Tag Archives: fourth quarter

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Tornadoes rake across the Mid-West. There are several reported deaths.

Federal court in San Antonio has released an interim redistricting plan for Texas. This plan, of course, is set in stone, unless any of the nine parties who were contesting the last plan decide they would like to appeal it. I think this again points out how corrupt, disjointed, confusing and unfair political redistricting has become in this country. This is what you fight for. You fight to be able to control the redistricting maps, which really controls the houses of your state legislature and Congress. You can protect your friends. You can punish or eliminate your enemies through redistricting. We must go to a better system nationwide.

James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his post as executive chairman of News International. This continues to be a big story.

North Korea has agreed to IAEA inspections and a nuclear moratorium. Raise your hand if you’ve read this before.

Economic numbers were revised upward for the fourth quarter.

Fox News continues to peddle sour economic news.

Rick Santorum lost both Arizona and Michigan. I think that he is done.

I’d like to spend just a moment thinking about Rick Santorum’s statement on John F. Kennedy’s classic speech on the separation of church and state. (Complete transcript here.)

Rick Santorum stated that he read the speech on religion and it made him want to “throw up.” He stated, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is antithetical to the objectives and the vision of our country…. ” Now, of course, Rick Santorum was pandering for votes. He was desperate. He was in the final days of trying to rally his troops in Michigan and somehow eke out a victory. He was grasping for straws. Yet, I don’t believe that this excuses such over-the-top rhetoric. Every now and then, we truly need to hold our politicians accountable for what they say. It is clear to me that John F. Kennedy, the former president, wasn’t talking about running the presidency in a moral vacuum. President Kennedy understood, just as you and I understand, that Americans who come from a religious background carry their religious morality with them everywhere. This is a fact of life. The fact that you are cordial and treat others with respect is a reflection of your religious beliefs. The fact that you listen to other points of view or don’t listen to other points of view, again, is a reflection of your religious beliefs. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was central to what was on Americans minds at the time – the president should not answer to the Pope. Although some may laugh now, that was a real fear in 1960. If we elected a Catholic president, it would the same as electing the Pope as president. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was that he was going to be a president for everyone. He wasn’t going to take his marching orders from any religious figure, but that his religious upbringing, his moral character if you will, was still going to be the same. This is a nuanced argument. In 2012, nuanced arguments cannot be distilled down the talking points and bumper stickers so that they are belittled by folks like Rick Santorum. I find it disappointing that more people haven’t taken Rick Santorum the task. To be complete, Rick Santorum has backed away from his original statements.

NFL: Super Bowl (Update)

There are plenty of people talking about the Super Bowl today. I won’t spend much time on it. Congratulations to New York Giants. Once again, they proved that it doesn’t really matter how you start the season. Instead, it matters how you play at the end of the season and through the playoffs. Several weeks ago, the Giants’ season was basically over in Dallas. Dallas had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and Tony Romo was able to hook up with Miles Austin, so the game looked over. They survived, though, which is probably a testament to this team and the New York Giants coaching staff. Somehow, they survived. Their defensive strength has been their defensive line. Yet, down the stretch, I was more impressed with their secondary. Their secondary seemed to make plays all over the field. This is exactly what happened on Sunday. For the most part, the New England Patriots receivers were not running free to the Giants’ secondary.

The ferocious pass rush of the New York Giants was basically neutralized for most of the game. Tom Brady did have time to find receivers. The problem was that his receivers were not open. This is the first time that I really noticed that the New England Patriots truly needed a deep threat, which they didn’t have. They needed Randy Moss. They needed Dante Stallworth. They were unable to stretch the field. For most of this year they were able to produce big plays with their All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, he was just a shadow of himself with a high ankle sprain. Deion Branch isn’t the player that he was four or five years ago.

There’s going to be a lot of discussion about a pass thrown to Wes Welker late in the fourth quarter which could’ve iced the game. Welker tried to make a spinning catch, but the ball careened off his fingers. The ball appeared to be high and thrown too far to Welker’s outside shoulder. Catchable, but tough. Yet the New England Patriots had several other opportunities that seemed to slip through their fingers. Bradshaw fumbled the ball deep in Giant territory and nobody could jump on the ball. Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez both dropped balls. We can’t forget Brady’s safety at the beginning of the game. What was that? Mayo appeared to have inside leverage on Victor Cruz, but somehow got turned around so that Eli Manning’s missile to Cruz (man, that ball was zipped into a very tight window) almost hit him in the helmet. Had Mayo been watching the quarterback and Cruz, that could have been a pic-6, like James Harrison from a couple of years ago. But that’s the whole deal about these games. There are all of those what-ifs. As a Cowboy fan, I know what ifs up close and personal. The bottom line is the New England Patriots were missing something all year. They seemed to need more offense and a more Raven/Texans-like defense. It seems that Brady needed just a little more help. They needed more running. They needed more something.

Finally, I have watched Eli Manning for his whole career. This year, he showed more patience than I’ve ever seen. Usually, throughout a game, Eli would throw up one or two balls for grabs. Not this year. Not during this playoff run. One of the big knocks on Eli Manning was that he was not that accurate. He threw the ball with great velocity and accuracy on Sunday night. Eli Manning was the reason that the New York Giants won the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Congratulations to the New York Giants and Super Bowl, MVP, Eli Manning.

Update: I agree with Ron (see the comment section) that the Giants receivers made plays and the Patriot receivers did not. Manningham, Nixon and Cruz when they are on, are great. Remember in the middle of the season there were tons of problems with dropping balls. Somehow they fixed the problem.

NFL week 14: Dallas Cowboys

Some things in the NFL are head scratchers. Other things are pretty clear. For the last two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys have lost in the closing minutes of the game because they were unable to perform a relatively long field goal. Many people who hate Tony Romo and are still longing for Troy Aikman will point to his performance once again as evidence that he cannot get it done “in the clutch.” Those haters will look at his 21-31 performance for 321 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions as nothing special. Instead, they will point to a third-down play late in the fourth quarter in which the New York Giants went to a zero coverage (all-out blitz). Miles Austin had a perfect release from the line of scrimmage. He was wide open. Tony Romo saw the coverage. He saw Miles Austin. Instead of throwing the lasers that he usually throws, Tony Romo put a little air under of the ball. Unfortunately, the ball was a yard or two too far. The Cowboys were leading at the time 34-29. There were two minutes twenty seconds to go in the ball game.

I will point to something different. I will point to the Dallas Cowboys’ abysmal secondary as the reason that they have lost to the Arizona Cardinals and to the New York Giants. The Dallas Cowboys’ secondary is average, at best. If the Dallas Cowboys can generate a ferocious pass rush, then the secondary is slightly better. Just like against the Arizona Cardinals (the pass rush generated five sacks in the first half, but none in the second half,) the Dallas Cowboys pass rush looked good for two or three quarters. They were nonexistent in the fourth quarter. This exposed a mediocre secondary to the skills of Eli Manning and his receivers. They carved up the Dallas defense in play after play. Mike Jenkins has been hurt all year. To be honest, he hasn’t played well in two years. I don’t know if it’s because of his health or what. Terence Newman is a shadow of his former self. Four or five years ago, he had a swagger to him. He can get into the hip pocket of a receiver and stay there. He could lay out and bat away potential completions. Now that’s nothing but a distant memory. The Dallas Cowboys are 24th in the NFL in passing defense. Anytime you score 34 points in a game, you should win. The Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t go to the playoffs until they figure out how to tighten this up.