Sunday, October 14, 2007

On the verge of spontaneous combustion

Boston College 27, Notre Dame 14

Let's assume, for the sake of my sanity, that the refs called a perfect game yesterday. I mean...I don't think the refs ever really call a perfect game, because sometimes they just don't see things, and they're human and they make mistakes, but...for the sake of the game let's just assume that the refs got it right on all the big plays.

I'm not going to lie...that idea's really hard for me to swallow. I mean, it's really great that an online sports headline yesterday proclaimed that BC "cruised" past Notre Dame, and it's also pretty much fantastic how many times the crowd booed at the refs yesterday, and it's equally stupendous to ponder how blatant the holding penalty was (I don't really know; I didn't see it) that called back our last attempt to score in the game.

But for the sake of sports, let's just call it even.

Once again, the Irish offense sputtered like a car engine that's had its parts replaced too many times. The transmission still works fine, so there's no need for a total rehaul, but the replacement parts never seem tune with one another. (The brakes work great though, apparently.)

All right, maybe this is a bad analogy, but even so, we had ONE successful offensive scoring drive the entire game, and even that was only successful because of a "roughing the passer" penalty that drove us deeper into the opponent's territory than we'd been all game.

I honestly can't tell if our offense is getting better or not. I seem to remember watching the last half of the game through my fingers praying for something good to happen. I don't know what it is, but something still just seems...not right. They're better than they were at the beginning of the season, but it's still...just missing something. There are too many incomplete passes. TOO MANY third downs. Not enough push from the O-line to open up the running game. And, as always, there is WAY TOO MUCH pressure on the quarterback. Not as much as there has been. I feel like there were less sacks in this game than usual.

The real problem, though, is that really there isn't one thing you can pick out and say, "that's our problem." It's not like it's just the O-line anymore, letting defenders through like a sieve. I mean, we still have problems with that, but it's not as painful as it was at the beginning of the season. It just seems like a little bit of everything. Possibly it would help if we could figure out just who our quarterback was. When we switch to Evan mid-game, it always seems like something really great happens right away, but then after that we stall again. And I'm sure Jimmy's going to be really great...some day when our entire offense knows what's going on and he stops throwing into double coverage. And Evan also would be so super if, as Amelia so astutely pointed out during the game, he didn't have a depth perception problem.

The O-line needs to tighten up, the QB needs to dump the ball off faster, the receivers and backs need better blocking when they actually manage to get the ball, and it just...there's just something that's NOT CLICKING.

And it also feels like even when we make a great play, somehow it's just not great enough. Like Evan fighting to avoid that sack for what seemed like forever and at the last minute tossing it to John Carlson for what appeared to be a first down. And then it wasn't a first down, so the whole brilliant play was undermined by like half a yard. Stuff like that. It's so frustrating you sort of want to rip your hair out, but there's nothing you can really do about it, so you have to restrain yourself before you end up bald.

But enough on our offensive offense for right now, because I like my hair.

Glad to see Geoff Price is continuing to punt well. Don't know what was up with that low-snap business, though. Is that really a rule? I mean, are we serious? If the punter's KNEE touches the ground it's a dead ball? Or is it because his knee hit the ground and then he touched the ball? That makes no sense to me. Would he have been able to pick the damn ball up and run with it, or was his knee hitting the ground pretty much the end of the world? I don't get it. Someone please explain it to me.

Besides some pretty good punts, though, special teams play continues to waver between moments of brilliance (forcing BC to miss an extra point and a field goal) and moments of...lameness. We also missed a field goal, and none of our returners got a legitimate chance to scamper for the endzone.

And speaking of returners...I like Rocket's idea of chanting the player's names when they're back to return, but what about ARMANDO ALLEN??? You know that had to piss him off. I mean, I'm a big fan of Golden Tate and all, and his name is fun to chant, but number 5 got the ball on returns yesterday way more than number 23, and I think if we're going to chant names, somebody should really have Armando's back. (I'm just sayin'.)

I like our defense these days. I don't love it yet, but I sure do like it a lot.

We still have this kind of heinous problem of giving it up on big third-down plays (and also letting opponents score four touchdowns on us in our own stadium), but we're doing better. We stuffed a legitimate number of BC's drives and got a stunning pick-six on the best QB we've faced all season. Also, our secondary coverage is getting better. BC still got WAY TOO MANY first downs, but there were no endzone scampers on screen passes, and if Matt Ryan threw for a first down, then at least there was usually a defender there to wrap the guy up right away, which...sometimes is all you can ask for. And except for that unnecessarily long run at the beginning of the game, they didn't really blast us open on the ground either.

Also I would like to point out that we stopped their cocky-ass attempt to get a fourth down conversion early in the game. Ha-ha-ha...go be arrogant pricks somewhere else next time.

I also would like to thank the stadium crowd for helping BC to false start at least four times. Excellent work by the fan base. (I think we really brought the noise. Or did we blow the roof off? Sometimes it's hard to tell.)

Also I pretty much realized yesterday that eventually football's going to kill me. I'm not going to die in a car crash or as an old woman asleep in my bed or in a nursing home with some mysterious disease. I'm just going to keel over one day, mid-football game (probably as the result of an interception or a botched field goal or something).

I can't take this feeling of feeling too much over something I have no control over. I mean, is it really necessary for my heart to leap into my brain and bounce around until it feels like my head's going to explode every time we have a third and long? And what about when we make it into the red zone? That's even worse. I'm pretty much on the verge of spontaneous combustion preceding every snap.

It's great. And terrible. And probably vaguely concerning, but...I think after the USC game I'll get better. (No, really.) Unless we lose. Then I'll just....die.

At any rate...

Bring on the Trojans

No, really. I still mean it. USC has been exposed, and they're not as great as they think they are.

They're probably going to play way better against Notre Dame than they have against their last two opponents (just because we're Notre Dame and apparently we piss people off), but that's okay, because we're going to play way better against them than we have against our last two opponents.

Also, really, they're overdue for a loss in ND stadium. (And pretty much our team needs to know what it feels like to win at home, because this is ridiculous.) Actually they might be overdue for a loss, period. How long has it been? A week since they lost? That's really too long.......

But honestly. They lost to Stanford and had to pull a win from between their teeth against Arizona.

I'm pretty much shaking in my bunny slippers.

(That's not true. I'm too fierce to own bunny slippers.)

I haven't actually watched USC play a game this season because even just looking at their uniforms makes me want to hurl, but based on what I've read and the fact that Pete Carroll used the word "cool" in his post-game analysis last night sort of makes me think that, on a good day, our kicker could probably beat the crap out of them.

All right, so this is blatant lie, but quite honestly I don't think the Trojans are going to throw anything at us that we can't handle. I vote that our defense goes out there and kills some people, and I further vote that our offense works on its short passes, because nothing else seems to be working, and if we can't find a run game, then quick slant routes are going to be our key to victory.

Lastly I would like to point out that the Trojans have the dumbest mascot ever. Let's review, kids. What happened to Troy in the end.........?



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