Keeping Score

Stickum In San Diego? This Week’s NFL Lessons

Cam Newton's Struggles, RG3 Almost Beats The Giants, San Diego Under Investigation

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REUTERS/Mike Blake

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) greets Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (L) after losing to Denver following their Monday Night NFL football game in San Diego, California October 15, 2012. The NFL is investigating the Chargers for possibly using banned "sticky substances."

Three things we learned from Week 7 of the NFL:

1. Sticky Situation. Just what the NFL needs: another scandal! Bountygate is still being adjudicated, then we had the replacement ref mess, and now . . . Stickum? Turns out there might have been a reason the San Diego Chargers entered this Sunday’s games with the fewest dropped passes this season. The NFL is now looking into whether Chargers players used a “banned sticky substance” during the team’s Monday night loss against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 15. (San Diego blew a 24-0 half-time lead and lost, 35-24). According to the Associated Press:

During Monday night’s game, an equipment manager came onto the field with an illegal substance on hand towels, Fox Sports reported. Line judge Jeff Bergman saw the towels and tried to confiscate the substance. When the equipment manager wouldn’t give it up, the officials made him empty his pockets and found a skin colored or clear type of tape, Fox Sports reported …

It wasn’t clear whether the Chargers were on offense or defense when the substance was confiscated.

In 1981, the NFL banned the product Stickum and other sticky substances. Raiders cornerback Lester Hayes was renowned for using the substance before it was banned.

If found guilty, San Diego could be fined, or docked a draft pick. The Chargers are notorious for having talented teams that underperform. Are they cheating too?

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2. Griffin The Near-Giant Killer. Last week, as further evidence emerged that he’s one of the most electrifying players to enter the NFL in years, Robert Griffin III scampered 78-yards for a score late in the game, to seal Washington‘s 38-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings. This week, he almost engineered another amazing win — against the Super Bowl champs, on the road, no less.

On a 4th and 10 with just over two minutes left, and with Washington trailing 20-16, Griffin scrambled out of the pocket and threw a pass while falling to the ground; it found tight end Logan Paulsen for a 19-yard pickup that kept the game alive for the Redskins. A few plays later, Griffin tossed a 30-yard beauty to Santana Moss for the go-ahead TD.

But these are the Giants, who just keep finding ways to win. On the very first play of their last-gasp drive, Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 77-yard score – Cruz just ran right by Washington’s lackadaisical defense. The Giants won it, 27-23, and Manning’s winning drive was the 22nd of his career in either the fourth quarter or overtime. As for Griffin, it was his first game in the NFC East and while he may have lost this one, RG3 will win his fair share.

3. No Cam Do. Is it now safe to say that Cam Newton is suffering a sophomore slump? Last season, Newton set an NFL record for most passing yards in a season (4,051). This year, the Carolina Panthers quarterback has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5), and Carolina is 1-5. After Carolina’s disastrous 19-14 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday — incredibly, it was their ninth straight victory against the Panthers in the regular season — Newton’s frustration boiled over when he met the press. “The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director,” Newton said. “It’s kind of getting boring.”

“This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast.”

“I’m going to bring in a suggestion box. And I want your suggestions in that suggestion box, because I sure don’t know. I really don’t.”

He’s going to need the right answers fast.

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