Delenda Est Carthago

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!

27.9.09

What have we learned - Week 3

Will there be cheesecake in this post? Don't be surprised if there is!

Eagles 34, Chiefs 14. Well, if you have a bad game, make sure you follow it up with a game against Kansas City! This was a shockingly easy game, as Kevin Kolb carved up the Chiefs, the defense stymied Matt Cassel and his crew, and the Eagles cruised. I was never sure why Kolb was getting bashed in the media after his poor performance against Baltimore last year and in the first game this year. After a week of practicing with the first team, he's put up 391- and 327-yard passing games consecutively. He looks very confident and he's standing in and taking the heat well. Plus, LeSean McCoy looked really good, and it makes the continuing drama over Brian Westbrook's health less traumatic. McCoy seems to hit the hole faster than Westbrook does, which is nice. All of this, of course, is mitigated by the fact that it was, after all, the Chiefs, but still - a nice win that they kind of needed. They get a bye, and then they get Tampa at home, Oakland on the road, and Washington on the road before they get the Giants and Cowboys at home. Those are all winnable games.

Lions 19, Washington 14. Surprisingly, the world didn't end at about ten minutes after four this afternoon, when the Detroit Lions won a football game. I actually watched quite a bit of this game, because it was fairly entertaining. A lot of people called this one, which only shows how very awful Washington is. And they looked terrible - for the second straight week, they struggled against what ought to be an inferior opponent, but maybe isn't. Matthew Stafford looked pretty good, and it's looking like Detroit made a good pick with him. I have a feeling Jim Zorn won't be long for this coaching world, as his owner is notoriously short-tempered when it comes to his coaches.



Packers 36, Rams 17. My friend who loves Marc Bulger was a bit grumpy about this game. First, Bulger gets hurt because God forbid the Rams provide him with any protection. Then, Kyle Boller comes in a chucks a couple of quick touchdowns, bringing the Rams back. Ultimately, they lost convincingly, but now the quarterback controversy begins, and my friend isn't happy about it, because Bulger is obviously much better than Boller is. The fact that Bulger toils for a horrible team is sad until you realize that he signed a long-term contract with St. Louis. But it's still kind of a shame that he could be doing much better if the Rams weren't such a dysfunctional organization. Meanwhile, Aaron Rogers continues to make Packer fans forget that other dude they had. Yes, he had a good day today, but long-term, Rogers is the man.

Vikings 27, 49ers 24. Speaking of R. C. Favre, the canonization continues, even though he had less to do with Minnesota's victory than you might think. First, Percy Harvin returned a kickoff for a touchdown, which was huge. Then, the final touchdown was much more Greg Lewis's effort than Favre's pass. San Francisco didn't get much pressure on him, so the fact that he "got away from it" isn't that big a deal (yes, he sidestepped a tackler, but 99% of quarterbacks who've ever played in the NFL could have done that). He had to throw it into the end zone, and he simply hurled it as far as he could. Lewis made a tremendous catch on a pass that just happened to come near him - it wasn't like R. C. found him as he broke open, because Lewis was blanketed. So let's hold off on re-anointing R. C., shall we? It's a good win for the Vikings, but for most of the game, they were winning despite their quarterback, not because of him. And remember that Frank Gore was injured early on, and San Francisco still should have won the game!

Patriots 26, Falcons 10. I watched very little of this game, so I don't know what we learned from it. Maybe we shouldn't count New England dead yet? Maybe we shouldn't proclaim Atlanta as a Super Bowl favorite? Beats me.



Jets 24, Titans 17. This was a pretty exciting game, with New York scoring early and late while Tennessee dominated the middle. It's always nice to see the old-school uniforms (especially the refs'), and on Lendale White's second-quarter touchdown run, the Jets grabbed him by the jersey and pulled, and as he was wearing a Houston Oilers shirt, it looked scarily like Earl Campbell breaking free. I started cheering, "Tear it!" even though they don't tear anymore. But it was pretty cool. The Jets sure look for real, I tell you that much.

Giants 24, Buccaneers 0. Here's another game I skipped completely, because there wasn't going to be much drama, and it turned out there wasn't much drama at all. New York, just like last year, looks like the class of the NFC, but we'll see how that plays out in January, won't we? New York was playing without a couple of their defensive lineman and Tampa still got five (5) first downs (!) and 86 (!) total yards. Yucky.

Ravens 34, Browns 3. Here's one reason why the Browns suck: Trailing 27-0 on the road, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Eric Mangini kicked a field goal. A FIELD GOAL! Why didn't he just pull his team off the field and forfeit? I mean, it's not likely you're going to 27 points in a quarter against Baltimore, but still. It was a 29-yard field goal, too, meaning the Browns had the ball at the 11 or so. Fortune favors the bold, Mangenius! Even if you don't score, that sets the tone for the rest of the season and shows your team that you expect them to step up. Mangini was playing for a tiny goal - not getting shut out. He should have realized the game was lost, and set up a bigger goal - suck it up, Browns players, and stick that damned ball in the end zone! But now you're 0-3, Cleveland, but worse, you have no hope. Good job. Oh, and Joe Flacco is getting scary good.

Jaguars 31, Texans 24. Hey, remember when Houston was a trendy playoff pick? They should stop losing to teams like Jacksonville at home. I probably should have watched more of this game, because Maurice Jones-Drew had another excellent game, but the only thing I saw was Chris Jones's fumble into the end zone with two minutes left, which Jacksonville recovered and which killed Houston's hopes. The Texans are one of those teams with a lot of talent that just hasn't figured out how to stomp on teams that aren't as good as they are yet. Unless they do, they won't go far this season. We'll see.



Bears 25, Seahawks 19. So Jim Mora, Jr. is chucking his kicker under the bus after Olindo Mare missed two (somewhat long) field goals on a beautiful day in Seattle. You stay classy, Mora. I could have sworn winning and losing in football was a team effort. Maybe you shouldn't have worn jerseys that made you look like you were wearing pinnies in high school:

I figured they won the coin toss and took "shirts." I'm surprised Da Bears weren't "skins." Gadzooks.

Saints 27, Bills 7. I watched a lot of this game, until the Saints scored to make it 17-7, at which time it became clear the Bills had no offense to come back (they scored their only points on a fake field goal). It was a nice defensive effort and showed, once again, that no quarterback, even Drew Brees, is unbeatable - the Bills put him under a lot of pressure and knocked him around quite a bit. Terrell Owens didn't catch a pass for the first time in 185 games, and I watched a couple of pass plays called for him. On one deep route, he barely looked back for the ball, and when he did finally see it, he didn't even make an effort for it. I've never liked Owens too much (even when he played for the Eagles), but at least he always made an effort. He's only on a one-year contract, so presumably he's trying to play into a contract with a better team next year. He's not going to get it this way.

Bengals 23, Steelers 20. I guess I should have watched more of the late games, but Mia wanted to watch the Wiggles, and she's quite insistent! I don't know how Carson Palmer and Cincinnati won this game, but good for them! The two Super Bowl teams from last year are both 1-2. I think we expected it from the Cardinals, but not from the Steelers.

Broncos 23, Raiders 3. Oh, Oakland. You're so bad. The good news: JaMarcus Russell completed over half his passes! The bad news: His 12 completions went for 61 yards. Blech. I was listening to the radio this morning, and Colin Cowherd and Trent Dilfer were pooh-poohing Denver's 3-0 record. Of course they got hate mail, but they have a point: They've beaten Cincinnati (on a miracle play), Cleveland (who's terrible), and Oakland (who's very terrible). It's nice that they're 3-0, but let's not start printing playoff tickets yet.

Chargers 23, Dolphins 13. Philip Rivers throws a nice deep ball, I'll tell you that much. His completions in the second half: 47 yards, 19 yards, 55 yards, 15 yards, 14 yards, and the two long passes were real purty. Of course, CBS kept showing scenes of San Diego, which made me think: If you lived in San Diego, why would you waste your afternoon attending a football game? Dang, that's a nice city. And Chad Pennington is out for the season. Miami's season last year is looking more and more like a mirage.



Colts 31, Cardinals 10. Some radio guys in town were predicting a Cardinals win on Friday, mainly because they thought Kurt Warner could keep up with Peyton Manning. They failed to realize that you don't beat the Colts by keeping up with Manning, you beat the Colts by not letting Manning on the field. Miami almost did it, but they didn't have the offensive firepower to finish the deal. Arizona needed long, sustained drives capped off by touchdowns, and then they turned the ball over twice inside the Colts' 10-yard line. They didn't need to get in a shootout with Manning, because Manning loves that. And the Cardinals gave up way too early on the run game, probably because they wanted to get in a shootout. Just a bad game plan all around. Oh well. I figured Arizona would fall back to Earth this season, and they are. Of course, it's not like they were that great last year - they could still go 8-8 this year and it wouldn't that big a dropoff. They're still far too undisciplined to be a consistent winner.

I'd write about college football, but nobody knows nothing, so what would I have to say? I thought Penn State was way overrated, but I also didn't think they'd stink up the joint so badly on offense. I kept wanting them to score just one more touchdown, because Iowa's offense wasn't doing anything. When Daryll Clark threw the interception on the first drive of the second half, I told Krys, "They're going to lose." After that, it was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. There just aren't any great teams in the country - the top three, Florida, Texas, and Alabama are close, but they're still beatable. Cal isn't ready for prime time, Miami got their swagger back without learning that those old Hurricane teams had the swagger because they were better than everyone, and LSU barely beat Mississippi State, for crying out loud. At this rate, it will be Cincinnati versus Boise State in the National Championship Game, and I think I might have to root for that, because maybe then the college presidents will get a playoff together, because no one will watch that game (sorry, Woody!, but it's true). Who knows what craziness will ensue this week? Will the Lions lose at Illinois? Will Arizona go to Washington and knock off the Huskies? Will Cal beat USC now that the pressure is off? Will Michigan State get their heads out of their asses and beat Michigan? We'll see!

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