The real story this weekend was the world of hurt the Broncos put on the Packers, holding MVP Aaron Rodgers to under 100 total yards passing.
Since Jordy Nelson went down earlier in the year, the Packers have been relying on ‘improvisational’ plays to get yards in the passing game. These are plays were Rodgers relies on receivers to ‘break’ on routes, running into space. Defensive backs can only run with someone for so long before at least one receiver can get some space. But running these sorts of plays requires an excellent offensive line to keep people off the quarterback until the receivers can get free.
The Broncos defensive backs were excellent in maintaining man coverage for lengthy periods of time. But what really stopped the Packers offence was that the O-line couldn’t keep pressure off Rodgers, which meant that the Packers ‘improvisational’ offence became non-existent. The Broncos pressured Rogers on 63 per cent of his dropbacks, which is a lot.
On offence, the proclaimed death of Peyton Manning’s arm was probably premature. He didn’t have to throw frozen ropes on the million crossing routes that the Broncos destroyed the Packers linebacker core with. But on the occasion he had to get it out quick and fast he showed he still had the ability to do so. Looks like it could be one more January classic for Brady and Manning.
For his part, Brady made light work of the Dolphins. With his porous O-line the Dolphins had the potential to be a stressful day. But then all of a sudden it was 19-0 at half time and everyone went about their business.
The Panthers and the Bengals also eked out less than impressive victories against fairly average opposition who shouldn’t be that average but are (the Colts and the Steelers respectively). With the Cardinals they’ve ended the races in 5 of the 8 divisions. In Week 8! The back end of the regular season could see a lot of resting of players.
Da Bears (Are Awful)
With five minutes to go a 4 yard Cutler TD run should’ve ended the game. But Diggs turned a short pass into a long touchdown, and then Charles Johnson managed to get to a 35 yard jumpball before a defensive back and that was pretty much it. More pain in Chi-town.
Tom Brady narrative watch
Current Narrative: Denying they are going undefeated.
The actual chances of one side going undefeated in a season are 4 per cent but apparently getting 45 per cent of the way there is the point it starts being considered.
People Being Cranky Happy Cos the Pats are Better Than Them
It’s been a perfect season for the Pats.
They don’t even need full games to be amazing.
Roger Goodell Performance Rating
Rating: On a mission
When the guy you staked your legacy on suspending is putting together an MVP season for an undefeated team, you have to ask yourself, what can you do to stop him?
Players I love
We’ve mentioned JJ Watt in this space before. He’s a physical specimen. He eats quarterbacks alive from the end of the defensive line. But ask him to talk?
We all have our strong points JJ.
The NFC East
The comedy routine that is the NFC continued on its merry way this week. While the Washingtons and the Eagles had byes, the Cowboys couldn’t manage to get the ball into the end zone against Seattle, losing on a last second field goal. They are praying for Romo to return – by that time though, their season will be over.
Meanwhile, the Giants got into one hell of a shootout with the Saints, which they lost for many reasons, but one of them is this.
The Texans, who I had previously thought to be the worst team in football, beat the Titans, who proved they deserved the crown. The Titans promptly fired their coach, mostly because he had FOUR WINS AND 31 LOSSES IN HIS LAST 35 GAMES AS HEAD COACH.
The Lions got pumped by Kansas City in London. They are awful and Matt Stafford is in full Matt Schuab meltdown mode. I feel bad. The Browns are so bad that when Josh McCown gets injured, everyone panics. Josh. Freaking. McCown.
On the plus side, it means Johnny Football has the start.
Also, the 49ers. Can’t even throw the ball to open recievers.
Jarryd Hayne Watch
Speaking of which. Hayne got cut, and then picked up by the 49ers practice squad. This is really where we thought he’d end up to start the year.
As a fellow Sportress alumnus put it, if after a massive week of injuries, all the teams in the league let you pass through waivers, maybe you’re just not good enough yet.
This Week In Songs Tenuously Linked to Football – Shaggy, “Oh Carolina”
 By idiots like me.