THINGS I LEARNED THIS WEEKEND (from watching sports)

10Sep12

Since this was the first week of the NFL regular season, and things rarely go as planned in week one, I decided to make a list of a few things that I learned while watching America’s favorite sport this weekend.

I came up with a short list of items, then realizing that the short list was too long, cut it down to an even shorter list.  Here is what I came up with.

1)      Rex Ryan is a genius! 

How else can you explain what the Jets did to the visiting Bills of Buffalo?  During the off-season, the King of the Jets orchestrated a deal that brought Tim Tebow to New York.  The media went nuts!  Why in the world would Sir Ryan do such a crazy thing?  Wasn’t it hard enough to get Mark Sanchez to perform without the additional headache of worrying about the media’s darling taking away from his playing time?

To make matters worse, neither one of them were able to generate a single touchdown during any of their four pre-season games.  This only served to solidify every expert’s opinion that the team had no offensive weapons and it didn’t matter which one started at QB, the Jets would still lose.

I must admit, I was fooled as much as the experts were on this one.  (See ‘NFL Games of the Week – Week One’, dated 9/8/12.)  I had the Bills over the Jets in the Upset of the Week.

Now it all makes sense to us mere mortals.  This was the game plan all along.  Einstein Ryan pulled off the deal that brought Tebow to the Big Apple, knowing that everyone would focus on the catastrophe that was sure to happen.  Then he purposely had the team look pathetic during the pre-season games, in order to drive the message home that you don’t need to take the Jets seriously this year.

Then he invited the team from the upper reaches of his state to come to town for a friendly game, unaware that the trap had been set.

When the game began, he turned his real team loose on the unknowing Bills, snapping their star running back in half and punishing their quarterback every time he tried to throw a pass.

On top of that, Mr. Tebow barely saw the light of day, while Mr. Sanchez proceeded to have a career game, as the hometown Jets destroyed the Bills in every aspect of the game.

There’s no doubt about it.  Rex Ryan is a genius!

2)      Sometimes a good defense and an average offense are good enough!

Just ask the Washington Redskins.  They came to New Orleans a 7 ½ point underdog.  Nobody was expecting them to keep up with the high-octane offense of the Saints.

All they did was win the turnover battle (3-0) and the sack battle (2-1).  This allowed them to keep possession of the ball for nearly 40 of the 60 minutes in the game.

As a result, they were able to outgain the Saints 464 yards to 348 yards.  More importantly, this allowed them to keep up with them on the scoreboard, pulling out the victory 40-32.

The Arizona Cardinals would also agree.  The Seattle Seahawks came to town, fully expecting to jam the ball down the throats of the Cardinals defense.  With all of the controversy over who the starting quarterback was going to be in Arizona, nobody expected much offense at all.

The problem with that theory is the fact that the Cardinals have one of the most ferocious Red-Zone defenses in the league.  Anyone who watched the second half of last season already knew that.

Seattle must have forgotten, but they were reminded quickly and often throughout the game, including the final stand when they had the ball first and goal at the Cardinals’ six yard line with less than a minute remaining in the game and down by four points.

They proceeded to gain two yards over the next four plays before being forced to watch the final eighteen seconds click away, losing 20-16.

The 49ers of San Francisco might agree with this philosophy, after they shut down the high powered Green Bay Packers 30-22.  Then again, their offense looked a bit more than average, as they churned out 186 yards on the ground and 191 yards through the air in a very balanced and controlled offensive effort.

Still, it was their mighty defense that won the game, keeping Aaron Rodgers on the run for most of the day and completely shutting down the Packers running game.

3)      If the leadership of the NFL cannot reach an agreement with the referee’s union this week, they should be fired, impeached, overthrown or whatever it takes to remove them from their positions.

Any sports fan that watched any game this week cannot argue this point!

4)      If there is anyone east of the Rockies that still does not believe the PAC-12 is to be taken seriously, they’re just plain stupid!

Okay, so this one is college, not NFL.  But come on, did you see what this conference did over the weekend?  No?  Okay, can you name at least eight of the twelve teams in this conference?  No?  That’s what I thought.

Of the nine non-conference victories the PAC-12 earned this weekend, four of them are worthy of mention

1)      Arizona State over Illinois 45-14.  Alright, so Illinois wasn’t a top 25 team.  But many experts were picking them to come into Tempe and manhandle the Sun Devils.  The funny thing is, the score doesn’t even reflect how badly Arizona State destroyed the visiting team!

2)      Arizona over #18 Oklahoma State 59-38.  The Cowboys scored two quick touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, seemingly on their way to the rout that everyone expected.  Then Arizona proceeded to rattle off 30 unanswered points, never relinquishing the lead again.  A 48-yard interception return for a touchdown with 10:24 remaining removed any doubt that the game was theirs.

3)      UCLA over #16 Nebraska 36-30.  The Cornhuskers assumed that they would get their traditional victory over the Bruins, as UCLA had only beaten Nebraska one time since 1973.  But a ferocious sack in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, followed up by a 54-yard touchdown run gave the Bruins the lead for good.

4)      Oregon State over #13 Wisconsin 10-7.  The Beavers utilized a hard hitting defense to smother the Badgers star running back, holding Montee Ball to 61 yards and no touchdowns, the first time he was held scoreless in 21 games.  They made life miserable for Wisconsin’s quarterback Danny O’Brien, sacking him three times and intercepting him once.

I know it’s only week #2, but if teams don’t start paying attention, and a little more respect, for the PAC-12 teams that are not USC or Oregon, they will surely end up in the same boat as the four opponents listed above.

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