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: sacrilegious fun for the whole family, tales of redemption, using Disney movies to explain football