Monday, November 30, 2015

Top 10 reasons why Kobe Bryant is retiring

Can't Live Without The Smush
10) Wants some of that sweet Rocking Chair and Denture Grip swag

9) Wants to go out on damn near absolute bottom

8) There aren't any other reasons yet to watch this Laker team

7) Being the worst shooter in the NBA can only get you minutes for so long

6) Will finally have time to go to Colorado and find the real rapists

5) Wanted to be sure to get one last, utterly undeserved, All-Star Game appearance

4) A man can only keep up and comers like Nick Young and Lou Williams on the bench for so long

3) Can't resist playing himself in daily fantasy sites, and is getting killed

2) He's not hurt, just turrible

1) It's just not the same without teammates like Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Isaiah Rider, Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison and Smush (Smush!) Parker

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Top 10 NFL Week 12 Ad Questions

Oooh baby baby get dirty
10) Is one of the signs of unusual behavior for Tamiflu gigantism?

9) Do you need to rely on wishing to afford a Mercedes?

8) Are Ford van owners prone to hallucinations about their tools?

7) Is timestop a side effect of Cialis, and if so, can I use that at my local casino?

6) Does owning an Acura make you lose all short-term memory and tolerate kids leaving toys all over the place?

5) If the Marines are all about bringing in aid, what's with all of the guns?

4) Does owning an Intel processor make you more willing to engage in activities that could kill you?

3) Can I own an LG phone without making twee selfie videos?

2) Why is Wal-Mart making a big deal out of home-made gifts that clearly did not come from their terrible Third World facories?

1) Can you have a truck commercial without mud?

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Worst Case Chip Kelly Scenario

Sometimes, It's This Obvious
So what was your favorite moment from the Lions - Eagles game, folks? I think mine was Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson scoring multiple TDs on single coverage against rookie CB Eric Rowe, who was only in the game due to an injury to starting CB Nolan Carroll. In these plays, you had the entire failure of the Chump Kelly Era on full display, in that you have a mindless defensive move putting a player in the greatest possible place for failure, just because changing the scheme in any way was beyond the abilities of the coaching staff.

Kelly has prized versatility in his personnel selections and training... so Rowe has spent time as a corner, a nickel, and a safety. He's also not been on the field very much, because he hasn't been judged as better than street meat EJ Biggers as a slot man... but since he looks big enough to be a corner, in he goes following the injury. Against one of the five best WRs of his era, at home, on a day when Lions QB Matthew Stafford is playing up to his full potential. In this environment, in the last meaningful football game of the season, defensive coordinator Billy Davis can only put Rowe in to a situation where he has no double team help, where the high-priced mediocrity on the other side, CB Brandon Maxwell, is free to jog around and escape primary blame in the second-straight beatdown. Just as Davis did last year, when the season was going down in flames because Bradley Fletcher couldn't defend anyone, and kept getting singled up against Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant.

You've heard how Patriots coach Bill Belichick always takes away your primary option? The Eagles in the Kelly Era always want to give you that option. Whoever your best guy is, they will have an opportunity to shine. There's honestly no reason or evidence that this team scouts games, or knows anything about the other team's personnel. This Megatron guy? Clearly no better than Golden Tate. Don't guard him any different.

We've heard, from this fraud, how culture beats scheme. Which is nonsense writ large, because there is no one choosing you to have one or the other. What it has meant, as shorthand, is that the players who were tossed aside were Bad People and Secret Losers, because they didn't buy into what the coach was selling.

But what does it say about your culture where a rookie with very few snaps is hung out to dry? What does it say about your culture when players jog after ball carriers, because they've lost any of the want that is required to play defense at the NFL level? What does it say that in blowouts, you punt, because you just want the game to end as fast as possible? What does it say when four Pro Bowl players from the offense you inherited are gone for no return on investment, but that Riley Cooper and Miles Austin and Mark Sanchez and other Get Along Can't Play people are here?

What it says is that they aren't winning another game this year. What it says is that Kelly *has* to go, no matter what kind of photos he has of owner Jeff Lurie, no matter how little the team wants to be seen as bowing to the mob with torches and pitchforks.

Sometimes, the mob is right. Sometimes, it really is as obvious as it is right now, that the team is in a shambles, that very little that Chump has done has worked, that the team has no QB, no WR1, no RB1, no CB1, no DC, no HC, and is one of the five worst teams in the NFL. Continuing down this path is just bad money and time after good. Telling yourselves the lie that the talent is acceptable, that the coaching will come around, and that this is anything but a tear-down now, is just pissing down the back of the fan base, and telling them it's rain.

There are no other franchises in town that are doing anything else of worth, of course. Baseball season is five months away. The NBA Draft, where the Sixers fan base might finally feel hope again, is eight months away. The fan base will cry for blood, and if they don't get it, will go find something else to occupy their time.

That, by the way, is the *best* case scenario for Kelly; that the fan base is so turned off by this train wreck that they can "work" in relative calm. The worst case is that the scorn that's felt fuels deranged behavior and over-the-top demonstrations, and feeds the national media's need and narrative that Philadelphia Fan is an over the top hate monster, rather than pretty much the same person that watches sports in every other major city. Which means that Next Coach will not see this as an opportunity in a big city, with a great facility, where the owner will give you all the power you'd ever want, so long as you give him the hope that he might finally be seen as smart, rather than absentee.

Five games left. They can't all be as bad as the last two. Or can they?

Eagles - Lions Takeaways

Caption Is Too Much Effort
> In a microcosm of the year, Brent Celek scored and got hurt

> RBs Theo Riddick and Joique Bell were wide open on routes from the backfield, which doesn't say much for Mychal Kendricks, or how the pass defense has just fallen apart after the loss of MLB Jordan Hicks

> Just to make sure the team beatdown was total, K Caleb Sturgis missed an early figgie

> If there is a defense in the NFL that produces more comfort than the Eagles in the last two weeks, I haven't seen it

> When Mssrs. Buck and Aikman can see your personnel flaws, they are visible from space

> When the Lion offense failed to score a touchdown on a drive in this game, it was a matter of unforced error, rather than any actual act of defense

> Rookie CB Eric Rowe got solo coverage on WR Calvin Johnson, because DC Billy Davis knows no other scheme than Line Them Up And See What Happens

> The game-ending drive to end the game that lead off the second half was in no way like last week's game-ending drive to start the second half

> For the second straight week, Chump Kelly punted and quit on his team, because he's got nearly as much heart as his defense

> Third down sacks against this offense are so obvious, I kept wondering why Kelly wouldn't just start punting on third

> Before Detroit took their foot off the gas, the defense gave up 80 points in 100 minutes

> I'd add in more takeaways from the fourth quarter, but that would be showing more effort than the Eagles

> This is the franchise's first loss on Thanksgiving, the official end of any post-season chance, and the very last moment that anyone in the NFL needs to regard Kelly as anything but a punchline

FTT Off-Topic: Ten Thanksgivings Past

Yup, Yup
Not sports, big Internet, move along or not.

This year, to be blunt, Thanksgiving is a bit of a challenge. It's been a difficult year with work instability, the challenges of raising 10 and 15 year old kids that get in their own way a lot... and the usual fun of being, well, in your mid to late '40s, with issues in re time and energy and so on. Combine that with terrible sports teams, and a house filled with projects that are pretty much going to have to happen this weekend, and I haven't been the most grateful of persons.

So I started remembering past holidays.Many of which have been less thankful than this one.

1989. I'm six months away from graduating college, provided I can just somehow get through two absolutely jammed semesters worth of classes, internships and work while not, well, starving or passing out. Without the time or money to go home for the holidays, I make the choice to stay and work 4 straight 17-hour days as a security guard, double-shifting while the rest of the force is home or off. I catch up on all of my studies, make enough money to get through Christmas, learn songs on guitar, and watch the Buddy Ryan Eagles beat the living garbage out of a young Troy Aikman in a 27-0 beatdown. I pretty much spend 4 days in solitude, and start doubting my sanity. Happy Thanksgiving.

1995. I'm married to my first wife, who is an amazing chef, beautiful, funny, and desperately unhappy and on edge. We're hosting a big meal in our Center City Philadelphia apartment, with a roaring fire in the fireplace, about a dozen disenfranchised from family guests, and everything has to be just so -- from place settings to presentation to courses and so on. Everything looks amazing, everything comes out right, and what should be a great evening is just awash in tension, stress, and the sense that any moment, it could all come crashing down in a fight for the ages. Less than a year later, we divorce. I think I knew it then, but just wasn't ready to admit it.

1998. I'm in San Diego on vacation with my then girlfriend, eventual second wife. We've flown out to visit my brother and his wife, and gone to Disneyland for the hell of it, when the rare event of Southern California rain happens. The park clears out, but we stay and eventually have the rides more or less to ourselves, because the best ones are inside, and people in that part of the world freak out about rain. We ride Space Mountain and an Indiana Jones jeep ride eight times in two hours, like we're hopped up on a sugar rush. It was, honestly, an incredibly important part of the courtship. In a month, in a diner on Christmas Eve, I propose.

1999. I'm married to my second and current wife, but thanks to spectacular missteps, I live in Oregon and have lost my job, which means I'm just scrambling like mad through consulting jobs and interviews, trying to find the next gig. Meanwhile, my wife lives in University City with her ex-mother-in-law, and is pregnant with our first child. We have a marvelous evening and meal, trying our best not to worry about the future, or how I'm going to have to fly out again and back to the empty house and pets. I still have no idea how we got through that time.

2000. Our first Thanksgiving in California has my wife, baby, dogs and mother-in-law. With just the one car and a commute that takes an hour and a quarter, things seem OK, but I'm already on the second gig out there in the middle of the dot-com bust. Three weeks later, what seemed like a stable port in the storm fails as well, and for the third time in 14 months, I'm trying to find a new gig with nothing in the way of savings.

2003. The start-up is going well, and we've got a chance at an IPO, which might result in enough money to actually afford a home in the crazed Bay Area market. After three months of seeing what our money might buy (short answer: terrible places that would be awful to live in), we start to investigate greater Sacramento. The houses are brand new and beautiful, and I make enough to afford living there, but the drive out is interminable, and you're living in gated communities, in instant towns, surrounded by migrant farm workers. Our child, normally a great car baby, screams the whole way out, and is quiet the whole way back. We wind up deciding not to do it, and within five years, the market has cratered, and the area where we were looking has become overrun with meth labs and squatter houses.

2006. We've moved back to the East Coast following a hire for a NYC start up, and I start five years of taking trains into the city from the greater Princeton area. The new house is great, but the eldest misses California and has issues with her school, which will eventually lead to a year of home schooling before middle school. I don't really know anyone, and the commute is a bear, but we have new problems.

2011. Three start ups have come and gone, and I've landed at a work from home gig where I work for people who I knew from California. The work is demanding and the management has obvious issues, but I like the people, and it's nice to get off the train. Thanksgiving comes after a mess of flights back and forth to California, and I'm in one of those rare but wonderful places where I can just think about work, and have it actually be about, well, work.

2013. The last time I've seen my niece, who has since dropped out of college and gone to work in a vape shop. She used to be an at-risk kid who I could take to a music store and supplement her collection with things that I knew she'd like. Now, she's pretty much someone that I'm not going to see, because it just doesn't make any sense for her to be seen. It's also the first time I've been out of my cave in weeks, because the start up I'm working for is just doing an unholy amount of business, and it's all falling on my team. My manager is profuse in her praise, and I get a bonus that I wasn't counting on. A month later, I win a poker prize for another unexpected cash out. It's just about the last time in the next two years that money and prospects seem highly promising.

2014. We're knee deep in the final Q4 rush for the last doomed start up, and while we're busy, I know that we're not really busy enough to cover what's needed in the future. The new puppy is a problem (he still is) at the table, and we eat in the front room in a new configuration that makes the house seem like a strange restaurant. I can't quite enjoy the meal the way I should, because work worries are like that. Three months later, my position is eliminated, leading to six months of consulting, scrambling, readjustments and stress, before the next gig is found.

2015. Yet to be written. But I'm not looking forward to starting it with having to start the day with this dumpster fire of a football team. Also, I've overdone running today, in anticipation of not doing much tomorrow, and my wife and eldest can't shake illness. Not promising. Still, won't be as bad as others; can't be, really.

My your holiday be safe, serene, and relaxing. And if it's not, may it be memorable.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NFL Week 12 Picks: Binge Time

Binge Me
Let's face it, folks -- this is the holiday where we are supposed to give thanks for what we have, but it mostly manifests as doing too much of everything. Eating, shopping, Netflix-watching (I'm all over that this weekend, along with holiday decorating, cleaning and trying to stay up with my miles), and the NFL. The triple-cast of Thursday games, combined with the usual triple-cast of SNF and MNF, means that just everyone can watch nearly half of the games in the league this weekend, and maybe more if you are, like me, in an area where you get multiple markets of coverage. It's all way too much, but at least it keeps us away from our families. Which is the whole point of the... ah, screw it. On to the picks!

* * * * *

Philadelphia at DETROIT (-2.5) 

There's a reasonable chance that the Eagles will dead cat bounce now that they are away from their mean mean mean fans, who don't seem to say nice things when they pay to see a fraud. But the Lions have a WR1 in Calvin Johnson and a tolerable QB in Matthew Stafford, which is more than DC Billy Davis can scheme for, since it might involve doing something more than lining everyone up against the man they are supposed to guard, and seeing what happens. Oh, and the defense has been a sieve since Jordan Hicks went down, nine quarters ago, because DeMecco Ryans is old and sad, and Kiko Alonso is gun-shy about injury.

Lions 31, Eagles 20

CAROLINA (+1.5) at Dallas

Good heavens, America, this is a 10-0 team visiting a 3-7 outfit. The 10-0 team is from a good division; the 3-7 outfit is from a dumpster fire. You have to love how Vegas sets lines based on what the betting public goes for, and just how many delusional Cowboys fans are out there.

I get that the 3-7 team has to run the table and got back QB1 last week, but CB Josh Norman might make WR Dez Bryant disappear, LB Luke Kuchley might end TE Jason Witten, and then it's Tony Romo throwing to Colt Beasley and handing off to Darren McFadden for the meh. That's not generating more than 20 points. And QB Cam Newton is playing the best ball of his life, and will get more than that. Give him some short fields with turnovers, and he may get a lot more.

Panthers 26, Cowboys 16

Chicago at GREEN BAY (-8.5)

Two things happened in last week's Packers-Vikings game. The first was that the Pack found their running game, with RB Eddie Lacy looking useful again. The second was that their pass rush showed up on defense. All of a sudden, this team looks a lot more like the unbeaten outfit that started the year, and at home against their ancestral punching bag (at least during the entire Jay Cutler era), it's going to eventually be a runaway. Chicago is better than expected, but when push comes to shove, Cutler is Cutler.

Packers 34, Bears 20

OAKLAND (-1.5) at Tennessee

Coin flip game, so give me the road team with a handful of playmakers. Oakland has also looked more able to handle road games than in past years, though their pass defense is far from airtight.

Raiders 24, Titans 20

Buffalo at KANSAS CITY (-6)

Would be a more intriguing game if QB Tyrod Taylor was healthy, or if the Bills had won in New England. KC has been on fire for the better part of a month, and HC Andy Reid has a long history of coaching rings around sideshow types like Rex Ryan. Add in the fierce KC crowd, and they'll cover, but I'd feel better about this line if RB Charcandrick West was 100%.

Chiefs 24, Bills 16

Tampa at INDIANAPOLIS (-3)

Tempted to go with the road team here, as they certainly looked great last week with two healthy WRs and RB Doug Martin giving QB Jameis Winston all the support he could want. But the Colts at home will have a home field advantage, and might actually disguise a coverage or two, perhaps with a defense that doesn't give up first downs as if they were business cards at a convention. Besides, the every/other rule of the NFL has to come into play at some point.

Colts 26, Bucs 20

NY GIANTS (-2.5) at Washington

Can Big Blue save the world from having to think any more than is absolutely necessary about which NFC lEast team will be one and done in the playoffs? A win in DC would sure help matters a lot, and with the team coming off a bye, getting a semblance of a pass rush from Darwin Award winner Jason Pierre-Paul, and a chance at the aerial attack that they've been hoping for all along might be enough. These games are always a sluggish mess, though. Fitting for this division.

Giants 27, Racial Slurs 19

New Orleans at HOUSTON (-3)

The Saints try for a dead cat bounce from their suddenly Ryan-free defense, but they've never been a very good road team, and the Texan defense has been showing some teeth recently. Combine that with the actual best WR in the NFL -- imagine what DeAndre Hopkins could do with an actual QB -- and it's a win for the home team.

Texans 27, Saints 20

MINNESOTA (+1) at Atlanta

If there's an NFC team disappointing its fanbase more than Philadelphia, it might be Atlanta, who are doing everything they can to squander a fast start into a collapse. Last week saw them blow a game to the Luck-less Colts while coming off a bye, while this one will see them just flat-out lose to an angry Vikings team. Not having RB and TD spirit animal Devonta Freeman also won't help.

Vikings 23, Falcons 20

St. Louis at CINCINNATI (-8.5)

Did Jeff Fisher take evil pills when no one was looking? First he chuckles while Teddy Bridgewater gets concussed, then he keeps QB2 Case Keenum in the game when the guy is obviously addled. All of this is squandering the great gift that is RB Todd Gurley, but the Ram franchise has a long and proud history of wasting quality RB play. As for the Bengals, close but not quite in their vengeance game against Carson Palmer and the Cards next week, and ready to put up a big number on a Ram team that's looking quitterish to me. Especially on the road.

Bengals 34, Rams 13

San Diego at JACKSONVILLE (-3.5)

There ain't no quit like a team that's leaving town quit, and the Chargers are halfway on the bus, by all indications. Last week's de-pantsing at home to the Chiefs was dog ugly, and it won't get better with a 10am PST / 1pm EST game against the frisky Jags, who can do some things. Like win this game easily, for one.

Jaguars 27, Chargers 17

Miami at NY JETS (-3.5)

Boy, the AFC lEast really is just a festival of sad, isn't it? The Jets have been squandering a tolerable start, while the Dolphins have been up and mostly down all year. I believe in the Jets' talent level more, and think a home game will be OK, but this isn't exactly a high confidence pick.

Jets 26, Dolphins 19

ARIZONA (-10.5) at San Francisco

Niners have been friskier than expected with QB Blaine Gabbert under center, but the Cardinals are a complete team, and the Niner skill guys wouldn't frighten in pre-season. Winning time for real contenders, especially if they want to get a first round bye.

Cardinals 31, Niners 17

PITTSBURGH (+3.5) at Seattle

Gut-check time for the potentially playoff-free Seahawks, and they'll also have to live without RB Marshawn Lynch. Back-up Thomas Rawls has been solid, but back to back and with a weak offensive line is a different matter entirely. Look for QB Ben Roethlisberger to do 300+ yards of damage in his first game in Seattle, with lots of action and suspiciously loud calls for HEATH Miller from Road Steeler Fan. There's a reason why Super Bowl Loser is such a hard beat to bounce back from. And jeez, NFL, all of two 4 pm games this week. Screw you people.

Steelers 34, Seahawks 20

New England at DENVER (+3)

The increasingly battered and bloodied unbeaten Pats come to Denver not to face Peyton Manning, but QB2 (secretly the best QB on the roster) Brock Osweiler. Denver needs the game, has the kind of defense that can mess with tempo, and will benefit from Osweiler's mobility in a close and hard-fought game that will, in the long run, mean a lot more to Denver than New England.

Broncos 27, Patriots 24

Baltimore at CLEVELAND (-2.5)

Matt Schaub! Josh McNown! The worst telecast in the NFL, only because they have a half dozen braying jackasses in the pre and post game! Yet another game after something like a half dozen better ones on your screen for two out of the last four days! Two teams with massive injury and instability issues playing for nothing! Are you ready for some self-hate? I know I am... going to be watching something else. Give me the team with less Schaub. Always.

Browns 23, Ravens 16

Last week: 9-4-1

Season: 84-70-2

Career: 702-702-47

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Brief And Obvious Point About Chip Kelly's Next Coaching Job

Jump, Thrust, Repeat
No one, with the possible exception of the people who root for said theoretical next cursed laundry, Gives A Flying F*** At A Rolling Donut where Kelly "works" next.

What brought this on? Listening to some dunderhead talk about a sliding puzzle game of Coach Roulette where various jobs are taken or opened to give the fat fraud a graceful SEC Prime exit, so he can make similar money and still get plenty of Tee Vee Time, preferably in a place where everyone on the roster is in economic thrall to him and never gives him a mean look, or has any trace of The Uppity. (This may include Uppity Friends.)

The theory goes that owner Jeff Lurie will never admit after just three years that this is an experiment that failed, and will not be reversing course, so we're all pretty much doomed to another 13 months of meaningless football in the second-worst division in football. (There's a thought for you: two of the four wins from this dumpster fire are in the division. They are actually *worse* that their record. Their 5-9 in the last 14 games record.) So the only way out is if Chump leaves.

Which gives Philly Fan just more to do in the home games that are left. Don't just do the lazy thing and chant "Fie Err Kell Lee!" with 5 hand claps and repeat. Instead, mix in the slightly meta "Ess - Eee - Cee!", "Pac, 10, Pac, 10, Pac, 10" and maybe the individual names of various colleges where the Chump can go next. Just make sure you are near one of those on field mics, never lapse into too-easy profanity, and know that you are, honestly, the only people who might actually get him to go. (Yeah, I know, it's a naive hope. I'm an Eagles Fan, it's what we do.)

As for the media geishas who seem to be finally waking up to the fact that Nero has no clothes, you can get in on the fun, too. Don't ask Chump about anything involving the game, since he's not going to tell you anything of value, anyway. Just ask him if he's quitting, if he thinks he'll be fired, or if he will be taking various open jobs. After you get his pissy denials, Leave The Room. He's got nothing of importance to tell you otherwise, and no one really wants to hear from him. So save yourself the aggravation and get on with your lives. Elsewhere.

Consider it a philosophical experiment. If a coach lies on a podium, but no one is there to hear it, does it really happen? And can the Silent Treatment cause a fraud in his '50s to go get a real job and leave home?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

What It's Like To Be A Philly Fan These Days

In my social feed today, a colleague asked if there was a town in America with a more dysfunc- tional group of sports teams than Philly right now. There was also the fun point of how none of the town's teams -- Eagles, Sixers and Flyers -- have won a game at home in the month of November. And how they feel bad for me, and so on.

Which is, of course, mostly horse exhaust, because it's not as if I'm living and dying with all of these losses, or that anyone really has their viewing compromised by the happiness or misery of anyone else. I don't watch soccer on ice -- err, hockey -- because I just fell out of the league decades ago and life is too short for the sports I watch, let alone adding others to the mix. The Sixers losing games is frustrating because I believe in what GM Sam Hinkie has been trying to do, and just feel like he's been snakebit on health and draft picks. The team more or less pledged eternal loyalty to Andrew Wiggins, only to see Joel Embiid get hurt before the draft, more or less forcing the hands of the teams above them. But there's no need to recreate all of that here.

Rather, I wanted to talk about what it's actually like to watch sports now, especially on NFL days, and the best word is numb. I don't root against the Eagles, but I don't really root for them, either. I don't get very excited when good things happen, and I don't get very angry when bad things happen, either. I know that I'm wasting my life on a pointless exercise, but I have fantasy teams and picks against the spread and the eternal idiot child hope that somehow things will all turn around and amazing things might happen, because the NFL seems more and more like an exercise in coin flipping every week, and hey, maybe a couple of billion flips will go my way.

In today's game, I had Doug Martin and the Eagle defense in fantssy, mostly because I was thinking there would be a dead cat bounce after last week's Dolphin mess, and the only option for Martin was the wildly disappointing Jeremy Hill. When it became obvious that the defense was a terrible play, I was just more annoyed with myself for making the mistake in the first place, and for the Eagles when they kept tackling Martin at the end of his long runs before he could get in the end zone. You are mostly just waiting for it to be over, and watching out of habit, and wishing that you never acquired this habit in the first place.

Two points about that last note, both personal.

First, at the very end of my first marriage, I remember standing in front of my weeping and inconsolable spouse. So much had been said and done, so little was good, and the details of all of that don't need to be discussed here. It was a weekend day in August, and as I considered the disaster that was my life right then and right there, the thought ran through my head... "I don't want to spend Christmas like this."

And if you don't want to spend Christmas like that... well, why would you want to spend Thanksgiving, really?

And if not Thanksgiving, well, Halloween is supposed to be fun, isn't it?

And if not those three holidays, well, goddammit, it's supposed to be nice on Tuesday. Really no reason why Tuesday should have to be miserable, should it? I'm ready to stand my ground for freaking Tuesday,

And in that moment, I knew the relationship was over, and felt very free. I said something I had never said before -- that I thought she should go -- and the line was crossed. There was much hell to go through after that, and I don't want to trivialize the transition, but at some level, defending the right of Tuesday not to also suck was transformative.

I'm not saying that I'm about to stop watching sports, or the Eagles. I think we'd probably need something really tone deaf from Eagle ownership, like many more years of Chump Kelly running roughshod over sanity, to get there.

But on the other hand? I really don't want to spend my Thanksgiving watching this team. If you catch my drift.

Second... when I was a very small child, I dreaded Eagle games. My older brother would yell and curse at the screen, and scream at the refs, and in general make the game miserable to be around. Not watching hardly seemed like an option, but not being like him was required. So for a brief period of time, I considered just being a fan of another franchise, which was much harder to do back in those pre-Internet, pre-cable TV, with only one night game a week that I wasn't allowed to stay up late to watch anyway schedules.

The teams that were highest in my consideration set?

Green Bay, for the history and uniforms, and San Francisco, because that West Coast offense thing looked really cool.

I didn't wind up going through with it, but I really wish I had.

The End Of Chip Kelly

Limited Time Engagement

We were always going to get here, folks.

There were any number of smoke screens along the way. A fun pre-season. A good half or two. A win against an equally aimless NFC Least opponent. But you are your record, and this 4-6 team is now 5-9 in their last 14, and it's getting worse and farther away, not better.

You can't squander Pro Bowl offensive talent (DeSean Jackson, Evan Mathis, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin) and get nothing back in return without it turning into a disaster.

You can't overpay mediocre at best players (Mark Sanchez, Riley Cooper) and not have it eventually mean that you don't have the money to overpay guys who are actually good (Maclin again).

You can't keep defensive coordinators (Billy Davis) who don't adjust their scheme to match their personnel (last year, Bradley Fletcher) and have it work out.

You can't put GM power into the hands of a man (Kelly) who has seemed, more often than not, insecure, overmatched, and ignorant.

You can't run the same offense, year after year, regardless of whether you have the offensive talent that makes it work, while ignoring the fact that the rest of the league has caught up to it, especially when you aren't in the middle of a tempo run.

You can't have a locker room filled with people who are better at getting along than they are at playing football.

You can't bank on the fluke aspects of special teams to show up year after year to make your team look better than it is.

You can't afford to leave the most important personnel group on the team -- the offensive line -- in a place where there are no draft picks or free agent signings. For years.

You can't build a team through free agency.

You can't trade for an injury-prone, non-mobile, and ready to retire QB (Sam Bradford), put him behind that turnstile line, and have it all work out. You also really can't overpay for that guy, with a killing draft pick going over to get him.

You can't whiff on your first round pick (WR Nelson Agholor, invisible), your second round pick (CB Eric Rowe, can't get on the field over street meat EJ Biggers), have your (history of being hurt) third round pick get hurt (LB Jordan Hicks, who the defense has looked lost without)... and make anyone who are watching the games think you deserve employment.

You can't rush to trade one of the best RBs in franchise history (McCoy) for an injury-prone MLB (Kiko Alonso), then try to sign a ready for the glue factory RB (Frank Gore), then pivot to a guy who can't stay healthy (Ryan Mathews), and a wildly overpriced free agent who was utterly spent in a 450 carry year (DeMarco Murray), while releasing a cheap and competent back up (Chris Polk)... and claim that there is anything in place that resembles a plan.

You can't, in other words, continue with Kelly. And that has been obvious to anyone who wanted to see reality for over six months.

We will, of course, continue with Kelly. Owner Jeffrey Lurie hates to admit mistakes, hates to eat contracts, hate to be seen as anything but a less lucky version of Robert Kraft. Because it is hard to just lose games hand over fist in the NFL, and because even this post-mirage team has 5 wins to go with those 9 losses, they might even win at some point. Because the NFL Least has just one .500 team, they might even still have "Meaningful" football left in them.

But anyone with eyes knows better. Anyone with ears that heard how very little Eagle Fan booed today -- because they have checked the hell out of this team, as they should and must -- knows better. Anyone with anything better to do, and that includes anyone with as much as a Netflix subscription, has better things to watch.

The only question now left is whether the scales have fallen off the eyes of everyone, how empty the stadium will get, whether the ratings will still be there, and whether or not the fan base will force Lurie's hand with demonstrations, apathy, bonfires and the like.

Or whether Kelly will have the good sense to leave before he's pushed.

Today, we saw the end.

How much more of it will anyone watch?

Eagles - Bucs Takeaways

Just 6 more games of this, please
> It was nice to see WR Josh Huff not only score, but do it on a good play while not celebrating like a moron

> There's no truth to the rumor that PR Darren Sproles cleaned the clock of a gunner on Tampa's first punt because the guy reminded him of HC Chump Kelly

> The Eagle defense could not avoid offsides on third downs because they were too excited about rushing the QB

> It took less than a quarter for anyone who might have thought Mark Sanchez was better than Sam Bradford to forget they ever said that bit of nonsense

> The Eagle CBs showed their historic tendency to be not be very good against WRs that don't, well, stink

> The fact that the offense can now start well and then fail is an encouraging development into the proof that this entire season is more or less a testament to the power of random chance with utter mediocrity

> TE Zach Ertz tried to hurdle a man for an extra 10 yards and got concussed, which pretty much describes his entire time in the laundry

> I'm not saying that Eagle Fan was lacking intensity, but I've been on louder golf courses

> Whenever you see David Diehl and Dick Stockton, you know you are watching a game that does not matter

> The Eagle defense gave up over 500 yards and 5 TDs to a team with a rookie QB, turnstile offensive line, and intermittent at best effectiveness

> Doug Martin's fantasy owners are bitter that the 235 yards somehow did not include a touchdown

> I'm not saying that I lost the will to live watching the Bucs' first drive in the third quarter, with an immense length of possession, penalties, and cotton-soft third down conversions, but the will to watch this franchise is long gone

> It was nice of the Bucs to fail to catch a wide open pass in the end zone, so K Connor Barth had to make something other than a PAT

> I'm glad that Kelly got rid of all of the bad actors and me-first guys, because otherwise the team might have quit in this one

> If there is a single person in Eagle Nation who believes in Chump as a coach, GM, biped, mammal or vertebrate after watching this game, I'd like to sell them many bridges, since they are going to be great long-term customers

Top 10 NFL Week 11 Ad Questions

General Puffy
10) Isn't a cluttered bracelet of random interests just the way to announce to the world that you have hoarding issues?

9) Do I have to eat like a giant baby and experience everything as a single person to fly Southwest?

8) If your idea of celebrating the holidays involves Home Depot, shouldn't you be in a support group?

7) When boxes run at you, isn't that a sign of, well, hallucinations and insanity, rather than joyful consumerism?

6) Wouldn't a jovial black guy playing a keyboard at a Wal-Mart get tossed?

5) Why is Santa so easily seduced and excited by new cars?

4) Did the NFL Network have to get a first grader to hype the Detroit game because there were no excited adult Lion fans?

3) Why would you want to eat pizza that was heavy to lift, or hate your body so much that you'd want to make it try to digest that?

2) Wouldn't the people who are prone to downloading phone games regard Arnold Schwarzenegger as comically old and ridiculous?

1) Have you ever met a child that was excited to receive a Hess truck, knowing that, on some level, it was just purchased at the last minute on the way to the house because you needed gas?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 11 NFL Picks: Daily Misery

Oh The Lack Of Humanity
This week saw the noose continuing to close around the utterly endless play of DFS sites, who are proving that it's still possible to create such public ill will through advertising that it doesn't matter how much buy in you have from the powers that be. Honestly, have you ever seen a business that has been ran more for tone-deaf short-term growth? (Well, I have, in that I worked at a place like that. But it was a decade ago, and I thought we'd have learned something new by now.)

I was especially amused to see Yahoo get dinged by the New York authorities, because they've been as insistent as others, but just without ads on television every 90 seconds. (Note: actual time there, not an exaggeration.) And to everyone who wants to get glibertarian about this and claim it's not a victimless crime... well, gambling has *loads* of victims, and if you don't believe that, you should take advantage of the terrific real estate opportunities that you'll find around nearly every residential casino in America. That DFS sites have claimed they are not gambling sites in the US, but that they are in the UK, where the laws are different? Pretty much all you need to know about the merits of the argument.

And speaking as to merits, this column had nearly none this week, with a flat out turrible performance. Time for the bounce back. And with that... on to the picks!

                                                                         * * * * *

Tennessee at JACKSONVILLE (-2.5)

That's more like it, NFL Network! I want my Terrible Night Football to be between teams that no one cares about, in divisions that don't matter, so that no one minds if they don't watch the game. Less Phil Simms in our lives is good for everyone, really. Give me the home team, who come in off a ref mistake win, and as such, are right there in the "race" for the AFC South. NFL Fever!

Jaguars 24, Titans 17

OAKLAND (-1) at Detroit

I was ready to believe in this Raider team, but then they got punched in the mouth by the Vikings at home, and have to go east and face the suddenly alive Lions, who got a win in Green Bay and might actually feel good about themselves. I'll give them one more chance, and probably regret it.

Raiders 24, Lions 20

Indianapolis at ATLANTA (-5.5)

Wow, have the NFL schedule makers done the Falcons some favors or what? They come off a bye to face a Colts team without QB Andrew Luck, and should be able to force the issue to WR Julio Jones, and take advantage of a weak Colts pass rush. Neither team is good, but one team will look a lot better.

Falcons 34, Colts 20

NY JETS (even) at Houston

Can't help but feel that the Texans are getting too much credit for beating a Bengals team that just laid an egg, and with QB Brian Hoyer still concussed, I like the Jets' chances to make TJ Yates look like TJ Yates. Look for the Jets to get their running game going in this one, and to have a little bounce from the extra rest coming off their TNF loss against the Bills.

Jets 27, Texans 17

Tampa at PHILADELPHIA (-5.5)

Last week's home loss to the Dolphins was flat out terrible, but it did have elements of fluke to it -- lost points in special teams, a tip drill touchdown, and offensive line play that is unlikely to be as bad again, especially with a more mobile QB in Mark Sanchez. The Eagles can, clearly, lose to anyone, and the Bucs can beat you with big WRs and a running game. But I think Sanchez will run good tempo here, and the Eagle TEs will do damage.

Eagles 34, Bucs 20

DENVER (+1.5) at Chicago

Ready for a dirty little secret? The Broncos are going to get a QB upgrade this week. Brock Osweiler is big, mobile, and can throw a deep ball, and the Bear secondary isn't airtight. In a road game where the defense will bounce back after getting left out to dry by Peyton Manning's INTs, Orange will look dangerous again, and Bronco Fan will start to think blasphemous thoughts. At least Manning has some experience in commercials to fall back on.

Broncos 31, Bears 19

St. Louis at BALTIMORE (-2.5)

Wow, what happened to the Rams? What seemed like an emerging tough guy team with a dominant RB and defense to match has fallen apart in the last two weeks, with dirty play, collapses against weak opponents, and now QB instability. They get a road game against the equally aimless Ravens, but Charm City at least will have Ref Payback against a loss that shouldn't have happened, officially. No need to watch this one, really.

Ravens 24, Rams 20

DALLAS (even) at Miami

Do the Cowboys finally break their losing streak with binkie QB Tony Romo back under center? You'd have to think so, especially with the Dolphins having a terrible run defense, and Dallas supposedly able to dominate with an offensive line... but there's also the possibility that the entire team is just getting through games without making eye contact with Dez Bryant or Greg Hardy. Fun locker room they got in Dallas! Give me the road team, because honestly, it's hard to lose this many games in a row in the NFL.

Cowboys 24, Dolphins 20

Washington at CAROLINA (-7)

Don't look now, but the Racial Slurs are just one win against a quality opponent away from taking control of the NFC Least. Then again, I think that's also true for teams that are not in the NFL. Against the Panthers and their early defensive pressure, they'll turn it over and fall behind, and not be able to execute a comeback. But if they do, it's 9-figure extension for QB Kirk Cousins ASAP. YOU LIKE THAT?

Panthers 26, Racial Slurs 17

KANSAS CITY (-3) at San Diego

Nice turn around for the Chiefs, who have looked like a different outfit since the trip to the UK to beat down the Dolphins, and Andy Reid's post-bye magic that ended Peyton Manning. This week in Team Going To LA, expect no home field advantage for the Chargers, RB Charcandrick West to continue to do his Jamaal Charles impersonation, and the Chiefs to keep getting back into the picture for an AFC wild card loss.

Chiefs 27, Chargers 16

GREEN BAY (+1) at Minnesota

I get that the Packers have fallen on very hard times, and that the Vikings have a resurgent RB in Adrian Peterson. But at some point, Aaron Rodgers Figures Stuff Out, and he really tends to do that against opponents that aren't quite ready for prime time. Green Bay will come at this with a little bit of desperation, and look a whole lot relieved at the end of regulation.

Packers 26, Vikings 20

San Francisco at SEATTLE (-13)

Blaine Gabbert, on the road, against an angry Seahawks team that pretty much needs to run the table after getting humbled against the Cardinals. I get that Seattle isn't what they need to be, especially on the offensive line, and that the Niners tend to play them tight, with a lot of bad blood. But come on, it's Blaine Gabbert. This is going to get ugly.

Seahawks 26, Niners 6

CINCINNATI (+5) at Arizona

Another prime time game for the Bengals, and another opportunity for them to prove to America that they aren't the same fold in lights losers that has made Marvin Lewis synonymous with first round loss. I think the Cardinals are going to be a little bit flat after last week's statement win against Seattle, and the Bengal DBs are the best part of the team. The line is a little too much for all of that.

Bengals 24, Cardinals 23

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND (-7)

Sure, this time will be different for the Bills in New England! The Patriots are beat up with the loss of WR Julian Edelman, and the Bills have a resurgent running game. Rex Ryan won't have another terrible defensive game against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick won't pull another 100+ yard game out of some disposable third-down RB, and you won't spend hours watching Boston Fan muster about a tenth of the enthusiasm that any other fan base would for the dominant organization of their era. Oh, and Lucy won't pull the football away. All that will happen one day. But it's not how you bet.

Patriots 31, Bills 20

Last week: 4-10

Season: 75-66-1

Career: 693-698-46

Nero Kelly In Microcosm: Wide Receiver

Fiddle Wide
In the wake of the latest coin flip loss to the latest coin flip team, the 4-5 Eagles (oh, and if you add in the last four games of the 2014 collapse, it's now the 5-9 in their last 14 starts) are under scrutiny for what they are not getting from their WRs. (Something about the Dolphins loss having historical levels of ineptness from the group. I didn't watch the game, for which I am still so very grateful, but you get the point.)

So let's look at just how we got to, well, where we are right now.

When Nero came to town, he inherited a team with two Pro Bowl talents in WR DeSean Jackson and WR Jeremy Maclin. Both guys were less than what you might draw up as a true WR1 -- Jackson was boom or bust and had a bad tendency to negotiate for more money and disappear late in years or against physical CBs, and Maclin could not stay healthy -- but they also had undeniable strengths. Jackson has more big play TDs than anyone in football this decade, and Maclin had obvious ability and more consistency. Think poor man's Swann and Stallworth.

Both men had big yardage years in the Kelly offense, and both men left without the team getting anything in return. Jackson was dumped because he was uppity, and Maclin wasn't retained because he was expensive, and both were egregious personnel blunders. I didn't agree with either move at the time, and still don't, but for the sake of argument, let's call that water under the bridge. The NFL is a 100% injury rate league, and even if the team had kept both, they might have been injured by now. Jackson's tenure in DC hasn't thrilled the Racial Slurs, and Maclin could explode tomorrow. More and other talents is always a requirement.

Your clear WR1 is Jordan Matthews, last year's rookie sensation and this year's sophomore slump. Good size and toughness after the catch, but the drop rate puts a lie to the idea that he's dependable, and this issue kept him from being a first round pick in the first place, so it's not just going away with age. He's good in the slot thanks to size, but not terribly shifty, and hasn't been successful at the full route tree. He might be maxed out as a WR2/WR3 type; if he's WR1, you aren't winning. No one, to date, has thought him better than Maclin or Jackson.

Nero's other WR is the original Culture Lie in Riley Cooper. He's said to be nails as a blocker, and has had some mild value on special teams, but the plain and simple on Riles is that he's just, well, bad. Prone to drops, doesn't separate from good corners, hasn't been much after one hot month during the Nick Foles Gold season, and probably made his numbers, such as they are, against fluke fail coverage. He's been retained despite a PR nightmare, hasn't stayed particularly healthy or productive, and isn't even Nero's guy, as he's an Andy Reid holdover. I guess he's had a nice enough career for his draft position, but if he's on your team, you don't have a good WR corps. Here, he starts. Still.

Next up is this year's first round pick, Nelson Agholor from USC. Can't stay healthy, seems lost in terms of preparation, and only the occasional flash of ability is keeping everyone in town from just yelling Bust at him at this point. He's supposed to be Maclin 2.0, but so far, he's Josh Huff 2.0. And Huff 1.0 is still on the roster, and he's your man if you want a bubble screen that goes nowhere, an OPI call in the pick play, or somehow to kneel down on a kickoff return for a touchback. After that, not sure he's actually made a contribution to the team that pays him, unless you count flips for the single NFL touchdown he's ever had to be good ROI.

True disaster lurks deeper in the roster in the form of Miles Austin, who Kelly gifted with good money to be Veteran Smarts. Austin is wearing the goat horns for the latest loss, but he hasn't actually been healthy or good for years now. Once his time in Philly is done, he'll be out of the NFL. If last week is any indication, it might happen at any moment, really. Even Nero seems to know this, as the team held a cattle call for street meat WRs this week.

And that's that. The team hasn't been able to get bench production from anyone that Nero has brought in over the years, from Brad Smith to Jeff Maehl to Damaris Johnson to Ifeanyi Momah to Seyi Ajirotutu to Arrelious Benn. Either they haven't stayed healthy, only played on special teams, or, well, both. The team can get a lot out of its TEs and RBs, which is especially important when the QB isn't good enough to throw outside of the hash marks in the first place, but the point is made. In the football equivalent of finding middle inning relievers, the Eagles have been futile at finding guys that are just tolerable options. Hell, Jason Avant is clearly a better guy than anything I've listed in this paragraph, and the only thing Avant can do is catch the ball and fall down immediately, while being too old and slow to run very far down the field in the first place. But at least he catches the damn ball. Austin, Huff, Cooper and Matthews not only drop it, they pop it up in the air for INTs. Neat trick, that.

This isn't like the offensive line, where Nero hasn't put resources in a badly botched bet on healthy for aging players, or that his staff can coach up what's here. (To be fair, replacement OLs occasionally have good games. Not often enough to keep your QB1 healthy, or to win games when the tide has gone against them, but at least there's been the occasional full game of competence.) No, WR has received a #1 pick in Agholor, a #2 in Matthews, a #3 in Huff, and money that no other NFL team would play for Cooper and Austin. Along with the non-choice to retain Jackson, and the failure to understand the market and retain Maclin.

What happens when you have what might be the worst WR corps in the NFL is that you have *no* margin for error. You can't overcome penalties or sacks and pick up long third downs. You can't take the top off a defense, and keep the safeties far enough off the line for consistent big hits in the running game. You can't execute end-arounds to give the defense more to worry about; the Eagles have called that play once this year, and Agholor fumbled it for a killing turnover. You can't draw big DPI flags to change a game. You can't cause mismatches by forcing the defense to double cover a top guy, freeing up someone else for open space (aka, why Matthews is struggling so much this year). You can't punch a team in the mouth with an early deep ball, the way Reid's teams used to do, and help ensure a fast start on offense.

On a roster filled with Nero's whiffs and arrogance, WR might be the biggest indictment of why he's the worst GM in the past 50 years for this laundry, and why his era will be remembered as an unmitigated failure and disappointment. And we all get to watch it for another six weeks, and if we are very unfortunate, another year or two after that, as more bodies are shuffled at the WR slot, and we get more and more evidence that he's simply over-matched for this role.

That's actually the kind assessment. You can also drop the word Fraud here if you like.

Just be sure to drop it, because that's the operative word when discussing Eagle WRs.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Top 10 NFL Week 10 Ad Questions

Hey Hey, Hey Hey
10) Is there ever going to be a time when someone doesn't try to sell a car with "Back In Black"?

9) Can anyone watch the PA instant lottery game ads without in haunting their dreams?

8) If JJ Watt cuts down wood in the forest, but isn't wearing his football jersey, did it really happen?

7) Wouldn't getting an inside deal to get a car give you the sense that you'd be getting something with more cachet than a Ford?

6) Is Yungling certain that they are able to come through on that Just Lager boast?

5) Given that it might be the most ubiquitous and boring car on the road, how could anything beyond armed robbery make a Camry a bold choice?

4) Do you have to a certain kind of hole to be subject to showholes?

3) Is being abandoned in the middle of a snowy wasteland now an occupational hazard for car salesmen?

2) Does Humira's side effects include the ability to stop time and break the fourth wall?

1) Can you eat at, and/or play their new stamp game, at McDonald's without wearing idiot headgear?

40 Years A Victim: Eagles-Dophins Diary Void

Can Lose, And Play, For Everyone
Today, instead of watching the Eagles game, I took my eldest to her gymnastics meet. There was no Wifi in the gym, and my phone is bad in such situations anyway, so I was unaware of the game until halfway through the fourth, when I caught the rest on the radio on the ride home.

It is, honestly, the first time I've missed an Eagles game since the 1970s. I'm also not going to find the footage and watch it later. Every game, meaningful or no, viewed. Even when I moved to California, and had to track the game down in sports bars early in the morning. Even when I was in New Zealand on vacation.

Today was different. I thought about dropping the kid off and going to a local Buffalo Wild Wings. The kid will have plenty more meets, and there was nothing all that special about this one. But there's also nothing special about this Eagles team, no reason to think that they are going to become anything more than what they are. Sub-.500, inconsistent, maddening, unwatchable. 

So I can't tell you how, exactly, how a team with 2X the number of first downs, over 150 more yards of offense, while only being -1 in turnovers, with a defensive safety, can blow a home game against a 6-point dog. Other than, well, this is Nero Kelly's Culture Beats Talent Fun Bunch, and they can lose to any team with a physical defense, because that's been true for 2.5+ years now. I didn't see what caused QB Sam Bradford to leave with a concussion, or what caused QB Mark Sanchez to make the crippling INT in figgie position while down two points with four minutes left. Or how an offense that puts up 16 points in the first quarter, the first time this year that they've actually been good early, would somehow not score more than a measly figgie for the rest of the day. Isn't this an offense that with tempo is supposed to wear down teams? Or is that, like so much else that comes out of Nero Kelly's mouth, a complete piece of bull exhaust?

In the always comical NFC lEast, defeats don't matter the way they do in real divisions, and we won't be able to fully ignore this team for another four to six weeks. But ignore them we will, and lemme tell you... my afternoon was so much better than anyone who roots for this laundry. (The eldest won the all-around in her division. Neat, huh?)

FTT Off-Topic: Giving Terrible People What They Want

Not sports, big Internet, yada yada. You know the drill.

So with yesterday's latest proof that People Are Terrible (in re the attacks in Paris), the following terrible things have been said. By any number of people in your and my social feed, and by people that get airtime on the media, and so on.

1) That this proves that people who believe that anything other than Being At War isn't the most important thing ever.

Look, I get that we seem to think that if we just kill the right people, everything will be fine. But we've got a very large sample set of data that says that this just makes more of the right people. At the core of things, if we heat up the planet to the point where everyone is knee deep in what used to be ice, that's actually a bigger problem than if some criminals kill some people.

2) That this proves that gun control is wrong wrong wrong, and if only everyone were pistol packing bad asses, we'd have a lot of dead bad guys and steely eyed good guys having celebratory beers over their dead bodies.

Movies and television shows are not documentaries, you twerps. When you give civilians deadly force, even the ones who use their weapons routinely and might actually have tolerable aim, it gets much worse, because they tend to shoot each other, and give the authorities many more active shooters to consider. This is why, even with yesterday's count, the US makes the rest of the world look like sad little puppies when it comes to to death by firearm. Also, why the rest of the world has absolutely no interest in being more like us on this count.

3) That this proves how Border Security is the be-all and end-all for fixing the problem. (Whatever problem you like, really.)

Refugees did not flee into a country, then decide to arm up and mass murder. Refugees, as a base rule of thumb, are running the hell away from people who arm up and mass murder.

4) That this proves that Muslims are The Worst, and only Brave People are willing to say this, because The Media are all raging left wingers.

No one has done more to harm the day to day life of Muslims than these asshats who call themselves Muslims. You know, the same way that no one has done more to harm the public image of Christians than the asshats who somehow bridge those beliefs with a KKK hood, or the political belief that America would be all better if we just Operation Wetbacked an eight figure amount of people over the border.

Oh, and if the media are all raging left wingers, then why are they all consolidated monopolies with relentless profit motives who don't spend their days railing against all of the stuff that you never hear about, outside of drum circles?

5) That this proves that we need to have boots on the ground in Pick Your Favorite Country We So Need To Invade, with or without the approval of anyone else in the world.

Here's a fun fact: military adventures cost money. A lot of it, actually. So, for that matter, does paying for the impact of climate change, and the healthcare of returning veterans, and honestly, there's very few things that I'd rather spend my tax dollars on then taking care of a veteran for the rest of their life. I'd rather they, well, did not need health coverage for the rest of their life. Maybe from not being involved in a military adventure in the first place.

Beyond the economics, there's this: why do you want to give the Terrible People who did this exactly what they want? How the terrorists win -- and make no bones about this, they are going to win a lot from this week's events -- is to create a world in which everyone who lives in their part of the world sees things as The West Vs. Islam. Which is what Boots on the Ground causes. Every goddamned time. For 14+ years after 9/11, because Nation Building never works, because everyone knows that's just Christmas for contractors. And by contractors, I mean war profiteers. You can do that by making schools and gas stations, just as easy as you do with weapons.

Here's what actually works when dealing with criminals: treating them like criminals. Not nations, not mystic bogeymen, not indicative of any greater movement or consideration. Just criminals. Take away the money they need to commit crimes -- say, maybe from energy diversification that would drain the entire terrible area of the oil money that fuels all of this while also helping to drive the climate change -- and start capturing them while they are alive. Stop martyring them, putting them in secret super special prisons, or stamping their express passport to the afterlife with the virgins. Oh, and stop pretending that killing them with remote control robots, while you kill lots of other people around them, is going to do anything more than make more asshats.

(Tangent: have you ever had sex with a virgin, and how did it compare to relations with someone who actually knew what they were doing? I've been fortunate enough to sample from both consumer groups, and let me tell you, Experienced Was Way Better. Moving on.)

If and when you can lock these asshats up, and give them decades of dullness, the way you should for people that show themselves incapable of living with other people... well, then no one wants to be like them. Even idiots, and even people without anything more to live for, and even people who are dumb enough to see other people as just stuff they can shoot in the pursuit of some asshat belief.

Treating criminals as criminals isn't easy. It doesn't lead to exciting visuals. It doesn't make you look as He-Man Rough And Tough as the people who want to treat them like the greatest threat to civilization ever, until we get Bogeymen 2.0 next week.

It just works. A hell of a lot better than the idiot things we've been doing for the past 15 years.

And, in all likelihood, what we're going to do more of real soon.

Because that's the thing about Terrible People.

No faith, area, or part of the world has a monopoly on them.

And when you do what they want you to do, terrible things happen.

Over and over and over...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

NFL Picks Week 10: Midseason Mirage

That's Not Water
We're at that point in the NFL season where people are starting to draw Meaningful Statements from wins and losses, in the eternal hope of finding the underpriced Mo Mentum Team that the can bet profitably. But the problem with that strategy is that the mid-season is really too early for that kind of analysis. With the heavy use of bye weeks and Terrible Night Football, not to mention the constant drumbeat of injury and referee malfeasance, there just isn't the same kind of old-school worth out of that approach. For every correct read that you might make of a team that's coming on, there will be a half dozen more that just doesn't follow the pattern, but will be forgotten about.

Speaking of being forgotten about, last week's treading water moment got us back over .500 for the career, but with no margin for error or vig. We're clearly due for something better. And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

Buffalo at NY JETS (-2.5)

If the Bills had the pass rush they were supposed to have, I'd be taking the road team under the theory that the Jets were going to have QB instability issues, since QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has a thumb issue, and QB2 Geno Smith is QB2 Geno Smith. But the dirty secret of Rex Ryan's teams has been that they don't get to the QB, and it eventually dooms them. Well, that and the fact that every team he faces prepares for the game like it's the Super Bowl. Look for the Jets' sneaky good WRs to be the difference here, the Bills to fail in the red zone due to a lack of healthy RBs, and for Jets Fan to spend the evening singing profanities at Ryan.

Jets 24, Bills 19

Detroit at GREEN BAY (-11.5)

Get well time for the Pack, who weren't able to make it all the way back last week from a deep hole against the Panthers. This week at home against the comatose Lions, who might not even have WR1 Calvin Johnson following their bye week after the UK beatdown against the Chiefs, it's time for a vintage Aaron Rodgers 40-burger.

Packers 45, Lions 24

DALLAS (+1) at Tampa

It's difficult to lose as many games in a row as the Cowboys have, though maybe playing football with the perpetual worry that DE/Eventual Felon Greg Hardy might treat you like a badly loved one helps inspire that sort of thing. In the slow humid track of Tampa, where home field advantage has been theoretical for the better part of a decade, I think they slug it out on better line play, in a game that no one should watch.

Cowboys 23, Bucs 20

Carolina at TENNESSEE (+5.5)

The Panthers are still undefeated and getting an increasing number of heroics from the deeper roster, but there are cracks in the armor. The pass rush disappears late in games, the DBs aren't special outside of CB Josh Norman (and even he can't keep up the current pace), and there's the sense that while they are for real and will have a first round bye, they just aren't the kind of club that's going to get better over the course of a season. This week, I think the Titans scare them and cover, and wouldn't even be shocked if they win.

Panthers 24, Titans 20

Chicago at ST. LOUIS (7)

An angry and intimidating Rams defense, at home, coming off a loss, against a short week Bear team that was pretty lucky to win in San Diego. While the Ram offense is still a festival of meh, it will be enough here, especially after the defense scores.

Rams 24, Bears 13

New Orleans at WASHINGTON (+1)

The Saints can't win on the road, and DC can't win period, but someone has to, so I'll go with a bounce-back game from their drop-tastic WRs. Besides, the Saints feels too good about themselves right now.

Slurs 23, Saints 20

Miami at PHILADELPHIA (-6.5)

Exhibit A in the Midseason Mirage set are the Eagles, fresh off their first feel-good win since last November, but now without rookie MLB Jordan Hicks for the rest of the year. Green has been running the ball well for the better part of two months now, and QB Sam Bradford might just be due for a game where he looks like a real live NFL QB for more than a half at a time. It also helps that the team is playing the weak sisters of the NFL for the next few weeks.

Eagles 38, Dolphins 24

Cleveland at PITTSBURGH (-4.5)

The Steelers have seen way too much of QB Not 1 this year, but at least they've got a running game, tolerable defense, and home-field advantage to help against the Factory of Sadness. So long as they don't lose the turnover war, I think they'll eke out a victory before an incredibly well-timed bye week.

Steelers 23, Browns 17

Jacksonville at BALTIMORE (-5.5)

One of these years, the Jags have to win a road game, but in Charm City, I'm not ready to pull the trigger for them. This isn't exactly a choice that screams out confidence, though.

Ravens 24, Jaguars 17

Minnesota at OAKLAND (-3)

Hard game to pick with RB Latvius Murray's availability in doubt, but the Raiders have a home field advantage, all kinds of clue on offense, and a growing sense of win from QB David Carr. Minny will also be hurt by the relatively slow track for RB Adrian Peterson.

Raiders 30, Vikings 24

NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) at NY Giants

The Giants have been the Patriots' Kryptonite for years now, but their defense this year is just a mess, and the Pats' are unmatched in their ability to not make mistakes with a long-form passing game. For once, this gets easy and ugly for the Empire against Eli Manning.

Patriots 34, Giants 24

KANSAS CITY (+5.5) at Denver

A lot to like for the road team here. Andy Reid with post-bye rest is dangerous, the Chief defense has looked a lot better recently, and the Broncos will not be at full strength on defense, thanks to eye pokery in the wee dumb minutes last week against Indy. I'm not sure if they win, but they'll be in touch all night, and cover.

Broncos 24, Chiefs 20

ARIZONA (+3) at Seattle

A great matchup for SNF, with the just better this year Cards needing to get it done on the road against a have to have it Hawks club that's usually death at home. It's a coin toss of a game, but the Hawks OL is just too threadbare to trust.

Cardinals 24, Seahawks 23

Houston at CINCINNATI (+10.5)

Cincy looks to continue the magic at home against a Texans team that's on QB Whatever, RB Whatever, and just one guy (WR DeAndre Hopkins) that you have to worry about. I think the Bengals wind up making this one ugly with turnovers.

Bengals 31, Texans 17

Last week: 7-6

Year: 71-56-1

Career: 689-688-46

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Show Them State

Strength In Numbers
So after months of protests over what appears to be a pattern of, at the very least, racial insensitivity in the face of some horrific incidents, and at the most, well, downright coddling of said incidents...

The high and powerful at the University of Missouri were struck low, not by a hunger strike, not by protests, and not by miserable public relations.

Nope, it was all done by the only people on the campus who have true power, if and only when they realized it.

The football team.

By threatening a walkout that would have led to a forfeit and a loss of what's reputed to be a million dollars for just the single game in question, the university caved on a couple of high people, ending the protests and forever letting the world know just who is, and is not, Important. Also, just how much the football team matters, because Missouri is in the SEC, and the SEC is not something to be trifled with.

Now that the smoke has cleared and the deed is done, we can imagine football teams across America starting to realize that they can, in fact, agitate for other things. They also have the ability to act for pay, for medical benefits, and for any number of other things.

And, well, there are far more meaningful, and dare we say powerful, football teams than the University of Missouri.

Oh, and one small point for anyone who is thinking of actually using their power...

Don't wait long on this.

Because the very, very expensive toothpaste is out of the tube, and some of the worst people in America are really not very happy about that, or care very much about who they destroy to get it back in...

Monday, November 9, 2015

Eagles - Cowboys Diary

Green Screen
> With NBC telling us why Dallas LB Gregg Hardy is a bad dude, we see his face with as many eye black streaks as possible. Yay! Feel good, America! A domestic abuser is going to make millions and you get to just live with that. Fun!

> Usual touchback with Dallas winning the toss. What genius play does Nero Kelly have for us after a bye? Why, it's the World's Worst Screen to RB DeMarco Murray, QB Sam Bradford all but yelling out the play before it happens. Next is a Go Nowhere run left, leading to third and nine. Bradford from the gun on long count avoids the blitzer and connects with WR Josh Huff, but for a whopping five yards and punt. Near block of P Donnie Jones on contact, and that's a gift ST first down from Dallas. Wee! Time of possession of more than three plays!

> After the gift, Murray for four on a play that looked like something an NFL offense might run. Not real fast tempo, then DPI not called on a throw to WR Miles Austin. Third and six is Bradford to Huff for five yards, and hey, that worked so well the last third down. Fourth and one leads to Jones getting off a better kick, and Dallas PR Lucky Whitehead catches it at his one, brings it back to the seven. Dallas STs not exactly setting the world on fire with intellect, but the de facto turnover only costs them field position, not points. So glad that Kelly's got that slow starts problem fixed during the bye.

> RB Darren McFadden for five, ordinary hole and burst. From the gun, QB Matt Cassel stares down WR Dez Bryant, then connects on the slant against CB Nolan Carroll for the first. McFadden for 13, running past the run blitz, both MLBs getting sucked up in the wash. Cassell to Bryant, beats Carroll badly, 51 yards and Silver is in the red zone. Another great start for the defense, too. Cassell tries TE James Hanna on a rollout screen, but it's dropped in traffic. McFadden stopped by DT Bennie Logan, nice play to penetrate. Third and nine and stop the opening drive touchdown is Cassell from the gun, hits WR Terence Williams on the screen, but it's a yard from the sticks. HC Jason Garrett goes for it on fourth and one, long clock, timeout. That Cassell, he's a field general. Jumbo package, McFadden gets it on pure line surge for two. Cassell incomplete in the corner, probable pick play not executed. McFadden for two yards to the right. Third and goal and please God, let this still be a game for a while, Cassell from the gun, no pressure, finds WR Cole Beasley on the curl, and that's about as easy as it could be. S Malcolm Jenkins overran the pattern, and that's disappointing, in that he's been better than that for most of the year. Silver 7, Green 0.

> Touchback, false start on RT Lane Johnson, because why not. Terrible snap and give to RB Ryan Mathews, loss of four. Why not just punt already? Bradford to TE Zach Ertz for a whopping yard. Still time to punt. Third and 18 from the 12 is a shock, with Bradford to a wide-open Austin for 27. Useful that Bradford had time and a pocket, and wow on that gift coverage, as Silver is also Not Good. Mathews for a pair in muckery, then five to the right on a hair of daylight. Third and four is a crossing route to WR Jordan Matthews, and he doesn't drop it, but does get absolutely destroyed by CB Brandon Carr. Jones punts to Beasley, fair catch at the 17. There's a reason why Bradford's WRs don't catch everything, folks; the QB throws the first target way too often, without regard to whether they are open or not, and leaves them exposed. But some times, he does that with accuracy!

> From its own 17, and I think I can speak for all Eagle Fans when I say that so far, we'd like to go back to Bye Week. NBC shows us gross bone diagrams of Bryant's feet. McFadden for four, all line, then again for two, Carroll and Hicks doing good work. Third and stop the bleeding is Cassel from the gun, plenty of time, but missed Bryant on a poor throw. OPI on Beasley is declined, and Silver is three and out. P Chris Jones to PR Darren Sproles, fair catch at the 31. Jones got banged by his own man, which Cowboy Fan thinks is a flag; thankfully, the refs do not agree.

> Bradford from the gun, all the time in the world, misses Ertz, but there is DPI for a short gain. Murray on an odd sweep for three, with ram-head butting action. Bradford keeps, but Matthews isn't open and that's a big load of nothing. Third and 7 from the gun is a screen against a blitz, but Bradford can't throw over hands or disguise the play worth a damn, and that's that. Jones to Beasley, fair catch. Not real pretty so far.

> NBC fluffs Dallas and Romo as the refs say something we're not allowed to hear; nice job, NBC! Oh, wait, penalty for 12 men, but it's a committee meting and Nero actually has to jog. Good jog, Nero! Several minutes of dead time as WR Riley Cooper limps off, then no call. Um, WTF? McFadden for a yard, really predictable. From the gun and alone, Cassel to Beasley, eight yards on an easy curl despite only a 3-man rush. Third and short is power to McFadden for an easy eight, and the run blitz got destroyed. End of the first quarter, and the fact that it's just 7-0 makes this (a) one of Green's better first quarters in 2015, and (b) the usual freaking train wreck.

> Cassel rolls, benefits from a hold on a blitz of OLB Mychal Kendricks, and is incomplete. It's somehow hands to the face for a gift first down. Yeah, that's footbally. McFadden for 4, then 1, Silver just trying to wear out the defense. Third and five from the Silver 39 is Cassel to Williams, drops a ball that's 40 yards downfield in decent coverage by Carroll. Phew. Jones puts to Sproles, fair catch at the Green 20. Still a game. A boring, pointless, soul-killing game for a division that won't win a playoff game, but a game nonetheless.

> Six carries for 10 yards so far for the Green rushing attack, which I suppose is better than the last time they played Silver. Oh, and 8 of 9 passes from Bradford, if you toss out the Austin play, for 11 yards. Yay! Murray gets 9 off a shotgun counter, T Allen Barbre getting away with a hold. Murray again for three on a cutback and a first. Tempo isn't tempo any more for Green, then Bradford takes Murray on a check down for 8. A hair faster now, and Murray gets a hole and bursts for 6 more and another first. Murray as the line is working better now, 3. Mathews cuts left for 21, just so much faster. He gets it again and slogs it up for 3. Play action and Bradford to Matthews for a first. Tempo, and Mathews all the way to the six, great blocking on the sweep. First and goal from the six is a Silver timeout, as tempo dictates the break. Not sure where this line play came from, but it's welcome; seven carries for 57 on this drive so far. Bradford from empty backfield, tries Huff, who volleyballs with the drop for the near pick, because Huff is always a disaster. Sproles nearly gets in, then tempo on third and goal isn't great, Bradford from the gun tries Matthews, stopped at the goal line. GAHHH, you've been killing them on the ground, you have to throw it twice from the six? Fourth and goal is Nero going for it, a give to Murray, and he just barely gets in for the tying score. Phew. C Jason Kelce with the assist. K Caleb Sturgis hits the PAT, but a flag and long meeting, with 15 yards on Silver post make, with old friend Hardy drawing notice. Heh. Tie game, Kelly kicks away rather than take good field position for the onside, and Hardy's foul is seen on the replay, finally, for fun. He's a nice man!

> From their 20, Cassel rolls and connects with Whitehead for 8, Maxwell on the stop. Short second down, long clock, McFadden stumbles for 2 and the first. From the gun, Cassel to TE Jason Witten in traffic for 7, no pressure on these throws. McFadden met in the backfield, but avoids for a yard gain. McFadden for 17 on a pitch left, then 16 up the middle as the line gets compromised. Missed sack, Cassel spun out, then gets the touchdown, but it's OPI on Williams. First and 20 is a flag on a screen to Beasley, and another Silver flag. First and 25, Cassel scrambles and gets 11 ungainly yards. Incomplete on second and 14 from mild pressure. Third and 14 and long figgie or worse is Cassel from the gun, with LB Brandon Graham getting the strip sack and wow, big play, saves a figgie chance. Jones punts on 4th and 21, Sproles with the fair catch at the 6. 2:15 left in the first half.

> Two minute drill, points necessary before the half. Long run by Murray for a loss of a yard, two minute warning. Murray for eight to the left, out of bounds, good manuever, but worrisome third down. Bradford to Ertz on the cross for 15 and the first, big play. Bradford misses Sproles on a comeback, odd looking play. Second and 1 from the gun is Sproles up the gut, gets 8 like quicksilver. Third and 2 is Sproles again, moves the sticks, Eagles call timeout and the line is doing some good things here. Bradford to Matthews for 9-ish, but it comes back on a hold by T Dennis Kelly. First and 16 give to Sproles, nothing, clock running long. Give to Sproles, and then an incomplete; half. Oddly not aggressive by Nero there.

> Touchback to start. Cassel rolls for six, then McFadden mucks for three. Third and short is power to McFadden, but the line does the job; unsportsmanlike on Graham afterward for the first, because football is not meant for emotion. Witten for five on a checkdown. McFadden swallowed on a toss to set up third and eight; Graham doing work. Cassel from the gun is a Kendricks sack. Jones punts, good one, Green will start at their own 5.

> Bradford from the gun, checkdown to Murray for three, injury for MLB Sean Lee, who is kind of Silver's everything. Murray through a big hole with Lee out for 11, moves the sticks. Bradford to Murray on the wheel route, perfect placement from a clean pocket, 44 yards with nice hand-fighting down the line. Bradford with the checkdown to Ertz, gets three, Hardy with contact afterward. Checkdown to Sproles, loss of four. Third and 11 from the gun, Bradford to Austin for the drop, flag on the play, defensive holding on CB Maurice Claiborne for the first. Bradford from the gun to Matthews on the cross, big 28 yard gain, offense starting to look like an offense. Mathews around end, clean work from the line, touchdown. Hmm. Sturgis hits the PAT, and it's Green 14, Silver 7.

> Cassel strip sack again by Graham, but Silver falls on the ball, and the LB is having his best game of the year. 2nd and 18 is a check down to Beasley, who eludes Kendricks to get 12. Third and six and continue the avalanche is Beasley again, this time for 22, and the blitz never got there, and Jenkins blew the coverage. McFadden for seven, line again doing work. Cassel from an empty set through Witten's hands, and a homer charity call makes for a first; not Kendricks' best game, but that's just not football. McFadden ended by Kendricks on a perfect fill, loss of 3. Late change, then long count from Cassel gun, finds Witten for 9. Third and four at the edge of figgie range is a big damned deal, and it's empty backfield gun, easy slant to Beasley for the first. Cassel is not exactly setting the world on fire with complexity here; just Beasley winning at the line. McFadden for nine, the Silver line just making him look better than he is, Maxwell trying to strip more than stop. In the red zone, McFadden gets a yard and a first. Cassel to Beasley, embarrassingly open, 17 yards on the slant for the score. I have no idea why the hell the DBs are even trying to do with him on that coverage. PAT made, tie game again with 17 minutes left.

> Looking at the stats of this game at this time, they are dead even. Same number of first downs, all of seven yards of difference in offense, penalties and turnovers are the same. The only difference is time of possession, because Green doesn't huddle. Hmm.

> Touchback, then Bradford missing Ertz high and way, the TE barely getting a hand on it to prevent a loose ball. Murray powers for 2, NBC tells us Lee is off for concussion. Open roof and rain, because why not. Hardy jumps for a free five. Third and 2 is a big deal in a tie game, and it's the sack that's been coming for a while now, because watching Hardy celebrate is just good times. Jones punts to the 30, and Whitehead can't stay up after contact.

> From the Silver 29, McFadden dances for three and that's the end of the third. After commerce, Cassel takes the small sack from LB Connor Barwin, and that empty backfield seems like a mistake for Silver. Third and 8 on Green's fourth sack of the night is a  low snap, then freaking Beasley again for 29 back-breaking yards. Honestly, DC Bill Davis can't adjust to a goddamned slot WR. Inexcusable.

> Beasley for 3 on the bubble, then gun work with Cassel forcing the out, and Hicks makes the pick six for the play of the night. The LB just read the throw to McFadden perfectly, and the quicks shown to take it to the house was downright beautiful. Sturgis connecs, and it's 21-14 Green with 12:47 left. Wow, that was beautiful.

> And then, because we can't have nice things... 80-yard kickoff return by Whitehead, because Sturgis can't get touchbacks, and the STs are so much worse than last year.

> McFadden for 3, then 3 more, able to avoid a loss in the backfield on contact from Logan. Third and four and keep the damage to a figgie is Cassel from an empty set, long scramble, jump ball in the end zone and Bryant catches it for a score. GAHHH. Oh, and Bryant got away with a push off. That was absurd, and we're tied with less than 11 minutes left.

> Touchback. Mathews for five on long action, then fights off Claiborne to the left for the first. Drop by Mathwes on an open cross, and ye gads, please be better than that. He is on second down, wiggling through for first down yards up the middle. Play action throw to Ertz down the line, great play by the TE, who was in no way open. Ball shouldn't have gone there, but it goes for 27. Bradford keeps and hits Mathews for 14, then has just enough time to get to Sproles for 7, nearly went for more. Silver gassed and hurt, funny how often that happens. Murray long and slow left, hung out to dry for a loss, more Silver injuries, with the guy who was hurt a play ago is miraculously all better! More commerce. Third and 5 from the Silver 13 is a big damned deal, and it's Bradford from the gun, misses Matthews in the end zone as Silver gets pressure. Funny, how the defense got better after all those injuries, and Murray whiffed entirely on the block. Sturgis makes from 31, and it's Green 24, Silver 21, halfway through the fourth.

> Sturgis with the touchback, phew. Can the defense get off the field and stop the fearsome Beasley? Cassel to Williams for 8 on first, no pressure. McFadden for 12, easy bounce to the left off a lack of containment by Graham. Slant to Bryant for 16, no pressure, no pressure, no pressure. McFadden for 2, closing in on 30 carries for the lone survivor of the Cowboy 3-headed RB committee. Cassel from empty, long clock, quasi-intentional grounding on Barwin's pressure, but Beasley was close enough. Third and 8 and please God please is Cassel to Witten, fights off Hicks for the first. Dammit. Silver in field goal range.

> I hate SNF games. Casel tries Witten, misses high, Kendricks with coverage. Nearly 300 yards for a trash heap QB, BTW. From the gun, Witten stopped by S Walter Thurmond for only a 4-yard gain. Third and six and make this something the offense can win is Cassel empty, slant to Beasley blocked by CB EJ Biggers, and there's mercifully no flag. K Dan Bailey from 41 to tie it again is, of course, good, and we've got 3 minutes left with both teams having all of their timeouts.

> Touchback. World's Worst Screen actually works for 9, with Murray waiving the ball around. Poor throw to Matthews, who makes the good catch and goes for 34 through contact; big play. Detention Mode from the Silver 37, then Murray for six tortoisey cutback yards; Matthews would have had a lot more out of it. Two minute warning, with Green taking the clock down. I hate SNF games.

>  From the Silver 32, Murray loses on really bad internal blocking; Silver calls timeout. Third and 8 from the 35 is too long for Sturgis, and merely the entire game, really. Bradford from the gun tries Austin, ridiculously contact, not called. Kelly tries Sturgis from 53, which can't possibly work, and it does, somehow. Green 27, Silver 24, 1:46 left. All kinds of time left.

> Really need a touchback or better here, and Sturgis delivers; useful. Can the defense make the stand and get out of town? Cassel deflected on first, DT Fletcher Cox doing the honors. Second down is nearly complete to Witten on a deep cross, with Thurmond getting a hand in. Third and oh please oh please oh please is Cassel to McFadden, bell rung hard by Hicks after a five yard gain. Silver timeout. Fourth and the game with a minute and a half left is Cassel to Williams, easy cross and conversion, and so much for that chance of a kill shot. Silver running a lot of clock, takes Beasley for six yards, and Hicks is down, which stops the clock and helps Silver. Home team is 20 away from feasible tying figgie range. Green timeout on the injury doesn't help. Cassel tries Bryant, gets DPI on Maxwell, because he's Dez Bryant. Silver ball at midfield. Cassel tries Bryant, can't hang on to a deep cross, good throw from the QB. 42 seconds left, clock doesn't really matter right now. Cassel to Witten, short gain, clock now does matter. From the 46, another freaking throw to Bryant, should be OPI... but he's Dez Bryant, so why the hell not. Silver in figgie range on charity. I love the NFL, and SNF.

> From the Green 33, flag, and Silver had motion. No clock run off; grr. Silver needs yards again at least. 19 seconds left. Cassel to Bryant, slant and timeout, back in figgie range with 12 seconds left. NBC shows the last play was an illegal formation; uncalled, of course. Cassel throws wide and outside, flags everywhere, defensive hold on Jenkins for 5 more of ease. Green just went into prevent anything but an easier figgie there. Bailey from 44 makes it with a carom off the upright, and we've got overtime, because staying up even later to watch this infuriating team is just so much fun. Jenkins nearly had the game-saving block. GAHHHH.

> Not for nothing, but the defense has now given up late leads to Freaking Kirk Cousins and Freaking Matt Cassel. There's really no reason to think very well of any unit on this team. Touchback, then a kneeldown with two seconds on the clock, and overtime.

> Coin toss is won by Green; useful, I guess, since the defense just gave up the freaking lead.

> Touchback; not sure Green has had a kickoff return tonight. False start by Johnson, because the start of the fifth quarter is just like the start of the first, right? Bradford to Murray, slowly fights his way to 14 yards with hand action. Second and one is a middle give for three and the first. Move the sticks. Bradford to Matthews for a yard on long rollout, not an easy play, as NBC just begs for a Silver turnover. Another procedure flag, this one on Matthews. Such a well-coached team, this. Second and 14 from the gun sees Murray get 20, line doing work, hurdling a man at the end. Play action to Ertz loses two, and why stay with the run with Silver gassed and hurt? Second and 12 is Murray sweeping for nine. Third and three from the Silver 45 is everything, and Murray takes Matthews for two yards on a cross. Fourth and one and the game on the line is Mathews through the middle for the first, loose ball aferwards, and it's in the hands of the refs. Silver ball, and we're going to the booth for no good reason, because the replay shows it should have never been ruled that way, but dammit, Ryan Mathews, hold on to the goddamned ball.

> First down with Eagle Fans yelling in the stadium first, in operation at the Silver 41. Tempo defeated at the least for Silver. Bradford on the cross to Matthews, gets loose, and that's the 41 yard strike to end the goddamned game. Best moment of the year, and nothing else is even close. Hardy didn't get to the QB and haz a sad; couldn't happen to a nicer criminal.

> Green 33, Silver 27. Eagles go to 4-4, Dallas to 2-6, and the dream of losing a home playoff game is alive.

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