By Sam Farmer
8:19 PM CDT, October 28, 2013
In April, the Oakland Raiders wanted Matt Barkley.
Sunday, they just might get him.
There's a good chance the Philadelphia Eagles might give the rookie from USC his first NFL start this weekend when they play at Oakland, a team that was angling to select him around the middle of the 2013 draft. The Eagles traded up to take him with the first pick of the fourth round.
Barkley was not chosen as the starter Monday, but the Eagles are awaiting test results on Nick Foles, who is recovering from a concussion, and Michael Vick, who Sunday aggravated what he called the worst hamstring injury of his career.
"Mike didn't seem like he was going to be ready this week," Coach Chip Kelly said Monday.
These are desperate times for the Eagles, who got off to a smoking start under Kelly, averaging 27.7 points in their first six games. But their offense has scored a total of three points the last two games and they haven't been able to keep their quarterbacks healthy. Barkley played in both of those games, losses to Dallas and the New York Giants, and had a combined four interceptions and a fumble.
"I don't think Matt played poorly," Kelly said Monday of Barkley's performance in the Eagles' 15-7 loss to the Giants on Sunday. "He made a bad decision at the end of the first half [when he was sacked and fumbled on first and goal from the New York two]. He knows he made a mistake. We have to chalk it up from there. ... I think he's got a bright future."
The Raiders, meanwhile, are no pushovers. They are coming off a 21-18 home victory over Pittsburgh, ending the Steelers' winning streak at two games. On the first play from scrimmage, Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor kept the ball on an option and tore through a massive hole in the defense. He ran 93 yards for a touchdown, the longest quarterback run in NFL history.
So for Kelly and the Eagles, who will look at that play more than once this week, their list of quarterback concerns just got a little longer.
It took real guts Sunday for Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford not to stop the clock in the waning moments of a game against Dallas, and instead take it upon himself to score the winning touchdown.
But what if he hadn't scored? Could the Lions have gotten off another play?
A quick review: With no timeouts and his team trailing by six points, Stafford had driven the Lions 79 yards in the final minute to the Dallas one. He wildly motioned to his teammates that he planned to spike the ball to stop the clock. Instead, when he saw the Cowboys linebackers weren't ready to stop him, he took a snap with 14 seconds to play and reached the ball across the goal line.
An instant after the ball broke the plane, an official at the goal line began to signal touchdown. Stafford bounced back into the scrum, ran around the left side and into the end zone. Had the ball not crossed over, that run around the end would have been important, so he essentially scored twice on the play.
Regardless, the question is, had he not scored — and not run the ball around the end — could he have gotten off another play?
Mike Pereira, the NFL's former vice president of officiating, said replay might have figured into the equation.
"Any time you get inside of 10 seconds at the end of the game, replay becomes a scary situation," said Pereira, now an officiating analyst for Fox. "Because how do you decide when to stop the clock? And if you stop it to take a look at it, obviously you're guaranteeing that the team's going to get another play."
In this case, the decision would have to have been to be a split-second one, without the benefit of TV replays, because, had the Lions not scored, they would be scrambling to get another snap off and spike the ball. Once the next play starts, officials can't go back and rule on the previous one.
Pereira said the replay assistant in the booth is instructed to watch the field and make a decision whether the team will have enough time for another snap. If the team gets lined up and it looks as if it will get another snap off, it's the replay assistant's job to push the button and stop the game.
"If they're not going to get it off, and the clock's going to expire, that's fine," Pereira said. "You let the clock expire. Then you can review the play after the clock hits zero. If it was, in fact, a score, then you can turn it into a score.
"To me, that's the No. 1 fear of a replay assistant, a decision on whether or not to stop the game on a running clock while the clock is heading to zero."
He ain't heavy
The New York Jets aren't as bad as they looked in Sunday's 49-9 loss at Cincinnati. Rex Ryan is sure of that.
"We're a much better team than that," the Jets coach said Monday. "We know we're a better team than that. But, again, what happened, happened. We better move forward."
Sunday, Ryan's team will play host to the New Orleans Saints, whose defensive coordinator is his twin brother, Rob. So there are off-season bragging rights at stake, too.
Said Rex: "New Orleans is one that will flat-out embarrass you."
Watch your back
Buffalo's Thad Lewis was sacked four times against New Orleans on Sunday, fumbling twice, and was frequently slow to climb to his feet.
The pressure won't be any less intense Sunday against Kansas City, the league's last undefeated team. The Chiefs lead the league with 36 sacks, nine more than the second-place team in that category … Buffalo.
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