I had something else written here. Honestly, I did. I wrote about how we should relax with the whole replacement referee situation and let them do their jobs. I wrote about how hard their jobs are and how terribly underprepared and overwhelmed they are. I wrote about these things, and I meant them. I thought that we should lighten up.
I was wrong.
The refs are still the story of the NFL. They are butchering the league. I don’t have to remind anybody reading this about the abortion that occurred at the end of Monday’s Green Bay/Seattle game. Obviously the worst call in recent memory, the refs stole a game from the Packers. All was fair with the scabs until they literally cost a team a game. They did this, on Monday, on the biggest stage of the week. Monday Night Football is the time when all sides have to be at their best. Both teams, the video crew, the announcers, and the refs all have to not mess up. Ever. Unfortunately, what happened Monday night was a mess. The pride of the league as a whole has to be wounded. There is nothing redeeming about what happened in this game. All the league has done for the last decade has been to defend themselves, but they can’t in this instance. They can’t because it’s impossible. It’s impossible because the refs blew it. The refs blew it because they are incompetent. They are incompetent because they are not really NFL refs, they belong in college at best.
They should be better than this. They have 3 regular season under their belt as well as 4 weeks of preseason games. That is seven weeks of referee work that these people have had to learn how to do their job. If you can’t learn your job is seven weeks, in a normal life, you lose your job. These refs need to get fired, because if this were a real job, they would have by now. They are pathetic and have caused a fiasco that has melted the internet.
So without further ado (#fancywords) All the games as I see them:
New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers: So this much is true: when the Giants get hot, they are unstoppable. Without leading receiver Hakeem Nicks and starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants still rolled over the Panthers. Backups Ramses Barden and Andre Brown went for over 100 yards apiece and Eli Manning threw for 288 and a touchdown. It was the Giants defense, however, that really stole the show. Smothering the dynamic Cam Newton and forcing 5 turnovers, the G-Men carried the momentum over from their fantastic win over the Tampa Bay Bucs a few days earlier. 5 Lawrence Tynes field goals didn’t hurt much either. The Giants dominate, 36-7
St. Louis Rams vs. Chicago Bears: Okay, I admit it. I might have been wrong about the Rams. I thought that they would be that scrappy team that shows up every year to contend and ultimately fail to make the playoffs. I thought that they would be decent. Once they played a goodish team, like the Bears, they showed their true colors. Sam Bradford was awful, with a 39.2 rating and the entire Rams team had a grand total of 59 yards rushing. Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler wasn’t amazing either, but at least he was effective. It was the Bears vaunted D that held them up. A 45 yard pick-six from Major Wright capped the game off for the Bears who allowed the Rams essentially nothing all day long. Daaaaaaaaa-Bears win 23-6.
Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns: This is going to turn out to be a Ben Folds Five special: The Battle of Who Could Care Less. Even though neither team is good, the Bills turned out to be the least bad on this day. Ryan Fitzpatrick had 3 touchdown passes and the Bills running game overcame the loss of CJ Spiller (shoulder injury) to outrush the Browns by over 100 yards. 3rd stringer Tashard Choice led Buffalo with 91 yards off the bench. The Browns got, uh, a couple of token scores...they are pretty bad. Brandon Weeden, the rookie quarterback, is in trouble this year. Another long year in Cleveland lets Buffalo have a decent week and the Bills win 24-14. Nobody noticed.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys: Eww. This game was fugly. A bad game with no pace, no rhythm, and nothing redeeming for anyone outside of the Dallas metroplex. Tampa’s offense was woeful and Josh Freeman looked less like a promising young quarterback and more like a scared little girl. Neither team really ran well, and you can look at the Dallas defense for some good play, but really, it was a lack of ability by Tampa to move the ball that defined this game. This was the closest thing to a hot mess you will see in an NFL game. Tony Romo had 283 passing yards for the Cowboys, but no touchdowns, and he had difficulty moving HIS team. Dallas “wins” the worst game of the weekend, 16-10.
Detroit Lions vs. Tennessee Titans: As terrible as the Tampa/Dallas game was, this one was that good. Highly entertaining game, this is the reason that people love football. Tennessee had 5 touchdowns of over 60 yards in length, including a trick play on a punt return and a 105 yard kickoff return. And the catch of the year so far by Nate Washington for a 71 yard catch and run to the endzone. Detroit was up to the task though. Matthew Stafford got hurt (again) and backup Shaun Hill came in to throw your standard 2 touchdowns in the last 18 seconds of the game. Included in those two is a last second Hail Mary play that receiver Titus Young hauled in for a miracle. The game then goes into overtime. Titans get a Rob Bironas field goal and the Lions march right down the field. And then the brain fart. A miscommunication between Hill and coach Jim Schwartz led to Hill trying a sneak play on 4th down. Tennessee stopped him and won the game. This game featured over 1000 yards of combined offense, and touchdowns in nearly every possible way (only thing missing was an interception return). The Titans survive a raucus game, 44-41.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts: NEWS FLASH! THE JAGS WON A GAME! Yeah, it’s news. Blaine Gabbert threw a late 80 yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts to put Jacksonville ahead for good. Andrew Luck, the Colts respected rookie, threw for over 300 yards again, but couldn’t fuse together a last second drive to lead the Colts. Maurice Jones-Drew was the real story, though, with 177 yards on the ground including a 59 yard run in the third quarter. Honestly, neither of these teams are any good, and the fact that the Jags won means that they aren’t going to go 0-16. Whoop dee doo. Jags prevail 22-17.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: God I hate the Jets. I am done with them. I don’t care about Tim Tebow, I don’t care about Rex Ryan. I don’t care about Mark Sanchez, I don’t care about Bart Scott. And they ruin my weekend by winning. I don’t know how they did it. Sanchez had 309 yards passing, and by luck, pure unadulterated luck, Dan Carpenter of Miami missed two field goals. One of those was in overtime, giving the Jets a chance to eek into field goal range and squeeze out a win. Dammit Jets. Not like the Dolphins are that great, though. They should have won the game though. Instead, the stupid Jets get another win, 23-20, and reinforce the reasons why I drink.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings: So the 49ers won’t go undefeated. So the Vikings aren’t as bad as we thought. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had the best game of his young career, and the Vikings D proved to be not terrible. Alex Smith of the Niners wasn’t sharp and their running game wasn’t wonderful either. To be sure, the Vikings won’t get two touchdowns out of Ponder without a turnover again this year. Also, every team is going to throw up a dud from time to time, and it looks like Minnesota got lucky with the 49ers doing just that. The important part is that my Vikings fan friend won’t shut up about it for the rest of the season. This is going to be insufferable. Vikings make my life worse, 24-13.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints: Jamaal Charles is a straight up beast. He ran for 233 yards, including a 91 yard gallop in the third quarter. His 233 yards makes him just the 4th person all time to have at least 230 yards in a game twice along with Jim Brown (3 times), OJ Simpson (pre murder), and Corey Dillon (really? really.). Oh, and there was MORE going on here, too. Matt Cassel finally had an effective day, if unspectacular, and the Chiefs defense turned in a solid effort. The Saints, behind Football Savior Drew Brees jumped out to a big lead, but their defense is a wreck and gave it up. Eventually, this game also went into overtime where former Mr. Irrelevant Ryan Succop kicked the game winning field goal from 31 yards out. Kansas City comes back to win 27-24. More on this later.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Washington Redskins: Big plays defined this game. Both offenses are exciting with the potential for putting up a lot of points. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has started his rookie season with a bang, this week totalling 85 RUSHING yards this week along with 221 passing. The Redskins were outdone by Andy Dalton’s 328 passing yards and a big play pass from one wide receiver, Mohamed Sanu, to another, AJ Green on the opening possession of the game. A back and forth affair, Cincinnati has proven to be resilient, and used 2 fourth quarter touchdowns to overcome a feisty Redskins team. Bengals roar 38-31.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals: The Eagles have beaten some poor teams. The Cardinals have beaten some good ones. Both teams entered this game 2-0. The Cardinals defense swallowed up the Eagles dynamic playmakers and Kevin Kolb threw for 222 yards to lead Arizona. The Eagles seemed to be out of sync, but that could be the result of a better than expected Arizona team. Their defense is legit, and the Eagles haven’t been good, making for a perfect storm against Philadelphia. Michael Vick didn’t do much, neither did DeSean Jackson or LeSean McCoy, and if that doesn’t happen, Philly has no chance. Arizona remains undefeated, dominating the Eagles 27-6.
Atlanta Falcons vs. San Diego Chargers: The Atlanta Falcons are one of the most impressive teams of the early season. Predictably, the Chargers are one of the most mercurial. San Diego has loads of talent but can’t put it together. The Falcons also are loaded, but they might have figured it out. Atlanta has the best wide receiver tandem in football with Roddy White and Julio Jones, and a quarterback who is rapidly becoming great in Matt Ryan. Ryan threw for 275 and three touchdowns, while Philip Rivers was held to 178 and two interceptions. Atlanta has a fantastic and fast defense who are also at the top of their game. All of this makes the Falcons very difficult to handle right now, and the Chargers ran into a buzzsaw. Falcons roll 27-3 and it wasn’t that close.
Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos: As good as the Falcons are, the Houston Texans are better. As of right now, they might be the best all around team in the NFL. A high flying offense led by Matt Schaub gained 436 total yards, and the defense was all over the field. Denver, led by Peyton Manning, proved to be a game opponent. Denver again started slow, and had to come back, but once again, their young receivers couldn’t get open enough for Manning, and the Texans were able to hold onto to their early lead. Houston’s Arian Foster had over 100 yards again and caught a short touchdown early in the game to set the tone. Texans defensive end JJ Watt was a beast all game long, sacking Manning 2.5 times to go along with 7 tackles. Texans survive in a really good game, 31-25.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders: It’s kind of fitting that, when NFL Films genius Steve Sabol succumbs to brain cancer, that these two old time rivals meet. Some of the great footage NFL Films did included these two teams, along with some of their most epic music. This game was high scoring and hard hitting, including a vicious hit on Raider receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey which left him unconscious and laying on the field for 11 minutes. He was taken to the hospital and will make a full recovery from a concussion and neck injuries. For the rest of the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough to overcome Darren McFadden and the Raiders offense. Late in the game, the Raiders were able to move into field goal range and Sebastian Janikowski hit a 43 yard field goal as time expired. Raiders win 34-31 in another good’n.
New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens: Tragically, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith lost his brother in a motorcycle accident early Saturday morning. Somehow he played and had the game of his life. 6 catches for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns with a heavy heart. A remarkable performance. This was also a rematch of a classic game in last year’s AFC Championship. In that one, New England won on a missed last second field goal by Ravens Billy Cundiff, who got cut later on. This year, it was rookie kicker Justin Tucker’s turn to be the hero. He converted a 27 yarder with no time left to win the game and get some revenge for the Ravens. Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski was ineffective, with just 2 catches for 21 yards and the Patriots could not hold a late lead. Tom Brady was outplayed by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and the Ravens defense showed up when they had to, holding the Patriots running game to only 77 yards on the night. Ravens win yet another good game 31-30.
Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks: What was lost in the nightmare that occurred at the end of this game was a remarkable effort by Seattle’s defense. Sacking Aaron Rodgers 9 times, 4 by Chris Clemons in the second quarter alone. The Packers were mauled the entire night by Seattle, and did some mauling of their own. Neither team did much offensively, but who cares. Golden Tate caught a bogus touchdown on a bogus call by bogus refs at the end of the game to win it. The only reason that Seattle was in a position to have this happen is because the refs blew multiple calls on Seattle’s final drive. Unqualified judges working in an overwhelming situation has ruined this game, and the credibility of the entire league. Seattle steals a win, 14-12.
One Word to describe My Fantasy Team: Painful.
Meltdown Watch: (This is where we see the teams that should be good but will end up being terrible)
5. Detroit Lions (Last Week-5): Still on the list despite a great offensive game. They should have beaten the crap out of a weak Tennessee team, but they keep finding ways to lose. This might be a 4.5, if there were decimals here.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week-Not Ranked): Yeah, they are in trouble. The Eagles are in a bad spot right now. I know that the Cardinals are really really good right now, but the Eagles kinda suck as well.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week-Not Ranked): Old. Old and not able to get it together on D, which they are so damned proud of. They aren’t that good anymore. Sorry annoying Steelers fans.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week-1): They won! That’s why they dropped down a slot. If they can get a performance like this next week, they might be on their way, but they still have a lot of work to do. The again, they won against......
1. New Orleans Saints (Last Week-2): The Aints. They Saints can’t do anything right. Their franchise is in shambles which is reflected by repeated pathetic performances. This team is a mess, and the meltdown watch is in full gear. A feel good story no longer, the Saints need this season to end already.