Who’s watching football today?

December 23, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

THIS IS A RUNNING BLOG THAT WILL GO ALL DAY OR UNTIL THE RAVENS WIN OR LOSE THIS UGLY AFFAIR….

One more reminder: Today’s promotion at the Gold Club has been cancelled.

So, I’ll be holding an open blog area here today to chat, post thoughts, comments, etc. if you are as bored as I am, watching Marvin Lewis and Jamal Lewis freeze today in Cincinnati.

So, post comments if you wish, I’ll post them all afternoon…

Initial thoughts:

1:17 p.m.

* I’m assuming there are a lot of Clevelanders in Cincy today, given the fact that this is the biggest game they’ve played in years. But with all of the orange, who the hell can tell, right? I’m waiting for the first (and inevitable) Cleveland score.

* The mere notion that it’s Christmas weekend and the Browns can still win the AFC North just boggles my mind. It feels like two weeks ago that I sat with Phil Savage in Cleveland, where he told me to temper my enthusiasm for the 2007 Browns. Even HE didn’t think they could be 9-5, I’m convinced.

* Nice story with Kevin Everett in Buffalo today. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bills play.

* I hope the Dolphins kick the Patriots asses. I’m just SICK of the New England Patriots and I do not want them to win.

* Is there anything worse than being a Saints fan today, sitting in that stadium and watching that McNabb fumble thing start your afternoon.

* My old buddy Dave Zastudil didn’t look so good on that snap in Cincy.

* Leftover from last few nights: The only thing worse than Bryant Gumbel on NFL Network, is Bryant Gumbel with Deion Sanders and Marshall Faulk. That broadcast on Thursday night set a new standard for how poor the NFL Network must be run. At least twice a week, I try to watch NFL Network, because I love the NFL. And every time I see Rich Eisen’s smugness, I turn it off. Just my two cents, but I’ve never met ANYONE who says, "I LOVE THAT RICH EISEN!" And I don’t know ANY NFL fan who really "loves" NFL Network. Honestly, it should be the gold standard, and it’s a daily embarrassment.

* It looks warm in Jacksonville…

1:32 p.m.

* I’m 30 minutes into my day and this kinda sucks. The Cincy-Cleveland game is less than fulfilling (how can I root for either one of them?). The Saints-Eagles game isn’t bad, but there’s no dog in this hunt — but looks like they might score 100 points.

I think if the Ravens made a habit of being bad, I’d have to turn to fantasy football to have any fun with the NFL.

2:39 p.m.

* A friend just text me and asked me what I thought the Ravens would do today. I said this:

"A third-string QB, making his first career start on the road, in Seattle, three  times zones away, in a VERY hostile stadium where the hometeam has a dog in the hunt, no Ray Lewis, no Chris McAlister, no Samari Rolle, no Trevor Pryce. I wouldn’t say NO chance. But I would give Troy Smith a 10% chance of winning this game. If you thought the Ravens had mismatches earlier in the season, wait’ll you see them try to win with a third-string QB today. If the Ravens win today and Smith is the deciding factor, I’ll be absolutely shocked."

My prediction: Seattle 38, Baltimore 9

* WOW. Do the Browns look like they’re being fitted for a dog’s collar. Yikes! They STINK today!

* Fred Taylor looks timeless and ageless…Bill Cowher just said, "The Jacksonville Jaguars are playing as good as any team in the NFL."

* The Colts put 24 on the board in the first half, and no one gives them a snowball’s chance in New England in January. We’ll see…

* Is there anything better than watching the Bears and the Packers play amidst snowflakes?

* There could be NOTHING worse than being inside Rich Stadium in Buffalo right now. That weather looked downright awful. And then there’s the fact that you’re still in Buffalo!

4:21

When you get Bill MacAtee and Steve Beuerlein at the outset, you know you must be 4-10.

So far, my video is a mess on WJZ…flipping all over the place and the game is coming in and out, just in time to see a variety of errors by Corey Ivy.

The weather looks downright Seattle-esque today, that 12th man banner and mob scene look intimidating.

Nice stop by T-Sizzle on 3rd and 1.

Every defensive stop today will be a major victory considering the personnel.  The Ravens are 1st and 98 for Troy Smith.

Buckle your seatbelts…we watch because we never know what’s gonna happen!

4:25

Troy Smith shows some escapability on 3rd down, which will be essential to his livelihood today.

McAfee said that McGahee is "as happy as he’s ever been playing football." At 4-10 and with the lack of joy I’ve personally felt about this season, I don’t know if I like that comment.

Sam Koch again appears.

4:37

Kenny Ballgame and Hockey Meg have arrived at the condo.

"At least they’re not losing," he said.

Just then, Troy Smith took off running again, leading with his scull. Not gonna last long in the NFL with that move, rook.

Sam Koch appears for the second time.

4:51

After receiving a rare "gift" call on the Matt Hasselbeck-Ed Reed interception, Willis McGahee is now writhing in pain on the turf of Seattle.

"In many ways, McGahee has been the sum total of the Ravens’ offense," Beuerlein offers.

Yep.

I’m not used to watching on TV. So now, I’m watching jewelry ads instead of seeing what’s happening with Willis.

Not him too?

Now Derrick Mason looked like he was going Jim Marshall before he fakes that catch. I’m 3,000 miles away and could see that the ball skipped.

It took me two seconds. It took paid NFL officials about six minutes.

BTW: Is there any more blatant example of the Pro Bowl’s irrelevance and/or  "honorary system" than seeing Jon Ogden, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed going to Hawaii? I remember being in the locker room back in 1996 when Bennie Thompson railed that Lewis had been screwed outta his first Pro Bowl.

Good for Ray! He’s now played long enough that he’s returning the favor.

Sam Koch punts yet again…

5:04

I just turned to Kenny Ballgame as the Seahawks neared the red zone and said, "At least it’s still nothing-nothing."

Just as I spewed out the last syllable, Matt Hasselbeck hit Nate Burleson over Willi Gaston’s shoulder and the game is scoreless no more.

Gary Stills just drew laundry and Troy Smith is coming on.

I wanna see Smith throw the bomb…

5:18

The Ravens offense looks just as bad with Smith: he’s 1-for-5 with 3 yards of passing offense. He has not looked past 10 yards downfield before ducking and running for his life.

Matt Hasselbeck is keeping us in the game. It’s like they’re toying with us, driving and then giving the ball away, first to Reed and now to Derrick Martin.

It was cool to see Martin celebrate, because let’s be honest, there hasn’t been a lot to celebrate.

It doesn’t help Troy Smith that once everything goes right, Mark Clayton doesn’t catch the ball when it hits him between the 8 and 9.

But, how about that aborted home run call on the next play to Clayton. Why the heck not, right?

That’s one thing about 4-10: what have you got to lose?

More Mark Clayton! First down Ravens…

More Mike Anderson, more "reviewable" fiascoes.

Yikes…

5:26 p.m.

Mike Anderson is disgusted. I’m disgusted. And it’s pretty clear this instant replay stuff doesn’t really work.

That’s a tough call, but as a game-changing play of that magnitude (from the look of the Ravens’ offense, the game appears to be over already), it just sucks.

Not a homer call, it just looked like Anderson was down before the ball popped out.

Funny, I don’t even have the energy to be upset when we get hosed.

It’s almost like, "Just bring on the draft pick!"

5:34

I loved that Deon Grant push-up routine after dropping a sure pick of Troy Smith.

I would MUCH prefer to see that then seeing our defensive players stalking no one in particular and beating on their chest behind the line when we’re getting our asses kicked on the scoreboard.

But that’s just me…

Geez, here comes Sam Koch again.

It’s 14-0 Seahawks and it feels a little hopeless…

5:40

Watching the driving rain fall over the stadium lights in Seattle, my wife just turned to me and literally read my mind: "I’m glad I’m here on the couch and not there!"

Amen, sister…

First Downs: Seattle 13, Baltimore 3

Passing Yards: Seattle 175, Baltimore 16

Antwan Barnes just hit Matt Hasselbeck out of bounds. There are no excuses for that one. You can’t hit the quarterback as he dives out of bounds. They’re gonna call that EVERY time.

Seattle is driving…and the rain is falling harder.

My man Bobby Nyk text me before kickoff from Sect. 335 in Seattle. God bless, him!

5:45

Shaun Alexander looked like he smelled the endzone paint.

And now we see why Nick Griesen is not Ray Lewis.

Kenny Ballgame has his Slingbox set up in my kitchen and he’s streaming the Dolphins-Patriots game.

New England is killing Miami 28-0.

The Ravens are losing 21-0.

We’ll see if Mike Holmgren is gonna call off the dogs. My guess is, not until it’s 35-0.

Please make this season end!

Like I said in the pre-game, there’s no evaluating Troy Smith’s performance when he’s running for his life.

It’s now 247-65 in yardage.

But Quinn Sypniewski is getting his mojo going. Is a field goal too much to ask before halftime?

We’ve broken the magical plane of midfield for the first time today. The crowd in Seattle is STILL roaring.

Just when Mike Anderson makes a nice play, Troy Smith gets stripped by Patrick Kerney and Julian Peterson just fell on the ball.

Ah, yi, yi…

Another quarterback, another breakdown in protection, another fumble, another lost fumble.

By the grace of God, its halftime.

Six more quarters to go!!!

6:10

We got the ball to start the second half. (Insert joke of choice here).

Three plays later, Sam Koch entered once again…

While the outcome of today’s game is really no longer up for discussion, one very important thing is about to happen. We’re going to see who is going to "quit" and who is going to "play."

As I was typing the above, Haloti Ngata ran halfway across the field to smear Matt Hasslbeck. Now they’re telling rugby stories!

Haloti Ngata is going to play. THAT’S who you build your team around!

So, let’s see who going 100 percent regardless of the score, the conditions, the outcome, the circumstances…

Just something to really watch for…

Which guys HATE losing?!?!

6:28

The Ravens defense has bent, but alas, did not break. A field goal is a victory at this point.

The "I hate Brian Billick" texts are coming into my phone. I’m in a spirited debate with my friends regarding Billick’s culpability for how bad this team currently looks.

Give Bill Belichick the likes of Derrick Martin, Corey Ivy, David Pittman and Willie Gaston and take away Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce and company and let’s see how it goes.

This is painful, and sure Billick deserves as much blame as anyone.

But Laron McClain’s fumble is just as frustrating to Billick as it is to you and me. But you’ve got a third-string rookie quarterback handing off to a borderline starting rookie fullback in the driving rain in Seattle and down 24-0.

The ball hits the carpet. Seattle fell on the ball.

If you blame this on Brian Billick, I’m not sure anything I’m going to say or write or scream will move you on the issue.

A field full of rookies will make you 4-12 every time.

6:42

We are now debating the merits of punting when the score is 27-0 and you’re 4-10 and it’s late in the third quarter.

THIS IS WHAT you CAN blame on Brian Billick.

It’s debatable, that you don’t want to give them the ball at the 50 and assure that you’ll be down 30-0 soon. So, as a strategic option to actually "win" the game, I might have to agree with Billick. His rule is probably, if we’re inside the 40, we’ll go.

I dunno. But I DEFINITELY see the point that he’s an "idiot" on this one.

The team sucks and going for it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings. But do you think they would’ve made it on 4th down?

Didn’t think so…

6:58

Alas, one team has officially quit. No surprise, it’s Mike Holmgren here applying the "Uncle" role, bringing on Seneca Wallace to finish the game.

And Dewan Landry almost got himself a little cheapie interception, which might have been our best chance to score.

There’s 6:15 remaining.

I’m hoping for a field goal. Something?

You fly six hours and 3,000 miles, at least come back with three points…

7:03

At LONG last, we cheer!!!

We all rose off our coaches and screamed aloud and exchanged some rare purple love in a season of dark despair.

Derrick Mason got under "the bomb" from Troy Smith, "a beautifully thrown ball" according to Hockey Meg from the cheap seats.

You GO Troy Smith.

A long flight home just got a little better for the team. But, they took on a royal asskicking today and we all know it.

Allow me one moment of holiday joy: the Ravens scored a touchdown!

You never know when the last one is coming until next year…

POSTGAME

The suffering has long since ended, and I was kinda hungry.

It’s been a long afternoon. They are the worst team in the league right now,  hands down.

Enough said…

Now it’s your turn…

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