What have we learned - Week 8
For me, the honkin' huge game of the college football season was Penn State at Ohio State. Krys and my mom (who wasn't with me, obviously, but I spoke to my dad about it) kept getting bent out of shape whenever the Lions couldn't do anything, but I figured as long as they didn't make a mistake, they would have eventually found a way to win, because they were more talented than the Buckeyes. And then they got the turnover they needed and won the game. As long as Penn State doesn't make too many mistakes, they can win the game, because they're more talented than any team in the Big Eleven. We'll see what happens if they run the table and have to face a talented team in the Orange Bowl. Will it be Texas? They escaped with a win over Oklahoma State when some defensive dude hit Colt McCoy late on an interception. Will it be Alabama? They beat a lousy Tennessee team by 20, but didn't look too good doing it. Will it be Texas Tech? Suddenly the Red Raiders might leap into the championship talk, as they get the Longhorns at home this coming Saturday after throttling Kansas. They also have a brutal schedule down the stretch? Will it be USC? The Trojans went on the road and beat Arizona, which is a tougher game than you might think, and are still lurking around, plus they, like the Nittany Lions, don't play a conference championship game. Tom is my bud, so I should give some props to Cal, who is back in the Top 25 and looking pretty decent, even though UCLA stinks. Back east, Auburn of the greatest conference ever, the SEC (note sarcasm), went north and got spanked by West Virginia, who is in position to win the awful Big East. And it was nice to see Michigan continue to suck. I still think Penn State will whomp Michigan State, but the Spartans managed to recover from their spanking by OSU and beat up on the Wolverines. And it would be nice to see Utah play and win a second BCS bowl game. Go Utes!!!!
Philadelphia 27, Atlanta 14. The Eagles got a tiny bit lucky, as a punt with over two minutes left landed at the feet of the Falcons' returner and appeared to hit him, thence recovered by the Eagles. Replays show that it didn't actually hit the returner, but the Falcons were out of time outs and it was not under two minutes, so there was no review. I say they only got a little bit lucky because I very much doubt if Philly would allow rookie Matt Ryan, who had just driven down for a touchdown, to do it again, especially with no time outs. He could have, I suppose, but I doubt it. Anyway, Brian Westbrook rushed for 167 yards. Maybe, just maybe, Andy Reid should run the ball to him a bit more. Will I ever stop banging my head against the wall over this? Probably not.
DeSean Jackson update: 3 catches for 72 yards, 3 punt returns for -5 yards, with an absolutely ridiculous 15 yard loss that was a terrible rookie mistake. He'll learn, though. Season totals: 32 catches for 505 yards and 1 touchdown; 6 rushes for 50 yards; 22 punt returns for 248 yards.
Turnovers: Atlanta 3, Philadelphia 1. Turnovers = loss? Yeah, pretty much. 1-0.
Dallas 13, Tampa 9. Man, I watched some of this game, and it was booooorrrrring. Tampa has a lousy offense, and Brad Johnson is not a good quarterback anymore, if he ever was. He was throwing crappy passes, and those he did complete were three-yard outs. You know when the Cowboys are considering using Brooks Bollinger against the Giants in the Meadowlands next week, things are dire. Stupid Buccaneers. I wanted them to win this game.
Turnovers: Buccaneers 1, Cowboys 0. Turnovers = loss? I guess so. And hey - no Dallas turnovers! Johnson did something right! 2-0.
Washington 25, Detroit 17. Wasn't that cute, how Washington let the Lions think they might have a chance for a half? That was nice of them. There was no way Washington was going to lose that game, was there?
Turnovers: Washington 1, Lions 0. Turnovers = loss? It seems like the Lions win the turnover game more than a few times during the season, but it never helps them. 2-1.
Miami 25, Buffalo 16. Hey, it's a Ted Ginn sighting! That's always good to see, since they drafted him and all. How did Buffalo lose this game? I didn't watch the game, but I can't believe they had a 16-7 lead in the third quarter and gagged it away. Even if it was in Miami, you can't blow it like that. Turnovers may have helped, right?
Turnovers: Bills 4, Dolphins 1. Yeah, that's not going to get the job done. These aren't the 2007 Dolphins! 3-1.
New England 23, St, Louis 16. Who knew changing coaches could have this effect? Two straight wins for the Rams, and then a really close loss on the road. I wonder why the players weren't playing well earlier in the season. Matt Cassell, meanwhile, seems to be rounding into shape, which really sucks for those of us who don't like the Cheaters. Why can't they suck?
Turnovers: Cheaters 2, Rams 1. Turnovers = loss? Wow, the Rams got more turnovers? Interesting. 3-2.
New Orleans 37, San Diego 32. This was the London game, which remains an idiotic experiment, especially since they made a West Coast team fly to Buffalo and then to London. If the NFL insists on doing this, it should be the first game of the season so the teams can fly over there with plenty of time to get acclimated and maybe give the teams two bye weeks, one right after the game. The fans get hosed, of course, as New Orleans loses a home game. It's a stupid gimmick, and it would be nice if the NFL put the kibosh on it. Meanwhile, the Chargers aren't very good. They're about to waste LaDanian Tomlinson's career, as he can't have too many good seasons left in him. Oh well.
Turnovers: Chargers 2, Saints 0. Turnovers = loss? Seems like it. 4-2.
New York Jets 28, Kansas City 24. So the New York fans, who aren't sad-sack homers like those in Wisconsin, booed R. C. Favre because he threw three absolutely horrible interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. That he threw the game-winning touchdown doesn't change the fact that the Jets barely beat the Chiefs at home. They should have pounded them, but they needed an extremely good catch by Laveraneus Coles to secure the victory. I wonder if the Jets fans are feeling that great about their gunslinging new quarterback these days?
Turnovers: Jets 3, Chiefs 0. Turnovers = loss? No, because it's Kansas City. Man, they suck. 4-3.
Carolina 27, Arizona 23. There were some strange things in this game. First, the Cardinals have pretty much abandoned the run, as they rushed 14 times for 50 yards. I get that Kurt Warner throwing to their excellent receivers is their best offense, but as anyone who has watched football in Philadelphia in the Andy Reid Era, you have to run the ball a little bit! Plus, Ken Whisenhunt is a tough-guy coach, and for some reason he's gone a totally different way. Finally, when the other team knows you're not running, they start to defend the pass much better, and that leads to interceptions, like the late one with the Cardinals driving for the go-ahead score. Finally, the game-winning Steve Smith touchdown was incorrectly called. It seems pretty clear, on replay, that Smith was out of bounds, and the replay officials missed it. It doesn't excuse the horrid tackling by the Arizona defense, but I thought I should mention it.
Turnovers: Cardinals 2, Panthers 1. Turnovers = loss? Pretty much. 5-3.
Baltimore 29, Oakland 10. Yeah, you couldn't have paid me to watch this game.
Turnovers: Raiders 1, Ravens 1. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Houston 35, Cincinnati 6. It's time to start the 0-16 watch on the Bengals. Houston got a punt return for a touchdown to start this game, but the next time I turned it on, the Bengals were dominating the yardage and time of possession. They just couldn't get points. Then I turned it off and the next time I knew, it was 35-6. Sheesh, the Bengals are lousy. I'd pity Woody!, but he mocked my pain as an Eagles fan last week, so screw him! I hope Cincy goes 0-16! Oh, that's not nice. I do feel bad for Woody! and other Cincinnati fans. It's no fun when your team sucks.
Turnovers: Bengals 3, Texans 0. Turnovers = loss? That's the way it goes! 6-3.
Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 17. Wasn't Jacksonville supposed to be good? Man, they lost to the Browns at home. That can't be good. I watched a little of this game, and Derek Anderson actually looked pretty decent. I'm not sure what the heck is going on down in Florida, but they looked lousy. Of course, Cleveland got a tiny bit lucky at the end, when it appeared there could have been a pass interference call against them in the end zone. I'm not saying it was a penalty, but I've seen more egregious calls!
Turnovers: Jaguars 1, Browns 0. Turnovers = loss? I'll say yes. 7-3.
New York Giants 21, Pittsburgh 14. I know this was supposed to be the big game of the weekend, but I didn't watch much of it. It looked pretty brutal throughout, though. The Steelers really ought to get an offensive line, because Roethlisberger got hammered quite a bit. Meanwhile, Tom Coughlin benched Plaxico Burress for a minor infraction, but he let him go in the game in the second quarter. That's a wussy move. Bench him for the entire game or play him throughout! Have some stones, Coughlin!
Turnovers: Steelers 4, Giants 0. Turnovers = loss? Yeah, you might not want to turn the ball over that much against the Super Bowl Champions. 8-3.
Seattle 34, San Francisco 13. I know everyone is going nuts over Mike Singletary going ballistic on Vernon Davis, but it seemed a bit showy. I have no problem with him benching him and sending him off to the showers, but going off on him in a press conference seems excessive. Davis is lousy, sure, but it's not like Singletary's rant is going to change the balance of power in football, which is tilted toward the players and their agents. Tom Coughlin is a tough-guy coach, and look how long it took him to get respect. He's old and he had to win a Super Bowl before people thought his way worked. I wish Singletary all the best. I'll be surprised if he's coaching the 49ers next season, though.
Turnovers: 49ers 2, Seahawks 0. Turnovers = loss? I think so. 9-3.
Tennessee 31, Indianapolis 21. So the Titans showed that they're pretty good, and the Colts showed they're not. It's amazing that in October, Tennessee has pretty much wrapped up the division. I know there's a lot of football left, but who's going to catch them? The Colts? With no running back, a horrible defense, and a quarterback with gimpy knees? I don't think so. Meanwhile, Tennessee continues to roll along, but Kerry Collins completed 24 passes for 193 yards. They're going to have to get some production out of your quarterback, right?
Turnovers: Colts 2, Titans 0. Turnovers = loss? Yes, plus the bad play-calling on a fourth-and-one for Indy. I like them going for it, but it was a lousy call. 10-3.
I forgot to update the record of teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents, but it's up to 71-20. Now let's break it down a bit more!
Tennessee: 8 turnovers, +8 margin, 7-0 record.
Philadelphia: 8 turnovers, +7 margin, 4-3 record.
Miami: 5 turnovers, +7 margin, 3-4 record.
Green Bay: 8 turnovers, +6 margin, 4-3 record.
Cleveland: 7 turnovers, +6 margin, 3-4 record.
New York Giants: 4 turnovers, +5 margin, 6-1 record.
Chicago: 11 turnovers, +5 margin, 4-3 record.
St. Louis: 7 turnovers, +4 margin, 2-5 record.
Kansas City: 10 turnovers, +4 margin, 1-6 record.
New England: 9 turnovers, +3 margin, 5-2 record.
Tampa: 12 turnovers, +3 margin, 5-3 record.
Washington: 6 turnovers, +2 margin, 6-2 record.
Oakland: 9 turnovers, +2 margin, 2-5 record.
Carolina: 10 turnovers, +1 margin, 6-2 record.
Pittsburgh: 9 turnovers, +0 margin, 5-2 record.
Atlanta: 8 turnovers, +0 margin, 4-3 record.
Jacksonville: 9 turnovers, +0 margin, 3-4 record.
Indianapolis: 10 turnovers, +0 margin, 3-4 record.
San Diego: 11 turnovers, -1 margin, 3-5 record.
Buffalo: 13 turnovers, -2 margin, 5-2 record.
Arizona: 14 turnovers, -2 margin, 4-3 record.
New Orleans: 13 turnovers, -2 margin, 4-4 record.
Detroit: 9 turnovers, -2 margin, 0-7 record.
Baltimore: 14 turnovers, -4 margin, 4-3 record.
Seattle: 11 turnovers, -4 margin, 2-5 record.
Dallas: 13 turnovers, -5 margin, 5-3 record.
Minnesota: 15 turnovers, -5 margin, 3-4 record.
New York Jets: 16 turnovers, -6 margin, 4-3 record.
Houston: 14 turnovers, -6 margin, 3-4 record.
Cincinnati: 16 turnovers, -6 margin, 0-8 record.
Denver: 16 turnovers, -9 margin, 4-3 record.
San Francisco: 20 turnovers, -10 margin, 2-6 record.
Maybe by this time next week the Phillies will be World Series Champions. Or maybe the rain in Philadelphia will never end! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!