No matter how this entertaining mid-October tilt ended, it was clear that whoever lost was going to be haunted by missed opportunities, because each team had plenty. Unfortunately, Cincinnati had one fewer missed opportunity. After Mike "the Motor City Regular Man" Nugent sent his last-second 54 chord solo shot reverberating through the pipes at Ford Field, it's the Lions who will be seeing ghosts of chances past and as they gear up for Halloween, it's the appropriately colored Bengals who will be howling in celebration at the Harvest Moon.
There wasn't one play, series of plays, or even an overarching trend that killed the Bromos today. The shanked punt by Sam Martin certainly hurts, as does AJ Green's 82 yard catch to open up the game, but my overall analysis of this one is that two evenly-matched teams played pretty evenly the entire way, each making spectacular plays at times and barely missing out on more big play opportunities at others. Both offensive lines did a great job of protecting their QBs, but neither created much space for the running backs. Both kickers missed field goals, and both teams missed out on scoring chances due to untimely penalties. Neither committed a turnover either, though the Lions had another defensive score wiped off the board, this time thanks to a blatant off-sides by pretty much the entire defensive line. Calvin Johnson was incredible, with a 155 yd/2 td/2 awesome dunks over the goalpost stat line, but A.J. Green was pretty good too. Matthew Stafford passed for another 350 yards and 3 TDs and no turnovers (although his accuracy was off, Calvin bailed him out at least once, and he couldn't finish two late drives that could have potentially ended the game), Dom had a sack and probably won't even get any fines this week, so what was the problem? I need more time to think about this one.
As for my viewing experience here in Boston? I didn't feel like going anywhere with Sunday Ticket today, so I was stuck with a stream of the game broadcast in the United Kingdom. It still had the normal CBS crew for the play-by-play, but instead of the regular game breaks, they flipped it over to something called the Sky Sports Studio, where some British guys hilariously pretended to know about American Football (and still did a more convincing job of it than Terry Bradshaw and the rest of the hyenas from the Fox studio) and explain it to the 26 people in England who wanted to learn. My theory is that the Pittsburgh Steelers only agreed to play that game at Wembley Stadium a few weeks back because they thought they could pick up an easy win against the London Sillynannies. I'm also about 95% sure that when the Sky Sports crew announced the Jay Cutler injury, they said that Cade McNown would be taking over at QB for the Bears.
The best part of this quite British telecast was that during commercial breaks, I got to see the previews for the straight-to-DVD release of "Green Street Hooligans 3". If ever there was a movie that really doesn't need two straight-to-DVD sequels with none of the original cast members, it is Green Street, a movie I'm all too familiar with as it's a personal favorite of my brother. In the original, Elijah Wood stars as an ordinary American college student, or at least what the writers imagine an ordinary American college student would be like if they ever met one (let's see, ordinary American college student--he must go to Harvard) and then gets himself mixed up in the violent world of hooliganism at West Ham matches (what is this soccer, er--football? See, I'm a typical American, who much prefers baseball, our national past-time). The highlight of the movie is when, in an uninspired baseball vs soccer argument, Elijah Wood brags to his new hooligan friend, "the Red Sox have a guy who can throw it 90 miles an hour!" So anyway, the third installment of this epic is being released today.
I can't wait for the following scene to show up in the Entourage movie:
(Vince comes into Ari's office, frustrated by a major dry spell getting movie roles)
Vince: Ari, you said you'd find work for me.
Ari: Vinny, what does it look like I'm doing?? I have NOTHING FOR YOU! You want work? Here, this showed up on my desk today, an offer for the second lead in the straight-to-DVD release, of fuckin' Green Street Hooligans 3!!
Vince: Hey, Green Street! Is Elijah signed on?
Ari: Fuck You. Try Scott Adkins.
Drama: You know Ari, I've been, polishing up on my British accent. Ever since I did that guest spot on Downton Abbey.
What can the DTLs do to avoid any more straight-to-loss-column sequels of today's heartbreaker for the rest of the season? Dallas comes into Ford Field next week, and unfortunately they're playing really well of late, winning two in a row and putting up 48 on the Broncos the week before that. When the Lions and Cowboys have played each other of late, you can expect some general weirdness to take place. Whether it's Tony Romo throwing a baffling pick-12 while sitting on a 27-3 second half lead (2011), Jon Kitna throwing for 3 TDs and sprinting untouched for a 30 yard touchdown against his old team, despite not being good enough to start for their 0-16 outfit two years before (2010), or Paris Lenon kicking a game-ending fumble back to the Cowboys to help choke away a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter (2007), we can bet that this will be a pretty close game, but it will be anything but normal.
After the bye week, the Bromos travel to Chicago. I hate it when people celebrate the injuries of others, but it would be impossible to deny that the Jay Cutler injury (he's expected to be out 3-4 weeks) helps their chances of coming out of Soldier's Field with a win. If they can just find a way to at least get a split in these next two games, they'll be in great shape for the remainder of the season, as they'll play only one more game in the final seven against teams with a winning record (Green Bay at home).