Hello fans, this is the NFL. The Official Beer withdrew from this game and wanted to issue a statement. The parties settled for an undisclosed amount and a hashtag: #Out4Turdsday. So tonight the NFL hosts an Open Bar, albeit with only two selections. Indulge freely on room temperature Olde English; independent NFL sommeliers certified that cold enhances its urine-y bouquet. Also on tap, the cloying vibrancy of Blue Curaçao, neat, for more “refined” palates. After all, the NFL is an inclusive family. You, the children, get the AFC South cellar squatters. Like it, lump it, or have other delusions of choice. We own you. Shield out.
Two teams that stink: that’s the
reality narrative. But let’s not crown this TNF game as Why NFL Ratings Are Down just yet. The Titans have a solid O-line and DeMarco Murray is scorching hot. He has 5 TDs, is averaging almost four receptions a game (7 yards per) and 4.6 yards per rush, which does not tell the whole story. He is being a very patient runner, allowing holes to develop and then shifting from 1st to 4th gear instant and determinedly. BUT, Murray is precisely on pace for the deadly 370-carry season AGAIN. I expect Derrick Henry to get more action. The Titans coaching staff is creeping toward dereliction of duty, since Henry is getting, on average, six touches per game (37 rush, 4.4 yards per; 5 receptions, 14 yards per). I don’t wanna exaggerate, but he’s a friggin’ supersonic tank.
To temper these actual reasons to watch, sub Brian Schwenke will start at LG. He was Culprit Zero of last Sunday’s 4th Quarter sack-Oh Not Again-fumble-TD that sealed the Colts game. TE Delanie Walker is good to go, which is great news for Marcus Mariota. His overall passing has been shaky at best, but good during 4th quarters. On the other hand, his running is magnificent: he doesn’t look fast, but outruns everybody. I’d say designed QB runs are a good bet, as Mariota also slides expertly. Sadly, no worthwhile KY jokes come to mind.
The Jaguars passing game may wake up against the bad Tennessee secondary—now worse because Perrish Cox is out. Hence, Brice McCain takes over the most picked-on-CB roster spot. The Tennessee front seven should [please, god(s)] bounce back from their worst game thus far. Jacksonville has the fewest rushing attempts in the league and is 27th in average yards per (3.7). But even if Blake Bortles continues to struggle, the Jaguars may get help. The Titans have the most penalized defense in the NFL (9 per game) and a special teams unit that’s gotten worse since they fired coach Bobby April after Week 4. In lieu of further number-crunching, this smashing video essay by our own Notorious R-T-D provides a concise assessment of the Jaguars and its fans.
Plenty has been written about how Jacksonville and Tennessee shouldn’t be on prime time, but an intriguing tale of rapaciousness came out of one of those games. It was Monday Night Football, October 18, 2010, Titans at Jacksonville. Tennessee was leading 23-3 in the 4th quarter, just before the two minute warning, with possession inside Jaguars territory. According to then Titans coach Jeff Fisher, he was told that the broadcast needed two additional TV timeouts, and referee Mike Carey intervened:
“Yesterday, I was told that they were two short. And they looked at me and smiled, and I said, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’ Mike [Carey] came across and said, ‘Here’s the deal. We’re two short.’ And I said, ‘Mike, I can’t help you. I’m trying to get a first down and I’m gonna kneel on it” [via ten.27sports.com].
After the two minute warning, then Jags coach Jack del Rio called two time outs–despite being down 23-3. Chris Johnson scored a garbage time TD and the game ended 30-3. Days later, a laughably homerish report from jacksonville.com said that ESPN did not request, directly or indirectly, time outs to be called—yet Jack del Rio did not address why he called them. I don’t know which is worse: Jeff Fisher, Integrity Of The Game Paragon, or referees carrying water for the networks. To be fair, this happened two years before the referee lockout, or maybe Carey and/or Del Rio shilled heartily. Who knows.
On a wholly different vibe, I’ve campaigned hard for muting the game broadcast and listening to something else. Well, fellow Commentists from the Free Ballin’ Football Podcast dropped their Week 8 edition today, available on SoundCloud and iTunes. Their fluid repartee would be a needed contrast if/when the game turns to shit. The FBFP fellas also have intriguing points on NFL ratings. I, on the other hand, don’t think the NFL really cares that much about TV ratings. The league just centralized real-time gifs and the networks are on the contractual hook for several years. When aggregate advertising revenue in all [sigh] platforms stop growing, then the NFL will worry–big time. But I digress; you can hit the FBFP crew on Twitter too. I’m sure they’ll #followback #HINT
Finally, I won’t be able to watch because my satellite provider carries Sunday Ticket BUT NOT NFL NETWORK WHICH MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER EVEN FROM A CAPITALIST PIG POINT OF VIEW. I’ll catch up on the comments after work, though I encourage everyone to branch out–for example: what discount rotgut or classy beers are you having; that aggressive apathy that is taking the Internet by storm; or tales of live streams that will not fry your computer. Come to think of it, any live streaming links are almost certainly illegal. And while an insanity defense certainly would acquit, nobody wants the stigma of having risked criminal charges over JAX-TEN.
Stats from pro-football-reference.com; banner pic from two web photos from retailers. Yoooge props to Scotchnaut for letting me vent about my team. Thanks man.