Another completely goofy NFL Sunday which culminated for me with that depressing Raiders loss to the Cowboys. Mind you, I have no illusions about the Raiders’ postseason possibilities, for the team doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs in my view. Plus, that last minute with the envelope first down, the 55-yard interference call, and then the desperate and failed try by Derek Carr to push the tip of the ball past the goal line. It’s just a lot more bitter to swallow from an Oakland season that has been beyond disappointing.
Still, that does not detract from the crazy games and endings, even though the Raiders conclusion was the type that makes make me run and hide, as an objective game it was pretty interesting (it also cost me beer and munchies with Rick Wolf, Glenn Colton, and Stacie Stern at the FSTA come January) and, well, another ending unlike any of us has seen.
And, as with the past weeks, there were some milestones and performances worth a nod, like Julius Peppers bagging his 10th sack for the 10th time in his career, putting the linebacker in fairly select company, like Reggie Smith and Kevin Greene.
Then Duke Johnson became the first Running Back to collect more than 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons since Herschel Walker did it 30 years ago. And we also saw a few snaps for Teddy Bridgewater, which was great.
Additionally, when San Francisco traded for Jimmy Garappolo, I was critical of the move, especially in deference to the time of the season (mid-way), when he was set to become a free agent (end of this year), and that fact that he went to a team that had drafted a rookie and was going nowhere anyway. As in, why not give C.J. Beathard the rest of the year?
I stand corrected, as the new Niners signal caller won his fifth-straight start to begin his career (2-0 with New England, 3-0 with S.F.), something that has not been done since that Ben Roethlisberger guy did it. Hats off, Jimmy, and hope you like it here in the Bay Area!
The weird week was also punctuated by a bunch of seemingly unknown players bagging not just one score but a pair, starting with the Tavarres King, a third-year WR for the Giants who caught a pair of balls for 70 yards and two TDs. King only has 18 catches this year, but he is another one of those players who might be getting some looks toward next year on a team that needs some reworking.
Then there is the Panthers’ second-year receiver Damiere Byrd, who caught three balls for half the yardage as King collected, but for an equally effective pair of TDs. Up until three weeks ago, Byrd was invisible, but he has bagged nine balls since and is getting a lot of looks, so give him one as well.
Then there was Jacksonville’s Jaydon Mickens, a 2016 draftee from Washington who had a pair of passes tossed his way in early November, but nothing else all year till Sunday. Then came five targets with four receptions, good for 61 yards and two scores.
While we are looking at the Jags, Keelan Cole, who has been admirably filling in for Allen Hurn. The rookie out of Kentucky Wesleyan had an all-career day, grabbing 186 yards on seven catches. Cole, who has scores each of the past three weeks to go with 335 yards, was highlighted as a sleeper by my partner Justin Mason Thursday evening on the Tout Wars Hour, so do tune in every week.
Finally, Denver managed to squeeze past the Colts, thanks in part to the three balls caught by Cody Latimer, who gained 60 yards and found his way into the end zone. With 19 receptions and 287 yards, Latimore is having his best season and doing it for the Broncos, another team struggling for consistency. The former Indiana Hoosier could make for a cheap DFS play.
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