Posts Tagged ‘cincinnati bengals’

Unabated to the QB, Week 10: What was Bill Belichick Thinking?

“I recognized no equals. I always considered myself more intelligent than everyone else, as I’ve told you, but also more sensitive and more skillful, a crack shot, an incomparable driver, a better lover.”

—Albert Camus, The Fall

Truth be told, I didn’t watch the Sunday Night game between the Patriots and Colts; I had “better things to do.” Now I kind of wished I had watched it, being that it was only the best game of this regular season and included one of the most stunning coaching decisions in NFL history.

Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 from his own 28 was no doubt surprising, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t rational, like any proper blindsiding from Survivor. Perhaps even more surprising has been the aftermath of the decision, where close to (if not) a majority of sportswriters have supported the decision. Joe Posnanski was behind it (obvs…if he weren’t, I wouldn’t be), citing The New York Times’s statistics. Three of the four guys on Around the Horn liked it, and the one who didn’t was Jay Mariotti, who defended his position by telling the others, “You’re idiots.” Most people in this Fanhouse roundtable supported it, too. Even Gregg Easterbrook defended it, but I don’t really count him as a sportswriter.

Of course, not everyone was behind the call. David Fleming at ESPN—who I had never heard of before—called it “uncharacteristically panicky,” a notion that seems to be rebutted by Charlie Weis saying it was likely planned. Mike Francesa thought it was moronic. And Rodney Harrison called it the dumbest decision Belichick had ever made, which I thought was ignorant of perspective.*

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Unabated to the QB, Week 9: The Halftime Report

Every time it seems to me that I’ve grasped the deep meaning of the world, it is its simplicity that always overwhelms me…. Everything simple is beyond us. What is blue, and how do we think “blue”?

—Albert Camus

Three seasons ago, the NFL peaked in terms of its own scheduling. Every team had enjoyed its bye week by Week 9 (hehe), meaning that there was a distinct midway point of the season by which everyone had played eight games.

The NFL, for some unknown reason, tinkered with its bye scheduling in the subsequent years, pushing some byes back later in the schedule. Thus, this year, while 30 of the 32 teams have already had their bye and have played eight games and can be totally compared at a kind of midway point, the Giants and Texans are 5-4 heading into their byes.

This does not, however, mean that we can’t still consider this halftime of the 2009 NFL season and the perfect time to look back at what I thought was going to happen, and what subsequently did not happen. We’ll hand out awards amidst some “Pats on the Back” and several “Yeah, about that…”s.

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Unabated to the QB, Week 5: How Bad Is JaMarcus Russell?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

—Albert Einstein

It’s difficult to pinpoint who in Oakland fits Einstein’s definition of insanity the best: Al Davis, for continuing to run the Raiders into the ground; Tom Cable, for continuing to run JaMarcus Russell out under center every week; or Russell himself, for continuing to forget that defenders possess the ability to knock the ball out of his hands and force what is colloquially known as a fumble.

Seeing Russell play on Sunday was one of those things you could never prepare for. You know, I had heard that JaMarcus Russell was a really bad quarterback—easily the worst in the NFL. I had heard that Russell routinely missed open receivers and didn’t have a pocket presence. But I had seen plenty of bad quarterbacks in my time. I lived through Dave Brown and Danny Kanell and Kent Graham and Jesse Palmer and a young Eli Manning. I’d looked across the way at Browning Nagle and Glenn Foley and Rick Mirer for the Jets.

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NFL Preview Bonanza: AFC North

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Last Season: 12-4

This Season: 11-5, AFC #4

The defending Super Bowl champs will suffer a little from the Super Bowl hangover, but not quite to the extent they did when they missed the playoffs three years ago. It’ll be interesting to see if Santonio Holmes uses his incredible performance in Super Bowl XLIII as a springboard to greater things, or if he Deion Branches it from here on out. The defense is still the best in the league, and Rashard Mendenhall will provide needed depth in the backfield.

Tim’s favorite player in Steeler history is…: Lynn Swann’s graceful game may have complemented his name better than any other player in NFL history.

You know who might be underrated: Kordell Stewart kind of grew into a laughingstock later in his career, but the guy did lead his team to two AFC title games as a starter, was a huge part (perhaps illegally) of the AFC Champion squad in 1995, and in a way set the stage for the running quarterbacks and Wildcat packages we see today. I’m not saying he was great, but he wasn’t as bad as most people remember. Plus, he did this.

Remember when Tommy Maddox was quarterback of the Steelers? Me neither.

A Great and Recent Steeler Game: The aforementioned 1995 AFC Championship is the second-best AFC title game of the last 15 years. Kudos to Dick Enberg’s “Not just the work of a week or a season, but the dreams of a lifetime on the line right here.”

If the Steelers were a work of American literature, they would be: Moby Dick. Good, but pretty boring.

Did you know? The Steelers’ logo only appears on one side of their helmet! Crazy!

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