Pigskin Ponderosa

Sunday Pigskin Ponderosa: Alex Smith Up, Joe Flacco Down

The Texans, 49ers, Eagles, Chargers, Cardinals are all 2-0. Which of those things just doesn’t belong?

Week 2 time y’all.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: ARIZONA STUNS NEW ENGLAND.

I can’t honestly say that Arizona defeating New England was high on my “things I’d see on Sunday” list. Arizona rode their defense to the finish line despite Ryan Williams nearly giving away the game. The Cards sacked Tom Brady four times and intercepted him once in a 20-18 win (there is more Patriot-related fare on this one down the line on this one). Anyhow, here are a few Cardinal-centric observations:

  1. Calais Campbell is a baller.
  2. Darnell Dockett is a baller.
  3. Patrick Peterson is a baller.
  4. Kevin Kolb is NOT a baller.

While the win and how it happened is stunning, it shouldn’t necessarily be earth-shattering. Since Week 9 last year, the Cardinals are 9-2.

Meanwhile, over the same stretch, the defending Super Bowl champion Giants are 5-6 in regular season action.

Go figure.

NOT-SO BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE WEEK: SEATTLE SMOKES DALLAS.

Straight from the “we should have seen this one coming” department, Dallas upset the Giants back on September 5. Eleven days later, they were in Seattle to play Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

They went from a prime-time battle against the defending Super Bowl champions and a division enemy to playing Pete Carroll’s nondescript bunch in one of the NFL’s league loudest stadiums.

In a classic case of a letdown game, Seattle throttled Dallas, 27-7. Score one for the evil NFL scheduling geniuses.

The meeting also allowed us to relive a horrifying moment in Cowboys postseason history. It was the first time Dallas returned to Seattle since…you know.

WORST PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: WASHINGTON’S JOSH MORGAN

Potentially closing in on a 2-0 start of its own, the Redskins trailed St. Louis 31-28 late in the fourth quarter on Jeff Fisher Mustache Day.

Washington had the ball at Rams 36 with 1:27 left on a 3rd and 8. RG3 hit Morgan on a quick pass that gained seven yards. After the play was over, Finnegan pushed Morgan, who promptly threw the ball at the surly cornerback.

Thus, a 4th and 1 became an insurmountable 4th and 16. Game over. Rams win 31-28.

We all agree that Cortland Finnegan is a dope, right?

That’s still no excuse for what Morgan did.

Brian Orakpo’s flabbergasted sideline reaction perfectly captured the stupidity, importance, and sheer absurdity of Morgan’s gaffe.

WORST USE OF PROSPERITY: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 

With 1:01 left in the game, New England received a Miracle in the Meadowlands-esque gift from Ryan Williams, when the second year runner fumbled the ball at Arizona’s 30.

Once Vince Wilfork recovered, victory appeared to be a formality; especially since Stephen Gostkowski was already 4-4 in field goal attempts during the game.

That was until the Patriots self-destructed in the final minute.

Let’s take a look at the final series:

  1. 1-10-ARI 30(1:01) Brady incomplete to Welker.
  2. 2-10-ARI 30(:58) Woodhead up the middle for 30 yards for a TD. Play nullified by a holding penalty against Gronkowski.
  3. 2-10-ARI 30(:52) Brady complete to Welker at ARI 18 for 12 yards.
  4. 1-10-ARI 18(:46) Brady right guard to ARI 17 for 1 yard. Gronkowski false start penalty for 5 yards.
  5. 1-15-ARI 23(:46) Brady right guard to ARI 24 for -1 yards.
  6. 2-16-ARI 24(:07) 12-T.Brady spiked the ball to stop the clock.
  7. 3-16-ARI 24(:05) 3-S.Gostkowski 42 yard field goal is no good.

The holding penalty was an obvious killer. However, they got to the ARI 18 on the next play. The most damaging part of the series came with :46 seconds left.

Gronkowski gets called for a false start to move it back to the ARI 23. Then, on first down, Brady “centers” the kick for Gostkowski by taking the snap and moving right for a loss of a yard.

Brady spiked it on second down after :39 seconds ran off the clock before Gostkowski shanked the 42-yarder.

While that kick is makable, a few more yards would have been nice.

SUPER BOWL THAT WOULD FORCE FANS INTO ALCOHOLISM: RAVENS VS. EAGLES 

After Philadelphia defeated Baltimore 24-23, I told my Dad that a Ravens/Eagles Super Bowl would require me to brandish a bottle of Jim Beam to get through it.

Why you ask?

Michael Vick opened the game with a strong drive into the red zone and was promptly intercepted in the end zone by Baltimore’s Bernard Pollard.

Moments later, Joe Flacco fumbled it back to the Eagles on his opening drive.

Also, Baltimore squandered a 17-7 halftime lead and a 23-17 fourth quarter advantage.

The Eagles committed four more turnovers, including two more Vick interceptions, and nearly coughed up a game-sealing fifth until instant replay intervened prior to their go-ahead score.

Elsewhere, Flacco missed on 10 of his first 11 passes in the second half.

A leopard never changes its spots and neither will either of these quarterbacks.

Watching Vick and Flacco compete for a Super Bowl against each other would be a torture similar to those suffered by Guantanamo Bay detainees that were forced to listen to the theme from Sesame Street.

A SIGN THAT WEEK 1 LIES: STEELERS ROMP JETS. 

It was all sunshine and butterflies for the Jets after tagging Buffalo for 48 points in Week 1. Days later, the Jets posted only 219 yards in a 27-10 loss to the Steelers.

A SIGN THAT WEEK 1 DOESN’T LIE: SAINTS DEFENSE GETS HAMMERED AGAIN.

Carolina ran roughshod over the Saints in a 35-27 loss. Through two games, New Orleans has allowed 922 yards and 75 points. Woof. One is an accident, two is a trend. Sounds like 0-2 to me.

Perhaps New Orleans could have used a fan to intervene on their behalf yesterday.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: HARBAUGH AND SCHWARTZ SHAKE HANDS. 

One of the major Week 2 storylines revolved around another Lions/49ers get-together. Would Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz engage in another whiny handshake exchange?

Nope.

The two shook hands pre-game before Schwartz’s Lions got waxed by Harbaugh’s Niners, 27-12.

WORST ROOKIE HEAD COACH CONDUCT: TOM COUGHLIN ADMONISHES GREG SCHIANO. 

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is an excitable man, especially when one of his players is getting unfairly abused.

Eli Manning, who threw for 510 yards in a 41-34 win over Tampa yesterday, was the centerpiece of the game’s controversial conclusion.

While Manning attempted to take a knee, Bucs defenders knocked over the Super Bowl XLVI MVP in order to jar the ball loose.

Color Tom Coughlin unenthused. He lambasted Schiano post-game over Tampa’s conduct.

Good for you Coach Coughlin.

BEST JOE FLACCO IMPERSONATION: ALEX SMITH

Give the much-maligned Smith props. He went 20 of 31 for 226 yards with two touchdown passes as the 49ers jumped to 2-0.

WORST JOE FLACCO IMPERSONATION: JOE FLACCO

As mentioned earlier, Flacco was awful in the second half at Philly. I’ve grown tired hearing about tales of a reformed, new and improved Flacco.

After starting 14 for 17 yesterday, Flacco completed eight of his final 25 passes.

Looks like the same old Joe to me.

That’s not an elite quarterback, folks. That’s a game manager.

WHAT TO WATCH NEXT WEEK: LET ME SEE YOUR 1-2 STEP. 

Two great AFC clashes headline Week 3.

The main event features the 1-1 Ravens hosting the 1-1 Patriots on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of last season’s AFC title game.

That Texans/Broncos matchup isn’t a bad undercard either.

Categories: Pigskin Ponderosa

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