Necessary Roughness, Week 7: Will the Seahawks Repeat as Super Bowl Champions?
Sunday was a nail-biting day for many NFL fans, with five games being decided by 3 points or less, and a few of those coming down to the last play of the game. My cuticles are relatively intact, however, thanks to my Carolina Panthers‘ limpdick effort against the Green Bay Packers. That game was never in question as the Packers dominated from start to finish. Fortunately there was plenty of compelling action taking place elsewhere Sunday afternoon to keep me stoked.
A lot of people were (and many still are) predicting the Seattle Seahawks to repeat as Super Bowl Champions this season. I was never on that train, not because I don’t think the Seahawks are a good team, but because it’s extremely hard to have consecutive seasons with that kind of success in this league. After last week’s loss to the Cowboys it became apparent that the Seahawks were no longer invincible at home, and furthermore, that their defense was not as stifling as last year’s. Seattle’s scuffling continued on Sunday with a highly unexpected loss to the one-win St. Louis Rams. Granted, it was a close game, and had the officials not blown a call at the end of the game (clearly a fumble) the Seahawks may have won. But the fact of the matter is that the St. Louis offense, led by the gutsy but inexperienced Austin Davis, was pretty damn effective against the defending champs. They ran the football well, had big plays from special teams, and they didn’t self-destruct with penalties. And when the time came to roll the dice, they did it. The fake punt/pass by Johnny Hekker was the most ballsy call all season by any team. Deep in your own territory and up by 2, the percentages say punt the ball and play good defense for the last minute and a half. But Jeff Fisher was well aware that Russell Wilson would likely lead Seattle to victory if given the opportunity. So he made a risky call that paid off. And that wasn’t the only exciting finish on Sunday.
Titans/Redskins: This was pretty much an awful game between two awful teams. But things got interesting when Jay Gruden decided he’d had enough of Kirk Cousins and replaced him with Colt McCoy. I’ll be honest…. I didn’t know Colt McCoy was still alive, much less still in the league. But dude came in and threw a 70 yard TD to Pierre Garcon on his first pass of the game. This one came down to the wire and Kai Forbath kicked a 22-yard chip shot on the final play of the game, giving Washington their second win of the season.
Bills/Vikings: Kyle Orton shaved his ‘stache and proved that he doesn’t need to look like a Chris Hansen interviewee in order to be successful on the football field. In his 3rd game since replacing EJ Manuel, Orton improved to 2-1 thanks to an 80 yard drive capped by a 2 yard TD pass to rookie Sammy Watkins. It wasn’t all peaches and cream for the Bills though, as CJ Spiller is likely out for the season with a broken collarbone, and Fred Jackson went down with a groin injury.
Lions/Saints: The Saints carried the torch of the unconscionably atrocious NFC South by giving up two touchdown passes in the last four minutes, and ultimately losing the game by a point. It’s a shame that someone from that division will make the playoffs. None of them are worthy of such an achievement. The Lions, on the other hand, have quietly put together a nice run this year, and are sitting at a very respectable 5-2.
Chiefs/Chargers: Great win for the Chiefs. San Diego is a really good team and Philip Rivers has been putting up ridiculous stats so far this year, but KC came in with a great gameplan. They slowed down Rivers just enough and dominated the time of possession, ultimately giving place kicker Cairo Santos an opportunity to win the game at the end. The 48 yard kick was good, and the Chiefs got out of there with a much needed win, bringing them back to a .500 record for the season.
In addition to the excitement of these close games, we also witnessed another record-breaking moment from Peyton Manning. As I was writing this column he broke the all-time TD pass record of 508, previously held by Something About Mary co-star Brett Favre. At 38 years old, Manning is still as impressive as ever. And as annoying as all those Papa John’s commercials are, you can’t deny that this dude is an absolute joy to watch play football.
Monday night should be a decent game. Two .500 teams square off to see who is the most mediocre. I expect a relatively low scoring affair, and my gut tells me that Pittsburgh will prevail. I don’t think Ryan Fitzpatrick is ready for primetime. Final score: Steelers 23, Texans 17.
I’m off to the BTBAM barn to write some new music. Y’all have a good week!