Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened in the Week 13 Sunday afternoon games...
Things That Made Me Giddy
Ravens and 49ers Are Football’s Best Teams: With the Patriots a comfortable distance away in third. It was an absolute classic in the Baltimore rain, with neither defense blinking down the stretch. It came down to the 49ers failing on a late fourth-and-1, and the Ravens converting on theirs.
Everyone Wishes They Had Justin Tucker: His game-winner from 49, in the driving rain, was 100% without drama.
Broncos Play to Win. So They Do.: At the end of regulation, tie game, at your own 28, nine seconds left, just chuck it downfield. In the NFL, in 2019, too many good things can happen when you just chuck it downfield. In this case, the Broncos get a 37-yard pass interference penalty and one play later Brandon McManus wins it from 53.
49ers Contain Lamar: For the most part. They got gashed a couple times when they failed to locate the ball (which is going to happen when the Ravens run it 38 times against you), safety Marcell Harris bailed them out in the third quarter with a phenomenal strip at the end of a long Jackson run, and the rain limited Baltimore’s passing game. But considering what the Ravens have been doing to teams, holding them to 283 yards of offense and 4.7 yards per rushing attempt is a victory for a defense that has shut down a variety of opposing offenses this season.
Duck Hodges to James Washington: Due to their highlight-reel plays to key victories over the Bengals last week and the Browns this week, they are technically president and vice president of the state of Ohio. But they have to rock-paper-scissors best-of-7 to decide who gets which title. That’s your civics lesson for the day.
DeVante Parker Gives Eagles Defensive Backs Innumerable Swirlies: First it was Ronald Darby, then it was Jalen Mills. It didn’t matter which of the Eagles corners tried to guard him because they were hopelessly overmatched every time. Seven catches for 159 yards and two TDs.
The Mahomes Chiefs Vs. the Gruden Raiders: Over four matchups, it’s 143-55. In favor of the Chiefs, to be clear.
Jason Sanders as Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer: His 51-yarder with five minutes to go stretched the lead to nine and basically sealed Miami’s upset of the Eagles. He also added a touchdown pass. We won’t pay attention to his missed PAT. In a long year for kickers, this was a very good day.
Zac Taylor Is On the Board!: It’s difficult to be worse than a 1-11 record, but the Bengals have not been anywhere near as bad as their record suggests on either side of the ball (save for the offense during the Ryan Finley starts). Good on Taylor for Win No. 1.
Mike Tomlin Is a Wizard: With an assist to Keith Butler and, especially this week, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. Imagine what this team would’ve been if they had a healthy Ben Roethlisberger.
Juan Thornhill’s Very Good Six Minutes: The rookie safety stuffed Trevor Davis on a fourth-and-1 jet sweep, after which the Chiefs drove for a touchdown. Then, on the ensuing possession, he delivered a 46-yard pick-six.
Derrius Guice Runs Wild in Charlotte: It took only 10 carries for him to get his first 100-yard game, finishing with 129, including rushed of 60 and 37 yards.
Carson Wentz. Better.: He once again missed high for no particular reason a few times, but getting Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor back did the body good. Wentz was very good on Sunday.
Andy Dalton Fitting This One In: To become the Bengals’ all-time leader in passing touchdowns. Dalton isn’t good, but he’s serviceable, and that’s the kind of throw Ryan Finley didn’t even consider trying in November.
They Finally Get Nickell Robey-Coleman on a P.I. Review: On an obvious grab and pull of Larry Fitzgerald that would have been an interception if not overturned on review. Play-by-play man Chris Myers said, “They’re laughing in New Orleans.” But you know what? I bet they weren’t laughing.
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The Browns’ Latest Humiliation: With the postseason within reach, they had a double-digit lead against the Duck Hodges-led Steelers. The fact that they didn’t win the game is the biggest insult of all.
Odell Beckham Jr. Dons Invisibility Cloak Again: Oh how the Browns rue the day that Dumbledore gifted that cloak to a young Odell Beckham Jr. Three catches for 29 yards in a must-win game. Maybe it will simply take time for Baker Mayfield and Beckham to build chemistry, but one season in, considering the contract and draft capital they dealt for him, this is a move that has backfired brutally.
Chargers Playing for Overtime: (Note from the author: I wrote this before the Chargers’ game-tying field goal and well before the Broncos’ game-winner.) I know the Chargers have been burned on fourth-and-inches, but you’re 4-7, on the road, with a Hall of Fame quarterback under center. Go win the game, Anthony Lynn. Instead, they played for overtime and lost in regulation anyway.
Colts Kicking Game Again: In a 90-second span in the first half, Adam Vinatieri missed from 55 and 53 (the second was technically blocked but it was a low, hopeless attempt). Then, on a 46-yard try in a tie game with five minutes left, Dane Cruikshank was allowed a free run inside and basically could have caught the snap, leading to an easy block scooped up for the game-winning TD. That’s the third time this season the kicking game has cost Indy a victory.
Eagles Cornerbacks Have As Bad a Day As You Can Have: Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were toasted beyond recognition in Miami, mostly by DeVante Parker but with a little Mike Gesicki sprinkled in as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 365 yards (to go with 21 yards worth of pass interference penalties). On a day when the offense found its rhythm again and Philly led by two touchdowns in the second half, playing this poorly at a reactionary position is how you lose to a terrible opponent.
This Is What the Cardinals Look Like When Kyler Murray Isn’t Flawless: It’s a not-very-good offense they run, performed by a not very good roster they’ve assembled.
Marcus Peters Giveth, Marcus Peters Taketh Away: Just like it says in the Bible. He has three interceptions including a pick-six since joining the Ravens, but on Sunday he got bullied by Deebo Samuel on a fourth-down, 33-yard touchdown in the first quarter and gave about as poor a tackling effort as you’ll see on Raheem Mostert in the second quarter, turning what should’ve been a six-yard run into a 40-yard TD.
Zach Ertz’s Hands Ended Up Being the Problem: Playing through a hamstring injury, Ertz had two soul-crushing drops and a third play on which he let it get knocked out of his hands on a would-be touchdown.
An Iffy Drew Lock: Once again, you saw Rich Scangarello’s script do some good work early (with a big assist from Courtland Sutton). Then Lock faded late, having issues with the speed of the defense and mapping the field in general. If Lock plays well enough down the stretch, it could convince John Elway to pass on a first-round quarterback (again). This was not a great start though.
Cam Newton Could’ve Sat in a Chair Behind Center and Directed a Better Panthers Offense on Sunday: Carolina scored touchdowns on their first two drives, then had eight punts and an interception over their next nine, averaging 1.8 yards per play during that span as they blew a two-touchdown lead. They ended up with 3.8 yards per play and two giveaways against previously-two-win Washington.
The Jaguars Have Zero Starting Quarterbacks: As has been the case since the Mark Brunell era. Nick Foles was a tire fire against the Bucs on Sunday and Gardner Minshew continues to look like a poor man’s Andy Dalton (but with clothes that don’t look like clothes that other people wear!).
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Moments We’ll Tell Our Grandkids About
Brian Flores Moves Into the Coach of the Year Conversation With This Call:
Cool Kids Love Courtland Sutton: Because he keeps doing stuff like this:
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What We’ll Be Talking About This Week
Don’t Worry, The Doug Marrone Era Is Almost Over: Only 13 months too late. Marrone should have been pink-slipped the moment he fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett last November in a gutless, scapegoat move that made the team worse.
There's a Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’ Listing for ‘2019 NFC East Title’: If anyone’s interested.
I Mean, In the Cardinals’ Defense . . . : Seventeen weeks is a really long season. Surely you can be forgiven for just failing to show up for four or five of those weeks. So it’s perfectly understandable to come off your bye week, in your own building, facing a division opponent on a short week who just got humiliated, to fall behind 34-0. That’s a good franchise. They’re in really good shape.
Titans Are Going to the Playoffs: Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, it’s true.
Freddie Kitchens Gets Heat for Wearing Dumb T-shirt: In this week’s installment of “People Get Mad At the Browns Because of Clothes.” And he’s right that it really isn’t a big deal—his unprepared, underachieving team pooping the season away is the bigger issue.
Cincinnati, Washington, Miami All Win: It was the kind of day you usually only see in a place like Rand McNally.
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