Scattered stats and thoughts regarding Week 8 of the 2012 NFL Season…
NY Giants 29, Dallas 24
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.76 – NY Giants, 2.58 – Dallas
AY/P Projected Point Totals: NY Giants 15.58, Dallas 15.30
1. Rare is the game in which a team turns the ball over six times and you still sort of feel they should have won the game…but, on the other hand, rare is the game in which a ball bounces off Gerald Sensabaugh’s buttocks and winds up an interception, so let’s just acknowledge some strange stuff was going on at Cowboys Stadium yesterday. Namely, the Cowboys coming within a Dez Bryant pinkie of making an incredible comeback from a 23-0 deficit and an utterly dogcrap first quarter performance from Tony Romo. Dallas’s performance from the second quarter on was a solid reminder of how well they can play when they don’t have their heads firmly wedged up their derrieres. Unfortunately, they’re the Cowboys and they always have their heads firmly wedged up their derrieres. So they head to undefeated Atlanta now with the knowledge that if they had been just 5% smarter over the course of the game, they would have emerged victorious. In other words, it’s just like every other Cowboys loss.
2. The Giants, on the other hand, were boringly competent as usual, which doesn’t give me a whole lot to write about. This is the one area where the Cowboys have a leg up on the Giants – no matter what they do (usually it’s failing spectacularly), they’re always wildly entertaining and provide a treasure trove of material for internet schlubs such as myself. The Giants are essentially the NFL’s straight man – they play the role of the Mac in those Mac vs. PC Apple commercials and nerdily yet calmly let their PC opponents flail about with misread coverages and hard drive viruses. If Eli Manning ever rolls his eyes and talks about how much simpler and easier it is to use Kevin Gilbride’s playbook in comparison to Jason Garrett’s, the analogy will be complete.
3. Finally, can I get a what-what for recognizing how INCREDIBLY DISCONCERTING Thom Brennaman’s laugh is? He usually only unleashes it once a game, but that’s part of what makes it so terrifying – you never know when it’s going to attack. I’ll just be sitting there, minding my own business, listening to Troy Aikman explain how Tony Romo is somehow a better quarterback than he was when, all of a sudden, it sounds like someone’s shooting a machine gun full of canned douchebag bro laughter. HUHHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUH. Jeez, it makes Butthead sound cerebral by comparison.
Denver 34, New Orleans 14
Adjusted Yards per Play: 7.89 – Denver, 4.12 – New Orleans
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Denver 40.01, New Orleans 17.66
Quick Thought: Denver was the top ranked AFC team in SSLYAR’s Predictive Yards per Play metric last week and they looked the part last night against the Saints. It’s no big surprise Peyton and the offense put 500+ yards up on the Saints’ D – I think Abe Vigoda and Betty White did the same thing in a scrimmage during the Saints’ bye week – but it’s particularly impressive that the Broncos shut down Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense, which has still played very well this year. If Dan Dierdorf were announcing that game, I’M NOT SO SURE he wouldn’t have been singing the Broncos’ praises.
Pittsburgh 27, Washington 12
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.80 – Pittsburgh, 4.83 – Washington
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Pittsburgh 29.63, Washington 19.67
Quick Thought: We all saw the Steelers’ throwbacks yesterday and collectively decided as a nation, within 1.3 seconds, that they were hideous and worthy of being tossed into a nuclear waste facility. Nothing new to add here. What you may not remember is, back in 1994, EVERYBODY was wearing their horrendous throwback jerseys in honor of the NFL’s 75th anniversary. Look at the Bears’ throwbacks. Now the Packers’. And, finally, the Cardinals’. Now you look me in the eye and tell me we haven’t come a long way as a country in 92 years.
Atlanta 30, Philadelphia 17
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.65 – Atlanta, 5.00 – Philadelphia
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Atlanta 32.30, Philadelphia 22.14
Quick Thought: I find it highly unlikely that Nick Foles would be a notable improvement at quarterback over Michael Vick, but when Vick is offering up the knowledge that Andy Reid’s thinking of replacing him and “if that’s the decision Coach wants to make, then I support it”…well, then you gotta get him out of there. It’s one thing if a quarterback is struggling; it’s quite another when a quarterback is struggling and has no confidence. When that happens, you get 2007 Rex Grossman. Make sure you get a reputable realtor, Andy.
New England 45, St. Louis 7
Adjusted Yards per Play: 8.99 – New England, 4.49 – St. Louis
AY/P Projected Point Totals: New England 42.38, St. Louis 18.28
Quick Thought: Judges’ score for Gronk’s first touchdown celebration (a Palace Guard-mimicking strut followed by an emphatic spike): 8.6 out of 10 for a creative, if somewhat rigid, performance. Judges’ score for Gronk’s second touchdown celebration (a perplexing dance involving waving the ball over his head and repeatedly thrusting his pelvis in a circular fashion): 0.0 out of 10 for OH MY GOD GRONK YOU GOTTA PUT THAT THING AWAY NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT I’M GOING TO WASH MY EYES OUT WITH BLEACH NOW.
Detroit 28, Seattle 24
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.16 – Detroit, 6.19 – Seattle
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Detroit 32.12, Seattle 23.88
Quick Thought: The Lions ended up winning thanks to a surprise appearance by Titus Young (Sr.), but I still have to question their defensive play call on Marshawn Lynch’s 77-yard touchdown run. I respect Kyle Vanden Bosch as much as the next guy – actually, what am I saying, I hate that guy’s guts, his red contact lenses are classic HURR I’M TOUGH DURR I’M LIKE A RABID WOLF OUT THERE HURRRRRR tough guy posturing – but if he’s your last man back trying to run down Beast Mode…well, I don’t like them odds.
Chicago 23, Carolina 22
Adjusted Yards per Play: 1.98 – Chicago, 4.49 – Carolina
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Chicago 7.50, Carolina 24.70
Quick Thought: The Panthers need to fire either Ron Rivera or special teams coach Brian Murphy. Or both. But someone has to be held responsible for the INCREDIBLY IDIOTIC kickoff strategy of pooching it 25 yards so the Bears could get the ball at their own 43 every time. That single-handedly kept the Bears in the game in the first three quarters when they were actively attempting to fall behind by four touchdowns. I liked Ron when he was the Bears’ Defensive Coordinator in the middle of last decade, but unfortunately all signs are pointing to him being a TURRIBLE (copyright Charles Barkley) head coach.
Miami 30, NY Jets 9
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.83 – Miami, 3.65 – NY Jets
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Miami 16.14, NY Jets 20.60
Quick Thought: Let the record show that this wasn’t as bad a performance by the Jets as the final score would indicate. They got eight more first downs than the Dolphins, averaged 4.6 yards per play compared to Miami’s 4.0, and were able to get six of their seven punts out of there without a block. Well done! Now, during the bye week, guys, let’s AIM FOR PERFECTION and try to go seven for seven next time.
Green Bay 24, Jacksonville 15
Adjusted Yards per Play: 3.56 – Green Bay, 4.38 – Jacksonville
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Green Bay 16.27, Jacksonville 22.21
Quick Thought: Raise your hand if you had Blaine Gabbert throwing for 117 more yards than Aaron Rodgers yesterday. …*scans crowd quickly, rolls eyes*…Now, Mrs. Gabbert, I realize you want to exude a sense of confidence in your son, but we all heard what you were saying Sunday morning, put that hand back down…
Indianapolis 19, Tennessee 13 (OT)
Adjusted Yards per Play: 6.11 – Indianapolis, 6.41 – Tennessee
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Indianapolis 32.30, Tennessee 25.64
Quick Thought: Is there a more awesome way to score a game-winning touchdown than Vick Ballard’s somersaulting, head-hitting-the-pylon method? Well, in a literal sense, yes. If, let’s say, Arian Foster jumps from his own goal line and soars 100 yards in the air, levitating over the field of play WHILE killing Cloud Nazis that have come to destroy America AND shooting cannonball farts out of his butt…that would probably be more awesome. Until then, Vick Ballard is the leader in the clubhouse.
Cleveland 7, San Diego 6
Adjusted Yards per Play: 4.36 – Cleveland, 3.12 – San Diego
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Cleveland 19.29, San Diego 15.36
Quick Thought: Uhhhhhh….these two teams played, I guess? This was the score on the bottom of the ticker during the early games that you instinctively just skipped over in favor of reaching for another Frito or picking the lint out of your belly button and then you’d look up with a start and say, “Wow, that Browns-Chargers game is really over at 7-6? Glad I didn’t watch that one. BACK TO DEFORESTING MY NAVEL.”
Oakland 26, Kansas City 16
Adjusted Yards per Play: 5.47 – Oakland, 3.03 – Kansas City
AY/P Projected Point Totals: Oakland 24.22, Kansas City 12.77
Quick Thought: And the Brady Quinn Era in Kansas City ends much as we all expected it would. Two of four for one yard. One sack for seven yards lost. One terrible interception. One painful concussion. A Total Quarterback Rating of 1.5. R.I.P. hilariously bad Kansas City quarterbacking. Now we’re back to just bad Kansas City quarterbacking.