Big Ben Bombs

Some literary dim sum to chew over ...

Jesus -- did I really just write that??

1. Less than eight months ago, Big Ben was on top of the world after leading the Steelers to a Super Bowl win. First, a motorcycle crash wrecks his face. Then the emergency appendectomy. Add a fever as he makes his first start of the season in steamy Jacksonville. Stillers lose 9-0. Cowher's jaw must be aching.

2. Warrick Dunn leads the league with 266 rushing yards? Frank Gore -- yes, Frank Gore -- is fourth with 214? Michael Vick is tied for eighth with 175 yards? It probably won't last, but makes for some interesting story lines this season. Dunn was always thought of as too small. Gore shredded a knee in college at Miami. Vick ... well, I think when Rush Limbaugh made his comments a couple years back about Donovan McNabb that got him booted from ESPN, he could have easily been talking about Vick.

Right now, Michael Vick is all about potential. He's no better than Bobby Douglass -- a scatback QB -- was for the Bears in the early '70s.

3. The Saints are 2-0 and headed home to New Orleans for the first game of the post-Katrina era when they face Vick and the Falcons on Monday night. Now, never mind for a moment that New Orleans can match its win total from last season: that was going to happen anyway.

They're back. The Superdome is back. Add another semblance of normalcy to Gulf Coast.

4. Oklahoma is in a snit because of poor officiating in a 34-33 loss to Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks scored two touchdowns in the final 72 seconds and then blocked a game-winning field goal attempt at the final gun to preserve the win.

Turns out an incorrect call by Pac-10 officials changed the outcome of the game. An onside kick was touched by an Oregon player before traveling the required 10 yards, giving the Ducks the ball back and trailing 33-27. Now, Oklahoma is threatening to cancel its home-and-home series with Washington, another Pac-10 school, in retaliation.

The Sooners are screaming about the poor call. Fine. Can we hear something about the poor play by Oklahoma's defense that led to all this? No, of course not.

5. Kellen Winslow. Shut...the...FUCK...up!

A little more background. He was Cleveland's first-round pick two years ago from Miami. Missed all but two games in 2004 with an injury. Missed all of last season following a well-publicized motorcycle accident. So far this season, he's got a team-high 12 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.

But he's not happy. Like Keyshawn and Terrell before him, he wants the damn ball. And, to make things worse, he wants it every play.

"The Giants run the same system as we do," Winslow said. "The Cowboys run the same system as we do, (Jason) Witten and (Jeremy) Shockey are on the field on third down, and I just don't understand why I'm not on the field sometimes. ... It's very frustrating. We're losing and I'm not on the field. I just don't get it."

Try this: you've played four games in three years. You've disappointed your coaches, teammates and fans. I'm hardly a Browns fan, but I would tend to listen to head coach Romeo Crennel than this young pup.

Put your time in and you'll be rewarded. Until then, zip it.

6. Detroit was 10 1/2 games ahead of then third-place Minnesota on Aug. 7. Forty-four days later, the Twins have shaved 10 games off that lead and can move into first place tonight with a win and a Tigers loss.

How many packs a day is Jim Leyland up to? I say three. Detroit has been in first place since May 21, but if they miss out on the playoffs, it's a collapse for the ages on the Gene Mauch-1964 Phillies-type scale.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

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