NFL Week 13 Wrap: Thanksgiving Leaves Us Hungry, Playoff Hopes Dashed, Steelers STOMP Patriots

Posted on December 3, 2008. Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In a week that began with three blowouts on Thanksgiving, leaving football fans unaffiliated with the victorious starving for competitive contests, the playoff picture began to shape up a bit heading into the final quarter of the season.  Well, somewhat . . .

Here are my thoughts on some of the games and players who managed not to shoot themselves in the leg this past weekend – more on that idiocy later:

A THIRD HELPING OF DOMINATION PLEASE: Okay, so we knew the first two games would be exciting only for fans of Tennessee and Dallas, but the last game slated for Thanksgiving night between Arizona and Philadelphia looked as if it would measure up to be a competitive one, right?  Donovan McNabb named as starter for a chance to redeem himself after being benched for the untested Kevin Kolb the week before . . . Kurt Warner and the greatest show on field turf ventures back to the east coast to see if they can exorcise their “yeah, but” demons . . . Both teams have birds for nicknames . . . 

And that was the ONLY thing these two foes had in common once they stepped onto Lincoln Financial Field.  Donovan McNabb broke the wishbone and got the big piece – 4TD passes, 260 yards through the air and went 27 for 39, finishing with a completion percentage of over 66 percent.

Arizona now owns a record of 7-5 and leads the putrid NFC West with the majority of their wins coming within their own division, and their losses all to teams with winning records.  What does that spell?  A high flying F-L-U-K-E . . .

In the two earlier games, Dallas looked like an offensive machine and their defense chipped in with seven sacks against the lowly Seahawks.  The only hitch in the Cowboys giddy-up came when the NFL’s sack leader, DeMarcus Ware (15 sacks), Marion the Barbarian, and guard Kyle Kosier were injured.  And the Titans walloped the Lions so badly that I am beginning to believe Detorit won’t be able to buy a win this season.  Are they next in line for a bailout?  

NO PLAYOFFS FOR YOU:  San Diego isn’t charging anything these days.  At 4-8, they are completely and udderly out of contention.  The offense line is just that – OFF – Ladainian Tomlinson is a shadow of himself and the loss of Shawne Merriman looms as the most costly in the league this year.  A third loss in a row at home to Oakland on Thursday would be a humiliating capper to their season, because it’s OVAH . . .

CIRCLE THE WAGONS – IT’S TIME TO PACK IT IN:  Ah, the beauty of a new season . . . kinda like falling in love all over again, until that love is put to the test.  After Buffalo began the season with four straight wins, media and fans started to fall for those Bills.   Now sitting at 6-6 and taking a look back, those victories were against Seattle, Jacksonville, Oakland and St. Louis . . . not so impressive anymore, right?  A loss to Arizona and a win over San Diego (see above) preceeded their latest run of six games where their only win came over the Chiefs, otherwise known by their full name “Chief Two Wins”.   If all the other contending teams lose and Buffalo wins out, they may have a chance.  Reality is, they don’t.  The honeymoon is over in Buffalo, but the question is, did it ever really start?

Other teams that slapped a big L on their foreheads for the year after losing in Week 13: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears – no chance to come back now.  The pack is too thick and too much has to go wrong for everyone ahead in the standings . . . better luck next year . . .

HOLY TURNOVER BATMAN:  Forcing five turnovers in the second half against the Patriots at home, the Steelers put the SLOP in New England’s sloppy play, leading to a 33-10 statement win.  The Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebackers, James Harrison and Lamar Woodley, have a friendly competition going to see who can sack the quarterback more . . . with 14 for the year, Harrison is winning by 2.5 sacks.  That makes a total of 25.5 sacks between the two, the most is Steelers history.  He is third in the league and is making a case for not only Defensive Player of the Year, but also for MVP.  Why?  The #1 ranked defense in the Steel City is striking fear in the hearts, minds, and especially bodies, of quarterbacks and offensive coordinators everywhere, and is more responsible for their success while playing the most difficult schedule in the league than Big Ben and their efficient offense that hangs int here and makes a team pay for mistakes.  And James Harrison is the stand out piece of Dick LeBeau’s puzzling defensive scheme in 2008.  Troy Polamalu, Lamar Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons have also made huge contributions.  All in all, I wouldn’t want to face the latest version of the Steel Curtain.  Look out Dallas . . .

Like a team going deep into the playoffs, I gotta run.  Till next time . . .

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NFL Week 12 Wrap: Historic QB Performance, Benching “The Don” Plus More (Part 1)

Posted on November 24, 2008. Filed under: NFL | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Week 12 gave us a little bit of everything.  As I wade through the empty cans of whoop ass littering the NFL landscape, I see the monumental benching of a franchise QB, comeback wins that will go a long way in solidfying playoff contention, the last unbeaten team falling, and a surprising upset of a division leader by a team whose ruthless leader can be found at thrift stores shopping for wind pants and jogging suits . . .

Man, do I love football.

Here are my miscellaneous musings and insightful insights into the week that was:

FORGET THE TITANS:  Tennessee’s winning streak came to a crashing halt as the Jets came into Nashville and throttled the NFL’s last unbeaten team.  The green machine steamrolled the once mighty Titans by a score of 34 – 13 and didn’t even give the music city maestros a chance to be competitive.  By winning the time of possession battle by a ridiulously large margin of 20 minutes and 30 seconds (Jets 40:30 and Titans 19:30), the tauted Tennessee defense tired quickly and the game plan of short dink and dunk passes combined with Leon Washington’s 10 yard per carry average and 2 rushing scores made quick work of their so-called “Tencious D”. 

FUN FACT: Brett Favre has passed Dan Marino in the record books yet again to win as a quarterback in 32 different stadiums, the most since the Super Bowl era (1966 – for those not up on football history).  Dan Marino took down opponents in 31 different venues.   

ONLY 5 QUARTERBACKS HAVE DONE IT:  And no, the NFL’s favorite son is not one of them, but his back up is . . . Matt Cassel recorded back to back 400-plus yard passing games becoming only the 5th QB to sling it four lengths of the football field or more in consecutive games since the merger (once again, for those who don’t know, that’s 1970).  He joins Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Phil Simms and . . . Billy Volek?  What ever happened to him?  Anyway, besides the latter, Cassel in is some pretty good company.  Sorry Billy, you had your time, but you just don’t belong in that group.  Will Matt Cassel?  I’m sure we’ll have a chance to find out . . .

FUN FACT:  Cassel DOUBLED Tom Brady’s number of games with a 400-plus passing performance – for his career.  Is that chowdah or a quarterback controversy I smell brewing in New England? 

STEELERS DEFENSE IS BETTER THAN ADVERTISED:  Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe the vaunted Dick LeBeau scheme could be even better than their #1 ranking, but they are.  For those don’t follow the Steelers or watch their games, not only does the D have to play against opposing offenses and the more than occassional flag happy official, but they also have to protect against . . . their own sad punter, Paul Ernster, who with a 32 yard average constantly gives adversaries good field position and forces the D to step up their play.   

BREAKING NEWS:  Mike Tomlin must have been looking over my shoulder this morning because that sorry excuse for a punter, Paul Ernster, was just released . . .

I have to run, but I have more thoughts to share about Week 12 so come back soon and check out the rest.  Feel free to comment!

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