John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
This week in TAKEAWAYS Robert Wheel gives the dispositive answer on whether the Panthers and Chiefs should have played on Sunday and reviews every game from Week 13.
Back in August my friend had an aneurysm. When I found out I spent a few hours freaking out then told my boss that I couldn't do any work for the rest of the day and went home. When I got home I watched Workaholics in my underwear for a few hours. Eventually that night I hosted a trivia competition at my friend's bar, got drunk off gratis beer and gave my number to the pink-haired bartender. None of this was planned, it just happened.
When there's a tragedy in your life you don't know how you will react. You just try to go about your life however you can and deal with it as you go. If I found out a co-worker had shot and killed his girlfriend then killed himself in front of my boss I'm not sure what I'd do. Maybe I'd host a trivia competition that night. Maybe I'd sit around in my underwear watching my DVR. I really don't know how I'd cope, and I don't know what the best way to honor the deceased would be.
So I don't know if the Chiefs did the right thing by playing on Sunday. Neither do you. Neither does anyone else. When you're hit with a tragedy you just try to cope with it on the fly. That applies to the Kansas City Chiefs just as much as it applies to you or me.
ESPN has its "embrace debate" culture where it assumes that on every issue someone is wrong and someone is right. Is LeBron James a choker? Is Tony Romo a fraud? Vote on SportsNation to find out! But sometimes nobody is right. Sometimes there's no answer. Sometimes things are awful and you just need to go about your life. Admitting you don't know the answer to something is nobler than pretending that you do.
On that note, here are the takeaways from every game this week!
TAKEAWAY: Thursday Night Football is dogshit
My colleague Andrew Sharp made the case before this game that Thursday Night Football is crap. Then Drew Brees played like he'd taken a Tylenol PM before kickoff. The solution is obvious: only have teams play on Thursday night if they have a bye the week before. The NFL could even schedule byes all year instead of just in the middle of the season (they've done this before when the league's had an odd number of teams). It's not like it'd be any worse (or less greedy) than the current situation..
TAKEAWAY: In a weekend of games that felt like they had no meaning, this was one of them.
The Bills are mathematically alive in the same way that Mitt Romney had a 9.1 percent chance to win on election night. So bully for them for beating up on a contender for the first overall pick. Good news, Jarvis Jones, you get to play in Jacksonville eight times instead of just once come next year!
TAKEAWAY: The Seahawks won a rematch of one of my favorite games ever.
Sure, the Seahawks-Bears 2011 playoff game wasn't all that memorable for its onfield product. But I'd like to remind you that Jim Cornelison brought the mother-loving house down with his anthem before that game.
And that crowd. That crowd is so damn drunk. I love you, Chicago.
TAKEAWAY: Jim Schwartz just updated his LinkedIn profile and would like to add you as a connection.
The Lions have been dysfunctional all year and this week saw a player suspended for sabotaging the offense and the second-most heartwrenching loss of the football weekend (sup Mark Richt). Bad feelings in Detroit right now. So Jim Schwartz should start working on something beyond "Wayne Fontes ain't walking through that door" for his year-end review with the GM.
Packers 23, Vikings 14
TAKEAWAY: Adrian Peterson is a goddamn national treasure
Adrian Peterson was put on this planet to plow through the front seven and he's not going to let a torn ACL or the Houston police department stand in his way. He makes running for 200 yards look so easy. Running backs usually age like mayonnaise so let's enjoy AP while he lasts.
Chiefs 27, Panthers 21
TAKEAWAY: Who cares?
FACT: Nobody cared about this game.
TAKEAWAY: Stupid sexy Patriots
After they lost to the Cardinals (reminder: that happened) I started wondering if this would be the year that the Patriots finally collapsed. The year that Brady fell to earth, the year that poor drafting on defense caught up to them, the year that they seemed human. Nope. They're steamrolling through a mediocre AFC East again, even with Rob Gronkowski out with a broken arm. Hopefully this offseason Robert Kraft puts his actress girlfriend in charge or something.
Jets 7, Cardinals 6
THE GREG MCELROY ERA IS ASCENDANT!
TAKEAWAY: Hooray quarterback controversy!
Last week I said Jim Harbaugh would handle the brewing QB controversy flawlessly and now I'm going to flash that Men in Black memory eraser in front of you. Wait, first let me use it on myself to get rid of those ex-girlfriend memories. No I didn't see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, why do you ask?
TAKEAWAY: Go home Bud Adams, you're drunk
Speaking of exes, right now Houston is winning the Oilers breakup. Bud Adams strolled into town looking awful (being 89 will do that) but his team looked worse. So good on you, Houston, for losing weight and asking out that marketing intern after getting dumped.
Broncos 31, Bucs 23
TAKEAWAY: The Broncos defense could be good
After a few weeks nobody really doubted that Peyton Manning would lead a good Broncos offense. But they've had the fifth-best defense in the league through Week 12 according to Football Outsiders and they just held Doug Martin to 56 yards on the ground. Hate the idea of Peyton Manning hoisting a Lombardi Trophy as John Elways looks on? Too bad, it could happen.
TAKEAWAY: You lost to Charlie Batch, Baltimore
TAKEAWAY: I feel bad for whoever cared about this game
Thanks for adding to a Sunday full of football ennui.
TAKEAWAY: Could Philip Rivers be done in San Diego?
Somewhere in the recesses of my brain there's a thought from 2007 wondering if the Giants shouldn't have traded Philip Rivers and a pick that became Shawne Merriman for Eli Manning. This is why 23-year-olds whose football experience consists of two sacks against Pi Kappa Alpha are not NFL GMs (exception: that guy who ran the Panthers). Anyway, if the Chargers get rid of Norv and A.J. Smith, you have to wonder if whoever replaces them will want to keep Rivers.
TAKEAWAY: I feel you, Eagles fans.
I became an Eagles fan on Sunday night because the Giants are still derpy enough to lose the division to the Cowboys. And boy was I let down. So I now understand your years of heartache, not winning championships and bad quarterbacks, Eagles fans. Now let's throw batteries at police horses together.
WHAT TO DO TONIGHT INSTEAD OF WATCHING MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Actually, I suggest you do watch MNF this week as Robert Griffin III either turns me into a blubbering mess on Twitter (that's @BobbyBigWheel for you) or perishes behind his Potemkin village of an offensive line. Either way, it's going to be a party!