His Majesty King Hippo the Seer, First of His Office Pool and Evader of Chapter 7, was indisposed for this week. He received a bad “sure thing” tip on some cockfight in Havana, and here we are.
Pipino (2018-2018) via Postimages.com
Reports are that Hippo has access to his stash, he doesn’t have to meet new people, and one of the captors is into books. If you ask me, that’s a vacation right there.
On permanent leave, Mike McCarthy! His total lack of humor and neck captured the imagination of nobody. On the agenda for McCarthy, persuading Mike Pettine to put in the good word for him with the Browns. On the happy side: Chosen Rosen brought the goods (26-11-0-0, 149 yds.), to debunk QB won / loss record as a “stat”.
Counterpoint: Lamar Jackson. John Harbaugh stroked the 3-0 “record” of his rookie QB as a starter after the Ratbirds win over the Dirtyboids:
“I think just on the face of it, has [LAMAR!] done enough? Sure. Absolutely. He’s done enough. He’s played great. He’s 3-0. He’s played well. What way we’ll go, what direction we’ll go, we’ll see.”
Joe Flacco’s hip is better, and RGIII made an appearance yesterday, rendering the Ratbirds QB situation into an embarrassment of low- to middle-class goods. Still, wonderful form by punter Sam Koch, showing great mechanics in a nifty fake punt early in the second quarter from midfield:
— Cincinnati Bearcats (@GoBEARCATS) December 2, 2018
On the other side, the Artlanta Dirty Boids are toast: 4-8, playing on the road in three out of their last four games and can only play spoiler to Carolina in Week 16–provided Carolina does something: it had a bad loss at Tampa, a team that should’ve quit on the coach several weeks ago. I blame Ron Rivera’s Pepsi commercial, which proposes savvy game management out of icing the kicker through second-tier soda. That’s bush league times two! Carolina (6-6) goes to Cleveland next week, and then hosts the Falcons between the Saints sandwich in Weeks 15 & 17. So the Panthers control their destiny: being a footnote to the 2018 season.
Turning to officially wasted seasons, the Raiders (2-10) and 49ers (3-9) are officially out of playoff contention, after falling to the Chefs and C-Hox respectively. Seattle is looking frisky, and cannot finish higher than a five seed. That’s because RAMMMM IT! became the first team to clinch the division yesterday, per a BREAKING NEWS scroll that ran over the afternoon games yesterday–red background, white font all caps, no teaser, just BREAKING NEWS. I half expected a war breaking out or at least some event, not an arithmetic inevitability.
The Rams win wasn’t that impressive, with the game still contested in the 4th QRT. Once the game was outta reach, Gurley did the not-scoring thing with 2:44 left to drain the clock. I happened to catch that live, so was subjected to some of the goddamn civics lesson the announcers went off hard on–“the unselfishness”, the contrast with players celebrating a sack, and other bullshit that I muted. First and goal at the two, 2 minutes and change left. Thing is, LAR didn’t kneel thereafter, and Gurley scored a TD–which he should’ve done anyway on the first try, I think. So the teaching moment was more overthinking than sportsmanship, I thought.
Additional nits to pick: Odell Beckham, Jr. He threw a TD pass, again:
OBJ with the touchdown PASS!
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 2, 2018
But the Bearistocrats! (8-4) came within 7 and kicked onside near the end of regulation. OBJ was on the hands team, the kick came his way and he acted, well… I watched it several times. Beckham didn’t get alligator arms exactly; he didn’t dive for the ball coming near him–alligator vertebrae, if you will. HAWT TAEK COMIN THRU: put someone else there instead. Have an expendable guy go on IR for diving for the ball and securing it, which it’s a coachable skill, I guess.
Chase Daniel–now that guy will dive. He maintained his composure at crunch time: he looked collected just after a ball hit him in the head, and another time when the snap went between his legs and he looked for the ball. Back in little league baseball, when a ground ball went between a kid’s legs, we used to say “He’s not a lady”. Years later, I got the joke. It was a simpler, more sexist time.
The Clots had been scoring 37 points per game during their five-game winning streak, now snapped. Cody Kessler started for Blake Bortles, making pre-London the home of the shittiest QB hydra.
The Dolphins (6-6) are back in the running as playoff fodder after defeating the Bills on a cruel drop at the end of regulation. Both teams seemed upbeat after the game: the Bills are talking themselves into Josh Allen, the Ryan Tannehill Competence through Mass Hypnotism Project is still in force.
Donks Woo! (6-6) took care of the Bengals (5-7), and got themselves in the AFC Wildcard morass. Not a bad slate to finish too: @ Niners, Browns, @ Pre-Vegas, Real Chargers FC. 9-7 may not be enough for an AFC Wildcard, but I’d still rather watch the Broncs over the Ravens because I’m a petty fuck. The Texans (9-3)are on a nine game winning streak, after beating the Browns (4-7-1). Houston gets the Clots at home, then go to the Jets and Eagles, and finish at home against JAX. If HOU gets to 10-3 next week, brace yo’selves for a “Why not the Cows” narrative that makes out Bill O’Brien like a commanding leader, instead of being the prepotent ninny he’s always been. I mean, really: O’Brien makes Marvin Lewis look like Charles De Gaulle.
The Jets special teams may have had the most impressive outing in Week 13: five field goals, long returns, a blocked PAT, and a blocked punt. The NYJ also had a pick-six, thereby making up the 22 points that weren’t enough to beat the Tits at home after a late LATE comeback by Marcus Mariota. Tennessee seemed to quit on the game by the second quarter, but New York did worse, having a McCown prominently involved, and gifting 20 yards and a first down on penalties on the final TEN drive. I say this as a friend: NEVER bet on the Titans, not even to fuck things up in a proper fashion.
The Pats (9-3) are “back”, defeating the Vikes 24-10. New England ceded 13 points to the Jest last week, so expect a ramping of “defensive genius” talk as they play out the string against their divisional have-nots, plus a tilt at Pittsburgh. The Vikes are still Wildcard hopefuls at 6-5-1, with an almost-playoff game @ Seattle next week, and finishing with Dolphins, @ Loins, and a Bears team that may have clinched the 3-seed by Week 17. As the alternatives would be an NFC East team or the Panthers, adjust your hate accordingly.
Finally, what a game we had last night! Pittsburgh (7-4-1) got out in front early but then fizzled, falling 33-30 to post San Diego. However, as I’m on Atlantic time, I dozed off at 30-30 at around 12:30 AM. Watchoo need the sun for? You choose to live in places where it snows, tough it out! smgdh. Fuck daylight savings time.
Count me in the bandwagon that hates PIT until they DO SOMETHING–say, beat the Pats on Week 15, the Saints at NOLA on Week 16. The Ravens are half a game back due to the Steelers tie, so there would be none of that tiebreaker number crunching crap. PIT may well falter, if only because the Universe is flashing a big, red “E” on the Good Will toward Roethslisberger Reservoir. But the Chargers… They are 9-3 and host the Bengals next week (a “home” game in Carson?), then go to KC (most likely only a game back of the Chefs), and finish off hosting BAL and at Donks Woo! Who would’ve thunk it: the other LA team will decide the AFC playoff field, and have a good shot at being the #1 seed in the Conference. (Chiefs have a tricky slate: Ravens, Chargers, @ Seattle, and Pre-Vegas.) As I’m not blind, the Chargers are dynamite watch, but I can’t bring myself to root for the Spanoi in any way. And the prospect of an all-LA Super Bowl is something we can all root against. Even Pats fans.