Archive for September, 2009

NFL 2009–Week 2 Recap

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The Jewish people turn 5770 today, as the NFL 2009 Season turns 2. Happy Rosh Hashanah.

Now let’s play football.

Despite the Raiders starting 0-1 for the 7th straight year, I have not given up hope.

With that, attached is my Week 2 NFL Recap.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers–Carson Palmer did not need 59 minutes this time as a 5 yard touchdown pass to Laverneus Coles had the Bengals up 7-0. Aaron Rodgers brought the Packers right back with an 11 play, 80 yard drive that took 5 minutes. Rodgers hit Donald Driver from 3 yards out to tie the game 7-7. 44 seconds later the Packers were up 14-7 thanks to starting the drive at the Cincy 11. Ryan Grant took it in the final 4 yards.

In the second quarter Palmer took it in from a yard out to tie the game 14-14. On the next Cincinnati drive, Palmer threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Charles Woodson. Unfortunately for the Benglas, Woodson plays defense for the Packers, who now led 21-14. Palmer rebounded, leading a 10 play, 6 1/2 minute drive that covered 80 yards.  A 5 yard touchdown pass to Henry tied the game 21-21 at halftime.

The game slowed considerably in the second half, and when Palmer hit Chad Johnson for a 13 yard touchdown, the Bengals led 28-21. In an absolute stunner, the Packers offense, highly touted the entire preseason, produced nothing. The Bengals added a field goal with 2 minutes left to supposedly ice the game and complete the shocking upset. A 10 point lead would be safe with 2 minutes left, but these are the Bengals. Last week they gave up an 87 yard touchdown pass off a tip drill.

Rodgers took over for the Packers at their own 21. He hit Lee for 11 yards and scrambled for 16 more. 7 plays and 1:11 led to a 45 yard field goal by Crosby to get the Packers within 7 points. Green Bay successfully recovered the onsides kick at their own 43 with 44 seconds left. On 3rd and 10, Rodgers hit Finley for 22 yards to the Cincinnati 35 with 17 seconds left. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for a 25 yard gain to the Cincy 10, with no timeouts and the clock ticking. They tried to spike the ball with one second left, but a false start led to the runoff that ended the game. Despite another almost meltdown, the Bengals survived. 31-24 Bengals

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs–In the first quarter the Raiders could not muster a first down. Shane Lechler had punts of 66 and 70 yards, again an indication of how awful the rest of the offense is. Matt Cassel started for Kansas City. Cassel led a 17 play, 74 yard drive that ate up 9 1/2 minutes of clock. On 4th and 1 at the 5, Todd Haley opted for the field goal and the 3-0 lead. A surprise onsides kick almost worked, but the Raiders instead began at the Kansas City 40. They wasted the opportunity. In the second quarter, with 4:45 left, Sebastian Janikowski nailed the tying field goal to make it 3-3.

As ugly as this game was, the half ended even uglier. The Chiefs had 1st and goal at the Oakland 9 with 14 seconds left and no timeouts. A West Coast Offense swing pass led to an inbounds tackle and the clock running out.

The Chiefs began the second half with Cassel being intercepted by Michael Huff, as the Raiders took over at the Kansas City 48. JaMarcus Russell was 3 for 18 last week on passes to wide receivers, and 2 for 11 at this point in this game. Outside of tight end Zach Miller, Russell is not connecting. The ground game picked up one first down, but incompletions set up Seabass from 54 yards out. He drilled it, and the Raiders led 6-3 midway through the third quarter. Kansas City punted on their next possession, and a punt inside the 5 turned into a touchback due to bungling. The Raiders responded with their 9th 3 and out.

Despite being outgained 331 to 99 in yardage, and trailing 23-5 in first downs, the Raiders led 6-3 with 7 minutes left. Yet the Raiders for the last 7 years have been a team with a good defense, a pathetic offense, and an inability to finish winnable games because an exhausted defense can’t overcome a dreadful offense. When Nahmdi Asomugha went out of the game, the Chiefs went after Stanford Routt. The result was a deep touchdown pass that put the Chiefs up 10-6 with 2 1/2 minutes. With Russell being 3 for 19 for 42 yards, draw your own conclusions.

A touchdown pass was nullified by a false start. Then Russell ran into his own man and fell down. Luckily a late hit by the Chiefs while Russell was on the ground created a 15 yard personal foul. The Raiders had 1st and 10 at the Chiefs 48. Several 3rd down screen passes were broken up by the Chiefs defense throughout the game, but a first down screen pass reached the Kansas City 38 for a 1st and 10 at the 2 minute warning.

A pair of incompletions and a false start had the Raiders facing 3rd and 15 from the 42. Russell then completed a 28 yard pass to Watkins at the 14 yard line. Russell next hit McFadden for 9 yards. On the next play, a pitchout to McFadden around the end had the Raiders retake the lead with 1:07 left.

Russell finished the game 7 of 24 for 109 yard passing. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush each finished with 35 yards rushing. The Chiefs led in total offense 409-166. They led in plays from scrimmage 79-51. They led in rushing yards 173-67. They led in possession 38 1/2 to 21 1/2. Yet when all was said and done, it was the Silver and Black that had won a shocker. For the third straight year, the Raiders won at Kansas City. This team has many questions on offense, especially with Russell. Yet they won, and are 1-1. Tom Cable has this team competing hard. 13-10 Raiders

New England Patriots @ New York Jets–As well as Matt Sanchez played against Houston last week, New England would be a far sterner test. Those claiming the demise of the New England defense may be premature. 3rd and 28 from their own 3 was not a good situation for Sanchez, although the handoff followed by the punt went off properly. A pair of Stephen Gostkowski field goals had the Patriots up 6-0. With 3 minutes left in the half, Jay Feeley nailed a filed goal to pull the Jets to within 6-3. Gostkowski added a 3rd field goal to put the Patriots up 9-3 at the break. Sanchez threw only 5 passes the entire first half, completing 3 of them for 15 yards.

The Jets exploded to start the second half. Leon Washington returned the kickoff to the New England 40. Sanchez then came out firing, hitting Jerricho Cotrey down to the 10 and then tossing the touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to put the Jets up 10-9. New England then went 3 and out, and a short punt had the Jets at their own 45. Sanchez led an 11 play drive that reached the six yard line before stalling. A field goal had the Jets up 13-9.

Tom Brady led the Patriots to the New York 35, when back to back delay of game penalties led to a punt. A facemask penalty forced New England to punt again on 4th and 34, as the Jets took over on their own 15. After losing 7 yards, Sanchez moved them forward in a staggering 14 play drive that ate up 8 1/2 minutes. The drive bogged down at the 22, but a 39 yard field goal had the Jets up by 7 points with 10 minutes left.

Sanchez threw only 22 times, 17 of them after halftime. Brady put it up 47 times. Yet the story on this day was Rex Ryan and his defense. Brady was harassed all game, as New England never reached the end zone. These Jets are for real. 16-9 Jets

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans–A pair of defensive teams put on an aerial show. Of course, one Kerry Collins touchdown pass came easy as the Texans failed to field a defender against the receiver. Chris Johnson ran wild, with 179 yards on the ground, including a 91 yard run. Johnson scored on a 57 yard touchdown run on 3rd and 19 to put the Titans up 7-0 early on. Yet Matt Schaub put on a clinic today. He led a 14 play, 77 yard drive over 6 minutes. On 3rd and 2 from the Tennessee 19, Schaub hit Andre Johnson to tie the game 7-7. In addition to his running, Chris Johnson also caught a 69 yard touchdown reception from Kerry Collins that had the Titans up 14-7. In the second quarter, after a punt, Tennessee began at the Houston 46. Johnson ran for 16 yards, Lendale White added more, and Kerry Collins hit Nate Washington for 7 yards and then the 8 yard touchdown as Tennessee was cruising at 21-7.

They would not be cruising for long. One play and 16 seconds was all that Schaub needed to hit Johnson for a 72 yard touchdown to pull the Texans to within 21-14. Collins was then intercepted at the Tennessee 29. Schaub quickly threw his 3rd touchdown pass, this one to Jones. The game was tied 21-21, but neither team was close to being done.

The Texans got the ball back, and from their own 21, Schaub fired a pair of 21 yard gains to Daniels and Dreesen to set up a Kris Brown field goal as the Texans led 24-21 with 2:18 left in the half. Collins led the Titans right back in the 2 minute drill, starting at the Tennessee 19.  Collins hit Britt for 13 yards and Washington for 12 more. On 3rd and 16 from the Houston 45, an incomplete pass was offset by a defensive holding penalty and automatic first down. Collins then hit Justin Gage for 15 more yards to set up Rob Bironas. As the half ended, Bironas connected, and the teams were deadlocked 24-24.

After an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Titans took over at their own 1. From the 9, Johnson simply did the rest on a day where he ran ridiculous. His 91 yard run had the Titans back on top 31-24. After another exchange of punts in a game that was slowing up, The Texans took over at their own 35 before a penalty moved them back 13 more yards. Schaub then fired a 33 yard completion to Daniels at the Tennessee 45. On 3rd and 1 from the 36, Brown lost a yard. On 4th and 2 from the 37, Gary Kubiak decided to go for it. Schaub hit Dreesen for 4 yards to keep the drive alive. Schaub hit Johnson for 11 more, and a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone set up Schaub’s 4th touchdown pass, a 1 yard toss to Daniels. The game was tied 31-31 with just over an entire quarter to play.

Tennessee took over at their own 34, but on 3rd and 1 from the 43, Johnson failed to convert. Tennessee punted, Houston went 3 and out and punted back and Tennessee moved the ball. Yet with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, Jeff Fisher made  very curious call. On 4th and 6 from the Houston 33, Fisher decided to go for it rather than have Bironas try a 50 yard field goal. The Titans turned it over on downs. After another exchange of punts, the Texans took over at their own 32 with 7 minutes left.

On the first play from scrimmage, Schaub went deep to Jones for a 44 yard gain to the Tennessee 24. On 4th and 1 from the 15, Kubiak again decided to go for it with 5 minutes left. Schaub snuck through for 2 yards. On 4th and 2 from the 5, Kubiak settled for the 23 yard field goal. They led by a field goal, but had taken more time off of the clock. The Titans had 3 minutes to come back. With 1:42 left, from the Tennessee 38, Collins fumbled without being touched. He just lost the ball. Houston ran out the clock to preserve the upset win. Tennessee, after going 13-3 last year, is a surprising 0-2 after a pair of 3 point losses. 34-31 Texans

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars–Kurt Warner began by completing a ridiculous 18 of his first 19 passes. An 11 play, 7 minute drive to start the game resulted in a one yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower as the Cardinals led 7-0. The Jaguars came right back as Maurice Jones-Drew ripped off a 36 yard run. However, on 3rd and 2 from the Arizona 11, the Jaguars lost a yard and settled for a field goal and a 7-3 game. Warner brought the Cardinals back and Neil Rackers added a field goal to put the Cardinals back up 10-3. Then things got bizarre.

The Jaguars faced 4th ans 13 at their own 17 and punted. The Cardinals fumbled the punt, and the Jaguars recovered at the Arizona 26. 3 plays and -2 yards later the Jaguars set up for a field goal. The kick was blocked, and Antrel Rolle returned the blocked field goal 83 yards for a touchdown as the Cardinals stormed out to a 17-3 lead. The game became a turnoverfest, and a promising Jaguars drive reached the Arizona 35 before they fumbled the ball away. With 2:13 left in the half form their own 32, Warner hit Hightower for 8, Steve Breaston for 22 more, and Anquon Boldin for 19 more after a 12 yard Jeremy Urban run. Warner hit Wright for 5 yards to put the Cardinals up 24-3 at the half.

The Cardinals continued to move with ease in the second half. Although Neal Rackers missed a field goal, all the Cardinals did on their next drive was have Warner fire to Larry Fitzgerald for a 29 yard touchdown and a 31-3 Cardinals lead. Normally when the starting quarterback is benched, it signals problems. Warner was benched only because he was 24 for 26, and Matt Leinart needs time to prove why he will never be Kurt Warner. Ken Whisenhunt can do this in preseason, but Warner came out way too early. Actually, it was a smart move. Leinart just does not play well.

David Garrard threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to Lewis to make it a 31-10 game very late in the third quarter. Leinart threw one pass to Breaston for 17 yards and a first down before the Cardinals punted. The Jaguars took over at their own 19 and moved 81 yards in 14 plays and 5 minutes. On 4th and 10 from the Arizona 19, Garrard hit Sims-Walker to make it a 14 point game with 7 minutes left. The Cardinals punted, and Jacksonville took over at their own 38. Garrard hit Sims-Walker for 34 yards to the Arizona 28. On 4th and 13, Garrard threw a perfect pass to the end zone. It was dropped. The Cardinals avoided another monumental collapse like the one that had Dennis Green screaming “They are who we thought they were” and “crown their @ss.” As for the Jaguars, they are a mess. 31-17 Cardinals

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons–Jake Delhomme looked much improved from the last couple of nightmarish games, but Matt Ryan remained red hot, although not early on. Delhomme got things started with a 10 play drive from the Carolina 20 to the Atlanta 20, resulting in a field goal and a 3-0 Panthers lead. Ryan threw an interception in the first quarter, but got going in the second quarter.

A blocked punt near midfield set up Atlanta at their own 47. Ryan hit Jenkins for 24 yards, and then Ryan threw the first of his 3 touchdown passes in the first half, the first one being a 24 yarder to Tony Gonzalez to put the Falcons up 7-3.

Carolina came right back from the 20 as Deangelo Williams ran for 20 yards and Delhomme found Steve Smith for 28 yards to the Atlanta 32. Stewart ran for 28 yards down to the 3, and Williams ran it in on the next play to put the Panthers back up 10-7. Ryan then led the Falcons on an equally impressive 80 yard drive that lasted 14 plays and 7:15. From the Atlanta 37, Ryan hit Marty Booker for 27 to the Carolina 36. On 3rd and 11, Ryan hit Booker again for 15 yards down to the 22. On 3rd and 7, Ryan hit Gonzalez for 9 before throwing the 10 yard touchdown to Snelling to put the Falcons back up 14-10. Delhomme brought the Panthers back again, but the drive reached the Atlanta 28 and no further. A field goal had the Panthers within 14-13 with 1:49 left in the half.

Weems returned the kickoff 41 yards to the Atlanta 44. Snelling then picked up gains of 20 and 8 yards. Ryan then hit Brad Finneran for 7, Gonzalez for 15 more, and the final 7 yards to White as the Falcons led 21-13 at the midpoint.

Like many games today, this game slowed considerably in the second half. The Falcons did move from their own 20 to the Carolina 10 in a 7 minute drive, but Michael Turner fumbled the ball away. Carolina moved to their own 40 when Deangelo Williams fumbled the ball back to Atlanta. From the Carolina 47, Ryan led a 12 play, 7 minute drive that ended with a Turner one yard touchdown run. The Falcons led 28-13 with 12 1/2 minutes left in the game.

Delhomme engineered another 80 yard drive, this one taking 10 plays and 5 1/2 minutes. Delhomme hit King for 32 yards to the Atlanta 48. After an offsides penalty, Delhomme hit Smith for 20 more yards down to the 23. On 3rd and 16 from the 29, Delhomme hit Williams for 18 yards. On 3rd and 10 from the 11, Delhomme hit Donte Rosario for the touchdown to pull the Panthers to within 8 points with 6:45 left. Atlanta needed on 50 seconds to go 3 and out and give it back to the Panthers at their own 32.

Delhomme hit Rosario for 11 yards, Williams for 12 to midfield, and to Steve Smith for 23 yards to the Atlanta 27. On 1st and 10 from the 17, Delhomme threw 3 straight short right passes that fell incomplete. On 4th down Delhomme was intercepted at the 4 yard line with 2 1/2 minutes left. Carolina got the ball back at their own 26 with 30 seconds left. With 8 seconds left from the Atlanta 43, Delhomme heaved the Hail Mary, which came dangerously close to being caught before falling incomplete. It was not easy, but the Falcons had held. The Panthers are 0-2, but looked better today. 28-20 Falcons

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles–Kevin Kolb started for an injured Donovan McNabb, as Michael Vick waits until next week to play. Rich Eisen had the quote of the day, describing the injured Philly leader as “McRib” due to his fractured rib injury. As for Kolb, he was 31 for 51 for 391 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with 3 interceptions. Drew Brees picked up right where he left off last week, throwing for 213 first half yards. Brees hit Marquis Colston for a pair of touchdowns, including a 15 yarder early on to put the Saints up 7-0. Kolb came right back with a 71 yard touchdown pass to Deshean Jackson to tie the game 7-7. After an exchange of punts, the Saints took over at the Philly 47. They reached the 5 yard line before settling for a field goal and a 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter Brees had the Saints on the move until he was intercepted at the Philly 27. Kob then led a 15 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that also got no further than the 5 yard line. David Akers kicked the tying field goal to make it 10-10 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.  The Saints could not move, but a punt pinned the Eagles at their own 3 yard line. The Eagles punted, and New Orleans took over at their own 46 with 1:20 left in the half. Brees needed 2 plays and 37 seconds to throw 29 yards to Reggie Bush and then 25 to Colston for the touchdown as the Saints led 17-10. They scored too early, as 43 seconds was enough time for Kolb to fire passes to Curtis of 26, 9, and 19 yards. Akers kicked a field goal to pull the Eagles within 17-13 at intermission.

The second half was a blowout. The Eagles fumbled the second half kickoff, the Saints took over at the Philly 22, and Evans ran 11 yards to quickly put the Saints up 24-13. Kolb was then intercepted, the Saints took over at the Philly 24, and Bell ran it in form 7 yards out to turn a tight game into a 31-13 laugher only 3 1/2 minutes into the second half. After a Philadelphia punt, the Saints moved from their own 23 to the Philly 7 in 12 plays and 6 minutes. Another Akers field goal had the Saints up 34-13.

Ellis Hobbs returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards to the New Orleans 35. Passes of 15 yards to Jackson and 14 yards to Avant set up 4th and goal at the 3, where Kolb hit AVant for the touchdown. The entire 4th quarter still remained, and the Eagles were only down 34-20.

They would get no closer. An exchange of punts had the Saints at their own 48. They had the field possession advantage all game, and they made the most of it. Reggie Bush ran for a 19 yard score to put the Saints up 41-20. Kolb moved the Eagles from their own 19 to the Saints 5, but then turned it over on downs. The Eagles did get a safety out of this field position to close to within 41-22, and the ensuing free kick had Philly on the move again. However, Kolb was intercepted at the 3 yard line by Darren Sharper, who took it the other way 97 yards to close out the scoring.

After the game, Andy Reid made it clear that if McRib can’t go, Kolb is the starter, not Vick. The Eagles are not that bad. The Saints are that good. Sean Payton, a Bill Parcells disciple, let the media know that his team has plenty to work on. They look pretty good so far. 48-22 Saints

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions–Yes, the Vikings have Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson, and yes the Lions went 0-16 last year. However, they came very close to beating Minnesota last year. This year the Lions pressured Favre on defense, and bottled up Peterson early on. A Peterson fumble had the Lions starting at the Minnesota 48. 12 plays and 6 minutes later, the Lions kicked a field goal to lead 3-0. Matthew Stafford did throw an interception early on, but he stayed calm, and threw an 8 yard touchdown pass to give the Lions a 10-0 lead that really was not as stunning as some would make it out to be. With one minute left in the half, Favre threw a two yard touchdown pass to Asante Shiancoe to cap a 10 play, 76 yard drive to pull the Vikings within 10-7.

In the third quarter Favre finally got the Vikings moving. A Detroit punt set up a short field as Minnesota began at the Detroit 47. The drive stalled inside the 10 yard line, but a field goal tied it 10-10. Then the Lions fumbled, and the game turned. Starting from the Detroit 27, one running play became an Adrian Peterson touchdown and a 17-10 Vikings lead. Favre was very efficient on the day, completing 23 of his first 27 passes for only 155 yards. Yet another field goal early in the 4th quarter was followed by a Matthew Stafford interception. The Vikings took over from the Detroit 16, and a 3 yard touchdown toss to Percy Harvin turned a potential upset into a Minnesota win, although the game was closer than the score indicated. Detroit added a meaningless field goal late in the game. 27-13 Vikings

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins–Sometimes a game between a pair of bad teams can produce a thriller. Not this game. Jason Campbell did lead a 13 play, 83 yard drive that took 6 1/2 minutes. It stalled at the 4 yard line, leading to a Suisham field goal and a 3-0 Redskins lead. In the second quarter, Campbell led a 13 play, 64 yard drive that ate up another 6 minutes. Suisham kicked a 28 yard field goal to put the Redskins up 6-0. Marc Bulger finally got the Rams going late in the half, with a 10 play, 84 yard drive that culminated in Bulger hitting Robinson for a 2 yard touchdown and a 7-6 Rams lead at the break.

Despite totally outplaying the Rams, the Redskins trailed. Again Campbell led a long drive, this one 14 plays, 74 yards, and 7 1/2 minutes. Again the Redskins bogged down, this time at the 6 yard line. Suisham’s 3rd field goal had the Redskins up by a deuce with an entire quarter and a half to play. Marc Bulger then led a 14 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that began at the Rams 25. On 3rd and 4 from the Redskins 9, the Rams fumbled the ball away with 13 minutes left. After a punt, the Rams took over at the Washington 9, went nowhere, and punted. With 9:15 left, Campbell moved the Redskins form their own 20 to a 4th and 1 at the Rams 2, which they failed to convert. The Rams had 1:55 left from their own 4. 4 incomplete passes later, this dreadful game ended. 9-7 Redskins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills–Tampa Bay punted, the Bills took over at their own 46, and Trent Edwards quickly hit Lee Evans for a 32 yard touchdown pass 3 1/2 minutes in to put the Bills up 7-0. Byron Leftwich threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Donte WHitner, who unfortunately for Tampa Bay, plays defense for Buffalo. Each team had thrown a touchdown to a Buffalo player as the Bills led 14-0. Another Leftwich completion to a Buffalo defender had the Bill starting at the Tampa 32. A field goal had the Bills up 17-0 after one quarter, with the game on pace to be 68-0 and 8 Leftwich interceptions.

Leftiwch threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow early in the second quarter. Winslow does play for Tampa, which brought the Bucs to within 17-7. Buffalo came back, and Dick Jauron decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 36. The Bills picked up 2 yards, and a face mask added 15 more. The drive reached the Tampa Bay 25, where a field goal had the Bills up 20-7.

With 3 1/2 minutes left in the half, Buffalo looked to turn out the lights. Edwards drove the team from their own 9 to the Tampa 14. Yet the game quickly changed when Buffalo fumbled, Piscitelli picked it up at the 20, and raced 72 yards to the Buffalo 8 in front of a stunned Bills crowd. Leftwich hit Williams with seconds left in the half for the touchdown, and instead of trailing 27-7, the Buccaneers were only down 20-14.

Despite the shift in momentum, neither team could move much in the third quarter. Midway through the period, facing 4th and 1 at the Buffalo 43, Ward was stuffed for a one yard loss. Edwards went deep, but was intercepted, with Piscatelli again rising to the occasion. Yet after a scoreless third quarter, Edwards led Buffalo on a 13 play drive that led to a field goal and a 23-14 Bills lead with 11 1/2 minutes left. After a punt had the Bills at their own 46, Edwards went deep to Terrell Owens for a 43 yard touchdown and a comfortable 30-14 Bills lead.

Leftwich led the Buccaneers 80 yards in 14 plays, and on 4th and goal at the Buffalo 6, he hit Jeremy Stevens for the touchdown. The 2 point conversion failed, but with 5 1/2 minutes left the Bucs were within 30-20.

A very short kickoff had the Bills starting at their own 43. Fred Jackson ripped off a 43 yard gain, and the Bills reached the Tampa 2 yard line. On 3rd and 1 they failed to convert, but the field goal had the Bills up by 13 with 2 minutes left. The Raheem Morris era is 0-2, as Jon Gruden remains in the MNF booth and Monte Kiffin takes his vaunted defense to the college ranks. 33-20 Bills

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers–The Seahawks are on the decline as the Walrus stays retired while the 49ers are on the rise, although with smashmouth and not glamour under Mike Singletary. After a Seattle punt, Shawn Hill took the 49ers 13 plays and 8 minutes from the San Francisco 26 to the Seattle 19 before settling for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. After a punt, the 49ers began at their own 21. One play and 79 yards later, Frank Gore had run to put the 49ers up 10-0.

In the second quarter, Matt Hasselbeck led Seattle from their own 30 to the San Francisco 18. After failing to convert 3rd and 2, Seattle settled for a field goal to get within 10-3. The teams were at a standstill until a poor punt had the 49ers starting at the Seahawks 43. A field goal had the 49ers up 13-3 with 3 minutes left in the half. Hasselbeck brought Seattle back, rapidly moving the team 70 yards and 11 plays. On second and goal from the 4, Hasselbeck was injured trying to score. Seneca Wallace came in and scored from the one. The Seahawks only trailed 13-10 at halftime, but the Hasselbeck would not return.

After a touchback to start the second half, Frank Gore again ran the distance on 1 play, outdoing his earlier 79 yarder with an 80 yarder. The 49ers led 20-10 only seconds into the second half, and the rest of the game should never be described. The teams traded punts with a Nate Burleson interception of Wallace breaking up the monotony. A field goal padded the lead. The 49ers are 2-0, and the Seahawks under Jim Mora Jr. are 0-2 and on the verge of becoming the Seahags again. 23-10 49ers

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears–Both of these teams have superstar quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler, despite Cutler’s 4 interception debacle last week. Yet these teams, despite Brian Urlacher being lost for the season, are about defense. This game was expected to be an old fashioned headknocker, and it was. For the second straight week, the defending champion Steelers were in a slugfest.

After a Chicago punt, early on Pittsburgh looked like an offensive machine as Big Ben moved them 92 yards in 13 plays over 8 minutes. On 3rd and 12 from their own 17, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes for 24 yards, followed by a 15 yard completion to Heath Miller and a 19 yarder back to Holmes. A 13 yarder to Hines Ward set up 1st and goal form the 9. On 4th and goal from the 1, Roethlisberger threw a pass to Spaeth for the touchdown and the 7-0 Steelers lead. The game then turned into a defensive bonelock.

With 6 minutes left in the half, the Bears took over at their own 3. This time it was Cutler who led the march coast to coast. A roughing the passer penalty followed by a 15 yard run by Adrian Peteron had Chicago at the 33. Cutler hit Johnny Knox for 22 yards down to the Pittsburgh 45. Cutler completed short passes to Matt Forte, Knox, and Peterson to reach the 10 yard line. With seconds left in the half, on 3rd and goal at the 6, Cutler hit Davis to complete the 97 yard, 13 play, 6 minute drive. The teams were deadlocked 7-7 at intermission.

Midway through the third quarter, the Steelers took over at their own 31. A 13 yard pass to Rashaard Mendenhall followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty had Pittsburgh at the Chicago 41. Mendenhall broke the stalemate with a 39 yard run, and Big Ben ran the final 2 yards to put the Steelers up 14-7. The defenses took over again until the Bears got the ball at their own 28 with 11 1/2 minutes left in the game. On 3rd and from the 35, Cutler hit Devon Hester for 13 yards. Cutler then hit Greg Olsen for 29 yards to the Pittsburgh 23. On 3rd and goal from the 7, Cutler hit Knox for the touchdown. With 6 1/2 minutes left, the game was deadlocked 14-14.

Big Ben did his job, moving the Steelers from their own 29 to the Chicago 25. After failing to convert on 3rd and 2, Reed came in for the 43 yard field goal to give the Steelers the lead. The kick was no good, wide left. Cutler took over with 3:18 left at the Chicago 33. Matt Forte ran for 12 yards, fumbled the ball, and Greg Olsen recovered it 10 yards further at the Pittsburgh 45 to keep the Bears in business. On 3rd and 4 from the 39, Cutler hit Hester for 5 yards. With 20 seconds left, Robbie Gould had his 44 yard attempt to win it. His kick was good, and it was the Bears that had gutted out the win. Both of these teams are 1-1, and this game was as good as advertised for those that like tough defense. 17-14 Bears

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos–The Josh McDaniels era  needed an 87 yard miracle doink reception touchdown by Brandon Stokely to avoid imploding after one week of the post Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler era. While they did not have the luxury of playing Cincy again, there are a pair of bad teams in Ohio for Denver to practice against.

Denver fumbled the opening kickoff, as Cleveland took over at the Denver 22. A field goal by Phil Dawson had the Browns up 3-0, completing their game highlights. After a Denver punt, facing 3rd and 9 at their own 13, Brady Quinn fumbled. From the Cleveland 9, Denver needed 3 plays for Kyle Orton to throw 2 yards to Tony Scheffler to put the Broncos up 7-3 in a game that nobody deserved to score in. Quinn did respond with an 11 play, 6 minute drive that led to a field goal, but trailing 7-6 was too much for Cleveland to overcome. Denver responded as Orton led a 13 play, 5 minute drive that led to a field goal and a seemingly insurmountable 10-6 Denver lead. This thrilling opening half had Orton lead Denver from their own 6 to the Cleveland 21 to set up a missed field goal. For some reason the second half was played.

Cleveland needed 3 plays in the second half for Joshua Cribbs to fumble, Denver to start at their Cleveland 38, and Prater to make another field goal to put the game way out of reach at 13-6. Kyle Orton looked good throughout the day, passing for 263 yards. He even led another long possession that went from the Denver 12 to a 4th and 1 at the Cleveland 19. McDaniels decided not to gamble, going with the safe field goal that was missed.

With 12 minutes left, Denver only led by 7 in a game they were dominating. Orton then did his part. From just shy of midfield, a 49 yard pass to Gaffney followed by a 2 yard touchdown toss to Patrick Hillis had the Broncos safely in front 20-6. After facing 4th and 28 at their own 2, Cleveland punted. Correll Buckhalter ripped off a 45 yard touchdown run 3 plays later to end this game. The Broncos are bad, but they are 2-0 and out of awful Ohio teams to play. The Browns are even worse at 0-2, and looking forward to playing the improved Cincy rival to avoid 0-16. It has happened before. 27-6 Broncos

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers–Will the people that keep claiming the Chargers have Super Bowl potential finally concede that Norvelous Norv Turner will not get them there? I will say it now. They have no shot, which I have said since Norv took over.They have the players. It doesn’t matter.

Philip Rivers connected on a screen pass to Darren Sproles, who raced 81 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Chargers lead. The Ravens also have players, and they are well coached. It does matter. Joe Flacco led the Ravens 68 yards on an efficient drive. Willis McGahee ran 5 yards to tie the game 7-7. Rivers brought the Chargers right back, and a 45 yard pass to Floyd set up 1st and goal from the 8. However, from the 5, Rivers was sacked for a 10 yard loss as the team settled for a Nate Kaeding field goal and a 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter Flacco came right back with an 11 play, 78 yard drive that took almost 5 minutes. The key play came on 3rd and 11 from the San Diego 24. An incomplete pass was offset by a defensive pass interference call at the 3 yard line. McGahee ran it in to put the Ravens up 14-10. With 6 1/2 minutes left in the half, from the San Diego 39, Rivers hit Sproles for 22 yards to the Baltimore 39. Rivers then hit Antonio Gates for 37 yards down to the 2. Norv decided to run wide rather than straight ahead, followed by West Coast Offense passes. 3 plays lost 2 yards and the Chargers kicked a field goal to get within 14-13. Yes, the Baltimore defense has Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and an attitude in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Turner still conceded the attitude game in favor of finesse. Physical beats soft every time.

With 3 minutes left in the half, the Ravens had enough time from their own 25.  At the 2 minute warning Joe Flacco had them at midfield. McGahee ran for 9 yards, Flacco hit Derrick Mason for 14 more, and then Flacco hit Washington for the 27 yard touchdown to lead 21-13 at the break. Yet 98 seconds was enough time for Rivers, especially when Sproles ran the kickoff back 53 yards to the Baltimore 42. On 4th and 2 from the 34, with 38 seconds left, Rivers hit Gates for 9 yards followed by a spike. Rivers hit Jackson for 24 yards down to the one, and the clock stopped with 19 seconds left due to a roughing the passer penalty. On 1st and goal from the one, Rivers took a delay of game penalty. San Diego again settled for a field goal, as they trailed 21-16 at halftime in a game they could have been winning.

Early in the third quarter, Rivers was intercepted, and Baltimore took over at the San Diego 22. Flacco hit Todd Heap for the 9 yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 28-16. The Ravens returned the blunder, with the kickoff going out of bounds and the Chargers starting their own 40. On 3rd and 18 from the Baltimore 35, Rivers went deep to Vincent Jackson for the touchdown to get the Chargers to within 28-23.

Early in the fourth quarter, Flacco led the Ravens from their own 20 to the San Deigo 30. However, on 3rd and 8 he was intercepted. San Diego took over at their own 44, and Rivers hit Jackson for 16 yards. From the Baltimore 30, Rivers hit Gates for 20 yards down t the 10. Again the Chargers bogged down deep, settling for Nate Kaeding’s 4th field goal. The Chargers trailed 28-26 with 7 minutes left.

The Ravens punted, and San Diego took over at their own 7 with 4:45 left. Rivers was on fire the whole game, so the Chargers threw instead of trying to establish a run game. LaDanian Tomlinson was not playing in this game. Rivers was intercepted, and the Ravens had a chance to turn out the lights from the San Diego 13. The Ravens also kept passing, and Flacco was sacked for a 9 yard loss. The Ravens settled for a field goal and a 5 point lead with 3 minutes left.

The Chargers took over at their own 27 and immediately fired 38 yards to Jackson at the Baltimore 35 at the 2 minute warning. On 3rd and 3 from the 28, Rivers picked up 5 to the 23. On 3rd and 2 from the 15, Rivers fired incomplete. On 4th and 2 from the 15, Rivers had thrown for 436 yards. The running game had done nothing. Even Norv Turner can understand this. No, he can’t. A trap run by Darren Sproles was blown up in the backfield by Ray Lewis. Remember him? He is only one of the great middle linebackers of all time. The Ravens have Super Bowl rings. The Chargers are Norvelous. 31-26 Ravens

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys was the Sunday night game. Jerry Jones spent 1.2 billion dollars on the stadium, and over 105,000 people attended, an NFL record. What they saw was a fine, fine football game. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were in attendance. John Madden was a guest and not the announcer. Madden had the honor of sitting next to President Bush. Then again, it was an honor for President Bush to be sitting next to John Madden. I wish I was between these two legends. Although the season is early, this was the game of the year.

Eli Manning passed for 330 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Romo had only 129 yards passing, but that was because the running game gashed New York for over 250 yards. This game was simply terrific.

After a Dallas punt, Eli Manning led the Giants from their own 17 to the Dallas 12. Big Blue settled for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. The Cowboys then came back 62 yards, with Marion Barber running a 27 yarder to set up his 2 yard touchdown run and 7-3 Cowboys lead, the first of many lead changes. After a Giants punt, Romo threw a touchdown pass to Johnson, who plays defense for the Giants. The 34 yard interception return had the Giants up 10-7 in the second lead change. Dallas fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the G-Men took over at the Dallas 27. They got to the 5 before a running play lost 7 yards. Early in the second quarter, another field goal by Lawrence Tynes had Big Blue up 13-7.

Dallas took over on their own 27, and Romo kept handing off to Barber. From the Dallas 44, a 20 yard pass to Austin plus a 15 yard facemask had the Cowboys at the Giants 21. Wade Phillips then went into his bag of tricks. Romo handed off to Felix Jones, who pitched it to Patrick Crayton, who ran 20 yards to the one. Barber failed to crack the goal line on successive plays, so on 3rd down Romo went play action pass and hit Jason Witten to put the Cowboys up 14-13 in the game’s third lead change.

The teams slowed down for much of the second quarter until Romo was intercepted by Phillips with 1:21 left in the half. Phillips returned it for a touchdown, but the whistle had blown the play dead incorrectly. Nevertheless, Manning hit Manningham for the 22 yard touchdown to put the Giants up 20-14 in the game’s 4th lead change with only 46 seconds left in the half. That was too much time for Romo, as the Cowboys took over at their own 34. A 26 yard pass to Barber set up a field goal as the Cowboys went into the locker room down only 20-17.

These teams did not slow down in the second half. They accelerated. Manning quickly moved the Giants from their own 18 to the Dallas 11. Yet in a game that was very well played, Tynes missed a 29 yard field goal. After an exchange of punts, the Cowboys took over at their own 17. Felix Jones broke off a 56 yard run, and Barber then added runs of 10 and 15 yards. Romo ran the final 15 yards himself as the 5th lead change had the Cowboys up 24-20. The Giants punted, but Romo was intercepted by Phillips as the Gioants took over at the Dallas 24. On 3rd and 8, Manning hit Steve Smith for the 22 yard touchdown. The 6th lead change had the Giants up 27-24 with 13 1/2 minutes left in the game.

The Cowboys punted again, and the Giants took over at their own 42. Manning hit Manningham for a 25 yard gain to set up a field goal to put the Giants up 30-24 midway through the final quarter. Dallas took over at their own 29. Barber ripped off 11 yards, and Romo found Witten for 15 more. From the New York 42, Barber ripped off a 35 yard gain down to the 7. Felix Jones ran it in for the game’s 7th lead change as the Cowboys led 31-30 with 3:40 left.The Giants took over on their own 25. A holding penalty had them facing 1st and 20 from their own 15.

On 3rd and 6 from the 29, Manning hit Smith for 11 yards to the 40. Manning then hit Kevin Boss for 13 yards. On 3rd and 4 from the Dallas 41, Manning hit Manningham for 8 yards to the 33. Manning then hit Smith for 12 more. With 4 seconds left, Tynes lined up for the field goal. This was about redeeming his earlier miss, and also the winning or losing the entire game. After the first attempt was nullified when Wade Philips called a last second timeout (Thank you Mike Shanahan for screwing up the game with that.), Tynes connected perfectly down the middle.

105,000 fans went home dejected. Jerry Jones found out that a billion dollars cannot buy a championship, or even a home opening win. 8 lead changes made for a thriller. The rematch is already anticipated. 33-31 Giants

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins was the Monday night game. Before most people could blink, Peyton Manning had the Colts up 7-0. After a touchback, he needed one play and 12 seconds to throw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark, who shedded one tackler en route to the end zone. Apparently going from Tony Dungy to Jim Caldwell is smooth when Manning goes to Clark. Bill Parcells could not be reached for comment, but Tony Sparano was not pleased.

Sparano was pleased when Pennington marched the Dolphins down the field in 9 plays covering 75 yards and taking 6 minutes. A wildcat snap to Ronnie Brown produced the tying touchdown as Brown dragged tacklers with him. He actually appeared to be down at the one, but Caldwell for some reason did not challenge the touchdown.

The game slowed down considerably after the opening possessions. Miami added a field goal, and Indy did as well to tie the game 10-10. Miami added another field goal with 44 seconds left in the half. That was just enough time for Manning. After a deep pass was initially ruled an interception, on review it was overturned and ruled incomplete. Given a second chance, Manning got the Colts in position for Adam Vinatieri from 48 yards out. He doinked it off the upright, but it caromed through  to tie the game 13-13 at halftime.

Despite the fact that the game was tied, the Dolphins were dominating in time of possession, and the wildcat was giving the Colts defense fits. After a scoreless third quarter, a 13 play, 80 yard drive ate up 8:45 of clock. Ronnie Brown ran it in from 3 yards out to put the Dolphins up 20-13. Manning came right back, hitting Clark for a 49 yard gain. Donald Brown ran it in 15 yards to finish the 79 yard drive and tie the game up 20-20 midway through the fourth.

Yet Pennington brought the Dolphins right back. He took 10 plays with more wildcat plays thrown in to move Miami 51 yards. A 45 yard field goal put the Dolphins up 23-20 with 3:50 remaining. Manning needed 32 seconds to strike back 80 yards. A swing pass to Pierre Garcia went for a 48 yard touchdown as the Colts went back on top by 4 points. 3:18 still remained. The Colts had the ball for less than 15 minutes to more than 45 minutes for the Dolphins. The defense of the Colts had to be beyond exhausted. Yet the Colts led.

Pennington led one final drive. From past midfield, Pennington went to the end zone. Ted Ginn had his hands on the ball, but was well defended as the pass fell incomplete. After completing a 4th and 10 pass, the Dolphins had 1st and 10 at the Miami 30 with 6 seconds left. Pennington heaved a pass into quadruple coverage, and it was intercepted by Antoine Bethea in the end zone. The Colts ran only 13 plays in the entire second half, but survived to reach 2-0 while the Dolphins fell to 0-2. Maybe had the Dolphins held the ball for 55 minutes they would have won. Maybe. 27-23 Dolphins


Rosh Hashanah 2009

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Today is Rosh Hashanah. I will be in Temple, followed by a visit to sick patients in the hospital. Visiting sick patients in the hospital on Rosh Hashanah is like drinking a diet soda with a ten billion calorie meal, which I also do.

I am under no illusions that I fall way short on so many levels. I also know that even the tiniest sliver of decency is better than zero.

Anyway, this column is pre-written. Saturdays during NFL Season is for football predictions. Jewish people will most likely not see this column until the end of the holiday on Sunday night, or even Monday. Then again, much of what I write is obsolete anyway.

Happy Rosh Hashanah to those observing, and for those not doing so, enjoy the football games.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Green Bay Packers

(Packers by 9, they will cover)

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

(Chiefs by 3, upset special, Raiders win outright)

New England Patriots @ New York Jets

(Patriots by 4, upset special, Jets win outright)

Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans

(Titans by 6 1/2, they will cover)

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars

(Jaguars by 3, they will cover)

Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons

(Falcons by 6 1/2, they win but fail to cover)

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles

(No line, Eagles win)

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

(Vikings by 10, they win but fail to cover)

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins

(Redskins by 10, they win but fail to cover)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills

(Bills by 4 1/2, they win but fail to cover)

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers

(49ers by 1 1/2, they cover)

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears

(Steelers by 3, they cover)

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos

(Broncos by 3, they cover)

Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers

(Chargers by 3, upset special, Ravens win outright)

New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys is the Sunday night game.

(Cowboys by 3, they cover)

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins is the Monday night game.

(Colts by 3, they cover)

Last week: 12-4 outright, 11-5 against the spread.


Los Angeles for Rosh Hashanah

Friday, September 18th, 2009

I was Sacramento Bound. Change of plans. So instead I was Fresno Bound. Change of plans. Then I had to decide whether to go to Malibu or Woodland Hills.

I ended up going to Torrance.

After much metaphorical traveling and actual non-traveling (for once), today the Tygrrrr Express is actually home in  Los Angeles.

Tonight begins the holy holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I will be taking Saturday off with a pre-written column, and visiting sick patients in the hospital.

The holiday ends Sunday night, which means that my Week 2 NFL Recap will be delayed.

Unlike many, I am more than aware that the blogosphere will do just fine without me this weekend.

I am not somebody who uses the internet to discuss private business. I prefer covering the events of others. Any time I am the focus, this is with much reluctance.

As for my thoughts on this holiday, allow me to be useless as a blogger and keep those private as well.

I normally quote a non-Jewish individual on this holiday.

As John Cougar Mellencamp said, “Time to settle with my neighbor. Time to question my own behavior.”

I have a long way to go before I become the man I want to be. I may never get there.

Even more troubling is that on many days I have no desire to even make the sacrifices required to get there.

I will do what I will do, and that is that.

I wish all the Jews of the world a peaceful Rosh Hashanah.

To everyone else, I wish you solace, tranquility, and peace.


My Interview With Kit Bobko

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Patrick “Kit” Bobko, the Mayor of Hermosa Beach, California.

While some people think of Southern Californians as beach bums, people living here have the same love of country and worries about the future as everybody else.

While Kit Bobko has a terrific sense of humor, and is fun and engaging in real life, he is also somebody with the talent, ability, and likability to go very far in Republican circles. For now, Hermosa Beach is lucky to have him as their Mayor.

With that, I present my interview with Kit Bobko.

1) What is the Kit Bobko story? What made you decide to enter the political arena?

Service runs in my family.  My father was a career Air Force fighter pilot and my Mom was a high school teacher.  I have a brother who is a doctor and an uncle who was an astronaut.  I knew I wanted to serve at a young age, and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the Air Force Academy.  I spent 5 years on active duty, and when I left the Air Force I went to law school with the idea of getting back into public service.  Working for the people of Hermosa Beach on their City Council was really just a continuation of the path I began when I went to the Academy in 1987.

But I won’t consider my political career complete until John Stewart satirizes me.

2) What political issues are most important to you?

In my role as a City Councilman, I’ve seen how dysfunctional the State of California is.  My time on City Council has also confirmed my belief that government is best when it is small and local.  Billions are squandered in Sacramento because no one is really watching where the money goes, or who’s spending it.  But at the local level, folks really pay attention to every nickel, and let the government know when they don’t think those nickels are being judiciously spent.  And because local elections are normally competitive, city officials tend to pay attention because their jobs depend on it.  The same cannot be said in Sacramento.

The Leviathan in this State is bloated and voracious, and is killing business and opportunity in California.  We need to put him on a starvation diet, and move him back into the towns and cities around California.

3) While the Mayor of a city does not deal much with foreign policy, a terrorist attack could wreak havoc on everything. What can ordinary citizens do, besides donating money and voting for you, to help win the War on Terror? What obligations do we have, and how can we help?

It may sound silly and simple, but the best thing you can do is to get out of your house and meet your neighbors.  God forbid something happens here in Southern California, but if it does, you and your family may have to be self-sufficient for a number of days.  Make sure you have the basic necessities stored in your garage or pantry.  And go out and meet your neighbors, did I mention that?

If your city doesn’t already have one, you can start a Neighborhood Watch program.  You can also check with your Fire Department about obtaining CERT training for life saving and first-aid.

4) It is one thing to ask people to have faith in God. It is much tougher to ask people to have faith in Government. What does our government do right, and what does it need to do better so people can start believing in their government again?

I believe Americans have a healthy skepticism about our government, and that’s a good thing.  I also believe government does best when it’s small and local, but it appears we’re heading in the other direction right now.

Its important to remember that this country isn’t the greatest on earth because of our government; it’s the greatest country on earth because of the lack of government.  Men came to this country to escape oppression and find the freedom to make the most of their natural gifts and hard work.  Our system was designed so they could do that.  And it worked.  Freedom (i.e., the lack of government interference) let the men and women who came to this country create the wealthiest, most productive society the world has ever known.

A simple counter-example probably makes this point best – if government involvement in every aspect of our lives (economic, social, civil) was a good thing the Soviets should have had the best country ever.  But that experiment lasted only 75 years, and history has shown us again and again that more government is not the answer.

5) What are your main concerns, if any, with the current process regarding health care reform?

Two thoughts on this, both quotes:

“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  Prime Minister “Iron” Maggie Thatcher.

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial.  Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers.  The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”  Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 479 (1928).

6) Who are your three political heroes, American or worldwide?

From history, I have a deep admiration for Winston Churchill.  There was a moment in history in 1940 where his will to fight was the only thing that stood between England’s capitulation and the Nazis.  As a military man I have great respect for Robert E. Lee.  In civil life he was graceful and chivalrous; on the field he was a lion.  From my lifetime, of course, there is Ronald Reagan.  As an aside, I am proud to say he nominated me to the Air Force Academy.

7) What can the rest of America learn from Hermosa Beach?

Bikinis, bikinis, bikinis.  Sorry, what was the question?

8.) Without delving too deeply into your personal life, what would you want Americans to know about Kit Bobko the person? 100 years from now, what would you want people to remember about you, and what would you hope the history books say about you?

I’d want the history books to say the e-mail interview with the Tygrrr Express solidified my position as a statesman and humanitarian.  Won’t the history books be a series of Twitters by then, anyhow?

I would like to thank Kit Bobko for his time and humor. Government is not sexy. It is often not fun. It can be nuts and bolts and widgets. Yet getting things done requires being able to work with people. Being likable is a great start. Kit Bobko has a bright future ahead of him.


My Interview With Joel Pollak

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

At the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Joel Pollak.

Several months ago, Joel Pollak was a law student at Harvard trying to ask a simple question of the guest speaker, Congressman Barney Frank. Barney Frank, as he often does, got enraged and began trying to bully a conservative. Joel Pollak politely but firmly refused to back down, and their exchange became a You-Tube sensation.

In a testament to his fortitude, Joel spoke to us the night before he was going to take the California Bar Exam. Even though he does not live in California, he wanted to take the California Bar “because it is the hardest.”

He is the author of the book, “Don’t tell me words don’t matter.” It is a brilliantly written analysis of the 2008 election from a rhetorical standpoint.

He just recently announced on Fox News that he is running for Congress in Illinois.

Like many young people, Joel actually began his political life as a liberal. In fact, he was a leftist. He learned from professors like Cornell West, and had a “Jew-fro.” Yet like many people, his views evolved over time.

With that, I present some words of wisdom in the form of my interview with Joel Pollak.

1) What is the Joel Pollak story? What made you decide to enter the political arena?

I have always taken an interest in politics. The very first political thing I ever did was write a letter to President Bill Clinton urging him to intervene in the Balkans to save the lives of Bosnian Muslims. I got a nice little form letter in response, but it meant something to me. Throughout college I was very left-wing. I wanted to “change the world.” When I graduated and went to South Africa to study, I slowly began to realize that many of the policies I believed in–and the notion of greater state power necessary to execute them–could be profoundly destructive and hurt the very people they intended to help. My work in poor communities there, as well as in political speechwriting, taught me about the dangers of government by the far left. My time at Harvard Law taught me that much of the American establishment has not learned that lesson, or has forgotten it. I still want to “change the world,” but I want to do it by expanding freedom–in other words, by creating the space for others to pursue their own dreams and values.

2) What political issues are most important to you?

On an emotional level, I am very concerned about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To me, peace means a reconciliation of far more than two states; it represents a reconciliation of tradition and modernity, as well as a guarantee of security for the long-suffering Jewish people. I am also concerned about American security, not just for America’s own sake but because the United States is the only nation willing and able to act as a force for freedom around the world. There are many people struggling for their rights who need our example and our help.

Health care is also an issue of pressing importance. I know many people who are struggling to pay for health insurance, and aren’t quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. They live in fear of the next injury or financial mishap. We need to find a way of addressing the high cost and inflexibility of health care in this country, while improving the quality of that care and expanding access to coverage. The problem with the current approach of Obama and the Democrats is that it will increase costs and decrease quality. The single-payer system favored by many of those currently in power will also fundamentally transform the relationship between the individual and the state in a way that will have severe consequences for freedom on many fronts. We can see this already in the way that free speech is being repressed and dissent is being demonized around this issue. Our government should listen to us first before trying to impose a plan on us.

I am also very concerned about the state of our economy, especially the dramatic expansion in the role and power of the government. Our government has an important role to play, but not a commanding one. It cannot manage even the simplest economic transactions, and its bloated size breeds corruption and cronyism. I am optimistic that our economy will begin to recover soon, because you can’t keep Americans down. We innovate and take risks–it’s in our national character, so to speak. However, I fear that government will stand in the way of our recovery. We may see economic entrepreneurship replaced by political entrepreneurship, with slow growth and high unemployment becoming a permanent feature of our economic landscape. In my own community, a prosperous commercial district has become a virtual ghost town, and foreclosures are happening everywhere. People with money to invest are waiting to see what the government does, because they are afraid that government decisions may hurt them. We need to restore confidence in our economy, and the only way to do so is to restore faith in freedom.

3) What is the main story line regarding the 2008 election?

The American electorate trusted a man of little experience and extreme views, largely on the power of his words. It is a mistake that other societies have made before us, and we ought to have studied their examples as well as our own history and values before making the choice we did. The positive aspect of the election result is it proves, in a sense, America’s exceptionalism: how many other diverse societies have elected a member of a minority group as their leader? However, this particular leader has an intense dislike for American exceptionalism and seems to see his success more as a kind of personal exceptionalism. It is a mindset that is corrosive of our democratic institutions and values and I am encouraged by the growing opposition to it.

4) What should Republicans and Democrats keep in mind regarding the 2012 election and beyond? What lessons should be learned and what warnings should be heeded?

I think we need to think about 2010 first. I believe Obama will be a better president if he is forced by the voters to work with his opposition, as Clinton was. We need a return to parity, and soon. I think we are learning that lesson every day. I am optimistic that we will find the leaders to take us there.

5) With regards to foreign and/or domestic policy, what have we done right, and what have we gotten wrong, in the last 8 years, and what steps need to be taken to improve the situations that require improvement?

I’m focused on what we’re getting wrong right now, which is much more urgent–and, more importantly, is something we can do something about.

6) If you had 5 minutes to talk with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, what would you say to them or ask them?

I would say “Hello, and thank you for your service to our country.” I think we need to focus on the government in power at the moment, and leave to history the one that has left office.

7) Who are your three political heroes, American or worldwide?

George Orwell, who is also my favorite writer and a fellow lefty-turned-sober by experience; Nelson Mandela, for his perseverance and humility; and John McCain, for never giving up on our troops during an unpopular war. There are others I could name, both American and foreign, but those are the three that have had the most immediate influence on my own political life and commitments. I recognize their flaws, but their accomplishments and commitments are what stand out for me and what I focus on.

8.) Without delving too deeply into your personal life, what would you want Americans to know about Joel Pollak the person? 100 years from now, what would you want people to remember about you, and what would you hope the history books say about you?

I would like to be remembered as a man who gave to his country and his community in deeds what he had been given in opportunity and inspiration. I hope I can leave behind a few books worth reading. And I would also like people to know what is already obvious–that I am extremely fortunate to be marrying the woman I love, who is the most remarkable person I have ever met. Hopefully the people who remember me best will be many great-grandchildren!

9) Do you have any plans to share a beer with Barney Frank at the White House?

Only if we are drinking to his happy retirement! And I will insist on a good American beer.

While I appreciated Mr. Pollak standing up, not everybody has his courage, knowledge, and debating abilities. After all, he is a future lawyer. I wanted to know what ordinary citizens could do to fight back against liberal bullies like Barney Frank the next time we are in that inevitable situation. Mr. Pollak’s reply was concise and useful.

“Know the facts. Present facts. Nobody can stand up to that. Also, get facts from left-wing sources for extra effect. That way they can’t make a bias charge. Use their own words and facts against them.”

It was an absolute pleasure to meet and listen to Joel Pollak. His being an attorney very soon is vital. Democrats are currently the party of lawyers, some of them very talented. David Boies almost allowed the Democrats to steal the 2000 election. If Republicans are going to have any chance at governing, we need talented and powerful advocates like Joel Pollak.

I wish him well always.


Henry Waxman, Paul Reznik, and the West LA Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Regular readers of my blog know that I was accosted at the Luxe Hotel by a man named Seth Horowitz at a function for Congressman Henry Waxman. The event was sponsored by the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

(Paul Reznik
Consortium Real Estate
Phone: (310) 948-0932
Fax: (818) 955-6503
[email protected])

The incident that occurred on August 27th of 2009 left me with the issue of getting justice from Mr. Horowitz. I had no interest in seeking a pound of flesh. I was willing to settle for an apology. I spoke to the owner of the Luxe Hotel, a Mr. Harkham. He was very gracious and apologetic. I politely explained to him that I had no interest in suing the hotel. I simply wanted an apology from Mr. Horowitz, and an explanation as to why this happened.

On September 10th, despite much belligerence prior to that, Seth Horowitz apologized.

“Dear Mr. Golub,

I apologize to you for the manner in which I approached you when you attended the event held by the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce for Congressman Waxman.

My intention was to ensure that the event would be held with ‘decorum’.   At no time was my intention to be in any way threatening to you.

The Chamber was made aware of your blog the day before the event.  Your blog contained the Congressman’s name and the event at the Luxe.  Due to the nature of the dialogue around the country, and because your blog mentioned that the event at the Luxe was a ‘Town Hall meeting regarding Healthcare’, we were concerned that their might be some disturbance at the event.

Nothing you did while at the hotel was in any way a problem.  You conducted yourself with ‘decorum’ and we thank you for that.

We pride ourselves at the Luxe Hotels as being committed active members of the community.  We are more than tolerant of all points of view.

You are welcome to be a guest at the Luxe Hotel at any time.  I look forward to meeting you again and hope to put this incident behind us.

Yours truly,

Seth Horowitz

Vice President of Hotel Operations

Luxe Hotels

General Manager

Luxe Hotel Sunset Boulevard

11461 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

Direct: 310.691.7513

Fax: 310.691.7533

Cell: 310.383.4449”

I sent Mr. Horowitz back an email.

“Mr. Horowitz,

I genuinely appreciate the tenor, tone, and sincerity of your apology.

Apology accepted.

Please  wish Mr. Harkham a Happy Rosh Hashanah and a peaceful Yom Kippur. If you are Jewish, I extend that to you as well.


Eric Golub

P.S. I still want to know exactly who gave you the instructions to approach me, and exactly what words were said to you. It seems that the Waxman team was behind this overreaction from the beginning. I do not blame the Luxe Hotel for their heavy-handedness. Nevertheless, the Luxe Hotel aspect of this situation is completely closed for me.”

When I used the word “their,” I was referring to the Waxman people, not the Luxe.

Some may question the sincerity of the apology, but I do not care if it came through clenched teeth and a clenched fist. If I were the owner of a business and one of my subordinates caused a problem, and the victim had no interest in suing, I would want the matter put to bed immediately. So if Mr. Harkham put his steel toe in Mr. Horowitz’s hide, I don’t know and don’t care. Rosh Hashanah is approaching, and I am accepting his apology at face value.

So is the matter closed?

With regards to Mr. Horowitz and the Luxe, yes. With regards to the Waxman staff, absolutely not.

I wanted to find out why this happened to begin with. Mr. Horowitz did not act in a vacuum.

I did have a conference call with Lisa Pinto and Karen Lightfoot. Ms.Pinto seems to be a low level person, while Ms. Lightfoot controls communications from DC. Ms. Lightfoot and Ms. Pinto explained exactly what Mr. Horowitz stated, that my blog was the cause of concern.

Specifically, the fact that I described the event asa  “health care town hall” and not a “luncheon” was what worried them.

To this I have a question to ask them.

“Are you kidding me? Are you seriously that dishonest? Do you think that playing semantics changes the fact that you took an innocent guy and harassed him over nonsense because your Congressman is so scared of the voters that he can’t even handle his event being mentioned at all? Is the word townhall now a dirty word?”

Ok, that was several questions, all of which were valid.

I wanted to know who gave the orders. They placed all of the blame on the West LA Chamber of Commerce (WLACC). The WLACC was in charge of everything, all the Congressman did was show up. He was merely an invited guest. The President of the WLACC, Paul Reznik, coordinated security.

I left a message for Paul Reznik. He called back, and immediately got snippy.

I know that liberals hate it when I refer to certain behavior as being “typical liberal” behavior, but the solution is to stop behaving this way, not lashing out at me for properly pointing it out.

Examples of typical liberal behavior include smugness, condescension, and hostility toward conservatives for breathing.

Mr. Reznik is a typical liberal.

He told me that since I got my apology from Mr. Horowitz, I should be happy. He asked me what more I could possibly want, and I told him I wanted the truth.

In the conversation he told me to “be a good little boy” and to “run along now.”

He also said that he read my blog. He said he did not like that I was going after others such as Waxman. I pointed out that I was the victim in all of this. He then made an astoundingly arrogant comment, even for a liberal.

“The real victims are your readers. The readers of your blog are the victims.”

Maybe Mr. Reznik should investigate whether any of my readers were accosted by me. No. The only accosting was done to me. So liberal smugness aside, Mr. Reznik was simply looking to humiliate a conservative. Unfortunately for him, I just get more emboldened when people like him act this way.

He actually tried to suggest that Mr. Horowitz acted on his own, a ludicrous assertion.

I pointed out to him that the Waxman campaign had already given him up. So while Reznik is trying to throw Horowitz under the bus, the Waxman people are trying to do the same with Reznik.

Yet while I have been completely right about most of this from the beginning, I did get one thing wrong, which led to another interesting development.

I figured that there was no way the WLACC would be liberal. Mr. Reznik asked me what I knew about the WLACC. I told him that as a branch of the national Chamber of Commerce, it most likely had moderate to conservative leanings, especially on business matters.

Mr. Reznik told me that I was completely wrong. He said…twice…to my amazement…that “The West LA Chamber of Commerce has a liberal bent on public policy.”

Now this guy is the President of the group. He was emphatic that the group had a “liberal bent on public policy.” He pointed out that the WLACC supported national health care and other liberal positions on social issues.

When the heck did the Chamber of Commerce turn into this? Then again, this is West Los Angeles.

I initially figured that there was no way the Chamber would sanction abusive behavior against a conservative, since the were a natural ally politically. I was wrong.

I then used Mr. Reznik’s own proud admissions to point out that this gives him a motive to target me just as the Waxman people said.

He then insisted that he did not give the order, but would not say who did.

He then got belligerent and insisted that the conversation was off the record.

Screw that! This typical liberal bully does not get to decide what is on and off the record. I explained to him that if he wanted it to be off the record, he should have stated in the very beginning that this was the case.

He then told me that he would monitor my blog closely to make sure I did not defame him. Good, let him increase my readership. I have tons of things to say about him, and truth is an absolute defense. Let him sue me. I welcome making him the poster child for liberals gone wild.

I made him an offer at the end of the conversation, which he rejected. I told him I would allow the entire conversation to remain off the record if he gave me the name of the person who gave the orders to have me harassed.

The bottom line is that if Lisa Pinto, Karen Lightfoot, and Paul Reznik think that they are going to circle the wagons and cover this up, then they are off their abusive leftist rockers.

I was polite with all of them, and each one of them got nasty when I refused to just “let this matter go so we can all move on.”

I will explain this in a way that even liberals engaging in a coverup can understand.

I want the truth. I will get the truth.

Seth Horowitz did not stand in my way.

Neither will Paul Reznik.

Neither will Lisa Pinto.

Neither will Karen Lightfoot.

Neither will Henry Waxman.

You liberals tried to bully the wrong conservative.

I am just getting started.

For once in these peoples’ ideologically bigoted lives, they are going to be held accountable.


9/11/9 With Colonel Buzz Patterson

Monday, September 14th, 2009

9/11/9 has come and gone, and for many, it is in the rear view mirror until next year.

Not me.

On some levels I quickly went back to normal. On 9/12 my intramural football team won the championship. After that I went to a tea party right near my home.

On 9/13 I enjoyed Week 1 of the NFL Season and the Chabad Telethon.

9/14 might be a lecture featuring Norman Podhoretz. It might be Monday Night Football between the Chargers and Raiders. It might be both.

Yet 9/14 of 2001 was when President George W. Bush hugged that New York firefighter and let the world know that the people who knocked down the towers would hear from all of us.

9/17 was the day that the stock market reopened.

9/20 was the day that President Bush gave one of the greatest speeches in American history, and carried an entire nation on his shoulders.

Therefore, for at least one more day, 9/11 must be remembered beyond the anniversary date.

My 9/11/9 started normal. I was in Oakland, and actually was inside the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. The game is not until tonight, but I got to experience being by myself in an empty stadium. I was right by the field, an entire stadium to myself.

Yet solace does not last forever. I left the stadium, and the city of Oakland, arriving back in Los Angeles in the afternoon. I drove to Malibu to attend a 9/11 memorial at Pepperdine University.

The memorial event was held at the Pepperdine School of Law. Judge Kenneth Starr is the Dean there. It was put on by the Pepperdine College Republicans in conjunction with the Young America’s Foundation. A pair of College Republicans, Chris Garcia and Zac Parsons, made sure that the event went off without a hitch.

The speaker at the memorial was Colonel Buzz Patterson.

Colonel Patterson was the top military adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1996 to to 1998. He carried the nuclear football. He entered the Clinton White House an apolitical man, but left a conservative. In keeping with military protocol, he kept silent while he served. He retired because he could no longer stay silent.

His next career was as an airline pilot for Delta Airlines. Yet only 10 days into his retirement, 9/11 happened. He continued to serve his country, and is now a best selling author.

With that, I present the words of Colonel Buzz Patterson.

“The moment 9/11 happened, I realized why it happened.”

“I had been retired for 10 days. That day I was preparing to fly from Atlanta to New York as a pilot with Delta Airlines.”

“A lot of Americans want to revert to a 9/10 mentality, including our current President.”

“By law, and rightly so, military personnel cannot have a voice in politics. Retired military personnel can.”

“I hear people pontificating on 9/11 from a very ignorant perspective.”

“From 1996 to 1998, I was President Clinton’s Senior Military Adviser. I was by his side 24/7. It was interesting, to say the least.”

“I could not wait to get out of there. I arrived with an apolitical mindset and a blank slate. Two years later, I was totally disgusted with what I saw.”

“You don’t apply to be the White House Senior Military Adviser. You get called. When I first got the call, I hung up on the White House. I thought it was a neighbor down the hall playing a prank. I did not hang up on them the second time they called.”

“Al Queda was a daily topic. We knew about Osama Bin Laden in May of 1996. We had eight, maybe even ten, chances to kill Bin Laden. President Clinton chose not to. He was worried how it would look. He was more interested in being Commander in Chief, or lack thereof.”

“Let me give you a tip about Iraq. Don’t go in the Summer. I went, and it was 125 to 130 degrees, and even 95 degrees at night. Sand kicks up in your face and hangs there, making it difficult to breathe. I went there in the Summer of 2006.”

“The U.S. military is the most professional and most lethal in the world. It is also the most compassionate.”

“Our soldiers brought milk, diapers, and toys to Iraqi orphanages. That story has not been told.”

“An Iraqi Baathist came up to me. He asked me to bless his daughter. I did not know how to do this, so I asked him how he wanted her to be blessed. This former Baathist looked at me and said, ‘Please bless my daughter with the freedoms you have.'”

“Many people are forgetting the fact that we are at war.”

“Al Queda is not a couple of guys in caves. There are elements of Al Queda in 80 countries.”

“Nazism, Fascism, and Communism were all ideological movements that hated the West. Radical Islam is no different. They think in the 700s, not the 21st Century. They are not going to stop trying until they kill us all.”

“I don’t know if President Obama has the resolve to face this threat.”

“This is not a law enforcement issue, it’s a war. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid just don’t get it. We need to help make them get it.”

“We have had three Democratic Presidents in recent decades. Jimmy Carter was the worst Commander in Chief…until Bill Clinton. As for President Obama, the jury is still out.”

“Clinton was an accident waiting to happen. He lost the nuclear codes. For a couple of days he told me that he had them, and would get them to me. I was the first name on his schedule to talk to him about it on the day the Lewinsky scandal broke. Clinton admitted to me two days later that he lost the codes. He was more concerned about the media not finding out than he was about the nuclear codes being lost. We don’t know how long they were missing. He could have lost them for months.”

“There is not a moral fiber in Bill Clinton’s body.”

“We knew where Bin Laden was 24/7 when I left. The media then revealed that we were tracking his phone. Thanks to our media, he turned his phone off.”

“We debated killing Bin Laden. Clinton worried about the political fallout. He was indecisive. Sandy Burglar (audience laughter) was another one with his own morals, but when it came to killing Bin Laden, Sandy Berger said to do it. Richard Clark did as well.”

“Defense Secretary William Cohen was a zero. In the meetings he said nothing.”

“Janet Reno said no. She was concerned about international law. Madeleine Albright also said no. Clinton kept siding with them.”

“Clinton was so risk averse. He was worried about his poll popularity, and his reputation overseas.”

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are both intelligent. He is charismatic. She is what I call the worst case scenario. She is irrational, and prone to flying off the handle. I have seen it myself.”

“I never want to be a politician. I am a military guy. Leadership is cut and dry.”

“When Harry Reid says that the war is lost, that gets our soldiers killed.”

“The biggest threat we face in trying to win this war are the American media and DC politicians.”

“Leon Panetta was a gentleman. He is the guy who hired me. Yet as far as the CIA job, he had no experience.”

“The detainees at Guantanamo Bay live and eat better than American troops in Afghanistan.”

“I’ve been waterboarded. It was part of my training. I’m fine. We waterboarded three people. They all coughed up information, and they are all walking around fine.”

“My brother is a left-wing wacko. We don’t talk a lot.”

“The U.S. media in Iraq are hanging out trying to do their stories from the bar at the hotel. They lounge poolside. They pay Iraqi stringers to get stories. They pay $300 for a car bomb story, and nothing for good news. Of course the stringers want the $300, so they come back with car bomb stories.”

I asked a question of Colonel Patterson.

“Colonel, thank you for your service. Besides you, Colonel Ralph Peters, and Colonel David Hunt, who are some other voices that we have to know about to get accurate military information?”

Colonel Patterson was very helpful in this regard.

“Michael Yon is very good. So is Ollie North. The military blog BlackFive is another one. The Mudville Gazette is another. Read as many military blogs as you can. We can’t depend on the Katie Courics of this world.”

Colonel Patterson then continued, as the crowd listened intently.

“Gitmo detainees should not be given due process. They are not in uniform. They do not represent a government. They hide behind women and children. They are illegal combatants. The Geneva Convention does not cover them.”

The Democrats used to be the party of FDR, Truman, and even JFK. Now they are the party of Carter, Clinton, and Obama. They don’t believe that evil exists. There is most definitely evil in this world. Terrorists understand strength and might.”

“President Clinton brought us SOmalia and Blackhawk Down. Bin Laen then referred to America as a Paper Tiger.”

“We are going down the same path as we did in 1939.”

When Colonel Patterson was asked about how long we should be in Iraq, he gave an answer that a politician would be too gutless to give.

“I hope we are there forever. We have been in Korea and Germany for a long time. We now have a presence and a foothill in the Middle East near Iran and Syria. We should be there forever.”

“We have built cities the size of Chicago in Iraq. They now have self-determination. We defeat extremism by giving them something else to believe in.”

“I met an Iraqi general and his lieutenants. The General was a Shia. His First Lieutenant was Sunni. His Second Lieutenant was a Kurd. They are all working together.”

Colonel Patterson then answered questions about everything from Israel to other matters.

“Israel may have to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In Iran, we know where the stuff is. Obama won’t have the gumption on Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu will.”

“Americans don’t like to lose. We are still suffering from our Vietnam loss.”

“70% of Hollywood money comes from overseas. No wonder those countries hate us. Much of it is George Soros money.”

“The Generation over there now in Iraq and Afghanistan will be the next Greatest Generation.”

“Medal of Honor winners are never read about in the New York Times. Abu Gharaib was the story 44 days in a  row. It is up to us to make sure that their circulation goes back down. The media is already taking care of this itself since we are in a capitalist system.”

“This will be a long generational war. It will be a long, hard slog. It took 50 years to defeat Communism. We have to win the internal war here first.”

“War has not created more terrorists. When you kill them, they go away. Being a terrorist in Afghanistan is not a good job right now. These are not poverty stricken guys. The leaders are educated in the West. They are from wealthy backgrounds. They are engineers and doctors. If you kill their buddy, they go away.”

“We have gone from being a nation under God to being a nation under Obama.”

I then asked Colonel Patterson what he wanted his legacy to be 100 years from now, and how he wanted people to remember Buzz Patterson the person. His answer was touching.

“I want to be remembered as a good father and a good husband. I loved my family and my country. I never set out to write books. I have a lot of friends. I have lost a lot of friends. Somebody has to voice their concerns. In World War II, 12%  of Americans were in the military. Today that number is 1/10 of 1%. Educating people about the military will be one of my small legacies. I want people to know why they are there, what they want, what they believe, and what they are accomplishing.”

Colonel Patterson did not mince words, letting the current generation know the truth.

“My generation screwed it up. You’ll have to fix it.”

After the event, Colonel Patterson stuck around for a very long time to answer questions. I got to listen to him and speak with him at length. This was an honor and a privilege.

America is fighting World War III. If we lose, civilization is over.

On September 11th of 2009, I was given a sobering reminder of the horrors of eight years earlier. We must be prepared for a long fight. The military will its job brilliantly. All we need to do is stop the people who are undermining them, and make sure that losses in the media do not overtake victories on the field of battle.

Thank you again Colonel Patterson. Thank you, and welcome home sir.


NFL 2009–Week 1 Recap

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

NFL 2009—Week 1 Recap

After seven months of suffering, life can finally begin again. The 2009 NFL Season is upon us.

Enough talk. Let’s play football.

Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers—This was expected to be the AFC Title Game last year. Tennessee had the top record in the NFL last year after beating up on Pittsburgh in Nashville. Yet the Steelers are the defending champions, and they hosted this game. As is NFL tradition, they kicked the season off on Thursday night.

What made this game particularly interesting was that both of these teams came in with chips on their shoulders. The Titans felt that they should have won the Super Bowl last year instead of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s grudge was that despite winning it all, Tennessee beat the tar out of them late in the regular season last year, and stomped on their Terrible Towels. Pittsburgh did win it all, but they did not have to face Tennessee in the playoffs.

Despite Kerry Collins and Ben Roethlisberger being solid, these teams are about defense. Jeff Fisher and Mike Tomlin like hard-nosed football. This game was expected to be a bare-knuckle, two-fisted slobberknocker.

Tennessee had a couple of chances early on, but Kerry Collins’s deep bomb was intercepted when Troy Paomalu made a ridiculous one-handed interception. In the second quarter, Rob Bironas had a field goal blocked. Yet Paomalu, who also had a great speed tackle on a running play, went down with an injury on the blocked field goal. He will be out 3-6 weeks.

After 28 minutes, these teams were in the middle of a 0-0 bonelock. Roethlisberger did throw a touchdown pass with just over one minute remaining in the half, but Collins then came right back with a strike of his own, as the teams went to halftime deadlocked 7-7.

The second half was a slugfest war of attrition. While the normally reliable Bironas missed a second field goal, he made is third try to put the Titans up 10-7 with 11 minutes remaining.

With 6 minutes remaining, Jevon “The Freak” Kearse leveled Big Ben on a blitz. Yet for some reason, on 3rd and 12, the defense then only rushed 3 guys rather than send the house as they often do. Big Ben completed the first down pass, and with 3 minutes remaining, a field goal had this game again tied 10-10.

Pittsburgh got the ball back, and with one minute left a pass to Hines Ward deep in Tennessee territory appeared to seal the win. Yet Ward, superstar that he is, blundered. Inside the five yard line, he fumbled, and Tennessee recovered. A disgusted Ward could only watch as the teams went to overtime.
Foot ball is about redemption among many other things, and Ward made a pair of critical catches in overtime to set up a field goal attempt with 10 ½ minutes remaining in overtime. The kick was good, and the NFL could not have asked for a better opening game. The only thing that would make this game more meaningful is if the rematch occurred in the AFC Title Game. That very well could happen. This game was last man standing, as it should be. 13-10 Steelers, OT

Miami Dolphins @ Atlanta Falcons—Both of these teams came from the scrap heap last year with rookie head coaches and rookie quarterbacks to post identical 11-5 records. Reality set in for both teams with quick playoff losses. Today began the quest to avoid sophomore jinxes.

The Falcons moved the ball early, but Jason Elam missed a 42 yard field goal. A scoreless first quarter was followed by Matt Ryan leading Atlanta on a 14 play, 7 1/2 minute drive that ended in a one yard Ryan touchdown pass. The Falcons led 10-0 at halftime. Miami was plagued with fumbleitis in the second half, killing a pair of drives.

Chad Pennington had a tough day, and an interception he threw late in the third quarter set up Atlanta at the Miami 20. Ryan hit Tony Gonzalez for the touchdown. Elam missed the extra point, but at 16-0, the game was essentially over. Elam added another field goal in the final quarter, and with 3 1/2minutes remaining Pennington finally got the Fins on the board. It was too little, too late. 19-7 Falcons

New York Jets @ Houston Texans—The Matt Sanchez and Rex Ryan eras begin in New York, while the Gary Kubiak era may end in Houston if the Texas do not improve this year. Sanchez did not play like a rookie. He calmly led a 16 play, 8 1/2 minute drive that led to a Jay Feely field goal and a 3-0 Jets lead. Rex Ryan instills defense, and a turnover set up Sanchez to throw a 40 yard touchdown pass as the Jets led 10-0 in the first half. A 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive covered 87 yards, resulting in a short touchdown to put the Jets up 17-0.

Sanchez did not play like a rookie. He passed for 272 yards. Leon Washongton ran hard, and Thomas Jones scored a pair of touchdowns. Sanchez did make one mistake, an interception that was returned for a touchdown to close the gap 17-7. Yet the defense clamped down from there, and Sanchez stayed poised. He threw a 40 yard pass to Keller, and Jones then ripped off a 38 yard run for the touchdown to close the scoring. 24-7 Jets

Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints—The Lions were the first team to go 0-16 last year. Their quest to avoid being worse than the 1976-1977 Buccaneers begins at a New Orleans Saints team that could be one of the all time great offenses. Drew Brees was 15 yards shy of Dan Marino last year, and this year he will keep firing.

He began with the Saints at their own 46, and needed 5 plays to throw a 9 yard touchdown pass to Marquis Colston. The Lions punted, the Saints took over on their own 47, and Brees threw a 39 yard touchdown pass to Robert Meacham as the Saints quickly led 14-0.

Matthew Stafford began his first professional game in a tough spot. He did manage to get to the Lions to a 3rd and 1 at the Saints 25, but a run lpst four yards and the Lions settled for a field goal. The Lions did get within 14-10 when Dennis Northcutt returned a punt 43 yards to the Siants 18, setting up a four yard touchdown run.

Yet Brees struck again as a pair of  touchdown passes to Shockey made it 28-10. The tosses went for one and 15 yards, and Shockey  made a juggling catch in the back of the end zone. It looked like Shockey was out of bounds, but the review called him in. Near the end of the half, the Lions caught a break when Reggie Bush fumbled a punt. They did nothing with it.

The Lions took the second half kickoff, and Stafford completed a 64 yard pass to Calvin Johnson to set up a one yard Stafford run to make it 28-17. An exchange of field goals had the game at 31-20, but the Lions defense had no answer for Brees.

A 58 yard touchdown pass to Devry Henderson had the Saints up 38-20. The Lions defense did return a fumble 65 yards to make it 38-27, but Brees kept throwing. A 13 play, 8 minute drive culminated in Brees hitting Evans for 13 yards to close out the scoring. By the time this game ended, Drew Brees had thrown for six…yes six…touchdown passes. The Lions are still winless, but they might not be the same old Lions. They lost on the road to a very good team. 45-27 Saints

Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals—The Bengals have always been a mess. Yet this year the normally stable Broncos might be just as dysfunctional. Mike Shanahan and Jay Cutler are gone, Josh McDaniels has offended many, Brandon Marshall is angry, and Kyle Orton has much to prove. As for the Bengals, Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him Ochocinco) will try to twitter while he is on the field if he can.

The first half was dreadful. The Bengals had a field goal attempt go awry when the high snap resulted in a turnover. On the last play of the half, the Broncos kicked a field goal to lead 3-0 at intermission. Kicker Prater matched his 50 yarder with a 48 yarder late in the third quarter to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead. Neither team wanted to win this game. The Broncos were in field goal range midway through the fourth quarter when Kyle Orton took a sack, killing the drive. Yet the Bengals returned the incompetence when their punt returned fair caught the ball at the 9 yard line.

After a game with no offense, Carson Palmer led a 91 yard drive that ate up 6 minutes. An actual touchdown run of one yard had the Bengals up 7-6 with 38 seconds left. The Bengals kicked it deep rather than kick it out of bounds and give the game away. Eddie Royal took it several yards deep in the end zone, then fell and slipped at the 13.

Yet in one of the worst games ever played, a thrilling finish occurred that will be talked about for years. Orton threw a prayer into triple coverage. Had defender Leon Hall knocked it down, the game may have ended. Instead he tipped it up into the air, where Denver Receiver Brandon Stokely plucked it out of the air, and raced 87 yards for the miracle touchdown. Somewhere Franco Harris and John Mackey smiled. Stokely even slowed down and ran laterally at the one yard line to take a few more seconds off of the clock. The Bengals got the ball with five seconds left, and Carson Palmer’s Hail Mary was intercepted. 12-7 Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens—A very bad team travels to face a very good team. This had all the makings of a Baltimore blowout. Brodie Croyle started in place of an injured Matt Cassel. The Chiefs had no offense, and found themselves down 10-0 early on. A field goal started the scoring, and then Joe Flacco led a 13 play drive that ended wit his 3 yard touchdown pass to Willis Mcgahee. However, a blocked punt for a touchdown had Kansas City within 10-7. Then Joe Flacco was intercepted by Johnson, who returned it 70 yards to the Baltimore six yard line to lead to the touchdown that put the Chiefs up 14-10. Yet Flacco remained calm, and led an 11 play drive that ended in a nine yard toss to Todd Heap to put the Ravens back on top 17-14 at halftime.

Kansas City took the second half kickoff, and a 53 yard field goal tied the game 17-17. The Ravens came right back, and Lon McClain scored from one yard out to put the Ravens back on top 24-17. A roughing the passer penalty against Baltimore set up Kansas City, and Brodie Croyle fired 10 yards to Ryan to tie the game 24-24 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the game.

With just over 2 minutes left, Flacco coolly threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Mark Clayton to put the Ravens back in the lead 31-24. The defense then clamped down, and on 4th and 18 from their own 13, Croyle was sacked, resulting in a fumble that Baltimore recovered at the 9. Kansas City’s defense had to make a final stand. On 4th and goal from the one, the Ravens opted to go for it rather than risk a field goal block. McGahee scored, and the game was iced. 38-24 Ravens

Dallas Cowboys @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Given that Dallas is on the road, punts hitting the scoreboard were not an issue. Dallas is expected to go deep into the playoffs, or Jerry Jones will roll heads. Tampa Bay has blown up the team and is rebuilding. Jon Gruden is now in the Monday Night Football booth.

The Cowboys had a pair of field goals, including one that was set up when they blocked a Tampa Bay field goal. Cadillac Williams ran it in to put the Buccaneers up 7-6. However, a 42 yard touchdown pass by Tony Romo put Dallas back on top 13-7 at halftime.

In the second half, Romo found Roy Williams on a slant pass. Williams shed tacklers, and raced for the 66 yard score to have Dallas up 20-7. Late in the third quarter Byron Leftwich led an 84 yard, 11 play drive that was finished with a one yard run by Ward. Tampa Bay was within 20-14, with 14 minutes remaining in the game.  Yet one minute later, the Cowboys were up 27-14 when Romo threw an 80 yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton.

Leftwich brought Tampa Bay back again, but on a 4th and 7 from the Dallas 26, the Buccaneers turned it over on downs. Romo again went deep to Crayton, and the 44 yard connection led to a 6 yard Marion Barber run to make it 34-14. Tampa Bay did score once more to make the game look closer than it was, but this was a Dallas domination. 34-21 Cowboys

Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns—While normally the storyline would be the beginning of the Brady Quinn era in Cleveland, every game Brett Favre plays in will be about him. The Vikings are built for the Super Bowl, and # 4 started their quest today. Favre has all world running back Adrian Peterson, which relieves much of the pressure.

Brady Quinn led the Browns to the red zone on the opening drive before the drive bogged down. A Phil Dawson field goal had Cleveland up 3-0. After an exchange of punts, Minnesota took over just past midfield. Despite the short field, 12 plays and 7 minutes yielded only the tying field goal at 3-3. Another terrible punt followed by a 36 yard return had Minnesota starting at the Cleveland 23. Favre Hit Peterson for 18 yards, and Peterson ran it in from one yard out on the ground. The Vikings led 10-3 when Cleveland added a field goal, and a 67 yard punt return for a touchdown by Joshua Cribbs to lead 13-10 at the break.

In the third quarter, a two yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson had the Vikings up 17-13. Quinn went deep but was intercepted, as the Vikings took over at their own 18. Favre then led a 13 play, 7 1/2 minute drive. Peterson broke off a long gain to set up a Favre 10 yard touchdown toss to Percy Harvin to put the Vikings up 24-13.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Quinn fumbled, setting up the Vikings at the Cleveland 34. This led to a field goal that put the Vikings up 27-13. Minnesota needed only one play on their next drive, as Adrian Peterson shed several tacklers to complete a 64 yard touchdown run to make it 34-13. Cleveland added a garbage touchdown with less than 30 seconds remaining. Brett Favre only threw for 110 yards, but Adrian Peterson finished the day with 180 yards rushing. 34-20 Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers—Both of these teams lost to the Cardinals last year in the playoffs. Yet The Eagles have upgraded, and added Michael Vick. Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid will have the offense, but losing Brian Dawkins hurts them on defense from an emotional standpoint. Carolina could go either way. Their home playoff loss was a shocker and a meltdown. Early on would tell us if it was an aberration or the beginning of the end of this team.

It looked like the beginning of the end. Michael Vick is not available until week 3, but he was not needed. Donovan McNabb threw a pair of touchdown passes, and Jake Delhomme was intercepted three times in the first half. Deangelo Williams did run it in from 11 yards out to culminate a 13 play, 8 minute drive and put Carolina up 7-0, but the rest was all Philadelphia.

After a Philly field goal, Delhomme was sacked at his own 15, resulting in a fumble that was returned 2 yards for the touchdown. The Eagles led 10-7, and never looked back. An 85 yard punt return by Desean Jackson had the Eagles up 17-7. This was in addition to McNabb’s touchdown passes, although these were not drives. Delhomme was intercepted, and Philly took over at the Carolina 9. One play later McNabb threw the touchdown to Celek. After a punt, runs by Bryan Westbrook of 17 and 16 yards led to another score that  had the Eagles up 31-7. They led 31-10 at the break.

In the third quarter the Eagles increased their lead, but then all of Philly held their collective breaths when McNabb went down in the Carolina end zone after stretching out to score the touchdown himself. He walked off under his own power, but he was down for a few minutes. He fractured a rib. As for Jake Delhomme, he was benched after his 5th turnover. There is serious trouble in Carolina. 38-10 Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts—Both of these teams have talent, but Jack Del Rio begins on the hot seat. With Tony Dungy retired, the Jim Caldwell era begins in Indy. Apparently Peyton Manning still knows how to throw the ball, and should fire at will as he usually does. Yet AnthonyTony Gonzalez went down with an injury, and Marvin Harrison is no longer on the team. Manning was intercepted in the end zone to kill one drive, and Joseph Addai fumbled to end another one. Addai scored a touchdown run, but the Jacksonville defense kept it close as the Colts led 7-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter Manning hit Reggie Wayne on a 35 yard strike to take a 14-6 lead. Although Manning had 301 yards passing, the Jacksonville defense was stout. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a short touchdown to get Jacksonville within 2 points, but the 2 point conversion failed. The final 2 minutes produced a controversial ending.

On 4th and 1 from the Jacksonville 35, the Indy offense was stuffed. The Jaguars had a chance to win. David Garrard was then hit, and although his arm was going forward, it was inexplicably ruled a fumble. It was an ugly game, and Jacksonville got robbed. 14-12 Colts

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks—The Rams are a bad team, while Seattle is a declining team. Mike Holmgen, aka the Walrus, has retired. Jim Mora Jr. now leads them. The Hasselbeck does not have Shaun Alexander, and Walter Jones may or may not still be all world at left tackle. Normally the left tackle is not discussed, but Walter Jones is a big deal on this team.

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals–Many people thought that despite having a load of talent on offense, that the Cardinals were a fluke last year. Yes, they went to the Super Bowl, but they were only 9-7.

Kurt Warner was intercepted midway through the first quarter, allowing the 49ers to start at the Arizona 36. This led to a field goal and a 3-0 San Francisco lead. A punt had the 49ers at their own 44, which led to a 50 yard Joe Nedney field goal to make it 6-0. Warner and the Cardinals began at their own 24, where he fired a 40 yard completion to Jeremy Urban. A 44 yard field goal by Neil Rackers pulled the Cardinals to within 6-3.

With 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the half, Shawn Hill went deep to Isaac Bruce for a 50 yard gain down to the Arizona six. Frank Gore did the rest to make it 13-3. Warner was intercepted on the next drive, but the 49ers fumbled it right back. The Cardinals took over at their own 40, and Warner completed passes of 13 and 14 to Tim Hightower to set up a field goal to pull the Cardinals to within 13-6 at the half.

Midway through the third quarter, Warner hit Larry Fitzgerald for 23 yards and Hightower for 18 more, to set up a 5 yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald to tie the game 13-13. After a punt, Warner led the Cardinals on the move again. The drive stalled, but a 43 yard Rackers field goal hd the Cardinals up 16-13 only secons into the fourth quarter.

Hill then led the 49ers on a 15 play, 7 1/2 minute drive. A pair of 3rd down conversions resulted in a 19 yard pass to Vernon Davis and a 13 yard toss to Isaac Bruce. Hill hit Gore for the 3 yard touchdown pass to put San Francisco up by 4 points. The Cardinals failed to move the ball, but pinned a pint at the San Francisco two yard line. Arizona got the ball back with 3:11 left at the San Francisco 38.

The Cardinals then self destructed, with penalties pushing them into 1st and 25. They regrouped, but on 4th and 5, they turned the ball over on downs. They had all 3 timeouts left, and the 49ers failed to pick up a first down. The Cardinals had one last shot, with 43 seconds left from their own 12. Yes, one of the early games featured an 87 yard miracle, but 88 yards is an entire extra yard. On the last play of the game, form the Arizona 46, the Hail Mary never got launched as Warner was sacked, resulting in a fumble.

One game is not a season, but the Cardinals might be on the way to flukeville, while the 49ers seem to be picking up the attitude of Coach Mike Singletary. 20-16 49ers

The Rams fumbled the opening kickoff, and Seattle started at the St. Louis 19. Hasselbeck was intercepted in the end zone. For some reason the remaining 59 minutes of this game was played. After a scoreless opening quarter, Hasselbeck led a 13 play, 6 minute, 73 yard drive that finished with a one yard touchdown pass to Carlson. After a Rams punt, Hasselbeck led a 69 yard drive that finished with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Nate Burleson with only 12 seconds left in the half to put the Seahawks up 14-0. The second best play of the day for the Rams came in the form of a blocked field goal that was returned to tie the game 7-7, until they were flagged for having 12 men on the field to nullify it. The second half should have been nullified.

The best play of the day for the Rams was a punt that was downed at the Seattle one yard line. Hasselbeck led Seattle 99 yards, with a 33 yard touchdown pass to Carlson putting the Seahawks up 21-0. Another Rams punt led to a one play Seattle drive, a 62 yard Julius Jones touchdown drive. The game was not called, but rumor has it the Seattle cheerleaders finished the game. 28-0 Seahawks

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants—Jim Zorn got off to a good start in his rookie coaching season before the team faded down the stretch. As for the Giants, now that the Giants are a year removed from being champions, Tom Coughlin can go back to never smiling. The team went 13-3 last year, so either this is the year where a dynasty begins, or Coughlin’s taskmaster act runs thin. Some say he has mellowed. Either way, Eli Manning is ready.

Well, not completely. He fumbled on the second play from scrimmage. However, he was bailed out by his offensive line. Manning went on to lead a 12 play, 7 1/2 minute drive that led to a field goal and a 3-0 Giants lead. From the Washington 29, Clinton Portis raced 34 yards to the New York 37. However, a trick play involving Antwon Randle-El resulted in an 11 yard loss and a punt.

The Giants running game rolled, as Ahmad Bradshaw ripped off 22 yards and Brandon Jacobs added 15 more. On the first play of the second quarter, on 4th and 1 from the 3, Jacobs was stuffed. The goal line stand came at a cost as Albert Haynesworth was injured on the play. After a punt, the Giants took over at the Washington 44. Manning fired a 30 yard touchdown pass to Manningham to make it 10-0. This was the first team to have a Manning to Manningham connection.

The quarterbacks then exchanged turnovers as Campbell was intercepted and Manning fumbled it back. Yet with 2 1/2 minutes in the half, the Redskins had the ball near midfield. Campbell as sacked by Osi Umenyura, resulting in a fumble that Umenyura took to the house for a 37 yard touchdown and 17-0 Giants lead.

The Redskins finally got going in the 2 minute drill when Campbell hit Randle El for a 35 yard gain. Facing 4th and goal at the 8, Zorn decided to call a fake field goal. Hunter Smith executed it to perfection, running it around the right end for the touchdown and a 17-7 game at the half.

The Redskins took the second half kickoff and moved from their own 20 to the New York 43, but on 4th and 2 Zorn decided to punt. Neither team moved the ball, but with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Manning was intercepted, and the Redskins took over at the Giants 11. The defense held, and the Redskins were forced to settle for a field goal to pull to within 17-10. Manning brought the Giants right back, and a 24 yard pass to Kevin Boss has the G-Men at midfield. Lawrence Tynes kicked a 45 yard field goal to put the Giants up 20-10 with 11 minutes left.

After a punt, Manning ate up the clock with a 6 minute, 66 yard drive that took 10 plays. A short field goal had the Giants up 23-10 with only 3 minutes left. Campbell came back with a 16 yard run, a 17 yard pass to Randle El, and a 17 yard touchdown to Chris Cooley with 90 seconds remaining. The onsides kick failed, and the Giants ran out the clock. For the second straight year, the Giants prevailed at home over the Redskins in a workmanlike victory. 23-17 Giants

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers was the Sunday night game. The Bears were always a one dimensional team, with Brian Urlacher leading the defense. Jay Cutler brings the team instant offense. As for the Packers, this is now Aaron Rodgers’s team. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are forever tied to him. Escaping the Favre shadow started tonight.

Like any Black and Blue NFC Norris Division game, this was ugly. If these teams want to claim that they have a better quarterback than the fellow in Minnesota, they have work to do. Cutler had a miserable first half, with three interceptions. One of those interceptions was returned inside the five yard line, and fumbled through the end zone in an apparent touchback. However, it was ruled that the return man stepped out of bounds at the one before fumbling the ball. Aaron Rodgers was sacked for a safety, as the Packers clung to a 3-2 lead.

(No baseball remark. It’s an old stupid joke.)

The interception return that turned into the fumble that wasn’t did lead to a one yard touchdown run and a 10-2 Packers lead at the half. In the third quarter, Cutler went deep to Devon Hester, who beat double coverage for the 40 yard touchdown. Lovie Smith decided not to go for the 2 point conversion, and the Bears trailed 10-9. The Bears got a field goal on their next drive to take a 12-10 lead going into the final quarter.

With 10 minutes remaining, Green Bay connected on a 39 yard Mason Crosby field goal to put the Packers back in front 13-12. Cutler matched Rodgers drive for drive. The Bears bogged down inside the 5 yard line, but a short field goal back on top 15-13 with 2 1/2 minutes left.

The Packers then exploded, moving 72 yards in only 5 plays as Rodgers went deep to a wide open receiver. The defensive breakdown plus the 2 point conversion had the Packers up by 6 points. The Bears took over with 1:06 left at their own 38. Cutler needed only one play to complete a pass to Al Harris. Unfortunately for Cutler, Harris plays defense for Green Bay. Cutler’s fourth interception ended the game.

To add insult to injury, or to be more specific,, injury to insult, the Bears suffered a loss much more devastating than this game. The heart and soul of the Bears is on defense, and the leader of the defense is Brian Urlacher. He broke his wrist in the first quarter making a tackle. He is out for the season. 21-15 Packers

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots was the first Monday night game, since Week 1 has two games. The entire New England season falls on Tom Brady’s knee. The New England defense has been decimated this season. As for Buffalo, Dick Jauron somehow kept is job. He needs to produce now.

Daffy Duck laid a golden egg when a mobster threatened him with a gun to his head. Whatever happened to Dick Jauron, the Bills came out fired up. New England moved the ball well early on, but on 4th and from the Buffalo 35, the running game got stuffed. Buffalo came back the other way, and a touchdown run actually had Buffalo up 7-0. Brady looked tentative at times, although he did tie the game at 7-7.

In the second quarter, the Buffalo defense came up even bigger. Brady went back to pass, and a juggling, bobbling interception was returned 20 yards by big defensive lineman Aaron Schobel to put the Bills up 14-7. Brady did bring the Patriots back late in the half, but they had to settle for a field goal as Buffalo led 14-10 at intermission in what was 30 minutes away from being a shocker.New England had double the time of possession and double the yardage, but the turnover had the Bills on top.

In the third quarter a Buffalo punt forced New England to start at their own 3 yard line. Brady engineered a 12 play drive, and with 6 minutes left in the third quarter, New England had a 4th and 2 at the Buffalo 35. Brady’s pass was well defended, and again New England turned it over on downs. For the third time in the game, the Buffalo defense came up huge. Buffalo capitalized on the excellent field position, as a 40 yard Ryan Lindell field goal had the Bills up 17-10 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

New England had been driving the ball well all game, but kept bogging down. Brady got them into the Red Zone when Aaron Schobel came up big again. His defensive stop forced the Patriots to settle for a 28 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Bills led 17-13, but the issue would be whether they could finish the game.

The Bills fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but luckily fell on it themselves as 11 1/2 minutes remaining. A 3rd and 11 completion from Trent Edwards to Terrell Owens was nullified by an offensive penalty on Owens. Yet Edwards stayed poised, and a perfectly executed screen pass converted the 3rd and 16. Fred Jackson ran for hard, tough yards, and he converted a critical 3rd and 3 with 8 minutes left.

Controversy erupted on the next play. Edwards was sacked by Adalius Thomas, but he was called for a personal foul when he threw Edwards to the ground. It was a borderline call at best, but instead of long yardage the Bills had first and 10 at the New England 21. On 3rd and 8 from the 19, Edwards killed New England again. Seeing nobody open, he took it himself up the middle for first and goal at the 10. With 5 1/2 minutes left, Edwards again executed a screen pass perfectly, and the touchdown to Jeff Handgartner had the Bills on the verge of a shocker at 24-13.

Brady kept firing, and had thrown over 50 passes. With 2:06 remaining, Brady fired a touchdown pass, but the 2 point conversion failed. New England had all 3 timeouts, and Bill Bellichick decided to kick it deep and not go for the onsides kick. Leodis McKelvin took the ball several yards deep in the end zone. A touchback would allow the offense to try and run out the clock. Instead, McKelvin ran it out, got leveled, fumbled, and gave the Patriots a 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 31.

Dick Jauron can’t be blamed for this, but if he gets fired before the season is out, he can thank McKelvin. Brady threw a perfect strike to Watson with 50 seconds remaining. This was not good teams finding a way to win. This was a bad team finding a way to lose. No, it was not an 87 yard deflection, but it was a miracle comeback against a team determined to give a game away, The 2 point conversion again failed, but the Patriots had a one point lead. Buffalo had 2 timeouts remaining. They began at their own 21 with 45 seconds remaining.

Edwards hit Owens for a 19 yard gain to the 40 as Buffalo took their second timeout with 37 seconds left. Edwards was taken down on the next play at the line of scrimmage, and the Bills took their last timeout with 28 seconds left.

Screw the drama. The Bills screwed it up. This was the six year anniversary of the last time the Bills defeated the Patriots in the 2003 opener. This was the second year in a row Buffalo had lost a Monday Night Football game 25-24 after being up by two scores. They also blew a 24-13 lead to Dallas. Yes, Patriots fans are insufferable, but the Bills are pathetic. 25-24 Patriots

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders is the second Monday night game. These teams faced off in the opening Monday Night game in 2006. That game fell on 9/11. It was the first start for Philip Rivers. Yet the Chargers have a Super Bowl team with Norv Turner at coach. He pulled a Lazarus Act last year to keep his job. The Raiders were expected to come out fighting, especially since they have rallied behind coach Tom Cable, who has done some fighting of his own. The Silver and Black finished strong last year, and were looking to continue the momentum. JaMarcus Russell has an all world running game, which is expected to help him grow as a passer.

For more on the game of the week, go to Just Blog Baby.

The 100th meeting of these teams was also the 50th anniversary of the AFL. The Chargers broke out the powder blue uniforms while the Raiders wore white at home rather than their traditional black. Given what a hot night it was weather wise, this was a smart move. As for the players, the Chargers had Shawn Merriman and the Raiders had Richard Seymour. both almost did not play in this game, but both were ready to go.

The one thing the Raiders can definitely do is run the ball. From their own 29, Michael Bush ripped off a 17 yard gain. On the next play Darren McFadden slipped and fell, but he is so quick that he got back up and still gained 9 yards. With the running game working well, Russell threw an incomplete pass, but the Chargers had jumped offsides. On 3rd and 2 from the San Diego 30, a false start penalty pushed the team back. On 3rd and 7, Russell fired a strike to the team’s top receiver, tight end Zach Miller, for a 1st down at the 25. A beautiful drive went to hell when Russell was intercepted by Quentin Jammer on the next play.

The Chargers took over at their own 29, but went three and out and punted. The Raiders took over at their own 16. The ground game continued to function well as McFadden picked up 8 yards, 1 yard, and 7 yards straight up the middle on 3rd and 1. What made it even more impressive was that this was running up the middle against an 8 man front. On 1st and 10, a play action pass had Russell hit Miller for a long gain to the San Diego 35. McFadden picked up another 7 yards on first down and another 5 yards for another first down at the San Diego 23. Russell hit Tony Stewart on a slant pass. Stewart fell down, but got back up without being touched, for a 1st and goal at the 8 yard line. A pair of Michael Bush runs set up 3rd and goal at the 4. Expecting a pass, the Raiders ran Bush again for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 3 minutes left in the opening quarter. The drive lasted 10 plays and 84 yards.

Before the Raiders could exhale, Darren Sproles returned the kickoff 66 yards to the Oakland 34. On 1st and 10 from the 21, RIchard Seymour sacked Philip Rivers for a 6 yard loss. Welcome to Oakland, Mr. Seymour. On 3rd and 13, Gerard Warren encroached. With seconds left in the opening quarter, Tomlinson was hit and fumbled, and the Raiders recovered. It was his first lost fumble in three years.

From their own 9 yard line, McFadden picked up 5 yards. On 3rd and 3, Russell ran for it himself, stretched the all out, and picked up the first down. A 3rd and 6 completion for a first down was nullified by an illegal shift. On 3rd and 11 from the 19, Russell went deep to nobody. However, this was not due to a bad pass but an illegal contact penalty on the defender trying to stay with Darrius Heyward Bey. The automatic first down kept the drive alive. On 3rd and 6, Russell again threw a perfect strike to Miller for a 17 yard gain to the Oakland 45. Yet 2 plays later McFadden fumbled, and the Chargers took over at the Oakland 45.

The Raiders had the ball for 16 1/2 of the first 21 minutes yet led only 7-0. On 3rd and 12, Rivers fired a strike that split the defenders down to the one yard line. Tomlinson brought it over to tie the game 7-7 with 4:45 left in the half. The Raiders went 3 and out, but the Chargers had to start at their own 12 after a Shane Lechler punt and solid coverage. The defense was solid, as the Chargers also went 3 and out.

Mike Scifres is also a great punter, although Johnny Lee Higgins returned it 15 yards to the Oakland 35 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half. Russell hit Louis Murphy at midfield with 1:56 left in the half. A pair of awful incompletions was followed by a 15 yard strike to Louis Murphy on 3rd and 10. Another first down was followed by a near interception. Russell took advantage of the gift non-turnover and fired a touchdown pass to Louis Murphy to put the Raiders up 14-7 with 45 seconds left in the half. It lasted until the refs ruled that the ball was not caught. It was a dreadful call, and yes the league hates the Raiders. Sebastian Janikowski kicked a field goal and the Raiders led 10-7.

Again Sproles returned it for 59 yards to the Oakland 40. Nate Kaeding nailed a 47 yard field goal to make it 10-10 at halftime. The Raiders dominated the half, but it was tied.

Sproles got nailed on the second half kickoff, as the Chargers began on their own 15. Rivers moved them to the Oakland 40 when a pass bounced off Antonio Gates’s fingertips and intercepted by Michael Huff. The Raiders wasted the opportunity with a one yard loss and a pair of terrible incompletions. San Diego took over at their own 17. They lost 7 yards back to the 10 and punted. Johnny Lee Higgins took the punt back to the San Diego 48. The Raiders wasted the opportunity, went three and out, and punted a touchback.

Philip Rivers was very calm when throwing from the pocket, but when rolling out, he was consistently ineffective. Tomlinson ripped off a 15 yard gain, but on 3rd and 10, after a timeout, Rivers inexplicably threw the football down at a defender’s head for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct taunting penalty. On 3rd and 25, San Diego suffered a false start. On 3rd and 30 from their own 13, San Diego ran the ball and punted. Another booming Scifres punt had the Raiders at their own 25. They quickly went 3 and out and punted. The Chargers took over at their own 33. The Chargers went 3 and out as Greg Ellis sacked Rivers on 3rd down. The Raiders took over on their own 30.

With Rivers and Russell both misfiring on all cylinders, Tom Cable decided to go back to the ground game, which worked well early on but then slowed down. Yet  on 2nd and 7, Russell went play action pass and found Zach Miller for a long gain down to the San Diego 40. The Raiders then ran a reverse play, and with Russell throwing a pair of blocks, Higgins picked up 20 yards to the 20. As the mostly uneventful third quarter ended, Oakland was finally in the Red Zone again. The drive bogged down, but Seabass nailed a 35 yard field goal. The Raiders led 13-10 with 13 minutes remaining.

The Chargers took over at their own 23.On 3rd and 3, Rivers found Gates at the San Diego 40. A defensive breakdown led to Rivers hitting Gates again, this time at the Oakland 30. On 3rd and 13 from the 33, Rivers found Sproles for the first down at the 16. Rivers lobbed a touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson. The Chargers had their first lead of the game 17-13 with 7 1/2 minutes left. Screaming until I am blue in the face that the Raiders were outplaying the Chargers most of the game does no good. Now the Raiders needed to take an offense that has been dysfunctional since 2002, and somehow make it functional to avoid another loss.

The Raiders took over at their own 30. A first down pass was dropped, but Bush picked up 9 yards on the ground to set up 3rd and inches. Russell ran the quarterback sneak and picked up the first down. Russell got injured on the play. He got up limping. Bruce Gradkowski came in. A 5 yard completion was nullified by offensive pass interference to set up 1st and 20 back at the 30. A pass to McFadden picked up 11 yards to set up 2nd and 9.  A completion to Louis Murphy set up 3rd and 4, but a false start pushed the silver and black 5 yards back. The Raiders failed to convert, but illegal hands to the face on the defense gave the Raiders an automatic first down at the Oakland 45 with 3:48 left. Russell came back into the game.

Offensive holding pushed the Raiders back 10 yards to again set up 1st and 20. A screen to McFadden picked up 13 yards to midfield to set up 2nd and 7. Russell was then sacked for an 8 yard loss with 2:48 remaining. The Raiders took their first timeout. The first San Diego sack of the night was a killer. Russell threw a perfect strike to Higgins, but Higgins got blasted as the ball fell incomplete. Cable decided to go for it on 4th and 15 from the Oakland 43.

Cable either has nothing for brains or balls of steel. I am going with the latter. I actually agreed with the call because although the Raiders had 2 timeouts left, this young offense has to grow at some point. They may have grown up on this very play, as Russell went for the bomb, and connected with Louis Murphy for a 57 yard touchdown play. The Raiders led 20-17 with 2:34 left. The issue now, as with so many young teams trying to change a losing culture, was if they could finish.

Darren Sproles killed the Raiders with a pair of long returns, but after that he was muffing the ball throughout the game. His third mishandled kickoff had the Chargers starting at their own 11 yard line. At the 2 minute warning the Chargers had reached their own 28. A pass to Sproles had the Chargers at the San Diego 44 with 1:50 left. A shoestring catch and run had the Chargers at the Oakland 32. Another pass set up 3rd and 1 at the 23. A pass to Gates set up 1st and goal at the 9. The Chargers called their second timeout with 46 seconds left. A run to the 5 yard line was followed by Tom Cable running onto the field to call a timeout with 21 seconds left.

With the entire defense expecting a pass, Sproles ran it up the middle for a touchdown with 18 seconds left.

On a night when the Raiders kept the penalties to a minimum, and Tomlinson was limited to 55 yards, the Raiders allowed an 89 yard drive, collapsing when it counted. Yes, this team looks better. Yet anybody that thinks moral victories matter needs to have their head knocked off by a defensive lineman. Russell’s Hail Mary was intercepted. 24-20 Chargers


NFL 2009 Predictions

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Every 9/11 I fly. Every 9/12 I try to get back to normal, with little success. Yet in 2001, the game of football helped me heal. Football instills values in people that I deeply believe in. Everything I would want to teach my future sons could be learned from football.

One thing I will teach them is not to make predictions.

With that, here are my 2009 NFL Predictions

I am “often wrong, but never in doubt.”

With that, let the (guessing) games begin.

Below are my 2009 NFL Predictions.


New England Patriots (11-5)—They are the best of their division until they are knocked off. They went 11-5 last year without Tom Brady. The offense should roll, and make up for a defense that lost six people in the offseason.

Miami Dolphins (9-7)—Bill Parcells teams usually take a step back before moving forward. Besides, defenses caught up to the Wildcate in the second half of last season.

New York Jets (9-7)—Yes, people love Rex Ryan and Matt Sanchez, and yes, rookies did fabulous last year in Baltimore, Miami, and Atlanta. The Jets simply do not have the talent on offense to compete with Miami and New England.

Buffalo Bills (5-11)—Dick Jauron somehow still has his job. The team should give up on him soon enough.


Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)—This team goes as far as Ben Roethlisberger takes them. Allegations against him from a woman do not seem to be affecting him the way his motorcycle accident did after his last championship.

Baltimore Ravens (10-6)—They did knock off Tennessee before falling to Pittsburgh, but they do not seem ready to supplant Pittsburgh.

Cleveland Browns (6-10)—Brady Quinn plays in a tough division, and Cleveland does not have what it takes to take on either Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)—How a team with talent and a good coach and continually rot is not the question. The answer is not to expect anything else until the team proves itself. Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson cannot do it without help.


Indianapolis Colts (10-6)—The team has won at least 12 games for six straight seasons, but there may be some growing pains as Jim Caldwell replaces Tony Dungy.

Tennessee Titans (10-6)—Last year was their year. They lost Albert Haynesworth, and despite Jeff Fisher being a phenomenal coach, everything broke right for the team last year. Kerry Collins may not have a season as good as last year, as underrated as he is.

Houston Texans (7-9)—Every year this team looks like it is on the verge, and then does not get there. Time may run out for Gary Kubiak.

Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)—Jack Del Rio has gotten all he could get out of this team. The running game will not be what it was, and even the defense is not as solid as usual. David Garrard can still play, but he might not have enough weapons.


San Diego Chargers (9-7)—This is a Super Bowl team with Norv Turner at coach. They won this wretched division at 8-8 last year, and 8-8 could win it again. Shawn Merriman has controversy around him, but this team needs Marty Schottenheimer back.

Oakland Raiders (7-9)—The preseason was not very good, but they finished strong in the regular season last year. The players like Cable, and the offense has ridiculous talent at running back. Russell looks improved, but the Raiders still have their biggest question marks at offensive line. Worse for them, their defense seems suspect against the run. The record would be lower but the division itself is awful.

Denver Broncos (6-10)—This team imploded at the end of last season, but that was nothing compared to the offseason. They lost their coach, quarterback, and may lose their wide receiver. The Broncos had stability for a long time. This year the wheels could fall off , and fast.

Kansas City Chiefs (3-13)—They are a bad team, but what could hurt them even more is that Matt Cassel may not be the answer. Unless he really can be an elite quarterback, and was not just lucky to be in New England. KC is done. Losing Tony Gonzalez hurts them from a leadership standpoint.


Dallas Cowboys (13-3)—Jerry Jones spent more money than the national debt to build a metropolis of a stadium. If the Cowboys do not make his investment worth it, this team will be blown up next year. Even without Terrell Owens, this team simply has a ton of firepower. Wade Phillips will be under the gun, but his calm nature will not add extra pressure to Tony Romo. This team needs to go deep in the playoffs or the season is a waste.

Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)—Some are picking the Eagles to go to the Super Bowl, but they have a tough division, and they only went 9-7 last year. Yes, Michael Vick will be exciting in the Wildcat, but if a quarterback controversy erupts, it will rip the team apart. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb once last year, and he must stick with McNabb for this team to have a chance.

New York Giants (9-7)—The Giants won the Super Bowl as a 10-6 team ripping 13-3 Dallas in the playoffs, and then got blown up by a 9-7 Philadelphia team when New York was 13-3. This team is poised for a step back in a brutal division.

Washington Redskins (7-9)—This is not a bad team, but the division is monstrously good. Jim Zorn will need time to get this team back to elite status. They are not bad, but their division opponents really are that good.


Minnesota Vikings (11-5)—This team is expecting to go to the Super Bowl. They very well could. Yes, Brett Favre is turning 40, but he has an all world running back in Adrian Peterson to hand the ball off to, reducing the strain. Without Favre, this team had potential, but quarterback was the weak link. Favre does not worry about pressure.

Chicago Bears (9-7)—Yes, Jay Cutler is a vast improvement a quarterback. The Bears for so long have had zero help on offense to compliment their solid defense. Yet there will be an adjustment period, and the Bears might be a year away from really being great.

Green Bay Packers (7-9)—Yes, Aaron Rodgers played well last year. The dropoff from 13-3 to 6-10 was not his fault. However, those picking Green Bay to go deep into the playoffs are simply overlooking that the team is not that good. Again, they could be a year away, but they have holes on both sides of the ball.

Detroit Lions (4-12)—With apologies to football sadists, the Lions will not go 0-16 again. Matthew Stafford seems to have a level head. That head will get knocked around this year, but many great quarterbacks including Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning had rough rookie seasons. They will slowly improve…quite slowly.


New Orleans Saints (11-5)—Anybody can win this division, and the carousel changes every year. The offense should explode as Drew Brees again tries to surpass Dan Marino. They have enough offense to outscore teams, even if their defense does not always rise to the occasions.

Atlanta Falcons (8-8)—Many are picking Atlanta to go deep into the playoffs, and adding Tony Gonzalez helps greatly, but this team has all the makings of a sophomore jinx. These teams usually beat each other up and cancel each other out.

Carolina Panthers (8-8)—This team could have gone to the Super Bowl last year, and their home playoff thrashing was a shocker. The entire team had a meltdown, led by 6 Jake Delhomme interceptions. They went 0-4 in preseason, and just don’t seem right. They have all world receiver Steve Smith and defensive standout Julius Peppers, but they just seem off.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-11)—This team is in rebuilding mode. Firing Jon Gruden may have been a mistake, but losing Monte Kiffin was a major loss. Their quarterback situation is weak, and most of their defensive standouts from their Super Bowl team are gone.


San Francisco 49ers (8-8)—This division is pathetic, and 7-9 could win the division. The 49ers will run the ball, given their below average quarterback situation. We will see if the attitude Mike Singletary brings will fire up the team, or turn the players against him.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8)—Yes, they almost won the Super Bowl last year, but they only went 9-7. Their offense does have amazing players, but the defense is porous. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald remain amazing, but can the offensive line keep Warner protected again for a whole season? Arizona was one and done.

Seattle Seahawks (6-10)—Many are picking this team to reclaim the division they owned for several years until injuries hurt them. Hasselbeck is getting older, the running game is not spectacular, and even all world left tackle Walter Jones is not what he was, although still very good. Mike “Walrus” Holmgren has retired, and Jim Mora Jr. needs a couple years to get this team back on top. Anything can happen in this dreadful division.

St. Louis Rams (4-12)—Can Mark Bulger still play? It does matter, since the offensive line will not prevent him from taking a beating this year.



1)    Steelers
2)    Patriots
3)    Colts
4)    Chargers
5)    Titans
6)    Ravens

Steelers want to avoid Titans who want to avoid Ravens who want to avoid Colts who want to avoid Patriots or Chargers.  Chargers should refuse to attend playoffs against anyone but Colts.

WILD CARDS: Colts over Ravens, Titans over Chargers

DIVISIONALS: Titans over Steelers, Patriots over Colts
TITLE GAME: Titans over Patriots


1)    Cowboys
2)    Vikings
3)    Saints
4)    49ers
5)    Eagles
6)    Giants or Bears

Cowboys want to avoid Giants who want to avoid Eagles who want to avoid Saints. Vikings want to avoid Bears. 49ers should refuse to attend playoffs.

WILD CARDS: Saints over Giants/Bears, Eagles over 49ers

DIVISIONALS: Cowboys over Eagles, Vikings over Saints

TITLE GAME: Cowboys over Vikings

SUPER BOWL: Titans over Cowboys

Jeff Fisher finally gets his ring. Kerry Collins finally gets his ring. Vince Young plays well in the Wildcat. Tony Romo plays well, but the 46 Defense wins again, as Buddy Ryan proudly looks on.

PRO BOWL: Shane Lechler represents the Raiders.

NFL DRAFT: The Kansas City Chiefs are on the clock, followed by the Rams, since the Lions will lose a coin flip.


LET’S GET IT ON!!!!!!!


Update: Week 1 Predictions:

Titans at Steelers–Line: Steelers by 6 (Steelers win, fail to cover)

Bears at Packers–Line: Packers by 3½  (Upset special, Bears win outright)

Dolphins at Falcons–Line: Falcons by 4 (Upset special, Dolphins win outright)

Jets at Texans–Line: Texans by 4½  (Upset special, Jets win outright)

Lions at Saints–Line: Saints by 13 (Saints cover)

Broncos at Bengals–Line: Bengals by 4½  (Bengals win, fail to cover)

Chiefs at Ravens–Line: Ravens by 12½ (Ravens win, fail to cover)

Cowboys at Buccaneers–Line: Cowboys by 5½ (Cowboys cover)

Vikings at Browns–Line: Vikings by 3½ (Vikings cover)

Eagles at Panthers–Line: Eagles by 2½ (Eagles cover)

Jaguars at Colts–Line: Colts by 7 (Colts win, fail to cover)

Rams at Seahawks–Line: Seahawks by 7½ (Seahawks win, fail to cover)

Redskins at Giants–Line: Giants by 6½ (Giants win, fail to cover)

49ers at Cardinals–Line: Cardinals by 6½ (Cardinals win, fail to cover)

Bills at Patriots–Line: Patriots by 11 (Patriots cover)

Chargers at Raiders–Line: Chargers by 9 1/2 (Chargers win, fail to cover)


9/11/9–Flying Back From Oakland

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Eight years ago today, some third world savage Islamofacist barbarians murdered 3000 of my fellow New Yorkers.

President George W. Bush said in his final public speech to the nation that while the American people went back to leading their normal lives, he never did.

Neither did I.

Many people do not know that the Federal Building in Los Angeles was a target. I live within walking distance of that building.

On September 11th, 2004, I interviewed a friend of mine that was in one of the towers, getting out with only eight minutes to spare.

On September 11th, 2005, I broadcast my final radio program from the USC College Campus.

This was not enough. I decided to do whatever I could to make sure that I flew every 9/11.

I would go anywhere and everywhere. No matter where, I had to go somewhere. I still believe that when we fly, we win.

On September 11th, 2006, I flew from Los Angeles to Oakland. The Chargers and Raiders played on Monday Night Football. The jets flew on high, and they flew proud before the game. It was the opening week of the season.

On September 11th, 2007, I flew from Chicago to New York. I ended up at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey for Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert. This was the first 9/11 since 2001 that fell on a Tuesday. Rudy Giuliani lit up the crowd. A couple of weeks later I would meet him personally and thank him for his leadership.

On September 11th, 2008, I flew from Los Angeles to Chicago. This was only days after meeting some real American heroes in Minneapolis.

In the days leading up to 9/11/9, I exchanged emails with former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. For those who need to know what heroism consists of, remember that president George W. Bush relied on Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani relied on Bernie Kerik. Thank God that on the worst day in America in decades, perhaps ever, those three men rose to the challenge of protecting this nation, along with many fine soldiers and many ordinary yet courageous citizens.

Commissioner Kerik offers his thoughts and reflections of September 11th, 2001.

Newsmax looks at the heroism of Commissioner Kerik.

On September 10th, 2009, I flew from Los Angeles to Oakland. The Chargers and Raiders are actually again kicking off the opening week of Monday Night Football, but this year that game is not until the 14th.

The 10th was my speech to the Tri-Valley Peninsula RWF. They are truly inspiring women.

September 11th, 2009, brings my flight back from Oakland to Los Angeles. The USC Trojans are holding a rally that night to commemorate the anniversary. I will most likely be on the Pepperdine Campus, meeting Colonel Buzz Patterson.

September 12th, 2009, I will be at that Federal Building in Los Angeles. Although it is still the same short walk, thousands will come from all over in the name of freedom and liberty.

September 13th, 2009 features NFL Week 1, followed by the Chabad Telethon.

For those who do not know, A Chabad Rabbi and his wife were murdered in 2008 in a terrorist attack in Mumbai, India.

September 14th, Chargers vs Raiders.

I say this in a matter of fact manner to try and convey normalcy. Yet nothing I feel this week is normal.

My close friend growing up in New York has his birthday on 9/11. My close friend in Los Angeles has his birthday on 9/13.

Yet as I try to share the joy, I can’t help but notice how my face tightens, my eyes scowl, and my fists clench this time of year.

I have no desire to understand r dialogue with genocidal lunatics.

They want to create a Caliphate.

I pray to God that my generation has the steel spine and iron will to prevent this.

Civilization hangs in the balance. All I can do is play my small role.

I pray for all of you on the ground.

As for me, I will be in the air.

It will only be a one hour flight, but for one hour, I will be where I need to be today.

I will be, along with many others, taking back the sky.

America the Beautiful.

Absolutely. Always.