Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26: Turkey Weekend Football Wrap

Greetings! Let's get right to it...


  • Notre Dame will meet the winner of Georgia/Alabama for the national title. The Irish squeaked out a 22-13 win over USC in LA on Saturday thanks to Matt Barkley's absence, and some stout defense. The most hilarious decision of the day for me was Lane Kiffin going for it on 4th-and-goal down two scores with 3 minutes to play. Hey Lane, kick the field goal! In the other side of the national title match-up, both Georgia and Alabama absolutely housed their in-state rivals. Neither game was at any point competitive, and both sides are gearing up for next week's showdown. 
  • Ohio State finished the season undefeated and untied. A 26-21 win over Michigan ended their "magical" probation season at 12-0 and they did so in pretty strong fashion. I thought the work of Al Borges was the undoing for Michigan, as he refused to let Denard Robinson attempt even one pass on the day, allowing OSU to stack the box with 9 and 10 guys on every 2nd-half snap, and he continued to hand the ball to the stable of bad running backs instead of deploying Gardner and Robinson together. I'm not really ready to talk about this yet. 
  • Florida scored 24 4th-quarter points to up-end Florida State 37-26 in the other big game of the day. The Gators were still actively playing for a national title shot as of kick-off, but the Notre Dame win shut them out. At any rate, it was an impressive burst late for them, and that's a young team who will be a title favorite next year. 
  • Oregon housed Oregon State 48-24 on the road in the Civil War. This is a wildly impressive win as the Beavers are a good football team, but Oregon is the 2nd best team in the country for me, even if they could never be ranked as such. 
  • Elsewhere! Nebraska eeked past Iowa on Friday to hold off Michigan in the race to the Big 10 Title game. Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma in Bedlam by a crazy 51-48 OT margin. That may have been the best game of the day. Stanford won the Pac-12 North by beating UCLA 35-17... only to set-up a rematch of the same game on Friday of next week for the Pac-12 title. And finally, South Carolina went to Clemson and knocked off the Tigers 27-17 behind 310 yards and 3 TDs from backup QB Dylan Thompson. 
  • It's far too late to review games from Thanksgiving but I'll say this: the rule governing the challenge in the Texans/Lions game may be the worst rule in pro sports. Isn't the point of replay to get the call right?
  • The Falcons snuck out of Tampa with a 24-23 win over the Bucs yesterday. Matt Ryan threw for 353 yards and led the Falcons on the game-winning 4th quarter drive to seal it. This was the most impressive win for Atlanta in a while, and they now are in full control of the NFC South.
  • Jay Cutler returned and led Chicago to a 28-10 win over Minnesota. Matt Forte left the game with injury for Chicago and that's a big concern, but Michael Bush stepped in, and the defense really led the way to the victory by holding Minny down all day. 
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers turned the ball over eight times yesterday. No surprise, they lost that football game. Charlie Batch threw 3 picks, and their skill guys combined for 5 fumbles in the 20-14 loss. The hilarious part is that they were in the game to the very end even with this performance. Paging Ben Roethlisberger...
  • Andy Luck and the Colts are 7-4... Just thought I'd point that out...
  • Ray Rice converted a 4th-and-29 scramble to keep the game-tying drive alive for Baltimore, and the Ravens won the game in overtime in San Diego. What a ridiculous play by an elite player, and the Ravens simply won't die. 
  • Colin Kaepernick! Jim Harbaugh elected to go with the young QB over Alex Smith in this one and it paid off with a 31-21 road win over New Orleans. Kaepernick went 16-25 for 231 yards and a TD with only 1 INT, and he also added 27 yards on the ground. It was a very efficient game, and he let the defense do the work for SF as they returned 2 Drew Brees INT's for touchdowns. 
  • And finally, the Giants blitzed the Packers 38-10 last night. It was an utterly dominant performance from the start, and after Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 61-yard TD pass in the 1st quarter, the Packers offense fell silent. Eli threw for 249 yards and 3 TDs with Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw adding one TD each in the victory. 

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