by Robert Ferringo - 10/11/2005
I can't fully explain the pain and shame I feel every time that the Chicago Bears offense takes the field. With he exception of Thomas Jones and Mushin Muhammad, it's like watching a Class D high school team. I mean, do you have any idea how excruciating it is to feel like your team has a better chance of scoring when the defense is on the field?
I don't bring this up for pity. When it comes to football, we're not fans. We're gamblers. This means that we're capricious devotees of whichever team it's in our best economic interests to cheer that week. But I bring up my dismay over the Bears offense because, after watching some atrocious quarterbacking in Week 5, I'm certain that most of you have a firm understanding of my frustration.
Anthony Wright, Gus Frerotte, Kelly Holcomb, Joey Harrington, David Carr, Aaron Brooks, Kyle Orton, - these are the fucking clowns that control the fate of my hard-earned and oft-wagered capitol? I mean, Vinny Testaverde climbed off his couch and performed well enough to be considered in the median of NFL quarterbacks. That's kind of a back-handed compliment to one of The Game's all-time losers.
The average statistical day for the 14 losing quarterbacks on Sunday was 20-for-34 (58 percent) for 212 yards and a poor 1-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The field generals for the victors put up mean numbers of 18-for-28 (65 percent), 201 yards and had an outstanding 3-to-1 TD:INT ratio. Translation: loser quarterbacks put up loser numbers for losing teams. These problems are magnified if their teams don't run the ball or the defense puts them in a hole early.
There are a thousand different bits of information you need to consider when approaching a wager - matchups, injuries, weather, location, coaching, the position of Mars in the heavens - but if you get to that desperate, frustrating, anxiety-inducing moment of uncertainty about a game, just step back and take a deep breath. When that moment arrives, just ask yourself one simple question: if this game were being played for my soul, which quarterback would I want leading my team?
Odds are that there aren't too many occasions when the answer is going to be Anthony Wright or Gus Frerotte on the road.
Here are some random thoughts about Week 5:
- Entering the weekend, the AFC was a meek 6-8 straight up and 8-6 against the spread versus NFC teams this season. This was after a dominating 44-20 SU record in 2004. But Week 5 saw the AFC go 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS against their counterparts. That included home wins by the Jets and Broncos over the previously undefeated Bucs and Redskins, respectively. For the season, the AFC is 11-9 SU and 12-8 ATS.
- Cedric Benson is carving his name in annals of legendary Chicago Bears running backs. I have a spot reserved for him right next to Curtis Enis and Rashaan Salaam. He gained six yards on five carries Sunday against the Browns. Benson got stuffed consecutively on a third-and-one and a fourth-and-two in the first half, and then had a momentum-crushing fumble in the third quarter. My question is this, with Thomas Jones gaining six yards per carry why was Benson even in the game?
Bears GM Jerry Angelo must've cried himself to sleep Sunday night. Besides Benson, rookie QB Kyle Orton had a crippling fumble in the final quarter, rookie WR Mark Bradley had fumbled in the second half, and rookie SS Chris Harris completely blew his assignment on the Browns go-ahead touchdown pass. It was awesome.
- The Ravens looked hell bent on self-destruction in Detroit on Sunday. Try 21 penalties, two ejections, four turnovers and 35 points yielded to a poor offensive team. Baltimore is now 1-8 in domes under Brian Billick.
Billick must've been following the Nick Saban School for Discipline on Sunday. Saban is heralded as being a strict taskmaster, but Miami committed 18 penalties and managed five turnovers in a loss at Buffalo.
- Tom Brady is now 9-0 career games inside a dome, and 12-4 after a loss. Since 2001 he has guided 17 fourth-quarter comeback victories. Second on that list is Aaron Brooks with 15. Yes, the same Aaron Brooks who's Saints completely mailed it in during that 52-3 monstrosity in Green Bay.
- Excellent work by both the Denver and Washington offensive lines - neither allowed a sack to a pair of overpowering defenses.
- My feeling has always been that officials can be terrible, as long as they're consistent. Well, one week after a horrible call on a David Carr "fumble" against Cincy, which cost the Texans a shot at the upset, the officials in the Detroit/Baltimore game made an equally piss-poor ruling on Joey Harrington's "fumble". But hey, they're consistent.
- Since "Desperate Housewives" hit it big, Teri Hatcher looks like she's been doing nothing but trolling The Strip looking for heroin and chilling with vampires at L.A. orgies. Seriously, she looks like a rotten pepper. Oh, and Hillary Duff called. She wants her wardrobe back.
- Kudos to Seattle and Dallas for snapping recent trends and posting two impressive victories. The Seahawks not only picked up a road victory, but did it against a St. Louis team that had owned them recently. Dallas had been blown out by an average of 22 points in their last 10 losses to Philly. Instead, the Boys completely overwhelmed the Eagles (holding them 370 yards under their average) in Big D.
- Atlanta's Matt Schaub (18-for-34, 298, 3-0) is bolstering my Mike Vick Theory. He proved that the Falcons are still a very good football team without No. 7. Oh, and do you remember that beautiful toss that Schaub had to Alge Crumpler for a TD in the third quarter? Vick can't make that throw.
- Randy Cross is a terrible announcer. The guy is Captain Obvious, with gems like "Miami is 2-1 and New England is 2-2 right now. Now, do you think that the Dolphins want to be tied with the Patriots? I don't think so." On the flip side, I think Troy Aikman is an outstanding analyst. He's clear, well-spoken, and gives a very analytical perspective.
- The Cincinnati/Jacksonville and Pittsburgh/San Diego games were both hard fought contests between stellar teams. However, it's somewhat troubling that those two games saw a combined 44 penalties for 396 yards. They were both tough to watch at times. Now, it's not disturbing when it's the Ravens or Dolphins, but it's different when its four upper echelon teams. Are the officials just being overly critical, or has the play just been that sloppy?
- Here's home field advantage: in their last 11 games at the Georgia Dome, teams have committed 33 false start penalties against the Falcons. The crowd noise and a fierce pass rush have helped them mask their Achilles heel - the secondary. Atlanta's defensive backs are subpar at best, and they were exploited against New England. Look for the Falcons to have a real tough time on the road against pass-happy teams.
- Freddie Prinz Jr. and That Guy Who Played David Silver in a sitcom together? Man, they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Those two are like the Anthony Dilweg and Steve Bono of Hollywood.
I'd say a much more entertaining duo is Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The pair totaled 19 catches, 294 yards, two touchdowns, and at least five highlight-film catches. I mean, they're making Josh McCown look like a decent NFL quarterback for chrissakes!
- Over the past two weeks, Philadelphia cornerback Sheldon Brown has scored more touchdowns than Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and the San Francisco offense combined. I still have lots of confidence in Philadelphia, but they've been outscored 51-17 in their last two first halves.
Also, they need to at least try to run the ball to take the pressure off McNabb. They're chucking it on 70 percent of their offensive plays, which is never a good indicator of long-term success. In their last two games - combined - they haven't even cracked 50 rushing yards. They posted 19 on Sunday.
- Have a day Shaun Dean. The 25-year-old Texas native and Astros fan caught Lance Berkman's grand slam in the 8th inning of Houston's win over Atlanta on Sunday. If that wasn't enough, the same guy caught Chris Burke's ALDS-clinching homer in the bottom of the 18th.
- I find it moderately ironic that the first player the Houston franchise ever selected was Tony Boselli.
- I'm really proud of the Marine Corps and everything - I have two cousins who served in Iraq - and I thought that last night's intro to Monday Night Football was outstanding. However, between the carnage in New Orleans, our occupation of Iraq, the prospect of long-term fuel shortages, and the Pakistani prime minister's desperate plea for international helicopters and support to assist earthquake victims, don't you think that those men and equipment could have been serving a better purpose than some marketing ploy?
- I saw "Two for the Money" this weekend. Solid flick. From a bettor's perspective, the strength of the movie lies in its ability to evoke gambling-related emotions. From the untouchable feeling of a hot streak to the utter devastation of a bad beat, I guarantee that you'll feel something during the movie. I would recommend it if you feel yourself needing a recharge at some point during the betting season.
"Sports are a place where all the wrongs in the world can be made right."
- Brandon Lang, Two For The Money
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.