All posts by Nick Brzezinski

Nick Brzezinski writes the weekly "Monday Morning Breeze" column for More Than A Fan. He's originally from Detroit, MI and had the good fortune of playing football for Duke University when they were terrible. Currently nestled in Austin, TX Nick covers the intersection of sports, comedy, and karma, when not abusing the free samples at Whole Foods. He loves connecting with people and encourages your hate messages via Twitter @nickbreezus or his personal site

Monday Morning Breeze: The Revolution Will Be Caught One-Handed

[(MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: The Breeze will recap CFB’s Alabama-Clemson National Championship game on Tuesday, so this will be Professional Football-heavy, or College-Deflated, depending how you choose to see the glass re: -imisms) It’s near impossible to miss the unfolding humor in a reality that pits America’s Most Traditionally Revered NFL team against the steaming pile of toxic that has been Daniel Snyder’s Washington Trumps, in D.C., for a wild-card playoff game.

When you add the fact that a prominent Packer player is named “Ha Ha Clinton-Dix” while Hillary stumps for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination, I mean, clearly Fate’s got a warped thing for the wickedly absurd. So what could prepare us for an NFL Wild-card weekend that lived up to its name? Where Ace Ventura jokes became re-relevant (“laces out”) making my heart gently weep for Minnesota’s Blair Walsh Project, where it seems everyone wants to be like ODB Jr whether it’s receivers vying for his “Best Ever Catch ‘Til Tomorrow” crown, or Vontaze’s Burfict crime-ing for his “Grossest Cheap Shot” frown, where all he does is Russell Wilson Seattle to wins (or perhaps Faith’s wind), while the Bengals missed Double-Deuce Dalton more than the time it takes to restore sore thumbs, Pack Nation slumbers well ’cause Aaron Rodgers remembered how to kinda throw again, some.

To playoff football let’s succumb. Enter to the beating drum of your heart’s hum and maybe find fun…


NFL Playoffs Games of the Week (Wild-card Round) Kansas City Chiefs 30 @ Houston Texans 0 So it was, ho hum, on the very first kickoff of the very first ho hum playoff game KNILE DAVIS EXPLODES THROUGH A MASSIVE HOLE AND ho hum RETURNS IT ONE-HUNDRED AND SIX FREAKING YARDS FOR THE TD. Houston was never really close on the majority of this play or for the rest of the game as Kansas City would never relinquish that lead, with the helpful, steady hand of Alex Smith leading the way and the woefully unsteady hand of Bryan Hoyer (4 picks, yikes!) leaving the Texans exposed like a butterfly filet of poor play.

Jon Gruden quote of the day: “JJ Watt’s battling a bad groin injury.” Look, Watt’s an incredible player, but even he can’t fight a Kansas City O-line AND tangle with one of those “bad groin injury” things at the same time.

Pittsburgh Steelers 18 @ Cincinnati Bengals 16 An enchanting, angry contest. Part 1 of “Insane Catches by Incredible Wideouts,” and Vontaze’s Rage. This story told with the help of Vine’s visuality. We’ll start with the uglier portions of the game and finish with the beauty of Martavis’ gorgeous holy-roller TD catch. In all, it seems Andy Dalton will still get blamed for another 1st round exit, even though he wasn’t playing. We begin with one Vontaze Burfict losing his famously hot-tempered mind, producing a near clone of the ODB Jr. cheap-ass headshot, this time on Antonio Brown…

..but “Oh by the way” Burfict was way more egregious, disgusting, with this cheap headshot on Maxx Williams in a previous game versus the Ravens. Careful, it’s disturbing…

…and continuing the ugly parade, Pittsburgh ASSISTANT COACH Mike Munchak, yes, a coach, ripping some of Reggie Nelson’s dreads, rightfully pissing him right off…

…but thank all that’s True and Right in the world for Martavis Bryant’s incredible athleticism, focus, and brilliance all on display on this catch in the 3rd quarter, possibly trumping Beckham’s one-handed stab heard ’round the world…

Seattle Seahawks 10 @ Minnesota Vikings 9 This game will forever be remembered (by me) as “The Blair Walsh Project,” but it also included Part 2 of “Incredible Catches by Amazing Wideouts” and one of the more unlikely turning-point plays in recent history. First off, it looked cold as freezer burn in Minn-eh-sot-ah, -3 degrees for much of the game, with breath bursting from the entire stadium’s mouths like 80,000 proud vapers.

While their defense was its usual stout self, Seattle came out slightly resembling a steaming crater of ineptitude on offense. Then the play below happened, which appears to foreshadow more terror for Wilson and the ‘Hawks offense. Except he’s Macklemore uncommonly composed Russ Wilson, even in the face of certain peril, proving once again on this play why he’s so valuable to Mr. Pete Carroll and the ‘Hawks. For a little forced imagination, think of how 99.9% of the time the QB/center shotgun exchange is botched like this it results in, at best, a sack.

Instead, picture this reality where Wilson recovers smoothly, calmly baseball slides, retrieving the ball and springing back up in one swift motion, rolls away from oncoming defenders, looks downfield and fires a strike to a wide-open Tyler Lockett for the game-changing play. Seattle would go on to a TD and huge momentum swing, injecting life into their moribund offense and turning the tides of what was shaping up to be a certain Viking victory.

Yeah, I believe in momentum, F Nate Silver on this topic, and this was a huge swing in a game largely dictated by field position.

…then Adrian Peterson fumbles on the ensuing Viking possession, and SEA recovers with 10:30 left in the 4th.

…oh by the way Doug Baldwin becomes a bent Beckham-like wizard and makes this incredible one-hander…

…although Chase Coffman proves there should be some kinda permit receivers have to earn to attempt one-handed catch, like a driver’s license, ’cause he tries to be like Doug B. but instead makes an interception so easy…

Trailing Seattle 10-9 very late in the 4th quarter, Kyle Rudolph beat Kam Chancellor in man coverage for a huge first down catch (vindication for Chancellor getting away with a clear hold on Rudolph earlier), putting the Vikings in money-FG position for the certain game-winner. It was a kick that 99.6% of the time would’ve been a Blair Walsh layup 3-pointer. In a kinder, gentler reality Walsh nails the kick, the Vikings win, slay the 2-time Super Bowl Seahawks and move on to the next round.

In this harsher, cruel, coooold reality Walsh shanks the kick so badly left of the uprights, like a boomerang that didn’t go where it was supposed to and never came back, allowing America to brush the 8-inch thick dust off every Scott Norwood and Ace Ventura joke no longer forgotten to mankind. I understand Walsh is a professional, paid a ton of money to make that kick. He has to make that kick. But damn, I just feel bad for him.

Green Bay Packers 35 @ Washington Cousins/Trumps 18
This game started with a bizarre “DeSean Jackson scores but doesn’t” on a catch and run where he crossed the goal line near the pylon but crossed too far and stepped first out of bounds while holding the ball back pre-goal line. Green Bay went on to hold Washington to a field goal and early momentum. However, Green Bay’s offense was dormant for much of the first half until Aaron Rodgers started hooking up hardcore with Davante Adams and James Jones (don’t worry, Olivia Munn) and headed into halftime up 17-11 after giving up a safety.

In the second half, the Packers could not cover Washington’s Jordan Reed, who played incredibly (9 catches, 120 yards) with Kirk Cousins putting the Washingtons up 18-17 with a QB run. As the second half wore on though, Green Bay wrested control away, shutting down Washington’s attack, pounding Washington’s D with a steady diet of Lacy and Starks, and squeezing just enough juice out of A-Rod’s recovering air raid to coast comfortably into the next round. Kirk Cousins and the Washingtons were kinda like Leo here, at the Golden Globes: they won their division, had home-field against the Pack, everyone was lauding them for pulling through the RGIII fiasco.

They’re laughing, they’re having a good time, sitting nearer the top than they’ve been in a while. Meanwhile Rodgers and the Pack were like Lady Gaga: they just hadn’t looked like their typically dangerous self after blazing to a 6-0 start to the season before dropping 4 of their next 5 and finishing 2nd in the NFC North.

But oh, never forget about the beautiful power of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, as they approach laughing Leo/Washington all the way from the forgotten back, shimmering the entire way as they (purposefully?) knock the Snyder’s over-extended elbow out of the way, smirking a triumphant return to the next round with a future full of promise, leaving Leo and the Snyders meekly grimacing in their wake.


Selfishly Sprayed Tweets Peak at Past Week

New Year Breeze: Hope Frees, CFB Semis & NFL Regular Finale

We’re in the singularly scintillating time of season for college foot-bowl semifinals (blowouts), NFL playoff-slot finalization, the carnage of NFL coach elimination, and the eternally springing hope of a New Year’s clear determination to do different, better: thinner, happier, more productive. Filled with the freshly-fallen inspiration of life enchantment , still untainted by time’s gritty-truth-cycle, I’d like to offer this re-working (ruining) of New Year’s classic tune as a gift from hope’s fleeting seat, or a garish gargle of peril to come, depending on if you feel the beat, sung: *(To the tune of “Auld Lang Syne“)* Should bubbly bottles be full-bought, as fizz post-pop floats on; Ice trays refilling drinks all night, some drunks last long past dawn; Thy Chicken Breasts be microwav’d, skat jazz speak best left behind; And friendly faces to deflect, from jocks Time thought divine. *(If you don’t like this rhyme-mime let Mr. Tom Waits tell you what’s fine and divine between New Year grime)


Link Dinks and Dunks No surprise, OSU’s sometimes QB Cardale going proA look at ‘Bama’s stud in the fading fullback field…Who will watch the playoff on New Year’s fricking Eve?…Auburn tops Memphis in Birmingham Bowl…Nice video on the world of East St. Louis (MO.) High School football

CFB Game of the Week: $$$2 Alabama 38 vs. #3 Michigan State 0 (Cotton Bowl – CFB Semi) If you didn’t know the final score and only saw the first couple drives for each team, you might’ve thought this game played out as a low-scoring, grind-it-out, defensive affair. Of course, you’d be wronger than ketchup on cereal as Alabama quickly adjusted to Sparty’s D mostly suffocating stud RB Derrick Henry by countering with QB Coker to flossy-Freshman WR Calvin Ridley, opening the floodgates from a weapons-grade warehouse of whoop-ass. I weep for East Lansing a bit, as the “little-brother” tag they’d seemed to have shed by (barely) beating Michigan, Ohio State, winning the Big Ten title and making the Playoff has now come creeping back since being so thoroughly outclassed against ‘Bama.

The same tired (but partially true) storylines of “Vastly superior SEC line play stomps Spartan hopes” and “Alabama’s stockpile of seasoned 5-star recruits smashes MSU’s overachievers” have already begun to spin out of control, and I just hope we can all remember how great Alabama is and how no one can take away the massive step Michigan State’s program has taken recently, now sitting comfortably among college football’s elite. Perhaps some teams are just perpetual media underdogs, no matter how consistently excellent they are.

Perhaps the Carolina Panthers would’ve gotten smashed by this Crimson Tide machine, which now appears enroute to its 4th national championship title in the past 7 years, once those pesky Clemson Tigers get out of the way.

One Play From the Game, My Way: Derrick Henry trucks Shilique Calhoun to end Sparty’s evening, season THIS IS WHAT I’M DOING TO DEPRESSION, DISTRACTION, AND INACTION IN 2016 MSU’s outstanding DE, Shilique Calhoun is the player Derrick Henry so effortlessly flings to the field in the Vine above. Shilique Calhoun will likely be a 1st or 2nd-Round pick in this April’s NFL Draft, was a 2nd-team All-American this past year, and is “oh-by-the-way” 24 years old. In other words, he’s a bona-fide beast with age and size on his side.

However, Derrick Henry is this year’s Heisman winner, touting a mutant stregth-size-speed combination and a left-handed stiff-arm made of malice and built to bust egos. This is just one play from many, and things happen so fast in games that it’s terribly unfair to slow them down, slap ’em on a repeating Vine, and have the outstanding player quickly beaten in a singular instance seem as though his soul was stolen and smashed by a superior. I hope this is understood.

Having said that, it’s impossible to ignore the synchronicity captured in this moment of ill-will Bama’s RB visits upon Calhoun and the overall terror the Crimson Tide forced down Sparty’s throats all day long. Bama didn’t just beat MSU, they flippantly tossed them aside, just as Henry does here. Calhoun’s attempt to tackle here isn’t even a minor annoyance to Henry, who’s seemingly considering what he’ll do with his NFL millions as he trucks through the air toward pay-dirt.

One of the most amazing feats exhibited in this burst of beasting, is how Henry not only shoves Calhoun to the ground via his face while running at full speed, but how he manages to u-turn the entire trajectory of an explosive, 6’5″, 250-pound athlete trying with everything he has to impede the runner’s progress. At the end of the tackling attempt, Henry displays once again the amazingly-casual brutishness (with which he seems to always play) in this scoring run, while Calhoun’s moving the opposite way of whence he came, exemplary of these teams’ opposing trajectories after the trouncing.

3 Joke-thoughts Inspired by the Above Vine: 1. If your New Year’s resolution is to be healthy, this is how strictly you must treat sweets and fast food 2. Public Service Announcement for Children: This is how to treat strangers with candy 3. This is what my mind does to the occasional desire for self-improvement

One other nice play from the game: Calvin Ridley TD catch vs. tight coverage exemplifying the fight ever-present, natural within football, competition

Let the Bowls Continue! (Selected Bowl Roundup)

#1 Clemson vs. #4 Oklahoma (Orange Bowl – CFB Semifinal)
Watson makes Sooners scheme seem an elementary education, as Tigers roll on to Tide and ‘O-homa takes a forced vacation

Navy vs. Pittsburgh (Military)
Cadets’ QB K. Reynolds makes Narduzzi’s new nuts rusty with NCAA TD record in hand and victory glad

Baylor vs. UNC (Russell Athletic)
Baylor beats the Tar outta Academic Heels

LSU vs. Texas Tech (Texas)
Lenny F. jets Tech back to rec specs, Tigers spoil oil money fun

Houston vs. FSU (Peach)
Cougars luger cold pie to Seminoles, Herman on path to Holy Role

Michigan vs. Florida (Citrus)
First-year coaches bowl shows Harbaugh shoulders above, Wolverines give Gators the glove

Notre Dame vs. Ohio State (Fiesta)
Battle of dissed playoff misses confirms Buckeyes better than most that matter, splatter Irish

Stanford vs. Iowa (Rose)
Ed did good in spurting Christian (McCaffrey), as old Bronco seed produces current Cardinal deeds destroying Hawkeye’s needs

Ole Miss vs. Oklahoma St. (Sugar)
Rebels Freeze Gundy’s Monday Morning Men, send Cowboys back to poking cows


NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week Chip Kelly somewhat surprisingly canned in Philly…The rest of the “Black Monday” coaching firesManziel out at Cleveland, lusts for Jerry-dome…Steve Smith Sr. coming back to the Ravens in ‘16…How will ‘Bama’s Heisman-winning workhorse RB Derrick Henry…A look at the future of virtual reality in football

NFL Game of the Week

Seahawks 36 vs. Cardinals 6 With Arizona already earning the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs, it wouldn’t have shocked anyone for them to come out a little flat against Seattle on Sunday night. It was surprising, however, to see the team in red appear limper than a soggy tater-tot, slogging (apparently) through thick soup (dry heat?) while Seattle soared in, over, and around the Cardinals to a dominating win. Russel Wilson was his recently-unstoppable self, completing 19 of 28 passes for three scores, 4 kittens saved from trees, 2 robberies thwarted, and 650 hope-filled inspirations instilled throughout the United States. Tyler Lockett jitter-bugged past would-be special team heroes in the return game, the Seahawks stifled Carson Palmer’s aerial attack, and that fearsome Seattle defense shut down impressive ‘Zona RB David Johnson from the get-go, leading to a wire-to-wire destruction of a team that just last week looked like the best team in the NFL. What this says for the playoff hopes of both teams is anyone’s guess. Was Seattle just working its way through a typically tough regular season, honing, tinkering, just trying to stay healthy, and now in prime form for a thrice-repeat run to the Super Bowl? Was Arizona really just sleepwalking through this game with their immediate playoff fate already sealed, resting their excellence until it matters most? More importantly, do they have the transcendent and fleeting ability of very few to “turn it on” when they want and need to? Only time will tell those of us lucky to live to see it all unfold.

One Game-Defining Play, My Way: Sherman Waxes Poetic Given this game was such a thorough Cardinal ass-kicking by the Seahawks, and reflective of those pesky CFB semifinal blowouts , I’m just gonna leave this right here as a symbol of what played out in many parts of the country this past week. Despite some lopsided scores, it was still thrilling brilliance.


NFL Results Roundup

Jets @ Bills
Rexy Bison Boar ruins the hopes of Jersey Shore, eats more than lap band prefers in celebre

Patriots @ Dolphins
Tannehill thrills South Beach with Fins win and Belichick encouraged to suck a Peach

Saints @ Falcons
Brees keeps saying “Suck deez” too late, but berates ATL on boards of score

Ravens @ Bengals
Ray-J McKieran leads the B’s past the B’s, AJ to AJ mentions refuse to end

Steelers @ Browns
Big Knee Braced-Ben beats Browns, then Cleveland fires everyone

Jags @ Texans
Texas Open-carries and tea-bags Jags, we all wear paper face-bags

Titans @ Colts
Pagano’s (supposedly) fiery-seat beats Tennessee dreams of avoiding defeat

Washington @ Cowboys
Cousins crew keeps rolling, apparently Saban’s Crimson Tide have won more in the Jerry-dome this year than the ‘Boys, true story

Eagles @ Giants
Coughlin set to resign? Eagles lose Chip on shoulder but push win boulder uphill, sneak thrill over NYG

Lions @ Bears
Deeeeeetroiiiiiit fooooootballll beats Chi-town’s blustery bullshit

Bucs @ Panthers
Cam-town recovers from last week’s surprising upset and smokes Tampa, ample

Raiders @ Chiefs
Close contest but Reid knows best with KC beating Oakland’s tease

Chargers @ Broncos
The Return of Peyton brings Broncos to beat electric-&-soon-to-be-LA Chargers

Seahawks @ Cardinals
Carroll’s curmudgeons put Palmer in the defeat dungeon, beat the hell outta AZ

Rams @ 49ers
San Fran takes Tomsula from also ran to run Saint Louis to South Cali egregiously

Vikings @ Packers
Peterson wins rushing crown, powers Teddy and the Gang past the Artist Formerly Known as Aaron Rodgers

Selfishly Sprayed Tweets from the Peak

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)

Monday Morning Breeze: Transcendent Travel, Fights, & Cycles Sing

Movement, everywhere, all around and within us. Internal body motions and external Earth rotations. Cycles and surges are everywhere, whether or not we’re aware. Conor McGregor got the “movement” movement, well, moving last week with his blink-and-you-miss-it UFC knockout, and perhaps that subconsciously inspired my own travel as I up and left lovely Austin, TX for a 24-hour trek to Frederick, MD where I now lay my head. Apart from an hour-long nap in a beautiful Sears parking lot in even more beautiful Texarkana, it was just me, my 1999 Ford Escort, the same four songs playing in between radio fuzz, and the promise of knowing if I keep pushing the pedal eventually I’d reach my destination.

Though football seasons always feel to fans like they fly, they’re also a long slog just like driving alone through the night, with the promise of playoffs providing hope at the slowly approaching end of the tunnel. We’re nearing that cycle of the season for both college and the pros. College bowl season kicks off this week and the Big Playoffs draw near on New Year’s Eve while the NFL’s pretenders are sifting out, leaving the real contenders standing at the doorstep of the Shield’s field-tourney in just a couple weeks.

This week I learned Memphis has a big pyramid, driving solo for distance makes road reality seem a video game, and change’s cyclical ways do wonders for a weary head. Where does this season lead? What does it all mean? Who the hell knows? But it sure is fun to watch everything play out, on the field and in the day’s yield.

Happy Celebration Times to all!



Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

QB’s Gone Wild! Stud Texas A&M QB’s Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray both to transfer from Sumlin’s kingdom…Suspended stud Florida QB Will Grier to transfer as well…Michigan State remains the Rodney Dangerfield (“No respect!”) of CFB as Sports Freaking Illustrated misidentifies HC Mark Dantonio on THE COVER…Speaking of MSU, here’s a great look at their next-level AD Mark HollisBig recruiting win for Georgia’s fresh HC Kirby Smart, keeping the pledge of highly-rated QB Jacob Eason…SI’s top 10 CFB moments of 2015 in video form…Clemson’s Dabo continues to seem like the most fun coach to play for, renting an entire amusement park for his team…Surprising early end to dominant Ole Miss DE’s college career…Nasty Arizona LB Scooby going proBaylor’s bowl be a little more boring without freakish WR Coleman, RB Shock

Let the Bowls Begin! (CFB Roundup)

Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl

North Carolina A&T 41, Alcorn State34

Non-Tarheels topple the place known as “McNair went there”

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Arizona 45, New Mexico 37

Anu ‘Zona was gonna make the Lobos loss hobos in their home bowl


Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl

Utah 35, BYU 28

Holy War produces close score, but Utes do a bit more to evade those Cougars’ lusty eyes

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Appalachian State 31, Ohio 29

The team that beat Michigan once beats Peter King’s alma mater, the (Bobcat) Goldthwaits

Cure Bowl

San Jose State 27, Georgia State 16

Pretty amazing an 80’s emo-ish band has a bowl game named after it, houses SJSU’s big FU to peaches

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Louisiana Tech 47, Arkansas State 28

The place where Troy Edwards broke all those records once upon a time smokes a team that states it can saw the Ark


Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Great look at the unique friendship between the NFL and NBA’s best, Cam and Steph…More shade thrown the Patriots Way….Future NFL’ers to watch during Bowl Season…Would Gronk still be Gronk without Belichick’s touch?…Remember the Raiders’ Robbins fleeing the scene pre-Super Bowl?…Richard Sherman’s idea to fix officiating…


NFL Game of the Week

Panthers vs. Giants

Carolina’s been steamrolling through their schedule this year, maintaining their perch atop the league as the final unbeaten still standing being led by Superman Himself (or Global Media Brand or something like that) Cam Newton, the clear-cut MVP of the Panthers and probably the entire NFL. New York’s Football Giants have been their typical uncertain selves, playing up and down to the competition and everywhere in between while somehow remaining in the playoff race due to the NFC East being a steaming pile of dog mess this season. Are they underachieving? Dangerous? The team nobody wants to see in the playoffs? Is Eli done? Coughlin too old? Does Pierre-Paul now have the answer to the eternal questions posed in this Cake song? It’s tough to tell with this team, but no matter what it felt like the G-men would stand and deliver in this game, and they didn’t disappoint.

This matchup would also allow for the popcorn movie magic of seeing the game’s best CB (Carolina’s Josh Norman) and (arguably) the best WR (Giants’ Odell Beckam Jr.) go head to head for most of the day. They’re both incredibly intense, fiercely competitive, and the Alpha-est of Alpha dogs so the day’s most certain thing was both would show ready to perform, and with an animosity that was almost palpable through my 10-year old television, perform they did. However, their performance was both athletic, brilliant, and of the WWE-style as there were many instances of shared-facemask-grabbing and “punches” thrown and tussling after the play. Of course, there was that one play which will certainly be the focus of mainstream media today, along with a million “Is ODB out of control?” and “How could Coughlin not reign him in?” think-pieces for which we have no concern or interest, but that one vital play in which ODB really behaved like the dirty bastard he shares an acro-name with we must dive deeper, so we shall just below.

In the end New York showed up as we all hoped and turned this game into a heavyweight slugfest, with Carolina doing most of the slugging for much of the game until those Giants chose to sleep no longer and began a furious comeback down 28 points in the 2nd half, capped by a lovely Beckham Jr. TD catch (against Norman) to tie the game late, only to see hope vanish and Carolina continue to vanquish with a clutch 43-yard FG by Graham Gano as time expired to seal the Panther victory.

Carolina Panthers 38 – New York Giants 35

One Game-Defining Play, My Way: Norman vs. Beckham Jr.

To set proper context, please head here to see the Norman/ODB fisticuffs and the spear heard ‘round the world all in one cozy place.

Let me begin by saying this: Beckham’s attempted decapitation of a relatively defenseless Norman was dirty as hell and kinda gross. Having said that, it didn’t feel as completely out of nowhere as everyone seems to think in the post-game reflection dance. Norman and ODB Jr. are both incredibly dominant athletes, both arguably the best in the world at what they do, and their positions just happened to match them head-to-head in this great game, forcing them to compete directly with each for Sunday’s superiority. Wide receivers are notorious prima-donna’s, all balletic brilliance bounding between the boundaries, and cornerbacks their defensive counterpart, famously “living on the island” alone in the secondary with attention coming in droves due to their duty, only the attention forever skewing between the hot fame of shutting down an offensive attack or the shame of being victimized by passing fancy.

Imagine for 5 seconds the mindset one must have to succeed in those positions, in an already ruthless sport and league and fame-fishbowl that is the NFL’s glorious Sunday parade. The brightest of bright spotlights burn eternally on great WR’s and CB’s, and pitting the (likely) defensive player of the year against one of the league’s most transcendently talented athletes, a player who seems to seek and relish the mania of media more than most with American fawning over the explosion of ODB after just his rookie year (“He’s invited to fashion shows! He’s taking over Polamalu’s Head n’ Shoulders ‘poo Crown! His TD hurdler celebration was creative and better form than Olympian Lolo! He’s having the best offseason EVER!”) was certain to be a comedy of intimidation and exciting athletic genius, a figurative fist fight that became literal.

Seeing these two tussle and eventually ODB cross the line in attempting to concuss the entirety of Norman’s being reminded me of Mike Tyson quote talking to an apoplectic public about how he could be so crazy outside of the ring. I’ll have to completely paraphrase but his response was basically: “What do you expect? You celebrated me for being an animal in the ring, for instilling fear in the world while leaving carnage in my wake. This behavior made me rich and famous so long as it was confined to boxing but it’s impossible to foster that hungry maniac for heavyweight dominance and expect a human to be able to keep it confined to the agreed upon battleground inside the arena.” Of course the ugliness and raw energy so apparent in the raging, excellent Tyson would spill out in other displays, and of course the slithery media narrative that helped build Tyson into “Iron Mike” would turn its back, wring its hands and say “What a monster! He must be caged/stopped/laughed at!”

The Norman/Beckham Jr. matchup was a streetfight to be sure, and we shouldn’t be surprised it turned out that way and I’m not even surprised at Beckham’s spear-job. It was a punky play, definitely, but it was born out of a competition and desire to dominate so great I can’t even imagine the fire burning within both men. Norman did a better job of keeping his cool, but ODB’s explosive ways are what he’s celebrated for. Watch how he plays, how he runs with the ball, it’s always intense as hell  and explosive. Of course he’s also amazingly graceful, perhaps the most agile player in the league and the beauty of his ability to receive the ball (those hands!) in every form and fashion possible may deceivingly put a shiny sheen over the fiery rage so evident in his approach to the game. Let’s keep in mind Norman is no angel either; check out this story on how he proudly promotes his pre-game prep, talks about going to his “dark place”. Also, from that piece:

When you talk me up, get me going, I get to another place,” Norman said. “I feel disrespected, like that must mean I suck, which I don’t.”

Knowing a bit about the mindset of these two helps remove the mystery of their display yesterday. In the end Beckham Jr. lost his cool and Norman was able to maintain, and while Beckham Jr. was clutch in beating Norman for the game-tying TD late, Norman’s Panthers got the win which will certainly singe ODB even more. I’m definitely not mad at either, not even Beckham Jr. for what happened yesterday, because the furious pool those punches and punkiness came from is the same one which drives him to excellence. I’m just happy to be able to watch two elite athletes at their best inside the brightest boiler room. But, ODB, next time stick to face-to-face fighting amid football fun, ok?


NFL Results Roundup

Buccaneers vs. Rams (Thursday)

Future Angeleno Rams slam Tampa, make Bucs stank as Winston walks the plank

Jets vs. Cowboys (Saturday)

Dallas continues to play like dirty doody with backup QB’s, fall once more to Jersey Shore

Panthers vs. Giants

G-men scare de cats, but Cam’s kicker man Graham wins it for Charlotte in the end

Chiefs vs. Ravens

Reid’s steeds smoke Poe’s punks

Titans vs. Patriots

Gronk keeps gronking and New England proves mightier than sinking Titanics

Bills vs. Washington

Snyder’s skin may be oily and gross, but his team toasts the Bills with the boastful coach

Texans vs. Colts

Boy O’Brien keeps fledgling oil boys trending right as Houston tops the Colts who seem to’ve no fight

Falcons vs. Jags

Luke-warm-lanta wins the battle of crapitude, being slightly less crappy than the Jax-holes

Bears vs. Vikings

Vikes strike early and often to stomp the Butkus bros

Browns vs. Seahawks

Seattle rains points on the Brown stains, stay hot, clinch playoff spot

Packers vs. Raiders

Are Rodgers and the Pack back? Don’t know about that, but they best Oaktown clowns

Bengals vs. 49ers

Dalton-less cats make clear the 9ers need a counsela for Tomsula

Dolphins vs. Chargers

Rivers makes the fins cry him, as Burgundy’s boys belittle the Ace Venturas

Broncos vs. Steelers

Ben’s better than Brock in the battle of the B-boys and Pit gives Denver fits

Cardinals vs. Eagles

Palmer’s pigeons were itchin’ for an ass-kickin’, and they hand-deliver one to Kelly’s bumbling Balboas

Lions vs. Saints (Monday Night Football Prediction)

Stafford smooches stellar stats and smokes Brees like trees, Cats stump slumping Saints leave coal lump in their throats

How Win Friends and Influence Christmas



PS: This week’s release of Star Wars seems to have permeated each bit of reality, as these road signs were all over Nashville (forgive the crappy picture, I was driving at the time). If you can’t read it, the sign says “Drinking & Driving is the Path to the Dark Side.”


Monday Morning Breeze: Football is a Phenomenon

This weekend college football is nearly asleep, apart from the Heisman ceremony (Derrick Henry) and our military homage with the always entertaining Army – Navy game. While the playoff is set with incredible matchups soon to come, we must wait for New Year’s Eve to learn what is the final sum.

However, the NFL takes no such break as these players are professionals and actually (ideally), properly compensated for their efforts. I love watching these amazing dudes smash their precious, fragile brains and bodies weekly for our entertainment, because there’s nothing else in the world like witnessing it, as a fan, as a movement, as a television phenomenon. We watched to see if Cam’s cats would stay unbeaten, if the Seahawks are really on the up-and-up, if all that 3rd-string action made Johnny Football a better QB, and much more. Let’s dive in to the weekend that was…


Great games to come soon once bowling begins, for for this week we turned our attention to the nation’s servicemen and servicewomen.

College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Alabama RB Derrick Henry wins this year’s Heisman in close vote over Stanford’s Christian McCaffery, headlines 2015 All-American team…Ole Miss’ stud DE falls 4 floors and is ok!?…Navy’s electric QB Keenan Reynolds sets all-time CFB rushing TD record in win over Army…Coaching carousel updates, including DUKE’s own Scottie Montgomery in at ECU and Greg Schiano’s return (D-coord.) to CFB at Ohio State…

The Only College Game This Week


Navy 21 – Army 17

85 rush TD’s is hard to conceive, even with option-3, but Keenan is one to believe, Navy nips Cadets


The umpteenth week where everything went crazy, and things were difficult to predict again.

NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

The rise of Allen Robinson…Great look at what it was like screening the “Concussion” movie with ex-NFL’ersColts’ Punter pays for local powerGiant DE released for fight over headphones, more…Nice interview, retrospective with Raiders’ CB Charles WoodsonRussell Wilson’s sister is good at sports too

NFL Game of the Week

red rifle

Steelers 33 – Bengals 20

Here’s One Play that Defined the Game, My Way: AJ Green Toasts Punk DB: So, yayaya the Bengals got smoked and Andy Dalton busted his thumb trying to tackle a huge player that’d just intercepted his pass and AJ (McCarron) to AJ (Green) is a fun but probably unsustainable sideshow endangering the Bengals for a bit, but I’m going to focus on a karmic turn of events irrelevant of the final score, because it’s that important. The lesson, rule, Law of Nature: Don’t talk shit and mess with someone that’s way better than you, because (God-willing) they’ll quickly smite you and make you look stupid on national TV. Case in point: #41 Antown Blake, Pittsburgh’s corner covering AJ Green for part of the day was clearly caught up in the chippy-ness of this game. PIT’s Vontaze Burfict, no stranger to breaking the rules of being a sportsman, got things heated up pregame by eyeing-down and trash-talking the Bengals during warm-ups, and there were slap-fights and extra-hits galore in this game, as would be expected in this contest between two of the tougher towns and teams in the good ol’ U Ess of A. Basically, they don’t like each other. So, it wasn’t completely out of context when Blake power-slammed Green after a short catch with extra oomph along the sideline, garnering an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and (more importantly) Green’s full attention and ire. Nor was it totally out of the question (but a shady play) for Blake to thump a defenseless Bengals receiver over the middle on a clearly impossible to catch incompletion shortly thereafter. But not too much later,  a clearly fired up Green got revenge for all things holy and righteous in the world (Watch it again, look for the concealed revenge rage clearly powering Green’s steam as he looks back just before crossing the goal line, though nary a gloat to find in the esteemed receiver). Filed under “Thank Powers Greater than Us” Karma Police, in the form of AJ Green, went ahead and arrested that Blake man, beating him badly for the gorgeous 66-yard catch-and-run TD witnessed above. There was no chance in the world AJ was not catching that ball and getting tackled before scoring. It was as certain and natural as gravity. Green caught, he shamed, he conquered, and pirouetted around Blake’s assisted-yet-feeble attempt at stopping inevitability then waltzed into the end zone for a TD that mattered more in the reputation rankings than NFL standings. Either way, AJ Green, I applaud you for punking punky play, keeping hope alive, and providing us with the redeeming sight of a buster solemnly, silently watching his opponent score at his expense.

NFL Results Roundup

Vikings @ Cardinals (Thursday)

‘Zona busts Peterson’s bonah, continue winning with the world in Palmer’s hand

Saints @ Bucs

New Orleans remembers what it’s like to win, pin Winston as Brees leads to V

Chargers @ Chiefs

Alex’s Apaches win late to defeat Rivers’ DIsciples

Falcons @ Panthers

So, Cam’s great, the Panthers seem purrrty great, smash the hell outta ATL and stay unbeaten

Seahawks @ Ravens

Pete’s peeps keep rolling along with their annual Resurgence campaign, smoke Poe

Redskins @ Bears

Cousins keeps cruising, bruising Bears and Cutler’s sluts in Washington’s win

Lions @ Rams

Detroit loses this one in more traditional fashion, Rams blam Lions (lambs)

Bills @ Eagles

Shady vs. Chip yields a great game, but Rexy falls short and Sammy slams a win for Philly

49ers @ Browns

The City hits a new Brown note as Cleveland’s Johnnies stomp San Fran

Titans @ Jets

New Yorkers’ Snark trumps Nashville’s Charm, shaved Fitz smacks Marcus Hawaii

Colts @ Jaguars

Bortles bestows gift of shame upon Indy, tosses trillions of TD’s and obliterates the Horseshoes

Raiders @ Broncos

(Sings) “Return of the Mack” or perhaps debut, as Khalil makes (5 sacks!) do-do of Brock’s Broncos

Cowboys @ Packers

“Discount Double-Check this dick” shouts (thought) Rodgers while helping Dez drop ‘Boys Club

Patriots @ Texans

Gronk clonks back, stomps Billy’s boys as Pats regain Super-form

Giants @ Dolphins (Monday Night Football Prediction)

Eli’s face and Ricky Three-Fingers defeat ‘Fins as Tannehill continues to sin

PM to Donald Trump’s Central Nervous System

trump middle

Monday Morning Breeze: College ‘Chips and NFL Winter Dips

Sometimes the parallels between life and these splendid sport displays are too loud to ignore.

Yesterday, when walking around the city (Austin) I came across a couple random dudes that’d just jumped (illegally) off the main (Congress) bridge into the frigid Colorado River which bisects the downtown portion of the city. It was a random moment in a rapidly-changing town that I just happened to catch, yet it contextualized the city and the day in its own special way. Two bike-kids popping off their wheels to flee the scene of cement and soar into unknown waters far beneath, for glee. It reminded me of this weekend’s football significance, with college teams hopefully plunging into waters of uncertain depth and temperature, hoping to return to the surface as league champions and playoff participants. Similarly, the NFL action called for the consistent competition that comes with our beloved professional game; pitting healthy, hot teams against the those lurking in the coldest waters, always looking to strike despite what the record beside their nickname might say.

‘Tis the season for organizational heathens leaving pink slips on the desks of disappointing coaches country-wide, and championship pursuit pictures getting clearer with Time’s guide. Regardless of the ugly sides of this football guide, we thankfully sigh knowing entertainment lies once again on the full weekend’s tide with Saturday, Sunday, and Monday offering welcome rides to the truths turf-tussling provides.

In the college ranks, we’ve already seen the coaching turnstile spinning round and round, with massive shake-ups at schools big and small. We’ve also heavily anticipated this championship weekend, as if the weeks leading to this Saturday were conjecture-filled opening/closing arguments for who belonged in the College Football Playoffs, this weekend would provide the jury’s decision, finally offering the truest clarity of the Four-tunate teams that’d go on to compete for college football’s holiest grail.

In the NFL, games continue chugging along with each week promising the delight and defiance showcased in a league built on the ideal of parity, in loud contrast to College Football’s “Mostly Big, Old Powers Rule” system. Post Sunday-Monday-smashing we’d learn if the Seahawks or Vikings were more for real, if the Panthers could remain the NFL’s sole undefeated in New Orleans, if Philadelphia is as bad as they seem facing the Super Patriots, and more and more and more.

So here’s what happened…


Championship Saturday’s here! The conjectured smoke we’ve made will finally clear. On. The. Field.

College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

The College Football Playoff is set…HEAD COACHING TURNSTILE UPDATE: Mark Richt heads to Miami, where I think he’ll dominate…Alabama’s DC Kirby Smart off to replace Richt in Georgia…Nice SI (Staples’) piece on Smart’s potential at UGA…Will Muschamp gets another HC shot at South Carolina…DJ Durkin leaving UofM(ichigan) for another UofM(aryland)…BYU’s Mendenhall off to mend Virginia…Syracuse to hire Bowling Green’s Dino BabersRutgers to hire OSU DC Chris Ash?…LSU to hire the coach they already had, Les Miles (great article)…Standout PITT RB James Conner, already out for the season w/a knee injury, diagnosed with Lymphoma

CFB Game of the Week

#4 Iowa vs. #5 MSU (B1G Championship Game)

Of all the championship games taking place Saturday, this one was the only clear-cut “win and you’re in the playoff” scenario for both teams participating. MSU, coming off a massive win over at-that-time-undefeated for 23-games Ohio State and a pummeling of Penn State, was rolling strong and appeared to be on a warpath to the Playoff. Meanwhile, Iowa’s been humming along in relative obscurity all year, except for those taking potshots at the Hawkeyes’ mediocre schedule and claiming they lack proof for being counted among the nation’s elite. For each, this game was a chance to quiet naysayers. In MSU’s case, forever playing second-fiddle to the University of Michigan in its own state (even as MSU’s been superior for years) has created a little-brother complex the Spartans seem ready to shed, and this game’s potential for granting MSU a spot in the CFP would lift any lingering question marks about their legitimacy as a national power. On the other hand, Iowa’s vanilla offense and vanilla schedule have created a mostly vanilla reception from the national audience relative to their elite status. If they could beat a mostly-proven opponent in MSU, on the Big Ten championship stage, it’d quiet almost each (but not all) negative Nancy and push them into the even brighter lights of the College Football Playoff.

LJ Use

#5 MSU 16 – #4 Iowa 13

Here’s One Play that Defined the Game, My Way:

  1. Sparty’s Longest Drive, Longest Yard, Long-Awaited Playoff Berth:

Click here to watch the play of the game.

We could talk all about the defensive slugfest this game predictably turned out to be. We could talk all about the resilience of Michigan State all year exhibited again here, the toughness of Iowa showing up on the big stage proving they belong listed among the nation’s elite, but we should only talk about one play. This play capped the one drive that mattered in this evening’s contest: Michigan State’s game-ending, 22-play, 82-yard drive that took 9 minutes and 42 seconds off the 4th-quarter clock, finishing with a battle comprised within a run that exemplified the entire game up to that point. Two teams playing disciplined, defensive, program-identity-laden football eventually being decided by this amazing gasp of human exertion by MSU’s Freshman RB LJ Scott.

For an outsider, this was the perfect play-nugget to decide and explain this B1G championship contest between two defensive-centric, heavyweight-slugging teams. This running play, given to Scott heading off the right tackle, into a swarm of Iowa defenders, appeared to have been smothered behind the coveted goal line. However, just like Michelangelo’s depiction of spiritual swine Divine and Man touching digits in the “Hand of God”, LJ Scott would not be denied a connection with his fate, with his Ultimate Understanding. Just like Man must twist and collide and pivot and spin and eventually strive to stretch past His hurdles in Life, LJ managed to do so past the Hawkeye’s defensive contingent, reaching the rock over the blessed white line into the end zone, Heaven, Enlightenment, and all that’s holy in the B1G’s championship dossier. Watch it once and you’ll probably see a hard-nosed football play. Watch it twice, perhaps your eyes can catch the human pursuit of peace and perfection, hope’s resurrection, time’s exalted collection of the homo-sapien struggle, all contained within one foray of this funny football snuggle.

At the End of the Day: CFB’s Top 25 Went this Way (Rankings via Official College Football Playoff Poll)

#4 Iowa vs. #5 MSU (B1G Championship)

Spartans strong, win with one loooong final drive and outstretched RB arm, on to the Playoff

#12 Baylor vs. Texas

Charlie makes strong, season-ending statement besting beat up Bears in Koresh’s House

#19 Houston vs. #22 Temple (AAC Championship)

Herman’s Coug’s run Owls back east, clinch ‘ship and hopeful future with new 5-year HC deal

#1 Clemson vs. #10 UNC (ACC Championship)

Tigers remain undefeated, decleating Carolina, Dabo dances finah than Fedora

#2 Alabama vs. #18 Florida (SEC Championship)

Bama whamma’s Gators gains, screams victory from Mobile plains enroute to Playoff

#7 Stanford vs. #20 USC (Pac-12 Championship)

Card’s ride McCaffery’s record-setting (all-time yardage) son, may’ve won himself the Heisman


Teams Keep Smashing Each Other in Fast, Fun, Frightening Ways

NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

God-damned Lions lose on this crazy play to the Pack…We know JJ Watt’s good, but outperforming Buffalo’s entire D-Line good?…Great look at how the NFL’s money train keep rolling, no matter what…Rams’ WR Stedman Bailey recovering miraculously from gunshot wounds to the head…Panthers’ CB Josh Norman on how he gets his game face on…

NFL Game of the Week

Seahawks @ Vikings

Minnesota red-carpeted to this game on a roll, winning 6 of their last 8 games, leading the NFC North and riding a rejuvenated Adrian Peterson fresh off his massive suspension last year to a dominant season thus far. Meanwhile, Seattle has struggled to regain the form that saw them to the last two Super Bowls, missing out on a repeat chance due to one (very) questionable goal-line offensive play call against New England. The Seahawks had rebounded from a rough 0-2 start to the season to 2-3, and now regaining their championship form on a 2-game winning streak. Who’s momentum would continue after this meeting of two of the warmer teams in the League? Could the ‘Hawks D slow down the Peterson train (yes)? Could Minnesota contain Russell Wilson (no)?


Seattle 38 – Minnesoooootaahhh 7

One Play that Defined the Game, My Way:

  1. Russell Wilson Spins the Game, Vikings, on His Fingers:

Click here to watch the play of the game.

Much has been (rightfully) made of Steph Curry’s dominance of the NBA recently, including this glowing NY Times’ piece getting the similarly glowing reviews from professional ballet dancers on Steph’s footwork and exploits. If there’s anyone in the NFL that can offer such a consistently entertaining, fleet of foot viewing experience it’s Seattle’s QB Russell Wilson. On a key 3rd down play during SEA’s first scoring drive against the Vikings, Wilson’s Curry-like ways were on full display as he rolled left and was rudely confronted by Minnesota’s DE, #99 Danielle Hunter. Wilson, in response to potentially being mauled, chose to feign a quick cut right, seemingly planning to return whence he came for greener pastures. His juke so convincing the ultra-athletic (and jacked) Hunter sought to cut Russell off at the pass, for a likely sack, glory, and end of the Seahawks’ potential TD drive. Unfortunately for Hunter, and Viking fans worldwide, Wilson was merely setting him up, like Reggie Miller getting free for another open 3 or a mark getting took by the Vegas shark that’s lurked longer, better, and quickly spun back to his left, revealing a wide-open patchwork of turf he’d quickly sprint across, gaining a valuable first down and ultimately a Seahawks touchdown. It appeared effortless, perfect balance maintained throughout, as though Wilson was Kasparov playing chess with a beginner, knowing all along the trap he needed to set for a quick victory. This is just one play, but it resembled the entire afternoon of this Seattle blowout victory, as Wilson was at his best all day, controlling the pace of the game, distributing the ball effectively, and being electric when he had to. Don’t count out the ‘Hawks just yet, thanks to Wilson’s balletic brilliance, that’s a play I won’t soon forget.

NFL Results Roundup

Packers vs. Lions (Thursday Night)

McCarthyism wins in miracle fashion, Pack smack Lions back down with shocking Hail Aaron

Texans @ Bills

Rexy’s boys finally get win machine turned on, top Texans and turn tons of pressure on Billy’s butt

Falcons @ Buccaneers

Rookie QB’s rule today, with Winston rolling once more to a win over Matt “Not Good” Ice

Jaguars @ Titans

Mr. Mariota runs looooong past Jacksonville, cast Jags in a losing suit once more

Jets @ Giants

Despite another lovely ODB Jr. long TD, Jets with the battle of New York, see?

Cardinals @ Rams

If you haven’t noticed yet, ‘Zona’s good and they pull the hood over Rams’ heads again

49ers @ Bears

Gabbert shows he’s a fast white dude, excludes Cutler from that category & the one named WIN

Bengals @ Browns

How’s that Manziel punishment going? Dalton’s smash baby Browns, make clowns of CLE frowns

Ravens @ Dolphins

Will Smith’s win over the Poe’s in the city of Southern Sin

Broncos @ Chargers

Brock bowls a nice game again, smacks Future Los Angeles Chargers hard

Chiefs @ Raiders

Reid’s steeds beat Al’s young pals, KC craters Raiders

Panthers @ Saints

Cam’s Cats stay undefeated, gut-punch hope-depleted Stains du Nu Orlosin’s

Eagles @ Patriots

Chip shows college football how much he loves NFL by bringing hell to 2-loss-in-a-row Belichicks

Colts @ Steelers

Big Ben busts Hasselbeck’s butt so bad, the Colts can’t remember Luck ever feeling so bad

Cowboys @ Washington (Monday Night Football Prediction)

(EDIT) Cousins continues climb to kiddie-Canton1Editor’s Note: We realize Drew Stanton plays in Arizona, but we tend not to bother The Breeze when he’s rolling, a la Brother Bluto, leads Terrible Name past the Collarbone’d Cowboys

Follow This to Finish Fantasy Fantasy Football Finer than Foes


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1. Editor’s Note: We realize Drew Stanton plays in Arizona, but we tend not to bother The Breeze when he’s rolling, a la Brother Bluto

Monday Morning Breeze: When We Are Thankful for Football

Time stopwatches us these days,

When thanks get given and turkey hunger fades

to stuff-seeking shopper’s thunder storming Dark Friday,

Juxtaposing dollars and deities upon padded knees we pray,

Frayed Chicago streets scream rage, dismay

Graciously, when forced family, frozen leaves, and stuffed bellies

make minutes seem you nearly can’t breathe,

We’ve beautiful, vicious games for release

Pleased to see annual revisiting of rabid rivalries

Arm in arm with weekly NFL’s “What have ya done lately for me?”

To contests we escape,

Decided by masked, mashing males beneath shoulder-padded capes,

Complexly manipulating oblong balls across turf-traipsed play-scapes

Outcomes offer order craved while playoff places take shape,

Adele tingles soaring, “Hello from the other side,” an’ I just keep replaying the tape


College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

FIRING SEASON: Will LSU’s Head Coach Les Milessuffer a swift, surprising fall from grace at the end of this year?NOOOOOOOPE, Miles remains as LSU AD voices support after year-end win…However, UGA HC Mark Richt fired in a shocker…Rutgers cans AD and football HC Flood?Texas will not go bowling once again, after losing at home to Texas Tech…Great article exploring the future of high school football in America……Nice piece by SI’s Andy Staples on college football teams as organisms…

CFB Game of the Week

#10 University of Michigan vs.  #8 That Ohio State

It’s The Game of the year in college football every year, especially if you grew up in Michigan (as I did) or Ohio (as Satan did). With Rivalry Week taking place all across college football this week we’re gifted with the King of Rivalries offering two teams that are quite relevant in the Big 10 title race for the first time in what seems like forever.

You know all about what Ohio State was supposed to be this year: they of the defending-national champs, the Unbeatables boasting so much damn talent NFL scouts have taken up 50% of the stands at most games (science), equipped with so many capable QB’s a 2-time Big Ten Player of the Year switched to WR to get on the field. The deafening hype gave way to question marks once the games started, as the Cardale Jones-led offense looked shaky early in the year leading to the dreaded two-QB platoon rotation with JT Barrett and continued mixed results. The uncertainty surrounding the team came to a head last week against Michigan State as the Buckeyes lost for the first time in 23 games, sending their National Championship and Big Ten title hopes spiraling, sparking outbursts from players about poor play-calling and seemingly teaching us once more the toxic undercurrents that come when unbridled success is finally checked.

Meanwhile, you had no idea what Michigan was supposed to be this year. What would Famous Jim Harbaugh, the Golden Boy-former-Wolverine-QB swooping down from the NFL to return his alma mater to its rightful, glorious peak be able to do in such a short timeframe? We knew he’d improve the product Brad Hoke had stockpiled with solid recruits but failed to translate talent to production, but we didn’t know how much improvement would come or how quickly. Well, we do now. UofM has suffered from some inconsistent QB with Jake Rudock but has ridden Harbaugh’s trademark stingy defense and smash-mouth O to a year that outpaced most anyone’s outsized expectations for the team. Michigan has won every game it was supposed to, suffering losses only to a very good Utah team in the first game of the year (behind 3 Rudock picks) and a shocking, inexplicable last-second punting gaffe against Michigan St. in a contest Michigan won, but didn’t. It’s a testament to Harbaugh’s steady hand Michigan didn’t implode after that heart-breaking defeat at the hand of their other rival, and instead have continued rolling up wins heading into The Game. A win this week would put the umpteenth positive exclamation point on Harbaugh’s rookie year and create untouchable momentum for the Maize n’ Blue heading into recruiting and next year.

#8 That Ohio State 42 – #10 University of Michigan 13

Here’s how that happened with The Game, 3 ways:

  1. This is the OSU we all expected to see all season: Clearly the MSU loss (and Ezekiel Elliot’s public outburst?) woke OSU up, and today they played like the team everyone expected for the whole season. Unfortunately, it’s probably too little too late as they’ll likely be left out of the playoffs with MSU advancing to the B1G title game in their stead. I’m willing to bet had OSU not lost to MSU last week, they would’ve sleep-walked into this game and it would’ve been much closer if not a UM win. In the end OSU’s staunch D and dominant running game (369 yards)  was too much for the still-developing Harbaughs.
  2. OSU’s Stars Shine: The future-NFL’ers were on-point for OSU today, and Michigan doesn’t (yet) have enough Jabrill Peppers clones to compete. Stud DE Joey Bosa was in UM’s backfield all day, with a nifty pick-6 and even knocking out UM QB Coker in the 2nd half. Bosa showed once more why he’s basically college’s JJ Watt, before he becomes the NFL’s Joey Bosa. OSU RB Elliot called out the coaching staff for not getting him the ball enough in their loss to MSU last week, and lived up to his boast this week as he was properly fed and responded with a huge 30 carries for 214 yards with 2 TD’s. QB-of-the-present-and-future JT Barrett stepped up with 3 scores of his own.
  3. Still great year for UofM, excitement for both squads’ near future: This game showed the difference between these two teams is depth and top-flight talent, especially in the offensive backfield and defensive front 7. Now the wars will be won on the recruiting front between Urban and Jimmy as they battle for Midwest supremacy and pick their share of cherry recruits from around the country. Can Michigan find a solid-to-transcendent answer at QB? They don’t need greatness at the position, but something slightly more than “game-manager” output would definitely propel a sturdy D and solid run game into Playoff contention. OSU has a nice head start talent-wise with top 5 classes coming each year of Urban’s Columbus tenure, but from here on who’ll stockpile and develop the best? Harbaugh’s passion, pro pedigree, and excellent first season bode well for the future of UofM football, and he’ll undoubtedly translate that to wins on the recruiting trail. It’ll be fascinating to see these two (and oh, Mark Dantonio’s MSU squad) continue to go head-to-head on and off the field.

At the End of the Day: CFB’s Top 25 Went this Way (Rankings via Official College Football Playoff Poll)

Oregon St. @ 17 Oregon

Ducks strike most in Pac 12 shootout, leave Beavers cleaver-ed, deceived of victory

20 Washington St. @ Washington

Huskies bruskly upset Leach’s Pirate people, happily Johnny Cage Coug’s collective Adam’s Apple

4 Iowa @ Nebraska

Hawkeyes remain unscathed, shuck Huskers while Omaha cries “Pelini! Why?”

15 Navy @ Houston

Cougars avenge last week’s fall from unbeaten ranks, crush Cadets right in the navel

Western Mich @ 24 Toledo

Broncos send Rockets spiraling, topple Toledo and their waaaaaay oustsider CFP hopes

7 Baylor @ 19 TCU

Rain soaks scoreboard’s firework potential but Horny Frogs Horn enough to upset Koresh’s in 2 OT

1 Clemson @ South Carolina

Tigers survive scare, drop ‘Cocks and roll to ACC title game and playoff top seed?

8 Ohio St. @ 10 Michigan

Meyer’s Move Mightier than even the Michigan-est Man as Bucks truck Big Blue

Colorado @ 23 Utah

Utes scoot Buffs butts, Utah’s too tough for upsets sho’ nuff

2 Alabama @ Auburn

‘Bama tussles Iron-ically with Tigers’ bowl cut, eventually slams upset door and opens clear Playoff path


Trojans topple Bruins in showcase of Cali talent, ‘SC will see Pac-12 title game fame or flame?

16 Northwestern @ Illinois

Union-hungry ‘Cats hang on to keep Illini win-shy

14 North Carolina @ NC St.

Carolina dismisses State like class, passes through face Clemson in ACC Title-dom

Penn St. @ 5 Michigan St.

MSU stays true to B1G playoff potential, skin litany of Nittany Lions without much tryin’

UCONN @ 25 Temple

Philly boys’ bodies are Temples and they destroy the husky Huskies

18 Ole Miss @ 21 Miss. St.

The rebels smack Dak and dog the ‘Dawgs enroute to sweet, sweet, Mississippi victory

13 FSU @ 12 Florida

Jimbo puts McElwain to shame in the battle for Florida, as Free Shoes U. says “later, Gators”

6 Notre Dame @ 9 Stanford

Cardinal solve a big question for the playoff committee in upsetting the Irish, Hogan’s Heroes heroic

3 Oklahoma @ 11 Oklahoma St.

Sooners keep Boom Scooner soaring, smoke the ‘Pokes in Bedlam blitz


NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Dallas loses the game and Tony Romo for the remainder of year…Panthers’ stud CB Norman says Dez Bryant “popped off” at him early in the game, motivating Norman to shut Dez’s ass down, which he did….Peyton Manning to miss next two games, Broncos add Christian Ponder for depth…Marshawn Lynch out for a month w/hernia…TMZ continues take-downs as Browns’ Manziel demoted to 3rd-string QB after partying video surfaces…The ascent of Jameis WinstonArizona’s Honey Badger on focusing and dominating the NFL

NFL Game of the Week

New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos

What looked like a game between two explosive offenses when the schedule came out in the offseason has changed considerably as the season’s progressed.

The Patriots have kept up their end of the bargain coming into this matchup as one of two (Carolina) undefeated teams still standing in the NFL. Belichick’s machine appears primed for a long stomp through the playoffs and potentially facing that Carolina squad in Super Bowl 50. Though they’ve suffered their share of injuries thus far, Golden Boy Brady has kept healthy and the other faceless fellas continue to “do their job” with excellence.

Denver has undergone a slightly more tumultuous trend through the year. They started off on a tear, appearing to be the clear favorites to challenge New England in the AFC race with a dominant D and smooth offense helmed by Mr. Manning. However, questions about Peyton’s arm strength continued to grow louder as his wobble-passes increased in frequency, and Denver began winning in spite of, rather than because of him, cresting with Manning’s career-worst 5-for20 with four(!) interceptions versus the Chiefs, ironically in the same game where he set the NFL’s all-time passing yardage mark. Is his arm toast? Is he banged up? While the first question remains, the second is certain with Peyton’s painfully plantar-fascitis-ized foot hobbling him to the sideline and keeping him out of this game as well as next week’s.

What will no longer be Brady vs. Manning for the umpteenth time will now become a battle of D, and go a long way toward telling us if Denver can maintain their elite status with Brock Osweiler taking the snaps. QB controversy? The future of Denver’s offense?

New England Patriots – Denver Broncos

Here’s how that happened with Brock versus Brady, 3 Ways:

  1. Would Denver Miss Peyton?: Shitty weather, snowy, rainy, cold, Osweiler won first start on birthday first to do that ever. Brock played well enough to win in this game, and showed Denver’s a good enough overall team to not need transcendent QB play in order to win against top-flight teams (ya hear that Peyton?). In the end, Brocky boy had just one TO and made a number of OK throws to keep the Pats D honest, in leading DEN to the OT win. Can he do it again next week? We’ll see.
  2. Weather impacts both teams: Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman both out for this game for NE and the Pats were working Gronk all day in the snow. That combo seemed unstoppable until Gronk injured his knee being hit post-catch (hyperextension?) in the 2nd half, after which was a huuuuge turn in momentum leading to Denver’s comeback and eventual win. Regardless, the snowy weather slowed both teams’ downfield passing attacks.
  3. Welcome to the World of CJ Anderson: Ok besides the terrible call against NE’s Patrick Chung late in the game for holding against DEN’s D. Thomas, CJ Anderson (and Gronk’s potential injury) has to be the story of this snowy game. He was elusive all day on a terrible playing surface and eventually proved to be the difference for Denver. Will this be his coming out party, enroute to a dominant December and Denver run no longer needing to rely on Peyton’s pithy arm? We shall see. In this contest, he scored on same exact play from earlier in the game for a lovely TD run and the Broncos’ win in Overtime.

NFL Results Roundup

Lions vs. Eagles

Detroit wheels past Turdy Birds on Turkey Day, send Chip Kelly back to school?

Panthers vs. Cowboys

Cam-Pain keeps MVP campaign  Dabbing, undefeated Panthers scratch cowpokes, broke Romo

Packers vs. Bears

Chicago ruins Favre’s Green Bay retirement ceremony, punt Pack back down NFC North

Bills vs. Chiefs

KC sees victory and Rexy’s feet will need much rubb-y from wife-y

Rams vs. Bengals

Andy “Don’t call me Road House” Dalton keeps Cincy scorching, torching Rams gams, hams

Saints vs. Texans

O’Brien’s boys stomp Saints, continue NOLA’s slide minus Ryan’s hide

Buccaneers vs. Colts

Indy wins again behind Hasselbeck, Colts say “what the heck”, wreck Winston’s Bay

Chargers vs. Jags

Sand Diego’s “Whale’s Vagina” drags down Jags, River quivers at the thought loss to Jax

Dolphins vs. Jets

Jets make ‘Fins regret showing up as New York sticks fork in Interim Dan’s Dolph Lundgrens

Vikings vs. Falcons

Peterson’s ground dominance helps Minny keep Matty Ice and Hot-lanta cool, Vikes strike Birds

Giants vs. ‘Skins

Snyder’s sinfully named shame plays bigger than Giants, Washington bums NY

Raiders vs. Titans

Carr scars Mariota’s hope as Oaktown beats down Tennessee ya later

49ers vs. Cardinals

Palmer’s calmer than Gabbert’s guys, flies Arizona past Tomsula’s eyes

Patriots vs. Broncos

Brock busts Brady’s run in OT, great game all the same

Steelers vs. Seahawks

Pete-Hawks stop Big Ol’ Ben as Seattle staves off Michael Chabon’s faves

Ravens vs. Browns (Prediction)

Cleveland rallies to cries of “McCowns Clowns” and beat down Flacco-less Baltimores

How to Finish #1 in Your Fantasy League

Middle finger
Middle finger

Monday Morning Breeze: The Murky Waters of Who’s Real and Who’s Not in Football

This week’s frenzied football fun gave us some long-desired insight to certain college teams’ true identities. We saw the surprising-yet-not-surprising Sparty upset of Ohio State, as MSU sent the Buckeyes tumbling to their first loss in the past 23 games, an outcome OSU seemed on the brink of the entire season. The Big 12 pecking order was established a little better, with two huge clashes between four Top 25 foes producing an Oklahoma squad continuing their possible playoff push and Baylor rebounding from last week’s loss in topping previously-undefeated Oklahoma St.

The NFL results have us wondering if anyone can stop Cam Newton (5 TD’s!) and the Panthers as they rolled to their 10th straight win of the season, smashing Washington, while Green Bay let their cheesey faithful “R-E-L-A-X” with a dominant win against division rival Minnesota. Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston continued his rookie ascent with a huge 5 TD day against the disappointing Eagles. Baltimore would love for the Raven of Injuries to be quothed, “Nevermore” as they continued their snake-bitten season losing QB Joe Flacco for the year with a torn ACL along with RB Justin Forsette with a broken arm, while Broncos fans could rest reasonably easy in seeing Peyton’s backup Brock Osweiler steer steadily with a close win over ‘da Bears.

What this all means, for both the NFL and CFB playoff pictures still remains to be settled on future fields, but at least the murky waters of “who’s real” and “who’s not” have begun to clear, as the end (of the regular season) creeps near.


College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Very interesting look at Coastal Carolina’s Head Coach Joe Moglia, ex-CEO of TD Ameritrade, $100+ millionaire, potentially in line for big-conference job?…Another great article on Mark Dantonio building a consistent winner at Michigan St…Police investigating rape at Nebraska’s players house….UGA RB Keith Marshall going proDuke boots starting WR, two others…North Dakota drops “Fighting Sioux” nickname for “Fighting Hawks”…Nice look at how OSU’s Miller made the switch from QB to WR…

CFB Game of the Week (Football 3 Ways)

#9 Michigan State @ #3 Ohio State

Ohio State was thought to be the clear front-runner for this year’s College Football Playoff, with their “defending champions” belt and their potential 6 first-round NFL picks and their century-swaying swagger. But this season they’d yet to recover the mojo that led them to the championship last year, buzz-sawing through the playoffs to the crown. They’ve played almost timid, perhaps shackled by the weight of expectations and QB-shuffling and offseason puff pieces getting them fat on the land. Who knows? But they’d manage to escape near-upsets all year and the public was salivating to see the Bucks finally tested this week against the tough Spartans of Michigan State. While MSU seemingly had their playoff hopes smashed with a bad-ref-call-assisted loss to Nebraska earlier in the year, a potential upset of OSU would give them a shiny glimmer of playoff hope.

Once these two B1G beasts met on a drizzly, Saturday afternoon we saw who was who and what was what. Ohio State confirmed their fan’s worst fears in laying an offensive dud, Sparty stayed stout and pulled off the big upset, knocking off the defending champs with a last-second, 41-yard FG to win. Where MSU goes from here is anyone’s guess, and some of OSU’s key players were unsurprisingly apoplectic in the aftermath, with RB Ezekiel Elliot strongly calling out OSU’s coaches for not giving him the rock enough and declaring his intentions to go pro, which Cardale Jones echoed on Twitter shortly thereafter. Overall a huge win for a MSU program this close to establishing itself as a steady behemoth in the CFB hierarchy and an even bigger question mark gets slapped on OSU’s present and future, with their current temp. being TENSE.

Michigan State 17 – Ohio State 14

Three thoughts:

  1. Ohio State’s studs were duds, but who’s to blame? Where OSU’s now incredibly combustible team goes from here with a huge date coming next week versus Michigan is anyone’s guess. Joey Bosa was non-existent against MSU’s sturdy O-line, Ezekiel Elliot was Keyshawn-ing after the game wishing Urban would’ve just given him the damn ball, Braxton Miller was quiet as a tit mouse, and the QB carousel failed to get the Buckeyes offense rolling.. This falls on both coaches and players in the scarlet and gray, as the guys on the field couldn’t get it done and Urban definitely underutilized the beastly Elliot against Sparty on a rainy, cold day built for running the football. Ultimately the MSU offense did just enough with their backup QB filling in for Connor Cook, and their clutch kicker kept them
  2. Where do these teams go from here? Supposedly Elliot’s gone after this year, along with Cardale Jones and a number of the other stud juniors are likely to leave for the NFL as well, putting heavy emphasis on those famous Urban Meyer recruits waiting in the wings for the future of the Buckeye Empire. OSU will have to keep their fiery fellas in line and focused for next week’s game against a Harbaugh-strong Michigan team that would love nothing more than to put a second straight loss on OSU’s record. Meanwhile MSU is right back in the playoff race if they can win out, beat Iowa in the Big Ten championship game and hope their resume stacks up well enough for the CFP committee to consider putting them in the Final 4.
  3. MSU’s Geiger Counted: Turns out the amount of people interested in seeing this game was huge, as this is currently the highest-rated CFB game of the year. That much interest generates a ton of pressure, and having a kick, on a slick field, at the end of the game to potentially take down the defending champs in front of your fellow students and fans generates a ten-fold ton of pressure for a college-aged kicker. That’s exactly the scenario MSU’s Michael Geiger faced this past Saturday, with Sparty Nation’s playoff hopes riding on his right foot from 41-wet yards away, with seconds trickling down to zero in a tie-ball game. How’s he react? He stepped up and nailed the kick, sending Spartans to a rollicking night of playoff-dreaming and all-but dashing OSU’s repeat hopes in one, fell, swoop of the leg.

At the End of the Day: CFB’s Top 25 Went this Way (All Rankings from Official College Football Playoff Poll)

#8 Florida vs. Florida Atlantic U.
FAU puts fear of the Owl in Gators’ heart, UF holds on in OT to survive

#5 Iowa vs. Purdue
Hawkeyes thrash the drunks, clinch Big Ten West title

#21 Memphis @ Temple
Owls smash Tiger cats, continue to amaze in the city of Brotherly Haze

#12 Michigan @ Penn St.
Jimmy’s kids keep rolling, stuff Penn St. and prep for next week’s big-un against OSU

#17 North Carolina @ Virginia Tech
Beamer’s last stand at home saw a thrilling Hokie comeback, only to fall in the end. Bye, Frank.

#14 Florida St. vs. Chattanooga
Seminoles play cornhole with Chatty’s upset hopes, smash n’ grab the win

UCLA @ #13 Utah
Bruins ruin Utes high hopes, as UCLA skies the winning slope

#24 USC @ #23 Oregon
Ducks’ Davis unwraps Trojans’ D, leads Duck to big victory

#19 Houston @ Connecticut
Huskies surprise Coug’s, upset Houston, show UCONN do more than women’s hoops

#20 Northwestern @  #25 Wisconsin
‘Cats put Badger victory caps back on the dusty shelf, Fitzgerald’s Felines rub UW the wrong way

#1 Clemson vs. Wake Forest
Tigers get holy, make mince meat of Demon Deacs’, continue the fun of being #1

#9 Michigan State @ #3 Ohio State
Sparty wins with FG late, knocks that other State from undefeated ranks

#15 LSU @ #22 Ole Miss
Rebels yell, smoke Tigers, and keep LSU in Miles’ hell season

#2 Alabama vs. Charleston Southern
‘Bama blasts FCS “test”, gears up for potential playoff berth

#16 Navy @ Tulsa
Navy painfully shaves Golden Hurricane’s capability, emulsify Tulsa

#4 Notre Dame vs. Boston College
Irish fight the upset bug, give BC’s win valve a plug and keep playoff hopes chugging along

#6 Ok State vs. #10 Baylor
Bears’ 3rd-stringer takes down the cow-pokes, sending Baylor soaring and T. Boone’s ego sore-ing

#18 TCU vs. #7 Oklahoma
Sooners score sooner and later, hanging on for thrilling 1-point victory over the horny frogs

#11 Stanford vs. Cal
No bands on the field, just good feels for the Cardinal as Stanford scolds Bears of gold


Divisional races are heating up as the season sails toward the final weeks.

NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco tears ACL, out for season…Great inside look at how the Cardinals and Carson Palmer game prep…Nate Newton’s ex-wife claims the Cowboys supported him despite knowing of his domestic violence issues….Oakland’s Aldon Smith suspended for 1 calendar year….FanDuel bars New Yorkers from playing….Tony Romo’s return sends backup Cowboys’ QB Weeden packingSaints’ struggling D-Coord Rob Ryan finally canned, to return with brother Rex’s Bills?…Lost season for Ravens’ 1st-rounder Perriman, as he goes on IR without playing one snap this year…

NFL Game of the Week

Bengals @ Cardinals

The Sunday night clash between two division-leading teams did not disappoint as Cincy and Arizona traded scores, big plays, and plenty of excitement. Ultimately, the Cards were able to overcome some Carson Palmer miscues and the Bengals were not able to overcome a costly Domata Pekoe 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late for calling out ‘Zona’s offensive signals, allowing AZ’s kicker Chandler Catanzaro to kick a very manageable 32-yard FG with two seconds remaining, clinching the game for the Cards.


Arizona Cardinals 34 – Cincinnati Bengals 31

Three thoughts:

  1. Palmer outduels Dalton: Carson Palmer continues his dominant season, and while he threw 2 interceptions he kept the Cards flying with 4 TD passes, as well as some clutch throws late getting AZ in field goal range to ultimately clinch the game. Though Dalton threw for 310 yards and two scores, it wasn’t enough in the end.
  2. Cincy slide a sign of something larger, or just a blip? After starting the year 8-0, Cincy has lost two games in a row and now has to deal with a potentially-reborn Seattle Seahawk team nipping at their NFC West heels for the division lead. Are the two losses an anomaly (1 bad one, 1 defensible) for an otherwise solid Cincy team that’ll likely right the ship with upcoming games against the Rams and Browns? Or is this a sign of something larger troubling Cincy? Only time will tell, but I’m betting it’s the former, and the Bengals will be booming again soon.
  3. Pivotal Patrick Peterson “shuts down” AJ Green: Dalton kept his connection with TE Tyler Eifert rolling, tossing 2 TD’s his way. However in the matchup between one of the best WR’s in the league and one of the top CB’s, ‘Zona’s Peterson was able to limit Green to 4 grabs for 79 yards and, most importantly, 0 TD’s. Most of Green’s yards came on a single 42-yard reception, and Peterson’s clamp-job on one of the scariest receiver’s in the league helped put Arizona in the win column for this slug-fest.

NFL Results Roundup

Titans @ Jags (Thursday)
Bortles and the ‘Villes of Jackson topple Tennessee’s Titans in game of misery

Colts @ Falcons
Matt H. beats Matty-Ice in back-and-forth matchup, Colts win with Adam V’s FG for victory

Cowboys @ Dolphins
Dallas rolls Dolphins in Romo’s return as Campbell’s interim power continues to fade

Buccaneers @ Eagles
Winston tosses 5 TD’s in Bucs’ win, causing Kelly to seize, sneeze

Raiders @ Lions
Detroit says “see ya later, Raiders” in win at home

Jets @ Texans
Houston has problems, but one less than NY today as Texans best Jets

Rams @ Ravens
Baltimore’s kicker Tucker hits game-winning FG as time expires, busting Rams’ tired gams

Skins @ Panthers
Carolina continues to be finah, smokes Skins in huge Panther win

Broncos @ Bears
Brock’s Broncos bust Bears’ butts, Denver hangs on late to win

Chiefs @ Chargers
Reid’s steeds stomp San Diego, like real, real bad

Packers @ Vikings
Pack get back on track in their division, down Vikes in the Purple-dome

49ers @ Seahawks
Seattle slew 49ers “new” QB Gabbert ‘til he’s blue in the face, ‘Hawks roll

Bengals @ Cardinals
‘Cards cut Bengals stripes to shards, show Cincy it’s a sin to test AZ, see?

Bills @ Patriots (Monday Night Prediction)
GQ’s Man of the Year “Tim Brody” keeps the Patriarchy rolling along, sings Rex’s “10-piece lap-band” a sad song, n’ sends Bills back to soon-snowy Buffalo throngs

My Tip for Fans of Fantasy Football


College Football Live Blog: The Third Saturday in November

Welcome to the first Live Blog of 2015 at More Than A Fan. Join Nick Brzezinski, Heath Gould, and Jeff Rich for College Football talk, as we approach the end of the season and a lot of things are revealed.

Monday Morning Breeze: Football’s Capitals and Lower Cases

If you believe in Time and its limitations, all weeks are significant. But this week was significantly significant, on and off the field formed for football.

The University of Missouri’s movement motivated a monumental potential power-shift in college football and served as the weekly CFB news nerve-center as oh-by-the-way their head coach Gary Pinkel surprisingly announced his retirement, effective at the end of the season.

But in a matter of greater importance, this week brought an increased-decreasing of the amount of people we’re surrounded by. Terrorist attacks in Paris attracted the nation’s attention and removed a significant amount of humans from the Earth, along with their 5 senses, their appreciations of whatever they liked in life, their disdain for whatever annoyed or terrified them in daily duties, and their warmth for whatever they were able to exude to other humans in this life. I’m aware people die every day, but as this week also brought a difficult development in my cousin’s battle with cancer I’m a little more focused on what it means to just be. Here. The train chiming and rattling over the highway’s roar outside my friend’s door, the way citric acid predictably destroys the inside of my mouth yet-I-still keep fixing myself those “healthy” vodka-cranberry-lime drinks to get somewhere else. Somewhere else, in apartments and houses and closets around the world, there are shirts that’ll never be worn by their previous owner, shoes that’ll never protect their familiarly friendly feet from harsh paths no matter how aimless, instruments that’ll never again be illuminated by their previous player, partners that’ll rely on those close or learn to find new connections or remain lonely for their remainders, families that’ll lean on prayer or faith that’s barely there or the gift of a passing touch’s share. Apparently, we’re still there.

Yet, we’re forced to continue marching on in a world where The Big Bang Theory is once again TV’s #1 comedy, where somehow people have enough money for luxury car companies to run commercials touting Christmas deals enticing people with enough money to buy LUXURY CARS as gifts, where Carrot Top’s probably rich and laughing on a beach somewhere, where certain celebrated traditions take place every weekend no matter what havoc the previous week wrought, so we can grab the Mahogany Handrail that is football season allowing us to turn on, tune in, and drop the fuck out, until we can’t or we’re no longer. Thankfully, on to the games….


College Football Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Hate to start with this but Saban’s face cut is akin to Rushmore being spray paint-tagged, so what happened? Missouri is the news nerve center this week. First, in one of the more compelling developments of the year, Missouri’s football players of color joined an on-campus protest against recent racist incidents around the university. They vowed not to play until University President Tim Wolfe resigned or was fired. This caused administrations and TV stations around the country to rise in fear from their baths of Golden Grey Goose, as an empowered group of college football players awakening to their ability to collectively pull the plug on CFB’s massive TV money would give even the most iron-chested admin’s and TV execs a heart-attack. Well, this past Monday Mizzou’s Wolfe resigned, and the games will go on as scheduled. But mindful players will use this for future consideration of the significant leverage they hold, and this great piece by SI’s Andy Staples examines it all…and now, Mizzou’s Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel has resigned effective at the end of the season, to spend more time with family and continue fighting his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma…Florida’s early on-field success in the Jim McElwain era leading to victories on the recruiting trailBaylor’s WR Corey Coleman is dominating college football this year…One man’s Heisman Watch, if you want to see who’s unofficially “leading”….I mean, Millenials, but still, Clemson players don’t know who Jim Brown is!?

CFB Game of the Week:

#6 Baylor vs. #12 Oklahoma
This was the clear game of the week, as it’d show if Baylor would keep storming through the Big 12 enroute to the CFB Playoff, or if Stoops’ Sooners had enough to keep rebounding from their surprising loss to Texas enroute to a potential Big 12 title.

As it turns out, Oklahoma’s got a pretty good QB and offense, with a stout defense to boot, which led the Sooners to a somewhat-unsurprising upset win, beating Baylor and sending the Big 12 title race into chaos. Oklahoma 43 – Baylor 33

Power of Three Points:

  1. Oklahoma shut down Combustible Corey Coleman: Whether it was a combination of Baylor’s frosh-QB struggling to get Coleman the ball, or the Sooners focusing on clamping down on Heisman-candidate Coleman, Oklahoma got the job done. Their D limited Coleman to just 3 catches for 51 yards, and did just enough to slow Baylor’s high-octane offense in getting the win.
  2. Where’s Shawn Oakman?: For all the hype Baylor DL Oakman got in the offseason, and honestly, we know Oakman gets most attention due to his ridiculous physique, but for someone so physically imposing he sure doesn’t produce much. He was basically non-existent in this game, registering 3 total tackles and a .5 sack. Oakman’s draft stock drops week by week.
  3. Non-Norman Big 12 fans would’ve preferred Oklahoma lose this game: It’s true, as it would’ve set up a winner-take-all Baylor-OKST matchup next week in Cowboy-ville. But that’s now how this world works, so now the playoff committee must consider a shaky OKST team against a Sooner team trending upward, and a Baylor team that’s only loss is to the aforementioned buzzsawing-Cowboys. Big 12 fans just hope this doesn’t keep their conference out of the playoff for the second year in a row, mirroring last year’s Baylor/TCU debacle.

Who Capitalized, Who Lowercased this Week?

L: I understand Under Armour’s trying to make Maryland the equivalent of Nike’s hometown, design-lab Oregon Ducks with their money-splash uniforms, but this week’s Terp outfits/helmets look less sleek and more like Kevin Plank puked nightmarish bad ideas all over them.
C: Florida’s CB Jalen Tabor, with a pick vs. South Carolina. He plays differently (better) than everyone else on the field.
C: The casual spin-move TCU’s KaVontae Turpin pulls off in the middle of this beautiful punt return TD
L: Injuries. FSU’s electric RB Dalvin Cook and TCU’s dynamite QB Trevone Boyking both with down with lower-leg injuries, though the severity of each still unknown.
L: Sluggish-ass FSU getting pushed around by longtime nemesis NC State in the first half. Down 17-7, Jimbo Fisher pulled the plug on QB Golson for the day, inserting Sean McGuire who sparks ‘Noles to tie it up at half, 17-17.
C: Any chance Clemson caught sleeping in Syracuse? Nope. Two-play, 80 yard, TD drive and then a quick fumble recover on D to start the game for the Tigers..
C: ‘Bama with a huge goal-line stand early in the MSU game, when momentum still being established.
C: Navy’s K. Reynolds sets the all-time CFB rushing touchdown mark against SMU with 3 total TD’s, surpassing WISC’s Montee Ball with 80 (and counting)
C: ‘Bama WR Cal Ridley is ridiculous, proven in the past and present with this shake ‘n ankle-break TD catch/run

At the End of the Day: CFB’s Top 25 Went this Way (All Rankings from Official College Football Playoff Poll)

#1 Clemson @ Syracuse
Tigers start fast and sustain, Carrier-ing the Orange to another disappointing defeat

#2 Alabama @ #17 Mississippi St.
Saban’s Satan Train keeps righteously rolling, causing Bulldogs pain

#3 Ohio State @ Illinois
J.T. Barrett returns from his OVI arrest and reasserts why he’s a BMF, as the Buck’s truck Illini

#4 Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest
Brian Kelly’s Irish remain boring, unbeaten, predictably decleat Demon Deacons

#5 Iowa vs. Minnesota
Hawkeyes barely keep CFB playoff hopes corning along, shyly-shucking the faux-Golden Gophers

#6 Baylor vs. #12 Oklahoma
Big-game Bob beats Baylor’s butts, as the Sooners slow down and upset Waco’s Bears

#7 Stanford vs. Oregon
Ducks use Nike luck and speed to stop last-gasp 2-point attempt, upset Stanford in Palo Alto, derailing Pac-12 dreams

#8 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State
Cyclones rattlesnake OSU early but fall late, as OK State survives & keeps playoff hopes alive

#9 LSU vs. Arkansas
Razorbacks set Tigers SEC chances and Fournette’s Heisman hopes back

#10 Utah @ Arizona
Rich Rod’s Cats shock Utes while most of the nation slept, sending Pac-12 to Playoff tailspin

#11 Florida @ South Carolina
Florida’s bo-re-da facing ‘Cocks with no Game, UF puts Spurrier’s ghosts to shame

#13 Michigan State vs. Maryland
Shaky Sparty pulls away vs. ugly-ass Terp uniforms on grass. On hardcourt? We excited to see

#14 Michigan @ Indiana
MGoBlue survives double-OT test from IU, as The Harbaughs survive

#15 TCU vs. Kansas
TCU loses Heisman-ish Trevone Boykin to early-game leg injury, still wins vs. mock ‘Hawks

#16 Florida State vs. NC State
FSU pulls QB Golson as McGuire hot-sauces Noles’ holes, sparking team past State

#18 Northwestern vs. Purdue
Pat’s ‘Cats hang on against the Popular Miner Drinks

#19 UCLA vs. Washington St.
Wazzu’s Mike Leach is a pirate and a wizard, as his Cougars upset Mora’s borahs, keep rollin’

#20 Navy vs. SMU
Midshipmen roll Horse-haired-Hoes as Navy smokes SMU

#21 Memphis @ #24 Houston
Tom Herman has Houston humming, handing Tigers 2nd straight loss & winning battle of the cats

#22 Temple @ South Florida
South Florida asks “Who are these Owls” in upsetting the David Lynchian, Philly upstarts

#23 North Carolina vs. Miami
Tarheels keep ACC momentum rolling, increase Canes’ interim pain in route

#25 Wisconsin (BYE)


NFL Link Dinks and Dunks of the Week

Thursday night’s Jets-Bills game featured Nike’s new “color rush” uniforms which the NFL eventually admitted were terrible for color blind fans…Is being a celebrity endorser for Subway the new Madden Curse?: “Ray Lewis told Michael Phelps to go to rehab.” Rex Ryan controversially names Bills’ LB I.K. Enemkpali a captain for this week’s game against the NY Jets. You might remember I.K. as the guy last seen in a Jets’ uniform this preseason breaking then-teammate-and-starting QB Geno Smith’s jaw. Nothing to see here…Rex remained newsworthy Tuesday by wearing a Clemson football helmet to his weekly press conference, ripping off Ricky Williams’ style, in my mind…While impressively beating the Broncos last week, Andrew Luck suffered a lacerated kidney!?!?…Heavily-concussed WR Wes “Foot Jokes” Welker signed by the St. Louis Rams this week, and everyone’s terrified for his head..

NFL Game of the Week

Patriots vs. Giants
Touted by many as a rematch of the helmet-catch Super Bowl 42 win by the Giants. Touted by me as another opportunity for the Patriots to show the NFL how much better they are than every other team out there and end their 3-game losing streak to the G-men. Post-Deflategate, New England’s been rolling through their schedule with reckless abandon, and this game would seem to be no exception. The most interesting thing to watch, other than the Brady/Gronk/Edelman beauty and the effectiveness of Giant’s DE Jason Pierre-Paul’s fireworks’-altered-now-three-fingered-hand, would be how the Patriots try to handle NYG’s transcendent WR Odell Beckahm Jr. and his Polamalu-ey famous hair with their Shakey Graves corners.

As it turned out, Edelman might’ve broken his foot at the end of the 1st quarter, ODB went off early with a gripping catch-and-run torching the Pats D for a 80+ yard TD but that was about it, and the Pats won late on a clutch special teams play to keep the undefeated train rolling. Eli played really well, the Giants D-line terrified NE all game, yet the Patriots were still able to pull out the win in the end. New England 27 – NYG 26

Power of Three Points:

  1. The Patriots O Looked Bad Post-Edelman Injury: Julian Edelman went out of the game at the end of the 1st quarter with an injury that might end his season early. After his exit, the Giants D largely neutralized Mr. Brady and the Pats, attacking their re-shuffled O-line, constantly getting pressure during passes, and stuffing the run. If it wasn’t already clear before, it is now; Edelman is a huge part of making the Patriot machine hum.
  2. Stephen Gostowski is Gold: Much ado was made way back when Belicheck let former Patriot hero Adam Vinaitieri walk to the Indianapolis Colts in free agency rather than signing him to a bigger deal. In Adam’s stead, the Pats drafted Stephen Gostowski in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, and haven’t looked back since. That other Polish Patriot has been steady-as-she-goes for his entire career, and proved his own late-game mettle once more, nailing the game-winning, 54-yard field goal (after a potential Giants INT was ruled incomplete) with 6 seconds on the clock. Clutch kickers in NE remain a thing.
  3. Pats’ D just good enough FTW: I was very interested to see how the questions NE secondary would handle next-level talent Odell Beckham Jr. With ODB’s early-game 87-yard catch and TD torch I thought the Patriots D could be in for a long evening of chasing the stud NYG receiver all night. While ODB got his on the stat sheet (104 yards, 1 TD) he was largely shut down by Deon Butler and crew after that huge catch, keeping the Pats in the hunt to eventually finish off their New York nemesis. It’ll be interesting to see if their defense can continue to hold the fort well enough on New England’s march to perfection.

NFL Caps and Lowercases of the Week

C:  Nobody’s “Hangin’ with Amari F’ing Cooper”! First off, if this doesn’t become Amari’s nickname or a catch phrase thrown around during his career, then we’re not free (here’s the old show that nickname references, btw). Already proven as a stud rookie WR this year, only a few plays after getting blasted over the middle on a “hang my WR out to dry” throw by Derek Carr, Cooper made an incredible WTF!? catch, leading to an OAK TD.

C & L: Peyton Manning deserves huge applause, breaking the all-time record for passing yards vs. the Chiefs. He also deserves huge boos for getting picked 4 TIMES against 5 COMPLETIONS in this game before being replaced by backup Bronc’s QB Brock Osweiler

C: Minnesota KR/WR Cordarrelle Patterson is terrifyingly great with the ball in his hands, returning an Oakland kick for a TD post-Raider TD

L:  I applaud the development and great play of Carolina’s QB Cam Newton but, while I’ve never met him, he reeks of the kinda athlete that’s always been bigger and better than those around him, only he never hit that level of opponent that could put him in his place. There are many examples of Cam’s punkiness, the latest being his excessive dancing post-TD vs. the Titans, causing a few Titan defenders to come barking at him.

L:  This perfect hit by Miami CB Jamar Taylor on Philly WR Jordan Matthews exemplifies the inherent violence problem with the sport of football. I love watching football but I’m also a human being that struggles when I see people smash to injury. Sanchez leaves Jordan out to dry and might not get invited to the Matthews’ family Thanksgiving this year.

L:  I love Titans’ rookie QB Marcus Mariota. BUT, I encourage him,and every other male-not-Burt-Reynolds to adopt this slogan and “Stash the ‘stache.”

C: Panthers’ TE Greg Olsen with a nasty one-handed catch along the sideline late in Carolina’s win against Tampa. Though they all play so differently, Newton-to-Olsen is second-fiddle only to the Brady-to-Gronkowski QB/TE connection

C: Miami WR Jarvis Landry with the best deflected-rebounded-pass for a TD I’ve ever seen. Ball was in the air for at least 3 minutes.

L: Great hit by Rolando McClain, but terrible seeing Philly QB Sam Bradford go out with an apparent shoulder injury as a result of the sack/fumble

C: Chicago RB Jeremy Langford eating up 83-yards in a beautiful catch-and-run TD late in the 2nd Q against the Rams.

C: Aaron Donald with back to back brilliant plays against the Bears, out-quicking the OL each time and making the tackles

L: Rams LT Greg Robinson with 3 holding penalties through 3 quarters, one negating a crucial 1st down

C: Electrifying Detroit RB Ameer Abdullah taking the 2nd half kickoff 104-yards before barely getting tripped up at the 1, ultimately leading to a Lions (Pettigrew) TD

L: Rex Ryan, in his return with the Bills to face the Jets team he coached just last year, chose to remain in the locker room while his team warmed up pre-game, because the game was “not about him”. Of course, the head coach staying in the locker room during warm-ups is kinda noteworthy, especially in this game, so the media’s narrative focused on…you guessed it, Rex Ryan.

NFL Winners/Losers Roundup

Bills vs. Jets (Thursday)
Edible Rex returns as Bills give New York rug burns, beat Jets

Jags vs. Ravens
The United Kingdom Jags Jag-on, beat Baltimore late in the Terrible Teams Bowl as the Brothers Harbaugh’s stock triple-lindy-flip-flops

Panthers vs. Titans
Cam keeps Carolina roaring finah, despite being an asshole, as Panthers punk Mariotas

Saints vs. ‘Skins
Payton/Ryan’s NOLA cards get closer to revocation as Washington sins n’ skins Saints behind Kirk Cousin’s PERFECT QB RATING

Bears vs. Rams
Chicago averts Rams’ Deadly Slip Ring surrounding the EJ Dome, ride Langford home to big win

Cowboys vs. Buccaneers
‘Boys continue to look like booty w/out “their quarterback, man, their quarterback” Romo, Winston’s Buc’s love booty in beating Jerry’s Kids

Lions vs. Packers
Aaron Rodgers human at home, Mason Crosby shanks last second FG as Detroit upsets Green Bay in Favre’s House

Dolphins vs. Eagles
‘Fins knock out Bradford, forcing Sanchez into (in)action as Miami welcomes Philly to defeat

Browns vs. Steelers
Pittsburgh sends Cleveland deeper down the well of despair, stealing hope without care

Vikings vs. Raiders
Teddy’s Vikes spike those Men from the Land of Oak, as “All Day” Peterson rushes for 203 yards

Chiefs vs. Broncos
Peyton gets all-time passing record, looks awful otherwise as KC busts Denver to 2nd straight L

Patriots vs. Giants
Pats shake Giants curse late with Gostowski game-winning FG, Eli Face Remains Bitterly Burned

Cardinals vs. Seahawks
‘Zona hangs on late to send Seattle skidding, Palmer throws 3 TD’s doing aerial beauty’s bidding

Texans vs. Bengals (Monday Night Football Prediction)
I believe the Texans surprise the Road House Andy’s (Dalton), relieve Cincinnati from the unbeaten tree, defeat Bengals but still stay sucky

Super Exclusive Fantasy Football Tip of the Week