ICONRice posted over 200-yards rushing in the Ravens 24-10 win over the Browns.
6. Ray Rice runs through the Browns: I hand out game balls on Mondays here at the NFP and Rice will be at the top of the list. The Ravens’ RB carries the ball 29 times for 204 yards and a TD in the 24-10 win over the Browns in Cleveland. Go back to the road loss at Seattle earlier this season. The issue? Not enough touches for Rice and an unbalanced game plan that takes the ball out of the hands of your feature back. Not on Sunday, because when the Ravens ride Rice throughout the game, they can control the clock and protect leads late in the fourth quarter. That’s big production from the veteran RB.
7. Time to jump off the Cowboys’ train—for now: The Bears loss to the Chiefs was bad, but the Cowboys losing to the Cardinals in OT wasn’t any better because of the way it went down. I still can’t figure out why Jason Garrett called time out (essentially “icing” his own kicker) at the end of regulation that led to a missed FG. But move onto OT and the screen pass from Cards’ QB Kevin Kolb to Larod Stephens-Howling that goes for 52-yards to give Arizona a 19-13 win. A situation where you have to get off of blocks and tackle on defense. The point here is I want to buy into this Dallas team in a division they should win, but games like this make me question if they if they can take control the NFC East and make any noise in the playoffs.
8. Don’t forget about Alex Smith in San Fran: I’m guilty of it when I break down the 49ers, because I take the play of Smith for granted and focus on Frank Gore, the run game and a defense that has playoff talent. However, look at these numbers in the 26-0 win over the Rams: 17-23-274 yards and 2 TDs. Run the offense, protect the ball, play efficient football and take advantage of the opportunities. Go back to the 52-yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree. Prime field position to use play action and test the top of the defense. Great call vs. Cover 1, solid throw and points on the board for a 10-1 football team. That's good QB play right there.
9. The Texans’ defense: There should be some concern with another hamstring injury for WR Andre Johnson, but don’t look past what the Texans can do defensively under Wade Phillips. This unit shut down Falcons’ RB Michael Turner, forced turnovers and held Atlanta to 10 points in the 17-10 win. And with a rookie at QB in T.J. Yates (and Johnson possibly missing some time) the production on defense will have to continue. Simple game plan right now for the 9-3 Texans: run the ball and play defense.
10. Welker’s turn to fill up the box score: I’ve talked about Rob Gronkowski and the impact of the TE position in New England multiple times this season, and yesterday was no different in the Patriots’ win over the Colts. However, what about the numbers from Welker? The WR brings in 11 receptions for 110-yards to pace Brady and the New England offense. Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will always be a tough matchup inside of the red zone for opposing defenses, but this is just another example of how many true weapons Brady really has on offense. No different than the Saints or Packers, putting together a game plan for the Patriots’ offense isn’t going to be easy now or in the post season.
Follow me on Twitter: @MattBowen41
Check out our partners at TiqIQ for the best deals on all games on the 2014 NFL schedule.
SEP 30 Jesse Lawrence
Jesse Lawrence of TiqIQ takes a look at the week's action
SEP 30 Joel Corry
A look at the players coming up big and small at the most important of times.
SEP 29 Jeff Fedotin
Better quarterback play has given Green Bay the edge.