And it seems to me you played your game
Like a football in the wind
Never knowing who to call off
When the punted ball came in
And I would have liked to have that back
But I was just too chilled
Your teams’ candle burned out long before
Your QB’s legend never will
Name that song FMQBers! It’s the famous Elton John’s Candle in the Wind…or at least a parody of it. Believe it or not, I just listened to that song for the first time in my life, and also realized how few lyrics there were in the song (which makes it tough to make a football song out of). Of course, I am referencing the amazing Sunday night game between the Patriots and Broncos. The Patriots floundered in the first half, on several fumbles in a row. By the end, they were down 24-0, and yours truly was excited to see such a decisive game with that team losing so early. Well the winds definitely changed (metaphorically) in the 2nd half, and all of a sudden it was the Broncos fumbling and not being able to score, and the Patriots scoring every possession they had the ball. Granted, the Broncos started working on the clock immediately in the 2nd half while the Patriots scored 31 unanswered points (which just shouldn’t happen in the NFL). The 2 teams were dangerously close to the 2nd Tie of the game before destiny roared it’s evil head, and we all know what happened after Denver blew a standard punt play. Overall, absolutely crazy game which could very well be a prequel to the AFC Championship.
Sunday night was affected dramatically by the weather. Going into OT, I think everybody was wondering if you dare make a decision based on the weather. Sure enough, the Patriots won the coin toss and chose the wind over the ball. My first reaction was that this was a dumb decision, but looking into the strategy of it, I am completely changing my mind (and yes, agreeing with Bill Belichick). Before we talk about that, take a look 11 years ago, when the Lions’ Marty Mornhinweg deferred the OT toss because of the wind. This was back in the day when a FG would win the game. Of course, the Bears marched down and kicked a Field Goal, and the wind never came into play. But now with the OT rules changing, Belichick made an awesome decision. It didn’t matter if the Broncos kicked a FG, the Patriots just needed to keep them out of the endzone. Either way, the Broncos would probably have to get within the 25 yard line to make that kick while the Patriots could get to about the 40 and have a good shot. One defensive stop (which the Patriots had been doing the entire 2nd half) would make the wind decision moot anyway. Of course the Patriots made the stop, and all of a sudden had the advantage in the period (which they took advantage of). With the new OT rules, I think we’ll see a lot more teams take the wind over the ball.
As genius as the previous decision was, I found it highly amusing how the captains acted. The Patriots won the toss, and the 4 guys looked at the refs in confusion, looked at each other, shrugged, then looked at the sidelines wondering what to do. For a game that is so strategic, that coaches always think 3 or 4 plays ahead, how do you not discuss with your coach in the 4 minutes of downtime what happens should you win the coin toss? It was just a funny situation that led to the great call.
Stat of the Week #1:
The words “Candle in the Wind” only appear once in the song “Candle in the Wind”
Stat of the Week #2:
The Steelers started the season 0-4, and since gone 5-2. Additional note: they are tied for the final playoff spot
Stat of the Week #3:
The Houston Texans have lost 9 in a row. Surprisingly a franchise record, considering their initial struggles as a franchise, and the fact they have won playoff games the past 2 years.
Stolen Stat of the Week #4:
RGIII started the game on a dreadful note: Incompletion, Incompletion, Incompletion, Incompletion, Completion for negative yardage, Interception
Stolen Stat of the Week #5:
In their last 3 games, the Colts have been outscored 79-3 in the first half
Stat of the Week #6:
There were 11 fumbles in the Broncos vs Patriots game
Jumping off the Bandwagon like Lemmings
In a mere 2 weeks, the Chieves went from the surprise team in the NFL, to 5th in the AFC playoff race. Albeit to decent teams, KC has lost 2 straight, and are in mortal danger of losing a 3rd to Denver this week. All you heard on TV and columns was Chieves, Chieves, Chieves, but that has already died down.
Matt Flynn Shines
Before Thanksgiving’s game, that was the title of this section. Going down quick to the Vikings, McCarthy benched Tolzien for Matt Flynn. Flynn added a definite spark, looking much sharper than he did in Oakland, and led the Packers to 2 late scores to take the game into OT. It’s amazing to see how much an offensive system affects a quarterback, and how he can struggle in 3 other systems, but literally hit the ground running back in Green Bay. Anyway, prior to Thursday, I was very impressed with Flynn…enter the Lions! FMQB is never one to turn off games, but I turned this one off. Granted, it was to watch James Bond, but seeing a movie I’d seen 25 times sounded much more entertaining than what I was witnessing. The Lions were driving on command, while the Packers lone offensive scoring drive went 24 yards and was only for a FG. Only Lions turnovers in the first half kept the Packers close, otherwise it was a rough game to watch. I think the Packers are dang lucky that Aaron Rodgers is coming back soon (they were 0-4-1 without him). Not sure if there’s anybody else more valuable to a team than ARod.
Small Gripe Section:
I am really starting to dislike ties. That Vikings vs Packers game was one of the more exciting back and forth contests I’ve seen in awhile. It was also the first time that an OT game had a team kick a field goal, and the other team match it. This will yield for more exciting overtimes, but will also lead to more ties. By the time the Vikings kicked their 3 to match the score, there was only 4 minutes left in the period and not much chance to break that tie. It was such a good contest, that ending the game in a tie was a bit anti-climatic. I think the NFL needs to really look into the rules and figure a way to eliminate ties.
It’s Fine if I do it, but not if you do it:
There is controversy a-brewing in the NFL after last night’s Steelers game. Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones had eluded some tackles and was sprinting up the sidelines. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was watching the play on the jumbotron, and had a foot onto the field of play. This slowed Jones up just enough to get tackled. Right after the game Flacco called the Steelers out, essentially calling them cheaters…Whoah whoah whoah, does anybody remember what happened in the Super Bowl on the last play of the game? The Ravens had to punt the ball, and Flacco ran up and down the sidelines telling his teammates to run off the bench and tackle the punt returner! How is that any different?
(Before Thursday) There are 6 teams vying for the final playoff spot in the AFC, and all of them are under .500 at 5-6. The Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Dolphins are all here. With 5 games left, this is a perfect prediction time! I don’t think the Titans, Jets, or Dolphins have a chance in this spot at all, so let’s take them out. So we’re between the Ravens, Steelers, and Chargers. Steelers still have a chance, but last night’s loss hurt it quite a bit. The Ravens are so hit and miss, but they are in the lead at moment. My vote here is the Chargers. I think they have a legit shot to not only get hot, but maybe even make a run in the playoffs. Ravens or Chargers will break out of the pack, but could be a fun race to watch.
To meet my quota, I went this entire post without going nuts with Thanksgiving terms like I normally do, so Turducken…