Late Hits: NFL Week 15

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20: Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons throws the ball through the upright after scoring a touchdown during an NFL game against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on December 20, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim Luzzi/Getty Images)
Jim Luzzi/Getty Images

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Wow. Is there any better way to describe yesterday?

I'm not just talking about the Winter Wonderland the family and I awoke to Sunday morning—our first in our new digs in Queens.

No, I'm talking about a day of NFL football that just kept getting better and better as the hours passed.

Heck, add in Dallas' upset of New Orleans to the Jets and Dolphins meltdowns, the Steeler's last minute victory, the Bronco implosion, the Browns/Chiefs shootout, an emotional Bengals loss and a Vikings swoon....

Any single game would be worth an entire column. As a whole, it's one of the best weekends of football I've seen this season.

As I hate to leave anything out, but don't want to vomit 4,000 words at you, here are some brief thoughts on some of the action.

Jets—Falcons: People can yell at Sanchez all they want, but why have a wildly inexperienced rookie with even less cold-weather games under his belt throwing into the wind? I've said it before, I'll say it again - some of the failure the last two years lands on OC Brian Schottenheimer.

You have the top run offense in the league and run 27 times? WITH A LEAD? That's suspect and it's been the case all season. They run a lot but seem to get away from it rather than get it into a  rhythm. Schotty loves to throw and he's picking bad times to do it with Sanchez.

Point to Jay Feely and Kellen Clemens as well here. Clemens for his botched placement and Feely for two bad kicks.

I believe there is karma—you get what you put out into the world. Last week when Chris Henry died, Feely just couldn't keep his mouth shut for a day, tweeting how Henry's death happened, in part, because of his poor choices.

True? Maybe. But did you need to say it the day he died? Couldn't give it a day out of respect for the dead?

A part of me wondered if there wasn't a little karmic retribution in his missing two 'shouldn't miss' field goals.

Kudos to the Falcons by the way. They didn't give up.

Bengals—Chargers: Speaking of the Bengals and Henry, what an emotional game. Chad Ochocinco decided against wearing Henry's number—and that's a whole other column—but had an inspired day nonetheless. Carson Palmer had arguably his best day of the year.

They couldn't quite hold on though. Say what you will about the Chargers and how they started the season, but they know how to play in December.

That—after all they have been through with the death of Henry on top of the sudden death of Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer's wife—the Bengals found a way to come back and almost win, speaks volumes about the team's mental toughness.

They didn't win—but they showed me a lot about overcoming adversity, yesterday.

By the way, Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson were incredible yesterday. Jackson has been quiet of late, but he's still there and games like yesterday's should remind defenses not to sleep on him.

Browns-Chiefs: If I had asked you which game this weekend would have been a shootout, most of you wouldn't have pointed to this game.

Nor would anyone have picked Jerome Harrison as a guy destined to run for 286 yards and a trio of touchdowns, overshadowing a very nice game by Jamaal Charles.

I guess after nearly 300 yards, 154 is a little pedestrian.

It's too bad that people in Kansas City missed the game, since it was blacked out.

Vikings—Panthers: A lot is made of Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys' consistent swoons in December. Yet, Brett Favre has probably been forced to eat snow more than his fair share this time of year as well.

You can write off last season, if you'd like, since Favre was playing with a hurt shoulder. Still, he has a history of struggling at Christmas-time and this month he has thrown interceptions in three straight games.

Aside from that, I know Adrian Peterson was struggling and the Vikings were down in the fourth quarter, but twelve runs? TWELVE RUNS.

Last year the Jets abandoned the power run offense they built the team for, opting instead to have Favre throw it early and often. Looks like Childress is wearing the same blinders.

There is no reason why Peterson—and Chester Taylor for that matter—shouldn't have run the ball far more the first three quarters.
By the way, as if the game weren't enough - Steve Smith's post-game interview is gold . Props to Football Outsiders for transcribing some real comedy. I don't even know if Smith knows what he's saying.

I know I didn't even touch on the amazing Cowboy upset of the Saints, the surprise battle between the Cardinals and Lions, or the fact that Chris Johnson and Vince Young are going nuts right now for the Titans.

What did I miss that you think should have made the column? Pop off in the comments and we'll talk.