We learned a lot about sports over the weekend, such as that you don’t always “play to win the game,” as Herm Edwards famously said a decade ago.
Sometimes – as in late in the overtime period of the 49ers-Rams game – you play to tie the game. And that tie may come in handy when you win your division or get a home playoff game by a half-game.
Winning isn’t everything. Sometimes, avoiding a loss is just as good.
On to the topics du jour . . .
• Some NFL players (hello, Danny Amendola and Dashon Goldson) obviously don’t know the overtime rules, which strikes me as similar to you or I not knowing the most basic rules about our workplace. By the way, does anyone remember if I need to dial a nine to get an outside line on our phones?
• Fox announcer Chris Myers was in full “Rain Man” mode on Sunday after he noticed that 1 minute, 12 seconds ran off the clock during a first-down measurement in the 49ers-Rams game. It was an embarrassing mistake by the refs, but Myers acted like he uncovered Watergate, mentioning the clock mistake every few minutes. In overtime – two hours after they wiped out the time it would have taken to run two first-half plays – he was still babbling about it.
• Colin Kaepernick played as well as could be expected while replacing concussion-damaged Alex Smith as 49ers quarterback Sunday. But his performance should also end any talk that he should be playing all the time – the 49ers are built around Smith’s strengths (reading defenses, making adjustments), not Kaepernick’s (running, throwing hard). He is an interesting option, though.
• Just when we think great sports nicknames are a thing of the past, we get “Johnny Football.” That’s Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who otherwise sounds like a songwriter for Frank Sinatra or a 1960s comedian (“Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the comedy stylings of Mister . . . Johnny . . . Manziel!”). He was a high school legend in Texas and his performance all year – particularly in Saturday’s big upset win over Alabama – means we’ll be hearing plenty about Johnny Football for the next few years.
• Every step forward by the Golden State Warriors is followed by a step back.Center Andrew Bogut’s cranky ankle (crankle?) sidelined him for at least a week and perhaps longer, leaving the Warriors where they always end up: Undersized, trying to beat better teams by making improbable shots. It didn’t work against the Lakers, it didn’t work against the Nuggets and now they’re staring at a rough stretch on the horizon. If Bogut plays, Golden State is a playoff contender. Without him, the Warriors are in huge trouble, because coach Mark Jackson clearly doesn’t trust Festus Ezeli or Andres Biedrins when the game is on the line.
• It should come as no surprise that Mike D’Antoni will coach the Lakers. He has a symbiotic relationship with Steve Nash and he was Kobe Bryant’s childhood idol. The Lakers will score plenty of points – a next-generation “Showtime” – before being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs due to their defensive problems. Those problems aren’t going away.
• Nice to see the Dodgers didn’t back off from spending money. After committing more than $250 million in a midseason trades, they bid $26 million this weekend for the right to negotiate with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin – money they’ll have to pay the Korea Baseball Federation if they sign him. I understand the A’s have a similar situation – a $26 bid on a pitcher from North Korea.
That was a North Korean joke. And an A’s joke.
Seriously, do I need to dial a nine to get an outside line?
Reach Brad Stanhope at 427-6958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bradstanhope.