Monday, November 17, 2014

Football Roundup

LSU was shut out by the Razorbacks, which is a good team but not that good. The Tigers, I suspect, were reflecting the letdown of having been betrayed by their coach the preceding week. I’m not surprised the team played poorly; Les Miles is lucky that they even took the field.

On a happier note, both Eli Manning and the New Orleans Criminals lost yesterday, and each suffered that defeat in their own house. Even sweeter was that the Giants loss was contributed to by no fewer than five Eli Manning interceptions.

The Chargers are celebrating a halt to their losing streak, but I’m not sure that beating a 0-9 team by seven points, and unearned points at that, is really something to celebrate. Most seem to admit that the offense was pretty shoddy, with its only touchdown coming on the heels of a Raiders fumble on its own 20-yard line.

Everyone is excited about the return of Ryan Matthews and thrilled that he ran for 70 yards, but I’m looking at some league stats that make that somewhat less than overwhelmingly impressive. Jonas Gray of New England ran for 199 yards, and he did it against the Colts, not against a team that has lost 15 consecutive games. Thirteen players ran for more yards than Matthews did yesterday, one of them a quarterback, and ten players with ten or more carries had a higher yards-per-carry average. All of them were running against far better defenses than the hapless Raiders.

Too many writers are crowing about the “awesome” performance of the defense, but I’d say they are failing to account that the defense was playing against an offense that has not won a game in more than a year. In nine previous losses Raiders have averaged 72 yards rushing, and they ran for 71 yards yesterday. They averaged 205 yards passing in those games and passed for 162 yesterday. What’s “awesome” about any of that? Yes, the defense looked decent, but they were up against a rookie quarterback and an 0-9 team. They should have looked better.

Yes, technically the Chargers are “back in the playoffs hunt,” but…

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