So this is a bit of an improvised post as I’m on the road for work, in a hotel but still working so I’m going to try a quick sprint through the usual format from week eleven.
What I Saw
The week started with the Cleveland Browns hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning the game and still managing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Browns won the game convincingly thanks to the four interceptions Mason Rudolph threw, but on the last play of the game a tussle between players escalated when Myles Garrett not only pulled off Rudolph’s helmet, but used it as a weapon and although he hit Rudolph in the head with it – he got lucky in that Rudolph was not seriously hurt. However, Garrett has been suspended for the season, which is totally understandable, and as the best player on the Browns’ defence this could snuff out what small chances they had of making the playoffs
On Sunday we got to see the Cincinnati Bengals travel to the Oakland Raiders and make the game competitive. I said I wouldn’t back the Bengals to keep a game within ten until I saw it, and on Sunday we saw it thanks to a tougher defensive performance. I don’t know if it can be the start of something, but it was nice to watch a game and not know the result in the fourth quarter. As for the Raiders, well they continue to impress and maintain their place in the chasing pack for the playoff. They may not actually make the post-season but they look like they are heading in the right direction with two more wins than they managed in all of last season.
The final game I saw was the final international game of the season when the LA Chargers hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City’s Azteca stadium. Obviously it’s a step in the right direction with the game actually getting played this year, although the turf still looked like it was cutting up a little, but it was quite the spectacle in an impressive stadium. However, it was a curious game on the field as the Chiefs never quite took off on offensive and continued to struggle to stop the run, but they were able to generate enough turnovers, including four interceptions of Philip Rivers to overcome being out-gained by over one hundred and twenty yards and win 24-17. It feels like if the Chiefs do make the playoffs, no one will want to face them whilst for the Chargers, the injuries have combined with Philip Rivers suddenly struggling to hold everything together to sink the season. I’m not saying that Rivers is done or that he won’t play well next week, but if feels like his chance of making a Super Bowl is slipping away.
What I Heard
The big stories have been the brawl at the end of the Thursday night game, with no one questioning Garrett’s suspension or the two Steeler linemen who retaliated for the attack on their quarterback.
Next we had the curious situation with the Colin Kaepernick workout, which was unusual because the league announced it, seemingly out of nowhere and giving him a couple of hours to agree or not. Additionally in the strange column was holding it on a Saturday when most big decision makers wouldn’t attend as they would be preparing for Sunday, as opposed to Tuesday – the tradition day for teams to work out potential new signings. The situation continues to get muddled as Kaepernick then refused to sign an NFL waiver that I’ve heard would have prevented him from future legal action as well as any injury responsibility. Kaepernick’s change of plan was to stage his own workout in front of a handful of NFL people and his own camera crew (who the league also would allow to film/publish) – and whist I think I can understand some or most of this, I get the feeling we won’t be seeing him in the league any time soon, if at all. He stuck to his principles but you can already see how some will spin this as being unwilling to put the team ahead of the individual.
Finally, in a rare side step into college football for TWF, the big news for those in the middle of the 2019 NFL Tankapalooza – was that Tua Tagovailoa dislocated his hip this weekend, throwing again into the question of losing games for draft picks. For me the real shame is that Tua did this in college whilst not getting paid a cent, and I hope that he can get healthy again and play up to his potential whoever it may be for.
What I Think
I think that this season is continuing the transition from the quarterback stars we are so familiar with to the new generation. You can’t see Eli Manning holding on for much longer longer if we ever see him again, for the first time Philip Rivers is struggling to keep his team competitive, and even Tom Brady is looking mortal. Meanwhile, after Patrick Mahomes announced himself last season, it is Lamar Jackson’s turn for a tilt at MVP, whilst Deshaun Watson continues to impress with the Texans. This makes the struggles of Mitch Trubisky even tougher for fans of the Bears to watch knowing that their franchise was tricked into trading up to take him when they could have stayed put and picked Watson or Mahomes.
What I Know
That I seem to be talking an awful lot about quarterbacks this season and I’m beginning to worry about myself.
What I Hope
I would hope that next week I could get back to something like a normal week, but of course it’s Thanksgiving, so I hope we get three good games to watch!