By: Shawn Davis
There is no way I can start this column without leading with the way the game unfolded in Seattle. When an outcome leads morning talk shows – news programs mind you, hits the front page of most of the national papers and is the opening topic of radio broadcasts something is going on. That something?
The NFL can no longer bang the drum on “protecting the shield” when said shield is being constructed of paper-mache and being guarded by sleeping, village elders. It seemed the NFL was talking a bend-but-not-break mentality regarding the replacement refs. Specifically it seemed they would ride the waves of questionable calls and say things are ok…until it directly costs some team a game. The Green Bay Packers were that team…on Monday Night Football for the world to see. The curtain can no longer be pulled back to shield the circus from the spectators as it has been recorded and is part of NFL history.
The NFL and the NFLPA suffered through a work stoppage last year but found a way to play every game of consequence last season. So with the league front and center, plastered on advertisements and all over televisions, laptops and mobile phones they’re going to let their beef with the NFLRA (NFL Referees Association) destroy the season over a few million dollars? The NFL has lawyers on retina, right? Someone, in a suit, is advising the league to take a stubborn position in these negotiations right? Smart.
I didn’t have a rooting interest for either team nor did I bet – because that’s illegal – but I just wanted to watch a great game. I cannot remember a 14-12 final that was more riveting, frustrating and exciting to watch. I consumed all 60 minutes of it but I felt I should have set my computer on fire.
Sidney Rice was gifted a phantom pass interference call on a play where he pulled Sam Shields into him, Golden Tate then DELIBERATELY pushed Shields in the back – which should have drawn an offensive pass interference flag, but didn’t – before miraculously catching the game-winning touchdown.
The Green Bay Packers got HOSED…and this season is making me fucking sick! This game put me on this side of the fence – when I did my best to give the officials the benefit of the doubt.
One more thing NFL: When game announcers are OPENLY mocking and criticizing the officials on the field, your product is losing significance. We all can hear and see this!
NE 30 @ BAL 31:
In the lead up to the Patriots-Ravens game I was a bit subdued because the day was full of officiating mistakes that made me question the sanity of the NFL. I mean you cannot beat the drum on “integrity,” “safety,” and “good for the game,” while allowing officials that can barely tread water to control the field. As even the most novice fan can attest, these replacements are not cutting it. There were so many bad calls that I guess they cancelled each other out, well, at least in this contest.
Joe Flacco and the Raven’s no-huddle attack took until the second quarter to get going but once it did, the game drama intensified and I was on the edge of my seat. Some pass interference calls where baffling but both teams played through them as best as they could.
Baltimore won 31-30 because they made the plays when they controlled the ball in the end. You do not give Tom Brady ANY chance to have the ball in his hands to determine the outcome and the Ravens did not. The Patriots have a gripe with some of the calls but the loss is very simple: they still have issues on defense, overall.
Offensively there were a few impressive performances led by Brady (335 yards and a TD), Flacco (382 yards with 3 TD), Torrey Smith (127 yards, 6 receptions and 2 TD), Ray Rice (20 carries, 101 rushing yards and a TD; 5 receptions and 49 yards) and Wes Welker (8 receptions, 142 yards). The Patriots gained 396 total yards while the Ravens racked up 503.
Are we still in the dark about WHY the Patriots lost?
HOU 31 @ DEN 25:
So maybe my Super Bowl pick is about to be blown to shreds; you think? I’m not going to abandon Peyton Manning yet – and I will continue to believe that he can make this team better. Although they seemed to leave their secondary in Atlanta with the way the Texans’ deep threats ran freely down the field. There were touchdown receptions of 60 and 52 yards by Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter respectively that were fantastic plays…if you like the Texans and didn’t pick the Broncos to win the WHOLE THING.
(I need a mojito.)
KC 27 @ NO 24 (OT):
Since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff formant (1990); only three teams have started 0-3 and made the postseason: 92 Chargers, 95 Lions and 98 Bills. Good luck Saints.
The Saints defend NOTHING at all! Did you see Jamaal Charles’ 91-yard touchdown run? He was untouched and it was the highlight of a 233-yard rushing day for the returning running back.
PHI 6 @ ARI 27:
The Cardinals are 10-2 in their last 12 games so I had a good feeling that they would beat the turnover prone Eagles. The way they dominated and created three turnovers was impressive in a way that I didn’t even predict.
Does Michael Vick think he’s Superman? He’s taking such a beating three weeks into the season that it’s very likely he’s going to miss a few games. Remember he’s only played a full season once in his entire 11-year career. You know the unwritten mantra around the NFL about how a starter won’t lose his job due to an injury? Well, unless Kevin Kolb starts tossing turds at the direction of his receivers John Skelton is number two on the depth chart – and will remain there.
PIT 31 @ OAK 34:
A TREMEDOUS game that was overshadowed here on the East Coast…and it was a shame. Whew! Ben Roethlisberger passed for 384 yards with 4 touchdowns but the Steelers still lost? Does anyone defend anymore?
Carson Palmer seemed to turn back the clock with his play (24/34, 209 YDS, 3 TD/1 INT) and Darren McFadden looked quick, dynamic and fantastic all at once with a 64-yard touchdown run that seemed as if he was ejected from a cannon. His 18 carry, 113 yard day is the reason many feel he can be the best back in the league IF…he can stay on the field.
ATL 27 @ SD 3:
San Diego faced a true test…and got an F! Hey Ryan Matthews, you should place a call to Steve Slaton to see where losing the ball will steer your career as a starting halfback in the NFL.
STL 6 @ CHI 23:
I picked the Rams to win here in my Week 3 picks column. In my defense, I didn’t eat and Matt Forte was going to be in street clothes. Oh well. I had a full stomach at the time, by the way.
BUF 24 @ CLE 14:
This is going to be the week where the media gets sucked into the Bills’ vortex of ineptitude. Watch! I’m not a Bills hater (I actually would love for them to contend) but they scare me when they put a performance like this together. Remember the nosedive this team took a year ago? I do. I’ll watch them with one eye closed and hope for the best for the only New York football team that actually PLAYS IN NEW YORK.
TB 10 @ DAL 16:
The Cowboys barely won or the Buccaneers barely lost. I barely paid attention!
DET 41 @ TEN 44 (OT):
This game had the final score that I loooooove to see: touchdowns in bunches in a variety of ways. Plus, the Music City Miracle made a triumphant return. Viewing this contest felt like I was controlling the action with my PS3 controller!
JAC 22 @ IND 17:
Great coverage in the secondary, Colts; you should teach seminars on pass defense. Ugh.
Another problem? Maurice Jones-Drew ran over them for 177 yards and a touchdown which isn’t the best way to win.
SF 13 @ MIN 24:
Just as the world was beginning the coronation of the 49ers…they get beat by the Vikings. Don’t be fooled by the final score either – the Vikings controlled the game from start to finish.
If the Cardinals prove to be legit over the remainder of the season – and not a single person knows for sure if they will be – San Francisco will kick themselves for letting this one get away.
NYJ 23 @ MIA 20 (OT):
Hello Mr. Dan Carpenter, you cannot miss two field-goals that are within your range and cost your team a chance to win against a division rival, especially when you’ve been looking up in your division for most of the last decade at the Patriots and Jets. You just cannot let that happen.
Maybe I’m wrong though.
Darrelle Revis has a torn ACL and is out for season. What could be worse for the Jets after losing their best player when they aren’t exactly unstoppable on offense? In a statistic verified by ESPN Stats and Information, the Jets’ opponent completion percentage goes up from 54.1 to 62.5 when Revis doesn’t play (over the last two seasons).
CIN 38 @ WSH 31:
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had his first career fumble in his 560th carry – think about that for a minute. Done? Ok. There goes rooting for him to retire without ever fumbling the ball; impressive nonetheless.
Robert Griffin is taking way too many hits but he is exciting, right? Yeah, that’s all that matters.
NYG 36 @ CAR 7: Ramses Barden, Andre Brown and Martellus Bennett…all led by Eli Manning.