Running up the score. It almost always evokes a visceral reaction, one way or the other. Either you’re rabidly against it and wish nothing but the illest of harm upon the perpetrators, or you’re proudly FOR it, decrying those on the other side of the fence as having the pantiest of waists.
I don’t know that I have a strong reaction either way. I know what it feels like when the team I root for is losing by dozens of points – especially when I’m confined to the same stadium as that team, forced to watch because I already spent all that money on the ticket and tailgating. I feel bad. Who wouldn’t? I feel angry. Again, who wouldn’t? But, mostly I feel angry with my own team. If we didn’t suck so hard, we wouldn’t be in this position! Likewise, if we didn’t make all these mistakes (because you don’t lose by 40+ points without making some pretty egregious errors), this game wouldn’t be so ugly.
Usually, though, you’re dealing with coaching staffs who are sensible. Every once in a while, you’ll be confronted with some prick who leaves his starters in through the fourth quarter, throwing deep bombs long after it’s been decided. Those guys are assholes and should be tarred and feathered. But, if you’re like most head coaches, when you’ve got a 30- or 40-point lead, you take your starters out and you try to milk the clock.
At that point, at the point where you have a new quarterback on the field and most of the supporting players are primarily reserves, the game is over. You have essentially conceded that game, pushed the re-set button, and have started a new game. And whatever you choose to do with your backups is fair game.
You want to throw Matt Flynn in there and start chucking it into the endzone for Jermaine Kearse? Be my guest! Because, at this point, the regular season game is over, and the 5th pre-season game has just begun. You’re never going to have a better opportunity to get your backups some serious reps (aside from, you know, actually playing them in a game that’s NOT already a laugher) than by having them go hard in a game like last Sunday’s. At that point, if I’m Arizona, I WANT the other team to do that. Because, likewise, I want MY reserves to experience some real game-type situations (even if the game has already been decided).
So, if you’re upset with Seattle for “running up the score”, don’t be. I’m not even trotting out the manly-man argument of, “It’s your job to stop us.” Fuck that. Once the game is that out-of-hand, the score is irrelevant. Does it really matter if you lose 38-0 or 58-0? Those are both embarrassing scores!
Also, not for nothing, but if you’re mad at us, why don’t you look at your own team? I’m not just talking about how much the Cardinals suck at offense. I’m not talking about how their front office has neglected the most important position on the team ever since Kurt Warner passed away, trying to fill his void with rejects from the draft or other teams. I’m not even talking about their offensive coordinator’s inability to get their best football player (Fitzgerald) the ball when that should be priority number 1 (seriously, run some bubble screens, end-arounds, SOMETHING, ANYTHING).
I’m talking about when the game is 38-0, or 45-0, or 48-0, or 51-0, or 58-0 … WHY ARE YOU STILL THROWING THE BALL? OK, obviously, you’re doing what I was just talking about above: getting your reserves some live-action reps in a setting that’s more than just practice. But, if you’re a Cards fan and you’re upset with the Seahawks for running up the score, then you have to ask, “Why is my team still trying to throw the ball?” Arizona could have just as easily ran the ball three times and punted on every drive in the second half if they so chose. It would’ve kept the clock running and ended the game sooner. But, they didn’t do that; yet they expected us to do that? They expected us to keep giving the ball back to them … for what? So we could let them eventually score? So their feelings wouldn’t be hurt so bad?
I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit and you know it. Quite frankly, if I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan, I would much rather have this game end 58-0 than 45-14 or something along those lines. Because, if I’m an Arizona Cardinals fan, I want nothing more than a total and complete housecleaning. I want that GM shitcanned YESTERDAY. I want this coaching staff to get their walking papers. I want all the quarterbacks on that team eliminated and I want some young, up-and-coming stud from a winning organization to take over and do for us what John Schneider is doing for Seattle.
You know, if I was a Cardinals fan. Thank Christ for small miracles …
On to the rankings:
- Denver Broncos (10-3): An 8-game winning streak is an 8-game winning streak, but when was the last time the Broncos beat someone really good? The best win of the 8-game bunch? Cincinnati at 7-6. Best win all season? Pittsburgh in week 1. They still have an outside shot at a top-2 seed, but they absolutely MUST beat Baltimore this week. (Last Week: 3)
- San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1): It’s still pretty hard to peg this team, but one thing’s for certain: this defense is no joke. It shouldn’t take much for Kaepernick to simply get a small lead in a game and have that defense wear the other team down. By the way, I know I’m rooting for the exact opposite, but I’ve got a huge gut feeling the 49ers go into New England and find a way to win. (Last Week: 5)
- Green Bay Packers (9-4): Keep in mind: they are 2-4 against teams that would currently be in the playoffs right now. I wouldn’t say this team has been seriously tested, exactly, but either way they’re getting like a D- on this test so far. (Last Week: 6)
- Atlanta Falcons (11-2): The Falcons have lost two games all season, both on the road, both against divisional opponents. And their bandwagon is a fucking GHOST TOWN. I can’t remember the last time a 14-2 team had such a lack of respect (I think it was that year Jacksonville did it and lost both of their games – and once again in the playoffs – to the Titans in 1999). Granted, their running game is kaput, but there’s still too much talent for this team to NOT go far in the playoffs. (Last Week: 1)
- New England Patriots (10-3): Do you realize how close this team is to being undefeated? A meltdown against Arizona, an unlucky break against Baltimore, and a late-game defensive lapse against the Seahawks. And, here we are, overlooking them all over the place. Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say; But nothin’ comes out when they move their lips; Just a buncha gibberish; And muthafuckas act like they forgot about
DreNew England. (Last Week: 7)
- Houston Texans (11-2): Remember when the Texans had a good defense? What the fuck happened Wade Phillips??? You God damn toolbag! (Last Week: 2)
- Baltimore Ravens (9-4): Back-to-back losses and suddenly look who’s going to be playing on Wild Card Weekend. Now you fucked up! (Last Week: 4)
- Seattle Seahawks (8-5): There’s no reason why our defense shouldn’t be that good the rest of the regular season. Maybe not 8 turnovers good, but some nice happy medium that gets us to 11-5. (Last Week: 8)
- New York Giants (8-5): This NFC is so up in the air, it’s out of control. A win in Atlanta next week will REALLY make things interesting. Of course, a loss in Atlanta will still make things pretty interesting (if you find the NFC East interesting, which I do, but only a very small amount). (Last Week: 10)
- Indianapolis Colts (9-4): I can’t even understand a fucking world where the Colts control their own destiny for the division. They are 2-2 against teams with winning records (and one of those wins was against Minnesota), meaning they’ve played a whopping NINE games against teams with losing records! They have to have the easiest strength of schedule by 10,000 moons! (Last Week: 11)
- Chicago Bears (8-5): Well, thanks to their ineptitude against the Vikings, this game against the Packers is now Must Win. I don’t just mean for the division title, but I mean for a playoff spot! (Last Week: 9)
- Washington Redskins (7-6): Because the Redskins are hot on their heels, and RGIII is apparently inde-fucking-structible. Hell, their offense might be good enough without RGIII to win out! They play at Cleveland, at Philly, and at home against Dallas. That’s a 10-6 team you’ve got in D.C. (Last Week: 13)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-6): No, Cincinnati, I’m sorry. 8-8 won’t get you in the playoffs this year. Thanks for playing. (Last Week: 12)
- Dallas Cowboys (7-6): If this team isn’t Michael Myers, then I give up. Will you just DIE already??? (Last Week: 16)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7): The Bucs were more than happy to die! See how easy it is, Dallas? (Last Week: 14)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6): I would consider that first-game-back malaise for Roethlisberger. They still have a cakewalk of a schedule the rest of the way; look for the Steelers to make up the ground they lost and make a serious run at a Wild Card spot. (Last Week: 15)
- St. Louis Rams (6-6-1): I kind of want to make fun of them, but they have a better road record than we do. It’s inane! Stop being so unpredictable! (Last Week: 18)
- Minnesota Vikings (7-6): There we go, a team with a worse showing on the road than Seattle. Hope you like 8-8. (Last Week: 20)
- New Orleans (5-8): On the one hand, this team is VERY streaky. On the other hand, aside from Atlanta, they have beaten no one of note. And their defense is the God damn devil. (Last Week: 17)
- Miami Dolphins (5-8): Pity you couldn’t have done better against the 49ers this week. (Last Week: 19)
- Buffalo Bills (5-8): Way to lose at home against the Rams you idiots! Someone check their ownership group for rigor mortis. (Last Week: 21)
- Cleveland Browns (5–8): Yeah, you beat the Chiefs, BFD. (Last Week: 23)
- San Diego Chargers (5-8): So, is this the win that saves Norv’s job? Boy do I hope so; hating this organization is starting to be fun. (Last Week: 24)
- Detroit Lions (4-9): Still. Falling. Apart. (Last Week: 22)
- Carolina Panthers (4-9): I kinda wish the NFL would give up and schedule the Lions against the Panthers every week. The Over couldn’t be high enough for me! (Last Week: 27)
- Tennessee Titans (4-9): Wow, the Titans vs. the Jets next Monday Night. That’s a dog more worthy of a Thursday Night scheduling! (Last Week: 25)
- New York Jets (6-7): Worst 6-7 team ever. (Last Week: 26)
- Philadelphia Eagles (4-9): You know this past week was fucked when San Diego, Carolina, and Philly all won. It’s like that little encouraging heartbeat before flatline. (Last Week: 31)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11): Oh, you mean Chad Henne? My mistake, yes, he IS terrible. Carry on. (Last Week: 28)
- Arizona Cardinals (4-9): Wow. Just … wow. (Last Week: 29)
- Oakland Raiders (3-10): The AFC West has officially earned “Worst Division In Football”. Why does it ALWAYS have to be a western division? (Last Week: 30)
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-11): I mean, it’s not like you can even blame East Coast Bias. I live in Seattle and I can CLEARLY see this is the worst division in football. Holy fucking frijoles. (Last Week: 32)