What have we learned - Week 15
Philadelphia 30, Cleveland 10. The only thing I was worried about with the Philadelphia game was whether the Eagles would shoot themselves in the foot. They almost did, as DeSean Jackson and McNabb both threw interceptions when the Eagles were inside the Cleveland 10, one of which came at the end of the half and was returned 98 yards, the longest return that didn't go for a touchdown in NFL regular season history (lucky Eagles!). They were clearly much better than the Browns, so even though they screwed up twice in the red zone, the defense was dominant and stifled any hope Cleveland had. The Browns did manage to score a touchdown for the first time since 17 November, which is almost unbelievable. It was a defensive touchdown, however, and the guy who scored it dove and flipped into the end zone, which was kind of funny considering the score was 30-3 at that point and the Eagles had been carving up the Browns defense the whole game. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles can win the last two games against a spiraling Washington team and an overrated Dallas team and sneak into the playoffs. Wouldn't that be nice? By the way - Andy Reid didn't run the ball enough tonight. Oh dear. Luckily, McNabb was on his game. But still.
DeSean Jackson update! 0-1 passing, 1 interception; 5 catches for 77 yards; 3 punt returns for 3 yards. Season totals: 0-1 passing, 1 interception; 60 catches for 852 yards a 2 touchdowns; 16 rushes for 88 yards; 47 punt returns for 409 yards.
Turnovers: Eagles 3, Browns 2. Turnovers = loss? Not in this case, although the Browns did score their touchdown on a turnover. 0-1.
Chicago 27, New Orleans 24. I heard a few people wondering if the refs should have called the pass interference penalty against the Saints in overtime, setting up the game-winning field goal. The implication is that the refs, like basketball refs, should swallow the whistle late in the game. This kind of crap pisses me off like very little else in sports. The pass interference was somewhat ticky-tacky, but it was definitely a penalty. If you let people get away with that late in the game, why not earlier? Jeez. Anyway, let's eliminate the Saints from the postseason sweepstakes. Da Bears are still hanging by a thread, but at least they're alive.
Turnovers: Da Bears 3, Saints 2. Turnovers = loss? It does not appear so. 0-2.
Atlanta 13, Tampa 10. Man, the NFC South is weird. They're all dominant at home. It's just bizarre. Can't someone win on the road? This couldn't have been an exciting game, but Michael Turner (32 carries, 152 yards) is making the Chargers look foolish, isn't he? I guess you can't ditch Tomlinson to make Turner the featured back, but I wonder if they wish they had signed him before he became a free agent?
Turnovers: Falcons 3, Buccaneers 1. Turnovers = loss? I guess not. Tampa's offense must be that inept. 0-3.
Cincinnati 20, Washington 13. Woody! must have enjoyed this game, and as he hasn't had much joy in this professional football season, I hope he watched every down laughing at Washington's ineptitude. Dang, they suck these days. I'm enjoying the meltdowns of the various NFC East teams, and this Portis/Zorn kerfuffle is rather humorous. The Bengals, by the way, probably want to play in the NFC East - they took the Giants to overtime, pushed the Cowboys really hard, tied the Eagles, and beat Washington. Considering they're 2-11-1, they've played really well against those teams.
Turnovers: Washington 2, Bengals 0. Turnovers = loss? See how well you can do when you don't turn the ball over? 1-3.
Indianapolis 31, Detroit 21. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm not proud of it, but I really want the Lions to lose every game. Yes, I suck. But come on - wouldn't that be cool? At this point, if I'm a fan of Detroit, I want them to lose the final two games. I hope that the players don't feel that way, but as a fan, 0-16 just sounds more pathetic than 1-15. Sure, there have been 1-win teams before, but in 20 years, will anyone remember the 2007 Dolphins? Maybe. Everyone remembers the 1980 Saints, after all, but only because they were the first. In 20 years, everyone will still remember an 0-16 Lions teams, and they'll celebrate stuff like Dan Orlovsky inexplicably running out of the end zone for a safety and the offensive lineman flipping off the fans and refusing to apologize for it. Come on, Detroit, you can do it!
Turnovers: Lions 2, Colts 2. Turnovers = loss? It's a wash. By the way, that was a good effort by Detroit, wasn't it? They actually had a chance to win the fourth quarter!
San Diego 22, Kansas City 21. Poor Kansas City. There they are, leading 21-3 in the third quarter, and they couldn't hold it. I didn't watch any of this game, but it looked fairly exciting - the Chargers scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes to win. That's why you're the Chiefs.
Turnovers: Chargers 3, Chiefs 2. Turnovers = loss? No. That's why you're the Chiefs! 1-4.
Seattle 23, St. Louis 20. Did they really have to play this game? Couldn't they have just cancelled it and held a nice dog show in the Edward Jones Dome instead? And it almost went into overtime, too! Sheesh.
Turnovers: Seahawks 2, Rams 2. Turnovers = loss? Man, they couldn't even have a clear-cut winner in the turnover battle!
Miami 14, San Francisco 9. Man, this couldn't have been a good game. The Dolphins are two wins away from tying the best turnaround in NFL history. They're also close to becoming the only 1-15 team to make the playoffs the following year. I wonder if Jerry Jones is feeling a bit annoyed that he let Bill Parcells go? Probably not, as he's so egomaniacal that he still thinks he can run the team better than Parcells could.
Turnovers: 49ers 0, Dolphins 0. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
New York Jets 31, Buffalo 27. The Bills are falling apart, and this game sums up their season. With slightly over two minutes left in the game (the final play before the two-minute warning, in fact), Buffalo had a second down with five yards to go and a 27-24 lead. Inexplicably, J. P. Losman took the snap and ran sideways and backwards instead of handing off the ball and burning the clock. He was sacked, fumbled, and the fumble was picked up by Shaun Ellis, who returned it for the winning touchdown. What the hell was Losman doing????? The Bills are 2-8 in their last ten games. That play is a big reason why.
Turnovers: Bills 4, Jets 2. Turnovers = loss? Pretty much! 2-4.
Jacksonville 20, Green Bay 16. Yeah, I just didn't care about this game.
Turnovers: Packers 1, Jaguars 0. Turnovers = loss? Sure, why not? 3-4.
Houston 13, Tennessee 12. At the end of this game, the Titans reached the Texans' 32-yard line, where they had a fourth down. Jeff Fisher chose to go for it (they had four yards to go) instead of kicking a field goal to win. Now, it was a long field goal, but Rob Bironas had already kicked four field goals, including a 51-yarder. Why would Fisher do that? It's not like it was well out of field goal range, or even that it was earlier in the game. He had to know he wasn't getting the ball back. Weird.
Turnovers: Titans 2, Texans 1. Turnovers = loss? It appears so. 4-4.
Minnesota 35, Arizona 14. Man, the Cardinals just can't beat a decent team, can they? Okay, they beat Dallas earlier in the year, but still. They got behind 21-0 and just couldn't recover. And why? Turnovers. Sure, the Vikings got a punt return for their first touchdown, but then Arizona turned it over, Minnesota scored, and the rout was on! Arizona had dreams of a 3-seed in the playoffs, but that's probably over now. Considering they have to play at New England next weekend, they probably won't even reach 10 wins. When your defense makes Tarvaris Jackson look good, you have a problem!
Turnovers: Cardinals 2, Vikings 1. Turnovers = loss? Pretty much. 5-4.
Carolina 27, Denver 10. The Panthers are bludgeoning everyone these days, and they actually have a chance to finish as the number one seed in the NFC. Denver, astonishingly, could actually lose the division to the Chargers, based on the Chiefs' collapse against San Diego. There also might be two division winners going 8-8. Man, that's not parity, that's crappiness.
Turnovers: Broncos 2, Panthers 1. Turnovers = loss? Si, senor. 6-4.
Pittsburgh 13, Baltimore 9. Okay, so the Steelers' touchdown was controversial. I get it. I think it's pretty clear that it was a touchdown, but I can see why people don't think it was. But let's consider what the Steelers were doing there in the first place. Pittsburgh had the ball on their own 8-yard line with 3.36 remaining, and this awesome Ravens defense allowed them to march right down the field. Maybe the Steelers got the benefit of the doubt with the touchdown, but if Baltimore wants to have a great defense, don't let a one-dimensional team (the Steelers currently have no running game) march right down the field on you, okay?
Turnovers: Steelers 2, Ravens 2. Turnovers = loss? Another wash.
New England 49, Oakland 26. A bunch of pundits are talking about how well the Cheaters are playing right now. Well, sure. But remember - it's the Raiders, for crying out loud.
Turnovers: Cheaters 1, Raiders 1. Turnovers = loss? Yet another wash.
Dallas 20, New York Giants 8. Terrell Owens has called the ESPN guy who reported that the team was in turmoil a "liar." Yeah, because Owens has never done anything to mess up a team before! Meanwhile, pundits are falling all over themselves to once again proclaim the Boys the team to beat, even though the Giants were missing their best running back and had a couple of offensive linemen go down during the game. I'm not saying the Cowboys aren't talented, but like the Eagles last week, they caught the Giants at a good time. As for Owens - well, he dropped an easy catch early in the game, and Romo threw to Jason Witten more than he threw to his glory-hog wide receiver, so while it's all good when they win, what happens if they lose to Baltimore next week? Or if they lose to the Eagles in two weeks and get knocked out of the playoffs? Will ESPN lie about the turmoil then?
Turnovers: Giants 2, Cowboys 0. Turnovers = loss? For once, Dallas won the turnover battle and the game. Impressive. 7-4.
Teams that turn the ball over less than their opponents are now 125-41-1. That's a solid winning percentage.
Miami: 10 turnovers, +12 margin, 9-5 record.
Tennessee: 17 turnovers, +10 margin, 12-2 record.
Cleveland: 20 turnovers, +9 margin, 4-10 record.
New York Giants: 13 turnovers, +8 margin, 11-3 record.
Indianapolis: 17 turnovers, +8 margin, 10-4 record.
Baltimore: 20 turnovers, +8 margin, 9-5 record.
Pittsburgh: 19 turnovers, +7 margin, 11-3 record.
Tampa: 22 turnovers, +7 margin, 9-5 record.
Kansas City: 20 turnovers, +7 margin, 2-12 record.
Green Bay: 18 turnovers, +6 margin, 5-9 record.
Chicago: 24 turnovers, +5 margin, 8-6 record.
Carolina: 19 turnovers, +4 margin, 11-3 record.
Arizona: 26 turnovers, +3 margin, 8-6 record.
New York Jets: 25 turnovers, +2 margin, 9-5 record.
New Orleans: 23 turnovers, +1 margin, 7-7 record.
Oakland: 21 turnovers, +1 margin, 3-11 record.
Philadelphia: 24 turnovers, +0 margin, 8-5-1 record.
San Diego: 20 turnovers, +0 margin, 6-8 record.
Washington: 17 turnovers, -1 margin, 7-7 record.
New England: 21 turnovers, -2 margin, 9-5 record.
Minnesota: 26 turnovers, -2 margin, 9-5 record.
Jacksonville: 20 turnovers, -3 margin, 5-9 record.
Atlanta: 18 turnovers, -4 margin, 9-5 record.
Cincinnati: 25 turnovers, -4 margin, 2-11-1 record.
Dallas: 26 turnovers, -6 margin, 9-5 record.
Seattle: 22 turnovers, -6 margin, 3-11 record.
Detroit: 25 turnovers, -7 margin, 0-14 record.
Buffalo: 29 turnovers, -8 margin, 6-8 record.
Houston: 30 turnovers, -12 margin, 7-7 record.
St. Louis: 30 turnovers, -12 margin, 2-12 record.
Denver: 26 turnovers, -13 margin, 8-6 record.
San Francisco: 30 turnovers, -14 margin, 5-9 record.