Tag Archives: Monday Night Football

California Dreamin: Big Day for the Sports World

MLB PLAYOFFS


In just over an hour, the ALCS will resume from Anaheim as the Angels attempt to make their arrival to the series.  The Yankees have a 2-0 lead thanks to some timely hitting, and some inept defense from the opposition at the most inopportune time.  Postseason legend Andy Pettitte takes the hill tonight to face off against Jered Weaver.  This is obviously a must win for the Angels.  There’s now way they could come back from being down 3-0 with the Yankees having home field advantage.  Although Weaver is having a great season, New York’s offense can only be held down for so long, so the Angels will have to outscore them and probably even need a 4+ run advantage going into the ninth so the meltdown machine, Brian Fuentes, can preserve a victory and get them back in the series.  Since this is doubtful, it’s likely the Yankees will unofficially put the Angels away, and the bandwagon fans of Orange County will quickly go back to forgetting the Angels even exist.

On the National League side, the other Southern California team will resume play in Philadelphia, where the Phillies hold a 2-1 lead after last night’s blowout.  While tonight’s game isn’t quite as urgent as for their SoCal counterparts, to go down 3-1 would be a huge hole to have to dig out of.  If there was ever a game the Dodgers should be able to take, it would be Game 4 against the capable but unsure Joe Blanton.  Blanton is usually solid, but we all know he’s prone to give up the longball.  Look for the Dodgers to even the series behind some long bombs from Manny and company.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL


When the 2009 schedule was released, no one would’ve been surprised to look at this game and guess that it would be a 5-0 team versus a 2-2 team.  The thing is, most would’ve expected the Chargers to be undefeated and leading the division.  Instead, while they’ve been underachieving, the Broncos have excelled to a 5-0 start, the first time they’ve done so since the 1998 season, where they rattled off 13 straight wins to start the year en route to a Super Bowl victory.  Tonight will be a battle of quarterbacks, as the overrated Philip Rivers has just 9 more passing yards than Kyle Orton, whom you wouldn’t necessarily say was underrated, but he’s better than the blind quadrapalegic the Chicago media made him out to be.  It’s hard to say how he’ll fare tonight in a hostile environment under the bright lights of MNF, but one thing is for certain.  Tonight is the night we’ll find out if the Broncos are for real, and we’ll also see if the Chargers run under it’s current nucleus has run its course.

NHL HOCKEY


Let’s be honest here, Doin Work isn’t exactly the foremost authority on the hockey world, but a big game is going down at 7pm Eastern time at Madison Square Garden.  The 7-1 Rangers, who are tied with Pittsburgh for the best record in the league, will host the San Jose Sharks.  San Jose has struggled to a 4-3-1 record, but they’re coming off a season in which they had the best record in all of hockey.  If they want to still be considered a contender, tonight’s game will be a huge proving ground for them.  Sharks’ forward Dany Heatley scored 10 points in his first four games with the team, but is scoreless in the three games since.  He’ll need to get back on track if the Sharks are going to stand a chance.  I can’t predict what will happen, or even really care for that matter, but keep the Versus Channel in your rotation tonight when MNF and MLB are both at commercial.

Advertisements

Chargers Show Up Late in Oakland

(As previously reported on playunderreview.wordpress.com)

 

Knee looks just fine to me Jaws...

Knee looks just fine to me Jaws...

The NFL has a knack of reminding us just how much parity there can be in a league with a firm salary cap in place (yes, I’m talking to you MLB).  Even the biggest underdog can rise up and play inspired football on any given week, and with a few lucky bounces going their way, can triumph over a highly favored team.  Last night’s MNF double-header on ESPN gave us two perfectly scripted dramas filled with suspense, adversity, more suspense, comedy, and full resolution in the form of multiple game winning drives.   In no way did we expect the Bills to hang with the Patriots in a low scoring Game 1, but Tom Brady finally shook off the rust and, with the help of a timely fumble, capitalized twice in the final three minutes to win a nail-biter.

The bigger surprise occurred in Oakland during Game 2, the final game of the opening week of the 2009 NFL season.  Out came the Raiders, playing as if they themselves were the AFC West favorite and Super Bowl contender that had traveled up the coast from San Diego.  Not once during their current 11 game losing streak to the Chargers did the Raiders come out and completely dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball like they did last night.  Heck not once did they dominate ONE side of the line of scrimmage in their 10 previous matchups.  It was as if all the talent accumulated during their stretch of early first round draft picks were living up to their potential all at once, making the Raiders appear to be a legit contender.  The Raider Defense penetrated early and often, frustrating the likes of Charger QB Phillip Rivers into an unsportsmanlike behavior penalty.  At least for the first half, the Raiders actually looked as scary as the fans that root for them!
Picture taken on a Wednesday in April

Picture taken on a Wednesday in April

 
 

And after thoroughly dominating the first half what did the Raiders have to show for it?  A tied ballgame at the half.   It’s fair to say the Chargers played absolutely terrible in that first half, and their saving grace was two forced turnovers by the Raider O and an iffy video review that kept four extra points off the board (the ball did touch the ground as it shifted).  Again, this was a tale of two different halves for the Raiders.  JaMarcus Russell looked unusually comfortable in the pocket and felt little pressure, but when forced to make decisions and accurate throws in the 3rd quarter the story changed significantly.  The Raiders had a much tougher time  more moving the ball on the ground as the Chargers D-line finally started fighting back after getting run over in the first two quarters.  They were still not able to put a lot of pressure on Russell in the passing game, and we have to compliment the play calling that allowed Russell to get rid of the ball quickly in most situations.  Russell’s decision making was limited to half the field most of the time, and he connected very successfully with TE Zack Miller up the middle for 6 catches and 96 yards.

 

Great decision... until he actually throws it

Great decision... until he actually throws it

The real problem occurred on 2nd or 3rd and long, passing situations that left much to be desired from the former #1 overall pick at QB.   Russell looked great in the first half checking down to his running back after his quick reads were unavailable, but when dump-offs weren’t going to cut it the ball started flying all over the field.   And I mean ALL OVER the field including the sidelines.  I saw at least a half dozen passes to receivers in either man coverage or flat out wide-open, especially on the up-and-out routes to the sideline, that not only weren’t catchable but the receivers couldn’t even make an effort because they were so far off.  The passes he did get close seemed to be 50/50 chances for either team, and Charger defenders dropped several passed that should have been turnovers.  In the last minute of the game, Russell’s last bad throw  strung out Johnny Lee Higgins on a pass that left him on the turf for 5 minutes after a jarring, legal hit applied by Chargers safety Eric Weddle.  

 

I believe he's talking smack WHILE he throws!

I believe he's talking smack WHILE he throws!

Upon further review, the Raiders looked to be a real contender through their first two quarters of the season, and at times in the second half as well.  But the Chargers were just too strong, even after losing two starting offense lineman and playing out of a hole the entire game.  Darren Sproles proved his worth as a franchised player with LaDainian Tomlinson never really got it going against a team he usually dominates. Each had a touchdown last night, but it was a stellar 4th quarter performance by Phillip Rivers that sealed the victory for the Chargers.  Rivers also proved his worth with another victory after signing a contract worth up to $93 million contract extension in the off-season.  He’s gonna earn every penny if the Chargers continue to show up late to division games against big-time underdogs.

 

 


Raiders Vs. Chargers Live Blog!

Raiders Chargers fans

I have to admit I am expecting the worst tonight for my Raiders, but then again I was expecting the Pats to blow out the Bills, and that definitely didn’t happen! Man, if the Bills only had Marshawn tonight maybe the story would have changed. This game could say a lot about our team this year, and answer a lot of the lingering questions from the off-season. Does Cable have control of a team that he socked one of his coaches in? Is Richard Seymour going to benefit from being in a 4-3 defense? Can Jemarcus give us any hope or is it time to cut ties? I’ve said before that I would be happy with Oakland going 8-8 to at least not have a losing record, but they’ll have to prove it to me for that to happen. If the Chargers happen to lose this game, I think they’ll have more questions than the ones I just asked about the Raiders, starting with; Should we fire Norv?

So, Steve Young, Mike Golic, and Mike Greenburg are calling the game. They just showed them together, and Golic looks like the Jolly Green Giant towering over two midgets.

START OF THE GAME

Raiders get the kick, and are starting at their own 29. Steve Young needs to turn up his mic. Bush just ripped off a nice 17 yarder on the first play. Better start than last year already! Couple good runs by McFadden.

MCeezy: Raiders are moving the ball well early on.  No doubt they’re coming out to establish the run, which is their strong point, if you could say they have one.  Russell, on the other hand is 0-2 to start.  Russell finally completes his first pass to Zach Miller.

I was almost excited, but that then Jemarcus brought me back to earth the same way Kayne took Taylor Swift’s thunder last night.

Three and out for SD. Rivers tossed that third down pass like he was imitating Jemarcus!

One thing I don’t miss about the NFL is all of the TV timeouts, real lame, real lame!

Wow, the Raiders are moving it on the ground. The SD defense looks confused against the Raiders, whaaa!?!

MCeezy: Raiders are playing inspired for a change!  Chargers look conservative on the defensive end.  I’m sure they know it’s a long game and they might be able to just sit back and wait for the Raiders to make more mistakes.

BUSH TD!

Sproles just ripped off a huge return that looks like the Raiders I remember! Followed up by their 1st first down to Vincent Jackson…

MCeezy: Let’s see how the Raiders play with a lead. It’s nice having some established vets on the ends of the D-Line

SEYMOUR!!!!!!

He said he’d “be the guy on top of the quarterback.  He’s not wasting any time!
LT is starting to show his age, and the Raiders catch the first break with his fumble! Maybe Seymour is bringing some intensity to this defense!
MCeezy: WOW. They came to play!  This drive will be huge in terms of seeing if they’re really for real.  Expect a heavy dose of Bush and McFadden. They need to keep Rivers and the SD offense off the field.

2ND QUARTER Oak 7, SD 0
Raiders started with a few running plays. Followed by a bailout call, and two third down conversions. Something we never did last year. Showing signs of life in the offense I could get used to this.
Uh oh spoke too soon, the third turnover of the game already with a McFadden fumble…
MCeezy: Raiders are doing a phenomenal job of game and clock management.  If they can get another stop here, they can really take control of the game…. for now
The Chargers get their second first down. The Raiders are laying out some hits now!
MCeezy:WOW, amazing pursuit by Tyvon Branch.Rivers just hung Sproles out to dry.
The Chargers finally started to look like themselves and got a TD off the turnover Oakland 7, San Diego 7.
MCeezy:Despite the TD to tie it up, the momentum is still on the Raiders side.  They need to answer back here…
Greenie brings up a good point…. Russell never finds his receivers.  It’s either the tight end or RBs out of the backfield.  Why even have WRs?  You and I could run around and be decoys, because that’s all they’re really doing.  and where’s Javon Walker?
That’s why… (Heyward Bey drops a pass) I still am surprised how easily they’re pushing around the SD D-Line! Our receivers suck, maybe Jemarcus doesn’t deserve all the blame.
MCeezy: Special teams is the only area where the Raiders aren’t absolutely despicable.  Good to see exceptional coverage on another stellar Shane Lechler punt.
I think I expect the worst nowadays!
MCeezy:Asomghua making some noise!  He had a feature on him on espn.com earlier.  I was curious to see how he’d respond, and even though he doesn’t get the ball thrown his way, he still finds a way to make plays.
Another solid defensive stand for the Raiders! One thing about them is their defense has looked good the past few seasons, they’re just on the field way too much. Maybe they can change that this year, and keep them fresh!
MCeezy:Wow. I feel like I’ve said that many times tonight, but what would you expect.  The Chargers were expected to win in a route…
Seriously! I picked SD in my Doin Lines Week 1 giving 91/2 points!
MCeezy: The first catch by a WR!  Louis Murphy was a steal in the second round.  He may not see many passes thrown his way in this system, but if he can get open, the offense will be okay.
After two terrible throws, he made one good one. He needs to change that MO…
MCeezy:For the first time in his career, I can honestly say Jamarcus Russell looks like a legitimate QB.
It’s funny I wrote in my Raiders preview, that this pre-season was the first time he actually looked like he knew what he was doing…
MCeezy: Caught a break there, as Russell threw it RIGHT to the defense.  Lady Luck just might be on the Raiders’ side for a change.Think the Raiders would be happy with a 10-7 lead at the half?
I’d almost say no, the way they’ve dominated this game… Seeing how they’ve been the last few years, I’d say yes! Murphy your boy! I think you might be right, maybe I’ll add him to my fantasy team…
MCeezy:Russell to Murphy!!!!  Just when I thought Jamarcus was settling back into his old ways, he finds the rookie in the end zone!GREAT double move.

I think the TD stands
I think it does too. When is Norv going to get fired? Haha, I love how he lead a talented SD team to an 8-8 record last season!
Lady luck my ass! How was that not a TD! God I hate refs! It was Ed Hochuli bad! FG good. 10-7 Oakland
MCeezy:BULLSHIT!
I love how the announcers agree that it was bullshit.
Sproles just ripped off a long return, I’m officially worried about a TD here…
SD gets into FG range with a couple of plays the Oakland defense really didn’t care to stop… Seymour getting on top of Rivers again!
Kaeding FG. Tied at 10 for the half.
Immediately kicked to Swami talking about the non-tuck rule hahaha!
MCeezy:Gotta be happy with a tie at the half…. Should be 14-10 but calls going against the Raiders is nothing new.  Overall, they look a lot better than any of us could have expected.  Let’s hope they can keep it up in the second half.

Richard Seymour Gets Blindsided

Richard Seymour CryingRichard Seymour was traded to the Raiders on September 8th for Oakland’s first round draft pick in 2011. I thought it seemed like a good deal for the Patriots since they seemed to be stalling to give him a contract extension, and they also probably got themselves a top ten pick for a possibly aging star. I was happy to see the Raiders make a move to get a solid locker room and field leader as well. He seems to be a more vocal leader than Asomugha is. The Raiders gave Seymour a deadline to report to the Raiders, and today he ended his five day long silence letting everyone know what was up. This type of complication seems standard for anything the Raiders do, but his quotes were somewhat concerning to me even though he said he was happy to go to Oakland. His statements today reported by the Boston Herald.

He learned of the trade when Bill Belichick called him and simply said, We traded your rights to Oakland.

First of all, I was blindsided by this whole event,” Seymour, the five-time Pro Bowler, told Borges. “When you get blindsided, you should take a moment to gather your thoughts. I have a lot of personal issues more pressing than football.

Seymour said if you want to watch for him with his new team, he’ll be wearing No. 92 on Monday Night.I’ll be the guy on top of the quarterback,” he said.

Well, Seymour has four children, plus, he is the guardian of his 15-year-old cousin whose mother has passed. The 15-year-old had been in school in South Carolina until this year, at which point he was starting in North Attleboro… until the trade.

Now, Seymour’s wife and family are moving back to South Carolina (where they are from) and Richard will head to Oakland by himself.

There are a lot of different emotions,” Seymour said. “Football was not my main concern at that point. I have had discussions with the Raiders… I’m excited and happy with the way they’re looking at me.

I really don’t buy the whole blindsided argument. It’s pretty lame for a 30 year old veteran to not know that the NFL is a business, and you can be traded at pretty much anytime of your career. He was around when the Patriots stalled on contract negotiations for Ty Law and Deion Branch as they were asking for too much money, and what happened? Law and Branch left, shocking!?! The NFL is a business more than it has been loyal to players, and he ultimately shouldn’t need five freaking days to make a statement. If he really was somewhat happy with the trade, he would have said something whether he has a family problem or not.Richard Seymour Sacks Bulger Being blindsided isn’t a good enough excuse in my book. He should have said something within a couple of days.

Either way I’m glad he sucked it up, and is ready to join the Raiders. I really hope he does well. I think moving to a 4-3 defense will ultimately make him more effective, and the Raiders can use all the help with the pass rush possible. They already have one side of the locked down with Namadi roaming. I and Raider Nation are hoping that Seymour can have a Reggie White type change the same way he did when he went to Green Bay. I just hope he doesn’t give up on the team the way that Sapp did a few years ago. I’m sure that losing wears on anybody after awhile, but hopefully he can be a instigator in changing that seemingly normal SOP over the last few years. If you think about it further, it’s a pretty good deal for the Raiders since they like to blow draft picks anyways. This off season there were two trades between the teams as gave the Patriots traded for Burgess for a third and fourth round pick in 2010. The Pats traded Seymour to the Raiders for a first rounder. I think I’d rather have Seymour than Burgess! Now Oakland won’t have to waste money on a first round pick in 2011 that will probably be an overpaid nobody. I can’t wait to see him on top of River’s whiny ass Monday night! Even though I picked the Raiders to lose, maybe with Seymour the can cover!