CHEERS for Ravens QB Joe Flacco winning the game’s MVP award after throwing for 287 yards and three touchdowns. It capped off a brilliant playoff run in which Flacco tossed 11 TDs without a single interception. His contract expired at the end of the game, but I think it’s safe to say some team will probably sign him to a big fat deal.
CHEERS for Ravens WR and New Orleans native Jacoby Jones producing two of the biggest moments of the game. Jones caught a 56-yard touchdown late in the first half and returned the 2nd half kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown. Hurricane Katrina destroyed his family’s home and the high school he attended, but his mother stayed in the city and even cooked dinner for Jones and some of his teammates last Monday. That was a great start to the week, Jones made sure it had a great ending.
BOOS to the 34-minute power outage shortly after Jones’ kick return. Of course, it did help turn a rout into a riveting contest, so maybe I should be cheering the lights going out.
CHEERS for referee Jerome Boger’s authoritative, “Let’s Go!” when it was time to resume play. It was the rare time an official spoke and everybody in the stadium was happy.
CHEERS for the end of the Har-Bowl. Seriously, if I never hear another story about brothers John and Jim, parents Jack and Jackie or sister Joanie, it will be too soon.
CHEERS for the commercials, many of which were laugh-out-loud funny. I totally cracked up watching the E*TRADE baby, the M&M’s Love Ballad and the Tide Miracle Stain spot.
CHEERS for the halftime show which I watched for the first time in, well, I don’t even remember the last time I actually watched it. Beyoncé was entertaining and I even recognized a few of the songs. Could I have done without approximately 500 pelvic thrusts in a 15-minute show, sure, but that’s just nitpicking.
CHEERS for Super Bowl squares that gave me a rooting interest, especially the halftime box of Ravens 1, 49ers 6, which put $260 into my wife’s pocket. Condolences to all with Ravens 4, 49ers 9, who lost out when Baltimore intentionally took a safety at the end of the game.
FINALLY, a non-Super Bowl CHEERS for the California Institute of Technology’s baseball team ending a 228-game losing streak with a 9-7 defeat of Pacifica. No, 228 is not a typo. It was the Beavers first win since February 15, 2003.
THERE IT IS!
“Thirty years from now,” he said, “I don’t think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It’s just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going — where they [NFL rules makers] want to lighten up, and they’re throwing flags and everything else — there’s going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it.
“Guys are getting fined, and they’re talking about, ‘Let’s take away the strike zone’ and ‘Take the pads off’ or ‘Take the helmets off.’ It’s going to be a thing where fans aren’t going to want to watch it anymore.”
Um, thanks Bernard. Maybe I’ll just make amends by handling this myself with nothing but CHEERS this week.
CHEERS for Green Bay Packers C Jeff Saturday, who was allowed to snap the ball for both the NFC and AFC teams during the Pro Bowl. It was a nice tribute to the long-time Indianapolis Colts center, who hiked the ball to New York Giants QB Manning the Eli and on one special play to Denver Broncos QB Manning the Peyton, who Saturday played with for 12 seasons in Indianapolis.
CHEERS for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell receiving a 39% approval rating from NFL players in a USA TODAY Sports poll. Considering the recent lockout, Bountygate, the officials debacle and mounting head trauma issues, I expected that number to be much lower. Without seeing a breakdown, I’m willing to bet those approving play offense and those disapproving play defense.
CHEERS for San Jose Sharks LW Patrick Marleau scoring two goals in each of the first four games of the NHL season, tying a mark set by Cy Denneny of the 1917-18 Ottawa Senators. After lighting the lamp once more in his fifth game, Marleau has nine goals for the year, one more than the team totals of the Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings and equal to the ouputs of the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets. His efforts helped spark the Sharks to a 5-0 mark.
CHEERS for the Chicago Blackhawks starting 6-0, including 4-0 on the road. Most games have been close, including the last four wins by scores of 3-2, 3-2 (OT), 3-2 and 2-1 (OT). The best start to an NHL campaign is 10-0, set by the 1993 Toronto Maple Leafs and matched by the 2006 Buffalo Sabres. If the Blackhawks are to equal that mark, they would need to beat Marleau and the Sharks in the 10th game!
CHEERS for the most innovative mocking of hockey referees EVER! Upset about an unsportsmanlike penalty that result in the go-ahead goal for the opposition, Wenatchee Wild assistant coach Chris Clark performed a protest like no other. Humorously enough, Clark left the ice before the
three blind mice officials signaled his ejection from the NAHL game.
CHEERS for the Michigan Wolverines basketball team reaching the #1 spot in the AP Poll for the first time since the Fab Five in 1992-93. They moved up from #2 after Duke was embarrassed by Miami, 90-63, and Michigan easily handled Illinois, 74-60. Led by Player of the Year candidate PG Trey Burke, who averages 18 points and seven assists per game, these Wolverines are seeking to match the 1988-89 team that won the National Title.
CHEERS for LA Lakers G Kobe Bryant racking up 14 assists in consecutive wins against the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. In the 19 games Kobe has at least six assists, the Lakers are 13-6. In the 25 games he has less than six assists, they are 6-19. I wonder if anybody on the Lakers will sit him down, show him these numbers and then let Kobe draw the proper conclusion.
CHEERS for Michael Drysch, a 50-year-old computer technician, who hit a half-court hook shot to win $75,000 in a promotional contest. If that wasn’t enough, Miami Heat F LeBron James left his team’s huddle to tackle Drysch in celebration. Sadly, the federal and state government will also tackle Drysch for more than $22,000 in taxes. All things considered, I’d take $52,000 and a hug from LeBron any day!
CHEERS for Chelsea Football Club’s W Eden Hazard winning the award for “The Stupidest Move By An Athlete In 2013.” It’s only January, but nobody will top Hazard kicking at 17-year-old ball boy, Charlie Morgan, in an effort to get the ball back in play during Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Swansea City. Hazard was tossed from the match, slapped with a standard three-game suspension and is awaiting a ruling by England’s Football Association on further punishment.
CHEERS for Super Bowl Sunday and all the fabulous fried food and frosty cold beverages I will consume. I predict the Ravens win, 34-31, in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.
THERE IT IS!
I know, Hall looks nothing like him. But The Breakfast Club was the first movie my family ever recorded on a VCR back in 1985. I watched it over and over and can still quote many of the lines. When Hall’s nerdy character, Brian Johnson, is questioned about his virginity, he responds that he has had sex and declares, “She lives in Canada, met her at Niagara Falls. You wouldn’t know her.” He was as believable then as Te’o is now. Come to think of it, maybe we should just have Lance Armstrong play Te’o.
CHEERS for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers reaching the Super Bowl, their play in the championship games was outstanding.
BOOS to the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers reaching the Super Bowl, I have no interest in rooting for either team. I’ll be watching the commercials and rooting for my SUPER BOWL SQUARES!!!
CHEERS for Ravens WR Anquan Boldin backing up his boasts in the AFC Title Game. In the middle of the week, Boldin told reporters the rematch of last year’s title game would be different, “Because we’ll make it different. We’re going to win.” On Sunday, he made a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch and a very good two-handed touchdown catch to clinch the 28-13 victory.
CHEERS for Anna Burns Welker, wife of New England Patriots WR Wes Welker, ripping Ray Lewis on Facebook and telling people to check out his Wikipedia page after the Ravens beat the Patriots. She posted what many of us were thinking, that Ray Lewis may be great on the field but not so much off the field.
BOOS to Anna Burns Welker for apologizing for her post.
CHEERS for the NFL reviewing Patriots QB Tom Brady raising his leg and hitting Ravens S Ed Reed with it on a slide late in the first half of the game. As Ravens S Bernard Pollard said, “We all know and understand what’s going on there. And as a quarterback, when you go to slide, we’re taught . . . we can’t do anything. When you come sliding, and your leg is up in the air trying to kick somebody, that’s bull crap.” Of course, it’s Brady, a star quarterback, so nothing of consequence will happen. But at least the league is acting like it cares about defensive players.
CHEERS for the 49ers coaching staff using QB Colin Kaepernick as a decoy in the run game (just two carries for 21 yards) after his record-setting performance against Green Bay. With the Falcons focused on Kaepernick, RBs Frank Gore and LaMichael James combined for 26 carries, 124 yards and three touchdowns. I ripped Jim Harbaugh for making the decision to go with Kaepernick when Alex Smith returned from his concussion, but I was wrong about the decision and wrong about Kaepernick.
CHEERS for 49ers TE Vernon Davis catching five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the 28-24 win against the Atlanta Falcons. Davis had just five catches for 90 yards and zero touchdowns in the previous five games. The weapons the 49ers have on offense are amazing.
CHEERS for Falcons QB Matt Ryan passing for a team playoff record 396 yards, including completing 18 of 24 throws for 271 yards and three touchdowns as Atlanta took a 24-14 lead into the halftime locker room. He joined Jeff George (366 in 1995), Chris Chandler (340 in 1998) and Steve Bartkowski (320 in 1980) as the only Atlanta quarterbacks to throw for more than 300 yards in a playoff game. Only Chandler was victorious, beating the Minnesota Vikings, 30-27 in overtime, to send the Falcons to the Super Bowl for the only time in their history. (Editor’s Nugget: Shockingly, George accumulated all that yardage against Green Bay but failed to get the Falcons past the Packers 45-yard line on eight of their 12 possessions in the 37-20 loss)
BOOS to Falcons QB Matt Ryan throwing his only interception and fumbling away the football on Atlanta’s first two drives of the second half. Both times the Falcons were marching toward scores that might’ve changed the final outcome. And on the final four downs, Ryan never threw to WR Julio Jones, despite Jones having already caught 11 passes for 182 yards, including a long TD on the first drive of the game and a terrific toe-tapper that put the Falcons up 17-0.
BOOS to two weeks of talk about the Harbaugh Brothers. I just read they aren’t talking on the phone this week, just texting. I expect tomorrow I will learn whether they are using iPhones, Blackberries or Galaxy SIIIs for the texting. By Thursday, I imagine I will know their mobile phone histories as well as their cable and internet providers. By next week, we’ll be touring the house they grew up in. JOY!
CHEERS for former Oakland Raiders WR Tim Brown once again claiming his head coach, Bill Callahan, sabotaged the team in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. Brown stated Callahan changed the game plan less than 36 hours before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which ruined the Raiders chances to win (and may have been the reason C Barret Robbins disappeared that weekend). Not only are his words worth investigating, they are a much more interesting storyline than those brothers whose names will no longer be mentioned in this column.
CHEERS for Phil Mickelson talking about taxes after the final round of the Humana Challenge. Mickelson griped about how new state and federal laws might cause him to make drastic changes like moving out of California, as well as saying they were a factor in his decision to pass on an ownership opportunity with the San Diego Padres. While it’s hard to feel sorry for a man who has made more than $70 million in golf, not including endorsements, I don’t blame him for being annoyed when the government wants to take more than 60% of his money in taxes.
THERE IT IS!
OK, so that’s a
slight huge exaggeration, but I am interested to hear if he comes completely clean like others in sports including Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Marion Jones, Pete Rose, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, A-Rod, ok, forget them. Perhaps he will admit to his wrongdoing like our elected officials including Bill Clinton, Rod Blagojevich, Anthony Weiner, um, never mind. Let’s just see if he can stare into Oprah’s eyes and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
CHEERS for the Matts of the Atlanta Falcons. QB Ryan led his team to a big lead with three touchdown passes, then made two clutch throws in the last 31 seconds to set up a chance to win. K Bryant finished the job, drilling a 49-yard field goal on his second try, providing the winning points in a heartstopping 30-28 victory against the Seattle Seahawks. Since I’m celebrating the Matts, I also have to mention P Bosher, the holder on Bryant’s kick.
CHEERS for Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez, who was finally on the winning side of a postseason game. The future Hall of Famer has played 16 seasons but never had a chance to celebrate a playoff win. His reaction was to break down in tears. “I’ve never cried after a win,” said Gonzalez, who has stated repeatedly that he’s “95 percent” sure this is his final year. “I was thinking, `Here we go again. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” As it turns out, it was meant to be.
CHEERS for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, nearly pulling off the miraculous comeback. Down 27-7 in the 4th quarter, Wilson led three touchdown drives to put his team ahead, only to be outdone by the Matts’ heroics. In fact, had the Seahawks won, it would’ve been the all-time greatest 4th quarter comeback in NFL playoff history. Instead, it was just a remarkable display by a rookie quarterback.
BOOS to Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, calling a timeout before Bryant attempted the field goal the first time. Bryant missed but had the chance to do it again. Statistics show attempting to “ice” the kicker actually helps improve their percentage of makes. But Carroll did it anyway. (It appeared Carroll was arguing about the timeout when Bryant missed. It turns out he was complaining about Bryant going through with the kick after the timeout was called, which supposedly the officials said they wouldn’t allow.)
CHEERS for New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen, who scored three touchdowns in the Pats 41-28 drubbing of the Houston Texans. His first two were easy runs and catches, but the third one was impressive. He hauled in QB Tom Brady’s perfect, over-the-shoulder throw for a 33-yard touchdown that sealed the game early in the 4th quarter.
BOOS to Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who had his team huddling up after every play when it was down 38-20 in the 4th quarter. Needing three scores, the drive started with 9:58 left and ended with 5:11 left, making it virtually impossible for the Texans to win without attempting and recovering two onside kicks. Shockingly, they didn’t.
CHEERS for San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, justifying head coach Jim Harbaugh’s faith in him in the 49ers 45-31 destruction of the Green Bay Packers. Kaepernick racked up 444 total yards and four touchdowns, leading the 49ers offense to its biggest yardage total (579) in franchise playoff history. Perhaps the most amazing part is he gained 178 of his QB-record 181 rushing yards without being touched by a single Green Bay player, including his 20-yard and 56-yard TD runs.
BOOS to the Green Bay Packers defense, which allowed Colin Kaepernick to run untouched for 178 yards, including 20-yard and 56-yard touchdowns. Yes, I just repeated myself. I’m that amazed by it.
CHEERS for the Baltimore Ravens extending the career of LB Ray Lewis with their improbable 38-35 win in double overtime. It took some spectacular blunders by the Denver Broncos (we’ll get to them in a second), but the bottom line is the Ravens advanced so Lewis will play at least one more game. Baltimore should’ve beaten the Patriots in last year’s AFC Title Game. This year, they will.
BOOS to Denver Broncos S Raheem Moore, who completely misplayed Ravens QB Joe Flacco’s desperation heave, allowing Ravens WR Jacoby Jones to catch the tying touchdown with 31 seconds left. I’m not sure how an NFL team can have a defensive back that can’t judge a football in the air. I would assume that’s something they would scout before drafting a player to play that position.
BOOS to Broncos head coach John Fox, who decided to kneel on the football and just let the final 31 seconds of regulation run off the clock, instead of trying to get in position for a game-winning field goal. Your quarterback is Peyton Manning. You play in Denver, where the ball travels farther because of the high altitude. You have two timeouts. You can do a lot in 31 seconds. Just ask the Falcons. Actually, don’t bother them. They have another game to play this week. You don’t!
BOOS to Broncos QB Manning the Peyton for pulling a Brett Favre. In the NFC Title Game in 2010, Brett Favre rolled right and tried to throw back across his body and was intercepted, dooming the Minnesota Vikings chance to reach the Super Bowl. On Saturday, Manning rolled right and tried to throw back across his body and was intercepted, dooming the Broncos chance to reach the Super Bowl. Manning knows not to do that and even commented on it earlier in the year when he made a similar play and threw a touchdown pass to WR Brandon Stokley (at 1:27 of the video).
BOOS to Notre Dame LB Manti Te’O's father Brian, who took exception to a headline and a photo in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and decided to blacklist the newspaper. That’s right, showing a picture of his son not making a tackle (which happened frequently during the BCS Title Game) under the headline ‘Bowled Over’ is too much for Brian Te’O. Too bad this didn’t happen with the New York tabloids, I would’ve loved to have seen their response.
BOOS to a BCS Computer that still ranked Notre Dame ahead of Alabama even after the demolition in the championship game. It’s true. The Colley Matrix poll had Notre Dame#1 and Alabama #2 after the Crimson Tide proved on the field it was far superior to the Fighting Irish. My favorite part is that on the Colley Matrix’ website, it gives a general description of the methodology used and finishes by saying, “…the scheme produces common sense results.” I beg to differ!
THERE IT IS!
CHEERS for Alabama’s offensive line, including LT Cyrus Kouandijo, LG Chance Warmack, C Barrett Jones, RG Anthony Steen and RT D.J. Fluker. They were the reason QB AJ McCarron was able to complete 20 of 28 passes for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns and RB Eddie Lacy ran for 140 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns in the 42-14 rout. Media members love to talk about how great the QB and RB are, but none of them can do it without the offensive line.
BOOS to announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit for embarrassing themselves with comments about McCarron’s girlfriend, Katherine Webb. Yes, she’s Miss Alabama, but that’s no reason to act like a couple of horny high school boys when she’s shown on TV. Interestingly, Webb went to Auburn University, hated rival of Alabama, but there’s no truth to the rumor she has a poster of Cam Newton on her bedroom wall.
BOOS to the bowl system. Now that the season is over, it’s time to take a closer look at the broken system and, gasp, possibly even act to fix it. Last month, USA Today’s Brent Schrotenboer brought to light just how ridiculous the salaries are for bowl directors. This week, ESPN’s Shaun Assael points out how athletic directors and school presidents are complicit in the corruption.
CHEERS (I think) for Houston Texans RB Arian Foster, using whatever motivation he can to fire himself and his team up for this weekend’s game against the New England Patriots. Bothered by statements written by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, Foster made his profile picture on twitter a screen shot of the critical comments. If his team gets crushed by the Patriots again, like the 42-14 beatdown on Monday Night Football in Week 14, I wonder if Foster will change his profile picture to “Shaughnessy Was Right!”
DEAFENING BOOS to Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan for risking the career of QB Robert Griffin III. Shanahan left RGIII in the game Sunday when he was clearly hobbled and in danger of being injured further, not to mention completely ineffective. Sure enough, RGIII’s right knee gave out after a low snap went awry and apparently tore ligaments. Even sicker, it turns out Redskins team physician Dr. James Andrews said Shanahan lied about getting his approval before sending RGIII back into the game after the original injury against the Baltimore Ravens on December 9. In fact, Dr. Andrews said he didn’t even get to examine RGIII before he went back out on the field. Hey NFL Players Association, where’s all the outrage about player safety in this case? Yeah, I thought so!
BOOS to the NY Jets for addressing their quarterback problem by getting rid of everybody except the actual problem, namely Mark Sanchez. The GM Mike Tannenbaum and QB coach Matt Cavanaugh are both gone. The OC Tony Sparano is expected to be shown the door. Yet somehow, Sanchez remains on the roster. My best guess is owner Woody Johnson has the same tattoo of Sanchez as head coach Rex Ryan and doesn’t want to get it removed.
CHEERS for Boston Celtics F Jared Sullinger’s hilarious comments following some on-court skirmishes between the Celtics and the NY Knicks Monday night. Told the actions by his teammate C Kevin Garnett and Knicks F Carmelo Anthony were testy, Sullinger was amused. “That’s testy? That’s testy?” he asked. “I’ve seen way worse stuff in the 80s and I wasn’t even born in the 80s. So, if that’s testy, I didn’t see it.”
CHEERS for the LA Lakers having fun with reports of their dissension in the midst of a disastrous season. After the NY Daily News reported G Kobe Bryant and C Dwight Howard had a heated exchange in the locker room, Kobe tweeted out a photo of them fake fighting. Sadly, the posed picture was the best the two have played together all season.
CHEERS for the end of the NHL lockout. Of course, it could’ve and should’ve happened a long time ago, but then we wouldn’t have read great articles about what reporters were dealing with like this one. But it’s over and time to move on and see the Los Angeles Kings raise a Stanley Cup banner at Staples Center!
THERE IT IS!
Speaking of fun, I hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season. This will be my final blog of 2012, so I’m using the opportunity to dump a present or a lump of coal into some sports stockings.
A PRESENT for Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, who has thrown for 15 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions in his last seven games. He has been A PRESENT for the Seahawks, who are 6-1 in that span and clinched a playoff spot after obliterating the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night. Of course, he’s only 5’11″ so he wasn’t tall enough to play quarterback in the NFL according to many scouts.
A LUMP OF COAL for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who insists on playing Colin Kaepernick instead of Alex Smith at QB because he has a stronger arm and quicker feet. The tie and loss to the St. Louis Rams can be directly attributed to Kaepernick’s poor play and will likely keep the 49ers from getting a 1st round bye. Harbaugh’s arrogance will eventually cost his team a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
A PRESENT for the Cincinnati Bengals defense, which keyed the team’s 13-10 win at Pittsburgh and clinched a place in the postseason. DB Leon Hall returned an interception for a touchdown and DB Reggie Nelson’s pick set up Josh Brown’s game-winning field goal. In the last seven games, the unit has recorded 24 sacks, intercepted 11 passes and recovered 10 fumbles. You guessed it, the team is 6-1 in those games. (Editor’s Note: The streak coincided with Nana bringing a Bengals cup to our home in early November)
A LUMP OF COAL for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who literally threw the game away for the second straight week. Last time, it was an interception against the Cowboys early in overtime. This time, he saved us all from having to read the overtime rules graphic by throwing the interception at the end of regulation. The good news for Big Ben is he now has all offseason to blame offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s play calling for this loss as well.
A PRESENT for each of the top two picks in the NFL Draft, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. Luck has not only led the Colts to the playoffs, but he has made Indy fans feel good about letting Manning the Peyton go in the offseason. RGIII has the Redskins on the cusp of the postseason and has been the most electrifying player in the league. Along with Wilson, Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles, the QB class of 2012 reminds me of the class of 1983, which included guys named John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
HUGE LUMPS OF COAL for the Oakland Raider offense (which has now gone eight quarters without scoring a touchdown), the NY Jets offensive line (which allowed 11 sacks) and the entire NY Giants team (which failed to show up for the second straight week and was thrashed 33-14).
A LUMP OF COAL for soon-to-be-fired Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmer for keeping star RB Trent Richardson in the game with less than a minute left and the Browns trailing 34-12. Sure enough, Richardson was injured on Cleveland’s last offensive play, was carted off the field and left the stadium in a walking boot. It should come as no surprise that the Browns coach is clueless…nine of them have come and gone since Marty Schottenheimer and not a single one had a winning record when they were told to exit.
A LUMP OF COAL for Detroit Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan, who recently plead guilty to a drunk driving charge. While that transgression is sadly not unusual, I’m willing to bet what he was wearing when police pulled him over was unique.
A PILE OF PRESENTS for Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who returned to his position after a three-month leave of absence to undergo treatment for leukemia. He has been an inspiration to the football team, but much more importantly, he has been an inspiration to other patients battling leukemia. Here’s how you can get involved with the CHUCKSTRONG campaign.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. I’ll see you in 2013!
THERE IT IS!
CHEERS for Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, who ran 24 times for 212 yards and a touchdown as the Vikings beat up on the St. Louis Rams, 36-22. Not only did Peterson return ahead of schedule after surgery to repair his ACL and MCL last December, but he is leading the NFL in rushing with 1,812 yards. As if that wasn’t enough, if he runs for 294 yards in his last two games, he will break the league record of 2,105 set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.
CHEERS for the Washington Redskins rookie QB not named Robert Griffin III. Drafted 100 picks after RGIII, Kirk Cousins saved the Redskins game against the Baltimore Ravens last week and torched the Cleveland Browns for 329 yards and two touchdowns this week. Washington’s 38-21 win was its fifth in a row, pushing them to the top of the NFC East because…
BOOS to NY Giants QB Manning the Eli, who threw an interception on his first pass of the day was ineffective all game long in a 34-0 blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons. It’s performances like this one that still have people questioning just how good Manning the Eli is despite two Super Bowl wins. Of course, it could’ve been worse…
BOOS to Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman, who threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in a 41-0 drubbing by the New Orleans Saints. In the last four games, Freeman has completed just 77 of 150 passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions. Not surprisingly, the Bucs have lost all four games.
CHEERS for the Seattle Seahawks, who crushed the Buffalo Bills, 50-17. Combined with last week’s 58-0 pummeling of the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle outscored its last two opponents by 91 points, just shy of the record, 95, by the 1941 Chicago Bears. They also became just the third team in league history to score at least 50 points in back-to-back weeks.
BOOS to the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, who played one of the worst games in the history of professional football. Neither team scored a touchdown. Oakland kicked five field goals. Kansas City had 10 total rushing yards. In case you cared, the Raiders won, 15-0.
CHEERS for the Butler Bulldogs, knocking off #1 Indiana, 88-86 in overtime. A former walk-on, Alex Barlow, scored six points and made the winning shot with 2.4 seconds left. Barlow, a sophomore, had scored just 12 points all year and 18 in his career before his heroics. He went to Butler for one reason, to learn how to coach from Brad Stevens, the Bulldogs calm, cool and collected head coach, in stark contrast to…
BOOS to Rutgers University head coach Mike Rice, who was suspended by the school for three games after a school investigation revealed inappropriate behavior and abusive language used while interacting with players. Rice allegedly threw basketballs at players’ heads during an incident during his first or second season as coach, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported. In addition to the suspension, Rice will undergo anger management classes and sensitivity training when he returns to work and an independent monitor will watch practices .
BOOS to Rutgers University for hiring the coaching maniac Rice, then suspending him for being a coaching maniac. The Scarlet Knights administration knew he screamed at and belittled his players, because he did it at Robert Morris during games. To act surprised that he’s doing it now at Rutgers is a joke.
CHEERS for the Palmer Coolum Resort golf course in Australia, which has a 26-foot mechanical T-Rex between the 9th green and 10th tee. The massive T-Rex is nicknamed “Jeff” and is activated by movement, flipping its tail and opening its mouth to unleash a menacing roar when anyone approaches. Golfers have been know to take “dinosaur mulligans” when the roar occurs during a backswing on the 10th tee.
THERE IT IS!
CHEERS for the Philadelphia Eagles, who ended their eight-game losing streak in dramatic fashion when QB Nick Foles threw a one-yard touchdown pass to WR Jeremy Maclin as time expired. The score was the Eagles second in the final four minutes and lifted them past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 23-21. As if two months wasn’t long enough between wins, Philadelphia had to wait out an officials review to determine if Maclin was inbounds when he made the grab. I guess good things really do come to those who wait. Of course, you don’t have to wait until time is expiring…
CHEERS for the Washington Redskins, who also rallied late and beat the Baltimore Ravens in overtime, 31-28. After QB Robert Griffin III injured his knee, fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins tossed a scoring pass to WR Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left to pull Washington within two points, then ran for the conversion to send the game to the extra session. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, RGIII and Cousins were the first pair of rookies to both throw TD passes in the same game since the NFL and AFL merged in 1970. The last time it happened prior to that was in 1965 when Jerry Rhome and Craig Morton did so for the Dallas Cowboys. Speaking of Dallas…
CHEERS for the Cowboys rallying to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-19, when K Dan Bailey made a 40-yard field goal as time expired. It capped a 10-point rally in the last 6:35 and kept Dallas in the NFC East race.
SADLY, the Cowboys didn’t get to enjoy the win like they might’ve as they were also mourning the loss of DL Jerry Brown, who died in a car accident Saturday. His teammate and best friend, DL Josh Brent, was driving and has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. It’s just another senseless tragedy that could’ve and should’ve been avoided.
CHEERS for NY Giants RB David Wilson, who became the first player in NFL history to have 200 yards in kick returns and 100 yards rushing in the same game. After New Orleans took a 7-0 lead, Wilson returned the following kickoff 97 yards for the tying score. Wilson also scored on a 6-yard run early in the 3rd quarter and a 52-yard sprint in the 4th as the Giants crushed the Saints, 52-27. He finished the day with 327 all-purpose yards, a team record. But he wasn’t the only one running well…
CHEERS for the Seattle Seahawks running backs, who rumbled for 284 yards and four touchdowns in a 58-0 blasting of the Arizona Cardinals. Marshawn Lynch ran for 128 yards and three scores while his backup, Robert Turbin, amassed 108. But you can’t do that without some help from your opponent…
BOOS to the Cardinals defense, which allowed Lynch to score from 33 and 20 yards out and Leon Washington to scamper in from three yards away WITHOUT EVEN TOUCHING THEM, NO LESS TACKLING THEM. I’m not saying Arizona wasn’t trying, but then again, I’m not not saying that.
CHEERS for the worst free throw attempt ever. Words can’t even begin to describe how awful this shot is by Appalachian State’s Brian Okam. In fact, it was so terrible I didn’t have the heart to boo him!
THERE IT IS!
However, I still think people not directly involved in the situation should’ve canceled it anyway. A meaningless game between two lousy teams must be played? Really? And we expect the Chiefs players, trying to deal with the tragedy, were in the right frame of mind to make the choice? It’s just another case of our society having no clue or care about what’s truly important in life.
OK, end of this week’s sermon. Let’s get to the praising and bashing of players, coaches, refs and more.
CHEERS for the Chiefs beating the Panthers, 27-21, for their second win of the season. I can’t even begin to fathom how head coach Romeo Crennel was able to concentrate after witnessing Belcher kill himself. And I have no clue how the players were able to focus on the game either.
CHEERS for Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, rallying his team past the Detroit Lions, 35-33. Luck calmly led the Colts down the field on 85 and 75-yard scoring drives in the last four minutes, throwing the game-winning touchdown to WR Donnie Avery as time expired. It sounds impressive, right? Well…
BOOS to the new rating system for quarterbacks or QBR. Because Luck completed only 25 of his 54 passes and threw three interceptions, his QBR for the game was 31.4 out of 100. That’s right, another stupid statistic that means absolutely nothing.
CHEERS for 37-year-old Pittsburgh Steelers QB Charlie Batch, who outplayed Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco as the Steelers came from behind to win, 23-20. Batch threw his first touchdown pass since September 26, 2010 to tie the score at 20, then moved the Steelers into position for K Shaun Suisham’s game-winning 42-yard field goal. Of course, he couldn’t have done it without help from Baltimore…
BOOS to Baltimore offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, who didn’t give the ball to Ravens RB Ray Rice once in the 4th quarter, despite Rice rushing for 44 yards and a go-ahead touchdown on his last two carries of the 3rd quarter. In fact, Rice ran only 12 times the whole game, while Flacco heaved 34 passes and connected on just 16 of them. Now that’s dumb coaching!
BOOS to the officials in the Seattle Seahawks game, who forced Bears head coach Lovie Smith to challenge the call on an obvious touchdown that wasn’t ruled a touchdown. RB Matt Forte caught a pass and fell into the end zone without being touched. But the zebras ruled him down where landed, which is the rule IN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE! The only difference between the replacement refs and the regular ones is the regular ones have more years of experience screwing things up.
BOOS to the Arizona Cardinals and NY Jets for playing a game that set back football 50 years. The teams were so repugnant on offense in the first half the only points were Arizona K Jay Feely’s 48-yard field goal as time expired. Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley completed just 10 of 31 passes and Arizona was 0-15 on third down. Jets QB Mark Sanchez tried to outdo Lindley by throwing three interceptions, but was mercifully replaced in the second half by backup QB Greg McElroy. The former Alabama QB taken six rounds later in the same draft as Sanchez threw a one-yard TD pass for the winning score in the 7-6 embarrassment to the sport. Speaking of Alabama…
CHEERS for the Crimson Tide, who held off the Georgia Bulldogs, 32-28, in a thrilling SEC Championship game, to reach the BCS Title game against Notre Dame. The Bulldogs nearly pulled off the upset, driving to the Tide 8-yard line as the final seconds ticked away. But when Georgia WR Chris Conley slipped down at the 5-yard line after catching a tipped pass, the clock ran out.
BOOS to Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde, whose team will not be going to a bowl game despite a 9-3 record that included two wins against major conference teams. The highest scoring team in the country did receive an invite to the Independence Bowl, but Van De Velde didn’t say yes right away because he was hoping the Bulldogs would get an invitation to a different bowl game. By the time he responded back to the Independence Bowl, the bid had been offered to and accepted by Ohio University.
CHEERS for LA Lakers G Kobe Bryant, telling teammate F Pau Gasol to “Put your big-boy pants on,” after Gasol griped about being on the bench at the end of the Lakers 113-103 loss to the Orlando Magic. “Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it,” Bryant said. Apparently there’s no crying in baseball and there’s no whining in basketball.
THERE IT IS!
BOOS to the NFL for the rule if you throw a challenge flag on a scoring play (which is automatically reviewed), it stops the review immediately and assesses the team a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It granted Houston Texans RB Justin Forsett an 81-yard touchdown run on a play where he was tackled after seven yards. This is the DUMBEST RULE EVER!!!
BOOS to Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. He was the bozo who threw the challenge flag even though he knows the rule. I’d say this is the reason the Lions should fire him but it would only be the 11th best reason on that list.
BOOS to Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who received the gift touchdown that helped send the game to overtime. In the extra session, he decided it was a good idea to run the ball three times and let his kicker try a 51-yard field goal, instead of throwing it to move closer. Needless to say, the kicker missed.
MORE BOOS to Schwartz, who was given a reprieve by Kubiak, only to return the favor. He had his kicker try a 47-yard field goal ON 3RD DOWN, instead of trying to move the ball closer. The kick hit the upright and bounced back on the field. Had the Lions been one yard closer and the kick been the exact same, it would’ve gone through to win the game. This is one of those top ten reasons to fire Schwartz.
LOUD BOOS to NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez for the worst play in Jets history, and there have been a lot of terrible plays in Jets history. He missed handing the ball off so decided to run. He slid to avoid getting hit. While sliding, he rammed into the butt of his lineman. The butt sent him sprawling on his back. He dropped the ball, the Patriots picked it up and ran for a touchdown. Somewhere, Joe Pisarcik was smiling.
DEAFENING BOOS to Jets head coach Rex Ryan, for electing to kick a field goal at the end of the first half with his team trailing the Patriots, 35-0. Where the Jets were on the field doesn’t matter. It was absolutely atrocious and Ryan should be ashamed of himself.
LOUD CHEERS for Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice, who took a short pass on 4th and 29 with 1:37 left and weaved his way across the field for 29 yards and first down. That led to a game-tying field goal as time expired and ultimately a 16-13 Ravens victory in overtime against the Chargers. Asked to describe the play, Rice called it, “Check down, Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.”
A STANDING OVATION for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who completed a perfect regular season with a 22-13 win against USC. The victory put them in the BCS Championship Game against the winner of the SEC Title Game between Alabama and Georgia. If the Fighting Irish play the Crimson Tide, my dislike for those schools will have me rooting for the field to open up and swallow both teams.
CHEERS for four days of watching football. My only complaint is I have to wait until Thanksgiving next year to do it again.
THERE IT IS!