Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ultimate Explosion!! Week Six in Review

Everyone can't stop writing about it... and neither can I.

I have NEVER been as sick/upset after a game between two teams I don't have much of an emotional attachment to than after last night's debacle. I can't even fathom what it's like to be a Cardinals fan right now... when Colin and I go watch the Hawks play there in December I think we'll try and pass out group hugs to as many fans as possible. Bring a sign that says, "I know it's hard, but we care". How on earth do you lose that game? A game where the opposing offense scores a grand total of zero touchdowns in coming back from a 20 point halftime deficit. A game where the opposing quarterback is responsible for SIX turnovers, a boggling total? Where even after all the pain, a rookie quarterback executes the two minute drill to perfection against the best defense in the NFL to give last year's Pro Bowl kicker the chance to win the game with a chip shot field goal.

First note here... to all the complainers who believe the Cardinals should have gone for the jugular or farther down the field, remember, you are going against the Bears... with the worst offensive line in the league. You don't want to throw a pick, you don't want to have a sack take you farther out of range... so you run the ball, and that apparently was a bad move all night.

I'm moderately irritated at some commentators who only now are really on the "Cardinals have a terrible offensive line" bandwagon that Colin and I have been preaching since, I don't know, the beginning of LAST SEASON. They overlook it while picking them to win the NFC West last year, overlook it while predicting them to be a big dark horse this year, and only after Edgerrin James has the worst yards per carry average in the history of the game for the number of carries he had does the lightbulb come on.

I think I'm decently pleased to be moving on if I'm the fired Cardinals offensive coordinator. He was making some smart play calls (well, not at the end, but more on that later). After getting the turnovers in the first half, he was trying to not put the entire game on Leinart, opening him up to a Chicago blitz by running the ball on first down. Unfortunately, that was only netting about, say, one yard, which meant second-and-nine, third-and-nine. At the end of the day that meant field goals and an opportunity for the Bears to recover. Now, at the end of the game, the coordinator started calling all these passes since the run game was apparently going nowhere, and lost about four minutes because of the incompletions. I'd have understood the play selection more if the Chicago offense wasn't playing so terribly themselves. At that point you have to simply run out the clock.

Speaking of Chicago, I think they got exposed a bit (and yes, I understand it's only one game). Rex Grossman is a young quarterback and can get erratic, can force balls if you play smart and don't allow them to haul off and throw the deep ball. The running game still isn't good, and if you get to Grossman he'll turn it over, and look as bad as he did in the preseason. As for the defense, it's not impressive they allowed a one dimensional attack to look that good during those opening drives, or on the two minute drill. You get decent blocking and receivers will find holes. It's true against any defense. All in all, I continue to avoid picking the Bears as the "team of destiny". Are they the best team in the NFL right now? Yes. Will they win the Super Bowl? Probably not... very rarely does the team playing the best in September-October become the team playing the best in January (see the Minnesota Vikings/Kansas City Chiefs/Indianapolis Colts for more information). At this point I'm probably more concerned about the Giants than the Bears... a revitalized defensive effort coupled with a more consistent effort from Eli Manning is bad news for the rest of the league.

Oh yeah... the picks. The Scientific Method finally stumbled some this week.

Week Six Results:
Scientific Method: 6-7
Petey Prisco: 9-4
Bill Simmons: 8-5

Season Standings:
Scientific Method: 60-27
Petey Prisco: 56-31
Bill Simmons: 49-38

What in the World Were They Smoking?

Colin is allowing Prisco to creep dangerously close to that pole position, even if he was the only one to accurately predict that insanely cool Seahawks win (more on that later). How did Colin sink so low? Basically, by playing it safe in a week that had quite a few upsets... and being a moron and picking San Francisco over San Diego. I think he got confused which team had LaDainian Tomlinson (hint: it's San Diego). Colin also has a thing for the 49ers, considering that he's picked them to win the past three weeks (he would have them be 3-3 overall). I'm not sure why he thinks so highly of the 49ers, it's more than likely that we've found the secret "scientific formula", involving monkey feces and a dartboard. He also has a man-crush on Alex Smith.

Oh yeah... Bill Simmons also picked the Niners to win.

Anyways, beyond that, Colin didn't forsee the Lions actually holding on for their first win, or the Bucs capitalizing on the worst "roughing the passer" penalty in the history of the universe to win their first game, or the Ravens choking away a win against the Panthers. So I'll let him off with a warning... his bad week was related to one of the most entertaining weeks of football in recent memory.

To go through this better...

New Orleans 27, Philadelphia 24

The Saints jumped out to a big lead by basically forcing Donovan McNabb to throw short to bad receivers and stuffing the run. You'd think more people would have figured this out about the Eagles yet, but they're too busy anointing McNabb "savior of all things decent and good". The Eagles sure get lucky with their big plays, that run after the catch by Reggie Brown was a thing of beauty, sure, but he also should have been tackled thirty yards short of the goal line. It was vaguely reminiscent of the Hank Baskett catch against Dallas the week previous. In other words, the Eagles have offensive problems which are not being given the proper attention because of a few big plays each week. As for the Saints, I'd love to say I picked this, but at the least I'll note that in my preview of New Orleans I gave a lot of love to the offense, which had a lot of reason for optimism. What I didn't see was a defense that would give the offense multiple opportunities to win games. Also, I need to give love to Sean Payton for gutsy play calling on that 8 minute drive. It was a team-defining drive, and team-defining win.

Carolina 23, Baltimore 21

Here's what kills me about the Panthers and Steve Smith. Each week people talk about how dangerous Smith it, how he carries the Panther offensive attack, how the team is nothing without him... and then they game plan to basically let him do whatever he wants. Carolina had success with the three wide receiver formation because (for starters, Drew Carter is a darn good receiver) the Ravens stuck with their base formation and didn't bring in a third corner. Why exactly does one do that? I don't care how incredible Ed Reed is, he shouldn't be chasing Steve Smith across the field while he heads for the end zone. Of course the Ravens were also the beneficiaries of two incredibly lucky touchdowns. I don't know if we'll ever see something like that again, but give credit to Mark Clayton, who didn't give up on either of the plays and rewarded his effort with two touchdowns.

NY Giants 27, Atlanta 14

Here's a shocker... Atlanta passed instead of ran, coughed up a huge lead and lost. Maybe... just maybe... Michael Vick isn't a good quarterback. Look, this whole "option thing" is all shiny and pretty, but it is not going to be effective for a full season against NFL linebackers. They are too good and too fast. Until Vick is able to move the ball down the field through the air he will never be a Pro Bowl quarterback in my book. Congrats to the Giants for actually playing smart defense, perhaps more teams will follow their handbook finally.

Tennessee 25, Washington 22

Here's what I don't understand about the Redskins... the defense. I don't think Mark Brunell is answering the questions about the new offense and his future with the team if that defense was actually forcing people off the field. Rookie quarterback on the road against what should have been a top five unit? Final score should have been 22-10. Instead the Redskins allowed too many third down conversions and, as has been the case for much of the year, couldn't stop the run. If they miss the playoffs it will be on their heads. Still, congrats to Vince Young and the Titans. Young did make some nice throws, and I will say again (as I said after the Rose Bowl) that I think he has a chance to be a legitimate NFL QB, more so than Vick.

Tampa Bay 14, Cincinnati 13

Yes, the "roughing the passer" penalty was terrible, first time I'd seen that called ON THE TACKLE, but how on earth does that Bengal offense only put up 13 points anyways? I was tracking my fantasy team that contains Rudi Johnson and I had to check the box score a couple of times to make sure they were still getting the live feed because I wasn't getting any points from him. You have Rudi, Chad Johnson, that Houshmandzadeh guy... put up 20 points a game easy and this game isn't a second loss. The Bengals had a prime chance to get a stranglehold on what looks to be an extremely competitive AFC North race, and completely failed. I would be very disappointed in the overall effort if I was a Bengals fan, not just that penalty.

Seattle 30, St Louis 28

Like I was going to avoid saying anything here.

1. Our defense finally got a pass rush to Bulger, who is very very bad under pressure.
2. The Rams quit calling pass plays downfield (perhaps because of said pressure). I remember a third down play where the ball hit Tory Holt in the hands and he dropped it, but was five yards short of a first down anyways and running sideways. Short pass plays is also our defense's bread and butter to defend against.
3. I was very confident that Josh Brown would hit that field goal.
4. I'm still in inner pandemonium.

Well, this was a different way of doing this write-up, but there were too many great games to avoid going through some individually. I like the NFL a lot.

Oh... and I'm supposed to apologize to Oregon State fans everywhere for saying their team "sucks" before they played a Washington team apparently bent on proving me wrong. So, sorry. I mean it. Really.

posted by Gavin @ 2:02 PM  4 comments


At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are we agreed that the Bears could just as easily be 4-2 right now if it weren't for Monday night and the Vikings fumbling the ball away late in the game?

At 11:10 AM, Blogger nach said...

Agreed. There're definately chinks in the Bears' defensive armor: a skilled quarterback with time can pick it apart. It's just that no one has withstood the intensity for the whole game yet. The Bears may well have the NFL's best record this season, and they are the season's best team so far, but they're not going to give up 6 turnovers and win the superbowl.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger nach said...

Agreed. There're definately chinks in the Bears' defensive armor: a skilled quarterback with time can pick it apart. It's just that no one has withstood the intensity for the whole game yet. The Bears may well have the NFL's best record this season, and they are the season's best team so far, but they're not going to give up 6 turnovers and win the superbowl.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Hillary said...

As an Oregon State fan, I want to say thank you for admitting that you were wrong. Apology accepted.


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