17 - Dick
I'm sure he's thinking: "An early vacation
means 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."

17 - herm
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.

17 - lions

The Detroit Lions: Well. It's official. The Lions 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?

17 - bears

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.

17 - vince
Getting knocked around? Oh yeah, that's
a 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...

17 - sean

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.

17 - romeo

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.

17 - bucs

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?

17 - Jets

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.

17 - Boys

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.

17 - mcnabb
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!

17 - cutler
Awh. Don't feel bad, Jay. At least you have
a 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: RIP.

17 - coaches


Hey, kiddos!

The Blogger Formerly Known As futuremrsrickankiel here. Been a while and all that... I've had my hands full keeping you up-to-date on the Bruins' current gem of a season over att Mass Hysteria, and have let my making-fun-of-shitty-NFL-players duties fall by the wayside.

Tonight, though, is simply too good to pass up, as a team I loathe with every fiber of my being and a team I've been crushing on since Week 3 meet up for one of the biggest games of the season. Yes, it's the Panthers at the Giants, as two mighty 11-3 teams square off for guts, glory, and homefield advantage in the playoffs. My Patriots won, the Jets lost, Phil Kessel's point streak is at 18 games, and I'm feeling magnanimous despite my hangover. Let's liveglog this shiz, fools!

Join me as I take on the task of liveglogging this NFC barnburner while trying to restrain myself from putting my fist through my television during those insipid "He went to Jared!" ads. Die in a fire, you gold-digging harpies.

It's 7-3, Panthers, by the way. At some point, the Giants are going to realize they have to run triple coverage on Steve Smith. It doesn't look like we've reached that point yet.

4:15, 1st. Brandon Jacobs is a freaking monster. He's the only Giant I do not hold in utter contempt. Mostly because I'm kind of afraid of him. Here he is again at the 46, creating yards gained out of literally nothing. DAMN IT BOOOOOO!

2:45, 1st. Jacobs again. I'm sensing a theme. And AGAIN. 3rd and 3 for New York at the 31. Julius Peppers is looking unusually helpless. Argh John Madden talking is NOT helping my hangover.

We're at the end of the first quarter and it's still 7-3, Panthers. As a Patriots fan, I'm routinely starved for a running game, so I can't say I'm not a wee bit titillated by the Jacobs/Williams/Ward/Stewart mashup currently on the field tonight. Also, it's cold in New Jersey tonight, so we can play my favorite game: Watch Tom Coughlin's Face Turn Purple!

13:38, 2nd. BRANDON JACOBS TOUCHDOWN. The Giants' O-line appears to have tightened up after last week's sack party. Bummer. I love watching Eli get sacked. I'd embed a video of a Manning sack, but I just went to YouTube to look for one and all that came up when I looked for "eli manning sack" were Superbowl XLII highlights. FUCK YOU, INTERNET.

11:54, 2nd. J-Stew takes it to the 48 for the PANTHERS WOO! Did I mention I kinda dig the Panthers? Also, can we laugh about Tim Tebow being projected as a tight end in the NFL draft? Heh. Hehehehehehe. Wendy's commercials irritate me to the point where I think I'm secretly cheering for Type II diabetes. J-Stew appears to have gotten hurt on that last run, but walked off the field.

10:18, 2nd. DeAngelo Williams can run fast wooo.

8:50, 2nd. 2nd and goal for Carolina. Williams has it in for a TOUCHDOWN and the Panthers are back up 14-10... "much to the consternation and exasperation of Tom Coughlin." Thanks, Al Michaels! Coughlin's current facial hue: pomegranate. I have one of those stuffy noses where no matter how much I blow my nose it won't clear out. Bah.

8:07, 2nd. Wait, Eli Manning's in the Pro Bowl? How did I not hear about this? Oh, right. I did. A HUNDRED MILLION FUCKING TIMES. Wait, and he has a brother? Who also plays football? GUHH. Also, "empty patch of turf"? Ineligible receiver, Eli my dear. Madison Hedgecock has a carry, for some reason, and the Giants appear to be struggling to regain the offensive rhythm they displayed on their last drive... a speedy 3-and-out. Panthers have it at the 35. COUPLES IN HOLIDAY COMMERCIALS MAKE ME WANT TO PUNCH THINGS. "Oh, honey, you got me a Lexus? This totally makes up for your sexual inadequacies! I'M SO HAPPY!"

5:02, 2nd. HOLY SHITE. A yoooge high Jake Delhomme pass is nearly picked off by Aaron Ross, but Muhsin Muhammed is THERE to make the 60-yard catch and set the Panthers up for a 1st-and-goal, just like that. My god that was sexy. BOOM it's another Panthers TD and STEVE SMITH OWNS YOUR SOUL. Whee! Coughlin (current facial hue: maroon) is challenging the play, claiming that Smith was out of bounds before crossing the plane, which may actually be true I guess WHATEVER. I'm dying of sinus disgustingness and you don't see ME complaining. Or I guess you do, actually. Shit. Whatever. Still, that pass was pretty freaking excellent for a team that's got a mediocre passing game at best. The challenge is upheld, by the by, and the Panthers will take the ball at the half-yard line. Eff that noise, says DeAngelo Williams, who vaults over the Giants D for his third (motherfucking) touchdown of the game. 21-10, Panthers.

John Madden is on the verge of shedding sloppy, ranch dressing-flavored man tears of joy while reminiscing about Sammy Baugh. Gag me.

3:14, 2nd. ELI MANNING SACKED! You know what this means.

2:00, 2nd. The Giants have elected to start running coverage on Steve Smith. ZOMG someone must be reading my liveglog!

1:50, 2nd. Another almost-INT from Jakey. Carolina will punt. Ahmad Bradshaw drops the punt but recovers it to put the Jints at the 45 with a little over a minute to go in the half. Derrick Ward has a monster run to put New York at the 20 or so. Tom Coughlin facewatch: deep magenta. Eli tries to pass for some reason. Passes AGAIN (seriously, what the fuck is he doing?) only to have it knocked away by Julius Peppers and nearly intercepted. New York will settle for a field goal, and NBC will settle for another Old Timey Football Flashback(TM) rather than discuss anything pertaining to the considerable storylines surrounding this game. It's all so predictable.

0:45, 2nd. Williams is stuffed at the 35 as the Panthers appear to be running down the clock rather than risk a turnover. They'll go into the half with a 21-13 lead. To sum up: the Giants can run but cannot pass, I'm down almost an entire box of tissues, John Madden is old, and there's no fucking way I'm sitting through an NBC halftime show so I'll catch you kids on the flip side.

15:00, 3rd. Here we are! The Panthers will start with the ball on the 33. Justin Tuck has the flu, apparently, which is a big frowny face for the Giants. First down for the Panthers, as we learn that Jonathan Stewart apparently had a head injury in the first half but is now back on the field. I'm being boring, aren't I? Goddamn it. This is actually a good game, so there's only so much sarcasm and unnecessary hyperbole I can bring to the table. DAMN YOU, QUALITY FOOTBALL! You give me so little to work with.

12:42, 3rd. Yikes, there's ANOTHER Delhomme pass that was millimeters (what is this, the CFL?) away from being picked off. Carolina will punt on a 4th and 4. Also, I'm fully aware that I'm like the ONLY person in the world that likes those Coors Light ads where they splice in audio clips of NFL coaches, but I think they're awesome so put a sock in it.

11:22, 3rd. The Giants are running a shotgun offense, for some reason, and it's (not surprisingly) unsuccessful. Too bad about Plax, guys! It's pretty evident to me, with my vast wealth of finely-honed football knowledge, that both Delhomme and Manning would do well to take a back seat for the rest of this one and just let their star running backs carry the game. But what the fuck do I know? Tom Coughlin facewatch: eggplant.

9:42, 3rd. I hope someone buys me a Steve Smith jersey for Christmas. I need a boyfriend to buy me things. AHH FUCK! I've been watching too many holiday commercials! In other news, the Red Wings/Blackhawks game at Wrigley looks SO FREAKING COOL I kind of want to blow off my current New Year's plans (hipster kid parties in Brooklyn/avoiding Manhattan like the plague) and go.

8:06, 3rd. Our first flag of the game, as a struggling Eli Manning is called for "delay of game" to make it a 3rd-and-10 for the Giants... Kevin Boss makes the catch for a first down. Brandon Jacobs looks like he might be hurt, which I'd venture to say would probably mean curtains for the Giants. Here comes Ward, though, who has ANOTHER massive run for a 23-yard gain. New York has yet to make it to the red zone... but here's the oft-forgotten Amani Toomer with a catch.

3:00, 3rd. Am I missing something? Madison Hedgecock has a freaking catch to give the Giants a 1st-and-goal. GOD IT'S SO IRRITATING WHEN TEAMS I HATE ARE COMPETENT AND WELL-BALANCED. Carolina's Chris Harris smashes into Brandon Jacobs to prevent the TD... he'll be feeling that in the morning.

0:59, 3rd. TOUCHDOWN, GIANTS. They won't try to convert, and it's now 21-20, Carolina. This seriously is a great game, by the way. I hope you're watching, and not doing something lame like "spending time with your family" or "buying Christmas presents" or "enjoying the quiet majesty of a winter wonderland."

0:00, 3rd. Muhsin Muhammed catches it at the 50 to give the Panthers a first down as the clock runs out on the third quarter. I'm getting sleepy. I want tea and a Steve Smith touchdown.

13:25, 4th. The Panthers are still in the middle of this drive, but Delhomme has a beautiful completion to HOLY GOD DEANGELO WILLIAMS JUST SCORED ANOTHER FUCKING TOUCHDOWN. SWEET MERCIFUL HORSEDONG. 28-20, Panthers.

Does anyone else find the unintentional irony in these commercials about a baby investing money in the wake of the biggest investment scam in history kind of awesome?

11:20, 4th.The Giants line up in a pass formation, but will hand it off to Brandon Jacobs in what I can only assume is a nod to common sense. Here comes Derrick Ward to take it to the 33. There are 335 total rushing yards to only 287 total passing yards. Admit it: you're impressed by my ability to analyze football using "numbers" and stuff. The Giants fail to capitalize on Jacobs and Ward's hard work, and will wind up punting on a 4th-and-15. Jeff Feagles is a very good punter but you won't see me writing a fucking sonnet about it. Did I mention I don't like the Giants?

7:25, 4th. Current Tom Coughlin facial hue: Is "yelling at people" a color?

7:09, 4th. The Giants have it at the 48 but they're called for a false start (the game's 2nd flag). Nice Eli pass (bah!) for a first down. The tall-and-awkward Toomer comes up with a huge conversion to take the Giants to the 22, and I'd wager that a lot of fans in Giants Stadium are currently second-guessing Tom Coughlin's decision not to go for 2 after the last touchdown. 3rd and 5.

4:06, 4th. Boss for the first down. And here I was cherishing dreams of Giants fan dreams drowning in a sticky quagmire of field goals, tears, and failure. FUCK ME there's a pass interference in the end zone from Carolina, and Brandon Jacobs will stroll it in as nicely as you please for the touchdown. Will Tom Coughlin kick the extra point, or go for the conversion? OH IT'S ALL SO EXCITING.

3:21, 4th. Giants tie it up on the conversion. I guess that's a big deal and shit so here's an exclamation point: !

3:56, 4th. Mark Jones takes it to the Carolina 38 to kick off will HOPEFULLY be a successful scoring drive. My suggestion, Panthers? GIVE THE BALL TO DEANGELO WILLIAMS. Carolina is taking their time as we approach the two-minute warning. My sister is bringing me Nyquil. Everything's going to be ok, kids.

1:51, 4th. Hokay as awesome as Steve Smith is, he'd not doing shit with double coverage on him. Allow me to repeat, Carolina: GIVE THE BALL TO DEANGELO WILLIAMS.

1:25, 4th. Muhsin Muhammed for the first down. Delhomme DROPS the fucking ball but HERE COMES DEANGELO WILLIAMS OH MY GOD I HAVE SEE THE FACE OF OUR LORD AND HIS NAME IS DEANGELO. Guhh, a sloppy holding penalty on Steve Smith (seriously, boo, WHAT is your deal tonight) will cost the Panthers yards, but they've still got the first down. Justin Tuck looks like I feel. I'd feel sorry for him if he weren't a fucking Giant.

0:54, 4th. DeAngelo's in on the Wildcat formation... 3rd-and-6, Panthers. AHH DAMMIT Williams is down, and here comes a 50-yard field goal attempt from Carolina. What a superb game this has been... plus, I've learned more about K balls and the apparently really interesting and complex methodology for storing them than I ever wanted to know. Thanks, Al and John!


The Panthers lose the coin toss... damn you, Delhomme, you are just ANTS AT A MOTHERFUCKING PICNIC today.

14:07, OT. THREE AND OUT FROM THE JINTS. HerewegoPanthers! Tom Coughlin facewatch: The Masque of the Red Death.

12:31, OT. Well goddamn it. There's a 3-and-out from Carolina, too. Oh, but R.W. McQuarters DROPS it! He'll recover it at around the New York 19. Brutal! Also, I'm really glad I took out my nose ring because my nose is currently a mess and a half. ACK WHAT WHAT WHAT here comes Derrick Ward with ANOTHER beastly beast of a run to carry it all the way out to around the Carolina 40. Hot damn! That's 184 freaking yards on the night for Ward. Here comes another incomplete Eli pass. WHY IS ANYBODY BOTHERING TO PASS IN THIS GAME?

11:01, OT. Once again, the Giants line up in the shotgun but give it to Ward, who gets the first down. WOO RUNNING GAME! No thanks to you, Steve Smith, whom my good pal Grimey has honored with the following:

10:24, OT. 216 yards for Ward as he takes it in to give the Jints a 1st-and -goal... GODDAMN IT THERE'S BRANDON JACOBS IN TO WIN IT FOR THE GIANTS.

Giants win, 34-28. That was a pretty freaking phenomenal game, I SUPPOSE. Guhh. Time to go upstairs and try to fall asleep despite not being able to breathe through my nose. If the Giants win the goddamn Superbowl again I will never watch another minute of NFL football.


Yep, you lost. To the Texans.

Okay, so you're probably wondering how the Tennessee Titans -- a team that managed to stay undefeated through their first 10 games of the season -- suffered an exceedingly ugly 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans. Simple: Stat curse. On the day of that fateful game, Knoxnews.com published a story titled There's no letup in Titans' vocabulary in which the author said "[Tennessee] won't be slowing down as they look to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs" and Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck added that "There's definitely going to be no letup. ... We're going to take care of Houston and let everything else take care of itself." Then mention was made of this little fun fact: Texans coach Gary Kubiak hadn't beaten the Titans since taking over the Texans and Tennessee has won the last seven games in the series. Oh, and Houston's last and only wins against Tennessee came when it swept the 2004 series.

So, uh, yeah. That's like a stat curse powered up by a Tanooki suit and an invincibility star. The Titans really didn't have a cookie's chance at a Cookie Monster convention. Which is a bummer for them, since they blew a chance to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Of course, Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan was quick with an excuse for the loss: "They weren't doing that well, but it was their Super Bowl and credit them for being the good team today."

However, Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck had a more realistic appraisal of the sitch: "Hopefully we'll be up for the challenge and guys will come back from vacation. I think we were on vacation this week, knowing we got a bye and whatever other good stuff happened for us last week. But I know as a team we need to get our heads out of our (expletive) and come out and play football. Pittsburgh is playing for way more than us next week."

Yes, injuries suck. But look at it this way.
You get to leave. You're the lucky one.

But the Titans weren't the only team choking up a winnable game on the road. Those hapless, helpless Detroit Lions were doing the same thing in Indy. Detroit clawed their way back from a 21-10 halftime deficit to tie the game at 21-all with just under 13 minutes remaining before once again succumbing to what seems to be their fate (not to mention Dallas Clark's single-game franchise-record-for-tight-ends 12 receptions, 142 yards and touchdown): The 0-14 Lions have now lost 15 straight and 21 of their last 22...and they're two defeats away from becoming the first NFL team to finish 0-16. Said Lions QB Dan Orlovsky: "No one wants to be part of that. No one wants to have their name involved with that. It's tough to swallow, everybody says we stink. We don't have much debate with that." Not really, no.

But don't think Indianapolis is except from a little stink eye: The Smurfs fumbled four times (losing two), blew a nearly certain scoring drive because of a stupid holding penalty, and their defense basically quit in the second half. And yes, they've done a great job in winning seven straight to recover from that 3-4 start...but most of the wins in the streak have been shaky at best. Said Colts coach Tony Dungy: "We weren't as sharp as we'd like to be. We couldn't make the plays we needed to put the game away, but it's something we expected." Wait. You expect to be NOT sharp and struggle to ice a game against the Lions?! Oooookay. I guess that sort of tells you all you need to know about Indy's playoff chances...

Now, Riddle me this, Batman: What's worse, that the Suck Diego Chargers nearly lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, or that the the Chiefs lost after building a 21-3 third-quarter lead. Hell, KC was still leading by 11 points with one minute and 14 seconds left. Then...things unraveled. Philip Rivers threw a TD pass to Malcom Floyd, but failed on the two-point conversion. The ensuing onside kick bounced off Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe's chest and San Diego recovered. Four plays later, Rivers tossed another TD to Vincent Jackson to put the Chargers up one. SD then missed ANOTHER two-point conversion, which set them up for a loss if the Chiefs could only kick a field goal. And chances of that looked slim until Shaun Phillips got glogged for a delay-of-game penalty for running into an official trying to place the ball. Said Philips: "I got pushed in the back. I hit the ref, so it was on me, but I got pushed by their guy."

So KC got a 50-yard field goal attempt for the win...only Chiefs kicker Connor Barth -- who had been nine-for-nine before missing a 34-yarder in the first half -- was wide left. Said Barth: "I'm kind of speechless. Don't know what to say. There's no excuse." Indeed. And now the Chiefs have to win their final two games to avoid setting a franchise record for fewest wins in a 16-game season. They play Miami and then travel to Cincy for their final game.

Pictured: Guy who is about to get
his butt kicked in the locker room.

Of the win, Rivers said: "There have been so many doubts and we've fallen so short of the expectations. The way we've bounced back these past two weeks in our division and won says a lot about our guys. It is big for our locker room and team, no matter what plays out the rest of the day." Yes. The 6-8 Chargers must be real proud to have beaten the 3-11 Raiders and the 2-12 Chiefs. That REALLY says a lot about the San Diego as a team...only not quite what Rivers had in mind.

Here are some final "fun" facts. First, boning the 21-3 lead was only they second-worst collapse of the season for Kansas City. They also blew a 24-3 lead against Tampa...which was a team record. Now, the Chargers gave up three sacks to the the Chiefs, who have the league's worst pass rush. How bad is that pass rush? KC has a league-low nine sacks and they need five more in their last two games to avoid tying the NFL record for fewest in a season. In fact, the Chiefs hadn't gotten a sack since playing San Diego four games ago. Speaking of which, five of KC's nine sacks game against the Chargers...who beat Chiefs twice this year by a total of only two points. Modern science cannot possibly quantify all the fail in the game or this paragraph. Let's move on.

Sadly, the Chargers and Chiefs weren't the only two teams slugging it out for "Which One Is Worse" dishonors. With less than two minutes remaining in their home game against the Bills, the Jets looked like they were about to suffer a devastating loss that would cost them the AFC East division lead and possibly deal their playoff hopes a fatal blow. Then Buffalo said, "Whoa now, whoa now, you do NOT suck worse than us" and, instead of chewing up the clock by running Marshawn Lynch -- who had 127 yards on 21 carries -- Dick "I stopped coaching after getting my contract extension" Jauron called a passing play for J.P. Losman...who got sacked from behind by Abram Elam. The sack forced a fumble that was retrieved by Shaun Ellis and returned 11 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Wow, wow, wow.

Uh oh. This could end badly...

...and it does.

Said Jauron: "Clearly the responsibility for the last call, the play-action pass, that was mine. That goes right on me. It backfired clearly and caused us to lose the game. It's one of those times in a game that's pretty good for a pass, right before the 2-minute." Uh...you sure about that coach? Really?!

Now, amazingly enough, the Bills had two more chances to come back...but Losman threw two interceptions. Game over.

And perhaps lost amidst all the collapsing was the performance of Brett Favre, who was only 17-of-30, tossed a couple picks, and was missing receivers all over the place. Said Brett: "Maybe I don't have the arm I once had. I don't know." News flash: Brett Favre doesn't know whether his arm was cut off and surgically replaced with one that was formerly owned by Cade McNown. I promise to look into this.

(P.S. To all you Bills fans out there, I'm sorry but they are who we thought they were.)

(Speaking of which, do I really need to break down the Raiders' 49-26 loss to the Patriots in which Matt Cassel threw a career-high four TDs and LaMont "He's still alive?!" Jordan chewed up his former team for 97 yards on the ground, including on 49-yard TD run? Yeah, didn't think so.)

Let's wrap things up in Baltimore, where the Ravens had a chance to keep alive their hopes of winning the AFC North. And things were looking pretty good for the first 56 minutes or so, particularly since the Steelers -- who had a measly six points at the time -- began their final drive at their 8 with 3:36 left. No matter. Pittsburgh moved the ball 92 yards in 13 plays to score the game-winning touchdown with 43 seconds left. Big Ben went 7-for-11 for 89 yards on the drive. No problem. It was the Steelers' first win in Baltimore since 2002.

The Ravens, who were held to a season-low 202 yards, had kind of shot themselves in the talon on the previous series, when they had moved the ball to Pittsburgh's 27 before a third-down sack forced them to punt. Whoops. Also worth noting is that only one Baltimore drive lasted longer than nine plays or 34 yards. Ouch.

Of course, there was a little controversy regarding the game-winner. The play was reviewed because it sure looked like Santonio Holmes' feet were in the end zone while the ball was not. But don't take my word for it. Watch for yourself:

After the game, referee Walt Coleman said: "He had two feet down. When he gained control of the ball, the ball was breaking the plane." If you say so, Walt. That said, the Steelers still would have had the ball on the goal line with plenty of time to punch it in. But still...it's been one lousy season for officiating in the NFL. I bet David Stern is freaking jumping up and down with joy.

One last 'bawful side note to the game: After Steelers kicker Jeff Reed converted the extra point following Holmes' touchdown-that-wasn't-one, Reed and Steelers' punter Mitch Berger got into a jawing match with Ravens cornerback Frank Walker. Stunningly, Reed got flagged for a 15-yard personal foul for shoving Walker. What could cause a kicker/punter/cornerback dustup you ask? Well, after the game, Berger told the Pittsburgh media that Walker tried to make contact with Reed's knee and when Berger approached Walker, Walker supposedly spit in Berger's mouth. No, really. Said Berger: "I tried to get in the middle to separate him, but he got in my face and spit right in my mouth. He spit right in my mouth. I'm still trying to spit that...out. I was talking to him, trying to separate everybody, and he spit right in my mouth."

I'm sure you'll join me in saying: Bwahahahahah! Naturally, Walker was unavailable for comment, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh was available to go over-the-top in defense of his player. "That's the first I heard that. I don't believe it for one second. Frank Walker wouldn't do it; none of our players would do it. I don't believe it for one second." Indeed. It's totally unbelievable. They would, however, make their fans throw up in their mouths a little...


Lions fan

Ah, the Lions...still winless despite carrying a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter of their game against the Vikings. And they even got an early Christmas gift when Gus Frerotte was sidelined by a back injury and replaced by Tarvaris "No Action" Jackson. Watching this team play -- in the immortal words of Patches O'Houlihan -- is "like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob!" And, bad news for the Detroit faithful (assuming there are any left): Your Lions are playing the Colts in Indianapolis next weekend. So you can probably go ahead and just mark them down for 0-14.

Oddly enough, Lions coach Rod Marinelli is maintaining an air of deluded and possibly neurotic optimism. Said Marinelli: "I'm looking forward to this week. We're playing a heck of a team, but we think we've got a good chance." Really, Rod? Really?! A good chance of what, exactly? Because unless "suck" is contagious, the Colts are going to trample all over your sad little team.

But my favorite Lions-related quote of the weekend, though, came from Jason Hanson, who's getting paid over $2 million this year to kock footballs: "We've got something to play for." Well, I'm certainly glad that 0-13 has you so inspired, Ryan. It must be so nice to have something to play for.

The nadir of Detroit's defeat most likely was Detroit center Dominic Raiola, who flipped off the home fans and then went apeshit afterward. Said Raiola: "I don't take one thing back. I'm just tired of hearing it coming at just me. It's coming at me because I've been here for years. I've been through the losing. Me, Jeff (Backus) and whoever else are the head of the losing. I'm just so frustrated. I'm tired of being a doormat for people to just talk to us how they want to talk to us. I'm just not going to put up with that anymore. I'd do that, but you cant [gives fans your home address]. Nobody plays with fists. Everybody wants to play with metal." So he'd like to have Lions fans show up at his house for a fistfight, but he's afraid they'd shoot him. All I can say is...wow.

The Lions' historic ineptitude and Raiola's sociapathic attitude aside, the really BIG news COMING out of Detroit yesterday was the exposed schlong that was broadcast by the FOX network. Oh yes they most certainly did. (I have, of course, provided a SFW image. If for some unholy reason you want to see the full monty, well, follow the link.)


And then there is the sad case of the Green Bay Packers, who watched Matt Schaub return from the dead a knee injury to carve them up like a Birdmas ham, throwing for a career-high 414 yards and 2 touchdowns in the three degree weather at Lambeau Field. It was the Green Bay's third consecutive loss, which dropped them to 5-8 makes it virtually impossible for the Pack to return to the playoffs...even in the maggot-infested barf burger that is the NFC North.

Note the conspicuous absense of the Green Bay defense...

Fun fact: Yesterday's 24-21 loss to the Texans was Green Bay's fifth loss by four points or fewer this season. Ouchies. Said Aaron Rodgers: "The frustrating part is, it's been right there in front of us. We've had the opportunity to execute and finish those games off and we haven't." C'mon, Aaron! If you want football victory you gotta grab it by its haunches and hump it into submission, that's the only way!

In Philadelphia, the Giants finally dropped one. I guess the grind of trying to repeat as NFL champions while absorbing several significant losses on defense and missing your first string running back and then having his backup go down with a knee injury in the third quarter and losing your star receiver -- maybe forever -- after an accidental gunshot wound to the leg at a dance club that he tried to cover up and therefore will probably end up in jail really can get to a team, for one game at least. And still the Eagles won by only 4. Fly proud, my friends.

It's good to see him smile...especially since
his season'll be endingin a few weeks.

Of course, Eagles tight end L.J. Smith wants to believe his mediocre-at-best team is simply a Giant Killer: "I just think we kind of beat them. It's tough to say. That's one of those: 'How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll?' Who knows if the distractions hurt them and helped us? I don't know." Don't worry, L.J. I promise you'll have plenty of extra time in the offseason to contemplate that and many other deep thoughts, like instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that's like a regular window.

Random note: Eli Manning was 13-for-27 for 123 yards. So, you know, don't rush to finish that bronze bust. He's still a few years away from induction at Canton.

Dear St. Louis Rams: Congrats for handing the Arizona Cardinals -- yes, you are in fact reading this correctly -- their first division title in what might as well be since forever (although in reality it's been "only" 33 years). And you've gotta love 'Zona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett's reaction: "My coach was like, 'Act like you've been there before, act like you've been there before.' I said 'Coach, I ain't been there before. I don't know how to act right now.'" He's so cute I could vomit a Rainbow Brite finger painting. I also enjoyed this quote from Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, for which I will provide no context whatsoever: "I was excited to get a bath. That's one of the things I guess as a coach you dream about." Dare to dream, Ken!

Fun talk aside, here's a big "C'mon, now!" to Kurt Warner (24-for-33, 279 yards, 1 touchdown), who had this to say regarding the so-called irony of his new team clinching a division title against his old team: "My God's got a sense of humor. Maybe that's part of it." Nice. Does your God's sense of humor have anything to do with your wife's hair, Kurt? I'm just curious.

Kurts wife
Brenda Warner's hair: Proof Kurt's God has a sense of humor.

Here's my postscript on the Rams: 2-11. 'Nuff said.

Finally, we must discuss -- and by "discuss" I mean "me talk, you listen" -- the Dallas Cowboys, whom Tony Kornheiser annointed the Super Bowl champs after Week 3. Things have changed drastically since then, but, despite a cluster of embarrassing losses, the 'Boys are still in the playoff hunt. And their chances of leaving Pittsburgh with a huge win seemed pretty good after they stuffed Gary Russell for a 2-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal play from the Dallas 1 early in the fourth quarter, thus maintaining what at the time looked like an insurmountable 10-point lead. After the play, some of the Dallas players nearly herniated themselves celebrating. Bad idea. Terrell Owens, who was dressed in fashionable ninja attire on the sideline, denied his boys were rubbing it in. "It's all about momentum. It's just momentum. It wasn't us thinking the game was over by any means. Sometimes it's just like that. We were excited, the game was going our way." Uh huh.

Terrell Owens: So very, very ninja.

From that point forward, the Steelers' defense asserted itself. Not only did the Pitt Monsters rumble back to tie it, they managed to rattle Tony Romo by calling a timeout on what Romo thought was going to be a game-winning drive for the Cowboys. Said Steelers linebacker James Harrison: "He gave us that, 'Who called the time out? You called the time out?' Yeah, we called the time out."

Then, on the very next play, Deshea Townsend scored on a 25-yard interception return on the next play with 1:40 remaining...only 24 seconds after their game-tying touchdown. Cowboy Fail.

Now, I know this is gonna surprise you, but Jerry Jones was pissed after the game. Not just at his team, but at his missing running back, the injured Marion Barber (dislocated pinkie toe). Said Jones: "He can play with that injured toe. He can play with the soreness and a combination of those things. I see nothing that led us to believe he couldn't." Nice one, Jerry. As far as motivational speeches go, that's right up there with "Holy hell son, you're about as useful as a cock-flavored lollipop!" I'm sure Marion'll just kill himself for you and your team next week.

Labels: ,


So my football Sunday started out with a game that was about as appetizing as a Thanksgiving turkey full of snapping monkey heads: Colts versus Browns, where the two teams barely managed to combine for 400 total yards and zero offensive touchdowns, and Peyton Manning threw for a season-low 125 yards...only the 10th time in 172 career starts that he finished with under 150 yards. Manning also tossed a couple of picks and fumbled the ball on a QB sneak, thus costing the wild horses a chance to notch a TD at the end of the first half.

Fortunately for the Colts, it is nearly impossible to out-fail the Browns. Derek Anderson, forced back into service only because of Brady Quinn's season-ending finger injury (insert "Brady Quinn is a huge, flapping vagina" joke here), managed to not only out-suck Manning by throwing for a paltry 110 yards, getting sacked three times, and losing a fumble that was returned by Robert Mathis for Indy's game-winning touchdown, he also trumped Quinn by suffering his own season-ending injury: A sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee that was caused by the helmet of one of his own teammates on Cleveland's last drive of the game. Man. I'm starting to think that some Cleveland fan must have pooped on a Bible or something. At least that might explain why God hates the Browns so much.

Meanwhile, the Ravens were administering a mercy killing to the Sad Tigers, who managed only 6 first downs and 155 yards. Total. To add a little dash of lemon juice to the sucking chest wound that is Cincy's season, Mark Clayton -- a guy who came into the game with only 311 yards and 2 touchdowns on the season -- burned them for 164 yards and 2 TDs, one on a diving, one-handed 70-yard catch and another on a gimmick play in which he completed a 32-yard pass to Derrick Mason. It was Clayton's first passing TD since high school. "Obviously, we're in a funk,” said Sad Tiger QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. "We have personnel that's better than these statistics." Uh, sure. Whatever you say, Ryan.

In St. Louis, the Dolphins received early Christmas gifts from Marc Bulger (3 INTs) and Rams coach Jim Haslett, who did in the fourth quarter what the 'Fins hadn't been able to do in the first three: Stop Stephen Jackson. Jackson -- who finished with 94 rushing yards on 21 attempts -- had only one carry in the final stanza because, in Haslett's words, he was "gassed and his leg was starting to bother him." Uh, yeah. Jackson called "bullshit" on that one after the game. Said Jax: "No, I wasn't gassed. It wasn't my conditioning. I wish he’d stop saying that." Ah, the Rams: They're just one big, happy, 2-10 family. (Memo to the other 31 NFL teams: There's a good chance Haslett will be available for next season. Please make all employment inquiries c/o The St. Louis Rams.)

Uh, hey, that's your own...you know what? Never mind. Suck on.

On to San Diego, where the continually disappointing Chargers -- whom I actually heard referred to on sports radio last week as "The most potentially dangerous 4-7 team in NFL history" -- dumped another shovel full of dirt on the grave of their playoff hopes. Michael Turner, the Bolts' former backup RB, stomped all over his old team for 120 yards while, on the other side of the ball, LaDanian Tomlinson, finished with 24 yards on 14 carries...the second-lowest total of his eight-year career...the lowest being a 7-yard stinker at Philadelphia on October 23, 2005. (That primal scream you may have heard on Sunday came from the dying souls of LT fantasy owners everywhere.) Okay now, can we all agree that, at four games below .500, the Chargers aren't going to come back and challenge the Broncos for the division? Great. Let's move on.

Not as sad as Sad Tiger...but close.

And in New England, a week's worth of "Maybe the Patriots don't need Tom Brady after all" stories were rendered obsolete by the utter destruction of Matt Cassel, who was beaten and battered into committing four of the Patriots' five second-half turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles), empowering the Steelers to outscore the home team 23-0 after halftime. So, in case any of you are still confused, Matt Cassel does not equal Matt Brady, mmmkay?

Not Brady
Not pictured: Tom Brady.

The Jets, fresh off of big-time road wins in New England and Tennessee, returned home only to remind their fans that they are, indeed, who we thought they were by suffering a 17-point loss to the Jeckyll and Hyde Broncos. So much for all that "Maybe the Jets are the best team in the AFC" talk. (For the record, the talk should be about how lame and uninspiring the AFC is this season, such that any team on any given week can look like the best team in the conference.) Jay Cutler said "Fie! Fie, I tell you!" to the rain, throwing for 357 yards and 2 touchdowns while Rookie Peyton Hillis shredded New York's third-ranked rush defense for a career-high 129 yards and a TD. Said Jets running back Thomas Jones: "We just didn't show up like we were supposed to today." You said it, bro.

Uh, Brett? Could you not daydream about
re-retirement DURING the game please. Thanks.

Last week's 31-10 beatdown of the Broncos (in Denver, no less) was supposed to signal a new dawn for the hapless Raiders. Instead, it turned out to be nothing but the eye in the middle of the crapstorm that has been the 2008 Raider season. The Oakies lost 20-13 to the heretofore one-win Chiefs. And, fittingly enough, the winning margin was the result of a fumble on a faked field goal, which Maurice Leggett snapped up and returned 67 yards for a TD, ending Kansas City's seven-game losing streak. And as one losing streak ends, another begins...

And then there was Monday Night Football, a mighty faceoff between two teams that nobody wanted to watch. Suffice to say, one team won (the Texans) and one team lost (the Jaguars), but just as no one can hear you scream in space, nobody can feel me not giving a crap about this game. Fini.

Labels: ,

Alas, poor NFL. I knew him well.

It was with a heavy heart that I announced to all of you the death of professional football this past Friday following a day of play so breathlessly unwatchable I was sure the NFL as a whole would never recover. But, oh, ye blogging femme of little faith! The NFL had died only to rise again, gloriously, for a day of actually halfway decent football that would deliver us all from the sins of overeating cranberry sauce and telling your grandmother you have a boyfriend so she'll leave you alone about your "ticking clock." Deliver us, O NFL Arisen! Thou hast come again.

Oh, and just to clarify: yes, I just compared the National Football League to Jesus. Just so we're all clear.

So. Ahem. A reading from the book of Week 13, or something. Thus spoke the prophet:

The outlook was admittedly even bleaker than I'd anticipated at the outset, as the 1pm San Francisco/Buffalo match-up yielded arguably the worst game of football yet played this season. Each team recorded an entirely scoreless half (Buffalo the first half, San Francisco the second half) en route to a jaw-droppingly lame 10-3 "win" for the 49ers. Fallen Buffalo hero Trent Edwards was ganked at halftime with a "groin injury" (no doubt lingering pain due to prolonged emasculation at the hands of one of football's worst teams) following a dismal 10-for-21, 112-yard first-half effort; his hapless replacement, JP Losman, went 11-for-17 with just 93 yards. Oh, and Rian Lindell missed ANOTHER 4th-quarter field goal. The saddest part in all this: Buffalo outgained San Francisco by a significant 350-195 margin, as San Fran proved as sacktacular and pass-averse as ever... yet the Bills utterly failed to capitalize on 4 trips to the red zone and were sent limping home, no doubt to spend the rest of the evening Googling "strip clubs in Toronto." No doubt about it: if I was looking for football redemption, I wasn't going to find it here.

An interesting note: with Sunday's win, the Niners actually because the first West Coast team to win a game on the East Coast this season. Wow! It's almost like the teams in the Western divisions all suck, or something.

I should have known, though, that the mighty NFC South would come through and deliver me from my woes. Up first: a clash between the insistent Buccaneers and their saintly New Orleans counterparts, which, despite a terribly predictable outcome (the Saints losing on the road? SHOCKING), offered up some excellent football on both sides of the field. His Moliness Drew Brees struggled somewhat, sending up 3 picks on the day, but Marques Colston caught for 106 yards (no thanks to a 3-carry, 0-yard effort from recently-returned onion lover Reggie Bush). Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was less than consistent on offense (13% 3rd down efficiency, Tampa?) but was able to recover after letting up a game-tying 10 points to New Orleans in the 4th thanks to a 37-yard Matt Bryant field goal that would cinch the 23-20 victory. If there's a better hero for this story of football love, loss, and redemption than Matt Bryant, I'd like to see him.

Also in the 1pm slot were the Giants, whose convincing 23-7 victory over the erstwhile heroic Redskins was, at least, a more balanced and watchable game than any of Thursday's atrocities. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard: Plaxico Burress is an idiot. I've made my thoughts on him (and his teammates) known elsewhere, so I'll just mooooove along for now.

Admit it: you knew how this was going to end. It was my beloved Panthers, who fought back for a well-deserved 35-31 victory over Green Bay (despite only controlling the ball for a hair over 22 minutes!), who would finally convince me that I could -- nay, WOULD -- love football again. It's all so beautiful... if a tad predictable.

Yes, despite a woefully abbreviated possession time and a 3rd quarter that saw them outscored 11-0, the Panthers managed a thrilling come-from-behind win thanks to a simply blistering 5-for-5 efficiency in the red zone and a staggering 4 rushing touchdowns from DeAngelo Williams. Thrilling! Blistering! Touchdowns! I thought I might never again have cause to use those words when talking about football. Thank you, DeAngelo Williams, for delivering me. Amen.

Oh, and also the Vikings beat the Bears to take over the division lead, but no one cared because it's the NFC North. Ha!

Labels: , ,