Sunday, November 21, 2004

Who saw that coming?

The NFL prides itself on its unpredictability. One constant that remains is Mike Martz and his inability to have St. Louis focused week after week.

Martz was praised around the NFL last week when St. Louis responded to the coach's criticism to beat Seattle. Many thought the Rams had finally turned the corner.

Readers of the Hater Nation (both of them) knew differently.

But just before you think, "Maybe he's not that dumb," wait until St. Louis folds at Buffalo this week.

So it comes as no surprise that St. Louis was blown out at Buffalo. St. Louis typically does not respond well outside of the confines of the Eddie James Dome, and it was confirmed in its opening drive.

St. Louis opened the game with a time out followed by procedure penalties on Tom Nutten and Isaac Bruce. and St. Louis once again stalled in a promising drive when Martz called for a pass to the end zone on third-and-two at the Buffalo 22. The club settled for a field goal, just as it accepts mediocrity from week-to-week.

St. Louis was especially brutal on special teams, but that has become a tradition in the Gateway City. The club scape goated special teams coach Bobby April at the end of last season.

April went on to land a job with--you guessed it--the Buffalo Bills.

The only disappointing part of the game was Martz's post-game comedy routine, cleverly disguised as a press conference.

"We were pitiful," Martz said. "I really don't know what to do at this point. ... It's going to be hard to win another game until we get that cleared up. That's the worst thing I've ever seen."

Martz must have missed Terrell Owens' opening skit on Monday night.

But where was the condensation on Martz's part? The fans have grown accustomed to his musings and this was the best he could muster? No chips on the table? Nothing?

It seems that Martz comedy act was as flat as his team.

THE GREATNESS OF THE RAIDERS

What does it say when a Chargers win over the Raiders falls to second-billing at the Hater Nation? A site devoted in its hatred of all things Raiders.

But there's something missing with these Raiders. Bragging about a win over the Raiders would be like Carl Lewis bragging about a win in the Special Olympics. The Raiders have become just another non-discript, faceless franchise in the NFL.

Even with fans such as SombreroRaider, Migrant Farm Worker Raider, and the bunch, this win wasn't that much fun.

Maybe it's because the Raiders are--to borrow a phrase from Bill Parcells--one of the dumbest teams in NFL history. Announcers like to point out that the Raiders always won despite being the most penalized teams in the NFL. But what they fail to recognize is that the Raiders of the past were flagged for penalties such as necessary roughness and roughing the passer.

That was the Raider mystique.

Now the Raiders are called for defensive holding, false starts, and other infractions that kill their drives or keep their opponents moving. You can't win a football game like that.

It's a disgrace to compare the two.

IS IT TIME TO GET EXCITED YET?

It's tempting to dive into Chargers eurphoria, but there's still a little bit of nagging doubt with San Diego. Two games against the Broncos and Chiefs still loom on the horizon. The popular phrase seems to be "cautiously optomistic" at this point. Most Chargers fans seem apprehensive to get too excited, thinking that moment that they do, the famous Chargers slide will begin.

Too bad they don't play the Raiders every week.

WHERE IS CHILD SERVICES?

Why are parents allowed to dress their children in face paint and spiked shoulder pads at a Raiders game? America doesn't need a bunch of 10-year old thugs learning to make shivs out of their Swiss Army knives. They probably already know how to hotwire a car.

America can complain about Terrell Owens and a 40-year old botox bimbo, but this is really something the NFL should appologize for.

ELI MESSIAH HAS ARRIVED IN NEW YORK

The media can't seem to stop raving about Eli Manning's peformance on Sunday. Manning completed 17 of 37 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Prepare his bust for Canton today.

Nice work Manning. Did everybody forget that Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger has not lost a game yet? Maybe if Roethlisberger would have thrown a temper tantrum before the draft he could get as much recognition for winning, as Eli Manning did for losing his first start.

They said that the Giants got a glimpse of the future. Did they? Manning showed nothing in his first start as a pro. Other than he's no Peyton. The eldest Manning brother completed more than 50 percent of his passes and tossed for 302 yards and one touchdown.

Eli's first start compared more with Ryan Leaf's first NFL start.

WELCOME TO THE NFL

The headlines have not been as forgiving for rookie Drew Henson who made his NFL debut with a fumble on his first play. Now might not be the time to point out to the Cowboys that maybe they should be looking for quarterbacks instead of failed minor league baseball players.

It was worth a one-time risk to go after a converted baseball player like Quincy Carter. But then they brought in Chad Hutchinson. Now it's Henson. It's hard enough to play quarterback when it is all that you do. But these guys have taken time away from the sport and it's hard to capture the promise that they once had.


NEWS AND NOTES AROUND THE NFL


Peyton Manning inches closer to Dan Marino's single-season touchdown record with four on Sunday. Manning, like Marino, will likely retire from the NFL without a Super Bowl ring. Manning was a loser in college, and he's a loser in the pros. The window of opportunity is closing in Indianapolis.

Dolphins lose first game of the post-Wanstedt era. It's like he never left.

Nate Goings scored two touchdowns in Carolina's victory over Arizona. Now fantasy owners are scrambling to add Goings to their team. Here's a news flash, the Panthers don't play the Cardinals every week.

And how bad of a quarterback do you have to be if you are replaced by Shaun King?

Joe Jurevicius has two touchdowns after a publicized blowup with coach Jon Gruden. Why don't receivers get along with Gruden? He's supposed to be an offensive coach. But credit Jurevicius for actually stepping up instead of pouting like another former Buccaneers receiver.

Jake Plummer has thrown a career-high 21 touchdown passes this season. Keep making your jokes as the Broncos fly under the radar.

Daunte Culpepper tossed two touchdowns in the Vikings win. If you didn't start him for a second consecutive week, don't blame the Hater Nation.

AND FINALLY

The NBA has become unwatchable over the past couple of years. The league that has given you Dennis Rodman and Therapist (oops, The Rapist) Kobe Bryant, sunk to a new low with a brawl in Detroit on Saturday night.

Basketball hasn't seen a brawl like that since Salami decked that guy from Central High on The White Shadow years ago.

The NFL should spend it's PR hours this week pointing out that Terrell Owens hasn't climbed into the stands to deck a fan. At least not yet.

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