As always, the Smorgasbord is a work of The Mighty MJD. After he debuted last week, I meant to set him up with his own KSK contributor log-in so his name would appear on the post byline, but I am either overworked to the point that I forgot about it or lazy about administrative tasks. Most likely both. I will do better for next week. Anyway, here it is:
I hate to start all of these bitching about the state of the NFL’s pre-game shows, so here’s some praise for one of them: ESPN2’s Fantasy Football Now is the best Sunday pre-game show. It’s calm, it’s rational, no one’s talking over one another, and no one’s laughing uproariously at a joke about how Howie Long enjoys eating food. And even though it’s a fantasy show, it gives the viewer 85% (this calculation may not be scientific) more actual football information. I wholeheartedly endorse ESPN2’s Fantasy Football Now.
Unfortunately, I can’t stay home and watch ESPN2 forever. At the bar, it’s the Fox pre-game show dominating the airwaves, and I’m going to repeat this, because I like the comparison: The network pre-game NFL shows are “The View”. They are “The View” with fewer tampon ads.
Also on at the bar is the Buzztime Trivia thing, from which I just learned that the band Steely Dan is named after a fictional dildo. You now know everything I know about Steely Dan.
I’ve got some Smorgasbord company this week, for the first time in a long time. Old-schoolers might even remember them from the golden days ‒ The Greek, Dirty and Boogie. So you know, these people do have real names, and I address them by those real names, but on the internet, they prefer pseudonyms. If that means I have to sound a little douchier, oh well.
Someone in Cleveland made a great big yellow sign that reads simply “BED WETTERS”. Credit to the Browns organization for being so non-discriminatory with the groups to which they give tickets.
It takes Brandon Weeden about a minute to throw his first interception to the Steelers. On second down, he had a valiant interception attempt dropped. Disappointed but not deterred, he tried again on third down. This time, he got the pass tipped, just to ensure maximum interceptability.
The Steelers hand the ball right back, though (I didn’t know that this would become the theme for the game). In other news, Plaxico Burress was on the field, wearing the traditional old #80. It’s such a bizarre thing to see. I feel like I’m going to look up and see Tommy Maddox any time here.
News: Gene Chizik has been fired. Related story: Carolina might have an opening at head coach next year. I’m just saying, it worked once before.
Also this week, the Steelers signed Brian Hoyer, former Michigan State Spartan and New England Patriot. It takes a good six or seven minutes to explain to The Greek that Brian Hoyer is not, in fact, Bobby Hoying. He seems disappointed.
Chad Henne is a house of fire once again. I’m not watching the Titans/Jags game because I’m not someone who lives in Jacksonville or Nashville and doesn’t have cable or a DVD player, but the score/stats ticker on some other game says that he’s 6-of-7 passing.
Two consecutive Charlie Batch throws sail over the head of the intended receiver by about four yards. The name Vinny Testaverde is now being thrown around, as in, “The Steelers really should have signed Vinny Testaverde to start this week.” It couldn’t be much uglier than this, and would be twice as entertaining. You know Dick LeBeau would send James Harrison over to knock the piss out of Vinny, just out of force of habit.
Whoa. In what may be a first, Romeo Crennel is yelling at someone. You know what it looked like? This:
Also of interest from Kansas City is that the Chiefs are up on the Broncos early, and Brady Quinn currently has better numbers than Peyton Manning. Finally, the Quinn/Manning rivalry everyone wanted to see is materializing.
A brief note to Denarius Moore, Demaryius Thomas, and Danario Alexander: You three are confusing the fuck out of me.
The Greek is currently dabbling in the world of online dating and, given his location and interests, gets matched up with a lot of single female Steelers fans. Noting that exceptions exist, he labels that particular group of ladies a “nightmare.” I have no opinion to offer, but Dirty, the Eagles fan, insists that single female Eagles fans are, in contrast, “the cream of the crop.” I’m stereotyping here, but when I think single female Eagles fan, I think of the type of lady who doesn’t bother with feminine hygiene products, but instead, shoves a dishrag in her filthy underwear when the need arises every month.
With every other Steeler running back benched because of an ongoing fumble spree, Chris Rainey finally gets his chance, and guess what? He fumbles. This one happened to go out of bounds, but still, stop foreshadowing so much, Steelers.
How’s it going with Charlie Batch, you ask? With :56 to play in the first half, the Steelers have just run their first play in Browns territory.
Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, from 26 yards away, doesn’t even come close. Just a straight-up yank job. That’s pretty rare in the NFL.
In the biggest offensive play of the game so far, Plaxico Burress draws a pass interference call in the endzone. I’d love to tell you how Plax looks in his return to the league, but it’s hard to evaluate someone attempting to catch throws from Charlie Batch. It’s like trying to evaluate a golfer who’s using a car antenna to swing at a meatball in a pool of KY Jelly.
I just overheard the following sentence, which can’t have been uttered too many times throughout history: “I can’t believe they beat Rutgers.”
The sprinklers come on in the Seattle/Miami game, and … I have no jokes for you. Um, let’s see … It’s too late, because Marcus Trufant has already been burnt? Something about a Buffalo Wild Wings commercial? Ah, I got nothin’.
Bad indicator for the Steelers: They’ve turned the ball over four times in their own territory. Worse indicator for the Browns: The Steelers are still winning.
I haven’t made any notes for a while, so let me take the opportunity to share this: Save your money and wait to see “Lincoln”. It’s not a bad movie by any means, but would you know what I meant if I said it was too Spielberg-y? It wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I think your mother will really like it.
I’ll hate to do it, but eventually, I’m going to have to admit that Greg Schiano is a good coach. The Bucs are giving the Falcons all they can handle.
Rashard Mendenhall fumbles again, but the Steelers accidentally recover it. Not to worry, though ‒ a Batch/Wallace slant gets botched soon after to nail down the turnover. Imagine you’re in your office, and you’re watching a group of people less competent than you struggle for hours over what should be a simple task. You think to yourself, “Jesus Christ, if you dipshits would just get the fuck out of the way, I’d fix this in 14 seconds.” This is what Ben Roethlisberger is thinking right now.
A Colts cheerleader is getting her head shaved on the sidelines in honor of Chuck Pagano’s battle against leukemia. To share a personal preference, I don’t mind the look at all. I went to school with a girl who had no hair, and I always kind of had a crush on her. I probably should’ve told her that, but I was, and continue to be, a big pussy.
Dirty’s sentiment on a the cheerleader’s #CHUCKSTRONG head-shaving? “So what? If I go out and shave my balls at the 50-yard-line, am I a hero?”
FIGHT! We’ve got an actual fight in the Bengals/Raiders game ‒ about as much of a fight as is possible in the NFL, anyway. Andrew Whitworth of the Bengals, unappreciative of some unnecessary contact to Andy Dalton, shoves Lamarr Houston. Lamarr Houston is having none of it, and they lock up and eventually go to the ground. Then Tommy Kelly gets in on it. It doesn’t sound like much, and I suppose it wasn’t, but it at least lasted longer than your run-of-the-mill NFL skirmish. The only thing I saw that could’ve qualified as a punch was a downward clubbing forearm from Matt Shaughnessy.
The end results? Whitworth, Houston and Kelly are ejected. Whitworth dances around like he just won the lottery. The most unfortunate part of all this? We had to see what LaMarr Houston’s head looks like.
The Steelers turnover train has kept on rolling, but even after another Chris Rainey fumble with about 2:30 to play, I still feel like they’re going to win. It’s just years and years of Browns vs. Steelers history kicking in, I suppose, but they’re just one play away. Emmanuel Sanders or Mike Wallace can make one play in spite of Charlie Batch.
Actually, never mind. It’s 1st and 97 for Batch, with :20 on the clock. The Browns are actually going to do this.
The Broncos also finally finish off the Chiefs in extremely unconvincing fashion. Somehow, Peyton Manning recovered to outduel Brady Quinn. The rivalry continues. This round goes to Manning, but who will be remembered in NFL lore as the better quarterback? Only time will tell.
And on the last play of the game, the Steelers tack on one more for a grand total of 8 turnovers. Mike Tomlin might be the only NFL coach capable of watching his team turn the ball over 8 times without having a goddamn stroke. Imagine Sean Woods in such a scenario. He’d have Rashard Mendenhall duct-taped up in a plastic-lined garage, ready to play out a whole Dexter scenario.
For the first time in Smorgasbord history, we have been joined by children: a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. Step one is to move from the bar to the Buffalo Wild Wings dining area (which exists, for some reason). I’m just not sure if Smorgasbord MJD and Uncle MJD can co-exist here.
The Division 1 Volleyball Selection Show. This is what I’m watching right now. With sound.
Santa Clara is a five seed? HORSESHIT. Their bump game is total shit.
About seven minutes in with the kids, Uncle MJD blurts out his first “fuck.” Sorry, little ones. I don’t have a lot of verbal self-control. I’m going to try, but hopefully, someone’s told you that you don’t want to grow up and be like Uncle MJD.
Jesus, it is really hard to watch football when there are kids around. They demand attention. Why do you people keep making so goddamn many of these things? Philip Rivers delivers a strike down the middle to Malcom Floyd for a Chargers touchdown and a 7-0 lead. I can’t decide how this one’s going to go ‒ we’re either going to play well and blow a lead late or we’re going to win impressively because we’ve already fucked the dog so hard this season that it no longer matters. I think it might still be a little early for the latter scenario, because if we win, we’ll be just one game out of Wild Card position, and we don’t want to risk accidentally getting back into the playoff race. Blown late lead, it shall be.
With daddy and the little boy off to the bathroom, the little girl decides she wants to start chugging ranch dressing straight from the cup. Why I care, I don’t know ‒ my normal policy is that if someone leaves a kid around me and assumes I’ll watch them, I’ll stand there and watch the child eat a light bulb and not say a goddamn word ‒ but this time, I ask her to stop. She giggles. I say it a little more forcefully. She says I’m not the boss of her. I’m flummoxed (screw you, I’m new at this).
I think for a minute, and then I just grab the cup of ranch right out of her hand. Is that okay to do? I don’t know. But it felt pretty good. A second ago, it was hers, and now it’s MINE. HAHAHAHAHA. She starts weeping, and being a sucker for a crying little girl, I would’ve expected that to make me apologize, give her back the ranch and get her a straw. None of that happens, though. I actually feel good about this. I am 100% remorseless. I took your ranch, bitch. Cry all you want. Go ahead and tell daddy. I’ll take his ranch, too, princess.
New Orleans leads the 49ers, 14-7. I have nothing to add to this fact. This ranch controversy has completely taken over my life.
Daddy finally comes back, and guess what, sweetheart? He’s on my side. YOU CAN’T. DRINK. THE RANCH. Score one for Uncle MJD. You know, it just feels really good to make a contribution to a young person’s life. She’s going to grow up, and never again in a restaurant will she grab a ramekin of ranch dressing and throw it back like a Jägerbomb. And why? Because Uncle MJD intervened. This is what it’s all about, man. Touching people’s lives. Helping the youth realize their potential. I feel like I know what Whitney was singing about now. The children are the future.
CBS has a clip of Pat Shurmur giving the Browns the feel-good, post-game locker room talk. I can’t hear it, but I’d like to take a guess at what he’s saying: “Well, they gave us the ball eight times, and, you know … we happened to be standing there when they dropped it. That was good. You were good at picking up footballs today. You showed up, you got dressed properly, everyone wore the same color… good stuff, guys. Browns on three.”
The kids leave at halftime, but not before they hear Uncle Dirty accuse my mother of “semen guzzling.” Daddy may have some questions to answer tonight.
Today’s misuse of the word “literally” comes from the same silver-tongued linguist: “The 49ers literally have eight Pro Bowlers at linebacker.”
Say, who wants an update on the consolation game of the Old Spice Classic? No one? Fine.
The Ravens have a 4th and inches in easy field goal territory, trailing by 7. There’s plenty of time ‒ still over six minutes in the third quarter. I’d advocate taking the points here, but they don’t. Further, if they have to go for it, I’d advocate giving the ball to Ray Rice. They don’t do that, either. Corey Liuget buries someone named Pierce in the backfield for a loss of two.
With under eight minutes to play, a Chargers field goal pushes the lead back to 10. We might actually do this. In the meantime, Boogie is chatting up a cute young Ravens fan sitting at the bar by her lonesome.
News: Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman of the Seahawks are about to be suspended four games for using performance-enhancing drugs. Can any action be taken against the Seahawks for this? If so, someone should probably keep a close eye on Pete Carroll.
Boogie’s been talking to the cute Ravens girl steadily for about a half hour now. She seems like a nice girl. Boogie, suave little devil that he is, buys a shot for me, and a shot for her, and we do them together in the spirit of Ravens/Chargers sportsmanship. As she’s wearing a Ray Lewis jersey, I politely ask her not to stab me in the parking lot after the game. I was kidding, and she said she wouldn’t, but she also confides that she has a knife in her purse. I don’t think she’s going to stab me, but that’s not the most comforting knowledge in the world, either. We drink, and I tell her that I’m sorry for what’s about to happen to her team.
But I know deep down that the Chargers are about to gag this game away in spectacular fashion. I’m not going to show the weakness, but I can feel it. I’ve heard this song before.
On the heels of a quick Ravens touchdown drive, then another Chargers three and out, the Ravens need just a field goal to send this to overtime. I can’t remember the last time the Chargers were in a situation like this and it turned out well.
Holding, Ravens. That makes it 2nd and 20. Incompletion. 3rd and 20. Sack. 4th and 29. Holy fuck, we might do this. The Charger defense is going to go out and TAKE WHAT’S THEIRS.
And what’s theirs is apparently abject failure and a tackling ability so poor that it should shame their families for generations. Motherfuck me. 4th and 29. With a dump-off pass. A dump-off. On 4th and 29. That means Ray Rice caught a football, and between him and the first down sticks were 25 yards of grass and seven men in San Diego Chargers uniforms, all highly-trained professional tacklers. All seven failed to tackle him in time. Dump-off. 4th and 29.
I could live with getting beat by a good throw to a good receiver. There’s a hole in every coverage, even good ones, even on 4th and 29, and good quarterbacks can find them. Sometimes, Joe Flacco can, too. I was expecting Torrey Smith to pull down a miracle grab along the sideline 30 yards down the field. When Flacco checked the ball down, though, I was sure that the play was dunzo. We’ve got seven guys back, and he needs 29 yards. He’s the safety valve. He can’t get that far. No way.
But he sure did. I don’t even know what to say about it. I am in awe of this kind of failure. We Norv’d the shit out of that one. Maybe the Norviest Norv that ever Norved.
Not that Norv was responsible for that play or that loss, but he’s there and he’s Norv, so fuck him.
The spot of the ball is being challenged ‒ the ruling on the field is that Ray Rice picked up the first down. To me, the replay appears to show that the ball was short of the first-down when Rice’s knee hit, but honestly, I hope the first down stands. If you give up 28½ on 4th and 29, you are an asshole and don’t deserve to win. If they overturn it, the game’s over ‒ the Chargers will win, and I will be embarrassed by it.
Somewhere in hour number four of the replay process, it’s determined that the call on the field stands. First down Ravens. They’ll get their field goal, and we’ll go into overtime, so it can take longer to gag this one away.
Overtime drags on and on and on, and I decide that I want a tie. Ties are unique, if nothing else. I’d be embarrassed by a win, and I don’t like losing, but a tie? A tie is at least a story. Come on, tie.
I’m not getting my tie. As it turns out, this is where Torrey Smith makes his impossible 30-yard grab. Good throw, good coverage ‒ Quentin Jammer had his hand between Smith’s hands ‒ he just made a great grab. A few kneel-downs later, and the field goal is good.
I don’t deserve this. I stopped a girl from drinking ranch dressing today.
Needlessly but nicely, cute Ravens girl apologizes. We’ve been talking a little trash, so she deserves the satisfaction of seeing me upset, so I oblige ‒ I frown and give her the finger. In my head, however, I’m thinking, “Oh, don’t apologize. There’s no reason to.” Then the guy sitting to my right, just loud enough for me to hear, says, “Don’t apologize. Bend over.” A sweet, sweet man, this one.
See you next week, everybody.