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Life Is...

... full of ups and downs, isn't it?

The good thing about having two teams to root for in the NFL is that it greatly decreases the number of Sundays where you feel like pounding your head against the wall until your brains dribble out of your nose. Even if one team gets spanked, the other may win.

Last week it was the Giants who looked terrible in losing to the Cowboys, and the Jets who looked like world beaters in crushing the Bills.

This week, just the reverse.

Not much to say about the Jets loss in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are a damn good team, and they have always seemed to have Gang Green's number, at least since... well, forever. As sharp as Sanchez looked last week, this week he looked awful. His wideouts did not help much either. I lost count of how many balls I saw bouncing off Santonio Holmes. Kerley and The New Guy were non-existant. If this is the best we have at wideout, we need to resign Plaxico Burress tomorrow. Plax was always good for six down in the red zone. Our run game... well, it was unimpressive when Shonn Greene was running, and worse when he came out. And our vaunted Jets D is much MUCH less impressive without Darrell Revis. Where's the pass rush? Our big round one draft choice DE so far is doing an amazing impersonation of Vernon Gholston.

The Jets better show up next week and kick some Dolphin ass. If they lose that one, they could well be looking at 1-4, since they have the 49ers and the Texans the following two weeks, and the team I saw today won't stand a chance against either of those squads.

Thank the gods, old and new, I have my New York Giants too. Now THAT was a hell of a game. Not that the early action did not prompt a little head-banging, what with Eli tossing those three interceptions and all. That sound you heard was me, screaming, but Parris waved her magic Giants blanket and kept the faith, and in the fourth quarter Eli came roaring back... and how. Threw for something like 510 yards, I believe, which like the ninth best total ever for any QB in the history of the league, or something. From two touchdowns down, the G-men rallied to tie it up (with a 2 point conversion at the end, the real miracle, we NEVER make 2 point coversions), then went ahead by a TD... and then had Josh Freeman and the Bucs come right back and tie it up again with a touchdown of their own...

But they scored too quickly, and left Eli almost two minutes. That's ALWAYS a mistake. Just ask the New England Patriots. So Manning just drove them back down and did it all over again, scoring another go-ahead TD.

An incredible performance by Eli, and by his two favorite targets, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Both were sensational today. Victor more than made up for all those drops last week against Dallas with 11 receptions for 199 yards, including an 80 yard TD that he dedicated to his grandmother, who passed away this week. Even with totals like that, he only had the second-best day among the Giants wideouts, since Hakeem Nicks racked up 10 catches for 199, despite coming into the game with an injured foot and then having his ankle stepped on so badly that he was limping and hobbling all through the last quarter. It was a great gutsy performance by Hakeem, who gave Bucs QB Aqib Talib a real schooling.

Some kudos are also due Giants TE Marcellus Bennett, who came through a great clutch TD catch after letting a couple of previous TD tosses from Eli bounce off his hands. If he'd caught all three, the game might never have been in doubt. Bennett has been inconsistent so far, but he certainly flashes plenty of talent. If he starts showing it every play, he could be a hell of an addition to the offense.

Also, the G-men seem to have found a terrific backup RB in Andre Brown, who has been on the team for three years and never done a thing... but today Ahmed Bradshaw went out early with a neck injury (hope it is not serious, Ahmed's a favorite) and Brown came in and ran all over the Bucs. Suddenly Big Blue's run game was the smashmouth style I remember from days of yore. Brown also had the wits to go down on the one yard line when the Bucs were trying to let him score at the end of the game. Nice to see that too. I hope to see more of Brown in the weeks to come, he could well be the complement to Bradshaw that we need, a new younger version of Brandon Jacobs, running hard right up the middle.

Speaking of the end of the game, though... one hates to pile on, but damn, that was a bush league move that the new Bucs coach pulled at the end of the game, having his line smashing into the Giants when Eli was kneeling down to run out the clock. Good way to injure someone. Yeah, I know you came from college, but this is the NFL. Game's over, guy. Deal with it. It may have been legal, sure, but it was classless. And if you keep doing stuff like that, you may be headed back to college sooner than you'd like.

Anyway... we won one, we lost one. Just like Hugo night. Seems to be a theme of late.

Oh, and the Pats and Cowboys lost. Icing on my Big Blue cake.



Sep. 17th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
It makes me unreasonably happy that you love my NY teams so much. Icing on the cake that is Westeros...
Michael Howley
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:31 am (UTC)
Yardage Galore
I'm a little curious about your thoughts on the Jets and Giants defenses. Wins are wins, sure, but the points against are a little staggering for both teams.

My Lions, meanwhile, continue to display a tendency to revert to what we affectionately refer to as "The Same Old Lions." Stupid penalties, awful tackling, and an embarrassing number of pass attempts that make you wonder if you're watching the same game as the quarterback. They have so much potential, but they can't seem to string more than two decent quarters together!
Ken Burnside
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:10 am (UTC)
Da Games
The game against the Steelers was a bad set of matchups all around; the good news is that when the Jets face them again in the playoffs, age and athleticism will help against decrepitude and injuries.

You're welcome with regards to Dallas. That was the kind of Seahawks football I've been seeing flashes of for the last two years. Trench warfare run stopping, ball hawking defense, special teams...now, hey, we've suddenly got a quarterback who's actually mildly above average, and have wideouts who don't cover their faces with their hands when something is thrown their way.

Whoda thunkit?

Having seen how cleanly the Cardinals shut down New England, I don't feel quite so badly about losing a squeaker to them in Week 1.
Brian Meise
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:19 am (UTC)
Great signs from the Giants
The first half of the Giants game made me think we were going to see the Eli of old, and I was nervous. THANKFULLY Eli turned into the ELIte QB that he is and threw for 250 yards in the 4th quarter.

Andre Brown sure was a surprise. Ran with power and had the moves, a great combination. If Brown follows his performance up next week with similar results, maybe Bradshaw should get a little nervous. We can't afford to have the worst rushing attack in the NFL again.

The receivers were great today. CRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZ!
Sep. 17th, 2012 05:50 am (UTC)
I love that we love the same teams and hate the same teams. Go Giants and Jets!
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:11 am (UTC)
I'm starting Eli Manning in one league and the Jets' D in both of my leagues. Guess which one's getting benched. (Though boy, did Manning have me wringing my hands early on!)
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:16 am (UTC)
Bad on you, coach Schiano
Kneeling is a courtesy. Eli could have tried to embarrass you further. The next guy just might - evil Bill would with gusto. You were vanquished this week. Accept that and prepare for the next. You are a senior manager for a billion dollar business. Act like it.
Sep. 18th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC)
I agree. Don't forget all the other teams will see this and I wouldn't be surprised if guys start clipping Tampa players "just in case"?

In any case, Steelers win! I do admit they seem to do well against the Jets. Not sure why.
Colty Harrison
Sep. 17th, 2012 07:40 am (UTC)
George, why are you a NY football fan? I know you live in Sante Fe (I'm not stalking, I just read every word of the books you publish), but did you live in NY at some point? If not, why the love for NY and not Cowboys, which are closer to your area (cowboys fan here).
Sep. 17th, 2012 10:07 am (UTC)
Replacement Refs
Just wondering how you're feeling about the replacement refs? I'm not mad at them, per se, but I just feel like there were a LOT of weird calls yesterday in both those games.
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Replacement Refs
We need the real refs back, is how I feel.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Replacement Refs
Well, they were hardly consistent. Both Giants/Packers and Cowboys games last year come to mind. These guys at least have an excuse.
Sam Crecelius
Sep. 17th, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
Five hundred and... What the hell!?!?!?
That's what won the Giants their last two Super Bowls - they just never seem to go away, and you never know what Eli may pull out of his... hat.
Sep. 17th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
Revis really is a game-changer.
btw: great job on "Wait, wait, don't tell me."
Sep. 17th, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
"Kudos" is singular, comes from Greek, I think.
Sep. 17th, 2012 02:26 pm (UTC)
The Jets better show up next week and kick some Dolphin ass.


Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team.
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
They were the greatest... in 1972.
Sep. 17th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
The greatest team that ever was or will be.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 17th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
As a Cowboys fan, I have to say that the Cowboys played so terribly that I was actually worried they were going to somehow retroactively lose the Giants game.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Ha! That has to be the funniest comment on GRRM's blog I have ever read.
Sep. 17th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Potential to be a great season all around, fortunately. At least for my 3 favorite teams.
Scott Gower
Sep. 17th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
It's still early too ...
... to crown any world beaters, yet.

Looks like SF might be the team to beat, barring injury.

The NFC East looks vulnerable this year. Philly's opponents have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory the last two weeks, and Dallas, NY and Washington's defenses look vulnerable. They all have to play what looks to be very tough defenses in the NFC West this year. I'm not sure it's in the cards for the NFC East this year, but anything can happen.

As for allegations of bush league play, trying to injure opposing players seems to be a very old aspect of the game that players are unwilling to let go and a risk many players are willing to continue to assume. Remember the "Bounty Bowl" or the Giants going for Emmitt Smith's shoulder in the divisional playoffs nigh on many years ago? Hearing all the fans this year bemoaning Roger Goodell's efforts to clean up play and reduce player injury and their equally loud outcries when one of their favorite players is injured sends an incredibly mixed message to the players and the league. Seems like it's not a problem until one of "our guys" gets hurt.

I wonder what the Romans would have though of our deeply conflicted relationship with our own Bread and Circuses.

Sep. 17th, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
My Bucs definitely let that game get away from them that was really rough loss Eli was just absolutely unstoppable. As for the move our coach Schiano pulled, while it was maybe a bush league move the guy is trying to rebuild a program and putting emphasis on never giving up and he was just trying to show our guys how this years going to be
Sep. 17th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
Glass half full view of life eh? :)

After growing up in the San Francsico Bay Area, I'm a fan of the 49ers, Raiders, Giants and A's.

So, on any given day during the football or baseball season I'm likely to be disappointed. :(

As for the Jets...they still happy about the money they spent for the 3 plays they got from Tebow? Can't blame it all on Sanchez but seeing the Eagles and Giants going into their locker rooms at halftime and being booed by their home fans... Rex might be getting some pressure if they do go 1-4.

Sean Doyle
Sep. 17th, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
wait wait
You were terrific on Wait Wait Don't tell me! Sounded lie a lot of fun
Robert McCoy
Sep. 17th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh God no, not another Tebow cooment!
Interested in your thoughts on the Tebow factor. It seemed he provided a little spark when he came in, which was promptly extinguished when Sanchez came back in. I wonder what Ryan is up to with Tebow. Sanchez looked great last week, but we all know how that goes. Things will get interesting in the weeks ahead.
Sep. 17th, 2012 09:26 pm (UTC)
Speaking of banging heads against walls...
those of us that dare support the Patriot menace had quite a bit of that to cope with this past weekend. A failed two-point conversion to tie and then a missed field goal to win ending the game at 18-20. Miserable stuff really, though I will admit that the Patriots simply did not deserve to win, the play was just not up to snuff.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Cam Newton!
I pull for the Queen City myself -- Newton was awesome again. He has improved over his first season, which wasn't too shabby for a rookie. That said, it was very exciting watching the Giants pull the fat out of the fire.
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
Minimal Correction
CB Aqib Talib. Not QB. Oh my God's I just edited GRRM!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 17th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC)
I missed most of the first half, but it seemed to me that most of the poor play was because the Bucs went to school on Eli and Gilbride. Yes, some of Eli's passes were poor, but the Tampa D knew where to be in order to take advantage.

In the second half Andre Brown and Hakim Nicks forced the D to adjust. The game from a stats point of view, even in the first half, was a serious mismatch. The Giants have been really fortunate in not having selfish prima donnas. Ahmad was fantastic from the sidelines talking to Brown. Even when Brown wasn't having success in the first half. I like Brown's running style more than Bradshaw's. The way he runs between the tackles, he reminds me old Tiki. He seems to trust his blockers moreso than Ahmad does. James Ingram from Tiki onwards has really done a marvelous job with the Giants running backs. He seems to have a talent for making the fair ones good and the good ones better.

Like last weeks Jets/Bills game I can't take away much from the Giants' performance other than the offensive line was excellent in pass protection and got better in run blocking. But, they didn't face and elite pass rusher or defensive line. Defensively, I didn't see as much individual wins from the Giants D-line as I would have expected.

The Jets... Yes, it's time to worry. They don't even have one receiver with either Nicks or Cruz's ability. The defense are going to have to score points for the offense to get going, I think. Even Tebow can't really be a help because he needs to be under center for more than just one down at a time. Not that I want to see Tebow. I've seen enough. Sanchez looks good enough. He just needs receivers. Do you think Jets management will ever decide that to score points they will need more than a good QB, a good TE and fair RB? What were they thinking fielding this offense?
Sep. 18th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC)
Jay Cutler
I don't know that Chicago can go another season suffering through Jay Cutler. My Bears do not seem to know how to find a Chicago-style quarterback. We don't like whiners. By the way, there is a player names Frey on our practice team. He was in the preseason and did not make the team but is on the practice team. I am keeping my eye on him.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 18th, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
Jim Watts
Sep. 18th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
Be glad you're not a Chiefs fan.
At this point I'm already looking ahead to the 2013 draft.
Matt Winberry
Sep. 19th, 2012 05:50 am (UTC)
You're Welcome...
Go Seahawks!
Sep. 19th, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
cheap shot, yes and no. could someone get hurt,yes and no. the bucs have been suffering an identity crisis since sapp, brooks,lynch, and barber (although he's still around). one of the best defenses. the play was a message that mccoy,webster,barron, and the new look d is back. intimidation. suffered drastically last year. they were horrible. sometimes a push and a shove will create that identity. nasty in the locker room pushes over to the cowboy game. 5 interceptions vs carolina and the giants. now, come on, cboys, meet us in tampa and keep your guard up cause we'll come at you. it's a dirty game,minus the jousting. no one was getting hurt on that play. in boxing, it is said to "keep yourself protected at all times." cheap shot yes, but not for any attempt of injury. it's identity creationism for a young team with some d talent and a coach with NFL experience. he knows what the big league's about. it's a matter of selling a d to be hard nosed, let people know they are coming, and force mistakes. i think it was a great tactic. the Giants sat on their ticker tape floats and forgot to play the cboys. the bucs lost a game they had in the bad to the Gmen, but next are the cboys, so why not put a little aggressive play for them to think about. Go Bucs, the rightful heir to the NFCesteros.
Sep. 19th, 2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
Eli. Manning.
Gotta say I was worried at halftime but then I remembered who our QB was and once the 4th quarter started I saw only one outcome: A Giants win. Eli is just unbelievable and if he keeps this up is gonna go down as one of, if not THE clutchest QB of all time. Dude has ice water running through his veins and it's pretty amazing to actually feel confident as a fan when the team's losing and he's got the ball with less than 2 minutes left.

Can't wait for Thursday night though it smells like a trap game with the injuries/lack of rest/Cam Newton.
Sep. 20th, 2012 09:16 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday, Master!
Sep. 20th, 2012 10:50 am (UTC)
happy birthday
Happy Birthday young men.
Congratulations to your 46 birthday ;)
Hope you enjoy the day with your family and friends.

Rafal Wanjas
Sep. 20th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday mr Martin ;)
Miguel Gonzlez
Sep. 20th, 2012 01:16 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
on your 32nd birthday, I was born. So today, I am exactly half your age. Happy Birthday to us and here's to another 32 years, and at least 2 more ASOIAF books in that time!
Sep. 20th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
Off subject but...
Happy Name Day !!! It's time to celebrate Westerosi style!
Jim Hanley
Sep. 20th, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
Happy Birth Day George!!
Happy birth day to the greatest author ever.
Ray Feighery
Sep. 20th, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Happy Name Day George!
Remy Baker
Sep. 21st, 2012 12:02 am (UTC)
Is it ever too early in the season to say...
Fire Coughlin!


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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