The PUP (Probably Unfit for Print) list is our weekly NFL report.
Summarizing Week 4 in 50 Words or Less:
Green Bay, Detroit and Tampa Bay are a combined 10-2. New Orleans, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Diego are 3-12. Our heads hurt.
Musings and observations:
● Before we break out the Lubriderm and congratulate Daunte Culpepper on his return to competent quarterbacking, let’s remember he was only 5/12 for 75 yards against Miami Sunday. Now, two of those completions were touchdowns, he ran for three more scores, and his pointing to his knee/making an “OK” sign/reminding Dolphins fans their quarterback is Trent Green routine was pretty sweet. But let’s hold off another week or two before we celebrate, yes?
● Weirdest call of the week: CBS colorman Randy Cross remarking that Antonio Gates has “wonderful, supple, soft hands.” Ew.
● Charger fans chanted for Marty Schottenheimer after San Diego’s loss to the Chiefs on Sunday. Let that sink in for a moment. Marty Schottenheimer. If Bears fans start chanting for Rex Grossman, we can officially declare this the most facked up NFL season ever.
● Dwayne Bowe is awesome.
● LaDainian Tomlinson, however, is not. Something just isn’t right. Many people noticed LT was caught from behind on Sunday by Bernard Pollard (only 86 speed on Madden!), and he was limping toward the end of the contest. Tomlinson also made an uncharacteristic mistake, literally ducking underneath a Phillip Rivers pass that was intercepted (Tony Gonzalez scored for K.C. on the ensuing drive). We’re almost completely convinced LT is actually carrying the Madden curse this season – he should have been on the cover instead of Vince Young – and we can only hope his inevitable season-ending injury isn’t serious enough to affect him long-term.
● When he’s got the ball in his hands, no player looks more terrifying than Adrian Peterson right now. Every time he touches the pigskin, you slide to the edge of your seat and wonder if he’s going to house it. The guy is strong, fast and agile. He runs like a deer. A super-strong robot deer. On steroids.
● Please watch Dante Hall absolutely embarrass Cowboys punter Mat McBriar near the end of this return. Yes, Hall is one of the best returners in NFL history. Yes, McBriar is a lowly punter. Yes, McBriar is a douche who spells his first name with only one “T”. But this is pathetic. Hasn’t he played football on some level before now? He looked like he was falling out of a wheelchair.
* personal, very loosely related note from Larkin: “In my first year of university, I became close with a lunch lady in my dorm. Her name was Marie. On my birthday, she brought me a chocolate cake encased in a cardboard box. Took it on the bus with her. Cool: yes. Touching: yes. But when she handed me a gift bag containing dress socks and candy canes, things got weird. Especially when she spelled my name “Mat” on the card. True story.
● How is it even possible people are still fucking kicking to Devin Hester? By the way, Hester has more touchdowns this season than Stephen Jackson, Rudi Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Cedric Benson and Willis McGahee.
● Any football fan who doesn’t like Wes Welker is an asshole. Two Welker-type plays we noticed on Monday: (a) After a Tom Brady interception, Welker, sliding to the turf, made a tough, diving tackle on the play. How many receivers would have been too busy looking for a call or waving their hands at the quarterback? (b) Taking a reverse, sprinting down the sideline and, all 180-lbs of him cutting back into the defender and trying to run over him. He reminds us a lot of Hines Ward, playing tough, unselfish football and doing the little things right.
● Kurt Warner’s Super Bowl Fun Time MVP Explosion a couple years back was one of the most improbable out-of-nowhere runs in sports history. Well, how improbable would it be if Warner completely came out of nowhere twice in the same career? Presumed dead long ago, Warner almost dug the Cards out of a huge deficit against Baltimore two weeks ago and injected life into the offense this week, helping Arizona knock off Pittsburgh. To date, he’s completed 70 per cent of his passes for 390 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 125.0 passer rating.
What are the odds of Warner pulling off another out-of-nowhere explosion? Is there an equivalent for that? The Baha Men producing another No. 1 single? Kevin Federline marrying Beyonce, getting divorced, and winning the kids and half the money? It confounds the mind.
● Thomas Jones is probably giggling with glee watching Cedric Benson get stuffed like a piñata every time he gets the ball.
● The Cowboys visit the Bills on Monday night this week, the first MNF broadcast in Buffalo since 1994. How are things expected to go? We give you this quote from Pro Football Weekly:
“The Bills are more of a regional organization than most other NFL clubs, and they don't want to be held responsible for fans showing up late to work on Tuesday. We hear the team additionally fears a drunken mess with people coming to the stadium immediately after work on Monday to start tailgating.”
Self-serving Bill Simmonsesque Favourite Team Rant of the Week:
As a lifelong Packer fan, Hurk has spent the better half of a decade lamenting Mike Holmgren’s departure, which he thinks directly led to the slow, painful decline of Brett Favre’s career (from 1994-1997 Favre averaged 36 touchdown passes to just 14 interceptions a season. Since then, well, we don’t really want to talk about it). Holmgren earned Favre’s trust and turned him into a star; he had no qualms blasting the quarterback for a boneheaded throw, which kept the oft-gambling quarterback (relatively) in check. Once Holmgren left for Seattle, new coaches came and went; each seemed unwilling to challenge Favre, who at this point had already achieved legendary status. Favre was now free to do as he pleased, gunning the ball all over the field without being disciplined.
Enter 2007. Favre’s competition percentage is better than his career high. He is second in the NFL in passing yards. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is as good as it’s ever been and his passer rating is its highest since 1995, the year he won his first of three MVP awards. We don’t know how Mike McCarthy earned Favre’s trust, but it’s obvious he has it. Maybe he’s got pictures of Brett banging a Packers intern. Maybe he’s got Brett so doped up on Vicodin, the quarterback thinks he’s actually talking to Holmgren and spends most of practice chirping him up for shaving his moustache. We don’t know. Either way, let it be known – presently, Brett Favre is a legitimate candidate for his fourth MVP. And, while we’re on the subject, Mike McCarthy is the leader for Coach of the Year honours (Mike… McCarthy… just breathe deeply for a second there, everyone. Try to find something stable to hold onto until you compose yourself).
Choke on Your Cheerios Stat of the Week:
In the past two weeks, Joey Harrington has completed 54 of 73 passes (73 per cent) for 584 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Week 4 Power Rankings:
1. New England Patriots: Running out of superlatives for New England’s offense
2. Indianapolis Colts: Could an undefeated team sneak up on people?
3. Dallas Cowboys: Over/under on Romo’s new contract: $30-million
4. Green Bay Packers: Eventually will have to run the ball. We think
5. Pittsburgh Steelers: Buccaneers nipping at their heels in Power Rankings, making SOJP staff question its sanity
Suicide Watch: whose fans are sitting in a garage, drifting into a sleepy abyss as carbon monoxide poisons their brains?
St. Louis Rams. The offense is pathetic. The defense is atrocious. But Dante Hall scored on a punt return! At least the 2007 St. Louis Rams team video will have one highlight.
Honourary Jake Plummer Award for Inexplicable Stupidity/Being a Complete Bust or Letdown/General Incompetence Watch:
1. Phillip Rivers, Chargers quarterback – season stats: 886 yards, five touchdowns, six interceptions
Turnovers, accuracy problems becoming a concern for sinking Chargers
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers running back – season stats: 262 yards, 3.4 avg., 2 TDs
Finally showed signs of life with 132 yards and a touchdown; still wasn’t enough to beat KC
3. Sean Payton, Saints head coach – New Orleans sits at 0-3
Bye week gave Saints fans plenty of time to mentally prepare for Reggie Bush’s 18 carry, 42-yard performance vs. Carolina this week
4. Julius Peppers, Panthers defensive end – season stats: nine tackles, zero sacks, interceptions or forced fumbles
Mustered just two tackles against Tampa Bay’s anemic offense
5. Steven Jackson, Rams running back – season stats: 233 yards, 3.4 avg., no TDs
Injuries could push him off this list
Moving out: Shawne Merriman
Predictions for Week 5:
● New York fans set unofficial record as entire stadium boos during all 60 minutes of Jets/Giants contest
● Hurk’s engorged penis explodes after Favre leads Packers to win over Chicago, 5-0 start
● After three drops against St. Louis and not wanting to be outdone by Randy Moss’s Monday Night performance, Terrell Owens explodes on the field and from his ass; drops pants and literally shits on prone Bills cornerback Jabari Greer’s back after third TD catch of the evening
● Kurt Warner plays again; Matt Leinart sobs uncontrollably until Ken Whisenhunt assures him everything will be okay
● Vince Young scrambles around, makes big plays, doesn’t kill any dogs in win over Atlanta; Falcons fans cringe, reminisce about the good old days when accuracy was Mike Vick’s biggest problem