What have we learned - Week 17
Philadelphia 44, Dallas 6. I was worried about this game, because of how the Eagles played last week, but once they scored a touchdown to go up 10-3, I began to feel a little better, because they weren't making mistakes and Dallas, frankly, looked like they wanted to go home. How can you play so poorly with your season on the line? My God. I would say Jerry Jones needs to fire Wade Phillips, but he obviously doesn't want a strong head coach who could whip his players into shape. It's ridiculous how early they quit in this game. It was 17-3 when Tony Romo threw the interception late in the half. At that moment, it looked like the defense gave up. Then, in the second half, the offense managed to put a decent drive together, and then Romo fumbled it and it was returned for a touchdown. Another fumble, another touchdown. I get that it's 41-3 at this point, but the offense and coaching staff just gave up. How do you explain kicking a field goal in the fourth quarter? I hate Dallas, so I don't care, but what a waste of talent. Good riddance, Cowboys. And thanks to Roger for cheering for the Eagles!
DeSean Jackson update! 2 catches for 46 yards; 2 punt returns for 24 yards. Season totals: 0-1 passing, 1 interception; 64 catches for 912 yards and 2 touchdowns; 17 rushes for 95 yards; 50 punt returns for 440 yards. Not a bad year, rook!
Turnovers: Cowboys 5, Eagles 1. Turnovers = loss? When the Cowboys started turning the ball over, the score was 17-3. When they stopped, the score was 44-3. So yeah, the turnovers helped. 1-0.
Atlanta 31, St. Louis 27. I'm not entirely sure how St. Louis stayed in this game for so long. Atlanta turnovers, most likely. Now the Falcons get to travel to the desert to play the Cardinals. I'm not saying the home team will win, but I think they have a better chance than a lot of people are giving them. Yes, the Falcons have Michael Turner. They also have a rookie quarterback. We'll see if Ryan can overcome that.
Turnovers: Falcons 3, Rams 0. Turnovers = loss? No, because they're the Rams. 1-1.
New England 13, Buffalo 0. If you've seen video of this game, you know that the wind turned it into a farce. But the one thing I like about Belichick is that he prepares for things. The Cheaters ran the ball 45 times and threw it 8 times (Andy Reid would have defied the wind and thrown it 50 times), went for it a few times in field goal range because the wind was so wacky, and had Matt Cassell quick-punt on third down once, which put the ball at the Buffalo 1-yard line. Belichick knows what he's doing, even if he is a scumbag! Of course, it all worked out in the end, because New England went 11-5 and missed the playoffs. The Bills finished 7-9. I should point out that once they were 5-1.
Turnovers: Bills 1, Cheaters 0. Turnovers = loss? It looks that way. 2-1.
Cincinnati 16, Kansas City 6. Hey! The Bengals won a game! Yay!
Turnovers: Chiefs 1, Bengals 0. Turnovers = loss? So it seems. 3-1.
Green Bay 31, Detroit 21. Everyone is talking about how sad it is that the Lions lost every game. I don't know why. They still get paid, and once you've established that you're pathetic, you might as well be historically pathetic. They're probably a bit peeved that they didn't get to play the Browns down the stretch, because Detroit probably would have won that game. I can't believe that at the halfway point of last season, Detroit was 6-2. Since then, they're 1-23.
Turnovers: Lions 2, Packers 1. Turnovers = loss? Of course - it's the Lions! 4-1.
Indianapolis 23, Tennessee 0. Hey! The Titans didn't play any starters! Yay!
Turnovers: Titans 0, Colts 0. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash.
Minnesota 20, New York Giants 19. I thought that the Giants had to win in order for the Eagles to make the playoffs, so I was agonizing over this when Ryan Longwell kicked the field goal to win it. Then I realizes they needed the Vikings OR Da Bears to lose, and all was right in the world. I like how on Adrian Peterson's touchdown run, the announcers were praising him but ignoring the offensive line, who cleared the way. Peterson was not touched as he went through the line. That must be nice.
Turnovers: Vikings 1, Giants 0. Turnovers = loss? It doesn't seem likely. 4-2.
Carolina 33, New Orleans 31. Somehow Carolina blew a 30-10 lead in this game, yet managed to kick a last-second field goal to win the division. Drew Brees fell 16 yards short of passing Dan Marino's single-season passing-yardage record, and on the final play, his receiver made no effort to get a pass that would have broken it. Nice move, receiver! Meanwhile, an announcer pointed out that John Fox should have waited until there were 5 seconds left to call time-out before the game-winning field goal (there were 6 seconds left) because five seconds is how long it takes for a field goal to go through. If he had called it one second later, New Orleans wouldn't have had time for one last play. Weird that Fox didn't know that.
Turnovers: Saints 2, Panthers 0. Turnovers = loss? I guess. 5-2.
Pittsburgh 31, Cleveland 0. The Cleveland Browns have not scored an offensive touchdown since 17 November. In that time they've scored one touchdown, on an interception against the Eagles with the score 30-3. Shockingly enough, Romeo Crennel got fired. But maybe Ben Roethlisberger, who was knocked out of the game with a concussion, won't play that well in two weeks. If so, a meaningless game against a worthless opponent could determine the course of the AFC playoffs.
Turnovers: Browns 2, Steelers 1. Turnovers = loss? Probably not, but the numbers don't lie! 6-2.
Oakland 31, Tampa 24. Well, I hate rooting for the Raiders, but I was forced to on Sunday. With the score 24-14, things looked bleak, but amazingly enough, the Buccaneers decided they couldn't tackle and Oakland came roaring back. Nice to see Tampa go in the tank yet again. If you watched this game, it was another example of a team just giving up. What's up with that?
Turnovers: Raiders 1, Buccaneers 1. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
Houston 31, Chicago 24. If I had known that Da Bears OR Vikings had to lose, I would have been less anxious, because Houston controlled this game pretty well throughout. Da Bears have issues on offense, but whenever I turned it on, Houston was going up and down the field on their supposedly stout defense. Another team trying to make playoffs lying down. Sheesh. Aren't these guys professionals?
Turnovers: Bears 1, Texans 1. Turnovers = loss? Yet another wash.
San Francisco 27, Washington 24. If you watched this game and are not a fan of either team, you need to have your head examined. Seriously. Seek help.
Turnovers: Washington 1, 49ers 1. Turnovers = loss? And yet another wash!
Baltimore 27, Jacksonville 7. I didn't watch this game, but I was happy to see the Ravens knock New England out of the playoffs, even though I don't really like the Ravens. Wasn't Jacksonville supposed to be a playoff team this year? Sheesh.
Turnovers: Jaguars 4, Ravens 0. Turnovers = loss? That's what it looks like. 7-2.
Miami 24, New York Jets 17. Another game I enjoyed, if only because R. C. Favre threw three horrible interceptions and may finally quit. Well, also because I think the Dolphins are fun to watch, and if they don't have as much talent as other teams, they play the game correctly; i.e., they don't turn the ball over!!!!! Good riddance, R. C. Favre.
Turnovers: Jets 4, Dolphins 1. Turnovers = loss? Indubitably. 8-2.
Arizona 34, Seattle 21. Usually I try to check in on the Cardinals, but I was too busy watching the Eagles (and Dolphins), so I missed most of this. Edgerrin James came back from the dead to rush for 100 yards, and Steve Breaston gave Arizona three 1000-yard receivers. On the downside, Matt Leinart looked lousy in limited duty. Poor Leinart. I think the Cardinals will win this weekend, but then they have to go on the road to Carolina or New York, and I think their season will come to an end. Meanwhile, Mike Holmgren couldn't have anticipated that his final season would have turned out that way. I wonder if he'll be back in 2010.
Turnovers: Seahawks 3, Cardinals 2. Turnovers = loss? Why not? 9-2.
San Diego 52, Denver 21. The Broncos cost Mike Shanahan his job today, but they had a ton of injuries this season, and they just weren't all that good. I don't care if Denver fires Shanahan, but they did overachieve for most of the season. The Chargers, meanwhile, got hot at the perfect time, and I really hope they knock off the Colts this weekend. Stranger things have happened!
Turnovers: Broncos 2, Chargers 0. Turnovers = loss? Among other things. 10-2.
So that's the season. Teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents finished 146-44-1. Don't turn the ball over!!!!!
Let's look at the final records based on turnover margin (the asterisk denotes teams that made the playoffs):
*Miami: 13 turnovers, +17 margin, 11-5 record.
*Tennessee: 17 turnovers, +14 margin, 13-3 record.
*Baltimore: 21 turnovers, +13 margin, 11-5 record.
*New York Giants: 13 turnovers, +9 margin, 12-4 record.
*Indianapolis: 17 turnovers, +9 margin, 12-4 record.
Green Bay: 21 turnovers, +7 margin, 6-10 record.
*Carolina: 19 turnovers, +6 margin, 12-4 record.
Chicago: 27 turnovers, +5 margin, 9-7 record.
*San Diego: 20 turnovers, +5 margin, 8-8 record.
Cleveland: 26 turnovers, +5 margin, 4-12 record.
*Pittsburgh: 24 turnovers, +4 margin, 12-4 record.
Tampa: 26 turnovers, +4 margin, 9-7 record.
Kansas City: 25 turnovers, +4 margin, 2-14 record.
*Philadelphia: 26 turnovers, +3 margin, 9-6-1 record.
*Arizona: 30 turnovers, +2 margin, 9-7 record.
New England: 21 turnovers, +1 margin, 11-5 record.
Oakland: 23 turnovers, +1 margin, 5-11 record.
Washington: 18 turnovers, +0 margin, 8-8 record.
New Orleans: 26 turnovers, +0 margin, 8-8 record.
Cincinnati: 26 turnovers, +0 margin, 4-11-1 record.
New York Jets: 31 turnovers, -1 margin, 9-7 record.
*Atlanta: 21 turnovers, -3 margin, 11-5 record.
St. Louis: 31 turnovers, -6 margin, 2-14 record.
*Minnesota: 31 turnovers, -7 margin, 10-6 record.
Buffalo: 30 turnovers, -7 margin, 7-9 record.
Seattle: 27 turnovers, -7 margin, 4-12 record.
Jacksonville: 25 turnovers, -8 margin, 5-11 record.
Detroit: 29 turnovers, -9 margin, 0-16 record.
Dallas: 33 turnovers, -11 margin, 9-7 record.
Houston: 31 turnovers, -12 margin, 8-8 record.
Denver: 30 turnovers, -17 margin, 8-8 record.
San Francisco: 35 turnovers, -17 margin, 7-9 record.
Thanks for hanging in there with me, everyone. My family has been in town, so I've found posting to be difficult. I should be back on track soon! Have a grand New Year's Eve!