Posted on: November 24, 2011 11:21 pm

Ravens win in Harbowl, 16-6

BALTIMORE -- When the game was over Jim and John Harbaugh gave each other a strong embrace. Jim, the loser, didn't look too happy his brother had won but the hug was still strong. It was finished. Harbowl 2011 was done and the Ravens were winners.

Interesting, yes. The first time two head coaching brothers ever met in a game but truth is that was a sideshow. The larger story was how the Ravens -- as they have done many times, to many different teams -- physically destroyed the San Francisco 49ers.

Baltimore's defense sacked quarterback Alex Smith nine times. That's nine damn times. It was incredible to watch. After a while, it became hard to watch.

What this game showed was that the 49ers are no threat to the Green Bay Packers. In fact, it's looking increasingly like no team is.

Harbowl is over but the questions for the 49ers are just beginning.
Category: NFL
Tags: 49ers, Ravens
Posted on: November 24, 2011 6:11 pm

NFL won't act on Suh immediately

Don't expect the NFL to act on the reprehensible foot stomp by Ndamukong Suh this week.

An NFL spokesman told me that plays from Week 12 to be reviewed for potential discipline will be done so under the league's normal guidelines after the completion of all games. Repeat: all games.

So no decision until, at the earliest, Tuesday and likely after that.

Based on information from several league sources few would be surprised if Suh was suspended for at least several games and possibly the remainder of the season. The NFL is understandably angry. The dirty cheap shot happened during one of the league's most visible days.

Category: NFL
Tags: Lions
Posted on: November 24, 2011 7:25 am

The Daily Shoutout: Best Thanksgiving games ever?

It’s been some time since Thanksgiving Day games have been worth a damn. Usually, they involve Detroit, and usually, thanks to Matt Millen and eternal bad luck, the Lions have been awful. Check that. The Lions are usually putrid. Until now.

This lineup of Thanksgiving games might be the best the NFL has ever scheduled. Of course much of that is luck but who cares. The Lions, and not the Packers, are the reason this year’s games are so good. The Lions are upstarts and bullies and dirty but they are also unbelievably compelling. If the Packers were going to roll over the Lions 68-0 then this day would take a major hit but the Lions are fighters and will give the Packers all they can handle.

The Dallas-Miami game is highly intriguing and the Harbowl is incredibly fascinating. Each of these games has serious playoff implications and if the Dolphins win you have to wonder if Tony Sparano can keep his job. The answer is hell no but it’s impressive to watch Sparano fight and his players fight for him.

Short of opening weekend and the Super Bowl (and maybe the opening round of the playoffs) this might be the best slate of games we get all season.

Not bad. Not bad at all.


Category: NFL
Tags: Lions
Posted on: November 23, 2011 8:47 am

The Daily Shoutout: Harrison ring of honor?

OPENING HIT: There was this story about Marvin Harrison. And this one. Now, I don't know what Harrison did or didn't do. But I do think there is still a cloud around his actions. We haven't heard from Harrison. There's been no explanation about what exactly happened. Again, Harrison may have done nothing but we don't know.

Which is why is was fairly shocking to me the Indianapolis Colts this week announced it was inducting Harrison into its ring of honor. Harrison has the statistical prowess to be inducted into not just into the ring of honor but the Hall of Fame. He is one of the best receivers to ever play the game. Few were better.

But that raises a great many questions and I don't know how many have been answered. Maybe they all have been but there has been very little news since the rash of stories and investigative work.

"I've never had anything, retired jersey or number-wise, on any level," Harrison said in a statement released by the Colts. "But to be recognized by the Colts is the highest honor for me and my family. I'm truly honored to be placed in the Ring of Honor and to be a lifetime member of the Indianapolis Colts."

That statement is one of the few times we've heard anything from Harrison for years. I wish we had heard a lot more.

Category: NFL
Tags: Colts
Posted on: November 21, 2011 11:41 pm

Patriots beat Chiefs, 34-3

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Another game, another brilliant performance by New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. This is indeed starting to get utterly ridiculous.

Gronkowski added two more scsores in the 34-3 obliteration of the Kansas City Chiefs. Gronkowski has reached 20 touchdowns in 26 games the fewest among tight ends in league history. The next closest was Mike Ditka who is, you know, in the Hall of Fame. Gronkowski also has 19 career receiving touchdowns the most by any Patriots player in their first two seasons. It doesn’t get much better than that at all.

There's very little question who's the best tight end in football now. Name a tight end in the sport and Gronkowski is playing at a higher level. Maybe Tony Gonzalez but Gronkowski is a better blocker and right now he's more explosive.

The Patriots now don't just lead the AFC East. They are beginning to gel at the right time and challenge for best team in the conference.

Category: NFL
Tags: Patriots
Posted on: November 21, 2011 6:43 am

The Daily Shoutout: Bears help Packers

OPENING HIT: The Bears are in deep trouble. And please, don’t give me Caleb Hanie. If Hanie finishes the regular season .500 it would be one of the great miracles of the year.

Just as Jay Cutler was beginning to show great maturity and decision-making this happens. The interceptions were down. The offense was flowing. That squishy Cutler face, the one he makes after a bad throw, was all but non-existent. Then comes a broken hand. It’s unbelievable.

But this is the most interesting part of this mess. The greatest benefactors to Cutler’s injury are the Green Bay Packers.

I think there are only three teams remaining that can beat the Packers in the regular season: Detroit, the Giants and Chicago. Now, remove the Bears from the equation. Hanie’s not beating the Packers. That leaves the Giants and the Lions with the Giants having the greatest chance.

Cutler being down ostensibly removes a major roadblock to Green Bay’s historical charge. It takes an amazing amount of dedication, skill and luck to go undefeated in the NFL. The Packers just got a large chunk of their luck quota.

 Who would have ever believed the Bears would help the Packers possibly go 16-0.


Category: NFL
Tags: Bears, Packers
Posted on: November 18, 2011 7:41 am

The Daily Shoutout: Schottenheimer in trouble?

OPENING HIT: I rarely, if ever, call for a coach to get fired. I won't now. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear with the Jets' offensive troubles: offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will probably get canned if the Jets don't make the playoffs.

There's going to be a scapegoat for all of this if the Jets continue to struggle and I don't think, unlike past years, the Jets are going to turn their season around. Sure, Mark Sanchez deserves some of the blame for this debacle, and the wide receiver turnover has been a problem, and there is no running game to speak of, but none of that will matter. There's going to be a fall coach and it will be Schottenheimer.

He's the logical choice. There are moments when you watch his play-calling and are absolutely quizzical over what he's trying to do. Fan reaction to Schottenheimer has ranged from anger to full-throated rage and we know the players have some questions about him. And if Rex Ryan fails to make the playoffs after promising (yet again) another Super Bowl, he's going to feel the pinch to take the pressure off his own backside.

If the Jets make another one of those miracle runs this is all moot. But it's hard to see that coming now and if it didn't it would be hard envisoning Schottenheimer returning.

Category: NFL
Tags: Jets
Posted on: November 17, 2011 11:39 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 11:43 pm

I'm in a state of Tebow-induced shock

Now, I'm not saying what Tebow is doing will last. I doubt it will. Eventually the NFL will catch up to this madness of an offense. But it is impossible not to appreciate, enjoy, be stunned, be amazed, at what he is doing.

You have to raise a toast to Tebow. You have to. Nothing like this has been done in the NFL since the Wildcat and this is even more impressive. That Jets defense Tebow was singlehandedly destroying is pretty good. Not great. But good. He was humiliating the Jets. Absolutely humiliating them.

The Jets should be ashamed of themselves but we have to give credit to Tebow.

I thought the Jets would crush Tebow. Finally, they'd expose him. Then he does that.

I'm in shock. The entire league is in shock right now.

But more than anything, the Tebow doubters, like me, have to take a step back.

And appreciate what we're seeing because this is remarkable stuff.
Category: NFL
Tags: Broncos
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