Tuesday, December 15, 2015

America's Team 28, Dallas Cowboys 7

  • My brother always says his two favorite teams each week are the Green Bay Packers and whoever is playing the Dallas Cowboys, so Sunday was a good day for him. It was a good day for America, really.

  • Head coach Mike McCarthy was back on play-calling and the results were … fairly good. If you cut out the third quarter -- in which the Packers punted four times and allowed the Cowboys’ only score -- Green Bay had a great game! That third quarter, however, was a replay loop of the Packers’ persistent problems this season: third-down failures, inability of the receivers to get open, Aaron Rodgers looking hesitant, &c.

  • McCarthy didn’t do anything radically different with the calls, but I liked that he did just enough to mix things up a bit. Randall Cobb spent some time in the backfield, I saw receivers in motion on occasion, and at least a couple of instances of stacked receivers sets -- nothing wildly exotic or surprising, but enough that it didn’t feel like Green Bay was trotting out the exact same plays every single series.
James' lucky hoodie probably helped, too.

  • Green Eyes had eight catches for 81 yards, but more than that, found ways to get open for important plays, particularly third downs. He also got more than one shout-out on the broadcast for his blocking, which is not something you hear slot receivers praised for a lot.
No, sir -- thumbs up to you.

  • Little-used but fan favorite wide receiver Jeff Janis was a beast on special teams coverage, blasting Cowboys’ returner Lucky Whitehead on all three of his punt returns, giving Whitehead a total of -6 yards in those situations.

  • But the game really belonged to Eddie Lacy and the Packers’ running game. Lacy had a season-high 24 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown. James Starks provided a nice complement to Lacy with 71 yards and a touchdown of his own. (I like Starks well enough as a change-of-pace back; it’s just when he’s the featured back that I tear out my hair.) It was nice to see Lacy back in Hulk form.

  • It was also nice to see how much support Eddie had from his teammates and the fans. His teammates were clearly happy for him. He and Starks, in particular, are adorable in how much they support each other and obviously love each other. Awwwwwww!

  • The defense continued to play well, aside from allowing Cowboys running backs Darren McFadden and Robert Turbin to get loose on a couple of significant plays. Jason Witten led all Cowboys receivers with 40 yards, and Dez Bryant had only one catch for nine yards. Sam Shields (before he was lost to a concussion -- get better, Sammy!), Micah Hyde, and Demarious Randall played especially well, though all of this should be taken with a grain of salt when it comes against a Matt Cassel-led team. Sunday was a little rough for Matt (but then again, most Sundays are for him).

  • I was going to suggest that maybe Dallas needs to move away from Cassel, but then I Googled Kellen Moore. I kid you not, this is an actual picture of the Cowboys’ backup quarterback.

  • The Cowboys turnover differential is by far the worst in the league at -15!! NEGATIVE FIFTEEN.

  • The Oakland Raiders had -12 yards in the first half. They had 126 yards total. 80 of those yards came on a single drive; otherwise, they had 46 yards of offense. They didn’t even reach 100 yards in passing. They had eight first downs the entire game. Their quarterback only completed 41% of his throws. AND THEY WON!

  • The only stat in which the Raiders came out ahead of the Denver Broncos was sacks. Oakland sacked Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler five times. Well, actually, Khalil Mack sacked him five times. He’s pretty good.

  • Even with my beloved Matt Hasselbeck, the Indianapolis Colts are really, really terrible. What on earth happened to the team that went to the conference finals last year? On Sunday, the Colts lost 51-16 to the Jaguars -- the Jacksonville Jaguars!

  • You know who else is really awful? The Atlanta Falcons. Yes, they were playing the undefeated Carolina Panthers, but in a season-deciding, make-or-break game, the Falcons managed a grand total of zero points. Yeesh, guys. At least pretend to try.

  • Boy, I feel for the Cincinnati Bengals. They came into Sunday’s match against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers at 10-2 and looking like they finally had the team to break their one-and-done recent history in the playoffs. And then quarterback Andy Dalton threw an interception. That's not the bad part. The bad part came when Andy tackled the interceptor and broke his thumb in the process, likely ending his season. The Bengals also lost tight end extraordinaire Tyler Eifert (concussion) and the game.

Tyler should have asked not to get injured instead. =(

  • This whole “dabbing” thing cannot die soon enough for me.

  • Holy wow, Odell Beckham Jr. You'd think we'd all eventually get bored with his weekly circus catch, but not yet. On Monday night, Beckham was so sick with a stomach bug that he needed three IVs to get through the New York Giants' game against the Miami Dolphins, but that didn't stop him from racking up 166 yards and two touchdowns. Near the end of the third quarter, on the Miami 6-yard line with the Dolphins up a touchdown, Eli Manning rolled out under pressure and threw to OBJ in the front right corner of the endzone. The refs called it incomplete, because there was obviously no way Beckham could have gotten his feet in bounds in that space. Beckham protested to the refs that he had gotten his feet in bounds, and they were all, "Yeah, right, buddy."

  • But the Giants challenged because he's Odell Beckham Jr, and sure enough -- INSANITY!

  • If the Packers make the playoffs, I hope we don’t have to play the Seattle Seahawks. They are on fire, particularly Russell Wilson. In the last four games, the Seahawks QB is completing 75% of his passes, and has thrown 16 touchdowns to zero interceptions.

  • What are the chances that Rob Gronkowski’s helmet is actually one of those beer hats and his chin straps are the straws? 10%? 25%? 75%?

  • The Detroit Lions lost. The Chicago Bears lost. The Minnesota Vikings lost. It was a good week in football.

  • No ugly sweater can diminish Jordy and Randall’s stunning good looks.
Davante Adams is just kinda taking up space that
could have gone to a closer up of Jordy and Randall.

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