Before I get to the nuts and bolts of yesterday’s games, I wanted to lead with something that’s not necessarily about football, but I will tie it into football at the end. This week’s 10 Yard Fight is dedicated to my Uncle Dave.
For the last seven Septembers, my rather large family has gathered together at my Uncle Dave’s favorite beach to celebrate his birthday. On the drive home from the beach yesterday, JJ, my youngest son asked me if Uncle Dave was my favorite uncle. When you have seven of them, it’s kind of hard to choose. I have things in common with some uncles that I don’t have with others, but family is family. But growing up, I spent much more time with my Uncle Dave than I did with my other uncles, so I knew him the best out of all of them.
He had a great sense of humor and his kids have tons of stories that they have a hard time finishing because they are laughing so hard while telling them. He was a generous person and one of the easiest people to like that I’ve ever met.
Now, to tie this into football. In the late 80s/early 90s, Uncle Dave would come by my house on most Sundays during the football season. He’d bring his kids who would play with my sister while the rest of us would watch 49ers football. My mom would make fried rice and we’d all be fired up to watch the next butt-whooping that the 49ers were about to lay on whoever they were playing. (And how times have changed.) By the end of the first half, the 49ers would be up by 20 points, which made fans at ease. That ease would put my Uncle Dave to sleep. By the second half, he’d be on the floor sleeping, only to be woken up for a few seconds after reacting to our joyful screams of yet another Jerry Rice touchdown. When he woke up, he’d say that if the 49ers ever played any close games, maybe he wouldn’t fall asleep.
Happy Birthday Uncle Dave. He left us 8 years ago, but you can’t forget the unforgettable.
1. If you want to see what the lockout did to the bad teams, look no further than yesterday’s game between the Cincinnati Bengals and my beloved 49ers. The only difference between this game and a preseason football game is that all the starters played in this game. How’s this for all sorts of terrible? Neither team accumulated 230 yards of offense. Neither team averaged 6 yards per pass. Neither team averaged more than 4 yards per carry (and the 49ers averaged a paltry 1.7 per rush attempt). And both teams nearly had as many penalties as points – 49ers had 12 penalties and 13 points while the Bengals had 6 penalties and 8 points. Putrid, putrid football. (I’m having a hard time with the fist pump celebrating the fact that my 49ers are 2-1.)
2. How about that team on the other side of the bay? The Oakland Raiders welcomed the New York Jets into Oaktown and then pulled the welcome mat out from under them. The Jets are supposed to be a Super Bowl contender. The Raiders are not. So how do you explain a 34-24 win by the Raiders? Well, the Raiders didn’t look great the entire game. After a Nick Folk field goal, the Jets were up 17-7 midway through the second quarter. And that’s where the Raiders’ speed kicked in. Darren McFadden took a handoff 70 yards to pay dirt before halftime. And then in the 3rd quarter, Denarius Moore took a reverse 23 yards for a touchdown. All in all, they scored 24 straight points before holding off the Jets near the end. Both teams now sit at 2-1.
3. If you were only able to watch the first half of the morning games, you felt pretty confident that the Patriots and Vikings were going to cruise to victory. But that didn’t happen. The Pats and Vikes fell for the old banana in the tailpipe. The Buffalo Bills were able to get in a shootout with the ultimate shootout team. The Bills turned Tom Brady’s four picks into 24 points. Rian Lindell kicked a field goal with no time remaining to win the game. Are the Bills for real? I think we know that the Lions are for real. They were down 20 points after the first half and just chipped away at the lead as Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson played basketball down the stretch. They actually took the lead late in the game until the Vikes made a small comeback to force the game into overtime. But, Jason Hanson kicked a field goal to send the Vikings to 0-3.
4. In yet another shootout, the New Orleans Saints outlasted the Houston Texans. Drew Brees threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns. Matt Schaub threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns. Alex Smith has only thrown two touchdowns all season long. Sad face.
5. Just by these quotes, you can pretty much tell what happened to the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. These come from Mike Vick about the lack of respect he receives from referees after taking hits in the pocket:
I don’t get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does and I don’t know why. But, hey, I’m not going to complain about it. I’m just making everybody aware and hopefully somebody will take notice.
Sorry buddy, you just did complain about it. Honestly, he probably doesn’t get those same flags because the referees are too busy waiting for him to get out of the pocket and run. And he probably doesn’t say that if the Eagles win and aren’t 1-2.
Georges St. Pierre was not impressed by your performance Mike Vick.
7. I received a text on Sunday that said, “Phillip Rivers looks like Jay Cutler today.” And I don’t think she meant in the looks department. Jay Cutler is a pretty good starting quarterback in the NFL, but being compared to Jay Cutler is usually not good. It usually means that the football is flying all over the field and the other team is catching it. It also meant that the Chargers were struggling with the Chiefs was quite the surprise to me since they were playing without Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs did get within 3 points late in the game, but San Diego was in control.
8. The ghost of Peyton Manning was on the sideline of the Colts’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Okay, it was the real Manning, but he looked like an uncomfortable angry ghost out there watching. It must’ve been killing him inside to watch Kerry Collins do some brutal things with the football. But the Colts finally played a decent game against a good team. Big Ben put the Steelers in position to win a close game and you never felt like the Colts really had a good chance, but at least it was much better than the two drubbings that were handed to them in the two weeks prior. However, if they play this well, they might actually beat some teams and ruin the Suck For (Andrew) Luck campaign.
9. And the rest … Matt Ryan threw 47 times in the Falcons’ loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs. I’m not sure he’s going to win a lot of games having to throw that much. The Seahawks beat the Cards in the opposite of a shootout 13-10 while the St. Louis Rams didn’t give their fans too much to root for in their humbling loss to the Baltimore Ravens. So guess who is in first place in the vaunted NFC West? Yep, those beloved 49ers. In another barnburner, Cam Newton earned his first win against Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jags. Matt Hassleback out-dueled Kyle Orton as Chris Johnson continued to struggle running the ball. And while Daniel Thomas may have taken Reggie Bush’s starting running back job, they still lost to those frisky Cleveland Browns who scored with 43 seconds left to win in Cleveland.
10. Monday night’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will probably tell us if the Redskins are for real or not. They’re 2-0 with victories over the Arizona Cards and NY Giants, but a win in Cowboys Stadium would be a different story. The Cowboys come into the game banged up. Tony Romo hurt his ribs against the 49ers and even midweek, was having trouble getting up out of his chair.