Tuesday, December 9, 2014

That Was ... Way Closer Than It Should Have Been

  • So, let’s deal with the bad first: oh my gosh, the defense! It was 31-7 at halftime, and the Atlanta Falcons scored on every single one of their second-half possessions. The defense wasn’t exactly shut-down in the first half, but they really did not come out of halftime ready to play.

  • I understand that Julio Jones is a tough defensive assignment for anybody, but DO SOMETHING. Single coverage is not going to cut it! Sam Shields was on the bench for reasons unknown, and Davon House is good, but not good enough to handle Jones on his own.

  • Jones finished the game with 259 yards, the most by a receiver against Green Bay in franchise history. He would have kept on going if he hadn’t suffered a hip injury in the fourth quarter. I’m never happy when a player gets injured, but it’s not wrong to feel relieved, right?
Dude has 448 receiving yards in the last two weeks!

  • The Packers defense is most concerning because they’ll have a lot tougher opponents down the road if they make the playoffs. The Falcons have a good quarterback and a great receiving corps, as well as their division lead at stake, but they’re also a mess of a team that has lost to the likes of the Vikings, the Giants, and the Bears.

  • One of the upside of the poor defensive performance is that perhaps now everyone will stop talking about the Packers and picking them to go to the Super Bowl. That stuff makes me nervous. (I blame the closeness of the game on everyone saying the Falcons had no chance. You can think that, but you can't say it out loud!)

  • Now onto the good: 10-3!! That's tied for the best record in the league.

  • James Starks made an appearance. Starks hasn’t played a lot of meaningful snaps this season, but had a great game, running for 75 yards and a touchdown, including a game-sealing 42-yard run.
Full disclosure: I was screaming at the TV wondering the
heck Green Bay was doing with Starks in the game at the end
over Eddie Lacy. Starks proved me wrong. But still.

  • Eddie Lacy is so much fun to watch. I would hate to be that guy who has to make first contact.

  • Though I suppose that's only a concern if defenders are able to get a hand on him.

  • Aaron Rodgers made his 100th career start on Monday night, and now holds the record for the most yards, most touchdowns, and fewest interceptions in his first 100 games. Could it be... perhaps it's time ... I think that that calls for the season debut of ... THE BELT!!!

  • And it just wouldn’t be a Packers game without a 60-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson.

  • Man, Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte needs to be wrapped up in bubble wrap and duct tape. He can’t seem to avoid injury. In Thursday night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Conte left the game with a back injury. Earlier this season, he’s left games with an eye injury, concussion (twice), right shoulder sprain, and left shoulder sprain. At least he has the support of his fans behind him -- oh, wait…

  • Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to hate off-field Rob Gronkowski any more….
If we could get Ryan Lochte in this pic, I think the world would end,
and I, for one, would be grateful for the apocalypse.

  • Most of the ink spent on the Washington Redskins has been about the quarterback controversy with Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, and Colt McCoy, but that team is terrible through and through. They had a rough draw having to play the NFC West this season, but that doesn’t excuse their 3-10 record, which includes losses to the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • This is the least amount of effort I have ever seen from an offensive line.

  • The St. Louis Rams didn’t miss a chance to stick it to the Redskins even before kickoff. The Rams brought out six captains -- all the players they acquired by trading the number two draft pick to Washington so Washington could draft RGIII. Then the Rams beat the ‘Skins out 24-0. Then St. Louis head coach Jeff Fischer, when asked about the move, said, “I think they’ve got more issues than coin toss.” Ouch. That's cold-hearted.

  • The Oakland Raiders won their second game!!! Against the San Francisco 49ers!!! San Fran QB Colin Kaepernick completed barely 50% of his passes for one touchdown and two interceptions. I’m always happy when the pitiful Raiders win, but when they take out a top NFC contender, it’s even better! (Packer fans have a traumatic fear of the 49ers for reasons that need not be discussed.)

  • Things are all sorts of messed up for the 7-6 Niners. Every week there’s a different rumor about where head coach Jim Harbaugh will be next season, Kaepernick looks flustered and overwhelmed, and for inexplicable reasons, running back Frank Gore has barely seen the ball. Harbaugh’s press conferences have been interesting to say the least, and it’s not hard to see where all the rumors of his departure are coming from. When asked about the Gore, Harbaugh said, “Why we didn't get the ball to Frank Gore more? Yeah.” Um, that’s not really an answer….

  • Get out of Arian Foster’s way!

  • Foster doesn’t even stop for the team chaplain.

  • Does no one want the NFC South? Atlanta's loss to the Packers guarantees that the NFC South winner will not have a winning record. The New Orleans Saints were somehow tied for the division lead before Sunday with a 5-7 record. The Carolina Panthers entered with a 3-8-1 record and destroyed the Saints 41-10 (and New Orleans’ only touchdown came in garbage time). The Saints looked pretty good when they beat Green Bay, right? How can they be so bad?

  • Their own putridness apparently got to the Saints on Sunday, leading to a brawl following a Cam Newton touchdown. If only the Saints showed that kind of fight between the whistles.

  • New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith threw a pick-six 12 seconds into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. If being a Jets fan hadn’t already completely destroyed your morale, Geno being your quarterback probably would.

  • Holy moly! Before I go on mocking the Jets, check out this insane catch by New York receiver Chris Owusu.

  • I feel like that catch should earn Owusu the honor of officially having a jersey number on the Jets roster.

  • Oh, Cleveland, you had everything going for you. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had one of his worst games, completing less than 50% of his passes with two interceptions and a fumble (in addition to another Colts fumble). The Browns had a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter and, after a fantastic defensive performance (including two defensive touchdowns), managed to allow Luck and the Colts march down the field for a game-winning touchdown drive.

  • Ndamukong Suh has been thinking. The thing is a late hit on a quarterback is fun and all, but it feels so … not enough. Same with the forearm shiver. A hit to the head brings some joy, but surely there must be something better. That’s when it struck Suh -- he could do all three in one play!!

  • Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall caught a knee to his ribs in Thursday’s blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Marshall left the stadium in an ambulance and the Bears have announced that his season is over, having suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Heal up soon, Brandon!

  • The Arizona Cardinals held onto their NFC lead with a 17-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cardinals MVP was the ref who ruled this a fumble on review!! KC, down three points, was driving down the field when this play happened. The Chiefs player was originally ruled down by contact, then the refs reviewed it, and overturned the call! It would be a bad call if it had originally been ruled a fumble and then upheld, but they actually overturned the ruling on the field to call this a fumble. The refs’ argument that the player lost possession of the ball and never recovered it would be somewhat reasonable if it didn’t discount the fact that you can’t see the ball for a pivotal stretch.

  • It’s especially unfair when you think about how the Kansas City offense needs all the help it can get.
Just a reminder, Smith was drafted 23 spots ahead of Aaron Rodgers.

  • JJ Watt had three sacks, four tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits against the Jacksonville Jaguars. NBD.

  • Can someone explain to me what “cold activated” means in every Coors commercial? You can’t just take two words you like and put them together.

  • During the Denver-Buffalo game, one ref gave another ref a fist bump after a call. People on the internet had fun with it, calling for a excessive celebration flag on the referees and the like. But here’s what you don’t know that Mike Pereira does: THE REFS ARE NEVER WRONG! Luckily for us, the insufferable and sanctimonious Pereira is here to give everyone a lecture.

  • For the first time in 52 games, Peyton Manning did not throw a touchdown pass.

  • This is what Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller wore after defeating the Buffalo Bills.
A fox hat perhaps in tribute to head coach John Fox?

  • Sio Moore of the Oakland Raiders was not impressed with San Francisco Kaepernick. After the game, he posted a photo of the quarterback with the caption, “There's a difference between boys and Men... Freakin chump.” Okaaaaay, then.

  • Week 14 really brought out the intensity, and the Raiders weren’t the only ones talking on Sunday. After the Seattle Seahawks shut down the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle defender Michael Bennett was asked what he saw from Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez, and replied, “Same thing everyone else saw -- not much.” (What?! A Seahawk talking trash?!?) Bennett kept on going after Sanchize, saying, “Tell the Philadelphia police to put an ABP out. Sanchez is trying to impersonate a good quarterback.” Wow. So mean to poor Sanchez.
On second thought, it's probably deserved.

  • I understand the angst about the likelihood of an NFC South team not only making the playoffs with a losing record, but hosting a playoff game. Yes, that’s ridiculous, but I don’t think there needs to be any changes made to the playoff structure. First of all, a losing team making the playoffs isn’t that common an occurrence that rules need to be changed. Second of all, I love the divisional structure. I love cultivating a special hate for the Lions, Bears, and Vikings. I love that six games a year have special stakes. I love the dynamic -- the Ravens-Steelers, the Niners-Seahawks, the Cowboys-Giants, &c. Every team has a special hatred reserved for one-to-three other teams, and it’s special because it’s been brewing for years and years and years. And so I’d rather let a crappy team sneak into the playoffs every once in a long while -- even though some poor team that’s good will be sitting at home in January -- than lose the fun of the divisional rivalry and races.
I just wouldn't enjoy this quite as much without the divisional rivalry.

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