The NFL Was Absolutely Magnificent This Week
Much like Eli Manning’s throwing accuracy, weeks in the NFL can be very hit-or-miss. Some weeks are comprised mostly of boring, low-scoring games and tons of injuries. Other weeks are like this last week, full of not only terrific football, but on-the-field and off-the-field hilarity. These wonderful weeks tend to leave Cowboy fans silent, Browns fans depressed, and the rest of football fans gleeful. Here are a few things that made this last week so damn special:
1. Chip Kelly’s implosion
Chip Kelly is possibly the most arrogant man in the NFL not named Roger Goodell, so it’s especially delightful seeing him fail. Granted, “fail” is an egregious understatement to describe the act of getting routed by the 3-7 Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. This goes beyond your ordinary parable of arrogance. This is like if Icarus were given a prop jet, decided it was insufficient, vowed to build a 747 out of recycled Sprite cans and chewed up bubble gum, then contracted Malaysia Airlines to fly the damn thing into the surface of the sun. Everyone who isn’t an Eagles fan takes joy in watching Chip Kelly fall flat on his face, and Eagles fans themselves are probably too busy physically assaulting 8-year-old Giants fans to even know what’s going on.
2. Aaron Rodgers Saying Fuck on What Might Be The Most Widely Watched Game of the Regular Season
The football game on Thanksgiving night plays in tens of millions of households, and is watched attentively by food-comatose men pretending to be asleep so they don’t have to help clean dishes. It’s only fitting, then, that Aaron Rodgers — frequently touted as an ideal role model for young men whose parents expect good behavior but not celibacy — dropped an unambiguous F-bomb on national television during the game. Behold:
3. Blake Bortles Making Mistakes That Would Be Embarrassing If It Happened In My Rec Flag Football League
4. The Redskins Taking The Lead in the NFC East
The NFC East looked wide open at the beginning of the season (and remains to be). A lot of people picked the Eagles to win it, a lot of people picked the Cowboys to win it, and a lot of people picked the Giants to win it. I don’t know of a single person who picked the Redskins to win it, and yet, the Redskins currently sit atop the tire fire of a division. Honestly, this is the equivalent of Lincoln Chafee leading polls after the first Democratic debate.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that the team is named for a racial epithet and is owned by Dan Snyder, the Pol Pot of NFL owners, the Redskins are the most exciting team to root for in the division. Kirk Cousins is an unlikely hero at quarterback — okay, maybe not a hero’s hero, but some weird iteration of a hero, like Theon Greyjoy — and Desean Jackson gave his coach a titty twister.
5. Odell Beckham Jr. Being A Fucking Freak
One could easily argue that the most exciting part of football is the occasional unbelievable play that exhibits absurd amounts of talent and athleticism. For this, God sent OBJ to us as a gift, a constant source of freakish skill. Beckham wowed us again this week with this touchdown catch:
— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2015
6. A 49ers Defender Dropping the Easiest Interception In Literal Recorded History
Without Schadenfreude, there is no joy in football. Seeing Tramaine Brock perform an unimaginable failure on this play is euphoric.
7. The Patriots Losing
Football is a better sport when the Patriots lose. When they lose to a second-string quarterback, it’s an even better sport. When they lose to a second-string quarterback and produce this Vine, it should probably just be a damn national holiday.
8. The Cleveland Browns Being A Caricature Of Themselves
It seemed impossible that after drafting Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden, signing Dwayne Bowe, losing Josh Gordon to weed suspensions, then relegating Johnny Manziel to the bench for drinking, the Browns could be any more of a shitshow than they’ve been in the last few years. Then last night’s game happened.
First, let’s acknowledge that the Browns and Ravens playing on Monday Night Football is a miscarriage of justice in its own right. Nobody wants to see two of three worst teams in the AFC face off against each other on a nationally televised game — let alone those two teams playing with their starting quarterbacks (and many more players) injured.
To the game’s credit, though, the teams were evenly matched, albeit at a JV high school-level of skill. The Browns tied the game at 27 with 1:47 left. What followed was truly unbelievable. The Ravens got the ball back and went 3-and-out in 24 seconds. They punted to the Browns, who proceeded to go 3-and-out in 27 seconds. The Browns punted back to the Ravens (for those keeping score at home, that’s the third change of possession in 51 seconds). The Ravens immediately threw an interception, making it the fourth change of possession in 57 seconds. At this point, the Browns have almost 50 seconds on the clock and the ball in Baltimore’s territory (note that the Browns have a pretty reliable kicker). The Browns managed to hold on to the ball for 47 seconds without turning it over, calling a timeout with 3 seconds on the clock and only a 50-yard field goal standing between them and an irrelevant but spirit-lifting home win. Obviously, because they’re the Cleveland Browns, the field goal attempt is blocked and returned for a Ravens TD, bestowing upon the home crowd the blessing of seeing the only beatable team on their remaining schedule get a walk-off score.
Sadistic as it may sound, one of the true joys of being an NFL fan is seeing the Browns repeatedly turn possible wins into complete and utter catastrophes. This particular iteration of the pattern was a real keeper.