FMQB: Elliot, out of this World!
“And with the 4th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys select, in their best ET impression, Ezekiel Elllliiiiooootttt.” Sorry for the cheesy line, just had to tie this article in with the picture. Ezekiel Elliot is out of this world! Not only is he leading the Rookie of the Year, I can legitimately see Ezekiel Elliot as leading the MVP race right now. He has 1000 yards through 9 games, 10 TD’s (including single-handedly winning Sunday’s game). Only other rookie who has won MVP (and Rookie of the year of course) was Hall of Famer Earl Campbell in 1978. Only Eric Dickerson and Adrian Peterson had more yards than Elliot does through their first 9 games.
Game of the Year #1:
We had a pair of Super Bowl rematches this week, both of which ended up being the most entertaining football we’ve seen so far. The Cowboys Magical Season continued with an all out slugfest against the Steelers. There were six 2 point conversions attempted in this game, and 7 lead changes. Dak went out there and answered every single time the Steelers took the lead. The crazy back and forth yielded a fake spike for a TD (which rarely work), and then a 32 yard game winning TD run with only 9 seconds left! One thing I noticed from this game, granted you could argue that Elliott won it for them with his 114 yard 2 TD day. But they’re holding nothing back from Prescott. And even so, he’s not merely managing these games, he’s putting them in position to win every single time; more often than not he’s leading them to wins.
Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports
Pretty good start to the season, with some surprise teams, close games, and upsets. It’s only Week 1, and despite what every Viking, Colts and Seahawks fan will tell you, it’s not time to panic yet.
San Diego Comeback:
In the last 2 meaningful games the Detroit Cecils have played, they have blown leads of 18 and 13 respectively (a la Dallas playoff game). The Chargers had some pretty wicked comebacks last year as well, thinking of the Ravens game scoring 21 points in the 4th quarter to win. Fitting that these two met and the same thing happened. Despite going down early, SD outscored the Cecils 24-7 with Rivers throwing for 404 yards. Could be an interesting team to watch this year.
So the NFL made up for their ho-hum Wild Card weekend with an amazing slate of football games! We had comebacks, crazy calls, and de-throning. With so much to talk about, let’s just take it in order.
Ravens at Patriots:
Very crazy back and forth contest. Baltimore took the wind out of the stadium with a quick 14 points, but the Patriots stormed back to tie it up. The Ravens then jumped to another 14 point lead only to see it squandered away again! It’s 28-28 going into the 4th and it’s clear we have a shootout on our hands. The Ravens constantly had the Patriots on their heels, and the only way they won was with trickeration. The first one was sweet, a fake reverse to Julian Edelman who then threw it 51 yards to a wide open Danny Amendola. The second one was smart, but a bit cheap. The Pats lined up only 4 offensive lineman, and Shane Vereen went wide and declared himself “ineligible.” Being smart, the Ravens should have blitzed the hell out of Brady, with essentially one of his lineman 25 yards away from him. But instead they tried to cover the ineligible player. It was technically a legal formation, but they didn’t get much time to figure it out. This drive led to another TD for the Pats, and eventually a close win. The final drive for the Ravens had me screaming at the TV. Flacco had 1:46 and a timeout left to go only 36 yards. They should have drove down the field and they would have easily had 4 shots to get in within the 10 yard line. Instead Flacco heaves a prayer that gets picked off. Even if that succeeds, you don’t want to give Brady the ball back with 1:40 and only a FG needed to tie.
I’m not particularly a fan of Chris Collinsworth, but don’t dislike him either. But for the second straight week, he has contributed a lot to the game in my opinion. He almost creates a storyline with his insight which makes the viewer pay more attention to that note. Last week it was the Le’Veon Bell analysis, how the Steelers essentially stopped the run on their own. This week Collinsworth made a comment when the Ravens kicked their field goal at the beginning of the 4th quarter. He said that settling for a field goal after having First and Goal and not getting a TD could be the deciding factor of the game. It doesn’t seem that profound, but keep in mind that Baltimore takes the lead with this play, had just held Brady to a 3 and out, and there are easily 2 more possessions for Baltimore in the game. Lo and behold, that FG became the deciding factor of the game. It’s a good thing that Collinsworth is broadcasting the Super Bowl this year.
It’s funny how 1 week can completely shape the playoff picture into what we will most likely see going forward. Coming into the week, there were about 11 teams on the outside who still had a shot at making the playoffs. That number got slashed to maybe 5 who still have an outside shot but need help. There is still some shifting that could happen (Packers moved from #2 to #6 while the Cowboys jumped from #7 to #3).
Game of the Week:
Wow, Sunday night’s division showdown between the Cowboys and Eagles turned into the game of the week! Dallas got out to a quick 21-0 lead after a botched opening kickoff, and it looked like a snoozer 20 minutes into the game. All of a sudden the Eagles rattled off 24 unanswered points to take the lead! You could already hear the reporters talking about another December meltdown by the Cowboys. But Dez Bryant stepped up and reeled in his 3rd TD of the game.
A Dash of Kryptonite:
It’s always a little surprising to see a top-tier quarterback completely struggle on the field, and we saw that with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. The Bills D had a dash of Kryptonite by the name of Bacarri Rambo, which is an awesome name by the way. On one drive, Eddie Lacy ripped off like 60 yards on 3 runs, which seemed to be the Bills weakness. Yet the Packers only gave it to him 15 times while rattling off 42 passing attempts. If something is working, stick with it! It’s not like they were out of the game until the very end.
Another rag-tag post here, as yours truly was basking in the Caribbean sun over this past weekend. It was funny how parts of the resort was sparse, but on Sunday everybody was crowded around the sole bar that had a TV with American Football on it. Nevertheless, this is kind of an outside perspective of what happened in Week 13.
Final 4 weeks:
It’s that time of year for my favorite website, the ESPN Playoff Machine! Here you get to pick the last 4 weeks of the year, and see how the playoff landscape plays out. Here’s what I like about it: Pick the games with how you think they’ll play out, without looking at the seeds below. Once you’re done with Week 17, a few surprises emerge. With a lot of close battles, here is what FMQB has.
Steelers Continue Reading
The Game that Could Have Been:
It was rather disappointing to see Tony Romo didn’t play on Sunday, with what could have been an awesome regular season matchup, and still has the potential of being an NFC Championship preview. Still, you gotta think the Cardinals are legit. Only team without 2+ losses, and the first to hold DeMarco Murray to under 100 yards. They have also beaten the Eagles and Cowboys in back to back games.
Rams Strike Again!
I reverted to my days before the ability to watch most games, staring at a Gamecast and waiting a minute between plays to read the text of what happened. Having them get into field goal range with plenty of time left was nerve wracking. At that point OT seemed like a given, if not the win. They had 3 plays within the 2 yard line, and couldn’t punch it in. Admittedly, the Kaepernick fumble was very controversial, and after seeing highlights I think he actually scored, but the Football Gods rewarded the Rams after blowing 2 big leads.
The Game that Could Have Been #2:
The Patriots Broncos matchup also ended up being a little bit of a dud. Of course everybody freaks out at the fact to see a matchup with 2 of the greatest QBs in NFL history, but you expect a game like last year and not a 22 point thrashing. Brady has dominated the series between the 2 QBs, going 11-5.