Sunday in Review

Sunday December 19 was indeed a crazy today for the NFL. Some of the happenings included Multiple back-up/3rd string quarterbacks started, a 28 point comeback in 7+ minutes capped off by a walk off punt return, an offensive lineman returning a kickoff 73 yards, as well as one team clinching a playoff birth even with a loss. For those of us sit on the couch and watch football all day, we were certainly entertained.
A Barrage of Back-ups
Leading the Green Bay Packers to a near victory against the hottest team in the NFL right now with 3 touchdowns was none other than...Matt Flynn? With Aaron Rogers failing to pass the standard NFL concussion test, Matt Flynn made his first career start against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, and almost led his team to victory, but fell short in the final minute. If anyone can remember, Matt Flynn was a good QB coming out of LSU and winning a national championship. Although Flynn was a good passer ion college, he was overlooked by the size and potential of Jamarcus Russel, who went many picks before Flynn in the NFL draft. Jamarcus Russel is on a bench somewhere, on his couch watching as Matt Flynn earns the respect of millions during prime time in his first career start against the unstoppable force that is the New England Patriots...Drew Stanton, the 3rd string quarterback of the Detroit Lions, did what no other Detroit Lions quarterback has done in the last 26 in division games away from Ford Field, win...Rex Grossman, Washington Redskins' coach Mike Shanahan's favorite quarterback over Donovan Mcnabb, came in against statistically the worst defense in Cowboys history and put up 30 points with a 3+ touchdown performance, while engineering a comeback that nearly left the Cowboys with another tally in the L column in front of the fans that now only go to games to admire Jerry World...Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos received his first career start today, and provided energy to a seemingly lifeless Broncos team when he took off on a designed quarterback draw on 3rd and 24 and ran 40+ yards into the end zone
Other back-ups that started to name a few were...Jon Skelton of the Arizona Cardinals who failed to beat the 1 in Carolina Panthers, I don't count Mike Vick in this equation, or Colt McCoy, who both should be starting in place of Kevin Kolb and Jake Delehome anyway. Yet to play, Joe Webb, the converted quarterback from wide receiver of the Minnesota Vikings to face the Chicago Bears.
A Comeback for the Ages
The New York Giants led the Philadelphia Eagles 31-10 with a little less than 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. Michael Vick connects with TE Brent Celek to cut the Eagles' deficit to 21. The Eagles then surprised the New York Giants with an onside kick that the Eagles' WR (former University of Florida standout) Riley Cooper recovered. A few plays later the score was 31-24 in favor of the Giants with about 4 minutes remaining. The Giants' running game failed to get a first down again and the ball was returned to the Eagles, who started the drive deep in their own territory. A drive that had Michael Vick's signature all over it, made me think I was watching tape of the Mike Vick from the Atlanta Falcons. Vick scrambled for 30 yards, 20 yards, the finished off the drive by scrambling his way all thew way into the end
zone tying the game at 31. The Giants received the ball back at their own 20 and failed once again to earn a first down. On 4th down, with less than 20 seconds remaining Giants' coach Tom Coughlin sent out his rookie kicker Matt Dodge to directionally punt the ball out of bounds, away from return man Desean Jackson. The snap was high and the ball came off Dodge's foot awkwardly which turned the flight of the ball into a line drive. A line drive which Jackson dropped, recovered, then proceeded to return the punt 60 yards for an Eagle touchdown in the first game winning punt return with no time remaining in the history of the NFL. Tom Coughlin was seen confronting his rookie punter after the game, hey, other 10 guys, make a tackle. If it were one hand touch, Jackson still would have been in the end zone. The Eagles erased a 21 point deficit in a little over 7 minutes by scoring 28 points unanswered.
Rumbling, Stumbling, Bumbling....
In the nightcap of Sunday's games, the Green Bay Packers took on the New England Patriots. In trying to to win the field position battle, the Packers decided to try a squib kick on a first half kickoff. This squib kick landed in the hands of right guard Dan Connoly, now, most non-returners on the kick return team are told to just call for a fair catch when this happens, or simply fall down, but not Connoly, no sir. Connoly caught the ball at his own 27 yard line and with two hands securing the ball ran forward towards the middle of the field with no one touching him. When the big man say a crease he tucked the ball between his forearm and side, and took off racing down the sideline. Connoly dodged defender after defender, while breaking through arm tackle and even cutting back to avoid a would be tackler, until finally being chased down at the Green Bay 4 yard line. It was the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history. The Patriots capitalized three plays later when Tom Brady hooked up with rookie Tight End Aaron Hernandez. On another not, Connoly had returned the ball 4 previous times, totaling 35 yards. If only Chris Berman was on the call...
Record Breaking Performance
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has now gone 6 full games without throwing an interception, and now holds the regular season for consecutive pass attempts without an interception.
Down and Out
Despite looking strong early in the season, and having one of the best defenses in the NFL, following their loss on Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins have been eliminated from playoff contention. A disappointing end to the Dolphin's season as they looked so promising early in the year. Although fantasy owners (Ronnie Brown owners in general) have to wonder, what ever happened to the wildcat? Why wasn't Ronnie Brown involved in the running game, and mostly, why was the running game non-existent from a team that didn't trust its quarterback so much that it put in a formation where the quarterback doesn't even have to touch the ball?
Victory in DefeatThe Pittsburgh Steelers lost a close, hardly fought with the New York Jets on Sunday, but losing isn't so bad if you are the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. Even with a loss the Steelers have clinched a birth to the playoffs.
Also Noteworthy...
For all the doubters of Dallas Cowboy kicker David Buehler, he kicked the game winning field goal for the Cowboys today along with being consistent in all other aspects of the kicking game. Remember when the worry about the offensive line was solely Doug Free? Well, its time for a re-evaluation. When the Cowboys need it most, the offensive line either doesn't get a push or has a costly false start penalty. The mentality of the Cowboys' offensive line is poor, they fail the mindset to want to drive the defensive line off the ball, you would think they would have learned that nothing comes easy just because your the Dallas Cowboys, or just because your on the one yard line. For at least the second week in a row, Tashard Choice was stopped in the backfield before even attempting to leap over the line into the end zone. At a time the Cowboys had 3 red zone possessions resulting in 10 points. One was a turnover on downs. This is a team that needs improvement across the board, for everyone who believes that the Cowboys are one of the most talented teams in the NFL, I think its time for a re-evaluation. Either the talent doesn't want to work, or Jerry Jones needs to work to find some new talent.

-Colby

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