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Week 15: Runaways, Squeakers and Showdowns

Posted by Radatz on December 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM

How many good-to-great QBs did we see this week throw stupid picks under pressure? I didn't see every game but I can think of several offhand: Brady, Ben, Brees, Rivers, Rodgers to name a few. Some affected the outcome; some didn't. How many truly bad calls did we see possibly turn a game? Probably a dozen but I can think of one... Carolina's TD with the receiver's butt half in and half out of the end zone. How many more injuries that could change the landscape? Decent number, depending on the details. How many nailbiters involving conference top seeds? The max --- two. How many either division- or conference- affecting head-to-heads? Three at least.

Winners of the where-am-I analysis award were the multiple booth potatoes who continued to repeat the story that Brown was kicked in the calf and suffered a bruise when replay clearly showed both legs untouched. Finally the obvious was announced... he had a torn calf. Back for the playoffs. Really? That's one fast-healing muscle tear in a fairly important spot for a speed demon.

LAR 42 SEA 7: One of those division head-to-heads was a beautiful thing if you don't like Seattle, and you probably don't. No point rehashing; they were simply no match for the Rams, trailing 34-0 at halftime. The Ram running game (244 yards) left them eating turf dust. Seemed like something from another decade. Are the Rams that good? Possible. Is Seattle that bad? Looks like it at this point.

NE 27 PIT 24: 90% of our H2H conference game looked like Pitt and Ben were just a little sharper. LB-deprived NE managed to cut the lead to 5 with 3:42 left, got the ball back at 1:42, dodged a sure pick-that-wasn't, then unleashed Gronk to score with 1:10 (plus the 2 points). But then they failed to cover a simple crossing pattern to Smith-Schuster who went all the way to the NE 10 with 0:52. What tie? Victory beckoned, maybe too temptingly. Ben threw a TD pass to James at the goal line but the ball came out as he hit the end-zone turf. Then Heyward-Bey (is this the yuppie social register?) caught one for 3 yards and failed to get out of bounds. And with 3rd and goal and 8 seconds left Ben made his one dumb play, faking a spike and forcing it to his only receiver (?!) whence Rowe batted it up and Harmon caught it. Shades of SB XLIX.

SF 25 TEN 23: Another day, another 380 yards or so. The NFL's closest thing to a 1-man team, JimmyG, did it again as the fake Titans fell too far behind Saxonville to even think about it. Most coveted opponent in the playoffs if they get there which, considering they finish up with the Rams and Jags, they probably won't. Garoppolo remains undefeated as an NFL starter. After 3 games with the Niners. Think about it.

PHI 34 NYG 29: It took a stop inside the 10 with seconds left for Philly to claim a game over the woeful Giants, but don't blame Nick Foles (as headline-only readers probably will). He tossed 4 TDs. Eli, meanwhile, overthrew 57 times for 434 yards. But why so close? Well, Schwartz' heretofore vaunted defense was penetrated like swiss cheese --- until six seconds were left. Cuttin' it close there.

MIN 34 CIN 7: So long, Marvin. He announced he'll be pursuing other things after the season. Wins perhaps?

NO 31 NYJ 19: It's a good thing for NO that McCown was watching (and not playing) or their precarious tiebreaker division lead may have become their precarious wild card lead.

JAX 45 HOU 7: Feed me no Watson crap. He would have been extra chopped liver against these guys.

BUF 24 MIA 16: Sure looked like Miami was poised to give it the ol' college try. Alas, JPTP syndrome got Cutler. Masterful vs. NE, he was back to serving picks like hors d'oeuvres, the last of which sealed the Fins' dismal fate.

BAL 27 CLE 10: Somehow the Ravens are headed for the playoffs. A total duck schedule has something to do with it. Somehow the Browns are 0-14. I smell wasted high draft pick. Don't you?

DEN 25 IND 13: The Brock Show. Plus Anderson. Oz is determined to confuse Elway again. Which he may.

DET 20 CHI 10: 43 yards on the ground from the Bears? It could happen. It did. The Lions continue to play their best ball of the season after Stafford's hand got squished.

KC 30 LAC 13: Another H2H division game. Didn't look like one. The Chargers are still in the playoff picture, but it's a hard picture to picture at this point, isn't it? They were awful.

CAR 31 GB 24: The real Superman proves even he can't waltz back off limited IR and light the place up. His 3 picks paved the way for the zebras to throw the game to Cam with the TD-that-wasn't.

WAS 20 ARI 15: In what was essentially the Salary Bowl for both teams the Cards held Washington to 31 yards on the ground. And still lost. Tells you all you need (and want, trust me) to know.

DAL 20 OAK 17: Despite the similar endings, viewers of the NE/PIT quasi-classic must have felt jobbed by this excruciating stinkbomb. The Raiders and Carr are out of it with little promise for recovery next year. Again the Raiders have sunk their own future. Dallas, meanwhile, was no better, requiring a fake punt, a flagged-back TD, an impossibly stupid final fumble by Carr and an absurd measurement on 4th down by Steratore in which he 'proved' a small magazine wouldn't fit between the ball and the stick. Dallas shapes up as the most coveted NFC playoff opponent, which they likely won't be without a lot of luck.

[email protected]: If the Falcons don't win this game going away they'll probably be going away themselves.

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Reply the immortal scurds
12:40 AM on December 18, 2017 
a small magazine, lol. no talk about goff for mvp? gurley? to me the ram mvp is whitworth. he is the hinge of the entire offense and by far the best tacke in the league, or maybe aaron donald. i dont think its going to be antonio brown
Reply the immortal scurds
12:43 AM on December 18, 2017 
jax is the best defense in football all of a sudden
Reply Radatz
12:43 AM on December 18, 2017 
Rams are good across the board and that may make MVPs hard to come by. Not sure about Goff. Gurley I could believe. Donald's good but he's not JJ. And OLs never get anything.

One pick (that won't happen) I couldn't refute on technical grounds is Garoppolo. If he hasn't made the biggest difference to a team of anybody I don't know who has.
Reply Radatz
12:51 AM on December 18, 2017 
Thing about Jacksonville is their schedule. Besides 3 putrid divisional opponents they've played BAL, NYJ, PIT (Ben's "maybe I don't have it" game), LAR, CIN, LAC, CLE, ARI and SEA. Only two good offenses in there.

Be interesting to see how well they hold down Garoppolo on the road next week!
Reply the immortal scurds
2:32 AM on December 18, 2017 
all the dominant defenses r gone it seems
Reply Radatz
10:14 AM on December 18, 2017 
Seattle's done for this year at least. Ravens aren't what they were. Or Houston. Giants. Steelers. Maybe it's the Rams or Jags now?
Reply the immortal scurds
11:05 AM on December 18, 2017 
Radatz says...
Seattle's done for this year at least. Ravens aren't what they were. Or Houston. Giants. Steelers. Maybe it's the Rams or Jags now?

Reply Radatz
11:32 AM on December 18, 2017 
They've always been good. Problem's been they've had to face the NE offense 2x a year. And this one a long time ago :)