Before the Rams and Raiders took the field on Sunday, a group of St. Louis Rams’ players came out with their hands raised in the “hands up, don’t shoot” posture in support of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

I’m sure there will be some disparagement of this gesture, in particular by those who insist that you have to either support the police or oppose the shooting of unarmed civilians, but you can’t do both.

I will tell you that I 100% appreciate these players taking a stand.

For those who suggest that before a game “isn’t the time or place” for such a thing, I say it is the ONLY time or place.

It’s when people are paying attention and this brief statement is in the same tradition as the LA Clippers last season and going all the way back to the 1968 Olympics protest of John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

This Week’s Sucked And Won

The Jaguars Offensive Line (JAX).  Whenever a struggling team puts up a win it’s good news, and the headlines in Jacksonville will rightfully be about the terrific performance by Blake Bortles and the defense, but the O-line seriously needs to look in a mirror.  They gave up 7 sacks on Bortles and he had to run for his life the rest of the time.  They also failed to open up holes for Jacksonville running backs, who averaged less than 3 yards per carry against the Giants.

The Bengals barely escaped with a win at Tampa Bay on Sunday, and this time they owe their coach a big one.  Marvin Lewis challenged a late Buccaneers play that had driven them all the way down into chip shot field goal territory on the grounds that Tampa had too many men on the field.  He was right, and the Bucs couldn’t get themselves back into scoring range.

Shocking realization of the week

Aaron Rodgers has 20 TDs at home this season with 0 interceptions.  The most in NFL history for a single season up until now was Steve Young with 10.

Johnny Manziel saw his first meaningful action with the Cleveland Browns this week, and I’m guessing they give him a chance to start next week.  Brian Hoyer has been awful the last two games, throwing zero TDs and 5 picks, and the Browns’ offense is in stall mode.  Manziel provided a spark, and was decisive with the football, in particular on his 10 yard touchdown run, which was not at all a run out of desperation but out of opportunity presented.  If he can be that cool in the pocket, he deserves a look.

This Week’s Great But Lost

LeVeon Bell, RB (PIT).  Bell had 95 yards on the ground and another 159 yards as a receiver, which is flat-out ridiculous.  Needless to say, he was the game leader, by a wide margin, in all purpose yards.

With the Giants demoralizing loss to the Jaguars, calls for Tom Coughlin to be fired have gotten louder.  I’m not at all sure that is the right move for New York, but if Coughlin does go, I’m betting he has his pick of jobs, including, possibly, the 49ers’ head coaching slot expected/suspected to be vacated by Jim Harbaugh.  Coughlin is known for being abrasive, but compared to Harbaugh, whose personality is the equivalent of the smell coming out of a dumpster full of garbage, maggots and dead seagulls, Coughlin should seem like a breath of fresh air.

Thursday Pick:  Dallas (-3) @Chicago (CG Technology)

Well, it’s December.  Are these Cowboys really different and better than every other version of the Cowboys of recent vintage?  We’ll find out.  Dallas is unbeaten on the road.  They’re playing a Chicago team that is sub .500 at home, and only has one win against a team with a winning record and that was all the way back in week 2 over San Francisco.  If Dallas can’t cover this game, I probably won’t take them again this season.

Dallas Cowboys 31 Chicago Bears 26


“Obviously this is not a typical performance.  Let’s not fool ourselves.” – Lions coach Jim Caldwell, on QB Matt Stafford completing 75% of his passes against the Bears.

“The safety made the play, I didn’t. I didn’t throw it far enough.” – Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, explaining an interceptions.

“I guess they were telling him to do that. Whenever we got close, he just jumped right to the ground. I know he’s a great player; he feels the rush real good. He’s got that nice little spin move, he wasn’t doing that too much today. I think he was in a little pain. He’s a tough quarterback.” – Eagles LB Brandon Graham, on Cowboys QB Tony Romo being surprisingly easy to sack on Thursday.

“We’ve got to find a way to win a game. Just one game.” – Panthers TE Greg Olsen.  Carolina hasn’t won in seven games.

“There isn’t anybody on their offensive team who isn’t good.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, praising the Green Bay Packers.

““In the NFL, nothing is game, set and match as long as there’s time on the clock, but we’re up 10 at home in the fourth quarter and our offense gave us 33 points. Usually, that’s enough.” – Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, on Baltimore surrendering their lead to the Chargers.

“I don’t know an English word to explain the way we feel.” – Giants RB Rashad Jennings, on the shock of losing to Jacksonville.

“The fight in the guys’ eyes tonight was unmatchable.  This is how we want to feel.  This is how we want to be.” – Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, after his team’s complete dismantling of the 49ers.
“”I wouldn’t say it’s a statement. This is just how we expect to play and how we have to play.” – Broncos DE DeMarcus Ware, on beating the Chiefs.