What have we learned - Week 14
The Eagles scored a touchdown on their first possession and made it look easy. So, of course, they never scored another TD. Gadzooks! They had a first-and-goal at the eight-yard line early in the third after a fumble recovery and were forced to kick a field goal. That's because they're a bad team! Eli Manning continued to do just enough to win but still looked crappy. And the Eagles never even tested the two rookie safeties the Giants had in the game. The more I watch all football, the more I'm mystified by play-calling. Why not even try to go deep down the middle of the field? I was going to make a big deal about Brian Dawkins taking Ruben Droughns down at the two-yard line instead of giving up on the play and letting him score, because that would have been easy. Instead, Dawkins made a great tackle and the Eagles held the Giants to a field goal. I was hoping Philly would win by a field goal so that would have been the difference in the game. Even though it wasn't, it just shows how great Brian Dawkins is. If the Eagles can get one more year out of him without injury, they might have one last chance at glory. Oh, and Jeremy Shockey sucks. How does he get any publicity? Is it just a New York thing? It has to be, because he sucks. A lot.
Turnovers: Giants 2, Eagles 1. Final score: New Jersey 16, Philadelphia 13. Turnovers = loss? No, but the Gints did score their only touchdown off Philly's lone turnover. 0-1.
I get the NFL Network and I was barely aware of the game on Thursday night. I'm not terribly interested in this NFL v. Cable brouhaha, but I would point out that all these people clamoring for Congress to get involved because they want to watch a few games a year aren't making a big deal out of the fact that the NFL is doing the same thing that Big Cable is doing with the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. In Canada, NFL Sunday Ticket is available as part of a basic cable deal. In the U.S., you can only get it through DirecTV, which many people in the country can't even get because of problems with the satellite feed. So screw both the NFL and Big Cable. And leave Congress out of it, unless you want to examine the monopoly that the NFL and DirecTV enjoy. I doubt if the league wants that!
Turnovers: Bears 2, Washington 1. Final score: Washington 24, Chicago 16. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 1-1.
It was with much glee that I noted the Bills were up 21-0 on the Dolphins in the first quarter. What a glorious score! Every time I turned the game on, Miami seemed to be turning it over or failing to pick up a loose ball or doing something stupid. How did they get so bad so quickly? Two years ago they seemed to be on the upswing. Now they're historically bad. It's amazing.
Turnovers: Dolphins 5, Bills 1. Final score: Buffalo 38, Miami 17. Turnovers = loss? Well, the Dolphins can't win when they win the turnover battle, so if they lose it, a loss is guaranteed! 2-1.
The announcers of the Cincinnati game kept talking about how tough Steven Jackson is. I just don't see it. He's a good runner, but it seems like he really tries to avoid contact (which isn't a bad thing, necessarily, but when it comes at the detriment of picking up yardage, it is) and he's always getting hurt with weird injuries. I'm always curious as to whether the announcers are censoring themselves because they want to keep their jobs, or if they actually believe what they say. It will remain a mystery. Speaking of mysteries, was that Pat Summerall calling the game? It sure sounded like him. Any answers, Woody?
Turnovers: Rams 2, Bengals 2. Final score: Cincinnati 19, St. Louis 10. Turnovers = loss? Neither team had an advantage.
I didn't watch the end of the Dallas-Detroit game, but I would have been angry, especially because this seemed like the game that, had the Boys lost, Terrell Owens would have gone nuts. He only caught 3 passes for 21 yards, and he dropped a few, and when that happens, Owens starts looking for someone to blame. But they won, so all is well. Damn it. How the crap does Jason Hanson miss a relative chip shot (35 yards) indoors that would have given the Lions a 30-21 lead late in the game? Sheesh. Stupid Detroit.
Turnovers: Cowboys 1, Lions 0. Final score: Dallas 28, Detroit 27. Turnovers = loss? No. 2-2.
I don't know anything about the Oakland-Green Bay game except that the Packers won and R. C. Favre threw one of his patented long touchdown passes that looks like a punt but somehow causes the defensive back to fall down. Maybe from craning his neck so much to look at how high it was thrown? Of course, R. C. didn't throw it into double coverage for a change, so once the defender fell down, it was an easy touchdown. I hate to root for the Packers, but right now I really hope they can defeat the Cowboys in the playoffs.
Turnovers: Raiders 3, Packers 1. Final score: Green Bay 38, Oakland 7. Turnovers = loss? It looks that way. 3-2.
The Titans were playing at home with a late 17-3 lead and somehow managed to lose. There was a controversial fourth-down catch by Chris Chambers that kept the final regulation drive alive, a catch that looked like it was a trap, but the replay wasn't conclusive. Chambers said he was lucky there wasn't enough evidence to overturn it. Doesn't that sound like someone who is admitting he didn't catch it? I know he's going to say he did, but that's an odd thing to say. Anyway, it didn't matter, because the Titans couldn't pick up one first down on their final drive to ice the game, and if you can't do that, you don't deserve to win.
Turnovers: Chargers 3, Titans 2. Final score: San Diego 23, Tennessee 17. Turnovers = loss? Wow, no. 3-3.
This is why I think Jacksonville can beat the Cheaters: David Garrard doesn't turn the ball over, they run very well, and they have a solid defense. Of course, so did Pittsburgh, but still.
Turnovers: Panthers 2, Jaguars 1. Final score: Jacksonville 37, Carolina 6. Turnovers = loss? Sure. 4-3.
I love watching games like Tampa-Houston. It's a game nobody thought about, even though the Bucs could have clinched the division with a win. Yet it turned into a pretty entertaining game, at least the parts I watched. Of course, it also points out why this league is so vexing: Houston looked really good, yet they're only a 6-7 team. Tampa will win their division, yet they looked unimpressive. Odd.
Turnovers: Buccaneers 2, Texans 2. Final score: Houston 28, Tampa 14. Turnovers = loss? It wasn't a concern.
By the afternoon games, I was sick of football. The Eagles were awful, the Cardinals were going to get bashed at Seattle (I just had a feeling, which turned out to be a good one), and I wasn't in the mood to watch the Cheaters beat up another team (another game I had a feeling about, as they were angry about everyone talking about how beatable they were for the past two weeks). So I rode my bike around the neighborhood, as I need to exercise more. Therefore, I have less to say about these games than the earlier ones. I will say that the 49ers, for the brief time I watched them play the Vikings, looked like a peewee football team. The NFL should change the schedule to let the 49ers play the Dolphins. Whoever loses gets thrown out of the league and has to play in Conference USA for a year.
Turnovers: 49ers 5, Vikings 1. Final score: Minnesota 27, San Francisco 7. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 5-3.
By the time I got home from my bike ride, Seattle was already winning 24-0. Man, that game looked ugly. Arizona will never be a good team unless they stop turning the ball over, but more importantly, they need to stop committing stupid penalties. How hasn't this been fixed yet? The false starts at home are bad enough, but the Cardinals also commit too many personal fouls, especially when they seem to have the other team stopped but then a defender hits a guy after the whistle. That kind of stupidity is why mediocre teams can't get over the hump, and so the Cardinals will stay in mediocrity. Seattle, meanwhile, is quietly playing really well. Maybe they can beat the Cowboys!
Turnovers: Cardinals 5, Seahawks 0. Final score: Seattle 42, Arizona 21. Turnovers = loss? Very much so. 6-3.
If it's an odd-numbered game, the Broncos must be playing well. Doesn't that seem like the way they do things up there in the thin air?
Turnovers: Chiefs 3, Broncos 0. Final score: Denver 41, Kansas City 7. Turnovers = loss? It certainly appears so. 7-3.
Pittsburgh looked like it was in the game for a while, and then the Cheaters hit them with that double lateral play and that put a stake through them. Boy, talk about a mentally weak team, but that's what Pittsburgh is right now. Some nobody on their team guarantees a win, they play hard, but the minute New England throws something weird at them, they fold like lawn chairs. I wrote a few weeks ago that I now hope the Cheaters go unbeaten and then lose in their first playoff game, and it looks like there's really no way they can lose unless they want to. And with the way the offensive line protects the Golden Boy, why should Belicheat sit him once they clinch home field? He's probably safer behind the line than standing on the sidelines, where he might trip over something! The Cheaters play the Jets next week. Consider the history, and one wonders if Brady might break Peyton Manning's touchdown record (he's four short) in the first half. I think he'll get six next week. Really.
Turnovers: Steelers 1, Cheaters 0. Final score: New England 34, Pittsburgh 13. Turnovers = loss? Well, it was probably that stupid guarantee, but the stats don't lie! 8-3.
Speaking of the Jets, they suck. It's nice to see the Browns go on the road and handle their business. It will be interesting to see if they can make any noise in the playoffs. Their defense is still not very good, but they can hurt you either way offensively.
Turnovers: Jets 2, Browns 1. Final score: Cleveland 24, New Jersey 18. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 9-3.
The Ravens were probably still whining when they took the field last night, which made it easy for the Colts, I reckon. Manning should send the Cheaters a thank-you note, because any hope the Ravens had to win this game went away a week ago, when they decided that bitching about a game that had ended was smarter than preparing for a game that hadn't happened yet. Brian Billick needs to be fired, doesn't he? And this team needs to be blown up. They're old and cranky, and while that might work when you're sitting on your porch ranting about how everything was better when you were a kid, it doesn't work in the NFL.
Turnovers: Ravens 5, Colts 0. Final score: Indianapolis 44, Baltimore 20. Turnovers = loss? Well, I'm sure the Ravens are blaming the refs, but let's say yes. 10-3.
That brings the total to 144-21 for teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents. Wow. That's a good stat.
I don't have much to say about the Heisman. It's nice that a sophomore finally won it, but in a year where no one really distinguished themselves, it would have been nice if the voters finally decided to look a little deeper and give it to a non-QB non-running back. I mean, as a homer, Dan Connor of Penn State probably had a better year than Tebow did. I'm not hyping Dan Connor for the Heisman, I'm just saying that it seems like a lot of Tebow's stats were piled up against weak competition. I get that the Heisman should be renamed to "Best quarterback or running back who plays on a winning team in a major conference," but in a year like this, it just seems like the voters could have reached a little and come up with a true "Best Player" instead of settling for a guy who is certainly talented but is not the best player in the country. My theory is that the sportswriters were all hoping that Tebow would introduce them to women like this:
I mean, it makes as much sense as believing he's the best player in the country, right?
Next week: the playoffs come into even more focus, the Eagles lose BIG at Dallas, and the Cheaters just might break the record for most points scored in a NFL game (which is 72 - I think - for a regular season game, and 73 for a playoff game; yes, a team has scored more points in a playoff game than anyone has ever scored in a regular season game, which is kind of weird) ... in the first half! It's sure to be a doozy!