Monday, October 28, 2013

Aww, the Minnesota Vikings Actually Thought They Had a Chance!

  • Look, I know I’m biased because I’m deeply in love with him, but how amazing is Jordy Nelson?? Seven receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns, including an absolutely incredible endzone catch early on. Furthermore, Jordy recovered yet another onside kick - he always is in the right place at the right time on onside kicks. He might have the best hands in the league.

And biceps. And smile. And face.

  • Aaron Rodgers didn’t have a bad night himself, completing 24-of-29 throws, a completion rate of 83%!! Of his five incompletions, two were throwaways and at least one was a drop.

  • How do you defend Rodgers-to-Nelson? Since 2009, they’ve averaged 11.4 yards per pass and a 138.5 passer rating - tops in the league in both categories. Note that the 11.4 yards is per pass, not completion.

Money in the bank.

  • The only reason Rodgers’ numbers weren’t gaudier is because the run game had a productive night, as well. Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined for 151 yards and a touchdown apiece. If Starks can stay healthy for more than 45 minutes at a time, he provides a nice change of pace to Lacy’s bruising, hard-earned yards.

Plus he's always happy and smiling!

  • The Packers offense was quite efficient, scoring on every single possession except for their final drive, during which they simply knelt to run out the clock. Not a single punt!

  • The game didn’t start off in the best way, with Green Bay giving up a touchdown return from Cordarrelle Patterson on the opening kickoff. The rookie gained 228 yards on five kickoff returns.

  • Micah Hyde made up for whiffing on a tackle that allowed Patterson’s touchdown return by returning a punt 93 yards for a touchdown himself.

I love it when rookies get their first NFL touchdown!!

  • What I find most shocking is how Christian Ponder is playing ahead of Matt Cassel -- what is Minnesota thinking?? Cassel is not an elite quarterback, but he’s significantly better than Ponder.

  • Minnesota owner Zygi Wilf is wearing one of those Groucho Marx disguises, right?

He's on the lam.

  • There are those Packer fans who hate GM Ted Thompson for unknown reasons, but I don’t think any other team in the league can say that all but three of their players were their own draft picks, much less a division-leading team.

  • The biggest disappointment from the game was that the defense didn’t notch a single turnover -- against Christian Ponder! And how awful was the pass interference call on Tramon Williams right before the half that allowed Minnesota to score a touchdown? Tramon did no more than gently graze the hip of Greg Jennings.

They're just jealous of your dazzling smile.

  • Speaking of Greg, he had a rough night. Before the game, Jennings offered a more sincere apology to Aaron Rodgers, but when asked (yet again) about Jennings, Rodgers only said, “I don’t have time to think about those things.” In the game, Greg caught just one pass for nine yards, which was greeted with boos from the Packer fans in the crowd. Then he got creamed by his teammate running for the endzone:


  • After the game, Jennings shared an incredibly awkward midfield meeting with Rodgers. Aaron seemed desperate to escape, and Greg equally unwilling to release him from his grip. It didn’t look fun for anyone.

"Pleasepleaseplease take me back!"

  • The rest of the weekend’s games were pretty boring -- except for the Detroit-Dallas game. The Lions finished with 623 yards to the Cowboys’ 268, and 29 first downs to Dallas’ 13. Yet Detroit only won by one. How, you ask? Here’s how six consecutive drives went for Detroit: interception, punt, interception, punt, fumble, fumble. That’s how you completely dominate a team and need a crazy, last-second touchdown to win.

  • So here’s how the final minute-and-a-half went: Dallas had a three-point lead and the ball. Detroit had two timeouts. ALL Dallas has to do is run out the clock. They’re on their way to a victory, when they get called for a holding penalty, which stops the clock. Because of the stoppage, Dallas has to kick a field goal to take a six-point lead and Detroit got the ball back with just 1:02 left. A 37-yard pass; spike to stop the clock; then a 40-yard pass; then a 22-yard pass -- Calvin Johnson is stopped right on the goal line! Quarterback Matthew Stafford starts screaming, trying to get his teammates to the line and signalling that he’s going to spike the ball to stop the clock. 

  • Just before the snap, Stafford sees that Dallas, assuming the spike, is not prepared, so he jumps over his unaware linemen and over the goal line for a touchdown to win!!!!

  • Stafford is very, very, very lucky that went well. Could you imagine how much trouble he might have been in if he went for a quarterback sneak without telling his coaches or teammates and didn’t succeed?

  • I usually reserve a space each week to laud Calvin Johnson for whatever amazing thing he’s done this time, but this week is particularly incredible: he caught 14 of 16 targets for 329 yards! That’s more than the entire Cowboy’s offense! Seven of his receptions were 20+ yards! He can do anything.

  • The one bright spot for Dallas is linebacker Sean Lee. I don’t watch a lot of Cowboys football, but every time I do, Lee is making a big-time play. He had 10 tackles to go with his two interceptions.

Bonus points for looking nothing like an athlete.

  • Eli Manning and the New York Giants’ offense look incompetent. Luckily for them, they were playing the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Watch out for those Giants -- they’re on a two-game roll!

  • I am not a DeAngelo Hall fan, but I love this interception.


  • The stupid cannon in Tampa Bay dysfunctioned a few times on Thursday night -- probably from disuse -- and took Carolina quarterback Cam Newton by surprise. In his defense, he is from Atlanta.

Scary Bucs cannons scare Cam Newton

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars do not have much going for them, but at least their mascot, Jaxson DeVille was able to amuse the London crowd by streaking in Wembley Stadium.

  • This is one of the coolest interceptions I’ve ever seen, and great teamwork from the Pats. Dudes have clearly been practicing on the volleyball court.

  • I know Atlanta has a million injuries, but still, how are they this bad?? They were a popular pre-season pick to win it all and are now just 2-5.

Matty Ice ... Ice Cold! Heh.

  • I have a problem with Brandon Meriweather and his helmet-to-helmet hits. As I feared, the league reduced his two-game suspension to one. But don’t worry, I really think he’s learned his lesson. Here’s what he had to say:
“I guess I just got to take people’s knees out. That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guy’s a career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer.
“You just have to go low now, man. You’ve got to end people’s careers. You got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees. You can’t hit them high anymore.”

  • Meriweather also took issue with Chicago’s Brandon Marshall (who was on the receiving end of a Meriweather illegal hit) saying that people like Meriweather should be kicked out of the league. Said Meriweather of Marshall:

“He feels like I need to be kicked out of the league? I feel like people who beat their girlfriends should be kicked out of the league, too. You tell me -- who you’d rather have? Someone who plays aggressive on the field of someone who beat up their girlfriend?”

  • Marshall has had more than few domestic violence arrests, so I have to side with Meriweather on that point. But on the football front, Meriweather needs to stop acting like his only options are to concuss people or take out their knees. There are many, many, many defensive backs in the league who manage to make plays without severely injuring the opponent.

  • Hmmmm, why does everyone hate Golden Tate and the Seahawks so much, I wonder??

At least he got a 15-yard penalty for taunting.

  • Man, how much does it suck to be Beanie Wells? The poor dude was just looking for employment when he tried out for the Baltimore Ravens this week. Unfortunately for him, he injured his Achilles and will not be able to play again this season. 

And his name's Beanie.

  • You know who doesn’t like headsets? That petulant baby with the ridiculous goatee who coaches the Lions.

  • Peyton Manning doesn’t have a lot of firsts left to accomplish in his career, but he got his first holding penalty for this funny tackle of the guy who was trying to recover Manning’s fumble.

  • Denver still won, of course, thanks in part to Wes Welker, who is, um, really happy to be a Bronco?

  • Great news, everybody. Clay Matthews will get the pins taken out of his wrist next week, and, if all goes well, he might be able to play the following week.

Please hurry, Clay. I miss watching you destroy quarterbacks.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I've Never Been So Relieved to Beat the Cleveland Browns Before.

  • Such a huge win! No, not very exciting, but with Detroit and Chicago losing, the Packers moved from third in the division to first.

  • The Packers wore their throwback uniforms, which I think are so old-school awesome, but apparently everyone else thinks are ugly. Why, I have no idea. They are by far the coolest throwbacks in the league!
The Acme Packing Company.

  • The only tiny, little flaw in the uniforms is that they show everyone’s butt sweat.
Not the most flattering...

  • Jarrett Boykin had a rough week last week, dropping a couple of passes, but he came out strong this week and finished with 103 yards on eight receptions, including his first NFL touchdown!
You're not as cute as Randall, but don't feel bad - no one is.

  • Brandon Weeden is shockingly bad. Though every once in a while he can throw a strong (usually off-target) pass, his throws generally look like he’s trying to throw a feather in the wind. This pass from last week is quite possibly the worst NFL throw that has ever been attempted.

  • On Sunday, Weeden was 17-for-42 (yikes), for one touchdown, one interception, and a passer rating of 48.6. The Browns managed 216 total offensive yards for the game, and just 89 in the first half. Someone on the internet kindly put together his passing chart from this week.
Not that far off from what actually happened.

  • Poor Weeden has not been embraced by long-suffering Cleveland fans, as evidenced from this Craigslist ad.

I'm somewhat sorry for all the mean things I've said about you, JMike,

  • It was a disturbing day all around for NFL injuries. Quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Nick Foles, and Sam Bradford were injured, and Bradford is out for the season. Add to that season-ending injuries for Brian Cushing (who broke his leg after just coming back from a season-ending ACL injury last year), Reggie Wayne (who hasn’t missed a game in 12 years -- I jinxed him a couple of weeks ago by praising his incredible durability!), and possibly Doug Martin (could be a torn labrum.) And that’s not all:
    • Chicago’s Lance Brigg will be out for at least 6 weeks with a “minor” shoulder fracture. The Bears seemed to lose a different player every drive. Cutler will miss at least four weeks with a torn groin muscle (ow).
    • The San Diego Chargers had to play a tight end as an offensive lineman when they lost two linemen in the game against Jacksonville.
    • The Detroit Lions had to play an injured offensive lineman when his backup also got injured.
    • The Texans, in addition to losing Cushing and already having lost their quarterback, lost their running back Arian Foster. Ben Tate, their backup running back, was also injured, but was able to return to the game.
    • Entire teams like the Giants and the Falcons have just been absolutely decimated by injuries this year.

  • But hey! Who’s up for an 18-game season?
"Ooh, ooh, me! I am! I am!"

  • Did anyone happen to catch which team Peyton Manning was playing this week?

  • The Texans’ turnover differential is -11!!!! How does that happen?
Oh, right.

  • But the New York Giants' differential is -16!!!!! How does that happen??
Oh, right.

  • It was fun to see the Patriots lose at the last second to their bitter rivals, the New York Jets. But I have to admit, if I were a Pats fan, I would be furious that they lost on a never-been-called-before penalty on a field goal attempt.
Bill seems ... upset. 

  • Though Jay Cutler left the game early with a groin injury, the good news is I got to see him throw a pick-six before he left.

"Which ones are on my team again?"

  • The Bears probably wonder if they could just play defense and special teams. It was fitting that, on the sack that took him out Cutler became the most sacked quarterback in Bears’ history. (But seriously, I'm not happy that he's injured. Get better soon, Jay - it just won't be as much fun sacking Josh McCown.)

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith got into the endzone all right, but had a little trouble with the celebration.

  • Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather needs to be suspended. I have seen him level at least four helmet-to-helmet hits this season: one which concussed Eddie Lacy; one against James Starks, which led to Meriweather’s own concussion; and two against the Chicago Bears, including one that left Brandon Marshall reeling. Helmet-to-helmet hits have been a hallmark of Meriweather's career, as well. Marshall has rightly called for Meriweather's suspension and Bears tight end Martellus Bennet wants to "punch him in the face." Early reports are that he’ll be suspended for two games, which would be just, but the NFL, in my opinion, overturns these fines and suspension much too easily on appeal. We’ll see if they stand by their decision this time.
It's okay; I don't think Eddie needs that part of his body.

  • Calvin Johnson always manages to surprise me. I don't know why; I should be used to his awesomeness by now. I know he’s incredible; I know he’s a monster, but LOOK at this touchdown catch over three Cincinnati defenders. Unbelievable.

  • The Pack plays the Minnesota Vikings next week, which, of course, will mean rehashing the whole Greg Jennings saga. Jennings nearly reignited the drama by “joking” that he didn’t know if he would have come to the Vikings if he knew he’d be on his third quarterback seven weeks in.
Bet you'd do anything to be back with Aaron now!

  • The Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee put a surprising and punishing hit on Broncos' return man Trindon Holliday.

  • And what did he get for his efforts? A random drug test from the NFL.

  • The Cowboys took a commanding lead in the NFC East by being the only team to manage to get above .500.

  • Chicago’s returner Devin Hester tied the NFL record for punt/kickoff touchdown returns. He’s always been a blast to watch.

  • Case Keenum continued the great Houston quarterback tradition. He didn’t throw a pick-six, exactly, but he did fumble on his own 1-yard line with under two minutes left to seal the game for the Kansas City Chiefs.

  • Those Chiefs are now an impressive 7-0. (Caveat: look at whom they have played.) They have sacked opposing QBs 35 times!!! They have two players in the top five for sacks!! They have 10 more sacks than the next highest team!

  • Jim Schwartz is just as effusive in cheering as in sulking.


  • Monday night’s game between the 1-4 Vikings and the 0-6 Giants is really just going to come down to who wants it less.

  • Denver’s Julius Thomas had one career reception before this season. So far this season, he has 8 touchdowns this season.

  • And he’s not the only Bronco racking up the stats. THREE of the top four touchdown leaders in the league play for the Denver Broncos. That might be the most incredible stat I’ve ever seen.

I guess I was wrong when I thought Peyton would be terrible after his neck surgeries.

  • Minnesota's Jared Allen has had a lot of sacks in his career; none more impressive, however, than this one against Eli Manning.
  • Even better than that sack? The face Eli made after it:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

  • Maybe it's a little unfair for the Vikings to sign Josh Freeman a couple of weeks ago and have him immediately succeed on the field. But "succeed" is different from "not be a complete and utter embarrassment." Of his 53 passing attempts, Freeman completed twenty. That's a 37.7% completion rate. Wow. It's almost impressive in its own way...

  • Tom Brady probably feels this way all the time, being surrounded by the plebs he has to work with:

  • Or like this:

  • Aaron Rodgers is so cool that they imitate him in rival states. Even Sparty, the Michigan State Spartans' mascot, couldn't resist throwing on the belt.