Meanwhile, in Canada… It’s like we’re writing their headlines!
Speaking of the Rampage…
ARIZONA 52, Grand Rapids 48
We are legally obligated to call them “The Playoff-Guaranteed Arizona Rattlers,” so, The Playoff-Guaranteed Arizona Rattlers survived a scare from the Playoff-What-Are-You-Kidding-Us?-How-Stupid-Do-You-Think-We-Are? Grand Rapids Rampage, thus putting off the Rattlerpocylpse (please, feel free to steal that word) for at least one more week. [Sigh] Begrudgingly, we must mention the above-average late-game play of Jeff Smoker, who managed the crap out of the clock and converted the plays he needed to convert to beat the also-third-division Rampage. Horrifyingly, one of these teams – IF NOT BOTH OF THEM – will make the playoffs. Break up the American Conference, for they are a mighty juggernaut of quality football! James MacPherson was 13-26 for 270 and 6 parts unknown. Does that strike anyone else as weird? DID YOU KNOW: The Rattlers have now offered free playoff tickets to those of you that sign up for 2009 season tickets? Also you get a puppy? And a fluffy cloud to sleep on and a unicorn, and a sliver of the True Cross. This is the greatest front office ever. DID YOU ALSO KNOW: Grand Rapids could be next year’s Cleveland? By which I don’t mean they’ll pack up and move, but I mean they might enter the summer as a slimy, playoff-unbound pupa and emerge next spring as a scary butterfly with teeth, and we’ll spend next season going “WHERE’D THESE GUYS COME FROM?” I have complete misplaced faith in the transplanted-Georgia-Force-esque offense and whatnot. DID YOU ALSO ALSO KNOW: My metaphors are AWESOME?
Two more games to suffer through, but I’m not going to waste above-the-fold space on them.
SAN JOSE 59, Colorado 42
Oof. Good news: San Jose locks up their playoff spot, meaning they’ve played in the post season consistently since before The Restoration. (“Ho there, Cromwell, what do you say we play a gimmicky sport to decide who runs England?” “Certainly, Charles II! I think that’s a capital idea! Hang the nets from the ramparts!”) Bad news: the Crush are circling the bowl. John Dutton is the Brett Dietz that we don’t have a meme for, in that he gets buckets of stats, and we look at the lines and say to ourselves, “Why is this team 4-8?” Other than that, the game was one of those that you could watch on TV for a half, and flip around for the rest of your evening, as San Jose took the lead and didn’t relinquish it. Mark Grieb impressed with 8 touchdowns. DID YOU KNOW: Dutton is 4th in touchdowns in the league this year (69)? Unfortunately, he also has the second-most interceptions (15). DID YOU ALSO KNOW: Mark Grieb outstrips him in both categories (75/16)? DID I JUST BLOW YOUR MIND?
UTAH 51, Chicago 48
Crap. As I mentioned earlier in the weekend, I attribute this directly to the fact that Danny White, Dark Lord of the Sith and Questionable GM, reconciled with Steve Videtich, and lo and behold: guy kicks an 18-yard field goal to beat the American Conference-leading Rush. It’s entirely possible that after Chicago clinched their playoff spot last week, they decided to take the week off, but it doesn’t change the fact that something weird is going on when both Kansas City and Utah beat teams that appear to otherwise know what they’re doing. Weirdly, both Utah and Chicago tried onside kicks towards the end of the game with the score leading (Utah) or tied (Chicago). It’s like playing my friend Lou in Madden in high school, except Lou would often recover them, and I would resist the urge to throw my controller through his skull. They were his controllers. But I digress. Russ Michna’s only interception came on the very first play of the game, which was a bit of an ill omen as it turned out, as Chicago was never able to shake Utah, and Videtich managed to do his job as time expired. DID YOU KNOW: Utah has three receivers with at least 100 receptions on the season. Dear sir: that statistic is insane with 3 games remaining. DID YOU ALSO KNOW: Damien Harrell became an all-Arena wide receiver by decapitating “Touchdown” Eddie Brown and gaining his Quickening?
You know what we haven’t done in a while? The award for Most Motor-Control-Challenged of the Week. This week, it’s Philadelphia fullback Clifton Smith. Unless the data emerges that the ball was magically doused in Crisco in mid-flight between center Mike Mabry and Smith, or that Mabry bollocksed up the snap (you’re not out of the woods either, buddy), Clifton disappoints me. Also: YOU’RE ON THE 1! Have D’Orazio run a bootleg or some sort of screen or something. That call gets the Questionable Decision of the Week award that I just made up right now.