Wednesday Apple Pie

This is the issue in question: Was it the chicken or the egg? Some say the chicken and others say the egg. For the Pittsburgh Steelers and their critics the issue in question is: Does Plaxico Burress make Hines Ward or does Ward make himself?

Hines Ward is sure to end his Steeler career as the top receiver in team history. He is also on track to making a major case for a future Hall of Fame induction. Does this sound like a player who has benefited solely on the fact that he lines up with a big play threat? If you said "yes", then while I disagree with your opinion, I can't help but wonder how you, as well as many national and local writers, can justify it.

Since 2001, Ward has amassed 3,492 yards, 302 receptions and 26 touchdowns. Those numbers don't sound like the type of stats that come from a player who benefits from playing across from a big play threat. Those numbers are comparable to big play threats Terrell Owens (3,814 yards, 273 receptions and 37 touchdowns) and Randy Moss (4,212 yards, 297 receptions, 34 touchdowns), who are considered the top two receivers in the game today.

Ward already leads the AFC in yards receiving and he accounts for almost 70% of the Steelers offense (which in itself is a actually a distressing stat). So, I once again ask you, how can you believe that Plaxico Burress is the one reason Ward has broken out?

Does Burress help Ward run the crisp, timely routes? No. Ward does that all on his own. Does Burress help Ward catch everything thrown at him? Nope. I think its safe to say that Hines Ward does all the little things extremely well. He also does everything else extremely well. The stats don't lie. You know at times, it's almost amazing that Hines Ward continues to get open when everyone on earth knows that he's the target.

I'd be willing to bet that if Plaxico Burress went down with injury, Ward would find a way to continue to get open and continue to lead this receiving corps.


Apple Six-Pack Recap

1. Indianapolis 45 Green Bay 31 – I think that the reason the Colts have such a potent offense is that they can pass the ball up and down the field on you and then still have Edge James waiting to run down your throat. Even a career mistake-free day by Brett Favre couldn't overcome Peyton Manning.

2. Baltimore 23 Cincinnati 9 – Would it have made more sense to lose last season with Carson Palmer learning the ropes as a rookie rather than coming close to the playoffs last season with Jon Kitna only to miss the playoffs this season by a wide margin because Carson Palmer is learning the ropes? An oddly phrased question for an equally odd, and paradoxical, situation that the Bengals may find themselves in.

3. Dallas 21 Washington 18 – Don't you get the feeling if Joe Gibbs had managed the clock better, the game would have gone into overtime and the Redskins would have won? That was one of those would've, could've, should've games. Is it just me, or is Gibbs showing a ton of rust?

4. Seattle 34 San Francisco 0 – Zero. Zip. Nada. Ziltch. The first time since '77. Has anyone noticed however that Dennis Erickson continues to be unable to produce a winning product? Okay, he was dealt a short hand this year, but come on, sometimes I think he and Dave Wannestedt are the same person.

5. Jacksonville 15 Tennessee 12 – All the bandwagon writers out there are going to start calling for the Jaguars to make the Super Bowl and thus have a proverbial home game. Three words: Not Gonna Happen. Not with that offense it won't. And who says the defense can continue to play at that level all season? Nope. No way. Enjoy it while it lasts all you Jaguar faithful.

6. Philadelphia 30 Detroit 13 – Can the Eagles be stopped? Well, once Clinton Portis and that Cowboy defense have their shots, we will see. But I still like that Packer team in the North.


Power Core Power Rankings (Top 12)

  1. New England Patriots – Bye week means that this team still sits pretty at the top.
  2. Philadelphia Eagles – But is the defense good enough?
  3. Indianapolis Colts – They should be 3 – 0.
  4. Seattle Seahawks – The defense has allowed 1 touchdown all season.
  5. Minnesota Vikings – Injuries starting to pile up.
  6. Denver Broncos – Quentin Griffith turning out to be less than stellar against average defenses.
  7. NY Jets – The Jets start the long trek to unseat the Pats.
  8. Carolina Panthers – Who would've thought they'd be looking up at the Falcons?
  9. Baltimore Ravens – Zero interceptions for Boller in last two games.
  10. Pittsburgh Steelers – A defense can do a lot when not worried about the passing game.
  11. Atlanta Falcons – Ugliest win in history.
  12. Dallas Cowboys – Oh you thought it'd be the Jaguars? No. I'm not jumping on that bandwagon yet.


Apple Six-Pack

1. St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (GOTW) – This is what I wrote on July 28th about this game:

This game is always fun to watch, but does anyone think that when Steve Smith burned the Rams in overtime last January, that the wheels were set in motion for the ultimate demise of the team?"
Now, this is not so much a fun game to watch as it is a must game for the Rams. The Niners are not even close to contention, but the Rams, after falling to 1 – 2, must win this game to keep pace with the Seahawks. So, based on the fact that no team this week has a bigger must win than the Rams, this can validate a very shaky GOTW.

2. Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons – Not so much a must win for the Panthers than it is a big test for the defending NFC Champs. The Panthers may be able to contain the Falcon offense, but will they score with Stephen Davis and Steve Smith gone?

3. Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Okay, if the Jaguars win this one I will officially jump on the bandwagon for they will have a two-game lead over the Colts heading into Week 5. I'm not sure that the Jaguars can produce enough offense to help out the defense in this one though.

4. Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens – Do you think Jamal Lewis is looking at this game and licking his chops? This could be the nail in the coffin for the Chiefs. And who was that idiot predicting that the Chiefs were going to the Super Bowl? Oh right. It was me.

5. New York Giants at Green Bay Packers The Pack should get back on track this weekend. But has anyone noticed that Kurt Warner has won more games in 2 weeks than he has in about 4 years? He's done this all while playing behind an overachieving offensive line.

6. New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills A big test for the Bills. They owned the Patriots last season at home. Can they do it again? Please. Someone beat the Patriots.


Seeds Of Wisdom From the Girl Apple

Girl Apple: How did your rookie do in his first game?

Apple: A little bit of good and a little bit of bad.

Girl Apple: Well did he do better than that other guy?…

Apple: Tommy Maddox?…

Girl Apple: Yes Tommy Maddox?

Apple: Well, stat-wise no, but…

Girl Apple: Stat-wise? But isn't everything based on stats?

Apple: Well, sometimes, but I don't think Tommy could have won that game.

Girl Apple: Why?

Apple: It seems to me that the team sort of stepped up their play in lieu of the quarterback change.

Girl Apple: So, in other words, the rookie lifted the play of others around him?

Apple: Why yes. I guess in an odd way, he did. Good wisdom.


Apple's Fantasy Football Results

TheDallasCowboysSuck 161 Sweatin' Sopranos 155: Record (2 - 1) Next Week vs. Les Locos Leprechauns (2 – 1)
Thank you Mr. McNabb. Thank you very much, again.

The Woodside Geminis vs. The Rebels (Night): Record (2 – 0)
2 weeks ago, the Geminis defeated The Darkside with a heavy dose of McNabb and Curtis Martin 39 - 22.

DCFB 111 McEwans Export 106: Record (1 – 2) Next Week vs. The Astoria Ti-Teihy's (1-2)
I finally started Chris Brown, but Bret Favre's career day led the way to victory.


Bites

  • That was the best game I've ever seen James Farrior play.
  • My mother hates Jerome Bettis. She calls him a big "lug". She still calls Bradshaw "Terry Baby". And she loves Hines Ward. Well, at least she has her priorities right. Her mother still wishes Kordell was around.
  • Aaron Smith quite possibly is the most underrated defensive end in the league. His penetration was amazing.
  • Just as I was telling my buddy Steeler Simpkins that I thought the Dolphins defense at some point was going to crack, Duce Staley unleashes a 40-yard run. I'll say this, he ran fantastically behind that left side of line.
  • Will someone please tell Bill Cowher that the motion techniques he is teaching his team are apparently against the rules. This is getting a bit ridiculous.
  • I think we'll be seeing the corner blitz from Deshea Townsend about once a game and it will be good for about one sack/one qb pressure a game.
  • Joey Porter had his best day in about 2 years on Sunday. He had an extra spark that was triggered by the other heavy hits on defense by the youngsters. Maybe he finally has the growl back in his game.

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