The Sunday Evening Spongebath is a running collection of random observations, notes, complaints and joyful remembrances from a Sunday in the NFL.
This is a big Sunday for me. First, a Chargers win and a Broncos loss puts the Bolts in position to play for the division next week and right the wrong of Week 2. For the sake of justice, I desperately want the Chargers to have that opportunity.
And of secondary importance, I've got a fantasy championship game. Normally, I wouldn't bother you with this detail, but it concerns all of us. See, I'm one of the guys in the league who puts in the time, does the research, cares about the league and respects the game. My opponent is the dumb guy in the league who barely pays attention, might ask someone on Wednesday if his team won, and absolutely lucked into a good team. I have to win. Not just for me, but for all of us. All of us dedicated fantasy football players who do things the right way, who do not deserve to be, but sometimes are, beaten by an inferior slug of a man who has difficulty sitting because of the horseshoe lodged in his rectum.
The CBS pregame show has enlisted the help of NORAD to determine, through some crazy camera technology, that the football did break the plane of the end zone while Santonio Holmes possessed it on that game-deciding play against Baltimore. Science is on the Steelers side.
I can't believe we're still talking about this, given the facts that Baltimore had just given up a 12-play drive, and even if Santonio Holmes wasn't in the end zone, the Steelers would have needed only about a half an inch on a QB sneak on the next play. But if Ray Lewis is still whining about it before the Saturday night game, sure, let's go ahead and get NORAD to put him at ease.
I'm feeling a Chiefs upset today. Depending on how Mother Nature feels this morning, it could be the coldest game in the history of the Dolphins franchise. Also, I feel like I should tell you that I've nicknamed Tyler Thigpen "Thiggers." Kinda like Tigger, I guess, but not as manly. I think it's just so cute how he's playing well.
Please note that I have never said "Thiggers" out loud, nor do I intend to.
The two non-Charlie Seen guys from Two and a Half Men just wished me Happy Holidays. That makes me feel pretty special.
Oh, good. There's a new "five-dollar footlong" commercial, but instead of professional singers pounding that nightmare into my head, we've got construction workers, firemen and a couple of giggly women doing it. Much better. Hopefully, Toyota's paying attention and we'll soon be seeing commercials where Gilbert Gottfried sings a full five-minute version of "Saved by Zero."
It took Miami 18 seconds to score against the Chiefs. This doesn't bode well for my upset pick.
And immediately afterwards, Thiggers throw an interception that very nearly gets turned into a pick-six. Come on, Thiggers. Do it for Christopher Robin.
Ben Roethlisberger, who has never quite grasped the concept of discretion sometimes being the better part of valor, tries to put his head down and plow through three people to get to the endzone. He ends up fumbling and it looks like they're checking him for a concussion on the bench. Yeah, that's much better than sliding. Some guy behind me yells, "You gotta give him credit, at least he tried for it!" Clever reasoning. Let's also give Plaxico Burress credit for going out there and at least trying to make an argument for the Second Amendment.
There are three Titans jerseys in the joint today. Two Jevon Kearse jerseys and a Vince Young. I think the Titans might lead the league in jerseys that represent players who are not among the five or 10 best players on the team. You think about their younger, more relevant players, and none of them are really jersey-friendly. You could go with Chris Johnson or LenDale White, but do you want a jersey of a running back in a timeshare situation? There's Big Al Haynesworth, of course, but no one really wants the jersey of the big nasty defensive tackle. In no way would a Kerry Collins jersey be a good investment. Cortland Finnegan seems like a good option, but you just don't see a lot of those.
On that subject, I think that we, as football fans, ought to make an effort to make the nameless jersey a reasonable and acceptable option for any fan. Get yourself a jersey, slap a 00 on there, and leave the name blank. Buying the jersey of an individual player is a risky proposition. This way, your is good as long as your team doesn't change their uniforms.
You know what else you could get on the back of your jersey? "PACK DADDY."
I could be mistaken, but I believe I saw a big (presumably) fake joint in the crowd at the Kansas City/Miami game that read "GO RICKY" on the side. I think I saw this. But it wouldn't be the first time I thought I saw a giant spliff and it wasn't really there.
At halftime of the early games, I think I'm going to have to call the Kansas City/Miami game the most entertaining of the lot. Pittsburgh/Tennessee has lived up to the hype, yes, but this Chiefs/Dolphins shindig is a scoring festival. And my man Thiggers is on fire. He just added a rushing touchdown.
Best individual performance of the first half of the early games, though: Philip Rivers. Halves of football don't get a lot better than that. He made every throw, he was brilliant on third down, and made the right decision every time. He's got 201 yards, two TDs, and a first-half QB rating of 142.something.
Most predictable performance of the first half of the early games: Arizona soiling themselves in the Foxboro blizzard. It's 28-0 at the half. Russ Grimm's got to be embarrassed as hell on the sidelines.
Tampa Bay's offensive line appears to be trying in the second half. I much preferred the "let's just hope they run into us" approach of the first half.
Detroit's been battling their sad little heineys off the past few weeks, and one would assume they're trying even harder this week against a beatable opponent with nothing to play for. And yet, they're down 35-7. I fear that their spirit is finally broken.
Kerry Collins throws a poor pass, and a Steelers fan decrees that they've "got the Penn State boy rattled." Kerry Collins as the Penn State boy. I like that. I'm going to start calling Junior Seau "that USC boy." Never mind the fact that Collins is 35 years old, a recovering alcoholic, has been to a Super Bowl, and has been through just about every single thing possible in the world of football ... and now he's "rattled" in a regular season game against the Steelers. Also, despite being a Panther, a Saint, a Giant, a Raider, and a Titan, he's also still "the Penn State boy."
Jim Nantz tells us that it's been 127 passes since Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception, which takes me by surprise. When I think of Ben Roethlisberger in '08, I don't think of a guy who's been all that great at protecting the football. That had the feel of a heavy duty jinx.
And yeah, here's the interception. It's not been a great day for Large Benjamin. As it turns out, the Tennessee defense is not just Albert Haynesworth.
The Titans take the Benjamin pickle and turn it into a 24-14 lead on a LenDale White touchdown run. This is rather impressive, what the Titans are doing. Home or away, I don't care who's in the line-up or who isn't ... 24 points against the Steelers is nothing to sneeze at.
Although, now that I think of it, there's really nothing in the world you should sneeze at. Always cover your mouth.
Let's give the Titans defense a little credit, too. There's no Haynesworth in the line-up, and no Kyle Vandenbosch, and they're still getting a pretty good amount of pressure of Ben Roethlisberger. And they're doing it without blitzing. Jason Jones, the rookie from Eastern Michigan who's in the line-up because of injuries on the D-line, had three-and-a-half sacks and forced three fumbles.
There's blood pouring down Jeff Garcia's face, like Andy Dufresne just whacked him with a big, metal, old-school film container. Blood makes a football player look cool. I'm not calling for more of it, and generally speaking, I think society sees adequate amount of bodily fluids from NFL players. I'm just saying it looks kind of neat.
Antoine Cason makes an interception, that'll push the Chargers' lead to 17, and the Chargers, in what's probably been their most complete game of the year, are going to beat the Bucs on the road. Now it's up to you, Buffalo. Do the right thing here.
Let me just stress again ... I'll be pretty upset with the forces that run the universe if Buffalo can't beat Denver this afternoon. It is perfectly fair and just, after the tragic and evil events that took place in Week Two, for the Chargers to get another shot at the Broncos. It's just the way it should be.
LenDale White is in the game late for the Texans, and pounding out some tough yards in the closer role. He's exactly the kind of guy that the Steelers have always had (except for, you know, this year), who can just punish a tired defense at the end of a game.
Michael Griffin intercepts a Ben Roethlisberger pass and he'll take that to the house in today's "let's make a close game seem like a blowout" touchdown. Oh, and LenDale White follows it up on the sidelines with a stomping of the Terrible Towel. Why, I'm not sure ... I didn't think this was a vicious rivalry or anything. That's kind of a douche move, really. But hey, the win means they won't have to be playing in Pittsburgh, so I guess there aren't any real consequences.
Denver's jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead against Buffalo, and Trent Edwards's return to the line-up has not been as triumphant as I'd hoped. Incidentally, JP Losman isn't even the back-up quarterback today. They've moved him all the way down to third quarterback. Backing up Edwards today is a fellow named Gibran Hamdan. I have absolutely no idea who that is, but I like the cut of his Gib.
Somehow, JaMarcus Russell has started the game against the Texans nine-of-10. And the one incompletion isn't even an interception that went to the house. This makes me confused and dizzy.
T.J. Duckett picks up a first down for Seattle, flexes his bicep, and holding the pose, turns his hand in the direction of the first down. T.J. Duckett did this.
On a personal level, things are not going well. Andre Johnson's been shut out in the first half, which isn't helping the ol' fantasy team in the championship game. In the first half, Buffalo has shown very few signs of being able to score with Denver. It could just be one of those days where it seems like the football world hates you and wants to mudstomp your genitals. It happens to everyone from time to time. Week 16 is a bad time for it, but what's a fellow going to do?
But hold on a second... TOUCHDOWN MARSHAWN LYNCH. We're about to have a 13-10 game. Nobody circles the wagons like ... nah, I'm not gonna do it. I have not reached that level of desperation yet.
Johnny Lee Higgins, upset about being snubbed for the WTF? Award, is having a monster week. He's got a receiving touchdown, and just added a punt return for another. Oakland's actually got a 14-point lead over Houston. I'm not sure what to make of this.
Jay Cutler's second rushing touchdown of the day (and the season) puts them back on top of the Bills, 20-16. The guy's turned into Kordell Cutler today.
Trent Edwards goes deep to Fred Jackson, and gets the Bills down inside the 10 ... just as my fantasy team might be starting to crawl back into things, too. Against my better judgment, I'm starting to let myself get optimistic. And there's the Buffalo touchdown to a fellow named Steve Johnson. My fragile heart is so eager to believe that good things can happen.
Trent Edwards continues to play a little ball here. In the second half, he's gotten back to early-season Trent Edwards. That's the kind of thing that happens when Gibran Hamdan is behind you on the depth chart, applying the pressure.
Another interception by Pro Bowler Brett Favre seals an upset win for the Seahawks. That's two on the day for everybody's favorite bestubbled gunslinger, and a QB rating on the day of 48.7. That's awesome. I wish there was an honor we could give him higher than just " Pro Bowler." They should just cancel the Pro Bowl, and televise Brett Favre trying on Wrangler jeans for three hours, because that's just how special that guy is.
Continuing with the Kordell Cutler theme, with a seven-point lead and five-and-a-half minutes to play, Buffalo picks off Jay Cutler at the goal line. They've been all over his passes in the second half. This INT isn't a game-sealer by any stretch, but that was big. A couple of first downs here would make me feel very special.
I'll have to settle for a three-and-out.
De'Sean Jackson's had a couple of massive drops in the second half here against the Redskins. This last one was particularly brutal. It's Week 16. You're not a rookie anymore. Your quarterback needs you.
Fourth-and-5 for the Broncos at the Buffalo 15, and here's your ballgame ... Cutler wants Marshall in the back of the end zone ... Marshall's got his hands on it ... BUT IT'S KNOCKED AWAY. THE CHARGERS LIVE.
And then the Eagles die. On a Santonio-like play, a McNabb-to-Reggie Brown pass comes up just inches short of the goal line, and there's not time to get off another play. Oddly, it'll be the Redskins eliminated from playoff contention this week, and not the Eagles.