Tuesday, October 06, 2009

NFL Winners and Losers -- Week 4

And what a week it was in football. This sport is just so much greater than all other sports, that here we are the day of the third straight play-in game at the end of the major league baseball season, and as I rode the elevator up 40-some floors to my office today, two youngish chicks had an entire conversation about the huge Monday night game and what Brett Favre did to his old team. It's crazy. And then I thought -- just like that, we are already through a quarter of the NFL season. Four games, almost in the blink of an eye. And for those coaches like Belicheat and Parcells who have indicated that they like to break the season into four equal parts for their players to focus on, we've now completed that first part and we can start drawing some worthwhile conclusions about just how good or bad certain aspects of certain teams in the NFL are going to be this year. Following is my Winners and Losers report on Week 4 of the NFL season, along with a few other awards to be handed out:


1. Brett Favre. This one was pretty obvious, but try as he might to deflect the attention publicly, the media made sure this week's Green Bay - Minnesota game was set up as Favre vs. the Packers. And boy did Brett Favre deliver, throwing three touchdowns along the way to a 30-23 victory over the Vikings that wasn't even remotely that close. Thanks to miscue after miscue from the Packers, and the Vikings' ability to control the clock with their running game and timely passing from Favre, the Vikes were in control throughout the Brett Favre led his new team to a 4-0 start on the season. And Brett can say all he wants how this is "just another game", but just one glance at the Joker-like smile on his face all throughout the post-game interview tells anyone using their powers of observation everything you need to know about what Brett really thinks about -- finally -- beating the team that chose Aaron Rodgers over him.

2. Peyton Manning. 1336 yards to lead the NFL through four games. The reigning league MVP is showing exactly why he holds that honor every week on the field this year, and there really is a certain pleasure I would think any real football fan derives from just sitting back and watching Peyton do his thing. The guy reads defenses as well as anyone in the game today, he makes his own adjustments and calls his own audibles, and he directs his players to fill in the holes he sees as he looks upon the defense's coverage before every play. And he throws the ball like a real mf'er to boot, currently sitting on the first 4-game 300-yard passing streak of his career as Indy is another team off to a very good-looking 4-0 start in the AFC North.

3. The 49ers. Here's an entry that has already made multiple appearances on my Winners list just a quarter of the way through the 2009 season, and this past weekend's 35-0 shelling of the St. Louis Rams is the latest reason why. Mike Singletary has this team playing like absolute craziness compared to anything seen in San Francisco in several years, and whether based more on motivation or fear, his players would do anything to play their hardest for him. Now sitting at 3-1 and in first place in the NFC West with a win at hand against the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals, the 9ers are clearly back as a force to be reckoned with in the National Football Conference, and their head coach is probably the best post-game interview in the business these days. And don't let that 3-1 record fool you -- the 49ers really won about 3.99 of their 4 games this year so far, losing only on that ridicky last-second half-hail mary throw from Brett Favre and even more ridicky catch in the back of the end zone a week ago to snatch the victory from the 9ers who had outplayed the Vikings all through the second half of that game.

4. Ben Roethlisberger. This probably sounds like a broken record if you've been reading here for the last few years, but is there a better quarterback in the NFL today than the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger? Sure, Favre has that incredible arm, Peyton has the quick-strike ability, and Tom Brady can really cry to the referees like a little girl like nobody's business. But all Ben Roth has done in his first five years in the league is win not one, not two but three superbowls, playing dominatingly well in each, and compiling a 90 qb rating throughout those five years-plus. As someone who watches a ton of football every year, I can say with confidence that there is no one -- and I mean no one -- who feels the pressure coming, avoids the rush and throws the ball with accuracy and power on the run like the Steelers' still-young star qb. Who knows how many more rings this guy could win before it's all over?

4. Me. I busted out with a 5-0 in my weekly picks this week against the spread, my first real blowout week so far this season but hopefully not the last. So now my record against the spread sits at 10-5 so far now through a quarter of the season, which sounds a whole lot better than the 5-5 I was sitting at coming into this week. 67% winning percentage picking games against Vegas? I'll take it any day of the week.


1. The Titans' pass defense. After starting off the 2008 season at 10-0, this team is now an amazing 3-8 in the 11 games since, including 0-4 so far here in 2009. Wow. Kerry Collins isn't playing inspired ball at quarterback, and the Titans' special teams has been weak overall, but it's the team's pass defense that has completely and utterly crapped the bed so far in 2009. In four games so far this year, Tennessee has allowed 363 yards and 1 td (Ben Roth), 357 yards and 4 tds (Matt Schaub), 171 yards and 2 tds (rookie Jets qb Mark Sanchez) and 323 yards and 3tds (David Garrard) passing, including giving up 10 passing touchdowns and an average of 28 points per game so far on the year. With the Colts at home and then at the Cheatriots over the next two weeks, 0-4 for the 2009 Titans could very quickly be turning into 0-6 unless somebody on the defensive side of the ball decides it's time to step up and stop somebody through the air.

2. The vagina posing as a referee who made the call just a few seconds in to the below video in the Ravens - Cheatriots game on Sunday afternoon:

Oh. My. God. So, to review, the Ravens defensive player guy got pushed down towards the general vicinity of Tom Brady's surgically-repaired left knee as he threw a key incomplete pass late in a drive, but luckily for Brady the defender failed to actually make any meaningful contact with the knee and all was ready to move on. That is, until Brady turns around to the ref positioned behind the play and starts pointing as if the defender had just re-crushed Brady's ACL or something, and the ref sits there, staring, longingly, at Brady for a good two or three full seconds of Brady pleading with him for a call, and then the ref unbelievably reaches down into his pocket and tosses his penalty flag onto the field. Roughing the passer, auto first down, 15 yards, yadda yadda yadda and the Cheatriots score the go-ahead touchdown on a drive that should have ended -- that did end, in reality -- several plays earlier. All I can say is I think the NFL should do better diligence to make sure that its referees do not feel homosexual love for the players they are calling the games of. It creates a conflict of interest that, when coupled with the biggest pussy I have ever seen begging his would-be dick sucker to call a penalty, makes it almost impossible for the gay referee to resist. What a filthy fucking joke that this bunch of cheating assholes who won three superbowls in four years while they were confirmed to be outright cheating and stealing signs, and exactly zero superbowls since they got busted, also gets all the calls their way and even gets entire NFL rules changed to accomodate and better protect their own star player. Way to go, referee. Hope you at least got the reach-around later that night while Brady's cock was in your mouth instead of that hot beard wife of his.

3. LaDainian Tomlinson. Memo to LT: You had a great career, far longer and better than the NFL average 3-year career for a runningback. Me thinks your time as a premiere NFL back is done though, bud. It was a good run.

4. Wade Phillips and the Dallas Cowboys. This thing came down to one series in the end for the Cowboys: First and goal from the 7 yard line, down 7 points with a little over a minute to go in the game. First it was a catch and run for a five yard gain, but then an incompletion from Romo, an incompletion from Romo and an incompletion from Romo ended the game on 4th and goal from the 2 and with the Cowboys taking another tough loss, this time at the hands of the 4-0 Denver Broncos. What a clusterfuck in Dallas. This is just clearly a team that doesn't have its head on straight, does not get the best out of its players, and does not practice well during the week such that they repeatedly fail to execute on Sunday. They also lost wideout Terrell Owens in the offseason, and for all the talk about Romo and tight end Jason Witten being bff's, and how Lions castoff Roy Williams will be the second coming of TO for the 'Boys, the simple fact is that the team no longer has any credible threat to move the ball downfield. And without that downfield threat at wide receiver, opposing defenses like Denver's are free to keep an extra guy (or two) up near the line and play the run or the short pass, and it really shows in Dallas's inability to execute on offense in half of its games so far in this short season. For a team with a perceived star at qb like Tony Romo and perhaps the best running game in the league, the team should be executing better on Sunday, period, and all eyes have got to turn squarely on lame-duck coach Wade Phillips and possibly O-Coordinator Jason Garrett as well. Hope those guys have good real estate agents, and they might as well get 'em started working now on the listings for their homes in the Dallas area, cuz after this year it's Sayonara, bitches!

The Not as Good as Their Record award: The Denver Broncos. I've held off mentioning this so far as the Broncs started the season 1-0, 2-0 and then 3-0 last week, but after beating the Cowboys this weekend the Broncos become one of six teams so far to post 4-0 records to start the 2009 NFL season. But this team is not nearly that good, and after a cupcake-filled beginning to their season, the schedule turns very unkind very quickly for Denver starting next week when they travel to Gillette stadium to take on the resurgent Cheatriots. After that it's San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, the Redskins, San Diego again and then the New York Giants. That's five out of the next six games against teams either winning their divisions or predicted to win their divisions, so we're gonna find out real fast here just how good this Denver team is.

The Great Negotiator award: Michael Crabtree, the 10th pick in the 2009 NFL draft for the San Francisco 49ers. and his agent, the ingenious Eugene Parker. At some point over the past couple of months, Crabtree and his agent hashed out their negotiation strategy with the 9ers, which basically involved Crabtree sitting out if his demands of more like 5th-pick-in-the-draft money from the 9ers were not met by the team. Clearly, Crabtree and his agent planned on the team suffering through a hideous September and October, and the plan would then be for the team to come crawling back to Crabtree to try to salvage something of their ruined season. Well, with the 49ers now sitting at 3-1 and leading the NFC West, and coming off of the 35-0 shellacking they just laid on the Rams this past weekend, now word comes quietly out of ESPN that Crabtree is the one crawling back to the team with his proverbial tail between his legs, flying out to San Fran with Mr. Genius agent to reopen negotiations with the team that drafted him. Nice going, Eugene Parker, so glad you added all that value to this 21-year-old's fledgling pro football "career".

The Best Hair in the NFL award: Al Harris of the Green Bay Packers. Troy Polamalu would have won this award with me as recently as last year, but Al has really done a little somethin somethin in the past several months to jump him just over the edge. Maybe those dreds have been somehow groomed to give them that super smooth look, maybe it's a little Soul-Glo, or mabe as I supect he has just let them locks grow a little bit longer than they've ever been before. But right now Al Harris is the premiere cool hair guy in the NFL for my money.

The Is This Guy Really in the NFL? award: Jamarcus Russell. 12-33, for 128 yards and no touchdowns. On the season now, Russell is 43 for 108 for a sub-40% completion percentage, with a total of just 506 yards in four starts. The one touchdown and 4 interceptions in those four games is just the icing on the cake. Russell's average performance so far in 2009: 11 for 27 (40% completions) for 126 yards, no touches and a pick. 'Nuff said.

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Blogger PokahDave said...

lol Haters...

12:11 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

I'm pretty sure BB played horribly in Super Bowl XL vs. the Seahawks. You could look it up. But I'll save you some trouble ... Ben was 9/21 for 123 yards, O TDs, 2 INTs. Of course, the Steelers won in spite of him.


12:16 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah but those INTs he threw were really something spectacular....

12:46 AM  
Blogger Gleek said...

Big Ben has won TWO Super Bowls not Three.

The Broncos play the Pats in Denver NOT in Foxborough.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

OK so far you guys have found four of the errors I intentionally spread throughout this post.

There are one hundred seventeen more. Go!

7:17 PM  

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