Monday, November 1, 2010

Boo! Did I scare you?

Halloween weekend did not fail. Highs and lows (lower than low lows) but like I said last week, I'll trust in the Packers to pick it all back up.

The sports weekend started Saturday afternoon. Vidic, in all of his glory hit a perfect header off of a Nani free kick, giving Man U the lead in the first half. But the real fireworks of the game came toward the end, when after Nani was brought down in the box and no penalty was given, Tottenham keeper Gomes placed what he believed to be a dead ball on the ground. In what I can only describe as a mass of confusion, it seemed like no one on the field - including the refs - knew if the ball was live or being set for a dead kick. Nani capitalized on the confusion and kicked the ball into the net giving Man U a 2-0 victory. Nani had every right to go for the goal. I wouldn't want anyone on my team who would try to capitalize on every single opportunity. I don't know if the refs should have allowed it, though. Here's my slightly biased opinion of what happened. Nani was taken down in the box, clearly, and should have had a penalty kick. However, it wasn't called. While on the ground, expecting the PK call, Nani handles the ball. Seeing as the PK wasn't given, the ball was still live and therefore Nani touching it was illegal and should have stopped the play. Gomes then picks up the ball and places it for what he believes to be a goal kick. The refs did not see the hand ball. And when Gomes placed it, believed the ball to be live and therefore available for Nani to kick it.

I know a lot of Man U haters. And take their abuse far far too often (esp since I never publicly diss their teams), but on Saturday all I could do was laugh at all the hatred. Anyone who says that Nani was wrong is lying. And anyone who wouldn't want their player to do the same, is lying. With all the flopping in soccer, or in the NFL when a receiver begs for pass interference even though they tripped on their own accord, when the play isn't reviewable you play to what the ref can and can not see. This isn't golf; players are not self policing. If you want to go back and prove that the handball would have negated the goal, then you also would open the door for them to go back and see Nani clearly taken down in the box.

I spent the rest of my Saturday desperately searching for something red to wear for #redout. I missed watching the game though. It wasn't on here. And it was Trevor's birthday, so the family all went out. Followed along on my phone and really, I think SC hung in their longer than most people expected. I was rather bitter though at the loss and tried to drink away my sorrows. Didn't help that I was now being harassed on twitter by Ducks fans. Takes a big man to not say a word to me the week leading up the game and then after victory is secured talk all the trash you want. I told one such fan off Sunday morning, as I tried desperately to nurse away the hangover and the pain. He tried to give me shit for tweeting him, calling him out at 5 in the morning. I then explained to him that there are different time zones in the USA and I woke up at 8:00 am to a tweet from him, so I responded. I didn't start anything, but when attacked, I will fight back. He then said, "have a nice day." What is this world coming to with the trash talk? I literally was called a B$@tch because my team lost. Twitter makes people lose all sorts of inhibitions and social norms.

And that brings us to Sunday. "I could really use a hug to make today better, and I'm hoping that hug comes from the Green Bay Packers." I really believed that the Packers would win. I also believed that the game would be a shoot out. I thought that Sanchez would struggle, the Jets would then go to LT and he'd be able to run on our patch work defense and then ARod, coming off the momentum of Monday night would keep up. I was half wrong. The Packers won. And boy did they! Holding the Jets scoreless, and scoring 9 points is a big deal. For a win, there were a surprising number of haters - wait, haters upsets them - severe doubters. And I agree that MM and his play calling left much to be desired. But at the same time I'm not ready to set him out to pasture for it. MM knew what kind of a game he was in. He knew that the defense was going to carry the team. Is that "fair" on the D - as soooooo many people lamented? Yes, yes it is. You want to know why? Cause sometimes your d carries the team, sometimes your offense does. Either way, you're a team. But getting back to McCarthy. There were more long passes on third and short, which is still frustrating and mind boggling. But then there also was the genius of the three run plays at the end of the game. Some people hated that. I got texts from two different people wondering what MM was doing. You know what he was doing, he was being smarter than us. He forced New York to use their time outs. While the fan base clamoured for passes and the first down, MM knew that making the Jets waste all their time outs, was more valuable. They weren't going to be able to move the ball. Was it risky? yes. But it would have been just as risky to throw it up, have the receiver drop it or go out of bounds, and give the ball back to the Jets with time and with a time out. I am not defending MM's play calling in total. But given the day of perspective, I don't think everything he did yesterday "sucked".

Also, is there no happy medium between sucking and greatness? It has seemed to me lately that if someone makes a mistake in game they now suck. Case in point, Mason Crosby sucked yesterday according to more than five people I talked to after he missed his second kick. Forget the wind, forget that Mason is having a decent season, forget that the guy kicked two more field goals for the Packers and forget that the Jets kicker also missed, Mason Crosby sucks. Give me a break! You want to run around saying everyone sucks, good for you, but then be prepared for my eye rolls.

But anyways, back to happier notes. The game rocked. This defense is awe-inspiring. I don't even know everyone on the team, it does feel like we just picked up some people off of the street, and yet we blanketed the Jets. A few snap shots that I liked: 1. after giving up a big play, the D did not fold. That's key. In prior games this season if the other team made a big play, they almost always scored on that drive. But not yesterday, the D dug in their heels and said "no more." 2. Rushing three on third down began to work. Could our three get to Sanchito? No, except for that one time, but the coverage down field held up and the three did not allow Sanchez to scramble for the first down. That's the point of rushing three and it started to work. 3. The D finally managed to combine being opportunistic and while maintaining tight coverage. All of the turnovers were won because our guys fought for them. But at the same time, there wasn't a lot of jumping routes and letting people go.

And lets also give out a big hand for the special teams. Minus the one run back to open the half, ST looked great. Masthay's finally came together. He's shown us glimpses that this performance was in him, but would still manage to shank at least one punt a game. Not yesterday, in a defensive and field position battle, Masthay proved to be invaluable. And lets give it up for the coverage. They were right their with him. Hustling and working hard. Even on the fake punt - which it now comes out was a decision made by the punter (think Rex has some choice four letter words for him) - I was impressed by the Packers hustle and drive on the play.

Am I worried about our offense. Yes, somethings not there. But I'm not ready to start pulling out my hair. We play Dallas next week (which I'm a little worried we might over look), and then its the bye week. I really feel that the Packers are back on track. And I'm excited for the rest of the season.

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