Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/16/12
Another week of football is in the books, and we are left to sort through the indecipherable results. Only two teams in the AFC having winning records and Jonna Chizik is locked in a desperate cosmic battle with Satan, who has orchestrated numerous Auburn loses this year. Well, we all have our own mystic difficulties and most of mine aren’t as simple as winning a football game, so God’s speed. Smite the Fiend and chase him from the field of battle in glory Jonna Chizik!It’s clear the coffers are overflowing. In every direction one finds senseless argot and ugly mystic vibrations, tortured souls wending their way back towards the Great Singularity. What does any of this gibberish mean? It means a two-part Hollow Mockery, if nothing else. Ugly Vibrations in San FranciscoThe Giants throttled the 49ers in a game that was interesting for its playoff implications, for the recent history of the two teams involved, and for the clumsy bickering that occurred before the game. It isn’t terribly difficult to get Jim Harbaugh raving at the moon like some botched science experiment, and perhaps it is just something we will have to get used to until he gets the help he so desperately needs. Giants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had suggested earlier in the week that part of the 49ers’ strategy, and in particular a habit of Justin Smith, is to hold offensive lineman to allow stunting blitzers to get penetration unchallenged. Gilbride suggested that Smith “gets away with murder.” Hardly surprising or controversial, but as one might expect, it was the red flag to Harbaugh.Harbaugh responded, "Kevin Gilbride's outrageous, irrational statement regarding Justin Smith’s play is, first, an absurd analogy. Second, it is an incendiary comment targeting one of the truly exemplary players in this league. It's obvious that the Giants coaching staff’s sole purpose is to use their high visibility to both criticize and influence officiating." Perhaps Harbaugh is a stickler when it comes to language. I’ve never seen anyone complain about deploying the “getting away with murder” phrase. It’s not a strict analogy Jim, more of a colloquialism, although technically it is absurd to compare holding with murder. However, if you are going to hold Gilbride’s language to such scrutiny, here is one of your gems, “I don’t take vacations. I don’t get sick. I don’t observe major holidays. I’m a jackhammer.” This suggests that not only are you a crazed, joyless heathen in the vein of Dwight Schrute (didn’t he have a quote almost exactly like this?), but that you are in fact an inanimate object used to break apart concrete. Oh, if only it were so. Then we wouldn’t have to listen to your ill-fated ravings. Given your history, you ought to leave analogy criticism to those better qualified for it. Additionally, as the week went on, film study and leaked reports of 49ers’ coaching points revealed not only that Smith does engage in the behavior of holding offensive lineman, but that it is actually part of the 49ers defense. So in trying to blow Gilbride’s not so subtle ref baiting out of the water, Harbaugh brought more light to bear on his defense’s illegal tactics. The problem with having a short fuse is that other people can easily light it. Losing the High GroundThe Texans remain one of the best and most balanced teams in the league, despite the drubbing administered to them by the Packers. They are still one of only two teams in the AFC with a winning record. However, the Texans have lost the high ground when it comes to chop blocks on the backside of plays.Last week the Texans were howling over a low block from a questionable angle by the Jets’ Matt Slauson that cost Brian Cushing his season. Even the mild mannered Wade Phillips let his displeasure be known. The Packers’ Clay Matthews even waded into the furor, supporting his former USC teammate, and attempting to get as much protection for the knees of defenders as the heads of offenders get.Well, all that bloviating and indignation lost its punch when the Texans’ Duane Brown cut the Packers’ D.J. Smith on an action almost worse than the action on the play that injured Cushing. The play was eerily reminiscent, with the block coming from a suspect angle on a player who was unlikely to ever be involved in the play. Like Cushing, Smith is lost for the season and NFL defenders have another gripe to add to the list.“Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning?” Chuck FinnJermichael Finley has been something of a developmental project in Green Bay, in both a professional and personal sense. He is a player with abundant potential, but often his lack of focus costs him. During the week leading up to the game with the Texans, Finley gave an interview in which he criticized the chemistry between Aaron Rodgers and himself, saying of it, "Not good enough at all. Something to be worked on, and try to work on it as much as I can, try to talk to him as much as I can. But like I said, it takes two people." Well perhaps there are chemistry issues at play, but who can tell from the outside? One part of Finley’s comments remain true however, it does take two people. To date, Finely is tied for seventh in the league with four drops. He has caught 24 passes, so he drops every sixth catchable pass. Not exactly a professional standard. Additionally, Finley has as many fumbles as he has touchdowns.It is interesting to note that even as Rodgers threw for 338 yards and 6 touchdowns against the Texans, and even with Greg Jennings out, Finley only caught two passes for 12 yards. Last week it was fashionable to question Aaron Rodgers (hell, I probably even did it), but Finley may be the last Packer alive who has the positioning to do it. Full ScreenIt has become fashionable for the TV networks to attempt to cram as many famous former players and football personalities as possible into their broadcasts. CBS and FOX like to have them all stuffed into the same shot, with Tony Siragusa roaming the sidelines like a refugee from the Ship of Fools.NBC has another tactic. They give you their stars in smaller groupings. In the studio you have Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, and Dan Patrick. In the booth you have Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Then, in some strange and foreboding location that is neither a booth nor a news set, we get Bob Costas and Hines Ward. I’m not sure why we need to trouble Costas to fill up two minutes with some kind of plot interest to follow. Dan Patrick is more than qualified. I’m even less sure why Costas has Hines Ward in tow. Ward probably spends an hour driving to the set, half-an-hour in make-up, and four seconds talking every week. This week he chimed to tell us that Robert Griffin III (let’s just go with Bob Griffin Jr.) and Andrew Luck will be stars in the future. Thanks for the fresh and nuanced take Hines. See you next week.
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