November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving goodness

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Is it just me, or was it actually nicer to watch one game at a time on Thursday than being inundated with updates constantly and flipping through channels constantly to keep track of your fantasy players? It was a simple joy to not be bombarded with highlights and cutaways while trying to get into the flow of a game.

The Thanksgiving games were a good example that a less-is-more philosophy might actually be a good thing for NFL broadcasts, so maybe we should start by cutting down on the amount of people in the studios? Having five guys talk about one game at a time without stepping on each other’s points seemed a bit of some guys leagues. The flaws in having an overcrowded panel were definitely exposed on Thursday.

As for yesterday’s tilts, we saw a great slew of nail-biters again, including three games that were settled in the last two minutes (the Falcons over the Bucs and the Eagles over the Redskins), one that went to overtime (the Ravens and the Steelers) and one that was won on the last play of the game.

Vince Young and the Titans got the ball back on their own one-yard line, trailing the Arizona Cardinals by four with 2:37 remaining. 19 plays later and 99 yards later, Young tossed a short pass to Kenny Britt with no time left on the clock and the Titans kept their improbable drive towards the playoffs alive. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who has called Vince Young a bust and that he lacked leadership was sorely wrong.

The Colts completed their NFL record fifth straight fourth quarter comeback to extend their perfect season to 11-0 and their regular season winning streak to 20 games. A win next week will tie them with the Patriots for the longest ever but there is a bad omen that’s hanging over next week’s date with the Titans. Division rival Tennessee was the last team to beat the Colts in the regular season and the Pats 21-game winning streak was book-ended by the same team, division rival Miami. Couple that with how well the Titans are playing and this is far from a sure thing.

Even the CFL got in on the nail-biting, down to the wire action. With seconds left on the clock, the Montreal Alouettes put up a game-winning field goal attempt that went wide, seemingly assuring the Saskatchewan Rough Riders the Grey Cup. But with flags down for the defence having too many men on the field, the Als got a second shot at the field goal and won the CFL championship. In true comeback fashion, it was the first lead that Montreal had in the game too.

It was another big week on the injury front too. While Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner both sat out as their teams struggled, some other teams lost some big names for varying lengths of time. The Falcons were minus Matt Ryan and Michael Turner for most of their comeback win. The Eagles’ DeSean Jackson was concussed while emerging tight end Brent Celek told a teammate that he has torn ligaments in his thumb. But maybe the biggest potential loss is the Giants reportedly looking into a stress reaction in Eli Manning’s foot that could keep him out indefinitely. We’re really getting into the part of the season when wear and tear is grinding guys out of lineups. It’s really the best example as to why the league simply can’t afford to extend the season with more games.

This week: 10-4 (With New England +2.5 tonight)
This season: 95-71-1.

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