Talented receivers often come with a catch

Monday Morning Qb

Week Seven Recap

Gameday

October 25, 2004|By KEN MURRAY

WIDE RECEIVERS: Can't live with them, can't live without them.

The Indianapolis Colts have a cluster of playmakers at receiver, but yesterday, in the heat of the moment, one of them challenged the unchallenged leader of the team, Peyton Manning. Not a good idea, Reggie Wayne.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost three straight NFC championship games playing with an undistinguished collection of possession receivers. They finally corrected that oversight in the offseason by acquiring Terrell Owens. Now they win every week, but have to grimace through some of his juvenile tantrums.

So it went yesterday, when the Colts surrendered first place in the AFC South and the Eagles solidified their status as the team to beat in the NFC.

In the final minute of a 27-24 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wayne, a fourth-year wide-out from Miami, started shouting at Manning, and went so far as to shove the Colts' quarterback in the chest.

Wayne still caught a 13-yard pass from Manning in the waning moments, but it wasn't enough to keep the Jaguars (5-2) from taking over the division lead. He had two catches for 28 yards in the game and apparently wasn't satisfied with his participation in the passing game.

Just like Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt two years ago, Wayne will realize this week what a foolish act it was to confront Manning, who threw for 368 yards and three touchdowns. Manning owns the team and the town.

The loss wasn't the result of poor offense as much as it was the lack of defense, an old theme for the Colts under coach Tony Dungy. The Jaguars' Byron Leftwich had a coming-out party at the Colts' expense, throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns. And for the fifth time this season -- or every Jacksonville win -- the Jaguars pulled it out in the final minute.

The Eagles needed overtime to outlast the Cleveland Browns, 34-31, but it was the early handiwork of Owens that demonstrated the good news/bad news aspect of his involvement.

Owens caught three passes in the first half, two for touchdowns covering 39 and 40 yards. It was after his second trip to the end zone in Cleveland that Owens ripped down a banner that likened him to a rat ("It takes one to know one").

That was the price Owens had to endure for his relentless attack on Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia, who threw for 236 yards and ran over Eagles safety Brian Dawkins for the touchdown that forced overtime. Garcia made his point; so, too, did Owens.

This week, Owens will no doubt say something dumb, provocative or tasteless about next week's game against the Ravens. Who knows, he might even insult Ray Lewis again.

Dog day

Week 7 was Upset Sunday in the NFL. Not only did the Jaguars stun the Colts in Indianapolis, but five other underdogs won as well, three on the road.

The biggest upset of the day, of course, was the Miami Dolphins' stinging 31-14 defeat of the St. Louis Rams. The Dolphins, who led the NFL with 17 giveaways coming in, had none against the Rams and dodged the nightmare of an 0-16 season. They got a solid game from quarterback Jay Fiedler (13-for-17, 203 yards), a running threat from Sammy Morris (83 rushing yards) and a big pass from wide receiver Marty Booker off a reverse that went to Chris Chambers for 48 yards and got Miami started.

The Rams once again got out-coached, and the loss temporarily knocked them out of the NFC West lead.

Hours later, the Seattle Seahawks reciprocated by blowing a 25-17 decision to the Arizona Cardinals in the desert. The Seahawks started the season as favorites in some corners -- including this one -- to reach the Super Bowl. Only a ticket now will do it.

The Seahawks are a mediocre team at best that can't handle its preseason expectations. Adding the great Jerry Rice to the offense last week didn't do much for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who completed only 14 of 41 passes. Rice caught just one of those. It must be time for him to start complaining.

Lesser upsets were provided by the Detroit Lions, who have won three in a row on the road; the San Diego Chargers, who got some big plays from their new receiver, Keenan McCardell; and the New Orleans Saints.

The Lions brought the New York Giants back to Earth, 28-13. The Chargers clipped the reeling Carolina Panthers, 17-6. And the Saints shook off a dismal first half to beat the Oakland Raiders, 31-26.

Et cetera

The New York Jets were a play away from beating the New England Patriots, but then, that's what everybody says when they play the defending champs. ... The Kansas City Chiefs defrocked the Atlanta Falcons' No. 1 rush defense with 271 rushing yards and a league-record eight rushing touchdowns, four each by Priest Holmes and Derrick Blaylock. ... The Dolphins scored two rushing touchdowns yesterday, leaving the Buffalo Bills as the only team that hasn't run for a TD this season. ... Curiously, the Cardinals are the only team that hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown so far. ... The Bills and the Lions are the only two teams that haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher, after the Jets gave up 115 to Corey Dillon and the Falcons were gouged for 139 by Priest Holmes. ... With a minimum of work and no preseason, McCardell had five catches for 65 yards for the Chargers. Must prove something.

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