Each day we scramble to find stories about our favorite teams, how our fantasy players did, and what we need to win in another week. Sometimes we get so caught up in everything that we forget about what is really important, like a natural disaster that claims the lives of 165,000 people we probably never knew. A tragedy such as this should inspire us to remember how lucky we are and how precious life truly is. Whether this occurred 5 miles from us or 5000 miles, it makes no difference. Everyone should be saddened as I am in this great catastrophe. Please do whatever you can to help, even if it is as simple as thinking of those less fortunate once in a while, and hugging those you love just a little harder this week.
Enough of the sappy stuff, on to football…
The playoffs are abound and twelve teams are very happy right now, preparing their game plans and time off for next week. It was a pretty bad week of football, especially when you consider last week there were four straight days of football, and this week all the games were played on Sunday. Very few games were worth watching, but at least the networks had the intelligence to broadcast the meaningful games as their primary games.
The Aaron Factor
I have to start with the comments by Aaron Brooks that I am sure some of you heard about. Brooks, while describing Jake Delhomme, said Jake never took advantage of opportunities, and was a good quarterback with a great cast. Brooks described himself as a great quarterback with a good cast. Let’s reflect on that for just a moment. Delhomme in his first season with Carolina took the team to the Super Bowl and just came up short. The Panthers have fourteen players on injured reserve this year, including nine starters and start 1-7 and just miss the playoffs. Aaron Brooks has led the team to exactly two playoff games and one victory in 2000, and executed some of the dumbest plays I have ever seen. The backward pass to a lineman twenty yards behind the line of scrimmage this year was a classic. A word of advice: make sure you know what you are talking about before you speak. The Saints under your leadership had their first winning December this year, performing dismally down the stretch in crunch time. Jealousy does not suit you, and winning one big game does not back up your comments. When you win some big games consistently, and your team follows your leadership, then you can call yourself a great quarterback. Until then, make your plans for January as you will have plenty of spare time as usual.
House of Cards?
I must say I think the Eagles are in trouble. I know they are in preseason mode right now, trying to protect their stars and rest their nicked up players, but why even show up if you are going to play like that? If not for a late TD pass by Jeff Blake, they get beat 38-3 by the Bengals. I know what you are going to say — they had nothing to play for, and their starters were out for most of the game. However, let’s compare what you see in the Eagles to the Patriots and the Steelers. These teams had nothing to play for, and the Steelers knocked a very good Buffalo team out of the playoffs with their second and third stringers. The Patriots have started nine different people in the secondary, and have substituted a linebacker and wideout in nickel and dime packages over the last six games, only losing one of those. My contention is this: good teams are deep and play together in all facets of the game. The Eagles are going into the playoffs setting themselves up for an early exit. It would not surprise me to see them lose in the divisional round to either Seattle or St. Louis (this is on the assumption there is no way that Minnesota goes to Lambeau and beats the Packers).
Feeling a Little Green
Most coaches will say that you don’t worry about two point conversions until the fourth quarter, regardless of the situation. Apparently, Herm Edwards doesn’t subscribe to that theory. When they scored late in the third and went up 26-21, the Jets went for two and failed. That decision ended up costing them the game. I know what you are thinking. When Buffalo lost, the Jets were in either way but this goes back to bad game management that has plagued the Jets all season. What if that situation comes up against San Diego next week? They have got to do better managing games if they ever want to do anything in the playoffs.
Besides the most publicized records and statistics, let’s take a look at whether or not the league rule “emphasis” achieved the desired effect.
4000 yd passers 2 5
QBs w/ 100+ rating 0 4
QBs w/ 20+ TD passes 11 15
1000 yd receivers 14 24
I’d say that is a resounding yes. A couple of noteworthy stats as well: the quarterbacks in history that are most prolific in a season (TD passes, yards, completions, attempts, etc.) have never won a championship. The quarterbacks who have led in efficiency are the ones have won many championships. John Elway won two Super Bowls and never threw more than 27 touchdowns, and only threw for 4000+ yards once. What this proves is you need a team, not an individual to win the Super Bowl. We’ll see what teams can demonstrate their abilities in the next few weeks.
Just Plain Lousy Game of the Week: TB vs. ARI – The Devil Rays beat the Diamondbacks 12-7 on Sunday… oh yeah, wrong sport. Well, this game carried about as much excitement as baseball, and it would have been better if this was a defensive battle instead of a miserable offensive display. Jon Gruden has to be beside himself after two depressing seasons removed from their championship season. He is a great coach an needs to realize that you need to adapt with the league, and make changes even after you win, otherwise you will be left behind.
I can’t believe the rushing title came down to one yard. Congratulations to Curtis Martin winning it at the age of 31. Did anyone else think he lost a step after last season? Me too. I guess not.
I have no idea what happened between Mike Martz and Kyle Turley, and apparently no one else does either. I can’t believe Georgia Frontier thinks she has a great coach in Mike Martz. It’s clear now he is an idiot wrapped in a moron.
Just a note: Denver has scored 10 points or less in each of the six dome playoff games in which they have played. Good luck against SuperManning.
By the way, Ben Roethlisberger set rookie records for completion percentage, quarterback rating, and a small deal about 13-0 as a rookie or something like that.