Statement win? We’ve heard all about statement wins for weeks in the NFL, but of the dozen or so being hailed that way, only 1 or 2 really lived up to the billing.
Well one game this week definitely lived up to the billing, and that’s the Arizona Cardinals beating the Seahawks in Seattle 17-10.
For starters, the last time Seattle lost at home was on Christmas Eve. That’s Christmas Eve 2011. A nearly two year unbeaten streak snapped by Arizona. And they did it with defense.
The Seahawks forced four turnovers, so the Cardinals forced two. The Seahawks handed Carson Palmer a 48.8 passer rating, so the Cardinals handed Russell Wilson a 49.6. The Cardinals had just 139 rushing yards, but the Seahawks had just 109.
Arizona out-Seattled Seattle in Seattle. The sad part: despite the remarkable win, Arizona’s playoff chances are still slim, even if they win again next week at home vs. San Francisco. They’d need a New Orleans loss to Tampa or San Francisco to lose tomorrow night to Atlanta to have a shot.
The playoff picture in the NFC is pretty straightforward, but in the AFC, take a look at the final wildcard spot. Baltimore gets it if they win and Miami loses or San Diego loses.
If Miami, Baltimore and San Diego all win, Miami gets the spot. If San Diego wins and both Baltimore and Miami lose, San Diego gets the spot. And if San Diego, Baltimore, and Miami all lose, and Pittsburgh and the NY Jets both win, then Pittsburgh gets the spot.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of rooting for that last one just because it’s so insane.
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Panthers OL (CAR). Cam Newton had a decent day, but it was a fantastic day when you consider that he was harassed by New Orleans’ pass rush all game. Newton was sacked 4 times and absorbed 6 additional hits just for good measure. He was also contained on the ground, rushing 4 times for just 6 yards.
I’m hesitant to criticize a team that continues to play to win every week even after their season is over, but I’m scratching my head over Tom Coughlin and the Giants’ decision to play Eli Manning this week (and presumably next week). The Giants drafted Syrcause’s Ryan Nassib in the fourth round this past year, and their other QB on the roster is Curtis Painter, who clearly is not an acceptable back up. If the Giants are in the hunt next year and Eli goes down for a few games, New York may be wringing its hands over the fact that they declined to give Nassib some valuable regular season action to get a good look at him when it counted.
Shocking realization of the week: This is the first time Peyton Manning has passed for over 5000 yards in a single season in his entire career.
Game ball to Luke Kuechly of the Panthers. He set a team record with 24 tackles in one game and added an interception, leading Carolina’s defensive effort in the 17-13 crucial win.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Jamal Charles, RB (KC). Charles WAS the Chiefs’ offense this week, leading all players in all purpose yardage (106 rushing, 38 receiving) and scoring Kansas City’s only touchdown.
Congratulations to Peyton Manning on setting the single season TD record. He’s now got 51 and still has one game left to play. He needs just 266 yards to break the single season passing record as well.
“We picked a hell of a day to go out and lay an egg.” – Dolphins DE Cameron Wake, on the Dolphins’ costly 19-0 loss to the Bills.
“He’s out for the season. He’s not going to play again. They can spin it any way they want it, but the fact of the matter is, he’s got a herniated disk in his back and it’s severe enough that he cannot play in the game.” – ESPN’s Adam Schefter, reporting that Cowboys QB Tony Romo has suffered a season ending injury. Dallas coach Jason Garrett has denied the report.
“We were ready to play this game, and we played a terrible football game. I’m not going to use any word other than that. We were terrible in all three phases. We’ll throw this tape in the trash can.” – Bears coach Marc Trestman, on his team’s 54-11 thrashing at the hands of the Eagles.
“Be careful what you wish for. He can only do so much. He did his job. He put us in position to win.” – Lions WR Nate Burleson, addressing speculation that coach Jim Schwartz would be fired.
Everybody was against us. You watch TV and we had no chance. Everybody kept talking about the 58-0 loss last year. But we’re a different team with a different mind-set. We’ve been playing for each other these last eight, nine, 10 weeks. We definitely knew we had a chance to come in here and get a victory.” – Cardinals DT Dan Williams, on Arizona’s upset of Seattle.
“Personally, it’s hard to say it’s not distracting at times, because I love the guy so much.” – Jets G Willie Colon, on the uncertain job status of coach Rex Ryan.
“I remember seeing his face. He was on his back, having a hard time breathing, but he was smiling ear to ear. It was great.” – Jaguars G Drew Nowak, on C Brad Meester’s first career reception. Meester played his final home game on Sunday, so the coaching staff put in a play for him as a TE to get him one career catch.
“This is the NFL. Anything is possible.” – Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons, on the convoluted scenario by which Pittsburgh could still make the postseason.
“Peyton made a great throw. Like all the other 50.” – John Elway, Executive VP of Football Operations of the Denver Broncos, who knows just a thing or two about throwing a football, on Peyton Manning’s record setting 51st touchdown pass.