Monday, December 12, 2016

That Was ... a Lot Easier Than I Expected

  • I’ll be honest: I was pretty worried about the Green Bay Packers facing the Seattle Seahawks, especially after seeing the Seahawks dismantle the Carolina Panthers 40-7 last week. All my anxiety was in vain, however, because the Pack came out hot and never cooled off in their 38-10 victory over Seattle. Pete Carroll's stress-chewing must have been off the charts. 

  • It sure helped that Russell Wilson had an off-day and threw five interceptions. Morgan Burnett, Quinten Rollins, and Micah Hyde grabbed a pick each, and Damarious Randall notched two. In the previous 12 games this season, Green Bay had a total of eight interceptions. I’m inclined to think Sunday was an anomaly, but well done nonetheless, DBs. Keep it up!

  • Strong safety Burnett has played at inside linebacker for snaps here and there this year as a “change-up” look, but spent a good chunk of Sunday at linebacker to help put a lid on Seahawks’ tight end Jimmy Graham. The package seemed to work, as Graham was limited to one catch for 16 yards, and Burnett had yet another strong game.  

  • Well, well, well, look who leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns? Maybe this will get my brothers to stop saying that Nelson’s no good since his injury.

  • Speaking of Jordy, he and Rodgers scored their 57th touchdown on Sunday, tying Brett Favre and Antonio Freeman for the most touchdowns by a quarterback and receiver in Packers franchise history.

  • The big downside to Sunday’s victory was the injuries. Aaron Rodgers, playing with a left hamstring injury, suffered a right calf injury which even further limited his mobility. Green Eyes left the game briefly with injuries to one, possibly both, ankles, but was able to return to the game. (Handsome and tough as nails! *dreamy sigh*) Ty Montgomery was in some serious pain as doctors looked at his shoulder on the sidelines, but he continued to play. Tight end Jared Cook left with a bizarre-looking chest injury when he came down hard on an incompletion (turns out it was a lung contusion -- ow), but is expected to be ready next week. Plus Clay Matthews is playing essentially with one arm. All of the above should be able to play next week, but the battered-and-bruised state of the team continues to be worrying. 

  • Those damn, dirty Seahawks are truly a Pete Carroll team. The way you can tell? As soon as they’re down, they start taking cheap shots, some of which included a facemask on Nelson, punching TJ Lang below the belt, taking a shot at Richard Rodgers’ head, and going after Cobb while Green Bay was in victory formation (see below). Said Cobb: “They’re just cheap. Bunch of front-runners. That’s Seattle, for you. That’s what they do. It was all over the field.” Preach, Green Eyes.

  • And here’s Richard Sherman going after Davante Adams away from the play.

  • And here’s Adams owning Sherman on Jeff Janis’ touchdown later in the game. So there.

  • Here’s a scary stat about the Green Bay running game: Eddie Lacy still leads the Pack in rushing yards for the season … and he hasn’t played in the last eight games. Our quarterback has the second-most rushing yards for the season. Yikes. 

  • Aaron’s line for the game: 18-of-23 for 246 yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers, and a 150.8 (!) passer rating. 

  • We’ve talked before about how Mason Crosby is a really good tackler. He’s saved Green Bay’s bacon on more more than one kickoff return, and did so again on Sunday. Then he helped the guy up, too, because he’s sweet like that.

  • Aaron Rodgers was signing autographs for fans to garner donations for the Salvation Army and matching all donations and he bought pizza for all the fans standing in line. Aww, quite the Santa Claus.

  • Larry McCarren is a former Packers offensive lineman (nicknamed “The Rock”) who is now best known as a beloved local Packers sportscaster. Look at his finger. 

  • Next up for Green Bay is Bears Week II. Don’t sleep on the Bears! Don’t get me wrong, they still suck -- they are the Bears, after all -- but we cannot afford a trap game right now.

  • I’m also pretty annoyed at the Bears right now after they got my hopes up on Sunday when they took the Detroit Lions down to the wire. Chicago had a good chance at the game, getting the ball back with three minutes left, down three, with all three timeouts plus the two-minute warning, and yet couldn’t make anything happen and ended up turning the ball over on downs. AND I don’t even get to see Jay Cutler getting sacked and intercepted anymore, so I have absolutely no use for the Bears these days.
Image result for jay cutler don't care

  • If the playoffs started today, the Seahawks would be the only NFC team that also made the playoffs last year. 

  • Le’Veon Bell!! Holy cow! The Pittsburgh Steelers running back had 236 rushing yards against the Buffalo Bills. Throw in his receiving yards, and he finished the day with 298 all-purpose yards -- 23 more than the entire Bills’ offense.

  • The Oakland Raiders came back down to earth a bit on Thursday night after a terrible night from MVP-contending quarterback Derek Carr resulted in a 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Oakland head coach Jack del Rio was in no mood to be comforted by Andy Reid after the game.

  • It’s been a rough season at the office for official Jeff Triplette and his crew. Here’s a “hands to the face” call he made … against Detroit Lions #60.

  • So the Los Angeles Rams fired head coach Jeff Fisher one week after giving him a contract extension. Hmm, kind of have to wonder about that. Was a 4-8 record really worthy of a contract extension, but 4-9 so beyond the pale that they had to fire him? It seems like, I don’t know, maybe they should have just waited a week before making any contract decisions?

  • This latest Rams loss was particularly hideous, though. They were down 42-0 -- in the third quarter!! The Atlanta Falcons scored six touchdowns in the Rams’ stadium on Sunday, which is one more than the Rams have scored there all year.

  • Speaking of truly pitiful teams, the Cleveland Browns still have not won a game this season. Next week will be the one-year anniversary of their last victory.

  • Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill left Sunday’s game with a knee injury that was originally feared to be an ACL tear. Fortunately, it’s a ACL and MCL sprain that won’t require surgery. (Whew!) Maybe the injury accounts for this atrocious passing attempt?

  • I love watching teams expertly down punts and kicks just outside the goalline. It’s a totally underrated highlight, in my opinion. Here’s a video of Tampa Bay’s Ryan Smith downing the ball at about the one-inch line while keeping his tippy toes just outside the endzone and tossing the ball to a teammate behind him. I like the freeze-frame even better.

  • What’s up with Drew Brees? Three interceptions and zero touchdowns two weeks in a row. 

  • A grateful nation rejoices after the New York Giants stopped the Dallas’ Cowboys win streak on Sunday night. New York squeaked out a 10-7 win, despite having this man at quarterback.

  • The Giants defense was all over the Cowboys, allowing quarterback Dak Prescott to complete just 46% of his passes, forcing two turnovers, and sacking him thrice. In true Dallas Cowboys fans’ fashion, there were even some whispers of “Tony Romo.” EVERYBODY PANIC!

  • The Cowboys are still 10-2, but both their losses have now come at the hands of the Giants who are again, led by this man.

  • The 9-4 New York Giants will face the 9-4 Detroit Lions next week, which means I’ll have to cheer for the Giants for a second week. (Saying that triggers my gag reflex.) 

  • I don’t really think anyone can fault the Denver Broncos for going after Tennessee Titans’ receiver Harry Douglas after Douglas intentionally put his helmet into the knee of Broncos’ cornerback Chris Harris Jr. Since it was on a running play, Douglas maintains that the hit was a legal cut block, but that doesn’t explain why he’s hitting someone’s knee when he’s across the field from where the action is. “I’m not a dirty player, no matter what anybody says,” Douglas said, which is the equivalent of “At least my mother loves me” in terms of having no argument on which to stand.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles’ long snapper (who is also an amazing magician who placed third on America’s Got Talent) got injured, so tight end Brent Celek was called up. He was not good. And he later got injured in the game, so the Eagles had “no idea” who would be long-snapping (is that a verb?) the ball for the rest of the game. Tight end Trey Burton stepped up and had to be the emergency backup to the emergency backup long snapper. Burton successfully snapped the ball on a made field goal, so yay for him! (Also, major props to the punter, who’s also the holder, who managed to take the snap that ended up nearly behind his helmet and get it down for the kicker. He’s the real hero of this story, but the emergency-backup-to-the-emergency-backup plot line sounds better.)

  • In an interview last week, Derek Carr was asked about Johnny Manziel. Carr said Manziel was "such a good dude" and hoped he got things turned around. He said he'd love to "be a friend" to Manziel, and now I've put all my hope for Manziel in Carr's hands. If anyone can save Johnny Football, it's Carr! (I hope.)

Aww! I'm actually really touched by this.

  • Phil Simms was in peak form on Sunday.

  • One of the fake “problems” that NFL sportswriters have invented over which to wring their hands is the Pro Bowl not being competitive. Every year, there are anguished columns written about how the game should be done away with. (The solution? Don’t watch it if you don’t want to watch it.) The game is still on for this year, but the NFL just announced a skills competition that will be a part of the festivities, which should make a lot of people happy. The competition will feature a precision passing contest, a “best hands” contest featuring the best passer and receiver on each team, and … a dodgeball competition! That actually sounds like it could be fun.

  • Green Bay's at 7-6 and still has a good shot at the playoffs. They just need to win their last three games and for Detroit to drop at least one of their next two. Totally doable. I believe! Who's with me? Can I get a high five!? Anyone?

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