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Ferringo NFL Report: Steelers Back With Bruising Run Game

By Robert Ferringo of Doc's Sports Picks

Here are my nonsensical ravings about this past weekend's National Football League action:

- Joe Gibbs is going down in flames with Mark Brunell. And when you look around and see guys like Grossman, Gradkowski, Leinart, Young, Frye and Smith starting for teams and performing admirably, I can't think Washington would be much worse off with Jason Campbell.

- Pittsburgh's play selection on Sunday looked like the Super Steelers: 40 rushes and 22 passes. And they weren't just running because they were ahead, they were ahead because they were running. It was only the second time this year they had more rushes than passes. The other was - you guessed it - in their win over Miami in week one.

- Carolina has a tough call about what to do with center Justin Hartwig. He was a big free agent pickup, but the offensive line has come together over the past two weeks. I think he should sit on the bench and you ride the chemistry of the unit that's getting it done now.

- Drew Brees is the man. That final drive on Sunday was a thing of beauty, and those guys are a legit contender in the NFC. Being able to execute on both sides of the ball like they have puts them light-years ahead of more talented teams like the Cowboys, Giants and Vikings.

- I still really don't understand why everyone is so enamored with San Diego. They have no receivers that scare anyone and a suspect secondary. I'm sorry, but they're overrated right now. They've beaten Oakland, Tennessee and San Francisco (combined 3-14). They beat Pittsburgh (2-3) but were on the ropes, and at home, in that game and they choked against a good (but by no means great) Baltimore team. There's going to be a really good spot to fade San Diego, and I'm going to find it.

- The Bengals have rushed for only 70.3 yards over the course of the past three games. Their line is a wreck after losing left tackle Levi Jones. Also, they're undergoing a receiver shortage as Kelley Washington is out this week. No wonder they keep that degenerate Chris Henry around.

- The Colts made an outstanding trade to get Booger McFarland from Tampa Bay. That's a tremendous get, especially given the shady circumstances of the Corey Simon situation. McFarland is the inside plugger the Colts needed. He's got a short shelf life

- Warrick Dunn isn't one of the best backs in football just because he can break out on a 90-yard touchdown run like he did against New York (the longest run in Atlanta history). His true worth is seen at times like that block he threw on Mike Vick's touchdown run.

- Brian Kelly, the Tampa Bay cornerback, is on the Deion Sanders Turf Toe plan. He might be done for the year. That was the impetus for signing Philip Buchanon, whom I think could be a decent NFL corner. Never dominant, but serviceable.

- That's a bold move by Brian Billick to fire Jim Fassel. I can't say I'm totally shocked, it's just bold to do to a team that's 4-2 and in the middle of the season.

- Also, what is Denny Green doing firing his offensive coordinator? Green is 12-26 in Arizona. Maybe he should go. I guess that makes Joe Theismann look like an even bigger idiot, eh? He was loving the Cardinals offensive game plan against the Bears because they were staying aggressive. Or, wait, he didn't like it because that led to incompletions that stopped the clock. Or, he did like it because it was aggressive. I don't know.

Anyway, I bet if Neil Rackers makes a very easy 40-yard field goal on Monday than Keith Rowen would still have a job.

- Ed Hochuli rocks. He should be cloned and posted as the crew chief for every officiating crew in NFL games.

- Ever since they started doing their pantomime jump shots, the Giants' defense has been outstanding. They sacked Mike Vick more times (seven) in one game than any team ever.

- In their most important game of the season thus far -- while trying to show off their shiny new running game -- the St. Louis Rams could only muster 59 yards on the ground. They did throw for 309, but they lost. In other words, when in trouble they'll resort to being the same old Rams.

- The Redskins made a desperation maneuver of signing Troy Vincent. They should have made the move to grab Buchanon before he signed with Tampa Bay.

- Miami is a mush team. Wanting the over was an excruciating 3.5 hours of my life. Dropped passes, stupid penalties, no discipline, underachieving. Pulling it together just in time to choke. They are the Saints of the last three seasons.

- You ever bet on one team two or three weeks in a row, even though you lose on them every time? It's like that spite bet. Then you finally win big on them, and you want to stay with them because they're "hot". Only, you find yourself mired in another losing streak. I used to be like that with the St. Louis Rams.

I bring that up because that's exactly where Dallas is with He Who's Name We Shall Not Speak. Three touchdowns, at home, against the worst pass defense in the league is enough to con them into thinking that this whole situation can work.

- I like Scott Linehan, but that was pretty whiny to complain about the rule that he thought existed after his team lost.

- Who would you rather have right now: Travis Henry or Willis McGahee? The answer is likely McGahee, but it isn't nearly as wide of a gap as you'd think.

- The Jets are a wild team to watch. Don't get suckered into thinking they're any good though. They execute well enough to beat the bad teams and compete with the above average ones. But against anyone of consequence - at San Diego, at Denver, hosting Chicago, hosting Carolina - they'd get absolutely destroyed.

- Two teams are tied for the lowest amount of points scored with 62. They are 4-1 Denver and 1-4 Tampa Bay.

- Here are my thoughts on the amazing MNF game:

I still don't feel like I fully understand the ontological ramifications of a win like Monday Night's. However, I do know that when Chicago's defense and special teams is good enough to outscore 16 of the 25 other teams that played this week that's saying something. Other than that:

1. Urlacher is a man.
2. Screw Tony Kornheiser. It's too bad he'll have to get his face out of Leinart's lap.
3. Denny Green's meltdown was awesome. But don't say you let Chicago off the hook. They take what they want, and they took that win from you.
4. Urlacher is an absolute man.
5. Chicago committed six turnovers on the road and won.
6. Chicago gained 39 yards in the last 22 minutes...and won.
7. Keep Neil Rackers away from nooses or ovens.
8. I knew when Grossman missed Berrian on the first play that we weren't covering in that game.
9. I take back everything bad I ever said about the Bears front office for drafting a kick returner in the second round.
10. Urlacher is absolutely the man.

Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at or check out his Insider Page here.

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