"I didn't lose my composure. I just called him a punk, and that's exactly what he is."
-- Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for jawing with and head-butting Reggie Bush on the fifth play of the Jets-Dolphins game. There is bad blood between the Jets and Bush, because of a burgeoning feud between Bush and injured Jets corner Darrelle Revis.
"I just think he gives us the best chance to win. That's my opinion, and it's the only one that matters."
-- Jets coach Rex Ryan, announcing after the dispiriting 30-9 home loss to Miami that he was sticking with Mark Sanchez as his starting quarterback.
"Now it's time to go back and concentrate on my own broken life and try to repair that. I've done a lot of things I need to address ... We're not in the '80s. We're not in the '90s anymore. You have to govern yourself accordingly."
-- A chastened Lawrence Taylor, on Friday, to Associated Press reporter Larry Neumeister, after a New York jury acquitted him of charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in a 2010 incident at a hotel in Montebello, N.Y. Taylor admitted paying $300 to have sex with a woman he was told was a prostitute, who turned out to be a 16-year-old girl. She claimed he forced himself on her. The jury believed Taylor's story.
"Baseball's been the most consistent thing in my life, outside of baseball."
-- San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo, during an in-game interview with the FOX baseball guys, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, during Game 2 of the World Series. Romo closed out the sweep of the Tigers Sunday night.
"We've got to play tomorrow like there's no tomorrow."
-- San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence, to ESPN Radio, after the Giants took a 3-0 lead in the Series Saturday night.
You will excuse Rams coach Jeff Fisher if he needs a couple of stiff drinks on the flight from Heathrow Airport outside of London back home to St. Louis today. If he never sees the New England Patriots again, that'll be just fine with him. The last time he faced New England as coach of Tennessee, the Pats beat the Titans 59-0. On Sunday, the first time he faced New England as coach of the Rams, the Pats beat the Rams 45-7. Numbers you might like -- but Fisher won't -- from those eight quarters of football:
Yards allowed: 1,092.
Margin of defeat: 97 points.
Touchdowns passes allowed: 10.
Each week, thanks to play-by-play game dissection by ProFootballFocus.com, I'll look at one important matchup or individual performance metric from one of the Sunday games.
This week, I wanted to take a look at the first half of Houston defensive end J.J. Watt's season. He's been the best defensive player in the league so far, and so I had ProFootballFocus.com analyze where the 23-year-old versatile run-stuffer and pass-defender has lined up, and what alignments his plays have been made from.
Watt has played 377 snaps, including all penalties. The breakdown of those:
Left end on either a three- or two-man line: 128
Left tackle on a four-man line: 110
Right end on either a three- or two-man line: 70
Left end on a four-man line: 41
Right tackle on a four-man line: 13
Right end on a four-man line: 13
Standing up: 2
In run defense, he has played 127 snaps. As a pass rusher, he has played 243 snaps. And he has dropped into coverage seven times.
Run defense: Watt has been quite brilliant. The best measure of this is the number of defensive stops he makes purely in run defense as a percentage of his plays against the run. A "stop" is a tackle that constitutes a loss for the offense. His 22 stops on 115 run defense snaps (not including penalties) equates to 19.1 percent of his run snaps resulting in stops, and leads all interior defensive linemen. Justin Smith, last year's top defensive lineman in football, has a 12.7 percent "stop'' rate.
Pass defense: As a rusher he has been equally dominant. So far this year on 234 pass rush attempts he has amassed 10 batted passes, 11 sacks (PFF counts half-sacks as full sacks; the NFL credits Watt with 9.5 sacks), seven hits, 14 hurries and four penalties caused. His 28 QB Disruptions (sacks, hits and hurries) on 234 attempts are second only among interior defensive players in terms of productivity to Cincinnati's Geno Atkins, who has 27 quarterback disruptions in 210 snaps.
In many cases, the hype doesn't match the productivity. But Watt deserves every headline he's getting, from his performance in the first half of the season.
"We've traveled before,'' Bill Belichick, he of the electric quote, said upon arriving in London Friday, playing down the long flight from New England to London.
The Patriots played at Seattle in Week 6. Flight time from Boston to Seattle: 6 hours, 3 minutes.
The Patriots played in London in Week 8. Flight time from Boston to London Heathrow: 6 hours, 25 minutes.
The Patriots (6,500) and Rams (7,670) logged more air miles in Week 8 than the Packers will fly all season (5,774).
So my brother Ken retired from his job in England in September, and we decided to give him a fun, frequent-flier-aided retirement gift: a trip to see a World Series game. So he came over and, as it turned out, the only game that would work for me was Game 1 in San Francisco, which we didn't know would be in San Francisco until last Monday night. Thanks to my friend Corey Bowdre with the Red Sox, we were able to buy seats at face value and we set off for California. I spent much of last Tuesday in Atlanta with Tony Gonzalez for some SI reporting, then flew to San Francisco Tuesday evening.
I was deep in coach, in a middle seat. (The only way to fly! A middle seat for five hours and 15 minutes!) The 50ish woman seated to my left got increasingly frustrated with her iPad, sighing heavily, until finally she said, "Damn daughter!" and took the iPad and hit herself on the scalp with it. I clanked over, wondering if I was to feel the wrath of the iPad-abuser next, and she said, "My daughter must have erased this app I need! I can't figure the damn thing out!'' I told her I was sorry, and asked her what she did for a living.
"I'm in sales,'' she said. "On the way to San Francisco for a sales conference."
"Oh,'' I said. "What do you sell?''
"Well, various things,'' she said.
Well, all right then. We flew the rest of the way in crammed, painful quietude.
I got to visit my daughter while in San Francisco. She works at Twitter, and one of the highlights of the trip (other than the fun of seeing her) was touring the office and getting to eat lunch in the cafeteria. Great benefit of working there: breakfast, lunch and dinner are free, and stupendous. (I had the grass-fed beef chili Americano, with heritage beans, and the tomato salad). Beer on tap there. No dessert. Hmmm. I saw no one with a beer at lunch, but I did see lots of different cold teas and flavored waters.
The layout of the office is conducive to exchanging ideas, with big tables and employees sitting at their desktops, and a ping pong table in a lounge nearby, with coffee and energy bars and ... well, let's just say it's not the kind of office I've ever worked in before. The thought process at Twitter seems smart: Make it a good place to work, a comfortable place where you enjoy spending hours a day, and you're probably going to be a productive employee.
Heck of a good time at the game Wednesday. The day was perfect, sunny and cool, and the crowd giddy from batting practice on. That's a beautiful stadium, in a great place, with excellent sightlines. Not the easiest thing to do, squeezing in a quick jaunt out west to see the Series in a busy week, and catching a redeye home to get normal work done, but I'm incredibly lucky to be able to do so, and to be able to be with my brother doing it.
"Now that the Series is over, can the Panda play guard for the Eagles?''
-- @LesBowen, who covers the Eagles for the Philadelphia Daily News, early this morning, while the Giants and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval were dousing themselves with champagne in a sullen Motor City.
"Based on what I'm watching right now, Mississippi State would get killed by an NFL team, because they're getting killed by an NFL team.''
-- @fbgchase, FootballPerspective.com owner Chase Stuart, watching Alabama rout Mississippi State Saturday night.
"We are warriors on the field, but are human as well. I pray everyone sends prayers forth for Marcus Lattimore & others that are injured''
-- @RGIII, quarterback Robert Griffin III on Saturday, after top NFL prospect Marcus Lattimore, a running back, suffered a severe knee injury in South Carolina's game.
-- @GlobeChadFinn, Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, after the Patriots put cornerback Ras-I Dowling on injured-reserve for the second time in his two-year NFL career.