Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WMTMQR Part 1: Wouldn't it be Cool if Gregg Easterbrook Went Away and Never Came Back

Here's your political joke: I'd like to "vote" (see what I did there?) that Gregg be deported to Siberia.

In this spread-offense empty-backfield era -- I don't wish to alarm you, but pass-wacky Arizona leads the NFL in scoring --

Why is that supposed to alarm me? Because Arizona is never good? Because passing teams don't usually lead the league in scoring? Because Gregg is just being polite?

Tuesday Morning Quarterback longs for some old-fashioned ground-based football. On Saturday night, Texas and Texas Tech combined for 768 yards through the air and 185 yards on the ground. Will all of football turn into the Arena League? What a relief Sunday was, with old-fashioned rushing and good offensive line play dominating many games.

This never happens in the NCAA. Certainly not, for example, last weekend when Florida clowned Georgia while rushing and passing for essentially equal yardage. Or when Utah won a potential trap game at New Mexico while doing the same. Or when Georgia Tech upset Florida State by rushing for 288 yards while passing for a whole whopping 55. (These are just three random examples from top 25 games last week. Feel free to look up a few more of your own.)

Here's my prediction: The next big innovation in football will be the rediscovery of the power run. Consider:

Here's a prediction: the next big new thing will be something that already exists. Think about it. So crazy it just might work.

Tennessee remained the NFL's sole undefeated team by rushing for 178 yards against Green Bay.

Difference between the Titans and, for example, the "pass wacky" Cardinals: the former has Kerry Collins and a bunch of WRs no one has ever heard of. The latter has Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald. Hmmm, perhaps the Titans are adjusting their game plan to fit their personnel, no?

The defending champion Giants humbled the ship-taking-on-water Cowboys on the strength of 200 rushing yards, culminating with Derrick Ward's run for 17 yards untouched on a draw for the score that iced the contest.

True, but be careful. The Giants are averaging almost 50 yards per game more through the air than on the ground. That's approaching wackiness.

Atlanta rushed for 252 yards behind some tremendous offensive line performances; see more below.

They were playing the Raiders. You can't prove anything by citing the stats of a team that played the Raiders. Plus, they were up 14-0 after a quarter and 24-0 at the half. I'm not going to look up how many passes they threw in the second half, but I bet it wasn't very many.

Detroit was leading -- that's not a misprint -- Chicago 23-20 in the fourth quarter when Bears tailback Matt Forte had old-fashioned off-tackle runs for 13 and 19 yards on a drive that set up Chicago's game-winning touchdown.

The Bears had 2 good run plays in the 4th quarter- therefore, power running is back! Fun hidden fact: the Lions were a few plays away from winning the game, in spite of passing for 280 yards and rushing for 53.

With Miami leading Denver 19-17 and facing first-and-goal on the Broncos' 2-yard line in the fourth quarter, Ronnie Brown went into the end zone standing up for the icing points.

Someone ran for a 2 yard touchdown- therefore, power running is back!

Stat of the Week No. 1: The Oakland Raiders, at 2-6, are two games out of first place in the AFC West.

A 4-4 division leader. Lunacy. What is the world coming to? Oh yeah- three other divisions have a 5-3 leader.

Stat of the Week No. 5: From the fourth quarter of their previous game through this week's game against the Jets, Buffalo had these possession results: interception, fumble, safety, fumble, muffed punt, touchdown, fumble, interception, turnover on downs, punt, field goal, missed field goal, interception.

Since July 2, 2006...

Stat of the Week No. 6: Jacksonville has lost in consecutive weeks to teams that are a combined 4-13; next week, Jacksonville plays 0-8 Detroit.

Not a stat.

Stat of the Week No. 7: Of the NFL's top four sack-producing defenses, two are from Pennsylvania (the Steelers and Eagles) and the other two are from New Jersey (the Giants and Jets).

Based on stats, but also not a stat.

Stat of the Week No. 9: Pittsburgh is the sole team whose defense has not surrendered a play of 40 or more yards.

Also not a stat.

From Cheerleader of the Week:

NFL franchises are rolling in money -- around $200 million in revenue per club per year -- and glamorous cheer-babes are part of the entertainment appeal. Why isn't there a movement to organize pro sports cheerleaders and pay them fairly?

Parading your body around in front of the ugly, unwashed masses and hoping it's a good enough resume booster to get yourself a job in a Vegas show is its own reward.

Sweet Team of the Week: In Michael Vick's happier days, the Falcons led the NFL in rushing; this stat was dismissed by the sports-yak world as a mere byproduct of Vick's runs, as if quarterback rushes somehow did not count. Be that as it may, the No. 1 rushing team in the NFL right now is the Atlanta Falcons, averaging a sparkling 163 yards per game and 4.7 yards per rush. Obviously Atlanta's running backs are playing well, but rushing success begins with the offensive line -- can you name a single Falcons blocker?

Yeah, you selfish reader- can't you name anyone who starts on the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line? (I'm a huge NFL fan, and I don't think I could name more than 20 linemen league-wide who don't play for my favorite team or in their division.)

Sour Teams of the Week: Two weeks ago, Jacksonville was entering perhaps the softest schedule stretch any NFL team has ever enjoyed: 2-4 Cleveland, followed by 0-8 Cincinnati (citing their records at that point), followed by 0-8 Detroit. The Jags have managed to lose the first two of these three gimme games. Yes, this shows nothing is easy in the NFL. And yes, Jax has injuries. But in football, everybody always has injuries. The Jaguars seemed overconfident and "played down" to their opponents;

Based on what? Based... on... what? If there's one thing I hate about Easterbrook (which, surprisingly, there are several), it's his "Team A lost because of this anecdotal reason and I don't need to prove it because you can't disprove it" bullshit. I should make this his fourth Pillar of Idiocy. That's a reference to something dumb I wrote a few weeks ago- if you don't get it, don't worry about it.

Sunday they didn't wake up until the fourth quarter, when they outscored Cincinnati 16-0, but missed the decisive two-point conversion try at the end. And why wasn't the deuce try a power rush, by this team that specializes in power rushing? Instead it was a rinky-dinky pass attempt that fell incomplete.

Remember this. It will be important later.

And what of coach Dick "Cheerio, Chaps" Jauron? Two weeks ago, when Buffalo was 5-1, the Bills' management gave Jauron a lavish contract extension -- despite Jauron having a career record of 55-68 on the day the extension was agreed to. Now he's 55-70. Has Jauron been paying more attention to his purse than his team? Since the contract extension, the Bills have played two stinker games, and in both seemed poorly prepared.

So they have had turnover problems, and allowed some sacks. That's a better explanation than nothing... but not by much.

Sour Play of the Week: Kansas City led City of Tampa 24-3 in the first half. But at the end of regulation, the Bucs scored to cut the lead to 27-25 and lined up for a deuce try. In very sour fashion, Kansas City rushed only three, dropping enormous defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey into coverage, where he did nothing but stand around. Pass complete, and Kansas City lost in overtime.

Remember that bit about Jacksonville I told you to remember? Well, the Jags are actually only the 17th best team in the league this year in rushing yards per game. How dare they not attempt a run on a 2 point conversion! Oh, but the Bucs, who are 9th best in rushing yards per game? No complaints when they throw when they go for two. Gregg Easterbrook: letting the ends justify the means and relentlessly contradicting his own logic since 2003. Also, if the pass had been knocked down and KC had won, please believe this call by the Chiefs would have been mentioned positively in a "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again!" segment.

Time for me to pass out. More to come tomorrow, including (here's your teaser) Gregg still not understanding how time works! The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Jack M said...

In your list of Cardinals wide-receivers, you left out their #3, Steve Breaston, who was unstoppable at Michigan in 2005-2006, and therefore is unstoppable in the NFL, dumbass.

Bengoodfella said...

Gosh Larry, you forgot about Edgerrin James when talking the Cardinals fitting their personnel to the offense they choose to run. The Cardinals could run all over teams with Edge but just choose not to because the spread offense works in college football.

It has nothing to do with the Cardinals having two Pro Bowl WR's and no real running back, it is because the Cardinals don't want to unleash Edge this early in the year.

It's so weird how Kerry Collins is having a great year in his contract year. You wouldn't think this would happen. Right Derek Anderson?