Monday, September 29, 2014

The Best Defense Is a Healthy Jay Cutler

  • Well, Green Bay’s offense looked pretty good against the Chicago Bears, so finally we can all go back to griping about the defense, which was pretty terrible.

  • Jordy Nelson continued to be incredible, hauling in ten passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns. With 459 yards on the season, he accounts for half of all of Green Bay’s receiving yards.

  • Randall Cobb also had 100+ yards. I’m happy for Ol’ Green Eyes. He got off to a bit of a rough start this season, but put together a nice game on Sunday, including this awesome NBA-level juke.

  • Aaron Rodgers hit the 25,000 yard mark on Sunday and did so in spectacular fashion. He was 22-of-28 for 302 yards and four touchdowns. His QBR (a quarterback rating metric that ESPN uses) was a 99 out of 100. The lowest Rodgers’ QBR got on Sunday was 98.8.

  • Those stats don’t even include his best play on Sunday, which was negated by a penalty, but you can help but marvel over how Rodgers is able to make this throw while being dragged down.

  • Green Bay sportswriters really got a kick out of Rodgers' message to fans earlier in the week: "R-E-L-A-X," but ESPN's John Clayton is hilariously accurately when he writes, "In truth, the Packers use these letters to spell relax: C-U-T-L-E-R." Ah, yes, Same Old Jay came through with two interceptions in the third quarter

  • I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer here, but don’t let Sunday’s performance fool you into overrating Green Bay. It was a case of a very good offense going up against a bad, injured defense. The Packers’ own defense was terrible, giving up 500 yards, but they were saved by the fact that they were playing against a turnover-prone quarterback. The run defense gave up 235 yards. Eddie Lacy managed just 48 yards against last season’s league-worst run defense. Why McCarthy refuses to give James Starks or DuJuan Harris an opportunity to mix things up, I don’t know, but until the offensive line and Lacy can get something going, the Packers are going to see all Cover-2 defenses, like they did in 2012, since there’s absolutely no need to respect the Packers’ run game. Sunday's win was great and all, but it’s not just going to be smooth sailing from here.

  • Crazily enough, neither team punted!

Chicago didn't punt either; just turned it over a bunch of times.

  • I know there's no use crying over spilled milk, but Waaaaaaaaaaaaah! I want BJ Raji back!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The play of the first half might have been Micah Hyde blocking the camera on the goal line, making it impossible to rule that Martellus Bennett scored as time expired in the first half.

  • I’ve complained about this before, but AJ Hawk needs a new helmet. It pops off after literally three-quarters of the plays. He’s obviously going to end up with brain trauma and he doesn’t exactly seem like the sharpest crayon in the box as it is. Whom should I call about this?? (Apparently, I’m not the only one who’s noticed; his helmet has its own Twitter account.)

  • The officiating in the game was some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Those refs should seriously be suspended for next week. It was embarrassing. Among the terrible calls: a Bears offensive lineman facemasks Julius Peppers on a third down; an illegal hands to the face call against Peppers. Sam Shields hand accidentally brushes Jay Cutler’s helmet as Cutler slides; illegal hit to the head. Jordy Nelson comes up half a yard short of a first down; ruled a first down, no measurement. Ryan Mundy has a clean, textbook hit on Nelson; called for unnecessary roughness. Phantom holding call on Chicago on a Green Bay field goal attempt; new set of downs for the Packers inside the 10, easy touchdown. Let’s just put it this way: even that smarmy Mike Pereria who thinks the officials can do know wrong was forced to call out several of the bogus penalties.

"The officials are always right. Except for all the calls they got wrong."

  • Jay Cutler is 1-9 against the Green Bay Packers. That’s why whenever the Packers play the Bears, I’m like:

  • I know that JJ Watt gets a lot of attention that maybe other deserving defensive players don't get, but he is absolutely ridiculous. He had nine quarterback hits in Houston's win, and when the Buffalo Bills were in the redzone, he intercepted a pass and ran it back 79 yards for a touchdown, making the score 10-7 rather than 17-0. And then he made sure that his teammates got credit for blocking for him during the return. I love JJ Watt so much that I'm totally willing to move to Houston, the armpit of America, when we get married. 


  • The Houston Texans have won more games four weeks into this season than they did all of last season.

"I know! I've been making millions for years and nobody's noticed!"

  • The Cowboys had only 7 more total yards than the Saints, yet won by 21 points. I'm not buying Jerry Jones' eternal optimism that the Cowboys are a contender, but they do deserve credit for starting 3-1 with a defense that was considered the worst in the league. Creepy Jerry approves.

  • Not a good week for Morris Claiborne. The Dallas cornerback lost his starting spot during the week, which he handled maturely by storming out of the facility and not showing up to practice. Then, in the first quarter of Sunday night's game, he suffered a season-ending knee injury.

  • Making the first signal is a pretty standard way of celebrating, but don't try it in front of Tampa Bay's Danny Lansanah. He does not appreciate it.

  • Minnesota Vikings new quarterbackTeddy Bridgewater injured his ankle, which could affect his availability for Thursday's game against the Packers [insert angry rant about the unfairness of Thursday Night Football], but the real point of this article is that the Vikings' athletic trainer's name is Mr. Sugarman.

I won't lie. I'm disappointed that this is what he looks like.

  • Here are Andrew Luck’s numbers the last two weeks: 763 yards, 75% completion rate, and eight touchdowns.

  • Ryan Fitzgerald has grown impressive Civil War-style facial hair.

"I do declare we done whoop those scoundrel Yanks from Buffalo!"

  • Redskins owner Dan Snyder decided to cut corners by selling expired beer. I’m sure no one will noticed that you’re selling beer that still has World Cup labels.

  • From college football: I don't know why this needs to be repeated, but do not run onto the field if you are not a player.

  • Washington got destroyed by the floundering New York Giants 45-14. Perhaps the most telling stat was third down efficiency: the Giants were 11-for-16 while the Redskins were just 1-for-8.

"Mommy! Mommy! I did a good job!"

  • Baltimore’s Steve Smith faced his old team on Sunday. Having promised “blood and guts,” he had a pretty impressive day, notching two touchdowns. As always with Smith, the real show comes in the press conference. Of his own performance, Smith said, “That film is a coaching session. I’m 35 years old and I ran around those boys like they were schoolyard kids.” Here’s what really sums up Smith remarkable maturity, though:

  • I can’t believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won! I really thought they had a good chance at 0-16. After they turned the ball over on downs with 1:44 left, I assumed it was over and turned the channel, missing an incredible comeback capped with a last-second touchdown from Mike Glennon to Vincent Jackson.

I've said this before, but I need to say it again:
this man is a starting NFL quarterback.

  • In a division that has the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only the Bucs won on Sunday.

  • I love how NBC tries pretends that Carrie Underwood is part of their production team or something just because she sings the Sunday Night Football theme song. “And now to Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, and Michele Tafoya, along with Carrie Underwood.” Somehow I doubt Carrie Underwood’s sitting in the production booth with a headset directing camera angles.

"Get me Camera Two! Now!"

  • This week in No Fun League penalties: Antonio Brown’s touchdown celebration.

  • The New York Jets have really let me down in consecutive weeks. They had a chance to win against both Chicago and Detroit late in their games, but weren’t able to. Serves me right for putting any faith in the Jets.

  • If you took away Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray’s yards from this week’s game (149), he’d still lead the league in rushing. But Tony Romo still schools him in how adults are supposed to wear baseball caps.

  • Stephen Tulloch, of last week’s season-ending-injury-by-sack-celebration fame says he’s he’d “do it again”? Perhaps it’s best he’s on the IR for the rest of the season, then.

  • Minnesota’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a nice debut as a starter, but suffered an ankle injury late in the game. Good for him and all, but he kinda really creeps me out.

He looks like a doll that would come to life in a horror movie.

  • Stevie Johnson’s toe-tapping touchdown is incredible. If he were literally an inch over or forward, he would have been out!

  • I barely have enough time to gloat over the Chicago Bears win since now I have to start trash talking about the Minnesota Vikings before Thursday night. I hate these short weeks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

At Least Jordy Never Lets Me Down

  • Well, blech. That was an ugly, stupid game. The Green Bay Packers fall to 1-2 because of their offense, of all things! The offense that has the best quarterback in the league, fantastic receivers, and a bruising running back spent their time of the field managing a measly seven points while giving up 9! If you were to cut out all the time the Detroit Lions offense was on the field, Green Bay still would have lost!!

  • Starting a game with a fumble on your first possession and overcoming the deficit to win is a great story. Following that up by fumbling away the ball on your first possession the following week is a habit that probably should be discouraged.

But Eddie Lacy never fumbles!!!

  • The defense, which is usually the big issue, played very well, forcing three turnovers and holding the Lions to 12 points through the first three quarters. They spent so much time on the field (38:13!!!!!!), they were exhausted by the fourth quarter, where they couldn’t stop anything. Green Bay's offense only put up 223 total yards, which is pretty putrid for an NFL offense. They managed to run just 51 plays to Detroit’s 74, and had nary a 20-plus-yard gain.

Usually Rodgers-Nelson are good for at least one 70-yard play a game!

  • Even the much maligned (by me) offensive line, thankfully with Bryan Bulaga restored to his rightful place at right tackle, did a pretty decent job against a very, very powerful front seven in pass protection. Two sacks for Aaron Rodgers against a defense like that isn’t bad. The run blocking, however, was a huuuuuuge problem. I’m not smart enough to know if that’s on the running backs, the offensive line, the playcalling, or all three, but the inability to run the ball made it a long day.

  • It’s shocking to say, but the brunt of the blame falls on Rodgers and the receivers not named Jordy. Rodgers had one of his worst lines with 162 yards and one touchdown. He’s won enough games for the Packers single-handedly that I don’t think he deserves much flak for losing one, but it’s shocking for fans to witness the last three games. Is this how teams with average quarterbacks feel all the time?? Even though Week 3 was the worst, it never felt like Rodgers got into his normal groove in Weeks 1 or 2 either. Rodgers’ spent a lot of time in his press conference implying that the failure to adjust was a prominent role in the loss, perhaps pointing to a coaching issue.

I blame Clay Matthews' gross beard. Nothing's been right since it showed up.

  • One thing to keep in mind to help you from panicking, Packer fans, is to keep in mind that Green Bay got very unlucky on that second interception. Studly Tramon Williams intercepted Matthew Stafford at the one-yard line and slid into the endzone. The refs ruled him down at the one (even though he wasn’t touched until the endzone, so I’m still confused as to why it wasn’t a touchback), putting the Packers in a rough spot, backed up against their own endzone. Tight end Richard Rodgers got stood up like Raggedy Ann on the subsequent play, leading to a safety for the Lions. In a just unlucky way, the Packers getting that turnover hurt them, which doesn’t happen too often.

I'm not saying that it's not the Packers' fault they lost, but it also kinda
stinks that the Lions ended up benefiting from a turnover. 

  • Randall Cobb took a lot of the blame himself, calling his play "embarrassing" and saying that he didn't get the separation he should have. Detroit’s secondary has been decimated by injury and should have been easy pickings for Green Bay’s receivers. Props to Detroit’s defensive backs, but Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, Davante Adams, Andrew Quarless, and Richard Rodgers all need to step up.

You don't need to change. Not ever.

  • Oh, and Clay Matthews is injured again. Sigh

  • Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch, whom I’m actually a big fan of and who I think is underrated, had a terribly embarrassing and devastating moment when he injured himself trying to do Rodgers’ belt celebration after a sack. He tore his ACL and is out for the season. I don’t think the following GIF is funny because I feel bad for Tulloch and it's not funny that he got hurt, but still, you shouldn’t try to do the belt celebration if you’re not Aaron.

  • Tulloch's injury is right up there with quarterback Gus Frerotte, spraining his neck when he celebrated a touchdown by headbutting the wall....

  • ...and, of course, kicker Bill Gramatica tearing his ACL jumping up and down celebrating a meaningless field goal. 

  • Okay, not really related to football in 2014, but while searching for that Gus Frerotte GIF, I came across his high school yearbook photo, which is awesome. I like that he has to specify that he likes Mom and Dad. I'm also a bit perplexed by the need to list out all his friends, as if proof that he does indeed have them. That shadow on his lip that is trying to pass as a mustache is also a bit creepy.
But I'm sure Cara likes it.

I swear he reads O&E and is just trolling me every week!

  • Devin Hester set the all-time record for punts returned for touchdowns on Thursday with 14! He also has five kick returns and one blocked field goal return. And he’s happier away from Jay Cutler.

Who wouldn't be?

  • Call me childish, but this could keep me entertained for hours:

  • A note to the Jacksonville Jaguars: sending out a letter scolding the very few enthusiastic fans your team has for standing too much at games might not be your best PR move.

Take what you can get.

  • Tom Brady has a cold heart. Ahead of the Patriots-Raiders game, he posted his “favorite Patriots vs. Raiders,” with a picture from the infamous “Tuck Rule” Game. I really hoped Charles Woodson not only would force a fumble from Brady, but I was desperately hoping he would have an interception returned for a touchdown so he can finally break that NFL record.

My life won't be complete until Charles holds that record!

  • Because NFL stands for “No Fun League,” Miami’s Brian Hartline was penalized for this touchdown celebration.

  • DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans had an incredible one-handed catch!!

...too bad it didn't count because of a penalty. =(

  • I’m so glad that a backup quarterback on one of the historically worst teams in the league leading a play that ends up not counting is now deemed a “highlight.”

But it's Johnny Football, dude! He's so awesome, bro!

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers lost three key defensive players to injuries in their loss to Carolina, and nearly lost a coach when DE Cameron Heyward tried to celebrate on the sideline.

  • Soooo Jared Cook, a tight end on the Rams, was mad at himself for dropping a fourth-down touchdown, so he decided to take out his frustration on the sidelines by shoving his quarterback, Austin Davis. Not the best strategy if you ever want to get the ball again. Good for defensive end William Hayes stepping in to set Cook straight. You don’t ever shove your quarterback,* particularly when he’s a third-stringer called into duty and should be getting extra support from his teammates!! (I've very protective of third-string quarterbacks.)

*I would probably make a Jay Cutler exception here.

  • HOW did the Cowboys win that game? The Rams jumped out to a 21-point first-half lead before Dallas tore off a 34-3 run to take a 10-point lead. The Rams answered with a touchdown drive. It’s 34-31, Dallas up, with two minutes to go. What would be more Cowboysian than to overcome a 21-point deficit just to lose it on the final drive (and Tony Romo would be blamed)? I thought it was in the books, but St. Louis threw an interception to effectively end the game. Very disappointing. 

  • Excuse me, Mr. Lynch, you seemed to have lost a dreadlock.

Marshawn Lynch Casually Picks Up One Of His Torn Dreads

  • The Eagles-Redskins fight the most predictable thing in the world. Two loudmouth division rivals with a lot of trash talkers get into a brawl? Color me surprised. Philadelphia lineman Jason Peters has to be ejected for throwing a punch, but he also has to make sure defenses that are trying to take out his quarterback know that that isn’t going to fly. Unfortunately, Peters’ ejection left Philly with only one starter left on the offensive line and no backups!

  • Philadelphia fans got a taste of their own medicine with DeSean Jackson being his usual self, just on the other team now.

  • Stats against Jacksonville shouldn’t really count, but Andrew Luck was 31-of-39 for 370 yards and four touchdowns.

  • Denver came sooooooooo close to beating the Seahawks. Imagine how good it would have been for the country for Pete Carroll to have this look stuck on his face for a whole week?!

Chew your gum now, Petey!

  • Andy Dalton scored a touchdown, which isn’t that notable for an NFL quarterback, except this one was a receiving touchdown! He actually didn't have any passing touchdowns on the day.

  • The San Francisco 49ers lost again this week, which should make me happy, but doesn't. As much as it churns my stomach to cheer for that Jim Harbaugh and his khakis, the truth of the matter is that the road to the Super Bowl goes through the NFC West, and anyone's better than Seattle. Maybe Arizona can win the division!! Go (*pauses to Google the Cardinals' quarterback*) ...Drew Stanton!

  • Serious question: will Tampa Bay win a game this year?

  • Chicago won a close Monday night game against the New York Jets, aided in large part by the officials. Late in the first half, Jay Cutler was sacked (of course) and fumbled (of course). The Jets recovered the fumble and ran it in for the touchdown, but were S.O.L because the refs had blown the whistle, thinking Cutler had been down by contact. Replay showed that the Cutler had indeed fumbled and the ball had been recovered by New York, but that didn't give them their touchdown back. 

  • Chicago tight end Martellus Bennett had two touchdowns on the night, inspired, he said, by the disrespect from Jets head coach Rex Ryan not being enthusiastic enough when he talked about Bennett prior to the game. "I feel like when somebody talks about me," said Bennett, "they should use some enthusiasm." He went on to compare himself to a car tire (not the spare!) and imply he was a genius, since "[a] lot of people who are geniuses, they really didn't realize it until they were dead." (I'm going to assume he meant that the world didn't realize they were geniuses, rather than the geniuses themselves discovering they were geniuses postmortem.)
"Now excuse me, I have a Mensa meeting to attend."

  • The Bears again suffered a number of injuries to defensive players during the game, particularly in the secondary. I just hope Bears safety Chris Conte is back by next week when Green Bay plays Chicago. We sure could use him.