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The Big Ugly

   by Bryan Leonard - 09/20/2005

There’s plenty of beauty to observe in the NFL. Perfect spirals to graceful wide receivers, a slick runner cutting back against the grain, perfect blocking execution, or a great call such as a perfectly executed screen pass when the opposition is in an all-out blitz. There is also plenty of ugly play, too. After two weeks of the NFL season, here are some of the “Big Ugliesâ€쳌 thus far.

Let’s start with a real ugly one: The Lions’ offense. Expectations were sky-high for the Detroit offense this season. They have a healthy WR in Charles Rogers, a stud in second-year WR Roy Williams, and rookie WR Mike Williams. Throw in young productive RB Kevin Jones, and there was every reason to believe that QB Joey Harrington would finally blossom under head coach Steve Mariucci. Well it hasn’t happened. I think we know now why he was so quick to bring in QB Jeff Garcia, his old signal caller in San Francisco, in the event Harrington wasn’t ready. Harrington was poor in the team’s opening day win, 17-3, against a bad Green Bay team, then hit rock-bottom Sunday in a 38-6 loss at Chicago. Let’s lay the blame at Harrington’s feet with his 5 interceptions. With all the talent surrounding him, there’s no reason for this offense to be so inept.

Speaking of ugly offenses, the Miami Dolphins came back to earth Sunday getting just 235 total yards in a loss to the Jets. That was in stark contrast to the opener, where they throttled a talented Denver defense. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle. But with a lack of skill position talent, a suspect offensive line and no quarterback, the truth with the Miami offense is that it’s likely far closer to Sunday’s performance than with that 35-point game against the Broncos.

The Browns got a surprise with an upset win at Green Bay Sunday, the first for new head coach Romeo Crennel. However, this is still a team with a lot of holes and notice they allowed 452 yards to a Packer team missing WR Jevon Walker. Now they have to go on the road to face the Indianapolis Colts! With everyone wondering where the Colts offense has been after facing the Ravens and Jaguars, this is likely a good spot for them to bust out.

The Bills have a pretty solid all-around team, with the exception of an untested quarterback, where they are putting all their faith in J.P. Losman. Losman looked like a kid QB Sunday, against the Bucs with just 12-of-29 completions. And what was Dennis Green and QB Kurt Warner thinking? In an embarrassment for the ages, the Cardinals rolled up 379 yards against St. Louis but settled for 4 field goals. Then with a chance to win the game on a late drive, everyone got brain cramps, particularly Warner. Instead of spiking the ball and getting probably three shots to win the game from the Rams’ 10, as they got a sack and let the clock expire instead of 3 shots at end zone.

The Ugly Award of the Week still goes to the 49ers. Even though they got a win in the opener, 28-25 over the Rams, San Fran was badly outplayed in every stat and was lucky to win. On Sunday, the deficiencies of the team were obvious as the Eagles held an edge in first downs 30-8 and in yards 582-142. The 49ers have a bad football team again and this rebuilding job is going to take several years. Runner-up goes to the Minnesota Vikings, who look more lost than Randy Moss at an etiquette convention.

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