Monday Morning Breeze: NFL Week 16, Bowl Scenes, & Leaping Dreams

Merry Holidays! This week we go stream-of-c swimming for most efficient information absorption, in a land where it’s 70 degrees on Christmas East and snowing tornadoes in Texas’ Sun Bowl. A land where Duke Football finally gets karmic bliss from their ref-stained, 8-lateral-last-second loss to the Hurricanes by controversially beating Indiana in Pinstripes because the kick was too high. Most importantly, we’ll soon get to see the beauty of couples across the country being torn apart because the College Football Playoff begins New Year’s Eve. The answer to, “Are you in or are you out?” could mean the difference between loving hugs and sleeping in the dumpster for a while.

The Professionals of Football’s National League witnessed some questionably reported and shocking/not-so shocking allegations tossed Peyton’s way, Carolina’s loss-column get filled with 1, William Belichick stealing a page from Marty Morninwheg’s Detroit Overtime Playbook forcing A.C. Slater’s coin-flop, Cousins kneeling for no one, Oakland and San Diego in the battle of who could care Less Angeles, Arizona Juggernauting, Minnesota rolling, Mallett winning(!) as a Raven(!), Weeden winning(!) as a Texan(!), and much more.

Come on in, the fire’s frozen and there’s a pitcher of “egg nog” that’ll put you on the floor, sky-bound Gurley Jones and Twitter flame galore as we reflect on “Dab” and “Dabo” now and forever being a part of the national consciousness.

What mysterious beauty will 2016 bring to thee?


College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

SI’s Campus Rush has cultivated some great CFB content over the year, so this one’s all theirs: What does the NFL think of Clemson’s Watson?…VA Tech’s Beamer coaches his final game…Powerful piece from a college student that also happens to be one of the best LB’s in the country, Oklahoma’s E. Striker on why he’s more than a helmeted headWhen Saban was respected but not loved as a Spartan head coach

Let the Bowls Continue! (CFB Roundup)

duke indiana

Duke vs. Indiana (Pinstripe Bowl)

School that produces rich NY’ers beats Hoosiers thanks to Karma Bowl in Yankee Palladium

UCLA vs. Nebraska (Foster Farms Bowl)

‘Huskers truck Uck-LA’s luck, Nebraska wins game, UCLA wins better place to exist

Miami (Fl.) vs. Washington State (Sun Bowl)

Mike Leach’s Reach tops Mark Richt’s Future Fellas in Snowy Texas Tornado


NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Touching moment as Charles Woodson says farewell to Oakland post-game…Shaky report links Peyton Manning to HGH, BS or not?…ODB’s college teammate at LSU and best friend kinnnnda replicates That CatchPeter King’s MMQB, a direct breach of creative license in stealing the format and idea from us 🙂

NFL Game of the Week


Atlanta 20 vs Carolina 13

The basics: As everyone on God’s green Earth knows, the Panthers have been on one of those “14-week beat the hell out of most everyone you play” tears through the NFL, riding an undefeated record and making sure nobody tugged on their likely league MVP Super-Cam’s cape. The Falcons, have endured the rollercoaster roadshow of a Brand New Head Coach in Year 1 of the Dan Quinn regime, recently suffering through one of those “6-game losing streaks my God must we keep playing maybe the Hawks are on TV” streaks of suckitude, before getting a win last week over the Jags to chin-up to .500 on the year. Most would tune in to this game only to see how quickly Mr. Newton would get his 5 TD’s and how the Josh Norman vs. Julio Jones battle would turn out.

What’s that? You’ve been hearing alot about Carolina’s Eternally Innocent CB lately? Me too. In case you actually have loved ones and/or fulfilling things to do with your time besides swallow the never-ending sports swirly that is Media and missed last week’s ODB Jr vs. Josh Normal catfight, basically it goes “Norman and Beckham Jr. fight all game, Beckham Jr. loses his damn mind and spears a defenseless Norman in the jaw, Beckham Jr. gets 3(!) personal foul penalties, Beckham Jr. scores lovely game-tying TD on Norman late, Carolina wins on last-second FG, National media crucifies Beckham Jr. as Worst Human Conceived and he gets 1-game suspension from the league.” Phew.

This week offered Norman no rest in facing yet another top-tier receiver, maybe even the toppest of tiers in Atlanta’s juggernaut Julio Jones. How would Norman respond to being in that white-hot spotlight all week? Could Julio keep his league-leading receiving romp rolling against the best corner in the league?

Turns out Norman played like normal, which means excellent. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers undefeated streak, J. Jones decided to leap and tickle the bottom of God’s feet before providing one of the plays of the year sparking the Falcons to a (semi-) shocking upset win. In a solid nod to Dan Quinn’s first draft class Atlanta’s top pick in 2015, DE Vic Beasley, displayed his pass-rushing prowess in stripping Cam on Carolina’s last-gasp drive for the tie, as Atlanta recovered and knelt out the game.

So dowwwwwn goeeees Carolina from the unbeatens, the Old Dolphins can celebrate, Atlanta’s on the uptick and a game above even, and everyone involved is likely better off for this game going exactly as it did.

Most importantly Jah Jones gave us this play, which deserves more words…

One Game-Defining Play, My Way

I meeeeaaaan, if you can watch that play any less than 13 (thirteen) times you might not be a human capable of feeling. To begin, QB Matt Ryan rolled left to avoid pressure from the Panther’s seeking to eat his neck, re-established his feet for proper pigskin projection, and then unleashed a heaving prayer into double-coverage, well-behind his intended receiver, which would normally be a pretty terrible throw EXCEPT this time his intended receiver is from another planet, better than anyone else, and regularly answers prayers.

Watch how effortlessly Julio adjusts his route to come back for the ball, running at well over 175 MPH, listlessly shrugs off a falling Carolina player that’s trying in vain to keep up, and in an instant verticals himself to just beneath the light fixtures atop Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As he continues rising, I imagine at least the tiniest of smiles must’ve crossed his mouth as he saw Luke Keuchly (a great player in his own right but well out of his spatial comfort zone out here in the land of balletic leopards) white man jump for the descending pass. I imagine Keuchly’s mind raced, screaming: “Oh man, what the hell am I doing out here? Whoa! There’s the ball! It’s coming to me! I got it! I got it! Wait? Do they allow planes with arms in here? What the hell!? Dammit, I’m falling. There he goes.” Jones, at the peak of his ascent, calmly, gently, softly allows the ball into his perfectly placed hands like saving a baby tossed from a burning building, or how (I’m certain) he plucks groceries off the top shelves in stores for needy old people. In this case Keuchly thought he was about to get the last box of Wheaties, only he’s not Julio Jones, as are none of us, so we’re thankful for eyes and Vines.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this play is how easily it seems Jones is able to keep his balance throughout, the difficulty of this relative to the speed and explosive moments on display here evidenced by the fact the other two world-class athletes in the frame tumble to the ground in succession. Only Jones, after ball-jacking Luke’s hopeful heart, sticks the landing (damn W. German judge even gave him a 10) and within 5 pitter-patter, backwards-sideways-forwards re-routing steps has turned himself completely around and continues his plan toward the touchdown. There are no wasted steps, no wasted motion, each fiber of Jones’ form seems to have been built for this one play. As he 0-to-60’s his way into the end zone, he even has the wherewithal to cross the plane of the goal line doing one of the few celebrations I find to be creative and fun, the track-and-field inspired “breaking the tape” lean-in to secure the fastest time and edge out any parallel opponents. Only on this play, because it’s Julio, there’s nobody else to be found, nobody else anywhere near him to challenge as his opponents lie in carnage behind and beneath him. Out here, it’s Just Julio Jones, and we all get to bear witness.

Bonus Bit of Beastly Beauty

Oh ya, by the way, ummm…Todd Gurley’s amazing too. I don’t care if he fumbles on this play (Rams recovered and he wound up scoring shortly after), I do care that Gurley’s coming off ACL surgery and is able to jackrabbit at full speed over a soaring Seahawk that just happens to be All-Forever Level Earl Thomas, one of the better tacklers in the NFL. Thank you, Todd.

NFL Results Roundup

Chargers vs. Raiders (Thursday Night)

Oaktown prevails in battle of future LA, Woodson tells crowd “Hey”, both teams’ futures sway

Washington vs. Eagles

So Kirk Cousins might become Uncle Kirkle after this lovely display, winning games against Chips Kids

Panthers vs. Falcons

Dowwwwn goes the Dab as Matty Ice gets Hotlanta again to end Panther unbeaten hopes

Texans vs. Titans

Titans are bad with Mariota and reprehensible without, as evidenced in today’s Texans fillet of Tenn. tons

Steelers vs. Ravens

Ryan Mallett somehow beats Ben’s Pitts after being on Baltimore for half an hour

Patriots vs. Jets

Controversial coin flip call by Belichick lets Jets De-Fleet and give shingles to New Era

Bears vs. Buccaneers

Jay Cutler somehow remains married to F-list celebrity woman, more amazingly beats Winston’s Bucs

Colts vs. Dolphins

Indy survives injury to their Geriatric backup QB to drown Dolphins already filled with frowns

49ers vs. Lions

Deeeeeeeettttroiiiiiiiit Foooootballllll tops Tomsula’s Tattered Tonsils

Cowboys vs. Bills

Rexy Flexy beats star-less yet still TV sexy Dallas, Jerry Jones stomps his foot and nobody cares about any of this

Browns vs. Chiefs

Hey whattttya know? Andy Reid’s got his team in surprising position for a playoff birth, beating Browns’ Johnny spot

Jaguars vs. Saints

Brees rebounds from Lions licking and stick it to other cat crowd, jack those Jags

Rams vs. Seahawks

Fisher wears his hat backwards but points Saint Louis forward in shocking toppling of Seacarrols

Packers vs. Cardinals

Arizona appears geared for an NFC showdown with Carolina, Cards’ d-line batters Rodgers in desert swarm route

Giants vs. Vikings

Men of Soda monster mash Big City Boys, give ’em all purple nurples

Bengals vs. Broncos (Monday Night Football Prediction)

Peyton Manning accidentally sends an HGH shipment to Nick Saban’s Crimson House, and the McCarron’s receive word, win the press game but these Broncos tame the striped cats no question

Selfish Tweet Promotion (So sue me) (But please don’t)