Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Post Mortem

"I don't like losses sport.  Nothing ruins my day more than losses." - Gordon Gekko.  I feel you Gordon.  After a dismal 1-3 showing last weekend, it would be easy to pull a "Jets' Locker Room" and start pointing the finger and spreading the blame around (if not for the fact that I write this thing without any input from anyone on the picks).  Let's try to figure out where things went wrong.

Ravens-Texans:  If I could reasonably blame anyone, it would be my home team which failed on 4th and goal from the one yard line at the end of the third quarter by trying to slam a 5' 6", 210 lb. running back into a 6' 1", 250 lb. linebacker despite the fact that they hadn't been able to run for a yard when they needed it all day.  (That play happened right in front of me and Ray Rice bounced back so fast that it looked like the Texans had pulled the cartoon trick of putting a brick wall on the line of scrimmage and then drawing a picture of the end zone on it).  I lost the Ravens game by half a point which is the difference between being a respectable 5-3 and a middling 4-4 because I underrated (a) the Texans defense (which is scary good), (b) Arian Foster (who is also scary good), and (c) Joe Flacco's inability to sense when a group of 300 pound men are closing in on him from all sides (which is just scary).

I knew it!
Patriots-Broncos:  Fortunately, I came around on the Patriots after hearing for the 500th time how bad their defense was and how the Broncos almost beat them in Week 15 (despite the fact that the Pats won by 18).  It was actually starting to annoy me so I could only imagine how it was eating-up Brady and Belichick.  Add to the equation that they hadn't had a chance to run-up the score on a devout Christian since they took it to Joe Gibbs and the Redskins 52-7 back in 2007 and the stage was set for a blowout.

On a somewhat related note, I feel compelled to point out the following facts about the Belichick era in New England:  (1) It was clear from the start that Drew Bledsoe was not Super Bowl material so, on September 23, 2001, he was not just injured to open the door for Tom Brady, he was almost killed (Mo Lewis Does the Devil's Dirty Work); (2)  That same season, the Patriots would win their first Super Bowl (by cheating) with a win over Jesus' original favorite quarterback, Kurt Warner; (3) Belichick never won in Cleveland which has no red on their uniforms.  Draw your own conclusions.

49ers-Saints:  I was on the right track with this game when I noted that the Saints had only played one game outside of a dome since Week 6 when they barely beat the Titans but I didn't go far enough.  It turns out the Saints have never won a road playoff game.  (Now you tell me).  Despite all of that bad karma and five turnovers, they still found themselves ahead late in the 4th quarter twice but no lead is safe when Gregg "you should hire me because the extra "g" stands for 'groovy'" Williams is coordinating your defense.  Let's ignore the fact that the Saints allowed a quarterback not named Vick or Tebow to score untouched on a 28 yard bootleg.  (Apparently the Rams are willing to ignore it because they're about to hire Williams as their defensive coordinator which makes sense considering he's coached the defense that has caused the highest scoring team in the NFL to be knocked out of the playoff the last two years by scores of 41-36 and 36-32.  Huh?).  

"Thanks coach.  Thanks a lot."
My favorite Williams call was having safety Roman Harper 40 yards behind the line with 40 seconds left in the game which allowed Vernon Davis to gather a full head of steam by the time he met Harper on the Saints' 40 yard line.  First of all, Alex Smith can't even throw the ball 40 yards in the air so why do you have your safety playing on the warning track?  Second, Vernon Davis was the only guy catching passes for the Niners and he runs a 4.38 40 with a stiff arm that could fend-off a rhinoceros and the last time we saw Roman Harper, he was getting chased down by a quarterback (not named Vick or Tebow) while trying to score on a 99 yard fumble return.  The result of their encounter was therefore somewhat predictable.  By the way, the quarterback who chased down Harper?  The Rams' Sam Bradford.  I do love symmetry.

I blew this game because I did not know that Gregg Williams uses the same crappy game plan every time he plays a team from the NFC West.  That's got to get the Rams' faithful fired-up for 2012.        

"What do you mean I'm not
Phi Delta Theta material?"
Giants-Packers:  You can kind of make sense of the other three games after the fact but what in the name of Donald Francis Vincent Majkowski happened in this one?   (Two little known facts about the Majik Man: (a) he is the only Italian Polack ever admitted to the University of Virginia, and (b) he is the last quarterback with a mullet to make the Pro Bowl).  I'm a little bit in the dark because I missed the whole first half while drinking tea in a Harbor Court condominium.  (It's a long story that can be summed up by saying that there is no such thing as a "free" parking spot).  By the time I got to a bar, it looked like they were televising the game through the same lenses that Spielberg used to give Saving Private Ryan that perpetually unsettling feeling and Aaron Rodgers was playing like he had just seen Brett Favre warming-up on the Packers' sideline.  I'm kind of at a loss to explain this one so I'm taking the easy way out.  No one could have predicted that a 15-1 defending championship team would turn into a bunch of choking dogs and get hammered at home like that.  And another thing.  If this means no more "Discount Double Check" commercials this year, then I'm glad they lost.