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We had a Christmas party yesterday. That meant cooking all morning, stocking up on beer, wine and other party supplies. I checked quickly to make sure my NFL interests were accounted for — two Saturday games, no one (except Dalvin Cook in the Vegas League) going.
I didn’t realize there was a third game because in Portugal that game starts on Sunday, December 18, and I didn’t check the time: (1:20 am.) Luckily, I didn’t have any decisions that were affected by it, but it was a hell of a surprise this morning when I went to watch Ravens-Browns, and Bills-Dolphins popped up on my Game Pass.
The first game was on during the peak of the party. I had the volume off, music playing and six dudes in the living room next to my office smoking cigars, drinking and discussing the state of things. The ladies were mostly in the dining room off the kitchen on the other side of the apartment, and the kids were running up and down the halls destroying everything. I don’t know what Oscar was up to, but he had a bad stomach afterward, probably from eating all the crap the kids were dropping on the floor.
I glanced up every now and then to see the Colts score yet another TD, and when it was 33-0, I mentioned to one of the guys I had the Colts plus three and a half, so it was looking pretty good. Three of the five were from the UK, so I doubt they understood what I was talking about. One of them stayed later to watch the comeback, the first time he had watched an NFL game, and I told him, “In the history of the NFL, this game you watched was the biggest comeback.” I don’t know if he appreciated the strangeness of it, but I could tell once he got what was going on, he was into it.
I was rooting against all the key players yesterday, at least those likely to be on lots of NFFC playoff teams: Justin Jefferson, Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen, Tyreek Hill and Nick Chubb. (I cared less about players like Jonathan Taylor who just knocked everyone out of the consolation round.) Jefferson is like COVID — it doesn’t matter what measures you take to stop him (even an illegal helmet hit) he finds a way. Watching Allen was also torture. Every scramble, every throw on the run, he too gets his points every week. And Hill getting that TD was a gut punch as he’d been held in check otherwise. At least Chubb and Diggs had modest days. And Justin Tucker’s uncharacteristic miss and blocked FG had to hurt a lot of playoff teams too.
Matt Ryan/Kyle Shanahan are like the Brady and Belichick of blowing leads. You don’t know to whom we should assign the credit. But Ryan blowing this lead was like Brady winning the Super Bowl with the Bucs — it showed he could do it by himself.
Imagine making the playoffs despite drafting Jonathan Taylor only to get rugged again!
K.J. Osborne (16-10-157-1) had a monster game, but no one started him, so it didn’t really happen. Dalvin Cook (17-95-0, 4-4-95-1) delivered, thanks to the 64-yard catch-and-run TD. He didn’t win anyone his league, but he earned his draft slot.
Deshaun Watson looked better, despite the modest stats. He seemed more confident and in charge of the offense.
The Ravens offense is bad, but J.K. Dobbins (13-125-0, 1-1-3-0) looks all the way back. I have him on my bench in the Primetime and will have to consider him in Weeks 16 and 17. It would be nice if he supplanted Justice Hill on third downs.
Raheem Mostert (17-136-0, 2-1-20-0) just wouldn’t go down on his 67-yard run down the sideline. Maybe it was hard to get a grip on him in the cold. Salvon Amhed looked good, too, and I was happy to see him score the TD instead of Mostert.
That was a hell of a lot of wasted effort, chasing down the apparent fumble all the way to midfield on Josh Allen’s successful two-point conversion try.
I appreciate Devin Singletary going down voluntarily at the three-yard line rather than scoring the TD. That surely cost someone I’m going against, and it’s not even clear it was the correct play, given that the game was tied! The Bills still could have botched the chip shot field-goal attempt.