Commentary: Garvey on Hamlin Injury

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is removed from Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati in an ambulance on Jan. 2 as his teammates kneel at the bottom left of the image. (Schetm via Wikimedia Commons)

Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, is in critical condition after collapsing during a game in Cincinnati. The 24-year-old suffered cardiac arrest after being hit, but medical personnel restored his heartbeat. The NFL postponed the game. Gus Garvey, The Mirror’s NFL reporter, has this commentary.

I’m going to make one thing very clear from the beginning here. Yes, this was a huge game with massive implications for the playoffs. Yes, it was competitive. But none of that matters anymore. No part of last night’s game matters, and that’s because the worst-case scenario played out on a football field last night.

In regards to the game, it has been postponed indefinitely. I don’t know when it will be played, if at all. I will write a recap this week for any of you wondering. It will be out today or tomorrow. None of that is relevant right now. The only thing that matters right now is Damar Hamlin.

With 6 minutes left in the first quarter, he was hit in the chest area while making a tackle on Cincinnati’s Tee Higgins. He got up from it and immediately collapsed to the ground, where he remained for over 40 minutes. Suffering cardiac arrest, it took a while for medical personnel to restore his heartbeat. He was loaded into an ambulance afterward and rushed to UC Medical, one of the best hospitals in the country.

At this point, no one cares about the game. The only thing football fans, and at this point, the country and perhaps the world, care about is if Damar Hamlin is okay. They’ve already attempted to show solidarity, too. During his time with the Bills, Hamlin has developed a tradition of holding toy drives for children in need. During the game, he had an active fundraiser out for the drive. His goal was to raise $2,500. The charity has raised over $3 million since he collapsed on the field. That’s heartwarming. In a sport where the fan bases are as large and hardcore, the fact that everyone immediately came together in solidarity for Hamlin is very inspiring.

What isn’t inspiring is the NFL’s response to this tragedy. In particular, the decisions made about the game resuming. Please explain, Roger Goodell: HOW ON EARTH DO YOU EXPECT TWO TEAMS WHO JUST WATCHED A BROTHER ALMOST DIE ON THE FIELD TO SUIT BACK UP AND START PLAYING IN FIVE MINUTES? Please explain how the league didn’t immediately cancel the game and left the players and fans in limbo for over an hour!

Last night proves again that the NFL doesn’t care about its players’ well-being. Sure, Mr. Goodell, you didn’t make the call to give the players just five minutes to recover. Sure, there’s a process for canceling a game. WHY IS THERE EVEN A PROCESS TO BEGIN WITH? The fact that it took both head coaches yelling at the refs – twice – about how both sides were physically and mentally unable to play football is damning to the mindset and culture of the Shield as a whole.

The NFL and Football as a sport received a massive black eye last night, and it may get even worse depending on what happens with how the conclusion of the game is handled and, more importantly, Hamlin’s recovery.

Football is a brutal game, and Hamlin experienced the worst-case scenario. My thoughts are with him and his family. They don’t deserve this. No one does.

NFL Week 16 Recap

Jaguars 19, Jets 3

At this point in the season, we all realize that the Jets had been punching above their weight all year. They look horrible. That defense is good, but when the offense packs all the punch of a feather, it spells doom for New Jersey. Combine this with the rain and facing a Jags team that’s won 3 of its last 4, and the Jets are dead on arrival. The Jags’ offense was terrible, too, but I wouldn’t be concerned. That defense has given far better quarterbacks fits this year. Zach Wilson can get his O-line all the scooters he wants, but they won’t get any better. The Jets need Mike White back, and they need him back now.


Falcons 9, Ravens 17

The Ravens’ cakewalk midseason schedule continues in earnest as their team gets injured and injured some more. This week? Atlanta. In Desmond Ridder’s second career start, he looked just as raw and undeveloped as last week. Sure, he showed some flashes, but Atlanta’s offense had all the life of a tumbleweed for most of the game. Speaking of tumbleweeds, Greg Roman’s jackknife offense was trodden out onto the field again. Seventeen points against one of the worst defenses in the league. Truly elite stuff. Even the Broncos would frown at that kind of ineptitude. Take this undeserved playoff berth and get out of my sight.

Playoff Bound: Baltimore Ravens

This team screams one-and-done. Harbaugh and Roman are on such thin ice that cracks are already beginning to show. Enjoy getting obliterated on the road to a team like KC or Jacksonville.

On the other side of the pendulum, Atlanta gets more predictable misery. They are once again out of the playoffs.

Eliminated: Atlanta Falcons

This season was so Falcons I could honestly copy-paste anything said about them over the past few years and it would be very close to accurate. A brief blip of hope at 4-4, only to sputter and collapse into the pits of despair yet again. Arthur Smith deserved so much better than this. What a shame.


Lions 23, Panthers 37

This is the part of the season where Detroit has a wave of hope smacked out of them by a vastly inferior opponent. Winning 6 of 7 sounds good. Nope, a Panthers team is ready to smoke your remains and serve them buffet-style at the community table. Remember that Lions D from earlier in the season that imitated a sieve on the field? We had a throwback performance today. Carolina’s run game had free real estate all game long. Over 300 yards on the ground for a dominating performance. Sam Darnold was incredibly efficient as well. Unfortunately for Detroit, their strong run of form will likely be all for not as they get thrust back into the meat-grinder of the 7th seed for the playoffs.


Seahawks 10, Chiefs 24

It seems the Seahawks have regressed to the mean as well. A 6-3 start followed by losing 5 of 6, exposing the many flaws of both their team and structure. Pete Carroll can only reincarnate Geno Smith’s career for so long. Sooner or later, the piper will come to collect his dues. Against weaker opponents, Seattle can dance through the raindrops, but against the Chiefs, there was no chance. Oddly enough, the defense won the day for Kansas City. It might have something to do with the conditions, but for a day, the defense looked as dominant as it was in the Alex Smith era. That’s impressive.


Saints 17, Browns 10

In the tundra of the Dawg Pound, a special event is taking place. TANK BOWL!

Yes, I know these teams traded their first-round picks this year, but I’m not choosing logic over memes. This game exemplified every ideal that Tank Bowl represents. Horrific offensive play coupled with stout defense and bad conditions. This is what Tank Bowl is all about. Fortunately for Cleveland, New Orleans realized that losing would only help Philadelphia and scored 17 whole points. It was enough to get the job done. Imagine Cleveland thinking they were a quarterback away from competing. Sounds hilarious. Now they won’t have their first-round picks for the next two years. No one feels bad for them. Maybe Deshaun can get a few massages in the elimination room.

Eliminated: Cleveland Browns

This is karma. Straight karma. The Browns traded their soul for a high-risk quarterback who promptly got suspended for half a season, and they won’t be able to get out of it. Unloading a dump truck of money onto Watson doesn’t help, either. The Browns are a colossal waste of oxygen. Sink the organization into lake Erie. Knowing Cleveland, they’d also find a way to screw that up.


Bengals 22, Patriots 18

Cincinnati is on a tear. After last week’s comeback against Tampa Bay, they went into New England and owned a team with many question marks for all of one half. After halftime, it felt like something was just… off. Perhaps it was Belichick trolling them with his shenanigans. More likely, it was probably the Pats’ defense adjusting. The offense did as well, putting up 18 unanswered points. It is here that the Pats realized that they suck and fumbled everything away on Cincy’s 10-yard line with a minute left and the game on the line. The Bengals win a nailbiter, and now they must gear up for arguably the biggest game of the year at home in primetime against the Bills. Does someone have a Joe Burrow voodoo doll for rent? Just asking for some friends. Oh, and I almost forgot: Cincy has made it back to the playoffs.

Playoff Bound: Cincinnati Bengals

It looked shaky after a 0-2 start and huge question marks. They answered them. Unfortunately, they still have the undead corpse of Baltimore to contend with in the AFC North. Their upside in the postseason is, well… last year. However, if every part isn’t clicking, their floor could be meteoric in terms of calamity and damage.


Giants 24, Vikings 27

This was hyped to be the best game of the one o’clock window, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. A Giants team was hanging tough with one of the best teams in the conference vying for home field in the playoffs. The G-men started to hit back as Minnesota surged to an early lead. Down the field they went, time and time again, finally tying the game with a minute left at 24. Unfortunately, this is where an old enemy of the Giants re-emerges; super-long field goals. Their kicker had even booted a 63-yard winner on them in a past life. It happened again on the road and to the Minnesota Vikings. This team runs kickers’ careers into the ground so fast you could call them a sander. Fortunately, the G-men can still clinch a playoff berth with a win next week. Even better, they’re playing the Colts. They’re not going to screw this up… are they?


Bills 35, Bears 13

I’ve been saying it for weeks, and this game proves it: the Chicago Bears are much better than their record suggests. They’ve been able to hang with legit contenders all season in games their opponent has overlooked. This game, much like the Bears’ record, was much closer than the final score indicates. Despite the Bills dominating the stat sheet, Chicago was always able to stay within a score or two for three quarters, thanks to the wind trolling Tyler Bass and some very untimely turnovers on the part of Josh Allen. Fortunately, the Bears’ offense is something out of a horror movie. They cannot move the ball in crucial situations. It doesn’t matter if Allen throws the ball directly to a defender in prime field position. The Bears will only get a field goal. Once the Bills woke up in the 4th quarter and started running up the score, it was all over. Buffalo clinches the AFC East with this win. However, they are aspiring for things much bigger than this. Next week is huge. I’ll leave it at that. I might be separating that game, regardless.


Texans 19, Titans 14

Tennessee, you lost to the Texans. It wasn’t even on some last-second play or fluke bounce; it was a blowout by tank standards. They were brutalized, gored, rammed, battered, banished to Hades, resurrected, banished to Hades again, and then chased around by Hellhounds. About five times over. Malik Willis could do nothing. They made legendary tank commander Davis Mills look competent. How on earth do you do that? Even worse, the once plump cushion they sat on in the AFC south has shrunk to something resembling a dollhouse pillow. Jacksonville is now winning the division via a tiebreaker. Tennessee is on the outside looking in for the first time this season. It serves them right for being all but a free win on teams’ schedules these days. It doesn’t get any easier, as they play Dallas next week. The team resembles their stadium; old, decrepit, and crumbling from the inside out. Enjoy watching Jacksonville play in January.


Commanders 20, 49ers 37

A game projected to be an outright slaughter turned out as such. Washington, this is why you had to take care of business last week against the Giants; this was going to happen. Taylor Heinicke can’t do much against average defenses to begin with. Now face him against the #1 unit in the country, and he gets wholly exposed. The Niners’ defense is skilled, smart, and runs like cheetahs. There was no mercy for Washington. San Fran keeps its hopes for the #2 seed due to this win, and they have the tiebreaker over Minnesota as things stand right now. Things could get interesting.


Eagles 34, Cowboys 40

This game said much more about the Eagles than it did about Dallas. Sure, the Cowboys may have hung 40 on Philly thanks to Gardner Minshew’s propensity for turnovers, but with their backup quarterback, Philly was able to maintain the lead for a good portion of this game. Dallas may have won, but Philly should be proud of themselves. They can lock up the #1 seed with a win against the Saints next week, giving Jalen Hurts a critical bye week to get healthy for the playoffs. I’m intrigued. Cowboys fans will be forever insufferable due to this win. They have now won five straight at home against Philly.


Raiders 10, Steelers 13

Fifty years ago, one of the greatest moments in NFL history happened. The Immaculate Reception. On this anniversary, it’s only fitting that the Steelers and Raiders played each other. Franco Harris, the recipient of the reception, was set to be retired by the Steelers before this game, but he tragically passed away days before the game. This game was a throwback to 1970’s era football. Low-scoring, with punts and turnovers aplenty. Pittsburgh won thanks to an 80-yard final drive led by Kenny Pickett and maintains their slim playoff life thanks to this win. Meanwhile, the Raiders experience more turmoil as McDaniels benches Derek Carr for existing incorrectly in his system. Their playoff hopes are all but dead.


Packers 26, Dolphins 20

This game was a tale of two halves and was a microcosm of the season for both teams. We got what we expected in the first half: Miami cruising out to an early lead as Green Bay came out flatter than a map. The second half brought about the style of play that both teams are beginning to conform to. Miami was sputtering and turning over the ball, and Green Bay is easing back into the picture, thanks to a stout defense and ridiculous luck. Aaron Rodgers is getting another shot, isn’t he? God help us all.


Broncos 14, Rams 51

It’s just what everyone needed while under the tree opening presents. A CHRISTMAS TANK BOWL!!!!

They subjected kids to this game. That’s honestly appalling. The Broncos limped into this one and were massacred at the hands of one of the worst teams in the league. Russell Wilson being brought back into action only exacerbated their issues. Look at how far he’s fallen this year. He’s gone from being the celebrated culinary artist of the Seahawks to being roasted by Patrick Star on the Nickelodeon broadcast. The Rams got the message that losing this tank bowl would only help Detroit and decided to play spoiler by beating the stuffing out of a Broncos team that probably wishes the season ended after week 3.

Fortunately for the Broncos, they finally did the thing their fanbase had been clamoring for since week 1. The Hack has been deservedly fired, not even a full year into his massive contract. Sure, you could blame the complete collapse of all the players in his system and a ridiculous amount of injuries, but Hackett did himself no favors. Horrible clock management, playcalling the worst offense in the league, wasting one of the best defenses in recent memory, a 4-11 record, and averaging 14.3 points per game. It got so bad that he had to hire an assistant to help with clock management. Speaking of which, he’s the new interim coach. The Hack was so bad in Denver that he achieved Urban Meyer levels of incompetence. Denver’s season has been a trainwreck, and they have even more egg on their face thanks to this venture blowing up in their faces. Seattle laughs in the background and revels in the top 5 picks they’ll have for the next two years.


Buccaneers 19, Cardinals 16

The script for Tampa’s last few games has been so overused that the pages are starting to fall out. They look horrible for three quarters and then magically turn it on, in the end, to come back against a struggling opponent. Tom Brady is lauded as a genius and leader of men, and the Bucs continue to defy the odds and limp into a must-win game against Carolina next week. Arizona gets more predictable misery and the announcement of JJ Watt’s retirement. If this is truly it, it was an incredible career. I’m not even salty over that wild card game, either. We’ll see him in Canton in 5 years.


Chargers 20, Colts 3

This game just felt like a blur with everything else happening in the sports realm. LA, sticking to their narratives, proceeded to look horrible and mortal for most of the game, only winning because they had the fortune of facing Jeff Saturday. Indy gets more coal in their stocking, as well. Their postseason hopes are officially dead.

Eliminated: Indianapolis Colts

This team is a glue factory. Quarterbacks go there to die, and they are a clown show at the top. Sell the team, Irsay.

Meanwhile, the Chargers drunkenly stumble their way into playoff position.

Playoff Bound; Los Angeles Chargers

This team has massive holes, including at head coach, but hey, they made it. They will be exposed in due course.


Do I even need to announce the Laughingstock Finalists this week? I think we all know who it is. It’s the Denver Broncos, and that decision is pretty self-explanatory. What a disaster at Mile High.

NFL Week 15 Recap

What a crazy week it was in the NFL, especially for the Patriots’ QB Mac Jones. Gus Garvey has our recap. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

This week was when all of the drama happened. Playoff clinchers, eliminations, epic chokes, laughing at the Cowboys, it was all enveloped in this gauntlet of a weekend. Grab the popcorn; it’s recap time.


49ers 21, Seahawks 13

For the longtime Niners fans reading this, you might be familiar with a little-known narrative to the rest of the league: The Niners are snakebitten in Seattle. No matter how good or bad either team is, San Fran always manages to collapse in front of the twelves leading to a Seahawk victory. In the last 19 years, they had only won there four times. Fortunately for Santa Clara, a savior has descended from the heavens to help them with this plight. His name is Brock Purdy. In the elements, in front of the Twelves, Purdy played a solid, efficient game to lead to a Niner victory. They overcome their demons with this win. They receive an early Christmas present: Several fumbles by the Hawks leading to free points for the Niners. Oh, and there’s also a division title in there somewhere, too.

Playoff Bound: San Francisco 49ers

Not gonna lie: this was a darn good job by Shanahan and company. The entire offense has dealt with the equivalent of being broken on the wheel this year, and they still found a way to win a division title. You can thank the Rams for falling apart, but these guys earned their spot. They’re very interesting going into January.

Colts 36, Vikings 39 (OT)

A quick disclaimer before this begins: Yes, I understand this game’s significance. It is my job to attempt to do it justice in a normal-length segment. Don’t cancel me for disrespecting it or something like that. Deal? Good.

Minnesota is such an inconsistent team this year. They will come out and obliterate teams like the Bills and Patriots. Then, these massive eggs will be laid, and no one will know what happened. The newest example was their scrum with the Indianapolis Colts. A broken team led by Jeff Saturday marched into their house and flat-out imposed their will for an entire half. 33-0 by intermission. At halftime, you could hear a pin drop inside US Bank Stadium. There’s no way they blow this. Even the Colts couldn’t pull off something this absurdly inept. Wait… Colts, what are you doing? Why are you bending over backward? They prolapse all over the field in the 2nd half and let Minnesota tie the game to send it to overtime. At this point, I want to ask one question: Who is this year’s dealer? Can any team in the league gain any consistency? Is this punishment for complaining about the lack of parity in the Brady vs. Manning era? Oh, we’ve got parity. We’ve got more than we could have ever wanted. With enough said, Minnesota drives the length of the field and boots home the game-winning field goal. The largest comeback in NFL history is worthy of a special reward, Skol army: A playoff berth.

Playoff Bound: Minnesota Vikings

I’m not sold on this team yet. The close wins are impressive, but they’ve shown themselves as mortal. This team still has a negative point differential. Watch them win the Super Bowl and make me eat a gigantic bag of manure. It would be par for the course, given how this year has gone.


Ravens 3, Browns 13

The Ravens stink. Their record is inflated thanks to fantastic luck and terrible opponents. They completely fall apart when they have to face a team with even something resembling a competent defense. Cleveland was beatable. Deshaun Watson is still trying to ease back into regular play, and their offense imitated a stagnant pond for most of the game. Baltimore couldn’t capitalize. Cleveland rolls by them on their tanks of glory as the Ravens are finally ousted from their perch atop the AFC North. It was a good run for these guys. They’ll probably make the playoffs, but I have severe doubts. Enjoy being a 1-and-done.


Dolphins 29, Bills 32

This was one of those games where one team just had to lose because both were that good on both sides of the ball. I’ll admit, it was looking dicey for the Bills at points in this game. They did their patented third-quarter thing of doing nothing on offense except turn the ball over, which Miami capitalized on to take an 8-point lead going into the 4th quarter. However, if there’s anything to learn from this year, the lead is far from secure. Cue a four-play touchdown drive by the Bills and a leap from SuperAllen to tie the game at 29. Then, an omen from the heavens finally touched down in Orchard Park: The snow. It had been rumored to be on the way all game, and football fans were as interested in when the blizzard would start as the game’s outcome. The snow turned out to be Miami’s version of a Japanese fisherman. Pinned deep in their territory, they could do nothing in it. They had to give the ball back to Buffalo. Everyone knows what happens next. Josh Allen methodically leads the Bills down the field, and Tyler Bass kicks the game-winning field goal. Miami may have lost, but they should be proud of themselves. They ran into a Bills team hungry for revenge and not only kept it close but almost pulled off the upset. Buffalo, meanwhile, can celebrate for a day. They have clinched a playoff spot.

Playoff Bound: Buffalo Bills

I have serious questions about the sustainability of the defense without Von anchoring the D-line, but they’re finding ways to win the close ones this year. That newfound aspect of this team cannot be denied. They have grit, tenacity, and resilience, so they’re still going to the Super Bowl. However, I must warn them. If they break my heart again this year, I’ll have something special cooked up for them. Please don’t, Buffalo. For both the city’s sake and my general well-being.


Eagles 25, Bears 20

They may not look it, but the Chicago Bears are better than their record suggests. They may already be eliminated from the playoffs, but they play with heart, hunger, and drive. They still have things to play for, including team pride, player development, and perhaps some jobs. Unfortunately, this is where we realize that this will to win has them going up against not a complacent cupcake of an opponent but the best team in the league. While keeping up with the Eagles for a while, Chicago couldn’t close them out when they needed to. That’s been the season’s story for them, keeping it competitive for three quarters and then being unable to finish. Philly, meanwhile, gets one more game before their guaranteed home playoff game at the Linc comes to fruition.


Lions 20, Jets 17

Who could have seen this coming at the beginning of the year? Lions vs. Jets being one of the biggest games of the week? For playoff seeding? Are you kidding me? After beating Minnesota last week, Detroit faces the most formidable defense they’ve had to play. And they passed the test. It was less due to their offense than their defense. The Jets could do nothing all day. It also didn’t help that a certain… other quarterback was forced in for New York due to Mike White’s injury. He performed as advertised, routinely chucking the ball to the other team and making turnovers at a rate that would make Famous Jameis proud. Detroit gets back to .500 with this win. I must say, this is a nice little stretch they’ve put together. I’m intrigued to see if they can finish the deal. The goal is their first playoff win in a half-century, nothing too significant.


Steelers 24, Panthers 16

Yes, both teams are technically still in the hunt and have things to play for, but the memes are why I write these recaps. From the doldrums of Carolina, the game that took place can only be described with two words. TANK BOWL!

This game was a bit more watchable than the previous iterations of tank bowl, if only because the offenses showed up in the first half. Both teams still have many things that they can earn with a win. Carolina for a chance to upend Tampa and win the worst division in football. The Steelers for their delusional false hope and a fleeting gasp at getting Tomlin another winning season. However, in the 2nd half, the Panthers had an epiphany. They understood the rules of the game. Cue a complete collapse on offense leading to endless opportunities for the other team. The Steelers will take the gifts and capitalize on them, tanking is not in their dictionary, and they still have to keep the false hope kindled for the Yinzers. Carolina loses the game but wins the tank. Only three more games until they can blow it up all over again. Call this karma for Rock Hill or something.


Chiefs 30, Texans 24 (OT)

I don’t understand this game sometimes—case in point, the Chiefs’ match against Houston on Sunday. Kansas City would spend most of the game flexing their might, dominating on the stat sheet but remaining tied to Houston on the scoreboard. The whole game just felt like a comedy reel. The Texans were sitting there laughing while KC kept self-destructing on offense. Mahomes and company were so inept that this game went to overtime. Yes, THE CHIEFS going into overtime with Houston. It was here that KC realized that they were playing the Texans. Cue their high-end talent coming to save the day with a touchdown. I have several choice words in response to that, though. Run. Run as fast as you can out of the stadium, Chiefs. You got fortunate in this one. Now take this undeserved division title and get out of my sight.

Playoff Bound: Kansas City Chiefs

With Mahomes at QB, I know anything is possible, but this team seems much more mortal than the Chiefs teams of the past. They will be exposed in due course. Perhaps in a snow game in Buffalo or by losing to the Bungles again.


Falcons 18, Saints 21

Two trash heaps congregate in the Superdome for a showdown of suck. Prepare yourselves for a tank bowl!

Yes, I know these two teams are technically still in the playoff hunt due to how bad their division is, but let’s be honest: this had to be designated as such. It’s the only way to explain how bad both teams were at playing football today. Atlanta was giving 3rd round pick out of Cincinnati Desmond Ridder his first career start today. He showed how raw he was when faced against a Saints defense that’s given far better quarterbacks than he fits this season. The Falcons’ defense also did its part by making Andy Dalton look godlike. Atlanta continues their downward spiral after a surprising start, and the Saints get false hope for a division title. They’ll be destroyed in the postseason, but the memes will be glorious if they make it in.


Cowboys 34, Jaguars 40 (OT)

After their scare against the Texans, the Cowboys travel to the humid wasteland of Florida, where they face a Jags team coming off a shellacking of the Titans. So far, the Cowboys are imposing their will on the hapless denizens of Jacksonville. A 27-10 lead in the 3rd quarter should be game over, right? Wrong. In a scenario entirely foreign as of late, the Jags stormed back to make it a game when they looked dead in the water. They even took the lead going into the 4th quarter. This is where Dallas’s offense finally wakes up and drives down the field to retake the lead. It is now 34-31 with two minutes left. What does Trevor Lawrence do? Run off for a significant gain, into field goal range, and then fumbles the ball right into the hands of a Cowboys defender. You might think this is game over, but no, sir, those boys in blue have yet another trick up their sleeve. Cue a three-and-out and a collapse on defense to allow the Jags back into field goal range to send the game to OT. Even worse, Jacksonville won the overtime coin toss. It’s okay; they stuffed the Jags and can win with a field goal. What do they do instead? Throw a pick-6 to lose the game. I couldn’t dream up a more Cowboys ending if I tried. A golden opportunity to escape yet another close game with a win, only to sizzle and burn right into the swamps of Duval. The Cowboys lose precious ground to Philly, and the Jaguars can still win their division. Say it with me, everyone! HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!!! God, this team is trash. It’s alright, Dallas. At least you made the playoffs.

Playoff bound: Dallas Cowboys

Just like last year, their upside is tremendous. With that defense plus all the talent they have on offense? However, their floor is, well, this game. I wouldn’t look down there. Cautious optimism is vital with this group.


Cardinals 15, Broncos 24

From the doldrums of Mile High, we get yet another glorious spectacle. TANK BOWL!

With Kyler Murray done for the year and their playoff odds dwindling, it would be wise for the Cardinals to focus on the tank bowl standings for the rest of the year. They may not need help at the QB position, but a potentially game-changing defensive talent could fall into their laps in the draft. Denver, meanwhile, is representing Seattle thanks to gambling everything on Russell Wilson. Speaking of Chef Russ, he didn’t play thanks to his concussion from last week, blessing us with another Brett Rypien sighting. Matched up against Arizona’s Colt McCoy, the name of this game was awful offenses and even worse defense on the part of the Cardinals. Do you want to know how bad it was? Denver scored over 20 points. For the second straight week. Their offense might finally be waking up, but it’s too little, too late. All they can do now is give Seattle a worse draft pick. As well as knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs, that too.

Eliminated: Arizona Cardinals

They might be good someday; if they ever get a defense. Or an offensive line. Or a coaching staff and executives that aren’t total hacks. Kyler’s injury only exposed the flaws of this team to the mainstream. They have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, they extended Kingsbury and Keim before the season. Well done, lads.


Patriots 24, Raiders 30

The Patriots might be done. Their run last year might have been attributed to the fact that no one had adjusted to Mac Jones yet. They started adjusting in the final weeks of last year, and now everyone’s adjusted this year. Mac has been thoroughly exposed. He is a checkdown magnet held back by talentless receivers and inept coaching. This game against the Raiders proved as much. If you’re having trouble breaking through Las Vegas’s defense, that’s a good sign that your relevant days are over for this season. Even then, the defense kept them in it long enough to force overtime. There’s no way the Pats screw this up. No way. That was until they pulled off what is quite possibly the worst play in NFL history.

In a tie game, with 3 seconds left and no timeouts, instead of a hail mary, the Patriots chose to hand the ball off to Rhomandre Stevensen to run out the clock and force overtime. However, with no time left and 3 Raiders converging on him, Rhomandre chose to lateral the ball to Jacoby Meyers. This is where the magic truly begins. Probably believing the Pats were already losing, Meyers, a high school quarterback, threw it 10 yards in the wrong direction, trying to get it back to Mac Jones. Unfortunately, Chandler Jones (no relation) of the Raiders caught it, stiff-armed MacCorkle, and ran it back for a Vegas touchdown. Raiders win, and the entire state of Massachusetts wants Jacoby Myers tarred and feathered for his treasonous act. The Patriots’ playoff hopes take a significant hit due to this game.

I’m not even introducing the Laughingstock finalists this week. Mac Jones is the laughingstock of the week. No ifs, ands, or buts. For more analysis on why this is, we are bringing in a special guest to analyze why: Mr. Aaron Garvey.

1) he never even attempted to make a play on the ball. He just stood there, with his feet in cement, watching the ball come toward him, and never appeared to move to try and catch the ball.

2) There’s no offensive or defensive pass interference in such a scenario. It is a fumble, and as we know from all fumbles like this, it’s no holds barred, do what you have to do to get the ball. He could have very easily just tackled the guy. There are no rules about offensive or defensive interference; he could have tackled him before he caught the ball. Even if Mac isn’t going for the ball, he could be a defender. He could even be an illegal defender because it’s a fumble. You can do all sorts of nonsense when there’s a fumble.

3) As soon as the ball gets caught, he gets pancaked and driven into the stadium’s foundation! How is it that in this many years of playing football, Mac Jones has no idea how to make a tackle, especially when his coordinator is a defensive coordinator, and he should be able to teach his players how to make a tackle? So that’s why Mac Jones is the laughingstock of this play. And this play is arguably the worst play in NFL history. So if you’re the laughingstock of the worst play in NFL history, you’re the laughingstock of the week.


Titans 14, Chargers 17

Two mediocre and overrated teams enter the arena, and only one may escape with a win. Early on, it was looking to be the Chargers. The offense had done enough to take the lead, and the defense kept with their form from last week by suffocating the Titans’ offense and their King Henry, even going as far as injuring Ryan Tannehill for a series. Up 14-7 with 6 minutes left, a miracle happened. The Charger defense remembered the narratives and valiantly broke open to allow Ryan Tannehill to lead a game-tying touchdown drive on a bum ankle to tie the game with 30 seconds left. However, this is where the Chargers’ high-end talent comes into play. Herbert gets them into field goal range with one play to Mike Williams, setting up a game-winner from Dicker the Kicker. The Chargers win and keep their playoff positioning afloat, while the Titans get thrust into a dogfight for the AFC South. The Jags are only a game back now. And they have the tiebreaker. Things could get very interesting in Tennessee. Grab the popcorn.


Bengals 34, Buccaneers 23

Better late than never, Tampa. I admit I had concerns about you, but this is a relief. Completely suffocating the Cincinnati Bengals for the first half. The offense is finally doing things with the ball that don’t involve deflating it. The defense has regained its form from last year. So much so that the Bengals, one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, didn’t score a point until the final play of the half. A 17-3 lead at halftime for the Buccaneers. Things looked to be in cruise control. What happened instead? 4 turnovers in the 3rd quarter. A Bengals team put up thirty-one unanswered points in the 2nd half. The same Bengals offense that looked washed in the first half. It’s panic time, Tampa. Thanks to how bad their division is, they’ll still get a home playoff game, but I’m not sold on their prospects in the postseason. Now watch them be the team that gives Dallas a playoff win. I shudder to think about how insufferable Cowboys fans will be if that outcome happens.


Giants 20, Commanders 12

The last meeting between these two left us with a sour taste: a tie, one of the worst aspects of the NFL’s scoring system that should be abolished. Tonight, we shall have the winner- and it’s the Giants. It’s nothing on the Commies’ defense. They played a gusty, intense game and deserve little blame. The main culprit of this primetime letdown is the offense. Taylor Heinicke may have a champion’s swagger, confidence, and competitive spirit, but he lacks one critical part of a true franchise QB: talent. An average quarterback like him can only do so much against a stout defense like the Giants, and it showed. Two turnovers and red zone ineptitude on the part of the Commies made the difference. Yes, the refs may have helped with this, but Washington still had their chances and failed. It’s too bad. If a different person owned them, the Commies would be one of the most likable teams in the league. Now they get thrust back into the mosh pit for the 7th seed, with Detroit and Seattle chomping at their heels. Buckle up, Commies.


Rams 12, Packers 24

On Monday Night Football, we got a special reward. A HEAVYWEIGHT TANK BOWL!!!!

The Rams and the Packers in a tank bowl match. Go back and look at my season preview; you’ll see I did not have this planned for this year. But yes, their records both point to incredible tanking, so yes, it is a tank bowl. Green Bay still foolishly thinks they can make the playoffs, so they beat the stuffing out of the Rams in primetime to give them at least some false hope going into next week. Oh yeah… the Rams. Let’s say we’ll have a new Super Bowl champion this season. Get out.

Eliminated: Los Angeles Rams

This happens when you go all-in for a championship—a brief blip of success followed by a dark age that is hard to recover from. Want to know how hard it’ll be? No first-round picks until 2027. Detroit and Jacksonville, thank you for the bounty.

NFL Week 14 Recap

Raiders 16, Rams 17

Well, this is a laugh. The Raiders have stifled the Rams and their new toy in Baker Mayfield for three quarters. The defense has been dominant, and the offense has done enough. With 3 minutes left, they kick back and relax. Unfortunately, this is where they were wrong. Seriously, a 4th quarter comeback? Another one? The scriptwriters outdid themselves on this one as the Rams got within a score, and then Baker Mayfield, who hadn’t been on the Rams for even three days, led a 98-yard drive to win the game. Now there’s the Raider defense we’ve known and mocked! It’s so fun that the memes are back. I don’t have to get creative anymore.


Vikings 23, Lions 34

A red-hot Detroit team hosting a Minnesota squad that has rattled off two straight against legit contenders. You couldn’t have a better atmosphere for Detroit to get their statement win. Their offense, once again, looked unstoppable against a stout D, and the defense seems to be finally getting its act together. However, the Vikings had their chances and failed. Justin Jefferson had over 200 yards on the day, and they still lost. Fortunately for the purple people eaters, any win in the next few weeks will clinch a playoff berth via a division title. Detroit, though, seems to be peaking at the right time, and with a softball schedule coming up, they could make some serious noise. Watch out. The NFC, the scorned bridesmaid in the rearview mirror, is closer than it appears.


Ravens 16, Steelers 14

There is only one way I can do this game justice. AND IT’S BY BRINGING BACK THE INJURY BOWL!

Both teams started the game decimated on the injury front. The Steelers were missing about half their offense, and the Ravens were missing a certain QB in the final year of his contract. But the fun doesn’t end there! Kenny Pickett was knocked out of the game, and Tyler Huntley followed suit in the 4th quarter. The situation got so bad for Baltimore that they had to bring in third-stringer Anthony Brown. The Steelers still couldn’t capitalize. Like most of their losses this year, the Steelers had a winnable situation on their hands and completely screwed it up. That optimism Yinzers were feeling after winning 3 of 4? Yup, that’s long gone now. Baltimore continues to defy the odds on its way to a first-round playoff elimination.


Browns 10, Bengals 23

Deshaun Watson’s first career start in 2017 was at Paul Brown Stadium. 5 years, 30 assaults, and a tarnished reputation later, he returns to that hallowed ground, this time as a division rival. The Bengals had other plans. Cincy’s defense continued its remarkable form from the past few weeks by suffocating yet another opponent into the ground. It also doesn’t help that Watson’s throwing mechanics are rusty due to a lack of massaging. The Bengals are looking scary. The offense needs no explanation, but if the defense can keep holding its own like this, another super bowl run might not be out of the question.

Jets 12, Bills 20

The pounding of the rain on a cold, unforgiving field: the start of a story usually only told in old NFL films content from the 70s. In the wind and elements of the Ralph, the Jets put on a vintage performance. By vintage, I mean what has been their norm for most of the past 40 years. Complete and utter offensive ineptitude was on the menu. Where do I even start? Overly conservative play calling. An offensive line decimated by injuries that led to Mike White running for his life all game. The Bills’ defense was treated to a feast for 60 straight minutes. Turnovers, sacks, and third down stops all day long. All the Bills’ offense had to do was score some points and hold onto the ball, and they did just that. While the elements played a part, this game showed that Buffalo is versatile. They can win by hanging 40 on opponents and strangling teams to death on defense. With this win, they maintain control of the #1 seed due to a tiebreaker over Kansas City. And next week? A certain team from the south gets to be on the other end of home-field advantage for a change. I bet the Bills will be looking forward to this one. Confiscate all the heaters, Buffalo. Just an idea.


Texans 23, Cowboys 27

Oh dear lord, the Cowboys are playing down to their competition on a grand scale. The Houston Texans marched into Jerryworld, and flat-out imposed their will for 50 straight minutes. They are going to upset Dallas and shake up the NFC playoff picture. Say it with me, everyone! HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!! Wait, they didn’t win? What do you mean they didn’t win? Their defense sucks, and they can’t stop Zeke? Oh, joy. I know Dallas is puffing their chests in pride thanks to that final drive, but I have some choice words in response to that. Oh boy, you beat the Texans. Congratulations, you won against an openly tanking team that’s already been eliminated from the playoffs that was playing its backup quarterback. Forgive me if I need more than this to call them contenders. Houston, go jump off a pier. You had one job, and you failed.


Eagles 48, Giants 22

It’s at this point that many of us realize that the Giants’ record was vastly inflated due to terrible opponents and good luck. Exhibit A: their match against the Eagles. They got blown out in every conceivable metric. Horrible turnovers, offensive ineptitude, the defense imploding like the Hindenburg, and general doom-and-gloom were on the menu in Jersey today. Philly laughs in the background as they clinch the first playoff berth.

Playoff Bound: Philadelphia Eagles

Philly has assembled one of the best seasons in their recent memory to get another crack at January football. This team is stacked and will be a force come January. However, that division is going to be a bloodbath. Hopefully, they can get it done.

Jaguars 36, Titans 22

The Jaguars have heard tales of King Henry from their predecessors. Stories of his rummaging over their fine defense over the past few years have left Jacksonville bloodthirsty for revenge against the tyrant King of the Titans. They took it out this week. Against the Titans, in their own house, Jacksonville laid such a heavy beating on the Titans that it probably put a few more cracks into Nissan Stadium’s decomposing foundation. Trevor Lawrence had another great game, handing Tennessee their third straight loss as they fall into the pits of despair in terms of playoff seeding. Even worse, they haven’t clinched anything yet. They’re 7-6, but I wouldn’t rule out them losing and giving the division to Jacksonville. Knowing how this season has gone, that could happen.


Chiefs 34, Broncos 28

Broncos Country, Let’s Die! Denver enters this game dead in the water. Kansas City marched into their house and imposed their will for the first part of the game. So much so that they had jumped out to a 27-0 lead. However, something incredible happened. The Broncos finally began to have the offensive production they were hyped to have before the year. They scored points. They scored a lot of them. So many that they were able to make it a 1-score game in the 3rd quarter. But the fun ends there. KC woke up for a drive and took another two-score lead, and then the football gods decided to ruin the moment by injuring Russell Wilson. This was when all hope was lost. Brett Rypien doesn’t inspire confidence as Russ does. He throws a pick and allows KC to run out the clock. The Chiefs looked horrible, but they kept pace with the Bills as they battle for the #1 seed. As for Denver? They finally showed life on offense today. The cost? Playoff elimination.

Eliminated: Denver Broncos

Complete and utter failure. All those moves in the offseason, and they somehow did worse than last year. Russ looks washed, The Hack can’t call plays properly, or coach for his life, and they wasted that outstanding defense yet again. It might be time to break out the medicinal weed again, Broncos Country. You’re gonna need it.

Panthers 30, Seahawks 24

Carolina has lowkey impressed me these past few weeks. They’ve seen an NFC South wide open for the taking and have fought hard to claw back within a game of Tampa Bay. Going into Seattle in front of the Twelves was arduous, but Carolina jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Or it’s because the Seahawks don’t have that overachieving spirit they had at the beginning of the year. They might be done. They’re currently out of a playoff spot after losing 3 of 4 and sitting at 7-6: panic time, Emerald City. Next week, you get the Niners. Yeah.


Buccaneers 7, 49ers 35

The GOAT headed into Santa Clara hungry for blood with a chance to make a statement. Unfortunately, he met a quarterback that even he could not best. That man’s name was Brock Purdy. Mr. Irrelevant relegated Tom Brady to irrelevance as the Niners instilled a spirited beating on him. Purdy had one of the best coming-out parties in recent memory, tossing 3 TDs as the Bucs defense decided to go back to early season mode and could not stop a tumbleweed. Unfortunately, you can’t just win by saying you have Tom Brady anymore. Welcome back to the mosh pit, Buccaneers. I hope you enjoy it.


Dolphins 17, Chargers 23

The Chargers are coming off an embarrassing loss to a bottom-feeder and are now facing a true contender at home in the Miami Dolphins. They made it look easy. Oh, so NOW you play up to your potential, LA? It’s about time! The offense was stymied as usual, but the star of the show tonight was the Charger defense. You know, the one that’s been broken on the wheel five times over on the injury front this year? They kept Miami and their offense in check all game long. Or that could be because the Dolphins are just soft and can only win by roasting their opponents to death at home. Seriously, you’re using propane heaters in 60-degree weather inside a dome? What will happen when you’re buried in a foot of snow in Buffalo next week? Seriously, Miami, get your act together. The last thing you need is a collapse after the run of form you guys have had. The Chargers win, and Kansas City still hasn’t clinched the division. Twenty-eight other fan bases are cheering as a result.


Patriots 27, Cardinals 13

We get a special prize in a Monday night throwdown in the desert. INJURY BOWL!

Both teams had their collective playoff hopes and team health sacrificed to the football gods on this glorious evening. The opening salvo of this match of pain and suffering would be catastrophic: A torn ACL for Kyler Murray on a non-contact play. With Colt McCoy in at quarterback, there was no chance for Arizona. But the fun doesn’t end there! Rondale Moore is out for the year. Byron Murphy and Rashaad Coward are dealing with stingers. The Patriots would keep their distance, but injuries also hampered them: a concussion for Davante Parker. Jack Jones, Ramondre Stevensen, and Isaiah Wynn also suffered injuries. The Patriots scored half their points on defense. That’s how bad it was for Arizona. As the winds of playoff elimination get ever closer, Cards fans can only lament ownership’s idiocy for extending Kingsbury and Keim before the season. Well done, lads.

Finally, it’s time for our LAUGHINGSTOCK OF THE WEEK!

This week, we have five nominees. They are:

  • Jerry Tillary, for getting a taunting penalty after a 3rd down sack, keeping the Rams’ final drive alive.
  • The Houston Texans, for blowing the game on the final drive and letting the Cowboys win.
  • The Miami Dolphins, whose schematics somehow made Brandon Staley look like a genius.
  • The Legion of (ka)Boom, for imploding and getting torched by Sam Darnold.
  • And the Arizona Cardinals, just for being the Arizona Cardinals.

And the winner, whose choice may or may not have been influenced by the fact that I’m a fan of a division rival, is none other than the Miami Dolphins! If you’re struggling to put up points against a Chargers D with all their good players injured, there’s a problem. Just wait until they play in the snow next week.

NFL Week 13 Recap

Bills 24, Patriots 10

If there’s any doubt as to the fact that the Patriots are doing things wrong, I present this game as evidence: it was one of the worst games of the year for the Pats. I knew delegating playcalling to Patricia and Judge was a colossal mistake, and this game proves it. Against a Bills defense that has looked highly mortal these past few weeks, they looked very…deflated. The Bills could sit back, run the ball down the Pats’ throats, and secure the win to go to 9-3. New England isn’t dead yet, but next week’s tilt with the Cardinals is a must-win at this point. So much for all eight eastern teams making it in.

Unfortunately, Buffalo received their hard blow later this week. Von Miller was carted off the field during the Detroit game and was diagnosed with a torn meniscus that, if the recovery went well, could have him back by week 17 or 18. Unfortunately, their worst fears were confirmed when they opened up his knee for exploratory surgery. Von Miller did tear his ACL. He’ll be out for the rest of the year at minimum, and the Bills’ defense just took a huge blow. It is imperative that the offense gets back up to speed, especially with a tough couple of games coming up against the Jets and Miami. Heal up soon, Von. Bills Mafia is counting on you.

Packers 28, Bears 19

Two teams are circling the drains. The only thing either is suitable for anymore is TANK BOWL! Aaron Rodgers is making his first appearance in a Tank Bowl today. Something tells me he’s unfamiliar with the rules. Remember, the goal of Tank Bowl is to lose the game to secure a higher draft pick. Rodgers didn’t get the memo- or it could be because facing the Bears unlocks the Genghis Khan mode we haven’t seen out of him in a good few years. It doesn’t matter what weapons he has; it doesn’t matter how big of a lead Chicago jumps out to; he will forever subjugate Soldier Field to be his glorified second home. Justin Fields tried to keep up, but the Packers’ defense adjusted to stop him, and Green Bay surged for 18 points in the 2nd half to maintain a faint pulse in the season. Chicago wins the tank bowl, and they also win another dubious prize. They are the first team eliminated!

Eliminated from playoff contention: Chicago Bears

If there’s any silver lining for these guys, they finally have something resembling an offense, and they’ll have a high draft pick next April to bolster their ranks for another go-around. I trust this new management group to manage these assets to keep the wheels of the rebuild moving.


Steelers 19, Falcons 16

You thought you got a break from terrible football, didn’t you? Prepare yourselves for the next event. ANOTHER TANK BOWL!

Pittsburgh traveled to Atlanta in a battle of mediocre football teams. Pittsburgh would maintain a distance from their adversary throughout the game, but it still felt dangerous. Despite the Falcons clawing back in the end, Pittsburgh has now won two straight against bad teams, and the false hope has returned to the Yinzer faithful. It’s crazy to think, but they’re only two games below .500. Kenny Pickett is developing, and Tomlin still has a shot at avoiding a losing season. Atlanta, meanwhile, wins both the tank bowl and the right to maintain playoff contention thanks to playing in the NFL’s tank division. You’ve gotta love it.


Jets 22, Vikings 27

Minnesota has flaws, but they mask them very well by playing great situational football. This game against a scrappy Jets team looking for a true statement win under Mike White. White himself played a solid game and deserves little criticism. What won the game for Minnesota wasn’t the Jets’ mistakes but their defense clamping down and making six red zone stops in the 2nd half. They have flaws that might bite them come playoff time, but they’re 10-2. If it weren’t for a certain team from Philly, they’d have a first-round bye. Who saw this at the beginning of the year?


Jaguars 14, Lions 40

The Lions continue their remarkable run of form with one of their best wins over the past few weeks. A bunch of battered, fatigued Jaguars marched out onto Ford Field and ritually sacrificed for 60 minutes. It was destruction on both sides of the line of scrimmage as Detroit hung 40 points on the Jags’ defense. It got so bad that Detroit mercifully injured Trevor Lawrence to ensure they would be lorded over. This is legitimately the most excited Detroit has been about this team in half a decade. I hope they can ride this momentum to the playoffs. It’ll be a slim shot, but never say never with this team.


Titans 10, Eagles 35

You thought last week was rough, Titans fans? Meet the Eagles. They will peck you apart for 60 minutes in front of a rabid crowd at the Linc, as this game was no contest. There’s nothing more I need to say about this game than Philly regained their form, and Tennessee reinforced their candidacy for the traditional AFC south one-and-done in the playoffs.


Browns 27, Texans 14

The return of Deshaun to Houston can only mean one thing. TANK BOWL!

How many of these are we going to have this week? Two is enough for a week, goodness. The storylines surrounding this game were all around Deshaun and his return. He was as rusty as everyone thought he would be as he played horribly all game against the worst team in the league. Fortunately, the Texans’ offense sucked as well. The Brownies scored most of their points with two defensive touchdowns and a special-teams touchdown. Houston’s Cleveland pick gets a little worse, and the Texans also receive an inevitable reward.

Eliminated from playoff contention: Houston Texans

A deliberately tanking team out of the playoffs? Shocking. I’m more surprised it took this long for them to be finished. Long live the tank, I guess.


Commanders 20, Giants 20 (Super tie)

This game had a bit of everything: efficient offenses in the first half, clutch plays in the second half, and utter boredom and defensive lockdowns in overtime. All this leads to a profoundly embarrassing… tie. Can’t the league get rid of these? Make them play sudden death or a kicker shootout like the NHL. Now we can watch them do it again in two weeks. Wonderful.

Do you know what else is wonderful? Dan Snyder was found complicit by the Feds of partaking in a toxic work environment within the Commanders’ organization for the last 14 years and counting. In simpler terms, his days as Commies’ owner are numbered. Hallelujah.


Broncos 9, Ravens 10

Baltimore is falling hard. The inability to produce any offense should be a cause for great concern. Even worse, Lamar Jackson got injured in the 2nd quarter, leading to the imitation of Lamar in Tyler Huntley seeing his first action of the season… to poor results. Fortunately for the Ravens, they are playing the Broncos. They will score no more than 9 points on offense, so all Baltimore needs to do is maintain a pulse, and they will win this game. Even then, they did it incredibly unconvincingly at the last minute. That Lamar injury could be devastating to the team, though. Isn’t nearly losing to the Broncos enough pain and frustration? To gauge the Baltimore Faithful’s rage, we go to a corresponding Ravens fan for his take on this great match. Let’s give him a few words.


Dolphins 17, 49ers 33

If things couldn’t get worse for the Niners on the injury front, Jimmy Garropolo was carted off the field midway through the second quarter with a foot injury. This means that San Francisco was forced to play 7th-round pick Brock Purdy for the majority of this game. He was fine, but what would win the day for San Fran, just like last week, was the defense. They were a brick wall of scarlet and gold all game long, holding one of the most potent offenses in the league in check for 60 minutes. It also helped that Tua couldn’t get off a throw due to sustained pressure, and Purdy was able to keep their offense moving just enough. A hard-fought win is the result. Miami, tough luck, but this loss could be critical for playoff seeding.

So they’re saying it’s a broken foot for Garropolo, and he’ll be out for the season. Man, this team can’t catch any breaks, can they?


Seahawks 27, Rams 23

Seattle has had a rough go these past few weeks. With the Germany game and last week’s barnburner loss to the Raiders, their playoff contention status has been called into question these past few weeks. Fortunately, they had the perfect antidote to their woes. The Rams. They may be the defending champs, but they just put Matt Stafford on IR, effectively shutting him down for the season. This means the Seahawks get to face John Wolford at quarterback. Seahawks, enjoy your free win. It may have come at the last minute, thanks to a Geno Smith bailout drive, but a win is a win, especially in the NFC. With this win, they also end a 4-game losing streak to the Rams in LA. This is how you know things are messed up this season.


Chargers 20, Raiders 27

Don’t look now, but Las Vegas is starting to creep back into the playoff mix. Ever since Derek Carr cried in the press conference after the Colts game, they have been on a tear and taking no prisoners. After winning two straight in overtime, it’s time for them to ascend back into the AFC playoff picture. Next up? The Chargers. They have been dancing through the raindrops this season, winning despite their shortcomings, but this is Vegas’s time now. The score is deceiving. The Chargers got owned on both the scoreboard and time of possession. Maybe Josh McDaniels is turning a corner. Who knows? As for now, though, they’ve won three in a row. It might be time for Raider Nation to hop back on the bandwagon.


Chiefs 24, Bengals 27

Patrick Mahomes may seem immortal, but he has one significant shortcoming; he can’t beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy seems to have Mahomes’s number every time they play him. Their defense played lights out today and did their job to keep the Bengals offense on the field long enough to control time of possession and burn out the clock. The Bengals get the statement win they’ve been looking for this year, and KC gets their third loss. Do you know what that means? With this and the Dolphins’ loss, we have a new #1 seed in the AFC. THE BUFFALO BILLS, BABY! BRING ON THE TABLE-SMASHING AND DRUNK TAILGATES! THE BILLS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL! DO NOT DENY IT! THIS IS A TEAM OF DESTINY! Cincy has experience helping the Bills with playoff positioning. This wouldn’t be the first time Buffalo has been Bengals fans.


Colts 19, Cowboys 54

I’ll admit, it was looking iffy at the start. Indianapolis was playing hard, and Dallas’s offense was stifled for the first part of this game. It took roughly until halftime, though, for the Cowboys to realize that they were playing the Colts and not a legit opponent. It quickly got ugly after that. 33 points in the 4th quarter put this game out of reach and then some, and Indianapolis had its season given a death blow in the form of the smugness of Cowboys fans across the country. I feel for anyone that had to deal with them that night. Think of the poor children.


Saints 16, Buccaneers 17

Tampa sucks so much this year. I don’t know if it’s Brady being rickety and old, the pieces around him being replacement-level, or the coaching being terrible. I think it’s a mix of the three. Father time takes no prisoners, and he’s catching up with the Buccaneers fast. With enough said, they were letting the Saints, yes, New Orleans, utterly dominate them for 55 minutes. A 16-3 lead with the ball and 5 minutes to play should be game over. Unsurprisingly, the Saints were revealed to be hacks, and Tampa returned to win. Since they’ve been so predictable this year, I should get a checklist together on what to expect from the TB12 comeback drive. Step one is the opposing team self-destructing on offense: Conservative play calling, lousy luck and situational awareness, the odd turnover, and just general ineptitude. The second component is a dubious call or two by the refs to ignite a spark underneath the Bucs’ offense. Once that kettle’s heated up, then it starts to hum. The opposing defense will help with that by going into soft zone prevent when Brady has been eating it for breakfast his entire career. They can only watch as Tom dinks and dunks his way down the field, picking the defense apart. And finally, the kill shot. A pass three yards past the line of scrimmage leads to the wide-open receiver who does all the work and scores. Everyone hails Brady as a hero and a savant as the losing team is left scratching their heads, wondering how the reaper got them yet again. It sucks to suck, New Orleans. I’m mad we got robbed of the ultimate tank division thanks to Tampa being back to .500.


Laughingstock of the week

It’s the end of the week, so I think it’s time I crown this edition of Laughingstock of the Week! (trademark pending).

This week, we had four nominees. They are:

The New England Patriots, for trusting Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to run the offense.

Dan Snyder. There isn’t much else that needs to be said on this front.

The Tennessee Titans, for firing their GM in a power-play maneuver and giving Mike Vrabel total autonomy over roster moves.

And the Saints’ defense, for clocking out 5 minutes early and allowing Brady to come back on them in a game New Orleans was dominating.

And the winner, by order of my uneducated decision, is none other than Dan Snyder! Covering up and partaking in workplace harassment for 14 years and dodging a subpoena: that’s a surefire way to get the Feds to crack down on you. Maybe the next owner will stop strong-arming Landover for a new stadium.

NFL Week 12 Recap

Illustration License via Creative Commons

While most of us were passed out on our couches after stuffing our faces with turkey this past weekend, you might have missed the excellent football on display. Let’s crack into it.


Bills 28, Lions 25

Ugh, thank God the Bills won this, so I wouldn’t have to separate it again. I don’t know how much of this game was Buffalo sucking or Detroit punching above their weight. I’m inclined to believe the former of the two, especially since Allen didn’t look like himself for the 5th week in a row, but Detroit has lowkey impressed me these past few weeks. They’re better than their record suggests, and it shows today. They may have barely lost, thanks to the Bills’ high-end talent coming to save the day with 20 seconds left, but the door to January football is still wide open for these guys. With how weak the NFC is, they could make the playoffs if they can win out or finish 5-1. Now watch them collapse down the stretch and relapse back into mediocrity.


Giants 20, Cowboys 28

After this game, family members partaking in Thanksgiving across the US all sounded a collective groan. Not only would they have to watch a feel-good Giants team get smacked back to reality by a contender, but they also would have to deal with the cancer that is Cowboys fans for the rest of the night. I’ll give the Giants props for sticking around for three quarters, but this game shows they don’t have what it takes to keep up with the Joneses yet, regardless of Daboll’s excellent scheming. The common denominator of winning in this league is high-end talent, and the G-men don’t have that much of it yet. While this is a disappointing loss, they still have a pretty good shot at the playoffs. Their schedule is pretty easy, and 10-7 could get them in, given their conference.


Patriots 26, Vikings 33

If the last game was the food prep, this game was the feast. This game was an elite shootout featuring high scoring and good situational defense with a special-teams touchdown to complete a balanced Thanksgiving dinner. In the end, the Vikings won due to refball and the defense clamping down in the final minutes to hold off the Evil Empire. New England may have hung tough, but let’s be real, they had no chance facing Kirk Thuggins, who… oh god, has hinted at getting diamond grills. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many 1 PM games come January for him to dance shirtless after. He should enjoy this while he can.


Texans 15, Dolphins 30

This game was a lot uglier than the score suggests. Miami was up 30-0 by halftime and only allowed Houston back in it because they yanked Tua, thanks to him nearly dying on the field for the third time this season. The Texans continue their inevitable march to the first overall pick under the newly minted tank commander Kyle Allen, who is somehow still in the league. Miami may have looked like world-beaters, but it’s pretty easy to put up those stats when facing the Texans. Wake me up when they do this against a real team.


Bengals 20, Titans 16

Behold, a rematch of the 2022 divisional round! Like the last time these two met, this game was a defensive struggle, every yard valuable as the two teams jockeyed in no man’s land. What this game would come down to was who made more mistakes. Tennessee looked to have this game under wraps, but Cincy surged back in the 2nd half to take the lead and hold it. This is when David Long exposes himself as a double agent and runs into the snapper on a field goal, handing the Bengals the win. Just like January, the Titans beat themselves. I wouldn’t be too worried. Something went horribly wrong if they don’t win their weak division this year. It would be funny to see, though.


Broncos 10, Panthers 23

It’s time for the two greatest words in sports: TANK BOWL!

Two indescribably awful teams meet in a battle for draft position as both these teams’ seasons are unofficially over. Remember, folks, Denver thought they could compete this year and traded their first-round pick. Thus, they are technically representing Seattle in this marquee tank-off. The guy they traded the pick for doesn’t seem to be aware of this. Russ was cooking up a storm today. 19 of 35 for 140 yards and a garbage-time touchdown, a truly elite performance. Perhaps he wanted to give his former team one last bailout by giving them a higher draft pick. Carolina had to sit there and take all the gifts thrown at them as Denver got blown out of the water hilariously. Remember when these guys were AFC west favorites at the beginning of the year? Those were some good times.


Bears 10, Jets 31

After last week’s horrible performance and subsequent entitled press conference, the Jets benched Zach Wilson. You know what that means. THE RETURN OF MIKE WHITE, BABY! Look at him sling the ball in ways Wilson couldn’t! Gaze in awe as the entire team rallies around him while he delivers another elite performance. Sure, it was against the Bears, and they suck, but I DON’T CARE. Mike White is the new Midas, and everything he touches will turn to gold. This Jets team just got much more likable, and I love every single bit of it. If he does the same thing against Minnesota? He might make some serious bank this offseason. I must take a moment to thank the Bears’ defense for allowing the memes to run wild once again, which is honestly the best contribution they’ve made to the league all season.


Falcons 13, Commanders 19

This is what we call a crossroads game. The Falcons are reeling after a surprising start having lost their last two. The Commies replaced them at the overachievers’ table, having won 5 of 6. There couldn’t be a better setting for this game than in DC in the pouring rain. Due to the atrocious weather conditions, team offense was generally limited throughout the game, but the Commanders’ defense made critical plays to stuff Mariota. Heinicke made plays when he needed to, and Washington is now 7-5. Remember when everyone was calling them done after they started 1-4? They have erased all that with convincing victories and a 6-1 swing. They’re interesting going into the playoff push. Interesting.

The Commies may have won this game, but that won’t stop me from laughing at them yet again. The latest failure of the Commies and Dan Snyder involves one of their former players. Fifteen years ago, Sean Taylor, a standout defensive back for Washington at the time, was tragically killed in a home invasion trying to protect his family. In memory of Taylor, the Commies had announced they would unveil a Taylor statue before their game against Atlanta. What did this “statue” take the form of? A faceless mannequin dressed in Sean Taylor’s uniform. They also put little effort into the uniform itself. The facemask didn’t have Taylor’s trademark tape on it. They dressed him in soccer cleats! I get that it’s still a feel-good moment for Taylor’s family, but this shows that the organization hasn’t learned a thing and is only paying hollow lip service to the issue. The Commies had a golden opportunity to generate some goodwill for the rebrand and once again proved themselves spineless. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Dan Snyder can’t sell fast enough.


Buccaneers 17, Browns 23

Before this game, earlier in the week, a drunk guy broke into the Browns’ stadium, got a hold of a golf cart, and did donuts on the field, leaving deep ruts in it. Cleveland must have decided to improve their defenses and security thanks to this breach. No one else would be allowed to invade their house and do as they pleased. This included the Buccaneers. My friends, what we witnessed this past Sunday was an outright clinic on how to stop the Bucs offense. If a pass rush can get home with four guys and the secondary can cover a short field, it’s lights out for Tampa. Combine this with a Bucs defense that can’t stop Nick Chubb, and you’ve got a Cleveland victory to give them some semblance of a pulse with Watson coming back. Tampa still somehow leads the NFC South at 5-6. God, that division is such trash, and I love it.


Ravens 27, Jaguars 28

The Ravens travel to a humid Duval County coming off a terrible win against a team they should have crushed. I know what you’re thinking: this screams trap game. Trevor Lawrence may be developing slowly, but we tend to forget that he can still sling the ball when necessary. It hurt Baltimore in many spectacular ways today. Even after going for two to take the lead in the 4th quarter after a gutsy play call by Pederson, Baltimore managed to cut it to only a 67-yard attempt for Tucker. Apparently, 66 is his limit. The kick fell just short. The Jaguars have a signature win for their rebuild. It might have to wait until next year, but they could contend sometime down the road. Baltimore, meanwhile, drowns itself in the harbor as Harbaugh and Roman get placed back on the hot seat.


Raiders 40, Seahawks 34 (OT)

Who expected this game to be an offensive barnburner? I won’t say shootout, as most of the damage from both sides came on the ground. Both units also had help from some of the most heinous refball I’ve seen in a while. Start it off with a missed facemask by Josh Jacobs on a touchdown run. Then, on an interception by Quandre Diggs, a Seahawk backup came off the sidelines to help block, and somehow the refs didn’t notice him as he made the 12th man a literal advantage for Seattle. This game came down to the wire, with Josh Jacobs breaking off another long run to seal the game in overtime for Las Vegas. I’ve been impressed with them the last couple of weeks. If they win out, they could make the playoffs again. Knowing this, they will probably fall apart and lose out.

Chargers 25, Cardinals 24

I don’t care that the Chargers won. I don’t care that it was Staley’s idiot playcalling that somehow led to the win. LA should be pressing the gigantic red panic button inside Spanos’s nuclear bunker. They look like excrement. Against Kansas City, it was fine, but against Arizona? Their defense probably thinks cover 3 is a lottery game, for crying out loud. Despite this, the Chargers didn’t bother to show up until the 4th quarter, and they barely snagged away victory from the desert. This team has severe flaws and has proven time and time again that it can’t beat real teams. They need a statement win before I start riding them.


Saints 0, 49ers 13

The Niners are flying high after dominating Arizona last week and now face the closest thing to a doormat they can; a hot date at home with the Saints. Despite their defense putting up a valiant effort, their offense fell apart at the worst possible time and was stifled by the Niners’ defense. This game showed me that San Fran can win in another way: by sheer defensive will. They’re versatile, which is why I think they have a good chance going forward.


Rams 10, Chiefs 26

The downfall of LA continues in earnest as, once again, Matthew Stafford was injured and out for this game. This means that LA’s new quarterback is Bryce Perkins, a third-string quarterback. Unsurprisingly, there is no chance. The Chiefs were 15.5-point favorites in this one and made it look easy. LA tried to hang with them for 3 quarters, but there was no overcoming the high-end talent of the Chiefs. The Rams even made their defense look good. Completely undeserved, in my opinion.


Packers 33, Eagles 40

Folks, this is what it looks like to see a career wither and die. Coming off several embarrassing performances, the Packerena limped into Philly on a cold Sunday night and were beaten to a pulp by the Eagles. The Packers had no chance, despite their self-destruction to keep the game close. Even worse, Aaron Rodgers exited the game with a rib injury, and he didn’t look like himself all night long. The real eye of the fanbase should be on that defense. You know, the reputable group that has all kinds of talent? It turns out that missing both of their star linebackers will completely fleece it and turn them into a bunch of turnstiles. The Eagles dominated them all night long and gave the Cheeseheads Dom Capers flashbacks. At least Jordan Love took a few snaps and looked promising. The season might be lost, but they can see which QB they can ruin next after Rodgers retires soon.


Steelers 24, Colts 17

It is a matchup truly worthy of the Monday Night Football broadcast. Yes, my friends, A PRIMETIME TANK BOWL!

This was a tank bowl worthy of song. Two horrendous teams, locking horns in a primetime slot deserving of far better teams. Troy Aikman could have been calling Cowboy games instead of this trash, but he’s on a massive contract with ESPN, and they get what they pay for. Both offenses were stuck in the mud throughout the game as the defenses made consistent plays to keep the game at a deadlock. Did you enjoy Michael Pittman looking good these past few weeks? Well, that’s gone. Watch as he shows no effort on a play leading to an interception. Pittsburgh, in typical fashion, did nothing with the ball after that to continue the agony. With enough said, the Steelers were holding serve late, but the Colts were driving down the field. With 40 seconds left, Jeff Saturday shows his sports talk-show prowess by letting the clock run and making Indy rush their next play, leading to a turnover on downs and a loss. Pittsburgh may have won the game, but the Colts have won the tank. I wouldn’t be surprised if Irsay is deliberately sucking to get another top QB prospect to ruin.


Laughingstock of the week

To close things out, I’m going to try something new. The Laughingstock of the Week will be a new award that I crown at the end of every week, highlighting the team, person, or group that showcases the most stupidity and general ineptitude that week. I figured for this new tradition, I’d might as well show some transparency and introduce the finalists. They are:

Dan Campbell, for horrible clock management on the final drive, to give Buffalo an undeserved win.

Dan Snyder, for not selling the team fast enough and completely butchering the Sean Taylor memorial.

The Denver Broncos – just for being the Denver Broncos.

The Baltimore Ravens- for blowing a 9-point lead and collapsing on defense down the stretch to lose to the freaking Jaguars.

And Jeff Saturday, for his tank-saving buffoonery disguised as a two-minute drill against the Steelers.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome each time. Thus, the winner is, both for legit reasons and for meme potential, THE BALTIMORE RAVENS! For the fourth time this season, they blew a two-score lead to lose in embarrassing fashion to an opponent they should have crushed. All four of their losses have involved a double-digit lead. That is frankly astonishing. Did they mix up their bird species and think they were the Falcons or something? Jesus Christ, this team is a joke. Take your humiliating loss to the Jaguars and get out of my sight. See you next week when the same thing happens.

NFL Week 11 Recap

Titans 27, Packers 17

You may be expecting me to lavish endless praise on the Titans for turning their season around, but I’m not impressed. They beat the Packers. Congratulations, Tennessee, you beat an underachieving team with handless receivers in a game that was closer than it should have been. They go to 7-3, but it comes with a major asterisk. They’ve had a pathetic schedule, benefited from an even weaker division than usual, and their three losses have come against quality opponents. They may win the AFC South by default this year, but they look like another one-and-done, just like every other team that comes out of that division. As for Green Bay, they’re 4-7. With Rodgers at QB, I can’t call them dead until they’re officially eliminated, but call this a step in the right direction.


Bears 24, Falcons 27

It’s crazy to think that this was the best game of the early window. Not a match between playoff contenders, but two mediocre teams coming off of embarrassing self-inflicted losses. Throughout the game, Atlanta would cling to the Bears on the scoresheet and eventually pull ahead thanks to the heroics of one Cordarrelle Patterson. The Falcons win and keep pace with Tampa in their division, while the Bears fall to 3-8. At least they’ll have their first-round pick this year.

Eagles 17, Colts 16

Philly, despite their glossy exterior, might be beginning to deteriorate from the inside. Despite their strong record, they have looked horrible these last few weeks. It looked like another embarrassment this week for three quarters. The Eagles, once again, struggled to gain traction on offense against a team without that great of a defense. Try the Colts. Led by Jeff Saturday, Indy was able to accrue a 16-10 lead with 2 minutes left. Unfortunately, this is where the Birds’ offense finally wakes up and guides them to an ugly, ugly win. Next week, though, they face a real quarterback. He may not have anything around him but primetime Aaron Rodgers is always a threat.

Jets 3, Patriots 10

This game took us back to the 1970s in terms of gameplay. Two teams fighting for playoff positioning brawling on the frozen tundra of Foxboro. The defenses had a field day all game. The offenses were unable to gain any traction in no man’s land. What this game would come down to was who made more mistakes. The Patriots missed a field goal after taking a bad sack early in the game, but the game was still tied 3-3 deep into the 4th quarter. What the Patriots needed was a miracle. What they got was a miracle. New York’s 10th punt of the day getting returned for a touchdown. Sure, the punter may have been shanking his kicks all game, but this was a moment when you need to punt it out of bounds. With how exhausted the special teams units were, did you really expect them to hold this late in the game? I missed making fun of the Jets every week. Glad to know I have my punching bag back.


Commanders 23, Texans 10

The Commies and their run of form over the last few weeks get a reprieve from their tough schedule: Houston. They may be “professional”, but they lack any kind of organization or talent. CFL teams could probably beat the Texans right now. Call this a reward for Washington’s gutsy win at the Linc last week. They just had to sit around and watch as Davis Mills made mistake after mistake to let them cruise to victory. Given past seasons, I have reason to be skeptical, but at 6 and 5 with an easy schedule left, I wouldn’t rule out a playoff berth. With how bad the NFC is this year, it’s certainly possible. For the sake of Taylor Heinicke, I hope they make it.

Rams 20, Saints 27

Two teams with lofty expectations have been converted into all but a morgue for the injured. Two teams went all-in by giving their first-round picks to other teams. The Rams representing Detroit, and the Saints representing Philly, in the two most ignominious words in sports. TANK BOWL!

The Rams and Saints in a tank bowl match, let’s just say I didn’t have this in the itinerary when the season started. But they both are near the bottom of the standings, so yes, this is a tank bowl. Throughout the game, the Saints would continually prove themselves superior, with Chris Olave having quite possibly his breakout game. But, like the Championship game from 2018, the Rams claim the ultimate prize. Their season is unofficially over, and they get to give charity to Detroit by means of trading all their first-round picks.


Browns 23, Bills 31

Buffalo winters are cruel and unforgiving. The weather must have realized that a lopsided football game was going to take place, and brought about an epic snowstorm. The weather would have made this game infinitely more enjoyable to watch, but unfortunately, the NFL chose this moment to finally care about player safety and moved the game indoors to Detroit. In the neutral confines of Ford Field, the Bills were finally able to win a game that they should have by a lot more. This should have been worse, but Tyler Bass had to kick 6 field goals thanks to the Bills’ offense sucking in the red zone for the 4th straight week. This comes with a gigantic asterisk that it’s against Cleveland, but call this a tuneup for real teams. The Bills should be thankful for easy opponents. And they should be extra thankful they play the Lions on Turkey Day.


Panthers 3, Ravens 13

In a rain-soaked Baltimore, these two squads blessed us with the greatest gift of all. A LEGENDARY INEPTITUDE BOWL!

Carolina needs no introduction to these magnificent games. They have been in freefall ever since the season started. Baker has looked horrible, they fired their head coach and traded away every offensive player that might have made them relevant. Baltimore, meanwhile, desires more of a subtle approach. Their offense is garbage. I don’t know if it’s Lamar, Greg Roman, or Harbaugh, but something has been off these past few weeks. Fortunately, they are playing Carolina and were able to reach out and grab a free win that should have been a lot uglier than it was.


Lions 31, Giants 18

If you watched this game with no background context, you might think the Lions were the team coming in with a 7-2 record. They completely dominated a Giants team that had no answers for Jamal Williams or any part of their offense. The defense played lights out and sculpted their game plan to force Daniel Jones to throw. He did as well as you might expect when forced to carry the load. As the lions march on to victory, they also march on to second place in the NFC north. At 4-6. Minnesota is getting a home playoff game by default, aren’t they?

Cowboys 40, Vikings 3

The Vikings must have realized that the division was basically theirs already, and chose to take Sunday off as the Cowboys walked all over them. The Vikings were completely dominated embarrassingly on their home soil. That defense feasted for most of the game, and Dallas’s running game flat-out imposed their will against an emotionally drained defense. Mike McCarthy may be a terrible coach, but he will forever make Minnesota his second home. Just like every other big win for the Vikings in their history, they took the field in the next game and got wrecked. Seems to be a trend as of late.


Raiders 22, Broncos 16 (OT)

Remember the magic of week 6? When I declared that all in-division matchups in the AFC west not involving KC would be automatic ineptitude bowls? Well, it also happens that these two teams have trainwreck seasons. With the Broncos representing Seattle, it’s time for a TANK BOWL!

This game lived up to all the dubious hype from beforehand. Terrible offensive play, both defenses being made to look like the ‘85 bears, and outstanding ineptitude by both teams. Both offenses failed to gain traction. The grass at Mile High must have been sacred, as both units were unwilling to even touch it. Do you know what this glorious match needs? Overtime! However, this is when the Raiders finally get their act together and score a touchdown. Denver now hits rock bottom. They got swept by the worst team in their division. They also don’t have their first-round pick this year. Wonderful.


Bengals 37, Steelers 30


Yet another winnable game that the Steelers chose to give away on a gold plate. Surprisingly, the culprit of this choke is not the offense, as they kept it close. It’s the defense. Despite getting TJ Watt back, they continually gave up swaths of yardage to a Bengals offense without Joe Mixon or Ja’Marr Chase. Cincinnati controls its destiny for the playoffs thanks to this win. Pittsburgh now falls to 3-7. I wouldn’t look down there, it’s only death and despair for miles around.


Chiefs 30, Chargers 27

No matter the magnitude, no matter how good either team is, Chiefs vs Chargers will always be a shootout. How can we hypothesize this? Both defenses are garbage and have been bad for many years. The offenses had carte blanche for most of the game. They even let Justin Herbert throw deep for the first time since the stone age. With enough said, the Chargers were holding their own and had taken the lead deep in the 4th quarter. However, they made one critical mistake: they left too much time on the clock. Mahomes methodically marched down the field for a game-winning touchdown. As for the Chargers? Pain. and a .500 record.


49ers 38, Cardinals 10

Oh, god. Estadio Azteca would be home to a pre-colombian throwback performance today. The needless sacrifice of the Cardinals to appease the gods would be on the docket for tonight. The priest performing this ritual was the 49ers, who were nye unstoppable for most of the game. George Kittle imitated a wrecking ball and ran all over the battered Cardinals’ defense for swaths of yardage. Arizona’s offense didn’t fare much better. Faced with a stout defense and no running game thanks to their offensive line coach being fired for groping someone the night before the game. The Niners cruise to victory and an NFC West division lead as a result. I had my doubts before the year, but if the offense can keep that up, this team is a super bowl contender. Arizona, meanwhile, would love to clean house, but they extended Kingsbury and Keim through 2027 this past march. I think they might be regretting that.

Anatomy of (Yet Another) Choke: Vikings @ Bills (11/16/22)

Bills fans thought they had hit rock bottom last week. Losing to the Jets was only the beginning, as Josh Allen was diagnosed with a UCL sprain after the game. Even worse, next week, they wouldn’t be getting another doormat, but a scrappy Vikings team trying to come to terms with their impressive and surprising success. They would be looking for a signature statement to put them on the map as NFC contenders. Unfortunately for Minnesota, Allen’s injury was mild, and he was cleared to play on Sunday, and he would be starting. At kickoff, the Bills were -5-point favorites against Minnesota, at home.

They would prove all the upset picks right on the opening drive by going 3-and-out and getting stuffed by the Purple People Eaters and Buffalo defector Harrison Phillips. The offense, led by Kirk Cousins, promptly marched down the field for a touchdown as Justin Jefferson torched that injured Bills secondary. It is here that the Bills’ offense got rolling once again. They finally got a running game going and capped off their scoring drive with a Devin Singletary touchdown. Even better, Minnesota went 3-and-out on their next drive and the Bills cashed in for another touchdown. When you think things couldn’t get worse for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins throws a pick. The Bills, set up in prime field position, could only get a field goal. I’d say this would be a harbinger for things to come, but let’s forget that. The Bills scored another touchdown. Up 24-10 going into the locker room. It would take a miracle for the Vikings to come back.

This sentiment would be emphasized early in the third quarter as Kirk Cousins threw another interception and the Bills got 3 more points. However, Minnesota has been a second-half team all year. They are known across the land for dramatic, last-second victories. Then Vikings fans got a break from their misery as Dalvin Cook ran off for a 76-yard rumble to make it a two-score game.

The 4th quarter was sheer ugliness. Both teams exchanged punts and turnovers, sometimes in quick succession. This was until Minnesota scored a touchdown to make it a one-score game. Greg Joseph knows the stakes. He decided to keep the memes afloat by hitting the upright on the extra point, keeping it at a 4-point game. Buffalo, predictably, proceeded to do absolutely nothing with the ball and punted it back to Minnesota. However, all was well in Bills Mafia. The defense did its job to force a 4th and 18, and then Bills Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier put a rookie 1-on-1 against the Vikings’ best receiver. The Vikings converted with one of the best catches of the season thus far. After this miracle play, Minnesota got down to the goal line. It is here that the Bills’ defense goes back to brick wall mode. They stuff the Vikings on 4th down and get a critical turnover to give Buffalo the ball back to try and run out the clock.

There was, however, one problem: the Bills would have to start from their goal line. This was their downfall. Josh Allen fumbled the exchange from his center and the Vikings recovered for a touchdown to take the lead with 40 seconds left.

Bills fans might be scratching their heads furiously as to the play call, but never mind. Look at the high-end talent! Buffalo marched down the field, with some help from the refs for not reviewing a catch that shouldn’t have counted, and ties the game to force overtime.

However, this is where the Bills experience Deja vu. They lose the overtime coin toss. However, unlike the playoff game, the defense decided to show up. Despite getting to the goal line, Minnesota could do nothing as Ed Oliver sacked Cousins to force them out of striking distance for a touchdown. They were forced to kick a field goal and give the ball back to Allen and the Bills with 3 minutes left in extra football. The Bills did their job, marching down the field to the 20. Coming out of the two-minute warning, though, Josh Allen has a trick up his sleeve. Faking out everyone, including his own team, he throws a dart down the middle to the end zone. Do you know who wasn’t fooled? Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson. Interception, game over. The Vikings win an epic game in Buffalo and have the signature statement win they’ve needed. The Bills, meanwhile, are in freefall. The supposed best team in the NFL has now fallen to 6-3 and has dropped all the way to third in the division. Miami and the Jets both hold tiebreakers and are ahead. Pain.

Whenever I think this team can’t go lower in the art of disappointment and pain inducement, they stumble upon a portal to another dimension and dig there. This is a statement of legitimacy by Minnesota, that I will give them, but for the Bills, it’s a colossal choke. A 17-point lead with 2 minutes left in the third quarter should have been game over. A team they had dominated all day long, an offense that they had generated 3 turnovers against, a defense that couldn’t stop their newfound running game, all those opportunities were completely squandered because the entire team chose to clock out 30 minutes early.

In reality, what the game boiled down to was that 4th down interception at the beginning of the 4th quarter. If the Bills do the right thing there and take the points, none of this probably happens. The Vikings don’t use it as a giant momentum swing to keep their comeback alive. The Bills aren’t playing for a tie on the final drive and could have won with a walk-off field goal. The game doesn’t go to overtime, where the Bills are notorious for coming out on the wrong side, and that’s regardless of whatever goal line hijinks may have occurred in this alternate reality. Not to discount the other screw-ups by Buffalo that could have made a difference, too. I’m sorry, but how do you blow a 4th and 18 with what is supposedly the #1 defense in the league? How do you let them march to the 1-yard line? Why didn’t the offense line up in shotgun formation to throw a screen out of the end zone? If it weren’t for the refs, this game doesn’t even go to overtime, that “catch” by Davis shouldn’t have counted. But by sending this game to overtime, we witnessed even more ineptitude.

Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey needs to change his tactics or get fired, there, I said it. His red zone play calling seems to be something out of The Hack’s Denver playbook. Chuck it into the end zone, and repeat, and repeat. He goes for broke on every single down, playing right into Allen’s one critical flaw; he tries to play hero ball on every snap, even when it’s far from the best decision. In what world is it a good idea to make that last throw? Davis was in double coverage! If that ball isn’t in the exact right spot, it’s going the other way, and unfortunately, that’s what happened on that play.

Another concern is Allen’s propensity for red zone interceptions. One of the most mentioned stat lines last year was that he had never thrown a red zone INT in his career. That has changed drastically this season. In the last 3 games, Allen has thrown five of them, two of them last week against the Jets and another two in this game. If this keeps happening, I honestly don’t know if the Bills will make the playoffs. They’re good, but with how deep the AFC is unless they change something fast, they aren’t going anywhere.

Speaking of which, thank god they get Cleveland and Detroit these next two weeks. Knowing the Bills, they’ll find a way to screw this up too. Cautious optimism is key. As I write this, Kirk Cousins is probably wearing five figures worth of ice and partying it up on the Vikings’ charter plane. I should be happy for the Vikings finally breaking free of the narratives, but all I feel is pain and resentment. This Bills team is going to break me by the end of the year, I can feel it.

NFL Week 10 Recap

Falcons 15, Panthers 25

Do you remember that Thursday Night Football special I did an ad for a few weeks ago? Well, good news, since I’m pleased to report that we have a sequel! That was this game. Behold, a match between two struggling teams in a rain-soaked Charlotte as the Panthers lorded it over their neighbor to the south and kept Mariota and his merry men in check for most of the game. Let’s check on the fan apathy meter real quick and- oh lord, the readings are through the roof. Atlanta, that shocking promise you had after leading the division outright is now gone, kindly report to the tank bowl registration to claim your late spot.


Seahawks 16, Buccaneers 21

This game felt like we rewound the clock to last year. The Seahawks were shot down back to earth this week as the Bucs toyed with them all game long to a captive audience of Germans as they got to witness the equivalent of the Dresden firebombing. Outright domination, with so many Seahawks killed in action that Tampa felt comfortable letting Leonard Fournette play quarterback for a snap. Despite a late comeback attempt by Seattle, it was all for nothing, as the Bucs’ running game woke from its underachieving slumber to burn the clock out and get them back to .500. It may be the worst thing for Tampa in the long run but let them have this. Their city may be going into a sports dark age soon.


Lions 31, Bears 30

Prepare yourselves… for a TANK BOWL!

For those of you not familiar with this unofficial tradition, let me start by explaining the rules of Tank Bowl real quick. The goal is to lose the game. Yes, completely against any kind of athletic ambition, but the prize of the first overall pick will do wonders for the franchise. With no draft lottery in the NFL, tanking is a very real phenomenon, and both the Bears and Lions are avid participants in this quest for the other #1. Justin Fields does not agree. He’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he’ll rampage through that garbage Lions’ defense until morale improves. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the Bears’ top brass, their tattered remnants of a “D” valiantly remembered the true prize and allowed Jared Goff to torch them on the final drive. Chicago had an opportunity to save their season with this win, but once again came up short. Think about it, if they didn’t sell at the deadline and completely gut their defense, they could be knocking on the door of the playoffs with how weak the NFC is this year. Detroit gets more false hope before a December anvil falls on them.


Browns 17, Dolphins 39

This game was a tale of two franchises: the injury-riddled amputee that gets routinely kicked into a curb, and the former pauper that recently won the lottery and is doing everything right. No surprises here, except that the Dolphins now control their destiny in the AFC east thanks to the Bills’ choke job. What a time. Cleveland, meanwhile, falls to 3-6 and will be needing several Christmas miracles to get back into playoff contention. It’s too bad their next opponent is only…Buffalo. Dawg Pound, get the liquor, you’ll need plenty of it. Only two more weeks until Deshaun Watson gets released from the Ginger Emperor’s basement, guys.


Broncos 10, Titans 17

Two bad coaches leading struggling teams in a battle for mediocrity. You know what this means. The return of the ineptitude bowl!

You thought you had a break from these things last week, didn’t you? That’s where you’re wrong. Denver needs no introduction to the art of ineptitude. Over $300 million was invested into their offense and they still can’t move a feather when they get the ball. Tennessee, meanwhile, didn’t fare much better. While the newly minted Ryan Tannehill was able to sky the ball with success due to a battered Broncos defense, their vaunted rushing attack was stifled for most of the game. Unfortunately, one team had to win, and the Titans claimed victory thanks to sheer defensive will. I would call for the Hack to be fired after this loss, but this is Elway, and he won’t do a thing until his hand is forced.


Vikings 33, Bills 30 (OT)

Do you seriously expect this kind of game can be confined to a normal recap segment? This deserves more of… an autopsy. God, this Bills team is going to make me lose every one of my few brain cells by the end of the year.


Texans 16, Giants 24

The Giants continue their cakewalk schedule in earnest. This time, they’re facing Houston. There was no chance from the start. They’re built like a college team, which might explain why Danny Dimes was much more in his element this game. Despite Kenny Golladay’s best efforts at sabotage, New York improves to 7-2 by suffocating their opponents through Brian Daboll’s willpower. The schedule gets a bit tougher from this point forward, but barring a collapse, they should make the playoffs. I’m still not sold on their prospects there, but with that kind of scheming, they’ll at least be competitive.


Jaguars 17, Chiefs 27

Jags fans thought they had a shot after last week’s victory, didn’t they? Let’s put that to rest this week, as they are facing, let’s see here, the Chiefs. Kansas City didn’t even need to try; just maintaining a steady pulse would have won this game. They even allowed Jacksonville to attempt a comeback but managed to come out on top in the end. Even better, due to the rest of the conference collapsing, the Chiefs are now back in sole possession of the #1 seed in the AFC. The other 15 teams in the conference groan in unison.

Saints 10, Steelers 20

Prepare yourselves… FOR ANOTHER TANK BOWL!

The second tank bowl of the week takes us to Heinz Field. There’s still a fleeting chance for both these squads, their conference foes looking for closure. Throughout the game, Pittsburgh would continually prove itself superior, despite Matt Canada doing his best to shoot the offense in the foot. Behind the return of TJ Watt, the Steelers maintain a faint pulse and avoid having to be placed on life support. For the Saints, meanwhile, a 3-7 start is concerning, but there’s still a chance with how weak the NFC south is. Tampa leads it with a 5-5 record. One of the four teams in the South will get a home playoff game. God, this division is such trash and I love it.


Colts 25, Raiders 20

Two teams in freefall and dealing with executive and organizational turmoil. If this isn’t an ineptitude bowl, I don’t know what is.

The Raiders need no introduction. Josh McDaniels has been revealed to be a total hack and is running all of his talent into the ground. As for Indy, their spot in the ineptitude bracket would usually be filled by Frank Reich and his mumbling motivation tactics. That is not the case. Enter interim coach Jeff Saturday, hired off the street by Irsay to be a yes-man until the end of the season. Why else would Matt Ryan be back under center this week? To be fair, it was the right move, and it paid off in this scenario, mostly thanks to the Raiders’ defense. Do you know how awful you have to be to make Ryan look like Lamar Jackson when he scrambles out of the pocket? The Raiders somehow did it. Congratulations, Vegas, you successfully lost to a Colts team and a head coach that hasn’t even worked a full week in the profession past the high school level. The Raiders have hit rock bottom. A 2-7 record. Derek Carr, broken to the point where he’s literally crying in the press conference. Davante Adams, wasted on an offense that has no clue what it’s doing. I’ll say what I did at the beginning of the year: Letting Rich Bisaccia walk was the worst move the Raiders have made since bringing back Jon Gruden. The fraud they hired in Bisaccia’s place is running this team into the ground and sinking it into quicksand.

Hold up, we have a new invoice from the Raiders’ top brass. Josh McDaniels, drumroll please, will…not be fired. If it weren’t for a certain snake from Washington, Mark Davis would be the worst owner in the NFL right now. His refusal to make a necessary change has already cost his team the season but might screw them over years down the road as well. I would start preparing the sacrifice offering for Black Monday, but the Raiders are too old-school to even know about it. But loyalty, am I right?


Cardinals 27, Rams 17

In the bloodbath that is the NFC west, we get a special event this week. A MARQUEE INJURY BOWL!

Both teams were dealing with so many injuries before the game that it made it extremely hard to watch. To start with, both starting quarterbacks were out with injuries: Kyler took a big hit last week against Seattle, and Matt Stafford was out with a concussion. This meant that the QB battle for this game would be Colt McCoy vs. John Wolford. Ugly football at its finest. That’s not all: to flex their superiority over LA, the Cardinals injured Cooper Kupp. Nothing serious, just a high ankle sprain that could put him on IR. The Rams are in some serious trouble. Kupp is the only reason why that offense has been humming at all this year, and if their WR1 is Ben Skowronek they’re in serious trouble. Arizona gets more false hope before they lose nine of ten to end the season in their patented collapse.


Cowboys 28, Packers 31 (OT)

America’s Game of the Week was worthy of such a title today. Nothing makes this country more united than watching the Dallas Cowboys get utterly embarrassed on national television. Remember all the talking heads praising Dan Quinn and the job he’s done with this defense? How in god’s name did they make the Packers’ offense look good? The same one that got stonewalled by Detroit? Their offense at least pulled their weight—for the first three quarters. Once darkness fell on Lambeau the entire team just froze like the field of play and allowed the Packers back into it with 14 unanswered points. They even win the overtime coin toss with a chance to make up for this ineptitude, but Mike McCarthy happens, and the Cowboys turn it over on downs. The Packers find their lost magic horseshoe and march down the field to kick the game-winning field goal. Just like every other big game they’ve had against Green Bay, Dallas finds a way to lay an egg and choke away an easy win. Say it with me, everyone! HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!! God, this team is trash. No wonder Skip Bayless is so upset.


Chargers 16, 49ers 22

San Fran is a lot better than their record suggests. Ever since acquiring McCaffrey, they have been on a tear and there aren’t many that can stop them. An example of this is their scrum against the LA Chargers. While the offense took a while to get going, the defense managed to clamp down and suffocate a talented Chargers offense. I’m impressed with what’s going on in Santa Clara. Unless they fall apart, they control their destiny for the division. I can’t wait. San Fran in the playoffs is always a treat. Shanahan is going to get his ring at some point, I can feel it.

Commanders 32, Eagles 21

Washington playing spoiler on the road against an undefeated team as a double-digit underdog. Where have I seen this before? Throughout the game, the Commies sculpted their game plan flawlessly. On offense, the receivers carved holes in the Eagles’ allegedly impenetrable defense. Their defense shut down Hurts and sustained pressure against him throughout the game. Philly’s turnovers did the rest. Despite getting screwed over by the refs on a missed facemask on one of their lost fumbles, the Eagles did themselves no favors. Only the Eagles would stumble into a big passing play, only to have the receiver fumble the ball for a turnover while sprinting for the end zone. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving fan base, I can tell you that. When the Commies got the ball back to run out the clock, Brandon Graham decided it would be a good time to pancake Heinicke and trigger a roughing the passer penalty, all but ending the game. Do you know what this means? The last undefeated team has fallen. The ‘72 Dolphins get their one day of relevance as they flaunt the shorter schedule of the 70s.

Northwood Seminar Program Gets Mixed Reviews

Noah Leddel ’23 (standing) leads a small group discussion about values in the living room at a Seminar in September 2022.

The Northwood Seminar Program, introduced to the school this past summer, has received mixed reviews from students. The weekly 45-minute-long program, which covers topics related to health and wellness, is intended to educate students on concepts and ideas they might not otherwise have the opportunity to explore and to provide a new perspective for decision-making. The seminars also earn students health credit, a state-mandated graduation requirement in New York. Seminar takes place on Monday, immediately following the only school meeting offered each week.

New students at Northwood have largely appreciated the seminars as a way to learn about valuable topics outside of their normal coursework. Olivia Levesque ‘24, a new junior on the Ski Team, praised Seminar. “I think it’s a great way to make us learn valuable things in life outside of a normal school course.” This sentiment was shared by many new students, some of whom are still adapting to life at boarding school and find the Seminars to be valuable and informative.

Returning students have been less enthusiastic. Many of these students have expressed frustration at the intrusion of the seminars into their weekly schedule and have suggested that they be held less frequently. Some have also pointed out that the length of the Seminars can feel more like a lecture than an informative discussion and have suggested that they be shorter in duration.

“They’re good, but I feel like they shouldn’t be every Monday,” Finley Donahue ’23, a senior on the Head’s Council who has been at Northwood for two years, said. “Maybe once a month. That free time could be super valuable,” he added.

Teagan Wentzel ‘24, a third-year junior who is also a student-leader, agreed. “If you’ve taken health already, I don’t think it should be required to attend Seminar. I dislike how long they are. It feels more like a lecture than an informative thing. I’m not getting much out of the ones that basically talk to you, but otherwise, they’re good.”

Overall, the new Northwood Seminar Program has positively impacted some students but has also faced criticism from others.

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