Pretty much never fails.
That’s my introduction. Now let’s revisit the latest example of Domefield advantage.
One of the best things from last night was Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy declaring his alma mater to be the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.
I have thoughts about this.
Is Hardy so ashamed of the University of Mississippi’s deplorable history that he must use Hogwarts as cover? Hogwarts, being in the United Kingdom, does not even have an American football team, and I’m pretty sure Hardy played American football in school.
Of course, it’s possible that Hardy, like, say, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham, played a different sport in school. But if that’s the case, why don’t the commentators discuss it every time Hardy steps on the field, as they do with Jimmy Graham and basketball?
If Greg Hardy was a world-class beater while playing for his House’s1 quidditch team, we need to know.
Note: I’m making assumptions based on Hardy’s size, particular set of athletic skills, and current NFL position. It’s possible he didn’t play beater. Maybe he was a keeper, but it seems unlikely he was fast enough to be a chaser or seeker.
But I could be wrong.
Cam Jordan Dances to Music Only He Can Hear
Cameron Jordan is a very good football player. If he had a higher profile, and if members of the national media weren’t still talking about the Saints as the “offense” half of “defense vs offense” clashes, as they did last night, he’d be a bona fide contender for defensive player of the year.
Cam is playing that well. He’s certainly playing better than Will Smith back in 2009 — Smith, who then produced the last season by a Saints defensive lineman even comparable to Jordan this year. In fact, he’s probably having the best year by any Saints lineman since La’Roi Glover, back in 2000.
The record for sacks in a season by a Saint is 17. It’s shared by Glover and Dome Patrol member Pat Swilling.
Cam has three games to record six sacks and claim that record for his own. It’s a difficult — but not impossible — task.
Where was I going with this?
Oh, right. Cam Jordan did a crazy dance after one of his sacks:
Cam: The Musical. A one-man show at, say, Mid-City Theatre.
Make it so.
Cam Newton is Superman, or whatever. It’s kind of a lame celebration unless it’s an ironic, in-your-face sort of thing, and that’s what Junior Galette turned it into after one of his three(!!!) sacks.
The part where he crazily stomps on the fallen cape is probably the best one. Not sure what’s really happening, though. He’s unpeeling his suit to reveal the Superman S on his chest, but then stomping on a cape on the ground. Does that mean he’s not actually Superman? Maybe he’s actually Nuclear Man from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace2
Or maybe Cam Newton is actually Nuclear Man, and Junior here is stomping on the cape of said, having revealed himself to be the true Superman, post-sack.
Though Cam could also be Bizarro Superman. Or Junior could be.
Anyway, whoever the cape belonged to, it was quickly picked up by Akiem Hicks:
Finally, here’s how Cam Newton reacted after 320 pounds of Hicks fell, with style, onto him.
Meanwhile, On Offense
The Saints’ offense also did things.
Here’s Darren Sproles being fast, and supplying, in a single run, almost all of the team’s rushing yards for the night:
And here’s Marques Colston being great:
The Colston play, and the rest of the game, for that matter, makes me think the kryptonite to the Saints’ offense has changed some. Used to be that a physical, pressure-bringing defensive line was the best way to shut the team down. Send pressure through the middle, get into Brees’ face, and it was game over.
The Panthers have an outstanding defensive line and great linebackers, but they were unable to stop the Saints’ offense for most of the night. Sure, much of that is due to the Panthers’ fate being sealed by the NFL’s flex scheduling system, but there could be a football reason for the difference between last night and the week before.
Seattle (and San Francisco, for that matter) has a huge, physical secondary that is capable of not letting the Saints’ receivers off the line, and that is also capable of sticking closely with those receivers even when they do get downfield. New England, with Aqib Talib, was able to produce a similar effect.
Carolina, with a more workmanlike secondary comprised of okay players, couldn’t do the same thing. The perimeter matchups were more in the Saints’ favor. And so Brees threw the ball quickly to receivers who had enough space to make catches, and 31 points later all was well.