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I've had a lot of bad things to say about the Miami Dolphins as of late. Enough that after today's game, friend Keith sent me this text:
Dude. Stop complaining. Ya'll won for fucks sake.
Yes, we did! With the longest play from scrimmage (69-yards) to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter by any NFL team since the 1970 merger. (I know that's a long qualifier, but I'll take what I can get.)
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Georgia Tech came to Athens and lost for the first time since 2012. They lost badly, too. Through the first three quarters, Tech managed to score only on a punt return. After UGA pulled the starters, final score was Georgia Tech 21, UGA 45.
The game was essentially over when Georgia scored their first touchdown on their opening possession. I didn't see that, however. I hadn't yet reached my seat because my companion, Friend Ken, was 30 minutes late to the carpool. But he did buy me a pretzel in the third quarter, so I'm not inclined to hold too much of a grudge. (Unless I catch his cold. If I catch his cold, yeah, grudge back on.)
By the way, I would be remiss to mention that at halftime, the Georgia Tech band came out on the field and played a tribute to Aretha Franklin. Then the Georgia band followed with... a tribute to Aretha Franklin. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. indeed.
UGA finishes the regular season 11-1 (7-0 at home). I saw 5 of the 7 home games, and none of them were very competitive. Was that worth the increased ticket price? Maybe. Will I renew my tickets again next year? Maybe. It probably depends on how much they jack up the prices this off-season. We'll see what we see after the SEC Championship game.
Something to think about when you're done with your turkey and watching the Saints beat up on the Falcons tonight:
Kickoffs are simultaneously the most dangerous and most boring plays in football. To make the game safer for the players and more exciting for the fans, some propose replacing the kickoff with a punt. The solution, they say, isn't a big change. Just give the kicking team the ball at the 35 yard line as is currently done, and run a regular punt play. This solves the problem of two teams running at each other from opposite ends of the field, XFL-style. The obvious problem with this solution is that it eliminates the opportunity for an onside kick to allow the kicking team to retain possession. (Punting rules prohibit the kicking team from possessing the ball unless the receiving team has touched and dropped it.)
Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who is a proponent of replacing the kickoff with a punt, suggested an onside kick replacement in 2011. Line up the teams at the 35 just as you would for a punt, he says, and give them the option of throwing a pass instead. If the pass is complete for more than 15 yards downfield, they get to keep going as though they had recovered an onside kick. (Otherwise, the "receiving" team gets the ball at the spot of the catch or the line of scrimmage if incomplete.) The obvious problem with Schiano's suggestion is that teams with high-powered offenses may never have to relinquish the ball at all. That's not an improvement to the current formula, as it only makes games more lopsided.
I like what Schiano's thinking, but I think it could work better with one small change: make the punter be the one to have to throw the ball. This makes a post-score "kick-off" just another play from the line of scrimmage but with dedicated personnel. The game gets safer without overbalancing to offense while still allowing occasional trick plays in late-game cases where maintaining possession is necessary. Win-win!
There, now. Wasn't that a more fun Thanksgiving table discussion topic than politics? You're welcome.
What else is there to say about a game that UGA won, 66-27?
For one thing, it looked like the team was enjoying themselves. It sure felt like *everybody* got a touchdown.
And UMass scored on a 1 second drive to end the third quarter. That was impressive.
And in honor of Veterans Day, the band played songs for all branches of the armed forces at halftime (pictured above).
And Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were in the house. Each received a standing ovation when introduced.
And, boy, did I enjoy my Coca-Cola and pretzel. Delicious!
Also of note: This was Friend Mike's second UGA game. He has now attended more UGA games than Alabama games. That's a good thing.
Now bring on Georgia Tech.
A 7:08 PM kickoff on Saturday meant that I didn't get back home until just before 2 AM Sunday, but it was worth it to see UGA beat down Auburn 27-10.
What I will remember most about this game, aside from the drunk girl to my left who couldn't quite grasp the concept of "personal space," is the cold. It may not be the coldest Georgia game I've ever attended (that would be a Tech game almost a decade ago), but it was pretty darn close. According to the television in the student center, it was 38° at the final whistle.
My usual Auburn-game companion, Friend Randy, didn't think he was going to need anything more than a light jacket. He never did get the hang of the knit cap I let him borrow, but I note he never took it off, either. (You're welcome, Randy.)
As for the football itself, it seems that every year in the annual UGA/Auburn contest, one team out thinks itself. This year, that team was Georgia. UGA tried its best to pretend that it isn't a run-first, second, and third offense in an attempt to beat trick play-happy Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan at his own game. (Blankenship's failed fake field goal springs to mind.) Fortunately, great defense won out. Next year, let's keep it simple, okay, Dawgs?
I think maybe I've had it with the Miami Dolphins for the season. Sure, they won today, but not really through any act of their own. The Jets were just worse. Each team managed a mere two field goals, and the Dolphins prevailed when their less-than-stellar defense returned one of the Jets' four interceptions for a touchdown. Ugh.
For reference, the Phins managed only 7 total first downs and 168 total yards. It was bad. Really bad and not remotely entertaining. I could have spent those four hours... well, doing almost anything else.
Next week, maybe I will.
Follow-up to yesterday's post: Dolphins 23, Texans 42. (The game wasn't as close as that score. I hope you had something better to do with your time than watch it.) In the Adam Gase era, the Dolphins have been outscored 23-82 on Thursday nights.
Since I talked about it at length yesterday, I should note that Brock Osweiler completed 57% of his pass attempts with 1 interception and zero touchdowns. (And the officials took away a fumble returned for a touchdown on a technicality.) His final QB rating for the game was 65.3 out of a maximum 158.3. For comparison, Texans QB Deshaun Watson finished with a 156.0.
As expected, the Dolphins are now 4-4 and on pace for another in a long string of mediocre seasons. Yawn. I'd wish them better luck next year, but we already know that isn't really going to matter.
Kicking off week 8 of the 2018 NFL season tonight, the Miami Dolphins will play the Houston Texans. Starting at quarterback for the Dolphins will be Brock Osweiler. This is notable because on March 9, 2016, the Texans paid Osweiler $72 million to be their quarterback. Exactly one year later, the Texans paid the Browns to take Osweiller off their hands. Then the Browns cut him. A QB of that calibre has to end up a Dolphin.
Osweiller gets the start for the Phins because oft-hurt Ryan Tannehill is hurt again. Tannehill has started 5 games in the past two seasons, and the writing may be on the wall. Tannehill has already started twice as many games for Miami as any other quarterback since Dan Marino, and his record isn't exactly sterling.
Tannehill's record is 40-42. The quarterback with the second-most starts is Jay Fielder — does anyone else outside Miami remember him? — at 36-23. For comparison, Marino was 147-93. *sigh* (And, since we're here, I might as well remind everyone once again that the Dolphins, under Head Coach Nick Saban, passed on signing free agent Drew Brees in 2006 because of medical questions about Brees' reconstructed shoulder. Brees has only gone 117-79 since, missing exactly 2 games over those 13 years. *double sigh*)
So with fragile Tannehill looking at the tail end of his mediocre career, why isn't there someone in the wings ready to take his place? Osweiller is obviously not a long-term solution, and the third QB on the team depth-chart, David Fales, was shown the door by the Chicago Bears who let him attempt only 2 passes during a 2017 season in which they won only 3 games. The problem here, obviously, is with whoever is in charge of player personnel for the Dolphins. According to his contract, that executive for the Dolphins isn't GM Mike Tannenbaum but Head Coach Adam Gase.
Giving this sort of power to the Head Coach might seem like a good idea after years of Jeff Ireland' blind eye for talent, but maybe Gase isn't the right man for that job, either. It was Gase's decision to trade star running back and "locker room cancer" Jay Ajayi to the Eagles (where he won a Super Bowl) for a fourth-round draft pick. It was Gase's decision to trade star receiver Jarvis Landry to the Browns for fourth- and seventh-round draft picks. And it was Gase's decision to bring Jay Cutler out of retirement to do whatever it was he did last season. If there's no quarterback of the future on Miami's roster, that's Gase's decision, too.
Yeah, I'll be watching tonight as the Dolphins struggle to stay afloat in the race to the postseason, but all I see in the team's future is more of the same old canned tuna.
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The first night game of the season meant the return of the cell phone lights to Athens!
Ok, so they're not really visible in that pic, but trust me, it's cool. In fact, the only reason Sanford Stadium was that full at the start of the 4th quarter (score at the time: Vanderbilt 6, UGA 38) was because the homecoming crowd was waiting to play with their flashlights. It was worth it.
As for the football game itself: Vanderbilt was who we thought they were, and UGA started its season 6-0 for the second straight year — for the first time ever! National title, here we come (he says, tongue only partly in cheek).
The next home game isn't until November. I have my fingers crossed that by then, the temperature will finally fall below 80° during a game. While I like my Georgia football team hot, I prefer my Georgia football weather mild. And yes, I believe that I *can* have it all.
For the second time this season, I will not be attending a UGA football home game. Making it to one out of three would be a pretty good success rate... if I had season tickets to baseball.
At least this time, I have a good excuse: family. Can't live with 'em; can't turn your back on 'em and pretend they don't exist. (Right, Trey?)
Good luck with Tennessee, Bulldogs. And enjoy the tickets enough for both of us, Matt.