ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 11: Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked in the New York Giants end zone by Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants for a safety at Cowboys Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
LL Cool J put it best when he said, "So forget Oreos eat Cool J cookies." Wait, that wasn't right. He put it best when he said, "They call me Jaws, my hat is like a sharks fin." No, that wasn't it either. Was it when he said, "You can scratch my back, well get cozy and huddle?" Hold on, I remember. He put it best when he said, "Mama said knock you out!" At least that's what James Harrison was thinking when he leveled Colt McCoy. No, LL Cool J put it best when he said, "Don't call it a comeback!"
The Broncos, Giants, Texans, and Falcons all came back to win after being behind with the Broncos, Giants, and Texans managing to come back from 2 scores down late in the 4th. The Vikings, Titans, and Redskins also mounted big come backs and all three drove down into the red zone in the closing seconds but they all failed to punch it in for the win. You know what, no matter how tough that loss was on Sunday at least we can point to almost every other team in the NFL and say, "At least I'm not that guy." Now on to the rest of week 14.
OK, this is really starting to get ridiculous. If the Broncos were winning because, like the Packers, they were simply playing better than the other team, I could live with that. But they're winning in what can only be described as, "You've got to be freaking kidding me!" ways. This game against the Bears was just another example. Trailing 10-0 with less than 5 minutes to play, Tim Tebow led the Broncos down the field on a 63-yard TD drive in just under 2 ½ minutes to cut the lead to 10-7. Alright, no big deal, that's what Tebow's been doing at the end of every game. When they lined up for the onside kick with 2:08 to play I figured they would get it since that's the kind of luck the Broncos have been having. So when the ball bounced around between what felt like 10 different players and the Bears ended up with it I thought that this was the end of the Tebow magic. I was wrong.
On second down after the two minute warning, and the Broncos without any time outs, all the Bears had to do was run it two more times, punt, than the Broncos would have maybe 15-20 seconds to tie the game. That's when Marion Barber did the unbelievable. On second down he ran out of bounds. No really, he ran out of bounds even though the Broncos had no way of stopping the clock. As I said before, "You've got to be freaking kidding me!" The Broncos got the ball back with 53 seconds, drove down the field for a Matt Prater 59-yard FG as time expired that I knew would be good even before he kicked it since, you know, Tebow is on his team, then Prater kicked a 51-yard FG in OT for the win. "He's a good running back," Brian Urlacher said of Tebow after the loss. Tebow's response to the slight, "Coming from a really good player, that means a lot." Aaahhh! Forget Tebowing, we have a new verb. I'm sorry Bears, you got worse than screwed, you got Tebowed.
The rest of week 14 after the jump...
If the Broncos keep finding the most unbelievable ways of winning games, the Cowboys keep finding the most unbelievable ways of losing. That must make Tony Romo the anti-Tebow. Someone who throws for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns but still loses. Here's the quick recap. The Cowboys took a 34-22 lead with 5:41 remaining, the Giants cut it to 34-29 with 3:14 still to play, the Cowboys got it back and on 3rd-and-5 Miles Austin was wide open on a go route but Romo overthrew him on what would have been an easy TD, Eli Manning (who threw for 400 yards) led the Giants on another TD drive and got the 2-point conversions to take the 37-34 lead, the Cowboys drove into FG range and made the 47-yard FG but the Giants had called a timeout and Bailey's second attempt was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul. So instead of holding a commanding 2-game lead with 3 to play, the Cowboys find themselves tied for first and losing the tiebreaker. See, it could be worse. We could be Cowboys fans. Now everyone have a good laugh.
The Texans first began playing in 2002 and ever since then they've treated their fans like a John at a strip club. They tease them and get them thinking something's going to come of it, but in the end they just leave frustrated, wondering how they're going to clean off all that stupid glitter. And I don't care what they say, I've never seen any champagne room. But sometimes the wait makes the payoff that much sweeter. With just over 2 minutes to play, no timeouts, and 80 yards to cover, rookie QB T.J. Yates led the Texans down the field using both his arm and legs and found Kevin Walter in the end zone with just 2 seconds remaining for the win. With the Titans losing to the Saints soon after, the Texans had clinched the AFC South and their first playoff spot in franchise history. "Words really can't describe it," Texans WR Andre Johnson said. "It's something I've been waiting for for a really long time." Hey, that's exactly what that guy from The Virgin Diaries said.
Have you ever seen two people arguing over who should get something but rather than arguing for why they should have it they're arguing that the other person should get it? You take it. No, you take it. You deserve it more than I do. No, you did all the work, you should have it. That's what this game felt like at times. It starter with Hines Ward saying, "I don't want the ball, here Cleveland, I'll fumble on your 15-yard line." Colt McCoy responded, "Well you should get the ball, I'll throw it to Troy Polamalu." To which Heath Miller replied, "No, you really deserve the ball more than us, I'll fumble it right back on your 10-yard line." In addition to the impromptu game of hot potato, there were also some bone crushing hits. James Harrison put the crown of his helmet right in the face mask of McCoy then looked like a dog who peed on the carpet when he gave his "What did I do?" look. But the bigger scare came earlier in the game when Ben Roethlisberger got twisted around so bad he thought for sure his leg looked like Joe Theismann's. "It was one of the most painful things I ever felt," he said, which is ironically what the girl who got locked in the bathroom with him was thinking.
After jumping out to an early 21-0 lead and holding a 31-14 lead at halftime it looked like this was going to be a laugher for the Lions. But after Christian Ponder committed his 4th turnover, the Vikings brought in Joe Webb and the Vikings started coming back. Webb cut the Lions lead to 6 points and had them 1 yard away from the go ahead TD on the game's final play but Webb fumbled the ball thanks in large part to DeAndre Levy ripping Webb's head around by the face mask. "We get a lot of calls called against us," the Lions linebacker said. "So, they owed us one if I did." No doubt, how dare they call a penalty for stomping on someone's arm or pushing a ref. Considering the large number of calls going against the 49ers that have had a huge impact on their games, does that mean they get a freebie against the Steelers?
Saints 22, Titans 17
Jake Locker came in for an injured Matt Hasselbeck and threw for 282 yards and a TD while also leading the Titans in rushing yards with 36 and a TD. He even had the Titans in position to win when he drove down the Saints 5-yard line but his first pass was knocked away and then he was sacked as time expired. Of course, they were only in position to win because the Saints took a page out of the 49ers offensive playbook, kicking three first half field goals after stalling in the red zone before scoring two second half touchdowns. "A lot of things early didn't go our way," Saints head coach Sean Peyton said. "We had some calls that could have went either way." Like I said, they were emulating the 49ers.
Michael Vick made his big return after missing several games with an injury and looked downright mediocre, completing only half of his passes for 208 yards while throwing both a TD and an interception. But the Eagles defense came up huge sacking the QB 9 times, including once for a safety, and forcing 3 turnovers, one of which set the Eagles up at the 1-yard line which LeSean McCoy punched in two plays later for the TD. "We played like men today," defensive end Jason Babin said who finished the day with 3 sacks. "We were kind of out of it, but guys in this locker room decided, ‘We're going to play and have fun and show you guys we love the game.' I think that really rang true the whole day." That was bad news for the Dolphins but if their previous pattern holds true they'll lose their next two games which is good news for the Jets and Cowboys.
Chiefs 10, Jets 37
Mark Sanchez jogged out onto the field for the Jets first offensive possession and immediately called a timeout. Turns out he wasn't done updating his facebook page. "Just about to start first series against the hapless Chiefs. Feeling optimistic." Shonn Greene carried the ball 24 times for 129 yards and a TD, Sanchez threw for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns, and the Jets scored a TD on 5 of their first 8 offensive positions to easily get past the Chiefs. Well if he only threw for 181 yards then we all know he didn't contribute in any way to the win. Everyone here at Niners Nation knows a QB has to throw for at least 300 yards in a game to be given any credit. The Chiefs meanwhile are wondering if it was really worth $2.5 million to watch Kyle Orton make just one pass attempt.
A week after the Patriots blew a 31-3 lead to the Colts before holding on for the 7 point win, they found themselves again in a dogfight against another cellar dwelling team. Rex Grossman still met his two turnover quota but he also threw for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns, the Redskins scored on some trickery when receiver Brandon Banks threw to Santana Moss for a 49-yard TD, and Tom Brady who threw for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns also threw his first interception in over a month. But it wasn't enough to overcome the Patriots, and in the Redskins players minds, the refs. They were particularly upset when London Fletcher was called for roughing the passer after giving Brady a dirty look, and Moss had a TD called back that would have tied the game at the end because of offensive pass interference. "We blow our breath on one of the doggone guys over there and it's a penalty," Moss said. "Our quarterback gets killed - and you just almost hit somebody that's a quarterback and we get flagged. But I guess we've got to play against a team and the ref." I can't believe Moss just said that. Doggone? Who even uses that word anymore? Next he's going to tell us he likes to unwind after a tough game by lighting up a Luck Strike cigarette.
Matt Ryan threw for 320 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 2 to rookie Julio Jones, and the Falcons overcame a 23-7 halftime deficit to pull out the win in Carolina. If you thought Jerry Richardson was the owner of the Panthers you're wrong, it's Ryan. OK, that one was dumb, but whatever. It was also a tail of two halves for Cam Newton. Newton threw for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half but was intercepted twice in the second half, including a particularly bad throw when he was being sacked and tried a shovel pass with his non-throwing hand that was intercepted by linebacker Mike Peterson, which the Falcons turned into a TD two plays later. "I tried to get the ball to Stew (Jonathan Stewart) and tried to avoid the sack," Newton said. "I should have just ate the ball and taken the sack. If you expect to win games you have to protect the football and I did a poor job of that today." What?! No, you have to throw for 276 yards like you did in the game. Protecting the ball is overrated and you won't get credit for helping your team win.
There were high hopes for the Bucs this season. They were the youngest team in the NFL with the youngest coach and were returning essentially the same team that went 10-6 last year. After a 4-2 start with wins over the Saints and Falcons, it looked like the Bucs could seriously challenge for the NFC South crown. They've since lost 7 straight. What's even worse is that most of the games haven't been that close. They've lost by 6 points twice, 9 points twice, 19 points, 28 points, and against the lowly Jags, they lost by 27 points. They turned the ball over 7 times and have regressed in almost every area from last year. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead they gave up 28 points in the last 8 minutes of the second half including 2 defensive touchdowns. Seriously, getting smacked around by the Jags has to feel a bit like getting beaten by your little sister. You can't come up with an excuse good enough to explain away the embarrassment of it all.
Colts 10, Ravens 24
Rubberneckers drive me crazy. They act like they've never seen an accident before. Yes, those two car's bumpers got smashed. Now keep on moving so I can use those extra 15 minutes wasting my life trying to catch up with all the shows I have on my Tivo. But sometimes a wreck is so horrible you can't help but stop and stare. When there are bits of car scattered in every direction and another is wrapped around the lane divider, you feel compelled to look. That's been the Colts this season. Through three quarters against the Ravens the Colts managed only 53 yards of offense and finished with only 167. If not for a TD on the very last play of the game the Colts would have been held without an offensive TD for only the second time since 2003. Terrell Suggs sacked Dan Orlovsky 3 times and forced 3 fumbles, although the Colts recovered all three. So was Peyton Manning really that important to the team or is head coach Jim Caldwell just that inept at adjusting his playbook to a different QB? "We need to find a way to get our team better so we can get a victory," Caldwell said. "And not just one. We're running out of time." Well if you keep banging that square peg into that round hole, I'm sure it will go in eventually.
Raiders 16, Packers 46
Aaron Rodgers threw for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns while also throwing (gasp!) only his 6th interception of the season, Carson Palmer threw 4 interceptions giving him 6 in just his last 3 games, and the Packers slapped the Raiders silly to remain perfect. Honestly, this was about as shocking as learning there's another sex allegation coming out against Herman Cain.
With their win over the Bills the Chargers have now won two straight. Golf applause please. Phillip Rivers threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, Ryan Matthews ran for 114 yards, and the Chargers defense forced 3 turnovers and held the Bills to only 3 points, with the Bills lone TD coming on a fumble recovery in the end zone. The win keeps the Chargers slim playoff hopes alive while the loss eliminates the Bills from contention. They Bills are also still waiting for Ryan Fitzpatrick to get his first win as a starter since signing his big contract. I know I've said that every week but the longer it goes the funnier it becomes. Strangely, if not for Barber inexplicably running out of bounds in the Broncos game, Denver would have lost and the Chargers would only be one game out of first. When told about the result Chargers coach Norv Turner said, "I'm glad you told me that because I didn't hear the results yet and I won't bother watching it now that you gave me the rundown." Funny, I've felt the same way about The X Factor all season.
You ever have those players you kind of like and feel bad about the fact they've played on horribly crappy teams for the entire career? Up until recently I've felt that way about most of the players on the 49ers, but I've also felt that way for Steven Jackson. It was almost painful watching the Rams have 3 chances at 1st-and-goal and continually seeing them not hand the ball off to Jackson. The guy's 29 and too classy to ask to be traded. Can you just do the football world a favor and trade him to a team that actually has a chance. Oh, and by the way, I really, and I mean really, can't stand Pete Carroll. I can't wait for that week 16 match-up.
49ers 19, Cardinals 21
Words can't describe how painful this was to watch so I thought I'd just show something comparable. The 49ers played the Cardinals, and boom goes the dynamite. By the way, if you haven't seen this before and want to know when the hook comes, it's around the 2:30 mark but you should at least start at the 1:45 mark to get a feel for this wonderful awfulness.