A model of excellence and efficiency. That’s what the New England Patriots were in a 34-3 pillaging of the Buffalo Bills. The defensive forced 7 turnovers, the ground game went for 200 yards and Tom Brady threw 3 TDs. Ho-hum.
In addition to locking up the number one seed for the Patriots, this game should lock up the MVP for Brady. Michael Vick’s story deserves a Hollywood ending, but Brady’s faced more obstacles this season. Randy Moss, the QB’s top target coming into the season, forced his way out of town. A young defense struggled to keep opposing teams from scoring and required protection from the offense in terms of clock-killing drives His weapons? Two free-agent running backs, two rookie tight ends, a previously washed-up receiver and a guy coming off a devastating knee injury. Asked to do everything and lead a young team against the beasts of the league, he did exactly that. Plenty of quarterbacks get too much credit, but this is one case where Brady may not get enough.
Another QB that doesn’t get enough credit is Brady’s former caddy Matt Cassel. The Moose continued to put up MVP level numbers while boosting his own rep as a NFL tough guy. The Chiefs took it to a disinterested Titans squad, as Jamaal Charles stole Chris Johnson’s mantle as top running back with 130 total yards and three touchdowns. Thanks to the Chargers loss, KC clinched the AFC West and a home playoff game.
While Giants and Bucs fans may be grumbling that the NFC West gets to send a team to the postseason, that’s the way they make the rules. Thus, the added significance of the 49ers–Rams contest to determine which sub .500 team could keep their dreams alive of getting destroyed by the Saints in round 1. The winner? Whichever team could hang around long enough to watch the other team self-destruct.
The Niners obliged the Rams as Mike Singletary squabbled on the sideline with one Smith (Troy) while another Smith (Alex) led a series of half-hearted last second drives before fumbling away San Francisco’s season. TSS football gurus are not certain why Troy Smith and Singletary were so hot, nor why Ted Ginn decide it was a good time to rub a towel in Smith’s face. Any suggestions in the comments are welcome.
– The Bears and Jets delivered a surprising shootout in a battle of supposedly stout defenses. The Bears emerged victorious thanks to three Jay Cutler touchdowns, 100 yards from Matt Forte and a few fortunate bounces such as Greg Olson’s backward slap to Johnny Knox. Something’s afoot with the Jets’ blitz packages, but you know Rex Ryan’s soliciting the internet for solutions.
– The Giants looked like they spent most of the week regretting their collapse against the Eagles as opposed to focusing on their de facto playoff game against the Packers. Nobody could hold onto the ball for the Giants, who turned the ball over five times. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings carved up the Giants D as well.
– The Bengals and Redskins had been the two worst teams of the past few months, but played spoiler against postseason hopefuls San Diego and Jacksonville. While the Jags played the Skins close, the Chargers have no excuse for laying an egg in a must win game. For a team that constantly is referred to as one of the most talented in the league, they’ve continually come up short the last six years.
– The Ravens clinched a playoff spot with an easy win against the Browns. Ed Reed had quite the afternoon, with two INTs and managing to light himself on fire.
– Thank you wise powers at the NFL, for flexing in a meaningless Vikings-Eagles game and thus depriving us of Sunday night football. Philly I thought you were tougher than that—since when did a little snow mean you can’t play football?
Update: After returning home from last night’s loss and the aforementioned debacle, Mike Singletary received his pink slip from the 49ers front office, a termination that has been long looming and likely due to piss poor performance.