Hmm, Warner Wins, Manning Loses, but as much as I want it ot be, its not that simple.
Cards v. Falcons:
This is the most balanced game the Cards have played all season. Edge rushed for 73 yards. He was fresh as could be and this might be a huge advantage next week. Don't misunderstand, I don't think the Cards will win next week, but James was an elite RB and Warner has played with a guy named Faulk that is very similar. Look for Edge to open it up next week through play selection.
Back to the balanced game. Rolle and the rest of the defense played much better this week. Two Picks and a fumble return for a TD. That first pick was a huge factor early on, and that fumble return was the difference. The nice thing about that fumble return was the defender that caused it and Rolle being right there to catch it out of the air. That shows great penetration.
Warner was huge in this game. He had one pick that bounced off his receiver's shoulder, it was a bit behind the guy, but the receiver wasn't looking for the ball either. Receivers are always supposed to be looking for the ball. Warner stood tall in the pocket. Watching Sport Center tonight, Warner was throwing some beautiful passes. Granted that first TD was Fitzgerald, but Warner put it in the right spot and let him go up and get it.
As the game progressed, Warner was throwing nice passes to keep the drive alive. He was 13 of 17 in the second half. In other words, rock solid in crunch time.
The Defense: Played well at times and crappy at times. Jeckyl and Hyde. Great job shutting down the run, but looked like they were playing the prevent defense much of the time as well.
The bottom line for next week, whoever the Cards play, is they need 20% more. Warner needs 300+ yards, the running game needs 100 yards, and the defense needs to play more consistently. The Falcons gave them some gifts. Don't expect that next week. Overall, the defense won this game; Warner and Edge played well with no mistakes Warner even rushed for a first down for christ sake he is slightly less mobile than a rock, but without the defense, the Cards have no shot.
Chargers v. Colts:
Manning played ok, but got no help from the rest of his team. There was no rushing game. There is a world of difference between 86 yards for the Cards and 64 for the Colts given that the charges had 167 yards rushing and the Falcons only had 60.
The fact is that Manning just wasn't efficient enough. He threw for 310 yards but completed less than 60% of his passes. He had a couple big plays, but couldn't sustain drives as Warner did when it counted. The Cards got the ball with 4:10 to go and ran out the clock. They might have been able to take that last drive in for a score.
The punting game for the Chargers was simply the best single game punting performance of all time. Are you kidding me? It was almost like there was a wall set up inside the 5 and the ball could go no farther. The punting was the difference in the game, only because the Colts couldn't sustain a drive.
Don't forget Sproles who was retarded good even with the fumble. The game was close, but I really expected the Chargers to win. Their offense had no trouble moving the ball and did nothing but drive in the second half, but miscues by Sproles and Rivers almost killed them. In fact, Rivers was statistically awful with a 61.9 rating.
Anyway, Chargers defense, punting and just enough offense did the Colts in. The charges must play an error free game next week or like the Cards, it will be there last for this season.
Enjoy your MVP Peyton and pass the chips.