Friday Baba Ghanoush: Week 5
Welcome, football fans and happy Friday! This is the Friday Baba Ghanoush (which, is still a real thing, and rather fun to say). The Baba Ghanoush is a weekly column similar to the Tuesday Stew, where I’ll be breaking down the top stories of the week, review the Thursday night game, preview the upcoming games, as well as add some flash and pizzazz to get everybody excited for the weekend.
Friday’s Thoughts on Thursday Night
If you like prime time, hard-fought NFC West matchups with good defensive player and average quarterbacks, then this game between the Cardinals and Rams did not disappoint. Though the game started off with a Rams touchdown on the opening drive, points were far and few in between after that. With the Rams clinging to a 10-3 halftime lead, they and the Cardinals engaged in one of the finest defensive quarters in the third that I’ve ever seen. After three three-and-outs, a good drive by the Rams was thwarted when Patrick Peterson picked off Sam Bradford in the end zone. But, the Rams defense responded, sacking Kevin Kolb three times on the ensuing drive.
Though both quarterbacks were harassed all night, it would be Bradford that makes the final big play, with a beautiful 51-yard strike to Chris Givens, who beat the corner with an excellently executed double-move, that would be the Rams up for good, 17-3. The Cardinals would have a final chance to make things close again, but a very questionable play-call on 4th-and-goal that failed the Cardinals would just about seal the Rams victory, putting their record above .500 for the first time since the 2006 season while handing the Cardinals their first loss of the season.
Here are five quick takes from Thursday night’s game:
1. To start off with what I think was that very questionable play-call by the Cardinals on the goal line, I bet the Cardinals are kicking themselves now looking back on the play. After a holding penalty moved 3rd-and-goal from the three back to the 13-yard line, Kolb went to Larry Fitzgerald to set up 4th-and-goal from the six. Down by two scores with under six minutes left, Kolb again went to Fitzgerald, this time on a quick slant that Fitzgerald caught around the five. Inevitably, it failed, and you have to wonder why Fitzgerald’s route didn’t go to the end zone, or why Kolb didn’t throw to the end zone. The game was on the line, and the Rams are going to play tight on the goal line, surely a quick slant that’s five yards from the goal line isn’t going to work.
2. When in doubt, throw the ball to Fitzgerald; that is Kolb’s mantra, and it’s not a bad one either. The All-Pro wideout was targeted a game-high 15 times, and caught eight passes for 92 yards. Well, it’s a good philosophy for Kolb when he’s actually able to throw. He was under constant pressure all night from the Rams defensive front, and sacked nine times in the process.
3. Legatron does it again. Rams rookie kicker sensation Greg Zuerlein booted a 53-yard field goal in this game, making him 13-for-13 on the year. What’s even more impressive about his stats is the fact that he’s now made a field goal of 40 or more yards in every game this season. Additionally, he has made all nine of his field goal attempts that come from that range. As Mike Sando of ESPN.com’s NFC West Blog says, Zuerlein is really turning “punts into points” for the Rams, and has truly been a big factor in their 3-2 record, including back-to-back division wins.
4. Is this Rams defense legit? In the past two weeks, against division opponents in the Seahawks and Rams, their defense has given up a combined 16 points, totaled 11 sacks and have forced four turnovers. Chris Long and James Laurinaitis are both playing great football right now, and the addition of Cortland Finnegan has really improved their secondary. Right now, the Rams are 3-2, including 2-0 in the NFC West, but their toughest tests are still to come. Their next four games are against the Dolphins, Packers, Patriots and 49ers; we’ll definitely see just how good this defense, and team is, after that four-game stretch.
5. Scary moment for the Rams offense and fantasy football owners everywhere, as wide receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury and never returned. He was seen on the sideline in a sling, and the early reports say he may have a broken collarbone. If that is indeed the case, Amendola could be out for most, if not all, of the season. Additionally, it will be a few days until we now, as Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com reports that we won’t know the extent of the injury until Monday.
News of the Week: Tebow Time?
The New York Jets, sitting at 2-2 while facing an uphill battle, have made headlines all week. Their backs are against the wall and their season is just about on the line this early in the year. They’re already without Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes, people are calling for Tim Tebow under center and have the AFC’s only undefeated team, the Houston Texans, coming to town. The Texans defense is just as good, if not better, than the 49ers defense that blanked the Jets 34-0. The Jets are faced with a plethora of problems, including a quarterback controversy since starter Mark Sanchez has five touchdowns to four interceptions on the year, Rex Ryan could very likely be on the coaching hot seat, and owner Woody Johnson cares more about Mitt Romney being elected president than the Jets having a winning season (though he may begin to push for Tebow to start).
Personally, the Jets have way too many issues to deal with this season and should already count on a top ten draft pick in 2013. But there’s still three-fourths of 2012 to play, so they’re going to have to deal with it one way or another. They might as well put Tebow in over Sanchez, it couldn’t get much worse at this point. In all honesty, they should’ve kept Drew Stanton, at least he can “dougie“ after finding the end zone. But, they’re going to get killed by the Texans (which will probably lead to Sanchez being benched), and probably lose both games to the Patriots by that fatal 45-3 margin, yet won’t have the chance to redeem themselves in the playoffs this time. This franchise is in free fall right now, so they might as well give the fans, the New York media and ESPN (especially Skip Bayless) what they want, and put in Tebow.
Week Five’s Must-See Games
“The Battle of Pennsylvania” a.k.a. Eagles vs. Steelers, Sunday at 1pm
“Manning vs. Brady” a.k.a. Broncos vs. Patriots, Sunday at 4:25pm
“Brees Passes Unitas” a.k.a. Chargers vs. Saints, Sunday at 8:20