10 Things We Learned Sunday

1. The baseball playoffs aren’t starting off any more interesting than the regular season finished. Three sweeps in the LCS round?!?!?!?! How painfully dull. Baseball has never been in more need of excitement than it is right now. That play-in game was brilliant, but very little since then has been even remotely compelling.

2. The President’s Cup should be at least as compelling as the Ryder Cup. It really isn’t. And I say that despite being a Canadian and therefore getting to see my countrymen play in the tournament. On paper it should be a lot of fun, but it lacks the buzz, the aura, and the excitement.

3. The Raiders….. Zzzzzzzz. I fell asleep as I was just about to start writing about them again. When a situation is so hopeless and so monotonously predictable there is little left to say.

4. The Broncos may, inconceivably, actually be for real. They shut out a pretty good team for the second half, Kyle Orton looked like a pro – especially down the stretch, and they played with a shocking amount of competence (compared to recent times). Expectations will surely get out of hand in the eyes of the public, but there is a more than decent chance that this is a playoff team – and potentially a good one at that. One statistical note in this one, too – Kyle Orton’s interception came on a hailmary at the end of the first half, so he still doesn’t have a meaningful pick all season. You can only respect the guy.

5. I can’t believe that the Bengals beat the Ravens. I really can’t. The concept that the Bengals are leading their division is too much for me to handle. There is a real chance that my head will explode.

6. The Cleveland win over Buffalo was the ugliest in league history, and it’s not even open to debate.There is one stat that makes that indisputable – Derek Anderson, the winning QB, was 2 for 17 passing. JaMarcus Russell thinks that sucks. Maybe firing your offensive coordinator right before the season isn’t such a good idea after all.

7. It wasn’t perfect, but it was progress. Matt Cassel still needs to be better, but he looked a heck of a lot better than he did before. The Chiefs played well and probably deserved better than they got. Just one tip, though – they need to cover Miles Austin next time they play the Cowboys. When throwing to everyone but Austin, Tony Romo was held to 10 of 19 for 101 yards. Nice defensive performance. Unfortunately, Austin, making his first career start, caught 10 of 15 passes thrown his way for 250 yardsand two touchdowns. Not so good. Laughably bad, actually.

8. Ugly, ugly, ugly showing by my Niners today. I am at a loss to explain that one. Ugly.

9. Speaking of ugly, I can’t explain how Seattle looked so good or how Jacksonville looked so incredibly bad. It amazes me how much of a differenceHasselbeck makes to that team – they are an entirely different squad when he is playing. I really don’t know what that result means to the NFC West right now. I struggle to believe that that is the realSeahawks, or even a reasonable facsimile.

10. The Rams did virtually nothing worthwhile and are a bad excuse for an NFL team. The one thing of interest that jumped out, though, was that Marc Bulger was perfect – 7 of 7 for 88 yards and a TD – in limited relief duty. It was in garbage time, but it was still nice to see the guy playing and looking good. He’s too god to be stuck in this mess.

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