Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Week 17 recap
Computer fixed. Check. Brain fixed. Almost. Quick recap. Let's do this. Miami Dolphins 7 @ New England Patriots 38: This game basically sums up why the Patriots are the favourites to win the Super Bowl right now. No Wes Welker? No problem, just roll out Julian Edelman. Who also then takes a punt back 94 yards for a touchdown. Then of course you have Brandon Tate. And let's not forget Alge Crumpler. Oh yeah, and then there's the rushing game to support the passing game and see out the clock in the 4th quarter. And then five sacks, an interception and a forced fumble for the defense. So yeah, the Patriots are looking pretty good right now. Buffalo Bills 7 @ New York Jets 38: The Jets rediscovered themselves on Sunday, and they did it without Mark Sanchez. They ran the ball, including 32 carries for Joe McKnight who put up 158 yards. They played a bit of option football with Brad Smith, further disproving the absolute crock of shit that the option can't work in the NFL ("because offenses are too quick/smart etc". Yeah right). They even played proper Rex Ryan defense, without Darrelle Revis, coming up with 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 4 interceptions. Before anyone gets too excited, I should point out that Brian Brohm played most of the game at QB for the Bills, going 10/23 and throwing 3 interceptions. Cincinnati Bengals 7 @ Baltimore Ravens 13: With Owens and Ochocinco done, these last two games have been the opportunity that both Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis have been looking for to say "see, it wasn't us! It was those guys who ruined the team!". Unfortunately after a fine showing last week, the novelty wore off and the Bengals went back to being craptastic. Carson Palmer was 32/45 for 305 yards... but for just 1 TD and 2 interceptions? That's not good enough. The Bengals D tried, coming up with 4 sacks including 1.5 for rookie DE Carlos Dunlap and a 0.5 sack for DT Geno Atkins (watch list). But it was to no avail as the Bengals offense floundered. Once again. Pittsburgh Steelers 41 @ Cleveland Browns 9: Boys/Men, you get the analogy I'm guessing. Colt McCoy (watch list) was a mere 20/41 for 209 yards, 1 TD and 3 INT's. The Browns had no running game and as the Steelers gradually squeezed their foot down on the Browns throat, it prevented the Browns doing anything other than just airing it out and hoping for something good to happen. Nothing did. Oakland Raiders 31 @ Kansas City Chiefs 10: The Raiders must be a little bit gutted, destroying the Chiefs while knowing they then have to watch them disappear off into the sunset (and the playoffs). Michael Bush carried 25 times for the Raiders, posting 137 yards and a TD. Jacoby Ford ran in another and Jason Campbell threw in a third. It was on defense where the Raiders made the biggest impact though. 7 sacks, including 3 for Kamerion Wimbley (I keep telling people to watch out for that guy) and two team interceptions, one of which was run back for a TD. The Chiefs pass rush was pretty mean itself though, putting up four sacks, including 2.5 for Tamba Hali who finished the season with 14.5 sacks and a big, fat, Pro Bowl snub. Such an injustice. Minnesota Vikings 13 @ Detroit Lions 20: Joe Webb got his chance to shine... and didn't. 20/32 for 145 yards and an interception. Nice. To be honest, neither team lit it up, though Jared Allens 36 yard interception return for a TD was pretty funny. Carolina Panthers 10 @ Atlanta Falcons 31: So who had money on the Panthers, eh? That's right, nobody. The Falcons churned out another solid display, which is more than can be said for Jimmy Clausen. With a chance to get a good game on tape for his next Head Coach to watch, Clausen instead posted 19/33 for 182 yards, a TD and an INT. I think back to when I saw Clausen being interviewed before the draft by Jon Gruden (who did the same to Tebow/McCoy/Bradford for some TV segment). Throughout the whole thing Clausen looked and sounded for all the world like he didn't care, like he'd already conceded that his career was over before it had even begun. That might just prove to be true unfortunately. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 @ New Orleans Saints 13: Don't the Buc's look different from a year ago? Sadly things didn't go their way in the other games, so a 10-6 record wasn't good enough to make the playoffs, thanks to a tough NFC South division that ended with three teams over 10 wins (and then the Panthers...). Josh Freeman was an impressive 21/26 for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns. Drew Brees? 22/38 for 196 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Jacksonville Jaguars 17 @ Houston Texans 34: So all the Jaguars had to do was beat the Texans and hope that the Titans could handle Indianapolis. In the end, both of those proved to be optimistic. RB Rashad Jennings (c'mon son!) carried 22 times for 108 yards and a TD. Sadly Trent Edwards (he of former Buffalo Bills fame/shame) went 12/25 for 140 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The defense produced 0 sacks, 0 interceptions and 0 forced fumbles. Jack Del Rio must be wiping his brow having been confirmed as the Jaguars Head Coach for 2011 (which, all things considered, is probably for the best). The Texans didn't hang around though. Matt Schaub posted 18/22 for 253 yards and a touchdown. Arian Foster carried 31 times on the ground and posted 180 yards and 2 touchdowns! Even Derrick Ward scored a touchdown, along with 63 yards on 4 carries. The Texans offense is truly one of the best in the NFL. Period. Mission for the 2011 draft? D#!!! (that's close enough to a fence symbol). Dallas Cowboys 14 @ Philadelphia Eagles 13: There's a hell of a lot of smug NFL coaches and front office types around the league right now (and to a degree they've earned that smugness). Because (shut up, I know) while indeed it is possible to run the option in the NFL, the knock against rush heavy quarterbacks like Michael Vick has always been that they'll get too beaten up over the course of a season. Well, Vick was absent for this one, and has recently told the press he feels he's now at 75%. Vick at 75% is still pretty darn good, but not as good as Vick at 100%. Anyway, the game. Kevin Kolb had the opportunity to show all the Vick apologists of the world that it was the Eagles team that makes Vick so good, not the other way around. Sadly then Kolb threw just 18/36 for 162 yards, 1 TD and 3 interceptions. James Harrison carried 21 times on the ground for 99 yards, which pales in comparison to the normal average for Eagles backs when Vick is in the game. Even the defense sucked. Unlike the Cowboys D who rustled up 6 sacks, including two for Anthony Spencer and 3 for DeMarcus Ware (who also recovered a fumble and took it for a TD), as the pass rushers of the NFL played "who can pick up the most sacks in one game this week?". The Cowboys offense was nothing special. Stephen McGee was 11/27 for 127 yards and 1 TD. At least, unlike Kolb, he took care of the ball. New York Giants 17 @ Washington Redskins 14: Beware the Grossman!!! (look it up). 26/44 for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns!! We'll over look the interception shall we (yeah! Along with the two fumbles. That didn't happen). A pretty boring game other than that. Eli was 17/29 for 243 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Mario Manningham was the standout receiver of the day with 4 catches for 101 yards and a TD. On defense, remember those two fumbles that didn't happen? Forced by Osi Umenyiroa (or not) to go with his two sacks. San Diego Chargers 33 @ Denver Broncos 28: It was the day of the watch listers, with some doing better than others. Tim Tebow (watch list) went just 16/36 for 205 yards, 2 TD's and 2 INT's. On a better note, he led the Broncos in rushing with 13 carries for 94 yards and a TD (all team highs on the day). But it was Chargers RB Ryan Matthews (watch list) that really grabbed the spotlight. Finally. After a disappointing season he carried 26 times for 120 yards and 3 TD's. Somehow the Chargers still found time to give Phillip Rivers 37 passes, of which he completed 21 for 313 yards and an interception. Arizona Cardinals 7 @ San Francisco 49ers 38: Mwwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! (shut up, I know the 49ers are 6-10. Let me have my moment of delight). The Cardinals tried two quarterbacks in this one, both of them equally bad. Richard Bartel was 16/28 for 150 yards and an interception. John Skelton was 14/25 for 92 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The Cardinals ground game was barely worth the dignity of being called such. Alex Smith did a little better for the '9ers, despite contriving to complete only 15/29 passes for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brian Westbrook rolled back the years (and concussions) to carry the ball 13 times for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. The '9ers defense came up with 6 sacks, including 3 alone for 2011 Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Smith who decided to join the game of "who can pick up the most sacks in one game this week?". Chicago Bears 3 @ Green Bay Packers 10: This game is proof that low scores don't always equal bad games. With the win the Packers clinch a playoff spot. Aaron Rodgers was 19/28 for 229 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Scarily he also led his team in rushing... with 7 carries for 21 yards (both team highs!) Bears QB Jay Cutler managed just 21/39 for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns, in what many of us hope will be a foretelling of the Bears divisional round playoff game (I still think they got a little lucky along the way). The Packers D pitched in big for this battle, producing 6 sacks, including two for DE Erik Walden who also had ten tackles. Tennessee Titans 20 @ Indianapolis Colts 23: They may have squeaked it for a change, but once again the Colts are the AFC South champions. Manning was 27/41 for 264 yards and 2 TD's. The rushing attack combined for 25 carries for 101 yards. The defense had one sack. It almost wasn't enough. Kerry Collins was 28/39 for the Titans, producing 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Johnson however was held to just 39 yards off of 20 carries as the Titans O-line continued to suck it up without retired center Kevin Mawae. The Titans came close, but as ever with the Colts, sloe often isn't good enough. St. Louis Rams 6 @ Seattle Seahawks 16: So there we have it, a 7-9 division winner. Now as much as I hate the Seahawks for winning the NFC West and as well reasoned as many of the arguments are against the Seahawks getting a home game to start the playoffs, I think on balance the system should stay as it is. Let's get a reality check here; this is the first time ever, ever, that a team with a losing record has made the playoffs. That should tell you everything you need to know. Yes it's unfortunate, but it's probably a once in a lifetime occurrence and I don't feel it warrants changing the rules. And who knows, we all wrote of the Cardinals in years past and yet they went to a Super Bowl. Maybe the Seahawks could too? (you're right, I don't think they will either). The Rams had their chances though. My god they had their chances. But sadly their receivers collectively conspired to drop just about every damn ball thrown their way. Sam Bradford ended the night 19/36 for 155 yards and an interception. Charlie Whitehurst did better for the Seahawks, completing 22/36 for 192 yards and a TD. But don't get too excited. He was hardly Drew Brees out there. Credit to Seahawks DE Raheem Brock who had 2.5 sacks and to Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch who carried 20 times for 75 yards which, with the Seahawks O-line, is like 150 yards. So that's it, all 16 games done and dusted, now let's look at the playoff picture. In the NFC, the Seahawks will host the Saints and the Eagles will host the Packers in the wildcard round. That means that if the Eagles win, they play the Bears and the winner of the Saints/Seahawks will play the Falcons. If the Packers win, they play the Falcons and the winner of the Saints/Seahawks will play the Bears. In the AFC, the Colts will host the Jets and the Chiefs will host Baltimore. If the Colts win then they travel to Pittsburgh for the divisional round, with the Patriots hosting the winner of the Ravens/Chiefs, but if the Jets win then they play the Patriots and the winner of the Ravens/Chiefs will head to Pittsburgh. Hope that clears all that up for you.