49ers Head Coach Mike Nolan Reads the Ferringo Report!
by Robert Ferringo - 09/13/2006
Nine seconds into their National Football League season, the Cleveland Browns were destined for the Super Bowl.
Their first play from scrimmage was a 74-yard touchdown from Charlie Frye to Braylon Edwards. That was it. Frye was the right guy for the job! Edwards was back! The Dawg Pound was going berserk! The Cleveland Curse was exorcised! There would be peace in the Middle East! Global warming would be no more!
But there was a flag on the play. Holding on Kevin Shaffer. Ten-yard penalty, replay first down.
The Browns wouldn't manage a first down until just before halftime. They ended up playing amazingly sloppy and uninspired ball while losing at home to a team that, well, isn't very good.
That pretty much sums up Week 1 for half of the teams in the NFL. They came in with incredible expectations and anticipations, but when they woke up this morning they had to try to get the taste of Defeat out of their mouths while they started planning for next year.
On the other hand, there are now 16 legitimate Super Bowl threats that are basking in the warm glow of Perfection.
My obvious exaggeration here is serving an important fact about the NFL after week one - teams aren't as bad as they looked in their first game, and teams aren't as good as they looked in their first game. Keep that in mind when you make your wagers this week. Remember that sharp bettors know when to go against the general public, which is just about always.
Here are the rest of my nonsensical ravings on Week 1:
- I'm going to try to cover a lot here because when Trent Green wakes up in a couple of weeks he's going to want to know what was going down in the NFL in week one.
- I'm not going to sit here and say that I wasn't drinking the Carolina Kool-Aid through the offseason. They still have one of the top teams in the NFC. However, the two weaknesses that I pointed out in the preseason - the offensive line and the linebackers - were both exploited on Sunday.
Carolina rushed for just 65 yards on 16 carries, and Jake Delhomme was running for his life most of the day. Also, Dan Morgan suffered his 1,168,377th concussion and Atlanta ran roughshod for 250 yards on the ground.
- As usual, the defenses are way ahead of the offenses in the opening week. The result was the Under going 11-5 in week one. Oddsmakers have already started adjusting totals for week two, as only six lines have been posted over 40 points.
- I found it interesting that Peyton Manning was such a crybaby in those home videos of him playing flag football. That's it. Just found it interesting. Draw your own conclusions.
- If Ron Mexico goes 10-for-22 and Atlanta loses, people are all over him. He goes 10-for-22 and the Falcons win and he, in the words of Chris Collinsworth, "took the game on his shoulders." No, actually that would be the offensive line, defensive line and Warrick Dunn.
- Miami's complete and utter collapse on Thursday came down to one play: an illegal use of the hands penalty on the Dolphins. Miami was up 17-10 with five minutes left in the third and Pittsburgh had just failed on a 3rd-and-16 attempt from their own 12. Miami would've gotten the ball back near midfield with a chance to put the first nail in the coffin. Instead, field position was flipped and it was all downhill from there.
- Shawne Merriman has a super mohawk. Clinton Portis and Chad Johnson have sweet ones as well. But nobody beat Charlie Batch's mom's mohawk. It's more like a mohawk-mullet where the mohawk portion is dyed blonde and the mullet part is still black. Incredible.
- New England is just a good team. That's it. Just good. They're a fringe playoff team, but they are not a Super Bowl contender. They are soft in many areas (defensive and offensive lines, secondary, linebackers) and they have average skill players.
- Just a thought, but maybe if people laid off of Drew Bledsoe and Jake Plummer instead of calling for their heads they may start to play better. They're both vets and they should do better, but both were trying to do way too much this weekend and it got them in trouble. As usual.
- Not only did the Packers not score, but they never even got the ball inside the Chicago 35-yard line.
- Toss Tennessee in there with the Giants and Cleveland on the list of teams that should've won this weekend but just killed themselves with penalties that negated big plays. It didn't help that Kerry Collins looked drunk out there and Vince Young looked like someone asked him to spell "cat" in his only series.
- If I see that "NFL Replay" commercial for the NFL Network one more time I'm going to torture a small child. I swear they brought back Biz Markie for that annoying tune. The only thing that makes it bearable is if you mute the sound and stare at the cheerleaders.
- Jacksonville's wide receivers were an average of 4.6 inches taller than Dallas CB Anthony Henry and 6.6 inches taller than Aaron Glenn. That's going to be a theme for the Jags all season.
- So, about that home-field advantage…
Road teams went 11-5 SU and 12-4 ATS this week. Who knew? It's probably just a week one anomaly. But I also think that as the season wears on we're going to see that there is a wide gap between the top two tiers and the bottom feeders in the NFL.
- Kansas City's defense held the Bengals to nine yards passing in the first quarter, and they had some guys that were actually hitting and tackling people this weekend. That's encouraging.
The bad news is that published reports - sent to me by a friend who is a Chiefs fan - alleges that first-time K.C. offensive coordinator Mike Solari couldn't keep track of down and distance when his team had the ball. On the Chiefs first possession they drove into the red zone, only to have a third-and-five run stuffed. After the game Tony Gonzalez and another player said that Solari thought it was either second-and-five or third-and-two. In other words, the OC didn't know what the hell was going on.
- Art Shell, this just in, you can't block Shawne Merriman with only LaMont Jordan! By the way, Jerry Porter is a Class Act, eh?
- Reggie Bush had a solid day, but the announcers were speaking of him reverentially. I don't get it? He will be phenomenal at some point, but let's save the hyperbole until he's actually there.
- Larry Fitzgerald had big fantasy numbers - nine catches, 133 yards - but he dropped two passes and let that onside kick bounce off his chest. If Arizona is going to be a playoff team they need to execute like one.
- Donovan McNabb will finish in the Top Five in the MVP voting this year. People forget that he was a perennial MVP candidate before He Whose Name We Dare Not Speak showed up. With a bruising offensive line to protect him and a myriad of weapons in the passing game, the Eagles offense will be up to snuff this year.
- What a whine-ass Delhomme was on Sunday. I understand that he was frustrated as Atlanta's stellar defensive line was manhandling his offensive line. But c'mon, keep your composure.
- Dick Jauron is still haunting my football life. His piss-poor time management at the end of the Buffalo game cost me a 5-unit selection.
I had New England (-2.5) and Arizona (-.5) in a two-team teaser. A solid play with two home favorites below any key numbers. Well, Jauron let 19 seconds run off the clock after a second-and-five play with 2:44 remaining, then let 16 seconds run off after 3rd-and-one with 2:21 to play. Also, after the two-minute warning he let 11 seconds run off the clock after the Pats converted on fourth-and-two.
Had he done the intelligent thing - used his two timeouts before the two-minute warning - I think Belichick kicks the field goal rather than go for it on fourth down with about 2:25 left on the clock. Even if he did, the Pats still would've needed another first down. Eventually they would've kicked the field goal, giving me my cover.
- Obviously, Mike Nolan has been reading the Ferringo Report. It has long been my claim that if a team is down 10 points in the final minute of a game, and that team is within the range of a 40-yard field goal, they need to take the three points and then try the onside kick. The reason is that whether you get the touchdown first or the field goal first, the whole game comes down to the onside kick.
San Fran executed my theory to perfection - enraging bettors that had the Cardinals -7.5. They took the field goal on first down with 34 seconds left, then recovered the onside kick. Eventually they had two shots at the end zone from Arizona's 36. Considering they were down 10 with under a minute to play, I would say that's about the best they could hope for.
Robert is a professional handicapper for Doc's Sports Service. E-mail questions or comments for him to firstname.lastname@example.org.