* There is plenty to complain about today if you are a Bengals fan. The biggest of which is the phantom roughing the passer call against Justin Smith that gave Tampa Bay a first down on the game’s final drive that ended with a Tampa TD for the win. “That was the ballgame,” Smith said. “There was no whistle call, nothing like that to stop the play. I didn’t slam him (or) pick him up. He doubled over, went down and fumbled the ball.” It was a ticky-tack call at a crucial time that should have never happened. Despite that, the Bengals are simply killing themselves with penalites and mistakes. Sunday they had a delay of game, illegal formation with just six players on the line, holding and two false starts and holding. An illegal motion penalty was declined by Tampa Bay. Add to that two roughing the passer calls and another 15-yard miscue for a major facemask penalty and it adds up to the Bengals second straight loss.
* Atlanta has to be kicking itself today after blowing a 14-3 lead to the Giants Sunday at home. This team has some holes, the biggest of which it seems like if they get behind, they are in serious trouble. They went 23 minutes in the second half without a first down Sunday, and it looked as if Michael Vick took a serious step backwords in looking to become an elite quarterback. “This loss hurts more than any loss I’ve had,” Vick said after the game. The Falcons were simply beat up by the bigger, badder Giants, and don’t look now, but the Steelers, fresh off their 38-point win, visit Atlanta Sunday. If the Falcons can’t run the ball on the Steelers, it could be a very long day for Vick and Co.
* Kudos to Rod Marinelli and the Lions for finally getting their first win on Sunday at home vs the Bills. The Lions finally got some support from two of their offensive playmakers – Roy Williams and Kevin Jones. The play of the day came with 4:04 left and the Lions up 3. Jones took a short pass at the 27 and gained 8 yards, a huge first down, and it ate up enough clock to ensure that the Bills would not have enough time to even set up for a game-tying field goal. Williams was huge, catching 10 passes for 161 yards and a score. This is the type of effort that has been expected from these two playmakers for sometime. Now we’ll see if they can continue it now that they have gotten into the win column.
* The long day award for week 6 has to go to Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle, who was beaten twice for scores on Sunday in the Ravens 23-20 loss to the Panthers. Rolle said he thought he had safety help on Steve Smith’s long 85-yard TD catch, and was also beaten on Drew Carter’s 42-yard TD catch. When asked if Rolle was supposed to stay close on Smith, Ravens coach Biran Billick stated: “I imagine somebody was supposed to stay with him. Most defenses are designed that way,” then he walked away from the podium and left the interview room, 45 seconds into his press conference. “They’ve got good players. We just didn’t play very well, especially me,” Rolle said. So much for Baltimore’s D, which allowed 414 yards to the Panthers, and are now 4-2 after a 4-0 start. “It’s just mental errors,” linebacker Adalius Thomas said. “You have to know where you’re supposed to be and you have to stay within the framework of the defense. That was just all technique errors on our part.”
* How about the tackle that Chiefs RB Larry Johnson had on Steelers safety Troy Polamalu in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Steelers?! Troy was racing down the sideline with a pick that could have resulted in a TD, only to have Johnson pull him down by his hair! Johnson did get a penalty for “taunting” as he kept hold of the hair as Polamalu got up. The two teams briefly got into it, but nothing came of it other than a pair of penalites on the Chiefs. “I mean, the dude had hair,” Johnson said. “What do you want me to do? They said the hair is part of the uniform, the last time I checked. When I grabbed it, that was the only thing I could get my hands on and pull him down.” Just for a record, it is legal to tackle a player by the hair. Steelers CB Ike Taylor did not like his teammate being pulled down in that fashion. “I have to stick up for my guy,” Taylor said. “I told (Johnson) I didn’t like it, and there was pushing and shoving. I gotta defend my guy, though.”
* Not a shock here, but congrats to the Raiders for being the only winless team NOT to gain a win on Sunday. They were shut down (again) by the Broncos 13-3 in Invesco. Oakland, as usual, had their share of stupid mistakes, with two turnovers deep in Broncos territory and 13 penalties for 95 yards. Now at 0-5, they are looking like team that can lose between 14 and 16 games. “When you get to the end of the game, and the score isn’t what you want, that’s the frustrating part,” defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. “We aren’t going to win many games with three points. If you’re going to play the way we did … and do the stupid (stuff) we did, we’re going to keep being the only winless team in the league. That’s just the way it’s going to be.”