Normally, you don’t see a broadcast booth spend a plurality of a football game raving about the “time of possession” statistic. Then again, normally, you don’t see a team win said battle by a full 30 minutes of game time, which is precisely what Miami did to Indianapolis last night. And then again, you don’t normally see a team control the ball for fewer than 15 minutes of the game… and win anyway.
But lo and behold, thanks to the quickest of quick-strike offenses, the Colts did exactly that; thanks to touchdown drives of 1, 6, and 4 plays, Indianapolis prevailed in Miami, 27-23. Indeed, the Colts’ longest drive of the night was a 9-play drive that led to a 2nd quarter field goal; on the other side of the field, the Fins had exactly one shorter drive: an 8-play, 25-yard drive that ended in a punt. After that, literally every drive of theirs was 9 plays or longer. That’s the longest shortest drive since [ERROR WE ARE NOT ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU CLIENTS ABORT, RETRY, FAIL?].
Ah, but without turnovers, time of possession is effectively meaningless. After all, it’s great that Miami played a slow-down game while Peyton Manning was flinging the ball all over the place with impunity. But since both teams effectively had the same amount of possessions, what mattered was each team’s ability to convert the drives into points, not stay on the field for the longest amount of time possible.
What’s worse, when the Dolphins got the ball back with just over 3 minutes to play and the ball on their 18-yard line, here’s the sum total of their offensive output before the two-minute warning:
- Ronnie Brown off-tackle for a yard
- Ronnie Brown off-tackle for 5 yards
…and that’s it. No, really. Two run plays, then the two-minute warning. Chad Pennington eventually slothed his way to the Colts’ 30 yard line before uncorking a Hail Mary, but that was picked off by Antoine Bethea as time expired, the Dolphins having never mounted a serious challenge at the Colts’ end zone.
It was an ignominious end to a game that, had it not been for Manning’s sniper tactics, would have been a successful exhibition of the Wildcat as not only a trick formation, but a clock-killing, ball-control offense. Brown and Ricky Williams combined for over 200 yards on the ground on 43 carries, and the Colts’ defense struggled to get the Fins off the field all day long.
And speaking of ineffectual play in the Sunshine State, the Florida Gators are still reeling a little bit from their 23-13 loss to Tennessee. Well, okay, technically they won by that score, but since the point spread was Florida -30 and OMG Tim Tebow didn’t so much as register 100 yards through the air, expectations, shall we say, were not met.
(Urban sees your shenanigans, and he doesn’t approve.)
Still, with the wailing and gnashing of teeth notwithstanding, Urban Meyer took the opportunity to go ahead and pick another fight with Lane Kiffin; according to ESPN, Meyer called Kiffin’s playcalling strategy into question:
In looking back at the game, Meyer said Sunday he probably should have opened up the defending national champs’ offense. But he said there was no reason to because of the Vols’ conservative approach to their own offense.
“When I saw them start handing the ball off, I didn’t feel like they were going after the win,” Meyer said.
“The way we lose a game there is throw an interception. Why put yourself in that position? Let’s find a way to win the game. We’re not trying to impress the pollsters. We’re trying to win the game. A lot of it had to do with the way they were playing. It made our life a little easier.”
Being that this is Lane Kiffin - who cannot keep his mouth shut - a terse response was in short order, mainly in regards to reports of the swine flu ripping through Gainesville:
Kiffin said he put his Volunteers in the best position they could be in to beat Florida. Then he took one more shot at Meyer, who said several of his players had been hit by the flu.
Asked whether he was worried about the flu also hitting Tennessee, Kiffin said: “I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and after we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick.”
The crowd then went “oooOOOOOOoooooh,” but that was only because the exchange was filmed before the Saved By The Bell studio audience. Okay, that whole part’s all made up. They weren’t even in the same room.
Kiffin, it seems, is something of a rarity; absent any success as a head coach, he’s already running his mouth at his more successful (indeed, his most successful) peers, seemingly in the pursuit of an irritated reaction. Ladies and gentlemen, he’s a troll. He’s like a YouTube commenter, but with a football team. Pretty soon, Kiffin’s going to be telling Jonathan Crompton that if he doesn’t complete three passes in a row, his first crush will never kiss him back and he’ll be haunted or something. Really, we’re only like two leaps of logic away from that happening.
But two people who were doing leaps of dancing (”Holy strained segues, Batman!” “Indeed, Robin, this one’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”) were Chuck Liddell and partner Anna Trebunskaya on DANCING WITH THE STARS last night. Let’s see if this copy of the dance stays up overnight:
We know literally nothing about dancing, except that we’re bad at it on account of our ladypartners not appreciating it when it ends up with us jamming our erections into their upper thighs, so we’ll leave judgment of that performance to those who give a crap.
One thing we do know is that there’s an art to successful cross-promotion. This - the front page of UFC.COM last night, according to Maggie Hendricks of CAGE WRITER - would not qualify.
Verrry well-played, UFC and ABC. We’re sure there’s literally multiple people - maybe upwards of 10! - who will click on that link and do exactly that. If there were a Venn diagram of those two fanbases, we’re not sure the two circles would so much as be in the same time zone.
More links to peruse while you rethink hiring that sound editor…
- Not to be all alarmist about the state of American education, but South Korean high school students do this at soccer games:
- Cuba’s top pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, has defected to a country you wouldn’t guess if we gave you 100 tries: the tiny mountain nation of Andorra. Bonus wackiness: he and his 102-mph fastball might be ready for the playoffs. The MLB playoffs. In America.
- While we’re on the strictly international tip, THE HOOP reports that Allen Iverson revealed he had an offer from those enterprising gents at Olympiakos in Greece. Because who wants to live in Greece when you’ve got Memphis, right guys?
- Meanwhile, stateside, we already brought you Jeff Reed’s moment of emotion from the Pittsburgh sideline on Sunday. But we hadn’t seen this posted online until last night; even two days later, it gets better every time we watch it:
(If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear this was sketch comedy at first glance.)
- The DAILY OKLAHOMAN reports that Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and his moustache are gaining infamy at OU and online, but that doesn’t mean his girlfriend, star Sooners basketball player Whitney Hand, has to like it.
- Manchester United reportedly gets more injury time at home when they’re losing than when they’re ahead. And by reportedly, we mean an average of over a minute longer, according to THE GUARDIAN. Nothing untoward there, of course.
- Your weekly dose of ESPN announcers reveling in the misfortunes of others comes at the expense of… Clemson fans this week; this breaks a 258-week streak with Terrell Owens being at the top of that list. Enjoy, you cold-hearted monsters:
- In today’s utterly reprehensible movie news, Dwayne Johnson - or is he going back to being called The Rock? Whatever. - stars in “Tooth Fairy,” where he is a minor league hockey player who’s ordered by the courts to spend a week as an actual tooth fairy. We’re pretty sure that this movie’s ROTTENTOMATOES.COM rating is just going to be “F**K YOU” in giant red letters.
- The Astros fired manager Cecil Cooper a day after being officially eliminated from the playoffs, says the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Instant verdict: All better! Houston’s definitely winning the World Series next season with pesky old Cooper out of the way.
- Near as we can tell, BASEBALLANALYSTS.COM apparently used paint guns and graph paper to prove that Zack Greinke has the best fastball in the game today. Who are we to disagree with that?
- And finally, according to KOMO TV, the Seattle Mariners have dropped their lawsuit against that proposed strip club a block from Safeco Field that they’ve been opposing. Because everybody knows, after a few hours at the ballpark, a man’s just gotta see some strippers.
(Hey, who are we to argue?)