Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NFL Week 9 From Out Of Space

It's Week Nine from out of space for the NFL, with six more teams on byes.   A look at how we think the rest of the league will do -

Bengals over Dolphins - Miami is good; Cincinnati is better - better than I suspect anyone expected.

Chiefs over Bills - Speaking of better than anyone expected, the Chiefs manage to be unbeaten yet quiet about it.   The win streak continues despite the gumption the Bills have shown.

Panthers over Falcons - The Panthers have their program seemingly turned around; the Falcons are now officially in freefall.

Vikings over Cowboys - Even in losing by 13 points the Vikings showed some fight against Green Bay and get a Cowboys squad becoming more dysfunctional with the owner stepping on the coach and both refusing to call out Dez Bryant for sabotaging the team on the sidelines.

Saints over NY Jets - So far the Patriots have been the only team to give the Saints true trouble.   The Jets are 4-4 and unable to string together any run.

Chargers over Redskins - It's obvious Mike Shanahan is blowing it again as a coach as the Skins just aren't that good.   I do have to defend Brandon Meriweather there; he's taking media shots for his hits to opposing players, and no doubt some deserve heavy fines; the fact he got a two-game suspension reduced to one should say something - that the league's overreaction to player-injury demagoguery needs to stop. If opposing players have a problem with him, they need to solve it, not the league.

Titans over Rams - St, Louis blew a totally winnable game against the Seahawks squad all but begging to get beaten.   Now the Rams face a Titans squad that's better than the three-game losing streak shows with Jake Locker back after getting a needed bye to further his healing.  

Eagles over Raiders - The Eagles need to get something going and get a good opportunity here.

Seahawks over Buccaneers - Winless and in chaos - the Bucs have no shot.

Browns over Ravens - Neither team is playing particularly well, but the Ravens have bigger issues that aren't being solved.

Patriots over Steelers - The Patriots are 6-2 and winning amid greater injury affect on the team than we've seen since the Carroll period.   The Steelers are 2-5 and looking like they're going nowhere.  

Colts over Texans - Indianapolis is surging with Luck; the Texans don't have any.

Packers over Bears - Bears look to be hitting a wall now.  

So it goes as we enter Week 9.

Turning Retreat Into A Virtie

The Obama regime never stops treating retreat as a virtue, especially in the Middle East.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

NFL Week Eight

Week Eight of the NFL season proceded with six teams on their bye week.   A look at how the rest of the league did -



- The Patriots cannot stay dead, even with seemingly escalating issues with injuries and poor play.  Tom Brady's hand is in some way broken, and the offensive line has struggled lately, and now has lost Sebastian Vollmer with a broken leg, perhaps for the season.

Yet Vollmer's injury served to illustrate a stunning irony - the line seemed to play better after the injury, as the Patriots erased a 17-3 gap with 24 unanswered points and blocked a Dolphins FGA.   Despite failing to reach 120 passing yards, Brady connected in key moments, with rookie Aaron Dobson almost taking over the receiving game.   As a result the Patriots are 6-2 and look still up to winning twelve games or even more.

NY Jets - The Jets cannot string together any consistency, as they got utterly destroyed by a Bengals squad that more and more looks like a juggernaut.   The Jets have won one week then lost the next week, and stand 4-4.

Dolphins - They showed they can play; they still haven't shown they can take it to another level.

Bills - See above.


Steelers - The season more and more already looks lost with yet another loss to Oakland.

Bengals - They still have some iron to face down the road, but at 6-2 the Bengals also face a schedule taking a noticeable turn for the better.

Browns - The Browns are 3-5 even with a greater competitiveness now.


Jaguars - 0-16 still looms


Broncos - They remain fortunate they've been getting opponents who self-destruct despite racing to a 21-7 lead.  

Chiefs - Still unbeaten, but the iron of the schedule still looms.

Raiders - If nothing else they still own the Steelers




- Same old Romo Cowboys, leaders of a weak division and showing no clutch ability.

NY Giants - They're not going to the playoffs but they are showing some improvement.

Eagles - It may now be time to give up on Michael Vick.

Redskins - Once again they squander an eminently winnable game.


Packers - They still have firepower.

Vikings - Astonishing they have fallen apart like this.

Lions - Matthew Stafford appears to be stepping up his game big-time; that's a great sign for a Lions squad that's playoff-caliber.


Saints - They're back to where they were in 2011.

Panthers - But the Panthers are looking better and better.

Falcons - They have become a bad team.

Buccaneers - They have become a worse team with a coach that may not make it to December.


49ers - This week was mostly San Francisco vs. their own injured reserve list.

Cardinals - Amazingly the Cardinals are 4-4.

Seahawks - They've surpassed all expectations and their schedule now gets easier, even on the road.

Rams - They now appear to be running in place.

So it goes as the Monday Night game beckons and then Week 9 rolls up.

The London Monarchs and Los Angeles Argonauts Are Coming

So Commissioner Goodell has come out and made it obvious to all - he wants an NFL team in London and one in Los Angeles.   So it would appear he cannot be argued out of the idea.   That there are reasons not to do it have been clear to anyone - the fact is neither city has any serious audience for a team, and Los Angeles is the worst sports town in the US.   For London the logistics of basing a team there already proved the undoing of NFL Europe, and there is no evidence players want to stay there.

Yet Goodell seems hell-bent on getting teams in London and Los Angeles - even with the idea of eight games a year with rotating teams played there along the lines of the current Thursday/Sunday Night/Monday Night packages.   So if the idea is inevitable, it would seem the addition of two teams to the league is also inevitable.  

The idea that a team would move from its present city to London or LA has never been a credible idea - the reality is cities all understand the economic benefit of having a team and the possibility of supporting relocation is a dead one - no city will give up its franchise anymore.   Jacksonville is often cited as a candidate to move its franchise elsewhere, but this is media types (and some fans) projecting a personal hatred of the city into the argument (it's well know the media hated going to Jacksonville for the Superbowl there - and really never had any credible reason for such hatred).

This is one of two idiotic analytical mistakes made in examining the issue.   The other is the tired gripe about "watering down the product" because of expansion, a concept that has never made any sense because it's never credibly defined, plus is commits the ultimate mistake made in economics - assuming a nonexistent limit on talent pool.   In economics wealth is created, it is never distributed - this is the fundamental fallacy used to justify redistributionary policies, and of course they've always failed.   In sports team talent is likewise created instead of distributed.   Claims the product is better with fewer teams is pseudo-nostalgic nonsense - the AFL-NFL rivalry discredited the notion of less is more forever in football.

If this does happen, I'm guessing the London team (the Monarchs, after the NFL Europe team) would be in the NFC East, the division with the highest number of big markets, while LA's team would be in the AFC West, the only sensible place for an LA team.   One can feel confident high-profile teams like the New England Patriots will be scheduled against both teams for primetime games to give their debut a dash of glitter.

I'm not sure it's a good idea simply because neither city has shown any reason to feel they even deserve a team.    But Goodell seems to have made it inevitable.

Monday, October 21, 2013

NFL Week Seven's Bottom Lines

Some bottom lines from Week 7 of the NFL season -

The Titans hit a bittersweet moment. - First came the passing of former Oilers coach Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips, and now the passing of team founder Kenneth Stanley "Bud" Adams following their 31-17 loss to the 49ers comes with the Titans having lost three straight despite showing genuine playoff muscle.   No doubt the team will be more motivated to win when they come back from their bye week; I still feel they can be a playoff team because they've shown muscle on all sides of the ball and Jake Locker, who naturally looked off the first half of the game coming back from two games out, should get better, having already shown he can play.

The Patriots offensive line is becoming an issue - Much is being made of the league's pushing rule on FGAs - a rule the league may have hastily rewritten after the fact - and curiously there is heavy criticism on WEEI and elsewhere that the Patriots didn't run the ball enough.   The fact is running the ball is not working regardless of what the yardage may ostensibly tell you - when it isn't working teams stop wasting downs with the run.  

The real issue for the Patriots is the offensive line is not protecting Brady - he's being attacked more and more and getting hit more and more; his injured hand against the Jets became an issue as that game went on.   The Patriots line did poorly against the Bengals and twice have struggled against the Jets.   It needs to become more ferocious and start taking over the line of scrimmage.

Player safety is not justification for ticky-tack rules - The NFL is justifying this new rule on FGAs in the name of player safety.   The fact is players have never been in the risk the narrative pushed by League Of Denial pretends exists (see War On Football: Saving America's Game); the game has long been exceptionally safe, in large part because of the toughness of the players.   The league needs to relearn how to trust in the toughness of the players and stop with these ticky-tack rules

The Jets are still too undisciplined to make the playoffs - The Jets committed nine penalties and some of them were egregious errors befitting a team fundamentally undisciplined.  

The Panthers may now be hitting a groove - Carolina is now 3-3 and their schedule looks easier now with the fall of the Falcons and Bucs and the Saints no longer unbeaten. 

The Broncos are not what people think they are - The Colts opened the roof of Lucas Oil Stadium and it became obvious that it negatively affected Peyton Manning, as the Broncos fell behind 36-17 and then gagged away their comeback attempt.   It's clear the Broncos are not the juggernaut people assumed they'd be.

The AFC West can take down the Broncos - Kansas City is unbeaten and the Chargers are now getting into a groove.

The NFC North is joining the NFC East as most overrated division in the league - The Bears fell in an awe-inspiring shootout to the Redskins; The Packers are just 4-2; the Lions are 4-3.   Meanwhile the NFC East is led by the overrated Cowboys as the Eagles faltered again.   It will be surprising if anyone in either division reaches 11 wins.

The Ravens are slowly but surely sliding out of playoff contention - Losing to the one-win Steelers, division foe or not, is just the latest sign the defending champs are not ready for prime time.  

So it goes until Week Eight.

Takeaways From Talladega And Thompson

The third weekend of October was a boffo weekend for racing as Talladega opened up for the Truck Series and Winston Cup while Thompson Speedway brang down the curtain on its 2013 season and that of the Modified Tour. A scattershot look at both -


Donny Lia, Rowan Pennick, and Ryan Preece give the Mod Tour a fresh new class of stars  - The final 20 or so laps of the Sunoco 150 were a spirited battle between Lia, Pennick, and Preece; Lia had won at Stafford a few weeks earlier while he and Todd Szegedy got into it in September at New Hampshire's FW Webb 100-miler with Ryan Newman.   Preece had won the most races and won the series title while Pennick had not led a lap since the Town Fair Tire 100 at Loudon in July.   The three of them got into it and Pennick took the win, his first since the 2010 Riverhead 200.

The three of them showcased youth and spirited competition that will serve Modified Racing well.

Johnny Sauter makes a nice living in NASCAR's high minors - Over the years there have been drivers who've never made it in Winston Cup but whose talent is showcased in NASCAR's "high minors" of the Busch Series and the Trucks.   The Truck 250 was one of the most amazing Talladega Truck races ever seen and Johnny Sauter's rally to the win - his ninth in the Truck Series - was as brilliant a battle as seen anywhere.  

Sauter reminds one of Todd Bodine, Mike Wallace, Ron Hornaday, and Randy LaJoie, drivers who tried a go of it in Cup and never made it, then established their own mini-kingdoms of success one level below Cup.   That's not a bad way to go in racing.

Jamie McMurray again defies assumptions - In 398 Cup starts McMurray now has seven wins.   He may never contend for a series title but he doesn't have to to have a memorable career.   It reintroduced the sport to a driver who hadn't won since his eye-opening 2010 season and who most had pretty much written off.

Aric Almirola again shows he is a disgrace - It may be fitting that Almirola was born in Tampa Bay, where the Bucs have degenerated into an embarrassment to the NFL.   Certainly his two seasons in Richard Petty's #43 have been a disgrace even with the surprising fifth at New Hampshire and five other top ten finishes.   Winning the Diehard 500's pole by rain-induced default, Almirola led eight laps and then was never heard from again, limping home 22nd after just riding around all day.  Petty deserves a lot better than that - winning Talladega is what Petty deserves, not the pseudo-effort Almirola phoned in.

Talladega again showcases the best of racing and the worst of NASCAR's rules ineptitude - The Truck 250 was another case where the supporting race to Cup was better than the Cup race.   NASCAR's Generation Six racecar has done poorly all season (necessitating early October's aerodynamics test at Charlotte) and Talladega showed it can produce great racing even with a bad rules package as the lead changed 52 times.   But even with that passing was graphically difficult since NASCAR's radiator rules discourage tandem drafting - the cars seemed even not to want to touch at all - and the points-racing ethos in the sport kicked in with drivers running in line the last ten laps waiting for a moment that didn't happen.

Contrast this with the Truck 250, where tandem drafting was prolific; the most striking part of the race, though, was how conventional drafting was able to keep pace and once a tandem took the lead the push-Truck would dive under and take the lead.   The negatives of the tandems in the past - the push-vehicle before would push a leader into the clear and just stay there; conventional drafts could not keep up - appear to be evolving away.    The Truck race didn't have the weird look that tandem races had had; it looked and felt like an old-fashioned superspeedway shootout.  

It's why Brian France and NASCAR need to stop opposing tandem drafting; it is the strongest power to pass the sport has ever seen.   Perhaps Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR's innovation director, can persuade the sanctioning body that the best innovations often are going back to the future.

Denny Hamlin wasn't the only one hoping his season ends soon  - Hamlin blew up and it was mentioned on the mediacast that he's looking forward to end a lost year.   Meanwhile Stewart-Haas Racing had a bad ending - Danica Patrick shockingly ran strong then disappeared in the final 30 laps, while Austin Dillon ran great all day then got spun out and then blasted viciously on the backstretch - a fitting image of the team's lost 2013 season.  

Yes, there was a Trevor Bayne sighting - Some compared him to Tim Tebow - fitting since Bayne's 2011 Daytona 500 win hasn't gotten any positive follow-up aside from two Busch Series wins.   Even with that he basically has disappeared since that Daytona win.  

NASCAR needs to rethink whether to have paved run-offs - Over and over vehicles have slid hard into the inside wall at Talladega and elsewhere and never have we seen any evidence to think paved run-offs are doing any good.

And with that NASCAR heads to Martinsville, though we're a little puzzled why it's been pushed to late October the last number of years.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Myth Of Falling Bridges

Remember the Democratic meme that government needs to rebuild infrastructure?

It doesn't, and whatever bridges do need repair is best left to private initiative.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NFL Lucky Seven

It's Week Seven, so we try to get Lucky -


Seahawks over CARDINALS -  The Cards have played better than expected, but that won't last.

DOLPHINS over Bills - Buffalo has actually played well overall and Thad Lewis showed something as raw as he is to the league.   But Miami now has too much firepower here.

PANTHERS over Rams - The Panthers have begun turning their program around while the Rams remain curiously inconsistent.

REDSKINS over Bears - The Skins have played rather poorly this season and the Bears come off another win, but the Bears didn't show particular inspiration in defeating a winless Giants team with no prospect of a turnaround.

LIONS over Bengals - Both teams are showing good muscle; this could be a high-scoring affair.

EAGLES over Cowboys - The Eagles have begun turning their program around and Nick Foles is starting to show he's for real.

Chargers over JAGUARS - San Diego ground out a somewhat sloppy win over the Colts; they should display some flash against the winless Jaguars.

Patriots over NY JETS - Though he's shown genuine promise, Geno Smith has thrown ten picks, and the Patriots are coming off their most inspiring win in years, the kind of win that launches a playoff run even with Rob Gronkowski jerking the team around; curiously rumors of a possible WR/TE trade to New England remain even as the rookies steadily step up their game.

FALCONS over Buccaneers - Neither team is good as far as making a playoff push goes.   The Falcons likely are out of the playoffs but will still fight.

TITANS over 49ers - The Titans have blown winnable games in back to back weeks with poor play from Ryan Fitzpatrick at the worst time; Jake Locker has returned to the practice field but is unlikely to suit up for this game.   Fitzpatrick needs to step up his game as the Titans are capable of stopping the Niners.

Ravens over STEELERS - The Ravens are mediocre, the Steelers are worse.   Neither team has a playoff shot.

PACKERS over Browns - Two of Green Bay's three wins have come at home.  Even with heavy odds and insifficient muscle against the Lions last week, the Browns are a team that can beat good opponents, especially a Packers team that overall has shown itself overrated.

CHIEFS over Texans - It gets uglier and uglier for Houston in a season most resembling the Oilers' brutal 1994 fiasco of a year.  Matt Schaub has to go now - he has fallen apart as a quarterback and fan hatred has gotten far out of hand.  

COLTS over Broncos - This sounds like a reach given Peyton Manning's rampage this season, but the Broncos aren't stopping anyone and Andrew Luck wants to put the ugly loss at San Diego behind him.   This looks like a shootout in the making.

Vikings over NY GIANTS - The Vikings were crushed big-time by the Panthers last week and have just one win.   It is looking like a lost year for the Vikings but it's already a lost cause for the winless Giants as Eli Manning's competence has flat deserted him.

So it goes for Week Seven.

UPDATE: POSTED OCTOBER 20 - The Patriots lost their game to the Jets 30-27 on a controversial penalty against them on a failed Jets FGA in overtime - and the controversy over the penalty gets even murkier with reports claiming the rule in question was hastily added to the rulebook after the game. Here also is Tom Curran's report on the issue.

Thomas Sowell: Who shut down the government?

Democrats are the ones, that's who.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bill Belichick Says Get Me A Rewrite

"Sorry if you had to rewrite some of those stories at the end." So said Bill Belichick after the Patriots shocked everyone by defeating the New Orleans Saints on a last-second touchdown - this after blowing a 17-7 lead, coughing up a late Saints touchdown, then throwing an interception that effectively ended the game, or so everyone thought.  

The Patriots have spent nearly fifteen years proving the experts wrong.   Now they're doing it again and doing so in a prolonged rebuilding period.   The receiving corps is basically brand new, this after a multi-year effort to rebuild a defense accused of being old.   The Patriots have been ripped for allowing Wes Welker to walk in free agency, this even though he was grossly overrated as a receiver beyond the enormity of his volume stats.   The Patriots are also facing the spectacle of Rob Gronkowski, cleared to play by team doctors but who is basically holding out, claiming other doctors have proclaimed he isn't ready to play - this even though he has practiced and has shown he is ready. The excuses being made for Gronkowski in some areas of the media are nonsensical, because it's not about him, it's about the team.


Some other NFL items as the press people had to submit rewrites after the Patriots game -

The Bills good news-bad news season continues  - The Bills bypassed their erstwhile backup quarterback, fell behind 24-10 to the Bengals, then rallied to tie the game - only to fall in overtime.   No matter what the Bills do, they can't get over any hump, even though overall they've played some legitimately good football.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not getting anything done for the Titans - The Seahawks have been exposed as beatable and the Titans bullied them into mistakes and poor play, but Ryan Fitzpatrick was a key reason to the Titans lost, thanks to another interception.   The Titans are now 3-3; we thought Fitzpatrick could keep them in contention, he's not doing that.

The Ravens are not a playoff team - Against an overrated Packers team the Ravens simply didn't make enough plays, and that's been the story of their season right now.

The Broncos are not a 16-0 team - The truth about Peyton Manning is he's not even a playoff-winning quarterback.   The Broncos nonetheless are certainly good enough to match last year's 13-3 with one of the highest scoring offenses ever seen.   But they are eminently capable of being bullied into losing.   If last week's 51-48 shootout didn't show that, this game against the winless Jaguars (a team that's had some clutch wins over Peyton in recent years) did.

Matt Schaub has to go - The Texans can't try and hide him anymore, because they're falling apart.

We still await the Sunday and Monday Night games, but for now the league signs off until Talladega weekend.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

NFL Picks Six

And all of a sudden we have some desperation games, some surging powers, and of course the utter collapses of several organizations, not to mention of several "star" players.   So we look toward this coming week, Week Six and the potential of many a pick six -

home team in CAPS


BEARS over NY Giants -  Believe it or not a rumor has begun circulating that the Giants have Eli Manning as trade bait, albeit for two first rounders.   I'm skeptical of this rumor though I can't say never given the collapse of the Giants.   The Bears aren't that good but should walk all over a team in complete disarray.

Bengals over BILLS - Buffalo obviously saw enough of Jeff Tuel to bypass him altogether and start practice squader Thad Lewis against Cincinnati, this after losing out in the Josh Freeman sweepstakes.   Not getting Freeman, who has basically packed it in as a serious quarterback, is no loss, but it's not a good sign for the Bills, a team that had shown promise with EJ Manuel.

RAVENS over Packers - The Ravens are another team that has fallen pretty hard even though they're 3-2; their program showed improvement last week yet still doesn't look right.   The Packers aren't great shakes, either, and their last trip to an AFC North stadium ended badly.

BROWNS over Lions - Yes, the Lions are an upgrade over Buffalo, but the Browns shook off what could have been a season-finishing disaster and are 3-2, this after all the experts pronounced their season dead after two games.   The Browns have something going on here that's working.

VIKINGS over Panthers - The story that Carolina is already shopping to replace Ron Rivera and a dismal effort against the always-inept Cardinals is a very bad sign for Carolina's season.

Rams over TEXANS - This season is becoming a complete failure for the Texans and Matt Schaub is showing he can't salvage it.   It will help a slumping Rams outfit.

CHIEFS over Raiders - Kansas City is surging like no one ever expected.    The Raiders showed moxie last week but it's not enough now.

NY JETS over Steelers - The Steelers are another team in complete disarray; their is no reason to feel confident in them against a Jets team coming off an inspiring comeback win.

Eagles over BUCCANEERS - Philly finally righted the ship and get another downtrodden team.

BRONCOS over Jaguars - People are aghast that a team could be as hopeless as the Jaguars now are. 

SEAHAWKS over Titans - It's Seattle's home dome and they haven't lost there since late 2011 (vs. San Francisco).   The Titans blew a winnable game against Kansas City thanks to poor late play from Ryan Fitzpatrick; they should battle and the Titans are good enough to contend for the playoffs, but it's too big a hill in Seattle.

PATRIOTS over Saints - Everything is stacked against the Patriots - they're coming off a bad loss to Cincinnati where the offensive line was pretty much manhandled; they're 0-3 lifetime against Drew Brees; the Saints offense is surging again.   Yet the Patriots faced a team much like the Saints in the Falcons and pulled off the win, plus where Cincy was a team that they might have taken lightly, the Saints are anything but that.   It's not quite a must-win for the Patriots but close.

49ERS over Cardinals - The Niners have begun getting in gear again.   The Cardinals are stuck with the inept Carson Palmer.

Redskins over COWBOYS - It is baffling that so many media types are scrambling to excuse Tony Romo's game-costing INT against the Broncos; the fact is Tony Romo is a stupid quarterback - period.   The Skins have been bad this year but they have what it takes to - again - beat the 'boys.

CHARGERS over Colts - That may be tough to say after San Diego's embarrassing loss to the Raiders, but the Chargers have the talent to win and face a semi-must-win against the Colts, themselves inspired after upending the Seahawks last week.  

And so we have Picks Six.

Monday, October 07, 2013

NFL Airing It Out

With Tony Romo's 500 yard passing game against Denver, the Pro Football Hall Of Fame updated its list of all-time quarterback passing games per franchise.   Presented below is a follow-up - the list, with game results -


Buffalo Bills - 2002 - Drew Bledsoe vs. Vikings - 463 yards, three touchdowns - won 45-39 OT
Miami Dolphins - 1988 - Dan Marino vs. NY Jets - 521 yards, three touchdowns, five INTs - lost 44-30
New England Patriots - 2011 - Tom Brady vs. Dolphins - 517 yards, four touchdowns one INT - won 38-24
New York Jets - 1972 - Joe Namath vs. Colts - 496 yards, six touchdowns, one INT - won 44-34

Baltimore Ravens - 1996 - Vinny Testaverde vs. Rams - 429 yards, three touchdowns, two INTs - won 37-31 OT
Cincinnati Bengals - 1990 - Norman "Boomer" Esiason vs. Rams - 490 yards, three touchdowns - won 34-31 OT
Cleveland Browns - 1981 - Brian Sipe vs. Colts - 444 yards, four touchdowns, two INTs - won 42-28
Pittsburgh Steelers - 2009 - Ben Roethlisberger vs. Packers - 503 yards, three touchdowns - won 37-36

Houston Oilers - 1990 - Warren Moon vs. Chiefs - 527 yards, three touchdowns - won 27-10
Houston Texans - 2012 - Matt Schaub vs. Jaguars - 527 yards, five touchdowns, two INTs - won 43-37 OT
Jacksonville Jaguars - 1996 - Mark Brunell vs. Patriots - 432 yards, three touchdowns, one INT - lost 28-25 OT
Indianapolis Colts - 2004 - Peyton Manning vs. Chiefs - 472 yards, five touchdowns, one INT - lost 45-35
Tennessee Titans - 2004 - Billy Volek vs. Raiders - 492 yards, four touchdowns, one INT - lost 40-35

Denver Broncos - 2004 - Jake Plummer vs. Falcons - 499 yards, four touchdowns, three INTs - lost 41-28
Kansas City Chiefs - 2000 - Elvis Grbac vs. Raiders - 504 yards, two touchdowns, two INTs - lost 49-31
Oakland Raiders - 1964 - Cotton Davidson vs. Broncos - 427 yards, five touchdowns, one INT - won 40-7
San Diego Chargers - 2010 - Philip Rivers vs. Seahawks - 455 yards, two touchdowns, two INTs - lost 27-20


Dallas Cowboys - 2013 - Tony Romo vs. Broncos - 506 yards, five touchdowns, one INT - lost 51-48
New York Giants - 1985 - Phil Simms vs. Bengals - 513 yards, one touchdown, two INTs - lost 35-30
Philadelphia Eagles - 2004 - Donovan McNabb vs. Packers - 464 yards, five touchdowns - won 47-17
Washington Redskins - 1999 -   Brad Johnson vs. 49ers - 471 yards, two touchdowns, one INT - won 26-20 OT

Chicago Bears - 1949 - Johnny Ludjack vs. Cardinals - 468 yards, six touchdowns, three INTs - won 52-21
Detroit Lions - 2011 - Matthew Stafford vs. Packers - 520 yards, five touchdowns, two INTs - lost 45-41
Green Bay Packers - 2011 - Matt Flynn vs. Lions - 480 yards, six touchdowns, one INT - won 45-41
Minnesota Vikings - 1986 - Tommy Kramer vs. Redskins - 490 yards, four touchdowns, one INT - lost 44-38 OT

Atlanta Falcons - 2001 - Chris Chandler vs. Bills - 431 yards, two touchdowns, two INTs - won 33-30
Carolina Panthers - 2011 - Cam Newton vs. Packers - 432 yards, one touchdown, three INTs - lost 30-23
New Orleans Saints - 2006 - Drew Brees vs. Bengals - 510 yards, two touchdowns, three INTs - lost 31-16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1980 - Doug Williams vs. Vikings - 486 yards, four touchdowns, two INTs - lost 38-30

Arizona Cardinals - 1996 - Norman "Boomer" Esiason vs. Redskins - 522 yards, three touchdowns, four INTs - won 37-34 OT
San Francisco 49ers - 1990 - Joe Montana vs. Falcons - 476 yards, six touchdowns, two INTs - won 45-35
Seattle Seahawks - 2002 - Matt Hasselback vs. Chargers - 449 yards, two touchdowns, two INTs - won 31-28 OT
St. Louis Rams - 1951 - Norm Van Brocklin vs. NY Yanks - 554 yards, five touchdowns, two INTs - won 54-14

Debunking The Democrats On Defaulting

The Democrats as usual push a lie, this one about defaulting on the debt.   Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has lied repeatedly about default to push Obama's economic illiteracy.

Week Five Gut-Checks

The NFL season often sees one particular week of games that prove to be season gut-checks. Whether Week Five this year proves to be such remains to be seen, but ten items jumped out this week -

1 - THE PATRIOTS LOSE AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE - New England's loss to the Bengals was the club's first loss to Marvin Lewis, and there was a lot to dislike from New England's side - but the big story seems to be that the offensive line never won any battle all day, leaving Tom Brady harried and hit while no rhythm on offense was ever established.   It was disturbingly reminiscent of the line's poor performance in preseason at Detroit.   That the line overall has been excellent is true enough, but losses such as this should irk everyone involved.

2 - THE NFC EAST IS THE LEAGUE'S WEAKEST DIVISION - The Eagles manhandled the NY Giants again and may now begin to string together some consistent muscle, but it wasn't much of an accomplishment after Dallas' deflation to the Broncos; it merely showed how weak the division now is.   That the Cowboys had beaten Peyton Manning the previous two meetings appeared to mean something the way the game was going - until Tony Romo showcased why he has no future as a top-drawer quarterback; being the first Cowboys quarterback to break 500 passing yards in a game is a completely empty accomplishment.

3 - THE PANTHERS HAVE BIGGER ISSUES THAN WE MAY THINK - What jumped out in some of the pregame coverage everywhere was the story that the Panthers are already scouting to replace coach Ron Rivera, this after their Bye week.   That the Panthers were embarrassed by the Cardinals is the old question of cause or effect, and indicative of dysfunction the team cannot afford to have.

4 - THE AFC SOUTH IS BECOMING A TWO-TEAM RACE - The Colts rallied to shoot down the surging Seahawks, an important win given the Seahawks were trying to establish some kind of consistent muscle on the road; the Seahawks remain the more notorious road losers in the league and that has cost them shots at the Superbowl.   

The Colts win put them ahead of Tennessee; the Titans wound up giving up their first loss to Andy Reid thanks to a late collapse by backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, this after he'd rallied the Titans to a 17-13 lead after trailing 13-0.   Making it even worse, the Titans now have to travel to Seattle; the task of winning at Seattle is huge for any team.  

The Titans nonetheless have a commanding lead on Houston, and the Texans face a bad prospect going forward - they no longer look like an elite team, instead they've become a team that has to question its own quarterback as well as coach.  

5 -THE SAINTS EXPOSE JAY CUTLER AGAIN - The Saints under Sean Payton had not won at Chicago, a streak ended pretty emphatically this time around.  In the process the Saints proved a point largely lost amid the accolades given coach Marc Trestman et al - Jay Cutler is not a good quarterback, and by now in his career it's not going to get better.  

6 - THE BRONCOS LOOK LIKE A TEAM THEY DON'T WANT TO RESEMBLE - The Broncos have exploded in points scored and that's always a desired result for a team, but amid the scoring the game at Dallas graphically made a point largely lost all season - defensively they're not a good team.   Only Jacksonville, St. Louis, Philly, and the NY Giants have given up more than Denver's 139 points allowed (Houston is tied with Denver at 139 allowed).   They look more and more like the 2011 Packers, the ultimate fraud 15-1 team, a team that scored like crazy, couldn't stop anyone, and got exposed once the playoffs got underway.    Peyton Manning's playoff record speaks to the analogy - eight career playoff one-and-outs (more disturbingly for Denver, five of them including last year's insane gag-job against the Ravens were home games).   The notion of the Broncos running the table has taken some hold but don't buy it.

7 - THE CARDINALS - IN SPITE OF THEMSELVES - AREN'T GOING AWAY - Carson Palmer has been terrible yet the Cards are 3-2.   That they've already gotten this far says something about Bruce Arians, especially after he'd called out the Cards offense as "putrid" and it won despite not looking any better in this game.  

8 - WILL THE REAL RAVENS PLEASE STAND UP? - The Ravens are 3-2 yet even in their wins they've left reason for doubt about how they'll do down the road this year.   Terrell Suggs' summation ("We weren't perfect, but we made plays when we needed to") reflects the year so far for the Ravens, and they overall showed bounce after last week's bitter loss.   But they've become a team where you don't really know what you're getting week in and week out.  

9 - FEAR THE BROWNS - Losing their quarterback for the year looked bad, and there are still eleven games left in the year, but Cleveland's win over Buffalo was a slugfest of a game and showed real fight in the Browns, the kind of fight we have not seen out of them since they came back into the league.  

10 - THE PACKERS DON'T CONVINCE A LOT OF PEOPLE RIGHT NOW - Like the Ravens (who they face next week), the Packers are a team where one doesn't know what to expect week after week, though here the issues are easier to pin down - the Packers do not have the toughness to rally from down big or down late.   This showed again in another home win over the Lions, winless at Lambeau since 1991 - they won 22-9 yet lacked the crispness to buy that they're a real contender.

So be it until the Monday Night Game.

Thursday, October 03, 2013