Monday, September 10, 2012

2 comments ...Our Pets' Heads are Falling Off!: Week 1

I thought I would do something a little different today. I've been wanting to do a wrap-up of the NFL weekend for a while, but couldn't find the right way to do it and keep up the extremely high standard for this blog (rolls eyes). So I figured I would just do it and see how it goes. I've called it "...Our Pets' Heads are Falling Off!" after the line in what may be my favorite comedy of all-time (though I could change my mind tomorrow) "Dumb and Dumber." I think it fits because the line was spoken in the movie when Harry and Lloyd were at the very end of their frustration with the world. Lloyd is so concerned about overreacting to how bad his and Harry's lives are with no job and no money that he freaks out about their pet parakeet's (Petey) head falling off when there is clearly a more obvious explanation as to why it happened. It reminds me of, well me, and thousands of other NFL fans who overreact to their team winning or losing in a given week. It seemed like a pretty funny and panicky title to be used when wrapping up the NFL action for the weekend. I thought the quote was relevant. If anyone hasn't seen the clip, here it is.

(As a side note, I could listen to Jeff Daniels say "His head fell off" for about an hour. The way he delivers that line is hilarious. I think what makes the movie so funny is that Jeff Daniels somehow matched Jim Carrey comedic intensity when Carrey was in his comedic prime.)

Denver Broncos 31 Pittsburgh Steelers 19

I was worried in MMQB last week about Peyton Manning and whether his diminished arm strength would give him issues on the field. That is what Peter King has claimed several times in MMQB, that Manning's arm strength would be diminished but he would still get the job done. I'm not going to say I'm not concerned because it was only one week, but Manning looked good versus the Steelers. Granted, he could struggle a bit over the next few weeks if his arm strength diminishes from throwing every week in practice and in games. Still, Manning took a few hard hits and got right back up, so he doesn't look as fragile as it was reported either. Manning looked good. I mean real good. Everyone come see how good Peyton Manning looks! If I'm a Steelers fan, I'm not concerned about losing this game as it relates to the rest of the season. Yeah, you don't losing, Denver was pumped to have Manning playing for them and it just seemed like all the momentum was on the Broncos' side during the game. This game wasn't a case of Denver dominating. Ben Roethlisberger got sacked five times, which tells me the Steelers offensive line isn't a great, and though John Fox only got to punt twice, I think he will still consider this game a success. I'm not sure I can live in a world where Knowshon Moreno is stealing touchdowns from Willis McGahee though.

Chicago Bears 41 Indianapolis Colts 21

The Andrew Luck apologists are probably out in full force today. I'm not going to overly criticize him, but writers like Peter King and pretty much every other NFL writer with access to a keyboard have claimed Andrew Luck is the next great NFL quarterback after his preseason performance. They said he would keep the Colts in games. Luck ran into a great Bears defense and the result was four turnovers. This bullshit about how Luck is going to keep the Colts in games was overblown. He will probably be a great quarterback, but he isn't at the point he can keep the Colts in games by himself as a rookie, so let's take a step back from the "Andrew Luck is the next Peyton Manning" talk. Good thing the Colts decided to invest mostly in offense during the draft. Giving up 41 points to the Bears isn't embarrassing at all. Mr. Cavallari had a great game also and showed that he simply needs receivers to be a good NFL quarterback. I was also impressed with Cutler's physique. Just three weeks after having a baby he looked like he only had a little bit of baby fat left on his body. He's been working out. I don't want to overreact to them beating the Colts at home, but the Bears are a team to watch. I didn't think they could win the NFC North, but I may be wrong.

Philadelphia Eagles 17 Cleveland Browns 16

Bill Simmons always wants his teams to get pity, but let's hear it for Browns fans. If we have to give pity out, don't they deserve it? Not only do Browns fans know the Browns are going to lose, but they know exactly how. Bill Voth, former Charlotte television talking head (polite/joking way of saying he used to be a television sports anchor) called the end of the Cleveland game exactly, before it happened. Browns fans new they were losing this game to the Eagles. I didn't like Ryan Tannehill and I really didn't like Brandon Weeden coming out of this year's draft. Some people were (naturally) comparing Weeden to Chris Weinke, but Weinke won his first game as an NFL starter on the road (that's a half-joke). This whole "I have maturity and am used to struggling because one time I played baseball in the minor leagues" crap is just that, crap. Isn't the supposed advantage of drafting an older quarterback that he is more mature and doesn't have as many growing pains as a younger quarterback? I feel comfortable saying Weeden wasn't a first round pick and the Browns wasted one on him. As far as the Eagles go...good things happened in the end, but they can't have Mike Vick throwing the ball 56 times and expect to win too many games. It's not like this was a blow-out or the Eagles were playing catch-up. Andy Reid's play-calling strikes again. I say that, yet LeSean McCoy had twenty carries. I'm pretty sure that's an error in the box score. Mike Vick had six turnovers too, so that has to make Eagles fans nervous. I can't help but wonder if/when the Eagles release Vick whether another team will be stupid enough to give Mike Vick a $100 million contract. Who says "no" to this?

Detroit Lions 27 St. Louis Rams 23

Matthew Stafford wasn't very good during this game. The Lions won, but Stafford was feeling kind enough to handing interceptions to the Rams prior throwing the game-winning touchdown to Calvin Johnson. A win is a win though. I don't know about Sam Bradford. I think he's more of a game-managing quarterback at this stage as opposed to a franchise-type quarterback. He's like the Shia LeBeouf of NFL quarterbacks. He's had success in his career, but he's also had a good script and good supporting cast around him. Once we take away the supporting cast, he can't carry the team on his own. Bradford still doesn't seem to have that stud receiver he wants/needs, but perhaps that was all a part of the game plan to only have him through the ball 25 times. It's good news for the Rams they hung tough with Detroit while on the road. Losing sucks, but that's a positive, right? Steven Jackson had 21 carries while Isaiah Pead, who I thought was supposed to be the guy spelling Jackson, got zero carries. Very even game that someone obviously had to win and the better team probably won. That says a lot about how far the Rams have come since last year though in just one game.

New England Patriots 34 Tennessee Titans 13

Stevan Ridley probably was the most searched player at about 3:30pm yesterday in most fantasy leagues. He's one of those guys who you were sure didn't get drafted and then you look and some asshole already drafted him. How the hell did you miss Ridley getting drafted? Tom Brady was his usual efficient self even with a broken nose (what will Giselle think about Tom's pretty face getting hurt? More importantly, does this make him a true Patriot in the eyes of some of the fans?), the Patriots tight ends scored a couple touchdowns and the supposedly-improved Patriots defense did look improved. For the Titans, Jake Locker led the Titans in rushing yards despite being nine attempts behind Chris Johnson. Locker also managed to be an accurate passer, but he did get hurt trying to tackle someone. He's like Favre! Gritty and loves to play with little kids---I mean play the game like a kid. Locker got injured on a play that was ruled a fumble but should have been ruled an incomplete pass, so if the officials were competent Locker would never have had the opportunity to get injured. So we'll gloss over that quickly since there is no need to comment any further on the officiating. Personally, I think Locker didn't get hurt, but instead he saw Tom Brady's broken nose and because Locker is such a gritty competitor like Brett Favre, he pulled a "Favre" and intentionally got (or claimed he was) injured so he could talk all week about how injured he is and how tough he is to play through the injury.

Atlanta Falcons 40 Kansas City Chiefs 24

For the past month we have heard and read about how the Falcons are super-serious about throwing the ball deep this year. It seems the Falcons were true to their word. Matty Iccccccccccccccccccccccccce played like the sort-of kind-of franchise quarterback I am told that he is and Julio Jones selfishly displayed his diva tendencies by selfishly scoring two touchdowns like he was the diva Gregg Easterbrook always knew he was. How rude of Julio Jones to only care about his own statistics. Matt Ryan, Shaun Draughn, and Matt Cassel all scored rushing touchdowns while Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles, and Michael Turner scored zero rushing touchdowns. Fantasy owners who made the mistake of starting Chris Johnson and one of those three previous running backs weeped and gnashed their teeth (points at self). It's a good thing Romeo Crennel isn't supposed to be a defensive head coach, otherwise giving up 40 points at home to the Falcons would be embarrassing. Matty Icccccccccccccccccccccccce the Understudy played a little bit worse than he usually plays for the Chiefs, but it isn't completely his fault. It's hard to win a game when you are expected to score 40+ points. Somewhere Joe Morgan is complaining Matt Cassel didn't "play to the score" enough and "didn't do enough to win the game."

Minnesota Vikings 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 23

I've had confidence that Blaine Gabbert was going to play better this year. He got very little help last year from his receivers and he was very young. So the super-short passing game of the Jaguars seemed to work. I didn't think Christian Ponder would be as good as he was yesterday. I can't figure out if this is just two bad teams playing each other or Gabbert/Ponder really are making a sophomore leap. Blair Walsh, who upon further research actually exists and isn't a fake name the Vikings kicker usually uses when checking into hotels, kicked a 55-yard field goal to win the game. Very impressive. Jacksonville controlled the ball, controlled the clock, and still lost this game. That's sort of a kick in the gut if you ask me. Checking the stat sheet, this is a game the Jags should have won. They had fewer penalties, more time of possession, and much better third-down efficiency. They had 4.7 yards per play, which has to improve.

Washington Redskins 40 New Orleans Saints 32

I'm impressed with Robert Griffin III much in the same way I was impressed with Cam Newton last year. Meaning I am short-term impressed and long-term interested to see how the NFL adjusts to him. The Redskins built a game plan around what Griffin does well and he absolutely played fantastic in a game against a pretty average defense. My real question comes when defenses adjust and take Griffin out of his comfort zone. Still, the Saints' fans were pumped up for the game and Griffin absolutely delivered on the road, so I give him credit for that. Saint Brees played pretty average (for him), but I'm sure that wasn't his fault. He had no knowledge he was playing that badly, so the fans can't really blame him for his performance. How do you expect Saint Brees to know he is playing badly? He is only a captain and the team leader, so anything that goes on or is discussed in the Saints locker room is foreign to him. Nobody told Drew Brees about a bounty scan---that he wasn't playing well, so how do you expect him to know? It seemed the Redskins were in Brees' passing lanes all day and the Saints ran the ball 10 times total. It's easy to talk about how great the Saints running game is when they are in the lead and have the defense on their heels, but when it comes down to it, I don't believe they can run the ball. I'm not sure this game could have been scripted better for Griffin.

New York Jets 48 Buffalo Bills 28

Because I am trying to be the piss in your cereal, I'm going to try to put this 48 point outburst in perspective. 14 of those points came from an interception return and a punt return. The Bills also kept handing the Jets good field position after two first quarter interceptions and the Jets defense gave up 28 points and didn't get a sack (not that sacks are the end-all, be-all, but they still didn't register a sack). It was a dominating game, but a game won by 14 points the offense didn't score a couple of short fields. It's a great win for the Jets, yet I think this win will only serve to unnecessarily raise expectations. I don't know if the Jets will score 48 points in their next two games. I get the feeling Bills management is at Ryan Fitzpatrick's contract and saying, "I've made a huge mistake." He handed the Jets the ball and momentum in the first quarter by throwing interceptions. The Bills new and improved front four didn't register a sack, QB hit, and one tackle for a loss. They have to be better than that. Mario Williams claims he was held the entire game, which I don't necessarily doubt, but that seems like a pretty convenient excuse. I doubt in one month the Jets fans are going to be booing Ex-backup QB Punt Protector Jets and seeing their team put up 48 points against an opponent. Not that the New York media cares. They see and expect the 2007 Patriots offense now, mostly because they are knee-jerk reactive idiots.

Houston Texans 30 Miami Dolphins 10

I feel bad for Ryan Tannehill. He has no receivers. I don't see how a guy who struggled to beat out Jerrod Johnson as the starting quarterback at Texas A&M as a 22 year old junior is expected to win games with this receiving group. That's how I will always see Ryan Tannehill. He's the guy who was put at wide receiver by Mike Sherman (his current offensive coordinator, who was fired by Texas A&M this past year because he went 6-6), because he couldn't beat out Jerrod Johnson as the starting quarterback until Johnson graduated. Only after Johnson's terribleness was displayed, and Johnson graduated, did Tannehill get named the starting quarterback. Ryan Tannehill the wide receiver would be a starting wide receiver for these Dolphins. For him to have a fighting chance to succeed, he needs receivers. Someone like Brandon Marshall maybe. The Texans defense didn't give up a touchdown all day, so they are as-advertised. They should have shut the Dolphins down offensively and they did. The Dolphins did "Hard Knocks" wanting exposure for the team. Little did they know their offense is going to be exposed this entire season. Zing!

San Francisco 49ers 30 Green Bay Packers 22

As we did not expect from the media-driven narrative about a matchup of two quarterbacks drafted in 2005, Alex Smith came in to Lambeau Field and absolutely efficiently managed the hell out of the game. That's not a back-handed compliment either. He was accurate, took sacks when he needed to, and somehow managed to overcome the "Crabtree Curse" to pull out the 49ers victory. The Green Bay defense couldn't stop Frank Gore and the 49ers offense, so they had to comeback during the second half. It's so hard to look at a Week 1 game and say it sets the tone for the rest of the season, especially with a team as talented on paper as the Packers. What this game told me is Alex Smith is still very comfortable in the 49ers offense and the 49ers defense is still very good. Even the best offensive teams can't come back if their defense can't get stops. It's almost like football is a team game.

Arizona Cardinals 20 Seattle Seahawks 16

There's a difference in the preseason and the regular season. I wasn't hopping on the Russell Wilson Bandwagon (yes, it is capitalized) until I saw what he did in a regular season game against an NFL defense. So hopefully next week against the Cowboys we will get to see that. I'm just kidding Cardinals fans! Wilson looked pretty average, even if his last pass to Braylon Edwards which would have won the game should have been caught. Of course if you are counting on Braylon Edwards to catch a crucial pass you are already courting disappointment. Wilson had four turnovers and showed that like every other NFL rookie quarterback he is still a work-in-progress. Kevin Kolb proved once again that if you don't put any pressure on him, lower expectations, and don't expect him to actually start an NFL game, then he can play really well. Assume he will suck and bring him off the bench, that is how Kolb feels comfortable. Plus, he would prefer you not expect him to come off the bench every game and play well. In fact, just continue to act like he has retired and he will pop up every once in a while to collect his paycheck and play well over a short span of time. Andre Roberts led the Cardinals in rushing, which I am sure pleases the Cardinals coaching staff to see when Wells/Williams had 15 attempts for 23 yards. It's not like they used high draft picks on those two players.

Tampa Bay 16 Carolina Panthers 10

Tampa Bay did an excellent job keeping the ball out of the hands of the Panthers offense. Contrary to what Mike Martz repeatedly stated during the game, Josh Freeman wasn't outstanding, but he got the job done. Doug Martin was very good and Tampa Bay did enough in the first half to win the game. Carolina refused to run the ball at any point in the game in an effort to show what cool and exciting plays they could draw up that also manage to lose yardage. I think it is a bit too early to pronounce the Bucs as contenders, especially since the passing game wasn't exceptional. It isn't too early to pronounce that the Panthers offensive line needs to block a lot better and give Newton time to throw the ball. This game was a case of one team being ready to play and another team not being ready to play. Also, Mike Martz is a terrible analyst. At one point he gave Ronde Barber credit for anticipating a ricochet pass that hit two other if Barber pursued the play from his safety position fully knowing two players would touch the ball and it would bounce to him. Apparently Martz thinks Ronde Barber is telepathic. Mike Martz also stated Carolina needed to protect the quarterback better and stop running long pass plays. Somewhere Kurt Warner and Jay Cutler sat astounded at hearing this statement come from Martz's mouth.

Dallas Cowboys 24 New York Giants 17

Tony Romo continued his tradition of playing poorly when it doesn't count and Eli Manning continued his tradition of not playing well enough to win games until December. At least that's the narrative we are given by the media. As we were told, this is a great opening statement that really, really means least until the media decides in one month that Romo is a choker and this game is completely forgotten. But in terms of this week, this game meant something and this is a HUGE win for the least until December when the Giants play well and the Cowboys are seen as a team who has a roster full of losers. Such is life with a fickle and reactionary media. The Cowboys got a career game from Kevin Ogletree and this overshadowed an issue with penalties. This game is going to serve as Example A come December of a game where the media makes a Week 1 game sound like it means the world as a "statement game" when there are 15 games left to play and they draw conclusions they no longer find true by the end of the season.


Koleslaw said...

I have to say, the officiating was pretty awesome all around. I couldn't tell the difference at all in most of the games I watched. Oh wait, what I meant was the exact opposite. I had this mental image of sitting next to one of these scabs at a counter in a diner, ordering a milkshake and then pouring it on their plate of food and walking out.

I'm only going to comment on games I actually saw some of. Well, except for the Lions/Rams game. I didn't see any of this game but I kept seeing the score on the bottom of the screen and wondering "What the fuck is going on in that game?" I really need to get DirectTV. Oh, and I just found out yesterday that my cable provider dropped the NFL network due to some licensing bullshit. They're not going to lose me as a customer because my high-speed internet is the tits, but I think I might be cutting my bill in half when I move (within the same area) in a month or so.

You're correct. As a Steelers fan I'm not worried at all. One thing I really noticed in this game is how important Polamalu is to the defense. When Polamalu has to play FS instead of SS it really takes a load of the offense because they don't have to worry about his great run defense and crazy blitzing. Peyton Manning was well aware of this fact and I guarantee he was happy that Ryan Clark can't play in Denver. I can't tell if I'm biased or not about Polamalu. Is he really that good or do I just think he is because I'm a Steelers fan?

Another note from a game I didn't watch (because I'm apparently a liar): I like how all I heard all week about how Adrian Peterson was barely going to play and he put up 20+ fantasy points.

I'm glad I read your recap of the Jets game. I saw the score and was like... "48? The Jets? How the fuck would that team score 48, even against the Bills?" (another game I didn't watch, if you're keeping track of the number of lies I tell in this comment.)

SF/GB: Okay, I actually watched this game. Holy shit did the 49ers look good. Before it started I said to myself, "Yeah, the 49ers have a good D, but Green Bay is Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers and his basset hound eyes will see holes in the D and pick it apart." Of course, I didn't expect the 49ers to show up with the best team on both sides of the ball. Alex Smith looked great and Frank Gore looked like he found a time machine that took him back to 2006.

Arizona/Seattle: They cut to this game as the other game I was watching ended. I saw one play run followed by 45 minutes of the officials trying to figure out how many time outs Seattle called. In the end, no one really knew and when they announced the ruling, I forgot I was watching football.

Dallas/NY Giants: Wow, this game was back on Wednesday? Sheesh, I completely forgot about it.

Bengoodfella said...

Koleslaw, it isn't lying to comment on a game you haven't seen. You can look at the box score and read the game recap to see what happened in the game. I certainly don't have time to see every game.

I don't know if the officiating was worse than usual or not, but I will say the perception is going to always be that the officiating was bad. That's just the way it is going to work and why they are doomed to fail. I saw only 1-2 missed calls in the TB-CAR game, though one of them was on an interception which stopped a drive. The NFL is going to wait until a game is changed due to the officials before budging on their position, which is wrong to do.

I figured Denver would win that game. They are at home with Manning as their QB against the Steelers missing a starting safety. The Broncos were due to win. I think Polamalu is a really good safety, though I know some guys who watch tape say he freelances too much, which causes him to be out of position at times, but also gives him a chance to make good plays. Pete Prisco (if I am not wrong) is the one who is most critical of Polamalu. I think he's really good.

I don't want to talk about Peterson. The same thing goes for MJD. I heard he wasn't going to play and then Jennings got hurt. I'm just starting my best players regardless of injuries from now on...or will try to.

The Jets played well, don't get me wrong, but they didn't exactly hang 48 points in offense on the Bills. A lot of it had to do with special teams, defense and field position. The Jets only had 384 total yards. The Bills had 390 total yards. This will cause the NY media to overreact though. I bet the Jets don't score 48 points over their next two games.

Alex Smith really did a great job. I wasn't being back-handed when I said he managed the hell out of the game. He got the ball where it needed to go and didn't give the Packers defense a chance to tee off on him. Green Bay really hasn't had a great defense for 80% of the past three years. I remember the defense being bad in 2009, then in 2010 it stepped up at the end of the year, and last year they were awful. The Green Bay defense is a bit overrated I believe.

Even the official knew that call was wrong in the SEA/ARIZ game. You could tell when he made the call. If that had gotten the Seahawks a win, that would be inexcusable to me. Regardless, the NFL-affiliated media is pointing out this mistake has been made three times before. As long as the mistake has been made before, it's all right?

Yeah, that game was a long time ago. Much like the Pitt-Den game I won't draw any major conclusions. It's a tough game between two teams who seem to be on the same level. One team won and the other lost. 10 weeks from now, it could have a completely different outcome.