Cleveland’s Josh Gordon finally returned to action Sunday and promptly caught 7 balls for 120 yards and was a big part of the reason the Browns were able to beat Atlanta.

This just highlights that Gordon never should have missed more than one or two games.  Any semblance of an argument to the contrary, in light of the heinous behaviors the NFL has, to varying degrees, tolerated this season (how many games did Ray McDonald miss again?), is unadulterated bullshit.

Put it another way:  your 3rd shoplifting offense is bad, it’s a problem, you should have known better.  But your third or even your 30th shoplifting is not going to get mentioned in the same sentence as “your first murder.”

There ARE degrees of bad conduct and Josh Gordon and players like him should not be facing draconian penalties no matter HOW many times they may screw up.

This Week’s Sucked And Won

Frank Gore, RB (SF).  Take your pick off the San Francisco offense (other than Anquan Boldin, who was great), but Gore gained just 36 yards on 13 carries (2.8 yards per carry) and committed the 4th quarter fumble that nearly cost his team the game against a weak Washington squad.

If you watched the Dolphins and Broncos game on Sunday, you couldn’t have missed the Broncos converting a 4th and 2 right at the end of the third quarter. CJ Anderson’s 20 yard run on that play was a huge turning point in the game. But did you give Peyton Manning credit for that?  I know Manning didn’t run the ball or block for the running back, but before the snap, he did one of his patented audibles where he repositioned guys and changed the play and what do you know?  20 yard run.

Watching Manning read and diagnose a defense and then call the exact play needed to defeat it is like watching Sherlock Holmes use deductive reasoning to solve an impossible mystery.

Shocking realization of the week

Odell Beckham, Jr. caught that ball.

The NFC playoff picture is very much wide open, but one team that could well be ready is the Dallas Cowboys.  Dallas is 5-0 on the road this season, the only undefeated road team in the NFL, which makes them a dangerous opponent come playoff time…if they make it in.

This Week’s Great But Lost

Chris Clemons, DE (JAX).  For a while, at least, Clemons, who recorded 3 sacks and forced a fumble, was the leader of a Jaguars’ defense that was harassing Andrew Luck and keeping Jacksonville in the game.  For a while.

OMG did you SEE the Arizona Cardinals this week?  They’re doomed.  DOOOOOOOMMMED!!!!  I guess every other team in the NFL goes to Seattle and marches up and down the field, right?  I guess when other teams lose their #1 receiver, their offenses work just fine.  Like Cincinnati without AJ Green, or the Lions without Megatron.  Right?  Yes, Arizona’s offense was lousy this Sunday, but they were playing a great defense, without their #1 offensive weapon, and with a backup quarterback (not that it would have mattered), in a game Seattle desperately needed that Arizona didn’t need at all.  Do you think maybe, just maybe, they can overcome this one loss?  I kinda do.

Thanksgiving Day

We’re all in for a treat this Thursday, and I don’t mean the pumpkin pie.  Thanks to competitive seasons from the Lions and Cowboys and a nifty scheduling trick, this will be the best football on Thanksgiving since Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders were playing.

Check out this Turkey Day trifecta:

Chicago (+7) @Detroit (MGM Mirage)

The Lions have lost two in a row, while the Bears have won two in a row.  I don’t believe Chicago has somehow resuscitated its playoff chances, but they might think so.  Also, this is the collapse I’ve been expecting from Detroit, but the Bears are hardly the same caliber opponent the Lions have faced for the last two weeks.  I figure Detroit can hang on for the win, but I don’t expect it to be easy.

Detroit Lions 27 Chicago Bears 21

Philadelphia (+3) @Dallas (Westgate Superbook)

I’ve been back and forth on this game, but I feel like the Cowboys will hold service here.  If they are going to succumb to a late season collapse, it will be quite late, and it will be in December.  I figure this game to be a bit of a shootout, so I don’t think it will stay within 3 points, even if it’s a close game.

Dallas Cowboys 34 Philadelphia Eagles 27\

Best Pick: Seattle (+1) @San Francisco (Westgate Superbook)

Seattle is looking rather resurgent while the 49ers have been limping past weak opponents.  San Francisco barely beat the Seahawks at home last year and got raked over the coals in Seattle.  I think this is the end of the line for the Niners, and I’m confident enough in this pick to put it in the Best Picks for the week.

Seattle Seahawks 22 San Francisco 49ers 17


“Yeah.” – Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, in response to all reporters’ questions following Sunday’s game.  Lynch had previously been fined for not talking to the media.

“I think that advantage was a little overrated.” – Jets coach Rex Ryan, on the game being moved from Buffalo to Detroit.  Buffalo beat the Jets 38-3.

“He wants to keep playing football, let’s play football. Not a big deal. It’s football.” – Lions C Dominic Raiola, on the Patriots’ choosing to score a TD instead of taking a knee at the end of Sunday’s game.  On the last snap of the game, Raiola took a run at Patriots DT Zach Moore.

“{A}ny given Monday, Sunday or Thursday you can be beat. . .” – Packers DE Mike Daniels.  Somehow that doesn’t have the same ring to it. . .

“It was a good catch.  I’m not going to keep talking about one play.” – Cowboys DB Brandon Carr, responding to repeated questions about Odell Beckham’s one-handed marvel.

“I don’t want to make a living off of that.” – Browns QB Brian Hoyer, on the odd stat that the team is 2-0 when he throws three interceptions.

“If you don’t block, catch, tackle, kick, you can’t win. And we didn’t do any of the four.” – Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, after losing to the Seahawks.

“Take Him Back.” – headline in the Tampa Bay Times, above a picture of QB Josh McCown, after McCown’s former team, the Bears, beat Tampa.

“He could be a safety.” – 49ers LB Aldon Smith, commenting on WR Anquan Boldin’s legendary toughness.