Christmas time is here
Yes, Thanksgiving may be only a few days away, but I have been able to check off another few times on my checklist that let me know the Christmas season is finally upon us. First, three local radio stations started playing non-stop Christmas music. Second, I finally saw the Pennsylvania lottery and the Hershey Kisses commercials in the last week. SO here we are folks. The end of the year is pretty much here. I hope you have a good holiday season, starting this week with my personal favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
Family. Friends. Football. What more do you need?
Red-hot Dolphins spoil Jared Goff’s NFL debut
The long-awaited debut of LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the number one overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, finally arrived on Sunday, and if football games were only about 59 minutes long then he would have started his professional career 1-0. The Rams held a 10-0 lead going to the fourth quarter despite a rough afternoon for Goff in his debut but the Miami Dolphins stole the show with two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game to take a 14-10 victory. It is the fifth straight win for the Dolphins, who are really coming along now and could be getting hot at a very good time. After starting the season 1-4, the Dolphins are now 6-4. They’ll be 7-4 this time next week with a home game against the 49ers coming up next week.
But how did Goff do, and where will he need to improve? Making rash decisions after one game is unwise of course, even for a top overall pick playing quarterback for a team as woeful as the Rams. The gameplan was rather conservative for Goff, and that was probably wise against a team like Miami. Throwing beyond 10 yards was not productive at all for Goff.
Jared Goff on passes 10 or more yards in the air: 0 for 5
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) November 21, 2016
This may have summed things up at times…
Jared Goff is so bad he missed the entire city on this play pic.twitter.com/bvow2TM7Sg
— Bad "Dudes" Sim Sim (@reverendmalibu) November 20, 2016
But there were some glimpses of what Goff could be capable of doing…
Being the number one overall pick usually means yo are playing on a bad team, so it should be no surprise Goff joins a growing list of quarterbacks chosen No. 1 to lose in their debut. The last one to win a game, unbelievably, is David Carr with the Houston Texans. Just one of these quarterbacks since 2003 has won a Super Bowl.
Jared Goff looks to break a recent losing streak of No. 1 pick QBs making their first career start. pic.twitter.com/mlSmzQSxrL
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 17, 2016
Are NFL’s new PAT rules hurting the game?
Kickers in football tend to be overlooked until they start missing their kicks. On Sunday, NFL kickers missed a lot of them. A record number of PAT attempts were missed, with 11 extra point kicks failing to split the uprights following a touchdown. Credit the special teams units on the other team for the times they caused the miss with a block, or blame windy conditions where applicable if you wish. The bottom line is the NFL created this possibility and now must choose to live with it or amend it. Previous reports have suggested the NFL may be open to reviewing new kickoff rules during the season, but there has been no word about changing the PAT procedures.
Back I March I tried breaking down how the proposal to move extra-point kicks back to the 15-yard line would lead to teams rethinking how much value is placed on a kicker. We quickly saw that with Tampa Bay drafting Roberto Aguayo out of Florida State in the second round! With a higher-degree of difficulty given to a task that for decades had been considered largely an obligated routine act for one point, the importance of having a trusty kicker on the roster skyrockets. Now, more than ever before, kickers are feeling pressure to come through on such relatively simple acts as kicking extra points.
There have been 7 missed extra points so far today, already the most in a week this season.
Johnson kicked a PAT during a preseason game. https://t.co/P2wVIkIjCk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 20, 2016
Stephen Gostkowski missed the Patriots' first extra point, his third PAT miss this year — and the 10th in the NFL today.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 20, 2016
And there's the record! Steven Hauschka's PAT is blocked in Seattle! 11 missed extra points today, with plenty of football left.
— SI NFL (@si_nfl) November 20, 2016
Does a high number of missed PATs hurt the game’s image? Your opinion may vary based on how good of a kicker your favorite NFL team has on the roster.
Cowboys 27, Ravens 17: There may be no stopping these Cowboys the way things have been rolling with Dak and Zeke. The Cowboys improved to 9-1 on Sunday with a home win against Joe Flacco and the Ravens. The way things are going, Tony Romo may want to stay comfortable on the bench, and maybe stay in shape so he can land a starting job in Denver.
After the game, Flacco said with a straight face his 5-5 Ravens should have beaten the Cowboys.
Patriots 30, 49ers 17: Fire up the Chip Kelly to Texas coaching rumors, because the 49ers are 1-9 and absolutely cannot afford to allow this man to control the future of this franchise. Tom Brady made his first career start in San Francisco and he left home with a four-touchdown afternoon leading the Patriots to a win. It was the 199th career win by Brady, tying him for second all-time with Brett Favre. I feel pretty good about his odds to take over the top spot before he calls it a career. Peyton Manning owns the record with 200 career wins.
Victory #199 for draft pick #199 in the stadium 20 mins from his childhood home. Poetic, for the
But let’s talk about Brady’s coat for a second…
Who wore it better? pic.twitter.com/Qz2J9F6lV0
— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) November 21, 2016
Redskins 42, Packers 24: The road woes continue for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as they were trounced by Washington on Sunday night. Kirk Cousins continued to defy his critics by passing for 375 yards and three touchdowns in the win, which included a wild 20-point outburst in the fourth quarter by the home team. Rodgers did what he could with 351 passing yards and three touchdowns, but Green Bay’s defense is an absolute mess and now they are 4-6 overall and 1-4 on the road. Next week they are back on the road to play the Eagles on Monday night. Washington, meanwhile, is feeling confident at 6-3-1.
That has Dan Snyder dancing like, well…
Seahawks 26, Eagles 15: This one was nowhere close to how the final score might indicate, which seems strange considering it was an 11-point win for Seattle. The Seahawks had 300 yards of offense in the first half and made Carson Wentz look like a lost rookie out of the FCS ranks playing in the toughest environment he has faced yet. Well, that’s because Wentz is a rookie from the FCS and he just played in the most intimidating environment he has stepped foot in to date. While the Seahawks roughed up Wentz, the Eagles defense was as tough as tissue paper at times.
And Nelson Agholor may be one of the worst draft picks the Eagles have made in a while.
Both a coach and the ref were telling Nelson Agholor to get on the line of scrimmage, but he never checked to see if he was: pic.twitter.com/RNBTfOpKru
— Josh Paunil (@JoshPaunil) November 21, 2016
Nelson Agholor highlight reel, updated: pic.twitter.com/bC2h0IWps8
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) November 21, 2016
Buccaneers 19, Chiefs 17: Jameis Winston passed for 331 yards and a touchdown and the Bucs held the Chiefs from converting third downs four out of eight times and forced two turnovers to score a nice little upset win. The Bucs have proven to be road warriors this season, going 4-1 on the road. If they could just get things straightened out at home, they could be in first place right now.
Giants 22, Bears 16: the Giants are 7-3, folks. Seven. And. Three. They got there on Sunday by sacking Jay Cutler four times and picking him off once as the Cutler madness continues in Chicago. Cutler and the Bears scored 16 points on their first three possessions of the game and then punted on six of their next eight possessions with one missed field goal and a Cutler interception on their final possession on a 2nd and 29 from midfield.
Colts 24, Titans 17: In a showdown of former Pac-12 standout quarterbacks, Andrew Luck got the upper hand on Marcus Mariota this time around. Mariota had the better day in the box score with 290 yards and two touchdowns without an interception and 29 rushing yards to Luck’s 262 yards, two scores and interception, and 22 rushing yards, but the Colts got off to the better start. Indianapolis went up 21-0 before the Titans put a point on the board, but chipped away the final three quarters to no avail. The Colts are now back to .500.
Lions 26, Jaguars 19: For all the young talent Jacksonville allegedly has on the roster, things just do not seem to be working out or improving with this team. Pretty soon, it’s going to cost someone a job (looking at you, Gus).Blake Bortles was picked off twice in the game, negating his two touchdown throws. The Jags only rushed for 83 yards, but the Lions only rushed for 14 yards. 14! Detroit entered the fourth quarter trailing for the sixth straight game, but they have now managed to win five of those contests.
Bills 16, Bengals 12: Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green had to be carted off the field with a hamstring injury in the first quarter. That hurt the Bengals on the road in a low-scoring contest at home. The Bengals are now just 3-6-1, proving once again that Ohio State is the top football draw in the state. Vontaze Burfict threw the double-bird at fans in frustration. Did he yell to them to go to Hell and get a job too?
Steelers 24, Browns 9: The Browns lost. Again. The Steelers only needed 313 yards of offense to win on the road in Cleveland. LeVeon Bell carried the football for 146 of those yards. Ben Roethlisberger has now won 10 games in Cleveland since 1999, tying former Browns QB Derek Anderson’s total for most home wins by a Browns QB since 1999. Terrelle Pryor has had it with the lack of pass protection.
All your rowdy friends are here for Monday night: The Oakland Raiders take on the Houston Texans tonight in Mexico City! The game has been moved to Mexico as the NFL continues to expand its international reach whenever possible. Derek Carr and the Raiders look to go 8-2, while the Texans could improve to 7-3 with a win. Dare I say, this one could be quite a fiesta.
Don’t @ Me: Top Five Thanksgiving sides
1. Mashed potatoes (with gravy, of course)
3. Broccoli casserole
4. Crescent rolls
5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
– Rudy Gay had a bizarre moment when he threw the shoe of Demar Derozan’s into the crowd in Sacramento. The shoe hit a fan in the face.
– Keep an eye on the Texas Longhorns today as rumors and reports about the status of Charlie Strong are flying around stronger than ever after a weekend loss to Kansas. Texas hadn’t lost to Kansas since 1938 before Sunday’s epic collapse.
– Maybe keep an eye on Tucson too, just in case hopping mad Rich Rodriguez gets shown the door too.
– Ivy League students are a special breed.
– We have a new record for oldest player to play Divison 1 college football, and it’s not Taysom Hill.
– Did you know you could go a full game without ever kicking off? Illinois found a way.
– Jimmie Johnson won his seventh NASCAR Spring Cup championship, tying legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
– Obligatory Kanye West being Kanye West story here for you.
One last gratuitous moment of procrastination