Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bye Week Boredom

  • Sundays are so dull without the Green Bay Packers.
And significantly less attractive.

  • No matter what continent he's on, Adrian Peterson is very good. (Also, Pittsburgh's defense is very bad.)
  • Matthew Stafford got very, very lucky on his goal line fumble.

    • Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola used Aaron Rodgers’ championship belt against the Bears! You can’t use a division rival’s celebration to taunt a different division rival!!! That’s like Clay using Jared Allen’s stupid calf-roping celebration in a game against Chicago -- it doesn't make sense!
    "Hope Aaron doesn't find out!"
    (On an unrelated note, does he have jaundice? Look at his eyes. I'm worried.)

    • The Tampa Bay situation has gotten even more awkward: head coach Greg Schiano benched his starting quarterback for a rookie in the hopes of not getting fired during the bye week; quarterback Josh Freeman wants a trade now or else his release; Freeman was not even active for Sunday’s game and watched the game from a suite, not the sidelines, a move Schiano says was a mutual agreement, but Freeman’s agent says that’s a lie; then a report was leaked that Freeman is in the league's substance abuse program, and Freeman vehemently defended himself. This relationship seems ... rocky.
    • Oh, and here’s what the starting Tampa Bay QB looks like:
    I don't know about you, but, to me, that face inspires trust.

    • I certainly think Josh Freeman is to blame for some of the Tampa Bay drama (missing meetings, skipping team photo, &c.), but Greg Schiano just seems like a jerk, even by pro/college football coach standards. Meanwhile, sportswriters everywhere are getting excited at the thought of crafting headlines with a pun on “mutiny” with the team whose mascot is a pirate.
    Hmmm, something with "plank" and "captain" and "Buccaneers"...

    • Big Ben was in London! That's where the other Big Ben is!! These headlines are just going to write themselves!!
    They're sorta shaped the same.

    • The Baltimore Ravens are not good. They confused me last week by destroying the Texans, who I can't tell if they are good or bad or just good everywhere except the quarterback position.

    • It's the Cowboys vs. Chargers -- which quarterback will choke first?
    "Hah! Beat you at your own game, Rivers!"

    • Roger Goodell wants to expand the playoffs: “With the competitiveness of the league, you see teams get hot the second half of the season, a reasonable argument could be made that there are teams that should qualify for the playoffs and don't and could win the Super Bowl.” Hmmm, so true, Roger. There are a lot of .500 and and not-even-.500 teams that could be pulling in more revenue for you if we let them in the playoffs. A reasonable argument could also be made that the rounds of playoffs should be a best-of-seven like the NBA. Just think of how much money you could make then, Roger!
    "Hmm how can I squeeze one more dollar out of this thing?"

    • I kinda like that even really good teams don't always make the playoffs. I like that every game of the regular season matters. I like that divisional matchups are so intense because there aren't enough playoff spots for everyone. I like that being “good” isn’t enough in the NFL - you have to be better than that. You can't blame Roger for trying, though; his 18-game season is getting harder to argue each week as starters are dropping like flies.

    • The Houston Texans have one of the top three running backs AND a “back-up” running back who leads the league in yards after contact. They’ve led the league in time of possession the last two years. They have J.J. Watt, who’s incredible and my future husband. And Owen Daniels, whom I just really like.
    JJ's much cuter when his face isn't gushing blood.

    • The Texans remind me a lot of the Atlanta Falcons the past few years. They’re supremely talented, look great on paper, and have stretches of brilliance, but I just can’t believe in them.

    • Thank goodness the Pittsburgh Steelers get to play the Browns twice, otherwise they might never win another game. Wait...the Cleveland Browns are tied for their division lead??

    • It's Gronk vs. the Patriots as tight end Rob Gronkowski apparently does not want to come back too early, while the Patriots say he's ready to go. Gronkowski has had four surgeries on his arm and another one on his back in the last year.
    He wants to ensure he's back to full partying-strength.

    • Coming back too early could really hamper his ability to fistpump.

    • Would everyone shut up about Aaron Rodgers and “late game struggles”??? So sick of this storyline. There was an article on Football Outsiders about Aaron Rodgers' dismal record in games where he has the ball and is down in the fourth quarter. (For some reason it's only his record, not the Green Bay Packers' record.) Sportswriters everywhere picked up on this tired story and starting going on about how Aaron Rodgers isn't "clutch," and "is he really elite?" There's a good article here that points out the many flaws in this narrative. Does anyone who actually watches the Packers feel concerned about Aaron Rodgers??? How often have you thought, “Man, Aaron Rodgers really cost us that game!”? Think of the close games the Packers have lost -- are they really on Rodgers? The ones that stick out in my mind are when Aaron Rodgers has led a should-have-been-game-winning drive only to have Mason Crosby miss a field goal or special teams give up a huge return or the defense allow a mediocre offense to march down the field. Nobody, however, bothers to look past the numbers or use common sense. Like, maybe the fault for this poor record doesn't fall solely on the best player in the league?

    Dammit, Aaron! Kick your field goals better!

    • I liked seeing the competitiveness of Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, each going to the sidelines cursing and slamming helmets on the bench after failing to convert a third down, even though the were up 20-3. Though it would have been better if they actually used that competitiveness to hang onto a 17-point lead and not lose the game in overtime.

    • J.J. Watt cannot be stopped. I’m not usually one to advocate for more defensive representation in the MVP debate, but Watt is incredible on EVERY SINGLE PLAY.

    • Houston's Kareem Jackson drew a 15-yard penalty in overtime that went a long way towards a Seattle victory. Here's the thing, though -- that's on the ref. Watch the video; I don’t hear a whistle before Jackson's penalty. How long is he supposed to keep running the Seahawks player backwards? If the refs aren't going to blow the whistle on forward progress, it makes sense for Jackson to take the player to the ground. Don't like the call at all.

    • Which interception is crazier? Earl Thomas':

    • Or Antrel Rolle's?

    • Minnesota is terrible in general, but particularly in not blowing leads. After blowing leads three weeks in a row, they finally and barely held on for their first win of the season. At least they found a new quarterback! With Christian Ponder sidelined with a rib injury, the Vikings reached basic competency at the quarterback position with backup Matt Cassel.

    Is he wearing a woman's jersey? 

    • Packers' safety Morgan Burnett is set to make his first start of the season next week after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury. But never mind about that! The real news is that he cut off his dreads! I'm not sure I can handle this.
    Dreads or no dreads, he can't be worse than Jerron McMillian.

    • Do not watch Seattle’s Michael Bennett's injury. He was taken off the field on a stretcher after a back injury. It’s awful. (The good news is that he was discharged from the hospital before the game was even over, so it doesn’t seem to be as bad as it appeared.)

    • Geez, the Bengals losing to the Browns makes me feel even worse about last week’s loss.

    • Eli Manning’s 2013 stats: six touchdowns, nine interceptions, and two fumbles.

    "Awesome! I lead the league in... oh. Inteceptions."

    • Why do so many teams have orange as part of their team colors? It’s not a pretty color. Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Bears. AND THEY ALL START WITH “B.” Whoa.

    I feel I've stumbled upon some sort of conspiracy...

    ...but I don't know what it means!!

    • For those who have been arguing that Joe Flacco is elite because of his team’s postseason success, please see exhibits A, B, C, D, and E from Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Of Flacco’s top eight receivers in the game, two of them played for the other team.

    *Weeps bitterly*
    "Oh wait! I still have a $120.6 million contract!"

    • Why are so many sports announcers and coaches named Dick? The percentage seems disproportionate to the general population. While we’re on the subject, why does anyone choose to go by Dick instead of Richard, Rick, Rich, Ricky, Richie, or Richie Rich-Rich?

    • The Chicago Bears had four turnovers in their loss. One was an interception by Jay Cutler, one was a fumble by Jay Cutler, another was an interception by Jay Cutler, and the last was an interception by Jay Cutler.

    • Apparently the Denver Broncos running backs played Paper, Scissors, Rock last week to see who would get to run the ball in on a goal line play. Knowshon Moreno didn’t need Paper, Scissors, Rock to get into the endzone this week, but took the time to reference it in his celebration.

    • I’m sure the Bills appreciate being forced to play on Thursday night, considering that their top two running backs left Sunday’s game. And I’m sure you don’t want to miss the marquee matchup of the Cleveland Browns vs. the Buffalo Bills. Yay for Thursday Night Football! It may screw over all the poor teams who get stuck with it, but, hey, at least the NFL Network is making millions off of this.

    • The Jacksonville Jaguars have scored 31 points in four weeks. They succeeded in getting into the endzone in just one game so far.

    • I don’t mean to undermine or brush aside what Peyton Manning has accomplished, but I also think it’s a little unfair to look at his numbers objectively. I mean, good for him and all. He’s going to set every kind of passing record this season. No doubt he’s good, but I think it’s a little unfair that he’s played against so many horrible defenses. The fewest points the Broncos have scored in a game thus far is 37. They’ve scored 179 points in four weeks. Manning’s thrown 16 touchdowns! He’s on pace for 64 touchdowns, 5,880 yards, a 75% completion rate, and zero interceptions. AND he still gets to play Jacksonville, Washington, and Oakland.

    Any record that involves playing Oakland twice a year deserves an asterisk. 

    • Sunday Night Football was crazy! The last few minutes alone featured: replay equipment breaking down so that a play could not be challenged - you can imagine how well Bill Belichick took that news - a successful onside kick and Atlanta drive that led to a field goal, a missed call that should have given New England the first down, a fumble by Brady on 4th & inches, and a final, nail-biting drive that came up just short for the Falcons.

    • The Patriots move to 4-0, but  it feels like they’re a handful of plays away from 1-3.

    • Rough news for both San Diego and New England, who lost strong defensive playmakers in Dwight Freeney and Vince Wilfork, respectively.

    It is not easy to replace someone this size.

    • I’ve been complaining about how the NFL has been enforcing ticky-tack roughing the passer and late hit penalties, but every once in a while they’ll swing to the other extreme. Poor Jake Locker took a late hit, followed by a later hit, and the ref just casually strolls by - no flag!! This play not only knocked Locker out of the game, but sent him to the hospital with a hip injury; he’s expected to miss significant time.

    • Jimmy Graham can catch anything.

    (What the heck is the defender doing in this picture?)

    • Drew Brees tied himself by having his tenth straight game with 25+ completions.

    • Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing got a concussion, but is said to be okay. It got me thinking, though, what kind of control questions do you have for someone like Brian Cushing to test their cognitive health?

    • Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson was fined Week 1 for an illegal hit and suspended Week 2 for an illegal hit (which was reduced to a fine on appeal). This week, he was flagged for again for hitting the receiver as he came down, but I have a problem with this latest one. The ref announced the hit for unnecessary roughness because Goldson “did not give the receiver the opportunity to become a runner.” What??? So if a receiver jumps in the air for a ball, a defender now must allow him to catch it, get his feet down, and turn upfield before he’s allowed to hit him?? Defenders have to just cede completions now? I don't like watching defenseless receivers get hit, but it kind of defeats the purpose of a competition if the defense isn't allowed to, ya know, defend.

    • The bad news is that the Packers have to play 13 straight games; the good news is that I won't have to be without them for at least 13 weeks.

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