Monday, November 27, 2006

NFL Thoughts, Week 12

I had a pretty rough weekend. Not only was I dealing with in-laws (mostly by hiding from them via “errands” I suddenly needed to run), I also endured a brutal—even by their standards—Bobcats loss on Saturday (see my earlier blog for the gory details), topped off by an even more grizzly Panthers loss on Sunday.

The Carolina game was a defensive stalemate—emphasis on the “stale”—with both teams playing it more conservative than Trent Lott. Neither team could get much of anything established; it was like watching a sumo match in which both wrestlers are armless. Much of the game was knotted up at 3-3, and at one point commentator Sam Rolen even mistook the score for how many timeouts each team had left. As we moved into the second inning—er, half—and the Panthers failed to pull away, I knew what was coming, and the end results were almost anticlimactic. 4th quarter leads were blown. Horrendous interceptions were thrown. Curses were screamed. Pillows were punched. Excrement on the carpet was pooped (by the cats). In short, it was a tragic sequence of events that’s become all too painfully familiar.

Making matters worse, just after the game ended, and while I was reeling around on the carpet agonizing, Lexus unleashed its new ad campaign, in which people are actually giving each other the $50K luxury vehicles as Christmas presents. Are they serious?? They even play syrupy music and show the cars wrapped in cute little “bows,” presumably to tug at our heartstrings. I wonder if it’s occurred to the good folks at Lexus that a lot of people might find this a tad bit, um, I don’t know…revolting?

Anyway, I recovered sufficiently enough to catch the Patriots-Bears. I could be wrong on this, but I saw a lot of curious parallels to the way this game played out and Jay-Z’s new album, Kingdom Come:

1. Explosive BeginningBears-Patriots: three straight turnovers in the red zone, the spectacular blocked field goal
Kingdom Come: three straight awesome songs, the spectacular “Oh My God” track

2. Middle That Lags at Times But Occasionally Amuses
Bears-Patriots: a couple of obligatory pass interference calls for no reason and some three-and-outs; but also a horrific Junior Seau broken-arm (in which his reaction was eerily similar to that of the character he played in the movie “Any Given Sunday” in the scene where his eye gets gouged out), and the game’s single best moment: a crazy fumble-within-a-fumble play
Kingdom Come: a couple of obligatory odes to the rapper’s single mama and dead/imprisoned homies; but also a plug for my future employers, Amex (“now I’ve got the Black Card, good credit and such”), and the album’s single best line: “I’m the monster of the double entendre, coke is still my sponsor”

3. Sweeping, Epic Ending
Bears-Patriots: Tom Brady’s dramatic run for a first down and Asante Samuel’s sprawling 3rd interception
Kingdom Come: the dramatic Katrina victims tribute “Minority Report,” and “Beach Chair,” a sprawling opus that sounds like something U2 would do if Bono was a former drug-dealer from Brooklyn who wrote things like, “Look but don’t touch, muthaf---a think twice, cuz the Gat that I clutch got a little red light”

Offensive Player of the Week: I’m giving it to Roscoe Parrish, who ran a kickoff back 82-yards for a touchdown and also made a truly fabulous 30-yard catch along the sidelines to keep alive a last-minute Bills drive that ended with the game-winning field goal.

Defensive Player of the Week: Take your pick among any of the Ravens who sacked Big Ben an astonishing 9 times. Nine times? Niiiiiiine times. I also have to give an honorable mention to the Redskins secondary, particularly Carlos Rogers, Shawn Springs, and Sean Taylor. They completely neutralized Keyshawn Johnson and Steve Smith, limited them to 72 total yards, and basically were the polonium in the Panthers’ bloodstream all day.

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