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The league
Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 10/25/2011

NFL Week 7 highlights & lowlights: DeMarco Murray, Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, Colts, Dolphins, two-minute drills and Pizza Hut


C’mon, Saints. Ever heard of the mercy rule? (Bill Feig - AP)
1. Have some teams stopped practicing two-minute drills? Last week, Matthew Stafford and the Lions appeared completely lost in the closing minutes of their loss to the 49ers (which was all but forgotten because of the nonsense regarding the Harbaugh-Schwartz post-game handshake). This week, Philip Rivers and the Chargers appeared equally lost in their final drive against the Jets.

2. Here are a couple thoughts about the Saints 62-7 drubbing of the Colts. First, we don’t use the word “drubbing” often enough — although technically I’ve just used it twice in a matter of moments. Second, someday, somehow, there will be payback. I don’t mean to suggest that the Saints were running up the score, but at some point when the game was already in the “W” column couldn’t Sean Payton have given the starters a rest? The Colts are unlikely to forget this game. And, third, at some point doesn’t the argument that everything would be different for the Colts if Peyton Manning were at QB fall apart? You can’t blame an 0-7 record entirely on Curtis Painter, who has done a surprisingly admirable job of filling in for Manning. No, this is a weak team and, even with Manning, it’s hard to imagine them with a winning record right now. Fourth, Manning won’t be rushing back to rejoin this team this year. Why risk it?

3. And speaking of the winless Colts, why has everyone just assumed the Dolphins will end up with the first pick in the draft? The Colts and Rams are also winless and arguably just as likely to finish with the worst regular season record. If the Dolphins finish with the worst record and get the first pick, they draft Andrew Luck and pencil him in as QB until the late 2020s. That’s simple. If the Rams end up with the pick, you would have to assume they would trade it as they don’t need Luck (although you could argue that they should draft Luck and trade Sam Bradford instead). But what if the Colts end up with the first pick? Would they trade it and pass on Luck, trusting that Manning will come back at full strength next year? Would they pass on Luck, knowing that Manning, at best, has four or five years left? Or would they draft Luck as Manning’s successor and let him sit on the sidelines for those four or five years?

4. If they didn’t have their names on the backs of their jerseys, could you have told the difference between Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer? Both repeatedly and needlessly threw into traffic. Three interceptions each, with one each being returned for a touchdown. They will never admit it, but Jason Campbell and his agent were smiling last night. And so was the Bengals’ Mike Brown, although he might actually admit it.

5. There’s been a lot of criticism of Tony Sparano for going for a two-point conversion when the Dolphins were up 12-0 in their game against the Broncos. The Dolphins didn’t lose that game because they didn’t convert the two-pointer. They lost because their defense couldn’t stop Denver when they needed to.

6. I didn’t see DeMarco Murray’s 253-yard performance on Sunday, other than the highlights. Before Cowboys fans start thinking they just uncovered the next Tony Dorsett, let’s remember who they were playing against — the Rams. That fact makes it hard to judge Murray’s performance objectively. That said, as long as Felix Jones remains as fragile as a teenage girl’s psyche, there must be some comfort knowing that Murray is capable of this, or something like this.

7. Several months ago, I wrote in this space that if the Redskins don’t make the playoffs, fans shouldn’t blame Rex Grossman. I should have asked this a week ago, but can I take that back? Please.
Chris Johnson is fat and happy. The Titans are not. (Joe Howell - AP)

8. Tony Gonzalez is the second-leading receiver (number of catches, not yards) in NFL history. And had it not been mentioned on every sportscast, I never would have guessed that. But without meaning to disparage Gonzalez in any way, isn’t this fact ultimately little more than a comment on how the game has changed? And isn’t the number of QBs putting up 300-yard passing games each week a comment on the same phenomenon?

9. Remind me why Chris Johnson held out. And remind me how much money he’s been guaranteed. And forget about his prediction of rushing for 2,000 yards this season. Tell me how many yards per game he’ll have to average just to hit 1,000 yards this season.

10. Am I the only one who’s tired of seeing Reggie Bush in the Pizza Hut commercials that air endlessly during NFL broadcasts? Does Pizza Hut know something about Bush that the rest of us don’t? Shouldn’t Darren McFadden be getting the attention — and endorsements — that Bush gets?

By Michael Kun  |  01:15 PM ET, 10/25/2011

Tags:  Michael Kun

 
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