10-5 this week.
A Hoch Of Bull
The NFL has many a controversy to deal with this offseason, but perhaps the most crucial one with respect to immediate fan and viewer experience improvement is the fact that they continue to let Ed Hochuli referee important NFL games. This is the first time in my life that an NFL referee has caused me to turn my television off and stop watching. This is a big game, too. This should be watchable. This is in the elements. This is a premier matchup of talents, and the league has allowed this incompetent blowhard to suck up airtime as if everyone were there to see him (The first quarter was an HOUR long, an HOUR!), explain NFL rules with the grammar and eloquence of Officer Barbrady from South Park, and flat out botch change of possession calls in a game with playoff implications for both teams. We deserve better than this. Get rid of this asshole and bring fresh talent in. He is the John Sterling of the NFL. He ruins the game.
Collectively, this was by far the most poorly-executed NFL week in at least 2 years. Let’s run down the list.
Your 9th place in the conference Giants – Ever since Victor Cruz fell into his lap and saved alot of jobs last year, your traditional Gilbride Game has been hard to come by. Cruz is as good a route-runner in the league, and possesses a top gear that can burn you deep once you get worried about the two-way go he has. Alas, most tragedies like the one we saw today focus on a fatal flaw, and Kevin Gilbride was more than happy to showcase them all today. Giving 9 touches to Kregg Lumpkin, who was signed off the fucking street on November 27th, and 13 to David Wilson when he’s been on the team all year is absurd. Repeatedly going for it on fourth down to compound momentum against your team when their fragile psyche has been no secret for years. 17-6 is better than 17-0, cowboy. Oh, and SPTKF readers know that points are good. I suppose that doesn’t matter when the defense thinks it’s a good idea to leave a 5′ 8″ rookie corner on Julio Jones one-on-one. The Falcons were dying to just hand this one to Michael Turner and let the clock bleed, and by being foolishly aggressive in the first half, the Giants denied themselves opportunities for takeaways in the second half by losing those gambles and putting the game out of reach. Eli Manning has also put together a generally horrific second half of the season. He has yet to adjust to life without Nicks at 100%, and when you combine that with the nobodys Gilbride forces touches to in crucial situations, you have the recipe for a 2-4 second half.
Your 0-2 Steelers since Roethlisberger returned – Antonio Brown needs to get the memo that he’s not on my fantasy team anymore and doesn’t have to single handedly wreck games with his absent-mindedness anymore. He plays for the Steelers now, and they need to get to the playoffs. Brown made several facepalm-inducing mistakes in the fourth quarter of the second consecutive game the Cowboys have somehow gotten away with winning. He fumbled a key punt return late in regulation, lined up 20 yards too deep on another punt and allowed it to bounce to him, costing his team serious field position, and ran out of bounds on third down short of the marker with about a minute left in the game, sparing Dallas a timeout. Let’s not absolve Roethlisberger either. That pick in OT was hideous. He had both an open receiver to his left and a sideline to his right to get that thing moving correctly and threw it ghastly behind his receiver on a pretty rudimentary out route.
Your NFC North Champions – Can someone please tell me why, with 8 minutes to go and an 11-point lead on the road, would anyone consider doing this?
The Lions – Down 24-10 with one pick six in the books, Matthew Stafford faced a 4th and 2 from the Arizona 4 yard line. Inches away from making this a one-score game, Stafford decides to float this duck to the flat, reminding everyone how bad of a fantasy play he was this year, and planted a blowout seed for a team that hadn’t won a game in two months and whose QB had a QBR rating of 6 coming into the game. Stafford was easily outperformed by Ryan Lindley today.
The Browns – It’s probably foolish to expect big things from the Browns, but I think 38 points given up to a backup quarterback in your own building when you’ve been playing pretty solid defense all season long has to disappoint someone out there.
The Bucs – The Giants scored 52 points last week and got shut out today. The Saints defense gave up 52 points last week and pitched a shutout today. I’m of the belief that there are certain quarterbacks that you just keep in the pocket to allow them to make all the bad decisions they want, and Josh Freeman is chief among them. He can’t methodically drive the ball down the field by himself. He lives off broken plays, and now he lives off Doug Martin. Take those away and let him try to move the ball on real patterns and intermediate and timing throws and he’s dead. Good job, Spags!
You better believe it, baby. Rex Ryan’s odyssey of dragging his fan base back to .500 only to have them implode at home against San Diego (which is now a 1:00p game flexed out of prime time, and beautifully set up for the Chargers after they let Carolina come in their house and throttle them yesterday) to spark an epic WFAN session of paranoid Jet callers. Jake Locker is going to get FUBARed by disguised coverages and have to rely on his athleticism to get by. That shit doesn’t really work in December. Jets 21, Titans 13.