What a crazy week in the NFL! Six games were affected by snowy conditions. Including one in Philadelphia which ended with 8 inches of snow on the ground! It was so bad, that there were times the ball would sink in and disappear. Kicking was rendered useless, and only 1 extra point was attempted, and blocked. There were 7 two-point conversions in the game, which lends to a unique sample size on how successful these tries are: teams went 3 for 7. I love this kind of football, it brings the game back to its roots for me, and turns into instant classic games.
Shutdown in Washington
We’ve all heard about the drama in the Redskins organization. I won’t dive into it too much, but here’s a cliff notes version. Reports surfaced that Shanahan was going to quit last year because of how the owner treated RGIII over other players. He backed out after the knee injury, but there has still been tension. With Shanahan’s contract, if he resigns, he’s done. But if he gets fired, then he will get paid next year too (which is quite a deal). So this week, he announced that he’s benching RGIII for Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season, and theories have surfaced on why. One interesting theory is Snyder is such a RGIII fan, that this will force his hand into firing Shanahan. Anyway, I have mixed opinions on this. First, does it really matter if RGIII plays or not? Not really, but then why doesn’t every other crappy team this year who have franchise QB’s (i.e Falcons) bench them to see how their backup is? Second, I think the media is also holding RGIII in a superstar status over every other QB who performs similarly. Alex Smith “manages” the game, while RGIII is an explosive player. Both are #24 and #25 in completion percentage this year. Meanwhile, Christian Ponder is having an “off” year and about to be run out of town, yet has fewer INT’s, fewer sacks, and a better completion percentage than RGIII (yes, I know he hasn’t played every game, but it’s not even close). People slam Tony Romo like crazy, say he doesn’t deserve his contract, and can’t win in December. Yet the statistical difference between Romo and Griffin this year is like the difference between a 1st and 3rd string QB. There’s a double standard in Washington because of what they paid to get him. Overall, RGIII has definitely regressed this year, and even with his superstar status I think that the Redskins almost need to start Cousins to see if he can pull a “Nick Foles” and be their next franchise QB.
QB Issue #2:
Do you bench Josh McCown right now? I am probably the biggest advocate of Jay Cutler who is not a Bears fan, I have repeatedly said that I think he’s better than people give him credit for. But what happened last year in San Francisco? Harbaugh decided that Kaepernick was a hotter quarterback, and Alex Smith didn’t get his job back the rest of the season. You will see some of McCown’s stats later on, but he had 4 TD’s, a rushing TD, and 0 INT’s on Monday night. The Bears also had the rare distinction of scoring on every single drive, other than kneeling in the victory formation at the end of the game. McCown also has 13 TD’s versus only 1 INT. What makes it tougher is that McCown is 3-2 in games he ran the show, while Cutler is 4-2 (I’m not counting the 2 games where they split time, which resulted in 2 more losses). Once again, I’m a little on the fence about it, but my gut tells me that the Bears should stick with McCown. He’s hot, and he’s not making mistakes. I’m surprised that Brandon Marshall, and even McCown said post game that Jay Cutler is their QB. That makes Trestman’s decision much easier. I suppose the real decision comes in 3 months, when both QB’s are unrestricted free agents.
The Cards are who we Thought They Were!:
Ahhh, Denny Green, you never get old. Other than the Chiefs, the surprising team this year is easily the Cardinals. They have very quietly made it to 8-5. I was very surprised to see that they have only had a 2 game losing streak once this season. And their opponents were San Francisco one week, followed by the Seahawks. Well the Cardinals surprising season is about to come to an end. The Schedulemakers must not be Arizona fans, because they end the season playing the Seahawks in week 16, and the 49ers in Week 17.
The Band is on the Field!
Not really, but Sunday’s Steelers play was absolutely incredible. In a game that both teams needed to keep their playoff hopes alive, it came down to a wild play to end the game. I was checking the score on my phone, and we found 2 sites that had the Steelers winning, and 2 with the Dolphins winning, it was bizarre. I then found out why when I saw the craziness on a replay. Take a look at this play that almost worked! Antonio Brown barely stepped out, which was a disappointing end, but exciting nonetheless. And yes commentators, insert your “Mike Tomlin should have been on that sideline” joke here. That was way overused this weekend.
Props to Broncos kicker Matt Prater, who broke the record for the longest field goal on Sunday. This is always a record I’ve been fascinated with for some reason. In 1970, Tom Dempsey hit a 63 yard field goal, setting the record. Three other kickers matched that distance, but nobody could gain that extra yard in 43 years. On Sunday, Prater hit a 64 yarder that was good by about 2 inches. Prater said he’s practiced 60 yarders, but never even attempted anything longer. Crazy to think, I feel like kickers screwing around would try 70 yarders and stuff.
Will the Patriots seriously ever lose if they’re down? As much as it pains me to say it, their comebacks have indeed been impressive. Even considering the Panthers game with the questionable call…anyway, you know it’s bad when a 12 point lead with 2 minutes left not safe anymore? But 2 late TD’s and with an onside kick somehow made for a miracle comeback. They’ve done it against the Saints and Broncos earlier this year as well. Coaches should now know to keep the foot on the gas until the game is over against this team.
Manning Record Update:
Peyton had another strong game on Sunday, but kind of a rough one on Thursday. This leaves him with 2 games to set records. He needs 3 TD’s to tie Brady, and 665 yards to beat Drew Brees’ record. The TD record is almost a given at this point, but he also has a decent chance to beat Brees, albeit not destroying it like he was on pace to do.
The Ravens pulled a huge win last week against the Vikings, and hold the final playoff spot. But they have a tough schedule to finish out the season as well, ending with Lions, Bengals, and Patriots. All of a sudden, the final matchup of year between the Dolphins and NY Jets looks pretty intriguing. With the Chargers crazy upset last night, they are back in the hunt as well.
Stat of the Week:
Who holds the Top 3 Quarterback Ratings in the NFL this year? #1 Nick Foles, #2 Peyton Manning, #3 Josh McCown. 2 of the Top 3 guys were on the bench in Week 1. Hell, they were on the bench until Week 6!
Stat of the Week #2:
The Dolphins have a better record on the road than at home, something that could come in handy if they get the #6 seed in the playoffs
Reader Stat of the Week #3:
There were 104 touchdowns scored in the NFL this week, the first time EVER in triple digits. Previous record was 90. All of this happened with major winter storms making a snowy NFL scene.
Stat of the Week #4:
In the first 58 minutes of the game, the Vikings and Ravens combined for 19 points. In the last 2 minutes, they combined for 36 points!
Quote of the Week:
“We want to keep Robert healthy for the offseason” Mike Shanahan, with a quote that makes zero sense
Quote of the Week #2:
“Charles Johnson, Hogwarts” Panthers defensive player’s introduction
Crazy Vikings Game:
Despite their record, the Vikings have been in some of the more entertaining games this year (Bears OT game, Packers Tie, Redskins shootout). But Sunday’s game definitely takes the cake! It was a ho-hum game the first 58 minutes, actually kind of boring with the Vikings leading 12-7 before ol’ Ragnor himself broke lose. There were 5 lead changing touchdowns to end the game in the last 2:05! The old record for the shortest span with 5 TD’s scored was over twice that much, 5:40. Take a look at this breakdown.
2:05 Dennis Pitta, 1-yard catch 15-12, Ravens
1:27 Toby Gerhart, 41-yard run 19-15, Vikings
1:16 Jacoby Jones, 77-yard kickoff return 22-19, Ravens
0:45 Cordarrelle Patterson, 79-yard catch 26-22, Vikings
0:04 Marlon Brown, 9-yard catch 29-26, Ravens