So the two best teams in the NFL, at least based on record, barely squeaked by at home against two teams with losing records. It just goes to show this isn't High School or even college. Sometimes bad teams play very well against good teams and stuff like last week's tie against the Rams can happen. Like the old saying goes, "Any given Sunday", or was that the name of a movie that could have been good but wasn't.
Speaking of good and bad, occasionally something can be so horrid, so god-awful, so far from the realm of cool that it actually moves beyond bad and circles back around to the unbelievably cool side of the spectrum. I think it gets there through some sort of ultra-cool wormhole.
For example, imagine putting the band Blood on the Dance Floor in your stereo (If you've never heard of them consider yourself lucky, but to give you an idea think of two 20-something year old guys, one of whom I'm convinced is really a girl, playing bubble gum dance music with lyrics that sound like they were written by a horny 13-year old boy, and that gives you an idea about the kind of music they make) crank it full blast then shout out the lyrics while dancing around in your underwear like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Your actions move you so far into the uncool it's actually cringe inducing which suddenly gets all your friends and neighbors to start wondering if they're behind the times on some new trend and will secretly start shopping at Hot Topic.
That's where I am with those Steelers jerseys. They're so unbelievable atrocious they might actually be uber-cool. Sure it's been almost two days since the game ended and my eyes still haven't stopped bleeding but that's what adds to the appeal. Well I'm off to the bar now. I've been listening to the Dropkick Murphys for the last 3 hours and I have a sudden urge to get into a drunken bar fight, and yes I know about The Pogues and that toothless mumbling drunk Shane MacGowan, I just don't like them as much. I give him all the props in the world for creating the Celtic Punk genre but that doesn't mean I have to be a fan of his music.
Last week the Falcons lost and fans of the team tried to convince themselves that it was actually a good thing. They were unlikely to go undefeated so might as well get it out of the way and they could use it as a wakeup call. Well it looks like they're still trying to wakeup. Sure they won at home over the Cardinals but the Cards have now lost 6 straight and were blasted in their previous two games 24-3 and 31-17 by the 49ers and Packers.
Matt Ryan threw 5 interceptions and 0 touchdowns yet still managed to get the falcons the win thanks to 301 passing yards. I thought he was supposed to wait until the playoffs to begin playing horribly. Yet as bad as he was if he had been playing for the Cardinals it would have been an improvement over what they got. John Skelton managed only 6 yards on 7 pass attempts and rookie Ryan Lindly was only a slight improvement with 64 yards on 20 pass attempts, and combined they had only 2 completions where the receiver was 5 yards or more away from the line of scrimmage. "We said during the bye week we were going to make changes that we thought necessary, and that's what we're going to do going forward," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We have to make more plays." Saying the Cardinals need to make more plays is a bit like saying Bin Laden didn't like America. Thank you captain obvious.
Like the Falcons, the Cowboys were supposed to beat an inferior team at home and like the Falcons they almost didn't. The Browns jumped out to a 13-0 first half lead and even took a 20-17 lead late in the 4th but a last second FG sent the game to OT where the Cowboys were able to get the win and extend the Browns road losing streak to 12 games.
Tony Romo, who was sacked a career high 7 times, still threw for 313 yards and a TD but what would a Cowboys game be without a Romo blunder that costs them the game? Romo fumbled in OT but the defense stood up and Romo took the next drive down the field for the win. "I obviously need to hold onto the ball and not let the guy come from behind and let the ball come out," Romo said. "That could have been a big one." Obviously. Do you ever get the feeling Romo is kind of like Charlie Brown. He has to know Lucy is going to pull the ball away at the last minute but he just can't seem to stop himself from falling flat on his back anyways. Romo's just lucky the Browns aren't nearly as good as Lucy.
Packers 24, Lions 20
After starting the year 2-3 the Packers have now won 5 straight and sit tied with the Bears atop the NFC North. Things were looking good in the 3rd quarter for the Lions when they had a 10-7 lead and were driving down the field but Matthew Stafford, who finished the game with 3 turnovers, had his pass intercepted by M.D. Jennings (no he's not a doctor he just wants people to think he is) and returned 72 yards the other way to put the Packers ahead.
Stafford had a chance to get the Lions the win when they were down 21-20 with just under 2 minutes to play but he couldn't manage even one first down. "We just buckled," Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy said. "Even that last touchdown late in the game, we had a chance to make a play on it, we just didn't make the play. That's kind of been the theme for us this year, being in position and not finishing." I've had the same thing happen to me. I take a girl home and I'm in position but I just can't finish, probably because I just drank half a bottle of Scotch. Don't judge me.
Jets 27, Rams 13
The Jets had lost 5 of their last 6 games including back-to-back blowouts, so naturally the Rams, who tied some team in some game I can't remember off hand, were favored to win for the first time all season. And as if just to prove no one has any idea what they're talking about the Jets easily flew past the Rams, you know because they're jets and jets, you know, fly. They flew...as a jet. Anyways, Mark Sanchez actually looked like a competent QB completing 75% of his passes for 178 yards and a TD. Meanwhile he who shall not be named completed only one throw for -1 yard.
The Rams did jump out to an early 7 point lead but then it was all Jets as they scored 27 unanswered as Sanchez finally figured out that it might not be a good idea to keep turning the ball over. "If you really take the positives from this game, build on those, continue to get better and improve, we can become a team that just doesn't turn the ball over," Sanchez said. "That could be our identity, if you want it to be and if you work at it." Mark's the new little train that could. You keep telling yourself, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," and I'll go see if I can find some pixie dust.
Another week and another struggling team is infused with new hope after beating the Eagles. It was the Eagles 6th straight loss and it's gotten so bad in Philly that everywhere Andy Reid goes people say under their breath, "Dead man walking." The mood in the Eagles locker room after the game told you everything you needed to know about how things are. "I don't know how it can get much worse," tight end Brent Celek said. That's because you aren't playing in Kansas City.
RG3, which I think is going to be a name for one of the robots in the new Star Wars movies, had an almost perfect game completing 14 of his 15 throws for 200 yards, 4 touchdowns, while also running for 84 yards. "I'm tired of talking about Robert," said Santana Moss, who leaped between two defenders and fought his way into the end zone for the 61-yard score in the third quarter. "Nothing's going to change; Robert's going to go out there and be special. That's the gift that he has, he's a special guy. He brings that kind of `specialness.' I don't know if that's a word, but he brings it to our offense." Specialness - Surpassing what is common or usual. By the way, who's Robert?
The more things stay the same they more they...stay the same? Wait, I think I messed the quote up. But my point is things just stayed the same for both the Bucs and Panthers in this game. The Bucs won for the 5th time in 6 weeks to move to 6-4 and playoff contention while the Panthers lost for the 7th time in 8 weeks to fall to 2-8 and 1st overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft contention.
Just as in prior games the Panthers had a chance and were leading 21-10 in the 4th quarter but behind the strength of 248 passing yards and 3 touchdowns by Josh Freeman, who also threw 2 interceptions which is why they were behind in the first place, they forced overtime and got the win when Dallas Clark caught a 15-yard TD pass from Manning, or I mean Freeman. When asked where this loss ranked among this season's meltdowns, Newton snapped, "I'm not answering no more questions about where this one ranks." I take it that means you're not going to answer my question about where "Lincoln" ranks among Steven Spielberg's movies.
Maybe the Jaguars should have made the switch to Chad Henne a long time ago. With Blain Gabbert out with an injury Henne threw for 354 yards and 4 touchdowns, mostly to rookie Justin Blackmon who caught 236 of those yards and 1 TD, as the Jaguars had a 34-20 lead early in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you wanted to win, the Texans Matt Schuab threw for 527 yards and 5 touchdowns and Andre Johnson had 273 receiving yards and a TD.
We also got to see the new OT rules in action when both teams traded field goals before Johnson took a Schuab pass and ran it 48 yards for the game winning TD. The vaunted Texans defense looked far from spectacular, or good, or even average, but the Texans still came away with the win. "All the good teams find a way to win, no matter if it's ugly, pretty or whatever," Johnson said. "In the win column, it either says 'W' or 'L.' They don't ask how you got it done." Or it says "T", don't forget about "T" which shows up about once every 4 or 5 years.
Carson Palmer just looks like a poor man's Tony Romo to me. His numbers aren't bad, he throws for a lot of yards, he just always seems to find a way to mess it up, and unlike Romo, when was the last time you could remember him making a play to win a game? Palmer threw for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns but he also threw an interception in the end zone and had another one returned 55 yards for a Saints TD. Somewhere Al Davis is rolling is his grave, or looking down on them with displeasure, or doing a jig in Hades (I made that last one up).
The Saints jumped out to a 14-0 lead, led 21-7 at the half, and 38-10 early in the 4th. All in all it was a complete drubbing by the Saints, or you could say the Raiders got dump trucked on whatever that means and yes, I'm looking at you Stuart Scott even if only one of your eyes is looking back. Now the Saints are at .500 for the first time all season. "I feel better than where we were," said safety Roman Harper, who had the interception in the end zone. "We're making plays now. We're making turnovers, we're making big plays. We're not allowing big plays." Well you did allow the Raiders to become the 10th straight team to go over 400 total yards but I guess it's all about baby steps.
Peyton manning had a pass intercepted and returned for a TD for the first score of the game and was sacked for a safety for the first score of the second half but other than that threw for 270 yards and 3 touchdowns. Turns out that was all that was needed since Von Miller was wrecking havoc on Philip Rivers who was sacked 4 times, fumbled twice, and threw 2 interceptions. It wasn't as impressive as what Aldon Smith did but how many players have had a game that impressive, and Miller wins for better sack dance as he flips, does jumping jacks, and summersaults in a sack dance impersonation of Sonic the Hedge Hog.
Now even if the Chargers win out they would need the Broncos to lose 4 of their final 6 games which seems highly unlikely. "They're not losing four of six, I can guarantee you that," Rivers said. Yes, I just said that. The win put Manning tied for second in career victories with...wait for it...wait...waaaaaait...John Elway! Common, you had to see that one coming.
The more things stay the same the more they...stay the same? Crap! I messed it up again. But again the point is the Patriots beat the Colts which is about as predictable as the Browns losing to, well almost anyone. Even the Eagles beat the Browns so that tell you all you need to know. Tom Brady threw for 331 yards and 1 TD while Andrew Luck did almost the same with 334 yards and 2 touchdowns. The main difference was that Luck had 15 more pass attempts and also threw 3 interceptions.
The Colts did make a game of it through the first half and only trailed 24-17 but it was all Patriots in the second half as they scored 21 unanswered to blow it open. But it wasn't all good news for the Patriots when Rob Gronkowski, who had 7 receptions for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns, broke his forearm with only a few minutes left in the game and will be out 4-6 weeks. As for their other TE Aaron Hernandez, he missed his third straight game after injuring his ankle. Hold on I just remembered the saying. The more things change the more they're different than before. Wait, that's not right either.
How bad are thing for the Chiefs? Well they're now handing out paper bags with the Game Day program. In truth though, the stadium was half empty and many of those who did come dressed in black and donned their paper bags.
The Chiefs did "jump out", if you can call it that, to a 3-0 lead but on the following Bengals possession they executed a fake punt to keep the drive alive, converted on another 4th-down, and scored a TD when Andy Dalton, who finished with 230 yards and 2 touchdowns, found A.J. Green in the end zone. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn then took turns sucking and that about sums up the whole game right there. When asked about the bags Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said, "I focus on the game. I don't get into the crowd." It might have been less ugly if he looked at the crowd instead.
Ravens 13, Steelers 10
Byron Leftwich scrambled 31-yards for a TD to put the Steelers up early but then the Ravens defense decided to treat Leftwich as their own personal punching bag. He completed just 18 of his 39 pass attempts for 201 yards, was sacked 3 times, intercepted once, and sent crashing to the ground several times more ultimately leaving him unable to play next week. Good thing to since Joe Flacco was only marginally better throwing for just 164 yards and managing only two FG drives, with the lone Ravens TD coming on a 63-yard punt return by Jacoby Jones.
Charlie Batch is now in line to get the start next week and the Steelers are looking at ex-Eagles QB Mike Kafka as a possible back up. Kafka...can't do it...no beetle reference...must not...Ben Roethlisberger woke up the next morning as a giant beetle, his family is a little scared of him, he has no idea what's going on, eventually much later he comes out to hear his sister sing, she throws an apple at him that cracks his outer shell, and he eventually dies while his family forgets about him. Meanwhile college co-eds all along the Ben-a-palooza route secretly celebrate.
Bears 7, 49ers 32
Apparently the 49ers dump trucked on the Bears, or at least that's what I heard. My own thoughts on this game are Kaepernick is a high risk high reward kind of QB who will try to fit balls into tighter windows. When he's on it can be really impressive, but I'm wondering what will happen when he's not on. I know this will upset a lot of people here but I'll just say it anyways, he seems to have somewhat of a Brett Favre quality about him. Sure Favre's thrown more touchdowns than any other QB in NFL history, but he's also thrown more interceptions than any other QB in history. Just saying. Maybe they should work out some sort of platoon system. When they're ahead or close Smith plays, when they fall down by more than 8 points Kap comes in. Just a thought.