08 March 2009

Who knows... the moment we've been dreading (or that we haven't)

Hi y'all -

In case you haven't noticed, it's been about a week since I've posted anything.

Mostly, that's because I've been traveling all across the country - I had an interview with the University of Washington, and then it was spring break.

Partly, though, it's endemic of something that I've been picking up on for a little while: I've started thinking of this blog as a duty, rather than a break from the real world.

I didn't start 90% Mental for it to feel like a chore, and I'm not going to continue it while it does. I want to watch basketball again without thinking about whether I should write a blog post, to read ESPN or SportsIllustrated without trying to find grammatical errors.

For the foreseeable future, then, I'm putting the blog on hiatus. It's been a good run, y'all, and, who knows, it might be again someday. We've done some good, we've had some laughs, and, really, who could ask for more than that?

I'd say "Good night and good luck," but, hey, that's not really my style.

Have a great evening.

28 February 2009

Kellen Winslow to the Bucs: thoughts

According to ESPN.com, the Bucs have traded for Browns TE Kellen Winslow.

I'm not a big Winslow fan.

Don't get me wrong - Winslow is a big, fast, athletic tight end. He's a vertical threat in a way that no Bucs tight end has been before. But he'll draw a lot of media attention - a lot of unpleasant media attention - that, to me, will outweigh the benefits of his on-field contributions.

Also, he's from the University of Miami. While a couple of University of Miami players have made contributions to the Bucs in the recent past - see Warren Sapp (okay, so not that recent), UM athletics really rubs me the wrong way.

The final verdict will come, I think, when I find out exactly what the Bucs gave up for him; if it's a similar price to what the Saints gave up for Jeremy Shockey (a 2nd and a 5th round draft pick), I'd say that Winslow came too expensive. A 3rd and a 5th, say, and I'd be okay with the deal. We'll see.

Off to Seattle now! Have a great day, all.

24 February 2009

Two Link Tuesday: Oscar the Grouch

The Oscars were Sunday! And they were awesome!

How do I know this, you ask? Two options: Either (1) I sat on my couch for several hours, fully invested in the riveting dialogue, intellectual banter, and jaw-dropping athleticism of the event, or (2) I ignored the Oscars completely and am just being snarky. I'll leave the choice of which to believe up to you. Videos!

Video 1: Will Smith pulls a boom goes the dynamite

Video 2: Fashion model falls down

17 February 2009

Two Link Tuesday: The Good Old Days

Ah, nostalgia. It gets to the best of us.

Video 1: Alley-Oop!
You know how I know this movie is from the good old days?
It features "Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway".
Bonus old-school awesomeness: go to 3:10 in the video for a moment of random asian male celebration.

Video 2: Ronnie Lott
You know how I know this video is from the good old days?
The 49ers don't suck.
Bonus old-school awesomeness: go to 4:39 in the video and revel in the splendor of the now-throwback Rams jerseys.

Smell ya later, homes. I'ma go jazzercise.

[editor's note: No, I wasn't actually alive during the first half of Lott's career, and barely remember actually watching him play. My nostalgia for him has been inherited. I'm not sure from whence I've received that inheritance, but, hey. I have. So sue me.]

16 February 2009

Why is this not a bigger story?

In case you haven't heard - which you almost certainly haven't, given that there's no link to the story on the front page of either ESPN.com or SportsIllustrated.com, and it's getting very little airtime on TV - Dubai has refused to allow Shahar Peer, the 48th-ranked women's tennis player in the world, into the country. They're refusing to do this, they've flat-out admitted, because she's Israeli.

Now, I'm not one to call racism or anti-Semitism, and I'm not going to do it here... but, one question: would there be a bigger reaction if, say, Israel refused to allow an Egyptian player into the country for a tournament in Tel Aviv? Just something to think about.

15 February 2009

Getting an early start

The 2009 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest was last night. I missed it. But - never fear! We're already getting geared up for next year's edition!

Wait... what?

That's right - SportsIllustrated's Arash Markazi, by 3:23 AM the night of the contest, had already posted an article looking forward to the 2010 contest.

Premature much?

I could go on a rant here about how the internet's 24-hour news cycle leads to completely unnecessary and idiotic articles like Markazi's, about how we as a society have gotten to the point that - but I won't.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

10 February 2009

Two Link Tuesday: Go Down Moses (and visit The Hollow Men)

Two completely random videos today. Why? IDK, my bff jill?
Two completely awesome videos today. Why? That's Just How I Roll.
No explanatory text today. Why? I'm feeling lazy. Have a great evening!

Video 1: Fresh Prince in Jail

Video 2: Marlon Brando reads The Hollow Men

09 February 2009

Sign me up

The lineup for the newest version of Dancing with the Stars has been announced.

And it rocks.

For those who don't feel like clicking the link, here's the list, organized alphabetically.

Belinda Carlisle (apparently she's a singer... never heard of her)
Stephen Glover (AKA Steve-O; actor)
David Alan Grier (actor from In Living Color)
Jewel (singer; Ty Murray's wife)
Shawn Johnson (olympic champion gymnast)
Kimberly Jones (AKA Lil' Kim)
Giles Marini (actor from Sex in the City)
Ty Murray (president of PBR; Jewel's husband)
Nancy O'Dell (hosts Access Hollywood)
Denise Richards (actress)
Lawrence Taylor (former linebacker, New York Giants)
Chuck Wicks (another singer I've never heard of)
Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder)

My early predictions: Shawn Johnson will be this season's version of Michelle Kwan; Jewel and Lawrence Tayler will also do very well. Dark horse: Ty Murray.

07 February 2009

A-Rod test results: my reaction

According to SportsIllustrated.com, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.

My first reaction: wow, that's horrible. Alex Rodriguez was supposed to be the role model, the great white (er... latino) hope for Major League Baseball's new, steroid-free-ish era. If he's dirty, then who's clean?

My second reaction: I'm not surprised. After all: the dude's jacked. And he was in a milk ad. Just take a look:

(oops... wrong picture. My bad. I meant to put in this one)

And everybody knows that anyone who was in a milk ad was juicing. Anyone.

Have a great day, y'all.

04 February 2009

No! No! No!

Alternate title: Jamal Mashburn is an idiot.


Question and answer from ESPN.com's "Daily Dime" segment:

Boston and Cleveland have been jockeying for the top seed in the East and hoping to avoid Orlando (the prospective three seed). If Nelson is unable to return this season, whu would Boston and Cleveland prefer to face in the second round of the playoffs -- Orlando or the 4 seed?

Mashburn: If I'm Boston or Cleveland I am automatically shooting for the No. 1 seed. That's my goal no matter who is below me or what potential matchups are out there. Because once you start looking at the standings and say that a team like the Magic could be a little bit undermanned and start to take them lightly if you happen to play them.

But- but- but- (yes, I sound like a motorboat. What you gon' do 'bout it?) If you start a clause with "because," then it's dependent! You need an independent clause for the dependent clause to depend on! To borrow a phrase from the vernacular: Wha ha happen?


03 February 2009

Two Link Tuesday: Super Bowl sideshows

It's time for everything but football this evening - the single best and single worst non-game-related moments of Sunday's broadcast. If you watched, then you probably already know where these are going... but I felt that they should be immortalized anyway.

Video 1: The Crotch-Slide
The worst moment in Super Bowl halftime show history? I think so. Certainly the most awkward. Seriously - the entire show, from the stripperesque pole-dancing he did with the microphone stand at the beginning to the choir singing with him at the end, came across as forced; the crotch-first power(less)slide into the camera was the icing on the cake. As soon as the Boss got that goofy grin on his face and started loping across the stage, I started saying "No! No!" like I was about to be tackled by a well-meaning but mentally handicapped puppy. Just witness (warning: some content may be inappropriate for viewers with fragile stomachs). To go directly to the ill-fated slide, skip to about the 3:15 mark.

Video 2: CareerBuilder.com commercial
Absolutely the highlight of the non-football Super Bowl to me. I've watched this commercial six times now, and have literally L'ed OL each time. Best part: the koala.

01 February 2009

What a game

My goodness, what a game that was.

Santonio Holmes has just emerged as a superstar.

Ben Roethlisberger is legit.

That was a heckuva game.

My Super Bowl pick

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I hope you've had a restful and successful weekend thus far - because things are about to start ramping up! Speaking from central Florida, I can say that things have been Cra-Z around here the last few days - and I'm on the other side of the peninsula from where the game's actually going to be!

Now, we all know that the Super Bowl isn't actually about the game - it's about the commercials and the TV coverage. But does ESPN really need to be running pregame coverage all week long? I mean, seriously - I woke up at 6 AM on Wednesday morning, and Tony Kornheiser was extolling the virtues of Troy Polamalu's uncut hair.

Anyways - here's my pick:
Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 21

Here's why:
When it comes right down to it, I don't trust Kurt Warner at this stage in his career. Now, I don't trust Ben Roethlisberger either - I might actually trust him less than Warner - but the Steelers have a better defense and a better running back. Warner will have some issues with the Pittsburgh defense that will ultimately prove to be the Cardinals' undoing.

27 January 2009

Two Link Tuesday: in at the last second

Since I left it so late this time, I thought... hey, what better than a collection of last-minute escapes?

Video 1: Top 10 All-Time Playoff Buzzer Beaters
A collection of shots from the NBA.

Video 2: The Music City Miracle
I post this link for three reasons. (1) Because it's a last-minute escape, which is what I'm celebrating with these two videos. (2) In honor of the Titans, who flamed out so unspectacularly this postseason. (3) The music with it is AWESOME.

Missing pieces

Given that this article by SportsIllustrated.com's Seth Davis is titled "The jigsaw man returns," it seems fitting to note that his puzzle of an article is missing more than a few pieces. To be specific: the article is missing the ends of several paragraphs.

I don't know what went wrong in the editing or publishing of Davis's article, but the level of incompetence displayed in the following screenshots is simply stunning.


25 January 2009

An unfortunate coincidence

Today's awkwardly worded headline comes from the SportsIllustrated.com homepage:

White powers South in Senior Bowl

The headline, of course, refers to former West Virginia quarterback Pat White, whose South teammates defeated their Northern counterparts in an exhibition designed to display prospects' abilities.


20 January 2009

Two Link Tuesday: ...politically awkward!!!

We have a new president!!!

And the swearing-in process couldn't have gone more smoothly... except that it ABSOLUTELY COULD HAVE.

Want proof?

Watch CBS Videos Online

And... to balance out the political awkward...

Movie awkward!

(warning: some content might be offensive to younger viewers)

18 January 2009

My picks for today's games

I'm not going to do a blog as the games go on - sadly, I'll be forsaking football for Old English pronoun forms.

Here are my predictions, though. And I just about guarantee they're the most detailed predictions you'll find anywhere.

Eagles 34, Cardinals 30

The Cardinals will come out firing; Kurt Warner will hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 23-yard seam route with 9:12 left in the first quarter. Early on, also, the Eagles' running game will be held well in check; even though Donovan McNabb will convert a couple of first-quarter third-and-longs (one on a 12-yard run, one on a 23-yard crossing pattern to Jason Avant), Philadelphia will be held scoreless in the first quarter.

By halftime, the tide will be starting to turn. The Cardinals will still be ahead, 24-13, but the Eagles will have outgained them, 148-65, in the second quarter. Also noteworthy: Kurt Warner will have taken two hard sacks, though he will have popped up from each one crossing himself and pointing to the sky.

In the third quarter, Brian Westbrook will break a 71-yard run on a toss sweep to the right side, breaking a Karlos Dansby tackle along the way. Kurt Warner will throw an interception, and Joe Buck will praise his composure.

By the start of the fourth quarter, the Cardinals will still be leading, 27-20, but it will be clear that the Eagles have the momentum. Warner will be sacked, and Asante Samuel will return the ensuing fumble for a touchdown that ties the score 27-27 with 8:33 remaining. The Cardinals will return the ensuing kickoff into Eagles territory, but will get only a field goal. The Eagles will score the go-ahead (and eventual winning) touchdown on a crossing pattern from McNabb to Kevin Curtis with 1:05 left. On 4th-and-10 from the Arizona 33, with 0:44 remaining, Warner will hold onto the ball for too long, trying to find Fitzgerald open, and will be sacked, ending the Cardinals' chances. Game MVP: Brian Westbrook (16 carries, 122 yards, 2 TD)

Pittsburgh 24, Baltimore 10

Pittsburgh will grab Joe Flacco by the throat and shake him until he gives up. Literally, in at least one case - James Harrison will draw a facemask personal foul with 2:24 left in the first quarter.

This game will start slowly; there will be no score at the end of the first quarter, thanks partly to good defense and partly to a missed 47-yard field goal from Matt Stover.

In the second quarter, things will heat up. Ray Lewis and Max Starks will draw offsetting unnecessary roughness personal fouls with 8:00 left in the half. Ben Roethlisberger will take the Steelers down the field for an 80 yard touchdown drive, despite being sacked on back-to-back plays; Flacco will struggle to so much as complete a pass, though the Ravens will have moderate success running the ball up the middle. Score at halftime: Pittsburgh 7, Baltimore 3.

Despite the close tally at the intermission, the game won't seem close. Pittsburgh will begin controlling the clock, methodically working the ball down the field. Baltimore will score its only touchdown on a Willis McGahee stretch play after the game has already been decided. Game MVP: Ben Roethlisberger (22-32, 251 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT)

15 January 2009

Skateboarding's Native American roots

Apparently, some of skateboarding's earliest pioneers were Native American. This heretofore unknown nugget was turned up by ESPN.com's Adam Salo. To quote from his article The Malto Age:

Our ancestors, like it or not, were surfers who began to roll on the concrete that crept right to the mouth of the ocean. The seminole Dogtowners got their start bombing hills that led directly to their local beach break.

Leaving aside for the moment the lack of punctuation in this ancient and revered tribe's name, we all owe Mr. Salo a debt of gratitude for the hours of research it must have taken him to uncover this forgotten side of skateboarding's history.

Alternately, Salo just didn't know how to spell the word seminal.

In looking at the screenshot, please also note the missing comma between "rage" and the creatively hyphenated "re-enforcing"

13 January 2009

Two Link Tuesday: National Anthem

It's well known that the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is a difficult piece of music to sing. The anthem requires a pretty significant range, but - almost as important - a whole load of confidence.

Today's Two Link Tuesday demonstrates two very different ways of performing this classic piece of music.

Video 1: Jordin Sparks
Terrible. Absolutely terrible. I don't know whether Sparks has a singing voice on a good day, but if she does, then she left it behind for this performance. The few attempts at embellishment fall flat at best, and the cracking of her voice on anything approaching a high note is entirely off-putting.


Vdeo 2: Carl Lewis
A wholly credible performance. Lewis stays in tune, keeps her pitches reasonably firm, and, despite some embellishments, stays pretty close to the melody. Note also the stage presence and self-assuredness of this American icon.

11 January 2009

Eagles vs. Giants: 2nd half

2:51 PM
And we're back! Big return by Demps on the opening kickoff of the second half.

2:52 PM
Good play by the Giants defense there. That's not an interception that was Donovan McNabb's fault.

2:54 PM
Giants' keys for the second half:
(1) run Brandon Jacobs up the middle.
(2) keep a LB in the middle to combat the Eagles' crossing routes.

Eagles' keys for the second half:
(1) keep running crossing routes until the Giants stop them.
(2) load up the middle against the run - Eli hasn't shown that he can pass the ball effectively yet today.

3:02 PM
Joe Buck notes that "Donovan McNabb hasn't been effectiveness today. These quarterbacks have struggled even with some of the more simpler throws." I laugh.

3:04 PM
Pass hits Kevin Curtis' helmet, then Kevin Curtis' hands, then the turf. Aaron Ross gets flagged for illegal hands to the face. The replay doesn't show anything flag-worthy. The announcers are talking about the previous play.

3:07 PM
"This year, they've not been good running the football, whether they've run it a lot or run it very few." I'm sorry to be continually harping on the announcing, but it's BLOODY AWFUL.

3:10 PM
The Giants aren't getting pressure on McNabb unless they blitz. Philly's offensive line is doing a pretty awesome job.

3:15 PM
David Akers sets a new NFL record for consecutive postseason field goals made. Nobody cares.

3:18 PM
The commentators say that the Giants need to get Jacobs more carries.

3:29 PM
Andy Reid looks like a walrus. Or a hobo. Or a hobo walrus, standing (do walruses stand?) by the side of the freeway, holding up a sign: "Will work for food. Lots of food."

3:36 PM
End of the 3rd quarter, Eagles up 13-11 with the ball on the Giants' 1-ish yard line.

3:37 PM
Beginning of the 4th quarter (because no time went off the clock during the Eagles' last play), Eagles up 20-11. Touchdown pass, McNabb-Celek.

3:43 PM
Why are the Giants challenging this spot? Why would they risk losing momentum and a timeout when they have a big quarterback, two All-Pro offensive linemen, and a 260-lb running back?

3:46 PM
Especially when they're going for it anyway?

3:56 PM
...and I get back from helping a locked-out resident (oh, the joys of dorm life), the Giants go for it on 4th down (again) and don't get it (apparently again... I missed the last attempt).

4:00 PM
Wow, but Desean Jackson is fast.

4:03 PM
Ball on the 1 yard line. All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook. What to do... what to do... I know! Pass! Eagles kick a field goal, lead 23-11.

4:07 PM
Manning sails another pass, this time into triple coverage. Eagles pick it off.

4:09 PM
Why did Donovan McNabb just run out of bounds? His team is up by 12 points, the other team doesn't have any timeouts left, and there are three minutes left in the game!

4:10 PM
And then he acts like even more of an idiot, drawing a flag for taunting the Giants bench.

4:13 PM
After the Eagles punt, Manning throws a pass at the hands of an Eagles defender. There's a reason the guy was a defender, rather than a wideout, I guess.

4:18 PM
Eagles move on to the NFC championship game, Giants go home. Postgame interviews... Donovan McNabb looks tired and kind of goofy.

4:22 PM
I'm going to go outside, get some fresh air, and then make dinner. Tonight: tuna and rice.

Eagles vs. Giants

So it's Sunday afternoon, and I'm a heterosexual American male. What am I going to do?


12:53 PM
My pick, before the game starts: Giants, 21-13. I think that New York will manage to run the ball up the middle, control the clock, and keep the Eagles from putting up points. Brandon Jacobs is a big dude.

1:14 PM
...and my internet cuts out for about 20 minutes. Wonderful. A couple of thoughts on what I saw while I was without blogability (kind of like drinkability, but less flatulent) -

(1) good move by the Giants going for it on 4th and 2, especially after a bad spot like that.

(2) why would you ever, ever try to run a stretch play with Brandon Jacobs? He's big and strong, but not very fast or agile.

1:18 PM
Donovan McNabb rolls right and "fires a laser" to DeSean Jackson. Wouldn't that hurt, being hit with a laser? It was a nice pass, though. McNabb, from what I've seen, throws better - more velocity, more accuracy - on the move than standing in the pocket.

1:20 PM
Good coverage by the Giants. The commentators note that there was good coverage by the Giants. Of course it was good coverage by the Giants - it was third and long! They knew a deep pass was coming!

1:22 PM
Did it sound like the referee was laughing when he was announcing that penalty, or was it just me?

1:25 PM
Manning looks awful in the early going. Interception by Asante Samuel, and that was about the third ball that Manning has thrown high so far.

1:25 PM
Pro to diving headfirst over a pile: if it works, it looks really cool.
Con to diving headfirst over a pile: if it doesn't work, it looks really goofy.
Brian Westbrook just looked really goofy.

1:28 PM
McNabb sneaks the ball up the middle. Touchdown Philadelphia.

1:34 PM
12 yards to Steve Smith on (what a surprise) a crossing route. First good pass Manning's thrown today.

1:37 PM
...and Manning throws another wounded duck, leading to a Giants punt.

1:39 PM
There's a diaper in the middle of the Eagles' endzone. I'm not kidding. There's a diaper, just sitting there. Also, Brian Westbrook gets stuffed on a run up the middle.

1:41 PM
Correll Buckhalter runs for 1 yard. The announcers rave about his ability. Donovan McNabb throws a strike through Jason Avant's hands.

1:47 PM
Brandon Jacobs runs for 1 yard on a pitch to the left side. Brandon Jacobs gets absolutely buried by Chris Gocong and three other Eagles defenders. Brandon Jacobs celebrates after he gets up, flailing his arms and screaming.

1:52 PM
Big play from the Giants defense here... alternately, an absolutely dumb play from Donovan McNabb, grounding the ball from the end zone. Why would you ever throw the ball away from the endzone? You know it's going to be a safety - just try to make something happen with your feet.

1:53 PM
On a happier note, Justin Tuck does look a lot better, even though the announcers say that he does.

1:59 PM
The announcers note - 35 minutes after I did - how bad Manning looks. Of course, he throws a nice pass on the next play.

2:05 PM
Carney misses a field goal. The camera cuts to a shot of the Giants' other kicker, Lawrence Tynes, standing on the sidelines. Unnecessarily dramatic camera work, much? Still 7-5, Iggles.

2:14 PM
The Thomas blitz/McNabb interception that just occurred was a beautiful play from the Giants, and a horrible play from the Eagles. New York showed blitz the whole play. There was nothing covert or confusing about the way they lined up. And the Eagles didn't have enough guys on the offensive line to block the blitzers.

2:16 PM
Brandon Jacobs is a big dude. 24 yards up the middle, rumblin', stumblin', matriculating the ball down the field.

2:24 PM
"Close to first-down yardage, looks to be maybe a hair short." That's the announcement from the commentators after Derrick Ward is tackled... 2 yards or so short of the first down.

2:25 PM

...and here comes the field goal team.

2:30 PM
The Eagles are working their way down the field by running crossing route after crossing route. That's four in a row now.

2:34 PM
Donovan McNabb pump-fakes... while he's five yards past the line of scrimmage. And two Giants defenders buy it.

2:36 PM
A David Akers field goal makes it 10-8 Eagles at halftime. I'm going to go get some fresh air. The second half will pick up with a new post.

05 January 2009

Two Link (very early) Tuesday: Hook 'em Horns

In honor of the Longhorns' thrilling Fiesta Bowl win over the Ohio State Buckeyes (a win that, to me at least, was somewhat sullied by the utter inanity of Fox's announcing team), here are a couple of Horns-related videos.

First: the University of Texas fight song.
Dumb lyrics? Heck yes. Cool (if familiar-sounding) melody? Heck yes. Orange and white fans... please don't kill me. I WANT TO LIVE!!!


Second: Hoedown! With Buster Keaton!
Because Copeland is awesome, and Keaton is a lot of fun.


Have a great morning, everyone!

Creating new words

Just heard on the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl broadcast:

The Buckeyes have out-yardaged and out-time-of-possessioned the Longhorns thus far.

Someone said once that creation is the mark of the divine... if that statement is true, then the commentators at this game have a bit of divinity about them.

04 January 2009

Dolphins vs. Ravens: 2nd Half

2:41 PM
So, it's the second half now. The Dolphins trail the Ravens 13-3.

2:42 PM
HE DID IT AGAIN?! Another lob pass to a short receiver in double coverage, picked off again. What in the heck is Chad Pennington thinking?

2:43 PM
Joe Flacco just made a really, really good play. A really, really stupid play (he should have gotten rid of the ball before he got hit), but a good play to get away and get rid of the ball without taking a sack.

2:49 PM
I'm not a big fan of out-routes. Why? Because they're so very easy to jump. The Dolphins just had an 11-yard completion on an out-route... that could very easily have been a pick-6 the other way.

2:52 PM
Another Dolphins turnover. Nice. That's, what, four now? This is unbelievable. Just a really sloppy game from Miami - not the kind of game you want to have in the playoffs.

2:54 PM
20-3 now after the McClain touchdown. What are the Ravens good at? Running the ball up the middle. No trickery, no stunts. Line it up and shove it down the other team's throat. So what are the Ravens doing? They're running the ball up the middle. And (surprise!) it's working. It's amazing what happens when you do what you're good at.

3:04 PM
Good no-call by the officials on that last little scrum. The Ravens were being a little excessively rough, the Dolphins o-linemen didn't like it... I would have hated to see anybody get flagged for that. Except maybe Suggs... because he acted like a punk.

3:06 PM
Another interception. Another bad interception, no less. It's not like the Ravens defenders are making spectacular plays to pick these off! Pennington is just throwing bad passes, making bad decisions!

3:10 PM
"Pennington now has five picks in three career postseason games." Well... considering that four of those have come today... I'd say you maybe don't have quite enough information to establish a trend, do you?

3:16 PM
Davone Bess with the big gain! Aloha oy, y'all!

3:17 PM
And one commentator brings up the question of whether Miami should have
[WOW! that's a great catch by Ronnie Brown for the touchdown!]
gone for it on fourth and goal back in the first quarter... the other promptly rejects the idea.
[Ravens block the extra point.]

3:25 PM
The Ravens get the ball, up by two scores with twelve minutes left in the game. They have a 260-lb running back and a very good offensive line. So they throw the ball deep twice? I don't understand. Ravens go 3 and out.

3:31 PM
Mwha? Miami's offensive line disappears, and then Ted Ginn shuffles the ball backwards 24 yards.

3:35 PM
Baltimore has just looked faster, stronger, and smarter so far this afternoon. Worth noting, though: Joe Flacco is going to get a lot of hype for winning a playoff game as a rookie quarterback. His stats so far are... shall we say underwhelming? 8-21, 127 yards.

3:39 PM
Willis McGahee runs off right tackle for 48 yards. The Dolphins are just about dead here.

3:43 PM
Joe Flacco just impressed me. The quarterback draw was very well executed. Admittedly, though, I would have liked to see the Ravens run on the two plays before that, rather than passing. 27-9 Baltimore.

3:47 PM
"A pass downfield into triple coverage, in the area of David Martin." Sort of sums up the Dolphins on offense today, I think.

3:54 PM
...and it's a final. 27-9, Ravens. Have a great afternoon, everyone! I'll look forward to writing for you many more times throughout the year.

Dolphins vs. Ravens

I'll be checking in throughout the game, giving my thoughts on the action.

1:01 PM
I'm going along with the trend for this game... picking the Ravens. The pick makes me sad, because I kind of like the Dolphins (or at least loathe them slightly less than their Maryland counterparts), but I think that the Ravens' defense is just too good for the Dolphins to have any kind of success against them.

1:03 PM
The game's first turnover... one of the commentators noted that the Dolphins' strategy "paid off" with the fumble. Nothing paid off! Fumbles, so far as I can tell, are the result either of chance or of extraordinary individual effort (a Lawrence Taylor strip). This one looked a lot like chance to me.

1:06 PM
Sometimes I wonder why more NFL teams don't run crossing patterns. Both of the Dolphins' big offensive plays thus far have been crossing patterns run by Patrick Cobbs.

1:08 PM
The ball is on the one yard line. And the Dolphins are going to kick the field goal?! To quote Darth Vader: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Miami has just said, loud and clear, that it doesn't trust its offensive line to get even one yard. 3-0, Miami.

1:12 PM
Commercial break, then kickoff and return, then commercial break. Nice.

1:22 PM
"You can lower your shoulders and run full speed... that's when you know you're really good." Erm... I'm sure it also helps to be 6'3", 250 pounds, absolutely jacked, and faster than any human being has a right to be.

1:24 PM
3-3, now, after a Stover field goal. It's looking like a fun, competitive game.

1:27 PM
...and we've had our first Haruki Nakamura sighting of the day! The Ravens seem to be collecting really good college safeties who were thought to be too slow to make it in the NFL (Tom Zbikowski returned the opening kickoff).

1:41 PM
So they've shown six car commercials thus far. That's one car commercial every seven minutes. And every one of those six commercials has focused on gas mileage.

1:42 PM
I'm liking the Ravens' strategy so far. They're not trying to do anything too complicated, just running the ball up the middle and throwing simple passes.

1:44 PM
We've just had our first Madden Moment... that is, an incident in which the announcers get so wrapped up in whatever conversation they're having that they completely miss what's happening on the field (in this case, a near-punt-block by the Dolphins). Also, there's been another car commercial (that is, another gas-mileage-focused car commercial).

1:50 PM
3rd and 1? RUN IT UP THE MIDDLE! And the Dolphins did, and they got a first down out of it.

1:55 PM
Well... THAT was effective. 3rd and 6, bring in a quarterback who's fast but doesn't have a great arm. Gonna run it? Maybe? Yup. Gonna get stuffed? Yup.

1:56 PM
Why, why, why do you punt... on 4th and 2... from your opponent's 38?

2:05 PM
You throw a lob pass... to a short guy... in double coverage... and this is what happens. Reed with the touchdown on the interception return. 10-3, Ravens.

2:17 PM
...and Miami's gone into a prevent defense. Nice. Someone said once that the only thing a prevent defense does is prevent you from getting a stop. Baltimore has the ball on the 17 yard line, pending a review.

2:26 PM
Halftime! 13-3, Ravens, thanks to a couple of really boneheaded moves (the interception and the prevent defense) by the Dolphiins... but it has been a fun game so far.

YouTube time!

I'll be back for the second half in a bit! That half will be in a new post, though, because this one is getting ridiculously long.