Happy Holidays

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 16:

a. Great open-field tackle on dangerous Denver punt-returner Trindon Holliday, Justin Tuggle.

b. Double-move of the year: Minnesota wide receiver Jarius Wright, from the Bengals 36, runs up, outside, and stops; former first-round corner Dre Kirkpatrick lunges for it, and Wright darts up the right sideline, wide open, for a perfect 36-yard TD toss from Matt Cassel.

c. Kenny Stills is going to be good for a long time—and what value, averaging 18-plus yards per catch. He was the Saints’ fifth-round pick last April.

d. Pierre Garçon, with the catch of the day, laying on his back and grabbing one of his 107 receptions for the season. Great catch.

e. And congrats to Garçon for breaking the Washington team record of 106 catches, set by Hall of Famer Art Monk in 1984. And good for the magnanimous Monk, congratulating Garçon thusly: “Having set the record myself, I understand how exciting it is, so I’m excited for him. Records are meant to be broken. I didn’t expect to have it as long as I had it, but I’m glad the pressure is off of me now.”

f. Great hit by Josh Wilson, forcing the fumble that led to the Garçon touchdown catch in Washington.

g. Antoine Bethea, one of the most overlooked players in football. Always shows up, always hits the way a safety’s supposed to hit.

h. Robert Quinn, you’d come off the board in the top three of my fantasy pass-rushers list.

i. Superb camera work in the FOX game at Charlotte, showing a family in the stands enjoying the game pre-rain … then showing the same family getting drenched so hard it was hard to see them.

j. Le’Veon Bell, 124 tough yards on the Tundra.

k. Carson Palmer made his share of gaffes (share is putting it nicely), but he did come through when it counted, finding Jake Ballard (remember him?) for 17 yards to convert a key third down with the game in the balance at Seattle.

l. Imagine if Will Hill concentrated all his energy on football. See his pick-6 of Matthew Stafford at Detroit?

m. The Giants, showing up in Detroit.

n. The Chargers, the team with the longest winning streak (three) in the AFC.

o. Offensive rookie of the year: Eddie Lacy or Keenan Allen. Who’ve you got?

p. LeGarrette Blount will be a tough target to haul down on a New England (or Denver, or East Rutherford) day in the playoffs.

q. Great athletic deflection into an interception by Pats linebacker Dont’a Hightower.

r. Unless something quite strange happens, Julian Edelman (96 receptions, 991 yards) is going to have a 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiving season. Raise your hand if you had that in your office pool out on Cape Cod in August.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 16:

a. Punters as consistently defenseless players. I’ll be the 473rd person to ask: How can a defenseless player make a tackle?

b. You’ve got to pick up the corner blitz, Pierre Thomas.

c. You’ve got to block Greg hardy around the edge, Terron Armstead, though I also think Drew Brees shouldn’t be taking a sack and taking his team out of field-goal range either.

d. Sometimes, watching the Washington special teams, you wonder whether they practice during the week.

e. No taunting in the NFL, Kenny Vaccaro. This is your 15th game. You’ve got to know that.

f. If you’re trying to draw the defense offside on a fourth down, Thad Lewis, you don’t get up from under center and walk down the line.

g. The flop out of bounds was Geno Smith’s best play of the day against Cleveland.

h. Just what the Texans, and Matt Schaub’s confidence, needed: a dropped touchdown pass right in the chest of Andre Johnson.

i. I do not use this word lightly, but the Cowboys sure make some stupid plays. The late hit by safety J.J. Wilcox, waaaay after Washington’s Santana Moss was down, handed Washington a field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter … putting Dallas down by nine.

j. What a terrible, horrible injury for the Broncos, the apparent torn ACL for Von Miller. That’s going to play a big role in the AFC pennant race over the next month.

k. Seven three-and-outs for the Seahawks. At home.

l. Steven Hauschka clanging a 24-yard field goal try. At home.

m. I didn’t think the interception that officials said clanked off Doug Baldwin clanked off him. Looked like it hit the ground to me.

n. It’s this kind of year for the Ravens: Ray Rice can’t convert a 4th-and-1 run in the red zone, down 20-0.

3. I think the story I hope you all remember from Week 16 is what the Jaguars did with retiring center Brad Meester, playing his 208th game with the team. Coach Gus Bradley and the staff wanted to do something special for Meester, one of the great citizens of any team in the NFL. And so Meester reported as eligible on a 2nd-and-8 play from the Titans’ 13-yard-line (centers do not report as eligible but once a career—maybe), and quarterback Chad Henne threw him a nine-yard dart to convert the first down. Crowd went nuts. Teammates went nuts. Watching the highlight, you can see how much the Jaguars respect the working-class Meester. “You talk about memories you’ll take with you for the rest of your life,” Meester said. “That’s one I’ll always remember.” As will those who saw it.

4. I think the Jets should not fire Rex Ryan. Period. End of story. A 7-8 record with a game to go, with that team? Hardly a fireable situation. Extend Ryan one year (his contract is up at the end of next season) and push this decision off until the end of 2014. Ryan, and Jets fans, deserve that.

5. I think that was a great onside kick call by Sean Payton, despite the loss in Carolina, and it was executed by a man who does the kick as well as anyone in football, punter Thomas Morstead.

6. I think the leader in the NFL clubhouse to replace Ray Anderson as the league’s executive vice president of football operations is Merton Hanks, who currently rides herd on player conduct as executive VP of operations. The football ops job oversees all aspects of player conduct, safety and game competition. Hanks is the former 49ers safety.

7. I think you’ll enjoy this little chunk of my interview with Justin Tucker, the record-setting Baltimore kicker, from this week’s podcast:

What’s your longest field goal—high school, college or pro?

“It’s 79, pregame, in Denver, in altitude. Realistically, no head ball coach is going to send you out there in the first quarter of a game.”

What happened on the 61-yarder in Detroit?

“I hit one from 70 in pregame that hit the crossbar and went in. I knew if we got to the middle of the field area, we’d have a shot … I made it a point to kind of get up there [with special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, kicking coordinator Randy Brown and coach John Harbaugh] when they were discussing it. I just jumped in and interjected and asked for the opportunity: ‘I got this. Gimme a chance.’ ”

The NFL’s got to do something about kickers. [Entering Sunday’s game versus New England] You’re 65 of 70 in your career. You’ve made 33 in a row. You guys are just getting too good. Kicking’s too easy.

“I don’t think so. I think the guys around us are getting so much better. Kickers are getting more specialized. Long-snappers are snapping it back at 12 o’clock [with laces straight toward the posts]; the ball can basically hold itself. We don’t need to narrow the goalpost. That might be a discussion for someone who plays eight games in a dome. But when you’re playing out here in the AFC North, or a guy like Stephen [Gostkowski], when he kicks [in Foxboro] is so good … We’re paid to make it look easy, but it’s definitely not. I don’t think it needs to be modified at this point.”

And I hear you met your fiancée at a bus stop in Austin, Texas.

“I was waiting for a bus and saw a friend from high school with a bunch of her girlfriends walking by, including this girl Amanda. I was smitten right away. Like anyone in this modern day and age, I Facebook-stalked her for a good time, and I kept bugging her … She’d be the first to tell you she didn’t like me at first. Maybe too much personality to handle.”

Listen to the whole podcast, also featuring Peyton Manning, here:

8. I think this was a smart take on the differences between college and pro football from Chip Kelly: “The difference between college and the pros is that every single week is a challenge. You can look at some of the games you’ve played in college and you may hype them up that way. But in the back of your mind you know what the outcome of the game will be before it’s played because there is such a big discrepancy. In this league there is no discrepancy. You’ve got to come to play every week. The team that executes the best usually ends up the team that’s on top. But in terms of a surprise, nothing that’s really come out that’s been like, Well, I didn’t think that was ever going to be that way.” Finally, a college coach admits he knew he was going to beat Norfolk State 66-3.

9. I think if the NFL won’t give America a Thursday night game in Week 16, the NFL needs to give America a Saturday game. Afternoon or prime time, I don’t care. But Week 16 is too naked without an extra nationally televised game. I loved the late-season Saturday afternoon games the league used to have, but realize the ratings for them wouldn’t be what a prime-time game’s ratings would be. So put it in prime time Saturday night in Week 16.

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

a. I have no proverbial dog in the fight, because I’m not a college sports guy, but are you sure you hired the right man for athletic director, University of Texas people? This Oregon writer presents a pretty damning case against Steve Patterson.

b. Loved this Grantland story on Tony Gonzalez by Robert Mays.

c. Filled with sadness at the death of Claire Davis, the 17-year-old Arapahoe (Colo.) High School senior who was minding her own business Dec. 13 when a classmate shot her in the head for no reason whatsoever. Utter madness.

d. Michael Cecere, you deserve our respect and a lifetime of good karma.

e. None of the five New York City-area winter pro sports teams—Knicks, Nets, Rangers, Devils, Islanders—has a winning record. They’ve played a total of 142 games and won 58.

f. Coffeenerdness: Diner breakfast Sunday in New York. Coffee-flavored water. Miserable. Who drinks this swill?

Talk Back

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

g. Beernerdness: Had a couple of Fire Island Red Wagon IPAs last week at The MMQB’s holiday party in the city. Very good find. Strong IPA with a distinctive malt taste. Really liked it. Never knew there was such a thing as the Fire Island Beer Company, but I’ll be looking for its offerings.

h. The thing I hate about this time of year: The 20 or so coaches and families who are on the edge of their seats wondering if they’ll have to move in a week. Sort of takes away from the joy of the season, totally.

i. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. I hope it’s a wonderful week for everyone.

Who I Like Tonight

San Francisco 30, Atlanta 10. The Niners have another milestone to think about, not just the one concerning the 350th and final (most probably) football game in Candlestick Park. Frank Gore, who is as beloved to the Niners of the last decade as Roger Craig was to his Niners, is 144 yards from 10,000, and it’s a goal the current team would love to see him reach. Said offensive coordinator Greg Roman: “Frank’s just an amazing person, an amazing player. You kind of wish everybody, all the fans, could be around him just to see how special a guy he is, how committed he is to his team and it’s from the heart. It’s not a bunch of fake rah-rah. This guy lives it, breathes it, and it means so much to him. A lot of those yards have been tough yards, really tough yards. Coming to work with Frank is an honor. We’d love to see him get to 10,000 here.”

The Adieu Haiku

So long to The ’Stick.
Seems every step I took there,
I stepped in a bog.

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401 comments
racy0057
racy0057

I just finished reading MMQB, because it is my favorite football9actually sports)article and I have been a fan of Peter King for a long time.  I don't always agree with him, but I don't think he would much care if I did or not.  King states his opinions in his weekly writings and has earned the respect of athletes, etc., to be granted interviews and to take some of thier valuable time.  


So, after reading the article, I read a few comments, which is also my routine and came to the conclusion, very belatedly, I might add, that there are too many people, mainly in our country, who need to get on with real life. Sports, namely the NFL, as it is what Mr. King covers the most, is designed to provide entertainment to us.  I am a big football fan and have been for about 40 years.  


I tend to marvel at the athletic ability of so many of the players and their ability to dedicate themselves to their profession and craft. I think that is what seperates the good players from the great, in most instances.  I don't minimize achievements, because players don't wear the jersey of my favorite teams, or curse at Peter King for making his own observations and potentially not mentioning my own favorite teams, or players.  First, it would be virtually impossible for this man to cover every team or player, at the level that would make every fan happy.  I guess that maybe there are so many more important issues, in everyday life, to expend that much energy on not liking someone, due to not agreeing with everything he writes, or states.  


So, when some of you dedicate so much of your time doing just that, maybe you need some self-reflection on why our country faces some of the issues it does and just how spoiled we can be, to make a sports article cause such deep seeded emotions, generally anger and often to the point of hatred.


Alright, I am being hypocritical by spending too much time on the issue myself.  I need to go help my elderly mother with some maintenance at her home, as my father passed away on December 28th, of last year.  I will, however, likely forget all about this article and think about Peter King next week sometime.

Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones

Wow...talk about overblown. Ever since his 24 tackle game writers have reacted as if it was unheard of to have that many tackles. Via MMQB “Luke Kuechly, with 24 tackles,” said Newton. “That’s unheard of.”


Unheard of...? Kiko Alonso had 22 vs. Cincy earlier in the year. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15819/kiko-alonso so let's all settle down with the MVP talk.


Matter of fact I'm not even going to bore you with stat after stat. Kiko is almost identical to Luke in every category. http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14938/luke-kuechly


Another quote from MMQB What’s better than a 24-tackle game? Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has? 


Let's try some research before writing articles.

KidHorn
KidHorn

What do Jim Brown, OJ Simpson, Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorset, Walter Payton, Adrian Peterson, Emmitt Smith, and pretty much every running back in the HOF have in common?

They were drafted in the 1st round.

Fred24
Fred24

Meantime, Perloff the trash collector is trying to get attention with his 'Always Drama in Dallas' garbage, as if an injury is drama. What a garbage collector.

MortimerSnerd
MortimerSnerd

Dan Morgan had 25 tackles in the Panthers-Saints Super Bowl ten years ago, 18 solo.

junior9
junior9

Peter, you suck

How about calling this MondayMorning Manning

Peter Parker1
Peter Parker1

Too bad Justin Tucker missed one to end his streak.  That 42 is the next big field goal record that needs to fall (though Vanderjagt's record gets the big asterisk after he got a re-take following that bogus call in Tampa in the MNF broadcast).


Awesome run, Justin.  Also, big props to Mike Scifres and Jon Ryan for simply concentrating on being good team punters and not just Lechler-ing up the field.  Both these guys need end of season recognition (especially Scifres: he's been a great punter for so many years).

Mike26
Mike26

2.  Peter, you're right about one thing - you aren't a college sports fan and hence, shouldn't make too many statement about issues of which you know about 1% of the story.  Best to let Texas decide what's best for Texas....

Mike26
Mike26

1.  The New England win yesterday will NEVER be more impressive than the playoff victories Baltimore has scored over NE in the playoffs.

Tony M
Tony M

Peyton Manning who loves attention, acts all "its not important" in the after press conference. We know better Peyton.

BuzzFrankacott
BuzzFrankacott

Peter why no mention of Jerry Jones threatening to sack his entire coaching staff if they don't make the playoffs but saying nothing about his own performance as GM?

don7
don7

“Long Tall Sally” is better song than anything any of the Beatles ever wrote.  

ErikWassell
ErikWassell

If it's so much easier to throw TD's now than it was in 1984, why aren't there 3-4 other QB's with 40-45 TD's?  Brees is in 2nd place with 35 TD passes, 16 behind Peyton.  Also, Marino was 23 when he had his amazing season, and had one of the greatest coaches in history calling plays.  Manning is 37, underwent multiple neck and back surgeries, and has John Fox (a good, but certainly not HOF) coaching the team.  All things considered, I'll take Manning 2013 over Marino 1984 as the greatest passing performance of all time.

gary7
gary7

"Kuechly said he’d never had 24 tackles before. I wonder: Who has?"..... Sam Huff often said on the radio if he did not get 20-25 he had a bad game, I'm sure Butkus, Curtis, Singletary,  Nitschke, jeez just add a few more from back in the day, your thinking out loud is always deafening in the way how clueless you are to NFL history

yobogo
yobogo

Cardinal Defense is good, but that loss yesterday was all on the Seahawks. Their offense played horrible. Regardless of the bad calls at the end, they didn't deserve to win. My wife turned to me during the 3Q and said, it looks like someone told Russell Wilson to lose this game, but don't make it obvious your losing the game on purpose, and he just didn't quite know how to do it without looking ridiculous. His throws were all over the place, he purposely didn't run at time when he could have easily picked up first downs, he would hold on to the ball just waiting to get sacked. And then when it seemed like he was playing too badly, he marched down the field like it was a piece of cake and threw an easy touchdown. Go figure.

Norton20
Norton20

Gee thanks Peter for all the kind words about the Bills. They lead the league in sacks, have 3 guys with 10, held Dolphins (winner of 4 of prior 5 including over New England) to 103 total yards, 50 of which came on 1 play. The only Bills mention is criticizing their 2nd string QB for not executing the draw them offsides play (which works about 5 times a year maybe). I know the Bills are irrelevant but they are still in the NFL.

AndrewMccall
AndrewMccall

Peter - Last Beatles concert was on January 30th, 1969 on the Rooftop of Apple Records in London and the last song was "Get Back"..... just saying, love your work, DIEHARD Alligash White fan, and Merry Christmas.... 

mrjohnwao
mrjohnwao

The NFL has spent the last ten years changing the rules to favor Peyton Manning and transform it into the AFL and everyone gets excited when he throws a 100 TDs in a season. So funny.

George
George

Sea-hens exPOSED! ... at HOME!! ...  laid an egg and lost the GAME!!!  Schooled @ home by the cards??!? 


How r they going to win the BIG one at a neutral site, 

when they can't even win a little one at HOME?!!?

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

HOLY CRAP!  Romo's out for Sunday night's game.  Back injury.  

chino78019
chino78019

Brady in 2007 was more storied than Manning in 2013. 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@KidHorn You're comparing apples to oranges. Other than AD, all those guys played in a different era. The NFL rules are now slanted towards passing attacks. 

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

when you asked what do they have in common... something else came to mind first

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of all time ridiculous statements, this is battling fiercely for the top spot.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ErikWassellmanning is loaded with talent all around him, and always has been.  Show me another ring, Peyton, before anyone puts this season as one of the greatest

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@yobogo the Seahawks offense played horrible because the Cards defense played so well.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

@mrjohnwao If Manning was the only QB that could take advantage of revised rules then you might have a point.  However, the other 31 QB's in the league play under the same rules as Manning.

AdamPond
AdamPond

@George  I don't think I've ever seen a more fitting avatar - You do know that AZ has one of the top defenses in the NFL, right? 

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@PhillyPenn

The league takes 2 Sunday night games away from the Packers this year, then hands the final one to the Cowboys-Eagles because it's a winner-take-all game.  Rodgers will play Sunday in the Packers-Bears winner-take-all game, while Romo sits on the sidelines with a back injury.

Hey, Mr. Goodell - nice job picking the right game for next Sunday.  Foles vs. Orton is always better than Rodgers vs. Cutler.  It's also better than the longest rivalry in the NFL.  Iconic Soldier Field with the NFC North on the line for the 2 most storied franchises in history just can't compare, can it?

/sarcasm

The league is a joke.  If you aren't in Dallas or New England, you may as well not exist.  Thanks for proving that once again, Mr. Goodell.

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@chino78019I'd suggest you lay the crack pipe down. Half of Brady's touchdown's went to Moss. Meanwhile, Manning spread his out. He has 4 WR/TE with 10 or more TDs. He has a RB with 12 TDs. He has thrown for his highest yardage output in his career. His team will score more points this season than Brady's 18-1 team did in 2007. And that's not even counting the fact that Manning did it better in 2004...when he sat out almost 2 full games worth of playing time so as to not rack up the score.

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@chino78019 Brady had a better TD-to-INT ratio, better completion percentage, better TD%, better INT%, and passer rating. All manning has is more yards and TDs.

don7
don7

@Bklr588 @don7 Yeah, like John Lennon was better than Little Richard. Get serious. 

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7In the Pantheon of stupid comments, that one is vying for the top

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@AaronDunckel @ErikWassell Wake up dude. Some QB wins a SB ring EVERY YEAR. Whether it's a legend or a Trent Dilfer. But every guy who consistently threatens the season TD mark is a first ballot Hall of Famer.


And team championships don't invalidate great individual seasons, just as winning a SB ring doesn't validate Dilfer's career. Enjoy it for what it is.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@AdamPond @George Sea-hens George? Really? How about the She-hawks next time? That's always good for a laugh. Right?

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@Devilsreject97 @chino78019 plus also remember when manning got the 49th, it pulled them within two, he still had to get his team ready for the 2 point conversion and had no time to celebrate.  plus you look at one of tight ends, denver didn't know useful he was because he had 2 knee injuries and had 3 total catches i believe, but when tamme got hurt pre-season thomas showed how good a player he was.  again the loss of miller is huge though and the broncos could be one and done again

George
George

@Reedster2185 @chino78019 Actually it's lil' Abner Favre that is skunkie's main man-crush.


Wait until that goober is up for the HOF - no-neck will be swilling down gallons of lattes while simultaneously banging out accolades on his laptop.

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

@Bklr588@don7

Ok, anybody who thinks that the Beatles aren't the best thing to happen to rock music ever - with the sole exception of Elvis - is just an idiot.  The Beatles are just the best there is.


Don't get me wrong - I don't like everything they did.  Some of that "Ravi Shankar doped out LSD tripping" stuff is just wrong.  But for what they meant to music in their time, as well as what they've meant to music overall - both as a group and as individuals (and McCartney on his own as a group and an individual) - cannot be topped.  Again, except by maybe Elvis.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7@Bklr588Nothing wrong with Little Richard, the Beatles and others covered him in the early days, and he influenced them heavily. Your comment was just pointless.

Bklr588
Bklr588

@don7 Yeah, like Little Richard was better than the Beatles. The comment in MMQB referred to the Beatles as an entity. Not John Lennon or any of the other individual members of the group. So you are talking apples and oranges, and your comment is a non-sequitur. 

So...You get serious. 

Devilsreject97
Devilsreject97

@EasyGoer@PhillyPenn@mrjohnwaoReally? The Patriots seemed to take advantage of those rules on their way to 18-1 just fine..... Drew Brees and the Saints did the same in 09.... quit trying to act like the NFL is doing it for Peyton...the rules have been ON THE BOOKS since before Marino came into the league..

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