Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Name:
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

9.10.06

What have we learned - Week 5

Well, we learned that Terrell Owens is still classless, which is why he's on the perfect team! But that will come in a bit.

First, a thought or two about college football. I hear "experts" all the time talk about the SouthEastern Conference as the best in the land. Now, Penn State is a Big Ten(eleven) school, but I don't necessarily think the Big Ten(eleven) is the best conference - it might be this year, but each year everything fluctuates. The problem I have is that the "experts" say the SEC is the best conference every year. That's bullshit, and it's certainly bullshit this year, and I can prove it, and so could every "expert" if they bothered to take their heads out of their asses and consider cold hard facts instead of the fact that the "atmosphere" in Baton Rouge on a Saturday night is awesome.

USC, which everyone seems to agree is having a down year, beat Arkansas, an SEC team, 50-14. In Arkansas, I might add. Arkansas, unranked this past weekend, went on the road to Auburn, supposedly the best team in the SEC, and spanked the crap out of them. IN AUBURN! The "experts" pointed to this game as proof that the SEC is tough, because Arkansas beat Auburn so handily. I point to this game, and the USC game, as proof that the SEC is mediocre. I don't often agree with Colin Cowherd on ESPN radio, but he always hammers this point home: SEC football is great when the teams play each other, but when they play outside the conference and play any team with anything resembling a good offense, they get smoked. Why do you think Spurrier was so good in the conference for so long? Because the SEC teams didn't know how to handle his offense!!!!

All right, moving on to the game they play for pay:

The Dallas-Philly game lived up to the hype, at least for the most part. I loved seeing Owens short-arm not one, but two passes late in the game. Yeah, he's a tough guy. And today on the aforementioned Colin Cowherd's radio show, he and Eric Allen were bashing the Eagle receivers. Sure, they picked on Owens, but they bashed Hank Baskett (3 catches, 112 yards, 87-yard touchdown) and Reggie Brown (40-yard touchdown while he was double-covered for the game-winning touchdown). WTF? Yes, I realize the Eagles don't have a super-duper #1 receiver, but I can't think of any team in the history of the league who won a Super Bowl simply because they had a super-duper #1 receiver. The closest is Jerry Rice with the 49ers, but they had a ton of weapons. Just like the Eagles. I'll take the receiving corps this year as opposed to Owens ripping the team apart. Like he's about to do to the Cowboys. This was the most satisfying win the Eagles have had since the NFC Championship Game in early 2005. They are banged up and they haven't played the toughest part of their schedule, but I'm hoping they keep building confidence for when the schedule does get difficult. And the next time they play Dallas (on Christmas), let's hope Owens has destroyed the team by then. Wouldn't that be a nice present?

The Matt Leinart Era began auspiciously in Arizona and ended ignominiously, as the Cardinals blew a 14-0 first quarter lead and lost when one of the best kickers in the game, Neil Rackers, missed a 51-yard field goal at the end (which is, to be fair, a tough kick). Once again, the Cardinals can't run the ball, and that was their downfall, as they couldn't control the game once they got an early lead. I heard something interesting on the local radio show this morning: the Cardinals' offensive linemen often don't get down in a three-point stance on passing plays because they're getting beat so quickly, and that tips off the defense that it's a pass. Interesting. Just one of those minor things that can tip a game, and shows why the Cardinals are a bad team. That and they can't tackle Larry Johnson on a 78-yard screen pass until their cornerback almost rips his head off. Good job, there.

Every single time I turned on the Buffalo-Chicago game, the Bears were in Buffalo territory. I thought I had to be missing something, but at one point they showed a graphic that the Bears had run 14 of 18 plays in Buffalo territory, and then later they had run 15 straight plays in the Bills' side of the field. Holy crap, that's a good team. I remain completely unconvinced of Rex Grossman's greatness, but right now, nobody can challenge them in the NFL, much less the NFC. Of course, that will change next week when they go on the road to Glendale, AZ, and face their mighty ex-crosstown rivals, the Cardinals! Matt Leinart might have a short, two-game career.

The Vikings scored two defensive touchdowns and beat the Lions by 9 points. Minnesota isn't that good, but in the division that mirrors America (the haves - the Bears - and the have-nots - the Lions and Packers) the Vikings are the diminishing middle class! Who knew football contained such vivid socio-economic metaphors???? Good to see the Lions ran Joey Harrington out of town. Yeah, he was the reason you weren't winning.

The Rams are 4-1, but consider this: in two games, they were about to lose and be tied, when the opposing quarterback fumbled near their goal line. The Arizona game was worse, because Warner fumbled the snap, but this past week was almost as weird, because all Green Bay needed was a field goal to tie, and they took one more chance at the end zone, and Nancy-Boy Favre fumbled on kind of a freak play. So yes, St. Louis is winning. But they play Seattle next week, and you know the Seahawks are going to come out flying, having had two weeks to stew after that shellacking they took from the Bears. The game is in St. Louis, so it should be a wild time. And I think Nancy-Boy convinced his coach to let him take a shot at the end zone because he wants to pass Dan Marino for most touchdown passes in a career and all he cares about now are his stats. Who's with me?

The Colts might be the worst 5-0 team in the NFL history. Seriously, they can't beat the Titans by more than one point at home? Really, Peyton? Any team with a halfway decent quarterback and a decent defense would beat the crap out of Indy right now. In fact, it's interesting to see that after the Indy game, Byron Leftwich has been flinging the ball all over the field. If they had allowed him to do that against the Colts, that game wouldn't have been close. Indy needs to make some serious adjustments. Vince Young ran the ball well, but he looked lost on some of the passes. He can certainly improve, but I have a feeling it might be a while. Matt Leinart made some poor decisions, but he looked a lot more comfortable and polished.

I hardly watched the Miami-New England game, but I see that Daunte Culpepper is whining about not playing. I have a soft spot for Harrington because he's an Oregon QB, but I think he needs to play right now. Culpepper is coming off a big injury, and it's pretty obvious he's still hurt. I love quarterback controversies. They're so interesting. And the Patriots just cruise along. I still don't trust them, but apparently every other team in the division has decided to suck (Bills/Jets scores: 7-81), so they should win it easily.

Tampa-New Orleans was actually a very entertaining game, even before the Reggie Bush punt return for the winning touchdown. I fear for Philadelphia going down to Nawlins next week, because everyone loves the Saints this year and the place is apparently going to be a madhouse the entire season. I don't have a lot to say about this game. It went back and forth, the Tampa quarterback (Gradkowski) played his heart out, and Bush will be scary good very soon. Let us hope Jeremiah Trotter knocks him back into the Stone Age for at least one game. Then he can go nuts.

Boy, the New Jersey Giants looked pretty bad, but at least they were playing a team that looked worse. Washington didn't even look like they wanted to play, and it was a divisional game! These are the two teams everyone was picking to make the playoffs from the NFC East? Eli still looks like a rookie in that he can't put together two consistent consecutive drives, much less games. And Jay Feely missed an early field goal that makes me even more angry that Trent Cole kicked some Giant in the Philly game and gave him 15 extra yards. No way he makes that from 50-some yards. Stupid, stupid Trent Cole!

I didn't watch any of the Cleveland-Carolina game. God, it looked dull. I suppose that the Panthers deserve some credit for winning three straight after their 0-2 start, but they're just not that impressive. I know the Browns aren't awful, but you have to beat them by more than that at home, Carolina.

Troy Aikman had a fantastic dig: "Is Randy Moss still in the league?" Who knew Aikman was that evil? Early on, Moss dropped a beautifully-thrown pass in the end zone when he was wide open. From then on, you just knew the Raiders were going to lose. I hardly watched this game either, but Oakland is just so awful, I would not be surprised if they lost every game. They have to win one by default, don't they? Here's another quarterback that I like - Andrew Walter went to Arizona State - who doesn't deserve the treatment of playing for such a shitty team.

Holy crap, the Jaguars took out their frustration on the Jets, didn't they? The Jets have been this way for years - they look pretty good one week, and then stink the next. It's weird. I don't know how Leftwich throws that ball with such a wind-up, and wonder if it gets him in trouble with good teams, but 41-0 is still impressive in the NFL. Let us hope Jacksonville allows Leftwich to fire away the next time they play the Colts.

Why doesn't San Diego keep the powder-blue uniforms? It's pretty unanimous that they are the best NFL uniforms ever, yet they only break them out once a year. Silly. And I'm not sure why the Steelers did a couple of things: sat Charlie Batch when it had to be clear that Roethlisberger needed a while longer to heal; and put so much on Ben's shoulders when their success the past two years has been predicated on NOT putting so much on his shoulders. He will probably be a good quarterback, but he's still only in his third year. They have run the ball less this year and asked him to win the game, and he's not yet there. Pittsburgh will have a rough year, I think. They already are.

Let's see ...
Most impressive win: The two big wins - Chicago and Jacksonville - were at home against mediocre teams. I don't want to be a homer, but I think it might have been the Eagles. With all the media attention and the reminders that McNabb kind of lost this team last year, the potential was there for a big meltdown. And the defense stepped up (they only gave up two touchdowns, remember), especially in the second half.
Least impressive win: Carolina, although the Giants are a close second. As I pointed out above, you have to beat Cleveland more impressively at home.
Most impressive loss: Surprisingly, Arizona. I know "moral victories" don't exist in the NFL, but to play a team that won the previous week 41-0 toe-to-toe with a guy making his first start is pretty good.
Least impressive loss: The AFC East didn't represent this week, did they? Jets: 0-41. Bills: 7-40. Dolphins: 13-20 against the Patriots. I guess Miami played tough, but the other two were just awful.

Some big games next week: Giants-Falcons, Panthers-Ravens, Seahawks-Rams, Eagles-Saints, Chiefs-Steelers, and the Bears play here Monday night. It's a shame that the Cardinals get to show off the UPS (University of Phoenix Stadium - it's pronounced "OOPS!") on national television in a game that they might lose by five touchdowns. Ah well, c'est la vie. I'll be here next week. I hope you join me!

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5 Comments:

Blogger john sweet said...

(okay... deep breath... do not own up to being a Bills fan... keep head down...)

My rant against the so-called "Arthur Kings"... err, "experts"... this week comes from the Penn State game. I came on just in time to watch Penn State driving the field in OT. Along comes the crucial 3rd down pass interference penalty and the "experts" go like this:

"Yup. Clearly there early."
"No doubt about it."

Which, of course, makes sense. Cut away to no more than thirty seconds later.

"A terrible call."
"Yup. Have to let them play in such a close game this close to the end."

WTF!?! was never more appropriate. I guess, with the new time clock handling rules to shorten games we have now introduced a rule in which you may commit penalties within the last two minutes of the game and get away with them.

But why stop at pass interference? Why not just negate off-sides and let linebackers and cornerbacks get two or three early steps on the quarterback? Why not allow linemen to tackle and hold defenders? And, why even bother with instant replay? Let the players play, and let the refs make the calls... and make them stick. Hell, we already have seen how corrupt officials can "miss" a call on instant replay.

Out.

John

10/10/06 4:09 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Well, it WAS kind of a ticky-tack call, but going by the letter of the law, it was a penalty. I don't understand the "if it's late in the game, let them play" mentality either. Very often a penalty early on can have crucial implications for the entire game. Shouldn't we "let them play" the entire game if you're going to have that attitude?

Minnesota, after all, missed an extra point in OT. One of the easiest plays in football. And on the play before the pass interference, it seemed pretty clear that Tony Hunt was held on the screen pass. So it all balances out. I get cranky when calls go against Penn State, so I can understand why Minnesota fans would be angry, but they made enough mistakes to lose, and the game was in Minneapolis, so one would think the refs would favor the home team.

It's all pretty moot, because Penn State is going to get hammered next week against Michigan.

10/10/06 7:53 AM  
Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

I have no idea.

The Jets play the Colts tough then get blown out this week. And the Jags CAN'T be that good, can they?

I didn't think the Bills were THAT bad. Is Chicago THAT good?

I saw only the last of the Cowboys game, and I HATE the Cowboys, so I'm down with an eagles win THIS week.

So, as I said, I have no idea.

10/10/06 6:29 PM  
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