Thursday, January 13, 2011
Looking back at the unpredictable 2010 NFL regular season, there are couple shocks that amaze my eye when glancing at the AFC final standings throughout each division.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could make a claim for biggest AFC disappointment as they blew an opportunity to win the AFC South division and knock Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts out the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals also come into the picture as they went from division winners last year (undefeated in the division last year) to being ousted out of playoff contention from the beginning of the season (2-4 division record this year). The Tennessee Titans join the ballot as well with a less than spectacular year for Chris Johnson to the drama in acquiring Randy Moss. In conclusion, the winner for biggest AFC disappointment (Drum roll please…): The San Diego “Super” Chargers!
After having a sensational 2009 season with a 13-3 record and 1st round bye, they follow up 2010 with a 9-7 record joining the all other teams that view the postseason from the couch. Their record is no indicator of how much talent their team posses or how good they are. Instead, it indicates their inconsistency throughout the whole season!
Despite the holdout by Vincent Jackson, the team had an average year record wise, but ironically led all opponents in statistics. A team that was ranked in the league’s top 3 in total offense and defense barely finishes over .500 and fails to make the postseason. Riddle me that? They can only blame themselves as they dug a deep ditch for themselves to climb out of starting the season at 2-5. Winning the AFC West for four consecutive years and making the playoffs every year since 2005, makes a team a little complacent. The AFC West is already looked at as one of the weaker NFL divisions, but that doesn’t mean the Bolts should play like it is.
Even with the rocky start, the Chargers still were in playoff contention, but canceled all hope after losing 34-20 to a decaying Bengals team in Week 16. Becoming content leads to this, you have to stay hungry at all times.
With Phillip Rivers under center as general, the Bolts future is bright. This type of adversity strengthens a team’s character. The Chargers will learn from their mistakes as many teams have in the past. Even though the Kansas City Chiefs were effortlessly eliminated out the playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens, they’ll be striving again next season to wear the AFC West crown. San Diego just has to accept the challenge and play similar to the 2009 season when they were ruthless against opponents ending the season on a 12 game winning streak.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Disheartening. Embarrassing. Pitiful.
Honestly are there any words to describe the 55-point dismantling loss that the Cleveland Cavaliers took from the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers? The game was humiliating to watch from start to finish. The Cavs were already on a decline as they suffered their 11th loss to the Lakers, but a 112-57 loss questions a team’s pride and work ethic. Regardless of what the Cavs do after this point, this game should never sit quietly in their stomachs.
This unfathomable loss dips deeper than on the hard wood floor. It goes from Coach Byron Scott all the way to owner Dan Gilbert. Scott couldn’t have worded it better at halftime as he described his team’s effort as “flat out scared”. The Lakers played against the Cavs as if they were children. It looked like one of those games when a coach knew the other team was so bad that they would use them as a guinea pig and run new plays. A man against boys is an understatement when comparing both teams.
Additionally, correct me if I’m wrong, is this the same team that Gilbert expected Lebron James to come back to and win a championship? Granted that Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson were hurt, but how much of a difference would they really have made? “C’mon man!” as NFL analyst Chris Carter would say. It may be just one game, but this just shows what James was working with while in Cleveland. Lebron was the center of their cookie; he was their nucleus and, without him, the Cavs can do nothing more than crumble when pitted against far greater opponents.
The only good thing that can come about from this dispatching loss is an epiphany from the players and organization. Hopefully, the Cavaliers can use this as fuel to fire up their engine in actually being a contender in the Eastern conference. Teams have done it before and have made drastic improvements after the All-Star break. This could be pushing it, but never say never.
Cleveland has already faced rock bottom (literally from the departing of their Chosen One to this crushing blowout). Can it get any worse than this? Remind you that Gilbert did promise this city would win a championship before James did. However, a blind man could tell Dan that they’re heading in the opposite direction and, from the looks of Lebron’s twitter, it seems as if the King agrees:
“Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!”
Monday, January 10, 2011
There’s no surprise that the laughingstock team of the playoffs pulled off a miraculous win over the defending Superbowl champions. It doesn’t matter that the Seattle Seahawks come from arguably the least competitive league in the NFC if not the NFL. Nor does it matter that the NFC West division champs still managed to make the playoffs despite having a sad 7-9 record and that most NFL fans hardly know any of the starters on their team. The playoffs are a new ball game and no team has any advantage or disadvantage besides home-field.
As former NY Jets coach, Herman Edwards said, “You play the game to WIN.” That’s why the Seahawks are preparing for the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints are joining me as we watch the remainder of the post season from the couch.
Seahawks quarterback, Matt Hasslebeck, may be old and washed up to some, but his senior leadership proved to be the catalyst to the win against the Saints. After just being cleared to play two days ago from a hip injury, Hasslebeck aired out four touchdowns as he torched New Orleans secondary.
The Seahawks win over the Saints was the first in the playoffs for a team with a losing record. It was a tremendous effort put on by an underdog team which is the perfect display of the “Any Given Sunday” quote. Maybe even more impressive or just as was Marshawn Lynch’s run which clinched the game up for the classic David vs. Goliath matchup. It was pathetic to watch the lack of technique and pride that the Saints displayed on this play. Lynch willed himself past every defender as if his life depended on it as the Saints nonchalantly made an effort to wrap him up. Even after the Lynch broke several tackles, Tracy Porter (the guy who got stiff armed like a child) had another change to go after him, but gave up. This play summed up the defensive effort by the whole Saints team.
Either the Saints defense didn’t eat their Wheaties that evening or just underestimated their opponent. Whichever it was, the defensive coordinator didn’t predict this outcome. When you underestimate your opponent, this is what can happen. Playoffs is where amazing can happen. No one cares that the Saints are the previous champions; it’s just a respect that is given from last year. Key word being last year.
You can’t ask too much from Drew Brees who threw over 60 passes and 400 passing yards along with two touchdowns. The offense looked pretty good despite the absence of a ground attack due to injuries. The offense put up 36 points, can you really ask for more? This is part of the game though; you can’t expect to win every game by relying on one side of the ball. You have to play both O and D. Offense wins games; defense wins champions as a wise man once said.