What have we learned - Week 10
I don't get paid to watch film of football. That's what coaches and players, who get paid a lot of money, are supposed to do. So on the Eagles' first touchdown, they had the ball at the Washington five-yard line. Brian Westbrook and the fullback lined up in an "I" formation, but then split before the snap. I immediately thought to myself, "Shovel pass." The Eagles love to run a shovel pass near the goal line, and they're one of the few teams that do it well. Of course, they ran a shovel pass to Westbrook, and the Washington defense looked completely lost. They play each other twice a year and are supposed to watch film on the other team, and they didn't know a shovel pass was coming? I'm just some schlub on a sofa and I saw it coming. Andy Reid, showing some balls, went for it on 4th-and-1 at his own 30 in the second half. I'm not saying the Eagles are back, because they're still in last place and their defense can't stop anyone, but I hope Reid starts calling more gutsy games like this past one. That would be nice.
Turnovers: Eagles 2, Washington 2. Final score: Philadelphia 33, Washington 25. Turnovers = loss? Not an issue.
I probably mentioned this last week, but the Eagles held Adrian Peterson to 70 yards on 20 carries. I only bring it up because on ESPN they were gnashing their teeth about how to stop him. Apparently, you need to watch the Eagles game. The Packers stopped him pretty good, holding him to 45 yards on 11 carries before knocking him out of the game. Everyone couldn't believe he slipped to 7th in the draft, and I kept wondering why no one remembered the fact that he always got injured in college. I hope he gets better, of course, but this is a trend, and one the Vikings should be worried about. On the other side of the ball, if anyone wonders why I hate Brett "R. C." Favre so much, look no further than his final touchdown pass. He underthrows it into double coverage, and one Viking goes up and gets two hands on the ball, only to be bumped by the other Viking, causing the ball to pop over both of them and into the receiver's hands. R. C. has thrown those kind of balls his entire career, and for some reason, defensive backs can't catch the damned things! It just upsets me, because he has plenty of talent, and he doesn't need all the confounded luck as well!
Turnovers: Vikings 1, Packers 0. Final score: Green Bay 34, Minnesota 0. Turnovers = loss? Probably not, but I won't argue with the stats. 1-0.
Vince Young is not good. I said it last year when everyone was slobbering all over him, and I'll say it this year. He can't throw very well, and teams have adjusted to him rushing all over the field. Learn to throw, Vince, and then get back to us about being the next great quarterback.
Turnovers: Titans 3, Jaguars 1. Final score: Jacksonville 28, Tennessee 13. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 2-0.
I doubt if you could have paid me to watch the Denver-Kansas City game. I'm sure most people would say the same thing about the Eagles-Washington game, but if you're a fan of Denver or KC, I'd expect you to watch this. But I couldn't.
Turnovers: Chiefs 4, Broncos 1. Final score: Denver 27, Kansas City 11. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 3-0.
I was so hoping the Bills-Dolphins game would end 3-2, like it was in the third quarter. As it was, it was another game that set back offensive football. Miami comes to Philly next week. If the Eagles lose I may have to poke one of my eyes out.
Turnovers: Bills 1, Dolphins 0. Final score: Buffalo 13, Miami 10. Turnovers = loss? No, consarnit! 3-1.
Somehow, the Rams almost squandered a 34-7 lead, but they hung on for a "dominating" 8-point victory. I still don't understand why sports "experts" love Stephen Jackson, who isn't very tough, but don't like Marc Bulger, who gets pounded because his offensive line stinks. Bulger is an idiot for staying in St. Louis, because he could have gone someplace else with an actual line. But when he gets protection, he's excellent.
Turnovers: Saints 2, Rams 0. Final score: St. Louis 37, New Orleans 29. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 4-1.
Ben Roethlisberger had a 30-yard touchdown run, and if you didn't see it, it's astonishing - nobody touched him until he was inside the 10. He claimed that the Browns were scared he was going to slide, so they made no move on him, and if that's true, the Browns are idiots. That run is why I like Roethlisberger - he does what it takes. I don't want to see McNabb running like he used to, but I have a feeling that if he had had that lane to the end zone, he still would have danced around looking for a receiver and then gotten sacked. Sometimes you just have to dash for glory! The Steelers are getting better and better, and might steal the #2 seed in the AFC from the Colts. In case you haven't been paying attention, you know.
Turnovers: Browns 1, Steelers 1. Final score: Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 28. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Panthers-Falcons was another game I couldn't watch. Can you blame me? When, exactly, will the "experts" stop picking Carolina to win the division and go to the Super Bowl? Sheesh.
Turnovers: Panthers 2, Falcons 1. Final score: Atlanta 20, Carolina 13. Turnovers = loss? I'm going to say yes. 5-1.
Shayne Graham kicked 7 field goals, all from close in. The Baltimore defense were desperately trying to keep the Ravens in the game, and the offense kept giving it away. It's ridiculous how bad the Baltimore offense is. I mean, really ridiculous. Brian Billick ought to be fired, but that Super Bowl win years ago, when he had one of the best defenses of all time, keeps him employed.
Turnovers: Ravens 6, Bengals 0. Final score: Cincinnati 21, Baltimore 7. Turnovers = loss? Pretty obviously. 6-1.
Another horrible game was the Chicago-Oakland clash. It was 6-3 late before Rex Grossman threw his one good pass per game (he's only allowed one) and broke the game open. Whenever I turned this game on (which wasn't often, I admit), I felt like I was going to fall asleep. It was that dull.
Turnovers: Raiders 3, Bears 0. Final score: Chicago 17, Oakland 6. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 7-1.
I didn't watch very much of the Dallas-New Jersey game, because I really don't feel like listening to Fox announcers (it was Stockton and Aikman, wasn't it?) gush over both teams for three hours, which I'm sure they did. Tony Romo hasn't played a full season, Terrell Owens is happy because they throw him the ball a lot, Eli Manning isn't very good. I have nothing against Romo, but we'll see if he keeps this up, Owens can turn on you quicker than a rattlesnake, and Eli isn't very good. So why should I watch the game? I did like that Tony Curtis caught the first Dallas touchdown. The dude is over 80, but he's still playing football! I wonder how Jamie Lee feels about that?
Turnovers: Giants 2, Cowboys 1. Final score: Dallas 31, New Jersey 20. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 8-1.
Arizona and Detroit played a Comedy of Errors, as each team tried to give the game away, especially in the second half, when the turnovers were coming fast and furious! Detroit managed to give the game away a bit more, however, and the Cardinals played like many people in the Basin expected them too, with nice passing and solid running. It was still a goofy game - whenever a shotgun snap goes over the head of the quarterback (as one went over Warner's head) and one team gains -18 yards rushing (as the Lions did), you know you're watching comedic gold!
Turnovers: Lions 5, Cardinals 4. Final score: Arizona 31, Detroit 21. Turnovers = loss? You bet. 9-1.
Why I should be on ESPN, Exhibit Q: Yesterday, the "experts" were falling over themselves trying to excuse Peyton Manning's 6-interception day. One pundit claimed that some opposing players were calling it "heroic," because he kept slinging the ball even though he was playing so poorly and almost brought his team all the way back. Dear God. Manning had a somewhat downgraded offensive line, and he had lost his Hall-of-Fame receiver and very good tight end. So he had an average offensive line, one good receiver (Reggie Wayne), and a mediocre tight end. In other words, he had what almost every other team has to play with every single game. Yet you don't see other quarterbacks throwing six picks, do you? I like Manning, but so much of his (and Brady's) success has been a) great offensive line play; b) great receiverS (plural, although until this year Brady didn't have that); c) a solid running game; d) NO INJURIES. Now that he's facing a bit of adversity, suddenly he's heroic because he throws some absolutely shitty passes but still managed to get the Colts to within two points? Guess what? Philip Rivers was playing with a mediocre line, no good receivers (Chris Chambers? please), an excellent tight end and running back, and he managed to not throw six interceptions. Spare me the heroism of Manning. He had a shitty game because he had to do it all by himself. Welcome to the rest of the league, Peyton. Not to be a homer, but Donovan McNabb got the Eagles to three straight Championship Games with a good defense and pretty much nothing else except him. Only in the fourth year did he have ONE top-of-the-line receiver, and the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl. Football is pretty much the ultimate team game, which is why it bugs me whenever people talk about the brilliance of Manning and Brady. Sure, they're very good, but now we see what happens when you take away Manning's supporting cast. He looks pretty crappy, doesn't he? Does that make him a bad quarterback? No, but it does make him a lot more like the other QBs in the league.
Turnovers: Colts 6, Chargers 3. Final score: San Diego 23, Indianapolis 21. Turnovers = loss? Just barely. 10-1.
I guess people are bashing San Francisco for going for it from Seattle's 2-yard-line late in the game, trailing 24-0. I'm extremely happy they went for it, even though they didn't pick it up. Too often you see a coach kick a field goal when trailing big just to avoid a shutout. The 49ers needed touchdowns, and even though they didn't get it, you have to love the call. Is it worse to lose 24-0 or 24-3? Most coaches would argue the former. But it doesn't really matter! Mike Nolan, whose father died over the weekend, honored the old-school tough-guy mentality of the NFL with the call. And did anyone notice how well Maurice Morris ran in place of Shaun Alexander. Alexander seems like a nice guy, but he got old fast. Give Morris, the Oregon Duck, the ball!
Turnovers: 49ers 2, Seahawks 2. Final score: Seattle 24, San Francisco 0. Turnovers = loss? It didn't make a difference against a bad team and a sad coach.
This weeks makes teams who turn the ball over less than their opponents 98-13 for the season. I'm going out on a limb and saying that if you don't turn the ball over, you have a good chance to win. But I may be crazy.
College football continued to be wacky, and if I ran the zoo, I would want one more big upset and things would be perfect. That upset, of course, would be LSU losing, because I don't like the SEC and think it's overrated. If LSU wins the National Championship, we'll never hear the end of the greatness of the SEC. I don't care when they lose, either. It might be nice for them to lose to Oregon in the Big Game, but before that would be fine, too. Oregon, of course, has to go on the road to Tucson on Thursday night, which is kind of a trap game, especially because the Wildcats always play well when they have nothing to play for, which is their situation now. You East Coast people should tune in, especially if you haven't seen the Ducks play. They're a hoot to watch. Penn State was unimpressive in going to 8-3 (they played Temple, which is as close to a bye week as you're going to get), but the Penn State blogs are a bit peeved at Illinois for knocking off Ohio State, because it means Penn State probably won't play in a New Year's Day bowl. I'm of the opinion that 10-3 (if they win their next two games) is a pretty good year, even if they don't play on 1 January. But I'm crazy. Speaking of the Illinois win, everyone noticed that the Illini went for it on 4th-and-inches from their own 30 or so, right? If you can't pick up six inches, you don't deserve to beat the #1 team. Illinois not only held the ball for the final 8:09 of the game (!), but Ohio State possessed it for only 1:08 the entire fourth quarter (!!). That was awesome. Arizona State battled to beat UCLA, but no one cares even though, technically, they're still in first place in the conference (Oregon had the week off, so they're 5-1 while ASU is 6-1). That's what bugs me about college football. Arizona State is still 9-1 and could, conceivably, play for the National Championship, but nobody talks about them. Now that Ohio State has lost, it's the same thing. Hell, Oklahoma could play for the National Championship (although I don't want that, because I don't like the Sooners). In this season of upsets, shouldn't we be looking beyond the top three? Kansas is a nice story, but they have to play #4 and #5 (probably). What happens if LSU, Oregon, and Kansas all lose? Stranger things have happened!
So that's the week that was. Well, other stuff happened too - Notre Dame continued to suck, which makes me very happy, Miami lost their last Orange Bowl game 48-0, which makes me very happy, and Navy beat North Texas 74-62 ... and threw only six passes (here's the box score - note that their quarterback has the greatest football name in the history of football itself: Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada). All in all, pretty entertaining.