The Ballad of “The Team That Should’ve Won” [TeeCoZee’s NFL Roundup 2010 Week 4]
It’s a phenomenon that occurs every week. Most of the time, it is caused by fandom, and the denials that come with it. When a game remains close up to the finish, the fans of the losing team will undoubtedly always say “they should have won”. Sometimes they will be right. The loss may have been caused by an officiating miscue, or a freak play. However, in most cases, the team lost because they lost. And there’s nothing that can be done about it. Out of the 14 games that were played, 9 of them were within a score’s reach. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they were all good games [only 2 of the games exceeded 30 points], but they were most definitely close. This means that across the nation, there are 9 nations of superfans that were heartbroken and crestfallen on Sunday, and I will do my best to advocate them.
New York Jets 38, Buffalo Bills 14
There’s no possible way that I can be bitter about LT. We all thought he was on the downward slope, and that the best of his years were behind him, and we probably were all right. However, after 26 games of struggling, he has finally gained over 100 yards again. [133-2 TD to be exact] Now, being a long time Charger fan, I am always sad to see the good players go. There are a select few that I feel ended up making a better fit in different cities: The Jaguars really needed a running back like Natrone Means to back up the young Fred Taylor, Drew Brees brought much needed miracles to New Orleans [and it was easy to swallow considering that the second he left, Phillip Rivers was more than competent to take the helm], and the Atlanta Falcon’s post-Vick comeback would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the acquisition of Michael Turner. Although I don’t expect LT to become the dynamic MVP-clad runner that he used to be, it is still refreshing to see some SD alumni do good across the league. And it’s also refreshing that he’s playing for a team I can get behind.
Cleveland Browns 23, Disappointment From Cincinnati 20
It’s a good cop-out to say that the Bengals should have won this game, but really, if they let Cleveland score 23 points, they deserved to lose. Their defense allowed Peyton “Who the fuck is Peyton Hilis” Hillis to have a 100 yard game. They let Seneca Wallace have a piss-poor, but still acceptable game. If you look at the stats, any straight-minded man would say that the Bengals won this game. The TO-Ocho Show was in full effect, after all. Ocho ended up getting his quota of 59 yards, and TO had a “piss your pants and wonder why it’s 2003” performance, catching 222 yards?!?!?!? Who would have even thought Carson Palmer could throw that much? The rat bastard threw for 371 for fucks sake! So what in gods name went wrong? Why did they only score 20 points? Well, for starters, Carson Palmer lost 2 fumbles. See, this is smart of him, because if you look at his official stat line for the game, the fumble doesn’t pop up right away. Nobody really expects the QB to fumble, because if he was in the position to fumble, he would just get rid of the ball. But not Carson Palmer. He’s a renaissance man. And it probably also didn’t help to have their last drive be doomed by an offensive pass interference call on Ocho, thus taking them out of field goal range. There’s many of reasons why the Bengals didn’t win and how they make me cry tears of blood. They are still an immature team living in a man’s world. But someday, someday, they just might win when it counts…
Baltimore Ravens 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 14
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are like that heavy metal band that won’t stop coming out with albums. Every once in a while, you may hear a song from them that you enjoy. Sometimes you can tolerate the music in the background. Hell, you may have even had been a big fan when you were a kid [Steelers + Metallica = 6th Grade]. But the fact is that while you’re ignoring them, they are as popular and strong as ever. It could be years before you hear any of their “new stuff” but there will always be that moment when your buddy that you’re trying to score pot off of pops the CD in, and you think to yourself “damn, they’re still popular?”. The same sensation occurs whenever I watch a Ravens or Steelers game. I never expect much out of them, and sometimes even scoff them off, but in the end I always have to muse “fuck, they’re STILL a good team?” Oh yes, they’re still good. Shit, they even still have FANS. But at the end of the day, it eats you up inside that you had disregarded them for all these years, but nobody else did. Other symbols for the Steelers/Ravens include: Dirtbikes, Eminem, Professional Wrestling, Kid Rock, CSI, CSI Miami, Anything else on CBS, and Bluetooths.
Oh, and I’m sure that the soot-covered hicks in Pittsburgh [because I can only assume that they are covered in soot] are probably complaining that the Steelers should have won. But then they all went home to fuck their wives while watching Ben Roethlesberger mixtapes. Fuck gently, sirs, for your hero comes back next Sunday…
Denver Broncos 26, Tennessee Titans 20
I’ll say it once, and if your lucky, I’ll say it again: The Titans should have beat the Broncos. They didn’t really deserve it, but damnit, they should have won. Kyle Orton, once again, orchestrated a comeback, with a game winning drive ending with a 6 yard TD pass to some asshole named Buckhalter. Why in the hell is Kyle Orton becoming a respectable QB? Why are they still calling him a franchise player, even though he obviously is not? Why are the Broncos stressing me out so much, even though I know deep down in my heart that they aren’t worth damn? Why do people keep stopping Chris Johnson? All he wants to do is run long distances, why do people have to keep on stopping him? How come he had to lose a fumble? Why wasn’t it Vince Young that fucked up? He’s the clinically depressed one, why didn’t he fuck up? Marc Mariani took a kick return for a TD, and yet he’s younger than me? Why do I feel so old? And then why did Marc Mariani also lose a fumble? Why do bad things happen to good teams? Why exactly did I become a Titans fan in the first place? After hating them for 10 years, why do I like them all of a sudden? Is it because I can see traces to an old Houston Oilers team? An Oilers team that also had the talent, but not the luck to go all the way? Why am I making allusions to the Oilers, even though Vince Young is no Warren Moon and will never be like Warren Moon? Does that make me racist, to think they are somewhat similar? Why can’t Warren Moon still be around? Why did I have to waste all the good years booing the Oilers? Why was I a Steelers fan back then? Fuck. The Titans should have won this game…
Green Bay Packers 28, Detroit Lions 26
Covering yet another game in which the other team “should have won” is guest columnist, Robert Nastro, in Ol’ Uncle Nasty’s Lions Den:
What if I told you that Detroit put up 431 yards to Green Bay’s 261 yards of total offense? Or that Detroit had the ball for close to 15 minutes longer, dominating the time of possession? You most likely wouldn’t believe me if I threw in that the Lions rushed for more yards than the Cheese Heads as well. How about 20 first downs for Detroit and only 16 for Green Bay? You would most likely accuse me of drinking too much Purple Drank and assumed I watched the game with JaMarcus Russell.
I did not. In hindsight, I wish I did.
These statistics were absolutely and annoyingly true in Detroit’s loss to Green Bay this past Sunday afternoon. Now I know you are all saying, “Wait Unc! Surely the Lions must have had more turnovers then the Packers to have lost this game!” Nope. The Packers even had one more turnover than the Lions in this hard to swallow defeat. However, there were two statistical categories that doomed the Honalulu Blue in this game. Penalty Yards and red zone efficiency.
The NFL Zoo Crew probably almost ran out of flags in this game. I think I actually saw Aaron Rodgers cutting a strip of yellow from his pants just in hope that the officials may throw one more flag the Lions way. Detroit racked up 13 penalties for 102 yards in this one. Any time you have more penalty yards then the length of a football field, you are in trouble. Penalties hurt the Lions too many times and made it difficult (impossible?) to accomplish their near-stunning comeback. I’m still a believer there is some kind of scandal involving the NFL’s refereeing involving the Detroit Lions. It’s a mystery yet to be solved. Can someone please call Robert Stack!?
The Lions Red zone woes in this game actually (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) came as a surprise. Coming into the game, the Detroit Lions were one of the most efficient teams in the red zone. Yes, I am talking about the entire NFL. However, in a game where they dominated most every other statistic, they ultimately decided to make sure Jason Hanson still could kick 5 field goals in a game, two of them being on late drives that should have resulted in touchdowns and earned them a comeback victory. As a matter of fact, on the the Lions final drive where ALL they needed was a field goal to win, they couldn’t get into Hanson’s range giving them a shot at a one point lead. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK times a million! Watching this game made me never want to eat cheese again. And like my good friend T Cozy, I LOVE me some cheese!
Atlanta Falcons 16, San Francisco 49ers 14
Mike Singletary is probably still crying about how his team should have won this game. He cried so hard that his pants fell down. [I need to stop making jokes about that…but I won’t…] After all, they jumped ahead 14 points in the first quarter. But then, they proceeded to do what ever mediocre team does when they are on the verge of winning: they sit on it, and wait for it to happen. This was not very wise considering that there were 3 quarters of football left to play. On the positive side, one must commend the 49ers for holding off the Falcons that entire time. Althought he 49ers were seemingly falling asleep, they were still able to hold the Falcon’s offense for most of the game. It was a commendable performance, which was one that should have resulted in a victory when Matt Ryan was picked off with 1:20 left in the game. Nate Clemons took the pick a long ways back, and just as he was about to fall down and seal a 49ers victory, WR extraordinaire Roddy White tackles him. And Nate Clemons loses the football. So Matt Ryan has a mulligan drive, and he takes it deep, setting up the hero Matt Bryant to be the hero again, kicking the field goal to win the game for Atlanta. If Nate Clemons would have just fallen down, the 49ers could have had the first win of the season. Moments like these make me sad for having rooted for them in the first place.
New Orleans Saints 16, Carolina Panthers 14
This game is a clone of the previous game. It was a winless team trying to go against a contender for 1st in the NFC South division, and they ended up successfully holding the team down, but it wasn’t good enough, and the kicker saved the day to end the game at 16-14. After the overtime field goal fiasco from last week [vs Atlanta, of all teams], former “hero” Garrett Hartley was benched. On Tuesday, New Orleans head staff called in a hired gun to do all of the field goal kicking. His name? John. Fucking. Carney. John Carney is an old man. 46 years old to be exact. He was the placekicker on the 1994 San Diego Chargers squad…you know…the one that actually made it to the Super Bowl. And John Carney, for the umpteenth time of his life, became the hero. But that isn’t to say that there’s some people on the southeast coast bitching and moaning about how the Panthers should have got their first win. After all, the Saints are looking bawdy at best. Following the debacle against Atlanta last week, the sports nation was buzzing about how the Saints have lost their way. I was calling bullshit at the time, but now, after seeing how close the Panthers got to winning, I know there’s something entirely fishy going on in New Orleans. Time can only tell with this one…
St Louis Rams 20, Seattle Seahawks 3
I was eating Manhattan Clam Chowder the other day, while reading The Instructions, by Adam Levin [not the guy from Maroon 5]. The chowder was decent, I guess. I was hoping for more clamminess, but instead I got more everythingelseiness. My friend, Lara, sat next to me, sporting an old cap backwards. In fact, if you squinted, she looked just like Winona Ryder’s aspiring-mechanic character in Night On Earth. It’s fun to make friends that visit your workplace every day. It gives you something to look forward to. She ate some chicken dish with rice and veggies, and I finished my bland soup. The end.
Jacksonville Jaguars 31, Indianapolis Colts 28
I feel bad for fans of both of these teams. On one side, the Colts fans are more than likely have sore throats from bitching and moaning about how they should have won this game. They have every right to be so angry; their once invincible franchise is now sitting at a dirty 2-2 record. Considering the early success of previous seasons, 2-2 might as well be 0-4. On both sides of the ball, they appear to be up to the usual caliber, but there are elements that just aren’t connecting the way they should. As for the Jaguar fans, I am sure they are happy as all hell for this win, but everyone knows that this feeling is not going to last for long. Jacksonville is one of the most schizophrenic teams in the NFL. Opposing teams never know whether to fear them, or blow them off completely. The team is night and day. This was their finest hour of the season so far. After all, they probably shouldn’t have won the game. Nobody really expected Josh Scobee to actually make the 59-yard field goal attempt with 5 seconds left. The game should have gone into overtime, and the Colts probably would have drove down the field and aced a field goal. But Josh Scobee’s longest career field goal was good. And life goes on. Whether we see this same Jaguar squad next week against Buffalo isn’t going to matter. First off, their quality is a game-day decision that is held confidential. Secondly, they are playing against Buffalo, so whether or not they are on their A-Game, they will surely win.
Houston Texans 31, Oakland Raiders 24
If Arian Foster was never born, the Raiders would have won this game. In reality, Arian Foster was born, and he turned into a beast for the Houston Texans. And the Raiders didn’t win. Simple as that. One may argue that the Raiders did have a chance to win. At the end, they had narrowed the gap to 7 and started driving down the field with a handfull of time left. Problem is, their QB is Bruce Gradkowski. So the Raiders did not win. Zach Miller may have had an impressive game. And the RB duo of Michael Bush and Darren McFadden may be one to fear someday. But the Raiders did not win. This is life, and in life, the Raiders do not win. Simple science.
Washington Redskins 17, Philadelphia Eagles 12
For some fucked up reason, this was the game that had everybody buzzing. The headlines were everywhere: Donovan McNabb Returns To Philly. This game was talked up as if McNabb hasn’t played against them in over 5 years. In actuality, it’s only been 5 games since McNabb has donned an Eagles uniform. But yet, nobody can shut the fuck up about this game, which I am glad that I missed. The final score read that the Redskins won this game, so everyone was up in arms to rave about how Donovan “showed them what they’re missing” and “had the last laugh”. He won the fucking game. He contributed to a touchdown. That’s it. Here are the actual facts:
1) Michael Vick suffered a rib injury early on. If this had not happened, the Eagles would have galloped over the Skins. On top of that, he hurt himself while dashing 30 yards to the endzone, with total disregard to his body. He went out heroically [and some would say idiotically]. This left the game up to Kevin Kolb, who is a piece of shit.
2) Donovan played like complete shit. He made 8 completions. That’s 1 more than 7 and 1 less than 9. 8 completions.
3) Kevin Kolb made 22 completions. That’s one less than 23 and 14 more than Donovan.
So, for fucks sake, can we please shut up about the prowess of Donovan McNabb and his ability to steal credit? The buzz after this game has made me a Redskins hater. Fuck them all. The Eagles should have fucking won…
San Diego Super Chargers 41, Not Kurt Warner 10
Antonio Gates caught his 500th pass. Mike Tolbert, a fullback, rushed for 100 yards. The defense held the Cardinals to 124 combined offensive yards. They pulled the 23.2 rated Derek Anderson, for some fucko who did just as bad. It’s like eating a delicious sandwich, only to find out it’s laced with weed. Delicious and good feelings all around. Mmmmmmm…..
New York Giants 17, Chicago Bears 3
I can’t get enough of watching Jay Cutler get sacked. It’s just too fun. Something about seeing him limping around puts a smile on my face. Everyone knew that the Bear’s premature dynasty was going to crumble, and it only took 4 weeks for it to happen. After 9 sacks, Jay Cutler suffered a concussion, and was replaced by Todd Collins. Whenever Todd Collins is on the field, you know hilarity will ensue. Every time I hear his name, you will always hear the commentator mention how many years he’s been in in the league [in this case, the number is 16]. Most will think that this is a complement, but then after you see him play, you will realize that it is not. Fact is, he has been in the league for 16 years, and still [not to my knowledge] has been a starter on the depth chart for more than 3 games. He’s like the substitute teacher that spends his entire life substitute teaching, because he is surely not a teacher. I’d like to see Todd Collins visiting high schools, teaching them the ropes of the game: “Sit down, learn the playbook, drink gatorade, and hope to god they will never need you”. Collins played so abysmally that with 3 minutes left in the game, they pulled him. In the middle of a fucking drive. There are some doomed people in the Windy City, and everyone else is laughing it up. [Because after all, Phillip Rivers isn’t prone to injury! He’s utterly invincible!!!]
New England Patriots 41, Miami Dolphins 14
It looks like somebody put the special teams to work. Most particularly, some guy named Patrick Chung. He blocked not one, but two kicks. He also got himself an interception. He also ran that interception all the way to the endzone. Unfortunately, Pat Chung is not of Asian descent, because that would have made the story even more interesting. As a whole, the Dolphins out-gained the Patriots by 135 yards. They also got more first downs and had a higher 3rd down efficiency. The rare, rare case of a Special Teams dominating a game made the score seem like more of a blowout that it really was. If this was an offensive game, the Dolphins would have had much more luck. [and they did in the first half…] In the second half, the impressive-ish Chad Henne started dismantling, and the Dolphins played the worst special teams that I have seen in years. All in all, this wasn’t much of a memorable game. Strange, but not memorable.
Now that 4 weeks have passed, there is only one undefeated team. Most divisions are being contested by 3 teams [with the fourth team sitting back at 0-4/3]. The only exceptions are in the AFC South and NFC East, which are both in complete stalemates. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a long time before any pixels of the playoff picture start coming into focus. Especially considering that numerous analysts are attesting that the best team in the NFC is the Dallas Cowboys, who are sitting at the bottom of the East at 1-2. Although it will be quite arbitrary, next week I plan on making my divisional picks. Until then, eat your Skyline Chili and drink your Gatorade!