The GameDay Decrees are here and we need to get right into it. The disrespect going around the NFL this week is at an all-time high, and now – the war is on! We got quarterbacks getting benched, coordinators getting fired, coaches TRYING to get fired, general managers pulling the card on their players, rivals snatching the Roc-a-Fella chain off their former division champ, NFC contenders battling over pole position, high scoring bum-fights, and franchise quarterbacks grabbing Uber drivers where the President instructed him to. We got people outchere feeling insulted and want to kick yo ass RIGHT NOW! And afterwards, we don’t want any hard feelings either. So come on outside and catch these hands…just make sure you protect your pinky toe.
R.I.P. Della Reese
Let’s get into it!!!
WHAT CAN’T BROWN DO FOR YOU? Antonio Tavaris Brown painted his version of the Sistine Chapel last Thursday when he put on a clinic against Tennessee on the national stage. I think we knew he was poised for a great night the first play of the game when he caught a pass in the middle of the field in traffic over double coverage. And later in that same drive, Brown put the Steelers on the board after a fly route down the field, Big Ben looked off the Titans’ safety to give Brown enough time to get position on the corner. Ben chucked a jump ball into the endzone and Brown went up and got it, took the contact and came down with a 41 yard touchdown catch. The football Gods stayed on Brown’s side late in the 2nd quarter after he caught a pass running across the middle of the field, but had the ball poked from his possession as he lunged forward. Crisis was averted though, as the football was recovered by teammate Martavis Bryant, and the Steelers managed to end the drive with a field goal. Brown added his second score of the game with ease as he was left in one-on-one coverage on the outside in the redzone. He ran a simple slant route and Ben hit him in the numbers to give Pittsburgh a 23-14 lead. He even added a 16 yard punt return early in the 4th to flip the field and put the offense in striking distance. On the very next play he shook the life out of three Titans defenders and came down with a toe-tapping reception along the sideline. And to cap not only this drive but the game off, Brown made one of the best catches you will see as he had to spin around to catch a back shoulder fade, he stuck his left hand out and somehow, trapped the ball between his hand and the side of his helmet for a 10 yard touchdown catch.
Arm. Leg. Leg. Arm. Head. This is God-body, and we are not worthy. Brown’s performance propelled the Steelers to 8-2 on the season, elevating them as the only team in their division with a winning record and tied with the Patriots with the best record in the AFC.
PAST DUE BILLS. There isn’t a more devastating coaching decision that I can remember in the last few years than what Buffalo Bills’ coach Sean McDermott did last week. He announced the team would be benching starting QB Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie QB Nathan Peterman as they headed out to Los Angeles to play the Chargers. Now, if you want to be critical of Taylor and his performance the past few weeks, feel free. Week 9 against the Jets he completed 70 percent of his passes for 285 yards, 2 TDs, no interceptions, but lost one of two fumbles. Week 10 against New Orleans they were blown out at home while Taylor struggled – he completed just 9 of 18 passes for 56 yards, and threw an interception. Taylor’s up and down numbers in just a matter of seven days are inconsistent, but are also a reflection of pretty average quarterback play on almost every team across the league this season. Their offense definitely struggled, more so in the ladder of the two games, Taylor somehow became the scapegoat on a team that gave up 34 points to the Jets and 47 at home, where they hadn’t loss all season until then. So McDermott decided to pull his 5-4 QB who had the team in the mix for a Wild Card Spot and give Peterman the nod, who is a 6th round draft pick and a guy many knew nothing about. We learned all we needed to know about Peterman under center when, well…see below:
He wasn’t ready, coach! Peep the time on the game clock during each of these interceptions. They were all thrown IN THE FIRST HALF! And you know what…we can’t even be mad at Nate – I’m sure HE knew he wasn’t ready. The kid may very well become a quality quarterback in this league, and I truly hope he does. But if the plan is to make him the guy for the remainder of the season, what you don’t do is make his first career start on the road, damn near 3,000 miles across the country, against one of the best pass rushing defenses in the league. McDermott’s decision not only doomed the progression of their young QB, he also doomed the potential for this season as the loss dropped the Bills out of the sixth Wild Card spot. I’m pretty sure he lost the locker room as well, with many players respecting Tyrod Taylor and willing to fight for the work they had put in so far this season. And one thing we will not let go unnoticed from this shitstorm is the maturity shown by Taylor, who willingly came out and played in the second half to try to right this sinking ship. Hats off to Tyrod – the dude is a MUCH better man than me! Because the minute McDermott pointed my way asking for help, I would’ve shown him the backside of my longest finger.
PURPLE REIGN. The only team to benefit more from the Buffalo Bills’ QB change other than the Chargers was the Baltimore Ravens, who went up to Lambeau Field on Sunday and dominated the Packers. It was an eyesore of a football game as the Ravens, who rank 31st in offensive yards and are THEEE worst passing unit in the league, managed to be the best offense on the field in this game – by default. Their defense bullied poor Brett Hundley from the first drive all the way until the final kneel down. The Ravens sacked Hundley six times, picked him off three, and recovered two fumbles, shutting out the Packers for their third shutout this season, which makes Baltimore the first team since 2003 to pitch three shutouts in the same season. Now, riddle me this: How the hell do the Ravens only have five wins with this defense? They’ve pitched three shutouts…before Thanksgiving! Meaning 60% of their wins have come solely by their defense. I’m surprised a civil war hasn’t ensued on that sideline yet with the defensive players just fed up with the bullshit. The Ravens’ fifth win on the season became Coach John Harbaugh’s 100th win at the helm, but more importantly, the win placed the Ravens in the sixth and final AFC Wild Card spot with Buffalo losing on Sunday. If this Ravens team can manage to produce an average offense – just AVERAGE – their defense could actually do enough of the heavy lifting to carry them to postseason football.
The other purple team to dominate on Sunday was the Minnesota Vikings who are demanding we put some respeck on their name. They proved again they belong in the NFC contender conversation when they took the Rams by the horns and rode them into the ground. The Vikings kept the league’s highest scoring offense to just 7 points the entire game – their lowest output this season. The Vikings’ 2nd-ranked run defense gave up the lead early on a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, but they held the explosive Todd Gurley to just 37 yards on the day. They also held the Rams to just 3 of 11 on third down conversions, preventing them from ever gaining momentum. The Vikings’ win streak has now reached six games and a large part of their success is due to the hometown kid (Adam Thielen) and the unsung hero (Case Keenum) who continue to get the job done on offense.
Thielen has proved to be one of the best possession receivers in the league this year with a six catch, 123 yard performance including a 65 yard TD from Keenum to put this game in the win column to lift Minnesota to 8-2. Their road trip around the NFC will continue in the coming weeks and the Vikes will get to avenge their only conference loss this season as they travel to Detroit this Thursday to play the Lions.
THEY DIDN’T LAND ON PLYMOUTH ROCK. It’s only fitting we bring up the misfortunes of both Kansas City and Washington’s football teams this week – first, because they both need to CHANGE THEIR NAMES and second, because of how they both managed to lose their respective games this past Sunday. We’ll start with the Chiefs ’cause this ’bout to be real quick. They traveled to New [Jersey] to face the one win Giants and it was hard to tell which team was actually considered a Superbowl contender this year. The Chiefs played down to their competition and did themselves no favors with their poor play and self-inflicted mistakes. Once considered an MVP candidate earlier this season, QB Alex Smith now looks as fraudulent as Albert did pretending to be MC Gusto. He was sloppy with the football (2 INTs) and is unable to stretch the field the way he did to start the season with a six game win streak. Granted it was windy throughout the game and difficult for either team to put the ball in the air, but there’s just no excuse for how this team went from one of the most explosive offenses in football, to all of a sudden struggling to pick up first downs over the last month. The Chiefs’ problems also cannot all be placed on Smith either. Their defense has been horrible and head coach Andy Reid, who is historically great coming off bye weeks (16-2 before this loss), made one of the worst play-calls you’ll see. With the game tied and only 6 minutes to go, Reid decided to run a tight end pass by Travis Kelce. Kelce heaved the ball downfield, and it looked like a solid throw while it was in the air – until you realize it was thrown into double coverage and picked off by the Giants. What compounded the idiocy of this play call was the fact the Chiefs had the ball at midfield, it was 2nd down, AND points here were at a premium. Twenty yards and a field goal on this drive very well could have won KC the game, so a trick play at that time was just unnecessary. Instead, the game went into overtime and the Chiefs were let down by their defense that committed a penalty and still gave up a spectacular play to a receiver-less Giants offense, leading to their game winning field goal to drop KC to 6-4 on the season.
The other culturally appropriated NFL team that lost on Sunday resides in Maryland but belongs to Washington, and I’m sure even the folks there are hesitant to claim them now. For the first 54 minutes of the game, the Skins looked like one of the better teams in football. They were running, throwing, and hitting the Saints up and down the Superdome. Their defense came to play as D.J. Swearinger picked off Drew Brees in the first quarter to gain early momentum. Kirk Cousins looked every bit like the franchise quarterback that ownership still doesn’t want to pay. Rookie RB Samaje Perine had the best game of his young career (117 yds, TD). The Skins took a 31-16 lead with a brilliant six play, 75 yard drive capped off by a TD pass from Cousins to rookie TE Jeremy Sprinkle who appeared to put the finishing touches on this upset. But it was at this moment the Skins did what almost every DC-area sports team does with a pivotal game on the line: they choked. They choked, took their foot off the gas, and fell out of the car, and I’m not sure how in the world you ease up against not only a proven QB like Brees, but against THIS Saints team…AT HOME, who is one of the hottest teams in football at the moment. Not to mention, the Skins can’t afford to look past anyone with their playoff hopes on the line. As many of the New Orleans unfaithful headed to the exits, Brees and the Saints headed to work. They marched downfield and put seven on the board in just over three minutes to cut it to a one-score game. But that’s cool – all Washington needed was to get a first down and the game was over. That should be easy work considering the got 24 first downs that afternoon and aggressively moving the ball one more time shouldn’t be a problem…except it was. The Skins called three very vanilla run plays, including one on 3rd & short were Perine couldn’t even make it back to the line of scrimmage. They punted the ball back and 48 seconds later, the game was tied, heading into overtime. Washington managed to surrender 18 fourth-quarter points (including the game-tying two point conversion) in a matter of 4 minutes and 53 seconds of game time. Brees completed 11 of 11 passes for 2 TDs on those last two drives, after going 18 of 30 and no TDs throughout the game. Washington’s final two possessions in regulation and in overtime managed to get Cousins strip-sacked and pressure enough to commit and intentional grounding penalty, giving New Orleans the ball back and a chance to win. All it took was two handoffs to Mark Ingram to get kicker Will Lutz in field goal range and he nailed a 28 yarder to pull of an amazing comeback/natural disaster that the Skins won’t be able to bounce back from. Now at 4-6, their playoff hopes are essentially over. A playoff spot in this NFC will require at least 10 wins which means Washington will have to win out the rest of the season. And those odds are not in their favor, having to play the next three games in a matter of 12 days.
- We’ll see if John Elway calling his team “soft” plus the tapping of QB Paxton Lynch will do anything positive for the Broncos as they head to Oakland to fight for the AFC West basement
- The Patriots are the only team undefeated on the road (5-0). Of course…
- The Jaguars have beaten every team in the AFC North
That’s all we got this week, folks. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to discuss after the Saints face yet another NFC team testing their gangsta, and the three Thursday games promise to feature thievery, lies, and pillaging – three things that make this country great (again)! Let me know what y’all think…