Stewing Over Week 14 in the NFL
Honestly I don’t know what to say about this week. I didn’t watch any of the games and I was on my way to Champaign when Tebow did what he does and knocked the Bears out of the playoffs. I’m hoping Kevin and Burner can go ahead and carry this week’s article.
Broncos (8-5) def. Bears (7-6) 13-10
I wasn’t able to watch this game live and was relegated to following Gamecenter on my iPhone. The Bears were up 10 late and looked to have the game wrapped up. Not having to watch the game live prevented me from screaming obscenities at Marion Barber for both running out of bounds and stopping the clock and fumbling in overtime. Reading the wrap up afterwards, I found this quote telling. “It’s tough because you feel like you lost the game,” said receiver Roy Williams, who bobbled a potential game-tying pass last week against Kansas City that was intercepted. “I had to go through that last week. In reality, you didn’t lose the game.” Let me help clarify something for Roy. You lost the game. Take some accountability you stiff. You lost the game. Barber lost the game for the Bears this week. Could they have done more to make sure they weren’t in that position? Of course, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t lose the game. He did.
For some reason I’m not too broken up over the loss. I think I did my grieving for the Bears season last week. After that Kansas City game I think we all realized it was just a matter of time before the Bears fell out of the playoff picture. Their final three games are Seattle at home, at Green Bay, and at Minnesota. One thing we haven’t talked about is how easy Atlanta’s schedule is from here on out. The Bears are done. Let’s start looking forward to watching Derrick Rose play.
You’ll notice I didn’t talk about Tebow at all. For a running diary of the game, check out Burner and Kevin’s article here.
Kevin: Like Dave mentioned, you can read more about Burner and I’s in-the-moment thoughts by checking out our running diary of the game. Generally though I can say that at some point I just started to laugh and found myself rooting for Tebow and the crazy story to continue. He did his typical terrible/badly thrown balls for the first 2-3 quarters, and then magically kicked it in gear and ended up going like 18 for 24 in the last 10+ minutes and overtime. The Bears got him to turn the ball over and that still wasn’t enough. At the end of the day we all know this team wasn’t going anywhere. And franky, I’m so over the whole Lovie Smith/Gerry Angelo era that I hope they lose out and this gets us closer to them both being canned. It’s Lovie’s fault for not having his players prepared to do the right thing at the most important juncture of the game, and it’s Angelo’s fault for continually stocking this franchise with crap talent. If Cutler and Forte were healthy, obviously this would be a different story. But as it is, they’d limp into the playoffs and then get destroyed.
Burner: One of the odd things about living in the mountain time zone and watching a team that plays here is that it can really jack up your NFL watching. So for those of us here in Denver there were only three games on, the Chiefs giving up four TDs to Nacho (two [2!] on the ground), the Bears at the Broncos, and the Giants/Cowboys night game. The Jets Chiefs game was deadly dull in the way that only a lopsided victory can be, the less said about it the better.
This game was brutally dull for the 1st 3 and a half quarters. Barber absolutely lost this game for the Bears, twice. If he had run out of bounds the game was over, if he hadn’t fumbled in OT the game would have been over. I did think it was awfully sweet of Caleb Hanie to go sit with him on the bench and console him. I’m not sure what the local reaction to this game will be. I suspect that even the die hard Tebow fans will be able to see that the Bears gave this one way. Sure they’ll praise Tebow’s heroics to the heavens and talk about how he put them in a position to win etc, but if you watched this game you had to see that it was a give away by the Bears.
Texans (10-5) def. Bengals (7-6) 20-19
Dave: We declared the Bengals dead last week but they were close in this game and had they won it they’d be right back in the playoff conversation. Houston’s backup QB performed just like Caleb Hanie has for the Bears, only the complete opposite. Houston was down late and Yates drove the field and won the game for the Texans.
Lions (8-5) def Vikings (2-11) 34-28
Kevin: I didn’t really watch much of this game, I just wanted to comment on the horseshit no call at the end with the clear facemask. When it’s that obvious, and that important, why can’t they review i? It’s not a subjective call like pass interference. It’s a straight up “did he grab the face mask or not?” Dumb.
Patriots (10-3) def Redskins (4-9) 34-27
Kevin: Again, I didn’t really watch this game as I was too busy preparing myself mentally for the Bears forthcoming loss, but I did manage to catch two of the dumbest penalties called on a defensive player simply trying to tackle the quarterback, apparently something you’re not allowed to do anymore. The first was Brady sliding way too late and getting rocked on a perfectly clean and perfectly timed hit. He wasn’t total down yet and London Fletcher didn’t lead with his helmet or touch Brady’s helmet or anything. It was a solid knock down tackle that just looked vicious because, well, it was. Terrible call.
The second was against a Patriots d-lineman who was chasing Grossman out of the pocket. Grossman knew the guy was coming from his blind side so he took off the other direction. The defensive player dove and tackled him at his knees. He was called for going after Grossman’s knees. Ridiculous. The guy was making a tackle. He had to dive to catch Grossman because he was running way from him. Apparently the simple act of tackling a quarterback is now forbidden. As I tweeted during the game, this new NFL sucks.
Giants (7-6) def. Cowboys (7-6) 37-34
Burner: This one was a straight up shoot out. Back and forth all night long. I imagine it was an emotional roller coaster if you were a Giants or Cowboys fan. Personally I was so wiped out after the Bears Broncos game all I could do was watch with a numb disinterest and keep and eye on my fantasy match up (my opponent had three players in the night game). The guys over at KSK guaranteed this one would be a cluster fuck at the end and they were right. Because of an early game safety, the Giants were able to go for two after their last minute score to make it a three point lead. The Cowboys were able to drive a ways down the field and line up a 48yd field goal try. Snap, kick, good. Only, it wasn’t Coughlin had called a last second time out. Rekick, Blocked. Game over. A brutal way to lose in back to back weeks for the Cowboys. Heehee.
NFC Playoff Picture:
Burner: Its a dangerous game to say the playoff picture is resolved with three weeks left to play, but it’s sure looking like it may be wrapped up in the NFC. The Packers, 49ers, and Saints are all in. The Giants are now in the driver seat in the East and after the last two weeks I’m dubious of the Cowboys chances of coming back. Atlanta’s easy schedule makes them look very likely to get a wild card spot (that comeback win over Carolina this week was a season saver). So the last spot will come down to weather Detroit can hold off the number two team in the East, Detroit has two AFC West teams and a game that could be meaningless for Green Bay on their schedule. Meanwhile the two NFC East teams have a string of divisional games to close out the season. I say Giants get the division and Lions get the wild card and the Cowboys stay home.
AFC Playoff Picture:
Burner: The Jets are likely locked into a wild card spot. The other spot will go to who ever doesn’t win the North. Its been a while since both conferences were locked up this tight this early. I blame Tim Tebow! And also the lock out.