Vikings WR Jerome Simpson may be with a new team this season, but he’s back to his old tricks … namely, jumping over defenders in ridiculous fashion.
We all remember Simpson pulling off the play of last season with his incredible front flip over a Cardinals defender into the endzone. Well, in the first quarter of tonight’s Vikings-Bills game, Simpson turned Buffalo FS Jairus Byrd into a human hurdle on an impressive 33-yard catch and run (VIDEO HERE)… and the automatic comparisons between the two plays are inevitable.
Thankfully, the good folks running the Vikings Twitter account have provided this handy “Then & Now” side-by-side (click to embiggen):
The flip still wins, but this guy is a human highlight reel. Hooray for football.
OBLIGATORY GIFs AFTER THE JUMP
Points for creativity, but not exactly the classiest move we’ll see this year.
After scoring a touchdown during the second quarter of today’s Bills-Jets game, Buffalo WR Stevie Johnson mocked Jets WR Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg. As we all know, Burress spent 20 months in prison after shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub in 2008.
But Johnson wasn’t finished there, continuing through the endzone while mimicking Santonio Holmes’ “flight” celebration and crashing to the ground in the endzone, ultimately drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
This right here is why you don’t often see NFL quarterbacks lining up at the receiver position. From yesterday’s Jets-Bills game, watch Mark Sanchez get the bejeezus scared out of him by diminutive Bills CB Drayton Florence:
That’s two for flinching, Mark.
Sanchez and the Jets won the game, this certainly isn’t going to help his image as a pretty boy quarterback, is it?
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Every year, we try to refrain from pulling a Tom Smykowski from Office Space, and jumping to any conclusions about the upcoming NFL season prematurely. In a sixteen-game season, it usually takes several games for teams to figure out their identity, and a lot longer than that to determine a realistic playoff picture.
So, while it’s tempting to draw knee-jerk reactions from a couple of games, we at least try to wait until the quarter-point mark to start making our hyperbolic and definitive statements about the season ahead. Even with the lockout-shortened off-season, four games is enough to get a sense of which teams are back in the driver’s seat (Packers, Patriots), and which teams are going to have trouble living up to expectations (Jets, Rams).
So without further adieu, here are our top 5 observations on the ol’ Jump To Conclusions mat:
The “Dream Team” is actually a Nightmare: This pre-season, the Philadelphia Eagles were crowned as NFC East Champions based almost solely on the big name signings made by GM Howie Roseman, who apparently attended the Dan Snyder school of Free Agency. Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins were among the stars to join the Philadelphia roster, and Eagles fans were planning trips to the Super Bowl before a down had been played.
Well, after a 1-3 start, the Eagles are proving that it takes more than just raw talent to win in the NFL, and chemistry can be the most important thing for a team to succeed. Plus, in the age of the salary cap, spending huge money at certain positions inevitably results in deficiencies elsewhere (see the Eagles LB corps), and so far the Philly defense has been a big disappointment. It will be interesting to see how Andy Reid – and the egos in his locker room – handles their early adversity.
- The Detroit Lions will compete for the NFC crown: Yes, the Lions bandwagon is already starting to get crowded after starting the season 4-0 for the first time since 1980, and completing consecutive comebacks of 20 points or more against the Vikings and Cowboys.Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson are unquestionably young superstars in this league, and if Matt Stafford can remain healthy, they give Jim Schwartz’ team a chance to compete in any game. And first round draft pick Nick Fairley could return from injury this week, making Detroit’s defense even more imposing. Bottom line: the Lions will make playoffs this year.
- The Buffalo Bills are for real: The Bills are off to an impressive 3-1 start, and after defeating their hated rival Patriots in Week 3, they’re a fashionable pick to surprise in the AFC this year. Chan Gailey’s offense is clicking with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson and Steve Johnson off to a hot start, and the Bills defense has been opportunistic with 8 INTs. But those takeaways could be covering up for bigger problems on defense, and Buffalo faces a brutal schedule late in the season which will really test their road toughness. So while the Bills are definitely improved, and there’s reason for optimism in Buffalo, the division still goes through New England until someone proves otherwise.
Last Sunday’s Bills-Patriots contest proved to be the NFL’s game of the week, as the upstart Bills fought back from an early 21-0 deficit to defeat their AFC East nemesis and improve to 3-0 on the season.
Fortunately for us, the NFL Films crew was on hand, and had a whole array of players and coaches mic’d up for the game to bring us the sights & sounds of the most exciting thing to happen in Buffalo in years. The resulting Sound FX highlights are definitely worth the watch, to see how the Bills were able to keep their heads in the game after falling behind, and snap their 15-game slide to the Pats.
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
The city of Buffalo is delirious tonight as their Bills beat the mighty New England Patriots 34-31 in Orchard Park this afternoon, snapping a 15-game losing streak to their division rival. After jumping out to a 21-0 lead, Patriots QB Tom Brady threw 4 interceptions (matching a career low), which allowed the Bills to claw their way back into the game, with the Bills eventually winning it with a last-second 28-yard field goal by Rian Lindell. To put things into perspective for you, the last time Buffalo beat a Patriots team it was 2003, and the SARS scare was gripping the world.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Bills improved to 3-0 on the strength of their second consecutive comeback conference win. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the game came with just over 10 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, moments after Buffalo had tied the game on a Fred Jackson touchdown run. On the Patriots ensuing drive, CB Drayton Florence picked off a deflected Brady pass and brought it 27 yards all the way to the house, putting Buffalo ahead 31-24 and sending the Bills fans in attendence into a full-on frenzy (see banner pic):
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
The 2011 NFL Draft could serve as our last dose of football for an unfriendly amount of time (especially if you’re an Oakland Raiders fan). Although it’s going to be awkward to watch NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell approach the podium before a packed house during a lockout, Draft Day (or, at this stage, Draft Thursday Night…) remains tangibly intriguing when a blue-chip quarterback has the chance to go No. 1.
It’s no sure thing, but with Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert rising up the board, it’s possible both could go in the top 10. One could argue that four of the first five teams to pick could go quarterback. I also wouldn’t rule out a team moving up for one the young guns — especially with Shanahan’s Redskins buried in the 10 slot — but this mock doesn’t include trades. Next month’s v.2 mock will take a shot at pinpointing some possible move-up/down scenarios. With that said, here’s my top 5 picks:
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton – QB, Auburn: Some don’t even have Newton in their top 10. I just don’t see Ron Rivera passing up this opportunity to bring in a franchise-altering passer with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Newton has his flaws, but there’s no way Carolina takes on the NFC South with what we’ve seen out of (granted, young) Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. While it’s awfully tough to bypass some of the defensive line talent in this draft, I believe Newton will continue to rise up the board. It’s only mid-March. This quarterback’s gifts will only become more coveted as we approach late April. The Panthers are serious about Cam Newton and I expect him to end up as the top pick in this draft.
2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus – DT, Alabama: John Fox is going defense with this pick. At 6-foot-3, 319 pounds, Dareus fits well into Fox’s 4-3 scheme, and has the potential to wreak havoc as a 3-technique the way Warren Sapp did in Tampa Bay — and Sapp himself has showered praise on the prospect. For the many top-shelf defensive line prospects in this draft — it’s one of the more stunning DT/DE draft classes in years — Dareus might be the safest pick, as a guy without looming medical or off-the-field concerns. If Nick Fairley has more potential, Dareus appears to have the work ethic for continued growth.
3. Buffalo Bills – Patrick Peterson – CB, LSU: The Bills are courting Newton and no doubt Chan Gailey is enticed by his athleticism. If Carolina passes, Newton could land here at No. 3. If he’s gone — and he is in this mock — the Bills will take Peterson, possibly the best football player in the draft. It’s unusual for a team to strike on a corner this high, but I don’t see the Bills taking Gabbert with this pick. Besides, in Ryan Fitzpatrick, they have a passer the team believes in and grew behind in 2010. The Bills need help all over the place on defense and go with the best player available here.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – Blaine Gabbert – QB, Missouri: If Carson Palmer wasn’t so inconsistent, you work out the issues, get him back in the house and move on. Palmer and the Bengals are at a crossroads, and with the QB making it clear he’s had enough in the Queen City, it’s time for Cincy to find his replacement. I’m not in love with Gabbert. Accuracy is an issue when you look beyond his short-field body of work. That said, with Newton gone, Gabbert represents a new dawn for Marvin Lewis.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller – DE/OLB, Texas A&M: Some are calling Von Miller‘s decision to join the players’ antitrust lawsuit against the NFL a risk. Is he an immediate problem? A guy with a renegade spirit? No. Another way to look at it — this is someone who has chosen to take a leadership role among his peers and represent his rookie class on a critical issue to the players (even if you think they already make too much). That aside, Miller is perhaps the most versatile defensive talent in the draft and music to the ears of the Cards. I keep hearing over and over that Arizona does not go quarterback with this pick — mainly because this could be it for Ken Whisenhunt, and you don’t risk a critical season on a rookie. You have to wonder if the Cards would surprise people and shoot for Newton or Gabbert is one is available.
For picks 6-10, go here.
For picks 11-20, go here.
Wide right. It’s a phrase that continues to live in NFL infamy. And in looking back on the game that originally spawned the saying, it’s easy to see why.
It was 20 years ago today – January 27, 1991 – when the Bills and Giants faced off in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa. And to this day, many people consider it to be the greatest Super Bowl game ever played. From Whitney Houston’s inspiring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner to vicious hitting on both sides to Mark Ingram’s incredible 3rd and 13 conversion to Scott Norwood’s ill-fated game-winning FG attempt, this game had it all.
I was 16 years old at the time, and a rabid young Giants fan. As such, pretty much every play from this game is burned into my memory. But instead of re-hashing the game from my perspective, we figured it would be best to let you relive it for yourselves via these glorious edited game highlights. Be warned, they’re 11 minutes long … but it’s totally worth it:
Well, the day we were hoping would never come has finally arrived. As promised, Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick shaved off his epic beard yesterday, putting an official end to our campaign to Save Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Beard.
Although the Amish Rifle has inspired countless beard lovers across America with his glorious facial locks over the course of the 2010 NFL season, Fitzpatrick wasted no time heading to a local barber to have the beard removed one day after Buffalo’s season ended.
Fitzpatrick said, “Time to say goodbye. When I first started playing, I think it was laziness more than anything. And I let it go, and it became…something, so I figured I wasn’t allowed to shave it until the season was over with. I’m sad to see it go today.”
“I’m fighting the tears right now”
Although our online petition to save the beard failed mightily, we can’t tell you how much we appreciate the more than 470 folks who signed their names in support of the cause. And despite the fact that Ryan probably never ever knew about our campaign, for once, we felt a part of something greater than ourselves. And we’ll take solace in seeing just how creepy Fitzpatrick looks clean shaven, knowing that come next Fall, the beard will be calling his name once again.
Goodbye FitzBeard … we hardly knew ye. (sniff, sniff)
WATCH VIDEO OF THE SHAVE AFTER THE JUMP
It has all come down to this for the the campaign to Save Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Beard. The Bills quarterback’s self-imposed shave deadline of January 3rd is fast approaching, so we have less than a week to gain as many signatures as we can to try and convince Fitzpatrick to keep his glorious facial hair.
Folks from all over the land have come together behind our cause, and as of the time of this posting, we have over 450 signatures from people who have been equally inspired by the “Amish Rifle”. We also discovered the Facebook page for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Beard, which we obviously wholeheartedly support (and is where we got the incredible banner pic to the right).
And while this outpouring of support has been tremendous, it’s not likely to be enough to overrule the wishes of Fitzpatrick’s wife … yet. We still have four days to rally support for the FitzBeard, and with the power of the internet, we should be able to take this thing viral and gain the thousands of signatures necessary to really get Ryan’s attention. We believe in the power of the beard, and we’re not ready to give up the fight!
So for one final time, we’re asking for your help. Please sign the petition and forward it on to friends, family, news outlets or anyone you know inside the Bills PR department. Together, we can make a difference.
TRACK OUR PROGRESS WITH THE “SAVE RYAN FITZPATRICK’S BEARD”
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