Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morrison Tears It Up/NFL Thoughts, Week 7

Heading into the 2007-08 season, one of the primary challenges facing the Bobcats was how to find minutes behind Jason Richardson for both Matt Carroll and Adam Morrison. Well, mission accomplished! Morrison, tore up his ACL and joined incumbent Sean May on the injured reserve list, thereby ending that particular controversy. All I can say is, thank god for the Atlanta Hawks. If it weren’t for them, all any fans in the Southeast would be talking about is our horrendous drafting history. Fortunately for us, not only have the Hawks stockpiled rookie forwards like T.I. on a firearms shopping spree, but at last check I think Atlanta’s owners had actually filed restraining orders against each other—put them in a trailer park at 2 AM and you’ve got an episode of Cops.

I actually feel really bad for Morrison. Criticism of his play last year was so abundant it became something of a cottage industry. His shooting percentage was bad, his defense was bad, he couldn’t dribble, his PER ratings fell worse than The Bionic Woman, and ESPN’s David Thorpe even published a ridiculously long critique of him that read like The 9/11 Commission Report. And yet, I can think of at least a dozen or so games in which Morrison came up HUGE for us, and was far and away the biggest reason we won. He’s an easy guy to cheer for, and I’m sure he was looking forward to this year.

No Panthers game this week, so I focused on the Giants, who in turn focused on ending Trent Dilfer’s career. It was kind of sad watching Dilfer stumble around out there; he reminded me of Evander Holyfield or Gary Oldman at the end of Sid and Nancy. Like Sid Vicious, Dilfer was never particularly talented, but he did have some brief glory days with the Ravens. That’s all in the distant past now. "They bring enough pressures right when you think you're getting comfortable," a beat-up Dilfer said after the game, sounding like the sad, defeated lyrics to some Radiohead song. "They do a good job making adjustments and overloading you.” Three fumbles, two interceptions, and six sacks. This is what you get, Trent, this is what you get when you mess with the Giants D-Line.

Meanwhile, announcers Daryl Johnston, Kenny Albert, and Tony Siragusa remain unmatched in their level of obsession with “momentum.” I am almost shocked that Fox hasn’t come up with some sort of “Momentum Meter” yet, because to hear those three yammer on about it, speculate on which team has it, announce when it has shifted, etc., it sounds as important and measurable as the score. A team apparently can’t win without it, and although it’s possible to lose a little bit of it, it’s critical to have “all” of it at certain junctures, such as going into halftime and starting each quarter.

And finally, here’s a public service announcement: unless you enjoy seeing total self-destruction, avoid the movie Gone Baby Gone. This is a movie that was cruising along nicely, complete with what appeared to be a serviceable ending, until it careened horribly out of control at about the 90-minute mark with not one, not two, but three entirely unnecessary and utterly preposterous plot twists. Talk about a momentum shift, this thing snowballed into an avalanche of absurdity and just couldn’t stop. You know that scene in The Naked Gun when the bad guy crashes his car into a truck, which in turn crashes into a trailer carrying a nuclear missile, all of which rolls into a fireworks factory? That’s like what happened to this movie: the overwrought stupidity collided and compounded upon itself exponentially. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the movie’s plot, how ridiculous does this sound just by itself: the culprit behind the high-profile kidnapping of a 4-year-old white girl ending up being the Boston police chief…played by Morgan Freeman…who would have gotten away with it if not for one guy. Didn’t anyone in production find this even slightly implausible? How could no one say anything? The only explanation I can think of is that the REAL reason Affleck shot this film is that he was conducting some sort of modern-day Milgram experiment on the perils of herd mentality.

Defensive Player of the Week: Elvis Dumervil, Broncos. I don’t know if Denver’s season can be saved at this point, but Dumervil certainly did his part. His two sacks and a forced fumble played a huge role in the Broncos first impressive outing of the year. Special recognition goes to Darryl Tapp, who had 4 sacks and forced fumbles up the wazoo, but he did it against the Rams, so who cares? It's like saying you had a great game of Scrabble against a 2nd grader. I'm not even sure what it would take for me to make someone defensive player of the week against St. Louis...probably 8 sacks, 4 interceptions, and using one of Stephen Jacksons dredlocks to pick your nose after a tackle--something like that.

Offensive Player of the Week: Randy Moss, Patriots. From a guy you couldn’t pick out of a police lineup to a guy who literally HAS been picked out of a police lineup. Moss had 122 yards and two positively phenomenal touchdown catches. Moss is so incredible in the end zone, he’s got Brady just haphazardly heaving stuff out there in his general direction and getting away with it, a la Jake Delhomme to Steve Smith.

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