There must be something about playing professional football for Cleveland that puts butterflies in your head.
Last week, during the Browns/Giants game, their rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden did something I never saw before, not even when playing backyard pickup ball.
He threw two forward passes on one play. I had to replay that one just to make sure I really saw what I thought I saw.
For those who missed it, the Browns were in the red zone and Weeden attempted to throw for a score.
But it bounced off the face mask of a defensive lineman instead and came right back to the quarterback, at which time he decided to roll to his right and throw it again.
Although this second time was complete, and the back judge signaled arms up for a touchdown, it didn’t matter because, of course, you only get one forward pass per down.
Being a rookie, maybe we should give Weeden a break, and no doubt you can get caught up in the moment and forget your better judgment.
But Weeden is 29 years old. He came late to the NFL after attempting pro baseball for awhile. He starred at Oklahoma State, and has been playing the game all his life.
At least Weeden’s goof had the virtue of being funny.
Another Week Five brain malfunction was decidedly not funny when Harrison Smith of the Vikings threw a right cross at a ref who was trying to get him away from a confrontation with another player.
Both were spontaneous and impulsive acts, and to their credit both players were contrite afterward once the heat of the moments had passed.
Steelers at Titans - If there’s a defense out there that Pittsburgh can run on, Tennessee’s it, but the offensive line has got to get their protection issues straightened out.
The Titans really don’t generate much of a pass rush and they don’t cover well, which makes for a really bad daily double. Oh yeah, they also miss a lot of tackles, so make it a triple and a good day for Big Ben.
If the Steelers don’t take the game seriously, Tennessee could keep it close and make some special teams plays that could be the difference in an upset, but I like the sure and steady over the fluky.
Rams at Dolphins - While Miami and St. Louis have both been pleasant surprises so far, their success can be attributed to better discipline on offense and delivering more pressure on defense. When in doubt, coach the fundamentals. It works.
The Rams are going to be even more limited with the ball following the loss of Danny Amendola. They will have a hard time gaining enough yards and putting up enough points to keep up with a Miami team that has more weapons and is very desperate to win before a critical home crowd.
Cowboys at Ravens - This is just about the time Dallas turns up with one of its rare spectacular performances, but until Joe Flacco begins to show signs of failure I’m not taking the upset pick on the road.
Bengals at Browns - Speaking of being due, it’s about time Cleveland won one. That and it’s just about right for Cincinnati to lose one of those inevitable “shouldn’t have” games, and this one’s it for me.
Lions at Eagles - Detroit has been amputated. Their special teams are gone. Their defense is nearly wide open past the first level, and their offense only works in the air. Provided Mike Vick doesn’t turn it over more than twice, Philly will be okay.
Chiefs at Buccaneers - This game is hard to figure. Just when you write them off, KC turns in a great defensive performance against a good team and then sets the media world on fire when their fans cheer an injury to their own starting QB. I mean, you’d think their team wore blue.
Tampa Bay is starting to be known as the bully squad because of the attitude and approach of their head coach. He’s not been big on making friends, but he has got his guys playing hard for him and that’s something Romeo Crennel hasn’t done this season, so I’ll pencil in another one for the home team.
Colts at Jets - The team in Indy may be on to something good in the midst of personal heartache and concern. It seems to have given them great focus, which is just what New York has been lacking all year. The Jets also have had a short ton of injuries to deal with, but that just goes with the territory.
Even some overdue Tebow time won’t save them now.
Raiders at Falcons - The loss of Brian Cushing from the center of the Atlanta defense could be a huge factor in their ability to play very far into January, but it shouldn’t make that much difference this week. Oakland’s got too many defensive holes and Matt Ryan has too many weapons.