There was no winner last night. The scoreboard is a filthy, disgusting liar. The Giants didn’t win, the Vikings didn’t win, and we — the innocent football-watching public — most certainly did not win.
Oh sure, the Giants “won” 23-7, but only because by default there has to be a winner named in each contested football game. There was a combined 463 yards of offense, a number that sounds sort of alright for an eighth of a second until you realize that the contribution from both teams (206 yards for the Vikings, and 257 for the Giants) was below the per game average of the last-place Jaguars (282.0).
The suck virus in this one was strong, with Victor Cruz the highest producing receiver or running back, even though he chipped in just 50 yards of offense. Adrian Peterson was rather comically given only 13 carries even though Josh Freeman was making his first start after only 13 days to digest the Vikings’ playbook, and even though the game didn’t truly get out of hand until the fourth quarter (it was 10-7 at halftime), and even though the Giants ranked 21st against the run. Usually that doesn’t matter, though, as a week ago Peterson turned another minimal workload (only 13 touches), into a pretty decent day with 83 yards. Last night? A tiny 56 yards on 15 touches, and worse, 28 yards on 13 carries (just 2.2 yards per carry).
But the true stench came from Freeman. Since he can’t say an unkind word about anyone, Jon Gruden reminded us repeatedly that learning a playbook in less than two weeks isn’t an easy thing. That’s certainly true, and it’s something casual couch sitter and TV-yeller fan ignores with ease. BREAKING: football is complex and difficult.
However, that Freeman safety net last night could only be extended so far, because a lack of playbook familiarity shouldn’t subtract from basic fundamental skills. Like, oh I dunno, accuracy, of which Freeman had none. On any throw, really, as even simple check downs and throws to the flats went sideways and wayward.
The result was all of 3.6 yards per pass attempt on his 53 tries to throw a forward pass (only 190 yards overall). For some perspective, Brandon Weeden is quite rightfully having his NFL existence questioned after a similarly horrifying outing Sunday during a loss to Green Bay. Freeman’s YPA beat Weeden by only 0.1 this week.
Of course, the suck thickens when we look at his completion percentage. Just 37.7 percent of Freeman’s passes found their desired destination, which makes him only the fifth quarterback since the merger to throw 50 or more passes in a game and complete less than 40 percent of them. What’s even more fun is that his 33 incompletions were more than the number throw by Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers this week…combined.
Freeman will likely get one more start and one more week to both learn the playbook and suck all the fantasy value out of every Vikings player. But then Christian Ponder will be re-inserted, or maybe Matt Cassel.
Quickly, it’s becoming clear that the Vikings’ future quarterback isn’t currently employed by the Vikings.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
This is the meaning of the Internet
Just watch, and let the tears flow.
And while we’re in Kansas City
As many a comedian has noted, you can get away with pretty much anything once you’re old, which includes pissing yourself. Unfortunately, this inebriated soul does not meet the minimum age qualifications.
Everyone wants them some Josh Gordon
Selfishly for fake footballing purposes, it would be nice if the Browns caved and traded Josh Gordon. The problem right now is that due to three straight wins immediately upon Gordon’s return from suspension, the Browns are still dealing with the false hope that they’re in playoff contention. Currently Cleveland is a very attainable two games back of the AFC North leading Bengals, and if the season was closer to its conclusion they’d be among a mountainous gaggle of teams with a realistic shot at a Wild Card berth (there are six teams with either a 3-4 or 4-3 record in the AFC).
Detonating the season when there’s still a chance to compete is the reality the Browns face right now with a possible Gordon trade, and he’s one of the hottest commodities a week away from the trading deadline. That’s especially true after the Reggie Wayne injury Sunday. Add that to the Randall Cobb injury last week, and it’s not hard to understand why this is happening…
At least 3 teams have contacted Browns about deal for WR Josh Gordon; two have standing offers of a high pick and a player. Browns balking.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 21, 2013
It’s also not hard to understand why the last part is happening, though the Browns are left with a difficult situation due to the aforementioned mirage provided by the standings.
The Trent Richardson trade was a clear communication that making 2013 go kaboom is the goal of this new Browns front office, which is why their insistence that Gordon won’t be moved feels like posturing. But again, herein lies the conundrum: one more win may take them out of the Teddy Bridgewater running entirely, and that could already be over, as the team with the first overall pick has won only two games in each of the past three seasons.
The Jay Cutler injury leaves us with a lot of horrible
As the tears have dried following a particularly carnage-filled week, and the fantasy owners of Doug Martin and Reggie Wayne will now attempt to continue their existence through the waiver wire, one of the few positive ripple effects of the injuries is tied to Jay Cutler.
Cutler will miss at least a month with a torn groin, which is the most man-insulting football injury imaginable. There’s a little bit of luck at play here, because Cutler’s actual game absence is shortened by a week with the Bears’ entering their Week 8 bye, and backup Josh McCown will now get more time to prepare for his at least three-game replacement duty.
During that time the production potential of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery takes a nice face punch, but conversely Matt Forte may actually get a bump up because of his increased usage, through only a slight one. I’d love to use 2011 as a case study to gauge exactly how things will play out since Cutler missed the final five games of that year. But even if we disregard the coaching changes (which isn’t a thing we should be in the habit of disregarding), that season is still irrelevant because Marshall and Jeffery weren’t employed by the Bears yet, and Forte missed the same time period with an injury of his own.
But while there’s hope for you Forte owning folk just from sheer carry volume, assuming you’ll get crooked numbers may end in more depression. If Cutler misses only those three games, Forte will be running against the Packers’ third-ranked rush defense, and a Ravens front seven giving up only 3.8 yards per carry.
The Bills went ghost hunting
Back in the olden times, team bonding was limited to an evening and later a morning at a tavern that serves the county’s best moonshine. Now, large men gather to chase ghosts.
What the……am I doing here? This ain’t for me I don’t play with spirits pic.twitter.com/y0NWJJk6Ni
— Aaron Williams (@ajwilliams23) October 22, 2013
That’s cornerback Aaron Williams, and according to Twitter dot com he joined Fred Jackson, Jeff Tuel, Robert Woods, and Chris Cragg for some spirit hunting. Jackson showed up in his regular Monday attire.
— Fred Jackson (@Fred22Jackson) October 22, 2013
The oddness of the Patriots field goal penalty
You’re familiar enough with this kerfuffle by now that the details don’t need to be repeated. Short version: New England lost to the Jets largely because of a penalty on an overtime field-goal attempt when Chris Jones pushed a teammate at the line of scrimmage, and this has made tin-foil hat wearers in a certain area of the continent quite angry.
On Monday Bill Belichick admitted the obvious: he misunderstood the rule which states that on a punt or field goal block attempt defensive players can’t push each other into the offensive line. But he’s come about that misunderstanding honestly, because a maneuver which is obviously a special teams strategy for the Patriots has been ignored entirely in recent weeks.
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 21, 2013