Redskins win, Ravens blow out Jets, Terrapins earn a W - Daybreak 5th Quarter
Follow Justin on Twitter (@jskarp) for football analysis and plenty of other good stuff.
Happy Monday from all of us at Daybreak 5th quarter. After another exciting week of action on the pro and college gridiron, it's once again time to check out the barometer of our local teams.
In this week's 5th Quarter, the Ravens give the Jets a rude welcome on Sunday night, the Redskins get back on the Torain train, Maryland pounds a team they were expected to pound, Virginia Tech lays an egg and the Detroit Lions are 4-0.
You read that last part correctly.
JET FUELED - The Baltimore Ravens used a franchise-record three touchdowns off turnovers, including a Jameel McClain fumble recovery for a score just three minutes into the game, to vault to a 34-17 victory over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday night.
The Ravens also got a 26-yard fumble recovery for score from Jarret Johnson and a game-icing 73-yard pick six from Lardarius Webb in the winning effort.
Baltimore's defensive effort was especially vindicating for longtime Ravens defenders, who spent years under the tutelage of current Jets head coach Rob Ryan, who served as the Ravens' defensive coordinator for a decade.
"He created us. Now he had to deal with us," Johnson said.
When they weren't scoring, the Ravens defense also held Jets QB Mark Sanchez to 119 passing yards and running back Shonn Greene to 23 yards on the ground. Thanks to the 21 points off of turnovers, the Ravens only needed the offense to manage the game - Joe Flacco threw for 163 yards and Ray Rice rushed for 66.
TORAIN TRACKS - After trading with Arizona for RB Tim Hightower and yet another injury in training camp, Ryan Torain's expected production seemed to go on the backburner for the Redskins.
Forget that. 135 yards and a touchdown later, Torain is back on the front of the mind of the 'Skins. His rushing helped Washington earn a 17-10 road win over the woeful St. Louis Rams, sending the team into their bye week with a 3-1 record and a share of the NFC East lead.
Torain, whose penchant for being injured goes back to his days at Arizona State, rumbled over the Rams front seven all day for his fourth career 100-yard day. Meanwhile, the Redskins defense continued Rams RB Steven Jackson's slow start, limiting the star rusher to 45 yards on 17 carries.
"Torain looked like he was on a different level," Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said. 'Maybe he was a little more fresh than the other guys, but you could see it yourself.”
Despite the win, Rex Grossman still struggled, throwing two picks and being unable to complete several passes with the team clinging to a slim lead in the 4th quarter.
However, the Rams complete inability to convert on 3rd down - they went 6-for-18 - hampered offensive production all day for the 0-4 squad.
GIL BRANDT'S ANALYSIS - Every week, former NFL general manager and current Sirius/XM radio host Gil Brandt will weigh in on the hottest topic in the NFL. Here's his take this week, which focuses on the NFL's passing trend and a bevy of comebacks.
“We’ve definitely become a passing league, and this is being proved every week. (Cam) Newton. (Michael) Vick. They’re not runners, they’re passers. And if you look at the comebacks from yesterday, 20 points down and what not, that shows you we have more firepower than anyone has ever seen in this league – and I’ve been in this league a long time.”
NFL HOT READS
-Could the Detroit Lions be for real? Best to not ask a Dallas Cowboys fan that this morning. The Lions roared back from a 27-3 deficit in the 3rd quarter to snag a remarkable 34-30 win at Cowboys Stadium. Calvin Johnson used his rangy size to pull in two decisive touchdowns in the final quarter to key the comeback. Not even Mitch Albom can wrap his head around the specter of a 4-0 Lions start.
-Speaking of blown leads, the Dream Team up in Philadelphia saw their own 23-3 lead turn into a nightmare at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners creeped back into the game in the 2nd half, then used a Frank Gore touchdown run with 3 minutes left to catapult to a 24-23 win at Lincoln Financial Field. Already, panicky Philly columnists are calling the 2011 Eagles an "expensive mistake." Folks, it's Week 4. There's plenty of time left.
-So, those Packers are still pretty good, yes?
-Tonight's Monday Nighter matches up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium in central Florida. In lieu of making Colts fans watch their 0-3 Peyton Manning-less bunch of stragglers live tonight, might I offer this video of the last time the Colts and Bucs faced each other on a Monday night in Tampa? This one has much more favorable results for Indianapolis fans.
TERRAPIN TRAMPLING - Desperately needing a win to get back on track after back-to-back woeful performances against West Virginia and Temple, the Towson Tigers were just what the Maryland Terrapins needed.
Despite only being able to muster seven first-half points, a testament to a Towson defense that has been allowing FCS opponents to just 10 points per game in 2011, Danny O'Brien was able to toss two 2nd half touchdown passes in a 28-3 victory at Byrd Stadium.
In the first half, though, the Terrapins put up a big, fat 0-for on 3rd and 4th down and even had a field goal blocked.
"I thought we battled and I thought that they played the game for 60 minutes today," Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall said.
Here's the recap from CSN Washington.
The fun and games of non-conference play and the comforts of home are over for the Terps, though, as they hit the road to resume ACC play with a visit to Georgia Tech on Saturday.
TIGER RAG - It had been more than 15 seasons since the Virginia Tech Hokies failed to score a touchdown in a game at Lane Stadium.
Then again, the Hokies hadn't yet faced this year's version of the Clemson Tigers.
Clemson limited the Hokies to 258 yards as they ran out of Blacksburg with a 23-3 victory, their first over Virginia Tech in six seasons.
The low scoring output was a rarity in Frank Beamer's long career at the helm of Virginia Tech. Only once in Beamer's time coaching the Hokies - a shutout loss at the hands of Cincinnati in 1995 - had one of his teams score fewer points at Lane Stadium in a game.
Junior running back David Wilson was a lone bright spot for the Hokies, rushing for 123 yards for his fourth 100+ yard game of the season.
WAHOO ESCAPE - It took overtime for Virginia to escape by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins against Idaho, and even then, it took a failed roll of the dice for the Cavaliers to get by the struggling Vandals at home in Charlottesville.
Virginia earned a 21-20 win in overtime over Idaho to move to 3-2, but not before the Vandals failed on a two-point conversion chance in the first overtime period rather than kick a game-tying extra point.
Idaho trailed 14-0 on two touchdowns from Perry Jones, but battled back to tie the game. The Vandals got equal late in the 4th quarter when Daniel Micheletti returned a blocked put for a touchdown.
Both teams scored touchdowns in overtime, but rather than settle for a tie and 2nd overtime, the Vandals decided to go for the win on the road. Brian Reader's pass was deflected and swatted down, though, clinching a Virginia victory.
“That was probably an ugly football game right there, but in the end, what matters is that we found a way to win it," head coach Mike London said. The recap from the Charlottesville Daily Progress can be found here.
FCS RECAP - In local FCS action, William & Mary knocked off Villanova 20-16, Bucknell downed Georgetown 35-18, James Madison routed Richmond 31-7 and Old Dominion beat Massachusetts 48-33 in a shootout,
-Wisconsin was the lucky team that got to roll out the red carpet to welcome Nebraska to the Big Ten. Once the pleasantries were out of the way, the Badgers turned out to be very rude hosts. Montee Ball racked up four touchdowns and Russell Wilson passed for two more as Wisky rolled the Cornhuskers 48-17 in Nebraska's first Big Ten conference game.
-Isn't the Naval Academy supposed to instill discipline and modesty? Someone might want to remind Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor. After leading the Middies back from down 18 in the 4th quarter to force overtime, Proctor took a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after scoring in OT. The foul pushed Navy's extra point back 15 yards, which the Air Force Falcons blocked. The Falcons then scored themselves and kicked the point after to escape Annapolis with a 35-34 win.
-If you watched any portion of Saturday's heinous match-up between Penn State and Indiana, A) sorry about that, and B) don't worry, there are more games to come. Seriously, though, that 16-10 eye-bleeder set football back decades. There's the concept of "three yards and a cloud of dust" in the Big Ten, and then there was...that.
-Finally, if you don't think Andrew Luck is the leader in the clubhouse as this year's leading Heisman Trophy contender, I recommend you stay up past your bedtime and watch Stanford one of these days. Need more convincing? The kid calls his own plays - something barely any college quarterback does in this era.