Fall allergy season is upon us. I know this because I am allergic not only to every tangible object in the universe, but also to intangible concepts such as time, sorrow, and enthusiasm. At any given moment, I find myself in some stage of the sneeze cycle (tissue-finding, nose-blowing, tissue-disposing, sneezing, etc.).
Sometimes, there will be Kleenex nearby. Sometimes, there won't, and if you are suffering from allergies, you are certainly aware of the desperately-coded hierarchy of things into which to blow your nose. Toilet paper? Paper towels? The inside of your shirt? Worse?
With Sunday's games in the books, let's consider the teams that played them in such terms.
THE DETROIT LIONS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Chiefs, 48-3.
THE DETROIT LIONS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Kleenex.
The Lions did get to beat up on the Chiefs, which... we'll get to them. What shouldn't get lost in the weird Kansas City awfulness is that the Lions are a good team. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson form one of the most impressive quarterback-receiver tandems in the NFL, and they do so while wearing the best uniforms in the NFL.
I keep bringing up the uniforms because they're important. I don't mean to insinuate that the Lions are a Super Bowl-caliber team, because they probably aren't (yet), but it's important to have Super Bowl champions with good uniforms, because for a week or so, those are the only colors you're going to see. In the wake of the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV win, the relentless parade of black and gold was acceptable. On the other hand, during the week after the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, I felt like I lived inside of a five-year-old's box of crayons. Terrible.
THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Seahawks, 24-0.
THE PITTSBURGH STEELERS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Puffs.
I can't really determine how different these Steelers are than the Steelers who were humiliated in Week 1. If they're more or less the same team that is doing things the same way, that's absolutely terrifying, because it means that the Ravens are approximately 10 million times better than the Seahawks. The Ravens are playing the Seahawks in Week 10/
THE NEW YORK JETS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Jaguars, 32-3.
THE NEW YORK JETS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Scotties.
SAFETIES! SAFETIES FOR EVERYONE!
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Chargers, 35-21.
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Store-brand facial tissue.
The Patriots didn't deploy the very most elegant game plan possible, but their defense made a couple of crucial red-zone stops against a very capable Chargers offense, and Brady continued to be the world's prettiest deathbot, completing over 75 percent of his passes for over 400 yards.
THE TENNESSEE TITANS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Ravens, 26-13.
THE TENNESSEE TITANS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Brawny.
Pretty glad I didn't watch this game, though. 26-13 is just a really wonky fieldgoaly final score, and that's how I'm going to judge the game as a whole. It's like when a political candidate's commercial stresses border protection. "Oh cool, huge racist, got it."
THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Bears, 30-13.
THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Economy-brand facial tissue, such as Best Choice or AlwaysSave.
This game was not the sort of rout that the final score would indicate, and the Bears held the Saints to field goals three times in the first half, but it was still a convincing win over a team that might be kind of good or might be bad. I don't really know yet. I am a football expert and welcome to my column.
THE GREEN BAY PACKERS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Panthers in Charlotte, 30-23.
THE GREEN BAY PACKERS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Name-brand toilet paper.
The defense gave up 400 passing yards to a rookie (an awesome rookie; still, rookie), but James Starks produced 85 yards on the ground on only nine carries, thanks in part to a 40-yard gallop. Important: on his Wikipedia page he is riding a bicycle in full pads.
THE BUFFALO BILLS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Raiders, 38-35.
THE BUFFALO BILLS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: Store-brand toilet paper.
Every exciting team is flawed, I reckon. The Bills are a flawed but talented bunch. Their 2-0 start will probably not be parlayed into a playoff spot, but it will certainly look good on a resume, as will their ability to recover from a 21-3 halftime deficit.
THE ATLANTA FALCONS ON SUNDAY: Won vs. Eagles, 35-31.
THE ATLANTA FALCONS ARE BLOWING THEIR NOSES WITH: A fast food restaurant napkin.
After Michael Vick left the game, the Falcons allowed freaking Mike Kafka to shove them around and almost engineer a win, but the Falcons still found a way to squeeze 35 points out of 318 total yards. Tony Gonzalez, who caught two touchdown passes, has been 30 years-old for five years.
Our lists of preferred nose-blowing solutions has been exhausted. From this point forth, the options grow increasingly desperate:
- Houston Texans (won at Dolphins, 23-13): Paper towels in public restroom. Sandpaper-like.
- Washington Redskins (won vs. Cardinals, 22-21): The inside of your elbow. This is commonly referred to as a Dracula sneeze. Once is fine. Utilize this option more than a few times, though, and suddenly you'll have a bodily nook that's full of snot.
- Minnesota Vikings (lost vs. Buccaneers, 20-24): Just sneezing straight onto the ground, hands-free. A respectable, willful acknowledgment of defeat.
- Buccaneers: the inside of an empty Kleenex box. Not a viable long-term solution.
- Denver Broncos (won vs. Bengals, 24-22): A grocery store flyer. Are avocados cheaper than $2 yet? No? Pffft.
- Dallas Cowboys (won at 49ers, 27-24): Attempting to sneeze directly into a garbage can. It works. I mean, I guess it works.
- Cleveland Browns (won at Colts, 27-19): The Indianapolis Colts.
- Cincinnati Bengals (lost at Broncos, 22-24): The inside of your shirt. A friend informs me that this is not a viable option if you have cleavage. This has nothing to do with the Bengals, just FYI.
Carolina Panthers (lost vs. Packers, 23-30): Sales receipt
- San Francisco 49ers (lost to Cowboys, 24-27): An evangelical tract.
- Arizona Cardinals (lost to Redskins, 21-22): An evangelical tract that doesn't even have any cartoons or illustrations in it. too long; didn't repent
- Oakland Raiders (lost to Bills, 35-38): A slice of bread.
- Baltimore Ravens (lost to Titans, 13-26): The inside of your dishwasher. Don't worry, it's gonna get shit all clean. That's its job.
- Chicago Bears (lost to Saints, 13-30): Your wallet. This is stupid! Don't do this.
- Seattle Seahawks (lost to Steelers, 0-24): A block of wood. Don't!
- Jacksonville Jaguars (lost to Jets, 3-32): Rich Eisen's sleeve if you are not Rich Eisen. He is a respected broadcaster and an all-around nice guy and you have no call to just go and do that.
- Indianapolis Colts (lost to Browns, 19-27): A drinking glass. If you tell me that it has never even occurred to you to try this, you are lying.
- Kansas City Chiefs (lost to Lions, 3-48): Just not doing anything and walking around with snot all over your face. GOD JUST DO SOMETHING AT LEAST.