The Designed Rush column covers all NFL action through Sunday each week. Of course, with the exception of Week 17 and the postseason, there's this pesky thing called Monday Night Football. Which means there are possibly significant developments and story lines left uncovered. Solution: The Designed Rush Redux, which will gather up the most interesting tidbits from Monday's action, as well as the continued fallout from Sunday.
- Terrell Owens might be the entire Bengals offense at this point. Granted, Chad Ochocinco will have better games than the one he had Monday night, where he didn't secure his first catch until there were 44 seconds left on the game clock. But with him going through another down season and Cedric Benson not being as effective as in 2009, Cincinnati can ill-afford now to let Owens go after this season, when he might actually command serious interest for the first time in years. The Bengals look savvy for being the only team to take a chance on him this year. Who knows what their offense would look like without him.
As for the Steelers pass coverage, getting Bryant McFadden back in the off-season after a year away in Arizona was supposed to restore a shaky secondary to its stifling 2008 form, but McFadden has seen his share of struggles so far this season. He was beaten badly on the decisive touchdown in the Steelers' loss to Baltimore and had little success at all against Owens last night. It was almost fatally late for the Steelers to shift Ike Taylor into coverage on him? What happened next? McFadden gives up Ochocinco's only catch of the night.
- When you're in a linebacking corps that consists of James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, you have to campaign pretty hard to stand out, but Lawrence Timmons by the end of the year may establish himself as one of the brighter young defensive stars in the league. He had the only Steelers interception of the night, but has proven all year to be a massively disruptive force on nearly every play. Aside from Polamalu, Timmons could be the best all-around player on that defense.
- So it seems that when you need Troy Polamalu taken out of a play, all an offense needs is a larger Samoan with even more hair. In this case, it was Domata Peko. Could make for a hot commodity for Steelers opponents in next year's draft.
- Complaining about Jon Gruden in the booth will be a staple of this feature until hopefully he gets hired to be the Cowboys new coach, the sooner the better. Last night, Ben Roethlisberger became an "oak tree" in Gruden's rolodex of stupid nicknames. And let's not forget Chucky pulling out a Ralph Wiggum-esque pronunciation of "impossible."
- It's kind of amazing how closely the ending of that game resembled the Bengals win at home over the Steelers last season. Cincinnati needed a touchdown to win inside of a minute to beat Pittsburgh. In 2009, Carson Palmer hit Brian Leonard on a 4th down inside the red zone to set up the winning score. On 4th down this year, Jordan Shipley couldn't haul it in. Possibly not an easily foreseen ending when it was 27-7 in the third quarter.
- Jeff Reed is simply unable to make critical kicks this season, and it should finally cost him a job he's held onto longer than his behavior would merit. Credit him for improving his kicking distance a bit and hitting a 53-yarder last night, but as been the norm this year, he missed the next one, a 46-yarder, that could have effectively ended the game. Add that to other big misses against the Falcons, Ravens and Saints and Reed will have to be assaulting towel dispensers in another town next season.
NFL Player Tweet Of The Night
Fortunately, the folks at Inside Charm City preserved this one, as Rice has since deleted the tweet after a couple blogs started kicking up a fuss about it. Despite the air of impropriety and the Rice feeling the need to delete it, I don't see the huge deal. We all would like to be people that have cops and other authority figures hitting us up to sign things if we ever got pulled over or in some other spot. And it's not like it was a possible DUI. The guy has a deep tint on his windows. BFD.
A Delicious Bundle Of Gripes
- Jeff Fisher said he expects Randy Moss to act like any other member of the team now that Moss is with the Titans. Or at least any other member with absolutely no expectation of addressing the media.
- The Cowboys official web site was down Monday because the team forgot to renew its rights to the site. We sure it wasn't Wade Phillips having used the renewal money of the previous defensive stand?
- Jets' kicker Nick Folk thought overtime would continue in Detroit after he hit his field goal to beat the Lions. Apparently he thought the rules reserved for overtime this year applied all season. Let's hope so, because a contest in Detroit won't be mistaken for a playoff game anytime soon.