Now, I know all of you are saying, “Wait - what about Week 13?” Well...yeah, sorry, I missed it. I have been fully caught up in World Cup hysteria and I jumped into hoops, both college and pro, head first over the last two weeks (sneak peek - Keegan’s still doing ok, despite a blow out in Philly Tuesday night; whole team looked like ass). Sue me. Let’s take a look at Hawks in the NFL.
We’re overdue for a Broncos Corner - or are we? Good GOD this is a disaster. Players screaming at Russell Wilson on the sideline (he had his best game BY far on Sunday, a close 34-28 loss to the Chiefs, but of course he suffered a concussion and should be out for awhile). Offense generally not scoring and letting the defense down every week (then of course the one game the offense comes alive the defense slips, though that’s understandable against Kansas City). This just isn’t going well. Feels like equal parts bad offense/coaching, Wilson looks washed, and injuries galore leveling this season before it really started, and now the Broncos are in major flux. Good thing they have their pick in the next draft. That should be a really good pi-OH. They don’t have that pick. They traded it for Wilson. YIKES.
Nevermind all the other noise around this team - Josey Jewell had an amazing game Sunday against KC and is quietly having a great season. Jewell finished with 10 tackles (9 solo) and not one but two interceptions of Patrick Mahomes. Take a look at these plays:
That’s an unbelievable play, baiting Mahomes into the throw by jabbing to his right, then cutting in front of Travis Kelce. Elite play by Jewell.
That’s another great job jumping into a lane. He covered serious ground getting back into coverage on that play, going from over center to near the numbers before snagging the pass. Jewell’s now at 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions for the year - a really great season for him.
George Kittle and Anthony Nelson
This was an interesting two weeks for Kittle, as he cooled off from the 2-touchdown performance against Arizona in Mexico City on November 21. San Francisco is now riding a 6-game winning streak, but their injury situation stinks to high hell, losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a broken foot in their Week 13 win over Miami, then losing Deebo Samuel to a sprained MCL and sprained ankle injury in their 35-7 demolition of Tampa Bay.
Despite the injuries around him and a general cooling on his production - 4 receptions for 28 yards against the Bucs, 3 for 22 against Miami - the Niners keep winning with our old rival Brock Purdy at the helm. It’s weird watching them, frankly - Purdy looks competent and the Niners still look good despite always having someone vital to the team go down with injury week-to-week. Purdy also earned the nickname “Big Cock Brock” from his Niners teammates and I can only nod in approval. Fair play to Mr. Irrelevant - hung around, Trey Lance and Jimmy G go down, and up steps Purdy. His teammates like him and he secretly got a lot of reps for the Niners before becoming the starter (he was QB2 all summer with the uncertainty around Jimmy G, then was briefly QB3, but Lance was hurt early in the year so Purdy was back to QB2). Purdy was also hurt Sunday in what was described as a rib/oblique injury when he dove for a first down on San Francisco’s second drive of the game - I mean, their injury situation has been like this every year for 3-4 years now; it’s absurd the amount of guys they lose - but was a limited participant in practice so could play in their Thursday night game in Seattle.
Meanwhile, Nelson had his name called for the Bucs often on Sunday, recording 7 tackles in the drubbing in
San Francisco Santa Clara.
With Von Miller now out for the year with another torn ACL, Epenesa’s now in an important role for the Bills. They still have ample pass rushers on the line but the margin for error shrinks with Miller gone for the season (and possibly part of next year too). So of course, Epenesa stepped up and did Epenesa Things to the New York Jets on Sunday. He finished Sunday’s 20-12 win with 5 tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass defended, and another sack. Epenesa’s sack was a strip sack of Mike White, though the Jets recovered, while the pass defended was on the final offensive play of the game for New York, as Epenesa batted down Mike White’s final attempt at the line of scrimmage.
Epenesa also crushed in Week 13, a 24-10 win over New England. He finished that game with 2 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack. He’s now at 5.5 sacks for the season.
Let’s be real - this has gone totally sideways for Seattle after a 6-3 start and sitting for a good chunk of the season in first in the NFC West. That (totally stupid) trip to Munich threw them off entirely. They lost in Munich to Tampa, gave up a billion yards from scrimmage to Josh Jacobs the next week, edged the Rams late in Week 13, then lost to the Carolina Panthers, 30-24, which leaves the Seahawks at 7-6. They’re now 2 full games behind San Francisco, who they host Thursday in a pivotal game for Seattle’s playoff hopes. Looking like a shoe-in for the playoffs, Seattle could be at .500 with a trip to Kansas City on Christmas Eve staring back at them.
Fortunately, Noah Fant produced in the one win during this downturn. In their 27-23 Week 13 win over the Rams, Fant caught 4 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, a 4-yard pass from Geno Smith.
The loss to Carolina was one to forget though, as Fant only had a single target and no receptions.
T.J. Hockenson played against his former employer in Detroit and had himself a nice game, catching 6 passes for 76 yards. The surging Lions bottled up the Minnesota run game though and gave their playoff chances a shot in the arm, beating the Vikings 34-23. Hockenson is also credited with a lost fumble, as the Vikings tried the whole “lateral, see what happens despite having no way of winning the game” thing at the end. Hockenson’s last pitch was knocked away and recovered by Detroit, so Hockenson gets the turnover. That’s dumb and probably had fantasy football implications. Whatever. Minnesota fell to 10-3 while Detroit moved to 6-7. Detroit would not make the playoffs if the season ended today, but they sit in a tie with Tampa Bay just a game behind Seattle for the last spot (Detroit does not have the head-to-head with Seattle, however). Moral of the story - don’t start a season 1-6?
Christian Kirksey and Desmond King continue to put in great shifts for this terrible Houston team (now 1-11-1). Kirksey finished Sunday’s tough 27-23 loss to Dallas with 10 tackles, while King had 7 and 2 for loss while also returning 3 punts for 36 yards.
Since I’m still in World Cup hysteria - I’m watching the French left back score a scruffy goal to put Morocco in a 1-0 hole as I type this - I probably missed some guys. I know Amani Hooker had 4 tackles in Tennessee’s weird loss to Jacksonville. To the comments!