There are two certainties in the NFL. Upsets and regrets.
Good teams lose to bad teams all the time. On Sunday night, the Colts (4-5) beat the previously undefeated Broncos. The (rightly) vaunted Broncos defence couldn’t get to Andrew Luck as they had other quarterbacks, only bringing him down once during the game. Luck made them pay. Maybe it was a one-off thing, maybe the Colts have turned a corner a week after firing their offensive coordinator, finding a way to keep their quarterback upright. Chances are it was just chance.
The other thing you can guarantee every week is that someone will do something they will (or should) immediately regret. This week we had strong competition on this front. Apart from the usual (read Greg Hardy) we also had Aqib Talib doing this
Not cool Aqib.
But even this was overshadowed in my view by Packers veteran defensive end Julius Peppers. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has, since he came to Carolina, had a tradition of giving the ball to a kid in the crowd whenever he scores. Peppers, in an act that one could at best call cynical, decided to stop him from doing that by throwing the ball away. Newton ended up getting a ball to the kid, who’s father had died recently.
Man I bet Pepper regrets that.
But really, Peppers was just cranky because the previously 6-0 Packers were quickly on their way to 6-2 and the hands of the now 8-0 Panthers. Much focus has been put on the Packers offence over the last two weeks, but a just-as-big problem is the complete inability of the defence to stop anyone. For the Panthers, their excellent defence, along with Cam Newton making things happen with the limited skill position players around him, remain their strengths.
Before the Broncos suffered their first loss as mentioned above, the Pats kept their streak going, easily handling the Washingtons despite some uncharacteristic errors (and an ACL tear to running back Dion Lewis). The Bengals also kept their undefeated season alive, destroying the Browns because well, they’re the Browns.
Da Bears (Are Awful)
The Bear win again! This time they managed to scrape past the equally awful Chargers on the back on amazing catch by Zack Miller on some fairly clutch work by Jay Cutler.
Tom Brady narrative watch
Narrative: Even when he’s bad he’s good
Brady threw only his second interception of the year. It should have been returned for a touchdown. Then Brady’s skinny grits got in the way.
People Being Cranky Cos the Pats are Better Than Them
There seems to be a begrudging agreement at this stage that the Pats are actually good because they are good and not for other reasons. Well done mature NFL world.
Roger Goodell Performance Rating
Rating: Reaping what he sowed. Again.
As many of you might be aware, Greg Hardy was accused, convicted, and then acquitted of abusing his ex-partner last year and suspended by the NFL for 10 games, which was reduced to 4 on appeal. He was sacked by his then team – the Carolina Panthers. The Dallas Cowboys picked him up because Jerry Jones does not give a damn about anything but ‘winning’ (not poor people, not women, not anything).
Ray Rice, who arrest for domestic violence and its bizarre mishandling by Goodell seemed to shift the focus on the world on to the prevalence of this issue, said it pretty well.
Players I love
DeAngelo Williams used to be amazing. Now he just a serviceable backup to the now-injured-but-normally amazing LeVeon Bell for the Steelers. And he makes blocks like a boss.
Aaron Rodgers is God
Rodgers has had a tough couple of weeks. But even when things are going pear shaped, he still can do this
The NFC East
All these things happened, but Rob Riggle and Ken Jeong said it best.
Things are not going well for many sides in the NFL. But at the bottom it just seems to get worse. The Browns only managed 32 total yards on offence in the second half in their loss to the Bengals. The Jags tried so hard and Blake Bortles wasn’t awful but they still lost. For the 49ers, cast-off first round draftee Blaine Gabbert showed the patience, calm and vision that normal starter Colin Kapernick has lacked all year. And then his coach didn’t even back him to get another start. Houston and Detroit got byes.
But the Titans? They won the game after firing coach. And that’s because Marcus Mariota is legit.
Jarryd Hayne Watch
Not much in the way of Hayne news this week. Australian journos are trying to find him a way back to relevance. But I think they’re just going to have to get used to him trying to get better in obscurity.
This Week In Songs Tenuously Linked to Football – Limp Bizkit, “faith”
 Including in this space where I worried about the O-Line’s ability to allow Rodger’s to extend plays.