Sunday, December 19, 2004; Page E09
The Bengals are fifth in the league with 29 take-aways, but last week, against the Patriots, failed to get one for the first time this season. On the flip side, Cincinnati has only one game all season in which it hasn't committed a turnover (a 26-3 win over Dallas on Nov. 7).
The Cowboys rank 29th in the league in turnover ratio at minus-16. The Eagles, on the other hand, are plus-12, which ties them for fifth. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 61.6 percent of their passes against Dallas's 26th-ranked pass defense.
During player introductions on "Monday Night Football," Chiefs tackle Jordan Black said he was from Dallas Christian High School instead of his college alma mater, Notre Dame. It was his way of ripping the school for firing Tyrone Willingham. Now, "Notre Dame thinks I'm the devil," Black said.
The Bears have given up at least four sacks in 10 straight games and have allowed the most sacks in the league (53). Chicago is last in six offensive categories, including total offense.
Through six games, Lions quarterback Joey Harrington was third in the NFC with a 94.9 passer rating. He was completing 62.7 percent of his passes and had 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Now, his completion percentage is 54.9 percent, and his passer rating is 77.2. Detroit has lost six of seven.
Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has averaged 151 rushing yards in the two games he has played in Cleveland against the Browns, the team that passed over him in 2001 draft. With the third pick in that draft, the Browns took defensive tackle Gerard Warren, who has just 13 tackles this season.
Santana Moss and Justin McCareins, the Jets' starting wide receivers, have combined for 76 receptions and five touchdowns. Seahawks wide receiver Darrell Jackson has 74 catches.
In the teams' first meeting, the Bucs' Brian Griese filled in for an injured Chris Simms and completed 16 of 19 passes for 194 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Last week against San Diego, Griese completed 36 of 50 passes for three touchdowns, but he also had three interceptions, one of which was returned for a crucial touchdown.
Rams quarterback Marc Bulger threw this week in practice, but probably won't play today, meaning another week with Chris Chandler at the helm. Chandler threw six interceptions last week, a performance that left him "just devastated," according to Coach Mike Martz.
Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley, who many blamed for the Packers' 1-4 start, got a lot of praise after Green Bay's comeback win over Detroit. Coach Mike Sherman, who took over playcalling, had Rossley draw up plays for the Packers' first three series of the second half, when they started their comeback. Rossley called the plays the rest of the game.
Titans wide receiver Drew Bennett, who caught 12 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns Monday night against the Chiefs, has formed a good connection with Billy Volek, playing in place of the injured Steve McNair. All three of Bennett's 100-yard receiving games have been with Volek throwing passes, as have all eight of his catches of more than 33 yards.
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne and Ravens cornerback Ed Reed were roommates at the University of Miami. When Wayne was drafted by the Colts in 2001, Reed promised to look after his pet snake, named Law, who promptly died under Reed's care. "I didn't talk to him for weeks," Wayne said. "He promised me he was going to buy me a new one. I haven't had one yet."
The Patriots' banged-up secondary got a break last week when cornerback Tyrone Poole returned from knee surgery, but he's now out for the season. However, cornerback Ty Law, who had been out with a broken foot, has been upgraded to doubtful. Expect wide receiver Troy Brown to again see time at cornerback.