Week 12 of the 2016 NFL season was an eventful one consisting of three thanksgiving day games, a crooked pinky, one happy Harbaugh brother, an ongoing feud between coaches, and several rad plays.
The first two of the three NFL games on the day spent celebrating a propaganda-esque friendly meal between colonists and Native Americans almost four hundred years ago were fun to watch. The Lions secured first place in the NFC North by defeating the Vikings in an ugly game. The Vikings gave the game to the Lions after Bradford threw a late game interception allowing Nick Swardson look-a-like Matt Prater to kick the game winning field goal. The second game was an offensive shootout between the offensive line lead Cowboys and the “ooooo! Eeeee!” Cousins lead Redskins. Despite the horrifying bad halftime show, the Cowboys were able to fight off the division rival and win the game at home. I didn’t watch the third game, but the Steelers easily defeated the Scott Tolzien led Colts.
The Raiders/Panthers game was one of the better games this season. Derek Carr dislocated his pinky on his throwing hand after jamming it on the back side of his center during a sloppy snap. After the play Carr was shown inspecting his contorted pinky and was reported to be in severe pain. He left the game to get his finger popped back in place, put a cool black glove on, and lead the Raiders to victory taking every snap from the shotgun. This was a cool bad ass performance from Carr, but the real difference maker on the Raiders during this game was Kahlil Mack. He became the first player to record an interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery, sack, and a touchdown in the same game since Charles Woodson did it in 2009. In addition to the great games from Carr and Mack, the win over the weekend was their 9th victory sealing their first winning season since I was in elementary school (2002). The Raiders sit atop the best division in football (AFC West) and look ready to start a run of dominance.
Like 26 other NFL teams, the Ravens aren’t great, but they are still hopeful of making the playoffs. The AFC North is a jumbled mess of teams staying around .500 and the winless Browns. The Ravens essentially ended the playoff hopes of the AJ Green-less Bengals on Sunday so it will be either them or the Steelers to come out of that division. Their win over the Bengals was not something to marvel at as they won by a score of 19 – 14 where their kicker Justin Tucker did most of the scoring completing 3 fields goals that were over 50 yards. In the game, Steve Smith continued his never ending quest of exposing fraud defenders when he earned a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a dirty confrontation with Vontaze Burfict. Smith gave the much larger Burfict a much deserved nudge with his helmet which gave Burfict an opportunity to flop like an NBA defender. Burfict got the call against Smith, but his already horrible reputation took another hit.
The best part of this game was the ending. The Ravens were lined up to punt on 4th down at the end of the game and instead of risking a punt return, the entire Ravens special teams unit committed holding penalties as the punter held the ball and backed up into the end zone. Flags flew from every ref and the Bengals got 2 points for the safety, but the time had run out. A grinning John Harbaugh was seen on the sidelines as he did the most Harbaugh thing ever to guarantee his team a victory.
Sean Payton hates Gregg Williams
Gregg Williams was the defensive coordinator for the Super Bowl winning Saints from 2009 – 2011. During his tenure as the DC, he and head coach Sean Payton reportedly did not get along. Williams brought his bounty program to the Saints in which he rewarded defensive players with bonuses for injuring players on the opposing team. This was uncovered during the filming of the Steve Gleason documentary and became Roger Goodell’s first major event in his over punishing crusade to “protect the shield”. Sean Payton was suspended for a year due to his knowledge of the bounty program and Williams was allowed back into the league after being cooperative with the NFL. On Sunday the Saints annihilated the Rams who currently employ Williams as the DC. The game was already decided late in the 4th quarter as the Saints were up 42-21 but instead of running out the clock, Payton ran a double pass play were the wide receiver Snead threw a touchdown bomb to go up by 4 touch downs. This was a clear message to Williams and the stare down between the two across the sidelines proved that.
With just seconds left before halftime, The Cardinals had the ball driving against the Falcons. Palmer completed a pass to Fitzgerald leading to the vet wide receiver running into field goal range and sliding while calling a time out to save a few seconds for the field goal attempt. The Cardinals made the field goal which didn’t matter in the end as they lost 19-38, but the awareness of Fitzgerald during that play was rad.
The 49ers were driving late in the 4th to force overtime against the Dolphins. A surprising competent Kaepernick led the comeback in the Cuban dense city of Miami after getting torched publicly for his comments about Fidel Castro. During this final drive, Kaepernick threw a pass to Jeremy Kerley who made an amazing toe-tapping catch. The pass was originally ruled incomplete and it looked incomplete watching it live. But the replay show that Kerley caught the ball, maintained possession and dragged both feet before falling out of bounds. The drive stayed alive because of the rad catch, but the drive ultimately ended when Cuban player Kiko Alonso tackled Kaepernick just short of the goal line.
Buccaneers defensive back Alterraun Verner lost his father on Friday and played against the Seahawks on Sunday. Just two days after his father died he intercepted a pass from Russell Wilson and after being tackled, laid on the ground clearly full of emotion. His teammates surrounded him celebrating the great defensive play made under those circumstances. Rad moment.
The Packers are not a good football team but Aaron Rodgers is still the best QB in the NFL. He made an insane touchdown pass to Devante Adams on Monday night against the Eagles. I am unable to do the pass justice via a terrible description so all I will say is that if the ball was placed just an inch to the left or right it would have been an incompletion or an interception. It was placed perfectly and even more amazing than the beautiful pass, Adams actually hung onto it. Rad throw.