The Mighty MJD's Smorgasbord runs every Monday. Do enjoy.
• I'm running a little late today ... I usually like to get here about an hour before kickoff, but I don't make it today until about 12:30. The place is full ... no tables available. So I'm sitting at the bar, by myself, and I have to turn back over my shoulder to watch the Chargers/Patriots game at about an 80-degree angle ... which feels great, since I sunburned the hell out of my neck yesterday. So yeah, I should be in a good mood all afternoon.
• FOX's pregame show is doing a segment on the "sportsmanship" of the Cowboys opting to not punt the ball to Devin Hester. I can't believe this is an issue. What is unsportsmanlike about not wanting Devin Hester to singlehandedly beat you? If you're a Bears fan, and you want to call the Cowboys pussies, fine ... I'd do the same. But unsportsmanlike? Isn't part of sportsmanship trying your hardest to win the game? I don't see much unsportsmanlike about trying to take away your opponent's biggest (and only) threat.
• The Eagles are dressed today as the UCLA men's baton-twirling team. The uniforms are throwbacks from the year ... actually, I'm not sure what the year is, but it was at some point in American history where cross-dressing was socially acceptable and gender roles were defined in completely different ways. I don't mean to overstate, but this is the gayest thing to happen in Philadelphia since Tom Hanks was nailing Antonio Banderas in that one movie.
• Ronnie Brown picks up 10 yards on an early carry in the Jets/Dolphins game, equaling his season's output thus far.
• The Patriots are wearing their shiny silver jerseys today, which I think is a good choice. Silver, as opposed to white, makes it much easier to hide the surveillance equipment. While the league's investigating this, I'd like them to go back and check Tedy Bruschi's surgical records and make sure that the hole in his heart was actually repaired, and not just filled with a Sony Handycam.
• Philadelphia's on the board early as Brian Westbrook goes about 25 yards for the score, prompting the Eagles to frolic and cavort joyously, something they can't do in their standard greens.
• Sports bar fashion statement of the day: Old school, creamsicle-colored Tampa Bay Buccaneers trucker hat, with the retro neatly groomed pirate logo. I tip my cap to you, sir.
• The 49ers open up their game at Pittsburgh with a field goal drive ... but then give up a 98-yard touchdown return to Allen Rossum on the ensuing kickoff. That should just about put that one out of reach.
• And the Chargers put together maybe their best drive of the season, with LaDainian Tomlinson having a few successful runs, and Phil Rivers finishing it off with a 27-yard TD pass to sleeper-who's-still asleep Vincent Jackson.
• It's about 1:30 now, and people are still attempting to file in ... I felt like a jackass for getting here just a half-hour early. The NFL is getting too damn popular. So I leave the place, abandon the entire concept of an NFL Smorgasbord, and head to a gay bar to do a figure skating Smorgasbord or something ... and I get there, and everyone there is glued to the Eagles game. So much for that idea.
• You know what I love? When the cameras in Green Bay pan the audience, looking for people wearing foam blocks of cheese on their head. That never gets old. Nope. Still cracks me up every goddamn time I see it. Green Bay is the birthplace of comedy.
• Donovan McNabb, in an effort to smooth things over with white people, goes deep to Kevin Curtis for about a 70-yard TD strike. The Eagles lead 21-7.
• Brett Favre goes to Donald Driver ... and he might have caught that, had Chargers safety Marlon McCree not jacked him in the head with both forearms. Sometimes, I get the feeling that Marlon McCree is a little bit of a dirty player, but that's probably only because he keeps making dirty plays.
• Santonio Holmes takes an end-around, and looks to want to throw the ball, but has no one open ... he reverses field, looking for a block from Ben Roethlisberger, who then falls to his hands and knees and sort of points to a guy who should have been blocked before he took Holmes down for a loss. Ben Roethlisberger makes Marc Bulger looks like a ferocious blocker.
• McNabb to Kevin Curtis again for a touchdown ... you know what, Drexl, today is White Boy Day. And, as a special bonus, McNabb gets up slowly and his holding his ribs after being hit. Gregg Doyel is going to be thrilled.
• For some reason, JP Losman isn't currently under center for the Bills ... it's someone named Edwards. They're playing the Patriots, so it's not like it matters ... honestly, I'd have never noticed the difference if I hadn't seen "EDWARDS" printed across the guy's back.
• Derrick Mason (there's a name you don't hear much these days) catches a touchdown pass, and then breaks off a Michael Jackson dance move in the endzone. If he scores again, I fear that he'll put on a glittered glove and fondle a kid. I can't imagine Roger Goodell would be pleased with that.
• A McNabb screen pass to Westbrook goes to the house from about 40 yards out, and the Eagles offense is a house of fire. They're going into halftime with 42 points on the board ... with Donovan McNabb (14/15, 332 yards, 4 TDs), Brian Westbook and Kevin Curtis (8 for 190, 3 TDs), all having career days, in just half a day's work.
• Steelers kicker Jeff Reed (who's having a fantastic year, by the way) has gotten a haircut and is sporting a mouthpiece today, for some reason. My guess is that it's not to protect him from any physical play on the football field, but as a safety precaution in some daring, dangerous, cunnilingual maneuver he's planning on a Pittsburgh lady at halftime.
• LaDainian Tomlinson shows some signs of coming out of his coma as he takes a Phil Rivers screen pass into the endzone, putting the Chargers up 21-17.
• Pittsburgh's got a pretty good defense, but San Francisco's offense ... they're not good. Norv Turner taking the Chargers job has hurt the 49ers just as much as it has hurt the Chargers. I wonder if we could work out some kind of a trade, exchanging Nate Clements for Norv Turner. It doesn't even have to be Nate Clements ... I'd take Isaac Sopoaga and one of those Joe Montana lithographs that OJ Simpson wanted to badly.
• Ravens cornerback Corey Ivy yanks the football out of the hands of Larry Fitzgerald ... Fitzgerald went up and caught it, and Ivy just said, "Fuck you, that's mine," and took it from him. I think I saw Kurt Warner in the game, too ... I'm not sure, though.
• I'm now sitting next to a gentleman wearing an authentic Jason Avant Eagles jersey (the normal green one, not the fruity pastel one) ... he confides in me that he just dropped Kevin Curtis to pick up Jason Avant on his fantasy team. Woops.
• Larry Johnson, at the moment: 17 carries, 21 yards.
• Earnest Graham scores for the Buccaneers ... I don't know who the fuck Earnest Graham is.
• There's Kurt Warner again ... he is playing. I don't know if Leinart's hurt, has been benched or his herpes has flared up. Warner is sharp, though ... every time I look at that game, he's hitting Anquan Boldin in the numbers.
• The Packers have a 4th and goal inside the Chargers 1-yard-line, with about 5 minutes to go in the game ... they opt to go for it. Favre's pass is knocked down at the line of scrimmage, and he and his record-tying touchdown can suck me. Couple of first downs here, and the Chargers put a tough road win to bed.
• I'd stopped paying attention to the game completely, because I didn't think there was any way the Ravens would blow a 17-point halftime lead against the Cardinals ... but then again, I wasn't counting on Kurt Warner and the power of Jesus Christ. He (Warner, not Christ) hits Boldin for a 32-yard touchdown pass, and the Cardinals are within 3.
• The Chargers fail to get that series of first downs that they needed ... following some poor punt coverage, Brett Favre hits Brandon Jennings on a little slant, and Jennings turns into Jerry Rice while the Chargers defense turns into ... I don't know, a bunch of guys comfortable to just chase Brandon Jennings at a safe following distance, and I can now suck Brett Favre and his record-tying touchdown.
• Favre celebrates by picking up Donald Driver. I don't know why. Jennings is going to cry himself to sleep tonight wondering why he isn't worthy of being picked up by Favre.
• Neil Rackers hits a 41-yarder, and Arizona's tied the game with under a minute to play.
• There's still time for San Diego to come back, though ... and as well as Phil Rivers has been throwing the ball today, they should have — ah, fuck, Rivers just threw an interception.
• Kyle Boller is, for the second week in a row, being very un-Boller-like, and is leading the Ravens up the field in the two minute drive. He's 3-of-3 on the drive, and Adrian Wilson helps them out by picking up a 15-yard personal foul ... Matt Stover's on to try and win the game with 5 seconds left. He does, of course, because the Cardinals are still the Cardinals. But at least Kurt Warner finally showed some sings of becoming their quarterback of the future.
• The Ravens fans in here go absolutely nuts when Stover ends it ... maybe it's just me, but if I was expecting my team to be a Super Bowl contender, and they just narrowly edged the Cardinals (at home) ... I don't think I'd be going nuts about. Raiders fans, Browns fans, maybe the Vikings, 49ers and Bills ... that's about all the teams that are justified in celebrating a win over the Cardinals.
• It looks like the league is really going to go through with his Oakland/Cleveland game. Hm. I thought they were just kidding.
• I'm not one to compliment the Redskins often, but ... these throwback jerseys with the yellow helmets ... they're fantastic. I'd support a full-time switch back to those. Eliminating one half of the racist name/racist logo combination is progress.
• Fox is showing a stat about the formations that the Falcons have run so far in the game ... they've run three-receiver sets 11 times, way more than they've run anything else ... and the 4- and 5-receiver sets are just as popular as the traditional 2-receiver sets. This is interesting game-planning for a team with no good receivers, no good quarterbacks and two good running backs.
• Joey Harrington and Josh McCown throw touchdown passes, nearly simultaneously ... please stand in a doorway and grab on to something study as the world spins backwards for a few minutes.
• The Raiders have opened up a 13-0 lead over the Browns ... and the Cincinnati defense looks worse and worse with each second that goes by, regardless of what's happening in their game against Seattle.
• Joey Harrington so far: 11/15, 175 yards, 1 TD. I knew he had it in him ... all he needed was for Bobby Petrino to say publicly that it was time for Harrington to stop playing like a big wet vagina and take some risks out there.
• Derek Anderson, meanwhile, is 4/8 with 2 interceptions. Welcome back, Derek Anderson.
• Joshua Cribbs gets loose for a 99-yard touchdown return against the Raiders ... the last man he had to beat was Sebastian Janikowski, and you're not going to believe this, but Janikowski is not an aggressive or agile tackler. I have a feeling, though, that if he was allowed to slip opposing running backs roofies, that he could be a pretty good linebacker.
• Browns tight end Steve Heiden is waaaaay the fuck open in the endzone. Derek Anderson misses him by about 4 yards.
• I haven't been paying much attention to the Redskins/Giants game, but I know this ... if your fantasy league awards points for drops, Plaxico Burress is having a monster day.
• Brand new old Saints kicker Morten Andersen, grandfather of Browns QB, Derek, steps onto the field and boots one through for the Falcons.
• Hey, it's a Daunte Culpepper sighting ... he's under center for the Raiders, as Josh McCown is limping around the sidelines.
• Eli Manning comes out after halftime, throwing the ball pretty well ... and this time, Plaxico Burress is actually catching it. Shockey had a nice grab, too, and Reuben Droughns finished it off with a touchdown run. The Giants, briefly here in the 3rd quarter, resemble an NFL football team.
• Joey Harrington with another touchdown pass, this one to Alge Crumpler ... and the t-shirt under Harrington's pads today reads, "FUCK OFF, BYRON LEFTWICH."
• Eli Manning, falling backwards, just blindly heaves a ball downfield with all of his strength ... Sean Taylor was waiting for it like a punt. He could have called fair catch.
• Ed Hochuli, doing the Cincinnati/Seattle game, treats us to our first "unabated to the quarterback" of this young season ... the first I've seen, anyway. And I do mean, "see," I had to lip read it ... the sound is on the Redskins/Giants game. The sound from Cincinnati/Seattle is being abated.
• Stat on CBS: The Browns have won six of their last sevewn games against the Raiders. If that's not a direct indictment of the Raiders over the last few years, I don't know what is.
• DeAngelo Hall is losing his shit ... he tackled Steve Smith on one play for a 37-yard pass interference call, and then racked up 2 consecutive personal fouls, one for hitting Smith in the head, and another for being abusive to an official ... now he's taken his act to the sidelines, where he's being abusive to a whole series of coaches. That's 67 yards in penalties on DeAngelo Hall alone, on one drive ... he pretty much scored that touchdown for the Panthers.
• Hey, Scott Player is back in the league ... I thought someone cut him this off-season. The Playa is punting for the Browns, now ... and is doing so with the one-bar facemask, and the Hulk Hogan-style, white, goatee thing. I wonder if Jeff Reed considers him a mentor in any way.
• Brilliant replay in the Browns game ... The camera follows Joe Jurevicious who runs a little in route, is completely wide open in all directions, and just stands there, looking back to the backfield ... and the ball just comes rolling into the frame, past his feet, and he's just looking back like, "Are you fucking kidding me?"
• A couple of plays later, Jurevicius is wide open again ... and the pass sails over his head by about six yards. I'm really only presenting one side of the story here, Derek Anderson has made some good throws today ... but when he is bad, he is very, very, bad. Joe Jurevicius might announce his retirement tomorrow.
• Matt Hasselbeck makes a beautiful throw to Nate Burleson to put the Seahawks in front of the Bengals ... but the Bengals (Bingles, as Terry Bradshaw calls them), are going to have 1:00 to try to tie things up... actually, no, they aren't. Not if they fumble the ensuing kickoff. Sorry, Bingles.
• Derek Anderson, meanwhile, is leading a drive for the Brownies, to get them into range to win with a field goal ... Anderson does his job, and gets Phil Dawson a chance. On the last play before the field goal attempt, the Raiders had zero down linemen ... dropped everyone into coverage, and yet, Joe Jurevicius was wide open (on the sideline, even) for a gain of 13. Here comes Phil Dawson to attempt the game winner.
• The kick goes up, and it's good, but it was one of those deals where the opposing coach called timeout at the last second. It won't count. As a fan with no real rooting interest in that game (actually, that's not true, I hate the Raiders) ... I find this annoying. I think they have to change that rule. You want to ice a kicker, fine ... but this, "Let's make him kick it and then have it not count" thing is bullshit.
• Of course, Dawson's next attempt is blocked as the Cleveland line just absolutely caves in ... Raiders win. I can't deny that a blocked field goal is a fitting way for that atrocity to end, though.
• It's coming down to it in the Redskins/Giants game, too ... Randle-El (having his best year, by far, by the way) has an excellent punt return for the 'Skins, giving them a chance to get in position to tie things up with a touchdown.
• Of course, that fizzles when the Giants put together a goal-line stand when Ladell Betts loses two yards on 4th down. One never-say-die (or anything else lucid, for that matter) Redkins fan is now screaming, "SAFETY TIME!" because, you know, chances are, they'll be able to get a safety when Eli Manning takes one snap and kneels on it to end the game.