Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Forward down the field,
A charging team that will not yield!
When the Blue and Silver wave,
Stand and cheer the brave!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Go hard, win the game!
With honor you will keep your fame!
Down the field and gain
A Lions Victory!
Been a while since I put that up, hasn't it?
The Lions cobbled together a win against the Bears this past Sunday, using a dash of Kevin Jones, a smidgen of Jason Hanson, a touch of dubious play calling by the refs, and a whole lot of superglue. The whole thing is pretty structurally unsound, but by god, there it stands.
Since I'm home I didn't get to actually see the game (not a real attention-getter here in the land of the AFC East). I did get a semblance of play-by-play from my dad, who was watching the gamecast on the magical internet, but it's not the same at all. For one thing, you don't get the shots of Joey Harrington's brow crinkling up in agony on the sidelines after he's made a perplexingly bad play. For another, you don't get extremely questionable calls explained or even noted.
At the end of the game, the Lions had won 13-19, and so far as we were concerned that was a perfectly valid, unimpeachable score. Not exactly a lovely, round score that shows a healthy balance of running and passing and, uh, actual offense, but still. A respectable win.
Later that day we were watching the evening ESPN game. At halftime they showed highlights from earlier games, including a short clip from the Lions game. We watched a Bears receiver reach up for the football, come down with it in the endzone, badgered all the while by a Detroit defender, but appearing to make the catch. We were informed that this would have been the game-winning touchdown for the Bears, but it was ruled incomplete by the refs on the field and upheld as such upon review. Allegedly the receiver wasn't in complete control of the ball when he hit the ground-- I don't know, we only saw one short clip of this, so it was impossible for us to tell. The brief glimpse I had of the play certainly looked like a Chicago touchdown, but, well...
Hey. What the heck did this game mean? It means that the Lions are guaranteed to not be dead last in their division. It means that the Lions will have won at least 6 games this year, which is more than they've won in the past 3 seasons (5 last year, 3 the year before that, and a wince-inducing 2 the year before that). It means that the Bears get a better draft pick. Let us have this one, people. Neither team is in contention for the playoffs, and after that muffed extra point I think we deserve a little hint of favorable winds.
Kevin Jones is a stud. He had better not get hurt, because he is looking like a mighty fine Lion for the as-yet untarnished future that is next season.
The Patriots beat the Jets 23-7, which means that the Pats locked up the first week bye, which they will certainly need due to their very banged-up defense, especially their secondary. Coming off of last week's orange-jersied embarassment, this was a big game for New England. After going 18-29 with 4 interceptions last week, Brady came back and threw 21-32 with no interceptions. Whatever inexplicable problems the Patriots seem to have with the Fins (they've only won one game in the past seven they've played in Miami), they proved that their quarterback and their team are strong enough to bounce back from such dismal outings.
Richard Seymour hurt his knee and went out of the game. I'm not sure how long he's going to be out, they're saying anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on how it heals up. This is bad. We seriously could not afford to lose anyone else on defense. Heck, we can't afford to lose people on offense, but there are only so many guys we can dredge up and put in positions that they weren't originally playing. Cleverness and an all-round solid team will get you far, but I'm not sure if it will get you all the way to the end.
Of course, this also raises the question of whether or not an injury-riddled Patriots team that lost to the now 4-11 Dolphins is sufficiently equipped to roll into Pittsburgh in the midst of playoff fever and knock off the Steelers. I know the Jets aren't exactly a slouch team (or, at least, they very much don't want to be) but the Steelers on a roll at home are another matter entirely. Because, awful as it is to contemplate, Ben Roethlisbergerererererr apparently is Superman. Damn.
At least I can amuse myself by picturing how the New York media must have ripped Chad Pennington to pieces. A week previous to this he had blown off the media, and then held a press conference to chide them sternly for their deplorable press-mongering ways. It was possibly the best press conference I have ever seen. There's got to be video of it available somewhere, if you can find it you need to watch it. Hilarious. Amazing. Awesome. Anyways, since he went out the next week and lost a big game I can only imagine the carnage.
I also watched the Miami/Cleveland game. There is almost nothing I can say that will fully encompass the disgust that I felt watching it. The announcers were sarcastic and clearly annoyed that they had been stuck with this horrible game. There were two touchdowns in the first quarter, and that was it. Let me emphasize this a little more clearly: the game was 7-7 for 3 and a half quarters.
We got to see poor AJ Feeley get smacked around some more. I'm convinced he could be the answer for the Fins if they would just get an offensive line that didn't suck more than an army of crazed housewives wielding Hoovers. As it is he's got to be one of the most smacked-around quarterbacks in the NFL.
The agony ended when Olindo Mare kicked a field goal inside the last two minutes of the 4th quarter. The relief I felt at realizing the game would not go into overtime was almost palpable. I literally got a rush of joy when it became evident that I would not have to sit and watch two teams trade interceptions and pathetic attempts at ball movement any longer than was absolutely necessary.
I know that they won, but it still has to be asked: How the hell did this team beat the Patriots?
I shall close the football bit with a particularly poignant image from this weekend's football offerings. His name is Larry Fitzgerald, and he plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
His pants have come undone.
I'm still at home, still trying to cram as much slothfulness as is humanly possible into my heinously short winter break. We got about a foot of snow a couple of days ago, and the roads were horrible yesterday. I spun out twice on the way to pick up Kate last night. Twice. Once I slid around sideways and nearly ended up in the middle of a major intersection. The second time I skidded at a red light and almost rammed into a parked car. Thankfully, most everyone in this town goes to bed at or before 10 pm, so the roads were essentially empty. If this had happened in the middle of the day... oy. It must have been the road conditions, because I was going somewhere between 20-25 mph on 30 mph roads when this happened. Of course, it also could have had something to do with the fact that the anti-lock brakes on my car appear to be shot (it's in the shop right now), but the ice and snow on the roads was really just atrocious.
The good bit was that I got to see Kate, Helene, and Noah. Kate and Helene only hung around for a little bit, because they are lazy buggers (in reality, they both had to get up early, but it amounts to the same thing), but Noah hung around for a while chatting and attempting to molest my cat. Because the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Baseball has been relatively quiet after the Jason Varitek signing-- not that we need anything immediate to get done after this, mind you. I'm still quivering with glee that the deal got done.
I suppose that's about it. Oh, well, except of course for this, which has to be said:
RIP Reggie White
Eagles, Packers, Panthers. A heck of a tackler. He wasn't on any of my teams, but he was a huge presence in the NFL, both literally and otherwise. 43 is too young. Condolences to all who knew and loved the big guy.