NFL Week 14 Roundup

Unlike last week, we had a interesting variety of games this past weekend.  The early slate involved lots of blowouts and bad match ups.  The late slate provided some down-to-the-wire games, and a major upset.  That upset occurred over a team that’s in shambles.

Games not being written about: Dallas vs. Chicago, St. Louis vs. Washington, Giants vs. Tennessee, Carolina vs. New Orleans, Houston vs. Jacksonville, Tampa Bay vs. Detroit, Bills vs. Broncos, 

Minnesota-30 New York Jets-24 (OT)

If there was one play in this game that foreshadowed how this game went, you didn’t have to look far.

On the first play of the game, Geno Smith threw a interception.  Not shocking, aye?  Well, Gerald Hodges took it 27 yards into the end zone.  7-0 Vikings just like that.

We know though, that the Jets play good defense.  That’s been their highlight this season, giving what else they’ve been through.  With the Vikings backed up, the Jets sacked Teddy Bridgewater in the end zone, giving New York a safety and making it 7-2 with 10:12 left in the 1st quarter.

It was an entertaining start in what was expected to be a bum game.

The rest of the quarter proved to be more of the same.  Percy Harvin caught a 35 yard pass from Geno Smith in which he took into the end zone.  Harvin finished with 124 yards and that TD, but he left the stadium on crutches.

Soon after, Teddy Bridgewater threw a bomb to Charles Johnson; a 56 yard TD pass which put Minnesota up 14-9.  Bridgewater, I believe, may be the best QB to come out of the 2014 draft.  He hasn’t been phenomenal this year, but has shown some promising flashes.  I’m still sticking to my claim, but the Vikings need to be patient with him.

Minnesota this year though, has been pretty leant on it’s running game, even without Adrian Peterson.  It didn’t show up Sunday.  No TD’s were rushed in for the Vikings, even with 114 yards as a team.  Running back Matt Asiata didn’t have a great day.  This is the force of the Vikings.  They sometimes have to rely on their running game.  The Jets proved pretty sturdy on the defensive line.  They’ve been a great run defense team in the past, and continue to do so.

The second quarter’s excitement was definitely a lot more toned down, though a Jets fumble gave Minnesota another defensive TD, putting them up 21-12.  Nick Folk kicked a field goal with 17 seconds left before halftime, cutting the lead to 21-15.

Third quarters this year haven’t proven to be exciting, in any game.  This was one of those.  Nick Folk hit a 22 yarder to make it 21-18 Vikings heading into the 4th.

Hey look! Geno Smith actually had a decent game!

Wait! His QBR was over 60? No way!

Actually, it was 87.4!  87.4 QBR! FROM GENO SMITH!  WITH A PICK-SIX!

YEA! And to back that, he passed for 254 yards, completing 18-29 passes.  It was a great day for Geno Smith!  Overall though, the ending was one Jets fans would want to forget.

ANOTHER Jets field goal kicked off the 4th quarter, tying the game at 21.

FYI: There was a lot of field goals in this game.  I had someone at school bring that up to me, and asked me how I would use it in my column.

Minnesota joined the the three point party with 5:28 left in the games, making it a 24-21 game.

See, I’m making up new words.  That’s how ridiculous this game was.

But don’t worry, the Jets just had to make this interesting, and they did.  They really did!

With 3:07 left, New York got the ball, and in to Geno’s hands it went.  (That’s a very scary thing to say)  The highlight of the 45 yard drive was a 18 yard scramble by Smith, which set him up to throw two incomplete passes and have Nick Folk kick, yea, another field goal.

Minnesota got the ball back with 23 seconds left, and made some huge progress thanks to a 27 yard catch by Jarius Wright.  Blair Walsh set up for a 56 yard field goal, which is a long one, but he totally shanked it as time expired, sending the thing into overtime.  I’m not sure how many people really wanted to see this go into overtime.

In the 5th quarter (I don’t care what you call it, this is how I roll), the Jets had the first opportunity, and punted after six plays.  Somehow, that took three minutes.

Anyways, Minnesota had the ball for two plays before Teddy Bridgewater threw a dinky screen pass to Jarius Wright, and guess what he did with it?

He took it 87 yards down the field, and went into the end zone, giving the Vikings the 30-24 win. Typical Jets way to lose.

Now look, these Jets, well there the Jets.  And there’s not much else to say.  They need better QB play, whoever that may be.  This isn’t Rex Ryan’s fault.  He’s not an offensive guru.  We know Geno Smith isn’t the answer now, even after his above-average performance.  This team finds way to lose, and that needs to change, or else someone is getting the boot.

I came up with a theory that involves Geno Smith.  See the menu.

Baltimore-28 Miami-13

Both teams coming into this game knew the stakes.  Both teams are ones who are fighting for playoff spots, more likely Wild Cards though.  It could easily, at the end of the season, determine who’s in and out.

Baltimore had a slow start.  That’s been a custom of their’s this year, and it needs to change.  The Dolphins attacked them well.  They limited the running game, leaving Joe Flacco to throw.  Though Justin Forsett had a good game, it didn’t seem like the Ravens were just pounding the football against them.  It came in spurts.  Miami did it’s best, and really, they did pretty well.

Miami got out to a 10-0 first quarter lead, after a field goal——->

(Timeout.  If I have to say field goal one more time in this column, I may lose it.)

and a TD pass to Brian Hartline.  Ryan Tannehill continues to impress me and the Dolphins.  They’re keeping him.  Just add some more talent and they’re set.  Tannehill’s day consisted of 227 yards passing, completing 23/33 of his throws and that TD pass.  With a QBR of 98.9, he’s doing just fine.

The second quarter was a bunch of three&outs and stupid drives.  Nothing happened.  The Ravens very late got something going.  With 3:08 left before halftime, Joe Flacco lead Baltimore down the field, and found Steve Smith in the end zone with two seconds left.  Smith had, including the TD catch, seven receptions for 70 yards.

The TD got the Ravens within three at halftime, with Miami still leading 10-7.

The third quarter was similar to the second, with limited action and good defense on both ends.  Baltimore may not be a fun team to watch, nor are their wins that pretty, but they’re a good team.  The balanced offense limits mistakes.  They’re well coached too, and that always helps.

Halfway through the third though, the Ravens got into red zone (finally) and Kamar Aiken (Who?) caught a 13 yard TD pass from Flacco.  It was the start of Baltimore’s furious offensive explosion.

Miami scored only once the rest of the game, with a field goal that was kicked with just over two minutes into the 4th quarter.  Baltimore took over only up by one, and went down the field on two long drives, scoring rushing TD’s on both, one by Forsett and one by Flacco.

With those, Baltimore went up by two possessions, as the lead was to insurmountable for Miami.  The Dolphins are still a very good team.  They lost a game because of defensive mistakes.  They can’t give up long drives.  You get tired when that happens, and it leads to errors.  It’s what happened to Miami Sunday.  If the Dolphins are a playoff team, they need a little bit of a run and some help, because this game was key.

Indianapolis-25 Cleveland-24

I don’t know anymore.  Cleveland is by far the most friskiest team there is.  It’s praise one week, tragedy another, and ugly the next.  They’re impossible to figure out, like their division.

This game started slow.  Both teams started out rocky.  Brian Hoyer threw a pick in the red zone halfway through the quarter, blowing a huge opportunity.  That was just the start of his bad day.

The Browns got on the board first though, late in the quarter by sacking Andrew Luck, causing him to fumble.  Craig Robertson scooped it up and took it into the end zone, though the play happened deep in Indy’s territory.

Again, the first half was a slow one.  Andrew Luck threw a TD pass in the 2nd quarter, tying the game at seven with 5:57 till halftime.  It was one of Luck’s two on the day.  With 1:14 left till halftime, the Browns scored on a Isaiah Crowell TD run, putting them up 14-7 at halftime.

Ah, finally!  The second half!  The exciting second half!  The third quarter didn’t start Indy’s way.  A fumble by T.Y. Hilton three plays in gave Cleveland the ball, who eventually did absolutely nothing with it.  Hilton had a great day though, with 150 yards and 2 TD’s, plus helping me out fantasy wise.

It was a short time after though, Andrew Luck threw a pick-six with 10:23 left in the quarter, giving Cleveland a two possession, 21-7 lead.  Don’t ask me how we got there.  Cleveland should have never lead in this game.  Never.

Brian Hoyer had a really bad day.  Completing 14/31 passes, throwing for 140 yards and two picks isn’t great.  At all.  He’s losing the starting job on a weekly basis.  He’s gotten worse and worse since everyone praised him.  The Browns have a limited shot at the playoffs.  I don’t care what their record is.  There is four teams better than them in the AFC who are fighting for Wild Card spots.  PLAY JOHNNY!  PLEASE!

And earlier today, they did.  Johnny Manziel will start Sunday for Cleveland.  Thank god.  It’s about time some one in the Browns front office got smart, and Kevin Costner, I mean you too.

After taking the two possession lead, all Cleveland did was blow it.  They scored one more time the rest of the game; a 39 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.  A 42 yard bomb from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton for a TD started the Colts comeback with 4:09 left in the 3rd quarter.

Indianapolis kicked a field goal to start the 4th quarter, making it a 21-19 Browns lead.  Cleveland’s last score came with 8:39 left (Cundiff’s field goal).  It put them up by five.

Andrew Luck though, he’s an animal.  It doesn’t matter how bad his day was, and Sunday, he went 24/53, with 294 yards, 2 TD’s, and 2 INT’S.

It didn’t stop him.  He lead the Colts down the field with 3:46, with help coming from a 27 yard pass to Donte Moncrief.  A huge 4th&1 converted at the Cleveland three yard line set up T.Y. Hilton’s game-winning TD catch with 36 seconds left.  It was heartbreaking, once again for Cleveland.

I’m sorry Browns.  It’s Johnny Manziel time.  Your playoff chances are so slim.   We’re not sure what Manziel will be, but he’ll provide excitement.  That’s what it’s about this time of year, right?

Arizona-17 Kansas City-14

(Homerism possible, on both ends)

This had to be one of the worst games of the weekend.  Had to.

My two favorite teams squared off Sunday in the desert.  One team in need of a win, one, well, also in need of win, but not as urgent as the other.

This, in my opinion, was a must-win for the Cardinals.  They got it done, yeah.  But still, this is sketchy team, and that says a lot coming from me.

Both teams are sketchy.  Neither team can score TD’s; something that the Cardinals have had trouble with all year.

Basically, these are two teams that will probably make the playoffs, baring a crash-and-burn scenario.  That is totally possible, giving what division these teams play in.

The game was awful, I’ll be honest.  The Cardinals kicked a field goal 4:05 in, going up 3-0.  Just over a minute later, the Cardinals gave up a 63 yard TD run to Jamaal Charles, who had 91 yards and that TD on the day.

The QB play was, well, pretty bad.  Drew Stanton went 15/30, with 239 yards and TD.  He didn’t throw a pick, but you watch him and you go “Yea, he’s a backup.”

He is.  And that’s okay.  He’s not going to be great, but he’s done better than anyone else expected.  That’s what counts.

The Cardinals kicked another field goal with 7:43 left in the second quarter, making it a 7-6 game.  Watching this game was miserable, and embarrassing when your a fan of both teams.

Arizona didn’t turn the ball over.  Once.  It was a blessing.  You’d think, against a stingy Kansas City defense, that they would create something.  Na-da.  This was all about who could put together the worst drive possible.  Sounds Cleveland-ly.

Right before halftime, the Chiefs went down the field, and that resulted in a Alex Smith TD pass to Jamaal Charles, making it 14-6 Kansas City at halftime.  Smith’s day was decent, completing 26/39 passes and throwing for 293 yards, with a TD and a pick.  (Both QB’s QBR’s were above 85)

The Chiefs never scored again.  It shows where this team lacks on offense.  There is hardly any weapons on this offense.  Alex Smith can’t do it by himself, we’ve realized that in the past.  We can’t though, blame him, yet.

This crazy talk about Kansas City giving up on Smith and maybe booting him insane.  Before you judge any QB, let alone player, you have to know the surroundings.  You have to see what he can do with talent around him.  It’s what I’m calling the Geno Smith Theory.  Once you get talent around a QB, you evaluate him.  If he doesn’t preform, he’s not the one.

The Cardinals went on to score ten more points, coming back and winning.  Don’t ask me how they won, I really have no idea.  Neither does any one in this country.

Seattle-24 Philidelphia-14

I have no idea how this game was so close. (The NFL is so unpredictable.  I really have no idea on a lot of things)  The Eagles had 139 total yards.  82 of them passing.  Mark Sanchez’s day was a bum one as he completed only 50% of his passes.  He did though, throw 2 TD’s, one to take an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

This was a messy game.  Seattle lost two fumbles in the game, but it really didn’t play a part.  The Eagles running game was shut down by Seattle’s defense, as LeSean McCoy only got 50 yards.

On the opposite end, Marshawn Lynch continued his beastly season, adding another 86 yards Sunday.

It was all Seattle in the second quarter.  Russell Wilson ran in a TD from 26 yards putto tie the game at seven.  Near halftime, the Seahawks kicked a field goal to go up 10-7.

Again, when you look at the box score, you have no clue how this game was this close.  The Eagles just barely hung on.

Right out of the gate, Seattle scored and went up 17-7 after a TD catch from Marshawn Lynch.  Philadelphia short after tried to make it interesting, after Sanchez threw a bomb to Zach Ertz, which went for 35 yards into the end zone.  That score made it 17-14.

Seattle though, sealed it right after.  Going up ten with nine minutes left proved to be to much for Philly.

These are both playoff teams, in some way.  I’m not sure about seeds, but they will be in playoffs, and may even wind up playing each other.  This in no way was a great game for either team, and it was actually a little hard to watch, but it’s inconceivable that neither of these teams will be in the playoffs.

Oakland-24 San Francisco-13

I really didn’t want to write about this game, so I’m going to provide my theory on the 49ers and what they should do.  

The 49ers are in shambles.  Tatters.  There is obviously riffs within the organization.  The players aren’t happy.  It’s a mess.  No one saw it coming.  Who saw this talented roster being 7-6, and their head coach under fire?

The first problem with the 49ers starts with the injuries.  They had lots of talent on the bench at beginning of the season.  Aldon Smith was suspended for the first nine games.  The defense had trouble defending the run.  The already weak secondary couldn’t cover.  It was a mess, and when we thought it would get better, it didn’t.

The offense is another story.  Colin Kaepernick has been a disaster this year, and for someone who drafted him in fantasy, I know how bad he’s been, trust me.

Kaepernick is one of the most unique players in the league, let alone QB’s.  He has an incredible arm with the ability to escape a closing pocket.  Kaepernick though, likes to run out of the pocket, when he really doesn’t need to.  He still succeeds when he does, and that’s what counts.

But a year after being within one game of the Super Bowl, the 49ers decided to alter Kap’s game.  They wanted to keep him in the pocket, and not let him run loose.  His arm is still great, but the accuracy and former skills he possessed is now gone.  That’s the problem.

Another side piece to this is, the 49ers don’t have a ton on offense.  Their guys haven’t shown up.  Now, you can counter that, and say “Well, they have Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin.”

Those guys haven’t showed up entirely.  Vernon Davis has been a no-show this year.  Frank Gore’s age is getting up there.  QB’s can’t do it by themselves.  They need help.  You have surround them with weapons.

It’s not the player fault.  Who’s is it? Who needs to go?

Look, I don’t think Jim Harbaugh deserves to be fired as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.  I don’t believe any of this is his fault.  He had to deal with injuries early in the year, which lead to the slow start.  When the injured players returned, it didn’t come together.  Guys didn’t show up.  They didn’t play well enough.

If we want to blame this on Kaepernick, which is ridiculous, you have to look at the way his game has changed, for the worst.  It’s offensive coordinator Greg Roman that needs to go.  The play-calling is not the type that Kaepernick enjoys.  It doesn’t fit his style.  It’s not him, it’s Roman.

Now, if Harbaugh is fed up with 49ers, and the 49ers are fed up with him, maybe it’s the right thing to do.  Divorce, and bring back Mike Singletary.


Just kidding.

Now, I bet Harbaugh is a pain to work with.  He wants things done his way.  Sounds like a college coach (Oops).

I’m not going to get into Harbaugh’s future as a coach with other teams or whatever.  I’m talking about the 49ers.

To recap, this isn’t on the players, this isn’t on Harbaugh.  It’s on injuries and bad play-calling.  Altering this offense was possibly the worst thing you could have done this offseason.  Some one has to pay.

New England-24 San Diego-14

This was supposed to be go-time for San Diego.  And for a quarter or so, it was.

San Diego came out to blazing start after a boring first quarter and a Patriots field goal.  New England had a 17 play, 7:56 drive to get that field goal to make it 3-0 at the end of the 1st.  San Diego realized the Pats were going to drain them, so they started to put up points.

A 15 yard TD catch by Malcolm Floyd opened the second quarter, putting the Chargers ahead 7-3.  Minutes later, Brandon LaFell fumbled on a catch, and San Diego took it back 53 yards for a TD.  They led 14-3 with 11:06 left in the 2nd.

But the Chargers never scored again.  Not once.  They went the whole rest of the game without one point against the Patriots.

Good. Luck.

As expected, New England took advantage.  It was 14-13 at halftime, and we were well on our way to a bad San Diego second half.

Nothing actually happened in the third; that being a common trend this year.  I’m not sure what it is.  Water up at halftime!

The Patriots kicked a field goal at the top of the 4th quarter, making it 16-14 New England.

Right after, Tom Brady threw a 69 yard TD pass to Julian Edleman to make the lead 24-14, one that San Diego couldn’t overcome.

Brady had a great game with 317 yards, 2 TD’s and pick.  He completed 28/44 passes.  Philip River though, didn’t have a such a good day.  Completing 20/33 passes, he threw for 189 yards.  San Diego couldn’t run the ball, which proved to be costly.  That’s what usually kills them.

This loss might have been it for San Diego.  I’m not sure they can’t sneak in anymore.  The AFC is loaded with Wild Card teams, and the Chargers aren’t one of them, and won’t be the rest of the year.

On to Week 15…