With playoff chances and seeding on the line, there was a lot of intense football played over the holiday weekend. Most of the games were played on Saturday, Christmas eve with a few played on Christmas day. Let’s dive into the in pile and look back on what was an NFL weekend filled with random TE appearances and broken legs.
Let’s get the coaching news out of the way first. Todd Bowles was hospitalized during the week for an undisclosed illness and did not travel with the Jets to Foxborough. Since they refused to tell us why he was in the hospital I assume he went into an involuntary sanity saving coma while he watched the film of his team from the past two weeks. Many believed he wouldn’t coach, but he showed up and took his beating from the Patriots like Major Colvin in the Wire which he greatly resembles, a man.
The Bills lost in overtime to the Dolphins and promptly fired the Ryan brothers on Tuesday. The bills have a lot of talent but play in a tough division. Let the rumors on who will replace Ryan flow.
As the full slate of games were on Saturday, I watched them at my sisters place where my family was celebrating a holiday in which a pine tree is placed inside and decorated with lights and ornaments. My sister was on the couch next to me watching what I believe is the most football she has ever watched in her life. It was cool to see how she responded as a non-football fan to the games. She first noticed that there were flags and penalties all the time. “Is there ever a play were a flag isn’t thrown?” she asked me. Redzone bounces around a lot so penalties probably appear to be more abundant than they actually are, but she is right, there are way too many flags thrown during a game.
Another thing she noticed is that football is a brutal. Dudes were dropping all over the place on Saturday and three very important legs were broken. First, Marcus Marriota broke his leg in a loss to Jacksonville. Since the Titans lost they have been eliminated from the playoffs, but it is still a bummer to see a good player who has clearly improved in his second year suffer a significant injury.
Second, Tyler Lockett has been added to the youtube “Most Gruesome Football Injuries Ever” montages. His ankle snapped under the pressure of Cardinals DB Brandon Williams. Lockett caught a pass from Wilson and somehow held onto the ball as the only thing connecting his foot to his leg was skin. The biggest bummer about all of this is that Lockett will likely never be the same after this injury. He is an undersized receiver who is playing in the NFL because he can out run everyone. That speed advantage will likely be lost after a broken leg. His catch was originally ruled a touchdown but the ball was placed on the one after review. The Seahawks were then stuffed 4 straight times, got the ball back after Palmer threw an interception, and were stuffed three more times forcing them to settle for a field goal.
Third, Derek Carr (I think I am finally used to saying Derek instead of David) broke his leg in a win against the Colts. He was twisted up by a defensive tackle and fell to the ground. Carr motioned for the medical staff to come see him keeping a composed face. Then as the medical crew got closer he laid his head down and began screaming in pain. Super hard to watch.
The Carr injury will have the biggest impact on the season. The super bowl winner often isn’t the best team, it is the healthiest team. The Raiders hopes of winning a playoff game now rest on the shoulders of Matt McGloin. Call me a pessimist, but it looks like the Patriots path to the super bowl just got a whole lot easier.
I didn’t make the playoffs in my fantasy league, but if I were in the championship game over the weekend and was relying on my tight end to score big points, I would have likely been upset. Random tight ends scored touchdowns for their teams over the weekend. Joshua Perkins and D.J. Tialavea caught touchdowns from Matt Ryan, Matt Lengel caught a touchdown from Tom Brady, and Tyler Higbee caught a touchdown from Jared Goff.
Jay Ajayi became the fourth running back ever to run for three 200 yard games in one season. The others who accomplished this feat are big names, O.J. Simpson (1973), Earl Campbell (1980), and Tiki Barber (2005).
Greg Olsen became the first tight end ever to record 3 straight 1,000 yard season. This was a surprising stat as I assumed Tony Gonzalez, Shannon Sharpe, or Gronk already accomplished this feat.
Antonio Brown (who saved the Steelers season with a great TD catch) caught 10 passes on Christmas putting him over 100 receptions for the season. He is now the second player ever to catch over 100 passes in 4 straight seasons. The only other person to do it is a man that I am afraid to name as he might find me and kill me (he played for the Colts and had 4 straight 100 reception seasons between 1999 – 2002).
Bill Belichick is now the 5th coach in NFL history to record 200 wins with one team. Curly Lambeau and George Halas coached so long ago I don’t even think their 209 and 318 wins respectively with one team should count. In my mind Belichick is only behind Tom Landry who had 250 wins with the Cowboys (1960 – 1988) and Don Shula who had 257 wins with the Dolphins (1970 – 1995).
Kickers are not football players. Yea I said it. That’s why it makes me angry when they tackle a real football player and stand over them like they aren’t a pasty white guy wearing a goofy helmet. I don’t mind the Pat McAfee or Marquette King celebrations after pinning the opposing team with a coffin corner punt as that is their job. I just hate it when kickers (like the fat one from Penn State) tackle someone and tower over them because if anyone breaths on them it’s a roughing the kicker penalty.
Over the weekend Dan Carpenter completed a glorified shove of the Miami kick returner out of bounds on a kick return. As the Miami player fell to his side line, Carpenter decided to run over to him and show his dominance which started a mini brawl. In the 4th quarter against the Lions, Dallas punter Chris Jones leveled kick returner Andre Roberts. He then stood there staring at Roberts with a stink face.
The Browns finally won a game. It was against the Chargers who have 19 players on IR and coughed up the game. Lambo missed the 45 yard field goal that would have tied the game and advanced it into overtime. The Browns needed a missed field goal to end a 17 game losing streak.
Is there a more dishonest sports broadcast than Fox? No, there isn’t. On Christmas eve the 1-13 49ers faced off against the 4-10 Rams. Not a great match up and unless you have a crippling gambling habit, had a fantasy player in the game, or are a depressed fan of one of these teams, you weren’t tuning into this game. Fox knew this and they took the records of the teams off from the Fox Box in the corner of the screen in an effort to keep uniformed viewers from changing the channel after seeing that both teams suck. This was an obvious purposeful strategy because all of the other games on Fox had the teams records in the Fox Box. I. Hate. Fox.
Dontari Poe became the fattest guy to throw a touchdown in NFL history, Blake Bortles caught a touchdown pass, Dez Bryant threw a touchdown pass (it turns out he is a lefty), neither team that appeared in the super bowl last season made the playoffs, Allen Robinson almost made the catch of the year, Zeke Elliot is really fucking good, Earl Thomas isn’t retiring, and the faces of disappointment on the Seattle sidelines when Steven Hauschka missed the game tying field goal are the most genuine expressions of emotion you will ever see.