TheSTN – NFL: The Week That Was… Week 3

THREE FOR 3-0 – Three NFL teams – Arizona, Atlanta and Houston – are undefeated through Week 3.  Since 1990, 75.7 percent of teams (84 of 111) that started 3-0 made the playoffs.

With a 27-6 win over Philadelphia, Arizona improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1974. Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 10 of its past 12 games.

The Falcons and Texans both claimed their second road victory of the season in Week 3. Atlanta, which won 27-3 at San Diego, started 3-0 for the first time since 2004 (4-0 start), while Houston reached 3-0 for the first time in franchise history with a 31-25 win at Denver.

IT’S STILL EARLYIn the first three weeks of 2012, 30 of the 32 clubs (93.8 percent) earned one or more wins, including 27 (84.4 percent) which own a 2-1 or 1-2 record. Both are the highest such totals in a season through three games since realignment in 2002.

The most teams with at least one win and the most with a 2-1 or 1-2 record through three games since 2002:

YEAR

TEAMS WITH ONE OR MORE WINS

THROUGH THREE GAMES

 

YEAR

MOST 2-1 & 1-2 TEAMS

THROUGH THREE GAMES

2012

30

 

2012

27

2005

28

 

2011

24

Five tied

27

 

2010

24

 

 

 

2005

24

SCORES GALORENFL teams scored 731 points in Week 3 to bring the season total to 2,287 points, the most scored in any three-week span of an NFL season.  Teams combined to score more than 725 points in three consecutive weeks (791, Week 1; 765, Week 2) for the second time in NFL history (Weeks 10-12, 2010) and the only time to begin a season.

The most points scored in three consecutive weeks and through the first three weeks of an NFL season:

SEASON

WEEKS

TOTAL POINTS

 

FIRST THREE WEEKS

TOTAL POINTS

2012

Weeks 1-3

2,287

 

2012

2,287

2004

Weeks 13-15

2,239

 

2011

2,157

2004

Weeks 12-14

2,213

 

2008

2,073

2007

Weeks 12-14

2,209

 

2002

2,058

2011

Weeks 15-17

2,201

 

2007

2,054

LEAD MANNINGDenver quarterback PEYTON MANNING passed for 330 yards in the Broncos’ 31-25 loss to Houston. The performance marked Manning’s 64th career 300-yard game, passing Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback DAN MARINO (63) for the most in NFL history.

The quarterbacks with the most career 300-yard passing games:

PLAYER YEARS TEAM(S)

300-YD. PASSING GAMES

Peyton Manning* 1998-present Indianapolis, Denver

64*

Dan Marino 1983-1999 Miami

63

Brett Favre 1993-2010 Green Bay, Minnesota

62

Drew Brees* 2001-present San Diego, New Orleans

59

Kurt Warner 1998-2005 St. Louis, Arizona

52

*Active  

 

 

FINE FINISHESThree games – Detroit at Tennessee (Titans win, 44-41), Kansas City at New Orleans (Chiefs win, 27-24) and the New York Jets at Miami (Jets win, 23-20) – were decided in overtime. It marked the first day with three overtime games since November 7, 2010. The NFL record for the most overtime games in a single day is four.

All three games featured scores in the final 16 seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime. The Lions, who trailed the Titans 41-27, became the first team in NFL history to score two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds of regulation to either take the lead or force overtime. Detroit quarterback SHAUN HILL threw a three-yard touchdown pass to CALVIN JOHNSON with 18 seconds remaining and then connected withTITUS YOUNG on a 46-yard TD as time expired to force overtime.

In addition to the overtime games, two kickers converted game-winning field goals on the final play of regulation last week. Oakland kicker SEBASTIAN JANIKOWSKI made a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give the Raiders a 34-31 win over Pittsburgh, while Baltimore rookie kicker JUSTIN TUCKER converted a 27-yard attempt as the game ended to lift the Ravens to a 31-30 victory over New England on Sunday Night Football.

THURSDAY NIGHT NOTESNotes from the New York Giants’ 36-7 win at Carolina on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football:

Carolina’s CAM NEWTON registered his 16th career rushing touchdown on a one-yard run in the third quarter, surpassing STEVE GROGAN (15, 1975-76) for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in his first two seasons.

With his fourth-quarter interception, New York linebacker MICHAEL BOLEY became the fourth NFL linebacker since 1970 to record at least one interception in each of his team’s first three games of a season. He joins Green Bay’s JOHN ANDERSON (1978), Tampa Bay’s DERRICK BROOKS (2002) and Oakland’s KIRK MORRISON (2007).

Boley is the first Giants player to accomplish the feat since cornerback TERRY JACKSON in 1978.

TheSTN – NFL Issues Statement On Packers vs. Seahawks MNF Controversial Ending

In Monday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, Seattle faced a 4th-and-10 from the Green Bay 24 with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a pass into the end zone. Several players, including Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, jumped into the air in an attempt to catch the ball.

While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground. This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game. It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay.

When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball. Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player. The result of the play was a touchdown.

Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review. The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball. In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable. That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.

Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood. The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review.

The result of the game is final.

Applicable rules to the play are as follows:

A player (or players) jumping in the air has not legally gained possession of the ball until he satisfies the elements of a catch listed here.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3 of the NFL Rule Book defines a catch:

A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds:

 

(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and

 

 

(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and

 

 

(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).

 

When a player (or players) is going to the ground in the attempt to catch a pass, Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 states:

Player Going to the Ground. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 5 states:

Simultaneous Catch. If a pass is caught simultaneously by two eligible opponents, and both players retain it, the ball belongs to the passers. It is not a simultaneous catch if a player gains control first and an opponent subsequently gains joint control. If the ball is muffed after simultaneous touching by two such players, all the players of the passing team become eligible to catch the loose ball.

Steve Kallas (TheSTN) – No Person Or Entity Can Damage The Integrity Of The NFL Like The NFL

Hard to believe that it has gone this far, but it has gone this far.  The disgrace of the NFL continues on a weekly (daily?) basis.  With the obligatory “the replacement refs are trying their best” out of the way, let’s take a look at how the NFL is killing the integrity of the NFL.

THE REPLACEMENT REFS

If yesterday’s final play (blatant offensive pass interference by Seattle, obvious interception by Green Bay ruled game-winning touchdown (14-12) for Seattle) doesn’t convince these owners and the Commissioner to settle their dispute with the real refs, nothing will.

What is wrong with these billionaires?  Well, not surprisingly, it’s all about power.  Why is the NFL doing this?  Because they can, that’s why.

We’ve already had a number of these plays, just nothing as blatant and obviously game-deciding as last night.  There was that mystery hold on Rob Gronkowski that, according to Fox rules expert Mike Pereira, should have never been called.  That turned a Patriots win against Arizona into a Patriots loss.  There was that brutal non-call when Ziggy Hood of the Steelers got obviously chop-blocked with 21 seconds left in a tie game with the Raiders this past Sunday.  Rather than moving the Raiders back 15 yards and (maybe) taking them out of field goal range, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a game-winning 44-yard field goal in regulation, avoiding overtime.

While these are just two examples, there are many others.

And, again, it’s not the fault of these referees.  It’s the fault of the monopoly, the NFL.

WHAT’S A COACH TO DO?

Well, coaches have been working officials forever.  But with these refs, it looks like, at least for the first two weeks of the season, the coaches trying to intimidate and/or cajole officials into changing calls was the norm.  Even after the NFL came out with their “don’t harass the officials memo” before week 3, the harassment, maybe more subtle, continued against these replacement refs.

But what else can a coach do?  Clearly some officials are intimidated, are trying to satisfy both teams (a virtual impossibility).  The coach who does nothing is a fool under these circumstances.  Squeaky wheel gets the oil – and the close call.

None of this will change until the real refs are back.

WHAT’S A PLAYER TO DO?

Well, good luck with that.  Players have no idea what will and won’t be called.  It’s a crapshoot.  No consistency on what’s going to be called because these refs, at this game speed, will sometimes see things and sometimes won’t.  They will sometimes make the call and sometimes won’t.  It’s like a baseball ump who is inconsistent with his strike zone.  You better go up swinging cause you have no idea what a strike is today – or next inning.

So the players take a shot.  They grab, they hold more than usual, they chop block, they know the refs may not see it and, even if they do (see the last play of Green Bay-Seattle), they may not call it.

It’s the Wild, Wild West out there.

And the players know it.

WHAT’S A GAMBLER TO DO?

While the NFL claims to not care about gambling (yeah, right, are you waiting for this week’s injury reports?), the reality is this is a place where the NFL might actually be hurt (it’s already been slaughtered, integrity-wise.  Ask any fan).

How can anybody bet real money on any game with any belief that it will be competently officiated?  We can debate all day about how much of the popularity of the NFL is based on gambling of some sort (it says here that a large part of the NFL’s popularity is based on gambling (or “gaming,” as it is now being sanitized)), but the reality is betting on NFL games is a multi-billion dollar industry in and of itself.

No intelligent gambler can any longer bet these games (unless they find some consistent incompetence in the refereeing that they can use to their advantage in a specific game).

And whether they admit it or not, the NFL can’t like that.

WHAT’S THE NFL TO DO?

Well, that’s easy.  End the madness now.  If the reports are true that the differences between the ref’s association and the NFL is somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-5 million per year, well, that’s chump change to the $12 billion-a-year NFL.

But again, as you may see in your life, the man with the power can and does stupid things, can and does do incompetent things, can and does make irrational decisions.

Why?  Cause he (she/they) can, that’s why.  The NFL, with its lockout of the refs, is acting like an employer in the 1920s – take it or leave it; if you don’t take it, we’ll find someone else.

How’s that working out for the NFL, especially integrity-wise?

DON’T FORGET THE NEW ORLEANS FIASCO

While a separate issue, Bounty-gate is just another example of this attitude (while some say the Commissioner has no real input into the referee dispute, the New Orleans debacle is all the Commissioner).

How can you leave these players twisting in the wind?  How would you like to be a Saints’ fan, essentially seeing your season done after three games (with the interim, interim coach filling in for the interim coach filling in for the coach).

No “decision” yet.  Why?  Good question, but you don’t think that the Commisioner is going to let these guys off scot-free, do you?  He’s got to save face, doesn’t he?  What about the integrity of the New Orleans NFL franchise for the 2012 NFL season?

Poof.  Up in smoke.

Whether the powers-that-be understand this or not, the NFL would have been better off if they had some rogue refs trying to fix NFL games.  Why?  Because you would get rid of them, take your lumps for a short period of time (see the NBA, for example) and then get on with your schedule.

Here, the NFL has shot themselves in the foot.  It’s all a self-inflicted wound.  Why?  Because they stupidly drew a line in the sand and now, stupidly, are sticking to it.  Why?  Because they can.

Hopefully, this latest embarrassment will push them over the edge.

Or, at least, over their own stupidly-imposed line.

TheSTN – MLB: Jason Motte of the St. Louis Cardinals named National League Player of the Week

St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending September 23rd. This is his Jason’s first career weekly award and the first by a relief pitcher since Huston Street won the award for the week ending June 14, 2009. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Motte led the Majors with five saves last week, converting each of his five opportunities to help the Cardinals to a 5-1 record as they continue to lead the N.L. for the second Wild Card berth. The right-hander did not allow a single run over his five appearances and held opposing hitters to just two hits while fanning 10 in 4.2 innings of work. Motte notched saves in each game of a three-game set against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium last week, starting with a perfect ninth inning in Tuesday’s matchup to give the Cards a 4-1 victory. After entering Wednesday’s game with two on and one out, Motte fanned both of the Houston hitters he faced on a combined seven pitches, capping a 5-0 victory for his club. In Thursday’s series finale, the Iona College product struck out the side after allowing a leadoff single to Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez, preserving a 5-4 lead for the victory. On Saturday, facing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Motte slammed the door on the North Siders in similar fashion, fanning all three hitters he faced in the bottom of the 10th inning to hold on to a 5-4 victory and record his fifth straight save. In doing so, he became the first Cardinals reliever since Lee Smith (June 23-28, 1993) to record saves in five consecutive wins. Motte recorded his N.L.-leading 40th save in Sunday’s rubber match between the division rivals, joining Redbird relievers Jason Isringhausen (47 in 2004), Lee Smith (47 in 1991; 43 in 1992 and 1993) and Bruce Sutter (45 in 1984) as the fourth pitcher (sixth time) to record 40 saves in a season in franchise history.

Other noteworthy performances last week included Motte’s St. Louis teammate Kyle Lohse (2-0, 2.08 ERA, 10 SO, 13.0 IP); Washington’s Ian Desmond (.474, 9 H, HR, 3 RBI, .737 SLG, .565 OBP); Atlanta’s Martin Prado (.476, 10 H, .560 OBP); Colorado’s Wilin Rosario (.448, 13 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .724 SLG); San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval (.478, 11 H, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 1.043 SLG, .538 OBP), Marco Scutaro (.480, 7 R, 12 H, 7 RBI, .536 OBP) and Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 2.31 ERA, 12 SO, 11.2 IP); and Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (1-1, 1.13 ERA, 21 SO, 16 IP).

TheSTN – MLB: Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees named the American League Player of the Week

New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending September 23rd. This marks Ichiro’s fourth career weekly honor and his first as a Yankee. He last garnered the award for the period ending September 26, 2010 with the Seattle Mariners. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

Suzuki batted .600 (15-for-25) with three doubles, two home runs, five RBI, seven runs scored and six stolen bases in six games. Among Major League leaders, the 12-year veteran led all players in batting average, hits, steals and on-base percentage (.630), was tied for second in total bases (24) and was third in slugging percentage (.960). Suzuki was tied for fourth in the A.L. in runs scored.

Ichiro helped New York’s bid for a fourth consecutive Postseason with an impressive pair of performances on Wednesday in a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. In the opening tilt, Suzuki had a double among three hits and scored two runs as the Yanks defeated the Blue Jays, 4-2. The 38-year-old carried his hot bat over to the nightcap with a perfect 4-for-4 showing at the plate, including a double, a go-ahead RBI-single in the eighth inning and a career-high-tying four stolen bases as the Yankees edged the Jays, 2-1. It was the second time in his career in which the Japanese native collected at least four hits and four stolen bases in a single game (previously accomplished on July 20, 2004 against Boston). Additionally, he is first player in the Majors to notch the feat since Julio Borbon of the Texas Rangers on August 15, 2009 and is the first Yankee to do so since Rickey Henderson (five hits, four stolen bases) on April 11, 1988. It also marked the first time that Ichiro recorded at least three hits in each game of a doubleheader and he became just the seventh Yankee to do so since 1969 (last accomplished by Derek Jeter in 2008). After going 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, three RBI and two runs scored in a 10-7 win over the Jays on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep, Ichiro helped lead the Yankees to their seventh straight win on Saturday, going 3-for-5 with two walks, a solo homer and three runs scored as New York defeated the Oakland Athletics, 10-9, in a 14-inning marathon in the Bronx. The win helped the Yankees maintain a one-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in a tight race for the A.L. East crown.

Other noteworthy performances last week included Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera (.346, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI); Tampa Bay’s Jeff Keppinger (.440, 11 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI); Cleveland’s Carlos Santana (.308, 3 HR, 8 RBI); and Detroit’s Doug Fister (shutout at the Chicago White Sox on September 22nd).

TheSTN – NFL: What To Look For… A Look Back

FRESH STARTThree teams are undefeated through their first three games of the season – Arizona, Atlanta and Houston.

While no guarantee of future success, a strong start to the season is a good omen – 75.7 percent of teams (84 of 111) that started 3-0 since 1990 made the playoffs. 

POINT(S) TAKENNFL teams combined for 1,556 points (791, Week 1; 765, Week 2) through the first two weeks of the 2012 season, the most points during the first two weeks of any NFL season.

With 705 points thus far in Week 3, bringing the 2012 season total to 2,261, 2012 features the most points through the first three weeks of any NFL season with one game still to play. The previous record was set last season with 2,157 points through Week 3.

The most points through the first three weeks of an NFL season:

SEASON

TOTAL POINTS

2012

2,261*

2011

2,157

2008

2,073

2002

2,058

2007

2,054

                                                                                    *One game remaining

PASS TIMEThere have been eight 300-yard passing performances thus far in Week 3, bringing the season total of such games to 26.

The 26 individual 300-yard passing games are the second-most through the first three weeks of any NFL season with one game still to play.

The most individual 300-yard passing games through Week 3 in NFL history:

SEASON

IND. 300-YARD PASS. GAMES

2011

34

2012

26*

2009

21

1994

19

2007

18

                                                                                   *One game remaining

LARRY LEGEND: Arizona wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD had nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals’ 27-6 win over Philadelphia.

Fitzgerald now has 707 career receptions and became the youngest player in NFL history (29 years, 23 days) to reach the 700-catch mark. He surpassed the previous record (JASON WITTEN, 30 years, 133 days) by more than a year.

The youngest players to reach 700 career receptions:

PLAYER TEAM(S)

AGE

YEARS     

DAYS

Larry Fitzgerald Arizona

29

23

Jason Witten Dallas

30

133

Andre Johnson Houston

30

139

Torry Holt St. Louis

30

202

Randy Moss Minnesota, Oakland, New England

30

230

Fitzgerald also reached 700 receptions in the fifth-fewest games in NFL history (127). Former Indianapolis wide receiver Marvin Harrison holds the record, recording his 700th catch in his 114th game.

The players to record 700 receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER TEAM(S)

GAMES

Marvin Harrison Indianapolis

114

Andre Johnson Houston

120

Anquan Boldin Arizona, Baltimore

123

Torry Holt St. Louis

125

Larry Fitzgerald Arizona

127