I'm sure he's thinking: "An early vacationmeans more time to spend my extension money!"The Buffalo Bills:
A season that began with such hope-lifting promise (5-1 through the first six games) ended with a soul-crushing thud after the Patriots shut them down with a 13-0 shutout, which made the Bills 2-8 since Dick Jauron and the Bills agreed on the terms of his three-year contract extension
. It was New England's 11th straight win over their division rivals. Although a team usually has to win a game or two in a series to earn the title of "rival." Anyway, the Buffalo Chips just seemed to lack preparation and focus since Jauron's extension agreement, leading to confusion, sloppy play and lots and lots of turnovers. And this was epitomized by the following killer sequence that occurred late in the first half
Their biggest miscue came in the final minute of the second quarter with Buffalo threatening to score. With no timeouts, 22 seconds left and facing third-and-5 from the Patriots 12, the Bills ran Fred Jackson up the middle for a 3-yard gain. Though it was initially unclear whether he got the first down as officials were late in spotting the ball, the Bills immediately sent out their field goal unit.
Buffalo, however, couldn't get a play off amid the confusion and didn't get any help from Bills tight end Derek Schouman and center Duke Preston. They were involved in shoving matches with Patriots players at the 5, making it impossible for the team to line up before time ran out.
Steratore said umpire Jeff Rice did, in fact, spot the ball with 9 seconds left, and added that Bills players were not restricted from returning to the line of scrimmage.
And, at the end of it all, Lee Evans was left to try and explain why it all went so very wrong. "It's been a trying season. We weren't used to winning at the beginning of the season, so you can learn as much as you can from that. Learning how to win is key."The Second Worst Coach in Pro Football.Kansas City Chiefs:
The Chiefs had the dishonor of duking it out with the Bengals on the final day of the regular season for the right to be named The Second Worst Team in Professional Football. True, losing "only" tied them with the Rams at 2-14, but finishing the season with a defeat to the (at the time) three-win Sad Tigers acted as a sort of 'bawful tie-breaker. Hail to the Chiefs! Only the Lions were worse than you in 2008!
Not-fo-fun facts: The Chiefs, who just suffered through the worst season in their 49-year history, have lost 23 of their last 25 games. Furthermore, they had one sack on the day, which means they finished the season with 10. Otherwise known as "the fewest by any team since the NFL made sacks an official statistic in 1981." Dude, I leave the grocery store with more sacks than they had this year.Larry Johnson:
Johnson, who rushed 10 times for 18 yards, could have just walked out quietly, dealt with his issues, then tried to calmly discuss an exit strategy with team management during the offseason. He chose, however, to do the opposite. The man who got arrested TWICE during the season for assaulting a woman said after the game: "Hopefully, my future is not with this organization. The things that have been going around, I'm not saying it's (all) their fault. Half of it is mine with off-the-field (stuff) and other things that go on. On the football field, my role definitely diminished once I got back. I felt like I wasn't getting as much (work) as I thought I could and helped as much as I could. They shifted their powers to other players on this team offensively. You kind of feel your time is up in this city and with this team. It's the environment. It's got everything to do with the environment. It's what everybody needs. The city is tired of me. The organization has kind of run its course (for him). It's time to move on regardless of what kind of changes they could make. I've been here when they made other changes. It's just time to let go." Larry Johnson: Proving once again there's a "Me, me, me!" in team. If you say "team" three times. And spit on a woman in a night club.Cedric Benson:
Ced "I hit the defensive line then take a dive" Benson -- who, prior to week 16, had managed three 100-yard game IN HIS CAREER -- finished with back-to-back centuries against the woeful Browns (171 yards on 38 carries) and the woefuler Chiefs (111 yards on 25 carries). And, hey, wouldn't you know it...he's a free agent after this season! Imagine my complete and total lack of surprise. Said Benson: "Of course there will be other organizations interested." I just can't wait to see what team gets suckered into signing Benson and then watching him sink contentedly back into sub-mediocrity. We have probably seen Ced's last 100 yard game.The Detroit Lions:
Well. It's official. The
Zeroes are the first 0-16 team in NFL history. That's not just "Worst Team This Season" matrerial. That's "Worst Team Ever" stuff. This season of woe was so bad, so gut-wrenchingly terrible, that even guys like Dan Orlovskey, who frankly is lucky to even be in the league, would rather retire and become a beet farmer than suffer through an encore performance of 0-16: "I don't ever want to be a part of this again. We haven't won since, November of '07, maybe? I don't even know the last time we won a game." It was December 23, 2007, actually. But it feels like much longer than that.
Coach Rod Mariwhatever, who's 10-38 in three seasons as the Zeroes' coach, said: "No competitor wants to go through something like this. This is not fun to go through, obviously. But there's people going through a lot worse than this." Oh, sure, Rod. People die of disease. Old ladies die and have their face eaten off by cats. But we're not discussing The Plight of the Command Man here. We're talkin' 'bout football. And no team in the history of your league has ever gone through something worse than this. Not even the Chiefs! (See above.)Kevin Smith:
Look, I can understand why Smith is frustrated, playing for the Zeroes and all, but with his team trying to rally late in the game and in Packers territory, Smith got called for a taunting penalty that moved the Zeroes back to midfield...after which Orlovsky tossed a pick. Game over. Said Smith: "It was a very bad, selfish decision. I let my emotions get the best of me. It was tough, but it is no excuse." And he couldn't even keep his head during a frantic, end-of-game, do-0r-die, we-must-win-or-be-winless situation. Doesn't that just kind of epitomize everything that's wrong with this team?The Chicago Bears:
Making the playoffs was never a certainty for the Bears, but, in the end, all they had to do was beat the sub-.500 Texans and they would have made it into the postseason as a Wild Card team. And, of course, it didn't happen. The Bears were once again skewered by the passing game -- Matt Schaub sliced them for 328 yards and 2 TDs while Andre Johnson diced them for 148 yards and 2 TDs -- and gave up 455 yards of total offense...which was a season-high for a Bears' opponent. And mind you, this was essentially a one-game mini-playoff. That's some serious defensive fail's what that is. Speaking of which...Danieal Manning:
The worst of Chicago's many bad defensive plays came in the second quarter when Manning botched his coverage, which led to a 43-yard touchdown for Andre Johnson. Said Manning: "I bit on the run and blew the coverage. [Coach Lovie Smith] just said, 'Stay deep, we really don't need you on the run support in cover-2. That was just me trying to play outside the defense. I should have been more patient than what I was. I thought I read run, it wasn't. It was a good play call by them, bad play by me."
If only that had been Manning's only mistake. On the ensuing kickoff, while he was fighting for extra yards, he fumbled it at the Bears' 38. Houston recovered and eight plays later scored another touchdown to take a 14-10 lead they would never surrender.David Haugh:
Yesterday, the front of the Chicago Tribune's sports section featured a story by Haugh titled Bears have big mental edge over Vikings
. The subhead was "Bears' focused approach a stark contrast to Vikings." The article went on to infer that a Chicago victory was pretty near certain...as was a Minnesota loss. Instead, the Bears flopped while the Vikes pulled out a last-second win over the Giants' scrubs. Haugh also said: "But remember, the Bears' defense typically gets tougher where the Texans' offense stalls." Good calls, one and all, David. You're a regular Nostrodumbass. Thanks for stat cursing my team.Getting knocked around? Oh yeah, that'sa great way to go into the playoffs...The Tennesee Titans / Vince Young:
Yes, they were resting their starters, but getting shut out is never a good thing. Put it this way, can you ever remember a team getting shut out in the final game of the regular season and then going on to win the Super Bowl. Yeah. Me neither. Of course, to hear Jeff Fisher tell it, that was all part of the plan. "They're playing very, very well, but there's a chance we may play them again, so we just lined up and played today." Well, I sure hope Jeff get a chance to show off all those fancy secret plays he's holding onto for that Colts-Titans playoff matchup that might never happen.Vince Young:
With Fisher resting the starters, Young -- who once was Tennessee's Man of Tomorrow -- got plenty of PT. His response: A 55-yard, zero touchdown performance in which he was badly outdueled by Jim Sorgi, Peyton Manning's never-used backup, who finished 22-of-30 for 178 yards.
More telling than his performance, however, was what people were saying about him after the game. Or, more accurately, what they weren't saying. When asked to evaluate Young's performance, Jeff Fisher said: "I'd have to watch the film." When asked the same question, Kerry Collins said: "It's hard to say without looking at film." Okay, so presumably, Fisher and Collins spent the day wearing a soundproof rubber BDSM hood. Anyway, I'm interested in what they'll have to say about Young after they get a chance to check the film...The New Orleans Saints:
Drew Brees fell 16 yards short of breaking Dan Marino's single-season NFL record of 5,084 yards passing and the Saints fell 2 points short of beating the Panthers and finishing with a winning record (even though they had already been eliminated from playoff contention). And that's just the kind of year it's been for the Saints: A season of falling just short. And you can pin the blame on the defense, which gave up 178 rushing yards to DeAngelo Williams and 134 receiving yards to Steve Smith had 134. Whenever the Saints needed a stop, they consistently failed to get it. Making them sort of the Chicago Bears of the deep south.The Cleveland Browns:
Ben Roethlisberger got knocked out of the game with a concussion and the Browns STILL lost 31-0. And, thanks to the previous week's 13-0 defeat at the claws of the Sad Tigers, the Browns were shut out in successive games for the first time in franchise history.
But wait. There's more. The Browns offense ended the season by failing to score a touchdown for six games and 24 quarters. Which, in case you couldn't guess it, is an NFL record. Moreover, Cleveland threw for only 26 yards against the Steelers, which tied for the second-fewest in club history. Historic fail, my friends.
Said Romeo Crennel: "We're going to leave here, go back and have a final meeting tomorrow, but we'll go into the offseason seeing what we can do better and get more competitive." Step one, I would think, would be finding a new coach...Bruce Gradkowski:
The fourth and worst QB to start this season for the Browns, Gradkowski finished 5-for-16 for 18 yards, 2 interceptions and 3 sacks. He even had one stretch in which he didn't complete a pass for nearly 27 minutes. He ended up with a QB rating of 1.0.The Tampa Bay Buccanneers:
Look, I hate to say I told ya so...but I so totally told ya so. I took some early-season heat for not believing in the Bills and Bucs, but my lack of faith, while disturbing to some, turned out to be completely, totally and in all other ways justified. Are we all good with that now? Okay then...
...all the Bucs had to do to make the playoffs, as it turns out, was win one of their final four games. They did not. And the final game, a 31-24 homefield flameout to the lowly Oakland Raiders in which Michael Bush rushed for a career-high 177 yards, was the big gulp of toilet water washing down the bitter pill of regrets. Regarding the biggest collapse in franchise history, Warrick Dunn said: "There's disbelief. There's shock. There's emotions, I'm sure, that I can't really describe. To be 9-3, and you lose four in a row when all you have to do is win one and you're in, it's tough to swallow. The guys in this locker room have prepared hard, played hard. Things haven't gone our way." Added Jeff Garcia: "I know we let down a lot of people...and we apologize for that. We, as a team, are better than what we have put on the field in the last four weeks." It's kind of easy to say that now that you don't have to prove it, Jeff. Maybe next year. Assuming you're still here.The Jacksonville Jaguars:
The team that was supposed to supplant the Colts as the power in the AFC South finished a 5-11 season by going out with a 27-7 whimper to the Baltimore Ravens. And it sure feels like their time as a rising power came and went already, doesn't it?The New York Jets:
They cut Chad Pennington and went all-in on Brett Favre, only to watch Penninton play like a Pro Bowler, leading Miami from 1-15 to 11-5 and a division title, while old man Brett finished the season looking very much like an old man who should have stayed retired when he had the chance. Mind you, the Jets ended the season dropping four of their last five games -- including losses to the 49ers and Seahawks -- to plummet out of the playoff picture. And now they're looking toward an offseason of Favre (233 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs) yanking them around as he tries to make up his mind whether or not to retire, unretire, stay retired, etc.The Dallas Cowboys:
Tony Kornheiser's pick after Week 3 to not only reach but WIN the Super Bowl...didn't even make the playoffs. Now, all they had to do was wipe that dysfunction off their faces and win one of their final two games. But they did not. And the regular season finale, a 44-6 butt-whomping by the Eagles, was insult and injury to their insult and injury. Tony Romo, who threw for 183 yards and an interception, is now 5-8 in the month of December, otherwise known as "Money Time." Romo is all grins and giggles when things are going well, but he's rather grim-faced when they are not. After suffering a rib injury during the game and reportedly passing out in the shower afterward, Romo was asked how he deals with defeat. His answer: "I wake up tomorrow and I keep living." Awh. Don't you just wanna give him a cookie or something?
Not-so-fun-fact: The 'Boys have lost nine consecutive season finales.Who's a big, whining douchebag? This guy!Donovan McNabb:
I know I'm supposed to be impressed and amazed by his leadership and Philly's return from the playoff grave and all that...but seriously, I cannot stand Donovan McNabb. He's one of the biggest, whiniest crybabies when things aren't going his way, but he's all grins and giggles and flexing when they are. I feel sorry for whatever team ends up with his next season...The AFC West:
I think this nugget from the AP recap of the Broncos-Chargers game sums it up best: "The Chargers won their third straight division title by finishing 8-8, becoming the first team to go from 4-8 to the playoffs by routing the Denver Broncos 52-21 in the Ed Hochuli Bowl on Sunday night." Some additional not-so-fun facts: "The Chargers became the first team to win a division at 8-8 since the Cleveland Browns did it in 1985. They're the ninth team overall to make it to the playoffs at 8-8; only two of the previous teams to do it managed to win a game in the playoffs." The 2008 San Diego Chargers: Joining the ranks of the NFL's historically mediocre teams. Congrats!Awh. Don't feel bad, Jay. At least you havea stronger arm than John Elway!The Denver Broncos:
They spent the first 16 weeks of the 2008 season in first place in the AFC West...and all they had to do to clinch the division was win one of their final three games...but they did not. And, much like the Cowboys, they bowed out in dramatically 'bawful fashion, losing by 31 to the suddenly playoff-bound Chargers. And Brandon Marshall kind of summed up the lackadaisical attitude of a team that wandered aimlessly through the season when he said: "It was kind of frustrating to see that three-game lead come down to this and see San Diego kind of take off on us. But, hey, that's football." Well, hey, I guess he's right!Eric Mangini, Rod Marinelli and Romeo Crennel:
Labels: Worst of the Weekend