Archive for November, 2008

NFL 2008–Week 13 Recap

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

The Tygrrrr Express is cognizant of world events, which have been tragic in recent days. My Sunday column deals with the National Football League, and only the National Football League. Football cannot solve every world problem, but it can be a welcome respite. Escapism is legitimate. The world can wait until Monday.

As for the Plaxico Burress situation, I will be waiting and seeing just like everybody else. The Giants wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun that he brought into a nightclub. New York law is very strict, as is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. We shall see. For now, football attention is focused on Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving is about tradition, and one of the great traditions of Thanksgiving that I personally give much thanks for is an abundance of the National Football League. This is the only stretch of the year where 5 straight days of football takes place. The NFL has 3 games on Thanksgiving Thursday. Friday is normally a college game. Growing up the Friday after Thanksgiving was the annual Oklahoma vs. Nebraska game. Then Saturday was traditional college games followed by the NFL on Sunday and Monday night.

Yet Thanksgiving in 2008 means a potential mismatch between the best team in the league and the worst team in the league. The 10-1 Titans faced the 0-11 Lions. This reminds me of several years ago when the 9-1 Oakland Raiders were facing the 0-10 Chargers in San Diego. I was scared to death, and so were my friends rooting for the Raiders. We knew the Chargers were hungry. They were going to get a win. In the season opener the Raiders beat the Chargers only by a score of 9-6. A safety broke a scoreless 3rd quarter tie. I bring this up because every team has dignity, and the Lions will not go 0-16. As for the Chargers that year, they did win a game, but thankfully not that week. Sebastian Janikowski kicked 5 field goals, including one with seconds left. The Raiders survived 15-13. Raider fans were right to be scared. Any given Sunday absolutely still exists in the NFL.

With that, back home from North Carolina in front of my football den in Los Angeles, is the Week 13 NFL Recap.

Tennessee Titans @ Detroit Lions was the Thanksgiving Day morning game. This game ended as quickly as it began. Detroit needed 2 plays to fumble the ball away. Starting from the Detroit 34, Tennessee needed 2 plays to score. Jones ran for 28 yards to set up a 6 yard run by Chris Johnson for a 7-0 Tennessee lead. After a Detroit field goal, Johnson burst through for a 58 yard touchdown to make it 14-3. Dante Culpepper was the intercepted by Ball, who rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown to put the Titans up 21-3 after the first quarter. For some reason, the game continued.

A 13 yard Detroit punt let up Tennessee with another short field at the Detroit 31. Lendale White ran it in from 6 yards out to make it 28-3. After a better Detroit punt, Kerry Collins led a 91 yard drive that ate up 15 plays and 8 ½ minutes of clock. On 3rd and 7 from their own 37, an incomplete pass was nullified by an illegal contact penalty. On 3rd and 9 from the Detroit 46, Collins hit Justin McCareins for 23 yards. White ran it in from 2 yards out to put the Titans up 35-3.

Tennessee made one mistake in the game, which they will only use to improve in later weeks. Instead of running out the clock to end the half, Collins went back to pass and add more.  Collins was hit and fumbled. Detroit took over at the Tennessee 2 yard line, and Culpepper completed the touchdown drive to make it a 35-10 game. The Tennessee Titans used to be the Houston Oilers. The Oilers once blew a 35-3 lead. History would not repeat itself in this second half. Jeff Fisher had other ideas.

Rob Bironas once kicked 8 field goals in one game. In the second half of this game, he kicked 4 field goals. Things got so out of hand that Vince Young came in for the first time since Week 1. On 3rd and 1 he completed a short pass that went for 50 yards. Even on 3rd and 37 from midfield, a running play picked up 25 yards for Lendale White to set up a field goal. Drew Henson came in for Culpepper. The Lions remain a winless mess, and the Titans still have the top record in the AFC by 2 games. 47-10 Titans

Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys was the Thanksgiving day afternoon game. Tony Romo made it look easy for the Cowboys as Mike Holmgren continued to have a miserable final year in Seattle. Romo quickly fired a 32 yard strike to Jason Witten before hitting Bennett for 16 yards to put the Cowboys up 7-0. Marion Barber took over on the next Dallas drive, as a 17 yard run was followed by a one yard touchdown run and a 14-0 Dallas lead. The game was beginning to look like a rout, and it was.

After a Seattle field goal, Romo led the Cowboys again in the 2nd quarter down the field. He hit Terrell Owens for 26 yards, Witten for 10 more, Barber for 13, and Witten for another 13. Romo Hit Crayton for 9 yards, and finished off the aerial clinic with a 7 yard toss to Witten. The Cowboys led 21-3, and coasted from there.

The Cowboys led 24-6 at the half, but with the game at 24-9, Romo hit Owens for 33 yards to set up his 19 yard touchdown pass to Owens. After seeing a 3-0 team fall to 4-4 with Romo nursing an injured pinkie, the Cowboys have now won 4 straight and are every bit as loaded as last year. The Seahawks fell to 2-10, with no end in sight. 34-9 Cowboys

Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles was the Thanksgiving day night game. The Cardinals were trying to clinch their first division title since 1975 and their first home playoff game since 1947. The Eagles were trying to save their season, and perhaps the jobs of Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. If this game was an indication, they succeeded.

McNabb opened the game by leading the Eagles 70 yards over 7 minutes and 12 plays. A 5 yard touchdown pass to Bryan Westbrook had the Eagles up 7-0. McNabb had a dream day, while Kurt Warner had a nightmarish one. His first interception had the Eagles starting at the Arizona 41. Westbrook did the rest, running for 5, 16, 17, and 1 yard to put the Eagles up 14-0 after the opening quarter.

After a punt, the Eagles took over at their own 40. McNabb hit Hank Baskett for 20 yards, and Westbrook continued to run wild. Westbrook scored from 2 yards out to have the Eagles cruising 21-0. Warner finally got the Cardinals going. He hit Tim Hightower for 26 yards and Pope for 25 yards to set up Warner’s 1 yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals were within 21-7, but the Eagles were far from done. David Akers nailed a field goal at the end of the half to put the Eagles up 24-7.

In the 3rd quarter, Westbrook scored again, this time from 9 yards out. At 31-7, the Eagles were on their way to a blowout. The Cardinals tried to make a game of it when Warner threw short touchdown passes to Steve Breaston and Larry Fitzgerald after hitting Fitzgerald on a 40 yarder to set up the latter touchdown. Yet trailing 34-20 with the ball, Warner was hit and fumbled. McNabb took over at the Arizona 19 and ended up hitting Jackson for a 5 yard touchdown pass to end any suspense.

McNabb finished with 4 touchdown passes, while Warner suffered through 3 interceptions. Yet the Cardinals remain on track for the playoffs even at 7-5 in the NFC West, while the Eagles at 6-5-1 remain in last place in their tough NFC East. 48-20 Eagles

Miami Dolphins @ St. Louis Rams–The Rams have been getting blown out, with their last 3 games effectively ending by halftime. Yet this time they came out playing tough for Jim Haslett. A pair of field goals had the Rams up 6-0 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Miami mounted a 91 yard drive that consumed 12 plays and 5:46 of clock. Chad Pennington hit Ted Ginn for gains of 19 and 13 yards before hitting Bess for 19 yards. Ronnie Brown ran it in from 3 yards out to give the Dolphins the 7-6 lead. That would be the only touchdown of the game.

The field goal kickers had the Dolphins leading 10-9 at the half and 13-21 after 3 quarters. With 10 minutes left, Marc Bulger was intercepted, setting up the Dolphins at the Rams 40. Another field goal with 6 1/2 minutes remaining had the Dolphins up by 4 points. With 35 seconds remaining in the game, Bulger was intercepted again, as Miami left behind their 1-15 season and moved to 7-5 with the win. 16-12 Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers @ Buffalo Bills–This game started with a flourish and ended with people falling into a sleep induced coma. The 49ers took the opening kickoff and went 72 yards in 14 plays, eating over 8 minutes off of the clock. Sean Hill hit Isaac Bruce for the 12 yard touchdown pass that had the 49ers up 7-0. The final 52 minutes of the game could not end soon enough. In the 2nd quarter, the Bills decided to kick a field goal on 4th and goal from the 2. Ryan Lindell hit the upright. In the 4th quarter, on 4th and 2 from the San Francisco 7, the Bills failed to convert. 10-3 49ers

Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns–Peyton Manning had a miserable day in the Dawg Pound as this game was a defensive slugfest. The teams combined for barely more than 400 yards of total offense. The Colts had a 12 play, 7 minute drive, which the Browns answered with a staggering 16 play, 9 1/2 minute drive. Neither drive produced a touchdown. The Colts did face 4th and goal at the 1 in the 2nd quarter, but the ball was fumbled away. Thanks to that goal line stand, in the 4th quarter, the Browns led 6-3. With 10 minutes left, the only touchdown of the game came on defense. Derek Anderson was hit by Dwight Freneey, causing a fumble that Robert Mathis returned 37 yards for the score.

Late in the game Anderson was hit and injured. A team that alternated him and Brady Quinn has now lost both of them for the season, with 3rd stringer Ken Dorsey being their quarterback. As for the Colts, they Colts survived to get to 8-4. 10-6 Colts

Carolina Panthers @ Green Bay Packers–On a day of defense, this was a shootout. Working with a short field after a punt, the Panthers took the 7-0 lead on a 1 yard run by Williams. Both offenses heated up in the second quarter. After a Green Bay field goal, a kickoff return had the Panthers starting at their own 45. A 43 yard run by Stewart set up Jake Delhomme, who ran it in himself from one yard out to put Carolina up 14-3. Aaron Rodgers led a 12 play, 6 1/2 minute drive. A 24 yard run by Jackson set up Rodgers hitting Donald Driver from 6 yards out to make it 14-10. With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, a Green bay fumble in their own territory had the Panthers at the Green Bay 17. William ran it in from one yard out to put the Panthers up 21-10 at the half.

The Packers began the 3rd quarter with a field goal, and after a Carolina punt, the Packers took over at their own 5. Rodgers hit Driver for 46 yards. Rodgers then ran for 16 yards before hitting Greg Jennings for 15 more. The 95 yard drive was completed when Rodgers hit Lee for 5 yards. The 2 point conversion went to Jennings, tying the game 21-21 after 3 quarters.

After another Carolina punt, Rodgers hit Nelson for 23 yards before firing 21 yards to Jennings for the touchdown that had the Packers up 28-21 just over a minute into the 4th quarter. Jake Delhomme quickly responded. After a defensive pass interference penalty nullified an interception, Delhomme hit Steve Smith for 36 yards down to the one yard line. Williams crashed through to tie the game 28-28 with 11 minutes left. Rodgers took over on the Green Bay 20 and led a staggering 9 minute drive. On 3rd and 4 from the Green Bay 44, Rodgers picked up 6 yards. On 4th and 1 from the Carolina 41, Rodgers picked up 2 yards. Yet on 2nd and goal from the 1 and 3rd and goal form the 1, Green Bay ran into a brick wall of Panthers. On 4th and goal from the 1, with 1:57 remaining, Mike McCarthy made the key decision  in the game by opting for the field goal. The Packers led 31-28.

Jones returned the kickoff to the Carolina 45. Delhomme went for all the marbles on the first play. Superstars Steve Smityh and Charles Woodson fought for position, and somehow Smith came down with the ball at the Green Bay 1 yard line. His acrobatic circus catch set up Williams for the go ahead touchdown with 90 seconds remaining. The Panthers were ahead, but used up only 27 seconds of clock. Yet 21 seconds later, Rodgers went deep and was intercepted. Carolina improved to 9-3, while the Packers fell to the brink of elimination with a 5-7 record. 35-31 Panthers

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals–In the first quarter, Joe Flacco hit Clayton for 45 yards to set up a field goal and a 3-0 Baltimore lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter Flacco led the Ravens deep, but on 4th and goal at the 2, another field goal was in the cards as the Ravens led 6-0. After a punt, Flacco led the Ravens 80 yards, and this time they cracked the end zone. Flacco hit Todd Heap from 4 yards out to put the Ravens up 13-0. With only 1:11 left in the half, the Bengals rapidly moved from their own 8 to the Baltimore 3. Yet a field goal was all they could muster, and trailing 13-3 at the half, the second half was all Ravens.

In the 3rd quarter a halfback option pass had Clayton throwing a 32 yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason after receiving the handoff from Flacco. Flacco later added a 70 yard touchdown pass to Clayton as the Ravens poured it on. A 35 yard interception for a touchdown by Leonhard wrapped up the scoring. The misery continued for the Bengals, while the Ravens moved to 8-4 with their rookie head coach and rookie quarterback. 34-3 Ravens

New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers–A 3-3 game in the 2nd quarter saw the Bucs drive to the New Orleans 5, where they were forced to settle for another field goal and a 6-3 lead. Drew Brees finally got going, hitting Marquis Colston for 37 yards before hitting Moore for the 13 yard touchdown. The Saints led 10-6 at the break.

The Buccaneers began the second half at the Saints 46. Williams ran it in from 8 yards out to put the Buccaneers ahead 13-10. Another New Orleans punt again had the Bucs starting in Saints territory. Jeff Garcia threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant to give the Buccaneers a 20-10 lead after 3 quarters. The Saints then mounted an 82 yard drive that took 11 plays and 5:44 of clock. Brees hiit Devry Henderson for 20 yards before hitting Thomas for a 20 yard touchdown pass. The Saints were within 20-17, with 12 minutes remaining.

7 minutes remained when the Saints took over at the Tampa Bay 48. Brees hit Jeremy Shockey for 21 yards, setting up the tying field goal with 5 1/2 minutes left. With 2 1/2 minutes left, Brees made the mistake of the game when he was intercepted by Phillips. The Buccaneers began at the New Orleans 17. Yet the New Orleans Defense forced the Buccaneers into a field goal with only 29 seconds coming off of the clock. The Buccaneers had the lead, but the Saints had 1:55 left. It did not matter. Brees was intercepted again, this time by Philip Buchanon. The Buccaneers under Jon Gruden improved to 9-3 while the Saints fell to the precipice at 6-6, which is the cellar of their division. 23-20 Buccaneers

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins–In the Thursday night opener, the defending champions looked terrible in a 16-7 win over the Redskins at home. However, given how improved Washington is, the Giants victory is more impressive in context. This time the Giants let another foe know that they intend to repeat. Eli Manning hit Amani Toomer for a 40 yard touchdown to put the Giants up 7-0. The Giants added a pair of field goals to lead 13-0, but the Redskins came back. A 29 yard run by Thomas had the Redskins within 13-7. Both teams missed opportunities, with the Giants failing to convert 4th and 1 at the Washington 38, and the Redskins missing a field goal.

The second half saw the Giants defense unleashed. On offense, starting from the Washington 48, Brandon Jacobs ripped off a 23 yard gain. The bruising Jacobs scored from one yard out to put the Giants up 20-7. With 11 minutes left, on 4th and 1 from their own 39, Clinton Portis went nowhere. The Giants added a field goal and upped their record to 11-1. The Redskins remain in the hunt at 7-5. 23-7 Giants

Atlanta Falcons @ San Diego Chargers–The Atlanta Falcons are one of two teams along with Baltimore that are winning with a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach that looks like the poster child for Non-descript Caucasian Monthly Magazine. The Charger are led by Norvelous Norv Turner, who is leading his 3rd franchise into the ground. The Falcons led 3-0 and stopped the Chargers, but a fumbled punt had the Chargers starting at the Atlanta 18.  Rivers hit Ladanian Tomlinson for 15 yards, and Tomlinson ran it in the final 3 yards to put the Chargers up 7-3. The Falcons added another field goal to pull within 7-6 after the opening quarter.

In the 2nd quarter a punt return by Douglas had the Falcons at the San Diego 46. On 4th and 1 from the 20, Mughelli picked up 2 yards. Matt Ryan then hit Peele for the touchdown to put the Falcons up 13-7. A key play in the game came when Philip Rivers was called for intentioanl grounding in his own end zone. The safety put the Falcons up 15-7, and they took the free kick and went right down the field. Eating up 7 minutes of clock, they reached the San Diego one yard line with one minute left in the half. Yet Mughelli failed to get in on 3rd down, and on 4th and goal from the 1, Michael Turner hit a brick wall. Instead of turning out the lights, San Diego was within one score at halftime.

Matt Ryan had the Falcons driving in the second half, again looking to put the game out of reach. Instead a fumble by Brad Finneran was returned 86 yards for a touchdown by Weddle. Although the 2 point conversion failed, a potential blowout was now a 15-13 game. Yet Matty Ice stayed calm, as he has all year. He led an 11 play, 72 yard drive that ate up 5:46. On the first play of the 4th quarter, Ryan hit Douglas from 5 yards out to put the Falcons up 22-13.

With 11 1/2 minutes remaining, Nate Kaeding came in for a 43 yard field goal to make it a one score game. The kick was blocked. Yet Michael Turner fumbled, and Quentin Jammer recovered to put the Chargers at the Atlanta 45. They reached the 10 before the drive stalled. The field goal attempt was good this time, and the Chargers were within 6 points with 5:15 left. San Diego got the ball back, but went nowhere. They fell to a Norvelous 4-8. The Falcons with their coach, who happens to be named Mike Smith, movd to 8-4 with the win. 22-16 Falcons

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets–The Jets at 8-3 had just won road games against New England and previously unbeaten Tennessee, who they walloped from the undefeated ranks. The Broncos at 6-5 had just lost at home to a Raiders team that entered the game at 2-8. This is why the games are played in real life and not on paper. In New York, the Broncos dominated.

Although Brett Favre played the game, a key play occurred when Smith substituted for Favre at quarterback on a gadget play. The result was a fumble that the Broncos returned 23 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Thomas Jones broke through for a 59 yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7. Yet the Broncos added a 59 yard play of their own when Jay Cutler found Eddie Royal to put Denver back in front 14-7. The Broncos added a field goal before the first quarter ended.

In the 2nd quarter, Jones added to his 59 yard run with another touchdown, this time from 29 yards out. He appeared down, but rolled on bodies, stayed on his feet, and kept going. His alert play had the Jets within 17-14. Yet after that, Denver rolled. Cutler hit Tony Scheffler for 22 yards to set up a one yard touchdown run by Patrick Hillis to give Denver a 24-14 cushion. After a punt, with 3 minutes left in the half, Cutler moved Denver from their own 16 to the New York 17 to set up a field goal and a 27-14 Broncos lead at intermission.

Late in the 3rd quarter, on 3rd and goal from the Denver 7, Favre was sacked. The Jets settled for a field goal, and were blanked the rest of the game. A 36 yard pass from Cutler to Brandon Stokely salted the game away. Despite only being 7-5, the Broncos are in firm command of their division. The Jets at 8-4 are clinging to a one game lead in theirs. 34-17 Broncos

Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots–Early in the game, Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted, alowing the Patriots to start at the Pittsburgh 14 in a game featuring rain and snow. Sammy Morris scored from 2 yards out to put the Patriots up 7-0. It was Pittsburgh’s only turnover of the day. Big Ben led an 11 play drive that took almost 6 minutes, but on 4th and 1 from the 2, Mike Tomlin decided to put the points on the board on the road. The field goal made it a 7-3 game. In the second quarter New England faced 4th and 2 at the Pittsburgh 11, and Bill Bellichick also went with the field goal to make it 10-3. Yet when Big Ben hit Santonio Holmes for a 19 yard touchdown pass, the game was tied 10-10 at halftime.

In the second half, New England turned the ball over 5 times. Matt Cassel had people forgetting about his predecessor, but today it was Cassel who was forgettable. Pittsburgh moved from their own 14 to the New England 7 in 14 plays and 7 minutes. Yet a field goal was all the Steelers could muster, making it 13-10. After that the Patriots collapsed. A fumble on the ensuing kickoff had the Steelers beginning at the New England 8. Big Ben hit Hines Ward for the touchdown to put the Steelers up 20-10. Cassel was then hit and fumbled. The Steelers moved to the New England 1 yard line, but again Tomlin opted for the field goal, giving the Steelers a 23-10 lead entering the final quarter.

In the 4th quarter Cassel was intercepted again, leading to a field goal. The final dagger came when Cassel had the Patriots at the Pittsburgh 14. Cassel was intercepted by Timmons at the 10, who returned it 89 yards before exhaustion led to him being taclked inches from the goal line. Russell finished things on the ground. The Steelers moved their record to 9-3 to keep a one game lead in their division, while the Patriots are 7-5, one game out of their divison lead. 33-10 Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders–As pathetic as the Raiders have been in 2008, they thrashed Denver on the road last week. They were at home against 1-10 Kansas City. The Raiders beat the Chiefs badly in Arrowhead 23-8 earlier in the year. Potential back to back wins had people claiming the Raiders running the table and winning the division at 8-8. As somebody who does not smoke crack, I just wanted to see 4-8. For more on the game of the day, go to:

Yet the Raiders simply have a long way to go before even being an average team. They dominated the first half, yet were well on their way to giving away the game. Starting at their own 13, they opened up the playbook. A defensive pass interference penalty put the ball on the Oakland 35. JaMarcus Russell hit Zach Miller for 28 yards. From the Kansas City 30, Russell threw a quick swing pass to Ronald Curry, who pitched it to Darren McFadden. The hook and ladder had Oakland at the Kansas City 14. Yet when it comes to conventional offense, the Raiders still do not execute. 2 plays on 2nd and 3 from the 7 yielded nothing. Sebastian Janikowski had his 25 yard field goal blocked, but yet somehow it still went through to put the Raiders up 3-0.

The Chiefs responded with an 11 play, 7 minute drive of their own that tied the game 3-3. Yet it was the Raiders that blundered on 2 consecutive possessions in the second quarter to turn an easy win into a deficit. On 4th and 10 from the Kansas City 25, a field goal would have put the Raiders up 6-3. Instead the Raiders tried a fake field goal. Shane Lechler is a great punter, but not a quarterback. The snap was fumbled and picked up by Leggett, who raced 67 yards for a gift touchdown. Herm Edwards did win the Miracle at the Meadowlands, but this was just pathetic execution. Instead of being down 6-3, the Chiefs led 10-3.

On the next Oakland possession, Russell led a drive from the Oakland 9 to the Kansas City 22 that ate up 7 minutes and 11 plays. On 4th and 3 from the 22, rather than again kick a field goal, Tom Cable decided to go for it. A roll out pass by Russell was just overthrown past a diving Ronald Curry in the end zone. Rather than be up 9-3, the Raiders still trailed 10-3 at halftime.

Early in the 3rd quarter, the Chiefs tried to give the game back. Tyler Thigpen was intercepted by Chris Johnson at the Kansas City 45. Johnson, who has been playing brilliantly in place of the cut Deangelo Hall, returned it to the one yard line. Justin Fargas leapt over the top like Marcus Allen used to do, tying the game 10-10. Now if the defense, which had given up no touchdowns in the game, could continue playing well, the Raiders would be fine.

Instead Tyler Thigpen moved the Chiefs 91 yards in a staggering 16 play drive that ate up 9 1/2 minutes. From the 9, Thigpen hit Tony Gonzalez for 23 yards. On 3rd and 10 from their own 32, Thigpen hit Gonzalez again, for 16 yards. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 44, Larry Jonhson picked up 3 yards. On 3rd and 9 from the Oakland 40, Thigpen hit Gonzalez for 12 yards. After a decade of doing this, perhaps the Raiders might have noticed that covering Gonzalez might be a good idea. As the 4th quarter began, on 3rd and 4 from the 11, Thigpen ran himself up the middle 9 yards, and Johnson finished the drive to put the Chiefs up 17-10.

The Raiders needed one play to self destruct, as Justin Fargas fumbled. The Chiefs added a field goal to lead 20-10 with 9 minutes remaining. As desperation set in, with 5 minutes remaining, the Raiders were forced to go for it on 4th and 7 from their own 24. Russell ran it 20 yards, and the Raiders had life. A  51 yard field goal by Seabass had the Raiders within 7 points. 2:55 remained, and Oakland had all 3 timeouts.

The Raiders decided not to try the onsides kick, and Seabass boomed out the back of the end zone. On 3rd and 3 from their own 27, the Chiefs needed to convert. One stop would give the Raiders the ball back. Thigpen hit Bowe for 12 yards. The Raiders took their final timeout. Larry Johnson then ran for 15 yards, and the Raiders never got the ball back. The Chiefs improved to 2-10, and the 3-8 Raiders moved a step closer to 3-13, not 8-8. The Raiders have now had 6 straight losing seasons since their 2002 Super Bowl season. That was the last year they defeated the Chiefs at home. 20-13 Chiefs

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings was the Sunday night game. Both of these teams came in tied for first place in their division at 6-5. Earlier in the year, the Bears won a ridiculous shootout at home 48-41. While Devon Hester was not running back kickoffs, he is now more than a return man. As a receiver he is just as dangerous, and Kyle Orton hit Hester on a pass that Hester took for a 65 yard touchdown and a 7-0 Bears lead.

Early in the second quarter, Adrian Peterson took a handoff from his own 35, and raced 59 yards to the Chicago 6. The Vikings could not capitalize, and had to settle for a field goal. Later in the quarter the Bears began with a short field. From the Minnesota 27, a 26 yard run by Matt Forte moved Chicago to the Minnesota 1 yard line. On 3rd and goal Forte was short. On 4th and goal from the 1, Forte ran into the closest thing Minnesota has had since the Purple People Eaters, or at least Big Dog John Randle. The goal line stand reverberated on the very next play. From his own one, Frerotte went back and fired the bomb to Bernard Berrian, who raced for the 99 yard touchdown. Instead of trailing 14-3, the Vikings led 10-7.

With 2 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Vikings got the ball on their own 14. At the 2 minute warning, they were at their own 25. Adrian Peterson then ran for 16 yards. Frerotte hit Wade for 15 yards on the next play. A personal foul on the defense had Minnesota at the Chicago 21. Frerotte hit Kleinsasser inches from the goal line, allowing Frerotte to sneak it in himself with less than one minute remaining in the half. The Vikings took the 17-7 lead into the locker room.

In the second half, Frerotte had a pass deflected and intercepted by Payne at the Minnesota 40. Payne returned it to the Minnesota 4 yard line. Forte again did not get in on the ground, but instead caught the 2 yard touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to get the Bears to within 17-14 midway through the 3rd quarter. On Chicago’s next drive, Orton was intercepted, setting the Vikings up at the Chicago 35. Chester Taylor ran it in from 21 yards out to give the Vikings some breathing room at 24-14.

In the 4th quarter, Orton was intercepted by Leber at midfield. Leber returned it to the Chicago 22. There would be no goal line stand for the Bears this time, as Peterson crashed through on 3rd and goal at the one to put the Vikings comfortably ahead 31-14 with 8 minutes remaining. Another Orton interception led to a field goal to take a close game and end it in a rout. Yet this Sunday saw road teams defeat home teams in 10 of 11 games. Yet the night game went for the home team, as the Vikings moved into first place heading into December. 34-14 Vikings

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans was the Monday night game. For the first 55 minutes this was a grind it out game, while the last 5 minutes featured big plays on offense. Unfortunately, the game was already out of hand, and mattered little at the start. Sage Rosenfels led the Texans to a 7-0 early lead with a 31 yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. After that, both teams fell asleep until late in the game. In the 2nd quarter, the Texans kicked a field goal, and the Jaguars missed one The Texans also fumbled a snap on a field goal when they faced 4th and goal at the 3 as the half ended . In the 3rd quarter, the Jaguars did make one field goal, but the Texans made 2 more. With 12 minutes remaining, on 4th and goal at the 5, David Garrarrd tripped when his lineman stepped on him. With 5 minutes left, the game was still 16-3.

Yet 19 points in 55 minutes was followed by 28 points in the final 5. Garrard was sacked and fumbled, allowing the Texans to take over at the Jacksonville 7. Steve Slaton scored on the next play to make it 23-3. Fred Taylor scored ona  4 yard run with 2:11 left to make it 23-10. The onsides kick failed, and the demoralized Jaguaars gave up a 40 yard touchdown run to Slaton, who burst through untouched. The Jaguars did score a garbage touchdown in the final minute. Both teams are 4-8. After going 12-4 last year, the injury riddled Jaguars areplaying out the strong. As for the Texans, they still have not turned the corner. 30-17 Texans


Serious Saturday

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Yesterday was Fun Friday. Today is Serious Saturday.

I can count the number of times on my hands that I have outsourced my column. Yet events in the last couple of days have rendered this necessary.

Regarding the terrorist attack in Mumbai, I am watching in horror along with everybody else.

The story has a Jewish angle for me because a Chabad Rabbi and his wife were hostages. By some miracle their infant son escaped with the nanny. The baby is now an orphan. For further information on this Rabbi and his family, Chabad is following this story extra closely. I am mourning the loss of more innocent people to bloodthirsty lunatics.

I still maintain that that the solution is to kill the leaders of Iran and Syria, and let the world know that running those nations will be the mot thankless job in the world. Then the terrorists will need to go elsewhere to get their money. In coming days this attack will be given more attention.

The other element of Serious Saturday comes from Chuck Grist, an American Patriot and retired soldier.

His story of Thanksgiving is poignant and meaningful.

With his permission, I present to you one example of what truly matters. It is actually Chick telling the tale of another soldier, Aaron Self. Perhaps he should be known as Aaron selfless.

“As a follow-up to my earlier post on Thanksgiving, I wanted all of my readers to see the following email I received from Aaron Self (Cobra Two from my Iraq tour). He gave me permission to post it, but it is one of the most heart-felt messages I have received from a war zone. (Aaron is pictured above in a recent photo.)

I must tell you that Aaron is a proud Texan and dedicated American who is also one of the finest men I have ever known. He and his wife, Kristi (who is deployed to another war zone with the Army Reserve), exemplify everything I know about what makes American warriors do what they do for all of us.

Say a prayer for Aaron’s and Kristi’s safety and for the safety of “Higg”, Chad Higginbotham (Cobra Three of the C.O.B.R.A. Team), who is serving with the U.S. Army not far from Aaron.

* * * *

Aaron Self
Kabul, Afghanistan
November 27, 2008

“I woke up this morning thinking that I would feel even further from home than usual. In the past few days, I had casually asked some of the local Afghan staff if they knew anything about the American tradition of Thanksgiving. Each time, I would have to explain, as no one had heard of it. In a few instances, I did my best to explain that a turkey was a bird, and it had nothing to do with the country Turkey. The best I could do was ‘Big Chicken’ followed by a ‘gobble’ noise. I still don’t know if they nodded in recognition, or just to placate the crazy American.

I received a phone call from an old war buddy, affectionately known as ‘Higg’. Higg was on my four-man team in Iraq in 2004. It is a small world, as he is also deployed in the area. Higg called to invite me to his base for a Thanksgiving. He went on about ham and velvet cake and cobbler. I could smell the food as he talked about it, and I imagined my belt feeling tight after a traditional feast. Part of me knew to not get too excited, as plans change in the blink of an eye.

Countless times, I have had to cancel travel plans due to attacks and intelligence reports of threats specifically against western ex-patriots and soldiers. The plan was to head down to his location with my boss in tow. My boss was especially excited because this was the first opportunity for him to get his hair cut in two months. That kind of thing is hard on a military man, even after he hangs up the uniform.

To my surprise, our cook, Javid, had somehow secured 5 turkeys! He asked me how to make mashed potatoes, and I was amazed that I actually remembered how. Javid’s gesture was incredible, but I still did not let myself get too excited. What passes as American food here is not even close to the real thing. I once had a ‘hamburger’ made of SPAM, cucumbers, Tabasco and potato bread. The attempt of a local cook to cook a bird he had only just heard of….well, my taste buds were in a holding pattern.

Soon, the familiar smell of Thanksgiving filled the air. I went to the kitchen to find Javid smiling ear to ear. His friend was pushing boiled potatoes through a meat grinder, because there was no other way to mash them. A pot of green beans was on the stove top, and one of the turkeys was being pulled from the oven. Javid asked me to try the mashed potatoes, and I was excited to find that they tasted almost as good as Mom’s (sorry Mom, you have to factor in that there is a sentimental element that effects the taste buds).

I called Higg and confirmed that Doug and I were going to meet him at the base at 2:00 PM. I was reminded of every holiday since I was 18, eating with Mom, then after, repeating the ritual with Dad. I guess the tradition would be continued between two new families. As I was walking down the stairs, I heard the rumbling ‘boom’ of an explosion. I hear them frequently, so it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Within five minutes, Bahir, a trusted Afghan friend, told me that there had just been a suicide attack at the U.S. Embassy. I went to the roof (better cellular reception) and called an Australian friend who lives close to the Embassy. He answered, and immediately said, ‘This thing is still going on, I need to call you back.’

Lunch was served, and I was surprised how eagerly the locals devoured the food. Doug said a few words about the history and meaning of the day, and I followed by sharing what I was thankful for. I spoke of new friends, and freedom, and family that was safe at home (all but one). A young man, Ali, then stood up, and shared what he was thankful for; friends and a chance to be included in our holiday. The spirit of Thanksgiving took root, and without coaching or provocation, the locals took turns standing and sharing what made them grateful. It was just like I had done every Thanksgiving, and I felt a little closer to home.

I called my Aussie friend to see if there were any developments regarding the attack. I needed to know the conditions if I was going to venture into that area. The news was grim. A coalition convoy was hit and there was intel suggesting more would occur. What’s more, four soldiers were killed. I informed Doug and called Higg to break the news that I was not coming. I don’t think Mom would like me taking such a risk for a piece of velvet cake.

I was disappointed at the thought of missing out on my plans to catch up with an old friend. And then I thought of the four soldiers and four empty chairs in four different homes. I thought of the time difference in the States, and how four families would get the news right about the time the turkey hit the table.

This is not one of those sappy patriotic emails that your republican friend forwards to you. I just wanted to share my feelings with those that matter to me. I am thankful for so many things, and it took being so far away from friends and family to truly feel that way.

Mom and Ernie: I picture myself there in Dallas, coming over way too early and long talks in the kitchen, weighing my options on how much Mississippi mud to eat, versus how much room to leave in my stomach for Amy’s green bean casserole.

I see Amy, Courtney and Mom, trying not to giggle as I ask the traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas question, ‘Do you know the best thing about eating corn?’ For those that are not familiar, the answer is not appropriate for the table.

I picture Dad and I sneaking out to go shooting, or begging Mary Jo to stop messing around in the kitchen and let us share her company.

I have counted my blessings today, and I came up with a few that I can only enjoy at home on Thanksgiving. I am thankful for triptafan-induced comas and Dr. Pepper burps. I am thankful for the only day I can stand to watch sports on TV. I am thankful for Kristi squeezing my hand the second everyone says ‘Amen’. I am grateful for that third piece of cake that no one saw me eat, the sound of my giggling nieces and nephews as Elisabeth asks Uncle Aaron to come play, and the smell of turkey on my fingers.

I am also thankful for Matt, Julie, Myriam, Pancho and Lefty for making me and Kristi a part of their family. I am grateful for my friends at Evans (teachers and students, alike) for your letters and concern. I am grateful for the largest family ever, from Austin, Dallas, Stillwater, Houston, Apache and Washington. In my travels over the years, I have never felt forgotten or left out, and I have felt your prayers cover me like a warm blanket. I am grateful to be married to the most resilient and wonderful woman in the world. Kristi, this is not our first Thanksgiving spent in different countries. I know George Bush is not there this time to serve you turkey, so I hope you don’t feel let down.

I just want to tell my wife, family and friends ‘Happy Thanksgiving’, and I am thinking of all of you.”


* * * *

Aaron, we are grateful for you, for Kristi, for Higg and for all of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are risking your lives for all of us. It is only because of your efforts that we can sit at home today in freedom and safety.

Be safe and know we are all here for you.

Charles M. Grist   ”

I wish everybody a peaceful rest of the year. I pray to God that in the struggle of civilization vs. barbarism, that decency and humanity defeat evil and allow civilization to win.


Fun Friday

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Like many of you, I am stuffed with Turkey, and ready to be mounted on a wall. Today is my last day in the Carolinas. Tomorrow it is back to Los Angeles.

Rather than deal with the seriousness of life in a state of food coma, I felt I had two options.

Since getting into fistfights with soccer moms over the newest toy at the mall is not my favorite hobby, a lighthearted post Thanksgiving Fun Friday is in order.

I rarely allow guest columns, but these were priceless. The second story is from one of our fine soldiers. The first one speaks for itself, and comes from Richard Baehr at American Thinker.

“Somali Pirates in Discussions to Acquire Citigroup 2008-11-25 14:23:00.260 GMT

November 25 (Bloomberg) — The Somali pirates, known for hijacking ships for ransom in the Gulf of Aden, are negotiating a purchase of Citigroup.

The pirates would buy Citigroup with new debt and their existing cash stockpiles, earned most recently from hijacking numerous ships, including most recently a $200 million Saudi Arabian oil tanker. The Somali pirates are offering up to $2 per share for Citigroup, pirate spokesman Sugule Ali said earlier today. The negotiations have entered the final stage, Ali said. “You may not like our price, but we are not in the business of paying for things. Be happy we are in the mood to offer the shareholders anything,’ said Ali.

The pirates will finance part of the purchase by selling new Pirate Ransom Backed Securities. The PRBS’s are backed by the cash flows from future ransom payments from hijackings in the Gulf of Aden. Moody’s and S&P have already issued their top investment grade ratings for the PRBS’s.

Head pirate, Ubu Kalid Shandu, said ‘we need a bank so that we have a place to keep all of our ransom money. Thankfully, the dislocations in the capital markets has allowed us to purchase Citigroup at an attractive valuation and to take advantage of TARP capital to grow the business even faster.’ Shandu added, ‘We don’t call ourselves pirates. We are coastguards and this will just allow us to guard our coasts better.'”

With that, I now offer a story from one of America’s best.

“Here is a US Marine who is not afraid to tell it like it is..Political Correctness doesn’t mean beans to this tough young warrior.”

“From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan”

“It’s freezing here. I’m sitting on hard, cold dirt
between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush
Mountains along the Dar ‘yoi Pomir River watching a hole
that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave. Stake out, my
friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to
fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I’ve
actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but
them scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a
bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid but God
bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it
or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat
food and drink water. That requires couriers and that’s
where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I track
the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage
facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the
coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air
commanders where to drop the hardware, we bash some heads
for a while, then I track and record the new movement.

It’s all about intelligence. We haven’t even
brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no
idea what they’re in for. We are but days away from
cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to

I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him
with my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and
plunge my nickel plated Bowie knife through his frontal
lobe. But you know me. I’m a romantic. I’ve said it
before and I’ll say it again: This country blows, man.
It’s not even a country. There are no roads, there’s
no infrastructure, there’s no government. This is an
inhospitable, rock pit sh*t hole ruled by eleventh century
warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his
family: join the opium trade or join the army. That’s
it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live
in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle
paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu if
that’s your idea of a party. But the smell alone of
those ‘tent cities of the walking dead’ is enough to
hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs
for eighteen hours a day.

I’ve been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks and
Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtins for over a month and a
half now and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all
of ’em, are Huns Actual, living Huns. They LIVE to
fight. It’s what they do. It’s ALL they do. They
have no respect for anything, not for their families or for
each other or for themselves. They claw at one another as a
way of life. They play polo with dead calves and force their
five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the
family honor. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless
beasts who feed on each other’s barbarism Cavemen with
AK47’s. Then again, maybe I’m just cranky.

I’m freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my
lap warmer is running out of juice and I can’t recharge
it until the sun comes up in a few hours

Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor,
Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson
and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop
calling the Taliban ‘smart.’ They are not smart. I
suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are
looking for is ‘cunning.’ The Taliban are cunning,
like jackals and hyenas and wolverines. They are sneaky and
ruthless and, when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful,
malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy
everything else. Smart. Pfft. Yeah, they’re real smart.

They’ve spent t heir entire lives reading only one book
(and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene
and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They’re
still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter Talking to a
Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like
trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just
gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon so I have to get back
to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of
practice but I’m good at it. Please, I tell you and my
fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with
your lives.

The story line you are getting from CNN and other news
agencies is utter bullsh*t and designed not to deliver truth
but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the
commercials. We’ve got this one under control The worst
thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what
we’re doing over here because you have no idea what
we’re doing and, really, you don’t want to know. We
are your military and we are doing what you sent us here to

You wanna help? Buy Bonds America.

Saucy Jack

Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Semper Fi”

Well all, Fun Friday will be followed by Sleep Saturday, followed by of course NFL Sunday.


Carolina Thanksgiving 2008

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

In 2007, I wrote a Thanksgiving Day column detailing what I was…and was not…thankful for.

Thanksgiving 2008 has me situated in North Carolina. Last night my plane landed, and I met the Chicago Cannonball’s parents for the first time. Although this column was pre-written, pretend otherwise and assume I am still alive to blog.

Below are my 2007 Thanksgiving Day musings with 2008 updates.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ok, enough sugary nonsense. I am thankful for some things, and less thankful for other things. Surely I can put aside partisan griping on this holiday. No, that is what Yom Kippur is for. Rather than give you something that flows, I feel you all deserve nothing less on this holiday than disjointed musings.

I am thankful for the fact that I have the best parents a guy could ask for. I am thankful that they bought as many groceries as necessary, and never complained that I nearly ate them out of house and home as a teenager. My nickname at the local deli was “The Great White Shark.” My parents fed me well.

I am not thankful for the fact that I have no discipline in a grocery store. My mom had 8 hands, and could put everything back on the shelf. I can’t. I only go grocery shopping 3 or 4 times a year, and how a guy can spend on $193 on groceries and then use his club card and only save $4 is a mystery to me.

2008 Update: No comment.

I am thankful for the fact that there is a writers strike in Hollywood. Liberals cannibalizing their own is quite enjoyable.

I am not thankful for the fact that before, during, and after the strike, television was and remains garbage. Bruce Springsteen wrote “57 channels and nothing on.” I have close to 1000 channels, and outside of the NFL Network, it is slim pickings.

2008 Update: There might be another writers strike very soon. Baseball players and Hollywood personnel make the world a better place when they strike. Television remains garbage and baseball remains boring. I am almost at the point of taking up reading again.

I was thankful that I could finally turn on the news and not have to read about Natalee Holloway.

I am not thankful that the circus started up again. Either find the girl, find some evidence, or leave me alone. Fox News has The O’Holloway Factor at 5pm, Holloway and Colmes at 6pm, and Greta Van Der Sloat at 7pm. I might be forced to watch CNN. I would rather leftist bias that I can filter out on news I care about than a friendly network wasting my time with moldy oldy stories.

2008 Update: Thank God for Sarah Palin. Whether you adore her as much as I do is not the issue. Greta Van Susteren was not only watchable for a few weeks, but actually quite good. Unfortunately, there was a new non-development in the Natalee Holloway case, and she is back to being Greta Van Substanceless, or Greta Van Der Sloot, or whatever derogatory name can be attributed to anybody still covering this story.

I am thankful that I belong to a rich religion in Judaism that has 6000 years of traditions.

I am not thankful for the fact that a bunch of crazy Arabs in the Middle East think they will get 72 virgins for blowing Jews up. Oh, and I wish we had the oil.

2008 Update: They still exist. Oh well.

As awful as the Raiders are, I am thankful it is football season.

I am not thankful for the fact that I still get bored between February and September, mainly because baseball is boring. I say give the NFL players a month off, and have a second season.

2008 Update: Siggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh (uncontrollable sobbing).

I am thankful for the fact that any woman would want to sleep with me, and that enough have…well not enough ever, but enough for this moment.

I am not thankful for the fact that no woman I have ever dated has developed laryngitis. Can a guy watch the game in peace?

I am thankful for republican Jewish brunettes.

I am not thankful for the fact that their republican upbringing often involves being taught about chastity, abstinence, and other issues that make religious people zealots. It is also tragic that the women that want to get buck wild are liberal outside of the bedroom as well, and again, refuse to come down with laryngitis.

I am thankful to live in Los Angeles, where the weather is gorgeous, and the jacuzzi water is perfect year round.

I am not thankful for the fact that Los Angeles is the plastic capital of the world, where women visit my jacuzzi year round only because my dad is a movie producer (actually he is a retired schoolteacher, but mercenaries beget mercenaries).

2008 Update: The Chicago Cannonball and I are doing well. Her parents seem to like me (Again, this column was pre-written from my home in Los Angeles. It is now on the internet and therefore true). The Chicago Cannonball is a Jewish brunette, and 2 out of 3 aint bad.

I am thankful for the fact that I live in America, the greatest nation on Earth.

I am not thankful for the fact that half the population loves America not for what it is, but for what they want it to be. Their prescriptions may have us fleeing to Mexico for a better quality of life in a generation.

2008 Update: Mexicans do not bother me. I am aware that some come here illegally. I am not in favor of law breaking, but as long as illegal aliens don’t vote, they do less to harm America than American liberals. They are also less dangerous to our National Security. They are always hiding, so at least they don’t hold press conferences to complain about everything.

I am thankful for the fact that a guy with screws loose who has unhealthy fascinations with Bea Arthur and Monique from Showtime at the Apollo can become a successful blogger.

I am not thankful for the fact that this country has sunk so low on the lowest common denominator scale that people would spend one minute of their life reading about some blogger that has unhealthy fascinations with Bea Arthur and Monique from Showtime at the Apollo.

2008 Update: Don King is right…Only in America.

I am thankful that in America, anybody can become President, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity.

I am not thankful for the fact that so many guilty white liberals will vote for empty suits whose only noticeable quality is their race, gender or ethnicity.

2008 Update: The people have spoken, and perhaps now every minority that plays the grievance card will be forced to shut up. A world without Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton…Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

I am thankful that I understand the beauty behind Thanksgiving, and how it represents the spirit of harmony and the resilience of the American spirit.

I am not thankful that I live in a nation where public schools are declining so rapidly that in 20 years they might not know what this holiday is about.

2008 Update: Love your children. Send them to private schools or home school them. Do not terrorize them by sending them to public schools.

I am thankful for the fact that I am free to practice my religion, even though I am not Christian.

I am not thankful for the fact that Christmas starts 2 months in advance, and that the day after Thanksgiving, mothers who preach about peace and love will be trying to kill each other with shopping carts to get the last Elmo, Furby, Garbage Patch Kid, or whatever toy the toy stores tell these sheep to buy.

2008 Update: Give these MILFs some bikinis and a jello wrestling ring and watch the fun.

I am thankful that Ebay and Craigslist allow me to avoid the malls altogether.

I am not thankful for the fact that hot women in their 20s have to go to the mall, rather than just try on their miniskirts in front of my home mirror, with a rose in their teeth, and my teeth through their miniskirts.

2008 Update: Trolling for barely legal mall @ss is so 2007.

I am thankful that America has the military force to blow up nations like Iran and Syria that could use a good @sskicking.

I am not thankful for the fact that bombing these nations into the stone age will not improve them because they are already there.

2008 Update: Pebble Beach is in talks with the PGA Tour to hold the 2010 Damascus open as soon as the 50,000 hole golf course is built.

I am thankful that circumstances have led to a holiday that is marked by sleeping in late, watching football, eating meat, getting stuffed, and then going back to sleep. Heck, we even have a food that is named after the concept of getting stuffed, aka stuffing.

2008 Update: I will not be watching football. While I am not thrilled about this, the Detroit Lions are 0-11 and getting worse. They play the Titans who are 10-0. It does not make for a competitive match. My flight back to Los Angeles is on Saturday, allowing Sunday to remain sacred.

I would like to thank God, my family, my friends, and my readers, for indulging me. I have a platform, and I am grateful that I am still liked even though I have never once used this platform responsibly or in a way that would improve society.

2008 Update: Insert semi-heartfelt platitudinous warm and fuzzy sentiment here.

Happy Politically Incorrect Overindulgent Eating Meat and Watching Football Day!

2008 Update: To make up for the lack of football, I might have to eat twice as much.

As for the Chicago Cannonballl’s parents, they are not into football, and don’t share my politics. I have no idea if I will have a single thing in common with them.

Then again, I do not have a single thing in common with my own parents, and I get along with them more than 50% of the time.

From the Carolinas, a Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Carolina Bound

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

The Tygrrrr Express is Eastbound and Down, more specifically, Carolina Bound.

The Chicago Cannonball and I are traveling to Carolina for Thanksgiving with her family. We have been together for 8 months, and I am finally doing the “meet the parents thing.”

The trip almost did not come together. I could not figure out why the flight cost $2,500. Then I realized I entered CTL instead of CLT into the website and got Charleville, Australia, instead of Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte actually has the best sliding escalators at the airport. They are so long that I can sleep on them for a few minutes. If they would just turn the lights off it would be like the planetarium.

Then again, Charlotte is not the city they live in, so perhaps that will have to wait.

As for the visit itself, I am well prepared, and have been memorizing some scripture.

“Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil for thou art with me.”

Ok, perhaps I am overstating the case.

I am sure they are good people. I mean they sure produced a daughter that is a kind human being.

Yet if I have anything in common with them, I hope to find out soon enough.

They are politically liberal. I am just going to keep my mouth shut. It is their home, and I will be respectful.

The Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie “Guess who is coming to dinner?” is in my head for some reason, which is funny given that I have it on tape but have never seen it.

They are not into football, so watching football is not going to be part of this Thanksgiving. Thankfully, the Detroit Lions are not must see television. I will be Tivoing the games and watching them on Saturday when I get home. After all, I will not be near anything that will spoil it, so hobby delayed is not hobby denied.

Perhaps having nothing in common with them is not a disaster. I have practically nothing in common with my own parents. Besides, her parents live 3000 miles away, which is where parents are supposed to live.

The Chicago Cannonball has a warm relationship with her parents. To me that sounds abnormal and dysfunctional, but I will not judge her harshly for this.

Some people think it is nice to live right near their parents. Perhaps they should watch the television show “Everybody Loves Raymond” for a reality check.

I think my main concern is that I do not know what to expect. I mean I do not expect it to be like Ben Stiller in “Meet the Parents.” I doubt they will prod and probe me like a lab rat.

I also know that I will not be blogging about the experience. These people deserve their privacy.

Also, as beautiful as the nature is in the Carolinas, and even though I will see beautiful trees of green and skies of blue, singing Louie Armstrong at the dinner table might be an idea better left unexpressed.

I guess the only thing I want them to see is that I genuinely care about their daughter.

Besides, this experience will be nothing compared to what awaits us in South Florida some time between December and March.

We have to introduce her to my parents.

To quote Lloyd Bridges in the movie “Airplane,” he was right when he said that he “picked a bad week to quit drinking, smoking, and sniffing glue.”

In a way the visit to my parents will be the same. Both adults will love her, and will hopefully be happy to see me. Ok, so it is not that bad, but uncertainty is not my favorite feeling.

At least I will not have 6 hours on a plane to think about all of this. I sleep very well on planes, and will probably fall asleep 15 minutes into the flight like always. So at least their will be some relaxation.

My stopover is in Minnesota, so perhaps I can arrive at that airport and punch a picture of Al Franken, or at least find a Norm Coleman campaign worker and give them a hug. Then again, they might ask me for money, so perhaps the hugging can wait.

One thing I am definitely looking forward to is a family style Thanksgiving dinner. My family never really celebrated Holidays. We observed the Jewish ones, but Thanksgiving was just another day. I would watch football in my room, and at some point I would eat a Swanson Hungry Man Dinner. When I am a husband and father, I want a Thanksgiving dinner as depicted on “The Cosby Show.”

Thank the almighty that her family eats meat. To quote Ray Romano when observing a “Tofurkey,” he said that he “would rather eat the box that it came in.”

For those thinking that I am dreading this experience, the only thing I dread in life is April 15th. I just want to get there already.

Anyway, life is what we make of it, and I am sure that the parents of the love of my life are good people.

Either way, I had better get back to listening to my stress relaxation tape on the plane.

“Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow…”

Or I could read the newspaper I brought on the plane. The front page has an article about Al Gore.

Yep, that did the trick. Better than knockout drops.

The Tygrrrr Express is now Carolina Bound and blissfully incoherent.



Why I am not angry at Obama

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

I never thought I would live long enough to say this, but I read a fabulous article in the New Republic.

It should be read over and over again. It is the reason why I am not enraged about the election.

Did I vote for Obama? Absolutely not. Will I vote for him in 2012? Out of the question. Do I think America elected the wrong man. Of course.

Yet I am not pessimistic just yet. I refuse to condemn a man until his deeds deserve condemnation. Barack Obama’s words during the campaign indicated that his deeds would be bad for America. Yet now that he is elected, he can disavow his words.

In 1992, Bill Clinton claimed he was going to cut middle class taxes. He won primarily because his predecessor broke his word, and demoralized his own base who “read his lips.”

I cautioned people that even though I felt Clinton was a liar, until he actually did something that validated my opinion of him, I was going to stay quiet. 3 weeks into his Presidency, he broke his word. I unleashed verbal fury on the man. That verbal fury was only matched one additional time, when Clinton took credit for the good economy while using his Justice Department to harass Microsoft and Intel.

Barack Obama just seems to be too intelligent to make the exact same mistakes. He knows that people like me are spending every day reminding Americans that liberals can’t govern. He wants to prove that they can. The only way to do this is by quietly and covertly renouncing liberalism.

The Nutroots will scream. Let them.

Below are some excerpts from this fine article.

“Barack Obama doesn’t fear the enraged, impotent Netroots


Saturday, November 22nd 2008, 4:00 AM

Barack Obama isn’t even President yet, and he’s already angering some of his most devoted followers on the party’s left wing.

‘With its congressional majority, the Democratic Party has refused to seriously try to end the war, to stop the bailout and to stop the trampling of civil liberties, just to name a few off the top of my head,’ wrote David Sirota on the popular liberal blog OpenLeft, decrying the serial betrayals of Obama and the congressional Democratic majority. The Democratic Party, he wrote, has ‘faced no real retribution’ for its manifold heresies, something that Sirota believes he and his band of angry bloggers must change. ‘We better understand why this happened,’ he fumed.”

I would like to now compliment the New Republic for spelling out the cold answer to this question.

“Allow me to provide an answer. You don’t matter.”

I would like to repeat that line for those that did not understand it.

Dear liberals…(grabbing the mother of all megaphones)…


Democrats can only win elections when they scream at the top of their lungs that they are not liberals. Liberals have been scurrying like little rats for the last 28 years. They deny who they are, give themselves phony names like “progressives,” and expect people to allow them to govern as liberals. Perhaps if they were not so gutless, and declared themselves proud liberals during the campaign, and somehow won, then they could govern that way.

Obama ran as as many things, but definitely not as a liberal. Also, his campaign bus still squeaks from the many bodies that are stuck in te wheels from being shoved under it. This guy is a cold eyed pragmatist. Now the liberals that helped elect him are getting what they deserve…nothing.

Enemies can screw you with much less effectiveness than friends. As I have said before, Barack Obama will be able to humiliate and frustrate liberals in ways conservatives can only dream of doing. Barack Obama is a typical politican. His campaign was about his own fabulousness. Liberals are like children. They simply believe that their Daddy Barry loves and cares about them.

Now Daddy Barry is reminding them that they need his approval more than he ever needed theirs.

The left demanded that Joseph Lieberman be beheaded and served on a silver platter. He was supported 42-13 to keep his post. This was a 75% rejection of the left, and it came rom democrats.

“The Netroots are all about hate; its denizens are incapable of seeing shades of gray.”


“Good for the Democrats for ignoring these people. Allowed to exercise more influence over the party than they already do, the Netroots would have the same disastrous effect that the presidential nomination of George McGovern did in 1972.”

When people are too embarrassing for even liberals to be associated with, then those people are so far past the cliff of sanity. I did not know that liberals were embarrassed by anything, much less their own noxious elements.

“In the wake of Obama’s historic victory – many liberals have been quick to claim that the Democratic triumph means that we’re now living in a liberal country. They should take a deep breath before reaching such conclusions. Only 22% of voters this year consider themselves ‘liberal’ while 34% call themselves ‘conservative,’ numbers roughly unchanged from four years ago.”

“It is reassuring to see that the leadership of the Democratic Party isn’t as petty, vindictive and small as its left-wing supporters.”

What liberals fail to grasp, in addition to virtually everything else, is that political parties are not a true reflection of political ideologies. Right now the Republican Party brand is toxic. However, conservatism is far from dead. Democrats have won the right to govern. Liberals have won nothing except the right to either shut up, or sabotage their own. For conservatives, while this is not as satisfying as winning elections and governing, it will have to do for now.

Barack Obama will make conservatives angry on many occasions. I will share that anger when it happens. However, I will praise him when he betrays the liberals.

I have no reason to be angry at him. Yes I worry what he will do. However, true anger cannot be expressed fairly until he actually does it.

The country, with or without Obama, will continue to drift modestly rightward.

The liberals will scream at the top of their enraged lungs. Water is wet, and liberals scream and yell.

The left is now confronting its very worst fear. They now know that they are irrelevant. Their own leader is telling them so.

They are angry. So what else is new?

The political party at the top has changed, but nobody is listening to the left.

Nor should they. America has done just fine ignoring them for over 200 years. That should continue.


The stock market will be fine

Monday, November 24th, 2008

The stock market will be fine.

Say that to yourself one million times until you believe it.

Believe it because it is the truth.

The stock market has gotten rocked in the last few weeks, and yes, we have recently experienced the “Obama crash.”

Now I know people will point out that since Obama has not been sworn in yet, he bears zero responsibility for recent downturns. This is false.

For the sake of full disclosure, I have been buying stocks as aggressively as possible with the disposable income I have. I believe the fire sale prices are a bargain hunter’s dream.

Before getting into the future, I want to offer a very cynical and destructive argument that I personally do not believe in. Let me reemphasize that point so those on the enraged left do not think I am accusing the President Elect of treason. The argument I am about to advance is farfetched, and I do not believe in it. I am tossing i out for intellectual consumption.

The theory has been proffered that Barack Obama, being a radical leftist, deliberately wants to destroy the stock market.

The rationale behind this is that the left in America despises the investor class. When the investor class prospers, they vote republican. People who prosper in the private sector are more likely to support privatization in general, for everything from airports to Social Security.

When the stock market crashes, leftists get to rail against privatization, and describe privatization as a “risky scheme.”

If enough people completely lose faith in the stock market forever, they will flee to “safe” investments such as Treasuries. They will seek another way to be “helped.” This help will come from the government. If only the left can completely destroy the stock market, they can get enough people dependent on government so that they can perpetually win elections.

I do believe the left is that vicious, and I also believe Obama is part of the far left.

However, the syllogism falls apart because I do not believe Obama would even think of planning such carnage.

Barack Obama is an ideologue, but he is first and foremost a pragmatist. He is already planning his reelection. Unlike his democratic predecessor, Obama is not going to wait until he loses Congress to protect himself. He is starting right now, and his first move is to embrace Wall Street.

This will enrage the left, which brings me to express a universal truth that I will devote an entire column to later in the week. Wall Street matters. The left does not. Wall Street is relevant. The left is not. Wall STreet can determine elections. The left has never won anything…not once.

Barack Obama has seen the stock market crash, and he knows that he is partly to blame. The decline began due to the financial crisis, but has steepened drastically since the election. He knows that Wall Street wanted his opponent to win. He also knows what makes markets crash. In the long run, corporate earnings matter. In the short run, two elements give Wall Street the jitters.

Wall Street does not like policies that cripple earnings. This is rational self interest. Barack Obama wants to raise capital gains taxes. He wants to enact one trillion dollars of new spending, including a health care plan that only Hillary Clinton could love. He is perceived as potentially weak on foreign policy, which is expected to increase foreign aggression, cause the price of oil and other commodities to skyrocket again, and cut into corporate profits. Throw in a plan to raise corporate taxes, and Barack Obama has our enemies smiling and our own corporations, who liberals think are the enemy, running scared.

The second thing that Wall Street detests is uncertainty. Wall Street likes stability. Barack Obama based his entire campaign on changing everything, which is a nightmare scenario for an industry obsessed with the status quo.

The status quo means that Wall Street likes continuity in the White House. They like two term Presidents. Even bad Presidents, the devil you know, beats the devil you do not know. Also, challengers have to say that life is terrible to get elected. Hearing about a terrible world rattles Wall Street. So Barack Obama is new, and Wall Street is nervous.

I will spend more time again later in the week explaining why I am not worried about Barack Obama as much as many others are. Let me make it absolutely clear that I will not be voting for him in 2012. I remain a committed conservative republican. I am just not worried…yet.

Neither is Wall Street. I suspect this is because they believe what I believe. Obama will sell out his leftist beliefs and principles to keep them happy.

His pick of Tim Geithner to be Treasury Secretary is being very well received by Wall Street. I know nothing about Mr. Geithner, except that he is the New York Federal Reserve Chairman. He one of Ben Bernanke’s Lieutenants. This is stability and continuity. Wall Street rocketed 500 points after his selection was leaked. If people want to blame Obama for the violent post election crash, which they absolutely should, then they must give him credit when he does something right.

Barack Obama wants Wall Street to calm down. Selecting Mr. Geithner is a good start. Yet what he most likely will do after getting elected is what matters. The prediction business has not always been kind to me, but my predictions are that everything will be fine.

Barack Obama is about to betray the left and run to the center. He is going to hold off raising capital gains taxes. He is going to curb the overarching health care reform in favor of incrementalism. He will issue a bland statement stating that “changing conditions have forced me to adapt and be more flexible.”

He will do this, and he will be right.

He might not even raise taxes at all. He will not make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but he might extend them another one to two years just until the economy recovers.

This brings up two truisms.

First, people are more likely to be screwed by their friends than by their enemies. Obama will have wide latitude to engage in the exact same economic policies as President Bush, but he will be given political cover.

Second, voters are not stupid. In the same way liberals blaming the failure of today’s inner cities on Ronald Reagan falls hollow, Obama knows he has a narrow window. Early on, he can blame everything on his predecessor. Yet if people think that Obama can play the blame game in 2012, and that 4 years is not enough time to actually do something, that argument will be laughable.

Obama understands what many liberals fail to grasp. Blaming republicans for everything is fine when the republicans are actually governing, but that strategy collapses when the the democrats take control. They actually have to “do things,” which renders most liberals clueless. Obama knows that he is seen by many as a talker. He wants to be seen as a doer.

Barack Obama is already “triangulating.” gays are rioting in the streets, and Obama is telling them to wait until 2010. He has “more important” things to do. This phrase will be implied every time he kicks liberals in the teeth, throwing them an occasional bread crumb. He will kick them like dogs in ways a republican could only dream of doing.

Obama knows that this is a center-right nation. He knows that enough Americans, despite the recent carnage, still believe in the stock market. Whether or not Obama wants to turn America into a socialist utopia is irrelevant. He will be judged by his deeds, which will be motivated by what motivates any typical politician…politics.

Obama is a conventional politician, only smoother. He may leave many young people disillusioned, but they will get over it. They will learn about the stock market, and if they are intelligent, they will begin buying while the prices are at rock bottom levels.

The stock market is not going to zero. Corporate America is not done forever. Happy days will be here again. The DOW Jones Industrial Average is almost 50% off of its high. It could go down further, but do not let greed lead to trying to get the very bottom. Do not let fear prevent entry until things have gone up.

This is not the internet boom and bust, which was made of air. Real companies that make real actual stuff and provide legitimate services are reeling. Human nature tells me that if I buy something and it goes down, I can live with that. If I wait for the perfect time and price, and things rocket upwards, that is deeper pain psychologically.

This is not about patriotism and supporting America. That is a residual benefit. It is about making sound business decisions.

Liberals won the election, but liberalism has not made a comeback. They cannot control Wall Street.

Wall Street will be back.

The stock market will be fine.


NFL 2008–Week 12 Recap

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Anything is possible in the National Football League. It has not happened since 1947, but if the Arizona Cardinals win this week at home against the defending champion New York Giants, they will host a playoff game. They will have made the playoffs for the first time since 1998, and won their division for the first time since Air Coryell coached them in the 1970s before heading to the Chargers and revitalizing them.

The Cardinals have been the joke of the NFL for so long, that it is nice to see them win. They have 5 games left, and need one win. Yes, they play in the worst division on Earth, but they are 7-3 and looking phenomenal on offense. They are the Greatest Show in the Desert. Keep in mind, when other teams were winning in that division, it was still a terrible division, partly because of the Cardinals. So if 8-8 gets them in to the playoffs, they still absolutely deserve to be there.

Yet one word to describe the early games today would be disappointment. All 8 games were blowouts. I cannot recall the last time that happened. I am used to toggling between 4 or 5 games going down to the wire. Today, the closest morning game was 10 points, and that was only one game. Every other game featured at least an 18 point spread. Some of these games were close for a half or 3 quarters before being blown open. The late games were better. With that, below is the Week 12 NFL Recap.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers was the Thursday night game. The Bengals began the season 0-8, but have since become a juggernaut, winning one and tying another one in the first tie game in 6 years. They were one missed field goal from a two game winning streak. Yet their second game against a Pennsylvania team in 2 weeks was a miserable experience. The Steelers are very good, were at home, and had the snow flurries and swirling winds for dramatic effect. This was simply Goliath beating up David.

The Steelers dominated time of possession 35:20 to 24:40 and yards 364 to 208. The Bengals did shock the crowd with an 11 play, 6 minute drive that went 62 yards, ending in an 18 yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Holt. The Bengals led 7-0 after the opening quarter before reality set in. Ben Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller for a 3 yard touchdown pass to tie the game, and a field goal had the Steelers up 10-7 at the half.

In the 3rd quarter, another field goal extended the lead for the Steelers. On their next drive, Big Ben hit Miller for 19 yards to set up a 2 yard touchdown run by Russell to put the Steelers safely in front 20-7. In the 4th quarter, a short field led to the Bengals facing a 4th and goal at the 8 with 7 minutes remaining. Ina  very curious decision that almost seemed like giving up, Coach Marvin Lewis opted for the field goal. The decision to not try and make it a one score game was puzzling. Speaking of 8 yards, Big Ben led the Steelers on one final drive, and he scrambled for that amount to cap the 73 yard drive and end things. 27-10 Steelers

Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens–Philadelphia was coming off an ugly game that produced a tie against hapless Cincy. The Ravens have been winning ugly for the last decade. Shockingly enough, these teams produced an ugly game. A scoreless first quarter was followed by an even moire hideous beginning to the second quarter. An interception of Donovan McNabb gave the Ravens a short field, but a pair of sacks of Joe Flacco set up 4th and 37. The Ravens punted. With 3 minutes left in the half, a field position battle led to a Philly Punt that had the Ravens starting at the Philadelphia 28. The Ravens offense moved 2 yards and kicked a field goal to lead 3-0 in what may have been one of the worst games in NFL history.

McNabb was then intercepted again, and Ed Reed had the Ravens at the Philadelphia 6. Even the Ravens can occasionally drive 6 yards. They needed 3 plays, but Flacco hit Wilcox for a 1 yard touchdown and a 10-0 Ravens lead. 1:49 remained in the half, but the Eagles needed only 12 seconds. Demps returned the kickoff 100 yards to make it a 10-7 game. Neither team had anything resembling offense.

The only thing worth discussing about this game is what may reverberate for the rest of the history of the Eagles. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb. Yes he was playing badly, but this was a close game, and Reid and McNabb have been a team for a decade. A fellow named Kolb took over in the second half. 1st and 10 at the 20 turned into 4th and 26 from the 4. The turning point in the game came when the punt was blocked out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 12-7 Ravens lead. Kolbe was then intercepted at midfield by Samari Rolle. This led to a field and a 15-7 Ravens lead seconds into the 4th quarter.

After a punt, the Ravens showed the closest thing the game would have for offense. Flacco threw a 53 yard touchdown pass to Clayton to put the Ravens up 22-7. The only thing worth discussing about this game will be the future of Donovan McNabb in Philly. Unless Andy Reid wants to give up on the season, he should let McNabb keep his job. Kolb was intercepted in the end zone by Ed Reed, who returned it 108 yards for a touchdown. The Ravens defense is their offense, but after a 12-7 game, the 4th quarter blew the game open. 36-7 Ravens

Houston Texans @ Cleveland Browns–Sage Rosenfels began the game by leading a 79 yard drive that took 14 plays and over 8 minutes of clock. Rosenfels hit Walter for a 17 yard touchdown pass to put the Texans up 7-0. After that, the game was virtually unwatchable. I watch so you do not have to. In the second quarter, the teams exchanged field goals, and the Texans led 13-6 at the break.

This game was one of two games where the only drama came due to a quarterback benching. Romeo Crennel is under pressure, but playing carousel with quarterbacks destroys a team. First they draft Brady Quinn. Then Derek Anderson leads the team to a 10-6 record, and gets a 6 year contract. This year the team struggles to a 3-6 record, and Anderson gets benched in favor of Quinn. Quinn plays very well in his first start, losing a shootout. He wins his second start. In his 3rd start today, he throws a pair of interceptions, and gets benched in a close game in favor of Anderson.

When the Bills had Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson, the carousel destroyed the team. This is no different. Put one of them in there and leave them in. The second half was a complete waste. The Texans added one field goal, and Cleveland added one field goal less than that. On 3rd and 2 from the Houston 12, Quinn was intercepted in the end zone. With 7 1/2 minutes remaining, Phil Dawson missed a 39 yard field goal. Rosenfels then threw an interception, but on the next play from the Houston 27, the Browns fumbled it right back. Anderson was then intercepted again late in the game for Cleveland’s 5th turnover. 16-6 Texans

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions–The Buccaneers came in at 7-3 to face the 0-10 Lions. This is the NFL, where even the worst teams have a shot. Any given Sunday does exist. The Buccaneers were the laughingstock of the NFL for so long that they can relate to the current Detroit woes. While the Ford family owns the Lions, the Lions are ineligible for a government bailout. They would have to fix their problems on the field by themselves.

On their second drive, Dante Culpepper found Calvin Johnson for a 41 yard gain to set up Culpepper’s 15 yard touchdown pass to Johnson for the 7-0 Lions lead. Jeff Garcia had the Bucs at midfield, but he was then sacked, resulting in a fumble that was returned 44 yards for a touchdown by Keith Bullock. After a Tampa Bay punt, Culpepper led the Lions to a 38 yard Jason Hanson field goal. After the first quarter, the Lions led 17-0 over a shell-shocked Tampa Bay team.

The second quarter saw a reversal of fortunes. Warrick Dunn ran it in fro 13 yards out to get the Buccaneers to within 17-7. After a Detroit punt, Garcia hit Ike Hilliard for a 36 yard touchdown and a 17-14 game. on Detroit’s next possession, Culpepper completed a pass to Ronde Barber, who plays defense for the Bucs. Garcia took over at the Detroit 24, and needed one play to hit Jeremy Stevens for the go ahead touchdown.

Taking a 21-17 lead into the second half, the Bucs continued rolling. A 70 yard touchdown by Muhlbach had the Buccaneers up 28-17. A Jeff Garcia fumble had the Lions in business at the Tampa 40. Culpepper responded by completing his 2nd pass of the day to Ronde Barber, who still plays defense for the Buccaneers. Barber returned the interception 65 yards for a touchdown to put the Buccaneers up 35-17. Yes, the Lions did lead 17-0 after the first quarter. The Bucs improved to 8-3, and the Lions reward for falling to 0-11 is a face-off with an angry Tennessee team. Instead of a historic 11-0 vs 0-11 matchup, the Titans will be 10-1 with a chip on their shoulder. 38-20 Buccaneers

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs–Buffalo began the season 5-1 and then lost 4 straight. Kansas City has won only one game all year, which gets lost in all the hype about Detroit’s pursuit of winlessness. Yet like Detroit, Kansas City has pride. Tyler Thigpen hit Charles for a 36 yard touchdown pass to put the Chiefs up 7-0. Marshawn Lynch powered the ground game for the Bills, and on 4th and goal from the 1, the decision to go for it paid off when Lynch broke through and tied the game 7-7.

Kansas City began their next drive with awful field position, and on 4th and 17 from their own 1, punted. The Bills began at the Kansas City 40. Just like on their previous drive, they reached 3rd and goal at the 1. However, on this drive, on the last play of the 1st quarter, Lynch was blown up in the backfield for a 2 yard loss. Ryan Lindell made the field goal to put the Bills up 10-7. Kansas City struck back rapidly as Larry Johnson ran up the middle for a 63 yard gain, setting up a 2 yard touchdown pass from Thigpen to Tony Gonzales. Yet leading 14-10, the Chiefs could not handle prosperity. A fumble set up Buffalo at the Kansas City 28. Trent Edwards could not lead the team to a 1st down, and Buffalo settled for another field goal and a 14-13 lead for the Chiefs. After that, the roof caved in for Kansas City.

Thigpen was intercepted by Leodis McKelvin, who raced 64 yards for a touchdown and a 20-14 bills lead. After an exchang of field goals, Thigpen was intercepted again by McKelvin. Taking over at their own 47, with under 90 seconds left in the half, Trent Edwards hit Reed for 20 yards. Edwards ran it in himself from 15 yards out to give the Bills a 30-17 lead just 4 seconds before halftime.

McKelvin returned the second half kickoff to the Kansas City 48, with a facemask penalty moving the ball another 15 yards. Edwards needed only 4 plays to turn a close game in the first half into a rout. Edwards again ran it in himself, this time from 5 yards out, and the Bills were cruising at 37-17. A fumble set up  a Buffalo field goal before Thigpen hit Bradley on a 45 yard touchdown pass to pull within 40-24. Yet Trent Edwards was far from done, and an 8 yard touchdown pass to Reed had the Bills up 47-24 after 3 quarters. They extended the lead and coasted from there. The Bills are above .500 and in the hunt. 54-31 Bills

Chicago Bears @ Los Angeles Rams–The Rams are a mess, and a confusing one at that. They started out 0-4, and looked every bit as awful as Detroit and Kansas City. Yet Jim Haslett took over as coach and the Rams won back to back games. Then the wheels fell off and the losing resurfaced. Yet unlike the other bad teams in the league, the Rams are not even competitive. In their last couple games they trailed 40-0 and 35-3, and that was only at halftime. This just does not happen in the NFL. The Bears were shellacked 37-3 last week, and took their frustration out on the hapless Rams.

This game featured another awful half for the Rams. A kickoff return by Manning, and not Devon Hester, had the Bears at midfield. A 20 yard run by Hester set up a 13 yard run by Matt Forte for the 7-0 Bears lead. Later in the quarter, the Devon Hester show took place, and it was not even on a kickoff or punt return. Kyle Orton found Hester for a 27 yard pass completion. Hester then ran for 12 yards before catching an 8 yard pass from Orton. Orton finished the drive with a 7 yard pass to McKie and a 14-0 Bears lead. In the 2nd quarter Matt Forte broke through for a 47 yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 21-0. For the 3rd week in a row, the Rams got shellacked in the first half, followed by an uneventful and meaningless second half. The Bears led 24-3 at the break before everyone fell asleep. 27-3 Bears

New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans–Before the season this looked like a matchup of average teams that could possibly make the playoffs with Chad Pennington and Vince Young. Instead it became a clash of the Titans with Brett Favre and Kerry Collins. Titans should be taken literally since that is the former team name of the Jets. The Old Oilers are the New Titans, and they came into the game at 10-0. The Old Titans and New Jets just came off of a shocking overtime win over New England that catapulted them into first place in their division.Although the Jets are playing good football, Tennessee had the home field advantage.

Favre took over at the New York 24 and promptly began firing. The Gunslinger went 6 for 6, capping the drive off with a 10 yard pass to Thomas Jones to put the Jets up 7-0. Yet these teams both have good defenses, and points were expected to be at a premium. Favre then led the Jets in the 2nd quarter on a 13 play, 7 1/2 minute drive that reached a 3rd and 1 at the Tennessee 2. They failed to convert, and Eric Mangini opted for the field goal on the road and a 10-0 lead. The Titans came back with a field goal of their own, cutting the gap to 10-3 at halftime. Both teams had missed opportunities, as a promising Jets drive led to a fumble in the red zone. An interception of Favre had the Titans starting with a short field, but on 4th and 3 from the 35, Jeff Fisher opted to punt and play field position.

The New Titans have been winning with hardnosed defense and long drives. Today it was the Jets that played smashmouth. Favre took the opening second half kickoff and led a 13 play, 7 minute drive that led to a field goal and a 13-3 Jets lead. The normally disciplined Titans fumbled the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Jets to begin at the Tennessee 35. Favre hit Laverneous Coles for an acrobatic 2 yard touchdown pass to put the Jets comfortably in front. After a Tennessee field goal, Leon Washington broke through on a 61 yard touchdown run to have the Jets ahead 27-6.

Collins did hit Hall for a 6 yard touchdown with 10 minutes remaining, but Favre led a 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive to remove any doubt that the Jets are for real. Leon Washington ran it in from 4 yards out for the exclamation point. Jeff Fisher is too even keeled to have his team panic. Yet the Jets have consecutive road wins against New England and Tennessee. They are for real. Brett Favre is definitely not ready for retirement. The Jets are 8-3, and the Titans fall to 10-1. The 1972 Dolphins will not have to wait until the end of the Super Bowl to pop the champagne corks. The only thing left is for Detroit to win a game and protect the legacy of the 1976 Bucs and Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon. On Thanksgiving, Detroit faces an angry bunch of Titans. It also seems unfair. Tennessee still leads the entire AFC by 2 games. 34-13 Jets

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins–Last year this was the 16-0 Patriots vs the nearly 0-16 Miami Dolphins, who needed overtime and a missed field goal to get their win. The win came against Baltimore, who also blew the game against New England for what should have been a loss for them. The Patriots shredded the Dolphins. Yet this year, the Patriots lack Tom Brady and the Dolphins have a new attitude, a Wildcat offense that is sweeping the league, and a President in Bill Parcells that demands execution. Both of these teams came in 6-4 and one game out of the division lead. In the Week 2 matchup, the Dolphins went into New England and destroyed the Patriots 38-13. If there is one person Bill Bellichick cannot stomach losing to, it’s his former mentor Parcells. This was another Tuna Bowl matchup, and a good one at that.

Matt Cassel went right to work, but an incomplete pass on 3rd and 2 from the Miami 12 led to a field goal and a 3-0 Patriots lead in what would be a seesaw game. Cassel was intercepted later in the quarter by Hill, allowing Chad Pennington and the Dolphins to start at the Miami 42. A pass to Martin went for 29 yards to set up a 3 yard toss from Pennington to Camarillo to put the Dolphins up 7-3.

In the 2nd quarter, Cassel led a 12 play, 5 1/2 minute drive, and again faced 3rd and 2 at the 12. This time Sammy Morris picked up the 1st down, and Cassel ran it in himself from 8 yards out to give the Patriots the 10-7 advantage. Pennington led a 12 play drive that ate up over 7 minutes, and he also ran it in himself for the score, with his run coming from 7 yards out. Yet trailing 14-10, the Patriots struck back fairly quickly. Cassel hit Randy Moss for a 25 yard touchdown pass to give New England a 17-14 halftime lead.

To start the 3rd quarter, the Dolphins began at their own 18. Pennington went deep to Ted Gin for a 46 yard gain. A 16 yarder to Camarillo continued the drive, and Pennington hit Cramer for the 2 yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The 5th lead change of the game had the Dolphins up 21-17. The Patriots came back with an 11 play drive that ended with Cassel hitting Moss for an 8 yard touchdown pass. The 6th lead change of the game had the Patriots up 24-21. Miami’s next drive reached the New England 27, but a holding penalty and a sack forced a punt. Cassel then hit Welker for a pass that eventually became a 64 yard gain. Kevin Faulk then ran up the middle for 21 yards to give the Dolphins a 31-21 lead as the 3rd quarter ended.

The Dolphins came right back in the 4th quarter, needing less than 2 minutes. Pennington hit Bess for 36 yards before hitting Ricky Williams for the 13 yard touchdown to make it a 31-28 game. Yet neither defense could prevent this pinball machine of a game from slowing down. With 9 minutes remaining, Cassel hit Moss for a deep touchdown with 9 minutes remaining. Their 3rd connection of the day went for 40 yards and put the Patriots up 38-28.

What was a good game for 50 minutes turned into a blowout. A field goal added the New England lead to 41-28. Then Bill Bellichick showed why he is the least classy individual in football, and maybe on Earth. With 40 seconds remaining, the Patriots faced 4th and goal at the 1. Rather than kneel on the ball, the Patriots ran the ball in for the touchdown as Bellichick felt necessary to remind Parcells who he was. At least the Patriots opted not to attempt a 2 point conversion. The Patriots moved to 7-4, one game behind the Jets, and one game ahead of Miami and Buffalo. Cassel passed for 415 yards, in addition to his 400 yards passing last week. Only 5 quarterbacks in NFL history since the 1970 merger have done this. Tom Brady is not one of them. Matt Cassel is. 48-28 Patriots

Minnesota Vikings @ Jacksonville Jaguars–Minnesota came in 6-4 against an underachieving and desperate 4-6 Jaguars team. Yet less than one minute into the game, the game seemed over. Jack Del Rio is known for having disciplined teams, and a lack of discipline off the bat put the Jaguars in a deep hole. On their first play from scrimmage, a fumble on the snap was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Meester for a 7-0 Minnesota lead. On their next possession, the first play from scrimmage was another Jacksonville fumble. Minnesota took over at the Jacksonville 28. Chester Taylor ran 11 yards, Bernard Berrian picked up 14, and then Taylor picked up the final 3 yards to put the Vikings up 14-0 early on.

The Jaguars were given life by a 38 yard punt return by Witherspoon that had them starting at the Minnesota 27. After a completion to Jerry Porter, David Garrard hit Williams for the 8 yard touchdown pass that had the Jaguars within 14-7. Josh Scobee hit the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. Combined with an offsides penalty, the Vikings took over at their own 45. A 21 yard Adrian Peterson run had Minnesota at the Jacksonville 34. The drive stalled, but Ryan Longwell nailed a 54 yard field goal to put the Vikings up 17-7 after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter Garrard led a 14 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that went from the Jacksonville 31 to the Minnesota 3. However, the Jaguars moved no further and had to settle for a Scobee field goal to pull within 17-10. In the 3rd quarter, the Jaguars began their half the way they began the game, by fumbling the ball away. Minnesota took over at the Jacksonville 38, and kicked a field goal to lead 20-10. A field goal in the 3rd quarter and a 16 yard Adrian Peterson run rounded out the scoring for Minnesota. They took an intentional safety late in the game for the only Jacksonville points after halftime. The Jaguars fell to 4-7, but in 1996 they were 4-7 before running the table to the AFC Title Game. 5 turnovers today does not suggest history will repeat itself. After a shaky start, Brad Childress made the quarterback switch and stuck with his decision. The Vikings are 7-4 and in the hunt. 30-12 Vikings

San Francisco 49ers @ Dallas Cowboys–This is not the 1990s, and this game was not for the NFC Title Game. Mike SIngletary is turning around a pathetic 49ers team, while Wade Phillips is trying to hold the Cowboys together after a midseason collapse. This game was a blowout, not a classic. In the first quarter, the 49ers drove twice inside the Dallas 5 yard line. Twice they had to settle for field goals and a 6-0 49ers lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the game reversed for good as Dallas exploded.

Tony Romo threw the bomb to Terrell Owens, who loves him some him. The 75 yard touchdown pass put the Cowboys up 7-6. The 49ers on their next possession had to punt on 4th and 21 from their own 5. Polk blocked the punt for a safety and a 9-6 Dallas lead. Another Dallas punt went 70 yards and was downed at the one yard line. The 49ers punted from their own end zone again, allowing the Cowboys to start at the San Francisco 35. A field goal put Dallas up 12-6. Later in the period Romo hit Owens for a 45 yard gain to set up another field goal and a 15-6 lead. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled, and Dallas began at the San Francisco 19. Romo hit Bennett for a 1 yard touchdown pass as Dallas took a 22-6 lead at intermission.

Dallas took the second half kickoff and rapidly moved 75 yards, with Romo hitting Crayton for a 10 yard touchdown pass to put the Cowboys safely in front 29-6.  The 49ers mounted a furious late rally, but it was far too little and far too late. The Cowboys remained in the playoff hunt. 35-22 Cowboys

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos–The game of the day actually was a fabulous game. I remain pleased and shocked. The Silver and Black are on pace for their 6th straight losing season, but not today. The 2-8 Raiders were at the 6-4 Broncos. In Week 1, the Broncos went into Oakland and thrashed the Raiders 41-14. Yet that game cost Lame Kiffin his job, so some good came out of it. Another fired Raiders Coach is Mike Shanahan, whose life seems to be about his bitterness towards Al Davis. Shanahan wins this battle often, but even Norvelous Norv Turner beating Shanahan 25-24 in the snow in 2004 was enough to make Shanahan go ballistic. Shanahan’s head might explode after this one.

The game started out in typical fashion. The Raiders went 3 and out, and the Broncos marched right down the field. They moved from their own 16 to the Oakland 7. From the Oakland 28, Jay Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for 21 yards. The blowout was on the horizon. Yet then it was not. Cutler fumbled on the next play, and the Raiders recovered. A moral victory for the Raiders occurred when the game was scoreless after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, Jay Cutler was intercepted by Chris Johnson, who raced 35 yards for a touchdown. Unfortunately, a defensive holding penalty nullified the score. The Broncos missed a 47 yard field goal o the drive. The Raiders took over at their own 37 and moved the ball. From the Denver 33, JaMarcus Russell hit Zach Miller for a 30 yard gain down to the 3 yard line. On 2nd and goal from the one, Justin Fargas was blasted backwards. 3rd and goal featured Fargas going nowhere. The Oakland Raiders had not scored an offensive touchdown in 3 straight games. On 4th and goal at the 2, a false start forced them to kick a field goal. They led 3-0, but still could not put it in the end zone. I personally felt the false start saved them a failed attempt on the ground and a scoreless game.

The Broncos took over at their own 20, and a 13 play drive included 3 third down conversions, including 13 yards on 3rd and 7 from their own 23 that would have ended the drive. A field goal tied the game 3-3. At the 2 minute warning, the Raiders faced 3rd and 1 from their own 42. Michael Bush went nowhere, and again the Raiders were stoned on the ground. Denver went nowhere, and with 1:25 left in the half a 60 yard punt was fielded by Johnny Lee Higgins at the 11. 89 yards later, Higgins had a touchdown on a punt return for the second consecutive week. While this absolutely does not count as offense, the Raiders led 10-3 with one minute remaining in the half.

Since these are the Raiders, anything positive has to involve something negative as well. An unsportmanlike conduct penalty for excessive celebration forced the Raiders to kick off from their own 15. Thankfully, Sebastian Janikowski belted the kickoff 85 yards. The Broncos moved to midfield, where an incomplete pass was offset by a horrendous roughing the passer penalty. Apparently the referees think that football is tiddly winks, since Cutler was barely touched. The dreadful call should be a reminder to all Raiders fans that it is tough to defeat the opponents and the refs. Disaster was averted when a 43 yard field goal attempt was no good. The second miss of the half kept the Raiders up 10-3 at halftime despite no offensive touchdowns for 14 quarters.

The Broncos began the second half at their own 15. On 3rd and 9 from the 16, Cutler scrambled himself for the first down. Terrible tackling gifted the Broncos life. These are the Raiders. On 3rd and 2 from the Oakland 41, Cutler again was the beneficiary of a nightmarish and horrendous roughing the quarterback call. I am critical of the Raiders when they deserve it, but these 2 calls are enough to make a guy break his television. If I could have leapt through the television I would have. On 4th and 1 from the Oakland 6, Shanahan ordered the Broncos to go for it. Hillis scored on the play, and the game was 10-10. The Raiders appeared set to do an el foldo.

Not this time. Russell threw only 11 passes all day. He completed 10 of them. His first pass of the second half was a 51 yard bomb to Ashley Lelie, the former Broncos wide receiver. On 2nd and goal from the 1, Fargas again went nowhere. On 3rd and goal from the 1, Darren McFadden scored. It took 3 1/2 games, but the Raiders FINALLY had an offensive touchdown. More importantly, The Raiders had a 17-10 lead.

Even more important than that was the inspired play of the defense. The Broncos went 3 and out. The Raiders took over at their own 24, and mounted a 10 play, 76 yard drive that took over 5 minutes off of the clock. Given that the running game had no success in the first half, I was skeptical when the Raiders faced 3rd and 3 at their own 44. I mentioned to my friend that a halfback option pass would be a good call at that time. Shockingly enough, that is exactly what was called. Michael Bush took the handoff, and threw a terribly high pass that Zach Miller somehow caught for 8 yards and a first down. On 3rd and 1 from the Denver 39, Frgas finally broke through for a 9 yard gain. From the 30, it was the Raiders who got a break when a defensive pass interference call put the ball at the 6 yard line. Russell hit Lelie for 4 yards and the Raiders were leading in a shocker 24-10.

90 seconds into the 4th quarter, Cutler was intercepted by Howard at the Denver 43. The Raiders had nothing on the ground in the first half, but the Raiders kept pounding. A 21 yard run by Fargas had Oakland at the Denver 22. Michael Bush and Justin Fargas got the ball to the 6 yard line. Darren McFadden did the rest, running for 5 yards, and then one yard on the next play to give the Raiders a 31-10 lead. The closest the Raiders have had to a route in their favor in 2008 was cornberback Stanford Routt. Yet this was for real. The team that had no offensive touchdowns for 3 1/2 games had 3 of them in only 7 minutes.

The Broncos faced 3rd and 11 at their own 19, but the Raiders still have improvements to make. Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for a 32 yard gain just past midfield. Yet on 4th and 11 from the 38, the Raiders held as the Broncos turned it over on downs. The Raiders took over with 6:47 remaining. Russell id not throw a single pass. The Raiders ran the ball down the throat of the Broncos. The Broncos did not get the ball back. The Raiders had played a complete game, and had finished the game. There would be no heartbreaking loss today. As I said after the Jets game against the Raiders, this could be something to build on.

No matter what happens the rest of the season, the 2008 Oakland Raiders went into the worst city in America and thrashed the hated Denver Broncos on their home field. Tom Cable has the team fighting hard. Mike Shanahan may hate Al Davis more than Al Queda, but that could not change the score. 31-10 Raiders

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons–The 8-2 Panthers came into Atlanta to face a 6-4 Falcons team coming off a tough home loss. One announcer described this game as a dogfight, but that term should never be used to describe an Atlanta game. On the second play of the game, Matt Ryan found White for a 38 yard gain. The drive stalled when a 3rd and 2 pass from the 5 was incomplete. The field goal had Atlanta up 3-0. AFter a punt, Ryan led the Falcons 75 yards. A 27 yard pass to Snelling began the drive. On 3rd and 3 from the 7, this time the Falcons converted, as Douglas scored to make it 10-0.

In the second quarter, a punt return had the Falcons starting at the Carolina 37. 10 plays and over 5 minutes later, the Falcons had scored again. A one yard touchdown run by Michael Turner had the Falcons winning in a laugher, 17-0. Then the game completely changed. Atlanta fumbled, and the Panthers began at the Atlanta 48. From the 32, Jake Delhomme hit Steve Smith for a 31 yard gain down to the one yard line. Yet the Panthers got no closer, as a false start forced them to settle for a field goal and a 17-3 game at the half. Carolina missed a pair of opportunities in the 2dn quarter to tighten the game. On 3rd and 3 from the Atlanta 39, an incomplete pass by Delhomme led to John Fox calling a punt rather than a long field goal. On 3rd and 6 from the Atlanta 35 on their next drive, Delhomme was sacked to end the drive.

Carolina took the second half kickoff and needed only 5 plays to get back in it. Delhomme found Steve Smith for gains of 41 and 22 yards. Williams ran it in from 5 yards out, and the Panthers were within 17-10. The Panthers drove deep into Atlanta territory on their next possession, but on 3rd and 6 from the 7, a run left them short. On 4th and 2 from the 3, Coach Fox again opted for the field goal. A 17-0 deficit was a 17-13 nailbiter after 3 quarters. Yet just as a blowout had turned into a close game, the 4th quarter turned the close game back into a blowout. The teams combined for 30 points in the first 3 quarters, and 43 points in the final quarter alone.

The Falcons answered the 12 play, 6 minute Carolina drive with a 12 play, 5 1/2 minute drive of their own. From the Carolina 26, Ryan found Jenkins for 17 yards. A defensive penalty on the play moved the ball to the 4 yard line. On the opening play of the final quarter, Turner ran it in to put the Falcons up 24-13. Delhomme rapidly moved the Panthers 83 yards. He hit Smith for 27 yards and Donte Rosario for 21 yards. After a 15 yard pass to Smith, Delhomme ran it in himself the final 15 yards. Williams rushed up the middle for the 2 point conversion that had Carolina within 24-21 with 11 minutes left.

Atlanta came right back in lightning speed. On 3rd and 11 from their own 25, Ryan found Douglas for a 69 yard pass completion down to the Carolina 6. On 4th and goal from the 1, the Falcons went for it. Turner scored, and Atlanta led 31-21 with just over 7 minutes left. Carolina had a nightmarish next series, and punted on 4th and 28 from their own 2. A 59 yard punt was all for nought as DOuglas returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to put the Falcons up 38-21 with under 5 minutes left.

Delhomme did manage to rally the Panthers with a 16 yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad with 2:23 remaining, but it was not enough. The onsdies kick failed. With one minute to go, the Falcons faced 4th and 6 at the Carolina 16. The Falcons decided to go for it rather than risk a blocked field goal. Desperately needing a stop, instead Turner ran 16 yards for the score. The Falcons dropped to a first place tie with Tampa Bay at 8-3, just one game ahead of Atlanta. The Falcons scored 28 points in the 4th quarter to break open the close game. 45-28 Falcons

New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals–A quiet opening quarter ended with the Cardinals up 3-0, but after that the game settled into a shootout. Late in the first quarter, the Giants began a 12 play, 6 minute drive. On 4th and 1 from the Arizona 36, Ward picked up the yard and not more. Ward finished off the drive in the second quarter with a one yard run to put the Giants up 7-3. JJ Arrington returned the kickoff 55 yards to the New York 42. With the short field, Kurt Warner led the Greatest Show in the Desert. Using Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, and Anquon Boldin, the Cardinals reached the 4 yard line. Ti Hightower ran it in and the Cardinals led 9-7. They fumbled the snap on the extra point attempt, which would prove costly later on in the game.

Dominic Hixon returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to the Arizona 17. The Giants only got a field goal out of this, but led 10-9. The Cardinals came right back, with JJ Arrington returning the kickoff to midfield. Warner hit Urban for 30 yards down to the 19. Yet on 3rd and goal from the 4, the Cardinals fell short. On 4th and goal from the 2, Ken Whisenhunt opted for the field goal to put the Cardinals up 12-10. Yet as much as Arrington was helping the Cardinals, Hixon was doing even more for the Giants. His 68 yard kickoff return to the 32 set up a 12 yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Amani Toomer as the Giants led 17-12 at the half. The last play of the half featured Neil Rackers attempting a 68 yard field goal attempt. Like the 76 yard attempt by Sebastian Janikowski earlier in the year, this one did not threaten the record held by Tom Dempsey and later tied by Jason Elam.

Early in the 3rd quarter, Kurt Warner fumbled. The Giants took over at the Arizona 40, and Wanrer’s former protege Eli Manning took advantage. A 30 yard pass to Steve Smith set up a 2 yard touchdown pass from Manning to Hedgecock to put Big Blue up 24-12. Wanrer then took the Cardinals 90 yards in 12 plays, needing only 4:40 to do it. A defensive pass interference penalty moved the chains early on, and on 3rd and 2 from the New York 17, a 15 yard completion to Boldin set up a  1 yard run by Hightower to make it a 24-19 game.  Manning and Warner continued firing away in the 4th quarter.

Manning hit Kevin Boss for 28 yards to set up a 10 yarder to Boss to put the G-Men up 31-19. An interception of Warner had the Giants in a position to wrap up the game at the Arizona 29. Yet on 4th and 1 from the 9, Tom Coughlin went with the field goal, and the Giants led 34-19 with 6:17 left. Arrington returned the kickoff 40 yards to the Arizona 48. Warner then hit Boldin for 15 yards and Breaston for 32 yards. Warner tossed a 5 yard touchdown pass to Boldin to pull the Cardinals to within 34-26 with 4 minutes left.

The onsides kick failed, and the Giants took over at the Arizona 46. At the 2 minute warning, the Giants faced 4th and 1 at the Arizona 16. The field goal had the Giants up 37-26 with 1:55 left. Yet the Cardinals would not go away. The Cardinals took over at their own 31. Warner fired away at will, and with 42 seconds remaining, the Cardinals were facing 1st and 10 at the New York 26. Needing 2 scores, with little time left, Whisenhunt smartly went for the field goal on 1st down. Neil Rackers did his job from 44 yards out, and the Cardinals were again within 8 points. However, the onsides kick again failed.

The Giants moved to 10-1, and the Cardinals fell to 7-4. Yet since everybody else in the NFC West also lost, the Cardinals are still on pace for their first playoff birth since 1998, first division championship since the 1970s, and first home playoff game since 1947. They have only 4 days to be ready when they face the Eagles in Philadelphia on Thanksgiving night. The Giants lead the entire NFC by 2 games. 37-29 Giants

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks–Former Seattle Hall of Fame wide receiver Jim Zorn came back to Seattle as the Head Coach of the Redskins. From Washington State to Washington, DC, Zorn faced off against the Walrus, Mike Holmgren. Statistically the Redskins dominated. They led in yards 386 to 228 and in possession 38 1/2 minutes to 21 1/2. They had only 2 penalties to 6 for Seattle, and only one turnover compared to 2 for the Seahawks. Yet the game defied the statistics.

In the first quarter, a 40 yard run by Morris set up a field goal and a 3-0 Seahawks lead. In the second quarter, a defensive pass interference penalty kept an 11 play drive moving. After 5:42 of clock, Betts ran it in from one yard out to put the Redskins up 7-3. Matt Hasselbeck answered Jason Campbell with a drive of his own. A 4 yard touchdown pass to Morris had Seattle leading 10-7 at the break. The 3rd quarter featured an 11 play, 5 1/2 minute drive that led to a field goal and a 10-10 game. The key play in the game came when Hasselbeck was intercepted on 3rd and 12 from his own 35 by Landry. Campbell found Chris Cooley for 21 yards to set up an 8 yard touchdown toss to Antwon Randel-El. AFter 3 quarters, the Redskins led 17-10.

The Seahawks took over at their own 38 and needed 5 minutes to go 10 plays. Early in the 4th quarter, on 3rd and 8 from the Washington 31, Hasselbeck hit Bobby Engram for 21 yards down to the 10. A toss to Carlson on the next play tied the game 17-17 with 13:24 left. Washington came right back, and from midfield, Campbell found Santana Moss for 24 yards down to the 27. On 3rd and one from 5, Campbell threw incomplete. On 4th and 1 from the 5 with 9 minutes left, Zorn played it safe and kicked the go ahead field goal.

Seattle punted, and the Redskins took over at their own 4 with 7 minutes left. The Redskins ground down the clock, but with 1:28 left, from the Seattle 23, Betts fumbled. Seattle had one last shot. Hasselbeck needed one play to be intercepted, snuffing out any hopes. The Redskins survived another close one. 20-17 Redskins

Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers was the Sunday night game. Despite the fact that the Colts are coached by Tony Dungy while the Charger are being destroyed internally by Norvelous Norv Turner, the Colts for some reason cannot seem to beat the Chargers. Peyton Manning just has nightmarish luck against San Diego.

Last year, despite going 14-2, one of those losses was a ridiculous loss to the Chargers. Manning threw 6 interceptions as the Colts fell behind 23-0. Yet the Colts pulled to within 23-21, and late in the game needed only a 24 yard field goal to win it. For some bizarre reason, coach Dungy allowed a 5 yard delay of game penalty to eat more clock. Adam Vinatieri missed a 29 yarder as the stunned Colts lost.

In the AFC Divisional Playoff, the Colts were at home and looking forward to their showdown ti unbeaten New England. With backup Billy Volek playing for Philip Rivers, the Chargers stunned the Colts again, 28-24. The greatest AFC Title Game in history never happened.

Again the Colts played the Chargers in 2008 with expectations of a win. The Colts were 6-4 and the Chargers were 4-6. Again the Colts struggled. Midway through the opening quarter, a 12 play drive that ate up 5:40 stalled at the 5 yard line. The field goal had the Colts up 3-0. The Chargers came back in the second quarter but also bogged down in the red zone, and a field goal tied the game 3-3. With 9 1/2 minutes left in the half, Philip Rivers led the Chargers 89 yards. On 3rd and from their own 14, Rivers found Floyd for 23 yards. A 39 yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson put the Chargers up 10-3. With 5 minutes left in the half, Manning came right back. A 71 yard drive culminated in a 13 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gonzalez with 38 seconds left in the half. The teams were tied 10-10 at the intermission.

The Chargers took over in the second half at their own 34 and immediately moved the ball. Rivers hit Chris Chambers for 13 yards. LaDanian Tomlinson then ran for 20 yards, followed by a 21 yard gain to the Indy 12 by Darren Sproles. The drive was then ruined when Rivers was hit and fumbled. The Colts took over at their own 34. On 3rd and 4 from the San Diego 46, Manning hit Gonzalez for 29 yards to the 17. Yet the normally organized Colts had significant trouble with clock management on this drive. Whether it was the crowd or some other reason, the Colts took two timeouts on this drive. On 4th and goal from inside the one, a disorganized Colts team had the play clock running down. Rather than run, Manning had to operate out of the shotgun. He fired a 1 yard pass to Dominic Rhodes to put the Colts up 17-10 and complete the 13 play, 7 minute drive.

After a San Diego punt, Manning led a 13 play drive that resulted in a field goal. The Colts had some breathing room at 20-10. Rivers came back with a 12 play, 6 minute drive that ended when Rivers hit Jacob Hester from 1 yard out with 5:36 left. The Chargers still trailed by a field goal, and needed the ball back from Manning. They got it back at their own 13 with 3:15 left. At the 2 minute warning, Rivers had them at the Indy 37. Nate Kaeding nailed a 47 yard field goal to tie the game at 20-20. Manning got the ball back at his own 30 with 90 seconds left and only one timeout.

With 26 seconds remaining, the Colts faced 4th down and one chain link at their own 48. It took several minutes to measure before determining that the Colts were short by the nose of the ball. If they failed to convert, San Diego would be near field goal range. A quarterback sneak was possible with one timeout left. Yet Tony Dungy trusts Peyton Manning, and gives him latitude that no other quarterback in the league has. A play action pass went for 18 yards to Marvin Harrison to the San Diego 34. With 2 seconds remaining, Adam Vinatieri came in for a 50 yard field goal attempt. He drilled it.

The Colts improved to 7-4, and have a schedule easy enough to allow the Colts to run the table and get to 12-4. The Chargers fell to 4-7. In 1995, the 4-7 Chargers ran the table before losing a home playoff game to the Colts, who also started 4-7 before running the table as well. Norvelous Norv Turner is not Bobby Ross. When he quit the Lions, they were 5-4. The next year they became the Lions we know today. The Chargers are done. 23-20 Colts

Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints was the Monday night game. Both of these teams came in at 5-5 and desperate to get back into playoff contention. A loss tonight would force that team to have to practically run the table to have a shot. The game started out with an exchange of punts before turning into a pinball machine.

The Packers began their second possession on the New Orleans 37. Ryan Grant ran 17 yards to set up Kuhn from one yard out to put the Packers up 7-0. The Saints needed one play from scrimmage to tie the game as Drew Brees hit Moore on a slant that split the seams and went for a 70 yard touchdown. After a Green Bay punt, it was the Saint with a short field at the Green Bay 41. Brees hit Thomas for gains of 14 and 13 yards to set up Thomas on the ground from 3 yards out. The Saints led 14-7 at the end of the opening quarter.

Aaron Rodgers then led a 72 yard drive that took 12 plays and ate up 6 minutes. Green Bay converted 3 third downs, including a 24 yard pass to Donald Driver. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings from 7 yards out to tie the game again at 14-14. Brees came right back with a 76 yard drive. A 19 yarder to Jeremy Shockey eventually led to a 14 yard touchdown toss to Moore to put the Saints back in front 21-14. The aerial show gave Rodgers his turn, and he led Green Bay 83 yards in 14 plays over 6 1/2 minutes. Rodgers hit Jennings for 22 yards, and on 3rd and 6 from the 10, ran it in himself to tie the game 21-21with 1:44 left in the half. A 62 yard kickoff return by Roby had the Saints starting at the Green Bay 32. With 22 seconds left in the half the Saints had 1st and goal at the 7, but stalled at that point. A field goal put the Saints up 24-21 at halftime.

Like many of the early games on Sunday, this game saw a shootout turn into a blowout. The Saints began the second half by moving 80 yards in 13 plays and 6 1/2 minutes. The Saints faced 4th and 1 from their own 45 when Sean Payton, a Bill Parcells disciple, did some riverboat gambling. The gamble paid off as Thomas picked up 4 yards to keep the chains moving. Brees hit Miller for a 16 yard touchdown to put the Saints up 31-21. Rodgers was then intercepted by David, who returned it 42 yards to the Green Bay 3. Deuce McAllister ran it in. The Saints led 38-21, and McAllister set the Saints team record for touchdowns on that play. The crowd gave a lengthy ovation.

Rodgers was the intercepted by David again, allowing the Saints to begin at the Green Bay 29. However, Sean Payton went back to his bag of tricks, and it didn’t work. A backwards pass to a wide receiver to set up an option pass blew up when the receiver faced defensive pressure and threw a ball that was underthrown and intercepted. It did not matter. The Packers punted, and Brees fired a 70 yard touchdown pass to Marquis Colston. At the end of 3 quarters, the Saints led 45-21 in a route.

Drew Brees threw for 4 touchdown passes, while Aaron Rodgers threw his 3rd interception with 6 minutes remaining. At 6-5, the Saints are still in last place and 2 games back in the division that has all the teams playing well. The Packers at 5-6 are one game out of their division lead. 51-29 Saints


My Interview With Howard Wolfson

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

At the 2008 Republican Convention in Minnesota, I had the pleasure of meeting Howard Wolfson.

Howard Wolfson was the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton. Despite this, as much as it kills me to admit it, the guy is likable. He is funny, and self effacing. I would love to have reported that he screamed at me for 10 minutes while extolling the virtues of Hillary, but that would be completely untrue. He was extremely pleasant, and it was fun talking with him.

I have often remarked that once people turn off the cameras, the hyperbole and arguing is replaced by handshakes that are genuine. We can be opponents without being enemies. More importantly, we should.

Given the lull between the election and the inauguration, I have found time for my interviews with those left of center. This is a vacation from hyperpartisanship, which should return soon enough for Mr. Wolfson and myself.

With that, below is my interview with Howard Wolfson.

1) What are the most important issues of 2008?

HW: “The economy and Iraq.”

2) What issues are most important to you personally?

HW: “Freedom of choice, reproductive rights.”

3) Who are your 3 favorite political heroes?

HW: “Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Roosevelt. In fact, both Roosevelts, Franklin Delano and Teddy.”

4) How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now? What would you want people to say about Howard Wolfson the person?

HW: “If I am remembered at all, I would want people to say that I was drawn to politics to make the world a better place.”

5) Given that the Republicans offer John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, while the Democrats off Barack Obama and John Edwards, are the Democrats bigoted against the follically challenged? Are we finally able to crack the glass ceiling in the modern era and elect a bald President?

HW: “Democrats are not bigoted on this issue. I am one myself, and we do what we have to do. The party has welcomed me in and accepted me as one of their own. We Democrats truly are a big tent. We are diverse, and that diversity extends to bald guys. I am absolutely sensitive to the needs of bald Americans, and so is my party.”

6) So even though John McCain is one of your band of brothers, that is not why you are here at the GOP Convention, and you’re not crossing over?

HW: “I do have that bond with him, but it is not enough to make me cross over. I am a proud Democrat.”

What made Howard Wolfson so delightful was that while he was answering the questions about the follically challenged, he was patting and rubbing his head the entire time. He had a great sense of humor about the issue, and appreciated that, while I am not a liberal, I do occasionally come from left field.

I have to admit that I had a tough time not laughing as he spoke to me with one hand while patting and rubbing his head with the other hand.

It was a genuine pleasure meeting him.

I deliberately did not ask him any questions about Hillary Clinton because I report honestly. He would have said something positive about her, and I would not have edited the remarks or taken them out of context.

I am fair, but I am absolutely biased. This is a conservative blog.

Nevertheless, it was a very pleasant experience meeting Howard Wolfson. I cannot in good conscience wish him success politically, but in his personal life I wish him the very best.


The Angry Gay Mobs Are Domestic Terrorists

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Rico is not just the guy that wore a diamond and killed Tony at the Copacabana.

RICO stands for the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

The original purpose was to break the Mafia. In recent years, it has been used to prosecute terrorists.

Yet terrorism has come a long way from the stereotypical Italian portrayals glorified in “The Godfather.”

We now know that people are capable of hijacking airplanes, and using them as guns to destroy buildings, businesses, and economies.

Yet one type of terrorism is not given media attention, and that is political terrorism. So why does political terrorism get ignored?

Because the terrorists are on the left.

If I believed what I read in lamestream media, I would think that every Evangelical Christian in this nation is bombing abortion clinics. The incredibly few individuals that commit such horrid acts are charged with domestic terrorism under RICO. Eric Rudolph hid in the woods in North Carolina, but he was caught, and punished.

Yet left wing terrorism goes unabated. Ecoterrorism flourishes. ELF, the Earth Liberation Front, commits violent bombings. Animal rights activists put our lives at risk when they free wild animals into society. Entering fur coat stores and using spray paint on an expensive mink coat is terrorism.

Now Gay America has picked up their pitchforks, and are using mob violence to obtain what the ballot box would not.

I have often complained that since liberals fail in the free marketplace, they then turn to the legislature. When that fails, they turn to left wing activist judges to overturn the rule of law. Yet even judges cannot completely wreck a society when enough people stand up.

This brings us to California. Although I live here, I am a New Yorker living in California. I am not a Californian. This once great state truly has been overrun by left wing lunatics that impose their will on everybody else. If you want a decent steak, move to Texas. Hot dogs and hamburgers can be found in New York and Chicago. California has all the juice bars and coffee shops one could possibly want.

Yet this is not about disgusting food and beverages. It is about freedom, mainly the freedom to live and breathe without being assaulted.

California has become ground zero in the battle over gay marriage.

For the sake of full disclosure, I largely stay out of the culture wars. If gay marriage were to be legal or illegal, I would respect the rule of law without giving it much thought. Proposition 8 sought to ban gay marriage in California. I remained neutral on it and left it blank. If I were in Minnesota, election volunteers would be trying to determine my “intent.” I left it blank. Period.

Before getting to 2008, it is important to analyze 2004. Gay marriage bans appeared on 11 state ballots in 2004, and passed in all 11 of these states. Many attribute these initiatives to the reason President George W. Bush won reelection.

What they miss is why these initiatives came out. It began with some criminal activity in San Francisco. Mayor Gavin Newsom presided over illegal ceremonies. We can argue until the end of time whether gay marriage should be allowed. Yet at that moment, in San Francisco, they were illegal. Many Americans that were open to gay marriage looked at San Francisco, concluded that Gavin Newsom broke the law, and were pushed in the other direction.

In 2008, the fighting has escalated, with fighting being the key word. Gay America, like most predominantly liberal activist groups, want respect and tolerance for only those that agree with them.

I personally have been confronted by angry activists against Proposition 8. When I stated my neutrality, I was yelled at. I was not even against them! I was neutral. While I try not to let emotion affect my voting patterns, the hostility of the anti-8 crowd certainly pushed me away from them.

Had Proposition 8 gone down to defeat, I would have accepted the decision with grace and dignity. I voted Republican for President. The Democrat won. I could have rioted in the streets, but I have a day job. Even if I did not, I still have decency.

This is lost on many basket cases in Los Angeles and San Francisco that are turning the Golden State into the Wild West.

My main concern about legalizing gay marriage is one of lawsuits. I want lawsuit protection in place that gives religious institutions absolute discretion to refuse to perform any ceremony for any reason. Orthodox Synagogues and Strict Catholic Churches should not be forced to perform ceremonies that violate their own doctrines. Some say this lawsuit protection is unnecessary because the laws are already on the books. This has been exposed as a lie. Legal businesses are under assault.

One victim is the internet matchmaking site E-Harmony.

E-Harmony is run by Neil Warren, an evangelical Christian. Unlike other websites that focus on everything from friendship to dating, E-Harmony is specifically set up to introduce people that are looking to get married. E-Harmony has rejected many people on the grounds that it is not a “hook-up” service. It is not a dating service. It is a matchmaking service.

Gay marriage is not legal in most places. Therefore, E-Harmony has no reason to assist gays. Even if gay marriage were legal, E-Harmony is owned by a man that does not believe in gay marriage. It is his company. He has every right to keep his business model.

We live in a world where leftists want to force fast food joints to offer health food. They want to force oil comanies to invest in alternative energy, and automakers to build “green cars,” regardless of whether or not those cars will sell. Liberals sue, and businesses go bankrupt.

Now the gay community has engaged in boycotts of certain companies. That is fine. Boycotts are freedom of speech. However, boycotting E-Harmony would not work because they could not join anyway. So the gay activists will boycott some companies, but fight for the right to join others that do not want them.

E-Harmony caved under the pressure of threats and class action lawsuits. Instead of some enterprising Americans setting up  website specifically designed to introduce marriage-minded gays to meet each other, they forced an already existing one to alter its own business model.

Yet as thuggish as the tactics used against E-Harmony were, they were legal. What should concern all Americans is the illegal and dangerous behavior. In a cruel irony, people that are against gay marriage are being “outed,” by gays. These anti-gay marriage voters want to stay in the closet, but are being publicly humiliated.

A pizza shop owner voted for Proposition 8. He was outed, and his store has been vandalized. A young Christian missionary in San Francisco was beaten up.

Some say a Christian Missionary should know better than to go to San Francisco. Yeah, those black men should know better than to kiss a white girl in Alabama. They deserved the beating that Bobby Joe and Billy Ray gave them. Yeah, those gay people should know not to dress provocatively at the football game in West Texas. Matthew Shepherd? He should have known better than to breathe in the wrong neighborhood.

Violence is violence is violence. If gay people want equality on all levels, then equality of responsibility must be included. If you assault somebody, you are a criminal. If you use violent threats and intimidation, you are a thug.

The police have stayed on the sidelines because they do not want to be seen as anti-gay. This is not about gay vs. straight. It is about the rule of law vs. anarchy.

Some gays compare their struggle to the Civil Rights battles of the 1960s. Blacks in California voted for Proposition 8 by 70% to 30%, much more than their white counterparts. They understand that gay people did not come here in chains, nor did they have to spill blood to vote. Gays were never 3/5 of a human being.

Some gays compare this to the Holocaust. Then again, every left wing group from animal rights activists to environmentalists invoke the Holocaust. I don’t know any gay people that had Zyklon B shoved down their throat in 21st century America.

The gay leftists in America have become what they claimed to detest. They have become the bigots and zealots. Storming the Mormon Church and breaking things is intolerant and bigoted.

I want to make it clear that there are many good, decent, and honorable gay Americans in this country. The Log Cabin Republicans are a great group of individuals. Like most Republican organizations, they seem to be able to advocate fiercely for their viewpoints without burning buildings or hitting people.

So what is the solution?

Aggressive police action.

The moment somebody picks up a brick, they should be tasered. The moment they break a window, they should be pelted with rubber bullets.

As for the young people, I would proudly wear a t-shirt with the slogan “Kent State 2008,” to show them that uncivil disobedience must have consequences.

Those who commit violent acts against Republicans, conservatives, Christians, or any other human beings must be aggressively prosecuted. Although I am against hate crimes legislation, if it is good enough to protect blacks, gays, and Arabs as victims, it should be good enough to punish them when they are perpetrators.

The most violent of the 2008 gay mafia need to be prosecuted as would any other Cosa Nostra. They need to be pulled off of the street, remaned without bail, and charged under RICO.

Ghandi succeeded using non-violence. So did Martin Luther King Jr. If left wing terrorists cannot succeed using only the ballot box, than perhaps they need to revisit everything they stand for. Everybody they know agrees with them, but many others do not.

If Proposition 8 had failed, I would have told the Christian Coalition to respect the rule of law. This would have been easy, because in general religious people believe in God, who instructs them to love their neighbor and not kill their neighbor.

I am now telling gay activists and their fellow left wing cancer causing agents to obey the law. Fight for your beliefs legally.

Boycott the pizza place. Do not ban others from entering. Do not destroy the place.

Respect the right of other people to disagree with you without requiring a rabies shot.

Many people are wondering why an entire column is needed to explain concepts that five year old children can understand.

Five year children are apolitical. Liberals are not. They do need universal concepts explained to them.

Until left wing terrorists face RICO indictments, they will continue to terrorize.