As October nears in a week, it's safe to say that football is in full swing right now. With a limited season compared to the length of other sports and the holidays approaching, make sure to take the time to savor every weekend moment and maybe sprinkle in some friends and family as well. Football is short in the big picture. Heck, life is short, so appreciate what you have and make every moment count.
With this Hallmark moment behind us now, let's get on to what we really want to talk about.
Steel Curtain Showing Serious Holes
The Pittsburgh Steelers have almost always been universally known for having a top notch defense. In fact, following the Steelers the past few decades, you could be safe in saying that if they got the lead late, then the game was over.
Not so much nowadays.
With a 10 point lead heading into the fourth quarter, both sides of the ball inexplicably froze up for the black and gold, allowing the Oakland Raiders to score 13 unanswered to win 34-31 in a game that may very well come back to haunt Pittsburgh. Couple that with the big plays they have given up this year so far and the Steelers have a far way to go to regain their position as one of the best in the AFC.
Saints Feeling the Hit of Karma
The New Orleans Saints, despite all the offseason turmoil, were expected to be one of the top teams in the NFC again this season. Apparently opposing teams didn't get the memo. For three weeks straight, the Saints have been lit up, walking away losers.
The main culprit for this pathetic 0-3 start has to be the defense that couldn't stop a squad of old ladies from getting a first down. The Saints 'defense' let a Chiefs team with no momentum throw up 21 points after halftime, earning the 27-24 win in overtime on a day where Kansas City had their way on the ground, running for 273 team yards, 233 by Jamaal Charles alone.
If the Saints are to have any chance to turn things around, then they may want to suit up the water boy and hope for a miracle. Or maybe they could take the bibs off of their defense and get them to play like big boys.
Notre Dame Stands Tall
It wasn't a pretty or stylish win but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish improved to 4-0 by simply manhandling the Michigan Wolverines on defense to squeak out a 13-6 win on a night where scoring was few and far between. The fired up Irish D picked off five Michigan passes while including a forced fumble to keep the Wolverines out of the endzone.
The win, coupled with Saturday's top ten action, put the Fighting Irish at the number 10 spot in this weeks AP Top 25.
Frustration Over Replacement Refs Mounts
Well, it was another horrible Sunday in terms of the efficiency of the replacement refs. As with week two, each week seems to bring out bigger and bigger mistakes by the substitute Zebras. This week gave us a plethora of game changing mistakes, including but not limited to;
Two challenges late being allowed by the San Francisco 49ers when they had no time outs.
Numerous reports of officials walking off the wrong distances for penalties.
The Tampa Bay buccaneers had a touchdown taken away by an official who called a play dead while reversing the call in replay. But since the play was a fumble recovery, the Bucs only got the ball where they fumble occurred, wiping out a sure fire score.
No calls on helmet to helmet hits.
While no officials are perfect, this fiasco needs to come to an end now before the players, and the sport, takes a hit it just might not recover from.
The Week Ahead
(MLB) Washington at Philadelphia Wednesday 7:05 pm ESPN2- With October on the horizon, the MLB playoffs are soon to become a reality. Washington looks to lead the charge into October as their storybook season continues to unfold.
(NFL) Cleveland at Baltimore Thursday 8:20 pm NFL Network- It's a battle between the team Cleveland used to be versus the present as the Browns travel to Baltimore looking to topple the Baltimore Ravens. Under the rookie tandem of Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, the Browns are showing signs of life and they will need any of those they can muster up to squeak out a W in this game.
(NCAAFB) No 14 Ohio State at No 20 Michigan State Saturday 3:30 pm abc- The Ohio State Buckeyes finally start playing someone after a few weeks of glorified preseason warmups. Will the new look Buckeyes be able to hold there own against top ranked talent? That's the question on the minds of thousands.
(NFL) NY Giants at Philadelphia Sunday 8:20 pm NBC- The Philadelphia Eagles have to be about the worst 2-1 team in the NFL right now, at least in terms of execution as dumb penalties and turnovers continue to plague this talented team. They will need to pull it all together if they are going to beat a Giants team that is firing on all cylinders.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.