Halloween's MNF match-up featured two teams vying for first place in the AFC West. The game featured a lot of turnovers as both teams put on a good show, but did not play with the passion you'd expect on national television. Kansas City took advantage of San Diego's early turnovers as they went up 13-3, but the Chargers charged back to tie the game at 20. Phillip Rivers led the Chargers down the field to set up a Nick Novak game winner, but Rivers fumbled the snap in the Red Zone and Kansas City sent the game to OT. Mr. Irrelevent, Ryan Succop, capped off the sloppy game with a 30-yard FG as Kansas City has won four in a row and now hold possession of first place in the AFC West. Rivers' fumbled snap was extremely costly and inexcusable, since he receives the ball under center for every offensive play, but there must have been something in the Halloween air since KC tricked San Diego and gave us all a treat.
If you saw this final score, a fan would think "Cardinals hung in there against the Ravens, nice job!", but if you saw the game, you'd think that the Cardinals are in a downwards spiral to ending their season early. After taking a comfortable lead at 24-3, the Ravens slowly climbed back and capped off the biggest comeback in team history. The officials helped Baltimore quite a bit, but the loss is pretty much the death sentence on the Cards playoff hopes.
What are the ingredients to a PAC 12 thriller? Two ranked teams, a BCS bid on the line, a festive atmosphere in the LA Coliseum, and a lot of Luck. That's what Saturday's prime time match up brought as the Cardinal travelled to the upset-minded Trojans of USC. Many people picked the Cardinal in a close, defensive battle; however the game was a shootout. Andrew Luck carried the Cardinal against USC and the Trojans gave them as much as they could handle. As Stanford was driving for the lead, Luck made a critical mistake as he threw a pick-six and USC went up by 7. Luck would then lead Stanford down the field to get the game-tying TD and the game went to OT. The game went back and forth with plenty of exciting TDs but the game was decided when USC attempted to rush for the game-tying TD, but the ball was fumbled in the End Zone and Stanford kept their perfect season. Any team would be happy with a 3 OT away, but this game showed how a team can beat Stanford: run the ball. Stanford should fix these defensive lapses before they take on Oregon or else they might not be smelling Roses or tasting Sugar in January.
When you play the Huskies, you need to limit two things: Keith Price's knack for big plays, and Chris Polk's grinding running style. Cats kept Price in check and limited Polk's big plays, but the atmosphere in Seattle was too much for Arizona to overcome. Despite many controversial calls by the officials against Arizona, the Cats found themselves on top 31-28 in the 4th quarter, however they squandered some opportunities to put the game away and the Huskies took advantage. With a bounce back win from last week's demolition at Stanford, the Huskies got themselves a win decided by all the little factors of the game of football: home-field, officials, weather, and momentum. They'll expect a tough game next week as they take on #7 Oregon at home. The Cats on the other hand, stumble to 2-6. They played well, but they can't afford any slip-ups if they want to go bowling. The game at Arizona State becomes the only priority for the remainder of this season.
In one of the most dramatic World Series ever, the St. Louis Cardinals grabbed the attention of America as they somehow managed to force a game 7 against the Texas Rangers and eventually win game 7, 6-2 in Busch Stadium. It was only fitting for the season to conclude in such an intense and exciting series since St. Louis was 10 1/2 games out of the Wild Card with a month to go in the regular season. Chris Carpenter pitched on three-days rest, which at first seemed like a mistake since he allowed two early runs. The 36 year-old righty would eventually settle down by peppering the Rangers offense with a steady dose of sliders and curveballs. Once the Cards gained a 6-2 lead, the stadium was waiting to burst into fandemonium, but the possiblity of a comeback was still a lingering notion from last night's classic. Allen Craig would catch the final out and the Red Birds headed for the Champagne Showers. Freese was named MVP as he hit a Postseason record 21 RBIs. Pujols received thunderous applause as the fans were uncertain of his status next year. Whether or not he will be a Cardinal next year will not affect the magical October run he and St. Louis experienced to win a true Fall Classic.
Congrajulations to the 2011 World Series Champs, the St. Louis Cardinals
With 2 outs and 2 strikes in the bottom of the 9th on the Cardinals' David Freese, the Rangers were ready for their Champagne Showers, til Freese pushed a line drive over Nelson Cruz in RF. Two runs scored and the game went to extra innings. The Rangers' Josh Hamilton crushed a two-run homer as Texas went up by two once again in the 10th but the never-say die Cardinals tied the game with 2 outs and 2 strikes as Lance Berkman pushed an RBI single to CF. In the bottom of the 11th, Freese hammered a walk-off shot, capping off a moment that will be frozen in baseball history.
Blaine Gabbert picked up his first win against the Baltimore Ravens on MNF in Jacksonville. The rookie did just enough, going 9-20 with 93 yards to lead the Jaguars to 4 FG and a hard fought win on primetime TV. Maurice Jones-Drew carried the ball 30 times for 105 yards as both teams ran constantly but ineffectively. The Jags are now 2-5 in a weak AFC South but the Ravens lose first place in the AFC North to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Albert Pujols entered game 3 of the World Series hitless. Tonight he emerged from a 16-7 rout of Texas as a legend. Pujols hit 3 home runs in the game, becoming only the third player to ever do so in the Fall Classic (Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson were the others). The Red Birds scored multiple runs in 4 consecutive innings to rout the Rangers who also had a great offensive night. St. louse leads the series 2-1 and will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead tomorrow night in Arlington.
Oklahoma looked primed for a bid in the BCS national championship after #4 Wisconsin lost at #15 Michigan State, but the #3 Sooners soon found themselves in a 31-7 hole against Seth Doege's Red Raiders. Bob Stoops and Landry Jones did everything they could to extend their 39-home game win-streak, but Texas Tech's potent passing attack would deny them any dreams of New Orleans. The Sooners stormed back to pull within a field goal, but the clock winded down on the hopes of an undefeated season with a bid in the National Championship game. Tostitos are still good though.
Victory is a sweet feeling... Especially when you haven't beaten an FBS opponent in 355 years. That is what the Arizona Wildcats experienced Thursday night on ESPN against the Ucla Bruins, the team's first victory since their win against Ucla last year in the Rose Bowl. The victory marked the first under interim head coach Tim Kish. By halftime, the Cats had stormed out to a commanding 42-7 with help from 3 TDs from Foles to Criner, but a fan dressed as a referee ran onto the field and started streaking. During the confusion, the Cats and Bruins got into a sideline clearing brawl which resulted in 10 player suspensions. The game was very odd in the sense that the Cats dominated on both sides of the ball which hasn't been often this season. Arizona can't afford any more slip ups this season if they want to play in a bowl.
Motte could not close the game as the Rangers scored twice to beat the Cardinals 2-1. After leading by 1 at the top of the ninth, but both Young and Hamilton hit sac flies to give Texas game 2 of the fall classic. This is the first World Series comeback win in the ninth since the 2001 Diamondbacks. The series heads to Texas at a 1-1 tie, but St. Louis loses home field advantage. Harrison will take on Lohse on Saturday night.
Mike Brown and his Cincinatti Bengals finally let Palmer leave as they traded him to the Oakland Raiders for two high draft picks. The 4-2 Raiders will look to replace an injured Jason Campbell with the 8th year veteran. Both teams should benefit as the Bengals will receive young talent and Oakland will receive a solid veteran. Palmer might be shaky so there is some risk for the Raiders since he has been retired for a year. The Bengals should definitely receive their share of the trade, but Oakland must make the playoffs to justify such a big trade.
The Miami Dolphins remained winless after losing to the New York Jets on MNF. After replacing an injured Chad Henne with Matt Moore, Miami's QB woes continued. Moore threw an early INT to Darrelle Revis which was returned for a 100 yard TD. The underachieving Jets reach .500 with this win. As for the Fins, they should start to think about rebuilding for the future and possibly picking up David Garrard or trading for a solid QB or replacement for Henne.
Just a month ago, it seemed Pujols would be watching the Fall Classic from his couch. Now, the future hall-of-famer is headed to the World Series to take on the Texas Rangers. Game 6 of the NLCS always seemed out of reach as Marcum let up 4 runs in the 1st inning. The damage would not stop with him at the mound as Brewers' bullpen was peppered with homers, including one from Pujols. Motte and Molina finally celebrated after 9 innings of a game which had an inevitable outcome. This years fall classic will feature the Texas Rangers again and another NL Cinderella. Whatever the outcome, this has certainly been an odd year of baseball.
The Texas Ranger capped off a tense ALCS against the Tigers with a huge rout, 15-5 on Saturday night. The Tigers raced out to a 2-0 lead off of two solo slams... Then Texas erupted for 7 runs in the bottom of the 3rd. The game was over by then and Texas celebrated becoming the first AL team to go to the World Series in consecutive years since the 1998-2001 New York Yankees. Cruz became the ALCS MVP after hammering his 6th homer of the series. Texas will try to put back the disappointing memories of last years World Series loss to the San Francisco Giants as they will travel to either Milwaukee or St. Louis for this years fall classic.
The Brewers surrendered seven runs, scored one run, and committed four errors as they lost game 5 of the NLCS to the Cardinals of St. Louis. The Cardinals scored 3 runs in the 2nd inning off of a Molina double and an error by Jerry Hairston Jr. The series heads back to Milwaukee with Marcum against Jackson. Suddenly the best home team in baseball has been pushed to the edge and if they force game 7, they'll have to beat Carpenter.
After talks of 4 super conferences with the Pac 12, Big 10, ACC, and SEC; the Mountain West and C-USA merged to avoid becoming an afterthought in FBS college football. With Boise St, Air Force, TCU, SMU, and Houston, the MWC-CUSA conference will have a few elite teams unless the other four conferences, the Big East, or the Big 12 tear them apart. TCU is already due to join the Big East and there are some speculations Boise St and Air Force will follow.
The Coyotes scored 4 goals against Pekka Rinne as Phoenix notched their first win of the season against the Nashville Predators. The Yotes went into the locker room with a 3-0 lead in the first intermission. Jason LaBarbera outperformed Rinne for the remaining periods and the Coyotes Captain Shane Doan capped off the victory with an empty net goal. The Coyotes will return to Phoenix to take on the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday for their first home game.
The Brew Crew evened the NL Central NLCS with a 4-2 win over their rival Cardinals. After receiving a heavy dosage of boos, Milwaukee fought back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie in the 4th and scored in consecutive innings for the go-ahead runs that won the game. Zack Grienke will take on Jaime Garcia for the decisive game 5 tomorrow before the series heads back to Milwaukee.
The Tigers homered 4 times to stay alive in the ALCS as Verlander pitched well enough to keep the Rangers at bay as Detroit won 7-4. The Tiger ace still did not look like his normal self, but he earned his first postseason win of the 2011 playoffs. The series will head back to Arlington on Saturday as the Rangers hold a 3-2 series lead and look to clinch.
The "Power" Rangers took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Detroit Tigers as their offense exploded for 4 runs in the top of the 11th to seal the game. After taking a 2-0 lead after a double by Miguel Cabrera, the Rangers took the lead with RBIs by Kinsler, Andrus, and Young. The Tigers would tie things up and send the game to extra innings as Brandon Inge hit a solo shot over the left field wall. In the top of the 11th Napoli hit the go ahead RBI off of Jose Valverde, then Nelly Cruz ended the game yet again by smashing a 3-run homer to put the game out of reach. Cruz hit the go-ahead homer in game 1 and the game-tying and walk-off slam in game 2. By smashing 4 homers in the ALCS, he looks to be the AL postseason MVP. CJ Wilson will face Verlander tomorrow in game 5 of the ALCS as the Rangers look to advance to the World Series for the second consecutive year.
Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder both homered as they backed up Zach Grienke against the St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. The Brew Crew took game 1 of the NLCS with a score of 9-6. Ryan Braun homered in the first to put Milwaukee on top but David Freese put St. Louis back on top with a three-run shot. Fielder then tomahawked a fastball over the right field wall and put the Brewers up for good. Edwin Jackson will take on the Brewer's Shawn Marcum tomorrow night.
Arizona went into Oregon State as one-point favorites... Boy did they prove us wrong. The Beavers scored 27 points in the second quarter as opposed to the Wildcats 6 which put the game out of reach by halftime. Arizona would manage to pull within 3 in the fourth quarter, but OSU would ice the game with a TD with 5:28 to go. This marks Arizona's tenth consecutive loss to a Division I school. Heading into the BYE week, Mike Stoops desperately needs to get his team together before it costs him his job. Oregon State beat the Cats last year in Tucson which sent Arizona reeling into mediocrity, so hopefully this loss won't send the Cats into the depths of the PAC 12.
Something in the Arlington air was not quite right on Saturday night... Verlander was losing his command. After surrendering 3 Texas runs in the games first four innings, Jim Leyland pulled the Tiger's ace after pitching only 82 pitches as opposed to his regular 112. The Tigers would draw close but never tie as Texas closer Neftali Feliz shut the door on game 1 of the ALCS.
Roy Halladay pitched a great game... But his minor league buddy Chris Carpenter pitched a masterpiece. The St. Louis finished their upset against the "dream team" of baseball by winning in game 5 of the NLDS by a score of 1-0. After the Phillies won 102 games in the regular season, the Phils stumbled in 5 games against the September upstart Cardinals. The Cardinals will head to Milwaukee to play the NL Central rival Brewers in a best of 7 NLCS.
It's been a great year full of crazy comebacks, but Arizona couldn't finish the greatest comeback of them all in game 5 of the NLDS, as they lost in 10 innings to Milwaukee, 3-2. After the snakes scored off a Bloomquist squeeze play to tie the game, mismanagement did not allow Arizona to do any more damage against the Brewer closer, John Axford. In the bottom of the 10th, Nyjer Morgan ended the Diamondback's season with an RBI single up the middle. Milwaukee will play the winner of the St. Louis-Philadelphia series. It's been a great year and it's definitely a season to build on, but the bitterness of this loss will not leave this team till they can avenge themselves next year.
The Fighting Duck uniforms were appropriate for Thursday'smatch-up against Cal since the #9 Ducks eventually wore out the Golden Bears then finished the game in a rout, 43-15. The win came with a loss as the Ducks lost the nation's top rusher in LaMichael James to an injury to his right arm. The injury could be season ending as the Junior tail back was injured in the 4th quarter after gaining 239 yards in the game. This is a huge loss to Oregon since they have to compete with #7 Stanford for dominance in the PAC 12.
Jose Valverde struck out Alex Rodriguez to conclude what has been a tense ALDS. Detroit won 3-2 after scoring back to back homers in the first inning and holding on to beat all six Yankee pitchers. Verlander did not pitch today which makes him the starting pitcher for the first game of the ALCS against the Rangers' CJ Wilson. The game concluded the New York Yankees' season, which ended in boos towards A-Rod and disappointment towards what appeared as a solid AL East team.
Tonight the Toronto Maple Leafs began their quest to reach the elusive playoffs for the 2011-2012 postseason. They had a good start to the season by shutting down their rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0. Goalie James Reimer was key for the Leafs as he stopped all 32 Canadien shots. Personally, I was unaware the NHL season started today, but I think the Stanley Cup is fair game for a number of teams so it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds and hopefully Toronto will make the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks forced a game 5 against the Brewers for Friday after they beat them 10-6 at Chase Field on Wednesday night. After getting a commanding lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a Ryan Robert's Grand Slam and a Chris Young solo homer, the Diamondbacks held a lead they would not relinquish. The Brewers actually came within inches from tieing the game when Cory Hart launched a ball to the fence with bases loaded, but Gerarrdo Parra caught the ball at the warning track to save a 4-run lead. Micah Owings earned the win and Randy Wolf had the loss as Milwaukee let up 4 home runs. This NLDS series will head back to Milwaukee as Ian Kennedy will look for revenge against Yovani Gallardo and the Brew Crew. If the snakes can win on Friday, they will become the first team in NLDS history to come back from a 2-0 series deficit and advance to the NLCS. It will be interesting to see if the D-backs can come back one more time against the Brewers. Anybody, Anytime
The Cardinals managed to lose again in Glendale as the Giants ousted them with 21 points in the final quarter and 2 TDs within a minute to come away with a 31-27 victory. Arizona was plagued with Red Zone inefficiency in the first half and lost due to defensive miscues in the second half. After taking a commanding 27-17 lead in the 4th quarter, Eli Manning orchestrated a long drive capped off with a Brandon Jacobs TD. On their next possession, Manning found an open Victor Cruz who stumbled and lost the ball which was recovered by the Cardinals, however the officials considered the slip and letting go of the ball "giving himself up" so the Cardinals could not challenge for a fumble. Manning threw a TD pass to Nicks on the next play as the Giants went ahead with 2:56 left in the game. Kevin Kolb would lead the Cardinals down to the Giant's 30, but Cory Webster batted down a pass for Fitzgerald on 4th down and New York won the game. Despite the Giant's luck, the Cardinals should have walked away with a win, but instead drop to 1-3.
The Lions proved to be for real as they stunned the Cowboys to reach an impressive 4-0 record. After falling behind 27-3 in the 3rd quarter, the Lions returned two INTs for TDs, jacked a Field Goal, and scored two Calvin Johnson TDs late in Arlington. Matthew Stafford and the Lions proved they can make a run in the NFC North as they rattled Tony Romo and came back to become one of only two undefeated teams in the NFL.(the other team is their division rival, Green Bay Packers)
The Wildcats lost for the fourth time in a row after they were edged by USC in a track meet at the LA Coliseum, 48-41. After trailing 17-0 after the first quarter, the Cats got things going against the Trojans and drew within a TD in the 3rd and 4th quarters of the game. In the end, the Cats couldn't stop the Trojan offense as Matt Barkley passed for 468 yards and Robert Woods caught 14 catches for 255 yards. Arizona never forced a punt the entire game as their defensive woes continued this season. The offense on the other hand, played well after being shut down in the first quarter. Foles passed for 425 and 4 TDs after throwing two INTs early in the game, his first of the season. Ka'Deem Carey contributed by scoring 3 TDs. Offensively, the Cats should not be discouraged, but the defense was nonexistent. If they can score 41 points against the rest of the teams on their schedule, regardless of their defense, they should be able to squeak away with at least 5 wins.