CRACKED's NFL Rundown: Week 9
Lions 30, Falcons 14All morning long, on every pregame show, the debate was waged whether Michael Vick might be the best quarterback in the NFL following his three touchdown performance last week, silencing all his critics. Vick then tore open the curtain on the NFL's desperate attempts to paint him as a Tom Brady-esque leader and passer by returning to his "Run First, Turnover The Ball Second" style of play. "Hey, Tom Brady threw four interceptions against the Colts!" insisted Nike CEO Mark Parker as he spun a spiraling hypnodisk. "Michael Vick is a great quarterback... a greeeeeeaaaaat quaaaarterbaaaaaaack..."
Two Vick turnovers led to two Kevin Jones touchdowns, prompting fantasy owners across the country to remember they were still carrying Jones on their rosters for God only knows what reason.
Broncos 31, Steelers 20The Super Bowl champs took another beating, and are now tied for the second worst record in the NFL, in company with luminaries such as the Texans, Browns, and Lions. To have even a slim chance of making the playoffs, Pittsburgh will likely have to sweep the final eight games of its schedule. Head coach Bill Cowher was quick to remind everyone, however, that last year's team started slow and finished strong, ultimately sending Jerome Bettis out as a champion in his hometown of Detroit. "I've been asking around," he went on, "to determine which barely-contributing veterans grew up in Miami and would be willing to retire if we win it all, but I haven't found anyone yet. Chris Gardocki's the closest I've found and he's from Georgia. But even if he was from Miami, how fired up do you expect a team to get to 'win one for the punter'?"
For the second straight week, the Broncos broke the 20-point barrier in scoring after struggling to do so all year, thanks to three touchdowns by receiver Javon Walker-hey, wait a minute. How come when Michael Vick throws three touchdowns in a game, he's debatably the "greatest quarterback in the NFL," but when Jake Plummer does it, he's just delaying the inevitable christening of rookie Jay Cutler as the Broncos' starter?
Jaguars 37, Titans 7With just over two minutes remaining, Tennessee quarterback Vince Young lobbed a pass to Drew Bennett for the team's sole touchdown on the afternoon. This was the college dorm hook-up equivalent of the girl you started hanging out with in freshman year and occasionally made drunken passes at but were always shot down by, who finally gave you a handjob sometime around junior year midterms because she felt like you deserved something for being so damn perseverant.
The Jaguars largely quit playing about five minutes into the third quarter-shortly after back up quarterback David Garrard threw his third touchdown of the game, thus making him eligible for all "greatest quarterback in the NFL" debates. For the remainder of the game, some players could be seen sitting on the bench attentively watching the action on the field, though upon further inspection it became clear they had painted eyes on their eyelids to appear awake while napping.
Seahawks 17, Raiders 0Pitting the Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander-less Seahawks against the hapless Raiders guaranteed most of the nation didn't even wait for Hank Williams to pose the question of whether we were ready for some football before switching over to see what the creepy FBI guy on
Even better, if you were in the Mountain or Pacific time zones, you had the chance to see Deion Branch score the only touchdown of the game, and still have plenty of time to see T-Bag get tortured, Linc get sprung from the Wilcox Police, and Sarah and Michael make up for that whole "making you think we were in love so I could get out of prison which ultimately turned you into a heroin addict" thing.
Colts 27, Patriots 20Peyton Manning slew a dragon in defeating the ever-threatening Patriots in Foxboro. Of course, since it happened during the regular season and not the playoffs, it only helps to raise the expectations which will ultimately be dashed come January. "Did you see the way they were celebrating?" snickered New England running back Corey Dillon. "I know it's not nice, but in these situations, I like to let them have a game like this to give them hope. It's so much funnier to see that redneck Manning get eliminated from the post-season, when he truly believed he had a snowball's chance of winning."
Tom Brady denied Dillon's claim the Patriots had thrown the game. "Of course not!" he insisted, stifling a laugh, "I just accidentally threw four interceptions to a team that had five total in the first seven games combined. And our corners just kind of forgot to defend Marvin Harrison too. Oh, man, this January is gonna be sweet!"
Chiefs 31, Rams 17Up to now, "The Battle for Missouri" has raised images of the Senatorial race and the question of whether Michael J. Fox was pretending to have Parkinson's or not. Sadly, this game followed a similar route when, after Kansas City running back Larry Johnson ran for 172 yards and a touchdown, conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh accused him of "acting like a great running back, out there shaking and breaking tackles, and just all over the place." When Limbaugh learned Johnson
"All around this country, listeners," he intoned, "there are Democrats who drafted Larry Johnson in their fantasy leagues, and every week he is handing them victories. Just handing them over! It is shameless, and if Democratic fantasy football players had any integrity they would bench Larry Johnson for the remainder of the season. Uh, Republicans may keep Johnson as an 'always play.'"
Johnson wasn't the only fantasy star for the Chiefs. Back up quarterback Damon Huard, who wouldn't even be playing if Trent Green hadn't been injured and who will be a free agent but whom no team would consider worthy of a starting role, connected with Tony Gonzalez and Kris Wilson for a total of three touchdowns, putting him in the rarefied air of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL today.
Redskins 22, Cowboys 19Any Washington or Dallas fan will tell you there are few rivalries as intense or as exciting as the Redskins versus the Cowboys. Unfortunately, Fox programming executives listened to those fans without bothering to consider their obvious bias and stuck the entire country with watching two mediocre teams whose head coaches' reputations far outweigh their results both trying desperately to lose.
Washington and Dallas both missed field goals in the final 40 seconds, though the Redskins got a second--and decisive--chance after time expired thanks to a penalty on the Cowboys. The outlandish circumstances of the loss will, unfortunately, do nothing to stem Michael Irvin's declaration of the Cowboys as Super Bowl favorites thanks to the installation of Tony Romo as starting quarterback. Irvin is expected to fail an ESPN drug test in the very near future.
Ravens 26, Bengals 20Chad Johnson has grown introspective this season. Recently, he recognized that he has his best performances against the best talent, causing him to wonder why he failed to motivate himself against smaller challenges. His diminished stats have him questioning his abilities and his lack of visits to the end zone has him speculating where he has gone wrong. Sunday's loss only deepened the inward exploration.
"I just don't know what else I can do," the Cincinnati receiver sighed. "I grew a gold mohawk, I came up with new touchdown celebration dances that didn't break the NFL's new taunting guidelines, I renamed myself Ocho Cinco and had a special jersey made with that name on the back, I double checked to make sure my new dances were in accordance with the NFL regulations, I shaved off my mohawk and made a big deal about it... If there's anything else I can do to improve my stock as a receiver, I sure can't think of it."
Dolphins 31, Bears 13Twenty-one years ago, the Chicago Bears were handed their only loss of the season by the Miami Dolphins as they shuffled their way to Super Bowl XX. Reread that last sentence out loud eight thousand times over the course of three hours and you'll understand what watching this game was like. In the previous contest, both teams wore similarly colored uniforms to the ones worn on Sunday and were referred to by the same names, but after that all comparisons between the games get sketchy at best.
For example, the Bears of 1985 had actually beaten teams with winning records and proven themselves against some of the NFL's elite. The 2006 incarnation turned the ball over six times to the Cardinals and won only by virtue of the fact they were playing against the Cardinals. Further, the Dolphins of 1985 had Hall of Famer Dan Marino under center. The current team is led by Joey Harrington, who was cut by the terrible Detroit Lions and signed by the Dolphins to play off the bench. In his defense, however, Harrington tossed three touchdowns in the victory, making him arguably the league's greatest quarterback.
Chargers 32, Browns 25LaDainian Tomlinson scored three more touchdowns, putting him on pace for 793* by season's end. These three came against Cleveland though, so a dog-years-like conversion must be applied, determining that Tomlinson's three "Cleveland scores" were the equal of an above average, but less impressive, 1.15 touchdowns against other NFL opponents.
*Estimate courtesy of CRACKED Department of Statistics, which estimated the Cardinals chance of winning the World Series to be "French toast."
Giants 14, Texans 10Earlier this season, inspired by a second-rate rap song, the New York defense decided to celebrate every big play by pretending to shoot a jumpshot. While this made for a few amusing video clips of large men thrusting limp wrists at the camera while feyly shouting, "Ballin'!", the humor was short lived. Unfortunately, CBS and ESPN, with their utter lack of "this has gone far enough" sense made sure to flood the airwaves with enough "Ballin'!" references to make sure no one would ever want to see the Giants defense make a big play ever again. To their credit, the Giants defense obliged on Sunday.
"Jeezus," gasped defensive end Michael Strahan, "is that really what I sound like? I always pictured my voice having more of a Billy Dee Williams quality to it." Strahan went on to defend the jumpshot move. "It's no stupider than that Mark McGwire home run stomach punch or Sammy Sosa kissing his fingers and his heart and his fingers and... aw, you know that thing he did."
Saints 31, Buccaneers 14New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw three touchdowns on the afternoon, entering him into consideration... well, you know what? Drew Brees actually is a pretty good quarterback and his addition to the New Orleans roster has turned a team that had the second pick in the draft into a playoff contender and restored hope to a city devastated by the greatest natural disaster in American history. Really, how can you make fun of that?
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, are ripe for mockery. Tampa Bay fell behind by 17 points before finally rallying in the second quarter to pull within three, but the comeback fell short. In the face of his team's sixth loss, impotent offense, porous defense, and failure to show any signs of cohesion or gameplanning, head coach Jon Gruden said, "You're welcome! If I may, I"d like to draw your attention to that Super Bowl banner hanging over by that big fake pirate ship. No need to thank me. It was my pleasure."
Bills 24, Packers 10Willis McGahee broke a rib in the first five minutes of Sunday's game, finally giving fantasy owners the excuse they've been looking for to bench the self-proclaimed "best running back in the NFL" without the nagging worry that he'll explode for a 150-yard, three touchdown game once they do.
"Finally, I can start Maurice Jones-Drew," cried one McGahee owner. "I know I probably should have bumped him ahead of McGahee weeks ago, but I just figured there had to be one of those big games waiting to come out. Now I'm free!"
49ers 9, Vikings 3The Giants and Twins got a jump on interleague play with the hometown--holy crap! You mean that's not a baseball score?
San Francisco fans proved themselves the very epitome of "patience" when they did not riot and burn down the stadium after their team managed just 133 yards of offense in a victory. "I got my letter reminding me to renew my season tickets for next year," said one man in a large red and gold foam cowboy hat, "but instead I decided to pay a guy from the Castro district $3000 to slam my balls between two cinderblocks eight times a year. It's quicker and I save about a grand."
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Jake Bell is a former NBC sportscaster and head writer for Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge.