Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, September 24, 2012 at 9:40 AM
No sir, no ma'am.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn't the only guy in this man's National Football League that would like to get his hands around the collective necks of the league's "replacement" officials as last night's wild/wacky and way-too-long Baltimore Ravens come-from-behind 31-30 win against the 2 ½-point underdog Pats marked the single-worst officiated game since the new zebras were brought aboard while the super-rich NFL continued to battle over chump change with its long-time on-the-field officials.
Let's just say that if the Patriots don't win the AFC East or maybe don't make the playoffs at all following this sour-tasting 1-2 SU (straight-up) start, than Belichick and his Foxboro friends will whip out the tape of this Week 3 game and tell you why!
The fact of the matter is the Ravens had their fair share of bum calls against ‘em too here in this prime-time tilt - when the dust settled on this mess the Patriots had been penalized 10 times for 83 yards while Baltimore had been flagged 14 times for 135 yards! - and if it wasn't so sad it would be funny, ‘ya know!
Safe to say the Patriots - who surrendered 503 offensive yards on this night - have plenty of blame to share with the whistle-toting officials as New England tried to put the game in the ice box with seven-plus minutes remaining and up 30-21 - you could see Belichick questioning offensive mastermind Josh McDaniels about some of the fourth-quarter play calls - and the truth is New England's young and mistake-prone defense never did get a handle on broke-hearted Baltimore WR Torrey Smith who caught six QB Joe Flacco passes worth 127 yards with two TDs.
And once RB Ray Rice (20 carries for 101 yards and one score) got rolling after the Ravens dug themselves a 13-0 first-half hole, the Pats' defense looked beat.
Belichick's post-game press conference was a doozy - he mumbled his way through a few answers and did everything in his power to stay mum regarding these awful substitute officials - but how much longer can the most powerful sports league on the planet take of this absolute tomfoolery?
On a lighter note, Sunday's Week 3 action was chock full of overtime affairs and so let's touch on ‘em with a different take on things ...
TENNESSEE 44, DETROIT 41 - Okay, so Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz repented enough regarding that silly go-for-it call in OT but how about the fact this Motown defense never could get a handle on Titans' kid QB Jake Locker (see 378 yards passing with two TDs covering 61 and 71 yards) and what's with a Detroit special teams that fell prey to a modern-day version of the "Music City Miracle" to go along with a 105-yard kick return for a score by Tennessee's Darius Reynaud?
Don't look now but things are unraveling quickly for the Lions who lost QB Matthew Stafford to a knee injury in this clash and somehow lost a game in which it dominated time of possession (35:36-to-24:24) and finished with a whopping total of 36 first downs ... guess what we're saying is Schwartz and Company "lost" this game long before that failed quarterback sneak in OT!
NEW YORK JETS 23, MIAMI 20 - Naturally, there's more than a few sun-tanned folks in south Florida today calling for the head of Dolphins PK Dan Carpenter who missed 47- and 48-yard field goals (the latter in OT that would have won the game) but since when is a 45-plus yard field goal a gimme in this league?
Instead of pointing the finger of blame at Carpenter, how about some rough treatment of first-year Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman who - instead of trying to get Carpenter closer for one of those two missed FGs - decided to have rookie QB Ryan Tannehill attempt a deep throw to WR Brian Hartline on a 2nd-and-7 play on the Jets' 32 yard line.
One play later a conservative run call only inched the ball forward two yards to the NYJ 30-yard line ... that's the best Miami could have done in that situation with the team's lone OT possession?
No doubt this was a game between two pretty dysfunctional teams and one thing that needs to be said about the J-E-T-S is that their offensive line may be the most overrated part of any pro team we've seen in years! Quarterback Mark Sanchez had to duck and run for his life on a slew of plays but we did enjoy that one pass that doinked off the helmet of Tim Tebow.
KANSAS CITY 27, NEW ORLEANS 24 - The third and final OT game of the day happened in The Big Easy where it seems nothing comes easy for these 2012 N'Orleans Saints. Miss head coach Sean Payton?
Sure they do but how about not blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead (and a 24-6 lead earlier) against a Chiefs team that had not scored many meaningful points in season-opening losses to Atlanta and Buffalo!
The now 0-and-3 Saints bent just enough on defense to allow Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop to nail six field goals including three in the fourth quarter plus that 31-yard game winner that capped a 12-play, 40-yard drive in the extra session.
While the Saints moan on about BountyGate and the absence of both Payton and key LB Jonathan Vilma, here's some key stats/facts from the Week 3 loss (and note New Orleans was a hefty 8 ½-point betting favorite for that game):
The Saints were out-yarded 510-to-288 by a rather pedestrian KC offense and N'Orleans allowed 6.1 yards a rush - yes, that 91-yard scoring scamper by RB Jamal Charles bumped up the average to be sure but take that out and the Saints still allowed 182 rushing yards!
Plus, QB Drew Brees - who just ain't himself these days - was sacked four times in all and was picked off once. Again, plenty of blame to spread out here, guys!
Tonight, it's ...
GREEN BAY (1-1) at SEATTLE (1-1) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
The good news for the Green Bay Packers is that they indeed "answered the call" with last week's critical 23-10 Week 2 prime-time win against the archrival Chicago Bears but the bad news is this team still lacks offensive balance - the Pack ranks 24th in the NFL in rushing at 75.5 yards a game - and so here's the Seahawks with an extra day to prepare zooming in on GB signal-caller Aaron Rodgers who spent the better portion of last week putting out some internal team fires after he criticized certain teammates.
And didn't you find it interesting that TE Jermichael Finley claimed in the Twitter universe that Rodgers is a great quarterback but "isn't a great leader". Hmmm
All we know is Rodgers enters this game having thrown for 522 yards with just 3 TDs and 2 INTs and he desperately needs RB Cedric Benson (99 yards rushing through two games and averaging just 3.4 yards a pop) to bust a few big ones or else Seattle's fierce front seven on defense will be in Rodgers' grill for much of this TV tilt.
If you're looking for Seattle rookie QB Russell Wilson (304 yards passing with two TDs and one INT through two games) to cringe at the mere sight of Packers' OLB Clay Matthews, forget about it! This cool customer does not flinch but he could use favorite target WR Sidney Rice (7 receptions/1 TD) to hold onto every pass thrown in his general direction here.
A little prediction: If Matthews and his Packers teammates collect 3-or-more sacks here, they win by more than the "margin".
Spread Notes - Green Bay is 34-19 ATS (against the spread) in away games under seventh-year head coach Mike McCarthy and note that includes a spiffy 5-1 spread log in road-opening tilts ... cha-ching! Meanwhile, Seattle enters this prime-time affair with a 10-4-1 ATS mark whenever gobbling up points since the start of last year and the Seahawks are 7-3-1 vig-wise in non-divisional affairs dating back to the start of last season.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have the Side/Totals of this NFL Week 3 Monday Nighter plus there still are lots of key NCAA Football and Major-League Baseball Winners too every day -- so go ahead and climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper and remember the College Football week kicks off Thursday night with a key Pac-12 bash between Stanford at Washington. Make sure to get all this week's key gridiron games! Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners.
NOTE: Catch our Mid-Week Update in the next Jim Sez as we dissect the latest NCAA Football News & Notes plus get you Thursday Night Previews from the college kids and the NFL Week 4 (that's Cleveland at Baltimore).