With each passing week, the NFL just gets weirder and weirder. This week, we saw Brandon Jacobs run like it was 2007, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play defense like it was 2001, and Matt Flynn sling the rock like it was 2011! Perhaps this is why the NFL is arguably America's most popular sport -- it's as unpredictable as an episode of "Jersey Shore." I've actually seen several people refer to the NFL as the world's greatest reality show on Twitter. Hmmm, they might be on to something. But enough fist-pumping -- it's Fifth Down.
This Thanksgiving, Flynn-sanity comes to a living room near you
Man, I was really hoping Flynn could lead the Green Bay Packers to victory against the Minnesota Vikings in what was an entertaining game of mediocre football. By now, you likely know that Flynn rose to prominence as Aaron Rodgers' backup before he was paid a boatload of money by the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders, only to serve as a backup for them as well. Flynn recently returned to Green Bay to help put out the dumpster fire that was the Packers' backup quarterback situation after Seneca Wallace hobbled onto IR. With Tolzien struggling mightily, and the Packers falling behind rapidly, head coach Mike McCarthy made the switch to Flynn to give Green Bay a spark on Sunday. And boy, did he ever.
Flynn led the Packers on four scoring drives in the fourth quarter and overtime to bring Green Bay's season back from the brink. Heck, Flynn gave the Packers lead in overtime, but the defense looked like the banner at a homecoming game the way Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were running through it. Anyway, if the Packers hope to keep their playoff dreams alive until Rodgers returns, you can bet they'll be starting Flynn at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Personally, I can't wait to see that unfold and have flashbacks to 2010. Except with hopefully a more exciting result than 7-3.
This might go down as the most interesting sideline non-confrontation of the season. Rivers, who wanted to shout at the ref in typical Rivers fashion, gets boxed out by Andy Reid. Rivers then appears to have words, or at least an angry glare at Reid afterward. You'll have to watch the whole video to the right to see Reid post up Rivers on the sideline, but it's worth it. Makes me wonder if a young Andy Reid was as dominant in basketball as he was in punt, pass and kick competitions due to his outrageous size-advantage.
George Blanda was a quarterback, kicker and punter (in his early years) who has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Sunday, Roethlisberger channeled the late football Swiss Army Knife when he took a snap on fourth-and-18 and kicked a picture-perfect pooch punt to pin the Cleveland Browns inside their own 1-yard line. If Roethlisberger remains THIS versatile, the Steelers will have no choice but to keep Big Ben in the Steel City long-term.
Now I am the master
All right, so Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano likely never had an Obi-Wan Kenobi-Anakin Skywalker type of relationship, seeing as they specialize on opposite sides of the ball (Arians -- offense, Pagano -- defense) and only coached together for four years (last year in Indianapolis, and from 2001 to 2003 in Cleveland). However, I couldn't avoid the chance to drop a Star Wars reference in this weekly column, as one could imagine a Darth Vader-esque thought crossed Arians' mind when his Cardinals man-handled Pagano's Colts in Arizona on Sunday. Even Andrew Luck couldn't dig the Colts out of the hole they collapsed into by falling behind 27-3 at halftime.
Brotherly love in St. Louis
Much ballyhoo was made about the Long brothers (Chris Long and Kyle Long) playing against each other this Sunday when the Chicago Bears took on the St. Louis Rams. Their dad, Hall of Famer Howie Long, even took time off from his Sunday duties at Fox to attend the game. Well, a brouhaha erupted on the field after a, well, just watch the video to the right. Chris Long raced off the bench to remove his brother, Kyle, from the scuffle, which helped quell the intensity. All in all, it was cool to see Chris rush to Kyle's aid and prevent his brother from getting into further trouble or facing more fines from the league.
Guys, this is what's called a winning streak
Kudos to the Bucs on winning their third straight game. Has to feel good for a franchise that endured a lot of turmoil earlier this season. They also certainly helped make things more interesting in the race for the NFC North divisional crown, as a half-game now separates the Lions, Bears and Packers. The Vikings meanwhile fell a half-game behind in the race for Jadaveon Clowney (or a new quarterback).
Good samaritan of the week: Mike Tomlin
If you have two minutes to spare (which you obviously do as you are reading this column), check out this video of Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin surprising a local crossing guard. It's awesome.
|Antonio Gates struggled to get it going against the Kansas City Chiefs' secondary, even while the rest of his San Diego Chargers teammates lit up the scoreboard and stat sheets like it was a game of "Madden" on Xbox One. (NFL.com Illustration/)|
Since the Chargers' Week 8 bye, Antonio Gates had put up 5.30, 6.20 and 11.20 fantasy points in consecutive weeks, which by 2013 fantasy tight end standards was pretty solid. Yet, on a day when Rivers threw for 392 yards and three touchdowns, Gates managed a measly 21 receiving yards and no touchdowns. But what is important, is that the Chargers went into Arrowhead and handed the Chiefs their second loss of the season. Sadly, fantasy players won't find solace in that fact. I mean, even THIS GUY caught a touchdown pass. And his mom wouldn't start him in a fantasy league she plays by herself! Tough day for Antonio Gates and his fantasy owners. Big day for the Chargers and Seyi Ajirotutu fans.
- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar. Despite popular opinion, he views Star Wars: A New Hope as the greatest film in the franchise. And as much as he tries, he can't erase the painful memories of the prequels. Unfortunately, those scars are for life.