Obituaries: None this week
8 – Done
In my home, on weeks when I’m not in the Philly press box, I typically have the dual TVs going in the family room (I pull the 2nd best TV in the house out of the living room). One TV has whatever game is on in the NYC metro area, the other has the Red Zone channel. It pisses my wife off something awful, because it means that if she wants to watch her terrible shows on E! or VH1 or whatever, she’s relegated to the crappy TV in the bedroom. Furthermore, to add insult to injury for her, I need help moving the equipment. I carry the TV, while she carries the cable box and we walk together. That way, I don’t have to unscrew all the wires that connect the two. I get yelled at throughout the process. It’s a whole production every Sunday, although ultimately, it’s well worth the trouble.
Anyway, yesterday, the big TV (and volume) got the Red Zone channel, while I paid lesser attention to the Skins game on the smaller TV (sorry Skins). The Red Zone channel continuously goes to game in which a team is close to scoring. Honestly, I don’t recall seeing the Bears on offense the entire day, aside from when they showed Matt Forte getting hurt, and Roy Williams dropping a pass that led to a pick. Therefore, I didn’t actually get to see Caleb Hanie play, although everything I’m reading is telling me that he was atrocious. His stat line would agree with that: 11 for 24, 133 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT. And they were playing the Chiefs.
Matt Forte has a “Grade 2 MCL sprain.” Cowboys fans probably know a little about Grade 2 MCL sprains. Kyle Kosier had one to start the 2010 season. He suffered it on August 19, and missed the first week of the season, a loss to the Skins. He returned Week 2, which was September 19. Now, I would assume that the youthful Matt Forte’s innards are more spry than Kosier’s, but we’ll see. It’s an injury that typically takes 2-6 weeks to recover from. It took Kosier 4.
No Jay Cutler? Ehhh… It’s still a really good D, and they still had Matt Forte. No Matt Forte? Yikes. That offense S-T-I-N-K-S.
I really considered killing them off this week. It’s been almost a month since Week 10, when I killed off the Eagles and Bucs, and I’m thirsty for blood. But it’s too soon, and I don’t trust their competition for the wildcard. If you haven’t noticed, every single team in the wild card hunt lost this week. Every single one of them. Can’t do it yet.
7 – Brain Fart City
People are absolutely destroying Jason Garrett today for icing his own kicker yesterday. His explanation was that the play clock was running down, and he wanted to give his kicker a more relaxed and stable opportunity rather than fire off a kick with an expiring clock. It’s actually somewhat reasonable. The side effect was that he happened to call the TO as the ball was snapped and as we all saw, Bailey made the kick. We kill opposing coaches all the time for “icing the kicker,” with the premise that the kicker gets a practice shot first, and why would you want to give him that advantage? The outcome obviously looks extremely embarrassing, I can’t really kill Garrett there. I really can’t. I mean… What if Bailey misses the first one, then hits the second? We’re calling Garrett a genius this morning.
What the hell were the Cowboys doing prior to the actual kick? With 1:15 to go and TWO TIME OUTS, the Cowboys were driving and very much looking to strangle this game away with a patented late FG for the winner, as they’ve done all season.
1st and 10 at the Cards 45 – A rattled Montrae Holland gets a little nervy due to the Cards’ effective blitz schemes, and with a few Cardinal defenders moving around in his general vicinity, Holland jumps. False start. Back to midfield. Terrible timing for that to happen.
1st and 15 at the 50 – Incomplete pass.
2nd and 15 at the 50 – Delay of game. What?!? Really?
2nd and 20 at the Cowboys 45 – Pass to Dez Bryant complete, 9 yards, most of the penalty yardage back, but at the cost of a down and 30 seconds. Clock running…
3rd and 11 from the Cards 46 – Tony Romo makes a gorgeous play. Hangs in… Hangs in some more… And fires a perfect strike in between two defenders for a 15 yard gain to Dez and a first down with :25 left on the clock. Pressure throw, and he nails it.
OK, now Tony, you made the big throw. Call timeout. Timeout. Timeout. OK, Tony’s in the heat of battle. You call the timeout instead, Garrett. Timeout. Uh, timeout? Wait… What?!? You guys know you have 2 timeouts, right? You’re not going to call a time out?!?!?!?
Nope, instead, Romo hurries the troops down and spikes it with :08 remaining. I immediately take to twitter:
We know what happened after that. I could have sworn I was watching the Eagles. Sympathies to my Cowboys fan readers.
6 – Sobering reality
I admire the fight. I credit Eli for the game he played and the season he has had. It was good to see Justin Tuck start playing a little bit like Justin Tuck again. Victor Cruz is a legitimate play maker at WR, and Hakeem Nicks is a baller. Hell, even Brandon Jacobs didn’t do his little tippy toe nonsense for a week and hit holes with authority when they were there. They overcame what I felt was a horrible call on Greg Jennings’ “TD catch” and kept fighting. I could go on. Lot’s of good to take away from the Giants’ performance yesterday.
But here’s the sobering reality. The Giants played about as well as anyone could have expected, while the Packers, at least for them, very much had an off day. And the Packers still won. In NJ. The talent level just isn’t there (and the same goes for Dallas) to expect any kind of run through the playoffs. Barring some sort of injury to Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, one playoff win seems like the reasonable maximum.
I’ll pose the question: Of the Giants and Cowboys, which team is more likely to win a first round playoff matchup against whatever team grabs a wild card? Personally, I’ll reluctantly take the Giants, and that’s why I have them higher in the hierarchy, in case you’re wondering. And that’s even with the Giants dropping 4 straight games.
5 – Suhless
The Lions gave up 438 yards last night to the Saints. The book on Drew Brees is that you have to get to him up the middle. Ndamukong Suh didn’t play. Just sayin’.
4 – Matt Ryan is doing less with more
Eli Manning hasn’t had a running game this entire season. His OL has stunk (disclaimer – they played well yesterday). His defense stinks. He has had to put his team on his shoulders and make due with what Jerry Reese has surrounded him with this season, and somehow, he has won 6 games.
Matt Ryan has Roddy White. He has Julio Jones. He has Tony Gonzalez. He has a defense that, while nothing special, is better than what they have up in NJ.
And yet, if the run game isn’t working, Ryan simply hasn’t been able to put his team on his shoulder and win games on his own.
Yesterday was a prime example. That game was there to win. Ryan’s numbers: 20 of 47, 267 yards (5.68 per attempt), 1 TD, 2 INT.
10 points. Not good enough.
Michael Turner is hampered by a hamstring injury that probably isn’t going to just disappear. I like Matt Ryan. Smart guy. Teammates seem to stand behind him. But has to be the QB that people mistakenly think he is.
3 – Finally! A winner!
Really nice bounce back win for the Niners. They kind of got the screwgy from the NFL, who made them travel cross country to Baltimore on a short week to play the Ravens on Thanksgiving. That’s garbage. The Niners hadn’t lost previously since September. I was interested in seeing how they’d respond. And while in fairness, it was the anemic Rams, the Niners stomped on their throats.
2 – Weapons galore
The over/under on the NFC Championship game this year is going be 70.
1 – Still the best