So Much for a Brick Wall

The New Orleans Saints went up to Pittsburgh and allowed Willie Parker to conjure breakaway images of Barry Sanders as the first running back in quite some time to rack up multiple runs of more than 70 yards in a single game. Aside from a solid effort from Shane Shanle, the Saints’ linebackers were nowhere to be found and defensive back Jason Craft might as well have been a figment of our imagination as all he did was make us wish that regular cornerback Fred Thomas returns as quickly as possible from a pulled hamstring. Again, coach Sean Payton refused to let running back Deuce McAllister carry the load in protecting a lead, instead giving rookie Reggie Bush yet another chance to hurt his team with a costly fumble. Quarterback Drew Brees made a valiant effort in attempting to lead the offense down the field for a late, game-tying touchdown. But wide receiver Terrance Copper compounded a crucial drop with a crushing fumble and the Saints yielded a 38-31 loss to the reeling Steelers. Rookie wide receiver Marques Colston continued to amaze with yet another stellar performance that now has him leading the entire NFL with 869 yards receiving. Meanwhile kicker John Carney better still be thinking long and hard about that 32 yard field goal that he hooked wide left.

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Speaking of what went wrong in a momentum-destroying loss, how about those Texas Longhorns? First and foremost I’d like to place blame on offensive coordinator Greg Davis for a series of blundering decisions made at two different stages of the game. On the opening drive, I will never understand how two failed rushing attempts by Selvin Young from the 1-yard line, with a fullback lead-blocking for him no less, could reasonably be followed by consecutive unprotected runs by pass-first quarterback Colt McCoy. Sure, we scored the six points. But with 270 pound running back Henry Melton sitting on the bench wondering what he was even suited up for, was it really worth throwing our entire season away by way of a jammed shoulder? The second sign that Greg Davis will never move too far away from his allegiance to ultimately being an idiot came with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Horns were only down by seven points and one good run-intensive drive could have easily put the game into overtime. But what does Davis decide to do but have the ill-prepared freshman quarterback Jevan Snead throw on five out of six plays just so that we could punt the ball to Kansas State for their game-clinching field goal?

Unfortunately, Davis was far from alone in his folly:

1) Our offensive line straight-up sucked just about all night long.
2) Running backs Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles again proved themselves as careless with the football, giving up an untimely fumble a piece.
3) Fill-in QB Jevan Snead failed to call audibles when faced with less-than-ideal defensive schemes.
4) Our running backs did a horrendous job of picking up blitzes.
5) Our receivers dropped too many passes.
6) Our defensive backs couldn’t cover anybody.
7) Our defense as a whole missed tackles left and right, in addition to giving up all sorts of yardage after contact.
8) We allowed one of our punts to be blocked.
9) Extra special teamer Ryan Palmer not only interfered with a Kansas State player attempting to field a punt once, but made it look even worse the second time around.
10) And finally, the Horns apparently arrived in Manhattan with their collective heads up their asses.

Oh well, the Horns were barely hanging onto any semblance of national championship contention by the skin of their teeth. Never has anyone claimed that this team was the best in the nation. We had only hoped that Texas could sneak into the Fiesta Bowl. Now we can simply allow our expectations to fall back down to reality and enjoy this overachieving middle-of-the-road team with far too many blatant flaws as it attempts to secure another Big 12 conference title.

Saturday night in Baton Rouge, LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell impressed with yet another flawless game which saw him complete 18 of 21 passes for 207 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Any time that the Tigers can lay a 28-14 whooping on the Alabama Crimson Tide is a godsend, so you can rest assured that regardless of BCS standings that the bayou was drenched in an alcohol-induced fervor well into Sunday’s daylight hours.

Local high schools wrapped-up their regular seasons Friday night with the LBJ Jaguars securing a playoff appearance with a 20-16 win over the Travis Rebels. I could say quite a bit about why I think the Reagan Raiders have no business finishing as a mere 1-9 team, but I will leave it as an all-too-obvious case of talented students being failed by coaches and administrators. Marcus Mann of McCallum accentuated an incredible regular season by racking up 242 yards rushing in a 41-13 win over the Crockett Cougars. With 1,651 yards and 26 touchdowns through 10 games, it will be very interesting to see how the quick and shifty Mann fares against playoff competition.

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