NFL Week 12 is one MNF whistle away from being put to bed. Did we learn anything this week we didn't already know? What did we know that was reinforced? What did we think we know that got turned on its head? Let's take a ride in the Sports Van and find out!
NFL Week 12 Review
Frank Gore Passes Barry Sanders
You start with this. This past Sunday, 36-year-old Frank Gore passed Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders to take sole possession of 3rd place on the NFL All-Time Rushing list. That is some mighty special sauce at any tailgate party. His team won the game to boot. I highly recommend you pause for a moment to consider what this guy has done, what he has gone through, to get to this point in history. NFL Week 12, remember the date. It will one day win you a game of trivia in your local sports bar.
Broncos vs Bills 3-20
Frank Gore's accomplishment aside, this game reveals plenty. Denver Broncos QB Brandon Allen was 10/25, 82 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT and 8 yds on the ground. RB Phillip Lindsay had 13 carries for 57 yds and 0 TD. Buffalo Bills Josh Allen was 15/25, 185 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT and 56 yds on the ground. RB Devin Singletary had 21 touches for 106 yards. That is the game. One club has a GM that couldn't find a QB at a Peyton Manning clinic and offensive line/scheme issues that can't spring a talented ball carrier like Lindsay while the other organization has a gunslinger at QB and is surrounding him with talent and the tools for them all to excel.
Right now it sucks to be a Denver fan unless you are really into the NFL Draft. They are going to have a high pick. Focus on those top 10 guys.
Giants vs Bears 14-19
The Chicago Bears beat an undermanned/under-coached NFL team this past Sunday and questions abound about QB Mitch Trubisky and head coach Matt Nagy. Are the questions about Trubisky legit? Of course they are. Does the "cut-him" crowd have a leg to stand on? No. Watch the highlight video below. Think of what the kid did last season. Versus the New York Giants, he went 25/41, 278 yds, 1 TD and 2 interceptions. All that while his ground game was pretty much shut down. A few of the throws he uncored were beautiful to watch. He also threw Eli Manning-like bonehead interceptions. Primarily he catches flak because of all of the QB's taken behind him in the draft that are blowing up the NFL. Judge him for who he is, not where he was drafted. The kid has a tremendous upside. His head coach, on the other hand, is legitimately on the hot seat. His club has the talent, it's up to him to harness it. So far that's been a challenge in 2019. He could start with a kicker.
The GMen look pretty good, to be frank. They just look a few pieces shy of really competing, both on the field and on the sideline. It starts on the field as the Giants are slow movers with head coaches and that approach has historically served them well.
Bears got the win but are still a hot mess. The Giants have nothing to lose from week to week and the talent to be dangerous. That said, BOTH teams should get a lot better this offseason with nice draft picks.
Seahawks vs Eagles 17-9
When Wentz sucks, the Eagles suck. This really isn't rocket science as most teams have a big jump in suck-a-tude when the guy that handles the ball on every offensive play throws multiple picks and generally is making bad decisions. I'm talking about Carson Wentz of course. Philly still has a ton of talent and the moment Wentz puts it together they have the ability to push into the playoffs in a surprisingly weak NFC East. But it's on Wentz. A running game would help.
The 'Hawks have Russell Wilson and a deep RB contingent. Heck, they have talent everywhere and are a team that is looking to make some noise if they can gel in December.
Check out the highlights!
Dolphins vs Browns 24-41
The Browns are the east coast Cowboys. They look damn good against bad teams and fold when facing a challenge. Baker Mayfield went 24/34, 327 yds, 3 TD and 1 TD. Nick Chubb went 24/34, 106 yds and 1 TD.
DAMN, they look good versus college talent!
Raiders vs Jets 3-34
Gruden and da Raiders are for REAL! They REALLY got thumped by the New York Jets. A few things to take from this. Raiders QB Carr was 15/27, 127 yds, 0 TD and 1 pick. Rookie RB phenom Josh Jacobs had 10 touches for 34 yds. The Jets D is better than it looks and rookie Quinnen Williams is a big reason that team is TOUGH to run on. Bottom line you take away the Raiders running game and they don't have a counter-punch. The book is out and they can expect to see a lot more of it.
The Jets, on the other hand, are enjoying, dare I say it ???? a possible playoff run. They are not a team that just picks on weak opponents. They are making their crib hell to play in and are not showing fear. Sam Darnold was 20/29, 315 yds, 2 TD and 0 picks. Le'Veon Bell got 52 on the ground and 59 through the air BUT he actually averaged 4.1 on the ground which is a LOT better than what it was like without Darnold.
Gruden knows what is coming next week. He has to figure out a counter. The Jets don't care and are having fun. It's been a long time since the Jets' fan base could enjoy this type of play. They may just have to get used to it.
Cowboys vs Patriots 9-13
The Dallas Cowboys are the Browns of the midwest. They look damn good against bad teams and fold when facing a challenge. Yes, the same opening used both times. For the 'Boys, it's not all bad news. Dak Prescott got some invaluable weather experience. Elliott seems to be finding his way against the defensive focus. There is obviously talent all across the roster and they are still in first in the NFC East. Jason Garrett has to figure out how to cut way back on the penalties, get a new special teams coach and fire up his troops. They got beat by the better-coached team this past Sunday, referee-gaffes aside, and until they cure that they will be what their record says they are, 6-5 and looking for answers.
Brady, Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots have a challenge this year as they find ways to move forward in their new, Gronkless reality. They do it with team play in every phase of the game and minimizing mistakes while capitalizing on the other sides. I would put money that both Brady and Belichik are having a ball.
Some pretty darn cool highlights below.
Packers vs 49ers
Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle have a connection. It is just fun to watch (check out the highlights below). The 49ers defense is playing the best football of any D in the NFL right now. It starts with the line upfront and goes all the way back to the safety position. Catch every game you can this season. In today's NFL, you don't know how long clubs can hold units together and this group of players is something special to watch. I urge you NOT to miss another game this season. Get NFL rewind! It's the 49ers in the NFC and everyone else right now.
The Packers are a solid club and fun to watch but Aaron Rodgers and company ran into a buzz saw in San Francisco. Don't take to much away from it. The better team won and Rodgers could use some more weapons on offense.
Missed the game? Check out the highlights below.
Another Left Coast Sports Post