Every game during the NFL season tells a story. GIFs -- pronounced "gifs", "jifs" or "gee-oafs" -- can do the same thing. Let's explain the world of Week 14 through GIFs.
Let's start with a fond look back at an amazing moment in Miami.
[[[[[[[[[[[ INSERT BILL BELICHICK GIF REACTION HERE ]]]]]]]]]]]
Yes, that's where I had hoped to include a GIF of a horrified Belichick watching helplessly from the sideline as his ultimate nightmare unfolded in real time. Almost impossibly, CBS offered its viewers -- including the legions of Pats Schadenfreudders like me -- no reaction shot of either Belichick or Tom Brady. We didn't even get a Disappointed Robert Kraft luxury box cutaway. A little suspicious, no? This is a conspiracy of suppression and I vow to keep digging. (Related: This will be my final piece for NFL.com.)
A few weeks ago, the Rams outlasted the Chiefs in a double 50-burger shootout for the ages. Afterward, the football cognoscenti proclaimed that Football As We Know It Has Changed Forever. Or something like that. It always seemed like fuzzy logic to me, and Sunday night represented another reminder that a great defense -- especially a great defense with home-field advantage on its side -- can put the freeze on just about any high-powered offense. Speaking of freeze, will you look at Jared Goff and Sean McVay there? Those guys are cold. At 11-2, the Rams are still in great position in the NFC, and if they close strong over the final three weeks, they might not ever face another game this season -- Super Bowl LIII included -- with a temperature lower than 65 degrees. But Sunday night was not a great scene for the Rams, who looked like they just wanted to hop on a plane and get back to the palm trees as soon as possible.
LACES OUT, DAN.
Amari Cooper has changed everything in Dallas. Before the Cowboys sent a first-round pick to the Raiders in exchange for the wide receiver, Dallas was a hideously one-dimensional attack that could trust Ezekiel Elliott and ... pretty much, that's it. Can you imagine a scenario where you're down by multiple scores and you're waiting for Cole Beasley to make a big play? chills Enter Cooper, who has given the Cowboys an explosive element in their offense that's been absent since Dez Bryant's heyday. Cooper has lifted all boats: Suddenly, there are no more questions about Dak Prescott as a franchise quarterback, or Jerry Jones as an effective front office leader or Jason Garrett as a competent head coach. Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper are the two best Christmas presents teams could have asked for this season. I guess that makes Jon Gruden a terrifying version of Santa Claus.
Loved the bad blood between the Eagles and Cowboys last week. That's what the NFC East is all about. Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hillcalled the Cowboys chokers ahead of Week 14, and the two teams then went back and forth Sunday in one of the better divisional games in recent memory. I especially loved the decision by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to blow up Philly's planned touchdown celebration after Alshon Jeffery put the Iggles on the board in the third quarter. You can imagine why Lawrence and the Cowboys took exception to the planned spectacle: The Eagles had done absolutely nothing on offense prior to that touchdown, and only found themselves near the end zone because an interception return set them up at first-and-goal from the 2. Lawrence didn't believe the Eagles' offense deserved that moment. He wasn't wrong.
Ever see the movie "Dave," where Kevin Kline plays a president impersonator who gets tabbed by the White House to step into the big chair when the real-life president is incapacitated by a stroke? The White House and the presidential doppelganger pull off a fast one on the entire world. With the Lions playing out the string, would it be the worst idea to give Fake Matt Patricia a shot on the sideline in one of these final weeks? The real Patricia can take a much-needed vacation with his family and Fake Patricia could try to beat the Billsin Buffalo next Sunday. Not sure who says no here.
That right there is one of the most athletic and exciting plays we've ever seen from a Jets quarterback. I kid you not ... the history isn't great here. Sam Darnold, back after missing a month with a foot injury, gave the franchise and its fans reason to believe in Sunday's comeback victory against the Bills. Darnold's mad scramble covered almost 50 yards; at one point, he was nearly 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage. But he kept his eyes up, got a hell of a block from left tackle Kelvin Beachum and then delivered a perfect strike to Robby Anderson. It was just one play, but the result and corresponding vibes it produced were a huge pick-me-up for a team and fanbase that needs something to believe in.
That right there is a no-look pass. From an NFL quarterback. In a game with huge implications. Patrick Mahomes is making us re-think the way the quarterback position is played. He is the future and we're all witnesses. Pretty decent decision giving him the starting job, Andy.
Until next week.