NFL Week Eight: Stuck In The Middle
Gulp. Did that really just happen? Did the 49ers really just beat the previously 5-1 Buccaneers? I'm not ready to hand the team the NFC West or anything, but they looked solid on defense and in the running game, and those are two things the team so desperately needs to improve upon. Games like that are really important in the development of a team, and you could absolutely feel the emotion of the players on the field. My favorite moment of the game wasn't even a play on the field...Frank Gore had just busted out a nine or ten yard run to get a first down late in the fourth quarter, and the team clearly had realized that they might just pull this off. You could feel it. Gore walked off the field as Kevan Barlow, who had a great day, came back on. Gore low-fived him (always preferable to the high-five) with excitement - there were no rookie issues about being taken out of the game, no personal rah-rah about his good run. It was geniune emotion that the team was doing something RIGHT. And not only were youngsters like Gore and even 3rd string quarterback Cody Pickett making exciting plays, but the poised veteran Bryant Young just slaughtered Chris "Not Phil" Simms all day. That's clearly a big, big game for this young team. And that's all I'm saying. Yes, that's Pickett featured here...and yes, for some godawful reason the 49ers just signed Jesse Palmer -- yes, The Bachelor. No words. No words.
One particularly pathetic note for the Bucs was their performance on the last play of the game - Simms was sacked (for the second straight down, by the way) and there were maybe eight or nine seconds left. Which promptly ran off the clock. Not only did Simms not get a play off, he didn't even try to. I'm not sure if he was dazed or just despondent, from my view it looked like he'd long ago decided the game was over. That's not the guy I want running my team. FYI, word on the street before this game was that Gruden didn't like Simms at all. Hmmm...methinks one will see Tim Rattay behind center for Tampa before seasons end.
This week's Pick 'Em started out really odd. I blew the first three games that posted and started fearing the worst. Then, suddenly I'm near the top with eight correct picks. Not sure how that happened. I know it didn't happen for Jeff "4-6 D" Doughty. Dude, I think we all need to pretend this week just didn't happen for you. (And yes, I enjoy making fun of others. It's what makes the world go round!)
On the flip, #1 Pats Fan! owner Michael Fisher prevented Alex Vollmer's Waterboys from notching their second win of the year. Nice work, Michael...the check will be sent imminently.
Um…is it me, or do the Packers have the worst record in football? Worse than the 49ers, Cleveland or Houston. Wow. I mean, I could tell early on that they weren't good, but eeesh. That NFC Central is a strange one, too. Minnesota stinks, and somehow Detroit and Chicago are at the top of the division. Says it all right there.
I know it's not the exact sentiment that I should have taken away from Wellington Mara's granddaughter Kate singing the national anthem before the game yesterday, but….grrrrow! Who knew Wellington had such a hot granddaughter? (Who is also apparently an actress currently appearing in that Brokeback Mountain - the gay cowboy film, as well as something called The Return of Zoom. Again, who knew?
Speaking of that game, here's why stats can be insanely misleading. The Redskins have given up 52 points in the last two games, and scored 52 points. If you just saw that data, you might guess that they've gone 1-1 in those games, and you'd be right. But that doesn't really tell the tale of how tyou'd have no idea that they bitch-slapped the 49ers and got handed the same treatment by the Giants yesterday. I'm just saying.
Great moment from the Redskins-Cowboys game yesterday:
Kenny Albert: Coming up tonight, a show that USA Today said, "Dude, I am SO there" about..Vampire Bats!
Randy Cross: Really? USA Today? (pause) They said that? Really?
(If you are wondering why I have so much to say about that game, then you haven't realized that I didn't go over to Lang's house yesterday, meaning I watched what the networks gave me. Which was, oddly enough a double-header in the morning featuring this game and Oakland-Tennessee -- the Raiders were on the road, which means I could see them -- plus the Niners game in the afternoon. This I don't get. Sometimes it's permissible to air games against a local team, sometimes it isn't? There is literally ALWAYS a game worth watching, a fact I don't really need to belabor. When the alternative is watching infomercials for car wax, I really don't understand why this doesn't happen every Sunday.)
There are throwback uniforms that are great – San Diego's powder blue babies aren't just the best throwbacks, they're the best uniforms in football. Period. There are throwback uniforms that are just fine, and barely noticeable by those not in the know, like SF's 1989 throwbacks they wore yesterday. And then…I don't even know if they are throwbacks or what, but the Bengals uniform yesterday can stay in the past. That orange…eeks.
Terrell Owens shaking Champ Bailey out of his cleats yesterday, and then running free for maybe 80 yards for a TD was just shocking. Bailey is one of the best corners in the league and he looked like Pacman Jones on that play.
Why Pacman, you say? Well, I've seen him stink before this season, and his pathetic attempt to tackle Jerry Porter yesterday, coupled with his frustration with people telling him on the sidelines just how pathetic it was, killed that dude for me. What on earth would make him not try hard on that play? Thinking about what to do with the millions bestowed upon you by the Titans? Was it just a little too hot out there for him? What a waste of the 5th pick overall.
Plus, his nickname is retarded.
San Diego is really good, and they are finally winning games, too. However, as someone who owns Drew Brees in a fantasy league, I'm not in favor of LaDanian Tomlinson throwing 3 TDs this season. Those are Brees' points, damnit! (On the other hand, does this put him ahead of Phillip Rivers on the depth chart?)
Speaking of which, something tells me that the lessons of Rivers, Cedric Benson and others like them - and what I mean is, players who hold out so long that they slip irretreivably behind the starter they were drafted to replace -- will be an incentive for future draft picks to sign quickly. Actually, I only wish that. In the real world, there's a whole bunch of kids still in college waiting to get completely hosed over by an agent.
I'd love to write about Tedy Bruschi's comeback last night, but I didn't see a minute of the game. That being said, I'm also equally confident that whatever could be said about it already has been. That being said, his picture is posted here as an homage to him, as well as a token for winner Michael Fisher.
OK. Let's think here. The Vikings have now gotten beat down again, and with Daunte Culpepper likely out for the season, it's likely that things are going to get worse before they get better. Again, I ask you...what does Mike Tice have to do to get fired? Sure, it's not his fault that C-Pep got hurt, but his team stinks and is out of control. The owner - a guy named Ziggy - is now bitching that he bought damaged goods. This is a team that should just be relocated to Los Angeles out of spite.
The season is now officially halfway over, though with the bye week, of course some teams have only played seven games. Whatever, we're close. And while we know what teams are really bad, it's not quite clear who - aside from Indianapolis - is really a top-tier team. And even Indy still has to prove they can win the big game - that is, a playoff game with any import - before I'm going to be totally behind them. If you're a Giants, Cowboys, Steelers or any other "pretty good" team's fan right now, you have to like your chances. I think the playoffs this year are going to be fantastic.