What a difference a week makes. Where last week’s recap was 100% misery, this week’s recap is all about happiness and the amazing day of football we just witnessed (OK, technically there was barely a recap last week, but you get the point….last Tuesday was a miserable day for a Patriots fan).
A cynic like myself could always find things to be angry about after a Sunday of football (Dallas not covering the spread, more injuries than I can count, Peyton Manning having too easy of a life), but that’s not what today’s recap is all about. Yesterday was just too good to be unhappy. I’m seriously wondering what we did to deserve such an incredible set of games on Sunday.
Here’s what I loved about week 5:
- My picks against the spread are 8-6 for the week (with the Washington/Seattle game pending), totally respectable considering the roller coaster ride that most of the Sunday early games sent us on.
- At 1pm Pacific Time, seven of the nine early games hung in the balance. All seven of these games were legitimately up for grabs and super entertaining. It was almost too much to keep up with. Consider the following:
- The Lions were up 14-0 at home against Kyle frickin Orton…and gave up 17 consecutive points while losing embarrassingly to the Bills. How embarrassing? Well, you’ve probably seen some of the stats on the Lions field goal kicking to this point of the year. They are now 0-for-6 on field goals longer than 30 yards. Alex Henery (now unemployed) missed from 44 and 47 yards earlier in the game, but that didn’t stop Jim Caldwell from marching him out to attempt a 50-yarder to win the game. In the least surprising news of the day, he missed.
- The Bears were beating the Panthers in Carolina by 14 points in the 1st half, but still managed to lose by a touchdown when Jay Cutler was stripsacked on a last minute desperate drive.
- The Cowboys outgained the Texans by 125 yards and held onto the ball six minutes longer, yet it took overtime and a nearly-miraculous 37 yard throw and catch from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant for the Cowboys to edge out Houston…because of course the Cowboys turned the ball over every chance they got…like they were trying to teach me a lesson for picking them in my Suicide Pool.
- The Eagles were rolling the Rams 34-7 with time winding down in the 3rd quarter…and then the Rams randomly started playing well and the Eagles were the ones who couldn’t do anything right. A game that I had stopped paying attention to was suddenly a six-point game with under two minutes to play. And just like their entire season so far…the Eagles got really lucky to escape with a win. They are easily the sketchiest one-loss team in the NFL.
- The Saints won at home, which we expected. What we didn’t expect was that the Saints would build a 10-point lead, the Bucs would respond with 21 unanswered points to take an 11-point lead in the 3rd quarter, and then New Orleans would battle back in the 4th quarter, eventually winning by six in overtime.
- The Colts won a close home game as many expected. But it wasn’t locked up until Joe Flacco missed a long 4th down pass with 25 seconds left. Admittedly I didn’t catch much of this game, probably because it was the most boring of all these other games. The most exciting of these early games? That belongs to…
- The Cleveland Browns won a ridiculous road game in which they had to come back from 25 points down in Tennessee! And even when you realize Jake Locker got hurt and Charlie Whitehurst had to play most of the game for the Titans, you’d be wrong to assume one of the worst backup QBs in football was the reason for this comeback. Neither Locker nor Whitehurst threw a pick. The Titans actually didn’t turn the ball over at all. What happened was that the Browns finally started playing football in the 2nd half. They outgained the Titans 222-93 in 2nd half yards. Even more incredible is that Cleveland needed the benefit of two coaches’ challenges on back-to-back plays in the final few minutes to win. Down by six, the Browns successfully challenged a spot on a 3rd down that would have given Tennessee a huge 1st down. The Titans then went for it on 4th down, and when Whitehurst’s QB sneak failed, the Titans challenged. They lost. The Browns took care of things from there. The 2-2 Browns could easily be 6-2 or 5-3 after their next four games!
- That seriously all took place over a 25-minute span yesterday.
- I loved using the Cowboys in the Suicide Pool and getting away with it. I was ready to write how I fucked up by trying to be too cute with that pick, but it’s not like the “safer” picks worked out much better. The other picks in my pool besides Dallas? New Orleans, Philadelphia and Detroit.
- I loved that Austin Davis wasn’t even aware that a play clock existed with 47 seconds left in the 4th quarter. This made for some great comedy when he was cooly making adjustments at the line of scrimmage as if he had a good 30-45 seconds only to look stunned that they were calling delay of game. I’m not sure he knew that penalty existed.
- I loved how loudly the Detroit fans booed when Henery missed that 50-yard field goal attempt. When 60,000 people know there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that you’re making a clutch kick, you should probably get your resume updated.
- Even funnier was that Buffalo threw it right back in Detroit’s face when their field goal kicker, Dan Carpenter, drilled a 58-yarder to complete the comeback over the Lions.
- I loved the two prime examples this week of “football doesn’t make sense” (we get at least one example of this every week): Kyle Orton won on the road against Detroit, who had the 2nd ranked defense coming into the game, and the Patriots streamrolled what everyone thought was the best team in the AFC just six days after getting embarrassed by the Chiefs. The NFL truly makes no sense.
- I’m glad that it only took me five weeks to figure out the NFC North is not as good as I wanted it to be. In years past, this could take me all season (and a lot of wasted money) to figure out. I actually had a mini-intervention for myself last night with a friend. We both decided we’re quitting on the Bears cold turkey. I’m not backing them in any way going forward. They’re the worst.
- The Packers winning the NFC North won’t be quite as unexciting as the Colts winning the AFC South, but it’s not far off. The other teams in that division B-L-O-W.
- As a Patriots fan and a fan of watching pathetic teams in general, I LOVED what went on with the Jets’ quarterbacks in San Diego. Just like a preseason game, we got to see both QBs for a half. Geno Smith’s first half resulted in a line of 4-for-12, 27 yards, 1 interception and a 7.6 passer rating. Michael Vick’s second half resulted in a line of 8-for-19, 47 yards and a 49.7 passer rating.
- At one point in the 4th quarter, the Jets had 65 total yards of offense…only a bit less than San Diego’s 418 yards.
- It sounds like Rex Ryan has already stated Geno is his starter next week. Even if he changes his mind and starts Vick, don’t be so quick to jump on him for fantasy purposes. The Jets’ next four games see them face teams who are all in the upper half of passing defense. It’s not that enticing of a schedule.
- I loved Brandon Oliver doing his best Darren Sproles impression for San Diego. No doubt this guy is the waiver wire darling of the week in fantasy.
- I LOVED that sign the Jaguars’ mascot had yesterday. If you’re going to be 0-5 and pretty much irrelevant on the football field, you might as well make headlines in different ways. Keep it going, Jaguars.
- And finally, I loved hearing one of the play-by-play announcers say the following: “You’re always looking over your back if you’re running out the back door.”
What does that even mean and how can I use it in normal everyday conversation?
After week 6 it might be a good time to take a step back and see how things are shaping up with division races, playoff contenders, AFC vs NFC quality and a bunch of other things. Expect that next week.
And of course, week 6 picks coming on Thursday.