Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear Injury Gods: Please Leave the Green Bay Packers Alone

  • Before this Sunday’s game, I was grumbling about how it sucked that Clay Matthews was out for a while, Casey Hayward has yet to play a game, Brad Jones’ hamstring injury left them thin on the inside, and the fact that James Starks will never, ever play a full season.

  • And then Sunday happened.

Oh, my sweet Randall! I'm here for you!

  • Beautiful, gorgeous Randall Cobb suffered what is reported to be  a fractured fibula (which sounds incredibly painful). James Jones sprained his PCL, which cut the Packers’ receiving corps in half. And Nick Perry’s foot injury is serious enough that he will miss next week.

  • There were a lot of things that upset me about this game. Rodgers was sacked three times early on and looked out of rhythm, Jordy had a rough game, and Jermichael Finley is still on the team!

It's okay - you still totally saved the game. 

  • Jordy not only whiffed on a block in a major way, he also dropped an easy pass. I was shaken. I don’t remember that happening for many moons. But, being the total B.A. that he is, he made up for it with an incredible 64-yard touchdown late in the game.

  • As strange as seeing Jordy not have a good game was seeing AJ Hawk have a fantastic  one. Though he is one of my least favorite Packers, credit must be given where due. Hawk sacked Joe Flacco three times and had 10 tackles, including five for loss! He dominated the Ravens’ offensive line.

It only took 8 years! Just kidding. Sort of.

  • Jermichael Finley, on the other hand, turned in his usual half-effort-with-one-or-two-great-plays performance. He got destroyed by Arthur Jones and gave up a sack. (How is someone so big and tall and muscular so soft and weak? How can he be such a crappy blocker?) He also had a few drops, which, when you’re down to two receivers, one of whom has barely ever played, was quite frustrating. But he did have a great third-down reception on the Packers drive that was key … yeah, the one where he ran out of bounds while the Packers were trying to run out the clock.

"So, you mean, like, the clock stops then?"

  • The coaches, too, seemed to struggle. At least, that's whom I suspect is to blame for Green Bay’s clock management issue. Three or four times, the Packers had to burn timeouts to avoid delay of game penalties. I don’t like to see that sort of sloppiness. The defense also failed to get the call from the coaches in time, which led to Baltimore’s first touchdown.

  • As upsetting as the game was in many ways, there was a lot to like. The defense had a really strong performance (coupled with the Ravens’ offense being terrible). In addition to Hawk, Micah Hyde and Davon House had some really nice plays, and the defense had two great goal line stands.

  • Speaking of Hyde, let’s all hope and pray he’s the answer at returner. In scary flashbacks to pre-2011, the special teams unit looked atrocious. Baltimore averaged 25.5 yards on kick returns and 19 yards on punt returns. Hyde had a couple of nice returns near the end, but, as a whole, the return game was not great.

  • Eddie Lacy, who was one yard short of 100 yards last week, gained 120 yards and gave the Packers their third 100-yard back in four weeks. Plus, when he picked up a game-sealing first down, he took a knee to keep the clock running. (Ahem, Jermichael!)

  • I can’t even imagine what John Kuhn was thinking when he tried to pick up the block punt. I was furious with him for turning the ball over, but he also ruined the rare blocked punt by Green Bay. Not cool.    

  • Joe Flacco looks like he’s a kid wearing his dad’s too-big helmet.

How can he even see? Ohh, maybe that explains all the INTs...

  • As awful as it was to see Randall get injured, I have to disagree with Aaron Rodgers, who thought the hit by Matt Elam was dirty. I don't think there's a whole lot the defender can do in these situations. They fear getting fines for hitting too high, so they end up going low. The game is already so geared to help offenses, it's just going to get more ridiculous if they keep shrinking the legal hitting zone.

  • The media loves Terrell Suggs because he’s a moron who likes to give himself nicknames and such. He reminds me of some other Ravens who are loved by the media for no clear reason and are lauded, despite the fact that they’re terrible human beings. I was watching an interview with Suggs, and the interviewer asked about his 2009 domestic assault arrest; he explained it thus: “Women don’t like to share.”

Yes, T-Sizzle, that was obviously the problem.

  • Let’s talk about the Buffalo Bills. They went into the season with two quarterbacks on their roster -- both rookies. The starter went down with a knee injury, and the backup was so bad that they had to promote a practice squad player who started this week … and got injured. I hate to be an armchair general manager, but wouldn’t you think a professional football team would have some sort of, you know, plan beyond counting on two rookies?’

  • I read somewhere that Tom Brady has only lost 14 regular-season home games in his career!!!!! Can that be true?

No wonder he always looks so pleased with himself.

  • After 13 years and even without any receivers, Tom Brady is still the best. He threw this with five seconds left after New Orleans appeared to have seal the game:

  • Whoa, slow down NFC East -- two teams are now up to .500!

  • Oh, darn.

  • Cleveland Browns lost this week, taking them to 3-3. The funny thing about the Browns is, even when they’re winning, their fans are still miserable. I mean, they traded away their star running back and have a terrible quarterback, but still managed to win three games in a row -- the Browns can’t even tank right!

Just wait till the great Brian Hoyer era of 2013!

  • The Chicago Bears played the New York Giants, so Jay Cutler finally got to play against a quarterback who throws more interceptions than he does, and, boy, was he happy about it.

  • What does a team have to do to get beat by the Giants? If the Bears had just lain supine on the field Thursday night, would they still have won? I mean, New York couldn’t even force a single Jay Cutler turnover.

  • Let’s recap the Tampa Bay Buccaneers situation:
    • shortly before the season began, two starters contracted staph infections
    • this was a big PR black eye when the Bucs falsely claimed that the two players were “doing great”; 
    • the Bucs attempted to duck liability by placing one of the players, kicker Lawrence Tynes, on non-football injury reserve, which did not go over well (by calling it a non-football injury, the Bucs were trying to say that he did not contract it at the team facility);
    • quarterback Josh Freeman lost his captaincy amid rumors that he skipped multiple team meetings and blew off the team photo;
    • that led to reports that embattled coach Greg Schiano had somehow rigged the captain vote;
    • Darrelle Revis expressed dissatisfaction with the coach, which he then took back;
    • Schiano then benched Freeman for a rookie to try to delay his own inevitable firing; 
    • shortly after, a report was “leaked” that Freeman was in the NFL substance abuse program, which led to him explaining that he had ADHD and had one failed test (out of 47) because he took the wrong medicine; 
    • no surprise that that led to whispers that Schiano was behind the leak of the confidential information; 
    • the Bucs tried to trade Freeman and couldn’t; 
    • Freeman asked for and was granted his release, and he’s now with Minnesota; 
    • then, this week, a third player contracted a staph infection; 
    • and the players’ union now wants the team (for the handling of the infection) and Schiano (for the alleged leaking of Freeman’s personal information) investigated. 
Yep, a totally healthy situation down there in Florida. 
"Look, only one of us is getting out of here alive."

Those fans are from Houston, after all.
  • God punished them justly by having TJ Yates throw a pick-six a short time later.

  • Detroit’s Joseph Fauria has caught seven receptions this season - five for touchdowns. He better slow down or else he’s going to run out of endzone dances.

  • I don’t like the Patriots and I don’t like the Saints, but I’ll cheer for whoever makes Rob Ryan make this face:

  • Seattle’s had a field goal blocked last week and botched another one this week that was returned for a touchdown. The second one isn’t that surprising considering Seattle’s decision making. Having lost their kicker to injury when he tried to make a tackle, Seattle chose to let their punter try a kick at the end of the first half instead of going for it on fourth-and-short. The punter, however, is usually the holder, so their back-up holder had to come in and … it didn’t go well.

  • I don’t care about either Indianapolis or San Diego, but I like it when they play so we can call it “the Colts and the Bolts.”

  • Yes, they were playing one of the worst offensive lines that has ever been assembled at a professional level, but the Kansas City Chiefs still racked up 10 sacks against the Oakland Raiders, bringing KC up to 6-0.

  • Poor Desmond Bishop! He was always a big fan of him when he played for Green Bay. I thought he was a very underrated middle linebacker. The guy missed all of 2012 with a hamstring tear, was cut from the Packers, made his first start of the season for the Vikings on Sunday, tore his ACL, and is out for the rest of the season.

  • Even with his late-game heroics, there was no love for Tom Brady from the opposition:

Darren Sproles is not interested in Brady's consolation.

  • ...Or his own teammates.

  • ...or his fashion decisions.

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