With the Green Bay Packers, a team widely agreed upon as the best in the league, on their bye week it was a chance for a few teams to audition for number 2, or maybe even 1A.
On the AFC side the New England Patriots came to Pittsburgh, a place they’ve had a lot of success over the years, and they looked like they had never seen a blitz before. My personal belief is they were psyched out by Antonio Brown’s horrifying touchdown dance that might haunt me for the rest of my days. I think the defense held up fairly well all things considered (and by all things, I mean they’re bad) but Tom Brady never had a rhythm. By the time they got it going it was too late. Chad Ochocinco is still a non-factor, and apparently is struggling “mightily” to pick up the offense. What does it say about his football acumen if everyone else that comes into this organization seems to be able to step in and fit in almost immediately? They sure could have used a few explosive plays from him yesterday. In the Dallas game a few weeks ago he had seven snaps. Seven! Belichick, a unique motivator, could perhaps convince the scoreboard operators to display Chad’s stat line prominently for the entire game.
In the NFC, the Saints just plain shit the bed. Then they got up and shit on the couch, and in the dining room. Coming off of their 62 point outburst against the Colts it seemed that maybe this team was ready to settle into elite status and string some wins together. Then they were more or less dominated by an abysmal Rams team. No need to talk about this too much, as Nate is still in mourning.
Still not sold
The second best team could be the Ravens or Steelers, but they have each laid a few eggs that I have a hard time forgetting, and I’d like to reserve judgment until they play each other next week. There’s always the Lions but until further evidence is presented, they are still the Lions. The 49ers only have one loss, but do you trust Alex Smith in a big game? Me either. I’m having a hard time trusting any of these teams, and an equally hard time writing them off. Every time it seems like a team is left for dead (The Chiefs, Jets, Falcons, Eagles, etc) they suddenly look great. This makes it frustrating for me, because as we all know bloggers like nothing more than overreacting and dramatically condemning teams! But honestly, deciding who the second best team in football right now isn’t important. It’s just something people like me talk about on Monday mornings.
Speaking of Detroit, Tony Scheffler was trending on twitter for a few minutes yesterday. The reason? After scoring a touchdown in Denver he started to go into a “Tebowing” pose, and then to top it off he and teammate Calvin Johnson did the Mile High Salute. I really enjoy mockery being incorporated into touchdown celebrations. Either the team you like is doing the mocking which is always fun, or they are being mocked which makes the next touchdown that they score even more satisfying. By the time Dallas put some points on the board against the Eagles last night the game was already out of hand, but had they gotten into the end zone early I’m sure we all would have enjoyed it if Dez Bryant pretended to electrocute or drown a pound puppy! No? Oh, okay.
There have been a lot of 50+ yard field goals this season, and even the ones in the mid to high forties don’t seem to be an issue for a lot of kickers. The NFL loves touchdowns and hates field goals, so with all the rule changes that have elevated scores over the years, will this ever be addressed? I hope no one in the competition committee ever starts kicking around the idea that kicking has gotten too easy. Its already one of the most thankless and stressful jobs in sports, and I wouldn’t want any of these guys to go nuts Ray Finkle style. But not every kicker is making it look easy. In fact if I were Olindo Mare I’d probably avoid Cam Newton this week.
Nothing brings out my inner jerk like bad announcing. Here are a few instances from yesterday where I was audibly groaning:
-Matt Schaub steps back in the pocket and scans the defense for a bit, its to the point you can literally see him going through his progressions. He then takes off for the rushing touchdown when no one is open. Marv Albert calls it a designed QB draw. Brilliant.
-John Lynch on Tim Tebow: “This is my analysis, and not a lot of people may agree, but I just think the kid has got a ton of heart but questionable mechanics may ultimately hinder his career.” I like how he prefaces the quote with the appearance of controversy, and then literally repeats what 497 announcers have been squawking at all of us for weeks.
-Near the end of the Steelers/Patriots game, an odd play happened. After a Tom Brady fumble Troy Polamalu intentionally punched the ball into New England’s end zone which lead to a safety. This should have been a penalty, but the referees missed it. Jim Nantz thinks this should be reviewed. Phil Simms has to repeatedly explain to his colleague that you cannot challenge penalties and all they are reviewing is whether it’s a safety or a touchdown. Jim never seemed to really understand the concept.
-So that mean Simms knows his stuff, right? Haha, no. Moments later Phil is blown away by how New England is lining up for their onside kick. The kicker, my goodness, he’s going to punt this thing! He acts like this is some seriously revolutionary shit. Perhaps as an NFL announcer or player he had never seen a safety before. Because the rules clearly state that you can’t use a tee to kickoff after this occurs.
-Watching NFL Network postgame coverage, doesn’t it just sound like Steve Mariucci is trying way too hard to be the NFL’s version of Dick Vitale? Or does he take an adrenaline shot to the heart before every broadcast?
Oh, and just in case you didn’t stay up late enough to see this bit of insanity, Andy Reid was 2 for 2 in challenges last night. Insert apocalypse joke here! And then put something in the comments section.
Posted by Ben Van Iten