HomeNFLAtlanta Falcons10 NFL Observations From Week 9 Adrian Gregory Glover November 5, 2012 Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Lists, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins Welcome to Players View’s breakdown of Sunday’s most definitive NFL moments. The Monday Morning Hangover takes a look at the largest chunk of the ninth week’s action. #10 The Cowboys Collapse Continues Everything about the Dallas Cowboys is in disarray as yet another season sits at the brink of disaster. They are 3-5 with allegedly enough talent to fill a Pro Bowl roster yet they consistently under perform. The only thing about Dallas that is consistent is that they are inconsistent. Whether it’s the erratic offensive play calling or the mood/tempo of this team, this all lands squarely in the lap of head coach Jason Garrett. As with many tragedies there comes a little comedy such as the report that owner Jerry Jones was “locked out” of the team’s locker room after their defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. #9 Redskins Look Ahead To 2013. Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has said some stupid things before but I can’t think of much that tops what he said Sunday after his group lost to the Carolina Panthers. Shanahan’s post-game comments ran in the Washington Post and they reeked of defeat. “A must-win game is to give you a chance to play for a playoff spot. At the midway point when you’re 3-5, it’s got to be a must-win, obviously, to get in the hunt. When you lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who, obviously, is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. “Obviously we’re not out of it statistically,” he said. “But now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season.” There is a shred of optimism hiding in there but you hate to see a coach use a term like “evaluate players” at this stage of the game. Shanahan’s biggest mistake here can be denying his rookie quarterback the opportunity to mentally believe that all things are possible. If you are not out of it statistically, then refrain from using the e word until you are. #8 Chicago Bears Hang 51 On The Titans The Bears/Titans game looked like a real-time simulation of a Madden video game. The only problems is that the personnel controlling the outcome were not evenly matched and you have to be embarrassed for Tennessee. “In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans,” owner Bud Adams told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today. “At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team.” There goes that evaluation word again. It hits a little harder when it comes from the guy that writes the checks huh? #7 Baltimore Bounces Back They may have shut down the lowly Cleveland Browns but after the world was predicting that the sky was falling, the Baltimore Ravens showed up and got a victory. How they won was just as important as they got running back Ray Rice involved early and often. Defensively they held the Browns to 15 points that were all scored by kicker Phil Dawson. A Ravens defense that allows no touchdowns is waving from familiar ground. #6 Christian Ponder Is In A Slump Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder’s stats from Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks are 63 yards, 1 interception, 0 touchdowns and a 37.3 quarterback rating. This is the second time within the past three games that Ponder has failed to break the 100 yard mark in-the-air. Receiver Percy Harvin has now passed into the ranks of the veterans. He needs to stop antagonizing his coach on broadcast TV and uplift his boy. #5 Atlanta Can Win In A Lot Of Ways PV has noted that at times Falcons running back Michael Turner appears to have lost more than a couple of steps. But as shown against the Cowboys, he can still get to where he needs to go when teams are forced to blanket his team’s arsenal of weapons that can catch the ball. Turner’s second half touchdown and 102 rushing yards put Atlanta in the win column for the 8th time this season. “It’s ‘football tough’” Turner told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “It’s going to be like that sometimes. We have just got to figure out ways to get better and finish and score touchdowns.” He and his fellow backs in Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling may no longer be the team’s crutches but when all else fails, the can still set the pyrotechnics off in the Georgia Dome. #4 Doug Martin Stomps All Over The Raiders Tampa Bay’s rookie running back Doug Martin rushed for a franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 42-32 over the Raiders on Sunday. Martin who was born in Oakland, assisted the Buccaneers (4-4) in their fight for a wildcard playoff berth as his record-shattering day breathed life into their season Out of Martin’s four touchdowns, three were over 40 yards, two were over 65 and one of which was a 70-yard push. Incredible. #3 Aaron Rodgers Makes Something Out Of Nothing Once again Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers uplifted he and his team out of dire circumstances and rolled right over the competition. Rodgers’ favorite target in Greg Jennings was out and will be for some time, his other primary guy Jordy Nelson excited early with an ankle issue as he battles a hamstring problem. None of that was an issue as Rodgers dialed up Randall Cobb’s number and proved that he can make anybody a star. Cobb’s two touchdowns in the Packers’ 31-17 victory over the Cardinals proved that his desire, speed and ability are the perfect complement to Rodgers’ ability to find anyone, anywhere on the field. Once Cobb can improve his conversion ratio of targets to actual catches, he will be yet another lethal option for Green Bay. #2 Peyton Manning Is Peyton Manning There is only so many times, we can use the what if’s as they pertain to Peyton Manning’s current stint as the Denver Broncos quarterback. The fact is that Manning played four solid quarters of football against the Cincinnati Bengals despite turning the ball over. When the Broncos fell behind late in the game, Manning came through and drove a ruthless dagger in the hearts of a good Bengals team coming directly off a bye. For two straight games, Manning has played four quarters of football that is typically associated with his last name. Now that the wins are coming, the sky might be the limit in the AFC. #1 The Colts Keep On Keeping On After defeating a surging Dolphins team to go 5-3, the Colts welcomed their Leukemia-stricken head coach Chuck Pagano into their locker room for perhaps the most emotional moment you could ever see in pro sports. Pagano’s spirit, faith and determination obviously is pumping adrenaline through this team and they are closer than they think to being a legitimate playoff contender. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck may not have the headlines that RG3 is grabbing but he has a much more valuable asset in his pocket. Andrew Luck has the wins.