In the aftermath of Stanford’s disappointing loss to Oregon on Saturday night, you are likely to hear little birdies chirping that Andrew Luck isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.
Don’t buy it.
No, Luck was not his usual spectacular self on Saturday night. He was 27-41 for 256 yards, 3TDs, and 2 INTs. Those are very good numbers, but not the other-worldly stats we’ve come to expect from the NFL’s Next Great Quarterback.
Late in the game, with the Cardinal needing a touchdown drive to cut the deficit to one possession, Luck threw a perfect strike to his wide receiver. Unfortunately, his receiver let the ball slip right through his hands, it deflected to an Oregon defender, and likethat Luck had thrown a pick 6 and the game was over.
How did Luck respond? Exactly how you’d want your leader to respond.
He immediately found the receiver – a freshman – on the sidelines and gave him an attaboy tap on the helmet, letting the clearly distraught freshman know his QB has his back.
Kirk Herbstreit pointed this out, and I concurred with the Prince of College Football’s statement that this was a great show of Luck’s leaderhsip. On a night when Luck was far from the perfect quarterback – he was merely very good as opposed to transcendent – he remained the perfect leader. For a quarterback, that’s an indispensable trait to have.
And I explain all of this to you for one reason: so Colts fans can feel better about their team frittering away what I thought was their last good chance to get a W. Colts fans, don’t listen to the unhype about Luck after Saturday. He’s still an amazing prospect. And he’s almost surely going to end up in Indianapolis now.
NFL “Suck For Luck” Power Rankings for Week 11
Here are this week’s Suck For Luck Power Rankings, which I post before Monday night’s game between the Vikings and Packers.
1. Indianapolis Colts (0-10)
I contemplated making this a one-team list and just calling it the Suck For Luck Power Ranking, because only the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers have bigger leads in their respective divisions than the Colts have in the Suck For Luck division.
What’s sad is that I actually thought the Colts would play well this week, what with it being their best chance to nab a W for the rest of the season. At a minimum I thought they’d keep it close and find a way to cover the three point spread. Instead, they lost 17-3 behind another porous effort from Curtis Painter.
At this point, I don’t really know what to say about the Colts. They are historically bad. A friend of mine on an email convo I’m privy to ran some geek numbers and figured out that the Colts are actually trending worse than the 2008 Lions team that finished 0-16. That’s not good.
All in all, I’d rate the Colts’ team performance this year at about, oh, 30 courics.
And here is the thought that just popped into my head immediately after realizing that Stan Marsh’s climactic deuce is the perfect metaphor for the Colts in 2011: the Colts angered the football gods a couple of years ago when they shat on the possibility of going undefeated, resting starters the final two weeks of the year after opening up with a 14-0 record, and they’ve been paying the piper ever since.
The gut punch loss in the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning’s injury. Everything about this season. If you can find reasonable evidence to suggest that pissed off football gods haven’t had a hand in this, please present it. (I don’t think you can.)
2. The NBA (0-2011)
No other team truly deserves to be #2, so I’m giving it to the NBA, which remains embroiled in a nasty lockout that isn’t really showing any signs of being solved soon. This means, of course, that Tyler Hansbrough cannot be a cure-all for the city of Indianapolis.
Frankly, I’ve always been a much bigger college basketball fan than an NBA fan, and I never really start paying attention to the NBA until after the new year. I know many of you do, so I hope it ends soon, but I’m kind of excited that what I think is going to be one of the best college basketball seasons in a while will get some extra attention.
3. Cleveland Browns (3-6)
I respect my Browns fan friends too much to post video of the missed field goal that sealed yet another crushing loss. (Plus, I just searched for it on YouTube and couldn’t find it within 10 seconds, which is my threshold for searching for something on the Internet before I give up.)
Instead, I’ll just post this video of Mike Polk, which all Browns fans can, unfortunately, relate to.
See you next week.
4. St. Louis Rams (2-7)
The Rams are still a game worse than Cleveland, and really should have lost that game, so it’s hard to put them too far behind Cleveland, especially when many of the other teams who would be in contention for this spot won.
I still like the Rams moving forward, still think they can get some Ws, and maybe Lady Luck smiling down upon them can start some positive momentum building.
Now, in St. Louis-related news that St. Louisians will actually care about, friend of MSF Matt Sebek (he of Joe Sports Fan) reported this weekend that “the (alleged) Photoshops of Albert Pujols in Miami uniform are starting to trickle out.” Here is one of them:
5. Carolina Panthers (2-7)
Whoa…what was that Carolina?
I have been firmly on this team’s bandwagon so far this season, but I was not expected a putrid performance like that against Tennessee. With so many other teams on this list winning last week, I can’t justify ranking any of them above the Panthers. Let’s hope that’s not a sign of how Camolina is going to finish what has been an otherwise very promising season.
6. Washington Redskins (3-6)
The Redskins were 3-1 at one time. They have now lost five in row, culminating in yesterday’s 11-point loss to the surging Miami Dolphins. This loss was compounded by Mike Shanahan pissing off every fantasy football owner Sunday morning by announcing that Rex Grossman and Ryan Torain would start over John Beck and Roy Helu.
And why would Shanahan do such a thing? Because he can. And because he loathes your very existence on this earth, you pumpkin-pie haircutted, fantasy football playing freak.
Of course, he also apparently hates winning now too, so don’t feel bad.
As for Redskins fans, there’s always golf.
Image source: Jim Grant via Deadspin
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
When, exactly, did this team win four games? My lasting impression of them is getting hammered by the 49ers and then pulverized yesterday by the Texans. Their combined margin of loss in those two games: 7,541 points.
Do you realize that Tampa Bay, despite having four wins, is one of only four teams in the NFL with a point differential of minus-70 or more? This supposed young team on the rise is much further away that people thought, and there were several times yesterday when I looked up at the Bucs-Texans game and thought Tampa Bay had just quit on a play.
But I’m sure that once Albert Haynesworth gets more assimilated into the locker room his unyielding effort and motor will rub off on his teammates and prevent any further quitting.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)
Why am I putting another 4-win team on this list before the many 3- and even 2-win teams who would seem more deserving? Because, like Tampa Bay, Kansas City is one of the four teams with a point differential of minus-77 or more. And over the last two weeks the Chiefs have been beaten by 28 points by a previously winless teams and lost a division game in which their opponent completed…two passes.
In the wake of the Chiefs’ latest collapse, the always magnanimous Todd Haley was nice enough to record a message for all Chiefs fans expressing his commitment to delivering a good football team for the rest of the season.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
The Jags probably shouldn’t have plummeted this far in the rankings after a win over Indy, which is so inevitable it should barely count more than a tie. But the Jags do play good defense, and I would pick them to beat any of the teams above on a neutral field. Like the Dolphins, I have to give the Jags credit for continuing to play hard. Jacksonville may not be very good, but you can’t say they are underachieving.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)
The Eagles actually have a positive point differential on the season (+17), mostly because of their demolition of the Cowboys a few weeks back. But when you’re supposed to be a “Dream Team” and you’re 3-6 after a home loss to a team quarterbacked by John Skelton, you have to be on the list of the 10 worst teams in the NFL.
By the way, I now view this picture in a completely different light after the events of this weekend.
Image credit: Carolyn Caster via Lehigh Valley Live
Just missed: Miami Dolphins (2-7); Minnesota (2-6); Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals (3-6)
For the record, I am shocked that I got through these rankings without the Dolphins, Seahawks, and Cardinals making it. But you know what? I think they’ve earned it. All three of those teams have continued playing hard and are winning some tough, close games. That’s much more than I can say about the other teams on this list, all of whom Suck…but clearly only one team is doing it for Luck.
Now your thoughts. Where am I right? Where am I wrong? The comment section awaits your ire and indignation.