Exhausted from a long day of planning my ascent to NFL power, I climbed into bed Monday night and turned on the Vikings-Giants game as lullaby music. I awoke later in a sleepy haze and the Monday night game was over. However, the post-game show flashed a highlight and the score on the screen, and I could swear it said the Giants were winners. What?! I'm still asleep, right?
I could also swear I heard the announcers say that Eli Manning had NO interceptions. OK, now I KNOW this is a dream. But it was no dream. The Giants did, in fact, win, and Manning did not, in fact, throw an interception. You could certainly see why I thought this might have been a figment of my imagination.
In one of those "well, somebody's gotta win this thing" sort of games, the Viking were so inept that they made the Giants look like, well, a GOOD team. Adrian Peterson did zilch-o for the Vikings running game (although it's hard to fault him since he's been dealing with some highly personal family trauma), and newly acquired former Tampa Bay Buc Josh Freeman looked horribly rusty. Seriously, they've pulled cars out of the river in better condition and with less rust than Freeman had on him Monday night. While I wish this was the last of our primetime punishment of seeing the Vikings, we'll get another look at them on Sunday night when they take on division rival Green Bay. Who have we NFL fans angered to deserve this?
And while Eli Manning was actually smiling after his game this weekend, big brother "He-that-must-not-be-named" got his first taste of defeat. I'm not sure if any of you knew this, but did you realize this was the first time "He-that-must-not-be-named" returned to Indianapolis since they released him? Yes, I know - I don't know why the networks weren't making a bigger deal out of this. (Sarcasm alert.)
The Colts looked pretty sharp, jumping out to a 33-17 lead, thanks mostly to the Broncos horrible pass defense. I find it hard to qualify the Broncos as the best team in the league with a pass defense ranked last in the league. Yes, LAST, meaning worse than Jacksonville, for crying out loud! Of course, you can never count out anyone when "He-that-must-not-be-named" is at the helm, and he nearly lead Denver to victory. But it was not meant to be. And now only one unbeaten team remains - Denver's division rival Kansas City. The Colts, meanwhile, are looking pretty good and have already beaten three of the best teams in the league this year - Seattle, San Francisco and Denver. However, the victory came at a huge price for Indy - they lost veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the season with an ACL tear.
Also this weekend:
-- Who cares about the football field when you can just jump someone from behind at the local mall?
Steve Smith is MAD. That's not really news though. He's the original rageaholic - even punching his own teammates in the face. The object of his latest tirade is St. Louis corner Janoris Jenkins. Smith was upset with Jenkins' trash talking, saying he crossed a line by going after his family. And then, true to form, Smith added that if he saw Jenkins on the street, he'd "bust him in the (blankety blank blank) mouth." Smith's anger carried over to his team, and the entire game was filled with tension and fights. Rams player Chris Long was ejected for throwing a punch, and several personal foul penalties were called throughout the game. After scoring a touchdown over Jenkins, Smith celebrated with a dance and pointing at his nemesis. "When you embarrass people, you rub it in their face," Smith waxed philosophic. Wow, what a great lesson for today's kids. (More sarcasm here.)
-- Kickers can't tackle! This must be a mistake.
If you've been reading my observations for a while, you know that I have a certain disdain for NFL kickers. They have exactly ONE JOB and it's quite annoying when they honk field goals. I suppose if you count the kickoff as a job, then they have TWO jobs, but still, it's all kicking. That's all they have to do - swing one leg. Yeah, yeah, aim, wind speed, ball holders, those all factor in, but kickers who miss easy kicks or, worse yet, extra points, get no sympathy from me. On Sunday, however, a kicker made me smile. Yup, that's right! Colts punter (who really does have exactly ONE job) Pat McAfee, after punting to Broncos punt returner Trindon Holliday, raced across the field and then absolutely leveled Holliday to push him out of bounds. McAfee's teammates were all, "OMG! That was awesome!" while Holliday's teammates were all, "Dude, you just got tackled by a punter." Kickers are not known for physically exerting themselves on the field, so much so that McAfee's Herculean hit subjected him to a "random" NFL steroid test the next day. McAfee responded via Twitter, "Must be my bod," adding that he had the upper body of an "adolescent." Are those pectoral muscles, or did two Tic-Tacs just fall down your shirt?
-- NFL infirmary busting at the seams, sign declares "No Vacancy."
This past weekend was probably the worst as far as injuries go, many of them season-enders for big stars. As mentioned earlier, Reggie Wayne is out for the year, as are Rams QB Sam Bradford (torn ACL), Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (broken leg, torn LCL) and Bucs running back Doug Martin (torn labrum). In addition, Bears QB Jay Cutler (torn groin muscle) will miss at least four weeks. Also, in a scary injury, after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is out of intensive care and has regained all movement. Hopefully the NFL infirmary has a revolving door, because there are more going in than there are coming out!
Coming up this weekend is the second game at Wembly Stadium in London as San Francisco takes on Jacksonville. You have to wonder how much the British fans are enjoying what we're sending them - one good team and three teams with no wins. (Remember, the first London game was winless Pittsburgh versus winless Minnesota.) Also, how awful of a trip is that for the 49ers? They split the trip up a bit, stopping off in Nashville to play Tennessee, and now they're headed to London. Luckily, they have their bye next week, but still, this is just another snafu in the NFL's seemingly hair-brained attempt to keep shuffling teams across the ocean for boring contests.
The slate of less-than-riveting games this weekend includes such yawners as Carolina at Tampa Bay (lucky us - we get to see this baby Thursday night!), Green Bay at Minnesota and Buffalo at New Orleans. Snore. Dallas-Detroit has some potential, but the rest is slim pickin's. The Seattle-St. Louis game on Monday night looked better last week when the Rams had Bradford at the helm. Six teams are on a bye this week: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego and Tennessee. As for me, maybe I'll go on a bye too... to BEDDIE-BYE that is, thanks to some of these snoozers. Looking like a good weekend to catch up on my sleep.
Until next week, my friends, enjoy the games!