A quarterback playing for a Florida team might have nosedived their career, and it isn’t Blake Bortles. Nor have I written another ode to Patrick Mahomes, and I’m only lightly fluttering my eyes at Todd Gurley. What a strange week this week is…
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
I always say that kickers just aren’t sexy, but silver fox Adam Vinatieri has now achieved George Clooney status and transcended his middling role on a medical drama. The forty-five-year-old Colts kicker nailed two field goals and four extra points to become the NFL’s all time leading points scorer, finally outpacing Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen. He’s stuck with the Colts through the highs of having Peyton Manning and the lows of not having Peyton Manning anymore, and has reached the peak of the kicker mountain. Well done, Adam.
I also want to give a hat tip to Todd Gurley for channeling his inner Maurice Jones Drew and refusing a go ahead touchdown. In the dying moments of the Rams squeaker against the Green Bay Packers, up 29-27, Gurley got a game-winning first down but pulled up short of scoring the touchdown that would have given Green Bay back the ball. It still would have needed a miraculous chain of events for Green Bay to challenge the Rams, but Gurley’s selflessness removed even that miniscule chance. Well done, Todd.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
For the last few weeks it’s been a toss up for which team is in a deeper crisis, the New York Giants or Jacksonville Jaguars. This week we got our answer, as the Jags made a solid play for it and took the crown.
First, four of their players were arrested in London after they refused to pay a £50,000 bar tab which they thought was a “gift”. This is utterly baffling on a number of levels, and not only because these players were out on the lash 36 hours before a game. This happened under the watch of Tom Coughlin, who is in charge of the Jags football operations. He is a renowned disciplinarian; when he was head coach of the New York Giants he was famed for fining players if they weren’t early to meetings. Head coach Doug Marrone too is hardly a fluffy ball of cuddles, so this, coupled with the fact that Jags players are down each others throats on the pitch and in the locker room, shows a management who’ve lost control of their team.
Most worrying, though – even more than their distinctly underwhelming play as they lost 18-24 to the Eagles – is how Wembley reacted to them. Owner Shahid Khan had wanted to buy Wembley to accelerate the Jags’ transition to London, but was beaten back by fan revolt. It seems like that could be a blessing, as despite all the Jaguars have done to try to win London over, it was firmly an Eagles crowd.
Moreover, it was a stark reminder that it doesn’t matter who the home team are in London (and the Jags are the most ‘home’ team we have) as the fans are largely neutrals who’ll cheer for whoever the hell they want. Rather than rally behind the home team to break their slump, they piled on the misery. It is not a good sign for the Jags future here, as it’s been 24 games and London has shown no signs of adopting the team to their hearts.
Marvin Jones Jr, Detroit Lions
Okay, technically Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner was the leading fantasy scorer this week with 33.2 points. But I want to name and shame Marvin Jones Jr for putting up a season leading score of 23.7 while sat on my bench. You haven’t been able to get into double digits since week three, Marvin, and the game I run out of patience for you and bench you, you light up like this? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the audacity of this seeing as how you walk around with a name like Marvin in 2018.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston was suspended for the first three games of this season for a personal conduct violation, the latest in a long line of disciplinary issues which range from shoplifting to allegations of sexual assault. I have no desire to test out how robust my indemnity insurance is, so shall leave the off field stuff there.
On the field, Winston has never quite lived up to the hope that he’d allow the Bucs to compete in a division with exceptionally strong quarterbacks. Since returning from his suspension, though, he’s had a total nightmare and in the last two games alone been responsible for seven turnovers. Towards the end of their loss to the Bengals, he was finally benched for the glorious return of Ryan Fitzpatrick and his sensual Fitz-magic.
You have to worry about Winston’s future prospects in the NFL. With his poor on-field play only overshadowed by the extreme severity of the allegations against him off it, you have to wonder who’d want him holding a clipboard, let alone as a starter.
Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
Dee Ford had a very naughty day for the Kansas City Chief as he clocked up three sacks and two forced fumbles against the fish-in-a-barrel known as Denver Broncos QB Case Keenum. He also picked up four tackles, to make him this week’s defensive leader.
However, Khalil Mack was out injured against the Jets this week and, just like in that bastion of sporting fairness known as WWE, Mack has champions advantage and retains.
Just Watch It
Look, watching Sunday Night Football is hard. I get it. You end up going to bed after 4am, and it makes waking up the next morning nigh-on impossible. But if you are going to trash your bodyclock one time, this is the game to do it on.
Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots.
Rodgers vs Brady.
Beloved Team vs Hated Team.
It’s a rare treat as the two teams have only met twice in the last decade, and in 2010 Matt Flynn was subbing in as the Packers QB, meaning this’ll be only the second time Brady and Rodgers have gone head to head. I’d expect the Patriots to squeak the win, but either way it’ll be time to get your best phoning-in-sick-to-work voices at the ready, prep the leftover roast potatoes, and settle in for a tremendous game.