We gave Gary Gramling the weekend off, so today it’s Conor Orr reacting and overreacting to everything that happened on Sunday afternoon.
But you can still get the full Sunday breakdown from Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling on The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast. Subscribe now and it will be in your feed first thing Monday morning.
THINGS THAT MADE ME GIDDY
SNOW!: From a television viewer’s perspective the Bills-Colts game on Sunday looked like a cold-weather movie from the 1950s, back when studio hands used to replicate fake snow with huge gobs of shredded soap. It was comical. Players were literally shoving mounds of packed snow away from their feet before snaps. The injury cart didn’t work because it got stuck. The Colts did not attempt a pass until the 6:12 mark of the second quarter. The unyielding pace of the snow—local weather reporters on Twitter estimated about two inches per hour—made for something out of our favorite childhood memories. For Bills fans, it made for a soft landing space for them after drunkenly crashing through a table.
Adam Vinatieri proved that nothing is impossible, while a group of Colts offensive linemen furiously shuffled snow away from the ground with their feet. Who says football needs to be high scoring to be beautiful?
LeSean McCoy proved that every time there is a hazardous snowstorm, he manufactures two-thirds of his yearly production total in one game (32 rushes for 156 yards and a walkoff touchdown). He should have been traded to Buffalo years ago.
The Browns Almost Win: Apocalyptic snow and Cleveland’s first win of the season? That would have been too much for one day. But don’t worry, the Browns turned the ball over on their first possession of overtime and handed the Packers a win. But it would have been sweet right? Fresh off winning a power struggle, Hue Jackson gets his first victory on the field? New general manager John Dorsey is 1–0? Instead, Jackson heads home trying to duck some Twitter heat from Kenny Britt’s agent!
At least there’s one good thing in Cleveland…
Josh Gordon Returns: A new general manager this week and a No. 1 receiver the next week. Of course, this only serves as an appetizer for the ultimate Cleveland heartbreak: A finally on-track Gordon (three catches, 69 yards and a touchdown) hits free agency like a runaway train and compiles a Hall of Fame worthy second act in another city. Before he goes, I just hope he’ll tell us if he kept the sunglasses in his helmet, or if they were stashed off to the side for a post-game celebration?
Toe-Dragging Goodness: Alex Smith and his legion of tiny but impossibly fast wide receivers have been known to bleed teams to death via paper cut. Albert Wilson brought the machete on Sunday Long Live #VerticalAlex and the fun Chiefs offense!
The Eagles without Carson Wentz… Our Jenny Vrentas will have more dispatches from Eagle camp in Los Angeles, but let’s consider how devastating this season has been already: Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Odell Beckham, David Johnson, Andrew Luck, J.J. Watt, Eric Berry… make it stop. There was always a risk Wentz’s mobility would get him into trouble, but to take him out of a tight MVP race on the day his team clinches the NFC East? Cruel.
The Seahawks are unable to lose with class (while Jaguars fans can’t win)… Some days in the NFL tee us up for pithy jokes and other days make us shake our heads. Michael Bennett going full on Greg Schiano and chopping an offensive lineman’s legs during the victory formation was just gross. Then, the Jaguars’ fans chucking garbage at Seahawks defensive linemen Quinton Jefferson showed our ugly side as fans. Jefferson obviously has to handle himself better and not try and scale the fence to get into the stands. But … what would any of us really do in that situation? In our own daily lives, we routinely can’t bottle our anger when it comes to: Traffic, WiFi strength, weather, anonymous Twitter eggs, in-laws, kids, school, work, etc. Imagine if any of those things involved a physical beating for 60 minutes and at the end someone rifled a Pepsi at you.
For another week, we’ll breeze past another terrifying moment on the field. This time, it was Texans quarterback Tom Savage, who was throttled by 49ers pass rusher Elvis Dumervil. There is video here if you can stomach it. His body essentially seizes up temporarily while he lays on the ground. The next time you spill a bag of pretzels hollering at your fantasy football player, please keep in mind the incredible risks they take even stepping on the field. Think the guys back in your day were tougher? Consider how much bigger, stronger and faster the game has gotten.
Remember when the Raiders were going to storm into Vegas? Probably not going to happen. Super Bowl aspirations were dimmed significantly on Sunday when the They’ll turn it around! Raiders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 26–15. At the 11-minute mark of the third quarter, Marshawn Lynch had more rushing yards (35) than Derek Carr did passing (33). The Raiders had four first downs and were being outgained 288–69.
“It sucked. It wasn’t good enough and you can put it all on me. Don’t put your blame on coach, one player. It’s all my fault,” Derek Carr told reporters after the game. At least they’re losing the right way.
Has the Marvin Lewis tenure ended in Cincinnati? Teams are firing head coaches earlier and earlier to jump the market. The Bengals came into Sunday with a 1.7% chance of reaching the postseason, according to Football Outsiders. Then, they lost to the Bears. Lewis has made the playoffs seven times in 15 years as head coach with no playoff victories. Bengals fans may view this question as heavily sarcastic, but in all seriousness: Is it time? There have been seasons when I’ve supported Cincinnati’s insistence on staying with Lewis for so long. There have been years when the Bengals had one of the NFL’s deepest rosters. But in a season where the AFC North was a relative disaster behind the Steelers, not capitalizing and reaching the postseason could be the tipping point.
MOMENTS WE’LL TELL OUR GRANDKIDS ABOUT
I was there, when the Giants had the ball in the second quarter on a fourth-and-3 at the Cowboys’ 37-yard line. On Monday they fired their head coach and general manager. On Wednesday, they decided to unbench Eli Manning. This interim coaching staff was playing with no expectations and could finally treat the fans to something resembling excitement offensively. Instead, they opted to punt the ball into the end zone, which netted them about 17 yards of field position.
One more point on the Giants… If you’re part of a fan movement to reinstall your favorite player and fire the head coach, stay until the end of the game! The image of Giants fans filtering out to the sound of Let’s Go Cowboys chants was a defining moment for me Sunday.
The Joe Webb era was good… After Nathan Peterman went down in Sunday’s Snow Bowl with a head injury, wildcat specialist Joe Webb took the field and went 2-of-6 for 35 yards and an interception. The 7–0 lead he entered the game with definitely felt insurmountable.
The Case Keenum era was OK… Turns out when you pressure a QB—any QB—he plays down to replacement level. Keenum, the current clubhouse leader for 2018 Mike Glennon Offseason QB Payout Award, lost a fumble and threw two picks in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. He was sacked six times and hit seven Carolina’s defense is turning it up at the right time, while Minnesota’s offensive line is coming back to earth a bit.
WHAT WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT THIS WEEK
Told you not to sleep on the Packers:
In the NFL-is-not-dead-yet category: Green Bay takes on current NFC six seed Carolina Panthers next week. In a season destroyed by injuries and politics, we still have a chance.
Suspension: Michael Bennett and Quinton Jefferson. Fines for Pete Carroll, Leonard Fournette? The way commissioner Roger Goodell has set up this current NFL, where suspensions are part of breaking news and thus, a part of the show, the league will be hanging on for another edition of SURVIVOR.
Christian Hackenberg heat: Josh McCown could be out for the season, and while that means Bryce Petty in the near future, the NFL’s favorite mystery quarterback could be warming up in the shadows.
Cam Newton outfit memes... This is going to be another ugly week in the world. At least we have Cam’s wild and wonderful wardrobe to get us through…
Giants GM news…They want a talent evaluator in before a head coach. We’ve seen how fast everything moves in the NFL right now, with the Browns leapfrogging the Giants for John Dorsey. There figures to be a few more GM openings on the horizon. Will New York make sure they get their man or woman?
The Chargers being back… Anthony Lynn has been masterful, leading Los Angeles back from an 0–4 start. Expect to hear more in the coming days about the team with no fans—they won’t be toiling quietly in their microstadium for much longer.
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