Monday, November 24, 2014

Top of the NFC North

  • It wasn’t a particularly pretty or even competent win for the Green Bay Packers, but they moved into sole possession of the top spot in the NFC North. The Packers looked sloppy in all three phases of the game, but this was still a good win for them. The Vikings played most of the game in Cover 2, which the Packers will see a lot of, given the talent of their passing game, and Green Bay took what Minnesota gave them, and, well, ran with it.

  • Eddie Lacy was fantastic with 125 rushing yards -- with 70 of those yards coming after contact! -- one rushing touchdown, and one receiving touchdown. All while sick, the poor guy.

  • Facing a double team most of the game, Jordy Nelson was pretty quiet, with just 68 yards. He did, however, passed the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Whoop whoop!

"Yeah, I know, I'm pretty good."

  • With the Vikings secondary giving most of its attention to Jordy and Randall, it was clear that the Packers need to have a third weapon. Davante Adams has to step up. If not, it may be time to get Jarrett Boykin back in the rotation or even Jeff Janis.

  • Daryl Johnston and Kenny Albert are the WORST. They are boring, stupid, and have annoying voices. And the less said about Tony Siragusa, the better. (Or really, the less Tony Siragusa says, the better.)

Translation: You're gonna want to watch this game on mute.

  • Another reason I hated Fox on Sunday -- Sideline Ninja had a sideline catch that was ruled out of bounds and they wouldn't show the replay!! THEN, I found this today -- I KNEW IT! WHY DIDN'T THEY LISTEN TO ME?!

Did you really doubt him?? Stupid, blind ref.

  • The announcers couldn’t get enough of Teddy Bridgewater. They were obsessed with his “poise,” which I, too, can admire, but I was a little distracted by all of his passes being 10 feet too high. If a Vikings receiver were standing on the shoulders of another Vikings receiver, the throws still probably would have been too high.

  • Micah Hyde’s interception gave the Packers 19 straight games with a takeaway, the longest active streak in the league. (They should have had about four more interceptions, considering Bridgewater’s passes.)

  • Aaron Rodgers' only touchdown was to Richard Rodgers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a receiver be able to stand flatfooted in the endzone and wait several seconds for the ball to come to him. Rodgers’ (the quarterback) ability to get that ball across the field is incredible and funny when you think that that went into the box score as a 1-yard pass.

  • The Packers defense looked at times like it was reverting back to its original form that had fans so worried early in the season. There were a lot of missed tackles.

  • Merciful heavens, there were plays where both AJ Hawk and Brad Jones were in the game?? We’re darn lucky that the Vikings didn’t manage to score five touchdowns when that dynamic duo was holding down that inside line.

  • This week was kinda disappointing because there were so many near upsets - The Miami Dolphins almost beat the Denver Broncos, the Chicago Bears were down in the third quarter to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco barely beat the Washington Redskins, the St. Louis Rams made things close against the San Diego Chargers, the Dallas Cowboys put together a game-winning drive in the final minute against the New York Giants, and the Atlanta Falcons came thisclose to not beating themselves.

You even suck at sucking, Jay!!

  • There was one really cool upset, though -- the Oakland Raiders beat the Kansas City Chiefs for their first win of the season!! I’m so happy for them!!

  • The Raiders could have lost the game on a stupid penalty, though. On the final Kansas City drive, with under a minute left, Raiders defenders Khalil Mack and Sio Moore were too busy celebrating a sack to notice that every other player on the field was lined up and the Kansas City Chiefs were about to snap the ball, which would have resulted in a penalty against the Raiders. Veteran Justin Tuck had to call a timeout to prevent the penalty. After the game, Moore said, "You know how they say act like you've been there before? I haven't."

Seriously, watch the linked video above to see how freaking
long they spent celebrating.

  • Charles Woodson, a 17-year vet and former Packer best known for his appearance on my “Top Ten Hottest Packers” list, was not happy with Moore. If the Raiders hadn’t won, said Woodson, “we really probably would've had to fight, and I would've seen exactly what kind of fighter he is."

  • Oh, I miss Woodson so much! On Thursday night, he became the first NFL player to have 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. And he’s still only one pick-six away from the record!

  • I have long been a Matthew Stafford apologist, but sometimes I don’t get a lot of help from Matt himself. The Lions got beat down in a big way by the New England Patriots, 34-9. Stafford was a putrid 18-for-46 with no touchdowns and an interception. He didn’t get much help from his receivers …

  • …but that still doesn’t excuse completing under 40% of your passes.

  • I give Chicago flack for not having a top-5 offense, but the Detroit Lions deserve some heat, as well. They’ve failed to score a touchdown in two straight games (against New England and Arizona, the latter of which does have a very strong defense). The Lions are 7-4, but have only a +7 point differential. The San Francisco 49ers are the only winning team with a lower point differential. Calvin Johnson has missed a bunch of games, but you still have Stafford, Golden Tate, a now-healthy Johnson, Jeremy Ross (who magically became good after leaving the Packers), and a solid run game with Joique Bell, Reggie Bush, and Theo Riddick, as well as a strong defense that puts their offense in good positions. No excuse for not lighting up the scoreboard.

  • Sooo, Josh Huff is pretty fast.

That's Philly's fourth kickoff/punt return for a touchdown this season!

  • In athletes not doing terrible things news, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch found a wallet at a gas station, looked at the address, drove there to return it, but found no one at home, so he left the wallet with a neighbor to ensure it got back to the owner.

  • In case this blog is your only link to the outside world and you haven’t yet seen the Odell Beckham, Jr. catch from Sunday night, here it is.

  • That’s not just a one-handed catch, that’s a three-finger catch.

  • ODB’s jaw-dropping catch didn’t help him escape the scorn of the ref. Beckham was hit while going out of bounds and the Giants were calling for a late hit penalty. I was glad to see the ref stand firm, but it seemed a bit unnecessary, though amusing, to call out ODB publicly for “[taking] a flop.

  • Robert Woods of the Buffalo Bills must have gotten sick of everyone talking about ODB's catch, so he wanted to give him a run for his money in the crazy, unbelievable catch category on Monday night.

  • This is Steve Tisch, Chairman and Executive VP of the New York Giants. Next to him is someone everyone hoped was his granddaughter. His awkward old-man smooching ruined that hope.

I'm sure this relationship will go the distance.

  • It was revealed that Clay Matthews and several of the Green Bay Packers offensive line will make a cameo in the upcoming Pitch Perfect sequel (so yes, I’m obvs going to go see it). A lot of people are geeked up about it, but former Packers o-lineman Marshall Newhouse is not one of them.

  • Bill Belichick doesn’t care if you ran for 200 yards and scored four touchdowns the week before. If you oversleep practice, you don’t play. I think Jonas Gray learned his lesson.

  • Marshawn Lynch has previously been fined ridiculous amounts for refusing to speak to the media after games. So he, um, “talked,” to the media after Sunday’s game. Here’s the transcript.

  • Wonder why the Buffalo Bills-New York Jets game was played in Detroit instead of Buffalo?

  • Umm, would anyone on the Washington Redskins’ medical staff care to evaluate Robert Griffin III for a concussion? How many times does your quarterback have to take a helmet-to-helmet hit or have his head slammed into the ground before you take steps to protect him? RGIII was sacked five times and hit another eight against the San Francisco 49ers.

  • Aww, Tom Brady’s little girl was cheering on her dad on Sunday. It’s nice to see the child of a multimillionaire sports star and a multimillionaire supermodel enjoy her father’s success from her multimillion dollar mansion.

  • Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry has been placed on non-football injury list with what is reportedly a diagnosis of lymphoma. It’s crazy to think that Berry was just playing football on Thursday -- when a complaint of chest pains led to the medical evaluation that revealed the lymphoma. I hope he has a speedy recovery!

  • TY Hilton and his wife had a baby girl on Sunday morning, just a couple hours before kickoff, but Hilton was still able to make his game. He promised he’d catch a TD for his little girl, and made good on his promise, paying tribute to her in his touchdown celebration.

  • Hey, guys, you’ll never believe this, but a Detroit Lions player made a dirty play! With the New England Patriots up 25 points and only a few seconds left on the clock, the Lions took a knee, except, as you can see here, center Dominic Raiola, took a dive at the Patriot’s nose tackle’s feet. Raiola didn’t try to dodge the accusation: “I cut him. We took a knee, so I cut [him] ... They went for a touchdown at two minutes. They could have took three knees and the game could have been over. It's football. He wants to keep playing football, let's play football. Not a big deal. It's football.

  • While Raiola is right that the Pats should have run out the clock rather than score, that’s still not an excuse to risk injuring something. Bill Belichick offered his sympathy (?), saying, “[I’m] sure there was a lot of frustration there with Raiola. He’s never beaten us. Tough day for him.” Zing!

  • Oh, Shaun Hill. With about a minute left in the game, the St. Louis Rams were down three points and on the San Diego’s 4-yard-line. Worst case scenario is they kick an easy field goal and take it to overtime, right? Actually, the very worst case scenario is your quarterback throws an interception on the goal line that ends the game. Which is what Shaun Hill did.

  • Heads up, ref! Wonder how many weeks' suspension this player will get.

  • It’s always so awkward when a player is benched, and then the backup gets injured and then the team has to go back to the original starter. Like, how do you pep talk him? “Hey bud, we believe in you … even though we just benched you because we thought your backup was better … the team’s behind you … yeah, they were excited when you were benched, but they’re back behind you now … I know you can do this … but, yes, we are calling free agents right now.” That’s what I imagine going on in Houston with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who I guess will be back to starting now after Ryan Mallett tore his pectoral muscle and is out for the season

  • A 99-yard pick-six from Janoris Jenkins!

  • It was a tough week for the New Orleans Saints, even before they lost to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. The Saints had to place their rookie, star-in-the-making wide receiver Bradin Cooks on injured reserve, along with starting safety Rafael Bush, ending both their seasons.

  • This Tennessee Titans offensive lineman wanted to make clear to the Eagles knew what the call on the field was.

  • The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Cleveland Browns, despite having the ball with 2:42 left, three timeouts, and subsequently scoring! How has that house not been cleaned after the last three years? The fact that Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff have had jobs the past three years is incredible.

  • No, no, Matt Ryan! Don’t run towards the guy who just almost sacked you!!


  • Andy Reid is typically the go-to butt of the joke when it comes to clock management, but I really feel like Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has wrestled that title away from Reid and deserves first mention when talking about terrible clock management.

  • That's it for this week! ... except for one more thing: SHIRTLESS RANDALL ALERT.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Home, Sweet Lambeau


  • For anyone who doesn't watch football and therefore doesn't know why I call Jordy Nelson the Sideline Ninja, here's a chart.

These numbers are from weeks ago. Jordy's even better than that.

  • So it was yet another blowout for the Green Bay Packers. I try not to overpanic when the Packers lose or look sloppy, and I also try not to get too excited when they’re rolling, but holy cow does the offense look good these days.

  • Get out of Eddie Lacy’s way!

  • In the last four games at Lambeau, the Packers have outscored their opponents 128-9 in the first half. In case you don’t understand, that’s TRIPLE DIGITS to SINGLE DIGITS.

  • Davante Adams’ Lambeau Leap was incredible! He didn’t use his hands! This might have been the most athletic move of the day! He may give Jordy a run for his money as best Lambeau Leaper.

  • The weakest part of the Packers' game was the point after touchdowns. One was blocked (that never happens!) and the snap was fumbled on another. When’s the last time an NFL team missed two extra points in one game?

  • The rest of special teams did well. Micah Hyde had an amazing punt return for a touchdown. I was thinking that it seems like forever since Green Bay had a punt return, and it turns out that the last time was over a year ago … by Micah Hyde!

  • Once again, Clay Matthews looked great playing the majority of his snaps on the inside. Once again, I’m going to reserve judgment on this shift until the Packers play a quarterback that isn’t named Cutler or Sanchez. (Or Bridgewater. We can rule that out right away, too.) The defense has been playing well, but it’s easy to play well when you’re up 30. It’s hard to gauge if the defense really has improved significantly until they play from behind or in a close game.

  • I think Clay Matthews moving inside is like when you break a finger and the doctor wraps it up with the finger next to it so the unbroken finger can hold up and support the broken finger and the broken finger won’t have to really do any work. AJ Hawk is the broken finger.

This is more about avoiding having to rely on Hawk for big plays.

  • In case you haven’t noticed that Green Bay has been really good at home, ESPN Stats compiled some numbers to prove how good.
  • From the above link: “This season is eerily reminiscent of Rodgers’ 2011 MVP season. Through 10 games that season, Rodgers averaged 317 yards per game and had a touchdown-interception ratio of 31-4. Rodgers is averaging 275 yards per game this season through 10 games and boasts a touchdown-interception ratio of 28-3.” How is that eerie? How is that “reminiscent” beyond the fact that both sets of numbers are good?

  • Linebacker/freak Julius Peppers now has two interceptions returned for a touchdown this season. And this time around, he was prepared for his Lambeau Leap.

  • Rodgers now holds the NFL record for most passes without an interception at home.

  • Speaking of interceptions, here’s a GIF of Jay Cutler underthrowing a ball into double coverage, then half-heartedly going for the tackle and getting put on his backside. 

  • The clocks at Soldier Field were on the fritz for much of the fourth quarter of the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game, which led to the refs having to announce the to announce the time periodically. Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer was not happy, calling the situation “********,” and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said that he wasn’t “fully aware” of the time left on the clock when he threw the game-ending interception. The official game log reflected the confusion, as the Vikings managed to gain 42 yards without burning a second, but a touchback took 1:16.

Maybe the clock manager just felt bad for the Bears?

  • Jay Cutler had an attitude on Sunday? You don’t say! 

  • Finally the Detroit Lions lost! The league-best Arizona Cardinals, behind backup quarterback Drew Stanton and their fierce defense, held the typically explosive Lions without a touchdown. The Packers and Lions are now tied, but the Lions have the tiebreaker.

  • It’s not just the players who get all the glory and fanfare.
There should be a fan club devoted to Hochuli's biceps.

  • The Atlanta Falcons lead the NFC South with a 4-6 record. Their four wins? All came against NFC South opponents. Oy.

  • Here’s the Oakland Raiders' first snap of their game against the San Diego Chargers. The first snap.

  • The San Francisco 49ers intercepted New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning FIVE times, yet only managed a meager 16 points! When your defense does that much work, you owe them some points.
Here are all five, complete with corresponding Manning Faces.

  • San Fran linebacker Aldon Smith returned to the field after a nine-week suspension for various legal issues. Most of the team was happy to have their defensive star back, but fellow linebacker Ahmad Brooks was apparently miffed by having to split playing time with Smith, and reportedly refused to play in the second half. I guess he missed the day in kindergarten where they learned about sharing.

  • When Eli’s your quarterback, it’s understandable you want to sneak every extra yard, though maybe you should try harder at the “sneaky” part.

  • Kinda cool that a third-string running back who barely made the team roster lit up the field in primetime, as Jonas Gray of the New England Patriots did on Sunday night. Gray ran for 199 yards and four touchdowns against the Indianapolis Colts.

  • St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill’s pass deflected off a defender’s hands, then off a Rams’ offensive lineman’s helmet, then back into Hill’s hands.

  • This is San Diego Chargers running back Brandon Oliver standing -- yes, standing -- next to teammate King Dunlap.

  • Ouch! This is a really mean commercial that has been running in San Diego about the Oakland Raiders.

  • Matthew Stafford became the fastest quarterback to reach 20,000 passing yards.

  • Normally “breaking someone’s ankles” is just and expression, but I’m seriously worried about #21 on the Buffalo Bills. I think he should def get x-rays after what Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller did to him.

  • In was 20 degrees in Kansas City on Sunday, but that didn’t stop Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch from staying on the field for all of halftime instead of going to the locker room with the rest of his team. Why? Pete Carroll originally said it was because Lynch "thought it would be better for him to stay out," while Lynch left without talking to reporters post-game. Now Lynch and Carroll seem to be on the same page, both pretending that it was because Lynch was "fatigued." I'm sure everything's just fine there.

  • When your quarterback is making his first start with your team, you might want to put your star defensive end on the field with him, as the Houston Texans did with Ryan Mallett and JJ Watt. Watt caught a touchdown, natch -- his fifth of the season. His fifth. He’s a defensive end. He also had a strip sack, a fumble recovery, and three tackles for losses, because JJ WATT CAN DO ANYTHING.

  • Since the Packers play the 4-6 Minnesota Vikings next week, I must say once again, #ACTIVATETOLZIEN!!!
"Hmm, Coach. Is that Matt Flynn's 18th or 19th incompletion of the game?"

Monday, November 10, 2014

"The Bears Still Suck" Is a Bit of an Understatement

  • So, that was fun. There were so many wonderful moments from Sunday’s game. I don’t know which were my favorites.

  • How ‘bout JORDY?!?! My boo had six receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns! Nelson has a 50-yard reception in every home game this season, and he has five touchdowns of 40 or more yards this season, including this beauty.

  • Randall Cobb was also super fly. I was momentarily a bit miffed at him for fumbling late in the second quarter, but he made up for it with this incredible one-handed touchdown on the next series.  

  • The crazy thing about Aaron Rodgers’ 315 yards and six touchdowns in the first half is that it didn’t really look like it was that difficult for the Packers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team as broken as early in a game as the Chicago Bears.

  • Playing inside linebacker looks good on Clay Matthews. With the run defense unable to stop Red Rover from sending someone on over, Green Bay decided to move Matthews from the outside to the inside, and Matthews had a pretty stellar game. (I also credit the fact that he finally shaved his horrible beard.) That said, let’s wait till they play well against a real NFL team. I don’t like all these sportswriters declaring the Packers' rushing defense woes over. Considering how fast the game got out of hand, Chicago didn’t really have the chance to rush the ball much. Still, Matthews had some really nice plays. This was my favorite.

  • Aaron Rodgers liked it, too.

  • I LOVED the blocking by Cobb, Davante Adams, and Nelson on the Eddie Lacy touchdown. Look at how Sideline Ninja comes blazing up the sideline to make sure Eddie gets his touchdown! How awesome is it to have receivers blocking that hard? That’s what happens when you make a running back the wide receivers coach.

  • Even special teams were having fun (when not giving up kickoff returns). Mason Crosby nailed a 52-yard field like it was NBD, and Jarrett Boykin got in on the fun with a blocked punt! Well, actually it wasn’t a blocked punt; it was ruled a fumble because Boykin got to the ball before the punter punted it. 

  • I think it’s really cool when a defensive player not only forces the fumble, but recovers it as well, as Julius Peppers did against his old team. Peppers was all over the field, using his crazy length to cause Jay Cutler (even more) problems.

Welcome to the winning side, Julius.

  • There was an odd moment late in the game when Mike McCarthy challenged a three-yard reception catch. No one really understood why McCarthy challenged, including AJ Hawk.

  • I say it every week and I’ll say it again: #ActivateTolzien!

  • Aaron’s the first player with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions against the same team in a season.

  • Jay Cutler has never won at Lambeau Field.

  • Rodgers now holds the NFL record for most touchdowns of 70 yards or more with 16. (At least 14 of those have to have been to Jordy, right?)

  • Aaron Rodgers has not thrown an interception at home since December of 2012.

  • The Bears had 11 penalties that cost them 163 yards.

  • The Bears set a franchise record for most points allowed in a half in consecutive games. That’s really sad.

  • In their past two games, the Bears have been outscored 80-7 in the first half.

  • Sigh, if only we could play the Bears every week. As for the rest of the league....

  • Whoa, wait. What?! The Browns are 6-3??

  • Listen rookie, you can think you’re the better team. You can believe that with all your heart. But after you’ve been shellacked 24-3, you don’t get to go on to the media about how much better a team you are and how your opponents are even “worse than [you] thought,” as Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill did after Thursday night’s loss to the Cleveland Browns.

  • Andy Dalton was 10-for-33 for 86 yards and three interceptions on Thursday night. Just let that sink in.

  • Note to Colin Kaepernick: this is much more effective when you let your fans post it. When you post it yourself, it’s kinda pathetic.

  • The New Orleans Saints lost to the San Francisco 49ers, putting them at 4-5. And they still lead their division. Ew.

  • Dez Bryant, human highlight reel.

  • Man, the Arizona Cardinals have had very bad luck with injuries. They lost their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, after Week 1. Then he got injured again in Sunday’s game. The Cardinals have lost seemingly half their roster to injuries, yet keep on winning. Somehow, someway, the Cardinals have the best record in league.

  • Things will get a lot tougher for Arizona, as it turns out Palmer tore his ACL, which really sucks for him, but the good news for him is that he signed a contract extension two days before he got injured.

  • The Seattle Seahawks ran for 350 yards, with 140 coming from Marshawn Lynch and another 107 coming from quarterback Russell Wilson. Their opponent, the New York Football Giants had 54 rushing yards.

Eli's Manning Face shone in all its glory throughout the 4th quarter.

  • Keep your chin up, high school boys around the country. You, too, could grow up to be an amazing quarterback with a supermodel wife, no matter how gawky you look and feel at your prom.

Just ask Tom Brady.

  • I’m sick of the stupid Detroit Lions winning on ridiculous last-minute plays. But this Matthew Stafford throw to Theo Reddick was sick.

  • Detroit had TWO fake punts, so I do have to give them props for that, too.

  • Even though the stupid Miami Dolphins let the Lions win, they kept the game close and had this crazy awesome interception in the endzone by Brent Grimes.

  • The Dolphins may have completely let me down by failing to beat the Lions, but at least their special teams is pretty good. They’ve blocked two field goals and two punts already this season!

  • Keep your eye on Denver backup quarterback Brock Osweiler in the background. He thinks he’s finally going to get in the game, but Peyton has absolutely no intention of letting him play.

  • Check out this clip. The New York Jets were in victory formation when Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell decided to go bush league and leap over the line to try to hit the quarterback. Center Nick Mangold saw him coming, though, and gave him his just desserts.

  • Announcers always laugh about players who act or flop on a push, but when you’re running full speed and a very large man gives you even a slight push, you’re going to fall over pretty easily. P.S. Jimmy Graham definitely pushed off and deserved an offensive pass interference penalty.
You can't extend your arms when you're pushing off, Jimmy!

  • Colin Kaepernick’s arm strength is incredible! On a 4th-and-10 play, with the game on the line, he tosses this 50-yarder like it’s nothing!  

  • This poor Raiders offensive lineman has no idea what to do with the ball when it is thrown to him (which was an illegal pass). So he did the most Oakland Raiders-y thing he could think of and fumbled the ball away.

  • The Oakland Raiders are now 0-9, ruling out the snowball’s chance in hell that they had for a winning record. The last time Oakland had a winning record? The same season they went to the Super Bowl … 12 years ago.

  • Umm, would the league like to investigate what sort of voodoo is going in with New Orleans?? Seriously, the ball takes a sharp right as it goes through the posts. That's not natural.

  • Michael Vick passed 6,000 rushing yards for his career on Sunday, the most ever by a quarterback.

  • Talking heads seemed to think that because Ben Roethlisberger threw for six touchdowns in back-to-back weeks that he was going to keep up the pace, despite the fact that he have averaged 1.4 touchdowns the seven previous weeks.

  • The Jets forced four turnovers against the Steelers, which is pretty good, especially when  you consider that they had only forced three turnovers THE OTHER NINE WEEKS. With the Jets’ 2-8 record, you didn’t have to tell me they were very bad, but seriously three turnovers in nine weeks????

A lesson to the Steelers: don't let horrible little punk
teenage popstars into your Bible study meetings or God
will smite you with a loss to the Jets.