Happy Holidays this week. No Roundup here on Christmas Eve, so enjoy the final weekly recap of the season and don’t drink too much Egg Nog.
Seattle Seahawks Are In Beast Mode: Yet another hugely impressive performance from Seattle, this time against a quality opponent. Seattle looks like a Super Bowl contender in recent weeks, with their defense continuing to play physically and aggressive, and the offense really starting to hit a major stride. The read option with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch seems like a pretty imposing play for defenses to contend with, and opens everything else up. Seattle has now outscored opponents 150-30 over the last three games — as impressive a stretch as any in NFL history in the regular season.
San Francisco can still hold off Seattle for the division title thanks to the tie in the column, so long as they can avoid what happened to Minnesota in 2003 going against a bad Arizona team. Seattle is likely to be locked into a wildcard round game (though they can still finish as high as the 2 seed). We’ve seen five of the last seven Super Bowl winners emerge from the wildcard round, though, and Seattle looks to be choice 1A of this year’s candidates.
Bud Adams is Pissed, and He’s Not Going to Watch it Anymore: Bud Adams flipped off his television set in Houston during his Titans 55-7 loss at Green Bay, deciding it was for the birds. Bud Adams has been one of the more patient owners with coaches, staying with Jeff Fisher for a long time. Apparently, it’s because the results were usually enough not to roust him from his nap in front of the black and white television before early dinner. Well, after Sunday, he was not happy.
“I want to sit down with Mike and our guys and discuss the whole thing with them and see why we are not doing better,” Adams said. “It is not against the law to check with my people. Mike will tell me what he thinks is wrong. … I want to find out how he feels why we can’t win more games. The way we played today — my god, I wouldn’t even want to come and watch that.”
NFC East Showdown on Sunday Night: Dallas and Washington will play for the NFC East title on Sunday Night Football, after Washington beat the Eagles and the New York Giants again lost in a rout. As it turns out, Dallas’ loss just kept them from eliminating the Giants this week. The Cowboys only route to the playoffs is now as the #4 seed; Washington could clinch a playoff spot before that game begins.
Tim Tebow Wanted No Part of the Wildcat: After the Jets demoted Mark Sanchez, but chose to start Gregg McElroy, Tim Tebow reportedly asked to be removed from the wildcat package. Wow, I mean, if a player basically asks to be benched, that’s a pretty big deal. Why would any team want to trade for Tim Tebow at this point? The drama is not worth it. We’ve already had multiple leaks over the weekend about Tebow–how he is likely to go to Jacksonville; wait, no, that’s not decided; now this about not playing. Can you imagine the onslaught and disruption from Tebow behind the scenes if the notoriously poor practice player and thrower of ducks doesn’t win a starting job in Jacksonville?
AFC Playoff Field is Set: Houston, Denver, New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Cincinnati are in. In the kind of weird twist possible because division winners get home games and wildcards are locked in, the bottom three teams in the AFC can actually rest starters if they so choose. Baltimore is locked in as the #4 seed, hosting #5 seed Indianapolis. #6 seed Cincinnati knows they will travel to whoever loses out for the bye. [correction: Baltimore could still get the #3 seed with a win, and a New England loss thanks to the head to head tiebreaker]. Of course, Coach Chuck Pagano is returning this week, so you would think the Colts try to play this straight up. Baltimore and Cincinnati will probably resemble a preseason contest.
Houston can still get the #1 seed with a win at Indianapolis. Denver is next in line, capable of getting the #1 seed with a win if Houston loses, and clinching the #2 seed if they can just beat Kansas City at home. New England can still get the #1 seed if both Houston and Denver lose, and gets a bye if either does.
Offensive Rookie of the Year, no bad choices: The Colts and Seahawks are in the playoffs; Washington is a home win away from joining them. Andrew Luck now has seven fourth quarter game winning drives. Russell Wilson’s offense is absolutely humming right now, and he has been on fire for two months. Robert Griffin III returned from missing one game to again put up an efficient game. It’s a debate that will rage for awhile, but all three should be good quarterbacks for a long time. It’s a good thing I don’t have a vote on this.
I do think that the “system” argument is being applied unfairly here compared to other top quarterbacks. All excellent quarterbacks also benefit from being in offensive systems that utilize their strengths, and they generally put up their better numbers when they have better players around them. I think that right now, I would go Griffin by a hair over Wilson and Luck (where I do think the poor offensive line and play in close wins closes the gap). I wouldn’t lose sleep over arguing for any of them.
The Final NFC Wildcard Breakdown: Ties are broken within a division first, then across divisions, so the final wildcard spot will come down to 2nd place in the NFC North vs. 2nd place in the NFC East. Minnesota gets that spot with a win (or tie, and Chicago loss). Chicago needs to win, and have the Vikings lose, because Minnesota has the tiebreaker on division record.
Washington can still get the wildcard with a loss at 9-7. In that case, they would finish 2nd in a three-way tiebreaker in the NFC East. Washington would also win the tiebreaker over Minnesota at 9-7 (head to head win) if both Minnesota and Chicago lost.
The New York Giants would finish 3rd in the NFC East if Dallas won, because of their inferior division record due to the earlier loss to Philadelphia. Thus, they need Dallas to lose and for Washington to go ahead and get clear of them while winning the division. New York would win a tiebreaker over Minnesota on conference record if both Minnesota and Chicago lost. So, the Giants need losses by all of Chicago (at Detroit), Minnesota (vs. Green Bay), and Dallas.
FOURTH AND ONE LOG
1. Kansas City went for it on 4th and inches at the Indianapolis 27, tied 13-13 with 10:21. Brady Quinn was stuffed on a sneak attempt. Those kind of sneak attempts convert over 80% of the time, more frequently than the kicks, particularly in December, so it was a pretty clear choice, but swung the game. Indianapolis took the lead on the following drive.
2. On 4th and 1 from the Dallas 19, up 7-0 at start of 2nd quarter, New Orleans kicked the field goal. Hartley missed. Dez Bryant scored the first of his two touchdowns three plays later. New Orleans went from the 23 later that quarter, and converted by defensive penalty, scoring the tying touchdown three plays later.
3. On 4th and 1 at their own 49, up 13-3, Jacksonville punted against New England. The Patriots marched for a field goal on the next possession, and ultimately won 23-16.
4. On the opening drive, Philadelphia went for it twice, first at their own 46, then at the Washington 30, converting both and later scoring a touchdown.
5. Up 27-20 at the Philadelphia 43 with 4 minutes left, Washington took a delay of game and punted. Washington won when the Eagles came up just short at the 5 yard line in their attempt to tie it.
6. Pittsburgh went on 4th and 1 from the 50 in the second quarter, down 7-0. Isaac Redman converted. Facing another 4th and 1 from the Cincinnati 6, Tomlin elected to take the points and Shaun Suisham missed a 24 yard field goal.
7. Facing 4th and 1 from the Pittsburgh 48 with 52 seconds left, the Bengals punted. Roethlisberger threw the decisive interception two plays later.
Related NFL Posts from the Weekend:
Cam Newton Bumped Official Jerome Boger During Today’s Game, Fine Coming?
Cowboys Announcer Brad Sham Refers to Saints Safety as “Ka-Douche”
London Fletcher Threw Up On the Sideline During Eagles-Redskins Game
Colts and Bengals Clinch Playoff Spots With Late Wins, Steelers Eliminated
Tony Siragusa Has Cemented His Place in Ugly Christmas Sweater Lore
Daryl Johnston Wins Award For Silliest Christmas Sweater
Lomas Brown Admitted He Let Scott Mitchell Get Hurt To Get Him Out of a Game
[photos via USA Today Sports Images]
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