Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Week 5: “Big Play” Slay Saves The Day and “Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky”

Written by :
Published on : October 13, 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 bats are fluttering, and the graves have been treated with quicklime.

 

Week 5: “Big Play” Slay Saves the Day

 

Nothing like a big win to keep a season’s hopes alive after a three game losing streak. Darius Slay is now getting paid like a top cornerback and he finally looked it on Sunday with a forced fumble that ended up giving the Lions the lead and then this huge interception to put the day away.

 

Wentz’s first NFL pick was a backbreaker with time still on the clock and a Lions defense that had trouble stopping the Eagles’ offensive march most of the day. It seems obvious enough that all Slay had to do was “become the receiver” on a deep ball, but re-watching the tape shows just how good Slay’s coverage on Nelson Agholor is and the play Slay makes isn’t just a jump ball, but an aggressive and intelligent move. As a Lions fan I’m hoping that Slay continues this caliber of play throughout the rest of the season. He’s a bright spot on a defensive side that’s struggling with injuries and mediocrity.

 

The cherry on top? I was at the game. And while the play happened on the opposite side of the field from where I was sitting, there was absolutely no feeling like seeing Slay pivot and head back the other way. “Fly Eagles, Fly” getting drowned out by “Gridiron Heroes” on the way home.

 

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 12.03.00 AM

 

Your humble author making new friends…

 

Week 5: Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Story Of Ricky blu cover

 

Director: Lam Ngai Kai
Released: 1991

 

I managed to catch this one via another internet recommendation when it was streaming on Netflix (which is sadly no longer the case), and I can safely say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Sure, Gareth Evans’s The Raid (2011, 2014) movies have a little bit of that “anything can happen” martial arts perfection, but while those flicks truck in expert action and a sense of videogame-era storytelling, this one pours on the red stuff and crazy special effects for the most outrageous gore set pieces I’ve ever seen in the martial arts genre.

 

Not being too familiar with the picture’s background, I was able to find that the film is supposedly a very faithful adaption of a Japanese Manga, and director Lam cut his teeth working at the illustrious Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong, so he’s definitely got the right pedigree.

 

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The plot, which is of course gloriously beside the point, hinges on good-guy titular inmate Riki in a not-too-distant future where all prisons have been privatized. As with many violent kung-fu movies, the evildoers’ corruption revolves around the heroin trade and like the best of these types of movies, the jailor and inmate villains are gloriously stylized in the mold of the “Street Fighter” game franchise.

 

ricky5_758_426_81_s_c1

 

The outlandishly cartoonish violence can border on camp at times, but the good far outweighs the bad with Riki strangling an enemy with his own intestines (which Riki removed in the first place), our hero performing bootleg surgery on his own tendons in the span of twenty seconds, and a full blown monster a la the mother of all horror films: Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive (1992). That’s right. This picture is so batshit crazy and ludicrously nutty that it deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dead Alive. If you screen this movie for a date and your partner reacts positively you got marriage material right there.

 

ricky2_758_426_81_s_c1

 

Here’s a nicely edited highlight reel of the gonzo gore insanity:

 

Full movie below:

 

 


The Detroit Lions saved their season, and maybe their coach’s job

Written by :
Published on : October 11, 2016

 

 

It was a scene that we are all too familiar with. The Detroit Lions have a lead at halftime and everything seems to be going their way. The offense is scoring points and the defense is holding up. If they can just maintain the momentum of the first half, they should win the game handily. Then the second half rolls around and everything goes to shit. The offense can’t get going and the defense gets torn to shreds. Then the Lions do just enough to make you think they can pull it off, only to screw it up in the end and lose in painful fashion. It’s a story that everyone in the Lions fandom universe knows very well.

 

That’s how it was at Ford Field on Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles came to town. The Lions scored touchdowns on all three of their first half drives and managed to hold the Eagles to 10 points. The perfect storm of good fortune and the type of scenario that is ripe for another Lions letdown. But this time was different. And for once in this harrowing 2016 campaign, the defense of the Detroit Lions did enough to win, forcing two late turnovers and sending the Eagles back to Philly to drown themselves in tears and cheese whiz.

 

   

Both of those late turnovers were forced by cornerback Darius ‘Big Play’ Slay. The first was a fumble by Eagles RB, Ryan Mathews, and the second was a great interception on an ill-advised deep ball thrown by rookie QB, Carson Wentz. It was the type of deep ball that you can see beating the Lions in your nightmares. Except Slay made a great play on the ball and Nelson Agholor wasn’t even looking for it. This was the first game this season where Slay has shown the type of talent that got him a fat contract extension over the summer. And by finally showing that top-tier talent, he may have saved his team’s season and his head coach’s job.  

 

One of those things makes me very happy. The other, not so much.  

 

If the Lions had lost this one, after once again holding a sizable lead, then that would have been curtains on the 2016 season. The team is still dangerously close to unraveling and there are considerable issues involving injuries, depth, discipline, and overall talent on the roster. But with that win over the Eagles, this team lives to fight another day. And the same goes for their coach, Jim Caldwell.      

 

 Big Play Slay saves the day!

 

Jim Caldwell has underwhelmed as head coach of the Detroit Lions and he seems destined to be relieved of his duties by 1st year general manager, Bob Quinn. The different issues facing this team can and should be placed on the shoulders of Caldwell. Lack of concentration, sloppy play, guys giving up on plays, failure to make adjustments in game. These are things that should be corrected after a few games, yet they seem to keep popping up. When it keeps happening you have to think that it’s systematic. Most would agree that Caldwell should go, but while saving the Lions season, did Darius Slay save Caldwell’s job too?    

 

 

It seems unlikely, but the Lions are great at doing just enough, or just little enough, to fuck everything up. Doing well enough to justify keeping Jim Caldwell would be a typical Lions move that would continue to keep the team mired in mediocrity for years to come. Through five games, it’s obvious that Caldwell is not the guy to take this team to the next level. I would never hope for my team to lose, and while I still hope they can get it together and make a playoff run, I sure hope it doesn’t save Caldwell’s job.

 

This Lions team has proven that they have the talent to win. They have been competitive in every game this season, despite missing some of their biggest playmakers for a majority of the games. They will be getting some of those guys back soon and that should make them better, but this inconsistency will be their downfall in the end. That’s on Jim Caldwell. So while Darius Slay and his teammates may have saved their head coach for the time being, they won’t be able to overcome his inadequacies for the entire season, and eventually he’ll be gone.

 

 


NFL Quarter Season Awards

Written by :
Published on : October 4, 2016

 

 

The 2016 NFL season is a quarter of the way through. Some teams have started slowly, others have flashed brilliance, but all are looking to improve. Let’s glance around the league and hand out some hardware for standout performances both good and bad. These are your 2016 NFL Quarter Season Awards. Or the Quarties as the kids call em.

 

Rookie Award

For the youngbloods who have gone above and beyond their draft status expectations and helped their team in a major way. And the winners are-

 

NFC: QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Many rooks have done well in the NFC this season but none more than Wentz. He is 66 of 102 in attempts for 64% completion percentage. 769 passing yards, 5 TD’s and ZERO turnovers. Beyond a taking a few unnecessary hits, he has played mistake free and has his Eagles 3-0 after their bye week. The future is bright in Philly.

 

AFC: QB Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots

 

He’s only played a few games but this third round pick looked like a pro in his first start. Give Bill Belichick his credit for getting the kid ready but he played with poise and confidence. Oh yeah they beat a solid Houston Texans team 27-0. The Texans were undefeated before that. He lost his second start to the Bills but continues to grow plus there isn’t another AFC rookie that really deserves it.

 

Ageless Wonder Award

In football, 30 is considered old. That’s tough to type because I’m 31. But once you crack that milestone, father time really starts catching up. A few amazing athletes laugh in the face of time and keep kicking ass well past their management created expiration dates. This award is for them.

 

NFC: WR Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens

Steve is ancient in football years at 37 but through 4 games he leads the team in catches, yards and targets. His 281 receiving yards just edges out another oldie but goodie, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Larry is only 33 and sits at 280 yards. It’s amazing these guys refuse to slow down. I hope Smith can keep up his pace and crack 1,000 yards on the year.

 

AFC: RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

33-years-old and doing work. With Le’Veon Bell suspended (again) the first 3 games of the season, the starting running back job went to Williams. He made the most of his time racking up 258 rushing yards, 2 TD’s and zero fumbles in 3 full starts. That’s good for 86 yards a game. Not bad for over the hill. DeAngelo also managed a rushing TD in game 4 with Bell back in action.

 

MVP

This is the award for the best player in the league. Not the best player on the best team. But the single most elite performer playing the game.

 

NFC: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice is killing it right now. Easily the best stats of any quarterback in the league. His 4 starts have seen him rack up crazy video game numbers. 1473 passing yards, 11 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. 368 yards per game is nice but it’s the over 70% completion percentage and few turnovers that have the Falcons flying high at 3-1 and first in the NFC South.

 

AFC: RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

 

The team is 0-4 but at no fault of Crowell. He is running hard. His 394 rushing yards on only 61 attempts is good for 6.4 yards per carry. Which is epic. Crowell also has scored in 3 of 4 games. Maybe if the Browns want to win then they should feed Isaiah the ball. He hasn’t had more than 18 attempts in a game.

 

The Worst

Like the MVP but in reverse. The Anti-christ of playing well. The bottom of the barrel. Pray your name isn’t listed below.

 

NFC: WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Tate used to be a huge part of the Lions’ offense. He posted career years playing with Matt Stafford but is off to a dreadful start. He hasn’t topped 41 yards in any game and only has 14 catches and zero TD’s. He is on pace for 56 catches. For reference, he had 99 and 90 catches the last two years. And he is dropping the ball and running the wrong routes. What happened to this guy?

 

AFC: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

 

Fitz is only completing 55% of his passes and has 4 TD’s and 10 INT’s. There is nothing else to say about this. He should have never trimmed his beard.

 

The Best

This is for the best units in the league.

 

NFC: Minnesota Vikings Defense

The hands down, greatest D in the league. They average only 9.5 points allowed per game. They swarm on tackles and have playmakers at every level. This unit is the main reason the Vikings are 4-0. If they keep playing like this then a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

AFC: Denver Broncos Defense

This crew is giving up 16 points a game but is once again leading the way in the AFC West. This franchise is undefeated in 2016 trying prove they don’t need Peyton Manning to be dominate. It honestly doesn’t matter who is under center as long as Von Miller and company keep up their intensity.

 

 

That’s it for the Quarties. Congratulations to the winners. Unless you won the Worst award. Better luck over the next weeks. Till then, champagne kisses and caviar cars.

 

Glitz.

 

 


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 21, 2016

 

 

It’s only week 3 and already many big names have gone down with serious injuries. This is the biggest x-factor of fantasy football. Players on your team are going to get hurt. It happens. Champions scoop up their replacements and the next big thing off the waiver wire. So far, we’ve seen Keenan Allen, Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Woodhead, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffen III, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah, Josh McCown all get added to the injury report. Well, SBS is here to help. First, I’m going to assume you play in a good league and most of the notable players are already unavailable. Below are some free agent options (all less than 50% owned in ESPN standard leagues) to fill the holes in your fantasy roster.

 

QB

Carson Wentz, Philadelphie Eagles – The rookie isn’t totally lighting up the box score but he has been efficient moving the ball and has zero turnovers so far. Owned in 19.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets – Posted 14 and 20 points in his first two starts. Only 1 pick, plus Fitzpatrick has some solid options with Matt Forte, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall (if he isn’t hurt). Owned in 33.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

RB

Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers – With Jonathan Stewart banged up, Fozzy got the start and put up 100 yards on 16 carries against the 49ers. Stewart’s hamstring may hold him a few weeks longer making Whittaker a must add. Owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues

 

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings – AP is going to miss some time and that opens the door for Jerick. Matt Asiata will also be in the mix but McKinnon is the back you want to add. Owned in 24.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins – Another replacement killer. Arian Foster is nursing a groin injury so it’s time to add his backup. Ajayi got some work at the end of last game but the Dolphins were behind and not running the ball much. Look for Jay to post a decent stat line in Cleveland. Owned in 46% of ESPN leagues.

 

TE

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Sam Bradford is in and he is throwing. Rudolph found the end zone for the first time with Sam as QB. Look for this trend to continue as the pass game becomes the focus because of the AP injury. Owned in 32.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan is red hot and spreading the ball all around. And there is plenty to go around. Tamme has at least 5 catches in both the first two games and has made it to pay dirt once. Falcons will keep passing and Julio Jones keeps sucking up all the coverage. Jacob is a steal right now. Owned in 10.9% of ESPN leagues.

 

WR

Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys – Rookie QB Dak Prescott (owned in 44.3% of ESPN leaagues) has built a rapport with the wideout and looks for him often. He has been second on the team in targets two weeks running. That consistency makes him a legit plug-and-play option for those in need. Owned in 7.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams – Britt has posted 67 yards and 94 yards in two games. He has yet to score a TD but he is LA’s best receiving threat in terms of fantasy. You could do a lot worse. Owned in 8.3% of ESPN leagues.

 

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – Coming off a 4 catch, 50 yard and 2 touchdown game, Danny will be a popular add. The Pats throw the ball enough that this makes sense, no matter who the QB is. Only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

K

Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs – 10 points in week one, 15 in week two and hasn’t missed a field goal yet. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 28% of ESPN leagues.

 

Nick Novak, Houston Texans – 11 points in week one, 13 in week two and he’s only missed one field goal. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 9% of ESPN leagues.

 

D/ST

Philadelphia Eagles – The Philly D has scored 14 fantasy points in both games. They haven’t allowed more than real 14 points in any game and already have 4 takeaways. Owned in 27% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – This unit hasn’t scored a ton of points but they been solid through two contests. Never giving up more than 16 points and averaging two turnovers won per game. Not too bad for a crew owned in merely 21.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

Need more help than that? Then you’re probably screwed. Check back soon for more waiver wire tips as we approach the dreaded dog days of the bye weeks.

 

Flex.

 

 


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?

 

 


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