Last Week Jets lost to Broncos 31-17, Patriots defeated Bills 37-22
Fast Fact The Jets 5 game skid is the longest of the Rex Ryan Era
The grins and jeers long gone from Ryan he is just trying to make it through a season where almost everyone is in agreement that he will likely be fired. The Jets put a good fight up against the Broncos but their upset bid was poleaxed by a soul crushing pick-six late. The Pats look like they are fully recovered from their KC swoon that had the doubters out in full force but are now back grumbling about Brady and his receivers. By and large the road team gets hammered in these Thursday night farces…uh matchups. I don’t think the Jets care that much at present and the Pats are the better team on both sides of the ball
Falcons (2-4) @ Ravens (4-2)
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore 1:00 (FOX)
Last Week Falcons lost to Bears 27-13, Ravens defeated Buccaneers 48-17
Fast Fact Joe Flacco’s 5 TD passes were done in a mindboggling 18 minutes of gameplay
The Falcons look stunningly flat at home versus a middling Bears squad and got thumped, while the Ravens started nuclear hot and never let off the gas in their could have been much, much worse blowout of the Bucs. I doubt that Joe Flacco could pull a trick like he did against the Bucs this week. Or probably any more in his career, but I think he will be able to strafe the weak Falcons secondary
Titans (2-4) @ Washington (1-5)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Washington by 5½
Last Week Titans defeated Jaguars 16-14, Washington lost to Arizona 30-20
Fast Fact Washington QB Kirk Cousins is 1-7 as a starter
A real snoozer in the nation’s capital where Washington and the Titans have one thing in common beating lowly the Jags. Both teams do a lot of things and all of them bad, Washington has no running game though the Titans run defense is virtually no existent. The Titans passing game is nauseatingly bad, but then again Washington’s puts little fear in defenses. Who wins? Who cares? Toss a coin and hope that you don’t have seat near a TV that has this game. I’ll probably be wrong but Ill bank on Alfred Morris being overdue for a breakout game and that gets the home team the win.
Seahawks (3-2) @ Rams (1-4)
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Seahawks by 7
Last Week Seahawks lost to Cowboys 30-23, Rams lost to 49ers 31-17
Fast Fact Seahawks have not lost back to back games since October 2012
Bottled up and beat down, the defending champs lost a tough one at home to Dallas, while the Rams came out fast then fizzled on Monday night. The Seahawks demise I think is greatly exaggerated and they are looking to take their anger out on someone. The Rams were a chic pick to make noise in the NFC look lost more often than not on both sides of the ball and lack a clear direction. The Seahawks should bounce back easily and whip the struggling Rams
Browns (3-2) @ Jaguars (0-6)
EverBank Field, Jacksonville 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Browns by 5 ½
Last Week Browns defeated Steelers 31-10, Jaguars lost to Titans 16-14
Fast Fact Browns offense will be playing without longtime center Alex Mack who before going down with a broken fibula last week hadn’t missed a snap in his career, playing in all 5289 offensive snaps until injured
The Browns have had fewer satisfying wins than hammering their hated bullies in front of a happy home crowd last week, while the Jags are trying like the good scout but still have nothing to show for it. The Browns now have the rare opportunity to be the bully in matchup and the way that the schedule sits the Browns have the opportunity to get three wins over eminently beatable opponents. The Jags are showing some improvement but the Browns are much better
Bengals (3-1-1) @ Colts (4-2)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Colts by 3
Last Week Bengals tied Panthers at 37, Colts defeated Texans 33-28
Fast Fact Bengals have not won in Indy since 1997 when current Bengals QB Andy Dalton was all of 10
The Bengals started fast with three wins but have been winless in their last two after failing to secure a win in a long overtime draw with Carolina. The Colts have been flying high with a string of wins offsetting an 0-2 start. The Bengals offense isn’t a real problem, they get they get the points, the problems is that after giving up 11 points a game in their first three wins they have given up 80 points in their last two and facing the high energy attack led by Andrew Luck. The knock against the Colts is that they are piling up the numbers against so-so divisional foes and that the Bengals defense should be a real defensive test. I just can’t shake that fast fact line, the Bengals just have trouble winning just 112 miles up the road. I see another shootout.
Dolphins (2-3) @ Bears (3-3)
Soldier Field, Chicago 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bears by 3
Last Week Bears defeated Falcons 27-13, Dolphins lost to Packers 27-24
Fast Fact The Bears last shutout was against these very same Dolphins in 2010
The maddingly inconsistent Bears knocked off the Falcons in the dirty dirty, while the Dolphins battled the Pack to the wire but couldn’t hold off a last second score. Jay Cutler plays mediocre at home, point blank and you just can’t trust his play. I’m almost afraid to pick the Bears here for fear that Cutler will make a liar out of me yet again. The Dolphins offense is just about as inconsistent as the Cutler is and I’m less likely to trust Ryan Tannehill who has underperformed more often than not. I’m gonna regret this one
Vikings (2-4) @ Bills (3-3)
Ralph Wilson Stadium; Orchard Park, NY 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Bills by 5
Last Week Vikings lost to Lions 17-3, Bills lost to Patriots 37-22
Fast Fact Bills have yet to surrender a rushing touchdown and allow and NFL best 67.5 yards rushing
The trials of Teddy Bridgewater continue as the Vikings continue to struggle offensively, the defense plays decent but with little room for error. The Bills have a stout rushing defense and a respectable offensive output with the oft traveled Kyle Orton bringing some needed stability to the offense. I so want to see Bridgewater and the Vikes have a breakout game, but against that defense that may be wishful thinking.
Saints (2-3) @ Lions (4-2)
Ford Field, Detroit 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Lions by 2
Last Week Saints were on their bye, Lions defeated Vikings 17-3
Fast Fact Opposing quarterbacks have an 103.2 QB rating against the Saints defense, and has only forced one interception
The Saints are a week removed from their best offensive output of the season against the Bucs will have a much steeper test against the Lions who are much more stouter defensively. The Saints are very weak defensively but the Lions are missing many key components of their offensive arsenal as Megatron Johnson remains out of action and Reggie Bush is nursing a bad ankle. I’m always a fan of the electric Drew Brees but I think that the Lions defense should be able to carry the day in a low scoring slugfest
Panthers (3-2-1) @ Packers (4-2)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Packers by 6½
Last Week Panthers tied Bengals at 37, Packers defeated Dolphins 27-24
Fast Fact Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is the first to have thrown 15 TDS with only one interception in his first six games and has thrown 170 pass attempts without a pick.
The Panthers hung tough in a wild shootout with the Bengals that ended in a draw while Aaron Rodgers okey doke got the Pack a last second win over the Dolphins. Both teams have played uneven as of late but Rodgers peerless play has been the real catalyst for the Pack over the last three weeks. Though Cam Newton has been playing a lot better and reincorporating his dangerous mobility to the Panthers offense, the Packers are a tough draw in Lambeau.
Chiefs (2-3) @ Chargers (5-1)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:05 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 3½
Last Week Chiefs were on their bye, Chargers defeated Raiders 31-28
Fast Fact Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles needs 53 yards to surpass Priest Holmes as the team’s all-time rushing leader
The Chiefs had a week off after their loss to the Niners at the big blue jean to get ready for this divisional duel, the Chargers struggled with their upstate rivals but got the win, the Chiefs were scoring a high clip until being held scoreless in the last 26 minutes in their last outing. Points have been no issue for the Chargers but you have to wonder if their running game will continue to run smoothly with neophyte Branden Oliver handling the bulk of the work as long as Philip Rivers is the QB’s I’m pretty sure that the points won’t instantly dry up anytime soon. Andy Reid is a master of the post bye week game, having won 11 of 13 in Philly but he has yet to do so in KC and thought the Chiefs are a talented team on both side of the ball I think that they will have a hard time on the road in SoCal.
Cardinals (4-1) @ Raiders (0-5)
o.Co Coliseum, Oakland 4:25 (FOX)
Last Week Cardinals defeated Washington 30-20, Raiders lost to Chargers 31-28
Fast Fact A win would give the Cards their first 5-1 start since 1976 when they finished 10-4 as the St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards bounced back strong from their first loss to whip Washington, while the Raiders may have a budding talent in Derek Carr who played smartly against the Chargers in a tough loss. The Cards are doing it with a tough defense and an offense that is looking that much better with the return of Carson Palmer who spent three hellacious years in the East Bay and was 8-16 as a starter. I think that the Raiders are improving and will get a win or two before too long. Will it happen this week? Nope
Pick-Arizona (Lock of the Week)
Giants (3-3) @ Cowboys (5-1)
AT&T Stadium; Arlington, TX 4:25 (FOX)
Favorite Cowboys by 6½
Last Week Giants lost to Eagles 27-0, Cowboys defeated Seattle 30-23
Fast Fact Tony Romo has had 197 pass attempts through 6 games, his fewest since he has become the Cowboys starter in 2007
The Giants were plumb humiliated on national TV in Philly last week while the Pokes confidence hasn’t been this high in some time after rolling into Seattle and outslugging the defending champs before a stunned Seahawks crowd. DeMarco Murray is the reason why the Pokes are growing into a formidable threat. Not having to rely on Romo to be the savior seemed to suit the Pokes well. Meanwhile, Eli Manning has painfully regressed and looked like a QB with no clue. Everything is really pointing to the Pokes looking like the heavy favorite to roll to the win, but something keeps telling me that the Pokes, gassed up on their pub and the media wonks nearly genuflecting before them on their 5-1 start are way overdue for a flat performance.
Pick-New York Giants (Upset of the Week)
49ers (4-2) @ Broncos (4-1)
Sports Authority Field @ Mile High 8:30 (NBC)
Favorite Broncos by 7
Last Week Broncos defeated Jets 31-17, 49ers defeated Rams 31-17
Fast Fact Peyton Manning needs 3 TD’s surpass Brett Favre’s all time touchdown passing mark (508)
The Broncos struggled mightily in Gotham and needed a late pick-six to ice their win over the Jets, meanwhile the Niners spotted the Rams a big lead and then stormed back with 31 straight points to win. Ordinarily I would like this as an upset for the Niners, but having back to back road games on a short week and going to Mile High on top of it is just too much. I think that Colin Kaepernick is playing fabulous and is looking more and more like a comfortable pocket passer who is very mobile instead of a running QB. I just can’t see Manning not shining in primetime and not cashing in the chance to ride a record to a win. I think this game will be a fun shootout to watch.
Monday October 20
Texans (3-3) @ Steelers (0-0)
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Steelers by 3
Fast Fact In most recent back to back losses the Texans have allowed 694 passing yards and five touchdowns
Last Week Texans lost to Colts 33-28, Steelers lost to Browns 31-10
The Texans fell behind big to the Colts but rallied hard to make it a game late though they lost, the Steelers just got housed in Cleveland and are now in dead last in the AFC North. I think the scare factor of the Steelers is over, Their running game is inconsistent and though Big Ben is still the formidable factor he can only do so much and the once proud Steelers defense is getting trucked. I don’t think that even the factor that they are playing at home holds sway as the Bucs rallied late to upset them. JJ Watt must be accounted for on every play, and I think he will be the disruptive force that makes the difference. On offense I think that Arian Foster has a breakout game and Andre Johnson makes a ton of big plays. This isn’t an upset…
Before I start, I want to remind the Gabbers that I don't like Notre Dame. I am just stating what I saw. The offense pass interference call against the Irish was bullshit!! It was the same play that FSU used for most of the game against Syracuse and they were not call for for pass interference at all.
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
New England Patriots - The Patriots had a busy week as they played last Sunday against the Bills and then followed that up with the Thursday night game vs. the Jets.
The two straight AFC East divisonal matchups saw the Patriots win both games and take control of the division as they raised their record to 5-2.
Against Buffalo, the Pats won 37-22 but the win was a costly one as both Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley went down with what turned out to be season ending knee injuries.
In the first half of the game, the Patriots offense was just miserable. They managed just 101 yards of total offense. Thankfully, they woke up in the second half and rolled up nearly 300 yards of offense in that half. Tom Brady had a great game with 361 yards passing and 4 TDs. He spread the ball around to 10 different receivers in all.
Brandon LaFell had 4 catches for 97 yards and most importantly, two TDs. Rob Gronkowski caught 7 balls for 94 yards. Meanwhile, Tim Wright and Brian Tyms caught just 1 pass a piece, but each of them went for a score. Julian Edleman had 9 catches for 91 yards.
When the passing game is as effective as it was against the Bills, the Patriots can look positively unbeatable. But they are really going to have to lean on that passing game with the loss of Ridley. He was their workhorse back and while Shane Vereen can be effective out of the backfield catching passes, he is not the same time of runner Ridley is. As for the rest of the rotation of running backs, they haven't shown any reason for fans to expect them to do much better.
While their defense held the Bills to just 68 yards rushing, the Patriots run game was even worse. They had just 50 yards for the game, the rushing attack being thoroughly ineffective. It was a good thing the passing game took off in the 2nd half or the Patriots would've gotten beaten down quite soundly.
The defense also harassed Bills QB Kyle Orton all day long, they picked him off once and sacked him five times. Three of those sacks came from Rob Ninkovich. The defense also recovered a couple of fumbles along the way too.
I don't think anyone was really expecting the New York Jets to give the Patriots much trouble on Thursday night. They were 1-5 coming into the game and in what seemed to be complete disarray. They don't really have an NFL caliber quarterback on the roster and can't seem to get out of their own way most of the time.
But the team certainly hasn't quit on coach Rex Ryan and they showed up and gave the Patriots all they could handle. In the end it was a blocked field goal attempt, by Chris Jones, on the last play of the game (see below, Jones has the red glove on), that gave New England a 27-25 victory. It was a highly competitive and exciting game and one that FINALLY let the Pats fans exhale.
As they awaited the Jets, the questions facing the Patriots were 1. Can they have a balanced run game with Ridley out? and 2. With Jerod Mayo out, can the Patriots defense stop the run (when Mayo went out last year, that's when the Patriots run defense went into the crapper)?
The Jets got a surprisingly solid performance from QB Geno Smith (pictured below 1st) and the question about the Patriots defense was answered for one night at least when New York put up 218 total yards on the ground. Chris Ivory (pictured below 2nd) tallied 107 yards rushing for the Jets to go with four receptions out of the backfield.
What helped the Patriots win the game was their defense sacking Smith 3 times while New England's offensive line kept Brady upright for most of the game. The Jets defense was credited with 1 sack of Tom Brady, but it was a sack that saw Brady moving out of the pocket and then slid to give himself up.
Speaking of Brady (pictured below), he had 261 yards passing and 3 TDs on the night. And once again, he really had to get things done through the air because the other question facing the Patriots was answered by the team managing just 63 yards on the ground for the game.
Shane Vereen (pictured below) had 43 yards to "lead" the rushing attack, but he made his biggest impact catching passes. He had 5 receptions for 71 yards (also the team lead in that category), including a beautiful 49 yard diving catch for one of his two TDs on the night. You can check out the video below to see both scores.
But the Patriots still couldn't put the Jets away. It wasn't until forgotten man Danny Amendola (pictured below), who had been playing on special teams most of the evening, caught his first TD of the season that the Patriots took the lead for what would be the final time.
I love the two wins for the Patriots, but given that they came over relatively weak (despite playing solid games against the Pats) teams in the AFC East, I'm by no means convinced this turnaround means New England can consistently beat the better teams in the NFL this season. They are going to have to find someone who can run the ball to give their offensive playcalling some balance. If they don't, they are going to be in trouble if teams start paying more attention to their receivers. And if they can't run the ball, what happens to the offense when the passing game gets shut down too?
They also still need to figure out how to cut down on their penalties. They had 9 called on them against the Jets. I'm sure Bill Belichick can figure things out, he usually does. But the team is going to have to win games by guile as much as skill while they get things figured out.
One final semi-related Patriots note: There is a new book about former Patriots coach Bill Parcells coming out October 28th entitled Parcells: A Football Life. Sports Illustrated ran an excerpt from the book detailing the behind the scenes machinations that happened when Parcells quit as coach of the Jets and Belichick was supposed to take over. Football fans know what happened next, but you can read this article for a more in-depth look at what it took for Belichick to be able to be hired to coach the Patriots and change the course of the franchise.
Chicago Bears - Bears cornerback Charles Tillman is out injured this season, but this interview with Robert Klemko of the MMQB.com website gives you a great look at a player who's time in the NFL is winding down. A lot of other topics are covered as well.
Miscellaneous Article of Note - Former NFL player Irving Fryar spent the early part of his career in varying degrees of trouble. But he turned his life around becoming a really good receiver, and later became a preacher. But according to Greg Hanlon's lengthy article, there's been a big hiccup in Fryar's reformed life recently as he found himself in a lot of trouble. He now stands accused of bank fraud. You can read more HERE.
The Red Sox are playing in the quest for the World Series championship this year, so I haven't really been paying much attention to the MLB Playoffs. But I wanted to take a quick moment and congratulate the Kansas City Royals (first playoff and World Series appearance in 29 years) and the San Francisco Giants (3rd World Series appearance in the last 5 years) for making it to what promises to be an electrifying conclusion to the baseball season.
Boston College - Before I talk about yesterday's game against Clemson, I wanted to note that after the Eagles win over North Carolina State last week, Josh Keyes was named ACC Co-Linebacker of the Week while defensive end Brian Mihalik (pictured below) was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week.
As for the Clemson game, the Eagles looked to pull the upset over the 24th ranked Tigers, but ended up falling short. They lost 17-13 to drop to 4-3 on the year.
The BC defense got torn up for 398 total yards despite the relatively low point total for Clemson. But it seems more like the inability of the offense to put more than 13 points on the board is what really did the Eagles in. QB Tyler Murphy (pictured below) was just 8-19 passing for 108 yards. Granted, two of those completions were for touchdowns, but it was another game where his inability to pass the ball consistently hurt the team. It was even more evident because the run game was stifled this time around as well. Murphy led the team in rushing with just 55 yards. Meanwhile, Jon Hilliman, Myles Willis and Sherman Alston (who caught one of Murphy's TD strikes) combined for just 65 yards all together.
Alabama - With the Crimson Tide's upset loss last week, it seems to have become open season on Alabama. More than a few have opined that the team's run of dominance in the SEC West could be over. That led into yesterday's nationally televised game against Texas A&M where the Crimson Tide laid such an ass whipping on the Aggies that A&M coach labeled his team's performance "embarrassing". The final score: Alabama 59 Texas A&M 0. Yes, that's right a big fat nothing for the Aggies as Alabama improves to 6-1. Apparently, reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.
A&M's offense had been averaging 565 yards in total offense coming into the game, but got outgained a monstrous 602-172 by Alabama. It all keyed off of the resurgent performance of quarterback Blake Sims (pictured below). He freely admitted that he hasn't played well in the last two games but yesterday, he threw for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding 54 rushing yards. That rush total includes a beautiful 43 yard run for a TD that you just have to see to believe.
Alabama's defense was in razor sharp form on the day. They picked off Aggie QB Kenny Hill once while racking up 6 sacks (see sack celebration pic below) on the day as well. They also held A&M to just 31 yards on the ground (Bama's backs had 298 yards).
Bama receiver Amari Cooper has been held in check the last couple of games but he had 8 catches for 140 yards and 2 TDs yesterday. He had a 45 yard TD and you can see his 24 yard TD reception below.
As for the run game, T.J Yeldon led the way with 114 yards and 2 TDs for Alabama. Derrick Henry had a solid day as well. He ran for 70 yards and a TD and had a 41 yard catch and run from Sims for a second score. You can see that below.
Mass Maritime - While the Buccaneers struggled in their 32-16 loss to Westfield State on Saturday, my ex-player E.J. continue to extend his hold over every receiving record at the school. He caught 12 more passes today for 103 yards and a touchdown. The loss drops MMA to 1-5 on the season overall, with an 0-4 conference record.
Georgia - I'm not talking about any game the Bulldogs played but rather the suspension of running back Todd Gurley for allegedly making money off of signing memorabilia. I know that a lot of people out there are incensed that the NCAA and its member schools can make billions of dollars off of these athletes who labor for peanuts (scholarships). I happen to agree with them.
But while the rules stink, I don't agree with the notion that Gurley violating them is somehow a noble thing. It isn't. He knew the rules going in. They may suck, he may hate the rules, but he agreed to them. You can and should lobby to change rules you don't like. But I'm a firm believer in not breaking the current rules governing your participation in college athletics. And if you do break the rules and get caught, I have no problem with an athlete's career being in jeopardy or even over.
The NCAA is a corrupt organization as it is currently set up. They need to be changed from the top down as the playing field of college/amateur sports evolves. But until that happens, an athlete that agrees to the idiotically draconian rules of the NCAA must abide by them.
The big news out of the women's basketball league this week was the rather surprising move by the New York Liberty. The team declined to pick up the option on coach/GM Bill Laimbeer. They'll be looking for someone new to lead the team for next season.
The Liberty took a step back the last two years under Laimbeer, who was unable to recapture the magic he had as the head of the now defunct Detroit Shock. They didn't make the playoffs either season but I don't think anyone really saw this move coming.
Laimbeer, who I hated as a player, but really like as a coach and GM in the WNBA, commented about his time with the Liberty in this article.
So far, I haven't been able to find out if assistant coach Katie Smith is still with the team or has been officially dismissed. I do know that if she isn't back with the team, my fandom for the Liberty will be a thing of the past. I go where she goes. By the way, Smith's latest blog post on her KatieSmithBasketball.com site is about her dog Logan. You can check it out HERE.
Tennessee Women's Track - I know that I don't usually spend much time on college sports other than football and basketball, but this past week brought a story about the Lady Vols track team that just pissed me off. And I wasn't the only one as noted women's college sports writer Mechelle Voepel and men's college basketball analyst Jay Bilas also tweeted about the story.
It seems new track coach Beth Alford-Sullivan revealed herself to be thoroughly disreputable and not worthy of being a coach. She kicked athletes off the team who had done nothing wrong. This was two weeks into practices and the players she dismissed were ones she had praised publicly not two months before. The parent of one of the dismissed athletes took the story public.
The coach and the school are hiding behind the lame ass excuse of Sullivan not having done anything wrong and while they are technically right, that is a purely gutless counterpunch to the way they have completely screwed over these athletes. This story is yet another example of the atrocious level of corruption that abides in the current NCAA system. You can read more HERE.
Mount Saint Joseph University - And then you have a story like this one, where it shows what can be right and good about college sports. Lauren Hill is an incoming freshman on the women's basketball team. She's eagerly looking forward to playing her first college basketball game...because it will be her last game as well. And that is if she lives that long. Lauren is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. She was originally given two years to live, but things got worse and doctors told the family she wouldn't live past this December.
NCAA rules don't allow Division 3 teams to play games that count in the standings until mid-November. But even they were moved because they granted MSJU an exemption. With Hiram College agreeing to move the game to November 2nd, Lauren will dress in her #22 uniform and play "One Last Game". You can read more and see the local news report via this link. Yahoo! Sports also covered the story HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Wareham Girls Soccer - The Vikings lost to Middleboro 3-1 to start off their week. The one positive in that game was the news that my former player Paige scored her first career goal. A 6-1 loss to Bourne dropped Wareham to 0-15 on the season.
Wareham Boys Soccer - A 2-1 loss to Middleboro (Eoghan had an assist on the goal), a 4-0 loss to Bourne and a 6-1 loss to Case dropped the team to 0-13.
Wareham Girls Field Hockey - Westport beat Wareham 9-0, then lost to Seekonk 5-1 on Friday dropping them to 2-12 for the year.
Wareham Girls Volleyball - The Vikings got swept 3-0 by Bourne and 3-0 by Case to fall to 4-13 for the year.
Upper Cape Girls Soccer - The Rams beat Blue Hills 2-1 early in the week. Friday night saw them beat Old Colony 6-1. While she isn't one of my former players, Krystle scored all 6 goals and raised her scoring tally for her high school career to 99 goals. Below is an Adam Ellis photo of Krystle (in white) on one of a couple of chances where she could've scored that 100th goal.
Wareham Football - In their annual Cranberry Bowl matchup, the Vikings came up on the short end of a 21-12 decision against ORR. They are now 1-5 on the season. Josh (pictured below) ran for 58 yards on the ground and had 28 receiving yards in the game. (Photos by Adam K. Ellis of the Wareham Courier.)
MISCELLANEOUS SPORTS ARTICLE
One of my favorite sportswriters is Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan. It seems others hold him in high regard as well. You can learn more about Ryan by reading this Grantland.com profile.
TV - If you didn't watch the season premiere of The Walking Dead last Sunday, wow did you miss a fantastic show. Seriously, go watch it on On Demand right now, you won't regret it.
As for a couple of other shows, you can check out the Pop-topia.com recap of The Flash Season 1 Episode 2 "The Fastest Man Alive" HERE. The recap for Arrow Season 3 Episode 2 "Sara" is available via this Pop-topia.com link.
I also added to my TV on DVD collection this week when I picked up Cagney & Lacey - The True Beginning. It is the second broadcast season of the show but the first with Sharon Gless in the role of Cagney.
Music - Country singer Glen Campbell is dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's Disease. The last song he ever recorded is called "I'm Not Gonna Miss You". You can check out the official video below. It's some moving stuff.
The buzzards are circling again. Of course, it's New York, and the buzzards there wear clothes and ride subways. The big buzzards write things for the little buzzards to read, or perhaps have read to them. They all can talk, though it's not a pleasant sound. Talking buzzards infest the airwaves and cables. Buzzards everywhere and not a cactus in sight.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin has had buzzards. Time and again they swarm around him and time and again he beats them off. On the same field but at different times, Jets coach Rex Ryan has started to feel like buzzard food too. They were all over him last season until his Jets won a bunch of games to climb to an 8-8 finish. The buzzards went searching for other heros (that's what New York buzzards eat, either the long cold-cut kind or the warm, fallen kind).
This week the buzzards proclaimed him ready for dinner (theirs) following a strangely uncompelling act. Rex led a 1-5 pack of Jets to Foxboro, not the place for New York teams to escape buzzards. Apparently the New York media expected a win. Ironically, they got everything but one. The Jets played their best game of the year. Geno Smith, with more INTs than TDs, tossed not one pick. His running attack mowed down New England. The Jets controlled the ball for all but 19 minutes of the 60 played. They made a few mistakes of the vanilla sort, a few dropped passes, a few penalties, a few early timeouts, a few blown coverages... but so did New England. With no time to go, Smith had led them to the outer limits of field goal range for place kicker extraordinaire Nick Folk. 58 yards away, the goal posts beckoned and the scoreboard showed the Jets down only by 2. This was their chance.
Fans may recall a loss to the Jets at the Meadowlands last season, a loss that cost New England home field ultimately in the AFC finals with Denver, a game they might have won in Foxboro. Folk missed a 57 yarder to end it. Then he got another chance 15 yards closer, a virtual chip shot for him. The reason was what even the NY papers labeled an obscure, never-seen-before penalty for 'pushing the pile'. It was explained that the rule was to protect the center. Interesting, since yet another rule had already been made to protect the center, banning the defense from lining up opposite him. The rule, of course, didn't exist in the form the league required, so quickly they rewrote it on line. On line is where the coaches are encouraged to get their info by the league. Suddenly its on line form had changed. One scribe saw the old version, the one a fuming Bill Belichick had seen also, then only minutes later saw the new version. He was of course derided by the league and the buzzards. Belichick was forced to (sort of) retract statements he made. Of course, he knew what had happened --- more Goodell magic, this time possibly costing his team a Super Bowl berth. He couldn't have been much happier watching Seattle dissect Peyton Manning.
This time around, after the fact, it was reported that an official had tapped Hightower to move him before the snap, since he was lined up over center. The buzzards and the league, even Rex, quickly shot it down as standard procedure. The Patriots win stood, as it should have. They didn't have the nerve to do it twice in a row. And on the play, the same guy flagged last year, Chris White, blocked the kick and sealed an ugly win for New England.
Doesn't sound like the sort of thing that gets a coach tossed into the desert with cow skulls for company. The Jets had no business winning. Ryan convinced them that they did, and a team that believes is dangerous. This is the same coach who came into NY talking trash at the Patriots, and who in fact beat them in the 2010 season's AFC divisional round. But it might be a ticket to dry country, to listen to the buzzards.
Ultimately, the coach with the big mouth, lap band and foot fetish has delivered to the Jets what he is capable of delivering. His teams have had strong lines, a good power game and a defense with players and schemes capable of throwing a monkey wrench into even the league's premiere offenses. What they haven't had is that franchise quarterback. They thought it was Mark Sanchez. Ryan stayed with him patiently, too patiently for the buzzards. Then the Jets drafted Geno Smith, who so far has been different. Not better, but different. He may, in fact, stretch the boundaries of what you can turn into an NFL quarterback even in the modern helmet radio era.
But he came up big in Foxboro. Problem was, he didn't win. That, oddly, would have grounded the buzzards despite improving the Jets to only 2-5. And he hadn't been good up to that point --- at all.
Still, with a rough opening schedule, the Jets had been in every game but one. To wit:
1. They beat Oakland at home, not by much, but others have had trouble with the winless Raiders too, including New England and San Diego.
2. They lost to the Packers on what seemed an obscenely corrupt officiating moment, as the tying TD that would have sent them to overtime was waved off as players celebrated. No flag? What's going on? The refs claimed NY had called a time out. Nobody on the field called one. The baffled Ryan hadn't called one. His OC Mornhinweg wanted one... but the OC can't call a time out.
3. They lost another squeaker to the Bears, again influenced heavily by officiating.
4. They lost yet another squeaker to the Lions (are the Jets in the NFCN?), this time without the yellow dramatics.
5. They were crushed by San Diego.
6. They lost to Denver in a seven-point game that was broken open by a pick from Geno on a desperate last-minute drive to tie the game.
7. They lost to New England on a blocked field goal as time expired.
It may be 1-6, but if their 'luck' had been as good as it was bad they arguably could have been 4-3, 5-2, who knows, maybe even 6-1. That Ryan should be on the hot seat now seems the irony of ironies. He's deserved it more in the past. He got a bye.
So is this the end of Sexy Rexy? I haven't seen any announcements. His players love him. A possibly ruined season would surely become a complete tank without him. Maybe that's part of the plan?
You see, the buzzards are also circling around GM John Idzik, who also happens to be Ryan's boss. Idzik has been ripped by former player Bart Scott. Idzik signed cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who actually skipped a preseason game before being cut for obvious reasons. Smith apologists claim he hasn't given the QB any targets to throw to. All this may sound unrelated to Ryan, but Idzik has just signed malcontent Percy Harvin from the Seahawks, who apparently couldn't wait to get rid of him. Either Rex walked in and said "See that? Geno's ready! Get him someone!" and Idzik obliged, or he made a desperate move to ward off the buzzards. The latter seems likelier. Desperate bosses aren't good to work for. Will his next buzzard-baiting move be to can Ryan?
Who knows how the politics of the Jets front office boil down? Nobody outside New York cares about John Idzik. But Rex Ryan is a household name.
He made himself one. He looked for opportunities to play the media. He made himself bigger than life. Oddly, through all that, he gained the loyalty of his team too. If this really is the end of Rex, it's not like he didn't ask for it. The irony is, that was in the past when he was winning. This time he really didn't ask for it. But he's losing.
WHOA!!!! Hey there. Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. I think I could call this the fast food edition. Exit....stage left even.
Fall is in full color mode here in the northeast. I've crawled up a ladder twice now to dig the leaves out of my gutters. I took my gutter guards off in the spring because they took such a beating this past winter they had to come down. The wind twisted up a section and warped another section so they were done. I will be calling for some quotes on some new ones.
OT has been in full swing too. I'm really tired. The 6 days a week thing gets old after a while. I'm taking next week off for vacation. A clean up vacation. Clean up the gutters, clean up the garden, clean up the carport & put the lawn stuff away. You know what I mean.
Was at the mall last weekend. Took my neice in to see Darth Vader, R2D2 and a storm trooper at the Vans grand opening. She ended up being petrified of Darth. She did get her picture taken with R2D2 though. Very authentic looking. AND the picture was free. Very nice. While I was there, I went to see the bright shiney Apple. I went to look at the ear buds. Very interesting display. Bose and Beats were side by side on the shelf. I tell ya folks, it'a Coke & Pepsi all over again. Free publicity never hurt any one.
ESPN EMPLOYEES VISIT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
5 years ago ESPN VP Rich Feinberg thought it would be a good idea to round up some employees and take them to the world of racing. He figured that ESPN covers all sports but is mainly of a stick and ball culture. Taking employees to a NASCAR function would help them learn about it and write about it better.
So SportsCenters anchors Jay Harris, Chris Hessell, Darren Haynes, Lisa Kerney & Jaymee Sire along with ESPN radio host Freddie Coleman and some other ESPN employees went to Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, NC. They checked out the race shops for all 4 Hendrick cars, the motor shop, training field, gym and pit road.
On pit road they split up into 2 groups and challenged to change a tire. Yes they were timed. Don't know who won though. After all that fun they were off to the Charlotte race on Saturday night. And I KNOW they had plenty to write about. More on that later.
CONGRATS TO KYLE & SAMANTHA BUSCH
It was announced via Twitter that Samantha is expecting their first child in May of 2015. I did not expect that to happen as she has a modeling career. So I guess she's putting that on hold. Congrats.
JACKMAN FOR HAMLIN'S CREW HURT
Saturday nights race was crazy in so many ways. On the 3rd stop of the night jackman Nate Bolling tore his tricep. JGR back up Kenneth Purcell stepped in for the rest of the night. After an MRI it was determined that surgery was needed to repair the bicep. He will be out for the rest of the season and back up Kenneth will fill in.
DAYTONA RISING UPDATE
-----> Surpassed 1 million man hours
-----> Installed 89% of total steel
-----> Poured more than 105 million Lbs of concrete
-----> Installed 26 escalators & 4 elevators
DALE CALLS NOW AVAILABLE
That's right kids. Get your very own Dale Call at the Dega race this weekend for $24.99. I saw them at Racing USA for $29.99. Of course plus shipping. This new toy comes with new commercials too. I like the one where his girlfriend blows into it and she wants him to get her a Diet Dew and chips. There's one with his mom calling him with the Dale Call also. Very cute. Even Harvick is getting in on it. He posted a video of his son blowing on one. So I guess we all need one. All the cool kids are doing it.
CHARLOTTE MOTORSPEEDWAY & CAR WARS FUED RECAP
Holy crap what a race. Tempers flew along with fenders and fists. So lets talk about it. Our pole sitter was Ky Bu and it started off like any other race. Gordon took the lead on lap 14 and our first caution came on lap 25. It was a competition caution to check tire wear. It had rained heavily in the afternoon. So far so normal.
Ky Bu takes the lead on the restart and Gordon takes it back by lap 38. Dale Jr is complaining of a vibration. Bowyer's motor goes poof on lap 104.
On lap 136 our 2nd motor casualty is Menard. The vibration Dale Jr was having has developed into a broken shifter. I do believe this is #3 for Hendricks cars. Time for a new manufacturer. He was running 9th. Harvick has taken over the lead.
Lap 122 motor #3 goes up in smoke. It's Josh Wise. Dale Jr's team is still working on that shifter when they get caution laps. Harvick still leads.
With the next couple of cautions and restarts Keselowski, Hamlin and Kenseth are getting into each other. Keselowski squeezes Kenseth into the wall which damages Kenseth car. Hamlin is keeping Keselowski back but not doing anything unusual. The last restart is ugly. Vickers motor goes up in smoke and sets up a 2 lap shoot out.
Harvick wins the race and Keselowski decides to play car wars. On the cool down lap Hamlin brake checks Keselowski who is right on his bumper so he plows into Hamlin. He also tries to turn Hamlin's car into the wall, unsuccessfully. Then Keselowski runs into the left side of Kenseth sending him into Stewart who doesn't know what's going on. Stewart is now mad and backs into Keselowski who is making a bee line for the garage with Hamlin in hot pursuit. Hamlin tries to box him in so he can get out and...talk to him but Keselowski manages to get back to the garage.
Hamlin gets out and is met by his crew and a NASCAR official. They keep him at bay but Kenseth runs in between the trailers and puts Keselowski in a head lock. I swear I saw him punch Keselowski.
The interviews went as such....
Keselowski said he was sorry for getting Stewart involved and knew that after he saw all the video that he'd understand. He said Hamlin brake checked him during the cool down lap and Kenseth drove into him when he got his lap back after the last caution and ruined my car.
Hamlin said Keselowski was out of control doing burn outs in the garage and knocking somebodies transmission across another stall. He also said a NASCAR official told him he had too much to lose and he should drop it.
Kenseth said that he had taken off his helmet and HANS devise as well as put his window net down when Keselowski hit him going 50 mph and he ended up hitting Stewart who didn't know anything was going on.
Mean while Harvick has blown his left rear tire doing a victory burn out for the fans on the front stretch.
NASCAR fined Keselowski and Stewart for the horse play on pit road but let Hamlin and Kenseth slide. Harvick bet that they wouldn't do anything at all. He said they love this. The guys are fighting. That means they got the excitement back in the Chase. In deed it was all over NASCAR.com. All the pit road bumper cars and the garage scrapping going on. They even asked if NASCAR got the fines right? I'm not liking WWF or E or whatever it's called these days in my NASCAR.
I'm thinking Dega could be a death trap. If Keselowski did the burn outs IN THE GARAGE like Hamlin said than that's enough for me to say that he needs to sit for a race. They sat Ky Bu for a race when he ran Ron Hornaday into the wall during a caution in a truck race. Fair is fair.
That would be Michael Waltrip, his dance partner/instructer from Dancing With The Stars and Brian Vickers. It was Brian that won the pole this week. Michael is the car owner and will be driving the #66 this week.
Terry Labonte will be in the #32 for Frank Stoddard. It will be his 890th career race and he says his last. He wishes he were 10 years younger and could do more.
Of course this is our wild card high speed crap shoot race in the Chase. Some how after the events of Charlotte last Saturday night I'm kind of afraid. Harvick and Logano are at ease knowing they already have their free passes to the next round.
Of all people Dale Jr and Johnson are tied on the bottom with 3031 points. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?!? Keselowski has 3038 and Kenseth above him has 3056. Only a win will do today. Logano in 1st has 3088 points. See what I mean?
NASCAR decided to change qualifying again. They devided the first session into 2 groups and made it 5 minutes. As a result some teams did not get off pit road on time to make a full speed lap. The following had to take owners points or champions provisionals to get in.....Stewart - Hamlin - Harvick - Logano - Ky Bu - Larson - Gordon
You would think the Chase drivers would be assured a spot no matter what. Right?
Nemechek - Stenhouse and Allgaier did not qualify. AGAIN!!! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN?!?!? Referring to Stenhouse (Danica's honey) some smart guy on Twitter said...."That really sucks dude. Will you be watching from Danica's pit box?" Ouch. I must admit that that was my first thought too. I'm sorry but I really want to be a fly on the wall of that RV right now.
So as far as who will be in the top 10? OMG!!!! You know this is a crap shoot. Right? Just pick your fantasy team and hope your guys can make it through the big one.
Your Top 15 in the May race of this year - Hamlin - Biffle - Bowyer - Vickers - Allmendinger - Menard - Harvick - Kahne - Larson - Stenhouse - Cassill - Ky Bu - Almirola - Mears - Dillon
It's Sunday and beautiful and I'm off for breakfast and a news paper. Enjoy your Sunday however which way you like it. Little bit of cream & sugar? Sunny side up? Yup. It's casual.