Melissa's Monday Musings - Week 3
By: The Football Girl | Posted: September 24, 2012
Let’s be real. The NFL is a bit of a disaster right now. While still an amazing product at its core, the cloud of bad officiating is getting thicker by the week, creating a real credibility problem. More on that later.
Luckily beyond the replacement issues Sunday were a whole lot of surprises, amazing plays, and other revelations that I’ll touch on in my musings… starting now!
Are we in referee hell?
- OK, I can’t get my mind off those pesky replacement refs. The more they are bashed the worse they seem to perform. The Chiefs/Saints game had FIVE call reversals. The 49ers/Vikings, somehow Jim Harbaugh was awarded two extra challenges. In that game and others, the head ref would oftentimes neglect to call out a player on an infraction. “Personal Foul. Offense. 15 yards.” That would be it; as if this were pee-wee football and they were ordered to be sensitive to the feelings of a 9-year-old. In the Pats/Ravens Sunday night game, refs let the two sides skirmish five times before throwing the first flag; thus they failed in the basic element of their job – controlling the game.
- Before the season began I assumed the tide of disgust for the replacement ref situation would explode when they inevitably messed up a complex rule – a la “the Calvin Johnson catch”– and changed the outcome of the game. But I truly believe the breaking point was yesterday’s Steelers/Raiders game when they neglected to call the defenseless receiver penalty on Steelers safety Ryan Mundy after his shot to Darrius Heyward-Bey’s head left the receiver motionless on the field and eventually carted off to the hospital. The hit itself did not directly affect the game’s outcome but it was exactly the type of disaster that is supposed to be avoided by consistently throwing the defenseless receiver flag. Across the board, the replacement refs have neglected to do so through three weeks. Good luck finding anyone at this point to refute Steve Young’s notion that the NFL doesn’t care about player safety.
Miscommunication or miscoaching?
- Lions head coach Jim Schwartz wound up chalking up the decision to go for it on 4th and 1 from the Titans 7 down by three in OT, to a simple case of “miscommunication.” He said they were trying to draw the Titans offsides. That may be true or it may be a cop out. Either way, the bad decision (or miscommunication or whatever) was entirely on Schwartz. As a head coach, you must bring your team to a whole new level of focus in that situation. After a crazy comeback that involved recovering an onside kick and a successful Hail Mary, the Lions smacked of playing with house money at that point.
The Invisible Man
- How strange was the disappearance of Lions RB Kevin Smith yesterday? Even when rookie Mikel Leshoure was named the starter we still expected Smith to get some reps as a change of pace back. No carries. No catches. No nothing. Strange.
Ponder no more
- Major kudos to Vikings QB Christian Ponder who was in Tom Brady territory when it came to dominating Week 3 performances. Ponder’s 198 yards and 2 touchdowns may not pop on paper but his accuracy, decision-making and confidence against one of the league’s nest defenses was astonishing. After leading the Vikings down the field on their first drive and punching it into the end zone (Kyle Rudolph), Ponder and the Vikes kept the momentum for 95% of the game, which was reflected by the outcome.
Ponder stretching for a touchdown
Sympathy for Torrey Smith
- There are no words to describe the emotional state of Torrey Smith after his little brother, Tevin, was killed in a motorcycle crash yesterday morning. So did anyone else find it odd when after Smith’s touchdown Al Michaels said something to the effect of how it was a sweet moment on an otherwise awful day? Smith’s situation is nothing I can relate to; however, I would imagine the act of catching a touchdown is not something that made a dent on Smith’s emotional map yesterday. As reflected on Smith’s face, he looked like a broken-hearted guy just trying to survive the day with grace. Kudos to him for doing so.
Brutal start times for the late games
- After three weeks I hate the 4:05 start times. I understand the network with no early games gets them, but the spacing is not working out. Granted there were three overtime games over the early set yesterday but even a few non-overtime games didn’t finish until the Philadelphia-Arizona and Atlanta-San Diego were halfway through the first quarter. 4:15 would be a good start. Or maybe 5:15 while we still have replacement refs.
Paging old Peyton
- Peyton Manning officially doesn’t look like Peyton Manning anymore. The smart decision-making is still there, but the arm strength, the zip, and proper lines have all diminished. I think Arizona, San Francisco, Miami and other players in the “Peyton sweepstakes” must be happy with the outcome in retrospect. Peyton is still king when it comes to endorsements (only Mitt Romney got more ads these days) but he even looks old in that venue, especially when paired his Eli who for some reason does not age. Good luck envisioning a 60-year-old Eli Manning.
Biggest surprise of Week 3?
- What’s the bigger surprise – Arizona at 3-0 or the New Orleans at 0-3? I think the Cardinals considering they beat the Patriots and now the Eagles in non-fluky fashion. Despite being near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, that defense is going to keep them competitive against anyone. They have no holes and the front seven has been stronger and faster than opponents. Looking ahead the Cards face the Dolphins, Rams, Bills and Vikings. In other words, they could be 7-0 when they host San Francisco in Week 8.
- Conversely, the Saints have a terrible defense. But we already knew that. The offense is clicking, but obviously not enough. One thing I’m tired of is using Sean Payton’s absence as the scapegoat. This is not a team with a rookie quarterback unable to gel without intense guidance. Drew “freakin’ Brees is the ringleader, a guy that for years has rivaled Manning as most coachish player out. Sure, Payton’s absence doesn’t help matters but that is not why the Saints are losing.
Play of the day?
Or something else?
Week 3’s best quotable
- Curt Menefee was temporarily my favorite person on Earth when he followed up his in-game cut in for a Jets/Dolphins in which he noted it was Tim Tebow’s return to Florida with this money line: “Sorry guys, we’re obligated to mention him as much as possible. Back to you.”
What are your musings? Even if your name doesn't start with an "M," we'd love to hear them!
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