By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while wondering if the St. Louis Cardinals can get a hit against the Washington Nationals before the seventh inning. If I’m St. Louis leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler tonight in Game 3, I drop a bunt in the first inning and run like hell.
—I always thought National Flag Day was June 14. Apparently, not in the NFL. Flag Day is every Sunday and on any other day of the week two teams meet.
Referees and game officials spread enough yellow flags to make NFL gridirons resemble fields of dandelions.
Don’t get me wrong, the Cleveland Browns didn’t deserve to beat Seattle Sunday, and they didn’t. Four turnovers and poor quarterback play by Baker Mayfield solidified the well-earned defeat.
Mayfield kept throwing passes behind his open receivers. And when they did get their hands on some of Baker’s heaves it was if they had hot margarine on their hands and the ball slipped away.
But some of the calls that went against the Browns were ludicrous. Midway through the game, a TV camera caught Browns coach Freddie Kitchens asking (you could read his lips) an official who had continued his game of drop the hankie, “What the f— are you calling now.”
One long play was nullified when wide receiver Jarvis Landry was called for a blind-side block. TV replay showed him standing his ground as a defensive player ran into him. Was he supposed to jump out of the way and let the defender make the tackle?
On another play, after it appeared the Browns stopped the Seahawks on a third down play, an official flagged Cleveland’s Morgan Burnett for a horse collar tackle. Say what? The TV replay showed that all he did was grab a fist full of quarterback Russell Wilson’s jersey near the numbers. He didn’t come close to putting his hands inside Wilson’s shoulder pads — a horse collar tackle.
Pardon my provincialism, but the officials in that game should not have worn black-and-white stripes, they should have worn bright green-and-blue stripes.
—QUOTE: From Drew Curtis, founder of fark.com “You don’t notice the referee during a game unless he makes a bad call.” (If that’s the case, referee Adrian Hill spoke more words on his field mic Sunday afternoon than the lead actor in a Broadway show. Notice? He was the star of the game.)
—After his team blew an early lead and lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 38-20, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson looked ahead to his team’s next game against the Dallas Cowboys by saying, “We’re gonna win that game.”
Maybe he knows that Adrian Hill and his crew will officiate the game. Guaranteeing a win, if you’re not Joe Namath, is a death-defying act.
It is likely that this week’s Cowboys’ scouting report on the Eagles will have a headline on top of it that says, “Pederson guarantees his Eagles will beat us.”
The underachieving Eagles are 3-and-3 and the only thing Pederson should guarantee is that his team will show up.
—QUOTE: From Joey Porter when he played for the Miami Dolphins: “We will win Sunday.” (The Dolphins, en route to a 1-and-15 season in 2007, gave up five touchdowns to Oakland’s Daunte Culpepper and lost the game game, 35-17. Porter crushed his crystal ball with his mouth guard.)
—If you want to witness a special football player, plan to attend a University of Dayton football game. Tight end Adam Trautman is small college football’s Rob Gronkowski or Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates.
During the last two games, Trautman has caught seven touchdown passes. He caught three Saturday at Valparaiso and one of them was a one-handed snag in the end zone. It was featured on ESPN as one of the Top Ten plays of the day.
It has to be the first time a UD football player was featured on ESPN. Thirty of the 32 NFL teams have either watched him in a game or watched him during UD practices.
And the topper? The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder is a class act, character that is off the charts.
—QUOTE: From University of Dayton head coach Rick Chamberlin after Trautman’s one-handed TD catch in the end zone: “When the ball was being thrown (by quarterback Jack Cook), I thought, ‘Oh, no, he overthrew it.’ But Adam put that hand out and hauled it in. Typical Trautman.”
And red shirt sophomore quarterback Jack Cook is worth the price of admission (very minimal, by the way), too.
—Ohio State is coming off a bye week and they have a second straight bye week. They play Northwestern Friday night. If any coach could guarantee a victory, it would be OSU coach Ryan Day.
Northwestern is as offensively-challenged as the Swiss army (all they carry are pocket knives) against the U.S. Marines.
The Wildcats average 14.4 points a game, 128th among the 130 big-time college football teams.
It is only a matter of how much. Day can win this one by whatever margin he wants. Unfortunately, in these days of the polls, margin-of-victory matters.
And how can LSU leap-frog OSU in the polls when the Buckeyes were idle and LSU beat an over-rated Florida, 42-28? The Gators barely beat Miami (Fla.) and Kentucky.
—QUOTE: From Paul Brown, founder of the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals: “You can learn a line from a win and learn a book from defeat.” (If that’s the case, both his Bengals and his Browns are absorbing the Encyclopedia Britainnica right now.)
—Yeah, try to figure out baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals scored 10 runs in the first inning of their clincher over the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
Then, in the NLCS, they don’t get a hit in the first six innings of their first two games against the Washington Nationals.
They face Washington’s Stephen Strasburg in Game 3 and the over-under on St. Louis getting its first hit is the sixth inning.
—SOME ALL-TIME GREAT SPORTS NICKNAMES: NFL receiver Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ Hirsch, NFL kicker Lou ‘The Toe’ Groza, Frank ‘The Big Hurt’ Thomas, Evander ‘Real Deal’ Holyfield, Larry ‘The Hick from French Lick’ Bird, Jason ‘White Chocolate’ Williams, Pete ‘Charlie Hustle’ Rose, Karl ‘The Mailman’ Malone, Walter ‘Sweetness’ Payton.
Paul ‘The Truth’ Pierce, ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, Joe ‘Broadway Joe’ Namath, Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane, ‘Pistol Pete’ Maravich, Dave ‘The Cobra’ Parker, Thomas ‘The Hit Man’ Hearns, George ‘The Iceman’ Gervin, Willie ‘Say Hey’ Mays, Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, Ken ‘The Snake’ Stabler, William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry, Andre ‘Bad Moon’ Risen, Deion ‘Prime Time’ Sanders, Aristides ‘The Punisher’ Aquino.