by Ryan Meehan
You’ve got your regular referees back…Are you happy now? Of course you aren’t. My money is on the fact that you can’t wait to find another incident of a blown call that will justify you screaming at your television in a fit of rage. Which is too bad, because the union refs are the best chance that we have towards viewing a season that a lot of Packers fans already view as forever tarnished. But we can’t change the past, so let’s at least try to hope the best for the future – Here’s what went down in week four…
Ravens 23, Browns 16
I feel kind of bad for Brandon Wheeden. His receivers dropped balls all night and that pick six will be the only image from that game that will be remembered. He was also asked to throw the ball 52 times, completing only 25 of them. Also for the first time this year I can feel a little bit of sympathy for Hurley who is a lifelong Browns fan and has never wavered once through all of this, he’ll be doing guest picks with us next week and you’re going to want to definitely check that one out because it’ll be solid gold.
Falcons 30, Panthers 28
Kids, this is why gambling isn’t for everybody. As a heavy favorite, the Falcons were a lock to cover the spread against the Panthers who were fresh off a ten day rest and a dismal showing against the Giants last Thursday. Not only did they not cover the spread, but Carolina almost got away with the win here if it hadn’t been for a last second field goal by Matt Bryant. The Panthers showed their true colors on defense here, as they had Atlanta backed up to their own one yard line with less than a minute left. As soon as Matt Ryan completed a 59 yard pass to Roddy White to get them into turquoise territory, you knew this game was over.
Patriots 52, Bills 28
This game was close for the entire first half but then the Patriots broke free, and the Bills let another high scoring game get away from them. Buffalo’s failure to hold in the early minutes of the third quarter has proven to be a real problem and if they can’t get it fixed soon, there are going to be a lot of analysts upset that their pick of Buffalo to nab one of the wildcard spots didn’t pan out the way they wanted it to. While we’re discussing the Bills, how much must it suck to be Mario Williams right now? And I don’t want to hear any noise about the Patriots running up the score either – This is not like a few years back when they beat the Redskins 59-0 in one of the most lopsided games in NFL history, this was against a divisional opponent that was overhyped from the first snap of the year. Tom Brady managed to rack up 52 points while not throwing for a single touchdown in the first half, reminding us that he shows up when it matters most but more importantly that the Patriots are firing on all cylinders.
Chargers 37, Chiefs 20
Color me wrong on this one, I didn’t see the Chargers coming out and making a statement against the Chiefs the way they did – early and often. Kansas City’s defense is absolutely porous, and as a fan on a team that won’t be facing them in the 2012-2013 season it is very depressing to see that they aren’t on our schedule this year. What’s most crucial here is the Chargers forced six turnovers, and more importantly rebounded from the horrifying memory of getting pounded by the Falcons last week.
Vikings 20, Lions 13
Even though this is their second straight victory against teams that both made the playoffs last year, I still consider the Vikings to be a work in progress, even at 3-1. The biggest question I have here is – what the hell happened to the Detroit Lions? Here they were just a month removed from having their two biggest offensive stars on the cover of Sports Illustrated and then Matt Stafford comes out against the Vikings and throws for 319 yards and NO touchdowns? Sure, the special teams play was awful on Detroit’s part, but a high octane offense is supposed to be able to make up for mistakes like that. The defense played well, but I still maintain that those guys shouldn’t be allowed to talk anymore shit as long as the Lions aren’t winning games like this that they need to have.
49ers 34, Jets 0
Oh wow…how funny is this? Not only did our imaginary superstar Jets quarterback go 13 for 29 and a whopping 103 yards (with a magnificent 39.9 QB rating), they didn’t score a single point from either side of the football. Neither their extremely fictional high potency offense or their equally overrated beast of a defense were able to muster up enough strength to ensure their mere presence on the scoring timeline. Give San Francisco a large amount of credit, they bounced back from a tough loss last week against Minnesota to use six different receivers and eight different running backs en route to a 34 to nothing blowout of the slowly crashing Jets. And they did it on a relatively weak day for Alex Smith in which he didn’t even hit the 145 yard passing mark. The 49ers know that on any given day they can beat anyone in the league by playing great defense and running the football right up the gut.
Rams 19, Seahawks 13
The football gods finally got their revenge on the Seattle Seahawks as Russell Wilson was unable to pull a rabbit out of his hat, just like he was unable to do last week as well when he was handed a free win. It wasn’t pretty: Sam Bradford had a less than stellar game passing and Stephen Jackson is still clearly not 100%, but they got the job done. The breakout star of this game turned out to be the difference maker as well – St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein became the first player in NFL history to complete a 50 yard field goal and a 60 yard field goal in the same game.
Texans 38, Titans 14
As I usually say with Houston, nothing unexpected transpired in Sunday’s game against their AFC South rival Tennessee. The Texans are now 4-0 and the likelihood that you will see them headlining Sportscenter in October is basically nonexistent. Owen Daniels is going to be key to their success in the near future, so let’s hope for their sake that he stays healthy. The Titans looked like the Titans again, so maybe all is right with the world after all. Returning to Texan talk, Houston was putting second and third stringers in towards the end of the game in this one so you know they are in total control. Who would have ever thought I’d be sitting here praising Wade Phillips for the outstanding job he’s doing as defensive coordinator? Not this guy. Texans writer Stephanie Stradley wrote an excellent article on Sunday’s matchup, and did a better job of it than I ever could – http://blog.chron.com/texanschick/2012/10/texans-38-titans-14-blowout-dont-start-wave/
Cardinals 24, Dolphins 21
Somehow Arizona was held scoreless in the first half of this game, mostly due to their inability to convert on 3rd downs. (1 for 5) But they got right back into the game, and although it wasn’t pretty the Cardinals remain undefeated. Miami I think is getting a little better, they are showing some improvement on defense, and if they need another bright light to shine on them Buffalo and the Jets are terrible at the moment. Back to Arizona, they could have easily curled up into a little ball and died, but whatever went on in the locker room at halftime it worked. The Cardinals are going to win a lot of close games like this, and they will all count just the same. They aren’t going to go ahead and just plant 55 points on anybody anytime soon. If they start winning games by 15 or 20 points, then I’d seriously start to worry about them because they do have a great roster. And awesome ownership, a head coach I like a lot, and a very comfortable home stadium to play in. I know writers who picked the Cardinals to finish 4-12, and they don’t really discuss that a whole lo as you would imagine. You don’t have to spend every waking moment following the Redbirds, but make sure that you can see them in your rearview mirror.
Bengals 27, Jaguars 10
Cincinnati is one of the more quiet teams in the league as far as piecing together wins. They did it even quieter on Sunday as they collected another W from the Jaguars, who were limp and sore at home. Dalton had a decent outing but more importantly didn’t waste a great one against Jacksonville as the Bengals rolled easy 27-10. The only thing that really stuck out as groundbreaking here is Cincinnati’s defense finally stepped up to the challenge and took control, which was about three regular season games overdue.
Broncos 37, Raiders 6
If I remember correctly I told you this had blowout potential and I was right. Peyton Manning completely mudsharked the Raiders, doing everything he wanted to do to them with the fish. They’re still .500, and the way I look at it they are .500 in the games they lost as far as games they probably should have won. The most telling postgame quote came from Broncos coach John Fox, who said “He’s getting more comfortable…Let’s not forget he didn’t play for over a year and this is a new team, new coaching staff, new city, new field, new everything for him. The type of guy he is, he’s going to get better and better.” With the career he’s already had, it’s easy to see that Fox is probably right.
Packers 28, Saints 27
As you’ve probably already heard, the Packers came very close to getting screwed over twice in six days. But they didn’t, so Packers fans can sleep a little bit easier because it doesn’t cost them another game in the standings. What I’m more worried about is this developing story involving JerMicheal Finley’s agent tweeting that Aaron Rodgers “is not a great leader”. That’s a huge issue right there, and although I usually don’t think that athletes are affected by stuff like this I also think Green Bay is a small town and this is going to get a lot of very deserved attention and they’ll have to address it. Now let’s talk about New Orleans for a second. Drew Brees passed for 446 yards in this game and still lost. He’s the face of the franchise but you can’t help but wonder how much more he can do to get them in the winning direction. Very rarely do you see a guy put up numbers like that each and every single week without winning a game. He hit ten different receivers, but their defense just can’t get off of the goddamn field when faced with a third down situation and it’s almost humiliating. I have to call bullshit on myself saying they wouldn’t miss Jonathan Vilma, it’s very apparent they do and they are paying for it as they’ll have to dig themselves out of a huge 0-4 hole if they even want to get a whiff of the postseason. Overall, it’s a very bizarre and depressing story that nobody saw coming.
Redskins 24, Buccaneers 22
Before anything else, I’d like to share the fact that two Redskins players were declared inactive because they collided during pregame warm-ups. One of the ESPN guys doing the late show said “nothing funny about this” and then they played the clip and I feared I was going to hyperventilate with laughter. This was a perfect example of how the game was: Really ugly, not a lot of impressive numbers tossed around, and Griffin was able to come out with a win after getting a lead early and then momentarily blowing it. As is the case with any rookie quarterback he’s learning that not only is the speed of the professional game much faster than it is in college, but you can also lose the lead quicker. The NFC East may end up being the closest out of all the divisional races.
Eagles 19, Giants 17
To be honest, I am glad that the Giants didn’t end up winning this game because the officials called Philadelphia for some questionable pass interference calls on New York’s final drive. This one had a lot of defense at the beginning and it took almost a quarter and two thirds to get anything going for either team. These matchups are always fun to watch, and even though my team lost it was still an awesome game. The Giants are still going to be good and hard to beat, but when they face the Eagles DeSean Jackson is always going to get over on Big Blue’s defense. I don’t know what to think about the Eagles: Sometimes they were suffocating on defense and then two plays later they got into this zone defense nonsense that Eli was able to pick apart. Whatever it was, it isn’t going to work in the playoffs if they face a Green Bay, a San Francisco, or an Atlanta. They did however play a great game tonight, it’s hard to hold the Giants to 17 points even at home.
Bears 34, Cowboys 18
You wanted sloppy and you got it. A few of the turnovers in this game seemed almost carnivalesque. The Bears showed they meant business going on the road and getting this one. And you have to figure that the Cowboys scored 9/5ths of their points when it couldn’t have mattered less, so it goes without saying that you’d much rather have a QB that throws for 150 yards instead of one who throws for 300 and gives the ball away five times. Chicago did look very good, and for the entire game Brandon Marshall looked like what Brandon Marshall should have looked like when he played for the Miami Dolphins. Cutler got some very easy looks but he owned the opportunity and much respect for that.
Another football related tidbit here – At http://southparkstudios.com you can watch all of the latest South Park episodes that contain all of your favorite characters from the hit Comedy Central television show. This week, they addressed a lot of NFL-related issues in an episode titled “Saracastaball” that is well worth the 22 minutes it takes to watch it. As for the actual games themselves, we saw a lot of what we were hoping for as far as quality of play goes, and I am behind Houston more than anyone right now. Actually both of my Super Bowl teams looked great today as the Niners proved they should be playing in New Orleans in February. I’m still not buying the Vikings, I think they haven’t played the meat of their schedule and although the defense looks better than it has looked I question their stamina to hold for a playoff position. A lot of their ability to achieve success will depend on how the Bears perform or don’t perform the second half of the season.
In one more related NFC North note, I’d like to publicly state that I am fucking exhausted with all of these “discount double check” jokes that people try posting as status updates or tweets. It’s not just that it’s a terrible ad campaign (which it is), or that none of those guys from the Packers (especially Aaron Rodgers) should be spokesmen. (which they shouldn’t) It’s all about the fact that those are bad jokes, and if you’re going to write bad jokes you should stay off of the internet until you can write good ones. Cheap and easy is weak and sleazy, find something else to do because you suck. That’s all of the bitching I can do at the moment, see you on Thursday.
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.