Archive for October, 2013

No one predicted that the Redskins would beat the Broncos. People thought this was going to be a high-scoring game. They were right, but the outcome was not what was expected.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Denver BroncosBoth the Redskins and Broncos defenses have struggled defending the pass in recent weeks, and the Skins have struggled further with the run as well. Peyton was poised for a big game, but the first half did not seem like it. While the Redskins continued to present their anemic in the first half, the defense stepped up big. Giving up the first touchdown to the Broncos, Peyton was held in check for the rest of the first half and RGIII was able to find Hankerson in the endzone for a TD near the end of the first half.

The third quarter was a wild one. While the Broncos started with the ball, Peyton turned it over on a fumble and Morris finished a quick drive on 3 rushing plays to get the touchdown. Peyton’s next drive ended quickly as well, as DeAngelo Hall picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. All of a sudden, Washington found the tide turned in their favor. The problem was that they were playing against Peyton and the Redskins are suffering from an imbalanced coaching scheme. The Broncos turned everything around and racked up 35 consecutive points, turning a 14-point deficit into a 23-point victory.

The Redskins seem to find new problems every week and cannot shake off the old one. The special teams played better overall, including a great return by Josh Morgan, but failed on a Sam Rocca punt that only went for 10 yards and gave the Broncos incredible field position. The team fell back into their 3 and outs but also had 5 turnovers in 6 drives. The second half quickly got out of hand when the Broncos offense picked up their speed and Shanahan decided that the run game that got them to their lead was no longer good enough to run the offense. The Broncos offense was getting to RGIII and the receivers were not getting open, so it makes perfect sense to continue to risk him and his health (which led to a big hit and a potential left knee sprain). Cousins tried to finish the game but gathered 2 of those interceptions.

Positives

  • 173354544JE_STEELERS_BRONCOS_crop_northMorris continued to look like he was coming back into form.
  • While RGIII struggled after the lead built up in the 3rd quarter, he was able to get a bit of a rhythm earlier this time around than previous games.
  • The defense keyed in on Manning and held the Broncos to just 7 points and a bunch of yards in the first half. This extended into the 3rd quarter.

Negatives

  • Shanhan’s playcalling is definitely suspect. When the team was down in previous games, it made more sense to throw the ball more. It does not make sense when you are up by 14 points in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Redskins were excellent last year because of the run, but they seem to abandon it at all costs.
  • The defense still cannot stop teams from points and yards. While we great in the first half and them could not protect to save our lives (even though Peyton is one of the best in the game at reading defenses).
  • RGIII is not making good reads. I hate to criticize him but he missed multiple reads on shorter passes to try to go for the hail mary and miss badly.
  • Turnovers are killing them badly. The last 7 drives included 4 interceptions and a fumble. Don’t forget about the shanked punt.

Around the rest of the league…

  • The Bucs continue to deteriorate and now fans are calling for Schiano’s job. The Panthers rode 3 TDs by Newton to take the victory easily.
  • stafford-johnson-620The Cowboys thought they had it won with a 6-point lead and 1 minute left. Stafford had other plans and put together a fantastic drive to get the 1-yard TD run and the win.
  • The Browns threatened in the 2nd half but the Chiefs have advanced to an 8-0 start.
  • While the Dolphins played well in the 1st half, Brady got back on track in the second with Stevan Ridley to steal the win 27-17.
  • Brees threw for 5 touchdowns in a blowout of the Bills, who started the game off with 2 fumbles by QB Thad Lewis.
  • The Eagles suffered the injury bug with Vick going down yet again, so the Giants only needed 5 field goals to finish off the now anemic Eagles offense.
  • The 49ers rolled over the Jaguars in London behind a major effort by the passing and running game of Kaepernick.
  • The Bengals roared and destroyed the Jets with Dalton’s 5 TDs and Geno Smith’s 2 INTs.
  • The Raiders got quite the performance from the recording-breaking Pryor 93-yard rushing touchdown and finished off the Steelers 21-18.
  • The Cardinals defense were the real victors of this matchup with the Falcons as they stole away 4 interceptions from Matt Ryan.
  • Minnesota continues to rotate between 4 options at QB but nothing seems to be working, especially when they had to go up against the Packers and lost 44-31.
  • Seattle continued to stay atop the NFC but did lose Rice for the rest of the season in their tight win against the Rams, 14-9.
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When a Blowout Becomes Bullying

Posted: October 24, 2013 in Football

Bullying is a real problem in the United States, with thousands of young people falling victim to torturous activities that damage their psyche and can lead to some dramatic and devastating ends. When people think of actions that are acquainted with bullying, they typically think about pushing somebody around on the playground or harassing someone on the Facebook or Twitter pages. But bullying in sports?

Aledo is a Texas football team that came prepared for their game last week and ended the first half against Fort Worth Western Hills with a score of 56-0. That was just the first half…Still, the game must go on and Aledo decided to put in its 2nd and 3rd stringers to help even the playing field. They decided to fair catch kicks and to take their time on offense. What happened at that point? Aledo continued their dominance with an additional 35 points and held FWWH scoreless through the entire game, ending with the score of 91-0.

Enter the FWWH parent…

cf87e02a9f6cf323400f6a7067008046After the game, there was certainly a cloud of sadness and frustration hovering over the FWWH players, families, coaches, and fans. Their team was decimated on the field. There is nothing that would make them feel anything but upset by the end result of that game. Rather than just taking the loss and moving on, one parent decided to report it to the superintendent that the actions on the field were equal to that of bullying and Aledo should be punished for their mistreatment of FWWH.

Seriously?!? Bullying? I just cannot equate a blowout, shutout win on the football field to that of bullying. The Aledo coach was actually troubled by the end of the game, but not because of the actions of his team. Aledo is considered one of the top football programs in the state and they were actively trying to pull back in the 2nd half. The FWWH actually acknowledged this fact but also that Aledo just plays hard. He acknowledged that football is the type of game that you just but give up or play nice. If the coaches feel okay about it, what is the parent’s argument? Are we supposed to call it a tie so no one’s feelings are hurt? Was Aledo supposed to spot FWWH 60 points to make it seem competitive? They played the game, they switched out their players, and they still won by the large margin.

Deal with it and move on. It is just football, not an abusive relationship.

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Same themes as the Dallas game but the Redskins found a way to not defeat themselves and win at home against the Bears. Just when it looked like the special teams was going to fail the team again, RGIII and Jordan Reed seemed to be on the same page.

There has been a thought that Jordan Reed was going to be good. Fred Davis had been the talk during the preseason, but no one had anticipated that Reed would have the biggest game of the two at this point of the season. Ending the game with 9 receptions, 134 yards, and 1 touchdown is quite a way to make his entrance into the NFL.

RGIII was a bit of a mixed bag but definitely finished the game on top. The first drive of the game was looking good until they struggled to advance in the red zone. Then it felt like they were falling back into their 1st half habits, including another interception for a touchdown. That was until Roy Helu helped to buck that trend. Getting the team’s 2nd 1st half touchdown of the season, Orakpo followed it up with another defensive interception for a touchdown, channeling his inner DeAngelo Hall. Then, finally, RGIII put a drive together and tossed one to the hot Jordan Reed for a 3-yard score just before the half.

One of the biggest elements that changed the game was the groin injury to Cutler, leaving the Bears offense to Josh McCown. Interesting enough though was that the offense played better with him in there. The halftime lead of 24-17 was quickly erased, as the Bears started to score at-will. After a missed field goal, the Bears scored two consecutive touchdowns and got back into the battle for the lead. Roy Helu came up big in the second half, aided by RGIII and Morris both running at a higher level, and scored an additional 2 touchdowns. RGIII also got lucky on a deep endzone pass that should have been picked off but was pulled in by Aldrick Robinson. Helu’s final score gave the Redskins the lead and the win.

The special teams came up short again this time, as they gave up field position and a return touchdown for the second week in a row.

Positives

  • The run game is looking a lot more like last year’s best in the NFL. Even RGIII put in 80+ yards.
  • RGIII is looking a lot more like himself with his running and passing, especially making that key sideline pass in the 4th quarter on 3rd down.
  • Jordan Reed really gives the receiving corp a boost without Davis contributing.
  • The offense put up really great numbers overall and recovered from last week’s poor performance.

Negatives

  • What is happening with the special teams? 2 allowed return touchdowns in 2 weeks. Fix it now!
  • The defense’s interception touchdown was pretty much wiped out with how the defense caved in the 2nd half against backup McCown.
  • The rest of the receivers seemed to be muted for much of the first part of the game. Reed was the only significant receiver for the 1st half.

Around the rest of the league…

  • Wilson is making the Seahawks look like a real playoff contender with his 3 TDs versus the Cardinals.
  • Mike Glennon did not look too bad, but the Falcons got back on track behind Matt Ryan and got dropped to 0-6.
  • In a shootout in Detroit, the Bengals outlasted the Lions with both running games falling far short of their early season success.
  • The Bills stole one away at the end of the game with a field goal as they were able to overcome a mediocre performance by Thad Lewis and still do not have an answer at QB.
  • The Jets fought hard against the Patriots and won! The Patriots had to come back to get to overtime, but an unsportsmanlike penalty after a failed field goal gave the Jets a second chance.
  • The Cowboys did not have to do much to beat the Eagles, but it did help that their back defensive players were able to play up to par and Foles got knocked out, leading to 3 INTs by Matt Barkley.
  • The Panthers took advantage of the Rams losing Bradford for the year by doubling up points and demolishing the lackluster Rams offense.
  • The Chargers may have given up 318 passing yards but they held the Jaguars to 2 field goals, and that was all.
  • The 49ers held the Titans scoreless for the 1st three quarters but maintained a 14-point win over Locker’s return to the field.
  • The Packers decimated the Browns with Rodger’s passing to unknown receiver Boykin, but losing Jermichael Finley in the process.
  • The Chiefs were able to outlast the Texans, as Houston tried to restart the offense behind rookie Case Keenum.
  • The Steelers got their first home win as they took down the Ravens for their 3rd loss in 4 games.
  • Manning returned home to Indianapolis but Luck upset his predecessor with a 6-point win in the late goings of the game.
  • As for the other Manning, he picked up a win against the struggling offense of the Minnesota Vikings with a minimized effort by Freeman and Peterson.

I got delayed on releasing this post. I was sick after a weekend of football games out in the rain, including the GB-BAL game.

And all of the excitement is over. Washington found a way to get our hopes up and then dash them following the bye week. It was the big stage and the opportunity to put the criticism behind us. We were not the same team as last year. RGIII was not at 100%. The defense cannot stop anybody (save maybe the Jaguars). It has just been failure at every turn.

So Dallas was a point for redemption. With only 1 divisional game so far, a win would keep us in better standing, while a loss would leave us playing catch-up like after every first half of every game this season. The Cowboys were ready to go an started the scoring early, but injuries seemed to be the name of the game for their defense and star RB DeMarco Murray. Still, the Redskins offense struggled to sustain drives and the defense still gave up the occasional solid run to their backups.

The problem was actually not the defense this time. The special teams were the big losers of the day. First of all, the special teams coach bumped a ref on the sideline and gave the Cowboys an extra bit of icing on the cake following Harris’s punt return TD. Then, another penalty forced Washington to re-kick a later punt, allowing Harris to return the ball for 90 yards and set up another score. There was no blocking on the defensive side and no significant return when receiving the kick.

Dallas’s Tony Romo got to sit and watch much of their success from the sideline, as the defense and special teams held Washington without a 1st half touchdown again, held RGIII to no passing TDs, and forced 2 turnovers. Alfred Morris also had elevated rushing stats due to his 40+ yard TD run and RGIII’s scrambles were also for big gains because he could take opportunity with the hesitation of his tendency to run. Romo’s INT did not matter in the end since Washington failed to convert a TD off of the mistake.

Positives

  • Morris’s TD run was the longest run of his career so far.
  • RGIII looked much more mobile than previous weeks and cut a few good runs.
  • If you take away the KR TD and the short yardage TD after the KR for 90 yards, the defense only gave up 17 points, which is much better than previous weeks.
  • They also held Dallas to only 213 yards of offense and kept Miles Austin out of the game completely and reduced Bryant and Witten to only 63 total yards.

Negatives

  • Dallas kept earning extra yards off of the extra effort. Tackling continues to be a concern.
  • The special teams imploded completely.
  • Penalties continue to plague the momentum and the opportunity.
  • Wide receivers need to stop dropping passes.
  • RGIII is holding onto the ball too long and not maintaining good throwing accuracy.

Around the rest of the league…

  • Eli Manning continues to struggle on offense with another 3 INTS as the Bears handled the Giants to send them to 0-6.
  • Rumors of Dalton being on the hot seat are cooled after the 3 TD overtime win over the Bills.
  • It may have taken a bit to get started, but the Lions were able to work the Stafford-Fauria TD production machine against the Browns.
  • Terrelle Pryor learned why the Chiefs are a team to fear this season as he was sacked 10 times and forced into a 4th & 48 before dropping the game 24-7.
  • Peterson’s sorrowful day was only piled on by a loss to the Panthers and Newton’s 4 TD performance.
  • The Steelers take one from the Jets in a bid to get their first win of the season behind an anemic running attack and a somewhat revived Roethlisberger.
  • The Eagles drop the Bucs to 0-5 with a  performance from Nick Foles that puts Vick’s ability to return as the starter into question.
  • The Packers lose two receivers but hang on against the somewhat unproductive Ravens offense.
  • While Schaub did not throw any INTs this week, he was applauded for leaving the game on injury while the Rams looked a championship contending team taking out the Texans 38-13.
  • The Jaguars beat the spread to avoid the record-breaking loss to the dominate Broncos, who needed the second half to finally pull away.
  • A muffed kick and 2 fumbles were not enough to give the win to the Titans after Lynch and Sherman came through for the Seahawks.
  • Brady connected with Thompkins in the closing seconds of the 4th to edge out the Saints, who failed to convert significant downs on their final two drives.
  • The 49ers rode the offensive success of Vernon Davis with 180 yards and 2 touchdowns as they got a divisional win over the Cardinals.
  • The Colts are going into their big matchup with Manning’s Broncos with a little less energy after failing to reach the endzone even once against the Chargers.

While the Redskins got a break this week, they remained in sports news alongside the great action of this past weekend. The big conversation this time was not about the status of RGIII. It was not about the defense’s struggles. It was not even about the poor status of the NFC East and the opportunity for Washington to still be in it. It was about the name.

NFL: Washington Redskins-Training CampThe controversy has been running for a long time now. It has been decades of comments and conversations about the problems with needing to reexamine the impact on Native American people that seems to have finally led to a bit of a change. The Redskins were the last team in the league to officially integrate the players, behind the stubbornness of an owner’s discrimination against the idea. It was President Kennedy that made a statement to help push the conversation and lead to officially making the change. Now President Obama has admitted to a need to clearly weigh the sides of the controversy and likely make a change.

Daniel Snyder will continue to fight this, but he may not be able to hold out forever. Roger Goodell has also admitted that there may need to be a change because there is enough of a public outcry that it is impossible to ignore the negative impact of the name. There will be people hurt by any decision made on this issue. The clear problem would be the devaluing of our Native America citizens if the name is upheld (and this is coming from a fan of the team). If the name changes, some may be happy that the decision flies in the face of Daniel Snyder while others will appreciate the rewriting of a wrong against Native Americans, but there will also be a lot of people upset that political correctness destroyed a name that is cemented in the team’s history.

In any case, it will be at least 3-5 years before there is real movement on this issue, but it is farther than it has ever been in the conversation. Onto the Cowboys game next weekend…

Around the rest of the league…

  • Cleveland continues to be a surprise with their offense striking better without Richardson, even with the loss of Hoyer for the season. 13-point win over the Bills.
  • The Saints finally pulled off a win in Chicago behind the arm of Brees.
  • New England seems to continue to struggle on offense (though 4-1) but it finally caused them to take on their first loss to the also struggling Bengals.
  • 1381108333000-USP-NFL-Denver-Broncos-at-Dallas-CowboysGreen Bay stepped up and demolished a Lions’s offense (minus Calvin Johnson).
  • Kansas City continues to roll and picked up their 5th win of the season over the mediocre Titans.
  • Indy and Seattle slugged it out in an amazing game that included a blocked field goal for a safety and a blocked punt for a TD. Indy pulled off the comeback win late in the 4th.
  • Jacksonville cannot beat anybody! St. Louis rolled in this one, although they allowed the Jags to get the most points of the season so far.
  • The Super Bowl Champion Ravens are struggling and Flacco is not looking like the amazing QB he was in last year’s playoffs, but they did survive late against the Dolphins.
  • The Giants had a chance. They had the lead after the half. They then fell flat on their faces after Vick left the game and Foles took over without missing a beat.
  • Carolina seems to be struggling to get their offense going, or I should say scoring. The Cardinals defense kept Newton mostly at bay and allowed for the 16-point win.
  • In a wild shootout in Dallas, Manning and Romo put up record numbers but Romo turned back into Romo in the closing moments of the 4th quarter. Coughing up an INT, the Broncos kicked a field goal and took the win 51-48.
  • The 49ers only needed 6 completed passes to take out the Texans. Schaub threw 3 picks, including his 4th straight week with a INT-TD.
  • San Diego continues to go up and down, but it was Pryor who proved to be a star with a 10-point win for the Raiders.
  • Questions are circling about the stability of the Falcons and now increases with the struggles for Roddy White and potentially season-ending injury to Julio Jones. Meanwhile, the Falcons made Geno Smith look great with 80% passer efficiency and 3 TDs.

The fault is not entirely the GOP’s…but it is definitely primarily their responsibility to grow up and support their constituents by stopping their assault on the American people. A government shutdown has been looming for some time but the conversation only became a reality within the past week to the general public. How did we get here?

The reality is that government never runs smoothly. They have been fighting well before President Obama entered into office. With every year, it feels like we get more and more divided and groups within the parties are getting more and more polarized. Staunch beliefs are not new, but taking the government and the country hostage seems to now be the direction congressional leaders are choosing to take.

As far as the current shutdown, the GOP has been unhappy with the passage of the Affordable Care Act well before it even got to the floor for the vote. It is understandable that government should never get too large, but there are clear examples of government-assisted (and even government-run) healthcare systems around the world that are successful and provide much better support for healthcare opportunities than the US provides with the free market system. Providing healthcare for millions of people who currently are unable to get it seems unreasonable for a large portion of the GOP.

After rejecting the fact that Congress approved the law, President Obama signed it in, and the Supreme Court upheld it as not unconstitutional, the Tea Party and ultraconservative members of the GOP have been fighting tooth and nail to get provisions blocked, changes made, and ultimately get rid of the entire ACA. They have failed, multiple times.

For a tactic that they feel might actually work, they turned to the economy. Usually, the GOP is very focused on keeping the country working and maintaining a balanced and healthy economy. With all of the party line fighting going on, economic stability seems to be the weapon to scream for attention, like a child screaming in a toy store when their parent refuses to buy them something they want. Refusing to agree with the democratic side of Congress on economic plans without revisions, we have gotten close to this situation on several occasions but avoided it when continuances and band-aids to funding and economic plans were enacted. Now the GOP is screaming NO MORE and has decided to take the budget hostage, putting over 800,000 people on furlough and out of work.

REALLY?!? I have actually said it multiple time now but the GOP is acting like children. Before, it was about screaming at the top of their lungs to try to force people into submission to their demands. Now they are playing chicken (with no one, since ACA is LAW and not a bill waiting to get passed) and are like children holding their breath to get what they want. The problem is that they continue to get paid and have healthcare during the shutdown. What about the over 800,000 people who are forced to wait to see if backpay will get approved or when they will get to return to work?

Do they ever think about the stupidity of their decisions or the consequences of their actions? The ACA websites actually crashed yesterday under the weight of the number of people trying to access them and sign up. Do you need any more proof that the American people want the provisions of the ACA?

The following videos represent this challenge in a couple different ways, whether it be one congressional member’s rational thoughts about the shutdown, the unfortunate misunderstanding of the lack of difference between Obamacare and ACA, or late night’s interpretation of the challenges of this situation.

rockin-shutdown-eve

For the first time this season, I can officially say, “the Redskins win!” It is an exciting moment and one that was necessary going into the early bye week, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The game was not without its challenges and there were a number of injuries that could put Washington in a rough spot if players are not healthy by week 6 in Dallas.

The most significant issues the Redskins are experiencing did not disappear this week, mostly the tackling and the struggles in the first half. The defense had another first half defensive touchdown, but the special teams gave up a touchdown and the defense missed on a number of tackles (maintaining their identity as one of the worst tackling teams in the league). The offense could not get started in the first half, but were only down by four at the break.

Redskins_Raiders_Football-0dc3bThe first half was a tale of uncoordinated efforts. Washington started with a 3 & out but were able to hold Oakland to only 16 yards and get the ball right back. The offense struggled again while backed up against its endzone and turned the ball over on a blocked punt run back for the TD. Finally getting their 1st first down, they immediately go 3 & out again. Matt Flynn, filling in for the injured Prior, got his first TD of the season to his backup TE. Washington finally got on the board in the 2nd quarter on a field goal, but got to back that up with an INT-TD by rookie Amerson. Both teams failed to get into scoring range for the rest of the half and retired with the 4-point difference.

In the second half, Washington finally got the offense started. After both teams suffered quick drives for the first half of the 3rd quarter, Washington finally got in rhythm with a bit of the no huddle offense and scored a TD on an RGIII pass to Garcon. The rest of the game was about control, as the Redskins’ defense forced a turnover, racked up a number of sacks, and prevented the Raiders offense from getting a rhythm. With Morris going out due to an injury, Roy Helu Jr. came in and got his first TD of the season.

Positives7708908-590x392

  • Morris struggled early against the Raiders defense but got going in the 3rd quarter. When he went out, Roy Helu Jr. looked good running out there too.
  • RGIII had one questionable throw but was more on-target throughout the game and gave up no turnovers.
  • The defense had its best showing of the season, holding the Raiders to the 14 points scored in the first quarter.
  • The defense caused 1 fumble, 1 interception, and 7 sacks.

Negatives

  • Tackling is still a major problem for this team.
  • The offense still started off way too slow in the first half.
  • Injuries were rampant but the bye week could be just what the team needed.
  • Special teams needs to work things out on both sides of the ball. Giving up the punt block and not finding a great returner are not helping with field position.

Hail to the Redskins!

Around the rest of the league…

  • Kaepernick got back on track with 2 TDs and significant help from Frank Gore to take out the divisional rivals, the Rams.
  • The Bills forced Flacco to throw 5 INTS but suffered an injury to Fred Jackson in their close victory over the defending Super Bowl champs.
  • The Browns got their 2nd win after the Richardson trade behind 2 TDs by Hoyer over in-state divisional rivals, the Bengals.
  • 1380497026000-USATSI-7463784The Lions surprise the undefeated Bears behind an impressive rushing attack by Bush.
  • The Giants got a TD this week but were completely overwhelmed by the Chiefs passing attack and fall to 0-4.
  • In London, the rushing attack by Peterson racked up 140 yards and 2 TDs to send the Steelers to 0-4.
  • The Bucs managed to hold a 10-point lead into the 4th quarter but gave up 13 straight points to allow for the Cardinals to steal the win away from home.
  • The Jaguars are the laughing stock of the NFL, losing 37-3 to Luck and the Colts.
  • The Seahawks pulled off a late comeback that Houston fans had gotten accustomed to after being down 20-3 and winning 23-20 in overtime.
  • The Titans may have lost Locker late in the game, but they decimated the Jets behind a strong passing attack.
  • The Broncos are an unbeatable force behind Manning’s 4 TDs in a 52-20 wallop of the Eagles.
  • The Cowboys had an excellent 2nd quarter but could not maintain their 21-13 halftime lead on the road at the Chargers.
  • The Falcons squandered another opportunity to win by allowing the Patriots to take a significant lead and maintain it. Gonzalez was a bright spot for their offense though.
  • Two teams entered 4-0 but the expected result behind the passing assault by Drew Brees led to the expected win by the Saints.