Against his better judgment, Joe Tone decided to live-blog last night's Broncos' season opener against the Raiders, officially sealing his revirgination and prompting his mother to start making room for him in the basement. Here it is, updated with some links and slightly improved Al Davis jokes.
Kickoff: Shit. Janakowski looks sober. We're in trouble.
14:55: Just what you want on the first play of the season, in the wake of a season-ending injury to the conference's best quarterback: a play that involves your quarterback throwing a lead block.
10:10: Timeout Broncos. There's something vaguely reassuring about the way Jay Culter calls this timeout: quickly, sternly, with confidence. He walks to the sideline, wets his whistle, and immediately heads back onto the field. If nothing else, diabetes is doing wonders for his demeanor.
9:59: A great throw on the run by Cutler, to a leaping
Brandon Marshall Eddie Royal in the endzone. Umm, Cutler looks really f-ing good. This could be fun.
9:09: Darren McFadden blasts up the middle for eight yards. Which makes me wonder: Is it too lake to take the over?
8:00: Justin Fargas blasts up the middle for eight yards. Which makes me wonder: Is it too late to take the Raiders (+3) and the over.
6:30: Elvis Dumervil, a first teamer on the NFL's All-Cool-Name Team, introduces the Broncos defense.
4:32: Mike and Mike and Mike: Not horrible, I have to admit, although it somehow seems like they're making a tape for their broadcast class. A graduate-level class, maybe at Northwestern or Columbia, but a school-tape-vibe nonetheless. Just sounds a little rehearsed. And this from a guy who admittedly digs the radio show.
4:25: Jamarcus Russell fumbles. On a screen pass. And now I understand why they didn't throw the ball on the first eight plays.
3:34: New rule: If your baseball team is more than 10 games out at the start of football season, you put sod over the infield and the baseball team plays on all grass. Sorry, A's, but this is just ugly.
2:00: They just showed the Black Hole, scaring children and live-bloggers across the nation.
1:25: First down! Horrible spot! Thanks refs! First down!
1:25: Lane Kiffin challenges play; play overruled. Mrs. Kiffen responds by raising Lane's allowance.
:40: Really, Shanny? The old let's-make-them-jump-off-sides-on-fourth-and-1-on-our-own-40 play? Who switched the station to a Pop Warner game?
:00: First quarter ends. Broncos lead 7-0, with no reports of bleeding Broncos fans. So far so good.
Second quarter: 13:30: Darren McFadden is playing quarterback. Somehow you get the feeling Al Davis mandated they call that play. Which is fine by us, Al. It's everything else you've done for the last decade that confuses us.
12:50: Breaking news: Ronald Curry is still in the league, and still inexplicably dropping footballs.
12:30: Raider goes leaping into the end-zone to bat a punted ball back into the field of play. And I ask: Is there a cooler play in football than that one? Amazingly, his teammates don't clumsily boot the ball back into the endzone, which always seems to happen.
11:30: Jay Cutler, on the run, across the field, to a streaking Tony Scheffler for 72 yards. Somewhere, John Elway is starting to sweat for reasons he really can't figure.
9:58: Matt Prater lines up for a short field goal. Somewhere, Stefan Fatsis is starting to sweat for reasons he really can't figure.
9:58: Kick is good. Broncos 10, Raiders wondering why they spent all that time practicing.
8:20: Third and 17, Raiders call a draw. Because that always works.
6:40: Someone named Eddie Royal makes his 76th catch of the game. Meanwhile, every fantasy player near a computer logs onto see if Royal is still available.
6:00: Eddie Royal is still available. Suck on that, "Hannah Montana"!
5:18: Memo to Raiders: That guy, number 19, he's on the other team, and when he catches the football, that's bad. FYI.
4:21: Michael Pittman's biceps score a touchdown. To which Mike Golic says of the Raiders: "They're going to have to open it up with Jamarcus Russell." To which the Caesar's sports book responds by increasing the Broncos' second-half number by 24 points.
2:33: Lane Kiffin calls double reverse, botched for a loss of 15, prompting live blogger to conceive four pretty solid middle-school recess jokes before deciding fuck it, it's too easy. But seriously, does that guy even have to shave?
2:00: Mike Ditka says something nice about Gene Upshaw. Which is weird, because I would have sworn Ditka hated the dude when he was alive. Then again, death always did have a way of making people more likable.
1:40: Another argument in favor of sodding over the dirt at football games: Cheerleaders should not, under circumstances, have to cheer in dirt. It's just un-American.
1:30: Mike Ditka says the Broncos "probably didn't have a chance to work on the two minute drill during the preseason." And I know he coached in the NFL, which makes him slightly more qualified than I (although I've never seen him live blog and eat chocolate cake in his underwear). But still: Really? In all of training camp and four preseason games, they were never in a two-minute drill? Seems unlikely, doesn't it, or is this cake making me crazy?
:40: Jay Cutler, scrambling for the first down, is crushed squarely in his knees. Mike Shanahan craps himself. Figuratively speaking, of course. At least I think it was figurative.
0:00: Ninety minutes after an uproarious welcome, the Raiders get booed off the field, while fans start scanning the stands for someone to feloniously assault.
13:40: The Raiders have 51 yards of offense. Which somehow reminds me of something Homer Simpson once said, as his family swam from a boat toward San Francisco: "I'm not made of money. We'll swim to Oakland!"
10:32: Broncos get another stop, forcing the Raiders to punt from around mid-field. Not that stopping the Raiders is worth celebrating, but Oakland's running game is expected to be serviceable, and the Broncos run defense definitely isn't sucking. The linebackers are flying, the guys up front are getting decent push. Again, it's the Raiders, but still ... a zero's a zero.
9:22: Ditka, on the Broncos running backs: "They can all run. That's the one thing they can do." Thanks, coach.
8:23: Touchdown, Darrell Jackson, on a play-action bootleg roll out, on the heels of a double-reverse pass. Anyone else get the feeling that Mike Shanahan is really enjoying beating the shit out of Al Davis?
8:00: Ditka, on another personal foul by the Raiders: "You're watching self-destruction, guys." Talking self-destruction exactly 37 minutes into the season. Sort of makes you wonder what this guy is feeling like:
4:00: Cue the Jay Cutler montage. Cue the Jay Cutler gushing.
3:10: As the game spirals out of control, the Mikes spiral into Raiders-bashing, which is funny only because of the optimism that seemed to be barreling from my speakers just two hours ago. By the tone of the discussion, you would think they all got drunk and went date-raping during halftime. Did it occur to these guys that the Broncos are just, you know, good?
1:30: Turns out that when they don't have to call the game, and can just rant on how shitty the Raiders are, the Mikes are actually quite tolerable. It's almost like they're hosting a morning-drive radio show.
13:08: Former Bronco Ashley Lelie makes a savvy touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone. And by savvy, I mean he blatantly pushes off the defender and, when no one is looking, slips the ref a hundred so as to deter said ref from calling a quite obvious offensive interference penalty.
13:02: Suzie Kolber reports that Darren McFadden and Derrick Burgess are both injured, begging the question: If you long ago added insult to injury, what do you add to injury?
10:08: Touchdown Selvin Young. 34-7. Two scores from 50. Hey -- I'm just saying what Shanny's thinking.
8:06: Raiders go for it, and are stopped, on fourth down on their own 20. Will the Broncos throw?
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7:30: No, they won't. Apparently the halo-wearing, respecting-the-game mini-Shanny is out-talking the horn-wearing, fuck-you-Al mini-Shanny.
5:40: Check that. They just threw. Hell yeah, horn-wearing mini-Shanny! Go for it!
4:06: Note to self: Don't live-blog without one of those tequila-dispensing helmets. This shit makes you thirsty.
1:43-0:00: 41-7, final. I take it back, A's. You can keep your dirt. These guys don't deserve to play on grass.