Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week 13 NFL notes

In Week 13 of the NFL season, Colt McCoy started for the Washington Redskins in place of Robert Griffin III against the Indianapolis Colts, and had the best game of his career, completing 31of 47 passes for 392 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. This compares to RGIII’s 313 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions in the two previous games. However, it seems that the Redskins’ defense apparently decided to join RGIII on the bench in a 49-27 drubbing. Andrew Luck threw for 370 yards and five touchdowns on just 27 pass attempts, and the Colts averaged just a shade under 10 yards per play. I’m not sure what anyway should take away from this game; it was another loss after all, but given the overall more productive play of even Kirk Cousins, I don’t see how it “benefits” RGIII’s case at all. 

Other early games of interest was that despite Ben Roethlisberger going nuts on back-to-back drives totaling 193 yards in the final six minutes of the game, it was too little and too late to overcome an early advantage by the New Orleans Saints, who with a 5-7 record are still in first place in the NFC South. Drew Brees had a below average game in yards passing, but threw for five TDs and both of Roethlisberger’s interceptions led to touchdowns for the Saints. 

Elsewhere in the early games, the Chargers, Bengals and Jaguars all came from behind to score one-point victories; in Jacksonville’s case, it was a rally from 21-points down against the Giants, when Eli Manning did not even “help” their cause by throwing not a single interception—just losing two fumbles. Buffalo beat Cleveland to run both teams’ record to 7-5, as if they are going anywhere. Of interest here is Johnny “Football” Manziel’s first meaningful time on the field. He didn’t embarrass himself, running for score and completing 5 of 8 for 63 yards and no interceptions. It can even be said that Cleveland (which lost 26-10) actually outscored Buffalo 7-6 during Manziel’s appearance. And how about those St. Louis Rams? They are almost proving that the NFC West is as strong as initially thought, blowing out a Raiders team 52-0—you know, the same Raiders team that just a few weeks ago lost by a single score at Seattle.

In the afternoon games, the Arizona Cardinals continue their slide into potential irrelevance by losing to a highly beatable Atlanta team. Drew Stanton wasn’t awful, but for the second straight week the Cardinals supposed top defense was, allowing 500 yards of total offense. Arizona still leads the NFC West by one game over Seattle, but all of a sudden the Seahawks look to be the favorite to eventually win the division, if by default. 

The Really Big Game of the day was, of course, New England at Green Bay. I admit that I was a bit nervous about this game, but the Packers’ defense kept Tom Brady and the Patriots off the field for most of the game, limiting their scoring opportunities. On offense, Aaron Rodgers’ passing led the Packers on the key drive of the game, accounting for all 81 yards on a march in the final minute of the first half—which gave the Packers a 23-14 lead and would prove to be the difference. Neither team did much in the sub-freezing temperatures in the second half, and Packers held on for their most impressive win of the year, 26-21.

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