October 12, 2009

A poor, poor weekend of football

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

What an awful weekend for football. You could have seen it a mile away just looking at the schedule, but I never thought I would be as disinterested in a week’s matchup as I was this Sunday. It wasn’t just the NFL either; if you happened to catch some of the UFL’s Saturday night game between New York and Florida, you would be very unimpressed as well. At the very least Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford made comebacks to spice up the NCAA slate.

If you were looking for a perfect example of terrible football at any level, the game you should instantly point to was yesterday’s Bills-Browns tilt. For Christ’s sake, the game ended 6-3! And it’s not because either team is great on defence either. Browns’ QB Derek Anderson went 2-for-17 for only 23 yards, and still won! Typically, you only see quarterbacking lines that horrible under the heading of Oakland Raiders boxscore. Trent Edwards wasn’t much better either, going 16/31 for 152 — and he actually has competent receivers. But really, the most telling sign of the poor quality of play was this stat: The Bills had 13 penalties for 75 yards and nine of those penalties were false-starts… and they were playing at home.

I’m at a loss to describe how horrible it was to even write anything else about that massacre of the great North American game, so, let’s move onto the Giants demolition of the Raiders… sigh.

Following up my mention of a Raiders-esque QB performance, here’s yesterday’s line for JaMarcus Russell: 8/13, 100 yards, 0 TDs. That’s not to mention the three fumbles he lost either. If it wasn’t official yet, I think we can officially write off Russell as a bust.

But, buried among the piles of garbage yesterday, there were a few gems…

Denver was able to do the unthinkable and stopped the most clutch QB in the league on a fourth-quarter drive with their constantly surprising defence. That group should no longer be called over-rated after the effort it put on yesterday.

As solid of a job that McDaniels has done, there was one rookie mistake he made. After challenging and losing a play earlier, the boy genius used his last challenge on a second down completion of three yards. Sure, he won the challenge, but it only gained him three yards and limited him from using a challenge for the entire second half.

And I’ve got to say, it was truly amazing seeing the young coach completely snub the ice-cold Belichick for a post-game handshake. McDaniels was too busy celebrating and seemed to hug every Patriots staff member except for the old cheater.

It’s not exactly star power that’s supporting Dallas these days. That’s fairly easy to see when you get Tashard Choice rushing for 92 yards on eight carries and Miles Austin sets a Cowboys record of 250 receiving yards, including the game-tying and overtime game-winning TDs. Maybe it’s time to for the Boys to turn to the lesser names and start keeping some of the big names — like Roy Williams — on the bench. And even though they won, what was up with all the offsides calls? Four on one drive and five in the game? Those are dumb penalties that need to be avoid for anyone to win consistently.

Finally… Cincy! It looks like the Bengals are for real. They’ve now defeated two division rivals that normal crush them and have hold of the number one spot in the AFC North. Marvin Lewis is finally living up to his billing as a defensive specialist and the offence is moving like it did a few years when it was nearly unstoppable. Cincinnati’s even getting solid performances out of cast-off running back Cedric Benson. Can they keep it up? I don’t know, but for now they’re riding a terrific hot streak and are no longer the doormats we’ve grown used to knowing them as.

This week: 8-4 (with New York Jets -1.5 tonight).
This season: 38-34.

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