So, week 12 taught us that we know NOTHING about the league. None of what we assumed was anything approaching correct. How wonderful for the league that there’s… parity, or something. I’m wholly baffled. At least we watched last night’s game, and enjoyed it. Let’s start with that analysis, and work backwards through the rubble of our predictions.
I don’t use pictures, but I do use page breaks:
PHILADELPHIA 78, New Orleans 34. Jiminy Christmas, New Orleans looked hideous last night. On the good news front, his game is going to start an absolutely explosive turnaround for Philadelphia. Losers of 6 in a row? Ha! No more; as long as Graziani stays healthy, they’re going to clobber Austin next week, and probably knock Dallas around in Philly the following week. This was crazy-good for Philly, who executed in all phases of the game (as the pundits sometimes say). They outscored the Cavaliers! Interceptions abound! Abounded? Dwayne Missouri was a beast! We should contact Captain Soul and Moxie and congratulate them. The National Conference is on notice. Weird thing: the official Arena Football site has, as it’s main photo for the game recap, a picture that could not have been taken in the last 6-8 weeks. That’s just shoddy. This has been your first sentence-fragment-strewn recap of the day.
Orlando 46, AUSTIN 45: Other Gruden gives a sigh of relief as his Predators score twice in the last 5 minutes (which is an eternity in the AFL, I know, I know), including the final touchdown from Shane Stafford as time expired to beat the not-very-good-at-all Austin Wranglers. Quietly, Orlando has clawed its way into 3rd place in the National Conference, but they close the season with the following schedule: Utah (shootout), at San Jose (sneaky-good), at New York (reeeeeejuvenated), Georgia (after Dallas, the class of the conference), and at Philadelphia (see above). If I may crib from my recent lolcats obsession:
Hey, Other Grudenz: we’re in your skedule, killign your teams.
In other words, look out, Orlando residents. Austin? You’re bad. No biscuit.
NEW YORK 62, Kansas City 56: I answered my haiku question, I think. I’m still fence-sitting on how decent Kansas City is, but Aaron Garcia has taken the suck out of New York. File this under T, for “Things I’ve learned”: quarterbacks can change their team entirely. New York is infinitely better with Aaron Garcia than without him, and it looks like an entirely different team. The fight for the bottom couple of playoff spots in the National Conference could be reeeeeally interesting. Kansas City’s going to be fine, though.
SAN JOSE 69, Grand Rapids 44: Unofficial ISF Mascot Adrian McPherson got in the game in garbage time for the Rampage, as San Jose managed to (as usual) jump out to a 2-possession lead in the first quarter and not let off the gas. Mark Grieb threw for 311 yards, which, if you convert that to NFL stats, is something like 31,100 yards. He passed the ball into low-Earth orbit, or something. I don’t know. People were excited. 38 of the SaberCats’ 40 plays were through the air, if you’re curious, which is how we like our indoor football. Including our “Drumline vs. All” flag football in the indoor practice facility. which was on a 60-or-so yard field. Eat it, professionals.
LOS ANGELES 57, Georgia 51: Whaaaa? The Avengers and (before Saturday, clearly superior) Force traded scores for the better part of three quarters before Los Angeles decided to score 27 unanswered points. Georgia mounted a fierce comeback in the 4th, but Los Angeles made fewer mistakes, and Georgia ran out of time. Interestingly, the Force turned the ball over on downs after the LA touchdown that started their run. Do you go for the field goal in that situation? From the 2? I guess the fact that I even thought that is an Other-Kind-of-Football mentality, especially because field goals are a lot harder to convert in the AFL. Meanwhile, the Scrappy Chris Griesen threw for 364 yards, which is more than the 311 that I boggled about in the last paragraph, so, we’re exiting the Van Allen Belt or what-have-you with Griesen’s yards. Just so my metaphor doesn’t fall apart.
Nashville 44, CHICAGO 27: Okay, I have no idea what happened here. I know that Nashville is very good at controlling the clock, because they run the ball approximately 36,000 times more than anyone else in the league, but 27 points? Christ. The Rush failed to execute on 3rd and 4th down, and, with Sippio sitting out, somebody else has to step up. Incidentally, Sippio’s impact is the exception that proves my Primacy of the Quarterback Rule. But my goodness, this must’ve been a snoozer. I assumed that Nashville was in the Southern Division, because a tipster mentioned that that’s how arenaball is played in the South, but maybe he/she/they just meant south of the Mason-Dixon Line in general. Good Nashville defense of the lockdown variety + miserable execution on the part of the Rush = a really disappointing loss. Come back, Bobby.
COLORADO 58, Columbus 40: Ah, at least this game makes sense to me. Incidentally, Damian Harrell is in the midst of a streak of 78 straight games wherein he’s caught a touchdown pass. Jerry Rice holds the NFL record with… 13, and the NCAA Record is held by Larry Fitzgerald with 18. Both of these numbers are less than 78. Holy crap. I forgot what I was talking about. Oh, right: Colorado is waaaay better than Columbus, who are wretched. End of story. Hooray.
TAMPA BAY 59, Arizona 50: In the Mediocrity Bowl, Tampa Bay basically outlasted Arizona. Sherdrick Bonner is a really good quarterback, but Arizona can stop no one, and he has no one surrounding him. This has been a post of infinite contradictions, because that sentence completely screwed my earlier Graziani-Based Theory. Also, I was impressed with 300+ yards, but both of these teams passed for more than 300 yards. So, basically, ignore everything I’ve said ever.
UTAH… wait, what? Las Vegas 54, UTAH 53? Really? I’d make fun of Utah, but I’m really impressed with Las Vegas’ comeback in this one. They were down 21-0 before an interception by Earthwind Andfire Moreland started to turn things around. Apparently, the 80th quarterback was the charm for Las Vegas, as Nick Rolovich threw seven touchdowns and brought much consternation to the Utah faithful. More 300+ yard games make me wonder if I just wasn’t paying attention before. In any event, Steve Azar converted a field goal with less than a second left in the game to set off round-the-clock gambling, booze-fueled celebrations with strippers in Las Vegas. Some might say that the round-the-clock celebrations were actually just Vegas remaining Vegas, and were totally unrelated to the Gladiators, but those people are party poopers.
Most Motor Skills Challenged of the Week? The Chicago Rush. I want to know what happened, and I want to know now. A close runner-up is me, what with the near-complete inability to write coherently in the liveblog last night and then again today, with my ludicrously inexact theories and terrible analysis. Coming in third: the Utah Blaze, because, let’s face it, they let Las Vegas come back. In other news, I totally should’ve taken the day off of work today.