Every Tuesday on the Lo-Down, Damien Barling, Ken Rudulph and I discuss our winners and losers of the past week in the NFL. Well, here are mine for the wild week that was week 12 of the NFL:
Oakland Raiders Souvenir Sales: “Market Glove Sales, STAT!” – That should have been the direct quote Sunday afternoon when Derek Carr left the game with a dislocated pinky and then came back in donning the single super cool-looking black glove. The Raiders are hot right now and those sales should go through the roof. Just in time for the Holidays, the perfect gift for the long time Raider fan or anyone who just realized that they have a football team.
John Harbaugh’s Grasp of the Rule Book: The coach used a rule to his advantage that looked very odd to even the most trained NFL eye. In the closing seconds, he feared punting the ball to Cincinnati because he didn’t want the kick blocked or returned for a TD. So, he elected to snap it to the punter and he then instructed everyone to hold, everyone to tackle, everyone to keep the Bengals away from his punter. The punter ran around, eventually took the safety, the time ran off the clock and the game can end on an offensive penalty. So all those holds, tackles and grabs did not hurt the Ravens, it just looked really weird.
Colin Kaepernick’s Future: Many times this has been in question, but the last couple of weeks have been good for Kap. Sunday’s 296 yards and three TD passes, along with over 100 rushing yards against the Dolphins, has quieted the Kaepernick doubters. Certainly, he is not the most polished QB in the NFL, but he looks like he clearly belongs – even if he ends up being on another team in 2017. The point is, he will be playing QB somewhere next season.
The Streakers: Dallas and Oakland not only jumped on the scene this year they are taking their respective conferences by storm. The Cowboys have rolled off 10 straight wins, while the Raiders’ run is now at five. Besides the obvious two home runs for the upstarts, props have to go to the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins. I am not sure what the Giants do well, but they have won six in a row and that 8-3 record suggests something is going right. In Miami, it was looking bleak a few weeks ago but six wins in a row can change the course and that path now has the Dolphins inside the playoff party.
Not So Stanky Leg: The kickers have kicked back. Last week was brutal for the forgotten men. Kickers never feel a 100 percent part of the team and last week’s futility didn’t help the cause. Week 12 was not weak for the special teamers. They returned with accuracy and even some trick shots too. The Chiefs used the upright to win, while Justin Tucker made the Bengals uptight with his three boots of 50 plus.
The Streakers Who Are Doing It Wrong: In our winners section we talked about those streaking in a positive way. There are several that clearly don’t know how to do this. I see you Jacksonville (six straight losses), Jets, Bengals and Bears (three straight losses). Don’t worry Browns, I will not forget you but I believe you need your own segment.
You Smell Like Up Dog: Justin Tucker’s joke was creative but may have fallen flat but seriously, what is up with the dawg pound? Are you going to do it Cleveland? Really Browns? You had the high of the Cavs, you had the magical run of the Indians and you close out this sports calendar year with this? Well you won’t lose this week, as the Browns join the Titans as the final two teams to have a bye. After that though, the watch is on to see if they can join the Lions as the only other 0-16 team. I guess football fans will actually care about the Browns in December.
The 49ers make the wrong kind of history: This proud franchise with a lot of historical greatness just broke new ground with their loss in Miami on Sunday. San Francisco now has lost a franchise-worst 10 games in a row. The 49ers are 1-10 and really should be thankful that the Rams were so bad on that opening night or we might be talking about the 49ers just like we have been the Browns. The roster is depleted of high-level talent and the results are showing. They compete every week but they may end up (1-15) with a lot of “great efforts.”