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NFL Dad, Week 9: Standard time and Blair Walsh ruined my Sunday

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Relive Sunday's action with one dad, two toddlers, and six hours of the RedZone channel.

Washington Redskins vÊSeattle Seahawks
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Welcome back to standard time! I hope everyone enjoyed their extra hour of sleep when the clocks fell back, except for the tiny segment of the population that is children and people who live with children.

There’s a common refrain around the internet that daylight saving time is bad. Au contraire! It’s standard time that’s a scourge upon our land. I’m fine with when the sun rises and sets during spring and summer. But at no point during the fall am I like, “Y’know what? I’ve been enjoying my circadian rhythms, but I just wish it was dark outside when I left work.”

And I know that EVERY parent bitches about the time change, but let me just pile on: A one-hour time change WRECKS young children. My son was a disaster all day just because America wanted to save energy a hundred years ago during World War I. Let’s spring forward next year and never go back.


— We’ve got seven games on the early docket, and it’s not a promising slate. Falcons-Panthers is the only game between two winning teams, and calling the Falcons a “winning team” feels like a stretch. Leonard Fournette is suspended by the Jags for a violation of team rules for their home tilt against the Bengals. Brock Osweiler has returned to the Broncos’ starting lineup for the first time since 2015, the season he won the Super Bowl with the team (LOLOLOL, but also: He went 5-2 as a starter that season). And in some alternate, better universe, Colts-Texans features Andrew Luck vs. Deshaun Watson. Here in Shitworld, it’s Jacoby Brissett-Tom Savage.

— Brissett quickly excuses himself from the shitty quarterback conversation with one of the first big plays of the day, a 45-yard touchdown bomb to T.Y. Hilton on a post route. It’s a great throw by Brissett, made even better by the complete absence of a safety to help on the deep ball.

— Philadelphia is wearing their all-black uniforms, which smacks of desperate, capitalistic opportunism. The Eagles aren’t a black team; they’re a green and white team. Their attempt to pivot away from kelly green and act like black is one of their colors (“Look at the outline of the eagle!”) is a corporate swindle to sell jerseys.

These are the NFL teams with a claim to going black-on-black:

  • Raiders
  • Ravens
  • Steelers
  • Falcons
  • Saints
  • Maaaaaybe the Jaguars, and only because they were born in the ’90s and deserve a reprieve from teal. (“Teal: Give us a break, Kurt Cobain was still alive.”)

— The Ravens execute a successful fake punt near midfield. (“The Ravens: Special teams is our offense.”) That leads to a third-and-10 inside the red zone, which Joe Flacco solves by throwing a swing pass for 1 yard. Please, wear a surgical mask and goggles if you have to watch this offense. Baltimore kicks a field goal to go up 3-0.

— It’s third-and-12 for the Jags near midfield, which means it’s time for an off-target throw from Blake Bortles. But wait, there’s a twist!

Keelan Cole snatches the overthrow, and keep your eye on this rising star. Catching horribly thrown balls is how Odell Beckham made his name in the NFL.

With the Jags set up in the red zone, they soon face a third-and-7, which means it’s time for a Bortles deflection at the line of scrimmage. A Bengals defender drops the easy interception, and the Jags kick a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

— The rout is on in Philadelphia. Carson Wentz sells play-action and rolls right, lofting a pass to Alshon Jeffery, who’s beaten his defender down the sideline. It’s a 32-yard touchdown.

I know I said “the rout is on” for a 7-3 lead, but in my defense, Osweiler is quarterbacking the Broncos. I feel supremely confident about the way this one’s gonna go.

— It’s 1:30, and my son is refusing to nap. We took the kids out earlier than usual this morning, because they were up at their “usual’ time, which was suddenly 6 a.m. ET instead of 7 a.m. (BURN DOWN THE GOVERNMENT.)

Anyway, because my daughter learned to pee in her little potty this week, we owed her a treat, so we put the kids in the stroller for a 30-minute walk to an old-timey soda shop to get an ice cream sundae. But because my son was so burned out by the time change, he fell asleep on the way back home. We didn’t think it was a big deal — a 25-minute disco nap before lunch shouldn’t preclude a real nap at 1:30 — but guess what? IT VERY MUCH PRECLUDED THE NAP.

— The Rams, in the red zone, pull off a kind of wide receiver screen that’s actually a hook-and-lateral to Tavon Austin? It doesn’t go in for a touchdown, but it’s a fresh use of Austin after he wilted in Jeff Fisher’s care. Sean McVay is gonna win Coach of the Year just because he’s an upgrade from Rotting Jack-O’-Lantern With a Mustache.

Marcus Mariota throws a perfect play-action pass to Rishard Matthews for a touchdown, and Matthews celebrates with a surf celebration that includes paddling out into the waves. I respect the realism! The Titans lead 10-3.

— This is gonna shock you, but Brock Osweiler has thrown an interception. The Eagles start a drive on the Broncos 15 and score three plays later. It’s 17-3, Eagles, and the rout is more on than before.

— Jacksonville has had ball for 15 minutes compared to five for the Bengals, but the Jags only have a 3-0 lead to show for it. But then Bortles throws a short touchdown to Marqise Lee to complete a 96-yard drive. Congratulations, Bengals, you let Blake Bortles lead a 96-yard drive without Leonard Fournette. Y’all should be relegated.

— With the Rams short of midfield and facing third-and-33, they throw a WR screen to Robert Woods … who scores a touchdown on the play. Relegate the Giants, too.

RedZone never even shows the Giants get the ball back. Next thing you know, Sammy Watkins is streaking for the end zone on a 67-yard TD pass. It’s 24-7 Rams, and I wash my hands of this bloodletting.

— I kinda breezed over it above, but I want to make it clear that when your 18-month-old child usually naps for 2-3 hours in the afternoon, then circumvents that with a 25-minute doze before noon, you don’t just have an awake kid instead of a sleeping kid. You have a walking tire fire instead of two hours of silence. I will run for office and/or lead a revolution to eliminate seasonal clock changes.

— (breaking news ticker sound) EXTRA! EXTRA! TOM SAVAGE ISN’T GOOD:

I mean, who could have seen that coming? Besides Bill O’Brien, I mean.

— My wife and I, exhausted by our son, are letting him click the lamp in our bedroom on and off with only the BAREST amount of supervision. His favorite things in the entire world are lamps, fans, clocks, and dogs. Give him one of those and there’s a 97 percent chance you have enough time to go pee before he does something potentially fatal.

— I would like to travel back in time and draft Alvin Kamara in all of my fantasy leagues.

— Holy cow! A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey have both been ejected after Green LOST HIS MIND on Ramsey. Green gets credit for the choke-slam but loses it with the punches to Ramsey’s helmet. ALWAYS PUNCH THE GROIN, KIDS.

My initial reaction to this is that Ramsey must have been RELENTLESS in torturing Green throughout the first part of the game, because Green is one of the nicest, humblest super-humans to ever play wide receiver. Sure, as an elite wide receiver, he’s a driven competitor, but he’s not a Steve Smith-like Terminator in search of fights.

This makes me feel like a sappy bag of hugs — like the sort of hack NFL reporter who says, “I know Player X, and he would never hit a woman” — until I see Antonio Brown’s tweet confirming my suspicion:

YES! Thank you, Antonio. I am not a crackpot.

— The Texans score a defensive TD with a sack-fumble that ends up in Lamarr Houston’s arms with a clear path to the end zone. Congrats, Texans, it was either that or Tom Savage conjures the spirit of Deshaun Watson into his arm.

Jay Ajayi made his name with the Dolphins by breaking off big plays in 2016. His failure to do so this season is part of the reason Miami shipped him to the Eagles before the deadline. What do you think was gonna happen?


— While most of the games are in halftime, I take my dog out and bring my son along, rolling the dice on him walking instead of needing a stroller. The rain is light but steady, and he toddles along in his yellow rain slicker, splashing in puddles, petting the dog, and charming passersby on the sidewalk. It is a LOT better than any of the games on RedZone.

wet streets & blue steel

A post shared by Matt Ufford (@mattufford) on

Don’t let him sucker you in; that cute face threw up in my hand yesterday. He was choking on some apple in his stroller, and I put my hand under his chin and told him to spit it out, and instead he coughed up the green smoothie he had for breakfast. It was the consistency of pea soup with ham and the color of Nickelodeon slime.

— I come back inside and it’s apparently 30-3 in New Orleans? Jameis Winston is out of the game, and it appears that the Bucs are just gonna take the whole season off. I’m beginning to feel like this season Hard Knocks was a government conspiracy filmed on a sound stage, like the moon landing.

Anyway, this isn’t quite A.J. Green/Jalen Ramsey, but Mike Evans goes high and to the right on Marshon Lattimore makes this the chippiest hour of RedZone I’ve ever seen.

— One of my favorite plays: The ballcarrier goes down without contact, no defender touches him, and he gets up and keeps running. In this case, T.Y. Hilton goes 80 yards for the score:

That’s good for a 17-7 Colts lead late in the third quarter. Deshaun Watson would have five touchdowns and this game would be 48-17 if knee ligaments weren’t so stupid.

— The Jaguars get a 63-yard punt return to go up 23-7. Good night, Bengals. Go join the Bucs in the “mailing your season in” holding pen.

— The Falcons are down 10 and just outside field goal range, so they go for it on fourth-and-7. Unbelievably, Matt Ryan finds Julio Jones running free, wide open in the end zone. The ball hits Jones in the hands, but he drops the ball. I am gobsmacked. Trigger warning on this one, folks:

Just the perfectly constructed wide receiver getting open by 10 yards and dropping a perfectly thrown ball on fourth down that would have been an essential score. I’m not even a Falcons fan, and this one shakes up my world a little.

— Look at this burning trash barge:

WOOF. Just a Viking funeral pyre of used diapers and coffee cups.

But then, something strange happens. Tom Savage really DOES conjure the spirit of Deshaun Watson into his arm.

The Texans are alive in this game, but also not, because: Tom Savage. That was a nice throw on the touchdown, but c’mon: We’ve all seen enough Tom Savage to know what’s up.

— I crack open my daughter’s door at 3:45. She’s gone the other way with the time change: napping too much. And it’s a travesty to wake a child from a nap, but I also need her to be able to fall asleep tonight.

— Atlanta scores a touchdown with 3:25 remaining. They now trail 20-17 instead of taking the lead. They’re really gonna try to make this look like a comeback, aren’t they?

OK, so they get the ball back with enough time to drive for a game-tying field goal. They don’t go anywhere and Matt Ryan misses the throw on fourth down. What a bunch of assholes.


— There are three late games today. Cardinals-49ers and Washington-Seahawks get underway before the week’s only enticing matchup, Chiefs-Cowboys, kicks off at 4:25 ET.

— I’m going to pause the stream-of-consciousness act for a moment. I’ve gone back and forth with how I want to talk about this Seahawks game, and I’ve decided I’m not going to relive all the agonizing dipshittery my favorite team pulled off today: 16 penalties, two Russell Wilson interceptions, two dropped interceptions by the defense, two failed two-point conversions, and THREE missed field goals. Ah, so THAT’S the Blair Walsh who missed a 27-yarder in the playoffs. Good times. At least it wasn’t a close game.

Anyway, here’s some pigs on the field before the game.

— My nanny got my son a plastic drum that lights up and plays music. There are two volume settings: rock concert and jet engine. It’s awful. My son loves it.

You know, as much as I love our kids being socialized and having access to modern medicine, a part of me DOES long for a cabin in the woods where their only toys are whatever rocks and sticks they can find. Would they get eaten by mountain lions? MAYBE. But if not, they’d be so resilient and self-sufficient!

— Patrick Peterson’s long interception return sets up a short field for Arizona’s offense, and Drew Stanton finds Jaron Brown on third-and-goal for the touchdown. It’s already 10-0 in Santa Clara, and I have some doubts about C.J. Beathard’s ability to lead this team out of the hole. More sideline shots of Jimmy Garoppolo! My eyes demand it!

— This is unrelated to any game I want to talk about, but Bobby Wagner is a missile with arms.

— Kansas City and Dallas are off to a slow start, but a Cole Beasley touchdown finally opens the scoring late in the first quarter. It was a nice drive for Cowboys; I think that Dak Prescott guy has a real future in the NFL.

— My wife Facetimes with her parents, and the cacophony stresses me out: the TV, two toddlers (one of which is constantly at the edge of crying), my wife speaking loudly to be heard, and my (very lovely) in-laws. I try to mute the TV, but nothing happens. I then get up to retrieve the batteries to the remote, because ... toddlers.

— My daughter is wearing a black T-shirt with the Wu-Tang logo and “IS FOR THE CHILDREN” printed on it. Over this, she wears a pink ballet leotard. This sums up her entire aesthetic nicely.

She brings over a small bowl of cashews, climbs onto the couch, and sits next to me. I say, “Oh, you brought me cashews!” as I take one, because Stock Dad is the role I was born to play. But then she feeds me a cashew, so I feed her one. And we go on that way until the bowl is empty. There’s football on TV, I guess.

— In the final minute of the half, Dak Prescott completes a pass to Terrance Williams for a big gain to set up first-and-goal for Cowboys. A play or two later, Dak escapes the pocket and runs it in himself. The Cowboys will go into the locker room with a 14-3 lead.

... UNLESS Andy Reid calls a downfield screen to Tyreek Hill and the Cowboys tackle like adults in a kids movie.

Credit to Reid for the play design and Hill for being the kind of player who only needs three blockers for eight defenders, but also: THIS IS THE MOST ALEX SMITH HAIL MARY POSSIBLE. “I’ll just throw the ball 42 yards short of where it needs to be and let my playmakers do the work.”


— Our neighbors come over so our kids can hang out. My apartment now has four adults, three toddlers, one baby, and one dog in it, plus 52 Seahawks shitting the bed on TV (Bobby Wagner is the lone holdout).

— C.J. Beathard scores a touchdown to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 14-10, but I’m not going to write any more about this game for two reasons: (1) The Niners are just going to lose anyway, and (2) I still have my dignity. Yes, I used my hand as a vomit cup, but I DID IT WITH MY HEAD HELD HIGH. I’m too old to pretend to give a shit about Drew Stanton and C.J. Beathard game.

— The Chiefs are trailing 14-10 but get it into the red zone with a read-option keeper on third-and-1. This has been a nice drive for them; Andy Reid clearly made some halftime adjustments that solidified their running game. Reid would be the best coach in the game if his brain didn’t turn into jellied pork fat after the two-minute warning.

Alex Smith finds Travis Kelce in the corner of the end zone to give the Chiefs the lead. He and some teammates celebrate with a sack race:

This is at least the third celebration that’s just pretending to play a children’s game (the Vikings had Duck, Duck, Goose/Grey Duck, and JuJu Smith-Schuster played hide-and-seek), and everyone online seems to be eating this stuff up.

And compared to what the NFL used to allow, these are good celebrations! Everyone’s having fun, and that’s a big leap forward for the NFL. But I also feel like we’re going to look back on this time and say, “Really? We thought it was ‘awesome’ that the pre-planned touchdown celebration was adults playing children’s games?”

I know I sound like Grumpy Dad, but dads are also right when they tell you that you deserve better. So demand better. Or keep losing your mind over Ring Around the Rosie, do what you like. I’m going to save my praise for the first receiving corps to perform the “Single Ladies” dance.

— Zeke Elliott scores to put the Cowboys up 21-17. That caps a 12-play, 75-yard drive in which nine of the plays were runs. There are still 18 minutes to play, but the writing on the wall is clear: If the Chiefs struggle to score in the final quarter, the Cowboys’ running game will grind them down, season them, put them in casing, and serve with ribs. Also I may be writing this while very hungry.

— After the 49ers give up a field goal, I tell my daughter, “That’s mommy’s favorite team. My favorite team is the blue team, the Seahawks.”

“What’s my favorite team?” she asks.

Oh boy. “Your favorite team is whatever team you decide you like best,” I say through gritted teeth, my dreams dying.

RedZone flips to a close-up on the Cowboys, who have just scored again to put the game out of reach. “What’s THAT team?” she asks. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!