I knew it was coming. As soon as the Titans finished their victory over the 49ers, I knew it would be brought up. But I never imagined he would lead his column with it. Or that said column would run on the main screen of the front fucking page of ESPN, complete with a graphic to accompany the story. It sounds stupid to say... but honestly, I was blindsided.
Beware the Crabtree Curse!
Coach Mike Singletary had San Francisco's players buying into the notion that no one's bigger than the team. Then, suddenly, you can jerk San Francisco around all you want and get $17 million guaranteed as your reward. San Francisco management's cave-in to the me-first Crabtree triggered an instant losing streak, by communicating to other 49ers the message that the team-first stuff was always just empty talk.
How do we know this? We just do. Nevermind that the 3-1 start happened with wins against the Cardinals (good), Seahawks (bad), and Rams (awful) while their current losing streak has included games against the Falcons (good), Texans (good), Colts (great), and Titans (OK, I can't really explain that one). But here's a better theory- Singletary made Alex Smith the starting QB at halftime of the Texans game. Since they the Squared Sevens (LOL math-based nicknames!) are 0-3. There is clearly a Smith curse- he was drafted first overall in 2005, hasn't done anything but be paid a lot of money ever since, and yet gets his starting job back from Shaun Hill by doing nothing? Clearly, with that move Mike Singletary sent a message to the rest of the team that you can suck and still be awarded a starting spot. THAT'S why they've lost four in a row.
Squared Sevens apologists have put word on the grapevine that team management should be praised because the contract Crabtree signed in early October was the same one offered before his nutty holdout began -- no added sweeteners were offered. So Crabtree shafts his team, and the team responds by not upping its offer -- talk about profiles in courage! Once training camp broke, San Francisco should have reduced its offer to Crabtree, since he was worth less at that point.
Master negotiator Gregg Easterbrook- he plays for keeps! Surely that power play would have worked really well on Crabtree and his oversensitive agent/relatives/advisors. No way would that have pissed him off and pushed him much closer to deciding to return to the draft in 2010. I hope Crabtree catches the game winning pass in the Super Bowl next year. And then spikes the ball off the ground so that it embeds itself into the eyeball of Gregg, who happens to be sitting in the front row behind the end zone.
A rookie who holds out is worth less every week; by season's start he is worth substantially less, since he becomes less likely to succeed as a pro,
Clearly the three months of practice and four games 22 year old Crabtree missed will ruin his career.
while projecting waves of negativity onto the team.
Waves! Waves and waves of it! Watch out, physics- there's a new electromagnetic phenomenon in town.
To boot, when he finally bothered to show up, Crabtree was treated by the Niners as a conquering hero.
Evidence of this? No? This reminds me of Larry B's immutable Law of TMQ: making stuff up is permissible if no one can disprove it. I also like Chris W's take on this situation:
"Let's use a high valued pick... on a guy we think will help our team... then watch him hold out, only finally agreeing to the terms we set, essentially compromising from his position... what's the best strategy? THROW GAS ON THE FIRE BABY."
The result is four straight defeats for a team that previously looked primed for a playoff run. And don't tell me the Niners have offensive line injuries -- it's the NFL, everybody has injuries.
You're an analyst, dummy, not a coach. You don't have to be a tough guy. Yes, everyone has injuries- and the 49ers' offensive line injuries are way more horrific than injuries sustained by the average "unit" on the average team in the NFL. They've used four different o-line starting lineups in their last four games. Their starting LT and RT are both out until at least December. So yeah, I'm going to tell you about injuries. They're not the only reason SF is struggling, but they're a pretty legit reason.
New Orleans is zany, wacky and emotional -- you never know what's going to happen in a Saints game, and you get the feeling the Saints' players have no idea, either.
No one on any team knows what's going to happen in their games. That's the worst possible characterization of a "fun-loving" team, or however he's trying to characterize the Saints. Oh, I should clarify- no one knows what's going to happen in their games except Raiders players, who know Jamarcus Russell is going to turn the ball over at least six times. Ohhhhhhhh BURN. BURNBURNBURNBURN.
You know exactly what the Colts are going to do -- you just can't stop them from doing it.
One of TMQ's "sweet plays of the week" last week was a HB toss/pass from Joseph Addai to Reggie Wayne for a key touchdown in their victory over the 49ers.
And in other movie news, the world gets destroyed yet again on Friday, when "2012" opens. At least there are no zombies!
You've talked about this for like six weeks in a row. The movie is coming out. We get it. The last thing I'll accuse Easterbrook of is being lazy (at least in terms of length of column), but seriously, talk about something else. Anything else. Shouldn't Babylon 5 be coming out on DVD sometime soon?
Trailing 28-23, the Bucs reached fourth-and-4 on the Packers' 7-yard line with 4:20 remaining, and rather than do the ultra-conservative thing -- many NFL coaches would take the field goal in this situation -- rookie head coach Raheem Morris went for the win.
And those coaches who took the FG, closing the margin to two points, obviously hoping to get the ball back and kick another FG before time expired? They'd be playing for the tie.
Also, Jax offensive tackle Eugene Monroe had a perfect block at the point of attack as Rashad Jennings, a seventh-round choice from Division I-AA Liberty, ran 28 yards for a touchdown.
Woooo hoooooo! Good for Rashad! Meanwhile, starting Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew (drafted in the second round out of well-known FBS school UCLA) has run for 737 yards and a league-leading 11 TDs so far this season.
Who's ready for some GreggJokes?
Why does Hollywood like apocalyptic flicks? One reason is obvious: Directors want to show things blowing up. The most reliable standbys of modern filmmaking are explosions and breasts. Somehow, in the current environment, the former are more acceptable at suburban mall theaters. Destruction is also a substitute for plot and dialogue. If the world is ending, all actions, statements and gestures take on significance: Even the worst-imagined character may hold viewers' interest when running down a street of collapsing buildings. Subtlety or cleverness are not required. Clichés can be trotted out without reservation.
SCRIPTWRITER A: What if a tear in the space-time continuum caused half of Los Angeles to go into the past and the other half into the future, and a good-looking single mom struggling to connect with her rebellious 15-year-old son was caught between the two zones?
SCRIPTWRITER B: What if strange dust from a comet killed everyone on Earth except 100 Las Vegas showgirls?
SCRIPTWRITER C: What if the moon fell on California?
Tumbleweed. Crickets. Another tumbleweed.
TMQ thinks another reason for the popularity of global destruction in Hollywood is that post-apocalyptic movies are easy to film. You do location shots in a desert or in canyons, and there are both near Los Angeles. For costumes, buy out a consignment shop, then rip and dirty the clothes. Need zombies? Just hire extras and put some ridiculous makeup on them. Computer-generated special effects can be aggressively phony, since no one really expects the studio to hurl an actual aircraft carrier at the actual White House.
I, for one, demand non-phony special effects. If I'm going to go see a disaster movie, I want actual aircraft carriers being hurled into the actual White House. Nothing less will do. Eh, fuck it, I'm going to go see 2012 anyways just to spite Gregg.
Pittsburgh plays team-oriented defense, not everybody-look-at-me defense -- Albert Haynesworth and Shawne Merriman would have no place in the Steelers' scheme. Team-oriented defense works.
It sure does. And although Merriman probably abuses women and Haynesworth once stomped on a dude's head, they're both super talented and would probably fit in just fine with the Steelers. I mean, they like celebrating after a big play. Big deal. I just watched the Steelers crush the Broncos on Monday night- no one on the Pittsburgh defense did anything as mind-numbingly retarded as Merriman's "lights out" dance, but they still did plenty of celebrating after big hits and sacks. Playing "team-oriented" defense is about staying with your assignments and being in the right place at the right time. I think they're capable of that. They just also happen to be huge assholes.
The Dolphins are 3-5 despite being the only team other than Indianapolis above 50 percent for third-down conversions. Maybe the Dolphins would have a better record if their highly paid professional wide receivers learned how to catch a football! Ted Ginn Jr. has dropped everything but Jay Leno's name.
GreggJokes, GreggJokes, GreggJokes. Although this one is pretty decent. Sort of.
But two Wildcat touchdowns and no conventional-offense touchdown is not a formula for long-term Miami success. With New England leading 7-3 and Miami facing third-and-13 on the home team 33 -- a sack here knocks the visitors out of field goal range -- New England ran "cover zero," the extreme rare double safety blitz, and got a sack.
Stop me before I blitz again! Where was Gregg's notebook? Why was "game over" not being scribbled in it? Where was official son of TMQ, Spenser? WHY WOULD ANY TEAM BLITZ EVER?
'Tis Better to Have Rushed and Lost Than Never to Have Rushed at All: Trailing New Orleans 23-20, Carolina reached second-and-8 on the Saints' 43 with 3:02 remaining. Considering the quick-strike New Orleans offense, the circumstances dictated the Cats try to use up clock in driving for a touchdown. This seemed promising, since Carolina was running the ball well -- 183 yards rushing to that point. But as TMQ keeps noting, despite a strong rushing offense and a turnover-happy pass attack, Carolina coaches keep calling passes. From this point the Panthers went incompletion, incompletion, sack/fumble, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
The Panthers had already fumbled the ball once at that point. Meanwhile, Jake Delhomme was playing much less shitty than usual, having completed roughly 65% of his passes with no INTs. It wasn't the worst idea in the world. In fact, after that turnover, the Panthers stopped the Saints three and out and forced them to punt. They got the ball back, still down 23-20, with a little over two minutes remaining. First play: fumble, returned for a touchdown by the Saints. Better to have passed and lost, than never passed at all!
Cats note: The Panthers entered the season with the best fullback situation in the league, with quality starter Brad Hoover backed by fourth-round choice Tony Fiammetta, the highest-chosen fullback of the 2009 draft. On Sunday, both were hurt, and with first-and-goal on the New Orleans 1 in the third quarter, the Panthers put guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, out of Division II Bentley, in at fullback. He collided with Jake Delhomme, causing a fumble and lost yardage; Carolina settled for a field goal.
I guess they ended up missing Fiammetta (who went to well-known FBS school Syracuse) on that one, huh? Yeah, that 7th round pick from Bentley College really let them down there. Hmmmmmmm. If only he had played on a bigger stage in college. Although Gregg really missed a chance here to mention that "quality starter" Hoover went to Western Carolina. Come on, man. You're slipping.
Unified Field Theory of Creep: Kevin Ong of Forest Hills, N.Y., notes that on Nov. 3, IHOP began serving "holiday hotcakes" -- eggnog or gingerbread pancakes. "Surely, the holidays they were referring to were Election Day and Veterans Day," Ong writes. IHOP will sell eggnog pancakes "for a limited time only." You mean they won't be offered for all eternity?
That's the first time I've ever heard that warning attached to a contest or promotion! What a clever point- it obviously won't last forever, so it's funny when a corporation directly states that! I can just imagine the scene in the boardroom right now:
Executive A: Let's do a "holiday hotcakes promotion" with eggnog and gingerbreak pancakes.
Executive B: Good idea. Better tell people it's for a limited time only- that'll probably get "on the fence" customers to go try it sooner rather than later, driving up our revenue numbers.
That conversation probably never happened! Hilarious!
On the game winning TD in the Chargers/Giants game:
Veteran corner Corey Webster seemed to freeze for an instant as Jackson broke for the end zone -- San Diego needed a touchdown to win, where else was the pass going to go?
The end zone is a two dimensional place, Gregg. There are many different places within it that Vincent Jackson could run to. He could run to the back corner. He could run to a spot just over the goal line in the middle of the field. Webster was in single coverage. I'm sure he fully intended to cover Jackson in the end zone. It's not that fucking difficult to figure out.
Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 1: Game tied at 7, Jersey/A punted on fourth-and-1 from the San Diego 45 in the third quarter. The Jersey home crowd booed loudly, and the Jersey home crowd was right. It took the Bolts just three plays to pass the point where the ball would have been if the Giants had gone for it and missed; this play set the retreating, afraid-to-lose tone that characterized Jersey/A for the remainder of the game.
Just like how the 49ers are losing because of the Crabtree Curse! That's the only logical explanation for the end result of the game: the tone that was set on a play a quarter earlier!
Obscure College Score of the Week: Bethel 48, Faulkner 6. Faulkner University is sufficiently obscure that the school has a Web page titled, "Where Is Faulkner?" Here is how William Faulkner would have reported the game: "And so it began, and so Bethel kicked off, they have a word for it, kickoff, and it means to kick, but off into what; into some phenomenon of the body, perhaps into some void -- and the runner brought it back a certain number of yards but yards are facts that tell nothing. Vines descended upon the stadium."
GreggJokes- never pretentious, never excessively drawn out, always hilarious!
Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk (College Edition): Greg Veregin, a Wyoming graduate, attended the BYU-at-Wyoming game. He notes that playing at home against a highly ranked opponent, Wyoming, on its first possession, punted on fourth-and-inches at midfield. The football gods punished that with a 52-0 BYU win.
Just like the Crabtree Curse and the Giants' failure to go for a 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter- here's the only possible explanation for the outcome of this game! I really do home Michael Crabtree spikes a ball into Gregg's eye after catching a Super Bowl-winning touchdown. Man, that'd be great. I hope it happens after the 49ers punted on 4th and inches from the 50 while trailing by 4 with 6 minutes left. And that the opposing team plays base defense and never blitzes on the 49ers' final drive.