About Last Weekend: From a Land Down Under

In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports over the weekend.

  • Samantha Stosur became the first Australian woman to win a major since 1980, defeating Serena Williams for the U.S. Open title. Williams, in the midst of her loss, went on a tirade where she called the chair umpire “unattractive inside,” and wouldn’t shake her hand after the match. She also defended her antics by saying, “we’re in America last time I checked.” A few miles south, the Statue of Liberty wept to see such an inspiring and heroic use of the First Amendment.

  • In the weekend’s only meeting of ranked teams, Alabama handled Penn State with ease. The Nittany Lions pride themselves on recruiting players who reflect the character and dignity of head coach Joe Paterno, but this year they made the mistake of getting ones who also reflect his strength and mobility.
  • Yovani Gallardo struck out 12 over seven innings, and the Brewers avoided a sweep against the Phillies with a 3-2 win. This is the first sign in a long time that the Phillies are actually capable of losing something. People had started to get especially discouraged when Roy Halladay won the Milwaukee sausage race three days in a row.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles’ vaunted offense lived up to its billing in week one of the NFL season, racking up 31 points in a victory over the Rams. DaSean Jackson was held in check by the Rams, but his ego grabbed six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown.
  • Matthew Stafford accumulated 305 passing yards as the Lions earned a Week 1 win over the Buccaneers, 27-20. “You hate to start the season 0-1,” said Tampa QB Josh Freeman, “but it’s the first game of the year. It’s not going to make or break anybody.” Indeed, you have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a 10-6 Buccaneers team that would have made the playoffs with just one more win.
  • Auburn’s 17-game winning streak is alive and well after they held Mississippi State on a last-second goal-line stand to win 41-34. Afterward, the goal line was despondent. “They were trying so hard to get to me,” it said, “and I just sat there, frozen.”
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers turned the ball over seven times in a blowout loss to the Ravens. And on that note, it’s time for  OLE GUS MCGRAW’S SPORTSWRITER MONOLOGUE OF THE MORNING!
    Fumbles! Interceptions! More fumbles! For the Pittsburgh Steelers, hell is a Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. I’ve seen a lot of things in my day, from space shuttles to overtime wins to communists taking over our universities, but seven turnovers was a lot to take even for these heavy eyes. I have to ask: what’s happened to the integrity of the game? What happened to the days of smash-mouth football, three yards and a cloud of dust, when a guy would rather wear parachute pants at a President’s funeral than fumble the football? And haven’t we seen enough to know that the forward pass is a failed experiment? Half the time, these guys don’t even know what team they’re throwing to! It’s enough to make you long for men like Pop Warner and Alonzo Stagg. Now those were real Americans, the kind who used to go several plays without even using a ball. They’d just smash their heads into the other guy for for minutes at a time until the referee realized there were no plays being run and everyone had a good laugh. When they did get the football back, half the time it would be deflated because someone bit it. Those men were hungry! But today’s Pittsburgh Steelers? They’re all tooth and no stomach.
  • Without Peyton Manning, the Colts looked lost, falling to the Texans 34-7. One of the game’s most awkward moments came when head coach Jim Caldwell tried to send Peyton onto the field, claiming that “you never really know how hurt you are until you get hit in the neck.”
  • A dropped fly ball by Peter Bourjos in the 7th inning helped the Yankees end their four-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over the Angels. If you ask me, this is just the latest example that the Yanks are God’s chosen team. On the other hand, if you ask God, He’s angrily designing a life-sized Peter Bourjos voodoo doll.
  • Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks won on the road, defeating Georgia 45-42. It was a flaccid performance by the defense overall, but the offense managed to hold firm and penetrate, repeatedly, eventually finishing with a knee.
  • A grand slam by B.J. Upton brought the Rays one step closer to an improbable wild card finish as they beat Boston 9-1. With less than 20 games remaining, the Rays are just 3.5 games behind the Red Sox for the final playoff spot. Afterward, Rays manager Joe Maddon was having a panic attack due to a misunderstanding of exactly what that meant. “How are we supposed to win a half game?!” he asked frantically.


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Filed Under: About Last Weekend, Alabama, Auburn, Baltimore Ravens, Boston Red Sox, Indianapolis Colts, New York Yankees, Penn State, Peyton Manning, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Serena Williams, South Carolina, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, U.S. Open

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere