Week 10 part 2: Mike Smith, The Iron Sheik, and Patti LaBelle Supersoaks an Infant!

Kevin Kolb said this week that he was calling out the Eagles’ receivers routes as Vick called them on Sunday, seeing as they, uh, didn’t change them…in the past year. From the interview: “During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty. Mike’s sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, ‘Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.'”

And hey, why would you change the signals when you’re playing against the guy who spent the last four years learning your offense? As the linked article points out, the Eagles receivers caught just eight of the 18 balls thrown their way for a total of 55 yards in the Eagles’ loss. Maybe Kolb can become the new defensive coordinator!

/swallows every pill in my apartment

Steelers 24, Bengals 17- The Bengals played most of the game without AJ Green, Leon Hall and Carlos Dunlap, so a seven point loss really isn’t so bad.  Given the terrible Patriots defense, the Schaub injury, Cam Cameron’s mid-game acid flashbacks, the AFC West’s clusterfuck and Mark Sanchez’s penchant for spontaneously transmogrifying into Rex Grossman, the AFC title is shaping up to be the Steelers’ to lose. This is the worst thing on earth for one reason. This fucking song:

As someone who spent 15 months in Pittsburgh (including in 2006 when they won the Super Bowl), you can’t walk three blocks in the ‘Burgh without seeing some yinzer carrying a Terrible Towel and an extra chromosome singing this song.

Pictured: The Mayor or Pittsburgh

It’s bizarre and insufferable. The song itself is just mind-numbingly boring and simplistic, I don’t see how anyone could like it. That song offers graphic proof of the paralyzing effects of Stockholm Syndrome.

Saints 26, Falcons 23- Ohhh Mike Smith, that call had to come from Van Gorder. I don’t care what all the advanced stats say about the decision, the risk-reward for going for it from your own 29 yard line in overtime is wildly unbalanced. Michael Turner wasn’t exactly shredding the Saints defense all day or anything- 12 of his 22 carries in the game went for two yards or less and he hadn’t a run greater than two yards since the six-minute mark of the third quarter, more than 25 game-minutes prior to his fourth-down run. Brees wasn’t killing the Falcons defense either. In fact, three of the Saints four drives in the fourth quarter and overtime went 12 yards or less. Sure we don’t know what would have happened had Brees and his offense gotten the ball back if the Falcons punted, but a pretty solid case study took place literally minutes before, in overtime. The Falcons found themselves in almost the exact same field position from which they opted to go for it- the 28 yard-line.  The ensuing punt backed the Saints up to their own 27 yard-line where they promptly went three and out. The Saints had six drives in the game that started at their 30-yard line or deeper and just two resulted in points (1 TD, 1 field goal). The Falcons, meanwhile, had managed two touchdowns and two field goals from the same field position, including scoring drives of 81 and 85 yards in the fourth quarter.  The other thing is, if you’re going to say “eff it” and put your neck on the line on the line by unconventionally going for it, why would you run the most conventional, predictable play in the playbook? On fourth and inches, everyone expected a Michael Turner dive play, especially the 11 Saints who were lined up in the box. If anything, he should have gone with a play-action pass, or spread the defense out with three or four receivers and given Matt Ryan a run-pass option based on how the Saints lined up.  It would have at least forced the Saints safeties to account for the pass, instead Malcolm Jenkins lined up just beyond the d-line and made the hit on Turner in the backfield.  If the Falcons passed and failed, fans would have killed Smith for not running it up the middle with Turner, but they were already going to do that anyway if they failed to convert, so why make such a predictable play-call after such a bold decision?

Cowboys 44, Bills 7- Outside of their wins over the pitiful Redskins and Chiefs, the Bills defense has conceded over 30 points per game, including 35 to the Raiders, 23 to the Bengals and 27 to the Jets, none of which are easy to do. All those fortuitous tipped interceptions on guys like Brady and Vick disappeared and with it the entire Bills secondary. Despite missing Miles Austin and Felix Jones, the Cowboys offense averaged over 7 yards per play. Excluding their final drive of the first half, when they ran out the clock, the Cowboys averaged an insane 10 yards-per-play and scored touchdowns on all four drives.  By the time Romo threw his first incompletion, on his 14th attempt, the Cowboys were up 21-7. I just spit up blood on my keyboard while writing all of that.

Jaguars 17, Colts 7- This game was laughable and merits no consideration so instead here’s a rundown of some of the news stories over the last week:

-Missouri’s head coach Gary Pinkel was arrested for DWI this week and is now possibly losing his job, which is, when you think about it, the plot of Mighty Ducks one in reverse.

-Jerry Sandusky and his lawyer thought it’d be a good idea to do an interview on national TV with Bob Costas. It wasn’t. I think it should have been a warning sign right out of the gate when the interviewer he agreed to looks like a 14 year old boy. I’m sure it was between him, Anderson Cooper and Emmanuel Lewis. Costas asked him point blank if he was sexually attracted to young boys to which he responded by repeating the question, pausing, repeating it again, then going on a wordy diatribe about how he enjoys young children before he finally got around to saying that he wasn’t. Sorry Jerry, the answer we were looking for there was “no”.   This whole story is awful and not worth getting into, but since when did coaches start showering after practices and games?  I read this week that Penn State coaches would all shower together after games which makes the Penn State locker room sound like some kind of Grecian bath house. Anyone who willing and routinely showers in close proximity to a stark naked 85-year old Joe Paterno is a fucking weirdo and no one can convince me otherwise.

-Patti LaBelle got sued for throwing water on a baby in a hotel lobby. I heard people talking about this on the radio and justifying it by saying “oh she’s always been such a diva.” What? Since when did being a diva give you a free pass to supersoak infants? If that’s now the case then I’m launching a singer career TONIGHT.

The Occupyers in New York proclaimed that they were going to shut down the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, then promptly got the boot from Zucotti park hours later which is, uh, how it works. If any other group, domestic or foreign, made that same threat they’d be considered a terrorist organization, yet these guys are portraying their eviction as some Orwellian government intervention. Sorry guys, I must have missed that chapter in 1984 when the Thinkpol wouldn’t let homeless hipsters set up a generator-powered permanent tent city in the middle of New York. And by the way, V for Vendetta was fucking lame. YEAH I SAID IT.

Bears 37, Lions 13- Always the turd in the proverbial punch bowl, Cutler might have had the worst game in a blowout ever by a quarterback. He went 9 of 19 for 123 yards, no TDs, two sacks and two fumbles.

The announcers seemed to think it was a big deal that the Lions entered the game a perfect 25 for 25 in the Red Zone. Impressive…except that only 14 of those were touchdowns, and that 56% touchdown rate is 18th in the league. It doesn’t matter anymore though seeing as they went one for six in the Red Zone against the Bears, Matt Stafford went 1 for 16 inside the 20 with two interceptions and they didn’t score a touchdown there until they were already down 31 points. Calvin Johnson also had a horrific game- he was targeted NINETEEN times and came up with just seven catches for eighty yards and a fumble.
The Lions seem to be doing everything possible to become the official villain of the NFL, like the Iron Sheik or the Hollywood Hogan of football. And honestly? It’s awesome. Unlike most teams that people love to hate, like the Cowboys or the Heat or the Red Sox- their malice comes from their on-field persona, rather than a natural backlash to the hype they receive. Not since the Bad Boy Pistons of the 80s have we seen a team so scorned for the violence they bring to the game. On Sunday, they had personal fouls called for unnecessary roughness, a chop block and roughing the passer, plus a late hit by Ndomakung Suh that went uncalled and, most notably, an uncalled facemask on Matt Stafford for nearly ripping D.J. Moore’s head off.  This team now has had their quarterback and their head coach start fights this season, which is just spectacular.  The way it’s shaping up, the Packers and the Lions could have a good vs. evil rivalry for years that could instantly become the most entertaining rivalry in sports. I’m just hoping the Lions go fully into character and start using trademark finishing moves for their late hits and Jim Schwartz finished all his interviews with “Whatcha gonna dooooo when Ndamakung runs wild on youuuu”.

49ers 27, Giants 20- The 49ers have won all season with what Rex Ryan would emphatically call “ground-and-pound”, but this game necessitated a much different equation, and San Fran rose to the tastk. Their offensive lifeline Frank Gore was knocked out of the game early on and their running backs averaged well-under four-yards per carry. Furthermore, their #1 rush defense was mitigated by the Giants pass-first offense and Ahmad Bradshaw’s absence. Nevertheless, they beat the Giants by making big plays on defense and squeezing every drop of production possible out of Alex Smith and their anonymous offense. The 49ers do an outstanding job of protecting the quarterback. Alex Smith dropped back 38 times this game and was sacked just twice. Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman combined for 26 tackles, 3 TFLs and a sack. 49ers averaging 26 points per game despite games against solid defenses like New York, Washington, Detroit, Cincinnati and Seattle.

There is one notable weakness on the Giants defense- against the opposing team’s top receivers, the Giants rank highly in pass defense, however, against all other receivers, they’re 28th in the league. Teams that routinely spread the ball around can exploit that Achilles heel, which is precisely what the 49ers did. While Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr. and Vernon Davis were mostly held in check all day on Sunday, Delanie Walker and Braylon  Edwards combined for 9 catches and 119 yards. This deficiency could spell trouble for the Giants down the final stretch of the season when they take on the Eagles, Saints, Packers and the Cowboys twice, all of whom have three or more solid receiving options.

Give Eli Manning credit where it’s due though, according to Football Outsiders Manning on third and fourth down went 10-13 for 155 yards, eight first downs and two touchdowns. In the words of Teddy KGB- kid’s got alligator blood. AND YOU CAN’T SPELL REPTILE WITHOUT ELI!!

Patriots 37, Jets 16- The Jets entered this game ranked first in the league in pass defense and were averaging nearly four sacks plus interceptions per game. None of those numbers, apparently, meant anything to Tom Brady, who threw for 329 yards and 8.4 yards per attempt while neither turning the ball over nor taking a sack.  In the second half, the Patriots offense scrapped their game plan and went to a lightning-fast no-huddle offense that completely dismantled the Jets defense. By the middle of the third quarter, they looked unorganized, panicked and most noticeably- exhausted. On the other hand, the Patriots defense finally found themselves a pass rush and pressured Mark Sanchez seemingly every drive, which resulted in five sacks and two interceptions, including a pick-six. Andre Carter in particular lit up the Jets unsteady offensive line for four sacks and hit Sanchez seven times. This all resulted in Rex Ryan being a bit upset after the game.

Monday Night Football: Packers, Vikings– Good lord Aaron Rodgers. He completed 77% of his passes for 250 yards, four touchdowns and no picks before being pulled in the fourth quarter. You know the final scene in the Matrix when Neo realizes he’s The One and starts seeing everything as code instead of people and objects? I’m 60% sure that same epiphany happened to Aaron Rodgers at some point late last season. He’s been about as close to perfect as you can get and until he has a bad game I am convinced that he’s really a gun-slinging, belt-wielding robot sent from the future to win Super Bowls and shit on Brett Favre’s legacy. I’m kinda okay with it.

Raiders 24, Chargers 17- Whatever happened to Aaron Rodgers this season, the exact opposite happened to Philip Rivers. In the first half against the Raiders, he completed 36% of his passes for 44 yards, three sacks, and just one first down. To his credit he did play better in the second half…until he threw a crushing interception with three minutes to go and fumbled the ball to end the game.

Denarius Moore had five catches for 123 yards, two touchdowns, three other first downs and a 24.6 yard average. Not bad. Every game involving an AFC West team now has completely arbitrary results. I don’t understand how an entire division can be so wildly inconsistent. It’s like each coach just picks a random playbook out of a hat right before the game. That’s also known as the Wade Phillips Corollary.

Your Horribly Underachieving Fantasy Stars Who Should Be Eaten By a Hippopotamus:

Steve Smith- 33 yards
DeSean Jackson- 0 catches, 0 wake-up calls, 9 snoozes, 1 unexpected benching on Sunday morning
Michael Vick- 128 yards passing, 2 interceptions
Jonathan Stewart- 45 total yards
Dwayne Bowe- 17 yards
LaGarrette Blount- 34 total yards
Matt Stafford- 329 yards, 1 TD, 4 interceptions
Vincent Jackson- 22 yards

And The Insufferable Overachievers Who Ruined Your Sunday by Spending The Afternoon On Your Bench*:

Bears defense- 4 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, two defensive touchdowns, one special teams TD
Laurent Robinson- 73 yards, 2 touchdowns
Titans defense- 3 points against, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 5 sacks, 1 touchdown
Chris Johnson- 174 total yards, 1 TD
Denarius Moore- 123 yards, 2 TDs
Marshawn Lynch- 167 total yards, 1 TD

*were all actually benched in my fantasy league.

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