Because I’m very dumb, I mistimed my departure for the bar and ended up stuck in post-college basketball game traffic. So, unfortunately, today’s Smorgasbord will be starting from my car.
Through the magic of WunderRadio, I get to listen to the first few plays of the game via the hometown Baltimore radio crew, which I’d later learn consists of Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Qadry Ismail. Their general mood is “WAAAAAH, TRINDON HOLLIDAY MAKES US SAD.” 7-0, Broncos.
In the time between I left my car, found a seat and got settled, the score turned into 14-7 Ravens. I’m just going to assume that Ray Lewis scored both touchdowns, because I’ve been watching ESPN this week, and I’m not sure anyone else is playing in this game.
How’d he score them? Well, the first probably came on a Ray Lewis punt return, scored when Ray-Ray summoned a majestic black Pegasus and rode him bravely to the endzone. The second, most likely, came when Ray picked up the endzone and moved it under the feet of Ray Rice, and then turned the hole where the endzone used to be into a shelter for the homeless. All praise to Jesus.
The Broncos answer with a long drive that slows the game down to a reasonable pace. Not that I’m complaining. After last week’s lethargic death march of perfectly sane football, we could use some silliness.
On that drive alone, Peyton Manning completed five passes for 69 yards, and had two completions wiped out by penalties.
There’s an odd tattoo situation on the hip of my waitress. It looks like there was an old tattoo that was faded with some kind of tattoo removal cream, with a new tattoo on top of it. What’s strange, though, is that the old tattoo looks like some meaningless tribal pattern, and the new one also looks like some meaningless tribal pattern. I will get to the bottom of this.
It’s frustrating to not be able to hear sound from the game. It’s the trade-off I make, I suppose ‒ I get waitress service and atmosphere, but I give up Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. Now that I actually see those words typed, it doesn’t seem like a difficult decision.
Knowshon Moreno, maybe because he wants to be my friend, is in Ray Lewis’s face, pissed off about something. Ray is just pretending Knowshon’s not even there. As anti-Ray as I am, that’s probably the right response when Knowshon Moreno decides to talk trash to pretty much anyone.
Peyton Manning throws his second corner-of-the-endzone touchdown pass of the day, this one falling perfectly into the well-covered breadbasket of Moreno. Throws like that, made in the playoffs, are why Manning is absolutely worth $18 million a season.
The waitresses in this place like to sit and chat with customers, and it turns out that I’m not the only one interested in the hip tattoo. My waitress is sitting and chatting with two gentlemen across from me, and they ask about the tattoo, and she says it’s a tribute to her father. Keep in mind, this tattoo goes all the way down her hip, to the point that she couldn’t even show her father without things getting weird. What did dad say when he learned of your tribute, miss? Did he throw back six Valium and say, “You couldn’t just GET A GODDAMN GREETING CARD!?”
She also mentioned that she’ll be graduating soon and might want to teach calculus. If this comes to fruition, there will be a new hottest calculus teacher of all-time. It won’t even be close. My high school calculus teacher had a face like a head of cauliflower.
After some exchanged punts and another receiving touchdown for Knowshon Moreno (I know ‒ I don’t understand it, either), Matt Prater absolutely chili-dips a field goal attempt. I’m not sure how he didn’t hurt himself.
With 1:16 on the clock, Joe Flacco’s going to take advantage. He finds Torrey Smith in the endzone again, making the score Ravens 21, Broncos 21, and Torrey Smith 2, Champ Bailey 0. I won’t fault Champ for this one ‒ it was a great throw and a great catch, and I don’t know if any corner could’ve stopped it ‒ but he’s definitely down on the day.
I’ve got to recognize my buddy Jerry, who told me last week that, as a Broncos fan, he was concerned about Champ Bailey being exploited in this game. Jerry was right. Also, fuck Jerry. He said he’d watch this game with me, but then decided to watch it at home because he was having some trouble with his retroverted uterus.
Breaking News: Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly has decided to stay at Notre Dame and take his name out of the running for the Philadelphia Eagles job. I hope the next two candidates on the Eagles’ list are Charlie Weis and Bob Davie.
It’s Trindon Holliday again, this time with a kick return TD to start the second half. Someone’s making himself famous.
More coaching news: The Browns will hire Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator, and I’ve got a really good feeling about it. I believe Cleveland’s gone about solving their sports woes all wrong. It’s a city of losers. You can try to bring in a few winners to change things, but they can’t overcome the life-draining energy of a population of 400,000 people, all of whom have been conditioned to suck at life. Play to your strengths, Cleveland. You’re losers. Roll with it. When’s the last time Cleveland had a winning team? “Major League.” How’d it happen? Assembling a group of losers. In about week ten of 2013, Rob Chudzinski is going to look at Norv Turner and say, “Startin’ to come together, Pepper. Startin’ to come together.”
I end up talking to the two gentlemen across from me, and I tell them about KSK and my meager contributions to it. One guy asks to be referred to as a handsome, suave Brad Pitt-type, and let me tell you: He was all that and more. At this very moment, he has our lovely, hip-tattooed waitress mounted on the hood of his car, making sweet love to her as she teaches him calculus.
FlaccoFumble! The Ravens fuck up the snap and hand Denver the ball at their 43. Also, “Flacco” makes an excellent prefix. I’ve decided that all Joe Flacco mistakes will heretofore be called “FlaccoBoners.” That said, in this game, I’m seeing a better Joe Flacco than I’m accustomed to.
ESPN2, since the game has kicked off, has been running World’s Strongest Man competitions. What would happen if we tried to make these guys offensive guards, or 3-4 defensive ends? I’d have to think that the ability to carry a compact car would be somehow useful in football. Obviously, they’d lack years and years of technique, but their ability to push shit has to be better than, say, Marshall Yanda’s, right?
I get the rest of the tattoo mystery solved. I tell the lady ‒ who is very nice, incidentally – that it kind of looks like there was an old, faded tattoo behind the new one, and she explains that no, that’s actually a part of the new tattoo. It’s background. I guess I just inadvertently told her that her tattoo looks fucked up. I feel bad.
The Ravens seem to want to turn up the heat on Manning in the second half. One play after Jacob Hester converts a 3rd and 1 and sees it wiped out by a holding call, Manning is sacked and turns the ball over. Replay pending.
I hate to say it, but that’s pretty much a textbook tuck rule call, isn’t it? In the process of tucking the ball away, he loses it ‒ that’s what the tuck rule, for some reason, is for. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it didn’t get called. It’s an absurd rule, and I’m sure the league office doesn’t want to see another playoff game decided by it. But if you don’t want it called, league, then take the rule off the books, instead of ignoring your own rules because you don’t want to admit you made a bad one.
Ray Rice cracks off a gorgeous run to inside the Denver five, and three plays later, he’ll punch it in. We’ll head to the fourth quarter tied.
The Ravens secondary picks up back-to-back flags, one for hitting a defenseless receiver, and one for defensive holding. The holding is completely legit and the right call. The defenseless receiver … I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but it is something that’s been called consistently for the past two years, so stop doing it, dick.
I give Twitter a glance, and my feed is just wall-to-wall bitching about officials. They’re the worst, it’s an embarrassment, they shouldn’t have “all-star” crews, etc. To this, I say, Waaaaah. Not even to Ravens or Broncos fans, but to all of us. Maybe some bad calls were made today, but it wasn’t long ago that we suffered through some truly terrible officiating. Then, after three weeks, the best officials in the world came back and we gave them standing ovations, and today, they’re all pieces of shit again. We’re whining bitches.
Sorry. I’ll put the soapbox away. It’s just that this has been an extraordinary football game, and the thought of spending all day Monday listening to complaints about officiating sounds very unpleasant to me.
The Broncos set up a screen pass to Demaryius Thomas, and oh, look at that. That’s some world class blocking right there. My hat is off to you, Orlando Franklin, and you, Brandon Stokley. Touchdown, and the Broncos are up by 7.
Action from another television: The Pitt women’s basketball team has a redshirt freshman named Marvadene Anderson who stands 6’11”. For analysis, we turn to “Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo.”
The Broncos are going to running back Ronnie Hillman to close things out, and he’s getting the job done. On a couple of carries, he picks up a massive first down that should just about end this thing. Best case scenario now, the Ravens get the ball back with a little over a minute left and no timeouts.
That’s what happens: 1:09 to play, they’re at their own 23, and they need 7.
And then HEY, WHAT THE FUCK, DENVER? Rahim Moore and Tony Carter do a great job of making sure the Ravens don’t gain 20 yards, but they weren’t totally successful in making sure they didn’t get 70 yards. Win some, lose some, I guess.
God. I’m going to need a few minutes to make a b-b-b-b-b-b sound and flip my index finger up and down over my lips. How does that happen? Why is Tony Carter worried about the underneath receiver, and what made him so sure Flacco was throwing the ball there? And Rahim Moore … I don’t even know what the fuck to ask about what he was doing.
Seventy yards. Tie game. What just happened makes absolutely no sense. I don’t know what to say about it. Champ Bailey, you’re pretty much off the hook.
Overtime brings a brief power outage to the bar. The lights come back on immediately, but the televisions take a few seconds. I want to see the end of this game, of course, but I also kind of want to see what happens if the TVs don’t come back on. You know what I think would happen? I think we’d all turn to each other and learn to talk and share from a place born of sincere compassion for our fellow man, and we’d find fulfillment in each other’s company on a purely human-to-human level.
And then we’d all just start sucking each other off.
The TVs are back in a matter of seconds, though, so I don’t get to find out. A tremendous Denver punt pins the Ravens at their own five. Meanwhile, the 49ers/Packers game is underway.
We’re getting really close to FlaccoBoner territory. On 2nd and 10, he lofts up a very interceptable ball that fortunately drifts out of bounds. On 3rd and 10, he takes a delay of game, pushing the Ravens back to the three. And on 3rd and 13, he completes a beautiful and ballsy touch pass to a well-covered Dennis Pitta for a gain of 24. Unbelievable throw. Had the Ravens been forced to punt from their own 3, it would’ve been a wrap.
What should I call that? When Joe Flacco does something spectacular? FlaccoSplosion? Does that work?
On the next drive, Peyton Manning throws a very Jake Plummer-y interception. While scrambling to his right, he made a bad throw and a bad decision, and it’s going to end this game. Thank God he didn’t throw it to Ray Lewis.
Justin Tucker comes on for an attempt from 47 yards. Being a rookie, this being a playoff game, this being his first attempt of the day, coming four hours into a freezing cold game, I’m going to say it’s no gimme.
But he drills it. Wow, did Denver piss this one away.
Ray Lewis is on the ground crying. It’s probably because the Ravens won, but I hope he just coincidentally got some really bad news.
A text from my brother tells me that Ray is running around shouting “No weapons!” for some reason. I do a little Googling, and as it turns out, it’s a biblical passage, Isaiah 54:17. I’ll quote it here for you, from the New King James Version:
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper. Weapons formed against Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, however, should be just fine.”
Watch this Ray Lewis postgame interview with Sal Paolantonio, where Ray Lewis acts like he’s the only person who’s ever won a football game. God had pre-destined a Ravens win, it seems. I wish Ray had told me before, so I could put some lumber on it. I don’t quite understand, though, why Ray’s so fucking happy if this thing had been pre-destined all along? Why show up and try to make tackles, then? Man can’t change what God has blessed and destined. Also, the bible applies to the Ravens but not the Broncos. Hey, I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.
I decide to time how long it takes after the conclusion of the Ravens/Broncos game to get the Packers/49ers game on. I’m not even going to complain that this place has 40 televisions, exactly one has been on Packers/49ers from the start, and three that I can see are on the World’s Strongest Man on ESPN2. Start timer.
Five minutes, sixteen seconds.
The first play of that game I see is DuJuan Harris, busting through the line with a beautiful touchdown run. That makes it 14-7, Green Bay.
Things calm down in here a bit for the second game, but I have spotted a man across the bar wearing a white dress shirt and a lavender vest. It’s a party anywhere that guy goes.
Oh boy. Look at the size of the muff on Packers punt returner Jeremy Ross. That’s a bad one, and three plays later, Colin Kaepernick hits Michael Crabtree over the middle for the touchdown. We’re now tied at 14, and this game is shaping up to be pretty damn good, too.
I go to the bathroom for a second, and it’s a piss-swamp in there. There’s just piss everywhere. Some of you have to be doing this on purpose, and I think there’s something wrong with you. The nice thing about the bathroom, though, is that I can hear the game commentary in here. I never envisioned thinking to myself, “Hey, Joe Buck. Sweet” while urinating. Aaron Rodgers throws a deep interception as I try not to step in piss.
And not long after that, it’s Kaepernick again with a beautiful throw to Crabtree for a touchdown. I missed the pick-six in the first quarter, but what I have seen from Kaepernick so far has been damn close to perfect.
Michael Crabtree is on the sidelines wearing a hat that is very loose fitting and has a straight brim. This is very noticeable to me, but I hardly ever make note of a backup quarterback wearing a hat in a more traditional style. This probably makes me racist.
A David Akers field goal makes it 24-21 going into halftime. If there’s one theme for the day, I suppose it’s the surprising performance of the non-superstar quarterbacks. Joe Flacco was FlaccoBoner free, and Colin Kaepernick has been otherworldly. Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile? Nothing to write home about.
The lavender vest can now be explained: An asshole got married. He either put his groomsmen in lavender vests, or allowed his wife to do so, and now, on his wedding day, he is at The Tilted Kilt during the NFL playoffs. Hold on to that gem, sweetheart.
At the end of halftime, David Akers has to move some dancing halftime performers out of his way to get in some field goal practice. I’d have loved to see one of those kids get in his face and scream, “FUCK YOU, KICKER.”
Colin Kaepernick tries a deep ball to Randy Moss, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a camera iso’d on Randy Moss. I know it shouldn’t be, but it’s slightly jarring to me to see just how fast Randy Moss isn’t. I choose not to say that the ball was overthrown, and will instead say that it was underrun.
Score one for the “running backs are completely fungible” crowd: Green Bay is handing the ball off to Randall Cobb now. And it’s working. Not only are running backs interchangeable with other running backs, but now apparently with players at other positions, too.
Colin Kaepernick. Are you real? In a classic college-style zone read, he fakes the handoff to the back up the middle, reads the end, then keeps the ball and heads outside. From there, he decides to just be faster than everyone else, which is always wise. TD, San Francisco. I keep waiting for him to screw something up, but he’s doing the opposite. He’s getting better.
Also, Brad Jones, Erik Walden, and Charles Woodson: You don’t need me to tell you this, but you three looked like major assholes on that play.
Highlight of my day: Seeing a man get carried out of the bar. A couple of male employees have literally picked this guy up ‒ one has his legs, one has his arms ‒ and carried him out a side door. They just set him down, right there on the sidewalk. There’s a round of applause, though I’m not sure if it’s for the drunkard or for the employees.
After the 49ers force a Packers punt, Kaepernick, on a second and eight, throws a perfect ball, over the shoulder, to Vernon Davis for 44 yards. It seems like every throw he makes hits the guy in the perfect spot. The 49ers defense has been great and Vic Fangio has called an outstanding game, and Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore have been studs, too. This is feeling more and more, though, like one guy just going out and winning a football game by being awesome. Since the first quarter, Kaepernick has been flawless.
A couple of guys here are doing a Ryback “Feed Me More” chant. I don’t know if it’s football-related, if they’re just big Ryback fans, or if they’re complaining about portion size.
Frank Gore opens the fourth quarter with a TD, pushing the 49ers lead to 14. It feels insurmountable. Not that Aaron Rodgers can’t score two touchdowns in a quarter, of course, but I don’t know how the Packers are going to stop the 49ers offense at the same time.
Well, Packers, if you’re going to jump on a 4th-and-1 that the 49ers are obviously not going for, then there’s just no reason for me to be here. There was no WAY they were running a play there, and like four of you jumped! What are you, trying to outdo Rahim Moore?
Anthony Dixon scores, and that’ll be a wrap. An outstanding day of football. One game where the entertainment and WTF factors were off the charts, and another saw a legendary performance from an unlikely quarterback. No complaints about today, except that Ray Lewis was such a large part of it, and will be again next week. We’ll do this again tomorrow.