This week’s Post-Game Handshakes go to Robert Griffin’s knee for being limber and made of elastic. David Wilson gets a high five for emerging from the Coughlin doghouse long enough to score 3 touchdowns, while the Cowboys and Jets are still alive, y’all.
Cam Cameron Out in Baltimore: News coming out of Baltimore this morning is that Cam Cameron has been let go as offensive coordinator, replaced by quarterbacks coach (and former Colts coach and professional statue) Jim Caldwell. Cameron had been constantly criticized in Baltimore for his play calling. Some of that stemmed from frustration about his use of Ray Rice. With two straight losses, the time had finally come.
The NFC East Will Be Wild: Dallas got the road victory they dearly needed, coming from 9 points down to win at Cincinnati. Washington survived the Baltimore game, and now we wait to see how many games Robert Griffin III will miss with three games left. The Giants took the field with only a half game lead, but were able to get a big game out of Eli Manning and a boost from David Wilson (see below). Because of the earlier loss to Philadelphia, the Giants are not situated well if there is a tie atop the division.
Atlanta comes back down to earth: Cam Newton’s sophomore slump continues, as Carolina won 30-20 after jumping to a 23-0 lead over Atlanta. Newton is now on pace to put up virtually identical passing yard and touchdown numbers, and about a half yard more per attempt, and more rushing yards but fewer touchdowns than 2011. The Panthers are again 4-9 after 13 games. Over the last four games, he has thrown 8 touchdowns to no interceptions, while averaging over 70 yards rushing. Carolina has been unable to win close games, and this one almost became that with a late rally that was snuffed out when DeAngelo Williams took a screen pass to the end zone.
Atlanta, meanwhile, finally saw some of their sloppy play come back to bite them, and they could not dig out of the early hole. They did nothing to answer critics who say they aren’t as good as the 11-1 record entering the game. They do still control their own destiny to host the NFC playoffs. Two more wins would mathematically clinch it.
Raising the White Flag in Arizona: How bad was it for Arizona? Eight turnovers, two defensive touchdowns for Seattle, and no points scored. 58-0. The Official Arizona Twitter feed is the saddest feed ever.
Favorite tweet here, though, goes to Jason LaCanfora, who reminded us five minutes in that the Cardinals were hanging tough, having only thrown one interception (on only one possession) and managed to hold Seattle to a field goal. “as @AlexFarnworth reminds me, Cards have lost 8 in row. they’re hanging with the Seahawks early.” The hanging did come early, as it turns out.
David Wilson, Breakout Star, With a Kicker. David Wilson had his breakout game for the Giants yesterday, dominating in the kick return game including a kick return touchdown, and adding two rushing scores. He joins Maurice Jones-Drew as the only backs to ever have a kick return touchdown and two rushing touchdowns in the same game.
The last first round running back to have over 1,000 yards as a kick returner was C.J. Spiller, so it is just a glimpse of the big play threat that Wilson can become. And by big play threat, I mean someday coming close to setting a yards per carry record while getting 8 touches in a game. I have a feeling David Wilson will be used by the Giants in a better way than the Bills have managed with Spiller come 2013 and 2014.
Cleveland Still Mathematically Alive With Three Weeks To Go: Break up the Browns! No seriously, break them up, because they just beat Kansas City 30-7, the second largest margin of victory for the current version of the Browns since they re-entered the league in 1999. That’s probably more a commentary on the sad state of the Chiefs than anything. Cleveland, though, is mathematically alive for a playoff spot with three weeks remaining.
Let’s end the suspense, they are not going to make the playoffs. Still, after an 0-5 start, they have gone 5-3, lost another in overtime, and are playing much better defensively.
Meanwhile, the Jets are Mathematically Alive Also: Oh, joy. The Jets are still alive. The remaining schedule is at Tennessee (4-9), vs. San Diego (5-8), and at Buffalo (4-9). They could lose all of those, but could also win them all; not exactly a murderer’s row. New York’s only chance is to get to 9-7, and then likely have Cincinnati win at Pittsburgh and finish ahead of the Steelers in the Central (Pittsburgh beat New York head to head). New York would then have to make up a few wins in strength of victory, or have the Steelers lose another game and the Bengals get their seventh loss against the Ravens as a conference game. I’ll go over the scenarios in greater detail, but suffice it to say–longshot, but not impossible because of the schedule.
All Your Quarterback Touchdown Runs: First, it was Robert Griffin III, then yesterday, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick both had long touchdown runs. Going back to the NFL merger, there had been seven quarterback runs of 50 or more yards entering this year. That’s in forty-two years. Three so far this year. Oh, and Nick Foles ran for one yesterday too (no video, sorry).
Bears Down: Chicago has now lost four of their last five games to slip to 8-5. Green Bay is up next in Soldier Field. Talk about a huge game. If the Packers come in and win, Green Bay wins the division outright based on clinching the head to head tiebreaker. Chicago would drop to 8-6, and possibly fall out of playoff position with two weeks left and several teams lurking at 7-6. The offense has continued to struggle, and those defensive scores, not surprisingly, have dried up after an amazing start.
FOURTH AND ONE LOG
1. St. Louis converted 4th and 1 on the final drive, before scoring the game winning touchdown to win 15-12 at Buffalo.
2. At the Atlanta 38, up 7-0, Carolina converted on a Cam Newton won, setting up an eventual field goal.
3. On the opening drive, Dallas kicked a field goal from the Cincinnati 19, to take a 3-0 lead. Dallas eventually came back to win on a last second field goal by Bailey, 20-19.
4. Jacksonville converted at the NYJ 24 in the first quarter. Chad Henne threw an interception four plays later inside the 10. In the second quarter, the Jaguars kicked the field goal at the NYJ 13, taking a 3-0 lead. Jacksonville lost 17-10.
5. Trailing 10-0 at their own 47, Pittsburgh went near the end of the second quarter. Isaac Redman was stuffed and Chargers got a field goal (Pittsburgh responded with a matching field goal to end the half).
6. On the final drive, Nick Foles scrambled for a first down with 54 seconds left. Philadelphia scored on the drive to win.
Related: Philadelphia Wins On Foles to Maclin Touchdown With No Time Remaining
Related: Robert Griffin III Knocked Out of the Baltimore Game with Apparent Knee Injury
Related: Lee Smith Lambeau Leap: Fans Forgot to Catch the Buffalo Tight End
Related: Rob Ryan F-Bombed, Andre Smith of the Bengals
Related: Jason Avant Made the Catch of the Year Against Tampa
Related: Cam Newton Broke off a 72-yard TD run, and Gus Johnson Went Bananas
Related: Steelers’ Ass Pass Ruled a Fumble, Leads to Chaotic Touchdown for the Chargers