Disaster No. 2: In New Orleans, the Saints scored with 1:09 left to pull within nine before the conversion. Coaching theory here says take the single PAT because that puts the deficit at eight and sustains the chance of a last-second tie. If you go for two at this point and fail, the rest is silence. Saints coach Jim Haslett went for the deuce, failed, and fans got a jump heading for the parking lot.
Stats of the Week: Stat No. 1. Aaron Brooks, replacing the injured Jeff Blake at QB for the Saints, threw his first career pass. It was intercepted. But there's hope: Colts RB Jim Finn, who fumbled his first career carry a week ago, scored a touchdown Sunday.
Stat No. 2. The Flaming Thumbtacks turned it over seven times against the Browns (Release 2.0), including give-aways on six of their first seven possessions. On the plus side, turnovers meant they only had to punt once.
Stat No. 3. In their four losses, the Giants have been outscored 80-7 in the first half.
Stat No. 4. The Cowboys defense has allowed five opposition running backs to have their career-high games this year.
Stat No. 5. The Bengals have played 11 games and completed three touchdown passes. Ye gods.
We're All Professionals Here: At one point in the Buffalo-Kansas City game, there were penalties on four consecutive plays.
Combined Efficiency Watch: Readers know this column favors its proprietary "combined efficiency" ranking, the blend of offensive and defensive performance—with 2 being the ideal ranking (1st offensive plus 1st defensive) and 62 being worst. A month ago, based on combined efficiency analysis, TMQ suggested that Buffalo should rise and Detroit decline. Since that point the Bills have gone 4-0 and the Lions 2-2.
What do combined numbers show now? The Chesapeake Watershed Region Indigenous Persons lead the league at 8 (6th offensive, 2nd defensive), followed by the Bills at 15 (10th offensive, 5th defensive), the Saints (13th offensive, 4th defensive) and Ravens (16th offensive, 1st defensive) tied at 17, and Minnesota at 18 (4th offensive, 14th defensive). Defending champ St. Louis appears shaky at 27 (1st offensive, 26th defensive), while the club playing above its watermark is Miami at 33 (24th offensive, 9th defensive). The cover-your-eyes franchises are the Falcons and Az-Men tied at 51 and the Bengals last at 53 (30th offensive, 23rd defensive). Based on the numbers, TMQ forecasts that the Persons look strong for the stretch run while the Marine Mammals will falter.
HMO Nightmare of the Week: Denver guard Mark Schlereth, who has had 29 operations during his 12-year career, just had his 15th surgery on his left knee.
Soon They Can Have All January Off: Seattle coach Mike Holmgren gave his players the entire bye week off as a reward for performance. The Seahawks are 4-7.