Editors note: Our correspondent Erik Walker does the only thing appropriate to the NFL these days: Makes fun of a league in shambles.
RAIDERS 45, BROWNS 42 (OT)
In a pregame full of fear and potential loathing, with the specter of losing to the Browns dangling over Mark Davis’ hideous hairdo, the Raiders and Browns put on a game of free-wheeling huge plays (could that be bad defense? Oh, come come!), bonehead mistakes, dropped balls, interceptions, fumbles and everything that should make for a fan crushing display of ineptitude, and turned it into the most entertaining game of the season.
If that’s Doormat Division play, then I’m all for it. New Brownie savior Baker Mayfield did his part, turning the ball over four times (though 1 interception and 1 fumble were not his fault), with a pick-six for the first score, but also pulling off plays of almost hilarious daring and speed. The Browns have a real QB. Until just this moment the Browns have been like most rock bands — terrible lead singers. After a while you just give up and go with whoever can stand in front of a mic and scream (or mumble), and maybe remember lyrics. Just filling space, and always opening first on a bill with seven bands. The punk days, bless them, were Doormat Gold. If you had a good singer, nobody trusted you. So Baker Mayfield looks like a young Pavarotti right now… just ignore the low trajectory on the passes, shhhh.
Raider QB Derek Carr responded with two interceptions of his own, and hurled 58 passes. There were three runs over 40 yards, two for TDs, multiple big yardage pass plays. It was like the old AFL.
The teams still got off 13 punts, and how you score 87 total points when you keep bailing, well, you gotta have just the right combo of good and bad. These teams have it. For one day, and 38 total possessions. That’s an average of holding onto the ball for only 1:57 for each possession.
The Browns really appeared to be robbed of a first down when Carlos Hyde’s knee touched down just shy of the marker (sure didn’t look like it to us!) at the end of regulation. They would have run out the clock and won. Las Vegas called the replay booth or something, there. Good grief. The Raiders then scored the tying TD and two-point conversion. TVs all over Cleveland are still stuck in freeze-frame on that spot of the ball.
Skinny rookie Raider kicker Matt McCrane, one of a chorus line of kickers rotating around the league right now, who missed twice when kicking from the 2nd base bag earlier, chipped in the last FG late in the OT to hang the win on Raiders, now 1-3 and no longer perfect. Browns return to having a losing record, and everyone can relax a little bit.
It is now proven that, despite having Brent Musberger as their new radio play-by-play man, the Raiders can win a football game. I cannot tell you how off-putting and completely wrong it is to have ol’ Brent as the Raiders announcer. So, utterly, totally WEIRD.
Let’s have a look at the standings:
DOORMAT DIVISION WEEK 4
NFC W-L PF PA DIFF
Arizona 0-4 37 94 -57
NY Giants 1-3 73 95 -22
Detroit 1-3 94 114 -20
Santa Clara 1-3 100 118 -18
Atlanta 1-3 116 122 -6
AFC W-L PF PA DIFF
Buffalo 1-3 50 106 -56
Oakland 1-3 97 123 -26
Houston 1-3 96 108 -12
Indy 1-3 94 100 -6
NY Jets 1-3 89 89 0
Pittsburgh 1-2-1 102 116 -14
Cleveland 1-2-1 102 104 -2
Lotta losing going on, here, something’s gotta give.
CARDINALS 17, SEAHAWKS 20
It took everything they had, including shanking a winning FG with 1:50 left, but perseverance pays off. The Cardinals lost a game they were in deep danger of winning, going right down to 0:00 to fall to the Seahags. Let’s face it — the Crudinals wanted it more. Last 0-fer team left in the league. Cards engaging in too many close scores. They need a blow-out loss. Let’s see what they can dial up next week in Santa Clara.
BILLS 0, PACKERS 22
The Bills have clearly righted the ship, and wiped the memory of that bizarre victory over the Vikes last week from the collective memory: 11 first downs, three turnovers, 87 passing yards, 8 punts, 7 sacks. Wow. Only three penalties, but when you are just refusing to do anything, it’s hard to get penalties. Still the early favorite to take the AFC.
49ers 25, CHARGERS 27
His name isn’t BeatHard for nothing. SF QB C.J. Beathard takes another shellacking, with LT Joe Staley having to leave the game, but doesn’t seem fazed, as the Whiners barely escape Los Angeles with the loss. Neither team seemed sure about winning the game, but, ultimately, the worst kicker on the field kicked the winning field goal. San Diego kicker Caleb Sturgis missed TWO extra points, but scraped in three out of four field goal tries, and juuuuust saved his job, and didn’t have to go back to the high-kicking unemployment chorus line.
DOLPHINS 7, PATRIOTS 38
The worst 3-0 team in the NFL met up with reality yesterday, and took their usual beat-down from the Patriots, who, for one week, returned to being the best team in the AFC East. Which isn’t hard to do, when your competition is the Nyets, the Nils, and the Floppers. Woulda been a goose-egg, but the Patriots started playing fans from the stands (only ones with the best costumes!) late in the 4th and the Floppers got a pointless touchdown and 5 phony first downs on their last drive. They had only SIX first downs until that tortured crawl down the carpet. I hate when stats get skewed like that.
GIANTS 18, SAINTS 33
The Gnats score first. And then pretty much stopped. 1-3 and right behind the Cards in the standings. Still, NY fans (not the Mets fans) can just ignore all this until the Wednesday Wild Card game is over. Football?
COLTS 34, TEXANS 37 (OT)
They gave the Colts multiple chances to win, but to no avail. Another wild Doormat game goes in the books, and the Toxins have to take a win. A total of 944 yards, 20 penalties, 11 sacks, two lost fumbles.
Gotta love those porous defenses when they meet up.
STEELERS 14, RAVENS 26
Our commissioner called on the red phone around 6:00 last night, and notified us that the Steelers were on the top step of the Basement stairs, an extremely rickety construction, and gingerly taking the next step down. We could hear the tattered hulk of Big Ben looming up there, in the dark (the light burned out three years ago), fumbling with the light switch, hoping for some vision. The Shower Curtain? The Reelers?
BUCS 10, BEARS 48
The Bucs have not just come down to earth, they went under a steam roller yesterday. It was 38-3 by halftime, it was so efficient. The Bucs yank Fitzpatrick as daBears keep dynamiting every team they play, throw in Jameis Winston, and he delivers with a couple interceptions. But…the Bears! QB Michael Trubisky throws 6 TD passes, almost tying HOF Bear god Sid Luckman for most ever (7) in a game. Bears are exiting the Basement.
Remember last year and ‘Orange You Bad’? Our Orange teams this year have turned it around: Bears 3-1, Bengals 3-1, Broncos 2-1 (not after tonight), Miami 3-1, and Cleveland 1-2-1.
JETS 10, JAGS 31
Jets QB Sam Darnold may well be the QB of the future, but, right now, he’s the QB of a Doormat contender. Keep an eye on the Jets. I don’t know if you should WATCH them, but…
FALCONS 36, BENGALS 37
Anotherwild game, and though they don’t play like it, the Falcons just keep on losing. 1-3 and who knows what wheels will come off in the next couple weeks.
Next week will clear out the standings, for sure.
aaaAAAAAAnd That’s the View From the Basement!!!!!