It’s been a hectic week and a half for me and I’m sorry I haven’t posted as often as I should have been. I’ve been doing some thinking and we’re going to be revamping the site and the content of our posts going forward.
|Super Bowl XLII: Eli Manning: Clutch Version 1.0 is born.|
It’s not an exact science, you can’t see clutch capabilities when you’re scouting rookies, no matter how stupendous a talent evaluator you might be considered. Until they’re put into a professional two-minute drill, where the game is faster than in college, you can’t know how superior a guy is when you’re team is really going to need him. And that’s the problem for a lot of teams when drafting quarterbacks, especially in the modern NFL. When taking into account the higher rate of close games this season, it’s more integral to a team’s success than ever before that their quarterback is money in the most important quarter of the game. It will only get harder and more crucial for teams to have players with these intangibles.
|The Modern King of the art that is
Clutch Quarterbacking, Tom Brady.
But unless they can pull out wins for you in the fourth quarter, you’re lost.
|Joe Montana on the game winning drive
in Super Bowl XXIII.
…is what Joe Montana said in the huddle, in Super Bowl XXIII, pointing down the field to famous TV star with 3:10 left on the clock, down by three, and 92 yards of green grass between them and the end zone. What transpired after this huddle was an 11 play drive down the field against a top-5 defense in the Cincinnati Bengals in 1988, and a last second touchdown to John Taylor to win the game. And what happened before that touchdown play solidifies any counter to criticism of Montana’s icy blood. He threw a pass that was nearly intercepted in the end zone, very close to being the biggest error in NFL history. Rather than losing his cool or getting nervous or jumpy after that ball, Montana instead threw a high bullet to Taylor in the back of the end zone.
Here are some easy-to-chew-on thoughts on the outcomes of Week 10:
1) The Bears are in trouble if Jay Cutler misses more than just the San Francisco game next week. Jason Campbell is certainly capable of filling in during Cutler’s absence, but Cutler is the guy who makes that offense click. He and Brandon Marshall have tremendous chemistry that dates back to their Denver days. Campbell will struggle to make it work with the same effectiveness.
2) Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets are dead in the dirt. Not a single offensive point against a tough Seattle defense and allowing 28 points to an offense directed by rookie Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) is mind-numbing. The Tebow experiment is a bust, and broke any kind of offensive rhythm the Jets could have had. It’s over for Gang Green, who are playing like they have gangrene. Gross.
3) Houston seems to be able to win all types of games. Minus the Green Bay debacle at home, the Texans are complete enough to compete in any game against any team. Arian Foster is a ground game king, and Matt Schaub does just enough to keep the offense moving forward. And with some seriously hard-hitting players on defense, this team is going to the Super Bowl. It would be a huge upset if they didn’t.
4) What’s that sound? I-I-It sounds like…uncontrollable weeping? Oh, it’s just Norv Turner in a corner by himself at Qualcomm. It’s time for a coaching change in San Diego, their performances this season are just terrible. It’s a damn shame, too, with so much talent on both sides of the ball.
5) Speaking of coaching changes, Andy Reid has pretty much sealed his own enveloped pink slip. The Eagles are one more loss away from a complete revamping of the franchise. The entire roster will have to be evaluated, along with the coaching staff and the front office. Jeffery Lurie, after all the money spent on superstar free agents in the 2011 offseason, expected positive results, and the Eagles took a dump on his front porch in return. Yes, it’s that bad.
6) Miami may have to wait a season before thinking playoffs. They were brought back down to earth as the Tennessee Titans dropped 31 points and held them to 3. Ryan Tannehill tossed three INT’s along the way and reminded us of the fact that it’s still his first season. And Joe Philbin didn’t do his offense any favors by pulling offensive lineman Richie Incognito out to discipline him after a costly penalty, and then doing the same to Reggie Bush after a fumble. This team is still growing.
7) The Lions still kill themselves with self inflicted wounds that are always avoidable. Calvin Johnson finally got a big ticket game with 207 yards receiving and the first Stafford-Megatron TD pass of the season, but letting Christian Ponder take over, and win, that game devoid of Percy Harvin is not very inspiring.
8) Big Blue doesn’t look AT ALL like the team that ripped the playoffs apart last year. Eli Manning hasn’t tossed a touchdown since Week 7, and the run game is in no way Plan B. With the Cowboys winning in Philly and having a favorable schedule the rest of the way, the Giants need to get back to their way of power and clutch football…and soon.
9) The league’s emphasis on offense is finally touching the running game. Run-oriented offenses are prospering against pass-heavy teams, and it’s rightfully returning to prominence in the national eye. Adrian Peterson’s big 170+ yard day with a pair of TD’s helped power the Vikings past the run-less Lions who rely on their passing attack to win games for them. I’m so glad the NFL is no longer so frustratingly one-dimensional.
10) The Falcons aren’t undefeated anymore. Not surprised at all. I know, yesterday I said they’d drop a few dozen points on the Saints, but New Orleans had a couple of very good defensive stands that nobody saw coming and they crushed their rival’s hopes of staying perfect. In the end, though, it might be a blessing in disguise for Atlanta; the weight of trying to stay perfect is out of the picture, and now they simply focus on winning home-field advantage in the NFC.
11) My 11th Hit is dedicated to the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who put their lives on the line for you and I every day to protect America and everything we stand for. We love you, salute you, hope you come home safe, and pray for you and your families. Thank you.
Even Rodgers’ 2011 season doesn’t hold up.
Also consider that Marino played in a time where QB’s no matter who they were were hit routinely and receivers could be hit past the 5 yard margin
But both Mannings are at exactly the same place. Peyton has the MVP trophies and the stats and records. Eli has the comebacks and the Super Bowl wins. Maybe one more championship out of Eli and he and Brady will duke it out for the best of the best, because Brady is truly one of the best QBs of all time
Brees 3, Brady 2.
Pass completions 3,521
Passing yards 41,429
QB Rating 96.6
Passing yards 42,462
QB Rating 93.9
Passing Attempts 5,715
Completion Percentage 65.7%
And that sir, is how they pick Hall-of-Famers
|Coldplay in action. What a show!|
To the fans who follow us, we’re truly sorry for not posting more regularly. It’s been a hectic week for Will and I. Will broke his ankle and that “obviously” debilitated his writing ability. He’ll have a post coming soon. As for me? Work, work, and COLDPLAY CONCERT. They’re my favorite band of all-time and they put on the greatest concert I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.
But, we’re not here for the concert details. If you are, check out @aceing82 for another show picture.
We’re here for football! And we’ve got some crazy playoff story lines heading into Week 10. The Eagles are slipping away, Leon Washington is facing his old team in the New York Jets, and the Bears are forming a new-look, ferocious takeaway defense. Let’s delve into the events that await us:
1) Houston vs. Bears could be a potential Super Bowl preview. If you have NFL GamePass, keep this in the corner of your screen while you watch anything else. If there’s one thing every NFL fan knows, it’s that despite the power of offenses in the NFL, defense is still what makes champions in this league. Almost all of the Super Bowl contenders this year have D’s that keep them in games and these two juggernauts are no exception. Lovie Smith’s unit has the Bears winning consistently, with just one loss the Packers before their emergence. They will definitely win the next match-up and be in control of the division for the rest of the season. And the Texans, no matter how good Andrew Luck’s Colts are looking, have a dominant all-around team that can pulverize even the best. Whom ever comes out with the win here can be sure that they’ll have to up their level of play and disguise their schemes more thoughtfully if they face off again. With two Defensive Player of the Year candidates on both sides of the ball (J.J. Watt for Houston, Charles Tillman for Chicago) this has the look a really exciting game.
2) The Colts are going to the playoffs behind Andrew Luck’s historic rookie season. Luck keeps them in games and is proving all the preseason predictions of him right. He’s a game operator who can change the course of his team’s fortunes at any point of the game. Yes, he’s still a rookie, so I don’t expect a deep playoff run (although I wouldn’t be surprised by a wild-card win). But the guy is amazing, and will be for a long time in the league. If there’s a team in the league that is already getting hot at the right time, it’s these guys, and the fact that were able to handily dismantle a Jaguars team that has been a perennial confidence-builder for opposing teams is a huge positive. #IndyIsLegit
3) The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming back, and another win can only re-emphasize that. With an easily winnable game against the dismal Kansas City Chiefs, the Steelers are on a road that could make them a strong candidate to win the AFC North, after a slow start to their season and a possible hole they could have dug themselves in with Baltimore taking over in the driver’s seat of the division. Ben Roethlisberger is running the short passing game effectively in OC Todd Haley’s new scheme in Pittsburgh and can ride on this scheme along with their annoyingly-consistent defense into the playoffs.
4) The Giants are slowing down drastically on offense. And in Cincinnati, they need to get back to their driving ways. Eli Manning has been held without a TD pass in two of their last three games, and as the pilot of the offense, he needs to start revving the engine a little more. The Bengals are on a four-game losing streak, and their defense is not winning anything for them. This will be a huge opportunity for New York to prove that they can efficiently exploit bad defenses and win on both sides of the ball. Jason Pierre-Paul is still a dominant force on the other side along with Justin Tuck, Osi Umeniyora, and Mathias Kiwanuka. But this team is built to win late in games, and last week’s lost to Pittsburgh was a huge disappointment. This will be their first chance to regain some momentum before they start to slip into the middle of the divisional pack in the NFC East.
5) Tampa Bay has a chance to firmly establish their new-found explosiveness in San Diego. Head Coach Greg Schiano was looking like a first-year bust with the Buccaneers through Week 6, with the team at 2-4 in a lost NFC South. But lately, rookie RB Doug Martin and QB Josh Freeman have the team winning tight games with a lot of points on the board. Martin had a historic game in Oakland with 262 yards rushing, 4 TD’s, and a new entrance into the talks for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Their defensive secondary is also making some noise with takeaways in the fourth quarters of games to solidify some much needed wins. All of a sudden, they could be in the thick of the NFC wild-card race. San Diego hasn’t been outstanding, and the Bucs could have a big win coming for them if they play a solid, 60-minute game in all three phases.
6) Dallas vs. Philadelphia will prove which team sucks more. Both Michael Vick and Tony Romo are at about a level 6 V/FPG (Vick-Caliber Fails Per Game). Romo, for his ability to make his team tease their fans into thinking they can win tight games. And Vick…well, the damn scale is named after him, isn’t it? Both teams are heading into NFL oblivion this season and the loser will, for all intents and purposes, be out of the NFC wild-card race. It’s a game that really isn’t going to play a huge factor in January, but will surely affirm which team will need more work. As of now, Philly HC Andy Reid looks like he’ll lose his job and Vick might be on the bench as well. For the ‘Boys, HC Jason Garrett may be replaced with an outside candidate (far-fetched possibilities include Sean Payton and Jon Gruden). Will all due respect, these teams can be playoff contenders will obvious talent and unlocked potential. But it’s not like they’re losing for no reason.
7) Oakland may actually have a winnable game in Baltimore. I’m not saying I would pick them with even $10 dollars on the line, but certainly with the injuries on the Ravens’ D, Carson Palmer has a chance to shred them the way he did Tampa Bay’s last week. Palmer showed that he can still play at an elite level, minus the turnovers, and can lead this team. But he’ll really have to show up with Darren McFadden likely not playing this week with an injury. Baltimore is still going to the favorite, but I wouldn’t call them heavy favorites. If Oakland can generate pressure on Joe Flacco and not give him a chance to shoot the deep ball to Torrey Smith, and hold Ray Rice at the line, then it opens up a chance for Palmer to be the hero. There’s cracks in Baltimore’s shield, and the Raiders could take advantage.
8) Denver will be unstoppable this week. I couldn’t care less about what any remaining critics might have to say about Peyton Manning’s neck, the guy is back, and in a big way. In Carolina, with a struggling all-around team, they’ll be primed to drop a few dozen points on the black-and-blue jerseys and start a clean record in November. The offense looks like the one the Colts had in 2009 with Manning still in Indy blue: young, raw, but with respect for authority. The authority? It’s still the sheriff. Manning, playing with perhaps a little less zing to his throws than in years’ past, is on his way to one of his best statistical seasons, heading towards 4,808 yards and 40 TD’s. With the Panthers’ defense less than intimidating look, look for heavily one-sided games.
9) Speaking of one-sided games, Matty Ice vs. New Orleans’ defense is going to be ugly. New Orleans’ defense is being rolled flat by opposing offenses (with the exception of the lackluster Eagles) and that doesn’t look like it’ll stop with Atlanta on the menu. Matt Ryan (a potential MVP), Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Michael Turner form a unit that will stop at nothing the crush their rivals into the ground so far down that they’ll be in Beijing by January, asking little Chinese women where the playoffs are. Drew Brees will really have to keep pace with Atlanta, which won’t be a monumental task for an elite quarterback like himself. But it’s do-or-die for the Saints right here, and if they can’t match the Falcons point-for-point, then they can greet 2013 a little early with open arms.
10) New England put up 52 against Buffalo last time, so how much will it be this time? I love me some points. Points make the NFL go ’round, they make people’s heads spin in the clutch and in one-sided affairs. The Patriots are skilled at both. Tommy Brady will be out to ramp up the speed and ferocity of an offense that also ran up the score in London to 45 against a declining St. Louis defense. I think I might know a prediction here…62-7. No, wait…62-3. NOPE, hold on here…the score is 62-0 with about 1:30 left on the clock, and Brian Hoyer, the Pats’ backup QB, feels so bad for the Bills that he simply runs backwards and “accidentally” steps out of bounds in his own end zone and feigns disgust with himself, while Mario Williams and the defense all rally around their hero for allowing them half a fantasy point for their “dedicated” owners who couldn’t unload the unit in time for this week.
Yep, some wacky story lines here. Enjoy Week 10, and we’ll be back with some Quick Hits on Sunday Night!
We’re back! Hope everyone’s had a great week! Exams are finally f***ing over, and Will and I couldn’t be happier. Enough of the useless crap, though; onto the football!
Houston, meet 7-1 and prime candidacy for Super Bowl favorite.