- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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October is a sports month unlike any other. Football, playoff baseball, soccer and the start of the basketball and hockey seasons (in hypothetical non-lockout years) mean there is nonstop action every night of the week. It is sports fan paradise.
The Major League Baseball playoffs and football get most of the attention in October, of course -- perhaps because they have so much in common. Doubt it? Many baseball terms can also be used for football. Take a look.
Baseball: the pitcher-catcher combination.
Football: a thing hurled by drunk, angry fans.
Used in a sentence: “Just one week after returning to a hero’s welcome, the referee was hit in the head by a battery."
Baseball: a sarcastic cheer for a struggling team.
Football: a sarcastic cheer for a struggling team.
Used in a sentence: “Mark Sanchez’s first completed pass of the night earned a Bronx cheer.”
Baseball: short hit executed to surprise the fielders or advance a runner.
Football: a short pass.
Used in a sentence: “On second-and-8, the Eagles completed a 3-yard bunt to the sidelines.”
Baseball: a hitter failing to swing at a third strike.
Football: a quarterback staring down a defensive back.
Used in a sentence: “Tony Romo was caught looking on his 11th interception of the game.”
Baseball: playing two games in one day.
Football: hitting two opponents in the head.
Used in a sentence: “Steelers safety Ryan Clark laid out two opponents on the play with a doubleheader and will be hearing from the league office.”
Baseball: a fielding mistake.
Football: the Cleveland Browns.
Used in a sentence: “I can’t believe I bought tickets to watch this this error.”
Baseball: a ball hit on the ground in the infield.
Football: a football dropped on the ground.
Used in a sentence: “And Michael Vick turns upfield and it’s another ground ball.”
Baseball: throwing four balls to a batter on purpose.
Football: not trying.
Used in a sentence: “Knowing the pass wasn’t coming his way on the play, Randy Moss executed an intentional walk.”
Baseball: a ball hit hard a few feet off the ground.
Football: driving the line.
Used in a sentence: “With the game all but over, Greg Schiano called for a line drive.”
Baseball: not allowing the opponent to get a single hit during an entire game.
Football: failing to tackle anyone.
Used in a sentence: “The Bills’ defense successfully completed another no-hitter.”
Baseball: a stat category for a relief pitcher finishing a game under certain criteria.
Football: a big "Monday Night Football" performance.
Used in a sentence: “I need Arian Foster to score 17.5 fantasy points for me tonight to save my team.”
Baseball: a runner on second or third base.
Football: taking the field against the Bills.
Used in a sentence: “It doesn’t matter if you’re on offense or defense, if you’re playing the Bills, you’re always in scoring position.”
Baseball: a pitch that breaks sharply in a horizontal direction at the last moment.
Football: a kick that turns sharply.
Used in sentence: “Billy Cundiff’s slider meant the drive finished with no points.”
Quote of the Week
"My father always said that records are made to be broken.”
Joe Unitas, Johnny Unitas’ son, in a letter to Drew Brees.
No. No one who holds a record feels that way. It is a nice thing to say and by no means do I doubt that the elder Unitas said those words. That’s just what you have to say publicly when you hold a record. You’re supposed to pretend to be overjoyed that some new person has come along and forever wiped you from the record books. “Hooray! People will remember me less now! What a great moment!”
Joe Unitas, like his father, said and did all the right things while watching Brees break his father’s record Sunday night. He even looked sincere in appearing happy for Brees, which may be a feat more impressive than throwing a bunch of touchdowns. But no one would blame the younger Unitas if he had said: “My dad said records are made to be broken. I don’t know about that noise. I’m really hoping Brees plays horribly and the Saints get shut out. But they offered me free seats and airfare and a hotel in New Orleans for a weekend. So, yeah. I’m here. But go, Chargers.”
Stat of the Week
Brees’ 48-game touchdown streak began in Week 6 of the 2009 season. He has thrown for 118 touchdowns over that 48-game span (and has 295 for his career).
Here are the total career touchdown passes thrown by other quarterbacks drafted with Brees in 2001:
Michael Vick: 117
Quincy Carter: 32
Sage Rosenfels: 30
A.J. Feeley: 28
Mike McMahon: 15
Chris Weinke: 15
Jesse Palmer: 3
Marques Tuiasosopo: 2
Josh Booty: 0
Josh Heupel: 0
So that’s pretty impressive. However, to be fair to these guys, if you take away Brees’ 118 touchdown passes during his lucky 48-game run, he has thrown for only 177 over the rest of his career.
Misleading Stat of the Week
Chris Johnson put up his second most rushing yards of the season on Sunday against the Vikings! Unfortunately, that was just 24 yards -- down a bit from the 141 he had in Week 4.
This Week’s Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: 31-for-55, 362 yards, 2 TD, INT, 24 rushing yards, TD
Armando Allen, RB, Bears: 5 carries, 59 yards, TD
David Wilson, RB, Giants: 2 carries, 44 yards, TD
Josh Gordon, WR, Browns: 2 catches, 82 yards, 2 TD
Devery Henderson, WR, Saints: 8 catches, 123 yards, TD
Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts: 4 catches, 38 yards, TD
Photos of the Week
Press Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Leslie Frazier: “When did your team get good?”
Pat Shurmur: “Basically the same questions as all the previous weeks, just in the context of a different opponent. Thoughts?”
Aaron Kromer: “Do you feel like Drew Brees has kind of selfishly overshadowed your first NFL win?”
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@djgalloespn I missed almost all of the NFL games today. Can you sum up everything that happened, in one sentence?
— Mike Chamernik (@mcx1110) October 8, 2012
Hmm. That’s a tough one, but I’ll give it a try:
Don’t worry if you missed all of Sunday’s action because on Monday night the Jets play, and I’ve heard their games are all that matters.
Hope you feel all caught up now!
ELITE Quarterback of the Week: Alex Smith
Is Alex Smith ELITE?
The evidence for him: the 49ers are 4-1, Smith was a No. 1 overall pick, he has a 108.7 passer rating this season and you can’t spell GOLDSMITH without SMITH.
The evidence against him: Smith is often considered the weak link on his team, backup Colin Kaepernick continues to get more time and you can’t spell SMITHEREENS without SMITH.
Five Things I Think You Think You Should Think
1. Here’s the first sentence in the Associated Press’ game wrap of Chiefs-Ravens: “Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel lay flat on his back in the fourth quarter, staring up at the sky, where just a few hours earlier an airplane towed a banner calling for him to be benched.”
That better win this year’s Pulitzer for Most Depressing Lede.
2. As an undrafted player out of UMass, Victor Cruz probably didn’t expect to become an NFL star. So he scored his first few touchdowns last year and did a celebratory salsa dance. Enjoy the moment, right? Except now he’s at 14 touchdowns in less than a season and a half, and he’s still doing the salsa after every touchdown.
You’re boring us, Cruz. We get it now. You know how to salsa. You need to change up your touchdown celebrations or you’ll be typecast forever as the salsa guy. Do you think Ray Lewis wants to do that dance before every game? Of course not. He looks absurd. But people expect it now. He’ll be doing that dance at some memorabilia show at a Holiday Inn 50 years from now for 30 bucks. It’s depressing. And I can’t take anything else depressing after that Cassel sentence.
3. The Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup was overshadowed by Rob Gronkowski playing against his brother Chris Gronkowski. It was a modern Civil War: bro vs. bro. I am still shocked the game started on time. I assumed it would be delayed 10 minutes or more while the Gronks completed some sort of elaborate handshake/chest bumping routine.
4. I think Charles Woodson didn’t know where the ball was here.
5. Most every NFL game in October features a few guys playing without any pink accessories. If that omission is intentional, it's a peculiar decision.
“Hey, care to switch your regular wrist bands for these pink ones?”
“For breast cancer awareness.”
“Maybe you misheard me. It’s for breast cancer awareness. It won’t affect your play in any way. The pink wrist bands work the same.”
“No, I heard you. I’m just not doing it.”
“You are a terrible person.”
How They Spent Their Bye Week
Cowboys: Lecturing “die heart” fans.
Raiders: Remembering the most important meal of the day.
Buccaneers: Watching college football.
Lions: Having a miserable time.