Monday Morning Realist Week 8

By Akiem Bailum, TRST Columnist, Reporter, & host of “10 Minutes on the Clock” every Saturday

 

Twitter: @Li495Akiem

 

Bye…..Low

 

 

 

Week 8’s edition of the Monday Morning Realist will have a very similar theme to it. The first three sections of it will all be pertaining to coaches that fans either want on the hot seat or are dangerously close to being put on the hot seat.

 

Such an occurrence is nothing new in Delaware Valley. Andy Reid has lasted in Philadelphia despite drawing ire from Eagles fans for the longest time. Going into their Week 7 bye, they tasted defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions after gagging away two 10-point leads in the 4th quarter leading to an overtime victory for Detroit.

 

Vick said after the loss to Detroit that they needed the bye week in order to do some, what can only be described as, soul searching.

 

After their Week 8 tilt vs. the Atlanta Falcons, they may need another.

 

For at team that was near the bottom of the entire NFL in stopping the run, they were able to hold the Eagles rushing attack to under 100 yards on the day. Including LeSean “Shady” McCoy who only had a mere 45 yards on 16 carries. Michael Vick on 7 rushing attempts almost had as many rushing yards as Shady….42 for #7.

 

Meanwhile, they were outrushed 146 to that 92. The biggest game of the day went to a receiver—Julio Jones—7 receptions for 123 yards. Also 3 TDs for Matt Ryan who was 22/29 for 262 yards.

 

This wasn’t even a game where a team committed any turnovers. This has been a big part of the story this year with the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Falcons simply made a statement by going to 7-0 that they were the team to beat in an uber-competitive NFC.

 

But only managing 92 rushing yards against a team that was in the bottom 5 in the league in rush defense will not do well for Andy Reid’s job prospects in Philly. Plus, it came off of a bye when they had 2 weeks to prepare & they fired their defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo.

 

All you need to know about what Eagles fans are thinking….they chanted “Fire Andy” throughout the 2nd half.

 

Next week, 3-4 Philly gets the Saints’ offense (and defense) in the Superdome on Monday Night Football—a game that will feature Chris Berman interviewing both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at halftime one day before Election Day. The 7-0 Falcons will also be on a nationally televised matchup—at home vs. the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.

 

Imperfect Storm

 

 

 

Hurricane Sandy already clipped past South Florida & is making a beeline towards New Jersey. The two teams that hail from those two places on the map faced off in a divisional matchup in MetLife Stadium in Week 8.

 

It’s games like this that can render a stat sheet completely worthless. Jets led the Dolphins in terms of time of possession, rushing, passing, total plays, and total yards.

 

Tell that to the only statistic that matters—the final score on the scoreboard which said Miami Dolphins 30 & the New York Jets 9.

 

And let’s remember, this was in a game where Miami’s starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, was injured and Matt Moore had to take his place.

 

You know you’ve had a bad night when one of Miami’s scores in the first half came by way of a blocked punt return from Olivier Vernon that put the Fins up on Gang Green 10-0. Also, Mark Sanchez threw one pick and was sacked 4 times by the Dolphins’ defense.

 

After the game, Antonio Cromartie made headlines by referring to Fins runningback Reggie Bush as a “punk”. This was supposedly done in retaliation for “karma” comments made after the Darrelle Revis injury that put him on the shelf for the entire season. Bush didn’t respond to Cromartie’s comments.

 

But, staying on the theme of coaches on the hot seat, there are those now that are calling for Rex Ryan’s job as Jets head coach. Getting beat 30-9 in division to a team that you outgained on offense and defense is a textbook definition of being outclassed and outcoached. And despite the fact that the Jets have been in two AFC Conference Championship games under Ryan, those Jets teams got there because of defense, not Mark Sanchez. Their in the middle of the pack for defense this year & that can be attributed to the Revis injury.

 

Revis or no Revis, Miami simply outclassed them and were more consistent on offense, defense, and special teams.

 

The 4-3 Dolphins head to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Colts & Week 9 is a bye week for New York. They’re 3-5. They need the bye week for football and non-football reasons as evidenced by Hurricane Sandy.

 

When is the 7th Inning Stretch?

 

 

 

A lit-up Jack-O-Lantern…..Frankenstein’s Face…..The Grim Reaper…..the Halloween costume I wore when I was 7…..

 

Things not as ugly as today’s Chargers/Browns matchup at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

 

There are some games that are so ugly at the end they are compared to baseball games. A few weeks ago, the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs did so when B-More beat KC (or the Orioles beating the Royals) 9-6.

 

This week, the Chargers and Browns didn’t get the memo that the game was played at Cleveland Browns Stadium and not Jacobs Field.

 

Cleveland got their 2nd win of the year behind a huge game from Trent Richardson. He carried the ball 24 times for 122 yards. His one touchdown he got in the 1st quarter would be all the scoring San Diego needed to win that game. In fact, he had almost as many yards rushing as quarterback Brandon Weeden had passing. He was only 11/27 for 129 yards and a rating of under 60.

 

Don’t laugh, Philip Rivers because you still thought it was the 2nd half of the Monday Night game vs. the Broncos. The line for Rivers was 18/34 for 154 yards. Ryan Matthews led the offensive charge for San Diego as also had 24 carries but for 95 yards. On one of them—he fumbled. A.J. Smith earlier in the year called out Matthews for being a turnover factory, despite himself being the “Lord of No Rings”.

 

Staying true with the coaches-on-ze-seat-zat-is-hot theme, another one is Norv Turner. It’s safe to say that there isn’t much “Boltage” coming out of Southern California nowadays. This is the 3rd consecutive loss for the Chargers and they’re now 3-4. And from the loss against New Orleans when Drew Brees set the record for consecutive games with a TD pass, the offense has done nothing but regress if you consider the 2nd half of the Monday Night matchup vs. the Broncos. Of course, that was when they allowed Peyton Manning to score 35 unanswered points.

 

Norv Turner hasn’t been the most popular man in San Diego for a variety of reasons. He replaced Marty Schottenheimer when the conservative style of MartyBall wasn’t getting the job done even when they went 14-2. Ever since then, the story for the Chargers has been the same—dazzle in the regular season but come up short in the playoffs.

 

Luckily for San Diego, they’ve always played like the SuperChargers in the 2nd half of seasons. They’ll need that to be true again this year.

 

San Diego is 3-4 and, in Week 9, will play their division rival Kansas City Chiefs on NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football. Cleveland (2-6) will stay at home to face a depleted Baltimore Ravens team that’s also coming off a bye, and before that, a humiliating defeat to the Houston Texans in H-Town.

 

A Game of Inches….and Fingertips

 

 

 

If there was a museum dedicated to reasons why you don’t leave sporting events early, today’s Giants/Cowboys game from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington should go on display somewhere as an exhibit.

 

Halfway through the 2nd quarter, it looked like the Giants could cruise to an early victory at the Cowboys’ home stadium (more megapalace than stadium) & notch up their 6th win on the year. They were leading the Cowboys 23-0 in the 2nd quarter. A blowout was eminent. Right?

 

Wrong.

 

The Cowboys tried to emulate the Broncos from a couple of weeks ago on MNF. Tony Romo & America’s Team engineered a furious comeback to make a game out of it. What was 23-0 became 23-10 at halftime and then 24-23 Boys heading into the 4th quarter.

 

The 4th quarter is normally referred to in Big Blue circles as “Eli Time”. Both of the Giants’ scores in the 4th came via the way of Lawrence Tynes field goals. If it’s any indication, you can say Eli Manning actually had no better than an average game. 15/29 for 192 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception. The Giants’ only offensive touchdown came via an Andre Brown run at the 1-yard line.

 

As for the Cowboys, Tony Romo would throw the ball 62 times. He completed 26 passes for 437 yards, 1 touchdown, and 4 interceptions. The Giants were able to force 6 interceptions the entire game, including two fumbles from Dez Bryant and Felix Jones. 3 receivers did have games where they went over 100 yards—Jason Witten (18 for 167), Miles Austin (9 for 133), and Dez Bryant (5 for 110).

 

New York’s offense was inconsistent today, but the Cowboys’ play calling was not balanced at all. It showed late. With the score at 29-24 G-Men, Romo had a huge opportunity to pull off another late 4th quarter drive with him only needing 1 yard on 2nd down and Felix Jones in your backfield.

 

Instead, Jason Garrett decides to call 3 consecutive pass plays—the last of which resulted in one of Romo’s 3 picks. Stevie Brown had a huge day defensively for the Giants.

 

Cowboys fans are crowing about a late call that wiped what would’ve been a Dez Bryant game-winning hail-mary touchdown off the board. The officials made the correct call in observing that his fingertips touched out of bounds as he landed to the ground. The bottom line is they didn’t lose because of a referee’s call. The Cowboys gave the game to the Giants because they don’t know how to control the ball and Jason Garrett does not know how to call plays. He should also be feeling the hot seat along with Rex Ryan, Norv Turner, and Andy Reid.

 

The 3-4 Cowboys head to Atlanta to face the undefeated Falcons. The Giants are scheduled to return to MetLife Stadium to play the Steelers, but hopefully that Sandy thing doesn’t interfere with New York & Pittsburgh’s plans.

 

By the way, has Jon Gruden ever been this popular in this many NFL cities? Anything to get him away from Mike Tirico and Monday Night Football, I guess?

 

Blimey!

 

 

 

Speaking of Rivers, let’s go from Philip to the Thames.

 

In Roger Goodell’s latest attempt to export the NFL across the pond, the New England Patriots played the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium in London. According to attendance figures, the game was a near sellout considering the English brand of football is different from the Americans’ brand.

 

Despite the St. Louis Rams being in the defensive-minded NFC West this year, these were the New England Patriots and Tom Brady they were dealing with.

 

Actually, St. Louis tried to make it competitive earlier. Sam Bradford did catch the Pats secondary napping with a 50 yard TD pass to Chris Givens. That gave the Rams a 7-0 lead.

 

It’d be the first and last time they’d score.
London is a city filled with royalty. For the rest of the game, Tom Brady and New England Patriots looked like the football royalty they have been for over a decade. Brady threw for 4 TDs, 304 yards and 23/35. Stevan Ridley also had a huge day in the UK—15 carries for 127 yards. So did Rob Gronkowski with 8 receptions and 146 yards. The Gronk Spike went international today & he added a London flair to it today with the Royal Guard imitation.

 

What also sticks out to me is that the Rams wound up being penalized (or dare I say, yellow-carded) for more than twice as many yards as the Pats were. This game was total domination by the New England Patriots & a sign that they still can be Super Bowl contenders as long as #12 is throwing passes to Pats receivers.

 

Apparently after the Chris Givens touchdown, the Rams decided to leave the stadium & tour the sights and sounds of London—including the Olympic Park.

 

As I mentioned on this week’s “10 Minutes”, I still do not get Roger Goodell’s ongoing fetish when it comes to London. Patriots owner Robert Kraft believes that London is ready for an NFL team. Other owners apparently go along with Kraft saying the same thing.

 

Is this where the League’s priorities are? I love London as much as the next person & will forever remember the outstanding show it put on that was the 2012 Summer Olympics. But your brain has to be on drugs if you believe an NFL team will make it there. The last time the NFL tried expanding into Europe was NFL Europa—a colossal failure. Not to mention, the travel would be brutal for teams, coaches, and other personnel. And that’s not counting TV & radio deals, sponsorships, fan outreach, and other things.

 

When it comes to expanding the league, Goodell needs to get his head from out of the River Thames and into some Long Beach sand.

 

Oh, by the way, the Pats are now 5-3 & the Rams have that in reverse at 3-5. Both teams have byes in Week 9.

 

It Aint’s No Problem

 

 

 

There’s a reason why NBC wanted Saints vs. Broncos for this week’s Sunday Night Football. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, of course. Two veteran, marquee quarterbacks that are still @ the top of their game. The game was built up as such as expected.

 

The outcome…not so much.

 

This one quickly turned into another Peyton Manning kind of performance. He was 22/30 for 305 yards and 3 TDs. Also, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker had huge games. Thomas scored one of the touchdowns along with 7 catches for 137 yards. Decker had the other two. Even running the football, the Broncos had a huge day. This is to be unexpected on a pass-first offense like any Manning team will have. But, Willis McGahee’s line—23 carries for 122 yards.

 

On the other side, Drew Brees did throw for another touchdown to pad his consecutive games with a touchdown record. 22/42 213 yards with 2 TDs and 1 interception, but that was just about it. It was a mismatch, especially in terms of total yards. The Broncos put up 530 total yards on the Saints as they cruised at home to a 34-14 victory over New Orleans.

 

The common themes that emerge from this one are obvious. When Peyton Manning has games like this, the Broncos are good enough to where they should make a playoff run. Also, they’re in a division that, outside of themselves, is looking weaker and weaker and weaker.

 

As far as the Saints are concerned, this confirms to me that they won’t be in the playoffs and that they can forget any plans of participating in a Super Bowl in their own Mercedes Benz Louisiana Superdome. Defenses as porous as New Orleans’ don’t get to the postseason or win playoff games.

 

Oh, and let’s also continue with the theme of coaches being on the hot seat—but not with a head coach, a defensive coordinator this time. I’m looking at you, Steve Spagnuolo. I’m looking directly at you—and so are Saints fans throughout the Gulf South.

 

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Posted on October 29, 2012, in NFL. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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