Greetings, fellow Gridiron Gluttons!
Welcome to the Touchdown Clown’s Week 1 NFL Recap!
Cheaters Never Wi- Oh wait… yes… yes, they do.
Let’s “kick” this off (Ha! That will never not be funny!) with a look at the Thursday night game. You may recall that we talked about the Brady Deflategate suspension appeal in my season preview article. It was a segment in which I courageously resisted the temptation of the “Obvious Joke”. Shortly after that article, the court overturned the NFL’s suspension. Brady would go on to lead the Patriots to a 28-21 victory over the Steelers on Thursday.
I thought about writing a quick update at the time of the court decision, in which I would poke fun at Roger Goodell’s shameful win/loss record with recent suspension appeals (He’s lost the last 4). I had this whole idea about suggesting silly suspensions for Goodell that would be easy to enforce, thereby bolstering his win ratio. You know… things like, giving Eli Manning a 5 minute suspension every time he makes that god awful “whiny face.” Or giving Jay Cutler a 10 minute suspension every time he stares at his own feet like a sullen emo teenager.
So I thought about writing all that… but then ESPN went and published an exposé on Belichick’s long history of “rule bending.” And holy shit, you guys, Billy B is one cunning mofo.
1) The whole Spygate back in ’07 was way a more complex and developed scheme than I’d originally thought. They’d been doing it for like seven years, and had a whole room full of tapes and files on the other teams’ call signals. They’d tell young assistants and interns to pretend they were with “NFL Films” or some other entity if someone asked them why they were filming.
2) They would send assistants into the opposing team’s locker room to try and steal play call sheets. Sometimes they would send their minions to the hotel where the visiting team was staying to look for errant scouting reports.
3) They would (and apparently still do, according to Steelers coach, Mike Tomlin) jam the signal between the opposing team’s headset radios and the quarterback.
4) And of course, there’s the whole deflated balls thing we’ve waaaaaaay too much about lately.
After reading the article, I can’t decide whether I’m more impressed at the sheer creativity that went into coming up with these schemes…. or I’m more disappointed at how boring they are. I mean, c’mon! If you’re going to put this much effort into gaining an unfair advantage, at least do something a little more interesting… like slipping laxatives in the opponent’s Gatorade.
First is the Worst! Second is the Best!
Back on April 30th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Florida State QB, Jameis Winston, as the first overall pick in the draft. The Tennessee Titans would follow them, taking Oregon QB, Marcus Mariota, with the second pick. At the time, it was one of the more hotly contested issues. No one was questioning Winston’s raw talent, but rather they wondered if his track record of “off the field issues” (also know as “acting like a complete jackass”) would limit him at the professional level. The flip side to that discussion was that Mariota was a hard worker and would likely be a good NFL player someday… but could he be a great one?
Well, the gods of fate threw us shlubby foozeball fans a bone. It just so happened that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans were scheduled to play each other in Week 1. Surely, this match-up would be a passer’s duel between two future NFL stars.
When the game clock finally hit 00:00 and the turf dust settled, the combined stats of the two rookie quarterbacks were:
419 passing yards, 64.9% completion percentage, 6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.
Pretty impressive… that is until you break it out individually. Mariota’s completion percentage was 81.3%. Winston’s was 48.5%. Mariota threw four 4 touchdowns. Winston threw for two. Mariota threw zero interceptions. Winston threw 2. Oh! and Mariota didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. He was pulled because the game was essentially over. The Titans stomped the Buccaneers 42-17.
With that performance, Mariota became just the second player in NFL history to throw at least 4 touchdown passes in his first NFL game. And as for Winston? Well, he also made NFL history… he had the distinct honor of being the first quarterback to throw a “pick-six” on his first NFL pass attempt. It couldn’t have happened to a more fitting person. Someone should get the guy a special trophy… one that fits in with his interests, talents, and achievements…
Enjoy it, Jameis. You totally deserve it.
Drama in the Big D (giggle giggle *penis joke* giggle)
The most dramatic game of Week 1 was arguably the Giants/Cowboys match up; with the Cowboys snatching a last minute 27-26 victory. Here’s a recap of the final few series:
The Cowboys scored with 5:08 left in the game, bringing the score to 23-20 (Giants with the lead). So, all the Giants would have to do is burn clock, gain a maybe two first downs, and the game would be theirs.
Fast forward to 4:20 left. The game clock is running, and the Giants have a full 40 seconds of play clock. Rather than let it wind down as much as possible, Eli snaps the ball with a full 18 seconds to spare. The next three plays would be a first down catch by Odell Beckham Jr. then a 27 yard run by Jennings, then another 7 yard run by Jennings prompting the Cowboys to take their first timeout. We’re now at 2:25 left on the game clock. The first play after the timeout would be another Jennings run, resulting in a third and 1 situation. The Cowboys would likely need to burn another timeout, however one of their D Linemen decided it would be a great idea to slap a Giants’ O Linemen in the helmet. He was called for a personal foul, and the Giants now had the ball on the Cowboys’ 16 yard line with only 2:17 left on the clock (not to mention a 3 point lead).
First down would see Giants RB, Andre Williams, rush for no gain. It’s not good, but shouldn’t have been terrible, because the clock would still be running (presumably forcing the Cowboys to use a timeout)… or at least it would have if the Giants hadn’t lined up in an illegal formation. The Cowboys declined the penalty, but the clock was still stopped, so they didn’t have to use a timeout.
Second down would see a 4 yard loss for the Giants. Now we’re at the two minute warning.
Third down would see Odell Beckham make a fantastic catch for a 16 yard gain, give the Giants first and goal at the 4 yard line! They should have this in the bag.
First down would see a 2 yard gain from Jennings.
Second down would see another 1 yard gain. The Cowboys were finally forced to burn their last timeout.
Third down would see Eli drop back for a PASS… scramble around for a bit, and rather than take the sack so as to keep the clock running (a clock the Cowboys now had no way of stopping) Eli opted to throw the ball away… which
The Giants would have to settle for a field goal.
Tony Romo would then promptly march the Cowboys right down the field in a drive that would culminate with a touchdown bringing the the score to 27-26.
There were many poor decisions made on the Giants side of the ball… one in particular that stands out is running back, Rashad Jennings, telling reporters that Eli instructed him NOT to score on the first and goal from the 4 yard line. Eli had apparently miscounted how many timeouts the Cowboys had left…. couple that with his decision to throw the ball away on third own, and he essentially blew the game.
Stick to what you’re good at Eli, which is throwing the ball. Stop trying to coach the offense. You ain’t your big bro. And why we’re on the subject of you acting like something you’re not… stop using contrived commercials to try and convince us you could ever be considered suave…
“Hi. I’m ‘terrible-end-of-game-decision-maker Eli Manning’ and I have blah-blah-TV.”
Alright, I’ve had about enough of you mouth-breathing fopdoodles.
Check back next week for more of my beautifully orchestrated prose.
Pat “Rambling Waffle” Edwards