Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NFL Week 12 in Review

This was most definitely not a good week to be a kicker. Just about every big game hinged on what kickers could or couldn't do. Speaking of which, just about every big game fully lived up to the hype as well, making for perhaps the best week of football this year so far. On to the show!

Thansgiving Day:
Atlanta 27 at Detroit 7

Thankful For: Atlanta finally getting exposed as NOT the best team in the NFC
Thankful Pick: Detroit
I'm thankful Steve Mariucci was fired after an abysmal performance that frankly was caused as much by his mishandling of the talent as anything else. I was wondering why Kevin Jones wasn't shining. Apparently it's because even if he has a good run he doesn't get a chance at another for two quarters in favor of his fumbling backup. I was wondering why Joey Harrington wasn't succeeding. Apparently it's because his receivers drop everything near them and his coach didn't have his back at all. Note to Lions fans... Jeff Garcia looked awful. Stick with the kid. This team needs a disciplinarian to get them in line. They have too much talent to put up performances like this. I should give some props to Atlanta. You played some inspired football on both sides of the ball, even if Mariucci ran straight into your strengths. Let's see what happens when you take on Carolina.

Denver 24 at Dallas 21

Thankful For: Being able to root against the Cowboys for the last fifteen years
Thankful Pick: Denver
This was a fantastic game. Both teams showed why they are playoff contenders. I'm more impressed with Dallas' defense each time I see it. If they could only get Julius Jones to run like last year they would really be in business. In fact, Dallas' offense is starting to stall rather frequently. Terry Glenn isn't open down the field as often. Jason Witten just plain isn't getting the ball enough. I would be concerned if I was a Cowboys fan (which by the grace of God I am not). I thought Denver was going to run away with this one, but they seem to have an inability to put their foot down when they grab the lead. I'm becoming more of a Broncos believer, as that 9-2 record in the tough AFC West indicates.

Sunday:
Carolina 13 at Buffalo 9

Thankful For: Picking McGahee over Peyton Manning and learning humility in the process
Thankful Pick: Carolina
Yet another game that Carolina almost blew against a weaker team. How many is that now? They need to start being truly concerned about their lack of a running game, because it is hamstringing their offense. Jake Delhomme is getting the tar beaten out of him because opposing pass rushers are teeing off. Buffalo also did a good job of triple teaming Steve Smith and forcing Delhomme to actually throw to other people. Now if the Bills could only score, they would have had an easy victory. Basically, Chicago is a far better team than Carolina, and I never thought I would write that.

Baltimore 29 at Cincinnati 42

Thankful For: Easy games to pick
Thankful Pick: Cincinnati
Colin mentioned Chad Johnson's touchdown celebrations, and that "putting the ball" one with the goal post was pretty darn cool. Man that offense is scary good. They made an albeit underperforming Baltimore defense look awful. There was just no way the Ravens could match the points the Bengals were putting up. By the way, was that Jamal Lewis gaining over 100 yards? Really? He can do that?

San Francisco 22 at Tennessee 33
Thankful For: Not having to watch any of this game
Thankful Pick: Tennessee
These two teams at least made it entertaining for the fans who paid money to watch that crap. That's all I can say.

New England 16 at Kansas City 26

Thankful For: Larry Johnson's 31 fantasy points for my team last week
Thankful Pick: Kansas City
Kansas City has to be a little upset that they can beat a team that bad and yet are fighting for their playoff lives, while New England's closest competition is 4-7. This game wasn't as close as the score indicated. Kansas City dominated every facet, even on defense. New England still can't run the ball (the loss of Corey Dillon this year cannot be understated), their receivers are still dropping the ball, and their defenders can't do anything against anything. Yet, do you pick against them in the playoffs? It's time to start the questioning...

Cleveland 12 at Minnesota 24
Thankful For: The years of laughter I will have received thanks to the Love Boat
Thankful Pick: Minnesota
And the Vikings are now 6-4. Go figure. The last few years it was the other way around... start 6-0, end 8-8. The Vikings are only one game out of the wild card, and although they need some help, the schedule favors them. More in my playoff picture post. Regardless, their defense is gelling, especially with the emergence of Darren Sharper, who looks like he's gained about four steps. Kevin and Pat Williams are dominating the line of scrimmage, and Brad Johnson is not making mistakes, just like Brad Johnson. Frankly, I wouldn't want to play this team right now. They are on a roll.

Chicago 13 at Tampa Bay 10

Thankful For: Someone FINALLY exposing the Chicago Bears' offense
Thankful Pick: Tampa Bay
The Chicago Bears had one touchdown drive... of one yard. They were up 10 in the 4th quarter and if Tampa's kicker doesn't miss a 29 yard field goal they blow that lead. They cannot score. Cannot move the ball. This is the favorite in the NFC? Tampa's offense moved the ball more effectively than indicated, with over 300 yards of total offense. If Chris Simms had gotten some actual blocking, they would have scored a lot more. Unfortunately, his tackles got worked all game. The Bears deserve recognition. They deserve applause. They might even deserve a first round bye. To call them "favorites" is in my mind ridiculous. Still, this was a fun game to watch. These teams both wanted this game badly and played like it. Alex Smith was an absolute fiend. Field position and special teams were exciting and necessary. This was darn good, well coached football, and I'd watch these teams play again in a heartbeat.

San Diego 23 at Washington 17

Thankful For: A clearing playoff picture
Thankful Pick: San Diego
Speaking of fantastic games, here was another one. The finish was out of this world, and the Chargers had to be excited that the breaks went their way for once. Stymied by that good Redskins defense for much of the game, LaDainian Tomlinson finally goes 31 yards for the tying score, the Chargers stuff Brunell and that hurting offense, and they get the ball back with 1:30 left and a chance to win the game. Drew Brees promptly throws that interception. What a terrible decision that was. Utterly inexcusable. The game seemed over. Then the holding call. A good call... clear penalty. Then the miss. Then the Hail-Mary that was far too catchable. Then Tomlinson breaks the long run for the touchdown in overtime. I love football in November and December. Teams play with emotion and desperation for 60+ minutes. These were two desperate teams. To all those Joe Gibbs-haters out there... give him another year to tune his offensive line and get his receivers healthy. The Redskins will be back in 2006.

St. Louis 33 at Houston 27

Thankful For: Shutting up Tory Holt this year.
Thankful Pick: St. Louis
Another FANTASTIC finish. I may hate the Rams, but I still love to see comebacks like this (just not against Seattle). Ryan Fitzpatrick threw some amazing balls for a rookie quarterback in his first game. He showed poise and excellent touch on the deep routes. If I was the Rams, he's my backup quarterback now over Jaime Martin, and I start grooming him to possibly replace Bulger if he keeps getting hurt. Seriously, a 10 point comeback in 2 minutes? Un-freaking-believable. I love it. From a fantasy perspective, you have to love Kevin Curtis. No catches until overtime until that 50 yard touchdown catch. That's going from 0 points to 12 in 10 seconds.

Miami 33 at Oakland 21

Thankful For: Not having Randy Moss on my team and not having Norv Turner coach my team
Thankful Pick: Oakland
As Colin wrote, Oakland does the opposite of what you think they're going to do. An impressive win on the road in Washington is matched by an incredibly unimpressive loss at home to Miami. This loss puts me more than any on the Fire Norv Turner bandwagon. Losses like this show a loss of direction and a lack of improvement. Kerry Collins has reverted to form as well, which sure doesn't help. Put in Tuiasosopo! Miami, you played hard, Nick Saban has you playing the right way, you just need a quarterback. Was that a Ricky Williams sighting? He's starting to find his legs...

Jacksonville 24 at Arizona 17

Thankful For: Arizona's inevitable late-season rise, giving hope and allowing all prognosticators to pick them AGAIN next preseason
Thankful Pick: Arizona
Well, if not for a last minute interception, perhaps Colin's upset pick comes true. His upsets aren't right often, but they are usually close. Good NY Giants quality moral victory. Jacksonville has to be thanking their lucky stars they play crappy teams with David Gerrard (hope I spelled that one right), who is a pretty decent backup quarterback. The Jaguars can coast into the playoffs, although their reward will be getting zero home games, which is not a recipe for success.

Green Bay 14 at Philadelphia 19

Thankful For: Not having to hear about T.O. the past week
Thankful Pick: Philadelphia
This was a game that lived up to the billing. Two bad teams playing out the string. Still, 180 yards of rushing for Philly? Umm... if I was a fan, I would be asking where THAT was earlier in the season. I knew they could do it, they had the same offensive line. Brett Favre is just dropping back and throwing it up for grabs. I'm hoping he returns if only to put up real statistics.
NY Giants 21 at Seattle 24
Thankful For: My team stepping up when they needed to
Thankful Pick: Seattle
9-2 = respect.

New Orleans 21 at NY Jets 19
Thankful For: Saints that do not come from heaven
Thankful Pick: New Orleans
Sorry Mike Nugent. Better luck next year.

Monday:
Pittsburgh 7 at Indianapolis 26

Thankful For: The unintentional comedy of one Tommy Maddox
Thankful Pick: Indianapolis
I honestly believe this would have been a far different game in two weeks. Pittsburgh is just getting healthy and were exploited by an Indy team on a roll. Still, the Steelers couldn't get any kind of a running game going at all. I'm curious how the game would have turned if Jeff Reed doesn't miss that 40 yard field goal, which would have tied the game at 10. At that point the Steelers may have been able to focus on the run more. Just a thought.

The Scientific Method had a fantastic week himself, ending up at 12-4.

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