Scattered stats and thoughts regarding Week 17 of the 2012 NFL Season…
3. We’ll talk a lot about Washington later in the week, so let’s get some final thoughts on Dallas’ season down here. The problems facing Botox Jerry’s roster right now are perhaps at their most numerous than in any time in the past decade. Contrary to what you saw last night, the one thing the Cowboys were generally good at this year was throwing the ball: Romo’s the acknowledged master of terrible interceptions but even in possibly his worst season as a starter he’s been an excellent quarterback. The issues are everywhere else: the offensive line has descended into a black hole of crap, DeMarco Murray and Sean Lee are potential superstars when they’re not hurt (this is only an issue because they’re always hurt), their safeties still take horrible routes to the ball, and you’ll find more depth in a Rick Reilly column than at any position other than quarterback on the Dallas roster. Will they be good enough to once again challenge for the NFC East title in 2013? Probably. Is this team close to being a true Super Bowl contender? Not really.
3. We would also be remiss if we didn’t note the unintentional comedy duo of Jordy Nelson and Mike McCarthy, who JUST NOW learned that he’s allowed to challenge plays and decided to throw the red flag after a turnover – which, as Jim Schwartz would tell you, ain’t always the best course of action. Nelson’s stealthy pickup of the flag and even-handed explanation of the situation to McCarthy was priceless, as was their hearty chuckle after the problem resolved itself in a manner most agreeable to their interests. Good times! However, as a Bears fan I must point out that I EFFING. HATE. THE PACKERS. Go beat Green Bay by 40 in the first round, Minnesota.
Quick Thought: My buddy Mark Murphy tends to get WAY DOWN on the Bears whenever something bad happens to them, such as a loss or blowing a 7-1 start and failing to make the playoffs. So his adamant claims that the Bears won’t contend for another five years aren’t particularly surprising. I must admit, however, that I agree with him on wanting Lovie Smith’s ouster. One playoff trip in six seasons ain’t too good.
Quick Thought: Good for Chuck Pagano. The standing ovation he received from the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd before the opening kickoff was a genuinely inspirational moment, as has been just about everything he’s said over the past three months.
Quick Thought: If the Giants were in the AFC, where would you rank them? Below Denver and New England, for sure, but after that they’d probably be the scariest team to face in the playoffs. You could make the same argument for the Bears, Cowboys and maybe even the Rams, Panthers and Saints. Tough time to be a good-but-not-great team in the NFC.
Quick Thought: Adrian Peterson’s freaking amazing, but Peyton Manning’s your 2012 Most Valuable Player. Somehow. 4659 yards, 68.6% completion percentage (the highest of his career), 37 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, a league-leading 7.89 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt – all in all, his best season since 2006. Absolutely incredible.
Quick Thought: Everybody and their grandmother is now penciling a Pats-Broncos AFC Championship Game, which of course means we’re going to get Bengals-Ravens for the Super Bowl instead. “Dalton! Flacco! It’s the AFC Championship on CBS! PLEASE DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL.”
Quick Thought: Colin Kaepernick ended up finishing second in the league in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt. He threw 500 fewer passes than Tom Brady, but still! NOT BAD.
Quick Thought: Didn’t take long for Jeff Fisher to turn the Rams into Tennessee Slightly Northwest. Play ugly, be a pain in the keester, keep it close, maybe win the game. Nobody’s better at keeping a team perpetually around .500. Enjoy the next 17 years, St. Louis!
Quick Thought: I ended up losing the Pigskin Pick ‘Em group to Lucas by two games – partly because Tony Romo enjoys screwing with people who bet on the Cowboys, but also because Tyrod Taylor threw a late pick-six to Carlos Dunlap and gave Cincinnati a late cover in a game they were getting thoroughly outplayed in. NO I’M NOT BITTER WHY DO YOU ASK?
Quick Thought: The two likeliest 2013 NFC South winners, in my opinion. The Panthers will likely rebound from their terrible close-game performance this year (as long as they keep Ron Rivera far, far away from the Late Game Decision button) and the Saints will go from having a couple of guys who had no idea what they were doing to one of the five best coaches in the league. That counts as an upgrade, in my opinion.
Quick Thought: Because Atlanta looked so good the two previous weeks against the Giants and Lions, I won’t give them crap this week for losing to Tampa Bay at home in a game they were MOST DEFINITELY TRYING TO WIN. I’m a nice guy like that.
Quick Thought: It’s entirely possible that the following is because of my nonexistent expectations for him, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by Thad Lewis. He seemed remotely competent! Of course, maybe that’s just the magic of Pat Shurmur: any quarterback he coaches plays at a remotely competent level and no further. Maybe that’s why he’s getting fired?
Quick Thought: SSLYAR received four visits yesterday from Google hits for the term “Jon Gruden poop.” All I can say is: I’m glad I’ve found a kindred spirit out there.
Quick Thought: Here’s hoping for a better 2013 for you, Timmy.
Quick Thought: What a crazy game. Tennessee had four return touchdowns in a five minute span and then also gave up a punt block touchdown late in the game, too. Maybe if you two had been doing these things all season, people would be more likely to watch your games, guys! Keep that in mind for 2013.