We need to take this in steps.
I don't like playing Sark. Can we just say that from now on? How many years will pass until this stops being a payback/welcome back/old friends and foes game? Honestly, I didn't want the game. Ridiculous, I know. I had more pressing issues of a 4 year olds birthday. But anyways, I think I handle this loss well. Perhaps because I was following the game via gamecast from the front seat of my car parked in the Bigg's parking lot, or perhaps because honestly the number of losses really doesn't affect anything this year. For the next two years USC can define itself differently than before. Yes, we want to win games. But winning all games gets us no further than winning no games. This year really is about the team and the school's ability to fight on. So, I'm taking this loss in stride, walking as arrogantly as possible shouting (okay, not really shouting more like whispering under my breath) "You can't sanction the end zone" and "Lane F#$%ing Kiffin!" I really want us to weather this storm.
2. Manchester United.
So not even the locker room wanted Man U to win. A sewage pipe burst in the Manchester United locker room before the game causing a twenty minute delay of kick off, a very unpleasant odor and the loss of many suits. But more distressing was the starting line up. Hey, so Rooney's hurt. That's okay, we got Berb. Oh, but wait, lets not start him. Let's start Owen and Macheda! Owen has been playing decent ball with the B team and reserves, but throwing him up there by himself, not the wisest. And Macheda...okay we all remember those couple of games late two seasons ago when he was the hero. But starting, really? I would have much preferred Owen and Berb starting with Macheda and Chicharito as subs off the bench. Chicharito did get to sub in, but failed to provide the spark that was so desperately needed. Man U is in third right now, so its not completely time to panic, but their ship seems off course, and if they keep dropping points, walking away with ties, this could end up being a very long season for the red devils.
In other EPL news, West Brom (yes, WBA) is 6th. SIXTH right now. And Liverpool is in the relegation zone.
3. The Packers.
I love one o'clock games. LOVE them. Get to fully enjoy the pregame, and when the game is done, get enough time to rest off the beers before bed time. Coming off the loss to the bears (who looked completely awful versus the Giants and the Packers got a look at what Monday night could have been if they wouldn't have shot themselves in the foot) the Packers needed to bounce back. The game should, like most games thus far this season, the promise and the weakness of the team. When given the opportunity, there seems to be nothing that Aaron Rodgers can't do. But the game plan did not allow for that. For about half the snaps, it seemed like the offense finally got it, you can't run Jackson up the middle, and Kuhn can't run to the side. But on the other half of the snaps, the play calling made little sense. Send Kuhn out on a wide run on a short third down. Start drives off with a long bomb with a receiver double covered. To me, it seemed like half the calls were scripted and did not necessarily match the spot on the field, the down and distance, or the timing of the game. The offense seemed to be completely on track on its first and its last drive of the game. What happened in the middle is beyond me.
And then there's the defense. Its starting to remind me of Pete Carroll's defense at USC in his final years there. They cause big plays, sacks and turnovers, but they don't always stop the drive. I will say that holding the Lions to field goals at the end did turn out to be the winning formula, but again we are faced with the question, is this enough for a team with super bowl aspirations? And then there were the injuries. Rookie stand out Morgan Burnett out for the season. News just came out that perhaps Chillar could be out for the season as well. We still have two games until the PUP guys can even think about coming back, and who knows about their conditioning and game readiness. I fully believed after the Chicago game that this was a team that can solve its problems. And to a point, I still believe that. But every week it seems that new problems arise as we solve the old ones. Case in point, against the Lions the Packers only had three penalties, Crosby managed to keep all kicks in bounds, and Tramon looked better than average in the return game. As we solve some of these problems, Jordy Nelson decides to present us with a new one, he's decided to stop hanging on to the ball. And Matshay decided that kicking the ball as far as I can is far enough.
Let me say this, I am not off the bandwagon. In fact, I was "yelling" at people on Sunday, reminding them during their complaining that the Packers were, in fact, winning the game. But I am a little cautious. I believe that the Redskins game will be a big one for the Packers. The Redskins are a little like the Packers. Good pieces, slightly inconsistent play. What the Packers need to do is to stop the bleeding now. Make some choices, even tough ones on areas that we are struggling, replace the injured people with either someone consistent who can play the role or with a couple new packages. If the Packers go into FedEx field and beat the Redskins, even if it is a little sloppy, I believe we will be righting the ship. Go in and play like they did versus the bears, and there could be some rocky seas ahead. Also to note, SB is a Redskins fan. He was swearing at the TV yesterday. Seeing as we're both emotional sports watchers, I stated now that it just is not a good idea to watch the game together. For the sake of our relationship, and the ear drums of our neighbors.