Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NFC North Champions!!!!!!

  • What an amazing return for Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb!! And against Jay Cutler and the Bears!

Enjoy your vacation, Jay.

  • The final Green Bay drive lasted 15 plays, including THREE fourth-down conversions, the final of which was this dagger in the Bears' heart that came with under a minute left in the game:


  • I have to give credit where credit is due. Fullback John Kuhn, whom I like a lot but think should be cut, made this play possible by taking out Julius Peppers just enough to prevent the sack. Chicago blitzed seven men, which meant Peppers was coming free at Rodgers. Kuhn was smart enough to recognize the situation at the snap and handle Peppers. Thanks, Kuuuuuhhhhnnn!

Look how close Peppers got!

  • Said Cobb of the catch, "Oh my gosh, it was in the air for so long. I had so many thoughts going through my head -- You better not drop it. If you drop it, they're going to kill you, everybody. You better catch it. Just catch it." Cobb had only two catches in the game; both were touchdowns.

You can't imagine how much I missed doing Randall Cobb
Google image searches the last 10 weeks.

  • How much faith do Rodgers' teammates have in him? Here's what Packers defensive lineman Mike Neal had to say: "I didn’t even get off the bench. I knew he was going to make it.”

  • The Cobb touchdown was the most exciting of the game, but Jarrett Boykin had the weirdest touchdown of the season. Rodgers' arm was hit on a pass, which caused him to fumble the ball, but because the ball went forward, it looked like an incomplete forward pass. The ball was just lying there until Boykin picked it up. Boykin and Rodgers looked at the ref to see what was going on, realized the whistle had not been blown, and Boykin took off for the endzone while everyone else stood around.

  • Even when Aaron Rodgers makes a mistake, it's works out for the team.

When will Chicago learn? Don't. Mess.
With. Aaron. Rodgers.

  • It was a great first half for a suspect Packers' defense, which forced three three-and-outs and a fumble in the Bears five possessions.

  • I have a lot of faith in the Packers, so I'm not one of the fans who dooms them after a bad loss, but there are times where things certainly did not look good. Here's a chart of the Packers' probability of making the playoffs by week.

  • So how awesome was Jordy Nelson? 161 yards on the day, including some big-time first downs. 

It was kinda cute when Chicago players tried to tackle him.

  • It was nice having Jordy and Aaron reunited. Must have felt good for Nelson after having to try to catch pass attempts from Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn.

  • Can anyone explain to me what the heck Nick Perry was thinking when he barely pretended to try to tackle Matt Forte? (Fast forward to 2:50.) I hoped he got benched for that. 

  • I love camera cuts to Kevin Greene, who's always wild-eyed and flailing on the sidelines. The linebackers coach seems even more intense than his players, and not a little bit crazy.

His hair's long now, which amplifies the crazy-man look.

  • I really like linebacker Jamari Lattimore, but “Lattimore was out of position on the play” is becoming a familiar refrain.

  • Mike McCarthy is a fairly stoic man and never seems to get too excited. He has the most anti-climactic challenge flag throw -- he just drops it! Not like some other coaches:

We'll get to Jimmy later.

  • Speaking of McCarthy, WHY did he not go for two ??? Eddie Lacy scored a touchdown at 11:38 in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 28-26, with the Bears leading. A two-point conversion obviously ties the game -- what does an extra point give you? Now, if the Bears go on to score a touchdown, an extra point does keeps it a one score game (it'd be 35-27), but the Packers would still need a two-point conversion. I just don't understand why you don't go for the tie when you have the chance!

  • The Wisconsin Badgers football team is in Orlando for some bowl game or something, and they all made sure to catch the Green Bay game. Here's how they reacted to the ending -- check out the dude wearing the Matt Forte jersey:

  • Tony Gonzalez played his final game on Sunday after 17 years in the league. I remember when I was really little and my older brother would let me help pick his fantasy football team, I would always pick Tony Gonzalez because I had heard he was pretty good.  

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Carolina Panthers stole the division from the New Orleans Saints with a win over the Falcons on Sunday. Carolina had NINE sacks in the game!

  • Sucks to be Arizona. The 10-6 Cardinals will be watching the playoffs from their couches as the 8-6-1 Packers host a game. Ah, well, that's life.

  • Eli Manning had a rough end to a rough season, ending the campaign on crutches after spraining his ankle against Washington. 

Do you think Eli's mom ever warned him about his
face getting stuck like that?

  • In case you haven't heard, Peyton Manning is pretty good.

  • Of the eight 5,000 yard passing seasons in NFL history, four of them belong to Drew Brees.

Okay, I don't like the Saints, but that's darned impressive.

  • Um, I guess Philip Rivers gets credit for trying?

  • Ditto for the Lions punter.

  • So, after Tony Romo got injured, 41-year-old former Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna texted head coach Jason Garrett saying he was available, if needed. Garrett took him up on the offer and Kitna signed on as an insurance policy. I've read a few things about Kitna before and he sounds like a cool guy -- he's promised to donate his NFL paycheck from the game to the high school where he now teaches.

  • Speaking of things you don't hear from NFL players very often, Josh McCown, who will certainly have suitors in the offseason, says he's not sure he will even play next season. McCown wants to spend more time with his family, who has remained in their East coast home while he plays in Chicago.

  • San Diego sneaked into the playoffs with a little help from the officials. Most controversial was the refs' failure to call a 5-yard penalty on San Diego for illegal formation during a missed Kansas City field goal (which would have won the game, knocking San Diego out of the playoffs and giving the Pittsburgh Steelers the final berth). You can't have more than six players lined up on one side of the snapper, and San Diego clearly had seven. 

  • I had a bigger problem with the refs declaring San Diego's Eric Weddle's forward momentum stopped on this fake punt play. Weddle looked like he was still gaining ground, but the refs' call negated Kansas City's ensuing forced fumble, recovery, and return for a touchdown (which would have won the game, knocked San Diego out, and given Pittsburgh the playoff spot). Either way, sucks to be Pittsburgh.

  • Minnesota doesn't have much to look back over fondly from this season, but the emergence of rookie receiver/returner Cordarelle Patterson is a bright spot. Look what he does here with pretty much zero help from his blockers:


  • The Oakland Raiders haven't been able to much with the mess Al Davis bequeathed them, but they should be able to do something next season -- they have $66.6 million in cap space!!

I would put a picture of Al Davis here, but he terrifies
me and I don't want nightmares.

  • So Baltimore averaged 3.8 yards per passing attempt on Sunday! 3.8!! And yet Joe Flacco's making about $20 million this season (on average). That's about $909,000 per touchdown. Or, to put it another way, about $1 million per interception. I like that stat better.

"And there's nothing they can do about it!"

  • On the opposite end of the spectrum is Nick Foles, who had a crazy good stat season, throwing 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions!

  • Clay Matthews doesn't look like he'll be back any time soon, which is sad. But how adorable is he as a guest at a two-year-old's tea party?

Why didn't I enter this stupid contest??

  • The Lions have an interesting future in front of them. They collapsed in epic fashion while their division was in free fall: after starting 6-3, they finished 1-6, despite holding the lead in the fourth quarter in every loss. They have a salary cap mess on their hands, having the highest payroll in the league this season. They have a quarterback who threw 19 interceptions and says he will not work with a quarterbacks coach. And now they have to find themselves a new coach after firing the hot-headed Jim Schwartz.

  • I hope Jim Schwartz lands somewhere. The league just won't be the same without his snappy and sullen press conferences, his weekly outbursts on the sidelines, and his uncalled-for abuse of headsets.

  • If your team didn't make the playoffs and you're feeling down, check out this collection of vines to make you feel happy.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

We're Not Dead Yet!

  • Ugh. That was not an enjoyable game. The Packers certainly had their chances, but couldn't stop committing penalties. The biggest killers were B.J. Raji's unsportsmanlike conduct for retaliating against a Steeler after the whistle; Nick Perry's incomprehensible encroachment on Pittsburgh's late-game field goal attempt that gave the Steelers new downs, which forced the Packers, for time reasons, to allow Pittsburgh to score; and T.J. Lang's false start on the penultimate play of the game.
  • Though Don Barclay was called for the false start, it was actually Lang who moved, but center Evan Dietrich-Smith took the blame, saying he snapped the ball late. The penalty came with a 10-second runoff, but the officiating mess that followed really ticked the Packers off. The penalty occurred with 23 seconds left in the game, but the clock didn't stop until 20 seconds. With the runoff, that left the Packers with 10 seconds; plenty of time to get off two plays. Dietrich-Smith, who was ready to snap the ball, was told to take his hand off the ball and wait until the umpire pointed at him, since the officials needed to check that the clock was correct. The umpire, however, did not point at Dietrich-Smith until the clock was down to three seconds! So instead of having 13 seconds to get in the endzone, Green Bay had three seconds.
  • All this would have been moot if Matt Flynn had just looked the other way on the final play and seen a wide open Jordy!
  • The confusion of the last ten seconds wasn't the only screwy thing that happened with the officials. Though I was happy that the Packers were the beneficiaries, I found it shocking that the whole blocked-field-goal-followed-by-an-illegal-batting call led to a Packers first down. Here's what happened: Mason Crosby's short field goal was blocked (his plant leg slipped a bit, he said), the ball was loose when a Steeler, Ryan Clark, scooped it up, then tried to shovel it back to a teammate. The teammate couldn't handle it, so he knocked it out of bounds to keep the Packers from recovering. The knocking it out of bounds is what is illegal, and since the penalty came before the officials had declared a team had recovered the ball, the penalty was enforced from the start of the play, which means the Packers got a first down out of it. As glad as I was about the outcome, I found it totally unfair that the refs said that Clark (number 25) never had possession, and possession on a loose ball is not a reviewable challenge (How come? No reason. Just something the NFL arbitrarily decided.). If they had said Clark had the ball, he would have been down by contact around the 11-yard line.

  • This was just a weird game all around. I can't for the life of me understand what the heck Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was thinking at the end of the game. The game was tied 31-31, and the Steelers were attempting about a 27-yard field goal when Perry jumped. This game the Steelers a first down at the Green Bay five-yard line with 1:35 remaining. ALL Pittsburgh has to do here is take three kneeldowns, then kick a chip shot to end the game. For reasons unbeknownst to man, Tomlin had his team run the ball for a four-yard gain, then run in an uncontested touchdown 1:25. So instead of the Packers getting the ball back down three with about one second left, the Packers got the ball back, down seven, with 1:25 left. Crazy.
"Oooooohhhh. Now I get it."
  • Mike McCarthy must have been confused by Tomlin's choice, as well. Green Bay ended up letting Pittsburgh score on 2nd-and-1 so they could get the ball back, but it probably would have made a lot more sense if the Packers had let the score on the previous play. They would have had the additional time, as well as their final timeout.
  • Matt Flynn had another less-than-stellar game, including this pick-six. I know he got clipped by a teammate, but what the devil was he thinking with this "pass"?
  • Micah Hyde had an electrifying 70-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. It was just enough to raise the hopes of Packers fans everywhere, only to have them mercilessly dashed moments later.

  • And, of course, it's time to go through the weekly casualty list: Clay Matthews, Brad Jones, Mike Neal, Micah Hyde, and EDDIE LACY! Initial reports suggest that Matthews rebroke his injured right thumb and will likely be out for the rest of the season. Lacy has already spent the last two weeks not practicing and in a walking boot, but now he's reinjured his ankle. It's looking unlikely that Rodgers will be playing next week, and the Chicago Bears' run defense is putrid - WE NEED EDDIE!!!
Packers' Eddie Lacy Spins Through the Air into the End Zone on 14-Yard TD
  • This is after the Packers lost Johnny Jolly and Brandon Bostick for the season, too. I know every team has significant injuries at this point in the season, but Green Bay can't catch a break. As this article points out, it's not just the sheer numbers they've been losing, but it's pretty much the best player at every position.

  • The Packers were about a half inch away from losing their current quarterback, too. Matt Flynn here barely missed decapitation by Pittsburgh's Lawrence Timmons. Be careful, Matty!!
Somebody up there loves Matt Flynn
  • Somehow, Detroit managed to eliminate themselves from playoff contention. With the Bears and the Packers missing their starting quarterbacks and with a cream puff remaining schedule, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the Lions would run away with the division, but they managed to lose five of their last six games. That kind of meltdown usually means the bell is tolling for the head coach. I'll miss the fourth-quarter chokes. I'll miss the constant, sloppy penalties. I'll miss the dirty hits. But I'll miss the Jim Schwartz's sideline tantrums most of all.
  • I'll miss his he-won-but-he-still-looks-so-angry happy tantrums.
  • I'll miss his I'll-cut-your-heart-out-with-a-butter-knife glares every time a ref's call went against him.
  • He left us all with another gift this weekend, though. After Lions fans booed him for taking a knee at the end of regulation, headed to overtime (which wasn't really fair of the fans, but whatever), Schwartz was caught on camera seeming to shout not nice words at the fans. At first, Schwartz denied that he said anything to fans, but came around to offer a very reluctant non-apology.

  • Aaron Rodgers, who has always been very ... image-conscious, let's call it, reportedly insisted on McCarthy calling the decision not to play Rodgers an "organizational" decision so people wouldn't question his toughness. Aww, Aaron, I'd never question your toughness!

  • The Carolina Panthers clinched a playoff spot on Sunday with a last-minute win over the New Orleans Saints. Linebacker Luke Kuechly had 24 tackles and an interception!! He's only 22.
Ah! They're all so much younger and so much
more successful than I am!
  • Peyton Manning set yet another record; this time for most touchdowns in a season with 51. So good for him and all that. I know Manning is fantastic -- one of the best ever -- but I also get a little sick of the way the media and fans fawn all over him as if he's so far ahead of everyone else. Let's look at some statistics. Here's Manning's stats for this year, which some are calling a best single season by a quarterback in NFL history:
    • 67.4% completion rate, 8.26 yards per attempt, 51 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions
  • Now, that's fantastic, no doubt. But here are Aaron Rodgers' numbers from 2011-2013:
    • 67.7% completion rate, 8.55 yards per attempt, 99 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions
  • It's a lot harder to maintain those number over the course of three seasons rather than a single season. It sounds crazy to say, but I think Aaron Rodgers is underrated! I'm not trying to say that Peyton Manning isn't awesome or even that Rodgers is a better quarterback than Manning. All I'm saying is people should stop pretending that Peyton Manning is so, so, so, so far above eeeeeveryone else.
Plus, Aaron's way more debonair.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars center Brad Meester has announced he will retire at the end of this season after 14 years with the team. Sunday was his last game at home and the team drew up a nice little play that got him his first career reception, and the crowd went nuts. He even got the first down!
The Best GIFs Of NFL Week 16: Blues Brothers
  • Joe Flacco apparently has no shame. Not content to quietly enjoy sleeping on a mattress of hundred dollar bills from the ludicrous $120 million contract he signed this offseason, Flacco brazenly sought after more money he hasn't earned when he was seen buying a lottery ticket.

  • This Redskins player wanted to ensure there was no confusion about whom committed the penalty.
  • Some teams just can't catch a break (see the Packers injuries), and then some teams just get really, really luck. When you say something good "fell into his lap," it's usually an expression, but not for Cincinnati's George Iloka on this interception.
The Best GIFs Of NFL Week 16: Blues Brothers
  • Tom Brady is either a) so unpopular with his teammates that no one will give him a high-five, or b) just messing with everyone after a video of his teammate leaving him hanging made the internet rounds a few weeks ago.
  • Matthew Stafford's girlfriend was upset with the Lions fans booing their home team and took to Twitter to air her grievance. One fan, however, was not going to let her get away without taking a shot of his own.
  • It all comes down to the final game of the season against the Chicago Bears for Green Bay, with both teams playing for their postseason lives. Luckily, Chicago has already named Jay Cutler as the starter for next week, so the Packers have a chance. 
You've never let me down yet, Jay.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

HAHAHAHAHAHA Take That, Cowboys!

  • Wow. Wow. I love a Packers victory, of course, but a record-setting comeback behind our fourth quarterback of the year is even cooler. A record-setting comeback behind our fourth quarterback of the year against the collapsing Dallas Cowboys?? That’s almost too much happiness for one girl.

  • Everyone knows how much I love the Packers winning, and I really can’t explain how much I enjoy the Cowboys losing, so this is a really special day for me. Thank you. Thank you, everyone.

  • Things did, however, look pretty dire at halftime. I was calling for Scott Tolzien after Matt Flynn stood still for an entire half, but he came to play in the second half. Matty Nice was 16-of-22 for four touchdowns and no interceptions in the second half. Well done!
I'm sorry for that time I said you had no business
being a starting quarterback. I was angry.

  • Now, Romo did throw two game-losing interceptions late in the game (his receiver took the blame for one), but I still think it’s funny how Romo bears the sole responsibility of everything that goes wrong on that team. Dallas Cowboy fans have, no surprise, no loyalty, and call for Romo’s job after every loss (and some wins). I’m not sure they get that starting-caliber quarterbacks aren’t just walking around on the streets. Cowboys fans are, no surprise, not the most football-savvy of fans.

"Come on! We need a home run!"

  • How badass is Jordy, huh? His touchdown catch was one of the worst-thrown balls ever (it practically hit the defender in the numbers!), but Jordy didn’t care - he just ripped it out of the defenders’ hands.
The Best GIFs Of NFL Week 15: Don't Call It A Comeback

  • The touchdown was cool, but what about that crazy one-handed, left-handed, drive-saving, third-down catch??

  • Speaking of badasses, Tramon’s interception was a beauty. I was okay with his first interception being overturned, but I still think an argument could be made that he had possession of the ball before it hit the ground. (It can still be an interception even if it touches the ground). Considering that the Packers could have easily been called for blatant holding on that play, I can accept that they didn’t get the call, I guess.
Look how amazing that grab is!!

  • I particularly love it when Tramon makes a great play because then the cameras always show him on the sideline, smiling in slow-mo.

There's that dreamy smile.

  • The refs were not my favorite. They very nearly cost the Packers the game with a terrible call. Not only did they miss the false start on the Cowboys, but they called a penalty on the Packers defense for reacting to the false start! The Cowboys got a fresh set of downs instead of a 3rd-and-10 deep in their own territory.

  • While I love making fun of Tony Romo, I’m actually a big Romo apologist. I know he has a penchant for very bad timing on his errors, but he also does not get a lot of help. He’s has the league’s worst defense, a weak running game, and Jason Witten. That's it. Dez Bryant is amazing, but he doesn’t always show up for games. (Or stick around, as evidenced by his leaving the field with more than a minute left in the game. Apparently, he wanted to give an early Christmas present to sportswriters across America -- see below.) Also, for all the Romo-in-December talk, he has been pretty darn good. Before Sunday’s game, he’s thrown 18 interceptions and one interception in the last four Decembers. Also, guess who leads the league in passer rating in December over the last four years??

That''s right. THIS guy!

  • The conversation always starts with “Romo is 13-21 in December…” Well, the Dallas Cowboys are 13-21 in December. And, just as last week the Cowboys defense allowed a score on every single drive except the last, which was just kneeldowns, the defense allowed the Packers to score on every single possession of the second half except the last, which was just kneeldowns.

  • Now, while I’m often a Tony Romo apologist, nothing is actually more fun than making fun of Tony Romo. A lot of the joy comes from the fact that Cowboys fans never try to defend him, even though there’s ample argument (see above) to do so. Sometimes I’ll infiltrate a group of Cowboys fans, light the match that is the Tony-Romo-needs-to-go narrative and just walk away.

  • So Dez Bryant walked off the field before the game was over, which just isn't cool. When the Cowboys beat a team, that team has enough respect to stick around till the end, even though it's absolutely no fun watching a team take kneeldowns on you. After the game, Bryant explained it was because he was crying and didn't want to show his emotions on the sidelines. That's funny because he had no qualms about showing his emotion on the field earlier in the game when a call went against Dallas.

The Best GIFs Of NFL Week 15: Don't Call It A Comeback

  • As good as the Packers’ second half was, their first half was equally bad. It felt like the Thanksgiving game all over again, where I couldn’t decide if the defense or the offense was worse. I have a lot of horrible things to say about both offense and defense, but since they won, I’ll keep it to myself.

  • In a vacuum, I don’t mind the Cowboys’ decision to throw the ball on the last two drives, but they were playing the Packers. Yes, Green Bay’s pass coverage has been terrible, but so has their run defense. DeMarco Murray was killing the Packers early in the game until Dallas stopped giving him the ball. THEY AVERAGED MORE YARDS PER RUSH THAN YARDS PER PASS IN THE GAME. Why do you stop running?? They rushed just 18 times (7.4 yards per carry) while attempting 49 passes (6.9 yards per pass).

"Look, I have no idea what's going on most days."

  • Eddie Lacy had 141 yards, which put him over the 1,000 mark for the season, and his 60-yard run early in the second half is what sparked the comeback. Man, Green Bay’s really getting their money’s worth out of him.

  • There’s been a lot of criticism of the refs over the past several weeks, and I was glad to hear Troy Aikman, who was calling the game, piling on the refs when Mike McCarthy was forced to take a timeout to ensure the Tramon Williams interception -- which was originally ruled an incompletion before being overturned -- was reviewed. McCarthy was given his timeout back, but Dallas very nearly got the next play off before the officials stopped play. Williams said he refused to give the ball to the official after the play because there didn’t seem to be a review.

  • On his first drive back after missing four games due to injury, Jay Cutler threw an interception in the endzone. A few drives later, he threw another interception, which was returned for a touchdown. Oh, how I’ve missed you, Jay!

Don't ever leave me again.

  • The past four weeks with Josh McCown at quarterback, the Bears have had one interception. 21 minutes into Sunday's game, they had two.
Brandon Marshall, sporting a Cutler shirt, apparently
missed him, too.

A lot.

  • See, what did I tell you? Let Matt Cassel play and the Vikings might have a chance. Cassel has been behind center for three of the Vikings' four wins.

  • Vernon Davis steals the show in this clip by nearly knocking himself unconscious at the end, but look how effortlessly Colin Kaepernick throws this 60-yard pass. Unbelievable!


  • Washington had SEVEN turnovers! And they still only lost by one! Down seven, they scored a touchdown and stunned by deciding to go for the two-point conversion. I like the boldness of the play-to-win call, but you can’t pass up the chance for overtime when you’ve played evenly with the opponent.

"WTF do I care? I'm out of here."

  • Jamaal Charles had eight catches for 195 yards and four receiving TDs, which is pretty impressive in itself, but the fact is he’s a running back, not a receiver. Oh, he added a rushing touchdown, too.

  • Eliiiii! (The five I’s are for the five interceptions he threw on Sunday.)


  • It must be something in the water in New York … Eli Manning and the Jets’ Geno Smith are number one and two, respectively, in interceptions this season. Take a bow, gentlemen.

  • It's getting to the point where I'm going to have to criticize Chicago receiver Alshon Jeffery if he doesn't make at least one catch like this per week.

alshon jeffery gif

  • The Cleveland Browns have scored three rushing touchdowns all season.

  • This poor Bengals punter had his jaw broken and suffered a serious neck injury on this crushing block.

  • Peyton Manning won some Sportsman of the Year award or something, but the real story is what people keep on doing to his Wikipedia entry.

  • When you're the holder for the kicker, shouldn't your eyes be glued on the snapper??

  • WHOA. This defender went airborne when he tried to deny Atlanta running back Steven Jackson the endzone.

  • OOOOOHHHH MY GOSH!!!!! Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker kicked a 61-yard, game-winning field goal!!! He had never even attempted a field goal that long before in his career!! It BARELY squeaked by the upright. Wooooo hoooooo!!!!! 

  • Tucker scored every single one of Baltimore's points, going 6-for-6 on the night. He's hit 33 straight field goals. And he speaks five languages. 
That gawky, skinny white guy is pretty much
my favorite player right now.

  • The Detroit loss is huge for Green Bay. If the Packers win both of their remaining games, they'll make the playoffs! That's the number one reason the Lions losing was so awesome, but this Jim Schwartz face is a very, very close second.


  • I really, really, really pray that Aaron Rodgers will be ready by next week. No offense to Matt Flynn.