Sunday, October 28, 2007

impossible to make it today

Marvin Lewis' decision to only kick a field goal on 4th-and-1 from Pittsburgh's 2-yard line in today's Bengals game is being widely criticized in the media, and rightfully so. Lewis attempted to defend accusations that the decision showed a lack of faith in his offense by saying that he didn't anticipate the Steelers marching down the field and scoring like they ended up doing. Basically he tried to argue that it was confidence in his defense--and not a lack of confidence in his offense--that led to the decision (although he did admit after the game that he should have gone for it, hindsight being 20/20). The problem is that any coach in touch with reality would realize that the Bengals' strength lies in their offense and, more often than not, the defense is their Achilles' heal. It was a terrible call, one that sucked any remaining spirit out of both the Bengals players and the fans. It was a game-killing decision, and one that essentially buried any small chance the Bengals had of making something out the their current quagmire of a season. Had the Bengals pulled off the upset today, there would be a three-way tie at 4-3 in the AFC North with Cincinnati right behind at 3-4. Instead, they fall to 2-5 and are all but eliminated from the playoffs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

keep on playing our favorite song

What should have been a short Saturday night trip to Columbus to see Queens of the Stone Age turned into a crazy weekend adventure for Daniel and I. Upon arriving in Columbus about half an hour before the doors opened, the parking lot attendant asked us what we were there for that night. When he informed him, he told us that show has been postponed, to which Daniel responded "You're joking, right?" He was not. It turned out that the show was to be delayed until Sunday night due to "illness." Needless to say, we were not too thrilled to hear this.

We quickly decided that we weren't going to let this trip go to waste and just go home, and since I knew Austin was in nearby Circleville for the annual Pumpkin Show, I decided to give him a call. After confirming that we could spend the night at Jon Brown's house there, we set off for Circleville. The problem was that the timing of our departure had us passing right down the center of Columbus at the same time that the Ohio State football game was ending, meaning that the streets were packed. What should have been a forty-five minute drive was doubled by all the traffic. It was nice to hang out with Austin, Dan Ebert, CJ, and Jon, but we were hardly in a mood to enjoy the Pumpkin Show after all the driving and the uncertainty over the concert's status. Jon's parents were very gracious in letting us stay over, and while the attic we slept in was actually fairly comfortable, I can't say I got much sleep that night.

Daniel and I headed back into Columbus on Sunday morning, but not before we had a brief scare leaving Circleville: when I got in my car, I realized that the headlights were still switched on from the previous night. The strange thing was that the headlights weren't visibly on from the outside and the car started just fine (I wonder if locking the car with my key chain remote turned the lights off, but I really don't know).

Not having eaten that morning, we decided to drive back into Columbus and eat there. Once again the trip was no where near as simple as it should have been. When we got back into town we discovered that there was a marathon being staged exactly where we needed to be. The entire downtown area that we were trying to get to was one huge cluster of traffic jams, cops poorly directing said traffic, and very slow runners. After spending over an hour literally going in circles around the same five-mile radius of town trying to get to the parking lot for the show, we finally found a way there. Once again, what should have been a simple trip ended up taking over two long, hungry hours.

Having finally parked, and after learning that the status of the show was still up in the air for the night, we decided to finally get something to eat. It just so happened that the cursed marathon would continue to haunt us, as the area we were in was serving as the finish line for the race, and thus was inundated with a flood of runners and their families. [On a side note, can someone tell me why runners wrap themselves in sheets of reflective tinfoil-looking stuff after they finish?] Nevertheless, we waded through the horde to the nearest restaurant, which was inexplicably closed at one o'clock on a Sunday. As was the next one. And the next. And the next (lousy Chipotle). Finally we found some German beer garden to collapse in (which actually turned out to be pretty good). We returned to the concert venue again, where they finally gave us confirmation that the band was on their way in. To make an already too long story a little shorter, we killed the next five or six hours walking around Columbus, exploring their children's museum, and watching football.

Since I'm getting tired of being so long-winded, and I need to catch up on some more lost sleep, I'll cut to the chase: in the end, the concert was still worth the hassle. It turned out to be a very good, solid show. We arrived in line early, and actually ended up in the front row on the left side (actually, Daniel was in the front on the rail and I was right behind him). I'm not sure what Josh Homme's "illness" was, but he seemed just fine. The band played a fantastic set. Even the two opening bands were pretty entertaining. They apologized for the delay and played a slightly longer set. The pit got a little rough, and there were some very annoying people in it, but nothing bad enough to detract from the overall experience. I wish I hadn't been so worn out by the time it started, but there was nothing to do about that. This was also the first concert I've worn earplugs at, and I think it is something I will continue to do. After it ended, we managed to make it home somehow, completely exhausted, smelly, dirty, and hungry. It felt great to get out of the same clothes I'd been wearing for two days, remove my contacts for the first time since Saturday morning, shower, and sleep. It was a very bizarre weekend, but we were treated to a great show.

Burn the Witch
Misfit Love
In My Head
Into The Hollow
Run Pig Run
Leg of Lamb
Little Sister
Battery Acid
In the Fade
Turning on the Screw
Make It Wit Chu
Sick Sick Sick
Do It Again
3s & 7s
Go With the Flow
You Can't Quit Me, Baby
No One Knows
No One Knows (reprise)
Song For the Dead

Saturday, October 20, 2007

suture up my future

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued another slap in the face to Bengal nation this past week, when he reinstated Green Bay wide receiver Koren Robinson after a year long suspension. Robinson had been suspended for multiple DUIs, which netted him over a month of jail time. As to why Goodell considered Robinson fit to be reinstated but denied Odell Thurman the same request (considering that Thurman actually had fewer run-ins with the law than Robinson), your guess is as good as mine.

Actually, we all know it's because Roger Goodell hates the Bengals. Who wants to bet he doesn't reinstate Henry after his eight game suspension?
And the Bearcats are upset again for the second week in a row. *sigh* Why does Cincinnati football have to always be disappointing?
Since we couldn't get tickets for tonight's UFC event, Daniel and I are headed up to Columbus tonight to see Queens of the Stone Age. Should be a blast. I hope Franklin can pull off the upset tonight, but I won't hold my breath.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

i wield a ton of rage

I had said the Bengals should win this coming week in Kansas City before I heard about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspending Jonathan Joseph for this week's game, stemming from Joseph's arrest back in January or marijuana possession. To quote from

The ruling stems from Joseph's arrest in Kentucky back in January for marijuana possession. The case had been dismissed back in the spring after Joseph went into a diversionary program and complied with what the Bengals say is all league and law-enforcement obligations.

Traditionally a first offense of the substance abuse policy had meant a fine and no suspension. But Goodell is going right to the suspension even though it appears to Joseph's only brush with the law and the case has been resolved.

Meanwhile, Goodell is contemplating reducing Dallas Cowboy Tank Johnson's suspension for multiple arrests, and is meeting with Pacman Jones soon to discuss the same. But Goodell has had no problem with harshly punishing any Bengals player. Goodell has done a horrendous job as commissioner thus far; there has been no consistency in his new player conduct policy at all. I take that back, there has been one consistent thing: targeting the Bengals and making unfairly punishing them to make an example for the rest of the league.

If Goodell even reinstates Ricky Williams after suspending Odell Thurman for another year, I'm going to go crazy.

tumble in the rough

Mark Curnette over at the Enquirer Bengals blog made a good post grading the Bengals' progress one month into the season:

First-quarter report card

The Bengals are 1-3 at the end of the first quarter of the season. The grades:

Pass offense: A-minus --With the running game sputtering at 83.3 yards a game, the Bengals are relying heavily on the pass. The team has 10 passing touchdowns but just one on the ground. Chad Johnson is second in the NFL with 495 yards, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh leads with 39 receptions. True, Palmer is forcing some balls, but it’s out of necessity. The Bengals are imbalanced offensively. The NFL average for pass plays is 56 percent. The Bengals are throwing the ball 64 percent of the time through four games (165 drop backs, 94 runs).

Run offense: D -- The stated preseason goal of improving the run game has not materialized. The Bengals are 26th in league, exactly where they were at the end of 2006. An injury to rookie Kenny Irons hurt, and it’s a fair question to ask if Rudi Johnson is finally wearing down. The offensive line is not blocking as well in the run game as it is for the pass.

Pass defense: F -- The Bengals have allowed 11 passing touchdowns, second most in the NFL to Cleveland’s 12. Cincinnati is 26th in pass defense at 251 yards a game and 28th in sacks per play with just four. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph appears to be playing hurt with the lingering effects of the foot stress fracture. Fellow corner Deltha O’Neal looks more like the 2006 model than the 2005 Pro Bowler.

Run defense: D -- With the inordinate number of injuries at linebacker, the Bengals are forced to play with safeties and ends as outside linebackers and a cast newcomers who were signed after training camp, a problem partially created by the front office. Despite the big number of yards and points allowed – 30th in yards at 403 and 31st in points at 31.7 – the Bengals are doing better on third down (tied for 17th at 42 percent).

Special teams: D (or I, for incomplete) -- The defensive injuries have devastated the coverage units, and special teams coach Darrin Simmons has been forced to work in new players every week. The coverage units – 24th against punt returns and 30th against kickoffs – played their best game in Week 4 against New England. But the week before in Seattle, the kicking game made three major mistakes that cost the game.

Coaching: D -- The Bengals needed six takeaways to win the opener against Baltimore. But the defense and special teams could not make one positive stop or big play at Cleveland. Marvin Lewis and Chuck Bresnahan’s defense shows no improvement in the past couple of seasons, though they would not use the injuries this year as an excuse, it is a partial explanation. The desired fast start did not happen, and the ultimate responsibility rest with Lewis for both game preparation and personnel decisions.

I also agree with Mark that the Bengals should win the next two games at Kansas City and at home against the New York Jets, putting them at 3-3 when they face their first showdown of the season against Pittsburgh.
On a side note, does anyone else find it ironic that I received the following nugget of wisdom from a Wok of China fortune cookie: "A diet is a selection of food that makes someone else rich."