Here’s what I know about football. I need to be watching. I mean, I really need to be watching. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed almost all of the Week 4 action and it was a disaster. Here’s the story. My father-in-law just celebrated his 85th birthday. The party was in Texas. I live in New York. Sunday was my travel home day. Between flight schedules, the time difference and the like, I didn’t see any of the early games, or the late games, and I was too tired to watch much of the night game. That’s bad. I run a football pool (for entertainment purposes only of course) and I tend to do pretty well. This week, however, I missed all but four games. That’s extremely uncharacteristic, and the only conclusion I can draw is that it’s because I wasn’t watching. The evidence is right there. Game outcomes are influenced based on whether or not I’m watching. It’s simple science. And now that I have the proof, I’m not leaving the couch again until February. It’s too dangerous.
Of course, not all science is perfect. I did see the Thursday game and definitely did not predict the Giants absolutely dismantling the Washington Redskins. We’ll call that an anomaly. What other explanation could there be? Prior to Week 2, the New York Giants were an appalling 1 for their last 8 in the month of September. They finished this September on a two-game win streak. Quarterback Eli Manning ended the 2013 season with one of the worst passer ratings in the NFL. He also led the league in interceptions. It looked like 2014 was going to be more of the same until last Thursday night when Manning threw for 300 yards, 4 touchdowns and a passer rating of 117. Big Blue beat Washington 45 – 14. The Redskins had been playing pretty well lately. That was before they turned the ball over 6 times, leading to 31 Giants points. The Redskins are now in last in the NFC East. I don’t expect that will change anytime soon.
A Bears fan friend of mine asked an interesting question recently. “When is the last time a team rushed for 250 yards and still lost by three touchdowns?” Honestly, I’m not sure that’s ever happened before, or hadn’t until the Chicago Bears took the field on Sunday. And technically, they really only rushed for 235 yards, which was 179 more than they allowed. Yes, Chicago held the Packers to just 56 rushing yards. And yes, Green Bay still won by three touchdowns. How? Ladies and gentleman, put your hands together for Jay Cutler. Cutler signed with Chicago in 2008. Since then, he’s 1 – 9 against the Packers and threw at least one pick in all ten of those games. He threw two on Sunday. It didn’t help the Bears’ cause that Green Bay NEVER punted. They never had to, nor did they have to waste much time trying to run the ball. Aaron Rodgers picked apart the Chicago secondary, throwing four touchdown passes, never turning the ball over and scoring on every possession.
Remember Week 1 when the Jags led 17 – 0 only to lose 34 – 17. They were blown out again in Weeks 2 and 3, and in Week 4, finally made the much needed quarterback change. Blake Bortles made his NFL debut, looked great and Jacksonville jumped out to an early 14 – 0 lead, only to then allow 33 unanswered points and lose 33 – 14. For the season, they’ve now been outscored 152 – 58. No team has allowed more points and only the Raiders and Rams have scored fewer. Breaking all that down, the Jags stink.
What’s going on in Philadelphia? A season ago, Eagles runningback LeSean McCoy led the NFL with over 1,600 rushing yards, an average of just over 100 per game. Through four games this season, he’s rushed for 192 yards. Do the math. That’s not very good. And on Sunday against San Francisco, he managed a measly 17 yards on 10 carries. It’s not like someone else is carrying the load either. The Eagles as a team total just 22 rushing yards. It’s been a strange season in Philly all around. They trailed by double digits in each of their first three games, yet came back to win every one. They never trailed by that much in Week 4 and were handed their first loss. I don’t know what that all means. I am pretty sure they need to get a little bit better at running the ball. 22 yards per game is not a recipe for success.
And on that tasty note, let’s move onto our game day recipe of the week. There are few things better than a good homemade salsa, especially during football season. Unfortunately, garden season is about over. I probably should have given you this recipe a couple weeks ago. You’ll hopefully still be able to find a farm stand or a grocery store with a decent produce section. . Be advised, this requires significant prep time, significant cook time and yields about ten pints of salsa. You’ll want to do some canning or freezing. Yes, it’s a lot of work but well worth the time and effort. Trust me. This Tomato Pineapple Salsa Recipe is even better then the Victor Cruz touchdown dance
15 large tomatoes
2 medium onions chopped
8 Hungarian wax or hot banana peppers, seeded & chopped (USE GLOVES )
8 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (keep those gloves on)
2 large bell peppers, seeded & chopped (choose your favorite colors)
1½ cups celery, chopped
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh (or 1 Tbsp dry) cilantro
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup garlic wine vinegar
6 to 8 dashes (at least) Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 whole fresh pineapple, peeled and chopped ( or 2 cans diced pineapple, drained)
1 28 oz. can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
Blanch tomatoes, let cool, then peel and chop coarsely. Spray the bottom of a large (at least 12 quart) stock pot with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except the pineapple and tomato puree). Bring to a gentle simmer then cook covered on low to medium heat for 2 hours. Stir frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Remove the cover and cook another hour still stirring frequently. Add tomato puree and fruit, then cook one more hour uncovered to thicken. Don’t stop stirring. Can following normal canning procedures. Enjoy. I know you will.
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