Shutdown Corner - NFL

The Sunday Evening Spongebath is a collection of random observations, notes, complaints, and joy-filled remembrances from a Sunday in the NFL. 

Not a lot of Baltimore Ravens had happy homes last night. A lot of guys had to go home and admit something very difficult to their wives. A lot of guys had to go home and deal with some confusing new feelings about something that happened to them yesterday.

For three hours on Sunday afternoon, every member of the Baltimore Ravens defense took their turn being Brandon Jacobs' girlfriend. 

They honored, obeyed, and cherished him. They gazed adoringly at him and wished they could star in one of those "Every kiss begins with Kay" commercials with him. If Brandon Jacobs asked them to jump, they said, "Okay, we'll jump, but only after we bounce off after trying to tackle you about eight times."

And I sort of use "Brandon Jacobs" as a catch-all term to describe everyone who ran the ball for the Giants yesterday. It was Jacobs who killed the Ravens in the first half, but Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw both took their shots in the second half.

It was amazing to see. This wasn't just any defense we were talking about, either. This was the Ravens. Ray Lewis. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. They had been dominant. If they weren't the league's best defense, they were certainly in the top three. And as physical as physical can be. They didn't stop teams with their precision, timing, and coordination ... they stopped teams by pushing them backwards and punching them in the mouth.

But along came the Giants offensive line and Brandon Jacobs yesterday, and they pillaged through the mighty Ravens defense like rabid, bloodthirsty Vikings through the crowd at an Enya concert. It was pure physical domination.

The Ravens, before yesterday, had given up an average of 62 yards rushing per game. Jacobs had 52 yards on five carries on the game's first drive. It took him 13 minutes of game time to eclipse the average of what the Ravens give up for an entire game. The Ravens hadn't given up 200 rushing yards in a game since 1987. The Giants did it to them today. Jacobs' teammate, Ahmad Bradshaw, had more yards on one carry than the Ravens had given up on the ground in any entire game this year.

It was a remarkable performance by the Giants. You don't see that kind of physical domination every day, and you never see it against a defense as good as Baltimore's. It's something you might want to keep in mind when predicting a Super Bowl champion.

Broncos linebacker/fullback Spencer Larsen played a little bit of ironman football today, starting on both offense and defense. Ah, it reminds me of the days of Gordie Lockbaum ... or the unorthodox coaching tactics of Ed "Straight Arrow" Genarro who had his Texas State Armadillos play ironman ball, at least, everyone except that pansy Bakula.

I'd like to propose a deal, television networks. If you have to keep airing the "Saved by Zero" commercials, then hey ... do what you have to do. But for every time you do, you should also have to air this Guitar Hero commercial starring Heidi Klum:

One-for-one. You show "Saved by Zero," you show Heidi and her guitar. I will accept this. 

Now, to start with, FOX, I figure you owe us about a 19-hour block of Heidi Klum Guitar Hero commercials airing in primetime. Do that tomorrow night. Throw in a director's cut, maybe, just for a little variety.

From that point forward, every time "Saved by Zero" is aired, it is to be immediately followed by Heidi. Not only would this make up for the Toyota ads, but in a Pavlovian way, we'd get excited when they came on, because we'd know that Heidi was coming up next. We'd all sing along. Saaaaaaaaved by Zeeeeeee-ro.

We, the TV watchers of America deserve this. And if you don't cooperate, we're not going to buy any of the stuff you advertise from now until December 25th, and the whole industry will die. Think about it.

Sign seen being held by an Eagles fan: "DEAR SANTA, CAN WE MOVE TO THE NFC WEST?" I thought about it for a while, and decided that yes, this deserves a nomination for lamest and most embarrassing sign ever. It fails on multiple levels.

1) Would it bring you some kind of comfort, buddy, to be behind the Cardinals in the standings, as opposed to the Giants?

2) You're in a tough division with a difficult schedule. It happens. Don't be a baby about it.

3) Beat the Bengals first, and then the rest of the world can start to wonder how much sympathy they should have for you.

It's not the same kind of a physical beating that New York gave Baltimore, but Green Bay handled Chicago pretty thoroughly, too. Sometimes teams who are close to each other in the standings play one another, and when they're done, you still don't know a whole lot about which is the better team. This Green Bay vs. Chicago game, though ... isn't one of those games. Sorry, Chicago.

Tiger Woods was again on the sidelines for the Bucs, this time observing an ugly little contest against the Vikings. I saw him walk past Cadillac Williams on the bench, look him up and down and say, "You know, I won the U.S. Open with a torn ACL. Sissy."

I'm kidding. I didn't see that.

Oh, and since CBS keeps jamming it down your throat, and because the show's several episodes in now, I feel like I'm in a position to pass judgment on The Mentalist. It's a slightly better than average show, but still ... just a show. 

The main character, the mentalist himself ... he's entertaining enough to carry 42 minutes of television. But the substance behind the character, I'm not so sure about. I try to picture the show if the main character looked like Andy Reid, and I don't know if it could happen. A great deal of his mental ability seems to arise from the fact that he's handsome and has a friendly smile.

If you're missing it, don't sweat it. If you've been curious, it might be worth it to you to check it out. Just a show. Nothing more, nothing less.

My buddy Doug had this suggested rule change for the NFL: Once a ball is fumbled, there is no such thing as out of bounds. It is a live ball until someone recovers it, no matter where that might be.

This sounds dangerous and wildly irresponsible, but I think I support it. Say the ball goes tumbling over towards the bench ... assistant coaches and kickers are getting upended, left and right ... the Gatorade table is destroyed ... someone chucks the ball into the stands, and paying customers are getting trampled ... this could add a whole new worthwhile dimension to the game.

Joe Flacco had a ball intercepted and returned to the house by Aaron Ross. Flacco had the angle to make the tackle, and on television, it looked like Flacco had every opportunity to shove Ross out of bounds at about the one-yard-line ... but he didn't. He was there, he just didn't.

Adrian Peterson's rushing yards per carry, by quarter, with 3:40 left to play in the game:

1st: 8.3
2nd: 2.8
3rd: 2.3
4th: 0.0

Maybe Matt Ryan's numbers didn't amaze today, despite playing at home, where his numbers usually shine, however ... Matt Ryan did make at least one amazing play.

A minute and 16 seconds left to play, it's a 3rd-and-18 for the Falcons from the Denver 45. They need to get in the endzone. Ryan has time, but can't find anyone, so he breaks out of the pocket, and he chucks a ball downfield. At this point, I'm thinking, "Come on, Matty Ice! You're in four-down territory, just take 10 or 12 yards here, and give yourself a chance on 4th down. You just wasted a play with a pipe dream of a throw."

But it ended up being a perfectly thrown ball, off balance, to Roddy White in the corner of the endzone ... and despite both of Roddy White's forearms and his chest all making contact with the football, he couldn't make the catch. We came very, very close to this being another Monday full of Matt Ryan worship.

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