Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Cordarrelle Patterson, Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Erike Swoope, Ezekiel Elliott, Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts, Le'Veon Bell, Matthew Stafford, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Pat McAfee, Pittsburgh Steelers, Scott Tolzien, Stefon Diggs, Thanksgiving Football, Washington
So rather than trying to cover all three games fully I’ll go through the points that leapt out at me over the course of the three Thanksgiving games.
Detriot Lions 16
Minnesota Vikings 13
This was a close game, but throughout it seemed to me that the Lions were moving the ball more consistently on offensive even if they did fall behind in the fourth quarter again. It’s getting to be a feature of the Lions’ season, but once again they managed to come from behind to win.
That said, the Vikings defence is looking back to something like its form from the start of the season, but the offence is still struggling. The loss of receiver Stefon Diggs hurt the Vikings, although it is nice to see Cordarrelle Patterson more on offence, but they still don’t have a running game they can rely on yet and the offensive line is likely going to remain a weakness. I will be curious to see what they do at the end of year in terms of both the line and quarterback, but I expect them to be competitive at least for their remaining games.
The Lions have done enough to lead their division in a down year for the Packers and a very troubled one for the Vikings. The offence continues to get points when they need one, but they are hampered by the defence. I can see them getting into the playoffs, but I think they will struggle against teams like the Seahawks and Cowboys. Still, it seems that everyone, including myself, has had to reassess Matthew Stafford in the wake of his late game heroics this year.
Dallas Cowboys 31
The score was a lot closer than the game was thanks to a late surge by Washington in the fourth quarter, but in truth the Giants were able to dominate this game throughout.
That said, there was a period where the Washington defence was doing a credible job of bottling up Ezekiel Elliott, but the problem is that the Cowboys will not be deterred and with the offensive line they have, you may be able to slow Elliott down but it already seems that he will eventually have his way. The Cowboys ran for one hundred and sixty-three yards in this game, with Elliot just shy of one hundred yards on only twenty carries. That kind of number should help him be fresher going into the end of the season, and Dak Prescott picked up a further thirty-nine yards on the ground. The rookie quarterback’s numbers don’t look spectacular, but he continued to drive the Cowboys efficiently and they have the best record in the NFL for a reason.
Washington’s defensive line did looked okay for large parts of this game, but the offence seemed to struggle for sections of this game to keep drives going. They lost despite dominating time of possession and total yards in this game, but it should be noted that Dustin Hopkins only made two of his four field goals. It is too easy to say that if he had made them that Washington would have won the game, but it would surely have affected the flow of the game and should not be discounted. There is no shame in going to the team with the best record in the league and losing, but Washington will need to get back to winning ways if they want to stay in contention for the playoffs. Still with the way the offence is playing they stand a fighting chance.
Indianapolis Colts 7
This was a very straight forward game for the Steelers, which always looked likely to be the case once Andrew Luck went into the concussion protocol.
The Steelers did not suffer a dip against opposition they should beat as is sometimes the case, and it was very much the Steeler’s triplet show with Le’Veon Bell running for one hundred and twenty yards with a touchdown, and Antonio Brown catching three touchdowns with just under one hundred yards. Ben Roethlisberger may have only thrown for two hundred and twenty-one yards, but with three touchdowns and a seventy percent completion rate I’m sure he will be okay with the performance. Their defence also put in a good shift, and they will be hopeful of keeping pace with the Ravens in the race for the AFC North.
The Colts could get very little going, and their solitary touchdown owes much to a fake punt play that went for thirty-five yards when punter Pat McAfee completed his pass to Erik Swoope. Although the Colts recorded ninety-one yards from twenty-one rush attempts, this masks Frank Gore’s fifteen carries that yielded only twenty-eight yards. In a game with a career backup starting, the Colts needed more help from their run game to balance their offence and didn’t get it. I didn’t think that Scott Tolzien looked terrible, but he threw several balls high as well as two interceptions chasing a game that the Colts were never really in. I’m sure everyone in Indianapolis will be keeping their fingers crossed that Andrew Luck can make a quick return.
Overall we had two competitive games, and one complete blowout, but I enjoyed all three, even if I didn’t spend all day watching them with a huge meal to keep me going.