Rob Woodfork, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Not to be a buzzkill two weeks in a row, but again we start the NFL recap with a more serious tone.
In Kansas City's ugly home loss to Baltimore, Chiefs tackle Eric Winston felt he heard the fans at Arrowhead Stadium actually cheer when quarterback Matt Cassel laid injured on the turf, suffering from a concussion. More cheers rained down when backup Brady Quinn entered the game in his place.
(You know your season is going downhill in a hurry when you actually want Brady Quinn as your starting quarterback, but I digress.)
After the game, Winston verbally laid into the fans
The first part of Winston's rant is unquestionably true: "We are athletes. We are not gladiators. This is not the Roman Coliseum." Absolutely right. Often, we as fans get so wrapped up in the game and our respective rooting interests that we forget those are living, breathing human beings under those helmets.
Any fans that cheered Cassel's injury are definitely out of line. However, there have been some mixed reports as to whether the cheering Winston heard was in favor of the Cassel injury or simply applauding that he was OK and getting up on his own. The latter is both commonplace and appropriate. The former is - well, I think we know that's wrong on many levels.
The response to Winston's comments have been mixed. Some say "shut up and play," almost furthering the age-old "the customer's always right" philosophy. Others applaud him for standing up and speaking out against such boorish behavior.
I've spent enough time in NFL stadiums to know that at least a few hundred fans probably stepped out of line here. Many of them were probably within earshot of Winston too. It happens every week in every stadium, typically with the aid of a beer or two (or six).
Just because the behavior is widespread doesn't make it right. We as fans and observers need to remember these guys have mortgages like we do. They have mothers and wives, children and friends. Just because they make hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to play a kid's game doesn't mean they deserve to be treated like zoo animals.
Even if, in many ways, the league they play for does.
Ok, recap time:
This has to be one of the worst quarterbacked games I've ever seen. Kevin Kolb was sacked nine times and threw exactly zero touchdowns, and the guy who won (Sam Bradford) only completed 1/3 of his throws. Even Tim Tebow had to point and laugh at this display.
I have three words of advice for the man with a three letter nickname: learn to slide. If you don't, RG3, you can expect to enjoy more stitches and more concussions.
This would have been the ugliest game of the week if it weren't for Cardinals/Rams. Or Ravens/Chiefs. Seriously, did you see the highlights? This is 38 more words than I thought I could muster for this matchup.
I'm not sure which is the bigger story here: Indy rallying to honor its ailing coach or Green Bay falling to 2-3 when many didn't think the team would lose three games all year. I'll go with the feel-good story.
Can we really say anything good about a game with no touchdowns?
Cleveland sprinted to a 14-point lead in the first quarter, yet found a way to trail double-digits going into the half. Even when they do things right, the Browns find a way to get it wrong.
We know Michael Vick is assuming Rex Grossman's mantle as the Human Turnover. We know Ben Roethlisberger is clutch. What we don't know is how much Troy Polamalu has left in the tank. Every time he limps off the field I can't help but wonder if it's the last time he does.
I'm at the point where I have to ask: Is Cam Newton stuck in a sophomore slump, or is he simply not as good as we think he is?
Best tweet on this game comes from ESPN's Jemele Hill: "Blaine from (In) Living Color > Blaine Gabbert. #TwoSnapsUpAndAnInterception". Well played, Jemele.