NFL Direct Snaps: New York Jets Are Grounded, Ben Roethlisberger Got Pounded

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NFL Direct Snaps: New York Jets Are Grounded, Ben Roethlisberger Got Pounded
Elsa/Getty Images
Jets coach Rex Ryan watches as his team suffers a 45-3 defeat at the hands of the Patriots

To tell you the truth, there wasn't a heck of a lot that impressed me this week.

I mean, sure, there were the Raiders handing the Chargers their first loss in December since goodness knows when.

But the good in the NFL during Week 13 was far outweighed by the bad.

From Peyton Manning to the Redskins laying down, there wasn't a whole lot to be happy about in the NFL this week.

But then came the Jets.

I'll save my rant for the depressed section, but let's just say the Jets' performance trumped all and leave it at that for now.

But there were some good performances in the NFL this week, and I feel that those players and teams should be recognized first and foremost.

 

5 Things That Impressed Me about Week 15

1. Ben Roethlisberger


This was truly that game of the year. A tight defense battle with two of the best defensive units in the league duking it out for division supremacy.

Not surprisingly, it came down the final play, a Ben Roethlisberger touchdown pass to Issac Redman.

Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Ben Roethlisberger celebrates as the Steelers pulled out a key win in Baltimore on Sunday

But the events that foreshadowed the touchdown proved why Big Ben is a tough as they come.

He already was playing with a broken bone in his plant foot, then he took a whack from Hiloti Ngata that broke his nose.

Despite all that adversity, Roethlisberger was still able to make smart decisions. Perhaps none smarter than him escaping the clutches of Terrell Suggs and throwing the ball away on the game-winning drive.

Successful quarterbacks lead in the face of adversity and make smart decisions.

Ben Roethlisberger did both those things Sunday night

Which leads us to:

2. Tom Brady

 

What more can be said except that the Patriots quarterback destroyed what many considered to be the best defense in the NFL? Brady threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 45-3 spanking.

And he wasn't afraid to get everyone on offense involved, another mark of a great quarterback.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew

 

Elsa/Getty Images
Tom Brady's four touchdown sparked the Patriots to a huge win over the Jets.

Let's not underestimate the roll of a great running back in a offense, especially the guys who are workhorses and know how to run the clock.

Mr. Jones-Drew not only carried the ball 31 times for a 186 yards against the Titans, but he also helped the Jaguars keep the ball under their control with several runs that prolonged drives.

Now the Jaguars hold a one game lead over the Colts in the AFC South, and control their own destiny thanks to the powerful running of their sparkplug.

4. Cliff Aviril

 

The Lions defensive end recorded three sacks that effectively killed Bears' drives and allowed them to hang tough with the NFC North leaders

Even though the Lions ultimately came up short, Aviril's gutsy performance should not be frowned down upon as it gave the Lions faithful something to cheer about and keep them focused on the game, at least until the Bears went ahead.

5. The Oakland Raider running backs

 

How do you stop a 18-game December winning streak?

Run, run, run!

Who will win the AFC East?

Submit Vote vote to see results

The Raiders gained 251 rushing yards, led by Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, defeating the Chargers 28-14 and vaulting them into second place in the AFC West.

Five Things that Depressed Me about Week 14

1. The New York Jets

To many, this game was probably going to be the game of the year.

The two best teams in the AFC were going to do battle and we'd have an instant classic on hands.

Unfortunately, one team failed to show up.

The tone was set early when Rex Ryan made two silly decisions in challenging a first down spot and choosing to kick a long field goal on a windy night.

Not surprisingly, both decisions backfired and Tom Brady took advantage.

What followed was an embarrassment to anyone who appreciates good football.

The Jets played with no heart, had no answers for Tom Brady and could not overcome a hostile environment.

The result was a 45-3 Patriot drubbing that left little doubt that the Jets are not the elite team they appeared to be.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Peyton Manning takes out his frustrations on an official as the Colts lose again.

The ultimate losers in all of this are we the fans who were treated to game pitting the AFC's best team against a Pop Warner team.

At one point in the third quarter, I wondered if the Jets were really the Mets in disguise, that's how bad they played.

The Jets still could win the division if they are able to regroup and the Patriots falter, but they did little to convince that they were among the best in the NFL.

2. Peyton Manning

 

In all honesty, there was a lot that depressed me about the Colts/Cowboy game, from Dez Bryant's unfortunate ankle injury to the stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalty the Colts took in the fourth quarter that led to the Cowboys scoring.

But as per usual with the Colts, it all comes back to Manning. It's hard to believe that Peyton Manning has thrown 11 interceptions in the last three games, and that his team has lost six games in a season for the first time since 2001.

While he stills runs a hurry-up offense better than anyone, Manning clearly has not developed chemistry with his new crop of wide receivers and clearly misses Dallas Clark, who was always his go to guy.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Mike Shanahan must wonder why he got back into the game, as the Redskins lost again Sunday

But I must question how Tom Brady can incorporate new weapons into the offense like Danny Woodhead and the rookie tight ends, easily, and why Peyton Manning can't?

It already surprising that the Colts have lost six games.

It'd be downright shocking if they missed the playoffs.

3. The Washington Redskins

Donovan McNabb was sacked four times and threw two picks. The team itself fumbled six times, the run defense failed to show up and Albert Haynesworth chose to sit out and collect off his already outrageous salary again.

But the ultimate indignity was seeing Devin Thomas, a player the Redskins gave up on earlier in the season, stick it to his former team by blocking a punt setting up a Giants score.

Hail to the Deadskins!

4. Pat Sims

 

I cannot stress this enough, if you make dumb mistakes against elite quarterbacks, you will pay.

Sims was the latest casualty of the mantra, by choosing to step offside during a Saints play call that was designed to make him do just that.

Unfortunately for Sims, his gaffe cost the Bengals the game as Drew Brees found Marques Colston for a late touchdown on the next play, allowing New Orleans to escape with a win.

5. Josh Mc Daniels

 

What a spectacular fall from grace.

In the span of three years, McDaniels went from being the offensive coordinator of the highest scoring offense in league history, to starting his head coaching career 6-0, to leaving in disgrace a little more than a year later.

We don't know if it was the team's record or the aftermath of Spygate II that did him in, but we do know that none of this seemed possible such a short time ago.

Idle Thoughts

1. Poor Walt Coleman, in announcing that a Redskins challenge had failed, he erroneously said that the Broncos were charged with a timeout. Some habits are hard to break I guess.

2. I don't have any issue with Drew Brees winning Sports illustrated's Sportsman of the year, but I had a vote I would have voted for Jim Joyce and Armando Galarraga, They taught us that mistakes happen in sports, and how you deal with mistakes defines you not only as an athlete or official, but as a person as well.

3. I think a contract extension for Adrian Gonzalez is already done, but the Red Sox are playing hardball because if the figures got out, Carl Crawford would know not to negotiate with them and it would give the Yankees a chance to give him more than what Gonzalez will make.

4. Rick Reilly's articles fall into three categories: The kid/man/woman who overcomes a physical or mental handicap to achieve some athletic feat, something cool I got to do because I'm a sportswriter, and the ones that call out fans or athletes for not behaving to a certain standard of proper decorum.

His latest, which lists a bunch of common sense rules that NFL fans should follow at the game, falls into the latter category.

How this guy has won so many awards for his consistently stagnant prose is beyond me.

5. I went to visit my nine-day-old nephew the other day. If you don't believe that young babies can pass extremely foul smelling gas, you haven't held a baby who just ate.

6. R.I.P. Ron Santo, is too bad your beloved Cubs never came through for you.

7. Pat Gillick was a great baseball executive, but the fact that he got into the Hall of Fame over George Stienbrenner and Marvin Miller is an outrage.

8. R.I.P. Don Meredith, it's a shame I never got to see you call a Monday Night game, because from  what people have told me, you were a real gem.

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