Brady Quinn will never be viewed as an elite quarterback in the NFL but I have a new found respect for the man after his poignant comments following the Kansas City Chiefs 27-21 victory over the Panthers. As most people know by now the game was played the day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, and then killed himself in front of Coach Romeo Crennel and G.M. Scott Pioli. When asked by reporters after the game to convey his emotions this is what Quinn had to say.
“I don’t think anyone ever imagines waking up the day before a game, and getting informed that a player, a leader on you team, has something so tragic happen like that. Never would have thought of him, he was a leader on our team, he was a hard worker, was dedicated, was passionate about football, he played the game how it was supposed to be played. There wasn’t one player on our team that could ever see that coming. So I think trying to understand the situation was tough, or to get a sense of what had happened and who it was now going to affect – the Perkins family, the Belcher family, his daughter, for many, many years to come, not just today or the next few weeks.”
As the Chiefs try to deal with what has happened, their owner Clark Hunt is in the process of setting up a trust fund for Belcher’s three month old daughter Zoe. As soon as we find out the link for the fund and the information as to how you can donate we will pass it along.
Time now to take a look at what else happened in week 13.
Star of the week
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson received honourable mention after running for 210 yards and one touchdown in their loss to the Packers. Equally impressive was Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson after he caught 13 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown in their loss to the Colts.
Ultimately the winner of this week’s award is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson after his performance in Seattle’s 23-17 overtime win over the Bears. Going into Sunday’s game against the Bears, Wilson and the Seahawks were 1-5 on the road and still trying to prove that they can win a big game away from Seattle. Facing the Chicago Bears defence, Wilson emphatically answered that question by leading the Seahawks on a 97-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, then in overtime he capped off an 80 yard scoring drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice.
In those two crucial scoring drives, Wilson completed a total of nine passes and ran the ball a total of five times for 47 yards. After the game, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said his rookie quarterback is a special player. “He’s just so beautifully poised and so confident that it gives himself a chance to play at this kind of level.”
Stiff of the week
Mark Sanchez’s tenure as the starting quarterback for the New York Jets in 2012 mercifully ended Sunday. Mark Sanchez has run out of excuses and Rex Ryan has run out of patience. Facing a struggling St. Louis Cardinals team at home should have been exactly what Sanchez needed to rebuild his confidence and put up some numbers. Instead Sanchez went a brutal 10 of 21 for 97 yards and three interceptions. Sanchez’s quarterback rating of 21.4 was even worse than Arizona rookie Ryan Lindley; and the Cardinals were 0-15 on third down conversions! Coach Rex Ryan saw enough and benched Sanchez for third stringer (Tim Tebow was inactive with a rib injury) Greg McElroy. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as rock bottom for Sanchez as a member of the Jets.
Defensive player of the week
I am a big fan of the Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and he received numerous votes after picking up a sack and knocking down two passes in their win over the Tennessee Titans. But the winner of this week’s award is Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller. A serious candidate for defensive player of the year, Miller had one sack, forced a fumble and returned a Josh Freeman interception 26 yards for a touchdown as the Broncos beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to clinch the AFC West.
Rookie of the week
Since Russell Wilson won the star of the week award, the rookie of the week award goes out to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. After throwing three interceptions, Luck settled down and then methodically picked apart the Lions defence late in the game. Luck threw two of his four touchdowns in the final 2:39 of the fourth quarter as the Colts rallied to beat the Lions 35-33.
In five of the Colts eight wins, Luck has engineered a game winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime.
The Ronnie Lott Award
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wins the award for this hit that caused Titans running back Chris Johnson to fumble.
According to the Houston Texans official Twitter feed, Watt is the first defensive player in NFL history to have 15 and a half sacks and 15 batted passes in the same season.
The Steve Largent Award
There were some outstanding catches in week 13, including some beauties from Dez Bryant and James Jones. However nothing can compare to the brilliance of the incomparable Calvin Johnson. Facing blanket coverage, Johnson didn’t even break stride as he made this impossible one-handed catch against the Colts.
Johnson leads the NFL in by a wide margin with 1,428 yards receiving. Jerry Rice set the NFL single season record for receivers when he amassed 1,848 yards back in 1995. Megatron, who is averaging 119 yards a game, is only 420 yards away from that mark with four games left to play.
Unsung Hero Award
The runaway winner of this week’s award is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch. Three days before his 38th birthday, Batch outplayed Joe Flacco and led the way as the Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive with a crucial 23-20 win over the Ravens. On the game winning drive Batch completed all five of his pass attempts to set up Shaun Suisham’s 42 yard field goal.
At the 11 second mark of the video you can see how much this win meant to Batch, Ben Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers. Batch’s clutch performance was another example of Mike Tomlin’s “next man up” mantra. It doesn’t matter who is in the lineup, Tomlin expects the individual to play well and the team to win. If the Steelers make the postseason they will look back at Batch’s performance against the Ravens as one of the key moments of the season.
Even though they won the game, I don’t think the Packers defence will be very happy to see the highlights of Adrian Peterson’s 82 yard touchdown run.
The man they call “All Day” made the Packers defence look silly as he broke numerous tackles then kicked in the after burners on the way to the end zone. Peterson leads the NFL with 1,446 yards rushing, with 17 runs over 20 yards and with an amazing 120.5 yards per game average. All of this on a surgically rebuilt knee.
Best locker-room celebration
The Colts deserve a lot of credit for being one of the more forward thinking teams in the NFL. The Colts are not shy about allowing a camera into their locker room so fans can see what goes on after a win. This video from the Colts website will give you a good idea what it feels like to win a game in the NFL.
I loved how they ended it with their daily tribute to ailing head coach Chuck Pagano.
Big Injuries of the week
The Steelers’ win over the Ravens came at a heavy cost after cornerback Ike Taylor sprained his ankle and will be out of action at least two weeks, possibly even longer.
In their win over the Vikings, the Packers lost offensive lineman T.J. Lang to an ankle injury and receiver Jordy Nelson to a hamstring injury. At this time of year, fielding a healthy lineup is a major challenge, especially for contending teams when there is so much riding on every game.
This and That
Andy Dalton threw one touchdown and BenJarvus Green-Ellis had this third straight 100-yard game as the Bengals beat the Chargers 20-13. With the win, the Bengals improved to 7-5 and are very much alive in the AFC playoff race.
Peyton Manning tossed three touchdowns as the Broncos beat the Bucs 31-23 and in the process clinched the AFC West title.
Meanwhile in Miami, Tom Brady threw one touchdown as the New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins 23-16 to clinch the AFC East.
Tony Romo passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns as the Cowboys kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 38-33 win over the Eagles.
The Bills two-headed running back monster of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined to carry the ball 39 times for 186 yards and one touchdown in Buffalo’s 34-18 win over the Jags.
Rams rookie Greg Zuerlein nailed a 53-yard field goal to tie the game and then nailed a 54 yarder in overtime as the Rams beat the 49ers 16-13. Zuerlein (aka Legatron) now leads the NFL with seven 50 yard field goals.
Matt Schaub threw two touchdowns as the Texans beat the Titans 24-10 to clinch a playoff spot. Because of the Colts the 11-1 Texans still haven’t clinched the AFC South title.
Rookie Brandon Weeden passed for 364 yards and one touchdown as the Cleveland Browns beat the Oakland Raiders 20-17 in the Black Hole.
Greg McElroy threw one touchdown as the Jets hung on to beat the Cardinals 7-6. The less said about this game the better.
What to expect tonight – After being forced to sit through last week’s snooze fest between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Carolina Panthers it doesn’t get much better than a showdown between Robert Griffin III and Eli Manning. The last time these teams met in week seven Manning hooked up with Victor Cruz on a 77 yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter as the New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins 27-23. Manning and the Giants come into the game after an impressive win over the Packers in week 12. The Redskins have won two straight and RG3 has thrown eight touchdowns in that time as Washington still think they have a shot at winning the NFC East. Speaking to reporters this week, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora admitted that stopping RG3 won’t be easy. “He’s an outstanding quarterback, first, and so we’ve got our work cut out for us.” With the combination of RG3 and running back Alfred Morris the Redskins run for more yards per game (163.5) than any other team in the NFL.