The Dolphins bubble. Picture with me, if you will, a soap bubble rising on the breeze. It's spherical, yet pliable; it shape-shifts lazily in the fall air, throwing off fleeting dashes of iridescent light as it hovers above the ground. The breeze loosens its grasp, and the bubble drifts down, down, ever downwards, dancing even as it falls...


...then lands on a cactus.

That about sums up the Dolphins' loss to the Texans this weekend. The previously winless Texans strung together a monster 485-yard, 3-TD (despite 4 freaking turnovers) campaign for a thrilling last-minute 29-28 victory over Miami. Please note that I mean "thrilling" not so much in the "OH MY GOD WHAT A GAME BETWEEN TWO MIGHTY FOOTBALL TEAMS" sense as in the "oh, neat, there's still a seat left on the subway" sense. 2 out of 10 3rd-down conversions, Miami? That's hardly the stuff from which Cinderella stories are made.

The Ravens' defense. Hey, remember how the Ravens were supposed to have like really awesome defense? Nooot so much. The Colts absolutely nom-ed their way through a sagging Baltimore defense that let Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne combine for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns. Could it be that the topsy-turvy NFL universe is finally righting itself? Well, we haven't gotten to last night yet, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Joe Flacco. Wow, who'd have thunk that being a highly-touted rookie quarterback in one of the toughest divisions in the league on a struggling team would be, like, hard and stuff? Poor Flacco chucked up an interception just minutes into the game (his first of 3), had a fumble and a botched handoff, and got sacked four times -- all while being held to under 50 yards for more than half the game and not gaining a single first down until the second quarter. You know the story of Sisyphus, right? Dude pisses off the gods and has to spend all eternity pushing a rock up a mountain? Well, that's kind of like Joe Flacco's job right now, only he's pushing a boulder-sized wad of chewed bubble gum coated in molasses up a smooth glass surface in 105-degree weather while blindfolded.

Awkward sexual puns in game recaps. Ah, My favorite source of unintentional comedy that isn't Sarah Palin. From the Colts/Ravens recap: "The Colts capitalized on every opening." Bow. Chicka. Wow. Wow.

Darren McFadden. You know when they say "California Or Bust," Darren? You're not supposed to actually CHOOSE "Bust." 30 total yards on 8 carries for The Dude Who Got Drafted Before Matt Forte And Steve Slaton? Say it with me now: LAME.

Justin Fargas. 35 yards on 10 carries? My god, that's... [scribbles furiously on paper]... why, that's even worse than McFadden! Look, boys, I understand that running is, like, hard, and tiring, and whatnot. But without you, Oakland is going to have to rely on its [shudders] passing game. And we all know what that means:

Tom Cable. Once in high school, I went to babysit for a neighbor. When I got there, I found out that the baby had just shat itself and that I was stuck cleaning up the mess. You see where I'm going with this?

Cincinnati: as a team, as a lifestyle, as a breakfast cereal, as everything. Let's let the numbers do the talking here, shall we?

Time of Possession 24:42
Points Scored 14
Total Yards 171
Points Allowed 26
Receivers With More Than 50 Yards 1 (Chad Johnson, 57)
Rushers With More Than 20 Yards 1 (Ryan Fitzpatrick, who, last I checked... yup, he's the quarterback)
Touchdowns 2
Players On Offense Who Are Not Ryan Fitzpatrick That Scored Touchdowns 0
Players Named Cedric Benson 1
Benched Former Heisman Winners Who Ain't Doing Shit 1
Current Bengals Record 0-7

The Broncos' defense. Apparently defense has fallen rather out of vogue in the AFC. The Broncs let the MJD Show gobble up 416 yards (including 194 from Jones-Drew himself) in a game that included a monster 12-minute-long scoring drive in which Jacksonville racked up 80 yards on 18 plays. Mercy! I'd feel bad for the consistently excellent Jay Cutler if I weren't sure that he's the kind of guy to bitch endlessly at his teammates in the locker room that he's "tired of carrying this team."

David Garrard, Quote Machine. "To come into somebody's house, and to have done it last year, too, to come back knowing they want our blood..." mused Garrard following the Jags' victory. You need to start getting yourself invited to some different Halloween parties, David.

The Patriots' defense. We've already seen them get picked apart by Ronnie Brown this season. That's one thing. That's Ronnie Brown. He's been reanimated by a combination of voodoo magic and Disney animatronics, and he's packing 230 pounds on a 6' frame. Ronnie Brown could probably run through a brick wall on a good day. But for a defense to be rendered utterly helpless by Darren Freaking Sproles? Come ON, New England. The diminuitive Sproles had 3 huge plays against a defense that allowed a total of 404 yards on the night en route to a 30-10 loss to the Chargers. Honestly, the goal posts played better defense than the Patriots in the first half -- sent a FG attempt from Nate Kaeding clanging right back onto the field as Rodney Harrison looked on in awe. Two 10-point quarters and only one turnover -- no interceptions and no sacks -- doesn't even begin to describe how monstrously tepid the defensive presence for New England was yesterday.

Matt Cassel. Well, yeah. A 61.6 passer rating on the day will do that to ya there, Matty. Plus, poor kid's got to be hurting: he's been sacked a total of 13 times in the Pats' last 3 games.

Randy Moss. Look, I know Randy's struggling because the quarterback he trusts and works well with is out. That's not being a diva; it's a natural part of being an athlete. He's certainly behaving himself better than Terrell Owens, anyway, and has yet to come down on Cassel for, well, not being Tom Brady. But mercy, Randy, you need to HOLD ON to the ball when it comes to you! Playmaking is a 2-way street, dammit, and you half-assing your job is making it that much harder for Cassel to pull this team together. On that note, in fact:

Wes Welker. Another supposed key player in the New England offense who just couldn't make plays yesterday. Ditto for:

Jabar Gaffney. Truly, it's not fair to hold Cassel responsible for a slumping offense when he was throwing to a receiver corps that looked like they were all asleep standing up (or, in Gaffney's case, asleep while being propelled backwards by two SD defenders). New England hasn't bothered much with its running game in past years, and these receivers will need to seriously step up their engagement with the game if the Pats are to have any shot at winning the AFC East.

Male sports fans. If I had a nickel for every time I heard some dude moan about how all he wants is "a girl who'll watch football with me," I'd have, like, a lot of nickels. I wouldn't spend them, either. I'd do something awesome like make a couch out of them. But I digress. Here's my gripe: when guys spout stuff like that, what they actually mean is "a girl who will tolerate my abandoning her every Sunday, occasionally wear some too-tight piece of team gear, and ask me just enough questions of the 'What just happened??' variety to make me feel cool and manly for being able to impart my football wisdom to an Adorably Clueless Female." They do not ever actually mean "a woman who is knowledgeable and passionate about football and can engage me in a spirited debate on a wide variety of football-related topics." I know this from personal experience, as I'm frequently out in "cute" Patriots gear at various Boston-area bars and experience the following sequence of events with alarming frequency:

1. Guy saunters up to me at bar; makes off-hand remark about Pats game/my jersey.
2. I respond with something witty that displays an engagement with the game at hand, but not much else.
3. Brief silence.
4. Guy reacts to play in football game; I react simultaneously. He turns to me and makes some remark relating to said play.
5. I respond with commentary on how said play is indicative of larger trends on offense/defense.
6. Guy says something asinine like, "Oh, you really like football, huh."
7. I bite my tongue and respond sweetly, "Yes, I'm a big fan."
8. Guy starts asking me more football-related questions (e.g. "Who do you like in the East now?" "Did you see the Dallas game earlier?").
9. I expound at length upon said topic (e.g. "Honestly, the fact that Chad Pennington is still in the East is dragging this division down more than Brady's absence... the Dolphins have gotten ridiculously lucky but their offense is totally one-dimensional. Meanwhile, everyone grossly underestimated what Favre would be able to do this year, but the Jets' longevity will suffer because of their lack of defense. The Bills were good for a while, and I'm sure they've got some more wins in them, but I'm not really sold on Trent Edwards. I'm having a pretty hard time gauging the Pats, especially given how sloppy our defense is, so right now I think I like the Jets but am pretty sure they won't get farther than the first round of the playoffs."
10. Guy says something even more asinine like, "Wow, you know a lot about football."
11. I shrug and grin.
12. Guy stares awkwardly off into space.
13. Guy leaves.

The transition in there from "hitting on cute girl" mode to "intrigued by apparent interest in sports of cute girl" mode to "utterly freaked out at my masculinity being challenged by this girl's desire to TALK TO ME AS AN EQUAL AND NOT MERELY BE TREATED AS A NOVELTY OH HEAVEN FORBID" is actually palpable. Men of the world: sack up. You say you want a football girl? Don't be afraid to engage a girl on the same level at which you'd talk about sports with your male friends. And if that's not what you want, then stop whining about it already. CHRIST.

Ahem! Sorry. Not sure what came over me there. Onto the Monday Night game!

THE NEW YORK GIANTS. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! In a game on which the spread was up to 13 points at some places, the Giants crumbled like so many tasty oyster crackers into a piping hot bowl of soup under the glare of the Monday Night Lights at the hands of [snickers] THE FREAKING CLEVELAND BROWNS. Cleveland managed to gain 454 yards without turning over the ball once as they cruised to a 35-14 victory over the reigning world champions. Oh my, New York. An upstart team with an inconsistent quarterback knocking off an undefeated team, eh? TASTE IT, BITCHES. TASTE THE FAILURE. Uh, I mean, this was really quite the spirited game of football, was what I meant to say. Really a thrilling athletic contest all around. Bully!

I feel like this probably qualifies as "bad touching"...

Eli Manning. Three picks on the night -- including one that was returned 94 yards for a touchdown by Eric Wright -- must have had many Giants fans experiencing some seriously unpleasant deja vu.

The Giants' defense. Let me remind you, New York: IT'S THE FREAKING BROWNS. This is a team with the worst-ranked passing game in the league, a team who'd only averaged 11.5 points per game heading into this week, and you didn't manage to make them force a turnover ONCE?! It's like if I set you loose at an ice cream-and-cookie convention and you came home with your pockets filled with celery. LAME! Fun fact: Cleveland has now rocketed -- rocketed, I say! -- to 26th of 32 in passing in the league. Bravo, Giants! You're officially slumpbusters.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I feel like the Pats offensive line is so bad now. Brady was not a very quick QB, and, no offense ladies, but he actually looked like a girl when he did run. But he never had to run because that O-line gave him so much time so that he could just chill in the pocket and take his time. I don't understand how Cassell is getting sacked 5 times against the 49ers and 4 against the Chargers. I find it hard to believe that Cassell is that slow or stupid, the only reason being that his coach his Bill Belicik, and Belicik seems too smart to have a stupid/slow backup, even if the starter is Tom Brady. The offensive line has got some serious problems this year.

Anonymous Mitchell_M said...
That settles it. FutureMrs, if you weren't a Pats fan, I would be in love with you.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
12.25. In display of her dominance over his masculinity, Guy believes that Girl will fistgrab his crotch and rip off his testicles.

12.5. Girl proceedes to unhinge her jaw.

12.75. Guy is then promptly swallowed whole.


Anonymous Dubs said...
The transition in there from "hitting on cute girl" mode to "intrigued by apparent interest in sports of cute girl" mode to "utterly freaked out at my masculinity being challenged by this girl's desire to TALK TO ME AS AN EQUAL AND NOT MERELY BE TREATED AS A NOVELTY OH HEAVEN FORBID" is actually palpable.

I know. This happens to me all the time (but in reverse) when I start gabbing about Gilmore Girls. I mean, won't they just make a movie already!!!

Anonymous Mrloz said...
Terrible browns game, but it's definitely better then to go undefeated just to lose the superbowl =)

Anonymous kazam92 said...
ok I'm done asking for the dolphins to get respect. Matt freaking Schaub took 7 yrs off my life seeing him score and our secondary is among the worst in the league. Seriously I'll give you lehan, goodman, and hill for a foam finger to swat the ball

but thanks for the ronnie brown mention. That made me smile, thus restoring 2 yrs of my life

Blogger smurphette said...
Futuremrs, you know I'm not nearly as assertive as you are, but I definitely share your loathing of that particular brand of bullshit. When it comes down to it, 9 out of every 10 guys don't want girls who like sports. So fellas, save us all some time and energy and stop fucking saying that you do!

Blogger dAndy ManCandy said...
Nice post. I personally enjoyed the MJD show in Denver, but that's probably because the Jags badass running finally showed up for once this season. Yeah look out for Silky, he's a dangerous man!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
You should be ashamed of your "cute" gear. Those awful pink jerseys certainly don't help your quasi-feminist guynotrespectingmeasaknowledgable equal case.

I'm not ashamed of anything I do, say, think, or wear. Thanks for the sermon, though!

Oh, and they're not pink. I have a home and an away jersey that I wear according to where we're playing that day.

The real point, though, is that it should not matter. The notion that femininity and sports fandom are somehow mutually exclusive is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Anonymous Pistonsgirl4life said...
Really? That's the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard?

For me it was "and with their 2nd 1st round selection the Detroit Lions pick Mike Williams.... fresh of an unemployment line and 4 months pregnant...."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If I heard some girl dumping on my man Chad Pennington at a bar, she would be the recipient of no free drinks, no matter how cute she was.