by Ryan Meehan
Week five began in Cleveland looking more like an episode of “M*A*S*H” than a football game. Both starters got injured, and it didn’t look like it was going to be entertaining. But on Sunday, a couple of undefeated teams went down and others held steady. And if I told you that one set of those teams was going to consist of the Chiefs and the Saints, which one would you think would it be?
Browns 37, Bills 24
So if you’re a regular visitor of this site, you’ll know that Coach Ryan has had more faith in the Browns than the average person would usually possess. But since you know he’s a fan, you’d have to assume that most of that is due to his undying passion to support that team. But it hasn’t just been him – Dubsism from Sports Blog Movement has been saying that maybe the Browns weren’t as bad as the rest of America might expect, and this game was proof that very well might be the case.
This is what I think happened: I think at some point Trent Richardson just started acting like too much of a bitch for the other guys in this locker room to take. He demanded a trade, and then after every media outlet in the country claimed that the Browns has sold their season those same guys in that locker room got mad pissed that everyone thought they were a bunch of nobodies and got raw on the rest of the NFL’s collective ass. No? You think it’s a coincidence that they’ve won every game since that happened, including beating a Bengals team that made the playoffs last year? Hell no.
And then you factor in the fact Brian Hoyer got injured at the beginning of this game, and Brandon Wheeden walked right in there like he’d been getting first team reps all week – the Browns are better than most people think they are because they have a chip on their shoulder, an axe to grind, or whatever it is that makes them all the more pissed off. As for the Bills – EJ Manuel was injured in this game as well, and shortly thereafter we found out why he was named the starter in the first place.
Bengals 13, Patriots 6
New England doesn’t look good…Three of their first downs came off of penalties in the Cincinnati game, and that’s indicative of a team that isn’t responding well when they’re handed momentum. If they can’t turn at least one of those penalties into a touchdown, they still don’t win this game. Obviously, it’s not all Brady’s fault. I kind of think it was interesting how the Patriots defense gave up 21 first downs but only 13 points. How does that work? Simple…the Bengals didn’t play very well either and we didn’t really learn much here. If anything we can chalk it up to everybody having a bad day, but that explanation isn’t going to fly when they lose to the Saints at home next week. Thankfully for them, aside from Denver they don’t have any glaringly threatening games after that…but remember that this paragraph is about them losing to the Bengals. If there was any team in the league who could mathematically be 2 1/2 – 2 1/2, it would be Cincinnati.
Packers 22, Lions 9
Before we go tossing around the idea that the Packers are back on their way to the Super Bowl – let’s not forget that they are still out of first place, and just got back to .500. I expect a win against Detroit for a former Super Bowl winning champion that doesn’t have “Roethlisberger on the back of his jersey. Neither one of these teams impressed on this day. The Lions are what we expected them to be, and the Packers are starting to “sort of, maybe, I guess so” possibly be on their way to becoming what we expected of them in the first place. And it’s questionable that everything considered they should have gotten that much credit to begin with.
Broncos 51, Cowboys 48
The Broncos’ defense is awful. That’s great they won this game and good for them and Peyton Manning is playing out of his mind good, but if they hadn’t responded well to an awfully thrown ball at the perfect time in the game we’d be sitting here yammering away at how that is the worst 5-0 defense in NFL history. And we’d have a reason to do so, because this was just sad. Romo gets 500 yards, puts up 48 points – and they lose? I didn’t think there was anything shocking about the fact that the Broncos were able to pull out a win. The Cowboys are a team who can get their priorities in gear, but just not for sixty consecutive minutes. This game is getting a lot of media stroke, but it hides the fact that nobody could stop anybody on third down. And although I love high scoring affairs, I like well-played games even more and I’m sorry this one ended too predictably for my liking.
Isn’t this kind of just a microcosm of how the whole Tony Romo era has been in Dallas? He cranks out enough stats so that Chris Berman and Tom Jackson can give him props and virtually ignore the fact that he still cost them the game? Remind you of anything? Maybe the chip shot dropped hold in the Seattle playoff game years ago?
Rams 34, Jaguars 20
In today’s “snore core” news, the Rams knocked off the already knocked off Jaguars in a contest between two knocked off knock-offs. It sure was a knock-off affair, one that could only be knocked off by pretty much anything else that was on your television at the time. And Sunday Afternoons are the time when they run all of the foldable garden hose infomercials.
Saints 26, Bears 18
This was yet another Bears game where the final score didn’t accurately represent how badly they were pushed around the first 50 minutes. What’s happening here is Chicago is clearly a team that plays only to the level of their competition. For those of you who don’t have the ability to read between the lines, this is sports talk for “inability to step up when needed”. This means that depending on who the Bears play, they exert that amount of effort, not a dime more or a dime less. This game was supposed to be close – there was still no line on it by Saturday and it’s easy to see why.
One of the many reasons that Jay Cutler will never be an elite quarterback is because when he faces one, he crawls up into a little ball and cries himself to sleep – even at home. As a guy who wants to see himself in that category, Sunday would have been a perfect opportunity for him to make an argument for that – as well as leave that game so that both of those teams had the same record and that Chicago could be looked at a legitimate threat to the teams in the NFC that are clearly leaders of the pack.
And one more thing – elite quarterbacks tend to convert in the red zone when they’re down 16 points with only twenty minutes left in the game. Especially when they’re first and goal from the nine yard line. Additionally, teams who play above the level of their competition don’t allow other teams to convert on fourth down. (Bonus note: This also applies to when you are trying to convert in the other team’s territory with half of the fourth quarter left, but we digress) This is of course due to the fact that the amount of shit your fans talk about your defense should be directly proportional to what you can actually make happen on the field. You’d think that of all the fanbases in the NFL, the Bears would know this better than anybody. Although, even I can admit that it’s probably a little bit harder to ingest that knowledge above the deafening noise that’s booming out of Soldier Field when the Bears kick a field goal in week 14 (at 6-7) that brings them to within two possessions against a team they should be easily beating. The Saints on the other hand keep plugging along, and they are now headed into the New England game looking like the real deal with no signs of slowing down.
Colts 34, Seahawks 28
Hate to toot my own but here comes the truck with loads of “I called it” on board. This was a game that was to challenging for Seattle to be a trap game, and they just got outplayed. Neither Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson had spectacular statistical games, and the difference here was that Indy shut out the Colts 11-0 in the fourth quarter. Seattle is going to have to make adjustments to that passing game, because Marshawn Lynch might be able to rush for 100 plus every game but they can’t continue to have Wilson do the same or he’s going to be in a wheelchair by week ten.
The bigger problem here is that the Seahawks can’t close on the road, and after what we saw in the night game the only reason that they won the Houston game is because Matt Schaub was practically giving the ball away. At much as I don’t like to admit it, when Seahawks fans don’t have 70,000 plus fans screaming in their favor (and another ten thousand outside) they struggle to play with the same urgency. Not to take anything away from Indianapolis here, because while I may have had this game right, I had their whole season wrong. I figured last year was going to be a complete freak accident, and this year they’d be looking up at the Titans. But Andrew Luck just led his team to a six point win over a team a lot of people thought was the best overall team in the league three days ago.
Speaking of which, I’m still not sure that Seattle isn’t the best overall team in the league when you consider how lopsided Denver is at the moment. The way it sits at the moment, home field advantage in the NFC is going to be more important this year than in any other. But my point is if you’re going to tell me Seattle is still the most balanced team in the NFL, I wouldn’t immediately dismiss that argument.
Ravens 26, Dolphins 23
This would be the Dolphins’ second straight loss in a row, and they are very lucky New England had such an awful week. To be fair, I was right about this one too because I had said the Ravens should win here because they are the better team. And they were – that’s why they won. The Dolphins I kind of have on chitwatch. For those of you who aren’t aware of what that is, it’s a term used to deem someone suspect in prison. They look decent still…but between this one and the New Orleans game even though they were able to hang with two of the better teams in the league, you get the feeling something here is not right. Or at least, too inexperienced to be right…yet. A little bit like…
Chiefs 26, Titans 17
…The Titans, who are now back to 3-2 which is the same record Detroit has. Both of those teams are kind of in the “So that’s why we weren’t talking about them” vein and this week we found out why. The Chiefs may be the real deal…This was a game I expected them to win, and that’s why they covered the spread. Not a lot to say here, and with Oakland waiting in the wings the Chiefs may already be 6-0. I have to see the Chiefs play the Broncos or I can’t go all in on them just yet. Will they win those games? Of course not…but it’s how they respond to facing a team that’s so unstoppable on offense that is going to tell us who they really are.
Eagles 36, Giants 21
All I have really say about this game I said yesterday in a Sports Blog Movement piece Entitled “The Devil Wouldn’t Recognize You”. https://sportsblogmovement.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/even-the-devil-wouldnt-recognize-you/ The Giants are too bad for words, and those words are “At least we beat the Eagles…” What’s even more depressing about this whole scenario is that Michael Vick left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury, leaving Nick Foles to lick the bowl. Not that Justin Tuck and his half of a sack to this point would have much of an answer for anybody who lines up under center. Oh, you didn’t think the Giants suffered an injury? Don’t worry…we always do. This time it was David Wilson and all I can say is hopefully he won’t fumble anything in the hospital. To prove just how unrealistic the expectations were for this team, I heard Tom Waddle from ESPN say “I just don’t think they are elite anymore” as if we just all found out this morning. They have a short week and head to the Windy City to play a Bears team that is sure to put forth a lackluster performance that only Big Blue can find a way to lose to. And like I say every single week, it’s really so much worse than this.
Raiders 27, Chargers 17
This is the game that started ass late in the middle of the night because the Oakland Athletics are in the MLB playoffs. For the sake of being professional, I’ll act like that doesn’t make me mad and just give the game summary. Now this is the Chargers team that I remember, the one who is led by a guy who still probably does still have a curfew. As comedian Ron White would say “There’s a whole lotta quit in that boy…” Fantasy Alert: If you started Chargers running back Ronnie Brown this week, you’re not very smart because Brown rushed for 11 yards on seven carries. I don’t feel any more sorry for your bout with illiteracy than I did on Saturday. Both of these teams seriously suffer from multiple personality disorder, so I can’t say I can read a whole lot into how they may or may not have played in a game that didn’t finish until morning news anchors on the East Coast were waking up to shave their balls.
Cardinals 22, Panthers 6
Believe it or not, the Cardinals are 3-2 and would be leading the NFC East by a whole game if they were in that division. But a little over a decade ago, the NFL got their collective head out of their ass for long enough to realize that a team that plays in Phoenix and used to play west of the Mississippi River shouldn’t have to sleep in the District of Columbia twice a year. So from a record standpoint there they are even with the 49ers, and don’t think for a second by “even” I really mean that word. I didn’t see any highlights from this one so I’ll tell you what I think happened: Somebody made a play, someone else got injured, there were a couple of shitty calls, and Cam Newton’s not going to the Pro Bowl. Are we done here?
49ers 34, Texans 3
Way off base here…but let’s be real…weren’t we all? This was a game Houston had to have, or at least had to show up in to have a chance to win. They very obviously didn’t plan on doing either, at least that’s what it looked like on TV. Matt Schaub has been terrible the past eight quarters, and the Richard Shermann pick is slowly getting further away from the freshest highlight of him doing something idiotic. regardless of whether or not the TJ Yates thing was done because the game is out of reach is unknown, but I look ahead and they have the Rams next week so if they can’t figure it out then it’s definitely over. Carlos Rodgers was talking shit to Arian Foster all night and he was getting away with it because San Francisco just bullied them around when they had the ball. As for the Niners, this was just what the doctor ordered. They looked like somebody had substituted their Gatorade for Red Bull on the sidelines – a lot like that look they had in the playoffs last year.
Oh and one more thing: If Gary Kubiak thinks he’s going to be able to blame the officiating when he finally loses his job, he’s in for a seriously disturbing moment of self-actualization when that moment does come. A ref kicking the ball four yards when you don’t have any timeouts left in the half as time runs out is hardly the problem when people like me had you going to the goddamned Super Bowl. You are officially out of whining cards – Time to put up or shut up, or at least tell whoever is taking snaps under center that it’s your ass if they don’t.
Jets 30, Falcons 28
I can’t even believe that I’m typing this, but the end of this game held my attention. That is until what would have been the Falcons’ “winning” drive in which the officials called a defensive hold that looked a lot like the wardrobe from “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. But then something that the NFL couldn’t even have prevented happened: Geno Smith pulled off one hell of a two minute drill and Nick Folk kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.
And by the way, the Falcons’ defense doesn’t look any better than the Broncos’ defense does at the moment. 30 points to a rookie quarterback at home? Yeah, I think that’s a good enough excuse to start making some changes…Neither of these teams are going to make the playoffs, but this was much more entertaining than I thought it would be.
This is Geno Smith’s third 4th quarter or overtime winning drive in his short career. It’s not immediate cause for alarm (not like the rest of the league should be put on Jets notice) but it is worth mentioning because I think we all though the Jets would bite it from day one. If I could hope anything for Geno, it’s that he doesn’t get some stupid nickname that implies he will always be clutch. You know, like “Matty Ice”. In a weird way, I think the football gods got their revenge on Atlanta on Monday Night.
Bonus Comment regarding the Josh Freeman debacle:
Is there an unluckier player in all of football than Matt Cassel? Did this guy sneak into people’s houses and steal kitchen appliances in a previous life? Because it looks like he did not just that, but beat them to death in their sleep with the stuff before he left. Good Lord…
The Texans – Niners game was a perfect example of something in the NFL that I’m seeing entirely too much of and it drives me up the wall. I’m seeing way too many guys pointing fingers at the line of scrimmage whenever someone blinks too harshly. This is football man…the object is to outmuscle the other guy, not to have a contest to see who can draw the most penalties. While most of the NFL remains great, there are fragments like this that are making everything seem like it’s a whiner league. And I know I ragged on Schiano for doing what he does, but that’s just bad sportsmanship. Nobody’s going to pop anybody at full speed completely before the whistle blows, especially with these guys projecting blame at every turn. Sometimes I think that if these guys had a tattoo of their cell phone contacts on the outside of their finger, even with the gloves on they’d be getting text bombs from opposing fans until the second they got their number changed.
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