Pats looking super again; A coaching firing; A kicker love story: just another week in the NFL. We’ll give you all the 2018 NFL news you can handle in under three minutes (Disclaimer: you can stay longer than three minutes. Time is relative). Here’s the best, or worst, of the NFL from Week 6.
Avocado Ice Cream, Anyone?
If you woke up on Monday with a strange craving for avocado ice cream, it’s understandable. Doesn't everybody want to be like Brady? As in Tom, the middle-aged, mild-mannered family man six days a week – and still the quarterback assassin on game day, age 41 be damned.
You saw what he did Sunday night, pulling off a last-minute, game-winning drive for about the gazillionth time in his career, as if to let Patrick Mahomes and the NFL’s current wave of young star quarterbacks know that he’s not ready to leave the stage just yet. Brady has been defying the laws of aging in the NFL for at least a few years now, perhaps largely because of the fanatical diet and workout routine that he practices and preaches – complete with his own recipe for the aforementioned avocado ice cream.
It just seems all the more spectacular in a season so far headlined by so much impressive play from young quarterbacks. Last week featured no fewer than 11 starting quarterbacks drafted since 2016, including Jared Goff and Mahomes, the signal-callers for the two most explosive teams in the NFL.
The LA Rams are merely undefeated with Goff, and while the KC Chiefs lost for the first time to the Patriots, Mahomes further cemented his status as the season’s breakout star by putting up 40 points on Bill Belichick, who has made a practice of eating young QBs for lunch over the years.
Yet it was the ageless Brady who stole the show, even running for a key TD with his blazing speed.
By the end, you knew he’d win it when the Chiefs left him three minutes on the clock. The script never changes. And now that Julian Edelman is getting his game legs back, and the newly-acquired Josh Gordon is seamlessly fitting into the offense, Brady has the weapons to make the Patriots a solid bet to reach still another Super Bowl. Oh, and don't forget about Gronk.
So while most of America hates the Pats by now, the older Brady gets the more he surely inspires a nation of weekend warriors who want to combat father time.
One scoop or two?
Poor Eli Gets No Respect
Zinger of the Week comes courtesy of ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Ryan Clark, discussing the hot topic of whether the slumping Jaguars should trade for a quarterback to replace Blake Bortles. Clark is in favor of the idea, believing Bortles continues to be too mistake-prone to lead the Jaguars back to the playoffs this season.
But when he was asked if the Jags should trade for Eli Manning, the Giants’ beleaguered quarterback, Clark dropped the hammer:
“Go get Eli Manning?” he barked. “I’d go get Peyton first.”
In a desperate move to save his season – and perhaps his own job – Tampa Bay Bucs coach Dirk Koetter fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith on Monday. Fans and media were screaming for such a move, after the Bucs gave up 400 or more yards for the 20th time in 37 games under Smith, losing 34-29 to the Falcons.
Yet Koetter is hardly the toast of the town himself after a bizarre call on the final play of the Sunday’s game. From the Falcons’ 21-yard line, rather than have Jameis Winston throw into the end zone, Koetter had Winston run, looking to set up multiple laterals to break someone free to score.
Predictably, the laterals went awry, and afterward Koetter explained the play call, saying, “There aren’t a lot of great options from the 20-yard line.” To which ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky, a long-time backup quarterback for Peyton Manning, among others, nearly lost his mind.
“Peyton had like eight pass plays from the 20 yard-line that he could get to,” Orlovsky said.
Presumably none of them included a lateral.
The Gruden Meter Is Running…Literally
The Oakland Raiders have had their fair share of disastrous coaches since the Al Davis glory days: from Joe Bugel to Art Shell to Lane Kiffin to Tom Cable to Dennis Allen; picking the least successful of that bunch is bit like ranking the worst traffic jam you’ve ever been stuck in.
But suffice it to say none of them ever had a $100 million contract, which makes Jon Gruden a special kind of catastrophe. After an embarrassing no-show in London against the Seahawks, the Raiders are 1-5, with the one win handed to them by some poor refereeing against the Cleveland Browns. And Gruden has repeatedly lamented his team’s lack of pass rush, further infuriating a fan base that didn’t want him to trade Khalil Mack.
Now the coach is hinting at a need for a rebuild, with the team’s move to Las Vegas on the horizon. No wonder fans are apoplectic, with one fan so incensed that he or she created this depressing website:
Click on and it gives you a running tally, like a speedometer in a moving car, of how much cash Gruden has earned as every second goes by, as well as how much since you clicked on the site, and how much he is still owed.
Just Win, Baby? More like: Just Pay Up, Baby.
A Bronx Cheer? Not In Green Bay
When Mason Crosby converted his first extra-point try Monday night, the crowed erupted so loudly that Aaron Rodgers immediately suspected the worst.
“I was trying to figure out at first if it was a sarcastic cheer,” Rodgers said, “But I felt like it was pretty heartfelt encouragement.”
Maybe in New York or Philly or Boston, it would have been different. But in perfectly well-mannered Midwestern style, Packers’ fans rallied around Crosby after his disastrous game the previous week, in which he cost his team a win and became the first NFL kicker to miss four field goals and an extra point since the Raiders’ Cole Ford in 1997.
His teammates, and even Packers’ management, offered unwavering support, deciding the 12-year veteran deserved another chance, and Crosby redeemed himself with a perfect night, three extra points and four field goals, including a 27-yard chip shot as time expired, setup by a ridiculous Rodgers final drive, to defeat the 49ers 33-30.
Afterward an emotional Crosby said, “I can’t say much. I’m kind of broken up about it.”
Hey, even kickers deserve to be loved. At least in the heartland.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int'l games excluded.