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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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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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