This weekend sucked.
Since being politically correct is apparently frowned upon these days, let’s just be upfront about that. If you’re a fan of an AFC North team, this past weekend offered…nothing. Unless you’re into injuries, finger-pointing, questionable decisions, and overall poor play, there’s really not much to be happy about. The Browns, Bengals, Ravens and Steelers were almost interchangeable. I’m far too lazy to do the research – if you’d like to, have at it – but I can’t remember the last time this happened. While it’s still somewhat early, the repercussions of this weekend’s games are going to be evident for several weeks.
Ravens 23, Giants 27
In a word…ugh. Between volatile Giants wideout Odell Beckham jaking a first half injury to his proposing to a kicking net, he ran over the Ravens’ hapless secondary, made all the more so with the absence of cornerback Jimmy Smith. This Ravens team is starting to resemble last seasons’ version, which isn’t complimentary. Quarterback Joe Flacco’s noticeable lethargy on the game’s final, futile drive would have been enough for me to bench him for the next game. In addition to their litany of old, injured players, their lack of urgency is a real concern, and reflects poorly on the coaching staff.
Bengals 17, Patriots 35
The Bengals became the latest victims on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s hit list, as he’s-out-to-prove-everyone-was-wrong-about-him. (Tom? Just because you’re playing well doesn’t mean you didn’t cheat.) Regardless, he is playing well, as evidenced by his three touchdown passes. The Bengals looked overmatched in their feeble attempts to slow the Patriots’ passing game, and tight end Rob Gronkowski in particular. While quarterback Andy Dalton was reasonably effective, the Bengals’ poor running game undermined any momentum they appeared to muster.
Note: Both the Ravens and Bengals had first and goal from the 1 yard line, and both failed to score a touchdown. Did I already say “ugh”?
Steelers 15, Dolphins 30
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked gassed and eventually injured, as he played his worst game of the season. His puzzling decision to play after his knee injury is possibly laudable from his teammates’ perspective, but ill-conceived, as he was less effective after re-entering the game, and may have caused further damage to his knee (torn meniscus, out 2-4 weeks). An almost-bigger concern was the Steelers’ run defense, which allowed unheralded running back Jay Ajayi to potentially earn offensive player of the week honors by posting 204 yards on 25 carries.
Browns 26, Titans 28
The Browns continue their efforts to evaluate their roster, and their cavalcade of injuries is certainly allowing them ample opportunities. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler played an effective game, as did wideout Terrelle Pryor, but had a complete letdown from their running game and (to this point, at least) stalwart back Isaiah Crowell. The team inexplicably rushed a total of 15 times, despite not trailing by more than nine points at any time in the game. For a team that’s clearly struggling, ignoring the rush is pretty…well, ignorant.
Obviously, there’s blame to be shared after any loss, as we’re constantly reminded that football is a team game, and requires many facets to work together…blah. The fact is, all four teams sucked. The coaching, rushing attacks, defenses, and judgment sucked.
So, given that my feeble memory can’t recall another recent weekend as repulsive as this one was, perhaps it won’t happen again this season. After all, anything can happen on “any given Sunday”, and there’s always reason for optimism.
Oh, yeah. We’re done with political correctness.
This just sucks.