Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Finally, a Win!

  • Whew, thank goodness for the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Minnesota Vikings! Not only did the victory end a three-game slide for Green Bay, but also allowed them to regain the division lead from Minnesota.

  • The Packers defense was excellent, allowing only 13 points, sacking Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater six times (after 39 consecutive drives without a sack!), and holding the best running back in the league to 45 yards on 13 carries! They also forced a Adrian Peterson fumble.

  • The offense looked much better, as well. They were much closer to finding and maintaining a rhythm on several drives. Most importantly, they finally let Eddie Lacy out of the doghouse, and he found his legs to the tune of 100 yards. I’m soooooooooooooo glad! James Starks is very nice, I’m sure, but you all must know by now that I am not a believer in him as a starter.

Don't leave us again!

  • Though the win was huge, the Packers’ offensive issues were still apparent. Aaron Rodgers completed only 47% of his passes (he seemed to overthrow several), Randall Cobb caught only two of his nine targets, and they only got into the redzone twice. Rodgers did, however, look downfield more, which is a good thing, even if it didn’t work out a lot this game. His low completion percentage might just be a tradeoff he and the team has to live with in order to get the defensive looks they want.

  • The MVP of the game was Mason Crosby, who bounced back from whiffing the would-be winning kick last week to hit field goals of 42, 47, 40, 42, and 52 yards.

(His arms look photoshopped here.)

  • Crosby was not only perfect on Sunday, but he also drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from Vikings returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who, for no reason at all, got in Crosby’s face after a kick return.

Hey, you leave Mason alone! He didn't do anything to you!
Also, fix your visor -- you look like an idiot.

  • Coming into the game, center Corey Linsley was the only offensive lineman who was not listed on the injury report. So of course he injured his ankle in Sunday's game and did not return. Additionally, safety Micah Hyde re-injured his hip and was carted off the field. Receivers Jared Abbrederis and Ty Montgomery were already out for the game.

  • I don't care what his official profiel says, Green Bay tight end Justin Perillo ain’t no 25 years old.

  • James Jones had a big drop in the first half, but came back with two incredible catches on the second half touchdown drive. It was a great drive for Rodgers and Jones.

    • First was this awesome, bobbling catch for 37 yards. Look at the effort to control the ball and establish possession before he hits the turf!

    • Then Jones made sure to keep his feet inbounds on this touchdown.

    • And then JJ was there when Aaron needed him on the two-point conversion.

  • Jones also garnered a lot of attention for his hoodie which shockingly -- for a league that fines players for wearing the wrong color socks -- was legal.

Jordy was a fan.

  • In other uniform news, I still love Minnesota's matte helmets. Very chic.

  • But I still hate their pants and can’t understand why companies whose job it is to make football uniforms haven’t come up with a better white pants pattern.

You're telling me you can't make a pair of white
football pants that don't include a built-in diaper??

  • Poor Joe Flacco! The Baltimore Ravens quarterback, who has never missed a game in his career before, tore his ACL and is out for the season. (Flacco crazily stayed in the game for the final 50 seconds after his injury.) The Ravens also lost their running back, Justin Forsett, for the season to a broken arm. I do feel bad for Baltimore, but I also hate the Ravens, so my empathy mostly insincere.

  • The Ravens’ backup is --- AHHHH!! --- Matt Schaub!! Watching Schaub’s jaw-droppingly fast and brutal free fall a couple of years ago was stunning and sad. I’m kinda secretly excited he has a chance to play again and am really, really rooting for him not to be terrible.

In his last season with the Texans, Schaub threw 10 TDs and 14 INTs,
and set an NFL record by throwing pick-sixes in 4 consecutive games.

  • I was about to feel bad for St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles, who was demoted this week, but then I saw that he has six interceptions and five fumbles to seven touchdowns on the season, so that’s actually pretty fair.

  • It’s absolutely unconscionable that the Rams left backup quarterback Case Keenum in the game when he was obviously suffering from a concussion. Teams are supposed to all have independent observers to look specifically for players who might have suffered a concussion and tell teams to pull those players out for an evaluation. In the case of Keenum, he is tackled, and his head slams violently against the turf. He immediately grabs his head in pain. His teammate tries to force his limp body up, but Keenum collapses right back to the turf. The Rams have to expect some kind of penalty from a league that is trying desperately to show they take concussions seriously.

  • The Indianapolis Colts won! They came back to beat the Atlanta Falcons, who struggled mightily, turning the ball over four times. Indy quarterback Andrew Luck is out again due to injury, meaning 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck was back leading the team. In case you haven’t noticed, I am so on the Matt Hasselbeck bandwagon.

He just seems so sweet and nice and hardworking and likable!

  • Do you know what would be really awkward? Having to dispute reports that your defensive coordinator was fired when everyone knows he’s just about to be fired, as New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton had to do last Monday. Doubly awkward when said defensive coordinator follows up his firing with a Hurricane Katrina joke. Oh, that Rob Ryan. Such a charmer.

  • Now, I’m not saying that the New England Patriots aren’t good; I’m just saying that only one of the 10 teams they’ve beat thus far currently has a winning record. And I’m not saying that they deserve to go 16-0; I’m just saying that if you exclude the Denver Broncos (who now have a question mark at quarterback), the combined record of the rest of the teams they’ll face this season is 20-30.

  • The same actually holds true for the league’s other undefeated team, the Carolina Panthers -- the Packers are the only team they’ve beaten who currently have a winning record. They face a tougher schedule than the Patriots, since their remaining slate features the 6-4 Atlanta Falcons twice. Even with the Falcons, their remaining opponents have a combined record of 29-31.

  • Sunday night’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals featured a pretty exciting second half. Cincinnati came back from down 14 to kick a game-tying field goal with 1:03 left. Arizona got the ball back, and have three huge completions to get into field goal range. Arizona lined up for a 46-yard field goal, but jumped offsides! Not only is that a five-yard penalty, but it also comes with a 10-second runoff when in the final two minutes of a game. That meant the clock ran out before the Cardinals could kick, sending the game into overtime. Well, that’s what it would have meant if the Bengals hadn’t been called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for simulating the snap count. That moved the Cardinals up, and they kicked an easy 32-yard field goal for the win.

Bengals WR AJ Green's reaction as Arizona kicked the winning field goal.

  • I had never heard that penalty called before. Why is it unsportsmanlike for the defensive to dummycall but not the offense? In both cases, aren’t you trying to trick the opponent?

  • Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo returned from a broken collarbone injury to lead his team to victory over the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys went 0-7 in Romo’s absence, and will need to win out (or at least close to it, considering how terrible their division is) to make the playoffs. I, for one, was very happy to see Romo back and the Cowboys win. I really, really enjoy watching Dallas fans get their hopes up.

This will be me.
In December.
Laughing at Cowboys fans.

  • Jerry Jones spoke with the media about the recent meeting he had with defensive end Greg Hardy’s conduct, and, as always, some wonderful Jerry quotes were the result.
    • “He is aware that everything he does -- his personality, his style, his enthusiasm -- it's all going to be interpreted negatively. If he's not aware of that, then he's hurting a lot of people.” So he’s definitely aware, but he might not be aware.
    • “I think he really gets that. We certainly feel that way. He understands it, and he has agreed to really work on it." Good for Greg for agreeing to work on not hitting women and not being flippant about his punishment for hitting women.
    • Jones said he’ll use his own experience with criticism to help Hardy: “If anyone knows how to hunker down, it's me." Not really relevant or comparable, but okay.
    • “I will say this: over the last three or four weeks, I would hate to see anybody who had more pressure on him than Hardy." Putting aside the terrible sentence structure, Jones fishing for sympathy for Hardy is not going to be very effective.
    • “But there is no second chance in regards to the issue of domestic violence. None.” Presumably Jerry means after the second chance they gave Hardy in signing him.

  • Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch missed Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers due to an abdomen injury. (There’s some concern he could miss the rest of the season.) Backup Thomas Rawls played in Lynch’s stead and ran for 209 yards and scored two touchdowns! Lynch approved of Rawls’ play:

  • The Carolina Panthers are 10-0. The Dallas Cowboys are 3-7. And yet, the Cowboys are favored in the Thanksgiving matchup??

  • Denver now-starting quarterback Brock Osweiler is 6’8”!!!

  • It’s a short week for the Packers, who will play Thursday night, but luckily, they’ll face Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears, so we’ll have a lot of this to look forward to:

  • And this:

  • And hopefully some of this:

  • It must kill Jordy to miss a game against the Bears. You can usually just pencil him in for a couple of 60+ yard touchdowns when he’s facing Chicago.

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