06 Oct 2007
Welcome to the Dime Brothers' inaugural Scrum of the Week article. I started writing Scrum of the Week articles in our fantasy football league about a year ago, in response to my brother writing a Matchup of the Week article. A scrum is a rugby play (I don't know anything about rugby), or also refers to "confusion and racket" (according to Dictionary.com).
While the matchup of the week focused on two good teams facing each other, there were many of us who were already dejected enough not to care. For those supporting bad teams, there was nothing to capture our attention. Seeing as the losers were an underserved population, they needed something to look forward to. Now, losers everywhere eagerly await the release of this article, with the hopes and dreams that their team can be awful enough to qualify for "Scrum of the Week."
And so we move to week 5 of the 2007 NFL season, with many teams already surprisingly bad. There are many matchups of good teams going against bad teams, and there are many matchups of mediocre teams going against bad teams, but there is only one matchup where a below-mediocre team is facing the bottom of the barrel. And that matchup is the Arizona Cardinals vs. the St. Louis Rams. Arizona is playing at St. Louis, yet hasn't won a road game yet this year. The trouble is, St. Louis hasn't won a home game yet this year. So in this battle of wills, which team will succumb to the agony of victory?
Arizona is currently a respectable 2-2, assuming respectable means wildly unpredictable. This is a team that can't figure out its starting quarterback situation, has somehow beaten two good teams in Pittsburgh and Seattle, yet lost to Baltimore and San Francisco (two teams playing each other this week who almost won this week's coveted scrum spotlight). And if we dive into Arizona's football history, we'd be stuck in a quagmire of putridity rivaling the tar pits that trapped dinosaurs back in the day. Except when the dinosaurs got stuck, they probably had more of a chance to escape that these Cardinals do. Cardinals fans have been wallowing in tar forever!
But Arizona's awfulness this season doesn't rival that of their opponent. St. Louis entered the season as a potential offensive powerhouse. But so far they've only achieved the offensive part. QB Bulger has been benched because of injuries and ineffectiveness, RB Stephen Jackson is injured, and their receivers have just 2 touchdowns so far. Return man Dante Hall offers the only hope for success, assuming every time Arizona punts the ball he returns it for a touchdown. But since St. Louis' defense will probably let Arizona score on every possession, Hall will have to return every kickoff for a TD just to keep the game tied. That seems unlikely... but Arizona might be just the right kind of awful to allow it.
In the end, though, Arizona will come out the victors, 23-17.