1. Kurt Warner can still get it done.
The 37-year-old Warner threw for 342 and two touchdown passes Sunday as the Arizona Cardinals left no question as to who the class of the NFC West is with a 34-13 drubbing of the Rams. A former Super Bowl MVP with St. Louis, Warner has thrown for 16 scores and just 6 picks through eight games, and his 104.2 passer rating ranks second in the league.
As the triggerman of St. Louis record-breaking “Greatest Show on Turf,” Warner threw for 98 touchdowns and averaged 293 yards in 43 games from 1999-2001, earning league MVP honors twice during that span.
And after a rocky one-year stint in New York, Warner seems to have found the magic once again in his fourth season with the Cardinals.
But Warner, never one to hog the accolades, is quick to attribute his success to those who surround him. In fact, Warner thinks the Cardinals’ young offensive talent is becoming reminiscent of the squad that lit up scoreboards across the league.
“It does feel a little bit like that,” Warner said. “We’ve got a long ways to go to get to where we were with the Rams in those three seasons. But there’s times when there’s glimpses that remind me of what we did.”
2. I suppose the Raiders should be satisfied they only lost by 24 points.
Racking up -9 yards total in the first half, the league’s most anemic offensive team lived up to its name in a 24-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Not since 1992–when the Colts were held to -5 yards after one half in San Diego–has an NFL team failed to register at least one yard after 30 minutes of play.
Safety Gibril Wilson, who defected from the defending champion Giants in the offseason, offered his explanation. According to Wilson, the Raiders need look no further than the practice field for answers.
“During the week, we look like we’re a Super Bowl team, and we come out there and we’re damn near the laughingstock of the league, and it’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’ve never been in a situation where it’s been like this, and I don’t know what it is.”
We have some theories.
The first of which being that Wilson and the Oakland defense aren’t exactly lining up against the ’07 Patriots in practice.
Less than 80 yards of total offense, 10 of which came through the air, will rarely get it done. With so many yards passing, it’s a mystery as to how Oakland got so thoroughly destroyed, especially in the time-of-possession department.
The Falcons, who rushed for 252 yards, held the ball for an astounding 45:15.
And that meant a long day for Wilson and the secondary. At day’s end, Wilson was second on the team with 11 total tackles. Apparently, the Raider defense that resembles a championship-caliber unit in practice was M.I.A. When Wilson and his mates weren’t chasing down Michael Turner (139 yards), they were allowing rookie QB Matt Ryan to make the most of a light day.
Ryan completed 17 of 22 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns.
“The people in this locker room have to look at themselves in the mirror and see exactly what they’re bringing to the table,” Wilson continued, “and if they’re not bringing anything to the table, then get off the ship, period.”
Maybe all the Raiders really need is a few more cliches…
3. If the first eight games of his career are any indication, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft, is having epic trouble living up to the hype.
Presumed to be the anchor of the defense for years to come, Dorsey has gotten off to an inauspicious start as the Chiefs have stumbled to a 1-7 start. And not unrelated has been the virtual absence of the former college All-American in the middle of a defense that ranks second to last in the league.
So far this season, Dorsey has managed a meager 17 solo tackles, including zero sacks. But perhaps more disappointing is the fact that Dorsey, a supreme run-stuffer and equally effective pass-rusher in college, has had little success creating havoc at the point of attack.
Kansas City’s 22nd-ranked passing defense, which surrendered 342 yards to Tampa Bay in heartbreaking 30-27 loss Sunday, is outdone only by the team’s last-ranked effort against the run.
Granted, these stats are hardly attributable to just one player, but the basis of any notable defense is a decisive performance by the guys in the trenches.
And, unfortunately for the Chiefs, Dorsey’s performances have been decisively poor.