We’re starting a new segment here at Rumors and Rants called “Weekend in Review,” mostly because it chronicles the events of the past weekend. I guess we’ll have to do it again to qualify as a segment. And by “we” I mean myself. Also, I consider Monday to be part of the weekend, because that is one of the days that I don’t have to work.
So, without further ado, here are the things that stuck with me the most this weekend:
When the Browns and Bills get together, you just know that someone is going home with tears in their eyes. Teams from Buffalo and Cleveland are simply incapable of losing games in a routine fashion, so when you get the two together it’s a sick bastard’s dream come true. Monday night was no disappointment on that end.
At first, it appeared that the hapless Browns would become the first team in NFL history to squander a 13-point lead in three consecutive games. But the Bills spared them that indignity by flashing back to moments from their own heartbreaking past.
The most recent example was last year, when the Bills hosted their first Monday Night game since Jim Kelly was running the show. Buffalo appeared to have the Cowboys beaten about 10 different times, but a recovered onside kick and a 51-yard Nick Folk field goal as time expired sent another stake through Buffalo’s pockmarked heart.
This year, it was a 56-yarder by Phil Dawson. The only difference is that this time the Bills had time left on the clock to put together a rally.
That they did, setting up a 47-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Lindell that went… wide right. If this scenario sounds familiar — well, let’s just say it’s happened to the Bills before. Same yardage. Same result. And now the Bills, who started the season 5-1 and inspired us to jump on their bandwagon, appear to need a miracle to get into the playoffs after four straight losses. (Interestingly, they have not won since giving coach Dick Jauron a contract extension. This is why I don’t believe in midseason contract extensions).
Perhaps more significantly, even with the loss, Buffalo has fallen out of the lead in the standings for America’s Most Tortured Sports City. With the Sonics moving, Mariners sucking and Seahawks blowing, not to mention the indignity that is Washington football, Seattle has rocketed up the charts in the past 365 days. The clincher was last month when Seattle super fan “Tuba Man” — their version of the Cubs’ Ronnie Woo-Woo, Broncos’ Barrel Man and USC’s Phillips — was murdered by some random scumbags.
At this rate, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sabres lose their next game on an overtime goal by a guy skating in the crease in an attempt to put Buffalo back on top (or bottom).
As an IU fan, I’m very well aware of the fact Saturday’s season-opening win over Northwestern State will probably be the highlight of the entire season. (Made even sweeter by the fact I was at a football game on Northwestern State’s campus when it happened. Take that Demons! Oh wait, no one cared). It’s going to be a long year.
So, most of my basketball joy this season will come from watching other teams. In particular, watching Kentucky lose. For the second straight season, the Wildcats began their campaign with a stunning home loss to an inferior opponent when VMI knocked them off Friday night.
Theoretically, this loss may have been more palatable to the Ashley Judd set (of fans. What were you thinking I was referring to, perv?) than last year’s clunker against Gardner-Webb since the Keydets perennially lead the NCAA in scoring. OK, who am I kidding? Nothing is palatable to Kentucky fans other than winning every single game, which is why Tubby Smith was run out of the state.
Just like last year, program savior Billy Gillespie will probably be able to recover and get the Wildcats back into the NCAA Tournament (though there’s some question whether they belonged last year). Even so, you have to wonder if the ice he’s skating on is getting any thinner as a result of these back-to-back November embarrassments.
Lovie, Meet Dusty
After Sunday’s depantsing by the Packers, it has occurred to me that Lovie Smith is the new Dusty Baker. He came to Chicago in a storm of goodwill, earned the love of fans early on and brought his team to the brink of a championship.
Just like Dusty, Lovie is almost an extremist when it comes to defending his players. There is no accountability for their actions; nothing is ever their fault. And in the same token, he’s also proven to be very poor at making adjustments. Opposing quarterbacks have been having a field day against the Bears in nearly every game this season. It’s clear that the defensive scheme isn’t working. Yet week after week receivers are getting huge cushions to get at least eight yards a catch. Put two together and you’ve got a first down. Pretty simple math.
If the Bears are somehow to make the playoffs, it looks like the burden will fall entirely on the beard (and ankle) of Kyle Orton. Who’d have seen that one coming?
Spotted at the Raiders-Dolphins game: A fan holding a sign that said “No way LA.” I understand that people in Miami might still be living in the ’80s because of Dan Marino, Don Johnson and cocaine, but are you kidding me? No wonder the stupidest things always seem to happen in Florida.
The next best thing to be caught on camera was Texans coach Gary Kubiak at the end of the Houston-Indianapolis game. Following Sage Rosenfels’ game-ending interception, you could see Kubiak clearly mouthing “Fucking Rosenfels.”