It was a looong weekend (and not in the good way) for area sports fans, and haven’t we been through a lot already? The Baltimore and Washington area teams notched a total of three wins in nine games (11 if you count preseason hockey ... but at this point who would even count regular season hockey?). But today is a new day, and tonight brings new games and (completely unwarranted) new hope in a pair of lopsided rivalries.
But first, recaps, recaps, RECAPS!!! (I have to make it exciting ... the players sure didn’t.)
NFL: The Ravens lost to the Tennessee Titans, 25-10, showing that all that playoff hope before the season started was completely undeserved. The Titans (1-1) owned the Ravens (0-2) for the entire game, jumping out to a 13-0 lead in the first half. The Ravens never cut the deficit to less than 10 points after that, and that was only when they kicked a field goal (yes, Matt Stover actually made a field goal) to make it 13-3.
Ravens QB Anthony Wright completed 25 of 40 passes for 212 yards, but he was sacked six times and threw a touchdown to the Titans before throwing one to his own receivers. A Brad Kassell pick returned for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter made it 23-3. On the ensuing drive, Wright found Derrick Mason for a 12-yard touchdown that counted for his own team, but it was too little, too late.
Jamal Lewis had a career game for the Ravens, rushing the ball 10 times for -- get this -- nine yards. He also lost a fumble. Backup running back Chester Taylor ran three times for a robust five yards, and he managed to hold on to the football.
But that’s enough sarcasm for one game. The Ravens have stunk through two weeks, and it’s a short season.
NCAA Football: The Terps got beat up by the West Virginia Mountaineers, losing 31-19 to fall to 1-2 on the season and 0-2 on their home turf. After three quarters, Maryland was only down 7-6, but the Mountaineers exploded in the fourth for 24 points.
After a pair of WVU rushing touchdowns made it 21-6, Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach led a pair of scoring drives to make it 21-19. The first was a 73-yard touchdown pass to junior Vernon Davis, who was probably running all the way down the field thinking about how big his NFL signing bonus will be in the offseason. The second touchdown was a 12 yard pass to Jo Jo Walker, which was followed by a failed two-point conversion.
The Terps didn’t have any more offense in them, but the Mountaineers scored 10 more points to lead to the lopsided score. On a bright note, Hollenbach had his best start, completing 20 of 31 passes for 291 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Maryland plays at Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 24.
MLB: The Nationals lost two of three in San Diego to fall 4.5 games behind wild-card-leading Houston. After winning the series opener on Friday to extend their winning streak to four games, the Nationals dropped the last two games. Meanwhile, the Astros have won five games in a row and seem to be destined for the playoffs.
Sunday’s loss was particularly heartbreaking for a couple of reasons. First, Esteban Loaiza pitched seven scoreless innings and left the game with a 1-0 lead, only to watch the bullpen choke it away in the eight and ninth. Second, it allowed the Padres to return to .500 (74-74), forcing them to only go 7-7 for the remainder of the season to avoid being the first sub-.500 team to make the playoffs in a year not shortened by a strike. (The Royals made the playoffs with a 50-53 record in 1981 ... now they’d kill for a .485 winning percentage.) C’mon now! Everyone wants to see the Pads win the division without even winning half their games! Ugh.
MLB: The Orioles lost two of three to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Camden Yards, dropping them to 70-78 on the year. But then again, if the Orioles play the Devil Rays in a forest and no one is there to hear it ... or something like that. You get the picture. No one cared.
Miguel Tejada didn’t get a single RBI in the series, leaving him with just 14 more games to get the nine he needs to reach 100. Jay Gibbons didn’t hit any dingers either, leaving him stuck on 98 career homers.
MLS: D.C. United beat the Colorado Rapids, 2-0, on Saturday to win their second in a row after losing to Colorado two weeks ago. D.C. (14-9-5) remains in second place in the East.
The game was scoreless into the second half before Christian Gomez scored on a free kick in the 65th minute to make it 1-0. Jaime Moreno then scored his 13th goal of the season in the 80th minute to make it 2-0.
Goalie Nick Rimando notched his 11th shutout of the season by making three saves.
D.C. United plays again on Saturday, September 24 in Chicago at 8:30 p.m., where they will face the Fire (haha “face the Fire” ... that just came to me ...).
And from the “in case anyone cares” department, the Capitals dropped their first two preseason games, giving us a preview of what to expect this season.
Actually, the team showed some promise in Saturday’s game, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Goalie Olie Kolzig stopped all 22 shots he faced before being replaced in the third period, and the Caps managed to play to a regulation tie without forwards Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Dainius Zubrus, Petr Sykora, and Andrew Cassels (which name doesn’t fit in that list, eh?), all of whom figure to be big factors in the team’s offense this season.
On Friday, the Hurricanes pounded the Caps, 6-0, while the Caps were missing all of the above-mentioned players, plus Kolzig. Also, for that game, the Capitals charter plane didn’t show up, and they ended up arriving at the rink only 40 minutes before game time. (As a goalie, let me tell you, it takes like 25 minutes just to put all that crap on.)
The Caps get a (meaningless) rematch against Buffalo at the MCI Center on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Also, this Friday night at the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va., from 7:00 to 9:00, the Capitals will host a free FanFest. From the Capitals site: “At 8:30 p.m., Joe Beninati, the Capitals - Comcast SportsNet play-by-play broadcaster, will introduce the team in the atrium of the mall followed by the special announcement.” While there is some speculation on the Caps message board that the announcement will be new uniforms, I’m guessing it will be the announcement of the captains and alternates, with Jeff Halpern getting the “C” and Zubrus and maybe Cassels getting the alternates. But that’s all speculation. We’ll see.
OK, this post is freaking ridiculously long, so I’m going to cut it off here and come back with tonight’s previews later (boooo ... tease!). Yeah, that means Redskins-Cowboys and Orioles-Yankees previews.