Two Minute Warning: Down on Main Street
Two weeks prior to Week Eight action, a co-worker of mine invited me to watch the Eagles/Falcons game at her apartment with a group of people. The apartment is dubbed the “Bob Seger Castle.” Why you ask? For no other reason than it is located on Main Street. Sounds like the concoction of people who were drunk at the time. Nonetheless, here’s a running diary of the day’s events.
10:26 a.m.: After going to bed at 4 a.m. in part because of the World Series Game Three’s finish at nearly 2 a.m., I roll out of bed feeling like I’m wearing an anvil on top of my head. As a Phillie fan, I feel like this World Series is taking years off my life. Nonetheless, football time is hours away.
12:30 p.m.: The phone rings. Uh oh, it’s one of the owners from my fantasy league. Upon answering the phone, his wife is actually on the other end. He wants to squeeze a last minute injury signing for Steven Jackson. If he wasn’t attending a christening, he would have found out earlier and been able to act quicker. So, I talk fantasy football with the Mrs. for a few minutes as she details a few last minute line-up changes for her husband. That’s the beauty of fantasy football. Situations like these pop up and it leads to wives getting involved. You can tell their utter disgust at times talking about it. They’d rather hold a discussion on quantum physics.
1:16 p.m.: Soon after arriving and digging into pizza, I settle into Birds/Falcons. Seven of us are in attendance with two being Giant fans, who are waiting around for the heavyweight battle at 4:15 p.m. between the Steelers and G-Men. The capacity for the room is about eight or nine depending who wants to sit on the floor. The worst part of this whole scenario…I’m going to attempt to go wire to wire without looking at a computer for fantasy football scores. See, I left my laptop in the car because I’ve carried it to other places while watching games and people give me a death stare occasionally because it’s considered rude in some circles. While I certainly understand this, it’s the equivalent of putting a man dying of thirst in the middle of a desert with a few water fountains but telling the poor guy that he can’t drink from them. I don’t see how I can survive this.
1:43 p.m.: Mercifully, the scoreless first quarter ends. The Eagle offense has not been on the field much and their two drives ended in punts. Meanwhile, Donovan McNabb’s play at quarterback is forcing me to play the drink card…if you know what I mean.
1:47 p.m.: McNabb is sacked and fumbles. Falcons recover. Will someone please send a memo to the Birds that not only are they Philly’s forgotten team at the moment, but once Phillies hysteria ends people will realize just how ordinary they are?
2:10 p.m.: Rowdy Roddy White scores on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan. Eagle safety Brian Dawkins whiffs on the play. Dawkins, who is one of the all-time greats in Eagle history, took a bad angle on the play and missed White. B-Dawk is done, sadly.
2:26 p.m.: Mc5 culminates a nine play drive with a three-yard touchdown run which is becoming a scarce commodity in his game. To punctuate the score, McNabb does a John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever dance, much to the delight of the two Giant fans in attendance who enjoy his endzone antics. They were a bit disappointed though because they wanted the classic McNabb “Thriller” dance.
2:43 p.m.: The Eagles finally seize control and take the lead into the third quarter. Meanwhile, the hostess busts out green Jell-o shots to celebrate the second half. With a Russian heritage, she prides herself on going heavy with vodka mixed into the shots. Woah, daddy.
2:58 p.m.: My focus on the game is horribly thrown off by one of the most bizarre commercials I’ve ever seen. I immediately think to myself…that’s the Link of the Week, hands down (see below).
3:15 p.m.: The Eagles lead 17-7 and as Brian Westbrook starts slashing and burning the Falcons…my thoughts drift towards Ray starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine and how he’ll end up throwing some two-hit shutout against the Phils in a few hours. Sorry, it’s the Philly sports fan in me.
3:50 p.m.: Still…no computer usage. I’m almost shaking at this point (and no, it’s not the DTs). In the meantime, someone else there is using their laptop. I should just ask and check the scores shouldn’t I? Ugh, I can hold out for a bit longer.
3:58 p.m.: You know that Save by Zero commercial? I hate it. Third time today I’ve seen it.
4:05 p.m.: The Falcons get screwed by rookie head coach Mike Smith using up all of his challenges. So, he can’t challenge a muffed punt that is recovered by the Eagles. Clearly, a horrible call by the officials. Maybe the umpires from the World Series are actually officiating this game? Anyways, Westbrook puts the Falcons to sleep with a 39-yard touchdown run. Game. Set. Match. 27-14.
Epilogue: I continued my stay at the Castle for the Giants/Steelers tilt, which featured more bad offensive line play by Pittsburgh, watching that Save by Zero commercial another six times, eating a large amount of popcorn and Eli Manning “Eli-ing” the Steelers for a 21-14 win.
About an hour into the Giant game, I crumbled and asked to use a computer only to realize that it was an iMac and the windows kept freezing. Awesome, just awesome. My life is far too dependent on the use of a computer. I need to start socializing with people again.
Ten Things We Learned in Week Eight
1. Clinton Portis is the best player in fantasy football…what?: Considered a late first to second round selection, Portis has flipped the script and proven to be fantasy’s most reliable option in the backfield. He is averaging 118 yards per game and has gained at least 100 yards rushing in the last five games.
2. All of that pre-season Andre Johnson hype was justified: Many fantasy prognosticators expected Johnson to have a big year. Starting out slow, Johnson stepped up to the challenge and is tearing up secondaries. Over the past three games, he has made 32 catches and is the proud recipient of four straight 100-yard receiving games.
3. Roddy White is an elite fantasy football receiver: If I told people before season’s start that Johnson, Santana Moss and White were arguably the three top receivers in fantasy football, they would have looked at me crosseyed. Johnson is certainly believable, Moss is having a bounce back season and then there is the Rowdy one. White owns three straight 100-yard receiving games and has four touchdowns over this stretch. Who knew that White would be a safer play than Terrell Owens or Randy Moss?
4. The Arizona Cardinals can’t win in the Eastern Time zone: Another Eastern Time zone game for the Cards and another failure. This time they blew a two score lead against the Panthers. Their woes have not short circuited the offense, though. Kurt Warner is still firing on all cylinders after another 300-yard passing day. Week Nine sees Warner’s Cards travel out of their time zone again to face his old team, the Rams.
5. Ken Wisenhunt needs to let Tim Hightower start: Can we stop with Edgerrin James now? Hightower plays the role of Leroy Hoard and Tommy Vardell by stealing touchdowns James. However, unlike Hoard and Vardell, Hightower is poised for a starting tailback role. He flashes power and speed, something that left James’ game about five years ago. It’s time for Wisenhunt to make the change.
6. Last week’s game in London featured arguably the top two quarterbacks in fantasy football: Everyone extols the virtues of Drew Brees, but Philip Rivers has played nearly as well. The San Diego signal caller leads the NFL in touchdown passes (19), yards per completion (13.7) and passer rating (107.8). With LaDainian Tomlinson struggling, Rivers finally made the jump from promising young quarterback to one of the league’s big boys.
7. Vernon Davis is a great guy…sort of: Davis taunting a Seahawk defender led to the season’s standout rant from new 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. Watch it. Listen to it. Feel, feel, feel, feel, feel his heat.
8. The Chiefs, Lions, and Bengals will combine to win fewer than five games: This trio of teams has a combined record of 1-21 with Tyler Thigpen, Dan Orlovsky and Ryan Fitzpatrick as their quarterbacks, respectively. Clearly, we are on our way to a bad finish of epic proportions for these three squads.
9. Marshawn Lynch is entering bust territory: It’s a tribute to Bill quarterback Trent Edwards that he has led Buffalo to a 5-2 mark despite Lynch running for 3.7 yards per carry. While Lynch scored six times, he has yet to compile a 100-yard rushing performance this season.
10. BenJarvusBillBelichickMattCassel Green-Ellis could be a touchdown thief: Green-Ellis stepped in for an injured Sammy Morris and could be a goalline threat late in the season if Morris continues to have injury problems. Green-Ellis has two touchdowns this season and has scored in two straight games.
Fantasy Power Poll
Last week’s rankings are in parentheses
1. Clinton Portis (3) – He may collapse by season’s end, but he is giving fantasy owners their money’s worth.
2. Drew Brees (2) – Another week, another big stat day for one of the candidates for NFL MVP.
3. Kurt Warner (6) – Speaking of MVP candidates, if the Cardinals go on to make the playoffs, Warner should receive serious consideration for the award. With apologies to Neil Lomax and Jim Hart, isn’t he already one of the greatest quarterbacks in Cardinal history?
4. Adrian Peterson (1) – It’s time for All Day to guide fantasy teams and the Vikings into the playoffs.
5. Brian Westbrook (NR) – Broken ribs were no problem for Westbrook against Atlanta, but it’s an injury that will not go away.
6. Frank Gore (4) – Maybe Singletary’s next rant will be towards offensive coordinator Mike Martz and his use of Gore.
7. Andre Johnson (NR) – Matt Schaub finally looks like a real NFL QB, in part thanks to Johnson.
8. Philip Rivers (NR) – Tomlinson woke up this week, but Rivers still posted solid numbers and remains a reliable option.
9. Calvin Johnson (NR) – It’s too bad he is saddled with Orlovsky. Perhaps help is on the way in the form of Daunte Culpepper.
10. Roddy White (NR) – I cannot believe White is in the Top 10. A big help to any rookie quarterback is a veteran receiver with breakaway capabilities.
Link of the Week
During the Eagles/Falcons game, the makers of Guitar Hero: World Tour unleashed their commercial featuring Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez and Tony Hawk. The spot focuses on a spoof of the Tom Cruise/Risky Business scene involving Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll.” It’s simply wild and one of the more stunning commercials, I’ve ever watched.
Next Week: A tribute to Philly fans as I sacrifice myself for a couple of evenings in the City of Brotherly Love during the World Series. Pray for my survival.