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NFL Post Game Handshakes, Week 12: Brady Quinn Steps In to Lift Chiefs, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson Win the Day, While Steelers and Bengals Head Toward Showdown

This week’s Post-Game Handshakes turn into a hug for the Chiefs coaches and players who had to go out and play a football game a day after a teammate had committed an unthinkable act, killing his girlfriend and then shooting himself. Yesterday, I went out to Arrowhead before the game and walked among the crowds in the parking lot. For the players who were waiting to play inside, though, it was a far different feel.

Brady Quinn and the Jovan Belcher situation: Brady Quinn played one of the finest games of his career, and then provided some perspective in the aftermath of the Jovan Belcher nightmare.

“What could I have done different. When you ask someone how their doing, do you really mean it? When answer someone back ‘how are you doing’ are you telling the truth? We live in a society of social networks, of Twitter pages, of Facebook. That’s fine and stuff, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more pre-occupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual issues in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually figure out if somebody is battling something deeper on the inside, than what they may be revealing on a day-to day basis.”

Jim Washburn fired as defensive line coach, had reportedly become a cancer: This week’s firing in Philadelphia goes to defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who was not happy with last week’s move of releasing Jason Babin. At this rate, no one will be left when Andy Reid is finally let go at the end of the season. This is a terminal case.

Adrian Peterson Continues to Pull Away From the Field: Simply unbelievable, and we are witnessing one of the best ever. Adrian Peterson had an 82 yard touchdown run yesterday, and finished the day with 210 rushing yards in a losing effort.

The last running back to go over 200 yards and have his team lose was Thomas Jones in 2009. That was a game against Buffalo where Mark Sanchez threw 5 interceptions. I do look forward to seeing which team will rest starters late this year allowing the Vikings come back from the dead and get in the postseason, and then unexpectedly reach the conference title game.

Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson Continue to Amaze, Robert Griffin III’s move tonight: Andrew Luck brought the Colts back again for his fifth comeback drive of his young career in the fourth quarter. It was an uneven day for Luck, as his three interceptions appeared to have sunk the Colts. He also has the entire offense on him and is continually asked to make plays. He has already thrown 503 pass attempts. He’s going to shatter the attempts and yards mark for a rookie. He threw a strike for the first touchdown to start the comeback, then led a great drive with poise to win it.

Russell Wilson, meanwhile, is paying off the decision to start him and then some. Through the first four games, the decision looked questionable to go with the rookie over the veteran Matt Flynn. Wilson was only averaging 5.9 yards per attempt, the team started 2-2 including the controversial win over Green Bay, and the offense was averaging 17.5 points.

Over the last eight games, Wilson is simply putting up pro bowl caliber numbers. Completing 65% of his passes, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, and throwing 15 touchdown passes to 4 interceptions. The Seahawks have scored more than 20 points in five straight games, and the San Francisco 49ers are not out of reach as we head to the final quarter of the season.

The Jets Quarterback Situation is Better than Arizona’s: Always look on the bright side of life, I say. This should be an exhilarating week as we look forward to Mark Sanchez vs. Greg McElroy talk, with Skip Bayless getting to bang that Tebow drum that has been hiding behind his chair.

As bad as New York’s situation is, though, it has nothing on Arizona. Ryan Lindley is now averaging 4.3 yards per pass attempt with no touchdown passes and five interceptions. Yes, he is worse than John Skelton. How bad is it? Lindley is in immortal Kim McQuilken territory. He is putting up Spergon Wynn numbers except Wynn actually threw a touchdown pass. Kevin Kolb could be back this week, and my goodness, would we have ever thought he would be this valuable? Arizona is a horrific mess right now. No team has ever started 4-0 and then lost 8 straight.

In the NFC, everyone now hoping Seattle loses at home: How big was the Seattle win at Chicago? Well, it not only swung the NFC North race, putting the Packers back in the lead, but it kept Seattle one game ahead of several challengers. The Seahawks now have three home games remaining, against all of their division rivals, and a road game at Buffalo. Win 3 out of 4, and Seattle is almost certainly in, already holding the head to head tiebreaker over Dallas and Minnesota. Win two? They are still in pretty good tiebreaker shape, especially if the two are conference games.

Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Minnesota are now in must win mode. New Orleans has an extremely small chance if they win out. Honestly, the team in the best situation to rally might be St. Louis, because they still have a head to head matchup at Seattle to directly impact the race in week 17, and also get a chance against Tampa Bay and Minnesota. They would have to go 3-0 over the next three weeks to get there, though.

Bob Costas’ Gun Rant? Didn’t hear it. Halftime of Sunday Night Football is for bath time and bed time routines, and certainly not for hearing Bob Costas talk.

It’s down to 2 of 3 of Colts, Steelers and Bengals in the AFC: The Colts, Bengals, and Steelers all came from behind to win in the fourth quarter yesterday. The effect of those results is to make the AFC a three team race for two spots. The networks will put up those “In the Hunt” graphics listing other teams mathematically alive. Forget about that.

Houston, New England and Denver are officially in. Baltimore is not in yet, and has a tough schedule. However, the only way they don’t make it is by losing out, and even then, they will probably be in better “conference record” standing if either Pittsburgh or Cincinnati finishes tied at 9-7 with them. The loser of the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati week 16 game would basically have to win every other game to oust the Ravens.

For Indianapolis, it is two wins and in, because they would own the tiebreaker if both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati got to 10 wins, as one would have that sixth conference loss. That could be home against Tennessee and at Kansas City, or it could include a victory over Houston. If they only get to 9 wins, the tiebreaker situation would be messy and as yet undetermined.

The Pittsburgh and Cincinnati game in week 16 obviously looms large for both those teams and may be an elimination game by the time it comes around.

FOURTH AND ONE LOG:

This week’s fourth and one decisions actually provide a few data points in favor of playing it safe. The Bears missed a conversion early, as did the Cardinals. Still, Crennel’s aggressiveness on a tough day won the game, and going for it is still way in the lead in 2012.

1. The Bears went on 4th and 1 at Seattle 15 at the start of 2nd quarter, Michael Bush was stuffed. Chicago eventually lost in overtime. This is one of the clear hindsight losers this year. Food for thought, though. Does Chicago heave a ball downfield for Marshall if Seattle had tied it with 32 seconds left, rather than take a 3 point lead?

2. Romeo Crennel brought aggressiveness to the game. After Hillis was stopped on 3rd and goal, he called timeout with 2 seconds left, ball at the 1, and went for it at the end of half trailing 14-10. Quinn completed a touchdown pass to Tony Moeaki. In the third quarter, the Chiefs went again at the Carolina 27, Hillis converted, and again at the Carolina 13, and converted. The Chiefs scored a touchdown to take a 24-14 lead and won 27-21.

3. Trailing 17-10, Miami punted from the NE 49. It was downed at the 2. The teams exchanged punts before the Patriots went on a drive to take a 20-10 lead. At the NE 22 in the fourth quarter, Miami went, converted, but eventually settled for a field goal after a Tannehill sack.

4. After a Sanchez interception, Arizona went at the NYJ 17, and Beanie Wells was stuffed for a loss. the Cardinals lost 7-6.

5. On the opening drive, the Rams punted from their own 48. In the third quarter, the Rams went at the SF4, and threw incomplete, but got the safety four plays later. The final play of the game was a 4th and 1 from the SF37, and Zuerlein made the game winning 54 yard field goal that prevented the second tie between the Rams and 49ers.

6. With just under 5 minutes left in the game, Cleveland went at the OAK 45, up 13-10, and Weeden converted on the sneak. The Browns scored a touchdown a minute and a half later, to take a 20-10 lead. The Raiders converted a 4th and 1 on their final drive resulting in a last second touchdown.

7. Cincinnati kicked a field goal on fourth and goal to tie it at 10-10. The Bengals eventually won 20-13.

8. On 4th and 1 at the PHI 39, trailing 24-17 at the end of the third quarter, Dallas went. Murray was initially ruled short, but it was overturned on review. Dallas scored a touchdown three plays later to tie it, and eventually won 38-33.

[photo via USA Today Sports Images]

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