Blind Men Playing Chess – NFL Week 12 Recap

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A wild and crazy Week 12 has come to a close, so Will and Derek are back with their unsolicited opinions on the week’s action, including the virtues of Isaiah Crowell, the Raiders robbing us of a hilarious loss, the NFL player who is secretly an octopus, the Gentlemen of the Week, and the Most Hungover Fan Bases.

Derek: I watched the last four minutes of the Browns-Falcons game and, as a neutral observer, I enjoyed it immensely. It was delightful. Could you describe the experience?

Will: It was like watching two blind men play chess, but if they used snails that slimed their way across the board instead of chess pieces. I fully support Mike Pettine, but he made a whole lot of questionable decisions against the Falcons. I’ll let Twitter tell the tale, and then explain what the angry Tweeters were angrily Tweeting about.

This was Pettine’s decision to have Billy Cundiff attempt a 60-yard field goal at the end of the half. Cundiff came up short on his first try, but blessed Falcons coach Mike Smith pulled the time-out-just-before-the-ball-is-snapped move.

Cundiff must have done a Bill Pullman from Independence Day on the sideline — “I want another shot” — because he trotted out to try it again. Again he left it way short, and Devin Hester was back to field the miss. Hester outran a bunch of Browns and would have scored were it not for the efforts of Spencer “You Remember, the Punter Who Got Kicked in the Face” Lanning and rookie guard Joel Bitonio.

So that’s the sort of game we were dealing with. And by the way, both teams went into the half with two unused timeouts. The final few minutes were absolutely brutal to watch.

I don’t even remember what happened because I think my heart exploded a few times. The Falcons used a timeout when they should have been burning the clock, then threw an incomplete pass on a third down when they should have been burning the clock. They made a field goal to go up 24-23, but left 55 seconds for the Browns to work with. Brian Hoyer — who threw three picks and was flagrantly awful all day — somehow strung together four passes to the right team to set up a game-winning field goal.

But hey, 7-4!

Shifting to the West Coast: The Seahawks held the previously 9-1 Arizona Cardinals to 204 yards and won a defensive slugfest, 19-3. Russell Wilson struggled throwing the ball and was sacked seven times, but FOUND A WAY TO WIN. What’s the feeling among the Seahawk faithful after knocking off the division leader?

Derek: It was nice. I enjoyed it. I’m not getting too carried away, but I did expect them to win. I thought the 6.5 point spread was a little generous, so the fact that it was by 16 points was a bit surprising. But, still, I expected a win. The Seahawks have a good recent track record in high-stakes home games at the end of the season. I’ll be much more excited if the Seahawks beat the Niners this Thursday night, but I’ll go into detail on that in the Thanksgiving picks column.

I actually thought Russell looked better than he had in weeks. He’s had some accuracy issues lately, and I don’t think he left any huge plays on the field like he had been. Protecting him was an issue, though, as it often is.

I think I’ve spent enough time criticizing the Seahawks’ offensive line in the past, so I won’t echo that yet again. Max Unger being out didn’t help, and the fact that his replacement is a guy who was bouncing back and forth between the Browns’ and Jaguars’ practice squad isn’t ideal. Give credit to the Cardinals, though. They always seem to make Russell run for his life. They called some good blitzes that the o-line had no answer for.

The poor efficiency in the red zone continues to be alarming. I mean, as a Steven Hauschka owner in two fantasy leagues, it’s kind of nice. But as a Seahawks fan, it’s rather frustrating. The Seahawks offense made five trips to the red zone, and scored just one touchdown. Thankfully, the red zone futility wasn’t as haunting as it was in the Chiefs game, but it did not go unnoticed. They can’t keep doing this if they plan on contending this year. Some touchdowns would be nice.

Going back to the Browns for a minute: do you consider yourself an Isaiah Crowell man or a Terrance West man?

Will: Crow, all the way. Some of this is for actual football reasons: West tends to have happy feet in the backfield, which results in a lot of no-gainers. I do give him credit for managing to work a spin move into every single run he makes, for the world is more fun when things spin. Whether he’s getting wrestled down by a lineman or trying to evade a safety in the open field, he just keeps spinning, spinning, spinning. Crowell is shiftier and more decisive, and he makes one feel like he can score on any given run, as he did on a marvelous 26-yard scamper in the third quarter.

But the real reason I’m a #crowhoe is because of his hype video that introduced me to the term #crowhoe. I wrote about it at Waiting For Next Year, because it deserved to be written about. Have a look at what I’m talking about:

I don’t want to rehash my WFNY thoughts too much, but it should go without saying that this is one of the finest pieces of internet ever created. The real pièce de résistance for gentlemen of discerning taste like ourselves is the music. You may recognize it from the days of the WCW:

I mean, what’s not to love? Please tell me, for I’m dying to know, what are your thoughts on this video, and can you think of a single reason why everyone in America shouldn’t watch it?

Derek: The best part it about it is that the preview screenshot says “Let Crow Show Ya How Dem Big Dicks Swang.” Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

But, boy, the Raven music was incredible. Crowell will become my new favorite non-Seahawk player if he begins or ends every interview answer with “What about me?! What about Crow?!” Though …


… the video may need an update. There’s a new crow in town.


Oh yes, Crowell plays football! He’s quite good at it. I was watching him closely since he was on my FanDuel team this week. He did me proud. I didn’t watch every single snap of the game, but he had more yards than West on fewer carries. More Crow, please.

Now, let’s celebrate a previously winless team by mocking them. The Raiders could have blown their first win of the season because Khalil Mack and Sio Moore were on step 20 of a 50-step handshake about 25 yards behind the line of scrimmage while the Chiefs’ offense was getting set.

What do you think that would have been like? Were you rooting for it?

Will: Oh god yes. That would have been one of the most wonderfully awful plays ever, and this is coming from a man who was in the stadium when the Browns lost because Dwayne Rudd threw his helmet on what would have been the last play of the game.

There were so many great things about this Raiders near-debacle. They were celebrating way, way, WAY behind the line while an actual game was still going on. The Raiders had not won a game yet, and they did all they could not to. It would have been absolutely divine, and I’m more than a little sad that it didn’t happen.

Derek: The Bills barely practiced, had a home game in Detroit, then promptly blew out the Jets. What does this mean?

Will: I guess it means the Jets suck? Yeah, the Jets suck. And maybe the Bills are good! I thought they would be a doormat and that the first-round pick they owe the Browns would be in the top five for sure, but here they are with six wins and an outside shot at the playoffs. I don’t know how they’re doing it, but they beat up on Michael Vick so badly that the Jets went back to Geno Smith. Football!

Can you make any sense of it?

Derek: No. None. I watched the Viper Kyle Orton in his last appearance against the Dolphins, and he was horrendous. The Jets aren’t contenders or anything, but my goodness. The Bills could barely practice! They’ve been dealing with weather that gives me frostbite just thinking about it! Worst of all, the Winter Warlock remains at large!

Geno Smith came in the game, and was an improvement. I don’t know what else needs to be said.

Continuing on the subject of futility: the leaders of the NFC South are now 4-7. What record will the division winner have?

Will: I would love if it were 4-12, but sadly that’s not possible. Maybe 4-7-5? I just hope whoever wins that thing loses by 40 in the first round and the whole division is dissolved forever.

Who’s your Gentleman of the Week?

Derek: I’m going with Odell Beckham Jr. I’m picking him because I believe he is secretly an octopus. Stay with me.

Several months ago, I purchased and beat a game called Octodad: Deadliest Catch.

In the game, you are an octopus dressed as a human. The goal of the game is to complete everyday tasks without allowing people to realize you are an octopus. If you are discovered, it’s game over for you.

And, well, it’s game over for Odell Beckham. The cat’s out of the bag. Human beings can’t do this:


However, Octodad is a loving husband and father. As a fellow secret octopus, I imagine Beckham is as well. That is gentlemanly behavior.

What say you?

Will: I have a number of questions about Octodad, chief among them Is that seriously a thing? That, however, is a question for another time. My choice for Gentleman of the Week is the Josh Gordon, he who returned from a 10-week drug suspension this week. There were rumors that he would be kept on a “pitch count” against the Falcons, but he played the majority of the game and did darn well: eight catches, 120 yards, and zero drug-related incidents.

I can’t overstate how much more fun it is to watch the Browns when Gordon is on the field. His arms look like two live Burmese pythons ready to attack any football that comes near. He is large and fast and delightful to watch. The Browns haven’t had many — any? — legitimate All Pro-caliber skill position players in my lifetime, and Gordon is absolutely one of those. Welcome back, Josh, and good luck getting your No. 12 jersey changed to No. 420.

Who is your Most Hungover Fan Base?

Derek: I know I gave it to the Redskins last week, but screw it, they get it again. Robert Griffin is not good. His nickname has been revoked. Remember how much they gave up for him? Remember how close the Browns were to getting him? Your boys dodged a bullet.

Who’ve you got?

Will: I pick the Jets, for reasons stated above. They lost to the Bills by FIVE touchdowns?! And the game wasn’t even in Buffalo?! They went BACK to Geno Smith?! Maybe they should trade Geno for the player formerly known as RG3 and give them both a fresh start. Also, my favorite part of professional sports is Griffin starring in Subway commercials. Awkwarrrrd.

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