There is no I in T-E-A-M. There is no I in L-O-S-E either but I’m thinking maybe there should be. We witnessed some amazing, incredible individual achievements in Week 13. The battered and beleaguered Vikings defense effectively took Chicago Bears Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall out of the game. Unfortunately for them, he’s not the only one who can catch a football. Alshon Jeffery torched the Minnesota secondary for 249 total receiving yards. That, if you’re wondering, is a franchise best. Browns receiver Josh Gordon continued his hot streak, becoming the first player in NFL history to post 200+ receiving yards in consecutive games. And against the Patriots, Houston Texans runningback Ben Tate was a one-man wrecking crew, finding the end zone three times. Despite these performances, the Bears, Browns, and Texans all lost.
What the heck has happened to the Kansas City Chiefs? By the third week of the season, they’d already surpassed their win total from their entire 2012 campaign. They reeled off another six straight wins, and by Week 10, the Chiefs had the best record in the league, the top ranked defense in the league, and sole possession of first place in the AFC West. In the last three weeks, however, they’ve lost three consecutive games, allowed 103 points and that once-mighty defense has recorded just one sack. And on the subject of great individual efforts, against the Chiefs D on Sunday, Denver Broncos receiver Eric Decker scored four times. He only had three touchdowns in his previous eleven games combined. The Broncos, incidentally, have now scored 25 or more points in an NFL record sixteen straight games. This just in–they’re good.
The Green Bay Packers, on the other hand, are not good. They had everything going for them on Thursday. They faced the Lions who, despite hosting a Thanksgiving Day game every year going all the way back to 1932, typically play like their pregame meal consisted of a double dose of Tryptophan. Prior to 2013, the Lions hadn’t won on Thanksgiving in nearly a decade. They did everything they could to keep that streak alive, turning the ball over time, after time, after time. The Packers capitalized in a big way with a fierce rushing attack that totaled 24 yards. Wait. that can’t be right. 24? Are you serious? Adrian Peterson picks up 24 yards climbing out of bed in the morning. Let me just DAA-BLE check that stat line. Star runningback Eddie Lacy rushed for 16 yards. Jason Starks, Matt Flynn and John Kuhn combined for another 8. Yep, that’s 24 any way you slice it. But, the Lions struggled with their ground attack as well. They only had TEN TIMES THAT. I’m not kidding. 43 carries. 241 total yards. The Packers stink and it isn’t just because Aaron Rodgers is still nursing his broken collarbone.
Do you remember a couple years back when that New York Jets assistant coach made headlines when he tripped and injured a Miami Dolphins player along the sideline? The guy was just running along and the Jets staff member sort of threw a knee out and took him down. He was later fired and rightfully so. I don’t know if there’s ever been a worse example of sportsmanship. Of course, coming from Rex Ryan’s Jets, it really wasn’t a big surprise. No one has ever accused him of being classy and the rest of the team is guilty by association. Ben Roethlisberger’s sexual harassment issues notwithstanding, the Pittsburgh Steelers have long been considered one of the NFL’s classiest franchises. That’s why we were all stunned when Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin prevented a would be Ravens touchdown by stepping onto the field and putting himself in the path of Baltimore return man Jacoby Jones. Tomlin was watching the play on the Jumbotron and claims he didn’t realize where he was or what was happening behind him. I’m sure the league will take that under consideration when they slap him with a six figure fine.