So, Whats Really At Stake This Weekend In College Football?

We’re at that point in the college football season where, barring some real craziness, we pretty much know who the playoff contenders are.  There’s about seven or eight teams who have a chance at getting in.  We’re basically looking at…

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio State
  3. Michigan
  4. Clemson
  5. Washington
  6. Wisconsin
  7. Penn State
  8. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is a conditional.  There’s a really good chance the Big 12 gets screwed out of a playoff spot again, due to them lacking a championship game (Which is coming back next year!).  However, its probably more about the fact that the Big Ten is ridiculously good right now, with four teams in the top seven.  It probably also has to do with the fact that Oklahoma really isn’t that good!  They had a cake-walk schedule, and their only good wins are against a West Virginia team that gave up and a barely-ranked TCU team that isn’t even in the top 25 anymore.

Above Oklahoma, its a mess.  Anything goes, and anyone could lose too, throwing a wrench in everything.

Those seven teams, as of right now, are the contenders.  But these next two weeks could provide some upsets, and re-shape the whole picture.

Lets preview this weekend’s games…

No.5 Washington vs. No.23 Washington State

The winner of this game wins the Pac-12 North.  For a team like Washington, who has their eyes set on the Playoff, getting to and winning the conference championship is necessary for a playoff berth.

The rise of Washington State this year has been very fun, but I think this is where the ride comes to a halt.  Washington has too powerful of an offense.  I expect them to attack the Cougars’ secondary by throwing it deep down field.  Washington State gives up a ton of passing yards compared to the Huskies.  I think Jake Browning has a huge game and leads the Huskies into the Pac-12 Championship.

But what if he doesn’t?

If Washington loses this game, I think we’re looking at the Pac-12 missing the Playoff.  USC or Colorado will win the South, and probably win the conference is the Cougars pull an upset.  But those two teams don’t have nearly the talent of others ahead of them.  Pit USC or Colorado against anyone ranked seven or higher and it won’t turn out well.  The only reason a USC or Colorado ends up conference champions is if Washington loses.  Those are low odds, my friends.

The only way the Cougars win today is if they get into a shootout and have the ball last.  However, Washington is just the better team.  It makes sense for them to win this game.

Prediction: Washington-42 Washington State-32

No.3 Michigan vs. No.2 Ohio State

Oooooh baby…

This is the game of the year, and no one can deny that.  The stakes are too massive, the rivalry is too great.  Its a perfect conundrum.

The only issue with this game is the uncertainty that comes along with it.  If Michigan wins, they outright win the Big Ten East, and go to the championship game.  If Ohio State wins, though, the road is more complicated.  Due to Penn State’s upset over Ohio State, the Buckeyes have to win this game and hope Michigan State beats Penn State.  “Yikes!” on those odds.

However, I really believe that if Ohio State misses the Big Ten championship game, they can still get into the playoff.  Its gonna be really hard for the committee, who had the Buckeyes in the playoff for most of the year, to leave them out at the end of the year.  Its not like the poor play of Ohio State cost them a shot at the championship.  Its simply that Penn State just had the better parameters.

Winning this game makes getting in much easier.

I’m starting to come around on Michigan.  I’ve been on the “overrated” train all year with them.  I still believe that, but yes, I do understand that they are really freaking good.  I think they’re gonna be able to stop Ohio State’s rushing attack, but containing J.T. Barrett is another issue.  The guy’s been on fire lately, and I think he can expose this Michigan secondary.

On top of all of this, its not clear whether Wilton Speight, who’s been hurt lately, is gonna start.  We saw what happened againist Indiana last week. The Wolverines started slow due to John O’Korn starting.  That can’t happen against the Buckeyes.  They’re gonna get blown out early if O’Korn can’t get anything going offensively.  Speight not starting tomorrow would be a worse case scenario for the Wolverines.

No matter what I see Ohio State winning.  Barrett is gonna torch the secondary, while Michigan struggles on offense (with or without Speight) against the Buckeyes defense.  I don’t see the Spartans beating Penn State, so the Buckeyes are gonna have to hope the committee believes in them as much as I do to make the Playoff.

Prediction: Ohio State-35  Michigan-24

No.22 Utah vs. No.9 Colorado

Colorado is another one of those teams I just haven’t been able to come around on yet.  I think the weak Pac-12 has helped them out this year, and the worst-to-first thing scares me a bit.  Thats why I have them on upset alert against Utah.

Utah is frisky.  They lose bad games but can play close, like they did with Washington.  They’re benefitted of an easy schedule, but have a dynamic offense featuring the Williams’.  I love that duo.  Colorado’s run defense is good, but isn’t quite up to what Utah’s is.  Thats the difference in this game.  The Utes can do whatever they want running the ball, and thats something I think can exploit Colorado.

I believe the Utes defense can keep it together.  In their losses, no one has scored over 31 points on them.  Thats good news.  They don’t get blown out, and keeping it close is going to be key if they want to pull this off.

A loss by Colorado would give USC the Southern crown.  That doesn’t exactly feel right either, but it doesn’t matter: I think neither Colorado or USC has a chance against Washington when the time comes.

This game is gonna be close and come down to the wire.  I think Joe Williams breaks a big run late to seal it for Utah, and they pull off a huge upset of Colorado.

Prediction: Utah-29 Colorado-24

Auburn-Alabama and Florida-Florida State will not be previewed due to a lack of stakes.

What We Learned In Week 10 Of The NFL

Week 10 was easily the best weekend of football we’ve had this season.  5/8 early games went down to the wire, and all of the late games were close, followed by a great Sunday night game.  Its about time we got some good football.  Anyways, here’s what we learned and saw this weekend.

The NFC North is a mess

Who would have ever thought the Lions would hold the top spot at any point this season? Let alone Week 10…

Its not really due to how good the Lions have been.  They haven’t really been that good.  Its about the crappiness of the other teams.

The Bears are the Bears, but the Vikings and Packers are both in serious trouble.  Green Bay has had issues since Week 1.  They’ve been up and down, with lows being really low.  But Sunday was a whole different story.

The Titans had 35 points at halftime.  When was the last time the Titans had that many in a game?

Its like the Packers weren’t even trying defensively.  I get they’re banged up still, but this is the Titans offense we’re talking about.  Its not that hard to stop.

Green Bay was playing like they were trying to get Mike McCarthy fired, which leads me into…

He has to be the issue, right?  There is no rushing attack, but Aaron Rodgers was pretty good.  The receivers played their part for once.  Packers fans were blaming Aaron freaking Rodgers and the talent offensively before McCarthy.  And a good amount of them still won’t blame McCarthy.

He’s reluctant to change, like most Packer fans.  Green Bay doesn’t like to make big moves in the middle of the season, and doesn’t like to fire coaches in the first place.  But what they have to realize is that he’s the one holding them back.  And things won’t get better if he’s still there.

The Vikings have plethora of issues.  The defense all the sudden can’t stop anyone.  The offense is about as stable as Jerry Jones’ mannequin challenge video.  And Blair Walsh still can’t kick.

The offensive line is where the heart of the issue is.  Its just a really bad bunch of lineman, and Jake Long, who was recently signed, is now done for the year with an Achilles injury.  T.J. Clemmings was a train wreck to add to the misery.

The Vikings just couldn’t finish drives.  They didn’t score the whole second half.  And there’s no real solution either.  Norv Turner gave up on it.  How long will it be until the offense gives up on itself?

The difference with this team was supposed to be the defense, but they’re in an extremely rough patch right now.

So that leaves the Lions at the top of the NFC North.  Yup, welcome to the NFL in 2016.

Rams-Jets was just terrible

This was probably the worst game of a very good slate of games in Week 10 (about time!).   The quarterback matchup was Case Keenum vs. Bryce Petty, which wouldn’t excite most people, but, for someone like me, who’s been on the Bryce Petty bandwagon ever since he’s been drafted, Sunday was a big day.

It would have been a lot more interesting had Jared Goff been starting for the Rams, but in the end, it didn’t matter.  The Rams won, and Case Keenum was average for once instead of being terrible.

The only good thing about this game for the Jets was that Bryce Petty wasn’t the reason they lost.  Sure, the offense wasn’t great, but thats expected with a guy making his first career start.  The Jets defense blew the game.

The decline of this Jets defense over the past year or so has been astonishing.  Its why they’ve been so atrocious.  The bad offense wouldn’t mean nearly as much if this defense could stop people.  Instead, Darrelle Revis is a mess.  Sheldon Richardson and Muhammed Wilkerson aren’t behaving.  Besides that, there’s not a lot else here.  And its showing big time.

On the Rams, Jared Goff must be really bad if they haven’t considered making him the starter.  Los Angeles could make the case of “Well, we are in the playoff race right now.”, but you aren’t getting any farther with Keenum, and you’ve also pulled a lot of games out of your butt.  Plus, its not like Keenum is single-handly winning games for you.  Make the change guys!

Defense stood tall

So many games Sunday came down to defense.  The Eagles held the mighty Falcons offense to only 16 points.  The Chiefs defense halted Cam Newton in the 2nd half.  The Broncos got a huge play on special teams, and some help from the refs, but they don’t win if their defense doesn’t slow down Drew Brees.

At the same time, most of these teams that have good defenses aren’t gonna get rewarded for it, at least like Denver did last year.  That gets me into the next topic.

There’s really only three good teams

And two of them played each other in Week 10.  You could make the case that the top four all played each other, with Dallas beating Pittsburgh.  But the Steelers’ defensive issues are too much of a problem right now, so they get the boot.

Really, the Steelers defense lost them the game, and though they were pitted against one of the best offenses in the league, it was still atrocious.  Ben Rothlisberger proved to us that he came back just one week too early, as he threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns.  But its frustrating to see this Steelers team be 4-5.  They have the potential to be much better, but defense is letting them down, and is making or breaking many team’s seasons so far this year.  We can add Pittsburgh to that list.

That was just a spectacle the Cowboys put on Sunday.  Dak Prescott was impeccable, Ezekiel Elliot was a beast, and Dez Bryant played his heart out.  The Cowboys are super scary, and should have the Seahawks on their heels in the NFC.

Sunday night was an excellent game.  There were so many “Oh my God” throws made between Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.  Those two are the best two quarterbacks in the league right now, and its not close.  That game was proof.

The Patriots defense is still extremely reckless and can’t generate any pass rush.  It killed them Sunday night, as they blew a couple coverages and let Wilson do what he wanted.

New England played well offensively, I mean, they have Tom Brady.  Its kinda hard to play bad when you have him.  But there are concerns.  Gronk got hurt, and after a scare with his lung, its now being reported that he’ll be fine.  The defense is banged up, but can’t generate any pass rush or seem to cover anybody.

The irony of Sunday night was hilarious.  The way New England had the chance to win the game was identical to the set-up at the end of the Super Bowl a year and a half ago.  And yet again, it came down to bad play calling.

I just didn’t understand Bill Belicheck’s call to throw a fade route when you only have one shot at a play.  The Seahawks attempted the same thing two weeks ago against New Orleans and failed at it.  I don’t care how good your receivers are, or whether you’re throwing to Gronk or not.  Fade routes rarely work in general.  Why attempt one when its the one chance you have?

I thought the no-call was correct.  If anything, you could’ve flagged Gronk for offensive pass interference.

But seriously, Sunday night’s game was amazing, and could very well be a Super Bowl preview.

Quick hits on the rest of the games:

  • The Browns are bad and that is all.
  • Carolina’s season is basically over with the killer loss against Kansas City.  The Chiefs scored 17 points in the 4th quarter to come back from a deficit of the same number.  It was an epic collapse by the Panthers defense, which has been bad in the secondary and mediocre up front all year.  Cam Newton took a beating again, which wasn’t surprising considering his offensive line and the good Chiefs defense.
  • The Bears are bad and that is all.
  • EXCEPT: Oh my God, that scramble and throw by Jamies Winston was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen.  Thats like Michael Vick in Madden 04 type stuff.
  • The 49ers-Cardinals game was way more stressful than it should’ve been.
  • What a meltdown from Philip Rivers against the Dolphins.  Everyone has a bad game, but that was extremely shocking to see from a guy like Rivers.
  • Pretty crappy Monday night game.  Neither offense could really get anything going, though I do credit the Bengals defense.  That was their best game this season, pressuring Eli Manning and forcing him to make bad throws.
  • It was a weird game because, when you evaluate what happened, it adds up to the Bengals winning.
  • But this is a Andy Dalton-led team, so something has to wrong.  And it did.  They just cannot seem to win games at the end, and its the reason they’re 3-5-1.
  • The Bears are bad and now Alshon Jeffrey is suspended for four games.  This has more of a fantasy impact than anything, but now the Bears are down their top playmaker.  Its a big blow, but yay for draft position, I guess.
  • Today is the day Vikings fans have coveted all year.  Blair Walsh is a free agent and no longer kicking for Minnesota.  The move had to be made.  Do the math: Walsh has cost them three games in the year 2016 alone: The playoff game vs. Seattle, the Bears game this year, and the overtime game vs. Detroit.  You can’t deal with that as an NFL team, especially one thats struggling like Minnesota is right now.

What Vine Meant To Sports (And of course, memes)

Twitter’s decision to shut down Vine is one of the many big shut downs we’ve seen in the past year or so.  Grantland, JABO, and Sky Mall, oh wait, no one cares about Sky Mall, have left us lately.  Vine is probably the most popular and important to leave us, however.

This is a sports blog, but I want to touch on what this means for everyone, not just Sports-Twtter people.  Vine made Twitter.  It made memes.  Seriously.  Countless memes that will go down as GOATs were created by Vine or took off because of it.

I think what Twitter didn’t realize was that Twitter helped Vine more than Vine helped itself.  No one really went on Vine’s app anymore.  “Going on Vine” died, but Vines didn’t.  The app was really only there for the people who provide us the comedy or news/highlights we got via it.

You have to think that Twitter had analytics that told them how many loops came from Twitter compared to how many came from the app itself,  because we all know Twitter’s numbers would be higher.  Plus, the amount of times someone watches a Vine on YouTube isn’t counted towards loops.  Twitter also seemed to fail at taking that into account.

Thats why this is so frustrating.  Vine was and is still a huge part of our lives.  We just don’t seem to take it into account anymore.  Twitter unfortunately didn’t either.

Vine was huge for sports and sports Twitter.  Vine was one of the reasons ESPN had to go through such massive talent cuts.  Those came about due to the massive amount of money ESPN poured into their new SportsCenter set, which is a show thats practically been ruined by Vine.

With social media, Vine and Twitter especially, we can see what happened right away.  Pre-Internet, people had to tune into SportsCenter late at night to see what happened that day in sports.  The world just wasn’t current, or live enough then.

But Vine revolutionized that.  A highlight segment on SportsCenter is a bunch of short video clips edited into a package.  The individuals video clips are plays, which for most sports, don’t take longer than six seconds.

Thats why Vine was perfect for instant highlights.  We could immediately see what happened on Vine or Twitter without watching a three minute long news package three hours after the play happened.

That took away the whole idea of SportsCenter, but its not necessarily Vine’s fault for killing the show, its ESPN’s, who failed to realize what Vine meant to us before building a brand new $125 million set.

Vine was perfectly engineered for the Internet.  It gave us anything we wanted, whether we are sports fans, artists, TV reporters, or people who have nothing to do and just scroll through Vine after Vine.  It was everything the Internet needed, and the Internet just won’t be the same without it.

World Series Roundup

The Cubs are World Series Champions.

Yeah, I just wrote that sentence.

Its too surreal.  I’m not a Cubs fan, but its still surreal.  To see how the team, the fans, and the city of Chicago reacted after the win couldn’t make you feel any happier for them.  How could you not?  It had been 108 years.  No one in the country had ever seen this happen.  Sports’ longest championship drought by far had finally been broken.

It wasn’t easy.  The Cubs didn’t have one thing they did throughout the whole series that helped them win.  I mean, they were down 3-1 at one point!  This World Series was truly won in Game 7.  And that Game 7 was one we will never forget.

The funniest part about Game 7 was that, the morning after, you found yourself talking about all the things the Cubs did wrong in the game.  Yet they still won!

When you examine the errors (no pun intended) the Cubs made, you wonder how they won the game.  I mean…

  • Javier Baez’s two errors
  • Pulling Kyle Hendricks too early
  • Leaving Jon Lester out too long
  • Javier Baez bunting with two strikes
  • Leaving Aroldis Chapman out too long

It was a sloppy game overall.  Basic defense wasn’t a thing.  The Cubs were thankful Baez’s two errors didn’t result in runs for Cleveland.  Cleveland had their defensive miscues too.  They allowed Kyle Schwarber to steal a base.  Rajai Davis was horrendous in the outfield (more on him later, though).  This sloppiness, as I will explain later, leaves a stain on the legacy of this game.

People criticized Joe Maddon for leaving Jon Lester out too long, but it really started with the decision to pull Kyle Hendricks in 5th inning.  Hendricks got the guys on base, but didn’t let them score.  If you leave Hendricks out there to clean up the mess he got himself into, the less you have worry about Jon Lester getting the yips and surrendering runs.

Lester did get the yips, and allowed Cleveland to cut the lead to 5-3.  It wasn’t too surprising from Lester.  I tweeted before his outing that this was the Indians’ best shot to get runs, because the odds of scoring off of Aroldis Chapman weren’t too great, even though he did have a rough postseason and is susceptible to meltdowns, which may or may not have happened later on.

Lester pitched well after that inning.  The Cubs added to their lead, on Andrew Miller of all people.  I’ll get to the Indians side of this game later.

Lester found trouble again in the bottom of the eighth inning.  He allowed two hits, leaving two on for Aroldis Chapman.  Maddon didn’t want to take a risk, but giving what we know about Chapman, wouldn’t it have made more sense to leave Lester out there?  Chapman hates coming in in the middle of an inning, and wasn’t great this postseason at preventing runs.  We knew Chapman is meltdown material.

Chapman first allowed a RBI double, but it got worse.  Rajai Davis hit one of the greatest postseason home runs ever, yet it will never be remembered due to the game’s final score.  The home run was the most MLB playoff-thing ever, and made Twitter lose it’s mind.  Seriously, it was one of those moments where you see “Oh my God” being tweeted 17 times in a row.  I counted for one of those.

The most underrated part: It squared straight up with Fox’s camera.


The best part was the camera guy scrambling to get out of the way before it squared up with his face.

The 9th inning was just as tense as the rest of the game, but didn’t have too much drama.  Chapman came back out, which was stunning and another one of Joe Maddon’s idiotic moves.  If you watched the 9th, it was clear Chapman was out of gas.  The fastball was low 90s, which is not great for Chapman, and the slider was ending up at the back foot of every batter, and guys weren’t swinging.  It was rough.  Anyways, Jason Kipnis hit a foul ball in the bottom of the 9th that I thought was gone for a second, but it stayed in the ballpark.

Then the rain delay happened.

And this tweet happened.

Well, it kinda happened.  It happened two years ago, but wasn’t discovered till the night of Game 7.

The tweet was still wrong.  We’re all still here.

Anyways, the rain delay was the most dramatic and least dramatic thing that could have happened.  Most dramatic because, well, what happened if the game didn’t end till like 3 AM CST instead of 12:30 AM CST?  Talk about drama!  It would have been eight hours of Game 7, the best thing in sports!

But it was the least dramatic thing because it killed momentum, and killed the mood of everyone watching.  Some people I knew went to bed.  It killed the mood because the game was so exciting up until that point.  Everyone was so disappointed in the decision.  I got texts from like five different people that said “NO” or “WHY”.  It was that kinda moment, but both teams kinda needed it.  One used it to their advantage.

The Cubs should’ve been rattled at the delay.  They let Cleveland tie in a meltdown by their reliever, and almost had Jason Kipnis hit a walkoff home run to win the World Series.  And speaking of their reliever…

There was a report that Aroldis Chapman was crying during the delay.  First off, you’re a 28 year old professional athlete.  You’re not the 2nd grade quarterback who had a bad game.  Secondly, you beat a girl.  You have no right to cry as a man if you do that.

Anyways, Jason Heyward supposedly rallied the team during the 16 minute delay, which is weird because Jason Heyward should be the last guy to have the right to do that out of anyone on the team given the season he had.  Thats something you’d expect from David Ross.

The meeting worked.  Bryan Shaw got rocked in the top of the 10th inning, mostly due to the fact that Ben Zobrist is built for the postseason, and that was it.  Oh, and Anthony Rizzo freaked out.

The Cubs were World Champions.

So what went wrong for Cleveland?

The simple answer is that they ran out of gas.  Corey Kluber had one of the best World Series outings ever in Game 1, and had the Cubs stumped again in Game 4.  Game 7 didn’t go his way.

Not gonna lie, I had the Indians winning Game 7 because of Kluber being on the mound.  But what I failed to consider was his workload.  He had thrown 169 pitches over the course of nine days, and had to add to it on the ninth day.

Its not that Corey Kluber isn’t a good postseason pitcher, or can’t handle the moment.  Its simply that he got worn out, and when you consider how well he pitched for that long, you can’t blame him.  He was worn out, and that trend continued for the Indians throughout the night.

Andrew Miller is baseball’s best reliever, and even he struggled in Game 7.  Again, it was the same problem: Wear.  Miller was worn out too.  He gave up the David Ross homer, which as soon as that happened, I knew some way, somehow Chicago was winning this game.

It wasn’t only wear that plagued Cleveland.  Coming into the postseason, we knew this bullpen was good.  But I had doubts.  It wasn’t the best in the playoffs, and was susceptible to issues.

The bullpen was sound the whole series, and it turned out that it would have worked out better the other way around.  The Indians’ bullpen had their worst moment of the series at the wrong time.  Its as simple as that.

This series, and in particular Game 7, was unbelievable.  Its hard for me as a 16 year old to rank the best games of all-time, but I can make a list of games in my lifetime.  Game 7 is pretty high on the list, but also understand that whats below is in no particular order.

Best Games In My Lifetime:

  • Game 7 2016 World Series: Cubs-Indians
  • Game 7 2001 World Series: Yankees-Diamondbacks
  • 2012 NL Wild Card Game: Cardinals-Braves
  • 2014 AL Wild Card Game: A’s-Royals
  • Game 6 2012 World Series: Cardinals-Rangers
  • Game 2 2014 NLDS: Giants-Nationals
  • Game 5 2015 ALDS: Rangers-Blue Jays

I’m probably forgetting some, but those are ones I can roll right off the top of my head.  Honestly, Game 7 of the 2001 World Series probably gets the nod over this year, simply because my Diamondbacks won the whole thing on a walkoff in their fourth year of existence, and because this year’s Game 7 was super sloppy.  And yes, I was only a year and a couple months when that game happened, but for those who ask, yes, I have watched the entire game before.

No matter where it ranks, this World Series will be remembered forever.

Podcast: Chris Engler

I had the chance to interview Chris Engler, former NBA player and social studies teacher at my high school.  The interview was originally done for my newspaper class and some of Engler’s quote will be featured in my story, which I will put up on here when its complete.  But the interview came across to me as a podcast when I re-listened to it.  Thats I why I thought it’d be a good idea to put on here.  The link below should take you right to the audio.  Enjoy!


What We Learned In Week 8 Of The NFL

Its been awhile since I’ve written about the NFL, and there’s a couple reasons.

  1. School, the NBA season tip-off, and the incredibly exciting MLB playoffs have taken all my time.
  2. This season kinda sucks!

I’ve done a 180 on the ratings problem.  The league just isn’t that good!  There’s one team we can totally certain about, and a ton of terrible teams.

Its just not very fun anymore.  The resolution is way too long to explain, but no matter what, the NFL needs to do something.

Anyways, here’s what happened this weekend.

Nobody can kick anymore

Remember when we thought college kickers were bad?  Oh, wait, they still are.  But turns out that trend is spilling into the NFL.  Maybe we can just blame Roberto Aguayo.  Its not just him who’s been bad, but we sure can start with him.

Tampa Bay was criticized heavily for taking a kicker in the second round, but it was defensible.  Aguayo was practically the best kicker college football had ever seen.

But in the pros, it just hasn’t happened for him.  He missed an extra point Sunday; his first of the year.  But Aguayo’s issues are with field goals.  He’s 6-11 on the year.  He’s missed one from 50+, three from 40-49, and one from 30-39.  His misses have Tampa Bay at the bottom of the league in field goal percentage (This is football we’re talking about, not basketball).

New Orleans is 2nd last in the league.  Saints kicker Wil Lutz, who Sean Payton liked before the season (“I like this guy a lot.”), and another rookie, is 7-11 on kicks this season.  His issues are long range, with three misses coming from 50+.

I searched for exact numbers on how many field goals have been missed this season that have cost teams games, and I just couldn’t find them.  But, doesn’t it seem like every week there’s a missed field goal that makes us go “You have to make that kick!”  or “That cost them the game.”.  Its ridiculous.

The Raiders-Buccaneers game was a perfect example.  Sebastian Janikowski, one of the best kickers in the league, missed a game-winning 50 yard field goal as time expired.  Then, in overtime, he missed a 52 yarder.  It was a meltdown, and Janikowski isn’t the only kicker to experience it this year, or week.

Dustin Hopkins missed a game-winning field goal against the Bengals in overtime Sunday morning.  Hopkins has had a good year, but his miss caused the game to end in a tie, which gets me into the next thing we learned this weekend.

Ties are stupid

Poor London.  They finally get a good game and it ends in a tie.

I was pretty surprised that the Bengals and Redskins played a good game.  It seemed destined to have a brutal ending for one, by turnover or something.  I kept saying on Twitter throughout the game “Someone is gonna have to win this game at the end.”.  Someone did for regulation, when the Redskins tied the game at 27 with around a minute left.  But no one did in overtime.

Somehow we ended up with two ties in two weeks.  When do two ties ever happen in a season, let alone back-to-back weeks?

They’re just dumb games.  There are so many dumb things that have to happen in a game for a tie to occur.  And when the tie occurs, there’s no reaction.  From the players.  From the coaches.  From me.  There’s no point in writing about it, really.

So getting rid of ties would benefit everyone.  I think the way to do it is have no clock, but apply the same possession rules.  Wait until someone scores a touchdown.  The NFL needs to do this because the NFL needs to do anything to start getting the attention back they once had back.

The Colts defense is still really bad

We’ve been saying it for weeks, but this week, it hit a new low.

Nick Foles played the majority of the game since Alex Smith dealt with a concussion.  Smith went 9/19 for 127 yards and a touchdown, but Foles was more impressive.  He threw for 223 yards on 16/22 passing and two touchdowns.

Nick. Foles.

Not great, Colts D!  They were already 2nd last in DVOA, and I expect their percentages to fall farther (Detroit’s will too).  But, the Colts defense is probably worse than the Lions’ in one way:  They’ve been at fault for many game-winning drives.

This defense is so bad that Andrew Luck can’t save them.  But really, Andrew Luck can’t save himself because his offensive line is so bad.  I feel terrible for Luck.  We need to send in a rescue team to Indianapolis and rescue the Master himself, like Boogie in Sacramento.  Free Andrew Luck!

The Raiders keep pulling wins out of their butt

Its getting pretty ridiculous at this point.  Oakland is a good team, possibly the best in their division.  But the inability to win close games at the end is worth worrying over, especially come playoff time, where there will always been a tough opponent.  I think it falls on the defense.  They’re letting offenses like Tampa Bay, San Diego, and Baltimore hang around.  Quarterbacks are putting up huge numbers on them.

This secondary was supposed to undergo big improvement this offseason.  It did, and the talent isn’t bad by any means.  It just hasn’t fulfilled expectations yet, and thats why the Raiders are scrambling at the end of games.

However, Derek Carr and this offense has gotten through it.  He’s so clutch, and can make anything happen.  His surrounding weapons have been a huge reason why he’s had a breakout year.

Sunday’s game was insane though.  Sebastian Janikowski is one of the best kickers in the league, and missed two field goals in Tampa Bay:  One as time-expired, and one in overtime.  It was a meltdown, but can also be a victim of the curse on kickers this year.  Still, Derek Carr and the Raiders can win any game, no matter what the situation is at the end.

Quick hits on Week 8:

  • I didn’t watch one minute of Jaguars-Titans Thursday night, but from what I heard and learned looking at the box score, it seemed atrocious. Blake Bortles is getting worse every week, and Jacksonville fired their offensive coordinator for it.  Really?  Can you not just accept that fact that Bortles clearly isn’t the guy?  I get they want to start using the run game more (Smart with Bortles playing the way he is), but the move to fire Greg Olson felt very scape-goatish.
  • The Texans can send thanks to Jim Caldwell for their 20-13 win over Detroit.  Only down a touchdown with 2:53 left in the game with three (!) timeouts left, Caldwell decided to onside kick.  Houston recovered and secured the win.

  • I’m aware of the spelling error.  Twitter really needs an edit button.
  • Otherwise, Houston’s secondary did a nice job on the Lions receivers.  But still, Detroit had a chance to win this, and their coach blew it.
  • I thought the Bills played the Patriots pretty well.  Tyrod Taylor had an incredible 26 yard touchdown run; he looked like a running back taking it in.  Tom Brady and the Patriots are just too good.  Brady threw four touchdowns, including one to Gronk.  The backstory on that touchdown is something I probably shouldn’t be printing.
  • Only the Browns could figure out how to blow a two possession lead to the Jets.
  • Hey, at least Cleveland has the Indians and Cavaliers.
  • Quick MLB note:  I think Cleveland loses tonight, but takes Game 7 tomorrow.
  • The Seahawks-Saints game was excellent.  Seattle did some good things against the Saints lackluster defense, but failed to get the running game going.  That has been their biggest struggle this season.  New Orleans’ offense played extremely well against Seattle’s tough D.  The Saints have an offense where they can do some things to exploit a defense, and they put those to use Sunday.  However, I thought the Saints got pretty lucky since Seattle decided to run a fade route on the final play of the game, where they had a chance to win.  What a bonehead call.
  • Pretty embarrassing loss for the Cardinals.  No one could block, leading to David Johnson not getting going (But still making ridiculous moves on defenders) and Carson Palmer getting sacked eight times.  The defensive issues continued:  Tackling and covering the outside and flats.  I figured our defensive line could at least start getting pressure on Cam Newton, but that never happened.
  • Denver’s defense was absolutely incredible against San Diego Sunday afternoon.  What a show.
  • I really like Devonate Booker
  • Unlike Denver, Green Bay’s defense was pretty bad.  Granted, they were extremely banged up, but the secondary wasn’t covering anyone.  Look at Mohammed Sanu’s game-winning touchdown pass!  He was wide open!
  • The good news for the Packers is that the offense returned to normal, somewhat.  The running game is still a mess, and I have no idea what they plan to do now that they cut Knile Davis (What a strange move overall.).  But the offense is improving.  Now, they just need to get healthy.
  • What a great Eagles-Cowboys game Sunday night.  Dak Prescott struggled, but Ezekiel Elliot ran well once again.  That guy is special.
  • I thought the Eagles defense got tired at the end of the game.  They were playing extremely well throughout regulation.  They got good jumps on the Cowboys offensive line, and forced four fumbles (One lost).  That game-winning drive by Dallas was great, but you can’t tell me Philadelphia wasn’t worn out by Zeke.
  • That was, even though they won, a big game for Tony Romo supporters.  Dak Prescott struggled for 80% of that game.  Zeke carried Dallas.
  • Philadelphia recovered from their offensive struggles.  They lost the game in OT.  Don’t harp on them too much.
  • I think we all need to chill about the Vikings.  These offensive struggles aren’t surprising.  I knew they were coming.  But everyone thinks it’ll doom them.  So what if the offense struggles?  They have one of the best defenses in the league (I know its been a rough two weeks, but they were due.)!  Maybe they are turning into this year’s Denver.  So what?  They’re still ahead of Green Bay, and they’re definitely better than the Bears.  So stop with the overrated talk.
  • And Vikings fans:  Be happy I’m defending you.