The Cincinnati Bengals stink

Written by :
Published on : September 16, 2017

 

It’s only two weeks into Cincinnati’s season and things are already looking bleak. They are 0-2 after a brutal loss on Thursday Night Football at the hands of the Houston Texans. That was a home game where they lost to a rookie QB making his first ever start. You can’t judge a team by just two weeks but there is little to be hopeful about with the team’s performances so far. Let’s go over everything we know.

 

The Cincinnati Bengals are 0-2 with both losses coming at home. The season opener they were shutout. Just an awful start for the local fans. Franchise star quarterback, Andy Dalton, hasn’t thrown a touchdown yet. Actually, the team has hasn’t scored a touchdown in their first 25 possessions. Dalton has 4 interceptions in that span. Yuck. AJ Green has been the lone bright spot on offense while backs, Gio Bernard, Jeremy Hill and rookie Joe Mixon have all failed to produce a spark. As a reaction, Bengals brass has decided to let offensive coordinator, Ken Zampese, go. Maybe this shake up will help turn things around? Or maybe this will set the unit back even further?

 

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The Bengals defense has been decent in terms of points allowed. They gave up 20 to the Ravens in week 1 and only 13 to the Texans in week 2. Those numbers should keep this crew competitive but the issues on offense are so great that sadly it doesn’t really matter what the D does save for scoring on multiple takeaways each outing.

 

One might think, “they are due for a win” well the schedule says otherwise. Week 3 is a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers. Maybe they score a TD or two but they take another L for sure. That will be 0-3. And with that record, people will be asking for coach, Marvin Lewis’ head. And for good reason. This Cincinnati team has some great skill players but never seem to be able to put it all together. At what point does the ownership let someone else have a shot?

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

Week 4 is at Cleveland. If they lose this battle of Ohio then Lewis will be fired for sure. Some will want Dalton gone too. Maybe he gets traded for picks. There are some stud QB’s coming out of college, so it doesn’t sound far fetched.

 

Maybe this all too knee-jerk from two bad weeks of football. Or maybe the writing is already on the wall. We shall see how it all plays out. But as of right now, the Cincinnati Bengals stink.

 

Bungles .

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 16: Antonio Brown Stretches For Game Winning TD and “The Killer Shrews”

Written by :
Published on : December 31, 2016

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the black candles gutter, and the dark lord has been invoked.

 

Week 16: Antonio Brown Stretches for Game Winning TD

 

 

Can it be? Act like you know.

 

It’s damn near impossible to pick anything except this in week 16, with Antonio Brown showing the kind of skill and effort that makes him one of the league’s top receivers in a play that all but wrapped up the AFC North for the Steelers. Y’all know Roger Pretzel’s a run kind of guy in the red zone but that’s obviously not the way the league works anymore, and you’re not gonna do it regardless with a scant fourteen ticks left in the game and no times out.

 

I love this play. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s not rewriting the book with a short cross pass, but making the route just shy of the goal line and trusting your receiver to fight for the touchdown is pure gold. Brown stands up to three D-men and has the power to not go down and the smarts to stretch that arm out. This should be a contender for play of the year.

 

Week 16: The Killer Shrews

killer_shrews_poster_02.jpg.html

 

Director: Ray Kellog
Released: 1959

 

This surprisingly intriguing B-movie is rightfully famous today for its atrocious special effects, in which greyhound dogs were outfitted with toothy facial prosthetics and some sort of shaggy fur suit in order to depict the titular shrews that are let loose against a hapless group of humans holed up for a last stand. I’m not going to say the visuals aren’t often ridiculous but you owe it to yourself to give this one a chance.

 

killershrews6

 

Here’s the concept behind the silly title: in the real world, shrews are tiny little guys related to moles who, because of their diminutive size, have a bonkers fast metabolism rate that requires them to eat more than their body weight every day. So what if you sized up these crazed predators to a stature that could take down humans? In reality the animal would have a lower metabolic rate, but this is Hollywood baby, so let’s suspend the disbelief.

 

The writing is easily the strongest element of the picture with not only the conceit of the hyper predatory shrews becoming giant, but also the concept of a scientist trying to shrink down humanity so we’ll have more resources to go around (“The Big Shrink” by The Dead Kennedys, anyone?).

 

killershrews2

 

There’s some good human drama here too, with hero James Best evading assassination attempts from wannabe-top-dog Ken Curtis all while the slavering beasts are pounding the gates. Finally, the depiction of violence is far more serious here than one might reasonably expect. Shotgun blasts knock over well trained dogs-cum-shrews within the same frame without a cut, which is really quite impressive for such a low budget picture.

 

And yet it’s clearly this combination of positive elements and schlocky visuals that elevates The Killer Shrews from a worthwhile programmer into the pantheon. The threat of death is so palpably real for these lousy actors, but on the other hand, their attackers come off so distinctly as dogs dressed up as monsters.

 

Killer-shrew-1

 

View the trailer here:

 

 

And the masterpiece in its entirety:

 

 

 


Are the Cleveland Browns Headed for 0-16?

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2016

 

 

Oh no, Cleveland! Is another team going to end the season 0-16? I sure hope not. Not only is it bad for the NFL but it’s a terrible a fate for any franchise to suffer. The 2008 Detroit Lions went 0-16 and it was brutal. At home games, most of the fans wore brown paper bags on their heads to hide their identity from the tv cameras. Dark days indeed. Currently, the Cleveland Browns are 0-10 and are staring down the barrel of making history in all the wrong ways. Let’s breakdown the reasons for and against the Browns going winless.

 

The Browns will win a game

The saying is “any given Sunday” and as corny as it sounds, it’s true. Any pro team can get caught off guard and lose to a crew that’s worse than them. All it takes is a little mojo. A blocked kick, a gadget play, a big stop and suddenly, the little guy has all the energy. Losing every game is hard. You need to find new ways to lose. Those 2008 Lions were creative, they created failure out of thin air. It is an art, truly.

 

 

6 games is plenty of opportunity to pull an upset. There is talent on the roster. 1st round pick, Corey Coleman is finally healthy and looking to break a few big plays. Terrelle Pryor has been their best weapon all year and currently has 627 receiving yards, has taken some hand offs and even played a little QB. Running back Isaiah Crowell is averaging 4.6 yards a carry and can help move the chains. Just one player needs to get hot, in just one lucky game to avoid going 0-fer.

 

The Browns will go winless

Their QB situation is a joke. They have had 6 different signal callers so far and have rookie Cody Kessler running the show, for now. Remember when they thought RGIII was the answer? Woof.

 

None of these personnel issues really matter because it all comes down to the schedule. Even though Cleveland is playing at home 4 of the next 6 games, it doesn’t look great moving forward. Let’s breakdown each of their remaining matchups.

 

Week 11 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers have lost 4 in a row but are still in the division race. They need this game and will play like it.

Week 12 – New York Giants

Giants have a winning record and are playing their best football recently. Browns have no answer for OBJ.

Week 13 – Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals won the first meeting 31-17 last month and nothing has changed since then.

Week 14 – at Buffalo Bills

Playing in Buffalo, outdoors, mid-December, against that defense? Nope, nope, nope.

Week 15 – San Diego Chargers

The Chargers have scored the second most points. Cleveland can’t keep up.

Week 16 – at Pittsburgh Steelers

Only way the Browns stand a chance is if Roethlisberger and the starters sit out because they’ve already won the division.

 

I don’t see any wins in that stretch.

 

Verdict

 

The Browns will join the Lions as the only teams to go 0-16. Beyond the tough road ahead, the Browns have an identity crisis. Their defense is supposed to be their strong suit but the unit has given up a league leading 301 points through 10 games. Plus they have only scored 175 points. The worst differential in the NFL. I hate to say, those stats don’t bode well for securing a win anytime soon. At least Cleveland won’t be alone in the loser’s circle.

 

Who knows, maybe the Dawg Pound will turn it around and rip off two or three W’s or maybe they completely fall apart and earn that #1 overall draft pick the sad way. Or maybe more and more teams will go winless as the middle class drops out of the NFL. I never root for Ohio but everyone deserves at least one victory.

 

Defeated.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


Preseason Questions for all 32 NFL Teams

Written by :
Published on : August 17, 2016

 

 

The sports gods have answered our prayers and brought NFL football back to us mortals. Huzzah! It’s only preseason action but it’s better than nothing. These early practice games are great because they give us a chance to see the team for the first time. Naturally, many questions will bubble to the surface about each squad. Will this rookie make an impact? Will this player stay healthy? Who will win the starting the job? There is tons of buzz out there but these are the big questions facing each NFL team. Find your favorite franchise below and see what they are dealing with.

 

AFC North

Browns – Can RGIII stay on the field for 16 games and be the QB Cleveland needs to move forward?

Steelers – Can this team stay healthy and out of jail?

Ravens – Will the defense improve enough to make them competitive again?

Bengals – Can Andy Dalton be the guy who takes them deep into postseason? Or just win one single  playoff game?

 

 

AFC East

Patriots – Can New England survive Tom Brady’s four game suspension under Jimmy Garoppolo and still win the division?

Dolphins – Will this squad ever play up to their potential?

Bills – How will Tyrod Taylor fare under center in his second year?

Jets – With Fitz back at QB, can the Jets score enough points to win games?

 

AFC South

Colts – Which Andrew Luck will we see? 2014 or 2015?

Jaguars – Is this the season everyone wakes up and believes in the Jags passing attack?

Titans – Tons of new pieces, how will they all work together?

Texans – Is Brock Oswieler really the guy?

 

brock osweiler

 

AFC West

Broncos – Will Mark Sanchez butt-fumble in Denver?

Chiefs – How long will Jamaal Charles last?

Chargers – Can anyone on the team stay off Injured Reserve?

Raiders – Can the Raiders finally get out of their own way?

 

NFC North

Lions – Can the o-line hold up so Stafford finally has some time?

Packers – Is Eddie Lacy too fat?

Bears – Why is Jay Cutler still there?

Vikings – Can AP carry them to another division title?

 

 

NFC East

Cowboys – Who will get hurt first: Tony Romo or Dez Bryant?

Giants – Is Eli Manning still good?

Eagles – What is the identity of this team? Seriously. And don’t say Sam Bradford.

Skins – Can Kirk Cousins keep up his play from the end of last year?

 

NFC South

Saints – Does Drew Brees have any tricks left up his sleeve?

Panthers – How does Cam respond to losing the Super Bowl? Is there any hangover?

Falcons – Can the defense figure out how to stop anyone?

Buccaneers – Bucs took a kicker in the 2nd round of the draft, how many misses before fans freak out?

 

 

NFC West

Cardinals – Is David Johnston really all that? And a bag of chips?

Niners – How much of a mess will the offense be under Chip Kelly?

Seahawks – Is this the year they start throwing Jimmy Graham the ball?

Rams – Can Todd Gurley keep up his dominance? Or will opposing defenses finally figure out how to stop him?

 

Real-deal NFL games are only a few weeks away. So close, I can almost taste it. The regular season starts Thursday, September 8th. Until then, let’s enjoy the rest of the preseason and hope no one gets badly injured. Leave any questions you may have in the comments.

 

Are you ready for some football?

 

 


Johnny Manziel: The Perfect Scapegoat for a Bad Coach

Written by :
Published on : November 29, 2015

 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is like a miniature version of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. A free spirit who isn’t known to turn down a good time. Their adventures are well documented and both have been criticized for their social activity. However, whereas Gronkowski is looked at as a meathead that just loves to have fun, Manziel is characterized as a delinquent that can’t stay out of trouble. I believe the biggest issue for Manziel is that he plays for the Cleveland Browns.

 

This is the real bad guy.

 

Browns head coach Mike Pettine benched Manziel this week for partying during the team’s bye week. Let me repeat the latter part of that sentence. Manziel has been demoted to 3rd string for partying during the team’s BYE WEEK. There’s a few things that seem amiss with Pettine’s decision. Unless, before the bye week, Pettine and Manziel mutually agreed that Manziel would not “party” or that Manziel had to stay at the team’s facilities, then the demotion was made in haste. During the bye week most players take the time to unwind, recuperate, and spend time doing things they otherwise enjoy during the offseason. Expecting a 21 year old with no family to sit around Cleveland, Ohio where paparazzi would be following his every move does not seem smart. Traveling home to Texas and spending time with friends while not running afoul of the law does not merit a demotion.

 

Johnny has been battered on the field and off.

 

Manziel is a victim of his own success and probably even juvenile arrogance. He can’t go out in public without a casual fan or ESPN keeping tabs on his movement. Does anyone know what Teddy Bridgewater or Marcus Mariota did on their bye week? Both players are more talented than Manziel but are not ‘click worthy.’ Should we assume since there is no video of them partying that they were both at home studying the playbook for an entire week? If the media was not so obsessed with Manziel’s movement, we probably would have never known he went to a club. Furthermore, if not for over zealous fans looking for quick fame (and money), footage of Manziel rapping over a Future song would never see the light of day.

 

Manziel is clearly in a lose-lose situation. Although I do agree he should be smarter about his whereabouts, I feel that the Browns handling of his situation is indicative of why they’re a moribund franchise. No matter what Manziel does off the field it will be used against him to dictate his status on the team.

 

The underlying issue with this saga is with Mike Pettine and his staff’s effort to cover their asses. Manziel is the perfect scapegoat to mask poor draft decisions and horrible coaching. Since 2007 Manziel is the third first round quarterback drafted by the Browns (Brady Quinn, Branden Weeden) and almost two full years in the league he looks to be on his way out of Cleveland. How can you build a team with that kind of turnover at the most important position? Pettine is attempting to make a case for his next job as he is clearly over his head with the Browns.

 

Pettine playing musical chairs with his quarterbacks is his way of letting other league GMs know that he did not have the talent on his roster to be successful. Cornerback Justin Gilbert was drafted thirteen picks before Manziel and has been a bust thus far. Former Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was supposed to be the cornerstone of the offense before he was exiled from the league. Pettine has had a hand these personnel moves. It is often said that the quarterback is the CEO of an offense. What does that make the head coach? An intern? Thus far Pettine has been a below average coach and to me he is throwing Manziel under the bus to save his rear end. To those that study the game, Manziel has improved with his on the field decision making. Isn’t that what truly matters in the end?

 

Manziel needs to scramble right out of Cleveland.

 

There will be people that will harp on the incident with his girlfriend in the car. The gravediggers will go back to when he was filmed rolling up a dollar bill as if he would use it for an illegal substance. While all these things may be a sign of Manziel’s lack of maturity, it is not is a distraction to the Cleveland Browns. Successful franchises overshadow the misdeeds of individuals. The New England Patriots had a murderer on their roster and were able to successfully disassociate themselves from him. The Indianapolis Colts had a player allegedly shoot someone outside of his business, and now it seem more like an urban legend than it was a distraction at the time.

 

Johnny Manziel definitely needs a change of scenery. The Browns have botched this situation. They did not make an attempt to trade Manziel. They could have deactivated him (a la Terrell Owens with the Philadelphia Eagles) to distance themselves from him and keep him away from the team. Now they have to wait until the offseason (which looks to have started already for them) to move on from Johnny Football. Manziel is still a kid at heart and hopefully will garner attention from the Toys-R-Us of the NFL.

 

Johnny, make sure you answer all calls from the Dallas/Ft Worth area code. Jerry Jones may be on the other line.

 

 

 


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