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Cheers and Jeers: NFL Week 12

Here are some cheers and jeers following a bizarre Week 12 in the NFL…

Cheers to Chad Johnson for bringing back some of that Ocho Cinco zest and revealing he still has a knack for the theatric. Against the Titans Johnson caught a season-high 12 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns. After his first score, which doubled as the first time he’d seen the end zone since Week 2, #85 took control of a sideline camera and filmed his fans in happy mode. Other than a classic (yet seemingly under-the-radar) ESPN interview between Keyshawn Johnson and Chad, the entertaining Ocho Cinco has not been heard from nearly enough this year. The NFL put its foot down on excessive touchdown celebrations, which is one reason for the generally toned-down merriment following scores. As for Chad’s fall from grace, the Bengals played poorly all season, which should explain why until Sunday we’d seen very little of one of the more vocal and dramatic personalities in the league. If Chad can lead Cincinnati back to relevance that’s a good thing for the NFL (considering this season it hasn’t repeatedly had to send representatives to courtrooms on behalf of Bengal players).

Now, to go from the uplifting to the unfair…

Jeers to Peyton Manning for showing up to “root” for his brother when the Giants hosted the Vikings. Like Eli doesn’t know Peyton has been better than him at every level of football since Pop Warner. Not only did Eli have to contend with Minnesota’s formidable pass rush, he had to do so with his big bro dissecting every play from his perch in a Giants Stadium luxury box. How did Eli respond to the sibling pressure? By throwing four interceptions (three for touchdowns) to the woeful Vikings secondary. Sibling rivalries are always intense, especially when they wind their way to the pinnacle of a sport (just ask Venus and Serena Williams). Thing is with Peyton and Eli, only one of them is at the pinnacle of football. The other one is a serviceable quarterback who just happened to throw three touchdowns to the other team Sunday. Look, this may have been destined to be one of those “Eli games” but his brother certainly didn’t help the cause. Shouldn’t Peyton have been buried in a tape room somewhere preparing for Jacksonville?

Speaking of two guys who will be spending some time in the tape room…

Jeers to Gus Frerotte and Kurt Warner for fumbling the ball on the last the play of the game. All Frerotte had to do was take the snap on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 1-yard line, hand the ball to Steven Jackson and walk off the turf that formerly housed “The Greatest Show”. Instead he botched the snap, dropped the ball and lost the game. Warner’s gaffe was almost as egregious and equally decisive. In overtime against the 49ers, Warner’s Cardinals were backed up at their own 3-yard line. On first down Warner dropped back into the end zone, couldn’t find an open receiver, and was stripped of the football. Tully Banta-Cain recovered the freebie for the game-winning touchdown. For two quarterbacks with a combined 23 years of NFL experience, the fashion in which Frerotte and Warner exited the field Sunday was embarrassing to say the least.

On a more positive note…

Cheers to the Eagles for displaying their disgust at being on the short end of a 24-point spread by nearly taking down the Patriots in Foxborough. If New England has been the ruthless model of efficiency this season the Eagles have been the total opposite model of chaos. Donovan McNabb and the city of Philadelphia are approaching the end of a bitter relationship. Eagles coach Andy Reid has dealt with domestic issues of monumental proportions. No one would have blinked twice if the Patriots dropped the Eagles by four touchdowns. Yet led by A.J. Feeley and a fearless, unrelenting pass rush Philly hung with the Patriots for four quarters, something no team (even the Colts) has accomplished against the Pats this year. While the term “blueprint” may be a little exaggerated, the Eagles clearly showed the rest of the league that any defense with the stones to consistently rush five and six guys can disrupt Tom Brady. If an NFL team ever deserved a pat on the back in defeat, it was the Eagles on Sunday night.

Speaking of pats on the back…

Cheers to NBC for pumping up the volume on the sideline microphones at Gillette Stadium, which enabled viewers to literally hear how Tom Brady was dealing with the Eagles’ various defensive alignments and pass rushes. Time after time Brady took the play clock down to the final seconds, letting out a hail of adjustments to his receivers and linemen in an attempt to warn them of impending defensive movement. More than once he called out a hot route or refined blocking assignment to a receiver by name (“Gaf..” “Randy..”). We also heard Brady use the audible “Omaha” on more than one occasion, and given the tranquil atmosphere he even took to whispering something in the ear of Kevin Faulk before taking a snap out of the shotgun. NBC’s first two broadcasts of Patriots games were filled with a lot gushing on the parts of Al Michaels and John Madden. In Week 2 against San Diego it was all about CameraGate and last week in Buffalo they took turns tossing the “perfect season” salad. Last night NBC simply broadcast a football game and let the players do most of the talking.

Finally…

Jeers to Todd Sauerbrun for pretty much single-footedly losing the game for Denver in Chicago. As a kicker I believe Sauerbrun should have gotten the memo about Devin Hester. You know, the one that outlines how Hester is the most electric return man ever to play the game of football!!!!! How’s this for a bad day: first Sauerbrun booms a punt to Hester in the third quarter, which the lightning returner takes to the house; then after the offense has given the Broncos a 20-13 lead, Sauerbrun’s kick off sails straight down the field to Hester, who snatches it and torches another Denver coverage unit for six more; then with a 34-20 lead late in the game and Denver forced to punt, Sauerbrun, so concerned with keeping his boot away from Hester, instead doesn’t even get the kick away and has it blocked. 17 unanswered points later and the Broncos had ample reason to leave the Windy City feeling pretty Sauer.

Here’s the updated power poll…

NFL Top Five Power Poll: Week 12

1. Patriots (11-0)

2. Cowboys (10-1)

3. Packers (10-1)

4. Colts (9-2)

5. Jaguars (8-3)

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I am your sites’ #1 visitor.

    December 4, 2007
  2. Hi, I found your blog via Google while searching for Serena Williams and your post regarding Cheers and Jeers: NFL Week 12 looks very interesting for me.

    January 2, 2008
  3. Hey!. Your post Cheers and Jeers: NFL Week 12 is very interesting for me. My written English is not so good so I write in German: “Lieber den Spatz in der Hand, als die Taube auf dem Dach.” Yours sincerely Thursday Peyton

    November 20, 2008
  4. Greatings,
    Thanks for article. Everytime like to read you.

    Thank you
    Jinny

    April 11, 2009

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