Sunday, December 18, 2016

Week 15 NFL Notes

The Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, one of the reasons I dislike the team, whined and bawled like a baby about having to play a Thursday night game after the Seahawks face-planted against the Packers. Now, I understand that it isn’t very fun after being embarrassed on national television, and you don’t want to think about football for a couple of days, and you just don’t feel like playing another game so soon, even if it is against the worst offense in the league and you can take it “easy” and have a good long rest break afterwards. 

But just say so. Everyone knows that Sherman is a serial complainer; he is tolerated because he is one of the best at his particular position. Fine, but sometimes that is the kind of thing that gets lost in the self-serving bluster. You know, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell didn’t throw those five interceptions against the Packers, nor did he throw that interception against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Why blame him because Russell Wilson and the offense didn’t execute properly? No play is designed to “fail.” It is one thing to offer an “opinion” if it actually has a useful point; if it is merely a pouty whine about having to do his job on day he doesn’t want to, then he should keep it out of the public domain. It doesn’t make him look good.


Packers 30 Bears 27 The Packers managed to blow a 17-point lead entering the fourth quarter, as the cold weather appeared to have “locked-up” Aaron Rodgers’ legs into near immobility, or at least the seemingly “insurmountable” lead allowed him to believe he could just take it easy and  hand the ball off the rest of the game. Although the Bears committed three third-quarter turnovers which all led to Packer points, Matt Barkley came alive in the fourth quarter, leading three drives of 75, 78 and 75 yards while throwing for 362 yards. Yet with the game tied at 27 and the moment apparently shifted in the Bears’ favor, all it took for Rodgers—who had thrown for only 53 yards in the second half—to pull another “miracle” out of his sleeve, heaving a 60-yard bomb to Jordy Nelson and setting-up the game-winning field goal as time expired. With losses by the Vikings and the Lions, the Packers most likely path to the playoffs—the division title—is a possible probability.

Dolphins 34 Jets 13 After his credible 2011 performance, in which he was 6-6 as a starter for the Dolphins, I didn’t understand why Matt Moore wasn’t given a fair shot to start for the Dolphins in 2012. Up until this season, I didn’t think that Ryan Tannehill was a “better” quarterback than he was, and certainly the team’s won-loss record did not suggest that. With Tannehill out with injury, Moore torched the Jets for 236 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 12 completed passes in 18 attempts. 

Texans 21 Jaguars 20 Brock Osweiler was removed in the second quarter after throwing his second interception of the game, and a really ugly one at that, leading to Jaguar touchdown and a 13-0 deficit. Back-up Tom Savage came and “led” the team to victory, but it was such an ugly win that I wouldn’t put too much stock in his future. The Texans won by a single point despite out-gaining the pathetic Jaguars 387-150, and probably should have lost had not the Jaguars—after a great defensive stop late in the first half at the one-yard line—failed to move the ball any further beyond that, taking a safety and allowing the Texans to add a field goal just before halftime on the ball give-back. 

Ravens 27 Eagles 26 Raven turnovers helped keep this game tight, but the Eagles decided that too much of a good thing was too much after scoring the apparent game-tying touchdown late. Why go for the “win” on a two-point conversion attempt when you have only a 50 percent chance of making it? Because you don’t believe your team is good enough to win in overtime? Because you just want to get the hell out of there, because you are not going to the playoffs anyways?

Titans 19 Chiefs 17 Nice going, Chiefs. Leading 17-7 late in the third quarter with a first and goal, Alex Smith throws an interception and it was all over. With a minute to play and no timeouts, Marcus Mariota managed to lead the Titans far enough down the field for a 53-yard game-winner by Ryan Succop. The Titans remain tied for the AFC South lead. 

Giants 17 Lions 6 For the second straight week, the Giants beat a division leader with defense, this after two critical stops in the red zone that yielded no points. Matthew Stafford did throw two passes that covered 100 yards, but neither led to points. Otherwise, it was apparent that he wasn’t the same with that injured finger, throwing for just 173 yards on his other 37 attempts.

Colts 34 Vikings 6 With Andrew Luck throwing with efficiency and Frank Gore providing a credible ground game, it was too much to expect the Vikings and their sad-sack offensive line to put-up much of a fight if their defense wasn’t going to. Sam Bradford was sacked five times, and Adrian Peterson was a non-factor.

Steelers 24 Bengals 20 After taking a 20-6 lead in the first half, the Bengals never advanced farther than their own 41-yard line, and that drive ended in an interception. The Steelers are one game up on the Ravens, and play them next week for the likely division title, since the Ravens beat the Steelers earlier in the season.

Falcons 41 49ers 13 Was this a surprise? The Falcons tortured the 49er defense for 550 yards, while Colin Kaepernick did his usual thing, making a show of it in the first half, then taking the rest of the day off. 

Patriots 16 Broncos 3 These days, the Broncos just look like a team with a rookie quarterback and defense that just doesn’t do enough to keep the team in the game. After a 4-0 start, with games against the Chiefs and the Raiders coming up, they may not even make the playoffs.

Raiders 19 Chargers 16 The Raiders escape with a victory and clinched a playoff spot, a likely 2-seed and a long-shot at a 1-seed—if they beat the Chiefs next week, who are 4-0 in the division and the Raiders 3-2. 

Saints 48 Cardinals 41 Drew Brees now has 5,784 career pass completions, 65,462 yards and 462 touchdown passes. He should be able to play two more seasons and maybe three, meaning that Peyton Manning’s newly-minted records may not even last as long as Brett Favre’s did. Oh well.

Cowboys 26 Buccaneers 20 The Buccaneers overcame first half ineffectiveness to score touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half to take a 20-17 lead. Jameis Winston was 8 of 11 for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns on those drives, but he was only 9 of 24 for 100 yards and 3 interceptions and a fumble the rest of the game. Dak Prescott completed 32 of 36 passes and Ezekiel Elliot ran for 159 yards, but the Cowboys repeatedly failed to convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns, and hung on after when the Buccaneers failed to capitalize on the Cowboys’ lone turnover in the fourth quarter.

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