Think of the Children: NFL Week 10 Recap

NFL Recap Header

wild and crazy Week 10 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, Carson Palmer’s performance, the coronation of JFF, the fall of Peyton Manning, the Packer’s slide, showboating, the Gentlemen of the Week, and the Most Hungover Fan Bases.


AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

AP Photo/Stephen Brashear

Will: The Cardinals beat the Seahawks in what looks to have been a barnburner. Seattle nearly flipped the script of its early season blown leads, rallying back from a 19-0 deficit to take the lead before falling thanks to two fourth-quarter Arizona touchdowns. Judging by the box score alone, this looks to have been a strange game — a safety, a fumble return for a touchdown, somebody called Tukuafu scoring. 1) Do you have any significant takeaways from this game, and 2) Is it time to seriously worry about the Seahawks’ playoff chances?

Derek: Yet another blown lead in the fourth quarter. Do me the courtesy of clicking here and here so I don’t have to rehash my thoughts on the Seahawks in the fourth quarter. My word. It would be funny if they weren’t supposed to be a somewhat decent team.

So, takeaways. First, the Cardinals may be better than I gave them credit for. I thought they were overrated most of the year because they only looked good against bad teams, but I can’t say that anymore. Unless, of course, the Seahawks are also a bad team, which is something I may have to come to grips with. Either way, Carson Palmer was awesome. The Seahawks D was constantly in his face, and they succeeded against him at times. Palmer committed three turnovers — one that K.J. Wright returned to the Arizona 3-yard line, and one that Bobby Wagner returned for a touchdown — but he was fearless. He would step up into the pocket and throw perfect passes that only his receivers could get and they, naturally, extended and made the catches they needed to. I’m very, very close to making an Artists Formerly Known as the Legion of Boom joke, but I thought Palmer played so well that it didn’t really matter.

On the other end, the Seahawks’ offensive struggles continued. The blocking wasn’t great, but I’ve seen worse from them. The penalties were a killer. The Seahawks faced 1st-and-20 a stunning five times in this game. Five! Five drives were pretty much over before they even began. But that was just the beginning. All told, the Seahawks were penalized 14 times for 131 yards. Despite the defense giving them two touchdowns, they still couldn’t pull it off. Ridiculous.

So, yeah, I’d say I’m pretty worried. Seattle needed all three games of this homestand. It wouldn’t be easy. Two of the three teams are pretty good, and all three get two weeks to prepare for the Seahawks. Things are hopefully not bad enough to lose to Blaine Gabbert next week, but what are Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant going to be able to do after seeing what Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, and Michael Floyd did? They’re thinking about it right now, while Seattle is getting ready for the 49ers. Meanwhile, the Falcons own the final wild card spot with a 6-3 record. There are six 4-5 teams looking to unseat them. The Seahawks are behind the Redskins, Buccaneers, and Rams in the tiebreaker. The Seahawks may be a team nobody wants to see in the playoffs, but every week they look less likely to make it. I don’t understand. They’ve been automatic in these situations before. The mystique is fading.

I hate Malcolm Butler so much.

Now, word on the street is you didn’t catch the Browns-Steelers game live. And enjoyed it! Have you found a replay to watch? And now that the Browns have decided to roll with Johnny for the rest of the year, do you still feel it’s the right move?

AP Photo/Don Wright

AP Photo/Don Wright

Will: I haven’t watched it yet; I’m still living in a state of glorious, willful ignorance. I still haven’t seen so much as a replay package. Like your Seahawks, my beloved Browns also racked up the penalty yards: 188 of ’em! Word is that Johnny played the best game of his young career, but the Browns were so overmatched and perhaps deflated by Ben Roethlisberger’s heroic effort off the bench that it didn’t matter.

But word has indeed come down that Johnny will start the rest of the way, which is an encouraging development. I feel for Josh McCown, who played admirably as long as he was physically able, but he’s 36 and Johnny is 22. We still haven’t seen enough of Manziel to know if he can actually be a starter in the NFL, so kudos to Mike Pettine and company for making the move to find out. These are the things you applaud when your team is 2-8.

Let’s talk about the good teams. New England beat the Giants on a last-second field goal, which feels about right. Both Brady and Eli put up big numbers, and it looks to have been a pretty even game. In a week loaded with odd results, this one seems like it played to expectation. Anything meaningful to be gained here?

Derek: Well, if Eli could play every game against the Patriots, he’d have more accolades than his brother. That’s something. Though the biggest news may be yet another injury for the Patriots. How long can they keep this up? They’ve managed to keep Brady and Gronk on the field, but most of the offensive line, Dion Lewis, and now Julian Edelman are down. Bill Belichick is the smartest guy in the room, but even he has a limit on how many injuries his team can take before it starts costing them games. Are they always going to be competitive as long as Brady and Gronk are healthy? We may find out soon enough.

The Bengals finally bit the dust, as they could not overcome the onslaught of the mighty T.J. Yates. Plus, we finally got that Dalton Game we’ve been expecting. It is getting a bit colder, after all. How much enjoyment did you get watching the Bengals fall to the (tied for) FIRST PLACE HOUSTON TEXANS?! I’ll just leave this here while you think about it.

afc south

Will: Pardon me while I wipe the vomit off of my keyboard. My god, that division. Old Yeller’s in better shape. I forget to make a crack about not taking the Bengals seriously for one dumb week and they lose to the freaking Texans on Monday night. I still feel vindicated. Never forget that Andy Dalton is Andy Dalton.

Speaking of shoddy quarterbacking, Peyton Manning was benched in favor of Brock Osweiler. Wait, Peyton Manning was benched in favor of Brock Osweiler?? He completed only one more pass to his team (5) than he did to the opposition (4) in what was a surely demoralizing 29-13 loss to the Chiefs. His play this season has been as mercurial as a man of his age’s back; some days it feels good, and others it feels like cold damp death. Do you feel remotely comfortable predicting anything for this Broncos team as long as Manning is at the helm?

Derek: No. A horrendous performance from Peyton has been a long time coming. For whatever reason, opposing defenses haven’t been able to hold on to the balls he throws right to them. He should have thrown four or five interceptions when he played Kansas City earlier this year. Somehow, your Browns were the only team to intercept him more than twice before Sunday. Unsurprisingly, a bunch of injury stories leaked shortly after the game, and we may have seen the last of Peyton Manning. Brock Osweiler looked better in relief, but the standard wasn’t particularly high at that point. I’ll be interested to see how he does. He went 18 picks before Russell Wilson in the 2012 Draft, but we haven’t seen him outside of the preseason so far. His rookie contract ends at the end of this season, so he’s got a chance to make some money.

What I want to know is if Peyton even wants him to succeed. Can you picture Osweiler hoisting the Lombardi Trophy while Peyton scowls under a storm of confetti? I sure can.

While we’re talking about Peyton, I’d like to ask a fantasy football philosophy question. Who should feel worse: the people who started Peyton (-7 points!) or the people who benched the “injured” Ben Roethlisberger and watched him score 27 as a backup?

Will: Peyton, for sure. I won one game this week against a fellow who started Peyton, and I feel terribly about it. The game ended up being a blowout, but imagine those who had solid performances across the board and only needed 15 points or so to win. I’d be insulted and offended if I were a Peyton Manning owner. The Roethlisberger thing also hurts, but starting a shitty player (for one day, anyway) always hurts a little worse than benching a good one. Now, if you benched Roethlisberger for Manning, I would not vote to convict you of any crime that you committed thereafter.

Let’s go north. The Packers lost to the Lions. Wait, the Packers lost to the Lions?? They came within a two-point conversion of tying it in the final minute, but no dice. We — and most observers, I suspect — favored relaxation after losses to the Broncos and Panthers, but those were heavyweight fights. This was a genuine stunner. Are the Vikings — who soundly defeated the Raiders — seriously going to win the NFC North? Could the Packers also be in danger of missing the playoffs?

AP Photo/Morry Gash

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Derek: How did this happen? The only reason I wouldn’t have said the Lions were bottoming out was because they’re the Lions. Their floor is pretty close to the center of the Earth. But they were certainly flailing, and they hadn’t won in Green Bay since 1991. It’s not like the Packers were complacent or overlooking them, either. They had just lost two in a row and were in danger of losing their grip on first place in the NFC North. Lo and Behold, the Vikings won, and they’re now somehow in first place. I don’t understand anything. Everything pointed to Green Bay winning by 30.

I still can’t panic yet. As long as they have Rodgers, they have a shot. The problem is, he’s gotten injured around this time the last two years. If they’re playing this poorly with Rodgers, just imagine how unsightly they’d be without him. Luckily for us, the Packers have a chance to show us they’re for real this Sunday, when they travel to Minnesota.

Much has been made of showboating in the last 48 hours. Cam Newton did an obscenely long touchdown dance. J.J. Watt called Andy Dalton a Red Ryder BB Gun. Carson Palmer told Seahawks fans to suck it. Any comment on all of this celebration outrage? Should we be thinking of the children?

Will: Yes, yes we should. We should be thinking of the children and wondering why they aren’t better dancers and celebrators and taunters. Rather, we shouldn’t be wondering that — if we vilify captains of creative industry like Cam, Watt, and Palmer, then clumsy-dancing, poor-shit-talking kids is what we deserve. Is that the world you want to live in? Do you not want to see homages to D-Generation X in your local high school games? It’s a slippery slope, and we’re in danger of falling all the way down the goddamn mountain. For shame.

There will rightly be plenty of talk about which game was the best of the week, but which do you think was the worst? We had the Browns amassing 188 penalty yards in a toothless loss to the Steelers. We had a 10-6 derp-off between Tampa and Dallas. We had Washington dropping 47 on the Saints, the Bears beating the Rams by 24, and the Panthers handling the Titans, 27-10. Which would you least like to watch on a loop?

Derek: New Orleans was fun, because I enjoyed the shots of a hapless Rob Ryan standing on the sideline. I’m going to miss him. Steelers-Browns was frustrating, but mostly due to personal fantasy football reasons no one wants to hear about. I can’t complain about the Rams losing. And while Bucs-Cowboys wasn’t pretty, it at was at least close. That leaves Panthers-Titans. Watching Tennessee’s offense was a struggle, and Cam Newton has nearly turned me against the Panthers. I’ve always said the Panthers are my second favorite team, but Cam irritates me to no end. I don’t enjoy watching him succeed. Let’s get Cleveland legend Derek Anderson in there!

Speaking of terrible games, how excited are you for the Jags-Titans game on Thursday night? It has actual playoff implications!

Will: That can’t be true. No way that’s true. I’m gonna pretend you didn’t say that. Let’s move on. Any words of advice or solace for a depressed Browns fan base?

Derek: Maybe Jimmy Haslam’s legal trouble will force him to sell the team? Maybe Johnny will be good? Maybe Josh Gordon will come back next year? Maybe if the Browns keep losing, you’ll get a shot at Robert Nkemdiche or Ohio State’s own Joey Bosa? You don’t have to watch Brandon Weeden or Trent Richardson anymore? Is any of that helping?

In all seriousness, I’ll just say things can turn around in a hurry. The Seahawks were a doormat, but they hired Mike Holmgren and they made the playoffs almost every year. Then they became a doormat again, Pete Carroll and John Schneider were hired, they became good, and won a Super Bowl. You could look back on this season as the beginning of something great. Today is the first day of JFF’s reign. You may remember this day fondly and laugh about how bad you thought it was.

Let’s hand out this week’s hardware.

Gentlemen of the Week

Derek: I’m giving it to the entire Jaguar offensive line. They knew that the referees would screw up the final play of the game, so they allowed Elvis Dumervil free run at Blake Bortles so he could commit the facemask penalty that put Jacksonville in position for the winning field goal. We’re all playing checkers while the Jacksonville linemen play chess. Well done, Gentlemen.

Will: T.J. Yates, you beautiful bastard you. In his first action of the season — and his first since September 2014 — he popped off the bench, tossed a touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins, and knocked off one of the NFL’s three unbeaten teams. It was his finest effort in Cincinnati since, well, his last two games there. He led the Texans over the Bengals in December 2011, and knocked them out of the playoffs in January 2012. T.J. stands for “Lion Tamer.”

Most Hungover Fan Bases

Derek: I’d say the Seahawks, but I think we’re just about numb to this sort of loss at this point. I’m going with the Packers. Three straight losses and the wrong end of the weekend’s biggest non-Ronda Rousey upset likely drove the people of Wisconsin to drink. Well, more than usual. I hope they save some for Rousey’s fans.

Will: Browns. Always the Browns. I mean, not always the Browns, but often the Browns. Whatever. Football’s dumb. Again.

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