Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Run, run, running blues

Steelers' great John Henry Johnson,
circa 1963, getting it done.
The Steelers are tied with Tampa Bay for 26th in the NFL in Rushing Attempts, with just 47 rushing plays in the first two games.

Some teams talk about committing to the run. Other teams do it. All during the off-season, Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson insisted the Bengals would commit to the run this year.  Now, the Bengals rank second in the league with 71 attempts, behind only Houston's 80. On Sunday vs. the Falcons, the Bengals ran the ball 45 times for 171 yards, led by Giovanni Bernard's 27 carries and Jeremy Hill's 15 caries. The Bengals won convincingly.

Even the Dallas Cowboys demonstrated a newfound commitment to the run during their convincing win over Tennessee. Dallas's defense was on the field for only 49 snaps, as the Cowboys racked up 241 yards rushing and a whopping 41 minutes time of possession behind DeMarco Murray's 167 yards rushing on 27 carries. Dallas is tied with Buffalo for fourth in the league with 66 rushing attempts.

Cleveland is 8th in the league with 60 rushing attempts. Just ahead of them is San Diego, with 61 rushing attempts. San Diego had the ball for a whopping 42:15 time of possession during the team's convincing victory over Seattle on Sunday.

The Steelers are running the ball okay, with a 4.8 yard average per attempt, which is ninth in the league. Todd Haley, Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin just can't commit to it.

More NFL idiocy, ugliness and situational ethics

Nice timing, Zygi Wilf, Mark Wilf, Rick Spielman and all the other Minnesota Vikings decision-makers who announced yesterday afternoon that, yes, accused child abuser Adrian "Whoopin'" Peterson will play on Sunday.

The Vikings need to find a new sponsor-backdrop screen
for their news conferences, now that Radisson has suspended
its sponsorship of the team. Shown: Vikings GM Rick Spielman
Wolf, the team owner and a notorious sleazebag, and Spielman, the general manager, weren't at all clear on what factors went into their decision, so we can only surmise it had nothing to do with, or everything to do with the fact that Minnesota running backs averaged 2.0 yards per carry on Sunday.

Clearly, Wolf and Spielman, however, would have us believe their decision to welcome back Peterson had little to do with Sunday's abysmal on-field performance by the Vikings' offense, which looked dreadful without the star running back in a 30-7 loss at home to the New England Patriots. The Vikings' owner and management team want Peterson on the field to help the team be more competitive. Winning, or attempting to win, trumps everything. It seems to be a classic example of flexible, situational ethics.

Karma Trumps Situational Ethics?
Then, to spice things up later on Monday, a Houston TV station reported a second mother of another four-year-old son of Peterson's has come forward to also accuse him of accusing that boy in a separate incident. The television station reported that other mother of the second four-year-old filed a report with Child Protective Services but no charges have been filed yet.

And, in an announcement that must have surprised the Vikings late Monday, one of their "sponsor partners," the hotel chain Radisson, displayed uncommon good sense by issuing a statement to the effect that they were suspending their sponsorship of the team, effectively disassociating themselves from the Vikings.

Evidently, Radisson takes all this more seriously than the Vikings do:
"Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children," said the company's statement. "We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances."
Sponsorship money. Now that's something the NFL understands.

Meanwhile, the Steelers' next opponent, the Carolina Panthers, left it to head coach Ron Rivera to announce yesterday that star defensive end Greg Hardy remains with the team and is not suspended, but may or may not play on Sunday night vs. the Steelers in a prime-time nationally televised game.

We'll get around to talking about on-the-field football at some point soon. We still like the game itself and some of the people playing it.