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NFL Week 8 observations: chicken man, bar tabs and more

Adam Vinatieri is still kicking after all these years. Colts team web site

Week 8 of NFL action brought us few surprises. Most of the favorites won, some even covered the spread. But, as always, there were some exciting action and unusual plays/occurrences. Let’s check out how I saw things this week:

The Good

-A Panthers fan staged a protest against over-priced fried chicken by bringing his own to the game Sunday. Although the chicken was consumed before they made it inside, it’s still worth top billing here. Hopefully stadium execs across the country will see this more often and take note.

-Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri became the league’s all-time leading scorer Sunday. He passed HOFer Morten Andersen on a field goal 29 seconds before halftime against the Raiders. At 45 years old, Vinatieri is in his 23rd year and still one of the most accurate and clutch kickers in football. To put things in perspective: his rookie year was my sophomore year in high school.

-Cardinals rookie quarterback threw the game winning touchdown pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk and the two-point conversion to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald for their second win of the season. Composure under pressure and decision making are two critical keys to good quarterback play. Here’s to hoping Rosen can be their franchise quarterback.

The Bad

- Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston was pulled after throwing four interceptions, including a pick six, against the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick, A.K.A. Fitz-magic, came in down 34-16 in the third quarter and helped them to tie the game with about 1:05 left in the game. They lost on a field goal with time expiring. The Jameis Experiment in Tampa should be over now.

-The Rams went up 29-27 at the two minute warning. The Packers had been giving them hell all game. Packers’ running back Ty Montgomery fielded the kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and decided to run it out, then he fumbled on the 21 and the Rams recovered. They’d go on to run the clock out for the win. Tough way to lose on such a bad decision.

-The Lions only managed 34 yards rushing in their 28-14 loss to the Seahawks. After signing LeGarrette Blount, drafting Kerryon Johnson, and still having Amir Abdullah, this was a pitiful output. Matt Stafford’s arm will fall off at this rate.

The Ugly

-We all have criticized the refs at one point. Whether we feel they screwed our team, cost us money, or made games hard to watch, we have all thought they should lose their jobs. The NFL went there when they fired Hugo Cruz effective immediately this past Thursday after he missed a critical false start call against Chargers’ Russell Okung against the Browns in week six. Typically, an official will have to rank in the third tier of grading two consecutive years before being fired.

-Four Jags’ players were arrested, detained, and eventually released early Saturday morning in London for allegedly skipping out on a bar tab. Safety Barry Church, one of the four, said Sunday after their 24-18 loss to the Eagles this was a misunderstanding. Since when is a $64,000 tab a “misunderstanding?” This team is now on a four game slide with no signs of recovering.

-The 2-5-1 Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley Monday. Jackson and Haley will be seen as scapegoats for the team’s failures this season. The team is 3-36-1 under Jackson, but the roster finally has talent worthy of an NFL roster. GM John Dorsey will get to pick his own head coach. In the meantime, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (of Bountygate fame) will serve as the interim.  

Another great week of NFL football in the books, but still some questions remain: Who will be the next Browns coach? Are the Rams and Chiefs destined to meet in the Super Bowl? Who’s next on the chopping block? Who will the Giants take with the first overall pick? Will the Raiders’ 2019 first round draft selections go over or under 5.5? I’m looking forward to the answers. See yall next week!

 

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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