Friday, September 12, 2014

6 comments Gregg Easterbrook Continues Repeating Topics From Past TMQ's

Gregg Easterbrook did his annual all-haiku NFL preview in last week's TMQ. It was as bad as I imagined it might be. Gregg alerted the world to the prevalence of newspapers saying positive things about new cars due to car companies buying advertising in these newspapers. I never knew it was such a problem. Gregg also copied his closing paragraph in this year's all-haiku preview from the closing paragraph in last year's all-haiku preview. I should never accuse Gregg of not being lazy. This week Gregg talks (yet again) about how NFL teams borrow tactics from high school and college football teams. Gregg rotates the same topics over and over in TMQ. What a waste. Oh, and Gregg criticizes "Godzilla" for lacking accuracy because he has no shame and somehow manages to think a movie about a giant dinosaur-looking monster created by radioactive waste (haven't seen the movie yet, so excuse this vague description) needs to be as realistic as possible.

Want to know what trends will dominate the NFL in five years?

Trick question. There will be no NFL in five years because of lawsuits from concussions.

Attend a high school or small-college football game. Because tactics on display during the NFL's opening weekend were high school and small college all the way.

And we all know given Gregg's propensity for creepily ogling cheerleaders who are 1/3 to 1/2 of his age that Gregg will sometimes try to lower that percentage to ogling cheerleaders close to 1/4 his age at a high school or maybe even junior high game. He's there to see the tactics. That's his story. Tactics are his concern, not the cheerleaders.

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly's Blur Offense, which scored 34 unanswered points in its Sunday comeback, owes more to high school theory than NFL experience. The Seattle Seahawks' zone-read, which just helped them win the Super Bowl, owes more to college play than pro results.

The 3-4 defense, you know that "fad" defense Gregg talks about, originated in the NFL I believe.

The very fast pace, on the other hand, was tried by Buffalo during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, then dropped.

So it doesn't count, because the Bills dropped the fast paced offense, and Jerry Glanville certainly never ran the run-and-shoot in Houston or Atlanta. If a team stops using an offensive or defensive tactic then that team doesn't get credit for creating that least in Gregg's world.

About 15 years ago, high school coaches began to revive the idea -- especially coaches with skinny players who couldn't execute a traditional high school power-I.

Gregg Easterbrook: "Offensive linemen are getting so big and fat in high school and college compared to how big and fat they used to be!"

Gregg Easterbrook: "Some high school and college coaches don't have fat enough offensive linemen to run a power-I offense, so that's why these teams use a faster paced offense!"

Pro coaches, including Bill Belichick, the winningest active NFL coach, noticed that hurry-up football was working below the pro level -- including at Troy University, where Franklin's system converted a perennial also-ran into a conference contender. Belichick was attracted to no-huddle tactics because they usually increase the number of snaps a team gets. More snaps, more yards gained.

This is typical Gregg Easterbrook. When discussing a fast paced offense, what element does he leave out that contributes to the success of this fast paced offense? Don't worry, no hint needed. Gregg provides the answer by not providing the answer.

By 2013, the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and other NFL teams were quick-snap.

As usual, Gregg Easterbrook sort of misses the point. The point isn't these teams run a fast paced offense soohmygodwhydoesn'teveryteamdothis? The point is these teams all have a quarterback that can handle running a fast paced offense and have the ability to audible, change a play call and execute the offense at a fast pace.

These teams have Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger...along with the quarterbacks on the mysterious "other NFL teams" Gregg knows about but doesn't mention. Think that has something to do with the success of this fast paced offense succeeding? It's hard to be effective without a quarterback to run the offense.

Success has many fathers: The zone-read's parentage is disputed. Just one example: Appalachian State employed the zone-read en route to an FCS title three-peat from 2005 to 2007, and perhaps you've heard about the game the Mountaineers played in 2007 at Michigan. At Florida with Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer merged zone-read rushing and multiple-receiver sets into the spread-option. NFL coaches noticed.

These sentences don't make sense together. Gregg mentions the zone-read's parentage is disputed and then mentions how Appalachian State used the zone-read to win three straight Division I-AA (not FCS at the time) titles, but then mentions a different offense that Urban Meyer ran at Florida with Tim Tebow as the quarterback. So the mention of these two offenses isn't a dispute of the zone-read's parentage. It's a mention of two different types of zone-read offenses, not a dispute over which offense came first. Gregg never elaborates on the disputed parentage of the zone-read.

The Miami Dolphins defeated the favored Patriots partly by faking a zone-read rush one way, then throwing the other way for a touchdown. (New England fears this action because the Dolphins' 2008 use of the Wildcat formation, which involves a zone-read between the tackles, led to a memorable Miami win.)

And of course the Patriots defenders, most of which did not play in the 2008 game against the Dolphins, were thinking of the Wildcat formation and that's why they fell for the zone-read fake. See, the Patriots defense was thinking of a game few of them played in six years ago and that's why they fell for the fake. In Gregg's world, NFL teams are still very concerned about the opposing team using the Wildcat formation. That tells you all you would need to know about Gregg.

The Buffalo Bills' first touchdown in its upset of the Bears came when the Bills faked a zone-read right, then their quarterback bootlegged left. Consecutive zone-read runs in the final minute of the first half had the San Francisco 49ers ahead 28-3 at the intermission in Dallas.

Hey, that reminds me! Now that Gregg is talking about the evolution of high school and college tactics to the NFL, remember the time long ago (I'm just kidding, it was less than a year ago) when Gregg declared the zone-read dead? It's over! Teams have caught on! Now less than a year later Gregg is writing TMQ around examples of teams running the zone-read to score touchdowns and win games. Gregg Easterbrook is so full of shit and so incapable of not contradicting himself it's almost funny. He can declare a tactic dead, and then without mentioning the words that would hurt his ego "I was wrong," show examples of teams using this tactic to win football games. Less than a year earlier he had written this tactic off, now it's an important part of a team's game plan.

There's so much pressure and money on the line in the NFL, coaches are reluctant to try an untested tactic. So they scan the prep and college ranks, looking for ideas that someone else has already ironed out. What new offenses are being tested at the prep level right now? If you've seen one, let me know @EasterbrookG.

Checking out Gregg's mentions on Twitter, it's shocking to me how many people like to read TMQ and think it's a good place to find NFL news. That's like relying on "E! Television" for your current events.

So my Super Bowl pick is Denver over New Orleans.

So this is Peter's Super Bowl pick. His only pick? Not at all. He makes two Super Bowl picks of course.

My alternative-jersey pick is Seattle over Indianapolis. Just remember this column's motto: All Predictions Wrong or Your Money Back.

Two Super Bowl picks from Gregg. Perhaps the motto of TMQ should be: I Will Make Predictions Until One of Them is Correct Then Want My Readers to Forget I Made Multiple Predictions so I Can Provide a Link to My Correct Prediction As Proof of How Right I Was.

It's a long motto, but very accurate.

It was dark -- and late -- in Arizona for the second game of the "Monday Night Football" doubleheader. San Diego isn't a night-life town, not like Los Angeles or San Francisco. San Diego has a huge Navy facility where people keep regular hours, and has the surf scene, which starts at dawn then shuts down at dark. Maybe that's why the Chargers cannot handle MNF.

The Arizona-San Diego game began at 7:20pm local time and ended 10:30pm local time. Those aren't regular hours, but I'm not sure they are night-life hours either. Mostly, this is a stupid theory and Gregg should be embarrassed for writing it.

A big factor was the injury to star center Nick Hardwick. Twice in the fourth quarter, his backup, Rich Ohrnberger, was guilty of bad snaps on third down: one pushing the Bolts out of field goal position, another messing up a makeable third-and-2. Why didn't San Diego coaches put Philip Rivers under center rather than ask the backup to make lots of shotgun snaps? Arizona saw the substitution and blitzed over center often in the second half. Ohrnberger was concerned about blocking the blitzers, and botched snaps. Coaches failed to provide the tactics change that was needed.

Great idea, Gregg! Rather than have Rivers taking shotgun snaps and avoiding the blitzers over the center in the second half, the Chargers should have adjusted and had Rivers taking snaps from under center with the blitzers closer to him. This not only would have given him less of an opportunity to survey the defense, but would also give him less time to react to the blitzers over the center that are in his face because he's having to spend time dropping back. Brilliant.

Arizona's college-themed winning touchdown came with 2:32 remaining and the Cactus Wrens on the Bolts' 13. The call was the "smoke" variation of the hitch screen -- wide receiver John Brown stepped backward as blockers went downfield in front of him, then took a sideways pass and skedaddled to the end zone. Nice play, but the smoke variation of the hitch screen, which is legal in the NCAA, isn't legal in the NFL. In college an offensive lineman may be downfield if the pass is caught behind the line of scrimmage; in the NFL, that's not the case. Arizona left tackle Jared Veldheer was downfield before Brown made the catch. It wasn't exactly the sequel to the Fail Mary, but once again, a "Monday Night Football" contest was decided by a late bad officiating call.

I suspect that Gregg may be incorrect about this NFL rule. I did a search for whether others thought John Brown's TD catch should have counted and didn't see any Chargers fans complaining about the illegality of the play. NFL fans love to point out how they get screwed by the officials (actually, fans of all sports love this), so I would suspect if a penalty really should have been called I could have found something about this in my search. I suspect Gregg may be incorrectly interpreting this rule.

Stats of the Week #5: In their past two outings, the St. Louis Rams have been outscored 61-15.

Gregg is stretching this statistic for two games over two separate seasons. While this isn't a misleading statistic, it's fairly meaningless due to the fact it encompasses two games that were played 8 months apart.

Seattle faked a zone-read run going right; split left, Ricardo Lockette made the traditional NFL wide receiver's half-hearted attempt to block, then Lockette shot downfield and Russell Wilson lofted him a touchdown pass. Lockette deliberately looked like a lazy blocker because that's what NFL defensive backs expect to see from prima donna receivers! Sweet.

I can't stand Gregg's interpretation of plays that happened the previous week in the NFL. Green Bay wasn't faked out by Lockette pretending to be lazy, they were faked out by the fact this looked like a typical zone-read play. Seattle completely stole this play from Auburn. Auburn used it in the National Championship Game against Florida State.

More importantly, if the Packers really were fooled by Lockette pretending to be a prima donna, then is Gregg saying that undrafted Ricardo Lockette from a non-football factory college is a prima donna receiver? After all, how could the Packers be fooled by a receiver who isn't known as a prima donna? They couldn't! Gregg just called an undrafted player from a non-football factory a "prima donna" and can't take it back.

After barely blitzing in the Super Bowl, the Bluish Men Group barely blitzed again: just once in the first half. The sack of Aaron Rodgers on fourth-and-5 and the Green Bay safety both resulted from a conventional four-man rush.

This is not an indication that not blitzing is the preferred defensive tactic. This simply means the Seahawks can get pressure on a quarterback by only rushing four players. If they couldn't get pressure by rushing four players, then they would need to blitz. It's not that the Seahawks don't blitz, it's that they don't have to blitz because they have a strong front four and a strong secondary who can cover the opposing team's receivers. As always, Gregg watches an NFL game and comes away with the incorrect conclusion as to what happened and why, but then insists on creating a rule out of his misconception about what happened in the game.

With the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, the Bears had third-and-1 on the Buffalo 34. Jay Cutler faked a toss left against a defense overstacked anticipating a run, then rolled right, hoping for a home run. The Bills had the intended receiver covered. Rather than try to run for the first, or simply throw the ball away, Cutler heave-hoed a crazy across-the-body pass that was intercepted by defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Very sour.

This was a terrible throw by Cutler, but I feel it is important to mention that if Cutler had thrown the ball away then Gregg would criticize Cutler for throwing the ball away on a third-and-1 rather than trying to run for the first down. So Gregg's suggestion to Cutler of throwing the ball away would only result in Gregg criticizing Cutler for doing so.

Rice, a first-time offender, bears guilt but is not a criminal in legal terms. He was placed into a pretrial diversion program by a New Jersey judge. Legal thinking has long held that first-time offenders should be treated leniently. Perhaps the judge gave Rice special treatment because he's a football star. 

Or perhaps, because Gregg states that legal thinking has long held that first-time offenders should be treated leniently, the judge was lenient because it was Rice's first-time committing a crime. This is an example of one of the many annoying things about Gregg Easterbrook's writing. He posits a reasonable theory as to why Rice was placed in a pretrial diversion program, but then randomly posits the judge gave Rice special treatment because he was a football star. I can't read the judge's mind, but if there is a long held legal thought of leniency towards first-time offenders, couldn't that be the reason Rice was treated with leniency? Maybe not, but Gregg is essentially just speculating.

If so, that is a condemnation of society, not of Rice. If pretrial diversion is a common outcome for first-time domestic offenders in New Jersey, then the legal part of the decision was appropriate.

Much like his fellow haiku writer, Peter King, Gregg has no interest in getting to the bottom of this and would like for someone else to do the research on this topic. Gregg is just here to throw out random theories without any factual backing, then call for someone else to find out the facts.

For the proof, one need only go to Canton, Ohio, where O.J. Simpson's bust is on display. Simpson currently sits in prison for armed robbery; a California civil jury found him liable in the wrongful death of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

A few weeks ago, Gregg referred to O.J. Simpson as "guilty" of wrongful death. Notice how he made this little correction without actually mentioning he used the wrong verbiage. Quick, cover up your mistakes and then point out where news outlets like the "New York Times" makes errors and corrects them publicly. Keep throwing rocks in a glass house by pretending you don't make mistakes while calling out others who have the audacity to acknowledge their mistakes.

His Hall of Fame bio says a lot about rushing yards -- doesn't get around to mentioning that the California jury deemed him a woman killer.

His Hall of Fame bio also doesn't mention he was in the "Naked Gun" movies because it's not relevant to his NFL career. The Hall of Fame isn't trying to cover up that O.J. Simpson was in these three movies, they just don't find it relevant to his playing career, much like his being liable for wrongful death isn't relevant to his playing career.

O.J.'s name also remains on the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a publicly owned facility. Will the Bills' new owner leave the name of someone everyone believes is a woman-killer on the stadium wall? Since Wilson Stadium is owned by Erie County, New York, and financed largely by New York State, where is the Erie County legislature? Where is Gov. Andrew Cuomo?

Probably in the governor's mansion?

Perhaps the whole message of the NFL's treatment of Ray Rice is that people at the top of the football establishment in fact think that character does not matter so long as the money is flowing.

I'll never accuse Gregg Easterbrook of being slow on the uptake. The NFL's message is also that they have done whatever the hell they wanted to do when it came to punishing their players in the past, so nothing will change in this situation.

Denver almost always had five receivers in the pattern. The five-receiver action is vulnerable to the blitzer who comes through unblocked, and that happened three times, including a third-and-6 sack of Manning late during the Indianapolis comeback attempt. Since Indianapolis showed this can work, Gase should be alert for "green dog" blitzing this season -- if a linebacker sees that it's a five-man pattern and there is a lane to Manning, he charges.

Yeah, Adam Gase should be careful to look out for this. You know, because he's the real offensive coordinator of the Broncos and all. The real offensive coordinator, Peyton Manning, should look out for this and realize that if there is a linebacker on the field he needs to find a favorable matchup with that linebacker or get the ball out quickly to take advantage of the space the linebacker left when he blitzed. Is this Gregg advocating blitzing? As usual in regard to blitzing, Gregg's rule about football tactics are "If it ends up working then it was the right tactic. If it didn't work, then that team shouldn't have used that tactic."

The latest "Godzilla" -- a reboot of a remake of an adaptation of a sequel -- is out on DVD this week.

It's on DVD? Wow, is it 2004 and Blu-Ray hasn't been invented yet?

You can now watch online the original Japanese version, not the Americanized variant into which Raymond Burr was spliced to create an English-speaking authority figure. Here is what struck me about the original "Godzilla":

Oh, do tell! Was there a trash can shown on a certain street corner in the movie at a spot where that street corner doesn't really have a trash can in reality?

Though it's only a decade after Japan was laid waste by World War II, Tokyo is gleaming. Everyone's well-dressed, prosperous and attending swell parties.

Yeah, Japanese citizens had no business being prosperous and attending parties. Go back to taking care of your mutated children while wearing rags you Nazi-loving assholes or else the United States will come back to kick your ass again! America, hell yeah! (high-fives a bald eagle)

The film contains hardly any references to the war or politics. No one mentions America. No one says, "Maybe if we hadn't thrown away our navy, we could deal with a sea monster." Aircraft from around the world land in Tokyo with emergency supplies. But no nation's military appears, and none is summoned.

Maybe it's because Japan was laid to waste by World War II and had not had a chance to rebuild their military?

In "Gojira," the monster is said to be 165 feet tall. In "Godzilla" 2014, the titular character is said by a military analyst to be 350 feet tall. But when Zilla stands next to the Golden Gate Bridge, his chest and head are above the bridge travel lanes. Since the bridge clearance is 220 feet and the Golden Gate Strait is about 300 feet deep, to stand in his manner, Godzilla would need to be about 700 feet tall.

Maybe he is standing on his tip-toes or maybe it's a fucking movie so just watch it and stop criticizing how tall Godzilla is, as if it matters to enjoy the film.

Ads for the flick show Godzilla twice the height of San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid, which is 853 feet, rendering the monster at least 1,500 feet. Just how tall is this guy?

I don't know, Gregg. Maybe you should take a five year break from writing TMQ to find out exactly how tall Godzilla is.

Computer-generated special effects ought to be consistent.

Or you could just enjoy the movie. You know, either way.

At one point, a paratrooper confidently cocks a sidearm to go into battle with a 500-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature.

Or a 350-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature. Or a 1500-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature. We don't know because the special effects are so inconsistent!

Perhaps a dozen times in the flick, a character turns around to realize in horror that Godzilla or one of the MUTOs is standing right there. How does a million-ton creature sneak up on someone?

Because it's really loud due to all the explosions and weaponry and the MUTO is wearing slippers that prevent him/her from making noise. Or maybe the MUTO is on this tippy-toes in order to sneak up on these characters. Again, it's a movie. It's supposed to be enjoyable, not 100% accurate. Godzilla is a radioactive monster, so anyone going into the movie expecting any sort of realism has absurdly ridiculous expectations to begin with.

Favored Stanford lost to USC on turnovers and missed field goals. Or was the reason punting? Reader Andy Korger of Madison, Wisconsin, was among many to note the Cardinal punted from the USC 32 and USC 29. In college ball, that's the Maroon Zone -- where it's too far for a field goal but too close to punt. Each case was fourth-and-long, but what difference does that make?

It makes a difference because the chances of converting fourth-and-long are not very high. Stanford trusted their special teams to pin USC deep and give them good field position after forcing a punt. I'm in favor of going for it on fourth down, but on fourth-and-long it's a different story. It's not easy to convert fourth-and-long, so it may be easier to just trust your defense and special teams to do their job.

Better to try than passively surrender possession.

Easy to say sitting on the couch and not having to worry about giving USC decent field position if the fourth-and-long attempt fails.

In the 2013 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks scored a touchdown on fourth-and-long from the Santa Clara 35.

Well if one team one time converted fourth-and-long then I don't see why Stanford can't convert fourth-and-long twice in a game. Hey, it happened once, so it must happen a lot, right?

During the contest Saturday, USC athletic director Pat Haden came onto the sideline to remonstrate with the referee. ESPN devoted a chunk of airtime to debating Haden's action -- an action that was odd but ultimately trivial. Why didn't they talk about USC's 53 percent football graduation rate?

As usual, Gregg misses the point. It wasn't trivial in that Pat Haden is on the playoff selection committee. That gave his arguing with the referee some sort of significance. Also, USC is 20th on ESPN Grade. They are the 20th best college at combining academics and sports, which is better than many non-football factory colleges can say. Maybe ESPN should have bragged about that, since ESPN Grade is such a great metric.

This is a great example of the bullshit metric that is ESPN Grade. Gregg has trumped up ESPN Grade, and USC is 20th in these rankings, but then Gregg talks about how bad USC's 53% graduation rate is. So if USC is so bad at graduating players then wouldn't a ranking of 20th in ESPN Grade seems a bit misleading? It seems Gregg wants it both ways. He wants to brag about the effectiveness of ESPN Grade, while criticizing USC's graduation rate and ignoring the other metrics ESPN Grade uses.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk (Pro Edition): In the Washington-at-Houston collision, sure-to-be-former R*dsk*ns coach Jay Gruden had the choice of accepting a penalty to make it Houston third-and-11 or declining to make it Houston fourth-and-1 at midfield. Gruden declined the penalty, secure in the belief that a punt would boom, as it did.

I'm being picky, but every NFL coach will at some point be a former coach of the team they are currently coaching. I don't think Bill Belichick is immortal yet, so at some point he is going to be the former coach of the Patriots. So saying Jay Gruden is the sure-to-be-former coach of the Redskins is accurate, but pretty obvious.

Still, the game came down to a hidden play. Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels but sustain or stop drives. Cats ahead 17-14 and facing third-and-9 with 1:52 remaining, Carolina emergency quarterback Derek Anderson, making his first start since Dec. 5, 2010, threw the ball directly into the hands of Bucs' safety Dashon Goldson at the Panthers' 30. Goldson dropped it.

For any Buccaneers fan, this was not a hidden play. Also, Gregg describes a hidden play as "one that never makes the highlight reel but sustain or stop drives." It's not entirely true in this case. This dropped interception didn't sustain the Panthers drive because they punted on the very next play and the dropped interception certainly didn't stop the drive. So it wasn't a hidden play and doesn't exactly meet Gregg's definition of a hidden play anyway.

Saints Gain 472 Yards, Lose: In 2012, the New Orleans defense allowed the worst yardage total in NFL annals. Last year, the Saints' defense rose to fourth overall. Maybe 2013 was a misprint! Sunday, New Orleans was torched for 568 yards by the Atlanta offense.

Of course Gregg fails to mention just a few weeks ago he was talking about how the Saints have improved under Rob Ryan, but now he thinks they are a terrible defense again. Gregg is so reactive.

Holding a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Saints did the unthinkable and shifted to a "prevent" defense, with safety Jairus Byrd so deep he looked like he expected to receive a kickoff. The only thing the "prevent" defense prevents is punts: You don't need to know anything else about the contest except that New Orleans switched to the prevent defense. 

So frustrating. If the Saints had blitzed then Gregg would talk about how Rob Ryan took too many chances and probably include any Saints blitz under a "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again" heading. If the Saints don't blitz and play a traditional defense with four pass rushers Gregg bitches they weren't aggressive enough. The rule, as always, Gregg thinks NFL teams should use tactics that end up working. If a tactic didn't work, then that team shouldn't have used that tactic. Gregg's criticisms are mostly outcome-based. Blitzing is bad, a four man pass rush is good, unless a team uses a four man pass rush in a method that Gregg doesn't like.

The Falcons put consistent pressure on Brees, seeming to rattle him. If Matt Ryan's crew returns to its winning ways in Georgia, the Falcons could be a contender.

If the Falcons win enough games, they have a good chance of advancing far in the playoffs. Yes Gregg, that's generally how it works.

Reader Bryan Mercer of Queens, New York, reports that not only did Dunkin Donuts begin selling pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin lattes on Labor Day , but on Sept. 2, he heard a Dunkin Donuts radio ad proclaiming: "Apple cider is back, get some before fall is over." Fall, Mercer notes, hasn't even started. This year's autumnal equinox is Sept. 22.

Brandon White of Ashland, Oregon, notes Subway began selling its "fall special" submarine -- turkey with cranberry sauce -- on Sept. 1, three weeks before fall.

Learn how marketing, advertising and sales work. That's all I ask. These companies want to create interest or awareness about a product so they can sell that product for a certain period of time. And guess what? It worked. See, that's how it works. Bryan Mercer of Queens, New York knows where to find a pumpkin muffin so he's more likely to go purchase one at Dunkin' Donuts if he wants a pumpkin muffin.

Chuck Todd had a busy week, what with interviewing both Obama and yours truly.

Todd also had this to say: "Nothing causes me to miss more meetings and phone calls than reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback."

How slow does Chuck Todd read? Did he graduate high school reading at a high school level? TMQ is long, but it's not long enough to miss multiple meetings and phone calls. More importantly, how does anyone like TMQ? I take that back. How does any football fan with a functioning brain who isn't too lazy to look into Gregg's assertions enjoy TMQ?

The Law Of Comebacks: TMQ's Law of Comebacks holds: Defense starts comebacks, offense stops them. 

Bengoodfella's Law of No-Shit, This is Obvious holds: Of course a defense starts a comeback since a team can't actually start coming back until they stop the other team from scoring. And yes, if the opposing offense scores points then it prevents the other team from coming back. The amount of obviousness in this "Law of Comebacks" is startling to me.

Trailing visiting Michigan State 27-18 in the third quarter, the Oregon Ducks began a defense-led comeback, holding the Spartans scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Trailing the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars 17-0 in the third quarter, the Philadelphia Eagles began a defense-led comeback, holding the Jaguars scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Since the Ducks and the Eagles are football's Blur Offense teams, watching them win using defense must have been a strange feeling for the home crowds.

These teams didn't really win because of defense, they won because their defense showed up while the offense continued/started scoring points. The Eagles and Ducks won because they scored 34 and 46 points respectively, while their defense didn't give up that many points. I would say offense still won the game for these two teams, with periodic help from the defense.

MIT and Pomona-Pitzer, two academics-oriented colleges -- actually three, since Pomona College and Pitzer College combine their NCAA programs -- completed a home-and-home. Last year, MIT went to California to play Pomona-Pitzer; this year Pomona-Pitzer brought its angry sailor bird to Massachusetts. Since all are Division III schools that don't emphasize sports, why the cross-country flying?

Because it would take two or three days to drive to California or Massachusetts. Because these student-athletes that Gregg wants so badly to brag about being student-athletes compared to football factory colleges would miss almost a week of class just for a football game. So Gregg is fine with these schools driving across country and missing more school than they have to?

See, Gregg doesn't always think before he criticizes. He's like "Why the cross-country flying?" without considering the other ways these teams could travel to play their game and how this would impact these student-athletes going to class. Flying may be more expensive, but it also helps these students miss as little class as possible.

Leading lower-division cupcake Lamar 45-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Texas A&M shamelessly ran up the score, continuing to launch passes and going for it on fourth down with a 59-3 lead. Reaching first down with a 66-3 lead and 3:40 remaining, Texas A&M didn't kneel, rather kept calling plays to push the final to 73-3.

It was just two short years ago that Gregg would follow the weekly exploits of a high school football team who refused to punt and would often run up the score on opposing teams. Never punting is a great thing until Gregg decides he doesn't like it anymore.

Romo forced the ball to him anyway, interception, the Niners would lead 28-3 at the half.

Boys trailing 28-10 at the end of the third quarter, some dim-bulb in the Dallas organization had the team kick away rather than onside kick. (Indianapolis onside-kicked in a nearly identical situation at Denver, and it helped the Colts come within shouting distance of a dramatic comeback.)

While I'm not against an onside kick in this situation, notice that the Cowboys defense had prevented the 49ers from scoring in the third quarter. In fact, the Cowboys defense also prevented the 49ers from scoring when they kicked away in the fourth quarter in this situation rather than try an onside kick. So the fact another NFL team recovered an onside kick later in the day (because you know, the Cowboys should know that five hours from now another NFL team will try an onside kick and succeed...because everyone can predict the future like Gregg can through the use of hindsight), is irrelevant and it seems Jason Garrett had good reason to believe his defense could hold the 49ers without points. In fact, the Cowboys defense did hold the 49ers without points in this situation after kicking away.

Game tied with 20 seconds remaining in what the Browns seemed to assume was regulation, the Steelers faced first down on the Cleveland 44, out of timeouts. Cleveland needs to hold Pittsburgh to a short gain -- the Condiment Coliseum is the hardest place in the NFL to kick a long field goal.

Is Heinz Field the hardest place in the NFL to kick a long field goal? Does Gregg have facts that support this contention or is he just making shit up and misleading his readers like he routinely enjoys doing? Gregg could be right, but since I know he enjoys lying to his readers then it would help to have some proof this contention is correct.

Instead, it's a blitz! Twenty-yard completion down the middle, Ben Roethlisberger spikes the ball and soon Roethlisberger is 10-0 at home versus the Browns.

The Saints should have blitzed, the Browns shouldn't have blitzed. Whatever ends up working, THAT is what the team should have done. Gregg is fantastic at criticizing a team using hindsight.

Earlier, facing fourth-and-10 on their own 20, the Steelers ran a fake punt. Cleveland inexplicably lined up no one across from the left gunner. The slot man called an "automatic" -- an audible that's automatic if the defense does a particular thing -- and lobbed the ball to the gunner, who made the first down. Pittsburgh did not score on the possession, but the play set an upbeat tone.

And that upbeat tone is what helped the Steelers almost blow the lead they had and win the game when time expired?

Kansas City has nose-dived in a major way. Apparent season-ending injuries to two starters versus Tennessee are the Chiefs' latest problems, but TMQ traces it back to the end of Week 3 of the 2013 season. Chiefs' players dumped Gatorade on the head of coach Andy Reid -- for a routine September victory. This tempted the football gods.

And the football gods were so angered they let the Chiefs win six more games in a row and make the playoffs. Sure, makes sense.

It's only Week 1 and already there is a finalist. Green Bay offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, a 2011 first-round draft selection, has struggled in the pros -- he's never started a game, despite Green Bay's offensive line woes. 

Part of the reason he has never started a game in the NFL is that he was injured for the entire 2012 season and wasn't taken off the PUP list until November 2013.

Sherrod entered the season opener at Seattle to replace an injured Packer. Not long after coming in, he gave up a sack on fourth-and-5; on the Packers' next snap, he gave up a safety. Ye gods. In Sherrod's defense, everyone knows he has been struggling, so why didn't the Packers alter their protection to slide him some help?

This could be entirely possible for the Packers to do, but when a team "slides their protection," as Gregg states it, it takes protection away from another part of the Packers offensive line. So sliding the protection in this situation could easily have just left another part of the Packers line exposed to the Seahawks pass rush. Everything is not as black and white as Gregg wants it to be.

Next Week: Godzilla makes the Cowboys' practice squad, is told he needs to get bigger.

You are the worst. 


Chris said...

It never ceases to amaze but on his hot OJ Simpson take Gregg manages to be wrong again. It's a nitpick but in my mind an important one. A California jury did not deem him a woman killer because that jury actually found him not guilty of "murder". If Gregg is gonna be wrong he can at least use the legal name for the crime.

This is another minor nitpick but I was a fan of the Godzilla remake so I've been anticipating it's release and it actually comes out next Tuesday not this week.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I thought Gregg had it right this time. Guess not. I know he kept saying Simpson was found "guilty" which isn't true.

Well, I have the new Godzilla movie now, so I guess I am ahead of the curve somehow. Still haven't watched it. Give me another few months probably!

Chris said...

You got it? I thought it wasn't coming out completely until next Tuesday. At least on blu-ray. I didn't see it this Tuesday when I got Winter Soldier but then again I've only really checked FYE. Of course blu-ray won't last. This DVD Gregg speaks of has me intrigued however.

Chris said...

And maybe he did somehow get it right but I'm not sure what he was referring to. He was referring to the criminal charges than absolutely wrong. The civil suit is a bit different. I don't claim to be an expert on law but I don't believe one is found guilty in the civil suit, merely liable for damages.

HH said...

Gruden declined the penalty, secure in the belief that a punt would boom, as it did.

Fun fact: the team that did this fraidy-cat, 4th-and-1 at midfield punt? They won the game.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I mean, no, I don't have it yet. To be clear, I don't have the actual Blu-ray or DVD disk. So, I guess I don't "have it" though I have the movie and can watch it. Umm...forget I said that.

I don't know if Gregg got right to be honest. He got it wrong on Twitter a month or so ago, and I thought he corrected himself here.

HH, you mean Gregg's hard-and-fast rules aren't always hard-and-fast?