There’s the Derek Anderson we all know and love

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 10: Quarterback Derek Anderson  of the Arizona Cardinals on the sidelines during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Saints 30-20. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Only Derek Anderson would come in as a replacement, lead his team to a great comeback and stab them in the face with the opportunity for victory presented itself late in the game.

Let me explain.

Midway through the second quarter, Anderson replaced an ineffective Max Hall, who had just thrown a pick-6 to Aqib Talib to give Tampa a 21-14 lead. Anderson then took the Cardinals up the field on his first possession, but a pass attempt to Larry Fitzgerald fell incomplete on a 4th-and-2 from the Tampa Bay 3-yard line and the Bucs wound up kicking a field goal to take a 24-14 halftime lead.

After Tampa built a 31-14 lead midway through the third, Larod Stephens-Howling scored on a 30-yard touchdown run to cut the Bucs’ lead down to 31-21, then Arizona scored on a Gerald Hayes 21-yard fumble return to make the score 31-28. Early in the fourth, Anderson found Fitzgerald on a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals a 35-31 lead, although Tampa scored to make it 38-35 with just over five minutes remaining.

After an Anderson interception (not his fault – the receiver had it bounce off his hands and straight into the loving arms of a defender) and a bone-headed decision by Bucs’ head coach Raheem Morris to try a long field goal attempt, Anderson marched the Cards up the field and into the red zone. With just over two minutes remaining, Anderson had the Cardinals knocking on the door of a touchdown or at the very least, a game-tying field goal.

But Derek Anderson, in all of his Derek Anderson glory, threw a pass into quadruple coverage trying to get the ball to Fitzgerald and was promptly picked off by Talib.

Game. Set. Match. Derek Anderson. Bucs win 38-35.

Cardinals need a freaking quarterback.

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Another injury for Favre, another loss for Vikings

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31: Brett Favre  of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after being knocked down in the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brett Favre left the Vikings’ 28-18 loss to the Patriots in the fourth quarter on Sunday after taking a hard hit to his chin/jaw. He was examined on the sidelines and was then carted off the field in the fetal position. (That’s not a stab at Favre, I just don’t know how else to describe the position he was in.)

Tarvaris Jackson replaced Favre and immediately threw a touchdown pass to Naufahu Tahi, then converted a 2-point conversation pass to Percy Harvin to cut New England’s lead to 21-18. Minnesota’s defense then allowed the Patriots to march right up the field and score with under two minutes to play to put the game out of reach.

Despite suffering from ankle, elbow and biceps issues, as well as acne, foot fungus and bad breath, Favre managed to complete 22-of-32 passes for 259 yards before coming out with the laceration on his jaw.

What’s interesting is that his ankle/foot injury never appeared to be a big problem, yet Brad Childress gave the impression throughout the week that Favre may not play. If the decoy was intentional, it was a smart move by Childress because it forced New England to prepare for two different quarterbacks. But because this is Favre and Childress we’re talking about, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the entire situation was freaking annoying. It basically forced the media to talk about Lord Favre’s consecutive starts streak, which again, was really, really annoying.

It’s been an honor to watch you play, Brett. Now hurry up and retire.

The loss now drops the Vikings to 2-5 and while they’re not completely out of playoff contention, no team has ever made the postseason after starting 2-6. Minnesota hosts a horrendous Arizona team next week, so I’m sure the will-they-or-won’t they, will-he-or-won’t-he torture will continue after the Vikes win next Sunday.

Cowboys reach a new low in blowout loss to Jaguars

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Jon Kitna  of the Dallas Cowboys looks to throw a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Down 14-3 with less than 20 seconds on the clock before halftime on Sunday, the Cowboys moved the ball to the Jaguars’ 1-yard line and faced a third-and-goal.

Punch the ball in and at 14-10, it’s a whole new game. Fail to convert and the misery that is the 2010 Cowboys’ season continues.

Naturally, the Cowboys settled for the latter.

On 3rd-and-1, Jon Kitna (who is only starting now because the Dallas’ O-line failed to pick up a blitzing Michael Boley last Monday night, which lead to Tony Romo being sidelined for the next 6-8 weeks) spun around and handed the ball off to Marion Barber, who was stuffed at the goal line. On 4th-and-1, Kitna ran into Barber at the exchange and once again, Barber was stuffed at the half-inch line.

Turnover on downs: Jacksonville football.

The two plays didn’t cost Dallas the game (a 35-17 Jaguar beatdown), but they personified what the 2010 season has become for the Cowboys. It’s not only that they fail to execute – they fail to execute because they mentally (and physically, apparently) get in their own way. They can’t block, they can’t tackle, they can’t run simple dive plays like the two Barber failed to score on. They’re just bad. They’re a bad football team.

Just because your starting quarterback is out, doesn’t mean you mail it in. Just because your starting quarterback is out, doesn’t mean you allow David Garrard to throw four touchdown passes and allow your opponent to treat your home field like it’s their own personal Mardi Gras celebration. It’s embarrassing. What the Cowboys did on Sunday was embarrassing.

But should anyone be surprised? This is what the season has come to for Dallas. Poor execution, dumb mistakes and ugly losses. But at this point, it is what it is. Wade Phillips isn’t going anywhere at the moment and Jerry Jones will just have to ride out the rest of the season before he can make wholesale changes.

Too bad he has to watch this monstrosity for another nine weeks.

That’s the best you got coming off your bye, Jets?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Rex Ryan, Head Coach of the New York Jets looks on against the New England Patriots on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Even for as banged up as they are, the Green Bay Packers are a damn fine football team. I picked them to win the Super Bowl this year, so this post is in no way intended to downplay their 9-0 victory on Sunday.

But seriously, that’s the best you got, Jets? That’s the best you could do coming off your bye, Rex Ryan?

The Jets outgained the Packers 360 to 237 in total yards, outgained them on the ground (119 to 81) and outgained them through the air (241 to 156). But what the game essentially came down to was one horrendous decision by Ryan to fake a punt on a 4th-and-18 on his own 20-yard line, and three New York turnovers.

I know the Jets only came up a yard short on Sean Weatherford’s fake punt run, but why go for it there? It was so early in the first quarter and the game had no tempo. Punt the ball, play good defense and win the field position game. Don’t take a huge gamble like that and give the Packers the first points in the game.

The Packers only turned one of Mark Sanchez’s two interceptions into points, but coupled with Ryan’s fake punt debacle, the Packers led 6-0 early in the fourth. And because the Jets’ offense couldn’t sustain drives, Crosby’s final field goal with roughly two minutes remaining put the game away.

How could the Jets not muster 10 measly points at home against the most injury-plagued team in the NFL? Again, the Jets were coming off their bye – there’s simply no excuse for them not to score a single point when they had two weeks to prepare for Green Bay. None.

As for the Packers, this was a huge win for their moral. They certainly didn’t dominate New York and they have some serious problems on offense, but they didn’t turn the ball over and they allowed the Jets to beat themselves. For as many injuries as the Packers are dealing with, the end result is the only thing that matters right now and the end result was victory on Sunday.

Why did Shanahan bench McNabb for Grossman?

DETROIT - OCTOBER 31: Kyle Vanden Bosch  of the Detroit Lions hits Donovan McNabb  of the Washington Redskins during the first quarter of the game at Ford Field on October 31, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Donovan McNabb has been to six Pro Bowls, has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Year and has led a team to a Super Bowl.

Rex Grossman has never been to a Pro Bowl, has never been the NFC Offensive Player of the Year and although he did lead a team to the Super Bowl, it was primarily due to his defense and Devin Hester’s return abilities – not his play at quarterback.

So it’s natural that Mike Shanahan would choose Grossman over McNabb to run his two-minute offense down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

I’m not kidding. You think I’m kidding? I’m not kidding.

With just under two minutes remaining in the Lions’ 37-25 win over the Redskins on Sunday, Shanahan benched McNabb for Grossman, who promptly fumbled on his first play, which led to a 17-yard touchdown return by Ndamukong Suh to ice the game for Detroit.

The details are sketchy at this point, but McNabb definitely wasn’t hurt. He had taken six sacks and threw an interception that led to the Lions’ go-ahead touchdown with just over three minutes remaining in the game, but his offensive line and running game didn’t do him any favors either. Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril completely dominated the interior of Washington’s offensive line so there wasn’t much McNabb could do. The interception was ill timed, but he still completed 17-of-30 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. Those aren’t Hall of Fame numbers but he wasn’t Jay Cutler out there either.

Unless McNabb was turning the ball over at a Brett Favre-like pace, there’s really no reason to ever sub Grossman into the game – any game. What did Shanahan think, that Grossman was going to lead the Skins back with a heroic touchdown drive? Grossman hadn’t taken a snap all season and yet there he was, in for McNabb at the most crucial moment in the game.

Look, I could see Shanahan making a move if he had a better option at backup. But this is Rex Grossman we’re talking about. It’s not Kerry Collins, Charlie Batch or even Chris Redman – it’s Rex Grossman. Just why…what the…huh…are you serious?

Shanahan has some explaining to do as the Redskins gear up for their bye.

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