Last night, I was drowning my sorrows in two delicious bottles of Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s "Nosferatu" beer while playing Oblivion and eating leftover steak and mashed potatoes (cold, of course). It was a perfect combination, and helped me recover from the Skins' 98-to-Half-a-Twinkie drubbing by the Patriots, or whatever the score was. Now I am able to look at week 8 in a positive light, and offer toasts to the people who made football great in week 8. I wish I could use more Nosferatu, but I'm out and I'm at work, so I'll be toasting with a Red Jak energy drink (I don't know why anyone drinks Rock Star; Monster is way better, and Red Jak is the best if you can find it)
I'll start off with one for us suffering 'Skins fans.
1) Here's to Joe Gibbs, for fostering an environment that won't whine, and won't use the words "running up the score." (Please, don't prove me wrong, players). I'm sick of the Patriots doing it, but I'm more sick of players and coaches whining about it. Larry B, after apparently posting an inaccurate blog bashing Gibbs this morning, removed it when he got better information, and posted a rather nice summary of Gibbs' postgame conference. His words might sound weak to some; like a non-competitor. He should have been angry and letting his team have it for such an awful game, right? No. He sounded like a good father. If the kid gets a speeding ticket, you scold and reprimand, making sure it's known that it's unacceptable behavior. If the kid rolls the car and nearly dies, you comfort him and encourage him to get back behind that wheel and not let the awful experience defeat him. Okay, enough about Gibbs, I just had to say he's a good man, and he said the right things.
2) Here's to Greg Lewis (he plays for the Jags, if you didn't know). I didn't catch much of the actual action this week, as I was on the road Sunday afternoon and my house was without power, so I couldn't record the games. But I did catch the end of TB-JAC, and in my mind, I saw the play of the game. From their own 7-yard-line, on 3rd-and-6, the Jags were in a position nobody wants. Up by 1 with plenty of time left, needing 6 yards to avoid having to punt and give the Bucs the ball in good field position. Basically being forced to pass when you want to run out the clock. Well, the play was a dumpoff to Greg Jones just over the line of scrimmage. He juked left to deftly avoid one sure tackle. Then he got low and plowed through another tackler, flattening the defender and staying on his feet. 18-yard gain, which went a long way toward sealing the victory.
3) The other amazing thing I saw was on the previous drive, when rookie punter Adam Podlesh kicked the ball over (I believe) Joey Galloway's head. The line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped? Jacksonville's 7. The line of scrimmage where the Bucs took over? Tampa Bay's 17. So here's to you, Podlesh, because I like toasting special-teamers.
4) Here's to you, Vinny Testaverde, for outplaying Peyton Manning in the first half even though you're over 12 years his senior.
5) Here's to you, Tony Dungy. You are truly the master of halftime adjustments. 1st half scoring? CAR 7, IND 10. 2nd half? CAR 0, IND 21.
6) Here's to you, Fernando Bryant, Kenoy Kennedy, Keith Smith, and Gerald Alexander. Each had an interception, which put together is the big reason Detroit beat the Bears. Three of those were in the red zone.
7) Here's to you, Kevin Jones. As Jon Kitna said, "We didn't even know if we were going to have him at all this year. And to have him playing at the high level that he is playing at is great for us." You had a couple of great rushes, and 115 total yards, which isn't spectacular, but it's a 115 more than some people thought you'd have all year.
8) Here's to you, Willie Parker. Your 32-yard run demoralized your division rival, who was bummed about the immediately preceding decision to kick a field goal from the 1. Not only did it get you in Pittsburgh territory in one shot, but it set up the drive that took up the rest of the half. You then scored the 1-yard TD that capped the drive. Great day overall - 126 yds, 5.7 YPC.
9) Here's to you, Dolphins' front office, for allowing this to happen: The #1 yard-gaining QB-WR pairing in the Giants-Dolphins game? Lemon-Peele.
10) Seriously, though, here's to you, Lemon, Peele, and Chatman. You were your team's offense, and somehow you came within 3 points of one of the NFC's best teams.
11) Here's to you, Brandon Jacobs, for basically winning the game single-handedly, even though you didn't score. You had over twice as many yards rushing as Eli Manning had passing.
12) Here's to you, Giants' and Fins' defenses, for keeping Brits in attendance from saying that "football is dumb because they score too often." Okay, some of these last four sound a little backhanded, but really, you all did well on a difficult, foreign playing field. And you represented our country well, as far as I can tell. Swell.
13) Here's to you, Brian Westbrook. Both of your team's touchdowns, and 92 yards total, both stats split equally receiving and rushing. That pretty much sums you up, doesn't it?
14) Here's to you, Derek Anderson. I'm going to go vote for you for the Pro Bowl. And Braylon Edwards too, while we're at it.
15) Here's to you, LenDale White. Sorry for all the times I called you fat. You put on a workhorse performance, averaging 5.3 YPC, enabling Norm Chow to only call 16 pass plays (not counting those that VY turned into running plays).
16) Here's to you, Lee Evans, for giving us the game we've been waiting for all year. 5 catches for 138 yards and the game's only TD on an 85-yard play? Verranice.
17) Here's to you, Philip Rivers, for having one of the weirdest QB stat lines I've ever seen. In your second near-perfect rating in three games, you only completed 7 passes, but got 3 TDs. You hit pay dirt on over 25% of your pass ATTEMPTS! Ridiculous, but in a good way.
18) Here's to you, Scott Pioli. You assembled one of the best teams in NFL history, and the dividends are paying off.
19) Here's to you, Greg Olson. No, not the Bears' tight end, though that was a nice TD play. You're spelled with an E. Greg OlsOn, offensive coordinator of the Rams. You want to get a win so badly, that you sold your soul to the devil, as evidenced by the pass distribution to Bruce, Holt, and Bennett. Their completions? 6, 6, 6. Happy Halloween.