NFL Week 13: The Good, Bad and Ugly
Why do we love the NFL? Because on any given weekend, anything can happen. Week 13 was exactly that kind of week.
To get you in the spirit of the upcoming holidays, here is a quick summation of how some things played out.
Drew Brees tossed five interceptions. Four playoff spots were secured. Three division winners were crowned. Two underdogs won huge games in overtime, and we had a heartfelt win for the Kansas City Chiefs in the midst of a horrific tragedy.
What a week of football. Let’s take a look at the players, coaches, plays and teams that earned this week’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good: Tony Romo
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Romo was perfect in the second half by going 10-for-10 for 169 yards and three touchdowns. He continues to use his elusiveness to buy more time in the pocket and make the accurate throws.
Romo finished the night with an electrifying 150.5 passer rating on 22-of-27 passing for 303 yards. Romo also passed Troy Aikman to become the Cowboys’ all-time touchdown passing leader.
The Bad: Lions Defense in the Final Four Minutes
Dave Reginek/Getty Images
The Lions defense allowed the Colts to go on a drive of 85 yards in the final four minutes of the game. Drayton Florence allowed Colts receiver LaVon Brazill to get behind him deep to score the first touchdown with 2:39 left in the game.
Then the defense allowed the Colts to march 75 yards for a touchdown with 1:07 left in the game and with the Colts having zero timeouts left. Donnie Avery went untouched on the final touchdown as time expired, leaving the Lions defense searching for answers.
The Ugly: Mark Sanchez
Up to that point, Sanchez was ineffective and his passes were wildly inaccurate. He completed less than 50 percent of attempts leaving the game going 10-of-21 for a meager 97 yards and tossing three interceptions.
He finished the game with an embarrassingly low 21.4 passer rating. Sanchez better get used to carrying around a clipboard because he might be doing that for a while.
The Good: Von Miller
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images
Miller lead the team with five solo tackles, had one sack, one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. Miller also sealed the game by returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown.
The Bad: Jake Locker
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
The Tennessee Titans offense was ineffective against the Houston Texans, and Jake Locker was partly responsible. Although Locker had 309 yards passing, he only completed 47 percent of his passes and tossed three interceptions.
Locker was unusually inaccurate with his passes and was uncomfortable in the pocket for most of the game. He finished with an unimpressive 49.2 passer rating.
The Ugly: Chargers Offense
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
The San Diego Chargers offense has struggled and their rushing attack was non-existent. The Chargers only managed 46 yards on the ground, and 20 of those yards came on quarterback scrambles.
Philip Rivers is having a horrible season, and once again he had two critical turnovers in the fourth quarter. Rivers fumbled late in the game, giving the Cincinnati Bengals a field goal and a seven-point lead.
Then later in the quarter, after leading the offense deep into Bengals territory, Rivers threw an interception in the end zone, killing any chance the Chargers had of a comeback.
The Good: Jamaal Charles
Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Jamaal Charles and the entire Kansas City Chiefs were playing with a heavy heart after the tragic events surrounding the team. Charles was able to focus and was impressive in the game.
Charles was tough to bring down as he ran hard in the game. He rushed for 127 yards on 27 carries for an impressive 4.7 yards per carry.
After knowing now about the situation and how close Charles and his wife are to the deceased, Charles' performance on Sunday was remarkable.
The Bad: Ryan Lindley
Although we still cannot believe that head coach Ken Whisenhunt made the move to play Ryan Lindley in the first place, Whisenhunt may finally have seen the light. The Arizona Cardinals head coach did not commit to Lindley being the team’s starting quarterback in Week 14.
That’s good news, because Lindley laid another egg against the New York Jets. Lindley completed less than a third of his passes, going 10-of-31 for 72 passes with zero touchdowns and one interception.
He finished with an lackluster 28.0 passer rating. It is time for Whisenhunt to pull the plug on the Ryan Lindley experiment.
The Ugly: Cardinals Rushing Attack
Al Bello/Getty Images
What’s worse than Ryan Lindley’s performance? The Arizona Cardinals' rushing attack!
With the return of running back Beanie Wells last week, the Cardinals anticipated great things for their ground game. Instead they got next to nothing.
Wells gained a paltry 22 yards on 15 rush attempts for a meager 1.5 yards per carry. The Cardinals as a team gained 81 yards as a team, but half the yards came on a fake punt when safety Rashad Johnson carried the ball for 40 yards.
Without that run, the Cardinals gained 41 yards on 20 rush attempts. That’s ugly!
The Good: Demaryius Thomas
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images
We know what Demaryius Thomas is thinking. Welcome to Denver, Mr. Manning!
Thomas was an integral part of the Denver Broncos offense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, catching eight passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas has gone over 1,000 yards receiving for the time in his career and is having his best season as a pro.
So far this season, Thomas has caught more passes (69), gained more yards (1,113) and scored more touchdowns (eight) than in his previous two seasons combined (54 REC, 834 YDS, 6 TD).
The Bad: Raiders Running Game
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Where in the world is Darren McFadden?
With McFadden sidelined due to injury, the Oakland Raiders running game has been lacking. Against the Cleveland Browns, a team that was allowing over 115 yards per game on the ground, the Raiders only gained 85 rushing yards.
Maybe it has something to do with the Raiders using two fullbacks to run the ball. Fullbacks Jeremy Stewart and Marcel Reece split carries for the Raiders, and although they have done their best, the Raiders simply need to get McFadden healthy and back on the field.
The Ugly: Colin Kaepernick’s Ugly Toss
Although we still do not agree with the decision to start quarterback Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith, this slide is about one costly play and not Kaepernick as a starter.
Late in the fourth quarter with the San Francisco 49ers holding a 10-2 lead over the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers faced a 3rd-and-3 from their own 17-yard line. Kaepernick faked a hand-off to Frank Gore and attempted to pitch the ball back to Ted Ginn Jr.
The pitch was high and sailed over Ginn’s head, and the fumble was recovered by Rams rookie Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins stumbled in for a two-yard touchdown. That play should have never been called in that situation, but Kaepernick has to make a better toss than that.
It was so ugly, we believe that play will be tossed out of the playbook.
The Good: Carlos Dunlap
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap was a beast against the San Diego Chargers. Dunlap constantly pressured Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Dunlap finished the game with impressive numbers to go along with his pressure on Rivers. He had four solo tackles, two sacks, two tackles for a loss and a pass defensed.
Late in the game, Dunlap sacked Rivers, forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Chargers 13-yard line. That set up a Mike Nugent 24-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 20-13 lead.
The Bad: Bears Two-Minute and Overtime Defense
David Banks/Getty Images
What happened to the Chicago Bears defense at the end of the game against the Seattle Seahawks? It looked like they ran out of gas.
With the Bears clinging to a slim 14-10 lead, the Seahawks took over at their own 3-yard line with 3:40 left in the game. The Bears defense allowed the Seahawks to go on a 12-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a Golden Tate 14-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
After miraculously tying the game at 17, the Bears defense faltered again. This time allowing the Seahawks to take the opening drive and go on another 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard Sidney Rice touchdown.
The Ugly: Drew Brees
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Drew Brees threw five interceptions in a divisional game that his team desperately needed to win. FIVE.
Do we really need to say more than that?
The Good: Russell Wilson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Maybe it’s time for the NFL community and NFL pundits to stop saying Russell Wilson is too short to play quarterback in this league. Wilson went on the road to face a tough defense, and he came out victorious.
He finished the game with a 104.9 passer rating on 23-of-37 passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson also rushed for 71 yards on nine carries and stayed cool and calm as he led his team on consecutive touchdown drives in at the end of regulation and in overtime to give the Seahawks a 23-17 win over the Chicago Bears.
The Bad: Giants Penalties
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
The New York Giants lost on the road on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins because of their inability to score touchdowns when they got inside the red zone.
What was the reason for their red-zone inefficiency? Penalties.
The Giants were penalized nine times for 73 yards in the game. The Giants had to settle for field goals three times because they could not convert long third downs. They were in those 3rd-and-long situations because of penalties.
Late in the fourth quarter, on the Giants' final offensive possession, a first down was wiped out due to a holding penalty on tackle Will Beatty. The Giants were forced to punt and never got the ball again.
The Ugly: Bryce Brown’s Fumble
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
There is no denying that Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Bryce Brown has some skills running the football. What he lacks is the ability to hold on to the football.
Once again, after another solid performance running the ball, Brown fumbled the ball in a tight divisional game. Brown’s fumble in the fourth quarter was returned 50 yards for a touchdown and effectively sealed the Eagles’ fate.
Despite rushing for over 100 yards in each of his first two games as a starter, Bryce has fumbled three times as well. He cannot be relied upon as a featured back until he learns to hold on to the ball.
The Good: Adrian Peterson
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
We usually do not have a player in the good category from a losing team, but Adrian Peterson’s performance was so good that we could not keep him out.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Green Bay Packers 23-14, but it was not because of Peterson. He rushed for 210 yards on 21 rush attempts and one touchdown. He averaged an eye-popping 10 yards per carry, and even without his 82-yard touchdown run in the second quarter Peterson averaged 6.2 yards per rush.
For a guy coming off knee surgery, he is having a phenomenal year. Peterson currently leads the league in rushing with 1,446 yards. The next closest back is 308 yards behind. Wow.