February 25, 2016

Bleach 664 - The Gift

A new chapter of Bleach is out, so let's talk about it.

Spoilers and hastily wrapped presents after the cut.

February 18, 2016

Bleach 663 - God of Thunder 4

A new chapter of Bleach is out, so let's talk about it.

Spoilers and ever-changing attributes after the cut.

February 10, 2016

Bleach 662 - God of Thunder 3

A new Bleach chapter is out, so let's talk about it.

Spoilers and scary cats after the cut.

February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50

Super Bowl 50 has come and gone, so let's take a quick look at what happened and what it might mean in the big picture.

The game itself was uninteresting.  It's unfortunate that the last and most meaningful football game of the 2015 season turned out the way it did.  For my part, I thought that Carolina's offense would be able to do something against Denver, and that the Panthers were basically a shoe-in.  I really couldn't have been more wrong there.

Late in the regular season, a lot of people seemed to bristle at anyone who criticized Carolina, often brashly proclaiming them "the best" in the NFL.  The problem with that proclamation lay in their schedule; they had few games of consequence as a result of playing in the NFC South and lost one of them to a mediocre Atlanta team.  They coasted through their two previous playoff games and looked unstoppable, to boot.  But they didn't look ready for prime time in the biggest game of the season and I tend to think their easy schedule has a little to do with that.

Given how "dominant" (I dislike using that word, because it implies things that aren't necessarily accurate) Denver's defense was, I also have to question the notion that the NFL is a "passing league".  The defenses for both teams controlled the pace of play and the result of the game.  I mean, I have my doubts as to how much Denver really wanted to do; they seemed content to let their defense do the bulk of the work while not trying anything that would be considered "risky".  If the NFL is indeed a passing league, last night's game was a huge exception...or it proves that running the ball and playing defense is the way to win championships as we're always told it has been since the advent of the league.

My problem with the whole "run the ball/play defense" style of play is that it's usually bland and uninteresting.  Both teams exemplify that style to a great degree.

To that end, it was obvious that someone on Denver's defense was going to win SB MVP.  Von Miller ended up being the guy, though it was a team effort by all indications.  One interesting thing to note, though, is the effort by Carolina DE Kony Ealy.  He was just as effective as Von Miller, but gets less credit due to the fact that his team didn't win.  Fair enough, but worth pointing out and giving credit nonetheless.

Meanwhile, the MVP of the regular season came up small.  No play showed this more than the 4th quarter strip & sack that Miller had.  Cam Newton basically jogged toward the ball on the ground and then backed away slightly rather than dive onto the ball.  As I recall, the score was 16-10 in favor of Denver; a recovery could have led to a game-winning TD (but more likely another Panthers error).  At any rate, the game was there for the taking for most of the night, but Newton's play was not even close to what they needed.  I thought his performance in Week 16 was his nadir; wrong again, chum.

While the fumble by Newton in the 4th quarter closed out the game, it was the fumble in the 1st quarter that may be more noteworthy.  The 1st quarter fumble (and resulting TD for Denver) not only set the pace for the game but is probably what won the game for the Broncos.

Newton had just thrown a pass to Jerricho Cotchery which was called incomplete and then challenged by Panthers HC Ron Rivera.  The call was upheld.  The problem with that call, however, is that Cotchery had actually caught the ball. So the failed challenge directly led to the fumble that gave Denver their only TD for the majority of the game.  Was it a game-changing play?  To me, there's no doubt.

I thought the officiating was spotty in general.  But when calls weren't going the Panthers way, they did themselves no favors with their play on offense.  Too many turnovers, bad passes, ineffective runs.

And in the end, Peyton Manning gets his second ring, in a game where he did virtually nothing.

Given all the hype for Super Bowl 50, it was underwhelming at best.

Also of note, since Von Miller won MVP, that means that two of the last three Super Bowl MVP's have been defensive players.  And let's not forget that Super Bowl 49 was basically determined by a defensive player.

Has defense been taken out of the league?  Hardly.  Not when it reigns supreme at the highest level.

See you next season.

February 4, 2016

Bleach 661 - My Last Words

Another chapter of Bleach is out, so let's talk about it.

Spoilers and running away after the cut.