|Happy Veterans Day and Thank You to everyone who has served this country.|
Just like that the tenth Sunday in the 2013 NFL Season has come and gone. Once again the NFL continues to change the questions every time we think we know the answers, and this past Sunday was no different.
You had Peyton Manning continuing his MVP season, but doing so while possibly suffering an ankle injury late in the Denver Broncos 28-20 division win over the San Diego Chargers.
There was Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers putting the rest of the NFC on notice, and of course you had Drew Brees and the “Who Dat” New Orleans Saints dismantling the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
With those story-lines and so many more emerging from Sunday, The Informer thought he would share with you 15 things he liked from Week 10 of the 2013 NFL Season.
15. Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall
The Chicago Bears lost to the Detroit Lions on Sunday 21-19, but it was not for the lack of effort from Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. The two offensive leaders for the Bears hooked up three times for 61 yards on the Bears opening drive giving Chicago the early lead over a very good Lions team.
For the day Marshall finished with 7 receptions for 139 yards and two scores.
Unfortunately, despite very good games from both Bears stars, all the talk in Chicago today is going to be about Cutler and his man region.
The Informer knows this because yesterday the announcers couldn’t let Kristin Cavallari’s husband throw a pass without mentioning the Bears quarterback should not be on the field because he was injured.
Honestly, at one point The Informer had to turn the Bears game off of the main television because he couldn’t take anymore of the “He shouldn’t be playing” angle. Listen, we all understand the guy was not one hundred percent playing yesterday; mention it once and then lets move on.
We as fans don’t needed to be reminded every forty seconds that the dude’s groin is in pain. He was out there and playing exactly like Jay Cutler usually plays, meaning he makes some good and some bad plays.
Sore groin aside, The Informer came away from Sunday’s game very impressed with this Bears passing offense.
14. Calvin Johnson
6 catches for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns would be considered a great day for most wide receivers. For Calvin Johnson that is a run of the mill, ho-hum afternoon.
Now one could argue that for most of Sunday Johnson was having a bad day (He was targeted 17 times only catching six), but at the end when the Lions needed someone to make a play to put the Bears away; it was Johnson who came up with the game clinching 14-yard touchdown reception.
With the game clinching score, Johnson broke Herman Moore's franchise record for career touchdown catches. The eighth year phenom has 63 touchdowns in his NFL career.
Furthermore, "Megatron" is now averaging one touchdown catch per game this year and is on pace to have over 1600 yards receiving for the third straight season.
For those wondering; no other NFL receiver has ever had three seasons of over 1600 yards, let alone three straight.
13. DeSean Jackson’s juggling act
Did you guys see DeSean Jackson’s nifty 55-yard juggling touchdown catch to give the Philadelphia Eagles the early lead in Lambeau Field? Jackson’s theatrics helped the Eagles in their 27-13 victory over the quarterback challenged (Tim Tebow-time?) Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
In part to Jackson’s juggling display on Sunday, the Eagles are now 5-5 and tied with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East standings.
The Informer has just one question: Wasn’t it only three weeks ago when Chip Kelly and his fast paced offense were on the verge of getting kicked out of the NFL?
Now thanks to Jackson, and to an even larger degree Nick Foles, the Eagles are the toast of the town.
The Informer has been saying over and over again; just when you think you know the answers, the NFL changes the questions.
Speaking of Foles.
12. Nick Foles
The Eagles quarterback now has 16 TD passes and zero interceptions on the season.
Currently that is the second most touchdowns ever thrown without an interception to start the season behind only Peyton Manning. If you remember, Manning started this year out throwing 20 TD before his first INT.
Next up for Foles in his quest to copy Manning (it was just last week when Foles joined Manning as the only quarterback since the NFL merger to throw seven touchdowns in a single game) is a Washington Redskins defense that gave up 34 points to the now 2-7 Minnesota Vikings.
11. The Jacksonville Jaguars
Before Sunday the Jacksonville Jaguars had lost their previous eight games by at least 10 points. The only other team in NFL history to start out the season worse was the 1984 Houston Oilers who lost their first 10 games by at least 10 points.
So good news Jacksonville, all those people calling you the worst NFL team in the history of football can now stop.
Also, congratulations to Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley on his first NFL win. The Informer gets the feeling from watching this Jags team continue to try, even though they have been terrible, that this is the first of many wins for Bradley.
10. New York Giants
Three straight wins for the “Nobody Believes in us New York Giants” means at 3-6 Tom Coughlin and the guys are right back in the NFC East race.
Next week the Giants host the quarterback challenged Green Bay Packers followed by a Week 12 division showdown with the suddenly very injured Dallas Cowboys.
The Informer has to ask: A team that started 0-6 can’t make the playoffs right?
The Informer knows one thing --if Eli Manning and the Giants somehow sneak into the playoffs --The Informer will pick them to win the Super Bowl.
Before you laugh, keep in mind that New York won both of their Super Bowls in seasons they backed into the playoffs with 9-7 records.
9. Tracy Porter: “The Manning Hunter”
Oakland Raiders defensive back Tracy Porter intercepted Giants QB Eli Manning and returned it all the way for a pick-six touchdown in the Raiders 24-20 loss in New York on Sunday.
Believe it or not, that was not the first time Porter returned an interception for a touchdown against a Manning. For those that don’t remember; Porter is the same guy who took a Peyton Manning interception all the way to the house to seal the New Orleans Saints 31-17 win in Super Bowl XLIV.
After yesterday, one could safely assume Porter will not be getting any Manning-family Thanksgiving invites.
8. Hail Mary
Did you all watch the end of the Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens game? In case you missed it, A.J. “The Sickness” Green caught a 51-yard hail mary on the last play of the game to send it into overtime.
This play would have been higher on the list, unfortunately thanks to some pretty bad quarterback play in overtime, the Ravens actually won the game 20-17.
With that said; rarely in life does someone get to watch one of their favorite players catch a game tying desperation hail mary so it needs to be on this list.
It really was awesome to watch.
One other note: Green’s contract is up in two years, which means The Informer is about to start campaigning for “The Sickness” to leave “The Red-Headed Gunslinger,” Andy Dalton, and sign with the Indianapolis Colts.
Don’t get The Informer wrong; he loves rooting for the Bengals and their sweet uniforms, but watching Dalton continuously make terrible plays is really taking a toll on The Informer’s mental health.
I mean there are only so many times in a game you can watch someone throw the ball fifty feet over his intended receiver's head before a guy goes all Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket.
Think about it. Green could sign a contract and continue playing with Dalton for the rest of his career, or he can trade up to Andrew Luck and start setting records not even Calvin Johnson could break.
It is just an option that The Informer thinks needs to be explored.
7. The Carolina Panthers
The Informer was one of the people harping on the fact that the Carolina Panthers had yet to beat anybody decent, therefore, we couldn’t take them serious as a contender.
Well, the Panthers went into San Francisco and beat a team many (The Informer included) think is one of the favorites to win the NFC this season.
It was not pretty by any means, but at the end of the day Cam Newton and the Panthers have now played five straight games where they handled their business.
Like The Informer said before, the NFC better be on notice because this is not your Dad’s Panthers.
6. Golden Tate “One-Handed Tight Rope”
The Seattle Seahawks easily handled the Atlanta Falcons 33-10 on Sunday.
While there was not much reason to watch this game after halftime, The Informer wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't mention the catch Golden Tate had to end the first half.
If you didn’t see it; Russell Wilson threw Tate a back of the end zone fade route on the last play of the first half where Tate caught the ball one-handed and still had the presence of mind to get both feet in bounds.
Tate’s catch and foot work were so impressive, The Informer is making it his NFL play of the week.
5. Drew Brees in Prime-Time
The Informer said on Friday that Drew Brees at home on prime-time sounds an awful lot like Peyton Manning in prime-time. Translation, don’t ever pick against Brees at the Super Dome in prime-time.
The Cowboys found this out to the tune of 392 yards at 4 touchdown passes. Brees is currently on pace for 5,440 yards passing this season, which would be the fourth straight year Brees has gone over the 5,000 yard mark.
To put that in perspective only three other quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Dan Marino) have ever thrown for 5,000 yards in a season once.
Brees has once again been MVP worthy, sadly though his stats still don't compare to the next guy.
25-for-36, 330 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Any questions MVP voters?
2. Tavon Austin
The St. Louis Rams rookie returned a punt 98-yards for a TD, caught a 56-yard pass for a touchdown and for good measure added a 81-yard touchdown catch in the Rams 38-8 dismantling of the Indianapolis Colts.
Austin’s record setting day put him in elite company as he became just the third NFL rookie to ever score three touchdowns over 50-yards in the same game.
Do you all know the other two?
That would be the great Randy Moss and former Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers.
Austin may have started out the season slow, but for one day at least Austin showed why the Rams traded up to get the speedster out of West Virginia.
2. Tonight’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Miami Dolphins Monday Night Football Game
For ten straight week’s The Informer has been a ghost on the weekends and believe it or not his wife and children are starting to get fed up.
So thankfully the NFL threw The Informer, and every other NFL junkie, a life raft by giving us a Monday night game that no one needs to watch.
Instead of another night of football; tonight The Informer is going to go incognito with his wife and maybe catch up on The Voice, How I Met Your Mother, NBC’s The Blacklist and some WWE Monday Night Raw (The Informer‘s wife loves Randy Orton).
And by going incognito, The Informer doesn’t mean he is going to berate his wife until she throws spaghetti on the floor. He means he is going to lay low and out of site from the NFL.
The Informer apologizes, he should have made that clear right from the start.
1. All of the former, current and future American Soldiers
I am going to end here with an old Sports Illustrated story about former NFL star turned Army hero Pat Tillman that helps show just how special and courageous everyone who chooses to protect their country truly are.
Now while Tillman maybe one of the most recognizable and remembered soldiers, there are literally hundreds of thousands just like him making sure that each and everyday people like me get to live their life without fear.
So, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to every past, present and future military member for being true heroes.
Happy Veterans day.
(Here is the Tillman story link, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.)