Drew is out for this week (though we understand that he is alert and sitting upright), which means that the weekly tradition of doling out barbs to SI’s senior NFL writer falls into the hands of someone else. Naturally, half of you are already bent out of shape about this. I don’t care. Some of you will point to my apathy as evidence of the decline of KSK and Western civilization as a whole. I don’t care about that either.

That was all just a really long way of saying that I tried to be funny but probably came up short of par. There’s a good Unfaithful reference and some slightly-above-average wordplay in here, and that’s about it. If you’d like to get an exact measurement on how short we came, join us after the jump. And for those of you already upset about the direction of this post, here is a woman in a bikini welding something.

This is one of those weeks, covering the NFL, when you could write about 10 or 12 things in depth. Pick something. Anything.

Stylez G. White for the Pro Bowl?

The Giants obliterating Seattle in Seattle, continuing to play offensive football like the 2007 Patriots, and becoming the undisputed nine-week champion of the NFC. Unless you’re the Packers, and you’d like to dispute that.

Quasi-disputed! Unless it isn’t!

And Tom Brady changing teams. Sort of.

Goodbye, Mrs. King. Peter thanks you for your service. Salute.

I’m starting to like the Browns.

Strange week for the Browns. Mike Holmgren sounded last week like a man who’s itching to coach.

But it’s actually a very rare strain of walrus syphilis. Only the trained eye of a senior NFL writer knows for sure.

It’s an odd mix in Cleveland. The coach, Eric Mangini, had a shotgun marriage with the new all-powerful franchise czar, Holmgren, and most of us thought it was a matter of time before Holmgren picked his own coach and sent Mangini away.

Goodbye, Mr. Mangini. Thank you for your service. Salute.

The last two weeks — with wins of 30-17 over New Orleans and 34-14 over New England — have convinced me of a few things. One: It would be a mistake to fire the imaginative Mangini and his hungry staff unless the bottom falls out on this team in the next two months.

In other words, if they play like they did in the first two months of the season. But now they’re hungry! Starving, even! Probably because Holmgren and his walrus VD are hogging all of the catering! Feed that staff! No wonder Mangini has lost so much weight!

Two: The Browns aren’t far away from competing every week in their division.

As long as they don’t play any teams in their division (they’re 1-2 against AFC North foes).

Three: Colt McCoy is afraid of nothing,

Not even goats? Seriously, goats are scary. They’re like giant dogs possessed by demons.

and I think it’s unlikely the Browns will have to spend their first-round draft choice on a quarterback in 2011.

Or a point guard. Thanks for pointing that out.

Then there’s the super-fast maturation of McCoy, who seems destined to keep Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace on the bench for as long as he keeps making plays;

Whoever could have foreseen that Jake Delhomme would not be making a difference at quarterback? Seriously, that guy is a walking Ponzi scheme. Stop signing Jake Delhomme, everyone! Those interceptions look great on paper but TREASURY BILLS ARE MUCH LESS RISK-AVERSE!

the Browns are 2-1 since he took over (lost to Pittsburgh, defeated New Orleans and New England), and he’s completed 67.6 percent of his throws. Very unrookie-like.

He’s like the white Chris Weinke!

And then there’s the Hillis deal. The Browns dealt backup quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver for Hillis in the spring,

Biceps for biceps, along with a latissimus dorsi to be named later. By the way, I have a SIGNED Brady Quinn poster that I intend to give away. Because obviously only an asshole would keep something like that. Suggestions for the giveaway are welcome in the comments.

and if that’s not a big-enough piece of highway robbery, consider this: Denver has to give Cleveland a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft, and I’m told the Browns will also get a conditional pick in the 2012 draft — a sixth-rounder or better, depending on Quinn’s playing time.

Playing time? Can a quarterback play any less than zero?

The Vikings played valiantly and desperately and got some pass-rush — finally — and got the best yardage day of Favre’s life (isn’t it incredible that Favre has thrown for 400 yards only twice?) with 446 yards.

It IS incredible! It’s as if all of his accomplishments have been grossly exaggerated by the media all these years.

“Another day at the office,” said Mr. Deadpan, Childress, afterward, from the bowels of the Metrodome. “How about that Favre — he goes from the gurney to his career-best day…”

Brett Favre had better never make fun of the World Cup again. Ever. Seriously, who gets rolled off the field on the slab for stitches? At the very least, hold your own gauze. What a horrible example he set for my unborn, probably-autistic son.

In the hours before the 3-5 Chargers took the field in Houston to play a game they had to have, Philip Rivers text-messaged his dad thusly: “I don’t think Gates is going to play. We gotta find a way.”

Resigned to his son’s fate, Mr. Rivers then proceeded to his nearest bookie and laid down $5,000 on the Texans money line.

Recent practice squad graduate Seyi Ajirotutu was Rivers’ big target Sunday in a 29-23 win over the Texans.

This is why whores will always trump gambling. At least when you spend money on a prostitute, something comes out of it.

I’d give my MVP nod to Rivers over Peyton Manning and Tom Brady right now — though it’s razor-thin — because Rivers has had to deal with injuries the same way Manning has, and he’s had to deal with a new cast of receivers the way Brady has.

Never mind the fact that, oh, Brady’s and Manning’s team both have winning records. How valuable can a guy be to a team when that team is 4-5? Because he’s a quarterback and his numbers are pretty? Please.

And he’s had to do it while the historically bad Chargers special-teams have consistently put the team in holes that have been very difficult to dig out of. But he’s dug out of four, and nearly out of a couple of others. He’s thrown for 2,944 yards through nine games, 357 more than any quarterback.

Let me get this straight: you’re pimping a guy for MVP based on his numbers, despite the fact that those numbers largely come from the fact that his team has been playing from behind for the majority of the game?  Oh, and the injuries. Yeah, because no other team has suffered major injuries this year. Makes perfect sense.

That does not make perfect sense. Sorry, written sarcasm doesn’t always translate.

Tom Brady changes teams.

To Team Jacob? Seriously, I would slurp Diet Mountain Dew off Taylor Lautner’s abs. And Diet Mountain Dew tastes like shit.

Calm down.

Sorry, dude. I just love Team Jacob.

He’s simply moving to Under Armour, the upstart outfitter. From Nike, the behemoth.

Oh.

“Under Armour’s everything I was looking for,” Brady said after the Boston shoot. “It’s cool. It’s fun. It’s what so many of the kids are wearing, and I like to try to stay cutting-edge. I like the company. I think we’ve got a lot in common. We both want to stay hungry,

MORE NFL hunger?! Fucking shit, can we throw these guys a hamburger or something?

…stay humble.”

Humble and cutting edge? Tom, you have a lot to learn about protecting this house. Time for you to head to the Under Armour Boot Camp, after which you’ll be resorting to classic bare-fisted violence as if it were second nature.

If only Under Armour sold haircuts.

I agree with Collinsworth (and wrote strongly last week that it was time to show [Wade] Phillips the door). I cannot believe Jones goes to the Meadowlands next week with Phillips on the plane.

It’d be even funnier if Jones made him walk to New York. To me, anyway.

The last word — maybe.

Probably not.

Some final thoughts on NFL Films’ usual high-quality job on its Top 100 show:

It was total shit. Barry Sanders ranked seventeenth? That’s a fucking joke. And how can you have ONLY TEN OFFENSIVE LINEMEN on that list?! I didn’t realize that the NFL was a touch football league before 1978.

Quote of the Week I

“A guy just spit in my face! I don’t give a damn about Karlos pulling somebody’s facemask. Like they didn’t see Chad Henne get hit twice when he slid. Yeah, a little Stevie Wonder and Anne Frank … Is that the blind girl? Helen Keller … I don’t know who the —- Anne Frank is. I’m mad right now. I’m not as swift as I usually am.”
– Miami linebacker Channing Crowder, angry at some calls in the Baltimore-Miami game that went against the Dolphins — and angry that no one saw what he claimed was Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain spitting in his face during the game.

First of all, you stole your first name from a Tony Award-winning actress, so cram it. Secondly, and I can’t overstate this, IF YOU HADN’T PUT YOUR  FACE IN HIS FACE. You’re just giving McLain a bigger target to navigate that lugee through his facemask. Yesterday was the first time McLain had hit the hole all year.

And maybe spend part of your Tuesday trying to figure out who the fuck Anne Frank is.

Offensive Players of the Week

…Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland.

The Browns beat the Patriots the way the Patriots have been beating teams for years — by pounding them and physically dominating them. Hillis, who has surprisingly soft hands for a big man, accounted for 220 yards from scrimmage. He rushed 29 times for 184 yards and caught three balls for 36 more. This has turned into a marvelous pickup, considering Hillis can run through people and around more than just the defensive linemen.

I look forward to Peyton Hillis’s legs becoming completely detached from his body by Week 15. And then hearing the following week that he flunked a drug test.

Defensive Player of the Week

Clay Matthews, OLB, Green Bay.

The more I see of Matthews, the more I think we’re watching a player with Ray Lewis energy and instincts.

Really? Because the more I see him, the more I think of Vego the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2.


Sign of the Week

“WAIVE CHILDRESS.”
– Sign at the Metrodome Sunday. Probably doesn’t need much explanation.

It’s Minnesota. They probably just wanted him to say hello.

MVP Watch

4. Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay. “Could you ever vote for a defensive player, like Matthews, for MVP?” Dan Patrick asked me last night at NBC. I could, but probably only in a year when the great defensive player helps a very good team win double digits and being more important to the team than the quarterback. That’ll be tough for Matthews, particularly in a year when Rivers, Brady and Manning are playing with so many new pieces every week.

That’s quite a copout from a guy that pushed Harry Carson into the Hall Of Fame. I’ve seen Green Bay play on TV a few times this year as I’m sure many of you have, and Clay Matthews has been amazing in all of them. He’s seeming a factor on every play; he had a sack (11 for the season) and a pick-six in last night’s drubbing of Dallas. Plus his hairstyle makes Tom Brady’s look army-issued.

Tweet of the Week II

“Never thought I’d look at Diane Lane and think of Tom Coughlin. Just happened on flight to Seattle. Watched & thoroughly enjoyed Secretariat.”
@giantspathanlon, Giants PR maven Pat Hanlon, Saturday after the team’s charter landed in Seattle for Sunday’s game, on the feature film that was the Giants’ in-flight entertainment. Diane Lane. Tough gal, evidently.

At least that explains why he spent Saturday night fucking Tom Coughlin in a stairwell.

[Whoring Redacted] Travel Note of the Week

Flew the Delta Shuttle from Boston to New York Saturday afternoon for a weekend of work at NBC. I had a window seat and the woman next to me, maybe 22, fell asleep as soon as we boarded. She slept through the takeoff and didn’t wake up until we were descending into LaGuardia Airport.

I didn’t know quite how to handle a peculiar problem.

Just think about baseball. Or goats. Goats scare the blood out of my dick every time.

a. Terrific nugget from Sunday morning’s “NFL Matchup” show: When Michael Vick was sandwiched five weeks ago and suffered a rib injury against Washington, a review of the coaches video found Vick should never have taken off to run. He had a crosser, from right to left, totally uncovered in the middle of the field and just never saw him. Great example of how Vick still doesn’t see the whole field when he goes back to throw.

g. Santonio Holmes. Anyone else think he looked a little like Larry Fitzgerald in Super Bowl XLIII on that catch-and-run down the middle of the field in overtime?

Never mind that Holmes actually made THE GAME-WINNING CATCH in that Super Bowl, and did so with a much more impressive play.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about week nine:

a. Cheap shot by Detroit corner Chris Houston, blindsiding Jets wideout Jerricho Cotchery way away from the ball at the end of a play — with an official staring right at him.

I’m surprised that nobody else is talking about hits like this, where a defensive back is clearing trying to knock a guy out of a game without making any sort of play on the ball. If you saw Nick Collins in the Sunday night game last night, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Of course the NFL seems to be cool with doing nothing else but fining James Harrison.

d. You’ll be hearing from the league soon, Nick Collins, for that helmet-to-helmet hit on Roy Williams.

I hope they fine him and throw away the key. Wait. That came out wrong.

6. I think Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch deserves credit for a terrific column the other day

Well I don’t. Get fucked, Bernie.

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. Does Oregon have uniforms?

Nope. They play naked, as dictated by Nike. It’s an homage to the original Oregonians of the 1840s, and it’s 100 percent less weight than their old uniforms.

The definition of “uniform” has to have something of the concept of sameness. I’m not knocking the unis; I actually like them.

Yeah, I thought they were great…the first time I saw them in Rollerball.

b. If TCU goes unbeaten, how do the Horned Frogs not play for the national title?

Probably in a way very similar to last year, when TCU went unbeaten and did not play for the national title.

c. If Boise State goes unbeaten, how do … well, you understand. The NCAA has to pray one of them loses.

That’s assuming that the NCAA believes in God. Or anything that isn’t money.

d. Quiz answer: Michael Vick, with a rating of 105.3. He leads Vince Young (103.1) and Philip Rivers (102.9) entering the last eight weeks of the season.

e. There simply is no actress alive with the skills, presence, beauty and grace of Grace Kelly.

Nobody wants to see a movie with dead actresses. At least not until Zombie Grace Kelly hires an agent.

Who I Like Tonight, and I Mean Ron Jaworski

Pittsburgh 17, Cincinnati 13. Not a great night for the Steelers if you’ve got a fantasy football matchup riding on great Pittsburgh productivity. This is Cincinnati’s last-gasp playoff hope, and if I thought its passing game could move the ball consistently, I’d be a Bengal man tonight. But I don’t see it.

Better than a goat man, I suppose.


Welding img via.