Sports Medley: UCLA
loses another game because of a dumb penalty 26 Sep 16
by Tony Medley
UCLA Football More of
If there’s one thing that has been a trademark of Coach Jim Mora’s UCLA
football teams, it is the inconvenient penalty at a crucial time. UCLA
has been one of the nation’s most penalized teams every year of Mora’s
tenure, and many of them are really senseless, indefensible penalties,
like illegal procedure infractions with the game on the line that
nullify big plays. This year has seen a pleasant departure from the
egregious number of flags thrown in each game. His team has been far
more disciplined. But Saturday’s loss to Stanford was caused by one of
the most nonsensical penalties in UCLA history. With the Bruins leading
the #7 ranked Cardinal by four points, Christian McCaffery caught a punt
on the Stanford 16 with 2:03 to play.
Trailing 13-9, they
had 84 yards to go to score a touchdown with no time outs. But UCLA
defensive back Marcus Rios ran into McCaffery who was making a fair
catch, resulting in a calamitous 15 yard penalty. Running into a player
making a fair catch deep in its own territory with the game on the line?
Can there be a dumber penalty? Now Stanford was on its 31 and only had
69 yards to go. They scored the winning touchdown with 31 seconds left
in the game. It’s not unreasonable to believe that those additional 15
yards gave Stanford the additional 31 seconds with which to score the
winning TD. If it weren’t for UCLA’s history with penalties, one would
call this an unfortunate mistake. But considering the past four years of
one senseless penalty after another, the fault lies with coaching.
The baseball world will miss Vin Scully, who is, quite simply, the best
sportscaster who ever lived. When I wrote a Los Angeles Magazine
article on Los Angeles Sportscasters in 1979, I said he was “better than
the game itself,” a line that was later purloined by the LA Times
(not the only time they used my material without accreditation).
Like just about
everyone else, I learned from Vin. When I interviewed him in 1974 I
asked him what he thought of some of the other baseball sportscasters.
He said that he never listened to anyone else because he didn’t want
something he heard from them to creep into his broadcasts. I took that
to heart when I became a film critic and stopped reading reviews. To be
truthful, though, one of the main reasons I started reviewing films was
that mostly all the critics did was to tell the story, so I never got
much out of their reviews anyway and learning the story often ruined the
movie for me.
Three Week NFL
After watching most of the games for the first three weeks, the best
teams in the NFL are New England, Philadelphia, and Minnesota, not
necessarily in that order. Philly’s annihilation of Pittsburgh last
weekend should silence the talking heads who downplayed rookie
quarterback Carson Wentz because “he only threw short, conservative
Nonsense. Wentz has
been the best quarterback in the league the first three weeks, thanks in
some part to brilliant coaching by new head coach Doug Pederson, and a
good offensive line. In addition, Philly’s defense looks awesome,
stifling Pittsburgh’s vaunted offense.
The Cowboys’ rookie
quarterback, Dak Prescott, has also been extraordinary. As heartwarming
is the success that former Rams and Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is
achieving in Minnesota. The trade that sent Bradford from Philadelphia
to Minnesota was a boon for both teams because it gave Wentz his chance
to shine with Philly.
Just because you’re a
quarterback doesn’t mean you’re smart:
With the Giants leading 21-16 with six seconds to go in the half,
Washington had the ball on the four yard line, 3rd and goal,
no time outs. Washington Coach Jay Gruden figured that six seconds was
enough time to call a quick pass play to try for a touchdown before
kicking a chip field goal. How smart do you have to be to know that you
have to get rid of the ball immediately or time will run out? Throw it;
if nobody’s open, throw it away. But quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t see
anyone open, so he pulled it back and took a sack. Clock expires with no
field goal. Cousins is paid $19,953,000 for 2016.