December 2, 2014

Chris Henry dies

Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry has died from injures sustained in a domestic dispute with his fiance.

The star football player apparently fell the back of a pickup truck he had jumped into that his fiance was driving away.

Henry’s family had said he “suffered grave injuries,” but news broke around 10 a.m. Thursday that he has died.

A Weekend of Upsets

Upsets abound this week as the defending Superbowl champion Steelers lose to the Oakland Raiders and the Dolphins serve the New England Patriots their third loss in their last 4 games.

Oakland’s three late touchdowns, the final one coming with 9 seconds left in regulation, push the Steelers out of reach of the 9-3 Cincinnati Bengals who lead the AFC North. The Steelers will now have to fight to make themselves relevant within the playoff picture.

The Steelers have lost to two of the NFL’s worst team in the Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers have proven unable to hold a fourth quarter lead over their last few games. This is an odd correlation as in previous season’s “Big” Ben Roethlisberger has been known for his ability to orchestrate a forth quarter comeback with little time left.

The Dolphins are Patriot killers just like the Canadiens are Bruins killer but without Ronnie Brown most people expected the Pats to take this one.

I don’t doubt that Brady could have pulled out a win on this one had he not been intercepted on that final throw while being pulled to the ground. Then again a few questionable calls took place during that game, like Belichick choosing to go for it on fourth and one instead of kicking a field goal.

Tiger Woods Seriously Injured in Car Crash

Fox News is reporting that Tiger woods has been hospitalized after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant then a tree.

Woods was apparently pulling out of his home at 2:25AM when he struck the fire hydrant then proceeded to hit a tree on his neighbor’s property.

The crash is being investigated and charges are pending.

Matt Stafford Playing?

Matt Stafford played the noon game today.

I don’t think he should have, the risk of coming off a dislocated shoulder and playing a full game of football is too great.

How do our readers out there feel about this?

Thanksgiving Day Breakdown

Thanksgiving Day is a great day for football games. Everyone is off and you often have plenty of food available; what else could be better?

The fatal flaw in the system is that the games, at least for the last couple years, feature teams that aren’t very good. This is the case in two games this year: firstly we have the Packers at Detroit.

Detroit has lost their last five Thanksgiving Day games since beating the Packers in 2003. First overall pick and quarterback for the Lions Matt Stafford was injured last week with a dislocated just before throwing right-handed to win the game against the Browns. Stafford won the game and set a record as the first rookie QB to throw for five touchdowns.

Without Stafford who is listed as doubtful, and Calvin Johnson who is listed as questionable, the Lions chances are slim. Neither of the players practiced Tuesday. Last time Detroit faced Green Bay without Stafford or Johnson was last month and Detroit lost 26-0. You can pretty much chalk this one up for the Packers. This win will move them to 7-4.

Next is Raiders at Dallas.

I can’t see this game being very good in all honesty. With Asomugha at Corner for the Raiders and Romo with a sore back I can’t imagine a very pass heavy offense form Dallas. I’d say the majority game will be Marion
Barber churning away at 5 yards-per-carry with a heavy helping of Felix Jones thrown in. The Raiders offensive performance will be lackluster as usual.

I say Cowboys take it moving them to 8-3.

The one shining light in what may be a day of football blowouts will probably be watching the Giants play the Broncos at Mile High. Both teams started out strong and have recently been troubled, either outright losing or coming very, very close. The Broncos have been playing decent pass D but with the amount of receivers Eli Manning has to throw to and TE Kevin Boss I don’t think the Broncos will be able to keep the lid on.

The Broncos’ offense has also only managed an abysmal 9.25 points-per-game over their last 4 games. That being said, I don’t feel confident with Brandon Jacobs spending the whole game in the backfield especially at Mile High, Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to be out with a foot injury.

All in all this will be the game of the day to watch. I’d go with too close to call, If I had to call it: Giants, moving them to 7-4.

Chargers' Cromartie Under Investigation for Assault

TMZ reports that San Diego Chargers star corner, Antonio Cromartie, is under investigation for assault with a deadly weapon.

Cromartie was out celebrating the Chargers’ 32-3 win over the Denver Broncos at a San Diego bar with several other players.

Cromartie’s party and other bar patrons were supposedly spraying champagne back and forth until someone allegedly threw a bottle and hit another patron in the head.

TMZ was told the victim had a cut on his head but no ambulance was called to his scene.

Police told TMZ that Cromartie, 25, was identified, as the bottle thrower by at least one witness but there are conflicting reports.

Cromartie is a star on the Chargers’ defense and if there is truth to this allegation this could hurt them going forward especially since Roger Goodell has made it his personal mission to bring down the hammer on misconduct.

A Wildcat De-Clawed?

With star running back Ronnie Brown placed on the IR and out for the rest of the season Miami’s wildcat may need to be put down.

Brown is the lynch pin of that system and without him i doubt it will be as productive as it has been in the past. Brown is out for the season with a foot injury and was placed on the IR earlier today.

Ricky Williams will move into Brown’s starting role for the remainder of the season though I doubt his career high 5.3 yards per carry will stand without Brown present to distract defenses.

Williams is not as good as he was in 2002, he’s in his 30’s now and though I’m sure he’s still in great shape has probably been going downhill for years. He also lacks the versatility that made Brown so great which is why we will most likely see the elimination or at least a downplaying of the wildcat offense.

Larry Johnson Signs with Cincinnati reports that Larry Johnson has signed a one-year contract with the Bengals.

No one claimed Johnson off waivers last week presumably due to sub-par performance coupled with a history of behavior issues. The Bengals have offered Johnson a fourth string slot on their depth chart so we probably wont be seeing much of the man who was slated to break Preist Holmes’ franchise record unless Cedric Benson’d hip strain becomes more serious.

Sunday Night Football

Tonight is probably one of the biggest games of the season for the Patriots.

They face the 8-0 Indianapolis Colts. If they win they will prove that Tom Brady is back and that they can compete in the top of the league once again. I think the Patriots can hand the Colts their first loss of the season despite allowing more points per game on defense. The patriots have allowed 14.4 points while th colts have allowed just 13.5.

The Patriots defense has allowed 39.0 third down conversions  per game to the colts 44.1. Third down conversions can be utterly demoralizing to a defense. On top of that the Colts also allow more total yards per game, 303 to the pats 291.

One of the Colts best Defensive players, Bob Sanders, is out for this game. This could make it very easy for Wes Welker to pick them apart on the sub-10-yard pass attempt game.

Lastly but probably most importantly, the Colts are a one-dimensional offense depending entirely on Peyton Manning. Yes, they have Joseph Addai in the backfield but when they use him it’s usually for some bizarre Half-back back reminiscent of college offenses. With Leigh Bodden and a reformed Brandon Meriweather in the secondary passing all day just wont fly on this defense.

Meriweather has been playing well this season and watching him I see a bit of Troy Polamalu in his play style. Give him another year or two and he can be a premier safety in the NFL.

On offense the the patriots Outscore the Colts 28.1 to 27.1 points per game. The patriots also utilize more of their weapons with Maroney being an option he will most likely have a decent game tonight.

For our fantasy playing readers I’d say Welker and either of the elite QB’s playing in this game would be a likely start although I wouldnt bank on either defense as it will probably be a very offensive game.

This game will most likely set the tone for the rest of the season for both teams. I recommend you watch it it will probably be one of the top games of the season.

Soccer's silent cinderella

It’s a bunch of guys from Mormon country who got into the playoffs on a wing and a prayer. First they deposed the reigning champions, beating them twice, and then they took out the number two team. Now they’re in the national championship, going against a big-money team laden with international stars.

And you’ve never heard of them.

Real Salt Lake went into the final weekend of the MLS season needing a whole bunch of results to go their way in order to make the playoffs. They took care of their own business, annihilating local rival Colorado Rapids, but that was only one step of a 5-piece parlay the Utah team needed to reach the postseason. And, improbably, every piece fell into place.

There really isn’t any good way to compare how lucky Salt Lake even was to make the playoffs. The closest metaphor I can come up with would be if last season’s Tampa Bay Rays made the playoffs. Not a great team, hardly even a good team, but somehow the math worked out in their favor.

Of course, in baseball, squeaking into the playoffs usually means you’re rewarded with the toughest opponent on the slate. MLS is much the same way – Salt Lake’s four-leaf clover gave them a date with the Columbus Crew, last season’s MLS Cup Champions and this season’s best team in record. But Salt Lake became the little team that could, beating Columbus in both halves of the two-game series to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. (I know, “Eastern Conference Finals” and Salt Lake City? MLS has a strange process that lets the best 8 teams qualify, regardless of conference. They get broken into East and West after that.)

But even beating the champs left them with a match against the Chicago Fire, who had dispatched the New England Revolution in their Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup. The game was in Chicago, where massive supporters groups light flares and hurl streamers and dance and sing for 90 minutes solid, all in an effort to intimidate the away team.

And somehow, despite having just barely made it into the playoffs in the first place, the Rocky Mountain gang pulled it off. After a full 90-minute game and 30 minutes of overtime, nobody had scored. So the Eastern Conference Championship would go to the team that could best win in penalty kicks.

Here’s another baseball reference for you. Imagine penalty kicks as being like a Home Run Derby. Only the Home Run Derby counts, and they use it instead of extra innings. That’s what the pressure is like.

Remarkably, Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando (“moonpie” to his detractors in fanbases around the league) stopped three of the penalty shots he faced in a Herculean effort that saw this season’s Cinderella through to the championship.

But two household names are waiting to smash the glass slipper. Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and the rest of the Los Angeles Galaxy will take on the “Eastern Conference Champion” Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup Final November 22nd in Seattle. L.A. will be a heavy favorite, but so was Chicago. And so was Columbus.

And so were the four teams Salt Lake leapfrogged on the last weekend of play.

For once, the Cinderella story might not end at midnight. It might carry through to next season.