“I don’t think so. Not from what I saw.” – Tony Dungy on if the Colts are a playoff team
“Who has better young talent in the league right now than the Detroit Lions?” – Cris Collinsworth
NEW YORK – September 18, 2011 – Following are highlights from Football Night in America. Bob Costas hosted the show live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and was joined on site for commentary by Sunday Night Football commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Co-host Dan Patrick and commentators Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Peter King and Mike Florio covered the news of the NFL’s second week live from Studio 8G at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios in New York. Alex Flanagan reported from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on the Chargers-Patriots game.
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Bob Costas interviews Eagles QB Michael Vick
Catching up with Matt Ryan
Costas, Collinsworth, Michaels on the surprising Lions and Bills
Patrick: “You keep waiting for the Chargers to win these kinds of games. And I know the Patriots played great, but we keep waiting for the Chargers to say, ‘No. We’re not the same old Chargers.’”
Dungy: “They’ve got a lot of talent. They’ve got a lot of offensive weaponry. You see the great plays, but sometimes you just have to make those routine plays and get those points in the red zone.”
Harrison: “I didn’t expect a veteran team like Baltimore to come out and have that emotional and mental let down. They didn’t create any sacks on defense, just played absolutely soft.”
Dungy: “Their offensive line really got dominated. They handled Pittsburgh but up front this was a different type of defense. Tennessee has athletic defensive linemen and they chased Joe Flacco around all day.”
Harrison on second hit to Roethlisberger’s legs: “How do you not call that?”
Dungy on Mike Tomlin referencing last week’s loss in postgame comments: “That smell he was talking about was last week’s run defense when Baltimore ran all over them. They’ve got it fixed. Today they made Seattle one dimensional. He’s a little happier than he’s letting on there.”
Harrison: “Mike Tomlin has the right perspective. It’s Seattle. They are the worst team in the league, so relax.”
Dungy on if Colts are playoff material: “I don’t think so. Not from what I saw. They made some improvements but the offensive line is still not protecting well enough. Basically they have to score points. The defense is built to play from ahead.”
Patrick: “The new and improved Bills.”
Collinsworth on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: “It was surgical…not only does he go down the field and score the winning touchdown, but he leaves only 14 seconds left, as only a Harvard man would. (joking)”
Florio on Fitzpatrick contract extension: “In Buffalo, the front office is nervous for a different reason. They’ve got one of the hot quarterbacks in the NFL right now. His contract expires after the year, and with each passing week, his price tag is going to go up. The Bills have broached the subject of the extension. No negotiations yet, but there are some guys out there that have made a lot money, far less proven than Ryan Fitzpatrick, so he’s going to cash in sometime soon.”
King: “I talked to both Fitzpatrick and Bills coach Chan Gailey after the game. Fitzpatrick said, ‘There is no place in the NFL that is as good of a match for me as right here. I want to go nowhere.’ Chan Gailey said, ‘I can’t envision anyone else being our quarterback, other than Fitzpatrick, but I’m not the negotiator.’”
Costas: “Doormat no more?”
Collinsworth: “Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best and Ndamukong Suh…Who has better young talent in the league right now than the Detroit Lions?
Dungy on Matt Hasselbeck: “He was very good today.”
Patrick on Jared Cook: “Titans tight end, Jared Cook, laying out. Keep in mind; this is a guy who is actually allergic to grass!”
Dungy: “That’s not a good stadium to play in.”
Patrick: “No it’s not. Why wasn’t he drafted by an artificial turf team?”
Harrison on Cam Newton: “Today it seems like he forced a lot of balls to Steve Smith. As a young quarterback in this league, you need to understand your personnel. You have to stay away from Charles Woodson, he’s one of the top play making defensive backs in the league.”
Patrick: “Don’t you think Denver fans are looking at Cam Newton and going, ‘Tim Tebow could do that for us’?”
Harrison: “Two totally different players; similar but different.”
Patrick: “This is what you want in a big-time quarterback. Romo gets banged up early, comes back, puts up big numbers, and produces in overtime.”
Dungy: “I thought it was a huge day for Tony…You can’t say enough about Romo and his perseverance today…I thought that he showed great heart and is the leader of this team.”
Harrison: “Tony Romo has shown a lot of mental toughness with all the criticism last week to come back and perform the way he performed.”
Dungy: “Another quarterback who played well is Andy Dalton. As a rookie, A.J. Green is fantastic. Even though Cincinnati lost, those two guys can play.”
King on McNabb: “Donovan McNabb is not going to be replaced. I spoke to the head coach of the Vikings, Leslie Frazier, after the game. He acknowledged that this isn’t McNabb’s fault. Don’t look for Christian Ponder anytime soon.”
ON THEIR HEADLINES OF THE DAY
Harrison on 2010 playoff teams that are 0-2: “Seattle, Kansas City and Indianapolis. None of these teams will make the playoffs this year.”
Dungy: “I’m going to take the other side of it, the surprise 2-0 teams. Detroit…The biggest surprise is Buffalo. And my Washington Redskins. I’m on the bandwagon.” (laughing)
Patrick on Vick: “Did you ever think he would get to this point, anywhere near it?”
Dungy: “I really didn’t think so as a player. I knew he would as a person.”
Following are highlights from Bob Costas’ interview with Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick:
Costas on when a play breaks down and Vick uses his athletic ability: What’s happening there?
Vick: “This may sound crazy to everybody, but sometimes I have to go back and watch what I do. It happens so instinctively. I’ve been blessed with abilities that very few are blessed with. I’m thankful for that…The game still seems hard to me so I think that’s a good thing because it will keep me striving to be my best.
Costas: How are things different for you even from a year ago?
Vick: “More settled…Basically, content…Just happy…(I’m) willing to put in the work now. I see things from a different perspective. That has definitely helped me to become the person that I want to become.”
Costas: You’ve mentioned that you feel like you let the Falcons down regarding preparation.
Vick: “The way I work now, as far as preparation, if did it back then and put forth the effort, things probably would have been different. (I) wish I could have done more. You can’t turn back the hands of time. You can only move forward.”
Patrick on the Packers: “You’ve got some concerns.”
Dungy: “I do. That secondary has been torched two weeks in a row, giving up 800 yards passing. Now, we expected Drew Brees to put up some numbers, but 400 yards from Cam Newton has to have the Green Bay defensive coaches a little bit alarmed.”
ON TONY ROMO
Harrison: “Tony Romo had every built-in excuse to quit. They were losing and on top of that he had a cracked rib. Even after he cracked his rib he came and threw for 300 yards. I had a cracked rib and I missed two-to-three weeks of football.”
BOB COSTAS’ HALFTIME ESSAY
“It’s true, we’re basing this on early returns, but the Detroit Lions, 48-3 conquerors of the Kansas City Chiefs today, are emerging as one of the season’s big stories. The Lions are 2-0, but more significantly, they’ve won six straight as they took their last four of the 2010 season. And for whatever it may be worth, they also won all four of their preseason games. Matthew Stafford is becoming a first-rate quarterback on a team many now view as a legitimate contender. This following a 4-40 stretch, including an 0-16 in 2008, the upside of which was getting the No. 1 pick that yielded Stafford.
Stafford, touted for stardom from the jump, is a much different story than Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick; a seventh round pick, out of that noted football factory Harvard University. Harvard [undergrad] has produced five U.S. presidents, 45 Nobel Prize winners, and 38 Pulitzer winners.
It is easier to count the number of quarterbacks from Harvard in the modern history of the NFL, because that number is one. Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose team, like the Lions, is now 2-0 after he directed a last minute drive to beat Oakland, capping it with his seventh touchdown pass of the young season.
It might be worth noting here that Buffalo and Detroit are among the cities hit hardest by the nation’s economic downturn. And while it’s nonsense to suggest that the fortunes of a local team are going to do you much good when the Repo Man shows up, it is true that spirits can be lifted.
So like chicken soup, it couldn’t hurt in Buffalo if the once formidable Bills return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. And certainly they’d be celebrating in Detroit if Justin Verlander pitches the Tigers into the World Series and Matthew Stafford somehow pitches the Lions to their first Super Bowl ever.
Hey, it’s Week 2. Let hope abound!”