It’s amazing how there will always be someone trying to devalue and denigrate an astonishing performance. When Tom Brady broke Peyton Manning’s passing touchdowns record in 2007 there were almost as many fans saying it should have an asterisk as there were fans saying what a great effort it was. It should not have counted because Brady was playing much deeper into games and still throwing than Manning ever did, who would have thought playing the entire way through a game was a bad thing? Last week Mike Freeman on CBS sports, was that one pain in the ass as he did his best to devalue the accomplishment of Drew Brees breaking Dan Marino’s old mark by saying that the changes to the rules and subsequent improvements in the passing game mean his record is not as “special” as Marino’s. I say Freeman can go to hell quite frankly, yes a lot of what he says is true about the passing game being easier now than it was during the 80’s but if it was so simple, why didn’t anyone break the record sooner? In the past 10 years as the passing games have become more and more dominant starting with The Greatest Show on Turf in St Louis and several quarterbacks have gotten close to Marino’s record but until this weekend, no one had topped it. Kurt Warner gave the record a real run in 2001 throwing for 4830 in 2001 and Tom Brady went for 4806 in his record year. Brees became the second man to top 5000 yards in 2008 falling just 15 yards short of the record and was damn unlucky to not break it at the time. This season Brees has broken the record and Brady is getting close too, only 200 yards behind Brees’ total going into week 17. Marino’s season was great because he managed to set the yards and touchdowns mark in the same year but all the numbers show is that Brees is the one on top of the record books and that there is no need for an asterisk next to his name.
Big Game Breakdowns
Indianapolis (19) -d- Houston (16)
You see Houston, this is what happens when you don’t put teams away when you have the chance to! Things started off so well for the Texans with a fumble recovery on defense and an Arian Foster touchdown in the first 53 seconds but that would turn out to be the highlight of their night as their offense continually stalled and failed to enter the end zone for the rest of the game. The defense wasn’t much better in this one either as they committed three stupid penalties on the game winning drive. More and more this team looks like it will be a one and done in the playoffs unless they can find some momentum. Don’t look now Colts fans but your team is finally being rewarded for playing hard and getting some tough wins (even though losses would really help them now). Dan Orlovksy did just enough to get by here and the running game provided enough support to get by.
New England (27) -d- Miami (24)
As a Patriots fan I am choosing to take 2 things from this game, especially that first half when no one in a blue uniform looked like they realised a game was going on. First of all, Brady tends to have an absolute stinker of a game late in the year (the playoffs the last two seasons) and this was them getting that performance out of the way. Secondly, after winning by so much against Denver last week, the Patriots decided that they would be nice to Miami and keep the game interesting for as long as possible. Ok, now time for the actual stuff rather than what I was telling myself at halftime to make this game bearable. Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush were having career days in the first half continually bitch slapping the Patriots defense to keep drives alive while the Dolphins defense made the most of a patchwork Patriots offense line. The second half was a different story though as Brady had long enough to find receivers, usually Wes Welker who is playing like he is looking to get paid.
Cincinnati (23) -d- Arizona (16)
Let’s just get this out of the way now, yes the Jerome Simpson flip for a score was incredible, what was most impressive was the fact that he managed to stick the landing. But that was part of a much bigger picture as the Bengals scored 23 points and pitched a shutout in the first three quarters before nearly bungling away the lead in the fourth quarter (yes that was intentional for those of you wondering). Cedric Benson had the chance to seal the game away but fumbled the ball giving Arizona one last shot. On that final drive it looked like it would be all tied up, that is until Early Doucet tripped on his own shoelace when he was wide open in the endzone. The Bengals defense went to sleep blowing coverages all over the place which helped out Arizona greatly. Still, given how this team looked before the season began starting a rookie quarterback seemingly because there was no other option the fact they are still in the playoff race is a good sign for the future.
Oakland (16) -d- Kansas City (13) [OT]
This wasn’t a pretty game but if the result went the other way, it would have set up an even more compelling week 17 as all 4 AFC West teams would have been in contention for the division crown. That first half was just plain ugly with 18 combined penalties and a lack of execution all around. The Raiders had a kick-ass fake field goal that had everything go right, except the play clock had run out before the ball was gone, bit of a wasted call really. The second half saw a slightly more open contest as there were actual touchdowns score, two of them even. As the Chiefs were lining up for a winning kick at the end of regulation, Trevor Scott got a hand up to block the ball before Carson Palmer hit Darius Heyward-Bey in overtime to set up the game winning field goal.
Buffalo (40) -d- Denver (14)
The shine is really coming off Tebow now as he shows he can be beaten if his defense doesn’t hold teams to low scores.
Baltimore (20) -d- Cleveland (14)
The Ravens nearly blew it here but their early lead was enough for them to get by and get the win.
Minnesota (33) -d- Washington (26)
Well I suppose this win has to make someone in the Vikings organisation happy, they lost Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson but still rallied to win.
Pittsburgh (27) -d- St Louis (0)
Frankly, I hate this result, it shows that the Steelers really are a solid team and won’t collapse without their quarterback.
New York Giants (29) -d- New York Jets (14)
The Giants just won’t die in the playoff race; next week will be big for both these teams.
Pick: Jets (what the hell was I thinking?)
Tennessee (23) -d- Jacksonville (17)
Well at least the Titans managed to secure an 8 win season here.
Carolina (48) -d- Tampa (16)
Cam Newton, congratulations on winning rookie of the year.
Detroit (38) -d- San Diego (10)
The Lions started strong and never looked back to drive another (hopefully final) nail into Norv Turner’s coffin.
Philadelphia (20) -d- Dallas (7)
If Romo keeps his hand off Babin’s helmet, this game goes very differently.
San Francisco (19) -d- Seattle (17)
Do I detect a slight loss of momentum from the 49ers or was it just a tough trip to Seattle?
Sunday Night Football
Green Bay (35) -d- Chicago (21)
The Packers storm to the NFC’s top seed while Chicago limps into the offseason.
Monday Night Football
New Orleans (45) -d- Atlanta (16)
New Orleans did a great job dominating the Falcons and made sure they did not let up on the pedal which is something I love to see.
Picks Record: 10-6 (160-82 on the season)