Every now and then, the NFL has a Sunday so weird, so pressure packed and so controversial that the results of it could potentially have long term effects on everything from draft seedings to playoff positions. December 18 was one of those Sundays. Heading into Week 15, two of the more polarizing story lines centered around two teams chasing history on two completely different ends of the spectrum. Gotty’s Titans became “those guys” to put a temporary halt on the season long nightmare that is the Indianapolis Colts.
For Indy, it’s good to see such a storied franchise avoid becoming the second team ever to achieve the dubious “imperfect season.” An 80 yard touchdown scamper from Donald Brown put the game out of reach. Yet, they’re still the odds on favorite to land a certain Stanford QB they’ve been linked to since before the season even started. For the Titans, however, their roller coaster season continues and this loss may have all but sealed their playoff fate. Not that G cares though. He’s just here for the occasional Chris Johnson rap song and Syracuse basketball.
The Green Bay Packers, led by Aaron Rodgers, took their 13-0 record into Kansas City for what many believed would be just another hurdle in the race to finish the season undefeated. Led by a standup defensive effort and quality quarterback play from Kyle Orton (23-31 for 299 yards), the Chiefs shocked the football world to hand the Discount Double Checks their first loss of the season. The victory for Kansas City ignites an interesting situation. Does this all but guarantee Romeo Crennel has the “interim” tag removed from his head coaching duties? And with a late season loss, the question about who is the NFL’s MVP suddenly has new life. Is it still Rodgers? Is it Drew Brees (who is quietly having one of the best seasons since they began recording stats)? Or is it Tom Brady?
Speaking of Tom Terrific, his highly anticipated matchup against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos had fireworks early, but fizzled out late. Actually, it was the second quarter which sealed Denver’s fate as they saw a 16-7 lead evaporate a matter of minutes thanks in part to crucial turnovers. Much to my pleasure, Chad Ochocino decided to become relevant again starting in place of an injured Deion Branch and catching a touchdown in the process.
There were no fourth quarter miracles worked by Tebow, and the Bronco’s defense, which has been tough during the winning streak, was man handled by Brady and company all afternoon. Brady, who appeared to take it personally people would even question putting the still largely unproven former Gator in his class, looked like a future first ballot Hall of Famer by throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns on 23-34 passing.
— I never wanted to admit this knowing David D. would never let me live it down, but Drew Brees is a fawking monster. He made 32-40, 412 yards and five touchdowns look second nature against the Vikings. When asked about what New Orleans would do to keep Brees in the “Big Easy,” David had this to say, “We’re going to give him all of downtown N.O. and access to any woman in the city he wants.” Smart move. I’m pretty sure a team in Washington give him all the mambo sauce he wants and a room in the White House though.
— On the topic of Washington, their 23-10 victory over a Giants team that appeared uninspired officially turned the NFC East on its head.
— The Eagles making easy work over the Jets – LeSean McCoy is a man, by the way – sets up for a critical game on Christmas Eve in Dallas. Yes, the same Philadelphia Eagles we all cracked jokes on weeks ago, have a legit chance to win the division. And yes, I’m more nervous than Michael Beasley taking a piss test.
— Ndamukong Suh returned from suspension and blocked a 65 yard field goal attempt by Oakland to preserve a 28-27 win. The bigger story? Calvin Johnson grabbed nine catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners everywhere, you’re welcome.
— Houston saw Cam Newton and the Panthers march into town and walk away with a 28-13 victory and highlights that included the well-executed Fumblerooski seen above. Questions around TJ Yates and the Texans’ chances to make a legitimate push deep into the playoffs continue to linger, as they should. Questions about Newton, however, are all but nonexistent.
— Here’s a fun fact: After Week 8, the Dolphins were 0-7 and the Bills were 5-2. After yesterday’s game, they’re both 5-9. And while he is the subject of of a fair share of jokes, Reggie Bush has completely rejuvenated his career in South Beach. Those 203 yards (rushing!) is a vindication of such. Not that it matters, I’m about 63.4% he’s smashing Kim K. again.
— In one of the year’s more gruesome shots, the Bears Johnny Knox got folded, literally. Initial reports saying he has a mid-back injury.
— One of the bigger “what if’s” surrounding the 2011 season will be “what if Jay Cutler never gets injured?” The Bears lost their sixth straight without their signal caller, but what I choose to focus on is Marshawn Lynch, his 42 yards and two touchdowns. He just had so much determination doe. I really hope he stays in Seattle and I really hope that dude continues to make videos documenting the growing legend that is Marshawn and his odd obsession with Skittles.
— Oh, and one more thing about Brees, if I may. He’s 305 yards away from breaking Dan Marino’s single season record for passing yards with TWO games left to play. Let that marinate.