Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

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!


What have we learned - Week 3

First off, I apologize for not posting more often. Demon Child #2 is actually taking up a lot of my time these days! Yes, I'm doing some actual parenting. Alert the media!

But she's sitting here right now moaning like she does, looking through her books for the ten-thousandth time, so I can begin. Yes, it's another sports post! But we must figure out what we learned from this week's NFL games! Don't we? This week: an added bonus!

The Eagles managed to hold on to a big lead this week, but it wasn't easy and if San Francisco had been, you know, better, the Beags might have been in trouble. They're so close to being 3-0, and I hope later in the year, when their schedule gets brutal, they don't look back on last week's collapse and regret it. Brian Westbrook had a 71-yard touchdown run, and if you didn't see it, his stiff-arm on the safety was awesome. How does a defensive player not knock him out of bounds? Unbelievable. It was a decent win, but they need to play better. Luckily they have Nancy-Boy Favre coming to town next week for another tune-up before the Cowboys show up.
Why the Eagles are a playoff-caliber team: they can score on anyone, at any time.
Why the 49ers are not a playoff-caliber team: in the third quarter, they ran six plays from the Eagles' 1-yard line. Four were stuffed, one was fumbled and returned for a touchdown. They finally scored on the sixth play. Good teams score on the first or second.

Oh, Arizona. Oh, dear. As I often write here, I am mystified by the Cardinals and their inability to win. Something always goes wrong. Always. They have two of the best receivers in the game, a very good third receiver, Edgerrin James had a good game, they have a very good kicker, a pretty good quarterback, a decent defense ... but something always goes wrong. It's baffling. This week, besides the fumble at the St. Louis 18-yard line with less than two minutes to go and the Rams out of timeouts and only needing a field goal to win, it was a couple of bad interceptions thrown by Kurt Warner, a few crucial drops, and a few bad defensive plays. Other teams have occasional breakdowns, bad interceptions, and stupid penalties, yet they win. Why can't the Cardinals? Someone needs to write a doctoral dissertation on Arizona, because it's getting spooky.
Why the Rams are not a playoff-caliber team: They were trying to run out the clock with less than three minutes left and they fumbled the snap at their own 30. Good teams don't fumble the snap. They might have to punt, but they don't fumble the snap.
Why the Cardinals are not a playoff-caliber team: They fumbled a snap with less than two minutes left while they were on the Rams' 18-yard line and needing only a field goal to win! Isn't that enough?
(A minor side note: the Rams punted on the last play of the game, and the Cardinals called for a fair catch. Under NFL rules, Arizona could have lined up for a free kick from the spot, and had it gone through, they would have won. It would have been a 75-yard field goal, but kickoffs occasionally go through the uprights, so it would have been fun to see. Unfortunately, a Cardinal was offsides, so the Rams took the penalty, got one more play, and simply knelt on the ball. That would have been cool. Stupid Cardinals even mess up a desperation play!)

The Bears are 3-0, and Rex Grossman made a nice throw near the end for the winning touchdown, but did everyone see the interception he threw that was returned for a touchdown? He was running backward in his own end zone and he just lofted it out in the flat. That's why I can't totally trust the Bears yet - you can't throw that ball! Grossman should have never run into the end zone in the first place, actually. Chicago should win the division relatively easily, but I foresee an early playoff exit.
Why the Bears are a playoff-caliber team: Man, that defense is good.
Why the Vikings are not a playoff-caliber team: Yes, they're 2-1, but does anyone trust Brad Johnson? Plus, letting Rex Grossman drive down the field for the winning touchdown in your own building is not a plus.

Green Bay and Detroit decided to play eight men on defense, apparently. Whenever I turned this game on (and, admittedly, it wasn't often), someone was making a big play. Sheesh, tackle someone, why don't you? Does anyone believe that Nancy-Boy Favre is playing for anything else beside the all-time touchdown passes record? He's 18 behind Marino. That's the only reason he came back, I think, yet no one is talking about that, because he's such a "team guy." Yeah, okay. He'll get the record, too, because the Packers will be so far behind in most games that he'll be throwing on every down.
Why the Packers are not a playoff-caliber team: Two words: Brett. Favre. Okay, their defense stinks, too.
Why the Lions are not a playoff-caliber team: Do you have a week? Because that's how long it would take to tell what's wrong with this team. Okay, two words: Jon. Kitna.

At least that game, between two stinky teams, was entertaining. The Titans-Dolphins "clash" was one of those games that sets football back fifty years. I should start doing a weekly feature on those games! Whenever I turned it on, someone was fumbling or punting or falling down even though no one touched them. Miami won by attrition, but I'm just wondering: this is the team that everyone thought would challenge the Patriots in the AFC East? Were all the pundits high?
Why the Titans are not a playoff-caliber team: Their starting quarterback was on his sofa three weeks ago (yes, he's a Penn Stater, but I call 'em like I see 'em). Their back-up quarterback is a bulked-up version of Michael Vick. And you know how I feel about Michael Vick!
Why the Dolphins are not a playoff-caliber team: It's a lot easier to play quarterback when you can just heave it as far as you can and Randy Moss is there to catch it, isn't it, Daunte?

The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets were totally outplayed in Buffalo, so of course they won. A few mistakes cost the Bills, and Chad Pennington continued to play well. Again, I watched very little of this game (the early games I watched the most were Carolina-Tampa, Jacksonville-Indianapolis, and Cincinnati-Pittsburgh, so the others get short shrift), but if Pennington can stay healthy, New Jersey might sneak up on some teams. Well, as sneaky as a team in a major media outlet can be.
Why the Jets are a playoff-caliber team: Pennington, plus they play in a weak division.
Why the Bills are not a playoff-caliber team: They're close, but I'm not sold on Losman. They will scare a lot of teams and beat a few (like Miami last week), but probably finish somewhere around 8-8.

Mark Brunell completed the first 22 passes he threw. He ended up with 24-of-27 for 261 yards. That's not even 11 yards per completion. Whenever someone completes a lot of passes in a row, I always think, "He's just dumping it off and not taking any chances." I mean, it's nice statistically, but fortune favors the bold, and if Washington had been playing a good team instead of the Texans, I doubt if Brunell would have had those kinds of chances. Compare the first play of the Philadelphia game: flea-flicker, 50 yards to Reggie Brown. McNabb threw 15 incompletions, but had a much better day. I don't want quarterbacks to be reckless, but you have to challenge the defense occasionally. Washington doesn't, so they are mediocre.
Why Washington is a playoff-caliber team: That said, Brunell doesn't make mistakes, they have a good running game, and a solid defense. They might finish 9-7, but that might be enough to make the second season.
Why the Texans are not a playoff-caliber team: Because they're the Texans. They passed on Reggie Bush in the draft. What else do you need to know?

Are the Bengals the best team in the league? Did you ever think you'd hear anyone even mention that? Sure, Roethlisberger is still hurt, and they're not as good as last year, but it's still Pittsburgh, and they're still tough, but despite playing well, the Bengals just kept coming, and eventually the talent wins out. The OTHER Oregon State receiver on the roster had two touchdowns, and the defense stepped it out when it counted. Cincinnati looks like they have the means to take out the Colts.
Why the Bengals are a playoff-caliber team: Because you'd be an idiot not to think so.
Why the Steelers are a playoff-caliber team: They were outmatched talent-wise, but they kept fighting. They're a tough team, which is, interestingly enough, somewhat surprising in this league.

Jacksonville dominated Indianapolis except where it counts: the scoreboard. At one point they had held the ball about 20 out of 23 minutes, which is shocking. Even more shocking was that the game was tied, 7-7, thanks to a missed field goal on the Jags side and a punt return for a touchdown on the Colts side. Jacksonville should have beaten the Colts by two touchdowns, but their quarterback just isn't getting it done. On today, somebody said that the Jags don't trust Leftwich. Either way, they need to get better. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning has replaced Nancy-Boy Favre as the "quarterback every announcer wants to fellate." Sorry to be crude, but it's true. Manning can do no wrong, even though he played kind of lousy.
Why the Jaguars are a playoff-caliber team: Their defense is excellent, and their running game is tough. We'll see how Leftwich evolves.
Why the Colts are a playoff-caliber team: I don't really like Manning, but he's really freakin' good.

Carolina-Tampa was a pretty good game, but it's been overshadowed by the news that Chris Sims played most of the game with a ruptured spleen. Holy crap, that's impressive. Carolina should have dominated this game, but they kept turning the ball over. It's a good thing they have a great kicker. I suppose this is an impressive win for the Panthers, but once we learn that Sims was bleeding to death internally and they still couldn't stop him, I start to wonder about the Super Bowl aspirations of Carolina.
Why the Panthers are a playoff-caliber team: They got Steve Smith back.
Why the Buccaneers are not a playoff-caliber team: They have no quarterback, and their defense is old.

Boy, it must suck to be a Browns fan today. Cleveland played pretty well against that tough Baltimore defense and probably should have won, but Charlie Frye threw an insanely stupid pass into the end zone with three minutes left when a field goal puts you up by 5 and had it intercepted. Baltimore took it down the field and kicked the winning field goal with 20 seconds left. I'm depressed, because I hate the Ravens. Speaking of which, why are the Browns wearing patches with the number "60" on them? This Browns team began in 1999. It did not exist before then. Jim Brown never played for this team. Otto Graham never played for this team. The Ravens should be wearing the patches, because that franchise is the one that began in 1946 and dominated the All-American Football Conference. Deal with it, Cleveland!
Why the Ravens are a playoff-caliber team: Their defense is very good, and Steve McNair, while not what he used to be, is a lot better than the stiffs that have played there recently.
Why the Browns are not a playoff-caliber team: Charlie Frye threw an interception in the end zone with three minutes left when a field goal would have given them a five-point lead. 'Nuff said.

Who the hell does Jeremy Shockey think he is? What a tool. I suppose we can expect someone from the U (of Miami) to have no class. He questions the coaching (yes, he also questioned the playing) of his overrated Giants team, who should be 0-3, when he has never done anything - anything! - in his NFL career. He's not even the best tight end in his division - he's probably worse than the starting tight ends of Philly, Dallas, and Washington - yet he's always mouthing off. Shut the hell up, Shockey. The Seahawks took advantage of horrible plays to build a lead, but Shaun Alexander is still playing poorly. Seattle needs to figure out how to play better. Oh, and about the coaching - Tom Coughlin inexplicably benched Plaxico Burress after he fumbled. Greg Lewis fumbled in the Philadelphia game, and on the next series, they threw him the ball again for a first down. That's what you do when a guy fumbles, Coughlin - throw it to him again! You don't bench him!
Why the Giants are NOT a playoff-caliber team: You heard me! Their defense is porous, their receivers are pouty, and Eli still isn't an elite quarterback.
Why the Seahawks are a playoff-caliber team: They're playing badly, but they'll get better. And they play in a lousy division!

I didn't watch the game last night, but Denver apparently dominated. That's impressive. If Jake doesn't throw interceptions, the Broncos will be fine. The Patriots are suddenly mortal, and everyone is blaming the fact that they keep letting talent go because they love the "system." Well, maybe, but people get old too. So we'll see.
Why the Broncos are a playoff-caliber team: Jake just can't turn the ball over. If he does that, they're dead.
Why the Patriots are a playoff-caliber team: They're in a weak division, they have Belichick, and they have Tom Brady. But the clock is ticking on the dynasty.

I don't have much to say about college football, except that Penn State played much better than I thought they would, and I fucking hate Notre Dame. Stupid fucking Notre Dame.

So another week is in the book. Things are slowly sorting themselves out. It's always fun to judge after only a few games!

Labels: ,


Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Even though I watched not one minute of football this weekend - and I could have since wife and child were out - I STILL enjoy your analysis.

25/9/06 6:01 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Thank you, Roger. But you know, if you don't watch football, the terrorists win. For shame!

25/9/06 7:22 PM  
Blogger Woody! said...

Yeah, Bengals are a playoff team! Yeah, I'm not an idiot!

25/9/06 10:26 PM  
Blogger Disintegrating Clone said...

-- Deal with it, Cleveland!

Actually, you're wrong. When Modell shipped his property out of Cleveland, he waived all rights to the Browns and their history. To quote Wikipedia:

"On November 6, 1995, then-Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move the team to Baltimore, citing the inadequacy of Cleveland Stadium and the lack of a sufficient replacement along with his heavy debt. The decision triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement on February 8, 1996. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland. A reactivated Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999 in the AFC Central Division, while the relocated club would technically and legally be a new expansion team, the Baltimore Ravens, inheriting many of the players, coaches, front office, and other staff from the Browns."

Some personnel left for Baltimore, but the Browns stayed in Cleveland, and started playing again as soon as possible (three years). The Ravens have neither the moral nor legal right to Cleveland's history, and their team and fans (who, obviously, we don't particularly love) don't claim it.

Jim Brown and Otto Graham were, are and always will be Cleveland's. And if you don't believe me, go ask Jim Brown.

26/9/06 2:34 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Yeah, I know, DC. I used to work with a Cleveland fan who explained the situation to us because we used to needle him about it (and see? I still can't stop myself!). I like the fact that they came to that agreement, but technically, the Ravens are still the Browns. I find it interesting that Modell kept whining about bankruptcy when the fans always sold out that big ugly stadium and he was getting money from the league. What a tool Modell is.

Of course, that means that this is not the 60th year of the Browns existence. It's been 60 years since they began, but they haven't been playing for 60 years. It's so confusing!!!!

26/9/06 7:37 AM  
Blogger Disintegrating Clone said...

Oh, I guess to a non-Cleveland fan, it's just semantics, but this is has an important place in Cleveland fans' hearts (imagine waking up to find the Eagles were moving to Anchorage or somewhere).

The way I see it, there is are two ownership models here. The community model says that the team belongs to the city, irrespective of ownership. Like all UK sports fans, this is the one I subscribe to: our teams grew up in the early 1900s around their communities. So Norwich (the team) and Norwich (the city) are one and the same. The (mainly USA) franchise model says that the team belongs to the owner, and can be moved. Instinctively, British fans hate this: only one (soccer) team, Wimbledon, has done it (to a new town which didn't exist before the 1950s), and are now contemptuously nicknamed "Franchise FC". Not many more are likely to as almost everywhere already has a team and promotion and relegation mean there is always a chance of your team rising to the top.

But the franchise model doesn't give Baltimore any rights to the Browns' history, because you can only move if the other NFL owners agree (and a big shout out to the owners of Buffalo and Pittsburgh for voting against the move) because Modell was given a new franchise, relinquished any claim on his old one and permitted to transfer his roster and staff to Baltimore. So technically, the Ravens are not still the Browns. The only sense in which they might be is if the players and management and owners in the mid-1990's had some undefinable spirit of the Browns, and that moved with them. Looking at the state of them and us since 1999, there might be a wisp of truth in that, though their borderline (and over the borderline) criminality doesn't bring Bernie Kosar or Brian Sipe to my mind.

But you're right that we haven't been playing for sixty years - we played for fifty-seven and fumed for three.

27/9/06 3:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home