The Bengals Just Wrecked Your Team, Part III. Early in the season, the Bengals wrecked two teams chances at the playoffs -- Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles. More than that, it seemed that the Bengals were the catalyst of acknowledgement that the Jaguars were a broken team, severely depressing pre-season expectations of a team that won a playoff game at Pittsburgh last season. When they traveled to Cincinnati several weekends ago, they were 3-4. Since losing to Cincinnati, the Jaguars have lost four of their next six games; wins against the two worst teams in the NFC North, Lions and Packers (a combined 5-23). However, in the end, we really didn't wreck anything in respect to their playoff run; it wasn't going to happen anyway. But we sure did put everyone else on notice about the Jaguars, didn't we?
Even though we only tied the Eagles, Philadelphia went into perfectly orchestrated freak-out mode; some even suggesting that it was the end of the Reid-McNabb era. Since then, and after a loss to the Ravens, the Eagles rebounded with wins against two 2008 Division Champions (the Giants and Cardinals). It's very unlikely that the Eagles will make the playoffs, but they are still in the mix, but needing serious help. Still, if the Eagles miss the playoffs, I would like to think it was because the Bengals initiated serious unrest for a few weeks.
After taking a break against the Steelers, Ravens and Colts, the Bengals went back into "Wreck Your Team" mode, severely disturbing (disrupting is a better word, but Redskins fans are really disturbed right now, so we're going with that) the Washington Redskins playoff chances and increasing the spotlight of players having issue with head coach Jim Zorn. It's fairly certain that the Bengals, say it with me, just "wrecked your team." Thank you.
When critics simply want something to be critical about. Clark Judge writes, "I'm sorry, but that was a horrible call on Mike Sellers' goal-line lunge. I think I remember something about forward progress, and Sellers' forward progress stopped long before he was stripped of the ball."
In truth, the ball was moving forward when God of Thieves Corey Mays arrived, shouting "thou shall lose football," taking it and sprinting off the field with the football extended above his head. If the ball moves forward, the offensive player is "progressing". Originally, I thought the same thing that Judge did. What I learned last night is even if the body isn't moving forward, it's still progressing if the ball is moving forward; which is the case here.
We understand Judge's point. However, the bigger question is why did the Redskins called Mike Sellers twice, instead of Clinton Portis, who was at one point the league's candidate for MVP.
When critics simply want something to be critical about, part II. Paul Daugherty writes, "Replay has gotten way out of hand." Actually, I think it's pretty pedestrian; if not an absolute waste of today's technological advantages within a multi-billion dollar revenue-making machine. I think replay is essential to the league's health and growth. Really? Yes, I do. Bickering about plays, some of them way too obvious NOT to be overturned, is tired and insulting, like being misrepresented in a Geico commercial. It would also get fans of a rival team to calm down, not convinced that the league is in the works against you. Though, like the BCS, the NFL tends to get off when people always talk about it, debate it, like some inferior complex because the product itself won't serve (in their eyes).
In fact, being a technological super-fan, I wouldn't have a problem if we installed microscopic chips around the field to shape an invisible grid while another microscopic chip is installed into the football. A chip so small that it wouldn't weigh the football, or balance to one side on a throw or kick. Yes, that technology most definitely exists. This way, there's an increased likelihood of knowing that the ball passes the goalline, or that a team picked up a first down. You limit replays, keeping the flow of the game, and get the call right while appearing to be 100% human; which to me is a dumb reason to do anything. In a court of law, wouldn't you rely on evidence that an error was made, or that the suspect is, without a doubt, guilty? Granted, apples and oranges. But the point is getting it right.
In the end, I put more weight behind getting calls right than I do worried about any flow of the game, extended time to play said game, hopefully eliminating bickering and purposeless debates about getting the call right on the field because replay isn't (or won't be) used. It's a waste not to adapt to the 21st century and its advantages.
However, I do agree that the NFL uses a flawed replay system. Even though it tends to get annoying in some games, I believe the college system does it right. Each play is examined, stopped if further examination is required, and changed when the result of the play has to be changed. Take coach's challenges out of it, don't apply precious timeouts because coaches don't trust referees, and let the game be decided on the field and not through the eyes of human judgment. The game is much faster, more complex than it ever was in the past. We need more eyes, at least, and an overseer (aka, replay). Then again, that's what guys like Daugherty likes, isn't it? Controversy.
As for the replay during Sunday Night's game between the Ravens and Steelers, well, you're going to have those. The referees are convinced that the ball broke the plane, while media and Ravens fans say, "wait a second". But it's also not a good example to persuade others why it doesn't work. The Replay Booth has overturned a total 35 plays this year alone, while 116 total plays were "repaired". Of all those plays, this one is the one to persuade us that replay doesn't work?
- Cedric Benson's 79-yard screen pass reception was performed as drawn up. It was also the longest play of the year.
- Shayne Graham came up in the clutch. Though I'd argue his kick didn't tie or win the game, it simply forced Washington into a two possession game with just over two minutes to go in the game. It was critical, but clutch?
- The Bengals have given up 50 sacks this season.
- With nine minutes left in the first half, the Washington Redskins picked up their first first down; Cincinnati already had 10.
- The last time Corey Mays had his hair cut, was his freshman year at Notre Dame -- if you cared about such things.
- Cedric Benson wants to stay, and the Bengals want to keep him around for next season.
- The Bengals have held the opposing team to 3.7 yards per rush, or less, in seven straight games.
- It was a complete game.