I officially hate the Lions.
It’s rare that a kicker can be called “clutch”. That’s why teams that find such players rarely let them go. That’s why a guy who is on the field about 10% of the game is paid as much as guys who play twice as much (and twice as hard) as they do.
I’ve seen some of the greats, from Morten Anderson to Gary Anderson, from Martin Gramatica to Adam Vinatieri. Rarely have I seen a kicker as undeniably “clutch” as Baltimore’s Justin Tucker.
If the Ravens are headed to the playoffs, shades of the 2000 team are evident in their offense’s ability to get far enough downfield to give their ace kicker a chance to put points on the board. I still hate the Lions for losing a game they should have won and keeping the last wildcard spot in the AFC away from the Dolphins, but kudos to Justin Tucker, the definition of “clutch”. That 61-yard game winner was something to remember.
A handful of playoff-bound or -hopeful teams were dealt surprising defeats this week, and it all started in Denver. The Broncos were about as flat as they’ve been all year, and the lack of Wes Welker surprisingly seemed to affect their entire offense. I say surprisingly because this team seemed to get by just fine without him in 2012. Props to the Chargers, who played a solid game, but the Broncos gave this one away.
Just like the damn Lions.
Just like the Cowboys. This game will be the most talked about all week, if for no other reason than the media loves it when the Cowboys falter. Everyone who isn’t a Cowboys fan likes this, believe me, but let’s face facts:
You can’t blame Tony Romo. Or, if you do, do it in the same breath when you’re also mentioning how embarrassingly bad their defense is right now.
You can’t blame Jason Garrett. Or, if you do, blame Romo and the defense, too.
You can’t blame Dez Bryant for leaving the game a little early. Or, if you do, blame Jason Garrett, Romo and the defense, too.
Blame the Cowboys as a whole, because they’re all responsible.
But who do you blame for what happened in Philadelphia? This was the most mind-numbingly confusing game of the week to me, as the Eagles have consistently shown improvement over the last two months only to lay an egg against a very beatable (and beat up) Vikings team. Just when the division was within reach, the Eagles show they’re not quite there yet. Their defense isn’t even on the road to being quite there yet.
It didn’t surprise me as much that the Saints struggled against the Rams; St. Louis are constantly in the fight, even if their record doesn’t reflect it. But there’s something to worry about come playoff time when the Saints look like the Falcons when they’re not in a dome. Any dome will do.
Let Me Make A Big Deal About This, Please
I could have thrown this into the last section, but the Dolphins were destined to beat the Patriots this week. How do I know? Let me count the ways:
-I bought a single pack of football cards on Friday. I opened them, and the card that was sitting on top was of Ryan Tannehill.
-Because I said so.
I’m desperate for the playoffs, but I’m growing more and more confident that my Fins are truly headed in the right direction. For the first time since Chad Pennington teased me for one fantastic season, I’m confident in my quarterback. Not since #13. Not since #13.
#13. God, I’ll never stop missing him. A void that can’t be filled by any amount of Ryan Tannehills or even an Aaron Rodgers or the like.
“They Are Who We Thought They Were?”
The Browns had the Bears right where they wanted them. Then they lost.
The Redskins have two starting caliber quarterbacks. The only answer is to keep both of them until one of them shows he’s just a backup in disguise, and then you trade that guy for a 6th round pick. That’s Dan Snyder at his best.
Can’t even beat the Falcons. C’mon, man.
The Texans want to know why, after getting blown out by the Colts, they have to turn around and play Peyton Manning next week. Shell shock can cause memory loss.
The Bills and Jaguars played a game, apparently.
The Seahawks held a scrimmage against Eli Manning and some Giants fans that won a contest and were allowed to suit up.
Colin Kaepernick is coming for you, Seattle.
A defensive line coaching job in Oakland is coming for you, Rex Ryan.
Recent reports say Raiders coach Dennis Allen is on the hot seat. Yes, he is. He’s the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. That seat hasn’t been cool since Jon Gruden was in the building.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a lesser version of Tony Romo, who is a lesser version of Brett Favre. Fitzpatrick is a gunslinger with a blunderbuss. Still, nice almost-win, Tennessee.
How about then Bungles?
QB Of The Week: Colin Kaepernick. He’s baaaaaack. I think.
RB Of The Week: Jamaal Charles. Five touchdowns, almost 200 yards receiving, and I heard he also saved a baby from a burning building.
WR Of the Week: Greg Jennings. Good show, old man. Damn good show. I almost don’t want to give him this, considering I could have probably shredded the Eagles’ secondary on my one good knee, but he deserves some credit for a change.
Offensive Line Of The Week: Carolina Panthers. So much for the dominance of the Jets front four, huh?
Defensive Performance Of The Week: Seattle Seahawks. A shutout is a shutout, and five interceptions are five interceptions. That it all happened against the Giants is just circumstance. Pure, unrelated circumstance.
Goat Of The Week: Tony Romo. The Cowboys’ Defense. Jason Garrett. Jimmy Johnson. Emmitt Smith. Roger Staubach. Hell, the city of Dallas and anyone who has ever stepped foot within its boundaries.
Coaching Performance Of The Week: Mike McCoy. I have a feeling he’s going to be in San Diego for a good long time. Of course, that isn’t much consolation to Chargers fans, who had to deal with Norv Turner for a good long time.
The Dolphins can probably beat anybody, but they’ll give me a heart attack this week in Buffalo. Wait and see.
At 1:00 this Sunday, all eyes will be on the Saints and Panthers, which should be the best game of the week. It’s all on the line, and if the Panthers can win (and they can, so long as they’re not in New Orleans), the changing of the guard in the NFC South will be official.
Colts-Chiefs will be intriguing, and the Redskins and Cowboys always make for enjoyable football regardless of where they are in the standings.
Later on, the Cardinals will have an excellent opportunity to go into Seattle and prove themselves in the toughest stadium in football, against the best team in football. I wish them all the luck in the world. The Seahawks secondary is looking forward to another five interceptions.
Speaking of five interceptions, I’ll predict that Eli does it again, along with a couple of fumbles, a safety and close to a dozen sacks. The Giants will then beat the Lions. Because they’re the Lions.
They’re the damned Lions.
Patriots-Ravens. Justin Tucker kicks seven field goals. Patriots win.
Sunday Night will be pivotal for the Eagles and the Bears. Whomever wins is in the driver’s seat for their division crown going forward.
Monday Night will be more competitive than you might think at first glance. Of course, the Falcons aren’t playing the Redskins again, so they’ll lose.
Leave Tony Romo alone. LEAVE HIM ALONE!
I miss you, Dan.
Nndamukong Suh karate chopped a ball boy in Detroit last night. True story. He also pulled a fan from the stands, gave him a piggy-back ride, and then proceeded to drop him off of his back and stomp his arm until a piece of his cleats lodged into the poor fan’s forearm.
Okay, so I’m lying. The point is, you can close your eyes, see all that happening, and not be the least bit surprised.