Worst test of the human anatomy: The spine can move in a downwards direction, and it can also bend backwards, but only slightly.
This is more than slightly.
In real-time the video of Anthony Hargrove’s hit on Johnny Knox as the Bears wide receiver attempted to recover his own fumble is gruesome, but this is one of those rare times when the still image induces far more vomit.
Knox was carted off the field and taken to hospital as a precaution, but he was responsive and able to move his extremities.
Most butter on fingers: There were two plays–or short series of plays–in today’s early games that were massively important and had the potential to be crippling, but in the end were meaningless and mostly irrelevant. The first came from the Saints, who showed that it really is the season for giving. A usually sure-handed and careful offense had only lost three fumbles prior to today before coughing up two in first 17 minutes of play against Minnesota.
Every announcer for every game in the history of every NFL season will tell you that winning the turnover battle is important. It usually is, and two uncharacteristic turnovers would usually cripple an offense that doesn’t have a quarterback named Drew Brees at the helm. The second fumble took place on the Saints’ 45 yard-line, and it allowed the Vikings and their shaky rookie quarterback to somehow trail by just one point (7-6) in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Thankfully, that guy named Brees does play for New Orleans, and he had only eight incompletions on his 40 pass attempts while throwing for 412 yards and five touchdowns, leading an offense that scored 35 more points. That’s how you make clichéd announcer-speak irrelevant.
Best innovation: We imagine that when offensive coaches log enough hours in the same room over the course of a season, there are many instances where creativity runs amok. That’s when Brian Urlacher ends up throwing a pass (that actually happened), or a fourth-string tight end lines up behind center in the red zone, and Cam Newton does something franchise quarterbacks–and, well, football players in general–are rarely asked to do: fumble intentionally.
That actually happened too, and it actually worked. Between the Packers losing and the appearance of the fumblerooski that ended in a Richie Brokel touchdown, it was an afternoon for the rare and weird throughout the early games.
Brokel’s name will now ascend into the annals of fumblerooski history, and one day we’ll speak of him with the same awe that accompanies any mention of Dean Steinkuhler and the Nebraska Cornhusker’s use of the famous play invented by John Heisman (yeah, this is the the most collegy college play) in the 1984 Orange Bowl.
Fastest large body in motion: Seeing a fat man touchdown is a little like seeing a lunar eclipse. They happen often enough that everyone’s seen one, but they’re still rare enough that they remain an anomaly. The men who score fat man touchdowns could also cause lunar eclipses.
The latest large man to find a ball in his hands and then carry that ball into the end zone was Seattle’s Red Bryant, the defensive end who was on the receiving end of a careless, awkward, and panicked throw by Caleb Hanie. Bryant had the hands of Jerry Rice, and the breakaway speed of Gilbert Brown while jiggling all the way to the end zone for a 20-yard interception return.
There’s something peaceful about a big man running. They’re like lost and wounded gazelles, or white men dancing to any beat made by any musician ever.
In the fierce race among ball-hawking defensive linemen, Bryant is now tied with Vince Wilfork with two interceptions this year.
Worst potentially crippling decision: This is the second mistake later made insignificant by the events that followed, and this moment of snark will rival the one guy who loudly criticized Neil Armstrong’s landing when he stepped on the moon for the first time (of course, we can’t be sure that he stepped on the moon at all).
No one will remember or care now, but Romeo Crennel’s decision to call for the field goal unit early in the fourth quarter after Kyle Orton completed an eight-yard pass to Dexter McCluster on third down to bring up fourth and goal from Green Bay’s two-yard line was bland and conservative at best, and incredibly foolish at worst. Those two adjectives aren’t commonly associated with an interim coach who should be creative, and a team out of the playoffs with little to lose. By kicking the field goal, Crennel was stating that at the time his team–his 5-8 team–was good enough to knock off the undefeated champs without scoring a touchdown, and by merely scoring three points four times.
Crennel then became the beneficiary of a Green bay passing offense slowly adapting to life without Greg Jennings, and Aaron Rodgers’ 235 passing yards that was his worst output since the divisional round of the playoffs last January, a stretch of 16 games. The Chiefs’ touchdown came on their next drive with Jackie Battle’s one-yard run, which thankfully and luckily made Crennel’s overly conservative approach fade into the depths of memories for all but the most cynical minds.
That’s why we’re here.