Week 6 Thoughts and Observations

Happy Tuesday everyone, hope you all had a great weekend filled with sports and good times.  I had an up and down weekend, filled mostly with NFL, College Football and MLB Playoffs.  This is a great time of year to be a sports fan as there are plenty of games and drama going on to fill your senses and overload your brain. 

My thoughts on the weekend are scattered, they are subjective, and they are my opinions.  I’m usually wrong, but not always and you may or may not agree with what I have to say, and with that being said, here we go….

The most glaring sight from the weekend to me is the end of the Michigan/Michigan State game on Saturday night.  10 seconds left, Michigan has a 2-point lead, it’s 4th down and Michigan is punting the ball away to Michigan State which will most likely be the last play of the game.  But, as we all remember, Blake O’Neill muffed the snap, Jalen Watts-Jackson picked it up and rumbled some 38 yards for the winning score.  Watts-Jackson is the hero, O’Neill is the goat, and we have a moment that will be remembered long after the season is over.  I have no idea what Jim Harbaugh was thinking on this play, because if it were me I would have run a play from scrimmage and make Michigan State throw a hail mary from around midfield to try and beat me, or O’Neill should have at least fallen on the ball after gaining control instead of still trying to kick the ball away.  The fallout from this is that O’Neill received death threats and other violent threats on social media, which is classless and people should really get a life and stop watching football, because you are not a fan if losing a game means you have to threaten bodily harm on a player for making a mistake.   The second piece of this was that game hero Jalen Watts-Jackson suffered a dislocated hip in the celebration aftermath, ending his season.  It was a great game, and as a Buckeye fan, anytime these two teams play I could care less who wins, though anytime Michigan loses is a good day for Buckeye Nation.

Getting to the Sunday games, it was filled with drama, controversy and perhaps the beginning of the end for a legend of this game.  Four games ended dramatically on Sunday, Denver/Cleveland, Chicago/Detroit, Carolina/Seattle, and San Diego/Green Bay.  First Cleveland did what no one (including this Browns fan) thought they would do, they gave Denver a game, their defense was harassing Peyton Manning all day, Picking him off 3 times and sacking him twice, forcing overtime only to lose 26-23 on a Brandon McManus 34-yard FG.  Chicago and Detroit also went to OT and Detroit got their first win of the season, as Stafford and Megatron combined for six receptions for 166 yards and a TD.  Carolina and Seattle lived up to the hype, and shut me up for thinking Carolina was overrated, as we now have to consider Carolina a real contender in the NFC with a 27-23 win in Seattle.  Cam Newton connected with Greg Olsen, who got behind the defense with 32 seconds to play for the winning score to beat Seattle 27-23.  Finally Green Bay needed last minute heroics from rookie CB Damarious Randall to knock a Philip Rivers pass away at the last second to preserve a 27-20 victory in Green Bay. 

The controversies came first in the Detroit-Chicago game when Golden Tate apparently lost a sure TD when the ball was pulled lose by Kyle Fuller shortly after he caught it and then crossed the goal line.  Everyone in the NFL world thought that ball was intercepted, except for the rules officials in New York.  After review, the refs gave the Lions the TD, with the reason being that because Tate had gained control had made three steps, was not going to the ground, and crossed the Goal Line before losing the ball, he scored.  My thought on this is the NFL needs to make up their ever loving mind what constitutes a catch in this league, because clearly they have no idea.  I don’t know that he really ever had control of that ball, but that’s why I am sitting here and they get paid to make the call.  Either way, too many games have been decided by this vague rule regarding is it a catch or isn’t it a catch.   More drama in the Miami-Tennessee game, When Miami DE Oliver Vernon came in low on Rookie QB Marcus Mariota and injured his knee.  Mariota lay on he ground for several seconds, but he got up and continued to play, though he eventually put a brace on his knee when that offensive series was over.  After an MRI yesterday it has been discovered that Mariota has a sprained MCL, and could miss a couple of weeks, maybe longer.  Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt called the hit on Mariota a cheap shot, and basically said that Vernon was trying to hurt his QB.  I don’t know that it was necessarily a dirty play, and I am one that is over the whole “Put the QB in a bubble and make sure you don’t pop it” mentality of the NFL.  Football is a violent sport, and injuries are part of the game.  You cant place special protections on one player or the other just because the NFL is “scared he might get a bruise”.  Play the game and whatever happens happens, players know the risk, and they have chosen to play the game and take that risk of injury.

My final full observation of the Sunday games has to deal with the visible, inevitable end to an era coming in the NFL.  Peyton Manning is 39 years old, has been in the league for 17 years, has been battered, bruised, had multiple neck surgeries, and is a shadow of his former self as a player.  The fact that he is struggling behind center, that he cant get out of his own way, doesn’t have the zip on the ball that he used to, and his accuracy is obviously not what it was.  It’s starting to be sad to watch him play, kind of like Joe Namath at the end of his career, hobbling around on knees that couldn’t support a jock strap, let alone his huge frame.  It’s time for Peyton to walk away after this season, he has had a great run, he has a ring, and he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.  I just cant see this anymore and before he gets really hurt, he needs to end this and walk away.

On to Baseball.  the MLB Championship Series’ are well underway and we have Kansas City-Toronto and NY Mets-Chicago 2 and  3 games into their best of 7 series respectively and thus far, there has been drama and disappointment.  The most stunning picture I have thus far is the performance of Daniel Murphy in the NL playoffs.  he has homered in 4 straight postseason games and appears to be the achilles heel of the Cubs thus far, and if I were Joe Maddon, I would be walking that guy each time he comes to bat.  The Cubs batters have been silenced, with Mat Harvey and Noah Syndergaard pitching a couple of gems the last two games.  Now they have to face Jacob deGrom in Game 3, with his 100mph fastball and poodle hairdo.  I’m still rooting for the Cubs, and perhaps the friendly confines of Wrigley Field will revive those bats.  In the AL, the Blue Jays and Royals series just got interesting with the Jays bats waking up last night in game 3.  Troy Tulowitzki sparked the Jays last night to lead them to a 11-8 win in game 3 to get the series to 2-1 in favor of the Royals, but this afternoon they have to face Chris Young on the mound and the Jays big hitters Tulo, Donaldson, and Jose Bautista are a combined 6 for 41 against him this season, so it is a daunting task for sure, but when the Jays are at home, you never count them out.  the Jays will counter today with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who is 3-0 against the Royals in his last four games against them with a 2.73 ERA.  Should be fun to watch, although I will be chained in my cubicle at work and will miss it. 

Moving on to my final notes on the weekend, what I like to call…  Quick Hits…

Johnny Manziel needs to be released and sent to a broadcast booth somewhere in the SEC with Tim Tebow, along with all of the other failed Heisman Trophy winning QB’s that couldn’t make it in the NFL (The list is LONG)

Where in the world has Benjamin Watson been?  He had 127 yards receiving and a TD in the Saints victory over Atlanta Thursday night

Jay Gruden just needs to start RG III and put Cousins back where he belongs, holding a clip board.  You’re paying this guy all this money and you are sitting him week to week.  Are you that afraid he is gonna get injured so you don’t have to pay him $16 mil next year?

Landry Jones should start for the Steelers until Ben comes back.  He knows the offense, he was more effective than Vick, and he is one of the main reasons the Steelers won last week.

Adrian Peterson is NOT the AP we remember.  He cant get going, and the year off has softened him to the point where it appears he is afraid to get hit.

The Bengals are for real, and the AFC better take note.  The Bengals are RIGHT NOW the only team in the conference that has even a REMOTE chance of beating the Patriots.

Welcome back Megatron, we’ve missed you…

Blake Bortles is still terrible…

Did anyone think think Dan Campbell was capable of changing the attitude of the Dolphins the way he did last week?  I didn’t

Cam Newton is a better QB than Russell Wilson, and if Seattle doesn’t figure out their OL troubles, Wilson is gonna be hurt before the season is over.

Philip Rivers threw for 502 yards…  against Green Bay…  at Lambeau..  think about that…

Steve Smith Sr. is still a human highlight reel, and to think he will retire when the season is over is sad.

Dear Chuck Pagano…  enjoy your last season as the Indianapolis Colts Head Coach.  WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??

The only thing good about that game last night between Philly and NY was the Star Wars trailer at halftime.

Have a good week everyone…

Scott Wright “The Sports Nerd”

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