What have we learned - Week 16
After yesterday's game, I really hope the Eagles keep Donovan McNabb around next year. I get that he gets injured, but if they give him a receiver, he won't hold the ball as long and won't get clobbered so much. They moved up and down the field against the Saints (granted, not the greatest defense, but still) and it was a pleasure to watch. They still have such great talent that they could easily be a contender next year. I was amazed that Andy Reid called a naked bootleg on the first third down they faced. McNabb took it 40 yards before the defender punched it out (it was then recovered in the end zone for an Philadelphia touchdown). I have been wondering for years why Reid doesn't call more bootlegs at the goal line, especially with McNabb's speed and strength. Hey, look! it works! The announcers, meanwhile, were killing the Saints for going for it on 4th-and-goal early in the third when they were losing 24-17. I like the call, even though it's the Saints. They didn't get it, but their defense dropped the ball, as the Eagles took it 98 yards to put the game away. Your defense has to step up!
Turnovers: Eagles 1, Saints 1. Final score: Philadelphia 31, New Orleans 23. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
I didn't watch the Thursday night game (who did, really?), so I no idea what we learned from it. I still can't believe Marc Bulger resigned with the Rams in the off-season when they gave no indication they would give him an offensive line. I have little pity for him, because he could have gone somewhere else and really had a great year. Meanwhile, the games on Thursday and Saturday nights used to be on Saturday afternoons. I wonder how the ratings are for the night games compared to those old afternoon games?
Turnovers: Rams 2, Steelers 0. Final score: Pittsburgh 41, St. Louis 24. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 1-0.
I believe Terrell Owens' explanation that he was joking about Jessica Simpson being at the Dallas game against the Eagles, but shouldn't Owens know better? He knows what people do with what he says, and saying stupid things like that will just get him in trouble. Of course, I also believe that he might have been joking, but if things don't go well for the Cowboys in the playoffs, he won't be joking much longer.
Turnovers: Cowboys 1, Panthers 1. Final score: Dallas 20, Carolina 13. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
Did everyone notice that in the Giants-Bills game, in which the teams combined for 59 points, every single score was going into the right end zone (on the television screen, that is)? The wind was blowing very hard in that direction, and the teams couldn't move the opposite way. It's nice for Eli that the Giants had two 100-yard rushers (for the first time in their history), because if he continues to play like he did, he'll never lead them to a Super Bowl. Which, of course, will make me happy. The Kevin Everett story was nice, even though Buffalo couldn't win the game for him. However, I'm tired of people using the word "miracle" to describe it. His spinal cord was not severed, so there was a good chance he would walk again. His doctors worked hard, he worked hard, and, of course, a rich organization spared no expense to help him. It's a very inspiring story, and I don't want to take anything away from Everett. But it wasn't a miracle. Man, I'm bitter, aren't I?
Turnovers: Giants 4, Bills 4. Final score: New Jersey 38, actual New York team 21. Turnovers = loss? Another wash, but one of Buffalo's was crucial.
What was nice about the Packers loss to Chicago was that in the first game of the year, Green Bay won a game they should have lost when they beat the Eagles because Philly kick returners couldn't field punts. So in this game, they lost to a team they probably shouldn't have lost to because they couldn't get a punt off, as Chicago blocked two of them and tackled the punter in another situation. It's all about balance, people! Of course, this loss didn't help the Eagles at all, but it cost the Packers a chance at home-field advantage ... something they shouldn't have been playing for anyway, because they should have already had another loss on their record. Get it? Brett "R. C." Favre, meanwhile, had 9 yards passing in the first half. All a team has to do is get a little ahead of R. C., because then he reverts to form. Even if he throws to get back into it, which he's capable of, he will also force throws and get them picked off. It's good to see! So, when Seattle plays the Pack in the second round of the playoffs, they should try to get a nice 14-point cushion early. Even if it's in the first half and Green Bay could easily come back while still running the ball, R. C. will go pass-happy and start turning the ball over. Count on it!
Turnovers: Packers 2, Bears 0. Final score: Chicago 35, Green Bay 7. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 2-0.
My friend Jeff Smith, who occasionally reads the blog (hi, Jeff!) sent me a link to a fantastic article about the weird deification of Favre. Check it out here. I'm happy to see I'm not the only one a bit peeved about the slobbering over R. C.
Man, the Browns really stunk up the joint yesterday, didn't they? Derek Anderson's bubble burst at the wrong time, as now Cleveland can't do anything except watch the Tennessee game on Sunday night. (In an odd quirk, if both teams finish 10-6, the Titans get in, but if both teams finish 9-7, the Browns get in. So it doesn't matter at all if the Browns win or lose ... all that matters is if the Titans win or lose). I didn't watch the game, but Anderson looked like he was forcing it way too much, hence the four interceptions. Man, turnovers will kill you. I wonder if anyone else knows that?
Turnovers: Browns 4, Bengals 3. Final score: Cincinnati 19, Cleveland 14. Turnovers = loss? Yes. 3-0.
Hey, the Chiefs played the Lions yesterday! Yeah, I didn't realize it either. It's the first time Kansas City has lost 11 games since 1988. I'm not sure what that means, because they lost 10 games in 2001, which is also pretty crappy. Oh well.
Turnovers: Chiefs 1, Lions 1. Final score: Detroit 25, Kansas City 20. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash, but Detroit's interception went for a touchdown.
Houston must have been feeling pretty good about themselves, going up 7-0 on the Colts. Then Peyton Manning decided to take control. Indianapolis had TWO 92-yard touchdown drives and scored 38 straight points. Go home, Texans! Call us when you're ready to play with the big boys.
Turnovers: Texans 3, Colts 1. Final score: Indianapolis 38, Houston 15. Turnovers = loss? It appears so. 4-0.
I guess Oakland showed up against Jacksonville yesterday. I wonder if Al David simply brought in a high school team for a thrill. Talk about quitting. Lane Kiffin, I imagine, will be there next year, so one would think these guys would want to play hard so they have a job next year. Why wouldn't Kiffin cut everyone on that team? Sheesh.
Turnovers: Raiders 4, Jaguars 2. Final score: Jacksonville 49, Oakland 11. Turnovers = loss? Well, yeah, but I doubt if it would have made a difference. 5-0.
Arizona is a lousy team because they were cruising along with a 24-14 lead at halftime but they couldn't get that one score that would have put the Falcons away. They let them hang around and hang around, and then they needed a desperation drive at the end to tie the game (which is why the Falcons are a lousy team, because they allowed the Cardinals to drive down the field on them). It will be interesting to see what the Cardinals do in the off-season to address their problems, because they have talent. If you've never seen Anquan Boldin catch passes, you're missing a treat. He had at least two one-handed catches yesterday, and he loves knocking defenders around once he does catch the ball. Too bad he works in Arizona: he just set a record for the quickest receiver in history to 400 catches.
Turnovers: Falcons 1, Cardinals 0. Final score: Arizona 30, Atlanta 27. Turnovers = loss? Other factors were involved, but sure. 6-0.
We learned nothing from the Tampa-San Fran game, because the Buccaneers packed it in early. Nice to see San Francisco take advantage of it, at least. Remember when they were 2-0?
Turnovers: Buccaneers 2, 49ers 2. Final score: San Francisco 21, Tampa 19. Turnovers = loss? Yet another wash.
Vince Young threw some horrible passes and looked befuddled a few times when he got rushed. Is he going to be any good, or is this his ceiling? I don't know, but shouldn't someone work with him to get him to throw better? Isn't that what coaches are for?
Turnovers: Jets 2, Titans 2. Final score: Tennessee 10, New Jersey 6. Turnovers = loss? Man, a lot of washes in these games.
The Cheaters kept giving the Dolphins chances, but Miami is just too pathetic to take advantage of it. One play summed up the Miami season: Cleo Lemon, scrambling for a touchdown on fourth down, goes out of bounds at the half-yard line without diving for the pylon or even stretching the ball toward it. Yes, the defender forced him out, but they weren't about to blast him. He just ran out of bounds! That's why you're 1-14, Miami. What a crappy play. Oh, I guess Tom Brady threw some touchdown passes. He's pretty good.
Turnovers: Cheaters 4, Dolphins 0. Final score: New England 28, Miami 7. Turnovers = loss? As usual with the Dolphins, they can't take advantage of turnovers. 6-1.
You couldn't have paid me to watch the Baltimore-Seattle game, and then I saw it was 21-0, Seattle, so I had even less incentive to watch. I again ask: you have to fire Brian Billick, don't you?
Turnovers: Ravens 3, Seahawks 2. Final score: Seattle 27, Baltimore 6. Turnovers = loss? I suppose. 7-1.
In a battle of mediocrity and for the right to get slammed in the first round of the playoffs, Washington beat the Vikings last night, holding the Greatest Rookie Ever to 27 yards. If you're the Greatest Rookie Ever, shouldn't you play better when your team needs you? Today on ESPN, Merrill Hoge was talking about how scary Washington is. Yeah, your quarterback hasn't started a game in a decade and you're scary. There's a reason Todd Collins has been riding the pine for TEN years. I know ESPN does this to pump up interest in crappy wildcard games, but really, Merrill Hoge - have some professional dignity!
Turnovers: Vikings 3, Washington 0. Final score: Washington 32, Minnesota 21. Turnovers = loss? Yep. 8-1.
That brings the record of teams who win the turnover battle to 160-30. That's pretty good. The bowl season has started, by the way, and I hoped you all watched Utah beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl and East Carolina (is that a state?) beat Boise State (is Boise a state?) in the Hawaii Bowl. Those are some classic games, people!
I don't mean to crow, but my father-in-law bought us a 42-inch flatscreen HD TV for Christmas. I'm somewhat stunned - he's a very nice guy, but it's not like he's rolling in dough - and extremely excited. I can't wait to watch some football in HD, but unfortunately it won't be installed until 1 January, after the Penn State and Eagles season will be over. I'll just have to watch some football games I don't care about just to check it out. We've wanted one for a while, but we were going to wait until we moved and had some more space. I'm looking forward to checking it out. Will I ever want to watch non-HD stuff again?????
Have a great Christmas, everyone, if that's your thing. Be nice to each other!