Today's Names to Know: Brett Favre's chin, Drew Brees, Steve Weatherford, Donovan McNabb (or perhaps Rex Grossman?), Calvin Johnson, Raheem Morris, Jerry Jones, Madison Bumgarner, Cliff Lee, BCS, LeBron, Maurice Lucas and More.
The usual Monday NFL zip-through:
*Chin up, Favre fans: Now that we know -- or at least have been told -- that Brett Favre's chin injury isn't serious (but really, how could it not be a concussion?), we can talk about it as a form of catharsis. That's not meant to wish any sort of injury on him, just that the shot felt loaded with irony, given all the "will he/I or won't he/I" jawing of the past week.
Meanwhile, he played enough of the game to peg him with at least some of the blame for yet another loss.
*Boo dat? (Ugh. Sorry.) You have to figure that if the Superdome crowd was ever going to be really noisy for a regular-season game, it would be on Halloween night -- let alone in primetime, against one of the elite teams in the league. And they were, giving the Saints enough of an advantage to slip past the Steelers in the 4th quarter and, potentially, regain some of their mojo from the loss to the Browns last week.
Jets shut out: It's one thing to lose. It's another thing to get shut out -- especially when your D holds the other team to 9 points. (And following a bye week, no less!) It's back to "Hard Knocks"-level impotence for the Jets O. (You can knock Jets punter Steve Weatherford -- and Rex Ryan certainly did -- but someone on that team needed to be thinking offense.)
*Leave it to the mercurial Chargers to knock off the surging Titans. Unclear if there is a more unpredictable team in the NFL this season than San Diego.
*McBenched: Given how he responded a year ago to being benched, maybe Donovan McNabb will have a similar reaction next week, after it happened yesterday. But probably not. (Seriously, Shanahan: With 2 minutes to go in a winnable game? Welcome to Redskins media frenzy.)
*They just keep winning: Chiefs (in an ugly one that nearly ended in a tie)... Bucs (in a wild one -- LeGarrette Blount!)... Raiders (?!?!)
*Troy Smith! (Speaking of the London game: Touchdown, Tim Tebow.)
*Fantasy Player of the Day: Calvin Johnson (who was an obvious start anyway), with a hat-tip to Matt Stafford (who wasn't... and if you did start him, more power to you). And if you're looking for a RB, it has to be LeGarrette Blount from the Bucs, with 120 yards and 2 TDs. (Special shout-out to Miami's Dan Carpenter, who hit 5 FG for the 2nd straight game.)
*Quote of the Day: "I'm very, very, very sorry to our fans. You should have better than this." -- Jerry Jones, whose Cowboys are an absolute mess. Routed by the Jags? Yikes.
World Series: Is it over? Thanks to new Giants franchise hero Madison Bumgarner, it sure feels like it is. Up 3-1 with 2 of the next 3 games in SF, only needing to win one? With the way the Giants are pitching -- let alone hitting Texas pitching -- that seems like an insurmountable gap.
The good news: We get one more Lee-vs-Lincecum match-up. At least the Rangers get one more shot with their ace. (Then again, so do the Giants... and you're excused if you are wondering -- based on WS performances -- whether Cain and, now, Bumgarner join as team ace pitchers.)
BCS: It's Oregon 1 and Auburn 2, a flip-flop of last week's ranking. It would seem the computers like Oregon's win at USC more than Auburn's win at Ole Miss. Pay very very close attention to Schlabach's column on Alabama controlling its own destiny, because he is spot-on.
(Meanwhile, did you see how TCU moved up to No. 3, flip-flopping with Boise? That is strength-of-schedule continuing to kick in -- as it should. The AP voters look ridiculous putting Boise at No. 2. Either they are doing it on "rep" or as a protest vote of the BCS. Either way is intellectually lazy at best and dishonest at worst. And I say that as someone who thinks Boise is a great team.)
More on the BCS and this week's BlogPoll ballot coming later this morning.
LeBron on "The Decision": "If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different... I don't know what I would [have done], but I definitely would have changed it." Well, it's a start.... I have a few simple suggestions:
Don't make it a televised "event."
Don't let Jim Gray host it.
Don't wait 20 minutes before announcing.
Don't use kids as props.
Don't use a phrase like "I'm taking my talents to...."
Again, the problem wasn't with the decision to go to Miami. It was with the Decision to make such an awkward, off-putting spectacle of it.
Uniforms: Can the Rams just move back to the old-school unis, please? They looked awesome yesterday. (Speaking of which, the Pats' retro red uniforms are so much better than the futuristic blue ones they use normally.)
RIP Maurice Lucas, a key member of the classic 1977 NBA Champion Portland Trail Blazers. Per The Works, visit BlazersEdge for worthy commentary and memories.
Congrats to ESPN.com's Howard Bryant for winning the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Online Commentary/Blogging (Large Site division). He was the ONLY nominee -- across all categories -- from sports, and so it was nice to see him win. Given how awesome the online sports community is -- large and small -- we should all feel like we won a piece of the award.