Sports

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!!!!

Doormat Division: Beyond mid-level bunglers

Just when you thought we were in the mid-season doldrums, and everybody is just a Parity League mid-level bumbler, an inspired determination emerges from the depths of the NFL, and franchises across the land, when finding themselves between a rock and a hard place in the sun, take the bull by the horns of a dilemma and make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke’s silver lining by being just ingeniously flat-out worse than anybody else on the gridiron, and by day’s end land with a spectacular thud in The Basement!  What a weekend!

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK ELEVEN

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

SANTA CLARA         1-9           174      260     -68

NY GIANTS               2-8           162      247     -85

CHICAGO                 3-7            174     221     -47

TAMPA BAY              4-6           203     228      -25

ARIZONA                  4-6            176     254     -78

WASHINGTON          4-6            238     266     -28

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-9          150      259      -109

INDIANAPOLIS         3-7          179      280      -101

DENVER                    3-7          183      259      -76

MIAMI                        4-6          157       254     -97

RRAIDERS                4-6          204      247      -43

CINCINNATI              4-6          169      199      -30

BLOWUP OF THE WEEK

BILLS 24, CHARGERS 54

Faced with the prospect of being in the playoff hunt for several more games, possibly ending their 17-year playoff drought, the Bills pull out secret weapon Nathan Peterman, and obliterate any doubt about what the Bills are trying to accomplish here. Peterman, the 5th round QB pick out of Pitt, stepped into the fray and diced up the Charger defense with 5 interceptions in the first half! The first five possessions were INT (pick-six), TD, INT, INT, INT. That’s the stuff of legend. Every pick, except the first one, was pulled off deep in their own territory, and by the end of the first half the Chargers, the team that blows leads better than any other teams in the NFL, led 37-7, and was just going to have to take a victory like a man. The Chargers find themselves, at 4-6, in 2nd place in the AFC West, and, I’m not kidding, in the playoff hunt.

Peterman, probably in therapy this morning, needed only three more to break the NFL record, but, alas, was yanked in the second half for some guy named Tyrod Taylor. It is true the Bills had lost two in a row, and looked shaky doing it, but…starting a completely inexperienced rookie in a game you could win with your regular guy out there?

Mission accomplished. But the AFC is a dogpile of mediocrity, and, at 5-5, the Bills need to keep getting pulverized for at least 3 more weeks to move out of the danger zone. Up next:  CHIEFS…no gimme

BROWNS 7, JAGUARS 19

0-10 and looking like 0-16, the Blank Helmets had to get back in the turnover derby late in the second half to pull out this loss, but once they bared down with 3 consecutive turnovers- the final one coughing up the ball in their own end zone to MAKE SURE the stubborn Jags would just score a stupid TD and get off the field- the game was in the bag. 17 punts and 5 turnovers in this Doormat gem. 

Up NEXT:  THE BATTLE FOR ORANGE OHIO PRIDE- The BUNGLES in Cincinnati!!  

CHIEFS 9, GIANTS 12 (OT)

Drunk with power from polishing off the 49ers last week (and handing them their first victory), the Giants completely under-prepare for the reeling Chiefs and end up blowing their tie for the Doormat NFC lead, and end up with a victory. Typical. They tried hard to lose the game in regulation, but Chiefs minimal yardage ace QB Alex Smith was having none of that, stalling a drive at the NY 5, and keeping it to a tie, forcing overtime. If the Chiefs can keep this up, the entire AFC West could have a losing record in a couple weeks!

SWAMP THING

DOLPHINS 20, BUCS 30

We were calling this Swamp Thing all last week, and wowee what a game. Dolphins QB Jay Cutler whips up three ints in the first half, leaves with a concussion, and was probably surprised to find out later that he is, in fact, still playing football for the Fins. “Didn’t I retire?” 

Seventeen penalties by the Dolphins, 9 for the Bucs, four fumbles for the Fins (two lost), which barely got the Bucs to score…the Fins racked up 448 yards of offense, with the Bucs allowing huge yardage plays from every angle of the field, but, yet, not enough poor defense could get these Dolphins to give it up and win. After the Bucs kicked the go-ahead FG with 00:04 left on the clock, the Floppers pulled off a magnificent multi-lateral play on the ensuing kickoff, which just kept going backwards until they fumbled it right into the end zone, and the Bucs fell on it for the final score. Do that at home, and you are really bringing it.

BRONCOS 17, BENGALS 20

The question on everyone’s mind this week was, which orange team is worse, the Bungles or the Bunks? HEY, it’s the BRONCOS!  Lowering to the occasion, the Broncos lose it at home, and now ascend into a tie for second with the Colts in the Doormat AFC race. 

Bungles can now be overconfident before their crucial game with the Browns next week.

RRRRAIDERS 8, PATRIOTS 33

4-6 and fading fast, we have some trends: Raiders receivers not named Crabtree drop more deliveries than a UPS mail sorter. The Raiders have zero interceptions this season. They have no pass rush. They… well what did they do? They played in Mexico City yesterday, so at least their fans had to travel a really long way to drink cheap beer and witness this trip down memory lane to the bad old days…which were only a couple years ago. The Al Davis flame still burns, and the team is burying themselves. Funny thing about winning- it’s a lot more fleeting than losing.

BEARS 24, LIONS 27

Keep playing like this, and the Bears (3-7) might win a couple games and fall out of contention for the Moldy Carpet trophy.  But, they still found a way to lose at home to the Kittens, and the Giants won, so anything is possible. It’s just one game. 

PACKERS 0, BALTIMORE 23

Not everybody can make the Ravens look good, but the Porkers pulled out all the stops, including the most hideous throw-back uniforms ever allowed on a football field. Beige pants with blue and yellow tops? The Pack played down to their attire, and flailing rookie QB Matt Hundley hurled 3 interceptions and dropped a fumble, and the Packers offense just got off the field as much as possible, and, eventually, the Ravens found a nearby end zone.

The Packers play the BROWNS in 3 weeks. Whoa. If Aaron Rodgers isn’t back for that one, the Browns are in trouble, as in perfect season is in trouble trouble.

WASHINGTON 31, SAINTS 34

Just when you think some one will pull off an upset, just one, somewhere, the Deadskins can’t do it, and, in phenomenal swirl of inactivity and blowing up, rally the Saints to victory, a 17-point swing in no time, and snatch the ring of defeat off the merry-go-round. Holy Cow.  ANOTHER 4-6 team joins the party.  

It’s getting really 4-6 crowded in the Basement and out on the Patio, and the next two weeks will separate the men from the Moldy Carpet contenders FOR SURE.  We gotta hope.  I’m running out of stale pretzels.

AAAAAAnd That’s the View from the BASEMENT!!!!!!!

The Doormat Division: Whiners beat the Quitters!

GIANTS 21, 49ers 31

We couldn’t wait for this game to arrive. Yesterday, me, ‘Fish, the Commish, Elvis, Jimbo and Moose packed into the Doormat headquarters and, with baited breath, tuned in the TV promptly at 1:25pm.  You know, next time we need to take some snacks with us on those early morning fishing trips. If you get my meaning. If you get my breath.

The score is a lie. Think 49ers 31, Giants 6. Think 49ers 53, Giants -21. This was no contest. The Gnats…how did they even win a game? Oh, they beat the Broncos. They’re in the Mariana Trench now, they’re the Quitinskies of quittin-est quitters from Queens! Yes, I know they’re not really in Queens. The Whiners knew they were in trouble early when 49er QB C.J. Beathard dropped back to pass and…there was a pocket.  “Hey COACH, look at this!”  He had time and a half, and his receivers were blowing past nonchalant linebackers and deferential defensive backs like it was a company picnic and the boss was the wide receiver. Wow, great moves, Boss!  

The 49ers led by four points at the half — THEIR BIGGEST LEAD OF THE SEASON!!  That musta been one shocked halftime locker room. They had no answers — they were gonna win. The Giants made the 49ers look like a contender. Both teams have nearly half their original rosters on the IR, so who knows who is suiting up, but…the Giants just look like our NFC champs already, and they’re doing it by just flat giving it up.

The Flailing Giants have seven more games of mailing in to accomplish, a mountain of losing left to do, which is gonna be no problem if they don’t fire coach McAdoo. I’m checking ESPN about every two minutes to see if….nope, McAdoo is still there. Well, McAdoo or don’t, this team is a W on everybody else’s schedule. 

It’s fun to watch a hapless team like the 49ers suddenly be laying down crushing blocks, stopping half-hearted blitzes, not punting until the 4th quarter, and throwing bombs for 83 yards to a streaking WR as if they do this every week. WR Marquis Goodwin, after catching the magnificent bomb from Beathard, fighting off a DB and scampering into the end zone, was clearly overcome with emotions and his teammates mobbed him. It was not because his team had finally had a long pass play (longest since 2005) for a TD. It wasn’t because the 49ers finally were doing something right.  

It was this: He and his wife lost a child that morning when there were complications with his wife’s childbirth and the premature baby did not survive. How a guy can even go out and play a football game after something like that is beyond me, though I understand going out and playing your brains out would at least be a distraction, and wow did he put in a helluva game. The Red and Gold picked a good time to win a game, however small bit of consolation it may have been. At least they did that.  

My final word on the Giants — it’s curious, when you live in the Basement, to watch a team that thought they were gonna be contenders, just give up. It’s hard to adjust to the dim lighting and the possum nest by the broken washing machine, but, c’mon guys, stop being so glum. You aren’t special, OK? You’re just like us.

Well, you know how it is with victories- Doormats usually follow it up with getting hammered the next game. But it is against hated rival Seattle, who seem to be trying to gain entry into our club. You might want to tune it in. The Whines may think they have a chance.

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK TEN

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

SANTA CLARA         1-9           174      260     -68

NY GIANTS               1-8           150      238     -88

TAMPA BAY              3-6           173      208     -35

CHICAGO                 3-6            150     194     -44

ARIDZONA               4-5            155     223     -68

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-9          143      240      -97

INDIANAPOLIS         3-7          179      280      -101

DENVER                    3-6          166     239       -73

CINCINNATI              3-6          149      182      -33

LA CHARGERS         3-6          167     172       -5

HOUSTON                 3-6           236     241       -5

BROWNS 24, LIONS 38

There’s only one winless team left — the Brownouts. They played with fire yesterday, and nearly torched their season. Hue Jackson, denied a perfect season last year, is on a mission now. Leading 24-17 in the third quarter, the Blank Helmets pulled out their secret weapon, a vicious sequence of 3 and outs, coupled with masterfully incorrect defensive alignments to slam 21 points onto the Kittens side of the scoreboard and escape the Kat Box with a hard-earned loss. Browns QB Deshone Kizer did a Doormat all-star attempt with a failed QB sneak (not the called play) from the 2 as time ran out in the 2nd quarter, and…they couldn’t line up in time for the next play and POOF! No points.  Hue Jackson actually pulled himself out of ‘resigned displeasure’ for a moment there, and got upset. COACH, calm down.  Your guys got this.  Odd stat of the day:  Browns went 4-4 on 4th down.  

COLTS 17,  STEELERS 20

The Steelers are starting to make a habit out of looking like they are going to lose, and then, yawn, getting into the kitchen and whipping up a few touchdowns just before the timer goes off. The Clots led 17-3 before waking up and punting as if their lives depended on it. And, when that wasn’t quite enough, Colts QB Jacoby Brisset delivered an INT at his own 12, and the defense took it from there, getting the stunned Steelers into the endzone. But it was still only tied.  The Clots punted again, but the Steelers missed a field goal attempt, so the Colts punted AGAIN, and, with just 3 minutes to go, masterfully got the Steelers all the way down the field to kick the game winner with 0:00 on the clock. 

Colts (3-7) gain some separation from the rest of the AFC pack (3-6).  

BEARS 16, PACKERS 23

We asked for it, and we got it. The Bears can lose to the Rodgers-less Packers, and they keep their reputation intact. But it was nip-and-tuck all the way to the last play. Bears coach John Fox is the most entertaining angry sideline coach in football. Somebody get him an agent in L.A. 

BILLS 10,  SAINTS 47

How’s that song go?  “I am 17, going on 18…”  no? It should be. Two weeks ago, the Bills were 5-2. It’s been 17 years since the Bills have made the playoffs. Now, after yesterday’s complete dive-bomb in front of the hometown fans, they’re 5-4.  How deep does the snow get in Buffalo, anyway?  

TEXANS 7, RAMS 33

There they go, our Lambies, thrashing another descending team. This elevator goes all the way to the basement, Houston. Houston did the best thing an aspiring Doormat team can do, come out of the halftime pep talk and give up 21 points in the 3rd.  Pow!

CHARGERS 17, JAGUARS 20

Does anybody blow more games at the last second than the Chagrins? How DO they keep doing it? Philip Rivers, the loudest QB in football, found himself in overtime, along with his teammates (more or less), and fired up a 50 yard bomb from his 10, which was intercepted, and run back to the LA 2.  But, that great new Doormat penalty play, taunting, got executed to perfection by the Jags with A. Colvin pointing his finger at Rivers (who made the tackle) and saying Nya-nya-nya-na-nyaaa-nyaaaaaa!!!  15 yards!  Still, the Jags, though they don’t really know what they’re doing with that winning record, couldn’t blow it.  You can’t against the Los Angeles Game Blowers, charrrrrging to defeat like nobody else.  

BUCS 15, JETS 10

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick avoids thinking he’s still on the Jets, (or the Bills, Rams, Titans, or Texans) throws only one interception, and the Jets take care of the rest, airing out seven punts and waiting until the end of the game (00:28) to score a touchdown. Is it safe? Look out Basement, the Jets are elbowing in, like they were supposed to this year.

CARDINALS 16, SEAHAWKS 22

The Seahawks get 12 first downs, go 3-13 on 3rd down, rack up 12 penalties for 108 yards, give the Cardinals SIX first downs on penalties (season high by a wide margin), and, yet, win the game. This despite wearing the single most hideous lime green uniforms ever paraded in front of 127,278 brutalized eyeballs (assuming two per fan) with a garish neon green artificial turf background, an experience from which sane people will never recover. They are trying so hard. 

The Seahags, attempting to become a Doormat member, just can’t get it right, and it’s all about the second half. Watch the Crudinals and learn, boys. Hold your 2nd half output to a field goal, tops, and then punt punt punt – and if you can’t hand over some turnovers, at least wait until there is less than :30 on the clock to score your lone 2nd half touchdown.  The Futile Touchdown is always a nice touch.  Maybe next year, Seahags.

BUNGLES 20, TITANS 24

Bengals lead.  Bengals lose.  Losing with :36 ticks left on the clock always makes one feel a little more Ohio Orange.  The Orange Brotherhood sweeps the weekend again. 

BRONCOS 16, PATRIOTS 41

The Broncos were 3-1 at one point.  Really.  They just keep moving up the standings.  Just one game behind the Colts (3-7) now.  They play Indy on December 14th.  Gotta keep focus.  

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

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

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The Doormat Division: 0-for-Niners!

 

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK NINE

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

SANTA CLARA         0-9           143      239     -96

NY GIANTS               1-7           129      207     -78

TAMPA BAY              2-6           158     198     -40

CHICAGO                 3-5            134     171      -37

DETROIT                  3-4            176     169      +7

 

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-8          119      202      -83

INDIANAPOLIS         3-5          162      260      -98

CINCINNATI              3-5          129      158      -29

DENVER                    3-5          150      198      -48

LA CHARGERS         3-5          150     152       -2

HOUSTON                 3-5           229     208      +21

TOP OF THE HEAP

49ERS 10, CARDINALS 20

You know, if you look at Whiner QB C.J. Beathard’s name right, it all makes sense.

 Separate the ‘t’ and the ‘h’ and you get five sacks, 16 hits, flurries of hurries and…new QB acquisition Jimmy “Chisel Chin” Garoppolo got a real close look at the 49er offensive strategy yesterday, and what really must have impressed him was, even though Beat-hard is a human punching bag, when he does get time to throw, he has a wide array of receivers ready to drop any pass thrown, any time, however accurate. These guys are wearing clown gloves. But, really, when the O-line is so porous that the ineffective running back blocking gets to shine almost every play, why would you even EXPECT to get a pass thrown anywhere near you?  It’s just a lot to ask. 

The O-fer-Niners are now the first team to 0-9, as the Browns could not keep pace yesterday, because they just didn’t play. Enjoy it while you can, Whine-boys, because next week the NY Giants (1-7), come to the Most Expensive Empty Stadium in football, and, believe you-me, the Giants are not leaving until they get another loss in the bag. BE THERE. 

BLOW OUT OF THE WEAK and ADIOS BRO-CHA-CHOS!

GIANTS 17,  RAMS 51

What a two-fer!  Giants coach Ben McAdoo craftily suspended top DB (Janoris Jenkins) this week and the team responded by getting Ram’s QB Jared Goff career highs in yards (311) and TDs (4). The rest of the team picked up on the spirit of the thing, and got Jimmy Hoffa’d (buried in their own stadium) 51-17.  Last time they got shellacked like that? 52-21 in 1964 against the…Cleveland Browns, the last time the Browns won a game. Or so it seems. This game was truly a changing of the guard.

Now, please rise and remove your Doormat Team cap of your choice, raise a dented can of your favorite minty beverage and give a lusty cheer for the exit of one our longest standing members, The LOS ANGELES LAMBS!  Holy God of Mercy, they’re GONE. Without a winning season since 2003, the Lambs have the blue and white helmets back on, and look…they look great. They’re having fun, and there are tears of joy in the stands.  Though only 6-2, and the requisite is you have to guarantee a minimum 8-8 finish, these guys are not coming back this year.  Adios, Bro-Cha-Chos!

THE OTHER BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK

BRONCOS 23, EAGLES 51

Well, here’s your second half of the season team that won’t be anywhere near a mile-high in altitude any time soon.  The Chargers may have a rough time finishing last in their own division, at this rate.  The Buncos are now in rotating mediocre QB mode. Spinning slowly in the Rocky Mountain breeze….brr.

TEXANS 14, COLTS 20

The Indiapopolopolis Colts, supposedly the worst team in the league, now have 3 victories, and are 3 whole games behind the Browns for the AFC Doormat crown.  The Moldy Carpet Trophy…fading hopes.  Now that starting Texan QB Deshaun Watson is on the sideline, the Toxins don’t have to listen to fan complaints about how they aren’t using him right. They can toss someone far less talented out there and get back to losing to anybody on any given Sunday. Watch for the Texans to finish lower on the totem pole than the Colts in the AFC South. 

OHIO PRIDE

BENGALS 7, JAGUARS 23

Well, if the Browns aren’t playing, an Ohio team has to pick up the Orange Banner, and wave it…vigorously.  And open the windows, whew!   8 first downs, 148 total yards, 7 punts, multiple fights, a couple chokeholds and our FIRST team under 20 minutes possession time this year – 19:46!!!  It was way messier than a Browns loss, but not everyone can be so professional. Way to step UP, Bungles!

BUCCANEERS 10, SAINTS 30

The Bucs (2-6) brought their fascinating train wreck to the Big Easy yesterday, and I hope their fans found a good oyster po’ boy sandwich somewhere in town, and a decent mint julep with an excellent shot of bourbon in it. The Bucs though, man they looked like they had 7 or 8 Hurricanes the night before, each with a more absurd straw as the night wore on. Oh well, another bunch of green horn tourists that can’t find a real jazz club OR the end zone. Put it in a go-cup and head back to Florida. 

DOLPHINS 24, RAIDERS 27

During this game last night the red phone rang, and it was, of course, our Commissioner on the line. He had a few thoughts:  1. Raiders receiver Amari Cooper, who apparently can’t catch a pass, but can catch a grounder (onside kick), should switch over to playing SS for the A’s. After all, he’s familiar with the infield.  2. The Raiders have talent, but no focus. They may yet still be with us in the Basement come January. 3. Miami is not much of anything but an opponent every Sunday. 

And, there you have it- the goal of half the league in the NFL is to be…an opponent on Sunday. Might as well wear hideous all-teal uniforms and live in Parity, because once the playoffs show up, your best shot is to be that team that ‘has no business’ being in the playoffs. But you see- they DO. They represent the majority interest in the league (and, often the Doormat Division as well), and deserve a seat at the table in January, however brief. They are the fatted calf of the playoffs!  Sacrifice is the spice of life.

TONIGHT:  LIONS AT PACKERS

The Porkers have had a whole week off to dis-prepare for this entry attempt into our league. Let’s see what they can not do tonight against the often-accommodating Kittens, another team teetering on making the Bears relevant. The NFC North, the division bent on making the Vikings winners. 

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

The Doormat Division, midseason: TWO 0-8 teams!

LONDON CALLING!

BROWNS 16, VIKINGS 33

At 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning, I stuck my head out of the sleeping bag and fumbled in the dark for the remote, scattered somewhere on the green shag carpet, rolled over on the duct-tape sofa, and tuned in this Spotted Dick of a game. I felt like a toad-in-the-hole, all right, but I had a job to do. This was the BROWNS in LONDON.

Now that it was evident, even in the off-season, that the Jaguars, London’s favorite lousy team, were going to climb out of the Basement to Parity glory, the booking office in London had to line up a new Doormat to stumble into Wembley stadium and put a packed house of football fans wearing just about every NFL jersey except the ones the teams on the field are wearing into a stupor.  And who better to carry the Banner of Bad but the Browns?  Nobody, that’s who.

Two weeks ago, we pleaded with the Browns to change their name — and we’ve got it. The Three-and-outs! The Blank Helmets can get rid of footballs so fast, the defense doesn’t actually make it to the Gatorade table to get a decent glass of sherry (things are different in London) before they hear that familiar sound of a football being kicked sky high — FOOMP! Get back on the field!

Despite this artful method of wearing out their defense until it turns to orange sawdust every game, the 3-and-Outs were in a battle yesterday, as the Vikings were game to lose one in Jolly old England. They handed over the ball on the first possession and, shocked by the development, the Browns scored immediately. Wow!  But they pulled themselves together and missed the extra point, saving face.

DOORMAT DIVISION STANDINGS, WEEK EIGHT

NFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

SANTA CLARA         0-8           133      219     -86

NY GIANTS               1-6           112      156     -44

TAMPA BAY              2-5           148      168     -20

CHICAGO                 3-5            134     171     -37

ARIZONA                  3-4            119     191     -72

 

AFC

                                  W-L          PF        PA      DIF

CLEVELAND             0-8          119      202      -83

INDIANAPOLIS         2-5          142      246     -104

NY JETS                    3-5          157      186     -29

RRRAIDERS             3-5           169      190    -21

CINCINNATI              3-4           122      135    -13

After a measly field goal and a hard half of 3 and Outs and punts, both teams inexplicably put together successful plays and SCORED TOUCHDOWNS. The Vikings fought back with their own missed extra point, at least giving anybody not watching the impression that it was nearly an all-field-goal kind of game. Somehow, the Browns were ahead, 13-12. 

But, good old half-time — the moment when Doormat teams pull themselves together- arrived!  The Brownouts, the Blank Helmets, the 3-and-Outs…they united as a team, and did this after the break:  fumble, give up FG, missed field goal, field goal (whoops!), give up TD (payback), punt, Give up another TD, punt, punt (all 3 and Outs!), downs, and…END OF GAME. 

The 3-and-Outs have arrived at 0-8, and look unstoppable.  The Moldy Carpet Trophy…they can almost smell it. I can. It’s over there by the washing machine (it doesn’t work).

49ers 10, EAGLES 33

Let’s not get carried away.  Back in the states, the Whiners already knew the results in London, and wasted no time in Philly, racing out to a 0-17 deficit by halftime, and it might as well have been 34-0, with the kind of performance coughed up in the City of Brotherly Booing.  Even with 5 punts and an interception, the Whines could only fall behind by 9 points midway through the 2nd quarter.  But the Niners know how to break the dam open, and right after the Eagles first TD, rookie QB C.J. Beathard pulled off a pick-six and got the Eagles up 17-0 for halftime. The usual halftime rally was unnecessary for this one, and it was an easy coast the rest of the way. Eight punts for the 49ers, the most in the league yesterday.

The Whiners are now 0-8 for the first time in franchise history, besting the 1-7 start by Bill Walsh’s 1979 squad. So, Coach Kyle Shanahan has already surpassed the legendary Walsh on one score. Clearly an indicator of great things to come. Cough.

CAN SOMEONE LOOK UP IF THERE HAVE EVER BEEN TWO 0-8 TEAMS? 

This is a really difficult stat to look up, but I honestly can’t remember ever seeing this.

THE REST OF THE SORRY PILE  

COLTS 23, BENGALS 24

Locked in an incredible struggle for second place in the Doormat AFC, the Clots and Bungles duked it out for 53 minutes, until Colts QB Jacoby Brisset cashed in a pick six at his own 16 to nail down the loss. Stunning to think the Clots are thought to be the worst team in the league, but are 2 whole games behind the Brown-and-Outs. They just can’t get any respect.

MIAMI 0, BALTIMORE 40 (Thursday)

Absurdly 4-2 before this game, we now know why the Floppers fans were booing so hard for Jay Cutler to get the heck off the field, and let Matt Moore show his qualities. TWO PICK SIXES and a Fumble-six in his own end zone. 21 points from your QB, and no points scored. WOW!!  Fins still could lose 10 games, if Cutler can just stay out of the way (pretty amazing sentence, huh?).

BUCS 3, PANTHERS 17

When you have your first winning season (9-7) for the first time in 6 years, the fans like to assume that next year you’ll win even more…11-5!  We’ll be champions soon!  Ah, optimism. I guess it works for some people.  Doormat teams poke their heads above ground, see the glare of the sun, and come scuttling back to the Barcalounger and stale chips in the Basement.  Bucs 2-5 and looking very familiar.

JETS 20, FALCONS 25

Here come the Jets.  3-5 and lowering expectations all over New Jersey.

BEARS 12, SAINTS 20

Yeah, sure the Bears are terrible. I say PROVE IT. Here come the Packers next week, with no Aaron Rodgers. Lose handily to these guys and we’ll consider writing you up.

RETURNING VETERANS:

There really is only so much room in the Basement on any given Sunday. The elbowing into the rumpus room by the Lions (Kittens) and the Rrrrrrraiiii….ders is really kind of party crashing, and we thought…I don’t know what we thought. At 3-4, the Kittens have to stay outside on the Patio by the grill, and monitor the coffee pot. But, with that totally shaky defense and turnover machine offense on display yesterday, the Raiders…we had to let them inside. 3-5 and in last place in the AFC West, we award them a stool at the mini-bar. Geez, guys, just don’t eat ALL the chips. 

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