Well what a weekend for NFL football. I mean, who would have thought the Colts would loose, the Panthers would win, and the Bears would wake up and play some football?
The Colts were on their way to NFL Greatness and made an “organizational” decision to bench their star players including Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark half way through the third quarter with a mere 5 point lead. That opened the door for the Jets to take over and win the game, improving their chances of getting into the playoffs if they can win against the Bengals next week. That game will be in Giants Stadium where the Panthers handed the Giants their worst home loss since 1998.
Speaking of the Panthers, they have won two in a row over teams I had marked down as losses and teams that could have been playing for a spot in the Super Bowl. After handing the Vikings a 26-7 loss at Bank of America Stadium the Panthers went up to New York and thrashed the Giants 41-9. The most obvious part of that win for the Panthers would be the missed tackles by the Giants. They just could not stop Jonathan Stewart who ran for a career high 206 yards and a touchdown.
Steve Smith (the Panther, not the Giant) was also having a great game until he caught a touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter and got hit on his left forearm and broke it. This man did not even grimace. Not even one little bit! He is my vote for Tough Guy of the Week, if not the season.
Last night I witnessed what was probably the best game I have seen all year. There were times where it wasn’t that pretty for either team. But what it lacked in elegance it completely made up for in sheer thrill.
The Bears were playing at home and have already been eliminated from the playoffs so this was just for pride. The Vikings took game one from the Bears in Week 12 with a 36-10 win, so this one was for a little payback.
I must say I was impressed with Jay Cutler. That is the quarterback the Bears were hoping they got when they traded Kyle Orton to Denver for him. Also Devin Aromashodu, who isn’t a rookie but has only started in three games in his four year career, had a career high 150 yards receiving with one touchdown which was also his longest reception at 39 yards which was also the game winner.
The whole Bears defense was up to the task as well keeping Adrian Peterson below 100 yards rushing for the sixth straight game, although he did compile 137 yards total for the game. They also recovered two Vikings fumbles.
The game was all Bears in the first half, but after the break it seemed like the polarity of a battery had been reversed. The Vikes came out down 16-0 and scored on their opening drive and looked to take over. The game went to overtime where it went back and forth twice before the Bears were able to score the winning touchdown.
The Bears looked like they were playing in the playoffs and it looked good.
Did it matter? To the Bears, no. To the Vikings, yes. After the New Orleans Saints lost earlier in the day the Vikings chances of getting home field throughout the playoffs increased.
But with the loss to the Bears, that is out the window.
So who is the hottest team in the league right now? I would have said either the Colts, Saints, or Vikings, but after all three lost this weekend in one fashion or another, my hottest team right now is the San Diego Chargers, winners of 10 in a row.
One week left in the regular season.
Can’t wait to see what happens next.