The quote of the week comes from NFL analyst, former head coach and current Monday Night Football commentator John Gruden. He said, “Anything can happen on any given Sunday, especially Monday night.” Don’t ask me what he was talking about or what point he was trying to make because I honestly have no idea.
The New York Jets played surprisingly well against the Broncos in Week 6, and then came a blocked field goal away from beating the division rival Patriots a week later. Their record didn’t show it, nor did their last place standing, but It appeared as if, at long last, they might finally be getting their act together. Not so fast. If there’s one thing the Jets always excel at, it’s shooting themselves in the foot. So, with veteran receiver and gun safety expert Plaxico Burress evidently unavailable, they addressed their offensive woes by trading for Percy Harvin, arguably one of the most talented players on the Seahawks’ roster. Harvin was a big part of Seattle’s Super Bowl win… and they couldn’t wait to get rid of him. That may have had a lot to do with the black eye he gave teammate Golden Tate right before the big game.
Harvin made his Jets debut against the Bills on Sunday, and you could see that new team chemistry at work already. Quarterback Geno Smith was on fire, completing 2 of his first 8 pass attempts for a whopping 5 yards and, are you ready for this? THREE INTERCEPTIONS! That, if you’re wondering, translates to a quarterback rating of ZERO! So Geno gets benched, Michael Vick comes in, and immediately gets flagged for taunting. Seriously? Dude, you’re the backup quarterback for a team that hasn’t won a game since Week 1, and that was against the Raiders who haven’t beaten anybody. Now you’re taunting? That wasn’t Vick’s only contribution. He also fumbled, threw an interception, and fumbled again. It was a record setting day all around. The Jets became the first team since the ’91 Cardinals to have two different quarterbacks with three turnovers each in the same game. Incidentally, those quarterbacks were Chris Chandler and Stan Gelbaugh. I do apologize if that’s not the correct spelling of Gelbaugh. I’d never heard of him before and it seems sort of pointless looking him up now. Oh, and as for Harvin, 3 catches for 22 big yards. On average, that’s just shy of one yard for every point the Jets lost by. J-E-T-S STINK, STINK, STINK!
Just how epically bad is the Chicago Bears defense? By my calculations, they’re just about as bad as the offense. In the past two weeks, the Bears have been outscored 52 to 7, and that’s just in the first half. You can’t put all of that on the porous D. Sure, they allowed the 52 but, each time you give up a score, your offense gets the ball back. One touchdown per every four quarters isn’t terribly efficient. Of course, it’s tough to score if you can’t hold onto the ball. Former Bear Pro Bowler Brian Urlacker says starting quarterback Jay Cutler is elite in salary only. Now that’s not fair. Geno smith and Blake Brotles have both thrown more interceptions, and Cutler does lead the league in criticism AND fumbles. Let’s see Peyton Manning do that. So is it fair to blame Cutler for all the Bears’ problems? I’m gonna say yes.
Insult to injury, or maybe it’s the other way around, for the second time this season, a player suffered a season-ending injury during a post play celebration. This time it was Chicago Bears defensive end Lamar Houston. He made a play, performed some extracurricular calisthenics, and now he’s out with a torn ACL. Here’s the thing. In addition to getting their asses kicked up and down the field, the Bears set a new franchise record for most points allowed in a half. What in hell are they celebrating?
Can anyone explain to me why the NFL is trying so hard to force feed American football to other parts of the World? Remember the European League? That had the full support of the NFL and still failed miserably. We’ve never embraced soccer, at least not to the extent of the rest of the world; so why should the rest of the world, London in particular, embrace our favorite sport? I really couldn’t believe it when I heard that this past Sunday’s game between the Lions and Falcons would not only be played in London but kickoff at 9:30AM Easter (that’s 6:30 Pacific). Why risk losing millions of television viewers just to accommodate the 70,000 or so Londoners, mostly transplanted Americans, who actually go to the game? And then it clicked. This has nothing to do with London or the NFL’s attempt to globalize. It’s all about the time slot. NFL fans are going to watch the game regardless of what time it’s broadcast. By giving London the afternoon game they supposedly wanted, the vast American audience had NFL football for about 14 straight hours. That’s a whole lot of advertising revenue. It’s already been announced that five games will be played in London in 2015. I’m telling you right now that at least two of them will be early kickoffs and you might as well get used to it. Football for breakfast. What could be better?
By the way, did you see the promotional material the Falcons released about the team’s overseas trip? It included a graphic which, upon further inspection, actually had the team arriving somewhere in Spain. Well, they certainly looked lost when they allowed the Lions to come from 21 points down to win on a last second field goal. In a bizarre twist, a delay of game penalty against Detroit allowed them a second try at the field goal. They missed the first time.
Believe it or not, not all the Week 8 football was bad. Tom Brady threw a personal best 6 touchdown passes, with 3 coming in the second quarter. He actually threw more touchdowns than incompletions. Did I mention he was playing the Bears? As good as he was, the performance of the week and perhaps the season goes to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Against a normally stout Colts secondary, he totaled over 500 passing yards. Several other quarterbacks have reached that milestone, but Roethlisberger became the first in NFL history to do it twice. In addition, Sunday marked his 100th win in his first 150 starts. Only three other quarterbacks have gotten to 100 wins any quicker. Their names are Tom Brady, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw. That’s pretty good company. Congratulations, Big Ben.
This week’s game day recipe is Beer Bread. It’s ridiculously easy and would be the perfect accompaniment to my Cincinnati Chili. If you haven’t tried that recipe yet, you’re really missing out. Beer bread is crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside and you can have it on the table in under 90 minutes. If you don’t want beer, you can substitute your favorite soda. You’ll Just need to add a leavening agent such as yeast.
3 cups well sifted all-purpose flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TSP salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. good beer
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 and grease one loaf pan. Add dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir in beer. Pour dough into loaf pan. Drizzle melted butter on top and bake for 1 hour. Remove from pan and let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing.
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