What have we learned - Week 4
Then there's football. Horrible, horrible football. Sigh.
I'm pretty pissed off about the Beagles today, for any number of reasons. The 15(!) penalties piss me off, but the 12(!) sacks make me even angrier. Andy Reid, as I've said before, is not a great coach but just a good one, because he can't adapt. Last week, the Eagles sacked Jon Kitna 9 times, but the Lions were far behind and throwing a lot. For most of the game last night, Philadelphia was either tied 0-0, behind 7-0, or behind 10-0. Their running game, even without Brian Westbrook, was doing fine. Correll Buckhalter gained 103 yards, after all, but got only 17 carries. Early on, it was obvious that the offensive line couldn't pass block. Yet Reid kept calling pass plays and hung McNabb out to dry. His receivers aren't that good, so when the Giants realized the Eagles weren't going to pound the ball with the running game, they teed off on McNabb. And when they did run the ball successfully, Reid didn't go to play action to try to slow the pass rush. After some successful runs, they went to a straight pass, and the Giants went nuts. I'm amazed that Reid ran the ball at all, because of Westbrook's absence, but once he saw that it was working, why did he keep calling passes? That's why he's not a great coach - he wants to win HIS way, not the way that's working. Damn. This morning on ESPN the rather idiotic Skip Bayless said the Eagles would never win with McNabb because he couldn't escape the pass rush. Let's see - his starting tackle was hurt and the replacement gave up 6 sacks to one guy, and his receivers aren't very good. Yet Bayless didn't launch into Andy Reid for calling a horrid game. Put Peyton Manning in the exact same situation last night and see how he does. Damn. The Eagles get a week off next Sunday, and maybe they'll heal a bit, but Andy Reid shows no indication that he's ever going to learn. And that's why McNabb, the best quarterback the Eagles have ever had (better than Jaworski, better than van Brocklin), is going to leave the team soon and go somewhere else. Where he'll probably win a Super Bowl.
Turnovers: Eagles 1, Giants 1. Final score: New Jersey 16, Philadelphia 3. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, but I figure the 12 sacks and 15 penalties had something to do with it.
Because the Eagles played last night, I hardly watched any games yesterday. For instance, I didn't watch Houston go on the road and lose to Atlanta. Did anyone beyond those two cities care?
Turnovers: Texans 2, Falcons 0. Final score: Atlanta 26, Houston 16. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 1-0.
Here's another game I know nothing about. Chad Pennington, apparently, looked awful. Trent Edwards, meanwhile, the first rookie quarterback to start this year, had a pretty darned good game. Neither of these teams is any good, though.
Turnovers: Jets 2, Bills 2. Final score: Buffalo 17, New Jersey 14. Turnovers = loss? There's no advantage.
I did watch some of the Ravens-Browns game, though, because I saw the score at 27-6 (I was out in the morning, so I didn't turn on the television until most of the early games were at halftime, around 11.30). I loathe Baltimore, so anytime they're down by three touchdowns, I'm happy. The Browns scored two touchdowns early and cruised. The Ravens looked old. Is it over in Baltimore?
Turnovers: Ravens 2, Browns 1. Final score: Cleveland 27, Baltimore 13. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 2-0.
I watched a bit of the Rams-Cowboys game, but I knew Dallas was going to win and didn't want to see it, because I abhor the Cowboys (I just used loathe, so I needed a different word). However, I missed what might be the play of the year. If you haven't seen Tony Romo's 4-yard run on 3rd-and-3, get yourself to a television and check it out. What is so special about a 4-yard run? Well, the snap went over his head, and then he tried to recover it and it went back even further, and when he finally picked it up, he was about 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage (the ball was snapped at the Dallas 49 and he picked it up about his own 12). Somehow, he got some blocks and juked some tacklers and ran 33 yards for the first down. Even I can appreciate something like that. It was very neat. Oh, and the Rams suck. Hard.
Turnovers: Rams 1, Cowboys 1. Final score: Dallas 35, St. Louis 7. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Brian Griese sure wasn't the answer, was he? I watched the fourth quarter of the Bears-Lions game, and it was fun to watch. The Bears can't run the ball, which shows, once again, why teams shouldn't give these first-round picks huge money. They drafted Cedric Benson, who isn't very good, but they felt like they had to play him, so they traded Thomas Jones, who had a great year in 2006. I bet they miss him these days! The Lions can score some points, yes they can.
Turnovers: Bears 3, Lions 2. Final score: Detroit 37, Chicago 27. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 3-0.
Daunte Culpepper threw 2 touchdowns and ran for 3. Against the team that cut him loose. I wonder if the Dolphins are wondering, "Maybe we should have waited until he was healthy to find out if he was any good?" When he's healthy, he's pretty good.
Turnovers: Dolphins 2, Raiders 1. Final score: Oakland 35, Miami 17. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 4-0.
I hate Nancy Boy Favre. I'm just saying.
Turnovers: Packers 2, Vikings 2. Final score: Green Bay 23, Minnesota 16. Turnovers = loss? It's not applicable.
Alex Smith got hurt, which pretty much doomed the 49ers. Seattle just wore San Francisco out from then on.
Turnovers: 49ers 3, Seahawks 1. Final score: Seattle 23, San Francisco 3. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 5-0.
Maybe the problem in Houston wasn't the offensive line, it was David Carr! Tampa's very nice season took a blow when Carnell Williams was lost for the season, but they seem to have decent running backs coming off the bench. I still don't really like Tampa, but I don't have anything against Jeff Garcia, so I can't hate the Buccaneers too much.
Turnovers: Panthers 2, Buccaneers 1. Final score: Tampa 20, Carolina 7. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 6-0.
I really had no desire to watch the Denver-Indianapolis game, because I knew it would end like it did. We learned nothing about either team that we didn't know before.
Turnovers: Broncos 2, Colts 0. Final score: Indianapolis 38, Denver 20. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 7-0.
Everyone in the national media says that Arizona can't use the two-quarterback system, even though it worked yesterday. Well, maybe they can, but what I don't like about the national media is they don't even consider it can. We'll see. Anyway, I don't understand why coaches become conservative when they get a bit older. Ken Whisenhunt put Matt Leinart back in the game in the fourth quarter, with the ball at his own 18, and immediately called a deep pass. 38 yards to Larry Fitzgerald when everyone in the universe thought they would run. Then, on the same drive, they had 4th-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 25. They could have kicked a 43-yard field goal, but that's a bit dicey. Whisenhunt challenged his team, went for it, and Leinart sneaked for a yard. First down, and a few plays later, the clinching touchdown. I love when coaches do stuff like that. Not only does it challenge the offense and says, "I trust you guys to go get it," it also challenges the defense to stop the other guys if it doesn't work out and says, "I trust you guys to stop this team." Why do coaches stop doing this when they become a bit successful? I get that when they're new coaches, they want to make their mark, but when they become successful, they go away from what got them there. The Cardinals are an interesting team, and it would be nice to see Whisenhunt not punk out if they become successful.
Turnovers: Steelers 2, Cardinals 2. Final score: Arizona 21, Pittsburgh 14. Turnovers = loss? It's not applicable.
LaDanian Tomlinson, second half: Six carries. In the second half, when the Chargers had a 16-6 lead. LaDanian Tomlinson. Six carries. What the crap?
Turnovers: Chargers 4, Chiefs 2. Final score: Kansas City 30, San Diego 16. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 8-0.
That makes it an astounding 40-5 for teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents. Hold onto the damned football, teams!
College football was pretty wacky, as the #3 (Oklahoma), #4 (Florida), #5 (overrated West Virginia), #7 (Texas), #10 (Rutgers), #11 (Oregon - but they lost to the #6 team), and #13 (Clemson) teams all lost. This allowed a team like South Florida to jump from #18 to #6, which is a bit ridiculous for a team that beat Elon in their first game. Plus, USC fell out of the #1 spot even though they won. I have never been a big fan of that, especially because LSU struggled in the first half against freakin' Tulane. This is why the polls shouldn't come out until the end of September, as in this week is the first time teams are ranked. Or maybe wait until the middle of October, even. I know it's not going to happen, but it would be nice. Of course, Penn State continued to run the same offense from the 1960s, so they're not very good. Paterno will not bench Anthony Morelli, because he's too loyal for that, so they'll begin next season with an untested quarterback, which means another lousy year. Oh well.
Maybe the Phillies will somehow win the World Series. Wouldn't that be nice?