More crippling losses for our favorite teams! NFL Week 6 Recap

NFL Recap Header

wild and crazy Week 6 has come to a close, so Will and Derek are back with their unsolicited opinions on the week’s action, including yet another Seahawk collapse, the Browns nearly beating their nemesis, Peyton Manning’s fall, the best and worst undefeated teams, the Gentlemen of the Week, and the Most Hungover Fan Bases.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Will: Let’s start with your boys, who lost after leading yet again, this time to the Carolina Panthers. Is this just the season from hell for the Seahawks? Is there any consistent reason for their blowing leads, or is it just one of those weird runs? What natural disaster best captures the experience of the Seahawks fourth quarter defense this year? Can they recover from it?

Derek: I think a true season from hell candidate has to involve some leaked stories of locker room and front office discord. Judging by that criteria, it was actually last season’s Seahawks who had more season from hell potential. Remember those stories about Russell Wilson not being “black enough” and Percy Harvin getting traded for next to nothing early in the year? No such stories this year, other than the (unfair) narrative that new defensive coordinator Kris Richard doesn’t know what he’s doing.

You see, as much as it pains me to say this, the most obvious culprit in this is Pete Carroll. Just take a gander at the Seahawks’ recent history in the fourth quarter that I broke down last week. The Seahawks have lost 18 games (including playoffs) since Week 1 of 2012. They held a fourth quarter lead in 14 of those games. Fourteen! Every loss except for these four. This is not a new problem. It’s only coming to light now because they’re 2-4. Still, take away the disastrous start to this season, and that’s still 10 blown fourth quarters in 14 games. Gus Bradley was the defensive coordinator in 2012, and presided over four of those losses. Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013, and he presided over six of those losses. Now Richard has added four more to the list. As the defensive coordinators change, both Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell remain. I’m inclined to blame it on one of them, but I don’t hate myself enough or make enough money doing this to go back and re-watch each of those losses and assign blame. I can say in regards to Sunday’s game that it wasn’t too helpful letting the Panthers’ only good receiver run free into the end zone. Not the first time I’ve seen something like that.

Will: Let’s say I was a Seahawks fan and I wanted you to ruin my day with a few facts. What might that look like?

Derek: I’ve got you covered there. Consider the following: If the Seahawks could protect fourth quarter leads …

  • They would be (at least) back-to-back Super Bowl champions.
  • Their win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII would have punctuated a perfect season.
  • They would have been 13-3 and the NFC’s top seed in 2012. Or even if they just held on against Atlanta in the playoffs, they would have advanced to the NFC Championship game.

Yes, that’s at two Super Bowls, a perfect season, and perhaps a third Super Bowl depending on their performance in their fantasy playoff games. The 2012-2014 Seahawks would be considered by many to be the greatest team of all time, and that’s before we get to the 6-0 start to the 2015 season. But they can’t protect a lead in the fourth quarter, so none of that is true.

So I guess the natural disaster the Seahawks fourth quarter performances most resemble is an Armageddon-esque meteor hurtling toward Earth. Everything seems fine, but you know it isn’t because you can see a giant planet-killing rock heading right for you. Then it finally hits and everyone dies, but Marshawn Lynch unveils a new Frappuccino at Starbucks the next day.

I suppose it’s possible they could turn it around. In both 2012 and 2014, the Seahawks were an average team in the middle of the season. Then they went on a dominant run and became Super Bowl contenders. So I’m not writing them off just yet, but I’ll have to think long and hard about labeling this a season from hell if they can’t beat the 49ers on Thursday night. I … I just don’t think my heart can take that.

AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk

AP Photo/Aaron Josefczyk

Speaking of which, how did your heart handle the end of the Browns-Broncos game? Was there any sort of moral victory? Is John Elway the most hated man in Cleveland?

Will: I’m sorry to say that this has happened enough for me to have established something of a routine, and my initial reaction is always the same. It starts with good, pure laughter. It’s a bit like seeing one of your rides crash in the RollerCoaster Tycoon series. It should be tragic, but there’s enough distance there for it to be sadistically funny. I laugh for a while, and then I stop, and then I think about it all over and laugh again, a bit harder each time.

Then come the deep sighs. The soul-searching. The questions — at first rhetorical, and then earnest — as to why I keep watching this crap week after week. Like, the Browns intercepted Peyton Manning in overtime such that they got the ball on the Denver 39-yard line. All they needed to do was get 10 yards, maybe even five, and they would have been in field goal range. Instead they lost three yards on a Robert Turbin run (he looked decent, by the way. Hardly a world beater, but a legitimate big-bodied back) and 10 yards on two sacks of Josh McCown.

I’m sighing again as I write this. Every time we think the Browns have reached rock bottom, they dig a little deeper. If losing a completely winnable game against an undefeated team at home wasn’t enough, at least Johnny is in the news for a police matter and Joe Haden is rumored to be involved with money laundering. The Haden bit is very hearsay-y for now, but my god, that would take things to a new level.

On a slightly bright side, I got my first look at Peyton Manning’s garter snake of an arm Sunday. What kind of preservative do you think he puts it in overnight?

Derek: Formaldehyde? Whatever it is, it isn’t working. He looks even worse than his stat lines indicate, and his stat lines look pretty bad. I like Peyton Manning, and this is tough to watch. If a team has a bad offense, shouldn’t they just take a knee and punt every drive when they face the Broncos? Manning could probably create more scoring chances for the opposition than, say, Alex Smith could for his own team without Jamaal Charles.

What was it like watching Manning continuously find new ways to suck, but the announcers were still relentlessly kissing his ass?

Will: Eh, I didn’t really mind it. He’s been around long enough to earn a few buttock smooches, and he probably deserved them all in comparison to Josh McCown’s play. Have a look at this beauty!

I really can’t talk about the Browns anymore without ruining my day. So…are the Jets actually good enough to be worth talking about?

Derek: Yeah, I think so. Chris Ivory looks like my man Marshawn. He’ll be dangerous if he can stay healthy. Ryan Fitzpatrick is serviceable, and Brandon Marshall is having a career resurgence. Then there’s their good and occasionally dominant defense. This is a very well-timed question because the Jets travel to New England on Sunday. If they win or keep it close, we may have a contender.

AP Photo/Gary Hershorn

AP Photo/Gary Hershorn

There are five undefeated teams remaining: the Patriots, Broncos, Bengals, Packers, and Panthers. Which is the best and which is the worst?

Will: My immediate instinct is to say that the Bengals are the worst. They look more legit with each passing win, but my experience with football teams in Ohio is that they just don’t change their ways. I think this is about right for them:

The Broncos defense — at full health — is as good as it gets, but man, Peyton looks D-U-N done. He’s still smart enough to put the ball in the right place, but every single pass is a parabola. It’s like he’s quarterbacking in bullet time, except he’s the only one in slow motion.

The Panthers…I don’t buy the Panthers yet. Cam Newton being good is always fun, but aside from the Seahawks, they’ve beaten four teams that are absolute butt fungus. Their next two games look winnable (at home for Philly and Indy), but then they play the Packers, owners of the third best point differential in the league.

I think I’d put New England slightly above Green Bay based on health, but it’s close. It’s always nice as a fan of a Josh McCown-led team that quarterback play is really all that matters in the NFL. Sports are dumb and I hate them.

The Cardinals still own the best point differential in the league thanks to their beatdowns of Chicago, San Francisco, and Detroit. However, they’ve played two decent teams (Rams and Steelers), and lost both games. Where do you see things going for them?

Derek: They’re tough to peg, aren’t they? They actually outplayed the Steelers most of the game but somehow still lost. They’ve shown they can destroy bad teams, which is good because they’ve got the Ravens coming to town this weekend. They’ll win that by 70. But they have a string of games against decent teams after that, including back-to-back trips to Cleveland and Seattle. So, all that to say we’ll learn nothing when they blow out Baltimore this weekend. Though right now, it’s fair to compare them unfavorably to the Falcons in that they’ve beaten up on poor competition.

How about the Dolphins?! Could their new musclebound coach turn things around for them?

Will: I was borderline shocked by how badly they beat Tennessee. Part of that is because I had arbitrarily talked myself into Marcus Mariota as being this season’s Good Rookie QB, and part of that is because I thought Ndamukong Suh had covered Miami’s locker room with enough hog feces to sully their entire season.

So kudos to (…looking up name…) Dan Campbell! Great job by you, Dan! It wasn’t long ago that people were thinking Ryan Tannehill could make a mini-leap and that the Dolphins could compete in the AFC East. Perhaps they just hated Joe Philbin that much. If so, I applaud their commitment to losing in the spirit of pettiness.

Any takeaways from Colts-Pats?

Derek: The Colts actually looked kind of decent. Andrew Luck is still playing hurt, but he had an okay game. They’re 3-3 and leading the AFC South, and it looks like they will go unchallenged in that division yet again. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make some noise in the playoffs again this year. Other than that, I don’t think we learned much. The Colts got a backdoor cover, which was about the only surprise.

AP Photo/John Minchillo

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Let’s hand out this week’s hardware.

Gentlemen of the Week

Derek: I’m going with Philip Rivers. He wanted to share the ball so much that he threw 65 passes. Then he became the first quarterback to ever throw for 500 yards with no interceptions but still lose the game. Such a selfless, gentlemanly performance from Rivers.

Will: SIXTY-FIVE PASSES. That’s too many passes, Phil. Save some for next time. A proper gentlemanly performance, though.

I’ll go with my new favorite coach, Dan Campbell! He resuscitated the Dolphins, at least for one game. They’re still in the basement of a tough division and play four of their next six on the road, but there’s a chance that they’ll actually try in all of those games. Motivation is the stuff gentlemen are made of. Good work, Dan.

Most Hungover Fan Bases

Derek: I’m going Seahawks. We’re running out of excuses. We had Chancellor’s holdout, tough road games, Lynch’s injury, and so on. Now we’re even losing home games to Cam Newton, who is challenging Colin Kaepernick’s spot as my least favorite player in the league. I don’t feel good.

Will: Screw it, I’m going Browns. Largely similar reasons. I also don’t feel good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s