Sunday NFL Countdown: J.J. Watt, Peyton Manning Entering “500 Club,” Meaning of Football in Texas, Giovani Bernard; Harbaugh Comfortable in Chaos; and More
Host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson will preview the NFL’s week 5 games on Sunday NFL Countdown on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN. The three-hour program will also feature NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter and host Wendi Nix.
ESPN reporters at game sites:
- Texans at Cowboys (Ed Werder and Ron Jaworski)
- Falcons at Giants (Sal Paolantonio)
- Ravens at Colts (Lindsay Czarniak)
- Cardinals at Broncos (Josina Anderson)
- J.J. Watt: After returning an interception 80 yards for a touchdown, delivering nine quarterback hits and five tackles, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Countdown’s Michelle Beisner traveled to Houston for a one-on-one interview with Watt, the most disruptive defender in the NFL today.
- 500 Touchdown Club: Peyton Manning is one TD pass away from joining Brett Favre as the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with 500 touchdown passes. Countdown presents an essay welcoming the Denver Broncos signal caller to this exclusive club.
- Football in Texas – “Friday Night Lights”: As the 3-1 Houston Texans face the 3-1 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Countdown turns to Peter Berg, director of Friday Night Lights – the 2004 film about Texas high school football, to voice an essay on the meaning of football in the Lone Star State.
- Giovani Bernard and his Mentor: Jim Trotter reports on the mentee-mentor relationship between Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard and Countdown’s Cris Carter, dating back to Bernard’s time playing for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where Carter helped as an assistant coach.
- Hannah Storm “Face to Face” with Patrick Peterson: In a special contribution to Countdown, Hannah Storm, in her “Face to Face with Hannah Storm” series, features Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who says his wife, Antonique Larry, is his most-ardent fan and harshest critic.
- Fashion on NFL Sidelines: Tom Landry used to pace the Cowboys sidelines in a fedora, while Chiefs legendary coach Hank Stram wore a dapper sport coat. Now, the NFL has Bill Belichick in sweatshirts and Rex Ryan in sweater vests. Reporter Greg Garber examines the changing fashion style among NFL head coaches.
- “We’re Preparing for Cincinnati”: Comedian Frank Caliendo recreates the evasive press conference on Wednesday by New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
- Jim Harbaugh – Comfortable in Chaos: ESPN The Magazine senior writer Seth Wickersham reports on how 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh thrives when it appears everything around him is falling apart.
Monday Night Football: Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Visit the Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins host Russell Wilson and the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on October 6 at 8:15 p.m. ET. Mike Tirico will call the game from FedExField in Landover, Maryland, with analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters. In the series’ 45-year history, this is the first meeting between the two teams under the MNF lights.
The Seahawks boast an eight-game winning streak on MNF and their MNF winning percentage (.714) is the best among the 32 NFL teams. MNF airs on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and is available on WatchESPN.
Monday Night Countdown at 6 p.m. on ESPN includes Suzy Kolber and NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young at the stadium and the studio team of host Chris Berman, NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. Highlights:
- Soundtracks – Best of Russell Wilson: Russell Wilson may have been a third round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII-winning quarterback has established himself as a franchise quarterback. This week, Countdown offers the best of Russell Wilson’s in-game audio in Soundtracks.
- Gruden’s Grill Session with Jay Gruden: MNF’s Jon Gruden visits with the first year Redskins head coach, and his younger brother, Jay Gruden.
- Kirk Cousins Conversation: Entering his third week as the Redskins starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins sits for a one-on-one conversation with Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
- Rick Reilly – The 12th Man: “The 12th Man” has become an integral part of Seahawks football in Seattle, but its impact goes beyond crowd noise. Countdown’s Rick Reilly reports how “The 12th Man” helped change the life of a Vietnam War veteran.
NFL Matchup – Giants Run Game; Colts’ Third-Down Passes; Bengals All-out Blitz; Romo Against the Blitz; and More
NFL Matchup host Paolantonio and analysts Jaworski and Merril Hoge preview the weekend’s key matchups via film-room X’s and O’s analysis Saturday, Oct. 4, at 8:30 a.m. on ESPN2 (re-air on ESPN, Sunday at 3:30 a.m.).
- Run to Daylight – Giants run game: Hoge explains how a resurgent Giants offense can be successful against the Falcons run defense.
- Game within the Game – Colts’ third-down passes: Using a successful play against the Titans’ blitz, Jaworski illustrates how the Colts offense converts on third downs with simple throws from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton.
- Let’s See it Hoge – Chargers’ passing concepts: Hoge explains how the San Diego Chargers passing game uses multiple formations to beat any defense.
- Hoge Breakdown – Bengals all-out blitz: In a matchup against a young New England offensive line, expect the veteran Bengals defense to bring heavy doses of pressure to disrupt quarterback Tom Brady.
- Coaches Clicker – Running the ball against the Seahawks: Hoge breaks down key elements in running the ball successfully against Seattle’s defense and contends the Redskins will look to do the same on Monday night.
- Between the Lines – Romo’s hot streak against the blitz: Jaworski explains why the blitz-heavy Texans must tread carefully against Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who has thrown six TD passes against the blitz.
- Anatomy of a Play – Kaepernick’s touchdown pass: The panel explains the obvious difficulties of defending 49ers Colin Kaepernick through a play where the quarterback buys time to deliver a critical touchdown pass against the Eagles defense.
NFL on ESPN Radio: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts
Play by play commentator Ryan Ruocco, analyst Bill Polian and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons will call the Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts matchup on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. on ESPN Radio. The 3-1 Ravens are on a three-game winning streak, while the Colts have won two straight games behind quarterback Andrew Luck.
ESPN The Magazine’s Seth Wickersham Profiles 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh: “Comfortable in Chaos”
Despite a stellar 38-13-1 record in his three-plus years coaching the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Harbaugh has become one of the more scrutinized, if not criticized, coaches in the league with his unrelenting intensity and over-the-top passion. As Seth Wickersham writes for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, it isn’t easy being Harbaugh, and that’s the way he likes it. Story
E:60: Updated Profile of 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman Airs Tuesday at 8 p.m.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman knows pain. Last January, the world saw him go down in a heap in the NFC title game, his knee ligaments torn. For the past eight months, the three-time All-Pro has endured a grueling rehabilitation regime, hoping to return to the field by the middle of this season. For Bowman, that gruesome and very public injury in no way compares to the private pain he’s carried with him his whole life. Growing up near Washington, D.C., and during an All-Big Ten career at Penn State, Bowman was shielded from a deep family secret. When it was finally revealed to him, it forced him to reconsider the very essence of his identity, and sent Bowman on a journey of discovery thousands of miles away. E:60’s Jeffri Chadiha is alongside Bowman as he peels back the hidden layers of his past, exposes his pain, and finds something he never expected – forgiveness. Preview.