What have we learned - Week 2
I watched most of the most entertaining game of the day (and in a while), the Cincinnati-Cleveland game. I love it when teams play no defense. How can the Bengals claim they're a playoff team when the Browns hang 51 on them? Cincinnati looks more and more like an 8-8 team. And it was fun watching Chad Johnson jump into the Dog (Dawg?) Pound and get beer dumped on him. Of course, his team was losing at the time, so maybe he should have calmed down, but it was still fun. I don't think we can really learn anything from this game, except that neither team plays defense.
Turnovers: Bengals 3, Browns 1. Final score: Cleveland 51, Cincinnati 45. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 1-0.
I barely watched any of the Indianapolis-Tennessee game, but if Vince Young doesn't learn how to throw the ball, the Titans are going to lose a lot of games like this. They have a decent defense and a good running game, but at the end, when Young needed to make a play, all he could do was run the ball, and that doomed the Titans. I think Young is overrated this early in his career, but I don't really have anything against him. He just needs to learn how to throw.
Turnovers: Titans 2, Colts 1. Final score: Indianapolis 22, Tennessee 20. Turnovers = loss? Yes, and the Titans fumbled with very little time left and a chance to win with a field goal. 2-0.
I love teams like San Francisco, which is 2-0 but isn't very good. In both of their games, key turnovers (or, in the case of the Arizona game, a turnover the Cardinals DIDN'T get) helped them win. The Rams really should be better, but they screw up far too often, and when the toughest guy on your team is the quarterback, that's not good. I did like the fact that the 49ers went for it on 4th-and-1 in the third quarter and Frank Gore smashed through the line and went 43 yards for a touchdown. Fortune favors the bold! No team should punt in that situation, unless they are surrendering.
Turnovers: Rams 3, 49ers 2. Final score: San Francisco 17, St. Louis 16. Turnovers = loss? Yes, again directly, as Dante Hall dropped a punt that led to the game-winning field goal. 3-0.
Even though I hate Nancy Boy Favre, I wasn't too sad to see the Packers beat the New Jersey football Giants yesterday. It was a loss for the Giants, and it made me feel a bit better about the Eagles' loss last week (not much, but a little). I didn't watch any of this game, but is the Giants' defense really that bad? Whenever the highlights came on, Favre was just carving them up. I thought New Jersey might be a mediocre team, but they might be worse than that.
Turnovers: Giants 2, Packers 1. Final score: Green Bay 35, New Jersey 13. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 4-0.
A game I had no interest in was the Buffalo-Pittsburgh game, and it turned out that the game wasn't interesting at all. I honestly don't know anything about this game - I haven't even seen any highlights. So let's just move on.
Turnovers: Steelers 1, Bills 0. Final score: Pittsburgh 26, Buffalo 3. Turnovers = loss? No. 4-1.
I should have done predictions before the year, because I would have put the Saints at no better than 8-8 and I'd be looking like a genius right now. They look awful on offense, which was supposed to be their strength. I guess Joe Horn was more important than we thought he was! Meanwhile, Jeff Garcia torched their weak defense while their running game methodically gained yards. Garcia threw only 16 passes but gained 243 yards. Holy crap, that's efficient. I doubt if Tampa will be that good this year, but they might finish in front of New Orleans.
Turnovers: Saints 2, Buccaneers 0. Final score: Tampa 31, New Orleans 14. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 5-1.
(Jeff Garcia, by the way, recently married this woman, who was Playboy's 2004 Playmate of the Year. Garcia is butt-ugly, so he must have something else going on!)
You have to be impressed with Houston. They were down 14-0, then ripped off 34 straight points. On the road, mind you. Is it just the addition of Matt Schaub? I haven't watched much of the Texans so far this year, so I have to think it's him. He had a pretty good day: 20-28 for 227 yards and 2 TDs. If Carolina is going to simply rely on Steve Smith (8 catches, 153 yards, all three of their touchdowns), it's going to be a long year.
Turnovers: Panthers 3, Texans 1. Final score: Houston 34, Carolina 21. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 6-1.
Jacksonville won, but they looked pretty crappy at home against the hapless Falcons. They're still overrated and probably won't do much this year. This was an amazingly dull game. The only thing we really learned is that the Falcons' line is awful - Harrington was sacked 7 times. How can we tell how good he is if he never has time to throw? Last week some Falcons said he held the ball too long. Why don't they block and get open for him?
Turnovers: none. Final score: Jacksonville 13, Atlanta 7. Turnovers = loss? No turnovers, so no advantage either way.
Another game I missed completely (sorry, but I didn't watch much, as I pointed out, and when I did, I was watching Bengals-Browns) was the Detroit-Minnesota game. I mentioned last week that we shouldn't put too much stock in the Vikings because they won the game so handily because of, you guessed it, turnovers. Their rookie QB (well, first-year starter, if not exactly a rookie) threw four interceptions. I guess it speaks to the lousiness of the Lions that they needed overtime to win because they kept giving the ball back. But you have to love Detroit's back-up quarterback, who led them to the win. His name is J. T. O'Sullivan, which I swear is a sports bar in Mesa.
Turnovers: Vikings 5, Lions 5. Final score: Detroit 20, Minnesota 17. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, because both teams suck.
The question is: Are the Cowboys that good, or are the teams they're playing that bad? I hope it's the latter, but I'm starting to worry about my Eagles in the division, because I have a feeling Dallas will continue to be at least this explosive on offense, and I loathe the Cowboys. My only consolation is that Tony Romo did not have a particularly good day (14-29, 186 yards, 2 TDs), so maybe when he plays a real defense the team won't look as good. Because I refuse to live in a world where Terrell Owens doesn't destroy a team in his second season with them. Hey, Miami? How's that quarterback situation?
Turnovers: Dolphins 5, Cowboys 0. Final score: Dallas 37, Miami 20. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 7-1.
In the afternoon, I watched most of the Arizona game. Sorry, but since I live here, I hear more about them than any team, and they are kind of fun to watch. The Cardinals may - may - have turned the corner with the win yesterday. They had a nice 17-0 lead, which I knew they would give away, and then late, the Seahawks were driving for the game-winning field goal when Hasselbeck and Alexander bumped into each other and a Cardinals' defender crashed into them and forced a fumble. One of Arizona's defenders tried to pick it up - fall on the damned ball! - and then another fell on it. It was nice to see them get a win like this, even if it was at home. The surprising thing about the Cardinals is that they ran the ball with authority and stuffed Shaun Alexander for most of the game. He needs to sit out a game, maybe. His hand is hurt and he's not running well.
Turnovers: Seahawks 1, Cardinals 1. Final score: Arizona 23, Seattle 20. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, but both turnovers led directly to scores.
Why do you punt to Devin Hester? I just don't get why, when you have a wide field, you punt directly to dangerous kick returners. Punt the damned thing toward the sideline, for crying out loud! Even if it doesn't go out of bounds, it's tough for a returner to get going when the sideline is right there. Rex Grossman had another lousy day, and I just can't see the Bears doing too well with him under center. The Chiefs are really bad. Well done with that quarterback and that running back in the off-season, Kansas City.
Turnovers: Chiefs 3, Bears 2. Final score: Chicago 20, Kansas City 10. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 8-1.
Hey, you know why Sebastian Janikowski missed a long field goal after making one that didn't count because Mike Shanahan called time-out before he kicked it? Because he plays for the Raiders. Man, shit like this just happens to bad teams.
Turnovers: Raiders 3, Broncos 2. Final score: Denver 23, Oakland 20. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 9-1.
Remember when New Jersey Jets fans cheered because Chad Pennington got hurt and they could finally see Kellen Clemens? Yeah, that was classy. Well, Clemens completed just about half of his passes and was intercepted twice. I like Clemens (because he's an Oregon Duck), but that's a tough game to start - against a pissed-off Ravens team in Baltimore. Speaking of which, do the Ravens even play offense? I would just let their defense play the entire game, because they could probably score more points than the offense. Arizona can win in Baltimore next week, but they can't, you know, turn the ball over.
Turnovers: J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets 2, Ravens 0. Final score: Baltimore 20, New Jersey 13. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 10-1.
Holy crap, the Cheaters put a stomping on the Super Chargers last night. Whenever I turned on the television, Tom Brady was standing behind his O-line, eating a sandwich, calling Gisele on the phone, and tickling little J. E. T. Moynihan's tummy. And then he would fire a bullet to some wide-open receiver. I never liked the Cheaters much and hate them even more now, but they looked gooooooood. I pity San Diego, because you knew whoever played the Cheaters after this week would pay dearly. I'm still waiting for Randy Moss to quit. It will come, my pretties. Oh yes, it will come.
Turnovers: Chargers 3, Cheaters 2. Final score: New England 38, San Diego 14. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 11-1.
So that's 21-3 for the teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents, with tonight's game to go. Surprising, I know. Tonight, let's hope Andy Reid remembers his stupid running game. Stupid Andy Reid!
In college football, it was an interesting week. Penn State didn't look too good against Buffalo, and I'm extremely worried about their game next week against Michigan. Their defense is pretty sound, but Michigan's offense is starting to play like we thought they would. Meanwhile, Kentucky knocked off Louisville, which is cool because I maintain that the Big East is overrated (the Big 10 is probably overrated, too, but the Big East is REALLY overrated), and Texas struggled against Central Florida. Central freakin' Florida! I'm also enjoying all the people trying to say how Charlie Weis is so much different than Ty Willingham, even though his third year, like Willingham's, is a disaster. It couldn't be because he's a fat white guy, could it? Arizona State is quietly 3-0, and Oregon looks really good. I always hope the Pac-10 does well, because they never get enough respect. So we'll see what happens this week, when my beloved Nittany Lions head to the Big House and try to snap a long losing streak (eight years? nine?) to the Wolverines. I have all week to fret.