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Shocked, Not Shocked - NFL Wee...
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Shocked, Not Shocked - NFL Week 13

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

12:12 7 Dec 2020

In NFL Week 13, when brutal teams like the Jets and the Jags almost caused a stir and upset some teams, the Giants went one better and shocked the league by beating the Seattle Seahawks on the road. Should we be taking them more seriously?

Matthew Carolan writes:

NFL Week 13 - Shocked

The Giants are turning heads

There was a point this season when the Giants were a laughing stock. They were 0-5, Daniel Jones was regressing, and they kept losing games in heartbreaking fashion. But over the past two months, the Giants are 5-2, and the two games they did lose were by a total margin of three points. There is a fair argument to be made that they should have won those two games too (against the Eagles and Bucs).

Of course, there are other factors to take into account. All their wins, until Sunday, were against teams with losing records. They are games they should be winning. But a win in Seattle, for any team in the league, is very impressive.

The recent form of the New York Giants is largely attributable to their defence. They rank fourth against the run and eighth in points per game, but their success on Sunday was in their schemes to confuse Russell Wilson. Wilson completed 27 of 43 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but ultimately, when it really mattered, the Giants suffocated them in pivotal moments.

Now, the Giants are 5-7, and it is not unthinkable that they could finish the season at 8-8 at this point.

The Tyreek Hill catch that never was

Usually when a crazy catch happens, it is the receiver who is screaming and shouting about it and boasting about how skilful they are. If you think about the Edelman Super Bowl catch or the David Tyree helmet catch, they were quite loud about what they had just achieved. But on Sunday, when Mahomes threw a dime to Tyreek Hill, something strange happened.

In the second quarter, Mahomes threw a deep ball destined for the end zone. Hill beat his man and seemed to bring it in, before the defensive back popped it out. Hill then lost sight of the ball as he hit the ground, with the ball bouncing off his face mask and into his hands. Upon slow motion replay (which is often the case), it looked like a clear catch, but it was ruled incomplete.

Oddly, Tyreek Hill did not challenge that decision himself, which obviously led the coaching staff into thinking it was a clear incompletion. A strange occurrence, but Hill must have thought the ball bounced off the ground before landing in his chest.

Later in the game, Hill looked to finally get his touchdown as he got to the one yard line, paused, and backflipped into the end zone. Such levels of disrespect for the opposition are rarely seen, but again, it was ruled out because of a holding call back at the line of scrimmage.

Tyreek Hill ended the day with 58 yards and no touchdowns, but it could so easily have been 158 yards and two touchdowns to bring him close to 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Alas, 1,079 yards and 13 touchdowns will have to suffice as they enter the final stretch. It is still pretty impressive, to be fair.

NFL Week 13 - Not Shocked

The Jets and Jags found ways to lose

The battle for the number one draft pick is not unlike that episode of Friends where Monica and Rachel are doing their best to let the other person get Phoebe’s awful painting, ‘Gladys’, for their respective apartment. Only instead of Gladys, the winner (or loser, whoever has the worst record) gets a quality quarterback in this scenario.

On Sunday, the Jets and the Jags both nearly won their games, even though it feels like there is no merit in either team winning this late into the season. The top prize for being awful, of course, is the number one draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, where Trevor Lawrence will probably wait. Few quarterbacks have garnered this much praise coming out of the draft, with almost universal acclaim for the Clemson star.

When the Jags managed to force overtime in Minnesota, the Jets almost snuck by the Raiders for a shocking win. In the end, both teams lost. They both deserved to lose as they are terrible teams, but had the Jets held on and the Jags lost, Trevor may well have been heading to Jacksonville instead of New Jersey. Poor Trevor, doomed no matter what the outcome.

The Patriots destroy a rookie quarterback

Death, taxes, and the New England Patriots beating rookie quarterbacks. Bill Belichick is now 20-5 against first year quarterbacks, and it does not matter how good they are, he tends to find a way to beat them.

Justin Herbert, widely considered to be the rookie of the year, had his worst game as an LA Charger, throwing for 209 yards and two interceptions, with a 43.7 rating. Herbert has been sensational this season, so one can only assume he should bounce back from this. Having said that, a 45-0 loss is about as hard as it gets for any team, especially when you consider how poor the Patriots’ offence is.

Now the Patriots are 6-6 and have an outside shot at making the playoffs. They face the Rams on Thursday night before playing each team in their division to close the season out.

In a year where nothing seems normal and the Patriots have looked defeated, it would be a turnaround for the ages. Then again, it would also be peak Belichick.

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