Random Thoughts On NFL Week 14

— Another Sunday, another close win for the unbeaten New Orleans Saints.  The Falcons are always a tough opponent for thee Saints, regardless of their record, so it wasn’t that surprising to see the game closer than the blowout some people might have expected.  But to be in a position late in the game to be possibly headed to overtime — or even lose — to a team that was missing both its starting quarterback and running back?  Yikes.  But at the end of the day, it’s still another ‘W’ in the column.

Meanwhile, don’t make too much out of Reggie Bush’s two-touchdown performance.  His rushing totals were buoyed by a 19-yard run where an Atlanta defender missed an easy tackle on Bush, who was busy doing one of his patented “Make a lateral move behind the line of scrimmage — Hey, it works in Madden!” dances that usually result in a classic three-to-four yard loss.  Take that one play out and Bush’s totals — 5 carries for 14 yards — would be about what we’d expect from a guy who should never be given the ball on a straight running play (yet still managed to find carries).

Meanwhile, Bush did cough up a fumble on one of these rushing attempts — a play that could have been devastating and game-changing, if the Falcons could have come up with the recovery.  Bush lost the ball without even being hit, a sight New Orleans fans have seen too often from the overpaid bust former second overall pick.

As hard as it is to criticize Sean Payton (though if you tune in tomorrow for the Le Boo Coaching Decision, I plan to do just that), his usage of players at the running back position this season has for me often been a head-scratcher.   The best back of the three-man rotation is clearly Pierre Thomas, yet Payton has a soft spot for the hard-playing, less-effective Mike Bell, and as pointed out, any carry given to Reggie Bush on a straight running play is asking for problems.  If an unbeaten Saints season comes to a shocking end in the playoffs (or even before) because either of these two backs — particularly Bush — is coughing up the football in a crucial situation that they shouldn’t be featured in to begin with, I won’t be surprised.

— I always tell my friend Steve that there are things in this life that are so certain, you could literally make a fortune betting on them.  “We need to go to Vegas,” I always say.  Yesterday, one of those things was San Diego beating Dallas at home.  Somehow, Dallas entered the game a three-point favorite;  clearly, that line didn’t take into account the much-publicized stat of the Cowboys being 0-267 in December (at least it feels that way) during the Wade Phillips/Tony Romo era, or the fact that Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has never lost an NFL start in his career during the month.  Talk about a case of the irresistable force meeting the movable object.

As always, the Cowboys are talented, but undisciplined — and it continues to show, particularly when it counts down the stretch of the NFL season.  From cheap-shot king Flozell Adams to party-boy Romo (who, after his much-maligned trip to Mexico with Jessica Simpson 2007, still took an ill-advised party trip to Vegas after the team’s Thanksgiving Day win against the Raiders) to the befuddled Phillips, the team is a mix of ill-fitting parts who don’t understand what it takes to win in the NFL.  And as long as the team continues to be run with the heavy hand of egotistical owner Jerry Jones, and “yes men” like Phillips are serving as puppets for Jones to call all of the shots, don’t look for that to change.

— Another Bears game, another couple of picks thrown by Jay Cutler, another loss for my Bears.  Now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Chicago can focus instead on who they’ll pick with their first round choice that’s getting better and better with each passing loss.  Oh, wait — that’s right — they don’t have that choice anymore.  It belongs to Denver.  Yippee.

With a crumbling, aging defense, a shaky offense line, an immature me-first quarterback, moronic coaching, and a cheap front office, the recipe for disaster in the Windy City is in place.  As ridiculous as it might seem, I think the Bears are looking at a last-place finish in the division next year, even behind the normally woeful Lions.  At least Detroit is headed in the right direction.  The Bears?  They’re not sure where they’re headed — but it sure isn’t back to contention anytime soon without major, major changes.

— Other quick notes:  The Giants/Eagles game last night was tremendously entertaining to watch, even if the officiating left a lot to be desired at times.  However, neither team is going to go very far in the playoffs — if they make it at all — if they can’t play better defense than what we saw last night … The Raiders got a reminder just how bad JaMarcus Russell is, and how much having even a mediocre quarterback means to their chances of winning every week … The Rams have taken over the spot as the worst team in football, and I feel sorry for Steven Jackson having to be a part of the mess that is that team …

Tomorrow, come back for the Le Boo NFL Coaching Move for Week 14.  See you then.

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One Response to “Random Thoughts On NFL Week 14”

  1. […] for trick plays — and there’s the time when they’re just ill-advised.  And as I also pointed out in my NFL recap on Monday, Payton already has shown some unusual decision-making in the usage of his running backs, so this […]

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