Pack drop an Overtime Bomb on Denver …
Brett Favre, the 38-year-old gunslinger, stepped into this Wild West setting he's been in so many times.
Thunder, the Broncos mascot horse, made his cameo following Jason Elam's game-tying field goal that sent Monday night's game against the Packers into overtime. The Packers won the overtime coin toss, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy loaded Favre a final bullet, "Zebra Double Go," to open the extra session.
Tight end Donald Lee was the zebra down the middle of the field. Greg Jennings and James Jones were ordered to run as far as the old man could throw.
And throw he did. Favre tossed an 82-yard touchdown pass to Jennings that warned the NFL not to retire a gunslinger when he still has bullets. Favre beat a young gun, Broncos QB Jay Cutler, 19-13 in what Favre described as one of the top thrills of his NFL career.
The Packers are 6-1, and Favre still has it.
"That one ranks up there near the top,'' Favre said of the victory.
Just recently, a writer covering the Packers pointed out that Favre might be firing blanks. Four long passes were underthrown in Week 6 against the Redskins. In the first six games, Favre had thrown only 20 passes longer than 20 yards. He completed only six. The quarterback known for having the best long-range rifle in the game was struggling in the pistol range.
Favre took the story as a challenge, but he doesn't call the plays. McCarthy does. But the coach and the quarterback are more than just employer and employee. They are friends, a bond formed when McCarthy was Favre's quarterback coach. McCarthy's hire as head coach was incentive enough for Favre to continue playing for the past two years.
On the Packers' fourth play of the game, McCarthy called "Zebra Double Go." Favre hit Jones for a 79-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7 in the first quarter. Jones was covered by Champ Bailey, the best cornerback in the game. Jones caught the ball down the right sideline and traversed the field before reaching the end zone. On the play, back judge Jim Howey injured his back and was out for the rest of the game.
"Against the Redskins, I underthrew it and took ownership of that," Favre said. "I knew it didn't have anything to do with my arm strength. It was just one of those days."
Monday night was one of those nights. Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan felt he had secured perhaps the league's best one-two cornerback tandem when he traded for Dre Bly to pair up with Bailey. Unfortunately, Shanahan junked his entire run defense and now the Broncos can't stop any running back, not even Ryan Grant, who had 104 yards rushing on 22 carries. He was the Packers' first 100-yard runner of the season.
With the security of having Bly and Bailey at the corners, Shanahan designed a defense that should have insulated itself against big plays. On plays in which the Broncos had two safeties, they lined up 20 yards away from the line of scrimmage. In the Cover 1 formation or plays in which one safety lined up, the deep safety was 25 yards deep.
In other words, the Broncos had their bulletproof vest just in case Favre tried to shoot them deep. They were determined not to give up the deep pass play, but they still ended up getting burned twice.
"We really had two big go-routes in this game," McCarthy said. "We knew that their corners are outstanding and it was big for us to go out there on top with Champ and Dre.''
Favre's young teammates joke with him about the criticism he's been taking. Because the Packers are about the worst running team in the league, opposing defenses have the luxury of having their safeties playing deep instead of near the line of scrimmage. Hitting the 79-yarder to Jones after having only six long completions all season was huge.
And now, for your Dallas Sports Appetite, The Cowboys get Tony Romo signed, sealed, and delivered …This is a good day, in my estimation…
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is still going to wear his baseball cap backward whether you like or not. And he's still going to wear socks and sandals no matter how many times he has been told it's a fashion faux pas.
He's still going to sign autographs for 20 minutes after training camp practices and
he's still going to belt out Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" after a big win even if he's perpetually off-key and his teammates beg him to shut up.
All of this should comfort you.
You don't want Romo changing one bit just because, according to multiple sources, he agreed to terms on one of the most lucrative deals in Cowboys history Monday afternoon.
Although I don't know from personal experience, a six-year, $67.5 million deal with $30 million guaranteed would change a lot of folks.
Romo isn't one of them because your opinions don't faze him.
The deal removes any doubt that Romo is the face of the franchise, something the
Cowboys haven't had since Emmitt Smith left for Arizona after the 2002 season.
Romo's earned it.
Every accolade. And every dollar.
He's worked his way up the depth chart from unknown, undrafted free agent to Pro Bowl quarterback last year.
His performance has been even better this season with 1,984 yards passing and 16 touchdowns. Only Tom Brady has more yards and touchdowns. Romo, 12-5 as a starter, has a 95.6 passer rating, which leads the NFC.
See, he's already had plenty of opportunities to become intoxicated with his success, and it hasn't happened.
Goose’s take makes me feel better by comparing his deal to JaMarcus Russell …
JaMarcus Russell started only two seasons at LSU and threw fewer than 800 passes. That didn't prevent the Oakland Raiders from making him the first overall selection of the 2007 NFL draft and giving him a $60 million contract – almost half of it in guaranteed money.
The Raiders committed to Russell with the hope he can develop into a franchise quarterback. But the Raiders really don't know.
The Cowboys are giving Tony Romo slightly more money than Russell – $67.5 million, of which $30 million is guaranteed – with far less guesswork.
The Cowboys and Jerry Jones know exactly what they have in Romo. A quarterback capable of staring down Peyton Manning on the football field. A quarterback capable of leading a team to the playoffs. A quarterback capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level.
The Cowboys know that because Romo cashed that trifecta in his first season as an NFL starter in 2006. And Romo has been even better in 2007, passing for 300 yards in four of the first seven games and winning six of them for the NFC East-leading Cowboys.
Maybe that's why Jones waited this long to give the undrafted Romo a contract extension. He wanted proof that Romo had franchise potential and would be worthy of a $67-million investment.
Jones had been fooled before by the likes of Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson and Drew Henson. All arrived with hope, all left in disappointment. But Romo has delivered on that hope in his 18 career starts.
The NFL always has been and always will be a quarterback's league. If you have one, you have a chance. Jones now knows he has one. A good one. Jones is through betting on longshots. This time he believes he's betting on Secretariat – and it's a $67 million wager.
Stars let another one slip away As the Sharks steamroll in the final 10 minutes for 3 goals and a win …Joe Thornton Rules…
When Mike Modano assisted on an early second-period goal, a celebration of the record for all-time points scored by an American-born player seemed imminent.
But in the end, a Canadian did the celebrating after scoring the first two goals of his career in San Jose's 4-2 win at American Airlines Center.
Modano got upstaged by an upstart who has played in 1,248 fewer games. In his NHL debut, Devin Setoguchi led offensively challenged San Jose.
His goal at 11:53 of the third period tied the score, 2-2. His next goal, 2:34 later, put the Sharks ahead. Steve Bernier joined the fun, beating Marty Turco a mere 17 seconds later.
San Jose shouldn't get all the credit. The Stars contributed turnovers, and Turco failed to compensate for the mistakes.
So Modano had no record, only a blown lead at home against a Pacific Division rival that was struggling to score. No doubt coach Dave Tippett will sound like a broken record as he preaches to his team the value of protecting and stopping pucks.
"Some mistakes were made on our end by people we rely on to shut people down, and they put the puck in the back of the net twice," Tippett said. "The people we rely on to get the job done didn't get it done."
The Stars will celebrate the minute Tippett allows them to come off the ice after today's practice. He hinted that lineup changes could be made.
"We'll visit that tomorrow," he said. "We have 15 forwards, and the three guys that didn't play tonight are all itching to play."
Through much of 2 ½ periods, the Stars seemed in control. The line of Mike Ribeiro, Brenden Morrow and Jere Lehtinen dominated. Ribeiro opened the scoring, and although San Jose countered with Joe Pavelski's goal, Dallas took a 2-1 lead when Matt Niskanen scored on a one-timer from Modano.
But the Stars couldn't land the deciding blow. After failing to convert scoring chances, they got sloppy in their own end.
Coach Fran answers for himself ….again…
Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione's off-the-cuff August joke about Oklahoma's NCAA problems resurfaced Monday on the Big 12 conference call.
Franchione defended himself about the remark he made while speaking to the Houston Touchdown Club. While dissecting the Big 12 South race, Franchione said he wasn't sure who would be OU's quarterback.
"That may be the only question mark they have ... other than what jobs they are going to work this year," Franchione said Aug. 1, according to the Houston Chronicle. "That is a joke. I couldn't resist."
The joke was a reference to NCAA violations made by former OU players Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn while they worked at a Norman car dealership.
Franchione wasn't laughing Monday while speaking with reporters. When asked if that comment would make its way to OU's bulletin boards, Franchione said, "I don't think Oklahoma needs that.
"Again, that was a light-hearted comment with a bunch of Aggies in the room," Franchione said. "I certainly feel bad about it. It's not my style to do that. I have great respect for Oklahoma and their program. They've got a lot to play for other than that."
OU coach Bob Stoops said he wouldn't remind his players about the wisecrack. Stoops is 4-0 against A&M since Franchione arrived in College Station.
"No. We don't need to do that," Stoops said. "Yeah, it surprised me. But he can clarify his comments. That's not for me to do."
No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1, 3-1 Big 12) doesn't need added motivation against A&M (6-3, 3-2). OU is locked in a two-way tie with Oklahoma State for first place in the Big 12 South. The Aggies need a victory Saturday to keep their South title hopes alive.
Mavericks just 1 day from the opener ….
For the next six months, beginning with the start of the regular season Wednesday in Cleveland, if the Mavs hear it once, they’ll hear it a thousand times.
Cue the refrain: “It’s not so much the regular season that you have to worry about Dallas,” TNT analyst and former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller said. “Obviously, you have to worry about them come May. Will they be mentally ready in May for a quest for a championship?”
The Mavs believe they can be. After two postseasons of heartache, the Mavs bring back, more or less, the same group that blew a 2-0 lead in the Finals two seasons ago and suffered a humiliating and historic first-round upset last season as the No. 1 seed.
“It’s hard to forget, especially when basketball is still being played and it’s a constant reminder, you constantly see it on TV,” Mavs point guard Devin Harris said. “It’s hard to get it out of your head, but once the season actually gets over, then it kind of separates itself, you kind of get away from it for a while.
“And then you get excited more for the upcoming season because you know things can be different. I just look at it as us on the way to learning how to be a championship team.”
Unless the Mavs gut the roster in a blockbuster deal for Kobe Bryant, the same Mavs are back for more.
No one doubts the team’s talent or coach Avery Johnson’s ability to maximize its effort. The Mavs are again a top contender to win the Southwest Division and the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.
But their postseason busts have made the Mavs national punch lines, criticized as mental lightweights, a team with good players and nice guys, but one that lacks a killer mentality.
Soon after the humbling loss to Golden State, a redesigned Mavs logo hit the Internet.
The culprit changed the logo’s color from Mavs blue to pink, and the horse head in the shield, a symbol of strength, was replaced with My Little Pony.
Do you mean, this logo?
Dallas Clark – Happy Hands Club