Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 6 NFL Notes

So Colin Kaepernick got his shot, and while the 49ers kept pace with the Bills for a half, the Bills, with the assistance of 312 yards on the ground, steamrolled in the second half to a 45-16 victory. There were only two things of interest to me in regard to this game. Is the QBR rating system supposed to be some kind of joke? E.J. Manuel took over for Tyrod Taylor to get a couple of reps in and was 0-2 passing, and ran three times for 8 yards. His QBR? 90.9 out of a possible 100. Now please explain what the QBR system is supposed to measure and why it is a more “accurate” measure of a quarterback’s performance than the old rating system. The other thing was that some in the Buffalo crowd chanted “USA, USA” meant to deride Kaepernick. 

A week ago Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had this to say about his recent engagement in protest against shooting of black males by police: "I think it's really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it's dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it's a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn't lock a person up for doing it…If they want to be stupid, there's no law that should be preventive. If they want to be arrogant, there's no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that." 

Now, I have written a post criticizing Kaepernick and his stance as being self-serving and hypocritical; look, you’ve made your “point,” and continuing to take the “knee” is putting more attention on your antics rather than your “cause.”  But I draw the line when it comes to calling people “dumb,” “arrogant” and “stupid” when this country has a serious problem with gun violence, regardless if it is law enforcement or criminals engaging in it. The big problem I have with Ginsburg, who is a feminist and probably a misandrist as well, is that she appears to be completely oblivious to the issues that Kaepernick and other athletes claim to be protesting against. I think the issue in regard to Ginsburg is the apparent self-involvement of white feminists and their lack of sensitivity outside their own self-service. If anyone is being “dumb, arrogant and stupid,” it is people like Ginsburg. 

Back to the weekend that was:

Cowboys 30 Packers 16 I’m not going to lie to you: I am a life-long Packer fan, and I never really liked Aaron Rodgers. I was apoplectic when the Packer management declined to receive Brett Favre back into the fold in 2008, when everyone knew that the reason why he “retired” was because he was being forced into making a “decision” and the Packers wanted him to report to training camp earlier than he usually did. Once Favre decided he had enough time off (and why not?—he was nearing 40), he “unretired” himself, and we know what happened after that. 

After having no turnovers through five games. the Cowboys' quarterback Dak Prescott threw his first interception and lost a fumble, but it mattered little. Despite some slightly more productive numbers in this game, Rodgers simply can’t get the offense moving. The 25-yard pass play to Jordy Nelson represented the lowest long play in a game this year, and Rodgers continues to play as if he doesn’t trust his receivers. What is going on? In 2014, Rodgers had a 112.2 passer rating, with a healthy Nelson and Randall Cobb catching over 50 percent of his completed passes. Who else was catching passes on that team? Do the names Davante Adams, Richard Rodgers and Eddie Lacy ring a bell, Packer fans? Is Rodgers the “problem” on this team? 

Seahawks 26 Falcons 24 This was a could-have/should-have game for the Falcons. Seahawk kicker Steven Hauschka was all set to be the goat in this game until Matt Ryan—who shredded the Seahawk secondary for three touchdowns in the third quarter—threw a needless interception late in the game with his team on top 24-23. Hauschka had missed a 22-yard field goal attempt, and then the game-tying extra point attempt literally just moments earlier.  Maybe the Falcons just couldn’t handle fortune. 

Patriots 35 Bengals 17 Like the Panthers, the Bengals are headed in the opposite direction they were last season. The Bengals actually led in this game 14-10 after driving 80 yards to start the third quarter, and forcing a three-and-out on defense. But after a 15-yard pass play was reversed on a penalty, Andy Dalton was sacked in the end zone for a safety, and from that point the Bengals were "entertained" by the Tom Brady laser light show.

Redskins 27 Eagles 20 The final didn’t quite register fully how dominate the Redskins were in this game, save for the fact that piling-up  a lot yards doesn’t mean all that much unless you put points on the board. In fact, the game was still close enough that the Eagles decided to punt with less than two minutes to play rather than try a fourth-and-24 conversion attempt, and almost got the ball back with a couple of seconds left, except that Matt Jones ran 57 yards on a third down play. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expect them to.

Titans 28 Browns 26 Cody Kessler came back and threw for 336 yards and two scores, but having next to no running game, predictability becomes redundant, and redundant becomes predictable again, which probably explains why the Browns are 0-6 now. The Browns may be showing more effort than in recent years, but it’s still no cigar. Marcus Mariota had a serviceable game, and the Titans are suddenly 3-3 and right in the “thick” of things in the AFC South, which is bad enough for even “bad” to be a relative term.

Giants 27 Ravens 23 The Giants offense was completely inept for most the first half, but the Ravens simply could not add to an early 10-0 lead. Despite two interceptions and a nonexistent running game, Eli Manning made up by throwing for 403 yards, most of them in the second half when the Ravens’ offense decided it needed to take a vacation and leave a weak and weary (pass) defense on the field. The Ravens still had this game in hand with 1:24 left when the Manning, faced with a fourth-and-one, caught the Ravens snoozing on a 66-yard touchdown pass play to Odell Beckham. 

Saints 41 Panthers 38 Drew Brees threw for 465 yards and 4 TDs in the win, despite a valiant effort by Cam Newton to lead a fourth quarter comeback. The Panthers are now 1-5. But the question is when the game comes down to passing, what kind of quarterback would you prefer to have under center—Brees or Newton?

Jaguars 17 Bears 16 The Bears led in this game 13-0 to start the fourth quarter, although these days with egg-head Brian Hoyer at quarterback, the Bears have to flood the stat line just to get a few points to trickle over the levee. Even against a team from the AFC South, that just isn’t going to cut it.

Lions 31 Rams 28 Both quarterbacks were sharp in this game, and Case Keenum was 27 of 31 for 321 yards and 3 TDs until his last pass, which was intercepted. Both teams are now 3-3, and unless the Cardinals and the Packers can turn things around, these two unlikely teams will likely be the second teams in their divisions, which is like a second-place baseball team being 25 games behind the division leader.

Dolphins 30 Steelers 15 The Dolphin defense threw ice water on Ben Roethlisberger’s recent inflated enhancements, and Jay Ajayi did his best Timmy Williams impression, coming out of nowhere to rush for 204 yards and two touchdowns.

Chargers 21 Broncos 13 Are the Broncos—like the Eagles—coming back down to Earth? Trevor Siemian threw a lot of passes for a lot of a little, which has been his problem all year. The Broncos defense remains stout, but there has to come a point where just enough offense becomes just too little.

Texans 26 Colts 23 Had the Colts not blown a 23-9 lead with 7 minutes to play, things would have been very interesting in the AFC South, with a three-way tie for first and the Jaguars just a half-game behind. But thanks to the usual culprits--the Colts offensive line and late-game defensive breakdowns--the Titans won in overtime. Interestingly, half the fans in Houston had left the stadium early; serves them right to be bamboozled by their own lack of faith in their team.

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