By DJ Gallo
Special to Page 2

Week 2 is in the books and 11 different teams are off to 0-2 starts -- the most in six years. So while a third of the league is looking pretty hopeless, at least those teams are all still in the running for Brady Quinn. Which is still a good thing. I think.

20 Things I Thought While Wondering if Eli Manning is Adopted:

1. Bears 34, Lions 7. It's stupid how close the Lions were to losing that game by 40 points.

2. Everyone is pinning Carolina's loss to the Vikings on John Fox's boneheaded decision to try a trick punt return in the fourth quarter with the lead. Chris Gamble threw away a lateral and the Vikings turned it into game-tying points. I agree that it was a stupid move, but I also think it's important to take a step back and look at the long-term benefits. The Panthers have always been looked at as a well-coached team. But that means they are predictable -- they can always be counted on to do the smart thing, the right thing. No more, though. Now their opponents must be ready for the Panthers to do completely stupid, ill-advised things, too. And that makes them much harder to prepare for.

3. I wonder whether God will heal Terrell Owens' broken finger way ahead of schedule like he did his broken ankle two years ago. I know a lot of good-hearted, religious folk in Philadelphia will be praying that happens so Owens can make the trip with the Cowboys in two weeks to play the Eagles. Then those same people will be praying their batteries fly true and hit Owens directly in the head.

4. The Redskins have scored one offensive touchdown in two games on the heels of a preseason in which their first unit didn't score a single point. Obviously this is not what Joe Gibbs had in mind when he brought in Al Saunders from Kansas City to run the offense. But it's not surprising either. Saunders has a 700-page playbook and learning the whole thing will take time. And the way Washington's offense looks so far, I'm guessing the Redskins have memorized only the front cover and the dedication, and maybe the table of contents and the introduction, too. But it's very likely they haven't gotten around yet to memorizing the part of the playbook that contains the actual plays. Or at least the part of the playbook with the plays that actually work. Saunders probably put all of those at the end to give it an exciting conclusion.

5. People are saying Chad Pennington can't throw a Hail Mary pass due to the fact that his heave at the end of regulation yesterday against the Patriots fell to the earth a good 20 yards short of the end zone. But I disagree. I define a Hail Mary as desperately heaving the ball as far as one possibly can in hopes of a miracle completion. That's what Pennington does on pretty much every pass attempt -- or at least the ones longer than four or five yards. So lay off the guy already.

6. I enjoyed the little mini-tournament the NFL scheduled at the beginning of the season to determine which quarterback is the worst in big games. In the first round we had the Manning Bowl -- Peyton vs. Eli -- with Eli advancing to the next round with the loss thanks to a backbreaking fourth quarter interception. But there waiting for him in the championship game Sunday was a very formidable opponent in Donovan McNabb. Not a Manning family member, true, but a player with a very Manning-esque résumé thanks to three losses in conference championship games, as well as a disastrous performance in Super Bowl XXXIX. Despite that pedigree, though, through three quarters it looked like Eli was going to run away with the title as the Giants fell way behind. But then McNabb stepped up as only the great ones do, leading the Eagles to just two first downs in all of the fourth quarter and overtime as they blew a 17-point lead over the final 14 minutes of regulation to lose. And at home no less. It was definitely a statement game by McNabb and one contenders to the throne won't soon forget.

7. Andy Reid looked none too pleased at the end of the Eagles-Giants game. Not that you can blame him. His team blew a chance to put some ground between itself and a division rival. And more important, because the game went to overtime the postgame spread in the locker room probably got cold.

8. Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said after the game that the team had learned a lesson about how to play when it has a big lead. "We have to take advantage of opportunities when we get a team down," he said. "We have to put our foot on their throat." Trotter said "throat" and not "crotch," of course, because defensive lineman Trent Cole tried putting his foot on Giants tackle Kareem McKenzie's crotch late in the fourth quarter and drew a personal foul penalty that helped the Giants tie the game.

9. Chris Simms, what is your deal? Do you not see that Jon Gruden's face is all scrunched up? He is displeased. That's what his face is showing. Displeasure. What else can you want from the man? Coaching, you say? Instruction that will help you improve your play? Sorry. That's not the way Jon Gruden does it. You simply need to unscrunch his face. When that is accomplished you will know you have done your job.

10. The Chargers have played two horrendous teams so far in the Raiders and Titans, but their defense looks like it could be the best in the league. What's a shame is that there's no chance of Marty Schottenheimer facing this defense in the playoffs. I can only imagine what kind of offensive game plan he would put in against the San Diego defense with everything on the line. It would no doubt be his most conservative yet. Probably two kneel-downs by the quarterback followed by a punt on third down every series. That way, when he lost, he would be content knowing he didn't play into the hands of San Diego's dominant defense.

11. Including the AFC Championship game, Jake Plummer has now put up three consecutive atrocious performances. It's time the Broncos sit him down. The thing is, though, it's hard for a coach to bench a veteran player like Plummer. The only way to do it might be if Plummer gets injured. Don't be surprised if Mike Shanahan has an offensive lineman take out Plummer's knees with one of the Broncos' patented chop blocks in practice this week.

12. Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry caught five passes for 113 yards just five days after he pleaded guilty to a gun charge. If Henry plays this well every time he makes a plea in a criminal case, the Bengals have a surefire future Hall of Famer on their hands.

13. Al Davis must be ecstatic about what's going on in Oakland. With the Raiders getting crushed every week, they will more or less have to resort to the vertical passing attack their owner loves in the second half of games to have any chance of winning a game this season.

14. The Ravens staff has to be really excited about Steve McNair's performance on Sunday. In Baltimore's opening-week win he completed 63 percent of his passes, didn't turn the ball over once and had a 94.8 quarterback rating -- which is fine, I suppose. But Sunday he stepped up and connected on 48 percent of his passes, threw an interception and posted a quarterback rating of 58.0 -- which is much, much better because it proves he's really starting to get the hang of Brian Billick's system.

15. Ravens veteran defensive tackle Kelly Gregg had a chance to score the first touchdown of his career Sunday when he scooped up a Raiders fumble late in the third quarter and started running toward the end zone. He managed to lug his 300-plus-pound frame more than 50 yards, but right as he was about to go in for a touchdown, Ray Lewis -- who has scored numerous touchdowns in his career -- ripped the ball out from behind Gregg without any warning and tried to take it in himself. I was shocked Lewis would do that to a teammate trying to score a touchdown. It's just not like Ray Lewis to stab a guy in the back like that.

16. The Texans say they drafted Mario Williams because they needed a dominant pass rusher to help slow down Peyton Manning, whom they face twice a year in the AFC South. Well, Williams had no sacks and just two tackles in his first game against the Colts. That sounds bad, but when you consider their No. 1 pick alternative, Reggie Bush, didn't have any tackles Sunday, it's clear the Texans made the right decision.

17. It's clear how much Brett Favre has declined when you look at his stat line and think: "Oh, wow! Only one interception in a somewhat competitive game. That's not too bad." It kind of reminds me of this dog my family had when I was a kid. He was old and dying and had no control of his bowels, but we wouldn't put him to sleep for the longest time because he had been a part of our family for what seemed like forever. After a while we couldn't leave the house without him messing all over the sofa. We'd actually get excited on the days he'd just go on the carpet. That's kind of where Brett Favre is now. Unfortunately for Packers fans, though, there's probably very little chance my dad will take him into the woods and put him out of his misery.

18. Here's Saints receiver Joe Horn on the allegations that Reggie Bush and his family accepted money while he was enrolled at USC: "I don't think Reggie did that, but if he did, I would have done it, too. And guess what? Eighty percent of the college athletes that don't have much when they're in college get money, too." You know, it's really too bad the Saints don't have a Sunday night game on NBC this year because that would go great in one of the network's "The More You Know" PSA spots.

19. By the way, be sure to watch the undefeated Saints play next week on "Monday Night Football." (It's always kind of cool as a writer to pen a sentence you know has never been constructed before in the history of the world.)

20. Oh, speaking of next Monday's Saints-Falcons matchup, I'd like to humbly propose a pregame intro feature to the good folks over at ESPN television. Why not have Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn give a free house to Reggie Bush's parents? It seems like a no-brainer to me.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He is also a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Fantasy Sports Monthly, and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book -- "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck" -- will be in stores soon.




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