Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 5 NFL notes

In baseball there is this notion of “breaking up a play” or “taking out a play,” but during Saturday’s MLB playoff game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers, other terms entered the lexicon: “breaking up a player” and “taking out a player.” Baseball is for the most part a non-contact sport, where players don’t try to injure another as in football. But the Dodgers’ Chase Utley’s clear effort to injure the Mets Ruben Tejada during what he claimed was an attempt to break-up a double play in the seventh inning, breaking Tejada’s leg, was nothing less than a dirty play by a player with a reputation for dirty plays. Utley claimed afterward that even “kids” are taught to do this in their pee-wee leagues, which is an utterly contemptible and indecent “explanation,” since it certainly isn’t true that kids are “taught” to injure another playing baseball.

No one with common human decency can view the replays of Utley’s late slide nowhere near the second base bag without a feeling of disgust—and unfortunately there are a lot of comments I have read which indicate that some people still wish to believe it was a “baseball” play. It wasn’t; it was the play of a thug. Why the umpires didn’t throw him out of the game is beyond understanding; instead they “reviewed” the play and called Utley safe at second even though he never touched the bag and did not even try to. Joe Torre, however, did the right thing and suspended Utley for two games, and if baseball has any integrity it will uphold the suspension.

Anyways, before I get to football, I want to mention that I often wondered what it would be like to earn $1,000 in a week. Some people make that in a day, or in an hour if you are a professional athlete or CEO, or ten minutes if you are Bill Gates. It took me 76.5 hours of hard labor to do that, which tells you how modest my base income is. I not sure I want to make a thousand dollars a week again, at least not in this fashion. Since I worked all day Sunday, I didn’t have time to take in any games, but I will comment on two, since they involved the team that I have rooted for since childhood, and the team located in the city I live in.

Packers 24 Rams 10. For the second straight week the Packer defense came up big, last week making Colin Kaepernick look like a high school third-stringer, and this week intercepting Nick Foles four times, nullifying Todd Gurley’s 159 yard rushing performance. Aaron Rodgers was merely pedestrian last week by his standards, and he has had worse games that Sunday’s, but his streak of consecutive home games without an interception ended when he threw two. This is not like the Packers, two relatively poor offensive performances in a row saved by good defensive performances. But then again, Denver is still unbeaten as well playing by this dynamic every game.

Bengals 27 Seahawks 24. Being a Packer fan, it still causes pain to remember how they led 19-7 in the NFC Championship game with less than six minutes to play, and then intercepted Russell Wilson for the fourth time. Game over, the final “dagger,” right? We all know what happened, so it was with some positive feeling to observe how Seattle somehow blew a 24-7 lead with under seven minutes to play and lose in overtime. Sure, the Seahawks were bound to lose a game like this, where the defense quit and the offense did absolutely nothing for what was essentially almost 2 ½ quarters, with two touchdowns being scored off fluke plays with masked how really anemic the offense was. People will blame the offensive line or the offensive coordinator, but the reality is that if Russell Wilson was Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Rodgers, he would find a way to hit receivers whether they were wide-open or not, and he is not any of those quarterbacks. I still think the Seahawks are due for an 8-8 or 9-7 letdown.

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