and the fact that only the 1972 Dolphins can put up their fingers as true unblemished No. 1’s, is an unbelievable accomplishment.  Manning and his guys had the unbelievable chance of joining the 1972 Dolphins, but they were robbed of that opportunity by a non-players who think they know more than the guys on the field.

Could the 2009 Colts (Manning, Freeney, Wayne, Brackett, and others) have walked in destiny with the 1972 Dolphins (Cszonka, Griese, Warfield, Scott, and others), we will never know.  Cause the Colts just rolled over and the NY Jets – record of (8-7) and clinging to a chance at the playoffs — gladly accepted their belated Christmas gift.  I have to equate what Indy did yesterday to the 1980 US Hockey (eventual gold medal winners) walking away from the challenge of playing the vaunted Soviet Union team in the medal round at Lake Placid.  You see before that historic game that lives forever in sports lore, many felt the young US team had zero chance given that just a short period before the Olympics, the Soviets had soundly beaten the US upstarts… boy I am glad Herb Brooks never listened to the naysayers and told his players to fight with all of their might.

 The Colts may have initially thought “resting” players was not a “give up”.  But the move of taking out their key starters when the game was still winnable was a true “Throw Your Hands in the Air” surrender moment.  The reason for always trying is that nothing is guaranteed in sports and most players, if not all, never want to look back and have a “What If” stamped on their career. 

The Colts’ management better hope their decision doesn’t backfire in the playoffs — like in 2005 when their former 13-0 regular season team lost in their first playoff game —  because they robbed their players an opportunity to make history.  If the Colts go on to win the Super Bowl, sure all will probably be forgotten within their fan base, but nothing is guaranteed and you should always play to win the game. 

“I don’t blame them a bit, man,” Colts’ center Jeff Saturday said. “I probably would have booed, too. I don’t blame them. They pay to come see us win games, and we didn’t get it done.”

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2009 NFL Season – First Half NFL Awards

byrd

Buffalo Bills rookie safety Jairus Byrd (#31) has been selected the Defensive Rookie of the First Half for the 2009 NFL Season

I always like to hand out the hardware after each quarter of the NFL season. However the players and teams receiving their just due better not forget that there are 8 more games to be played this season. 

Head Coach of the first half:  Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell – Became the first rookie head coach since  Potsy Clark in 1931  (Portsmouth Spartans started 8-0)  to start the season 7-0.  Caldwell has done a great job keeping a veteran group of players on track despite numerous injuries.  In speaking of his team’s 7-0 start and tying Clark’s record Caldwell said, “They’re not handing out anything for whatever record that is, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”  You gotta love that type of attitude.  Honorable Mention: Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels, and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton

Offensive Player of the first half:  Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning – Robo-quarterback (187-263, 2227 yards – 2nd in NFL, 15 TDs, 4 INTs and a 109.3 rating) has his team poised for their Week 10 marquee match-up with the New England Patriots.  The Colts have a record of 7-0 and have won a franchise record 16 straight games going back to 2008.  The three-time MVP (may soon be four) has thrown for over 300 yards in all but one of the Colts’ seven wins and has made household names of obscure receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. With 19 passing yards in Week 9 against the Houston Texans, Manning will become the first player in NFL history with 40,000 passing yards in one decade Honorable Mention: Saints QB Drew Brees, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. 

Defensive Player of the first half:  New Orleans Saints Safety Darren Sharper – What an incredible season for this recently turned 34-year old former free agent pick-up from the Vikings.  The Saints are undefeated (7-0) and it has been their defense that has led the way – first in the NFL with 6 turnovers returned for touchdowns.  Sharper looks like he is sure to be selected to his fifth Pro Bowl as he currently boasts stats of 26 TKLS, 0.5 sacks, 7 INTs (3 for TDs), and 10 passes defensed.  Honorable Mention: Vikings DE Jared Allen, Eagles CB Asante Samuels, and Colts DE Dwight Freeney

Breakout Player of the first half:  Cowboys WR Miles Austin — One of the 2009 NFL season’s best stories, Austin coming from tiny Monmouth (NJ) College has risen from a special teamer to finally getting his shot this season.  In a Week 6 win over the Chiefs, Austin produced 10 catches for a franchise record 250 yards and 2 TDs (both 50-yard plus bombs) while saving the Cowboys’ hides with a 60-yard tackle-breaking game-winning TD reception in overtime.  Austin then proved the Chiefs’ game was no fluke in a Week 7 win over the Atlanta Falcons (team-best six catches for 171 yards and 2 TDs).  Out of nowhere Austin and his eye-popping numbers (26 catches for 563 yards, 21.7 ypc average and 6 TDs) have moved former starter Patrick Crayton to the bench.  And almost everyone watching the Cowboys would agree that Austin and not disgruntled WR Roy Williams is Romo’s number #1 passing-catching option.  Honorable Mention:  Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, Niners TE Vernon Davis, Texans RB Ryan Moats, Eagles TE Brent Celek, and Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil. 

Offensive Rookie of the first half:  Minnesota Vikings WR/KR Percy Harvin – An explosive player that can beat you a variety of ways (Wildcat QB, Kickoff Returns, in the slot, and out wide). Harvin is one of the main reasons for veteran quarterback Brett Favre’s rebirth.  Though not the biggest guy on the field (5’10, 190), this former Gator has game-breaking skills that have made Vikings head coach Brad Childress extremely excited. Harvin’s incredible numbers truly do show his versatility (28 catches for 369 yards, 13.2 ypc, and 3 TDs; 8 rushes for 39 yards; and 28 kickoff returns for 860 yards, 30.7 ypr, and 2 TDs including a magical 101 yards return for a touchdown against the Ravens in Week 6). Honorable Mention:  Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno, Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin, Baltimore Ravens OT Michael Oher and Chicago Bears WR Johnny Knox

Defensive Rookie of the first half:  Buffalo Bills Safety Jairus Byrd – This former second-rounder from Oregon has been a regular starter at free safety and has made a huge impact on one of the NFL’s most underrated defenses.  In Week 8, the October Rookie of the Month picked off two more passes against the Houston Texans tying an NFL record with three straight games of at least two interceptions (first rookie). Byrd now has 7 INTs in eight games (tied for NFL lead) and is inching closer to Carrier’s rookie record of 10 picks.  Honorable Mention: Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing, Detroit Lions S Louis Delmas, Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews and St. Louis Rams LB Jim Laurinatis. 

Comeback Player of the first half: Denver Broncos Safety Brian Dawkins – I wonder if the Eagles front office wants to rethink their contract negotiation strategy with Dawkins from this past offseason.  The Broncos, youthful head coach Josh McDaniels, and new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan all thought that the 14-year veteran had more left in the tank and they were right.  Dawkins (36) has been more than rewarded the Broncos for their faith as they have gotten off to an AFC West leading 6-1 start and the 7-time Pro Bowl player has been the quarterback of the Broncos’ defense (lead the NFL with 266.7 yards allowed per game).  Dawk’s stats thus far are 46 tackles, 7 passes defensed, and 2 fumble recoveries. Honorable Mention:  Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre, Philadelphia Eagles MLB Will Witherspoon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Kellen Winslow and Minnesota Vikings WR Sidney Rice. 

Team of the first half:  New Orleans Saints – The NFC’s lone unbeaten team (7-0), the Saints are putting up record numbers offensively.  Sean Payton’s team has scored an NFL-best 36 touchdowns — tied for the 3rd most through the first seven games in league history – and they don’t look they are going to slowdown anytime soon.  While averaging an amazing NFL leading 39 points and 428.7 yards per game, quarterback Drew Brees is on pace for another 4500-yard plus season and 11 different Saints players have scored at least one rushing or receiving touchdown this season (led by WR Marques Colston – 6 TDs).   The Saints also have had success running the football too as they lead the NFC with an average 153.3 rush yards per game. On defense, new coordinator Gregg Williams has brought some swagger to a unit that struggled allowing big plays in the past and their numbers show it (154 points allowed, 17 sacks and a +7 in turnover ratio). Honorable Mention:  Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings

Most Disappointing Player of the first half:  Dallas Cowboys WR Roy Williams – It has been one year since the Cowboys traded for the former Lions star and he has not lived up to expectations, to say the least.  Since joining the Cowboys 16 games ago, Williams’ numbers are nowhere near what was expected of him when the Cowboys gave up a number one draft pick for him (33 receptions, 447 yards, three touchdowns). Williams only has 14 catches for 249 yards and 2 TDs this season and I don’t want to hear any excuses about his ribs.  Clearly breakout player Miles Austin has passed him as the Cowboys go-to receiver and the former University of Texas star better work on regaining the confidence of QB Tony Romo and dropping less passes (just 14 catches on 35 targets — 40% catch rate).  The delusional Williams said of him being the Cowboys No. 1 receiver, “It’s just not even close. It’s not even funny. Not even close. I’m the number one receiver. But things are just going number two’s way”.  Dishonorable Mention: Oakland Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell, Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson, and Tennessee Titans QB Kerry Collins 

Most Disappointing Team of the first half:  Washington Redskins – The NFL’s most dysfunctional team becomes a greater laughingstock weekly.  The Redskins (2-5) have lost to formerly winless teams the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6), Carolina Panthers (3-4), and Detroit Lions (1-6).  Their offense is only averaging 13.7 points per game this season and hasn’t scored more than 17 in any game despite playing facing six consecutive winless opponents (first team in NFL history).  They are 4-11 in their last 15 games and owner Daniel Snyder inserted offensive consultant Sherman Lewis – hasn’t coached in the NFL in over 5 years) to call the plays over dead-man-walking head coach Jim Zorn.  You have to feel for a defensive group that has allowed only 283.4 yards per game to rank 2nd in the NFC, but this team is in need of a house cleaning at the end of the season.  Stay tuned as something stinks in the Nation’s Capital and it has nothing to do with politics.  Dishonorable Mention: Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award -winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)