First-response team: Newtonian football fysics
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 14, 2009
(The CHFF first-response team races to the rescue with its initial equal-and-opposite off-the-field reaction to the NFL's Sunday afternoon on-the-field action. We'll keep updating this section throughout Sunday evening and Monday morning, so keep checking back!)
Our favorite scientist is Sir Isaac Newton. First, he endeared himself to Trolls everywhere when he took an otherwise healthy and nutritious fruit and converted it through the magic of alchemy into a fattening snack food.
Second, he taught us quite a bit about the forces of nature that define ourselves. Quoth the father of the Fig Newton: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." For example:
When a rocket engine creates a downward thrust upon the Earth, it causes said rocket to launch into the air with an upward force equal to the downward thrust.
When a Troll pounds down too many drinks on a Sunday night, he suffers a hangover of equal magnitude on Monday Morning.
And when the Denver bandwagon sheds its final sousaphone player on a Sunday afternoon, the Cincinnati bandwagon is suddenly in the market for an equal number of sousaphone players.
Newton was a smart guy.
Welcome to the Jungle
You'll have to forgive us if we never quite jumped on said Cincy bandwagon before today. Forty-three seasons of negative reinforcement will do that to a Troll.
But consider us on board – if only G&R had a sousaphone in its arrangements.
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The best defense in Cincy history
Cincinnati entered its Week 10 showdown at Pittsburgh, an 18-12 win that completed a season sweep for the Bengals over the defending Super Bowl champs, with the following rankings in our defensive Quality Stats:
No. 3 in Bendability (behind only Indy and New England), forcing opponents to march a daunting 19.29 YPPA.
No. 8 in our Defensive Hog Index
No. 8 against the run (3.79 YPA allowed)
No. 11 in Defensive Passer Rating (81.3)
The numbers are not overwhelming (we'll have updated Quality Stats for the Bengals and everybody else Monday morning). But the key is the only defensive stat that really matters: Cincinnati keeps opponents off the scoreboard as well as any team in franchise history.
In the wake of Sunday's AFC North-changing victory, the Bengals now surrender a mere 16.3 PPG.
If that number seems extraordinarily low, Bengals fans, it should: It puts the 2009 Bengals on pace to field the franchise's best defense in the Live Ball Era (1978-present).
In fact, only one team in franchise history has played stingier defense. Back in 1976, near the very height of the Dead Ball Era, the Bengals surrendered a mere 15.0 PPG. But it was a different era back then: offense was so hard to come by back in 1976 that the Bengals, surrendering a meager 15.0 PPG, ranked just seventh in the NFL in scoring defense.
Here are the top five defenses in Bengals franchise history:
1976 -- 210 points in 14 games (15.00 PPG)
2009 -- 147 points in 9 games (16.33 PPG)
1972 -- 229 points in 14 games (16.36 PPG)
1973 -- 231 points in 14 games (16.50 PPG)
1977 -- 235 points in 14 games (16.79 PPG)
Even Cincy's two Super Bowl teams, the 1981 Bengals (19.0 PPG) and the 1988 Bengals (20.6 PPG), failed to match the standards being set so far by the surprising 2009 Bengals.
Bottom line: Marv Lewis's 2009 Bengals may finally be living up to the standards of his rep. The 2009 Bengals, as of right now, field the best defense in franchise history when we take into consideration how drastically the game has changed since its Dead-Ball depths of 1976 and 1977.
Like finding a deep-sea bass in the Sahara
You have to look long and hard across the sports pubs, Irish bars and seedy coke dens of Quincy, Mass. to find a die-hard Chester Taylor fan.
Hell, you have to look long and hard around the sports pubs, Swedish steam baths and seedy coke dens of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, to find a die-hard Chester Taylor fan.
But we found one Sunday in Quincy: here he is, with his new BFF, a certain web publisher at the beer-soaked Varsity Club Sunday afternoon.
The beat goes on
The Cold, Hard Football Facts continue to beat the spread as if it were Tom Cable's ex-wife.
Heading into the Monday night game, we're 8-6 straight up and 9-5 ATS in Week 10.
That gives us a 96-47 (.671) mark straight up this year and an 80-63 (.559) mark ATS.
We've posted eight winning weeks ATS in 10 opportunities this season, though the two bad weeks were pretty bad. But we don't care who you root for – beating the line in 8 of 10 weeks is pretty good.
BrettFavre makes football bearable
So, like all good Trolls, we're in a hazy alcoholic stupor watching the final moments of Oklahoma's 65-10 rout of Texas A&M late Saturday night in Norman.
And what do the announcers talk about in the late minutes of the game? You guessed it: they talk about how much BrettFavre loves football and how much "fun" he has while he's playing.
We couldn't make this stuff up. Apparently, it's part of the broadcasters union contract that they must talk about BrettFavre having fun during every football game, no matter how disconnected the game, the teams and the subjects are from the event at hand.
It's amazing, really, that BrettFavre is the only person in the history of the game who's derived some semblance of joy from the game of football. For everybody else, football is a tedious exercise in boredom, detached irony and ennui. Only BrettFavre makes football bearable.
What will we do in 2037, when he finally retires? Perhaps the game of football, which nobody has ever enjoyed before other than BrettFavre, will collapse upon itself like a cosmic white dwarf.
BrettFavre had a hell of a lot of fun against the Detroit defense Sunday afternoon, in Minnesota's 27-10 victory. In fact, it's hard not to celebrate any time you play the Lions, who will field one of the worst pass defenses in the entire history of the NFL for the third straight season here in 2009.
BrettFavre completed 20 of 29 passes for an astounding 344 yards. That's 11.86 YPA for those of you keeping score at home.
If BrettFavre fans find that figure an extraordinarily high average per attempt, there's a good reason: it is.
BrettFavre has surpassed 11.86 YPA just a handful of times in his career, and only once in the past five seasons (he averaged 12.26 YPA back in Week 8 of 2007, during Green Bay's 19-13 win at Denver).
MJD dodges a bullet
Did you see the final moments of Jacksonville's 24-22 win at the Meadowlands over the Jets?
First, with the Jaguars trailing 22-21 in the final two minutes, Maurice Jones-Drew took at dive at New York's 1 yard line when he had a sure touchdown in front of him. We understand what he was trying to do: he was trying to take time off the clock and deny the Jets any chance to mount a come-from-behind drive.
It worked: Josh Scobee booted a 21-yard field goal with seconds remaining to lift the Jaguars to the victory. But so many things could have gone wrong for Jacksonville after MJD took his dive: a fumbled snap, a botched field goal exchange, a missed kick.
Of course, none of these gaffes transpired and the Jags won. But the bottom line is that MJD effectively took points off the board when he took his dive. It worked in his favor this week: but he should have punched the ball in and given his team a 28-22 lead.
But that wasn't even the strangest part: the strangest part came after the final whistle when MJD grapped a chintzy trophy of some sort off of the sidelines and carried it on to the field in triumph, as if he had just won the Super Bowl. Not sure what the hell was up with that.
As far as we can see, the Jags had just barely escaped with a two-point win over a 4-5 team. We haven't seen anyone over-celebrate such a meaningless accomplishment since the time our own Frankie C. took home second-place in the Mr. Extremely Average Looking contest down in Plainville, Mass. three years ago.
You know our motto: act like you've been there before.
Have we told BrettFavre lately that we love him?
Here's BrettFavre's 2009 stat line in the wake of Minnesota's 27-10 snoozer of a victory over the Lions.
194 of 285 (68.1%) for 2,269 yards, 8.0 YPA, 17 TD, 3 INT and a 107.5 passer rating.
If those numbers look pretty good, they should: They put BrettFavre, a three-time NFL MVP, on pace for career records in completion percentage, yards per attempt, TD-INT ratio and passer rating.
Not only are those numbers pretty good by the standards of a Hall of Fame career, they would also pretty much erase every single-season record ever compiled by a quarterback in his 40s.
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