Monday, January 25, 2010

Football Frenzy, and Favre F*cks it Again

Kostanza FTW!! That's right -- after going an abysmal 6-21 or whatever it was in my final 27 picks of the NFL season, including the first two rounds of the playoffs where I finished 3-5, it had become painfully obvious to me that I had turned into the Joe Bloggs of picking NFL games. There's just no other way to see it, and I am nothing if not introspective. So, being that I was still interested in picking these games, that left me with little else to do last Thursday night other than to pull a George Kostanza from undoubtedly the best Seinfeld episode ever, and just pick each game exactly as I normally would, and then bet the opposite of those picks. I mean, I literally won just 6 out of my last 27 picks, so that means I was reliably wrong in my analysis an amazing 78% of the time! Who in the world has access to an indicator that spot-on for NFL games, right? Just me. And the result?

A big, fat 2-0 on the weekend. And what a weekend it was of NFL football.

Where to begin? I suppose let's start with the Colts. I don't want to write a lot about what an amazing performance Peyton Manning had against the vaunted Jets defense, who coming in had only given up 8 passing touchdowns all season before Manning torched them for three on Sunday afternoon, mostly because I know everyone else in the world is gonna be gushing about the guy for the next two weeks straight. But it's pretty clear what happened in that game in my eyes. When the Jets played the Bengals in the playoffs, Darelle Revis essentially took Chad Ochocinco out of the game as far as big plays, and qb Carson Palmer and the Bengals couldn't get it going anywhere else enough to make a game out of it with the Jets. Then last week, when the Jets visited the Chargers, once again Darelle Revis essentially took Vincent Jackson out of the game from a big-play perspective -- V-Jack actually had a very productive day but he was not in the picture in the big plays and did not sniff a touchdown on the day. Although Antonio Gates also went on to have a similarly nice day in stats but never getting near the end zone, the bottom line is that Phillip Rivers and that team were simply not able to make effective use of their other players once V-Jack wasn't going to be catching any 45-yard touchdowns on the day, and the Jets' defense ended up totally stifling and embarrassing the Chargers in front of their home-town fans. So when the Jets brought Darelle Revis into Indy-town this weekend for the right to play in the Superbowl, they figured he would be able to essentially keep Reggie Wayne out of the end zone, and once again they were right. But unlike Carson Palmer and the Phillip Rivers before him, Peyton Manning had just the answer for the deletion of Reggie Wayne from his repertoire in this game: Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. Two rookies. Rookies! And this time it was the Jets who just had no answer, as Manning absolutely lit up that defense for nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns just through the air, and as expected the Jets were just not able to keep up.

Think about the Jets' side of things for a minute, it hardly needs to be said out loud how clearly this was a very solid year for the beleaguered "second franchise" from New Jersey York. I mean, this was a rookie head coach in Rex Ryan who, by the end of the season, seemed to have more or less figured out this league, didn't he? What he did to the Bengals was one thing, they had a very good year and many expected them to win the game in the Wildcard round a few weeks back, but it was the Chargers game that really cemented this team's season this year as more than just a passing fancy. And they also played a rookie quarterback behind center all season as well, and even though there were a great many low points during Sanchise's 2009 campaign, he certainly finished up strong, winning seven of his final eight starts before losing to the Colts, and winning three out of four on the road in his final four games of the season to make it to the conference championship in his first season as a pro. This team has a long way to go to be able to best the likes of Peyton Manning, but at the same time, unlike some teams that played this weekend, it's not like they mistake'd themselves into losing to the Colts on Sunday. The best team in the AFC from start to finish is the one going to the Superbowl now, and the Jets made a nice effort but simply did not have what it takes to stop Peyton Manning, most likely the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. When you see a guy doing what he does statistically -- taking on all comers, including the NFL's best defense in the Jets this weekend -- and also clearly playing the role of offensive coordinator, audibling and calling the plays regularly on offense, and the offensive line coach, etc. it's easy to forget that no other player in the league does that. Manning is just mind-numbing.

Anyways, I promised myself I wouldn't write about Peyton like that in this post. So moving on to the other game, this was another great shootout-style of game like we've seen elsewhere in the NFC playoffs this year, only the point totals at 31-28 were not quite as high as previously, mostly because there were 87 turnovers in this game. And the New Orleans Saints are going to their first Superbowl ever. For those of you who have spent any amount of time in New Orleans over the years, can you even imagine the party going on there last night (and still now I am sure)? Or in two weeks if the Saints manage to find a way to outscore Peyton and the Colts? Wow. Drew Brees only threw for 197 yards, but his three touchdowns were enough to keep pace with the Vikings, who badly outgained the Saints on the day and seemed to move the ball at will before either AP, Brett Favre, or a combination of both AP and Brett Favre would fumble the ball, with the occasional interception thrown in as well for good measure.

And for the Vikings fans out there, what a sick, sick way to end the 2009-2010 season, obviously. The Favre haters out there -- and lord knows there are a shit-ton of you, you know who you are -- could literally not have scripted this thing better. I mean, the poetic justice of Favre coming back to the Vikings this year, having the year he had, with 30-some tds and just the 7 interceptions, to then end the team's run in a situation where his team basically had a long field goal attempt to win the game already, and really only needed 5 or 10 more yards to give their kicker a really good shot, by throwing that interception. It's like a movie, almost. A horror flick for the Minnesota fans out there, that is for sure. Favre actually threw too hideous picks in the game, as I've heard some monkeys on the radio since the game give Favre a pass due to the rush about to hit him on his first pick, in reality that's exactly what made that so horrible. He Eli Manning'ed it! The rush was coming in his face, and rather than chuck the ball away, or just tuck it in and take the sack, instead Favre leans back on his heels, falling backwards, and just sidearms the ball forward to avoid getting tackled with the ball. And it goes right to the Saints defender cutting in from the side, who of course Favre didn't see as he fell backward and lashed out his arm blindly at the last possible second.

And then Favre's interception with his team very close to field goal range with 8 seconds left in a tie game....I mean, if you're Brett Favre, how do you throwing a fuggin pick there? How? Your team is close to field goal range, your kicker's career long is the exact 57 yards that this kick would be right now if the Vikes cannot pick up any more yards. If you can get maybe 5, maybe 10 more yards, that would probably make a big difference. Just run the ball, maybe throw a real short, real quick screen or something. Whatever you do, just make sure you don't throw a pick. Not with a chance to win the game and go to the Superbowl already within our grasp. While Mark Sanchez of the Jets for the most part played a solid game against the Colts in the early game on Sunday, it turned out to be Brett Favre who played more like Sanchise, throwing just 1 touchdown but the two huge interceptions that kept his team from having a chance to win this game in a spot where they very nearly already had a chance to win if they could have only held on to the ball.

And while I'm on the topic, Brad Childress embarrassed himself so much as a head coach this year. I mean, he's actually worse than Andy Reid! Hands down. Not only was there the whole debacle this year where Favre bent him over and fire-raped him when Childress failed in his attempt to wrestle play-calling control back from Favre who was repeatedly changing running plays to passing plays all season long, but Childress single-handedly contributed to his team's breakdown at the end of regulation, and it was the kind of mistake that is so blatant, so overt, that people all over the country (yours truly included) were pointing it out right when he did it, as opposed to just after the fact. After Chester Taylor ripped off a nice run for a new first down in Saints' territory, Brad Childress made the unthinkable decision to just run the clown down until there was just time for one or two plays left, rather than using a couple of well-intentioned running plays to do that while also picking up a few more yards along the way. Instead, because Childress allowed time to whittle down to only one or two plays left, when his team then made an incredible procedure penalty to get moved our of field goal range, he put Favre in a situation where Favre felt pressure to make some kind of a play, and to do so fast. This doesn't absolve Favre from his shit throw or his penchant for ending seasons and dashing his fans' hopes with overtime interceptions late in the playoffs, but Childress deserves a huge amount of the blame for his utterly obvious, even-in-real-time evident gaffe that directly cost his team a trip to the Superbowl. Brett Favre might be careless in the clutch, but Brad Childress, you are a bona fide moron.

This week I should have two fun posts on stories of nice tournament scores I have made of late, one at Bally's in Atlantic City in their daily bounty tournament and one in the UBOC going on right now at UltimateBet.

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Blogger Iak said...

Well I was virally infected and puking my guts out all Sunday but the games were enjoyable enough to make it all bearable.

I gotta say I think Favre was unbelievable that game. The pick as painful as it was, was only relevant because of his heroic play to keep the Vikes in the game, in the face of AP's strong will to choke the game away. I thought the refs were retarded in how they let the Saints go to town on Favre time and again when the ball was long gone [the high-lo hit with no penalty in the post-Brady age is just mind boggling].

That game played at a neutral site - Vikes slaughter 'em. That game played in Minnesota, same thing. Still, kudos to the Saints for hanging tough and the seriously clutch kick. No reason #4shouldn't be back next season, and no reason the Vikes won't be right back there next year.

yeah yeah, haven't commented in ages and this is the post that gets me going? my man-crush on Favre is stronger than I thought.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Yeah, one thing I am fairly certain of at this point is that Favre will take a couple of days and then announce that he intends to return for another run at the superbowl with the Vikings. He held up great, he bent the head coach over and took control of the strategic decision-making for the team this year, and he was one bad throw away from making the superbowl. I don't see how he retires after the season he had.

I would not at all call Favre "unbelievable" in the game. I would in contrast call it one of his worst games of the year, in that I can only think of one other game this season when he reverted to his old Favre-y self and cost his team a game with late interceptions on idiot throws. Both of his picks in this one were hideous IMO. And I did not at all feel like the refs were anti-Favre or anti-Vikes. If anything I thought they were slightly pro Vikings from the getgo.

And I don't know about neutral site, or this or that. The Vikings had what, 5 turnovers? And probably two other fumbles that they themselves recovered? And a crucial last-minute penalty that took them out of semi-comfortable field goal range? The Vikings moved the ball like champions on a truly porous New Orleans defense that I suspect Peyton Manning will enjoy shredding in a couple of weeks, but as far as the "game" they played, I think the Vikes came up really, really small and played like a team with a head coach as horrible as theirs truly is.

Hope you've been well big man.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

You forgot to kill Childress for sending the extra person on the field 'to confuse' the Saints defense which got the 12 men in the huddle penalty.

AP had an awesome effort to get the ball on his 4th fumble of the day but there has to be a point where you pull AP and just play Chester Taylor.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Mike Maloney said...

Costanza is spelled with a C, not a K.

12:51 AM  

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