Seattle defense destroys Denver in Super Bowl

It’s all too easy to make bold proclamations right after a sporting event, and I hate when people are prisoners of the moment. But the Seattle Seahawks defense was amazing tonight as they completely dominated a Denver Broncos offense that rewrote the offensive record book this year. People are already comparing them the the 1985 Chicago Bears and other great defenses. That debate can happen on another day as far as I’m concerned.

What they did tonight was truly impressive against Peyton Manning. They also did it in an era where it seemed that all the rules were rigged in favor of the offense. But the final score was also indicative of a game that completely got away from Denver. That just happens sometimes, and tonight nothing went right for Peyton’s crew. Throw in turnovers and special teams and we witnessed a complete meltdown. But all of it started with the Seattle defense.

That said, we’ve seen this story before. Look at the three greatest quarterback seasons of all time, and we see that Dan Marino, Tom Brady and now Peyton Manning ended up losing the Super Bowl against an excellent defense. We also remember Jim Kelly and the high-flying Bills getting stopped by Bill Parcels and the Giants. So in one respect this shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

As for Russell Wilson, the kid deserves a ton of credit. He proved many of us wrong and he’s a Super Bowl champion in his second season. But let’s not overstate things here as well. Russell Wilson was riding the Seattle bus, not driving it. Calling him one of the greats is overreacting, as is calling him Trent Dilfer. Tonight he did what he had to do, though early in the game Seattle settled for two field goals when Denver was doing everything possible to give them the gang. Fortunately, the defense and special teams took over, and Russell Wilson and the offense could coast to the win.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Darius Rucker has an End Zone Obsession…and he’d like to share it with you

Not that there aren’t already plenty of places on the World Wide Web where you can go to make weekly football picks, but if you’re one of the millions of people who have owned and loved Hootie and the Blowfish’s album Cracked Rear View, then it might just behoove you to offer a cursory click onto Darius Rucker’s End Zone Obsession.*

End Zone Obsession originated out of an attempt by Rucker and his “people” to figure out a more exciting way to interact with his fans, and when the talk turned to football, Rucker knew they’d hit on an idea that had serious potential. Soon, web designers were hard at work, putting together an easy-to-use site that would allow Rucker and his fans to pick the winners and losers for each week of the NFL season.

“People have been challenging me, and I’ve pretty much accepted every challenge,” said Rucker. “Last week, everybody was talking trash before the weekend, and then I won, ‘cause I picked every game right. So I was on this morning, doing the trash-talking. I’m telling them, ‘Guess you’ve got to do better next week!’”

As Rucker is a diehard Miami fan, this interview obviously took place prior to the Dolphins having been blown out of the water by the Patriots, but it’s not as though his tune will have changed as a result. Clearly, it’s far too late for that now…

* Rucker officially became a Miami Dolphins fan on January 16, 1972. “The Dolphins are playing the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and I’m in the house with all my cousins. My two aunts are there. There’s, like, 14 kids, and every kid in there, everybody in my whole family, is pulling for the Cowboys. I decided that day that I was pulling for the Dolphins…and I remember crying when the Dolphins lost at the end. But the next year, I started playing little league football, and ever since then I’ve loved the game.”

* He has a piece of swag that would make any Dolphins fan drool. “The very first Miami Dolphins game I ever got to go to, it was a Monday night game against the Steelers back in ’94, and I got to sing the National Anthem. After that game, Dan Marino took his jersey off and gave it to his assistant and had it framed for me, and that is my favorite piece of paraphernalia that I got. I’ve lived in my house for 12 years, and my decorator laughed at me when I moved in, because that jersey was up in the house before anything else could enter.”

* There has only ever been one occasion when his devotion to Miami has wavered. “When I heard that Dave Wannstedt told Dan Marino that he thought that he had a better chance to win with Jay Fiedler than him, I really thought about switching my alliances, because I thought we had the dumbest coach that had ever coached a game of football.”

Given Rucker’s dedication to the Dolphins, he’s not afraid to admit that you can always count on him to make the same selection on End Zone Obsession week after week after week.

“I’m talking to my assistant yesterday, I’m making my picks, and he goes, ‘What do you think about the Dolphins game?’ And I said, ‘Dude, I’m picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row.’ I can guarantee you that. I’ll be picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row. And it’s not, like, I’m thinking in my heart, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got to pick the Dolphins.’ I truly believe they’re going to win.”

* For the record, yes, we do know that Rucker has not only continued to record well beyond Hootie’s aforementioned 1994 album but, indeed, has been shifting mass country-music units for the past several years as a solo artist, thanks to such hit singles as “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This for Long, and “Alright.” But, damn, man, Cracked Rear View went platinum sixteen times over. I think that still warrants being cited as his predominant accomplishment, don’t you?

Percy Harvin’s draft stock falling?

According to a report by the Palm Beach Post, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin’s draft stock is falling dramatically.

First there was the reported score of 12 out of 50 on Harvin’s Wonderlic test in February, which measures quick thinking and basic problem solving. Then NFLDraftBible.com reported 10 days ago that Harvin and three other players tested positive for marijuana at February’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, though no other outlet has confirmed the report.

Harvin scored 32 touchdowns in three seasons and was a major factor on two national championship teams. He can play running back or receiver, averaged 11 yards every time he touched the ball in 2008 (110 times), and, playing with a fractured bone in his foot, famously gained 170 yards with a touchdown in the 2009 national title game.

Still, Pro Football Weekly recently polled NFL executives about the riskiest picks in this coming draft and Harvin was selected as the unanimous winner because of “coachability, a posse of hangers-on, his lack of respect for authority and drug usage.”

The reports never will be publicly confirmed by the NFL, but fair or not, the rumors are out there. Combine them with Harvin’s frequent run-ins with authorities as a high school star in the Virginia Beach area, which resulted in him being removed from high school sports altogether, and suddenly Harvin has gone from a top-10 pick to maybe slipping to the second round.

It’s hard to blame teams these days for taking a pass on a prospect that supposedly has off field baggage. The Falcons spent millions of dollars and sunk the hopes of their franchise into Michael Vick, only to watch him wind up in prison for federal dog fighting charges. Teams don’t want to be burned down the road because a player can’t stay out of trouble off the field, or stay away from their troublemaking friends.

Then again, as the article points out, guys like Dan Marino, Randy Moss and Warren Sapp also sacred off some teams and they obviously turned out to be pretty good. And it’s unfair to assume Harvin is a bad egg based on a couple of these reports, most notably the one by the unreliable NFLDraftBible.com.

Top 10 active NFL passing leaders

The 2008 NFL season is now in the books. Well, unless you love football so much that you actually watch and care about the Pro Bowl tomorrow. You know how I would care about it? If I was in Hawaii. But that’s just me. Anyway, as some of the game’s great quarterbacks padded their career stats, let’s take a look at the active Top 10 in passing yards:

1. Brett Favre, New York Jets (65,127)—Sure, he led the NFL in interceptions this past season with 22, but Favre threw for 3472 yards and 22 touchdowns. Will this number stand, or will Favre add to it? I think I speak for every sportswriter out there when I say I’m tired of reading about and writing about Favre’s impending retirement.

2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (45,628)—With 20,000 yards to catch Favre, it will take Manning, who has averaged over 4000 yards per season for 11 years, another five seasons to get there. Manning is only 32, so I’d bet on that. Well, unless Favre retires and unretires a few more times.

3. Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans (37,393)—It’s hard to believe Collins is only 36 years old, and leading the Titans to the best record in the NFL in 2008 sparked a fire under him. And that fire will continue to burn in Nashville despite how Vince Young feels about it.

4. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles (29,320)—McNabb is 82-45-1 as a starter over 10 seasons in Philly. Wait, can NFL games end in ties? Anyway, McNabb has thrown 194 touchdowns with just 90 interceptions. But the guy has no rings, and was so nervous in his lone Super Bowl appearance that he vomited in the huddle. I don’t get it.

5. Brad Johnson, Dallas Cowboys (29,054)—Johnson stopped putting up meaningful numbers a few seasons ago, and he looked awful for those three games he started in place of Tony Romo this year. Let’s just say we shouldn’t expect ol’ Brad to reach 30,000 passing yards for his career.

6. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals (28,591)—Okay, so he didn’t win his second Super Bowl ring, but Warner still has an amazingly accurate arm at 37. He said he won’t tease us all with retirement talk ala Favre, but my feeling is he’s not anywhere close to being done.

7. Trent Green, St. Louis Rams (28,475)—Green has started the equivalent of one season’s games over the past three, and he’s taken some brutal hits that have left given him multiple concussions. If I was Green, and I know I’m not, I would hang it up now.

8. Jon Kitna, Detroit Lions (27,293)—Kitna has had some bad luck. He played on some bad Bengals teams and then signed with the Lions in 2006. And though Kitna went down with an injury after four games this past season, he still was part of the first 0-16 team in NFL history.

9. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (26,446)—Here’s the irony. Brady had 76 passing yards before a brutal knee injury ended his season in Week 1. If he had played 16 games, there’s a very good chance he’d be as high as fourth on this list today.

10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (26,258)—Brees came within 15 yards of Dan Marino’s single season record of 5084 passing yards, but he still made fantasy owners happy, and still climbed onto this list as a result.

Source: Pro Football Reference

NFL Week 17 Quick Hit Thoughts: Lions 0-16, Brees falls short, Big Ben hurt

Detroit Lions– With their 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions wound up on the wrong side of history in 2008, finishing the season 0-16. No team in the NFL history has ever finished 0-16, but the good news for Lion fans is that owner William Clay Ford Sr. doesn’t plan on changing a thing about the organization. Yikes.

– I feel bad for Drew Brees. He needed just 16 more passing yards in the Saints’ 33-31 loss to the Panthers on Sunday to eclipse Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single-season. I’m a little surprised that with Carolina’s defenders playing so far back, that Brees didn’t just zing one over the middle for 10 or 12 yards and let one of his receivers pick up the rest of the yardage. But I admire Brees for slinging it down field in an attempt to try and win the game. (I think that’s what he was doing?)

– In a nightmare situation for the Steelers in their 31-0 win over the hapless Cleveland Browns on Sunday, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was carted off the field after suffering a concussion late in the second quarter. Big Ben’s head slammed hard against the turf after he was crushed by two Brown defenders and it took the trainers nearly 15 minutes to attend to him. It’s unclear at this point the status of his health, although the Steelers do have a bye week before they host a playoff game.

– I didn’t see much of the Ravens’ 27-7 win over the Jaguars, but I do know that Baltimore is one scary looking playoff team. Their defense will allow them to compete with anyone and Joe Flacco might be playing better than any rookie in the league – including Matt Ryan.

– Peyton Manning went 7 for 7 for 95 yards and a touchdown in his final tune up before the playoffs. Whoever wins the AFC West between the Chargers and Broncos Sunday night should savor the moment because it’s going to be short-lived considering they’ll have to play Indy next weekend.

– I can’t believe how far the Bears’ defense has fallen since Chicago’s appearance in the Super Bowl two years ago. I mean, the Texans did whatever they wanted to the Bears and Chicago’s secondary made Matt Schaub look like Joe Theismann.

– According to the St. Petersburg Times, Buccaneers’ running back Cadillac Williams appears to have suffered a torn left patellar tendon in Tampa’s 31-24 loss to the Raiders. I don’t want to speculate before more information is released, but it’s a shame that such a promising career might be cut short.

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