Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NFL Week 8: Tuesday Takeaways

The NFL regular season is nearly half complete and week eight was another example of why NFL is king. Nobody saw St. Louis' upset over New Orleans coming, a missed field goal gave Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder his first victory and a fumbled exchange late in the fourth quarter cost Philip Rivers and the Chargers a win on Monday night.

Plus, parity rules in the NFL. According to Michael Signora, NFL Vice President of Football Communications, 22 teams went into week eight with a .500 record or better. It was the most through the first seven weeks of the season in NFL history.

Week eight may be done, but the NFL weekend is never complete without The Source's Tuesday Takeaways. Here they are from week eight.

1) When San Diego Chargers RB Curtis Brinkley (pictured) scored a fourth quarter touchdown Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, he extended an impressive streak that dates back to before the second Iraq war began. Brinkley's TD was the Chargers 140th consecutive game with a touchdown, the longest current streak in the NFL. The last time the Chargers failed to score a touchdown was November 24, 2002 when the Ray Lucas-led Miami Dolphins destroyed the Drew Brees-led Bolts 30-3. The Chargers are 26 games away from tying the Cleveland Browns mark of most consecutive games with a touchdown at 166 games (1957-1969).

2) Speaking of Brees and late game touchdowns, his meaningless TD pass to Lance Moore at the end of Sunday's loss to St. Louis marked the 35th consecutive game that he's thrown a TD pass. Brees needs one more TD pass to tie Brett Favre for the second-longest such streak in league history. Brees is still 12 behind former Colts great Johnny Unitas, who holds the NFL record with 47 games in a row.

3) Vikings fans have heard coaches say it for years: Adrian Peterson needs to get more involved in the passing game. On Sunday, Minnesota finally looked like they're committed to making that happen (including two shovel passes, something new for Peterson). Peterson finished with a career-high 76 receiving yards on five catches against the Carolina Panthers. This was only the fourth time in Peterson's career that he's had five or more catches in a game (his career high is six catches).

4) Speaking of the Vikings, the reason they aren't getting blown out in the second half anymore is because Ponder is sustaining drives and keeping his defense on the sidelines. In the three fourth quarters that Ponder has played, the Vikings are 10 of 16 (62.5%) converting on third down. In the five fourth quarters that Donovan McNabb played, the Vikings were 4 of 17 (23.5%) converting on third downs.

5) When it comes to winning games, Miami and Indianapolis are the worst in the league. Both teams are winless and look to be in direct competition for the right to draft Andrew Luck. One of the major issues facing these losing teams (among many issues) is their inability to score points, including once they get in the red zone. The two teams have combined to convert 43% (Colts: 47%/Dolphins: 39%) of red zone attempts into touchdowns. In contrast, Luck and the Stanford Cardinal are scoring touchdowns 78% of the time they get in the red zone (100% if you count field goals - 47 of 47). Surprisingly, the Tennessee Titans are converting 70% of their red zone opportunities into touchdowns, the best in the league.

6) It should come as no surprise that the Arizona Cardinals lost on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens, despite racing out a big first half lead. The Cardinals are the NFL's most prolific losers, now with 704 losses in their franchise history. And that loser label will stick for a while in Arizona, the team with the second most losses is Detroit with 605.

7) Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is quietly putting together an exceptional season and he should start getting some attention for Defensive Player of the Year honors. Allen is on pace for a 25 sack season, which would break Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 set in 2001. Allen currently has 12.5 sacks, which is tops in the league. Allen is also on a seven game streak with at least one full sack. The record is ten straight games set by Denver's Simon Fletcher and Dallas' DeMarcus Ware.

8) How important is Darren Sproles to the New Orleans offense? Very important. When the Saints lost Reggie Bush to free agency this offseason, they quickly signed Sproles to fill the role of pass-catching running back. Sproles leads the Saints in catches this season and is on pace to break the single-season reception mark for running backs set by Larry Centers. Centers caught 101 passes for the Arizona Cardinals in 1995, Sproles is on pace for 102 catches this season (Bush has 21 catches so far this season).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 8 NFL Twitter Takeaway

Maybe it was the great finish or the match-up of young QBs or the fact that I'm a Vikings fan, but this week's Twitter Takeaway is heavy on Vikings/Panthers tweets. Despite my allegiance to the Purple, you must admit it was an entertaining game and the tweets were equally as enjoyable. However, the tweet of the day came from Evan Silva who quoted New York Giants RB Brandon Jacobs in one of his tweets. It's a fantastic quote.

As I do every Sunday, I gathered some of the best tweets that I saw during the games and put them here for you to enjoy. And while you're at it, give all these folks a follow.

Rams are 1st team to shutout Saints in 1st half since Bucs on 9/16/07

#Cardinals PR Patrick Peterson with 2nd punt return TD of season. First time a Cardinals player had 2 in season since Vai Sikahema, 1986

A Peterson great run for TD. Whatever happened to the Chris Johnson arguement on who was better. Always take gd big man vs gd liitle man.

AP now has 61 rushing TDs in 69 career regular season games. Ties Eric Dickerson for 4th-most in NFL history for first 5 seasons.

#Vikings finally make good on promise to get Adrian Peterson more involved in passing game, and he cruises in for 19-yard TD.

Holy hell AP is a bad man. TD

Anybody who thinks that Cam Newton and Tim Tebow are comparable, watch his touchdown pass to Greg Olsen.

Newton hadn't lost a fumble all year. Has two today. Jared Allen causes it on strip-sack. Vikings ball at CAR 39 with 1:03 left.

Brandon Jacobs on #Giants win: "I got nothing positive to say..I got a fast-ass car being delivered Tuesday. That's it" http://t.co/TjKRHnMQ