Monday, December 5, 2016

Back to .500!

  • Yes, being at .500 is a reason to celebrate for Green Bay Packers and also a good reminder not to celebrate too much. That said, what a fun game!!!! It had it all: perfect football weather, Randall making snow angels, Jordy making big plays, even the defense having good moments, key stops, long drives, Aaron Rodgers looking sharp, and, of course, victory.

  • The game started out great with the Packers defense forcing a fumble, but then Rodgers fumbled the ball on the goal line. A couple of punts later, the defense again showed up, stopping Houston on 4th down at midfield. The drive contained a fourth-down conversion of Green Bay’s own and ended with a nice Randall Cobb touchdown and lovely snow angel. (Thank you, refs, for not flagging this.)

  • After that, the game really stalled (punt, punt, punt, downs for Green Bay) before the offense woke up again. Jordy, in particular, had a monster fourth quarter and finished with eight catches for 118 yards. My favorite was this third-down catch where he just out-muscled the defender. #NinjaBiceps

  • It was a tough weekend for Houston corner Charles James. First, he probably got frostbite during warmups.
GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 04:  Charles James II #31 of the Houston Texans warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 4, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

  • Then, he was called up after starting cornerback Jonathan Joseph went down, slipped in the snow and allowed Nelson’s wide open touchdown. And then … he got fired the next day. Poor guy. It’s not easy going up against Jordy.  

  • Can I just say how much I love cocky Jordy? It’s so uncharacteristic! The best part is that you can tell it’s a conscious effort, which makes it even cuter that he has to try to be brash. When asked about it, Jordy got all embarrassed, “I was just being … never mind. Just having fun.” Aww!

  • Ol’ Green Eyes brought a spark to special teams, with punt returns of 23 and 21 yards, which were great, but stop using Cobb on punt returns! It makes me nervous! He’s not worth risking. Let Trevor Davis out of the doghouse, for heaven’s sake, and put him back on punts.

  • I thought Morgan Burnett had a very nice game, too. In addition to his early fumble recovery, he led the team in tackles and notched a QB hit, as well.

  • Oh my gosh, we might have a real NFL running back in Christine (pronounced “Kristen,” remember) Michael! His game was nothing to write home about, but he showed some nice burst and didn’t fall down immediately upon contact!

  • Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus still has the best name for a defender.

  • Jim Nantz and Phil Simms passive-aggressively fighting with each other through their commentary is my favorite. You can just tell when Jim Nantz has reached his limit and can’t take Simms’ wildly inaccurate commentary anymore, so he just starts subtly listing statistics that disprove everything Simms is saying.

  • A round of applause for Julius Peppers, whose sack of Brock Osweiler Sunday earned him fifth place all-time in NFL history with 142.5 career sacks. Very impressive, Ju-Ju. (True story: I once met an adult man named Julius who introduced himself with “...but you can call me Ju-Ju.”)

  • Players who recover onside kicks look like Gus-Gus from Cinderella. 

  • Oof. Cam Newton did not start for the Carolina Panthers’ Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks due to disciplinary reasons. Carolina’s backup QB, Derek Anderson, took the game’s first snap…and threw an interception 18 yards from his own goal line. The benching was due to a dress code violation -- Cam reportedly did not wear a tie. I’m all for dress codes and punishments, but if you’re going to bench your quarterback for a drive, maybe start with some runs instead of a pass.

  • Here’s Nick Fairley swatting at his ex-teammate’s face after a QB hit. You can’t take the player out of Detroit Lions, but not the Detroit Lions out of the player.

  • You know how I said I like Kirk Cousins because he’s kind of a goofball? During a media session this week, Cousins got on the topic of his love for Broadway musicals. And here’s an adorably awkward video of him performing in high school. He’s good!

  • Thanks for nothing, New Orleans. For the last 60 home games, Drew Brees has thrown a touchdown, but decide to give that up this Sunday when he played the Detroit Lions, who I really needed to lose. Not only did Brees not throw a touchdown in the Saints 28-13 loss, but he threw three interceptions! It’s also the first game of the season in which the Lions were not trailing in the final two minutes.

  • And the Saints were wearing their baby-diarrhea-colored pants again. That’s probably why they lost.

  • Tampa Bay receiver Cecil Shorts, whom I love for being named like an Oscar Wilde character, dislocated his knee, tore his ACL, tore his MCL, and tore his PCL on Sunday. That sounds just dreadful! Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery, Cecil. :’(

  • I have to wonder what former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green was thinking when he decided to take his team picture while wearing a mock turtleneck. He obviously wasn’t thinking long-term. That’s the picture that they’re going to show of you on TV for all time to come. 
Image result for trent green

  • Aww, isn’t Von Miller sweet? The Denver Bronco’s defensive terror sent a bottle of wine to every single one of his AFC West opponents -- including the practice squaders! -- to say, “Thank you for helping to make our game great!”

  • Eric Berry!!! The Kansas City Chiefs defensive back had a pick-six on Sunday, and it wasn’t even his best play of the game. That would be the pick-two he scored to win the game. And the game was played in his hometown of Atlanta, just a few miles from where he received chemotherapy last year. This game is going to be the emotional climax in the Disney movie that will be inevitably be made of the cancer survivor’s story. (Except that in the movie, it’ll be the Super Bowl, but Berry plays for the Chiefs, so that part will have to stay fictional.) Top it all off with the tear-jerking scene of Berry handing the ball to his mom in the stands.

  • So, to recap: the Atlanta Falcons were down five points to the Chiefs, scored a touchdown, and lost. Here’s how that happened: Atlanta was down 27-22, then scored a touchdown to go up 28-27, and they decided to go for two, which makes sense. Unfortunately for them, Berry picked off the two-point conversion and ran it all the way back for the Chiefs to take the lead 29-27! And that was the final score. I can’t believe we’ve seen two game-winning two-point conversions by defenses this season!

  • AAARRRGGGHH! The Dallas Cowboys pulled out a win on Thursday night against the Minnesota Vikings, aided largely by a missed call. Down eight points, Minnesota scored with just 25 seconds left, and needed a two-point conversion to tie. The conversion was incomplete, but there was an OBVIOUS roughing-the-passer penalty (can't hit the QB's head or neck area) that was not called that should have given the Vikings another chance.
Gah! Ref! Ref! Don't you see that?!?

  • AAARRGGGHHH! And I’m still surrounded by Cowboys fans.

  • Goodness gracious, Buffalo Bills, how did you lose?? When I saw the Bills up on the Oakland Raiders 24-9 halfway through the third quarter, I didn’t bother checking back in on the game. Imagine my surprise -- and probably Buffalo’s fans’ too -- when I saw the final was 38-24, Raiders! How do you allow 29 straight points in a quarter and a half?

  • The San Francisco’s 49ers received a 15-yard penalty for excessively celebrating a touchdown … that was called back. That was one of San Fran’s less embarrassing moments on Sunday. Here are some of the more embarrassing:
    • The 49ers had six passing yards. As in 1-2-3-4-5-6.
Here's a screenshot because you obviously thought I was lying. 

    • They had fewer than half the total yards of the Chicago Bears, who had won two games before Sunday. It’s not like the Bears played well, either. They, too, were disastrous.
    • They didn’t have any turnovers, which sounds like a good thing, but how do lose 20-6 and play that poorly and gain so few yards without turnovers as an excuse?
    • San Francisco had 17 times more penalty yards (106) than they did passing yards.
    • Most damning of all, the Niners chose to punt from the Bears’ 31-yard line!!

  • Seriously, what was Kelly thinking punting from the Bears’ 31? That’s almost the redzone. And yes, it was snowing, but how little faith do you have in your kicker to punt instead of kick in that situation? Why are you even on the field if you’re not going to compete? Why not just forfeit the game?  

  • Elsewhere in the silly 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalties file, the Oakland punter managed to get one on Sunday following a roughing the punter call against the Buffalo Bills. Apparently Marquette King was just too excited about the call to resist picking up the flag and dancing.

  • After the game, King took to Twitter to identify whose fault the flag really was.

  • King is giving the Colts’ Pat McAfee a run for the Most Entertaining Punter title.

  • Here are some fun, odd, and sad stats from the week:

    • The Carolina Panthers have never had consecutive winning seasons, and Sunday night’s loss ensures that they won’t be wiping away that statistic this season.

    • For the first time in 130 games, Dallas tight end Jason Witten did not have a catch.

    • On Thursday, Dez Bryant tied Cowboys’ great Michael Irvin for second in receiving touchdowns in franchise history. It took Bryant 66 fewer games to do so. Wow!

    • Here's the probability chart for winning the NFC North throughout Sunday's games. I looked and looked and could only see three teams at first.

Considering that Green Bay's hovering just above 25%,
I probably shouldn't be snickering, but I can't help it.

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