Week 3 Thoughts and Feelings

This Sunday was actually the first week that I was able to couch plop for ten hours and watch nonstop football action. I’ve mentioned my mild critique of the Red Zone Experience in the past, in that it lessens a fan’s ability to feel the flow of an individual game, but since the Raiders Pats game didn’t do much for me, I zoned hard from 1 to 7:30. These are a few things I noticed:

  • Speaking of the Raiders Pats game, I passed on the 14 point favorite in Eliminator pools. Not that I thought they could lose, but I decided to go with the “they won’t go 0-3” Saints at home against the Vikes. Because I was in this non-Patriots minority, I was able to enjoy the Raiders final drive, as opposed to clinging to the edge of my seat. Not the prettiest performance by the local guys. I had already convinced myself that, if they happened to score, Oakland would be foolish to not try a two-point conversion for the win. They’re Oakland, so I’m sure they would have done the wrong thing, but if you’re a two touchdown underdog, riding a rookie QB against a future Hall of Famer on the road, and you haven’t moved the ball all day, you go for the win if you have the chance. No question. I am a big believer that, in crunch time situations, a great measure of “what should we do?” can be decided by asking oneself “what would my opponent prefer that I do?” and then do the opposite. 4th and a half yard from the 50, up 4, my opponent would prefer that I punt. Go for it. Down 16-15 with 30 seconds to go, what would the Pats have wanted the Raiders to do. Lucky for New England fans, Oakland Oaklanded and Wilfork Island came to the rescue, but wow that hypothetical two point conversion would have been a stress fest for survivor pools.
  • Is it twisted that the moment I enjoyed the most all day Sunday was a player suffering a serious knee injury? In case you missed it, Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch tore his ACL doing a Discount Double Check sack dance of Aaron Rodgers.  If you missed it, here it is.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-pIeGgKtIs.  Nicely done. The bonehead look-at-me moment was in complete contrast to something that happened about an hour earlier.  Before football came on, I was watching the end of the Manchester City – Chelsea game.  Correct me if I am wrong, futbol fans, but there was some sort of messy breakup between Chelsea and old Englishman Frank Lampard.  Something like Chelsea didn’t want him anymore, so he signed with the NYC soccer team, but went on loan to Manchester City for now as the NYC team hasn’t joined MLS yet. Well down to 10 men, down 1-0 in the 85th minute, on as a sub, who buries one in the back of the net against his former team? Lampard of course! If that was me, I don’t think I would be able to stop myself from unleashing a flock of double birds to my old team and coach. An uncountable flock of birds. Not Lampard – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQaBTTIv6ek – no celebration at all! Stone cold assassin.  Basically the coolest celebration ever, new favorite player. *if none of this is accurate and I have no idea what I am talking about I apologize.
  • Speaking of celebrations, self-absorption, and nonsensical behavior, we had the DeSean Jackson return to Philadelphia on Sunday. A few things from this situation:
    • Not really sure why the Philly fans were booing him so heavily from the get go, since the team cut him. Not like he chose to leave himself. Just shows the power of laundry I guess.
    • Maybe this is totally hypocritical after scoffing at Tulloch’s ACL tear in the previous paragraph, but man , DeSean Jackson is such an unbelievably arrogant, cocky, selfish player, I am drawn to it. On one of the first plays from scrimmage, he caught a slant, was tackled, and got up and two-hand shoved one of his ex-teammates. Risk a 15 yard penalty for the team? Not important. Later in the game he broke free for an 80 yard touchdown, and then do an awesome end zone dance mocking the Eagles fans.  Totally hypocritical, but a true caricature and I appreciate him for it.  Embrace it.
    • I think the opinion has been gaining steam for a while, but Sunday pushed it to the forefront of NFL discussion – Kirk Cousins can seriously play and Robert Griffin’s days as the Washington QB may be over already.  Griffin is obviously the better athlete, I shouldn’t have even bothered to write that, but Cousins is the better passer and seems more in control of the offense.  One of those attributes has a longer track record of success in the league. Sorry Bob.
  • In my mind, two teams in particular entered the week at 2-0 after a very impressive first two games.  They went different ways in Week 3.
    • The first was the Bengals, who continued their upward ascension after smothering the Titans 33-7 at home. In an era in which games never seem to be over, even after a team takes a three score lead, the fact that the Bengals never gave Tennessee a shred of hope on Sunday was notable, even if the Titans aren’t world beaters.  I’ve long said that Andy Dalton gets about 25% less respect than he deserved SOLELY due to his hair color. His playoff appearances thus far in his career don’t help, but this team has a nasty defense (10.6 ppg allowed) and game changers at both WR and RB. I don’t rule out the Ravens in the North yet, but Cincy at the Pats in Week 5 looks like an early matchup that could decide who gets a bye in January.
    • The second team that had wholly impressed me through two weeks was the Carolina Panthers.  A very popular pick to regress from a surprise 2013 season, the team looked solid in a road win in Tampa and exceptional in stifling the Lions at home. Maybe the defense of 2013 was 100% as advertised, and this team could steal the NFC South again. Well after their showing on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers, I’m sure I am not alone in second guessing those thoughts.  Cam Newton did not look healthy, they’re losing running backs left and right, and the previously elite defense got shredded for 30+ points. Couple that with the Saints getting their first win and the Falcons hanging 56 on the Bucs, and the Panthers look a lot more like the 8-8 projection than they did 72 hours ago. Tough trip to Baltimore comes next.
  • It wouldn’t be a Bradford post without mentioning the Rams collapse from up 21-0 at home against Dallas.  Heading into the season, my mindset was that we had a chance for the playoffs, provided Bradford stayed upright (LOL). Once he went down, and they got embarrassed in Week 1, it was over.  But after a Week 2 win and a 21-0 lead on Sunday, sadly enough, I had talked myself into Austin Davis maybe being the next coming of Kurt Warner. Unbiased, I know. Not really sure how it happened, but a 34-10 run later, I am ready to call it a season again. Even the most hopeful of the 75 or so Rams fans couldn’t find much hope in what lies ahead:
    • Week 4: BYE
    • Week 5: @ Philly (the Bradford Pear will be reporting live from the Linc)
    • Week 6: v San Fran
    • Week 7: v Seattle
    • Week 8: @ KC (Arrowhead, you guys)
    • Week 9: @ San Fran
    • Week 10: @ Arizona
    • Week 11: v Denver
    • Week 12: @ San Diego

Who is the jerk that came up with this schedule? Only 7 playoff teams in 8 weeks, with the other being a road game against the team that went 10-6 and just missed in 2013! So basically, I need to find someone besides Jameis Winston (I would quit) and Marcus Mariota (I can’t see running an Oregon offense translating to NFL success) to fall head over heels for on Saturdays between now and December. Any suggestions?

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