Yet another week has passed in the sportsgasm that is the NFL season, and that means it is time for us to tell you some things you need to know without the self-serving spin those assbags at ESPN will never give you. We know this because if you think you can get real football information from guys like Chris Mortenson and Adam Schefter, you probably also don’t know that every menu item at Denny’s is 40% Soylent Green.
1) The reports of the demise of the San Francisco 49ers might have been a bit premature.
For the entire week leading up to Thursday night, all we heard about was how Colin Kaepernick is not really a good quarterback and how the 49er defense can’t stop anybody with out Aldon Smith. Yeah, about that…funny, but somehow we stopped hearing that shit come Friday morning.
Clearly, they didn’t need Aldon Smith to beat the sorry-ass Rams, and it’s even more clearly a good thing that Smith’s liver is getting a little “me” time anyway.
As far as the offense was concerned, the lesson learned here was that Colin Kaepernick is not the entire 49er offense. Anquan Boldin rolled through the Ram secondary like a Vicodin through Amy Winehouse, but the real difference was Kaepernick’s ability to rely on Frank Gore, who racked up a rushing average of 7.65 yards per carry. See, the dirty little secret nobody who keeps talking about “read-option quarterbacks” wants to admit is is that the entire “read-option” concept only works when there’s a running back that keeps defenses worried about the threat of the run. Russell Wilson has Marshawn Lynch, Michael Vick has LeSean McCoy, and Colin Kaepernick has Frank Gore.
If you doubt that, look at the Redskins. For all the blather you hear about Robert Griffin III, go look at Alfred Morris’ numbers as compared to last year. Nobody has any respect for the Redskins ability to run the ball anymore, which is why opposing defense are sending everybody from the weakside safety to the equipment manager’s mother-in-law after Griffin. In terms of the 49ers, their version of the “read-option” poses no threat unless Frank Gore brings his “A” game. The trouble for the 49ers is that can’t happen every week, if for no other reason that Gore is a guy on two rebuilt knees and a serious hip injury in his past. That means he has no choice but to wear down as the season goes progresses.
The test is going to come this week when the 49ers face a Houston Texans team with whom thye are evenly matched, and both teams really need to win this game. The Texans will want to make America forget about how they gagged on a 17-point lead faster than a runaway at her first porn audition, and the 49ers most assuredly would like America to forget about what the Colts did to them in their own house. Obviously, everybody went to the “panic button” a bit too quickly, but we also know that after what the Colts defense did to him, Colin Kaepernick bought some mace and a rape whistle.
2) Make no mistake, the Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman eras in Minnesota and Tampa respectively are over.
An era is a term that refers to how a certain span of time is defined. Under no circumstances should either of these two butt-nuggets have an “era.” If Hitler can’t even get a certain style of bakery named after him, then these two guys shouldn’t even show up in the record books. Here’s what we want to know: Why is it that it’s the biggest deal in the world when a quarterback who wasn’t any good to start with gets benched? The answer: It fucking isn’t. Despite what fans in Minnesota and Tampa may want to think, getting rid of these two fruit cups is about as news worthy as popping a zit. We can prove that, too. Over the next five years, the total number of times the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings switch quarterbacks will be roughly the same as the number of times Lindsay Lohan blows off her probation officer. Neither event is news-worthy, but we will have to hear about them.
Josh Freeman getting benched due to his failure to produce should come as a shock only to autistic children who were born and kept on the dark side of Neptune. The worst part was that insanely self-indulgent “60 Minutes-style” interview with (insert name of ESPN fembot here) that they ran during Sunday NFL Countdown. Freeman couldn’t have made himself look more like a bitch if they gave him a fully-automated, electrically-powered bitch-looking-like machine. I’m sure he’s going to have some awesome stories to tell his new co-workers at Dunkin’ Donuts next week.
The Ponder benching was even more predictable. Make no mistake, this was a benching; we aren’t buying that “fractured rib” hogwash. This is a team that tried to get Brett Favre to keep playing when it was clear his arm was ready to fall right the fuck off, so “fractured rib” might as well read “sucks dog balls.”
From the day the Vikings blew a 12th-overall draft pick on this guy, everybody with functioning eyeballs and not in a coma saw this coming. The bottom line is that the guy simply cannot throw the fucking ball. And he never should have either. Regardless of whatever play was called, Ponder should have gone to the huddle and said “fuck it, we’re handing it to Adrian Peterson again.” Instead, Viking fans got to spend all that time watching a team with the greatest running back in a generation standing four yards away from utter futility at every snap.
We hope these teams just pass these dudes back and forth, thereby prolonging their collective anguish. That is really what we were hoping for with Tebow as well. We hoped more and more teams would keep giving him a shot, if for no other reason than we didn’t think that there was anyway a league full of brain-dead, white-bread, upper-level management motherfuckers not named John Elway would have collectively figured out that he wasn’t going to work out this early in his mostly uneventful NFL career.
Having said that, the worst case scenario for Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman is Freeman ends up with the Vikings and Ponder with the Buccaneers, and both of them would somehow be worse than they are right now. Hell, that alone might warrant NFL Films putting together another made-for-shitty-TV “reality” so we can spend the next three years watching them talk about their emotions while real NFL players do their thing.
3) Who thought the way to build British interest in football was to give them a close look at two of the shittiest teams in the league?
In the past, the tradition has been when we send a football game to our counterparts from across the pond, we’ve always made sure at least one of the teams wasn’t horseshit. The Patriots used to be a mainstay for these Brit-fests, but now that they are bored with ore-living 1776 on an annual basis, it has been a veritable struggle to get popular/good teams to do this, because this trip totally fucks a team’s schedule.
Here’s what this is all about. For the longest time, the NFL has has a fantasy about putting a team in London, and these games are all about “drumming up interest.” The problem is that there are a bunch of NFL owners who have had to figure out this is a sham. J-Dub figured it out last year, for fuck’s sake. Do you really think if there was a real chance to make money on this thing that Jerry Jones wouldn’t have spot-welded his aging pee-wiener to it by now? What does it tell you that he avoids this thing like it was a stripper with a paternity suit?
In essence, the NFL is hoping the Brits don’t realize we are setting them up on a blind date with a girl who…wait for it…has a “great” personality. She’s a lot of fun, even if she has moles like pencil erasers and “Robin Williams-level” arm hair. The people who schedule these games know how shitty the participants are. It isn’t like nobody knew this off-season these teams weren’t the best the NFL has to offer. The Steelers have an aging defense, an impotent offense, and definitely aren’t a shining example of a team that you would want representing the NFL if the idea is to generate interest. Top that off with a Viking squad which isn’t much better; their defense gave up 31 points to Cleveland in Week 3 and we’ve already discussed Christian Ponder as the helmsman of his “era.” Thank God for “fractured ribs.”
The point here is that the United Kingdom needs the NFL like a coffee shop needs a boxing ring. If anything good comes from these games in Great Britain, it may very well be that the British may suddenly remember why they weren’t interested in the NFL in the first place.
4) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Flacco.
It’s your classic American success story ; a guy has a great season, the guy gets big money, and the guy becomes painfully average. But in this case, it has a unique Flacco-ian twist. It seems Joe Flacco may have two personalities.
One the one hand, Flacco is one of the best big-game quarterbacks ever; his post-season performance last season was the definition of stupid sick. But he can also flip the switch the other way, like tossing five picks against Buffalo. So, which Flacco do we get on a weekly basis?
Shit, who are we kidding? It’s isn’t even on a weekly basis with Flacco; it can go series by series. On one drive, Flacco can look every bit the part of the Super Bowl MVP; and on the next he resembles your grandmother the time she had a stroke and drove into oncoming traffic.
What scares us is the big money. The history of the NFL is full of guys who got paid and then dropped down a gopher hole, never to be heard from again. winning percentage is when he plays well has one of the better postseason records amongst active player. There’s just too much of a possibility this guy might have Mark Rypien written all over him (sans the Lingerie Football League quarterback daughter). We aren’t saying that will happen for sure; after all Buffalo in September is the perfect time to mail one in, but consider the following.
The thing that frustrates people about these athletes who get paid and then don’t perform is the fact that the guy doesn’t seem to care. With Flacco, you pretty much know he doesn’t give a fuck since this season in Baltimore is a throwaway anyway; they’ve already won a Super Bowl, they got rid of all the old guys, and now they are hurt. There’s no real expectation this year in Baltimore, and while the fans would love to see these professionals giving it the “old college try,” they just aren’t going to because for pro athletes, there does come a day when this game becomes about getting paid, which inherently means there’s timing behind when effort happens.
Like it or not, it’s a fact; it’s the mentality that these guys have, and a big part of the reason why is a result of all these concussion stories. More specifically, it’s about what happens to these guys after their careers. Today’s players figure they better make their money while they can, because they know the day is coming when they could end up like Mike Webster and spend their golden years urinating in their oven.
The bottom line here is that we aren’t bagging on the Ravens because they lost to the Bills; Buffalo is actually a much better team than a lot of our competitors are willing to give them credit for. Rather, we are bagging on Flacco because despite his ability to flip the switch and do some amazing things, it’s starting to appear that he may lack the desire to do just that. People always give Bill Belichick a rail-car full of shit because he comes off as having a personality somewhere in between packing styrofoam and stale rice cakes.
That’s fine because he’s a coach. But Flacco is a quarterback, and like it or not, we want our quarterbacks to be born leaders with charisma and a fiery spirit. This is why Kyle Orton was never respected as a starter, and it’s a huge part of Jay Cutler’s image issues. If a team is going to pay a guy eleventy bajillion dollars, fans expect and if you’re going to give a guy 120 million dollars, he’d better be the sort of guy who rips down full-grown trees with his bare hands, chugs full bottles of hot sauce, then smashes said bottle over some defensive back’s head. We’re not sure Joe Flacco give a fuck if he even can spell “hot sauce.”
5) Just when you thought it was safe to watch Bears football…
We both live near enough to Chicago to where our lives are filled with Bears fans…fat, drunk, pork-sweating Bears fans. After that showing against the Lions, there is going to be a parade of Bears fans driving excuse trucks through our neighborhoods because there’s simply no denying that the Bears got handled (here’s a tasty Bears excuse to get you started). Naturally, this means the cops will be out in full-force gill-netting all those truck-driving Bears fans because the simple act of wearing Chicago Bears gear gives you a blood-alcohol content of .15.
Say what you will, but we spent three weeks thinking the Bears finally may not suck, and then this happened. Somewhere in the third quarter, the Bears dissolved faster than an Alka-Seltzer in a vat of nitric acid. Worse yet, the Bears gave themselves a legitimate shot to win this cluster-fuck. This game was 40-16 with ten minutes remaining, then the Bears scored twice to make it 40-32. There was no doubt if this game had been 65 minutes long, the Bears would have won.
Don’t misunderstand us here; this win doesn’t mean the Lions aren’t some dysfunctional collection of soon-to-be-felons, but with the amount of shit-talking in which Bears fans engage, we would have thought Chicago would have won that game by at least 185 points and at halftime the ghost of Mike Ditka would rape Barry Sanders at the 50-yard line.
So, while Bears fans will spend all this week filling up Chicago talk radio with a lot of bluster, the Detroit Lions are the ones who took advantage of the Packers’ bye week and find themselves in sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Perhaps they should celebrate by ordering a pizza.
6) The Jacksonville Jaguars have set a new standard for ugly.
We aren’t even talking about how putrid they are on the fiield. Look at the shit they are wearing. The simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to team uniforms, metallics are a horrible look and there’s a simple reason why. “Huffers” are those special drug addicts who use inhalants to get high. On the drugf-user food chain, “huffers” rate just below crackheads and just above the bath salts crowd. Some “huffers” sniff glue, but most of them are into spray paint. Do you know what color they prefer because it has the has the greatest effect? Gold.
What this means is that the marketing department of the Jacksonville Jaguars is telling you this team is too low-budget for even crackheads. What makes it worse is since the helmets are only half gold, the team looks like it ran out of aluminum can money. Worse even still is the fact that next week once we start all that Breast Cancer Awareness bullshit, they will need to add that Pepto-Bismol pink to the mix, which of course will cause every single person with ADD in this country to suffer a brain hemorrhage starts and they have to mix pink in there? Thankfully, they are playing the Rams….ADD or not, nobody is watching that shit.
Before you say it, yes, we know this isn’t one of those E! red carpet shows where they act surprised when some Xanax-popping actress shows up wearing something that used to be an umbrella, so we must address how this team is playing. Here’s some fun numbers concerning the Jaguars, and by “fun” we mean “guaranteed to turn you into a cutter.” They’re 29th in overall offense, as well as being last when it comes to defending the rush. If you exclude the Seattle game (in which the Seahawks were more concerned with making sure they didn’t get hurt as opposed to holding the Jaguars under 17 points), the Jags are putting up an average of 4.67 points a game. By comparison, the Atlanta Braves scored 12 runs on Saturday night, which is more than Jacksonville scored in 2 full games.
6) We keep trying to tell you the Cleveland Browns aren’t that bad.
To be honest, we aren’t really sure they are that good either. They’re 2-2, but the Browns are clearly not the bowling pin on the schedule that they have historically been. As much caterwauling as we heard about this team after the Trent Richardson trade and the move toward quarterback Brian Hoyer (and frankly, we were guilty of some of that as well, this team has won two straight.
The Browns sure look as if they are behind Hoyer, they put on a show defensively against the Bengals, and the certainly are forcing a re-think from the people who had them dead and buried two weeks ago. They Browns are making the best of what they have, and they have a lot of very winnable games on the schedule, such as Buffalo, Detroit, Green Bay, Jacksonville, the New York Jets, and Pittsburgh twice. The play-offs is a stretch goal at best, but their days of being 3-13 are over for the foreseeable future.
7) How the hell did the Titans end up being 3-1?
It’s a great question, but it’s also where this piece moves from “What we learned” to a “How the fuck did this happen?” The Titans only loss was against Houston. Jake Locker seems to have a real connection with Nate Washington, but that has also not become the focus of the offense.
The injury to Jake Locker could change the dynamic here, but the keys all should remain in place even with a change in quarterbacks. Let’s be honest, if they’ve come this far with a roster of largely no-names, there’s no reason this can’t continue with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. This is a team a team that’s ranked 7th in rushing, 30th in passing, but has yet to commit a single turnover. They are the first team to go through the first four games without a giveaway since the 1995 Rams.
Part of this teams anonymity is our aforementioned Small-Market Syndrome, which is proven by the fact that even when the Titans played well in the Houston game, nobody talked about it. When they beat the Steelers, we didn’t think anything of it because we already knew Pittsburgh wasn’t very good. Now that they whooped up on the by 25 points, the same thing is damn sure going to happen. Instead of actually giving them any credit, the average dimwit NFL will simply say “Yeah, but it was the Jets,” and then go back to gorging themselves on shit like Arby’s.
Are the Titanas for real? If you know something we don’t, please drop us a comment. We are not sure we will learn anything from the upcoming game with the Chiefs, who have gotten 4-0 fat on Jacksonville and the NFC East. And even then, will we really know for sure? Who the fuck knows…
8 ) The Patriots aren’t that bad, or the Falcons aren’t that good: Pick one.
Honestly we don’ t know. It could be A, B, Both, or Neither. So we are taking the Sgt. Joe Friday approach; we are sticking to just the facts.
Facts about the New England Patriots:
- It took them four games to score their first rushing touchdown of the season.
- It took them four games to score a touchdown in the sec0nd half.
- They are using lots of offensive line stunts and shifts because they know they can’t control the line of scrimmage anymore.
- Did anybody else notice how much they were fawning over Tom Brady’s ability to run the quarterback sneak seconds before he fumbled for what should have cost the Patriots the lead?
Facts about the Atlanta Falcons:
- Sunday night, we kept hearing Cris Collinsworth talk about the improved Falcon defense, but they are only ranked 26th overall.
- They can’t run the ball without Steven Jackson.
- You could tell that team had it’s guts ripped out when they couldn’t score after the Tom Brady fumble in the 4th quarter.
Add all those facts up, and your guess is a good as ours. Patriots fans will point to that third quarter where the offense finally looked like Patriot offenses of old. But then again, the Falcon secondary without Asante Samuel isn’t exactly a formidable opponent. Falcon fans can point to that “almost, but not quite comeback,” but then again detractors can point out this was yet another example of a Falcon team that can’t come up with a big play when they need it.
You tell us what we should have learned from that game and we will all know.
9) Two shots of what desperation looks like.
As an Eagle fan, J-Dub fired at least three shots into his TV before it honestly looked like he had a stroke. Why the fuck is an Eagles fan hugging a Bronco who just scored against Philadelphia? A real Eagles fan would have craned this guy with a tire iron, and after the game would have found his house and shotgunned his house pets. This is just sickening.
This was seen flying over the Colts – Jaguars game in Jacksonville on Sunday. Tebow’s home town is Jacksonville, and the Jaguars are the epitome of desperate. Draw your own conclusions.
10) Forget the fact they won. The Washington Redskins are still shitty.
As the title says, yeah, we get they won the game. Let’s not forget that it took them almost a fucking month to win a game. Even then it was against the even shittier Oakland Raiders, who are about 7 years away from having 5 year plan. The Redskin still couldn’t score on a junior varsity team, and while the defense played very well; they’re just covering up the real issue. It’s kind of like putting a band aid over cancer. We’ve seen tree houses built by blind autistic children that are more solidly built than Washington’s offense, and you can win when you just can’t rely on your defense to save your ass that often.
Griffin went 18-31, and so far that’s been his best performance this year. Meehan literally knows nothing about fantasy football stuff, but even he knows that betting your house, your car, and your pancreas on Tracey Gold from “Growing Pains” eating a whole meal without barfing it up is a better play than starting Griffin on your fantasy squad. I’m not sure that even Griffin could have a field day against some of the teams in the league that are worse than Oakland (believe it or not, there are teams worse than the Raiders).
Don’t forget the Redskins trailed the Raiders 14-0 in this game, and there is no team in the history of the NFL that has been successful in the long run when consistently playing from behind. Luckily for the Redskins, they are in the shittiest division in all of football, so even though they have a 1-3 record, they are only one game out of first place. Seriously, the NFC “Least” could easily be the next division to put a 7-9 team in the playoffs.
Not to mention, go back to what we said in point #1. Before you start talking about how the Redskins’ woes are fixed, ask yourself where the hell has Alfred Morris been? Like we said, when you are dancing with that “read-option” devil, you need a running back who gives you the “option.” After all, that’s the whole point; the option between run and pass. To provide that option, you must have the threat of a running game. Without that threat, the Redskins are literally nothing. Even though they won on Sunday, the Redskin offense still sorely needs that running threat; 60 yards a week from your #1 backfield guy isn’t going to cut it.
11) The New Orleans Saints are for real.
Let’s get “short and sweet” for a minute. The Saints are 4-0 and thanks to the fact that nobody else in their division is worth anything at this point (yes, we are saying the Falcons are screwed), it is really time to put this team on the list of powers that be in the NFC.
12) The undeserved scapegoat of the week: Mike Glennon
Again, this is something we are going to keep short and sweet. Shame on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for what they did to this kid. There should be a rule against bringing a rookie quarterback to be the sacrificial lamb for a team that is well on its way to becoming a dumpster fire of the first order. Glennon played it like a trooper; he went out there and got his ass handed to him for three hours because Josh Freeman got all butt-sore over being told he sucks. Josh, you suck, and when a trogolodyte like Greg Schiano can figure it out, there’s nobody to blame but the guy you see in the mirror every morning.