Review and Preview : Week 2

football, news, week 2


50’s the Mike: A method of calling out protection assignments for the offensive players by pointing out “the Mike” on defense. Usually the Mike is the middle linebacker, but during these calls the Mike is the player on defense who the offense identifies as key to their protection assignments. (From Tuesday’s post.)

Referee (or Head Official): The referee signals and announces penalties and has the final say on all rulings on the field, what the down and distance is, and how the rules are interpreted in any given situation. He’s also the guy who will go under the hood to watch replays to confirm rulings on the field, and also watches the quarterback to monitor any illegal activity by/to the quarterback. He is easily identified as the official wearing the white hat. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Umpire: The umpire monitors the offensive and defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. The umpire also records the score, winner of the coin toss, and keeps track of timeouts, and is in charge of making sure the players are dressed according to league rules. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Head Linesman: The head linesman is the official who watches the neutral zone for false start or offsides penalties. He also rules on all out of bounds plays on his side of the field, and has the task of placing his foot wherever forward progress ended after the play is whistled dead. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Line Judge: The line judge’s most important job is supervising the timing of the game. He also assists the head linesman in several rulings and is positioned on the opposite side of the field, but along with all of those duties, he is also responsible for being the right hand man of pretty much every other official on the field. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Field Judge: The field judge stays on the same side as the line judge, but 20 yards deeper. He keeps an eye on the wide receivers on his side of the field and monitors illegal activity by/to them and also rules on whether or not catches are made or interfered with. He is also charged with determining whether or not a player is in or out of bounds during plays occurring in his section of the field. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Side Judge: The side judge is the field judge, but on the head linesman’s side (with a few slight variations). (From Wednesday’s post.)

Back Judge: The back judge and the field judge are most famous for their work at the field goal posts; they are the two officials who stand on either side of the field goal post and rule whether the kick is good or no good. The back judge also takes a position 25 yards downfield, usually on the tight end’s side, and keeps an eye on all deep mid-field action on both sides of the ball. He’s also in charge of keeping track of the time on the play clock and the time elapsed over halftime. (From Wednesday’s post.)

Ashley’s Rookie Season: A new feature for all you Normal Girls out there! Over the course of this season, Ashley will be asking any question that comes to mind while watching a football game and I’ll be answering them here on a weekly/biweekly basis. (From Thursday’s post.)


Normal Girl Game of the Week

Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday at 8:25pm EST on the NFL Network

Andy Reid will be returning to Philly for the first time on Thursday night after having spent the past 13 years as the Eagles head coach. It’s a big night for Reid and Eagles fans everywhere, as former Eagles’ QB Donovan McNabb’s jersey will be retired at halftime. It’ll be one big Eagles love fest regardless, but Eagles fans will be most pleased if the night results in a win under new Eagles head coach, Chip Kelly.

Also on the radar:

1. The 0-2 Giants need a win. So do the 0-2 Panthers. They play each other in Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

2. Two perennial AFC powerhouses, the Ravens and the Texans, have looked a little less-than-powerful so far this season. They’ll meet in Baltimore on Sunday in what could be a playoff preview.

3. Keep a close eye on RGIII in the Lions at Redskins game on Sunday. He’s had a rough start thus far and it isn’t looking to get any easier against a (very) physical Detroit defense.

At the Water Cooler : Week 2

football, teams, news, week 2

Yesterday would have been the perfect time to be surrounded by a dozen TV screens, each with a different game. There were so many good, close games! Here’s what you need to know about those barn burners and every other game from Week 2 in the NFL.

NY Jets at New England Patriots (Patriots won, 13-10) 

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Or at least, these aren’t the domination-style Patriots we’re used to seeing.

St. Louis Rams at Atlanta Falcons (Falcons won, 31-24)

The Rams might be this year’s comeback kids – despite the loss this week. They came back from a 21-point deficit to make the game competitive and did the same to win in their Week 1 victory against the Cardinals.

Carolina Panthers at Buffalo Bills (Bills won, 24-23)

Did you see Bills QB E.J. Manuel kneeling on the field in tears after throwing the game-winning touchdown? This is why we love the game.

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (Bears won, 31-30)

If you had this game on in your area, you were one of the lucky ones. What a great fight to the finish.

Washington Redskins at Green Bay Packers (Packers won, 38-20)

Aaron Rodgers threw for 480 yards and 4 touchdowns yesterday. Which was, in his words, not his best game. (But I think the rest of the world would agree that he’s doing just fine.)

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (Dolphins won, 24-20)

Kudos to the Dolphins who held off the Colts in the 4th quarter – the time when they almost always charge from behind for the win.

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (Chiefs won, 17-16)

It’s always nice to match your previous season’s win total in the first two weeks of the current season.

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (Ravens won, 14-6)

This probably shouldn’t have been so much of a struggle for the Ravens, especially given that it was their Super Bowl welcome home opener. (Also, welcome to the world Baby Flacco. Perhaps you should work on your timing since Sundays aren’t so good for your dad.)

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (Texans won, 30-24 OT)

This is another one that probably shouldn’t have been as much of a struggle as it was for the Texans – and ditto to last week’s victory against the Chargers.

San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles (Chargers won, 33-30)

Reality check on all sides: the Chargers aren’t terrible and the Eagles aren’t infallible. This was a great road win for the Chargers after a tough loss last week to the Texans.

Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (Cardinals won, 25-21)

Penalties got the Lions into trouble once again on Sunday, when a passing interference call set the Cards up for a successful touchdown run for the win.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Saints w0n, 16-14)

The Bucs definitely looked better than last week but couldn’t ward off a last minute touchdown drive by Drew Brees. (Don’t worry, Bucs; not many can.)

Denver Broncos at NY Giants (Broncos won, 41-23)

The Manning Bowl record stands in Peyton’s favor: 3-0. But this one was especially ugly.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Raiders (Raiders won, 19-9)

Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland’s kicker, earned his paycheck yesterday. He scored 12 of the Raiders’ 19 points.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Seattle won, 29-3)

It was a long night for the 49ers (literally, thanks to an hour-long rain delay). It’s pretty much impossible to beat the Seahawks at home.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (Monday at 8:30pm EST on ESPN)

This has the potential to be a painful night for the Steelers: facing a divisional rival on the road and also a former Steelers stalwart, James Harrison, for the first time, in an effort to prove they aren’t the Steelers we saw last week. Yikes.

Review & Preview : Week 1 Edition


We’re really going all-out over here with new features for the 2013 Season, but this one might be my favorite: a quick review of what we’ve learned this week and a preview of the weekend action that’s about to unfold. A perfect weekend read!

Let’s dive in!


Safety: A defensive score, worth 2-points. (From Monday’s post)

Offsetting Penalties: When each team gets called for certain penalties which nullify, or offset, one another. Keep in mind that not all penalties are created equal (or worth the same amount of yardage), and therefore not all penalties will offset one another. (From Tuesday’s post)

Dead Ball Fouls: Penalties that occur when the ball is not longer “live” or in play (from Tuesday’s post)

Offsetting Dead Ball Fouls: Offsetting penalties which result in the loss of a down, not replaying the down (from Tuesday’s post)

Drive: a new offensive possession (from Wednesday’s post)

Offensive Possession: the term used to describe having control of the football on offense (from Wednesday’s post)

Touchback: a ruling that occurs when the ball is downed in the end zone or outside of the end zone and results in a drive which begins at the 20-yard line (from Wednesday’s post)

Taking a Knee in the End Zone: when a receiver catches the kickoff in the end zone and kneels down for a touchback (from Wednesday’s post)

Fantasy Football: a season-long game in which a participant competes against a group of other participants by drafting and fielding a fantasy “team” each week (from Thursday’s post)


Normal Girl Game of the Week:

Broncos at Giants, 4:25 EST on CBS

The Manning Bowl is always a must-watch, especially since it will be the first time Eli will face Peyton as a Bronco, not a Colt. Peyton has the upper hand in W column: he’s won both of the past two face-offs. He’s also coming off of a game in which he threw 7 touchdowns and zero interceptions, which is essentially the opposite of the night Eli had with the Giants last Sunday.

Also On The Radar:

1. Are the Bucs really as bad as they looked last Sunday against the Jets? It will be tough to find out the true answer to that question, as they face a fierce NFC South rival this Sunday – the back-and-better-than-ever Saints.

2. How will the rookie quarterbacks in the AFC East (Geno Smith for the Jets, EJ Manuel for the Bills) fare in Week 2? Both were impressive in their debut games, but can they maintain that level of composure and confidence as the weeks wear on?

3. Who will emerge as the powerhouse in the NFC West after a veritable clash of the (non-Tennessean) titans on Sunday night: the Seahawks, or the 49ers?

And that’s a wrap! What are you all looking forward to this weekend? Any game in particular stand out?

What To Know : After Week 2

Oh, boy. What a weird week in the NFL. Let’s dig right in:

  • Perhaps the most glaring story is the incompetence of the replacement refs. When you are officiating a game and have to refer to one team as the “red” team (which is what I’ll be calling the Falcons for the rest of the season) because you aren’t sure who they are…it’s bad. This is not a knock on the professionals who are filling in for the regular refs – they are sincerely doing the best they can. But it’s a situation in which they are simply not equipped to do the job they’ve been assigned to do. They’ve been given an impossible task and are being ruthlessly called to task on it. Fault here lies with the NFL and the representation for the regular refs. This deal should have been done ages ago. As per the National Post’s Bruce Arthur, if this continues, by Week 17 the NFL will be the Hunger Games with helmets. When it takes 54 minutes to play 15 minutes of football and general pandemonium erupts on national television, it’s high time for a resolution.
  • Another big off the field story this week: the ongoing battle between the suspended Saints players and the NFL. This has dissolved into a he said-he said argument that no one is going to “win.” It’s really an unfortunate situation which speaks to the darker side of the NFL.
  • Both of these issues – the officiating and the bounty scandal – call into question perhaps the biggest mountain the NFL is currently facing: player safety. The players are put in jeopardy by bad officiating and by pay-for-performance systems, but I think it goes much deeper than that into the very nature of the game. As a fan, and a passionate one at that, I don’t even want to contemplate a world without football. No one wants that. But it’s undeniable that football is a violent game that has long term repercussions, and no one wants that, either. Something has to change, and quickly.

As for actual football stories, here’s the round-up:

  • Goodbye, Survivor Leaguers: I’d love to see the stats on how many Survivor Fantasy Football League (in which you pick one sure-fire win a week) players were eliminated this weekend thanks to the Cardinals (very) surprising upset of the Patriots. The Cardinals are now 2-0. Who saw that coming?
  • The Bills aren’t that bad: They had a nice win over the Chiefs on Sunday, who, unfortunately, are that bad.
  • The Jets aren’t that good: It’s not that they’re not good. It’s just that they’re not as good as their Week 1 48-28 win over the Bills might have suggested. This week’s loss presented some glaring insufficiencies, like having any sort of established offensive weaponry.
  • Don’t throw things at your friends (or enemies): Josh Morgan effectively ended the game for the Redskins on Sunday when he retaliated to antagonism by throwing a football at Cortland Finnegan. That move incurred an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which backed the Redskins out of realistic field goal range for a chance to tie the game.I’m sure no one feels worse than he does, but really…that wasn’t the best decision.
  • Football Etiquette?: When a team goes into victory formation at the end of the game, it’s generally assumed that they’ve won and the other team accepts the loss. But Greg Schiano shook things up at the end of Sunday’s Giants/Bucs game by coaching his defensive players to go after the ball on the last play of the game with the Giants in a victory formation. They ended up knocking QB Eli Manning to the ground in the process, and Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was quite fired up about the whole incident. The Bucs didn’t do anything illegal, just frowned upon. In this situation I think Herm Edwards said it best, “You play to win the game.” He’s teaching his players how to fight until the clock goes to 00:00, and you can’t fault him for that.
  • A Bad Start for Peyton: Last night Peyton Manning opened the first quarter with three interceptions…in his first eight passes. It was rough. I went to bed at halftime, but from all accounts he seemed to bounce back in the second half, with the final score a respectable 21-27 loss for the Broncos.

And this week’s one last thing: this commercial.

My new favorite kind of yoga.

What to Know : Week 2

What to Know: Week 2

GAME TO KNOW: I think the game of the week already happened: Bears at Packers last night. It’s a classic rivalry, but more than that, it was a litmus test for both teams. The Bears put up 41 points on the Colts last week, an abnormality for their defensive-minded team. The Packers were just awful against the 49ers in Week 1, showing little to no improvement on the defense that was ranked 32nd in the league last season. So if Week 1 is to be believed, the Bears are an offensive powerhouse and the Packers are going to be last in the Division and miss the Playoffs.

But the 23-10 victory last night by the Packers is exactly why Week 1 should never be believed.

The Bears struggled to put points on the board. Jay Cutler threw 4 interceptions. The Packers sacked him 7 times, with Clay Matthews getting a career-high 3.5 sacks. Both showings should be taken with a grain of salt – I don’t think the Bears are as bad as they looked last night or the Packers are as improved on defense as they looked last night. But it definitely showed that both teams are capable of more than they showed in Week 1 – for better or for worse.

PLAYER TO WATCH: I’m going to go with Kevin Kolb on this one. The Cardinals paid a lot of money to get Kevin Kolb last season, but he didn’t quite live up to the high expectations they had for him. Consequently, former backup John Skelton was named the starter in a training camp quarterback controversy that lasted most of the preseason. He was playing well last week…but was injured near the ed of the game and could not return. Kolb came in and led the Cardinals to a 4th quarter win. Since Skelton is still out with the ankle injury Kolb will get the start this week against the Patriots. They’ll provide more of a challenge than the Seahawks did last week, but ultimately, this QB situation is far from set in stone so it’s not inconceivable to think that Kolb could win his job back with an outstanding performance against the Pats.

STORYLINE TO KNOW: Handshake Gate: Round II. If you didn’t see last year’s handshake mishap between head coaches Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh, watch this. The teams will meet again for the first time since on Sunday for what is sure to be the most-hyped postgame handshake in recent history. It promises to be uneventful but highly anticipated.


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