Monday, January 10, 2011

Sundays recap and more uses of the word 'decertify'

Better late than never they always say. Unless of course your commuting a sentence to a prisoner on death row, in which case late is probably worse than never. On that note, let's recap Sunday's action. Baltimore Ravens 30 @ Kansas City Chiefs 7 I needed to check something after the game just to be sure and indeed on inspecting the official game book I was right. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles did only get 2 carries in the second half. This is the same Jamaal Charles who carried the ball 7 times for 87 yards and a TD in the first half. That's an average of 12.4 yards per carry. This is why I have absolutely no sympathy for the Chiefs, their offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis or Head Coach Todd Haley. I understand, trust me I do, that the nuances of coaching are not always apparent to the naked eye or to the cold data of the end of game statistics. But I also know this much; Jamaal Charles should have carried the ball more than just twice in the second half. It's ludicrous. It's absolutely inexcusable. Coaches are incredibly fond, as are most professional people, of believing that their job is so difficult it couldn't possibly be done by a lay person. Of course in most professions the technical details and tweaks are beyond most untrained individuals. But there also things about coaching, like a number of professions, that are so damn obvious even the least trained and only partially knowledgeable person could point out. Like Jamaal Charles being the Keystone of the Chiefs offense for instance. Or the fact that despite some impressive performances this season, there is absolutely no way in hell that Matt Cassel should be considered a Pro Bowl QB by any sane person. Good, I can live with. But Pro Bowl? Give me a damn break! Actually Cassel did, by going 9/18 for 70 yards and throwing 3 interceptions. Ugh! Charles ended the day with 9 carries for 82 yards and a TD. Yes, he lost yards, thanks to two bad plays. Thomas Jones, the other high quality back for the Chiefs received just 5 carries for 15 yards. It's just such an absolute joke. But it had started with promise (sort of) when the Chiefs got after the Ravens QB Joe Flacco in the first quarter and Tamba Hali (remember him from the preview yesterday?) got the sack and forced fumble. Hali ended the game with 2 sacks, a forced fumble, an additional QB hit and a pass defended. But he's not good enough for the Pro Bowl apparently (I'll let it go in 2012). Linebacker Jovan Belcher also had 1.5 sacks for the Chiefs, along with 2 tackles for loss and 2 further QB hits, while Eric Berry (watch list) recorded 4 of the Chiefs 6 passes defended, including a TD saving dive. But anyway, back to the Chiefs offense. After recovering the fumble the Chiefs got the ball and on the second play of the drive the Chiefs ran the old stretch play to the left, sending Charles rumbling 41 yards for the TD. It was only his second carry of the game. He followed it up later with carries of 11, 8 and 9 yards. Then he rumbled 4 yards and was stripped by Terrence Cody (yes, Mount Cody, the 350 odd pound Defensive Tackle) who fell on top of him to finish the play! But that's ok. Explosive runners like Charles occasionally fumble the ball. That's just one of those things you have to live with. Especially when Charles came back on the Chiefs next possession and put his bad play behind him by running for 11 yards. Then nothing. That was it. Apart from his 2 carries in the second half, that's all Charles got. How is that possible. How is that a back whose shortest run was 4 yards doesn't get to touch the ball more in the second half? And you can argue that the Chiefs ended up behind and needed to get back in the game, but judging by his average Charles was the best shot the Chiefs had! It just makes no sense to me. Like the Ravens obsession with making Joe Flacco throw the ball 25 times before half time every game. At least this time Flacco actually started to make something happen, finishing the game 25/34 for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ray Rice had 17 carries for 57 yards. Willis McGahee added another 44 yards and a TD on 10 carries. Terrell Suggs was the Ravens difference maker on defense. 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss and 4 quarterback hits helped to keep the Chiefs offense in check, at least outside of that brief period in the first half when Jamaal Charles was absolutely hanging the Ravens D out to dry. Ray Lewis also pitched in as you might expect, with a sack, tackles for loss, a QB hit and forced fumble. All in all, the Chiefs were their own worst enemy. According to the well known and much respected Ancient Greek Writer Pausanias, there was an inscription made in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo, at Delphi. It simply translates as "Know Thyself". This of course echo's the famous saying by Chinese General, Politician and Strategist, Sun Tzu; "So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." (Page 82, The Art of War, translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Dragon Editions). The Chiefs may or may not have known the enemy, but they appeared to know little about themselves and as a result a glorious opportunity to energise the Kansas fan base with a playoff win was lost, through no fault but their own. That means that Baltimore now heads to Heinz Field to play Pittsburgh in what promises to be a great rivalry game, while the Jets head to Foxborough for a similarly chop licking encounter. Green Bay Packers 21 @ Philadelphia Eagles 16 The NFL's golden boy is no more. Well, he's not in the playoffs anymore at least. It was a close run thing though. With just a little over 30 seconds remaining, Vick threw the ball up into the endzone where it was picked off by Tramon Williams. One of the key components in the rebirth of the Packers defense this year cemented his reputation by sealing the win. A win that showed the Packers still have some versatility on offense. The worry coming into this game was that they would become one dimensional in the playoffs, unable to relieve the pressure on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game. Rookie RB James Starks put that to bed with 23 carries for 123 tough yards. This helped to keep the chains moving and set up Aaron Rodgers to go 18/27 for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hitting 9 different receivers over the course of the game, Rodgers did enough with the passing game to help secure the win. The Packers also owe a lot to their defense. Clay Matthews and co. pulled off some vital sacks and of course won the game with the sole interception of Vick. In the end the league MVP candidate completed just 20/36 for for 292 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. On the ground he mustered just 33 yards and a sneaked TD on 8 carries. LeSean McCoy was held to 46 yards off 12 carries. DeSean Jackson had 2 catches for 47 yards. The Eagles defense managed only 2 sacks. In a way, it was a bit disappointing. I was kind of expecting the loser of this game to go down in a blaze of glory, on the bad end of a 45-42 shootout. Instead we got quite a conservative score from two teams well known for lighting up the opposition and the Eagles dropped out of the playoffs in something of a damp squib. That now means that the Packers progress to face Atlanta in the Georgia Dome, while Seattle will travel to Soldier Field to face Chicago. Now in other news: -- According to NBC's Mike Florio, Mike Mayock is a Genius. The qualification for this prestigious award? Not writing off the Seahawks as many had done and instead giving them a "fighters chance" in their playoff game against the Saints. My question then is thus; given that I too gave the Seahawks a fighters chance, does that make me a genius in Florio's eyes as well? Especially given that my rookie watch list scored a few more hits than Mayock did with the draft. Wheres my big TV contract? -- We finish today with another article from, who finally seem to have realised something that I pointed out a long time ago; the NFLPA can prevent a lockout anytime they wish. To quote specifically from their article; "Of course, the ability of the union to decertify and block a lockout also makes a lockout less likely. Union officials continuously gloss over that fact. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah has said that the union prefers to work out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement over decertifying." Whatever the NFLPA may "prefer", the fact still remains that any talk of a lockout is utter nonsense fabricated by the NFLPA. They have within their power the ability to block a lockout at any time and so, if indeed a lockout occurs in 2011, it will be the fault of the players and not the owners. I don't particularly like defending the owners because let's face it, they're the ones who charge you $30 to park and $100 to go and watch pre-season games. But I also appreciate two things: 1) Honesty is more important than prejudices, 2) The reason the owners charge so much money for parking fees is because the players wages are so damn inflated.

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