The Bengals seem to be a mess. In a game that they really needed to win. I can't say I'm bothered, really. So barring an amazing comeback, I think we're at the end of my first attempt to blog during an entire football Sunday.
I absolutely do not understand anymore what is an okay hit and what isn't in the NFL. You can't hit a defenseless receiver. You can't hit a receiver at the shoulders or above. You can barely touch a quarterback. But on that punt return for a touchdown, the Bengals punter got destroyed (to say nothing of some brutal looking blocks)...and that's okay.
Football is a violent sport. It is. There is no changing that without changing the game. But at some point we have to have less confusion.
Tonight's game seems to be getting out of hand. Of course the GB/DAL game was threatening to get out of hand and we saw how that ended. I'd love to have some kind of dog in this fight, but I care so very little about the AFC North, that I can't seem to get excited. The Bengals are nice and all, but they have been somewhat inconsistent (though it's not as if that's a singular sin in the AFC--the conference can perhaps most generously be described as "inconsistent"). The Steelers I don't like. I can't say I like the Ravens, either (no, the Super Bowl has not been forgiven). And of course the Browns are a mess. So, not excited tonight. Game is still on. Blog is still here. Two things are threatening...a little more work on the follow-up to The Loyalty of Pawns or a little more reading of Amy Greenburg's A Wicked War.
Of all the weeks...
My usual sports bar does a holiday party every year when they close early. Naturally that happened today and I missed what looked like great finishes to GB/DAL and NO/STL. Getting details now.
This was the first time I've tried something like this (an all day live blog that's reactionary to outside circumstances--to say nothing of my usual uncensored blather). I think I will keep working on it. It's a great way to write on a day I normally don't. Yes, I don't write on Sundays in football season because I'm that obsessive.
More in a bit. Getting settled for a game I care almost nothing about: CIN/PIT. By almost nothing, that is to say that I never, ever root for any team Ben Roethlisburger is on.
Packer interception overturned. Which is good. The refs applied the same standard to the Packers that they apply to Calvin Johnson. It's only fair. Though a slightly inebriated Packers fan down the bar from me would disagree.
Panthers rebound from loss in New Orleans by eviscerating the Jets.
Saints build on momentum from win at home by showing how incompetent they are on the road.
I love football.
Occasionally my bar has internet catastrophes. So I was absent a bit. The Saints are flopping around like a suffocating fish. Drew Brees has been a turnover machine. And they just barely avoided a safety in multiple ways. I really should have a picture of an out-of-water fish for these circumstances.
In other news, the Raiders are trying in vain to make the game with the Chiefs interesting. My Chargers fan buddy is busy antagonizing the Raiders fans. Because why not.
And I'm on what is the last Black Robusto of the day. I will miss this beer. A home supply may be necessary.
A home field advantage is great. But in the case of the Saints, I think it's also very deceptive. New Orleans is vastly inconsistent on the road as compared to their home performance. The other teams that enjoy overwhelming home advantage (Seattle, New England) are less dominating on the road but don't tend to get eviscerated as the Saints are wont to do. The Saints still have much to play for having not even wrapped up their division (and with the Panthers hot on their heels). Their is a certain swagger the Saints have--at least in my eyes, and I think it's clear that I'm biased. But very often they don't quite live up to their own hype--hype that I think they and Sean Payton believe.
Spent the last few minutes trying to think up a disastrous Niners draft pick with someone. Fortunately, we draft skill positions high not too often. And that sentence makes no sense. But it limits busts. During that time, St. Louis scored again. 24-3 Rams.
The only surprise I'm seeing so far in the late games is the Rams beating up on New Orleans--by the way, there was just a great sack on Brees. Dallas is managing to beat Green Bay, but not very convincingly yet. I stand by my NFC Least "who wants to lose the division least in January" theory. The Chiefs are pretty well demolishing the Raiders. If I had been smart, I would have brought one of my old school Mead composition books and worked on The Loyalty of Pawns follow-up. Wrote a bit last night at home--which in and of itself is unusual because I typically accomplish very little at home. There's not enough commotion.
Rams driving again. After the New Orleans points, the Rams need to find their way to another score and keep the momentum going. So far so good in the start.
Jeff Fisher, whose cojones are of mythic renown, dials up an onside kick in the first quarter after already going up 14-0 on the Saints. And it works.
All that wasted effort...Brees throws an interception on the STL goal line. The Football Gods are making me smile. At least for the moment.
Meanwhile...nothing of consequence is happening.
Raiders score a TD on the 7th and goal. My sports bar is in the east bay, so I'm surrounded by Raider fans. What they lack in optimism they make up for in enthusiasm. Mostly they're decent people here, though, so their exuberance is tolerable. Which is not always the case with some teams' fans.
Saving Mr. Banks trailer. I'm intrigued by that movie. And certainly Tom Hanks in the lead role is a big help. It might warrant a viewing.
And the Saints get a personal foul. What a shock. I should apologize to readers who may be Saints fans. I am somewhat biased--a little more so even than against the Seahawks. And as Niners fan, that in itself is a near impossibility.
Oakland game already appears to be over. I would love to see the Rams upset New Orleans. It doesn't really affect anything beyond my general loathing of that team. I'm also personally tired of the sports media storyline regarding Sean Payton triumphantly leading New Orleans back to being good. In a sport that claims to be very concerned with player safety (and a media that likes to parrot that idea), it seems incompatible to lament the suspension of a head coach whose defense was paying bounties with the goal of injuring other players. And then lying about it when the league catches you. End of rant.
And St. Louis scores on a turnover. I am momentarily happy.
I think blogging the afternoon is going to take some effort. NYJ/CAR? KC/OAK? Ugh. GB/DAL is mildly interesting because the NFC Least is still up for grabs. Of course, Matt Flynn is playing for Green Bay, so I don't expect much. I'll put the brain in overdrive, have another beer, and see what happens.
Closing moments of the SEA/NYG game. I had no idea Curtis Painter was still a QB in the NFL. That revelation alone should be its own blog post. It is hilarious yet simultaneously sublime.
I love Eric Reid. Our secondary made a huge leap just getting him on the field.
Back to Curtis Painter...he is throwing less interceptions in this game that Eli Manning. Quarterback controversy? At this point, anything that makes the Giants entertaining for the last two weeks is fine by me.
Niners win. Not sure if it's as commanding a victory as I'd wanted, but it was a perfectly acceptable victory.
41-30 Minnesota over Philadelphia. Matt Cassel, ladies and gentlemen. Please hold your applause (and stunned gasps) for the end of the game.
The Falcons notch up another win. But it's against the Redskins so it's as close to a forfeit victory as you can get in the NFL.
And the Browns won't pull it off. The Lions, in great position when Cutler and Rodgers went out with injuries, may not get into the playoffs. That team exasperates me. And they are only my secondary team. I can't imagine how my friend deals with being a lifelong fan.
Tannehill can do nothing but watch. Will Brady & the Refs (my new band) do it again? No flag after Patriot begging. Time for One Down to Rule Them All. Miami takes a timeout. Which I think, in my armchair quarterbacking position (we'll set aside that my stool has no arms), that the timeout benefits New England.
Brady pick in the endzone make me very happy. It makes my Chargers fan bar buddy much less happy. I like a good Tom Brady fail, though.
Dolphins go up 4 with 75 seconds to go. Brady Bailout incoming. I have no doubt. Time to watch that game. I have so little confidence in Miami pulling this off.
Cleveland is taking a perfectly winnable game and ruining it.
My myriad football desires are not working out at the moment.
Niners go up 3 more. I wanted a bloodbath, and it hasn't been. I suppose I can chalk my disappointment up to flawed human greed. But that doesn't make me feel any better.
Forte with the big run as the Bears seek to take a lead for the first time this game. I am not amused. But, having adopted the Lions, I am used to this.
Razzle dazzle on the kickoff return fails in stupendous fashion in Tampa. You should probably not script a handoff on the kickoff inside your own 10. There was slippage, droppage, and 49er touchdownage. I'll take that to satisfy my greed.
:35 to go in Miami. Brady needs a touchdown. I'm assuming it will happen--it's just a matter of how they'll do that today.
Bears in the lead. Not happy. C'mon Football Gods.
I do not know what Crabtree was thinking throwing the ball into the stands. The Bucs are back in this with momentum, and you're going to hobble our drive out of frustration. No need for that.
The Eagles are putting some points up and making my badmouthing of the NFC Least seem silly. Well, not really. They're still fighting an uphill battle against Matt Cassell. Think on that for just a moment. Matt Cassell.
And Kaepernick with a great pass as he scrambles. Crabtree decides not to throw the ball into the stands after the play. All are happy.
I think it's an all Black Robusto day here at the sports bar. Got a victory shot for the Chargers fan in honor of Thursday's upset. Still can't believe I missed that. I need to exercise more control over my schedule so as not to not miss any football next year.
The Eagles/Vikings game is on a TV behind me so I'm only periodically looking at the score. 27-16 Vikings? Ridiculous. No one wants to win the NFC Least. That much is obvious. I think in the end it's going to come down to who is more motivated to spend January on the couch.
Russell Wilson throws an interception. It affects the game not at all because Eli will probably cough it right back up. But anytime Wilson screws up, my 49er fan card demands I point it out.
The Browns score off a fumble return. Someone with ambition should assemble a Bears "highlight" reel choreographed to Benny Hill music.
Cruz just got thrown down like a sack of potatoes. Ow.
I don't think I can get enough of the James Earl Jones/Malcolm McDowell Sprint commercials. They lend a special gravitas to the infinities of ordinary nonsense that social media consists of. I'm not sure if all the good commercials happen during football season or if I just watch so little live television outside football that I never see good commercials the rest of the year.
The Dolphins have tied it up, and we're nearing the fourth quarter. You know the refs are planning out their Brady bailouts. No doubt they have a few go-to options depending on the situation.
Boldin with crazy one-hand "I swear I don't have stickum on my glove" catch. The passing game is looking a lot better with a full complement of receivers. And how Gore dances down a sideline as well as he does I will never know.
James with the great run to start off the second half. But as much as I enjoy watching the Niners, my game is clearly not destined to be interesting for the rest of the morning. But there were just circus times in Tampa.
Getting more caught up in the Bears/Browns game. I think the audience consists of me and twelve people in the stadium. I never understand when I hear how Cleveland is supposed to be this big football city and they love their Browns and....they're never at the games. I understand the Browns have been perpetually bad as long as they've existed in this incarnation, but have a little faith in your team. It's not like Qualcom in San Deigo where you could go to the game...or to a beach 8 months out of the year. Though it's pretty damn cold in Cleveland right now, so I suppose that's a valid excuse. Still...if you're gonna be a great football city...go to a game once in a while.
There are two morning games on that aren't on in the main bar area. But since one is Texans/Colts and the other is Jaguars/Bills, I can be forgiven for having completely forgotten about them.
Just saw the pick 6 that gave Cleveland their touchdown. It's so nice to see Jay Cutler back in the lineup.
The fun of doing blog entries right now is, as a friend pointed out, the number of bots I can entertain via Twitter. I'm happy to do my part. I figure if I can fill those bots with enough minutia, I will keep them from ever evolving into a fully functional SkyNet. Or I'll hasten their advancement to sentience. It's a 50/50 proposition.
We're at halftime. I need more excitement in my early games. And no, the defenseless scorefest in Atlanta doesn't qualify.
Bears tie. Again. I am sad. Again.
The Giants are getting some halfway decent pressure on Wilson, but they can stop the Seahawks offense completely, and they can't score points. So really it's just a lot of wasted effort.
And it's not going to be a shutout. Stupid Vincent Jackson. My Chargers fan bar buddy is not exactly thrilled by ex-Charger Vincent Jackson's success. But then the glory of being a Chargers fan is having so many good ex-players to be happy for.
Really want Coughlin to take Eli aside after these interceptions and say, "Now go sit in your room and think about what you've done."
AMAZING TD reception by Vernon Davis...as he then runs headfirst into the wall. Ow. But...one must make sacrifices for the greater good. And a hell of a throw from Kaepernick. It's nice when we have an offense that is working.
Watching some snowplow follies on the Giants game--the prep work to clear the field. The Benny Hill Music ran through my head, and all I could think of was: "They're going to play a Super Bowl in this?" The amount of alcohol lubrication to keep fans numb enough to stay in those seats will be staggering. Someone should run a comparative analysis between this Super Bowl and previous Super Bowls.
Secret Life of Walter Mitty trailer. I am intrigued by that movie, so much so that I may overcome my general indifference to Ben Stiller and go see it.
The extra weapon for the Niners that is Michael Crabtree cannot be overstated. Especially not with as often as Kaepernick threw to him last year.
Can't say I am a fan of Peter O'Toole, but he always had unparalleled presence when I saw him on screen. RIP.
A Niners FG. It really should have been a TD what with expectations of crushing the Bucs. But I'll take what I can get.
Cleveland with the lead again as Gould kicks. And Gould is good except for a holding call. So the Bears have to punt. And life continues to be good for Lions fans everywhere.
Also, Seattle cored again and it's 10-0. Giants can't end the season fast enough.
Eli's second pick. I'm imagining Giants fans banging their heads on bars and chanting for the backup. Who is the backup? I have a hard time believing he could be worse.
Glennon falls down goes boom. I know the Bucs have been playing with a little more pepper in their gumbo (or whatever food metaphor is appropriate in Tampa), but I was kind of hoping for a mauling so we get on a rolling finish for the season.
I've got a bar buddy who's a Chargers fan. After the amazing upset Thursday (which I completely missed and can't believe I did), he has legitimate reason to hope for playoffs. So he's rooting for the Patriots because he needs the Dolphins knocked down a peg. I'm tolerating his Patriot cheering (mainly because I think they'll win anyway. But I am glad he's being quiet about it.
Just saw a graphic detailing the salary of players on injured reserve for New England. $25M on injured reserve would be a problem for teams in good division. Fortunately the Pats have no issues.
Atlanta leading Washington 14-7 in the "Who Ever Heard of Defense Bowl."
Eli Manning throws yet another interception. I think the "What's wrong with Eli?" meme is a perfectly reasonable one given the extent to which the Giants are failing at every level.
The Drake's Black Robusto has passed muster. Dark as night with heavy roast coffee and chocolate overtones and just enough hops to liven it up on the finish. And perfectly acceptable when the interior temperature is in the 40s.
First quarter is over in Tampa. Niners up 7. Which really doesn't seem like enough.
And the Pillsbury Doughboy Geico commercial never fails to make me smile.
Tom Coughlin with the flag drop on the challenge. I like a challenge flag that gets a little elevation and distance. Though it is the perfect metaphor for his floundering team this season: no energy, no effort. One of the three great collapses of this NFL season. At first I found it funny, but it has since moved to sad and pathetic to the point where polite people don't discuss it.
My sports bar does not seem to be a fan of central heating. This is a problem every winter, and it makes beer consumption difficult what with the beer being ice cold. That will not stop me from sampling the Drake's Black Robusto Porter.
Bears tied. I'm sad.
Cleveland up on the Bears makes me happy. I have a best friend who's a Lions fan so I like to ride that bandwagon any time it doesn't conflict with the Niners. Most seasons the bandwagon doesn't go too far, but this year there could be playoffs! Go Browns!
Looked over and saw this week's contest of mediocrity: Redskins at Falcons. Not a lot of viewing energy focused on that one this week.
How did I know the Bears gad Cutler back? The Browns picked one off in the endzone.
It's still early in the game, but I'm wondering if teh refs have game-planned how they can get the Patriots out of trouble this week. Y'know...just in case. After last week's pretty blatant pro-Patriots blown call, they'll have to be more subtle this week.
Crabtree with a TD. Great to have him back. The only hope for the playoffs is that his presence opens up our passing games.
Niners get a delay of game after calling a first quarter timeout. There are times when our offense, before it can even get to being underwhelming, is just flat out disorganized. But then Kaepernick run for first down andwe can forgive him.
Seattle scores a FG against the Giants. I'm kind of surprised the Giants aren't down by 35 yet--Seattle having only one possession not withstanding. One of the servers at my weekly sports bar, Raiders fan, likes to wear a Seattle Marshawn Lynch jersey any time it can best aggravate the Niners fans in the house. Apparently neither our game now Seattle has aggravation potential because he's in Raiders' black.