Week 14 Observations
The bad weather helped on that front, with teams going for it rather than kicking field-goals, and defenses slipping around while chasing LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Ross and Cordarrelle Patterson. But the weather did hurt certain players like Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Nick Foles. The bottom line - while touchdowns were up, field goals were down, and there were fewer crisp passing TDs in the bad weather stadiums even if overall scoring totals were high.
The Giants were unwatchable, and so for the first time in several years, I actually didn't watch much of the game. The offense hasn't looked crisp since the second half of Week 1 against the Cowboys.
The No. 1 players at three key positions, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson and Rob Gronkowski caused a lot of people to get knocked out of their playoffs. You have to feel pretty fortunate if you have Johnson and a first-round bye.
Seeing Andrew Luck blow up against the Bengals on the road makes you wonder what would happen if Luck played in Marc Trestman's offense rather than Pep Hamilton's. Good quarterbacks need to sling the ball down the field and if receivers get hurt, you find new ones who can give the QB a chance. Da'Rick Rodgers was freely available, and it's bizarre Indy waited until the team was down three scores in Cincinnati to open things up. Forget about a power running game, forget about time of possession. Just turn Luck loose and get out of the way.
Andy Dalton had a good game and has good match-ups down the stretch (@PIT, vs. MIN), but I wouldn't start him unless I were backed into a corner. Gio Bernard is already one of the top-10 real-life backs in the league, maybe top-five.
For a good visual of how crazy the Vikings-Ravens finish was, click here.
Matt Ryan had a disappointing day against a beatable Packers defense. Roddy White saw 10 targets and caught eight, but it was mostly short stuff. They get the Redskins at home next week, so Ryan will still merit consideration.
I've seen others (including @markstopa) mention this, but it really is crazy the Steelers lost due to Antonio Brown accidentally stepping on the sideline one week after Mike Tomlin stepped onto the field to distract Jacoby Jones. Karma usually works mysteriously and subtly, not obviously and heavy-handedly like that. Of course, had Brown not stepped out of bounds, the league would have had to investigate whether there was a forward lateral on the play, but it might well have been too close to call, and you wonder if the refs would have had the stones to overturn it in Pittsburgh. Now that it doesn't matter, it's possible the league rules on it and costs Antonio Brown owners some yards, something that could swing some playoff match-ups.
The Texans-Jaguars game was actually close, but it was poorly played, and the penalties made it unbearable to watch. Houston actually set a record with 177 penalty yards. You combine that with the Cialis commercials, and you have a recipe for armed revolt.
Jason Garrett punted on 4th-and-4 in plus territory down 13 in the third quarter. The Bears drove the length of the field, scored, converted a two to go up 21. Then Dallas had 4th and 9, went for it, and Tony Romo threw it away in the face of the blitz. That marked the first time all year Dallas had gone for it on fourth down, an NFL record for lateness in the year. Garrett isn't just your garden-variety risk-averse coach. He's an outlier even by those skewed standards.