NFL Week 6 Report - MNF Preview



And in this corner ...Wait - wrong sport!

Guess that wasn't boxing or wrestling at Ford Field on Sunday afternoon.

The end-of-the-game "hard handshake" between San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit Lions boss-man Jim Schwartz wasn't exactly gentlemanly like and so anyone that watched National Football League games/highlights all day and night long on Sunday probably saw that altercation about a gazillion times but what needs to be asked today isn't whether Harbaugh and/or Schwartz get fined or suspended for their actions (who cares!) but whether or not either/both of these 5-1 squads loses focus while heading into the future.

In case you were wondering, the Niners are off this Sunday enjoying their bye week while the Lions will host the Atlanta Falcons - now we'll see whether Schwartz gets his club back into the swing of things after Detroit's season-starting five-game winning streak was snapped or whether the gang from Motown spends the next few days defending their head coach and thereby missing a beat or two on the field. Do stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the real fallout from NFL Week 6 action yesterday was that the Lions finally fell from the ranks of the unbeaten - okay, so that just leaves you, defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers! - while San Francisco was joined in the 5-1 ranks by the New England Patriots and you know it's never too early to start discussing home-field advantage come the NFC and AFC Playoffs come January.


SAN FRANCISCO 25, DETROIT 19 - Okay, so the Harbaugh v. Schwartz battle may rage on in the media this week but how about the fact the 49ers scored only one offensive touchdown (a one-yard run by RB Frank Gore in the second quarter) before that fourth-down, six-yard scoring fling by QB Alex Smith-to-Delanie Walker with only 1:51 remaining in the game that proved to be the game winner as San Fran snapped Detroit's nine-game regular-season winning streak.

Hey, don't look now but the 49ers have won all three of their road games - at Cincinnati, at Philadelphia and now at Detroit - and truth is they were basically one play in each game from losing all three games. Maybe Harbaugh's in-game magic does count for something but the underlying keys to victory here was Gore's 141-yard rushing game and the fact San Fran's underrated defense harassed Lions' QB Matthew Stafford (28-of-50 for 293 yards passing with 2 TDs and 0 INTs) who didn't play quite as well as these stats indicated and looked unsure of himself at times - and note there were zero TDs scored here by "Megatron" WR Calvin Johnson after he had registered a league-best nine TDs in the season's first five games. Just sayin'.

NEW ENGLAND 20, DALLAS 16 - So, what word would you like to use concerning the Patriots' 10-play, 80-yard go-ahead touchdown drive that ended with a QB Tom Brady-to-TE Aaron Hernandez 8-yard scoring play with 22 seconds left?

Methodical. Meticulous. Or how about brilliant?

True, the Cowboys - and their scraggly defensive coordinator Rob Ryan - had confounded Brady for much of Sunday's game in Foxboro but when push came to shove there was Brady delivering the goods on a day when he threw two more picks (say what!) to go along with two TD passes. If the 6 ½-point Pats learned anything about themselves in this non-cover out-of-conference affair than it was that they could win without WR Wes Welker (45 receiving yards on 6 catches) playing a major role and that those red-zone stops on "D" are indeed critical.

Note that Dallas PK Dan Bailey booted chippie FGs of 22 and 26 yards after intermission thus capping 77- and 60-yard drives - might those two stops and this New England win allow Bill Belichick's crew to secure home-field advantage later down the line?

We shall see.

In other NFL Week 6 News & Notes ...

Don't slam the door shut on Minnesota Vikings QB Donovan McNabb just yet. Even though the veteran signal-caller was benched in the second half of Sunday night's 39-10 loss at 1 ½-point fav Chicago, we'll expect McNabb under center for Minnesota's home game against Green Bay this Sunday. McNabb completed 19-of-24 passes for 177 yards in the NFC North road loss in Chicago and there was a spurt or two where rookie QB Christian Ponder (9-of-17 passing for 99 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs) looked decent for the now 1-5 Vikes but count on Minny boss-man Leslie Frazier to stay with McNabb for at least another week or two... And let it be known that there still is a pulse with the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles:

The 20-13 Week 6 win at 3-point underdog Washington wasn't a thing of beauty but The City of Brotherly Love has a new sports hero in DB Kurt Coleman who picked off three passes (that's three of the four interceptions thrown by wobbly 'Skins QB Rex Grossman) and RB LeSean "Shady" McCoy rushed the ball 28 times for 126 yards with one score - and that means under-siege head coach Andy Reid plans on taking more heat off QB Michael Vick the rest of the way and putting more of the load on the Eagles' running backs. Keep that in mind, "totals" players!

NOTE: Catch our College Football Mid-Week Report in the next edition of Jim Sez plus get our World Series Preview too! In the meantime, don't forget there's football on ESPN tonight at 8 ET in the Sun Belt as Florida International, with talented receiver T.Y. Hilton faces a must-win game against Arkansas State. The Network is ready with the winner to get your week off to a strong start.


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