Category Archives: NFL


Osweiller to the Browns

The Houston Texans so badly wanted out from under Brock Osweiller’s bloated contract, they traded him, along with a 6th round pick for this year and a 2nd round pick for next year and in exchange, they received one of Cleveland’s 4th round picks this season. You tell me – did the Texans make the right move or is Cleveland finally making smart trades?

Also note – Cleveland has a 10 picks in the 2017 & 2018 draft. Let’s hope they don’t waste them all on long-snappers, and punters.

Silly Season – 2015 Draft Day – Browns Rumor: They want Bradford??

So there’s a rumor running around Cleveland that with Tennessee basically wanting 2 years worth of 1st & 2nd round picks from the Browns along with a Season Pass to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, the Browns are now trying to get with Philly on a possible trade to get Sam Bradford in an orange helmet. (side note: as a Sooner fan, the thought of a fellow alum wearing anything orange kind of sickens me)

Exploring this a bit further: The Browns reportedly tried to trade the Rams for Bradford earlier this year, but Sam wasn’t willing to sign any sort of extension or long term contract after such a trade as he was not thrilled about the notion of moving to a team with the same issues as St Louis (limited receiving talent, mediocre run game and poor protection on the right side of the line). This opened the door for the Eagles to move in and get Bradford to Philadelphia.

I’m now curious as to what has changed? The Browns still have the same issues. Has someone spoken to Bradford and told him he that playing in Cleveland is much better than being in the same backfield with the 2014 rushing leader and his former roommate from college in an offense that isn’t dissimilar to the one he ran at OU?

 

The State of the Saints

As we enter the Free Agency Period today, Rick had the following on the state of his beloved New Orleans Saints of some of the cuts they’ve had so far in the off-season.
 

When we acquired Sproles from the Chargers, it was one of those beautiful synchronous moments in time.  Like when amino acids started partying in the primordial soup and accidentally created life, except far less important to the creation of life on the planet earth.  But synchronous.  Because we had just parted ways with the inconsistent, oft-injured, and cap-heavy Reggie Bush and picked up in return a guy who was better, more consistent, and cheaper.  His production the last three years has even made me forgive him for what he did to the Sooners in the Big XII Championship game.

Nobody was really shocked at our offseason axing of the beloved-but-again Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer.  Cutting Lance Moore was a more bitter pill.  But it wasn’t until we let Sprolesy go that most Saints fans started to hit the panic button.  “Umm, management?” the fans are asking, “Will you kindly tell us (and therefore all other GMs and Player Agents) what the hell you’re doing?”  To which Mickey Loomis has declined, because he’s not stupid. 

With the resigning of Drew Brees two years ago and Jimmy Graham this year, we’ve had to shell out the big bucks for two superstars (something the Saints have little experience with.  That’s taken some painful cuts, and more might be forthcoming.  (If we cut Pierre Thomas, I think there might be a riot in the Marigny district of New Orleans, which will last for two and a half minutes because the rioters would be too drunk or too hipster to remember what they were doing.) 

So those were longer thoughts.  Short thoughts:

1)  We’re starting to wonder what time horizon Mickey Loomis is looking at.  Are we in “Win now” mode or are we in “Structuring” mode or are we hoping to pull off a Patriots-esque hybrid of the two?

2) Bigger than Sproles (literally and figuratively!), we’re shopping O-linemen Zach Strief and Brian De la Puente in free agency.  This is terrifying.  Brees cannot be his masteful wizarding self when he looks like a Wile E. Coyote-shaped grease spot in the turf.  This is where the Saints are really playing Contract Chicken, and how that plays out will dictate by itself the answer to Question #1.

3) Lots of Saints fans are talking about grabbing either Dexter McCluster*** (Chiefs) or Golden Tate (Seahawks) to fill the Sproles void.  Other Saints fans are thinking that we become a more trad-style rushing team and wondering if this is the year Mark Ingram starts to finally live up to his hype.  Other Saints fans are drinking somewhere in the Marigny wondering why they were thinking about rioting.

4) Other big needs in this offseason: cornerback, safety, and wide receiver.  (In that order — remember, we picked up Colston in the 7th round and Stills in the fifth round.)  Unless we lose Strief and BDLP, in which case we’re drafting a cleric.

***Also, Dexter McCluster just signed a three year deal with the Titans, and Sprolesy hasn’t technically been cut yet — http://www.canalstreetchronicles.com/2014/3/11/5497502/saints-news-3-11-14-saints-still-looking-to-trade-darren-sproles

 

 

Rick Lockett is a Senior Staff Writer and has been with AverageJoeSports.com since its inception.

Thursday Night Football – Giants at Panthers – 9/20/2012

NCAA Update: Brigham Young 6 – Boise State – 7 – FINAL

 

GIANTS  36     PANTHERS 7

FINAL

DON’S GAME SUMMARY

The Giants absolutely dominated this game in all phases.  The kept the Panther defense off balance with a strong rushing performance out of surprise breakout star Andre Brown who rushed for 113 yards and 2 TD’s.  Eli Manning was only pressured in the pocket twice all night and was able to just dissect the secondary on his way to a 288 yard passing night.  The defense for New York didn’t just contain Cam Newton, but made him rather ineffective.  Newton was 16 of 30 passing for 242 yards passing and no TD’s while he was intercepted 3 times.  He rushed for only 6 yards on 6 carries (1 for a short TD) which was in contrast to last week against New Orleans when he ran 13 times for 71 yards and a TD.  The Giants looked every bit the defending world champions they are in this one.  Right now, I would put them as the favorite to win the NFC, despite the stumble against Dallas in week 1.  

The Giants will head to Philadelphia in week 4 to take on the Eagles while the Panthers will re-group and head to Atlanta take on the Falcons.

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PANTHERS –  (1:09) – Kickoff is a 27 yard return – FLAG – HOLDING ON CAROLINA – (1:04) – 1st and 10 from the 12 – Derek Andersen in at QB for Newton – slant complete to Smith for 8 yards – FLAG – PENALTY ON GIANTS (DON’T KNOW WHAT IT WAS) – 1st and 10 – pass complete to Smith for a first down out to the 40.  Andersen in the gun – pass to Williams over the middle for a gain of 9.  2nd and 1 – Andersen – pass to Williams again for a first down to the Giants 37.  END OF GAME

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GIANTS  (6:25 – 4th) – David Carr comes in for mop up duty – 1st and 10 and Carr throws the ball to Bennett for a gain of 4.  2nd and 6 from the 47 – hand off to Scott for a loss of 1.  3rd and 7 – Carr in the gun – and he is sacked by Edwards – FLAG – HOLDING (DECLINED).  Punt – first one of those we’ve seen in a long time for the Giants – Adams – MUFFS THE CATCH – GIANTS BALL AT THE 19!!  1st and 10 – officially at the 19 – half off to Scott – gain of 4 to the 15.  2nd and 6 and Scott breaks a tackle and fights down close to a first down.  3rd and 1 and Scott goes up the middle for a first and goal at the 8.  Carr tries a fade to Randle on the left, but overthrows it badly – now you know why he only gets mop up duty  . . in case you were wondering.  I formation on 2nd down – Scott – met at the line for no gain.  TWO MINUTE WARNING.  3rd and goal from the 8 – Carr in the shotgun – trips right – Scott on the draw to the left for no gain.  TIMEOUT – NEW YORK (1:13) – TYNES ON FOR A 27 YARD FIELD GOAL – GOOD

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PANTHERS (9:40) – Start with the ball at the 25 after the kick off return by Adams from 3 yards deep in the end zone.  (9:34 – 4th) – Shotgun on first down – complete to Smith for big gain out of bounds at the Giants 47.  Shotgun again – Newtown scrambles to the right and runs out of bounds for a gain of 3.  2nd and 7 – from the gun – pass complete over the middle to Olsen – short of the first down by 2.  3rd and 2 – again from the gun – pass to the left intended for Smith – FLAG – ILLEGAL CONTACT ON WEBSTER – 5 YARDS – AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN.  From the 29 – Newton completes it on the left to Tolbert for a gain of 5.  Another pass to Tolbert on the left with blockers in front for a screen – Tolbert rumbles down inside the 10 to the 8.  1st and Goal – shotgun – Newton scrambles right under pressure and throws it away.  2nd and Goal from the 8 – shotgun – pass in the left corner of the end zone is overshot and incomplete.  Giants DB – Rolle is down and being looked at out of bounds (6:40 – Injury timeout).  3rd and Goal from the 8 – shotgun – pass fired over the middle for Olsen – broken up by Hill.  4th and Goal and they have to go for it – shotgun again – pass is intercepted at the goal line and returned out to the 43 yard line by Stevie Brown.  (6:25 – 4th).

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GIANTS – (13:31 – 4th) – 1st and 10 from the 48 – Brown off tackle on the left for a gain of 7.  2nd and 3 at the 41 – Eli complete on a slant to Barden on the left for a first down to the 31.  Shotguna and a pitch to Brown who is strung out and forced out of bounds for no gain.  2nd and 10  – Manning under center – pass complete to Barden for a gain of 6.  3rd and 4 and chewing clock up – shotgun – pass complete to Bennett who is forced out of bounds and has his helmet ripped off by a Panther defender – FLAG – FACEMASK – HALF THE DISTANCE TO THE GOAL.  1st and Goal at the 6 1/2 yard line.  Empty backfield – shotgun – fade to the left corner of the end zone – pass tipped away by Josh Norman.  2nd and Goal – shotgun – trips left – pass complete to Brown on the slant at the goal line – stopped inside the 1.  3rd and goal – double tight – Brown dives over the left side for a TOUCHDOWN!  (9:40 – 4th)

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PANTHERS – (0:50 – 3rd) – Start with the ball at the 20 after a touchback.  Cam pump fake – play-action pass complete on the right to Tolbert for a first down as he pounds it to the 32.  Next first down – Williams runs to the left – strung out and dropped for a loss at the 30.  FLAG DOWN – PERSONAL FOUL ON NEW YORK – 15 YARDS AND A FIRST DOWN AT THE 45.  END OF THIRD QUARTER. First play of the 4th quarter is a first down from the 45 – shotgun – pas complete on a slant to Olsen for a first down to the Giants 39.  Another shotgun and Williams goes in motion out left – NEWTON SACKED BY BOLEY & PIERRE-PAUL for a loss of 12.  2nd and 22 – pass down the middle and broken up by Amukamara – intended for Murphy.  3rd and 22 – shotgun – pass over the middle is intercepted by Boley and returned to the Carolina 48.  (13:31 – 4th)

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GIANTS(6:25 – 3rd) – The kickoff is taken at the goal line and returned to the 19.  (6:19 – 3rd)  – 1st and 10 at the 19 – I formation – play action deep pass over the middle to his tight end, Bennett for a first down at the 48.  1st down again – quick slant to Cruz for a gain of 6 to the Panther 46.  2nd and 4 – and Brown gains a couple bringing up 3rd and 2.  Pass complete on a crossing route to Cruz for a first down at the 37.  1st down AGAIN – Brown runs up the middle for a gain of 4.  The Giants are having their way with this defense.  Shotgun on second down – pass complete to Bennett over the middle for a first down at the 26.  Play-action on 1st down and the pass is broken up – intended for Brown on a short crossing route.  2nd and 10 – shotgun – ELI IS SACKED BY FRANK ALEXANDER for a loss of 6.  3rd and 16 – Shotgun again – screen left to Brown – big gain, just about a yard short of the first down.  4th and 2 – 36 YARD FIELD GOAL BY TYNES IS GOOD!  (0:50 – 3RD).

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PANTHERS – Opening drive of the 2nd half – I was a bit late getting back to it here.  Carolina is moving a bit here.  Newton just completed a pass to Olsen at the New York 31.  1st and 10 – Pass complete to the left for 7 yards.  2nd and 3.  Williams off the left tackle – very close to the first down – Rolle on the stop.  3rd and 1 – Newton keeps it up the middle for a first down at the Giant 20.  1st and 10 – ace set – pass left complete to Olsen crossing on the left – first down and goal at the  9.  Shotgun – handoff to Williams up the middle fighting to the 1 yard line.  2nd and goal – Newton on the keeper – stopped about a foot outside the endzone.  3rd and goal inside the 1 – shotgun – double tight – Newtown goes airborne over the top and reaches in for the TD – ALA – the BCS championship game winner against Oregon a couple years ago. (6:25 – 3rd)

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1ST HALF STATS

GIANTS
PASSING C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT RAT.
E. Manning 18/23 169 7.3 1 0 111.8
RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD LG
A. Brown 13 96 7.4 1 31
RECEIVING REC YDS TD LG
R. Barden 8 139 0 23
V. Cruz 4 29 0 12
M. Bennett 2 20 1 14T
PANTHERS
PASSING C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT RAT.
C. Newton 5/12 90 7.5 0 1 33.3
RECEIVING CAR YDS AVG TD LG  
D. Williams 7 40 5.7 0 16
M. Tolbert 1 1 1 0 1
C. Newton 2 0 0 0 0
RECEIVING REC YDS TD LG  
G. Olsen 3 50 0 23
B. LaFell 1 27 0 27
S. Smith 1 13 0 13

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PANTHERS
– (0:37) – 1ST AND 10 AT THE 7 – hand off to Tolbert for a gain of 3 up the middle – END OF THE FIRST HALF

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GIANTS(1:25 – 2nd) – Start with the ball on their own 41 – Shotgun – Manning passes deep over the middle to BARDEN…AGAIN – to the Panther 43.  1st and 10 – the Carolina defense gets their first real pressure on Manning – he has to scramble and runs out for a gain of 1.  2nd and 9 – Eli in the gun – pass is tipped by Cruz and almost intercepted by Godfrey in the secondary.  3rd and 9 – pass deep intended for Bennett who stops on his route and is almost intercepted again.  Punt downed at the 7.  (0:37 – 2nd)

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PANTHERS(3:13 – 2nd)  The kickoff is deep and out of the endzone for a touchback so they will start at the 20 yard line.  Newton on 1st down completes a pass to Smith down the right side for a first down at the 33.  Play-action on 1st down and complete to Olsen who breaks a tackle and gets to the New York 49.  Newton completes another one to Olsen for a gain of 9.  2 MINUTE WARNING.  2nd and 1 after the TV timeout at the New York 40 yard line – Shotgun formation – hand off to Tolbert for a rumbling gain of 1 and a first down.  Newton on first down – passes right intended for a wide-open Olsen is short and incomplete.  2nd and 10 from the 39 – FALSE START – 2nd and 15 from the 44 – penalty on Steve Smith???  Really??  – ANYWAY – Pass is intended for LaFell who tips the pass that is just behind him and it’s intercepted by Hosely – Giants take over at their own 41! (1:25 – 2nd)

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The Giants have scored on every possession so far.  Eli already has 169 yards passing and Brown has 96 yards rushing

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GIANTS – (9:12 – 2nd) Start at the 12  – on first down – I formation – quick slant to Victor Cruz who take the ball to the 20.  2nd and 2 and Brown goes up the middle for a short gain, but enough for a 1st down at the 22.  I formation again and Eli audibles – pass – complete to Barden who has a hot hand – first down at the 44.  Eli has all day to pick them apart.  1st down and the pass over the middle for Pascoe is broken up.  2nd and 10 at the 44 – Ace set – to and I – hadn off – Brown for a gain of 9, but there is a HOLDING ON THE GIANTS that negates the play.  Now it’s 2nd and 20 from the 34 – Eli in the gun – three receivers left – pass complete deep over the middle after Manning steps up in the pocket – first down to the Panther 43 – should have been intercepted.  1st and 10 – draw to Brown up the middle – gain of 5 or so.  2nd and 5 – pass to Bennett short on the right – he turns and gets the first down at the 32.  Draw play on first down and Wilson is met in the backfield for a loss of 2.  2nd and 12 at the 34 – shotgun – complete to Cruz for a short gain of 3.  3rd and 9 at the 31 – shotgun formation – pass on the left intended for Randle – incomplete.  TYNES FIELD GOAL FROM 49 YARDS AWAY IS GOOD!  (3:13 – 2ND)

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PANTHERS  The kickoff is caught in the endzone by Adams – he gets out to the 21. (11:57 – 2nd) – 1st and 10 and Pierre-Paul knocks down the pass again.  2nd and 10 – shotgun – fakes a pass left, then turns for the screen, but the Giants had it sniffed out – Newton throws the pass in the dirt at the running-back’s feet.  3rd and 10 – Newton throws deep and complete to Brandon LaFell for a first down at the 47.  1st down and Williams runs up the middle for a gain of 7.  2nd and 3 – handoff to Williams again and is met behind the line for a loss of 1.  3rd and 4 – shotgun formation – play-action – and Newton is sacked by Osi Umenyiora.  Punt is deep and a fair catch is made at the 12 – (9:12 – 2nd).

.

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GIANTS – (1:42 – 1ST) – So far the Giants have moved the ball nearly at will while the Panthers haven’t been able to sustain a drive yet.  New York starts at the 28.  1st down – I formation – Brown gains a yard off the left tackle. I formation again – Brown up the middle – cuts and weaves SOMEHOW through the defense and breaks out a good run to the 48.  1st down short pass to the fullback Hynoski for a gain of 6. END OF 1ST QUARTER – The first play of the second quarter has Eli under center – I formation – play action pass to Barden deep over the middle for a first down at the Panther 25.  1st and 10 – Brown off left tackle for a gain of 2.  Shotgun on 2nd down – complete to Barden on the left – he runs down to the 9 for another first down.  1st and goal and a draw play to Brown on the left – brought down after a gain of 7 to the 2 yard line.  2nd and goal – Brown DIVES over the middle and stopped right at the goal line.  3rd and goal – about a foot out – I formation – double tight end set – BROWN OFF THE LEFT TACKLE FOR THE TOUCHDOWN! –  (12:03 – 2nd)

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PANTHERS – (3:40 – 1ST) – Adams returns the kickoff to the 18 again where Carolina will start this drive.  One 1st down – shotgun – trips left – pass batted up in the air at the line and almost intercepted by Jason Pierre-Paul and now he’s down hurt.  2nd and 10 – shotgun – hand off to Williams to the left – HUGE hole – he runs for a first down to the 34.  Newton under center on first down – pitch left to Williams who runs for a gain of 5.  2nd and 5 at the 39 – Newton keeps it on the option and is stopped for no gain.  3rd and 5 from the 39 – shotgun formation – blitz coming – Newton scrambles left away from the blitz – Mosely hits him as he throws and the ball is incomplete.  Put to the 21 is returned to the 28. (1:42 – 1st).

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GIANTS(8:30 1st) Start their drive at the 20 after the touchback.  Handoff on first down up the middle and Andre Brown runs for 17 yards to the 36.  Quick throw outside on the right to Barden who spins to the outside of the defender coming inside and runs for a 1st down to the Caroline 43.  Next play is Brown on the draw play for a short gain up the middle.  Shotgun on 2nd and 7 – pass complete in the left flat to Wilson for a gain of 2 after a head-to-head collision.  Shotgun on 3rd and 5   plenty of time – complete to Cruz who is tackled immediately at the 31.  Screen pass to Brown on the right for a loss of 2.  Eli rolls to his right on 2nd and 12 and completes a short pass – gain of 4.  3rd and 8 at the 29 – pass intended for Cruz is broken up bringing up a 4th down.  Tynes on for the 47 yard FIELD GOAL – GOOD.   (3:46 – 1ST).

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PANTHERS – Kickoff taken by Adams at the 4 and is stopped short of the 20.  Drive starts at the 18.  Wildcat formation on first down – with Newton lined up at wide-out.  Run up the middle for 5 yards.  Newton passes on 2nd intended for Murphy and overthrew him down the left side by about 10 yards.  Newton throws short on the left side for Steven Smith – defended by Webster, but PASS INTERFERENCE – 1st down Panthers.  Next play – 1st down – deep pass low over the middle complete at the 50.  1st down from midfield – option left to Williams – stopped after a gain of 7 by Webster with a TD saving arm tackle.  Run up the middle for no gain.  3rd and 3 and Newton tries to run the draw, bounces outside, but is stopped at the line of scrimmage – no gain.  Punt on 4th and 3 – touchback – (8:30 – 1st)

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GIANTS  win the toss and will receive.

1st possession – Giants start at the 20 after a touchback on the kickoff.  First play is a first down pass to Victor Cruz at the 32.  Barden catches the ball on a slant for a gain of 8 to the 40.  2nd and 2 and Eli audibles to a run off left tackle for a first down.  They almost sacked Manning on 1st and 10, but he managed to get rid of the ball for an incomplete pass.  2nd and 10 and Brown runs off the right tackle for a HUGE gain down to the Carolina 22.  Cruz threw a great block to set him free.  No gain on 1st down – running play.    Short pass to the fullback on the left.  3rd and 3 and a pass over the middle to the endzone to Martellus Bennett for a touchdown – GIANTS (11:38 1st)

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Carolina hosting the banged up Giants.  Manning’s offensive weapons are limited in this one with Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks out for the game injured.  The Giants defense will need to play well and keep Panther QB, Cam Newton, limited.  Should be a lot of fun watching this one.  We’ll post updates throughout the game here and name a player of the game at the end.

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Pre-game tribute to Steve Sabol from NFL films.  Showing lots of the clips they’ve shot over the years.  Always been a fan of Sabol.

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Giants win the toss and will receive.

1st possession – Giants start at the 20 after a touchback on the kickoff.  First play is a first down pass to Victor Cruz at the 32.  Barden catches the ball on a slant for a gain of 8 to the 40.  2nd and 2 and Eli audibles to a run off left tackle for a first down.  They almost sacked Manning on 1st and 10, but he managed to get rid of the ball for an incomplete pass.  2nd and 10 and Brown runs off the right tackle for a HUGE gain down to the Carolina 22.  Cruz threw a great block to set him free.  No gain on 2nd down – running play.

 

NFL Week 1 Matchups

RECORD FOR PICK THIS WEEK: 9-6

(UPDATED: 8:44 PM Eastern, 09/09/2012)

SUN, SEP 9

TIME/RESULT

TV

DON’S PICK

LOCATION

Indianapolis at Chicago 21-41 CBS BEARS Soldier Field
Philadelphia at Cleveland 17-16 FOX EAGLES Cleveland Browns Stadium
New England at Tennessee 34-13 CBS PATRIOTS LP Field
Atlanta at Kansas City 40-24 FOX CHIEFS Arrowhead Stadium
Jacksonville at Minnesota 23-26 CBS VIKINGS Mall of America Field
Washington at New Orleans 40-32 FOX SAINTS Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Buffalo at NY Jets 48-28 CBS BILLS MetLife Stadium
St. Louis at Detroit 23-27 FOX LIONS Ford Field
Miami at Houston 10-30 CBS TEXANS Reliant Stadium
San Francisco at Green Bay 30-22 FOX PACKERS Lambeau Field
Seattle at Arizona 16-20 FOX SEAHAWKS U of Phoenix Stadium
Carolina at Tampa Bay 10-16 FOX PANTHERS Raymond James Stadium
Pittsburgh at Denver 19-31 NBC BRONCOS Sports Authority Field at Mile High

MON, SEP 10

TIME (ET)

TV

DON’S PICK

LOCATION

Cincinnati at Baltimore 13-44 ESPN RAVENS M&T Bank Stadium
San Diego at Oakland 22-14 ESPN CHARGERS Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Every NFL Fanbase in 90 Seconds

This made me laugh


NFL Opening Night – Cowboys at Giants

Update: 11:36 PM Eastern

With the Giants out of timeouts and the Cowboys having a first down, the game is academic.  Romo takes a knee 3 times and runs out the clock.

Stars of the night: DeMarco Murray – 131 yards rushing, Kevin Ogletree – 114 yards receiving (2 TD’s) and Tony Romo – 22/29 for 307 yards passing (3 TD’s – 1 INT)

Dallas Total Yards – 433  New York Total yard – 269.  

The Giants inability to establish the run against Dallas’ defense proved to be the difference in the game.  Dallas was able to get DeMarco Murray working in the second half to open things up for Romo and the passing game.  The Cowboys defense kept up pressure on Eli Manning all night with 3 sacks (2 from DeMarcus Ware) and 5 tackles for loss showed that Rob Ryan’s defense might be for real this year.  A point of negative tonight for Dallas is in the area of penalties.  They had 13 for 86 yards – definitely something that will need to be worked on in the coming week.

 24-17 Dallas Wins.

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Update: 11:30 PM Eastern

Cowboys start with the ball at their 26.  The Giants burn their lasts two timeouts one after each of two runs by DeMarco Murray.  On 3rd and 2 from the Dallas 34 – Murray gets the first down, but AGAIN the Cowboys shoot themselves in the foot with a holding call.  It brings up a 3rd and 12 at the 25.  Romo completes the pass for 14 yards to the receiving star of the night, Kevin Ogletree.  TWO MINUTE WARNING

24-17 Dallas with 2:00 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 11:23 PM Eastern

Giants come up just shy of the first down – Bradshaw gets the first down inside the 10.  Next play is a TD pass to Martellus Bennett.  One possession game, but that drive ate up a lot of clock.

24-17 Dallas with 2:36 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 11:20PM Eastern

On 4th and 2 from the Dallas 29 –  Eli completes it to Cruz for a gain of 7 to the Dallas 22 and a first down.   Two plays later – 3rd and 6 from the Dallas 18 – TIMEOUT NEW YORK

 24-10 Dallas with 3:27 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 11:15 PM Eastern

Giants trying to get something done here to get back in the game here late.  Bradshaw gets a huge run on 3rd and 1 for 32 yards down to the Dallas 37.  Victor Cruz drops another one on this drive – making for 3 drops on the night.  On 3rd and 10 from the 37, Eli complete it to Nicks for 8.  4th and 2 from the Dallas 29 – TIMEOUT DALLAS

24-10 Dallas with 4:03 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 11:07 PM Eastern

 Dallas trying to eat up the clock and get another score to make it a two possession game.  Murray is asserting himself on this drive with over 100 yards rushing at this point.  Penalties are really stacking up for the Cowboys.  So THAT hasn’t been addressed properly in the off-season.  On 1st and 30 from the 34 – Romo completes a TD pass to Miles Austin.  Might be putting the game away at this point.

 24-10 Dallas with 5:57 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 11:00 PM Eastern

Dallas take over at their own 18.  Cowboys have had some issues getting the ball snapped on time – another delay of game penalty.  Ogletree having the best game of his career with 7 catches for 102 yards and 2 TD’s at this point.  Dallas dominating the game in terms of yardage (347 yard to 190).  

17-10 Dallas with 9:33 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 10:53 PM Eastern

Giants ensuing possession – Dallas had them 3 and out, but had a silly ticky-tack roughing the passer penalty against Jason Hatcher on 3rd down to keep the drive alive early.  He made up for it near midfield with a sack on 3rd and 4 killing the drive.

17-10 Dallas with 13:17 left in the 4th quarter

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Update: 10:40 PM Eastern

Dallas manages to get down inside the 10 yard line, but the drive stalls after Romo is sacked on 2nd down and goal back at the 15 and an incomplete pass on 3rd.  They have to settle for a 33 yard field goal from Dan Bailey.

17-10 Dallas with 0:42 left in the 3rd quarter

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Update:  10:35 PM

HOLY COW!! DeMarco Murray moving in and out around Giant defenders on what looks to be a 2 or 3 yard loss, suddenly opened up and turned into a 48 yard run to the New York 25 yard line.

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Update: 10:30 PM Eastern

Giants first drive of the second half after the Cowboy touchdown – moving nicely with a 39 yard pass from midfield down to the Dallas 10.  The next play Ahmad Bradshaw runs off the left tackle and into the endzone for the TD.  

The running game has suddenly started to work a bit for both team in this half.  Adjustments or a sign of early season lack of conditioning for both defenses?

14-10 Dallas with 5:11 left in the 3rd quarter

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Update: 10:15 PM Eastern

Cowboys open up the second half with a decent drive capped by a beautiful blitz pick up allowing Romo to complete a 40 yard pass down the right side to Kevin Ogletree for his second touchdown of the night! 

14-3 Dallas with 10:24 left in the 3rd quarter

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Update:  9:44 PM Eastern – 1:59 left in the half

Cowboys have a little bit of a drive going – near midfield – 2 minute warning with 3rd and 1 coming up.

Romo hits Dez Bryant for 38 yards down the right side to the Giants’ 15 – Bryant now leads all receivers with 3 catches for 69 yards.  Ogletree reception to the 10.  (Timeout Cowboys – 1:07 Left in the half)

On 2nd and 5 from the 10 – Romo moves out of the pocket to his right when Jason Pierre-Paul flushed him and he finds Kevin Ogletree in the endzone for the Touchdown pass!!  Cowboys take the lead 7-3 with 1:01 left in the half.

The Giants final drive fizzles with and incomplete pass, Eli Manning sacked and a half-back draw to Bradshaw for a minimal game.

Summary for your first half:  

Giants best drive was 4 plays for -3 yards and a 22 yard field goal while the Cowboys offense looked like crap until the last 3 minutes of the half when they actually busted out for a good drive resulting in a touchdown and the lead late in the half.  

Let’s hope both teams improve in the second half.

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5:18 left in the first half and the Cowboys offense looks just as inept as they did last year.   80 total yards of offense (Giants only have 84 and aren’t looking much better).  On the other hand, the defenses look pretty solid.

Victor Cruz leads all receivers so far with 4 catches for 46 yards.  Ahmad Bradshaw leads the rushing (9 carries for 16 yards).  

Giants leading 3-0 after Romo threw a pick that was returned inside the Dallas 5 where the Giant’s offense immediately lost a couple yards and had to settle for a field goal

 

Chitown/Nawlens Identity

by Rick

2/7/07

     I must admit to gleefully Googling [“Rex Grossman”] and looking for Telander et al after the conclusion of Sunday’s Super Bowl. I was greeted with the mentality I had been surrounded by for seven years: “We lost, and it’s dat bum’s fault. If it hadn’ta been fer…”  There is something to be said for the Chicago mentality of The Second City.  Chicago consistently tends to behave as if it has something to prove. Which it doesn’t: Chicago is a fantastic city, a really amazing place. However…

Not being New York or Los Angeles wears on Chicago in very subtle ways; most Chicagoans, I think, don’t give a hoot one way or another on most days. But Chicago always seems to come in second, last, or first — there is no in-between. Da Bears of ’85 are deified to a degree I’ve never seen before, and I’m a fan of Indiana basketball and Oklahoma football. Jordan remains the best SECOND draft pick in sports history (thank you, Sam Bowie). It is still amazing to me how Ozzie Guillermo’s White Sox of not long ago are still overshadowed by the North Side team that hasn’t done anything worth writing about for almost a century — the team in any professional sport in any nation that has gone the longest without winning a championship.

When New Orleans lost to the Bears, that snowy day a couple weeks ago, the city (as is its wont) went to its cups for a few hours. But the identity of New Orleans quickly found itself; people packed into their cars and, sober or not, made their way to good ole’ Louis Armstrong International Airport. A brass band, as it always seems to happen here, Just Showed Up! (If you don’t believe me, you need to experience this place someday.) And when the players who had given this city so much arrived at the airport after one in the morning because of weather delays in Chicago, they were greeted by a throng, more than a thousand strong, of fans thanking them — thanking them! — for the season they had. I have to emphasize this point because I had been a Chicagoan for so long.

The reason for the italics is that I had, for the past seven years, become acclimated to this perspective so demonstrative of Chicago’s sports tradition: failure is unacceptable. Chicago had itself a beaut of a season. Brian Urlacher rightly ascended to heights this year that every other player in his position dreams of. Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones mounted a ferocious running game. Devin Hester proved as a rookie that he has the ability to single-handedly change the outcome of a sixty-minute struggle.

So why is it that the return of the Saints was regarded by this city as something that meant so much? (Here’s a hint: it ain’t Katrina. And that’s the last time you’ll hear me mention that bitch’s name in this post.) It’s because New Orleans fans are New Orleanians and Bears fans are Chicagoans. Sure, you can say that New Orleans asks less of itself than Chicago, but really? Really? Does Chicago ever ask anything of its beloved Cubbies? Chicago is ever pessimistic about its prospects for professional sports, almost so much so that it actively parodies itself. It embraced the “Da Bears” spoof because its sporting history needed it to be able to look itself in the mirror. The New Orleans Saints had never, in its 40+ year history, come so far. But New Orleans never competed the way that Chicago did — Chicago is a great American city because it tries very, very hard to catch up. New Orleans, on the other hand, says, “Laissez les bon temps rouller.” New Orleanians were hurt as a city when the Saints weren’t able to get it done that snowy night in Chicago. For a few hours. After which, the city said “Our boys are coming home: let’s go!”

I went and bought supplies in a grocery store that afternoon. The national-chin store had substituted the regular muzak for NOLA sports radio, probably against company policy. Everyone in the bloody place wore black and gold, myself included. The checkers would occasionally exclaim, “WHO DAT?” And the entire store (seriously, the entire grocery store) replied, WHO DAT? WHO DAT SAY DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS? I made many cell phone calls.

Chicago sports press eats its wounded. New Orleans enjoys giving ’em hell, but loves its own. Maybe it’s because is was Spanish and French before it got stirred into the melting pot, it’s been so many things it figures it deserves to be whatever it wants to be.

New Orleans, you may or may not know, is home to the National D-Day Museum. Why? Because the amphibious landers used on that day were designed by a New Orleanian and built here. Don’t get me wrong: this city is not a place for the lazy. New Orleans knows how to fight. The past seventeen months prove that. But as Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy famously intoned, “We got our own way of doing things down here.”

I have tried to capture the spirit of this place in my writing more than once, and failed every time. It is neither an opium den nor a Girls Gone Wild DVD nor a ravaged wasteland nor a city of woebegone saints. New Orleans got fight, tru dat, but New Orleans also got heart. New Orleans isn’t the kind of town to say that Fred Thomas cost them a shot at the Super Bowl. It ain’t in their character. Football is a team game. As someone who has lived in both places, Chicago could learn something from NOLA.

Don’t believe me? Come find out.

Rick has been a contributing writer since the inception of AJS

The Colts are Super!

by Don

2/5/07

     Though I didn’t get you a preview for the game last week, I want to go on record right now as having picked the Colts by the exact score the game turned out . . . okay, okay, so I thought the Bears would win by at least a field goal . . .dammit!

    The scoreboard shows the game to have been only a 12 point win for Indianapolis, but it was far more out of reach in the fourth quarter than the digital display at Pro Player Stadium indicated.  Many will say that the story of the game was Peyton Manning leading the offense for the Colts holding onto the ball for over 17 minutes more than the Bears.  Some will try to point to Rex Grossman’s poor performance as the reason the Bears lost.  But the reality is, Chicago was outcoached and outgunned in this one.  It looked early on to be a fairly even matchup.  Devin Hester took the opening kick off back 92 yards for the TD.  The Colts answered with a 53 yard pass to a wide open Reggie Wayne, but failed to convert the PAT when the ball slipped the the holder’s hands in the driving rain (the first time ever that rain was actually falling on the game during a Super Bowl).  The Bears immediately answered with a 4 play, 57 yard drive to go up 14-6.  From there, it seemed the offensive scheme for Chicago seemed to be “Let’s play to not lose,” instead of playing to win.  Despite Thomas Jones averaging 7.5 yards per carry, despite only being down by five points at the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Bears all but abandoned the running game . . .against the worst rushing defense in the league.  This completes the cycle for Indy in the playoffs of no one truly committing to the run against this pourous rushing D. 

    But not to worry, on the other side of the ball, the Bears defensive play calling seemed to be “Just don’t give up the big play.”  No worry indeed for Peyton Manning.  He flipped the ball to Joseph Addai out in the flats 10 times for 66 yards (that’s twice the number of passes the next highest receiver (Marvin Harrison) had with 5 catches).  The fear of the big pass play, especially after the 53 yard strike to Wayne, loosened up the Bear secondary so much, they front four were left to fend for themselves against the Colt running game, which racked up 191 yards rushing. 

    Rex Grossman did not have a stellar game by any measuring tape.  However, he did complete 71% of his passes, but he will be remembered for some time by Chicago fans for the two passes that seemed to just float away from the intended receivers into Colt defender’s hands; one returned for a touchdown that put the game at it’s final tally.  This was Grossman’s first full season as the starting quarterback for the Bears and it may have been his last, but we will just have to wait and see.

     For Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy, the provervial “monkey” is off their back.  Of course, there are still those out there that insist that Peyton didn’t have a good enough game to be named MVP; that the running game was the biggest reason for the win.  But having Peyton up under center kept the Bears in fear of that deep ball all night and made in possible for the running game success.  Also: throwing for 247 yards in a driving rain storm against Da Bears is no small feat. 

     Finally: congratulations go out to the Indianapolis Colts – SUPER BOWL XLI CHAMPIONS!!! 

Jen sent this to us with a note about being annoyed by the talking heads on the radio

     I’m not a statistics-spoutin’ sports fan like some folks, so maybe that’s why I just don’t get why there was some whining that the Super-bowl was held in a cold weather city this year.   The radio show I listen to on the way to work was broadcasting from Detroit last week and one after another their sports expert guests were saying that this should be the last time the game is held somewhere other than places like Florida and Arizona.   Why?

     As I grew up I remember all that footage of great games played in the snow.  I remember football fans giving baseball players crap because they cover up the field and wait when it rains – real athletes can play in any condition. Football players are tough gladiators, gridiron warriors.   But, could we please have the crowning achievement of the season be comfy?

     It’s for the fans you say?  You think guys that paint themselves blue and sit shirtless in Chicago in January won’t come to the championship game if it’s cold outside the dome?  Even at $300 a ticket I’m guessing they’ll be there.   Wait – it’s because fans want to make a family vacation out of the trip – Dad gets to see the game if the kids get to go to see Mickey after.  By that logic I guess Detroit was acceptable because at least mom and dad could pop over the Canadian border to Windsor and do a bit of gambling at the casino and get their prescriptions refilled while they were there. 

     It needs to be a neutral site you say?  There are no neutral sites that dip below 60 in January?   And, oh yeah, ask a Seahawks fan how “neutral” Detroit felt. 

            Pittsburgh to Detroit – 290 miles

            Seattle to Detroit – 2,400 miles

     Face it – there is no way to ensure a neutral site when the venue is picked so far in advance.

     So why?  I just don’t get it.  Help us regular people understand.

Jen is a Berkeley Grad and still upset that Tony Gonzalez hasn’t had his shot at a Super Bowl ring.