Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Seven & Out – Week #9

Seven & Out – Week #9
By Michael – Louis Ingram-Director of Scouting/ Associate Editor-Football Reporters Online
PHILADELPHIA (FRO/BASN): The weeks keep tickin’ and some teams take a lickin’; but as we pass the half-way mark with Week 9, the spin is as predictable as the bones hittin’ the back of the crap table.
Alright – new shooter comin’ out…
The INDIANAPOLIS COLTS defeated the Houston Texans 20-17 and have won a franchise-record 17 consecutive regular-season games dating back to 2008.  The Colts are now tied with the 1933-34 Chicago Bears for the third-longest such streak in NFL history.
(And still no mention of the great job Head Coach Jim Caldwell is doing with a battered secondary; news flash: Black people can coach, too – but don’t call them ‘geniuses’ – that’s too close to acknowledging them as being human; you can use the euphemism you like when you think Black folks wanna be like you – “gifted”).
New England wide receiver RANDY MOSS had six catches for 147 yards with one touchdown in the Patriots’ 27-17 win over Miami.  Moss, who now has 140 career touchdown receptions, tied Buffalo’s TERRELL OWENS for second-most all-time.  JERRY RICE holds the NFL record with 197 career touchdown receptions.
(Congratulations to Randy Moss! The man everyone wanted to label as a malcontent has strolled his way into a tie with another cat who drums to a different beat in Terrell Owens. From a drummer’s standpoint, it’s like listening to Art Blakey, then Diamond Williams; and it’s no surprise both men excel in their profession because they do the work – fuck that ‘gifted’ bullshit – and both got there with years to spare on the great Mr. Rice.
Now given this magic number, the ticket should already be punched to Canton’s Hall of Fame for both players – but when I hear a bitch – ass like Skip Bayless say Terrell Owens doesn’t belong in the Hall, it sickens me because we know the politics and dehumanization on Black athletes done in the name of “entertainment” by the Mouse and this mealy – mouthed muthafucka. That ain’t entertainment – and it ain’t funny, you scumbag!)
Tampa Bay cornerback RONDE BARBER registered his 13th career return touchdown on a blocked punt in the Buccaneers’ 38-28 win over the Green Bay Packers.  Barber is now tied for the third-most return touchdowns all-time.  He trails only DEION SANDERS (19) and Pro Football Hall of Famer ROD WOODSON (17) for the most return touchdowns in NFL history.
(Barber has had a stellar career, and ironic as it was that the Bucs finally won their first game wearing the old “Creamsicle” jerseys, the recognition of their 1979 team and placement of Lee Roy Selmon’s #63 in their Ring of Honor made it evident that we should also see Barber’s #20 in that ring someday – along with Derrick Brooks’ #55, Richard “Batman” Wood’s #57, Ricky Bell’s #42 and Doug Williams’ #12).
Jacksonville wide receiver TORRY HOLT had four receptions in the Jaguars’ 24-21 win against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Holt, who has 902 career receptions in 166 games, ranks second in NFL history for the fewest number of games to reach 900 catches.  Holt trails only MARVIN HARRISON, who accomplished the feat in 149 games.
(Think about it – the Saint Louis Rams said this guy couldn’t play anymore…)
Indianapolis defensive end DWIGHT FREENEY registered 1.5 sacks in the Colts’ win over Houston.  Freeney has recorded a sack in each of the Colts’ first eight games of the season and tied teammate ROBERT MATHIS (eight games, 2005) for the longest such streak since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.
(With his speed and tenacity to get the quarterback, Freeney is a modern – day version of John Randle, sans excessive eyeblack…)   
In addition, Freeney has recorded a sack in nine consecutive games overall, tying him with Pro Football Hall of Famer BRUCE SMITH and KEVIN GREENE for the third-longest streak since 1982.
(The Pro Bowl is calling, Mr. Freeney – are you in?)
Green Bay running back AHMAN GREEN gained 45 rushing yards on six attempts in the Packers’ 38-28 loss at Tampa Bay.  Green, who now has 8,208 rushing yards with the Packers, surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer JIM TAYLOR (8,207) for the most rushing yards in franchise history.
(The NFL’s version of the Dark {and I do mean Dark} Knight has cranked out over 8,000 yards of turf justice against defenses; give well deserved props to the Packer organization for giving Green the chance to come back and break the record!)
New England quarterback TOM BRADY passed for 332 yards in the Patriots’ victory against Miami.  Brady recorded his 27th 300-yard passing game of his career, surpassing DREW BLEDSOE (26) for the most 300-yard games in franchise history.
(Given the 18 – 1 ChampionCheat season, it would be a good bet Brady won more of those games than Bledsoe did, so give Brady his due. Now if he would only stop cryin’ like a little beeyotch when someone breathes on him, we could really appreciate his talent!)
As always, gang – once the point’s established, throw a seven – you crap out!

Chargers Shock Conservative Giants In Final Minute

Chargers Shock Conservative Giants In Final Minute
By Jon Wagner Sr. Writer at Large Football Reporters online

On a day when he moved into third place on the all-time New York Giants’ list for completions, Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning was ironically beaten by the quarterback who was involved in the trade that brought Manning to New York in the first place.

More than five years after being traded for Manning, San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers, who was a Giant for all of about 45 minutes on Draft Day in 2004, directed a final minute, game-winning, 80-yard touchdown drive to beat the Giants, 21-20, at the Meadowlands on Sunday, in the first meeting between Manning and Rivers since their trade.

In their first trip back to the Meadowlands to play the Giants since December 23, 1995 (a 27-17 San Diego victory), the Chargers brought the nice San Diego weather with them on an uncharacteristically warm November day in New Jersey, and their recent stretch of hot play as well.

For at least one day, San Diego could definitely feel like they got the better of the deal, even though most football followers, even among those who either cover or root for the Giants, have ranked Rivers as slightly better than Manning to this point in their careers.

Entering Sunday’s showdown, Rivers’ had a better quarterback rating (93.4 to 77.1), completion percentage (61.9 percent to 56.1 percent), yards-per-game average (215.8 ypg to 203.4 ypg), and touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio (89:40 to 111:82).

However, most who feel that Rivers has been the more accomplished of the two passers, also agree that the Giants have had the biggest leg -- or with a quarterback comparison, the biggest arm –- up on the trade since Manning leads in the one statistical category which matters most: one Super Bowl victory (including a Super Bowl MVP) to no Super Bowls reached yet for Rivers.

On Sunday, the results were remarkably similar between the two quarterbacks who will always be associated with each other throughout the rest of their careers and whatever future legacies they leave behind.

Throwing for 215 yards on 33 attempts, Manning completed 25 passes, increasing his career total to 1,441, moving him past one former Giant (Charlie Conerly, 1,418 completions) and just six completions behind another -- Kerry Collins, who ranks second on the Giants' career completion list.

Rivers meanwhile, was about the same, going 24 for 36, for 209 yards.

Where they differed was that Manning did not turn the ball over, while Rivers threw two interceptions, but while Manning tossed a pair of touchdowns, Rivers threw touchdown passes on all three of San Diego’s scores.

In terms of just one game on Sunday, Rivers ultimately had the last laugh, and more importantly for both teams, the Chargers (5-3) and Giants are now going in opposite directions, with San Diego winning their past three games after a mediocre and inconsistent 2-3 start, while New York lost its fourth consecutive game after looking like an elite NFL team at 5-0. The Giants have already matched the total number of losses they had in 2008.
Perhaps expecting a Manning-Rivers back-and-forth shootout, the 78,774 fans in attendance witnessed a scoreless game after one quarter.

The Giants had a chance to strike early, but came away with no points after driving 68 yards on eleven plays, in 7:23, on the game’s opening possession, after holder Jeff Feagles couldn’t get a snap down on a 38-yard field goal attempt.
That play would come back to haunt the Giants in the one-point loss, and appropriately, Feagles’ fumble on the play was recovered by Chargers’ linebacker Shawne Merriman, who despite being suspended by the NFL for abusing steroids in 2006, is a three-time pro bowl selection after being selected by San Diego in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft using a draft pick that the Chargers acquired when they traded Rivers for Manning.
On the final play of the first quarter, Rivers threw just before pressure from the back side, from Giants’ linebacker Michael Boley (who returned from injury), and from defensive end Osi Umenyiora and linebacker Antonio Pierce, both up the middle, got to him, to complete a key 3rd-and-10 pass to tight end Antonio Gates (game-high 67 yards on 5 receptions) for a 19-yard play to the Giants’ 10-yard line.
That set up a Rivers 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who caused Giants starting left cornerback Corey Webster problems on several occasions during the game. Jackson’s catch gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
But, Manning went a perfect 9-for-9 to march the Giants right back on their longest drive (in terms of time) in over sixteen years, taking New York 79 yards on 16 plays in 10:35, to tie the game, 7-7, on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 4:20 left in the first half, to wide receiver Steve Smith, who led the Giants with eight catches for 57 yards.
The game remained tied until late in the third quarter, when Rivers took advantage of another short punt by Feagles, something which has seriously plagued the Giants while facing good opposing quarterbacks during their current losing streak.
After a 31-yard punt by Feagles, Rivers drove the Chargers 51 yards in on six plays in 3:03, to give his team a 14-7 lead on a 2-yard touchdown toss to tight end Kris Wilson, with 3:51 left in the third quarter. Webster helped set up the score, being called for pass interference in the end zone against Jackson, on a 29-yard heave by Rivers, who was hit as he threw.
Manning again responded though, taking the Giants 70 yards on 10 plays in 4:42, to set up a 38-yard field goal by kicker Lawrence Tynes, to cut the Chargers’ lead to 14-10 with 14:09 left in the game.
Then, after the Giants’ defense forced its only three-and-out of the game, New York got great field position at the San Diego 39-yard line after a 13-yard punt return by Domenik Hixon.
The Giants needed only six plays from there, to take a 17-14 lead with 8:58 remaining in the game, on an 8-yard Manning touchdown pass into the far left corner of the end zone to tight end Kevin Boss.
The defining moment of the game -- and depending on how things plays out over the next several weeks, maybe of the season -- then came for the Giants after both teams traded punts.
Taking over at the San Diego 21-yard line after a Feagles’ 46-yard punt out of bounds, Rivers, on first down, threw over the middle and was intercepted by cornerback Terrell Thomas at the Chargers’ 37-yard line. Thomas returned the ball 33 yards to the San Diego four-yard line, with just 3:14 left in the game.
If the Giants score there, as they should have, they likely win the game and have a much different outlook on their season right now.
Instead, New York went into ultra conservative mode, rather than attacking to try to win the game, partly because of a holding penalty on right guard Chris Snee which immediately pushed the ball back to the 14-yard line.
Manning then completed to wide receiver Hakeem Nicks for no gain. On second down, running back Brandon Jacobs ran up the middle for five yards to the Chargers’ 9-yard line. And, on 3rd-and-goal, the Giants again ran the same play, Jacobs for five yards up the middle, to the San Diego four-yard line.
All that did was set up a Tynes 22-yard field goal to put the Giants ahead 20-14, with 2:07 left in the game, giving a good quarterback like Rivers plenty of time to send New York to yet another defeat.
And that’s exactly what Rivers did, completing six of eight passes, taking the Chargers 80 yards to win the game. The game-winning drive was capped on the second touchdown catch by Jackson, this time on an 18-yard pass from Rivers with just 21 seconds left in the game.
On the play, Webster was again beaten by Jackson, but mostly because he never received help that should have been there. Cornerback Bruce Johnson was locked in on Gates, who running an inside route, and he never made a break to his left in time to give help to Webster who was watching Jackson run the outside fade route toward the far right corner of the end zone.

Rivers is simply too good for that without enough pressure on him, nor the help from Johnson on Jackson, Rivers easily went over the top of Webster leading Jackson for the game-winning score.

Ultimately, the Giants never got enough pressure on Rivers for most of the game, hitting him only five times, and because of that, their whole season is now under pressure.

Fittingly, it was Merriman who sacked Manning to end the game, preventing the Giants from getting off one last play from their own 29-yard line.

After the game, Rivers described his long-awaited initial meeting with Manning and the Giants, who are less than two years removed from a Super Bowl title as “A big emotional win.”

He added, “The link between me and Eli Is always going to be there. So yeah, it’s a little special. Any time you play against a team that won the Super Bowl, it’s fun. [The trade] didn’t weigh into my mind and my thinking, but I bet it was there.”

The same can be said for Manning and the Giants, who heading into their bye week on a four-game losing streak, have much greater concerns on their own minds, with their season slipping away.

Oscars gets record 20 films for "Animated Feature Film"; Pixar's "Up" favored

Remember the blog post I wrote about the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' announced deadline for submission of entries for the category of "Animated Feature Film"? Well, today The Academy issued a release displaying those films that made the submission deadline, which was November 2:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Astro Boy
Battle for Terra
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Disney's A Christmas Carol
The Dolphin - Story of a Dreamer
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Mary and Max
The Missing Lynx
Monsters vs. Aliens
Planet 51
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
A Town Called Panic

That's 20 entries for just five nominations slots, making this a record number in Academy Awards' history according to Teni Melidonian of the AMPAS Communications Department. The last record year was 2002, when 17 films were submitted.

That year the nominees were Ice Age (20th Century Fox), Lilo & Stitch (Walt Disney Pictures), Spirited Away (Toho/Walt Disney Pictures), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (DreamWorks SKG), and Mireille Soria * Treasure Planet (Walt Disney Pictures), with Spirited Away emerging at the winner.

This year, the favorite to take the award is Up by Disney with Emeryville-based Pixar studios.   Also in the list is my personal favorite  Monsters vs. Aliens by DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures.   

Of the list, seven films still have Academy-related work to do if they're to officially qualify for nomination: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,   The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer,  Fantastic Mr. FoxPlanet 51The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells,  and  A Town Called Panic  have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying run, according to The Academy.  

Regarding the number of nominees, The Academy rules state that a maximum number of five can be selected if the total number of qualifying entries is over 16.  So if the seven films all make the LA screening requirements, expect to see five films nominated from this list.  

Now comes the exciting part: guessing which films will make the list.  If you have a strong idea and want it posted on my blog, send an email to or just list it in the comments section.  But if you send a relevant email I will respond to it. 

Is Bachmann covertly part of anti-Stupak Pushback?

Bart Stupak's (D-MI) amendment to the Affordable Health Care for America [AHCA] Act introduces restrictions on access to abortion more severe than were passed previously, including during the Bush presidency. With broad agreement from voices as diverse as Michelle Bachmann, Joseph Stiglitz, and President Obama that something needs to be done to rein in health care overhead so that our money is spent effectively and more regular families don't face bankruptcy due to medical costs, (what Bachmann calls providing a "safety net" for the uninsured,) there may be a severe backlash to this amendment that made a late entry into the process.

We know Congress has realized there's enormous pressure to make real changes, as the chart shows (click to enlarge.) Clearly the White House has been doing extensive work behind the scenes despite both branches of Congress drafting their own bills.

"There's going to be a firestorm here. Women are going to realize that a Democratic-controlled House has passed legislation that would prohibit women paying for abortions with their own funds."
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Representative DeGette has helped author an open letter signed by 40 Democratic congresswomen demanding that these restrictions be taken out of the final bill. The AHCA Act contains numerous excellent provisions, helping protect Medicare subscribers and addressing the need for more primary care providers, for instance, but the last minute inclusion of gubernatorial hopeful Stupak's language has stirred outrage among those who think there's too much government interference already.  What's next - restricting funds for elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery following injuries?

For her part MN Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who stated in her town hall meeting in August in Lake Elmo, MN, that while there would have to be a “safety net” for those without insurance she would oppose anything that smacked of government interfering in and controlling medical decisions, voted against the bill - possibly because that's precisely what the Stupak amendment does. Surely the 2010 elections are too distant for Bachmann to be moderating her anti-Obama stance over worries about losing her seat to Maureen Reed or current MN State Senator Tarryl Clark before she gets vested in the House retirement plan (although both are considerably more middle-of-the-road, and Clark has recently pulled a near-miraculous bi-partisan victory on behalf of the residents of the most populous city in Bachmann's 6th District.)

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, journalist, and political analyst who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.