Leave it to the Washington Redskins to screw up something as simple as a tribute to a fallen teammate. In an attempt to honor their murdered comrade, Sean Taylor, head coach Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins decided that they would play the first snap of the game with only 10 players on the field instead of the normal 11. Only problem was, they never informed the Bills, who then ran the ball up the middle for a first down. Nice try, Joe, but it only works when you tell the other team. Kinda like, calling two timeouts in a row only works when you...well...OK well that never works and it cost your team the game, but you see where I'm goin,' right? Damn, man, just go back to NASCAR. First, you just aren't a great coach anymore. Second, you managed to screw up Sean Taylor's "day" in every way possible. I'm just surprised you didn't somehow splice a clip of you shouting racial epithets at Taylor into the memorial video shown on the jumbo tron before the game. Truly embarrassing, yet at the same time, truly Washington. You deserved a better sendoff than that, Sean, and I can only hope you were doing something better than watching that game on Sunday afternoon. I heard Heaven has ski ball!
Overall: 12-0, 2007 AFC East Champions
Last Week: New England Patriots 27 Baltimore Ravens 34
UPON FURTHER REVIEW...As a spoiled Patriots fan, my one complaint all season has been the lack of close, entertaining games. Well, after last night's near loss to the Ravens, I can safely say that's no longer a concern. Wooooooo! What a game. What a game. WHAT A GAME! And while there really is nothing better than having your team win a close and exciting game, the close call did show that for the second consecutive week, the Patriots are showing signs of vulnerability. Willis McGahee ripped them for 138 yards on 30 carries (4.6 ypc), and while Kyle Boller wasn't exceptional, he was able to make key throws against the Pats secondary to keep drives alive and run the clock. You can't point to the losses of Roosevelt Colvin and Eugene Wislon, or you can maybe point to the fact that this defense isn't as good as it was earlier in the season, or was maybe never as good as we thought period. No matter your thoughts on that, the reason this team has seemed destined for greatness this year has been it's dynamic offense, and even that has shown some serious flaws these past weeks against aggressive, blitzing defenses. Matt Light was made to look a bitch again last night in the face of quick defensive ends and outside backers, so Tom Brady was constantly under pressure (3 sacks) and unable to make great reads down field. For the second week in a row, Randy Moss was held in check (60 yards, TD), or as "in check" as he can be held, and Benjamin Watson continued to prove that the only thing he's consistent at, is being inconsistent with a big TD drop in the end zone early in the game. I get the fact that every team the Patriots face from here on out are going to play like it's their Super Bowl, and that's why I feel the Pats need to step it up, especially on the offensive line. They were so tough early in the season because Brady was getting all the time in the world to pick apart defenses with his weapons. Now, after being sacked 6 times in the last 2 games, Brady can't sit back nearly as long, and is being forced to rush a lot of throws, or settle for lesser options. Think about it, you've probably seen punter Chris Hanson the last two weeks more than you've seen him catching pedophiles as host of To Catch a Predator (Speaking of...After that wink to Rodney Harrison, someone might want to check Brian Billick's hard drive. Just a thought).
For New England to go back to blowing people out, that's the key. Give Brady time, and he will deliver, just as he did in the final drive last night. Which oh by the way, hate to break it to ya, wasn't a touchdown. By rule he didn't catch it, but also by replay rule, there wasn't enough information to overturn it. Gotta love the rules, right? Not to mention the timeout called by defensive co-ordinator, Rex Ryan (only the head coach or a player on the field are allowed by the rules to call timeout by the way) on a play that the Ravens stopped Tom Brady on a 4th and 1. Or even the next play, where the Pats were stuffed again, only to get another shot because of a Stephen Neal false start penalty. Talk about having a few go your way in the clutch. I can see why some Baltimore fans would be clamoring for an investigation into a conspiracy, but it was just bad luck for them, and great luck for the still undefeated Patriots. However, if they want to win this weekend, they're gonna need to play a lot better than they have, or all the breaks in the world might not save them...
Next Week vs Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)
I still don't think the Steelers have a shot, but then again I thought Baltimore was dead to rites too so you never know. Willie Parker and the Steeler o-line have watched Brian Westbrook and Willis McGahee run rough shot on the Pats D the last 2 weeks, so you have to expect they plan on doing the same thing. They have the 3rd best rushing attack in the NFL at 138.3 yards per game, which attacks a definite Patriot weakness. And they rank #1 in the NFL in pass defense, attacking the Patriot's number one strength. A perfect storm perhaps? Eh, not so much. Pittsburgh is still only 2-3 on the road, and really haven't been too impressive in their last 3 (2-1) against Miami, the Jets and Cincinnati. They definitely have the talent and the match ups to give the Hoodie and friends a good fight, but you have to like the New England's chances at Gillette in a playoff type atmosphere.
News and Notes
*Well, things seem to be really heating up in the Johan Santana sweepstakes as baseball begins their Winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. The Yankees imposed a Monday deadline for dealing with the Twins, which has come and gone, and now Boston seems poised to snag the 2 time Cy Young winner. Reports are that the Twins are deciding on which Red Sox package they want to take, either the one with Ellsbury or the one with Lester. This story is really boiling right now, so getting into too much might be a little pointless before there is more info, but it's good to see that the Sox are still trying to add Santana to an already formidable rotation, and keep the momentum they just got with their championship. As for the Yanks, what is Hank Steinbrenner's deal with deadlines? Right, we believe you, you won't go after Santana anymore. Oh, and you're not gonna negotiate with A-Rod either, right? If George were dead, he'd be spinning in his grave. What kind of spineless tactics are these? You're the Yankees, man. Freaking act like it. People need you, you don't need them! Hahaha. Have fun with Phil Hughes, while we're Philling our trophy cases with multiple World Series trophies! Muuuuahahahahaa
*At this point, I feel like I'm wasting my breathe, but as a responsible journalist I feel it's my obligation to bitch and moan about the BCS. After a wild final weekend to the season, which saw newly crowned #1 Missouri lose to Oklahoma for the 2nd time, and #2 West Virginia fall to un-ranked Shittsburgh, the pollsters and the BCS committee had a real mess on their hands. When all the work was done, they decided that new #1 Ohio St. would face off with the best 2-loss team, LSU, in the National Championship game. Now, setting aside the fact that Ohio St. is a huge FRAUD, and that any poser conference that doesn't even have it's own title game (Pac 10 & Big 10) doesn't deserve a shot at the National title, and focus on the fact that this is the worst system that major sports has ever seen to determine a champ. According to BCS protocol, we know the following things to be true. 1) All teams finishing in the top 15 in the BCS are eligible to be in a BCS Bowl game and 2) Each conference can only have a maximum of 2 teams in BCS bowls. Other than that, it is up to the discretion of the BCS selection committee to match up teams they think should be playing in these games, or supposedly, the best 8 teams in the country.
OK, so 1 and 2 fall into place. You can argue about Ohio St., who beat absolutely nobody this season, but like I said that's so not even the real issue. The Rose Bowl, has USC vs Illinois. USC is one of the hottest teams in the nation, so no beef there, but if Ohio St. doesn't deserve a shot at the title, then how the Hell does Illinois, the #13 team in the BCS jump all the way into the Rose Bowl?! Oh wait, I know. It's politics as usual. The Rose Bowl wants a Pac 10 vs Big 10 match up, and decided to take Illinois, the next best Big 10 team, over higher ranked squads like #6 Missouri, #11 Arizona St. and #12 Florida. First, your poll tells me those teams are better than Illinois, but then your selection committee tries to say Illinois is more worthy? What the fuck is going on here!? Don't look me in the eye, and tell me any team coached by Ron Zook (pictured above) has any chance in Hell of winning a big time bowl game. Should you try and do that, sir, I will call you a liar! We know he can recruit, but his team has no right to be in that game, if not for the simple fact that had they not been chosen, nobody would have thought it was the least bit odd at all! Missouri has the biggest beef of all. Not only were they #6 in the final poll and not get into a BCS game, but the Kansas team they just beat two weeks ago, and #8 in the poll, is heading to the Orange Bowl to face Virginia Tech! What a freakin' hose job!
I know there isn't a perfect system out there, but I also know that an 8 team playoff is always going to be less controversial, and turn out the right champion, more often than not. I seem to say this every year, but after this season, I see more need for a playoff than ever. What it comes down to, as always, is money. All the bowl committees and the NCAA need to sit down and figure this shit out, and the sooner they do it the better. There has to be a way for all these bowls to keep their games and for a playoff to occur at the same time. At the very least, have this new BCS Championship game be a +1 game, where 4 teams basically play a national semifinal before getting to the title game. Just give me something! Maybe it's good that the shit has hit the fan so they are forced to re-evaluate their system, but seeing as this isn't the first time the BCS has been shrouded in controversy, I don't necessarily see them making a change, no matter the uproar. It's just a shame man. I'm not naive, but letting money get in the way of this, when there will still be plenty to go around when all is said and done, is just stubborn and arrogant...
*Don't look now, Eli and Peyton, but here come the McCown boys! Not quite the Manning's, but not quite the Leaf's (or would it be Leaves?), brothers Josh and Luke McCown put on quite a show this weekend. Little brother Luke, 26, led his Tampa Bay Bucs to a win by going 29-37 for 313 yards, 2 TDs and a pick, while big bro Josh, 28, threw for 141 yards and 3 TDs for Oakland in a win before giving way to JaMarcus Russell. Good work, McCown boys. And to think, they didn't even need their dad pulling power moves at the draft, or starring with them in soup commercials to get it done. Simply amazing...
*You know, maybe this isn't actually a "story", but whenever I can point out that I'm right, I like to take that opportunity. Does anyone here remember the ESPN phone that came out in the last year or so? You know, the phone that, in the age of Blackberry's, PDA's and Smart Phones, offered you access to....wait for it....ESPN! Woo Hoo! It's ESPN, and it's a phone! Sorry, but I just never understood why anyone would want an inferior phone with access to the Intraweb, when there are so many better devices out there that would give you ESPN online and oodles of other delicious features. All I know is, I never see ads for it anywhere, I never see anybody with one, and I'm glad for once that a nation full of idiot consumers, refused to be fooled. Kudos to you, America. Way to hold strong!
*This isn't a real story either, but it is another real shot at ESPN. Mike Greenberg, while a decent journalist and above par SportsCenter guy, has got to be the biggest tool on the planet we call earth. I got this guy pegged like you wouldn't believe. He was a huge loser in high school, but now that he has access to all sorts of cool "jocks" and movie stars (drama kids?), he pretends like he's a cool guy, trying to play off the fact that he's still a nerd. You follow me? It's like, he thinks he's the man, because he's a metrosexual nerd that wears hemp necklaces and has the physical stature of a Twizzler. Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand the guy. His shtick is old, it was never that funny, and I'd really love to see someone more worthwhile carrying that morning show on ESPN. It's a popular show, so I'm probably in the minority, but the reason I have a blog is so I can bitch about this shit. So there it is...
*And in traditional MLB fashion, George Mitchell's Report on Steroids won't be released until "before Christmas." First it was November. Then it was the start of December. Now, it's yet another "non-deadline," described as some time in the next 3 weeks. What's the matter, George? You've had plenty of time to leak all these names you allegedly have, yet you still keep pushing the date back? What's your deal? Now, when names do surface before your report is out, you're gonna look like an even bigger tard, man. We know you have the names, we know MLB is having you hold them back until after the "hot stove" trade season is over, so please stop trying to play us like fools! This is just another prime example of any publicity being good, and Major League Baseball constantly needing to keep itself in the news. If I didn't love the Sox with every bone in my body, a lot of the decisions this league makes would drive me to think about an absolute assault on all things baseball. Instead, I'll keep my cool, and simply bitch at the system that has allowed the Sox to grab 2 World Series titles in the last 4 years. See that. I have cake, and I'm eating it. And, if you're wondering. It's an ice cream cake, and it's delicious...
Last Week: 4-2-0
Overall: 46-31-4 (.593)
*Once the reason why my record was even respectable, now the New England Patriots are starting to hold me back. In the last two weeks, I've gone 0-2 with the Pats, and 8-2 with the rest of my picks. Am I saying I won't take the Pats to cover against Pittsburgh? Guess you'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully not too many of you will die of anxiety waiting to hear my pick, because I can't really afford to lose any readers at this point...
Last Week: Make It Reign 126 HeHateMe 47
Overall: 9-3-1, 3rd place
1st Rd of Playoffs vs Sean Mysterio Jr. (8-5-0)
*Sure enough, a week after saying I didn't feel my team was heading in the right direction, they go out and blow the doors off every other team in the league en route to an 80 point victory. OK, but was it a last gasp, or a sign of good things to come? We'll find out starting Thursday, as my playoffs begin with match up against my good friend, Seante Philippowitz. He's won 6 in a row, but I've had a sick team all season. Something has to give, and one of us is going home with no shot at any post season glory, or cash. I hope TO saved some of that popcorn, cuz I think I'm gonna need it!
One final thing, here. If you're as sick of Rachael Ray on your TV every five minutes as I am, but you still want good cooking tips for this holiday season, go to the same guy you'd go to if you wanted to win the Lombardi Trophy. That's right....