Introductory paragraphs? We don't need no stinking introductory paragraphs!
49er Game: San Francisco 24, Detroit 17:
The 49ers snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating the lowly Detroit Lions. Previously, Zembla had stated that San Francisco's season would be over with a defeat at the paws of Detroit. Thankfully for the squad's smoldering ember of playoff hope, the team maintained their slim lead for the entire fourth quarter, holding off a half-hearted Detroit comeback with some extremely mediocre second-half play. The fans booed, the team made some defensive stops, and I fell asleep in the third quarter.
This is not an exciting football team. Jeff Garcia can't loft the ball more than 15 yards in the air. His patented leap-in-the-air-and-throw-the-football-straight-at-the-ground move has become increasingly more frequent, and increasingly more desperate. The offensive line allows him to get hit a lot. The result is that the Niners are limited to runs and short passes only, leading to a rather boring, limited offense. All the same, with all of their home divisional games remaining, plus a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the team is poised to finish 9-7, sneak into the playoffs, and get blown out by the Eagles or Buccaneers in the first round.
Terrell Owens Surliness Update:
At a pregame breakfast, Owens and Garcia reportedly "settled their differences", which is a relief, considering that both men will be receiving millions of dollars this season for their football play. But, thanks to this wonderful, big-hearted effort, fans can rest assured that a schoolyard conflict will not undermine the footballing season.
Terrell Owens Fanciness Update:
1) After his first-quarter touchdown catch, Mr. Owens did an intricately-choreographed celebratory dance. He seemed upset when teammates high-fived him, distracting him from his dance.
2) During a timeout in the second quarter, TV cameras caught Mr. Owens lying supine on the turf, chortling as a trainer lovingly stretched his thigh muscles.
3) Mr. Owens wore a diamond earring approximately the size of a watch band for the entire football contest.
Terrell Owens Wussiness Update:
Lions defensive back Dre Bly made in interception in the second quarter because Mr. Owens both failed to complete his pass pattern nor make any attempt to break up the pass.
Strength of Schedule:
The 49ers have notched their only two wins this season against the two worst teams in the NFL this season, Detroit and Chicago. Unimpressive? Yes. But, they can take some consolation. Unlike their cross-bay rivals, they did not lose to the league's worst team, the Chicago Bears.
It must have been quite a Monday morning at the police stations of Oakland. Hungover, still-beligerent fans waking up in the drunk tank with no memory of the alcohol-fueled acts of rage that landed them in the slammer, recalling only similarly-drunken Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski's crucial missed extra point in the Chicago game. Perhaps one drunken fan will make eye contact with the also-hungover desk sergeant, lips silently mouthing "Kordell Stewart?" over and over. The fans will eventually get bailed out by their girlfriends, call in sick at the refinery, and sleep deep into the afternoon, waking up just in time to attend the A's-Red Sox game and throw batteries at Johnny Damon's ambulance.
Dante Hall's Inferno of Touchdown Goodness:
Do not kick to this man! He has four kick returns for touchdowns in five games. If your team scores a touchdown, consider an onside kick. On fourth down, you might as well go for it. Turning the ball over is still preferable to giving up a touchdown going the other way. Punting out of bounds versus Kansas City will soon join the pantheon of chicken-out sporting decisions, along with the Barry Bonds intentional walk, the Shaquille O'Neal off-the-ball foul, and any heavyweight champion fighting a Caucasian. If Dante Hall takes one back this week, Dick Vermeil is going to be sobbing.
Cooking with Dick Vermeil:
I think this would be a good show. Coach Vermeil coaxes great flavor out of underappreciated ingredients, ingredients that often become disappointments in other chef's recipes. Also, every recipe involves chopping onions, so he's basically in tears the whole time.
NFL Coaching Reunion Tour 2003:
Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can't go home again," which proved to be a prescient sentiment as three formerly-great coaches returned for road games against their old teams. Of course, even Wolfe couldn't have anticipated that Tampa Bay would blow a 21-point lead in just under five minutes.
Steve Mariucci reminded me of my sister's ex-boyfriend, that everyone in the family loved. Of course, he's heavier than he used to be, and she's moved on and is dating a tattooed drywall specialist, and Mom has stopped hoping they'll get back together. Even so, you can't help but root for him and wish him well at junior college. Still, you feel sorry for him, grimacing involuntarily as he talks about souping up another classic car, or paces the sidelines in a too-tight light blue team shirt.
Mike Holmgren took his undefeated Seahawks team to Green Bay on Sunday, and Brett Favre took their lunch money and their sneakers. Coach Holmgren left Green Bay for Seattle after two consecutive Super Bowl appearances, desperate to prove his genius away from Favre, his Hall of Fame quarterback, and Ron Wolf, the meddling General Manager. He even took Favre's old backup, Matt Hasselbeck, with him, and traded running back Ahman Green (now a star with Green Bay).
It's as if George Martin had left the Beatles and formed a new band, taking with him Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe. And then, every few years, the new band had to compete against the Beatles in a Battle of the Bands, with predictable results. This year, Holmgren and the boys had been rehearsing a lot, made a great new single, and were totally poised to win the Battle. But then Best broke his sticks, and Sutcliffe got distracted by a German photographer, and Hasselbeck threw a crucial third-quarter interception, and the band lost 35-13.
Finally, Tony Dungy took his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, to face his old team, Tampa Bay. Countless other sources can describe their unreal comeback from 28 points down, capped by a partially-blocked game-winning field goal in overtime that ricoheted off the right upright and still went in. Here's what stood out to me about the contest:
1) Monday Night Football miked outspoken Tampa Bay wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson (look out, Terrell!), which captured an unbroken stream of high-pitched whining, capped by NFL's Most Expressive Coach Jon Gruden lecturing him, "Keyshawn, Keyshawn, you gotta take some criticism, Keyshawn."
2) Batshit crazy color commentator John Madden referred to one Colts block as a "triple dipper chipper".
3) Expressive Coach Gruden is known for his dedication to his job. Supposedly, he wakes up every day, without fail, at 3:30 AM. By the end of this epic Monday Night battle, Gruden may have been 20+ hours into his day. I haven't heard this mentioned anywhere else, so let me suggest that it may have been Gruden's sleepiness, or even just mild crankiness, that ultimately cost Tampa Bay the victory. Since there seems to be a camera trained on Gruden at all times, waiting for some grotesque facial expression or filthy explosion of profanity, one could easily review the game tapes and see if there was any eye-rubbing or yawning. What do you say, Science?