Browns' Mack faces alleged junk-grabber

Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:51 PM ET

Each week there are a host of top-notch games with quality running up against quality.

At the same time, there are also some games where the dregs meet the dregs and it’s take out the trash time.

So with no further ado, today we’ll focus on a couple of matchups which we’ll term the Junk Bowl Games.

JUNK BOWL I

First up we have the Tennessee Titans taking on the Browns in Cleveland. Both teams are a surprising 2-1, so if you happen to be a fan of either team, there’s no disrespect intended.

We’re not focusing on the two teams this day, but instead we’re referring to the return matchup of Titans defensive tackle Shaun Smith against Cleveland centre Alex Mack.

I can see the light bulb turning on in a lot of NFL fans’ heads.

Last year Smith, a one-time member of the Browns and teammate of Mack, played for the Kansas City Chiefs and in a Sept. 19 game at Cleveland a memorable incident occurred between the two.

Late in the second quarter, in a pile up, Mack emerged enraged and was assessed a 15-yard roughing penalty for jumping back into the pile.

After the game he accused Smith of yanking on his ‘junk’, a manoeuvre that was not caught on tape but was one that Mack said occurred.

“I don’t think he should be able to do that,” Mack said after the game that day. “I’m still fired up about it.”

Smith, for his part, pleaded innocence.

“I don’t have no comment,” he said. “I don’t recall doing anything like that. I’m not known for being a dirty player or anything like that, so I don’t know what that was all about.”

The next game, though, when the Chiefs played the 49ers, Smith struck again as he yanked on offensive tackle Anthony Davis’ genitals and this time it was caught on tape and he subsequently received a fine.

“He tried to feel me,” Davis said after the game. “That’s weird, right?”

That is right, Anthony.

Mack remains with the Browns and Smith is with Tennessee so could a second close encounter be in the works?

Tune in and see.

JUNK BOWL II

This one is more legit as it features two teams that are without a win, the 0-3 Minnesota Vikings traveling to Kansas City to face the 0-3 Chiefs.

The Vikings have lost in more spectacular fashion as in all three games they have lost despite opening up double-digit leads of 10, 17 and 20 points, respectively. That takes some doing.

“You’ve got two teams facing each other that’s 0-3,” Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said. “We’ll see who wants to get the ‘W’ the most.”

Meanwhile, quarterback Donovan McNabb said the Vikings have to take a “must-win attitude and approach.”

It’s not difficult to see where the Vikings have to show improvement — how about the second half when they’ve had all of their leads evaporate. In the second half, the Vikings have been out-scored 67-6, are 1-for-15 on third downs and 0-for-7 on fourth downs.

McNabb, meanwhile, has gone 18-for-37 for 108 yards and zero TDs in the second half.

It means that no matter the score, the Chiefs will never be out of this one.

In last week’s loss to San Diego, Kansas City failed to register a first down in the opening half but came back to make a game of it and trailing by three points were driving for either a go-ahead TD or game tying field goal when disaster struck.

With about a minute to go and first down at the San Diego 43, the Chiefs called a screen pass to Dexter McCluster. Matt Cassel’s pass, though, was picked off and that was that.

But at least the Chiefs showed some life, unlike their opening two defeats.

The team that loses this game may get a leg up in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

What are the chances it ends in a tie?

PAINT BY NUMBERS

You’ll have to wait for it but on Monday night, Curtis Painter will be making his first NFL start when he opens up as the Indianapolis Colts quarterback against Tampa Bay.

Veteran pivot Kerry Collins, who was signed on at the last minute to take over when Peyton Manning’s injured neck required another operation, is still recovering from concussion-like symptoms.

“He’s pretty excited about that, there’s no question about it,” coach Jim Caldwell said of Painter’s reaction. “You can see it. He’s always pretty level-headed, never too high, never too low, but you can certainly see the focus and intensity in his eyes.”

Receiver Reggie Wayne for one, is enthusiastic about the decision.

“He’s making his first start on Monday night television in front of the world, and being in the situation where he can prove a bunch of people wrong,” Wayne said.

To which Painter replied: “What gives you the most encouragement is when you have teammates that have confidence in you. Reg echoes that on the field in his mannerisms. I appreciate the confidence that my teammates are giving me.”


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