NFC Is About to Get Real

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Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 10:

a. What a great player Andre Johnson is. His two touchdown catches in Arizona were miraculous displays of keeping feet inbounds on the last blades of end-zone grass.

b. Robert Griffin III, who played very much like he did a year ago Thursday night, and had no business losing.

c. Christian Ponder, who played like a real, live NFL starter in the 34-27 win. Suddenly, that quarterback job is very complicated.

d. I love the instincts of Eddie Lacy. Did you see the lunging, desperate, successful dive for a first-quarter first down, with third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien in the lineup?

e. The St. Louis pass rush. Robert Quinn and Chris Long are just killing it the last few weeks, and they punished Andrew Luck at Indy.

f. Nick Foles, picking up where he left off.

g. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh of the Lions, stoning Chicago back Michael Bush on a 4th-and-four-feet early at Chicago.

h. Terrific touchdown catch by Reuben Randle, with a Raider draped all over him.

i. And a terrific effort play by Oakland wideout Andre Holmes, sprinting from way behind the play to catch up to Terrell Thomas returning an interception inside the Raiders’ 10-yard-line. Holmes forced a fumble, but Thomas was saved by being down an instant before the ball was jarred loose.

j. DeAndre Levy, who makes a big play every game for Detroit. The Bengals have a guy seven percent of the American football public has heard of, defensive end Wallace Gilberry, playing better than 70 percent of the players in the NFL.

l. Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond, playing for the groin-addled Brandon Browner, looked like he could start for about 31 other teams against Atlanta.

m. The Arizona pass rush. The Cards really have some good building blocks.

n. Julius Thomas. That’s a guy who was hurt all week and questionable?

o. The all-around excellence of Darren Sproles.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 10:

a. The hands of Washington’s receivers. The final three passes thrown by Robert Griffin III in Minnesota hit his receivers in the hands. Two were dropped/missed, and Santana Moss couldn’t get both feet down in the end zone on the third.

b. Washington loses, despite three touchdowns and no picks from Griffin, and 191 yards rushing, and holding Minnesota to 307 yards. That’s quite a feat.

c. Jerrel Jernigan fumbling the opening kickoff for the Giants and handing the Raiders seven gift points.

d. A rookie mistake by a veteran: Reggie Nelson, the Cincinnati safety, face-guarding on a 48-yard pass-interference penalty.

e. And a horrible field-goal try by Mike Nugent of the Bengals, kicking it so far left with the Bengals down 10 that it missed the net behind the goalpost.

f. A ridiculous interception thrown by Joe Flacco. You’ve got a 10-point lead, and you take a risk that that, throwing a wounded duck under heavy pressure?

g. Darrius Heyward-Bey (surprise!) with a drop of a perfectly thrown Andrew Luck pass.

h. What the Packers did late in the first half. First, Mike McCarthy called pass on 3rd-and-1 with Scott Tolzien at quarterback—not a conversion run by Eddie Lacy. Then Mason Crosby missed a field goal wide right.

i. An absolutely preposterous pass by Eli Manning, thrown right to Tracy Porter for the easiest interception-turned-touchdown you’ll ever see.

j. So Clay Matthews hits Nick Foles hard in the left shoulder pad and gets 15 yards for it? Football rules: I give up.

k. Andrew Luck, who threw a bad end-zone interception to Trumaine Johnson and, in general, had one of the roughest starts of his young career.

l. What a stupid personal foul by Nick Fairley, flinging Josh McCown to the ground near the game’s end, keeping Chicago in it a while longer. Good thing he made up for it with a great stop of Matt Forte on the Bears’ last offensive snap.

3. I think Jay Glazer handled the interview with Richie Incognito well. That’s not an easy interview, people. Every eye in America is on you, first of all, so you’re going to be under the microscope in a big way. FOX should have shown Incognito ducking the question about whether he was told to toughen up Jonathan Martin by the coaches; Glazer said Incognito wouldn’t answer the question, and his no-comment was a part of the story we should have seen. And the allegedly joshing text about Martin saying he’d murder Incognito’s family wasn’t a text at all, but rather the forwarding of a piece of internet gallows humor.

“How do you expect anyone in America to believe you’re not a racist?” Glazer asked Incognito, and it was a good question, one that had to be asked. We haven’t seen the whole Q&A, nor how it was edited for TV, but from what I saw, Glazer asked what needed to be asked, with the proper gravitas.

4. I think the one question I’d have for Incognito is this: “Do you think there’s something wrong with a locker-room culture that has a white man talking derisively to a black man and calling him a half-n—–, and the other black men in the locker room chuckling instead of being outraged?”

5. I think Ted Thompson is one of the best GMs in football. Hands down. But why an unemployed Matt Flynn is not on the Packers right now boggles the mind, whether he’s got a sore arm or not. To refresh your memory, the last time Flynn started a game for Green Bay, he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns. It was the greatest passing day in the history of the Packers. He is healthy. He will come relatively cheap. And this team is playing Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien while in a dogfight for the playoffs?

6. I think it’s stunning how awful Atlanta is.

7. I think the Saints’ performance Sunday night reminded me of one of those road-grading performances in 2009, when they ruled the NFL world. Forty first downs? Crazy. Outgaining a division leader by 433 yards? Crazier.

6. I think there’s not an NFL coach who knows Gus Bradley who isn’t very happy for the relentlessly optimistic teacher of football this morning.

7. I think no one in Colorado will exhale today until they hear these words out of Broncos headquarters: “The MRI on Peyton Manning’s knee and ankle shows no structural damage.”

8. I think this says it all about the state of the NFC East: If Washington beats Philadelphia and the Giants beat quarterback-depleted Green Bay Sunday, no team in the division will be over .500 after 11 weeks, and first and fourth place would be separated by one game.

9. I think the Ravens are as flawed as any contender can be (Ray Rice: 2.5 yards per carry … for the season) but they bought themselves a reprieve Sunday. A game back in the AFC North loss column, Baltimore plays three of the next four at home, and none of the foes (at Chicago, Jets, Pittsburgh, Minnesota) is a super team. Baltimore will probably need to win three of those four, seeing that the finish of their schedule is brutal: at Detroit, New England, at Cincinnati.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. This is the best video I’ve seen in a while. It’s Minnesota coach Jerry Kill—who has had to miss time due to bouts of epilepsy—with his team following the 24-10 win over Penn State Saturday.

b. Good to see Leigh Montville back writing a weekly column at the Boston Globe after 24 years away. From his first effort Sunday: “I am a Mike Napoli type of free agent, a veteran catcher/first baseman with possibly bad hips who might be able to help a little bit. I will do what I can do. I might even grow a beard, add some tattoos, maybe take off my shirt and go for a midnight stroll down Boylston Street if everything works out.”

c. The more Montville in our lives, the better.

d. I suppose we shouldn’t laugh at Toronto mayor Rob Ford, but every time I hear the tape of him talking about smoking crack, I can’t help it. Ford: “Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably approximately about a year ago.” And then, basically, apologizing, wanting life to go on as before.

e. Rob? That’s sort of a big deal.

f. Doesn’t Rob Ford look exactly like Chris Farley’s slightly older brother?

g. Penny for Their Thoughts Dept.: Chris Berman and Dan Patrick together in the dressing room of the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, Friday night at Madison Square Garden, at the Eagles concert.

h. Wishing you the best after your little heart procedure last week, Bill Keenist. Get well soon.

Talk Back

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in Tuesday's mailbag.

i. Good luck in your little procedure Thursday, Ken Fost. (Ever notice it’s “a little procedure” to others, but not when you’re having it?)

j. Coffeenerdness: Fantastic recognition by the barista at the 51st Street Starbucks Sunday morning. I walked in the door in a quiet moment between rushes and she looked at me and said: “Triple grande hazelnut macchiato.” And this is a store I go in once a week. I said, “You must have been good in school. Great memory.”

k. Beernerdness: Happiness is finding Allagash White in the local Whole Foods. I am a simple man, except when it comes to expensive beer and coffee.

l. Glad to see Charlie Batch’s Best of The Batch Foundation getting some attention Tuesday night on NFL Network (10:30 p.m. ET). His literacy work with kids in his Pittsburgh neighborhood is a good example for players who want to give back.

Who I Like Tonight

Miami 24, Tampa Bay 13. If I thought the Bucs could take advantage of the leaks on the Miami offensive line brought about by Incognitogate, I would predict otherwise. But I don’t.

The Adieu Haiku

A heaven for dogs?
If there’s one, Bailey’s there now.
She was a good dog.

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511 comments
rubinpj
rubinpj

Peter - I saw this and thought of you


It came to me

that every time

I lose a dog

they take a piece 

of my heart with them,

and every new dog 

who comes into my life

gifts me with a piece

of their heart.

If I live long enough

all the components

of my heart

will be dog, and

I will become 

as generous and 

loving as they are.

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

The story about his dog made me cry like a baby.  I fear the day that my dogs have to go.  :(

I'll never understand cat people...  there's nothing like the unconditional love from a dog.

BoiseBus41
BoiseBus41

I really don't know how anyone could make it through page 3 with a dry eye. I can't imagine waking up in the morning and not seeing my dog, Alabama, laying on his pillow next to mine. 

kmb4605
kmb4605

After I read about Bailey, I called my 12 year old Doberman Pinscher, gave her a hug, fed her 1/2 my steak, and let her sleep in the bed "Wife wasn't happy" I'll probably need a strait jacket when the time comes for my faithful loving and very spoiled companion ! 

UlisseP
UlisseP

“Triple grande hazelnut macchiato”?? Good grief, man -- please stop calling that section "Coffeenerdness", because no coffee nerd with self-respect would want to get caught drinking that abomination. Unless they were 14-year-old cheerleaders, that is.

DOriginalDonald
DOriginalDonald

Week 10 proves the old mantra On Any Given Sunday...........

ianlinross
ianlinross

Favorable schedule, terrific front four, only healthy and decent QB in the division; yeah, the Lions blow this.

JesseF
JesseF

Peter, I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing and I wish you and your family the best. And you're absolutely right, it's the best trade you've ever made! Jesse

JohnnyNacho
JohnnyNacho

Do you hear that whistle?  That yellow flag for unsportsmanlike penalty?  Yeah, me too....it's that same sound of Detroit imploding again.

KevinMoss
KevinMoss

Maybe you should have spent less time cheerleading for Shannon Sharpe and more time listening to Brandon Marshall's comments on the topic of the N-word....

liquidmuse3
liquidmuse3

WHY are you or anybody else stunned by Atlanta's downfall? This was the problem I had with it---Rich McKay (the Bucs architect for the glory years) builds a decent team, & get kicked upstairs for the team not being good enough. A Belichick acolyte comes over (Dimitroff) (those Belichick acolytes do GREAT outside Bill /sarcasm), keeps building, & then Snead & Caldwell get hired off all the Falcons' mediocre playoff success for the Rams & the Jaguars, respectively (how's that going?). Anybody with eyes could see Matt Ryan is the definition of high-end mediocre, Julio Jones is a monster although inconsistent, & they had a middling defense, an OK offensive line, & an 83 year old running back. I just never got the Great Atlanta Success Story everybody was trying to sell me. & hiring Mike Smith? Yeeesh.

Jenn1
Jenn1

We put our dog to sleep three years ago. She was 17 but  it still feels like a piece of my heart was taken from me. I truly believe everyone who can should have a pet. I'm not saying the pain isn't unbelievable when they die; I'm just saying it's worth it.

Rest in Peace Bailey - go run the fields of Heaven.

MikeReiner
MikeReiner

Thank you Mr.King for MMQB I look forward to it every week! But mostly Thank You for sharing your "Bailey" story with us! Its amazing how much a part of the family a dog can be! I am very sorry for your loss and hope you and your wife get a new Lab to keep you company for the next 13 or 14 years!

Anon Omus
Anon Omus

Oh so it's okay to threaten to kill someone if you put it on a meme but you should be executed if you do the same thing in an obvious joking voice mail.  It's funny how far the media will go to defend Martin.  

kcjohn17
kcjohn17

Hey Peter, before praising Shannon Sharpe over his comments, maybe we should hear a similar rant from him around domestic violence??

RobertGraham
RobertGraham

Darn you, Peter.  With the Bailey story in the middle of MMQB, you're making it darn hard to read the rest of your column!  I'm all tears, here!


Today, when I take my 5 year old Lab for a run in the dog park, I'll make sure he does a couple of laps in Bailey's memory.


Thanks for writing about being a human being as part of your football column. RIP Bailey King. 

AndrewLynch
AndrewLynch

Thanks for giving the Eagles and Nick Foles a modicum of respect.  It's very rare on this site and on ESPN.

VIPOD
VIPOD

We lost are 15 year old Brittany Spaniel, Lacey in 2006 (really, the first gift my wife and I gave each other before we got married). Well, Lacey gave back 1Million fold. Lacey was a frisbee catching dog, from a standing position she would leap 5-6ft in the air. Knowing her health was deteriorating we brought in Maya (GoldenDoodle) in 2005. I'm a firm believer that dogs heal, Lacey brought my wife and I together when we hit a rough spot in the marriage,and Maya literally nursed my wife to health (the mental kind) when she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008.

Thanks for charing Peter & R.I.P. Bailey 

norm314
norm314

Why would Detroit want a cancer like Incognito? Is he supposed to be better than Rob Sims or rookie of the week nominee Larry Warford?

CheezFM
CheezFM

I don't mean to distract from the bulk of the comments which center on Incognito/Martin and Peter's dog, but I just gotta ask:

How did Peter King get this gig?  This guy represents the absolute worst of today's media. 

He is lazy--just look at his reporting of this Incognito/Marin affair. Nothing but tweets and knee-jerk, unfalsifiable, fact-free commentary. He provides no journalistic function whatsoever. He substituted opinion spewing for reporting a long time ago. And it's this way week in and week out.

He is biased. Why do we all know of Peter's political leanings for a football column that most of us read to get away from all the political B.S.? Because the substance of his work is so paltry, he has to resort to appealing to his audience via his politics.

He's narcissist. He thinks we actually want to read about his opinions on gun control, healthcare, as well as status updates on his dog. [Most people here love dogs and know the pain of losing one. But this is supposed to be a column about football. If you want the catharsis of writing about your dog, then do so with your "friends" on Facebook. That's the place for it.] 

He is T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.   He's a former beat writer who, aspires to be Mike Lupica. [It really has gotten that bad for Peter.] 

The sad fact is this: VERY FEW people read this column because of Peter King. If Peter King left SI for some Wordpress blog, 12 people would follow him. And this stupid MMQB.Si.WTF.COM?!?!   What was wrong with simple SI.com?

Sitcoms "Jump the Shark". Sports columnists "Jump their Dead Dogs". 

RickHendrick
RickHendrick

There's no tears like dog tears. (It will make you feel better if you sing it like Ethel Merman.)


rikerisle
rikerisle

Getting tired of hearing the outrage from peter King on incognito's utterance of whatever words were said.  The 'N' word has been minimized by blacks for decades.  The black players in the room didn't object to Incognito's utterance of the word (with the possible exception of martin), so peter and shannon sharpe should shut their self-righteous mouths.  On one other notes, peter, like other white 'journalists', minimizes a black man's death texts by saying he just 'forwarded an internet meme'.  Sorry there king, but if incognito forwarded a meme of a noose to a black man there would be outrage over the racist tweet.  You can't have it both ways.

YourJudgeandJury
YourJudgeandJury

Two and a half years ago, I had to put down my German Shepherd, Sasha, who was with us for 12 years.  It did tear me apart.  I thought my wife was going to commit me.  A month or so later I was on my Harley riding up Rt. 1 north of St. Augustine and I see a German Shepherd breeding/boarding place (can I say I.C.N.D.F.?).  This is where we found Hera.  She has graced my life for 2-1/2 years now and is laying down next to me as I type. A new puppy cannot take the place of the one that just left but pup can help heal as he/she builds a place in your heart.  I wouldn't have traded any of my German Shepherds for a 6 pack of beer and a bucket of wings (I'm from Buffalo so those items are important).  Football is just a game, your puppy is your heart and soul. 

OttawaWendy
OttawaWendy

I cried when I read you telling Bailey to play with Woody.  I can't be the only one.  All dog lovers who have had to say goodbye know what you feel.

SouperMeister
SouperMeister

Peter - you have my deepest sympathy for losing Bailey. I lost Chelsea, my 16 year old Golden Retriever, in September. I've never agreed more with anything in this column than how much dogs add to our lives. Goldens especially live to please their family, and are the most gentle, loving creatures. I'm not ready yet, but I will surely get another Golden, and I hope you do too.

DickMcIntyre
DickMcIntyre

Peter - very sorry to hear about Bailey.  We lost our 13 year old soft coated wheaten Blarney a year ago last month - she's now my avatar.

Losing a canine family member hurts as much as losing a human one.

adze
adze

Its not up to you to get angry over the N- word.  As a matter of fact it's demeaning to be told to get angrier about it from a white guy.  As a black man, I will decide who can and cannot say that to me or around me, and certainly have no use for your opinion on the matter.  J. Martin doesn't need you to defend him and racism as far as I can tell, was not the real issue here.  Find something else to get angry about.

teacher_rob
teacher_rob

My two boys, Rusty and Ranger are lab mixes (one with pointer, the other with Jack Russel terrier) and not yet three. Besides our daily games of tug-o-war and fetch, we have our nightly walks. I told my wife, that while I know it is a decade plus away, I might not be able to have another dog after these two. Thanks for sharing your pain and grief and for reminding me, the pain I dread and fear is a small price for what they have given me and will give me. I've read you religiously for years, never more moved than when reading about Bailey.

Thank you!

John331
John331

Peter,

Thank you for sharing your story about Bailey, though it brought back my own grief from similar experiences with my own dogs.  In my view, dogs like Bailey (and mine) give us much more than they receive.

WendyJFluga28
WendyJFluga28

Tears for Bailey, Peter. Sending my best personal regards for your loss. P.S. I swore I would never read your column again when you said, "I want to be Chris Matthews when I grow up."  Lowlight of your career. Alas, I could not stay away. You are my favorite sportswriter, and always will be. Cheers. xxW

Gs1
Gs1

You know Pete enough of this sh*t! Stop being a hypocrite and get off your soap box. If black players allowed Incognito to use the N* word it's because THEY give the same type of language back and felt comfortable with it. Do you think that a team, who's ranks are made up by an overwhelming majority of black players, are going to put up with one man being a racist, casually throwing around the N-word at will? I don't care how big & bad Incognito is, he can't fight a whole team. Jonathan Martin needed to throw someone under the bus and Incognito's checkered past made him the perfect target. His lawyers are smart enough to tell him who to blame.

Karen Schrade
Karen Schrade

Peter, my condolences on Bailey. So painful to lose a member of the family but to never feel a dog's love must be worse. Godspeed Bailey.

JahliSuwaghaman
JahliSuwaghaman

@CheezFM FEEL FREE TO STOP READING HIM.


Every week there are idiots that read King's column and then complain about how bad it always is.... STOP READING!

ianlinross
ianlinross

@CheezFM Evidently, you're not familiar with the full body of Peter King's work. Go read Deadspin or Bleacher Report.

Terry
Terry

@CheezFM 

Very mean spirited and not at all warranted.

TZT
TZT

@CheezFM You are so off base with this.  Oh well.

EP1
EP1

@CheezFM yeah... because only 12 people besides you have commented on this one article... so few people read his column that he has his own team and website... troll...

jojomogir
jojomogir

@CheezFM He is a columnist, not a reporter.  If you don't understand the difference, then you've got a little homework to do.

Dark
Dark

@rikerisle And you don't get to tell black people how offended they should or shouldn't be.  Sometimes white people should just shut up and listen.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@rikerisle This generation of blacks sell white people music laced with the word they are supposed to be offended by. It's pretty common to see young white kids singing along to rap and chanting the n-word as part of the lyrics. Funny thing is that whites have been so trained to be offended and scared of the n-word that I'd bet they are more offended by the word than blacks today. This seems like a generational phenomenon, and Shannon is simply an example of that. 50 years from now the word will probably be a shoulder shrug, if it even exists by then - as I'm sure rap and hip hop will be long gone by then too...

blynder
blynder

@adze 

And I as a black man, think we need to find more room for more voices on this issue.  Talking about it is going to get us through this.  AND I as a black man don't know what was going on in that Miami locker room and would be very quick to judge a situation I'm not a part of.  I know what racism is; not just from personal experience but from theory and data and study.  

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Gs1 Hey Shannon - today's younger black generation clearly don't hold the same regard for the n-word that you do. And you can't make them. Good on the current generation for realizing that a word only has power over you if you let it.

CheezFM
CheezFM

@jojomogir @CheezFM Learn how to read before advising others to do more homework. I didn't write "reporter". I said he stopped providing any "journalistic function" with regards to his column. There's a difference between lazy opinion spewing and researched commentary distilled through a weekly column.    

rikerisle
rikerisle

@blynder you weren't in the room, and theory, data, and study do not determine what is racist.  If the black players in the room say it wasn't racist then it wasn't, pure and simple, and you don't get more of a say just because you say you are black.

EP1
EP1

@Joebuckster @Gs1 First, if Incognito doesn't know that he shouldn't say it even though others in the locker room are making it acceptable then he deserves the punishment. I have been told that I have an honorary card... I still don't use the word. And I think what Peter said is that if they did accept the use of the word then that says something about the locker room. I am guessing (just guessing) that the Eagles dont allow that word to be used. Mike Vick (a leader) handled that situation perfectly. Perhaps, as per Gs1's logic, Vick should hav ejust started throwing the word around the locker room to take the power away from Cooper.

 Gs1... I need that explained logically to me... I hear the words but it has never made sense. We use the word to take the power away... hmmm... or we don't use the word... the word is unacceptable... and therefore some oaf white guy doesn't use it because its deemed acceptable.  With that logic (using it to take the power away) maybe Jewish people should start using swastikas so they can take the power away!

blynder
blynder

@Joebuckster @rikerisle 

Of course, because you can do open heart surgery because you have a heart?  MY point was that because someone says isn't doesn't automatically make it not that.  I may go to my doctor and complain of an ache in my chest, shortness of breath, stiffness, tingling in my arms - it doesn't mean others can say I was suffering from a pulled groin muscle.   

I am black; I know that is hard to determine on the internet so I'll just ask that you trust me on that one.  If you choose not to, well I asked. ;)  I didn't say I know MORE than others; just pointed out that because I am black as well; doesn't mean I get to determine something from a situation I was not in.  Hope that clarifies.

As for expertise on race in America - sorry, there is such a thing.  There are people out there with really good knowledge of what and how race happens.  We might actually get past this stuff if we actually listened too it.  Nor did I use the word "racist" - I rarely use it; it's a personal statement, about a single person or situation and it just doesn't fit for my experience.

Loosely throwing around the accusation of "racist" is not what I did.  I offered a counter to the position the OP had about race in that locker room (from MY point of view as someone who has only read some reports and definitely was not there). As for actual racism (again, no idea what was going on in that locker room) there are things that are MUCH more important for us to deal with about race, other than what some football players said to one another.  I hope that also clarifies.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@rikerisle Great point rikerisle. Here comes the self righteous parade, and all of the self-appointed 'experts' on racism. Racism is not simply determined by the person who thinks they were slighted. I think we all know that there are plenty of people who find racism where it doesn't exist. And since someone usually can't prove hatred or intent of another person, it is subjective and usually exists as an opinion. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't. And no amount of studying 'theory' and 'data' informs you about this particular situation. There is a lot less racism in the world than that which is 'perceived'. I don't know whether Incognito is racist, and nor do you. Loosely throwing around the accusation 'racist' is every bit as offensive.

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