What have we learned - Week 12
Anyway, my wife has left me (for a few days, that is, to go back to Pennsylvania to visit her grandmother, who had a stroke last week), so I was dealing with the two kids all day Sunday. Therefore, I watched no football until they went down for a nap in the afternoon and I missed the early games. So I'll just mention some things based on what I've been seeing on the highlights.
A few weeks ago, I wondered why Penn State suddenly started heaving the ball deep when they were killing Michigan State with short passes and they probably didn't want to give the ball back to the Spartans because their defense wasn't playing well. Imagine my surprise when the Eagles did the exact. same. bloody. thing. Their defense had played okay, but hadn't really throttled the New England offense, and the Eagles were driving well. They were losing by 3 and moving right down the field, reaching the New England 29. It was 2nd-and-4 with a little less than 4 minutes left. The Eagles could have easily milked the clock, forced the Cheaters to take their timeouts, and left them with very little time. They probably would have scored a touchdown, but even if they had kicked a field goal, they go to overtime. Inexplicably, Andy Reid and A. J. Feeley went deep, and the pass was intercepted. Game over. I understand that you want to continue to attack, and if the call had been made earlier in the game, I would have liked it. But it's late in the game and all you need is a field goal to tie, and a touchdown wins it for you. If you score there, the Cheaters have three timeouts and 4 minutes. Do you really think you're going to stop them? Sheesh. I loved the game plan that Reid had, going for it on fourth down from the New England 15 and scoring a touchdown later, using an onside kick, and working deep occasionally just to keep the defense honest. My question is: why doesn't Reid coach like this all the time? If he can almost beat the best team in the league playing like this, he could beat the hell out of lesser teams. He used to do this, and I wonder if he's reached that point where's he afraid of the criticism if his moves backfire. Nobody was going to criticize him for this game, because if they lose, nobody blames him. Come on, Andy Reid: Fortune Favors the Bold! If they game plan like this the rest of the year, they might start winning. Don't wuss out, Andy Reid!
Turnovers: Eagles 3, Cheaters 0. Final score: New England 31, Philadelphia 28. Turnovers = loss? Considering the Eagles outscored the New England offense 28-24, yes, very much so. 1-0.
Detroit will not make the playoffs. Yeah, that's right! Green Bay, on the other hand, will, which pisses me off. I don't want to discuss their quarterback. Grrrr.
Turnovers: Packers 1, Lions 1. Final score: Green Bay 37, Detroit 26. Turnovers = loss? Makes no difference.
Man, Dallas is really good. Just one more thing for me to hate.
Turnovers: Jets 2, Cowboys 1. Final score: Dallas 34, New Jersey 3. Turnovers = loss? Sure, not that it mattered. 2-0.
That was nice of the Colts, spotting the Falcons 10 points and all that before throttling them. That's so cute that they let Atlanta stick around for a while.
Turnovers: Falcons 2, Colts 1. Final score: Indianapolis 31, Atlanta 13. Turnovers = loss? Looks that way. 3-0.
The Titans lost Albert Haynesworth and now they can't stop the run. Cincinnati ran right up the middle on them and pummeled the suddenly wussy Tennessee defense. Chad Johnson scored for the first time since Week 2 and went to the camera and pretended to film someone. Real classy for a 3-7 (now 4-7) team. I think Johnson is funny, but he's kind of a punk.
Turnovers: Titans 2, Bengals 1. Final score: Cincinnati 35, Tennessee 6. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 4-0.
I know Cleveland's defense isn't great, but they have a good quarterback, good receivers, and a resurgent Jamal Lewis. They should scare some teams. Of course, they'll probably come into Arizona next week and lose, because the NFL is wacky.
Turnovers: Texans 3, Browns 1. Final score: Cleveland 27, Houston 17. Turnovers = loss? Let's say yes. 5-0.
The only thing I saw in the Oakland-Kansas City game is Herm Edwards going for it on fourth down from the Raiders 25 with about 5 minutes left and trailing by 3. I loved the call. Even if you don't get it, you should be able to stop the Raiders and get the ball back, and a 40+ field goal is no guarantee. It's a shame it didn't work, but I still love the call.
Turnovers: Raiders 1, Chiefs 1. Final score: Oakland 20, Kansas City 17. Turnovers = loss? It didn't come into play.
Marc Bulger went down with a concussion, which is his first. It's kind of surprising that he's never had one, considering all the punishment he takes. Anyway, St. Louis reached the 2-yard line or so with a minute left, trailing by five and holding some timeouts (I can't remember how many they had). Incomplete pass. Incomplete pass. Inside run to Steven Jackson, no gain. Gus Frerotte fumbles the snap on fourth down. That's why the Rams are 2-9. Why did they throw? WHY???? Pound the ball with Steven Jackson, you morons!
Turnovers: Seahawks 2, Rams 2. Final score: Seattle 24, St. Louis 19. Turnovers = loss? Looks like it makes no difference. 6-0.
Bwah-ha-ha-ha. Eli Manning sucks. SUX! That game was awesome.
Turnovers: Giants 4, Vikings 0. Final score: Minnesota 41, New Jersey 17. Turnovers = loss? Minnesota's defense outscored the G-Men, so yeah, I'd say so. 7-0.
Washington apparently had no interest in winning this game, because whenever the Buccaneers touched a Washington player, they dropped the ball! Seriously - check out the highlights. Clinton Portis runs into the line and fumbles. Jason Campbell feels the breath of a defender and drops the ball. What the heck? Speaking of which, Sean Taylor, the Washington safety, was shot in the groin early this morning and is in critical condition with a lot of blood loss. Apparently is was a burglary, but I wonder about the circumstances, because Sean Taylor has been in trouble a lot in his young life.
Turnovers: Washington 6, Tampa 0. Final score: Buccaneers 19, Washington 13. Turnovers = loss? Definitely. 8-0.
Carolina hasn't won a home game in a calendar year. How the heck does that happen? New Orleans, like many other 5-6 teams, looks awesome one week and crappy the next week. It looks like the wildcard teams in the NFC will simply survive and finish 9-7 or so. Maybe it will be the Saints. Maybe it will be the Eagles. Maybe it will be the Giants. Maybe it will be the Bears.
Turnovers: Panthers 4, Saints 1. Final score: New Orleans 31, Carolina 6. Turnovers = loss? It seems so. 9-0.
Jacksonville can really run the ball. I mean, really pound it. They could go into New England and beat the Cheaters because they can keep the ball away from Tom Brady in the cold weather. Plus, David Garrard hasn't thrown an interception yet this season. Don't sleep on the Jaguars!
Turnovers: Bills 3, Jaguars 1. Final score: Jacksonville 36, Buffalo 14. Turnovers = loss? You bet. 10-0.
Here's why you're the Cardinals: you get a delay-of-game penalty on the game-winning field goal and get pushed back five yards, and your kicker then misses it. Your pretty good punt returner fields a punt at his 13-yard line and one of your blockers makes an inexplicable block in the back, pushing you back to the 2. Your quarterback attempts to pass on first down and instead of feeling the pressure and heaving the ball away, gets sacked and fumbles, which is recovered in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. And even prior to this, you turn the ball over too often, which is the only way an anemic offensive team like the 49ers could even be in this game late. I love that Ken Whisenhunt went for the win at the very end before settling for a tying field goal (most coaches would have kicked and not even tried), but the team commits far too many stupid penalties and turns the ball over too often. This is why you're the Cardinals: the minute someone starts to have expectations of you, you stink up the joint. Now they're 5-6, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they knocked off the Browns next week. Because no one expects them too.
Turnovers: Cardinals 4, 49ers 0. Final score: San Francisco 37, Arizona 31. Turnovers = loss? Absolutely. 11-0.
I read today that it's actually not a bad idea to kick to Devin Hester, because he muffs a lot of punts, which lead to turnovers (he did it again yesterday, after his two returns for touchdowns). I don't think it's a bad idea the first time, but the second time was a bit dicey. Anyway, the Broncos couldn't hold a two-touchdown lead late in the fourth quarter, so they have bigger issues. If you haven't seen the last Denver touchdown, it's amazing. The tight end leaps between two defenders, one of whom actually touches the ball first and knocks it toward the ground. However, the tight end is below him, so the ball hits him, rolls toward the ground as he falls, but he manages to get his hand underneath it and roll over, finally straddling it between his legs before plucking it back with his hands. Absolutely brilliant. It has to be one of the ten best catches ever.
Turnovers: Bears 4, Broncos 2. Final score: Chicago 37, Denver 34. Turnovers = loss? In this case, no. Devin Hester is a great equalizer. 11-1.
Norv Turner quiets the critics ... for one week. Is this Pete Carroll's job next year? Let the speculation begin!
Turnovers: Ravens 2, Chargers 0. Final score: San Diego 32, Baltimore 14. Turnovers = loss? I guess. 12-1.
I watched quite a bit of college football, beginning with the beatdown in Tempe on Thanksgiving. I actually turned the game off at halftime because Krys and I wanted to watch television, and when I turned it back on, a ten-point ASU deficit had become a 27-point beating. What the heck happened? Then, of course, LSU choked away a win against Arkansas because of lousy coaching and even lousier tackling. Seriously - was anyone on the LSU side playing defense? I mean, the Razorbacks didn't play much defense, but they did look like they were trying. I was happy because it messed up the BCS even more. I would have been happier if West Virginia had lost, but they have one more game to screw up, so let's all root for Pitt! I also hope Missouri loses, not because I like Oklahoma (I don't, in fact), but because then Ohio State will play a two-loss team in the title game. In fact, I'm rooting for Boston College and Tennessee this week, too, just to screw everything up even more. I would love for a two-loss team to play Ohio State and beat them, so the National Champion would have two losses and a team like Kansas, who didn't even win their division of their conference, could whine about it and a team like Hawaii, who beat all the patsies on their schedule, could whine about it. It's time for a playoff! I do find it interesting that Hawaii tries to schedule teams, but most teams won't play a home-and-home series with them, because they don't want to fly to Honolulu. Michigan was supposed to play the (Rainbow) Warriors this year, but they backed out and scheduled Appalachian State instead. Yeah, how'd that work out, Wolverines? So let's all root for chaos this weekend, people. We can do it!
By the way ... teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents: 123-16. Hey, don't turn the ball over!
Next week: will A. J. Feeley start? Oh, the drama! Will the Ravens play aggressively like the Eagles did and upset the Cheaters? Only time will tell!