What have we learned - Week 9
As for the game ... McNabb fumbled on the first play. This is far too indicative of how he plays. They didn't run the ball, and McNabb holds the ball too long and doesn't secure it when he gets hit. The Eagles actually had several chances in this game, because the Dallas defense wasn't playing all that well. But they never went deep, never brought in Correll Buckhalter to change up their running plays, and then their defense decided not to play at all. It looked like the C'boys could score at will. That's just sad. They're getting older and slower, and although I think that McNabb can still be the quarterback, I don't think he's ever going to get better unless Reid leaves and takes his scheme with him. McNabb can't do what he used to, and the Eagles need to get tougher and take some pressure off of him. The Vikings won with a third-string quarterback, for crying out loud, because they ran the ball to take the pressure off of him. Sheesh.
Turnovers: Eagles 3, Cowboys 1. Final score: Dallas 38, Philadelphia 17. Turnovers = loss? Definitely. 1-0.
I watched absolutely none of the San Francisco-Atlanta game. I have nothing to say about it.
Turnovers: 49ers 4, Falcons 1. Final score: Atlanta 20, San Francisco 16. Turnovers = loss? I guess. 2-0.
See what having a tough running back can do? Marshawn Lynch carried 29 times for 153 yards against the Bengals, and I bet Cincinnati wasn't too interested in tackling him late in the game. In fact, his longest run was a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, after he'd pounded the Bengals for a while. Cincinnati won the division two years ago. Now, they're terrible, with a lot of the same players. The NFL is weird.
Turnovers: Bengals 1, Bills 1. Final score: Buffalo 33, Cincinnati 21. Turnovers = loss? Not an issue.
I watched some of the Denver-Detroit game early, but it was kind of boring. I should have stuck around, I guess, because the Lions blew it open in the second half to hand the Broncos their second 37-point loss in two weeks. Ouch. If you haven't seen Shaun Rogers' 66-yard interception return, it's a hoot. Rogers is a big man, and it seemed like he was running forever. Why couldn't anyone catch him? And then, finally, he made it to the end zone. He still hasn't caught his breath.
Turnovers: Broncos 4, Lions 1. Final score: Detroit 44, Denver 7. Turnovers = loss? A fumble and an interception returned for a touchdown, so yeah. 3-0.
How did Tennessee win their game? I guess their defense is a lot better than I thought, although playing against David Carr makes anyone's defense look great. They turned the ball over 4 times, and Vince Young's line was awful: 14-23, 110 yards, 2 picks. I know I've said this before, but the Titans aren't going anywhere unless they get better play from their quarterback. Maybe he'll be better, but you know what? He wasn't that good a passer in college, either.
Turnovers: Titans 4, Panthers 2. Final score: Tennessee 20, Carolina 7. Turnovers = loss? Not with David Carr at quarterback! 3-1.
I can't even talk about Brett "R. C." Favre. He throws two perfect R. C. Favre interceptions, and the Chiefs can't do anything with them. We're close to returning to the media of the late 1990s, when R. C. made a ton of mistakes during a game, but would throw one huge touchdown pass and everyone would slobber all over him. If the Chiefs had any kind of offense, today we'd be talking about the second loss of the season and why R. C. throws into coverage. I know it's not R. C.'s fault, but sheesh. This was a pretty entertaining game in the second half. What the heck is up with these boring first halves and good second halves?
Turnovers: Packers 2, Chiefs 2. Final score: Green Bay 33, Kansas City 22. Turnovers = loss? Technically, it's a wash, but the final nail in KC's coffin was an interception that went for a touchdown.
I've been a bit down on Adrian Peterson, because I didn't think he warranted the hype, especially after the Beagles held him to 70 yards on 20 carries. Then he set the NFL single-game rushing record ... in his eighth career game. Holy crap. If he can stay healthy (a concern in college), he can do some things. The nice thing about him is he can move sideways, find a hole, and then turn upfield so quickly. Watch some of his runs from this season. He moves behind his line, then boom! he's through. I'm stunned that Philly held him in check, actually. What the hell, San Diego? You used to have a good defense, didn't you?
Turnovers: Chargers 2, Vikings 2. Final score: Minnesota 35, San Diego 17. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Another game I skipped but probably shouldn't was the Jacksonville-New Orleans game. 17-17 at the end of the first quarter, kickoff returns and interceptions for touchdowns, and Drew Brees lighting it up. The Jaguars need to rely on their defense, and they didn't get it done. The Saints, meanwhile, are 4-4 after an 0-4 start. Must be nice for them.
Turnovers: Jaguars 3, Saints 1. Final score: New Orleans 41, Jacksonville 24. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 4-1.
I watched a bit of the Washington-New Jersey game, and man! did Clinton Portis pound the shit out of the J-E-T-S Jet Jets Jets. He carried 36(!) times for 196 yards. In overtime, you could tell the Jets, who had led the game 17-3, just wanted to go home. I'm surprised they actually forced a field goal.
Turnovers: Washington 1, Jets 1. Final score: Washington 23, New Jersey 20. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
On about the third or fourth play of the game (it might have even been the second), Kurt Warner made a beautiful play fake, got Ronde Barber to bite hard, and threw to a wide open Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald took off down the sideline, and had a sure touchdown. Then, with no one touching him, he stepped out of bounds at the Tampa 33. The Cardinals kicked a field goal, and I thought, "They just lost this game." Tampa held the ball for 43 minutes. It's tough to win games when you don't have the ball! Why did Larry Fitzgerald step out of bounds? Because he plays for the Cardinals, that's why.
Turnovers: Cardinals 2, Buccaneers 0. Final score: Tampa 17, Arizona 10. Turnovers = loss? Probably. 5-1.
Seattle took a 21-9 lead into halftime, but the funny thing was, I kept thinking that the Browns had a good chance to win. They were moving the ball pretty well, and just some stupid playcalling when they had the ball down on the goal line (4 plays from inside the 5, 4 passes) kept them from being closer. And Seattle kept giving the ball to Shaun Alexander, who has gotten lousy damned quickly. Poor Shaun Alexander. He seems like a nice guy, but he's not the guy he was two years ago. So the Browns kept plugging away, and won the game in overtime. The Browns are 5-3. What the heck?
Turnovers: Seahawks 2, Browns 1. Final score: Cleveland 33, Seattle 30. Turnovers = loss? Well, it didn't help! 6-1.
I doubt many people watched the New England-Indianapolis game, but I noticed something very interesting. Early in the game, the Colts were running the ball against the Cheaters, and really pounding them. The Cheaters were actually pissed off and were shoving the Colts around. I laughed. "Hey, look, the Cheaters don't like getting pushed around!" thought I. I know they lost the game, but Indy showed that the bullies, like all bullies, will fold if you stand up to them. I really, really, really hope that other teams saw that and will decide to punch the Cheaters in the mouth. If you keep doing it, I foresee many unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in their future. And you know what? I'm sick of the 1972 Dolphins. They played a shitty schedule and one of the five worst teams ever to make a Super Bowl. So shut up, 1972 Dolphins. You're probably not on the list of top ten teams of all time. A mediocre team today would pound you.
Turnovers: Cheaters 2, Colts 2. Final score: New England 24, Indianapolis 20. Turnovers = loss? The Colts' last drive was ended by a fumble, but the Colts scored their first touchdown off an interception. Oh well.
Of course, the game everyone wanted to see was ... Houston versus Oakland! Holy cow, the epic of epics! Sage Rosenfels and Josh McCown! Two teams that live in legend! Sebastian Janikowski almost made a 64-yard field goal! I guess that would have been kind of cool. How important was the other game? Fans in Houston were the only ones in the country who saw this game, as Oakland failed to sell it out. Oh, and people with DirecTV Sunday Ticket. Despite my loathing of the way the Eagles' season has turned out, I love Sunday Ticket!
Turnovers: Raiders 3, Texans 1. Final score: Houston 24, Oakland 17. Turnovers = loss? Sure! 7-1.
As I type this, the Steelers are pounding the shit out of the Ravens. Didn't the Ravens have a good defense once? I guess Ray Lewis might have to go murder someone to get the passion back! I'm going to call this a win for the Steelers, and they've gotten the turnovers, too. Let's say 8-1!
That makes it 88-12 when teams turn the ball over less than their opponents. Say it with me: Don't turn the ball over!
College football continues to be wacky, but not wacky enough for my tastes. Penn State allowed a touchdown on the opening kickoff and didn't allow another one. Purdue ran something like 33 plays in PSU territory without scoring a touchdown. So the Lions are 6-3 and I really hope they'll end up in the Outback Bowl. We'll see. The big game of the week, Arizona State-Oregon, proved a couple of things. The Ducks are really freakin' good, and Arizona State wasn't quite ready for the big time. Their defense wasn't horrible, but their offense couldn't get it going, and when you play the Ducks, you need to keep the ball away from their offense. I'm pretty pissed that Oregon lost to Cal, because I don't think a one-loss Oregon team or one-loss Arizona State team could jump a one-loss LSU team and play for the National Championship. The season isn't wacky enough because Ohio State hasn't lost yet, and I really hope they do, because if they get to play in the National Championship game against LSU, it will be a repeat of last year, when they got shellacked by Florida. Oregon-LSU would be a good game, but unless the Buckeyes go down, it's not going to happen. Stupid Buckeyes. Everyone knows they suck, but because they play in the Big Eleven and can run the table, they'll play for the Championship. And stupid Boston College. I wanted them to lose, because they're just not that good, but I didn't want them to lose to Florida State, because I don't want Bobby Bowden to win games. Stupid Matt Ryan.
So that's that. Maybe the Eagles will get it together in the off-season and ask Andy Reid to step down. He deserves a year off to deal with his family problems. And they deserve a new coach. We'll see. It's looking like a Cheaters-C'boys Super Bowl. Nobody wins in that situation!