Friday, December 31, 2010

New York NFL Teams: Both Pretenders

In my opinion, unless they suddenly get hot, both New York NFL franchises will make early exits from the playoffs, if they make it at all.

The Giants have committed 41 turnovers during the season. Mostly Eli Manning throwing interceptions. That is way too many turnovers and just puts too much stress on a team's defense and special teams. Eventually they crack. Which is why the Giants are not in the playoffs now, and will need help from the Bears to get in.

The Jets have significant parts of their football team disappear for long stretches. Sometimes it's the offense and inconsistent QB Mark Sanchez. Sometimes it's the defense, giving up way too many points and yards. The Jets are in, but in real danger of losing in the first round. I do think the Chiefs would be a real challenge for the Jets, especially at Arrowhead.

The class of the AFC is without a doubt the Patriots. The best of the NFC may be the Falcons, Saints or Eagles. They are a little bit closer together than the AFC, where New England is clearly the class of the league.

UConn Women's Team Loses After 90 Wins

It was Stanford, another power in women's college basketball that finally ended UConn's win streak with a convincing 71-59 win over the Huskies in California.

That may have been the only way someone finally beat Connecticut--Stanford has a 50+ winning streak in their home building.

90 games--still very impressive.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chiefs AFC West Champs!

I'm happy but not so happy that I am writing the same post twice--so head over to the mother ship for a post on the Chiefs!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Giants Are Killing Me!

I am so glad I did not see the Giants game live on TV. I probably would have hurt the TV.

But still, gacking up a 21 point lead?

That punt?

Oh, please. No more.

They had a players meeting and they are keeping the poor punter. You know, Hunter Smith is available...

Greinke IS Gone

While the Chiefs were the dominant news on Sunday, especially after the win, the trade of Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers for four young players attracted some attention too. Lots of people were critical, disappointed, dismayed. Many think the Royals will not win 60 games next year.

Let's take a look at what we got for Zack and Yuni Betancourt...

Three of the four players have had at least a cup of coffee in the majors.

Two are position players and two are pitchers.

One has been suspended for pot use twice. If he pops another positive drug screen, he's done. That is pitcher Jeremy Jeffress.

They all have potential--it was once said that potential was French for "not worth a damn."


Naming names, besides Jeffress, we have Alcides Escobar a strong defense no offense shortstop. Lorenzo Cain, speedy center fielder, who also is not yet hitting at a major league level.

Jake Odorizzi is the most intriguing of the lot, a power/control pitcher but he is the least experienced of the group, and has not played higher than A ball.

Truly only time will tell if we have made a trade that will help the Royals build a winner, or we have sent yet another superstar away for a stew of just average players.

In the meantime, a lot of Royals fans are feeling blue, and it is not from the chilly winter weather.

Photos, from Google image searches, from top to bottom: Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi, Jeremy Jeffress and Lorenzo Cain.




Chiefs Win

Well, one down two to go!

The Chiefs came out tight and out of synch, but the defense held the Rams to field goals in the first quarter. That 6-0 could have just as easily been 14-0.

After that, the Chiefs offense got into gear, and the Rams were unable to cope. Kansas City winners!

Next up the Titans, who won yesterday, at Arrowhead. Lets go Chiefs!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rams-Chiefs: Very Important Game

This game...well, I am glad I don't bet on sports, because this game is a very tough game.

You have two young, young teams who are on the upswing after several years of stinkiness.

One team's QB is 10 days out from laproscopic surgery--I believe Matt Cassel will play, but the memories of how badly Ben Rothlesberger played after his appy are in my head. Matt Cassel does not have time for two bad games. However, Brodie Croyle just isn't good enough for us to have in there at this point.

Both are in first place now, but the race for each would be much much easier if they won this game. The Chiefs divisional competition is quite serious with the San Diego Chargers. So there will be pressure.

How will the teams and coaches react? Who will perform best under pressure?

That team, the team that is the least tight or gets rid of the jitters first, will be the winner. The team that avoids stupid penalties, turn overs and plays good defense. That's the winning team.

I hope it's the Chiefs. This is a pick'em to me. See you 1200 at the Jones Dome.

Greinke's Gone


It's really just a matter of not getting ripped off now.

Because Zack Greinke is as good as gone from Kansas City.

I'd love to see him with my Mets, but the Mets farm system is a desert. There is nothing there to deal to KC.

This really sucks in so many ways. I got to see Zack pitch several times, and even when he does not have his best stuff, his talent is obvious and outstanding. It would have been great to watch a good team come together around him.

I think some of this really is about his psyche and the way Zack works--that his make up really struggles with all the losing, and he can't deal with another losing year in 2011, that it messes with his head. I think that's why he said some of the things he said late in the season this past summer and why he wants to be dealt now.

He will be missed. I will still be a Greinke fan, the same way I have been a Carlos Beltran fan and a Jermaine Dye fan and a Mike Sweeney fan. It's the way the sporting life is.

File photo of Greinke from the Kansas City Star.

KU Got P'owned

So here is this news all over the interwebs, radio, TV: New athletic director for the University of Kansas. Bubba Cunningham had had successful runs at mid majors Ball State and Tulsa and was all but signed Tuesday, December 14th to come to Lawrence.

By Thursday, December 16th, it had all gone--poof! Cunningham signed a new long term contract with Tulsa--terms not disclosed. Something happened during the negotiations with Kansas. Or maybe it was the changing nature of the Big 12. Or the scandal with the tickets.

All I know is that KU and the local sports media looked pretty darn stupid at the end of the day. Who knows how Mr. Cunningham was able to use the threat of his leaving to get terms he liked at Tulsa. Something tells me he got just about anything he wanted from the Conference USA school.

Best quote from a Kansas City Star piece on restarting the search: “I feel a little used,” said David Cohen, a KU senior from Leawood. “So that’s a bummer. I think we’ll be able to find someone who’s equally capable and maybe has a more classy name.”

Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/12/16/2526245/ku-reopens-search-for-an-athletic.html#ixzz18Vd2qk5H

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Defense

I'm supposed to be somewhere in 10 minutes so let me make this brief:

The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers 31-0 not just because Brodie Croyle isn't very good.

It is because the defense turned in a real clunker, a stinker. This was their game to win, and they didn't do anything.

I wonder if the team convinced itself that there was no way to win without Matt Cassel starting.

If that happened, that is a coaching failure of an epic kind.

The sound of people jumping off the Chiefs bandwagon so far this week has been deafening.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chiefs This Sunday--A Lotta "If"s

You would have to be living in a hole in this town if you had no idea that Matt Cassel was "doubtful" for Sunday's game against San Diego due to having his appendix removed Wednesday. This puts Brodie Croyle as the starter in this important game. While we did not have any thought that this was a "easy" game to win for KC, this puts a positive result much more in peril. Do the Chiefs have any chance to win with Cassel nursing his post operative self on the sideline?

If the Chiefs can run--if the Chiefs can avoid falling behind--if the defense plays well and avoids the big play--man, that's a lot of ifs--then the Chiefs have a chance to win--and here's another if--Croyle avoids turning the ball over.

However, I would not be surprised to lose this game owing to an anemic ineffective offense.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Winning Ugly

So what did I tell you? Chiefs win with first score.

Who knew that would be the only touchdown in the game? Or during that disaster of a third quarter the defense would save our sorry butts?

A win is a win. Let's move on. Forgotten after 2400 Sunday night.

A brief word on Barry Richardson. I have read several opinions that he ought to be cut for his anger display and pushing an assistant coach. I disagree. As long as this kind of emotional display is not a habit, I believe that Richardson should be retained. Maybe some mandatory counseling, or a group therapy session on anger, but I agree with Todd Haley. This was born of the passion of the moment--anger at himself for the costly penalty. If we kicked everyone to the curb that ever expressed emotions in a bad way, there wouldn't be anyone left who gave a damn--all you'd have are robots, passives and sociopaths. Generally speaking, this is not a group that strives for the excellence required to be winners in the NFL...or anywhere else in life.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mid America Nazarene Loses

The reports are not all in yet, but MNU lost their quarter final NAIA game to Sioux Falls University. From a peek at the stats, turnovers did in the Pioneers. The score was 17-0 at half, but MNU fumbled in their first possession of the second half and never could recover, losing 38-0.

Congratulations to the MNU Pioneers for a fine season!

Send the Donkeys Packing!

Tomorrow the Chiefs and the Denver Broncos get after it at Arrowhead. It will be chilly and windy--perfect for a good running game.

With the prowess that we have shown in passing of late, even in the wind, teams will have to game plan for Cassel, Bowe and co. That should open up lots of running chances for Charles, Jones and McCluster. Hey, sounds like a law firm! They should lay down the law against an inferior Denver team in front of lots of screaming Chiefs fans.

This will probably be low scoring and will not turn into a laugher, but the Chiefs should not let Denver sniff the lead. Kansas City will win, and definitely will win if they score first.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Your Josh Freeman Update

Mr. Freeman goes to Baltimore--and did not have a good time. (nfl.com)

Though he was neither sacked nor intercepted, Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Bucs could not make any serious inroads against the tough Baltimore Ravens defense, resulting in a 17-10 loss on the road. Josh was 17/37 for just 162 yards and one touch down.

Much is being made of Tampa Bay not having won against a team with a winning record. However, I think Tampa's situation is very similar to Kansas City's; any thing good that happens at this point is a bonus, the team is so young. Every game is an improvement and a learning experience for all. Their playoff chances took a bit of a blow with this loss--both Atlanta and New Orleans won this week, leaving TB in third place in the NFC South. Still next week's game in Tampa, against the Falcons promises to be a good one. In addition, it may sell out, lifting the blackout for the first time this season for TV viewers in the Tampa area.

So What Do I Know?

Someone get a hose--this man is on fire! (nfl.com)

The Kansas City Chiefs won one on the road yesterday, putting down the Seattle Seahawks 42-24. Dwayne Bowe caught three touchdown passes, Matt Cassel passed for over 200 yards, and Jamal Charles ran for 172 yards. Every time the Seahawks threatened to turn the momentum their way, the Chiefs choked them off.

Not a perfect game--the special teams errata are concerning and KC's defense looked vulnerable to the pass at times--but I really liked the fact that the Chiefs did not crumble in a loud road stadium and absolutely dominated the forth quarter.

Next up, Denver, high noon, Arrowhead Stadium.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chiefs-Seahawks

OK, this is a tough game to pick, as it is a road game against an up and down rebuilding opponent.

Both teams have something to play for in terms of their division races as they are leading their respective Western Divisions.

Both teams have had some very nice moments, and some really bad moments.

6-4 Chiefs have won only one game on the road and won all home games.

5-5 Seattle has lost one at home, and won two on the road.

Chiefs in a squeaker, based on being able to run, handling Seattle's offense, and no mistakes from Matt Cassel and Dwayne Bowe. This game is tougher than St. Louis will be, but easier than the upcoming trip to San Diego.

But I couldn't be more uncertain of this. It could be a blow out going Seattle's way.

Be prepared for either.

Kansas Football Is Hurting and Other Thoughts on College Football

Border War was border rout.

Retreat! Missouri by a bunch in a game that was never close.

Turner Gill, a likable Christian coach, may be in over his head at a school like KU.

How about a nice Nazarene school, Mr. Gill?

Not MNU though, they seem to be in good hands presently--on their way to the NAIA semifinals next week. Congrats again to the Pioneers.

Boise State was upset after losing a large lead, then missing two game winning FG kicks, losing to Nevada, who is also ranked. I am disappointed as I was looking forward to Boise in a BCS bowl, but on the other hand, if there is more than one good team in Boise's conference, that can help Boise in the long run.

Auburn also came back from behind to win, preserving their undefeated season.

So we have three teams without losses--Auburn, TCU and Oregon.

We'll miss you, Boise State!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What The Hell Is Wrong With Bo Pelini?

Is it any wonder that the team of a coach that gets all up in his injured quarterback's grill, yelling inches from his face and jabbing his finger in his chest, is penalized 16 times in a game? That includes a penalty on the coach for trying this same stupid behavior with a zebra.

Bo Pelini needs to get a freaking grip!

Screen (Scream?!?) grab from ESPN via YouTube.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Random Sports Thoughts for a Saturday Night

Maybe I'm cruising for a fall, but I feel a good game by the Kansas City Chiefs coming on tomorrow. I think we will beat Arizona soundly.

The Giants and Eagles play Sunday night. Giants need a comeback win after that egg they laid in Dallas.

Missouri now has a sliver of a chance to win the Big 12 north title, but would need help from Colorado.

With Mizzou having something to play for, there is little chance of a Kansas upset at Arrowhead next Saturday.

Kansas State needs defense! Does Bill Snyder have any hair left after this afternoon's loss?

LSU played defense when it counted and my second favorite college Tigers, ranked 5th in the nation, escaped Mississippi.

Boise State deserves a shot at the big dogs--last game a 51-0 whipping of Fresno State. Boise State gained over 500 yards in offense against just 125 for Fresno.

MidAmerica Nazarene University won their first round NAIA game with a comeback from 14 down. Congrats to the Pioneers!

Basketball so does not interest me as yet, although I am intrigued by some of the match ups in the early college tournaments.

Hot stove starting to heat up in baseball--no surprises yet however. Zack Greinke is still a Royal.

That's all for now. Have a great NFL Sunday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Royals AAA Club Changes Name--Most of Omaha Hates It

The Omaha Royals are no more. They are now the Storm Chasers. The majority of the comments to this linked article hate it. Check it out, including the mascots and unis, and the video. What do you think?

(I like the naming of minor league affiliates after the parent clubs, but that's just me. With new names and such, there can be more merchandising--unfortunately an important part of any sports team now.)

Yuck!

The New York football Giants made mistake after mistake, never mounting a real comeback against the Cowboys...

I hate losing to the Cowboys!

Just Yuck...and Ugh.

Your Josh Freeman Update

Josh Freeman at yesterday's game (nfl.com gallery photo)

More and more national commentators are starting to talk about Josh Freeman. His record of forth quarter wins and steady low error play this year are starting to be noticed. I have to admit I'm pretty psyched about this! Josh looks to be a part of a bit of a renaissance of top level young quarterbacks. Josh, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford join Matt Ryan, Tony Romo (yeah, I know, :P) and Joe Flacco as honest to goodness NFL quarterback potential superstars. You could throw Jay Cutler and Kyle Orten in there with continued improvement, and then there is the puzzle that is Tim Tebow. So these are some pretty heady days for the Grandview High product.

Tampa Bay could have had a let down against lowly one-win Carolina. However, while not playing at their very best, the Bucs did not let Carolina ever take a lead. They had an answer for every Panther parry. Freeman's stat line for the game: 18/24 for 241 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs. He was aided on offense by LeGarrette Blount again, who ran for 91 yards and Cadillac Williams who added 62 yards on just 5 rushes. Both backs had TDs. Final score 31-16, leaving the Bucs 6-3, tied for second with the New Orleans Saints.

The Chiefs: What Are They?

Nasty Broncos fans do the wave over our sad score. (Kansas City Star gallery photo)

It went bad fast, didn't it? The Broncos took the ball at the kick off and marched right down the field, scoring in their first possession in who knew how long. This was followed by a three-and-out by the KC offense, and then the Broncos did it again...and again. Throw in a fumble run back for a touchdown, and it was all over but the shouting in yesterday's game. Five unanswered Broncos touchdowns before you were looking for your second hot dog.

I did take some small hope from the 10 point outburst just before half. But then, when the offense of the Chiefs had to answer the bell, it did not. Another three-and-out, when it counted most, after taking the second half kick off. That announced that the Kansas City Chiefs were not capable of a four score comeback.

The sounds of folks jumping off the bandwagon has been positively deafening today. Cries of "pretenders" have been flying. However, I never bought that this team was completely ready for prime time. They remind me of the New York Giants of the early and mid 1980s, before the Super Bowl of 1986. Just not quite there, not trustworthy to win the games they had to win, like road games against inferior or badly playing opposition.

Any thing the Chiefs do this season is a bonus, really. They are still building. Our secondary is green and lacks depth. Our quarterback may or may not be the one to lead us further on. Our receivers definitely need upgrades. We are a few pieces away. Like those Lawrence Taylor led Giants of the 1980s, that had great D and no O, we're not a complete football team. I savor every victory and loathe every defeat, and would love to gather enough momentum and mojo to go to the playoffs and beyond. I am still looking to the future with this team, a team that is no longer headed to Loser-ville, that looks more like a team pointed towards Winner-town. I way like that change in direction from the past few years.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kansas Jayhawks Comeback from 35 Down to Win

I would be remiss if I did not mention the University of Kansas' football team's fabulous comeback win against the Colorado Buffaloes this past Saturday. Down 28 points in the forth quarter, Kansas scores 35 unanswered points to take the win 52-45. I listened off and on to this game on the radio, giving up on it twice, then enthralled as the Jayhawks scored 35 points in the forth quarter. If you would like to see it, the game will be replayed on Fox Sports KC and Fox Sports Midwest on Wednesday morning at 12 a.m. and Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Above photo, from The Kansas City Star, shows James Sims' winning run.

Your Josh Freeman Update

Just a quicky--Josh's Bucs lost to Atlanta 27-21. Atlanta's defense held Tampa Bay's offense out in the last seconds with a stand on forth and two. Freeman had, for the first time in several games, two interceptions. From a look see at the highlights and the commentary, the Falcons won this with defense and steadier play.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers--another young team that needs to learn how to play and win under the pressure of expectations and opposition from better teams.

NFL Season is Halfway Done

Each team has now played or is playing (hello Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) their eighth game and just a few notes on the season so far...

First coach to bite the dust: Wade Phillips is fired from the 1-7 Cowboys after the 45-7 pounding by the Packers in prime time last night. Oh, we here at the SKC Syndicate feel so bad for the Dallas team. Not.

One team without a win: Buffalo who has been close but no cigar.

With the New England upset loss to Cleveland ('splain that.), 6-2 is the best record anyone has, owned by 5 (potentially 6 teams). Parity thy name is NFL.

I have to say I am enjoying having the Chiefs rising instead of falling this year. Following Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are about where the Chiefs are, has been fun. And the New York teams both have flirted with Disaster, but seem to be surviving.

No one has been consistently excellent, however. I expect play off qualifying craziness. Get out your tiebreakers folks!


Chiefs Lose Fugly Game

What a mess! If I had not heard the missed down thing live, I don't think I would have believed it---I would have thought you were making this crap up.

The endless penalties--27 of them for both teams--multiple replays especially in the clusterf*ck that was the end of the first half--provided this game with no continuity. Whatever both teams managed to do well was in spike of the refereeing.

However, this game was lost when the Chiefs permitted the second half kick off to be run back for a touchdown, followed by what ESPN commentator Easterbrook calls a "Krumble"--a fumble of the ensuing kick off back to the having just scored kicking team. Even though the Raiders got no points from that, it showed that the Chiefs had allowed the game to get into their head and were not playing smart, mistake free football like they need to in order to win.

To me, everything that followed came out of that. In fact, to me, the whole game looked like two young teams struggling to play their first really meanful "pressure" game. The winner would be the first to become stable under pressure. the Chiefs had allowed the game to get into their head and were not playing smart, mistake free football like they need to in order to win.

Jason Campbell and Jacoby Ford were among the first two players to cool down and perform under stress. The work they did down the stretch of the forth quarter and in the OT made the ultimate difference as the Raiders won the game 23-20 in OT.

The loss leaves the Chiefs still atop the division at 5-3 but exposes the fact that they are not quite ready for the NFL elite. They are not as good as some thought they were. There is a lot to like about this young team, but they are not quite there yet.

The next game is at Denver. I wouldn't call it a must win, but a "really like to win."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's All On Cassel

This article absolutely nails it. The reason Chiefs fans held their breath during the Buffalo and Jacksonville games, when the Chiefs clearly outclassed the opposition, but made us all very nervous on the way to the win.


So here's my daring prediction: Cassel throws interceptions and has problems and can't manage the game--Chiefs lose.

Cassel makes no mistakes and manages the game--Chiefs win.

I have a bad feeling that this is going to be a Chiefs loss.

Monday, November 1, 2010

World Series: Giants Prevailing

Just a short note for what might very well be a short World Series. The SF Giants are up 3-1 with game 5 tonight in San Fran. It's a rematch of game one, and I bet it will be long on pitching, as it is an ace rematch, Lee and Lincecum.

Ron Washington, the Rangers manager, took some heat for not starting his ace, Cliff Lee, in the forth game, which the Rangers lost by shut out last night, leaving them 3-1 and having to win 3 in a row, including the last two in San Fran. The Rangers have looked tight and inexperienced in the series, especially at the plate.

Tonight's game, though, does have "classic" potential...

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Let me make this perfectly clear...

Randy Moss in Kansas City?

Talented receiver--yes. Serious head case--way yes. Locker room cancer--most likely.

Not right for a young, up and coming team, not at all.

To put it succinctly,

NO.

Besides, he had his best years already, in his first run with the Vikes and with New England and Tom Brady, with whom he visited after the game between NE and Minnesota yesterday.

Hopefully, the Giants, Saints, Bucs and Jets will all stay away from him too.

Your Josh Freeman Update

Jayhawks and Wildcats, along with help from a Duck, combined forces to take Tampa Bay to victory in a wild one in Arizona yesterday. The final score was 38-35 and the victory wasn't sure until former Kansas Jayhawk Aqib Talib intercepted an Arizona pass in the last couple minutes--and even then the Cardinals didn't go away quietly.

The Bucs went out to a 17 point lead on the strength of two Pick-6's including one by Talib. The Cardinals went to the bullpen, yanking starting QB Max Hall, replacing him with Derek Anderson. Anderson played better but he too, had two INTs, giving the Cards a total of 4 INTs, against two fumbles lost and no INTs for the Bucs.

LeGarrette Blout, whose last claim to fame was being suspended for his senior year at the University of Oregon for punching a player from Boise State, rushed for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. His run included a 40+ yarder. Josh Freeman, the K State Wildcat, was 18/25 for 278 yards, one touchdown, and yes, another game without an INT. Josh also added 22 yards running. The game was an exciting back and forth affair that looked like it was fun to watch. Tampa Bay is now also a surprising 5-2, although a look at the chat boards reveals some fan bitterness is remaining towards this team and people are reluctant to jump on the bandwagon.

Only one other note; a request: Arizona Cardinals--please retire these black alternate unis. Only red please, even all red!

Photos of Josh Freeman and Aqib Talib from nfl.com.

Whew!

Ryan Succop celebrates after making the game winning FG in OT (nfl.com)

Happy with a win, I am. Even happier to hear players and coaches admit that there was a bit of luck with the win. That timely wind gust for the second try for the winning FG by Buffalo. Bills QB Fitzgerald unable to throw consistently accurate balls in the Arrowhead wind as well.

However, when it had to, the defense bowed up and held, taking advantage of the Bills' failures on offense. The Chiefs ran like crazy on the Bills, and Cassel managed the game adequately. I'm positive that the Chiefs would not have won were the Bills just a little better. However, they did win this game that they were supposed to win, and I'll take that. Whodathot 5-2, after last year?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Glad to Be Wrong

Earlier this year I was ready to consign the New York football Giants to the dumpster because they were losing and looking ugly doing it. No defense, no running game and Eli Manning with happy feet and an erratic arm. I am happy to report that the Giants have won three in a row, including a drubbing of those Cowboys in Dallas and are in a position to be in control of the NFC East. Yup, happy to be wrong here.

Also, I wrote that the University of Missouri's football team was "average," beating the bad teams of the Big 12 but having no signature wins against powers. Well, last Saturday the Tigers beat Oklahoma. I am happy about that win, secured with fine defense and timely offense. If the Tigers can beat Nebraska up in Lincoln--well, now, wouldn't that be something? And I am completely happy to admit that I was wrong to call them average.

You don't always have to be right, you know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World Series: Not the Yankees or the Phillies!

AP photo

Tonight was the start of the World Series, in San Francisco, with the Giants beating Texas 11-7. This should be a pretty good series, with hitting and pitching. The Rangers may have better defense. Game one was an out of character slugfest for both starters Lee and Lincecum.

No Yankees! Sorry Yankee lovers.

Also no charming Northeast weather. San Fran can get chilly at night, but games should start at about 5:30 western time and avoid the worst of night chill. Play ball!

Your Josh Freeman Update

Freeman in the fourth quarter avoiding the rush and leading the drive (nfl.com)

I didn't know this. Of the seven games that Josh Freeman has won as a starter for the Tampa Bay Bucs, five of them were fourth quarter comebacks. He added to that total Sunday as he led the Bucs back from a 17-3 deficit to win 18-17 over the Rams. Obviously he didn't do it by himself as the Bucs defense had to hold the Rams scoreless for the second half. But he executed the hurry up offense and made a touchdown pass with 10 seconds left to win the game. His final stats: 22/40 for 212 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.

TB's coach proclaimed his young team the "best in the NFC"--quite a contrast to the Chiefs coaching staff. Bulletin board material for the Arizona Cardinals, TB's next opponent.

Chiefs Look Forward

Thomas Jones goes over the top to get short yardage and a first down. He still is plenty powerful, still has some speed and lends leadership in the locker room. (Kansas City Star)

Our very own KC Chiefs are 4 and 2 and in first place in the AFC West. After a middling to poor first half against Jacksonville, the Chiefs forced inexperienced QB Todd Bouman into errors and played strong offense as well to win going away 42-20. Look for the Chiefs to continue to take advantage of a relatively soft schedule. One of the marks of a good NFL team is the ability to win the games against clearly inferior opposition.

Todd Haley is playing all this success very close to the vest, always saying that there is something for the team to work on. I agree with this approach. This is still a very young team. There are veteran leaders on the team (Vrable, Jones) but the overall team is very young and not fully used to success or having to perform under expectations. I am very much liking the direction the Chiefs have taken, and while I don't agree with Haley or Pioli all the time, to me they have made many of the right moves and this team is moving in the right direction.

The remainder of the Kansas City schedule:

08Oct. 31Bills
12:00 PM CDT

09Nov. 07at Raiders
3:15 PM CST

10Nov. 14at Broncos
3:05 PM CST

11Nov. 21Cardinals
12:00 PM CST

12Nov. 28at Seahawks
3:05 PM CST

13Dec. 05Broncos
12:00 PM CST

14Dec. 12at Chargers
3:15 PM CST

15Dec. 19at Rams
12:00 PM CST

16Dec. 26Titans
12:00 PM CST

17Jan. 02Raiders
12:00 PM CST


Of course, the Chiefs could be "flexed" onto Sunday night if called for by NBC. Wouldn't that be cool if it was one of the home games?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Knew?

Who knew the Chiefs defense would yak up a hairball in the fourth quarter? Four possessions--four touchdowns for the Texans, bringing them to a 35-31 win. The Chiefs gagged up two 10 point leads in the game.

Also, Tampa Bay just go spanked by New Orleans. A thoroughgoing beating administered by a better team. However, it was not aided and abetted by Josh Freeman interceptions--he had none. TB just couldn't do anything against a superior team.

Both New York teams won.

The NFL rolls on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Checking in With Baseball

A quick check of baseball here.

Yankees-Rangers tied 1-1. They are playing in Texas and the Yankees came back from behind on Friday to defeat the Rangers, just like they did against the Twins in the Divisional series. This time, the loss did not break the competition and the Rangers came back and tied the series. Now, it goes to New York for 3 games. Go Texas! So sick of the Yankees!

Giants-Phillies have had one game and it went to the Giants, a close 4-3 victory that featured 2 home runs off of Roy Halladay. They are playing in Philadelphia. Game 2 tomorrow--features Jonathan Sanchez against Roy Oswalt. Should be a good one.

Paul Lukas of the Uniwatch Blog notes that teams playing at home and wearing colored tops (rather than dressing in all white) have lost every game at home wearing those colored tops. Rangers, Phils, stick to white at home please!

Local Colleges: Kansas is Really Bad at Football

Jayhawk Nation is already asking two questions:

1. When's basketball?

2. Can we fire Turner Gill?

Because the Jayhawks are really bad at football this year. Kansas State skunked them on Thursday past.

Kansas State and Missouri are average Big 12 football teams this year. This basically means that they will beat the teams they are supposed to beat, they will lose to the teams they are supposed to lose to and they will beat on each other.

Meantime, Kansas State has been picked to win the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship this year.

Chiefs-Texans: The Incompetent Meets the Inept

Just a few short predictive words on the Chiefs game tomorrow: The Chiefs can win this game.

If they do well what they've been doing, and can do something better. That is, pass the ball against one of the NFL's worse pass defenses.

I think they can. Chiefs victory tomorrow.

Going out on a limb here boys--don't cut it off.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baseball: Two Series Wrapped Up, Two Still Going

The Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees both swept their division championship series against the Cincinnati Reds and the Minnesota Twins respectively. The Phils did it with awesome pitching including the second ever no hitter thrown in post season play by Roy Halliday.

The Yankees just did it by being a much better team, beating the Twins twice at Target Field, including a demoralizing come from behind win at the Twins' home field.


Tampa Bay and Texas are tied 2-2 with the final winner take all game tomorrow night in Tampa. The Giants and Braves are playing their game 4 right now with the score tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning. Editor's Update: Giants won, taking the series 3-1. They will play Philadelphia, starting Friday night.

Photos from mlb.com of the Phils and Yanks playing in the champaign.

Your Josh Freeman Update

The Tampa Bay Bucs are 3-1 also and frankly are in a very similar position to the Chiefs: Very young team with a rising defense, still looking for consistency. Only thing: I do believe they are better off at QB then we are, having Josh Freeman. In last Sunday's game against the Bengals in Cincy, Josh was able to take advantage of the two late turnovers by the Bengals and lead the Bucs to 10 points in the last two minutes, including the game winning FG with 5 seconds left in the game. Freeman's final line was 20/33 for 280 yards, one interception and one TD. He ran for 20 yards as well.

Even with this success, and division rival New Orleans the next opponent, Tampa Bay expects to be blacked out at home this coming Sunday. In fact, according to this blogger, the Bucs figure to be blacked out for their five remaining home games. Like one of the locals posted it's hard to figure they wouldn't get 65,000 people in to see a winning team.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Close But No Cigar

The game might very well have had a different outcome had Dwayne Bowe hung on to this potential touchdown pass. (Kansas City Star)

The defense played well enough to win. The special teams, while they did not do anything amazing, were more than adequate. There were some decisions on the part of the coaching staff that you could question, but that did not lose the game.

It was the lack of a passing attack and the inability of the offense to stay on the field. Matt Cassel continues to struggle, looking unsure and not confident. He is struggling with his accuracy. The receivers, especially Dwayne Bowe, are dropping the football again.

Result: Despite holding the Colts to one touchdown, the Kansas City Chiefs lost today 19-9.

I was poking around in the Kansas City Star's comment section and one reader I think has the right attitude. Yes, let's look at this game: take the good, analyze the mistakes and then move on. We have the Houston Texans next, fresh from having their lunch handed them by the Giants at home. Houston has not played well since their victory over the Colts and their defense in particular has had problems. So, let's go on to the next game and win that. This team is good enough to win the next game, unlike last year's team when we wondered when the next wins would come.

Yeah, I'm an optimist. It's all those years rooting for the New York Giants.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Any Possibility of a Chiefs Upset Sunday?

Most feel that the Chiefs have little chance of beating the Indianapolis Colts in Indy Sunday. I can see a way we could. If...

We run well against their porous run defense and keep the ball from Payton Manning.

We have at least one special teams or defensive touchdown.

We get some pressure on Manning without sacrificing coverage.

We have NO turnovers.

However, Manning is so good that it is possible that we could do those things and he could still lead the Colts to a win. The youthfulness of our defensive back field and the inability to get consistent QB pressure, especially if the game is even or Kansas City is behind could be our eventual undoing.

If the game is close we have a chance.

If we score first we have a chance.

If Payton Manning goes off, we have no chance.

Either a rout in the Colts favor or a close game with a last minute score for a Colts victory or a close game with the Colts offense frustrated. Two out of three scenarios leading to an Indy win--tough odds but not impossible.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baseball Post Season Set

OK, the regular season is over...the envelopes please!

In the AL, we have Texas, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay for division champs. The New York Yankees are the wild card. Texas will play Minnesota and New York will play Tampa Bay.

In the NL, we have San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia for division champs. The wild card is Atlanta. The Reds will play the Phillies and the Giants will play the Braves.

And as this article from mlb.com documents, heads are already starting to roll from the managers and executives of teams that fell short of expectations this past year.

Yes, New York Mets, I am looking at you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

True Confession: I Am Rooting For Michael Vick to Do Well

I spent four years in the Philly metro area going to school and during that time, the city's professional sports teams wormed their way into this New Yorker's heart. I still have to this day a soft spot for the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers. Part of that may have been that all were winners at that time in the late '70s and early '80s but the teams also had some winning players as well, players who played hard and embodied the spirit of Philadelphia. In the NFC East, always my second choice; if the Giants can't win, please let it be the Eagles.


Now, if you follow the NFL, you know that the Eagles lost their starting QB to a concussion this year and inserted Michael Vick in the game. He has continued to play and even now with the starter, Kevin Kolb ready to go, has remained the starting QB for the Eagles. He has received acclaim for his play--he has regained the speed that made him such a threat in the back field, has been more disciplined in the passing game and has shown leadership both on and off the field.
And I am glad for him.

He served his time. He lost his fortune. He lost respect. He is trying to regain his footing in his life. He has done everything asked of him and it has appeared to be genuine. So let him excel and show the gifts that God gave him for the football field. I hold no grudge against him. I don't want to holler "Dog killer" at him or stop rooting for the Eagles.

Yes, it's me The Observer, who blogs about Wayside Waifs on a regular basis and couldn't leave a kitten out in the rain, rooting for Michael Vick.

You know, there is a weird sort of bright side to all this. Would we, meaning the general public, know anything about this underworld of dog fighting if it wasn't for this public figure, Michael Vick, getting swept up in the criminal investigation like he did. Now we know. We know more than we want to know. But we know, and now we watch, we donate, we adopt and we care.

So here's a sweet ending: A redeemed human being, who gets to do the thing he loves the most--play football--and is an improved and better person. Dogs get more protection from abuse due to increased public awareness and donations to causes that help prevent, detect and prosecute dog fighting and care for the abused dogs left behind. A double WIN in my eyes.

Photos: Michael Vick X2 from Philly.com and an English Bull Terrier at the 2010 Pet Expo by The Observer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chiefs Thump 49'ers

Wow, everyone was convinced the 49'ers would win this game with a superior run defense stuffing Chiefs runners and an offense with a strong runner and weapons at tight end and wide receiver.

(I for one was not sold on the Niners winning--due to their heartbreaking loss to New Orleans and due to their HBLtoNO on Monday night--I really thought they were due for a let down and Arrowhead was the perfect place for the let down...I should have made this clear before so it doesn't look like "now picking.")

Well, there was a team out there with a strong run defense, good runners and weapons at tight end and wide receiver. It was the Chiefs.

Actually you have to hand the game balls out to the guys in the trenches. Both the offensive and defensive lines played absolutely superior, shoving the 49'ers all over the field, and enabling the fireworks on offense. And didn't you just love the play calling? Perfect balance between conservative and gambling.

Critical moment when the Chiefs could have lost the game: After Ryan Succoup's rare miss just before the 2 minute warning, the defense could have allowed the Niners to move the ball, and possibly score. Instead, they held them to 3 and out, and the Chiefs took advantage to get that 3 points they missed out on earlier.

Chiefs are off on a bye next week--they return in two weeks in Indy. Tough assignment!

In other news, Josh Freeman is held in check by Steelers defense and Steelers offense runs over and above Buc's defense for a blow out win by the Steelers.

Us Giant fans may have to step out of denial and recognize that our football team is not very good. They lost to Tennessee in New York, making them 1-2.

As I type the Jets and Dolphins are down to the last minute of their game, with the Jets up 31-23 and the Dolphins on the Jets 10. The Dolphins would need a TD and 2 point conversion to tie. The Jets have intercepted Miami's pass in the end zone, and will do the Victory Formation to win the game. The Jets may be the better New York team, now being 2-1.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baseball Slogs On--End Is In Sight

Royals losing more than winning but looking at a lot of guys and setting up for next year. There are some positives coming out of these games, and we are not going to lose 100 games this year either.

With regard to pennant races, Tampa Bay and the Yankees are in a dogfight for the division championship, but it's not to the death. Loser gets the wild card spot as a consolation prize. Kind of takes some of the edge off. Rangers and Twins counting magic numbers now in the west and central respectively.

Over in the NL, the west is a total fight, Giants and Pads within one game of each other, with the Rockies lurking. For the wild card, it's the Giants, Padres and Braves who have slipped enough to allow the Phillies to take the lead in the NL east. The Reds are far ahead of disappointing St. Louis and the Phillies would have to have a significant collapse to allow the Braves back in it in the east.

Regular season wraps up October 3--then it is on to the play offs and World Series. Guess Fall is really here!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Your Josh Freeman Update

Josh Freeman ran and threw his way around the Carolina Panthers this past week. You might remember that Carolina was where Josh played his worse game last year with multiple interceptions. This time, he threw for 178 yards on 12/28 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 43 yards on both designed runs and scrambles. His best play was when he shook off two potential sackers in the back field, then confidently, calmly and with good form stopped and completed a long pass. So Tampa Bay is also 2-0 unexpectedly.

The Grandview High grad looked right at home last Sunday, eluding the rush and making strong accurate passes (nfl.com)

Chiefs Win--People Fret Anyway!

Matt Cassell and the Chiefs offense need to improve if the Chiefs expect to continue winning (nfl.com)

I think we live in a town of people with black clouds over their heads sometimes...

The Chiefs are an unexpected 2-0 and all people can talk about is how rotten Matt Cassell is. (Well, he isn't playing very well, no and in some ways we are winning in spite of him, with running and defense and special teams...)

The win is the thing though. It's winning. We-Are-Two-and-Oh. Not Oh-and-Two. It took us til November to win this many games last year. And I do not think we are done winning yet. The team is carrying itself with a certain amount of swagger, swagger we could not buy last year. Swagger that has a can-do spirit that was missing most of last year, pounded into submission by the endless losing and the way we looked losing, crappy in every phase of the game.

So yes, we got stuff to work on, but enjoy the two "W"s and look forward to the challenge of the next game, here, against the San Francisco 49'ers (who are giving the Saints a tussle as we speak on MNF--but it is only the third quarter with S.F. up 14-9.)

Preps: Ruskin Loses First Road Game

I don't have any pictures for you this week as Ruskin traveled to Park Hill for their game last week and I don't have extensive stats for you--I did look at the box score earlier in the week however and it's amazing what you can tell from a box score.

Ruskin was leading at half time (again). Ruskin scored nary a point in the second half. Ruskin lost the game in what looked like a rout but was probably only a rout in the last quarter.

Hard to tell why. Possible reasons. Offense not good. Defense not good--couldn't get off the field to let the offense have a chance to score. Penalties. Turnovers (it wasn't a full box score).

So...hopefully the boys learned something. It's hard to tell if their next game, against North Kansas City at NKC will be a hard game--don't know these teams in this division at all. We could use another W before returning home October 8.

Nice thing: Left Kearney behind in class 4, and as usual, they took apart a southland team, this time Grandview. Center survived their trip to Grain Valley with a win.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Chiefs Shine in Rain

Derrick Johnson makes a tackle in the fourth quarter. He had 11 of them and forced a fumble too. (picture from nfl dot com)

If you are a Kansas City Chiefs fan, you just had to enjoy yourself yesterday. Nearly full stadium. Loud fans fouling up the opposition's offense. Exciting plays. Defensive stands in the forth quarter. Most importantly, a win. In fact, the Chiefs stand as the only AFC West team to win its opener.

Now there are flaws in this team. Matt Cassell was not very good. The only thing you can say good about him is that he did not turn the ball over. The defense, particularly after the last KC three-and-out, picked Cassell and the offense up by holding the Chargers out. Special teams contributed too, especially with the fine kick run backs, including one for a TD.

This feels good, but lets see what happens next week at Cleveland. Monday night teams often struggle in the next week. If we can get a win in Cleveland, well, then, even the naysayers might have to get a little bit enthused.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Night Doubleheader

AP photo of Joe Flacco getting sacked and losing the ball in the first half of the Jets game.

The Jets and Ravens have just started the third quarter with the score 7-6 Ravens. The game was utterly dominated by defense until the Ravens put together a 4 minute drive in the last 4 minutes of the second quarter to score a touchdown. Should be interesting to see if defense still prevails in the second half, or the offenses adjust and there are more points.

The Chiefs and Chargers follow at 9:15 pm. Chiefs could surprise. I just hope they show well, even though the eastern time zones might tune out due to the late start--that's 10:15 eastern time!

Update: Jets lost to Ravens in a dreary game that bored most everyone. With the score 10-9 and about 1:37 left and one time out left, the Jets could not manage the two minute quick step down the field to get in position for a field goal that would have won the game. This could be a problem as the year goes on.

Prep and College Round Up

The beginning of the winning play by Smith Cotton against Ruskin.

What a difference a week made for Kansas. The team that looked ill prepared and disorganized against a far inferior opponant got their crap together and upset a top 25 opponent, Georgia Tech. They did it with great defense and a power running game and steady play from QB. They are probably not this good, just as they were not as bad as last week. So everyone in Jayhawk nation, take a breath. Your football team does not stink. Meantime Missouri and Kansas State took care of business against cupcakes, both squads able to get lots of players playing time.

In the preps, a bunch of games were suspended and continued on Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful weather! Ruskin had its first close game for this combined team. Ruskin had quick strike offense and some defensive turnovers against Smith-Cotton. But the Eagles could never consistently stop the Tigers' run and penalties again reared their ugly heads, stealing vital yards from the offense and giving up yards for the defense. In addition, in the tensest part of the game, there was a short lived scuffle on the sideline between Ruskin players. Let me tell you, the crowd in the stands, which was mostly adults, shouted down the fighting players and urged them to stop and save it for the field. In the end the Eagles lost by two on a touchdown run in the last minute by Smith Cotton. My hope is that the coaches use this first close game extensively as a teaching opportunity for the team. At the end of the season, when winning the last couple games can give an opportunity to go to state play offs, this experience should serve the team well.

Your Josh Freeman Update

Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Bucs played the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and came away 17-14 winners. Josh Freeman was 17/28 for 182 yards, with one interception and two touchdowns.

He looked steady in the pocket, and appears to have grown over the off season. It was noted that he was wearing the Captain's patch--even for a QB, for a second year player to be elected one of the captains--that's not a small thing.

He did have one horrendous throw, an overthrow over the middle, that was intercepted, but his bad throw was overshadowed by one even worse--the throw of Cleveland's Jake Delhomme on the resulting offensive possession of the Browns that was picked off by Ronde Barber and nearly returned for a TD.

Josh had a long run of 33 yards. He was sacked three times--without seeing the game it is hard to know if these sacks were related to any of the common sins of the young QB--holding the ball too long, missing open receivers, etc. So a good steady game it appears for Josh Freeman, but the game was won for Tampa Bay by old man Barber.