Last Week – W, 28-20 (vs. San Francisco)
1-1 Overall (T/1st, NFC North)
9th in Team Offense
16th in Team Defense
Oh how quickly one quarter of football can change your outlook on 16 weeks of games. For most of 3 quarters, the Niners game looked like it was going to become the Eagles game from last year. Marshall and Jeffrey looked incredibly labored running routes, and San Francisco was sitting on every route, knowing they couldn’t take the game vertical. A remarkable, incredible, “I can’t believe Johnny Knox was our #1 receiver 3 years ago” catch right before halftime was the only thing keeping me interested. Seriously, look at this shit.
Even after that heroic play, the 49ers started the 3rd by taking NINE FUCKING MINUTES off the clock. Only a heroic three-down stand by the Bears defense kept the score to 20-7. At which point, by the numbers, the 49ers had a 97.4 percent chance of winning the game.
Directly after, we learned two lessons:
1. Even Zombie Marshall and Zombie Alshon are better than most defensive backfields
2. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing Colin Kaepernicik fail, then get angry about it
Colin Kaepernick reminds me of a guy in high school who takes a joke way too far then gets really mad when you tell him to cut the shit. He was on the receiving end of what I believe is the NFL’s first penalty for swearing. And of course he says he didn’t do anything.
So yeah – last week’s game was rewarding, cathartic, and an object reminder that I no more an expert than the asshole next to you at the bar. And I’m completely happy with that.
This Week – vs. New York Jets (1-1, 4th, AFC East)
21st in Team Offense
19th in Team Defense
The Jets almost did us a solid and took down the Packers in Lambeau last week. Then they went and Jets’d it up by running the “Don’t cover Jordy Nelson” defense and subsequently icing their QB with an illegal (yet somehow still called) timeout on what should have been a game-tying Hail Mary. Rex Ryan looked amused at the postgame press conference, but it was the kind of giddiness you see in someone’s face right before they climb the book depository with a deer rifle.
On a personal My History With the Jets note, they are responsible for the worst game of football I have ever watched. Jets/Titans, Monday Night Football on Dec. 17, 2012. This is exactly the kind of game your smug British friend points to when he says American football is boring. He’s kind of a dick, but that game gives him ammunition. Chris Johnson ran for 122 yards, but 94 of those were on one play. The other 20 carries that night netted 26 yards. THRILLING. As we all know, Johnson never lived up to that one amazing season and now that his career hit the skids, he’s playing in … New York. For the Jets.
Embarrassing Childhood Photo of the Week
This week it’s my brother, not me. Here he displays some sort of gigantic Bears union suit and the perfectly round head of a Buddha statue. Well done, baby brother.
The Tailgate Recipe
I’ll give the recipe its nominal New York roots, even though the Jets play out in the wastelands of New Jersey. It’s a classic Reuben sandwich. And it’s not far off from what I brought to our August MEATing out in Jefferson Park. If there’s one thing New York has on our fine city, it’s deli life. As such, I’ve taken to making my own pastrami over the past couple years. Beef, pork belly, turkey – all delicious. BEHOLD.
You can obviously just go out and buy some pastrami, because curing it is going to take 7-10 days of your time and a trip to a spice shop or Amazon to get curing salts. Put provided you do want to make giant, luxurious slabs of meat, here’s my favorite cure to bathe your turkey breast, brisket, or pork belly in. Tim Hayward, of the completely underrated Food DIY, gets credit for it. It’s in grams, but if you’re gonna let this thing chillax for a week in your fridge then commit to a long cook, I bet you’re open to using a scale.
400 grams salt
150 grams sugar
30 grams Prague #1 curing salt
3 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
30 grams pickling spice
10 juniper berries, crushed
100 grams honey
4 liters water
When it’s good and cured (7-10 days, weighted down to stay submerged), cover it with an equal quantity of crushed telicherry peppercorns and coriander. Smoke it for 3 hours at 225 and finish in the oven in a braise at 2 hours (total, including smoking) per pound. When it hits 185, it should be good. Never let the cooking temperatures go over 225 – that’s the key to super-tender pastrami meat.
Throw that business on some toasted marble rye bread with Sauerkraut and one or both of the following:
SECRET SANDWICH SAUCE6 tbsp mayo
4 tsp box-grated onion
6 tsp sweet chow-chow (or sweet pickle relish)
4 tsp yellow mustard
4 tsp sugar
½ tsp turmeric
ONE MILLION ISLAND SAUCE
1 cup mayo
¼ cup sweet Thai chili sauce
1 ½ tsp ketchup
¼ tsp Worcestershire
½ tsp cayenne hot sauce
1 ½ tbsp minced onion
½ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sweet relish
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Clearly, I don’t know shit about crap. Let’s hope this is the one I get right. BEARS, 28-17.