Monday, September 12, 2005

The Weekend in Review

NFL Kickoff Edition

NCAA Football

Ohio 16, Pitt 10: For the second week in a row, Pitt basically didn't show up. An example of this is Blades - instead of being the tough leader, he's turning into a crybaby. Wannstedt is being stubborn - trying to force the run game instead of utilizing the talent he has (Palko and Lee). Meanwhile, the word on the street is that some Pitt fans are already turning on Wanny.

Texas 25, tOSU 22: For some reason, I actually had trouble watching this one. Oh yeah, I remember why now: Brent Musberger playing the role of the "drunk 'that guy'" to the Ohio State linbackers' "girl who's kinda hot but not as much as the drunk guy thinks she is." "Senator" Jim Tressel (is he called Senator because he's so corrupt)would have been second-guessed for the rest of the season about putting in Justin Zwick for what was going to be the winning two-minute drill until Zwick fumbled. But, with a chance for redemption at the one, Troy Smith took a safety. Two drives, two plays. A question for you football experts in the audience: in the NFL, the saying is that the goal line "extends around the world." That is, if a player leaps from in bounds and crosses the goal line with his body and the ball entirely out of bounds, it's still a good touchdown. However, in this game, the announcers kept saying that the Texas running back "didn't get the ball inside the pylon." The play was reviewed and determined not to be a touchdown, so apparently the NFL and college rules are different.

Virginia Tech 45, Duke 0: Why cut into the ND-Michigan game to show highlights from this game? Why is Marcus Vick a player of the week candidate for throwing 3 TDs against Duke?

Iowa State 23, Iowa 3: So, uh, wow. Iowa QB Drew Tate left this game early after suffering a possible concussion when making a tackle following one of his interceptions. Does the outcome of this game somehow vault Tate to the top of the Heisman list?

Georgia 17, South Carolina 15: If Iowa-Iowa State was Exhibit A in the case against preseason rankings, was this game Exhibit B? Sure, the Gamecocks are playing on a new-coach high under Steve Spurrier, but does a Georgia team that lost some big stars really deserve to start #9?

FSU 62, The Citadel 10: Hey, isn't that Sack Lodge playing linebacker for the Seminoles?

Oklahoma 31, Tulsa 15: Oklahoma lucks out in the polls this week. Since the pollsters don't actually watch the game, they'll likely glance over the fact that Tulsa was winning 9-7, then was a missed two-point conversion from tying it at 17 all before a last-second interception return on a despiration drive turned a 24-15 OU lead into a 31-15 win.


Bengals 27, Browns 13: A win's a win, and a loss is a loss, but this one wasn't all negative for the Browns. Trent Dilfer, despite two interceptions, looked like a competent and composed NFL quarterback. Reuben Droughns ran hard out of the backfield and as a kick returner. He had 78 yards on 12 carries; if this game hadn't been a relative shootout, he would have easily gone over 100. Frisman Jackson, who to this point was known more for his throwing ability (the former quarterback was used several times for Hail Mary passes) and for wearing Bernie Kosar's #19. But, with Kellen Winslow and Aaron Shea not playing, and with Steve Heiden going down during the game, the Browns ran thin on options at tight end. Now wearing #88, the 6-3 Jackson stepped in as a third receiver for most of the second half, and he became a reliable option for Dilfer, catching 8 passes for 128 yards and Cleveland's lone TD. Even Jeff Faine pitched in with a catch on this one. A ball intended for Antonio Bryant bounced of the referee's head where it was caught by Faine. Instead of taking the illegal touching penalty, the Bengals let Faine's loss of 1 stand. The final positive came from kicker Phil Dawson. A case of the "yips" came soon after his field goal streak ended last year, and the yips continued into training camp. However, Dawson made a 29-yard field goal to open the scoring, and later made a 35-yard extra point following a personal foul. Now, the negatives. Well, compared to the last few years, giving up 129 yards to Rudi Johnson is neither an improvement or a decline. However, in not wanting to give up the deep ball, the Browns pass defense, albeit thin at cornerback due to injuries, turned Carson Palmer into Peyton Manning. Palmer dinked and dunked his way to 280 yards on 26/34 passing. Finally, penalties were an issue for the Browns, to the tune of 7 for 56 yards.

Patriots 30, Raiders 20: Caught the first half of this one with F-Bomb and some Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale. New England's defense wasn't perfect, but something tells me that Bill Belichick will be able to may them play "good enough" all year to get the win.

Lions 17, Packers 3: When you look at the weapons the Lions have on offense, you realize that all they need is a halfway decent line to succeed. Apparently, that line is halfway decent. Meanwhile, is Detroit's secondary that good, or is Green Bay just a bad team this year? (Or, is my grandpa right - do the Packers just show up when they need to?) I dare say that if the Browns have a good game in Green Bay next week, it's a very winnable game for them.

Falcons, Eagles: (About to kickoff at the time of this writing.) Holy cow, we've got a major Charlie Foxtrot on our hands!


Indians 12, Twins 4: I was lucky enough to have club seats for this Sunday night game. The only thing better than scoring 10 runs in the first two innings (chasing not one but two starters - Carlos Silva and Joe Mays from the game) against the hated Twins was the "anything you can do, I can do better" way in which the Tribe offense did it. The book on Silva was obviously to jump on him early in the at bat and the Indians did just that. Grady Sizemore led off with a triple, followed by Coco Crisp with a double. Soon after, Victor Martinez homered just over a leaping Lew Ford in center. On any other night, the spotlight would have been on Crisp, who finished 4 for 5 with doubles in each of his first two at bats. But not on this night. This night belonged to Grady Sizemore. By the time the second inning was over, Sizemore had already completed the two toughest phases of the cycle, with a triple and a homer. He ended his night 3 for 4 with a walk, three runs, and three RBI. To cap things off, he made a spectacular leaping, tumbling catch against the wall in the eighth, causing cheers of "Grady! Grady!" to rise from the best crowd Jacobs Field had seen in months. (In an attempt to draw good numbers for ESPN2, all tickets except club seats were $5.) Cliff Lee, acquired along with Sizemore in the Bartolo Colon deal, had Cleveland fans saying, "Bartolo who?" as he improved his record to 16-4.