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NFL Week 8 observations: chicken man, bar tabs and more

Adam Vinatieri is still kicking after all these years. Colts team web site

Week 8 of NFL action brought us few surprises. Most of the favorites won, some even covered the spread. But, as always, there were some exciting action and unusual plays/occurrences. Let’s check out how I saw things this week:

The Good

-A Panthers fan staged a protest against over-priced fried chicken by bringing his own to the game Sunday. Although the chicken was consumed before they made it inside, it’s still worth top billing here. Hopefully stadium execs across the country will see this more often and take note.

-Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri became the league’s all-time leading scorer Sunday. He passed HOFer Morten Andersen on a field goal 29 seconds before halftime against the Raiders. At 45 years old, Vinatieri is in his 23rd year and still one of the most accurate and clutch kickers in football. To put things in perspective: his rookie year was my sophomore year in high school.

-Cardinals rookie quarterback threw the game winning touchdown pass to fellow rookie Christian Kirk and the two-point conversion to future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald for their second win of the season. Composure under pressure and decision making are two critical keys to good quarterback play. Here’s to hoping Rosen can be their franchise quarterback.

The Bad

- Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston was pulled after throwing four interceptions, including a pick six, against the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick, A.K.A. Fitz-magic, came in down 34-16 in the third quarter and helped them to tie the game with about 1:05 left in the game. They lost on a field goal with time expiring. The Jameis Experiment in Tampa should be over now.

-The Rams went up 29-27 at the two minute warning. The Packers had been giving them hell all game. Packers’ running back Ty Montgomery fielded the kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and decided to run it out, then he fumbled on the 21 and the Rams recovered. They’d go on to run the clock out for the win. Tough way to lose on such a bad decision.

-The Lions only managed 34 yards rushing in their 28-14 loss to the Seahawks. After signing LeGarrette Blount, drafting Kerryon Johnson, and still having Amir Abdullah, this was a pitiful output. Matt Stafford’s arm will fall off at this rate.

The Ugly

-We all have criticized the refs at one point. Whether we feel they screwed our team, cost us money, or made games hard to watch, we have all thought they should lose their jobs. The NFL went there when they fired Hugo Cruz effective immediately this past Thursday after he missed a critical false start call against Chargers’ Russell Okung against the Browns in week six. Typically, an official will have to rank in the third tier of grading two consecutive years before being fired.

-Four Jags’ players were arrested, detained, and eventually released early Saturday morning in London for allegedly skipping out on a bar tab. Safety Barry Church, one of the four, said Sunday after their 24-18 loss to the Eagles this was a misunderstanding. Since when is a $64,000 tab a “misunderstanding?” This team is now on a four game slide with no signs of recovering.

-The 2-5-1 Browns fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley Monday. Jackson and Haley will be seen as scapegoats for the team’s failures this season. The team is 3-36-1 under Jackson, but the roster finally has talent worthy of an NFL roster. GM John Dorsey will get to pick his own head coach. In the meantime, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (of Bountygate fame) will serve as the interim.  

Another great week of NFL football in the books, but still some questions remain: Who will be the next Browns coach? Are the Rams and Chiefs destined to meet in the Super Bowl? Who’s next on the chopping block? Who will the Giants take with the first overall pick? Will the Raiders’ 2019 first round draft selections go over or under 5.5? I’m looking forward to the answers. See yall next week!

 

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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