Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another Shutout

  • For the second time this season, the Green Bay Packers were shut out at Lambeau Field, this time against the Minnesota Vikings. Ouch. That’s pretty embarrassing.

  • I thought Brett Hundley played much better than his putrid stat line -- 17-of-40 for 130 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions -- but he wasn’t getting help from anyone. They were without Davante Adams, who sat out the game with a concussion, and then lost Jordy Nelson (oh no!!!) to a shoulder injury and Aaron Jones to a knee injury during the game.  Beyond the injuries, the Packers receivers kept on dropping great passes from Brett!! There had to be at least five or six big passes that hit the receivers in the hands that they just couldn’t hold on to. Poor Brett.

  • It’s hard to tell if Green Bay was just being cautious with injuries since the game was meaningless, but it felt like some sort of apocalyptic story where there’s only a few survivors left. (Though the scrappy bands of misfits in those stories usually have better outcomes than the Packers did on Saturday.) In addition to Adams, guard Jahri Evans, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Damarious Randall were all inactive coming in. During the game, they lost not only Nelson and Jones, but also backup right tackle Jason Spriggs to a very serious knee injury (could cost him all of next year) and tight end Richard Rodgers. 

  • Randall Cobb was pretty sad after the game, saying he “never felt more defeated, more embarrassed about a performance.”
Martellus Bennett's Text Back Pack GIF
No, Randall, you're not a loser! You're great!

  • At one point in the game, left tackle David Bakhtiari allowed zero pressures on 20 passes against Everson Griffen, who’s pretty darn good. 

  • Apparently some teams in the league are trying to say that the Packers did not follow IR protocol with Aaron Rodgers and should now be forced to release Rodgers. LOL okay.
Green Bay Packers Requests GIF

  • What do I have to do to make McCarthy stop trying to use Cobb in the backfield? It’s a nice idea and all, but have they ever gained positive yardage on that? (Hint: no.)

  • When Antonio Brown went down last week, he had more receiving yards than four teams’ receiving corps!

  • I’m sick of Tom Brady just being the go-to MVP leader when no one else is having a particularly marvelous season. Yes, I understand that Brady is in contention for being the best ever, but he and the Patriots are two last-minute mistakes away (Texans, Bucs) and two bullpoop calls away (Jets, Steelers) from being 8-7 instead of 12-3. Maybe it’s time for a non-QB MVP, eh?
Wolf Of Wall Street GIF

  • A couple of weeks ago, after getting creamed by the Jaguars, Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was asked if he thought Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles had improved, and responded, “He’s trash.” (Rude!) Jacksonville fans took up a campaign to order trash cans online and send them to Clowney. In the spirit of the season, Clowney filled up the trash cans with toys and donated them to a local shelter. 
Touché to everyone involved.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo seems to be working out alright for the San Francisco 49ers. After winning just one of their first 11 games, they are now 4-0 with Jimmy at the helm. Before he came, they averaged 17 points per game; in the last four, they’re averaging 27.5 (that average is helped a lot by the 44 they hung on the Jaguars on Sunday).

  • People are understandably up in arms about the latest “what exactly is a catch” debate following an overturned Buffalo Bills touchdown in New England. (A controversial decision by the officials benefited the Patriots?? How strange.) The rule has survived a lot of offseason Competition Committee meetings, but it’s hard to see it at not being at least tweaked this year. The refs actually called the play correctly (a touchdown), but the review from New York overruled it, despite zero “clear and obvious” evidence to overturn. (I think it probably wasn’t a touchdown, but that was the call on the field and it should have stood.)

  • There are three Watt brothers in the NFL. They all went to Wisconsin, JJ plays for the Texans, TJ for the Steelers, and Derek for the Chargers. Their mom found a way to support them all with one very creative jersey.

  • Normally, the network pregame shows are just a bunch of incoherent buffoonery and 60-year-old men guffawing at things that even a five-year-old wouldn’t find funny, but the Fox referee parody of the famous Love Actually scene was hilarious!
  • (You can’t see it in that clip because it cuts away, but normally when it goes back to the guys in the studio, they're loyally guffawing over whatever sketch, but this time it was dead silent because none of them understood the reference, and Curt Menefee had to explain that it was a reference to a wildly popular romantic comedy.)

  • The Dallas Cowboys lost and were knocked out of playoff contention, which normally I would enjoy, except for 1) the loss was to the Seattle Seahawks and kept them in the playoff hunt; and 2) I was really hoping the Cowboys fans would spend another week reciting to themselves all the scenarios in which they could make the playoffs and would have their hopes dashed in a heartbreaking play in the final moments of Week 17. Alas, you can’t have everything. 
Dallas Cowboys Nfl GIF

  • It’s bizarre to win a game that keeps you in contention, with everything riding on the next week, and then go up to the losing coach in full view of cameras and tell him to "come get me" whenever you are a free agent. That's what Seattle safety Earl Thomas did. After the game, he confirmed that he was asking for Dallas to sign him when the time came, but he tried to spin it as 'I really want to be in Seattle, but whenever I'm not...' which did not make things better. This is weird, but if I were a teammate or coach, it would irritate me that he's not thinking about next week. Your playoff lives are in the balance! Why are you thinking about joining other teams when you are still trying to make the playoffs with your current one?

  • A blocked extra point returned for a two-point conversion!!! I LOVE that play!! The high five at the end is the cherry on top.

  • In case you hadn’t realized, the Cleveland Browns are so bad. They went into Sunday's game against the 4-10 Chicago Bears knowing that this was their last shot for a victory in the 2017 season. The Bears are terrible -- and the Browns didn't even compete! They lost 20-3. You couldn't even manage a touchdown in what is essentially your Super Bowl?
Deshone Kizer Rookies GIF by NFL
No, DeShone, the dream of 1-15 is now a distant memory.

  • Why are the Detroit Lions so bad? They seem like they have so much talent, but they’ve again missed the playoffs and are 8-7. That record doesn’t sound terrible, but only one of the eight wins came against a team that is currently over .500. Their other wins were against: Arizona, New York Giants, Green Bay, Cleveland, Chicago (twice), and Tampa Bay. Why aren’t they better?

  • I get really mad at teams who put up poor performances when their seasons are on the line. The Lions were playing against the Bengals, whose season is long over and who were down several players to injury, too. When one team is trying to make the playoffs and the other team has nothing to play for, how do you not at least make it close? Nine penalties, Detroit?? Don’t you care? Don’t you care, Jim Caldwell?
Pete Wrigley GIF

  • The New Orleans Saints were playing bitter division rival Atlanta Falcons. How bitter, you ask? Bitter enough that they had the halftime performers spell out 28-3 on the field

  • The Jaguars had a bit of an ugly scene on the sideline when two of their defensive players got it a fight. The real hero of this clip is the Gatorade dude. How does he stay so calm??

  • You guys, I think I found it -- the worst officiating of the season. Apparently there’s a new rule designed to speed up kickoffs that says kickoffs can begin as soon as a play clock starts. (Play clock or "a" clock, I'm not sure, but the announcers talk about it in the second link below.) So the Tennessee Titans ran onto the field while the Los Angeles Rams were still milling about, kicked an onside kick, and recovered it. The referees threw a penalty flag. Then they said actually, there was no penalty, but there was a timeout called by the Rams before the kick. The Rams head coach was like, “Uhhh, I didn’t call a timeout, but…” So the refs came back on the field and said actually there was no timeout, but the ball had not been put "in play." Here's the actual onside kick. And here's the refs obviously trying to explain away their bumbling errors. 

  • Eww, the Houston Texans finished with 51 passing yards in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The silver lining is that some of those yards came on this eye-popping DeAndre Hopkins catch. (Yes, there’s some offensive pass interference there; don’t care.)

Image result for pete carroll

  • We all want Seattle to miss the playoffs, but for that to happen, the wildly inconsistent Atlanta Falcons have to beat the Carolina Panthers next week. Carolina has already clinched a berth, but they’ll be playing for home-field advantage. Ugh, I hate having to depend on Atlanta. In the AFC, it’s the Tennessee Titans, California Chargers, and Buffalo Bills fighting for the two Wild Card spots. It all comes down to next week!

  • Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

So Much for the Playoffs

  • It was a rough comeback for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay’s 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers. I would have been totally fine with the Packers losing, but did they have to cut the Panther’s lead to one score with three minutes left and then recover the onside kick before losing the game? That seemed unnecessarily cruel to fans.
  • It was a wonder that Green Bay was even in it at the end, considering how their defense played, plus having four turnovers on the game. The Panthers had six first downs on the opening drive, during which Christian McCaffrey faced little-to-no resistance from the Packers defense.
Don't know when exactly in the game this picture was taken, but I know
that there's about a 0% chance that HaHa Clinton-Dix made the tackle.

  • There were some offensive highlights, however, including this beautiful cutback by Green Eyes to get into the endzone.

  • Despite the three interceptions, Rodgers looked pretty darn good, and it was a bittersweet reminder of what having a good quarterback feels like. 

  • Here’s a weird and ominous photo of Aaron Rodgers in the dark that fits my mood. 
This is from the actual game day photos on the Packers website...

  • What was that crap from Thomas Davis taking out Davante Adams following a Green Bay interception?? Davis is generally well respected and liked in the league, and he has offered an apology, but also said he wasn’t trying to hurt Adams. One might be inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, except for the fact of his arms. Look at where his arms are on that hit. They are at his side -- he’s not trying to tackle him; he’s headbutting him. 

  • Davis was suspended for two games (could be reduced to one on appeal), but how was he not ejected from the game? His dirty and illegal hit knocked Adams out of the game, which had huge repercussions on the outcome -- Geronimo Allison isn’t in the game on that last possession with Adams healthy, and if Allison doesn’t fumble the ball, Packers still have a chance at forcing overtime. Who’s to say what would have happened, of course, but it seems grossly unfair that Davis gets to stay in the game and contribute for his team while the Packers are stuck with Geronimo Allison because of him. 

  • This is the second time this season that an opponent has taken a dangerous, dangerous shot at Adams’ head. No one can blame him for being angry about it. Having two concussions in a season is a big concern; the Packers should shut him down along with Rodgers.

  • So, Jason Spriggs is back to being terrible. The right tackle allowed two sacks on Rodgers on a crucial fourth-down drive, including a fourth-down sack that gave Carolina the ball back. 

  • If Panther’ receiver Devin Funchess wants to grow his personal brand, he should have his own motto: “Bunches of Fun-chess.”

  • Welp, the Green Bay Packers will not be in the playoffs for the first time in nine years. It’s going to be a very strange postseason without the Green and Gold. It’s very painful for me, as you can imagine, but it’s for the best. Now we can shut down Aaron Rodgers and just concentrate on our draft picks. 
Trying Not To Cry After The Final Rose GIF by The Bachelorette

  • Here’s Randall in a tux to soften the blow.

  • Antonio Brown became the first receiver in history with five consecutive 100-catch seasons, on Sunday, but suffered a serious leg injury. His partially torn calf muscle sounds extremely painful, but experts whose calf muscles are currently intact assure us that he’ll be back for the postseason, no biggie. 

  • How adorable is Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota? Here he is opening up his weekly media availability by apologizing to reporters for being short with them after last week’s game. 

  • I was curious and had to look up just exactly what this “rude and inappropriate” interview looked like. He was curt and said “pissed,” which is apparently what drew his mother’s ire.

  • Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater played in a game for the first time in almost two calendar years. It was pretty cool to see how happy his teammates and the fans were to see him on the field. (It was also pretty funny and anti-climactic when he threw an interception on his first pass.) 
  • Last week, New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple was inactive for the game and ran afoul of league rules by tweeting from the bench. Okay, fine, that’s not smart, but it’s not egregious … until he retweeted a highlight of the Dallas Cowboys Rod Smith (Apple’s college teammate) scoring the touchdown that sealed the Cowboys’ victory over the Giants. Why would you do that???

  • That Pittsburgh-New England game ending was the biggest pile of horse manure I’ve ever seen. Don’t tell me Jesse James didn’t score. The common take on this is that, while the rule is terrible, it was the right call, but I’m not convinced. THE BALL IS ALLOWED TO MOVE! The ball is allowed to move when it hits the ground as long as the receiver maintains control. The ball definitely moves, but I’m not sold James lost control and I certainly don’t think it was “clear and obvious” enough to overturn.

  • I should step up and be honest that I’m the reason that Pittsburgh touchdown was overturned. I jinxed the Steelers. I was watching their incredible last-minute comeback, and I started typing up my notes, revelling in the despised Patriots second consecutive loss, laughing joyously to myself at the thought of the faces of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and Rob Gronkowski. I shouldn’t have started celebrating until the clock was at zero. I should have known that the officials will do whatever is necessary to assist the Patriots to victory.

  • Note to angry Twitter trolls: check your spelling first.

  • I will actually somewhat defend the “process of the catch” rule. I think it can and should be tweaked (see option #1 here), but I also think people don’t necessarily understand the repercussions of just saying two-feet-plus-possession is a catch. My concern with that approach is that it’s going to highly, highly incentivize hitting a receiver as hard as is physically possible in order to force a fumble. How, for example, would you square that approach with the defenseless receiver possession? If a receiver goes up in the air for a catch, for example, what is the defense supposed to do? (Kind of how it is now, but the “process of the catch” at least gives the defender a tiny window to defend the catch.) I think changing the rule would lead to a lot more dangerous hits and injuries.

  • One rule that NO ONE can possible defend is the weird fumble-out-of-the-endzone-and-apparently-that’s-a-turnover rule. That's what cost the Oakland Raiders the game against the Dallas Cowboys. The rule doesn’t make sense and no one likes it or understands it. The idea is to penalize the fumble so players can’t just lunge for the endzone without having to protect the ball (a team shouldn’t ever benefit from fumbling the ball, but the punishment is way out of proportion to the crime. As many people have proposed, instead of turning the ball over, it should be something like a 15-yard penalty (and the down would be lost), which is a significant penalty for fumbling, but not so outrageous as taking the ball away from the offense. (Even this fix I have a problem with. If the ball hits the pylon, why isn’t that a touchdown, play over??)

  • The Blake Bortles jokes just write themselves.
Playoffs, lets go!

  • Here’s untamed beast Ndamukong Suh jumping offsides and instead of stopping because it's a dead ball, plowing right on and punching Tyrod Taylor in the head.

  • The California Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 30-13. What did I tell you about believing in the Chargers??

  • What in tarnation was going on with the Dallas Cowboys’ first-down measurement against the Oakland Raiders?? 4th-and-inches, Dak Prescott dove for the first down and he was really, really close. The refs brought out the chains for measurement and even then, it was tough to tell. So ref Gene Steratore took out an index card to see if it could fit in between the ball and the chain. It did … and he signaled for first down.

  • But, but, but -- there was obviously space there…? I don’t get it at all. Gene, can you explain?

  • Jason Garrett took the words right outta my mouth.

  • (I actually think Dak got the first and the spot they gave him was a tiny bit short.)

  • I’m actually very happy for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. They used to be a joke and now they’ve put together a very formidable team (at least a very formidable defense).  

  • With the Cleveland Browns at 0-14, do we cheer for them to get a pity win? Or for the accomplishment of 0-16? If anyone could lose to them, it’s the Chicago Bears, so next Sunday’s their last chance. (They play the Steelers in Week 17, and that ain’t happening.) While I can appreciate the beauty and symmetry of 0-16, I really would like the Browns to have something positive happen to them this year. And I would like it to come at the expense of the Bears.

  • Rams running back Todd Gurley had three touchdowns … in the first half. They came against the Seattle Seahawks, which makes Gurley something of a national hero. Where shall we put the statue of him?

  • Ooooh, drama in the Seahawks’ locker room! Safety Earl Thomas, who is out for the season, commented on teammate Bobby Wagner’s play on Sunday. Wagner was playing through a hamstring injury that was obviously hobbling him. When asked about the mounting injuries, Thomas commended Wagner’s toughness, but said he didn’t think Wagner should have been playing because he was so limited. Wagner then tweeted (and deleted): “E keep my name out yo mouth. Stop being jealous of other people success. I still hope you keep balling bro.” 
Angela Lansbury Popcorn GIF

  • Man, every team needs a little of what the Philadelphia Eagle special teams has. On Sunday against the Giants, Philly blocked a field goal, an extra point, and a punt!!

  • Now that the Packers are out, I’m going to have to find some way to survive the rest of the season and the playoffs.
Christmas Happy Holidays GIF by Frank Sinatra

Monday, December 11, 2017

We TRIED to Lose to Cleveland, but Just Couldn't

  • Argghh! Winning games is stupid! Yes, Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback to ever play the game, but he is just one man! Even IF Rodgers is cleared to play next week and stays healthy for the rest of the season, there’s only so much he can do to carry a team that needed overtime to beat a team that was 1-30 coming into the game. One win in the last 31 games, and the Packers barely squeaked out the victory. Rodgers can’t tackle or defend for the defense. He can’t make the special teams better on coverage. If we need OT to beat the lowly Buccaneers and lowliest Browns, Rodgers isn’t going to be able to take us to the Super Bowl single-handedly. Why risk his health?
Liam Neeson GIF

  • After scoring on the opening drive, the Packers gained 29 yards THE ENTIRE REST OF THE FIRST HALF OF A PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL GAME.

  • To win against the Browns, Green Bay needed decisions like this from Cleveland’s DeShone Kizer:

  • And defense like this:

  • Since the Packers seem determined to end up with a middling record and a middling draft pick, I can only pray that the tests on Rodgers’ collarbone indicate that he needs more time. I’m counting on those x-rays and scans!!
Ugh they're getting Aaron's hopes up!

    • To fully understand how depressing Cleveland is, read this Bleacher Report article on the Browns’ never-ending QB carousel, aptly titled, “Last Stop to Nowhere.

    • Alright, alright, fine, grumble, grumble, I’ll stop. Now for the fun part: the (literal) walkoff win.

    • Davante Adams has had some really incredible plays this season, especially in supporting Brett Hundley. One touchdown to get them to overtime and another to win the game. The one at the end of regulation I especially liked because I love when teams are in an obvious spike-to-stop-the-clock situation, but run a play anyway. The previous play was originally ruled a touchdown, but was overturned on review as just short of the goal line. Since it was under two minutes and the Packers were out of timeouts, that required a 10-second runoff, and with a new set of downs, it seemed likely that the Pack was going to spike the ball, but ran this play instead.  

    • Things were going my way when Trevor Davis struck. He has the speed, and Packers fans have been anxiously waiting for him to get things going more consistently, so (in spite of everything) it was fun to see him break off a 65-yard return with the game on the line. 

    • I always love hearing the “Go Pack Go” chants on the road. Listen to how loud the crowd is for Davis’ return!

    • Jamaal Williams had 118 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He’s been pretty solid as a receiver, as well as a strong rusher. 
    Make no apologies, Jamaal.

    • The Packers rarely, rarely engage in trickery, so it was a shock to see a fake punt on the opening drive! (Again, you shouldn’t need trick plays to beat the Browns, but whatever.) The Cleveland coach at the end seems to be cheering the Packers player on. I guess he was impressed, too. 

    • Davon House came into the game with a serious shoulder injury and left with a more serious-looking back injury. I hope he’s okay!

    • I want you all to know how much I love Brett Hundley and how much I want him to do well -- I really do!! But he is not a good quarterback. His reads are slow; he stares down receivers; he doesn’t manage the pocket well (why won’t he ever step up in the pocket??); breaks the pocket too quickly; and, since he can’t throw on the run, his breaking the pocket just results in him running to the right sideline and throwing it away before he gets sacked, but still taking the hit.
    I like him too much to give up on him, but he's going to need
    to develop a little faster if he wants to stick around in the NFL. 

    • Poor, poor Eagles. In the same game where they clinched their division, they lost the quarterback who got them there. On Sunday, Carson Wentz set the Eagles’ franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a season with 33 (and with three games remaining in the season), but tore his ACL in the third quarter. This not only ends his season, but could likely take a chunk out of his next season, too. I’m no Philly fan, but Wentz is hard not to like and this totally stinks.

    • The Eagles-Rams game was apparently the first matchup from the top-two scoring offenses since 1970 or something. It did not disappoint. The teams combined for 78 points, five lead changes, and some fun highlights. My favorite of the game was this Alshon Jeffery fourth-down touchdown catch. 

    • Aww, the Giants fans missed their Eli (why, I don’t know), and gave him a standing ovation on his first snap.
    Fantastic job by whoever's in charge up putting up those stat graphics.

    • Ummm Jay Cutler looked like Tom Brady and Tom Brady looked like Jay Cutler on Monday night. Cutler completed 66% of his passes for three touchdowns and no interceptions in Miami's 27-20 win over New England. Brady had one touchdown and two interceptions, and the Patriots were held without a third down conversion (0-for-11!) all night.

    • The Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts played in an absolute blizzard. I just adore snow games, so we’re going to have a lot of clips from a game no one would care about otherwise, like this punt. Snow days must be fun for punters. (One thing I am very stuck on is how is the ref not wearing gloves??)

    • Here’s the octogenarian kicker Adam Vinatieri missing a 33-yard field goal in the snow, which is important because…

    • ...when Indianapolis scored with 1:16 left in the game, they elected to try for the two-point conversion and the win, surely in part because of the difficulties of kicking in the snow and Vinatieri’s earlier miss. They got the conversion -- but it was called back for offensive pass interference on the Colts. Because of the penalty, they had to kick the extra point from 43 yards. Out came Vinatieri again and:

    • Greatest extra point ever!!

    • The California Chargers have won their last four while averaging 33 points a game. They even have a good chance at winning the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs flailing and the Oakland Raiders below .500. And yet, it doesn’t matter. Because one thing I know that is even more true than the axiom that one should never believe in the Atlanta Falcons is that one should never, ever believe in the Chargers. They always will let you down. Always.

    • This week in The NFL Cares About Its Players, we have Houston QB Tom Savage concussed on the field after hitting his head on the ground and showing textbook symptoms that could only be from a concussion. Good news, though! Turns out he was totally fine -- I mean, who hasn’t had the odd in-game seizure here and there?? -- and returned to the game just minutes later! He was pulled for good a drive later, but what’s the point of the NFL crowing about having independent neurologists on each game if they’re missing what everyone else watching on TV can clearly see?

    • I can’t say enough how much I hate the dirty, filthy, petty, execrable, ill-intentioned, opprobrious, sore-losing, unscrupulous, base, dishonorable, reprehensible Seattle Seahawks. Like clockwork, as soon as Jacksonville sealed the game, the Seahawks started taking cheap shots. Here’s Michael Bennett rolling into a Jaguars’ player’s knees -- and this is while Jacksonville is in victory formation.

    • Bennett got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the Seahawks' Sheldon Richardson threw a punch and was ejected. On the next play -- another kneeldown from Jacksonville -- coach Pete Carroll received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Quinton Jefferson was ejected. Seriously, what is wrong with the Seahawks?? What sort of tough guys habitually try to injure opponents as soon as they realize the game is lost?

    • Things actually got worse off the field. As Jefferson was exiting the field after his ejection, a fan threw something at him (this was not the first time in the game that Jacksonville fans threw things at the Seahawks, which is a horrible thing to do, even to the Seahawks), and Jefferson tried to charge the stands.

    • It’s kinda cute how Dallas Cowboys fans still think they’re going to make the playoffs. I keep hearing things like, “Once we get Zeke back….!!” and “We can definitely win out with Zeke…” Lolz. 

    • The results of Aaron Rodgers’ scan are imminent, but I’m bracing myself. That guy is the best at everything he does; he probably is the best at healing too. =( Let’s summon up the strength to root for one more loss next week at Carolina.
    If they win next week, I'll give up my campaign
    and go back to cheering for them.

    Monday, December 4, 2017

    I Wish Green Bay Had Lost

    • Look, I don't approve of tanking, and I really don't like cheering for tanking, but sometimes it must be done. The Green Bay Packers are not making the playoffs. That’s hard for me to write, but it’s the truth. The Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, and the Atlanta Falcons are currently jockeying for two Wild Card spots. The Packers are not better than two of those teams.

    • And even if the other teams all choked and Green Bay somehow managed to make the playoffs, so what? Do you think we’re going anywhere with our defense? There’s no saying that Aaron Rodgers will be able to come back this season -- he won’t get x-rays for at least another week. But even if he did, is it worth risking his health for this team?? No.

    • What makes it worse is that we play the Cleveland Browns next week. I don’t know if we could lose to them if we tried. (Though it’d be a nice early Christmas present to Cleveland to save them from a winless season.) Facing Tampa and Cleveland in back-to-back weeks as Aaron Rodgers is coming back to practice has been poor timing, as it’s whipped Green Bay fans into a frenzy of unrealistic fantasies. Really, all it is doing is costing us a better draft pick. We need that draft pick!!

    • Another reason I wish the Packers had lost Sunday’s game is that we super did not deserve to win that game. We were terrible. Green Bay had four three-and-outs on offense -- against a team that is 32nd in the league in third-down defense. Tampa Bay had 25 (!) first downs to Green Bay’s 16. Tampa Bay converted nine third downs to Green Bay’s five. Tampa Bay had 230 passing yards to Green Bay’s 77. Seventy-seven yards passing in an NFL game!

    Image result for brett hundley
    I say this as someone who loves Brett!

    • Okay, now that I’ve said my piece, we can focus on the more fun aspects of the game, like Dean Lowry’s fumble recovery and touchdown! Defensive lineman scoring is always fun! It’s adorable to see how excited their teammates are for them, too.

    • Kyle Fackrell had a non-blocked punt blocked punt. He got a piece of the punt, but the ball still made it to the line of scrimmage, which means it does not go into the box score as a block. Even without the stat, it was awesome!

    • The defense played well (sorta), and were able to get some pressure on Jameis Winston in a season where the Packers have struggled to generate any pass rush. Green Bay hit home on seven sacks, including 2.5 from Clay Matthews! They also recorded 13 QB hits, six tackles for loss, and a turnover. 

    • Jamaal Williams had another great game. While I worry about his long-term durability, it’s nice to have a running back who can contribute 113 yards a game. He’s been great to have, especially to support Brett Hundley.

    • The best part of the game was Aaron Jones. Jones missed the previous two games with a sprained MCL. He was active for the game, but wasn’t expected to play much and, in fact, didn’t play for all of regulation. He had precisely one carry, and it was a 20-yard run for the game-winning, walk-off touchdown. (Note the beautiful block by Jordy.)

    • So former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings announced our game. Huh. Interesting. Okay. Jennings had this to say about Jordy Nelson early in the game: “He never got the adjustment, the play call, so he didn’t really know what to do there.” DON’T YOU DARE CALL OUT JORDY, YOU HAS-BEEN TRAITOR!!!

    • Ugh. My own personal animosity toward that nobody announcer aside, he and his announcing partner were not good. They made a number of mistakes, including saying Aaron Jones was inactive and that Ty Montgomery was “out for the game,” when Montgomery’s on IR. I also liked it when Jennings talked about how Davante Adams is so good that he reminds him of himself. 

    • I liked it when his partner talked about how Adams had said that there were no “divas” in the receiver room in Green Bay. Hmm, maybe Adams isn’t so much like Jennings as Jennings thinks!

    • Um, the Oakland Raiders might want to take their running back Jalen Richard off of returns. He fumbled THREE returns on Sunday, but fortunately for his job security, his team recovered each. 

    • Rob “Yo Soy Fiesta” Gronkowski was in less than a party mood when he intentionally tried to hurt an opposing player. Buffalo Bills corner Tre’Davius White had been guarding Gronkowski, uh, quite closely, but no flag was thrown. When White, pulling and pushing, intercepted a pass intended for Gronk, Gronk responded by diving on White, who was faced down and out of bounds, well after the play. (White was evaluated for a concussion after the hit.) Gronk apologized after the game, but it was a day late and a dollar short, and the league suspended him anyway. La fiesta ha terminado.

    • So is Case Keenum … really, really good? Against the Atlanta Falcons, the Minnesota quarterback went 25-for-30, including 18-for-18 in second half!! It was the 10th victory for the stupid Vikings. 

    • Tarik Cohen’s return was really bad, then worse, then better, then OMG!!! That’s a 127-yard punt return for 61 yards.

    • New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara has more games averaging more than five yards rushing per carry than Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has games averaging more than five yards per pass! Pee-yew!
    On the season, Kamara is averaging 7 yards/carry, while Joe is
    averaging 5.5 yards/pass.

    • Gosh, Denver is so bad. What happened? Not having a quarterback will hurt your chances, sure, but what happened to their once-dominant defense? You can’t allow a Jay Cutler-led team to put up 35 points on you! After losing the the Miami Dolphins, the Broncos are now 3-9 and have lost eight straight. Ick. 

    • So Eli Manning got benched prior to Sunday’s game, and -- could it be?? -- I actually felt a little bad for him. It’s not as bad as it sounds. The Giants’ season is long gone, so it makes sense to shut down your starting quarterback. But many thought the move might signal that Manning has played his last game for New York. The salt in the wound is that the Giants are not playing their rookie quarterback -- which would be an understandable move to see what they have in him -- but are starting backup Geno Smith. If the rookie isn’t ready to start, why not keep playing Eli? What’s the point of moving to your second-string quarterback right now? 
    Eli Manning GIF

    • Eli’s benching did not go over well in the sports world. Nor did it stop the Giants’ free fall; they lost the Raiders. If it makes Manning feel better, his coach and GM are now out of jobs, as both were fired Monday.
    Eli Manning GIF

    • Oh, and now it’s reported that Eli will start next week. So the whole purpose of the last week appears to have been ruining Eli’s 210-consecutive-game starting streak. 
    Eli Manning GIF

    • Wait -- that Giants’ rookie quarterback is named David Webb … isn’t that Jason Bourne’s real name?!? (Ohh it’s Davis Webb. That’s okay, I’m still going to refer to him as Jason Bourne from now on.)

    • The NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign is just another PR attempt to make us forget all the horrible things they do and represent … but I gotta say it’s working. I’ve really enjoyed reading about all the athletes’ different charitable work. So many of them have very moving personal connections to their causes. 
    Packers' corner Damarious Randall, who has dealt with a stutter for
    most of his life, was supporting an organization that support kids
    who stutter and helps them build confidence. 

    • Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith tore his Achilles and is out for the season, which is sad. Coincidentally, his injury came the same week that the league announced a four-game suspension for him for using PEDs. Am I the only one who thinks it’s unfair that he gets to serve his suspension while injured, when he couldn’t be playing anyway? This isn’t a big deal, but I’m just super vindictive and into punishment, so it bothers me!

    • I’ve watched this clip many, many times and still have no idea of what is happening or why.

    • Kickers don’t really get a lot of love in the league. They’re sorta tangential to their teams; no one really considers them athletes; when they make their kicks, people say they were just doing their jobs; when they miss kicks, everyone hates them; and if they struggle, teams don’t hesitate to bring in free agents. So it must feel really, really good to be in the limelight (the good kind) while single-footedly defeating your old team, as Robbie Gould did on Sunday. After playing for the Chicago Bears for 11 years, Gould, now with the San Francisco 49ers, went 5-for-5 on field goals, including the game-winner, to defeat the Bears 15-14. 
    Revenge of the nerd.

    • I want so much for Josh Gordon to do well. After something like five league suspensions (almost all for substance abuse), the electric receiver is back. He estimates that he drank or used drugs before every professional game he played, but is hopefully getting his life back together. Everyone's rooting for him, not just as a player but as a person.

    • Marcus Peters was displeased with the referees’ call on a play and decided to express his feelings by throwing the penalty flag into the stands. I love how the ref stares him down and slowly tosses his hat to penalize Peters for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    • This one wasn't chucked by Marcus Peters, but watch out for flying flags!

    • If the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers can't play like grown-ups and keep trying to kill each other, maybe we need to put them in timeout and cancel their games for a year or two.

    • Tiptoe catches are always cool, but this one is particularly impressive.

    • Alvin Kamara is too much fun. Also, he’s super athletic and can pretty much fly. Look how little effort it takes for him to get into the stands! Gotta admit, that's higher than the endzone wall at Lambeau.

    • While I will personally be (gulp) cheering for the Packers to lose every single one of their remaining games, here is a cheat sheet for if you’re still holding out hope that they make the playoffs.

    I want so badly for you guys to be reunited ... but I don't.