Sports

The Doormat Division: It stinks in the Bay Area

Now that the Raiders and 49ers have throttled the league into submission, it is only fitting that Thursday Night Doormat will feature the most unwatchable football game that you just gotta watch this week. They’re 1-7 and 1-6, respectively, and looking like they can lose to anybody, the Whinos and the Faders will tee it up on three days’ rest, which is all any crumbling franchise ask for, short of a 14-hour plane trip to London. Tops on the 49ers list is just trying to field 11 guys on a side for the tilt.  It’ll be hideous, it’ll be bad, it’ll be Doormat football at its finest.  Be there.


DOORMAT DIVISION WEEK 8

NFC            W-L        PF       PA       DIFF

Santa Clara   1-7         173      236       -63
NY Giants     1-7         150     205       -55
Arizona         2-6         110     199        -89
Tampa Bay    3-4         201     233       -32

Atlanta          3-4         190     233        -22
Detroit           3-4         201     186       -15
  
    

AFC            W-L        PF        PA      DIFF

Oakland        1-6         138       218     -80
Buffalo         2-5          81        175      -94
Cleveland     2-5-1      169      210      -41
Denver          3-5         188      194      -6
Jacksonville  3-5         134      170      -36
NY Jets         3-5         192      200      -8

THE GAMES

RAIDERS 21, COLTS 42

The Colts have a wide-open defense, built for this year’s NFL. Wanna score?  Let us help you. As effective as that is, the Raiders have the real ace in the hole: being overmatched, having to give 150 percent effort just to be okay, and then running out of gas, completely, in the 4th quarter. Yesterday they coughed up 21 points in the 4th and took a close game and turned it into a blowout.  Raiders 1-6 and the worst in the AFC. It’s amazing. 

49ERS 15, CARDINALS 18
I keep saying the Cardinals are the worst team in the league, and they are…but the 49ers have their number, so I have to switch gears.  Though… my gearbox doesn’t go that low. 

I can’t see the Whiners beating anybody now, except themselves, but the next two weeks will settle that lack of vision: the Raiders this week, on three days’ “rest,” and then the 1-7 Giants next week. How will they do it?  With a milquetoast defense and Doormat pro offensive line, keeping QB C.J. “Sackman” Beathard focused on evasion and quality of turf on most possessions.  

Somehow, the Vegas odds opened with the Raiders as underdogs to the Whiners.  This is only because it’s a 49er home game. That’s all it takes with this matchup.

JAGS 18, EAGLES 24
It just isn’t London without the Jaguars taking the beery air out of Wembly stadium. The English have the best of both worlds:  A functioning parliamentary government, and imported football, where they don’t have to fret over their kids or heroes getting head trauma injuries. They can just sit back and watch Americans beat the daylights out of each other, go home and make a nice spot of tea as a bracing rainstorm waters their chaotic English garden. Ah, the colonies are so quaint, and they don’t cost us a dime anymore. Jags 3-4, have lost four straight and have barged into the Basement. The Jags are so bad they couldn’t even pull off going for drinks in a pub, and then trying to waltz out as ‘stars’ and not pay. The Doormat Division does not pick up the tab in these situations. 

BROWNS 18, STEELERS 33
The Browns have now achieved the all-time record for consecutive road losses: 25. Having at made it to the mountaintop, they fired coach Hugh Jackson. Because, hey, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  Winless season AND most consecutive road losses.  Over the last 3.5 seasons, the Brown-outs are 6-49-1.  

GIANTS 13, REDSKINS 20
At 1-7 and tied for the NFC lead, the Gnats have to hang on for the bye week before the huge showdown with the 49ers, on Monday Night Doormat Nov. 12th.  Bye weeks for us basement dwellers is not a time for solving problems. It’s a time to get further out of sync, forget the playbook, get in a fight at a club, catch your breath and…yes that’s right, there are still EIGHT MORE GAMES TO PLAY. Rub on a little more Ben-Gay.

I have my doubts that the Gnats can lose to the Whiners. They both have porous offensive lines, but the Whines have no pass rush, and a shoddy defensive secondary, so my learned observation is:  Manning will have a throwback day, for one day, on the gridiron in Santa Clara Nov. 12th.  Or he throws his back out.

BUCCANEERS 34, BENGALS 37
It does not matter how many points the Bucs score. Their defense can outscore them.  There is no quarterback controversy when you need to score 40 points to have a shot at winning a game.

JETS 10, BEARS 24
Getting their total yardage down to 207, using eight timely penalties, and this week’s low of 12 first downs (which will be shattered by the Bills tonight against the Pats), the Jets appear to be honing the losing down to simpler forms. Just don’t do much.

The Doormat Division celebrates the down-trodden, and luckless, and the hapless. As much as we seem to be kicking them when they’re down, we’re just trying to find a way to ease the pain.  Our Commish’s Raiders, my Niners, Fish’s Lions…they’re all at the bottom, or teetering dangerously near it, yet again. Remember to give your understanding and a hand of help, compassion and love to those less fortunate, and to come together for peace in this land. We gotta pull together.  

aaaAAAAnd THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!

The Doormat Division: No upsets, just blowouts

BROWNS 23, BUCCANEERS 26 (OT)

While you’ve been celebrating the Browns turnaround, someone over at Brownie headquarters has kept the vision. Yesterday the Blank Helmets kept the dream alive by losing their 24th straight road game, tying the NFL record set by, of course, the Detroit Lions (01-03). They get their shot at history next week in Pittsburgh. Yesterday’s loss wasn’t easy. The Brown-outs have now played in FOUR overtime games this season, one off the record. You can’t torture your fans any more than these guys are. 2-4-1 and still trying to climb out of the Basement. They will get there, but whoo boy it’s like going up El Capitan with your bare hands in full pads.

DOORMAT DIVISION WEEK 7

NFC           W-L        PF       PA      DIFF

Arizona         1-6          92       184      -92

Santa Clara  1-6         158      218      -60

NY Giants    1-5         117      162      -45

Atlanta          2-4         167      192      -25

Dallas            3-4        140       123     +17

Philly            3-4         154      138       +16

AFC           W-L        PF        PA     DIFF

Oakland       1-5         110      176      -66

Buffalo         2-5          81        175     -94

Indy              2-5         189       185     +4

Cleveland    2-4-1      151      177      -26

Denver          3-4         165    164        +1

Jacksonville 3-4         116     146      -30

UPSET OF THE WEEK

There wasn’t one. Come ON, guys. Somebody?

BLOWOUTS OF THE WEEK (there were many)

Whelp, at some point the wild, high scoring close games had to give way. This week, a lot of teams took a break and just took a sound beating.

CARDINALS 10, BRONCOS 45

The shellackingest shellacking this season, really.  Implosive football.  We covered it on Friday morning.

BILLS 5, COLTS 37

Only the Bills could get buried by a team with a worse record than them.  That’s because it’s an illusion. The Bills OWN the basement this season. They’ve pushed the pigskin over goal line only twice in the last four games. They managed to score less than a field goal with a safety. They’re petitioning the league to play Canadian rules so they can get just get one point (with a kick-off thru the uprights) and call it “scoring.”

Things are so bad at quarterback that 14-year vet Derek Anderson is on the roster now…and started the game. Derek doesn’t really needto mentor Nathan Peterman, but he threw three interceptions anyway.

49ERS 10, RAMS 39

After last week’s exhausting struggle in Green Bay, where they almost won a game, the 49ers made a point and lost big at home to the team no one wants to lose to in San Francisco. That’s anyteam from L.A. That’ll send a message. Would this be a bad time to mention the Dodgers are in the World Series?

Whiners defense, when there is one, gets steamrolled straight down the field by the Rams O-line, which might be the best in the league. 49ers QB C.J. Beatenhard holds onto the ball and gets sacked seven times, throws two INTs, and he’ll be back next week, fans. Somehow.

BENGALS 10, CHIEFS 45

We knowthe Bungles aren’t a Doormat, yet, this season, but a 45-10 blowout kind of makes the scales fall from a lot of eyes in Cincinnati, I’m sure, fish or no. Stay tuned.  I can see the Bengals waving, from the alley, at the Jaguars by the grill on the patio.

THE REST OF THE SORRY PILE

JAGS 7, TEXANS 20

The Jags have reached the magic moment where everyone refers to them as “reeling.” The REELING Gaguars benched fumble magician Blake Bortles, and Cody Kessler came in and fumbled and threw an interception, so at least they had continuity. Considering the eight turnovers by Bortles in the last three games, saying the QB position is “up for grabs” might not be the best term for Coach Doug Marrone to use. Jags locker room a real fun place these days.

TITANS 19, CHARGERS 20

They lost by one point to the Bills, why not by one to the Chargers? Once 3-1, the Titanics are now 3-4.

JETS 17, VIKINGS 37

The up and down Jets went for down this week, and the Vikings sneak into the lead in the NFC North, where 9-7 just might take the division this year.

COWBOYS 17, WASHINGTONS 20

Same here for the NFC East, with the Washingtonians climbing to the top of the heap, the Cowboys (3-4) and Eagles (3-4!) huddling around our grill out on the patio, looking longingly through the sliding glass door into the Basement. Try not to slobber on the glass, guys.

GIANTS @ FALCONS tonight in a rousing game of Monday Night Doormat.  Falcons should blow out the Giants, but…yeah, they should blow them out.

aaaAAAAAAAnd THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!

visit us at: https://doormatdivision.blogspot.com

The Doormat Division: Down go the Titanics …

Every once in a great while, a team steps forward…I think it’s two or three steps, and then you swing your leg…right?…and puts themselves into the Doormat Division record books.  Doing this despite their current record (3-3) does not diminish the accomplishment. In the case of the Tennessee Titans, the Basement really isn’t that far away, ever. We only have to peel back one or two layers of wallpaper to get to our Titanics pattern.

TITANS 0, RAVEN-POES 21

It’s not the 11 sacks, one off the NFL record, that is impressive, even though it’s often a coach-sacking offense. It’s not the seven first downs. It’s this: Nine Titans possessions, nine Titans punts. We’ve been covering the Doormat Division for eight years, and following the stats for a lot longer than that, and we have never seen every possession in a game end with a punt. No interception, no fumble (though Titanics QB Marcus Mariota tried), no 4th down failure (not even late in the game?). 

That takes skilled determination. The Titanics haven’t crossed the goal line in eight quarters, have lost two straight, and Titans coach Mike Vrabel was pretty verbal in the post-game press conference. Taking full credit for the incredible accomplishment, Vrabel said “you don’t have time for any hangovers,” clearly meaning they can’t celebrate for too long, because another sinking ship is on the horizon. 

THE STANDINGS

DOORMAT DIVISION WEEK 6

NFC            W-L        PF      PA       DIFF

Arizona         1-5          82       139       -57

NY Giants     1-5        117      162       -45

*Santa Clara  1-4        118     146       -28

Atlanta          2-4         167      192       -25

Tampa Bay    2-3        141      173      -32

Detroit           2-3         125      137      -12

AFC            W-L        PF        PA     DIFF

Oakland        1-5         110      176       -66

Indy              1-5         152      180       -28

Buffalo         2-4          76        138      -62

Denver          2-4         120      154      -34

Cleveland     2-3-1      128     151      -23

*Santa Clara plays the Packers tonight

RAIDERS 3, SEAHAWKS 27

The Seahawks are not a great team. But the RAIDERS.  Every year, the NFL invites four teams out to London for a couple games, and it’s never teams that might make the Super Bowl. If you’re in London, you’re a Doormat rep or you’re auditioning to be. The Raiders passed the audition with damp moldy colors, something any Brit can appreciate. The only way to be the worst of the worst is confident totally wrong top-down leadership. Seven years into the (owner) Mark Davis era, the downward spiral, with one season of up, is starting to look like a whirlpool from which the pirate ship Raider Nation will not escape, and why should they? They’ve got a Moldy Carpet Trophy (the Doormat Division’s highest award) to hoist at year’s end. They can cart it out to Las Vegas, put the ol’ Skull and Crossbones up in some dusty creosote tangled lot, get bit by a scorpion, put their pirate vessel in dry dock, stop showering and let that Moldy Carpet dry out, blowing its spores across the lonely desert. 

What’re the odds? 

PS:  You know, if Al Davis were alive, he’d look terrible, but he would have hired Colin Kaepernick as soon as he was available, if just to thumb his nose at all the other owners.  The NFL misses that. With two rookie tackles watching the world go by, they could really use someone who is already out on the edge by the time the pass rush gets to the backfield. Just sayin’. 

BROWNS 14, CHARGERS 38

The Brownies are keeping it real, 2-3-1, and back in our standings.  Noting that Browns QB Baker Mayfield likes to run around, the Chargers decided to help him out and turn it up to ‘run for your life.’  Five sacks, two more interceptions, and a Brownie day at the yard, in Cleveland. The Browns defense shored up its run strategy, getting mowed for 246 rushing yards, and making Philip Rivers look like a level-headed cool cucumber. He’s not really green, it’s just this old TV.  The tubes come from Russia. Are they listening?

CARDINALS 17, VIKINGS 27

You know it’s a tough news day when your worst team in the league is item #4, but what can you do?  It’s not flashy, it’s just brain-dead. Cardinals accomplish difficult task of making Kirk Cousins signing look good, for one day.

MIAMI 31, BEARS 28 OT

I know this is not a Doormat game, but last year it sure was. Another loony game in the NFL in 2018. And it’s mostly ex-Doormats (attempting to leave) leading the charge.

COLTS 34, JETS 42

Like this one!  The Clots are 1-5, yet are averaging 25 points a game. But they’re giving up 31, so it’s one near miss, blown lead, futile comeback, after another. They only punted twice! 

BUCS 29, FALCONS 34

Down…down….down… another pirate ship slowly sinks in the harbor. Three losses in a row gets them back to a losing record, despite 512 yards of offense.  Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who cares who’s back there- just come close.  But, please, no cigars.  Although, the completely hilarious multi-fumble-lateral final play that ‘almost’ got in the end zone, you gotta give the Bucs some style points.  Big Doormat style points.

BILLS 13, TEXANS 20

Twelve  first downs, 12 penalties, 11 pipers piping, five punts-a-punting, TWO -In-ter-cep-tionnnnns!

Bills interception machine QB Nathan Peterman got into the game (one INT for every 8.7 attempts. That’s 63 in a season with 550 attempts), finishing off the game with a pick-six with 1:23 left. This came after the Bills had set up the Toxins at the one-yard line with a pass interference call, but the Toxins refused to move in, kicking a tying field goal, hoping for an overtime loss or something.  But when you’ve got an interception wizard out on the field, a team just has to be patient with impatience.  Bills 2-4 and in the race.

GIANTS 13, PHILADEPHIA 34

Yes, Eli Manning is still playing football.

JAGUARS 10, COWBOYS 40

Well!  It’s like old Home Week.  The Jags turn back the clock for a day, 10 first downs, scrape up 204 yards of offense and sink back to 3-3.  Two blowout losses in a row, and they could easily lose 3 of the next 4 games.

Tonight!

49ers at Packers

Whiners should get to 1-5 with this one, but I think they may cover the nine-point spread (biggest of the weekend), as this may be their last gasp before giving in and playing out the string.  Packers are not what they once were, but the Whiners have no idea what they once wuz.

aaaAAAAAAnd That’s the View From the BASEMENT!!!!

The Doormat Division, Week 5

This season, every week a whole new set of NFL teams decide to be the worst team in the league. Everybody is trying out the new clothes, seeing how they fit. Can they miss a tackle, get a personal foul, turn the ball over, shank a punk or — this year’s new wrinkle — clank extra points and duff field goal tries in that new outfit? Black and red? Green and yellow? Red and gold? 

 

So far, there are only two teams that appear to be unable to score points in amounts that would have any bearing on an outcome: The Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. And they played each other this week. Everybody else takes turns putting up a zero and then 34 points. ONE consistent factor — about 10 teams can give up points all day long. So, let’s face it — sloppy as hell and completely entertaining. Unless you are looking for excellence. You really should re-think that, if you’re watching football. 

The NFC has a huge logjam at 1-4. The AFC, after Oakland and Indy, is rife with teams that are playing Doormat ball on alternate Sundays. Could this be the year where eight teams go 8-8?

Here’s the standings:

DOORMAT DIVISION WEEK 5

NFC      W-L   PF    PA    DIFF

Arizona    1-4    65    112    -47

Atlanta     1-4     133   163    -30

NY Giants  1-4     104  128    -24

Santa Clara  1-4     118   146   -28

Detroit     2-3    125   137   -12

AFC      W-L   PF    PA   DIFF

Oakland    1-4    107    149   -42

Indy       1-4    118   138    -20

Buffalo     2-3     63   118    -55

Denver     2-3    100   131   -31

Houston    2-3    115   124    -9

NY Jets     2-3     123   105   +18

THE GAMES

49ers 18, CARDINALS 28

The Whiners pulled a classic move yesterday — have a great first drive and then screw up for the next 55 minutes. They got right to it after the TD by missing the extra point, the new favorite play in the NFL. But then, it was time to give the Cards the ball. And boy, did they.

Faced with a team that can’t move the ball on a team of grandmothers in walkers with tennis ball skids, the 49ers strategy was to turn the ball over deep in their own territory and hope the Cards stumble into the end zone. It worked! Five turnovers helped push the Cardinals (c’mon get in there!) into the end zone for 21 of their 28 points. Scintillating drives of 18 and 26 yards and a fumble return for 23 pretty much accounted for all of Arizona’s yardage, save for the first play of the game, where the Whiners opened up their Freeway Defense for a 75-yard pass and scamper by the Cards. After that obvious ploy, the Cards shut down all open field options in an effort to remain un-victorious.

They punted eight times. They went 2-12 on first down. They kept their defense out there so long, guys were receiving junk mail on the field. Nothing worked. The 49ers got under the Cards low bar, and look out Green Bay, the Whiners are coming for you next week. 

COLTS 24, PATRIOTS 38

Never mind about the Pats and the Basement. The Colts demonstrated how you score points, but still get shellacked, and the Pats won’t get the hang of that until next year, if ever.

RAVENS 9, BROWNS 12 (OT)

The Stiff Of the Week is a Browns victory. The Browns aren’t even in our standings this week, the first time in….ever. It’s a milestone. It’s a millstone off their necks! That’s three OT’s in 5 weeks (the record is 5- ’83 Packers and ’03 Panthers).

Game winning field goal appeared to be a photo-shopped Little Guy Football crossbar scraper, pasted into the telecast. 

BILLS 13, TITANS 12

The other stiff of the week, delivered by the usual parties. But the Bills take the win, stunned by Titans QB Marcus Mariota not chalking up come-from-behind 4th quarter win #15, despite avoiding sacking him as much as possible, for fear of the yellow hanky. 

The Titans braked hard and kicked field goals all day, and shazam, the Bills found themselves pushing one over the crossbar with 0:00 left on the clock. This, THIS is what you get for depending on the other team. You gotta take care of these things yourself.

PACKERS 23, LIONS 31

The Lions demolish the Packers in Detroit. Did that feel good or what? The Pack take their Doormat star turn this week, falling behind 24-0 with the noodle leg of Mason Crosby missing four field goals and clanking an extra point. But let’s not put all the blame on Mason. This was a team effort. Mason just gave it eloquence and pathos. The Doormat Division is loving the upside down NFC North.

RAIDERS 10, CHARGERS 26

Raiders-Chargers games have a long history, and have often featured wild contests, and also brutal clashes of will. This one was about showing just how bad the Raiders are going for this year, and it looks formidable. If Raider fans had any doubts, this answered it: after the Chargers went up 20-3 on a field goal late in the third quarter, the Raiders drove the length of the field, on a must-score drive. Then, on second and goal, on the brink of making a statement, QB Derek Carr threw a perfect-strike interception in the end zone. Even I saw the guy standing there. The Raiders, like a drunken Jack Sparrow, then led the Chargers down the field 96 yards for the TD and good night. Yo-Ho-Ho! 

Raiders should lose 12. Get comfortable on the Barcalounger, guys, you may be the AFC Doormat Champs. Good job, Mark Davis, the team looks ready to move already. Or, at the very least, go hide in the desert.

GIANTS 31, PANTHERS 33

They kept it close, but they didn’t falter. Giants 1-4 and tied for the league lead. Kudos, again, to our Doormat teams for supplying a wild game.

BRONCOS 16, JETS 34

The Jets are WAAAY better than the Broncos. For one day. Next week, don’t bet on it.

COWBOYS 16, TEXANS 19

Boy, the Toxins just keep barely not losing. I’m losing confidence in their chances to hit 10 losses.

You keep winning close games, you start to believe things. Cowboys, on the other hand….maybe I should get that corral finished…maybe I’ll just turn that first fence post into a hitching post. 

FALCONS 17, STEELERS 41

The Steelers were teetering on our top step to the Basement last week, found the light switch and…that put the scare in them. Failcons can’t stop anybody and really like giving up the long bomb, so 1-4 and looking strong in the NFC. They just have to stop scoring points so often. But, I dunno, this year that doesn’t seem to matter.

SEAHAWKS 31, RAMS 33

After this one, maybe old-timers in the northwest who still complain about getting force-fed Seahawk telecasts instead of 49ers or Raiders will think again. Maybe you’d RATHER watch the Seahags blow another one instead of the Whiners or Raydurz, you know? Where’s your comfort zone? Which telecast is easier to turn off and go shopping for mulch?

Well, the old Basement got real busy last week. We had more visitors dropping by than I can remember for a long time, if ever. The Commish had us pull out the old Detroit Lions velvet rope, and get some security out there on the patio, in case some trolls tried to camp in the unfinished corral in the alley.

But, here in the Doormat Division, we promise to keep the sanctity of the Commodore 64, the duct tape couch, the pizza box table and the peeling Browns wallpaper. The possum nest by the broken washing machine will not be disturbed. We run a tight ship, flaming and sinking as it usually is, and the best cooler in the neighborhood. We’ll just keep on keeping an eye out for the underdog. In case you were wondering what we’re doing here.

aaaAAAAnd THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!!

Doormat Division: 0-16! Browns wind the moldy carpet!

BROWNS 24, STEELERS 28

They did it, Doormat Denizens. Driving deep into the Shower Curtain (2nd string Steelers) territory with under two minutes to go, and the whole season on the line, wide receiver Corey Coleman did the Brownie thing to do — he dropped a perfectly thrown fourth down pass inside the Steeler 10-yard line (it would have been first and goal), ending the Browns threat to spoil the Perfect Season. It was a harrowing, nail-biter moment, and CBS switched over for the closing minutes, so the whole country got to watch the final flameout. Steeler defenders came over and encouraged the dejected Coleman to get up. Corey, dude, buck up: you made history.  From the Underdog sector of the Basement, Mr. Coleman, we hope you get your shot at redemption. It is certainly a moment that will be etched into every die-hard Browns fan’s memory for loooong time.

But let’s get some perspective — it wasn’t a pass into the end zone. The Browns would have had a few more downs to blow it, so don’t go hanging it on Mr. Coleman. It’s likely somebody else would have stepped up. They’re the Browns.

Well, guess what? The 2008 Detroit Lions don’t get to brag about it anymore. They’ve got 0-16 company. Owners of the worst record (4-44 over three years) since 1950*, the Blank Helmets have marched into NFL — and Doormat history — with such a stirring cadence that the Perfect Season Parade will be held, in Cleveland, next Saturday, Jan. 6th, at First Energy Stadium. Well, outside it. They better have a lot of security on hand.

Last year, the money raised for the scheduled parade (which was cancelled, of course, due to a victory) was donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. To be completely honest, sitting here on our duct tape orange plaid couch in our poorly heated Basement, nursing burnt coffee, with a possum nest holding position by the broken washing machine, and a mound of pizza boxes blocking the view of the TV, and a hangover that you wouldn — actually, I bet, this morning, you’d believe it —  the Doormat thing to do would be to take that money, stage a parade, and march straight to the Cleveland Food Bank, and have Mr. Coleman himself deliver the check. Underdogs gotta pull together, and that would be the Perfect Season thing to do.

*The Chicago Cardinals, from 1943-45 went 1-29, easily the worst winning percentage ever, and if you include the the last six games of ’42 and the first game of ’46, it’s 1-36, pretty darn stinky.  But, the disqualifying item is the ’44 Cardinals were, in fact, the Chicago Pittsburgh Cardinals-Steelers. There just were just not enough guys around at the time, because of something called World War Two, to make a proper bad team. Combined teams do not count for all-time stats for a franchise. 

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, FINAL STANDINGS

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               3-13         246      388     -142

TAMPA BAY              5-11         335      382      -47

CHICAGO                  5-11         264     320      -56

SANTA CLARA         6-10         331      383      -52

WASHINGTON *        7-9          342     388       -46

GREEN BAY*             7-9          320     384       -64

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-16        234      410     -176

HOUSTON                 4-12        338      436      -98

INDIANAPOLIS         4-12        263      404      -141

NY JETS                    5-11        298      382      -84

DENVER                    5-11        289      382      -72

MIAMI                        6-10        281      393      -112

OAKLAND                 6-10        301      373      -72

*Parity Patio Patrons: 7-9 is not full membership in the Doormat Division.  Must lose 10 for entry into Basement.  7-9, you spend the winter out on the patio, making the coffee and cooking the weenies.  Don’t let the weenies freeze.

BUFFALO BILLS IN PLAYOFFS?  PLAYOFFS???

BENGALS 31, RAVEN-POES 27/  BILLS 22, DOLPHINS 16

In a finish you just had to love, the Biffalo Buffs half back into the playoffs for the first time in 17 years (it was the current longest streak in playoff droughts) because the miserable Cincinnati Bengals un-bungled themselves, and pulled off an insane final drive and beat the Baltimore Ravens with a 44-yard pass play that had at least part of Ohio going nuts. 

Shedding the Orange-bad in the final minute, after blowing a 14-point lead, the Bungles waltz into the off-season with a 7-9 record, escaping the Basement by the narrowest of margins, and simultaneously vaulting the unlikely Bills into the playoff arena.  Woo-hoo!

The Bills did win their game against the Fins, who were starting a QB name Fales (seriously?), so they didn’t completely back into the “big dance.” Funny thing- they get to play the Jaguars next week in what has to be our DOORMAT PLAYOFF game. The Jags just got out of the Basement, and the Bills are forever toying with ineptitude. Don’t think the Bills don’t have a chance. They could — holy cow — win this game.  

With the loss, the Fins make the Ten Club (at least 10 losses), and receive full membership in the Basement for the winter.

RAIDERS 10, CHARGERS 30

Good God they really did it — they made it to 10 losses. Ka-BLAM. The Raydurz did their worst to help the Chargers get into the playoffs. It was the least they could do, and doing things the least has been the M.O. around Raider headquarters this season. Easily the league’s biggest flameout of the season, owner Mark “What’s that on top of your head” Davis wasted no time firing Jack Del Rio after the conclusion of the game. I’ll bet even that was sloppily done. Unfortunately, Mark won’t be firing himself, which is what the Raiders really need.

But, instead, he’ll be taking his square-wheeled cart of un-disciplined Silver and Blacked Out mythology with him to Las Vegas, where indifferent tourists who just lost $4,000 at the Keno table will be ushered in with free tickets, complimentary concessions and a lap dance as enticement to sit in his cave and watch real losing. Hmm, at least that barn will have the Biggest A.C. Bill in Vegas. Think you lost a lot last night? Just watch some Raider Commitment to Excrescence, and you’ll be more than ready to get back into the Casino!! Anything will look like better odds after you watch our- hey where ya going?

Davis will also attempt to bring back John Gruden for the umpteenth rumor spin, in a vain grasp at the last glory days, and to eradicate the Curse of Chucky- when Gruden got his revenge on Al Davis, and clobbered the Raiders with his Tampa Bay Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII (2003).

TOXINS 13, COLTS 22

Take your big cowboy hats off and put ’em over your hearts, fans, because the Houston Toxins slid all the way from 3-3 to 4-12, and passed the Colts on the final day of the season, to finish in a solid, proud second place in the AFC Doormat. The Toxins swept the Colts on the season, and win the tiebreaker.  The Clots finish 4-12, and beat these teams:  Browns, 49ers (before they lost their way and started winning), Texans, Texans.  So, Indy was plenty bad, but just not bad enough.  Clearly this was not enough, as the Clots fired coach Pagano.  That’ll fix it.

GIANTS 18, WASHINGTONS 10

Ooops. Well, you can’t lose ’em all. Giants still nail down second pick in the draft. Redskins almost make it to 10 losses, but just didn’t have enough mistake-prone players. Maybe next year.

JETS 6, PATS 26

The Jets committed nine penalties yesterday, with six of them going for Patriot first downs. They didn’t need to do that, but gifts are appreciated at this time of year, even for a team that seems to get ‘gifts’ on a regular basis.

49ERS 34, RAMS 13

Out!  Beat it. Fun fact:  49ers first team to ever lose the first nine, and then win six games (five was enough, in fact).  Shocking turnaround.  Never seen it, and the stats confirm it.  They still made the 10 club, but boy is that tainted. They are going to have to pay for those Pabst talls.

BUCS 31, SAINTS 24

In some sort of final insult, the Bucs finally win a game in the final moments, after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in countless others.  Actually, it’s 11 losses, to be precise.  Bucs QB Jameis Winston rifles 3 interceptions, but it was just not enough.

BRONCOS 24, CHIEFS 27

Orange is as orange does.  Excellent futile comeback from 14 down. 

Bongos coach Vance Joseph (did you even know that’s who coaches this team?) gets to stew in his own New Year’s hangover until his meeting today with VP John Elway.  Have a little hair of the dog, V.  You may have to keep coaching this time bomb next year.

BEARS 10, VIKINGS 479

I’ll bet John Fox took his time leaving the field yesterday. Just don’t coach another Orange team, John. You need a break.

 

ORANGE-YOU-BAD FINAL STANDINGS

 

BROWNS    0-16

BRONCOS  4-12

BEARS        5-11

BUCS          5-11  (honorary orange bad)

FINS            6-10

BENGALS   7-9

TEN CLUB MEMBERSHIP, 2017

An unprecedented number of teams cleared 10 losses this year, ELEVEN, seriously depleting the Parity Division (only one 8-8 team, the Cards).  the AFC contributed an unprecedented 7 Ten-loss clubs.  Here they are, in all their tarnished glory:

Browns        0-16

Giants          3-13

Texans         4-12

Colts            4-12

Broncos       5-11

Bears           5-11

Jets              5-11

Bucs             5-11

Dolphins       6-10

49ers            6-10

Raiders        6-10

A FINAL WORD

It’s been a wild season, fans, capped off with the ultimate in Doormat perfection, an 0-16 team. May you find victories in your future, in your coffee, in your change jar. Remember, America doesn’t love a winner (except for really annoying rich snobs who think every human besides them is in the “service” industry) — they love an Underdog. One who rises up and wins, from out of nowhere.

In daily life, we spend a lot more time absorbing losses, big and small, than wallowing in victories. In fact, part of loving your team that finally DOES win is that they are doing it for you, and you can continue on your crooked path of small victories and innumerable losses, while relying on the camaraderie of coping with it with all with your fellow humans, family, friends, and like-minded fans. But your TEAM– they pulled it off. Maybe.  Some DAY. And you didn’t have to lift weights to get it done.

That’s why we come to just hate “winners” and can’t wait for them to get taken down a peg…or 12. Think about the Patriots (Pats fans leave the room)…keep thinking…what do you want to happen to them? Right now, it’s get to the Super Bowl, and just get clobbered, right?  Or is it just get snuffed in their first playoff game by, say…Buffalo? You get the point.

I’m stepping out from behind the curtain for a moment because nobody’s cleaned back there in ages and whew its — wait a minnit. The SF Giants had never won a World Series since moving to SF in 1958.  I moved here in ’77.  In 2009…still no World Series victory. I did the math — 51 years. It was going to outlive me — happens all the time. But, improbably, they pulled it off.  Oh my god the payoff.  I cried. We all cried. The Trophy in coach Bochy’s hands riding in the convertible down Market St….it was REAL. We got there, and it sure didn’t come cheap, baby. 52 years.

I don’t know about you, but we- the Doormat Division– cannot stand some kid who lives in Snotbank, WI, choosing the Yankees or the Warriors (my team, but I know they are becoming really tiresome to everybody else) or the Pats as their favorite team. Teams nowhere near their Sphere of Losing. Hundreds of miles away! That’s just weird. It’s painless, I guess. They don’t get it. It’s not earned. It’s remote — not nearby, like the rest of the damn bungles that you live with in your town. But they’re young and skeered, so – give them time. If they spend their whole life just bandwagon jumping, then they…they aren’t real people. They don’t want to get down in the trenches and muddle through to…Honey, should I pick up some beer?

For the rest of us? Stick with them. Stick with those lousy Browns, Raiders, Broncos, Lions, Giants. You know they’ll be back. And if not in your lifetime, then in your kids (or the kids in the neighborhood), or your grandkids, or — OK that’s enough of that. Be helpful. Hand it down. It’s your civic duty.

The Basement wraps it up for another lustrous, long winter. We’ll be back for some season-ending notes.  May the victories be all the sweeter, some sunny day.

ANNNnND THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!!

Doormat Division, Week 16: Garoppoloco and the wrong-way Whiners

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK 16

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF


NY GIANTS               2-13         228      378      -150

TAMPA BAY              4-11         304      358      -54

CHICAGO                  5-10         254      297      -43

SANTA CLARA         5-10         297      370      -73

WASHINGTON          7-8           332      370      -38 

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-15        210      382     -172

INDIANAPOLIS         3-12        241      391     -150

HOUSTON                 4-11        325      414      -89

DENVER                    5-10        265      355      -90

NY JETS                    5-10        292      356      -64

THE GAMES

BROWNS 3,  BEARS 20

As expected, the Cleveland Blank Helmets put the freeze on yesterday at Frozen Solid Soldier Field and dispatched the Bears as if the Bears were not the Bears. Brownout QB DeShone Kizer piled on two more INTs for his league-leading 21, and the Browns, once again, put in a professional job of losing that, really honestly, just can’t be beat. Won. Beat. You know what I mean. As the fans filed out to the parking lots and the trains, you could hear the classic refrain echoing off the concrete: “Well, we may be bad, but at least we’re not the Browns.” And really, who can be?  

The Perfect Season and the Perfect Season Parade is on the line next week. The Steelers play host, and they are still fighting for something called 1st seed, whatever that is, but I think it means they’ll be playing Road Kill with the Browns, whether they like it or not. But, what if New England is ahead by 40 points by halftime in their game? Will the Steelers pull the plug and give the Browns an opening to blow the whole thing? Here’s your question:  How many starters do the Steelers have to rest before the Browns have a shot at winning?  

49ERS 44, JAGS 33

Ok, we can’t call them the Whiners anymore. Doormats DO NOT score 21 points in the 4th quarter. Doormats are gassed and hitting the oxygen in the 4th quarter.  Following up last week’s resurrection of cheering at Levi’s Stadium, the Santa Clara 49ers rack up 44 points on what is supposed to be a great Jags defense, to the delight of a delirious half-filled stadium. Maybe this is a good preview of playoff performance coming up for the Jags. The fighting over by the bench was a nice touch. They may be a turnaround team (worst to first), but on Sunday, ‘turned around’ had a different meaning.  

The Niners, six games under .500 at the start of the game, beat the Jags, who were six games over .500. This almost never ever happens.  It’s a humongous upset. Thank you, Whi-  Niners, I mean, for supplying some late season heroics for Underdogs everywhere.  Woo-Hoo!!

BUCS 19,  PANTHERS 22

There is always something special about watching your team leader completely losing his cool as the game winds down to another close loss. Gain over 400 yards of offense and lose! Confuse the fans! Of course, the Bucs do this as a game plan most weeks, so hats off to the whole organization for this inexorable drive to 2nd place in the NFC Doormat. The Bucs leapfrog the 49ers and Bears, but have run out of games to lose to catch the Giants. Just too much ground to make up.

BILLS 16, PATS 27

Controlling your own destiny is asking a lot, and the Bills confirmed it was too much to ask. The Pats got their usual preference treatment, and the Bills got a TD swiped from them.  Good lord, doesn’t the league ever learn? The Bills now need all kinds of help to make the playoffs, but it could still happen. 17 years of no playoffs.  Tick…tick….tick
GIANTS 0, CARDINALS 23

In a must-lose situation, with the Colts breathing down their Moldy Carpet necks, the Giants pulled off a shut-out for the Cards (first time in 25 years) and have to lose again next Sunday against the Washingtons to be, at least, the second worst team in the league.  Three turnovers, ten penalties, 1-13 on third down. Solid.
RAIDERS 10, EAGLES 19

Remember last year? When the Raiders had seven come-from-behind wins? Watching this ghastly idea of a Christmas Day entertainment yesterday, it was clear that the Raiders had ironed all that come-from-behind stuff out of their routine and game plans. On the Eagle side, maybe Nick Foles can Trent Dilfer his way to the Super Bowl. The Eagle defensive line eliminated the word ‘pocket’ yesterday.  And now, the Raiders just have to lose one more, and they’ll have 10 losses, and we’ll have to let them back in the Basement. They take up a LOT of space. 

BRONCOS 11, WASHINGTONS 27

Punt. Punt. Field Goal. Punt. Fumble. Interception. Time runs out (halftime). Punt. Punt. Punt. Downs. Fumble. Touchdown.  

Yep, always save the best for last, as long as the L is long since decided.

STIFF OF THE WEEK

CHARGERS 14, JETS 7

Eighteen Punts. EIGHTEEN. The Jets gave up 379 yards to the Chargers, but it was barely enough. Wasn’t “Three First Downs and a Punt” a movie with Hugh Grant in it? The Jets staged their own funeral yesterday, hitting the 10-loss gold standard for Doormat membership. The Chagrins, ridiculously, could still make the playoffs. I nominate them for Doormat Rep to the Playoffs.  

TOXINS 6, STEELERS 34

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Toxins played a rousing game of Road Kill yesterday. You can hang as many ornaments as you like on that sucker. It’s just kinda hard to cover that many tire tracks.  

COLTS 16, RAVENS 23

The Indianapolis Colts can still be the second-worst team in the league. They can also be one of the worst for their own franchise, all-time. So many milestones to hit. But, the Houston Toxic Cloud looms on their Sunday horizon, so don’t start counting your sacks before they hatch. One more loss to cross.  

The Colts can tie their 1981 team for worst season in franchise history (2-14), but they can’t touch the 533 points they gave up, which still stands as the most points given up by anybody anywhere on the planet. I think that goes for Mars and Venus, too. Pro-football-reference doesn’t have those stats, so I’m going with my interstellar gut on that.

DOLPHINS 13, CHIEFS 29

The Fins went 0-8 on 3rd down. Mix that with 11 penalties for 75 yards, and you can just imagine the fun. The Chiefs are back on their game, and hey, no fair, you guys are faster off the ball than us! If the Floppers can blow it next week against the Bills, no gimme, they’ll have the coveted 10th loss, and a spot on the sofa for the winter.  

LIONS 17, BENGALS 26

The Lions just can’t leave it alone. Some team comes along, eager to get their 10th loss, and the old Kitten Pride surfaces, and they steal a loss from them. It’s getting old. But, what can you expect from someone who once ruled the Doormat Division like Gods?

Well, the AFC can end with as many as 10 teams with 10 losses this season, while the NFC is already done with only 4 teams with 10 losses. Clearly, the league needs to do something about this imbalance, and instill some kind of parity with losing. It’s the right thing to do.

By the way here’s a fun link to each NFL team’s worst season, brought to you by the nice people at ESPN: 
Please note that that article is somewhat subjective, as there are some seasons by the listed teams that were “worse” by record.  Still, a good read.
Oh, and if they haven’t already left town, make sure you apologize, sincerely, for all the incredibly dumb stuff you said yesterday after your third spiked egg nog and half the family isn’t even speaking to you. In the Basement, we learned long ago that pride is just a foolish vanity. And after a while, you learn how to prepare crow so it goes down better. We can provide some handy recipes.  All you gotta do is ask.
aaaAAAAAAnd THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!

The Doormat Division: More perfecter than you

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK 15

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               2-12         228      355     -127

CHICAGO                 4-10         234      294      -60

SANTA CLARA         4-10         253      337      -84

TAMPA BAY              4-9           264      312     -48
WASHINGTON          6-8          305       359     -54

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-14        207      362     -155
INDIANAPOLIS         3-11        225      368     -143
HOUSTON                 4-10        319      380      -61
DENVER                    5-9          254      328      -74
CINCINNATI               5-9         233      305      -72
NY JETS                    5-9         285       342     -57       

BROWNS 10, RAVENS 27

Get out your paper bags, and cut some eyeholes, Browns fans! Another professional, workmanlike effort from the 0-14 Men of Blank, clinching the AFC championship with a turnover blitz against the game, but not gamey enough, Baltimore Ravens (the ex-Browns).  Immediately getting some Ravens points up on the first defensive series (3-0), the Brownouts followed up with two punts and an interception. But the Ravens just punted right back, and then unleashed a botched defensive play that gave the Browns a 59-yard sprint down the field by Isiah Cromwell, followed by a rare end zone appearance by a Brown for a touchdown. Browns lead 7-3.  Browns fans settled in for the inevitable collapse. Patience, grasshopper.

The nerves calmed down, though, and the Browns uncorked Baltimore’s passing game, plus sprinkled in a fumble at their own 45. Next thing you know, the Poes had two touchdowns, and, despite a last-minute first half field goal by the Blanks, were safely up 17-10 at the half.  

The second half began with frenzied punting by both sides, but the Browns craftily moved back, back, back, until they were pinned at their own 4 after the Raven’s second punt.  Seizing the opportunity, Browns QB DeShone Kizer drops back into the end zone and…waits..don’t look around…and pow! — coughs up a perfect Fumble Six, kicking the Ravens a little further down the street, with no view of a loss anywhere in sight. 24-10. Game over.

Next week is the big one- the 4-10 Chicago Bears will be playing host to the Brownouts on the 24th, the biggest obstacle to a perfect season for Cleveland. It is eerily similar to last year, when the Chargers waltzed into Cleveland with a 5-9 record, on Xmas eve, and shoved a win down the Browns throats, wrecking the Perfect Season Parade plans. But, as hard as Bears coach John Fox may work at desultory losses, I think the Browns have it wired. But, that’s why they play the game…. for the tailgate. What?  

BEARS 10, LIONS 20

Getting an early start to the losing weekend, the Bears buried the Lions with an avalanche of penalties (13) at the Kat Box on Saturday. Following up their Orange Bad victory last week over the nearly-Bengals with a three-interception scorcher from QB Mitchell Trubinsky, the Bears move into second place in the Doormat NFC, holding the tie-breaker over the 49ers. Next week Trubinsky and Kizer will play the rookie turnover-challenge-game-within-the-game that decides the game.  

COLTS 13, BRONCOS 25

Our only Doormat head-to-head game this week, and it was a nail-biter until after the halftime burritos and beer huddle in the Colts locker room. To be fair, the Clots staged an arduous 12-play grind to start the 2nd half, ran out of gas, belched, kicked a field goal, and called it a day on offense.  The defense responded with 15 Broncos points, and both teams got to take the 4th quarter off. As it should be.

GIANTS 29, EAGLES 34

They almost did it again. Playing their best football of the season, the Gnats come perilously close to scoring another 3up3down upset, almost tying the game in the 3rd quarter at 31 on a two-point conversion attempt. But, they came up short, and then did what all our loss leaders do — run out of fuel in the 4th quarter, and watch it all melt away like so many fans into the chilled, gray, New Jersey afternoon, shuffling back to the last burnt weenie on the dark BBQ back in the lot. 

TEXANS 7, JAGUARS 45

Pitching in mightily for the Jaguars playoff clinching party, the Houston Toxins needed only four extra plays over the minimum for the 1st half (all 3-and-outs would be a ‘perfect game’) on offense, and just continued the Chaos Rules routine in the defensive backfield, and kablooey the Jaguars were up 31-0 at halftime. Oh, that “changing of the guard” feels good, don’t it, Jags fans? Toxins make the 10-loss club with two weeks to spare.

3 UP 3 DOWN UPSET!!  (3 games over .500 vs.  3 games under .500)

49ERS 25, TITANS 23

It’s all gone completely off the rails for the Whiners. Once 0-9, and then only taking a win against the tough-to-lose-to Giants, the Whiners have won three straight!! WHAT?? Ever since the new Italian model took over behind center, it’s just not at all the same. Doormats don’t win three straight. They’ve gone Garoppoloco. But, look at the bright side: they still only got one touchdown, during ‘Celek Time’, and still some brilliantly boneheaded penalties got sprinkled in there.

But, SIX field goals is going way beyond Doormat logic.  Guys, yes, you’re supposed to fail in the red zone, and kick field goals, but not SIX. You’ll win the damn game. Well, there’s nothing for it but to celebrate the rare 3up3down victory for a Doormat…who isn’t looking at all like a doormat. Enjoy the fresh air, you bums!

RAIDERS 17, COWBOYS 20

Oh, lord, we’re gonna have to let them in, aren’t we?  Next week it’s the Eagles and then the ‘who’s got the tee-times set up?’ game against the Chargers. They could lose 10. The Silver and Blacked Out are hovering out on patio. Geez, and we put all the Raider stuff out on the curb in the Free Box last January. Bother.

DOLPHINS 16, BILLS 24

The tension. Out of the playoffs for 17 seasons, the Bills ‘control the own destiny’, which is probably something Bills fans don’t want to hear. Now that the Fin Flop is over, the Bills travel to Foxboro for tea with the Pats, that super-annoying nine straight division title winning culture that you just wanna punch in the…is there any more potato salad?  

CARDS 15, WASHINGTONS 20

That’s 10 straight field goals by the Cards, so you know Blaine Gabbert is on his game. 

Hold onto your blank hats, fans, the Perfect Season Parade is coming to a Cleveland near you!!

aaaAAAAAAnd That’s the View From the Basement!!!!!!!!!!

The Doormat Division: Perfect Season Parade preserved!

SOME PERSPECTIVE 

Director John Waters once said:  “When I say action, you pick up that poodle poop and eat it.” Wait, that’s not the right quote…here:  “I used to play “school” as a kid with the little girl who lived next door, and I was always the teacher and she was always the student.  Every time we played I failed her, yet she still eagerly agreed to play every time I asked, fully knowing the results. Failing can be a relief for some. A sexual position. A way of life. A choice. Some kind of happiness the never lets you down.” 

Is this it, Doormat fans? Cleveland? Colts? Cincinnati? We gotta find some kinda something here in the Basement. We gotta be able to count on our guys. Fill the Blank Helmet chips bowl, and fish out the stale salsa from the back of the fridge. It’s our turn.

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK 14

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               2-11         199       321    -122

SANTA CLARA         3-10         228      314     -86

CHICAGO                 4-9           224      274      -50

TAMPA BAY              4-9           264      312     -48

WASHBINGTON       5-8          285      344      -59

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-13        197      335      -138

INDIANAPOLIS         3-10        212     343      -131

DENVER                    4-9          229      315      -86

HOUSTON                 4-9          312      335      -23

CINCINNATI               5-8          226      271      -45

NY JETS                    5-8          266      311      -45      

THE GAMES

GAME OF THE YEAR

BROWNS 21, PACKERS 27 (OT)

Faced with the most difficult challenge of the season, the Cleveland Browns brought home the Excedrin yesterday in Green Bay, rallying from up 14 points in the 4th quarter (in what looked like a sure victory) to force a tie and then crisply blowing it in OT (a DeShone Kizer Hail Whoever interception on the 3rd play deeeep in their own territory), nailing down loss #13 and preserving the Perfect Season Parade, which cleared their $10,000 budget mark by getting a $7,000 bump from the nice people at Excedrin, who announced that they “feel your pain.” 

They’d better be feeling it today, because that was the art of losing played like a Stradivarius in the hands of a frozen-fingered out of tune accordion busker on the corner of Lou Groza Blvd and Pearl St. outside Browns headquarters in Cleveland. May the swirling hot dog wrappers of disappointment settle upon your prostate frame, providing thin cover from the cold, as you stare up into the gray sky, wondering what you ever did to deserve this…being a Browns fan.

It was a bizarre game, all right. Brownout fans were subjected to THREE long touchdown drives, the first time all season they’ve had to survive this sort of production, with the suspense of the anticipated turnover after about five plays causing brain aneurysms all over the Cleveland area. But no– the Browns just kept scoring. But from great heights comes vertigo and the defense stepped in where the offense couldn’t, and just ran out of gas, and 20 points never looked so easy to give up. It was killer.

Hats off to the entire Browns organization on this one, and all that’s left is the Bears on Christmas Eve, the last serious challenge to the Perfect Season. The Parade? Jan. 6th, Browns sufferers, is the date to pull yourselves up off the concrete, put on every inch of brown and orange you have, and join the procession that will be the Perfect Season Parade. It’s your only hope. 

The Perfect Season Parade is real, BTW — here’s where you too can donate.

All proceeds, should the Browns win a game, will go to the Cleveland Food Bank, which is what they did last year after the Browns beat the Chargers for their only win. Kind of makes one want to root for the Brownies to win just one, no? Make a donation. 

BATTLE FOR THE ORANGE

BENGALS 7, BEARS 33

In our Orange You Bad division big game yesterday, it was no contest, as the Bungles out-oranged the Bears beyond all dimension, and blew, and I say blew the Bears off the field and into the win column. After last Monday’s brawl vs. the Steelers, the Bengals had to field the video simulation squad, dressed to look like a defense. The Bears had no chance against this, and piled up the most points they’ve had all year. Andy Dalton and the Bungle offense chipped in an early touchdown and retired to the sidelines for the remainder.

The Bengals have three games to go, and if they pull the plug on the roster and ice everybody down now, which looks like a good bet, they’ll make the 10-loss club and be back in the Basement for a long, long loooooong winter.

BLIZZARD BALL!!!!

COLTS 7, BILLS 13

When the first possession of the game ends on downs, and punting seems like a dubious thing to try, you know you are in for a helluva game. Now, if only the Buffalo Bills can dial up a foot and a half of snow for every remaining game, they’ll make the playoffs.  As long as nobody can see which way the goalposts are, and your cleats turn into snowballs if you run more than five feet, the Bills have a shot.

Locked in a invisible snowball fight with the Colts for Doormat icebox supremacy, the Nils unveiled their deep-freeze secret weapon: No, not the snow plow – Third-String QB Joe Webb!  Joe, where ya been? After QB Nathan Peterman — clearly cooled off from his blazing five-interception debut a few weeks ago — disappeared in a snow drift on the sideline, the elusive Webb entered the fray and completed two passes. But he only needed one. Rolling right, Webb uncorked a 34-yard flotation device in overtime to what may have been Deonte Thompson’s arms sticking up out of the snow, setting up the game winning 21-yard non-slip demonstration by LeSean McCoy into what appeared to be an end zone to…WIN A GAME. 

The Clots, with Denver’s win yesterday, move into sole possession of second place in the AFC Doormat. 

49ERS 26, TEXANS 16

He’s Italian! If you squint real hard, his #10 looks like #16. He doesn’t look nearly dorky or unlikely enough, but 49er fans don’t care! He’s the new Joe Montana!! They’re going to the Super Bow- 

Wait a minute. The Texans — they should decide on a pass defense that follows receivers and stuff. And maybe don’t have defensive ends running 20 yards downfield in pass coverage. Probably a bad idea. The 49ers sure aren’t going to lose many more contests if they have QB Jimmy Garoppolo piling up 300-yard games. This is no way to stay with the Giants, that’s for sure. 

The Texans, at 4-9, have the Jags, Steelers and Colts left to get at least one more huge L and make the 10-Club. Says here they do it. The Whiners still have the Titans, Jags and Rams left on the to-do list, so they can still lose the next three, though the Titans are the shakiest 8-5 team in the league. But, let’s face it, Jimmy G guy may not be Joe Cool, but he’s a real QB. Doormats don’t have real QBs. A ray of happiness descends on the Red and Gold Faithful. 

GIANTS 10, COWBOYS 30

Not even a hated rival in a long, long rivalry can get the Flailing Giants into any sort of danger of winning.  But it’s not a lock, yet — the 49ers are playing playoff teams for the last three games, and the Flailers get the Eagles with no Carson Wentz, and then the Cardinals and the Skins, so…they have to be just hitting the hot tub and trying not to get injured at this point, right?  There’s nobody even at the helm. 

EAGLES 43, RAMS 35

Yeah, I know they aren’t Doormats anymore, and kind of never were, but losing Carson Wentz for the rest of the season and playoffs really hurts, man. That game yesterday was just flat out fun, and now…poof.

JETS 0,  BRONCOS 23

Riding an 8-game losing streak, the Broncos run into a buzzsaw of futility, and get spit out into the win column by the Basement-ready New York Jets. The Nyets uncorked a six-first-down masterpiece of nothing: 100 total yards and eight punts of a magic disappearing act by the offense, and the defense ran out of oxygen just running their competitive flab out onto the field from the locker room into the thin air of Denver. Wheeze.

Jets move to within a game of the Broncos, and are slouching towards the 10-club.

Sorry to see QB Josh McCown, who has had the best year of his career, get knocked out for the season with a hand injury. The Jets are close to being Parity Promising, but just zero-out every coupla games and lose like they mean it. 

RAIDERS 15, CHIEFS 26

I know this is a Parity game, but the Silver and Blacked Out looked so bad, in a game that was huuuuuge. Whoa. Raider QB Derek Carr just keeps waiting until later and later to start playing ball. Pretty soon, he’ll finally be on his game in the after-game press conference.

In fact, I think he was yesterday. Starting games like you have no idea how to get downfield is a top-down planning thing, so hat’s off to the Raider coaching staff for this bomb.

TITANS 7, CARDINALS 12

The Titans are 8-5 and in the playoff sniff, but you’d never know it watching this one.  Doormat All-Star Blaine Gabbert is steering the Cardinal van, and he’s doing a good job of keeping it out of the end zone, but four field goals still hangs a W on your scorecard when the Titans shut it down like they did yesterday. Ka-lunk!

The Run to the Moldy Carpet is a not a done deal yet, fans.  The Browns gotta cash in two more losses to lock it down, as the Giants show no sign of letting up.

aaaAAAAND That’s the View From the BASEMENT!!!!!!!!

Doormat Division, lucky week 13

LET THE PARTIES BEGUINE!!

We’ve got the home organ my uncle left me warming up in the corner of the Rumpus Room here in the Basement (just look at those dusty tubes glow, warming the electronics of your heart), and we’re gonna tune it to ‘beguine’ on the rhythm buttons on the left side, and tape down a C chord, and let the ‘slalom’ setting take it from there, because it’s PARTY TIME in the Doormat Division! Gone are those pesky Parity teams, except for maybe a couple of late arrivals right around Xmas, but as long as they bring some good scotch with them, they can add it to the MJB camp coffee we got brewing on the grill out on the patio. 

We’re good to go ’til the end of the season, fans, and we’re in for a wild finish. 

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, LUCKY WEEK THIRTEEN

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

NY GIANTS               2-10         189      291     -102

SANTA CLARA         2-10         202      298     -96

CHICAGO                 3-9           191      267      -76

TAMPA BAY              4-8           243      288     -45

ARIZONA                  5-7           219      310     -91

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-12        176      308     -132

INDIANAPOLIS         3-9          205      330     -125

DENVER                    3-9          206      315     -109

HOUSTON                 4-8          296      309      -13

MIAMI                        5-7           209      298      -8

 

THE GAMES 

BEARS 14,  49ERS 15

The Chicago Bears inched a game closer to the NFC Doormat lead yesterday with a lunchpail effort against the Whiners, who came into the Windy City sporting a new QB, freshly minted from the Patriots back-up QB factory. It took everything the Bears had to lose this one, though, as the Whines went 0-5 in the Red Zone, and the big moment ended up being when 49er kicker Robbie Gould taunted his former team, after his fifth field goal, with 0:04 left on the clock) blew the loss for the 49ers. Yeah, take that, you fools!  You’d be….3-9 if you still had me!! If a kicker taunting his former team isn’t a Doormat Legends moment, I don’t know what is.

The Bears waited until late in the 3rd quarter to get over 100 total yards, kept the first downs in the single digits (8), and mustered exactly one scoring drive (59) yards (the other TD being the most entertaining punt return of the year, with the runback actually taking 167 yards to complete). The Whiners, now 2-12 and in a tie for the league lead with the Giants, look like they are in trouble with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. They might win another game, and next week it’s the 4-8 Texans, so what looked like a lock a few weeks ago is now a big question mark.  But, let’s wait and see what happens when the 49er offense plays a team that fields a defense. 

GIANTS 17,  RAIDERS 24

NY QB Geno Smith may not have thrown any interceptions, but he made up for it with two fumbles, and they were big plays for the Flailing Giants, who move into the NFC lead with the loss, as the Gnats hold the tie-breaker over the 49ers. You gotta hand this one to Giants coach Ben McAdoo, for boldly going where no man has gone before…except the 1976 Giants, who also were 2-10 before they fired their coach. But he made the move for Geno, and he delivered. If Ben’s still here next week, and makes it to the bitter herbal end, the Flailers will win the NFC Doormat crown.  Rrraiders barely beat another Doormat. 

CHIEFS 31, JETS 38

What else do the Chiefs need to do to get some respect around here?  Lose four more, baby, and join the 10 club (10 losses on the season). And they way they are playing, they’re gonna do it.  What a slide!  When you can score 31 points and still lose, you are clicking on all cylinders, and the team effort is there. The Chiefs set the record for time of possession yesterday-  17:11!!  The Jets really, tried, coughing up some huge plays for the Chiefs offense, but to no avail. 

Can the Chiefs lose 10?  They get the Raiders next week, who only look good against terrible teams (Raiders wins:  Titans, Jets, Bills, Chiefs, Giants, Broncos…Titans half assed decent team in the bunch).  So, the only question is, can the Chiefs maintain terrible?  It’s a lot of work.

BRONCOS 9, DOLPHINS 35

Yes, the Broncos are so orange-bad, they pulled off getting plastered by the Fins. The quarterback roulette paid off for the Bunks, as Trevor Simian hurled three INTs, ran for his life most of the day, and the got the team off the field quickly enough to squeeze in eight punts into the busy schedule. The defense responded by getting winded and making the Fins look sharper than a sea urchin in heat. Broncos have lost 8 straight, second only to the trailblazing Browns, who have lost so many in a row, you need a sextant to figure out where the last win was.  It’s a big ocean.

BROWNS 10, CHARGERS 19

The Brown-outs last win was last year against the Chargers, so a tiny flame of hope sprang up in the chilled hibachis back in Cleveland. But the premier Orange Bad team was not to be denied in this one. The Blank Helmets and the Chargers both held it to one touchdown, but the Chargers just could not prevent the extra field goals at the end of failed drives, and lo and behold, the Chagrins are ‘hot’ and tied for first the AFC West, at parity gold 6-6, over in the ‘real’ league.

The Brownies are up against the Packers in Brownieville next week, and, even though the Pack has figured out how to win without Aaron Rodgers at the helm, this will be no gimme.  The perfect season will be on the line next week.

TEXANS 13, TENNESSEE 24

We always think the Texans are one or two injuries away from being a 10-Club team, and it looks like, at 4-8, that they are gonna make it this year. Impressive.

BUCS 20,  PACKERS 26 (OT)

Same thing for the Bucs, who can’t shake the Doormat mantle just yet. The Packers shouldn’t be scaring anybody, but apparently the Bucs (4-8) are determined to get back in the Basement. Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s weird flip-fumble for a TD for the Pack was a play we have never seen here in Basement-land. Wow.

Okay, Doormat Denizens, I gotta go fix a flat tire and go get ripped off by a tire salesman, so enjoy your coffee, your warm life, and remember,  losing is the standard, winning is…now, why would I know anything about that??

AAANNDD THAT’S THE VIEW FROM THE BASEMENT!!!

The Doormat Division: Run for the Moldy Carpet

Run for the Moldy Carpet -- we can almost smell it!

The end is in sight, Doormat denizens, and only the hardiest survive to very VERY stale beer end that is the Doormat Division Championship Trophy.

Run for the Moldy Carpet — we can almost smell it!

Teams that once thought they could blow any game, anywhere, find themselves awash in the doldrums of parity, with the threat of playoff relevancy, and an opportunity for fans to witness their gridiron warriors to become this year’s lambs to the slaughter in the first round.

Only the determined and truly gritty will make it through the gantlet of teams giving up on the season, and manage to lose the final five games, and wear the Best of the Worst crown.

Only one team will eventually hold (however briefly before needing to go wash their hands) the Moldy Carpet Trophy, and, at this writing, five teams still have a legitimate shot at the Doormat Championship. With five games remaining, any team with a 5-6 record could still be champs, but let’s be realistic: 5-6 is parity, and don’t wave that banner at me.

It’s the Browns, 49ers, Bears, Giants, Broncos, and Colts.  Let’s take a look at the standings and then call the shots. 

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK TWELVE

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

SANTA CLARA         1-10         187     284      -97

NY GIANTS               2-9           172     267      -95

CHICAGO                 3-8           177      252      -75

TAMPA BAY              4-7           223      262      -39

GREEN BAY             5-6           232      261      -29

 

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-11        166      289      -123

INDIANAPOLIS         3-8          195      300      -105

DENVER                    3-8          197      280      -83

MIAMI                        4-7           174      289     -115

NY JETS                    4-7           228       57      -29

 

HUGE GAMES NEXT WEEK:

49ers at Bears

Broncos at Dolphins

Brownies at Chargers

THE SHOTS:

CLEVELAND (0-11):  with Sunday’s nail-biter loss against the Bengals, the Turnover Browns showed that, under the right circumstances, they might yet win a game this season. They do try. WR Josh Gordon, who hasn’t played in 3 years, returns next week from purgatory. He will play WR, QB, announce the game and sing the national anthem. Not that expectations are high or anything.

The Brownouts are in the driver’s seat for a perfect season, but they could win their games against the stumbling Packers (12/10) and for sure against the Bears (12/24). Still, they’d only be 2-14, tops, and that leaves only the Giants and 49ers as competition. But they’ve tailed off with the turnovers (leading the league at -17 give/take) lately, and that makes them vulnerable against teams that don’t score. 

Predicted finish:  0-16

SANTA CLARA (1-10):  The 49ers overdid it with the losing thing yesterday, and punching bag QB C.J. Beathard finally got knocked out of a game. Enter “star” backup Jimmy Garoppolo, who promptly throws a TD pass in the waning moments of another grindingly annoying loss to the Seahawks, causing the entire Red and Gold fan base and media in the Bay Area to elect Jimmy G to the Niner Hall of Fame with that one ray-of-hope toss.  Even if only 47 people were actually in the stadium to see it.

This much is true: if Garoppolo starts next week in Chicago against the Bears…look out. The Whiners could win a game, and give the Giants and the Bears an opening to the NFC crown and perhaps the Moldy Carpet. The remaining schedule: Texans (danger), Titans, Jags, Rams (finish season with massive blowout).

Predicted finish:  2-14

NEW YORK GIANTS (2-9):  The Giants gave up so long ago, it was amazing to watch the Chiefs hand them a game two weeks ago. Now they have to run the table for a shot at the Moldy Carpet. But they have a shot, because this team really is mailing it in from so far away, they’re about lap everybody. The last five: Raiders, Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals, Redskins. Raiders appear to need to get into all-out brawls before they wake up, so the Giants should toss in a couple scuffles early, and get out of Oakland with an L. The Cowboys pose a threat, because they can lose anywhere they like, and the Cardinals prefer to score only one touchdown a game if the competition would only comply.  Giants might beat the Cardinals.

Predicted Finish:  3-14

DENVER (3-8) 

The Broncos have to lose all 5 remaining games. They sure are going after it, with a hard-charging -16 turnover differential and showing little sign of slowing that down. The Raiders got their FIRST interception of the season yesterday, so you know the Broncs are dealing.  But good luck with this schedule: Miami, NY Jets, Indianapolis, Washington and Kansas City. They could win 3 of those games. Still, they managed to be sloppier and more undisciplined than the Raiders yesterday, and lately that’s been hard to top. And they won the Brawl and Lose Your Cool challenge yesterday, so…

Predicted finish: 4-12

CHICAGO (3-8)

A tweak here, a bad game plan there, and the Bears could be 1-10. Interestingly, though, the Bears’ three victories are against the Ravens, Steelers and Jaguars, none of whom have losing records. This is the Upset Team from the Doormat Division this year, and for that alone, we have to be proud of these bums down here in the Basement. Upsets are in extremely short supply this season, and if you ever hear someone say “on any given Sunday”, stuff a cream pie in their face, and rub it in a little. 

daBares amassed 140 total yards against the Eagles on Sunday, and six giant yards of rushing offense. So, uh, they could also lose every single game left. 

They should win this Sunday against the Whiners, Jimmy Garoppolo or not, and the rest of the schedule is this: Bengals, Lions, Browns, Vikings. 

Predicted finish:  4-12. 

INDIANAPOLIS (3-8)

The Puntin’ Clots almost upset the Titans on Sunday, but killed off their offense for the second half, and eventually the Titans woke up and scored. The Colts have the Jags, Bills, Broncos, Ravens and Texans to finish up the grind, and they will probably wind down Frank Gore for the last 4 games, to save some wear and tear on him. 

Colts should beat the Broncos….and that’s it. Maybe the Texans, who may give up even more extensively than the Colts.

Predicted finish:  5-11

UPSETS?

Upsets don’t happen very often, and, in the Basement, it’s almost never. Like I said above, don’t give me that “On Any Given Sunday” baloney. The worst teams never upset anybody. They just hope another bottom dweller comes to town and somehow they might stumble through to victory. Upsets are usually between middle of the road teams and dubious division leaders. Like this:

CARDINALS 27, JAGS 24

Teetering high above their usual perch, Jacksonville gets vertigo and slides down the rigging and hides in the hold and…why am I on a boat?  The Jags aren’t used to leading a division, so pulling off an upset for the Cruds engineers a safe tie with the Titans in the AFC South. Whew. Jags still have a chance to fade and miss the playoffs.

Fake Upsets

The Chiefs are the league’s designated ‘upset’ target, having delivered an upset to the Raiders, Cowboys, Giants and Bills. So, by the time the Flailing Giants beat the Chiefs, it didn’t even count. Just not really satisfying. 

Almost Upsets

PACKERS 28, STEELERS 31

This would have counted, had the Pack somehow pulled it off.  Without Aaron Rodgers, Gangrenous Bay plays a solid game, their shaky rookie QB settles down, and…they lose on a FG with 0:00 on the clock. 

We wait…and wait…for a real upset down here in the Basement, but on the other hand, the Moldy Carpet…it’s so close I can almost smell it. Wait. I can smell it. 

aaaAAAAAAnd That’s the View From the Basement!!!!