I saw three very good football games for three completely different reasons. Indianapolis 34 - Seattle 28, Denver 51 - Dallas 48 and the one I always enjoy the most, Sunday Night Football, San Francisco 34 - Houston 3.
How about Andrew Luck in Indianapolis? He scored 34 points on a very good defence on and was a part of a win against a very good team. Now everyone says how lucky the Colts are to have Luck but in many ways, it goes both ways.
With the Colts, you have Chuck Pagano as a head coach and we all know what he has been through. Enough said. Pagono is a relationship builder and, in a performance-based sport, he enhances confidence as opposed to always testing confidence. One of the reasons that Luck is so good, so fast is talent yes, but also he is not afraid to fail. The guy who calls the shots has his back.
An opposite of that could be Greg Schiano of Tampa Bay. Josh Freeman has some issues but were they that insurmountable? The 49ers are paying Aldon Smith his full contract while he gets it together. Players notice that type of benevolence and realize that maybe, just maybe, the organization is with them as much as trying to get the most out of them. Tony Dungy was like that, Tom Landry behind the public eye too and both won Super Bowls. Pagano gets it that, yes, they are football players but they are also people playing football.
In Dallas I can't imagine what it must be like to be Tony Romo. Every newspaper, every radio station and any sports on TV is about you and the mistake. I saw it too, but I also saw a player by the name of Danny Trevathan make a spectacular interception. His body was parallel to the ground when he caught the ball. It was amazing interception to win the game.
Yes, Romo makes a critical mistake in key games and I am sure there is a team of psychologists that would love to get him on the couch. But Romo threw for 506 yards, making play after play in a great game. I will take that over one moment of misjudgment any time.
Dallas is a dangerous team. They need Anthony Spencer back but have improved in the interior offensive line and Doug Free at right tackle is grading out well. How scary was it to see Peyton Manning get his head twisted on the pass rush? I guarantee you he will be checked out 20 times by next game.
In San Francisco, the 49ers are back. In the battle between the zone blocking of Houston vs. the complex man-on-man blocking of the 49ers, the man-on-man system won. Both systems work but to run the blocking patterns that the 49ers run stuns me. There is so much line of scrimmage adjustment that goes on, so much communication, that often you lose your aggressive desire because you have to think so much. Not San Francisco. They attack and, in a game that Colin Kaepernick did not complete many passes, the 49ers offensive line had a spectacular evening.
Finally, J.J. Watt has it all: speed, quickness, strength, emotional intensity and maintains it for four full quarters. But Watt may also have the most polished defensive tackle and defensive end technique I have ever seen. His upper body and lower body are perfectly coordinated on pass rush moves and plays with exceptional leverage against the run. Watt is so hard to block because on one play, it it like trying to block a brahma bull on a bad day and the next, it's like trying to block a butterfly just minding its own business.
The technique used by football players who do not touch the football is not noticed or respected because it just looks like two big bodies running into each other. But Watt's greatest asset is his skill set; how he uses his body to disengage and get to the ball. He could put on a clinic. He's a very smart football players in how he keeps an opponent off balance.
As good as Watt has been, I'm not sure how to handle Matt Schaub at quarterback. He's had four interceptions returned for touchdowns, which is mentally tough to overcome as you start trying to avoid mistakes, the opposite of playing with confidence. Houston does have St. Louis at home next week but for Gary Kubiack, this is a tough one. Kubiack is a former quarterback so his decision will be the right one because it is based on experience, not emotion.
The best game of Week 6 should be New 0rleans at New England with the Patriots coming off a loss, and Washington at Dallas with the Redskins coming off the bye. Looking forward to it.