NFL Recap: 10 Things to Takeaway from Week 14 of the 2011 season
1. The Texans are in the playoffs and if they started today would be the number one seed. They’ve done it with good defense (dramatically improved pass D) and a top running game which features one of the best OLs and RBs. Moving forward with a rookie quarterback certainly limits their upside, against the likes of Baltimore, as the weaknesses was exposed yesterday vs Cincy who’s secondary is depleated but he found his rythm late. But don’t count them out, as they never gave up and won the game in dramatic fashion.
2. The Cowboys collapsed again….it’s the same old song in Big D. One of the worst secondaries in the league was exposed once again, making for their 4th ugly loss this year and truly putting their back against the wall. Even uglier going forward is that DeMarco Murray has a broken ankle and is likely done.
3. The Packers probably will misee Jennings if out for a period of time…the extent of the injury is unknown but this team thrives on their depth and rookie Randall Cobb will be the one asked to step up as well as Jones. But, Jones is the #1 and lines up everywhere….Nelson is the speed guy, but Rodgers should miss his comfort-zone #1.
4. Tebow-ed! This guy simply plays like a beast in the 4th quarter. He moves fast, throws more accurately, and wins games in crunch time. What’s not to like? Denver now a full game up on Oakland and 2 up on SD. The defense with Von Elvis was disruptive and kept the game close.
5. After laying a total egg in the first half @Carolina (down 23-7), Atlanta rallied on the road thanks to Julio Jones and 4 TDs by Ryan. Important win for a team who will be going on the road wildcard weekend. Team has to mature and open things up if they are gonna take the next step, Ryan just not great throwing deep ball. Surprised Turner didn’t run this matchup to the ground (only 180 yards, 0 TDs in last 3) and how poorly Cam Newton played in the second half (2 picks).
6. Jake Locker and Joe Webb put up great efforts yesterday trying to bring their teams back from double digits. Locker was erratic with his usual accuracy issues, but also throw a strike to Washington on the money. Meanwhile, Ponder continued turning the ball over (where he left off last week) and this tendency to be careless is what made me rank him lower coming into the pros. Locker has looked like the stud athlete, we knew he was, in addition to shows the tools to be a franchise QB with more development. While Webb did his best Tebow, going over 100 yards rushing.
7. As I’ve been saying Arizona’s defense is playing really well, and in fact, they out-49er’ed San Francisco yesterday. They are now 6-7 after starting the year 1-6…incredible! Tebow’s Broncos have gone 7-1, but Skelton and the Cardinals have been impressive too…maybe now they’ll get some ink. And as if he needed, Larry reminded us all of his greatness with some nice catches especially the TD where he outmuscled a defender.
8. Pittsburgh has quieted their critics from NFL Network, etc. who said they were old and slow. They’ve been playing great defense lately and on the other side of the ball Redman looks like a little MJD. Ravens seem to have their number/matchups, while Pouncey and Big Ben are limping around.
9. Brady got in a shouting match with his OC. Welker+Gronk combined for 20 targets for 13 catches, 246 yards and 3 TDs. Imagine if they had an outside WR… Pressure building on the Patriots to win a playoff game?
10. The Jaguars won the battle of South Florida and it was ugly…as one might expect. 41 unanswered points for Jax! Who will be the next to win a playoff game? Jags got Gabbart and Bucs need to get past NO, ATL, and Car. Or the Dolphins?