Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frogs in the NFL - Week 8 Recap

As a TCU and Cowboys fan, I felt like Saturday and Sunday were back to back gut punches. But can I just get on my soapbox for a minute? I've seen friends and fellow alums, on other forums and social media, complain about GP and ready to throw in the towel on TCU. That's garbage. This is one of the youngest teams in the conference, if not the youngest, and well over half our starters are guys that the coaching staff probably hadn't planned to allow to see the field this year. And yet, they have fought and competed and played their tails off as injury after injury and distraction after distraction pile up. Was the defense gassed in the second half against Okie State? Obviously. Did they give up? No way. Depth is going to be our undoing this year, but anybody that has watched this team play, and has seen what the rest of the Big 12 has going forward, should be really excited about the future and an even bigger believer in GMFP.
Now on to the recap...

Marcus Cannon - OT - Patriots (beat the Rams 45-7 in London) This was an absolute demolishing, as Brady threw for 300+ and the Patriots ran for over 150 yards. Brady didn't get his jersey duty, and probably could have hung in the pocket in his Ugg boots and still passed for 200 yards.

Tank Carder - LB - Browns (beat the Chargers 7-6) Tank didn't collect any stats in this game, probably for the best as it was a snoooooooooooooooozer.

Andy Dalton - QB - Bengals (Bye Week)

Clint Gresham - LS - Seahawks (lost to the Lions 28-24) The Seahwaks fourth quarter magic ran out a little this past week, as it was Matthew Stafford and the Lions who pulled off the come from behind victory. Marshawn Lynch had the longest TD run of his career, as he broke free for a 74 yard score and all of the skittles.

David Hawthorne - LB - Saints (lost to Denver 34-14) No Hawthorne still for the Saints, who could have used him or anyone to try and get a rejuvenated Peyton Manning and co off the field.

Jerry Hughes - LB - Colts (beat the Titans 19-13) Hughes had a sack and a tackle for Indy, bringing his season totals to 3 sacks and 20 tackles. He has been a solid producer for a Colts D that has performed better than expected, as Andrew Luck and Indy are one of the feel good stories of the year.

Colin Jones - S - Panthers (lost to the Bears 23-22) Jones had two tackles as the Carolina D allowed 16 points in the fourth quarter, squandering a big lead to Cutler and the Bears.

Jeremy Kerley - WR - Jets (lost to the Dolphins 30-9) Kerley, coming off possibly the best game of his career, game back to earth with five catches for 43 yards, as Sanchez was absolutely awful for the Jets.

Marshall Newhouse - OT - Packers (beat the Jaguars 24-15) In a game that was never really as close as the score indicated, Newhouse and Co gave up two sacks but otherwise bought Rodgers enough time to make enough plays to win the game.

Jason Phillips - LB - Panthers (lost to Chicago 22-23) Phillips had a single tackle in the loss. 

Herb Taylor - OT - Jacksonville (lost to GB 15-24) Gabbert was back for the Jags and was sacked twice for 24 negative yards in the loss.

Daryl Washington - LB - Cardinals (lost to SF 3-24) The Cardinals were hammered by the Niners on Monday night, but it wasn't our man D-Wash's fault. Washington had six tackles and two sacks as he was a beast on the field, but unfortunately doesn't play offensive line or quarterback so Arizona struggled.

Malcolm Williams - DB - Patriots (beat the Rams 45-7 in London) Williams was activated for this game and had a tackle in the win. Can we talk for a minute how dumb these London games are? Does the NFL really need to be a global thing? I know it's all about the almighty dollar, but let them keep soccer across the pond and we will play our football over here, thankyouverymuch.

What's on tap for this week? Can Andy Dalton out-duel Peyton Manning at home? Will Washington win the battle of fromer Frogs against Marshall Newhouse and the Pack? How many total TD's can
TCU alumni score on Sunday?

The "What Other Bizzareness Can Possibly Befall The Frogs This Season ?" Edition

BREAKING NEWS! - "I'm Ron Burgundy and here is what is happening in your world San Die...err, Fort Worth. In the news today, an alien spacecraft appeared over Amon Carter stadium and kidnapped the entire TCU Horned Frogs football team, taking them to Zeta Reticuli 5 to teach the Zeta Reticulans how to play the galactically great defense TCU is famous for so they can win the Star Trek Bowl on New Orbit's Day against the 2nd ranked Alpha Centauri Squigglers. Alien Head Coach I. M. Pointy later released a press statement saying that not even they were stupid enough to try to kidnap Coach Patterson, and the players would be returned to our planet in time for Spring camp.
That is what is happening in your world today. Stay classy Fort Worth; I'm Ron Burgandy?"
Coach Pointy- Head Coach of the Zeta Reticuli Critters
Seeing this headline leading the news tomorrow is probably about the only way that this season can get any stranger. Mr Murphy would be proud that his law is being followed so closely. What other bizarreness can possibly befall our boys? Unfortunately, the bizareness of this entire year, from February's adventures in pharmaceuticals to Ed Wesley's admirable courage and priorities to Casey Pachall's curb jumping seems to have  finally caught up with the Frogs last Saturday. And yet the Frogs looked really good...at least for a while, and it is certain to say that TCU has as much depth as any team in the Big 12. If we didn't, we would not be able to field a punt return team after all of the largely off the field strange happenings of this year. 
Okie Lite's fans seemed to acknowledge this. TCU ran an ad about the renewed rivalry in the Stillwater newspaper that was deemed on Orangepower.com as "very classy", although others seemed to blame the Frogs for censoring the "paddle people" at OSU for all future Big 12 games (don't ask). Other fans seem to have been very  impressed that Randle was the first person all year to put up more than 100 yards rushing against the Frogs, stating essentially that despite the odd year TCU is having, they are still monsters on defense. Those OSU fans seem pretty perceptive after all. Another astute OSU observer wrote that " they looked really big and fast. I think we scored 36 points on a very good defense." I am starting to like these OSU folks a little bit. The general response from most OSU fans had a general tone of surprise that OSU did nearly as well as they did against the Frogs, as if they were expecting far worse. 
The renewed rivalry between TCU and Okie State is going to be an intense one - both on the field and in recruiting - but it also is shaping up to be one of class and mutual respect. That is a good way to start the future. Unless the world ends on Dec 21 when the Mayan fourth quarter ends.
The two new teams on the block, both of whom are having interesting first years, meet next week in what is sure to be feet and feet of snow in Morgantown, thanks to the Frankenstorm that is currently eating New York and New England (I wonder if the aliens had anything to do with that as well...hmmm). If the game is not cancelled, moved to Fort Worth or otherwise affected by the storm then the snow might prove to be something of an equalizer as football turns into an outdoor version of something played on ice with a football - call it foothockey or hockball or flockey or something. Predicting this one is a toss up, but the Frogs are due a break. Be sure to bring your ice skates if you go to the game. And a thick jacket. And your long johns. Frogs win by one point.
Of course the Frogs are the classiest program in the league, and the nation - that is why the Frogs never lose, we just occasionally get outscored. Winning is what Coach Patterson does in the way he teaches, coaches and lives with his team - class always wins, whatever the score. In this Year of the Great Bizzar0, we need to remember that win or lose on the field, class and integrity is what counts and makes winners off of it, and the Frogs have an abundance of both.

Okie State Recap

Mash Unit
TCU's new helmet.

Well, that sucked...again.  If you had told me we'd scored the first 14 of the game and be up 14-3 after one quarter, I would've put our chances of winning at about 90%.  Little did I know that would be as good as it got for TCU on Saturday afternoon.  It really felt like our offense didn't even take the field at all during quarters 2 and 3, and by the time we started attempting to mount a comeback in the 4th it almost felt like a lost cause.  It also doesn't help that upon further review Trevone Boykin's arm was STILL going forward when that ball came out, but I'm immune to bullshit calls going against TCU this year.  It doesn't phase me anymore, and I fully expect to get screwed a few more times down the road, especially in Austin or against Big 12 Darling K State.  After taking a look back at some of the keys to the game from my preview, pretty much everything that I (and all Frog fans) wanted to happen did not happen.  Let's revisit those keys real quick:  

Slow down Joseph Randle- He's the Big 12's leading rusher for a reason, and he showed us exactly why on Saturday.  I said I thought we'd keep him under his season average which we did, but by "under" I didn't mean he'd get 126 which is 1.5 shy of his season average.  I thought we'd hold him under the century mark and that would be a key to winning this game, and for the majority of the game it looked like we would.  Then the 4th quarter happened and he wore us down.  Clearly the defense was exhausted because our offense couldn't sustain much as mentioned earlier in the middle of this game, and a great back like Randle took advantage of a gassed D.  So despite holding him under that season average, I'd mark this one as a fail.

 Wes Lunt or Clint Chelf?- I think we all wanted to see Chelf, the 3rd string who's had nothing but mop up duty play, but in reality I never thought it would be the case.  Lunt was pretty rusty early on as evidenced by the Olabode pick 6, but once he got rolling he looked incredibly sharp.  Also, doesn't hurt to have WR's running wide open on flea-flickers, but I could do an entire post on getting smoked by trick plays so I'll save my breath.  He also threw some great looking deep balls, one which beat Olabode's outstretched arm by about 3 inches and was one of the prettiest throws I've seen this year.  That guy is a freshman, and he's going to be quite a good one for the Cowboys.  So I think that having Lunt play and having him play as effectively as he did would definitely qualify as a fail for us as well.  

Will either defense show up?- It sure looked early on as if the TCU defense came to play and would have a major impact on the outcome of this game, but as mentioned earlier, they seemed to completely wear down by being on the field too much in the middle of this game.  Hard to fault the defense despite allowing 36 points, but they were outshined by an OSU defense that really took me by surprise.  Somehow we won the TOP battle 31:18 to 28:42, but it sure didn't feel that way.  If it wasn't for overwhelming clock control in the first quarter though we really didn't win it at all, as quarters 2 and 3 were basically dead even and the 4th was greatly in favor of them.  That's why our defense looked so exhausted down the stretch.  There wasn't much rest in the 2nd half.  TCU's string of 32 consecutive games scoring over 20 came to an end Saturday, and Oklahoma State takes over the nations longest streak in that department now at 32.  TCU didn't get to Lunt all game and recorded ZERO sacks for the first time this year.  OSU sacked Boykin twice, forced 3 turnovers, and held us to a dismal 2-14 on 3rd down conversions.  Can't win many games that way.  I'd say we lost this battle pretty handily as well.  

Win the turnover battle- TCU 3 - OSU 2.  Lost that one as well.  The frustrating part about this stat is that OSU put the ball on the ground FOUR times and we were only able to fall on one of them for a recovery.  Sometimes the bounces don't go your way, and clearly they didn't here.  I could also argue that the turnover battle should've been dead even, because any competent replay official could see Boykin's arm was going forward when we were trying to mount a late, 4th quarter scoring drive.  The failure to properly overturn that call took what little wind we had left in our sails out for good.  

Can Fields keep it up?- Field wasn't bad by any means, but Fields wasn't the Fields we've seen to this point.  Just 4 tackles for him on the day, no sacks, and none for a loss.  The lack of Stansly Maponga will hurt Fields's number for sure, but you've just got to hope it opens up opportunities for others to make plays.  Or hope that Maponga comes back.  I'm not holding my breath on the latter.  

Will Boykin continue to progress?- Simply put- no.  Not in this game.  As you all know, to make matters worse he injured his knee on his last drive late in the 4th on his 1 interception.  Still no word on what his status is and I honestly don't think we'll find out until Saturday.  We never seem to find these things out with CGP.  Hopefully he's okay because after seeing the Matt Brown pass on the reverse trick play, I'm worried.  That thing fluttered like something had shot the air out of it mid-flight.  I realize it was completed, but a good throw and that's probably 6.  I'll be honest and say that I didn't see his next 3 passes as I had given up on the game after Gundy dick-headedly ran it in with a minute left for no reason, so I don't know what Brown looked like on that last drive.  I do know he was picked off though.  Please, Trevone, have magical elastic ligaments that can never be damaged.  I know the entire team seems to want to get injured this year, but we REALLLLLY need you to get us bowl eligible.  Get well soon.  Get well now.  Like right now.  

So overall it looks like we lost in every phase of the game.  There are not a whole lot of positives to take away from this.  Stansly Maponga missed another game.  Brandon Carter didn't play.  I don't recall seeing Blaize Foltz play.  Jason Verrett appeared to be dinged up as well.  Trevone Boykin may be gone for a while now too.  What else can I say about this game?  Let's just move on and try to win the next one.  At least Texas looks a lot more winnable now than it did a month ago, right?  Look on the bright side- at least we aren't Maryland who is now starting a freshman linebacker at QB, and at least we haven't had to endure anything like the Marcus Lattimore injury.  Now can we please catch ONE break this season and get another win?  I can't keep writing about this.  Too depressing.  At least we aren't Baylor...

Morning Dump: 10/30

Sandy not to affect game Saturday - TCU360.com
Horned Frogs in WV hoping to stop skid - SBNation
TCU Younger than expected - Charleston Gazette
Pivotal Week for TCU-WVU - WV Metro News
Tired TCU headed for Morgantown - WV Metro News
TCU meets WVU at a bad time for the 2nd time - The Smoking Musket
"Once in a Lifetime" Halftime Show for TCU@WVU - WVIllustrated

For those going to West Virginia for the game - The Smoking Musket