Key NFL recaps - College Weekend Roundup

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By Jim Hurley:

Here's some advice for both Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips and Minnesota Vikings' boss-man Brad Childress:

You may want to steer clear of listening to the radio and reading the internet/newspapers this week 'cause it figures to be a tsunami-like torrent of negativity for both of these gentlemen from right now up until their kickoffs this Sunday.

Phillips- who has been a human punching bag in Dallas lately- wasn't supposed to see his club lose to Washington and Chicago right out of the starting gate (note that the Cowboys are the NFL's only team to lose back-to-back games here at season's start after being declared the betting favorite in both tilts) while Childress seemed to convince every Vikings fan that the Week 1 loss in New Orleans was tucked away and coming home to play Miami off extra rest was gonna be the proper elixir.


While the Cowboys self-imploded time-after-time in their 27-20 home loss against the 7-point underdog Bears, the Vikings were playing scared in their 14-10 home loss against the Dolphins ... why not pass the ball from inside the 10-yard late, Mr. Childress?

Now, both of these teams- labeled as true Super Bowl contenders prior to the start of this 2010 season- are busy licking their wounds with the knowledge that three NFL teams have started off 0-2 SU (straightup) and yet still won it all ... they are the 1993 Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants.

So, not all hope is lost just yet for the 'Boys and Vikes but it's getting dangerously close to panic button time for both franchises.

Meanwhile, "The Franchise"- a/k/a Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts- served as the master of ceremonies in his club's easy-chair 38-14 win against little brother Eli and the Giants last night but it was a hard-pounding ground game that really helped to set the tone for this prime-time game and so might that be something new for Indianapolis opponents to fret about in coming weeks?

We'll get into plenty of NFL Week #2 action plus get you our Monday Night Football Preview- that's New Orleans at San Francisco- and there's College Football News/Notes too but first this important message:

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INDIANAPOLIS 38, NEW YORK GIANTS 14- Okay, so those home movies involving the Manning Brothers as children are cute stuff but there was nothing cute about the Colts grind-'em-up win here as Indy rushed the ball 43 times for 160 yards and really sledge-hammered the Giants to death in this prime-time tilt. Sure, Indianapolis QB Manning was on target all night long while completing 20-of-26 passes for 255 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs but you really got the sense here that the Colts flexed their muscles with a power ground game that wore out and wore down the overrated Giants defense.

There was the Colts' reshaped O-line banging out big holes for RB Joseph Addai (20 carries for 92 yards) and second-year stud RB Donald Brown (16 carries for 69 yards) and sucking the life from the G-men's defensive front that is beginning to look like a bunch of 98-pound weaklings these days. Throw in those darts by Mr. P. Manning and this was lights-out time early in "Nap-Town" and about the only excitement generated by the Giants was when cry-baby RB Brandon Jacobs hurled his helmet some 10 rows into the stands- whatta knucklehead!

All Eli Manning got from this night was some major carpet burns and a kiss from his mom at game's end- and another loss in a "Manning Bowl" tilt.
CHICAGO 27, DALLAS 20- After this debacle that included two INTS by QB Tony Romo, a key lost fumble by WR Roy Williams and a badly missed 44-yard field goal by kicker-of-the-month David Buehler, the Cowboys were left to ponder what might have been.

Phillips called it a "crossroads" right now for his 0-2 club that figured everything would be alright following the return of key O-linemen Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier but instead the 'Boys abandoned the running game way too early- we've been telling you all along that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is an overrated play-caller- and couldn't score a second-half touchdown despite the fact WR Miles Austin finished the contest with 10 catches for 142 yards.

Give some credit to the Bears who had their own offensive line woes as LT Chris Williams left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury and still Chicago QB Jay Cutler was sacked only once as offensive coordinator Mike Martz improvised neatly with an array of quick strike passes- such as the dynamic 39-yard scoring strike to TE Greg Olsen.

Throw in the fact that Dallas TE Jason Witten was caught on camera going wild- he was not allowed to go back in the game after hitting his head on the turf in the fourth quarter- and this was yet another dysfunctional day for the team that will be the Super Bowl XLV hosts in February.

And it's looking more and more as if the Cowboys players/coaches won't be part of the Super Bowl setting- obviously.

MIAMI 14, MINNESOTA 10- There's plenty of blame to go around the Twin Cities when it comes to culprits in this Vikings' home loss but someone is gonna have to tell us why QB Brett Favre didn't get to throw a pass on four consecutive plays inside the Dolphins' 10-yard line in the final five minutes of this clash: Four runs by RB Adrian Peterson picked up six yards on a first-down rush and than a grand total of three yards in his next three carries all the while Miami hunkered down with seven/eight men in the box.

True, Peterson was an absolute monster in this game with 145 yards rushing on 28 carries but he was gassed late and Childress showed zero imagination (and no confidence in Favre either) by calling for these four straight runs that not only didn't push the Vikes over the top but also chewed up valuable time to boot.

Favre was a wreck in this game with three picks and a lost fumble that was recovered by Miami's Kosa Misi for a touchdown and you just knew afterwards that the topic of having no capable wide receivers would come up- is there anyone right now that doesn't believe San Diego holdout WR Vincent Jackson won't be part of the Vikings by mid-week?- but this one lies at the feet of Favre and his brain-cramped head coach.

Miami gets an "A" grade for its toughness and physical play- plus CB Vontae Davis might be the best corner in the league with apologies to hamstrung New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis- but if Minnesota doesn't get into the post-season this year than those four rushing plays that fizzled late might be what folks remember come January.


None of the College Football "big shots" that were supposed to win were beaten last weekend- although #7 Oklahoma and #11 Wisconsin made things really interesting in tight home wins- but who flexed their muscles more than #8 Nebraska?

The Cornhuskers rock-n-rolled their way to an easy 56-21 win at 3-point underdog Washington and the domination was complete on all sides: There was Huskies' QB Jake Locker completing just 4-of-20 passes to go along with his two interceptions (you really didn't think he was gonna win the Heisman Trophy, did you?) while new-kid-on-the-block Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez was dazzling as he rushed for 137 yards and three TDs including an 8-yard scoring romp that was the longest in the school's history among freshmen. Martinez engineered an attack that registered 533 total yards (383 yards rushing and 150 yards passing) and the Big 12 team made a major statement that Big Red's back on the national scene in a big way.

Don't look now but if Bo Pelini's crew can beat Texas- in Lincoln- on Oct. 16th than you could make a premature case that the 'Huskers will go unbeaten this year. Stay tuned ...

Good point made by ABC/ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit the other night that #4 TCU (3-0) could be the "forgotten team" in this year's chase for a BCS Championship Game. Herbstreit claims that everyone that's talking BCS-buster is bringing up #3 Boise State but there were the TCU Horned Frogs "taking care of business" with a resounding 45-10 victory over 21-point pup Baylor last Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth.

TCU scored three touchdowns on its first five drives and rolled up a 35-3 halftime lead and QB Andy Dalton- yes, he only seems to have been at TCU for the past 15 years!- was razor-sharp while connecting on 21-of-23 passes for 267 yards (and he completed his first 11 passes against the Bears).

Here's a thought: Boise State and TCU have played one another in bowl games in each of the past two seasons- wouldn't it be something if the "rubber game" of a bowl triumvirate was for all the marbles in the BCS title tilt? ...

Finally, chalk this up as truly a lost season for Houston QB Case Keenum.

Last year we had Keenum in the lead for the Heisman Trophy for a handful of weeks before he faltered and Alabama RB Mark Ingram rallied but here we are three weeks into September and Keenum's 2010 season already is finished following a knee injury suffered in Saturday's dreadful 31-13 loss at UCLA. Worse yet for the Cougars (2-1) is the fact that backup QB Cotton Turner also is gone for the year after he broke his collar bone in the third quarter of that loss at the Rose Bowl.

P.S., if Keenum's college career is over than he finishes school with 13,503 passing yards- ranking him fifth all-time among college career passing leaders.

NOTE: Catch our Jim Sez Mid-Week Report next!

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