What have we learned - Week 11
Meanwhile, Penn State thumped Indiana, and for much of the game, the announcers kept talking about how good the Hoosiers were playing. I guess. It was 10-7, PSU, at the half, and it ended 34-7. But Indiana never had a chance, as anyone watching it could see. The only chance they had was if the Lions turned the ball over a lot, and once it became obvious they wouldn't do that, the outcome became a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile, Michigan lost its eighth game in a season for the first time in its 129-season history. That's fairly amazing. Northwestern got them this time, and I only hope that the Wolverines were saving up a good game for Ohio State, because if the Buckeyes win, they will claim they're co-champions of the Big Eleven like they did in 2005, even if in both years they had more total losses than Penn State and lost to Penn State. Go, Michigan! Tom renounced his allegiance to Cal after they lost in Corvallis to Oregon State, but the Beavers are, after all, better. I'm hoping that OSU wins out so they go to the Rose Bowl and piss off USC. Suck it, Trojans! Everything stayed the same in the BCS, which means that the Lions will probably need a miracle to play for the National Championship or win the AP poll because the writers just want to stick it to the BCS. That would be nice. Of course, they need to beat Michigan State this weekend. Let's hope they don't screw that up!
Philadelphia 13, Cincinnati 13. So Donovan McNabb didn't know NFL games could end in ties. What a moron. There's so much that made me angry about this game. McNabb threw three interceptions in Bengal territory and fumbled at his own ten-yard line, and Cincy got 10 points out of those turnovers. DON'T TURN THE DAMNED BALL OVER, PLEASE! Whenever Philly got something going, McNabb would screw up. Jesus. And, because it's Cincinnati, they couldn't take advantage of anything. They had a fake punt on at one point, and it probably would have worked, but they were called for a delay of game penalty. Good job! Then, of course, they got within field goal range late in overtime ... and missed. That's why you're the Bengals. Fans in Philly are incensed about McNabb's idiotic statements (the only thing he can do now is say he was joking, even if he wasn't) and the Eagles' poor showing, and I agree to a degree. I've said this before - Andy Reid needs to go. I think McNabb still has some good years left in him, but it's just not working with the two of them. I think of it as the Dan Reeves/John Elway years - they went as far as they could go, and then Reeves had to go. Everyone thought Elway was done, but then they got Shanahan and won two Super Bowls. McNabb needs a new hand on his tiller, so to speak.
DeSean Jackson update! 4 catches for 66 yards, 2 rushes for 3 yards, 6 punt returns for 43 yards. For the season: 42 catches for 652 yards and 1 touchdown, 12 rushes for 79 yards and 1 touchdown, 33 punt returns for 341 yards.
Turnovers: Eagles 4, Bengals 1. Turnovers = loss? It should have, but it didn't. 0-0-1.
New York Jets 34, New England 31. I didn't watch this game, but I guess R. C. Favre had a good game while Matt Cassell just made a chunk of money by throwing for 400 yards. He's a free agent after this year, and someone is going to pony up some huge monies for him. When Sage Rosenfels starts NFL games, Cassell will be a rich man soon.
Turnovers: Jets 1, Cheaters 1. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Denver 24, Atlanta 20. Denver finally beat a decent team on the road, but I was surprised that the Falcons hadn't lost a home game yet. Hmmm. Michael Turner is probably the best free agent pick-up this season, and Jay Cutler finally seems to be rounding into shape as a really good quarterback. Cutler took the Broncos right down the field late against a good defense for the winning touchdown. Denver won't go far in the playoffs this year, but at least they know their QB is really good.
Turnovers: Falcons 1, Broncos 0. Turnovers = loss? Sure! 1-0-1.
Green Bay 37, Chicago 3. In the latest round of "Who doesn't want to win the NFC North?", Da Bears got stomped by the Packers. Next week, I'm sure the Packers won't want to win the division. Damn. There are a lot of winnable divisions in the NFL this year, but unfortunately, the Eagles aren't in one. Yes, they would be leading the NFC North with their pathetic 5-4-1 record. Damn.
Turnovers: Da Bears 1, Packers 1. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
Indianapolis 33, Houston 27. You know, as good as the Colts looked on offense (despite several dropped passes), they gave up 27 points to the Texans at home, and often looked inept on defense. Pundits were praising how the Colts are "rounding into shape" at the right time, but if they keep letting mediocre offenses rip through them, they won't make the playoffs, much less go far.
Turnovers: Texans 1, Colts 0. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 2-0-1.
New Orleans 30, Kansas City 20. I have nothing to say about this. The Chiefs stink, so a loss by them isn't surprising. The Saints aren't great, but they're good enough to beat the Chiefs. I guess the only surprising thing is that Drew Brees didn't throw for over 300 yards.
Turnovers: Saints 1, Chiefs 1. Turnovers = loss? Yet another wash!
Miami 17, Oakland 15. The Dolphins are really living on the edge, as the Raiders couldn't do anything on offense in this game, and then suddenly got a punt return for a touchdown and took a late lead. Miami drove down the field and got the game-winning field goal, but they're living dangerously, letting a team like Oakland hang around! Oh, and the Dolphins have won 4 straight games. Goddamnit. The Eagles can't put together two good quarters in a row, and the frickin' Miami Dolphins have won 4 straight games.
Turnovers: Dolphins 1, Raiders 0. Turnovers = loss? Not in this case. 2-1-1.
New York Giants 30, Baltimore 10. Before this game got out of hand, I watched a few minutes of it. Brandon Jacobs was just running over the Ravens. Seriously - they couldn't tackle him. Ray "The Killer" Lewis couldn't stop him. Terrell Suggs couldn't stop him. Ed Reed couldn't stop him. Bart Scott couldn't stop him. He was just running right over them. If I didn't hate the Giants, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. Of course, I hate the Ravens, so it was somewhat enjoyable. Man, the Giants are really good. Damn.
Turnovers: Ravens 2, Giants 1. Turnovers = loss? Probably not, but the stats don't lie! 3-1-1.
Tampa 19, Minnesota 13. In another round of "Who doesn't want to win the NFC North?", the Vikings went south and decided to stop playing football in the second half, as they were held scoreless. Tampa wasn't that great, but they did what they had to do. Jeff Garcia did a good job, and hey! didn't throw any interceptions! How about that? And the Buccaneers might have lost Ernest Graham for the season, which might suck for them. They're still 7-3, though.
Turnovers: Vikings 2, Buccaneers 1. Turnovers = loss? You bet! 4-1-1.
Carolina 31, Detroit 22. So the Lions are 0-10, and I'm really hoping they don't win a game. Not because I'm evil, but because it's just something historic. The Lions stink so bad that they should be honored for their suckiness. 2-14 won't do it, Detroit! Even Miami went 1-15 last year! Go for the 0-16, Detroit! On the other side, Carolina is 8-2. Guess what they did on Sunday? They had two runners go over 120 yards. Wow, shocking - running the ball helps you win ballgames. Maybe Andy Reid should takes notes. Stupid Andy Reid.
Turnovers: Lions 4, Panthers 1. Turnovers = loss? Of course - it's the Lions! 5-1-1.
San Francisco 35, St. Louis 16. I don't know how bad you have to be to give up 35 points in a half to the 49ers, but the Rams are that bad. I should point out that with slightly less than 19 minutes left in this game and trailing 35-3, the Rams kicked a field goal. That's why you're 2-8, St. Louis!
Turnovers: Rams 3, 49ers 2. Turnovers = loss? I guess! 6-1-1.
Arizona 26, Seattle 20. As bad as the Seahawks are, Arizona had lost 5 straight in Seattle, so this was a big victory for the Cardinals, especially with games against the Giants and a Thanksgiving game in Philadelphia coming up. The Cardinals continue to commit stupid penalties and make stupid plays - Karlos Dansby intercepted a ball in the end zone and tried to run it out, which led to a fumble back to Seattle and sparked their comeback - but Kurt Warner and the passing game is fun to watch. They'll get a home playoff game, so everyone in the country will have at least one chance to see what they can do in their house, where they've built a good homefield advantage.
Turnovers: Seahawks 4, Cardinals 3. Turnovers = loss? The final Seahawks turnover was an interception with less than two minutes to go, so I'll say yes. 7-1-1.
Tennessee 24, Jacksonville 14. All those people who said the Titans couldn't come back from a decent deficit can shut up now. What's next? "They can't beat a 'great' quarterback like R. C. Favre!" We'll see. I still doubt they're going undefeated, but as a Penn State fan, it's fun to watch Kerry Collins shutting everyone up.
Turnovers: Titans 1, Jaguars 1. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Pittsburgh 11, San Diego 10. I'm not sure why everyone is so much more bent out of shape by the bad call at the end of this game than they were about the Denver-San Diego game, where the refs completely screwed up AND gave the game to Denver. I mean, the refs blew it in this game, but it's not like the Steelers would have lost without the touchdown. The points meant absolutely nothing. Unless, of course, you're a gambler or a fantasy football player. Oh, but the NFL doesn't want to acknowledge that, so they make a lot of noise about why the call was correct when it clearly wasn't. I get that they screwed up a call, but refs screw up calls all the time. Why was it a big deal this time? Does Troy Polamalu have a clause in his contract that gives him a bonus if he scores a touchdown. It meant nothing!!!!!!
Turnovers: Chargers 2, Steelers 0. Turnovers = loss? You bet (ha!). 8-1-1.
Dallas 14, Washington 10. Considering this featured two teams I absolutely loathe, I didn't watch any of it, but I guess now that Wonder Boy is back behind center, the Cowboys are once again Super Bowl favorites. Didn't any pundit learn a few months ago about anointing the Cowboys? Morons.
Turnovers: Cowboys 2, Washington 1. Turnovers = loss? Once again, the Cowboys lose the turnover battle but win the game. That won't cut it in the playoffs, gentlemen! 8-2-1.
Cleveland 29, Buffalo 27. I happened to catch the end of this game. Cleveland kicked the field goal to go ahead, and the Bills got the ball back. On the first play, they got a huge pass to the Cleveland 31- or 32-yard line. There was over a minute left. On first down they ran the ball and gained a yard. I said to my long-suffering and uncaring wife, "They're not even going to try to get any more yards, and this is a long field goal that is not a gimme." Cleveland's defenders were sucking wind, you could tell. Yet the Bills did exactly what I thought they would do, and Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal that probably would have been good if they had gained five more yards on 1st, 2nd, or 3rd downs. I even said something about the Bills deserving to miss the field goal because of the totally wussy playcalling. Good move, Buffalo! That's why you've lost 4 straight games and 5 of 6.
Turnovers: Bills 4, Browns 0. Turnovers = loss? Yes, and the fact that the Bills had any chance to win this game doesn't speak well for Cleveland. 9-2-1.
Let's see ... teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents are now 98-29-1. I wonder if turning the ball over is a good idea?
Here are the standings based on turnover margin!
Tennessee: 10 turnovers, +10 margin, 10-0 record.
Kansas City: 12 turnovers, +9 margin, 1-9 record.
Cleveland: 10 turnovers, +8 margin, 4-6 record.
New York Giants: 10 turnovers, +7 margin, 9-1 record.
Miami: 8 turnovers, +7 margin, 6-4 record.
Green Bay: 11 turnovers, +7 margin, 5-5 record.
Indianapolis: 10 turnovers, +6 margin, 6-4 record.
Chicago: 15 turnovers, +6 margin, 5-5 record.
Arizona: 17 turnovers, +5 margin, 7-3 record.
Carolina: 15 turnovers, +3 margin, 8-2 record.
Atlanta: 10 turnovers, +3 margin, 6-4 record.
Philadelphia: 15 turnovers, +3 margin, 5-4-1 record.
Oakland: 14 turnovers, +3 margin, 2-8 record.
Washington: 9 turnovers, +2 margin, 6-4 record.
New England: 13 turnovers, +2 margin, 6-4 record.
Jacksonville: 11 turnovers, +2 margin, 4-6 record.
Tampa: 17 turnovers, +1 margin, 7-3 record.
New York Jets: 18 turnovers, +1 margin, 7-3 record.
Baltimore: 16 turnovers, +1 margin, 6-4 record.
Pittsburgh: 13 turnovers, +0 margin, 7-3 record.
Cincinnati: 19 turnovers, -2 margin, 1-8-1 record.
Seattle: 15 turnovers, -3 margin, 2-8 record.
New Orleans: 17 turnovers, -5 margin, 5-5 record.
San Diego: 15 turnovers, -5 margin, 4-6 record.
St. Louis: 18 turnovers, -6 margin, 2-8 record.
Dallas: 19 turnovers, -7 margin, 6-4 record.
Minnesota: 21 turnovers, -7 margin, 5-5 record.
Detroit: 17 turnovers, -7 margin, 0-10 record.
Buffalo: 22 turnovers, -9 margin, 5-5 record.
Denver: 20 turnovers, -10 margin, 6-4 record.
San Francisco: 25 turnovers, -12 margin, 3-7 record.
Houston: 22 turnovers, -13 margin, 3-7 record.
Finally, today is the thirtieth anniversary of "The Miracle at the Meadowlands." For those of you who don't know what that is, well, shame on you! On this date, the Giants were leading the Eagles, 17-12, with less than a minute left. Joe Pisarcik, the New York quarterback, tried to hand off to Larry Csonka instead of taking a knee. The exchange went wrong, the ball was fumbled, and Herm Edwards of the Eagles picked up the ball and raced into the end zone. The win helped the Eagles make the playoffs and helped lead to a Super Bowl appearance two years later. Needless to say, teams these days simply snap the ball and have the quarterback kneel down, mostly because of this play. I don't remember it, mostly because I was 7 years old and lived in Germany at the time, but if you're an Eagles fan, it's part of Eagles lore. Here's the video:
I love how they're showing the credits because they assume the game is over. Well, it was, but not the way they expected! And yes, young'uns, CBS once broadcast NFC games, unlike today, where they broadcast AFC games. Oh, the good old days!