Most obvious and most difficult play to defend: When the Broncos have the ball inside the opposition’s 10-yard line, my grandmother who thinks football is a type of spaghetti-oriented dish has a pretty good chance of accurately predicting what play they’re going to call. The script is pretty familiar: Tim Tebow lines up in the shotgun, and then he runs behind either the right or left guard, and sometimes there’s a play fake thrown in there.
Yet despite the predictability of the Broncos near the goal-line, half of Tebow’s six rushing touchdowns this year have been runs of 10 yards or less, and two have been from fewer than five yards. The latest came on a one-yard run in the first quarter today against Buffalo.
We keep hearing about the day that defensive coordinators will catch up to Tebow, and outside of the red zone that’s beginning to happen. But 13 starts in we’re still waiting for defenses to stop Tebow when he becomes a bruising goal-line running back.
Also predictable: when Tebow’s deep in his own territory and forced to throw late in a game while facing a large deficit, he hands out early Christmas gifts to the opposition. Actually, for Tebow tomorrow isn’t Christmas, it’s his birthday, so you’ll have to excuse him for being jittery and excited. Every kid loves blowing out candles. (Editor’s note: It’s not actually his birthday.)
Tebow threw a pick six on two straight plays late in the fourth quarter. He finished with four interceptions today, and in his 12 starts prior to this week he only had five. #Tebowtime was given a whole new meaning.
Worst way to have your fantasy football heart ripped out and crushed: Victor Cruz was the enemy today because he’s on my opponent’s team during my fantasy championship. The dent that’s now in my TV is the result of his NFL record-tying 99-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter against the Jets. Only 11 of those yards were gained through the air, and with each step my pride and pocket ached.
Thanks, Cruz, you’ve ruined Festivus.
Worst fantasy first half: While those who shared my misfortune of having a fantasy opponent with Cruz and his 126 first half receiving yards and a touchdown, anyone who was relying on another strong outing from the usually accurate Tom Brady hit the rum and egg nog early. Brady completed just seven of his 19 first half pass attempts for a meager completion percentage of 52.9, which was clearly a major factor in the Dolphins’ surprising 17-0 lead as the half came to a close in Foxboro.
Predictably, Brady improved that percentage in the second half, and overall he completed 58.7 percent of his passes in New England’s 27-24 win. Had he maintained his first half pace it could have been his lowest single-game completion percentage since Week 15 of 2009.
Worst draft debate: Remember that time when there was a serious discussion about Cam Newton’s future, and his ability to fulfill the expectations placed on his shoulders by the Panthers when they selected him with the first overall pick?
That was last April, and today Newton set a new rookie record for passing yards in the first quarter against Tampa Bay, cruising by Peyton Manning’s previous mark of 3,739 yards. Then he did this…
Best selective hearing: If not listening to your coaches leads to 49-yard touchdown runs, then no one is going to listen to a word from those headset wearin’, whistle blowin’ control freaks ever again…
Worst disinterest: We get it, Cincinnati, you’re an awful sports city. But promise us this: if the Bengals regress again in the near future and become the Bengals we’ve come to know and laugh at in recent years, don’t complain about ownership, management, roster moves, drafting, or anything.
You lose the privilege to complain when your promising young team enters Week 16 one game back of a wild card spot, and the home crowd looks like this…
Cutest fans: The word “cute” isn’t often associated with football. It’s an adjective that’s too weak, too fragile sounding, and is generally reserved for babies and dogs. But there’s no other way to describe a “Cowboys suck!” chant starting in Washington today with the Redskins trailing Vikings 17-13 in the third quarter, a team that had two wins prior today. Moments later Rex Grossman was sacked for a 10-yard loss.
The Cowboys weren’t even playing in the early games today, so they definitely weren’t playing the Redskins, a team they’ve beaten twice this year. It was as if the Redskins fans were trying to prove they’re still remotely relevant while Washington was in the middle of losing to a team that had an outside shot at landing the first overall pick next spring before their win this afternoon. Minnesota also played a large portion of the game without Adrian Peterson after he left with a serious knee injury, and starting quarterback Christian Ponder, who left with a concussion.
For those few moments while that chant pathetically and oddly surfaced, Redskins fans were the lonesome high school science nerd who’s still waiting for his first kiss, and the Cowboys were the prom queen.
Best elevation of smack talk douchebagery: The constant yapping between the Giants and Jets during the build-up to their Gotham showdown is fun for a day or two, but by Wednesday it had already become nauseating, reducing the two teams to two groups of high school students chanting “fight!”.
Rex Ryan and his gang of phony bullies annually teach us that bravado is only tolerable in small doses, but Sunday the Jets’ gamesmanship extended beyond verbal barbs. Since they were the “home” team in New York today, the Jets had control over the displays around MetLife Stadium, the field shared by the two New York teams. So they used that power to cover up the four Super Bowl logos outside of the Giants’ locker room with a black curtain.
It was funny, harmless, and immature. It was the Jets during the Ryan era.
Best poster: Congrats, Daryl Washington, you just became a poster.