Archive for the ‘Reaction’ Category

jamaal charles pose2

Jamaal Charles is a running back. That’s his job title, and that’s what we call him. It feels neat and packaged and organized to put players into a certain drawer, even if there’s some cramming and wedging involved.

But what’s becoming apparent is that with the truly exceptional talents, they do more than just bust the framework we’ve devised for their position. They throw it at us. Hard, and then run away.

Far, far away.

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calvin johnson snow2

It seems like every week once the chaos settles and we begin looking back on the Sunday that was, we focus on this one thing that was particularly crazy and unorthodox, or this other thing that was historic or record breaking. We marvel at the exceptional performances, most of which we haven’t seen before, and some we may never see again.

We had plenty of that in Week 14. But the 14th NFL Sunday of 2013 may be remembered most for what we didn’t see. Or more accurately, what we couldn’t see.

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josh gordon2

Josh Gordon has had every opportunity to fail this year, and every reason to be sluggish, or sputter, or to just generally do little.

He missed the first two games due to a drug suspension. Had he started slow or just done nothing at all, we would have pointed to that absence, and assumed it stunted the growth of a sophomore wide receiver, at least briefly. But then he posted 146 yards in his season debut, and had at least 120 yards in two of his first four games. All was well.

Then he could have and perhaps should have fizzled when Brandon Weeden resumed throwing him footballs, because doing that in an accurate and consistent manner isn’t an area where Weeden excels. He is, sadly, a downgrade from Jason Campbell, and certainly a tumble from Brian Hoyer.

But there he was yesterday, out-running everyone and creating his very own place in the NFL record books.

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matt flynn packers2

When I was probably about 10 years old playing youth baseball, every game would have a mercy rule, which dictated that once a team was up by a certain margin the game was over regardless of the inning. This is not unique or different, and it’s surely still done throughout the summer on baseball diamonds dotted with pint-sized sluggers. The purpose is two-fold: to prevent undue embarrassment for the losing team, and more quietly, to shorten an already lengthy evening and allow parents the opportunity to get the hell home.

The expression “getting mercied” quickly evolved, and I distinctly remember it being used later on the schoolyard as the sort of cutting, searing word that boys use to poke at their peers in the way that only a young boy can, because they’re the worst.

The mercying then became more of a quest than actually winning. Being mercied was to be pummeled into submission, which was a victory that went far beyond the scoreboard. It meant your team was insufficient, and not able to even compete. It meant you didn’t belong.

Under the shining light of Thanksgiving Day, the Packers were mercied.

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tom brady pump2

At about four-ish in the afternoon Sunday, these three things happened within five minutes of each other, and all in the final minutes of their respective games: Cam Newton winning a game on a touchdown pass to Greg Olsen, Philip Rivers doing the same on a 26-yarder to someone named Seyi Ajirotutu, and Matt Flynn — Matt Flynn — leading a drive that forced overtime. That last one ended in a tie, and sisters were kissed everywhere.

The Newton deal there was smooth and cool, and it may even be becoming expected now after two straight weeks with such a game-winning drive late in the dying minutes from the Panthers quarterback. Then a few hours later Tony Romo did the same, disappointing lovers of false narratives everywhere. This isn’t what you want to hear, but we’re also quite familiar with Romo leading game-winning drives, as following a critical division win over the Giants he’s now done that twice over Dallas’ last three games.

But Ryan Fitzpatrick doing his own game-winning drive leading? Yes, that happened too, capping off a day filled with knuckles that were several shades of white, one that included a tie, and eight games that had a margin of victory of a touchdown or less.

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calvin johnson celly2

I’ve conveniently categorized my thoughts through the use of several headings for 11 Sundays now, and they’re available to you for a nominal (see: non-existent) 100 Yards and Running subscription fee. But this is very much a space for weekly marvels

Without fail, I always end up back at a central theme each week, whether I really intended to or not. While we ascend the mountain of numbers and highlights compiled over the course of each NFL Sunday that make the fantasy machine whirl, what rises are the oddities, and performances that were unique, or different, or puzzling, or, well, odd.

The Detroit Lions were all of those things on this particular Sunday. So sure, let’s start there.

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lamar miller again2

Pictured: failure. So much failure.

Two.

Two is a fine number, and in many instances, a favorable number. Out on the town with some college buddies? Two brews are better than one. Roughly 11 brews are also better than one.

But two is not ideal when it’s a measurement of rushing yards over an entire evening. That’s when two is only two more than zero.

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