Resident Australian on TSHQ James Caughlin is in complete control over which writer gets which games to recap each and every week. And he’s done a bang up job of keeping the schedule fair and balanced. Some weeks you may get a ton of great games to recap. Other weeks you are not as fortunate. This was one of my less fortunate weeks. Rather than sit here and create four different posts about four separate games which barely have playoff implications, I’ve decided to meld all four into one bigger piece. The four games I was assigned were Seattle-Miami, Tennessee-Jacksonville, Pittsburgh-Cleveland, and the Monday Night game between Carolina and Philadelphia. The most exhilerating week of all time? Not by a long shot. But, it was a week which in fact took place. So it has that going for it. Which is suppose is a positive. Maybe? Who knows. Let’s see what I can come up with because even I’m clueless right now.
You guys see the sprinklers go off in the Seattle-Miami game? Man, what a hoot! Outside of that, it was a relatively boring game. No score after the first quarter. 7-7 at the half. 14-7 Seahawks after three. To think, Seattle traveled all this way, there’s no chance they could leave without a win, could they? They could! Not only that, their starting cornerbacks were immediately suspended after the game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Insult to injury at its finest hour. Seattle lost this game on a walk off 43-yard field goal via Dan Carpenter and now sit at 6-5 without their best defensive players for a month. Not a great sign for a team desperately trying to qualify for the postseason. As for Miami, this win put them at 5-6. Are they the most talented bunch of all time? No, but they are scrappy. Even last season when the Dolphins were one of the worst teams in the NFL, they were a tough out every Sunday. If they are going to lose a game, it’s going to be close. If they are going to win a game, it’s going to be ugly. Now they get to host the Patriots who are coming off of a bye (that Jets game was not as intense as a full pads practice). If the Patriots win, they clinch the AFC East. That’s how weak the East is in 2012. It’s the Patriots and three awful teams. The Dolphins just happen to be the best out of those three awful teams. Right now New England is 4-0 against the division with two games against Miami left on the schedule. The Patriots do not always lose to the Dolphins but when they do it seems to happen in Miami. While the Dolphins are a long shot to make the playoffs this year, this would be a win they could hang their hats on. It’s the closest thing they have to a playoff game. So I expect it to be close.
Speaking of close games, how about that Browns and Steelers game? 20-14 Cleveland. The fact that Cleveland only scored 20 says two important things about this game. The Steelers’ defense can still perform at an elite level. And the Browns are really that awful. “But Coley, the offensively inept Browns just put up 20 on the Steelers. No chance they should have scored that many points against an ‘elite’ defense.” Don’t question me, reader. Fact of the matter is the Browns, no matter how piss poor they are offensively, should have put up no less than 40 points. The Steelers turned the ball over EIGHT times. E-I-G-H-T. And it’s not like the Browns defense is all that great. It’s not an awful defense by any means, but they haven’t been forcing Chicago-like turnovers all year. The Steelers just lacked focus and coughed up the rock just about every time they touched it. Before Ben Roethlisberger went down with a laundry list of injuries, the Steelers were on the doorstep of the top of the AFC North. Now, they find themselves fighting to stay above .500 and in the playoff picture at all. Mike Tomlin needs to figure something out fast. Because with a trip to Baltimore this Sunday, 6-6 is a cold place for a team to be after Week 13.
Speaking of football, Tennessee and Jacksonville apparently had decided to partake in a friendly match on Sunday. Who knew? Cause I sure didn’t. But can someone say QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY??? Screw Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. That’s an easy call. You have both enter a staring contest with Patrick Willis. Whichever one still has a soul by the end of it is your QB. But in Jacksonville, we actually have a real debate which should be front page news for ESPN to debate over 24 hours a day. Chad Henne has taken over as the starter and flourished as much as a mediocre QB can flourish on a bad, hopeless team in the middle of a lost season. He has made Justin Blackmon look like a decent first round pick. Cecil Shorts III continues to be the second best player on the East Coast with “III” as a suffix to his last name. Blaine Gabbert has always been an awful QB. He has an awful QB name. He looks like a clown. And he plays football like a clown. No reason for him to ever start another NFL game ever again. If I’m Jacksonville, I draft Matt Barkley and move to Los Angeles. Not because Barkley is good or anything like that. But he’ll sell tickets in LA. And he can probably figure out to throw to Blackmon on his own, so he’s already better than Gabbert. Problem solved, Jacksonville. You’re welcome.
And finally, a game which many people probably anticipated when the schedules came out prior to the season which turned out to be probably the worst Monday Night game in recent memory. The Carolina Pathers beat the second strint Philadelphia Eagles 30-22. Cam Newton accounted for four touchdowns and over 350 yards of total offense. I’d give him credit for showing up and playing big in front of a national audience, but I’m not sure anyone was watching. Even if they were watching, this is only Carolina’s third win of the season. Even if people were watching and the Panthers had more wins this season, it still came against the lowly Eagles. Man, can you believe this team started off 3-0? Now, much like the Panthers, the Eagles find themselves at 3-8. Might as well battle for a good draft pick. The Eagles are just an awful team. Nnamdi Asomugha turned out to be a terrible signing. Jason Babin was cut yesterday. Asante Samuel is playing for the best team (record wise) in the NFC. LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, and DeSean Jackson cannot even be bothered to step on the field because they’re only hurting themselves by doing so. It’s a mess of epic proportions in Philadelphia and it hurts to watch this slow, painful death for Andy Reid. He’s had what some would call a tough year. I’m sure at this point he’s hoping the Mayans were right about this whole end of the world thing, because he could use that break.
So there you have it. Four terrible games. Next week I get to recap how the Patriots clinched the division title by Week 13 and I’ll bash every other team who failed to do so. I look forward to that. You should too.