It was a wacky week in the NFL, and thanks to a snowstorm that hit the East Coast (but sadly missed Baltimore), the Sunday Night Game Of The Week (tm) was moved to Tuesday night (aka tonight). So for the first time since 1946 the NFL is playing on a Tuesday. For those of us in fantasy football championship games (none shall defeat Jemimah's Witnesses!) or 3rd place games (some have defeated Blood Bath and Beyond!), it has made for a long week of waiting for the sweet nectar of victory (or the domestic hops and barley of defeat).
On the local front, the Ravens beat Cleveland 20-10 to go to 11-4 and clinch a playoff spot (with the potential for a division championship and 1st round bye still there. Playoff scenarios are explained HERE). To sum it up, barring some rather unexpected outcomes, the Ravens are travelling to Indianapolis the week after next.
In the game Ed Reed had 2 picks (but to be fair, both passes were air mailed by Colt McCoy to the point that Reed looked more like baseball's Adam Jones than football's Adam Jones). He also caught fire. LITERALLY. But in his biggest accomplishment of the year, he seemingly has inspired one of the league's elite players to try to make as many stupid decisions with the football as Reed does.
In case you missed the Saints-Falcons game last night, I am referring to Drew Brees and his need to "make something happen with the ball", or "Hot Potato Lateral Time" as I am thinking of calling it (I am at work and cannot come up w/a better name right now since I have to keep switching back to my "job" every few minutes). At a minimum, Brees must have attended some of Reed's camps for kids in the greater LA area (where Reed is from and where he spends his off season). In particular, to these two plays. Personally, I disagree that the first play was "good" (more on that in a moment). I have railed on and on about Joe Flacco needing to know when to take a sack and when to throw it away, but it really is a league wide problem (making Tom Brady's current streak of 319 passes w/out an interception - the new NFL record - all the more impressive), and Brees is no exception.
Both times the Saints are in their own territory, around the 30 yard line, and both times they are protecting a lead. The first one (the one the video editor calls "good") wound up getting the ball back to the line of scrimmage, but it was still a dangerous play. 1st of all, Pierre Thomas has missed the majority of the season with an ankle sprain (one of the main reasons I am not in the playoffs in my OTHER league. That and the Frank Gore injury), so his timing w/Brees is not where it needs to be. And that leads to my 2nd of all, that Thomas almost lost control of the ball and the play was lucky to end up not being a turnover, let alone netting no loss of yardage. The second play was even dumber. At this point it is the 4th quarter and the Saints have a 3 point lead. Also, it is 1st down. Take the 8 yard loss and go from there. There is absolutely no excusing that play, and if it had been any QB not named Brady, Manning, Brees, Rivers, or Favre the guy would have been crucified by the media for that. Instead we hear that Brees' 19 (that made 20) interceptions were not "Brees-like numbers", and except for one statement that you can't "throw the ball blind", it was all praise on the defense. And while the defense DID make a good play, it was the result of Brees trying to do too much.
So you see, Ravens fans? We're not the only ones suffering from star players with brain cramps. All we can hope for is that Ed Reed gets some mental Midol in his system, and soon. And next Sunday, as you recover from New Year's festivities and you turn on the Ravens-Bengals game, say a little prayer for the Cleveland Browns that they might pull a repeat of last year.